Friday, December 29, 2006

triumphing over adversity: the shitty year we called 2006

2006, the 2K6, 2 grand seis, two dot dot nickel plus one. It was mostly bullshit. At least as pop culture was concerned.

We were dumbed down with the likes of "Survivor: Race War," a shittier season of "America's Next Top Model," and a full-length album by the world's most famous DNA Dumpster. Yep, just another year in America.

Even with all that crappy shit, Chasing Coolness still got to have fun at the expensive of overhyped shitbags like Lady Sovereign, The Rock, and Clay Aiken. I also got to constantly write about the new Brand New album, even though they had Interscope's money behind them.
Other notable things that will end up on a VH-1 "I Love the..." special: Snakes on a Plane, Weezer's break-up, Evertan Lohan's short-lived DJ career.

What's to look forward in the year I'll dub, "tha two-thou siete?" Probably more of the same ol' shite. With that said (as if anything could save this rather lazy post), I'll leave you with a video that best encapsulates the year:

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

obligatory james brown post

So James Brown passed away. It sucks because the man will probably be more known for his legacy of beating up women, live fast lifestyle and being chased by the cops with guns in his trunk. Also, he did that really shitty song for one of the "Rocky" movies.

Somewhere in his long career, he wrote and recorded a bunch of really awesome songs that have been sampled to death. Though he's probably best known for "I Feel Good" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," he's also had a string of instrumental hits and lesser known tunes (at least lesser known to the general public but well known to Public Enemy and Eric B. and Rakim fans) that were more-or-less the starting point for hip-hop in the 80's and 90's.

I think the best way to describe Brown's career is summed up by my Uncle George who saw him a number of times, but specifically references two shows:

"I saw him once when I was an usher at the Paramount (Theatre in Seattle) and he was great. Dancing around, just an incredible showman. Then I saw him a few years ago (probably about '97 or '98), and he was just tired. It was a little sad."


Thursday, December 21, 2006

B/W updated!

just the obligatory post on updating backed with!


oh i get it! it's not (bleep) in a box but rather dick! LOL! (not)

It's Thursday and in internet time, the whole fiasco and hubub surrounding SNL's new digital short with Justin Timberlake and that Narnia dude is months old. Still, for all its Lionel C. Martin references and hilarious jabs at Color Me Badd, Keith Sweat and Bobby Brown, I couldn't help but remember a similar clip in 2002's "Run Ronnie Run," that featured faux R&B duo, Three Times One Minus One.

Not to say that the "Dick in a Box" video isn't entirely enjoyable; it is pretty dang funny. But if it's those Lonely Island dudes wrote these Digital Shorts, they really must be running out of ideas if they're assuming that nobody watches "Mr. Show." Biters.

"Dick in a Box"

"Ronnie and Kayla's Love Song"

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

calling BS on miss usa's fake rehab crisis

So for whatever reason (probably a slow news day), MSN and Yahoo were abuzz with the story of America's beloved Miss USA (nee Tara Conner) going to rehab for her partying ways. Although she's probably at least 12 steps (zing!) from showing her goods, Britney-stylee, this whole situation makes me wretch for a few reasons.

1. She got to keep her title and crown.
2. She's kind of gross looking and she's representing our lovely little nation?
3. Does anyone care about beauty queens anymore?

The fact that she got to keep her title and tiara alone is enough for me to call bullshit on this whole debacle. Back in 1984, the best singer of all time, Vanessa Williams, was forced to resign because she posed nude for some pictures. Those pictures didn't hurt anybody or put people in harm's way. Yet Conner, if she is the heavy drinker that the media alledges, could've mauled over some people in a vehicle or busted some glass in someone's eye like Dilana in "Rockstar: Supernova." What the crap? So why did Williams get the boot and Conner hasn't? Easy: race.

No one ever wants to deal with the general discomfort of race relations in America, but sometimes you have to call it. The Aryan poster child who potentially could've ruined lives with her alcoholic ways gets to keep her damn crown, while a woman who represented an entire race of people -- as well as the nation -- is forced to bow out because she had taken some naked pictures TWO YEARS prior to winning the competition. I call bullshit.

