Thursday

Forget-Me-Not's


Forgetting Sarah Marshall was good (I'm thinking now my favorite thing about these Apatow productions, besides that they're funnier and smarter and more humane than your standard-issue rom-com, is that they're just a little bit longer, too, which lets the material breathe and allows for scenes that aren't shorthand for anything--often, the movies' best moments, like the one where Paul Rudd teaches the writer-star-protag to surf or the puppet Dracula denoument, the most ecstatically odd theatrical set-piece since Stuck on You's Bonnie and Clyde musical); Metric was better (the new stuff sounds as strong as the old stuff, "Dead Disco" remains one of the five or ten most compelling rock tracks of the past five or ten years, and Emily Haines is a force of nature up front, though her posture is almost as lousy as mine and, damn, I wish they'd played for longer than an hour-fifteen, but what can you do, right?).

Friday

We Major


Top 40, 2008: As always, the list is limited mostly, if not quite exclusively, to artists who've released new material within the past 18 months or so, and rankings are based much more on recent work than older stuff, though consistency is a significant determining factor.

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Sunday

Grab a Boy, Grab a Girl


In lieu of anything more exciting to write about, below are brief notes on my favorite singles (or, you know, "singles") a fourth of the way through 2008. (The only long-player that's impressed thus far is the new Mountain Goats, which is better than the last one, close to as good as the one before that, and further evidence that Monsieur Darnielle is the most consistently excellent record-maker currently at work.)

01. Kelly Clarkson - "How I Feel" Gotta admit: While I like Kelly plenty, that good-girl-gone-goth cover art and relatively crummy word-of-mouth sort of scared me off My December. This fantastic should-be stand-alone--as good as any of her mega-hits--makes me wonder if I should back-track and give the source disc a spin. Either way, the fact that she's smarter about life and love and, right, fame than just about any of her peers is clearer than ever--and when she gets around to releasing that best-of so-far comp, the wealth of top-shelf cuts shouldn't surprise anybody with ears.

02. Lil Wayne featuring T-Pain & Gabriel Antonio - "Lollipop" (remix) The original Carter III lead-off is a serviceable enough entry in (take your pick) the obvious-sexual-metaphor canon (see: "Candy Shop," "Milkshake," etc.) and/or the minimalistic-filthy-sex-rap canon (see: "Wait," "Play," etc.). This official remix is shockingly lovely--a worthy, inevitable soundtrack to seductions sensual or otherwise. And, look, I don't just mean lovely for an obvious-sexual-metaphor cut, or lovely for a minimalistic-filthy-sex-rap track. Weezy can do absolutely anything. Whoever Gabriel Antonio is needs to start stealing some gigs from Akon.

03. Beyonce - "Beautiful Nightmare" Now that B. and Jay have finally tied the knot, you'd think Mrs. Carter could take a breather from her presumptive head-to-head with Rihanna. Think again--here, she's totally angling for summer '08's "Umbrella." She hopes it rains.

04. Snoop Dogg featuring Robyn - "Sexual Eruption" (remix) The original version gets by mostly on novelty appeal, and, fine, so does this one, but bonus points are due for enlisting everybody's favorite sassy Swede: "Wanna snuggle, wanna cuddle, wanna stroke my pup / Snoop Dogg, I'm gonna sex you up." 'Nuff said, right?

05. Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland - "4 Minutes" There is so much going on here that it doesn't really lend itself well to blurb-style criticism. Maybe there's too much crammed in for its own good? Perhaps, but that beat is vintage Timbo all the way, and I, for one, enjoy hearing Madge's vocal buried a bit in the mix. This one and "Hung Up" strongly suggest that she should work more often with producers who aren't intimidated by her.