Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Playlist report

Playlist Report

At some point I'd like to make “medleys” or “mixes” or “mashes” or whatever, Girl Talk or NND style. Quite often I'll end up with a bunch of songs I'm listening to a serious lot but really my reason for doing so is just that like, one thirty second part is stuck in my head. Anyways until then I make playlists and sometimes I even go track by track and come up with why I made said playlist. This is one of those times. I worked on this over a really long period of time, just sorta doing a track whenever. Some of the stuff probably is like "out of date"? I dunno. Yeah at any rate sorry for the lack of posts on the blog. I've been busy working on a bunch of stuff, some of it I will probably post here in some form soon.

Torpeedoh – “Early in tha Morning” (Soulja Boy x Jay-Z x Scarface)
Young Soulja is shoved up against two absolute classic beats and handles himself pretty well. His flow actually sounds more legitimate here than it does on the original. “Speakers Going Hammer” already has him putting in way more effort than is customary on the whole rap-side and I always felt it wasn't sufficiently rewarded on his typical sort of beat. Here, the hook sounds way more dynamic, his verses just ooze swag and the transition between the two beats actually gives the illusion of some sort of development arc on the song. This remix really is “ballin' out the atmosphere.”

DJ Rgie Gatmaitan - “Black and Yellow Sketch” (Hidamari Sketch vs. Wiz Kalifa)
If the previous remix is polishing a turd, this mashup is combining chocolate and a turd and winding up with a truffle. DJ Rgie is some sort of miracle man, the sort of guy that would be burnt for being a witch in less civilized times. Or maybe now even I mean this song is seriously messing with my core beliefs and I'm not sure if I like it. Seriously now look at this, he's taken an OP that I always liked a bit, found catchy etc. but not like my all-time favorite and thrown loosely over a beat I only tolerate on the best of days and ended up with not just the catchiest song I've heard perhaps ever, not just the first and only and probably greatest of all-time moeswag (or “swag of life”) song, not just the greatest mashup, hip hop song and j-pop song (wait uh this might all be hyperbole) but something that even has this profound emotive quality. Wait what yes really I feel on this song you really start to get those feelings of like, weird hopelessness or purgatorial sub-suffering or misplaced desperation that gave Hidamari Sketch that compelling mystique, all minimal and underexplained, that made it feel like it was about to boil over to become Madoka. Or am I alone in getting that sense? I think we'd all watch a mashup of those two shows at any rate. I think we can all agree that this is a Pringles sort of song as well i.e. both “once you pop you can't stop” or whatever and “scoops Haagan-Dasz”.

Busta Rhymes - “Everything Remains Raw”
On this song we see a level of flow that I don't think has been reached since. Busta nails the sort of rock-slide percussive flow that many rappers are scared to even reach for. Even among those already elite and daring few, your ODB, some of the dirty south stuff, Method Man, etc, etc, there was almost this lack of desire to simply take the style to it's absolute limits. On some Return to the 36 Chambers stuff ODB demonstrates that this level of rapping is well within his range, but seems more than content to subvert it and ignore the actual paramount style, like someone whose climbed Mount Everest but is more interested in flying further still into unreal realms than planting a flag. Well, here's the flag, here's the high water mark, here's a No Guard Busta Rhymes running Rock Climb for coverage with Dynamic Punch and geez I don't know where I'm even going with all these esoteric analogies. Point is this: Busta's flow here is simply stunning, absolutely raw. The hook hits unfeasibly hard and the lyrics are just brutal. I remember for several days having this song stuck in my head but like, not actually remembering enough of the lyrics and I had half of the second verse just sort of looped, i.e. I couldn't think of what came after one line so I just figured it started at the beginning again, i.e. I had “Days of my life goes on/Word is bond I make you feel my proton, neutron and electron/Yo, I be the number one icon/Word to the holy Koran, I rock on and on/Days of my life goes on/etc” looping in my head. I was satisfied with this.
Beastie Boys - “Make Some Noise”
As protoirony 90sswag postpunkparty rappers, the Beastie Boys laid a lot of the foundation for the last decade of music. I think this goes really under-appreciated these days, with their stuff regarded by Rolling Stone types as masterpieces which unfortunately makes a lot of young hipsters view them with way premature historical perspective. Hey yeah “Intergalactic” is a classic, but it still sounds like the future! Proof here: “Make Some Noise” is unashamedly a return to the Beastie Boys in their traditional style and top form and the beat sounds like the sort of thing electronica producers will be trying to make in a few years. The lyrics are really sort of irrelevant at this point but for the record they're “good enough”, like, I think if they were way worse they'd be too noticeably bad to be irrelevant. Highlights are “you gotta party for the motherfucking right to fight”, a sly reminder that the Boys are still a step ahead of all critics. Oh yeah and the music video that's been getting all sorts of hype deserves it, that's a fact.

