Breaking Down “Cinnamon”

Sneakin down your alley way and knockin’ on your door [footnote]Setting up a very playful, prank-type song! Fun![/footnote]
Thought I had enough but I’m back for more [footnote]Our main character clearly has a taste for hijinks![/footnote]
Cinnamon, let me in [footnote]Clearly asking for a character named Cinnamon to let him in! This is an odd thing to do when trying to sneak prank someone, but I bet it pays off later.[/footnote]

Knock, knock, let me in, I won’t go away [footnote]This guy’s a regular Ashton Kutcher! He won’t give up on a prank.[/footnote]
I’m gonna see ya if it takes all day [footnote]This guy is dedicated.[/footnote]
Cinnamon, let me in [footnote]Clearly worried that Cinnamon has not heard him to this point.[/footnote]

She la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la la, la, la, la [footnote]Pretty sure this is the start of the prank. Probably will be clearer after a few more verses.[/footnote]
One potato two potato three potato, four [footnote]Seems to be a potato-based prank.[/footnote]
Open up, Cinnamon, I want more [footnote]Hold on, is Cinnamon the one doing the pranking?[/footnote]
Five potato, six potato, seven potato eight [footnote]So far we know of eight potatoes that exist in this song.[/footnote]
Give it to me, Cinnamon, I can’t wait [footnote]Ah, OK, so the titular Cinnamon has stolen the narrator’s potatoes. The prankee has become the pranker! Clever.[/footnote]

You can’t hide girl [footnote]Hmm. That sounds ominous.[/footnote]
I’m comin’ inside girl [footnote]Holy shit. Wait. This is a home invasion song.[/footnote]
Do what you want to [footnote]He’s saying that she won’t be able to put up a fight.[/footnote]
Baby I’ll let you [footnote]Yikes, he’s just rubbing it in. How was this a hit?[/footnote]
Might as well face it, Cinnamon, you know I’m gonna get ya [footnote]Clearly stating his intent to kill Cinnamon. This is premeditated.[/footnote]
She la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la la, la, la, la [footnote]The victim cries out.[/footnote]

[guitar solo] [footnote]Musical interpretation of the slasher setting about his work.[/footnote]
Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cinnamon [footnote]Killer mutters the name of his victim over and over again, in some sort of sick post-kill ritual.[/footnote]

The Christmas Spirit

carolers-cartoonIf you’d like to get into the Christmas Spirit, we recommend visiting our sister site The Critics Agree, where we’re running a new feature called The 12 Carols of Christmas.

That’s right, we’re paying tribute to the holiday movie season by re-writing some of our favorite Christmas Carols! We promise this will put a smile on your face. After all, isn’t that what a movie site is supposed to do?

Here’s what’s up so far:

  1. Joy to the World
  2. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  3. Deck the Halls

Our unique take on “Jingle Bells” goes live at 3 pm today. If you’d like to follow along, you can subscribe by RSS or in iTunes!

The Next OK Go Video

ok-go_69_814How can the creative dudes in OK Go top their most audacious video yet? We have some ideas we’d like to pitch:

  • Lay the music over footage of the 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.
  • A traditional performance video, but only ever released on Betamax.
  • Maybe a music video with a LOT of choreography; like really good choreography.
  • The guys are playing music in a blue room, and toward the end some dogs come running out.
  • Defrost Walt Disney and bring him back to life. He starts singing the song as his heart resumes beating.
  • Convince Barack Obama to declare war on North Korea. New single plays over first footage of bombs being dropped on Pyongyang.
  • “Here It Goes Again” sequel, but this time everybody’s on ellipticals!!!
  • What if it’s just a PowerPoint full of cat pictures? (Or: cats in sweaters?)
  • Re-create Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair” video shot-for-shot. Reunite Pavement to play the members of OK Go.
  • Video turns out to be a teaser trailer for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • Film the band going over Niagara Falls, or into space (depending on budget).
  • Band lives in the Big Brother house; loop song 24/7 for the duration of their stay.
  • Hard to explain in print, but it’s a synchronized swimming / competitive eating hybrid.
  • The guys just play their instruments in costumes (e.g. hobo, pirate, sexy nurse), but we blindfold the editor.
  • The band delivers a baby. (On exercise equipment???)
  • Does anyone know Quentin Tarantino? He would be a huge get.
  • Make the video exactly 6 minutes and 8 seconds long, then release a new second of it every day for a year.

#Classic #Albums: BABEL

Contemporary music doesn’t get the credit it deserves in modern culture. Thus, in our new series #Classic #Albums, we will give these records the respect they deserve. Today, we’re reviewing Babel by Mumford & Sons.

Mumford and Sons BabelHey, man, I take it all back! This is one fucking heavyweight of an album! OK — I’ll concede that until you’ve listened to the album eight hundred times, as I have, it seems as if it’s just one especially heavy song extended over the space of two whole sides. But, hey! you’ve got to admit that Mumford and Sons have their distinctive and enchanting formula down stone-cold, man. Like you get the impression they could do it in their sleep.

