Monday, February 16, 2009

Over and Under Rated 2 (2009)

Over Rated

Destroying Musical Instruments

When Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire it was revolutionary, when the Sex Pistols destroyed everything on the stage it was cool, when hair bands stomped out drum kits with platform boots and spandex suits it was getting old, by the 90’s, grunge bands leaving the stage in shambles became a cliche (shout out to the guy from Nirvana taking that guitar to the face at the MTV Awards...that was cool), and any band that does it now is just stupid.  There is no reason to destroy thousands of dollars worth of equipment so a few of your fans will think you are cool, if they came to your show they were probably “fans” to begin with and cracking a $10,000 guitar over an amplifier is not going to make them like you any more.  It is dumb, it’s not only old and overdone, it’s ancient, it’s been around since at least the 60’s, so trying to shock your audience by trashing your equipment is about as effective as trying to shock them by showing them a Model-T or telling them about a new invention called a’s not shocking, it’s not cool, it’s dumb and so are the bands that do it.

Also, musicians that mistreat their equipment in this manner should be immediately kicked out of “Save The Music.”  I don’t need some jacka** urging me to donate money so an underprivileged kid can have a xylophone one minute and then bashing a bass guitar to pieces the next.  Here’s an idea, donate those instruments to needy kids instead of breaking them up for no reason, poor kids will have access to instruments and you will not look like such a  

“Fat” Jessica Simpson

I had no desire to address this “issue” until I was looking for the newest issue of XXL at Target and saw this on the cover of 5 magazines (no exaggeration).  First of all, I don’t like Jessica Simpson, never did.  I always thought she was an “also ran” in the Brittany/Christina era of the late 90’s, her raging stupidity on “Newlyweds” made me long for the intellectual complexities of “Viva La Bam” and her complete lack of commitment to any musical genre (pop, dance, ballads, country, what’s next? I’m pretty sure she would yodel if her father thought it would sell) angers me in ways I can’t fully articulate.  

However, the fact that this has print media and the internet going nuts is baffling.  When did a struggling country artist that is currently on a nationwide tour of amusement parks and radio station festivals (and it looks like she’s the opening act because it’s still light out in all the pictures) gaining weight become a national emergency?  Secondly, the magazines running comparison shots of publicity photos from “The Dukes of Hazard” and comparing them to pics of her performing live as “Then & Now” are completely out of line because there is no way to compare professionally photographed, retouched and air brushed publicity shots to what some aspiring paparazzi took at Six Flags Over Texas.  It is like comparing a regular person’s appearance in a family portrait from “The Sears Photo Studio” to their pics from a party...yeah the subject is the same, but all the other variables make a legitimate comparison almost impossible. 

There is also a magazine available now with the quote “I’m Not Fat!”, which is usually placed right next to a competing tabloid with the headline “Jessica Vows to Lose 20 Lbs. by Summer”  Well, which one is it?  Either you need to lose 20 lbs. or you are not fat, it can’t be both.  This whole thing reeks of a diet/supplement/workout video campaign and if this broad is not on a Jenny Craig or LA Fitness commercial by 4th of July I’ll be more shocked than Kid Cudi at All-Star weekend.  

Rolling Stone magazine taking itself way too seriously

I currently have a subscription to Rolling Stone because of a Beastie Boys T-shirt I purchased in the summer that included a free one year subscription.  I used to enjoy reading Rolling Stone for the in-depth artist interviews and unbiased album/single/movie reviews, however in the past year they have abandoned their roots as a Rock-n-Roll magazine in favor of constantly bashing the Bush administration, unwavering support of Obama and overly-serious articles about prescription drugs, various wars and the economy.  I’m not saying I agree or disagree with their politics or that these issues should not be addressed, but this is not why I buy Rolling Stone.  I read Rolling Stone to find out if I should buy the new Gym Class Heroes album or see The Wrestler, not to be told how to vote in the next presidential election. 

Also, the covers have taken an air of self-importance that is unparalleled in the entertainment industry.  I applaud their efforts to differentiate themselves from tabloids like “Us Weekly” or “In Touch” and to distance themselves from questionable cover subjects in recent memory (the cast of The Hills...really?), but the last three covers have featured serious photos of stern looking older men (Brad Pitt, Bruce Springsteen and Sean Penn) and contained incredibly grandiose interviews that would make Will Ferrell’s impersonation of James Lipton seem subtle and understated.  I like Brad Pit, Seven and Fight Club are two of my favorite movies, but reading about how “important” and “revolutionary” The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is, was a little too much to take.  

Finally, how about some music? While most issues are more about “issues” than music, at least they didn’t completely abandon popular music to focus on Reality TV like MTV and VH1. 

Under Rated


No, not Brian Austin Green (The Notorious B.A.G.), but calling someone any kind of “bag” is a great insult that seems to be falling out of favor.  But literally, all the possible variations work: Old Bag, Ho Bag, Bag of Bones, Hot Air Bag...the options are limitless.  Next time you are being ridiculed throw a “Ho Bag” or “Old Bag” out there (depending on the situation) and I guarantee you will win the argument hands down. 

Putting Albums Out When The Lead Single is Still Hot

Labels are losing so much on album releases that they are putting products on the shelf until there is either a deafening buzz surrounding the project or the artist is several singles deep based on the idea that potential consumers are more likely to buy a CD containing 5 songs they like rather than one or two.  Sometimes this works, last year Cash Money/Universal released Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop” in March and held the album until mid-June, leading to selling a million copies in a week an eventually having the best selling album of 2008. However, more often albums are held and any buzz the artist had going has completely dissipated by the time the album hits stores or the net.  It appears the next victim of this approach to marketing will be Kid Cudi, his single “Day-n-Night” has been in heavy rotation since late November and there is no album on the horizon a full four months later.  It is widely discussed that attention spans are getting shorter, and this approach to album marketing is clearly not working.  I almost miss the days when if if a rapper had a hot single the label would slap together a collection of mix-tape songs, guest appearances and remixes and call that the album..almost.

The Human Body’s Immune System

There is no reason for healthy men and women to apply hand sanitizer every time they touch their own wallet, be mortally terrified of public restrooms and avoid shaking hands like professional baseball players avoid telling the truth in court. I am the biggest advocate of “clean living” out there, but this is absurd.  I don’t know anybody that has contracted a flesh eating disease from normal human contact and I’m pretty sure in areas where this is  a real possibility (a rain forest, swamp or jungle, NOT suburban New Jersey), a pocket-size bottle of Purrell or handi-wipes are not going to save you.  

For an example of the resiliency of the human body look to the homeless, these people live outside, sleep on sidewalks and exhaust grates, eat food that has been slobbered on by other people, use copious amounts of drugs with shared paraphernalia and rarely, if ever wash and they usually die from getting hit by taxi’s or lit on fire by punk high school kids, they are rarely done in by a condition resulting from excessive exposure to germs. 

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