chartthrob:

The 10 Cutest Raps of All Time
by Colin O’Brien & Brady O’Callahan
Rap music has a long tradition of being inventive, challenging, dynamic.  There’s no end to the possibilities as artists develop their unique voices.  Rap has been extremely tough.  Rap has been deeply inspirational.  And yes, rap has been super cute.  And while kids like Kriss Kross set a pretty high bar, that’s not stopping full grown vets like The Fresh Prince from staking a claim in the cute rap game.  These rappers tackle everything from parents to snacks, and they do so adorably.  Here’s the 10 cutest raps of all time:

10. Willow Smith - “Summer Fling” - listen
Though not technically a rap track, we’re cutting some slack on Willow, because she’s typically a rap artist and this is just too cute to ignore.  Willow Smith and her video beau are the new Danny and Sandy in this summer lovin’ jam. There’s no denying that “Summer Fling” has cute to boot! It should be obvious where Willow got her cute rap game from. Her father, Will Smith, is one of the cutest rappers of all time. Obviously the RAP-ple didn’t fall far from the cute tree.  - Colin

9. KMD - “Humrush” - listen
The quickest way to a cute rap is to blend the two worlds together rather than try and manifest one out of the cute ether.  K.M.D. did this probably better than any other rap act before them with 1991’s “Humrush.”  Built around a simple sample of humming from none other than Sesame Street all stars Bert & Ernie, this song is immediately adorable.  Humming might be the cutest form of musical expression (possibly also: whistling, yodeling, scatting, playing flute) in its own right, but the second you add children’s public access television royalty, it’s the cutest form of anything to exist. - Brady

8. Aaron Carter - “That’s How I Beat Shaq” - listen
Aaron Carter, by the time “That’s How I Beat Shaq” dropped, had already established himself as a titan in the cute rap game.  His debut single “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” hinted at his endearing storyteller style, and his basketball opus did nothing but cement it.  But what separates Aaron from the other narrative rappers is his propensity for hyperbole.  A child’s dreams are inevitably cute, and the only thing to make them cuter is a dose of impossibility.  Aaron Carter would, most likely, never be able to beat Shaquille O’Neal in a pick up game of basketball, but that won’t stop him from adorably dreaming of the opportunity. - Brady


7. Lil Mama - “Lip Gloss” - listen
You must admit this bubble gum is poppin’! “Lip Gloss” may have been nominated for the MTV Music Video Awards Monster Single of the Year in 2007, but this song is no monster.  It’s cute as a button. Miss Mama scores big cute points with this lip gloss inspired hit. The video features Lil Mama and her classmates dancing around school, rapping about lip gloss, and just having a blast doing it. Gimme a break! That’s cute! Throughout the song Lil Mama repeatedly asks the listener, “Whatchoo know ‘bout me?” Well one thing we know for certain is that this rap is cute as hell! - Colin

6. Lil’ Romeo - “My Baby” - listen
100% one of the cutest bits of all time is asking a young boy about a girlfriend and watching him squirm.  Almost guaranteed, the child will emphatically argue, “Girls are gross!”  Little does that kid know that in a matter of years, they could be singing a wildly different song!  Like, maybe Lil’ Romeo’s “My Girlfriend.”  That’s dramatic irony, and this dramatic irony is the cutest.  “Uh oh chica, I don’t need a girlfriend,” Romeo cries.  He’s mainly interested in his Bugs Bunny chain and matching watch.  Kids will be kids! - Brady


5. Y.N.RichKids - “Hot Cheetos & Takis” - listen
Rappers rap about what’s important to them.  A lot of the time this boils down to money, fame, success, respect.  For a bunch of kids, though?  Snacks.  Snacks are crazy important.  Sometimes the biggest decision in your day is what to put in that tummy of yours after a hard day at math class.  For Y.N.RichKids, they like flavor dust covered spicy snacks.  They’re tough enough to handle the hot stuff, but not old enough to tackle bigger issues that most adults face.  That’s cool though.  This is way cuter. - Brady

4. Skee Lo - “I Wish” - listen
There is almost nothing cuter than a little tiny baby man rapping about how he wishes he could be just a little bit taller.  Oh my God! So freakin’ cute!  Skee Lo might not have basketball skills, but “I Wish” is a slam dunk when it comes to cuteness. In the song, Skee Lo wishes for things like being taller, being better at basketball, having a better car, and for the girl he has a crush on to like him back. The only thing I wish is that all raps could be this cute. - Colin

3. Jordy - “Dur Dur D’etre Bebe” - listen
A baby rapping about how tough it is to be a baby? Oh come on! Do I even need to tell you why this rap is cute? Let me just put it this way…. umm Jordy is a baby and he’s rapping about how difficult it is to be a baby!!! Get it now?!?! Seriously though, this is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen or heard.  My heart hurt it was so cute. When Jordy and the little girl meet in the park and Jordy is hiding his face because he has a crush, but he’s so shy!!!! Ahhh!!! It’s almost too much cuteness to handle.  And then they run off and are pushing each other in the stroller and having their first little baby date. So effffing cute!!!  This cute rap could warm even the coldest heart. - Colin

2. Lil P-Nut - “You Might Be The One” - listen
Lil P-Nut just knocks it out of the park immediately with his name choice.  Lil P-Nut?  Are you kidding me?  That’s just about the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.  But he doesn’t stop there.  Whereas Lil Romeo rapped his way into our hearts by denying any desire to be coupled up, P-Nut out cutes him with a single simple choice: true love.  The only thing cuter than a kid expressing disdain for the opposite sex is a kid completely in love.  It’s sweet, endearing, and honestly relatable.  I think we’re all just looking for a study buddy to teach us about social studies.  And baby, if you’re out there, give me a shout.  I’d love to treat you to a freeze cup. - Brady


1. Biz Markie - “Just A Friend” - listen
Here it is! Your Number 1 Cutest Rap of All-Time….. “Just A Friend” by the one and only Biz Markie!!!!!  This one is a cute classic, gang! In the song, the Markie claims that the woman he pines for has what he needs. Well, it’s safe to say that the Biz has what we need… a super cute rap song! Biz Markie delivers a major dose of cuteness with this dynamite track! Look, there are really only two things I like in this world. 1) Things that are cute. And 2) things that are raps songs. And Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” is both in a big BIG way!  In fact, I think we can all agree that Biz Markie is pretty much a teddy bear that has been magically brought to life and taught to rap.  He’s pretty much the snuggliest rapper around and when he raps about heartache it is so darn cute.  - Colin
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Colin O’Brien is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn, NY.  He can be seen every month at the UCBeast Theatre as a part of O.S.F.U.G. A Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show and around New York City with his musical comedy group Nancy.

This is the kind of hard hitting music journalism I aspire to create, and I’m going to do as much of it as possible.Follow Chart Throb.

chartthrob:

The 10 Cutest Raps of All Time

by Colin O’Brien & Brady O’Callahan

Rap music has a long tradition of being inventive, challenging, dynamic.  There’s no end to the possibilities as artists develop their unique voices.  Rap has been extremely tough.  Rap has been deeply inspirational.  And yes, rap has been super cute.  And while kids like Kriss Kross set a pretty high bar, that’s not stopping full grown vets like The Fresh Prince from staking a claim in the cute rap game.  These rappers tackle everything from parents to snacks, and they do so adorably.  Here’s the 10 cutest raps of all time:

10. Willow Smith - “Summer Fling” - listen

Though not technically a rap track, we’re cutting some slack on Willow, because she’s typically a rap artist and this is just too cute to ignore.  Willow Smith and her video beau are the new Danny and Sandy in this summer lovin’ jam. There’s no denying that “Summer Fling” has cute to boot! It should be obvious where Willow got her cute rap game from. Her father, Will Smith, is one of the cutest rappers of all time. Obviously the RAP-ple didn’t fall far from the cute tree.  - Colin

9. KMD - “Humrush” - listen

The quickest way to a cute rap is to blend the two worlds together rather than try and manifest one out of the cute ether.  K.M.D. did this probably better than any other rap act before them with 1991’s “Humrush.”  Built around a simple sample of humming from none other than Sesame Street all stars Bert & Ernie, this song is immediately adorable.  Humming might be the cutest form of musical expression (possibly also: whistling, yodeling, scatting, playing flute) in its own right, but the second you add children’s public access television royalty, it’s the cutest form of anything to exist. - Brady

8. Aaron Carter - “That’s How I Beat Shaq” - listen

Aaron Carter, by the time “That’s How I Beat Shaq” dropped, had already established himself as a titan in the cute rap game.  His debut single “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” hinted at his endearing storyteller style, and his basketball opus did nothing but cement it.  But what separates Aaron from the other narrative rappers is his propensity for hyperbole.  A child’s dreams are inevitably cute, and the only thing to make them cuter is a dose of impossibility.  Aaron Carter would, most likely, never be able to beat Shaquille O’Neal in a pick up game of basketball, but that won’t stop him from adorably dreaming of the opportunity. - Brady

7. Lil Mama - “Lip Gloss” - listen

You must admit this bubble gum is poppin’! “Lip Gloss” may have been nominated for the MTV Music Video Awards Monster Single of the Year in 2007, but this song is no monster.  It’s cute as a button. Miss Mama scores big cute points with this lip gloss inspired hit. The video features Lil Mama and her classmates dancing around school, rapping about lip gloss, and just having a blast doing it. Gimme a break! That’s cute! Throughout the song Lil Mama repeatedly asks the listener, “Whatchoo know ‘bout me?” Well one thing we know for certain is that this rap is cute as hell! - Colin

6. Lil’ Romeo - “My Baby” - listen

100% one of the cutest bits of all time is asking a young boy about a girlfriend and watching him squirm.  Almost guaranteed, the child will emphatically argue, “Girls are gross!”  Little does that kid know that in a matter of years, they could be singing a wildly different song!  Like, maybe Lil’ Romeo’s “My Girlfriend.”  That’s dramatic irony, and this dramatic irony is the cutest.  “Uh oh chica, I don’t need a girlfriend,” Romeo cries.  He’s mainly interested in his Bugs Bunny chain and matching watch.  Kids will be kids! - Brady

5. Y.N.RichKids - “Hot Cheetos & Takis” - listen

Rappers rap about what’s important to them.  A lot of the time this boils down to money, fame, success, respect.  For a bunch of kids, though?  Snacks.  Snacks are crazy important.  Sometimes the biggest decision in your day is what to put in that tummy of yours after a hard day at math class.  For Y.N.RichKids, they like flavor dust covered spicy snacks.  They’re tough enough to handle the hot stuff, but not old enough to tackle bigger issues that most adults face.  That’s cool though.  This is way cuter. - Brady

4. Skee Lo - “I Wish” - listen

There is almost nothing cuter than a little tiny baby man rapping about how he wishes he could be just a little bit taller.  Oh my God! So freakin’ cute!  Skee Lo might not have basketball skills, but “I Wish” is a slam dunk when it comes to cuteness. In the song, Skee Lo wishes for things like being taller, being better at basketball, having a better car, and for the girl he has a crush on to like him back. The only thing I wish is that all raps could be this cute. - Colin

3. Jordy - “Dur Dur D’etre Bebe” - listen

A baby rapping about how tough it is to be a baby? Oh come on! Do I even need to tell you why this rap is cute? Let me just put it this way…. umm Jordy is a baby and he’s rapping about how difficult it is to be a baby!!! Get it now?!?! Seriously though, this is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen or heard.  My heart hurt it was so cute. When Jordy and the little girl meet in the park and Jordy is hiding his face because he has a crush, but he’s so shy!!!! Ahhh!!! It’s almost too much cuteness to handle.  And then they run off and are pushing each other in the stroller and having their first little baby date. So effffing cute!!!  This cute rap could warm even the coldest heart. - Colin

2. Lil P-Nut - “You Might Be The One” - listen

Lil P-Nut just knocks it out of the park immediately with his name choice.  Lil P-Nut?  Are you kidding me?  That’s just about the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.  But he doesn’t stop there.  Whereas Lil Romeo rapped his way into our hearts by denying any desire to be coupled up, P-Nut out cutes him with a single simple choice: true love.  The only thing cuter than a kid expressing disdain for the opposite sex is a kid completely in love.  It’s sweet, endearing, and honestly relatable.  I think we’re all just looking for a study buddy to teach us about social studies.  And baby, if you’re out there, give me a shout.  I’d love to treat you to a freeze cup. - Brady

1. Biz Markie - “Just A Friend” - listen

Here it is! Your Number 1 Cutest Rap of All-Time….. “Just A Friend” by the one and only Biz Markie!!!!!  This one is a cute classic, gang! In the song, the Markie claims that the woman he pines for has what he needs. Well, it’s safe to say that the Biz has what we need… a super cute rap song! Biz Markie delivers a major dose of cuteness with this dynamite track! Look, there are really only two things I like in this world. 1) Things that are cute. And 2) things that are raps songs. And Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” is both in a big BIG way!  In fact, I think we can all agree that Biz Markie is pretty much a teddy bear that has been magically brought to life and taught to rap.  He’s pretty much the snuggliest rapper around and when he raps about heartache it is so darn cute.  - Colin

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Colin O’Brien is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn, NY.  He can be seen every month at the UCBeast Theatre as a part of O.S.F.U.G. A Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show and around New York City with his musical comedy group Nancy.

This is the kind of hard hitting music journalism I aspire to create, and I’m going to do as much of it as possible.

Follow Chart Throb.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.  This is what I decided the world wanted to hear from me for my first ever tweet.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.  This is what I decided the world wanted to hear from me for my first ever tweet.

finding-tear:

rhamphotheca:

This is not a meme - it’s a quote from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
 (via: SlugBooks)

Forever reblog.

finding-tear:

rhamphotheca:

This is not a meme - it’s a quote from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.

 (via: SlugBooks)

Forever reblog.

(via chrisgriswold)

chartthrob:

OFF THE CHARTS

Saintseneca - “Happy Alone”

Saintseneca does perfectly what a lot of bands are trying to do right now.  They’ve got the stomp-shout crescendo folk-pop sound down to a science.  Their first record Last was solid, top to bottom, but Dark Arc, out in a week and streaming now on NPR’s First Listen, promises a hell of a lot of growth.  There’s no reason these guys can’t be your new favorite band now that Mumford & Sons is done.  Better them than any of those other guys.

You should get on this bandwagon now, because these guys are going to be huge.

I’m forcing all of you to love my favorite band.

chartthrob:

Yesterday’s Cheese Is Today’s Cool Rock Band
Resurrecting Spoiled Sounds
by Brady O’Callahan
Trends are circular.  That’s no secret.  It happens in every aspect of culture: fashion today is harkening back to the 90’s, embracing fuller silhouettes and muted pops of color and pattern.  Film is constantly remaking or revamping the biggest blockbusters of the past decades.  Music is no different.  We’re seeing a lot of seemingly updated versions of bands we listened to and loved ten, twenty, thirty years ago.

But more than that, still, we’re not necessarily bringing back the styles and stories and sounds that are fondly remembered as cultural high points.  We’re resurrecting trends that were purposefully and decidedly put under.  Baggy fit.  21 Jump Street.  Arena rock.  Why?  They were good until they were cheesy as hell, and we wanted something better.

But today?  There’s a specific nostalgia associated with those dead trends.  There’s a “no guilty pleasures, I love what I love” attitude that drives us back toward them.  That’s exactly what we want.  And while it gets a little bit better, it doesn’t necessarily get as popular.



The 1980’s was a time to be big and bold.  It was the era of big hair, big synths, and big arena concerts.  You couldn’t get any larger than life than bands like Duran Duran, INXS, or Tears for Fears.  Synth heavy and as polished as rock music has ever been, this sound dominated the rock landscape.

But with anything popular, there were people who refused to buy into it.  The 80’s saw a surge in punk rock, which threw away the polish of their contemporaries for a gruffer, borderline ugly sound.  And it became popular.  The grunge and alternative rock sound of the 90’s really put the arena rock phenomenon in its grave.  People wanted to feel something closer to life and not necessarily be fed the cheesy, unabashed “shut up and dance” attitude 24/7.

Fast forward 30 years, and we have St. Lucia, a band who, upon first listen, wouldn’t sound out of place on the same bill as any of the aforementioned bands.  They’ve got the same glistening synths, bombastic drums, and clean crooner vocals.  They belong in an arena in 1983.


See: Duran Duran - “The Reflex” / St. Lucia - “Elevate”


But they’re not playing arenas.  They’re not playing dive bars either, mind you, but they’ll probably never touch the tower above all others status as their forefathers.  Nevertheless, they’re doing pretty well!  And the one’s singing their praises are the kids that grew up listening to their parent’s Tears for Fears cassette tapes.  It’s been long enough, and we’ve seen enough of the dark emotional places music can take us, that we’ve embraced a return to this unapologetically fun, big sound.

There’s no denying it:  St. Lucia is pretty fucking cool.



In the 1990’s, we had Wilson Phillips.  They supplied us with straight up, lady anthems.  Not quite pure pop stars like Celine Dion, but definitely not counterculture in the ways that Tori Amos or Sinead O’Connor were.  They were an inoffensive blend on sing-a-long pleasure, and we were happy to have them.
Not for long, though.  Backlash came out in droves for the group, who was almost uniformly agreed upon as uncool and cheesy to the nth degree.  You could have every woman (and you know what, probably most of the men) in the room singing along to your tunes, but that wasn’t good enough.  Your songs belonged on a compilation CD advertised between episodes of All My Children.  There just wasn’t enough substance.

Ladies like Courtney Love, Alanis Morisette, Liz Phair came along and showed everyone that they weren’t content having a backseat to your male fronted badass rock stars.  Enough with the feel good stuff.  They were pissed off, and they wanted the world to know about it.

But just last year in 2013, Haim broke out in a big, BIG way.  Lauded as a “good version” of Wilson Phillips, nonetheless.  They brought back the female fronted sing-a-long jam, and they made it cool.  Lauded by everyone from Pitchfork to Billboard, and supporting artists ranging from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros to Ke$ha, everyone seemed to be on board..


See: Wilson Phillips - “Hold On” / Haim - “Falling”


No doubt about it: Haim is super fucking cool.



And then at the turn of the century, teenagers embraced their sadness and shredded on guitar underneath them.  Pop punk was born, and from that came the co-opted emo movement.  Bands like Saves the Day, Taking Back Sunday, and The Get Up Kids took to music to air their frustrations with love, growing up, school, family, success, society, everything.

And every high schooler in America was crazy for it.  Finally, someone was saying what we were all thinking!  And we can head to the local venue, draw big X’s on our hands, and thrash away our worries with everyone in the world who felt the same way.

But we grew up, and we didn’t necessarily all feel those things anymore.  We matured, and those bands didn’t seem to make the change with us.  Cheer up, guys.  The world isn’t all so bad.  So we left them behind and got super into indie rock, like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill and Pavement.  There were problems bigger than the crushes you let get away, and we enjoyed the straight up ambiguity and artistic license of these new bands.

But as recent as this year, we have The Hotelier, and they have resurrected the pop punk sound that we gave up when we gave up mix CD’s.  They scream just as hard, the play just as loud, and they hate being at your funeral too.

Yet, we don’t feel too old for these guys.  We’ll happily throw our fists in the air and scream along in a fit of noisy catharsis.  We look back fondly on the days of high school, when we felt so much all at once, and it was just nice to get it out of our system.  Now with the pressures of living alone and working a steady job, we identify again with life’s frustrations.  Sometimes you just need to scream.


See: Saves the Day - “Shoulder to the Wheel” / The Hotelier - The Scope of All This Rebuilding”


And they’ve been praised for their revival.

What can you say: The Hotelier is really fucking cool.

These bands will probably never blow up like their predecessors, and that’s fine.  Society at large probably isn’t ready to relive these trends they dismissed so handily.  But some folks yearn for them to come back.  These bands are earning a good amount of success without all the momentum of a trend behind them, which, if anything, speaks to their talent even more.

There’s one crucial step, though, that these bands took to earn success: they took everything that worked from their predecessors, and they held onto that with a vice like grip.  The learned from the mistakes of those that came before them.  

They don’t need much reinvention.  They just need to refine.

Sometimes I geek out over music. Here’s where I did that.

chartthrob:

Yesterday’s Cheese Is Today’s Cool Rock Band

Resurrecting Spoiled Sounds

by Brady O’Callahan

Trends are circular.  That’s no secret.  It happens in every aspect of culture: fashion today is harkening back to the 90’s, embracing fuller silhouettes and muted pops of color and pattern.  Film is constantly remaking or revamping the biggest blockbusters of the past decades.  Music is no different.  We’re seeing a lot of seemingly updated versions of bands we listened to and loved ten, twenty, thirty years ago.

But more than that, still, we’re not necessarily bringing back the styles and stories and sounds that are fondly remembered as cultural high points.  We’re resurrecting trends that were purposefully and decidedly put under.  Baggy fit.  21 Jump Street.  Arena rock.  Why?  They were good until they were cheesy as hell, and we wanted something better.

But today?  There’s a specific nostalgia associated with those dead trends.  There’s a “no guilty pleasures, I love what I love” attitude that drives us back toward them.  That’s exactly what we want.  And while it gets a little bit better, it doesn’t necessarily get as popular.

The 1980’s was a time to be big and bold.  It was the era of big hair, big synths, and big arena concerts.  You couldn’t get any larger than life than bands like Duran Duran, INXS, or Tears for Fears.  Synth heavy and as polished as rock music has ever been, this sound dominated the rock landscape.

But with anything popular, there were people who refused to buy into it.  The 80’s saw a surge in punk rock, which threw away the polish of their contemporaries for a gruffer, borderline ugly sound.  And it became popular.  The grunge and alternative rock sound of the 90’s really put the arena rock phenomenon in its grave.  People wanted to feel something closer to life and not necessarily be fed the cheesy, unabashed “shut up and dance” attitude 24/7.

Fast forward 30 years, and we have St. Lucia, a band who, upon first listen, wouldn’t sound out of place on the same bill as any of the aforementioned bands.  They’ve got the same glistening synths, bombastic drums, and clean crooner vocals.  They belong in an arena in 1983.

See: Duran Duran - “The Reflex” / St. Lucia - “Elevate”

But they’re not playing arenas.  They’re not playing dive bars either, mind you, but they’ll probably never touch the tower above all others status as their forefathers.  Nevertheless, they’re doing pretty well!  And the one’s singing their praises are the kids that grew up listening to their parent’s Tears for Fears cassette tapes.  It’s been long enough, and we’ve seen enough of the dark emotional places music can take us, that we’ve embraced a return to this unapologetically fun, big sound.

There’s no denying it:  St. Lucia is pretty fucking cool.

In the 1990’s, we had Wilson Phillips.  They supplied us with straight up, lady anthems.  Not quite pure pop stars like Celine Dion, but definitely not counterculture in the ways that Tori Amos or Sinead O’Connor were.  They were an inoffensive blend on sing-a-long pleasure, and we were happy to have them.

Not for long, though.  Backlash came out in droves for the group, who was almost uniformly agreed upon as uncool and cheesy to the nth degree.  You could have every woman (and you know what, probably most of the men) in the room singing along to your tunes, but that wasn’t good enough.  Your songs belonged on a compilation CD advertised between episodes of All My Children.  There just wasn’t enough substance.

Ladies like Courtney Love, Alanis Morisette, Liz Phair came along and showed everyone that they weren’t content having a backseat to your male fronted badass rock stars.  Enough with the feel good stuff.  They were pissed off, and they wanted the world to know about it.

But just last year in 2013, Haim broke out in a big, BIG way.  Lauded as a “good version” of Wilson Phillips, nonetheless.  They brought back the female fronted sing-a-long jam, and they made it cool.  Lauded by everyone from Pitchfork to Billboard, and supporting artists ranging from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros to Ke$ha, everyone seemed to be on board..

See: Wilson Phillips - “Hold On” / Haim - “Falling”

No doubt about it: Haim is super fucking cool.

And then at the turn of the century, teenagers embraced their sadness and shredded on guitar underneath them.  Pop punk was born, and from that came the co-opted emo movement.  Bands like Saves the Day, Taking Back Sunday, and The Get Up Kids took to music to air their frustrations with love, growing up, school, family, success, society, everything.

And every high schooler in America was crazy for it.  Finally, someone was saying what we were all thinking!  And we can head to the local venue, draw big X’s on our hands, and thrash away our worries with everyone in the world who felt the same way.

But we grew up, and we didn’t necessarily all feel those things anymore.  We matured, and those bands didn’t seem to make the change with us.  Cheer up, guys.  The world isn’t all so bad.  So we left them behind and got super into indie rock, like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill and Pavement.  There were problems bigger than the crushes you let get away, and we enjoyed the straight up ambiguity and artistic license of these new bands.

But as recent as this year, we have The Hotelier, and they have resurrected the pop punk sound that we gave up when we gave up mix CD’s.  They scream just as hard, the play just as loud, and they hate being at your funeral too.

Yet, we don’t feel too old for these guys.  We’ll happily throw our fists in the air and scream along in a fit of noisy catharsis.  We look back fondly on the days of high school, when we felt so much all at once, and it was just nice to get it out of our system.  Now with the pressures of living alone and working a steady job, we identify again with life’s frustrations.  Sometimes you just need to scream.

See: Saves the Day - “Shoulder to the Wheel” / The Hotelier - The Scope of All This Rebuilding”

And they’ve been praised for their revival.

What can you say: The Hotelier is really fucking cool.

These bands will probably never blow up like their predecessors, and that’s fine.  Society at large probably isn’t ready to relive these trends they dismissed so handily.  But some folks yearn for them to come back.  These bands are earning a good amount of success without all the momentum of a trend behind them, which, if anything, speaks to their talent even more.

There’s one crucial step, though, that these bands took to earn success: they took everything that worked from their predecessors, and they held onto that with a vice like grip.  The learned from the mistakes of those that came before them. 

They don’t need much reinvention.  They just need to refine.

Sometimes I geek out over music. Here’s where I did that.

Ian is really funny, so this is really really funny.
chartthrob:

Artists You Love to Hate to Love 
by Ian Stroud

I have a challenge for you: Describe the band Mumford & Sons to me in one sentence. 
You can’t do it. There’s always something left out. Are they new-age folk rock? Mainstream pop with unique instrumentation? Big ol’ bag of phonies? All three are more or less accurate, but there’s something about Mumford and Sons that’s simultaneously captivating and irritating. They are truly a band I love to hate to love. 
Let’s talk about their look. I live in New York City, birthplace of the modern hipster, with their plaid, flannel, beards, suspenders, artisanal mayonnaise, and hella sick nasty ink. Though you’d never know it by looking at these people, this is a relatively new phenomenon, and I’m going to go out on a limb and blame Mumford and Sons for starting it. Not that there’s anything wrong with the pseudo 1800’s lumberjack-turned-musician look. It’s actually pretty cool on a lot of people. But it’s no different than teenagers going to Hot Topic and buying their curated goth clothes and machine-distressed patches. You’re being sold a lifestyle, same as always, and Mumford and Sons are the postermen for our current one. 
Their music video for “Whispers in the Dark” and “Hopeless Wanderer” are both painfully self aware of their curated and test-marketed look. The other issue with the look of this band is how grassroots they want it all to feel. Copious Helicopter shots and bona fide movie and TV stars in their extremely polished music videos beg to differ with that argument. Also, kudos for making the video for “The Cave” one continuous Instagram filter. Gotta kill your shadows!
Mandolin. Banjo. Resonator Guitar. Set pieces for the modern hipster movement. In New York, there were a few years where you couldn’t attend an open mic, character show, or concert without someone pulling out a banjo or ukulele. They were everywhere. There were some summer nights where the streets were piled so high with banjos that you couldn’t get farther than a block without being dragged into a folk-rock band. You were lucky if you made it out with only a pair of muttonchops. Mumford and Sons are the cause of this. Each one of these instruments is unique and beautiful, and I appreciate them; issues arise when they’re used as gimmicks to mask otherwise traditional songs. Mumford and Sons have pulled the wool over our eyes, convincing a hip public that they’re unique and different because their use of banjo equates to ingenuity and creative brilliance. 
(Un)fortunately, all of these issues work in their favor. 
These Brits can sing. They can harmonize better than most. They seem to have mastered their gimmicky instruments and play them with genuine skill. Their song structures are simple, palatable, and are a gift for movie montages. And above all, they evoke a sense of emotion that most artists can’t touch. Take “Little Lion Man.” It was written by Marcus Mumford (of famed band Mumford and Sons), and though he won’t publicly say what the song is about, even the most jaded of listeners can sense the emotional and vulnerable weight he brought to the song, with lyrics like “Weep for yourself, my man, you’ll never be what is in your heart. Weep, little lion man, you’re not as brave as you were at the start”. I spent about 4 years in the above paragraph lampooning their instrumentation, but … what would you prefer? Anther band singing the same songs about love and loss and life and bullshit with a Stratocaster, bass, and basic drum set? Or: wouldn’t it be nice if someone tried to spice things up? Give our ears something new to listen to after decades of homogeneous noise? At least the banjo catches your ear. It may be easily swappable for any other six-stringed instrument, but change is nice every once in a while. 
These guys are also masters of dynamics. It is very common for top 40 hits to look like this:  

That is three and a half minutes of assault on your ears, courtesy Ke$ha and Pitbull’s “Timber.” 
This is what “Little Lion Man” looks like:

Isn’t bullshit science great? None of this means anything. Hell, I cherry-picked the two songs I knew would support my argument the best. But it doesn’t mean I’m wrong. 
The point is that Mumford and Sons may actually be legitimate musicians who make strong choices and try to engage the listener mentally as well as musically; something that you can’t say about many other top 40 artists. As for their look, I really hate to admit this, but it works for them. They look really cool in those silly selvedge denim jeans and their long scraggly beards and their antiquated instruments. Their songs easily blend together. It’s tough to know when “I Will Wait” ends and “Awake My Soul” begins, but I love both the songs just the same. They’re a propagandistic arm of the music industry that spawned more bands than I can count, all of whom are trying to cash in on the same tropes. I’m looking at you, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Imagine Dragons, etc. Those are bands I love to hate. They’re the worst.
Mumford and Sons? Now there’s a band I love to hate to love.
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Ian Stroud is a comedian and freelance camera guy in New York City.  Check out his content at www.istroudyounot.com.

Ian is really funny, so this is really really funny.

chartthrob:

Artists You Love to Hate to Love

by Ian Stroud

I have a challenge for you: Describe the band Mumford & Sons to me in one sentence.

You can’t do it. There’s always something left out. Are they new-age folk rock? Mainstream pop with unique instrumentation? Big ol’ bag of phonies? All three are more or less accurate, but there’s something about Mumford and Sons that’s simultaneously captivating and irritating. They are truly a band I love to hate to love. 

Let’s talk about their look. I live in New York City, birthplace of the modern hipster, with their plaid, flannel, beards, suspenders, artisanal mayonnaise, and hella sick nasty ink. Though you’d never know it by looking at these people, this is a relatively new phenomenon, and I’m going to go out on a limb and blame Mumford and Sons for starting it. Not that there’s anything wrong with the pseudo 1800’s lumberjack-turned-musician look. It’s actually pretty cool on a lot of people. But it’s no different than teenagers going to Hot Topic and buying their curated goth clothes and machine-distressed patches. You’re being sold a lifestyle, same as always, and Mumford and Sons are the postermen for our current one.

Their music video for Whispers in the Dark” and Hopeless Wanderer are both painfully self aware of their curated and test-marketed look. The other issue with the look of this band is how grassroots they want it all to feel. Copious Helicopter shots and bona fide movie and TV stars in their extremely polished music videos beg to differ with that argument. Also, kudos for making the video for The Cave one continuous Instagram filter. Gotta kill your shadows!

Mandolin. Banjo. Resonator Guitar. Set pieces for the modern hipster movement. In New York, there were a few years where you couldn’t attend an open mic, character show, or concert without someone pulling out a banjo or ukulele. They were everywhere. There were some summer nights where the streets were piled so high with banjos that you couldn’t get farther than a block without being dragged into a folk-rock band. You were lucky if you made it out with only a pair of muttonchops. Mumford and Sons are the cause of this. Each one of these instruments is unique and beautiful, and I appreciate them; issues arise when they’re used as gimmicks to mask otherwise traditional songs. Mumford and Sons have pulled the wool over our eyes, convincing a hip public that they’re unique and different because their use of banjo equates to ingenuity and creative brilliance.

(Un)fortunately, all of these issues work in their favor.

These Brits can sing. They can harmonize better than most. They seem to have mastered their gimmicky instruments and play them with genuine skill. Their song structures are simple, palatable, and are a gift for movie montages. And above all, they evoke a sense of emotion that most artists can’t touch. Take “Little Lion Man.” It was written by Marcus Mumford (of famed band Mumford and Sons), and though he won’t publicly say what the song is about, even the most jaded of listeners can sense the emotional and vulnerable weight he brought to the song, with lyrics like “Weep for yourself, my man, you’ll never be what is in your heart. Weep, little lion man, you’re not as brave as you were at the start”. I spent about 4 years in the above paragraph lampooning their instrumentation, but … what would you prefer? Anther band singing the same songs about love and loss and life and bullshit with a Stratocaster, bass, and basic drum set? Or: wouldn’t it be nice if someone tried to spice things up? Give our ears something new to listen to after decades of homogeneous noise? At least the banjo catches your ear. It may be easily swappable for any other six-stringed instrument, but change is nice every once in a while.

These guys are also masters of dynamics. It is very common for top 40 hits to look like this: 

That is three and a half minutes of assault on your ears, courtesy Ke$ha and Pitbull’s “Timber.”

This is what “Little Lion Man” looks like:

Isn’t bullshit science great? None of this means anything. Hell, I cherry-picked the two songs I knew would support my argument the best. But it doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

The point is that Mumford and Sons may actually be legitimate musicians who make strong choices and try to engage the listener mentally as well as musically; something that you can’t say about many other top 40 artists. As for their look, I really hate to admit this, but it works for them. They look really cool in those silly selvedge denim jeans and their long scraggly beards and their antiquated instruments. Their songs easily blend together. It’s tough to know when “I Will Wait” ends and “Awake My Soul” begins, but I love both the songs just the same. They’re a propagandistic arm of the music industry that spawned more bands than I can count, all of whom are trying to cash in on the same tropes. I’m looking at you, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Imagine Dragons, etc. Those are bands I love to hate. They’re the worst.

Mumford and Sons? Now there’s a band I love to hate to love.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ian Stroud is a comedian and freelance camera guy in New York City.  Check out his content at www.istroudyounot.com.

When men display Amos’ brand of unpredictable, reckless ambition, we call them geniuses. Think of Jack White, or how very strange Radiohead’s Kid A sounded when it was first released but how enthusiastically that strangeness was greeted. Look outside of music, too, at how we adore the formal experimentation and/or self-indulgence of David Foster Wallace, or Charlie Kaufman, or Community creator Dan Harmon. Spike Jonze just got an Oscar for writing about his imaginary girlfriend! For a guy, doing strange things with form and pulling up bizarre visions from the core of his own personal torment is proof that he’s a capital-A Artist. But we scarcely mention it when we talk (or don’t talk) about Amos. I hate to pull a “because the patriarchy” here, but I can think of no other reason why so many people have worked, so hard, to avoid engaging with her work — or why they so often do it by way of trivializing Amos herself. When a woman claims the freedom to experiment that’s necessary to approach “genius” territory — the freedom to disregard or flaunt expectations, to alienate people, to fall flat on her face, to produce something that it might take more than one or two casual listens to penetrate — she’s grabbing at a traditionally male prerogative. When that happens, rather than admitting that a woman might intentionally release unusual work because she’s got some new ideas, most of us decide that she’s letting weird stuff leak out by accident, instead of applauding her sense of purpose.

Where Would Music Be Without Tori Amos

You really need to go read this thing Sady Doyle wrote about Tori Amos whether you like Tori Amos or not.

(via perpetua)

I know only one Tori Amos song and now I need to know them all.

(via perpetua)

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