Friday, 25 February 2011

Who doesn't need a doctor?

Real talk: Who would you most like to perform open heart surgery on you - Dr Dre, Dr Seuss or Dr Evil?

Dr Dre's second single 'I Need a Doctor' is his real comeback. It's not the first single to be taken from the long awaited 'Detox' but its definitely set to be the biggest. Firstly, it sees Dre reunited with his protege Eminem Secondly, there's actually been a bit of a build up for this one with snippets being leaked all over the internet forthe last couple of weeks and the video budget is pretty big. It's massive actually. Put it this way, it covers stacking a Ferrari, for starters. Still, there's a few things I was thinking whilst watching it for the first time and, as always, I thought I'd share them with you splendid bunch of halfwits and geniuses.

+ Dre's body is ridiculous. Just look at him. He looks like he's made out of lilos (if anyone knows the plural of lilo then let me know) for God's sake. In fact, I've got Dr Dre worked out here. Let's look at the facts - 'Straight Outta Compton' came out in '88. 'The Chronic' in '92. That's 23 and 18 years ago respectively. What I'm trying to say is, dude's old. In fact, Dre is 46. To that end, and being in the entertainment business and all, he's gotta try and look young, I get that. That body though. C'mon Andre. He's basically doing the body equilavent of that thing where you're talking to someone who's eating a plate of chips and you go "Woh! Look! a monster!" they turn around, and you steal a chip. It's called a distraction technique. If ya get big muscles people might not look at your old ass face. That sorta thing.

+ MTV often run 'Making The Video' programmes where they show you backstage and all that. These programmes don't even begin to convey how awkward I think making music videoes must actually be. Take 'I Need a Doctor' and in particular, the scene where Eminem is getting his first encounter with the comatose and broken Dre. He looks at him, is overtaken with emotion upon seeing his mentor in such a bad state and then spits his verse about saving Dre because Dre once saved him etc. What is this scene actually though, in real life? Well, really its Dre laying down in some warehouse studio, closing his eyes and then putting an oxygen mask on. Eminem then has to lip sync his verse and bust his hand movements out over Dre's horizontal (mammoth) frame. Pretty funny mental image. At some point someone then has to shout "CUT!" and they all just slunk off back to their Hollywood Hills mansions and prescription drugs addictions.

+ Respect to Dre for splicing the video with flashback shots and clips of his past. Particularly N.W.A. shots. Mainly because this song is a far, far cry from all that. In every way possible. Tone, years and let's be honest, basic quality.

+ Eminem with brown hair still looks wrong. You can't help but think you've caught him off guard when you see a picture of him with that sad little brunette buzz cut. It's like walking in on your dad putting his toupee on. Dad can say nothing. All he can do is look at you, his face racked with shame and disappointment. All you're left with is the thought that under that Elvis quiff of his, Daddy actually looks like a boiled egg.

+ 'irlm2414' on the YouTube comments of this video says " dont understand how people dislike it... the people who dislike it probably dont know about music or they not even fans of dre nd em,, well if ur not a fan dont come watch the video nd that way you dont loose loose your time." I don't know what any of that means.

It's good to have Dre back anyway. I'm not massively keen on this song, I must say. I quite like the female hook but other than that, nah. Eminem's and Dre's verses are exactly what you'd expect from them, regrettably. Yeah, you know what I'm saying, this plane is on auto-pilot, yet again.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

"I'm the one who's fighting."

What has happened to Bruce Wayne? Chill on the crack Bruce, God.

The first quarter of 2011 was always going to be about three films for me. 'Black Swan', 'The Fighter' and 'True Grit.' Last Saturday, I saw 'The Fighter' at my local cinema and if you'll allow me to assume the character of Meat Loaf momentarily, I'll say "...two outta three ain't bad." By that, I mean I've only seen two out of three so far (True Grit this week) and they were more than 'ain't bad' actually, both were, very much in their own ways, very very good films. That really didn't work there, I'll admit. I just wanted to mention Meat Loaf, okay?

'The Fighter' centralises around the relationship between two brothers. Dickie (Bale) is a washed up former champion who is hooked on crack and bad living. Delusional about making his "big comeback" he is his little brother Micky's (Wahlberg) hero, biggest fan and in equal amounts, main source of inspiration and overriding negative influence. My readers are all people with good taste and I'm sure you'll watch this film, for that reason I won't spoil the story too much here. I'll just say that based on the true story of ex WBU champion Micky Ward, it's safe to say that Micky's fights and battles are fought outside of the ring as much as they are in it. Bale has, naturally, lost an incredible amount of weight to play the crack addled Dickie and if you read reports that I just googled maybe as much as a THIRD of his body weight. Reports that Madonna is on the 'Dickie Diet' still remain unconfirmed.

I'm hung up on you.

As always, a film is only as good as its actors/actresses. 'The Fighter' excels here with Bale, Wahlberg and Melissa Leo all putting in memorable performances. Bale's madcap and unpredictable, Wahlberg put upon and downtrodden and Leo is fantastic as the dominating matriarch. Above all, though, what makes 'The Fighter' a story worth telling and a film worth watching is the fact that the producers had, due to the nature of the film, a real need to include what I like to call 'emotional sporting moments set to music'. I'm not sure if anyone else experiences this like I do but man, emotional sporting clips just tear me up. Whether it's someone clinching victory in the dying seconds or breaking down in tears at a cruel defeat, things like this always coincide with me getting something in my eye. Micky's final championship shot fight is a great example of this and for me, was pretty emotional. I went to watch this film with my girlfriend and we've been going out for years now, for that reason she's cool with me wearing sunglasses to the cinema if we're watching emotional sporting films.

