Britney, Bitch

I love Britney Spears and I love her new single. And before everyone jumps on my dick with that ironic “yeah I totally love Britney too lulz”, you can all buzz right off. I unironically, unashamedly enjoy Britney and I think that Work Bitch is legitimately fantastic. I know it’s cool to sarcastically “enjoy” something and that your “enjoyment” is supposed to be some sort of bullshit meta commentary on the state of pop culture and marketing, and is, more importantly, designed to impress upon the people around you exactly how far you’re levitating above everyone else in terms of cool points. But you know what, sometimes you just like things. And I like this. A lot. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I present Britney Spears’, Work Bitch:

Britney had a rough couple of years there, throughout which I was very firmly located on the “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE” train, although with less runny mascara.

Picture of the blogger several years ago.

Picture of the blogger circa 2007.

If you read a lot of gossip mags (I do), you’re probably used to seeing Brit in denim cut-offs with bad extensions, holding a McDonalds bag, captioned with some snide commentary about the fact that she no longer has a rock solid stomach. Leaving aside the fact that she had two children and is totally entitled to eat McDonalds and not have abs of steel, she is looking fine as hell. In fact, as you can see from my incredibly detailed scientific study below, there is literally no difference between Britney’s bare stomach in Oops I Did It Again and Britney’s bare stomach thirteen years and two children later in Work Bitch.

Exactly the same.

Exactly the same. Science.

Moving on from the fact that she hasn’t aged (or her stomach hasn’t anyway), the video itself has everything you’d want from a new, more adult Britney. There’s expensive cars, group choreography in a desert, multiple outfit changes, some light bondage, a couple of minor explosions and a shark tank. I’ve seen some complaints about the fact that her dancing isn’t up to scratch, but I did another highly scientific study and came up with some startling results:

Brit2

1999 – Hit Me Baby One More Time vs. 2013 – Work Bitch

You can see, in the 14 years between videos, the size of the heel Britney is required to dance in has increased 600% (note: may not actually be 600%). I think this can probably be blamed on the fact that Sketchers and track pants are no longer a fashion statement (how we all yearn for those days). Personally, I would be struggling to stand in those glittery Louboutins, let alone perform any sort of movement, so I think the fact that she manages to get through what minimal choreography there is, is impressive and deserves a round of applause.

As for the song itself, it’s the perfect “getting shit done” song. On the one hand, you have the kind of mindless Eurotrash dance beat that just invites doing things in double time. I have gotten my morning routine down to under 15 minutes thanks to this song. Which is a godsend, because I frequently stay up til 2am blogging and thus need all the sleep I can get. On the other hand, the lyrics are literally telling you to work. Admittedly, they’re telling you to work for relatively unattainable things. I’m never going to be able to afford a Maserati or Bulgari working in the arts (or in anything else I’m qualified to do… like working in retail), but having Brit whispering “work, work, work” in your ear makes doing trivial shit twice as fast seem like it will result in something marvellous.

Anyway, all I’m saying is, I like this song a bunch and the video has a shark tank so I was already going to love it. Don’t kill my vibe. Give in to Britney, bitch.

I Hope Robin Thicke Catches Fire

You may have heard Robin Thicke’s hit of the moment, Blurred Lines. If not, here’s your chance. Take a look (it’s a bit NSFW):

https://popcultureboner.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s generated a lot of controversy, and not because Pharrell hasn’t aged a day since Drop It Like It’s Hot. It’s catchy as hell (I confess, I often find myself humming it), but you’ve got to admit it’s a bit off. It’s kind of the equivalent of that dude that follows you around the bar, telling you your hair looks nice while staring at your tits and waiting for you to leave your drink unattended so he can slip you something. I mean, the hook of the song is “I know you want it.” Fun, right? Cute, catchy and vaguely sexually threatening! Everything you want out of a summer hit!

Obviously, racy videos/ lyrical content are nothing new. Tragically, neither are videos/ lyrical content that makes you wonder if it’s safe to be a lone female attempting to go anywhere or do anything. But the thing that really gets me grinding my teeth is the way he’s handled the controversy and the numerous public statements he’s made about the song.

Most artists whether waves of controversy in one of three ways. The first is complete silence. This either makes your intentions seem mysterious and interesting or makes you look like a massive dickhead. It can go either way. The second route is to issue a half-arsed public apology, thrown together in a flurry of panic by a stressed-out PR team. They follow a pretty standard script: “I’m very sorry if I offended ‘X Group of People’. It wasn’t my intention. Some of my best friends are ‘X Group of People’ and I have had lengthy discussions with them about my behaviour etc. etc. Won’t happen again.” In extreme enough cases, offers are made to donate large sums of money to a charity affecting ‘X Group of People’, effectively buying back public affection. This method also makes the offending party look like a dickhead, but it’s probably more effective than radio silence. The third is a well considered and genuine statement in which remorse is expressed, there is no buck-passing and promises to correct behaviours are followed through with. This one is rare, but good. Keep these in your heart and remember them in times of hardship.

Robin Thicke has, of course, done none of these things. In fact, he’s been so cavalier about the whole thing in a recent interview with GQ Magazine he said the following.

We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, “We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.” People say, “Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?” I’m like, “Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.” So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, “Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.” After the video got banned on YouTube, my wife tweeted, “Violence is ugly. Nudity is beautiful. And the ‘Blurred Lines’ video makes me wanna…” You know. And that’s the truth. Right now, with terrorism and poverty and Wall Street and Social Security having problems, nudity should not be the issue.

No. Really. Those are words that came out of Robin Thicke’s mouth and were published without irony or comment in GQ Magazine . WHAT A PLEASURE IT IS TO DEGRADE A WOMAN!? Like he’s eating a fucking sandwich or taking a nice stroll in the park!? “What did you do today, sir?” “Well, Jeeves, I took a nice turn about the grounds. Ate a sandwich. Degraded some women. Should’ve seen the look on their faces! HA! Such a pleasure.” I don’t know why he’s suddenly become a British aristocat with a butler named Jeeves, but you get the point, right?

Thicke seems to be under the impression that the reason that people are upset about the video is the nudity. He’s wrong. The nudity is just the reason the video was banned. Nudity in and of itself is not offensive. However, three fully clothed dudes standing around and doing a bunch of degrading things to women while a jaunty little tune that heavily implies that there’s no need for consent because they “know you want it” is really offensive. And there’s no getting round it now because Thicke has pretty much copped to it and spoken about how enjoyable it was to participate in such an endeavour. But it’s alright guys! He’s totally not a misogynist! He respects women! All he’s doing is balancing at that massive gender gap – you know… that gap where women routinely trample over and objectify men and have such behaviour endorsed by institutions, the media and popular culture? What a delight to turn such a system on its head! He has a wife and kids. He’s definitely not a misogynist.

If you weren’t picking up on the sarcasm in that last paragraph, you probably don’t belong on this blog. In simple, sarcasm-free words: three guys who have ‘always respected women’ suddenly deciding to ‘turn that on its head’ and ‘comment’ on that respect by showing the complete opposite, isn’t a witty comment. It just shows off something gross that’s been bubbling away under the surface that whole time. The artists’ true colours, if you will. Having a wife, doesn’t make you miraculously misogyny-free, any more than having a black friend makes you suddenly not racist. Newsflash: you can hang out with women and still do and say shitty things to them… have any of you ever been to a bar? That’s pretty much the whole deal.

On top of that, on the Today Show, Thicke also said the following:

Yeah, but I think that’s what great art does. It’s supposed to stir conversation, it’s supposed to make us talk about what’s important and what the relationship between men and women is, but if you listen to the lyrics it says ‘That man is not your maker’ — it’s actually a feminist movement within itself.

Ah yes. New-New-New Wave Feminism. In which degrading acts performed in thongs to catchy little sexual harrassment anthems are the ultimate form of liberation. Forgive me. I’ve obviously not done enough reading. I don’t know if Judith Butler mentioned that one. Sorry. More sarcasm (and a Judith Butler reference). I’ll try to stop. First of all, the line “that man is not your maker” is followed up by the line “just let me liberate you.” I’m assuming based on the video/lyrics, that Mr. Thicke would like to liberate me by putting his dick in me and that I don’t have much of a say in the matter. Secondly, you don’t get to speak for me! Say it with me: Robin! Thicke! Does! Not! Get! To! Speak! For! Me! The idea that Robin Thicke thinks he can tell that some poor girl has some unresolved naughty side that’s just waiting to be brought out by a good screw is a) revolting and b) ABSOLUTELY NOT HIS DECISION TO MAKE. He doesn’t get to pick and choose how women use or don’t use their sexuality. That’s their job!

i need to stop before I bust a blood vessel. Robin Thicke is revolting. I hope he catches fire, or at the very least stops talking.

Gaga Needs to Sit Down

I’m gonna preface this blog by saying that Lady Gaga is not really my cup of tea. She cuts and pastes elements from people that have been more innovative and creative than her to make a boring pastiche of average. And that’s just the most superficial of her problems. Anyway, here’s her new video. It’s pretty dull.

So, whilst attempting some sort of Grace Jones/Madonna crossover Gaga actually utters the words “Pop culture was in art, now art is pop culture in me” which is one of the more self-indulgent things I’ve heard recently. But this is just me taking pot shots. My real problem is with her leaked song, which is either titled Burqa or Aura, depending on who you ask. Here is what that sounds like:

Ignoring her attempts to make herself more interesting by trying to sound like a blend of David Bowie, Nico, Grace Jones and that weird hard house you find at raves that you’re not sure how you ended up at because you’ve been blacked out for the past 4 hours, my main problem with this is the phenomenal shitshow that passes for lyrical content. I’m not just talking about the chant of “Dance, Sex, Art, Pop” either, although I too can chant words through autotune as though they have great meaning. At the moment I’m leaning towards “Cry, Eat, Sleep, Repeat” for my next single. The choice lines that have irritated me are:

I’m not a wandering slave, I am a woman of choice
My veil is protection for the gorgeousness of my face
You watch, you fancy me cause there’s always one man to love
But in the bedroom the size of them’s more than enough

Do you wanna see me naked, lover?
Do you wanna peek underneath the cover?

and

Enigma popstar is fun, she wear burqa for fashion
It’s not a statement as much as just a move of passion
I may not walk on your street or shoot a gun on your soil
I hear you screaming, is it because of pleasure or toil?

