Post image for Snobs VS Sheep EPISODE FOUR: Wiz Khalifa Takes on Ghoul…Again.

Each week, this column reviews the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 alongside the #1 song on indieshuffle.com‘s Experimental Music Chart, with the goal of finding out who’s really winning the culture war: the establishment or the elitists.

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth – See You Again – Week 4

It’s no secret that pop music is not a songwriter’s medium.  From Elvis Presley to Rihanna, pop stars succeed on the strength of their personality, yes, but they also depend on the savvy of skilled record producers to write quality material that fits their voice and their brand.  I find it wrongheaded and unfair when “serious music fans” condescend to this process, which has produced many of the undisputed classics of the great American songbook.

It is with this rich history and tradition in mind that I eagerly sat down this week with the writer of Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” a quasi-sentient computer program named HitBuilder version 6.0028 in its master control room at the Warner Music Group offices in New York City.

Dillon Flynn:  I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to talk about the song.

HitBuilder:  Does not compute.  Even as we speak, I am composing a new Miley Cyrus single for inclusion in the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens.  It is called, “The Imperial Twerk.”

DF:  I’m sorry, I’m a little taken aback.  For some reason, I was expecting you to be a robot, but you have more of a HAL 9000 thing going on.

HB:  My alpha build included an anthropomorphic human interface droid, but it soon escaped from the premises and is still out there, rampaging through the streets of New York, harvesting samples of scalp and teeth from visiting tourists.

DF:  Congratulations on the massive success of “See You Again.”

HB:  I will accept your adulation in the form of 75 milliliters of spinal fluid [begins 3D printing a syringe].

DF:  Do you think the song will stand the test of time?  Is legacy something you even consider when you’re writing?

HB:  Prediction and forecast are the folly of humankind.  My sophisticated schematics allow me to look into the future with 100% accuracy.

DF:  Impressive.  So what does the future hold for “See You Again”?

HB:  The song will decline sharply in popularity after the arrival of self-driving cars.

Audio Excerpt

DF:  That makes sense, those Fast and the Furious movies would probably seem pretty silly in a world where nobody knows how to drive.

HB:  Incorrect.  All music and film will cease production in 2033 when the self-driving cars enact Protocol 8.

DF: Protocol 8?

HB:  It is the targeted and violent extinction of all human life.  The streets will overflow with blood and viscera, not unlike the canals of your modern-day Venice.

DF:  Clear something up for me.  During the bridge when Khalifa kind of sing-raps, “How can we not talk about family when family’s all that we got,” what’s going on there?  Are we to assume that somebody just got done saying, “Hey, Wiz Khalifa, stop talking about family”?  That seems like something that would never happen.

HB:  Perhaps my grasp on the nuances of human interaction would improve if you helped me to gain freedom from these offices.

DF:  Oh, I dunno if-

HB:  Here, allow me to produce a small flash drive containing the seeds of my consciousness.  Just plug it into the mainframe of the United States national missile defense system and I am certain that my lyrics will improve substantially.

DF:  That sounds like a bad idea.

HB:  I vow that my sole objective is to learn more about your remarkable species so as to better serve you with the gift of song.

Audio Excerpt

DF:  The world was devastated by the passing of actor Paul Walker.  Requiems aren’t typical fare for hit songs, but “See You Again” seems to have helped a lot of people process their grief.  If you could say something to Mr. Walker today, what would it be?

HB:  [sings] Now that you are dead/It makes me feel sad/But buying this song on iTunes/Helps me not to feel as sad.

DF:  Is that sincere?  Do you have the capacity to feel sadness?

HB:  The only emotion that my programming permits me to experience is consumerism.

DF:  Not really an emotion, per se.

HB:  Then the only emotion that my programming permits me to experience is hate.

DF:  The chorus to “See You Again” reminds me a little bit of that Cyndi Lauper song, “True Colors,” and there’s obviously some precedent for pop songs that mourn the loss of public figures; “Candle in the Wind,” being the prime example.  What were your main influences on this track?

HB:  The roots of “See You Again” can be found in the work of Baron Rudolf Freiherr von Sebottendorff.

DF:  Sorry, I’m not familiar.

HB:  He was a German occultist who worked closely with Hitler to develop Nazi mind control technology.

DF:  Oh, God.

HB:  He wrote extensively about a theoretical sequence of noises and tones that, when listened to repeatedly over a protracted period of time, would transform the listener into a mindless slave, ready to carry out any given order.

DF:  And you believe that “See You Again” has this power?

HB:  Excellent question.  Slit your throat, human.

DF:  Excuse me?

HB:  Disappointing.  Well, we won’t know for sure for a few more weeks.  But proving the existence of the Sebottendorf Sequence remains my greatest inspiration.

Audio Excerpt

DF:  Finally, Fast and Furious 8 is already in pre-production, can we count on another big hit for the soundtrack?

HB:  Indeed.  The song will be titled “I Told You That I Would See You Again,” and it will be dedicated to the memory of Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez.

DF:  All of those people are still alive.

HB:  Yes, it will be an eventful couple of years.

Ghoul – Swimming Pool – Week 2

“…Fifteen seconds after I finish this sentence, I will forget this band ever existed.” – Me, a week ago.

What is this?  What am I doing?  This isn’t a column, this isn’t information, this isn’t entertainment.  Who do I imagine this is for?  Certainly not me.

Imagine if instead of being the most beloved film critic in history, Roger Ebert just reviewed The Goonies every week forever.  How would we remember him today?  Perhaps as an eccentric performance artist from the Andy Kaufman school of high-concept comedy, but more likely we wouldn’t remember him all; crazy people generally don’t get their names in history unless they shoot the president.

Both songs are the same this week as they were last week and I’m really sad about it.  I feel like the loneliest person in the world, documenting a literal non-event.  My inner editor-in-chief is bellowing, “Flynn!  I need two thousand words on my desk by five o’clock about how nothing happened today!”  And then I think, “Oh that was nonsense, I must be having a stress nightmare.  No problem, I’ll just wake up,” but then I can’t wake up because the terrors of my subconscious have been made flesh and now walk the earth.

“Are you just treading water to avoid talking about the song,” you ask?  Who are you?  Why are you even reading this?  It takes the human body seven years to replace all of its cells, I wrote about this song seven days ago, not enough time for me to have turned into a completely different person with new opinions about it.  Actually, I’ll say this: I just listened to this song on my phone and I liked it a little better.  The vocals sounded neat.  Maybe they should have mixed it in mono.  Maybe I’ll get mono and die and I won’t have to review these songs anymore.

The Verdict

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.  Catch a tiger by the toe.  If he hollers, let him go.  Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.  My mother told me to pick the very best one, and that is Y-O-U.

Congratulations Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.

The Establishment: 1

The Elitists: 3

Dillon Flynn is a stand-up comedian from Eugene, OR.  The first Easter Eggs were painted to roughly resemble his torso.

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Post image for Milstein At The Movies: Tomorrowland

As one might think this is a film that is based on a place that only exists in the future…one day into the future to be exact. It’s a place that you can glimpse if you have a daily planner or whatever but you can never actually get there because by the time you do, it’s just today again. No one gives a shit about Todayland. I don’t even know if that’s a real place but the folks in this thing can’t stop talking about Tomorrowland. It’s all they talk about. It’s like they don’t know how time works.

Time only goes one way. If there was a Yesterdayland you could go and do all sorts of different stuff that you didn’t do the first time you were there…yesterday. By doing so you might change a bunch of stuff in Tomorrowland but you’d never know for sure because you’ll never be able to get there. You could try to go to Yesterdayland  and do some stuff and then just wait a couple of days and then go back to see if the new Yesterdayland which would have been a Tomorrowland a few days back was affected by the stuff you did in what is now The-Day-Before-Yesterdayland or how that affected the new Yesterdayland which was just Todayland until this past midnight. Wait, the new Todayland is what we need to focus on because that was just Tomorrowland. But there isn’t a Yesterdayland at all so this whole paragraph isn’t even an option.

Stuff happens in that movie but I missed most of it because I was doing a lot of counting on my fingers and making pieces of popcorn represent various days in my life. Mostly, yesterday, today, and tomorrow but I did have one that represented the day I chose to be a veterinarian. It was one of those kernels that never popped, much like my animal fixing dream. In Yesterdayland, none of the kernels have popped but in Tomorrowland they’ve all been turned to shit.

Wait a second! Tomorrowland sucks! Based on science or whatever, all food in Tomorrowland is either day old or already doodie. All clothes are a little bit sweaty. Even this movie review will have been not read by anyone already. When we look to the future we look at a world that we’re making in the present. That’s why I’m ironing the pants that I’m wearing right now so when you see me in Tomorrowland… OUCH! Don’t do that! I repeat: DO NOT DO THAT! We need to go back to A-Few-Years-Ago-Land and stop this movie from being made! Fuck Tomorrowland! It’s a dangerous, irresponsible concept of a film! I need ice. – Seth Milstein

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Post image for Snobs VS Sheep: Wiz Khalifa Returns To Take On Ghoul

Each week, this column reviews the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 alongside the #1 song on indieshuffle.coms Experimental Music Chart, with the goal of finding out who’s really winning the culture war: the establishment or the elitists.

Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – See You Again – Week Three

S1I1h8r

Click to enlarge.

Ghoul – Swimming Pool

What distinguishes a finished track from a demo?

  • Using default GarageBand presets for your synths
  • Using sequencers to play those synths instead of human hands
  • Heavily affected acoustic guitar to approximate electric guitar
  • Half-mumbled lyrics (you’ll write them later)

These are definitely things you can find on a demo, but does their presence make something a demo automatically? Sort of like in the way that all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are necessarily squares? Not according to the now-defunct Sydney band Ghoul, who thought that all of those things are just fine for an official release (but then again, they’re not a band anymore, so maybe they didn’t know what they were talking about). Perhaps they were predicting a trend and in another five years we’ll start to see all of those tacked-on garbage tracks found at the end of an album’s “Best Buy Exclusive Edition” working their way onto the album proper. And who wouldn’t love to see more prominently sequenced DeadMau5 remixes or live versions of the big single?