And who can deny that Marcus Mumford is the absolute number-one heaviest white blues guitarist between 5’4″ and 5’8″ in the world?? Shit, man, on this album he further demonstrates that he could absolutely fucking shut down any whitebluesman alive, and with one fucking hand tied behind his back too.

“Babel,” which opens the album, has to be the heaviest thing I’ve run across (or, more accurately, that’s run across me) since “Sim Sala Bim” on Helplessness Blues. Like I listened to the break (Marcus wrenching some simply indescribable sounds out of his axe while your stereo goes ape-shit) on some heavy Vietnamese weed and very nearly had my mind blown.

Hey, I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not very objective.” But dig: I also listened to it on mescaline, some old Romilar, novocain, and ground up Fusion, and it was just as mind-boggling as before. I must admit I haven’t listened to it straight yet — I don’t think a group this heavy is best enjoyed that way.

Anyhow . . . Winston Marshall, who is rumored to sing some notes on this record that only dogs can hear, demonstrates his heaviness on “Whispers in the Dark.” When he yells “I’d set out to serve the Lord,” you can’t help but flash on the fact that the Lord is a cleverly-disguised phallic metaphor. Cunning Win, sticking all this eroticism in between the lines just like his blues-beltin’ ancestors! And then (then) there’s “Hopeless Wanderer,” which will be for Ted Dwane what “Jade” has been for Sharpe. Ted demonstrates on this track that had he half a mind he could shut down Sharpe even without sticks, as most of his intriguing solo is done with bare hands.

The album ends with a far-out blues number called “Not With Haste,” during which Marcus contributes some very convincing moaning and harp-playing, and sings “This ain’t no sham / I am what I am.” Who said that white men couldn’t sing blues? I mean, like, who?

#Classic #Albums: BELIEVE

Contemporary music doesn’t get the credit it deserves in modern culture. Thus, in our new series #Classic #Albums, we will give these records the respect they deserve. Today, we’re reviewing Justin Bieber’s Believe.

zmnwzUpon the release of Justin Bieber’s most thematically ambitious, musically coherent album to date, the record in which he unites the major strengths of his previous work and comfortably reconciles himself to some apparently inevitable problems, we should all say a brief prayer that his fortunes are not made to rise and fall with the fate of the “drag-rock” syndrome — that thing that’s manifesting itself in the self-conscious quest for decadence which is all the rage at the moment in trendy Hollywood, in the more contrived area of Selena Gomez’s presentation, and, way down in the pits, in such grotesqueries as One Direction, Nicole Scherzinger’s quintet of feathered, sequined Barbie dolls. And which is bound to get worse.

For although Bieba Baby himself has probably had more to do with androgony’s current fashionableness in rock than any other individual, he has never made his sexuality anything more than a completely natural and integral part of his public self, refusing to lower it to the level of gimmick but never excluding it from his image and craft. To do either would involve an artistically fatal degree of compromise.

Which is not to say that he hasn’t had a great time with it. Flamboyance and outrageousness are inseparable from that campy image of his, both in the JTT and Britney stages and in his new butch, street-crawler appearance that has him looking like something out of the darker pages of 50 Shades of Grey. It’s all tied up with the one aspect of Justin Bieber that sets him apart from both the exploiters of transvestitism and writer/performers of comparable talent — his theatricality.

The news here is that he’s managed to get that sensibility down on MP3, not with an attempt at pseudo-visualism (which, as Ms. Gomez has shown, just doesn’t cut it), but through employment of broadly mannered styles and deliveries, a boggling variety of vocal nuances that provide the program with the necessary depth, a verbal acumen that is now more economic and no longer clouded by storms of psychotic, frenzied music, and, finally, a thorough command of the elements of rock & roll. It emerges as a series of concise vignettes designed strictly for the ear.

Side two is the soul of the album, a kind of psychological equivalent of 98 Degrees and Rising that delves deep into a matter close to Justin’s heart: What’s it all about to be a rock & roll star? It begins with the slow, fluid “Die in Your Arms,” a song in which currents of frustration and triumph merge in an overriding desolation. For though “I know loving you ain’t easy” (sic), still “Mhmm, uh-huh, yeah, yeah, alright.” The pervading bittersweet melancholy that wells out of the contradictions and that Bieber beautifully captures with one of the album’s more direct vocals conjures the picture of a painted harlequin under the spot-light of a deserted theater in the darkest hour of the night.

“Fall” springs along handsomely as he confidently tells us “Well let me tell you a story / about a girl and a boy.” Here Bieber outlines the dazzling side of the coin: “Did you know that I loved you or were you not aware?” His singing is a delight, full of mocking intonations and backed way down in the mix with excessive, marvelously designed “Whoa ooh”s and such that are both a joy to listen to and part of the parodic undercurrent that runs through the entire album.

“All Around the World” is both a kind warning and an irresistible erotic rocker (especially the handclapping chorus), and apparently Bieber has decided that since he just can’t avoid cramming too many syllables into his lines, he’ll simply master the rapid-fire, tongue-twisting phrasing that his failing requires. “Catching Feelings” has a faint ring of “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You” to it — stately, measured, fuzzily electric. A tale of intra-posse jealousies, it features some of Bieber’s more adventuresome imagery, some of which is really the nazz: “We were best of friends since we were this high / So why do I get nervous every time you walk by?”

Justin Bieber’s supreme moment as a rock & roller is “Beauty and a Beat,” a relentless, spirited Miley Cyrus-styled rush of chomping guitars. When that second layer of guitar roars in on the second verse you’re bound to be a goner, and that priceless little break at the end — a sudden cut to silence from a mighty crescendo, Bieber’s voice oozing out as a brittle, charged “Body rock, girl, I can feel your body rock!” followed hard by two raspy guitar bursts that suck you back into the surging meat of the chorus — will surely make your tum do somersaults. And as for our Biebs, well, now “We gonna party like it’s 3012 tonight.”

But the price of playing the part must be paid, and we’re precipitously tumbled into the quietly terrifying despair of “As Long As You Love Me.” The broken singer drones: “Seven billion people in the world trying to fit in / Keep it together / Smile on your face even though your heart is frowning.” But there is a way out of the bleakness, and it’s realized with Bieber’s Timberlake-like scream: “As long as you lo-lo-love me / As long as you lo-lo-love me.” It rolls on to a tumultuous, impassioned climax, and though the mood isn’t exactly sunny, a desperate, possessed optimism asserts itself as genuine, and a new point from which to climb is firmly established.

Side one is certainly less challenging, but no less enjoyable from a musical standpoint. Bieber’s favorite themes — Mortality (“Take You,” “Right Here”), the necessity of reconciling oneself to Pain (those two and “Boyfriend”), the Katy Perry vs. the Old in sci-figarments (“One Love”) — are presented with a consistency, a confidence, and a strength in both style and technique that were never fully realized in the lashing My World or the uneven and too often stringy Under the Mistletoe.

Bieber initiates “Thought of You” on side one with a riveting bellow of “I’m good with that” that’s delightful in itself but which also has a lot to do with what Believe is all about. Because in it there’s the perfect touch of selfmockery, a lusty but forlorn bravado that is the first hint of the central duality and of the rather spine-tingling questions that rise from it: Just how big and tough is your rock & roll star? How much of him is bluff and how much inside is very frightened and helpless? And is this what comes of our happily dubbing someone as “bigger than life”?

Justin Bieber has pulled off his complex task with consummate style, with some great rock & roll (the featured artists are Big Sean on guest vocals, Ludacris on guest vocals and Drake on guest vocals; they’re good), with all the wit and passion required to give it sufficient dimension and with a deep sense of humanity that regularly emerges from behind the Biebs facade. The important thing is that despite the formidable nature of the undertaking, he hasn’t sacrificed a bit of entertainment value for the sake of message.

I’d give it at least a 99.

PRESS RELEASE: ‘Cheshire Cat’ Reissue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CARGO MUSIC TO REISSUE BLINK-182’S “CHESHIRE CAT”

BOX SET FEATURING VINYL REMASTER AND NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD TRACKS TO BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 17, 2014

Cargo Music is proud to announce the re-release of Blink-182’s debut studio album Cheshire Cat on February 17, 2014! This unique box set will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the seminal album that began the band’s catapult to punk rock superstardom. The set will feature complex remasters of famous album cuts like “Does My Breath Smell?,” “Toast and Bananas,” “TV” and “Ben Wah Balls.” In addition, the box set includes a new second disc of B-sides and outtakes, a third disc featuring re-recorded drums by Travis Barker, and a fourth disc with album-long commentary by the band members themselves. For audio purists, the set also includes the remastered Cheshire Cat on 169-gram vinyl, as specified and supervised by Mark Hoppus.

The deluxe package also includes must-have flourishes for diehard fans, like DeLonge family photos, a leatherbound copy of Travis Barker’s unfinished novel, and the unaired pilot episode for Mark Hoppus’s TV show Hoppus on Music.

In addition to the deluxe box set, Cargo Music is pleased to announce that it will be re-releasing each of the album’s tracks as a single, with a new one available weekly on iTunes and 7-inch vinyl. Cargo Music will be coordinating a street team campaign to bring these classic tracks back to the top of radio charts across the nation.

To promote the reissue, Blink-182 will be touring behind Cheshire Cat once again. They will play the album in its entirety each night on a 22-date tour across the country, beginning in Lawrence, Kansas and ending in Ocala, Florida. The band sacrificed its usual arena-level fees to offer up their beloved album to an intimate group of fans each night. Mark Hoppus explains, “This is the way Cheshire Cat was meant to be heard.”

In the months and weeks before its release, Cargo Music will celebrate the band and the album by releasing bi-weekly podcast interviews with the band’s punk contemporaries and mentees, who will discuss the impact that Cheshire Cat had on them, their music and their lives. Musicians slated to appear include Billie Joe Armstrong, Marky Ramone, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins and David Byrne.

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For more information, please contact:
Patrick O’Brien — Promohthree Media
(215) 639-2102
pob@promohthreemedia.com