Weird Al & Lady Gaga Reverse-Reminiscent of Weird Al & Coolio

Filed under:Cool,Music — posted by Anwyn on April 20, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

Weird Al had a long blog post (in other news, Weird Al has a blog) about how Lady Gaga refused permission for him to parody “Born This Way” on his upcoming new album. Not that she refused, but literally about how she refused:

We send the lyrics to Lady Gaga … After a few days, we get our answer: “She actually needs to hear it. Otherwise the answer is no.”

Hmm. Well, this was mystifying to me. At this point she has the lyrics… and hopefully she is familiar with her own song… and the parody is basically her music… with my lyrics. It really shouldn’t be that hard to decide – based on having the lyrics right in front of you – whether or not you’d be “okay” with a parody. But, alas, we’d been given an ultimatum. If she didn’t hear it, she wouldn’t approve it.

So at great effort and expense, he recorded the track and sent it.

A couple days later we got the final word: Lady Gaga says “no.”

*silent scream*

Bizarre on the face of it. But wait, there’s an update!

Gaga’s manager has now admitted that he never forwarded my parody to Gaga – she had no idea at all. Even though we assumed that Gaga herself was the one making the decision (because, well, that’s what we were TOLD), he apparently made the decision completely on his own.

So Al can put the song on the album and make the slam-bang video he says is in his head, and all’s right with the world.

I suppose it’s possible that the manager is taking a hit for Team Gaga and she really didn’t approve it, but did when she saw that Al released it scorched-earth, by which I mean on the internet for free. Somehow I doubt it, though. If she really had disapproved it, I can’t see Al’s internet fans being enough to sway her–he’s bigger than Firefly, but the story isn’t exactly going to make Yahoo headlines, probably. What was her manager thinking about? Is he too young to know who Weird Al is? Even if he is, isn’t his job to find out? I know that while I’m not too old to know who Lady Gaga is, I’m too old to have deliberately watched or listened to her.

The whole thing is even weirder than the Coolio saga, in which Al says Coolio’s record label gave him permission for the parody “Amish Paradise,” but after the song came out, Coolio said he hadn’t given permission; as I recall, that was while polishing his Grammy for “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

I’m glad this one has a happier ending.

Don’t Cross the Streams … of Awesome

Filed under:Cool,Movies,Music — posted by Anwyn on April 8, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

The high school musical gods meet Star Wars. It’s from 1996, and I’m unclear if the three writers were students or the adults involved (and there had to be some, right?), but here it is–a musical even a geekman from my generation can enjoy, unless of course that man is too culturally bereft even to have seen, say, Grease. The writers of Star Wars: The Musical took tunes from there, from Les Mis, from Beauty and the Beast, from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,from Phantom of the Opera … and those were just the ones I recognized in the first segment, or ones that my sister recognized for me after I sang her a few bars. (Joseph was never my favorite.) So no, it’s not really a musical for a musical-hatin’ man, because the extra kick comes from recognizing the songs, but nevertheless it is a thing of high school beauty and awesome. A taste, as posted at Neatorama (the whole thing is up in segments at the link above):

If I were this creative I never would have left music teaching. Godspeed, kids.

Early Billy Joel

Filed under:Ew,Music,Oh Hell No — posted by Anwyn on February 22, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

Pre-prefrontal-cortex Billy Joel, by the description:

Yes, that is Billy Joel, wearing fur pelts and posing with Small in a meat locker. And while such packaging might seem at best laughable, you ain’t experienced nuthin’ ’til you’ve heard the thing.

“Wonder Woman” kicks off the record, and we should be able to tell we’re in trouble, right from the get-go. A swirl of amplified wah-wah noise greets us, like a haze of pot smoke from an open van door. Out come the fur pelt-wearin’ Long Island Huns—Jon Small flailing around, beating anything he can find with his manly drum-clubs, and Joel coaxing noises from his organ rig, just like Jimi Hendrix, only without the sexiness or melodic intent. “Wonder Woman with your skin so fair!” Joel shouts. “Wonder Woman with your long, red hair! You have the velvet touch! You have what I want so much! My love is burnin’ fire! My need is my desire!”

It gets a lot worse from there. The prefrontal cortex, by the way, is “implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior.[citation needed] The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals.” Goals such as creating a hit record and correct social behavior such as … none of what’s described in that album. The prosecution rests.

I also didn’t know that Billy Joel’s first wife was poached from his bandmate. Apparently he never really was any more normal than other Hollyweirds. Sigh.

H/t Daddyman.

“We’re Getting the Impression That You Think We Are Not Relevant to These Proceedings”

Filed under:Heh,Music,Politics — posted by Anwyn on January 8, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

You’ve peeved Ray Stevens now.

