13 December 2006
YEAR IN RIFFS: ANDY BETA
Throughout this week and probably next, Riff Market is proud to publish some friends' remarks on Music 2006, with the emphasis on riffs. Each contributor was asked to spend only 35 minutes on his piece, though there were no particulars given topic-wise. Check back mid-day for the next one. Thanks for reading. --NBS
YEAR IN RIFFS: ANDY BETA
Did I Do That?
The Latinos woulda said it as ‘mea culpa’ but in Portugese (or Brazilian) you instead say ‘meu culpa.’ It’s different. But it is my fault, this whole obsession with Brazil and the subsequent pop music fallout. It all started over a decade ago, when I got bored with the Beatles, and since I had been bored with the Beatles before, I got all into Stereolab, only to be bored now by them. I needed something stronger.
So okay, Os Mutantes, who were sorta both, but from Brazil. And since I could never understand them, it’d be impossible to ever learn the words and hence know all the mysteries. It then followed to get into Caetano Veloso, into the super-psychedelic Gal Costa record bought in Japanese import from 1969, which, in a certain context (bubbly gal pop singer ingests auasca, an indigineous sacred drink, creating heightened states of consciousness), sounded like Norah Jones pulling a train with the Boredoms. And I bought a bunch of Tom Ze albums (though this year, they just sent me his newie).
But fuck higher consciousness, after awhile, I just wanted to remain in my body, not look back to the 1969s, but to the 1989s. so why go to the Os Mutantes $50 reunion show when instead I could be getting YSIs of Diplo mash-ups and booty-claps as well as those Favela Baile booty comps of 80s jamz hijacked by 10-year-olds with Uzis. It was a relationship much like the one Dougie “Fresh” Wolk described in one of his last reviews for the Voice: “a purely booty-call relationship with Rio baile funk.”
It was the kind of relationship I always wanted with Britney Spears, you know, ever since that Rolling Stone cover of her ho-teen belly revealed that there was grass on the field, suggesting all sorts of bloops, froze ropes, and dribblers. Oops. As my celeb-obsession grew, it mirrored the news-print trend. I got hooked on Names-in-Bold more than bold new sounds. I didn’t get excited meeting the Black Crowes guy at this weird instrument-building in-store at Other Music; I did get excited when a few years back I saw Britney Spears a few tables away from me at Acme with her backup-dancer boyfriend. Now when I check the mail, I don’t peruse my neighbor’s subscription to SPIN, but her subscription to US Weekly. And now, the former subscription is cancelled, the latter prescription re-upped. (Funny how they never put Chris Robinson on the cover of that thing when he broke up with Kate Hudson. They only showed that blonde guy, Dupree.)
So how could I possibly resist the merger of such a twain, wherein celeb-reality meets the oasis-esque pop music of “the other”? Have I not spent the last decade imperially skimming pristine and cleaned cultural trends? Subconsciously, haven’t I been getting the house ready for when Britney Spears’s husband, Kevin Federline (who is endearingly shorthanded to K-Feder, much in the same way that we know beloved American idols like J-Lopez, J-Zee, and Mark E-Smith) would be able to embody all that I’ve loved about music and culture for the last decade to provide the absolute nadir (or is it zenith? Which ever one means Top of Pops) of 2006? Isn’t this what I always wanted, willingly-obscuritan, hive-mind-approved, scrap-heap Brazilian music made from junked American culture re-embraced by the American masses and made by a real star whose partying traits I can vicariously live through? Blame it on my dilettante ass. Or as they say in Brazilian, “meu popozão.”