February 17, 2004


OK, I'm a sucker for these things...

Praise be: for the complete absence of Robbie Williams.

Black Eyed Peas and Fifty Cent prove once again the timeless and excetionless truth: live rap is never good. And I'm sure I've said this before, but why have rap and r and b bands got such shit drummers?

The Beyonce/ Outkast 'collaboration' - it was 'Hey Ya' followed by 'Crazy In Love'- what exactly was the collaborative element? And did you check Beyonce's eyes? Remember that bit at the end of the Stepford Wives where Katharine Ross comes face to face with her android replacement? The android's eyes are cold, black, expressionless obsidian. That was Beyonce tonight.

'White Flag' wins best single. Hurray! Has anyone heard the Timbaland remix?

The Darkness - I don't know about you, but I was backing Busted all the way whenever they went head to head with The Darkness in any category. At least Busted have a hormonal effervescence and irrepressible spunkiness that's genuinely teenage. The Darkness: it's all a bit desperate isn't it? People need them to be massive, and, before anything even happened this evening, all and sundry were declaring it was 'their night'. Hopes and expectations have made it far too easy for them. In many ways, The Darkness are the inheritors of Robbie's crown: like Robbie, they're simultaneously faux-self-deprecating and unbearably conceited, even if their arrogance has a tired, warmed over quality, undercut by their limp camp tomfoolery. If Robbie is the leering end-of-the-pier jester, The Darkness are pantomime dames, sending up rather than celebrating excess and pomp. They fit a specification that the British public seem to insist upon for their megastars: peddling a drearily disintensified notion of 'Entertainment' that is all about projecting a Spectacle whilst not taking themselves too seriously, nudge nudge wink wink, it's all a larf innit. There's a Robin Askwith, seedily small quality about the Darkness. The Queen comparison is surely bogus; 70s Queen were a titanic, streamlined behemoth. The Darkness' sound is pathetically weedy, ersatz, provincial.

And I hate his postgraduate physics student receding hairline. And the way he sings 'ff' instead of 'th.'

Duran Duran, though - they rocked. Blew everyone else offstage IMHO.

Posted by mark at February 17, 2004 11:32 PM | TrackBack

haha this is awesome mark!

Posted by: geeta at February 18, 2004 12:44 AM

Why, thank you, Geeta!

Posted by: mark k-punk at February 18, 2004 12:54 AM

What you see, when you look into Beyonce's eyes, is spreadsheets.

Posted by: jim at February 18, 2004 11:20 AM

live rap is often good though. public enemy shows were good by all accounts, my 30something friends tell me so, and the roots are both good live and have a very good drummer. so there!

Posted by: luke at February 18, 2004 11:49 AM

Loving the Darkness disection. So much better than the usual, simple 'are they a joke/aren't they a joke' rubbish.

Posted by: Tim at February 18, 2004 11:54 AM

I saw Public Enemy when they first came over to the UK --- they weren't very good either I'm afraid.

Posted by: mark k-punk at February 18, 2004 12:57 PM

am i right in thinking you don't really approve of the
buzz in music mark? all the people i know who saw p.e. thought it was the one of the best things ever. de la soul do a good show too.

i love feyness when it's convincing and not just precious, i like talk talk, some joni mitchell, nick drake, but that doesn't mean i can't like its opposite too.

Posted by: luke at February 18, 2004 01:33 PM

No, Luke, I don't have any special antipathy towards rap in general, nor any problems with adrenalin/ buzz/ beligerence. It's just rap now I'm somewhat bored by.
PE --- no, it wasn't the aggression, it was the crap sound and the fact that, like most live rap I've seen, it seemed to just involve incoherent, blustering shouting into microphones. The show was just boring - whereas the PE records were finely-tuned, precise artifacts of sonic weaponry, the live show was like a dull thumping headache. It's like Kodwo said, rap isn't live music, it's recorded sound. De La Soul I've always found intensely irritating. Too fey!:-)

Posted by: mark k-punk at February 18, 2004 04:06 PM

well, in a strictly historical sense he's wrong of course, as rap existed in a live form before it existed on a record, just as garage MCs were doing their thing long before you could buy their recors in the shops. i don't think the failings of sound engineers at live shows is really a reson to dismiss hiphop as a live spectacle, it just sounds like you've had bad luck. but never mind, you will finish that thing on mirror for me won't you?

Posted by: luke at February 18, 2004 04:14 PM

Don't know if bad luck covers it, I've seen lots of live hip hop, and it's always been a massive disappointment, manifestly inferior to the records. Well, rap _now_ is not a live music, it's all about the production.

Posted by: mark k-punk at February 18, 2004 05:19 PM

what are some of your favourite hiphop records and what are the shows you've been to mark? i have a sneaking suspicion that you just don't like the music very much. how many hiphop records have you heard from the last 5 years? i don't want to be mean it's just, if it's a case of just disliking hihop as a genre it would be more honest to just say that rather than saying it's creatively exhausted and needs to be replaced etc etc. i mean, it's only really been a dominant commericaly for about 7 years and has always shown a remarkable ability to reinvent and reinvigorate itself. there's incredible footage of biggie rhyming acapella on a street corner before he got signed on that biggie and tupac documentary with just people from off the street in a circle around him completely transfixed, hollering and whooping and laughing. i've not been to america but i'd assume that that represents the reality, of hiphop existing as a live living thing, people doing it on street corners, outside shops, on train sttions or whatever, you get the same thing here too.

Posted by: luke at February 19, 2004 12:45 AM

Well, I'm not an expert on hip hop, particularly on more recent stuff, but it would certainly be unfair and grossly inaccurate to say that I don't like it as a genre. My favourite hip hop (here's a fairly random selection): very old skool like Bambaata and Grandmaster Flash obviously, lots of eighties stuff, Schooly D first LP, Skinny Boys 'Weightless', Mantronix 'Music Madness', PE obviously (especially first LP and 'Fear of a Black Planet'), BDP 'Criminal Minded', Eric B and Rakim 'Paid in Full'. Nineties: Method Man 'Tical', all the Wu that everyone likes, Bone Thugs 'n' Harmony, Gravediggaz, Dr Octagon, the early Timbaland/ Missy stuff. Outkast I've always liked, actually, since 'ATliens.' Also, some British hip hop: Gunshot, London Posse.

You're going to have to accept what I say at face value. I used to like it, but I'm just not interested enough to want to investigate it in much depth any more. I don't like live hip hop, I'll admit, but that comes from a sense of bitter disappointment after being bludgeoned into a state of boredom at many, many shows.

Posted by: mark k-punk at February 19, 2004 01:16 AM