Kreayshawn - “Gucci Gucci”
Pop quiz: what is the best hook of all time? This does have a correct answer, but it'll be difficult to guess. This list alone has had some good'ns, I mean, “'Cause I've got my speakers going hammer/bammer bammer bammer” is an entire lifestyle distilled to two lines, one of which has no real words, and that's not a tenth of the fierceness as Busta's hook on “Everything Remains Raw”. Or if we're gonna talk about really fierce hooks maybe you want to bring up Eminem on “Forgot About Dre”? Yeah, that's fire, sure. Maybe you've got some sung hooks you enjoy croonin' along to. That's fair. My vote until recently might have gone to the infamous “Rosa Parks” hook, a hook so good that when Big Boi, listening to the instrumental in the shower and trying to come up with an idea, had that second of mad inspriation, he ran out into the house naked shouting “I've got it!” (source: a really good interview they did on the 10th anniversary of Aquemini that I wished I had bookmarked). That's a good one. But no. In 2011, there is only one hook, and it is the hook that could land King Neptune from a dinghy. It is: “Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada/Basic bitches wear that shit so I don't even bother”. There is only one beat in 2011 and on, and it is a sample of who knows what over the craziest twisted jungle nonsense. There is only one rapper from here 'til infinity, and it's Kraeyshawn. People say this song is only getting attention 'cause she shot all those OF and Lil' B videos and they make cameos in the video but no it is the other way around: she only shot those videos as a teaser, as a bit of warm up for us so we do not die of sudden swag overload, Left Brain etc are only in the video because who wouldn't want to be in this video??? It's like the swag grand tour! At first I was sour on this one 'cause it's so obvious she hasn't herself hit the sort of transcendence of self-awareness, the same double irony stability that many of her swagcore peers have – like, she's trying way too hard, man! - but soon I realized that doesn't matter. Yeah you can't last long if your image exists only in the context of other images but she lasted long enough to make this song and that's long enough. In the future, when you see your friend you will meow.

The Lonely Island - “We're Back!”
So yeah new Lonely Island album, pretty good, pretty funny, not a whole lot of “jams” that I want to listen to for like, them being fun to listen to and not just funny. This one has a pretty solid beat though and I really like between verse boasts and this song, as it is parodying the idea, has a whole lot of it. Something about the idea of the first line of the album being “Hey yo my dick don't work!” I find like continually entertaining. At some point I think I ought to talk about how interesting I find the whole development of TLI's style of humour and success and whatever but I dunno don't feel like doing that now.

Geologist - “Jailhouse”
So Animal Collective made sneakers?? And with it they put out this little cassette where each member did a song? Alright weird but where it gets super unbelievable is that all of these songs are really really good. This is my least favorite one on there and it still seems on par with a lot of their earlier work. Really, really cool sounds, really atmospheric. Why is this so early on in this playlist with all the silly songs?? I don't know.

Hirano Aya & Katou Emiri & Fukuhara Kaori & Endou Aya - “Motteke! Sailor Fuku [-Undakada ~ Kyou no Yabou]”
Honestly who does not like the Lucky Star OP. Anyone? I don't think anyone ever could dislike it. This remix is bananas, though. I first heard it in the Niconico Non-Stop Hi-Speed Megamix or whatever that 36-minute long one was and for the longest time I couldn't find it anywhere else and I assumed the assembler was also the remixer. Fortunately no! But yeah this thing just races, perfect choice for one of the fastest and most intense mixes I can think of. I really love chopped up vocals, random non-song vocal samples of the singers, the part at the end where it builds up for a long time, and especially the part in the middle that was used for the mix where they just go so unbelievably ham on it, firing the original out of some sort of magic laser cannon or something. Also there's meowing in this song too. See these playlists have “thematic development” that “crosses cultural bridges”!

