Archive for the ‘Justin Timberlake’ Category

julySOUNDTRACK: JENNY HVAL-“Innocence is Sexy” (2013).

hvalI saw this video on Stereogum.  I was actually intrigued by her last name: Hval.  Then I read a bit more about her–she’s an experimental Norwegian singer with four albums out (two under the name Rockettothesky).

I watched the video and was so mesmerized by it that I didn’t even really notice the music the first time through.  In the video, Jenny has her body filmed in all manner of unexpected angles and poses–she is shaving parts of her body, strategically positioning other parts of her body.  And pressing and squeezing her flesh in ways that are not often shown.  She is also jogging (both in a jogging outfit and in a dress–the juxtaposition is fascinating.  And then there’s the dress that appears to be made of latex.  At a time when men (Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke) are making videos of naked women, Jenny makes us question what we see and why.  It’s very cool.

It’s also interesting musically.  The first words of the song are: “That night I watched people fucking on my computer.”  The song has an interesting guitar riff playing behind her spoken words until she starts singing with a vaguely operatic Middle Eastern tonality.  After a more mellow verse, Jenny ends a with a fascinating little scale of notes.

The same confrontational style of singing occurs at the end when the music stops and she keeps singing “in and out and in and out” in a less then pleasing manner.

As I say I am fascinated by her.  Although I can’t help but wonder if this would be a case of more exposure being less satisfying.

[READ: July 11, 2013] ”Outside T-Club”

In this story, which an excerpt from a novel called Necessary Errors the narrator, Jacob, pulled out some significant pages about Eastern Europe from a travel guide. He hid the rest of the book in the garbage, keeping only the pages on gay life in Czechoslovakia.

He was living in Boston, but was heading to Prague.  This was after his boyfriend moved away to start a new job for a men’s magazine.  He had sent Jacob a postcard which tried to make it seem like Jacob would be on a  fun adventure, and he imagined Jacob hooking up with a tall dark Russian guy.

Turned out Czech men were neither tall nor dark. (more…)


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Isexy don’t know much of Justin Timberlake (he’s not my jam).  Although I have found him very enjoyable in the last few years when he’s been acting.  His comedy skills are great.  And Of course, I love him with Lonely Island (the guy can sing).

This story mentions this song as the main character’s favorite song so I gave it a listen.  It strikes me as an extremely unlikely single.  The music is really erratic and mechanical.  There’s just bursts of sound that keep the beat going.  Although the music is very visceral..

Indeed, the main melody seems to be his voice, which doesn’t let up a lot.  The first time I heard it I thought there was no way it could have been a hit, which shows what I know about popular as it was #1 for 7 weeks. It’s such an unusual song, and musically I find it very odd, which I like quite a bit.

I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the song (maybe I’m a dance diva at heart).

Take ’em to the story.

[READ: March 25, 2012] Arach nID (to be one thing)

Almost nine months ago, Planer asked me to read this short story.  He has since revised it and expanded it, making it about 16,000 words.

It’s funny to read something that has been revised and which now makes you think that the original wasn’t nearly as good.  I enjoyed the first version a lot, but the revisions improved the story so much it makes the first draft seem pale.  This is obviously good news for the revision, but it means that when referencing the original it makes it seem less than it was.

The same story is in place–the main character is a sentient spider who grows to human size and believes, because of his sentience, that he may indeed be human.  After leaving the web and his (dangerous) mother and sisters, he seeks his fortune in the human world.  Luckily for him he lives in the 2000s, where he can do most things remotely and virtually.  But he manages to pass in the human world (especially on Halloween, a great scene indeed).  He even manages to meet someone interesting (who is almost as smart as him).  Ultimately he must decide is he is really human or arachnid. (more…)

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Since I enjoyed the second Lonely Island album, I figured I’d check out the first one as well.  I mean it had “Lazy Sunday” on it after all.  But in this case my initial instincts we pretty correct. There are a  few songs on here that are funny and worth the time–and you’ve heard them all already.  The rest are filler–mildly funny songs that are too long by half (even when they are under two minutes).

