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Saturday, June 01, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (June 2019)

The 2018-19 TV season is history, so here’s [Deadline’s] annual list of summer premiere dates for new series and new seasons of returning shows. It covers hundreds of broadcast, cable and streaming series bowing from mid-May through August in various dayparts.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: June 01, 2019 at 07:30 AM | 1297 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   401. BrianBrianson Posted: June 07, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5849416)
I doubt there're any actors who're uniformly brilliant, or uniformly awful. Matching actors to roles is an often overlooked art, I think.
   402. Davo Posted: June 07, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5849422)
Yeah—most of my favorite performances are ones given by non-actors (Dore Mann in Frownland, Arielle Holmes in Heaven Knows What, Christian Patey in l’argent, Tilly Hatcher in Beeswax, Sheila Etxeberría in Soft in the Head....I could go on!) It’s about discovering their true self, tapping into the essence of their being when they stop performing. And it’s hard!)
   403. Lassus Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5849427)
I doubt there're any actors who're uniformly brilliant, or uniformly awful.

I don't really disagree with this; but then one is inspired to find exceptions. Daniel-Day Lewis has been pretty uniformly brilliant. Philip-Seymour Hoffman. I know she's the new buzzworthy hotness as opposed to a vet (or dead), but Olivia Colman as well.
   404. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:12 PM (#5849428)
403-I have no claim to be able to declare anyone the best at anything in entertainment but Colman as the second wife to the dad on the show Fleabag is pretty amazing in acting as maybe the most awful person possible without being evil. Just hits all the 'what a ####### #######' buttons sometimes one on top of the other. Sure it's the writing but her putting the script in motion is really impressive
   405. BrianBrianson Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5849432)
Well, a wise actor no doubt tries to pick roles they'll be good in. I can't think of any examples of roles those three examples had where they stunk up the joint, but I suspect they probably exist (at least, early in their careers when they couldn't be so choosy).
   406. Swoboda is freedom Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5849441)
We are grading on a curve, as these are professional actors, not the kids in some school play. They all have done some training, so they are usually not terrible, but there are some who by that measure are not good. Some get roles due to their looks (Alba for example) but are not good.
   407. Lassus Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:45 PM (#5849442)
That article is bad. Not an insult or offensive but simply bad. Bad thesis, bad conclusion, bad. And I agree it is simply trollery clickbait.
   408. jmurph Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5849446)
That article is bad. Not an insult or offensive but simply bad. Bad thesis, bad conclusion, bad. And I agree it is simply trollery clickbait.

The worst part was the response on twitter from Jezebel writers to critiques of the article, which was basically "LOL oh my god why do you care so much?" So annoying.
   409. BrianBrianson Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5849450)
And yet, you went to read their response, making it a successful Hot Take.
   410. Slutty Nutkins (CoB). Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5849456)
That article is bad. Not an insult or offensive but simply bad. Bad thesis, bad conclusion, bad. And I agree it is simply trollery clickbait.


This. It was just so lazy. I saw it, spent about 20 seconds thinking about responding and then thought ... #### 'em, that was so ####### lazy it isn't worth a moment of my time to respond.

Someone *could* make a list like that, if they spent time to break down and explain their #HOTTAKES (it would probably still be dumb, but it would at least feel like an attempt at a conversation), but they didn't. At all.

And yet, you went to read their response, making it a successful Hot Take.


And, unfortunately, this.

[edit] In a general sense
   411. jmurph Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5849457)
And yet, you went to read their response, making it a successful Hot Take.

In my defense! I was made aware of this all in reverse: first of people pointing out their response to the criticism, then the criticism, then the actual list itself. I'm not sure I actually ever saw the article, so they were denied my sweet sweet clicks, which surely pains them still, a day later.
   412. BrianBrianson Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:28 PM (#5849459)
Oh, huh. I've pretty much adopted a policy of assuming if I encounter a counter-backlash, but not the backlash, in the wild, then I assume the backlash is entirely marketing departments and soviet troll-bots. It doesn't quite fit here, but the approach might be useful.
   413. Slutty Nutkins (CoB). Posted: June 07, 2019 at 08:28 PM (#5849493)
“There are so many of the living who have had burned into their brains forever the unnatural sight of cold dead men scattered over the hillsides and in the ditches. . . . Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous. Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them. Those are the things that you at home need not even try to understand. To you at home they are columns of figures, or he is a near one who went away and just didn’t come back. You didn’t see him lying so grotesque and pasty beside the gravel road in France. We saw him, saw him by the multiple thousands. That’s the difference.”


- Ernie Pyle (last, unsent dispatch from Okinawa)

The Man Who Told America The Truth About D-Day

   414. Davo Posted: June 07, 2019 at 09:07 PM (#5849500)
I Am Mother, 2019
Directed by Grant Sputore

Synopsis
A teenage girl is raised underground by a robot “Mother”, designed to repopulate the earth following an extinction event. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.

The robot is the patient’s mother!!!
   415. Davo Posted: June 07, 2019 at 10:43 PM (#5849515)
An email I got today. It’s back!!!
Le Cinéma Club is returning on June 14! We’re thrilled to be coming back with a redesigned platform, and of course a new screening, every week – starting with a long-lost New York-set film by the great Claire Denis.

www.lecinemaclub.com
   416. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2019 at 11:39 PM (#5849536)
This is a Stereolab song that I have loved for 20 years.

I think it's a nice example of how the thoughtful/thoughtless dichotomy in music doesn't really mean much to me.

I don't know what they're singing about - I don't even know if it's in English or if it's in French or if they're just making nonverbal sounds. The music is repetitive, noisy, droning.

I think it's masterful, but I might not know how to evaluate it using whatever the criteria that Elroy is using to evaluate U2 vs LMFAO. I mean, it's not brazenly idiotic like LMFAO, so I guess that's a start.
   417. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:12 AM (#5849551)
Kool Moe Dee's song I Go To Work is the best of this genre. I will fight anyone who disagrees about this!

Yeah, the guy that got dusted and buried by LL Cool J has the best and well structured "I am the ####\" rap song. And it came out in 1989 and has never been surpassed even as rhyme schemes have gotten so much better.
I think we have to fight.



Wait, LL was the winner of that feud? Yeah, LL Cool J's agent probably made more money than Kool Moe Dee, but Dee's "Let's Go" is a lengthy menu of syncopated abuse.

"And you want to battle me on the microphone?
[pause] Leave that crack alone!"

Of course, diss tracks are only "I'm great" songs buried under "you suck" songs, so they may not fully meet the terms of the debate.
   418. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 08, 2019 at 03:25 AM (#5849570)
This is a Stereolab song that I have loved for 20 years.

