Posts Tagged ‘U2’

Ben Folds did a little ode to Merton, The Chat Roulette Guy the other night in Charlotte. I think Merton is the most immediate, apt and artistic response to Chat Roulette, really, which has a bit of Web 1.0 vibe to it- a little dangerous, a little anonymous, random little rabbit holes that you can fall down, yet hopefully don’t end up seeing tons of dude’s junk. The idea of Chat Roulette is both exhilarating and terrifying- like a high-tech combination of visual pen-pals who might turn out to be creepy flashers in the park at a moment’s notice. Not my thing, but hey, whatever pops your kernel.

I do, however, find it fascinating, funny, and touching that Ben Folds is commenting on a guy who basically was doing Ben’s schtick- sort of like an uber-meta comment on a comment. Pop culture is eating itself in a magnificent way- a multicolored, high-bandwith snake eating its own tail daily. It seems to me Ben is both endorsing Merton and elevating him- “Good on ya, man. You hit me with that.”

It reminds me of David Cross doing a cover of the Bank of America Guys doing U2’s “One” as a “convention entertainment” and a grossly inappropriate appropriation of a song (in my view) that’s pretty damn beautiful. Obviously, the Bank Guys were oblivious that what they were doing was disgusting, beyond trite, and just remarkably and staggeringly bad. Cross knew this, and didn’t actually have to parody it; he just did it straight. There was no way to spoof that which is unspoofable- you just let ‘er rip as is, man.

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Just watched Brett Gaylor’s Rip! A Remix Manifesto on Hulu last night. I’m actually shocked that NBC, Fox and ABC (Disney) would have this online, in this format; despite its lionization of Disney the Man, Disney the Company is really taken to task here. Maybe it’s the “if we join them, they will disappear” belief. Or maybe they (Los Corporations Grandes) figure the animals have already left the zoo, and they can’t stop it, exhibited by their mere acceptance of Hulu as a business model. Don’t know.

What I do know is that the film is pretty damn good. I’ve been loosely paying attention to these issues since the U2 vs. Negativland debacle in the early nineties, which really made U2 look backwards at a time when they were actually creating some pretty forwards-looking music. I think Negativland would have looked a bit more serious if they hadn’t included the cover, which is pretty much a giant “U2” over a much smaller “Negativland.” You can claim “culture jamming” all you want, but when you transparently are looking for huge sales by being cheeky, I understand Island’s concern. Maybe not the legal overreaction, but the concern is valid.

(I also think Greg Ginn’s re-release with Negativ(e)land: Live on Tour album on SST is about as brilliant a response as possible- Negativland may have posed and said, “EXACTLY! That’s what we’re talking about!” but the loss of their “intellectual property” and the realization of Ginn’s masterful chess move must have stung a little.)

Regardless, I think Rip! and Girl Talk (the “band” that Gaylor champions- those quotes are not sarcastic, it’s actually one guy) are completely necessary right now, and Girl Talk to me is more of an idea than an actual band. (Much like The Sex Pistols are a better idea than a band- Never Mind the Bollocks… is a pretty good album, but it’s a better call-to-arms. The Clash were 10 times the band the Pistols were.) I love the idea of “everything is fair game, ’cause we’re all the same person” and I think the spirit of Girl Talk is much more interesting than the actual music- I listen to the songs and think, “That’s interesting,” but there’s an aspect of it (to me) that seems like a novelty. It’s not the music that’s important, it’s the crowd’s reaction to said music- much like the Pistols, it’s the movement that’s the star. And I think Girl Talk completely understands that.


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This song floors me. It’s great on record, fantastic live.

Here’s Eno talking about the creation of the song, discussing how the song pretty much came through them. Which is what I think the best art does and best artists do: it’s allowed to be revealed, and the artists are ego-less enough to get the hell out of the way.

Eno in The Independent:

Eno fought hard to keep the band from messing too much with the original track. “These fucking guys,” he says with a smile, “they’re supposed to be so spiritual — they don’t spot a miracle when it hits them in the face. Nothing like that ever happened to me in the studio in my whole life.”

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A friend gave me U2’s latest album, No Line On The Horizon, which, I have to admit, is growing on me (after I had sort of decided I was done with them). What’s struck me most is Bono singing with the abandon he used to have, while his lyrics have taken on a somewhat trite, Tony Robbins “You-can-do-it”-type cheerleading vibe.

We knew this was coming, of course. From the “A woman needs a man/like a fish needs a bicycle” from Actung Baby and the Jenny Holzer-esque truisms of The Fly, this sort of sloganeering was inevitable. I think Bono is truly surprised when a gem comes falling out of his mouth during an interview, and he’s absolutely unafraid to scoop these saliva gems and shoehorn ’em into a song.

And when you never stop talking, there’s bound to be more than a few lyrical keepers. From the wordy-ass titled I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight:

Every beauty needs to go out with an idiot

The right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear

I’ll be shocked if those don’t end up on Tour t-shirts. It’s redeemed by the best chorus they’ve written since Pride, as well as an amazing bridge.

Then there’s the religious-salvation-as-sensuality vein:

You can hear the universe in her sea shells

Not sure if I can defend that one. Not sure he’d want me to.


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The Point: I think you’re missing it.

This video is the greatest: the breath-y condemnation, the simple-minded logic, and the presentation of The Devil as some sort of monster-truck-rally. “We’ll sell you the seat to the Satan Truck Show, but you’re only gonna need the edge!…edge…edge…”

All of Bono’s quotes about irony and being self-effacing are completely misinterpreted as “Satanic Proof.” Prince’s quotes about having “a second person inside of me,” while undoubtedly sincere (and characteristically wacky), speak more to the dual nature of performance vs. everyday life than anything. Mick Jagger’s tattoos as proof… Good Lord. I just can’t deal with it anymore.

Yes, of course: the devil is painted red and wears horns. And he sits on your shoulder and humps it. Makes perfect sense.

MacPhisto as proof of anything other than road exhaustion? Come ON.

The lead singer of Deicide:

Q: Are you possessed right now?

A: Of course.

Of course.

UPDATE: The person who posted the video apparently doesn’t like any sort of critical linking (or critical thinking). Video is here. It’s worth it.

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