Ep. 1 :: The Museprint: Pop Shelf Canon Kids

a voilà: the karioke bar, welcome on in

[ pours prologue apertif ] just a bit of debut episodic pretense prologue lede to contextualize the subsequent … this venue, the site itself, is a space for human connection through the record collection, and everything that entails … as this is a “bar,” with rhythm and muse on tap, said scope is effectually the episodic format — simplicity.

episodes are built around a setlist, a slate, a collection of music selections — the standard build being the pop shelf (top shelf selections —  a curation of album, single, album track, etc. check the menu below for the full slate); audio video discotheque terset format … museprint blueprint … i just had to craft a signature something for the standard episodic template … thus.

the build is the format, the blend is the curated slate of featured selections … focusing on the immediate, we’re kicking it off with the canon kid blend — pop shelf on echelon nostalgia.

notes on syntax :: generally speaking, the tempo : the karioke bar is a space for conversession, as the root of human connection through record collection … rhythm and muse on tap is just that … the conversation between music and the muses it inspires and motivates … and the muses who channel said manifestos through music interpretation … so the tempo, the way i do this is, quite literally, i riff into a recording device, and i transcribe that stream of consciousness … so, the episodes will read much akin to said methodology, a crystal radio program transcription … as i have a somewhat signature cadence tempo — preemptive disclosure on the ifs and whens of said riffs reading like juggernaut sequences of quasi-linguistic detours … either way, it’s a bit causerie, but it’s stream of consciousness flow mode … and punctuation serves a primarily sartorial function.

tl;dr : episode one karioke bar signature pop shelf build test press canon kid blend stream of consciousness format verbatim transcription with a bit of tightening for clarity but context is right in the flow of *gestures immediately at proximal* signature tempo

all of that is to say welcome to the karioke bar … rhythm and muse on tap … human connection through record collection … standard builds and signature blends in free flow conversession  … keep calm and karioke bard: cheers, kids.

enjoi.


On Tap :: Build : Pop Shelf · Blend: Canon Kid Mix

Champ the Bit (Skip to Said Spin) : Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Mic Check ::

( glossary pretense ) : the mic check is a lyric, hook, riff, etc. to set the subsequent sonic cocktail’s tone of view … the mood maestro palate primer, perhaps.

this is one where the words, the melody, harmonies, that rhythmic symphony, genuinely speak for themselves … and when you feel it, and you hear it: you know that it’s more of a manifesto, in the moment of music itself … that it sets the tone, is why it’s the mic check … it’s what you convey before the any and everything else that needs to be said … it’s the first impression and famous last words, ushering into this experience that might lose all sensory meaning, and just exist completely outside of conventional lyrical syntax …

so with the inaugural, i had to objectively think about: “which lyrics are great,” and “which lyrics do i love,” and then i just remembered, something very simple …

Remember back in the bully, when cats used to harmonize like …

— Lauryn Hill

ms. lauryn hill … one of the most prolific, incomparable, extraordinary, gifted lyricists: full-stop ( well … for my generation growing up, at least – i can’t speak for any other generation … ). lauryn is in an echelon all her own, truly a language artist … and when you just get into the music, if you just live in the music, it’s such a gnostic kind of knowledge that is expressed through the music …

the miseducation felt like the re-education … speaking to the capacity for music to teach the cultural curriculum, and its infinite capacity to just put into practice the – i don’t want to say “didactic” or “pedagogical” because they feel too technically-academic: “this is learning” – but, back to the top-line … the miseducation just speaks to the ability of genuine music to impart knowledge through arguably unconventional means, and the eternal limitlessness of creative expression as a means of information dissemination, and said storytelling to the extent of teaching …

… so, inaugural mic check, “doo wop (that thing)”’s intro … it’s just the canon … one of those epiphanic moments where you’re just like: *snap* “that’s what it’s all about” … nostalgia, harmony, melody, human connection — just everything. … and it’s fresh, and it’s familiar, and it’s nostalgic, and it’s timeless, and it speaks to just, the epitome of music culture … and again, it’s something you can’t put into words, and no matter what words i scribe, i’m not going to be able to encompass or properly express the resonance of the riff itself.

“doo wop,” that lede … because the miseducation was the re-education, that foundation for my perspective on music’s cultural role and form and function … which, that’s the ultimate … the first mic check i remember remembering: “remember back in the bully, when cats used to harmonize like …”

and so, without further ado: the source record in reference …

Doo Wop (That Thing)” — (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; 1998)

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Album ::

so, the inaugural album selection … the first lp i ever bought *mental scan for confirmation* yes, the first vinyl lp i ever bought …

The Bodyguard Original Soundtrack Album — Various Artists (1992)

for me, this one … whew. #dropthedeluge

i think a lot of the selections, in a way, are a cultural biography … music in general speaks to that aspect of music culture … and the individuals who find deep affiliation and association with music culture, find that music (especially, particularly with “pop” – quote-unquote pop – music) becomes a crux between their connection with their sense of identity, as an individual and part of the collective.

and it’s the vulnerability in all of us that tends to be an adhesive between people … vulnerability tends to be an adhesive that associates or founds and forms a distinct association between people, akin to that bond of the oppressed, and music speaks to that … it’s those stories that speak to the otherwise opaque chamber inside all of us, that becomes illuminated when someone else is able to express the experience of what it means to feel a certain way – to have had a certain perspective built from first-hand experience, or the things we don’t want to express – become more comfortable, become more okay … that we’re able to even recognize them, with a certain clarity, when they have been communicated to us from an apparent other … music echoes to that aspect.

music underscores the overarching soundtrack of our lives (and, i know the entirety of the aforementioned is cliché) but, to segue, this literal soundtrack felt like an example of the conceptual that …

the bodyguard. … if anybody knows me, knows that it’s one of the most defining cultural works of my childhood.

i remember when i was, i guess i had to have been five when the movie came out in theaters, and so that following christmas i got it on vhs, and it was under the tree, and totally changed my life … it’s one of those little things … you have the barbie dreamhouse, the bike, the dolls, the everything else … but it’s that one cassette that really connected … and i watched that vhs religiously, i watched it every day … i remember getting home from school, watching it when i was done with homework (or, after watching glory with my brother, after we finished our homework, but onward), watching it on weekends … and not knowing why. i mean, the bodyguard was a cultural phenomenon, but it was just that thing … being six or seven, and the narrative itself being a sort of modern fairy tale … very zeitgeist. … and i know people say it’s a “popcorn movie,” but for a kid who was so intrigued, there was something about it that was like a secret language. i still think the bodyguard feels like a secret language … and i’m not even being sarcastic … but there again, just speaking to the vulnerability.

and it’s one of those moments where i look back and go: “not entirely convinced this isn’t catalyst correlation with why i see celebrity stardom the way i do” … because that cinematic narrative normalized the pop cultural story — or, at least, for a kindergartner … and a top-line takeaway being “understand the story, and protect these star people when you see them again.” you get a glimpse, a feel, for people in positions of access and authority, places and influence … and it was almost like a pop culture primer, a pop industry primer for me … but i enjoyed it, i think i also overthought it … but, that’s neither here nor there, really.

so, needless-to-say segue: huge whitney fan as a kid. … the voice was just elan vital, and as the human channel, whitney, as conduit in particular, speaks to that point of vulnerability … the crucible that is protecting and presenting this voice to the world … that validity, that valor, the certain sense of community that builds there, the audience who cleaves to the humanity in that soulfulness, flaws and all … and the ruptures, those the cracks in the armor, are where communities emerge. so, it goes back to that secret language of the bodyguard, and everything that it means as a zeitgeist moment … and for kids who unironically enjoy the movie, and feel an affinity toward the somewhat-peculiar everything it represents. … and then in context of the sheer talent, i mean, when you’re a kid, that you don’t have to have someone tell you: “this is whitney houston, whitney has a good voice; this is a ‘good voice.’” that this gifted presence edified your intuitive tonal sense … just knowing how it felt to experience that moment of whitney singing “i will always love you,” or for me it was, “i have nothing,” which, as a kid, just listening awe-struck like, “okay, okay — this is it.”

but, back to the top-line … this soundtrack is the inaugural album selection because, this slate in particular featuring the canon kids, every selection is a signature, a genesis point for me … a release that defined a certain format in the music framework.

so, it was the first vinyl i bought … i had been gifted vinyls before, but this is the first one i remember buying with intention … it was the day whitney passed, and maybe within an hour of getting the news, and taking it all in — i was living in london at the time — i just thought: “i have to fill this void.” … i didn’t know what “this void” was, there was just this sense of this void, and then the subsequent thought: “i just, have to get the bodyguard soundtrack.” so, i went on discogs (it’s actually how i discovered discogs — kismet), and i didn’t have a vinyl player, but i wanted the vinyl, specifically, because … well, no logical reason, i guess, it just felt right — felt aligned with the collective … but, so there were two available, i got one for £6, and checked about a half an hour later, the other one was gone … so, somehow circling back to just flowing with that intuitive frequency … but, so it was the first vinyl i remember buying with intention.

then, the cultural biography aspect of it, as just defining what it means to be an album, more broadly, from a cultural or generational vantage … from the top: this album, as a soundtrack – best-selling soundtrack of all-time – as canon, the first album ever to sell a million copies in its first week, fifteenth best-selling album (stateside, at least) of all-time … whitney was on a whole different level … i mean, she carried the album – the reason it sold a million copies in that first week — for all intents and purposes, i’m going out on a limb here — is because of side a, and nippy was literally side a … which, just straight-up bangers bops ballads: “i will always love you,” “i have nothing,” “i am every woman,” “run to you,” “queen of the night,” “Jesus loves me” — that’s six songs in verbatim sequence that speak to range (in and of: simultaneously staying in your lane, while still expressing sheer range) … and then the other side of the album is: kenny g, lisa stansfield, aaron neville, the s.o.u.l. s.y.s.t.e.m., curtis stigers, joe cocker (the man played woodstock — woodstock !), sass jordan, and a symphony orchestra by way of alan silvestri … so, again, much of this is about the mood and the work speaking for itself … not getting too academic, or objective, or technical about it … but just, for me as: “this is what it meant to be an album” …

and it speaks distinctly to pop – to the reach and range – but, to me it also spoke to the capacity for one person to be that anchor actively amplifying other people … the person who knows: you gotta bring ‘em all up, and unironically, if only for the sake of just getting work in the world, work that is inviting and is approachable across as much of the populous as possible … and then, just knowing that the shared experience of everyone who has this album, the million plus community in that first week alone, sharing in the experience of this work … back in the day before streaming, that those million plus people listened to this, were all hearing the same expression, and interpreting it through their own incumbent experiences … that’s what it’s all about.

so, whitney just leads with this ironclad side a … and however you feel about side b, is how you feel — for me, it was tough to get through side b on the first few spins, but did i listen to it? yes. if nothing else, it’s just like: appreciate it, respect it, listen to it for what it is … everybody put their effort into it: reciprocate that energy.

outside of that personal experience of the bodyguard, being an early anchor for my perspective on pop, is the secret language … because when you grow up, and people forget about this whitney, and the consensus says what they will; there are the people who remember first and foremost: the sheer talent, the God-given talent, and to have that be the first impression and the lasting impression of whitney is just … i don’t know, it’s that inherent dialect, and you get it or you don’t … and it’s tough to put into words because it’s just a feeling and a compass guide. so, somewhere somehow, as a point of reference, this emerged as quite pivotal and so fundamental and primary … recognizing the humanity of the otherwise stellar enigmatic.

incredibly memorable album, for said reasons, but i am aware that in the immediate, this monologuing reads like narrating cerebral butterfly-chasing — just “this point, that point, maybe — but oh look, an eastern marron swallowtail!” and i lose my train of thought … but at some point, this does bear discussion as a proper dialogue with some of those tribal comrades, who feel in a similar way — or dissimilar — but, having a conversation about it nonetheless; so right now, in the meantime i’m just having a primer conversation with the atmospheric ether attempting to navigate this locomotion with some sense of coherent logic.

but, the bodyguard ost is just a definitive canon album — it defines pop, to the extent where when you have other people who write songs for you at this level, you are someone chosen to ostensibly deliver a message crafted, curated, and developed by a group, and you’re part of a public communication apparatus; because that’s a fundamental element of the functional reality of pop music.

… and in that, one of the things about pop that’s interesting is that, historically, we downplay performers who don’t write their own music; and, for me, i always think of that as on-par with downplaying an actress or an actor who does not write their own script … right, there’s a director who does their job, there’s a screenwriter who does their job — sometimes there will be overlapping — but pop music is about selecting someone who can deliver a message to the masses, articulate this resonant sentiment to that audience, in a way that nobody else can … and so someone writes a song for someone else, because they know that performer can deliver what the writer developed, and it’s fine that neither could do what the other could, because collaborative creation exists for this reason … so for me, in a very real capacity, that’s what pop musicianship is about — finding the script that speaks to you, and that you know you can speak to the world … and this album, speaks to the viability in said aforementioned …

… in that, the bodyguard was this sort of team effort, and it reached across the aisle of movies and music (as soundtracks do), and again, it hit the audience in a way where all of the elements converged and aligned and culminated into this phenomenal cultural moment … and to have experienced it when i did, as a kid, before being jaded or disillusioned by the system; that i was able to enjoy this fairy tale moment before the bubble burst, is one of those some kind of wonderful happenings … and again, just anybody who was able to have their first impression or lasting impression of whitney be something so pure and genuine and magnificent having the humble magnitude of such a significant moment, is not to be overlooked and not to be taken for granted … to be quite frank (farmer … as i would be much remiss to omit an unironic nod and stellar salute to costner kevin from this record recollection retrospective)

on that note, without further ado: the bodyguard original soundtrack album from 1992 … ushered in by whitney herself, and featuring — if we’re doing the vinyl style — side a: whitney with, of course the dolly cover, and the chaka cover (again, straight-up legendary), and inspo from the Holy Ghost, … and then side b sort of eases you off with some kenny g, lisa stansfield, aaron neville, the s.o.u.l. s.y.s.t.e.m., curtis stigers (which, his song really speaks to the overarching encompassing: “(what’s so funny ‘bout) peace love and understanding?” — so, that’s really another subplot here), joe cocker, alan silvestri, gary grant, etc. … and so, without further ado (once more, from the top, with some feeling) — the bodyguard original soundtrack album:

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Single ::

“One Sweet Day” ft. Boyz II Men — Mariah Carey (Daydream, 1995)

the humble ubiquity on this one … is what feels first and most resonant. this is the first song i remember remembering as a “single.” depth and breadth, atmospheric and the sense of infinite infinitesimal … the sense of immortality within a song definitively about the antithesis …

so, “one sweet day” … inaugural single choice, canon kid single … huge mariah carey fan as a kid … mariah and whitney were apex echelon icons to me … with whitney, and the bodyguard, and i think a lot of this, is just music as a kid is about which frequencies resonate most deeply with you … there’s not a lot of logic, it’s more rhyme than reason, just what resonates, and then the logic working your way backward into the reason behind the rhyme … with mariah carey it was much more logical: her last name was phonetically identical to my first name; so as a kid it’s just very much that playground mentality of, “let’s be friends,” except from the pop fandom standpoint … so mariah was already on the radar, daydream, i was already into that album …  

beyond all of that, though, “one sweet day” is just — that song exists in my memory’s museum, as far as singles go, when i go back this was just the first song i remember … the ineffable, this is the one … more of a mood than methodology … again, all of the stars aligned: mariah was the thing — in culture … and that same whitney lens of, being a fan, feeling that personal association, and then mariah being so big in the scheme of scene, and then this record became paradigmatic … it’s that cultural biography, where it’s a point of pride, where you kind of feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself …

if this song was an alcove in my memory’s museum (which, in retrospect, is not a hypothetical … as, all songs, and memories, exist as exhibitions in our cerebral museums … but back to the top-line) it would resemble my paternal grandad’s living room circa, well, 1995, where i most vividly remember (well, vivid in resonance, but more aesthetically vignette … in context of the lenticular) watching the video for “one sweet day” on steady rotation … i just remember being in that living room, watching it on the tv (and his tv was part of the sound system, so it was in this wood grain sliding case where above it and around it were just vinyls, and this stereo system, so the mood was just very that …), and we didn’t have cable as kids in our house growing up (our parents were very like, “you have siblings and each other, you don’t need cable television, you can find other ways to pass the time” … so, we didn’t have cable, we had each other and our front and back yards and baltimore), so going to my grandad’s house as a kid inclusively meant cable television, which, in not so many words, boiled down to mtv and nickelodeon … so, “one sweet day” was one of the first videos i remember watching on steady rotation … in my grandad’s living room with the sun shining in through that window from the left side … and it just feels like nostalgia

but the track itself was just masterful … and again, to have a personal connection is one thing … but, then for the song to have been the longest running number one on the top 40, up until very recently … it’s just that single that defines what it means to be a single … on the charts, it was a canon, and personally, that record’s resonance … as above, so below … but again, a lot of this is just what feels a certain way — all rhyme and no reason

… but back to the track story, such a mood manifest harmonic … mortality and immortality wrapped into one; it’s just a beautiful ballad and absolutely signature collaboration … i think the other thing that i remember most about the song, being so young when it came out (because you hear it so much, as a kid you think about all the different aspects you’re thinking of at one time just: “why do i keep hearing it all the time … why is it so big … what makes it so special”), is the collaboration, and the collaborative aspect of it … boyz ii men and mariah carey collaborating, at a certain point — maybe three or four or five weeks into it being on steady rotation everywhere — i was just like, “wow, maybe it’s so big because you have these two massive stars, these two massive performers, collaborating … i wonder if anyone has ever collaborated in the history of music before …” so, actually it was the first collaboration i remember remembering as a collaboration, and it’s the first single perceived in said lens, but … amazing song

… and, specifically the star — again mariah’s magnitude, similar to whitney — to have this be one of the earlier memories, and for this to be so big in her career, i think established a sense of humility … because — again, similar to whitney — the trajectory of mariah’s narrative has been put through the wringer, and people remember her for different reasons all over the board … but again, for me — this being such an early memory and this eclipsing so much of her career — as a kid, what i remember most is the humility of the song … and a different aspect of pop music, being of the people … it’s just a beautiful ballad, and genuinely sentimental

… it’s a testament to the humility of pop music, the potential for it to really be about love … and the genuine message, and unironically expressing sentiment, and the unironic expression of vulnerability, and the valor in that, and the viability of genuine human connection through … honestly: shared sorrow, and the sense of loss … knowing the bitter to understand the sweet … so the human connection through mortality, and apparent loss … but immortality in music itself … and there’s that underlying sense of music as a vehicle for immortality and transcendence, and this specifically speaking to the … i don’t know … the resurrection, the revival, the renaissance … something about music being able to be a breath of life … or elan vital … or, again, that elixir … basically how music is a vehicle by which immortality exists, even and especially in acknowledgement of the apparent antithesis … but, i don’t know

but, “one sweet day:” inaugural single, because as a canon kid it fundamentally established, for me, what it means to be a single … and the archetype for the aesculapian properties of music … music as a salve … music as a saving grace … music as that form of expression and living record of the cyclical human condition and a shared human experience … collaboration and creation and all of that … so, somewhere in the aforementioned is just what “one sweet day” feels like to me … music as that immortal elixir when human connection occurs in such a genuine articulation of shared experience.

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Album Track ::

If U Can’t Dance” — Spice Girls (Spice; 1996)

This onnneeeeeee … take a deep breath — count: one, two, three … the pure groove on this one … that rich robust bassline … just deep lounge … ough … but beyond bilingual boomerang oscillation … the vinyl boogie just … but this is the first song i remember remembering as an “album track” … the standout non-single track from the first cd i remember buying with my own dollhairs … the melodies on this pure dance floor manifesto … new jack swing worked on a sheer flow level … midnight concrete cosmic gravity … magnetic pull and layered ultimata … that bittersweet siren song … but back to the first remember remembering

“if u can’t dance” … going to go a bit backstory / trackstory on this one …

backstory: “if u can’t dance” … the first album i bought with my own money was spice, the spice girls debut album … living in baltimore at the time, and it was during a blizzard, so my brothers and i would shovel our neighbor’s driveway … and, clinton era prosperity, robust middle class, we got twenty bucks a piece, for shoveling, our neighbor’s driveway … so with that twenty dollars, i went to the sam goody – never forget – and got spice … preeminent pop album … just ironclad airtight just complete pop perfection, or close to it …

spice girls sidebar : just, in general, yes. again, early anchor for pop perspective and, scoping out, when you have whitney and mariah … and being 13 in the year 2000 … for many reasons, is just cosmic alignment … the perspective on pop music is unparalleled … getting the golden era of trl, and leading into that with the tween years … just panoramic perspective … and right at the pulse of a platinum era of teen pop, as you’re becoming a teenager … and just the perspective on that, i could elaboarate, which i will later, but just understanding that the structure of feeling, the structure of experience, that comes along with being thirteen in the year two thousand, and what that establishes as far as a vantage on pop music, and the sheer range of what that means — not necessarily mainstream — but also just the pop apparatus … of soup to nuts and the placement of audience, and artists, and the agents behind the scenes, and the agency afforded to everybody who’s part of this interactive ecosystem … as far as the media and music videos and different formats and all of that … so, all of that is to say, spice girls were really just a strong root and genesis point overall, like all of these canon kids are, in terms of structure and my perspective and my point of reference when it comes to pop music …

all of that is to say: album track, “if u can’t dance” … i had to dig deep for this one … in terms of the memory’s museum because there are tons of album tracks … a) in existence (b) that i know of … so i really had to go back and go “don’t think about your favorite album track … don’t think about the ‘first album track’ in the way where you’re manipulating the system like ‘oh, that’s the first album track,’ … just the first album track that really stuck out, and the first album track you remember remembering as an album track even if you didn’t know the term itself or what it meant” … so, in a similar way of going to the bodyguard as the first vinyl lp i bought for my album, the first album track came off the first album i bought with my own money …  bringing it back to the beginning of the backstory …

having bought the album … i had to go through the track list again — first of all: worth it, totally worth it that revisitation … but all of the blue chip tracks were singles, again, pop music, pop perfection, blueprints, paradigms … but “say you will be there,” obviously “wannabe,” … the one that reminded me of “say you will be there” — “who do you think you are” … so, all the singles were the top ones … then i had to look and go, “okay yeah ‘last time lover’ was fun and made you feel ‘something kind of funny’ …” but “if u can’t dance:” standout … and then even getting to revisit that track, now, once it’s on the setlist, on the menu, once it’s on tap … i mean, when i went back to revisit it: it’s fresh, and so time capsuled as well