The man’s 70 years old and made this, and while I don’t know that he necessarily came out of retirement to do so ([to me it seems that way, but that might be just because] I haven’t followed him in a while, though when I was little, “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” was the funniest thing I had ever heard), I say … you go, Ray. I particularly like the embrace of the “yokel” image to make the point that the ones Obama et. al. would like to write off as “yokels” are quite capable of “yokeling” him et. al. right out of office. Seriously–I know a lot of people of my parents’ age who look a lot like the Ray playing the plunger, except they play real guitars–extremely well. His point is real and well made.

Next best line: “You might want to start looking for another line of work. How about the medical profession? Yeah, they’re going to need everybody they can get who will put up with the red tape and the pay cut.”

H/t See-Dubya.

Liberty DeVitto Sues Billy Joel

Filed under:Good Grief,Music — posted by Anwyn on May 27, 2009 @ 11:10 am

And Sony, for back royalties.

That’s a longtime relationship now apparently completely down the skids, if I may be allowed a mixed metaphor.

Could it be true that Joel hasn’t met his financial obligations? Sad and ironic if true; sad and lame if not true.

H/t J.

Just How I Like My Musicians …

Filed under:Cool,Music — posted by Anwyn on January 9, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

… badass.

Via the boys at Ace’s house.

Et Tu, James

Filed under:Language Barrier,Music,Not Cool,Politics — posted by Anwyn on October 22, 2008 @ 11:34 am

Taylor tanks for Obama, like Billy and Bruce.

Advice for stars endorsing Obama: Say as little as possible about why your man is The Man. Please:

“And I just feel so good about seeing Obama present himself, and people getting to know who he is, and how he responds, how he works. I have a huge amount of hope.”

Come on. There’s also this gem:

“I am an Obama guy. I’m sure we don’t know the entire John McCain, we don’t know the entire Barack Obama. That’s what the campaign really needs to be about. We need to know who these guys are.”

Two things: 1) It would have been ridiculous, back in the day of “We don’t really know Obama,” to claim the same of McCain, who’s been on the national scene for decades and has run for president already. If you don’t know enough about it him it’s because you aren’t paying attention. 2) That claim is over even about Obama. We know as much as we need to: He favors socialist economic policies, tells generalistic lies about what caused the finance crisis, couldn’t see outside the bubble of his Chicago pals to know that his relationship with Ayers doesn’t play well with the rest of us, and uses race as a disingenuous club while having sat under a man who is certainly, at the very least, the most racist and flat-out craziest preacher I’ve ever seen or heard of, and I’ve seen and heard some fiery Southern Baptists in my time, people. That is “who this guy is,” James. You know I love you, and it’s certainly not going to stop me from singing “Sweet Baby James” to my son at night or keeping “Frozen Man” among my top favorite songs, but good grief. Just come out and say you’re in favor of rich people paying higher taxes and that Obama’s relationship baggage doesn’t bother you. Something wrong with that?

Allah thinks it’s refreshingly honest when they don’t bother to talk about issues, and it may be, but it also makes me think either A) they’re just not too bright or B) they absolutely think we’re not too bright. Probably some truth in both of those, but why embrace them?

H/t: J.

Billy Joel to Fundraise for Obama

Filed under:Music,Not Cool,Politics — posted by Anwyn on October 2, 2008 @ 11:08 am

Heart-ache. Or maybe voice-ache.

This One’s for Mr. Sippican

Filed under:Blogging,It's My Life,Music — posted by Anwyn on August 17, 2008 @ 1:07 am

Mr. Sippican Cottage, that is. Although I’m not sure it’s the kind of music he enjoys. But I love it, and it reminds me of the way Mr. Sippican writes about his wife, about his children, about his life in terms of them.

You know “Ashokan Farewell,” right? Unless you were living under a rock with no cable during the time of The Civil War, the mini-series, you know it. This is by the same composer, Jay Ungar. A cousin of mine who is a dead ringer for Loren Dean and I have talked about who would play me and various other cousins in our life story. The lady at the piano, Molly Mason, would have to be played by Stockard Channing–look at those cheekbones! (Cousin and I couldn’t come up with a satisfactory actor look-alike for me. Go figure.)

I played this in trio yesterday with a couple of great musicians I get to flute around with every few weeks–a fiddler and a guitarist. I flute as aforementioned and also sing–mostly old Peggy Lee songs that Mr. Sippican would probably approve of. “Lovers’ Waltz,” by Jay Ungar. Gorgeous.