Soulja Boy - “Zan with that Lean”
I think this is “the hardest autotune has ever had to work”. No coincidence, this is also the least hard I have ever seen Soulja Boy work. No idea where the beat came from. The basic structure was apparently wholly ripped off of some other song but I am way to lazy to even begin to look that up, I really don't care. So after he has those things he's pretty much free to just ramble about whatever he wants for a few verses. The music video seems to have taken negative effort to make, he just downed some lean with his friends and then got someone to film them dancing around in various locales in their typical daily life (Nichijou). He honestly seems to have this life style. How rare is that in a rap video? Like, I don't actually expect Waka Flocka Flame spends his days shouting and firing guns in abandoned parking lots. But Soulja Boy having no plans outside of playing video games? Makes sense. Basically the guy's still just a one-hit wonder, really, on any sort of reasonable scale, and some good portion of everyone who still remembers hates him, so watching him have so much fun in spite of the haters and declining sales really fills me with some sort of warm respect. Juice!

fripSide - “only my railgun”
This is another anime opening so all it really needs to do is have a fast part where they can show the characters fighting and a slow part where they can show the characters staring wistfully into the distance, and both parts need to be catchy. This succeeds. I feel like I have set a precedent by saying so much about the first songs when I really don't have much to say about some of the others. Sorry! Although I'm not sure who I'm apologizing to because I have no idea who wants to read several thousand words about a playlist I made.

Skrillex - “First of the Year (Equinox)”
It seems like “brostep” or “dubstep” as it is for some reason widely called is still popular and I don't think has even peaked in popularity yet. I've talked to a few people who “gave up” and decided to try to get into it as it doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. Far more people are saying they're sick of it or that they never liked it and never will. Oh well. The majority of my friends is still the minority of people in general, luckily. See, for me, it was never about “can't beat em join em” or whatever, I never realized that I was supposed to dislike this stuff. I watched it emerge from dubstep like vomit and get stepped in by all the grime artists who were on their way back to get new beats. Then someone else knocked a light into it and it smashed (this being a reference to the electro element) and now no one wants to clean it up because it's just gotten way too filthy. I'm diving right into that. It's so much fun. Skrillex is my favorite. Yeah yeah he's more electrohouse than dubstep or something but since all of these words are just used to either insult the music or dodge insults it's sort of pointless. To me, this represents the broest of brostep. His new EP isn't quite as good as his other one, or rather, it is the same as his first one with even less variety. Oh well. This song is a standout. From the first pitch mangled vocal sample you know he's trying his very best to make another SMaNS and I couldn't be happier. Piano supports this, as does the pre-drop vocal sample and the drop itself. But where it really starts to separate itself from the pack is the post-drop bridge. It's like, melodious drop. And then essentially the song just repeats itself for the second half because >implying you weren't going to listen to it twice anyways. I also love how his “drop effects” are getting SIMPLER as he goes on. That shows some panache, I don't think it can be denied. This is a man who knows his fans.

Avey Tare - “Call home (buy grapes)”
Another from the “shoes tape”? “Keep” I guess it is called. When I saw this on the tracklist I braced myself for some sort of strange... domestic interlude? And it sort of sounds like it. It's on the verge of being uninteresting but nice little mixups on the vocals and an actual sense of progression that sometimes songs like this lack keep it running strong. Lyrics are nifty too.

Li'l B - “Wonton Soup”
Haha more like wanton soup. Like, excessive. I can never decide if I want to listen to the version I downloaded that's extended or the Youtube video that has someone going “Damn son where'd ya find this?!?!?!” This is the perfect postirony song. I mean, look at the constant battle in the Youtube comments, it's hilarious. Is he serious or not?? But everyone can “agree” that the song is either terrible or intentionally terrible. Then why do you keep listening to it? Yeah I know you all keep listening to this. Maybe you are still listening to it because you are a trapoholic and this is just way more swag than a normal person can be exposed to without developing a dependency. I have 100% given in to the idea of Based God being like 90% of what I listen to or watch or think about and I am okay with this. That's just how I do.

Soulja Boy - “Juice”
You already know what time it is. Swag full on. Counterfeit Lex Luger beat. Styrofoam cup full of lean. Juice. Birds in coop. Money coming out the roof. Youtube comments: “Soulja got the juice!! aye song is good quit hating i got to admit when he 1st came out he was wack but now and making songs for teens and stuff dnt hate he making money something some of yall ppl aint doing and his haircut is cold tennis ball wtf is tht??”, “Wen iFirst Heard Dis Shit iWas Like WTF ? But Now Dis My Shit !!!!", “This went Off in Class ,

teacher was like turn that off ,

i was like but soulja got the juice ,”, “boy dis song go to hard all deeze folk hatin bruh dis det atanta vibe all day! #salute”


Death Grips - “Spread Eagle Cross the Block”
What is this song about? Is it about what I think it is? I don't know I don't care not even gonna worry about it. Death Grips is sort of the antithesis of Odd Future – with the latter, you get stuff that seems immediately disturbing and horrible but when you think about it the actual cleverness and sometimes poignancy is revealed. With Death Grips, you pick out all sorts of really powerful and like mind-blowing type lines but when you actually really start thinking about it's like, what the hell is he talking about? Seems like this is some sort of like post-war trauma story being told here but it's almost on the level of cLOUDDEAD in the like, doling out of hints in the midst of being near incomprehensible. But yeah this song is just awesome. Link Wray sample! Is he the first one to do this? It's brilliant! Every verse is so intense and the hook still manages to be a climax every time. The stuttered drop of the song name sounds so cool and when it comes in during the verse you just have to get hype. I mean this is just ridiculous in comparison to “Juice”. The intensity is like ghost pepper versus Doritos. This is like, post-swag music. This is like what happens when you disregard all sort of like, image, and just concentrate on going as hard as possible. Oh and then you make sure he's really smart too 'cause otherwise you get Waka Flocka Flame. Not that there's anything wrong with Waka Flocka Flame.

Hyadain - “Hyadain no Kakakata Katomoi-C”
Okay so Nichijou. I sort of worried that I'd eventually stop finding it funny but the last two episodes were probably my favorite two so far. The elevator scene is probably the best scene they've done yet. That's all I'll say about that for now. And yes, the OP. Amazing. This song has saturated Japan. It is inescapable. That is alright by me. What pleasant music! Guitar solos! Fast parts! Slow parts! Crazy everyday life beats! Nonsensically good! And the music video is nuts as well! Bravo!!
Note that I wrote this awhile ago and the most recent two episodes are different than when I wrote it.

Das Racist - “Different Schools”
So I recently found a big collection of “RARE SECRETE DR TRAX”, most of them being really really old but new to me. I'm far from having a really good sense of how good a lot of the stuff on it is because there's so much and so much of it is from before they realized they ought to produce stuff in a way that people can hear them. Whatever though. This one is great. I also like seeing how their stuff “developed”, like, so much of this track you can tell went into “Fake Patois”, like, this was the prototype version. I guess they decided they ought to make the premise about the fake patois instead of trying to tell this other fairly confusing possibly even seriously deep and touching story with obscured jokes about fake patois in fake patois. But geez I do love their patois, prolly my favorite fake patois I can think of.

Busta Rhymes - “Gimmie Some More”
See like, compare this flow to “Everything Remains Raw”. Yeah, in like, technical terms, Busta is like strictly better now, he's faster, he conceivably should be able to have the same flow as he did on ERR if he wanted to. But he doesn't, he doesn't want to even challenge that high water mark. He doesn't need to. No more needs to be done with that level of rawness. So he does stuff like this, and this is really dang good. Sample from the OST to Psycho is a good start, lyrics are just off of every single wall, music video is crazy good, even the intro is really memorable (especially when the drums come in and he gets himself on beat, that's just such swagger). Flipmode is really the greatest.