It’s not the first time Gaga has dabbled with appropriating the burqa. In late, 2012 she wore not one but two incarnations of the burqa to a Philip Treacy show at London Fashion week, the worst of which was probably this hot pink sheer monstrosity (which has, conincidentally, been the image linked to the leaked track on many a music blog):

….No.

And with these new lyrics, she’s taken it to a fun new level. [Dudebro voice: But Alex, like…what’s problem or whatever?] I’ll tell you what the problem is, friend. Take a seat and I’ll tell you in great detail…or maybe like a little bit of detail before I get bored and link you to an article written by someone more articulate than I. Anyway…

You may have noticed that in recent years (or not-so-recent, I guess, depending on your perspective) there has been a wave of anti-Islamic sentiment in the Western world. A culture of fear has been perpetuated, to the point that just kind of vaguely looking a bit brown is enough reason to be shot multliple times – see: the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician who was shot 8 times by British anti-terror forces, ostensibly because he wasn’t white and happened to be near the site of a terrorist attack, and that’s just one example I can name off the top of my head. In a political climate where that kind of thing can happen and you will still get a significant chunk of the population going “Ah yes, but he looked like a threat and he was near the site of the bombing so I can see where the police are coming from”, perfectly normal, happy people exercising their religious freedom become walking targets.

In the case of Muslim women, the wearing of the burqa has come to be associated with total oppression. Which is obviously bullshit. I don’t feel like I should have to go into why that’s bullshit, so I’m just going to link you to this blog: Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things. It’s obviously not all about Muslim women, but you get the gist. Muslim women are not tragic, oppressed figures in dire need of assistance from an all-knowing white, Western saviour. They get shit done.

However, Lady Gaga (ever the innovator) has taken the other really gross path that people sometimes go down. The lyrics are disgusting fetishising, sexualised bullshit. She’s turned the burqa into a fashion object – she literally says it’s a fun, enigmatic fashion object – and then made it some sort of alluring, mysterious role-play with a lover who eventually gets to see what’s underneath. Projecting sexual imagery onto someone else’s religious attire is offensive and disrespectful. In a climate where religious dress and the wearing of the burqa is demonised, it becomes even more important to listen to Muslim women’s voices, hear their opinions and respect their agency. Instead Gaga has steam rolled over intersting, valid and insightful commentary from Muslim women in favour of making some flippant sexual remarks about peeking underneath covers.

Speaking of interesting and insightful commentary from Muslim women… I am not a Muslim woman. So, now comes the time when I suggest some further reading for you:

If I wear a burqa, nijab.. or hell even a fucking hijab, I’m a stupid, brown savage who has no capacity to think for herself. But when Gaga wears it, its revolutionary and fashionable. People love to scream equality and colorblindedness when such an event arises, but such a world is completely theoretical until we fix these the caricatured perceptions about Islam. The power dynamics here cannot be ignored. – From this post from Tumblr user maarnayeri

Or perhaps this article, which has a slightly different point of view. There’s a plethora of voices out there. It’s getting late. I’m getting lazy. I have expended all my energy being mad. Google it, folks. I’m going to bed.

Sick to Death of Macklemore

Can we just talk about how bored I am of Macklemore? (It is my blog. We can definitely talk about it.) Alternative titles to this blog were “Please Mackle less”, “Keep your Mackling to a minimum” and “If anything, try to Mackle as little as possible.” Don’t get  me wrong… there was like 15 seconds there where I was excited about Thrift Shop. And then I moved on. He’s been getting a lot of attention lately because he wrote a song called Same Love, which is about pretty much what is sounds like. People have been talking about him like he’s here to ‘save’ hip hop, because he talked about homophobia and being nice to people. And I mean… points for trying I guess, but there’s just something icky about it, like that feeling I get when men tell me how to be a better feminist. So, I thought rather than add my two cents to the whole “can Macklemore say thing, who can say thing, everyone stop saying thing” debate, I would just provide a list of queer rappers who I think are cooler than Macklemore and who make really interesting, varied and exciting music.

  1. Le1f – Far and away one of my faves, he also does a lot of producing for some of the other people on this list. His music is a bit of a genre mash a lot of the time and is just generally heaps of fun. Oh, and did I mention that he is a) a total babe and b} an amazing dancer. Check his track Wut.

    Brilliant, right? Other tracks to watch for are Soda, which has a glitchy house vibe and is pretty much as far-removed from Wut as you could possibly get. For further coolness, here is a wonderful interview in which he talks about music and his identity.
  2. Amplify Dot – So Amplify Dot, or A. Dot, has been chugging away doing her own (really cool) thing for a while now with some other cuties. They’ve done some really awesome stuff with Ms. Dynamite and pretty much stole my heart. Recently she got signed for an album deal with Virgin. This song is called Semantics and is pre-album deal. It’s cheeky and pretty fun.