The opening song, “Who Said We’re Wack” is only a minute and change and it overstays its welcome after about fifteen seconds.  Although, as I’m finding with a lot of the tracks, there are little bits that are funny, like the “raise your hands in the air” bit of this song.  “Santana DVX” is an amusing little skit about Carlos Santana making his own champagne.  Again, kind of funny, but not that funny.  And worse yet is that they keep reusing the joke throughout the disc.  “I’m on a Boat” is like the demo version of “I Just had Sex.”  It’s the same premise, with the same repeated joke, but you can get a lot more mileage out of having sex than about riding a boat.  At this point I have to wonder how many of these songs were skits (I don’t watch SNL as a rule) and I wonder if they are funnier with visuals added.

“Jizz in My Pants” is the first really funny thing on the disc.  The best part is that it starts out so seriously and then the absurdity gets faster and faster.  It’s very clever.  Although musically it sounds like The Flight of the Conchords might do it better.  “Sax Man” features the mighty Jack Black, and it’s funny, but I have to say that having the sax man play more bad notes (and not synthesized ones) as opposed to all that silence, and maybe having Black get even angrier would have been much funnier.

“Lazy Sunday” is still a highlight, a funny track with, and I think this is the key, new lyrics in every verse, not simple repetitiveness as humor (the old SNL standby).  And of course, “Dick in a Box” is still hilarious (oh, Timberlake, I can’t hate you).

However, that repetitiveness is a problem on “Like a Boss” (although parts of it are very funny) or “Boombox” (is boiled goose supposed to be funny?) although at least the chorus is catchy.  “We Like Sportz” is amusing but I feel like they aren’t dorky enough.  

Then, why does “Dreamgirl” turn into an ad for Chex Mix?   I know it is “sponsored by Chex Mix” but why?  It seems lazy.   And I simply don’t understand “Punch You in the Jeans” or “The Old Saloon” they just seem like stupid filler or in the case of “Jeans,” an attempt at at catchphrase generator or something.   

As on their follow-up, the skits are lame: “Normal Guy” is awful and “Shrooms” is boring.  But at least there’s only two skits.

Finally “Space Olympics” seems like a funny concept but what happens to the song?  It has potential to be a really amusing concept about actual space olympics, but it drifts off into a completely different direction.  Where’d the focus go? 

“Natalie’s Rap” on the other hand is focused, brutal and unexpected.  It is really, really funny.

All in all, this is an excellent place to hear a few good tracks and a whole lot of filler. I’m really happy that the sequel was so much better as it speaks to the possibility of even better stuff in the future.

[READ: October 30, 2011] Chew: Volume Two

As Sarah wrote in her post, I was pretty happy to have Volume Two of Chew in the house after finishing up Volume One (I’m only bummed that I don’t have Volume Three!!).

Volume Two continues the adventures of our favorite cibopath (see the previous entry for the explanations of all of these awesome ideas).  As the book opens we see that Tony Chu’s former partner, John Colby is back.  We knew he was still alive, but we didn’t know how alive he might be–after all, he had a cleaver in his face last time we saw him.  But he has been repaired, with the latest in technology, by the FDA.  And now Chu and Colby are back together, bickering as ever with new superpowers (the scene where Colby shows off what he can do is awesome). 

Chapter Two (Issue Seven if you’re keeping track), introduces Lin Sae Woo.  When I mentioned last time that Guillory draws grotesque characters, I had her in mind.  Lin Sae Woo is an aggressive, angry woman and she is drawn to reflect that. But she also has an absurd body shape.  Her breasts are preposterous–not even superhero large, stupidly large and the rest of her can barely keep up.  I can’t even decide if she’s supposed to be sexy, she is so ridiculous.  But she makes a formidable foe (even if she’s on the same side as Chu). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LONELY ISLAND-Turtleneck & Chain (2011).

I liked “Lazy Sunday” quite a lot, but I didn’t feel compelled to get the album.  Then, when I heard Samberg on NPR, it made quite a compelling case for this second album.  So I decided to check it out.

Most comedy albums are juvenile, so let’s get that out of the way.  This is juvenile.  And, as with most SNL-derived humor, it’s a one note joke that gets stretched out.  The good news is that very few of the songs stretch too long (only one is more than three minutes) and the music itself is quite good–which allows for repeatedly listens.

