A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘music videos

[MUSIC] Avenue Beat, “F2020”

The song “F2020”, put up in July on Tiktok by Nashville-based trio Avenue Beat, is still perfect in August.

December 31st, I grabbed a beer
Threw it up, said, “2020 is my year, bitches”
(Three, two, one, Happy New Year)
And I honestly thought that that was true
Until I gave this motherfucker like a month or two
This is getting kind of ridiculous at this point”


Put your hands in the motherfuckin’ air
If you kinda hate it here
And you wish that things would
Just like chill for like two minutes

Forbes and Nylon and Rolling Stone all describe how a song that the group tossed off onto their TikTok account became a viral hit, first on that platform then in mainstream culture. Their success is deserved: This is the sadly funny and melodic summer anthem that we really need.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 6, 2020 at 10:35 pm

[PHOTO] “Anthem” by Cohen, in chalk and in song

The other day, I was walking along College Street in west-end Brockton Village when I saw that someone had written, in chalk on the sidewalk, the lyrics of the Leonard Cohen song “Anthem” from his 1992 album The Future. I had seen similar chalk inscriptions on nearby sidewalks, but this was much the most extensive, occupying eight panels of concrete.

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (1) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (2) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (3) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (4) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

A 2008 live performance of the song by Cohen is as close a we’ll have to an official video.

Four years ago, Quartz shared an explanation by Cohen of this song, a rarity.

The future is no excuse for an abdication of your own personal responsibilities towards yourself and your job and your love. “Ring the bells that still can ring”: they’re few and far between but you can find them.

This situation does not admit of solution of perfection. This is not the place where you make things perfect, neither in your marriage, nor in your work, nor anything, nor your love of God, nor your love of family or country. The thing is imperfect.

And worse, there is a crack in everything that you can put together: Physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind. But that’s where the light gets in, and that’s where the resurrection is and that’s where the return, that’s where the repentance is. It is with the confrontation, with the brokenness of things.

The full lyrics, of course, are sheer poetry.

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

Yeah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

We asked for signs
The signs were sent:
The birth betrayed
The marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
Of every government
Signs for all to see

I can’t run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places
Say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
A thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me

Ring the bells that still ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

You can add up the parts
You won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart
To love will come
But like a refugee

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Written by Randy McDonald

March 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm

[MUSIC] Marie Davidson, “Work It”

I have really become taken with Montréal techno musician Marie Davidson and her muscular, knowing track “Work It”. Her 2018 interview with Noisey tells an interesting story of an artist critical of the commercial environment that she has to work in.

I am fond of the Soulwax remix. The video, made of found footage from a 1980s exercise video, is a treat.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 5, 2019 at 11:59 pm

[MUSIC] Röyksopp with Robyn, “The Girl and the Robot” (Kris Menace Remix)

The Kris Menace remix of the 2009 classic “The Girl and the Robot”, by Röyksopp with Robyn, is my favourite song for listening in the morning. I like how this particular remix has an urgency to it, a sense of destination; it really does help me get out of bed and feel more energized, at least.

What is your morning song?

Written by Randy McDonald

May 3, 2019 at 8:00 am

[MUSIC] Bob The Drag Queen feat. Alaska Thunderfuck, “Yet Another Dig”

Bob The Drag Queen, winner of season 8 on RuPaul’s Drag Race, continues to be one of my favourite listens. Her 2017 single, featuring All-Stars 2 winner Alaska Thunderfuck, is a song that I keep playing again and again.

The song is a glorious performance, a fluently-performed dissection of some of the different fan-driven controversies and tropes of LGBTQ culture, profane and smart and funny. (The show’s Reddit group rates a mention.) Fans, mind, are not the song’s only constituency; the humour and wit is portable beyond that.

Yet another dig, I’ma get another gig
I’m gluing down my lace front, yet another wig
Collecting coins, getting yet another big paycheck
Who’s next? Tell me who’s on deck
You’re sippin’ on the Hater-ade, yet another swig
Frying up some bacon, bitch, yet another pig
I’m a Redwood and you’re yet another twig
All Stars 2 was yet another rig

As for the fantastic video, directed by veteran Assaad Yacoub, what can be said but that it has enough pitch-perfect humour to make first-time watchers burst out laughing?

Written by Randy McDonald

April 4, 2019 at 11:59 pm

[MUSIC] Five music links: music videos, Yes Yes Y’All, 1970s Britain, New Caledonia, immigration

  • Noisey interviews Ryann Donnelly on the importance of the music video as a sexually revolutionary art form.
  • NOW Toronto celebrates the tenth anniversary of queer Caribbean dance party Yes Yes Y’All.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how, in 1970s Britain, pop music was often anything but apolitical.
  • The Conversation shared this article taking a look at the important role of protest music among the independence camp in New Caledonia.
  • At Inter Press Service, A.D. Mackenzie wrote about an interesting exhibit at the Musée de l’histoire de l’immigration in Paris on the contributions made by immigrants to popular music in Britain and France from the 1960s to the 1980s.

[CAT] Six cat links: cat ladies, Carly Rae Jepsen, ferals, psychopaths, yoga, Captain Marvel

  • This article by Mirjana Milovanovic at VICE interviewing self-described cat ladies and letting them explain why they prefer cats to men was informative, and fun.
  • Vulture reported that the new Carly Rae Jepsen video, “Now That I Found You”, is all about the love of a woman for her cat.
  • The plight of feral cats in Kingston and wider Frontenac County is serious, but volunteers are doing their best to help. Global News reports.
  • Are cats not psychopaths, but simply misunderstood? The Atlantic makes the case for human ignorance.
  • The Guardian shares photos from the Brooklyn Cat Café, where yoga with cats is a thing.
  • Emma Stefansky at Thrillist interviewed cat trainer Ursula Brauner, about cats in movies generally and the cats featuring in Captain Marvel specifically. (I really liked Goose.)

[MUSIC] Pet Shop Boys, “Paninaro”

The Pet Shop Boys song “Paninaro” is a bit unusual in their oeuvre, as a song that was not only released twice (as a B-side from the 1986 album Disco and then in a new version off of the 1996 B-sides collection Alternatives) but as a Pet Shop Boys song that has lead vocals from the usually silent Chris Lowe. The song did start with the paninari, a youth culture trend among young men in Milan in the 1980s, and does musically demonstrate a certain amount of influence from the Italo disco movement that inspired the Pet Shop Boys.

What does the song mean, what does it relate to? That is unclear. There is speculation from fans that this might be a love song of Lowe’s, directed to a specific person, the new version of the song being a memorial, but there is only speculation. Chris Lowe has remained silent about this, as he has about so much of the music he has created and about his life as a person.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2019 at 9:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams extends further consideration the roles that artificial intelligences might play in interstellar exploration.
  • D-Brief notes that the genes associated with being a night owl also seem to be associated with poor mental health outcomes.
  • Far Outliers looks at the lifeboat system created on the upper Yangtze in the late 19th century.
  • Kashmir Hill, writing at Gizmodo, notes how blocking Google from her phone left her online experience crippled.
  • Imageo notes that, even if halted, global warming still means that many glaciers well melt as they respond to temperature changes.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the racism that permeated ads in 19th century North America.
  • Language Hat looks at how some Turkish-speaking Christians transcribed the Turkish language in the Greek alphabet.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how utterly ineffective the Trump Administration’s new refugee waiver system actually is.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the film and theatre career of Lorenza Mazetti.
  • Marginal Revolution notes, in passing, the import of being a YouTube celebrity.
  • Molly Crabapple at the NYR Daily writes about the work of the New Sanctuary coalition, which among other things waits with refugees in court as they face their hearings.
  • The Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle looks for traces of the elusive muskrat.
  • Towleroad shares footage of New Order performing the early song “Ceremony” in 1981.
  • Transit Toronto notes that Metrolinx now has an app for Presto up!
  • At Vintage Space, Amy Shira Teitel looks at the Soviet Moon exploration program in 1969.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the new pressures being placed by rising Islamism and instability in Afghanistan upon Turkmenistan.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers, briefly, the little is known about the lives of 1980s gay porn stars Greg Patton and Bobby Pyron. How did they lead their lives?

[MUSIC] Troye Sivan, “Lucky Strike”

My attention this week was caught by Jason Parham’s article at Wired about the new Troye Sivan single, “Lucky Strike”, and its associated video.

Not to make this about politics or walls or borders or displacement, but Australian pop balladeer Troye Sivan’s “Lucky Strike” is all about politics and walls and borders and displacement. More specifically, it is about the negation of those thorny, unkind configurations. At first blush, the song is a cool, coy slowburner with pure intentions. “I wanna tiptoe through your bliss, get lost the more I find you,” Sivian coos over producer Alex Hope’s garden of ambrosial synths. Later on the chorus, he implores: “Tell me all the ways to love you.”

“Lucky Strike” is about queer desire, sure, about the feeling of summertime infatuation; in its just-released video, Sivan’s pursuit of another man unfolds during a day at the beach. But much of the song is about the unsaid, about the power and refuge we find in another person. The song, then, becomes something much more: a paean to a world that doesn’t just unite us across cultural and bodily borders, but whose lifesource depends on that exchange.

Making this song about politics, mind, I remain somewhat amazed by the extent to which Troye Sivan is not only an out celebrity but viable as said. As I write this, the “Lucky Strike” video just one week old has 2,355,700 views. He scores multiple international hits on the pop and dance charts–Sivan is not a one-hit wonder–and he has successful international tours, and his star shows no sign of fading. Sivan’s career is hugely political, all the more so because he does not have to be. He can just be in a way that other artists, other people, in the LGBTQ community have until recently not been able to enjoy.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 17, 2019 at 11:30 pm