    As for her new stuff, Get Down is my fave. For further watching, she absolutely kills it on this track with the UK Female Allstars.
  3. Mykki Blanco – When this came out my housemate approached me, laptop in hand, and said “I think I have found something you will enjoy.” He was absolutely right. Mykki started out as a poet and performance artist. This track, Wavvy, is great. Keep an ear out for my fave line: “What the fuck I gotta prove to a room full of dudes who ain’t listenin’ to my words cos they starin’ at my shoes?”

    Some of my other fave tracks include  Haze Boogie Life and Kingpinning.
  4. Roxxxan – You may recognise Roxxan from the UK Female Allstars mentioned earlier (if you don’t, I’m assuming it’s because you didn’t watch it, in which case, backtrack and watch it). This lady has the looks of a catwalk model, but transforms as soon as the music starts. Check out her track Too Fuckin’ Facety.

    I think the reason I love this so much is because it really emphasises the fact that she is from Birmingham and really proud of it. The language is so area specific it makes it really fun to listen to. Check Power and this very cool live performance for added badassery. I’m in love.

  5. Cakes da Killa – Be still my beating heart. Cakes da Killa is a major cutie with an excellent sense of style and some filthy lyrical content. His song Goodie Goodies is ridiculously fun. Check it out.

    Great earrings, great makeup, great song. Love all round.  I’m also a big fan of Whistle, but you should really just check out his album The Eulogy.

So yeah. Next time you feel overcome by a need to listen to Macklemore’s Same Love, have a listen to one of these songs instead. They’re much better and are made by living breathing queer people who are all talented and excellent.

On another note, my friend Wes got tired of posting his rants to my blog, and his attractive and talented girlfriend DeeDee got sick of seeing Wes’ rants on my site. (Not really… I just couldn’t think of a way to structure the next sentence. It’s late. Shuttup.) So they lanched a website called What Sound, which features music news and reviews from across the country. It’s awesome and you should go and check it out because they’ve worked really hard and it looksgreat. CLICK HERE. GO. NOW. COME ON. You can also keep up with them on Facebook.

Triple J’s Lukewarmest 100

Oh look! It’s Friday! Got this week all wrapped up like birthday present. To be fair, I didn’t actually write this one. Remember when I co-wrote that blog about shitty Christmas albums with my friend Wes? No? I wouldn’t blame you. It was a while ago. It’s here. Well, Wes has been angry about Triple J for a while now (I know this because  he tells me) and he wrote something and had nowhere to put it. So, because it takes me forever to anything and I still haven’t finished writing my review of Pacific Rim, I said I would put it here for all of you to enjoy. For those international folks who don’t understand what Triple J’s Hottest 100 is go here and it’ll make more sense. Now, without further ado I give you Wesley and his rage:

“Let’s start with an admission: the last time I voted in a Hottest 100 was the Hottest 100 of All Time back in 2009. The results of that countdown forced me to confront something I had long suspected: I no longer connected with our national youth broadcaster or their audience. But why? How could I be so out of touch with the youth of Australia already? When the Hottest 100 of all time was run, I was 21 years old – still, well and truly, in the target demographic of Triple J. What I had voted for was so vastly different from what made the list that I simply stopped participating. Now at 25, we’ve just had the countdown of the Hottest 100 of the past 20 years and I feel even more detached than ever before.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I didn’t vote in the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years – not because I no longer identify as a Triple J listener, but because I didn’t feel I could shortlist songs from such a large period of time. Yes, I know I voted for the Hottest 100 of All Time, which, given that it covered the entire history of music, should probably have been a lot harder to narrow down. But, I reread my votes from that poll recently, and while I still love every song on the list, I don’t know that I would vote the same way again. This time around, not only did I not think I could come up with a shortlist that would adequately and appropriately convey my votes for the best songs of the last twenty years, in my experience, voting for your favourites tends to result in disappointment.

This is where it gets tricky.

If you voted, you have probably noticed that, rather than actually picking your favourites, you tend to vote from things that might actually make it onto the final list. You want your songs to make it in the countdown but say, for example, your favourite Radiohead song is Idioteque. Sure, it’s fairly standard for Radiohead fans, but for the greater Triple J community, it’s kind of obscure. So you rethink and you decide ‘Well I want Radiohead to make it, I could live with it being not Idioteque, I’d better vote for Karma Police or Paranoid Android.” Every fan does this and it skews the vote. Some bands have a standout song that will be the popular choice for voting while others might have one or two that are both extremely popular. The result is not a countdown of the best or even the most popular songs of the last 20 years, but a totally predictable list of the most popular bands of the last 20 years.

The format of the annual Hottest 100 is fantastic and, while it doesn’t always provide a definitive list of every individual listener’s favourite songs, it does offer a pretty comprehensive overview of the most popular music over the last year according to Triple J’s listeners. By this theory, if Triple J listeners vote for their favourite songs of the last 20 years, we should get the same sort of results. But unfortunately it just doesn’t work.

