Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Jam 2009 Candidate #2 - Das Racist - Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell

Do you like this? Do you hate this? It doesn't matter and I don't care. You have heard it or will hear it and that is what matters. Two guys who apparently live in Queens got high a few months ago, thought about how funny the idea of combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell was, put on a drum machine, and said "Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" over and over again in a rhythmic manner for a few minutes (the video above is for a remix that adds a bit of musical intricacy to make the listening experience a little bit smoother, but the original is, for all intents and purposes, the same).

And you listened to it!

Why did you do that? How did you do that?

This is the perfect case of viral for the sake of viral, and I'll admit to getting some kicks from it. It's funny! I do think the idea of a Pizza Hut and Taco Bell is funny. I like it when people decide to make music for fun, which is obviously the case here. I'd rather listen to this than Vespatimesist any day because these guys are fucking having fun. I like it when people try things that sound like terrible ideas and don't care and just try them and sometimes it works. This works, for example, even though it seems like it shouldn't or, maybe you're thinking, actually, no, it doesn't work. I'll say it again - you listened to it (or you will).

I spent a lot of time one summer writing and recording songs like this one in my basement with a friend of mine. We once recorded an improvisational record in about 4 hours. A lot of stuff is terrible to the point of being, like, 4 levels below "Pizza Hut and Taco Bell". But when we had actual ideas, like Das Racist did, the songs actually turned out pretty well. I'd go so far as to say that many of them were better than "Pizza Hut and Taco Bell". But, again, that's not the point. You listened to "Pizza Hut and Taco Bell", or you will, and you haven't listened to "Galavanting Unicorns of Love In Space".

You can look at a garage rock band and be like, these are the everyman. These are the blue collar soul of popular music, where rubber meets the road. But anyone who's been to a garage rock concert in the past two years knows that's not true anymore. Garage rock has graduated from the suburban garage to the abandoned urban garage and become art. Das Racist are the new everymen of music - dudes sitting in their basement with joints and pirated copies of Ableton Live. Think this song is stupid enough that you could have made it? You are exactly right.

There is no artifice, it's just fucking dumb, kind of funny, and frighteningly catchy. If these guys were British the song would be #1 over there already. The stoner's pick for summer jam '09, sure, but also something of a punk rock choice - if you're looking for a snapshot of the state of D.I.Y. in June 2009 you can stop looking.

Do I like it? Do you care? Do I care?

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Jam 2009 Candidate #1 - Keri Hilson ft. Kanye West & Ne-Yo - Knock You Down

Apparantly UMB Brazil is way cooler than they're North American overlords and have allowed me to embed this video into my blog. If you don't see it, you can do the old fashioned here:

Now, I'm not totally sold on what any of these three people are doing in general. I've got reservations about giving my whole hearted support to Kanye (though I'm close), Ne-Yo, or Keri Hilson right now.

But this track? No reservations at all.

Post Heartbreaks Kanye seems to be living in a sort of bubble where people are so happy he's not trying to sing that his verses once again seem awesome and immediate like they did way back when. His verse here is a good case in point, and I wouldn't be surprised if his next record is a lot like this - competent, almost perfect for the song, but lacking that weird sense of paranoia and persecution that made his early music so interesting. Still great, but it's Kanye without the caps lock, which I think we're all going to have to grow up and adjust to if we want to remain fans of pop music in the next few years.

Ne-Yo, on the other hand, I would've sworn I hated him. "So Sick" is a great song but he really lost it after that. People I respect have been all over Year of the Gentleman, but choosing to listen to "Miss Independent" was something I just couldn't bring myself to do. But I think I get it now - this is what it took. This is arguably the best sing-rapping that anyone has ever done without being R. Kelly. This verse may singlehandedly make it ok for an R&B singer to get a guest spot on a track and not only do a verse rather than a hook, but even deliver it like an MC, but I hope it doesn't, cause I don't think anyone other than the aforementioned Kels or maybe The-Dream could possibly handle that task. The last thing I want to hear is Akon trying to do this shit.

Man, Ne-Yo's verse on this is so good.

Keri Hilson - fine. She's good looking, has just enough personality visually and vocally, but she's obviously overshadowed on this track. And not only by Yo and Ye, but by the beat! It's been a while since I heard a hip hop beat I liked this much on a radio track. The form of it is interesting, splitting each verse in half between lackadaisical paint by numbers bounce and frenetic hi-hat shit for which I am a total sucker.

A little too long, but I'm ok with that in a Summer Jam. 2009 is already shaping up to be better than 2008 on the Summer Jam front. I'm not gonna be surprised if this one wins out.

Oh and yes I do realized I never finished by top ten of 2008. The top three were Portishead - Third, Robyn - ST (yeah I know this came out in 2005 - I like this record fucking sue me), and Mount Eerie, Julie Doiron & Fred Squire - Lost Wisdom. All great records that you should listen to all night. If you wanna know how I feel about em, in particular, get in touch personal like. This shit don't come for free.

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