“Scream & Shout” – will.i.am feat. Britney Spears

•November 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In “About My Blog” I stated that I want starcollecteur to primarily be a place to discover new music that you love and to reminisce about old music that you love.  I also admitted that every now and then I might indulge in a “so bad it’s good” moment.  One of those moments is happening right now.  I wouldn’t say this is so bad it’s good; I’d say this is so mediocre it’s mediocre.  I’ve only watched the video once and I realized immediately that I must preserve my scientific observations for posterity.  I’m not trying to be a jerk.  I’m simply saying that when you have millions of dollars at your disposal, and therefore access to the best of everything that the music industry has to offer, what you put out for public consumption should be superior.  I refuse to be an enabler and say, “Oh, yeah, that’s nice, will.i.am!  You’re such an innovator.”  No.  I won’t do it.

If this song becomes a hit, I’m going to lose my freaking mind.  Can’t even yell at will.i.am for the beat, as it turns out this was produced by Basto.  I’ll be honest.  I don’t know enough about him one way or the other to comment.  Fact is the beat is fine but nothing special.

This song is one big denouement.  NOTHING HAPPENS!  Not musically, not lyrically, nothing happens in the video… I AM BORED.

OBSERVATIONS (Follow along with the video, or don’t.  It’s fun for all ages either way!):

1) “I like this butterfly…and this butterfly…”

2) Triangle = Illuminati.

3) I personally have no control over the volume of music played in the club.

4) Britney has a horrific and pointless British accent.

5) You need will.i.am’s i.am+ camera enhancer.  It comes in cool colors/patterns!

6) I wouldn’t mind an iPad hooked up to an old-fashioned typewriter.

7) The “Britney, bitch” sample from “Gimme More.”  She barely even needed to show up to the studio to be “featured” in this song.

8) You should really look into a waterproof case for your phone.

9) Robot hand.

10) will.i.am is the king of something or other.

11) Flares attached to a champagne bottle.  EXPLODE!

12) The gold axe is all right.

13) Louboutins.

14) Bring the ax-tion.  Ha!  Get it?  He says, “action,” while we see a disco ball being smashed with an ax.  Coincidence?

15) Britney only dances with her upper body now.

16) Beats by Dre products are fire/explosion hazards.

17) You need one of will.i.am’s ode to DeLorean cars.

18) Replica of will.i.am’s head made of wax or resin or something.

19) Maschine.

20) Live mounted human heads.

21) Use a net to capture a gold statue of a lady.  The net is unnecessary.  But fun!

22) Gold!

Pretty hilarious, actually.  Certainly random.  But, all in all, just one long commercial.  And just in time for the holidays!

To be fair, I did also listen to the song alone without the video.  I enjoy the harmonies in the chorus.  The song is FINE.  I ain’t mad at it.  But I wouldn’t waste a stamp to mail a handwritten letter on my personalized stationery to my mom about it.

In summary: Underwhelmed.  See Brit’s facial expression below.

“Stay Crunchy” – Ronald Jenkees

•November 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This song is rad to listen to, and the title is entirely fitting.  There is indeed an element of auditory cruchiness which is a concept I have not pondered before.

I’ve got to tell you, I’m having trouble finding words for this one, and that is always a positive sign.  It’s both retro and futuristic at once, and it’s meeting me right in the middle, making the here and now the only place in which I could conceivably exist at this moment.  Wow, really?  I’m a bit crunchy myself.

The album is called Disorganized Fun.  On the contrary, I find this track to be quite organized.  And still fun.  All of the elements feel precise.  Every facet has its part to play; nothing is wasted here.  Nothing is hitting me over the head, insisting on being acknowledged and applauded and admired.  I’m not being forced into anything.  Electronic instrumentals usually bring up specific emotions and vivid mental pictures for me, as demanded by the atmospheres of the songs, but that’s not happening this time.  Here we have a blank canvas on which to paint whatever you like.  I have a vague thought of falling into a peaceful slumber in the window seat of an airplane at sunset, and that is all.  I am literally pleased as punch to simply sit here and listen to this several times over.  Honestly it’s just nice.  Evidently I really like the song.

In summary: Good job, song.  You are enough.

Also, if you haven’t before, watch Ronald Jenkees play.

“All Fall Down” – Camo & Krooked (feat. Shaz Sparks)

•November 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Miss me?  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged.  Please forgive me, for my absence was unavoidable.  I was busy learning the finer points of multi-camera sitcom technique and found my brain to be supersaturated most days.  But now I’m back with a tasty selection for you!

Just in case you need a reminder, this is dubstep, so listening with headphones or good speakers is highly recommended.

Did anyone watch the AMAs?  I didn’t, because why?  Just horrible.  All I needed to know about the AMAs I saw the next day on the internets in the form of Psy/Hammer.  What I didn’t need to know was that the introduction to and nominations in the EDM (electronic dance music) category were especially obnoxious.  Our only options for excellence in the field of EDM are Skrillex, David Guetta, and Calvin Harris?   Watch and be nauseated.

What I’m getting at here is that EDM has been around since before most of us were born.  I don’t know if it’s “increasingly important” but it is constantly evolving, and I love that.  I often listen to some of this more melodic dubstep that I’ve been finding and I think, “We have this, yet we choose to anoint Skrillex the unquestioned king of dubstep?”  I’ve lost patience for people whose art is x for the sake of x.  In Skrillex’s case, that would be cacophony just cuz.  Regardless of genre, I still want my music to be pleasing to the ear, damn it.

This gets the job done awesomely, I want to dance all night and get shit accomplished in life, and thank you one and all for making it shorter than four minutes!  It’s all we need.

In summary: 1:22 happened and I left my body.

Also, attractive Austrians:

 

 

“Search and Destroy” – The Stooges

•November 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Election Night calls for The Stooges.  The antithesis of Wolf Blitzer is Iggy Pop.

We’ve all been inundated with the buildup to this for years now.  I’ve reached my saturation point and it looks like I’m not alone.  On CNN they just showed a guy in a ballot counting room somewhere in Florida and he looked like he wanted to jump out of a window.  But he was in a warehouse, so no dice.  

I just listened to this song while watching CNN on mute.  It was much more fascinating and enjoyable than expected.  John King started playing with the infographics on his touch screen just as Iggy sang, “Look out honey ’cause I’m usin’ technology.”  So that worked out.

In summary: Roseanne for President.

 

“Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell

•November 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have always liked this song and I always will.  I’m pretty sure that we are all quite familiar with it.  We all know and love the creepy but not too scary schizophrenia video, Rockwell’s funny voices, and Michael Jackson featured in the chorus.  So let’s not analyze this to death and just enjoy it.

Happy Halloween!

And for the love of God, Rockwell, put some clothes on.

In summary: “Thriller” would’ve been too obvious.

“Leave Me Alone” – Natalie Imbruglia

•October 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I somehow overlooked this one off of Natalie Imbruglia’s ubiquitous 1998 album Left of the Middle.  I was probably too busy singing along to “Torn.”

Very Portishead-y, isn’t it?  Everyone and his mom is saying that Portishead actually had something to do with this track, but I can’t seem to find any evidence of that aside from people’s YouTube comments (if you can call them “people” or their words “comments”).  Best one: “this was the most horrible thing Portishead could do to them selves: allowing a pop singer with an avarage voice to embarras the the orchestra on top of it all.”  Umm… What?

Isn’t it frustrating that now when someone posts a video on YouTube and credits it to “Natalie Imbruglia & Portishead” and lists the description as, “Natalie Imbrugalia sampled by Portishead from album Left of the Middle,” everyone just believes it?  Never mind the fact that Left of the Middle is Natalie Imbruglia’s album, so if anything it would be Portishead sampled by Natalie Imbruglia, not the other way around.  It makes me so angry!  If we do not have accuracy for posterity, what do we have?!

Let’s get back to the song.  I love it.  I’m perfectly happy that someone saw fit to adopt Portishead’s aesthetic and I’m sure if we look back to 1998 we’ll find that this wasn’t the only time that someone copied the musical style of a successful act.  Natalie handles the vocals capably.  My favorite line: “You like me to stroke you.  Careful I don’t choke you.”  Haha yes!  “Leave me alone” is uttered in my internal monologue at least twice per average evening at an LA bar.

The only parts of this song which I simply cannot abide are the sections with this pseudo-skipping record type of effect and Natalie’s voice sounding as though they asked her to pinch her nose closed.  Someone should’ve gone to (for my Project Runway fans) the Nina Garcia Fashion Director of Marie Claire Magazine school of editing and chopped that right out.

In summary: Your standard late ’90s trip hop goodness.  And pretty eyes.

 

“Spooky” – Classics IV

•October 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This song in not expressly intended for Halloween (though the holiday is mentioned within).  I find it perfectly groovy anytime but it does come to mind more frequently this time of year.

It is a bit spooky, isn’t it?  The whistling sound with occasional cowbell that might be a ghost or maybe it’s just the wind.  The guitar, the sax… It’s jazzy and cool.  I always picture some sort of mysterious Morticia Addams-type lady as the subject of this song.  [Ed. Note: I recall telling my mom when I was little that I liked the name Morticia and thought it would be a good name for my future daughter.  She explained to me why that wouldn’t be the best idea.  I didn’t care.  I liked it anyway and I still do.]  She’s beautiful and sexy in an understated way but you feel like you might not know all there is to know about her.  And what you don’t know might be dark.  Really she’s just into taxidermy and has always been ostracized because of it, and she prefers to wear black, and she enjoys gravehunting, but other than that she’s totes normal.  She will definitely appreciate your Halloween evening proposal.  The cover art, which I’ve only just discovered, acts in support of the theory I’ve held all along.

In summary: Guys dig spooky chicks.

 

 

“Run for Cover” – Kito ft. Reija Lee

•October 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Time to bust out your headphones or your surprisingly powerful little portable speakers once again and play this in HD.  If within the first seven seconds your song reminds me of my favorite 8-bit songs from Mega Man 6 for original NES, it goes on the blog.

The main thing that I’m loving about these dubstep / liquid dubstep / chillstep / drumstep / whichever-subgenre-these-technically-are songs that I’m posting is that they are layer cakes of electronic goodness.  In direct opposition to a song like Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” to which I involuntarily kept listening in spite of myself because it’s catchy and repetitive and I already knew the whole thing inside and out and it was lodged in my head and I wondered if the only way to get it out was to listen to it one more time, a song like “Run for Cover” invites multiple listens because I’ve already listened to it at least a dozen times and I realize that I barely know it yet.  Presently I’m hooked on the harmony in the chorus.

Speaking of the chorus, you’ll notice that someone put significantly more thought into these lyrics than what is standard in the world of dubstep & friends.  The metaphors!  The similes!  She knows this isn’t good for her but she can’t stop and she doesn’t want to.  Oh my God, that’s exactly how I feel about dubstep!  It cannot be good for me, but “it’s like magnets are pulling me, deeper and deeper.”  Everything about this is addictive.  Frankly the whole package is damn sexy.  Kito and Reija Lee are two badass Australian women bringing a more complex and melodic feel to dubstep and they are so hot right now.  I tried writing about this song earlier today but it just didn’t seem right in the morning.  This is your new after midnight jam.

In summary: Dubstep, we’ll never be right, with or without each other.

“Givin’ Up Food for Funk” – The J.B.’s

•October 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I gave up food for funk and lost ten pounds!  And you can, too!

It’s hard to eat and dance at the same time.  Although the cover art seems to indicate that one can still ingest peas.

This song likely sounds pretty familiar even if you’ve never heard the original before.  It’s just another of our Funk Friday selections that has been heavily sampled over the years because it kicks so much ass.

The J.B.’s were James Brown’s band.  Therefore they were belonging to James Brown, so I will allow the seemingly incorrect apostrophe usage.  James sometimes joined them on keys for recordings.  How about that!  Cool guy.  He just loved funk.  My goal in life is to love something as much as James Brown loved funk.

In summary: Demonstrates that you are good to go with singing just one phrase in your funk song.

“At the Helm” – Hieroglyphics feat. Del tha Funkee Homosapien

•October 18, 2012 • 1 Comment

Rap ain’t about bustin’ caps and fuckin’ bitches

It’s about fluency with rhymin’ ingenuity

Some time ago I told you of my undying and unparalleled love of underground hip hop (particularly from the late ’90s through mid-’00s.  I’m working on bringing my realm of knowledge up to the present.)  I hadn’t returned to this topic because there are so  many fine examples to share that I didn’t know where to start.  The wonderful news is that I have finally made an executive decision so today we discuss Hieroglyphics.  I’m not sure how much “discussion” will be involved; I will extol this song’s virtues and you will agree with me.  I now rule this blog with an iron fist.  Well…just for today.  Maybe.  I mean, if that’s ok with you.

First I selected the artist(s).  I am in love with nearly the entire Hiero catalog so from there, choosing a standout for today was no easy task.  After much listening and head nodding I selected “At the Helm” as the lucky winner.

Hieroglyphics is a collective consisting of several rappers and producers who have also collaborated with many others over the years, so once you get to know these guys you find that there is a ton of new music to attempt to wrap your head around.  So much fun.  The collective’s founder and my personal favorite is Del tha Funkee Homosapien, the featured rapper on this track.  He is best known to the mainstream audience from his days working with Gorillaz.  Del has one of the most distinctive and skilled voices in the biz.

This song inspires me to get.  shit.  done.  Del’s lyrical mastery results in the ultimate pep talk.  The beat has a heavy feel that puts me in mind of trudging through muck, but with determination, because you know it’s necessary in order to get where you want to be.  The harpsichord is the intermittent flash of inspiration that keeps you on track.

How does this man do what he does?  I guess he must have taken his own good advice.  I strongly encourage you to really listen to these lyrics.  They are awe inspiringly intricate, and I believe that no matter what you’re striving for in life, you will find at least one phrase in this song that will make you rethink the way you’re approaching a challenge.  The one that really does it for me is, “Your defeatist attitude will get you nowhere fast.”  When we were kids we heard all the time that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.  Now as adults, sources of encouragement are often few and far between.  With so many external obstacles and naysayers coming at us from all directions we sometimes need to be reminded that each one of us truly is the one responsible for our own path and happiness.

In summary: It’s hard to be inspiring without being cheesy.  Mission dopely accomplished.