Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Crystal Clear Lines

June 17, 2013

Was at a friend’s house yesterday when they alerted me to the music video for Alan Thicke’s son’s latest sexy jam, ‘Blurred Lines’.

What? This?

What’s the big deal?

Well, that’s the CENSORED version of the clip, guys. HEAVILY censored.

THIS is the future of music videos:

Congrats guys, we did it! We finally killed any sense of sub-text or implied sexuality in mainstream pop!

** fist pump **

Strap yourself in folks, and place your bets… how long until the equivalent of this unrated vid becomes the norm, playing on your commercial television station each weekend?

I’m saying 5 years. If I had kids I might be worried about ’em.

And if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass when he hops…

BPM

 

Umm… I think we’re missing someone?

December 13, 2012

‘SIR PAUL McCARTNEY FRONTS NIRVANA REUNION’

2659599-paul-mccartney-nirvana-617-409

from ninemsn.com.au

Nirvana… reunion?

Not without some serious smelling salts and a bicycle repair kit, Sir Paul…

With that being said, this WAS for a good cause, a fundraising concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy in New York (and only New York, cos fuck the rest of the east coast, that’s why!)

Of course, Courtney Love was immediately asked for her take on this. She was, as you might have imagined, not impressed, apparently saying of McCartney’s involvement “Look, if John (Lennon) were alive it would be cool.”

She then screamed she was a little teapot, that her eyeballs were growing fingers, and that light globes have feelings, before fleeing into the night, accompanied by a frog farting the alphabet.

If you have an iconic band you’d like Sir Paul to reform, he’s contactable at:

http://www.thisisforallthosetimesyouaskedmeifthebeatleswouldgetbacktogether.com

Until next time, a reminder that the walrus was Paul…

BPM

Nuptuals of Awesome

August 30, 2012

“I thought you said the dress code was semi-formal?”

I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of a close friend last weekend, which was many barrels o’fun.

There was laughter. There were tears. There was me, a member of the bridal party, somehow quickly establishing a weird passive-aggressive relationship with the official wedding photographer (no, seriously).

There were some very emotional speeches, followed by an energetic rendition of the Zorba dance by dozens of the Greek family members in attendance. There was cake. There were children mindless running around the dance floor periphery alllll night, round and round, over and over (in Australia, we call this ‘Circlework’… or at least I do).

But what’s one of the key things that will make this wedding stick out in my mind for years to come?

It’s the fact that as the bride and groom were preparing to leave, and as all of the guests were dutifully assembling in a large circle on the dance floor, my ears pricked up at a different song choice to what I was expecting.

Was it Michael Buble? Shania Twain? Celine Dion? The Vengaboys?

‘fraid not. One of my pals (the esteemed Benjamin the Donkey) turned to me and remarked, as shocked as I was, ‘That sounds like the Axis of Awesome!’

My first reaction was that it couldn’t be… could it?

But it was. My buddy and his beautiful new bride had exhibited taste par excellence by deciding that ‘4 Chords’ was going to their go-home track at the end of the night.

Awesome… a whole Axis full of Awesome.

Which is not to say that I didn’t manage to almost ruin the moment. After all, I’m good at that kind of thing.

The newlyweds were hugging it out with family and friends across the room as Benjamin and I revelled in singing aloud along to the dozens of songs used in 4 Chords, all the way through until we reached ‘Superman’ by Five for Fighting (about 5:10 into the clip above).

Whose original lyric goes “I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane, I’m more than some pretty face beside a train”.

Which is substituted by the AoA with “I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane, I’m a birdplane. A birdplane, a motherfucking birdplane”.

A smart man would have realised that perhaps at a family-friendly wedding the DJ might choose to mute this particular moment in the song.

And an even moderately intelligent man would not have belted this line out at the top of his lungs regardless.

Oops.

Luckily this moment of momentous dumbitude was lost amidst the joyous drunken cuddlery around me. But even still… *shakes head*

Should you want to hire me to ruin one of your memorable moments in front of dozens of people, feel free to leave a comment below! I am available for children’s parties… at least I am so long as no-one lets the cops know I’m within 50 feet of the kids.

