Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hot Fun - or - The Boys of Summer

Last year's summertime jam, if I remember correctly, was Chamillionaire f. Krayzie Bone's "Ridin'" (I take T.I.'s "What You Know" out of the running because, for me, that one peaked solidlyin the spring According to Allmusic there were two different singles issued for this song, one in December of 2005, and another in July of 2006, which doesn't make sense to me at all, since I first remember hearing it sometime in the middle of May. I remember not liking it, and I can excuse myself for that: it's really not a great song. At the time, mid-May, summer around the corner but technically not yet here, that's what you had to go on. It wasn't immediate like T.I.'s track was, and what ended up being good about it wasn't quite apparent until you had time to digest the track.

Still, once you got into it - the fact that the way Chamillionaire sings "my music's so lou-oud" is fucking hilarious, the ridiculous nature of the whole idea of "riding dirty", and the fact that the lyrics amount to both a "fuck pigs" manifesto and a M.A.D.D. PSA all in one create a perfect summer pop hit, even if you couldn't really dance or sing along with it. Plus, it was a great driving song, which is also of the utmost importance when judging a summer jam.

In retrospect, though, "Ridin'" is just kind of a novelty. John Travolta leaves Olivia Newton-John and goes back to school. If Olivia is Beyonce or, fuck, even Len or LFO, he keeps on thinking about her, and she ends up becoming the slut he always dreamed of. Grease never turned out that way for Cham and Krayzie. They just went on to make Battlefield Earth and become licensed airline pilots. T.I. has stood the test of time, but, again, that technically was not a summertime jam.

Bringing it up to the present, Rihanna's "Umbrella" has made me hopeful for this summer, but I'm doubtful that the song can really maintain momentum through the hot months. Is it really ridiculous and catchy enough? A great track, and probably at the right time, too - it just might be that it won't quite make it past its shelf life. If this was truly the summertime jam, it would be pumping out of every third car you heard by this point. I've only heard it from one, and that was before 9am.

So who's it gonna be huh. Maroon Five can't do it. That's an assertion. What I've heard of Amerie's newest can't touch "1 Thing". R. Kelly just released an album, but generally these things can't be predicted. Chamillionaire was supposed to have missed his window after Houston went huge, and then collapsed back into itself (an event I date at the release of Paul Wall's "Girl" video), but he defied the odds, apparently re-released the song, and made being bored and hot that much more tolerable for everyone.

It could be that the best summertime jams come out of nowhere. I'm looking at you, Baltimore.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Another Plug

You can now read something I wrote at Tiny Mix Tapes:

You can click here to read it

I set out to write something about the Killers and ended up with this. Go figure.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Larry Merchant Is Awesome -or- Sports Are Awesome

There's a character on, one of my favorite types of characters, as it happens - the kind you never really see or hear from, but only know of as a name or creator of something you are watching or hearing - by the name of Leomard Sportsinterviews. Obviously, this is a hilarious name, for any number of reasons. First, there's the simple absurdity of the names Leomard and Sportsinterviews. Added to this is the fact that the contexts in which his name appears never have the slightest bit to do with Sportsinterviews, and you have a pretty funny situation.

Watching the Mayweather - De La Hoya fight on Saturday, I was reminded of the third reason that Leomard Sportsinterviews is so funny: because sports interviews are possibly the most ridiculous and amazing interviews imaginable. Even as one of the many forms that human discussion can take, they're right up there.

Admittedly, it's only recently I've even become vaguely conscious of the world of sports interviews, because, generally, the very idea behind the sports interview is transparency. Questions and answers should be so simple and self explanatory, predictability being the pinnacle of sports interview excellency as far as journalism and facticity are concerned, that the historical event of the interview becomes totally irrelevant.

"How did you feel about getting benched in the second quarter?"

"Well, I didn't exactly feel like it was fair, but coach has a game plan, and we're just trying to go out there and be competitive and put the best team out there we can."

The AP eats it up and shits it out and cliches are born and calcified in abundance. While the thoughtless spouting of tired and meaningless phrases and stock answers in itself becomes extremely entertaining as the pointlessness of the entire enterprise and the unimaginativeness of those involved become all the more clear, it also sets the stage for those few personalities who can come along and turn the whole enterprise on its ear. Yogi Berra, for one. He was boss. More recently, of course, you have Gilbert Arenas, Rasheed Wallace and Clinton Portis just to name a few.

On a side note, Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, Ron Artest any of your supposed "bad boys" (not to be confused with the "Bad Boys") don't figure in this discussion at all. These are personalities as actual people, not media savvy public personas. They cause trouble, ruffle feathers, cause they're kind of crazy or whatever, not cause they know how to use the media. The sports interview works differently for them.

But anyway, I think it's pretty clear that the greatest sports interview of the post-Ali era - I make a motion here for this be established as an actual term in regards to sports interview history: was anyone better? - is the Jim Gray-Mike Tyson interview you can see below. Watch it now if you're unfamiliar. Everything about this is amazing. Jim Gray is so clueless and frightened. His questions are so hackneyed and trite and sports journalisty that it ought to make one sick. Tyson is a braindead genius for showing Gray where he goes wrong. The fact that one of the only things he says in the entire interview that could pass as an answer is, "I dunno man," speaks to the dynamics here. This is his stage. Jim Gray is a maggot.

Ok, now watch the post fight interview from Saturday's De La Hoya - Mayweather fight. Go ahead. How awesome is Larry Merchant?

Mayweather is no Ali, he's no Tyson. As an orator, he's not even David Wells. But this is still one of the most entertaining sports interviews you could ever hope to see, largely because of Larry Merchant. The difference in styles is all you need to know about the difference between boxers and boxing fans. Merchant is old, slow, but not scared like that fucking quivering goat, Jim Gray. He asks questions deliberately and expects an answer rather than a reaction. He knows this is too much to hope for, but still genuinely tries to get some actual information out of Mayweather. The result is a sort of dehumidifier-humidifier cataclysm and it's amazing to watch.

The De La Hoya interview? That guy must be the fucking Tiger Woods of boxing or something I dunno.

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