I think it's a nice example of how the thoughtful/thoughtless dichotomy in music doesn't really mean much to me.

I don't know what they're singing about - I don't even know if it's in English or if it's in French or if they're just making nonverbal sounds. The music is repetitive, noisy, droning.

I think it's masterful, but I might not know how to evaluate it using whatever the criteria that Elroy is using to evaluate U2 vs LMFAO. I mean, it's not brazenly idiotic like LMFAO, so I guess that's a start.
I had never heard that before- I hesitate to call it a ‘song,’ per se, maybe ‘groove’ is a more appropriate word because at least to me, songs have verses, choruses, etc. But anyway, I don’t really have a reaction to it either way. I certainly wouldn’t call it masterful, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s just kind of ‘there’ to me.

I guess if the Too 40 consisted of that and 39 like it, I’d be a bit disappointed and think that’s kind of strange, but I’d much rather that than LMFAO and ‘Shut up and dance.’ All I really want is to live in a world where aggressively and stridently mindless songs don’t dominate.

That’s why I wish we could have this discussion outside of short posts. I think there’s probably a lot of common ground.
   419. Nasty Nate Posted: June 08, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5849575)
So you want a realistic down to earth show...that's completely off the wall...and swarming with magic robots ...
   420. PreservedFish Posted: June 08, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5849578)
I had never heard that before- I hesitate to call it a ‘song,’ per se, maybe ‘groove’ is a more appropriate word because at least to me, songs have verses, choruses, etc.


Would you call this just a groove?

That’s why I wish we could have this discussion outside of short posts. I think there’s probably a lot of common ground.


No doubt.

Anyway, I think the point is that my Stereolab song (which, to be clear, is from the most critically lauded album of one of the hippest and most critically lauded 90s indie bands, and is not some random thing that I found) has plenty in common with the latest imbecilic sell-out track from DJ Khaled or Pitbull: it's all about the groove, and the lyrical content is basically superfluous. That doesn't mean that one isn't better than the other for any number of reasons - the Stereolab is obscure rather than superficial, challenging rather than satisfying, and incorporates surprising influences rather than predictable ones - but they do share some aims. And from my perspective, I tend to see Stereolab and DJ Khaled and U2 and Bob Dylan and Waylon Jennings and Pavement and Parliament Funkadelic and Thelonious Monk and Mel Torme and LCD Soundsystem as all more or less of trying to do the same sort of thing.

That's obviously not always true, but songs that are primarily about the lyrics (such as Dylan's "Masters of War") generally don't do it for me, and to the extent that I enjoy an officially thoughtful song, it's usually because I think it's succeeded musically. I'm just trying to explain what it is that I naturally key into when listening to music, and why the "thoughtful/thoughtless" dichotomy doesn't resonate with me at all.
   421. PreservedFish Posted: June 08, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5849579)
We've been over all this before - I just remembered that the last time we talked about this, I highlighted the "WHOA OH OH OH" part of "With or Without You," which is a fantastic climax to the song, very emotional, and nonverbal; it's almost anti-lyrics in the sense that it conveys the feeling that Bono is so overcome with emotion that he cannot actually articulate his feelings. Which, again, isn't to say that it's a thoughtless song or a thoughtless moment, just that the thoughtful/thoughtless thing seems to break down there to some extent.
   422. PreservedFish Posted: June 08, 2019 at 10:04 AM (#5849581)
And yes, I realize you're mostly just talking about the dumbest songs.
   423. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: June 08, 2019 at 10:47 AM (#5849585)
Stereolab recorded the definitive "simplified Marxist critique of the capitalist economic cycle" pop song.

There's a ton of pop music criticism that's based on oppositions -- music centered on the vocals vs music centered on the beat, music that comes from the tin pan alley tradition vs music that comes from the blues tradition, bands that focus on the rhythm section vs bands that focus on guitar/keyboards/whatever, rock vs pop, folk vs pop, etc. Lots of these oppositions overlap and none of them are 100% explanatory, but many of them are useful in shedding a light on things.

It hits me that you could probably come up with a coherent theory based around a song vs groove opposition, or (better yet) around a song vs groove dialectic. Pop music can reach towards the dance floor or the story told around a camp fire (towards some sort of instrumental club music or "Ballad in Plain D"), and every song can be considered in terms of how much it steers towards one or the other, or aims towards one and then subverts its goal (a herky-jerky instrumental fakes towards the groove and then ruins it, without ever even nodding towards the campfire). Maybe the groove and the song are two separate axes, with some sort of arrhythmic ambient music scoring a near zero on both axes, and some very talky funk or disco number I'm not thinking of scoring very high on both. That system obviously leaves out a lot, but it might be a useful way to consider some things. (Also, someone has probably done this.)

(If I want a groove I'm turning to Neu! or Neu!.)
   424. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5849594)
Apropos of very, very little, just this week I decided to start digging into my Stereolab discs after weeks of listening (albeit very sporadically) to nothing except the Proletariat's comeback release (after some 3 1/2 decades ... good god, I'm old), Move.
   425. PreservedFish Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5849614)
Maybe I am just a Groovist. And perhaps this explains my lifelong aversion to prog rock.

some very talky funk or disco number I'm not thinking of scoring very high on both.


The first thing that leapt to mind for me was Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life, for example, is both groove heavy and tackles big subjects, and some of the songs have intricate structures. Of course there are likely to be thousands of good examples that score very high on both. I think that a huge percentage of rap music actually naturally scores high on both - by design, it's repetitive disco/funk grooves with an added layer of wordplay. Even setting aside the beat and the breaks, the best rapping is itself both highly rhythmic and lyrically creative.
   426. Omineca Greg Posted: June 08, 2019 at 02:06 PM (#5849624)
OK, I thought that it would be fun for me (but maybe pretty tedious for you) to give a quick blurb on every recent album I've got on my phone. I'll define "recent" as 2018 or 2019 release date, and not including reissues, repackagings, or archival releases. This will be a random snapshot of my listening habits of the moment, and maybe give some insight into how vibrant and varied the music scene of today can be.

Or not.

I guess we'll see.

Dayramir González, The Grand Concourse, March 2 2018. Latin big band jazz. Very sensual music, with varied and complicated arrangements and bravura solo performances. It's almost like Dayramir was all like, "OK, everybody's worked hard on learning this, and then playing the #### out of it, now it's your turn, don't let us down!" and every soloist blew the roof off the joint. I never get tired of listening to this, it's been on my phone for awhile. Emotions are always close to the surface on this recording, if you find jazz too abstract and cool, you might like this a lot better; Dayramir has a feeling, and through his music, he wants you to feel it too. I guess all music is like that, but here the emotional richness is right in your face. By turns poignant and ecstatic.

