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Archive for the ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-“Smoke on the Water” (2012).

There’s a new Deep Purple tribute album coming out shortly (is this the year of tributes?  what’s going on?).  Anyway, the lineup isn’t all that inspired, but I was curious to see what the Flaming Lips would do with that song

As with their recent reinterpretation of Dark Side of the Moon, this cover is respectful and utterly disrespectful.  Musically the song is pretty accurate. Well, the notes are the same.  But the style is very different, kind of wahwahed delicate chords–no heavy bass or anything.  But it’s the vocals that are the contentious point–he recites the entire song (which kind of works because it is a story) in a stilted, faux British accent.

The second verse has a very computerized voice singing an autotuned melody along with the recitation–sort of a harmony but not.  This voice continues through to the chorus (which the main vocals also simply recite).

I appreciate the Flaming Lips’ approaches to popular songs, but this version renders a big loud song kind of anemic.  Which is so weird because the last few Lips albums were so loud and bass-heavy.  I listened twice, I probably don’t need to listen again.

So, this is yet another tribute I won’t be buying.

[READ: August 22, 2012] Don’t Get Too Comfortable

I’m already making good on my promise to read more David Rakoff.  Indeed, as soon as I heard that he died, I put this book on hold at the library.  The strange thing about this book is that I feel like I read parts of it already.  I don’t feel like I read the whole book because some things were unfamiliar to me, and yet there was a strange feeling of déjà vu throughout the book.  But I looked in the front of the book to see where these essays had appeared and I don’t read any of the magazines where they initially showed up.  And while I like This American Life, I don’t really listen to it very often.  So either I read this book seven years ago or these pieces are inspirations for other pieces I have read (which is possible–two or three articles in here reminded me of things that A.J .Jacobs has since done).

So this collection of essays takes place during the early 2000s, George W. Bush’s first term (not the happiest time to be a gay Canadian living in New York).  But in addition to the first essay which is all about his quest for citizenship, it seems that Rakoff was now gainfully employed as a freelance writer.  Most of these essays seem to have been requested for magazines–like they sought him out to write them.  So his fame was clearly growing.  And, again, like A.J. Jacobs, he seems to have been picked as a guinea pig for certain pieces.   I don’t really know if this is a “genre” per se, I mean lots of un-knowledgeable people have gone into new experiences to write about them (insert inevitable David Foster Wallace reference here–but of course he wasn’t the first either).  But Rakoff’s subjects in the last couple essays seem to be closer to what Wikipedia calls Jacob’s “stunt” journalism. (more…)

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