You know how it goes.

Congratulations J & R!

BPM

‘The Voice’ KNOWS hyperbole!

May 8, 2012

I call the guy on the left ‘Urban Warfare’

A quick note on the Australian television juggernaut that IS ‘The Voice’, and in particular this week’s Battle round, where contestants will battle one another in a series of head-to-head battles in a battle to see who can use the word battle more in their allotted 8-10 minute segment.

 

bat·tle

Noun   A sustained fight between large, organized armed forces.

 

Waterloo. Gettysburg. Normandy. Gallipoli. Thermopylae. Helm’s Deep. These were battles. Two back up singer’s doing shitty covers of Rihanna songs I don’t even want to hear Rihanna sing? Meh… notsomuch.

I have to assume that the whole ‘battle’ concept is the red-headed stepchild of what ‘The Voice’s producer’s think a ‘rap battle’ is.

“I got the moves like Jagger, I got the moooooooooooves like Jagger… OK, now your turn!”

But… rap battles (as far as I, the whitest man in Melbourne, am aware) stereotypically consist of 2 angry young men dropping tasty rhymes about their own incredible sexual prowess and penis size whilst simultaneously denigrating the prowess/penosity of their opponent. There’s an innate sense of aggression and conflict there. Two middle-aged guys over-singing the shit out of Coldplay? Where’s the conflict in that?

For the record, Chris Martin ranks a zero on the Penosity Scale

As part of my job I’m privy to the primetime ratings of Australian free-to-air TV every morning, and ‘The Voice’ is managing to sustain a huuuugggeeee audience night after night. Basic rule of thumb is that if any show in the evening time slot has a million viewers, then it’s doing well.

‘The Voice’ is doing more than double that. Every. Single. Episode.

And once again, I don’t get it, and I wonder how much longer it can continue to draw such a large audience. Because once the novelty has worn off (Spinny chairs! Seal! Maybe Delta Goodrem’s a robot!), aren’t you left with the same Achilles heel every show of its ilk has?

That essentially you’re just watching amateur musicians sing adequate live cover versions of songs you can watch the original artist sing much better anytime you feel like it on Youtube?

But what about the human drama of it all, Monkey?

Ughhh… all just so much artifice. When ‘human drama’ consists almost exclusively for every contestant of either:

  1. i) They’re chasing their dream, one they’d almost given up on before kids / marriage / a serious accident,
  2. ii) They, or a close relative (ideally a parent), are dealing with Cancer, and they’re doing it for them, or
  3. iii) They need to learn to believe… (wait for it) in themselves…

Then you can count me out.

If I’m going to force myself to watch any reality television show at the moment, it’ll probably be ‘The Block’, purely because it’s managing to combine the perils and everyday nightmare of home renovation with a degree of cruelty and Phillip Zimbardo-esque psychological trauma that you just don’t find in scripted drama these days.

Sure you have to rebuild this entire house in 5 days with your bare hands and go 60 hours with no sleep, but it could be worse… you could have to compete in a ‘battle’ with the couple next door and sing “Lady Marmalade”…

Side note: As I’ve said before, I work in and around the periphery of television drama. And you have no idea how much the viewing habits of most of the people responsible for scripted drama in this country seems to exclusively revolve around shows like ‘The Voice’, rather than ‘Mad Men’, or ‘Breaking Bad’, or ‘Game of Thrones’.

I guess if I really want to be able to discuss whether Stannis Baratheon is the man for the Iron Throne, or the sense of morality of a Don Draper, I’m going to have to try to finagle my way into working on a reality television show instead.

God help me…

BPM

Why 2Pac’s return could lead to the death of us all!

April 17, 2012

People are losing their shit over the hologram performance of Tupac Shakur at the Coachella music festival in California this week.

Observe:

HE’S BACK! IT’S SOOOO REALISTIC! DOCTOR DRE CAN RESURRECT RAP ARTISTS NOW! THE DEAD HAVE RETURNED, AND SOON THEY’LL BE TOURING! PROBABLY WITH SPOOKY HOLOGRAM ENTOURAGES! WHAT WILL THEY PUT ON THEIR SPOOKY HOLOGRAM TOUR RIDERS?! WILL THEY DEMAND HUMAN GROUPIE SACRIFICES? WHO’S NEXT? SHIIITTTTTT!!!!!!!

