Monday, April 16, 2007

Five Questions with Jen: Lily Allen - Alright, Still

Excuse me for gushing, but my girlfriend Jen finally bought an album that doesn't make me wretch. Our musical tastes diverge quite a bit, and although she's tolerant of my stuff (and even likes some of it), I have trouble swallowing her music. I'm a snob and she's a top 40 girl.

But a few weeks ago, Jen bought the new Lily Allen - and I really dig it. So I sat down with Jen (okay, we did this via email) and asked her about the album.

1. First off, who the heck is Lily Allen and what is Alright, Still? And is it any good?

Sorry, I still don't know that much about Lily Allen. I could have done some research, and I really meant to, but it felt too much like homework and I am going to have a lot of that to do come September, and I don't plan on starting a minute earlier.

I was introduced to her one Saturday night as I was watching SNL, not something I normally watch but I was up waiting for a certain person (more on that later; see my answer to question No. 3), and I needed a distraction, even a bad one, at the moment. While watching the show I thought I found something new -- me, finally, finding something different and interesting in music!

I could not wait to share that with others, especially the ones that tell me I need to find some new music, but when I went to tell my sister she said that Lily Allen was old news and I was still "behind the times". That did not change my opinion of the album, however. I can relate to many of the songs. I think most people, especially women, but also those in and out of relationships, having to go to clubs to meet people, or still young enough or possibly optimistic enough to find good things in not-so-great situations can relate, too.

2. The album is hip-hop, is it not? Records I Buy doesn't really dig hip-hop but it likes this album. Is it because we're elitist (it's European!) or are we outright racists (she's white!)?

(No answer.)

3. Let's talk about the first track, 'Smile'. Might you have a story about that song? Perhaps about a boyfriend going out drinking and not calling? How was that song helpful?

Smile was the song I saw performed on SNL. It's about a girl whose relationship ends because the guy is a schmuck (aren't they all;) and now she wants to see him hurt. I took it to mean emotionally hurt, unlike the video (which takes on another form of hurting that I could get behind for the right person, or should I say If the right person did something to deserve it). The video is posted below.

Anyway, the song is a great break-up song, or at least a great "revenge" song and at the moment I was watching it, that felt like something I needed to hear ... posssibly because a certain boyfriend stayed out all night long drinking with his buddies and not bothering to call to let his girlfriend know how late he was going to be. Or maybe it was another reason, and perhaps the first one was just an example -- because, as you all know, MY boyfriend would NEVER do something like that. He is way too thoughtful.

4. Do you have another favorite song on the album? What do you like about it?

My other favorite song is Knock 'Em Out. This song is for any person, guy or girl, who has been hit on by someone that they are just not interested in, and that person will not take the hint. I am sure that everyone has had this happen at least once in their lives. I was usually too nice and would get stuck talking to that particular person.

The main character in this song would not have stood for it. She had some great excuses that I may want to keep on file for future use, such as, " Nah I've got go cuz my house is on fire".

5. If you had to sum up your impressions of this album in one illustrative vocabulary word - a la Record I Buy reviews - what would that word be?


All in all, I may not have been the first to discover her, but I am glad that I did. Now I have music that is included on the "2007 playlist".

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hoboken is Flooding

Welcome to Part II of the All Hell Breaks Loose in Hoboken series on this formerly music-themed blog.

The following is a video I just shot of my basement, which is rapidly filling with water. When we got home from the Newport mall this afternoon, water was rushing into it like a waterfall but you could still walk to the washer and dryer. Now it's up to the third step.

No one in my apartment building seems concerned. A guy from the third floor came down this evening with laundry and when I told him he might want to rethink that, he laughed and told me the thought hadn't occured to him that the basement might be flooding. To his credit, he called the building's maintenance number from his cell phone. He was told to "wait until it stops raining."


I also took a video of my front steps and Madison St., but it's too dark to see. Hoboken is the new Venice.

I have's live police scanner streaming through iTunes. About a half hour ago, they announced that all personnel should remain at their posts - meaning a shift change was due. One guy radioed back that he'd stay at his post - but he needed to change his wet pants first. UPDATE: There has now been, according to the scanner, a giant mudslide on Sinatra Drive. Oy vey.

Oh, and Hoboken is still burning, at least somewhere. Fire trucks are making a major racket.

Hoboken is Burning

A break in our regularly scheduled music program for some pictures of Hoboken, flooded and on fire. Jen and I had to wade home from the PATH this afternoon in knee-deep water. No joke. Our basement is flooded, too, and the water's still rising...

These shots are from 2nd and Madison and 2nd and Jefferson, looking at a huge fire still burning at a lumber yard on 2nd and Clinton. We knew there was a fire somewhere because we smelled smoke. Jen went around the corner and saw heavy black smoke filling the air, and came inside to get me.

The floodwater shot at the end is not nearly as impressive as what Jen and I saw during our swim home. Waves were crashing against buildings, cars were nearly submerged and you couldn't even see the sidewalk in places. But I didn't have my camera then, and all we wanted to do was get home and get warm...

For more photos, and to see the above shots in their full-sized glory, click here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

How to Kill a Euro Dance Party

1) Observe many underaged Spanish girls dancing wildly.

2) Decide to be retro (in honor of the recently married groom.)

3) Decide early R.E.M. is a good era to represent.

4) Find out the DJ has no "End of the World as We Know It"

5) Settle for "Losing My Religion (Nuevo Remix)"

6) Wait for said "Nuevo Remix" to come on.

7) Literally watch the lithe, ripe, undulating, underaged Spanish girls stop undulating and go back to their tables as the song you selected starts playing.

8) Sulk.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Alanis' Lovely Lady Lumps

This has been making the rounds for several days but I'm posting it now because 1) Steph emailed me a link to it today and I finally watched it and 2) I am sick of seeing Keith Richards at the top of my blog. And, yes, 3) it's funny. Although I am not sure if Alanis is one to talk, considering some of her past gems.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Keith Richards Did Not Snort His Father

Keith Richards mixed his dead father's ashes with cocaine and inhaled it. Really. I'm not making this up. UPDATE: Now it appears HE was making it up. Not that I totally believe him, but whatever. I'm tired of this story now anyway.

From the original story:

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bjork's Actual Artwork for Volta

Yes, indeed. And no, it's not April 1 anymore.

You can read more about it at Pitchfork. To me, it looks like a soda bottle with feet. Or, even better, like one of these with feet:

But here's where I piss Bjork haters off: I like it. I am not only still psyched about Volta, I am even more stoked about it now. Why? Because, like Bjork says in the Pitchfork interview, the bright colors (and comic elements) are a real contrast to her last several albums (re: every one since Post) and represents a thematic change as well. To me, that's refreshing. A fun, danceable Bjork album sounds just about perfect.