Also, Tara Conner is kind of busted looking. For all the money that got dumped into her image so she could win some crappy title that the general public seldom gives two craps about, she looks like she works at Ann Taylor. Yeah, she doesn't even look cute enough to work at Forever 21, the Gap or Urban Outfitters. Well maybe Forever 21, but the last two? Not even.

And lastly, does anyone even give a shit about beauty queens anymore? When's the last time someone who wins a national or international competition commanded this kind of media attention? Maybe back in the 1970's and 80's. But in today's internet-driven world, it's more likely that the girl who serves me cocoa down at Tully's will be more known for winning The Stranger's "Hottest Barista" title than most of Seattle knowing who the hell Tara Conner is. Hell, the contestants (not even the winners) of America's Next Top Model command more notoriety and respect than Miss USA, Miss America or Miss World.

So while I'm sort of bothered by the fact that this blonde got to keep her dumb tiara or whatever, I guess I can be rest assured that in a year or two, no one will remember 2006's Miss USA, and if they do, they'll just refer to her as "the drunk one."

Related Links
Vanessa Williams at Wikipedia
Drop Dead Gorgeous at IMDB

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

stormy daze

There's been many things happening lately. Let's start with Seattle's stormy weather, then let's start with my company's move to a new building. Lastly, you should buy the new KRS-One album, "Life" because it's the best album since 1995's self-titled album.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

2006 Rewind: Reunions? WTF?

In my final post about the last 12 months, one of the biggest trends that surfaced were the reunions of some popular (and some not-so-popular) bands. Lifetime, Trial, Stay Gold, Murder City Devils, Waxwing and Bad Brains all enjoyed some time under the sun as they either became relevant again, or started up again for the almighty dollar.

Initially, I was pretty happy to read about Lifetime's commitment to record a new record, but upon signing to Decaydance Records, the label responsible for giving us some stinkers like Gym Class Heroes, Panic at the Disco and Snakes on a Plane, I found this immediately questionable. Then I heard the two songs from the new Lifetime 7", which sounded like 1997-era Home Grown. It was flat sounding and lacked the punch last heard on "Jersey's Best Dancers." I mean, I guess I shouldn't have expected much since it's been almost 10 years since the band released an album, but seriously, the songs could've been a little better.

Murder City Devils, Waxwing, Trial and Stay Gold all briefly reunited to perform the requisite final performances, which -- save for Stay Gold and Waxwing -- I found a little unnerving. Seriously, didn't the Murder City Devils already have a final show? They were broken up for a year before they played it. Again, I was also happy that the band got back together to do these two shows last summer, but was it really necessary? I guess in my opinion, it sort of cheapens the experience for people who saw them years ago when they were still an active band.

Oh well, I guess in the end it doesn't really matter. If anything, I'm waiting for the break up and eventual reunion of MxPx.

Just Kidding.

If you really want to know what the motives are for a reunion, I suggest watching the movie, "Hard Core Logo." That shit is fire.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2006: The Hits

Last year around this time, my main man Joel H, wrote that it was tiny and meaningless to compile a best of list. I wholeheartedly agree with the man, yet I'm compelled to do it because part of being a music writer is to validate your existence by authoring such meaningless lists. And honestly, how many GD lists do I have to read before I fully comprehend that nearly every pop culture blogger LOVED that Jenny Lewis solo record [1]? More than anything, though, I just really like writing lists. Onward, good fellows!

Fave Wrekordz ov 2006 (in no particular order):

Blackpool Lights "This Town's Disaster"
Ex-Get Up Kid guitarist/singer Jim Suptic hits you over the head with that mid-west rock that we love so much. Word to the Replacements.

Rhymefest "Blue Collar"
Spotty in some parts, former Moleman and Kanye West ghostwriter goes for self and succeeds.

Nump "The Numpyard"
It transcends the Hyphy subgenre and is probably the most overlooked record on this list.

Brand New "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me"

Broadway Calls "Call the Medic We're Begging Please"
Sounding like Dear You-era Jawbreaker, Oregon's Broadway Calls is almost all politics and no bullshit.