Or… maybe not.

Yep, impressive clip. Sweet performance. But let’s not assume this is the industry-changing moment some media outlets are portraying it as.

Why do I think this? Two words, folks.

Uncanny. Valley.

The uncanny valley theory says that when computer graphics or robotics are created and look almost but not quite perfectly human, the natural response is actually one of revulsion amongst human observers. It’s essentially the reason why those dead-eyed Japanese female sex robots are so stomach churning, why no one watches Robert Zemeckis movies any more, and why Megan Fox is finding it so hard to find work these days.

Wait... 'Megan Fox' is a real person?

Now, as cool as that 2Pac Resurrection appears to be, you’ll note that the companies behind the holographic projection are AV Concepts and Digital Domain. Digital Domain are the ones responsible for the digitally altered images of Brad Pitt in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, of Jeff Bridges in ‘Tron Legacy’, and Rooney Mara in ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’.

Think back. How photo realistic do you remember their faces being in those films?

Not very, right?

Now check out that Coachella clip again.

That’s a hologram on a completely darkened stage, so we don’t see the image relative to anything else, but for Snoop Dogg (who is 14% human, 86% THC, reliable sources tell me).

How much of Pac’s face do you see?

It’s an advance in technology, sure. But not as great a leap as you might suspect. We’re not about to see major studios digitally insert, say, Marilyn Monroe into contemporary films just yet. And even if you could, why would you want them too? Aren’t there enough movies made about Monroe as it is? Do you really want to see a whacky Seth Rogen-Marilyn rom-com anytime soon?

He's a pot-addled slacker. She's a pill-addicted bombshell. Somehow they're going to have to work together if they want to make it through... 'REHAB'... in cinemas this Xmas.

However…

Maybe I haven’t thought this through. Maybe this latest leap in technology isn’t completely harmless? It is the latest advancement from the founder of Digital Domain after all, the one and only James Cameron.

You know… the guy who pioneered the use of CG in ‘The Abyss’. The guy who created the 3D Fusion camera system. The guy who developed the technology to film deep-sea exploration missions during, and post, ‘Titanic’. The guy who revolutionised motion-capture performance in ‘Avatar’.

The guy who made a movie about mankind over-developing robotics and tech until it inevitably became sentient and wiped us all out.

My fennnncce!!!!!

Wow. OK…

So maybe this whole 2Pac-Tech IS a bigger deal than I first realized…

Until next time, I’m just on my way to the supermarket to buy as much bottled water and non-perishable food as I can load into the car. Whilst weeping listening to ‘California Love’ on repeat.

What have you done, Dre? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!

BPM

Shit That I Love – Sara Bareilles

March 20, 2012

And now here’s the part where I apologise profusely to Sara, wherever she is, for referring to her in the same sentence as ‘shit’…

Authors Note: An inauspicious start…

Let’s move on.

Sara Bareilles is a new passion of mine, a fantastic Californian musician that I stumbled upon thanks to the wonders of YouTube and network television. For those of you who have never heard of Sara (which is most of Australia, it seems), her biggest claim to mainstream fame at this point in her career is the song ‘Love Song’, which released a shit-ton of radio airplay in 2008.

Ahh, 2008… what with your Pussycat Dolls, your Kings of Leon and Gabriella Cilmi… t’was a simpler time.

Now, once again, there’s every chance 82% of you just experienced an eye-glazing, brain-numbing feeling of “Meh. What do I care? I don’t like that song. I don’t even like this kinda music. Hell, I don’t like YOU, you simian freak! Stop wasting my time!”.

To which I shall respond by metaphorically jingling my keys in front of you momentarily to try to distract you.

This is literally the first Google image result for 'Distract with keys'

Sadly, I am not musically gifted in any way. It’s a source of deep, personal shame, being that I come from a family literally FULL of musicians. And my Dad’s also a drummer (Zing!). Other than the 6 months of saxophone lessons I quickly realised weren’t for me when I was 13, my musical output has been almost solely confined to Car-Singing™. Yes, Car-Singing is now officially a hyphenated, trademarked term. Deal with it.

