ED: Looking at the coverage of this year’s festival, I really haven’t seen much detailed writing about the actual performances of hardly anyone. I know this is a somewhat arbitrary sampling, but Company Flow gave their first performance in California in probably over a decade, A$AP Rocky performed a closing set and apparently didn’t get in a fight, Tune-Yards won the Pazz & Jop poll last year and played the second biggest stage. There’s been a lot of slideshows and photo galleries in the coverage, but the meme-ification of the Tupac hologram seems like it’s the final manifestation of press outlets either saying, “This thing is too big and we don’t have the resources to cover the whole thing well.” or “We’ve been writing about this for over a decade and we’re tired.”
TCR: I haven’t read all of the press, only what’s been on The Daily Swarm, but I think the Tupac thing is, to correct myself, a “viral” thing. It got people talking, good or bad. If there’s a Tupac track on the new Dre album, then it would make a lot more impact in the end. I’m not sure that it sold tickets. The press is trying to find something newsworthy that we all can testify about that’s not just “a bunch of rich entertainment industry people went to the desert and partied their faces off,” and truly tells the story of what makes this festival so good. I think they aren’t able, just as social media isn’t able, to get their arms around what makes this event so popular. The fact that it is hard for the press to paint a succinct picture of everything it has to offer ― it’s not a dance party, it’s not just about the main stage, it’s about _all- of it ― is a testament to the fact that it will continue and possibly grow. The fact that traditional press seems to miss a lot shouldn’t surprise anyone. They are people too, probably off getting stoned while something amazing went down in one of the tents.
But where a Rihanna-type might be calling for him to take her home from the club, Carly could take him or leave him — “maybe” is the key word of the song, the confident ambivalence that makes separates it from the unrequited longing of every other pop song. That it comes over a disco bounce only makes the sassiness stick.
Good analysis BUT I have always taken that “maybe” to be the key word for a different reason. She’s not ambivalent, she couldn’t take or leave him, this guy is her destiny. But she’s talking how people talk—the “maybe” is a kind of feigned coyness, an Internet-y wink at/acknowledgement of/defense against how terrifyingly sincerely she wants him to call her definitely.
Also, the “before you came into my life I missed you so bad” is indeed strange but I’ve always taken it as a Savage Garden-ish reference to, again, destiny.
Or this is all George Michael Bluth’s daydream fabulation of a song that his cousin would sing to him.
Food for thought: Is music a deep biological adaptation in its own right, or is it a cultural invention based mostly on our other capacities for language, learning, and emotion? And if music is an adaptation, did it really evolve to promote mating success as Darwin thought, or other for benefits such as group cooperation or mother-infant bonding?
The debaters: NYU professor Gary Marcus, who says that music is best seen as a cultural invention, and University of New Mexico professor Geoffrey Miller, who thinks that it’s the product of sexual selection and an adaptation that’s been with humans for millennia. Let’s get it on!
“In a widely publicized study last year that had test subjects walking around in motion-sensitive underwear and eating meals controlled down to the last calorie, Mayo Clinic researchers discovered that inactivity simply due to sitting led to wild swings in metabolism. Other research has shown that those who sit for at least 11 hours a day suffer a four in ten chance of dying within three years — no matter how much exercise they get. Even if you’re only seated for eight hours a day, your risk of death is still 15 percent greater than someone who sits for half that time.”
This ended up being a lot of fun to put together, and I make an argument some of you might find worth the trouble of debating.
Wooo! Was a big fan of what Jonathan did with this piece. The guts:
Bonnie Raitt is a rocker, a blueswoman, a maker of soulful, rootsy music—and adult contemporary is surely the opposite of all that: soporific, comfortable, passionless, generic. How could calling her adult-contemporary be anything like a compliment?
Well, for one thing, that list of adjectives is pretty close to what you’d get if you asked any unsympathetic person about a genre they haven’t listened very closely to. It always all sounds the same from the outside, whether it’s punk, hip-hop, classical, country, jazz, the blues, or dance music. But adult contemporary, both in its origins as a radio format and in its current understanding as a coherent aesthetic, is in fact the most omnivorous of modern pop musics, folding every sound under the sun—as long as it’s not too loud, too atonal, or too fast—into its all-enveloping, slightly doughy embrace.
There’s also some ambivalence towards Bon Iver in there, which I’m always happy to publish.
That’s the thing about overexposed songs, no matter how diligently you purge them from your personal playlists: You can’t shut your ears the way you can shut your eyes. When you like a hit, it’s an occasion for extreme sociability—that “summer song” feeling, as its lilt becomes the beat of the era, a big tuneful umbrella over all our heads. When you hate one, it’s like a swarm of mosquitoes waiting around every corner. Most often, though, you lean a little pro or a little con until repetition wears the feeling down to a numb, useless stump. I dimly recall a halcyon interlude last year when I was amiably inclined toward Adele’s “Someone Like You,” for instance. But by now it has joined countless other hits whose terminal catchiness condemns them to stalk the earth as musical zombies, devoid of any purpose but to mindlessly devour airspace and patience.
Is there any cure for the song poisoned by its own success? Any equivalent of what Cameron has attempted to do by retooling Titanic in 3D, so that audiences might see his epic literally in a new dimension? There are a few.
Diamond Eyes, the official follow-up to Saturday Night Wrist, was recorded by the band in two months with producer Nick Raskulinecz. The record was critically acclaimed as one of the band’s best albums, with some even offering that it was superior to their “magnum opus” White Pony. The band saw first week sales of up to 62,000 copies in the US alone; still a slighter in amount than the prior album, but considering the changed environment in regards to illegal downloads (the band pushed the release date forward after the album had leaked) not a poor amount whatsoever.
And yet, I cannot help but maintain that this record could very well be the worst in their catalog.
YES. I’d wanted them to make White Pony again, and then they tried with Diamond Eyes, and it turned out lifeless but well reviewed. There had been something nice and disorienting about the way that each previous Deftones album felt different from anything they’d done before. You could never initially figure out what exactly they’d changed, but you could sense that they had. (Maxwell has really nailed this facet of theirs with OWOB this week, btw). That wasn’t the case here.