Monday, June 7, 2010

Music Miscellany

A song that demands a freestyle:


Fits all the criteria: catchy beat/melody, good hook…but the lyrics are terrible. So what’s the solution? A rapper to freestyle over the entire song. Note the song becomes far more tolerable when Snoop Dogg free associates on the subject of California girls—like literally free associates, as in I think they called him in the day they were recording after discovering Lil’ Wayne isn’t from California (because Lil' Wayne is always available. At least, this is the conclusion we have to draw from some of the guest verses he's done). But somehow Snoop Dogg saying “I wish you could all be California girls” sounds far cooler than it does on my word processor.

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I haven’t determined whether or not this is actually a good song—Eminem’s best rapping and his average rapping is indistinguishable at first because his best rapping is so dense that punchlines only reveal themselves upon a second or third or even fourth listening (exception: Eminem’s killer verse on “Renegade”). But I think there’s one welcome cultural development here: Eminem’s shitty New York apartment. One of the critical cultural sources of New York’s prestige are the wonderful apartments depicted on TV. And it’s true! There are several apartments that look as great as the apartments depicted on television, movies, etc.! The problem is that you probably can’t afford them. Not so Eminem’s apartment in this music video. In fact, it’s shittier than my (admittedly satisfactory) apartment! It’s a strike for realism…in a song that features Eminem flying for no apparent reason.

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Take a look at this picture of Jay-Z and Beyonce at the French Open final. Take a good long look. I advise maybe setting it aside and then coming back to it. I just did. And every time I do it, I find another element to amuse me: yes, Jay-Z’s expression looks hilarious, but there are several other really funny elements here: Jay’s carefully rolled-up sleeves, the sunglasses on the stuffy French dude right above Jay-Z, the annoyed, stuffy French women above Beyonce, the goofy woman below Beyonce, and the contented smirk on the guy below Jay-Z.

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