Tag Archives: michael jackson

Questioning the Scripture of Bill Hicks

Let’s face it – Bill Hicks was a genius.  Taking a cue from the all-time great George Carlin, Hicks infused his rebellious comedy routine with a heavy dose of philosophy. His views on society, government, religion, and drugs are still thought-provoking and profound 20-years later.  Recently while watching his 1992 special Relentless I had a moment of confusion.  While talking about the music industry’s penchant for performing fellatio on the Devil, Hick’s quipped, “Let me tell you something right now, you can print this in stone and don’t you ever forget it: any performer who ever sells a product on television is for now and all eternity removed from the artistic world.”

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Worst Album Covers of 2010

It’s that time again to review the highlights and lowlights of the year. What better way to kick things off than with our annual “Worst Album Covers List”.  I’m not sure if cover art has lost its importance due to the slow demise of physical media, but there was such an influx of horrific artwork and photography in 2010 that I was forced to double the list in size.  I hope you don’t mind…


20. Airbourne

 

“No Guts, No Glory”

 

This cover should probably be #1, but I've convinced myself that it's intentionally over-the-top bad...it's the only way to explain it.

19. Michael Jackson

 

“Michael”

 

I appreciate that they've tried to include references to all the different periods Michael's life, but I find the images to the left of a rotting Michael corpse to be tasteless.

18. J King and Maximus

 

“Los Superheroes”

 

So Maximus can shoot flames and J. King is...a plumber?

17. Blake Shelton

 

“Loaded: The Best of Blake

 

Shelton”

 

The photographer told him to look "loaded", unfortunately Blake went "full-retard".

16. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

 

“Round and Round”

 

Don't you just hate it when you get peanut butter stuck on the roof of your mouth?

15. Weezer

 

“Hurley”

 

I knew Hurley had bad luck, but the Smoke Monster has nothing on the wrath of Weezer.

14. Sheek Louch

 

“Donnie G: Don Gorilla”

 

This cover set back race relations 500 years.

13. Neil Diamond

“Dreams”

 

Based off this cover I've come to two beliefs: Neil Diamond uses Cialis, and the original title of the album was "Wet Dreams".

12. Mike Watt

“Hyphenated-Man”

 

You would think the most disturbing part of this cover would be the lizard-bird with He-Man legs cracking out of an egg-shell while standing on a plaque and being pierced by an arrow. But no. Once again, Comic Sans font wins.

11. Pastor Christy Davis

“Worship Him”

 

Tracy Morgan is also a cross-dressing pastor? Who knew!

10. Scissor Sisters

“Night Work”

9. Hunx and his Punx

“Gay Singles”

 

Battle of the gay album covers: Only one will come out on top...or bottom.

 

8. Ringo Starr

“Y Not”

 

The question should be: Y?

7. Rascal Flatts

“Nothing Like This”

 

"Behold, my glorious glowing penis!"

6. Jeff Beck

 

“Emotion & Commotion”

 

It's a little known fact that eagle nests are made primarily out of Fender Stratocasters.

5. Cocorosie

“Grey Oceans”

 

I've always had a crush on the girls from Cocorosie, and after seeing this cover, I've acquired a strange fetish for girls with cotton candy mustaches.

4. Rhymester

 

“Manifesto”

 

Ah! The age old act of rappers dressing like centaurs and holding up fencing swords in order to ignite lightning bolts! I remember when NWA did this same cover back in '87.

 

3. Z-Ro

 

“Heroin”

 

The needle says "No!" but the spoon says "Yes!"

2. Lordi

 

“Babez for Breakfast”

 

The commonly over-looked Garbage Pail Kid "Ari Ohla"

 

1. Brian Ray

 

“This Way Up”

 

I've heard of a "chick magnet", but not until this album cover did I know of the "douche magnet".

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Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga is a pop star—why are we taking time to bitching about her?  Is it necessary to use the internet to spread negative rants about global pop stars?  Isn’t it a bit spiteful?  Some writers at BDWPS are actually Lady Gaga fans.  And we haven’t bitched about say, Britney, or Christina.  Isn’t her music better than the average pop star?  (Yes, and I happen to actually like some of it).  So why the hate?  Because of all the talk of her ‘revolutionizing pop music’—that’s why.  A quote from her interview with TIME Magazine: “I don’t want to sound presumptuous [any time someone feels the need to say something like that they already are], but I’ve made it my goal to revolutionize pop music.  The last revolution was launched by Madonna 25 years ago… I want so much for it to go beyond the music for my fans.”  That lame self-proclamation led to everyone repeating it until the hype became a common fact.  But what does Flavor Flav say?  Lady Gaga: revolutionizing pop music?  FAR from it my friends.  Let us take a look at the (wo)man who lives in the Haus of Gaga.

Our journey begins with a woman named Stefani Germanotta.  Take a moment to browse through these three clips.

Hopefully one can stand watching enough of these three videos to see what Lady Gaga started out as—a Vanessa Carlton/Norah Jones hybrid.  Maybe throw in a bit of Tori Amos, but that is probably giving her a bit too much credit.  It should be obvious she didn’t start off revolutionizing anything, but then again, we don’t hold that against her, as neither did David Bowie.

But how did Stefani Germanotta transform into Lady Gaga and get so popular?  Well somewhere along the way Gaga manipulated herself into what she felt would make her a star—or more accurately, what her management team felt would make a star.  Mainly I would say, she/they added controversy and a ‘freaky’ public image.  Is she a hermaphrodite?  Bisexual?  To answer these questions, and whether or not she is now revolutionizing pop music, let us reflect on her music videos, live shows, public image and music.

First off, I will say that a few of her videos are amazing (although the video for “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)” is absolutely horrible).  Very visually captivating… but obviously they took like thousands of dollars to make.  I’d just as soon watch this one from Dinsosaur Jr., which probably took 5 bucks to make.  Check it out:

Alejandro Video:

More on music videos later.  Music is what we are worried about here at BDWPS, not flashy music videos.  So let’s talk about her live shows.

Most of the Lady Gaga fans I know swear by her live show.  And, yeah I get it, lots of props and costumes and money put into it.  But EVERYTHING IS SCRIPTED.  During this song she will wear this, she will go over there and shake her ass for 35 seconds then take off her hat and do some scripted dance moves then put on a different pair of stupid assed glasses and grab her crotch in a neo Michael Jackson move and then a black guy will come from over there and hump her leg.  Then she will take pants off revealing a Hello Kitty covering your vagina.  Where is the REAL FUCKEN DANGER in any of that?!  Rock and roll shows shouldn’t be scripted.  Revolution is dangerous and is not scripted.  Sorry Gaga.

Watch this video of her playing “Speechless” live:

Watching her play the piano for a five minute song is almost excruciating.  Without all the flash, props, pomp her live show amounts to almost nothing.  Putting your leg up on the piano and showing your crotch doesn’t make it any more watchable or the song any better.  Okay, maybe a little, but it also turns me off, because it should be beginning to become clear to one, with Gaga very little of it is about the music.

Let us take a moment and go through Lady Gaga’s latest album, The Fame Monster, track by track.

1.  “Bad Romance” – An awesome song – the first time Gaga’s music surpassed the hype

2.  “Alejandro” –  Mostly I get fucken tired of her singing the word “Alejandro” over and over again (we used to play a game, counting how many times Creed sang the phrase, “what if” on that one shitty song. But it would be completely impossible to play that on this song, as I doubt any human can count that high).  If it weren’t for that, I could dig this song.

3.  “Monster” – sounds like Kylie Minogue song + Britney Spears

4.  “Speechless” – a bad Queen song sung by the guy from Nickelback.

5.  “Dancing in the dark” – Madonna  + Britney

6.  “Telephone” – Christina Aguleria with an autotuner

7.  “So Happy I Could Die” – like every Eurotrashpop star ever + Shakira

8.  “Teeth” – if you told me this was Christina Aguilera I would believe you.

An above average pop album (although if you gave almost anyone as big of a songwriting team as Gaga has, they could probably come up with some above average stuff as well), but the biggest problem with calling Lady Gaga revolutionary is that, really, it has all been done before.  Proof (all one needs is 30 seconds worth, VERY IMPORTANT TO WATCH THIS ONE):

Can one watch that and not see Lady’s shit was done 30 years ago?  I guarantee she is a Missing Persons fan, cos that is too similar to be coincidence.  David Bowie did the androgyny thing 40 years ago (even Ellen Degeneres told Gaga this in an interview) and did it way better—cos the music was fucking fantastic!  Grace Jones was much fiercer/scarier 30 years ago, Betty Davis did the whole badass “I wear the pants in this sexual relationship” way better 40 years ago, Madonna blazed these public image/controversy trails in the 80s and the rest of Lady Gaga’s schtick is a mixture of Marilyn Manson, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Roxy Music, Roisin Murphy (especially with the avant-garde outfits and while I am on it, Roisin’s 2005 album Ruby Blue is way ahead in the pop arena while at the same time being more avant-garde than Lady Gaga) and Bjork.

Her lyrics are 10th grade suburban white girl, her choice of collaborators (like Beyonce and Flo Rida), are definitely not avant-garde, and her controversial/nihilistic public image is only interesting cos mainstream pop music has become so damn conservative the last five years.  And come on, do you think I care about the Nazi/nihilistic imagery and if she is acting like she is fucking some dude in the ass (“Alejandro” video), or beating up some prison bitches (“Telephone” video)?  I couldn’t care less—it’s all about the music (and really, does this shock anyone but 67 year olds?).  But this brings out more beef I have with Lady Gaga.  She is always talking about how she wants to “liberate” her fans.  Is this cruelty fetish in her videos helping to liberate teenage girls?  Teaching them you need to get your ass kicked and be cruel to other?  Whatever—I could give a fuck less if she has three dicks and two ovaries (or if her music videos portray it)—it is all about the music. Justin Bieber fucking a baby in the mouth in one of his videos would be controversial as well, but that wouldn’t make his music any better.  Controversy does not equal revolution or add up to liberating music.

I listened to at least five of her interviews for this article, and not ONE time did she say anything remotely interesting (how can someone who is revolutionizing ANYTHING have nothing thought provoking to say?).  She is not the brains behind this hype machine.  Maybe Joanna Newsom said it best: “Her approach to image is really interesting, but you listen to the music, and you just hear glow sticks.”   So she is definitely not ‘revolutionizing’ pop music.  Gaga is simply what pop music is today, for better or worse.

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Best/Worst Rap Moments in NBA History

I love this time of year. Not because of the blossoming blue bonnets or the serene South Texas weather. No, I love it because it’s playoff time, more specifically – NBA playoffs.  I know the majority of America despises the NBA and its gangsta, free-styling flare, but I dare anyone to find as much passion, teamwork, and pride in any other professional sport.

In any honor of this momentous time of year, I decided to scour YouTube in search of the NBA’s musical talent.  I quickly discovered that beyond David Robinson’s robotic saxophone/piano playing, Vin Baker’s semi-soulful voice, and Wayman Tisdale’s smooth bass lines, most of the NBA’s stars explore their musical interests in the world of hip-hop.

Despite his Weather Channel stylings, Wayman was the shit.  Mad respect (1964 – 2009):

I decided to re-focus my blog, looking only at the rappers who have graced the professional basketball courts over the years. As I searched, listening to horrid rap after horrid rap about cross-over dribbles and jump shots, I realized rapping and basketball mix like oil and water (although some believe Rashad McCants is a true talent; I just don’t see it).  Despite this lack of real MC skills in the NBA, I did find that some of the lyrics had me laughing and decided all was not lost.  As a result, I give you, the top ten worst/best rap moments in NBA history.

10. Allen Iverson “A6” commercial

10. A.I. is single-handedly responsible for the downfall of the NBA. Before The Answer (ironic), the NBA was filled with family friendly All-Stars who presented themselves as athletes first (although Karl Malone had some strange truck-driving fetish).  Look at the roster of the 1991 Dream Team and try finding an unlikeable guy (Christian Laettner doesn’t count).  I know A.I. wasn’t the first tattooed bad-boy of the league, but it was his thug life mentality that changed the public’s perception of the Association.  Before Iverson, athletes were able to hide their past behind a glossy, publicist-made image. But A.I. flaunted his jail time and troubled past unapologetically.  With Allen’s perpetual chip on the shoulder, other incoming players clinged to the gangsta persona and soon the league was riddled with a sea of corn-rows and blood-shot eyes.

This commercial for shoes perfectly reflects the mind-set of the NBA during this tumultuous time.  My favorite moment in the song is when Allen begins to rap, starting off with the line, “Trying to build a team, I’m the player you need.”  Really?! The guy who is notorious for missing practice? The guy who, at various points in his career, has refused to play in games? The guy who demanded to be traded from every team he ever played for? The guy who said he’d rather retire than come off the bench?  (You get my point…)

9. Rasheed Wallace “Untitled”

I love Rasheed Wallace, and I’m not sure why. Most of the players that I enjoy in the NBA are the straight and narrow guys who respect the game (Tim Duncan, Chauncey Billups, David Lee), but there is just something about Rasheed.  I guess it comes down to his passion. With all his attitude and anger, he holds nothing back – verbally or physically.  Even in this rap song, you can tell there is passion within his words. Sure, they aren’t the most poetic verses, but Rasheed is fully committed. The song may even be passable if it weren’t for the shoddy production value. The bass line sounds like the music from the Atari game “Pitfall”, and the vocals are muffled.  This is the case with much of the NBA hip-hop I found.  With all the money these dudes make, they can’t splurge on a producer?  With some handy work in Pro-Tools, Rasheed could have a hit on his hands in the form of a song called “Both Teams Played Hard”.

8. Brian Shaw “Anything Can Happen”

This track put me in awe. Brian Shaw was never seen as a thug. In fact, if you were to choose a player off of the 1990s Lakers that would be most likely to become a rapper, the straight-laced Brian Shaw would come in last (yes, even behind Vlade). Instead of ruling the streets as he claims in the song, Shaw is now an assistant coach for the Lakers, always sporting a suit on the side-lines. A rapping coach? Yes, Brian, anything can happen. While most rappers talk of their mom being addicted to crack or their dad dying in a gun fight, Shaw opts to describe how his family died in a car crash. Now that’s gangsta.

7. Shaquille O’Neal “Tell Me How My Ass Tastes”

Shaq is the most successful recording artist in NBA history (notice I didn’t say “most successful rapper”).  While most of his songs are harmless fun, I find the most joy in this clip that gained popularity a few summers ago. In it, Shaq disses Kobe a week after the Lakers got embarrassed by the Celtics in the finals.  The famous line of the song is “Kobe, tell me how my ass tastes”.  On face value, this sounds like a twist on “kiss my ass”, but there is so much more going on here. This is The Big Aristotle afterall.  Let me break it down for you: Shaq either hooked up with Kobe’s wife or one of his mistresses (rape victims not included).  This female, whoever she was, tossed Shaq’s salad at some point. As a result, when Kobe kissed her at a later date, he was in a sense, tasting Shaq’s ass…I didn’t say the outcome was pretty.

6. Tony Parker “Freestylin”

There are tons of videos online of Tony Parker’s rap offerings, but I had to choose this freestyle session during the 2005 Championship celebration due simply to nostalgia for happier times as a Spurs fan (I take joy in the fact that Steve Nash left the series this year looking like the Toxic Avenger).  I was actually in attendance to see this performance live, but all my friend John and I could hear in the upper deck was “voo le voo le voo le voo le voo!”  Watching the video now, I realize we heard his rhymes correctly. Rapping in french must be pretty easy considering every word seems to end in an “ooo” sound (I’m offending french-men everywhere).  In this case, Tony Parker’s embarrassing performance is saved by Brent Barry’s dance moves…

5. Jason Kidd “What the Kidd Did”

“What the Kidd Did” starts with whispering vocals pleading, “They wanna know!” and I agree – we do want to know. To be more specific, we want to know what the hell Jason Kidd is. With skin the tone of silly putty and his hairless features (I swear he has alopecia) it is hard to decipher what J Kidd is.  Black? White? Sea Monkey? If he does have some black in him, there must not be much of it in him due to his complete lack of rhythm and soul for that matter.  It’s almost like he’s trying to prove he’s a homeboy, but with lines like “I’m like a high school tutor”, it’s hard to give Kidd the street cred he’s begging for.

4. Kobe Bryant and Tyra Banks “K.O.B.E.”

Who is more arrogant, self-serving, and unlikable than Kobe Bryant? You guessed it: Tyra Banks. This song is the ultimate match of egos, combining their overbearing, haughty grandeur to form the ultimate alliance of arrogance. I’m not sure who’s worse on this track. Kobe sounds like he has marbles in his mouth (or the taste of Shaq’s ass), yet Tyra’s sing/talk approach resembles a possum being eaten alive by maggots.  The downfall of both these shit-bags is the fact that they will always be striving to be America’s sweethearts, but they will invariably be despised by the majority due to their pompous, presumptive, pretension (alliteration is in full effect).

3. Chris Mills “Sumptin’ to Groove To”

Never heard of Chris Mills? Well, based off his lyrics you should have. He boasts “I’m a big ball player, a nice rhyme sayer”, but in actuality he’s neither. He never  had “a nice jay” and rarely did he “dismiss opponents”.  He was a bench player, plain and simple.  The fact that he wrote an entire song boasting his greatness is straight up laughable.

2. Ron Artest “I Cry For Mike”

Ron Artest rapping about Michael Jackson’s death? Wow. It doesn’t get much better than this. In this tribute, Artest connects with Michael on the fact that they’ve both dealt with controversy. Punching fans during a game seems a bit different from sexually assaulting kids, but then again, maybe I’m being picky. The fact that he refers to MJ as “my nigga” throughout the song is also questionable, considering the fact that the King of Pop was actually white when he died. Maybe “Michael your my whigga” would have been more fitting.

1. 1987 Lakers “Just Say No!”

When the Lakers were presented with the idea to perform “Just Say No!”, they should have done exactly that. There is not a moment of dignity in this classic that makes “The Super Bowl Shuffle” look respectable. The song gets better and better as it goes, even pulling in a choir of children near the end. When Magic jumps into the mix, I can’t help but think of all the unprotected sex he must have had the night before.  This clip gained the number one spot due simply to one moment. Near the end of the song, as the record scratching goes wild,  Kurt Rambis tosses a baby in the air.  Now that is having something in common with Michael Jackson.

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