Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Album Review: Ismism, Godley & Creme (1981)

After the debacle that was Consequences, Godley & Creme's creative peak was captured on their two subsequent albums L and Freeze Frame. Their fourth album Ismism represents the beginning of their descent into mid-career mediocrity - it's not a terrible album, but it departs from their usually high standard.
Structurally, many of the songs follow the Remain In Light-era Talking Heads pattern of looping a bass and percussion section for the entire song and changing the other parts around it. This works very effectively on Joey's Camel and The Party thanks to quality lyrics, but just sounds repetitive on Snack Attack and Lonnie.
Some of the lyrics are just plain filler. The Problem is a recitation of a fictional maths problem 'If a man, A, who weighs 11 stone leaves from his home at 8:30 in the morning in a car whose consumption is 16.25 mpg etc.' ad nauseum - sure it's produced excellently and segues impeccably into the next track but who cares? And after that lovely segue into Ready For Ralph, the lyrics somehow get worse! 'Is the room ready for Ralph? The room is ready for Ralph, Ralph, The room is ready for Ralph etc.' One wonders why they bothered using lyrics at all.
Snack Attack's lyrics are slightly better, but just come across as amateurish proto-rapping with Godley's delivery being just plain annoying in some phrases.
Despite all these criticisms, this album actually delivered two UK top-ten singles for the duo, Under Your Thumb and Wedding Bells which are both excellent pop songs. Under Your Thumb is a pulsing yet mournful electropop tune while Wedding Bells is a motown pastiche with great melodies and great vocals.
Joey's Camel is the interesting tale of venturing into the desert to find the tablets of the ten commandments, finding them and then facing certain death. Obscure yes, but one of the best examples on this album where both the music and lyrics are interesting and compliment each other well.
During their tenure with 10cc, Godley & Creme were particularly adept at crafting 60's doo-wop and Beach Boys homages/rip-offs such as Donna and Rubber Bullets. So why is their doo-wop homage/rip-off from this album, Sale of the Century so bloody awful? This is so poorly conceived all it serves to do is seriously pull this album's average down.
The album closer The Party is a brutally cynical swipe at the vapid world of show-biz parties and music industry bullshit and is one of the few examples of subject matter on this album in which the duo actually had first-hand experience. Lyrically very funny ('You're a cocksucker Michael, You are what you eat David'), musically falling somewhere between Talking Heads and Ween, it's an excellent point to finish the album on. The boys were obviously a bit pissed off about their fall from grace and the remaining duo of 10cc finding a career taking their old band's name and making bland yacht-rock for 70's commercial radio. One of the characters in the song urges them to 'write yourselves a hit or three like I'm Not In Paris or The Dean and Me'. Well, they got two hits out of this album and a few decent tracks amongst excellently produced filler, but it just doesn't come close to the quality of their first three albums.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ye olde inanimate object lolcat...

Irritating misconceptions #1. "All Americans are stupid"

If I went around saying that all Norwegians are lazy or that all Pakistanis cheat on their partners I would be labelled a generalising, racist twat by polite society. But if you state that everyone currently residing in the United States is a moron, even the most hard-left tolerance-mongers will start pumping their fists in the air in approval and point out that they're all morbidly obese as well. It's racist and it's stupid. How can you possibly make any sweeping generalisations about America? It's absolutely massive and incredibly diverse. Sure, they democratically elected a dullard for a president, but we had John Howard for almost a decade! Do you want to be personally held accountable for that?

It's somewhat striking to note that the majority of people I encounter who talk about how stupid Americans are have no problems wearing American clothes, listening to American music and watching American television. If Americans are so dumb, why are Australians so eager to absorb every aspect of their culture? Because we're dumb. Call it a generalisation if you will, but it seems painfully apparent that the majority of people living on this planet are dead set retards. Why single out the Americans? Australia's biggest cultural exports so far have been Crocodile Dundee, The Crocodile Hunter and Savage Garden - it seems to me that people who live in dumb houses shouldn't throw stones.

For example, would you be shocked to hear that half the Australian population are of below average intelligence? If so, consider yourself amongst them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Inanimate object lolcat competition bonanza!

While I was researching the internet subculture of inanimate object lolcats (henceforth to be known as I.O.L's) for the previous post, I ended up on the Wikipedia page for pareidolia - the tendency for the human brain to intepret meaningless stimuli as something meaningful or significant. On the page they have an image of a clock that looks like a sad face. Observe: In other words, exactly the sort of thing that makes a great I.O.L. Unfortunately, I don't have the creative genius required to create a really classic lolcats image. This is where you, teh internet public, come in. I want you to submit your suggestion for a lolcats-style caption for this picture and our panel of crack-adjudicators will decide on the winner. Simply write your suggestions on the comment page of this post. Will there be a prize? I can't say, who knows what I might find on the side of the road between now and when the winner is announced! At the very least, your I.O.L. will be posted on this blog for all the world to see. And fleeting internet fame is what lolcats is all about. Get lol-ing!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I can haz new blog?

IF the Victorian Liberal Party is good for anything, it's inspiring people to get back to their blogging. And although I can't promise anything as funny as the Liberal Party-powered anti-Ted Baillieu blog (may I nominate for blog address of the year?), I do intend to write about a subject equally as vile and insidious: lolcats. Surely no human can fail to be unaware of this pervasive little meme. These are the photos captioned with misspelled sentiments attributed to the pictures' subject(s), traditionally a cat but occasionally other adorable mammals. Observe an archetypal lolcats image:

Gold (although, technically, I think 'Hi' should have been spelt 'Hai'). Occasionally hilarious, very rarely thought-provoking and utterly inane. Despite the fact that some arts student is inevitably drafting up a dissertation on the significance of lolcats in a post-911, globalised information oriented paradigm and it's affect on synergy, the popularity of these cats surely represents the death knell of a thinking society. Now, as an internet writer I am contractually obliged to identify and describe schismatic and potentially non-existent 'subcultures' (within subcultures where possible), and I think I've found a new one; inanimate object lolcats. Check it out:

Look at it. It's hilarious! It's anthropomorphism meets comedy meets Dada. The lolcats format has become so absorbed into internet culture that it even works on furniture. Here's another example from this fascinating movement:

Is it a parody of a parody? Is it more, or less funny because it deviates subtley from the original source material? Who cares - it's an angry barbecue!

The reason inanimate lolcat pictures work is because of the human brain's innate tendency to recognise faces even when they aren't there. This process of unconsciously organising meaningless stimuli into something meaningful is called pareidolia. It's responsible for the man in the Moon, the face on Mars and has caused innumerable sightings of Jesus and The Virgin Mary in baked goods and highway overpasses. In that vein, it should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the internet that even god himself is not immune to the charms of the lolcats. As we speak, the Bible is being translated into lolcats speak. Here's an excerpt from Genesis:

'Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem. Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz. At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz. An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin. An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!'

God bless the internet.