In annual Hottest 100s there is usually a good mix of bands and songs, and more often than not, if a band has released a great album, quite a few of their songs make it into the countdown. The system is flawed, and as such, people don’t vote for the best songs, or even their favourite songs. Instead, they go with the popular choice by the bands that either they want to see or they think deserve it. The result is a bland list of songs that everyone knows and everyone expects. Whether you love it or hate it, were you really surprised that Wonderwall was the only song by Oasis to make the list? Or Everlong by Foo Fighters? Or Song 2 by Blur? I’m not even talking about where on the list they were, rather just pointing out that each of these songs was the obvious choice for that band and that all three of these bands, love them or hate them, have released better songs in the last 20 years. Even the thirteen artists who did have multiple entries, were still only represented by, at most, 3 songs that were commercial hits. And in every case these bands have better songs from their catalogues that could have, or should have, made it into the countdown.

Oasis

Looking at the top 10 artists from the countdown – Oasis, The White Stripes, Jeff Buckley, Hilltop Hoods, The Verve, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Powderfinger, Gotye and Queens of the Stone Age (I have included Queens of the Stone Age as Powderfinger had both their entries in the countdown feature in the top 10) – 6 out of 10 of these artists only had one song in the countdown and they rated in the top 11. Two artists, Powderfinger and Gotye, had 2 songs in the countdown that both ranked within the top 15. Jeff Buckley and The Killers had songs further down the list, at 36, 75 and 86 respectively. My point? We voted for the bands, not the songs. We as a community identified, not their best songs, but the songs that we thought other people voting for the same band would choose. We all did the same thing to ensure that the bands we loved would rate a mention.

That is why the broader countdowns don’t work as well as the annual Hottest 100s. The listeners, and even former listeners like myself, put a lot of stock into these lists and we’re constantly being disappointed by the predictability of the whole thing. I think it’s time to take a different approach to countdowns. The annual Hottest 100 lists are fine, but maybe there needs to be something completely different for the bigger events. I remember not being furious at the end of the Hottest 100 Greatest Australian Albums countdown – maybe because it made us think about more than just ‘the songs’, we got to think about how the albums worked on a whole. Perhaps that’s a better format – avoid the songs on the larger time range and think about the albums.

Then again, maybe I’m just getting old.”

Uncontrollable Sobbing: Eurovision 2013

So I’ve been gone for a while because I’m dropping in and out of existing like an adult. But I’m getting there. In the mean time I’ve been away I have had a couple of people who have been consistently yelling at me to write so before I kick off, I just want to thank them for being vocal. It worked. You’re all beautiful. Come close so I can rub my face on your faces and tell you you’re special. Anyway. On with the show…

2013 will go down in history as the year that I became too emotionally invested in Eurovision. I’ve watched the a sort of fond detachment for many years. I’ve laughed at the choreography, the song choices, the glitter and the tears. But this year, I just kind of lost the plot. I’m not even sure how it happened; one minute I was sitting calmly in front of the television criticising a dress that made someone look like a hovering pyramid, the next I was screaming hysterically at the television. I’m fairly certain that the thing that happened to change all of that was space suits and drunk Greek boys but let’s not get into that.

For those of you not familiar with Eurovision, it’s run by the European Broadcasting Union and has been broadcast every year since its creation in 1956, which makes it one of the longest running programs ever. Most of the funding for the show comes from the countries involved. That being the case, there a five countries that achieve pre-selection every year purely on the basis that without their financial input there would be no Eurovision. So because of their abililty to provide boatloads of glitter and a soundsystem, the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy compete every year. Kind of like those guys you invite to a party purely on those basis of their ability to afford alcohol.

I could give you a blow by blow account of my feelings throughout Eurovision. But they were mostly just this:

On the edge of my seat.

On the edge of my seat.

So instead, I’m just going to the highlights reel. Without further ado I present to you, the top 5 Eurovision moments you missed because you thought you had something better to do (you were wrong):

  1. The first thing that springs to mind for a recap is Romania and their contestant Cezar singing It’s My Life. Before I show you the video, I’m going to show you what I tweeted the second it came on the screen because it really sums up what happened nicely.
    All capslock all the time.

    All capslock all the time.

    So without further ado, here, have some Romania:

    Did you watch it? Did you watch all of it!? WHAT WAS THAT!? WHY ROMANIA? HOW!? Did they just roll Dracula in glitter and stick him in the side of a mountain? He looks like a giant singing glittery pimple? And the voice! The voice! The thing about Eurovision is that they have to sing live, so that is his actual live singing voice. He actually sounds like that. Sit back and marvel at the glory that is Cezar.

  2. My all-time favourite entry this year was Greece and their entry Alchol is Free, because it’s a good tune and there are adorable Greek boys in skirts telling you to get drunk and a dude with a moustache. I’m not even here to make fun of it. It’s just a really great song.
  3. Like any high drama environment, there is great success and great tragedy. The great tragedy for me this year was the fact that Montenegro did not make it through to the finals. This is an obvious error in judgement when you consider that the lady involved is doing a better job at being Fergie than Fergie is and the men completed an entire performance in space suits. As a general rule, I find life is improved by space suits.
  4. Ireland was really gay this year. I mean that in the sense that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this routine done in a gay bar on Oxford Street more than once. Also, keep an eye on the guy playing the huge standing drums. Because I think he might be Wolverine.

    Shirtless men in silver pants gyrating to an absurd drum beat? Sounds eerily familiar.
  5. Iceland is really handsome, with a full head of luscious blonde viking hair and also in a Deep Purple covers band. ICELAND IS REALLY HANDSOME, WITH A REALLY FULL HEAD OF LUSCIOUS BLONDE VIKING HAIR AND ALSO IN A DEEP PURPLE COVERS BAND. I don’t know if you’re aware, but that is pretty much the criteria for marrying me. So if Iceland would like to call me, I am readying and waiting. Here is Iceland’s song. It is an average ballad type of this so I recommend turning it down and blasting Smoke on the Water and imagining that that’s what’s actually happening.

So that’s it. Those are my top 5 picks from Eurovision this year. Oh the winner was this, featuring a tin whistler and weird sexual tension with the tin whistler player:

It’s quite nice I guess, but it’s no “men in space suits” or “sparkly gay dracula”, you know?

“My Neck, My Back” vs. “Kisses Down Low”

I’m going to preface this blog by saying that it is about oral sex. I am saying this because my mother reads this blog regularly and I would just like to give her the opportunity to walk away and continue to pretend that I have no idea what I’m talking about. So without any further ado, let’s talk about Kelly Rowland.

Why is Kelly Rowland relevant to oral sex? Because she just released a song called Kisses Down Low, which is about exactly what it sounds like. Which is fabulous. It’s been called ‘provocative’, but I suspect that people only think that because it’s about kissing vaginas and not worshipping the peen. Anyway, I thought now would be the perfect time to compare Kelly’s latest offering with my other favourite song about cunnilingus, My Neck, My Back (Lick It) by Khia. Remember it? Here’s a very NSFW refresher.

And here is Kelly Rowland’s Kisses Down Low.

These ladies have taken very different approaches to the subject of downstairs kisses. I am already running out of synonyms. This does not bode well for the rest of the blog. (Feel free to contribute some in the comments section, but if I hear one mention of the word “clunge” I will reach through the screen and rip your legs off.)

Khia’s song was played at a lot of ill-concieved school dances when I was younger, but it was always the censored version (because that makes it totally more appropriate for a bunch of pubescent year 7 kids), so I didn’t hear the actual lyrical content until much later. But I like it. Not only does Khia explore the benefits of being on the recieving end of “so much love” (faced with a lack of synonym, I have resorted to using the lyrics) but she makes it sounds postively marvellous to be the giver as well. Not that she’s letting anyone get away with thinking that they’re too tough to go down. At one point she says “you might roll dubs, you might have G’s but fuck that just get on your knees”. Which is a message I approve of… not that I know anyone who rolls dubs or has G’s but I like the sentiment. In short, Khia is going to tell you what she wants done, how she wants it done and she’s not putting up with any of your bullshit. I can get behind that.

I think my favourite part of the song is where she says she's going to come "all over your face and stuff" like she got bored halfway through the songwriting and was just like "eh...and stuff. Whatever."

I think my favourite part of the song is where she says she’s going to come “all over your face and stuff” like she got bored halfway through the songwriting and was just like “eh…and stuff. Whatever.”

In comparison, Kelly Rowland is a little less… aggressive. The chorus line in the song is “I like my kisses down low, make me arch my back, when you give it to me slow, baby just like that.” It’s more of a gentle suggestion kisses down low are good and that they should keep going. In her video, Khia marches around being in charge of everything so you get some excellent shots of some dude painting her toenails and worshipping the ground she walks on. Kelly’s video doesn’t feature anyone else. It is all about her. And she is ADORABLE. The backgrounds are pink and bubblegummy and her hair and makeup is flawless and she’s just generally great. She quietly reminds everyone who’s in charge whilst wearing candy colours and bows, which is the sort of woman I want to be.

The cutest.

The cutest.

So, you’ve got two songs about oral sex from two very different perspectives. Which one is better? Neither! They’re both great. Khia is for when you feel like stomping around and being in charge of the universe, demanding  things for your pleasure. Kelly is for when you feel like unleashing your inner cute and doing body rolls at the same time (it’s a very specific mood but it does happen).

Tyler the Creator: A Conceptual Mess

Hi there! Small break over. I am still unemployed but I am out of bed and also wearing pants. By out of bed I mean that I have migrated from the bed to the couch, but it still totally counts. Anyway, with an abundance of free time I have been scouring the internets for something to write about. My friend directed me towards the new Tyler the Creator video.

For those of you not familiar, Tyler the Creator is a rapper and part of the Odd Future collective (their full name being, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All… obviously). Their known for abrasive, often sexually violent lyrical content and calling out things that they percieve as being bullshit. ‘Bullshit’ usually consists of genres that exist outside of the tiny DIY bubble they’ve created for themselves. I can’t fault them on their DIY ingenuity – they’ve used various social media networks to build a massive global audience. Shockingly enough, I’ve never been a huge fan. But then again, I’m not really the target audience.

Dudes in their late teens and early 20s practically wet themselves over Tyler’s debut Bastard and the follow-up, Goblin. Pitchfork called Badstard “one of the most stunning things released in the last 12 months” back in 2010. Which I guess is true. It SOUNDS really interesting. Tyler’s voice is great and the musical accompaninment has all these lovely weird influences that make it really entertaining to listen to. But I’m not an angry teenage dude and jokes about sexual violence are never really gonna float my boat (or many female boats anywhere ever, let’s be real) so it was never something that was going levitate with joy. But I will confess that I have Yonkers somewhere on my computer and that I’ve watched the video a lot, because it’s really interesting.

