Monday, December 14, 2009

are you idiots

the phrase: during an impassioned debate about the location of a coffee shop, one engineering was heard to emphatically ask his solitary debate antagonist if he was idiots, a grammatical slip that has since been endlessly repeated and mocked.

the playlist: a general celebration of the university lifestyle in the month or so since this event, starting as a meager few tracks i was in the mood for and blossoming into fifty songs that represent... something.

the blog post: a track by track breakdown of the playlist, created because i'm sick of studying linear algebra and i need to do something until i'm hungry enough for dinner.

1: Das Racist - "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell"

This song is just generally excellent. The first time I heard it, I had the attitude of "well, I better enjoy it now, as I'll be sick of it by the end", but amazingly no! I got caught up in all the hyperbolic praise and parodist over-analysis and now I just overwhelmingly love it un-ironically.

2: Wu-Tang Clan - "Triumph"

I was on a big Wu-Tang Clan kick awhile ago, and although I'm sorta cooled on it now, there's some cuts that you just never, ever get tired of. Inspectah Deck's opening verse and U-God's a bit later might be their best ever but each verse manages to keep building the hype. A great illustration of their varying styles, all of them contrasted with one hypnotic beat. The lyrics aren't much but bragging and dissing, but man are they clever.

3: "Nico Nico Douga Ryuuseigun (Chaos version)"

This playlist was made right at the end of my Ryuuseigun era, but I still had to include it, because I still love this medley. The Chaos version is extra nice - random vocal clips occasionally detract, but overlays such as the ocean of guitars over Melt make it worth it. Other highlights include Marisa Stole the Precious Thing going into UN Owen was Her - showing how samesound Zun really is, the clip of the Cheetah Men vocal mix, the intro to God Knows... actually, the whole thing is very solid.

4: Jedi Mind Tricks - "On the Eve of War (feat. GZA) (Remix)"

My Wu-Tang phase carried over to guest appearances and then Jedi Mind Tricks in general. This is also the first instance of another common theme of this playlist: I didn't know which version of a song to put, so I put both of them. Really slick beats, and GZA's delivery is even slicker.

5: Grandaddy - "Now It's On"

The creation of this playlist was based around me wanting to listen to this song but not wanting to go all the way through my artists folder. Amazing song. Quintessential Grandaddy - weirdness, folksiness and happy indie rock. And, like any good Grandaddy song, the final push through the course with vocals doubly impassioned into unfeasible octaves is only topped by the melancholic fading outro.

6: Squarepusher - "My Red Hot Car"

Another theme of this playlist: songs that I am trying to learn in Stepmania. Squarepusher's love of stop-start tempos and random fits of distortion weirdness create a rich club-sounding song, if the club was on Mars. Manages to have good variety while carrying the important thematic elements through the whole song.

7: Wu-Tang Clan - "Gravel Pit"

Bit of a story: during orientation week, we all broke up into teams, and one team was the cavemen. I was talking to their team leader or whatever and I said they should all do that "back, back and forth, forth" dance from the music video because they're all cavemen in the music video. He was stunned that I knew about this semi-obscure mid-90s rap video and tried to recruit me for our school's trivia quiz team thing. I never went, too busy, oh well, it's the jump off. Also I always thought this samples Scooby Doo, but it actually samples this old horror movie soundtrack that Scooby Doo ripped off.

8: Outkast - "Ghetto Musick"

One of my favorite Outkast songs that I always forget about. Recently reminded of it by a friend of mine. Catchy as all hell. Pretty much just made of several hooks and choruses, and they're all catchy. So ghetto. Feeling good, feeling great. Feeling great, feeling good. How are you?

9: dj BC - "Just the Wu of Us"

Wu Tang kick ventures into remixes. This whole album is fantastic, but this is one of my favorite tracks. U God's confusing samurai imagery suddenly becomes utterly insightful when you interpret it in the context of New Orleans. Some pretty killer lines, and an awesome swinging bass line, complete with ghetto-blasting tuba... This is olive oil, alright.

10: The Flashbulb - "Lawn Wake IV"

This is another song I'm trying to do in SM but I am nowhere close at this point. Oh well, practice, etc. The beat at the beginning is my favorite thing that Benn Jordan or whatever has done. Awesome song. Has that whole glitchy-splatter-over-melody thing that I love, has some awesome pseudo-guitar riffs, and the ending is just massive.

11: The Mountain Goats - "Psalms"

This whole album really impressed me but only this song was catchy enough for like, daily listens. John Darinelle at his most powerful and most sorrowful. This is what I expect a Mountain Goats song to sound like. Up there with "No Children", "This Year", etc.

12: Jedi Mind Tricks - "And So It Burns"

Maybe the most generic Jedi Mind Tricks song ever. Classical piece looped. Vinnie raps about killing someone and laughing at the widow. Samples of a boxing ring, and then sampled lines from other rappers equating mics with weaponry. Still really awesome though. "You a novice, and I'm an old vet, and I was there when the heavens and the globe met." And that's not even the best line, just the one I thought of. Killlerrrrr.

