Sunday, December 31, 2006
After the sunset
Silly wabbits! I'm far too entrenched into this online addiction thing to give up blogging entirely, especially since my laptop's holding on for dear life with Scotch tape and paper clips. But... I *am* relocating Just Another Girl On The IRT to another web hosting service. Blogger jumped the shark into 3rd-season-of-Lost-like proportions and the beta transition merged into my prior template is about as compatible as a Palestinian/Jewish dating service. It's time to take this show on the road.
The new site isn't fully functional yet (who would've known that exporting old posts would be such a pain in the ass?), but it's almost ready to be unveiled. To those who know who you are, expect to get an e-mail from me with the details. And not forgetting the 5 people out there who constitute my regular reading audience, check back here within the next few days for the forwarding address before the imminent Mission: Impossible-lite self destruction. In the meantime, I extend a sincere wish to all my fellow writers, lurkers and passers-by: here's to a happy & healthy 2007. Catch ya'll on the flip side.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
All things bright and beautiful
Of course the Christmas tree in the middle of South Street Seaport is no Rockefeller Center, but considering the utter death wish Midtown is looking like, I'll take downtown Manhattan for $200, Alex. The roving photog will be adding more editions to this as the 12 days of Xmas tick down to the final days. Stay tuned...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The nighttime sniffling sneezing coughing aching fever entry
I. Can. Not. Be. Sick. Now. I haven't even put together a rough draft of an Xmas list. Gotta risk spraining a ligament to get icicle lights perfectly symmetrical around my awning. I have places to go and about 4 more entries to type. This can't be happening. I cannot get sick, you hear me, body? WE cannot get sick.
But we are.
I used to know how to be sick gracefully. I would simply accept the inevitable, guzzle down enough Robitussin to tranquilize a wilderbeast and curl up with a good book or two.
Three days later, I'd be back to my footloose and fancy free self with Boy George cooing, "it's a miracle!"
Now it's a task easier said than done. I'm seriously lacking sleep, e-mails are piling up. Just thinking about the deadlines I've already missed jacks my temp up another degree and a half. I start swilling poppin' Benadryls like Lindsay Lohan after dark and giving myself pep talks.
Come on, stop being a baby and pull yourself together. Look on the bright side, sippin' on that DayQuil sizurp has made small talk at the water cooler like an outtake from Half Baked.
But so far the pep talk isn't working nearly as hard as the germs are. You'd think those stubborn mucus membranes were being paid overtime or expecting Christmas bonuses.
So my whining will be brief. This is what happens when the cold and flu season smacks you behind the legs with a baseball bat. YOU FALL THE FUCK DOWN. On some real Donnie McClurkin shit.
All chicken noodle soup donations (without the soda on the side) are accepted.
Friday, December 08, 2006
There's something about Mary
In all seriousness, how are the Grammy Awards truly relevant in this day and age? Maybe in the pre-iTunes era, when everyone had the same outlet for music — making mixtapes courtesy of timing the pause button just right from the radio and showing up on record release Tuesdays. I'm not playing the I-hate-all-music-that's-popular über snob card, but isn't that who profits the most from payola nominations? It's a foregone conclusion that those nominated aren't really the best out there. It's just weird that in spite of the biz limping on into the sunset, the Grannies still managed to stick around in existence. And nothing is ever groundbreaking, edgy, or God forbid — has some f-bombs thrown in for good measure. I think they also send nominee ballots to Mormon clergy and Murder She Wrote fan club members.
