music / Columns

Music’s 3 R’s 11.18.2012: Love’s Labors Lost & Little Lies

November 19, 2012 | Posted by Sean Comer

Oh my, once … Oh my, thrice … I so love “R”s, I write them thrice. I’m Sean, all the days are is dust in the Phoenix wind and these are the things that went Right, wRong, and “Justin Bieber Defrauded Me for Penis Enlargement” Ridiculous.

This week is a full-circle tour of the heart, beginning with a pop darling soldiering forth after Love went cold, and another whose penchant for never remaining single long is stunning, considering her proclivity for publicly humiliating any date that suggests they go Dutch on their lattes.

Carry On, My Wayward Son:
Even Justin Bieber must be thrown a bone given his due occasionally.

It’s no secret that the Canadian teen moppet’s magnetism eludes my comprehension entirely – then again, I’m not a 13-year-old with a glitter-clogged brainpan. Still, I never have to like a person to offer respect.

For those who neither heard nor gave a millionth of a crap, Bieber is known to be on the outs with longtime fellow “Why in Hell’s name are you famous?!” pop-star girlfriend Selena Gomez. They pair have been together some time, becoming this decades Britney Spears-Justin Timberlake (with conspicuously less obvious appeal or talent than either), so nobody would’ve blamed Bieber taking the tension as hard as many teens typically take theirs and just taking some downtime in one palatial California estate soon to have a gaping vacancy.

Nevertheless, the professional performer in Bieber said “F*** that noise and rehearsed Sunday night for Sunday’s scheduled American Music Awards performances, E! Online reported. Bieber reportedly soldiered through a scheduled medley of his own songs and a choreographed performance alongside Nicki Minaj for “Beauty and the Beat.”

Saturday night, Bieber and Gomez reportedly got into it at a restaurant, culminating with Bieber storming out and driving off. He later drove to Gomez’s home, but left again when she wouldn’t give him the time of day.

Famous or not, breakups are miserable things. The on-the-outs reports have ticked up, and that’s often a bad, bad sign. Having been through two pretty wrenching splits of my own in the past couple years – and a third nigh on a decade ago that tore me apart in college – I know that it’s hard to make anything else matter except that. So between being a focused trouper throughout this and taking the stage last month despite being tossing-his-cookies ill, I have to respect the work ethic.
Now THIS Is How You Adapt Shakespeare…:
According to The Guardian, early 2013 workshops will mark the preparation of a Jeff Buckley jukebox musical titled The Last Goodbye and directed by two-time Tony Award winning Peter and The Starcatcher director Alex Timbers.

The jukebox-musical story created by Michael Kimmel will reportedly be a retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet set to the late singer-songwriter’s music and lyrics. Tentatively, rehearsals are scheduled for a three-week stretch starting January 27. “Love You Should Have Come Over” and “Eternal Life” are rumored to be among the songs included.

If this doesn’t at least intrigue you, then you’ve experienced a decidedly deficient musical matriculation up to now. That, and I must assume that the way you spent your junior high and high school English classes warrants the cell phone with which you were probably dicking around being impacted permanently into your ass.

It’s not so much that I honestly regard The Bard’s most renowned, adapted work as necessarily his greatest; personally, I’m quite partial to Hamlet, Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But whereas Baz Luhrman’s 1996 Romeo + Juliet certainly met modern audiences just halfway enough to make Shakespeare as modernly palatable as possible to a new generation without sacrificing the integrity of the material too much, this is too perfect. I say without hesitation that precious few artists’ respective legacies of music could suit this tragedy quite like Buckley’s pathos, tenderness and sensuality could.

However, as I told my best friend when I delivered her the news that this will apparently be a thing, “‘Everybody Here Wants You’ or GTFO…”
Big Boi, Andre 3000 Cooler Than Freddie Jackson Sippin’ A Milkshake In A Snowstorm…:
Quicker than anybody could say “Say it ain’t so…”, Big Boi said it ain’t so.

If you’ve missed Outkast and feared the worst possible reality that something had come between two of hip-hop’s finest, then Big Boi has that covered: no, he told NME, he doesn’t really have a problem with fellow MC Andre 3000.

Big Boi responded when asked recently by Village Voice about Andre’s absence from his recent solo project Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, “He could’ve been on any song he wanted to. I gave the motherfucker about 5 songs, but I guess he was just too busy. He said he had to do some Gillette shit. No, for real. He said he had some contractual obligations.”

Apparently realizing how questionably snark can come across in print, Big Boi clarified via Twitter that his remarks were merely “sarcastic” and that anybody who bought into the context kerfuffle was “slow as hell.”

In all fairness to the “slow as hell,” the duo have been frustratingly infrequent in their collaborations since 2003’s smash double album of solo projects Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

…But Andre 3000 Doesn’t Make New Outkast Endeavor Sound Likely:
It’s a sharp turn between Right and wRong. All limbs inside the car, Babies.

Things are cool in the respective provinces of Stankonia these days, but that doesn’t mean the legendary, one-of-a-kind ATLien wonder twins have anything brewing in the lab.

In his own chat with Billboard recently, Andre himself came across as having reached a creative impasse. The more soulful, R&B-inflected of the pair said that though he “[writes] all the time” and quit writing via his phone just to preserve the clarity of his thoughts, even approaching a new solo album can be touch-and-go these days.

“Some days I feel like I’ll do it, some days I don’t,” he said. “Some days I feel like I don’t need to, some days I feel like I want to do it before I die. So, I don’t know where to fall. I am just hoping one day I get that inspiration…It’s a feeling for me. Like, I can’t just throw out an album to be rapping. And I don’t even know if it will be rap. I don’t even know what it will be. It could be a rush situation. Like if I feel that feeling and I record an album in three days and I’m like, ‘This is what I want to say right now’ — that can happen, too.”

Though he appreciates the legacy and journey of he and Big Boi from teens to men, and stops short (barely) of closing the door on the pair collaborating once more for a full album, he belied trepidations toward the duo’s place in hip-hop’s present landscape.

“Man, we’ve had a great ride. … Like when we got into it when we were high school kids and we just wanted to do something fun and push it, and if it’s not that then why do it? I’m not the type that prescribes to nostalgia, and most people say they want an OutKast album because they used to love it. Y’all don’t even know if y’all still love it. You just know you used to love it. But you may not like it now, who knows?”

Sean Comer the Fan is fearful for his tone. Outkast didn’t redefine hip-hop – and that’s truly for the best. Musically and in terms of the explorative nature toward the genre, the two crafted aesthetics, lyrics and flows that are simply their own … never imitated, never duplicated. The genre’s mainstream is honestly missing that kind of boldness.

Sean Comer the Man, however, appreciates Andre’s standpoint. Were the two to never again make another complete album – and if he’s referring to Outkast as “nostalgia” at this point, that’s a more-than-reasonable assumption – then the pair can look back with nothing but pride and satisfaction. Together, they’re greater than the sum of their parts. But the parts are substantial enough on their own to make whatever comes next cause for excitement and curiosity.
Tom Morello: Don’t Hold Breath For New Rage Against The Machine Album:
And as with Outkast, is this really necessarily “bad” news?

Over the past year and a half or so, both RATM singer Zack de la Rocha and bassist Tim Commerford have teased a forthcoming album, the first since the band released Renegades in 2000 right around when de la Rocha left the band and not all that long before remaining members formed the bland modern-rock abortion Audioslave with Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell.

Guitarist Tom Morello told Billboard recently that beyond commemorating the band’s 20 years together and first album with the double-CD, double-DVD set Rage Against The Machine – XX, there are no immediate recording plans. Morello set the record straight that the band currently has no unreleased songs to flesh out new material.

“It doesn’t feel like 20 years, but at the same time it’s sobering that it is,” Morello said. “There’s no crystal ball that we could’ve looked into when we were writing these songs in 1991 that would have told us we’d be talking about this record over two decades later. And I will say that 20 years later we’re able to take pride in the fact that in the history of rock music there has never been a more popular band with as radical politics as Rage Against The Machine, nor has there been a band with more radical politics than Rage Against The Machine that has been as popular. That is the lasting testament to the first shot fired by this album and how it continues to resonate with rebels around the world.”

It’s wonderful that RATM have now been performing occasional gigs yearly since reuniting in 2006-2007. But truly, some new material would be … well, interesting, to say the least. The last several years, the band has been blasting through material inspired by a tumultuous socio-political landscape that doesn’t remotely presently live in any substantial form. We’ve all spent decades with their portraits of the eight years under Bill Clinton followed by the eight under George W. Bush.

One wonders, how do they feel about the impact Barack Obama has had upon an unsettling, uncertain set of global circumstances? Are they content with the strides he’s made? Are they as disenchanted with him as they were indignant with the policies under his two predecessors and their respective legislative counterparts?

Still, to borrow from Stephen King’s The Shining when wondering when RATM will ride again into a studio, “It’ll shine when it shines.”

Judge Strikes Constitutional Blow For Paparazzi In Justin Bieber Case:
There’s not much to this one: plain and simple, a judge has ruled that the Constitution ensures that the press doing their job trumps public safety.

TMZ reported this week that a California judge ruled that the state’s law prohibiting reckless driving by paparazzi in pursuing their subjects is unconstitutional, on grounds that it becomes “problematic” in suppressing other press from doing their own jobs.

Yeah, here’s the wRong in this: this particular case was against a paparazzo that chased Justin Bieber on a Los Angeles freeway this past July at speeds exceeding 100 MPH.

It’s been my understanding since moving west to Phoenix from the Wichita and Kansas City areas that a certain “fast-and-loose” (pardon the pun) approach to freeway driving becomes more and more the norm the further west one drives. That can be hair-raising enough in traffic when it’s simply a matter of tens of thousands of people all trying to reach respective destinations as expediently as possible in rush hour.

Now, take that ingrained mentality and add actually pursuing somebody to the variables.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an Associated Press correspondent or an obnoxious TMZ photographer –laws like this exist to attempt to protect against a Princess Diana rerun. Therefore, Paul Raef will now walk on two of the four criminal charges against him.

This is very, very wRong.

Police and other emergency personnel, though this may not seem apparent to drivers around them, are more often than not conducting high-speed pursuits both in the interest of public safety (stopping people driving dangerously) and putting as few motorists in harm’s way as possible. The honey badgers of the journalistic world give significantly less of a shit already.

And now, they have a precedent that gives them excuse to give even less of one still.

Only in Los Angeles, Babies.

Protip, Men: Stop Dating Taylor Swift:
Sorry. No apologies to Jeremy Lambert: that this woman isn’t chronically single by this point astounds me.

Currently gathering intel on One Direction member Harry Styles for an as-yet untitled bitter-breakup Spite-O-Gram, the blonde country-flavored Pop Tart admitted to New York Times Magazine recently that she flat-out lied to one ex about whether or not she’d eventually pen a personalized bitch-fest about him.

Because it makes it so much better that she admits she lied, now that what’s been written can never, ever be undone.

”The only time that has ever crossed someone’s mind was when we were in the process of breaking up. ‘Of course I was like, ‘Oh, don’t worry, I won’t.’ And then I did,” Swift said. “Look, it’s not like it was written somewhere in the fine print that I write songs about my life. If we break up, I’m going to write about it. But I’m probably also going to write about when I fell in love with you. So there’s an upside.”

Yep. It’s an absolute upside to the ensuing public humiliation of people figuring out a pissy breakup song was about you that she first wrote about falling in love with you. At what point is there just no argument that this woman’s a guiltless sociopath when it comes to hurting people publicly?

Oh, but it gets better. Swift genuinely believes people are dumber than advertised.

”I don’t talk about who it is specifically because these are real people,” Swift said. “You try to give insight as to where you were coming from as a writer without completely throwing somebody under the bus.”

Yeah, here’s the thing, Precious: these things are figured out easily. There’s precious little mystery in the Age of the Interwebz.

So, here’s the Public Service Announcement, Babies: we can all cut the legs out from under bitchy breakup songs that are not only designed to cut somebody down, but flat-out suck in the first place. Vote with your wallets. Condemn Taylor Swift to a Valentine’s Day threesome with Ben & Jerry.

Bad music never helps. It only hurts. Especially when it’s written by a sociopathic blonde juggernaut of public humiliation who thinks she’s the next Dolly Parton.

And there you have it, Babies. The Week That Was. Thanks for joining me on my new day. Until seven more have passed, I’m Sean, you’re not, and don’t dull your colors for someone else’s canvas.

article topics

Sean Comer