08 December 2006

WOKE UP THIS MORNING, DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING



G-String Theory

Download: Young Jeezy: "Bury Me A G"

Buried in this pretty self-contradictory album (The Inspiration) is a pretty self-contradictory song ("Bury Me A G") is a pretty nonsensical fake news sample (one sec) that I can't decide is way too cloying and unintentionally brilliant. It's a case where I value intention only insofar as, if the sample was intended, it pretty much ruins itself for me; I feel like normally it's the opposite.

The song's premise is, basically, that Jeezy has been shot dead. He has a lot of thoughts on the matter. He's really angry at first because his white tee is all bloody now, and everybody screaming outside the club is annoying him, making him sick. Then he feels like he's leaving a lot of people in the lurch, and he's really sorry for every gram he sold and every glock he popped (his words), but also he wants to be buried a G, because when he gets where he's going he wants to be fresh. I'd ask why Jeezy would want to present himself in heaven as a gangster when he was asking for forgiveness for gangster-related sins two lines earlier, but he explains this the next song: "Two types of niggas, predator and prey/ I'm a predator--I pray three times a day."

But anyway listen to "Bury Me A G." Cinematic strings, chipmunk soul voice, schmaltzy pianos, blah blah blah. Halfway through a woman named "Kelly Washington," who is this on-site TV reporter type, might actually be an ATL local (KKT Channel 7?) but my TVnews game is far from tight, reports that shots were fired outside an Atlanta nightclub. Jeezy's involved, and "it was unclear whether he was the suspect or the victim."

It didn't really hit me the first time I heard it, mostly because it sounds like what a newscaster named Kelly Washington might say. But the eighth or ninth time I was like fuck oh great I have to deal with this now, don't I, whose fault is "all this" really now, is suspect/victim strictly a binary thing, etc. So thanks a lot, Kelly. I await your counterblogpost.

Anyway I don't think Young Jeezy is the most sympathetic character; just because he says he's doing it for the hood, a big phrase for him, doesn't mean we can take that at face value. I sorta can't get into all of that for contractual reasons but while this album's great for out-of-context quotables and subway music while I read about what amNY thinks about the new Mel Gibson movie, Jeezy really has no fucking clue what he's talking about. He just doesn't. There are such things as meaningful contradictions in this thing called rap music and "I don't hear a meaningful contradiction."

Especially towards the end of the album, Jeezy moves more into "this is my life," "putting my life to music," "trap is not a fad, I'm not a trendsetter, this is actually my life no seriously actually my life," etc., which I take as an implicit reminder for listeners to take real-life social context into, well, context. I don't have like a ticksheet or anything, I'm not keeping track or whatever of how many times Jeezy says "I'm the suspect!" and "I'm the victim!" But the only thing that irritates me (character development-wise) more than a victim is a suspect who insists that no he's the victim.

Think about why Ziggy from The Wire Season Two is maybe the most despicable character in the history of television.

It's like, the suspect/victim thing is the only reason anything remotely morally difficult in rap is compelling at all to me. It's just too big--too big and banal and clumsy a thing to just, like, say, "It's unclear whether he was the suspect or the victim." I mean really now. It's equivalent to that other unclear, i.e. "Did he really sell drugs? Did he really go to the club?" which I actually think most writers have figured out by now. Of course he went to the club.

Not that it's a thing we (i.e. the buyers, the downloaders) have figured out or moved past or even want to move past. But artmaking-wise, and more specifically, why I think Young Jeezy isn't conflicted, just shortsighted, and plain lazy, and doesn't know the difference between blunt and trite, it's over shit like this.

But yo dude the beats are great!

28 RIFFS

05 December 2006

DISTINCT POSSIBILITIES



These Are Distinct Possibilities: Riff Market Edition

01. The new LCD Soundsystem album actually might be better for exercising than the actual LCD/Nike "music for exercising" thing. 78 RIFFS

02. In JT's "My Love," does the chorus lyric "I can see us holding hands" not sound awfully like "I can see your scrotum hair"? 45 RIFFS

03. Is Fam-Lay indie rock's new Lil Wayne, a/k/a the new Clipse, a/k/a the new Mr. Lif, a/k/a the new John Coltrane? 5 SHITCATS

04. Now Playing: Club Blog 74 RIFFS

05. Now Playing: Office Blog 73 RIFFS

06. I will write exactly zero "So I was at Tower Records today and let me tell you!" type posts. 4 RIFFS

07. "Joc the shit, he gon need a pooper scoop." 71 RIFFS

04 December 2006

WAIT JUST A FUCKING SECOND



Riff Market: Sufjan Stevens Update



The obvious angle being 'down w/irony', as in Xmas is definitely not down with irony or popular misconceptions of the word, nor is SS, but mind if I say something different, America? After hearing all these carols again, several of them "jazzed up" enough for me to break my own "the phrase 'jazzed up'" moratorium--and I should say that this involved me like sitting on my bed listening to all five EPs in some sort of undivided attention-type situation--after I listened to all five discs, I'm thinking maybe it's OK to say that I'm bored by Christmas caroles I've heard a billion times. I don't find them stirring, not even when performed by little children from the South who sing "silent night" as "sah-lent naht," which I merely find hilarious. Is that OK that I find boring songs boring? Or does that mean I'm secretly self-loathing. That I'm not man enough to like the Sufjan Stevens Christmas boxset. More and more I feel like that's the self-reflexive message to a lot of the people pretending to write criticism about this boxset, that implicitly, they are man enough to drop the guard and like Christmas caroles, and haters aren't. That, basically, since we can't get away from irony--it's a fact, deal with it--that even me saying that must reflect some sort of self-loathing, i.e. I can't believe anybody would actually like Christmas caroles. Can we at least agree that we all had at least one misguided friend who thought it would be funny to sing "We Three Kings (Of Orient Are)" while pulling is eyes slanty in the style of (in his mind) a king from the orient? Merry Christmas, John Hunsicker.

Which is infuriating anyway because (a) Sufjan's originals are all pretty fantastic, and (b) the monkish project of trying to rejuvenate musical cliche e.g. Christmas caroles is maybe Sufjan's most Sufjanic exercise in songwriting/arranging/etc.-- that it sums up so many of the demons he deals with musically, his concerns about his balance of musical complexity and pop's directness, his music tempering his beliefs and vice versa, I mean it's all there, five discs of it, which is why I'm going to keep listening, despite mah humbug.

69 RIFFS [thx Peter]

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