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Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Kanye’s “Monster” gets the Muppets treatment

Watching the Muppets rap Kanye West’s “Monster” is both hilarious and distressing. Count Von Count opening with “Bitch I’m a monster / No good bloodsucker” is entirely apropos, but then when Beaker delivers the line about the you-know-what in a sarcophagus you can almost feel your entire childhood imploding. Watch at your own risk.

Josh Groban sings Kanye’s tweets

It’s a very Kanye Friday everyone. Before you cry “Enough!” be sure to watch this one last clip. GRAMMY-winning singer Josh Groban put all of Mr. West’s tweets to music for a bit on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. If you thought they sounded ridiculous in cyberspace, just wait. Our favorite aria has to be “I make awesome decisions in bike stores.” Find out what yours is by watching the clip below.

Love is in the air … so is anti-love

The celebrity musician zeitgeist got a workout this week with multiple hook-ups and break-ups. In one corner we have Kelly Pickler and Carlos Santana getting hitched (not to each other) and Selena Gomez getting with the Biebs. In the other corner, John Mellencamp announced his divorce from Elaine Irwin and Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal split. Love wins by a hair (a Bieber hair, the most powerful kind).

The Bad

Chuck Berry collapses onstage during Chicago concert

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry collapsed onstage in Chicago on New Year’s Day as his guitar was being tuned before the show started. After being rushed off stage, the 84-year-old legend returned 15 minutes later and tried to pick up his guitar to play. A man approached Berry and escorted him back offstage. Finally Berry returned to apologize to fans for being too weak to perform. “They’re afraid I’ll do my scoot,” he explained. Berry’s rep later reported that the singer was suffering from exhaustion.

The Ugly

Will Oldham attacks Bill and Melinda Gates Charity Foundation

Will Oldham

Bonnie Prince Billy wasn’t so bonny in an interview with Fogged Clarity this week. The man behind the alternative folk act, Will Oldham, had a lot to say about the ulterior motives behind Mr. and Mrs. Gates charity efforts. His take on Bill Gates thought process went thusly: “I want to eradicate cholera, so I can get another motherfucker to buy my computer.” We’re not sure that third-world kids will be rushing to the nearest Best Buy to buy a Dell, but what do we know?

Courtney Love’s tweets lead to defamation lawsuit

Courtney Love

After Courtney Love was asked to pay up for custom clothing made for her by designer Dawn Simorangkir, the singer reacted with her characteristic grace, calling the designer a “drug-pushing prostitute” on her Twitter page. Now Love is being sued for defamation of character. The trial is set for February. Hope one of those bespoke garments is proper courtroom attire.

Miscellany

Just Dance

Magdalena

There are lots of dissimilarities between Magdalena and Lady Gaga, but probably one of the bigger ones is their song “Poker Face.” Lady Gaga’s is, well, you’ve heard it. Magdalena’s “Poker Face” is deeper, more cinematic. Breathless and insistent, the song is built on keys of every shape and sound. The Chico, California band are unapologetic pianophiles. On the ebullient, poppy “I Only Wanted” the keys chirp and squeal. On the excellent “Making Things Right” they pulse and reverberate. On “Holding On” they set an elegiac mood before hyperkinetic drum and bass beat kicks in. (If there a song that’s perfect for crying on the dance floor, it’s this one.) Though the ivories often get center stage, there’s plenty of other stuff going on: tinny digital textures, cascading guitars, thrashing drums. Magdalena have created their own original sound, and in that regard and that regard only, they’re just like Gaga.

Steal Away

Time Is A Thief

“Time is a thief that will steal your tomorrows.” B.B. King said that once. With Irish rockers Time Is A Thief, losing days doesn’t seem that improbable—the music can be pretty enthralling. Hailing from County Cork, the band churns out polyrhythmic, jolting pop rock. A panacea for dull, listless days, “Crazy Moon” is a high-speed kiss off of frothy guitars, thrashing drums, and sexy, swaggering vocals. Not having a good time isn’t an option. “Water Skin” begins with a serpentine guitar line, leading the listener through angular, shifting arrangements that give way to a coasting chorus. Time Is A Thief are mercurial songwriters, jumping from one part to the next with ease. And they love to kick up some distortion while they’re at it. If those sound like two things you can get with, have a listen. Just keep an eye on the time.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Thom Yorke building massive human statue to fight climate change

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is looking to recruit 2,000 volunteers to build a massive human statue to fight climate change this weekend. The statue will fight climate change by punching the clouds with its 4,000 fists. OK, not really. It’s more of a symbolic fight. Yorke’s human statue is one of 16 planned around the world to be photographed by a satellite from space. The event will raise awareness around the United Nations’ meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to discuss an international climate treaty.

