Signed, a Hollaback Girl

Filed under: music,rants @ 00:59

An open letter to Gwen Stefani;

Though your latest album is very good technically, you manage to pull of a mere “mediocre” aesthetically. Perhaps I am being unfair; I have simply heard samples from all the songs on your album but have heard only two songs in their entireties (What you waiting for? and Hollaback Girl). However, any album containing the latter must necessarily fall short of excellence. It is this song which this letter addresses.

Perhaps it is ironic that I am chastising you by verbiage rather than meeting you back at the bleachers (sans principals and student teachers, naturally) to engage in a pugilistic fracas the outcome of which would determine our relation in the current social hierarchy. I hope the irony is not lost on you, but after hearing the level of sophistication intrinsic in your lyrics, I must concede that that hope may be in vain.

As reported by imdb, you were born in 1969; thus, you are thirty-five years old. I bring this up not to debase you with unfair societal impressions regarding age and women (which, again ironically, is, in part, the subject of the other of your songs I have heard in full) but only to point out that your Junior High experience occurred roughly twenty years ago. Given that fact, and even setting propriety aside, how much artistic value is there in demanding some naive school girl set aside her pom-poms and face up to her back stabbing defamation by engaging in physical combat? Perhaps this song is a study in anachronism? Or in some otherwise incongruous juxtaposition? Alternatively, you may simply be trying too hard.

Actually, I think I can answer my own, above question dealing with artistic value. In the situation set forth in Hollaback Girl is a great deal of substance which could have been presented very poignantly in a piece of like theme. However, your song lyrically consists of callow, fatuous drivel: even below the level of typical pop. I expected better things from you. Previously I have had a great deal of respect for your work. If it weren’t for the fact that you are riotously hot, I might be even more critical of your recent work. As it is, I bigotedly and unabashedly make allowances.

Yours in Critique,


I saw the Messiah Tonight

Filed under: a group of folks,music,news @ 01:38

Handel’s, but still good.

The concert (only half of which was half of Handel’s piece) was a joint effort between four Caltech groups: the Chamber Singers (or thereabouts, I’ve left the program in my car), the Men’s Glee Club, the Women’s Glee Club and the Chamber Orchestra (in order of appearance). I should preface any further thoughts by noting that I had… not terribly high expectations. Caltech is a small place and so doesn’t have a large talent pool from which to fish. Also, we’re a skosh on the technical end of things; people talk about correlations between scientifically|mathematically minded people and musically minded people, but just because a person has the interest or the knowledge, doesn’t mean that person has the skill or the artistry. Violinists are the stereotypical exception. If you find a scientist or a mathematician who plays violin, chances are he|she is pretty good.

But on to the show. There were no seats left when we arrived. Paul.za and I found Katie and Ted and decided to sit on the hall steps where we could still hear (and to a great extent see) the ongoings. I ditched them, however, when I learned Michelle was sitting by herself (in a seat!) and that her neighbor had left. But, seriously. On to the show.

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In a Rut

Filed under: music @ 21:02

I need some music. I need it to rock my ass off and leave me wanting more. I don’t care about lyrics (as long as they don’t promote the cultish worship of the thrice bled baby, condemn interracial marriage, autc.). I’ll read a freakin’ book or some poetry if I want to hear some masterful language. I don’t care about what kind of crappy anecdotal information you can give me about the rhythm guitar player’s sister. Not unless the music ends up blowing me away and she’s absurdly hot. I don’t want some puerile crap that starts off weak and builds to anger-rock (or worse, stays weak). Angst, emo, a Jedi craves not these things; I need it to kick and I need it to kick now.

I care about soul. Beat, Bass lines, Groove, these I crave. I want to hear something ridiculous from an electric guitar, or a B3, or some tables, or somebody with a voice so good it doesn’t make sense. Be it electronic(a), funk, honest to God rock, jazz, pop, blues, throat singing, or zydeco: Gotta get me boppin’. Gotta get me rockin’. Gotta get me hollerin’ “oh yeah”.

If you think you’ve got something that can fulfill my demands, let me give it a try. But my ass better get itself good and rocked off.



Filed under: a group of folks,music,neat! @ 18:04

My dad went to a Death Cab for Cutie concert last night. Calling it a “cultural experience”, he says the (almost) last concert he went to was a Simon and Garfunkel in Chicago. And I’m sure he’s not talking about a reunion tour. Apparently he was a few standard deviations away from the mean age, but he saw lots of people there he knows (contemporaries of Allen’s or mine, people he knows from church, additional degrees of separation, etc.).

The sold out concert was, in his terms, “loud and energetic” and “not bad at all”. He certainly seems to have enjoyed himself.

I’m not sure I could ever have dragged either of my parents to a similar concert while I was in high school. Though, to be fair, I doubt I would have wanted to. But he’s good friends with a couple kids from church (juniors or seniors by now – damn), and they convinced him to go (without their parents of course).

Glad he had fun. Now if only he and Mom will go see the movies I tell them to.


Marc Broussard

Filed under: music @ 20:48

A few weeks ago, Marc Broussard’s “Come Around” was featured as iTunes’ free download of the week. It’s pretty kickin’. A good back-beat funk sound to it. I’ve listened to it a bit these past few days, so I decided it was finally time to check out some of his other stuff.


I don’t know what he’s trying to pull with these smooth R&B/Southern/White Boy College Rock tracks. His single is some pappy crap in the vein of John Mayer, and the rest of his songs are even worse. Worse except for “Home”: a decent Blues Rythm piece with a hint of anger-release-Rock (no – I did not say fusion – get that fleeting thought out of your head right now).

Now, iTunes did not have his debut album (Momentary Setback), which was apparently good enough to tour with some pretty big names (DMB, Willie Nelson, Tori Amos, Robert Randolph, O.A.R., Martin Sexton, moe., Bob Schneider, Maroon5, to name a few referenced by his website). Perhaps it’s better than his follow-up album. But going on what I’ve heard, it’s hard to understand. The style that seems to be more or less his bread and butter is pulled off with such… is there a better word than “blah” for the boredom and distain I feel when listening to his songs?… that it’s sort of shocking these couple of other songs are as good as they are.

And man, does he ever look like douche-bag.


I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You

Filed under: music,thoughts @ 18:05

I have just rediscovered the above song by the Bee Gees. Ok, so the Bee Gees version of the song isn’t great, but my does it ever have potential. Moxy Früvous does it alright. But man, I bet this could be stellar. It’s one of those songs that’s amenable to just about any style. I can imagine it being pretty rockin, or pretty funky for example. Put in a B-3 and let it wail.

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