The opening, “We’re Back!” is really quite funny.  It’s all about how the three guys have really tiny penises.  Ha ha, but it’s delivered with such great gangsta rap style that it is very, very funny.  “Mama” is a wonderful tribute to the singers’ Moms.  The song is interrupted by said mother over and over.  On this one, the joke might go on too much, but overall, it’s very funny.

The longest song is “Jack Sparrow” and it is one of the best ones on the disc.  It features Michael Bolton (!) singing his heart out about his love for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies–which is funny enough, but the guys are rapping behind him about something else entirely.  They keep trying to stop Bolton from hijacking the song.  It’s very well done (and man, say what you will, Bolton can belt out a song).

“Attracted to Us” goes on a bit too long (and at less than 2 minutes that’s a bad sign) and “Rocky” in which one of the dorky guys talks about fighting Rocky (ala The Fresh Prince) is a super long SNL skit (which is not a compliment).

“Turtleneck & Chain” features Snoop Dog and is just fantastic–I love hearing Snoop Dog rap this geek shit.  “Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde” also works very well with Rihanna on vocals.  The song itself is catchy and the joke, when it finally comes, is really good.

“Motherlover” is a sequel to “Dick in a Box” (“this is the second best idea we ever had”) and Justin Timberlake continues to impress me in his new role as a funny guy.  This is a gross song but it’s really crazy catchy (Timberlake must have written the chorus).

One of my favorite songs on the disc is “Threw It on the Ground.”  Musically, I think it’s fantastic and lyrically it is pretty funny.  I wish that they had had some better examples of things to throw on the ground (the cell phone joke is lame and they get kind of lazy by the end), but I get this song stuck in my head a lot.  Another song guaranteed to stay in your head forever is “I Just Had Sex,” a childish and silly song that is outrageously catchy.  And if it’s in your head it won’t leave.  (And yes it’s funny).

“Japan” is a crazy and funny look at Japanese culture while “After Party” is a bit one note.  “No Homo” on the other hand brings in a full circle hardcore joke that is at once offensive and hilarious. 

“The Creep” is pretty unsuccessful even with the help of Nicki Minaj–the video helps a little, but not enough.  As with most rap albums, the skits are the weakest link.  Without a song behind them the skits are good for one or two listens and some not even that (“Falcor vs Atreyu”?  “My Mic”? these wouldn’t even be funny if they were improvised, and yet they seem very deliberately planned–boy I hope there wasn’t more than one take).

Overall, this is a funny rap parody/tribute album.  It’s obvious that the guys love rap and they are quite successful in their stylings.  None of it works as well as “Weird Al”‘s “White and Nerdy” but honestly whatever could?  But “Weird Al” is PG, and Lonely Island fills in as the adult pranksters.

[READ: October 28, 2011] Chew: Volume One

Sarah gave me this book after reading the recommendation on The Hub.  She said it was really good but it was really gross.  And that’s quite an accurate assessment.

One thing that I liked about this book was that it had not one but two really cool ideas that run through the series.  Either one would be a compelling-enough premise, but putting them together makes for an excellent story with lots of possibilities.

The story is about Tony Chu, who is a policeman.  He is also cibopathic, which means that when he eats anything (except beets for some reason), he instantly knows the history of that food: eating fruits and vegetables shows him the tree it grew on and how it was harvested;  eating meat, well, just let your imagination go on that one.  That’s a pretty great premise.  But when he gets a murderer’s blood on his lips and he instantly knows the names and locations of all of his victims, well, that ups the intensity (and the grossness).

The second great premise is that the government has outlawed chicken because of the avian flu.  Millions of people died from the flu and now only chicken-substitutes are used.  There is now a black market for real chicken, including speakeasys, and the FDA is hot on the heels of all traffickers.  And yet, there is a small group of rebels who believe that the whole avian flu thing is a sham (including Tony’s brother Chow).  They don’t postulate why the sham was created, but they are out to set the record straight. 

Put these two ideas together and you get a hell of a story. (more…)

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