Re: Anaconda

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Those threads being?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:33 AM
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someday I'll write a proud anthem for apple-shaped women everywhere.

The broccoli shaped women get left out in the cold yet again.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:34 AM
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1: About having your salad tossed?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:36 AM
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I (belatedly) turned on the parental controls on the iPads at home this weekend after walking past and noticing Noah blithely scrolling through pages of super-explicit pornography on Google ImageSearch. Apparently he had searched for "nicki minaj's naked butt", the results of which are very much not restricted to images of Ms. Minaj.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:41 AM
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Part of the reason I suggested this was to see how folx would problematize it. When I first saw it, I was assuming that PMJ did all their covers like this, but then I looked around and noted that, in fact, they switch it up (i.e styles, costumes, filming techniques) as much as possible. I guess there is a big scholarly book/article about the way that the banjo moved from being a "black" instrument to becoming a white one. Need to look that up sometime. In any case, watching the other video's and reading Bradlee's account of their founding, it seems like this is all coming from a very respectful (and intentionally multi-racial) perspective. Mostly though, I just like jug band covers of incongruous songs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:44 AM
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The broccoli shaped women get left out in the cold yet again.

Tall and skinny with huge amounts of very curly hair. Pre-Raphaelite women are broccoli-shaped.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:44 AM
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4: But if they had been, it would have been fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:45 AM
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Nicki Manaj's lats, at least in the picture here, make her look like she plays free safety for the seahawks.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:47 AM
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If they had been, there would have been a lot fewer photographs of actual anal sex.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:47 AM
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Not strong safety, mind you. /important point of clarification


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:47 AM
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In terms of the song's original lyrics, while obviously there's a case to be made that they're too focused on acquisitiveness, yet and still, it's a black woman singing about being in control of her romantic life, which can't be all bad.

Interestingly, given the song's denouement, I came across the PMJ video as a link from a very, very thin model friend, who is usually the first to decry any anti-skinny-person popular culture text. I guess it is just that good a song.

(First listening to the Minaj version was on the bus with a black girl who looked high-school age, blasting it out of her phone while a bunch of middle class white guys shifted uncomfortably in their seats.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:50 AM
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"Anaconda" came out about the same time as the Milo Manara cover of that Spider Woman comic. Different parts of the gawker media empire were denouncing the Manara painting as objectifying and exploiting and praising the Minaj video as a positive, woman-friendly celebration of different body types.

From this I concluded that it was not how big butts are portrayed, but who is doing the portraying.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:53 AM
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it's a black woman singing about being in control of her romantic life, which can't be all bad.

Did you get to the verse where she just repeats over and over again "No skinny bitches in the club, Fuck those skinny bitches in the club"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:53 AM
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A real blow for feminism there. As Mark Helprin, the greatest thinker of our age, says, "the culture is a sewer."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 7:54 AM
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Saying "Minaj's original" strains the word "original" a bit.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:03 AM
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It's called sampling, old timer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:06 AM
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16 to 4.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:06 AM
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Do your inner and outer feminist disagree much?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:08 AM
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My outer feminist is pretty meek.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:11 AM
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Inside a feminist, reading is problematic.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:11 AM
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My inner feminist has a slamming body, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:12 AM
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11: "it's a black woman singing about being in control of her romantic life,"

Insofar as putting out for dudes because they buy you stuff constitutes "being in control," anyway.

Having said that, vastly prefer the original to the cover, because white folk musicians ironically covering hip-hop or R&B songs jumped the shark for me with Pomplamoose. It's gotten to be just so much patronizing musical slumming at this point; say what you like about Minaj and the paradigm she's selling, she at least is at home with the milieu and who she is.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:48 AM
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Backup vocals/puppy wrangler is a pretty good gig.
The second video made my inner feminist feel funny.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:59 AM
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Mark Helprin is a bigger disgrace to American culture than Nikki Minaj is.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:05 AM
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I am all about the puppy.

I was a little surprised that apo turned on parental controls until I realized that he just meant that his iPad received a straight feed of any awesome videos that Noah found.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:19 AM
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Also, I love this cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBmCJEehYtU


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:21 AM
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I guess there is a big scholarly book/article about the way that the banjo moved from being a "black" instrument to becoming a white one.

