Some funny, funny stuff…

16 12 2005

This can be found at my new favorite music site, Pitchfork Media:

Thu: 12-15-05
The 15 Worst Releases of 2005
Story by Ryan Schreiber

When I look back at all the absolute garbage released this year, it makes me wonder how we can remain so consistently optimistic about the state of music. But I realize I’m only saying that because I’ve just spent two days scraping out my brain’s peripheral sludgebanks to pull 2005’s worst releases and one-offs back from the brink of repression. Naturally, it gets bad every year, but was there something special about this one? To choose only 15 was an overwhelming task. Just consider what didn’t make the cut: Goldie Lookin’ Chain, the Bloodhound Gang, 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop”, Bo Bice, Louis XIV, Bowling for Soup, Juelz Santana’s “There It Go (The Whistle Song)”, Kelly Osbourne, CocoRosie, Panic! At the Disco, Ninja High School, Moby’s Hotel, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”, Audioslave, the Darkness, the Bravery, Liz Phair, the Mars Volta, and Neil Diamond’s hysterically absurd “Hell Yeah”. That’s not even everything. That’s not even close. But while some will take issue with the 15 selections ultimately chosen, I have no doubt that the shit’s abominable.

Akon: “Lonely”
Poorly interpreting Rule #1 from the Kanye West Production Manual, Akon mistook Bobby Vinton’s simpering 1964 hit “Mr. Lonely” for an old soul track. The result is a failure astonishing enough to actually deserve classification as “crack music.” What’s worse? How dipshits all over the world absolutely reveled in its wretched, gauzy hook, making it a certified international supersmash. I’ll give that it pretty much invents children’s hip-hop (Fred Penner, are you on this shit??), but only at the expense of all human dignity. Congrats, dude, you scored the most played-to-death song in Claire’s Boutiques since “How Bizarre”. See if you can lock that shit down with a Scunci tie-in.

Applied Communications: Uhhh Sort Of
Hey, what a talented kid Max Wood must be, or rich. Through the power of a widespread and aggressively hateable advertising campaign alone, he gained recognition and notoriety for his shamelessly inept second album, Uhhh Sort Of. Embodying every cliché of empty late-teen suburban self-loathing trust-fund hipster whining, he’s not four minutes into the first track before he’s already shit on pretty much everything in existence (including the sun!) like a fit-throwing 10 year-old whose mom just grounded him from Xbox. High school was bad enough. This is some Dante shit.

Black Eyed Peas: “My Humps”
The verdict is in, and the human race approves: “My Humps” is a worldwide hit! And it’s all due to the power of democracy: It wasn’t even planned as a single, but thanks to word-of-mouth, iTunes downloads, and inundations with requests at radio and MTV, the label finally caved and made it one. So, for the infinitesimal subfraction of you that have somehow managed to evade this omnipresent cultural crapsack, let me spoil the hook for you: “My hump! My hump! My hump!/ My hump! My hump! My hump!/ My hump! My hump! My hump!/ MY LOVELY LADY LUMPS!” For the rest of us, hearing this song for the first time was 2005’s most sobering musical experience. Like “Who Let the Dogs Out” before it, “My Humps” is so monumentally vacuous, slapped together and tossed-off that it truly tests the definition of “song.” It’s actually more like listening to a five-minute commercial jingle– a point driven home by the miles upon miles of product placement that attempt to pass for its verses. The good news, of course, is that something responsible for this much misery could never go unpunished, and at the last minute, God got his revenge: What other pop singer in music history has ever unwittingly pissed her pants onstage?

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: “Clap Your Hands!”
Some bands choose their most extreme, difficult, and uncharacteristic track as their album opener as both a paean to anticommercialism and a barrier to keep out…who? The impatient? Old people? It’s a classic shitty underground rock pose, but not as shitty as bringing over Big Top Pee-Wee to shout down your listeners through a megaphone. If you never made it past this track, I can’t really blame you. By the time it came screaming out my speakers, it was much too late: the wintry dream-pop of free mp3 “In This Home on Ice” had already locked its in my head and refused to come out. As inspiring as the album’s actual songs were, this sucker still owes us an apology.

