walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

New Tom Petty album, old Nile Rodgers, "All About that Bass"

Nate over at the excellent The Digital Reader posted a roundup yesterday:

http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/08/14/morning-coffee-15-august-2014/

The first entry is this:

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2014/08/14/availability/

the content of which I will entirely ignore, with the exception of this paragraph:

"Talk to the music industry, where number one gets you one week bragging rights. Has ANYBODY spoken to you, e-mailed you, texted you about the new Tom Petty album this week? OF COURSE NOT, THAT’S LAST WEEK’S STORY!"

Allow me to be the person who blogs about the new Tom Petty album this week. I bought it while I was on vacation when I noticed that, for reasons not really worth going into here, I didn't have much music on my phone. Given the choice of downloading something from the cloud that I already owned or buying something new, I did both, including Dierks Bentley (which is good, but I kept thinking about many of the better tracks, hey, that's sounds like Kenny Chesney, or, that sounds like Alan Jackson, because the material and delivery was so them and not identifiably Bentley. Don't know what's going on -- this was not so much the case on an earlier Bentley album I have) and Tom Petty. I am a woman of an age to have fond memories of Tom Petty Back in the Day, and this album delivered new music but with that old flavor that brings on the nostalgia. Since I was vacationing with other people including someone else who was of the same age with similar feelings about Tom Petty, it was a good experience.

In other musical commentary of a superficial nature, when I was reading _Hot Stuff_, I bought Rodgers' _Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove_, but only just now got around to listening to it and the first track is a little weak so I skipped it today and went straight to "Yum-Yum". Obvs, this track has a problematic title (cf. Gilbert and Sullivan, "The Mikado", and if you lurrrrrvveee G&S and don't understand why I refer to them as problematic then we shouldn't talk about it or we'll stop being friends and if I like you, I'd rather stay friends so talk to someone else about it, 'k?), but here's what Rodgers had to say about why the album was a flop (from wikipedia -- I haven't read the autobiography yet):

"Years later in his autobiography, Rodgers described his feelings about the album at the time "I knew it was a flop right away. I'd been so afraid of being labelled a disco musician that I was too tentative about the album's direction. And the songs weren't hooky enough. Over all, I wasn't clear philosophically or sure what I was trying to say."

In the universe of stupid theories that people come up with to explain why things fail to work out, this is one of the greatest ones I've ever encountered. There is no tentativeness to this album, nor is there any lack of hooky-ness. What the album has both going for it and against it are some of the most inappropriate for singing in public lyrics ever written.

I think the album flopped in the 80s because it arrived there via a time-warp from approximately now, located somewhere in Nile Rodgers brain. Do yourself a favor, give it a listen, and try to get past the objectification of women/identification of women with their body parts (which is really there, really irritating, and really, really 80s). Because, damn. You can offend me if you serve up a song like that.

Like everyone else on the planet, I am obsessed with Trainor's "All About that Bass", however, I do sort of wonder about some of the humorless and braindead commentary on the lyrics.

This is a better than average commentary:

http://www.thevine.com.au/music/news/number-ones-meghan-trainor-all-about-that-bass-20140812-284601/

At least this author recognizes the musical references, lyrically and melodically, to Justin Timberlake, but then turns around and fails to understand Trainor fairly obviously to me but apparently opaquely to all commenters referring to certain women as "skinny bitches" and then saying she's just playing she knows they think they're fat. Everyone at this point feels compelled to point out that Trainor isn't actually fat at all, and often then pick on her for not being body positive.

Bull shit. She isn't calling anyone a skinny bitch: she's pointing to the people that are called by others skinny bitches, playfully, and then noting that they _think_ they're fat. Just like she isn't anywhere near as male-gaze obsessed as Trout would have you believe -- those are all attributed quotes (to her mama, thus explicitly and with some humor, noting how older women enacted body positivity). The direct, un-ironic lyrical content of the song is, indeed, the unadulterated body positivity we want this song to be.

As for the "Trainor isn't fat" meme, come on. She's a young woman singing a pop song; in that context, she absolutely is fat. Just because she couldn't lose half her weight without falling off the bottom end of the "healthy" BMI range doesn't mean she isn't going to be perceived as fat by virtually everyone out there consuming this kind of media avidly. Just love the song. Go ahead. It's okay to love a song once in a while.

Also, the Chelmsford Burger King was nearly empty, and playing classical music while I was there this evening.

ETA: Has anyone found a review of Trainor's song that mentions Waters' "Hairspray"? Because that's what I keep thinking of when I watch the video.
Tags: not-a-book-review
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