Skrillex - “Ruffneck (Flex)”
Okay so what is this song? This is the entire song: there is a synth making a string sound and another one making a piano song. There is a drum machine and another couple of effects. There is something going low that has its LFO turned up. There is something even lower that just wubs and I can feel actually shaking my headphones. There is a few “laser sounds”. Most importantly, there is a man shouting a few different things in a patois, such as “are you ready for the ruffneck bass?” (answer is no). These elements are arranged in such a way that suggests that this is the only way they could have been done, not so much arranged as assembled, as if each one had a shape that could only fit one hole. Like he was just playing Tetris, or something. Nothing surprises me. So why have I played this song at least twenty times, a better estimate is probably around 40, in the last few days? It is because I am never ready for the ruffneck bass. Brostep, if you let it, can addict you, completely, utterly. When the vocal sample starts coming in quiet repeating “ruffneck bass”, the apprehension, no matter if you've heard it zero times or a thousand, is just massive. You know it's coming. And you also know it's probably some of the simplest sub-musical tripe that you'll ever hear. But then The Wobble starts up. More devastating than wobbling in Melee, believe you me. The way the wobble “melody” is layered with a parallel melody in the synth section – well, of course it is! - but it sounds good on a level that I think must be way down somewhere in my reptilian brain. This is so good man this is just such a fun song.

Lil B - “Birth of Rap”
One of two of the great Imogen Heap beats. Li'l B in this perfect blend of not wanting to put any effort whatsoever into rapping and yet sort of having something to say that leads him to just spit the most ridiculous things ever. Semi-autobiographical with this bizarre sort of grinding flow that renders everything passionless and yet really compellingly restrained. Country club golf flow. “Get ate like grapefruit.”, sure. “A lot of dudes I grew up with didn't see twenty.”, also okay. “Lil B for lil boss, I'm praying to my canvas.” Actually sort of poignant? This one is all over the map. Except for like, anime opening territory. It needs to go there at some point somehow I think.

The Go! Team - “Back Like 8-Track”
Holy woah geez this is a jam this is a certifiable jam. You can tell two seconds in. The melody. Then the guitars. And the “woahs” in the background. The vocals. And suddenly “We! Al-ways!”. And the rapping. And the hook. And the horns come in. Songs by this band are in perpetual high school stadiums. The outro is just so intense, so tantalizing, that you really can't help but just start it over at that point, if not the album itself or maybe even the band's whole discography. This is the sort of thing that actually makes speakers go hammer.

Hyadain - “Hyadain no Kakakata Katomoi-F”
Despite hearing the original every few minutes in Japan, this remix never seemed to be playing, which is a shame, 'cause it's quite good as well. Maybe not as tight in concept or as finely developed as the original but just as much fun. Pretty much all I have to say about it I guess.

Panda Bear - “The Preakness”
The final track on Keep. About a horse race. How much is riding on this, etc. Seems like ol' Noah starts feeling melancholy during the Preakness festivities. Really nice music but I gotta say, it just can't measure up to Tomboy, I think. It's a little too restricted. Still a really fine song, though.

