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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Hey, remember this?

Well, Taylor Swift has now released a video for “Fifteen.” Does the look remind you of something?

Seriously y’all. Two great tastes that taste great together. I am the next Jon Hamm.

Also, new Friday Night Lights episodes start airing on October 28th. Taylor Swift’s “Platinum Edition” of Fearless will be released the day before. BEST WEEK EVER is what that will be.

My second contribution to 10Listens is a long (too-long) write-up regarding Miranda Lambert’s long (too-long) new album Revolution. I wanted to expand on some ideas here, considering how long (too-long) that review was already.

As an objective listener and critic, the album is a definite success–a refinement of many of her lyrical themes while also allowing for new shades to her considerable songwriting prowess. This is, without a doubt, a Next Step record: one that makes the statement, “I am everything you thought, and more.”

As a fan, however, the album is a little disappointing. For one, it is much too long, and Lambert’s insistence on proving her maturity is both unnecessary and not fun. Because part of what made Crazy Ex-Girlfriend such a great album was that for every badass pose like “Gunpowder and Lead” or the title track’s uncontrollable bouts of rage, you had a rueful almost-not-quite apologia like “More Like Her.” The balance of those extremes on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend made for a full, satisfying listen; you got the sense that Lambert was completely in control of this image as a full-bodied representation. She had a temper, but knew it had its consequences. It was a smart and effortless presentation of Lambert as an artist.

Some of Revolution seems like too much effort, like Lambert proving she can play that Nashville game by blanding out her sound on “Dead Flowers” and “White Liar,” the two awful choices for singles. I wish I’d never heard either out of the context of the album, where they provide wonderful depth and nuance to a record whose seeming sole intent is to showcase same; as singles, however, they don’t resonate at all. And I realize she didn’t want to just be seen as the Tough Gal again, but something like the rip-snortin’ “Only Prettier” or the totally classic-sounding “Me and Your Cigarettes” (the other Classic–as shown on “Famous In A Small Town,” Lambert has a knack for these–on this record is “Airstream Song,” which would never get radio play because it sounds like an old standard that Emmylou Harris would’ve popularized 35 years ago) would’ve been great choices.

But I realize a lot of those concerns are extra-musical. It’s just great to have Lambert putting some energy in country music; much like Jamey Johnson last year, Lambert is proving that being true to one’s artistic vision can lead to success in country music. Just not enough to be Carrie Underwood or Kenny Chesney. But then, artists like Lambert and Johnson wouldn’t be half as special if that’s who they were trying to be.

Huzzah! After 79 months, the Black Eyed Peas are finally dethroned from the Hot 100’s perch by…a song much worse than “I Gotta Feeling,” called “Down.” Eh, we’ll take it I guess, even with the terrible Lil Wayne guest spot. Jay Sean is apparently the “Asian Ne-Yo.” Okay. Mazel tov! L’chaim!

black-eyed-peas

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I don’t know how many people from Chicago (a dozen?) I’ve met who are ready to GET INTO FISTICUFFS about how much more AWESOME their city is than New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Seriously Chicago has the best pizza AND burritos AND tacos AND sushi AND midgets AND beer AND teleportation modules AND meth-hookers, did you know?

And not even precious Barry could get them an Olympics.

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There’s a reason you’re called Second City, dudes. But buck up: you’ll always have the Cubs!

P.S. Not that I care, but I hope it’s Rio. Because it would be SEXY.