Odds and Ends 003
Ain't No Party Like an Alt-Rap Party 'Cause an Alt-Rap Party's So Unfashionable
Canibus: C of Tranquility (iM)
He talks too much about how good he is only because nobody else will‑-and he is, damn it, he is ("Pine Comb Poem," "Golden Terra of Rap") ***
Scroobius Pip: Distraction Pieces (Strange Famous)
MCs all secretly believe they can do it on their own, but even the smart ones are a little too full of their own words ("Let 'Em Come," "Try Dying") ***
Del the Funky Homosapien: Golden Era (The Council)
For three highly listenable CDs‑-incorporating the previously download-only Automatik Statik and Funk Man‑-impeccable rapper's electro beats don't stop and only occasionally rise above ("Calculate," "Dzl Funk," "Fit Like a Glove") ***
Murs: Love and Rockets Vol 1: The Transformation (DD172/Bluroc)
Quality alt-rapper tells the world how solid his career is with essential beats from solid careerist Ski Beatz, goes out on uncommonly anti-homophobic finale ("Animal Style," "316 Ways") **
Open Mike Eagle: Unapologetic Art Rap (Mush)
"Ain't no party like an art rap party 'cause an art rap party's so smart" ("Helicopter," "Mole in Your Ministry," "WTF Is Art Rap?") **
Awol One & Factor: The Landmark (Fake Four)
Depressive emo-rapper seeks help‑-good for him ("Daze Go By," "Don't Be Afraid") **
Lupe Fiasco: Lasers (Atlantic)
Catchier when he's articulating his ill-informed politics than when he's making nice to the big bad record company he doesn't actually defy, now does he? ("All Black Everything," "Words I Never Said") *
Pharoahe Monch: W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) (W.A.R. Media/Duck Down Music Inc.)
"Our revolutionaries want Grammys and Oscars/Making a mockery of the music to be pop stars," so this revolutionary makes a sermon of it instead, which doesn't work either until Jean Grae adds her mojo ("Assassins," "Haile Selassie Karate") *
Later, a friend and I saw it at the Film Forum with an audience. It was as though the film was brought to life through the communal experience; it was so funny, witty, playful and obviously, filmically brilliant.
There is no sense of audience, and yet an important factor in learning to be literate about movies is to be part of an audience that is sophisticated about them.
I rented Godard's Pierrot le Fou and watched it home alone. I liked or at least appreciated the film. Later, a friend and I saw it at the Film Forum with an audience. It was as though the film was brought to life through the communal experience; it was so funny, witty, playful and obviously, filmically brilliant. Easily one of my most memorable movie-going experiences.
After mentioning the downfall of college film societies, he writes: "Today, students rent videos, stream them online, or watch them on TV, and even if they watch a great movie, they do it alone or with a few friends. There is no sense of audience, and yet an important factor in learning to be literate about movies is to be part of an audience that is sophisticated about them. On the other hand, today every medium-sized city has a film festival ..."
And I've not worked out all the details in my head, but the ever-ongoing fragmentation of the "massive hit record" audience has to be a somewhat parallel phenomenon.
I should note that I grew up in LA, which may still be the best moviegoing city on the planet (sorry Paris and Tel Aviv)--beautiful old movie palaces in decent restoration, LACMA and various preservation societies and the Academy regularly hosting screenings, amped-up (too much, often) crowds. But here in middle America where I now live, going to a movie (even an art movie) means going to a recently constructed multiplex with all of the commercial encroachments you'd expect. Even our arthouse (the Angelika) with its five screens rarely shows even a single film in a foreign language. And there is no rep-house circuit at all.
Tiny quibble (with Ebert): the trope that "movie-going is no longer part of a community activity." To a certain degree this is true,But this observation also discounts the fact that many families and friends love to watch movies together.
Black-and-white films have the great advantage of announcing and reminding you that you are in a special non-reality (not totally unlike the way the movie plays in your head as you read a story). Sound, especially music, improves films, but dialog has gotten flatter and flatter, ever more merely functional. "Home video is both the best thing and the worst thing that has happened on the movie beat" in that you can see what and when you want, no matter where you live and yet movie-going is no longer part of a community activity. And there never can be a jolt like when Belle de Jour cropped up without warning for two nights at our little local Montana cinema in the late '60s. On the other side, I could now show any kid in town there what the movie was.
And it seems like the plus and minus calculations are not dissimilar for popular music.
Hard to fathom a best directors list without John Ford on it-I'm sure David Lynch would
be the first to agree.
Dad would have been 77.
Ha! Does that make David Jones the rebellious nephew twice removed on his Mama's side?
Some interesting releases coming up in the next couple of months.
Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, Ringo, Of Montreal, Van Halen. Ok, only two of those am I really looking forward to, can you guess them?
For anyone who hasn't heard Jay-Z and Beyonce (One of the cutest couples in music! :)) had a baby girl today. Her name is Blue Ivy Carter.
Ah, bummer. But that's one game that deserves several play throughs, so hang in there.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.