so, fast forward to the trackstory: is just … whew … as a kid, y’know, all of these early albums, selections, from my memory’s museum are always going to establish some sense of … they’re going to be an anchor to your genome, your pop genome, and they’re going to establish some sense of definition when it comes to what you consider normative, and what becomes the canon … so for this: layered, very pop pastiche, but it’s smooth and it works together … there is a sense of discord to the song, but it works so well … it has that new jack swing, that gritty, that gritty groove that was pretty prevalent in the mid to late 90s … and i love how r&b really embraced new jack swing, so it had that street but sweet thing that you find in very “hip-pop,” before that was a thing-thing in the mainstream — so, it was eclectic — but groove-y and the definition and the intention on the girls’ voices was just ace choice …

and also as a kid, again, what did i pick up from this? … a) this song was groovey, the groove and the oscillation were unparalleled … i mean the way those layers were distinct, in and of themselves, they stuck out, it wasn’t overly blended … they didn’t blend into one another, so it had that graffiti feel, where it was just layering and pastiche — but it all worked together, it was like a mosaic, it wasn’t like a tapestry necessarily, they didn’t blend together, they built upon one another … and they were all distinct layers in and of themselves, but the mastering and the mixing meant that some were less pronounced, some were more pronounced, but they all worked in concert — and i’m saying that now looking back — so, this all worked … and this reflected more broadly where the culture was, all of these … it wasn’t a melting pot, it was more of a party mix or somehow like a gumbo … where all of the ingredients are distinct in and of themselves, but they find some sense of some shared base … somewhere … and (b) as far as the lyrical content, as a kid it’s like, now i know: if you can’t dance to this, or anything, then i don’t — there’s no place for you in my life … so there’s a bit of empowerment there, obviously … and the multilingual aspect … groovy song, great song, so dancey … oscillating, i can’t say enough about the track itself, but just: layers, just laid it on …

so, “if u can’t dance” … canon kids, top line trackstory is just an impeccable piece of pop pastiche … all the stars aligned, perfectly right time … and as an album track, it’s great because it’s one that would make you want to … it makes the album worth it, to the point where you want to get the album, and you can’t just buy singles to get this … it fits together, and it rounds it out … and it’s so pop: “if u can’t dance,” i mean, that’s what pop music is: rhythm — either you got it, or you don’t … that ineffable, but, it’s a rhythm nation kind of thing — which to be fair, this also does have echoes of that …

but yeah, great album track … again, some of these are going to be seeds, some of these are going to be entire sonic scapes … i planned on this one being a seed, to talk about further but … yeah what an album track … whew … “if u can’t dance,” spice girls, iconic … canon kid, genomic

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Rarity ::

“Mona Lisa” (Live in-Studio at KIIS-FM) — Britney Spears (Original Doll [Demo], 2004)

there are rarities; and there, are: rarities … there are b-sides, demos, unreleased tracks … but the magnitude of the cultural mythology that is this very immediate take is the deep cut that tells the scar tale of a generation’s defining star trail … the song speaks for itself … and the preceding interview sets a preamble unlike any other … a rarity in that it is a moment captured in, of, and at the climax of a bildungsroman on the precipice of phenomenal … unforgettable, legendary, kind of incredible, the release, the exhale, the exhume, and transcendent triumph in californicated kamikaze … mona lisa and the spearsian renaissance autobiographical audiobiographical … out on top number one kiis … heard it first and last … impressionist

Prelude : Interview with KIIS

jesse, dj: jesse in for jojo tonight, he’s so bummed he missed this top 9 at 9

v/o: *it’s jojos top nine at nine jojos top nine at nine: kiis fm*

background music: *“toxic” instrumental*

dj: britney spears live in-studio … do you have to take a super secret cia mission secure route to burbank from your crib so that you don’t get followed

britney: [emphatically] no!

dj: i don’t see anybody outside it’s —

britney: i know! it’s awesome

dj: i don’t see one camera anywhere

britney: i know, it’s great

dj: how’d you pull it off, you just —

britney: i don’t know, i just kind of snuck away

dj: did you put a disguise on …

britney: [chuckles]

dj: you just bring a gigantic guy with you

britney: [laughs] yeah, exactly

dj: alright, cool; well thanks for hangin’ tonight

britney: thank you

dj: … good luck with your album — it’s untitled

britney: it’s untitled … it’s probably going to be called original doll, so …

dj: and it’s, half … done?

britney: yeah … it’s halfway done, i think

dj: alright, so maybe by the summer … maybe by the fall

britney: yeah, maybe a little bit earlier so

dj: well, more of her new song — hopefully tonight on the top nine at nine [ … ] okay, i’ll cheat — that’s the number one song – next!

v/o: *kiis-fm … welcome jojo … [tech glitch sfx] … the time is now … song number one*

dj: so before we have britney spears debut her number one song, right now, her brand new song … mona lisa, we‘ll play in two seconds … i almost forgot we got cool freebies … if you want las vegas season one on dvd it’s yours right now caller 102 gets hooked up … here we go … ! britney’s new song

background music: *beat drops*

dj: go ‘head darlin’

britney: hi, what’s up, this is britney spears and this is mona lisa and it’s numba one

dj: numba one … yeah! numba one!

*exhale* so, rarity … the anchor rarity, canon kid rarity … i mean, there are rarities; and there, are: rarities … as i said in that intro … so the backstory/trackstory on this one … the trackstory is insanely something, the record in and of itself is … i feel i live in the secret language, and this record is right in line with said dialect … but, it’s the cardinal rarity to me … i mean there are rarities — b-sides, demos, unreleased tracks, and what have you — but “mona lisa,” even the title alone without even diving into personal interpretation (e.g. what it means for this person, that person, etc.), to have britney spears recording a song called “mona lisa” from the album original doll in 2004 … i mean, that is quite literally a living mythology … everything all of the intersections there, and the magnitude of that cultural impact is, legitimately just icons and legends and lore and mythology all wrapped up into one … again, i think the layers, once you start getting into … and there’s two versions … so, the version that’s the genuine rarity is the one that was only recorded one time and it was a live cut, at a radio station, in the middle of the night, just before new year’s eve in 2004, the year when she was, 2004 when she’s leading into marrying kevin federline, everything that means, and coming off of onyx hotel, that tour kind of got derailed because of her knee injury on the “outrageous” video shoot … it was truly just that wrinkle in time … and if you were to pinpoint when a genuine shift happened, i mean this would be that climax, and that happened in the middle of the night … that’s what makes it rare, and that’s what makes it regal

the backstory, for me, is … i was studying at lse at the time … i was living in london, working on my dissertation … for the masters of science, in global media and communications … which was, britney spears as the youth subcultural celebrity icon of the bush era … and so just the nature of research alone, when you’re researching the discourse of britney and the bush era and her trajectory, every rabbit hole is going to have range and reach and after awhile you’re just, you are through the looking glass, you’re living in the looking glass … but all of that is to say, somewhere along the lines of research … i remember being in my dorm room, aimlessly gazing over at the shard, i remember somehow, stumbling across the track on youtube … and i think when i pressed play, and the beat dropped, and the guy says — and maybe i had the version with the interview, i’m not sure if i did when i first listened to it — but i just remember when the dj just goes: ”go head darlin,” and that beat drops and when she goes: “ladies and gentlemen i’ve got a little story to tell, about mona lisa, and how she suddenly fell…” i mean, that rabbit hole, you thought you were at the rock bottom of that rabbit hole and the bottom just falls out into an entire … something … and again, this exists as a secret language, and this is one of those rosetta stone records to where the frequency and that sonic fingerprint, either you get it or you don’t, the way it hits you … it’s something about it …

and it’s, to be fair it’s like the mona lisa in that — which a lot of art is like this — how you perceive it, says more, and reflects more on you than it does the piece of artwork itself … so, i remember when i went to the louvre … i actually remember going to paris for about a week, during summer term, just to clear my head and just to be out of london because everything felt so familiar i felt like i wasn’t — i felt like i just needed some fresh air … so i go to paris … and i remember spending a solid span of my time in paris actually working on my dissertation — just drafting sessions, rummaging through news clips and cultural theory, handwriting concepts / theoretical capillaries in journals, in this apartment, jfk was on the televis on one of the rainy days — and, i mean, i did get out of the apartment but for it to have been my first time being in paris i did spend a noteable niche of time working … but i remember i did make a point to visit the louvre, and i saw the mona lisa … and — i forget if it was before or after hearing the song but — y’know, when you see it, everyone has their own experience, and again being there though and seeing the mona lisa … yknow it’s pretty humbling and it’s interesting because when you see the mona lisa itself, it’s facing this massive massive painting, veronese’s the wedding feast at cana, that takes up an entire wall … and yet everyone is facing this little mona lisa … so, if you don’t know, if you wouldn’t have known that was it, you wouldn’t know … and seeing it, it’s a pretty simple piece in the louvre when you look at it, and yet i don’t know, when i saw it behind the glass it feels … it hits you different, it’s like looking at one of the most famous figures in the world, in the history of western civilization, behind glass … and it’s just there … and they say the eyes follow you, i’m sure they probably do … but again seeing that, and then the song, they are quite similar to where, how you see it … for me it’s, it was that, it was like seeing this most famous figure, and it does take your breath away it’s … because in my head, i was running through all the people who have seen this, is what i thought … i was just like, wow, i’m witnessing something that so many people have experienced … that’s the thing, now you realize you’re part of that something, just in that moment, in that shared moment … and so for me it was humbling, but it was more of a moment of connection, where you’re part of history just being part of that experience, witnessing something that so many other people have witnessed …

with the song it was somewhat similar, because of everything the mona lisa is … but also because, technically / structurally / formally, it is what it is … there’s people who have listened to that song and they feel like it’s nothing special, which is fair, because coming into it, they don’t have the experience with “britney” and everything else … it’s just you’re looking at it objectively, without the human connection to it, but if you’ve been following it, that song is … it’s an obituary, and it’s a prelude to a kiss, a prelude to a judas kiss … it is, it’s a prelude to that judas kiss … so, yeah, the backstory is just everything about that song, i just remember being in my dorm room hearing it, i was like … it was a fall from grace, and the lyrics, the soulfulness, it was out of this world … it was almost like, i don’t know, it’s tough to explain … it’s like a simple peek behind the curtain … and it’s very autobiographical, and it’s like an epic poem captured in pop song …

and so, my backstory with it is: i was studying for the dissertation, heard it, and i think just a lot fell into place … and the symbolism of the song, and the poetry of the song, the nuance, the little things … when she drove in the middle of the night, the fact that it debuted and retired simultaneously at number one, and it only played that one time … what was so rare about it was the everything about it … the fact that, it took probably up until the court [hearings and] the #freebritney movement for people to realize what it meant … but it was there the whole time, and it was on the radio, and again in so many ways, britney tells you what’s going on … and she’s definitely one of those people who picks the right scripts, that contextualized her life; and she soundtracks her life, as much as she soundtracks the generation’s as well, the journey of a generation …

so, yeah, the backstory for me is just a lot … is just grad school, and it definitely was a noted footnote in the dissertation … not in the literal biblio, but it definitely gave context — it’s there in spearit

so the trackstory … and, i don’t really know … at this point there’s so much research that’s been done looking into it … all i know is the trackstory, it has a past … long story short, as legend has it, is britney was putting together the original doll, the album, and it was going to be the first album where she was really going to be at the helm … and a lot happened behind the scenes, and there’s tons of articles about it, but y’know this isn’t the place for that necessarily … but it was going to be her manifesto, for the most part, up until that point … and she was very much, working toward independence and liberating herself from the system and the machine … and, of course, this was before she actually glitched the matrix … so, she’s doing it the way where y’know before you break it, at least play by the rules … and this was that … and the label, or the handlers, or the powers-that-be just weren’t going to let original doll see the light of day — it was just never going to happen … if they had any say, and of course it hasn’t happened, so they did … so because they wouldn’t release the song, or any of them, britney drove to the radio station just to be able to play the song … and apparently the cd it was on wasn’t working, so she performed it live … and the lyrics are different — eventually the song made it to the chaotic soundtrack … but, by that time, britney’s life had gotten to the point of, what it sounded like: chaos … so the song got eclipsed in many different ways … but again that’s what makes this rarity so special is that it led into that, and it foreshadowed everything that was going to happen

so, she plays the song herself, first and last time the song is played … and what i noticed about it, sonically, is that it’s so different … it was like a requiem and a dirge and she went into it … and it felt like this was that kamikaze move … and drums, it was percussion, it was bass … it was very bass-driven … and it was a choir, the background vocalists were very choral … and, even britney’s voice is very somber, in its own way, but it’s also sapient and it’s like a sibyl and she’s telling you from her own perspective — it’s like she’s let herself go … and she’s letting you know: here’s the moral of the story … it’s almost like that third person omniscient: “here’s what they told me; i’m telling you what they told me … just so, you’re watching this happen, i’m letting you know what this means for you … i’m just making a statement” … it’s her famous last words before she got cloned or she went home or just whatever, and there’s a sense of peace … but what really strikes me the most from that track, is when she said: “… God;” at the bridge … and it’s like that, if you could pinpoint, or if i could pinpoint, for me, any one moment … that climax into the falling action, or the tipping point into the climax (depending) … but that was the tipping point, that’s when she let it go … whatever “it” was … and that’s when then spearit was released from the body, and it’s like that’s when she’s coming face-to-face with her maker … making peace with her ego

so, the trackstory, of course, other songs were supposed to be on original doll but this was the one that was guaranteed because, in that moment she said it … and everything changed after that … but the rarity just because of everything about it … the rarity of the fact that this unreleased track, the only time it was played, looking at the context … somehow that it made its way here and now, and we can still hear it now, even though this is before you had streaming and stuff, this is when you really just had to record something off the radio … and it made it

so, “mona lisa,” the rarity … this is that crown jewel, this is that face of a generation, this is that — at one point — the heralded archetypal apex paradigmatic icon and figure for western civilization … this was the blueprint, this was the museprint, this was “the thing;” it ushered in the renaissance … about britney, and seeing herself that way, the artist and their own muse, just the dynamic of it so … this is a rarity … and i could go on forever about this, but in a way it’s just more — again the secret language … and if you get it, what you get about it, and if you don’t, it’s all going to sound like rambling … but, yeah, “mona lisa,” the canon rarity; because, wow … the sheer mythology of it all

so, that’s just a little bit of rambling and riffing on it because it’s just … this is the kind of thing that’s tough to monologue, because it’s more of a: get people together at a roundtable and just nod at each other and go, “yes, yes, yep …” but on the internet there’s tons of stuff about it, so i will leave it to the experts … but, for me, this one is just complete rarity, wonderful song … harrowing, and when i think of a rarity, and just a masterpiece mystery, this is definitely that in musical form … so, without further ado: ladies and gentlemen, the spearit’s got a story to tell, about mona lisa … wish she well

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Instrumental ::

Seabreeze” — Branford Marsalis Quartet (Romare Bearden Revealed, 2003)

inaugural instrumental, canon kid instrumental: “seabreeze” by the branford marsalis quartet, from the album romare bearden revealed … this one, for the instrumental, in a similar vein as the other selections, i had to dig deep to think back to what the canon was for me within the format …

instrumentals are interesting, for a number of reasons ( i can’t name any in particular right now, just a mood feeling ) but … for me, instrumentals are very atmospheric … because they don’t have lyrics ( in a way — similar in form different degree — is music being so immersive and it becomes a soundtrack of your life, it becomes like oxygen, it just, music just exists … ) so, to be a bit more discerning, and to have to be a bit more definite about specifics in terms of differentiating between this or that format, it takes that objective mind …

so, all of that is to say i had to actually think about what really defined an instrumental for me, or what established a moment of: “oh, this is a form of music without lyrics” … and so, i think, as a kid, there were tons of instrumentals … my dad is really into jazz, my grandad was a jazz drummer, my mom is really into music and jazz … so there’s a lot of instrumental music growing up, but again, it was just music to me … so, the first song i actually remember remembering being an instrumental, in a very specific, way was “seabreeze” by branford marsalis from romare bearden revealed

it feels like it was in baltimore when i first heard this song, because of the coffee table book, the album is an incredible work, it was a joy to revisit it, and it was a bit of a revelation, at a number of layers … a) in the fact that that was the whole purpose of the album, to reveal to a wider audience romare bearden … the album was to compliment the exhibition in the national gallery of art, which had a romare bearden retrospective … and, in ways, it was one of those multidisciplinary, multi-sensory — but in a way synesthetic — collaborative projects, that intended to have viewers see the music through the artwork, and to have listeners of the music hear the visual art that was selected from romare’s extensive tome and anthology …

so, all of that is to say, i feel like i first heard this song in baltimore … i correlate it with batimore museum of art, in a way, because we had this book, and we had various reproductions of romare bearden’s work in the house, and i feel like it was in the living room in baltimore on this coffee table with this marble top … but when i actually went back and researched the album, the exhibition was when we were definitely in atlanta … and it made its way through atlanta, made a tour stop here … so, it was probably sophomore year, which does make sense … ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

my backstory with this canon instrumental is pretty simple: i just remember it was the first lyricless song that i remember looking for … i remember hearing it … i remember wanting to have it, and find it, and to be able to put it on my ipod — which again, definitely was not in baltimore ( the memory’s museum is funny like that, sometimes the alcoves overlap, but time is a construct so, it’s all a gifted present in the akashic record … ), that being said, for all conventional intents and purposes, this did occur circa 2004 … so, i was in atlanta, and i was in high school, and someone had bought my parents the album, or they got the album because someone had introduced my parents to the exhibition … and i believe we had the program or souvenir as a book

so, i was introduced to romare bearden’s work that way … and his work it’s beautiful, and it’s striking, and it’s very signature, and it definitely captures the soul and the tapestry and the landscape of american culture … particularly echoing this east of the mississippi feel … it’s very familial, and communal, very community-driven … it approaches the humanity in culture, and vivifies that inherent formidable connection between people and identity and purpose in/of everyday life … and the art in that, and the craft in culture being the interconnectedness in these group relations … and a sense of home in these relationships between people … and romare being — and i’m no bearden scholar — being born in north carolina, and moving to harlem when he was three, and traversing those two worlds, and bringing them together in this artwork … the collage and the pastiche paintings, and his chosen medium really echoes the layers and the type of interaction, and how that feels … it looks like jazz, and that might be because i was introduced to his work through this multi-sensory work … and his work was revealed through music, and through the conversation through visual and aural artwork

so, all of that is to say, bringing it back, i remember … we have the whole album, but the one song that did stick out was “seabreeze,” and i wanted to put it on my ipod … i think at that time i might have been a sophomore or a junior, and i remember … there’s a specific point in my musical journey to where i wanted to get music to sleep to, music to mellow me out, i think at that point i was really dealing with how to channel energy … i wouldn’t have said it that way, back at the time, i probably would have just been like: “i just want to be able to,” — i think i started playing drums, and i started taking drum lessons as a way to refine that energy, that percussive spirit, but really, just like: — “if i get angry, i want to at least make it productive” … and then, as far as music, i remember wanting more instrumental music, music without lyrics … because i feel like, when there were lyrics — i had all lyrical music — and i kept getting caught up in the words, and i just wanted music that i didn’t have to think about … though i remember getting schubert, was a compilation album i definitely remember getting, that was probably the first album i got that was instrumental was schubert, i got it with ken burns’ billie holiday curated collection, but the catalyst was really “seabreeze” …

and all of that is to say, again, the backstory on that, going all the way back, was: that i remember hearing the song, it stuck out, and it was just beautiful … and i wanted to know what it was called, so i could download it, and have it … and i remember it being instrumental, if only because, it was the first time i actually had to figure out how to find a song, identify a song, reference a song, without lyrics … and so, there was no … oh gosh, i feel, i am officially of a certain age … there was no shazaam, there was no internet in that way, although i probably did find it online … but yeah so it was the first song i remember having to find without any lyrical reference, and in that was the song that really became the canon for instrumental music … and honestly, it really did open a whole world, it established the canon of being able to be multi-sensory with music and to visualize music because that was the purpose … in that way music became a locus form, and it became central to — i guess it normalized the function of music: as that ether, that elixir, that adhesive that’s just part of this synesthetic experience that is creative expression, and the conversation between the senses, and that being the platform for conversation between beings … and how it is all interconnected … it was a way to visualize …

romare bearden, to me, became this maestro in his work … navigating … visual art navigating music, and vice versa … so it was instrumental, and it allowed the visual art to be the lyrics in a way, and it gave the otherwise lyricless a certain rhythm … and, if nothing else, it established the principle in practice of apparent silence speaking volumes … and even though it wasn’t “silent,” the non-verbal communication and the capacity to articulate presence in ways other than lyrical elucidation …

so, this was the canon for that reason … that was a bit of a backstory and trackstory all rolled into one … but romare bearden, that was how i was introduced to him, and “seabreeze” and branford marsalis … it was really just this beautiful blend … it was, again, also it was canon in that it was incredibly collaborative and it was so natural and normal and so, for me, it normalized the limitlessness of music … and almost this inherent matrimony between visual and aural art … the tangibility of the apparently sonic silo that is music … so i remember, then for my twentieth birthday, i actually went to see a romare bearden exhibit or work at jazz at lincoln center … so, again, it was just this running thread in my life … just that symbiotic relationship between music and visual art … but incredible song, i love it … it calms me … it soothes my soul … and it feels like seabreeze … it’s like you close your eyes and it just, part of that universal rhythm, that cosmic current, that washes up on this material shore every now and then … but it’s a bit stellar terranean, in a way, but it’s beautiful

so, all of that is to say, that was a bit of a roundabout … it’s definitely more of a mood, in that it is instrumental, it is a bit more abstract … it’s not so much pop, but it is incredibly art-driven … it is the craft of art … and it doesn’t “pop,” so much as it penetrates, and it pulsates, and it purrs … but it is a revelation of a presence, so … i have no idea where else this is going … so

without further ado, the inaugural instrumental selection … the branford marsalis quartet’s “seabreeze” from romare bearden revealed … onward ever upward on the cosmic waves of synesthetic art

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Music Video ::

Scream” — Michael Jackson with Janet Jackson (Scream / Childhood — Single, 1995)

