Here is Procter & Gamble proving that if the creative is strong enough, video length is no barrier to finding your audience. This one is a heart tugger and has racked up 12.4m views so far.
I just read the P. D. James novel, Children of Men; from which the movie of the same name was adapted. Its a quiet, masterfully written dystopian wonder. Its much more intellectually satisfying than the equally masterful but far more explosive movie it birthed. While it provides no more answers about the central mystery that animates the plot, it does a far better job of creating a convincing explanation of a world where women are suddenly unable to conceive and no more children are being born. Both the characters and the world they inhabit are quietly but powerfully depicted and its definitely one of the most fully formed works of speculative fiction I’ve read. It is particularly powerful in its depiction of power and the way it might be wieded in such a world, and the emotional state of a world cast to a long but certain doom and decline. I definitely recommend a read if you’re into that sort of thing.
“I got this in 1979 and it has a lot of miles on it—some motorcycle miles, and it was my regular outerwear during the days when New York streets could be risky. It probably saved my life when I resisted a two perp mugging at knifepoint on Avenue D. (Or maybe it was the Sacred Heart of Jesus pinned inside it over my heart.) Some guys wore tagged leather jackets back then. One day I asked my friend Jean-Michel Basquiat to draw one of his crowns on the back of mine. Jean was so into kingship he smoked Chesterfield Kings. My friend George DuBose had nicknamed me Leroy because he said I acted like a king. This jacket made me feel even more like one.”- Glenn O’Brien
How much do I hate the skits on Late Registration? I hate them plenty. How much do I love Kanye’s rapping on Diamond’s From Sierra Leone? Plenty, I love it plenty. That was the album where he really wanted his props as a rapper and it showed in the focus on track after track. One of my favourite verses on the album is from “We Major” where he shows Nas up with sly wit, hood stories, condensed story telling and his trademark humour.
Feeling better than some head on a sunday afternoon
Better than a chick that say yes to soon
Until you have a daughter, that’s what I call karma
And you pray to god she don’t grow breasts too soon.
Projects to’ up, gang signs is thrown up
Niggas hats broke off that’s how we grow up
Why else you think shorty’s write rhymes just to blow up?
Get they first car and then IRS show up
He ain’t never had shit but he had that nine
Nigga come through flickin’ and he had that shine
Put two and two together in a little bad weather
Gon’ be a whole family on that funeral line
Ask the reverend was the strip club cool if my tips help send a pretty girl through school
That’s all I want like wino’s want they good whiskey
I ain’t in the Klan, but I brought my hood with me.
Late Registration, bottomless coffees and intermittent pushups giving me life this early morning.
Listen to Rhye:
If you like Sade
if you like your music soft and sensual
if you’re the kind of person who agrees with me that the following lyrics are hella sexy:
"I’m a fool for that shake in your thighs,
I’m a fool for that sound in your sighs,
I’m a fool for your belly,
I’m a fool for you love”
Their videos are all exceptional as well, and you should definitely look up the explicit video for Open, which presents sex with an intimacy that is very rare in modern music.
I’m looking forward to their debut album. Here’s the video for The Fall, which melds wry humour with angst and relationship dynamics.
I’m going to see Maxwell perform tonight. Absolutely cannot wait. Breaks my heart that another promoter made this concert happen before we did (my partner and I have been trying to make this concert happen for yonks!) but I’m incredibly thrilled to be able to watch him perform. Very, very excited! I might even do a review. And Robert Glasper is gonna be there! Too cool.
Above is a video showing the absolutely devastating return of one of my favorite musicians of the past few years. His mastery over his voice and the manipulation of it only seems to grow from EP to album to album. I love that he’s singing more. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him sing for such a sustained period of any of this other EPs/album, a sign of his growing confidence in his artistic explorations perhaps.
He retains his ability to great fragile yet epic sounding music. Like Bon Iver, Blake consistently blows my mind with his ability to use electronic manipulation, of the music and of his voice, to heighten rather than obscure emotion. As he frequently does, he roots the track in a piano solo This is accompanied by simple drum machine percussion and his own voice humming along the song’s main melody. He doesn’t begin to sing till 53 secs into the song, an otherworldy beautiful sound. By the time the chorus hits though, that voice is nearly drowned by an insistent and sinister synthesizer. Layering echoes of his own voice and a sustained coo in that mix make for a dense and overwhelming chorus, which softens back in between verses to percussion and a hum alone to make for the most haunting and beautiful song I’ve heard this year.
The lyrics are haunting and beautiful:
"I’ll wait, so show me why you’re strong
Ignore everybody else,
We’re alone now
I’ll wait, so show me why you’re strong
Ignore everybody else,
We’re alone now”
The video is gorgeous too with wonderful cinematography and and end of the world theme that is spooky in its timeliness. You may have heard that a meteor hit Russia yesterday? This video shows the same thing happening in wide open country that’s very reminiscent of Russia (although it seems to have been shot in Denmark).
JT is going to have his work with this comeback. R&B is as vital and original as its been in what feels like decades. I can hardly remember as crowded a field of daring and interesting music coming out of that genre as is currently happening. I grew up on Jodeci, Boy II Men, Blackstreet and while all of that music was fun, there always seemed to be a fairly consistent mainstream and not much of an underground doing weird and interesting things (please air your views in the comment section if you think I’m insane, that’s what this whole blogology thing is about).
These days innovators abound, from Frank Ocean (songwriter extraordinaire, love child of Prince, Donny and Stevie) to the dark, menacing broodiness of The Weeknd, the electronica and R&B melding James Blake, indie wonderboys like How To Dress Well and of course a never ending crop of endlessly talented female British singers (seriously how do they keep churning them out? Amy, Adele, Jessie Ware, Corinne Bailey Rae etc.)
This is not the time to be half-stepping with some timid, revivalist happy-clappy tune with no soul and a tired-ass hell Jay-Z dropping pick-up lines so lame they make miss “Excuse Me Miss” (and we all know how shit that track was).
Anyway, I hope JT has a better plan than jacking Robin Thicke’s style and hiring David Fincher to pretty up his videos. I expect FutureSex/LoveSounds levels of innovation. I want Timbo communicating with the aliens and laying that shit on wax. Otherwise JT can go back to Hollywood where his laziness won’t be as noticeable.
Here’s the video: