1) NEW KELLY CLARKSON NEW KELLY CLARKSON NEW KELLY CLARKSON!!! Yes, that's right readers, my current favorite musical artist, Kelly Clarkson, has released the debut single from her new album, titled "Never Again" (one question, anybody know the songwriting credits on this?). Thoughts: the normal kind of rockin, liberated, breakup lyrics we've come to expect from Kelly, but this is lyrically below some of the stuff on Breakaway (say "Behind These Hazel Eyes" or "Hear Me"), because it covers really familiar ground here. Unlike Breakaway, she's not tearing herself out of a co-dependent hole here, she just hates her ex's trophy wife. From a musical standpoint, the chorus is, I hate to say it, a bit comparatively weak. It could stand a bit more punch and power, though it is catchy. The verses are amazing though and I will be shocked if 2007 produces a better musical moment than the incredible bridge. After a few listens, my initial impression is that this is right up there with "Babies" for my favorite single of the year so far. This will presumably be huge and if rock stations had any brains in their heads they'd be playing the heck out of it. It fits on them more than it fits on top 40. Cannot wait to hear the rest of the album. [9/10 or so is my initial gut reaction.]
2) I guess it's been out for a while, but this is my first listen to "Me and My Imagination" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, whose "Catch You" I previously loved. Much more disco than that previous effort, and it lacks the originality of the hook, but it's another great single by her. Initial reaction is that it is at least almost as good as "Catch You". One of my 10 favorite singles of the year to this point.
3) Now this is REALLY treading on C4B's terrain here, but this article on The Onion AV Club really pissed me off. MULTIPLE CHOICE TRIVIA TIME: Which is the most heinous assumption in this article: a) worthwhile, good popular music is only created by formerly indie artists, b) more recent fans of a band are inherently less worthy than longtime fans of the same band, c) the fact that a song was once covered on American Idol reduces the artistic merit of that song, d) it is a good and desirable thing to make blanket, overarching statements about the characteristics about all the fans of an obscure band, e) music likers listen to popular music, music LOVERS listen to obscure music.
That's right readers, the most heinous assumption is, in fact, e). Listen, I don't wanna pick on Steve Hyden, he makes some good points in the article and by all means seems to be a genuine guy. He brings up an interesting topic of debate. But assumption e) is one that underlies a lot of music writing that I've seen, and as a MUSIC LOVER who also loves pop music more than indie music I'm starting to get danged sick of it. Listen, I spend a lot of time thinking about music. I spend as much or more time seeking out new music now than I did back when I WAS indie. I think there's probably a slight positive correlation in the mass appeal of a song and its quality. I'm willing to bet I was as excited about the release of new Kelly Clarkson music as most people are about release of any music. I pay attention to lyrics, and love songs or hate songs based on their lyrics. Yes, I am a pop music lover and I wish people would stop implying that that makes me a lesser music fan, or that I achieve less emotional connection to music, than a fan of obscure music. Thanks a lot.
Why does it have to be about the social implications of what you like? Why can't it just be about the music? I could clearly and succinctly explain what it is I love about Hilary Duff or Kelly Clarkson or Fall Out Boy and why I think they are better than The Fiery Furnaces or Modest Mouse or whoever. I could explain why I think "Everywhere" is the best song of the 00's. Does this make me a worse person? Clearly, I have extremely selfish reasons to rebel against the social implications of liking certain music ("You like teenpop and the Disney Channel and Hilary Duff? You pedophile!"), but it is something that really bugs me.
4) OK, just 3 points today I guess. Haven't been watching much TV lately and no movies at all, so that's why I haven't posted on them in a while. Still anticipating new Unfabulous which has been pushed back about a million times now and it makes my blood angry to even think about it.