A while back I recommended and interview with Jeff Warner. Sadly I mentioned it at the tail end of a thread and nobody watched it. But he talks about that very subject. Starting at 4:59 he has an interesting discussion of "Tom Dooley" (and plays a great version of it) and that segues into a discussion of the banjo at 7:28. Among other things he says

Frets don't come into the Banjo until about 1880, 1870 some time otherwise before that it's all smooth . . . I always have this instrument with me and talk about it because the banjo is an American icon. A lot of people always thought that it was invented here but in fact it was an African instrument. It was brought over by the slaves, against their will. They had always used a big gourd, cut it in half, dried out, animal skin, tacked on a stick and a couple of strings. Thomas Jefferson had slaves, used to walk out among them at night and hear the banjo, "ring" he would say . . .

He goes on to talk about how the combination of minstrel shows, and the civil war brought the banjo to wider audiences (and that the banjo wasn't played in Appalachia until after the civil war).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:24 AM
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Having said that, vastly prefer the original to the cover, because white folk musicians ironically covering hip-hop or R&B songs jumped the shark for me with Pomplamoose. It's gotten to be just so much patronizing musical slumming at this point;

(A) I don't really have an opinion about this, because it's music. But (B), just looking at the stills on each video and reading the lyrics, I'd guess that even if you leave the generalized racial issues to one side, the cover is almost certainly patronizing/mocking, just because it's a woman in overalls and pigtails covering a very sexual song.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:26 AM
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Yeah, I'm allergic to pretty much any white folky cover of hip hop or R&B. This one isn't as OH MY GOD GO THE HELL AWAY as some but... no thanks.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:30 AM
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Anyway, the original is just so magnificently filthy and delightful as a response song. The title is absolute perfection, too.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:35 AM
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I don't know if 28 came across. That is, I could imagine a bluegrass sexpot (well, I assume I could imagine this. I haven't actually tried to) covering a sexy rap song as a sexy bluegrass song, and I don't think there'd necessarily be anything unsympathetic about that. But a bluegrass cover of a sexy rap song that doesn't itself try to express sexuality seems like it's only a patronizing joke.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:36 AM
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Come on, hip-hop is well overdue for a bit of mockery. It's into Vegas-Elvis territory by now.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:37 AM
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Eh, there's internal mockery, I understand, and that's fine. But there's something that's always going to be offputting about white people (and people who are, as bluegrass musicians, presenting as superwhite) making fun of a black-associated artform from an outsider's perspective.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:41 AM
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I haven't actually tried to

I can confirm that it's really easy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:41 AM
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I haven't actually tried to) covering a sexy rap song as a sexy bluegrass song, and I don't think there'd necessarily be anything unsympathetic about that. But a bluegrass cover of a sexy rap song that doesn't itself try to express sexuality seems like it's only a patronizing joke.

Well put, and relates to what I didn't like about the cover -- it never really makes sense as a bluegrass song. It uses bluegrass instrumentation, but the emotional content doesn't feel like it's been translated in a way that makes sense in a bluegrass context.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:42 AM
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I suppose a bluegrass sexpot is a young Dolly Parton, come to think.

But I really shouldn't be arguing about music, given that I don't actually have opinions about it (other than that it should usually be turned down.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:43 AM
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I could imagine a bluegrass sexpot (well, I assume I could imagine this. I haven't actually tried to)

Made me think of this delightfully risque Country/Western Swing cover of a Fats Waller song.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:48 AM
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32: My favourite hip-hop mockery was Marilyn Manson's The Golden Age of Grotesque, where he promised an album that would capture the flavour of modern hip-hop and then delivered music and videos drenched in the decadent sensibilities of the late Weimar Berlin cabaret. That was clever. This sort of thing, be it meant as mockery or homage, is just weaksauce.

Anyway, as far as naughty brilliance goes, Azealia Banks is way more deft and interesting than Nicki Minaj for my money.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:49 AM
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Plus surely the whole joke is the incongruity between the singer and the lyrics? It's like Nouvelle Vague (punk, in a bossa nova style) or Apocalyptica (heavy metal, on cellos). I'm not sure that it's mocking either side.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:52 AM
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Nouvelle Vague and Apocalyptica weren't joking. Yes there was some surface incongruity novelty factor there, but it showed that they were sincere and non-ironic in their appreciation of the music they were adapting and making it work, and the results were actually solid, listenable music.

The white folkster hip-hop cover is mostly not working at that level (with some exceptions), and hasn't been for a long time. The joke is incongruity, to be sure, and in terms of staleness it's about on par with rapping grannies.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:56 AM
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Having been with the only black people at a bluegrass festival this weekend, I feel qualified to say that it's also mocking modern bluegrass norms, which are not high-wader overalls and pigtails at all.

And while it looks like we're not going to go there, I'm so sick of hearing Iggy Azalea (though to ajay in the other thread, this involves hearing both my older girls scream BLACK WIDOW BABY regularly, so post-Disney life is not necessarily all that great anyway) and the downside of a white person sexy-hip hop cover is that it could end up her.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:57 AM
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on par with rapping grannies

That will never get old. It's a classic, like Full House.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:59 AM
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Plus surely the whole joke is the incongruity between the singer and the lyrics?

Well, yes. I'm not saying it's horrifically racist, necessarily. But it's a joke of the form "Look how incredibly white I am. White, white white. You can tell how white I am by comparing me to this black thing, which is completely not me and absolutely alien from me. Because I'm white." Who's being made fun of isn't necessarily determinate, but I could still see getting tired of that class of joke pretty fast.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:59 AM
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She'd look right at home in Austin, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:00 AM
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40.1 gets it exactly right (as does 43 -- LB's spot on in this thread).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:01 AM
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Without ever listening to a note of music! Someone should give me a column to write music criticism based on stills from videos.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:02 AM
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43: fair enough. To me it comes across as "here am I, a person presenting as non-sexual, singing this incredibly sexual song that you're used to hearing sung in a completely different style". Like having it sung by a church choir or something.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:02 AM
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it's also mocking modern bluegrass norms
Right, the musicians are only authentically hipster.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:06 AM
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Based entirely on the still from the front page, I wouldn't say she was presenting as non-sexual.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:06 AM
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I could imagine a bluegrass sexpot

Columbus, a big city near Appalachia, had a lot of Bluegrass performance in the 70s, in the same way Chicago had Blues.
A professor friend was into it and took me along.

Unmarked storefront. Battered folding chairs and tables, bright florescent light overhead, band standing at one end of the space, equipment as simple and "distressed" as you could hope for.

Sound unreal, and haunting.

Sexpot? I suppose not, but awesome and appealing and very sexy.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:26 AM
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||
That gum you like is going to come back in style.
|>


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:46 AM
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||
That gum you like is going to come back in style.
|>


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:46 AM
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To complicate things, "bluegrass cover of non-bluegrass song" is now enough of its own genre that... well, here, have a bluegrass cover of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck". By a bunch of dudes from Finland. Who call themselves Steve'n'Seagulls.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:47 AM
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Also, 49 gets it right. Although then it also gets us back to the argument about the Ther/anos CEO.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:48 AM
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Neko Case was a bluegrass sexpot for a while.

I didn't realize the Minaj song is a response. To what?

Anyway, I think incongruous covers are a thing, and not necessarily a racial thing--although that's a pretty easy way to establish incongruity, of course--and some of them are played for laughs (this one, clearly, but that's their shtick, and not usually along racial lines) and some bring out something in the music other than incongruity (the Taken By Trees cover of Sweet Child O Mine, for example).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:50 AM
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I didn't realize the Minaj song is a response. To what?

To, like, the other interlocutors, in our cultural conversation about agency and gender performance and all that BS.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:55 AM
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If you read the lyrics, isn't it a response to "Baby Got Back"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:56 AM
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Anyway, I think incongruous covers are a thing . . .