Click the image to go to the video.

Click the image to go to the video.

But the problem with being supremely controversial is that it’s very hard to keep being controversial because eventually people know what to expect and who to expect it from and it isn’t shocking anymore. I have a sneaking suspicion what’s happened here. This is the new video. It’s kind of a conceptual mess.

Musically, it’s fine, I guess. Lyrically, it’s even vaguely more palatable than some of their other stuff which is… something? I don’t know. Anyway, the video is such a non-event. For a group that’s featured a hanging, domestic violence, ejaculations and centaurs in their videos and managed to make it seem like it was coherent and maybe even meaningful. But here we’ve just got the obligatory overly large penis, some wrestling, a bit of weed smoking and a sudden jump to some pastel romance montage that ends in him being slapped.

Anorexic models and huge cocks. What does it all mean?

Anorexic models and huge cocks. What does it all mean?

Like, it’s so nonsensical that it borders on being boring which is probably not what they’re going for. I think the saving grace for this particular output is the fact that Tyler seems to be aware of its ‘hit and miss’ nature. He tweeted “I WANT BUSTA AND MISSY TO HEAR IT REALLY. I’M SO NERVOUS WHAT IF EVERYONE HATE IT AND I GO BROK FUCK AHHH… THE FAD IS OVER AND I GOTTA WORK AT SOMEWHERE LIKE THESE REGULAR NIGGAS AHHH NO IM SHAKING.” Having said that, as my friend so eloquently put it, “it’s gotten to the point where he could record the sound of a dogs having sex, sample it and people would still buy it” so he’s probably not gonna have to go “work at somewhere”.

Anyway, that’s me done for the day. If you want to read a more in depth article about the problematic nature of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and Tyler then you should read this article. It’s any interesting look at inclusion and exclusion. Meanwhile, Pitchfork continues to shit itself every time he releases something so Tyler’s probably got a while left in him yet.

Pub Rockin’

Sorry this is so late going up. I got distracted reading Young Adult literature. Conincidentally, that will probably be the subject of an upcoming post because it comes under the heading of “Things You Need to Know About”. Anyway, moving on. I know that many of you lovely readers are Not Australian, so I try to keep my posts as general as possible so that we can all hang out. But sometimes there is some home-grown interestingness that requires my attention. This is one of those times.

Australians generally suffer from a kind of ‘cultural cringe’. That is to say, we often prefer imported culture (American or European television, music, art, movies etc) over things that are written and produced locally, striving under the impression that our own cultural output is somehow embarrassing. I am guilty of it. I can’t remember the last Australian film that I watched. But I do like live music. More specificially, I am a big fan of live music in pubs. Tragically, due to licensing laws and a bad economic climate, a number of Sydney’s best pubs/ live music venues are going under. And it is affecting my good time. The Annandale Hotel is a particular favourite of mine (I was there last Wednesday to see the Cloud Nothings and Violent Soho, both of whom I would recommend highly) but it’s been struggling to keep its head above water for quite some time. The floor is sticky. It smells like stale booze. There’s probably enough bodily fluids encrusted in the walls to construct a whole new human being. But it’s nice. It has character and history and, perhaps most importantly, it’s really close to my house which makes stumbling home slightly drunk and covered in sweat after being trapped in the middle of a mosh pit REALLY easy.

It looks like it’s going to fall in on your head, and maybe it will but you’d enjoy it, because it’s just got that much charm.

I consider pub rock to be one of Australia’s great cultural exports. You’re probably a fan without even knowing. So, to educate some of you sexy little foreingers in the ways of the pub rock, and remind the handful of Australian readers that you should go to a gig (if not tonight then tomorrow night, and if not tomorrow night then the night after, and so on and so forth), I present to you my top five Australian pub rock bands:

  1. ACDC – Really bloody obvious. Like REALLY obvious.Despite the fact that they’re old and Angus Young should really, really put that fucking schoolboy outfit away already, ACDC are one of Australia’s biggest pub rock exports. They fill out stadiums now, but for years in the 70s they were just up and down the East Coast of Australia playing in sticky, shitty falling down pubs.

    I chose this video because I am an unabashedly fan of “bad video acting” and this is a wonderful example. Also because it emphasises what a maniac Angus Young is.
  2. Hunters and Collectors – You probably like Hunters and Collectors without realising you like Hunters and Collectors. This is largely due to the fact that Pearl Jam covered one of their more anthemic songs. Have a little Throw Your Arms Around Me, for your afternoon

    Once when I was making a CD of Australian tunes for an American friend I asked my father what I should put on it. He said, “What’s that song? You know the one? Whenever it comes on the entire pub gets really emotional and starts hugging and singing along?”  He then proceeded to sing Throw Your Arms Around Me, in a really off-key fashion. I’m not saying that the song doesn’t kind of make people want to do that, I am simply suggesting that at some point my father has been really drunk in a pub screaming along to the Hunters and Collectors. (My father and I have that in common.)
  3. INXS – Again, just another really really obvious one. But I am sucker for handsome. The Australian pub rock scene is not
    reknowned for being populated with overly attractive men. They’re faces with…character? Michael Hutchence, on the other hand…

    Choosing to go with this video because the song is sexy and because it features a pretty impressive mullet (a staple of the Australian pub scene to this day).
  4. Divinyls – I don’t how people feel about the Divinyls being on a pub rock list, but technically their success is largely due to the fact that they were able to play consistently in small venues around Sydney. Ken Cameron had them provide the soundtrack for his film Monkey Grip after he saw them play in a pub in Kings Cross in 1982. I am also including them because I have a crush on Chrissy Amphlett.

    I know you were probably expecting me to put I Touch Myself as the chosen song, but I like this video better because Chrissy manages to be both sexy and terrifying at the same time and apparently that’s something I’m into. (My mother reads this blog. Hi, Mum. Have we spoken about my love of sexy and terrifying women yet? No? Maybe next phone conversation?)
  5. Australian Crawl – There a several other bands that I could (and probably should) include on this list over Australian Crawl, but I have a sentimental attachment to them and to the song Errol in particular. If I had to narrow down what was so notable about Australian Crawl, I would say it’s the fact that, in spite of writing songs with verses and choruses, each song contains about two or three comprehensible words which can be shouted at appropriate times so you can feel like you’re singing along. Unsure what I mean? Have a look.

    Oooooh Errol, I would give anything, just to be like him! And the rest mumbled. I am also very fond of the sheer awkwardness of this video. Why is the singer clothed in a room full of half naked women/half naked bandmates? Why does he look so upset about it? Why is he dancing in a jacuzzi? Why am I laughing so hard?

Right. There ends the lesson on pub rock. I hope you lovely foreign folk learned something. Australians, have you re-evaluated your relationship with small venues and live music in Sydney? Want to help out? GO TO A GODDAMN GIG. Find some friends. Pay the entry fee. Go. It’ll be fun. I promise. Also, if you’re interested in helping save the Annandale you can do so one brick at a time.

Do You Get It Yet?! Do You?!

Right, if you thought this blog post was going to be about something other than Beyonce’s Superbowl performance then you have come to the wrong blog. Having said that, it’s not going to be a rave blog about the performance itself, though that was pretty great. (My favourite part was when the rest of Destiny’s Child magically appeared out of the stage, like KABLAM! Anyway…) Have a look at this clip of the perfomance and tell me if you can spot what I love about it:

In case you didn’t notice BEYONCE’S ENTIRE BACKING BAND IS FEMALE and it is pretty much the best thing ever. I know you all came here for some mildly amusing pop culture snark but it’s time for me to put my serious hat on and talk about some real things. (My serious hat is a top hat with a peacock feather in it. It is very difficult to take me seriously, but please try.) If I say the word “musician” to you, what do you think of? If I say the words “guitarist” or “saxophonist” or “bassist”, who comes to mind? Tell you what, let’s Google “guitarist”, shall we?

guitars

OH LOOK. All of them are white men! Before you get antsy at me, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with your favourite guitarist being a wrinkly old white dude. Wrinkly old white dudes have made some lovely music over the years. Some of them should have stopped. Rolling Stones, I am looking at you. If Keith keeps going he’s just going to crumble into dust on stage. But I digress. The problem is the lack of choice. The first thing anyone thinks of when they think of music is a bunch of dudes having a jam, which is cool if you’re going to age and become an old white dude, but significantly less cool if you have a vagina or are not white, for instance. So Beyonce has done something awesome and made an all-female backing band. They are called The Sugar Mamas and they are fabulous. Look at this video and tell me you’re not a little bit in love.

The gorgeous lady on the guitar is Bibi McGill. She’s also the musical director, so she’s responsible for making everything go off without a hitch. So she made everything go off without a hitch at the Superbowl and then did THIS:

…and nailed a damn guitar solo. She’s also a yoga instructor and runs her own business selling kale chips. If you were looking for a new hero, I think I may have found one.

Beyonce has said that the reason she put together an all female band is because growing up she wished she had more female role models to look up to musically. She’s done a phenomenal job of it. There’s a classically trained horn section, some incredible vocals, guitar, bass and drums and they’re all killing it. Then on top of that, there’s the 120-strong all-lady dance team that sashays across the stage whilst avoiding the pyrotechnics from Bibi’s guitar. There is not a single man on that stage and it’s greatest.

Realistically, we should just be talking about the fact that the band and Queen Bey just fucking nailed it and that once again, the half time show is more interesting than the football, but we’re not quite there yet. Unfortunately, it’s still surprising for some people when women play their instruments just as well, if not better than their male counterparts so I’ll be damned if I’m not going to make a post worshipping the ground that they walk on. Beyonce and the Sugar Mamas are the coolest. They are mega-talented and mega-beautiful. If Bibi McGill would like to call me so that I can confess my love in person rather than over the internet, I would totally be down for that. Until then, I’m just going to assume that everyone has accepted Beyonce as their lord and saviour. Amen.

All credits go to blackbookmag.com for the gif. If you click the image, it’ll take you to the article.

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