Cowboy Troy [ft. Big & Rich]: “I Play Chicken With the Train”
Following in the horseshit-encrusted bootsteps of last year’s greatest musical atrocity (and inexplicable critical smash), Big & Rich, Cowboy Troy’s “I Play Chicken With the Train” sucks the tongue out of C&W-style rap’n’roll’s beef-eatin’ cheeks to throw down like a homeboy for reals. Namedropping Tim McGraw, the CMAs, and yes, “skillz,” country music’s first black artist to crack the top 50 since possibly Charley Pride spits verse like a harried telemarketer, stumbling through the clunker triad: “All over the World Wide Web/ You’ll see that CBT on that mp3/ Speak clearly what I say so you comprehend/ In the name of hick-hop radio tuned in/ Roaming like thunder on the scene/ It’s kinda hard to describe if you know what I mean.” And just like Game and 50, the chorus features a guest spot from country’s #1 stuntaz: “I play chicken with the train/ Play chicken with the train train/ Uh huh huh uh huh huh.” God, critics, you fuckin’ assholes!

Daft Punk: “Technologic”
All heroes falter sooner or later, but most have the common sense not to send imitation Crazy Frogs to the mic to spout lists of 21st century home PC functions over production so phoned in it hangs up on you. With the glitter of their digi-disco masterstroke Discovery having finally settled, Daft Punk sounded their potential death knell with the brain-sucking inanity of a Hewlett Packard commercial singing the McDonald’s Big Mac theme song. Like watching an ambulance crash into a garbage truck.

Eminem: “FACK”
For those that think this list is pussing out by not assigning a specific rank to each track, I’ll give this the #1. Holy god. That there was a worse track than “My Humps” this year is the kind of thing that gets saved for history books. I actually had to pause it in the middle to get my bearings. Unfortunately, nothing I could possibly say about “FACK” would drive home my point like a lyric sample. Are you ready? Are you sure? Okay, careful now: “Ow I’m so fuckin’ hot/ And you’re so fuckin’ hot/ Oh my god/ I wanna fackin’ fack/ No, not fuck, I said fack/ F-a-c-k, f-a-c-k, fack, fack fack fackin’ freak me!/ Ohh yeah, girl, see baby, they call me Mr. Freaky/ Let’s call your sister, 3-way have some 3-some me so horny!/ And you’re such a fuckin’ babe I wanna go down on you, fuck, you shave!/ Ohh goddamn, here I go again!/ I’m gonna come, I am!” And finally, the chorus: “Owwww owwww owwwww (oh goddamn!)/ I’m gonna fuckin’ come! (Oh shit!)/ Fuuck fuck fuyyuccck (fuck, I am!)/ I am, I’m going to come (I’m coming!).” Soooo…yeah.

Fiery Furnaces: Rehearsing My Choir / “Norwegian Wood”
Riding high on the acclaim for last year’s Blueberry Boat and the poppier follow-up EP, the Fiery Furnaces lost themselves at the most crucial moment possible. Rather than solidifying their position as the kingpins of hyperprog, their prolificacy sent them careening, disastrously resulting in two duds so severe that even their most unswerving supporters couldn’t deny that they were hugely detrimental to the band’s momentum. The culprits: the gore-spattered abattoir that was their contribution to the Rubber Soul tribute album This Bird Has Flown, and the now-infamous Rehearsing My Choir, which faced every critic in its wake with the brutal proposition of having to lay the smackdown on the duo’s poor old grandmother. Man. Let’s just put this all behind us. 2006, guys, 2006.

