Friday, November 24, 2006

'Theorising Oasis is like drinking butter - pointless and bad for the heart.'
Every once in awhile you need to read an NME essay about Oasis. Just to remind you why life is worth living.

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The Most Discomforting Two Sentences You Will Ever Read In A Concert Review
"As lithe as a boy, Jagger seems to defy age. At least he does below the waist."


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Researchers To Brandon Flowers: You Have Two Years Left To Live
This - a study measuring the economic benefits of celebrity suicide with specific focus on Kurt Cobain - is apparently very enlightening. Some of the highlights, as reported by The Guardian...

The three professors walk us through the debits and credits of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Mostly, they see credits: increased sales of his music and merchandise; increased "iconic value" of products fans had already purchased; and a variety of emotional benefits that could theoretically be given a financial value. The musicians associated with Kurt Cobain, especially his wife, Courtney Love and her band, Hole, also presumably benefit from an increase in attention and perceived value.

Professor Lester and his colleagues point out further, subtle benefits to Kurt Cobain's suicide. Cobain died at 27, early in a human lifespan, but perhaps fairly late in a pop singer's expected career. "The potential of his future artistic productivity may be much less than was generated by his suicide," they write. "Indeed, it is possible that future mediocre works might have blighted a legacy, leading to negative reappraisals and lower sales of his peak-period work."

Of suicide in general - and specifically of any me-too suicides that Cobain's death may have inspired - the professors describe a higher sort of economic benefit to society. There is, they write, a "selective elimination of those who are unable to cope adequately with the requirements of the environment in which they are trying to survive."

See? Everyone's a winner. So the next time your buddy who's a big Elliott Smith fan starts prattling on about how senseless the singer/songwriter's self-inflicted demise was, just show him this. Because it's impossible to argue with economics. Or at least equally senseless to try.

The supplemental question that needs to be asked is this: would the world be better off if every pop star of a certain calibre killed him or herself at or near the peak of his or her glory?

For instance, would the world be a better place if Jay-Z had killed himself after The Blueprint, Britney Spears after I'm A Slave 4 U, the Barenaked Ladies after Gordon? Is this something we should attempt to legislate? And, if so, should we employ roving death squads or attempt to maximize the financial windfall by staging public hangings and selling the TV rights? Perhaps MTV could launch a separate channel - MTV17 - devoted entirely to this?

And could this - should this - be extended to other fields? For instance, should Mike Tyson have killed himself after knocking out Michael Spinks? Should Bill Clinton have killed himself moments after winning re-election over Bob Dole? Should George W. Bush have offed himself after returning home from a particularly raging kegger in college?

Obviously these are scenarios we have to consider. The world teeters in a very precarious position right now. And it's time for out-of-the-box thinking and ideas. Let this be the start of a very important national - nay, global - dialogue.

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A Day In The Life Of Noel Gallagher
This is what separates Noel Gallagher from your average, Morrissey-obsessed indie rock band. Noel Gallagher will go and say some legitimately insane shit and it's almost impossible to imagine him ever subsequently apologizing or whining about how some mean journalist chose only to focus on the negative things he had to say. This country could probably use its own Noel Gallagher (1).

Anyway. On with one day's worth of Noel soundbites.

On the new Beatles record: "It's a pointless exercise."

On the Scissor Sisters: "I like 'Laura,' from the first record, but it's music for squares, man. They're huge in England, but there's no accounting for bad taste as far as the English are concerned."

On environmentalists: "Greens are fucking hippies with no place in the world. How do you suggest we get millions of Chinese not to have a fridge? Or get millions of Americans to stop using their big, stupid cars?"

On the war in Iraq: "Blair made an almighty cock-up going to war in Iraq... You get a million people walking through Hyde Park -- 'don't send the troops' and all that... The troops want to go, all they want to do is fight! They're soldiers. They're loving it, until they get shot -- then they're claiming compensation. If you're bothered about getting shot -- here's a thing -- don't join the army."

(1) More on this later. Probably.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Finally A Rap Song For Carpal Tunnel Sufferers
Various questions prompted by Eminem's latest bit of self analysis.

At this point is his most heated beef with himself?
Is this his response to Kurt Cobain?
Or his homage to Andrew Dice Clay?
And when you think about it, isn't Eminem sort of equal to Kurt Cobain + Andrew Dice Clay?
Does he just have no idea where to go from here?
Why do I feel like that's more often an issue in rap than in, say, rock music?
And is that what inspired Jay-Z to include a track produced by Chris Martin on his new record?

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Buffalo Love
History will show that Nelly Furtado's slow slip into irrelevance began the moment she uttered the infamous ad-lib "Is your game MVP like Calvillo?" at halftime of the 2006 Grey Cup.

Behold the spectacle. If nothing else it serves to prove how quickly Promiscuous falls apart without Timbaland. And that it's ridiculous to open a halftime show at a football game with a soccer anthem.

(According to the Post's Siri Agrell, the Bob Woodward of Grey Cup halftime shows, Nelly Furtado wasn't the first choice of organizers. Apparently they wanted to go with Nick Lachey. I'm not sure whether that makes last night's show better or worse.)

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

No Compromises. No Excuses. No Apologies.
The Dears in an interview with the Toronto Sun.

"It was horrible and by far the darkest, cheapest and most ghetto festival ever. It was just so gross. The treatment was terrible. The whole reason for the festival is to sell cellphones. It's awful. We'll never do a V-Fest ever again."

The Dears in a subsequent message posted on their website.

"An article came out today in the Toronto Sun that does not accurately reflect our overall experience at the V Festival in Toronto. We had a great show that day and the audience was fantastic. Also, a lot of people worked very hard to put together the event and we want them to know that we really do appreciate their efforts. Sometimes news articles concentrate on the negative rather than the good."

And sometimes rock stars are pussies.

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Bringing Creepy Back
Now with shaky, handheld video.

The Reviews Are In
How fantastic was Michael Jackson's comeback at the World Music Awards tonight? Very fantastic. So fantastic that no reporter on the scene seemed capable of squeezing all the fantastic details into just one story. Let's go to the highlights...

Monsters and Critics: Jackson - who is set to perform his classic hit 'Thriller' at tonight's (15.11.06) ceremony in London - demanded personal hair and make-up artists, a private jet and 20 first-class plane tickets for his entourage. The eccentric singer has also made a number of outrageous demands to staff at the Hempel Hotel, in London's Bayswater area, where he is staying at a cost of £6,300-a-night. Upon Jackson's request the lavish hotel has erected an 18ft wall on its first floor to provide more privacy for him and his three children.

BBC: Outside the venue, you could almost taste the excitement... Inside the venue, it seemed like everyone had come specifically to see Jackson. Every pause in the evening's ceremony (and there were many) was soundtracked by shouts of "Michael, Michael". When host Lindsay Lohan fluffed her lines, she was booed - presumably for delaying the pop star's appearance by a few more precious seconds.

BBC: Jackson received a standing ovation as he walked onto the stage. He told the audience: "I love you. God has answered my prayers. Thriller has become the biggest-selling album of all time, with 140 million sold. I love all the fans from the bottom of my heart. I love England." He then left the stage to boos from the crowd who had still expected him to sing.

The Times: He had told organisers that he would re-create his Thriller video after being presented with the Diamond Award for selling more than 100 million albums. But the celebrities and public, who had paid up to £70 for a ticket, were left waiting for 30 minutes as Jackson suffered stage fright in his dressing room. Beyoncé, who was being honoured in the show, comforted Jackson and persuaded him to sing.

Reuters: The 48-year-old, performing live for the first time since he was acquitted of child molestation charges in June 2005, had been expected to sing his seminal hit Thriller. But to the huge disappointment of screaming fans, that was performed instead by young U.S. star Chris Brown.

USA Today: With a few thrilling bars of We Are the World, Michael Jackson made a triumphant return to the spotlight... dressed in a sequined black tuxedo, said little and sang even less, but that didn't dampen the spirits of his fans, many of whom traveled from around the world to witness Jackson's comeback.

AP: ...he appeared on stage and sang among a group of swaying, clapping kids - until the musical accompaniment inexplicably stopped. "There have been so many people who have loved me and stood by me. I love all the fans from the bottom of my heart," Jackson said before flinging his black jacket into the crowd and exiting the stage.

Melbourne Herald Sun: "While I cannot meet all of them I would like to thank my wonderful children, Paris, Prince and Blanket for their unconditional love and support and my mother and my father, my brothers and sisters, my entire family for their love and support."

BBC: At the end of the song he spent time shaking hands with people in the front row before leaving the stage... It was not the first disappointment of the evening for Jackson fans, as the star failed to stop and meet the hundreds of supporters who had waited for hours to see him on the red carpet.

That's some multi-layered awesomeness. There's almost no way this doesn't end wonderfully. And somehow even Billy Bush is involved. I can't wait for the inevitable M.J.-Britney-O.J. World Tour of Truth.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What Were The Kids Listening To in 2005? Hank Williams. Obviously.
This is obviously satirical.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Great Moments In MuchMusic History #310
I was advised to seek this out awhile ago, but just now found it on YouTube.

VJ Leah v. MC Kheaven. Clash of the titans.

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Finally, Some Real Reporting About The Spears-Federline Divorce
Paging Pulitizer.

"At the time the two of them were in the honeymoon stages of the relationship and couldn't keep their hands off each other. They did nothing all day but have sex—and play the odd game of chess."

This is EXACTLY how I always pictured Britney's domestic life.

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Great Moments In MuchMusic History #309
On the bright side, it appears Hannah Simone has been handed the reins at The New Music. The Hannah is dead, long live The Hannah.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Great Moments In MuchMusic History #308
That time Britney broke up with K-Fed while he was being interviewed by Matte Babel.

After thinking about this far more than I should... All right, I realize I'm about to enter into a semi-serious discussion of MuchMusic's relative merits as a journalistic entity capable of breaking relevant and timely stories and I realize this is absolutely insane...

But how did MuchMusic miss this story? I mean, obviously MuchMusic isn't The New York Times and Matte Babel ain't David E. Sanger, but isn't this the sort of lapse that should generally inspire much (no pun intended) internal soul searching and probably result in someone getting fired?

Britney called it quits with K-Fed while he was being filmed by MuchMusic cameras. In fact, according to the video evidence, K-Fed was SITTING RIGHT BESIDE Matte Babel when Britney texted over her news. Federline proceeds to look crushed and VJ Matte later acknowledges that something seemed amiss and yet it's not MuchMusic, but TMZ.com that breaks the news? How is that possible? The biggest entertainment news story of the year is happening at the same dinner table and Much misses it? How does that happen?

Again, I understand, Matte Babel is not what most would consider a quote-unquote serious journalist. But you have to think Tanya Kim would have had this scoop if she'd be hanging out with K-Fed that night.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

It's All About Clarity
Noel Gallagher weighs in on Quebec's nationhood.

What do you think of when you think of Canada?
I think of being absolutely freezing fookin’ cold. And I also think of this fookin’ weird, weird French influence. What’s that all about? What business have they got over there? Why French? I was in a Dunkin Donuts in Canada, and the menu was in French — the whole thing, right. And I asked the woman for a coffee, and she only spoke French. Now, I’ve taken a lot of drugs in my time mate, but I’ve got to say that the single most frightening experience of my life was thinking, “I could have swore I was fookin’ in Canada when I got off that tour bus. And now I’m in… am I? No. I don’t know.” And then I said to the woman, “You can speak English, can’t you?” And I think she was getting annoyed that I was being a bit rude by that point, because she was only speaking French. I was going, “I know you can speak English. We’re in Canada. And I know you understand what I’m saying.” I may have brought up something about the war and then left.

Is there anything in the constitution that would specifically prevent a British rock star from running for federal office in Canada? Can we look into this? Maybe start a petition or something?

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Aside From Inevitably Leading To Disaster, It's A Great Idea
So not only is Bob Rae a huge hip-hop head, but he also apparently reads Defamer enough to make Britney Spears analogies about Canadian politics.

"Harper's problem is that he fought against Meech and he fought viscerally against Charlottetown. So you know I have always thought the love affair between the people of Quebec and Stephen Harper made less sense than, you know, than Britney Spears's first marriage."

Unfortunately it's unclear whether Rae sees Harper as Britney Spears and Quebec as the briefly anonymous hick or vice versa.

Mere seconds later... No sooner had I hit the publish button then news of this was yelled jubilantly across my office. Somehow I blame Michael Ignatieff.

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Monday, November 6, 2006

Where Do You Go When You've Already Been To The Top?
Finally - Finally! - an update on my younger sister's favourite former member of the Backstreet Boys, Kevin "No really, I'm not from the Ozarks, I swear" Richardson. In fact, the Toronto Star touts it as an exclusive (1).

Apparently our boy Kev is coming to Toronto... to perform in Chicago.

"... he'll appear in the gala celebration on Nov. 14 marking the 10th anniversary of the show on Broadway, sharing the spotlight with the likes of Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Melanie Griffiths, Ashlee Simpson and Brooke Shields.

"It's an honour just to be onstage with those people," said Richardson over the phone from his home just outside of Lexington, Ky. "I look at that lineup and say, `Kevin, what did you ever do to wind up rubbing elbows with stars like that?'"

Stars like that indeed. Brian Littrell (2) wishes he could be sharing the spotlight with a former sitcom star, a former theatre star, a former movie star, a former pop star and a former model.

On June 23, he announced he was leaving the group, "in order to move on with the next chapter of my life." He only issued a brief statement then kept quiet during the subsequent keening from his devoted followers.

So why did he do it?

There's a long pause at the end of the line, so long in fact, it almost seems the phone has gone dead. Then he answers.

"I was at a point in my life when I wanted to examine some of the other things that go into making up Kevin Richardson. You see, I'm not like a lot of other people in show business. I'm not what you'd call a multi-tasker. When I commit myself to something, I commit 100 per cent and that's what I did when I was a Backstreet Boy."

Referring to yourself in the third-person? Check. Serious discussion of giving it 100%? Check. If Kevin can dribble a basketball in the least, he's ready for the NBA.

Anyway. Let's be serious for a moment because this is serious. Very serious. This isn't about some former boy band singer turning to theatre to make the mortgage payments. No. This is about tackling the greatest threat to humanity in the early 21st century... Namely, flashiness.

"I think we can get too much flash in our lives," he laments. "You find it everywhere nowadays; it's not just in show business, it's on Wall Street, it's in Washington. It can overshadow talent."

True. So very true.

(1) That management shuffle was obviously totally worth it.
(2) I spelled this correctly without having to look it up. Just so you know.

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Um, Yeah
I agree with this entirely.

Also: if we were to hold the vote again today, k-os would have to win. ESPN NFL Countdown used a clip of Sunday Morning on, well, Sunday morning and in that instant, everyone's favourite crank (1) rapper was heard by more people than everyone else on that list... combined.

(1) Like crunk, only crankier.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I Am The Most Open-Minded Person In The World, Why Can't You All Be More Like Me
Matthew has come through with his second annual list of the hottest acts in Canada, as voted on by those of us with obviously too much time on our hands.

Not too many surprises. I guess I thought k-os would finish higher than 25th, but then I suspect a lot of people actually hate him (more on this later probably). In fact, he finished only one spot higher than the Arcade Fire, who haven't released an album in something like 7 years.

I again object to the fact that no one else loves Alexisonfire. It's basically me and a bunch of misfit 14-year-olds in Burlington. If I should disappear in the near future, it's because I've decided to start hanging out behind some suburban high school, drinking cheap beer and burning various refuse.

Seriously. Would you really rather listen to the Dears? Really? I don't get it.

Anyway. In the comments supporting Nelly Furtado's 22nd place finish, Quinn asks, 'When was the last time one of our Top 40 exports hasn't been at least a bit embarrassing?' and suggests I might know the answer to this.

Well, I actually reject the thesis that Nelly Furtado isn't embarrassing. But otherwise... I'm going to say k.d. lang circa Ingenue, which reached 18th on the Billboard 200 in 1992 and won lang a Grammy for Constant Craving. Coincidentally, Furtado herself might have been the last least embarrassing (circa the I'm Like A Bird era), but then she had to go and reinvent into her current self, a move I consider akin to me deciding to spend my days hanging out with a bunch of 14-year-olds behind a Burlington high school.

Refusing to let this go... From Dec. 14 to Dec. 18, AOF is playing five shows across Toronto. They're all sold out. And so tickets went on sale this morning for a sixth show. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps Destroyer could not do likewise.

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