Arcade Fire and Spike Jonze unite for “The Suburbs” video

Arcade Fire has released their video for “The Suburbs,” and it’s not a cheery tale of Bed, Bath & Beyond and Applebee’s. The video is directed by Spike Jonze, and, much like his work in Where The Wild Things Are, combines youth, nostalgia, and unexpected violence. Watch it below.

The Bad

Quincy Jones gives Kanye West the big diss

Don’t tell Quincy Jones that he has anything in common with Kanye West. Them’s fighting words. In an interview with Us Magazine, Jones responded to the observation that he and West are both hugely successful producers with total disdain. “No way. Did he write for a symphony orchestra? Does he write for a jazz orchestra? Come on man, he’s just a rapper.” West has yet to respond to this ego bruise publicly, but if Twitter suddenly explodes, you’ll know why.

The Ugly

Kings of Leon looking for ugly people

Calling all pockmarked, scarred and sundry busted people! Kings of Leon are looking for individuals with physical deformities for their next video shoot. Has anyone ever made a joke about your face breaking their camera? Do horses whinny when you pass by? Capitalize on your plainness—the band is paying $300 a day. Uh … are they sure this isn’t the video for “Use Somebody”?

Miscellany

King of Pain

Chip Greene’s métier is matters of the heart. That alone doesn’t make him an original, but his meticulous examination of all the intricacies of a relationship is a great deal more detail-oriented than average. Hailing from Nashville, TN, Greene pens wistful tales of love and loss. His classic approach to melody is updated with layers of electronic textures, yielding atmospheric pop gems. “Everything About You” is as catchy as it is sentimental, with bright bursts of guitars and keyboards providing the emotional thrust. “Precious Time” charts the trajectory of a relationship through sparkling digital waves and jangling guitars. “I know the past has left you a little unsatisfied,” Greene sings. It’s clearly left him unsatisfied as well. But be grateful that Greene’s been through the emotional ringer—the upside to being downhearted is that it often yields some pretty poignant material.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

OK Go releases “Last Leaf” video

If you read this column with any regularity, you know that if OK Go releases a video, it’s likely to show up here. Today we present you with “Last Leaf,” wherein a few slices of toast provide the backdrop for a poignant, stop-motion vignette. We still can’t tell if the animation is etched onto the toast itself, or projected. Either way, it’s a bread-winner. Hope you like.

Best duets this week—Conan and Jack or Rihanna and Jon?

Does the joy on Jon Bon Jovi’s face when a culturally relevant (and minxy) pop star joins him onstage do it for you? Or is it seeing Conan O’Brien wield an axe and do his best rockabilly snarl? You don’t have to answer yet—watch the clips below and then decide who wins the week’s best duet.

The Bad

NKTOBSB co-headlining tour

Muffle your squeals, 30-year-olds! New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys have joined forces FOR THE OLD-ENOUGH-TO-BE-YOUR-DAD TOUR*. Stop thinking about your mortgages and toddlers and rediscover the glory of A.J. McLean’s goatee!

*Not the real tour name, but it should be.

Keith Richards attacks Swedish journalist

Strangely enough, it seems a lifetime of soaking your liver in Jack Daniels doesn’t mellow you out. Keith Richards found this out when confronted with a reporter who had negatively reviewed a Rolling Stones concert in 2007, calling the band “amateurs.” Richards hoisted himself off his rocker* and demanded the reporter, Markus Larsson of the Swedish publication Aftonbladets, apologize. When that didn’t happen, Richards proceeded to give Larsson a couple wallops about the head, hissing, “You’re lucky to get out of here alive.” Don’t feel bad, Markus. At his age, Richards is lucky to get out of anywhere alive.**

*not really
**snap.

The Ugly

Courtney Love shows The New York Times what class looks like

Courtney’s school of class involves getting tipsy before your interview with The New York Times, sending the reporter and photographer up to your room at the Mercer Hotel, then showing up an hour later drunk and completely naked. Read this indelible tale of elegance and refinement in its entirety here.

Miscellany

 


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