This year's edition continues the tradition of much ado about nothing. I'm thrilled that Mary J. Blige is getting the mainstream respect that's been long overdue and I'm sure they'll be more additions to the mantle since it's official that she's having her best year ever with a field leading 8 nods. Let's just hope James Blunt wins Best New Artist and subsequently disappears. There's nothing the voters love more than a fresh faced ingenue who taps into easygoing soul, so score a huge win for Corinne Bailey Rae. The old geezers at NARAS are getting the Dance/Electronica categories almost right this year. I'm totally tickled pink to see Goldfrapp and Pet Shop Boys on the same ballot. Also pumping my fist on the love shown to Gnarls Barkley, Lupe Fiasco & Kelis. But for every step forward, I've learned to brace myself for the inevitable five steps backward and one sideways. Pharrell's shiteous In My Mind alongside The Roots' Game Theory for Best Rap Album? Surely you jest. Chris Brown instead of the totally deserving Ne-Yo as the Best New Artist of 2006? He's a cute kid and his MJ impersonation is admirable, but come the fuck on. Or better yet, how can voters justify the blatant omission of KT Tunstall? In a year rife with Johnny-come-latelys, the smoky voiced Scot was a welcome addition to the post-Lilith crew of female singer/songwriters. And isn't it time to redefine what a "new artist" is already? It can be titled the Shelby Lynne amendment. I heart Imogen Heap to death, however.... when you've released an album in '98 and were a member of a group that cut a disc in 2002, your record release hymen was broken long, long ago.
Largely overlooked this year were Nelly Furtado, whose inescapable hit "Promiscuous" was banished to the Pop Collaboration by a Duo or Group category, and Bob Dylan, whose Modern Times had been expected to be vie for Album of the Year, but has to settle for a nomination for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album.
Biggest upset has to be that Timbaland was snubbed for Producer Of The Year. I guess laminating ghetto passes for former mouseketeers doesn't always have its privileges.
A round up of the major contenders in the big 5 are listed after the jump.
Album of the Year:
Record of the Year:
Song of the Year:
Best New Artist:
Reunited and it feels so good
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Cluck if you buck
When I decided to air out my utter disgust over the whole Superhead quagmire, I didn't think I'd still be getting residual clicks from people searching for any trace of dirt this long after the fact. But then again, this is the Internet and searches for the desperate and salacious know no bounds. Besides a couple boosts to the ol' Site Meter isn't a bad trade off. Fast forward almost two years later and history's repeating itself in such an opportunistic way, that time honored cliche "birds of a feather flock together" seems all shiny and brand new again. Following in the skid marks of her sistren in slutdom, Karrine Steffans, now angling for her 15 seconds of gossip glory is Carmen Bryan. Better known as Nas' baby momma and infamously name checked in Jay-Z's Super Ugly freestyle rebuttal during his steel cage tussle for King of New York supremacy with God's Son over the airwaves back in the summer of 2001. Why she decided to divulge so many details of her personal life as a means of "survival" considering her daughter is old enough to flip over to chapter 5 and read about how Mama got her back blown out with A.I. is beyond me. The aftertaste of watching the next chick get wifed up and being left to hawk the hygiene secrets of your conquests on the radio chitlin circuit has to hurt."Sisters get respect, bitches get what they deserve
Sisters work hard, bitches work your nerves
Sisters hold you down, bitches hold you up
Sisters help you progress, bitches will slow you up
Sisters cook up a meal, play their role with the kids
Bitches in the street with their nose in your biz
Sisters tell the truth, bitches tell lies
Sisters drive cars, bitches wanna ride...
Sisters tell you quick "you better check your homie"
Bitches don't give a fuck, they wanna check for your homie
Sisters love Jay cuz they know how 'Hov is
I love my sisters, I don't love no bitch..." - Jay-Z
It's gotten to the point that any random bird from Camden to Compton feels like she can just slurp and burp her way to stardom. Is this why our mothers went along with burning bras for the cause so the end result would come to this? The Art of Whoredom has flipped many a fragile girl into an industry groupie, turned some artist's baby momma bitter like curdled milk. They don't get platinum plaques for all the times they've put scuba instructors to shame with nonstop suction, all the quickies in the studio that helped MC Such & Such write their smash hit. Dare I say it: they are the backs on which the very foundation of rap is supported. Without them who knows how these men could deal with the stresses of the industry.