What has fascinated me over the years (and bear with me while I sound like Stoney McBluntington for a moment) is why two seemingly extremely similar people can have such radically different taste in music. I grew up in the exact same environment as my younger sister. We have the same genes. And yet why does she enjoy the musical stylings of the Hanson brothers, whilst I can’t seem to tolerate them?

Uhh... YOU ask 'em to sing Mmmbop...

I have an uncle that plays every now and again in a Beatles tribute band. His daughter, my cousin, is a gifted musical theatre performer who can belt out ‘Cabaret’ with the best of them. And his eldest son is the drummer in a Melbourne metal band called ‘Blood Line’.

????

Is one’s taste in music born entirely of environment? Is it genetic? Is it some combination of both, plus external influences like your friends, the cliques you join, or the way in which you choose to self-identify? Why do I hear a melody and react positively, when the person next to me hears only blasted loud noises, dagnabit! Why does dance and trance music make some people just —

-- psst... the reason's ecstasy...

Oh… I guess I’m just circling my point now anyway. I’m sure there exists a scientific study of sorts that would provide me with some explanation (that admittedly I probably wouldn’t understand). Perhaps I’m not even interested in what the answer truly is. Why should I so suddenly be enraptured with Sara Bareilles, and yet still have no time for a million other female pop singers?

First and foremost, one of the hooks that caught me – she’s a singer-songwriter who plays the piano. Very important. I’m a sucker for a woman tinkling the keys of a piano. I’m not sure why. I blame an old school buddy, Dave. Dave was a hard-drinking, party-throwing jester, charismatic and lots of fun. And, strangely enough, he was also an earlier adopter of the ‘Pieces of You’ album by Jewel, back in 1997. I listened to enough of Jewel at Dave’s house to realise that while she wasn’t for me, there were some of her peers that I DID enjoy. Jewel led me to other great female singer-songwriters like Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Ben Folds…

So talented, PLUS she's so pretty...

Over the years I’ll admit to dabbling in some Norah Jones, maybe even sampling some Alicia Keys. But it was extremely rare that something new crested my musical horizon. I reached 30, and worried if what I’d read somewhere really was true… that the music and musicians you listened to at 16 inevitably formed the bedrock of your entire musical appreciation. Would I be doomed to listen to the diminishing returns of every Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chilli Peppers album until my retirement years, when they would inevitably begin annually promoting one ‘farewell tour’ after another?

Take a good look, Grohl - you're Glenn Frey in this analogy

Sure, as far as things worth worrying about, it ranks pretty low. But immature fan-boys need something to keep them awake at night when they’re not fretting over whether Greedo shot first.

Until one day, when I’m watching one of my favourite TV shows, ‘Community’, and the music gods delivered me a gift, by the way of Dan Harmon’s writing team. Here’s a scene containing perhaps my favourite musical montage sequence from television of all time, effectively parodying romance as depicted in an entire genre of shows aimed at teens, like ‘The Vampire Diaries’, or ‘One Tree Hill’:

WOULD YOU GET ON WITH IT!

Oh. Sorry, Inner-Monologue.

Well, the song from that montage, is ‘Gravity’, an early composition by *gasp* a singer-songwriter who plays the piano *squeal* named Sara Bareilles.

WELCOME BACK FROM YOUR TANGENT, DICKHEAD! WAS IT A NICE TRIP?!

Lordy, I wish the voices would just shut up sometimes…

Anyhoo, I loved the song, and immediately found the music video on YouTube. And thanks to the Suggested Video’s, I was soon adrift in a vast online ocean of official music videos, live concert clips, and 4 minute photo montages.

I quickly discover I can watch Sara Bareilles clips all day. She has a beautiful voice, is an extremely talented lyricist, and as well as great stage presence seems to not take herself too seriously. By that, I mean that she can poke fun at herself without resorting to tired, completely OTT, Katy Perry-style wackiness (“I’m so pretty, but sometimes I dress like a nerd, because I’m not obsessed with my looks, but look at my cleavage, and aren’t I pretty!!).

