iggy azalea

2014: My Year In Lists (Part Two)

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Music! It’s that stuff that pours into your earholes from out of your radio (hahaha, remember RADIOS) digital music computer doodad… that contraption you’ve got clipped to your fashionable, like, satchel thing… whatever… you know what I’m talking about. Or maybe all your music is in a cloud somewhere. Music chip implanted in your brain? I don’t understand how anything works.

Look, we’re going to talk about the music that I experienced in 2014. And we’ll be doing so via a bunch of mini-lists, because the thought of combining everything into a big Top 10 or Top 20 list makes me very, very tired. And I’m tired enough already, you guys.  My iVinyl songtunes app won’t synch up with my sonic Bluetooth cochlear graft!!! I can’t even!!! That’s a thing kids say, right? RIGHT??? I’M GOING TO HASHTAG EVERYTHING JUST TO BE SURE.

To the lists…

5 Absolutely Perfect Pop Songs from 2014

“Team” by Lorde – This song is like getting drunk on a weird Thursday at 2am with a bunch of really cool people that you’ve only known for a couple of weeks, so they’re still exciting. “Team” manages to whip up almost a mystical feel, but super-modern; I imagine this is the kind of thing that Stevie Nix would turn out if she was currently 17 and into synthesizers.

“Pompeii” by Bastille – If I had to sum of this song in a single word, that word would be, “Triumphant.” Listening to “Pompeii” makes me want to triumph over something. I don’t know WHAT, specifically, I would like to triumph over, but still… this song makes me long for a non-specific triumph, where I’d thrust my clenched fists into the air right at the “but when you close your eeeyees” part. I feel like that would be really satisfying.

“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor – If you could use a wizard’s spell to turn a wad of strawberry Hubba Bubba into a song, this is what you would get. Now, I will grant you that the marrying of a sort of old timey-ish voice with modern pop isn’t a new idea.. nor is this the best ever example of that trend (Amy Winehouse would be the queen of that particular retro castle). However, “All About That Bass” is fun as shit, so whatever. Plus, when you see the song title written out, it’s mildly entertaining to pretend she’s talking about her love for a certain kind of fish.

“Fancy” by Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX – There’s some kind of iffy racial stuff with this song… she’s essentially doing “black voice,” which is not cool… but, you know, the video was a whole, awesome Clueless homage. So… we’re going to say it’s okay to like this song…? Because it JAMS? Look, I’m not sure where I’m supposed to stand on Iggy Azalea, so I have to listen to my heart. My heart is telling me that this song makes my pants want to get up and dance. So there’s that.

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift – When Taylor Swift is president in like 2045, we’ll look back at the release of “Shake It Off” as the moment when everyone in America suddenly realized… hey… Taylor Swift is actually pretty great. Those first stirrings of goodwill will snowball until, eventually, we the people decide that it would probably be in all of our best interests if she just ran everything for a while. I feel like her Vice President will be her cat.

3 Terrible Songs from 2014

“Fireball” by Pitbull – I do not get why Pitbull is popular. He looks like a Miami dad, and he exclusively puts out songs that sound like they were specifically designed to be shitty ringtones.  And yet he’s super famous, and I work in a deli. The world, once again, fails to make sense. Anyway, I would rather be killed by an actual fireball, Backdraft-style, than ever hear this song again.

“Animals” by Maroon 5 – Everything about Adam Levine is gross… I imagine that he always smells like American Spirits, some kind of hair wax, and cheap lube… but this song, which is LITERALLY about hunting and killing women, is really just too much. Listening to “Animals” makes me want to apologize to everybody on behalf of my gender.

“Battleships” by Daughtry – The whole song is an extended, tortured metaphor about how a relationship is like two battleships fighting. That sounds stupid enough on its own, but then there’s the part in the song’s chorus when he goes “boom BOOM boom… boom BOOM boom.” HE’S BEING THE CANNONS ON THE BATTLESHIP. Sometimes, the onamonapias work in your favor, and sometimes they’re the hill upon which you die. Ugh, I can’t believe I phone-voted for you when you were on American Idol, Chris Daughtry. How the… not mighty, exactly… how the mediocre have fallen.