These side dishes of poultry who sell the skeletons in their closet in exchange for gas money shouldn't be acknowledged, much less validated. When did public interest stoop so low to the point where these women can become some sort of twisted folk hero? Why are we condoning this broad spreading her chlamydia-crusted coochie like peanut butter for any and everyone? Is she deemed special because the men in question happen to be rappers and a basketball star? That warrants a gold star and a pat on the back for a job well done? I suppose freeloading off the profits of others is such an extraordinary task that she's dubbed herself (without a hint of irony) "Hip-Hop's Helen of Troy." Someone hand this self-righteous skeeze a torch in salute to her worn & tired masses.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Jeers and loathing in Las Vegas
Opening the show was the FCC's favorite target, Janet Jackson oddly juxtaposing a classic in The Pleasure Principle with her cold and buried 2nd single, So Excited. What would possess her to take an anthem that had arguably the most memorable video routine of the 80's and amputate it as an opener for a song that's been performed ad nauseam on Oprah, the Today Show & Ellen already? And to make matters worse, using the godawful remix with Fatman Scoop's constipation wails drowning out the minimal trace of vocals (and I use the term loosely in this case) rendering the entire segment inaudible. Thankfully, her footwork proved that she still hasn't lost her touch, but for the love of all that's holy.... please hand Gil his walking papers as a choreographer already! The luster to the formerly showstopping steps have now dulled to a rusty halt. His fondness for that rigid poplocking only serve to make you appear like the next spokesperson for Icy Hot and far removed from the sultry stage presence we know and love you for. Reach out and dial Fatima Robinson's number. It's not too late.
Fergalicious? More like utterly Ferg-ettable. Wearing a blue-green plaid petticoat/tutu fiasco, the poster child for iceheads ambled and staggered awkwardly through what's sure to be the newest addition to YouTube's greatest hits. Was she: A) battling a pesky urinary tract infection?, B) wearing the wrong heels or C) hallucinating at the hired help in blackface doing the Stepin Fetchit? My guess is D. She knew that Gwen Stefani was watching her swagger jacking from stage left and the poor muppet got scared back into a drunken stupor her sidekick (schlepping as the Black Dr. Seuss) couldn't snap her out of. It's one thing to lose the coordination with heavy dance moves, but to be afflicted with rigor mortis with the personality of a cactus? She can shake her ass and her boobs in the camera for music videos, but when it comes to stage presence, girl ain't got none. The director couldn't even minimize the damage with a bunch of zooming camera shots. About two-thirds into her song, she seemed to forget the words. But then again, it can't be easy to dance and jump around a lot when you're desperately trying to hold your bladder. I sure hope this chick's 15 minutes are up.
The only thing she has going for her is the ability to hammer nails with her forehead. That's more of a circus talent so how the hell did Mumm-Ra wind up in the winner's circle as Female Artist of the Year? Maybe her #1 fan in Jigga Christ had a little something to do with that outcome. Ah well, jumpoffs of the world rejoice. Score this one for the side chick. Somewhere I think wifey's keying the bumper of the Maybach out of frustration.
When the entire free world's analyzed your left mammary in high definition, a bit of restraint is a good idea for walking the red carpet. However, raiding the boys' department at Bloomingdales? Not so much. The bat mitzvah-sized neckwear. The dinner napkin cufflinks with matching tranquilizer dart. The dated matte lip liner. And for Chrissakes, missing the memo about a month late in hopping onto the Anna Wintour bob bandwagon? S.O.S., please someone help!
So, how long did G-Stef have to jerk off that yummy hubby for just the right amount of protein to give the Judy Jetson 'do its Aqua Net hold? All of a sudden I've got the munchies for a Little Debbie swiss roll.
There's a rationale behind Denise Richards deciding to throw some goodwill towards birds flying south for the winter in that hornet's nest. And Heather be thy name.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
One yodled over the cuckoo's nest
Case in point: Lead single "Wind It Up", championed by frat girls coast to coast who've had one too many shots of Jagrmeister and should be in a taxi on their way to bed but instead choose to channel their inner Coyote Ugly for passed out bar patrons instead. As radio singles go, it's an absurd-sounding concoction that lederhosens to the brink of utter ridiculousness, but there's something almost admirable about this "throw the wackiest shit on the wall and let's see if it sticks" approach. I mean, let's be real...this is limburger cheese, not War & Peace. It takes a certain sort of quirky finesse to mine show tunes for inspiration, first with Fiddler On The Roof and now in full Swiss Miss glory with The Sound of Music. What's next? West Side Story? Unlike most singers, Stefani aims to please with style over sex appeal and oddity reigns supreme. Early Winter is probably the closest to her past rumblings with No Doubt, scaling above indie-rock, college radio circa '88 to epic power ballad heights with an assist from co-writer, Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley. But you'd better off advised to fast forward through filler like Orange County Girl, in which the SoCal sweetheart gets all Jenny From The Block to prove "a lot of things have changed but I'm mostly the same." Uh huh.
