music / Columns

Music’s 3R’s 11.08.10: Katy Perry in Playboy?, Bush on Kanye, Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire, Marilyn Manson, Evanescence, More

November 8, 2010 | Posted by Aaron Titan

Greetings: Happy November to you, friend! Is it too fucking cold for you yet? I think it just might be!

I’m Aaron Titan and this is the Music 3R’s. Just got back from seeing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for the SIXTH time. You can get my exclusive report from that show a little later this week. Besides writing a brand new column on a weekly basis, I also do album reviews from time to time, and I’ll be checking in with my thoughts on Kid Cudi’s new album tomorrow.

And if I wasn’t already busy enough, I’ll be catching the Reverend Horton Heat live this week, so I’ll have a review of that show up sometime before the weekend. All work and no play makes Titan a something something…

Go crazy?

Don’t mind if I do!!!

Gotta’ love Simpsons references. And apparently, we’ve gotta’ love the fact that Lil’ Wayne is out of prison. I’ve already gotten sick of the presidential election-like coverage this has gotten, so I’m not including it in the R’s proper this week.

Let’s get it poppin’ with your Opus of the Week:

Opus of the Week: R.E.M.- Automatic for the People

Look, I’m not going to sit here and explain why this album is awesome. It has been lauded for quite some time, and I feel rather silly for just now getting into R.E.M.

I downloaded this album a long while ago but never got around to listening to it. I basically downloaded it for the “classic”-ness it had carved out for itself over time. The songwriting, the lyrics, the power, the…wait, I said I wasn’t going to break this one down. I’m still discovering what I like about this one, but hey, here are the tracks I like so far:

Titan’s Key Tracks: “Drive,” “Everybody Hurts,” “Ignoreland,” “Man on the Moon”

Opus of the Week Backlog: Here’s some other stuff I’d recommend if you’re looking for a few albums to check out that may have escaped you…

11/01/10: Michael Jackson – HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I
10/18/10: Weezer – Make Believe
10/11/10: White Zombie – Astro-Creep 2000: Songs of Love, Destruction, and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head
10/04/10: The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
09/27/10: Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song
09/20/10: Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns
09/13/10: Tool – 10,000 Days
09/06/10: Drake – Thank Me Later
08/30/10: Deftones – Saturday Night Wrist
08/16/10: Black Star – Black Star
08/09/10: Zac Brown Band – The Foundation
08/02/10: Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire
07/26/10: Green Day – Insomniac
07/19/10: Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On
07/12/10: Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet
07/05/10: Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill
06/28/10: Tim Fite – Under the Table Tennis
06/21/10: Every Time I Die – New Junk Aesthetic
06/14/10: Antoine Dufour – Existence
06/07/10: Lupe Fiasco – The Cool
05/31/10: Foo Fighers – Foo Fighters
05/24/10: Van Halen: Best of Both Worlds
05/17/10: Hellyeah: Hellyeah
05/10/10: Limp Bizkit: Significant Other
05/03/10: She & Him: Volume One
04/26/10: My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges
04/19/10: Kanye West: Graduation
04/12/10: Avenged Sevenfold: Avenged Sevenfold
04/05/10: Fall Out Boy: Infinity on High
03/29/10: Dr. Dre: 2001
03/22/10: Cypress Hill: Black Sunday
03/15/10: Maxwell: BLACKsummers’night
03/08/10: Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf
03/01/10: Adele: 19
02/22/10: The Ting Tings: We Started Nothing
02/15/10: Nirvana: Bleach
02/08/10: Down: NOLA
02/01/10: Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way
01/25/10: Lamb of God: Ashes of the Wake
01/18/10: The Clash: London Calling

The Column

For those unfamiliar with the 3R’s concept, here’s the breakdown. I will be reporting and commenting on happenings in the music world and categorizing all the hoopla into three sections: the Right, the wRong, and the Ridiculous. The Right will feature news, albums, and announcements music-related that I’m personally stoked about. The wRong will be the bad versions of all three of the aforementioned. The Ridiculous is the worst of it all, that which makes good ol’ Mr. Titan shake his head in perplexing amazement.

Taylor Reigns Supreme: After selling just over a million copies of her new album Speak Now to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts, Taylor Swift’s reign isn’t over yet. Her second week sales clocked in around 350,000, which is plenty enough to retain the #1 spot.

Several months back, I questioned Taylor Swift’s appeal and massive success. She’s not that great of a singer and there’s nothing inherently groundbreaking about what she does. Where she’s finding her success is a truly remarkable and accessible melding of country music with pop songwriting. She’s got the youth factor going for her, being just under 21 years old. And really, kids and families who are fans of the country and pop genres are pretty damn loyal. They actually buy CDs and concert tickets. That’s why they book so many damn country concerts and far less rock shows in my neck of the woods anymore.

And while I could play the role of the cranky music critic who knows what “real music” is, I’m actually pretty happy about Taylor Swift’s success. I still buy CDs and within the next few months, I hope to invest in a record player so I can start buying vinyl for the ‘man cave’ room in the house I intend to find when I get out of my damn apartment next summer. If the industry experts are correct in that Taylor Swift’s Speak Now will be the last album to ever chart over a million copies, let’s rejoice in that before the whole industry tanks and Apple is everybody’s new record label.

Arcade Fire Ready to Write Already: Talk about not resting on your fucking laurels!

The Arcade Fire’s Will Butler recently revealed that despite touring through mid-December and then getting back out on the road this spring, the group will commence on writing their follow-up to the largely-successful The Surburbs.

Said Butler, “We’re going to experiment this winter,” he said. “We’re not quite sure what we’re doing in February, but January and March we’ll probably be off. We’ve never successfully written or done anything really in a middle of a touring cycle.”

“We’re going to see if we can maybe get into a different rhythm besides the tour, tour, tour, rest, rest, rest, tour, tour, tour, rest, rest, rest. We’re going to see if we can intertwine them a little bit.”

This is a really refreshing way of releasing music. Why burn yourself out for two years on an album, go take a short break, and then try to muster the energy to record a new album knowing that you’ll be away from home and loved ones once you finish. Tour a little, go home and relax and write some music, and then get out on the road with some fresh material to whet your fans’ appetites. The road wouldn’t get so tiresome when you know that you’re not playing almost the same exact set every night for over a year without anything new to put in there from time to time besides the occasional cover song.

Plus, if you release something that isn’t commercially successful, you don’t have to ride around on that failure for too long before trying some new material out, not that the Arcade Fire will likely ever have that problem. This is a cool idea and I hope it lends itself to the band’s longevity. Perhaps more bands will take note.

Manson Returning in 2011: The last time I saw Marilyn Manson live was on the beginnings of his short touring cycle for 2009’s The High End of Low and his set just sucked. He looked all fucked up on something and incredibly unhealthy. He rambled more than Phil Anselmo at the heights of his addiction, which is really saying something, trying to tell jokes without the live punchlines of Diamond Dave to make it work. And this was all after following Slayer’s blistering co-headlining set that night (on the Rockstar Mayhem Tour).

Well, after being dropped by longtime label home Interscope, Manson and longtime collaborator Twiggy Ramirez are back in the studio to create the next Marilyn Manson album. Here’s Twiggy (aka Jeordie White) checking in with news on the new album:

First off, big up to any tribute to Dimebag Darrell! That guy is a guitar god as far as I’m concerned!

A Perfect Circle is going to be a little worse off without the talents of Twiggy Ramirez, but the sound of a more punked out version of Mechanical Animals sounds pretty fun. Without the lyrical inhibitions Manson was citing towards the end of his time with Interscope, I think this album is going to be a return to true artistic form for Manson, especially if he can get his drug-use under control for the live shows. I still regularly throw on what my friend John and I refer to as the ‘holy trilogy’ of Manson albums: Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals and Holy Wood….

Seven Words: No, not the Deftones song, although that and the album it’s on, Adrenaline, both equally kick a satisfactory amount of ass. No, I’m talking about this clip from 2004. While Kanye’s gusto and sincere emotions get the best of him here, pay attention to the shocked look on the face of comedian Mike Myers, who shares the screen with West in this clip:

Well this week, while out promoting his new book Decision Points, Bush sat down for an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer – airing tonight in primetime on NBC – and they discussed Kanye’s comments in the wake of Katrina:

MATT LAUER: About a week after the storm hit NBC aired a telethon asking for help for the victims of Katrina. We had celebrities coming in to ask for money. And I remember it vividly because I hosted it. And at one part of the evening I introduced Kanye West. Were you watching?


MATT LAUER: You remember what he said?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, I do. He called me a racist.

MATT LAUER: Well, what he said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: That’s — “he’s a racist.” And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.” It’s another thing to say, “This man’s a racist.” I resent it, it’s not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency.

MATT LAUER: This from the book. “Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust.” You go on. “I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn’t like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all time low.”

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. I still feel that way as you read those words. I felt ’em when I heard ’em, felt ’em when I wrote ’em and I felt ’em when I’m listening to ’em.

MATT LAUER: You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your Presidency?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes. My record was strong I felt when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And– it was a disgusting moment.

Kanye, in his new apologetic fashion, had the following to say in response:

Well, I’m not sure people thought you were a racist, as much as they thought you were just an asshole, but he sure does know how to play the martyr role well now doesn’t he? Hey, it’s totally cool, because while that’s the main vein of his song “Runaway,” it’s still an awesome song.

Really, I despised Bush as much as the next guy, but Kanye’s comments were a little brash. Sure, Bush’s administration totally fucked up how they handled the aid efforts for Katrina – I think there was more outreach for people in other countries like Haiti than there was for our own people down South during Katrina’s time of need – but when you have national airtime to make a difference and handle the problem NOW, the best way you can at the moment, why cast aspersions? Be classier than that and do your part and be a bigger person than Bush was.

But hey, he apologized, so let’s move on shall we? Wait, what? Immigration?

Bad Miley!: While out in Spain recently, almost-18-year-old Miley Cyrus was photographed drinking a Corona. Not a great example, right?

Well, the head of the International Institute for Alcohol Awareness, James E. Copple, had this to say: “The young people that see her as a role model could mimic the same behavior and as a consequence will go out and become intoxicated, putting their safety at risk.”

Yeah, that’s true, but if you’re out buying Hannah Montana shirts and her new risqué music for your kid, you deserve what you get if they imitate the tame, LEGAL in Europe, drinking habits of Miley Cyrus. She’s not a good role model, and if anything, she’s been showing kids how not to behave or carry themselves for the better part of 2010. Tell your kid to listen to a shitty Justin Bieber album or something. Or hey, how about the new Evanescence album…

Evanescence Recording Update: Yeah, it’s not good…

You see, I dug “Bring Me to Life.” It was a cool song. Catchy and all that. Their other stuff is kind of lost on me, but I can see the band’s appeal to its core audience, so you know what, I can’t hate on that too much.

But now Amy Lee is out telling Spin Magazine that the band is incorporating electro-pop elements into its sound for their next album. Said Lee, “There is something really cool happening in music right now. There are bands that sound like they’re from another time — it’s like ’80s throwback music with analogue synthesizers and Moogs. I love it. I’ve been listening to a lot of La Roux.”

This isn’t necessarily something cool. Everyone is trying to sound like GaGa and Ke$ha since that’s the “in” thing, even in indie music to an extent. Why does everybody have to jump on the electro-pop thing? I’d like to hear more shit like the Black Keys’ with their soulful hard rock edge sound they went with on Brothers or the new loud-as-fuck-mixed-with-bleeding-heart-arena-leanings deal My Chemical Romance is going with on their new album.

It seems like everybody is just hiding behind producers like Dr. Luke these days and it’s kind of annoying. You just watch man – since nothing original is happening in music anymore, there’s going to be a grunge rock resurgence because all these stupid trend-riders are going to “strip their sound down” and get back to the “real essence of music” or something. All it’s going to take is GaGa sampling a Cobain riff, I’m telling you!

Holy Guest Artists Batman!: Another track off of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy leaked online last week. The song, “All of the Lights,” features a whopping total of 11 guest artists: Elton John, La Roux’s Elly Jackson, John Legend, Kid Cudi, Fergie, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, The-Dream, Tony Williams, Charlie Wilson, and Ryan Leslie.

Oh, the song’s all about different kinds of lights and really, it’s not as big of a “We Are the World” clusterfuck as it might sound like. In fact, the blaring-horn beat coupled with Kanye’s new guitar talkbox sound towards the end of the track gel pretty nicely:

Katy Perry Nixes Playboy Rumors: In an interview with the British Cosmopolitan, Katy Perry nixed any rumors or ideas of her posing in a spread for Playboy, saying, “I like to play [the sexy] card because it’s fun and definitely in my deck, but I like to tease. I’m like a burlesque girl. I definitely won’t be doing a Playboy spread, but I will be doing a kind of Dita Von Teese style.”

Nobody likes a tease! Nobody!

OK, that’s harsh, but in the era of Internet photo/video leaks and nip slips, I’m sure a paparazzo will take care of this problem for us. No worries fellas!

Now that I’m done being a cheuvanistic pig, let’s check out the newest section add for the Music 3R’s, “The Leak.” No watersports here people, just some new music that’s out there for listening consumption. This will be a regular feature of the R’s until further notice!

Of Montreal – “Famine Affair”

My Chemical Romance – “Sing”

Christina Aguilera – “Express” from her new film Burlesque

Travis Barker – Carry It feat. RZA, Reakwon & Tom Morello by Interscope Records

Titan’s Final Remarks: That’s all she wrote! See you back here a few more times this week with the content I already mentioned. Thanks for reading and please, please, please comment below! See you next week! Cheers!


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Aaron Titan
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