Kanye West

Screw the Grammys

Got a lot on my mind with music right now, especially thanks to the recent acquisition of a ticket to my beloved Sasquatch! (Robert Plant! Fuzz! Tame Impala! Hot Chip! Run The Jewels! OHMYGOD I CAN’T LIST THEM ALL).

And then there was the recent broadcast of the yearly fiasco that is the Grammys. Year after year that damn awards show pisses me off, which is actually pretty dumb, considering how little I actually care about, or give credit to, the ceremony.

Last year was the first time since high school I decided to actually give the Grammys a chance, and it was only because QOTSA, NIN, Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham had been announced as performers. And their sets were as badass as expected…until the goddam Grammys decided to end the show and start rolling credits right as QOTSA were playing “My God Is The Sun”. Such disrespect.

That’s why I’m not gonna get too in depth with my musings on this year’s shit show, especially since I obviously didn’t watch the Grammys this weekend. I’ve learned all I wanted to know and so much awful more from all the media outlets these past few days. So let’s just cut it down to this:

  • Kanye’s an idiot. Honestly, dude – I’ve stuck with you time and time again, but I do believe you’ve finally pushed me over the edge. Of all the people to steal the spotlight from, you choose Beck? Tacky as hell. At least it did leave us with this absolutely fabulous moment that declares Jay only supports ‘Ye when he knows the cameras are rollin’:
  • Obama is the opposite of Kanye. His PSA denouncing rape and domestic violence couldn’t have been broadcast at a better time…unless it would’ve been done during the Super Bowl. Which I didn’t get to watch. Someone please tell me this was broadcast then, too.
  • Taylor Swift needs to stop acting 16. Pharrell agrees, too.
  • Run the Jewels 2 was the best rap album of 2014. NOT Marshall Mathers 2.
  • Paramore is still a band? And worthy of a Grammy? What a great time to stop talking about this stupid goddam awards show…

On that note, let’s celebrate the return of Alabama Shakes! Such a supreme blues/punk/rock quintet…I’ve been lucky to see their awesome explode all over the tiny little stage at Doug Fir, as well as at Sasquatch! And once you’ve seen them close down a show with a Zeppelin cover, you’ll be hooked for life.

That’s why I’m super excited for their sophomore release, due out April 21, especially thanks to this delightful leak:



Mmm…Sound & Color is gonna be so bloody good. But enough of my ramblings…consider tonight’s ample post an apology for my recent lack of blogginess. Here forth, I promise to provide y’all with as much new blog material as I can muster. Cheers ’til then! 🙂 ❤

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Love/hate relationships with musicians

Following the release of the much awaited full-length debut from Azealia Banks a few weeks ago, it felt as if 2 hours passed before she was mouthing off again. This wasn’t entirely surprising, as she’d practically written herself out of a career with her often racist and homophobic Twitter rants against fellow collaborators Pharrell, Disclosure and more, as well media icons such as Perez Hilton.

Thanks to her disparaging remarks, and lack of new material following her smash single “212” in 2012, it was easy to give up on her. It also didn’t help she didn’t even show up for the concert I hoped to see her in a couple years ago, at Sasquatch!, an absence she never explained.

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Banks’ debut was supposed to be released later that year, but conflicts with Interscope Records led to her being dropped from the label. She got lucky, though, as the label dismissed her from the contract and still let her maintain rights over the songs she’d put together thus far.

And that’s what helped Broke With Expensive Taste, a truly remarkable and brazen piece of work, come to be. So far I’ve been in true love with this album, and I’ve been overly impressed with Banks’ skills every time I listen to it.

That’s why it was deflating and extremely disappointing to hear Banks get right back to her unnecessarily catty ways almost the minute the album dropped. In an interview with The Guardian Banks rehashed her anger with Disclosure, going so far as this:

I want to punch one of them in the face – the little one [possibly Guy Lawrence]. The ugly one. I want to hit him so bad. I saw him at the airport in Australia and I came over to him and I was like: ‘Hello? Like, what are we going to do with this song?’ And he was just being a dickhead. I started crying, I was so angry. I wanted to hit him. I cannot stand that little boy with all those pimples around his mouth. I love their music, though.

Anyone with a clear head can see the confusion, uncertainty and desire to be audacious in this statement, but that doesn’t forgive Banks for her hateful remarks. Yet, as much as we may disagree with her social behavior and commentary, does it make it okay to still like her music?

I’ve thought a lot about that lately, because Banks isn’t exactly the only musician I both love to hate, and hate to love. There’s Kanye, of course, as well as everyone from Jack White to Odd Future. Each of these artists do a terrific job at cultivating attitudes and personalities I loathe, yet create undeniably talented and appealing music that’s generally impossible to resist. They go about this in different ways, but it still leaves me appreciating the music over anything else. Sure, the mere thought of who Kanye married and impregnated (no need to bring up her name, that’s done enough in the media) is enough to make one sick, but that doesn’t distract from the genius he possesses in creating innovative and unique new music. And Jack White’s just an asshole who not so secretly feels he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, yet I crank the radio every time anything from Elephant comes on the air.

Rap collective Odd Future, on the other hand, is made up a bunch of likable guys who write lyrics all women should hate and be offended by – yet a large number of females, such as myself, remain entranced with their music. Fader just wrote a great article about what keeps women fans in love with the group, and the interesting reason nearly everyone interviewed gave was: Odd Future don’t give a fuck about what people think about them. So even when they’re being blatantly misogynistic with what they’re saying, and rapping stories of rape and murder…it’s okay because the group doesn’t what care what people think? Somehow, yes. Odd Future, especially founder Tyler, The Creator, have done well at balancing their offensive lyrics and stage presence with equal parts love and respect for the fans, making it almost clear they don’t mean what they say with their music. Just as with Banks, this in no way forgives them, but it does somehow allow their music and/or social commentary to be offensive yet admired.

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Now, as much as I hate to bring Taylor Swift into this conversation, a musician I in no way love, nor like the music she creates, I will commend her for the narrative she’s given in regards to Spotify lately. While Swift’s career has already left her reeking of money for the rest of her life, she remains against free and streaming services like Spotify because she feels “there should be an inherent value placed on art”, and such services don’t do that for her. And it’s that sentiment which helps somewhat explain my consent and adoration toward musicians I can’t stand for one reason or the other.

A piece of art, an album, a song – the higher the value and quality, the easier it is to separate it from the maker and he or she’s negative attributes. I will admit, sometimes it gets tough to like something designed by someone so obviously awful…yes, I will forever cherish “Toxic” but will never in my life say one nice thing about Britney Spears…but if something’s good, why deny it? This could lead to a broad conversation about my ethics, and questionably forgiving people for their wrongs, but this article isn’t about me. It’s about praising the value of art and music for what it is, not for who made it.

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And on a closing note, while an artist may immensely increase the likability of a piece by being a nice guy or gal, such behavior also has the potential of lessening the edge to their work and leaving their character uninteresting to fans. It’s almost a double-edged sword for musicians, which in a bizarre way lends more support towards allowing them to be whoever the hell they want to be. Which I firmly believe anyone, musical or not, has the right to do. So keep on with your crazy ways, Azealia. Because at this point, your musical output still manages to speak more than your insensitive social output does.

10/6/14 Playlist



In light of news Kanye has as many as 20 songs finished for his upcoming new album, I got to thinking about my favorite songs from Mr. West. The man’s never released an album I didn’t like, and I even stood by him while most of the rest of the world despised him. My favorite moment in these past few years of Kanye vs. The Public was the night he got drunk at the VMAs and stumbled up onto the stage to ruin Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech – it was golden, and my appreciation for him multiplied, thanks to my utter distaste for that country pop tart. It also led to the creation of what I consider his best album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Way to send a big F you to your critics, West.

Obviously the rapper’s music has taken a bit of a redirection post-Kardashian, and while I’m not a fan of all his new music, I still appreciate the individuality it possesses. Much as I do the originality so many new artists like Chance the Rapper and A$AP Rocky exhibit, both of who are included in the playlist above. I’v also got some of my most beloved rap songs in there – PLEASE LET MISSY ELLIOTT RELEASE NEW MUSIC SOON – and you’ll see that Q-Tip and T.I. made the list more than once, mostly because they’re two of my most favorite.

It wraps up with my #1 West track, off the album that truly made his name a household one. Here’s hoping whatever he cooks up for this next release is even more savvy than what he’s given us so far.

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