Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What'll I Do?

This post is inspired by the recent “Breakups” episode of This American Life (podcast highly recommended).

As the introductory anecdote explains, breaking up is one of the most common experiences in life,
"Like, everyone you know broke up with everyone they’ve ever dated, until maybe the person they’re with right now, if they’re with someone right now, but when it happens to you it feels so specific."

And to your horror you find that every breakup cliché really does apply.

Take breakup songs. They may be great, classic, even hit records, but when you break up it’s like they just appeared for the first time and were written exclusively for you (and your desire/need to wallow).

Anyway, I’m positive that there are at least 100,000 more and better examples than this sparse sampling (except for Berlin. Berlin’s is sovereign), but the following are my heartbreak’s greatest hits.

Stinging citations and the reasons why:
4. “Hard, cold and cruel is the man who paid too much for what he got…And if you need me to love you, say yeah you do. Darling please, don’t you know that I need you?” —Aretha Franklin
She’s like, “The price you’re paying is me. Can’t you see that? The price is too high! How can you let me go?” All the desperate honesty of a torch song, except not pathetic...until the 20th playback in a row.

3. “He walks away, the sun goes down. He takes the day, but I’m grown. And in your wake, in these blue shades, my tears dry on their own.”
—Amy Winehouse
Translation: "Okay, now I'm supposed to live without the SUN? Harsh. And yet, that's the way it is. I have to get over it. Get over it or die. I’m a grown up. My tears are no one else’s." This is sort of antithetical to standard breakup-song rhetoric which recommends a diet of unending depression.

2. “I know you’re probably thinking, what’s up with [me]. I’ve been crying too long. What did you do to me? I used to be so strong, now you took my soul…
You coulda told me you wasn’t happy. I know you didn’t wanna hurt me. Look what you’ve done to me now. I gotta look at her in her eyes and see she’s had half of me….” —Beyonce Knowles(allegedly), music by Curtis Mayfield.
I’m consistently amazed by Beyonce Knowles ability to relate to the masses. As much as it fries my brain to compute, somehow she does get the ladies. And for the ladies in love, sex is sacred. When you find out that the one you love is giving the loving to another (or otherS), on one hand it’s good because you’re forced to get it. It’s like, “okay, I see. You gave what was mine to someone else—what was half of me. It really is over.”
On the other hand, you’re forced to get it. It’s like, “I know you didn’t wanna hurt me, but look what you’ve done to me now. Someone else—someone who probably doesn't even matter—has half of me.”
That sentiment + the Curtis Mayfield score = Total Devastation.

And the award for greatest, simplest, bestest, most resonant sung emotion that could possibly speak to my reductive heart of hearts:

1. “When I’m alone with only dreams of you that won’t come true, what’ll I do?” —Irving Berlin
Seriously, what’s more heartbreaking than that? It IS heartbreak. In a nutshell. Greatest. Sad. Song. Ever.

I mean can you answer that question? What does one do:
…when I am wondering how you feel just now?
…with just a photograph to tell my troubles to?
…when you are far away and I am blue?


So, what other heartbreak gems am I missing? Please school me. I don’t mean to take pleasure in the misery of others, but if you could share what it was and why you cried that would be really excellent.

UPDATE: I'm not on suicide watch. This post was a long time coming and I'm slow to write. Just always wanted to speak on the topic. Enter This American Life, referenced above, then yesterday "What'll I Do" came up on the old iPod so I was reminded.
'Preciate the love, nonetheless, but don't worry. As a good friend of mine once titled a mix CD, "I Don't Need That N----"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This is Jacobus, Signing Off

Please meet Jacobus

YouTube Jacobus
See Also: Kasper Hauser

What the Hell Kind of GD Bullshit Is This?

What is this lazy shit? I'm shocked. Dope song. Mixed reviews. The video is your chance to make your case...

You blew it, 'Ye.

After I woke up I still couldn't figure out what that woman was doing laying around in those curtains. Is she his money that needs to get right? Is this video just a crazy dream I had about shitty music videos and maybe it doesn't really exist? Let's hope so.

I am really, sorely, wholely disappointed with the lack of vision in the visuals nowadays. People act like the video has absolutely nothing to do with the song. Sorry I'm late, but this just brings to mind certain other stinging offenses of which I have yet to let go. Namely:

Beyonce riding in the backseat, and then in the trunk of her man's car, showing us what it takes to be an "Upgrade":

There's something really fancy about that chair Jay's sitting in. Wait a minute, it's Beyonce! Why, she's upgraded it! That's clear to see.

