Since (I've) Been Gone*.
Yeah, things have been quiet around here. That doesn't mean I didn't stop consuming crazy amounts of pop culture. Some highlights:
Billy Bragg: "St. Swithin's Day" [single]
I'm always impressed with Josh's ability to make grand critical proclamations, so, dammit, I'm'a make one too. "St. Swithin's Day" is easily one of the ten best pop songs ever written.
Well, that didn't so much work.
As I typed it, I started thinking about how nebulous the term "pop" is and how many songs I'm probably slighting.
Fuck it; Bragg's ode to accepting lost love--with those gorgeous rainy-day references--is about as succinct and perfect as pop songs get.
Rian Johnson's debut film is a big wet lickery kiss to all things Hammett, Leone, and Hughes. And like big wet lickery kisses, it's a little sloppy and goes on (perhaps) a bit too long, but I'm not gonna hate.
1st Wave (Sirius Channel No. 22) [radio station]
Haircut One Hundred plus reeeeeally early/random R.E.M. plus alternate mixes of The Pretenders plus Nik Kershaw plus M plus... yeah, you get the picture. It's great.
Gnarls Barkley [musical group]
I hope the album is as great as "Smiley Faces." Even if it's not, I'll still eternally love them for this picture:
Neutral Milk Hotel: "King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1" [single]
I know I'm a decade late, thanks for reminding me. It's still an amazing bit of cryptic (autobiographical?) storytelling. I love the way that it starts sparsely and then slowly mutates into full elephant-six overdub glory in exactly two minutes.
Prince: "3121" [single]
First thing's first: the album (also titled 3121) is good, not great; better than 2004's Musicology to be sure. I think we might just have to accept that the mad genius who effortlessly dropped classic track after classic track in the '80s is gone forever and we'll have to make do with little glimmers and sonic shards that remind us of Prince's heyday. "3121" is one of those glimmers: a myriad of different Prince vocals--sped up, slowed down, double-tracked, fucked wit--skitter over slap bass and... well, I'm not exactly sure what he's singing about. The number of a hotel suite where dirty deeds are gonna go down? The year 3121? Whatever, when it's this silly and funky and new, it really doesn't matter.
She Wants Revenge: "Tear You Apart" [single]
Wherein our mall-goth heroes try to out-deadpan Interpol in the Joy Division
South Park: Season 10 [TV show]
Forget about creating one of the best critiques of the Muhammad cartoon insanity. Forget about taking Scientology, Oprah, and Family Guy head on. The latest edition of South Park would make this list just for introducing the word "minge" into my lexicon.
The first (only?) blog I've come across exclusively dedicated to posting music videos on the web. In my initial visit I managed to grab videos by Gnarls Barkley, Sigur Rós, and The Knife--and they're all compatible for my video iPod. Essential.
* Is there anything more pathetic than a blogger explaining his absence? I still feel slightly obligated. It goes like this: the boss gets sick; I'm in charge of the whole office; due to the boss's illness, I am in charge of packing up the entire office and moving it into a new office; my birthday rolls around and I get le malaise; the parents come to town and I have to entertain; I dip my toe into my first adventures in the real estate ocean, suddenly I'm worrying about carpet and paint and shit; my grandfather dies; the funeral; I play catchup at work; y'know life.