Director: Mark Romanek
Choreography: Travis Payne, LaVelle Smith Jr., Tina Landon, Sacha Lucashenko, Sean Cheesman
Production Design: Tom Foden
Art Direction: Richard Berg, Jeff Hall, Martin Mervel
Typography: P. Scott Makela

inaugural music video, canon kids music video … this one, didn’t have to dig as deep … as far as music videos are concerned: i love them, i live for them … another instance of just being really blessed — [disclaimer: but, y’know as far as blessings, and the perspective therein, it depends on preference and proclivity and resonant frequencies and what’s your bliss and how you feel about following it — but for me, music videos resonate deeply … so, disclaimer being: what i consider said blessing, might be for another, not entirely as echelon auspicious] and so … being in the generational space of, again, 13 in the year 2000 … and comparatively middle class urban denizen kid … all things being equal, just being in the target demo, for lack of a better term, and that generation of the trl era of mtv … everything that meant for the music video format, particularly in regards to pop music stardom and pop music culture … and the coming of age for the generation who was right at that pulse, as the pulse and cultural identity and all of that …

so, to bring it all back to this immediate reference point and selection: “scream” — when i think of a canon music video: “scream” is it … it’s one of those immediate intuitive where you just know what your central point of reference is for the format in focus, and “scream” is that … backstory: i don’t even really think i have a backstory for it … it just existed … it just exists as the canon music video in my mind … so, i guess i’ll muse a bit more abstract, rather than concrete moment-in-the-life-of with this one …

but, the trackstory on it — and, again, i’m no scholar — but this selection is interesting, and it might be one of my favorites to think about because, again, all of these somehow are falling into a secret language, in their own way … this one, the divine mystery in it, the beautiful mystery, is that i don’t really remember the first time i saw it … it just always existed as the apex and the blueprint … and so in that world of the secret language it carries that frequency of people who feel a similar way … and, again, similar to the mariah and the whitney, these stars who have apparently fallen from grace at some point in their lives — and britney — being introduced to, or having a most prominent memory be, these summits within their anthology, and career-defining moments in a positive way … i just feel humbled that that’s how i was introduced to these people, through masterpieces and opus works … as a kid, again, before you’re jaded and, in a way, having those stellar summits be the genuine resonance

that being said, again, i’m no — particularly in regards to these two figures — i’m no michael scholar, i’m no janet scholar … i think there are artists, particularly in the pop realm who … people have their faves quote-unquote, and it takes a lot of effort to pledge allegiance to a pop star … and to be a pop scholar, part of it is discerning where you want to put your energy … it’s partially about being a polymath, but it is certainly about being a specialist … and really giving your time and energy to who and what resonate deeply, and what you know you can reciprocate … but that being said, you don’t have to study deeply a lot of these artists and their artwork to be able to appreciate, or respect, and/or be able to recognize the greatness and the goodness in the craftmanship and the performance and the intention and the execution and the cultural impact of the production, for the sake of creative expression, with the intent of reaching and resonating with a mass audience

so, all of that is to say … as far as i know about the video … i think it was the most expensive video to date … obviously it was a massive undertaking considering it’s 1995, you’ve got michael jackson, you’ve got janet jackson, and you’ve got this single … a double a-side, i think … of “scream” and “childhood” … and, it’s one of those pop magnum opus moments, just from a collective, because of the collaborative pieces at play … almost the yin to a “mona lisa” yang, of the same thing that made “mona lisa” such a canon rarity — all the pieces put into place — in a subterranean way, in a subpop way … almost burying this treasure and if you find it, wow … what you unearthed and exhuming it is the thing … “scream,“ from a high level it is ostensibly the moment … and all the pieces that are put into place, it was almost just waiting for that thing to be what you knew what it was always going to become … waiting for it to become what you always knew it was meant to be … so, here, again, back when music videos had a budget, i think “scream” was $7 million … mark romanek directed it … and from what i remember, again, romanek’s is a very precise anthology … and he’s the kind of guy who created film from the music video format, and cinema … and this one got a grammy, i think

but the trackstory, as far as i know … and, again, this is one where i don’t really know much about it from the periphery, i just know at the pulse of it, how it feels and the way it resonates … and that’s the thing, because it was the way it was, if i were to research it deeply, i’d be ruining my own christmas of said magic enigmatic … in a way … so, all of that is to say … backstory: i don’t really remember the first time i watched the video, i just remember that when you watch it, it transports you …

so that’s to say … just musing on the rhythm is: an incredible piece of work … i guess, what hits, is this feeling it evokes of screaming into a void … it’s like outer space with michael and janet, it’s like taking two supernovae and putting them on the moon … or just the experience of existing in zero gravity … it’s the apex of celebrity artistry … and the tension between those light and dark forces … this tension in being human and iconic, to the extent that in one regard your persona — the thing that detaches you from humanity – is the thing that’s most exaggerated, and that’s the thing that people have come to know … and you have almost come to see yourself in that way … the pressure and the scream …

and what resonates most deeply about it, is the sense of dance and choreography … so it’s just the intensity of energy … and how energy manifests itself in different forms of expression … so you’ve got artwork, you’ve got television, you’ve got technology, you’ve got religion, and again it’s all this grayscale … so it’s the lunar aesthetic … they’re living in their own spaceship, their own intergalactic vessel … and it could be a distant future … but it’s in a separate space … and, even though they are so far from earth, there is no escape … because the tension they feel is something that, it’s almost as if even though they are in an outer space where there is no gravity, no one can hear you scream … and there’s moments of entertainment, and there’s moments of amusement, and there’s moments of tension, and there’s moments of resurfaced trauma where all they have is each other … there’s this sense of yin and yang, positive and negative energy, when they talk about that pressure … it’s almost as if the video is constantly just them channeling, and existing, in this constant caprice of energetic shift … and resisting pressure in a realm of zero gravity … and, that has got to be so akin to what it must feel like to be a celebrity, to where you are human — you’re a homo sapien — and yet at the same time you are interstellar … we are all made of star matter, and yet with some people that is more pronounced … and so to traverse between these worlds, of celebrity and citizen, of human and hybrid, has got to be incredibly conflicted … and inescapable is part of that …

but what i love most about this video is beyond all of the sterile, clean, minimalist, futuristic, grayscale black-white-silver, starkness to it, emptiness, this desolation of outer space … is the sheer humanity and the unwavering, unflinching, connection between janet and michael … i mean, the philiagape love, at this point is so palpable … and it’s like breaking the fourth wall and at the same time bolstering that fourth estate … and their emotion, the sheer emotion of it …

and to be honest, sidenote : the styling on this is so chic

there’s such a sense of this caprice in this choreography, and this flow and this rhythm, and it’s those moments, there’s such incredible frames in this … and it’s when they break through … every time they break through that fourth wall, everytime they ad-lib or freestyle with their choreo, or any time they’re focused on the camaraderie beyond the camera, it’s amazing … there’s just, it’s, i don’t know … whew … that video is incredible, that video really is incredible, and the lyrics on it are wonderful …

it’s just that resistance of specious isolation, and distant surveillance … and the limitless inescapable … in some ways when you see that warhol, it reminds me of the exploding plastic inevitable … almost as if that sense of that’s what celebrity is … and these pop stars destroying art … and the meditation is that moment when the fourth wall shatters above michael’s head, and it’s almost as if that energy has gone up through the chakras and that essence of meditation and the auric energy has broken through to the cosmos … and the dancing of course is just incredible, there’s just this sense of, again, that caprice, and that mercurial nature of the back and forth, and the flux … it’s the constant ebb and flow … and a lot of it feels like choreography as the state of channeling imbalance … and to the universe belongs the cosmic dancer … and those who dance were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music … and that sense of clarity you get from detachment … and that clarity comes at the cost of potential dehumanization, because you’re detached you lack that sense of connection, on the physical level … and that’s when the quote-unquote masses tend to lose touch with your humanity …

and … so, all of this is abstract, but as a kid … i just remember, it’s one of those things, where if someone asked you what the greatest music video of all-time was, this would be it … just for the reason of it is what pop is … it is a pop music video to — at every level … of just, cultural commentary, and the figures in the screen and what they say … but i do love the sense of family there … just, so palpable and so resonant and that empathy is so strong … and it’s humbling to watch that dynamic because of the non-verbal communication, and the lyrics are there, but there’s the sense of as long as they’re singing a song — there’s not the ad-lib — there’s not conversation, it’s recitation … it’s rewriting the script from center stage …

but this video is canon because that’s just what it is … it goes without saying … so, for me, this one was almost working back into the story of what it is … but, this one is just interstellar

it’s pop life, in a way … but it’s inner outer space, kind of like that edie sedgwick indie flick that andy warhol directed … inter outerspace … but, yeah, “scream” is … “scream” is incredible

i can’t really think much about “scream” … it’s something that i don’t even know why … this one is the rhyme over reason, it just resonates … but, so this one was very rambling … because to be fair, i don’t even know what i get about it … but all of that is to say … incredible video … and just continues to define what it means to understand your place and purpose in cosmopop culture, and maintaining and withstanding the pressure of the alchemical process of that crucible of celebrity, and finding a way to truly live your life as a tale to be told, and capturing that in flicker form, and having that flicker be a catalyst flame … to relay the reality of fame, and to establish a point of reference, to generate a sense of empathy and reciprocity … so even if you scream into a void, that energy was not expended in vain … just human connection through that recollection, the whisper to a boom, and capturing the scream into a void on a screen … and generating that sense of humanity from that celluloid scene

but all of that is to say, inaugural music video selection … “scream” … directed by mark romanek … featuring janet and michael jackson … so much confusion … but such a beautiful mystery hidden in plain sight … if nothing else, scream into the ether to establish that pathway to luminous life …

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Live Fidelity ::

9th Annual Music Midtown Festival (2002)

Lineup: 30 Seconds to Mars · Adema · Avant · Bela Fleck · Bo Diddley · Bone Thugs N Harmony · Bubba Sparxxx · Bush · Cee-Lo Green · City High · Counting Crows · Earth, Wind, and Fire · Garbage · Hoobastank · Incubus · Ja Rule · Jack Johnson · Kid Rock · Mystikal · No Doubt · Rick James · Robert Randolph & The Family Band · Perpetual Groove · Puddle of Mudd · Res · Stone Temple Pilots ·

so, inaugural canon kids live fidelity … live fidelity is just a selection in the live performance format, but “live performance” felt really long — i wanted to say something like “live gig,” “live show,” “live set,” etc. — but live fidelity is just a live cut … it could be a song, a whole set, a medley, a festival — but fundamentally, just a live music experience 

so, for me, again, i went with the first live music experience i remember, which was ( i was a late bloomer, but once it got in my system, i followed that frequency, and intend to ride it until the wheels fall off ) the ninth annual music midtown festival … i’m sure i had been to some live music experience before then, with my parents, or something, but this was the first one that was a moment … so, 2002 … i was a, i feel like i was a freshman, in highschool … in atlanta … and my friend, danielle, it was her birthday … aries, april … so for her birthday present, she got us all tickets to music midtown, which was, really good people — again, human connection, record collection, that’s what it’s about … so, a group of us gals went to music midtown that year

the thing about live fidelity that i really want to focus on, this being a featured format in the signature build of the pop shelf — which aims for the blueprint format for music, releases, etc. and gives it the proper anatomy of pop — what i want to really explore, is the live music experience … what makes that distinct is experiencing music in real time, experiential in the midst of genuine human connection, and the energy and the resonance, that feeling of being with people, and experiencing music together in a very communal exchange … and it truly is energetic transfer, and one of the most ineffable experiences as far as music goes, and it’s real … and it’s surreal … it’s just apex … i know i say that about everything, but it’s a different form of the energy transfer, and it’s intense … and it is music culture brought to life … it encompasses the notion of the rarity, and the single and even the album, and all of the featured formats … but the focus with live fidelity, the key, is what captures and what encompasses and defines the experience of live music … what brings it to life in a very real way … what articulates the presence of music and record, IRL …

so, music midtown 2002 … the backstory on that: celebrating a friend’s birthday with our crew, our squad — probably about five or six of us … but the festival is comparatively huge … for me, being a complete newbie / novice — and i was very much a newbie and a novice to life, at the “recreational” stage, when it came to festival happenings — so, it was all brand new …

and the vibe here, is the focus … setlists are important, lineups, technical aspects of the show, all of the objective mechanics — but the experience of music midtown is what i remember, and where fidelity to live music is anchored … so, it’s at piedmont park — tons of people … very atlanta … and, of course, this is before cell phones were what they are … so i really got to experience my inaugural festival at (and again: 13 in the year 2000 … which, just the way you evolve with the evolution of music and technology is so crucial … being able to experience in real time at my own coming of age, how technology came of age along with music … so: limewire, frostwire, kazaa … napster — as much as trl with television — but really, how the internet evolved with music and all of that) … here, when live music experience was still very much, maybe digital cameras were prevalent, and your camera phone – but it was still early-aught camera phone potato quality … so, it was on the brink of that break, and there was still this immediate shared presence between the artist and the audience, in a way that wasn’t hindered, or interfered with, too much, by cell technology … so that’s a bit of pretense, is that it being in 2002, there was still that interesting relationship with digital

so, the first act … we actually went — it was friday, saturday, sunday — so day one, friday, we went to school, then we went to our friend’s house, got ready, and then we headed over, danielle’s mom dropped us off … massive crowd of people … i remember walking down this really long road, piedmont, and heading to the park in this sea of people … and going there is one thing, but when you leave it’s almost like a mass exodus … so, already you feel a part of something much bigger than yourself … it’s atlanta, you look around, there’s a krispy kreme, there’s a kodak, you’re downtown … so, there’s a sense of independence … and not even novelty, just the newness of it all … and you just feel like it’s going to be this moment … where you’re like, “… it’s so fresh” … somewhat like a caterpillar breaking out of that chrysalis, but you’re still in that hungry caterpillar stage, you’re still feeding off of the material world before you make your emergence from that chrysalis to go onto bigger and better things …

but all of that is to say … i think res was the first act we saw, neo-soul …

i think, with the first few acts … it’s the daytime, it’s not really the headliners … so, it’s fine that we got there early because it was testing the sea legs, getting used to the experience of being at a festival … and, context, the live fidelity here is: festival, not concert, so — totally different vibe … i do think festivals are a great way for anybody to get their start with live music, though, because with the festival you get a taste of everything … you get different acts, different people, and you can experience different modes, and styles of live performance, in a localized space … it’s just wonderful … you can stumble across anything … whatever catches your ear, you follow that frequency … and every festival i’ve been to always ends up having its sort of desert moment … a caravan … like the tribes of abraham or what-have-you … where you’re just going from one tent to the next, in this very historic-nostalgic moment … taking it back, and tuning into that wanderlust nomadic tribal mode mentality … but, anyway

back to the lineup rundown, res was the first act we saw … i don’t really remember any of her songs from the set … but it was neo-soul, good vibe … as far as days, day 1, i feel like incubus might have been there … but, we were mostly at the 92q stage, we kind of shifted back and forth between 92q and 99x … and in between our must-see sets, we would mosy between whichever third-party stage had whoever piqued intrigue … it was more just about people, and proximity, and perspective … i do remember getting a miles davis birth of the cool t-shirt, that i ended up wearing to madonna’s re-invention tour a few years later, which — it was fine … lessons never losses … but anyway, the acts i remember off the dome were res … bubba sparxxx — for sure — huge bubba sparxxx fan at the time, so seeing him live was great … bone thugs n harmony, was probably the first one i remember remembering … i remember bubba sparxxx, but the standout first act i remember seeing at the festival — bar-none — was bone thugs n harmony …

and, the whole festival, i was sober ( because — semi-obvs? … but, which again: a great way to get your start into live music, is to experience it sober, and then you go from there … it’s a marathon, not a sprint, kids — establish those early baselines for comparative future perspective ) … so, bone thugs n harmony, i really remember being sober because they told everybody to put their js in the air, and if you didn’t have a j (which, didn’t), put your lighter, put your cell phone, put something, put your ones up, your twos up in the air … so, i put my hand in the air — it was fine … i probably got contact high, but i was a kid, so i was just like “it must be the music … the music, must be that” … so then bone thugs n harmony, incubus, counting crows … hoobastank, mystikal, no doubt, bush … cee-lo (mr. cee-lo green if you’re so inclined and/or keen), stone temple pilots … robert randolph and the family band, p groove … ja rule … ja … i remember he put on a show … and at the time he was a feature heavy artist so a good bit of the hype was buzzing about potential cameos … i remember charli baltimore, ace stage presence … and i think vita made an appearance … i think city high and jaheim were that year, not sure … but we missed earth, wind, and fire … and joan jett and the blackhearts … which — that’s, that’s on us … also, garbage (who the universe would present crossing paths with fifteen years later at a prime punk triumvirate hollywood bowl show alongside sky ferreira and blondie) … life, much ado about aligning … timing

but i remember bone thugs the most … and but even more than bone thugs, was actually rick james …

rick james was great, because he was so rick james … playing 45 minutes over his set time, just because ( commitment, showmanship, professionalism, overdeliver and entertain) … but that’s the thing about festivals, is you end up seeing people who you don’t plan on seeing and wouldn’t have made a point to consider … at that point, we were really just at the stage to stake out good spots for the following acts … which for us, a good spot was close to the front, but/and ever since then i’ve learned that a getting a good spot is subjective and all about seeing what you want to see – how you want to see it – and “good” depends on how you want to experience music … but that one we were like, “we want to get close to the front” … so being short, with a group, was good because we could push our way to the front, mosy and maneuver wherever … but rick james was so rick james … though what i remember most about that set was, the lady behind me had a tweety bird juice bottle, a plastic sports bottle squeeze bottle, that was filled with hennessy, and whenever she got really excited about his performance, which was often, she would squeeze the bottle and it would spill on me — it was fine … but i remember going home, and whoever would be like, “why do you smell like hennessy” … and i was like, “because this lady had” — in retrospect, it sounded ridiculous to say, “this lady had a tweety bird juice bottle filled with hennessy and she spilled it on me,” but, i mean, that was the truth …

but, a lot of kids went to the festival … it was very rock, rap, progressive, alternative, not a lot of pop … but the experience of music midtown was this sense of being connected to the city, it was only my second year in atlanta … but music, it opened my eyes to that whole scape … the backstory, not a lot of backstory, just a lot of mood … we spent most of our time at those two main stages … 92q was more contained, and had this hill in the back, makeshift vantage point … and then 99x was just huge … it was the rock stage and that thing, expansive, and it had a lot of the food vendors there, so you were in an ear shot, anywhere in that vicinity … that’s mostly where my other classmates were, because we went to — well, down the line i’ll probably go more into my high school experience … onward

but, music midtown was pretty simple, it was my first festival experience … definitely more of a mood vibe, and being teetotal, it was all about the music — and being in the pits and the throes and having to push your way to the front … being a freshman in high school … being new to atlanta, for the most part … being with friends for a birthday party … and being lucid, at a music festival, in atlanta – and music midtown, no less, being an experience unto itself … and the energy … being unironically kid-level excited, and the adrenaline of music, and people, and even the bad stuff was good, which nothing was really too bad … i just remember walking around … and aimlessly following whatever frequency felt right …

so, this was more abstract … vague and nebulous … partly because i went to music midtown the following two years, i don’t really remember exactly which acts were playing 2002 versus any other year, outside of bone thugs, bubba sparxxx, incubus, no doubt, rick james, i think city high was that year, res was definitely that year … the next year, or one of the years, we saw big boi and the purple ribbon all-stars, and during “bombs over baghdad,” it was just this torrential downpour … and getting back to the marta station, and walking up that street, that main road, piedmont, and all of the water coming down, was like noah’s arc … the rainwater came up past my ankles, and my cell phone got waterlogged, and i had to take some of the tarp, one of those ads that was radio station signage — i just figured it was waterproof — so i wrapped my little flip phone in this massive piece of signage that was fit for a barricade, and i stuffed it in my pocket, and the phone still got waterlogged … that was a following year … but this first one was pretty dope …

my first experience was just basically just being at the pulse in the swell of the people and just literally feeling what it’s like to experience music as part of a community bigger than yourself and moving to the living rhythm and just that experience … and being part of the aural anatomy of experiential live music … the living rhythm is really what it’s about, and the tangibility and the concrete and everything about it … and just festival culture, in general …

so, as far as the footage … whatever cell phone i had back then, i guarantee you it’s long gone … so as far as the record of performance … i was in and out of stone temple pilots, i think we might have headed over there but it wasn’t one that i actually remember being there intently the entire show … but it’s literally the only performance they have readily available that expresses or embodies or encompasses the feeling of what it was like to be there then … because, back then music midtown had huge acts, namely: stone temple pilots … at the time i think i was just really into “plush,” which is still an incredible song … but so as far as the footage to capture that moment, this live-fidelity selection, it’s old school … it’s a slideshow with whatever photos i could scrap together from the internet … and stone temple pilots’ shine on you crazy diamond and vasoline … the medley intro … but that gives a glimpse of what it felt like to be right there, then …

but live fidelity in general is just live music performance … and so for this, this canon inaugural is just my introduction to the live music experience which is the ninth annual music midtown festival … piedmont park, atlanta … 2002 … so without further ado, stone temple pilots intro, from that most magnificent three day medley marathon …

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Remix ::

It’s All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix I)” ft. The Lox, Lil’ Kim, Biggie Smalls, Tommy Stinson, Fuzzbubble, Rob Zombie, Dave Grohl — Puff Daddy & The Family
(It’s All About the Benjamins — Single; 1997)

alright, so, inaugural remix … when i was first thinking about this build … i just thought about the anatomy of pop music, and a setlist and a slate that would always be able to present a comprehensive proper album collection of music that would express a signature lens or palette on music in general … anyway, the point is that it would be a blueprint, a museprint, that no matter who you handed this standard build to, they would be able to draft a worthwhile audiobiography, shed some luminous insight on what universal rhythms resonate with them, showcase a bit of their sonic genomic … so, all of that is to say, the build ended up distilling into something along the lines of: audio, video, discotheque … audio was the album, single, album track, instrumental, rarity — more audio heavy selections … video was the music video … but discotheque was more of that sense of the live and the remix, just that feel of being in a discotheque and that aspect of pop music … anyway so this is the remix, which i’m pretty sure that segue aligns pretty closely with where this is going …

inaugural canon kid remix … “it’s all about the benjamins (rock remix i)” … similar to album tracks, there are so many remixes a) in the world, and (b) that i’ve experienced and that have a special place in my heart … but again i had to go back, that classic litmus test of: what is the first remix you remember remembering as that … and, even then, it got a little hazy, i had to go back and think about which remix defined what it meant to be a remix, which one felt like a spin on a certain song, different spin but the same song … and there have been times, especially when i was younger, when i would confuse the remix with the original, and i would stop and go, “wait that’s not the song i know,” and this is an example of one of the first times that happened … so, and being the first time that happened, in so many ways this spoke to me what the point of a remix was … was to really explore different modes of expression, and to give that skeleton a new veneer, to flesh it out a bit differently, to give it a bit of a different sartorial style … and music being the soundtrack of your life, the remix is just the different lifestyles that soundtrack can live and that life can lead …

so, i remember being younger … and actually it’s a mix of the video and the song itself … and again, growing up in one of mtv’s golden eras where it was an imperial phase for music video … to the point where, if you wanted to know if someone had heard a song, you would ask, “have you seen the video,” because the video was the way you got introduced to the song … which again, visualizes a lot of this for me and this is a prime example of that …

