Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pharrell murders 'eligible bachelor'

Figuratively, of course. Don't sue.

With looped sounds of spray-paint cans in use and clucking tongues, Pharrell Williams' minimalist production for Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" is innovative but always overshadowed by his inability to say the phrase "eligible bachelor." Instead, he opts for "el-jilb-ble bachelor."

Proof is at the 50-second mark of this video. (Note: Other lyrics, which are pronounced all too clearly, are not suitable for work.)

I picture Pharrell realizing the mistake and wanting to record another take, but Snoop cutting the studio session short so he could pick up where he left off with his knitting and Shakespeare anthology.

Why does this articulation -- and none of the other words that are moided in pop music -- crack me up four years after the song was released? Perhaps it's because it takes the time in between summer Olympiads for me to process benign rap lyrics.

(Photo: UPI)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Actors are like drummers

They only stick out if they're really good or really bad.

I was reminded of this while flipping through the channels the other day. I stumbled upon a young man in fatigues being questioned by the lead characters on "Bones." The actor trudged through what should have been a snarling monologue with a humming monotone. Concluding with something to the effect of "Now if you'll excuse me," he delivered it with all the passion of an afternoon nap.

Returning to my original simile, I suppose it could be applied to any performance artist... or profession... or anything. Mediocrity is always ignored. So you probably won't remember this post.

Monday, January 21, 2008

By the same logic, I only eat pizza and drink beer. (Hmm. Maybe I need a better example.)

The top headline on CNN's Web site right now reads "Black women voters face tough choices" and features photos of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Saying nothing of my feelings about either candidate, I do think it's a bit insulting to naturally assume black women are either voting for Obama because of race or Clinton because of gender. Although minorities and women traditionally favor Democrats, the assumption is still somewhat stereotypical.

It's not like I'll be voting for someone just because he's an Irish-Italian man.

Unless it's me. Then I'd vote for myself.

Photo: Getty Images.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Next time I go into Dunkin Donuts, I'll be sure to wear my monocle

Because there's no way I can continue to order a "mocha latte" without sounding like a pretentious tool. So I might as well look the part.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wired and Marshalled

Loved the premiere episode of the final season of "The Wire." Particularly impressive, considering how I'd strangely never watched a previous season, despite every single person who's ever seen more than one show telling me I'm crazy.

As a reporter, I enjoy hearing authentic newsroom terminology in a TV series ("below the fold," "contrib," "reac" and "art," among others). I also love how the plots of The Law, The Street, The Hall, The Port, The School and The Newsroom intersect with one another. And watching a photocopier play the role of a polygraph machine has been my favorite TV moment in a very young 2008, but it should still be in my Top 10 by year's end. I'm curious to see how everything breaks down, in more ways than one, as the season unfolds.

Still miss "Deadwood," though. (Harumph.) I caught the always-brilliant Ian McShane in the last hour of "We Are Marshall" on one of those HBO channels and it just made me sad.

Well, that and the depressing nature of the film. That was not exactly cheery, either. Good flick, though. Matthew McConaughey is solid, David Strathairn is once again fantastic (possibly Hollywood's most underrated actor), and watching Kate Mara do anything tends to ease my pain.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Christine looks the same upside-down

Confused? I'm referring to this logo I finished today for anyone named Christine. It reads the same way upside down as it does right-side up:
You're welcome, Ms. Ebersole.

In searching my computer for a completely different set of graphics I created a few years ago, I rediscovered my set of name logos that look the same upside-down as they do right-side up. In the process, I found one draft of the name "Christine" that was left unfinished. So in a fit of creatitivity, I finished that one just after midnight. Creative spurts are unpredictable.

Here's the logo I had completed of my last name, which one ex-girlfriend once told me would be great for my future chain of restaurants:
I have enough problems with a microwave, so forget the restaurant idea. But I am proud of the logo, I must say.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The 10 songs I played most on iTunes/iPod in 2007

I make no claim that these are the best 10 songs of the year. They are merely the ones I played most frequently on my iPod and on iTunes since the start of last year.

Since the bottom four songs have the same play count, the most recently played song gets the highest rating and the least recently played song is ranked lowest. Arbitrary rules rule!

Remember: I'm sharing my music, thus baring my soul, to the Internets. Be kind with your replies.

10. "Hands Held High" by Linkin Park (35 plays) -- With Chester Bennington taking a seat for most, if not all, of this track, Mike Shinoda's empassioned anti-war anthem unfolds over military drums and a church organ. "Amen," indeed.

9. "Stronger" by Kanye West (35 plays) --
I'm kind of surprised that this and not "Can't Tell Me Nothing" is the Kanye track that cracked my Top 10, but it's the more accessible of the two. Plus, I'll never look at a Klondike bar the same way again.

8. "What Goes Around...Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake (35 plays) --
At first I perceived this song as a mere sequel to "Cry Me A River." But it might just be the "Godfather: Part II" to "River." Casting a scorching Scarlett Jo in the video doesn't hurt the case, either.

7. "Lithium" by Evanescence (35 plays) --
"The Open Door" is somewhat of a disappointing sophomore album, but emotionally charged tracks like "Lithium" and the surprisingly soulful "Good Enough" are enough reason to pick it up. Or download it. Or whatever.

6. "Makes Me Wonder" by Maroon 5 (36 plays) --
I was as tired of "She Will Be Loved" as everyone else in America, but it's hard to resist this upbeat break-up song, well-placed expletives included.

5. "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado (38 plays) --
No bridge, a bare-bones structure and a simple, repetitive melody. Few producers outside of Timbaland could have the ingenuity to pull this one off so brilliantly.

4. "You Don't Know How It Feels" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (39 plays) --
Remember, this list isn't confined to songs released recently. This lethargic, harmonica-infused track came out in 1994, but resonated with me in '07. I'm generally a happy person, but there's something about the way Petty preaches "You don't know how it feels/To be meeeee" that punches me in the gut.

3. "Give It To Me" by Timbaland f. Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake (45 plays) --
In what's basically a glossy, glorified dis record, Nelly, Tim and JT talk about their supremacy on the charts. A bold move considering the potential for it to bomb, but a rousing success because they walked the talk.

2. "Proximity" by Alex Nackman (47 plays) --
The elder son of one of my coworkers, Nackman laments about long-distance relationships in this track from his "Sunrise Falls" album. Featured in the background of both "The Hills" and "The Real World," its narrative style is enhanced by lush harmonies and a simple yet profound piano riff. And then there's the bridge, which still gives me chills.

1. "LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Interlude" by Justin Timberlake (48 plays) --
Long before this was released as a single, this was my favorite track off Timberlake's "FutureSex LoveSounds" album. I'd often catch myself singing the bass line and wondering what kind of drink comes in a yellow bottle. Then Timbaland had to go and make a great song better by changing its shape entirely with the "I Think She Knows Interlude." Wow.

Apparently, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake have more of an influence on my life than I realized. Is this a good thing? Discuss.