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411 Music Fact or Fiction 9.21.12: Fifty Shades Of Bieber

September 21, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee

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

This week we have Andy Rackauskas against David Hayter.

Round 1
1) Watching Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey bicker could be worth tuning into American Idol for. David Hayter: FACT.

I’m not a big fan of the TV talent shows. I watched The Voice UK as a part of my job, and it really highlighted how important articulate, opinionated and, ideally, argumentative judges are.

Now Nicki Minaj is an incredibly charismatic performer. She knows how to adopt a persona and deliver lines with panache…but there is a big difference between being an entertaining performer and being an exciting personality. So many big stars are either too nice to the general public, or struggle to articulate critiques into persuasive arguments or clever one-liners. I’ve not seen Nicki in enough off the cuff situations to know if she can carry a role of this sort across a series of months. Mariah is batshit mental. Her early-2000s episode of Cribs was just delusional in the extreme, and her lack of seemingly any self awareness should make for great tv – provided she doesn’t just play nice for the cameras.

There is no way to tell if Nicki will work until she’s actually on the show, but if you’re a fan of the show, it would be worth giving them at least a chance.

Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

This is just false on so many levels. First off, who the hell cares about “American Idol” at this point? This thing hasn’t jumped the shark. It’s jumped 90 blue whales stacked on top of each other. By adding a couple of divas, they think viewership will increase. It might. For a minute. Listening to two ladies bicker is simply not interesting. Lastly, anything involving Mariah Carey should be avoided at all costs.

Score Card: 0 for 1
Round 2
2) Justin Bieber would be as good a choice as any for Fifty Shades of Grey.
David Hayter: FICTION.

Wow, I did not expect to be asked this question, well, ever. In truth if they are serious about making a movie of the hugely successful novel then cast a serious actor. Sure, it’s a populist book, so make sure there’s some star power on display, but going to Beiber is desperate.

Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

Bieber is just the devil incarnate. At least one might be able to understand the fairer sex better with a read of the book. Although the question is pretty much asking one to choose a meal of dirt or weeds. Both are not good, but one may at least provide nourishment.

Score Card: 1 for 2
Round 3
3) GOOD Music’s “Cruel Summer” was worth the wait. David Hayter: FACT.

I really enjoyed this record. It’s not an essential Kanye release, and to quote my own review:

“Those hoping for the contorted egotistical catharsis of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or the reflective self evaluation of “All Falls Down” and “Murder To Excellence” will be bitterly disappointed. This is Kanye West at his most arrogant and boastful. That’s not a sentence to be written lightly. Kanye has never been acquainted with any kind of shame. He is self aware and thoughtful, but never apologetic, and on Cruel Summer he’s swapped a persecution complex for a God delusion. It sounds horrible on paper, but it’s thrilling on record. The man knows how to boast; “Don’t Talk To Me About Clothes, I’ll Mother Fucking Embarrass You, Hollering About Some Ho’s I’ll Motherfucking Embarrass You”. While the occasional death threats are laughable, Kanye is still the only rapper who can rap about sitting next to the editor of Vogue, going go-karting with supermodels, and being flyer than a parakeet without sounding ridiculous.”

That about sums it up. If that sounds exciting to you then you’ll enjoy this record. There’s a collection of brilliant Hit-Boy beats, and some good stuff from Hudson Mohawke, and really it’s just a chance for a group of artists to have a collective laugh. There are some bad moments (Kid Cudi is particularly bad) but on the whole the record flows quickly from start to finish.

Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

I’d rather listen to Banarama’s “Cruel Summer”. “Cruel Summer” is a compilation album that contains about half previously released cuts. It’s a fair compilation album, but nothing that special. Was it worth the wait? Nah, not really. Especially when a good chunk of the material was already out there. The other half of new cuts, while good enough, don’t really make the whole thing worthwhile.

Score Card: 1 for 3


Round 4
4) You enjoyed Pink and Eminem’s collaboration “Here Comes The Weekend”.
Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

Not that I hated it, but I simply didn’t enjoy it. It seems to be a pretty straight forward pop song with nothing really new or special going on. …and it really doesn’t have a good hook. Eminem adds a nice touch, but he’s far better on his own. I just get the vibe either artist didn’t try too hard on this (lack of) effort.

David Hayter: FICTION.

I tend to prefer the more toned down end of the Pink spectrum to her completely balls to the wall abrasive pop, and I have to admit this beat did a fair bit to scare me off. The lyrics are pretty forced and uninteresting, but it all moves along at a pleasant enough pace. I could imagine the hook and thudding beat being recycled in a series of remixes, it’s about as immediate as it gets. However, the whole affair is incredible transient and Eminem’s rap is full of dated references and forced quirkiness. It’s a cookie cutter album track, it’s fine for what it is, but it didn’t get me overly excited.

Score Card: 2 for 4
Round 5
5) Christina Aguilera’s “Your Body” was forgettable.
Andy Rackauskas: FACT.

Sadly, like “Here Comes The Weekend”, there’s just not anything here that makes the song memorable. It’s just a run of the mill pop song. If I had a dollar for every song that sounds like this, I’d be as rich as Christina. I appreciate her new attitude on body image, but the song just isn’t that great.

David Hayter: FACT.

Forgettable is the word. The whole track feels contrived. The lyrics are pedestrian and the beat is really flat. There is some potential for a soaring anthem in there, but even if this track did catch on, it would be a fleeting hit at best. Christina is desperately lacking character right now. Simply put, when Gaga says she’s a freak you believe her, when Christina says it on “Your Body”, you subconsciously call bullshit within a matter of seconds.

Score Card: 3 for 5
Round 6
6) You’re interested in a new album from Ghostface Killah.
Andy Rackauskas: FACT.

Anything a Wu member does is worthy of a listen. It’s not a guarantee that it’ll be great, but there’s a chance. Ghostface Killah has put out some fine material in the past and he’s got it in him to do so again. I’d like to hear it. It certainly has to beat GOOD Music, Pink & Eminem, and Christina Aguilera’s current material.

David Hayter: FICTION.

Ghostface is incredibly talented. When he goes off on a tangent, he has a habit of stumbling across some of the most innovative rhymes in hip hop. However, this question was addressed to me, and I just don’t think he has it in him to produce a start to finish album that wows me in 2012. I hope he proves me wrong and drops a lead single as breathtakingly immediate as “Maxine”, but I just can’t see it happening.

Score Card: 3 for 6

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


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