“it’s all about the benjamins (rock remix i),” backstory for that: i don’t remember the first time i saw the video, i remember the first time i heard the song was through the video … and i just remember, lil kim, and that pink lamé dress … that was it, and one of the things i remember the most, was the prom rush … and again, i had heard the song “it’s all about the benjamins,” but when you’re younger, and your ears are tuned into certain aspects of a song, you don’t really think about the other elements … so if you’re thinking about lyrics, you’re not necessarily paying attention to the production, and vice versa … so with the remix, i just remember hearing the same lyrics – and it felt a bit harder — but “it’s all about the benjamins” is a hard song anyway … so all of that is to say, i just remember associating “it’s all about the benjamins” with the rock remix, from the jump; and only working backwards did i realize that the “shot callers” mix was the original, and that video with them running through the woods was not the prom video, which was the one i associated most with the song itself …

however i feel about bad boy, diddy ( at the time puff daddy ), any of that, the song itself was just opus … to be the first remix i remember remembering, it really established a strong barometer for the form and function of a remix, to where: you keep to the essence of the song, and collaborate with people who are able to honor that tradition, and then break the mold at the same time, and blaze a new path, to reach new audiences with the same story … and just, again: tell the same story, give it a different tone … so, enlisting dave grohl and fuzzbubble and tommy stinton and rob zombie … they know the soul of this song, and they just do a bit of inkin’ out loud on it, like giving it some tattoos and putting that in the world …

the video was iconic, back again when you had budgets … it started off documentary style, and then it became more of a proper music video, from a studio style perspective … and it illustrated and visualized the feeling of that bad boy thing … it was very bad boy to the extent of bringing in these rockers and put ‘em on this song, and everybody put their seal of approval on it … everybody signed their signature john hancock … you had the lox, you had lil’ kim, you had biggie smalls, you had dave grohl, you had puff daddy, you had — again fuzzbubble, and all that … so everybody collaborated and worked together … so it was discord and cacophonous but it was in concert and it was just bravado, but again, it was rockers doing what rockers do … even frontmen can take a backseat, but they know that you let your fingers do the talkin’ sometimes …

as a kid it was just a remix that really hit the rafters … and again, being spoiled in the 90s, the amount of music videos that took place at school … so, again, keeping to the tradition but breaking the rules, is that, “rules are made to be broken, but you can’t make broken rules” … go to school, first — like, show up at the school to usurp or whatever … it was just that youth rebellion but it’s when culture is the currency, and collaboration is the currency and that’s speaks for itself … and the ability for music to just cross over authentically, unironically … and everyone’s just having a good time … it was fun — remixes should be fun, within some capacity …

but, yeah … “it’s all about the benjamins” … incredible remix … and, even as a kid, it put some hair on your chest … the thing about remixes, too, is that tone and flow … the thing about remixes is that you learn about — it establishes that genome, and it really builds out your lexicon and — the ability to hear songs in different ways … and when you’re immersed in the remix enough, you’re able to just hear how songs can be translated to appeal to a different set of ears … and you understand melodies and harmonies and how to strip something down or how to vamp it up, how to keep to the lyrics but give it a new rhythm … and you understand the constants and the standards, within songwriting … you understand what you can manipulate … dependent, independent variables … again, it’s just one of those subtle aspects, not so much a secret language, it kind of is a secret language, a secret language of the remix — what is the form, what is the function, what’s the purpose – and how do you produce that … to reach the audience that before was behind a wall or a gatekeeper … and again, music being a secret language, people you couldn’t talk to on the street — speak to them through the stereo … so the remix, it almost expands your linguistic cache, your cadre, and expands your vocabulary … so you can be a multilinguist as far as genre is concerned, because you understand the form and the function of the remix, which this was definitely that … how you can revisualize something, reimagine it, reinterpret it … and again, hold to the essence of it — never lose that soul, but let it speak from a different tone and revamp that spirit …

so, diddy “it’s all about the benjamins (rock remix i)” … backstory is just: it definitely spoke to the little recess schoolyard rebel in me … lil renegade … but it also establishes a flow … the thing about remixes, again, when you can hear different rhythms, you learn how to mimic, you learn how to mockingbird / mockingjay it … and cultural immersion, as long as you just immerse in music as culture you’re able be that much more comfortable, in real life, crafting the language art of communication, and therefore connection, with people … seemingly disparate groups of people who, on the surface, aesthetically, may be different than you, but when you’re just living in the sonic space of the aural and auric, that’s when you connect and find camaraderie with your eyes closed …

but anyway, all of that’s to say, rambling about again, but the inaugural canon kid remix: “it’s all about the benjamins” rock remix one … luckily this one, much to the chagrin of many die-hard fans, it’s the clean version, but for me it’s great, because as a kid, again, having my ears be a bit more buffered, be that much safer … and again, you build from it, you gotta start sober — like i did at music midtown — and then you build from there, yknow … you take those baby steps to leaps and bounds, and you learn limitations and you learn how to be limitless …

so all of that is to say, without further ado … inaugural remix: bad boys are part of the canon kid slate – along with their intramural squad – so, “it’s all about the benjamins” (rock remix i) … they, if they didn’t invent the remix they really did reimagine it, and amplify it … so, hats off, hat tip … to the richters

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


:: Terset ::

so, the inaugural terset, to round out the pop shelf signature build …

“Confide in Me (Intro)” · “Change (In the House of Flies)” · “By Your Side (Neptunes Remix)”

preliminary pretense on the nature of the terset :: effectually, you’ve got the audio, video, discotheque blueprint mentioned earlier, so it’s a pretty standard base … and even though there’s room to breathe and grow, it’s a pretty standard slate, but there’s room for everyone to make it their own … if you have anyone make a list based off of album, single, video, etc. you’re going to get incredibly signature blends from that standard build …

within that though, it is pretty rigid … there might be times when you think of eight singles you want to feature, and no albums maybe … so i wanted to add a bit of flair, a bit of a plot pivot at the end … so if this was a vinyl, the audio video discotheque — that first set — would be the 12”, and then this terset might be that 7” 45 you get in a hidden sleeve alongside, the bonus tracks …

so, the terset is just three songs for your consideration … three bonus tracks you love that couldn‘t quite make that list or just three songs you listened to that day … could be the latest, greatest, and wild card … for me, it has a bit more structure to it … it’s three songs that played in sequential order on shuffle … there’s much more of a formula behind it, but for all intents and purposes, it’s just a shared curation between the algorithm — one of my sworn enemies as a neo-luddite — and this human curation of mine …

so, for all intents and purposes the fundamental prerequisite is that there are three songs that were shuffled up in sequence, that i pulled aside and figured they had a good flow going … so it’s a triple play for the day, and there you go …

it adds a bit of flair, something that breathes a bit … there’s no other pretense to it, just three songs for your consideration … and for me they played in sequence on shuffle on any given day — but no repeats, it’s the first run of each track in sequential shuffle … a bit of the wild card, you don’t know what you’re going to get, you just know they played in order, so in that, you’re kind of drawing a narrative on your own … it’s an olive branch to the algorithm, for what it’s worth … it’s a meeting of the genius minds, or mind and machine … it’s a bit of a 21st century twist on cooperative creative collaboration …

· · ·

that being said, this first one is fun … i had maybe ninety songs in the curated slate at the time, so picking the triumvirate i wanted to really set this off was tough, but i found one that i thought: just beautiful sequence … one that when you look at how these records flow together, it’s something i never would have thought of on my own, to put these three songs together in the order in which they unfold … and beyond that it’s three songs that definitely echo a certain bit of a wild card flair that i can’t explain … they didn’t really have a backstory … only in looking back could i go: okay, i kind of have a backstory with each of these … in context of each other, there’s a narrative … and on their own, they kind of have their own thing going, too … so the inaugural terset: “confide in me” (intro) live from kylie minogue’s aphrodite les folies live in london album, second is “change (in the house of flies)” by the deftones from the white pony [reissue], and then it’s sade’s “by your side” the neptunes remix …

so, i don’t really know how i would sort this out as far as formatting or explanation or backstory/trackstory so i’ll just see how it works and muse on the rhythms …

first, kylie … so i think this is actually the newest, most recent track in this build, in the pop shelf … if you were to ask me a year ago, this song wouldn’t have existed in my playlist or in my library at all a year ago … so, kylie’s definitely the newbie — ramsey street, stand up … so … a lot to unpack here, but i feel like kylie’s going to be a steady presence, at some point throughout the future slates, whatever / whenever they may be … i’m new here ( gil scott-heron, salute ) in terms of *gestures broadly to KM Air-ospace* … but it’s been one of the more pleasant surprises in music … i love music culture, obviously, i love pop music culture … and, as an american, you kind of feel like you have a very solid grasp on the pop music empire, and the entire imperial estate … so, unless you’re a brand new face or sonic space on the scene, i don’t think there’s much that would surprise me … that being said, this was a pleasant pop surprise …

