Monday, July 26, 2004

and look at that - i hit the 'post' button a few times and suddenly I have things to say.

k-p on his aversion to anthemism. i'm down with that. to whit, i've been mulling over the ubiquitous "are you gonna be my girl" of jet, and why i don't like it. see, i've recently made up a (quite possibly unfounded) theory about pop songs - namely, that good songs have good bass lines (probably a bit of a skewed theory really - good songs have good everything, in which a good bass line would naturally be included).

now, said song of jet has a good bassline. empirically speaking, that 'doo-doo-doo...' riff is pretty catchy. so why is the song so bad? how come it can't receive a lift from that foundation?

i think it's because it (the bass line) is too obvious. not obvious-prominent, but obvious like an obvious joke - it doesn't lurk anywhere, so what you see (or hear) is what you get.

indeed the only enjoyable part of the song, as far as i'm concerned, is the bit at the beginning, when the bass line is joined by kick drum and snare drum - the whole thing dies as soon as the singing begins. and this is, in turn, what makes the song sound so much better when it is used for commercials - they only ever play this early part of the song and the guitar riff that goes along with it, so that the anticipation - which is, i find, all that the song has going for it - may be drawn on to maximum effect. it's definitely better in ads.

my theory is also able to account for why the white stripes ultimately fail to rock. note, in this regard, that 'seven nation army' - their most successful song - has a bass line. QED, my friends! (shhh... at this point you shouldn't point out to me that the yeah yeah yeahs are also sans bass, yet also pretty cool. i'm generalising here people, give me a break!)

of course, what this silly little notion of mine cannot account for is the power of rhythm - sean paul's "get busy" and dizzee rascal's "i luv u", to pick but two glaring examples, have little in the way of bass line, but are well-endowed in the area of 'waist winding' syncopation (with a little nod to tim there on the parlance that's not-quite-&catherine).

perhaps my theory should be qualified then: perhaps it applies only to the melody-driven verse-chorus-verse pop song, rather than to those genres in which rhythm is more central?

oh, there's so much fun to be had in trying to provide exhaustive theories and formulae for why songs give pleasure! i feel so utilitarian. even so - it's time for erasmus (ie. the homework that i am two-timing with the internet), so i shall bid you adieu.
Oh, and while I'm not doing reading that I should be doing for uni, check out this excellent quote that I gleaned from Georges Bataille's Eroticism last night. In a section on the link between decay/filth and reproduction/regeneration ("Affinities between reproduction and death"), he quotes St Augustine:

Inter faeces et urinam nascimur


"We are born between faeces and urine."

I'm impressed.
A clumsy waltz/bump into a current k-debate

Mark k-punk writes that "the obverse of 'there's good music every year if you look for it' is that there's never anything to get especially excited about". I think this is quite spot-on: I find myself thinking both things from time to time, so the two views seem compatible. Even so - despite sometimes finding myself thinking that 'pop music' (however the hell you want to define that) has done all it can do, that the 'new' is just variation on the old and thereby a form of 'marking time' while remaining stationary - I also experience a certain viscerality in pop - even with my Gold FM taste!

(This isn't an argument against k-punk's comments on poptimism, mind you - just a possible identification of a little query I have about my own taste and its place in the culture. And it's obviously impossible to generalise about all pop like this, but I'm expressing murkily thought-out impressions, so I feel that 'the nebulous' is an apt mode to be working in.)

Even so, I'm not quite sure about how to take the 'punk' in k-punk - that affirmation of "punk's unfair and unreasonable hatred". But I'll think more on this. (Which, as we all know, is no guarantee that I will actually post anything more on the subject... but there's always room for hope.)

In any case, I'm glad to have added to the snowball-come-avalanche that is the k-punk comment box. Good evening to you.

Monday, July 19, 2004

incidentally - for sheer entertainment value, you really can't go past erin & the gang. now this is vicarious living.
back to uni tomorrow (slash-today), so i expect that posts will be blooming.

in the meantime: hmmm. (on homosexuality & fascism.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


A petition is being hosted on the Triple J website to get the Pixies to include Australia in their world tour. click click click! I danced like a crazy thing while listening to their live concert from Oregon, which was broadcast on Monday night. I hear that it's being rebroadcast on Sunday at 5pm! Excellent.

(My spazzztic dance-dance-dancing to the radio reminded me of infinite thought's comment on k-punk's glastonbury post, about how "how people in music footage from the 60s (watching some fresh-faced guitar band or something)...the people dancing I mean...they're just going crazy! It's probably only pumping out at 5 decibels or something but the kids are just wigging out...they're not in the least bit bored". Oh man, was I ever wigging out last night!)

I've never really gotten into this radio thing before - it annoys me to not hear what I want to hear immediately, so I tend to prefer mp3s combined with word of mouth. But I realise now that the random thing can be fun. (And it's nice to not be a squished grape lying at the bottom of the vine. Even if most of what JJJ plays is pretty dumb - it keeps me in touch with the kids.) Attempts to grab at every song title are only in vain - I experience radio as a sort of cumulative effect.

(With repetition solidifying some notable presences, of course - the current favourites. Speaking of which - there's this Yeah Yeah Yeahs rip-off sounding band from Brisbane, called The Greats, that are - well - great. I'm trying to get a hold of their song "Trampoline" - the singer sounds so much like Karen O. (or whatever her name is) that it's silly, but it is a good song. Enough with the brackets.)

The Pixies! Woohw! Sign sign sign! Dance dance dance! Higher, higher!

Friday, July 09, 2004

wow. i'm euphoric drunk enough that everything i had previously denied sounds good - lou reed's "andy's chest" AND norah jones. now that's testing limits.
don't read me - read baudelaire. that's what i've been doing (in between reading statsin a narcissistic fashion. les fleurs de mal, the flowers of evil).

i must stop blogging drunk. i have a 21st speech to write by less than this time tomorrow night.

[i've become addicted to this computer in an ongoing act of desperation]

(i had descriptive things in a drunken spiral in my mind as i sat taking a shit before... but i've forgotten them all.)

Saturday, July 03, 2004

it even makes all the passing references - henry miller in one, foucault, baudrillard, joyce in another... interesting.
not that the previous is so mold-shattering - after all, it's just guys-fucking-girls or girls-playing-with-girls, with a mininum of anuses.

i just can't work out who the hell is publishing it and why.
just got back from first proper "being out" of holidays. some warehouse gig thing for a cause i don't quite understand, with HEAPS of warhol-esque mao tse tungs and marilyn monroes on the walls.

meanwhile, can't work out if this is for real or not. if the 'realness' matters that is... but it's still perplexing.