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Archive for the ‘Pop’ Category

Änglagård to play acoustic set at NEARfest

Monday, March 31st, 2003

Go check out Änglagård’s website. It’s amazing. Also contains the important news that their set at NEARfest this year will be “unplugged”.

Hint: Sweden is several time zones ahead of those of us in the United States…

Bratty egomaniacs

Thursday, February 27th, 2003

This entry won’t mean anything to you if you don’t follow pop music: here’s is a neat quote I found from Freaky Trigger, in a piece where the author is talking about a Holly Valance song: “If I were a parent I’d be more worried about my kids liking this than liking Eminem (though even more worried if they didn’t like either).” Even better is this quote, stolen from the same article, this time where the author’s writing about Jennifer Lopez’s “Jenny From the Block”:

J-Lo’s calm, plainly pretty vocals are a real asset here cause the lack of inflection means you don’t really have to concentrate on the words she’s singing. Which are absurd certainly but sound much better if they’re just a hopscotch butterscotch nursery rhyme flowing over your forebrain and leaving no imprint. She’s not even being too dishonest – to have got where she is the original J from the B probably had to be a bratty egomaniac, rocks or no.

The cynical genius of Shania Twain

Saturday, February 1st, 2003

A few weeks ago I bought a copy of Shania Twain’s new album, Up!, for two reasons: it was on sale new for nine bucks, and I was curious about this concept of selling two versions of the same album, one “pop” and one “country”. For those of you who don’t pay any attention to popular music, Up! is a two-disc set - both discs contain the same 19 songs, but one is mixed as a pop album and one is mixed as a country album. I was rather disappointed to hear that they’re not really substantially different: the country disc replaces some synths and electric guitars with banjos and shit. But the vocals on both discs are exactly the same; only the backing instruments are changed. That’s weak, man. It’s also kind of a cynical statement on the part of Shania and producer/husband Mutt Lange on how close they think “country” music is to pop these days.

How about the music itself? I was thinking about writing about it, but then I read the (rather overly lengthy) review at The War Against Silence, and dude - those are exactly my thoughts. So no need. The best line? “Up! requires no preparation or acclimation, and rewards no dedication, unless you count getting the fold-out poster off the booklet staples.”

I will say this, though: whoever writes Shania’s songs (does she write her own? probably at least some of them, I’d guess) is a fucking genius in his or her own way. The album is so full of ridiculously catchy melodic hooks that it’s, well, ridiculous. Practically every song has two or three melodies that are somehow instantly appealing on some base level. No wonder she’s one of the top-selling artists in the past decade. Of course, there’s nothing there past the hooks, but I guess sometimes that’s enough.

Headphone bliss and… Britney Spears

Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

A couple weeks ago I got a pair of used Grado SR-125s along with an old Headroom Airhead portable headphone amp, for the sum of $175 (about what the Grado phones would cost new by themselves anyway). I’ve since been attached to my CD player. Everyone always says that a good new system or pair of headphones makes your CDs sound brand new again, and it’s so true. I A/Bed the Grados with my Sennheiser earbuds and even with my old Labtec computer headphones, and man. What a difference. I’ve been going through old CDs and hearing new stuff in all of ‘em. It’s a great way to prevent me from spending still more money on new CDs.

So here’s something that will make me lose all credibility with pretty much everyone. I found Britney Spears‘ new one (the creatively titled Britney) in the used bin, and on a weird whim (probably influenced by the review I read at PopMatters) I picked it up, glancing furtively around me to make sure no one I knew was nearby. Haha. After a fashion, it ain’t so bad. I mean, by this time we all expect cheesy bounciness out of this sort of music, and that’s what you get. It can be fun when you’re in the mood for something stupid.

Wow, did I really just post that? Allow me to hang my head in shame and get back to listening to Aksak Maboul on those Grados. :)