Oh because I haven't done any puns so far,'The Fighter' is a real knockout that keeps you hooked into the final round etc etc. Ten points for including 'How You Like Me Now?' by The Heavy on the soundtrack too. Tune is the definition of inspiring next level shit. Fact fans, I just played it three times consecutively whilst doing topless sit-ups. I am, however, happy to concede that I still look more like Mark Zuckerberg than Mark Wahlberg :*(

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Indie Rockers Can Swear Too - #4 - Wilco

Wonder if anyone has ever been to A&E after burning themselves by burning a flag. Smash the state!

Music can be like a life yardstick sometimes. You can peg memories onto songs, albums or musical movements and know that forever and a day those notes will make you instantly recall something or another. Happy and sad, meaningful and inconsequential. It really can be quite powerful. For me, I still can't hear 'Wannabe' without wanting to be 10 again sliding on my knees around the local disco with the girls looking on adoringly. I think it was adoring glances, I didn't really have any concept of reading emotions back then. They were probably thinking "He's going to ruin his trousers doing that. The child." Still, you know what I'm getting at here.

Today's swear song, for quite a long time, reminded me of being naked. Yes, I know. Grotesque. Still, read on and all will become clear. Like, erm, how clear you can see once the rain has gone.

4. Wilco - Ashes of American Flags

"All my lies are always wishes..."

'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' is my favourite album of all time. I make no secret of it. I say that because I believe it to be faultless from start to finish and I'm still amazed by how every single second of it feels deliberate, considered. I bought 'Yankee...' when it was released in 2002 and for the first few months of my ownership, a weird pattern started emerging. For some reason or another I was struggling to find the time to listen to new CDs I had bought then. The only real window I had was when I was in the bath so this is what I did with 'Yankee...'. Thing was, for about a month I only listened to it in the bath and after a while the only thing I could associate the album with was, of course, bath times. Tweedy would chime in with some of his cryptic and coded lines and all I'd be thinking of would be lavender bubble bath and looking down at my exposed little beer gut and enormous appendage. In short, I nearly ruined this record with my ridiculous mental associations. With time, though, 'Ashes of American Flags' was the song that started to hook me in. I started listening to the song obsessively and then the record and before long, I didn't listen to anything else for the rest of the year.

A few years ago I use to have this recurring dream that was pretty interesting. It was more dramatic, in a dark way, actually but yeah, here's how it played out. In the dream, I'd be in an exam hall doing, guess what, an exam. Not alone, there'd be a whole load of people all doing the exam too. Anyway, I'd turn over the page and the only question on the paper read "Write out a song word for word overleaf. If you make any mistakes, your life will end." So, as I said pretty dark, isn't it? Simple rules really, write a song out, get it right and live. Ever since then I've often thought about what song I'd do if that situation ever occurred.* I'm now quite sure it would be 'Ashes of American Flags'. Simply beacause there aren't any records I know better than 'Yankee...' and no songs I love or have listened to more than 'Ashes..'. This song, for me, is the archetypal Jeff Tweedy lyric too. Obtuse and abstract to a point yet still catching you off guard now and then with stunningly simple lines that need no deciphering, "I know I would die if I could come back new," it doesn't get any plainer or remorseful than that.

As if it wasn't good enough anyway, there's also a great curse here. A curse that actually makes a beautifully poetic point. Listen out for it and then change all your forum signatures and engravings on your iPod. Go on, it'll make you look coolly detached and clever. I promise.

# of words - 1
Severity of words - The second worst one to youknowwhat
Manner of delivery - It's a good point.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Indie Rockers Can Swear Too - #3 - Elliott Smith

Face of a boxer, voice of an angel.

Three days into 'Indie Rockers...' now and we're yet to have a really sad one so, without any further ado, here's Elliott Smith. Don't look at me like that now. I mean, like I was ever going to write a succession of these posts without featuring him at least once, c'mon man.

3. Elliott Smith - I Didn't Understand

"Tonight, tomorrow and every day..."

This entry is inspired by an exchange I recently had on my Twitter about Elliott Smith and in particular this song. If you know the man's music fairly well, you'll know that I could've picked about ten songs of Elliott's for this list. Safe to say, he was down with a naughty word. 'I Didn't Understand' is a bit different to most simply because it just takes your breath away, away, away. It starts out a little like 'Because' by The Beatles (which Elliott once covered, incidentally) and ends up as the best acapella song you have, and ever will, hear. Not once do you notice the lack of instruments when there's so many angelic voices swirling around beneath that crushingly resigned and impossibly pretty lead vocal.

This is one of those songs that you absolutely cannot have on in the background - seriously, try it. Really all you can do is sit still and listen. Only when it is finished can you then get on with your little life and whatever you were doing. Just listen to the song, you'll see what I mean.

# of words - 3
Severity of words - The second worst one to youknowwhat x 2, an everyday one it is sort of okay for kids to use.
Manner of delivery - Sad but very listenable. Over and over again.