There's also something like Norah Jones and the Little Willies playing country music which isn't incongruous, but which is clearly meant to be playful and a bit silly.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:58 AM
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If you read the lyrics title, isn't it a response to "Baby Got Back"?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:58 AM
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I admittedly guessed BGB before reading the lyrics, but there have to be other contexts in which one could reference an anaconda.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:01 AM
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Sure but I don't really see Nicki Minaj doing a song about Jon Voight getting eaten.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:09 AM
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Yeah, that sounds more like a Lil Kim thing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:12 AM
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Now I am imagining the better world in which 62 was a for-reals thing.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:16 AM
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Sure but I don't really see Nicki Minaj doing a song about Jon Voight getting eaten

Wait, why not? That sounds awesome!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:22 AM
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The band who did this video is Postmodern Jukebox. Cross genre covers is their whole schtick, as the link in 26 indicates.

I think the patronizing/mocking element of this video is highly diminished when you put it in the context of all the other genres they transfer current pop songs into--klezmer, big band, 60s girl groups. It is all about the unlikely combinations, sure, but it isn't just about African American and white genres.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:29 AM
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Has nobody yet mentioned Nicki Minaj's fake butt?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:41 AM
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55.2: I didn't realize the Minaj song is a response. To what?

The Mix-a-Lot song it samples. Kinda like The Passionate Shephered To His Love and The Nymph's Reply, but with butts.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:46 AM
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One of the first mp3s I ever downloaded was The Gourds cover of Gin and Juice (about 1998 when it apparently came out). That seems like it was before 'ironic' or cross-genre covers were really a thing. I later got a punk cover of Barbie Girl (by a Japanese band? - oh unlabelled mp3s, remember those?). So maybe this is something that's having a resurgence, or do the videos make it different?

Also everything about this makes me feel old.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:47 AM
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68 made me feel really old.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:57 AM
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I love this ska cover of Gin and Juice.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:58 AM
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69: You were downloading mp3s decades earlier?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:59 AM
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OT-ish, I just got my invitation to a Halloween party where I'm supposed to dress as my favorite song. For so many reasons, it won't be Anaconda, though I have absolutely no clue what it will be.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:03 PM
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Wouldn't an old person be the last to download an mp3? Or are you old because you have yet to download the Gourds cover of Gin and Juice?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:03 PM
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Obviously, Thorn, you should dress as a dead Iraqi and say you're the Star-Spangled Banner. Too subtle?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:06 PM
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Mocking the elderly is the last acceptable form of bigotry. It's ok, kids, I've been through worse.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:11 PM
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But ironic covers of "Gin and Juice" date all they way back to 1995. Or earlier?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:16 PM
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68: I think the first time cross-genre covers really became "a thing" was when Laibach got popular in the early Nineties. There were tonnes of cross-genre covers before that, of course, but it was just musicians covering music they liked, nobody was really making a schtick out of it. With Laibach it got to be one of the major things they were known for.

But it got to be more widespread in the mid-Nineties. I remember Cake's cover of "I Will Survive" being kind of a watershed moment for this, it was one of the highest-profile examples anyway, but there are probably many other contenders.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:22 PM
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There were tonnes of cross-genre covers before that, of course, but it was just musicians covering music they liked, nobody was really making a schtick out of it.

There was a band called "Big Daddy" that did in the 80s. Several albums of recent pop songs in the styles of the early days of rock & roll. But they didn't do anything else, unlike Laibach.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:28 PM
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Big Daddy

And then there were The Better Beatles.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:31 PM
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As mentioned recently, the Leningrad Cowboys go pretty far back, right? mid-'80s?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:32 PM
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47: Dude, you think Anderson is presenting as "non-sexual"? Check out a google image search of her. Maybe not as much skin on display as Minaj, but still. Cor!

13: Right, obvs. it would be better to have more body-inclusive politics, but this is a mainstream pop song, the politics are never going to be great, so you have to choose which tendency to throw under the bus.

In terms of cultural expropriation, I'd be more open to that critique if they weren't doing the exact same thing to all kinds of white artists' songs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:35 PM
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Louis Armstrong covering "Stardust".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:35 PM
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Oh those heady years after the USSR fell apart, when you could pick up former government assets like the Red Army Choir for cheap.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:36 PM
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The Flying Lizards, 1980. Clear influence on The Better Beatles. Possibly the only influence.

And they were a real... well, not band, but musical project, with a lot of original songs. Then their second album was all ironic covers and nobody cared.

Sid Vicious's "My Way" was 1978.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:36 PM
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Devo covering "Satisfaction".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:36 PM
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84.3: That was after Richard Hell and the Voidoids covered "All the Way" (a much better song, and a much better cover).


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:38 PM
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W/r/t the antecedents of cross-genre humorous covers, the very first track on R. Crumb's "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" 2 disc compilation of old timey blues is a white artist singing a clean version of "Take A Whiff On Me".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:39 PM
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And of course black people still haven't forgiven Bob Dylan for his cover of "Many Thousands Gone".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:41 PM
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I agree with RHC, that Postmodern Jukebox is more in the spirit of Big Daddy than the original master of contemptuous cover versions, Steve Allen.

This video may be the one that's gone most viral, I guess, because there is still an endless lowbrow market for white genres mocking black genres, despite the staleness that we're all aware of. But the BAND does much more than that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:43 PM
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It's like white people love black culture so much that they steal it. Right?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:47 PM
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Well, yeah. And that's the opposite of mocking it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:48 PM
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90: An academic wrote a book called Love and Theft about this, and Bob Dylan stole that title too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:49 PM
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I still don't get Bob Dylan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:51 PM
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94

Coming late, but the Talking Heads' Take Me to the River should probably get mentioned. Definitely not something that started in the 90s, I think-- Frankie Goes to Hollywood covered a springsteen song, and the Run-DMC Walk This Way was 1986.

I agree with 40.1, those are covers that are more than just costumed schtick like the one in the OP.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:53 PM
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92: Thanks, Standpipe's Blog!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:53 PM
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So what about the Ellen Degeneres Anaconda video, then?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:57 PM
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95: I'm trying to help Moby keep up.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 12:59 PM
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As mentioned recently, the Leningrad Cowboys go pretty far back, right? mid-'80s?

The famous Aki Kaurismaki film was 1989. Wikipedia says they did music videos/shorts from 86.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 1:14 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 1:14 PM
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This version was introduced to me by one of the little Ruprechts.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 1:15 PM
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Nobody has mentioned Killdozer yet?
I AM DISAPPOINT.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 1:17 PM
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At least it's not William Shatner reading the lyrics. Or Steve Allen.

Kiana Weber isn't playing bluegrass with her current band, but she has before, and probably will again.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 1:35 PM
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(This shows her playing in different outfits, but doesn't catch her onstage moves. Would I go see a bluegrass band that featured Ms. Weber? Yes, I would.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 1:49 PM
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I think the patronizing/mocking element of this video is highly diminished when you put it in the context of all the other genres they transfer current pop songs into--klezmer, big band, 60s girl groups. It is all about the unlikely combinations, sure, but it isn't just about African American and white genres.

Hmmm, I read their "About" page and, frankly, it's way more annoying than that cover. It certainly doesn't encourage me to

Growing up as an aspiring jazz pianist, I wasn't interested in listening to anything that might appeal to those that I deemed to possess a less than refined palette of musical taste. . . . [until] I decided to drop my preconceived notions and examine contemporary pop with an open mind.

... [D]espite my initial aversion to the stuff I was hearing, I was unable to truly categorize this as "bad music" without first defining a set of arbitrary, culturally-defined criteria. ... As a relentless devil's advocate, I then found that by simply altering the context of such songs, I could find quite a bit of artistic merit inside of them.

My goal with Postmodern Jukebox is to get my audience to think of songs not as rigid, ephemeral objects, but like malleable globs of silly putty. Songs can be twisted, shaped, and altered without losing their identities ... and it is through this exploration that the gap between "high" and "low" art can be bridged most readily.

The idea that pop music needs a "devil's advocate" seems like a bad starting point but the phrase that particularly annoys me is his description of "rigid ephemeral" objects (which google seems to think is unique to him). I would think it should be one or the other (and, the history of pop music suggests that it is neither rigid nor ephemeral).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:14 PM
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Uh, 32 is a joke, right?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:14 PM
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... It doesn't encourage me to be more generous to their music.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:15 PM
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You can really tell a lot about a band from their About page.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:18 PM
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Let me be dull for a minute and say that one of my favorite mocking/loving covers is the medieval Andalucian poet Ibn Qusman's version of the traditional Bedouin poetic trope where the lover is weeping at the riverbank from which his beloved's camp has moved on -- in his urban version, the lover is weeping beside an exposed sewer pipe after the beloved's house fell down. I should really have this on hand for direct (translated) quotation.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:23 PM
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107: I'm particularly fond of Iron Chic's About statement: "Iron Chic is a decent band from Long Island, NY. They play songs that are acceptable."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:27 PM
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He's looking for the topological invariants of music, obviously.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:27 PM
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AISIMB, you can really tell a lot about a band from their About page.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:31 PM
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"Minaj is just such a good rapper"

She really is, and if you doubt it, listen to her easily outrap Kanye and Jay-Z (her verse starts around 3:30):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kWuOUijAbc


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:34 PM
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They had always used a big gourd, cut it in half, dried out, animal skin, tacked on a stick and a couple of strings. Thomas Jefferson had slaves, used to walk out among them at night and hear the banjo, "ring" he would say . . .

I have one of these, purchased at the woodcarver's market in Dar es Salaam. It appears to be old as fuck. The strings are thick-ass pieces of twine. Its too fragile to play, but I imagine it would sound nothing like a modern banjo.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:43 PM
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112: I think this is why she guests on every song now made. Every video on YouTube is now "(feat Nicki Minaj)".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 2:46 PM
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108: ♥ u, lurkey.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 3:19 PM
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Yeah, Minaj really is pretty great. Then again, the current state of mainstream US male rap is embarrassing, and has been for a _long_ time. Lazy poseurs with no flow.

What I like about some of her stuff is how musically stark it can be for ostensibly mainstream stuff. It reminds me more of grime. As, for that matter, does something like '212' [as per Castock in 38]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 3:48 PM
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Better rapper than contemporary Kanye/Jay-Z is a pretty low bar.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 3:54 PM
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117: Yeah, I was just about to say. Kanye's great, but not really for his rapping. It's always been his weak spot.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 3:55 PM
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re: 117

I can't think of anyone mainstream that's much cop, though. People that hip-hop cognoscenti like, yeah, but not anyone with heavy TV rotation.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 3:57 PM
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Kendrick Lamar.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:02 PM
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re: 120

Is he mainstream now? I suppose he gets daytime radio play here, a bit. I was thinking of him and a few others as more left-field.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:03 PM
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I guess? Seven Grammy nominations this year.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:06 PM
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Yeah I don't even know where the contemporary rap world is at these days. Like I guess Kendrick Lamar's legit? I can't stand Azalea Banks, to be honest. Lil B and Odd Future and Yelawolf, but I guess they veer off into being pretty hipster.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:07 PM
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But I don't listen to music radio at all anymore, so I can't judge by that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:08 PM
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Pwned.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:08 PM
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"212" is better than any specific Nicki Minaj song except "Moment for Life", but Minaj's 2-9th best tracks are all better than Banks' 2nd.

In terms of mainstream U.S. rap, aside from the aforementioned Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne still puts out great tracks every so often.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:08 PM
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(124: that being airplay)


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:09 PM
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For six months maybe two years ago I listened to a lot of a contemporary hip hop radio station, and jesus it was awful. That awful Rack City track, so much Drake. Like I don't think there's anyone who bothers with payola in NZ, so it must have just been the programmers, but fuck it was dire.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:10 PM
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re: 122

That counts as pretty established, I'd guess, yeah.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:10 PM
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I don't think there's anyone who bothers with payola in NZ

WHAT ABOUT ME?


Posted by: OPINIONATED MURRAY HEWITT | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:12 PM
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I stopped listening to daytime radio about 3 or 4 years ago, when I just couldn't stand it any longer: current pop [in the UK anyway] is fucking dreadful.* The later evening shows that I still catch play things I like, but I'm never entirely sure how much some of the music, which I'm aware gets a bit of daytime play, is genuinely play-listed mainstream stuff, or just the sort of thing that gets the occasional play in a 'make the DJ not look a total numpty' sense.

* and I don't just mean that in the 'get off my lawn' sense, of getting older. I think we are just going through a particularly shitty phase.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:13 PM
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Rhys Darby is so fucking overexposed here, he might for reals be involved in some kickback scheme.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:14 PM
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Speaking of Nicki Minaj, I found myself sounding very "get off my lawn" when I was discussing this controversy the other day.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:16 PM
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134

There's a bunch of really interesting indigenous hip-hip artists.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:22 PM
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135

This and and this, for example, but there's much more out there.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:24 PM
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||

I just saw this story -- 'Requiem for Mike Brown' protest at St. Louis Symphony.

There's a 2 minute video of people in the audience at the symphony standing up and singing a refrain of "Justice for Mike Brown. Justice for us all." and"Which Side Are You On."

it's very moving.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 4:32 PM
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I'd never seen that video until now. It's somehow more butt-centric than I was expecting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 5:10 PM
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Nia tried to convince me that her teacher let them listen to this song today via a radio powered by pencil sharpening. I assured her that it was not appropriate and did not say that her teacher is white and middle-aged and unlikely to be a Nicki Minaj fan for so many reasons, and not just because she currently thinks mentioning skin color is racist. Ugh. Apparently the real story is that kids sing it at recess, and probably dance too although I didn't ask.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 5:23 PM
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Tying my pause/play comment into the thread:

Sir Mix-a-Lot performing with the Seattle Symphony (NYT article about the performance and the follow up reaction)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 5:24 PM
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139: I found the dancing in that and the whole dynamic cringe-worthy, to use the NYT's term, but I'm easy to make uncomfortable, I think.

As I've mentioned here before, the Formby-style In Da Club cover is the only cover of this sort I've unreservedly enjoyed and appreciated. As I've mentioned in the other place, the Cleo Laine scat-singing version of one of Bach's Two-Part Inventions was one of my favorite things in high school and it's not that I'm opposed to unexpected covers but they seem like they need to be not only good-hearted but clear-eyed or something like that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 5:31 PM
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I found the dancing in that and the whole dynamic cringe-worthy

I hadn't watched the video before today. I liked the energy of the dancing, but I think I would have found it cringe-worthy if I hadn't started by reading that NYT article and seeing the "woman in the black dress" quoted as saying that she, "had the time of her life" and, "I've had 20 years of practice -- I've been dancing to that song for 20 years." That made me more inclined to enjoy it.

As I've mentioned here before, the Formby-style In Da Club cover is the only cover of this sort I've unreservedly enjoyed and appreciated.

That came up on unfogged earlier, though I'm not finding the thread. I really, really like the video, I don't know how much I'd like it if I just heard the audio by itself. I think it's well done, and that the audio would stand up by itself, but he worked out the visual performance well.

Also, this interview with Sir Mix-a-lot which was in the youtube sidebar links is fascinating.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 5:39 PM
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Yes, there is something about the Formby In Da Club that rises above.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 5:45 PM
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Further to 136, an article on the protestors, with bonus quotation from St. Louis Symphony director:

"One friend of mine questioned whether staging a protest on private property was fair to the hall, the orchestra and the audience. I'm not sure I agree. If the concert hall can't be the center of civic life, a hub for intellectual discussion, a place to share ideas, a place we can mourn, cry, scream, love and heal together, we may as well burn every concert hall to the ground. When we value genteel niceties and professional convenience over the existential questions of right and wrong, life and death, we, as artists, have probably made ourselves completely irrelevant."

Less delightful, this huffy letter to the editor:

Is Powell Hall a proper venue for a protest? I assume the protesters bought tickets for this opportunity to have their voices heard. What comes next? Can we expect such events to happen at the art museum? At Circus Flora? At a school graduation? The experience saddened me profoundly. Just like the Ferguson situation, I was left tensely unresolved.



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:04 PM
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Whoops, important correction. The quote is from a conductor, but I can't immediately tell if he has conducted in St. Louis.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:09 PM
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There are a lot of empty seats at the St. Louis symphony, especially after the protestors leave. Anyway, I can't tell if the clapping is supportive or a passive-aggressive way of trying to end the singing -- like clapping the protestors off the stage.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:19 PM
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Note that the article linked by Witt says that the same Michael Brown protestors went to a St. Louis Cardinals game, where they were booed out of the crowd by the Best Fans In Baseball (tm). The Cardinals fans shouted "Pants Up, Don't Loot." Just in case you wanted a rooting interest for tonight's game.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:22 PM
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Who's the other team?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:28 PM
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Fist and shout!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:31 PM
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Vin Scully just dropped a "kinda reminds you of" ref to a fairly obscure St Louis player who last played in 1948, two years before VS started broadcasting Dodger games.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:42 PM
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It was the onion on the belt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 6:50 PM
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||

Saul, Saul, you better call Saul
He'll fight for your right when your back's to the wall

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:17 PM
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Ms bulk, most casual of baseball fans, has fond memories of listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett broadcast Dodgers games while her dad finished their basement. As a cute teenager she also got autographs from Koufax, Drysdale, and manager Walter Alston on a single page of her autograph book.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:26 PM
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Bulk sb bill. Unfortunate. #celebratingnatswin


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 8:29 PM
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108 sounds great! Please post ref!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 9:22 PM
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I like Postmodern Jukebox a lot, but this isn't their best work. They certainly can do sexy bluegrass, but they do a lot more as well. This one is probably my favorite.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:09 PM
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154: tomorrow; too fried tonight to type it up with appropriate (brief) commentary. I should see if I can track down one of his filthy lyrics too -- there were plenty.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 10:22 PM
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The joke is incongruity, to be sure, and in terms of staleness it's about on par with rapping grannies.

But rapping Macintosh computers from the 80s are always fresh, right?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10- 6-14 11:28 PM
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Another inspiration for "Anaconda" - in fact the lyrics are almost unchanged:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfhphrmKdsg


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 1:24 AM
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http://homestarrunner.com/fisheyelens.htmlMockery of hip hop by white people.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 1:36 AM
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Insert your mockery of my html skills here.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 1:37 AM
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Anyone who isn't British is not allowed to use HTML because they're stealing it from its original creators. They certainly aren't allowed to mock us when we use it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 1:53 AM
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Conversely, British people aren't allowed to use the i-word. We have to say World Wide Web.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 2:09 AM
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155.1 was the one that first brought them onto my radar and I wasn't sold. She's my least favorite of their vocalists, which is probably part of why I wasn't more charitable toward Natilo's video. 155.2 is taking back hip-hop from the white people but probably won't provoke another 150 comments. I should say something more inflammatory.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:02 AM
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to be honest, all this "Android" and "iOS" stuff is the new slavery. they stole our Psions and sold them back to us. I demand reparations.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:37 AM
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Didn't Nokia steal our Psions?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:13 AM
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Forked them, to be pedantic.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:25 AM
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HTML can only be used by people breathing the free air of Switzerland. Or part of France.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:38 AM
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167: it may have been invented in Switzerland, but by a member of the British diaspora. He didn't land on the Centre Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire; the Centre Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire landed on him.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:27 AM
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So wait, British people aren't allowed to use Hypertext? Daaaamn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:36 AM
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True. We can use HTML, but we can't use it to link to anything. Americans can use hypertext but not HTML.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:38 AM
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And while we are at it, we would like to have a word about the royalties owing on all three thousand of your nuclear weapons (pat. UK Ministry of Defence, 1936).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:39 AM
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If it worked that way, we'd all be stuffed. With agriculture, and the alphabet, under the control of a bunch of Middle and Near Eastern dudes.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:52 AM
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135 and 139 are nice, thanks. I like A Tribe Called Red a lot-- not exactly hip-hop, but close.

Less innovative: I just found a recording I heard twice in the eighties that sounds to me like a fusion of a powwow and old-time country. Link to Rabbit dance on this page, ram dowload rather than streaming. Magic of the internet, never thought I'd hear this again. Hmm, my dad might like it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:01 AM
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172. Maize is a manmade crop (Mexican farmers about 6000 years ago is the consensus, some error margings on location and date, but definitely before 4000 BC), which now props up the economy of parts of the US which most strongly support creationist educational policies.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:04 AM
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Agriculture presumably started in several different places independently.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:17 AM
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Marging corn is indeed an error. You should use real butter.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:24 AM
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