Beatles Diplomacy

Filed under:Jerks,Language Barrier,Music,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on August 16, 2008 @ 11:12 am

A post on the Beatles. I don’t know what this blog is coming to. I blame SarahK, whose ongoing saga “We Can Wiirk It Out” has got the Beatles stuck in my head today, much to my distress.

I dislike the Beatles. I like individual songs here and there (“I Will” leading that category by several lenths), but in general I find them (the group) overblown and overrated. On the “overrated” charge, I am willing to concede that, being far too young to have been around for the furor they caused when they were coming up, I probably cannot appreciate by how far they were the first of their kind. And I certainly have not missed the fact that a lot of my favorite musicians cite them as influences. So I don’t want to be ungrateful. But sometimes their sheer pompousness really gets to me. Have you ever really listened to the words of “We Can Work It Out?”

Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can’t go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Think of what you’re saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right.
Think of what I’m saying,
We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Life is very short, and there’s no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.
I have always thought that it’s a crime,
So I will ask you once again.

Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There’s a chance that we may fall apart before too long.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Wow. We can work it out, as long as “work it out” means you immediately drop your POV and position and embrace mine. Otherwise we’re through.

“You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right” is undoubtedly said between many a couple during arguments. If one person didn’t think the other was unutterably wrong, there probably wouldn’t be the fight to begin with. But it’s not a basis for “working it out.” It’s the basis for the ultimatum being given here: Drop it or I’ll drop you. Seems like they’re past the point of presenting arguments with evidence and logic behind them to try to sway the other person or at least get a compromise. So what is there to work out?

The bridge is possibly the worst of all. “Fighting sucks, so stop doing it. Obviously I’m not the one fighting; it’s just you being so very, very wrong.” If you go to war, needlessly, for I did not desire it, then men will be slain. Saruman sez: I didn’t desire the war, I just decided to overrun your lands and lay waste your forests and plunder your people and you were supposed to do nothing. Because you didn’t do nothing … war! See what you did?

This song is the same thing in microcosm. It is horrible, and not worthy of McCartney, the man who wrote “I Will.” Looks like there may have been some personal overtones to it, but once you put a song out there like that it becomes a general recipe, and this is one of the worst I’ve ever heard.

Learn Something New Every Day

Filed under:Cool,Music — posted by Anwyn on August 14, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

Chess, the music(al), was written by the two Bs in ABBA.

That explains a lot, not least of which is why I like it so much. Like Bookworm says, ABBA has a lot of songs that just make me “fizzy happy.”

You’re a Bitter Stranger: Barack Obama’s Campaign Song

Filed under:Music,Politics — posted by Anwyn on April 15, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

Part One: The Pitch, Suitably Vague and Feelgood

However you feel, whatever it takes
Whenever it’s real, whatever awaits.
Whatever you need, however so slight
Whenever it’s real, whenever it’s right.

Part Two: The Woo–You’re Bitter, Right? Come On, Baby, I Can Fix It

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the things you said to me–
Like a bitter stranger
Now I see the long and short, the middle, and what’s in between
I could spit on a stranger.

Part Three: The Truth

Honey, I’m a prize and you’re a catch and we’re a perfect match
Like two bitter strangers
Now I see the long and short of it and I can make it last
I could spit on a stranger
You’re a bitter stranger
I could spit on a stranger
You’re a bitter stranger.

Part Four: The Desperation–Come Back, Baby, What’d I Say?

I see the sunshine in your eyes
I’ll try the things you’ve never tried
I’ll be the one that leaves you high, high, high …

Song written by Stephen Malkmus, performed here by Nickel Creek

Sing It to Me

Filed under:Music — posted by Anwyn on March 31, 2008 @ 7:47 pm

I like poetry, but I don’t take the initiative often enough to sit down and read some, cold, so to speak. It’s not good reading-during-dinner material. But many times I’ve come to love and internalize poetry through singing it–either something I sang in one of the choirs I’ve been a member of or, in this case, CDs I really like. Choral music introduced me to the work of Christina Rosetti, for example, and this Nickel Creek rendering of “Sweet Afton” by Robert Burns is everything you could want in a lullaby. If you’ve never heard it, do yourself a favor and give it a listen–the video’s embedding code was “disabled by request,” alas, so I have to link it. Listen to words like “yon” and “rills” and “stem” roll out as though they’re perfectly understandable modern English alongside venerable rocks of the language like “lofty.” I particularly like the phrase “far marked.” I’ve sung this to my son for a long time now, and I haven’t decided if Burns’s “Mary” is really “asleep by thy murmuring stream” or dead, her death made palatable by poetic license.

That’s not true; I have decided. She’s only asleep. And if you know of Burns commentary that says otherwise, don’t tell me.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace