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Archive for the ‘Lorde’ Category

onesummSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-”Foil” (2014).

foil;I wasn’t a huge fan of Lorde’s song “Royals.”  I liked it enough but it never really blew me away.  Al’s parody “Foil” seems obvious and yet it is such a wonderfully twisted take on the song that I think it’s just fantastic.

The video is set up like an infomercial (with Patton Oswalt as the director).  And it begins simply enough with all of the useful things you can do with aluminum foil (foy-ul).

What makes this better than a simple jokey song about using foil for your leftovers is that midway through the song, he tackles the more sinister uses of foil–keeping aliens out of your head.  The way the video switches from bright infomercial to sinister Illuminati conspiracy show is great.  And, amazingly enough he is able to keep the same bright Lorde-isms all the way through.

[READ: June 30, 2014] This One Summer

This One Summer is the second collaboration between Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.  In Skim, Jillian’s drawings reflected a very Japanese style of artistry, while in this book, the drawings are far more American/conventional.  This isn’t a bad thing at all, as they complement the story very nicely.

This is a fairly simple story (despite its length) about a family that goes to Awago beach “where beer grows on trees and everyone can sleep until eleven” each summer.  The protagonist is a young girl, Rose.  She is an only child and she looks forward to seeing her friend Windy there–they only see each other on these summer vacations.  Windy is a year younger, although she acts older and braver.  The girls are thrilled to swim, to watch horror movies and eat all the junk that they can.

But in this one summer things are not idyllic.  What I really liked about this story was that although nothing really happens to Rose or Windy, stuff happens all around them, and of course it impacts them as well.

The first thing is that Rose is finally interested in boys, specifically the boy who works at the convenience store in town, Duncan.  But Duncan is older–probably 17 and is dating a girl named Jenny. He teases with Rose and Windy but in a dismissive older brother sort of way–exactly the way that makes a crazy crush develop for Rose.  Windy and Rose are young, but are not that young–so they are full of misinformation.  And when they hear the older girls–Jenny’s friends–in town talking about things–abortions, oral sex–they learn more without learning everything . (more…)

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fivedials_no30SOUNDTRACK: Random songs at the roller rink (December 29, 2013)

skateWe went rollerskating on Sunday and they played all kinds of pop hits.  They played “Dancing Queen” and “YMCA,” sure, but they also played a lot of recent big hits.  And I said to myself either I have grown more tolerant of pop songs or pop songs are simply better than they were in the 80s and 90s.

Because I thoroughly enjoyed hearing “Gangnam Style” (perhaps a pop song where you don’t know the words is really the way to go) and “What Does the Fox Say?” (or perhaps when the words are so preposterous).  “Blurred Lines” is incredibly catchy (although it would be better without the offensive lyrics).  I also enjoyed “Call Me Maybe” which is treacly sure, but the melody is super catchy and “Rolling in the Deep” because Adele kicks ass.

Of course when I looked at the list of #1 hits for 2013, I literally didn’t know any of them (except “Blurred Lines” and “Royals,”) so maybe pop is not what I think it is.  Maybe I just like YouTube sensations.

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!  Happy New Year.

[READ: December 27, 2013] Five Dials #30

I was surprised to get this issue of Five Dials just as I was reading the other recent ones.  It allowed me to finish up Five Dials and the year at around the same time.  This issue introduces a new graphics editor: Antonio de Luca and he really changes the look of the magazine.  (He also used to work for The Walrus).  Rather than pictures being centered in the page, they spread from one page to another (which works well online but less so if you print it out).  The illustrations are also much bolder.

This is a short issue (which I appreciated).  And it does what I especially like about Five Dials–focusing tightly on one thing, in this case Albert Camus, who I like but who I have not read much.  It’s his centenary and many things have been said about him, so what else is there to say?  They find two things worth saying.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor: On Tony, On Dean, On Camus, On Algiers
Taylor talks about the illustrations of the issue–they were spray painted on walls by an Algerian-French collective known as the Zoo Project.  The new editor took photos and then Photoshopped away the extraneous stuff to leave us with just the graphics–giving them a permanence that they would normally not have.  Taylor also says goodbye to Dean Allen, the outgoing art director.  Then he gets to the heart of this issue: Albert Camus and Algiers (where Camus is from).  Curtis Gillespie decided to go to Algiers to find out how much the people there know and love Camus (and he found it to be a much more difficult trip than he imagined). (more…)

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catSOUNDTRACK: LORDE-“Royals” (Live on KCRW, August 2013).

lordeLorde is evidently a huge hit in her native New Zealand.  Not bad for a sixteen year old.  And, indeed, her voice is not bad at all for a sixteen year old–she sounds much older (and perhaps it’s not even worth mentioning her age, but KCRW did, so I will too).  She has a deep and sophisticated voice (in the way that young Fiona Apple blew me away with the intensity of her voice on her debut).

The song itself is quite plain (as are all of the songs on her entire KCRW performance).  There’s primarily percussion (some really interesting choices there), simple keyboard notes or washes and (quite often) multi-layered voices–all prerecorded).  And she sings over the sparseness with her powerful throaty voice.

Interestingly, for being a popular success, her songs aren’t all that poppy.  They are certainly not bubblegum and some of the tracks are quite dark.  (Although lines like, “let’s go down to the tennis court, talk it up like yeah” certainly don’t speak to any depth).  And yet the songs are “topical” according to Lorde herself.

“Royals” might be the least interesting of the tracks during the set, and while I like it, I’m not sure why it became so huge.  But fair play to her.

[READ: August 8, 2013] “Four O’Clock”

This book is a collection of H.P. Lovecraft works and items associated with him.  Like this story from his wife Sonia H. Greene.  In theory Lovecraft did not edit this piece (I venture no opinion) and so it stands as her own story.

It is a very simple story.  Indeed, there is hardly any plot and only one character.

In this story the narrator (never identified as man or woman) says that at about 2 in the morning she knew it was coming.  And it is coming at, yes, four o’clock.  The narrator is terrified of what is coming and for much of the story, we don’t learn a thing about what it is.  We just know through ever escalating fear, that it is coming.

At four o’clock. (more…)

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