Plus it doesn’t hurt that she’s kind of gorgeous, in an intelligent, spunky, geek-chick kind of way. If only she would throw on a pair of librarian glasses, and rock that ‘adork-able’ style Zooey Deschanel seems to have the market cornered on, it would only be a matter of time before she ruled the world…

I don't care if her vision's perfect, that's not the point! LIBRARIAN GLASSES FOR ALL!!!

Original songs. Covers by artists as diverse as U2, Amy Winehouse and The Beatles. Slow ballads. Up-tempo catchy pop tunes. I was enjoying YouTube’s rather random playlist. And then I find the latest single from her most recent album, ‘Kaleidoscope Heart’.

The song’s called ‘Gonna Get Over You’. It’s an insanely catchy, can’t-get-it-outta-my-head, doo-wop pop song. It’s a breakup song, with a truly optimistic heart and a real sense of playfulness. Plus it’s also one of my favourite, simple music vids of all time. Check it out:

One location. One outfit. No Beyonce-esque focus on just-how-pretty-I-am. It’s a fantastic 4 minute storyline, with some nice performances, especially from Bareilles who will be the first to admit that she’s NOT a professionally trained dancer, which makes her moves and the choreography that much more impressive. It’s also extremely well-directed by a young man with practically zero directing experience, a guy you may recognise…

Yes, that IS Academy Award nominated actor Jonah Hill

All that, and a nice little button at the end of the clip from Bareilles, making the leap from fantasy back to reality as she’s escorted out of the supermarket by a tired, Latino security guard.

It was THIS clip that cemented my affection for Bareille’s music, and basically guaranteed allll of my moneys for her future albums, forever and ever, ad infinitum.

But why? Sure, it’s a good clip. But how did it manage to press my buttons on such a profound level?

I’m not entirely sure. But I think it’s a combination of the song itself with a little bit of what my American friends like to call ‘inside-baseball’.

See, anybody who’s been on set of a film, a television show, or in this case, a music video, knows that filming is a real drag. Seriously. People imagine filming to be this dynamic, exciting process. It’s movie magic, right? Well, not exactly. Visit the set of any television show, and you’ll quickly discover that production is surprisingly boring. So boring. It really is just actors saying and doing the same shit, over and over again.

That extends to music videos. For example, this particular video for ‘Gonna Get Over You’, shot almost entirely at one location with minimal cast – I’m going to say it would have taken at least 3 or 4 shooting days to get all this footage. And we’re talking 12-14 hour days. Every shot is pre-determined, every sequence containing multiple angles, multiple camera set-ups. It’s exhausting, oftentimes tedious work.

And despite this… despite the fact that Bareilles isn’t someone who’s had dancing lessons her entire life, despite the fact that in a day 3 behind the scenes clip she admits to being physically as sore as she’s ever been, despite all the 6am crew-call times, and the multiple take’s, in every frame of this music video Sara Bareilles genuinely looks like she’s having an absolute blast. In this video, as in practically ALL of the clips I watched, she exudes a love of where she is and what she’s doing.

You'd be pretty stoked too if you got to spend a prolonged amount of time dancing with these guys. Am I right?

I’ve admitted here before that I’m someone who often has to force himself to find the bright side of life. And to my detriment, I’ve only grown increasingly cynical over the years, as the world around me becomes seemingly more and more manufactured. Much of the time I’m not exactly sure what is it in life I’m searching for, especially on a professional or material level. What I DO know is that the purest encapsulation of what I’m trying to find is joy. Joy in the moment that I’m in, joy in the people around me, and joy in the things that I love.

This video, to me, seems a distillation of joy. It makes me feel like everything’s going to be alright. It’s a soundtrack to the world as I want it to be.

And for that, I deeply appreciate the song, and truly appreciate the artist.

That’s hard to explain or justify to people who don’t have as emotional a connection with pop entertainment and culture as I do. And there’s every chance that as I grow older, that connection will be replaced by other things, and other people. But for now, it sustains me in a way that not much else does.

That connection, for better or worse, is what this blog is really about.

So thank you, Miss Bareilles.

