Forget those Best Of / Top 20 / Hot Lists, here’s my year’s worth of musings:
The best music snap of the year (above). Comes from a Berlin disco. Found on the Twitter page of Stana Katic, who’s one-half of the TV show, Castle, which my family can tell you I’m senselessly, annoyingly addicted to. It’s Moonlighting with Canadians! It’s awesome. And, yes, this does make me realize that the internet is high school. Now, if someone would just remake Remington Steele…
My Fleet Foxes fixation continues unabated. Old stuff, new stuff, it doesn’t matter. It’s like I’ve become oddly attracted to Crosby or Stills or Nash (which one’s which?). In one of my favorite movies of the year, “Your Sister’s Sister”, Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass name drop the Foxes. I was so excited, I squealed on the inside and thought about them for the rest of the movie.
Fiona Apple is a bonafide torch singer, and if you cross her she will light that torch and stick it up your sorry a**! Unstable, brilliant, painfully vivid, awesome. ‘Hot Knife’ is just crazy good. Makes me dream of Alvin Ailey dancers in motion across a shiny black stage.
With his upswept ‘do, baby skin and wife beaters, Justin Bieber’s lesbian-chic androgyny is strangely fascinating.
If Cat Power battled Feist, who would win the chance to drop kick Lana Del Rey’s ass?
On iTunes, what’s the difference between Alternative and Indie?
The most wonderful Angry White Man is back! I’m so glad to see you, Bob Mould!
Frank Ocean – meandering, unfinished, falsetto doodles… yawn. What am I missing here???
Since everyone – Fun, The Belle Brigade, Best Coast – seems to be channeling Fleetwood Mac these days, it was inevitable. A Fleetwood Mac reunion tour 2013! Yes! Worship at the sky high heels of Stevie. We’re getting the band back together!
Lumineers? Decemberists? Lumineers? Decemberists? Can’t tell the difference. Like ’em both.
Green Day appearing on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn OST surely is the final nail in their coffin, n’est pas? Now go away until some kind of reunion in 2018.
Singles I enjoyed this year, even though some of them are old:
‘I Know What I Am’ by Band of Skulls
‘Solitude is Bliss’ by Tame Impala
‘Pumped Up Kicks’ by Foster the People
‘Mykonos’ by Fleet Foxes, xxxxx, call me 😉
‘Satan’ by Beast
‘Nightlight’ by Little Dragon
‘UMI Says’ by Mos Def
‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy (come on, it is irresistible)
Favorite albums 2012:
Jack White’s Blunderbuss
Fiona Apple’s Idler Wheel…
The Black Keys’ El Camino (technically released at end of 2011 but hey)
Texans of the Year:
San Saba County
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – follow Joe on Twitter, he tweets entire Cowboys’ games. Hilarious!
So call me mainstream, I’m still not tired of Adele and I keep the new Taylor Swift on even after I’ve dropped off EO and YO at swim training.
Rihanna just bugs me. They say she does it her way but I’m seeing no self respect.
When I dip a toe in to dance music I enjoy Morgan Page and the gloomy glam of The Presets, who are so deliciously Depeche Mode, it hurts in a sweet, angsty way.
The guy I’m digging & rediscovering at the moment: Willie Nelson. He sounds fantastic on “Live & Kickin”. Makes me homesick.
In this digital day and age is it really necessary to deny Hong Kong Spotify and Pandora? There is a border between us and the Communists, but I can’t do anything about the pirates.
So many folk-pop, California mellow, girl-boy duos – Tennis, Best Coast, Teen Dream – so little time. Or interest.
Rufus Wainwright’s “Out of the Game” doesn’t hit the highs of “Release The Stars” but I’ll take it all the same.
Mumford & Sons = The Pogues x Coldplay – Elvis Costello with even more points deducted because Jake Gyllenhaal joined you guys on tour.
Saint Etienne are either celebrating pure pop like Kylie or subverting the genre in some kind of Pet Shop-Blondie mash-up. This kind of thing works really well in the UK. Too fey for the US I’m afraid.
I want to write like a Radiohead song: compact, intense, perfect.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from therockmom x
I think it was the two-minute sax solo.
Or maybe the sight of Billie Joe dry-humping the stage and singing, ‘Love Me Tender’.
Either way, Green Day’s latest live show made me realize that they are punks no more. They’re bona fide, big-ticket stadium entertainers.
And it sucks!Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to launch in to some elitist screed about, “I saw them when they were nobodies, yadda, yadda.” I don’t mind a good stadium show. Last year’s Coldplay concert, for example, was a brilliant evening with a populist band at the height of its commercial powers.
But let me just count the ways that last Saturday’s concert – Green Day’s first time in Hong Kong (!!) – was a frustrating, annoying vaudeville mess:
1. There was the sax solo, as mentioned.
2. There was BJ’s continuous ‘Come On!’
3. The Spinal Tap-worthy pyrotechnics. What, no midgets?
4. An AC/DC interlude – yawn. Billy Joel covers AC/DC now.
5. Then the Elvis tribute.
6. Followed by a Beatles cover (‘Hey Jude’) with a Deep Purple riff thrown in.
With each cover, however, BJ and Co. would start the song and then not finish it! If you want to do a cover then do a complete cover, putting your own stamp on it. Not some lame ‘Hooked-on-Classics’ style medley. And btw, you know that great part in ‘Hey Jude’ when McCartney sings, ‘Jude, Jude, Jude-y, Jude-y, Jude-y, Jude-y’? He sings that once, not on every chorus – that’s why it’s so powerful.
The most annoying part of the show – it felt like the whole show actually – was Billie Joe’s constant (I’m not kidding you when I say constant) need for an audience call and response:
BJ: I say Aay-Ooh!
BJ: I say Aaaay-Ooooh!
BJ: I say AAaaaAAaaaAAaaaAA-Oooooooooh!
(audience loses plot at this point.)
Where is Harry Belafonte when you need him? Green Day come and me want to go home.
THE SEX PISTOLS NEVER DID A SAX SOLO!
Was it the unsophisticated audience? Did Green Day think Hong Kong – in our imaginary Mao caps – would lap up this crap? Or do they do this at every show? I can’t imagine a SoCal crowd putting up with this call-and-response patter BETWEEN EVERY SONG.
In fact I did see Green Day in Orange County once. The band blazed through song after song, and the audience did their best to foil security and rush the stage. Green Day was playing big venues then too (Anaheim Pond), but they kept it lean and mean.
And what about making the audience do the singing? Sing a line, then make us sing, sing another line, make us sing the chorus. Do you realize this is what Robbie Williams does?
I read that BJ mooned the audience in Singapore. Uh, Robbie Williams does that too.
Billie Joe even pulled up an audience member to sing the entire ‘Longview’ by herself. I paid HK$550 (US$70 and they weren’t even great seats!) per ticket; I didn’t pay to hear Gabriella so-and-so sing the damn song!
Green Day has always had populist DNA. From “Dookie” onwards they’ve produced reliable, catchy pop songs, the punk being just window dressing, like Billie Joe’s ubiquitous eyeliner. But with “American Idiot” (released in 2004), they captured a political, more mature voice, and joined the ranks of ‘important’ bands.
“Idiot” rocked hard. Unfortunately, they’ve tried to replicate that power on “21st Century Breakdown”, and it just falls flat. It’s a paint-by-numbers dud: a bad (meaning bad) rock opera screaming, “Phoned it in with a rhyming dictionary!!!”
Maybe that’s why the concert felt so underwhelming. It was a facsimile of a real show. It was Green Day saying, “We’re in China, boys. Let’s throw out a few ‘thank you’s’ in Cantonese and screw around with these neophyte rockers. They’ll love it!”
True enough, we Hong Kong’ers don’t know how to stage dive. We point our phone cameras at any thing that moves – even when it’s 100 feet away in low lighting.
(Those of you who screamed and took pictures of that pink bunny?)
But even we don’t deserve your schtick.
Just play the f’ing songs!