Monday, May 23, 2005

The Weekly, Volume 2

The second edition of "stuff worth our time." Queen Victoria would be proud.

Gimme Fiction (Spoon)
When first introduced to Spoon last summer, I had severe difficulty finding anything really interesting about them. Both Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight were reasonable indie rock efforts for the newfangled "O.C. set," and while at the time I would have acknowledged that their songwriting was tight, I was put off by the total lack of rhythmic complexitity (or diversity) in each and every song. Apparently, the band was very comfortable with medium tempo.

Gimme Fiction still suffers slightly from the "mid tempo blues," but for one reason or another I was tempted into giving the band another shot -- for which, apparently, I have been rewarded, as the album is actually quite good. As a band, Spoon display a fair amount of maturity here. While they don't stray far from their established sonic formula, there's a little bit more thrown into the alchemy, making for an album that unveils itself over the course of multiple listens. Although a couple tracks don't quite make the leap from musical idea to actual polished song, they don't detract from the album's ultimate unity. Stand outs include "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" and the crackling two-step of "They Never Got You."

The Love Song (K-Os)
Jumping on another musical bandwagon this morning, I shall proclaim that this song is just all kinds of righteous. The heavy bass and vaguely oriental tone of the strings compliment one another perfectly, and Mr. Os' lyrics and vocals are very strong -- hip-hop artists who can rap as well as sing (here's to you, G. Love and Special Sauce) are outta sight. But what really makes this track memorable is the subtle melodic syncopation during the bridge. As the youngsters might say, sublime.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring (Kim Ki-Duk)
An intimate and spellbinding portrait of a buddhist monk and his young apprentice. The dialogue consists of maybe 100 words in total, but the small troupe of actors each manage to demonstrate feeling beyond measure. In all respects, an absolutely stunning piece of cinema.

Online newspaper subscriptions
Not that I have any better ideas about how the media can profit from the internet, but the trend toward subscriptions for online news just doesn't click with me. The most recent culprits include the Globe and Mail, and soon enough, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. Thankfully, these papers appear to be following the "keep the breaking news free" model for the moment. Would-be readers are still able to skim the surface news sans d'argent, but access to columnists, in-depth reportage and archival material requires some good ol' payola. So basically, the NY Times is going to cut off my weekly Frank Rich opinion fix!

Maybe physical readership is declining, but the current product newspapers are putting online is hardly the answer to their money problems. Show me a person who actually reads news articles on the internet as thoroughly as he/she does in an actual newspaper, and I'll show you a person with too much time on their hands, and a bad case of eye strain. Basically, various studies (which I don't plan on wasting my time linking to at the moment) have shown that people don't (and generally, don't want to) read big blocks of text on the internet. But they don't mind doing it on paper. So why do we want to pay for the former, when we're already paying for the latter?!?

Become more opinionated after the break!


Anonymous dog in water said...

One thing I hate about spoon is that they have mediocre production, "the delicate place" being one of the few exceptions.

5/23/2005 3:13 p.m.  
Blogger the man with no name said...

monsieur valentine = goodness.

5/24/2005 11:33 a.m.  

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