Listening too closely will only force you to confront lyrics that were obviously jotted down in her DayTimer instead of her diary en route to the Beat Factory and never looked at again ("Don't know what I'm doing back in the studio/Getting greedy cause he said he had another sick flow/So I had to hollaback cause I didn't get enough/Still feel the Wonderland, Alice and the tick tock"). But if you just slip on your tortoiseshell J.Lo sunglasses, pour yourself a Smirnoff Twisted and get lost in the beats, The Sweet Escape delivers on its name and continues in Stefani's proud tradition of being caught in the middle between the vanguard and the superficial. Few mainstream artists can hope to produce an album as effortlessly eccentric as this, so here's to hoping that the next screwball chapter is just around the bend.
Download this: Early Winter, Now That You Got It, Yummy, 4 In The Morning, Fluorescent, U Started It, Don't Get It Twisted
Monday, December 04, 2006
A fever I can't sweat out
She's the kind of artist that I want to like, but I just can't bring myself to actually drinking the laced Kool-Aid and succumbing to the madness. I mean, the whole all-girl backing band yet only strumming about 3 chords max was a good idea, I suppose (in theory only) and a step in the right direction. My beef with Bey — as cohorts who've heard me riff on the topic know — is that she doesn't usually sing complete songs, either on her own, or with Destiny's Child. If the hallmark of a truly great singer is their ability to shape a piece of material and make a song work from beginning to end, then the road from mere talent show trills and onto soul with sincerity is yet untraveled.
Maybe if she wasn't such an android of stage parenting, I'd be a wee bit more accepting of Sashabot-TX3500. But hey, I'll admit that the dip 'n pop strut of that damn Chi-Lites sample had me looking so crazy right then in the summer of '03. But then came the inevitable oversaturation. You couldn't open an awards show envelope without her lion's mane front and center to stop, drop & roll around center stage for comic effect. On top of that, the inexplicable 5 Grammys for an album weaker than 2-ply soaked in battery acid. The excruciating massacre of the English & French languages at the 05' Oscars in count 'em... three different performances. The reconvening and subsequent disbanding of DC3 on a farewell tour that lasted longer than The Pink Panther's box office run. The transformation from kitschy mallrat playing dress up in Mama's glad rags to Roc-A-Fella's gangsta's moll, surgically attached to the hip with her svengali, Jay-Z from South Beach to St. Tropez. I. just. couldn't. take. the. shit. anymore.
And apparently, neither could everyone else. The first single aptly titled Deja Vu was little else than pop's prom queen & king rehashing to lesser effect what made their earlier collab so successful. Looking like a crazed maniac possessed by a Yoruba spirit in Revlon's Fire & Ice lipstick on the estate of Tara, the video was a giddy slice of unintentional slapstick. The decibel shredding follow-up in Ring The Alarm which was chock full of Basic Instinct parodies did little else to restore the luster to Daddy Warbucks' longterm investment. However, with the release of Irreplaceable, Bee comes full circle back to the neck rolling badass she longs to be. And a welcome return it is. The instrumentation stripped to a mere acoustic guitar, percolating 808 and a simple verse/melody arrangement manages to encourage the most restrained vocal performance delivered from a chronic caterwauler in like.... ever. Leave it to those crafty Norwegians better known as Stargate and R&B's rookie of the year in Ne-Yo for crafting a chorus so catchy it'll take a lobotomy to stop you from singing it. Wrapped in pretty packaging, you'll find a trifecta of her most go-to songwriting trappings: Woman Done Wrong (Bills Bills Bills), Woman Thou Art Loosed (Independent Woman Part 1), Woman With Closet Full Of Shit (every damn song with her singing lead).