1 Song from 2014 That Sounds Like Time Travel

“Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson – You could tell me this was a track that was accidentally cut from Prince’s “Dirty Mind” album due to a grievous production error, and I’d totally believe it. By the way,  I do an excellent car dance to this song that really impresses the other drivers and lets them know I’m a cool guy who is very hip to the popular musics of today. My car dance has shoulder wiggles AND head bobs. It’s pretty awesome. This song is more awesome, though.

2 Songs from 2014 That I Hated At First, Then Totally Loved

“The Man” by Aloe Blacc – I hated it because it was in every MLB promo for every baseball game that existed in 2014, and that kind of repetition is just brutal. But then baseball season ended, and I heard it context-free on the radio, and it made think… you know what… maybe this song is about how I’M the man, I’m the man, I’m the man. So I love it now. Because I’m THE MAN.

“Chandelier by Sia” – This is song is gorgeous and inspires within in me soaring emotions, and… for some reason, I hated it the first time I heard it. Some things are just too beautiful to be appreciated at first glance. Anyway, “Chandelier” makes me want to survive some kind of huge ordeal, then describe the experience via the medium of interpretive dance.

3 Artists/Bands That I Rediscovered in 2014

Carole King – That lady sure could beat the shit out of a piano. Listen to “Tapestry,” if you’re okay with taking the time to glue your heart back together afterwards.

Crooked Fingers -They’re kind of the postscript to the band Archers of Loaf, who weren’t even a really huge deal back when they had some hipster, record store cache. So this is the small band that came from a slightly larger small band. And man… they’re just weird and great and like the soundtrack to my life, if I were a little bit cooler. Listen to this song, then go listen to the entire album that it’s from.

Paul Simon – That I ever forgot about Paul Simon is shameful. Thankfully, the movie Obvious Child came along and reminded me of what a bad, Paul Simon-shunning person I had become. Mandatory Paul Simon listenings should be written into The Constitution. I’ll have to get a petition going that calls for said change; something that I can present to President Swift at a Town Hall meeting or some such.

16 Bands from 2014 That I Totally Made Up

Condescending Turtles

The Beefpants Trio

El Boring Boringson & The Dulls

Mama Jokes

Crucified Judas

Elbowsnatch

Virginia Hummelsmith & The Best Band That Could Be Assembled Via Craigslist

Goodbye Horses (a Q Lazzarus cover band)

Dads in Garages

The Dirtbag Dandies

Professor Emanuel’s Sweet & Sour Lemon Drops (sorry, that’s a brand of lozenge that I invented)

Cud Punch

Prolapsed Soul

2Scary4School

Wet Jeans

and, of course…

Ed Sheeren (but not the one you’re thinking of)

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Winter Movie Spotlight 2014

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Winter is just around the corner. Or, if you live in the North like some kind of sucker, then maybe it’s already here. For YOU. Not for me. I live at the edge of the great American Southwest, where winter is like, “whatever, I’ll put on a jacket for a week, NBD.” Hahaha… you fucking people with your snow and your regret! It’s wonderful here! IT’S WONDERFUL!!! [cut to: A month from now, when Texas is buried under a freak snowstorm that makes the end of The Day After Tomorrow look like the location scouting reel from Tremors]

The point is, with the arrival of the winter months, the nation’s movie theaters begin to make transitions of their own. Gone are the days of exciting blockbusters that people actually WANT to see. Now is the time for important movies… PRESTIGE movies… movies that grasp for Oscars like a child reaching for a favorite toy that you are holding high above its head because you are a terrible parent.

Here, now, a look at the upcoming slate of winter movies that you have no real interest in seeing, because life is hard enough already without spending two hours of it watching people be miserable, but you will watch anyway because if you don’t, you will feel like a racist:

The Remembering Time – Rated PG

Several elderly people in a nursing home think back on their lives, remembering stuff from when they were young, and full of life, and music didn’t have so many swears in it. Everything is shot in sepia tones, because that’s how the audience knows it takes place in the past. Black and white film might also get used; the filmmakers haven’t decided yet. Anyway, everyone gets really bummed out and then somebody’s nephew shows up to play the violin, which makes everything worse because they can tell that he really doesn’t want to be there. The movie ends when all the main characters die. It’s just awful .

