Monday, August 23, 2010

First Heard in Summer 2010 - "You Are Not A Number You Are Many Numbers"

When I woke up this morning, I wasn't planning on making a mix. My life is different now. Today, I heard my first Justin Bieber song.

I believe in maintaining a balanced media diet, consuming a mixture of high and low culture. I don't have any guilty pleasures, and I often get as much enjoyment, both sincere and anthropological, out of hugely popular entertainment as I do more "challenging" "art." I don't disparage people for being into stuff that I don't find substantive, and in fact I like to live vicariously through people who go apeshit over stuff like Twilight or professional sports. On TV, I run the gamut from Mad Men to iCarly. In a given movie-watching week, I could be taking in The Archers' "Black Narcissus" or "Step Up 3D" (make sure to grab some glasses before you sneak in).

Kelly Clarkson comes between Vashti Bunyan and cLOUDDEAD on my iPod. And I know Justin Bieber. But somehow his music eluded me. Until now.

Enter the internet meme of the week: a version of Bieber's "U Smile" stretched from its original 3:21 length into a 35-minute ambient drone. It's a funny idea, but I found the end result legitimately mind-blowing, and oddly moving. In a weird way, it amplifies, to absurdly epic proportions, everything that I love about "disposable" pop music. The original Bieber track is grating and overproduced, soulless but well-constructed. The 35-minute version moves beyond the bland sentiment of the vocals and allows you to appreciate the song on a subatomic level, to revel in its airtight construction. Its valleys and crescendos take on massive weight, it's like a Pixies song played by a choir of angels.

Above all, this song made me feel like I was on the beach in the middle of the night. And I got to thinking about the end of summer. So, Justin Bieber inspired me to make a mix of end-of-summer songs, some literal, most just appropriately wistful or angry. Plus, I included one of the best and most insane hip-hop boast tracks that I've heard in a long time, wherein Busta Rhymes uses the word "frankfurters."

001 Brian Eno - Spider and I
002 Cloud Nothings - Even If It Worked Out
003 Royce Da 5'9" - Dinner Time (feat. Busta Rhymes)
004 The Soft Pack - Down On Loving
005 The Chap - We Work in Bars
006 Tamaryn - Choirs of Winter
007 Janelle Monae - Tightrope (feat. Big Boi)
008 Arcade Fire - City With No Children
009 Gauntlet Hair - Our Scenery
010 Dum Dum Girls - Yours Alone
011 Pop Winds - Owl Eyes
012 Courier News - Empty Clouds
013 Sufjan Stevens - Heirloom
014 Justin Bieber - U Smile (Slowed Down 800%)


Friday, August 20, 2010

TV Tweets: Aug. 14 - 20

As always, you can follow me at LowBrowJon for an advance peak at my potentially forgone fallacies, as well as other LBM updates.
Aug. 19th [Louie]
I find it kinda creepy that each ep of #Louie finds a way to slightly mirror my life more than it did the week prior.
Okay, so I don't have kids, I've never done drugs and I love my mom, but damn, lots of situations on Louie really hit home with me.
I love it. 
Take this week's episode, titled "Bully." (Major spoilers for this particular episode follow, so some of you may want to skip ahead to the next portion of the article at the link below.) Louie is on a date with a woman way out of his league, but he's convincingly winning her over anyway with his humor, because we all know it's not his physique or what's left of that ginger hairline of his. In walks a group of rowdy high schoolers, who he yells at to be quiet. Things continue to look promising for the date. However, one kid walks over and eventually challenges Louie to a fight. Of course Louie doesn't fight him, but he backs down in such an overwhelmingly emasculating way, I wanted to bash my head in because I know there's a very good chance I'd do something similar. Seriously. Fight a teenager? Please. Now, maybe knowing there's woman across the table watching all of this would spring me into action, but if she weren't there, yeah, I'd let the kid run over me. However, Louie backs down, forever ruins his chances with the woman and is humiliated all at the same time. Then the next two-thirds of the episode unfold. Pure genius.
This new show from Louis C.K. is so fantastic, I'm happy Lucky Louie didn't catch fire during it's only season -- although it was rad, too. Oh, and the dude flipping off the camera in the foreground for a split second during the Louie intro is an added bonus each week. See if you can catch it before the censors do.
For further reading, I offer you the opportunity to follow me after the jump, where you will find a mini discussion on Hung's exploration of American life amid the recession and Big Johnson t-shirts.

Friday, August 13, 2010

TV Tweets: Aug. 3 - 13

As always, you can follow me at LowBrowJon to get my ostentatious oratory (so to speak), as well as other LBM updates.
Aug. 9th [True Blood, Mad Men]
Ho-hum. Another week, another f'ed up sex scene to end an episode of #TrueBlood.
He's on a horse.
As is no surprise, True Blood continues gettin' it on with its sexually explicit self, which is as it should be. Although the Beeeeel/Sookie reunion was nowhere near as over-the-top as the Bill/Lorena escapade earlier this season (mainly because there was nothing comparable to The Exorcist this time), it still left me with an uneasiness all the same.
Overall, I've been enjoying this season. The Sam storyline is super annoying and lame, but the rest are at least entertaining, which is really all I expect from this show. Give me crazy creatures doing ridiculous things to each other, and I'll continue to be happy.
After the jump, Mad Men rings in the new year, and the pieces of Rubicon get more interesting.

Friday, August 06, 2010

TV Tweets: June 1 - Aug. 2

Welp, I done did it again. Been away for far too long. But my life changes appear to be over now, and hopefully I can get back into the groove. Here's a catching-up edition.
June 16th  [Breaking Bad]
Gah! #BreakingBad, you are some cliffhanging bastards.
What an amazing season this was. Plenty of time to catch up before season 4 returns if you're not watching. Do yourself a favor and start it up sooner than later.

After the jump, we'll delve into the Treme finale, the return of Mad Men and the BBC's latest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes.