I pay so little attention that it wasn’t until I saw the trailer in a theater the other day that I realized which classic Ridley Scott film Prometheus is a prequel to.
13. Kwes, “Bashful”
Because the chorus is downright Shakespearean.
14. Jessie Ware, “Running”
Because the acid guitar is only the flourish at the end of a perfect sentence.
15. Santigold, “Disparate Youth”
Because the only thing better than aping M.I.A. is surpassing her.
16. Rye Rye, “Boom Boom”
Because not enough people recognize how candy-colorful Baltimore is.
17. Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend”
Because “say hello to falsetto in three, two, swag” is both dorky and awesome.
18. Pegasvs, “El Final de la Noche”
Because night ends in many different ways.
19. Lianne La Havas, “Lost and Found”
Because there is such a thing as heartbreak in the world.
20. Chairlift “I Belong In Your Arms”
Because there is such a thing as joy in the world.
21. Ren Harvieu, “Open Up Your Arms”
Because this is how you use strings in a pop song.
22. Kindness, “That’s Alright”
Because someone had to remind us.
23. Nicki Minaj ft. Beenie Man, “Gun Shot”
Because it’s a reminder of the value of inhabiting many distinct selves.
24. B. Traits ft. Elisabeth Troy, “Fever”
Because house music will never die.
25. Miguel, “Arch & Point”
Because Prince no longer insists on being Prince.
26. Death Grips, “I’ve Seen Footage”
Because “Run-D.M.C. produced by Liars” is a capsule history of testosterone.
27. Alabama Shakes, “Hold On”
Because we should all be so certain of our selves.
28. Melanie Fiona, “Watch Me Work”
Because we’ve needed this since En Vogue left.
29. Dawn Richard, “Bombs”
Because it betters both Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
30. Fiona Apple, “Every Single Night”
Because appropriating Native American music is easier to get away with.
31. Neneh Cherry & The Thing, “Dream Baby Dream”
Because the baritone saxophone is a healing sound.
Sooo… not a fan of the live 30 Rock episode, eh Bogart?
I loved it. Just seeing that on a loop made me think about minstrelsy and power relations — which was actually the show’s point.
Edit: To expand a bit, part of the comedic power of that scene was the audience’s awareness of who John Hamm is and who Tracy Morgan is. Hamm’s best known for his role as an ur-White Man who consciously exercises his power over people in an inferior social position; Morgan’s best known for his role as (as he put it later in the episode) “a ridiculous man,” whose documented mental health issues and pampered lifestyle have made another ur-White Man who &tc. very rich — so to have Hamm playing ridiculous and Morgan playing dignified was going to be funny anyway. Add to that the social and cultural history of minstrelsy, in which white people played demeaning caricatures of black people for comedy, almost literally kicking them while they were down* (and add over top of that the awareness that more than one person — including a character on the show — has called what Tracy Morgan does minstrelsy), and the endlessly colliding signifiers and codes that are coming together in that one brief sequence is a minefield of humor.
*Though minstrelsy, like everything else, is more complicated than that: black entertainers first came to showbiz prominence through minstrelsy, and began subverting the system from within practically from the beginning; and many white minstrels were at least as interested in the black originals of their craft as, say, Keith Richards and Eminem would be; and while the minstrel depiction of black people as ignorant, happy-go-lucky, cowardly, violent, criminal, and promiscuous was a deliberate program of social terror and propaganda, its widespread depiction subtly changed social mores to the extent that being “black” began to seem (to wilfully ignorant white people) like an awful lot of fun — the birth of the complex racial codings of “cool” begins with minstrelsy.
But ultimately, a gif is not a TV show: an endless loop of John Hamm doing a shitty buck-and-wing while Tracy Morgan steams is much more specifically about race and power than a scene in a television show, which necessarily has a beginning, middle, and end and so must inevitably be more heterogenous in its meanings, can be.
I think the phrase I use the most often in gchat is “apologies for being so telegraphic.”
Really healthy, right?
Blanca reminds me that I didn’t entirely finish my thought last night. Where I was headed with all of those blanket-assumptions-about-blanket-assumptions, and got kind of distracted from by trying to describe the specifics of American encounters with Latin music, was that Shakira’s music is too often ghettoized or pigeonholed as “Latin Pop,” rather than as Pop, punto y final.
This is where the comparisons to Scandinavian and East Asian pop came from; both of them are more likely to be recognized as Pop Without Qualifiers than Spanish-language — or, what makes me really insane, English-language music of Hispanic origin — among too many of the pop nerds, bloggers, and critics I read.