Here we have Beyonce claiming to be the "Suga Mama" of a man that's nowhere to be seen whilst riding a fake bull and swinging on a pole:

What kinda "Suga Mama" works for tips? Oh, but she is wearing a man's dress shirt so maybe that means she gets an official check for her work. Is she her own Suga Mama? She's the only one there.

Am I being too hard on K West by making this comparison? Or are you just too in love with him to see straight? I feel what that dude at EW is saying about the stage lights in the desert at night but WTF is he doing during the day? Nope. It's not okay. It's disappointing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

..wait til I get my money right.

Apparently money never gets right. A couple weeks ago I saw a 20/20 special episode on the richest Americans and their charitable endeavors. In it Ted Turner, a man who's designated a large portion of his billionaire wealth to charity, talked about not being ready to retire from his career of getting money for fear that he has not yet gotten enough money. He's not secure that his current wealth will be quite enough to sustain him for life. Really?

Kanye West's new single "Can't Tell Me Nothing" addresses the same issue. He's got lots of money, just not enough. "Wait til I get my money right..." goes the hook. As he tells it, money being right is more to do with the monied person's overall "rightness." For my money, West's is #1 of the current big three money/pop/hop tunes. Likely there are more than three--i don't keep up with the kids like I used to--but as of now my iPod is spinning:

3) 50 Cent, "I Get Money"
2) Swizz Beatz, "Money in the Bank"
1) Kanye West, "Can't Tell Me Nothing"

Kanye's is first cuz I listen to it the most. It's the most thought-full even though they're all about the same thing: Money's not real, being all about money is not real.

3) "I Get Money"

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50 Cent to Audience:
Not only do I run New York just because I say so, but I also run you. Give me all your money. I thought so.

Gollee, gee whiz, and boy oh boy do I hate (meaning also like) 50 Cent. His whole-hearted embrace of a money-by-any-means-above-all-else-ideology puts him in diametric opposition to my point of view. But of course polar opposites become the nearest points in a circuit. I.E. there are no two things more alike than opposites. I say that to mean I LOVE "I Get Money." To say nothing of that hearty beat built on a classic 50 cent rape of a classic, his trademark exaggerated dicky-ness is just soooo extremely satisfying.

For real, how is that bastard gonna say he's selling quarter water in bottles for $2 dollars??!! The ink is not yet dry on Coca-cola's check. Plus he's totally shitting on his quarter (vitamin) water hood babies that underwrite his entire career. And that's just the first line. No respect. That's 50's whole story--no respect, in a bottle. In every one of his hits he spouts a variation on the theme "Fuck you." And that "you" could be anyone or anything. Seriously anyone, except maybe his biological son...maybe.

Audience to 50 Cent: You know what, Fif? You do run New York, and me. Here's my money.

What's his secret? I'll never know. It's not like you can uncombine the chemistry of his talent and ambition and timing and lack of ethics. They all contribute, who knows in what quantities. All I know is, it is a fantasy what he's selling. He knows it, the buyer knows it. Same with Kanye, and any superstar really, but I feel less dirty about Kanye's trek through the culture cuz it feels less like a rape, more like a choice. Why is that?

2) "Money in the Bank"
Gold Digger Enamel on Board 19" x 19"

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First of all, Kanye West made this song two years ago and it was called "Gold Digger." Second of all, it sounds mad hot. I bet it bangs in the club. We'll see. Third, WHY do Hip Hop men hate taking care of women so much? You don't hear many women (besides Remy Ma) saying things like, "We don't love them kids," or some such.

Not that women are the same as babies. But Swizz's (and Kanye's...and damn near every rich man's) argument presupposes that the money is the man's. Let's just try and figure out what happened to all this woman's money that she has to go digging for yours. What could have happened? Is she a crackhead? A hooker? Otherwise she should be able to support herself, right? If she's one of the above then maybe you shouldn't be dating or writing songs about her. Are you her slave? How can you be at once a goldmine and also a slave?

Regarding the challenges facing today's professional women I recently heard the aphorism, "Everyone needs a wife." I.E. adult life can't be sustained by one adult. I.E. homes must be made. Who's home-making in your life? Cuz somebody needs to be or else you won't have a life. Please explain to me why home-making is supposed to be free or minimum wage-earning. If the goal is to team up with someone and work as a team, then why can't we share our shit? Isn't said shit really ours anyway regardless of who walks it through the front door? Must one of us always be out to get the other or are we destined to be forever opposed by gender?

1) "Can't Tell Me Nothing"

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Seriously, it's my favorite. So much so that I have nothing to say about it. It says everything for itself. What do you have to say?