Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Best 'New Yorker' Pop Music Articles to Catch Before the Paywall Returns

The New Yorker magazine recently lifted its paywall temporarily, and all articles published since 2007 are available for free until later this year. Since the New Yorker is basically my life force, here are some great pop music-related articles to check out while you can.

New Yorker Factory Girls
K-Pop group Girls Generation from the New Yorker article "Factory Girls"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Get More of Your Weird Al Fix With the Iggy Azalea Parody "Handy"

Another day, another "Weird Al" Yankovic video (not that I'm complaining!). For today's fourth out of an eight-day video per day release strategy, Yankovic released "Handy," a parody of Iggy Azalea's just-deposed #1 hit and arguable Song of the Summer, "Fancy." With the comedy singer in a blonde wig and mustache and with two hilarious overweight fix-it man backup dancers, "Handy" had me skeptical at first and by the end rolling on the floor. 

"Weird Al" beez in the trap
You'd think the handyman shtick would run cold after a while, but between his impressive array of puns and "glue dat, glue dat, and screw dat, screw dat" rhymes and the uproarious choreography, "Handy" is a real knee-slapper. Yankovic even gets in a sly reference to Azalea's feature verse on Ariana Grande's "Problem" - see if you can find it! Also, what he does with Charli XCX's "ow!" is...I mean, it's all just too much, in the best way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weird Al's New Lorde Parody Celebrates "Foil," Goes Hilariously Off the Rails

The "Weird Al" Yankovic farewell tour is really going strong. After releasing two well-received viral music videos over the past two days from his (possibly) final conventional album, Mandatory Fun, the parody mastermind continues his eight videos in eight days offensive with "Foil," a sneakily uproarious parody of Lorde's "Royals."

"Weird Al" Yankovic and the 60s girl group blondes extol the virtues of "Foil"
"Foil" starts out as a somewhat ho-hum ode to the joys of wrapping up leftovers in the titular kitchen commodity, with Yankovic as a public access television cooking show host and a trio of 60s girl group blondes singing the arresting harmonies that first made "Royals" stand out to me. There's a nice pre-chorus that will tickle the fancy of the scientifically inclined:
But then I deal with fungal rot, bacterial formation,
Microbes, enzymes, mold and oxidation
I don't care -
I've got a secret trick up my sleeve!
But beyond that it doesn't seem like much of note is going to come of a joke that seems played out by the end of the first chorus, where he sips "a nice herbal tea." Then shit goes hilariously off the rails.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rejoice and Sing, Grammar Nazis, for Weird Al's "Word Crimes" Is Here

Grammar Nazis; you either know one (at least) or you are one yourself. I feel like there's a sense that grammar Nazism stems from or feeds into some sort of superiority complex, and although I'm sure that's true for plenty of people, in my case it's more an obsessive compulsion, and I react to grammatical misdeeds because of their effect on me rather than for the edification (or chastisement) of somebody else. I subconsciously correct grammatical errors in the lyrics of familiar pop songs when I'm singing along, usually out of subconscious habit; whenever I hear someone misuse "less," I involuntarily say "fewer" out loud, even when I'm by myself. Don't get me wrong - I do think that anyone beyond elementary school who can't handle your/you're or they're/there/their needs to examine his goddamn life. And I, too, struggle with my own abusive habits with the language: my proclivity toward the passive tense probably makes my dad want to hurl himself (or me) over a cliff, and I never use three words when nineteen will do.

The sexy stars of Weird Al's "Blurred Lines" parody, "Word Crimes"
In general, therefore, I am the textbook example of the type of person "Weird Al" Yankovic panders to in his second music video from his new album, the Robin Thicke parody "Word Crimes."

Monday, July 14, 2014

All Your Favorite People Are In the New Weird Al Yankovic Video, "Tacky"

Obviously, "Weird Al" Yankovic no longer has any sort of monopoly on the pop song spoof; the internet has allowed anyone who wishes to make and distribute their own. What continues to set the veteran musical comic apart as he prepares to release his fourteenth (and possibly last) album, Mandatory Fun, on July 15, is the budget for meticulous production and professional-grade music videos. Yankovic released the first video from the album today, a reworking of Pharrell Williams' relentlessly cheerful hit "Happy," called "Tacky," and, like the work it spoofs, it's a satiating crowd-pleaser that hits all the spots.

Aisha Tyler spoofs Pharrell with her boobs
The video, filmed at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles, is a single continuous shot that follows Yankovic and a handful of exactly the other people you want to see strutting "groovily" like the aggressively charming Williams in the video(s) for "Happy" in hyperbolically loud, tasteless neon clothing. Aisha Tyler wears a wacky hat and plays with her boobs; Margaret Cho serves up her full-body character comedy with faces to match; Eric Stonestreet plays his Modern Family character Cam's nominally straight but probably more than bi-curious twin brother; Kristen Schaal does "airhead hedonist in elevator" with Janet Jackson/Lady Gaga-evoking pink handprints on her tits; Jack Black shimmies, leaps and twerks through the auditorium like Miley Cyrus doing West Side Story. That pretty much covers it all, right?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Here Are a Bunch of Pairs of Pop Songs That Are Essentially the Same

A few days ago, I posted this online:
"I am listening to a self-curated playlist of pairs of songs that are essentially the same. If this interests anyone I can put it on Spotify."
Turns out a number of people were interested, so I've done you one better: a Spotify playlist and a whole post of commentary and notes.

Katy Perry, one of the most prolific offenders
Take a look, and a listen, and feel free to share what you think about any or all pairings. Can you think of more? I'm sure there's more than one post in this topic.

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