Posted in Funny (ha ha), Memoirs, Funny (strange), Essays, Dave Eggers, Maile Meloy, Adventure, The Believer, Weezer, Wells Tower, The New York Times, Travel, Arthur Bradford, Cheap Trick, Homelessness, David Rakoff, How's Your News?, nerve.com, Vice, Elizabeth Gilbert, Miriam Toews, Cathleen Schine, Avery Corman, Alessandro Manzoni, Charles Portis, Robert James Waller, John Fowles, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Luigi Barzini, Clive James, Skiing, ReadyMade, Powder, Men's Journal, Another Magazine, The Portland Mercury, The Austin Chronicle, Andrew WK on August 14, 2011 |
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SOUNDTRACK: WEEZER-Raditude (2009).
I didn’t buy this Weezer album when it came out because I had heard really bad things about it (like the “guests”), but when I saw it cheap I decided to check it out. This has to be the most polarizing Weezer album of them all. I listened to it twice yesterday. The first time I thought I had been too harsh on it. The second time I thought it was godawful. It’s amazing what a couple of hours can do.
It opens with a wonderful bit of poppy wordplay ala Cheap Trick: “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To.” It’s catchy as anything and is a wonderful start to the album, even if it is probably their poppiest song ever. From there though, the album really degenerates. And mostly it’s because it’s so dumb. I mean the album title should tell you what you’re in for, but who would have expected the moronic sub-pop-metal of “The Girl Got Hot” or even the reprehensible lyrics of “I’m Your Daddy” “You are my baby tonight And I’m your daddy.” It’s just creepy. Or gah, a song about the mall? “In the Mall.” It’s not even worth mocking. And really, try to picture Rivers Cuomo in a mall. Any mall.
But nothing could prepare anyone for “Can’t Stop Partying.” Unlike Andrew WK’s ouvre, which is so sincere about partying that you can’t take it seriously, this song really seems to be about the guys partying. It’s laughable. The anemic rap but Li’l Wayne certainly doesn’t help.
Even the collaboration with Indian musicians on “Love is the Answer” (yes, seriously) doesn’t really work. It feels like they wrote the song and then said, “Hey let’s throw some sitar on it.” It’s not enough to be exciting but too much to ignore.
This is not to say that these songs aren’t catchy. I mean, geez, I still have “Can’t Stop Partying” in my head while I’m listening to something else. Rivers knows how to write a pop trifle. And the more he writes songs like this, it makes me thing that Pinkerton was the fluke. Which is fine. The music world needs poppy songs, right?
[READ: early August 2011] various nonfictions
I thought about doing individual posts for all of Arthur Bradford’s non-fiction that’s available on his website (that’s right, yet another author that I have read short uncollected pieces by without having read any of his bigger works–I’m looking at you Wells Tower). Bradford has links to all of his nonfiction ( I assume) on his website. There are 12 links in total. One is to his blog (which I’m not reviewing). The rest are for articles covering a pretty broad array of topics from a pretty broad variety of sources. (more…)
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SOUNDTRACK: BUFFALO TOM: “Guilty Girls” (2011).
Holy cow, Buffalo Tom! I more or less forgot about these guys (who I really liked back in the 90s). Some of their songs from that period are fantastic. They never had any major success, but they had a series of great releases. Evidently they reformed a few years ago and released a reunion album. And now, in 2011, they have a brand new record. Wow.
I haven’t listened to them in a few years, (although their albums covers are still very fresh in my head). But I listened to a few older songs for comparison’s sake. To me the biggest difference between Tom in 1999 and Tom in 2011 is that the singer now sounds even more like Elvis Costello. Bill Janovitz has always had a strong baritone voice, but with a few extra years thrown on, it has maturity that it lacked back then (not that it needed it, but the songs are more mature lyrically now, and the voice fits it well).
This song is a kind of punky (poppy punk, but still punky) rocking anthem. It’s under three minutes and it aims for mega catchiness.
[READ: July 18, 2011] “The Orderly“
Having read the brief story by Arthur Bradford in Five Dials, I realized that I knew the name and decided to see what else I had read by him. It wasnt much, but I enjoyed what I’d read. I decided to look him up and discovered that he really only wrote one book, a short story collection called Dogwalker, before switching media to TV (and a show called How’s Your News?).
On his website, he has links to a number of published stories (fiction and non-); since the Esquire pieces have been collected in his book, there’s really only three unique fiction stories available here. So i decided to read them all.
Now Nerve.com was a site for “literate smut.” I remember when it came out and it was somewhat revolutionary in the sex world because it tried to raise the bar of quality and to include some decent writers. I didn’t actually know that nerve.com was still active (it is, and there’s some really good stuff there). As such, I feel like perhaps the stories at nerve aren’t entirely top-notch. Not Penthouse forum, mind you, but not Hemingway either. (more…)
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