The number-one song on the R&B, pop, and iTunes charts, not because of its hell-hath-no-fury sentiment, but because it's more infectious than a flu shot gone bad. You'd be hard pressed to find a man, woman or drag queen who ain't uttering "to the left, to the left."
Hooks? I lost count at approximately seven — mainly the maddeningly catchy "keep talking that mess, that's fine/but could you walk and talk at the same time," which doesn't fully explain the record's worldwide popularity. Taken at face value, you'd think that everyone on the planet's going all Waiting To Exhale on their lovers, regaining their backbone and calling up the locksmith to make sure the creep stays out for good. Me, I think it represents the best of what finely crafted pop gems have to offer because it connects us in a way that hardly anything else on the dial bothers to anymore.
So after all the catty punchlines and putdowns, I'll grant her a temporary reprieve simply because my defenses are worn ragged and resistance is futile. I'm diggin' this a lot. But not nearly enough to cop that two week stream of unconsciousness touted as her sophomore album though. No sir.
Hell, I gotta draw a line somewhere.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Because closed legs don't get fed
Charlotte: Is it so much to ask that you not wear your dress up around your "see you next Tuesday?"A day without a Britney Spears fuck up is like trying to keep a Kennedy from open water. Despite being a singer who hasn't released a new album in 3 years, people still talk about her now more than ever. In the media-dominated, starfucking shithole our society's come to, that old adage rings more true now than it ever has been... no publicity is bad publicity. Just when you thought the Access Hollywood generation couldn't possibly sink twenty-somethings any lower, we've now reached a new low. Twat is the new black. Oh, how I long for the innocent age of the planned nip slip at sporting events.
Samantha: My what?
Charlotte: (drawing characters in the air): C - U - Next...
Carrie: Tuesday? Oh my God! Was that a Schoolhouse Rock I missed?
As it turns out, all those Catholic schoolgirl come-ons couldn't get her any further than a K-Mart weave, an ugly C-section scar, and a swollen, stretched out clam flapping in the breeze. What a way to roll the dice: panty-free and sharing car seats with Paris Hilton. Why not just ask a homeless guy to shove his feet up your birth canal? At this point, there's not much left for Clitney to do but stagger over to San Fernando Valley and start baring that beat up beaver for the hot lights of pornucopia full time. In the meantime, the pox-riddled pussy posse of Brit-Brit, Parisite & Blohan might as well get together do some Bangkok-brothel ping-pong act for the masses at this point. Except they probably no longer have the elasticity to make it work. Nicole Richie is feeling so left out right now.
Can the legions of waifish preteen boys with delicate features watching VMA performances past in their Midwestern farmhouse on YouTube, lips pursed and glossy mouthing along to every word to I'm A Slave 4 U catch a break? Her fan base had high hopes for snapping out of her white trash haze and crawling out of the dumpster with rugrats in tow. If they only knew the downward spiral was yet to come.
Had the wind blown one degree in the other direction, Britney would still be in Bumblefuck, Louisiana, freshly divorced from Billy Joe after cranking out a village of inbred brats and flashing her vag in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly while getting out of her 1985 Ford Escort. Oh, how I can't contain my glee in anticipation of her next tear-soaked interview with Matt Lauer, when she smacks on Bubble Yum and her mascara's streaked to Tammy Faye-like perfection, all while wearing just a tube top with her legs prepped for an inebriated pap smear pleading for the paparazzi to leave her alone. She's a mess and will continue to be a mess. I'm just holding the confetti and balloons for when she cracks completely. You can take a girl out of the trailer park, but you can't take the barefoot yokel outta the girl.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Oh the weather outside is frightful...
For the Angelenos on the Left Coast, seeing folks stroll around in 3" miniskirts and Ugg boots and little else is relatively normal this time of year. But not on December first in New York! Here we are, ready to barrel into the heart of my favorite season full throttle and I've gotta contend with a tasteful way to peel off layers short of sitting in my cube half naked. Needless to say, I'm not pleased. Will the assholes who think global warming is junk science and basically spit on the impending clusterfuck of Antartica slip sliding into Dorney Park please go kill themselves?
Al Gore, please keep those frequent flyer miles handy to continue spreading the word. They ain't trying to hear you.