music / Columns

411 Music Fact or Fiction 02.22.13: Lighten Up, World

February 22, 2013 | Posted by Joseph Lee

New 411 Music Fact or Fiction Banner

Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I’m your host, Joseph Lee.

This week we have myself against Jeremy Thomas. I know I did this last week, but the other guy I had picked couldn’t take part this time.

Round 1
1) Lil Wayne’s lyric about Emmett Till was in poor taste, but the controversy is overblown. Joseph Lee: FACT.

Lil Wayne is clearly an idiot in this situation, but it’s not the first time a rapper has used an offensive lyric and it won’t be the last. I’m sure it was a hard thing for Till’s family to hear, but I’m also sure they wouldn’t have even known about it if others didn’t get offended for them and bring it to their attention. Lil Wayne was obviously in the wrong, but there’s no reason for people like Jesse Jackson and Stevie Wonder to add their two cents. Who cares? Wayne’s label is doing the right thing and if he won’t apologize to the family, then it just shows what kind of person he is. But this isn’t something for other people to get offended about. There’s way more important issues in the world.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT.

That’s almost exactly how I feel. I actually had a conversation with our own master of the 3Rs Sean Comer recently about this and my thoughts basically boiled down to this: I think that Weezy writing and delivering a line like that is classless and offensive, but I also believe that it is very important that artists have the right to be classless and offensive. Freedom of expression is absolutely crucial because of the fact that what offends me is entirely different than what may offend someone else. I’m actually just as annoyed that the label bowed to public sentiment and pulled the lyric as I am that Wayne recorded it in the first place. Ultimately it was tasteless but I would rather live in a society were we get offended every now and then than one were we aren’t allowed to be tasteless.

Score Card: 1 for 1
Round 2
2) A Will Smith/Kanye West song inspired by Latin music intrigues you.
Joseph Lee: FACT.

Every so often you hear a combination that you just have to check out. Big Boi and Mumford & Sons is another that I’m intrigued by. Two things that shouldn’t go together, Will Smith and Kanye West, putting together a Latin-themed track is such an odd mix that it has to be heard. Even if it fails tremendously, I have to hear it.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT.

That’s so strange that “intrigued” is a fantastic word for it. First off all, the rap game’s own Mr. Squeaky Clean teaming up with the guy who rapped “I’d do anything for a blonde dyke?” That in itself is intriguing. Now give them a Miami-inspired sound and you’ve just headed into a territory so bonkers that it has to either exceed all expectations or fail disastrously. Either way we go it will definitely be interesting and to be honest, with these two there is enough talent to pull it off. Just keep Pitbull away from it and we’ll be just fine.

Score Card: 2 for 2
Round 3
3) You don’t understand the popularity of “Harlem Shake”. Joseph Lee: FACT.

I think I’ve become an old man about certain things before I’m really old enough to be one. I don’t get why a lot of popular music and memes are popular. LMFAO, Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, “Gangnam Style” and now this. People love this stuff and I cannot fathom why. Sure I guess maybe it’s meant to be funny, but it’s just not to me. It’s amazing to me that anyone can become famous these days just by making a stupid video, but I’ll never understand it.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION.

I understand the popularity of it just fine. It’s an internet meme. All internet memes require is a modicum of humor or entertainment value–usually ironically so–and they will take off like nobody’s business. Like at “Friday” of “Gangnam Style.” Obviously PSY’s hit is a better one than Rebecca Black’s, but neither of these would have become hits in the traditional manner. They only became famous because someone was so bemused by it that they passed it onto someone else in order to share the hilarity. That’s what happened with the Shake; some people started passing it around and someone decided to mock it with a parody video. Then all of a sudden, everyone and their pet’s third cousin are doing so, but they’re not mocking the original video; they’re just celebrating the phenomenon and trying to get in on “the next big thing.” That’s exactly what happened here; there are over 4,000 Harlem Shake videos on YouTube and they have over 44 million views. Enjoy it while it lasts though; this one will be going away soon enough I think. I just have that feeling.

Score Card: 2 for 3


Round 4
4) We’ll probably never know what really happened with Mindy McCready and David Wilson.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT.

I don’t buy into the conspiracy that David Wilson was murdered, first of all; the police are still investigating as a suicide and until the autopsy results come back saying otherwise, that’s all we have to go on. Even if he was murdered, I think that the most likely culprit is probably McCready herself considering her addiction problems and psychological issues. That being said, I’m wildly speculating out of my ass there. There is no way to know what happened and unless we get witnesses, I don’t think we ever will. If there was a murder involved, the murderer is either dead themselves or in the wind by now. If it was suicide, we’ll probably never understand why. It’s a tragic circumstance either way, the particulars aren’t really that important.

Joseph Lee: FACT.

The only people who know what really happened between McCready and Wilson are McCready, Wilson and their dog. All three are unfortunately dead. Police can investigate and form theories, and they may come up with some evidence on way or the other, but there’s no real way to ever know what really what happened, just that it was a very tragic result at the end.

Score Card: 3 for 4
Round 5
5) You were impressed with Atoms For Peace’s debut LP, Amok.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT.

I’m not saying I love the album yet, but I’ve only given it one listen and I fully expect, similar to how Radiohead albums are, that this one will take multiple listens to truly appreciate. There are things in there that I absolutely do love; Thom Yorke’s voice and the lyrical content is as impressive as ever and there are a couple of tracks where you can really hear the excellence of Flea’s bass work going strong. It’s very experimental but I like the direction it takes and it is oddly more accessible than your typical Radiohead album. I actually am hoping to get a full review of this up so I’ll be listening to it a few more times, but for now I really like it.

Joseph Lee: FICTION.

I’m not saying I dislike the album, so don’t let my rating of “Fiction” fool you. The question is whether or not I was impressed. So far I just think it’s an okay listen overall. I normally enjoy Radiohead and Thom Yorke, but much like The King of Limbs I think this one is going to require multiple listens as it’s just decent for the moment. No, it doesn’t impress me, but no, it’s not a bad album at all.

Score Card: 3 for 5
Round 6
6) You’re excited for a new Alice in Chains album.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT.

I sort of went back and forth on this; on one hand, I feel like the industry has passed AiC by to some degree but on the other I am impressed with what I heard off of “Hollow,” their first single. Yes, it’s a lot like the old Alice in Chains stuff in style but there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t think that this will be a classic along the lines of Jar of Lies or Dirt but I expect that I’ll be able to enjoy it quite a bit. If nothing else it should continue rock music’s comeback on the charts and radio, which I consider to be a very good thing indeed.

Joseph Lee: FACT.

Considering AiC are one of my favorite bands, in any incarnation, I’m going to have to agree here. I really, really liked Black Gives Way To Blue and I’m enjoying William DuVall’s run with the band. Is DuVall Layne Staley? Hell no. No one will ever be Layne Staley. But this version of AiC is pretty good and if “Hollow” is any indication, their next album will be good as well.

Score Card: 4 for 6

Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Sound off in the comment section.

article topics

Joseph Lee
comments powered by Disqus