Once again, if you made it this far, then a winner is you. Thanks for stopping by, and until next time…

May your hot rods be lowered, your greasers in leather jackets entirely non-threatening, and your Latino supermarkets prone to spontaneous well choreographed dance routines.

BPM

We Need to Talk About Whitney

February 13, 2012

1963 - 2012

So, are we ready to talk about Whitney yet?

Like Amy Winehouse, this had that horrible feeling of inevitability. Whitney Houston had the voice of a generation, and yet aged only 48, she becomes the new poster child when it comes to destroying god given talent with drug abuse.

Dozens of musicians influenced by Houston expressed their grief at her passing the only way they knew how… via Twitter, of course (“What a tragedy! Let me tell how you this effects #ME”).

The pre-Grammy’s party she was meant to attend at the Beverly Hilton Hotel? Well, sure… it proceeded as planned, but they DID move it to a different area of the hotel, right?

The Grammy Awards themselves quickly became a sombre, tasteful evening, where high profile guests momentarily shrugged off their own all consuming need for the spotlight, choosing instead to show some respect for the memory of…

This fucking fruit loop is a 'Nicki Minaj', apparently

 Oh.

Rather than regurgitate any more of the innumerable articles about her gospel influences, or the destructive influence of Bobby Brown, or that “Crack is whack” interview, I’ll leave with perhaps the best way to remember Whitney Houston – an example of a peerless female vocallist in her prime (as suggested by The Age contributor, Clem Bastow):

Stunning.

Whitney is survived by her daughter, Kristina Bobbi Brown.

BPM

Lionel Richie never sounded so creepy

January 20, 2012

Thanks Evan!

BPM

JB’s… You’ve done it again!

November 30, 2011

BPM

 

Make sure you take the photo from my good side

October 24, 2011

It’s been fascinating to watch the fallout from legendary(ish) singer Meat Loaf’s ‘performance’ at the AFL grand final a few weeks ago.

After reportedly being paid upwards of $500,000 (a number Meat Loaf disputes), we, the people, were treated to a mini-concert so bad it made you more than a little nostalgic for Angry Anderson’s notorious ‘Bound for Glory’ / batmobile segment during the 1991 half-time entertainment.

For those who may have missed it, I’ll let you judge for yourself:

In the days and weeks that have followed, you couldn’t help but develop a morbid curiosity in the ensuing blame game. The AFL initially said not to blame Meat Loaf. Instead you should blame the weather. Some fans defended the singer, saying he might’ve just had a bad day, and that he has recently had more than a few health scares (he passed out on stage several times in the months leading up to his visit to Oz).

That was until reviews started pouring in from Meat Loaf’s Australian tour, where reviews consistently mentioned that he still put on a competent show, except the quality of his once mighty set of pipes was now the weakest part of it.

Meat Loaf has countered this week by saying that the AFL are a “bunch of jerks”. Which, in all honesty, is not something most ardent Aussie Rules fans will fight him on. His reasoning however lies in the fact that a) they wouldn’t let him do a decent sound check on stage, b) they wouldn’t let him have a live piano, and c) it was impossible to put on a good show in the area allocated to him anyway.

And that they’re all “butt smellers”.

Always refreshing to hear a 64-year-old man resort to the witty banter of a 9-year-old.

A fact not lost on the Australian media.

Because if there was any confusion…

As to how you were supposed to view Mr. Loaf these days…

Then hopefully by now…

That’s been put to bed…

Amazing how a few carefully chosen images can color your perception of a ‘news story’, huh?

For my part, I kinda feel a little sorry for Meat Loaf. Yeah, he was bad. But he’s an almost morbidly obese man in his mid-sixties. I wouldn’t expect Harrison Ford to be able to play Han Solo convincingly these days, I wouldn’t let Dennis Lillee open the bowling for Australia at this years Boxing Day cricket test match, and I wouldn’t expect Helen Mirren to be even hotter now than she was 40 years a…

Oh...

Um…

Well… 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

* shudder * That jokes so bad now I just feel dirty.

Fare thee well, Mr. Loaf. And thank you… if for nothing than else, than for affording us with a newfound respect for Lionel Ritchie.

BPM