Category: OMGLOLZ

MEGA POPULAR BAND GIVES AWAY THEIR NEW ALBUM, EVEN IF NO ONE WANTS IT.

apple-and-music

Unless you are totally off the grid you’ve probably heard about Apple’s announcement regarding the latest piece of technology that they are releasing in the coming months and that you are supposed to buy. Yes, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be released soon, AND the latest in wearable technology, the Apple Watch will also be here next year. Two fantastic opportunities to further sever true human interaction (kind of a cynical statement but think about it).

Now, I’m not one of those blowhard Apple haters who shares hilarious memes on Facebook about Apple finally catching up to Samsung. I don’t care about that. I’ve been an iPhone user since the first one hit the shelves back in ‘07, but like probably a lot of other people, I JUST got an iPhone 5S recently, and low and behold, my technology is now outdated. But, I don’t really care about that part either. I’m here to talk about another part of that announcement- the release of a piece of music that coincided with the announcement of these new Apple products. I guess you could say, the release of a product to help announce the release of another product. I’m talking about that U2 album.

u2 from the 90s

A bajillion dollar company teamed up with a bajillion dollar mega-star band sharing their music in order to make that bajillion dollar company seem hip and cool. U2 shocked the world by releasing their album via cloud technology to iTunes, iTunes Radio, and Beats users for, get this, FREE. Everyday internet users around the world scour the web for opportunities to get free music. In an unparalleled, totally original move, U2 gave their album away for free to Apple, a company that other artists and bands have been struggling with regarding receiving the money they deserve for their album sales. Then, Apple turned around and gave U2’s album to all of their customers for free. That’s only part of it though. Music is a form of art and artistic expression. Art can be sold or can be given away, and it’s up to the recipient to truly determine the worth and value of the art, we all know that. But, I have questions about the integrity and authenticity of this band, and whether they are still attempting to create art or are they just attempting to grow their brand and popularity by churning out product after product? It’s hard to figure that part out since they are already one of the most popular bands of all time. So my question is, why do this? What’s the gain?

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For the past few days, I’ve been pondering if this move was ludicrous and slightly offensive to real music lovers or totally brilliant. I’m leaning towards the former part of that statement because I don’t think it’s cool to force your art, music, or even opinions on other people, particularly in such a creepy, Big Brother way, and I am not alone. The social media universe exploded with anger and frustration about U2 secretly sliding their piece of music into 500 million people’s iPhones, causing Apple to create a website with instructions on how to delete the album from your library. Here’s what I’m saying, people actually don’t want a FREE piece of music when forced on them.

Is U2 a bad band? I’m not a huge fan, but I don’t think so. Also, please forgive this statement but, like everyone with ears, I really dig their older stuff much more. Did I even listen to this album? Nope. This isn’t an album review, it’s a conversation-starting blog post. Did U2 need to do this? No, they did not. Did Apple need to do this? No, THEY did not.

But, like Bono put it in a recent quote to the media, “The blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail” and you got this music anyway. Too many times bands and artists partner with major corporations in giant marketing campaigns to force their music on people instead of letting us make up our own minds. Jay Z did it last year with Samsung, and now U2 has done it. Now, I don’t have any problem with bands making money and gaining exposure through commercial licensing. Honestly, if you talk to any up and coming band, they will tell you licensing is one of the very few ways to make money as a struggling musician these days because companies like Apple don’t want to pay fair amounts to bands and artists. But, when you’ve forced your music onto the masses the music becomes, not a piece of creative artwork, it becomes a product. And I don’t know about you, but free or not, I ain’t buyin’ it.

ALBUM REVIEW: Miley Cyrus – Bangerz

Today, I slept 15 hours. I don’t know if I prepared myself up properly for Miley turning into Rihanna. But here goes.

I just finished listening to the new album from modern pop provocateur Miley Cyrus, and for some reason, I feel sleepy. I’m going to be selfish for a minute and detail my mindset going into Bangerz. I feel as if I am on a codeine trip. I’ve taken prescription sleeping medicine to balance my days and nights out as of late. It hasn’t worked nearly as well as I would hope.

Bangerz is the fourth album from Cyrus, a person more well known for sexually charged things because America is still weird about play-sex to sell records. The marketing tactic worked in that Cyrus, whose work has been at best unremarkable and at worst intolerable, made a record that somehow has become one of the most anticipated pop releases of the year. Truth be told, despite the fact that Bangerz is essentially Rihanna filtered through a trap record, something about it feels more in the vein of interesting records like A$AP Rocky’s early year banger Long Live A$AP. It is this sound that makes Bangerz both interesting and flawed in the same breath.

To Cyrus’ credit, Bangerz runs at a solid pace around 45 minutes (if you didn’t purchase the Deluxe Edition) and despite its efforts, not too many of the songs overstay their welcome. It is also hard to read where Cyrus is going from track to track (this is actually a compliment), and her rapping, despite a dearth of interesting ideas or wordplay, isn’t awful when executive producer Mike Will Made It calls for it. Singles “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” are also solid, even if they expose that Bangerz doesn’t really have anything to say about its subject that we don’t already know. The now 20-year-old Miley likes to party and is also vulnerable after a breakup. She’s a crazed country rebel, something she will stop to tell you every ten seconds on the abysmal “4×4.” If not for Pharrell’s other producing effort “#GETITRIGHT” (yes, I know), “4×4” would have immediately destroyed the fantastic sheen that Pharrell has built all year with his work with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke.

So ultimately, nothing on Bangerz unleashes anything about its creator, even as its production belies a more interesting creativity. Perhaps it’s this that makes Bangerz strangely unsatisfying. Even if the music sounds at points like a codeine trip, I’m not sure Miley is a good fit for it. There’s a lot of deserved criticism for Miley taking modern hip-hop culture up, but as annoying as that is in reality, it doesn’t bother me in this record’s context in as much as the use of trap doesn’t seem to fit Miley at all. Miley plays her ballads like a lesser Rihanna, which doesn’t say a lot when Rihanna’s records have generally been a trend of diminishing returns. Her more fiery efforts are better, but also have unremarkable guest spots from artists like Big Sean and French Montana.

Bangerz is a better record than Miley’s entire output to date. It shows that Cyrus may have something to being a pop provocateur. Yet it never seems to fit it all fully.

It Came From MTV[‘s Video Channels], Day 2: MTV Hits

So I didn’t really explain the point of doing this in the first post. To put it simply, MTV has premium pay channels for music videos, which they use as reason to jettison playing music videos on the main channels. In the first edition of this, I watched an hour of normal video airplay on MTVU, which is probably the closest channel to my comfort zone of a lot of indie and maybe some pop. The other two channels are decidedly not this. MTV Jams is the hip-hop channel that generally avoids Pitchfork’s style of hip-hop for more of the French Montanas of the world. And if you don’t know who that is, then you’re one of the lucky ones. MTV Hits defines itself, being mainly about popular music (or popular genres).

Anyway, I’ve chosen MTV Hits for this edition since I don’t really want to veer into awkward old white guy territory. (I suspect it may be too late for that, however.)

 

Selena Gomez – “Slow Down”

The best parts about Selena Gomez videos are easily the effort they have to take to put adult makeup on Gomez. Okay, that was a low shot. It is unfair for me to be all “lol selena gomez looks like a child” when I’ve actually enjoyed her efforts. “Come and Get It” was a good single. And “Slow Down” continues Gomez’s generic love of shirts that show she’s not wearing a bra. So there’s a lot of club dancing and generic dancing. Gomez actually does a good job of allowing this to fully be seen as a persona as well. If you listen to her talking about touring, it’s practically like a Nick Saban interview. There’s no animation, just a commitment to the job.

Fifth Harmony – “Miss Movin On”

So hey, girl bands are back, America! Fifth Harmony is the latest boring as shit girl band that probably won’t make it here, since Little Mix hasn’t made a smash at all yet. But hey, at least they got a song on a premium MTV cable channel on a Friday night. This video has a carnival theme that teases an arcade, which is depressing because, well, they’re not exactly around these days. And don’t tell me that the Need for Speed and SWAT game machines at the movie theater in town constitute an arcade. At least give me the 85th Street Fighter game.

Oh yeah, the video. Is the lead singer Lea Michele? It’s not, is it? And to be fair, Fifth Harmony is a diverse multicultural band served to make generally uninteresting pop. And if that isn’t the true American melting pot, then what is?

Jonas Brothers – “First Time”

Vegas pools, former virgins, guys who look like a smashed Logan Lerman, faux filmstock, what more do you want in a music video? This video is part of the Jonas Brothers’ mature phase because we’re in Vegas and shit, so edgy. I don’t really have an opinion on the song. But as for the video, the last time I saw more well-filmed grotesque bikini imagery, it was Spring Breakers. This doesn’t have that movie’s irony/intent, though. I mean, unless I missed the “directed by Harmony Korine” credit. I mean, I guess this is a song, right? It says OHHHHHHHHHHHHH a lot. And to bring it back, #allwhitepeople. Also, there’s a mullet guy with a sax that we never hear in the mix. I guess it made the director laugh at the day of the shoot.