13: The Dandy Warhols - "We Used to be Friends"

It's not like I ever dislike these guys but I only really like them on special occasions. Really catchy and sugary and all that stuff I love, even if shouts of "Come on now honey, bring it on bring it on, yeah" in a falsetto bother me a little bit. Still really twee-funky, if that's a thing.

14: Jedi Mind Tricks - "Animal Rap (feat. Kool G Rap)"

If "And So It Burns" is a typical JMT song, this is the pinnacle. Still got your classical and such, your samples, but the tightness is just unfeasible. Kool G Rap lends undeniable classiness, sampled rants build the intensity, and verse intros like "Yo bust a motherfucking gat to this, y'all believe lies like you was Catholics" prove that we're in for some interesting times.

15: Cunninlynguists - "The Park (Blue Sky Black Death remix)"

One of my favorites from Strange Journey vol 2. BSBD always has amazing production, and even though I always doubt remixes could top Kno's already godly choices, they managed it here. Jazzy and funky with big booming horns, punctuating Natti and Deacon's easy drawl, the production really deserves the full minute of instrumental outro that it takes at the end. "Block party proper - we put the speakers out on the porch" - where the hell is this sample from? I don't care, I love it, etc.

16: "NicoNico Non-Stop Megamix (Hi-Speed)"

Happy hardcore is really really fun. This mix isn't as organic as the major medleys - it's more linear in tempo change, never mixes all that much, etc, - but it makes up for it in length (33 minutes!) and variety. The remixes of Kero ⑨ Destiny, Motteke! Sailor Fuku, Usatei and, of course, The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku, are my favorite parts.

17: Jedi Mind Tricks - "Get This Low"

This is a pretty atypical Jedi Mind Tricks song. However, it is my favorite song of theirs, and by quite a considerable margin. This is one of my favorite hip hop songs period, actually. Too many clever lines to mention, unbelievable flow (especially on the beginning of the first verse), probably my favorite sample-based hook (ODB rip, etc) and a genuinely atmospheric instrumental breakdown somewhere in the middle. Caught between Outkast and Dalek, there is this, and it is excellent.

18: Outkast - "SpottieOttieDopaliscious"

I know the parts you're supposed to draw attention to are Big Boi's monologue about responsibility and the absolutely funky beats and such, but the part of the song that always hits me is the end of Andre's verse, as the tranced out delirium of the club world is stripped off in such a way that the illusion is only compounded. The last few lines cut like a knife on an etherized body. Sweeter than a plate of yams with extra syrup.

19: "Nanario no Nico Nico Douga (original songs version)"

And as the Ryuuseigun era came to the close, accompanied by the brief and turbulent Nonstop Megamix and Medley of Kirby periods, only Nanario remained in the bloody battlefield of happy hardcore remixes of popular Japanese anime and video game songs. This mix is just fantastic. Miku starts everything off, as she should, a few cute songs get further distilled to their essence, cumulating in the trifecta of recent Kirby music hits. Bad Apple establishes the harder Touhou side as Ora Tokyo Sa Iguda establishes the weird and Rainbow Girl establishes the pop. And then all three are brought together in Starry Sky and stripped back down in Hello Windows. Promise evolves beyond meme-status and is rocketed to even faster speeds. Classics of previous medleys like Melt, Beloved Tomboyish Girl and The World is Mine are twisted into freshness. Sunred's OP and Ponyo's theme (although problematic for censors) keep the mix relevant and varied. A few underused cuts from the Prince of Tennis musical build suspense with unprecedented restraint and insight into the overall scope of the song. And by the time we get to the Hammer theme -> Red Zone -> Heroes (started by the jaw-dropping Konayuki), the excitement is explosive. But Heroes, instead of just ending the song with a dramatic finish, as it has so many times in the past, segues into an absolutely amazing remix of Don't Say Lazy, which in turn recalls the NicoNico Jihou for nostalgia's sake. And Persona music to finish it all off! Wonderful!!

20: Wu-Tang Clan - "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)"

We go now towards the previous song's equivalent in dirty east coast hip hop. Just as the Nanario encapsulates so many different scenes and classic moments, this testament to Wu-Tang past and present switches styles, beats and thematic tone so much, you might even think it was a mashup too. But it works so, so, so well. There's not one bad line or dropped beat. And the last few verses... just fantastic.

21: Outkast - "Rosa Parks"

This song might be one of my most played of all time. One listen is all it takes to figure out why, but a good fifty or so is what it'll take to get enough of it. Everything great about Outkast all at once, with one of the most catchy choruses of all time. Pretty much flawless.

22: Squarepusher - "My Red Hot Car (Girl)"

I actually can't tell you off hand what the differences between this and the other version of the song I have on this list are. But it's the song so nice I listen to it twice!

23: Jedi Mind Tricks - "I Against I (feat. Planetary)"

A weird one, nice flowing and buttery beats combined with anthem-like chorus shouting and macabre subject matter. Actually, that's what Jedi Mind Tricks is all about. Very nice, very smooth, this song makes me think of drinking coffee for some reason.

24: "Nanario no Nico Nico Douga (Chaos mix)"

Same as the previous mix but with more chaos. Sometimes the Ronald McDonalding can get annoying, but the overlaying of the original songs, and some additional overlaying and jumbling and such makes it more exciting in the long run. Plus, Misao samples over the Kirby sections, sweet!

25: The Flashbulb - "Lawn Wake IX"

The other really popular Lawn Wake and the other one I really like too. I like it for all the same reasons as IV. Maybe I should come up with some parallels between the Lawn Wakes and their respective Final Fantasies but I don't think there are any. Dang.

26: Cunninlynguists - "Heart"

Probably my favorite rap song of the year. Has pretty much everything I want: clever lyrics, catchy beat, cool samples and utter smoothness. On top of that, it achieves something that I find very hard to describe, but just listen to how the beat comes in through the samples and Natti's stereo-spanning intros on some nice headphones and see if your heart doesn't skip a beat or two.

27: Jedi Mind Tricks - "On the Eve of War (feat GZA)"

Funny how this song sounds just as good with both ironically grand romanticism and equally ironic subtlety and minimalism on the production. Both contrast the indescribable flows of Vinnie and the GZA, which in turn both contrast each other and the various boxing samples scattered about. I'm pretty sure these guys are geniuses.

28: dj BC - "When the Meth Comes Marching In"

This was primarily made for the novelty, I'm sure, as was the whole album maybe, but it's a mark of a good DJ when there isn't any slack for that to pick up. The concept of Method Man spitting over a church choir singing the classic "When the Saints Come Marching In" is hilarious in itself, but how intense and amazing it sounds is too cool to scoff at.

29: The Dandy Warhols - "Plan A"

Still a bit of nerve-grating with the falsetto, but I can live with it when the rest of the track is so organically silky. A beautiful bass line carves its way through catchy synth rhythms and wandering guitars. And the lyrics hit with a nice self-parodist sting that doesn't diminish the wholesomeness of the actual words. This song is in my head every day all day for weeks on end on repeat.

30: Hatsune Miku - "The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku"

It's a "come for the novelty of the hyper fast vocaloid singing, stay for how incredible the hyper fast vocaloid singing is" sorta thing. It'd be pretty silly of me to start comparing something like this to music like Radiohead, but bam, just watch me be silly: this song has all the emotional impact of many Radiohead songs, with the additional emotive punch of being expressed in a genre so unfamiliar with such sentiment. Yeah, the lyrics seem a bit weak going from Japanese to English, but the narrative is still compelling. And it's just so fast and awesome and catchy ahhhh

31: "Medley of Kirby SSDX"

I love Kirby music. It may have my favorite soundtracks of any series, I don't know. This medley is a fantastic collection, grouping all the classic hits and more obscure stuff together both thematically and stylistically. The varying between original versions and remixes is also fantastic. I just wish Melee matches lasted 15 minutes and stages could be hacked to have 15-minute long tracks...

32-33: cLOUDDEAD - "Bike pt 1 and 2"

For the longest time I had this album and it didn't have these last two tracks on it. I don't know how I didn't realize it, but yeah. In terms of the (albeit distorted and possibly not even existent) narrative of the album, it's pretty important, resolving some issues of the art student friend (I'm leaving to become a machete-man in the rainforest) and the glasses (Edison, I've fixed my glasses like new), but you didn't really have to pay attention to that anyways. Musically, it's the most of the same: weird samples, fuzzy beats, lyrics that flop between insightful and grotesque, and bizarre remarks to tie it all together. The second half of the second track may be my favorite thing they've ever done - the descriptions of social anxiety and boredom are wonderful, but the transition from that to a pure declaration of the irrelevance and fascination of it all (in true anticon last track last verse style) is stunning. Isn't it remarkable?

34: "Crankin' Dat Cosmic Inferno (Acid Mothers Temple vs. Soulja Boy)"

Any description I could have for this song is going to be meaningless if you aren't familiar with both artists in question and unnecessary if you have.

35-39: Animal Collective - Fall Be Kind

Pretty excellent EP, figured why mess with it, just have it there etc. I'll probably write about the whole thing in more detail later hopefully.

40: UNKLE - "Rabbit in Your Headlights (feat. Thom Yorke)"

I used to really like this song but I hadn't heard it in a long time. Saw some post on Reddit that mentioned it (even the post was like three months old) and figured, hey, that was a pretty sick song. And oh dang, it still is. Very eerie, a cool sample from a movie I haven't gotten around to seeing, some references to fat bloody fingers... And the breakdown near the end... Thom Yorke + DJ Shadow just makes so much sense.

41-50: Everything is Made in China - Automatic Movements

Again, good as is. Great as is. Fantastic as is. Wonderful as is. 2 minutes into "Blindfold". Oh lord.

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Linear algebra's fun stuff, but when your teacher doesn't know what she's doing and the concepts are hitting you in the face and textbooks assume you've taken a course in set notation, it can get overwhelming. Elementary matrices still elude me, however much they interest me.

oh yeah, good list.