Saves the Day "Sound the Alarm"/"Bug Sessions"

The Game "Doctor's Advocate"

Kero One "Windmills of the Soul"
In a Victory Records-type description, it's Christian Rap meets The Nonce in some wacky way.

Leigh Nash "Blue on Blue"

Matchbook Romance "Voices"
Shedding the emo tag, MBR goes for broke on a somewhat dense sounding album.

Maritime "We, the People"
Best pop album of the year.

Apathy "Eastern Philosophy"

Cut Chemist "The Audience is Listening"
Turntablism returns? You betcha.

Sinking Ships "Disconnecting"
Hardcore's return to form.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

2006 Rewind: The World Went Crazy for the Gnarls

Roughly about a year ago, I read that Goodie Mobber Cee-Lo was collaborating with Danger Mouse on a project called Gnarls Barkley. This idea amused me for about two minutes, then I moved onto the next thing.

A few months later I heard "Crazy" and I knew that people were going to love it. I knew I was going to despise it.

After "St. Elsewhere" dropped, I didn't hear much about Gnarls Barkley. I heard and read a lot of press about the duo leading up to the release, but it didn't really have a lasting effect like, let's say, Gwen Stefani's "Love Angel Music Baby."

I still think that Gnarls Barkley sucks, but I think that they're a good respresentation of how music is today. People go hillbilly apecrap over it for a few months, then drop them like Britney Spears drops her kids.

Who will be the next disposable high profile act of the new year? Probably the Hold Steady, though I'd also put my money on Fall Out Boy's new album selling poorly as well.

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backed with updated

ha to the ha. download some new jamz.


Monday, December 11, 2006

merry xxxmas

borrowed from

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2006 Rewind: When the Eems Started Dancing

The trend of all the emo/pop-punk/hardcore/screamo/stupid subgenre kids starting up nu-wave dance bands still continued to rage throughout the '06, which kind of makes you wonder when will these kids realize they've made a bad decision? I guess it's sort of like that girlfriend that you get all nostalgic about, even though you find all her little idiosyncracies so damn annoying and you can't wait to dump her. Ugh.

While last year brought us Head Automatica, The Killers and Panic at the Disco, 2006 shot us in our collective eardrums with Young Love (featuring Recover's Dan Keyes), Rock Kills Kid (who released a Jimmy Eat World-lite EP back in 2003), Plus 44, Shiny Toy Guns and many other disposable bands.

While I realize that the synthpop hits of The Killers and Postal Service reignited keyboard sales the last two years, there comes a time when we have to say enuff z'nuff. The Faint has been at this new wave revival for years and you know what? They're about a million times better than most of these bands. I'm writing this not to ride on the Saddle Creek coattails, but because it's merely a fact. "Danse Macabre" holds water not only as a pop record, but also as a socio-political album. I mean, if you're going to have a medium to speak your mind, you might as well say something meaningful, right?

I'm hoping that many of these dance bands will die out in 2007. Glassjaw (which is fronted by Head Automatica singer Daryl Palumbo) is taking another crack at hardcore for the new year and Good Charolette is releasing a dance/rap/rock record, which should pretty much murder the nu-wave movement all together. Here's to wishful thinking.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

2006 Rewind: This Shitty Thing We Call Hip Hop

[For the next few days, I'll be revisiting some of 2006's most interesting (as well as not-so) opinions, thoughts as we look forward to rapping about inane pop culture in the new year.]

So it's December 8 and the new Nas record isn't out yet, and I'm actually kind of bummed.

I'm not debating on whether it's better than the new Jay-Z record; I know it's better than "Kingdom Come." For all its hype and the quotable mantra of Shawn Carter likening himself as the Michael Jordan of Rap, it's reflective of the direction that hip-hop has been going in the last few years: bloated, self-important, uninspired and, most importantly, a money making machine.

In my EMP Pop Music Conference submission, I go on about how modern hip-hop came to be because hip-hop fans who grew up in the 80's and 90's abandoned its major label counterparts once Diddy (then Puffy) and Master P's No Limit roster became the du jour emcees. Heads went to labels like ABB, Rawkus, Fat Beats, Ninja Tune and many others to get their fix, occasionally popping up when legends such as Pharaohe Monch began showing up in "Charlie's Angels" and whatnot. Eventually when the indie labels collapsed on themselves -- either through mismanagement or signing shitty rappers -- when looked to major label rap to make us remember why we love hip-hop in the first place.