“Confide in Me (Intro)” — Kylie Minogue (Aphrodite: Les Folies – Live in London; 2011)

so, “confide in me,” backstory on that: i just started delving into minogue’s tome … probably around the time disco came out — circa 7 nov, not circa the 70s … although, time is an illusion, so who knows ( … somewhere down in the disco, decades ago, walking in solo … everything ) — i’m really new to the tome, but within a short amount of time, i’ve given it quite a go, a proper college effort, and have yet to be disappointed … even and especially with the deconstruction era — thoroughly pleased … and the range in the anthology is just a breath of fresh air, a whole gust of a seabreeze

but all of that is to say, “confide in me (intro)” live from the aphrodite: les folies tour … the music direction and production in these live shows is one of the apex aspects within min’s music and creative signature … that they elucidate the spectral range in pop, the sheer potential afforded with everything that goes with being a pop performer … the resources, and the audience, and the ability to have your persona be your signature, and to turn that into a sound and a multi-sensory experience … and, again, the imperative to really put on a spectacle and a show — from an industry standpoint, from the business angle — but/and then, the awareness that if you want to have a career, and you want to be able to last, knowing that key to longevity is the human connection … to be able to be in constant communication, conversation, in an authentic and genuine way, and to give a rhythm to the human condition, as it traverses, as it journeys through the various eras, and cultural epoch’s ebbs and flows … to be a living cultural biography, and to have a signature lens on the world, and to be able to translate that through music … pop music that is apparently geared toward the masses, but inherently, for you — music that is built for the audience that follows your frequency – which includes you — and just tune into that …

so, all of that … but, another point of note within kylie’s career, and collection of work, is that there is such attention to reimagination — i guess reinvention — but echoing back to that potential in the remix, and the live experience … just the ability and intention to rubik’s cube that primordial rhythm, and take a track and translate it, and transmute it, and pivot that plot in so many different ways … so, what they do with remixes in live shows (s/o steve anderson) is incredible, with bands and bombast and such …

all of that is to say: “confide in me (intro),” remodeled brothers in rhythm / big brothers mix (again, s/o steve anderson, s/o dave seaman) — the single, the song itself is incredible … so tangible, so real, so visceral … the layers, oh my gosh … all of these songs are full-bodied pop … but back to the story … “confide in me (intro),” from aphrodite: les folies – live in london … it’s like a crevette, it’s petite, it’s rich — but the layers, the labyrinth of sound, so comprehensive … what you’re able to contain in a short amount of time is, it’s pure pop in how you can make the utmost of a minute space, and the sheer bombast in considered brevity …

so, “confide in me (intro),” my backstory: in working my way through this extensive anthology, i would just find things, and follow proximal frequencies … and i listened to aphrodite at some point, but i forgot how i stumbled across the tour itself … and then at some not-directly-related-but-in-retrospect-not-entirely-mutually-exclusive point i got the confide in me 12” vinyl promo pressing with the big brothers mix b-side … (ten-minute remix, unfurls like a three act play, in one song … again, just: geminis will gemini until the end and beginning of time, the genesis is the exodus and gemini is the revelation …) so, forgot how i ended up getting the tour album, but it’s there … and i just remember thinking “… intro” was incredible, i think the first time i heard it, when the intro faded into the track, i literally jumped to my cajón drum and just sessioned with the playback …

but, back to the story: in a lot of ways the live intro feels like the kylie elevator pitch — i know a lot of people would say, “can’t get you out of my head,” a lot of people would say any single from fever, or “the loco-motion,” “i should be so lucky,” or “spinning around,” or … “slow” — which: so good … but there’s tons of songs where people could be like *snap* if she’s got a calling card, it’s this … but for me, this one is like a deep cut, real one, because the real ones know … and the fact that “confide in me,” coming from the deconstruction era is on the aphrodite tour, in this way, and it’s the brothers in rhythm mix, which just speaks to the depth and breadth that makes true pop resonate … that makes it personal, and panoramic, and penetrating and palpable, and pure … as far as creative expression, mood conveyance, and rhythmic harmony, and that elixir, and that adhesive that becomes the secret language …

and it being a live performance means that you know, for sure, that the presence was felt and the gravity and the humble magnitude of these moments that become a shared experience — it’s the epitome of confidence … and the magnanamity of that mystery between an artist and their audience, and the trust that exists there … and this intro is before she even hits the stage … so, it’s that elan vital, it’s that psyche, it’s that pneuma, it’s the conscience, it’s the voice in the back of your head that undoubtedly drew the fans to the o2 that night, and has been with them the entire time … so, just the unfolding of this is so deep, so robust — just wow … and it’s a great intro, because it’s just: *snap* snaps you into it, sorts you out …

all of that is to say, yeah … kylie’s sort of the chrysalis break in this playbuild … it’s the newest artist, for me, in terms of my backstory, but she fits right in with the rest … and definitely an artist who is worth their weight in rhythm … so, all of that is to say: epilogue aside, “confide in me,” incredible lead single from the self-titled … so, to put respect on km94 aka kylie minogue is to put respect on the name of the artist herself … and this is that … so, yes

next song: deftones’ “change (in the house of flies)” … this one is just … so, this one does have a backstory: year 2000, i was, in eighth grade … but freshman year is when i remember getting this one … freshman year in high school, deftones, definitely some metal vibes and total rock … aaliyah fan, and around that time y’know 2001 when she passed, hit hard, but when she had filmed queen of the damned my backstory with this song is, the first time i heard it was, either watching mtv before i went to school and it would come on the am mix … and/or — well it technically can’t be and/or … but or watching queen of the damned and “change (in the house of flies)” being in the movie … and it’s just something about, again coming off of “confide in me,” something about the resonance …

“Change (In the House of Flies)” — Deftones (White Pony [Reissue]; 2000)

it’s deep, and it’s rock, and it’s masculine, and there’s a gravity and a density to it, but it is so rhythmic and it’s got that groove, and it’s so soulful … and that’s the thing i love about the deftones, is there’s just that for all the masculine, it’s contoured … and there’s something about those edges that’s just refined, it’s rock but it’s refinement to the grit … and it’s beautiful … it’s visceral in a way where it’s like guttural, but there’s an underlying rhythm to it, and that tempo is so beautiful and it’s so considered, and it breathes but it’s got a mettle to it … but it’s a ballad, i will say that … it’s a baritone ballad … but it’s amazing, and it’s just … even the screams feel symphonic … there’s a symphonic element to the deepest screams, and a contour to the chaos …

but yeah, so deftones, definitely a fan … i remember listening to white pony as a sophomore, and again, the idea of remixes and collaborations and crossing the aisle and multilinguistics … with the deftones it really comes through, because i remember when i was listening to them right along with everything else … and the fact that i was introduced to them in association with aaliyah, and when your eyes are closed, it’s just the rhythms … and aaliyah was working with trent reznor at the time on the movie … so again it’s just understanding fundamentally aural overlap, and familiar frequencies when your eyes are closed, and who feels the same, what tempos vibe a certain way … compliments as opposed to carbon copies, you have things that compliment one another … the yin and the yang, the light and the dark, and how they work and the harmony there … and so the deftones really spoke to that …

white pony, incredible album, and there’s a vulnerability … there is a sense of coercion, and there’s a bit of mythology to deftones, in the way they engage with love and bittersweet and distance and rejection and the unrequited, and they speak to the vulnerability … but, in ways, how it can be manipulated — borderline weaponized — but, love is a battlefield with deftones … but wow … the beautiful balladry that comes with it … everything feels opus and manifesto, as well … it speaks to a certain level of adolescence, just that conflicted bildungsroman … is just a mood the deftones capture, very well …

so, going from “confide in me” into “change (in the house of flies),” is just that sense of that narrative, if it’s going to be anything, it’s just going to be … confidence, and then the metamorphosis therein … and then the alchemy, and the merger, the hybrid progeny that emerges from that shared confidence in the crucible … so, transmutation station

okay, that’s deftones — another backstory on deftones … or i might save this one for when i actually actively slate them … but backstory on “change …” and then getting white pony from best buy: when i walked out to wait for my mom who was picking me up since i wasn’t driving at the time … when i went outside, there was this guy sitting on the curb drinking a sprite, and he asked to see what cds i bought, and i showed him, and when he got to deftones, he looked at the cd, and looked at me, and goes : “you’re black?” … so, the deftones, it’s real

and then … sade … a nice segue there is that when i was into deftones — i still am — but one of their albums, b-sides and rarities — see, it’s all music, if you love music, these things are just like second nature, the language is shared — b-sides and rarities with deftones, that album featured their cover of “no ordinary love,” by sade, so this is a nice segue, into that …

“By Your Side (Neptunes Remix)” — Sade (The Ultimate Collection; 2011)

“by your side,” backstory: again, around the time of high school — high school, again, just that relationship with digital music and peer-to-peer sharing, and all of that … is just, as a millennial, you were given … it was before streaming, so it wasn’t contained, and to have literally galaxies and oceans and entire dimensions of music … just there … it’s like, you’re like the gander from duck tales who‘s just swimming in gold coins, except gold coins are music, and like gold dust, because each song is like a sand morsel … it’s just incredible … but, so having all of that music … getting singles, and rarities, and just because it was on — limewire, kazaa, frostwire, morpheus, all that stuff … so, sometimes i’ll forget how i got tracks or just around what time i got them, because it could have just come from a huge sweep — of mixtapes, from friends … because paying for music is important

but, “by your side” the neptunes remix … sade, incredible voice … capricorn music artist, will be interesting … sade is very … that’s the secret language, that’s a mystery … but it’s just the mystery manifest, and that’s what it is … that’s the aesthetic is that she lives in the music, very much an artist … and it is her craft, and love is the language she speaks … and love is the alpha and omega … and she is a testament, and a living temple, that expresses the limitless ways in which love can be expressed and communicated … and living in the rhythm of love …

so, “by your side” came on shuffle, the neptunes remix is the one … it takes a ballad that is a standard, and it gives it a certain … levity … and to me it just feels like, almost the “can’t tell me nothing’ video … but tropics … just that sense of that desert, but a beautiful landscape, and the desert as … almost like you’re living in a tapestry that’s representing a tropical desert … and so you know that if you just keep going, and it’s a sonic scape … like this desert is created from music, and it’s a synesthetic thing, where what you’re seeing and feeling and walking is actually the musical composition … so this sand could be the percussion, and the wind can be the strings, and her voice is that intuitive guide that leads you to the end of this tapestry, and then you break out of that art, and then you meet with the maker … “by your side” is just very that … at a more basic level, it’s like the footprints prayer or the footprints analogy of “that’s when i carried you” …

and the neptunes mix, again, is just about complimentary … so, sade brings, sade … and then you’ve got pharrell and the neptunes who add their production … and so, again, it’s that conversation between two artists and the collaboration … and the opportunities, and the perspectives, and the insight that’s offered to the listener when you’ve got two creators, who work together and have that caprice between one another that becomes concerted creative work …

so, all of those together: “confide in me,” “change (in the house of flies),” and “by your side” the neptunes remix … i think it’s three artists who resonate deeply, and it’s three artists who are genius in their own ways, and they do have a shared frequency … i think all three of them find an incredible precision, they find that — it’s not necessarily a middle ground — but they do find that balance, wherever that balance is, wherever that locus is … at any moment, they can get to the soul of any sound … and expound on that … so they all know how to get to the soul of any story, and give it sonic identity and capture that moment in the immortality of music … so, the confidence, and the metamorphosis, and the cardinal fidelity of divine companionship … and that three-act play that came together with this terset … yeah

so, i don’t really know where that’s going, but i know about where tersets fit anyway … but, if these were liner notes … which i miss in vinyl, by the way … these were liner notes that just explain something, that would be that … but: kylie, deftones, sade … *exhale:* blessings … so all of that is to say, inaugural terset: “confide in me (intro)” live from aphrodite: les folies– live in london at the o2 — that alone is a story, that i’m not going to read into the revisit on that, whew, but just everything that means … deconstruction, o2 arena, aphrodite tour, the longevity in a career, that lives in the language of love, illuminated … heralding the highs, and riding the lows, loving the lows for the lessons they give you that you can impart to others, through music — and deftones, my boys, “change (in the house of flies),” just opus metamorphosis moment, and “by your side (the neptunes mix),” sade, boom to a whisper … and just one of love’s preeminent warriors, just soldiering on … through that museprint symphonic …

so, yes, that inaugural terset

to the top :: prefix menu

Skip to :: Mic Check · Album · Single · Album Track · Rarity · Instrumental · Music Video · Live Fidelity · Remix · Terset · · · The Playbuild (Full Slate)


Mood: Palate Primer · blueprint tunes, rhythmic roots, catalyst muses, canon kids

Bard: karioke


:: The Playbuild ::

:: prefix ::

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s