Austin Mahone – “What About Love”

And now I’m old, because Austin Mahone is somehow the worst to me. Well, maybe not the exact worst, but nothing I would generally enjoy. To be fair, his dancing is basically N’Sync level. It’s almost a throwback, because this has the rhythms of “Bye Bye Bye” completely. There’s no dubstep breakdowns. This is patented late 90s pop filtered through wearing a weird beanie instead of a Pervert 69 jersey. And hey, you only gotta pay one guy for touring as a dreamboat for girls instead of five! Shit, maybe I need to get in this business. This may have turned the corner for me on the money-making potential of pop sheen I don’t care about. Also, it was quick enough at least.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert – “Same Love”

I genuinely enjoy this song a good deal and like the video. I get that it’s a very dangerous road to talk about how Macklemore is this white dude who brought up homophobia to hip-hop as if artists like Frank Ocean weren’t already attempting to break ground in the genre by being independent voices. But in a vacuum, I like this. The video generally is sweet, well-filmed, and gets across the idea of LGBT+ culture as a normal autonomous entity. Which it should be. Maybe we’ll challenge the abuse that comes from this soon enough.

Nick Cannon – “Me Sexy”

GET IT BECAUSE HE’S NICK CANNON TELLING JOKES. I get that this is getting play only because MTV Hits needs viewers for THE ALL NEW WILD ‘N’ OUT with washed-up shitheads like Joe Budden as the guest rapper, but holy shit is this bad. In an effort to be something that mocks mainstream pop, it forgets the general joke and just sort of throws Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite because fake mustaches are fuckin’ hilarious. Also, the song’s conceit is that Nick Cannon is repeating that he’s sexy. Because that’s funny. Except Cannon doesn’t have a comedian’s lack of looks. He looks like a has-been leading man. So the very thin joke is already redundant. Genuinely the worst song I’ll hear in this hour I spend on MTV Hits, and I’m certain I’ll be hearing a song with 2 Chainz on it.

The Weeknd – “Belong to the World”

I kind of wish The Weeknd didn’t make me feel so divided. His music is generally fascinating to listen to and defiantly taking influence from trip-hop and indie as his expression of RnB. But then the problem gets when he talks about his music and all the sadness he feels and then Portishead is upset that he took a pretty key portion of “Machine Gun” for this song. I also don’t know if he is in his feelings or something. Cause she belongs to the world, you see. I don’t even know, y’all. But hey, it could be worse.

Maroon 5 – “Love Somebody”

Maroon 5 has made the most toothless video concept of the year in their equally awful song “Love Somebody.” Adam Levine is half molded and shirtless because that is the only reason people would watch this stupid video for this song. And Levine’s feeling a lady’s boobs while basically naked in the most formless fashion because objectification and bragging while being blandly attractive to middle America. And people get up in arms about Miley Cyrus doing the same thing. Whatever. Fuck this shit.

Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”

…I swear I wrote the last sentence before this video came on. I like “We Can’t Stop.” I mean, site boss Whit has gone over all the shit, the problematic and the “that’s kind of a double standard, too” stuff. But to be fair, this video does have something “Love Somebody” doesn’t: a french fry head. Also a women cutting her fingers to reveal more fingers and yogurt/Pepto. Also bears. And Miley’s abysmal “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH.” I would watch 50 videos like this.

Future Phil remembers 50 years of ‘Chaos A.D.’

Birmingham, Alabama, September 2, 2043 — HEY LOSER, CAN’T YOU READ! Get your twerp ass the heck of that compulawn! Read the display, Jupiter jerkoff…there’s a “no stip-step” electronotice floating by the front sentry robot! IT SAYS GO AWAY YOU JACKED-UP SPACE IMBECILE!

Oh…it’s you, Phil L. Well, what brings you to grandpa’s retirement cube on this hot-ass Sept. 2, 2033? You don’t want Fed Creds, do ya? I ain’t got none. Spent my last Fed on that sweetass Godzilla costume over there. Gonna go swimming off the coast of Japan next Lunar Summer in it. Scare them fruits back to the 20th century. HA! That’ll show them!

You don’t want no money? Well what is it, have you got girl problems? Came over to get some advice from the retirement cube Casanova? The ladies here love your grandpa, boy. Can barely keep my diaper on! Don’t laugh, I mean it! Did grandpa ever tell you about his wild-ass night in Tijuana? Heh…sweet as synthi-pie, I tell you! Must have been 1995, we were headed out to see a…

Oh, what’s that, grandson? You want to know about the olden heavy metal days? Sepultura?!?! You say it’s been 50 years since the release of ‘Chaos A.D.’? Well, damn, who knew 50 years could fly by so fast? It seems like just yesterday I was hanging out in my grandparent’s basement in East Lake. You know, over where the Intergalactic racetrack is now? Damn place is deserted as all get out, I know. Damn fool Larry Langford’s illegitimate grandson built that dump with the Shuttlesworth Lunar Space Port tax money. Still don’t see no dang space port, do ya? I didn’t think so. I’ll tell you, ain’t nobody made one Fed Cred off that damn racetrack since it opened, I’ll guarantee.

Damn, got sidetracked again. Okay, back to that roach-infested East Lake basement. Yep, I had slid the clicker cable box over to Mtv. It was a Saturday night, and I always waited impatiently for damned Headbanger’s Ball to begin. Yeah, the first hour of the Ball was usually just hair bands. You know the drill – luscious hair, perfect make-up, super-tight pants and shameful, hidden erections. I never ever changed the channel, though. I watched patiently just in case they slipped in an occasional Metallica or Anthrax video.

Looking back, I guess that was the first place I saw them four young, morbid, hairy dudes from Brazil. Unbeknownst to me, I had been seeing their damned blade logo all over band dude’s t-shirts for a year or two. Their two albums released in Brazil had created quite an underground buzz, I guess, but young grandpa Phil, sweating his ass off in damned old Birmingham, had no idea Sepultura even existed.

In the late 1980s, finding decent new metal bands was a chore and a half, believe me. Magazines, friends and Mtv. Hell, that was all we had! Thankfully, when that third album, ‘Beneath the Remains,’ was released through a U.S. record label, Mtv paid some damn attention. Still amazed by that bit.

You ever hear of a cassette tape? It was a square rectangle what played music, and dang if ‘Beneath the Remains’ wasn’t the hottest trading commodity in 9th grade English class. HA! I remember Sepultura’s “metalhead in the know” nickname was Slayer Jr. I ain’t thought about that in years!

While the followup ‘Arise’ wasn’t quite as dark, the songs and overall feel of the album was all lean and mean speed. Nasty, uncommercial album, damn it was. Them underground fans that knew Sepultura loved ‘Arise,’ yet others outside the scene didn’t have a notion the album even existed. But there weren’t no missing that next album.

Them four fellas went and got a deal with Epic Records and asked old Andy Wallace to produce the new record. Get out Scott Burns, hell yeah! I always hated his treble-loving ass. Them four boys from Brazil surprised music fans inside and outside the metal world with ‘Chaos A.D.’ Hey, pull that damn album up on ObamaTunes. Turning up my ear-nodes now to give it a good listen.

To these old, hairy ears, the main difference can really be summed up in one word: groove. The band that seemed so obsessed with speed had morphed, downshifted and called upon some fine tribal influences. Opening tracks ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘Territory’ are perfect examples. Though they both include bursts of speed, the main riffs are a study in patience, boy. A damn one-two punch that kicked us old-ass fuddies in the chest. Damn that’s still heavy today. Stupid heavy. Dumb heavy. Damn, hand grandpa them nitro pills, son.

‘Slave New World’ has the feel of the band’s earlier stuff, but those busy drum breakdowns littered through the track were something unique at the time. Slow and deliberate, packed with some crushing sections, ‘Amen’ may be the heaviest thrash “slow-down” track ever committed to tape. The band jumps between song sections with ease. And this song is h-e-a-v-y, son. Heavy!

But damn, how did they follow up that molten hot shit? They went acoustic, damn howdy! Actually, I’m thinking the acoustic guitars are a distraction here. The real star is old Igor Cavalera’s drumming. The guitars play simple and straight while Igor goes to town on a stripped-down drum set. Less drum virtuosity, more rapid beating heart, this return to nature song was the talk of my metal friend group. So soft, so unmetal, yet so damn good. No song had caused this much metal debate since Anthrax went rap, what a time that was!

Yep, ‘Propaganda’ is all rolling riff. Again, Igor destroys that drum set. Half speed monster, half jungle disco, his performance on this whole album is amazing. This track’s breakdown riff should have sent bands around the globe back to the writing room, but it probably didn’t. ‘Biotech Is Godzilla’ is one minute and 52 seconds of simplistic punk speed. Yet, ‘Nomad’ is another slow-burn. Mid-paced and almost five minutes long, here percussion turns a one-note verse riff into an album highlight. By the time Igor cranks up the double bass drums mid-track, the band is on an impressive swing. They even throw in a dual guitar solo for good measure. Damn, boy! Grandpa’s ears are getting horny! ‘We Who Are Not As Others’ is pretty much a one-sentence drone track, and something of an interlude. It’s probably as close to filler as ‘Chaos A.D.’ gets.

Them last three songs…god dang it. ‘Manifest’ is all pissed-off politics and pushy punk. Accusations against police are spoken over a somewhat simplistic track. Sepultura were evidently hitting all home runs when it came to riff writing, and this track ain’t too shabby. Some bounce, some speed…all heavy, heavy, heavy. ‘The Hunt,’ a cover song originally by New Model Army, has a more pop structure. The lyrics speak on violence and revenge. I got no idea about the original version because I’m a lazy, uneducated Alabama hick, but the four-minute track here comes off nice. That said, it’s probably damn near the second worst track on the album. Closer ‘Clenched Fist’…shit, need I say more. What a song title, what an image…communication clear as a bell. Based on a repetitive guitar screech and a drum fill, this track moves slow but also includes bursts of speed. The closing actually evokes the loping nature of the song ‘Black Sabbath’ before a section of lasting feedback. Junior, after four albums of treble speed and sharpness, to have the band’s latest album end this way was quite a surprise.

Heck no I didn’t get to see this tour live. I had a buddy that saw Sepultura with Ministry and Fudge Tunnel around this time. Damn, still jealous about that one. They also toured on a bill with Napalm Death, Sick of it All and Sacred Reich, too. I didn’t see them until the ‘Roots’ tour with crazy-ass Ozzy, but that was damn good enough for me.

Aw, sonny. Thank you for reminding this shriveling old brain about that album. You ain’t gonna find nothing finer than ‘Chaos A.D.,’ except for widow Gentry’s sweaty sweater lumps. I may play this album for her later tonight. She told me once she was a bus floozy for Papa Roach back in the late 90s. Damn terrible band, but I love them widows with loose bloomers and looser morals! Dang, there’s the dinner tone. Stick around and meet her if you’d like. We’re having goat paste and copper bread…my favorites. What…heading out? Well listen. Next time you visit, bring grandpa some Space MILO’S. I haven’t had any of their electrostatic-tea or sprinkled-sizzle french frizzlers in months. Ignorant doctor is worried about my ticker or some damn fool mess. Fraggin’ idiot! Well, good to see you, son. Tell your dad I need a few extra Fed Creds next month. I got a couple dates, and I can’t play cheap. Adios, son! Sign-o-nara! Don’t let the monorail door hit ya, where the good lord split ya! Peace out!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Phil (or Metal Phil as we call him sometimes) is our longtime ringer and one of the first writers to join us when BHAMFM started all those years ago. He is a writer from Birmingham, has a funny looking dog, a hot wife & a real writing job that pays the bills. Living the dream.

The Gym Might Kill ME

So, I’ve been going to the gym a lot lately to get ready for my version of a professional conference, Whiskey Camp. Before you laugh, fix your mind’s eye on the image of me running and now you may laugh. It’s propaganda when they tell you it’s fun, but let’s not focus on my gym woes. Because of the gym, I’ve been trying to find some upbeat music to listen to while torturing myself. I mean I could just listen to Robyn, “Call Your Girlfriend”, on repeat for twenty minutes and be ok, but I’m trying to expand my horizons here. There’s a lot of trash out there but what’s not trash is this new song from Stars, a Canadian band whom I’ve loved for a long time. It’s a little sappy but the beat is up and it makes me want to hear the whole record. If the gym had a dance floor and dim lighting, I’d be in that piece everyday.

 

 

oh and here’s Robyn.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Steva is probably the funniest, smartest & most useful friend I have in this town. Just check out what kind of gold she brings back for the USA (Birmingham) when she goes to work everyday. Stay tuned for more preachy wisdom & best advice from this one.

OMFG TAY-TAY AND T & S

I would say that I have a confession to make, but it’s not really a secret: I like Taylor Swift. I own three of her albums including the newest one. More than that, though, I think Tegan and Sara’s newish album Heartthrob is fucking fantastic.

So yes, this video of them teaming up to perform “Closer” from that album made my day. Even though Taylor babytalks her audience.