And that's where we're at now. In 2006, we saw really terrible albums by Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, and Lady Sovereign, even a forgettable release by Ghostface Killah.

On this site, I've even ok'd albums that I probably wouldn't have in the past. I like The Game and Tha Dogg Pound, but I'm not crazy about them. In the numerous albums I've reviewed on this site and in print there are three (count 'em) albums that I enjoyed enough to even consider the best hip-hop records of the year: Cut Chemist's "The Audience is Listening," Rhymefest's "Blue Collar," and Nump's "The Numpyard."

Why is it that in 12 months of steady releases by notable emcees I could only find three discs worth talking about? Because we've lowered the standard for what we deem as acceptable hip-hop. The stuff we used to consider "okay" (Clipse, Cam'ron) is now "the best" and stuff that we'd consider shit back in the day (Lady Sov, MIA, Gym Class Heroes) is now listenable. Who the fuck decided that it was a good idea to take a step back?

All of this brings us back to Nas, the man whose latest offering, "Hip-Hop is Dead," I'm slowly waiting for. Not because I think it'll be as good as "Illmatic," but because like Nas himself, hip-hop fans have accepted that there will never be another "Illmatic." Only something that could be potentially pleasant.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

are you useless?

This morning, posted this article debating whether liberal arts degrees are useless. As a holder of a liberal arts degree, I can safely say that no, they're not useless.

Here's the thing, if you go to school to pursue money, then fuck you. I may be a little harsh in saying that, but it's true. If you're passionate about business, wheeling and dealing, then by all means, go to business school. If you like to make people sweat and interrogate them, then go to law school. If you have an honest to God fascination with the human body, then be a doctor. But do not continue onto higher education if you're in it for the money.

Things that we love and care about seldom see a fiscal return. For example, I love to write. Did I ever expect to reach Bill Gates' tax bracket by spouting off a few words from time to time? Hell no. Maybe if I wrote some books about a boy wizard, but I'm more than certain that's been done.

I followed a field that I wanted to spend my life doing, whether it was full-time or in small incriments as it is now. Do I regret it? Not at all. The job that I have now requires a background in writing, so it's somewhat crucial for the company that I work for. Beyond the daily grind of writing a bunch of technical jargon, I'm still free to spout off about how I love the new Game record or why Bright Eyes is overrated.

So really are liberal arts degrees useless? Only if you're a jackass.


Monday, December 04, 2006

holy crap! corey ball was right!

So my friend Corey pointed me in the direction of The Game's latest album, "The Doctor's Advocate" last week. I was a tad bit reluctant since I didn't think much of his smash album, 2004's "Tha Documentary," or any of his early Bay Area records. Still, I solderied on and listened to the record and you know what? It's pretty good. Would I have liked this 10 years ago? Probably. Five years ago? Probably not. I have this love/hate relationship with gangsta rap in which I hold all the early 90's rappers in an iconic status: MC Eiht, DJ Quik, NWA, E-40, they're a dream team that's hard too beat. It just seems that after 1995, the whole idea of gangsta rap just seemed played out, if not, slightly idiotic. The Game might be the first rapper of the gangsta persuasion who has both the lyrical talent and street swagger to be up there with those great 90's rappers.

[related links]

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Friday, December 01, 2006

get ready for the mid-season!!!!

November sweeps is pretty much over, so around the corner is the dreaded mid-season replacements. This is usually the time when networks start dumping the shows that weren't good enough to make the start of the fall line-up. It doesn't really look good, however, since most mid-season replacements are usually pretty sucky with the exception of "What About Brian."

Strangely enough, two shows that are returning mid-year are shows that have had a pretty exceptional track record, "Scrubs" and "The King of Queens." We know that NBC is notorious for shitcanning their good shows ("Dana Carvey Show"), so treating "Scrubs" like a red-headed stepchild isn't any real surprise. But "The King of Queens?" Was Kevin James holding out for some of that Fresh Prince money since he did "Hitch?" Well, other than those two shows, mid-year is probably gonna suck.