M83: “Car Chase Terror!”
Why, near the end of M83’s car-crash-obsessed Before the Dawn Heals Us must there be a genuine car crash? While the album is admittedly a bit too ambitious at times, reaching almost Vangelis-like levels of bombast, it otherwise follows 2003’s Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts to its logical firework-spectacular conclusion. So this is doubly excruciating. Consisting mainly of dialogue between a mother and daughter, “Car Chase Terror!” relies almost exclusively on guest actress Kate Moran. Unfortunately, the only thing worse than the melodramatic scriptwriting is Moran’s excruciating overacting, which not only fails to sell the intended dramatic effect, but seriously disrupts the album’s flow– an integral element of a project this reliant on concept. The result is something like being punched in the face over and over again, the catastrophically unlistenable pretentious art-house equivalent of a sub-Wyclef hip-hop skit. Gut-wrenching!

“Just your average Hasidic reggae rapper. Yeah, you heard me. This guy is a straight-up Hasidic Jew from New York who busts mad flow over dancehall and reggae beats. This is the future of music.” –Sam Endicott, the Bravery in The Guardian

R. Kelly: “Sex Weed”
Some of your jaws are agape right now. An R. Kelly track on a worst-of-2005 list that’s not “Trapped in the Closet”? But “Trapped in the Closet” was so spectacularly weird, and such a bizarre cultural oddity that, even if only as a curiosity, it was completely fascinating and engrossing. “Sex Weed”? Not so much. Stretching the metaphor to its breaking point and beyond, Kells sings, “Girl, you got that sex weed/ I just want to hit it all the time.” Not only is this just dumb, but half of these supposed double-entendres are so desperately reaching, it frustrates to no end. “Just one look at you, I’ve got contact/ Can I get a pull of that/ Girl, your shit is the chronic/ ‘Cause I can tell by the way you roll it up/ Make a playa wanna smoke it up.” How is he gonna smoke it up? It doesn’t even make sense!

Robert Pollard: Relaxation of the Asshole
I like that this is sometimes referred to as Robert Pollard’s comedy album. I don’t know, something great about that. But it’s more funny peculiar: In releasing this beast of an LP, he proved with an almost vainglorious flourish that there is absolutely no scrap of recorded material capturing his essence that does not deserve to exist at least 500 times over in shops across the land. And as usual, his unflinchingly loyal fanbase proved that there’s no scrap of recorded material capturing his essence that does not deserve to be purchased for at least $15. Not that it’s the first release of its kind: The album, consisting entirely of onstage banter, is practically an homage to the late King’s own Having Fun With Elvis Onstage. The problem: Neither dude is too hilarious stumbling around your living space. RIYL: Sounds of the Homeless.

Sun Kil Moon: “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes”
As far as 2005 projects with potential were concerned, this was an enormous letdown. Ex-Red House Painters frontman Mark Kozelek has been doing justice to the worst bands for some moons, so for him to tackle one of my all-time favorites seemed a fairly promising prospect. Oh, what a fool I was. It made me wonder: If I was like a maniac Yes or AC/DC fan, would I just think he was a huge asshole? Either way, this track was a slaughterhouse and poor Isaac Brock just had to sit back and take it like a dude. It’s a long drive, indeed, and there’s lols for miles.

White Stripes: “Who’s a Big Baby?”
Second only to Load Records noise artist Prurient as the year’s most punishing sensory assault, this little-known UK B-side to the White Stripes’ “Blue Orchid” single unquestionably ranks as the greatest under-the-radar wtf moment of 2005. Likely recorded in the infantile throes of Hollywood-breakup agony, the song presumably finds Jack mocking former enchantress Renee Zellweger from beneath an impossibly wretched vocal filter, resulting in the kind of grotesque 80s horror creature taunt that’d send Sam Raimi into a jackyl-like gallop to the sound studio. As White lets out his most abominable, blood-curdling shriek of all– “LET’S GO SHOPPING!”– one can’t help but recall the immortal words: “I’ll swallow ya soul.”

Weezer: “We Are All on Drugs”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Comments, pt. 1 | Comments, pt. 2 | Comments, pt. 3 | Comments, pt. 4 | Comments, pt. 5




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: