Bjizarre

AG passed along a link to help you fill in that five-hour gap in your day you don’t actually have — Pitchfork’s 100 Music Videos That Are Good But More Importantly Are Currently On YouTube Until Lawyers Step In.

In some cases, it’s not so important that the video is on YouTube — a-ha’s Take On Me is available elsewhere, though I’d love to see the Family Guy riff on it — but Pitchfork has a good eye for the endearing and the strange.

In this case, the one you have to check is the Bjork video, which features about 90 seconds of people making random noises in a bar and … a cat. It actually calls to mind two Saturday Night Live sketches (both of which, of course, I’d love to see on YouTube or anywhere else) — the Smigel “Fun With Real Audio” in which the swan Bjork wore to an awards ceremony comes to life and starts pecking everything in site, and “Toonces, the Driving Cat.”

(I checked at Yahoo, and they don’t have Bjork’s fantastic video for Human Behavior, which is unfortunate. As much as I liked that video, it did prompt a funny conversation with my mom:

ME: Well, it’s a pretty good song.

MOM: How can you tell?)

Tales from the flood


To explain the weather of the past few days in the D.C. area, we turn to the voice of reason on Family Guy, Brian:

You want an explanation? God … is … pissed!

Here’s a funny story from our day underwater, thanks to an impressive roundup in the Post. Police rescued some people from cars as the waters rose around them. Then two men, defying all human survival instinct, jumped back in the water. And so the police rescued them again.

What happened next, from the Post and a police sergeant:

“These two guys hit the officers, swung on them for no reason,” Bergin said, adding that they went back into the raging waters “we think for their cellphones.”

They are now safe, dry and in jail.

Quick Family Guy aside: In the episode in which Quagmire is married, they say Mayor Adam West has decreed that all graves be covered in concrete as protection from zombies. Twenty years ago, Adam West was in a film called Zombie Nightmare, which was perfect fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000 despite the inclusion of Tia Carrere. In this low, low-budget vehicle for bad metal music, West is a police captain. Who turns out to be corrupt. Who turns out to be corrupt because the zombies actually want him. Or something like that.

(Fun read: Check out the comments at IMDB on this film, starting with the behind-the-scenes story from one of the lead actors. The trivia behind that film is fascinating, and everyone seems to have a good sense of humor about how bad it really was.)

Political folks … don’t … get … it …

I’d like to say a quick thanks to this guy for saving me the effort of refuting this stuck-in-the-Beltway piece from the Post fretting that The Daily Show is doing a disservice to democracy because it — wait for it — is making young people cynical about government!

You’d think journalists would know not to shoot the bloody messenger.

But political journalists, I’ve found, get quite defensive when you propose anything that challenges the convenient little tools they use to cover politics. Journalists have reduced politics to a neat and tidy red-blue divide akin to the Yankees and Red Sox. Everything fits neatly into that frame. Do not dare question the frame! Everything can be explained as benefiting one party or the other! There are no original thoughts!

And it never occurs to political journalists that young people aren’t tuning out of political coverage because they’re stupid. Quite the opposite. They know a sham when they see it.

Great drums

1. Stewart Copeland, The Police — Demolition Man. This is a song that would be nothing without a bit of chaos. In the Dream of the Blue Turtles era, Sting would just play it really fast. Copeland can give you chaos with a backbeat, which is why it has always nagged at me that he never latched onto another high-profile gig after The Police broke up. He was due to go out with a revived version of The Doors, which would’ve been interesting, but I’d rather see him pop up with someone cranking out original material.

Hmmmm … Copeland and Ben Folds … that could be interesting …

Demolition Man has a couple of Copeland trademarks — subtle variations on the cymbals, a crisp snare drum that he only hits when it suits him, tom fills thrown into the middle of nothing. It starts with a classic fill in which he basically plays THROUGH the song like Keith Moon with technique, landing in his basic pattern about halfway through the next riff. He lays back during the verses, then brings the snare back into play to add a bit of urgency to the chorus.

Without Copeland, this isn’t much of a song. He turns it into something special. It’s rare that a drummer can do that.

2. Santana, Black Magic Woman. This is more of a complaint than a compliment. Any radio programmer who sets this one to fade out before the percussionists take over for the last 90 seconds or so should not be allowed to program an iPod, much less a radio station. It’s like listening to Livin’ La Vida Loca on the radio in Ireland, where they pronounced his name “Ricky Mar-TEEN” but played a remix that took out any Latin influences.

Sign of the times

I’ve never actually seen Top of the Pops, one of the BBC’s longest-running features yet not one that is shipped over the USA. It’s tied to the current charts, so it probably wouldn’t age very well, and BBC America generally doesn’t air recent stuff. And with the current fragmentation of musical tastes, it’s easy to see why the general interest in such a show would drop.

And yet I’m sad to see that it’s been canceled.

It’s probably just the excessive Anglophilia I carry around, though I also like to see worthwhile institutions carry on as long as they can.

The good news is that Later with Jools Holland is a great show, undoubtedly better than Top of the Pops. Jools is a marvelous MC, and the diversity of music on the show is simply wonderful.