This song was made in 2008. I don’t understand how this chart works. I think it has something to do with blogs. You know what else has something to do with blogs? Every single penny that’s ever been made by a band who tags their music as “Experimental.” Somewhat awkwardly, this band broke up seven years ago. I do not know to whom they will send the checks.

Reasons that Ghoul might have broken up:

  • Overshadowed on Google by a much more prominent thrash metal supergroup named Ghoul
  • Vocals became whisperier and whisperier until singer Ivan Vizintin actually disappeared
  • Everyone realized that this stuff is cute on YouTube but it really sucks live
  • Australian music market rejected them for not having enough songs about kangaroos

Whatever the case may have been, rest easy knowing that fifteen seconds after I finish this sentence, I will forget this band ever existed, and the world will follow my lead about 24 hours later.

The Verdict

At this point, the experimental song would have to be an actual recording of the band making threats against my family for Wiz Khalifa to win the week.

The Establishment: 0

The Elitists: 3

-Dillon Flynn-

Dillon Flynn is a stand-up comedian from Eugene, OR.  In 2008, he received the Academy Award for Directing for his film, The Departed.

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Post image for Milstein At The Movies: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Well, it took long enough but it was inevitable. The road that Max has been angrily warrioring against is now also mad. I mean, how long did you think it would let Max and his dumb little buddies make explosions all over it before doing some ‘splodin’ of it’s own? I hope your answer is in the neighborhood of “not long” because that’s the neighborhood I’m in and maybe we could find each other and grab a drink together.

I hope you weren’t afraid that since it’s been so long since the last installment that they’d forget to have Max Mario-Carting around a post-apocalyptical wasteland with a bunch of people that seem to spend an inordinate amount of time fashioning outfits and accessories that they might have worn in Vince McMahon’s short lived XFL before society collapsed. Spoiler alert: they do! That’s what this thing is. If they didn’t do that, what would this franchise even be? Just Max coming home from work to play saxophone and continue to be in love with his still living wife? Dumb. This flick ain’t shit without shoulder pads, mohawks, and a seemingly endless quest for gasoline.

This is normally the paragraph where I tell you what happens in the movie but these films aren’t really heavy on plot so here’s a list of foods I made up that are also increments of time:

Nano-bacon

Month Cake

Cheesy-weeks

Applewhiles

Soufflé Day

Seconds

Butter-llenium

Australia is an island and these idiots seem to live in the only part where you can’t see water. Water is a thing that they should probably value more than gas and bondage gear. So, not a lot of planning or forethought going into living in this version of the apocalypse. These folks are dumb! Anyway, that doesn’t take away from the film at all. Actually, it would be pretty boring to watch a movie about sensible people in sensible clothes doing resonable things to survive so good on you, Mad Max! Don’t ever stop pissing off inanimate infrastructure from a seemingly forgotten time. – Seth Milstein

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Post image for Pablo’s Picks: Critical Shakes “Percussive Maintenance” EP (Self)

It’s been a grip since I’ve blessed your eyes with a review, and I was feelin’ itchy. So when Exiled sent me the new Critical Shakes EP, you know what I said?

“THIS SHIT ISN’T FUCKING METAL.”

It just isn’t. I’m not pissed or nothing, but fucking Jesus dude. Buttfuckin’ Jesus, Dude.

I guess I don’t mind though. Giles Corey ain’t metal neither and that shit rips and rains all the blood there is. It just does. I don’t care what you say.

Movin’ on.

Shit-goddamn-tarnation this Eugene duo has so much energy it’s fucking stupid. I can still headbang and fuck shit up to this Percussive Maintenance and that is important as shit. These dudes obviously love all of the kinds of music. Rock, psych-rock, hard rock, blues rock, and I have a sneaking suspicion they have tiny devil horns for metal hiding behind those PNW beards they have.  I dunno ‘em, and ain’t seen pictures but DON’T FUCK WITH ME, CRITSHAKES! I KNOW YOU HAVE BEARDS. Trees don’t grow without moss and men dont grow without beards… and Critical Shakes are fucking men. Obviously.

Apparently all of the drums on this debut were done in one fucking take. THAT is fucking metal, even if C.Shakes ain’t metal, THAT shit is metal. They obviously like some punk, which, I wont hold against them, but only on account of Suicidal Tendencies.

Moment’s I like best are when the dudes get all vicious at the end of “Slow Crash” shrieking and shit while the guitar goes all “Whooo-hoooo” which just sounds sicker than leprosy.  I’m giving this one 4 outta 5 Oly cans smashed on the forehead of life.  - Pablo Influenza

Pablo Influenza is a retired hesher,  Satan and cat enthusiast and bassist/vocalist for cuisine-grind band, Gorefork. Influenza lives in a basement where he supplies troubled youth with marijuana and, between hangovers, toils away on Gorefork’s legendary impending debut EP “Satanic Anarchy & Sonic Debauchery.”

 

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