Francesco Chiapperini, The Big Earth, March 13, 2018. Wonderful music, this is definitely my bag, baby. Big band jazz, both conventional and avant, based on the traditional folk dance rhythms of Puglia. If you don't know me by now, you will never, ever, know me, and you should know that this would be something I would love. Besides the conception, it's extremely well executed. Detailed arrangements, impassioned soloists. Sometimes the Italianate influences are almost impossible to detect, other times you'll be holding your thumb to two of your fingers on one hand, exclaiming, "Thatssa what I like!" and grasping onto the wicker of the Chianti bottle with the other hand.

At least, that's what I do.

Neko Case, Hell-On, June 1st, 2018. Ooooh, I like this. Neko being Neko, this time out the production is a little more...well, I was going to say contemporary, but that's not exactly right. It sounds like a unique amalgam of different pop styles from over the last 50 years, I don't hear much from the 60s, but starting from around 1970, I begin to pick up little details and quirks, and by 1990, she's stealing all sorts of production ideas. All of it's combined with a very 2018 sensibility though, so it comes out sounding more of this moment than it would otherwise, despite not going heavily in the direction of Pop 2018 production fads. Commendable. Case is still singing and writing great; her lyrics have a both a depth and an opaqueness to them I find a rewarding combination. I never get to the bottom of one of her songs after the first, or even third and seventh listens. Her use of strikingly personal imagery adds an intimacy to the proceedings, even if every once in awhile she'll unleash a pretty terrible line that takes me out of the moment. Still...it's a fantastic record.

Wayne Shorter, Emanon, September 14, 2018. One of jazz's great éminence grises, 85 year old Wayne Shorter released this triple CD, featuring his long running quartet: Shorter (ts), Danilo Pérez (p), Pattituci (b), Blade (d). He wrote several new compositions, and also chamber arrangements for them. The arranged pieces are then repeated in live recordings by the core quartet. Shorter's playing is still very good, it probably helps that he started out pithier than his peers, he never relied on histrionics or high velocity flurries in the first place, so now even if that technical aspect of playing would be beyond him (very few musicians continue to work at 80, (this was actually recorded a few years ago)), his conception doesn't miss them. The quartet has begin together for 20 years now. Their approach of subtle communication and free interaction in a structured environment owes a lot to Miles' 60s quintet, which of course Shorter was also a member. A very good CD, I get a lot out of it, and if it's a titch below Shorter's greatest albums...well, those are some of the greatest albums in jazz history, so to be in a second tier just below that, it's a big accomplishment. And there's a freshness in the presentation, these musicians have worked hard on building rapport over two decades; the things they do can only be done by talented people who have spent a lot of time with each other, and who challenge each other to be at their best. I'm so glad that this came out, one day Shorter will be gone, and I'll miss his music so much, everything we get from him now is precious.
   427. Omineca Greg Posted: June 08, 2019 at 02:06 PM (#5849625)
Christian McBride's New Jawn, October 26, 2018. McBride's new band, Josh Evans (tp), Marcus Strickland (ts), Nasheet Waits (d), McBride.(b). Using Ornette's classic quartet as a jumping off point, there's a lot of goodness in this. None of these guys are as individual as stylists as their analogues in Ornette's group, but how could they be? That's one of the best ############# bands ever! This is a more controlled and lyrical take on that music, which of course says just as much about Ornette as McBride, but still leaving lots of room for personal expression.

Torn/Berne/Smith. Sun of Goldfinger. March 1, 2019. Well, I've never heard anything quite like this before. The great experimental guitarist David Torn gets together with avant jazz alto player Tim Berne and Chas Smith, a drummer experienced in a wide range of noisy applications. But although this gets noisy and messy every now and then, there's a lot of structure too. And loveliness, don't forget the loveliness. I love this one, but if you're not into this type of music, well...you should really try to get into this type of music!

Dido, Still On My Mind, March 8, 2019. Admit it! This one surprised you didn't it? I have to confess to a sort of fascination with Dido. Although almost always imbued with a downbeat, melancholy point of view, there's almost always a muted, understated quality to her lyrics. It's like if Nick Drake lived in the suburbs and was basically doing OK, but got sad every now and then. The irony is that Dido's hits have always been her most grandiose tracks, but she sticks to her guns and continues to specialise in bummed out little miniatures. Working with her brother, Rollo Armstrong, yet again, not a lot has changed in Dido's sound over the last, wow, it's been 20 years. Still sounds like Portishead for soccer moms, and I'm hoping you understand me well enough by now to know that I don't mean that as a put down; middle age middle class people get the blues too. You might even know some people like that! If you're a Dido fan (and I'm thinking you probably most assuredly are not), you'll get something out of this.

John Paul White, The Hurting Kind, April 19, 2019. I enjoy White's singing, but I haven't heard a recording of his, including his work with The Civil Wars, that's knocked it out of the park for me, and I think his most recent album is going to be similar. This one has a country sound to it, and it's an amiable take on a traditional 60s and 70s country/contemporary folk hybrid. There's something about White's lyrics that just doesn't click with me...yet. I'll have to listen to this a few more times to get a handle on it. Also, despite being roots music, there's always a certain slickness in his presentation, these aren't field recordings from Appalachia, that's for sure. Not that I would normally have anything against that, I don't need any sense of "authenticity" to enjoy music, but between that and the lyrics that leave me cool, I haven't reached for this one very often.

Lizzo, Cuz I Love You, April 19, 2019. Is Lizzo famous? I'm so out of the loop I don't even know who is making the Top of the Pops and who isn't. Hip hop, contemporary R&B sort of thing. A counter-example to the observation that all songs about boasting are mindless, Lizzo certainly has a healthy self-image. Lizzo is also a big girl, and she likes to write body positivist songs, and she expresses upbeat points of view in general. I'm a 50 year old Ominecan, and although I run circles around my peer group in hip hop knowledge, that is a very relative statement, I know next to nothing about it, and I really don't have much of a bank of experience with which to compare this too. I enjoy this while it's on, and hey, in most contexts hearing somebody brag about how good they are at masturbating would be first class creepy, but this has got me tapping my toes and yelling out, "You go girl! Work that thing!" at random intervals. Actually, I don't do that, that would be in incredibly poor taste...but I do think it. Being a fat girl in a skinny girl's world; it's an interesting, and probably not necessarily fun, place to be. But Lizzo is trying to make it fun.

Stealing Sheep, Big Wows, April 19, 2019. I'm surprised how much I'm liking this. Three Liverpool women, working in a decidedly retro vein; Kraftwerk and 80's synth-pop figure heavily. Sunny, hook heavy songs, the singers individually have thin voices, or probably to be more fair, they choose to sing in a thin style. But they're constantly switching off leads and harmonising in creative ways, a lot of effort has been into the vocal arrangements. To me, creating a pop song with a deadly catchy hook is one of the great achievements a musician can pull off, and this album is loaded with them. Part of that is my own personal preference, I like spacious and airy as opposed to dense and complicated, so I'm digging it.

Cash Box Kings, Hail To The Kings, May 17, 2019: Blues from Chicago. I like this, "Blues from Chicago" pretty much sums it up. More muscular than a 50s Muddy Waters recording, but not so rockin' as to be venturing into blues-rock crossover territory; this is straight up Chess Records style blues. I can't say anybody needs to rush out and hear it, but it's good, and if you're looking for a recent blues recording, you can do a lot, lot worse than this. These guys sound great together. Extra points for the recording quality; nether making a fetish out of replicating the Chess or Sun recording sound, nor falling to the antiseptic feel that plagues too many recent blues records. More bonus points for including an original Bo Diddley/ Jerome Green style track. Bo and Jerome were ####### awesome!

Nick Lowe, Love Starvation/Trombones, May 17, 2019. A four track EP of Lowe collaborating with everybody's favourite lucha libre mask wearing 60s inspired instrumental band, Los Straitjackets. This is really charming, having just 4 tracks seems like it's given the boys an opportunity to polish everything up nice and shiny. Like a lot of older songwriters, Lowe is happy to write underdone songs, he's already made most of the big statements he's going to make in the first 50 years of his writing, so neat little pieces suit him just fine. You could accuse this of being slight, everything comes easy, but that slightness also means there's nowhere to hide, and I think it's a lot tougher to pull stuff like this off than it appears.

Theo Croker, Star People Nation, May 17, 2019. You know what? There's a lot of good stuff on my phone. Croker is a trumpet player; one of his albums was titled "Afro Physicist", and that would be a good description for this one too. He's woven together the separate threads of contemporary R&B, skittering drum and bass, and trippy 70s fusion. Not the funky stuff, but the spacey, spiritual stuff. And when I say that Theo plays an introspective trumpet, well, when I say "Introspective" you say "Miles"!

OK, let's try it! "Introspective!"

Did you say it?

Never mind, doing that sucks in this format. Anyway, yes, this owes something to Miles, but interestingly more to 80s Miles (Miles even had a '83 album "Star People") than his earlier more critically lauded periods. I like 80s Miles, much more than most people do (and I like his immediate pre-retirement 70s phase a lot less than most people), but even I think Miles' reach exceeded his grasp in the 80s, even if he came close to greatness a few times...it was only ever close. So I'm surprised more musicians don't look to that time period for inspiration, it's like an open file what can be done with that approach. Anyway, trippy, spacious space jazz, some tracks with singing that are much more grounded in life on Earth circa 2019. They do a good job at blending acoustic and electric instruments, lush and breathing sonorities in a highly electric context. I mention the 70s and 80s as times Croker has borrowed from, but the drum rhythms, often avoiding a swing pulse and having more of a druggy rave feel, let's you know this is 2019. This record couldn't have been done any other time than now.
   428. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 08, 2019 at 02:25 PM (#5849627)
It hits me that you could probably come up with a coherent theory based around a song vs groove opposition, or (better yet) around a song vs groove dialectic.
I think I like where you're going with this.

the Stereolab is obscure rather than superficial, challenging rather than satisfying, and incorporates surprising influences rather than predictable ones
But these are major, important differences in kind. I don't think you can gloss over them with a "yeah, but..."

We've been over all this before - I just remembered that the last time we talked about this, I highlighted the "WHOA OH OH OH" part of "With or Without You," which is a fantastic climax to the song, very emotional, and nonverbal; it's almost anti-lyrics in the sense that it conveys the feeling that Bono is so overcome with emotion that he cannot actually articulate his feelings. Which, again, isn't to say that it's a thoughtless song or a thoughtless moment, just that the thoughtful/thoughtless thing seems to break down there to some extent.
Huh. I don't remember that specific aspect of the discussion. But I think this tells me that you have an overbroad idea of my concept of "thoughtless," which is probably my fault for using sloppy shorthand to begin with. I don't use "thoughtless," which I mean as a pejorative, to refer to the absence of hard-hitting lyrics in any given song (or moment of a song). "With or Without You" is a very thoughtful song, and the wordless vocal climax highlights and contributes to it. When I say "thoughtless," I mean the kind of stuff that actively expresses something that is anti-thoughtful. So yeah, just the dumbest stuff. "Moves Like Jagger," "Hot in Herrrrrrrrre," that kind of thing.


   429. BrianBrianson Posted: June 08, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5849628)
Wow Greg, I'm never going to bump into you at a concert.

And not just because I haven't been to a concert in almost 20 years.
   430. Davo Posted: June 08, 2019 at 06:35 PM (#5849653)
Last 5 concerts I’ve been to:

311
Everclear (and Fuel and Toadies and American Hi-Fi)
Dessa
Cloud Cult
Sevendust

Yeah I’m cool, I’m hip.
   431. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 08, 2019 at 06:38 PM (#5849654)
Everclear (and Fuel and Toadies and American Hi-Fi)
Wow, one of your last 5 concerts was in 1998?
   432. Davo Posted: June 08, 2019 at 06:51 PM (#5849658)
   433. BrianBrianson Posted: June 08, 2019 at 07:17 PM (#5849661)
Seriously, no worries Davo. The only two bands I could swear I've seen in concert are The Arrogant Worms and `Weird' Al Yankovic.
   434. PreservedFish Posted: June 08, 2019 at 10:37 PM (#5849720)
When I say "thoughtless," I mean the kind of stuff that actively expresses something that is anti-thoughtful. So yeah, just the dumbest stuff. "Moves Like Jagger," "Hot in Herrrrrrrrre," that kind of thing.


I don't find these as offensive as you do. Inane maybe, and certainly overplayed, but basically harmless.
   435. Davo Posted: June 08, 2019 at 11:48 PM (#5849733)
Reading a 1980 novel set in 1895–
I can’t expect my twentieth-century reader to have heard of the East End murders committed in 1888 by a seeker of publicity known to the press as Jack the Ripper.

This style of joke has literally never been funny, I’m sorry.
   436. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:25 AM (#5849739)
Louis Armstrong is quoted as having said "If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."

Replace "jazz" with "Surfin' Bird" or "Beat on the Brat" or "Tutti Frutti" or "Bombs Over Baghdad" or "MMMBop" and the question stays the same. Thank heavens there isn't one recipe for transcendent music.
   437. Lassus Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:44 AM (#5849740)
Wow, one of your last 5 concerts was in 1998?

This in funnier for leaving out 311.
   438. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 09, 2019 at 03:02 AM (#5849745)
I watched The Congress last night, a part-animated movie starring Robin Wright, but also Robin Wright. Often I have a movie on while doing some ironing, and about 20 minutes in I ended up sitting down to watch full-time, but the second half kind of lost me again. But I imagine that if I were a serious fan of early animation styles I would have flipped for the sequences, whereas I was more mildly-amused.
   439. Omineca Greg Posted: June 09, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5849750)
I don't find these as offensive as you do. Inane maybe, and certainly overplayed, but basically harmless.

I don't want to put words into Elroy's mouth, but I think you have to consider that as a working musician, he is both an interpreter and writer of songs. The things he looks for in writing, and tries to bring to his own performances, are a personal, intimate reflection on his attitudes towards his own art and by extension, his life. So to see something succeed that's just plain dumb beyond belief...well...he's got more skin in the game than most people, let's put it that way.
   440. Omineca Greg Posted: June 09, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5849753)
And why the #### is halibut so expensive??!!
   441. Davo Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5849782)
Watching Le Gai savoir between my infant’s middle-of-the-night wakeups:

- The day begins. I’m going.
- What are you doing this afternoon?
- With Bernardo, we’re going to throw grenades into the largest movie theater in Rome. To punish the Italian spectators.
- What did those idiots do now?
- They refuse to project the films in their original versions.
   442. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5849786)
I don't want to put words into Elroy's mouth, but I think you have to consider that as a working musician, he is both an interpreter and writer of songs. The things he looks for in writing, and tries to bring to his own performances, are a personal, intimate reflection on his attitudes towards his own art and by extension, his life. So to see something succeed that's just plain dumb beyond belief...well...he's got more skin in the game than most people, let's put it that way.
See, OG, this is why I love you. Very much this. And also...

I don't find these as offensive as you do. Inane maybe, and certainly overplayed, but basically harmless.
Your last word says a ton. I mean, it's all fun and games until someone elects Donald F***ing Trump as the president, amirite?

Do I think that aggressively inane pop songs caused Trump to be elected? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. But I absolutely do think that the current pop charts are indicative, symptomatic and at the same time encouraging of a general refusal to engage with the "heavy lifting" of thinking seriously about substantive things, and that that refusal is a major cause of our big problems as a society -- one of which is that apparently we're capable of electing Donald F***ing Trump as the president.
   443. Davo Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5849788)
442/Ellroy- Have you read much of authors like Neil Postman or Jerry Mander? They hit similar points to you but identify the locus in television.
   444. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 09, 2019 at 08:32 PM (#5849835)
442/Ellroy- Have you read much of authors like Neil Postman or Jerry Mander? They hit similar points to you but identify the locus in television.
I think I read a little bit of Postman at some point back in my sociology grad student days, but no, I'm not particularly familiar with either. Do they take issue with the concept of TV in general, or the specific content of popular shows? Also, are they currently writing, or was their critique more in the mass-network era?
   445. Howie Menckel Posted: June 09, 2019 at 08:57 PM (#5849841)
The Postman Always Gripes Twice
   446. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5849909)
So to see something succeed that's just plain dumb beyond belief...well...he's got more skin in the game than most people, let's put it that way.


I understand that and I only mildly disagree with his opinion on it - I don't think Elroy's flat out wrong. But as I have stated many times, it's always my perspective to give fair shake to, well, just about everything. I'm very wary of dismissing art as 'only fit for cretins.' And I do the same in the world where I have skin in the game - I mean, I used to be the exec chef of a small hip/buzzy restaurant chain that is primarily known for its burgers, and in the conference room I was always the guy arguing that we should be taking McDonald's etc very seriously as models. (The other executives preferred to take the 'too cool for school' approach.)

So, just to take an example Elroy brought up, "Hot in Herre." Nelly is obviously a bit of a clown but I think it's a pretty good groove, and some of the lyrics are amusing ("good gracious! ass is bodacious!"). The song was produced by The Neptunes, who were legitimately the hot thing for a while there, and did a lot of fascinating stuff - try this song from the critically adored Clipse that weirdly combines Jamaican steel drum, some Indian horn thing, and a genuinely novel drumming pattern. Wikipedia says "Hot in Herre" has Neil Young and Nancy Sinatra samples. There's ways in which this song is not anti-thoughtful. As for the content, it's merely one of a hundred million "girl let's have sex" songs.

I get the general point about the general disengagement of our era, although I'm not sure how to evaluate the claim. I would agree that it would be better if the pop charts had more Bob Dylans and Marvin Gayes, but at the same time, still see basically no harm in frivolous music - both Gaye and Dylan were happy recording "girl let's have sex" songs too.
   447. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5849914)
And yeah I know I just linked to a song called "Wamp Wamp." No I don't expect you'll be impressed by its thinking seriously about substantive things. Looks like it's about drug dealing actually.
   448. Davo Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5849916)
So Hadestown won, like, all the Tony’s last night. Is anyone here familiar with it?
   449. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5849922)
448--Yes. Really not interested in volunteering much of anything since I figure your ask is just a setup for you tell me why this production is beneath you
   450. Austin Kearns: The Spy Who Shagged Flies Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:35 AM (#5849924)
I'm sure no one has taken a survey on this, but I have to imagine that "voted for Trump" would be less likely to align with "listens to pop music today" and more likely to align with "they don't make 'em like they used to".
   451. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:43 AM (#5849926)
450 - I think we all agree with that. Trump voters don't need to be big DJ Khaled fans for the argument to make sense. I think the argument is: we're more likely to elect a buffoon if much of the population is indifferent / ignorant.
   452. Davo Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5849927)
444–TV in general. Postman in particular is focused on televised news and science programs.
   453. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5849931)
Like Planet Earth??? Should be required viewing!
   454. Austin Kearns: The Spy Who Shagged Flies Posted: June 10, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5849968)
I think the argument is: we're more likely to elect a buffoon if much of the population is indifferent / ignorant.


I guess I would say that it's more the easy access to information has led to people seeking only exactly what they want to hear - whether it's someone espousing their exact political viewpoint on cable news/YouTube, etc., or playing only the songs that they loved when they were 18 years old. You could call that indifference, I suppose.

But this is a Pop Culture thread so I will veer back from that and just say that I suspect there has been more interest in LMFAO in this thread than there has been anywhere else in the last five years. Not sure they are the best representative of music today.
   455. Davo Posted: June 10, 2019 at 11:45 AM (#5849991)
BOOK RECOMMENDATION SOLICITATION

So a couple years ago I threw myself into hard-boiled detective fiction (Hammett, Chandler, MacDonald, Cain, etc). Enjoyed them all to varying degrees.

But a week ago by chance (knowing only that it was a detective story) I read Peter Lovesey’s Bertie and the Tinman, and loved it more than any of the others. This vain, bumbling idiot (who’s also the Prince of Wales) investigating murders was too, too funny—so much more entertaining than Hammett’s suave geniuses!

So that said: I’m wrapping up Lovesey’s “Bertie” trilogy tonight. Are there any other detective stories in this vein—ones where the detective is really bad at his job? Thanks!
   456. Davo Posted: June 10, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5850010)
Terrence Malick Begins Shooting New Film ‘The Last Planet’
The film will reportedly convey passages “in the life of Christ” through representing evangelical parables.

I am on board with this!
   457. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5850025)
both Gaye and Dylan were happy recording "girl let's have sex" songs too
What were Dylan's "girl let's have sex" songs? Even a song like "I Want You" isn't actually about sex as far as I can tell - it's his usual wordplay/imagery in the verses, with some throwaway lines for the chorus. But the bigger point is that Gaye and (let's assume) Dylan did both. I'm not saying everyone should have to be totally serious all the time. I think "What's Going On" is a far better song than "Got to Give It Up" (especially the Robin Thicke version), but yeah, there will always be "girl let's have sex" songs because guess what, a lot of guys start writing songs to get laid. Individually, it's just a matter of "that song is pretty dumb." When the Top 40 has 38 of those, though, that's a problem.
   458. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5850027)
455 - Are you familiar with Inspector Gadget?
   459. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5850034)
I guess I would say that it's more the easy access to information has led to people seeking only exactly what they want to hear - whether it's someone espousing their exact political viewpoint on cable news/YouTube, etc., or playing only the songs that they loved when they were 18 years old. You could call that indifference, I suppose.
I'd say it's both: There are far too many people who refuse to engage with substantive issues, and of the people who are willing to engage, far too many of them seek out only exactly what they want to hear.

But this is a Pop Culture thread so I will veer back from that and just say that I suspect there has been more interest in LMFAO in this thread than there has been anywhere else in the last five years. Not sure they are the best representative of music today.
Yeah, true. I just threw them out there because they were a particularly, shall we say, florid example that occurred to me off the top of my head.
   460. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5850036)
I was thinking of "Lay Lady Lay."
   461. Omineca Greg Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5850046)
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
   462. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5850051)
OK, yeah, kinda - although that's a very different type of song than "Hot in Herrrrrrrre." The lyrics aren't Dylan's best work or anything, but they're a good bit more clever than "It's getting hot in herrrrrre so take off all your clothes."
   463. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5850052)
It's like you didn't even read the part where I extolled "good gracious! ass is bodacious!"
   464. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5850056)
So in the name of updating my references, I took a quick look at the lyrics of the current Top 10 songs:

"Dancing With a Stranger," Sam Smith & Normani
"Sucker," Jonas Brothers
"Sweet But Psycho," Ava Max
"Wow," Post Malone
"Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored," Ariana Grande
"Old Town Road," Lil Nas X
"ME!," Taylor Swift & Brendon Urie
"7 Rings," Ariana Grande
"Talk," Khalid
"I Don't Care," Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber

Just...yeah. Hoo boy.
   465. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5850061)
So in the name of updating my references, I took a quick look at the lyrics of the current Top 10 songs:

Pick a random date in 1987 and see how it goes.
   466. BrianBrianson Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5850062)
Well, one might better compare to Hot in Here to Sugar, Sugar, which both The Archies and Wilson Pickett charted with.
   467. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5850070)
Why not June 10, 1987?
   468. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5850074)
To be clear, I think Elroy might be right that there are more stupid songs in the top 10 than there used to be. I just don't think it's as meaningful as he does, regarding either the state of the music scene itself or the larger culture.
   469. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5850078)
Speaking of songs Ryan Braun's walk up music is Chun Swae by Nicki Minaj. Just sharing bu not posting the lyrics.
   470. Austin Kearns: The Spy Who Shagged Flies Posted: June 10, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5850099)
From what I understand, comparing current Top 10 lists to earlier ones requires a bit of an adjustment because how those rankings are determined has changed so much (I assume now a lot is dependent on streaming, YouTube views. etc.). Top 10 lists have become more homogeneous now (I think Ariana Grande had the Top 3 for a long time this year) largely as a result of that.

Not saying there isn't a difference in the contents of the songs themselves, just that the dissemination of the content has changed so much.
   471. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5850124)


Billboard - week of June 13, 1987
1 Atlantic Starr - Always
2 Kim Wilde - You Keep Me Hangin' On
3 Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam - Head To Toe
4 Genesis - In Too Deep
5 I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) - Whitney Houston
6 Chris de Burgh - The Lady In Red
7 Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead Or Alive
8 Herb Alpert - Diamonds
9 U2 - With or Without You
10 Smokey Robinson - Just To See Her



   472. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5850126)
Herb Alpert and Smokey Robinson had Top 10 hits in 1987??
   473. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:08 PM (#5850129)
Billboard - Top 10 Hot 100 number one singles of 1987

"Walk Like an Egyptian" - The Bangles
"Shake You Down" - Gregory Abbott
"At This Moment" - Billy Vera and the Beaters
"Open Your Heart" - Madonna
"Livin' on a Prayer" - Bon Jovi
"Jacob's Ladder" - Huey Lewis and the News
"Lean on Me" - Club Nouveau
"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" - Starship
"I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" - Aretha Franklin and George Michael
"(I Just) Died in Your Arms" - Cutting Crew

   474. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:09 PM (#5850132)
Herb Alpert told Bono to talk to the hand the week of June 13.
   475. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5850137)
‘If you don’t want me to watch my platinum record, you can go in the ocean and get it’ - Herb Alpert
   476. Davo Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5850142)
It’s actually a good thing that three Swedish DJs make 95% of the music you hear on the radio.
   477. BrianBrianson Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5850146)
Wait, there's still music on the radio?
   478. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5850147)
Yeah, those 1987 lists are pretty bad. But I don't think we can really analyze this issue by juxtaposing this date's Top 10 with that date's haphazardly. We would need to look at, say, the Top 40 for every week from Date X to Date Y, categorize the songs (and of course there will be some gray areas), and then look for trends.

It does seem like there are more distinct types of inane songs now, which may be responsible for any increase in the total. Thirty years ago or whatever, most of the dumb songs were banal love songs or novelty songs. Now we also have the "I have lots of money" and "Up in the club" buckets, and much less artful "Let's have some sex" songs, and of course "Silly love songs" are still alive and well.
   479. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:29 PM (#5850148)
That's a good project. I'm in. I'm doing this week.
   480. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:29 PM (#5850149)
FYI, I am no bobm. Or the other bob.

That #473 list is wrong, because it's just the FIRST ten hot 100 number one singles, not the top 10. The remainder of the year is in that link.
   481. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5850158)
I keep hoping the "music is dumber now" conversation will die, but who am I to judge and since it is still going on here are my (wet blanket) two cents.

Either you (those in the pop music is dumber camp) are trying to give a totally subjective opinion or you are trying to make an objective case. If the former, then awesome, you totally get to assert your opinion and tell everyone who disagrees they are wrong. In that case, well I think you are wrong. Now can we have a different argument?

However, if there is at least a pretend shred of "Music is objectively worse/dumber/simpler than it used to be", then I would like to ask (politely) for some sort of metric and/or evidence for your assertion (no citing a few dumb songs is not evidence). If there is anything other than subjective opinion here I would love to know what it is.

And now three notes:

1) First of all comparing what is on the radio or even top X songs across eras is basically insane to start with. The entire music industry has wildly mutated since I was born. For a while singles drove the industry, then record (tape, CD) sales drove most of it, and now we have transitioned into the digital world. Another (less media centric way of looking at it) is the industry used to be very concentrated in genre, labels and so on and now has fragmented into a million different niches. With all those changes of course whatever manages to float to the top X is going to change in character over time. The industry has changed in fundamental ways and looking at the top x is a very superficial way to gauge the music of the times (especially now).

2) The NULL hypothesis basically has to be "Since people are still people the music quality is the same" and you have to disprove that by somehow showing an increase or decrease in quality.

3) Even if music quality has changed (other than through the natural changes in styles and tastes over time), so what? There seems to be an additional wildly speculative hypothesis layered on top that this change in quality means something very important about society, which I would also like to see some sort of evidence. Does the quality (however you are judging it) of music somehow mirror (cause?) a similar quality in society? How are you measuring that?
   482. jmurph Posted: June 10, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5850164)
Speaking of top 40 radio in the 80s, I have fond memories of catching Casey Kasem's coundtown on long roadtrips as a kid.

Therefore I am on ElRoy's side (I'm kidding, I don't really have a dog in this one).
   483. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 02:00 PM (#5850165)
"Dancing With a Stranger," Sam Smith & Normani -- sad love song, specifically a "let's stay together" song

"Sucker," Jonas Brothers - love song

"Sweet But Psycho," Ava Max - this excitingly resurrects the vital Witchy Woman / Black Magic Woman / She's a Maniac / Livin La Vida Loca genre

"Wow," Post Malone - "I have lots of money"

"Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored," Ariana Grande - "boy lets have sex"

"Old Town Road," Lil Nas X - The other song I was familiar with, a novel "I have lots of money" song mixed with country music pastiche

"ME!," Taylor Swift & Brendon Urie - A love duet that plays on the "I'm awesome" subgenre

"7 Rings," Ariana Grande - "I have lots of money"

"Talk," Khalid - love song

"I Don't Care," Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber - love song
   484. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 02:27 PM (#5850185)
I keep hoping the "music is dumber now" conversation will die,
Yeah, we got about 63 pages to go before we even approach Game of Thrones territory. It's not like any of us are dead set on discussing this and only this. Introduce another topic if you want.

However, if there is at least a pretend shred of "Music is objectively worse/dumber/simpler than it used to be", then I would like to ask (politely) for some sort of metric and/or evidence for your assertion (no citing a few dumb songs is not evidence). If there is anything other than subjective opinion here I would love to know what it is.
Look, I'm not delusional enough to think that this can be "proved" by a particular statistic. But there is an objective component. Songs objectively have certain lyrics, and those words objectively have meanings. Of course there is going to be some level of subjectivity in terms of where different people draw the line between dumb and not dumb, or various gradients in between. But - and I know you will disagree with this - I have always argued that although the doctrinaire relativists don't want to admit it, there is (and has to be) some objectivity to it as well. If you say that "The Times They Are A-Changing" is more inane than "The Thong Song," you are just incorrect.

The industry has changed in fundamental ways and looking at the top x is a very superficial way to gauge the music of the times (especially now).
No one is disagreeing that the music industry as a whole has lots of options for everyone. We're specifically talking about pop music because the popularity is a key component of the broader argument. The Top X gets directly at that.

2) The NULL hypothesis basically has to be "Since people are still people the music quality is the same" and you have to disprove that by somehow showing an increase or decrease in quality.
That does not have to be the null hypothesis at all, for the reasons you noted in your (1), among others.

Does the quality (however you are judging it) of music somehow mirror (cause?) a similar quality in society? How are you measuring that?
Again, of course it doesn't boil down to a statistic. It's a theory. I don't really think it should be controversial to say that what we consume in our culture both reflects and in turn shapes our values and our society.


   485. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 10, 2019 at 03:25 PM (#5850218)
If you say that "The Times They Are A-Changing" is more inane than "The Thong Song," you are just incorrect.


This doesn't help your case, because cherry picked data points don't mean anything. Plus, in addition to survivor bias, older songs have just plain had more time to accumulate cultural weight than younger songs. No band which debuted in 1990 can possibly have reached the cultural significance of a Beatles, even if they were "better". Similarly (yes, I know it is not an exact analogy) songs from the past have an inbuilt advantage of at least perceived importance and cultural weight (which seems like a huge component of the under-defined metric you are waving around).

No one is disagreeing that the music industry as a whole has lots of options for everyone. We're specifically talking about pop music because the popularity is a key component of the broader argument. The Top X gets directly at that.


But since there is so much diversity now, people wanting to have their specific itch scratched can venture out into the tubes, the popular music is both much less absolutely popular and going to be more LCD. By restricting what you are looking at at just "pop music" you are already baking in a result, because what "pop music" is has changed, its audience composition, how it is delivered, and the number of people who consume it have all changed dramatically.

So yes the two different things pop music now and pop music 40 years ago are different and so your feeling that they are different is correct..

That does not have to be the null hypothesis at all, for the reasons you noted in your (1), among others.


Nope. Sorry. I mean you can make the NULL whatever you want, but "people are the same but the music they produce is worse, for reasons" is not a terribly compelling NULL hypothesis.

Again, of course it doesn't boil down to a statistic. It's a theory. I don't really think it should be controversial to say that what we consume in our culture both reflects and in turn shapes our values and our society.


But "reflects and shapes" is not exactly what I read up thread. What I read is much more of an argument of worse music and thus worse society. I am willing to agree that there is a complex relationship between a society and its art. Heck I can even sign up that art can suffer in some societies (Film in Nazi Germany was pretty bad, with a few exceptions, for a variety of obvious reasons).

But that is (IMO) miles from what I am seeing the argument as being. But hey, maybe I am misreading your thesis. Can you state it in as objective terms as possible? Just so I am giving you a fair shake.
   486. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5850220)
Can you state it in as objective terms as possible? Just so I am giving you a fair shake.


From my earlier post above:

Do I think that aggressively inane pop songs caused Trump to be elected? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. But I absolutely do think that the current pop charts are indicative, symptomatic and at the same time encouraging of a general refusal to engage with the "heavy lifting" of thinking seriously about substantive things, and that that refusal is a major cause of our big problems as a society -- one of which is that apparently we're capable of electing Donald F***ing Trump as the president.

At least in my mind, that is entirely consistent with "what we consume in our culture both reflects and in turn shapes our values and our society."
   487. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: June 10, 2019 at 03:52 PM (#5850224)
On a far more fascinating topic, gambling, did anyone else read this article about professional sports gambling?

I am no pro but enjoy gambling on horseracing during big races or when we go to a racetrack which is maybe once or twice a year. Just thought this was interesting. And if it matters even by my wife's harsh standard of making enough each visit to take her to dinner I am pretty good at gambling on horses.
   488. Davo Posted: June 10, 2019 at 06:16 PM (#5850257)
Elaine May won a Tony last night.

In other Elaine May news, she’s not dead yet!
   489. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5850258)
In other Elaine May news, she’s not dead yet!
...how 'bout now?
   490. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 07:36 PM (#5850270)
I agree with Elroy about half of that stuff, and with Mouse with the other half. I wanted to respond in detail but that would just be too confusing.
   491. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2019 at 07:54 PM (#5850273)
Pick a side, man!! You're either with us or against us!
   492. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:05 PM (#5850318)
Pop music has a lot less dynamic range than it did in much of its past. There are a lot of metrics demonstrating this. One could argue (and I three-quarters believe) that this represents a form of dumbing down, and one entirely independent of lyrical content.
   493. PreservedFish Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:33 PM (#5850333)
I thought that was a production thing, not a songwriting thing.
   494. Davo Posted: June 10, 2019 at 11:02 PM (#5850350)
From the left-wing N+1: "Game of Groans"

Musing that “there’s nothing more powerful than a good story” just before a pivot to a deeply anticlimactic outcome, was, for me, the show’s Jeb Bush-esque “please clap” moment of desperation. One senses here above all the showrunners’ own need for self-validation about their professional status as mediators of someone else’s story, as people who monetize and disarm and defang and polish George R. R. Martin’s work to a mirror brightness in exchange for mountains of cash.

I don’t want to just sound like a snob or a jerk. I am trying to imagine the submarine-crumpling barometric force of economic and creative pressures bearing down upon the showrunners of Game of Thrones. I am trying to imagine the stench of flopsweat in the writer’s room as they attempted to craft a mostly kind of satisfactory conclusion to a nearly decade-spanning enterprise that had already decisively outpaced its original creator’s control, an enterprise just as heavily overdetermined by the warring desires of rival fandoms from without as it is magnetized by the warring claims of the rival dynastic houses from within Westeros. Honestly, I’m drawing a blank. I have no idea what that kind of pressure feels like and will not bother pretending that I do.

What I do know is that that ending was deeply frustrating, and not in the salutary way that great art—or, for that matter, even merely good entertainment—can surprise and overturn expectations and transvalue its own systems of values, wrongfooting us while delivering us into the magic space of the unexpected. No, this was frustrating in its deflationary squandering of narrative possibilities, in its shoddy thinking and writing, in its sententious pomposity, in its galling little missteps no less than in its occasional moments of breathtaking arrogance. If the best story on offer here is the one about the benevolent electoral system whose endless campaign of surveillance is for our own protection, then all I can say is: dracarys.
   495. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 11, 2019 at 05:55 AM (#5850456)
A mashup of two sex songs: "Spanish Harlem Incident" (Dylan, B.) and "Hot in Herre" (Nelly)

Gypsy gal, the hands of Harlem
Cannot hold you to its heat
Your temperature's too hot for taming
Your flaming feet burn up the street

It's gettin' hot in herre, so take off all your clothes
I am gettin' so hot, I wanna take my clothes off

I am homeless, come and take me
To reach of your rattling drums
Let me know, babe, about my fortune
Down along my restless palms

I'm leavin', please believe in, ohh
Me and the rest of my heathens
Check it, got it locked at the top of the Fo' Seasons
Penthouse, roof top, birds I'm feedin'

The night is pitch black, come an' make my
Pale face fit into place, ah, please
Let me know, babe, I'm nearly drowning
If it's you my lifelines trace

Let it hang all out
With a little bit of ah, ah
And a sprinkle of that ah, ah
Let it just fall out
I like it when you ah, ah

On the cliffs of your wildcat charms I'm riding
I know I'm 'round you but I don't know where
You have slayed me, you have made me
I got to laugh halfways off my heels
I got to know, babe, will you surround me?
So I can tell if I'm really real

I feel like bustin' loose
And I feel like touchin' you, uh uh
And can't nobody stop the juice
So baby, tell me what's the use?
   496. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: June 11, 2019 at 06:35 AM (#5850457)
I thought that was a production thing, not a songwriting thing.
I don't know that there's a huge amount of difference between the two at this point.
   497. PreservedFish Posted: June 11, 2019 at 07:44 AM (#5850458)
But they've been doing the same thing to reissues, making the quiet parts louder. Anyway it's something that is mostly an audiophile issue, not a "what's playing in my Uber" issue.
   498. Lassus Posted: June 11, 2019 at 08:31 AM (#5850461)
in its sententious pomposity
Someone has found a like-minded authority on this state, it appears.
   499. PreservedFish Posted: June 11, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5850469)
Yeah tell me about it. ####'s unreadable. And I probably agree with every word of it too.
   500. Swoboda is freedom Posted: June 11, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5850482)
On a far more fascinating topic, gambling, did anyone else read this article about professional sports gambling?


Thanks for the link. Good article and I am not a gambler at all.
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