Das Racist - “And The White Man Get Paid Off All Of That”
This playlist is mostly either diabetes-inducing anime music or swagcore rap, both genres that I really legitimately enjoy. However, when I don't really write all that much about the like, serious good music on this playlist compared to whatever music Lil B made while farting around, and I praise the latter much more than the former, I think it's fair that people might get confused about when I'm being “serious” about something being “good”. So let me make this perfectly clear: Das Racist is not like Lil B or Soulja Boy. They are certainly not fripSide or Hyadain. They are not even the Beastie Boys or Busta Rhymes. Das Racist is seriously good. Not serious and good but seriously good. They are improving at a really drastic rate and have some of the craziest production, best flows and interesting ideas in the entire genre today. This might be the best song they have ever made. This might actually be one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time ever. My friend very accurately described it as a reward for studying DR and hip hop in general so much. Few artists can boast a song that represents the accumulation of so many of their greatest moments that still greatly exceeds the sum of its parts. Let me break it down like, within the first second, when the sample starts up, you know that this is just going to be excellent. And the way the various components of the beat come together, it's reminiscent of “The Art of Storytelling”, if I could be so bold. And Heems' first word: “Slippin'”. Absolute swagger. And the drum beat. And his casual sniffing. And the crazy intro as the sample just goes nuts and then the true beat emerges, “That golden temple flow”, Heems spits lava for awhile with paradoxical laid back intensity. The wordplay is intricate, Dap's “Whaaat?” keeps the atmosphere in check, the statements about giving due diligence to artistic endeavors are well founded, “I've got that great white everyday shark week”, “Laughing on the way to the bo-bo-bodega”, cyclic statements of dancing in his room, this microcosm of Heems' artistic ambitions. Brilliant. Kanye sample drops with perfect imperfection, and the song begins to hype up Kool AD's verse. So I will too. Kool AD's verse here is among the greatest hip hop verses I have ever heard in my life. Sublyrically it hits with an unmatchable flow, buttery and casual but fierce and fiery, dipping into uh, whatever that term is when the music reflects the lyrical content, and oh yeah that's excellent too, completely dense and dripping with allusions to everything, not the least of which is their own work, and as they quote memorable lines from their old stuff they not only get the points for the reference but score double for the lines still being excellent sounding lines, like some crazy scrabble play. Lyrically thematically, if I can read that much into it, Victor's verse demonstrates Heems' philosophy by laying down a veritable thesis on their development and accomplishments. A virtuoso demonstration by two of the best out.

Lil B - “I'm God”
What's interesting though is that despite just spitting some of the best lines of the decade, there is very little boasting in ATWMGPOAOT. Contrast with “I'm God”, which has very little non-boasting, but some of the absolute craziest boasts this side of Chino XL. This song is colossal. Whatever appeal swag has to me, this has nearly all of it. We are now well in the territory of really crazy good songs I put near the end, by the way. I cannot really understand what parts of Lil B etc I enjoy but I know that on whatever internal metric I judge them, “I'm God” scores top points. The second legendary Imogen Heap beat, this one just legitimately good by any definition with Lil B rapping about whatever he wants. I mean if you were ascending to the status of Based God, what would you say? You'd demand someone tell the trees, oceans, etc. You'd demand they free Wayne and Rocky. How can anyone say anything bad about this song? This is hip hop. No. This is more. Think about it seriously think about what he's saying here. He's proclaiming himself to be a god. His new name is Based God. That's the first line. It's hard to misinterpret: he's the god of based music. Omnipotent, omnipresent. Makes thousands of songs, drops quick video game references, whatever. This walks some sort of weird line between serious rap – he does get some sort of semilegit flow going in some verses – and silly lazy rap – he seems to want to deliberately screw with said flow in a few lines. It also walks the line between swagcore rambling – most of the lines are boasts – and an actual song with an actual message – like, when he talks about his friends not letting him sell coke 'cause they'd, uh, lose their best player, uh, I guess actually every line is a boast. Whatever. It exists in some weird twilight zone where you're not quite sure what to expect, not quite sure what reaction you should take. And really that's Lil B in a nutshell. Between morbid curiosity, knee-jerk aversion, admitting to yourself that yeah, that production is really smooth, perhaps physically recoiling at his voice on some of his lines, there is the Based God. Once you find that sweet spot, that point of understanding what it is and most importantly what it isn't and accepting all of that, that is when your mind ascends to the first level of Based. And then you just can't stop going up.

Death Grips - “Known For It”
This is probably my favorite track of Exmilitary, which is saying a lot because I really love this album, probably my third favorite album of the year thus far. I think the beat really sells me here – it's sampled from Magma!! How legit is that?! And the rhythm on the hook is just bananas, all the verses have the intensity that we now expect from Death Grips but with a level of flow that I don't think is matched anywhere else on the album. Lyrics are intense and really play up this idea of, I dunno, I haven't even begun to worry about what the album is about. The atmosphere on this one is in a league of its own. Simultaneously industrial-disturbing and clean future-progressive. El-P plus Dalek times Jedi Mind Tricks divided by everything bad about each of them.

Deakin - “Country Report”

Woo now this was a surprise. Deakin was the member of Animal Collective that I didn't really have the most faith in, I have to say. Avey Tare and Panda Bear obviously have enough cred from their solo stuff alone, and Geologist was always thought of by me as the man behind a lot of the “noise”, which I loved. Deakin's role eluded me. Don't get me wrong, I didn't think he was untalented or not contributing or anything, I just didn't know what he was up to. I guess the other thing is that it seemed to me that much of Animal Collective could be somewhat “constructed” from what I knew that the other three did, and I wondered what was left to do. “Country Report” doesn't really sound a whole lot like Animal Collective's other stuff, but at the same time, it really does; specifically, it sounds like a song that could exist within a lot of their songs: simpler, perhaps, but so beautiful, so pure. Honestly I feel like this might be on the tier of “Banshee Beat” and “Winter's Love” for me now in terms of just awe-inspiring beauty. Lyrics are Panda Bear-esque in their message but with a different perspective, perhaps a bolder personality. Seriously I'm considering him their secret weapon now. When he “drops” an “LP” I'm gonna go “crazy”.

Panda Bear - “Alsatian Darn”

Okay but I am sorry even though I have gained all this love and hype for Deakin I still think that there is only one person capable of making a song like this nowadays and that is Noah Lennox. I already tried to talk about how much I like this song and I think I failed to encapsulate it. This song! This song is the sort of song I can listen to hundreds of times and afterward I will not be sick of it, I will be sick of every other song. This song is the sort of song that simply never gets old, it never even gets not new! Say, can I make a bad mistake? This is likely to be one of my favorite songs now. It's a weird realization to have, that this is a song that I'll likely consider one of my like, classic favorites, up there with the Reckoners and Rebellions and Closers and such. I just can't find fault in it!

Radiohead - “Codex”

And really I have a hard time finding fault here. I still haven't talked a whole lot about The King of Limbs and I don't think I'll really get into it now but this is one of my favorites off of it, and the feeling I got when I first heard the transition at the very beginning, the brief sound of his voice suddenly changing to that wonderful, distant and haunting piano, was probably my favorite part of the whole thing. Thematically, this song took a bit for me to warm up to. On the surface, it's all so simple and uh agh was going to try to write some extended metaphor of the subject of the song (diving into a lake) reflecting (lol also lake) the process by which you come to understand the song. But honestly I don't think it needs it. Anyways by commodius vicus of recirculation I have concluded that the message of the song was simpler than I first thought and much simpler than I thought it was after I'd thought about it. Water aesthetics are really appealing to me and I think I ought to come up with an explanation of why someday but the calm lake scene is a tricky one to handle. So much of it hinges on the idea of reflection, of like, motivating the scene, but that's not the right word, uh, like, not capitalizing either, I guess I'm looking for some word that means to like, bring life to the scene, vitalize is close but suggests that the scene need by “lively” and that's not really true, it just needs to be like, mad compelling. Like, it has to describe the scene in such a way that you not only picture it clearly, but it has to... transcend the capabilities of your own imagination. I think any “aesthetic scene”, i.e. any scene where the purpose of its description is not to have relevance in events to come but is just to set the “mood”, ought to have this, but particularly trying to write a simple lake scene or some other minimalistic but “standard” scene needs to have this edge. And what was this edge again? I dunno I always get way over my head when I try to describe Radiohead. The word I'm looking for is sublime. The image you get from this song exceeds what you're able to describe.

