Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Guilty Pleasures


So I don't know if it's just general urban malnutrition or a warning sign of future illness, but I definitely feel sick. I can't place my finger on what's wrong, but I just have that feeling, ya know? Or maybe you don't, if you're not a suburban whiny Jew with vitamin deficiencies.
Anyway, lots of drama in the world of feminism! And now for something completely different. Behold, this week's guilty pleasures.

1. Madonna, "4 Minutes." The way I see it, a guilty pleasure is a song whose volume you turn down when you get on the subway, lest anyone else find out what awful taste in music you have. That's how I feel about "4 Minutes," the kind of faux-hip hop dance number you feel cool listening to in your room but get nervous blasting when you're walking past people who listen to actual hip hop. Not that this happens often, but hey, I live by Alphabet City.
I know I said that I hated this song, but then, the lyrics are filled with contradictions. Like, is it a love song or a feel-good change-the-world number? In the beginning she says she's "waiting for somebody to pick up my stroll," which I can only assume is some sort of romantic metaphor from the fifties that Madge, in her ever-with-it wisdom, assumes the kids still listen to while, like, pushing hoops through the street and courting each other. Anyway, we get some JT-Madge back-and-forth for a while, and then the chorus comes in, and they're all like, "We've only got for minutes to save a world!" Which, presumably, is accomplished when you "grab a boy" and "get in line."
So...is their love going to save the world? Are they going to fall in love and then save the world? Didn't Madonna get into enough trouble when she saved that one kid from Africa? And does anyone still think Timbaland is edgy when he "uh"s and "yeah"s his way through the songs that he ripped from GarageBand diligently produced?
That's my main problem with this song--it tries so hard. So hard. Like, even in the video, Madge is trying to do her pilates moves all tough and gritty, and she keeps looking into the camera like she's pleading for it to take off ten years. When she repeats "tick tock, tick tock, tick tock," it's like she's aware of her age and is racing to beat the clock and remain relevant for a little bit longer--even for just four minutes.

2. Jack Johnson, "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing." Fuck you. I know what you're thinking, but you know what? This is a really really good song. It's short, it's catchy, and the lyrics aren't horrible. Sure, they're a bit cheesy ("The Lord knows that this world is cruel/I ain't the Lord, no I'm just a fool/Learning loving somebody don't make them love you"), but whatever. So what that he's a former surfer who now panders to the very frat boys who have invaded my dorm room for the summer? So what the he represents the general bland-ification of alternative rock that's plagued the genre since the decline of grunge? (Link to: Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, Puddle of Mudd, My Chemical Romance, etc.) So what if I would never ever ever admit to liking one of his songs in front of 99% of my friends? SO WHAT, HUH?
It's a good song. It's got a great hook, the guitar is chill, his voice is perfect for the melody; it's the kind of song I want to drive out to the beach and crack open a Corona to. Only Jack Johnson isn't invited. Let's be fair here; I have people to impress.

3. M.I.A., "Paper Planes." When it comes to music, I'm about six months behind the times. Seriously. I just got into Three 6 Mafia, didn't know what "Young Folks" was the first time I heard it at a club (Studio B, to be precise), and pretty soon I'll be telling people how great this band Vampire Weekend is.
Anyway, I was so so so late to get on the "Paper Planes" train (plane?). As in, last December I went to a best-songs-of-2007 listening party and this song was almost everyone's number one and I kept asking, "Who sings this? It's such a great summer song!" And everyone kept giving me the same how-am-I-friends-with-you expression that greeted me when I dared to ask what Misshapes was back at the start of freshman year. I am the hippity-hoppiest of hip.
So it comes to both my surprise and yours that M.I.A.'s now ubiquitous summer jam has made my list of guilty pleasures. It's just, well...it's just that, ubiquitous. Everyone's heard it. I see kids in the Central Jersey Facebook network add this song to their favorite music. It's the new "Young Folks," in that it's the new gateway song into the increasingly ambiguous world of indie and hipster music. I put this song on when I hosted a few friends the other night, and my God, you'd think I'd admitted to having HPV. Which I don't. Just saying.
So yeah, it's now officially uncool to listen to this song. But you know what? I still really like it. I love the guitar sample, I love the beat (thump-SNAP), I love the lyrics, I love the gunshots, I love it all. And if that makes me uncool and out of the loop, well, crack open a Natty Light and buy me a House of Holland tee, cuz I'm TOTES dressing hipster to the kegger next weekend.

-Josh

4 comments:

LOLSAM said...

clearly you haven't heard Danity Kane's Damaged - even though i think i played it, like, twice when you were over on sunday night.

or maybe that song is just SO embarrassing that you won't post it in the Guilty Pleasures post.

Marshall said...

Josh your courage has inspired me to come out of the closet. About my enjoyment of that Jack Johnson song. And also it's hip video.

LOLSAM said...

is that the video done completely in reverse?
my computer doesn't have the brain power to actually make it to youtube at this point.

Jess and Josh said...

Yeah, that's the one. It's like Jack Johnson said "I wanna be like Chris Martin" and then made a video tribute.

Jack Johnson is not like Chris Martin.

-josh