Rose’s Antique Handbag – Rated R (for explicit historical fucking)

Rose (played by Kate Winslet, though the character is not THAT Rose), embarks on a sweeping journey across Europe, Africa, and, budget permitting, Asia, to reclaim her antique handbag that once belonged to her inspirational and also empowering grandmother, also named, confusingly, Rose. High drama ensues when Rose discovers that the antique handbag has fallen into the hands of the Nazis, which is strange, as the movie takes place in 1997. Score by Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer. Cinematography by Academy Award winner Janusz Kaminski. Nazi uniforms provided by that one closet at Warner Bros. Studios that’s full of Nazi uniforms.

It’s Horseshit That Gary Oldman Has Never Won An Oscar – Rated G(ary)

Gary Oldman, one of the finest actors of our generation, has NEVER won an Oscar. Isn’t that just totally horseshit??? What’s worse, he’s only been nominated for ONE GODDAMN MOVIE. That Tinker Tailor Solider Spy movie, which, okay, I’m sure it was FINE, but c’mon. Espionage in England or something? Whooooo caaaaaares??? But, of course, THAT’S the performance upon which the Academy finally decides to bestow their oh so fucking hallowed graces. Whatever. What fucking ever. Anyway, IHTGOHNWAO is just one 90 minute shot of Gary Oldman reading a menu from Applebee’s over and over in several different accents, and with varying degrees of intensity. It will break your fucking heart.

My Friend B.S. – Rated NC-17

One man’s crippling addiction to bath salts is explored via gritty, lo-fi film-making techniques, and also some unconventional casting choices. The main part of Terry…  the man struggling with his crippling need for terrifying drugs… is played by John Cryer, in a role that will surprise you. The part of his girlfriend, Joanne… the woman who selflessly helps Terry work through his addiction and get into rehab… is played by Tabitha from Tabitha’s Salon Takeovers, in a role that will surprise you. The bath salts are voiced, dramatically, by repurposed dialogue from a DVD of Beetlejuice that was laying around the editing suite. It’s mostly Michael Keaton stuff, in a roll that will surprise you. And him, too, probably, as he was not paid for his unwitting participation.

Mars – Rated PG-13

This is a movie that takes the viewer to the planet Mars, and shows what it would actually be like to live there. The first half is kind of hypnotically dull, as the Mars pioneers go about doing, you know, regular pioneer shit but with spacesuits. But then the last half is horrifying because a bunch of Martians show up and start disemboweling everybody. Tastefully, of course. The disemboweling is mostly implied. Mostly. What’s important is that the filmmakers invented a new kind of camera for this movie and it makes everything look like it’s actually taking place in outer fucking space. Technical wizardry, bitches. Gravity can suck our 70mm IMAX 3D dongs.

The Cuteness – Rated A Heretofore Undiscovered Rating That is Milder Than G

Carefully composed scenes of brilliant, troubled people doing twee, fussy things are all strung together to the music of Juice Newton, who is an artist we haven’t heard from in a long time, but is being brought back by the filmmakers because it’s cool to do that sort of thing, as long as it’s clear they’re being ironic. Everything looks perfect, and you get that it’s supposed to be funny, but you’re really only laughing because everyone else is. That guy a few seats down is PARTICULARLY into it. He has a neatly trimmed beard and some sort of tweed jacket thing going on. He looks smart. Yeah… this movie is SO smart.

Moshe Blumenthal: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story – Unrated

You may think that it is, at best, crass to sensationalize a real-life victim of the Holocaust’s story for the purpose of winning essentially meaningless awards, but… clearly… you’re unfamiliar with how bitching an Oscar looks on a small shelf above one’s cigar humidor. Yep… things are going pretty well. Thinking about optioning the rights to Anne Frank’s diary and tweaking it into like a Bourne Identity thing where she’s secretly an assassin or something. Pretty sure it’ll be the big summer hit of 2016. Iggy Azalea would make a totally badass, sexy Anne Frank, right???