梶浦由記 (Yuki Kajiura) – “Credens jutitiam”

Okay so Madoka. Sometime soon I will write more about Madoka. Actually I keep writing things about Madoka but not going anywhere with them because I am unsatisfied with them. It is extremely difficult to explain why this show is so good but at the same time, it's so simple. It does something interesting perfectly right. Like, the soundtrack, which is a microcosm of that trait, or this song, a perfect microcosm of the soundtrack. When I first heard this song, I was under the impression – as were most people, I think – that Madoka was going to be some semi-gimmicky Magical Girl show where the “twist” was that it was darker and more complex than a typical Magical Girl show. Of course, I now realize it was so much more, and I think this song was really the beginning of that realization. It plays over Mami's transformation and the show transforms as well??? I remember my thought process really well, I remember being curious about how they were gonna subvert the cliché of the transformation scene and thinking they would have to work hard to top Panty and Stocking's transformation scene 'cause it had already done a pretty good job with the postparody and had used up a lot of the mockable cliches. And I remember really clearly thinking that I understood what direction they were going in with it, that they were gonna run with some sort of classical subversion, and thinking that this was really clever because I still suspected then that this would be some extended Faust metaphor or something. But no. It was soon revealed that this song goes well beyond parody of typical transformation scene music or even some fairly established reformatting of them. The awe I felt then when it slowly dawned on me that Madoka wasn't a question of what they would do or how far they would go, it was nothing that insultingly trifling. Good art pushes boundaries, but some of the greatest exists in a dimension where they become irrelevant. What we have here is a song that is modeled in some respects on classical arias and modeled in some respects on music traditionally played during transformation scenes in Magical Girl shows. It features an active drum and guitar line from the latter and crystalline vocal harmonies and woodwinds from the former. The structure of the song is built mainly around a progression of some interesting chords through several key signatures given emotional tension by an intensifying vocal part. Bam. As simple as Soulja Boy and Skrillex. And yes, I'm probably biased since this song is featured in one of my favorite anime ever, sure, sure. But somewhere in here, and I'm not too sure exactly where it is, because I feel I ought to be able to spot it, but somewhere in this song is some serious golden magic. The whole thing just radiates it, absolute cosmic brilliance.

Soulja Boy - “Pretty Boy Swag (Shlohmo remix)”

So I talk a lot about aesthetic moods and such in a way that suggests I might have something silly like an internal ranking of them, like, “bus station late at night” ranks below “early evening in a poor port town by the docks” but above “long drive through the country”. Haha wouldn't that be crazy? But I sort of do I guess. Anyways one of the absolute top tier ones, I think a lot of people would agree that anything that can encapsulate “floating in space” should be there – Bowie's “Space Oddity”, the end of Gravity's Rainbow (spoilers lol?), lots of 2001.  Stuff that isn't really even describing being in space but just implies the sensation of weightlessness and remoteness and fragility etc is great too, best example probably being “Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized. No wait best example is now THIS SONG. Or at least the intro. The rest of the song is fine too but dang this intro, I really think this is something that pretty much has just never been done before. And you might be like what, almost satirically ornate or otherwise inappropriate remixes of silly party songs? Of course that has been done before that is practically all you listen to and yeah I do listen to a lot of that sorta thing but really I don't think anyone has attempted to do something like this. There have been songs that give Lil B or whoever super-charged grandeur, or even something like mystery or suspense that wouldn't naturally occur in their persona, but this is altogether more. This gives Soulja Boy “sacredness”. This puts him among the constellations. The intro is a space odyssey like nothing you've ever seen. Earth to space transmission dramas always have the potential to be something amazing: see aforementioned Bowie and Pynchon (sort of), your Apollos, your Grandaddy, uhh there's more. So we here have a transmission from earth to stranded astronaut DeAndre Cortez Way codename Soulja Boy Tell'em. It's important to distinguish exactly why this call and response intro is different in the remix than in the original, where it's more like he's being summoned to preside over some club room. Here it seems more divine. This entire playlist could be summarized as like, Soulja Boy's journey from the suburbs to space via drinking incredibly dangerous amounts of lean. Holy cow this song is cool I simply cannot get over that or possibly begin to overstate just how cool it is. The transition from me being actually pretty anti-Soulja Boy to being indifferent with a "whatever people like" attitude to a "this is pretty fun music" attitude to a "the concept of 
Soulja Boy and everything to do with him is among the most entertaining things I have ever experienced" attitude was a long and challenging journey. I learned a lot about music and swag and even myself. And now I have achieved swaglightenment.

No comments: