Ep. 2 :: Pop Shelf : Scene Berets

episode … deux … three or four months in the making … roaming, rambling, ruminating, reminiscing … above beyond beneath about the surface and depths of conceptual theory by way of vaguely guided touring through a cerebral museum’s memory … all of that is to say … this episode is the compilation of audio clips / self dialogic spanning the course of three or four months … extensive and then some … illegible by most conventional standards … but published for the sake of: it exists, and occurred, within a (sur)real capacity … likely the last episode in this form … in the interest of time, space, principle, practice, and purpose … so, given said non-pretense … the long-pour labyrinth

enjoi.


On Tap :: Build : Pop Shelf · Blend: Scene Beret

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 ::

okay: mic check round two … this is one that i’ve actually been thinking about for awhile …

I am an arms dealer, fitting you with weapons in the form of words …

— Fall Out Boy

mic check, the second episode … this one’s a bit different because the first episode had a plan, for the most part, the debut — shoot for the stars, be iconic … the second one is almost like the real first one, the actual test press … see what comes to fruition and how the space could potentially start to furnish itself in a more long-term way …  and so, here, thinking about lyrics that always just lingered, and one that’s resonated since i first heard it, one that whenever i hear it is always an a-ha moment … contextualizing culture and the form and the function of — particularly millennial culture — and especially the function of pop music figures …  in this whole socio-political landscape that is pop culture … as that balance between the soft power of pop and the hard power of the military … and music makers who use discourse as the battlefield … anyway, burying the lede: “i am an arms dealer fitting you with weapons in the form of words,” that lyric always struck to my core — just like : yes …

i took media literacy, a module, freshman year of high school, it was in english 9, and we had a week where we learned about media literacy … reading media as a text, learning about the different elements constituting telecom pieces — whether it’s news pieces, journalistic texts, advertising — learning how to read anything that’s disseminated through the media as a text … looking at modality, looking at the author and the agenda and the intended audience … how that works and, even more so, how the elements establish the discourse that becomes normative of the status quo, deviant … how discourse is crafted to impact a culture and audience, and from that genesis: seeing how knowledge is power, and exploring the power structures … and so, for me, understanding there’s information and entertainment — the subjective nature of both — and how messaging and discourse establish perspective, and how people act therein … understanding that everything being communicated is media — particularly on a public platform … and messaging can be militarized, and weapons are words, and it’s all just one collective entity …

in that, fall out boy’s lyric contextualized the function of pop figuration — particularly in millennial culture … post-reagan babies … in a space where, children’s media had been deregulated in the eighties under reagan, and therefore entertainment and information fell into this singularity, and kids were being fed propaganda, and mobilized as pop trouper platoons … understanding that america’s fundamental pillars in the global economy — we are arms dealers — looking at our pillars, where we function in the global economy: it’s arms, entertainment / show business, and digital tech … working together, and that’s the american identity on the global stage … looking at hard power and soft power, looking at words and weapons, and how we disseminate said abstract artillery to establish a sense of power and superiority on the global stage, it’s like: yes, well, pop figures, when they reach a level of global prominence are, effectually, battalion leaders … not sure if they’re actually generals, on the ground, but — we are basically infantrymen since infancy … and the overarching context of “this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race,” the fact that the scene is very much a battlefield, and it’s not “just entertainment,” and the business of show is the business of business … everything in america is show business, but it is a battlefield … and it’s all warfare, and we’re just looking at how to express and exercise that …

so, delving a bit deeper into the song and narrative … particularly that it came out in 2007, a year when more than ever, there were echoes of the 27 club’s cultural essence, and that identifier as an anchor … but 2007 being a year when pop culture prophesied the global economy, and pop culture became the preeminent prophet of what would eventuate on a socio-political scale … looking at the financial collapse of 2008, looking at what celebrity culture narrated in 2007, and pop musicians — the scene kids — illustrating this requiem for a dream, the american dream, more brilliantly and lucidly than i’d ever seen before … and looking at this bildungsroman, looking at this morality play, looking at this bona fide american mythology, reaching apex levels of spectacle and substance and significance, and these were the myth-makers and these were the dreamers of dreams who were living tapestries … and they lived the narrative — from the battlefield, they lived this record … and it was incredible, and it was that secret language … and it was the word made flesh manifest, and they did write the gospel on giving up — but they wrote the gospel of giving up as the gospel of giving in, and surrendering to whatever destiny was going to be … surrendering to the universal rhythm and knowing that everything is ebb and flow … and again it’s that immortality, not in not dying, but in transcending and returning, and living life as a tale to be told and resilience and all of that …

so, this camaraderie and everything about “this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race,” it’s very self-explanatory … so, for me, it’s a mic check because it lays the groundwork for how i perceive my … it’s the blueprint for how i see the function of pop figuration — particularly for millennial culture … as this battlefield — like valhalla — and these ravens and the valkyries and they’re choosers of the slain, and their tales they tell are of reality, and they live the lore … and idk it’s just something where what i fail to express properly, the music does … so i’m just musing on the rhythm and hopefully somewhere in that dynamic, something else is expressed …

but, “this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race,” infinity on high, 2007, the year of apex pop mythology manifest reality … just brilliant to me … the cultural biography establishing the role the form and the function of pop figuration for millennial culture … and i think now we’re seeing, now fourteen years later, how that’s all coming to fruition, and how these arms dealers have weaponized culture … akin to echoes of that john brown, well, the little preview of what’s to come, it’s like if britney spears was john brown and her words, and the discourse of her as a body politic, and britney as infrastructure … as discursive infrastructure … was harper’s ferry, and this armory … and britney gave those weapons — the weapons of her words, and the armory of her pop identity, her as a discursive work — to her fans … it’s that move, like john brown, just giving the fans, as this troupe of comrades, narrative authority over the american dream as living discourse … giving the comrade, giving the camaraderie, narrative authority over the archetype of the american dream, and looking at that right now …

so, it’s looking at media literacy and the control of that … and how entertainment is information, and how it’s all about narrative authority, and how when the music maker laces the lyrics with the artillery, how that infantry can gain control over the intelligence, and become the center of their own agency … and the song itself is a more metanarrative of this mic check when you look at, “painting your trash gold while you sleep, crashing not like hips or cars no more like p-p-p-parties” … again if we look at this from the idea of pop and politics, artists are dangerous because they can infiltrate all classes and all spheres of society … and that being said i think a crucial part, especially looking at what happened in 2007, “at night we’re painting your trash gold while you sleep” and when you look at what’s considered “trash,” pop culture is considered vulgar, and that became apex currency … “crashing not like hips or cars, no more like p-p-p-parties,” looking at how literally pop culture can crash the institutional political party, and really set the groundwork for the uprising of the dance party so to speak … how culture becomes the currency … and you, as the worker, in and of pop culture, become the means of production … and how when you reclaim your own sense of identity, and reclaim the authority over your own narrative, that’s how you gain power in this political economy … and it’s all for the business of show … and so when you reclaim the media, and you reclaim your narrative, and you’re able to express that in a way that’s seen by many as,  “oh, it’s just entertainment,” but entertainment is information … and it’s overt subversion … and it’s beautiful

idk, i just really enjoy this track … and i think it’s a general mic check for what we saw transpire, the genesis that was 2007, and the revelation that has been its unfolding, and its uprising … so: “i am an arms dealer fitting you with weapons in the form of words,” is the mic check for the episode that is to follow … it just felt like scene berets, these were the kids who wore the green berets of pop culture at an apex year … and we’ll just see how that unfolds … the body politic as the battleground, the pop figures as platoon leaders, and lyrical discourse as sword and shield

so, without further ado, the soundtrack for the riff in reference: “this ain’t a scene it’s an arms race” … featuring: “i am an arms dealer, fitting you with weapons in the form of words” … the mic check that sets the tone for the subsequent and establishes the form and function of millennial pop music makers … the scene berets :

This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” — (Infinity On High; 2007)

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


:: Album ::

Blackout — Britney Spears (2007)

pretense :: this one, went juggernaut (to say the least, about a most many words) … so … as far as legibility … this riff in particular reads somewhere in the realm of postcolonial beatnik millennial odyssean labyrinth … that being said, said rumination occurred, and so said transcription exists for the sake of said bombastic happening’s recorded existence, if nothing else … thus noted, should you continue reading said rainbow, if nothing else : have fun with it ¯_ (ツ)_/¯

Jump to :: i. Intro / Prologue · ii. Backstory · iii. Scene Beret Bridge · iv. Trackstory Segue · v. Track by Trackstory [ Standard Edition ] · vi. Track by Trackstory [ Bonus ] · vii. Epilogue / Backtrack

i. blackout, scene beret album … backstory/track story on this, i’ve written extensively on blackout; so, this in no way, shape, or form is going to be comprehensive … it’s just going to be how it feels right now to consider the album at all … and it will probably likely be a pastiche of past work, and what i remember about writing about it in the past, from the pov of the here-and-now, but onward …

so, blackout … wow, this is … blackoutblackoutblackout … similar to the bodyguard, anybody who knows me knows blackout is a thing … full-stop … in terms of my pop genome, very much the progeny of the bodyguard soundtrack, in its own way … if the bodyguard was the genesis, blackout would be the easter renaissance of this world view and perspective … and following “the form and the function of pop figuration” frame, blackout claims that paradigmatic presence, its cultural identity captures that canon status in its ubiquity …

following the mic check of, “i am an arms dealer, fitting you with weapons in the form of words,” and everything emanating from “this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race” … scene berets, being pop music culture green berets … the motto of the green berets being “to liberate the oppressed,” and their primary functions being unconventional warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counter-terrorism … effectually: unconventional warfare in order to liberate the oppressed … that being the green berets, and so the pop music culture scene berets enacting that for the masses … so, blackout, speaking to that, in album format … the conceptual practice of the scene beret: it’s unconventional warfare … when you’re looking at the purpose of the form and function of pop figuration, and the evolution of the form and function of pop media as discourse — pop music as pop media, the pop figure as a media channel — and looking at narrative authority as a means of cultural mobility, social mobility, and honestly, political power … and you look at how blackout, as an album, is a blueprint for how to infiltrate the system, glitch the matrix, but also to be completely revolutionary in how you put into practice pop record production to that aim … and all of that … so, with britney and blackout, just a standing testament to millennial soft power … discursive warfare or the scene beret album — this stands as testament to any and/or everything that means …

Jump to :: i. Intro / Prologue · ii. Backstory · iii. Scene Beret Bridge · iv. Trackstory Segue · v. Track by Trackstory [ Standard Edition ] · vi. Track by Trackstory [ Bonus ] · vii. Epilogue / Backtrack

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ii. my background … my backstory with it, is the first time i listened to the album all the way through was when i was writing for true genius requires insanity … and i had a column, and every two weeks i would write about an album we considered “unforgettable” — too old to be considered a new album, and too new to be considered a proper classic — and so this was the 19th installment; so i had my footing, and i knew of blackout, and i think britney was an anchor — or, to where i had learned to really respect her as a pop comrade, and not even really knowing much about her, beyond consensus millennial pop consciousness … i think what established her in that role was vanessa grigoriadis’ rolling stone article, “britney spears: an american tragedy,” and seeing britney in that light significantly shifted my perspective on britney as an individual, and the pop star as an icon, and as a locus figure at the crux of pop culture, political economy, and this global village dynamic, and how they all work together and — now again with the context of everything since then — if nothing else, just the pop star as infrastructure … and a living mythology, and all of these different elements … a human institution … and so blackout became a cultural biography, an autobiography, and audiobiography … it became an epic narrative, and i understood its function before i even heard the final product, before i even gave the album its first proper spin … i understood what it meant, and all i needed was to hear what it was saying …

having heard the album all the way through for the first time in 2010, and having to write about it, was a thing … because being on a deadline, and having to capture the magnitude of everything … that was a good article, though … it was one of my formative pieces … but, back to the backstory … the first time i heard it — proper first spin — was in 2010, but i remember in 2007 my brother, we were on spring break with some of his friends, and my brother had actually — we went to delaware – i forget if it was dewey, bethany, or rehoboth beach — but we were at this beach house, and he was like, “have you heard this album, have you heard this new stuff?” and i was like “no …,” and he plays me demos from blackout … and he was really vibing off of it … and that’s when i knew it was really a moment, when my older brother, asks if i had heard, these demo tracks, from britney … and he plays me “break the ice,” is the one i remember — because later he revisited the shift in the bridge / breakdown between the demo and album version — but it went hard … and then, on a separate ‘07 oh-ccassion, my cousin sent me some demos … and i remember, just again the whole limewire culture and whatnot, i remember getting a few demos when i got back from spring break … i got … “perfect lover,” “pull out,” and a few others …

in that, it was an underground pop record … and i didn’t understand the magnitude of that moment, at the time, only in retrospect did i understand what any of “that” meant … a star of britney’s caliber, creating a mixtape (for all intents and purposes) … and underground record … one where the demos and the rarities rallied and built the hype … and again, someone who is so committed to the music — someone who’s so committed to the music — right … and she had fired everyone — all of her handlers, and again, this is all from hearsay — but she fires all her former handlers, and she’s basically a one woman label promo department for herself … and again: it was becoming the means of production and reclaiming your sense of self … and so within that you have britney promoting her own album … and i’ll never forget when — the 20/20 hindsight moments now — you have media tracking your every movement, and they’re focused on your celebrity …  and the celebrity collapse … and you’re focused on the soundtrack, your soundtrack — and i’ll never forget the video when the paparazzi go, “what are you listening to?” and she plays her own demos on the car stereo … and that’s the pivotal power move — the theretofore unconventional warfare — the music that’s actually going to end up, when you finish it and polish it, that’s defining that moment in time … just, the ultimate pop documentary … the ultimate audiobiography … and when you go into the album itself and you’re hearing the lyrics: “i’m mrs. ‘most likely to get on the tv for strippin’ on the streets’ when getting the groceries, no, for real… are you kidding me? no wonder there’s panic in this industry: i mean please…” she’s actually narrating global media … because she was global media, and her album is narrating that — just, the narrative authority … she controlled a very real, clear, and present platform in and of global media, and the album explored that … and so if nothing else, there’s that

so, my backstory is … having heard the demos, very much having understood the album from a mixtape standpoint, and then having heard the formal album in full in 2010, and since then my backstory with the album has evolved, in a way where i’ve written a dissertation, a thesis, a palette of editorial pieces, and using it as a central reference point … but overall, it’s just one of those points of reference i look to, to give perspective on the pop anatomy of american millennial culture and celebrity culture as a whole

Jump to :: i. Intro / Prologue · ii. Backstory · iii. Scene Beret Bridge · iv. Trackstory Segue · v. Track by Trackstory [ Standard Edition ] · vi. Track by Trackstory [ Bonus ] · vii. Epilogue / Backtrack

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iii. blackout, as the scene berets album soundtrack … in the past, i’ve focused on myriad aspects of blackout, so this one — again, in no way comprehensive or all-encompassing — it’s just focusing within the scene beret scope, the episode itself, and being an arms dealer as a pop artist …

the context of blackout, in existence, using media as a battleground … britney created blackout, effectually, it comes down to: on one hand, the weaponizing wordery mic check itself, and on the other hand, the larger scope of pop figures who act in order to liberate the oppressed through unconventional warfare … looking at media as the battleground of discourse — the preeminent stage for soft power dynamics, and conflict — blackout stands as a revolutionary canon, in terms of the masses and the audience being the oppressed, and, particularly, pop figures representing the masses as — the soundboard, the siren — the locus that holds together these elements of everyday life … and contemporary lifestyle for the proximal population …

when you’re looking at the battleground itself, 2007 hit a tipping point of conflict between pop culture and politics — the dynamics of institutional government politics, and power dynamics politics … and the status quo was … it always exists, and yet it’s the hegemony, really, that was up for grabs here … because the establishment was really caught up in the bush era, and everything that meant in 2007 — on the brink, it was his last year, and on the brink of global financial collapse, and understanding the powers-that-be see this happening … but, fundamentally, it was the fact that there was a war going on, and in that there was the necessity of the establishment to, again, make sure everything is normalized, and everything ostensible is business-as-usual, and any conflict or any dissent — anything that could collapse faith, or erode faith in the establishment, or the powers-that-be — needed to be removed from public discourse (or refocused to shift fault from institutional failure to individual human error), so that, even if it was existing, people didn’t know it existed — or care, or act in opposition to said existence … and if they‘re going to want to know, we’ll tell them what to know

and media — the press, the industry — was the power player … it was the power broker in an unparalleled way, and narrative authority was crucial — who had authority over anyone’s narrative, who was the author that had the most consensus legitimacy when it came to establishing, communicating, recording reality — and it was this emergence of the 21st century example of docupop, which is pop culture — and here, pop music — as a medium intended to depict reality … and so, when you look at what pop media was – as opposed to news media, or celebrity media, or something that was purely “entertainment” versus purely “informational” — pop culture is at the center, because you’re sensationalizing or exaggerating or editorializing or making theatrical reality … and everyday life … so there’s the essence of cinema, and the immediacy of television, and there’s the essence of something that’s intended for the camera — something that’s meant to be a bit entertaining — but also, fundamentally, it’s supposed to be depicting reality … within a capacity — within the root needs to be reality … and then you have the rise of “reality drama” …

the thing about the role pop music plays, here — communicating and establishing soft power — is that: it’s not television, it’s not cinema, it’s not “just music” — it’s all of these things, it’s the cinematic televisual aspect of music … and when you’re looking at where technology was, in 2007, where telecom was, and what media was — tmz, the blogosphere … and for me, being 13 in 2000, and being able to come of age along with pop media, what that meant with music – p2p file sharing, etc. – and what that meant for televisual, particularly, but news media in another particular way because … news media : because entertainment became news media, and vice versa, and they kind of ended up in this singularity … and so the pop figure was effectually this figurehead … this archetype, and this personification of national identity … and so you have britney spears, right up there, effectually as the pop representation of the bush epoch …

for me, with the dissertation, it was looking at britney spears — from an empirical perspective — as youth subculture celebrity icon of the bush era … and blackout was at the root … and what’s focal to the scene beret vantage, and the mic check, the scene beret – their purpose – being, to liberate the oppressed … and enacting this through unconventional warfare … and being an arms dealer, fitting you — the audience, the listener — with weapons in the form of words … it’s establishing a point of reference to liberate yourself from the oppression of the establishment … and fundamentally, what britney did — again, as this arms dealer, as this scene beret — was giving you a blueprint as to how you, in taking control of your narrative, liberate through narrative authority …

and on the grander scale, britney, and her narrative, being gold : the gold standard … because of everything she built precedent to that tipping point — it’s like if you’re looking at words as someone’s biography, and they’re living their projected narrative as the words, and seeing that as weaponry — britney built an indelible arsenal … and in terms of economy, and in terms of dollars : she was money … she was an economy, she was a financial instrument, she was a human institution … and looking at the soft power influence of what she meant — the symbolic representation of what she meant, carried significance … it brings the attention and the influence of an audience — in and of the attention economy — an audience who, at this point, was a global audience … like she said in one of her songs, gosh … it’s not called airport, it’s not called flight, it’s something, it’s something travel-based — “abroad” … but, “i don’t speak the language, but they know my name here,” … is effectually, a top-line bio, about britney as soft power … as an international soft power broker, and as an institution, and her name being currency and the weight that carries …

so, the context of 2007, you’ve got a war, right … everything the war on terror means – the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan, the endless war – in 2007 when, the 20,000 troop surge commences — due to, and despite, all the evidence evidencing the illegitimacy of administrative rationale for commencing said war in the first place … i mean, literal arms dealers — that the american economy is functioning heavily off of the arms trade — and britney reflecting that, from a discursive aspect : hard power, we’re in the middle east, soft power, the media gatekeepers communicating what is happening — for the “average american,” and for america — and what america is doing, at any point in time … what it means, expressing and communicating the human condition of living in contemporary culture, in america — and britney, within the contextual capacity of 2007’s everything, was a media channel in and of herself … and when she had control of her own narrative, not only living as this celebrity — as this economy, as this abstract – and very concrete – notion and entity, that is economic — but she’s also a human being, fundamentally … so, as much as she is funneling money and power, she is also communicating what it means — what it feels like — to be alive in the now of then, and the everyday life of said aliving … so, she is culture and society and economy and she’s a business and she’s a worker …

and now we can look at that, and look at celebrity as psychological warfare … but then, consensus looked at is as just: “wow …” the lived condition of “this is what it means to be an american” (albeit, within an oddly specific familiar-from-a-distance dualistic capacity) … a) — and all the different demographics she brings into play … so she’s a millennial, she’s a woman, she’s a mother – a single mother, she’s southern, anglo, from the working class – she’s been working since she was six, christian, a musician – dancer, a performer, an entertainer – a child star … so, and someone who – as we saw – someone who’s actively dealing with mental conflict, mental anguish, and a trauma survivor … and so all of that is to say, everything — all of this — is the reality of the lived condition, the human condition of an american (albeit, ostensibly consensus-perceived dualistic oddly specific), in 2007 …

and to look at blackout, and the way britney produced it — executive produced, produced with and to the utmost executivity — exercised it, exploring everything it meant to explore life, and perspective, your point of view, and the structure of feeling … everything she executed to express that, was the crux of independent pop … and so, again, unconventional warfare …  using music as a form of news media, using pop music as a form of news media … and independently … because pop is often defined by : the agenda and its ties to the industry, with the performer effectually acting as a puppet — proliferating hegemonic propaganda — and a mouth piece … so, britney used the pop platform, she flipped it from being about — she took agency from the industrial authority, and put it in the hands of the audience … and she was the locus and she was the conduit — she was the media doing that … because as an individual, she broke away from the industry to articulate her narrative … void of their input — for the most part ( and looking at the most prominent or mainstream publications’ britney cover stories and features at that time – the overarching narrative was the sheer difficulty in or bona fide inability to secure an interview – or direct / conventional contact at all – with britney (e.g. the atlanticallurerolling stone …) ) … fired her handlers … and the way she promoted the album … was … fundamentally, again, britney became the means of production here … and in that, she became the weapon in the form of words as the living discourse … but she became the means of production … and when she cut ties with the industry — and the handlers, and her team — she literally took the incumbent power and put it back in the hands of the artist … and the worker … and she became the means of production, and she removed herself from the hands of the superstructure … and watching how that unfolded — again, britney in and of herself is being a revolutionary in this act — evolved into casing how the audience would receive how this was being communicated …

britney … her music was the root … and yet the media worked tooth and nail to de-legitimize what she was going to release — as it was happening … the promo cycle was, effectually, the battle ground paving the way to this capstone war … the battle path was the production process and the promotion process to get her story out, and the press coverage contextualizing this composition … the release itself was almost the fact after / as / of the matter … to get it out — to release — was crucial … and again, how we’re using these weapons — how britney equipped her army to receive what was going to be released was critical … and, because that was the first-person narrative — again, leading up to this, she was battling flash with light, and fighting fodder with reel life — the media was expending every ounce of ink available to invalidate her voice and counter her cognition …  so whatever she was going to say was going to be framed “crazy” … so whatever was going to be presented from her perspective, was going to be perceived consensus “crazy” — illegitimate … and then you extrapolate and analyze the profitability of what she’s saying in and of this capacity — the chart performance, commercial and critical reception, etc. — so, again, it’s the press and public discourse gatekeepers holding this individual and their creative expression to an industry standard, and therein is another pop crucible : is what you’re making art or is it a commercial consumer product — it’s both … but the message is not about making money, it’s your memoir — and it’s about the legitimacy of your story, the resonance of your record, and how people are going to respond to that way of life : is this an ideal quality of life, is this person okay, is america treating people okay, is the status quo normal – is it balanced, is it equal … ( further : if not, why not, and how do we as a people rectify and remedy this imbalance and ailment … ) and so, all of that is to preface the present parlay : going into how blackout expresses that …

Jump to :: i. Intro / Prologue · ii. Backstory · iii. Scene Beret Bridge · iv. Trackstory Segue · v. Track by Trackstory [ Standard Edition ] · vi. Track by Trackstory [ Bonus ] · vii. Epilogue / Backtrack

. . .

iv. so, blackout album track story … scene beret conceptual contextual scope … hopefully, this will incorporate some concrete anchors to the otherwise abstract aforementioned exposition … but, in all likelihood — it’s a scorcher summer, it’s an infernal album — so, this is going to be extremely stream-of-consciousness (due to, despite, and amidst said encompassing exponential heat index) with whatever “this” is … i’m going to try and keep it comparatively structured and concrete … but, again — and, fair pretense on the low potential in said likelihood actualizing into riff-record reality — i’m really just talking around this whole thing … but / and / so, hopefully something will end up on the page that bears some sense of cohesion and grants some sense of insight … thus pretensed: onward

so, we’ve got a general context on scene berets … soundtrack sonicscape underscore for liberation of the oppressed through unconventional pop music culture warfare … right now, looking at pop media as this battleground between culture and industry … pop music being the atmospheric elixir — the fuel, and the foundation — in its own way, and pop figures as de facto platoon leaders — particularly with britney, when we look at media and what it was — paratroopers, providing air cover for the establishment … and when we talk about hegemony … we’re considering the ruling class, but in terms of the dominant class, their dominant ideology — and that’s not always necessarily going to be the establishment, right … and that’s where pop culture and pop industry really converge … that’s where the value of pop media comes into play in 2007, that’s the battleground — that’s its stage … and so, whoever has narrative authority — the legitimacy of your knowledge or your power or your authority or your perspective in and of a place or space — the fact that you know what you’re talking about more than the opposition — you are more legitimate than any alternative perspective … it’s almost like a legal battle, whoever has the better argument … and it’s not always the truth — hopefully the truth wins out — but it’s what people want to hear, and what they’re willing to … it’s the reality — the perceived reality they’re willing to acknowledge as normal, and what norm/s they’re willing to live within … within that, here, you’ve got britney against the industry … you’ve got pop culture and pop figures fighting against the gatekeepers and the establishment, from this fringe domain of pop media, as representative anchors of culture and industry … it’s culture versus industry, and you’ve got pop figures who are effectually representing the worker — it gets a bit postcolonial marxist in this regard — but effectually just: liberation of the individual, to own their own narrative authority amidst a media industry that profits off of the exploitation of quote-unquote “likeness” … and your persona … and the representation and the amplification of that voice and vantage … so, unconventional discursive warfare in the scope and scene of whatever all of that means

and again, britney the paratrooper aspect is just that: airtime … when you’re looking at air cover, britney providing air cover for an establishment who — regardless of that — is overseas, fighting an endless war … and britney providing press air coverage … so, where there’s presence, there’s absence … media literacy coming into play, one of the fundamental elements is presence and absence: whatever is presented in discourse means something else is absent … so celebrity being present — taking up all this airtime, and ink — means that any and/or everything else is not being covered therein … and when the media frames this as: “oh, it’s what the readers want, this is what the audience wants,” or “oh, it’s celebrities pandering to get publicized,” … it’s up to the reader to go: “i didn’t ask for this,” and “i’m looking at someone who‘s ostensibly trying to escape the paparazzi … so, apparently, they didn’t want this,” … “so, who’s benefiting from this?” … so, it’s all those things [ slight would-be-remiss-to-omit just for referential aside :: the numbers of stories that appeared in a variety of media outlets between january 23-26th 2008, taken from a lexis nexis search of major u.s. and world publications, news wire services, tv and radio broadcast transcripts and blogs : center for public integrity iraq report ( the war card ; january 23, 2008 ) : 92 ; britney spears breakdown : 1129 ]

and again, getting outside of that … so, the soundtrack of scene berets, and let’s get started with blackout’s roundabout track by trackstory

Jump to :: i. Intro / Prologue · ii. Backstory · iii. Scene Beret Bridge · iv. Trackstory Segue · v. Track by Trackstory [ Standard Edition ] · vi. Track by Trackstory [ Bonus ] · vii. Epilogue / Backtrack

. . .

v. alright, so, let’s get into the track by trackstory … i think might be the easiest way to get into this — this is going to be a long one – this is going to be a dive, a delve into the deluge … whatever i did with the bodyguard, this is going to go a bit deeper … this might have to be broken up into different pieces because there’s so much happening … but it’s one of those things, you just want to get it on the record — awkward, awe inspired, awful, good, bad, indifferent — just whatever “it” happens to be in this happening, on the record — and it’s just “an oral narrative of” or something stream of consciousness … i feel like i’ve gone over this album as cultural record over and over but … never from this place, never from this time, never from this perspective, and this structure of feeling … and a lot’s going on today, july 15th … given everything that’s going on … so, just going to riff … and see potentially what diamonds emerge from the aforementioned and subsequent rough … ownard

starting out:

“gimme more”

track story on this one … wow — “gimme more” … one aspect of the track story is that, i believe, she wrote / recorded this song when she was pregnant with jayden james — which, additionally, leads into “piece of me” (lyrically speaking, kid on said arm, exceptionality : earned) quite well, because of the working mother thing … but anyway, onward

“gimme more” … has to have one of the most iconic hooks, in millennial pop history : “it’s britney bxxch” … looking at encompassing aspects of the everything it means — the opening hook from the encompassing aspect of everything blackout is — which, you have to understand that blackout was released in the fall of 2007 — which … the autumn versus the fall — and again, the entire summer has been leading into this … and the most publicized figure, pop figure, celebrity figure of the year and then indefinite some … one of the most anticipated albums, if not the most anticipated album — arriving amidst, no less, a 2007 that gave you : graduation, and gave you kanye’s, one of his opuses, you’ve got jay’s american gangster, you’ve got justice’s debut, you’ve got m.i.a.’s debut, you’ve got lily allen’s stateside debut, you’ve got amy winehouse’s stateside debut … you’ve got, neon bible (i think?) came out this year … but, you’ve got a lot of work … you’ve got rihanna — which, moving forward, y’know “umbrella” (overheard has it) was written for britney about what she would tell her kids about that time … so, britney is the energy, right, of pop … love her, loathe her — she is the energy of just, immediate intensity …

and so, this is the anticipated album, and what’s the first thing anyone hears off this album? “it’s britney, bxxch” — three words: a hook … and … liberation of the oppressed … if we’re talking about scene berets, it’s someone who hits the battlefield — assumed to be broken, assumed to be crazy — and the sanity … literally coming face to face with that — no matter who the audience is: it’s britney; this is what she has to say to any listener … this is what britney’s saying to the world — a pop album coming from someone of her caliber, speaking to the industry (all of them — individually by sector, and as a collective superstructure), speaking to her fans, speaking on behalf of her fans, on behalf of herself … “it’s britney, bxxch” let’s you know that: “this is deliberate, this is intentional, this is me, and there’s only one britney” … one of the most manifesto moments — and the question becomes: who’s the bxxch … it’s very tongue in cheek, it’s very both worlds … it’s antimonious, and again, it’s that mona lisa aspect of, how you hear it says more about you than the utterance itself … so, but the definition, and the authority — it’s claiming narrative authority from the jump: it’s britney … and everything emanates from that …

so, “gimme more,” off the jump … you’re talking about … if this is an audiobiography, and everything coming from this: “every time they turn the lights down, just wanna go that extra mile for you…” if we’re looking at an arms dealer, fitting you with weapons in the form of words, you being the audience and again, this being a pop album, feeding fans with weapons in the form of words, “it’s britney, bxxch” — this is the britney army’s rallying cry … this is the general they can stand with and salute … everything is the cause for the liberation of the oppressed … and the liberation of the creative … the liberation of the marginalized: anyone who was bound to a system, that attempted to define them, and profit off of their person — this is what it means to be pop, or britney – or that person who, a teenager attempting to grow up — it’s anytime someone tries to define you, or claim an identity, or impose and identity on you that is not true … it’s the liberation of the truth, and the truth of a lived human experience, and someone not telling you but you telling them — and them respecting that … and identity through narrative authority, right, claiming identity over yourself and being able to live freely as the person you claim to be, and that being that …

so, “gimme more,” as a reflection of the individual, “every time they turn the lights down just wanna go that extra mile for you” … the lyrics themselves … this one focuses more on desire, and the access to excess, and its amplification into greed … and, with the definition of it, britney willingly giving herself to this … it’s that kamikaze, it’s that most divine wind … “we can get down like there’s no one around, we keep on rocking … cameras are flashing, while we’re dirty dancing — they keep watching … feels like the crowd is saying,” it’s that covert propulsion, the apparent distraction as a central determinant, the fundamental fuel driving the attention economy, the click click boom of coliseum capitalism’s britzkrieg …

“gimme more” establishes, a strong groundwork for what’s going on … the way it speaks to american culture in general … the greed, and the insatiable incentivized desire of it all … american greed in 2007 … as far as a cultural biography … it’s in the darkest moments, it’s exploiting that star … it’s how everyone is clamoring for some sense of energy, and light, and that’s when you go to the stars, the supernovae … the pop stars who shine brightest at night — and they’re not shying away from the depths of the darkness … the stars with the light – who know that it will never be extinguished – will go into the depths, just to provide light, for you — if that’s entertainment – entertainment is not always amusement, entertainment is the ability to hold the attention of an audience … amusement is for pleasure or for happiness … entertainment is just — a car crash is entertaining, conflict is entertaining — it holds your attention … amusement is lollipops, candy, love, rainbows, hugs, a circus … it’s also looking at that …

so, focusing on the lyrics as the blueprint — also, sidenote, danja — but back to the lyrical … “the center of attention (do you feel that?) even when we’re up against the wall,” again, the subtle … it’s like the club — the same club britney always talks about — it’s the club could be anything … how abstract britney can be is just because she is an individual, she is an institution, and she’s an icon — her personal life, is the public forum … everything can be given that abstract notion of we’re talking about publicity, we’re talking about her personal life … the club she’s talking about could be the club of media figuration, right … even when her back is up against then wall, she’s still the center of attention … it could be the moral panic marginalized … up against the wall, center of attention — watched but not welcome … so: yes, even when held back, she’s still the center of attention, and/or no matter how far out she tries to get … it’s that dichotomy and duality of being a celebrity — of being a person, and a product, and a public figure … and the personification of a national identity, and what it means to be a celebrity … which is someone who’s under voluntary surveillance — or, apparently voluntary surveillance … and being a role model …

… surrendering, not giving up but just giving in to the reality that your life is a lesson, you’re a morality play …

anything else on this one? oh — keri hilson :

“gimme more” happened at conway — [danja] had done the beat in his headphones, and we all had chills. i started [sings], “gimme gimme, gimme, gimme gimme” over the low-end. it was just so easy! i believe it was jim beanz who came up with the line : “it’s britney, bxxch.” we were joking around in the studio, and i remember telling him, “do it, go do it, put it on there.” i remember [jim] being a little reserved about it, like, “how’s she gonna feel?” but i was like, “that’s how she’s gotta feel!” it’s cocky, and we simply wanted her to feel that way about this record. she had what i call the “fxxk it factor.” she had been pushed into it. and the “fxxk it factor” is actually when an artist does something bold, ‘cause it’s like, “i know this is not conventional, and i know this is not why they love me, but fxxk it.”

so again, everything about that … is kinda what it means to be … this … again, i didn’t even know that about the song, but yeah … so: “the fxxk it factor”

next song:

“piece of me”

this one … if there’s a manifesto about what it meant to be a thing in 2007, if this is the ultimate scene beret moment … it would be “piece of me” … this is the empirical imperial … the concrete anchor of all concrete anchors … people should just stop, and listen, and read and hear — genuinely consider — these lyrics … this is the reality of her form and function in american culture, and also, “miss american dream since i was 17” — that’s an entire thing — you look at what it means to be the american dream, what it means to be on the brink of 18, what it means to be the best-selling teen artist since the genesis of the soundscan era … you’re looking at the american dream, you’re looking at the requiem of it … and this perspective and lens on it … everything about “piece of me” is the tongue-in-cheek, is that duality … “and you want a piece of me” … she’s scrappy, she’s a fighter … and even more so in light of the redemption arc context of the 07/08 vma narrative sequence, and vegas residency, and “piece of me” as conceptual anchor enacted in canon practice … but fundamentally, it’s “what you see is watching you” — and, very much that …

with this, it’s about hooks, and words, and weapons in the form of words: “i’m miss american dream since i was 17;” owning it, claiming it, britney is the american dream … since she was 17 … she is cultural currency — knowing what the media is — establishing her place as cultural currency, and media … “miss bad media karma; another day, another drama … guess i can’t see the harm in working and being a mamma, and with a kid on my arm i’m still an exceptional earner — and you want a piece of me” (and these are the daze of our lives) … here again, part of the marginalized … a big part of this is britney first-hand establishing the sense and presence of contemporary, concealed marginalization in that … reminding the audience of what it means to be at the center of the media, and using your personal platform, and your lived experience as an expression of the truth … “i’m miss lifestyles of the rich and famous, omg! that britney’s shameless … extra extra, this just in: she’s too big, now she’s too thin:” weapons in the form of words … living the script as scripture of public discourse, and, if nothing else, it’s not good, bad, indifferent — she’s just using this to establish the truth: what you see is watching you … this is her; as much as she’s talking about what you’re talking about, she’s telling you what you’re talking about, and she’s telling you she sees, and she knows what’s going on …

and, if nothing else, this is one of the clearest examples of an individual explaining to you: the industry, and the status quo, and the privatized public sphere you live in, and giving you a point to reference going forward: is this the world that you want … talking about the validity, or the invalidity of the legal system … how specious and dubious and fragile these authoritative institutions are … because of how they’re focusing on her … the paparazzi, the media industry, stacking court dates and documents like currency, counterfeit paper chasing dragons … key line: “i’m mrs. ‘most likely to get on the tv for strippin’ on the streets’ when getting the groceries, no, for real… are you kidding me? no wonder there’s panic in this industry: i mean please” — literally understanding, and articulating, that she, in and of herself, because she’s tabloid fodder, everything the audience has been complaining about for the past year and some change, is literally the cause for mass media hysteria … she is the panic, she’s the power-broker, and she’s the purpose, and the principal / principle … and it’s perspective … so, that’s really where most of this comes from, is the idea that this is the fundamental reality is that: “as an institution and a human, i am an icon … i’m and individual, i’m unable to gain my independence because of this media industry, who relies on me for profit — miss bad media karma … and, at the same time you wonder why there’s panic in the industry …” so, again, actual institutional failure off of ostensibly divertent iconography … and so you look at where the money is, and so, as currency you can see the breadcrumbs battering financial system collapse, because — bam, here it is

alright, getting a lil foggy and foghorn … so, shifting into a bit of lightning round mode intermittently through the remainder

“radar”

… “radar” is fun because when i think of radar i think of the fact that it was on two albums which is funny — not sure why, but nonetheless … “radar,” got the horse … lyrically … hmm … i guess back to the what you see is watching you motif: “i don’t think you know … i’m checking you, so hard, so hard — wonder if you know you’re on my radar (on my radar) … and yep, i notice you i know it’s you i’m choosing don’t wanna lose you, you on my radar … tryna make you understand you’re on my radar” — reiterating the aforementioned allusion to optical reciprocity: she sees you, she wants you to know she sees you … and that means the theretofore royal you — check the mate … onward

“break the ice”

is great, “break the ice” is bangers … “break the ice” reminds me of the remix with fab, which was dope … “break the ice” was a great sort of post break-up/re-up thing … this one has the dichotomy between the personal and the public … so again, as much as it’s cool and it’s fun … it echoes the panoramic scope of american culture, and her being at the pulse of it … the icebreaker comeback album, welcoming back the baby one more time … “it’s been a while, i know i shouldn’t’ve kept you waiting — but i’m here now … ooh, looks like we’re alone now, you ain’t gotta be scared, we’re grown now …” it’s also just stuff she ruminates when she’s hanging out at the club, or stuff she wants to do when she likes a guy or is infatuated with a guy, and actually, in the secret language of birthdays — the birthday book – as we call it – great book (not a plug for it, but i’m just saying it’s fascinating) — britney’s birthday is “the day of the seductive larger-than-life” … which, that’s about as britney as you’re going to get …

how she treats or perceives the individual is not mutually exclusive to how she treats or perceives the industry … and her relationship with both are interesting, because it’s that magnetism, and it’s that dynamic … there’s always three, when we’re thinking about the audience and who the muse is when it comes to britney’s music … because when you’re a pop star it is the masses you’re talking to, and it is then industry handlers who allowed you to do this and who will be covering this, and it’s also the one-on-one … “i know it’s been a while, but i’m glad you came, and i’ve been thinking ’bout how you say my name, you got my body spinning, like a hurricane, and it feels like you got me going insane — and i can’t get enough …” so, “break the ice,” talking to the industry — again …

“heaven on earth”

like this song — wasn’t as much a fan on the first spin, likely on account of the sonic divergence, but acquired affinity, onward — yeah, because as a human she’s just really much about truth and love … in her own way … “take me back to that place in time, images of you occupy my mind … far away, but i feel you here with me … fall off the edge of my mind, i fall off the edge of my mind for you …” true love here feels quite lucid amidst the apparent otherwise maelstrom … a settled space of sublime singularity at the eye of the storm … copacetic beyond all chaos when connected to camaraderie

“get naked (i got a plan)”

wow … great, song … *danja* — i think danja being the producer was huge here because it is, again, that double entendre, as above so below: danja … it’s always with danger … and she loves danger — and danger was the producer here … “baby i’m a freak and i don’t really give a dxxn, i’m crazy as a motherfxxker, bet that on your man … if you like what you see, end your curiosity, let your mind roam free, won’t you pay attention please” … if you think about everything that fueled this album and entirety, it was that fear and the danger and the threat that britney is to the industry standard … “i’m not ashamed of my beauty, you can see what i got … if i get on top: you’re gonna lose your mind (the way i put it down on you, you know it should be a crime) …” onward

“freakshow”

… the lyric here that sticks out is: “if they want to know, tell ‘em mind their own — but if they wanna look, we can give ‘em an encore” — *clap* silence: secret language, telepathy, that’s what’s up

“toy soldier”

this is (yet another) scene beret manifesto, right here … talking about real soldiers, toy soldiers, at the time, when you’re talking about what you want and don’t want and – it’s wartime here … arms race … this is the kid who knows how to get gully: period … the line that sticks out here … oh: “i want it more than ever now, i realized that they ain’t listenin’ — like a princess s’posed to get it, that’s why i’m dustin’ off my fitted … coming back looking delicious — yes, i know they wanna kiss me … now i hold ‘em at attention: ’cause new britney’s on a mission,” that’s scene berets — she knows … she knows … and, when you look at the whole argument against britney, at that time, was “she’s crazy” : a) “crazy” is contagious , ( b) that was the only card that the media — and the industry and all of her oppressors and opposition — had against her was, “she’s crazy” ( or something to said general effect ) … “let’s dismiss her, she’s crazy … we need to reel her back in, she’s crazy … she’s off the rails, she’s crazy” … meanwhile, everything on this album is a lucid explanation of everything you’ve been watching …

so, this is from someone who — from the center of the storm, from the eye of the storm — you realize she’s been comparatively calm and quite lucid and clear about everything, this is one of the most valid points of record and reference for what was going on at the tipping point of 2007 … someone from the eye of the storm giving you perspective … daytime, what she’s reading in the news, night time, club life … this is someone who really went to both places … and when we’re talking about “toy soldiers,” the mission, if nothing else, is to claim independence and narrative authority … the fact that, she was the most watched, and she was watching the whole time, is just something about being on both sides, and having that 360 perspective … it’s like the shark dropping a mixtape from the fish tank … the eye of the storm sharing their lens with you … from the trenches and the war room … “he’s not talkin, he’s just walkin … like them city boys from new york” … it’s crazy … and as that thing’s gonna crash

“hot as ice”

i think i talked about it earlier, but “hot as ice” is very much the robert frost moment …

just cultural points of reference, less personal, more public, and just more panoramic and broad-reaching, and this would definitely be one of those moments …

one of those moments of just recognizing: “it’s britney, bxxch,” miss american dream since 17 … like a princess is supposed to get it … miss bad media karma … and kid on the arm, still and exceptional earner, the marginalized single mother — just, the baddest … right now … l’enfant terrible …

miss american dream since 17 … literally the american princess, facing up to everything that presents … this was one of her early testimonies, before she went under conservatorship, before anything else, she always knew that she was always on the witness stand, always having to defend her character, and having to legitimize her own narrative, her own perspective of her experience as a person … because she is at the center of the media, she is speaking to her own media figuration, from the point of view of the human who lived it … so, it’s the crucible of having to defend your character … and it’s the crucible of having to legitimize your personhood in the face of a persona … and legitimize your humanity amidst your proprietary limited likeness … and, your memoir over the mediated representation … as her own legal representation … as someone delivering lyrics written for her by the public … it’s just being a locus … onward

“ooh ooh baby”

a fine song … lyrically, very straight-no-chaser: “oh, the way you smell, the way you taste … all you do is look at me, it’s a disgrace — what’s running through my mind is you, up in my face” — very much, is what it is … bars nonetheless … lightning round, onward

“perfect lover”

— great song … pure beautiful beast flow … just zoned in up and out … and the pendulum precision on the lean-in / lax dialogue … just, in it, innit … lyrical motif moment : anatomical inferno … onward

“why should i be sad?”

winding it down … “why should i be sad?” … amazing song, that pharrell produced it … is one of those mirror-mirror moments, to where it is self-reflective, but it’s hidden in plain sight, and when you’ve got the world watching you … it’s that first-person omniscient, that aside or soliloquy … her moment of reckoning, she’s been at peace with herself the whole time … walking you all … because it seems like no one’s going to listen to her directly, they would have to listen to her through proxy … the only way people feel they can listen to her, is if they feel like they’re sneaking a soundbite … or if it’s covert, or if they weren’t supposed to hear it … they’ll only really believe it if it’s taboo … or sensationalized … so it’s almost like letting you in to her diary … it’s not like she can tell you in an interview what’s going on, because you would never believe it … because you feel like it’s publicity, or something akin to immersion in disbelief, but if you listen to her in music it’s a little bit more believable …

and it’s that first third person … and she always has to talk about herself as if she’s someone else and [ inaudible ] inside … because then you can hear yourself saying it, because you’ve said it before … “why should i be sad?” … like there’s two britneys here, because she’s lost her humanity … and, this is one of those prescient subtle meta moments of reckoning … a way where she’s liberated the oppressed by abjecting … the abjection of herself, releasing herself, and releasing her ego, allows her to be able to claim her actual self, because she’s made peace with the fact that she’s two people … and it is speaking to the character of what she was, and what she’s become but understanding that “that person” is gone … so again, being able to understand these two sides of you, making peace with them being one, but walking people through that process of abjection and reclamation … so, release and return … and the record of that … that penance and reconciliation between the two …

and for “you” could very well be the american public … because she gave you carte blanche … the same one who turned it up when the lights went down “for you,” is the same one who at the very end is going: “and this is the result” … it’s a beautiful finale, a beautiful conclusion … and produced by the one who first scribed her servitude to the club — whatever the club meant – boys club, press club, y’know … and so there we go … “and don’t you worry about our angels, all the magazines trying to intervene, saying things in the gossip section … they’ll get good guidance, and be trained well don’t worry, i’ll keep our little secret, when they ask this question” — secret language, liberation of the oppressed, bam … unconventional warfare, using the media, keeping the truth inside out of the media’s eyes, but bam … *exhale*

Jump to :: i. Intro / Prologue · ii. Backstory · iii. Scene Beret Bridge · iv. Trackstory Segue · v. Track by Trackstory [ Standard Edition ] · vi. Track by Trackstory [ Bonus ] · vii. Epilogue / Backtrack

. . .

vi. and then we’re going to the bonus tracks, because, why not …

“outta this world”

alien behavior — in many ways britney feels like an alien … because there’s no way many human earthlings ( for all intents and purposes ) could withstand the level of attention and pressure that we’re talking about right now … and then to explain — with a marked lucidity — american culture, from the pulse and periphery … “outta this world” is great, really beautiful song … i just really enjoy it … and it also lets you know that, if nothing else, love will save the day … love is the alpha omega ether energy  … love is the universal rhythm … and despite any and everything else, britney is fueled off of love – not attention or exposure, but love … active love … and people who don’t know how to love, she will still reciprocate to remedy that … reciprocity is the name of the game … if you want to fight, and spar, she will give you the fight of your life – media industry … if you just need someone to need you, if you just need someone to have a conversation with you – marginalized … and if you need someone to be there in the trenches and take the heat off of you, done … if you need someone to express another facet of to show that suffering is universal, as well, and the salvation in a shared experience of suffering: bam … britney’s all of these things … and love is what will transcend you beyond the apparently banal material world in which we live, and outside of the media you’ve got this metaphysical … so, after “why should i be sad?” is almost this transcendent moment of ascension into the cosmic canopy of unconditional divine love supreme … so finding her compliment … is that alchemical moment

“everybody”

*jr rotem* … “everybody …”  signature sample … “sweet dreams are made of these” … miss american dream since 17, serving you some more sweet dreams, and the requiems they reap … great, and everybody’s in on it

“get back:” “get back” might need it’s whole own …

oh, the other bonus tracks …

“gimme more” — the junkie xl dub, and the paul oakenfold remix

— both incredible tracks, for different reasons … i think they both add different elements … one a more dense mettle obsidian feel … to, like a charcoal gunmetal vibe … to the track on the junkie xl dub — very “junkie xl”

— i think junkie xl’s dub was released in australia, so oceania bonus track … paul oakenfold’s remix … i love the lingering, the infinite eternal feel of that …

and that’s the thing about “gimme more” is the “gimme gimme gimme gimme …” it’s like an endless insatiable … and i love that about more discotheque tracks … tracks that, at the core, are more like a discotheque … at the venue … they have a mix of disco, that ephemera, that eternal infinite loop … that is deceptively simple, and deceptively repetitive … because it’s like a conga line, to where, it’s apparently endless, but you’ve got all these different people in the line that add a certain signature essence to it … but that, but music … and the discotheque to me feels like electro, house, live, tangible, visceral, but disco … so it’s like, stellar viscera … so, all of that … and i think junkie xl dub and the paul oakenfold remixes add that sense of whimsy and grit … so, a sense of the stellar and the stocky … but a bit of a gully gutter feel to the junkie xl dub — junkie … and, it feels kind of, it feels kind of british … i don’t know … but, yeah … and then paul oakenfold, just the “gimme gimme gimme,” when he has this extended bridge it’s just … i think it’s, amazing … it gets me every time … but a lot of these are also, so much about the feeling and the vibration and the frequency … so these two speak to that as well …

but the bonus tracks are great because they add that mixtape demo feel that i think she was really going for … what it felt like to be in a club — whatever that club may be … and britney really just used blackout to put you there, wherever “there” was … what it felt like to be in the center of the glitch … to be in the glitch, in the matrix, in the center, and just the pulse and the viscera of pop culture — everything that meant: blackout, to shut something down … because of the surge of energy, and she is the surge … and just, so, all of that … and so i think this album speaks to that, and it explores so many facets of the human experience, when you’ve been pushed to the brink … it’s like a butterfly in that chrysalis and all of the pressure that it takes before you break through and break out … and i don’t think a lot of people, at points of high pressure, are able to capture the moment of alchemy and those moments in the crucible, and the divine mystery in that … transmutation … for here, it would almost be the opposite of what you expect … where it’s kenosis — it’s the release of the divine in order to attain humanity … so it’s that abjection of the ego and the self and shaving the head and getting rid of your crown and jumping over that wall … and so, blackout is almost that sense of humanity, because all of that light, apparent light has been quashed … and the fact that she can still be a supernova amidst all of that is crazy — the fact that you can still generate that energy and light … despite apparent darkness … i think is what blackout is all about … it’s the magnitude of the light that has shut everything else down … it’s this eclipsing moment

and again, what caused this was the revelation of the truth … no matter what anybody else said, this was her truth … and it was the truth of, again, a pop star who is a part of an apparatus … and it’s that collective communal feel of having writers, and producers, and people who are able to give you outside perspective on who you are … like, you can’t see yourself on the outside if you are the inside … so britney enlisted keri hilson, jim beanz, cortes ellis, and t-pain, and danja, and bloodshy and avant, etc. because they were able to give her that perspective from the outside … and crafting these narratives, and all these people working together to create a true genuine pop album from the underground … and we’re all black when the lights go out … so … it was a sense of community in that darkness … so … and she did it so well, such a well executed product … that i think people, even at their most sane, can’t produce something that is so genuinely human … flaws and all … and they talk about how flawed and auto-tuned it was — no, this is precision … and this is truly getting the ineffable on record … so things you can’t put into words, that are just feelings and rhythms and vibrations were just put there … so all that is to say, that’s on blackout

Jump to :: i. Intro / Prologue · ii. Backstory · iii. Scene Beret Bridge · iv. Trackstory Segue · v. Track by Trackstory [ Standard Edition ] · vi. Track by Trackstory [ Bonus ] · vii. Epilogue / Backtrack

. . .

vii. so, now that we’re out of the standard album … and all of the things that meant … and, again, for the umpteenth time, scene berets, is the focus here …

“get back”

… is a track … for me, i only heard this track, well after i heard the standard edition of the album … okay, so “get back,” so bringing it all back to what we’re talking about … just going to calm down a bit, going to dial it down a bit, since we’re winding down with the bonus tracks … so, to use “get back” as a starting point … to kind of bring everything from the album together — as, this recollection has been all over the place — but, i think “get back” is a nice place to see where we can culminate and capstone, and make sense of everything before … ( slight aside on the immediate space and time :: y’know, similar to the situation in 2007 … it’s been a really hot summer, and britney’s been in the limelight for a bunch of reasons … this summer … and fourteen year itch … and so, there’s a certain intensity, and for me, i think even just recapping, it’s so similar and there’s just so many — it’s just, it’s a lot happening … so this retrospective, this backstory/track story has been all over the place … it’s been super redundant, it emphasizes a lot of the same points while omitting entire aspects and crucial elements of the album … but to be honest, it’s really hot, so it’s tough to focus, and i was overthinking this whole thing … onward ) so, hopefully “get back” will breathe some life into this, and we’ll see what happens …

so, “get back,” one of my all-time favorite tracks from the album … by far, bar none … took me by surprise, and again, there’s such a clean, fresh, sense to the filth of this … and going back to fall out boy, “painting your trash gold while you sleep,” i mean — this is that … this is that alchemy of taking something that was “today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s fish and chips” — tabloid fodder — transmuting something that was meant to be disposable, and revealing a diamond mine … and that’s britney … and that’s really taking everyday life — which is pop culture — and making it palpable and prolific, infinite and eternal, and turning it into epic poetry … and its whole sense of the apparently disposable – what was intended to be disposable for the sake of capitalism, which was the effectual point of news media at said juncture, when you had time warner or whoever launching tmz – where you have disposable gossip fodder being part of a very quote-unquote “real” corporate news media business model … it’s a singularity, and so you’re leveling up the sense of gossip and turning it into a business model … it’s incentivizing and normalizing the disposability of someone’s likeness and life … and britney said: “hold up — no; i’m not disposable, i’m indispensable … to your economy … and as much as i lined your pockets with daily news, this is going to be my redebutante — for the culture, for the community” … but also it’s just, “you had a year, i gave you a year to do whatever, and here’s what i’ve been doing for a year — polishing it, and perfecting it, and refining it” … so, this was very much a refined album … turning pop fodder into epic poetry … is what she did … she took the tabloids and turned it into, well, the requiem of a fairy tale, of a modern fairy tale …

so, all of that is to say “get back,“ one of my favorite tracks off the album … by far, and i think it encapsulates everything we’ve been talking about, well, everything i’ve been talking about … so, i think it was supposed to be – it was rumored to be – the lead single … first, diverging a bit from the whole “weapons in the form of words,” is just the beat itself … again, just that discotheque feel … it was like pop, trap, dirty pop, house pop, garage gutter glamor, but like obsidian pop … that heavy mettle pop … it was something about it, and it was that funk pop, discotheque … that subpop … but the beat itself had a very elastic boogie feel to it — but it was very trap, in its own way … and the effects that were put through it, it was very masculine, and beat-driven … so, heavy drum … kick drum and bass … it was dark, very club feel … and again it had that baritone narrative, baritone narrator of danja coming in …

so, pivoting back to the words … “the one and only: britney“ … again, closing out the same way you opened up with “gimme more” is, again, just … i think, this one, to me, is the capstone that mirrors the “gimme more” … it’s like that basement pop …  to where, you’re going to the basement, beneath “why should i be sad?” … and “gimme more” is just, it’s tough to explain, it’s one of those manifesto mirror-mirror scenarios where it’s a microcosmic moment that speaks to the metanarrative … so, if you’re looking at this, again, britney’s club is culture … and her saturday night is your sunday morning … and so, it’s day to day and night to night – knowledge and wisdom ( “day pours out the word to day; and night to night imparts knowledge” ) …

again, it’s that dialogue, that inner monologue, but also it’s that third person talking to one person – it could be one-on-one – but it could also be britney talking to culture, and it’s what you’re hearing other people say about you ( “oh no, here we go, “catch me if you can, don’t move too slow” ), it’s this endless game, and she is just playing with you … it’s one thing to answer inquiries, it’s another to make sport of the inquirer … so, at the same time, she’s having the most fun not playing games … and it’s that awareness of being on another level … and it’s tough … it’s tough at the top, and no matter where you are, you’re just leveling up … everything about being a v.i.p. or something else, it’s just that cocky — the “fxxk it factor,” is the opening one, but it’s really just establishing the fact, in the heretofore final scene, that she’s very well aware that she’s built different … and it’s the kind of thing that — it’s the thing that will always frustrate, is that no matter where she is — she knows she’s that one, and you can’t keep her down … and i don’t know, it’s that “fxxk it factor” on the first one, and it’s that same thing she’s saying here, is the same thing that she effectually has been saying and relaying and reprising and persisting to the industry … and it’s playtime’s over time for her

the pre-chorus is so key here in terms of weapons in the form of words … “i came to party, that one again just reminds me of the whole dance party thing … whatever the dance party is, it’s almost just like pop culture, that’s the third party in a two-party system … is the dance party … whether that’s that disco mentality of whatever it is that brings the marginalized together in the sense of recreation, and the bond of the oppressed, but turning that suffering into salvation through celebration and release and catharsis … is what it is … and, for all intents and purposes, music, and creative expression, is what frees people … because you’re putting your narrative – your narrative authority comes through creative expression … and so that is freeing … whether it’s comedy, or drama, it’s always going to be documentary because you’re putting your life out there, but there’s a power to that, and it’s the politics in the personal, and the politics in interpersonal, and just … there’s something about that

“you might think i’m crazy, by the way i’m moving to the beat” … that, for me, is one of those manifesto lines because what puts britney on another level, here, and what has always put britney on another level, is that it is, for all intents and purposes, for many people … it’s on one hand, “those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music” … and so, of course, top to bottom, it’s always going to be: “she’s crazy, she’s crazy, she’s crazy,” and it’s that sense of dismissal — but why – get to the root of why — what would make her appear crazy … possibly maybe, the way she moves to the beat … and yet, this is something that has diversely established a sense of validity and legitimacy, and it’s the secret language that britney has — is how she can ride a beat … and that’s the power of pop, is that voice that can adapt … a mutable voice that can adapt and acclimate, and still maintain its signature tone … while it manipulates itself, and contours and caresses each tempo … and, particularly for women, vocalists and performers, that’s the beauty of pop is the way it marries the masculine and feminine … most times, women vocalists riding over darker harder more masculine beats is something that i think, at a very visceral core, inherent level, is something that expresses and communicates and exudes and establishes a sense of harmony and balance … and that ultimate yin-yang, that ultimate harmonic rhythm, of creation and creative, is just the way the masculine and the feminine rhythms can just marry and engage with one another and that beautiful blend … and one not surrendering to the other but just the choreography between the masculine and the feminine energy, there’s not a sense of dominance or submission, it’s the sense of harmony and balance … between two apparent opposites, right, and that’s where creation occurs … when you have two apparent opposites coming together and converging …

and so with pop music, when women vocalists truly deliver over hard beats — that they’re not threatened by it, that they actually accent it perfectly, and they maneuver with it, and they dance with it — is, i think, something that triggers something very inherent and very visceral with people … and that’s what britney did with blackout in a lot of ways … the baby one more time journeyed through four five albums to get to this point … and, again, she’s dancing with these beats as if it’s no problem, as if it’s her playground … and it’s like a dance floor … when the dj drops any track and you can dance to it and you can still own that dance floor — that’s a sense of power … something that you’re channeling, an energy that is foreign, and you’re making it familiar, and you’re at home anywhere … being yourself without having to surrender yourself or relinquish any of who you are to be able to acclimate to any environment … and i think, again, that’s what makes britney … so that’s after all this time, even now with the conservatorship, you see people coming out from all different walks of life finding a sense of affinity and community and association with britney, because again, there’s so many times, in retrospect, when she’s authentically been who she is in myriad spheres … being honestly part of the hidden-in-plain-sight marginalized — whether it’s the working class, whether it’s a single mother, whether it’s someone who has been under a conservatorship … even on just a fundamental level of someone’s who’s being oppressed, someone who’s being marginalized, on the other side of the power structure … and so here, “the way i’m moving to the beat” … the way that again, a blonde pop girl, who you would assume to be very pop bubblegum, can ride to this heavy trap beat … someone who’s ridden to so many beats … music-wise

someone who’s ridden to, and again, when we’re talking about the media and the press — moved to the beat … the paparazzi aimed to annihilated anyone with amplification … and to body the barrage, to take the hits — whether it’s web hits, clicks, newsprint — covering the bevy of media beats shown to man, whether it’s tabloids, whether it’s news media, whether it’s international press, whatever — and just moving with it … and not giving up, and still being on that floor, at ground zero, eye level, taking you face-to-face … and facing it every time, and still dropping this album … “you’re standing on the wall, what you come here for” … it’s that, it just reminds me of that coliseum capitalism … to where it’s that gladiator mentality … and you watching — and this will come back with circusyou on the wall … you came here, yknow, and you’re on the wall … so it’s almost like, “meet me center stage, because that’s where we’re at” … “you’re gonna feel the heat dancing next to me, again, just that sense of where i am — being on another level, being a supernova — it’s hot, if you can’t stand the heat then get out the kitchen … if you can’t stand the heat then get out the limelight … not everybody can be miss american dream, ms. bad media karma, and yet she’s here, and it’s still a game — within a capacity … so, there’s that

and the chorus … this is when you realize … taking it to the beat, because her flow on this one is so signature … and the precision … i think people don’t pay enough attention to the sheer layers — and i’ve said this before — in her music … the cosmosonic capacity that really goes to the stratospheric heights with the layers they add … there are stellar effects on this, as much as there is the gravity, and the mettle, and the trap … drums, you still got that, residual pharrell ripple with the touch of the stratospheric … and you’ve got that heavy trap … and it’s again, literally, like that star trails and scar tales … it’s just that sense of going to both places … these beats literally go up and down … and they will go to the heights — they will go to these cosmic canopies — and they will hit that blacktop baritone basement underground … that subterranean to the stellar … and they merge them both, and britney’s riding the beats … and she’s navigating these beats … it’s like, if you just follow that lyric, and you just follow her voice, you will be fine … just riding those coattails, riding that comet’s tail … it’s magnificent … and you get a glimpse, of what it’s like to be, at the center of the ring … what it’s like to be the supernova … holding this gravitational entity together …

everything about the second verse, too … “dj spin it back …” i mean these are all, itemizing that’s the thing … you can say you’re talking to the guy at the club, you could also say you’re just talking to the club of culture … controlling the dj of whatever it is, whoever is controlling the narrative, and controlling the environment — she’s controlling that from the floor … the dance floor of public discourse … at a certain point, it’s just going “do you understand what she’s doing … weapons in the form of words … do you realize your controlling it” …

the bridge, again, there’s something incredible about britney and bridges … when she goes, “danja: bring it back” … that’s that “mona lisa” “God …” moment … when you hit that summit, and all you do is articulate a reckoning so subtle, so crucial, that brings it all together … you say it without saying it, and it’s how you’re saying it … here,danja: bring it back,the rewind the comeback the everything — just, “let’s do it again” … “if they want more, we‘ll give them more” … all day all day, she’s been doing this all day … something about “danja: bring it back” that’s so impeccably done, it’s just brilliant

the breakdown, the trap breakdown … i feel like this introduced trap to pop paces before the mainstream thing … in the south it was already a thing with t.i., and jeezy, and joc, and boyz n da hood, youngbloodz … but for britney, and where what she does is patently pop, i feel like this is the first time we had something so precisely about this … and the precision to her swagger, her flow — the boogie, the drops, the intonation — something becomes canon about it … the fluent sense of channeling an imbalance and making that the blueprint and the bassline … following that bassline is signature … and this sense of calm, and whatever comes, you manipulate and work your way around it … that sense of elasticity … but a consistency in, of, and to that

so, i think “get back” brings it all together in ways i can’t even properly explain … “if you can’t take it, get back,” everything it says … it sounds so simple, but when you hear it in the track, it’s different … it’s general britney jean, on the battlefield … the articles of war … letting you know what it’s about to be …

but overall, “get back” is just a solid track … a mirror-mirror manifesto moment closing out the “gimme more” catalyst … like, “give me more, and then you get back: i got this” … and the battlefield of the dance floor, making sport of the inquirers … calling her shot in the coliseum of pop culture … scene beret battle cry … incredible bonus track … the obi strip one, and you gotta go to the speakeasy to get it … definitely subpop, but it’s the subplot … definitely the b-side … the scene beret b-side yinmotif *exhale*

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:: Single ::

Umbrella” — Rihanna (Good Girl Gone Bad; 2007)

alright so, scene berets … the single … so, rihanna’s “umbrella” … i chose this one — there were a lot of singles in 2007 that encompassed the year – particularly for stars of a certain magnitude, when everything was just amplified — but as far as singles go, and the contemporaneous era, and particularly in line with the mic check, rihanna’s “umbrella” is one that feels right …

the backstory for the track itself, or the track story, encapsulates it well, as a soundtrack, as a single … when you’re looking at weapons in the form of words, and a discursive arms dealer on a mass scale, and a single being the most pronounced, prominent, indicator of the record album … “umbrella”, in the span of pop, is an undeniable certified smash … literally, part of the climate, when ireland experienced record-breaking downpours and rainy days, as “umbrella” was reigning atop the charts, week after week … on a fundamental level, when you look at rihanna as a pop figure, when you look at what the single meant to her career — what the trajectory of her career meant to pop culture and pop music culture — it elevated everything else to the point of her bona fide pop icon status … generationally, and — because of what this generation is to pop culture — up there in the pantheon … the way she used her pop music career to expand into other sectors and now has a billion dollar enterprise … how she shifted her trajectory, and, how that’s arming culture, in and of itself … on the power of words, and you look at that

so, good girl gone bad, that pivot that propelled her to pop stardom … in immediate retrospect, the track story stands out prominently, to me, in a segue from blackout — literally — this was the song that was written (rumor has it, hearsay has it, so the grapevine says …) this song was written for britney, about what she would tell her sons at that time … and of course, from that, considering, symbolically, what britney meant — the icon, the face and figuration of american pop in 2007 — as the locus form … her songwriters and uberproducers, how they would scribe britney’s confession to her sons — britney’s confidence, britney’s record to her sons … and, in that, this single was inspired by what britney would tell the world, the culture, her audience … and in terms of pop stardom, the paratroopers and the platoon leaders, you’re looking at general britney jean, what her chiefs of staff wrote for her … like a speechwriter, drafting her state of the union: and this was it … it deals with media, it deals with the interpersonal – which has become amplified to the level of the public discourse, and the public consciousness – this is the discourse that exists between the artist, the creative agents, and the audience …  and progenitors and progeny, in terms of how this played out, taking britney and handing this record to rihanna, at a point when she hit — this single really was the seed in terms of her persona, her public consideration, and just, her narrative … the remix, the cinderella remix, is critical to the story, as well … but, overall, this being rihanna’s launchpad, and what rihanna has become to pop … and inheriting this from a bona fide pop baroness … it’s handing over the crown, and literally handing a narrative to your successor

that form-fitting arsenal of words … “umbrella,” lyrically, is very pop … looking at the words themselves as weapons, it is definitively the protector … what songwriters, or what the audience, what outsiders, the literati, saw, and the role they associated with britney as being this “umbrella” to her kids … when the tsunami, and the torrent, and the tempest emerge: that’s when she pulls out the shield, and she is the sword … decisively the guardian as the gatekeeper, and the protector of the successor … and the bodyguard for the kids who are the future, the children who are the future

so, my backstory with the song … another one of those, “so ubiquitous you can’t consider a ‘before’ it” — i mean, you can, but i don’t remember the first time i heard it, after awhile it synthesized with the era in which it was heard … such a chaotic year, so much going on, that to start pinpointing these things — unless it was one of “those moments,” i don’t think the genesis would have stuck in my memory … but, i just remember the song was everywhere … and i remember when she performed at the vmas, that was an inverse opus vma, but rih’s performance was particularly spectacular — not in terms of overall longevity – but at the time, it was quite a capture … visually … and she was a presence at the vmas, and how they cut away to her during britney’s performance — which, y’know, is what it is — but, and then to come back with the s&m remix, and align the stars once again … in retrospect … was also kind of a nice capstone, or echo, in the evolution revolution of it all …

but, this is going to the battlefield, and using pop music to … it wasn’t about violence or carnage or the offensive — it was the defense … and not even for the sake of the self, but for the sake of the successor, for the sake of the progeny, for the sake of the kids … and this is what she is for culture … and going out there, and knowing that, due to and despite, the laws of nature … due to and despite catastrophe, and storm, and a maelstrom — that’s when you step up … and it’s inheriting the role of a matriarch, within a capacity … the young princess as the primary protector against the monarchy, and the crown, and the machine … and it’s the humanity amidst it all … it taps into the soul of the singer, the performer, the pulse and their psyche … it’s the calm, when she is the eye of the storm, and in that calm — no matter how minute, no matter how contained — at least it’s yours, at least it’s a place of peace, that pasture

this was a bit more abstract … rihanna, again, that year just stepping back, she performed at the vmas that year with fall out boy – tying that in … this song was inherited from britney spears – tying that in – then, circling back further to when she actually collaborated with britney … and looking at fall out boy … and fundamentally, where rihanna is now … this cultural moment, and anthem for 2007 … and we see compliment in its opposition, and inversion, to the dominant ideology or the establishment unilateral principals of the military offensive, and raw power and might and will and dominance … where here it was sacrificing one’s self for the subject … it was fighting the laws of man with the laws of love … and that’s it … surrendering, and sacrificing, and having that surrender be your sword and shield … so, it was quite a brilliant compliment, in that it weaponized — i want to say weaponized the working class, i do … but i can’t really explain how in this moment … but, if nothing else: who’s saying what in which capacity, who’s the author of this, and who’s the actor, and how did this bolster agency … keep calm and carry on …

so, without further ado … scene beret … that was a riff that, i don’t know, talked about it but didn’t … i don’t know … that was just talking about it for the most part … this episode in general is going to be, after blackout, i think the remainder is going to be comparatively lighting round, but nonetheless … these are all just seeds for future discussion … so, the harvest will be a happy one, and then we rotate the crops … every rhyme for a season … so, anyway, without further ado, revisitation station … scene beret, episode two, karioke bar, scene beret single, rihanna’s “umbrella”

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:: Album Track ::

Everything’s Just Wonderful” — Lily Allen (Alright, Still; 2007)

album track: lily allen’s “everything’s just wonderful” … from the mic check, and the scene beret scope … the wonderful thing about this track (akin to most every other) is its bonafide self-explanatory articulation … so, i don’t really feel like there’s much exposition that i can give, because the track, in and of itself, just speaks directly to the context … that being said, lyrically, it’s just there … i guess, in that case, just riffing on this one

this song, i remember … releasing stateside in 2007 … i feel like, lily being such a signature character … this one, with what the album track is — what it means to an album — the precision … it’s that understated … mettle … so cool, so canon, and it exists as what it is … its sonic aesthetic is so signature, the aesthetic is the architecture, and in that the narrative is the discourse … and so precise in how it embodies and expresses the cultural biography of pop … and this is the point of pop music … and weapons in the form of words, the narrative storytelling here, the linguistic artistry from a place of a somewhat romanticized, in terms of the poetic nature of it, linguistic artistry, it’s a bit more poetic take on documentary …

it establishes a strong genesis root for the perspective of the precarity of the precariat — what would eventually be known as the precariat — the millennials … working class, in the individual immediate sense, but as the progeny of the bourgeoisie or the upper middle class or the well-to-do … so, living in that precarious nature of you as a millennial being the progeny of money or family wealth, within a capacity, but you in and of yourself being in a very precarious immediate situation for whatever reason … and giving a clear, distinct objective — in how it’s being presented — just …

lily’s storytelling capacity with music is, i want to say “unparalleled” — and i think the assumption there is that it’s on this unreachable summit — but i think it’s unparalleled in the sense that lily is a very distinct and particular storyteller in the way she crafts pop music, and it’s not “better” or “worse” than anyone else, it’s just signature and it speaks to her truth … and in that, is this sense of ambiguity — to a certain extent — and ambivalence … expressing, your feelings as truth when you are conflicted in what you’re even feeling — you’re very certain about the uncertainty in and of these conflicted feelings, and so you convey that … and so there’s this sense of ambivalence, and almost duplicity, but there is this inherent juxtaposition, and it’s this two-fold duality, and to be fair, again, it’s the cognitive dissonance of it all … the precarity in privilege

and it’s the cognitive dissonance of young adults, coming-of-age, in millennial culture are feeling, at that very time, and when you’re supposed to be maturing into a more adult phase, and this extended adolescence, result of this global economy, and the recession of, and coming from the american financial market, which is shared across the pond, and how it reverberates every elsewhere, it’s just this sense of uncertainty … but a very clear sense of uncertainty, and the conflict that comes from that … so even if things you hold on to as being stable and true, in terms of the legitimacy of authority figures, when you have these institutions that are crumbling because they were shown to be a house of cards, what do you hold on to … so, if nothing else, it’s expressing your confusion … it’s expressing this ineffable feeling of: “i don’t know, what” … it’s being very adamant about the environmental ambiguity, it’s being very adamant about the otherwise vague and obtuse … so, it’s like: let me be clear, this is opaque …

the lyrics themselves … there’s really no point in me itemizing them, because line-by-line, so clean, so surgically-precise, but with the way it’s delivered, and the tone on it … very casual, and there’s a tension that is released … and it’s something that would be frustrating, if it wasn’t the daily reality of: you’re too fatigued to be frustrated … and, there’s this sense of cynicism, but in search of sincerity … and just that traverse … and these daily ruminations, and this sense of luxury because if you have time to think about these injustices, then you’re not in the throes of it, in the trenches having to fight it … but, it leaves you more time to just live in the trenches of your mind … where the way to get through is to release and express it … and, i think, it’s the way a lot of people were feeling … this sense of wealth and success and riches : “it’s very funny, ’cause i got your fxxking money, but i’m never gonna get it just ’cause of my bad credit …” it’s that, like — what … “i wanna be able to eat spaghetti bolognese, and not feel bad about it for days and days and days …” y’know, magazines, weight loss, it’s that whole thing about media, and money, and model behavior, and all these institutions and how they impact the individual, and again to have the luxury of lamenting it … so … “oh, yes, i’m fine … everything’s just wonderful, i’m having the time of my life …” and this is that …

i just love the track because it lives in that beautiful balance between the yin and the yang, and the fantasy and the phantasm, and the reality of being quote-unquote “nouveau riche” but the maelstrom of being a millennial, and this whole cornucopia of feelings, and this whole kaleidoscope of conflict, and this lucid suspense of a specious social infrastructure on the tightrope of fill-in-the-blank …

so, it’s one of my favorite tracks off the album, and the album itself one of my favorite albums because it reads like a diary, it reads like a journal, and it’s true to her in a way where … it resonates with anyone else who’s unsure of the validity in their voice because you’re not xyz, and “should i be saying this but why not just release anyway” … and 2007 was towards the end of that blogorati era, where you had myspace … where you had blogs running music, indie blog gatekeepers, so at least you had peers, and it was before the internet got completely usurped by industry and silicon valley and the corporations … when you still had those, weird, creative, linguists, and just writers … just wordsmiths who were kind of running it

this song, it wasn’t a single, but it rounded out — it was the fourth track on the album — so it rounded out one of those pop albums that felt like an ep – because it came from a mixtape – and, again, weapons in the form of words, because the way she did it … a) bleeding edge blogorati music scene (b) reflects that era’s scion slate progeny, supposed to make good on the resources, sorting that from the place of “what is my value,” and just making it up as you go along … and, but putting it one the record, and so, if nothing else, making a go of it — good, bad, indifferent …

but, astute songwriter, if nothing else, because of the honesty … how it speaks to the honesty, and the aptitude to know pop, and know your niche in that … and treat pop like this indie thing of not belonging, even though you live there … and holding fast to whatever it is you are … and your identity, and knowing that — good, bad, indifferent — it is who you are … this is how you express yourself, and having this vessel of your voice, and your experiences, and letting the world and the response and the reception and the audience, be open to … understanding that they are going to shape it — once you put it out in the world, you let the world shape it, and you can fight for it, you can fight against it, you can grapple … but again, that crucible is going to be part of the record, and it’s going to be part of your next composition, so as long as you’re just being honest, there’s authority in the honesty of your authorship … and, yeah

so, great song … as far as an album track … off of the album that it was … just yin-yang … yin, again, she was on the periphery, and kind of the counterpoint to what was assumed to be where celebrity culture was … where celebrity and pop have that odd matrimony, to where, celebrity is seen as pop culture — especially in 2007 — and then you realize, pop culture is not celebrity … in that way … it’s not glamorous, it just very much is a part of the everyday life … and so, as much as you had, whatever the celebrity archetype was — paris, lindsay, britney – and again, britney on the fringes of what was assumed to be versus the reality — this glamazon, nouveau riche, archetype that celebrity pop culture expressed and conveyed … you have this yang, which is the classic, sneakers and a ballroom gown, or dress and trainers … and lily edified that … and lily was not amy winehouse, yknow, who had that soul, that indelible, that weathered, that old soul, jazz … literally living in the blues, and there was a definitive artistry to what amy did, and it was undeniable … and lily wasn‘t that, but as a songwriter, she expressed what it meant to be “pop” … like, part of popular culture, and this is what it is … on the ground, when you’ve just got people living … nothing particularly special about it, except for their lens on the world, when you’re in it and you’re not of it, or of it but you’re not in it, or whatever … it’s just, if nothing else, articulating your presence, and she did that quite well here

so, it articulated a very niche, and in many ways, overlooked point of view, a lot of kids who couldn’t figure out how to say what they were seeing, or how to express what they were experiencing … no matter how mundane it may seem, no matter how privileged, lily spoke to that … and the way she expressed it was intriguing, and captivating … and it’s canon, in its own way, in speaking to that precariat place …

so, album track, and, lyrically, the way it plays off of the production is that classic : “sweet on the outside — poison on the inside,” that milk dud, bart simpson, analogy works here … but, it goes down like a pill … and this is one of lily’s canon, signature tracks, coming right off the heels of “knock ’em out” on the album, and it echoes “ldn,” like the younger sister of “ldn,” and the older sister to “the fear” — it was just, pre-fame version of “the fear” … so, definitively just a canon track …

weapons in the form of words … just expressing a perspective in a way where other people are like: “that’s it” … where it resonates, and that’s what’s dangerous – is because you know you’re not alone … establishing that niche sense of an indie pop community … and the conflict in apparent comfort of the precariat class

so, all of that riffing and rambling is just to say … album track for the ages … brilliant cultural biography here … beautiful snapshot … just, a capstone capture … “everything’s just wonderful” off of lily allen’s debut album, “alright, still” … scene beret … retrospective on replay

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:: Rarity ::

US Placers” ft. Thom Yorke — CRS (Can‘t Tell Me Nothing — CDr Mixtape; 2007)

alright, so, scene berets, rarity … just rippin’ up the disco, barreling through — not really, we’re like, army crawling our way through this playlist … “us placers,” child rebel solider … scene beret rarity …

child rebel soldier, “us placers” … i thought it was u.s. placers, when i first heard it … crs, child rebel soldier … this one, again, i think the way most of these are coming out, all of them are anthemic in their own way, and just the way they’re canon is signature … they all have their own specialty, being the elite force, so this whole soundtrack is canon, and mettle gear solid, mettle groove solid, but at the same time, each expresses an individual aptitude … and this is a canon rarity, what it means to be a rarity … so all of this pretense is to say … i think the deeper we get, the more i start to find this playlist is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s hidden in plain sight, and each track just echoes the narrative and the identity … of a scene beret … they all just express different aspects and facets of what this theory and concept is … art to where the expression is the definition and the explanation in and of itself … so me explaining what any of these mean, just further unravels or confuses it … the more i make sense of it, the more senseless it becomes … and the scene in and of itself — the scene of the soundtrack, and the scene of the score, and each set — is probably its own perfect ideal definition, so this is just rambling about, and musing on, a heretofore masterpiece … that being said, let’s get right into the senselessness of this stream-of-consciousness …

so, “us placers,” here, it’s the lyrical unfolding of the tapestry — the tempo and the tapestry in and of itself — paint, this immaculate portrait, and what i really appreciate about all of these pieces, is they all are self-defining, and the self-awareness in ambiguity and the clarity in chaos, just by capturing the moment … regardless of anything else … the poetry in this flux, and the focus on the flux in-and-of itself, is this crucible of where culture was, becomes this moment of alchemy … and everyone expressing the reality of this condition amidst chaos, just getting the words out, establishing a metronome, establishing some sense of methodology to the mania … it‘s the sense that, if you’re breathing, if you’re expressing: it means you exist … and if you’re recording this level of existence, it establishes some anchor and some sense of balance … and so if everyone just expresses where they are, you’ll find a pattern when you step back, and that’s where the 20/20 hindsight comes through, so … looking back, you have that sense of clarity, so it’s just because the sense of necessity in creation regardless of anything else … and we haven’t even touched on “us placers” yet, but this is just, again, what resonates when i reminisce on “us placers,” and how it felt to be alive when this release debuted … and really hit the ears, and my eyes

“us placers,” here, the lyrics themselves establish the legitimacy … within the scene beret, unconventional warfare, and liberation of the oppressed … the song directly speaks to the reality of fame … and the ambivalence, and the duplicity, and the duality of fame … and the crucible, effectually, of fame … the fortune, the prominence and the privilege and the peril, and the futility and the fortune of it … the misfortune of the money, and the speciousness and the dissonance, of this monarchy … and the weight of the crown … and the world upon atlas’ shoulders … so, it dives into the definition of this domain, and dominion, at all

that being said, let’s just start from the jump … crs, is a supergroup … and everything about this being a rarity is the mythology behind it … so, you have kanye west, you have lupe fiasco, you have pharrell williams, you have thom yorke … so everything all of that means in terms of the apex of artistry, and icons, geniuses, prodigies, of pop music, and just pop art … not in terms of andy warhol, necessarily  — but just, using art and music as a form of expression. and pop culture, as the canvas for your musical compositions … whether or not you fit the “aesthetic” of what it seems to be “pop music” — whether it’s dance music, or mainstream, or something that’s very formulaic — it’s just on the other side, using pop culture as your canvas, and that being your key audience … pop culture being your point of consciousness; the “popular,” the populous being aware of you at a level to where you have world-renown — whether or not you’re creating for them — knowing that that is the audience regardless … so, again, here, all of these people, all of these artists have reached this level of consciousness, to where whatever they create will be influencing, impacting, that plane … so, again, creating something for the mass marketplace, to assume being mainstream, and putting a message out there that speaks directly to it, regardless of apparent commercial appeal

2007 : very chaotic, very up in the air … very society as your science lab, and culture as the canvas, and that mix of science and art … and seeing what you could get away with, before it was able to be commoditized, commodified, and your form being a prototype, and seeing how it worked, and everything being an experiment … to see what you could get away with, making it up as you went along … within that, this supergroup, this song … i think, off the dome, what resonates is that this supergroup is, a supergroup: a) … the trilogy, and the power of three, and the pyramid, and symbolically what three represents … y’know “one gives birth to two, two gives birth to three, three gives to birth to all” … so the power of a trilogy, and then the feature on this, that’s wrapping out this square, that is the foundation … is thom yorke from radiohead … it’s not going overboard, it’s just focusing on curation … and a well-curated piece, and not giving in to greed — just establishing something, and capturing a moment amdist chaos

this song was shopped around, and it could’ve, it was going to be on graduation, it wasn’t on graduation, would‘ve fit perfectly on lupe’s album, the cool, didn’t … and crs only has three songs … and none of them were actually formally released … “everyone nose (remix),” another pop canon, as far as underground indie pop, mass pop … and “don’t stop,” that was just a richter-shaker though … so, “us placers,” looking at the troupers on this one … brilliant minds, and prodigies, so what they put out … it reminds me this idea of the native american landscape … so, effectually, if nothing else, it was, going back to weapons in the form of words, everything about this song laid the blueprint, the groundwork for — if i imagine this song, in context of scene berets, and discourse battlefield, and all of that … i would imagine these four, or these three, in a war room looking over the fame of map and the world, and all of that, planning out their strategy, and identifying what the battleground is, and the topography of it all … right, and going: “these are the hills, these are the valleys, these are the trenches … these are the vantage points,” xyz, laying out the lay of the land … and then putting that on the record to send to mass culture, going, “we just gave you, this is casing the joint, we’ve composed the case — do with it what you will” … and, again, this is from their vantage point of having seen that, and having been in the trenches, and then elevating to the ivory tower at this point, and just working from the war room right now

so, looking at what it is, “the eraser,” is the blueprint, here: “the more you try to erase me, the more that i appear,” … again, that is, rock and hip-hop, as much as it’s pop … the worker, and the artist, in and of themselves … the artist will always reappear, and it’s that immortality of music, and it’s the immortality of the phoenix, and the worker, those immortals, those evolutionaries, who … immortality, the key being not to not-die, but it’s to transcend and return … and death or passing as that transcendence … so, again, it’s just keep coming back, and the more you try to erase me, the more that i appear … and, “and they love it, and they love it,” and it’s just, copy and persist … that remix culture mantra … so, lyrically you have

child, rebel, soldier … so crs … kanye, lupe, pharrell — not sure which order … thom yorke coming in, as radiohead, and already coming off from in rainbows — again, completely, just restructuring musical transactions — pay what you can, pay what you will, for this album — from a commercially viable artist … with in rainbows, again bringing that kind of energy of disruption … even if, for the sake of experimentation, to the fore … as the fourth, horseman of the apopcalypse … and, lupe, looks at the materiality of fame, right, and the access to excess, and material excess, and material stockpiling, but the price of that … and the worth versus the price of it … and, again, so it’s almost like the interior designer of fame as a fortress … and effectually the reality of the human temple … the vessel as this temple, and everything else just being excess and superfluous … and so, “the ups and the downs, the sames and the changes, all the money in the world don’t make it painless … no,” so, again, at the end of the day, everything you build up, you can’t take it with you … and fame’s pain, is beyond money, y’know, “some people are so poor, all they have is money” … so, again, it’s that duality of material worth, material wealth defining your worth as a human being … and so, income versus your sense of identity … so, again, the materiality of fame … with lupe and the excess of the external, and the excess of the superfluous …

kanye, the ephemerality of fame, and the legitimacy of your identity … and where is your anchor … is it the internal / external … again, so is it the pulse or the periphery … and so, the illusion versus the reality … it’s a bit of plato’s cave there … the prisoner of fame, prisoners can only see that reflection, the illusion — all you have to do is turn around, get out the cave, and you’ll see the reality for all it is … key line here is, “trying to keep that balance, after mtv that’s a real world challenge,” beautiful … but again, here his focus really is on: media … media, and the person versus the persona, and that abjection … and, literally, media and the real world … beautiful … so, i just love the crux there … so the ephermerality of fame …

you have the materiality, the material existence, the media existence … and pharrell closing it out … from more of an institutional / professional sense of your purpose … and placement, there … so the us placers … and profit, and whatever it is that’s material … this lavish luxury — homes, cars, commodities, commercial goods — and the sense of self and identity as a person, and then it’s your purpose, right … and so, at the end … pharrell just lays it out that way … and so they each examine a different aspect of it : [ insert aspect here ] …

going back to the idea of this native north american … one of the concepts of reality, and where we are now, is finding your way home and traversing this continent to find your way home, you go to the sea — go to the coast, go to the periphery — and you find your way back to the pulse … and this is known as the fourth world … and if you’re building your way up, it’s almost like building your way up from lupe, and build it to kanye, and then you go to pharrell … as these incumbent three worlds, as the precedent, and the fourth world that we have now … and they’re putting on this pedestal … so you’re finally finding your way home given the three worlds you’ve traversed to get here … and then you go out to the periphery, “the more you try to erase me,” so you go all the way out, and eventually you find your way back home …

everything else, this is just me talking around it, talking about the periphery, but at the pulse of this, the lyrics themselves are the weapons in the form of words … i couldn’t probably properly express it any better than they already have with this song … so it’s this talking around the root of it …

“you can listen to the serpent, fine, but the earth got gas, once it burps, it’s fine,” there’s this sense of the root of the earth, and once the earth releases, it’s nature, it’s fine … so earth has its own natural balance, but once you work / operate outside of that, that’s when you’re lost … so, there’s a sense of kenosis — i don’t know, there’s the sense of a lot of things here, and i think the songs themselves boil it down beautifully …

but, again, it’s a rarity … going back to the rarity and the scene beret … the rarity in that the song was not released formally anywhere, it was released on a mixtape … from kanye, can’t tell me nothing, and it was shopped around, it could have ended up on any one of these albums that defined 2007, best-sellers, top, but instead it went to the underground … so, the rarity that could have been anywhere, and it remained subterranean … the rarity of the supergroup, that only had three songs … and again it’s this unconventional warfare, is the lack of convention in terms of the composition, and the cohesion, and the coordination of all of this … and the release itself, seeing what you can get away with … and this lays out for anybody the reality of fame, and how you can take it on and how you — in theory and practice — how you maneuver your way through it, and how you liberate yourself … by just connecting with your comrades and creating … and whatever it takes to get your work out, and to articulate your presence … is the purpose … the form and function of fame, and when it comes to fruition … what’s that harvest there, reaping what you sow, and then planting those seeds over again … the reality of that crop rotation, from one to the other, and the elevation evolution, and the transcendence and the return … to the earth from which you came, and rising with the phoenix from the ashes, just cycles and seasons … so, coming from a mixtape, starting from the ground … that mass appeal … but handing the blueprint to the battalion, handing the blueprint to the brigade … and we see how that works … and again, nothing more scene beret than child rebel soldiers, literally in form and function, this put that into fruition

i love this song … personally, absolutely beautiful … my backstory, i remember hearing it in passing when i was at au, in dc, and i was taking “visual literacy,” and a graphic design course, and we had to put together a slideshow, where we had different graphic designs for something … but i used this song, and made a slideshow, so each visual piece — digital design piece, digital graphic piece — was a lyric from the song … and that’s how i did it … so, for me, it was a bit of a blueprint … it was music that materialized this mythology … one of those frequencies that infiltrated the airwaves and went subterranean to everything … and va$htie put together the video, without a commission, made its way to kanye, and he put it on his blog, very digital underground … to the point where it hit a level of saturation in that silicon coded world, to where it just hit that summit of the subterranean, and then it surfaced in the mainstream, so it was beautiful …

all of it was this idea of this rarity … never really captured in a conventionally commercial way … but that it still had that mass audience, is what matters … liberation of the oppressed … liberating the story, and the reality of the narrative of the artists, and the fame to which they’re bound, when you’re operating from this american entertainment industry apparatus … i’m still talking around it, but crs, child rebel soldiers, “us placers,” rarity, and pop canon rhythm about the reality of the aristocracy of contemporary millennial pop royalty … articulating the presence of that platoon … child rebel soldiers in the guerilla grooves … and the canon nature of that camaraderie … a beautiful symphony, how bittersweet … the misfortune that favors the bold … yet another anthem of alchemical gold, and the crucible of fame, and the pop camaraderie in that world of music’s immortality

so, scene berets, rarity tune, child rebel soldier featuring thom yorke, “us placers,” without further ado …

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:: Instrumental ::

“D.A.N.C.E.” (Instrumental) — Justice (Cross; 2007)

alright, so, scene berets, this one is … where are we right now … ? instrumental? … right, scene beret, instrumental, episode two, and the like … so, for the instrumental, justice’s “d.a.n.c.e.,” the “d.a.n.c.e.” instrumental …

top line on this one, little bit of exposition, the track itself, it could be considered a rarity — instrumentals, often are — this one is the instrumental cut of a song with lyrics, but, of course, it was also that era where you had girl talk, and norwegian recycling, and … justice, and really that resurgence of the dj shadow all-samples-everything kind of music, where, even though it’s instrumental, it can include vocal sample tracks … so, for me, growing up in that hybrid motley experimental era of new technology, old samples, no live vocals necessarily, doesn’t mean that … because it includes lyrics, i would still consider a lot of music instrumental because it uses samples and sampled vocals, so no live vocals, and so there’s that odd niche of lyrical / vocal sampled instrumentals …

so, bringing it all back to justice, sort of neo-disco, but still very tangible feel … it’s a bit voltaic, it’s very visceral, but it’s like that human electricity … high-voltage viscera … so, all of that is to say, here, pivoting from a very classically-considered instrumental, “seabreeze,“ and romare bearden / branford marsalis little mash-up, we’re kind of moving into something definitively more millennial, and definitively more amidst chaos and flux … so, there’s this real sense of a collision course, and creation from chaos, and finding harmony in apparent discord … which, again, circles back to the aural armory of rediscovered harmony …

“d.a.n.c.e.,” justice’s standout track from their debut album … 2007 was an incredible year for debuts, and, people who lived on those fringes and amplified the periphery, and the brackish sound of whatever worlds they were embodying as this crucible estuary … and whatever freshwater, saltwater, moods they were medleying or melanging … whatever crews they were motleying … “d.a.n.c.e.,” this particular instrumental, because — going back to the rarity — since there’s no actual instrumental that’s available, like, proper, i just found the instrumental that felt most right … it includes the intro riff … those lyrics set the tone this is poster-track instrumental aligned with scene berets, and liberating the oppressed through unconventional warfare, which is what dance is … where this ties into play is “weapons in the form of words,” and dance as the discourse, the body language of it all … and busting shapes, and the geometry of choreography, and that being the script, and the eight count being your sonnet …

so, here, the lead in, and those few words that are used here, in this cut, leading into the otherwise instrumental … starting off, the words you do have : “do the d-a-n-c-e; one, two, three, four, fight!” : bam … that dance party … and the rhythmic armory of it all … “stick to the b-e-a-t, get ready to ignite,” spark to a flame … the catalyst, cavalry call … “you were such a p-y-t, catching all the lights; just easy as a-b-c, that’s how you make it right” … that strong parallel … here, it’s the blueprint, for the eight count, and unconventional warfare … dance … finding the harmony in imbalance, and creating a rhythm in that … finding the pattern in chaos and conflict … the concert in caprice … the underlying method and melody to otherwise mania … tying back to michael jackson, everything that means … everything it would mean to a pop star, and pop life, and that liberation of the oppressed … your icon, everything that meant …

sticking to the words used in this intro … lyrics from songs, how that resonates, understanding that these are reviving emotions, and when you let go, and surrender to the sounds, and just let your body react in a certain way … it’s following that frequency … so, “beat it,” “p.y.t.,” “abc, 123” … the blueprint that’s been established by the cosmic dancers before us … using these unconventional forms of warfare, dance, and when you can manipulate the invisible, which is music, when you can manipulate the invisible in a way, void of lyrics, and where the rhythms are associated with you and your message, and your identity, and you let that ignite the progeny … that’s what pop dominance is about … association, and amplification … and that camaraderie, in your identity, as it’s expressed through the multi-sensory … that familiar frequency, igniting that flame, reviving that catalyst spark, that stellar traverse, finding association in that … and assembling around that sound, and everyone moving in unison … is what the disco denizen is all about … the impact of the dance party, and the unconventional warfare of mobilizing around a rhythm, and that being the battle cry … resonated here … and again the words that you do use: justice, dance, 1-2-3-4 fight, stick to the b-e-a-t … using music, and rhythm, as your primary weaponry … and dance as discourse, and that being how you arm your troupe, so there’s that …

the instrumental that follows … when you’re paying attention to the sounds, and the rhythms that you’re following, each layer is beautiful … this wonderful medley … chaotic in a way … strong, strict layers … but very much this clear concert between the analogue and the electronic … it feels high-voltage viscera of human electricity … and the way that’s channeled into dance … when you have a certain amount of energy, when you hit that threshold, you have to move, there’s things you cannot put into conventional words, there’s messages that can only be communicated through movement … and part of the crucible of fame is figuring out how to communicate through your body as your primary vessel, and your apex medium, and dance is a great way to do that … so, again, unconventional warfare of alternative modes of communication, and body language, and language artistry, and assembling your camaraderie around that … speaking that secret language, like little bees in a hive, or butterflies, very natural … that unconventional warfare, going back to the biological, the natural, the anti-manufacture, and that human electricity … you’ve got strings, you’ve got samples, you’ve got samples of nature … full cycle coming full circle, the natural cycle of organic and electronic, and the synth and the primordial … i don’t know … but, again, it working all together, and liberating the oppressed through the unconventional warfare of dance …

that catalyst spark … the rallying cry for the camaraderie of the dance party, and everything disco means as a cultural movement, and as a home base, a pop platoon … and service to the dance … the mission of narrative authority as expressed through music … holding fast to prominence through pop dominance, the mission in manifesting the narrative authority of the marginalized through music … and music as movement … and the synesthetic multi-sensory majesty that is dance … and the justice in that … so, the marginalized as the primary judiciary of the body language as communicated and exercised through dance … so, again, the narrative authority of the dance party …

so, rounding this out, without further ado, retrospective from a french, parisian, deux live crew … justice’s dance / “d.a.n.c.e.” instrumental, scene berets, episode two, without further ado … retrospective revisitation station … et repete

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:: Music Video ::

Dani California” — Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stadium Arcadium; 2006)

Director: Tony Kaye

scene berets, official music video: “dani california,” red hot chili peppers … this one came out in 2006, from the album stadium arcadium ( which was released on my birthday, so there’s, a whole thing there ) … as opposed to 2007 ( akin to the bulk of its playlist sibling company ), this one was released in 2006 … and scene berets music video …

this … a lot of this is just vibes … but again, unconventional warfare, liberation of the oppressed … arms dealers fitting you with weapons in the form of words … so, looking at the music video, looking at where that comes in, taking that and articulating it, visualizing music, and illustrating the articulation, and bringing these words to life …

with the music video … it’s the multi-sensory experience … for the mtv generation — trl generation, in particular — without even thinking about it, the way we grew up, and the way we were introduced, to pop music in particular, was seeing songs … i think i said this before, but, for me, more often that not, for a certain period of time, formative in my pop music development … more often than not, it was about first seeing the song, as opposed to solely hearing it … it wasn’t getting introduced to music on the radio, or through an audio format, it was naturally multi-sensory … it was naturally going to be this hybrid, between the video and the song … again, singles culture … everything about that is seeing the song … and within that, there’s the natural association between the imagery, and the aesthetic, that is presented … and the meaning and the impact of a song …

and so, within that, “dani california” … individuals as the living articulation of music culture … live music as the soul and scene articulating the signature sound … and the beings who live as cultural biographies … scribing collective consciousness and stellar traverse … or something to said effect … onward … “dani california,” on its own, without even being on this playlist, red hot chili peppers, have always been prolific storytellers, and their genre is obviously rock, but there’s a funk, and a soulfulness, and a groove … very martian … when i think of a certain masculine energy or that martian energy, that pure visceral energy … conflicted, but so intense … and intense — not as “good,” “bad,” “this,” nor “that” — it’s just intensity … the magnitude of what’s being expressed … here, just rock energy … martian energy … very masculine, but … complimentary … it’s masculine that’s always in pursuit or relation to the feminine … and i think this aural visual expresses that well …

taking it back to the scene beret, before we get any further into the song itself … objectively, some of the top-line points of the video itself … there’s “dani california,” the first single off of stadium arcadium, red hot chili peppers album, released may 9, 2006 ( my birthday 🥳 ), the single was released april 4, i believe ( ? ), 2006 … directed by tony kaye, who directed american history x, circling back into that, and … but actually tony kaye got the gig because mark romanek ( shoutout “scream” ) was the first choice, i guess he declined or for whatever reason he didn’t direct this video, so tony kaye got the gig … and, that being said, the video itself

… i don’t know what the word is i’m looking for … but an ultimate blend, this ultimate synthesis, that it’s … well, in no uncertain terms, a cultural biography … of american rock music … that completely martian feel … i think a lot of stadium arcadium, the aesthetic itself, was very cosmic, and planetary … extraterrestrial, but just cosmic, and astronomical … based on the planets, and that whole, stratospheric aspect of the cosmos … and, within that, this emphasis of planetary influences, and … humans as stars … and connecting the two worlds … but again from a really, yang energy … and so, that will, and that sheer energy force …

so, “dani california” … also very … divine compliment, twin flame, twin soul … the ultimate convergence of, not necessarily androgynous, but this astral oneness … and star-crossed lovers, in a way … but this constant archetype, or prototype, that the antagonist/protagonist, the co-star, to this general narrative — if you follow red hot chili peppers’ music — this is the culmination of the three-act play, or three-act structure, that started with “californication,” continued through “by the way,” and here in “dani california,” is this character of dani california, the archetypal woman, and the object of anthony kiedis’ affection, and … his other half, his divine compliment … and this is her denouement … 

getting into the concrete ( because this is getting all abstract ) of what this is, why this is so impactful and powerful … is the convergence and the ultimate synthesis here … so, weapons in the form of words, captured in apex storytelling … and what i love about red hot chili peppers is how they just understand, and articulate so beautifully, and poetically, in an off-beat way, but in very conversational … i don’t know, they’re not really like beat poets … or funk soul brothers … they’re just, their form of storytelling is signature …

onward … dani california, as this paradigmatic character … is a girl, born in the south, traverses through the states … rebel romantic … and, she’s, the american scene … the american dream … almost feels a bit like britney … being born in mississippi, and making her way to california, and — of course, the difference here, is that she doesn’t quite make it … she ends up going down in the badlands … but if this is the story of, if anthony kiedis and the red hot chili peppers are rock, then, dani california is pop … and everything therein, and the convergence of the two as this american genre … so, this ultimate masculine/feminine, the convergence of the divine, and the narrator and his protagonist, his key character … here, the story itself, as an epic poem, as the cultural biography of the synthesis of every woman anthony kiedis has loved … and, in that, when you put that on the pop platform, you see the pop archetype expressed … and so, he’s actually characterizing and giving definition, identity, to the metanarrative and this epic character who is … in a lot of ways, it is the oppressed that one hopes to liberate … and, narrative authority and telling her tale … so, weapons in the form of words, is literally immortalizing this character … and immortalizing the individual … and although it is a tragedy, it is the truth … and just weaving her into the tapestry of american immortality and what it means to be the national identity … so, weapons in the form of words, is literally giving identity to lost love … and the other … everything that dani california is, is the tragic figure … is the showgirl, the heroine, and the object, the muse … the american muse … so, in so many ways, the muse is the tragedy … and almost taking that epiphany into a situation of the statue of liberty and the liberation of … “it only hurts when i laugh” … so, staring down the barrel of a gun, and living a life on the run, and tasting the bitter and understanding the sweet, and all of that … so, everything about this rebel romanticism is everything that defines what it means to be on the otherside

and this archetype of the california dream, and the american dream, is one, that being inherently a dream that is deferred … and, i think, for a lot of people, it was chasing that dream … it was, i don’t know, there’s — … enough of that … the lyrics themselves … the tale of dani california is one that is the great american epic … and to the video now

the video itself … is, everything compliments the other … so the song being about dani … this american icon, is the narrative and the words … and the association that’s given to it, is the visual of the evolution of rock … so, the evolution of pop, the evolution of the american woman, the american girl, is complimented by this video that illustrates the evolution of american rock music … or just rock music in general … and there are … even though there are individuals who are highlighted — you can tell there’s bowie, there’s funkadelic, you can tell there’s the beatles, and prince, and jimi hendrix … overall it just speaks to the genre and the evolution of rock when it became pop … so, these subgenres within rock, the aesthetic of them, and how that aesthetic is tied into the sound … and, again, it’s all about association … and this synthesis … that is just the genre of the live musician … and again, it shows how it’s really this energy, more than anything, and it’s not, it’s not to be fragmented … it’s really one fluid formation … and it’s just the evolution of energy, and how it’s reflected or articulated, but it is that same inherent presence of just: energy …

and so, through that, it’s weapons in the form of words … and here, it’s just focusing on storytelling, and narrative authority … and, that shared experience that’s expressed from one to the other … and so, the presence of dani california is what is the catalyst in anthony kiedis’ impulse and compulsion to write and articulate her story … so, really, it’s just presence and articulation and that connection, here … so, living your life as a tale to be told, and just that presence, and again, speaking truth to power … power being the people … evidencing through expression that and how you / we the people can live this liberation through articulation and evolution in cultivating that collective consciousness and energetic exchange … release and return in reciprocal revolution … and using the industry to fund this … but also the legacy, the immortal legacy, of everything that this is … so, the muse and the maestro

just a beautiful song, overall … and the vibrant vivid color that is given to this video … and the attention to detail … and the attention to articulating that presence … for each era, that is depicted, they used the camera from that era … so, it’s just a matter of authenticity … and it’s the fact that, in this identity you can just … it’s the immortality of music — you can take it on, put it on, and that chameleonic nature of it …

but, yeah, so … liberation of the oppressed through camaraderie … and articulation of that presence of the shared experience … and the truth in tragedy, but again, at times laughing in the face of its apparent inevitability … and just the resilience of the human spirit to live a hero’s tale … and understanding that heroes are heroes because they do what we — “we” meaning the “common people” — cannot do … but if every common person, as an individual, is a hero, just for living on their own terms — breaking through the panorama, being put on that prison line, being put on the chain gang, because you broke through that panorama — and you’re just living your life outside the margins … and pushing forward and manifesting your own destiny … knowing you could die any day, living life in the face of it … and lauding that … and finding purpose in authentic amplified presence … and the truth in that

so, all of this is to say … “dani california,” giving you a whole lot of feelings, but effectually, it’s just a great american epic metanarrative … and, it’s a cultural biography that’s just the … the epic narrative of american music … and the cultural biography of the pop muse … but yeah, i don’t know … “california, rest in peace, simultaneous release … she’s my priestess, i’m her priest” … everything about it is just epic … and, yeah, so scene berets, official music video … “dani california” … red hot chili peppers … directed by tony kaye … american history x … this just feels like, the, soundtrack for that, or the pop pivot on cinema … so this is just a lot of elements that are put into play … and this is more of a … just, yeah … everything that i’ve just said completely undid all the sense that the video and the song made for itself … so this is unraveling the record … that being said, if nothing else, just the fact that this video exists as the articulation of that masterful narrative presence is enough … so, putting it into the context of everything else … just … it just feels like a bildungsroman … just that bildungsroman of the great american coming-of-age tale … but from a music perspective … so it’s the genre … it’s the coming-of-age of american music culture … as a record of … a people’s history of american culture … and music being that immortal elixir … and the articulation of that as a point of liberation … so, there you go …

for all the sense that did not make … circling back to the genesis point … without further ado, revisitation station, scene berets, official music video, red hot chili peppers, “dani california,” from 2006’s stadium arcadium, directed by tony kaye … rest in peace … transcend, return, and release …

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:: Live Fidelity ::

Bleed It Out” ft. Timbaland (Live at the MTV Video Music Awards) (2007) — Linkin Park

· September 9, 2007 · Rain Nightclub · Las Vegas, NV ·

alright, so: scene beret, live fidelity, linkin park, “bleed it out” live at the 2007 mtv vmas …

this one, lotta live performances, i’m sure, from 2007 … lotta live performances weaponized the audience, in the form of words — with the form of words … ? arms dealers, weaponizing, i mean, live performances are where that comes to fruition in a really immediate and impactful way … this live fidelity, is live by proxy, so, contextually, it’s a televisual live experience …

but, that being said … i think when i was thinking about scene berets, of course, 2007 is an anchor … for all of the aforementioned reasons … the vma will always be a particular pulse point, and nucleus, for millennial pop culture, and a state of the union … a state of the scene … sort of address … they exist as, at the pulse and as the pulse of contemporary culture … an apex moment of spectacle … very much docupop, and, at its peak, the vma was living pop … pop in living technicolor … and all of that, so there were certain years where all the stars aligned just so … where it was this bastion of energy, this supernova moment of a galactic sphere … just all of the stars, and all of the pure human energy you had, and all of the attention … it was this energetic field that would just reach … and before smartphones and the internet fragmented attention, and shortened attention spans … there was this palpable magnitude and sheer intensity of undivided attention, and human connection, and that human electricity … just focused on one point and place … just in lucid suspense of pure human electricity … and energy transfer … and that ebb and flow … so, for a moment there, it was just beautiful … and, of course, i think that peaking around 1999 and 2000/2001 … and then, of course, it waned, and then hit a little resurgence in 200 … 4? 2003? whichever year the madonna, britney, christina, missy moment was … but, overall, that is to say … the vma do ( did ? ) exist, again, as this arsenal of scene beret potential  … and it’s like the war room, it’s like the pentagon … but, yeah, and the coliseum at the same time …

so, i wanted to look at the vma as a moment of live fidelity, because of what it means / meant, and the 2007 vma were — had no shortage of moments of unconventional warfare … celebrity at that point was just psychological warfare, and coliseum culture … so, within that, getting to the root of liberation of the oppressed, but again, just aiming for human connection amidst all of this manufactured chaos … and really looking at those moments where, if you look at the crevice, there was a sense of cultivation of culture, as the sense of community, and communicating that sense of shared existence, and creating moments of shared experience in whichever place you could find it … finding love in those otherwise hopeless places … so, the vma here set a perfect backdrop, and the vma did feature a lot of other artists on this list … nominees included, rihanna, obviously, who also performed, britney, who also performed — opened the show … amy winehouse, lily allen … couldn’t make it? or … i think it was the vma lily couldn’t make it, because of a visa issue, and then kanye lent her his private jet, so she could fly back home … y’know kanye was here … timbaland, obviously … fall out boy, performed … so, a lot of the people on the list performed, and i didn’t want to be redundant …

but, i think the pneuma of it all … the psyche behind it all … was the kenosis … and where celebrity was … and celebrity as humanity, and the connection between the two … just amplified existence, this sense of fighting apathy … and fighting the distance, and the disconnect from humanity that 2007 … the carnage that 2007 really fed upon, and that fueled pop culture, particularly as it pertained to the mediated representation of where culture was … so, amidst all of this industrialized manufactured chaos and discord and rancor and carnage, were moments of true human connection, in the trenches … no less … and so all of that is to say, i feel like linkin park, really embodied that … and, as always, linkin park was definitely … there’s a magazine cover, on my wall over here, from spin, maybe … from 2003 when meteora came out … “linkin park: the biggest band on the planet wants to save your life (again)” … so, this is another one of those moments, linkin park, the magnitude of their global reach … and yet the intimacy, and then post-pop nature of their character-driven narrative … to where they are global rock stars, and yet they’re so human … and they articulated the flaws of the human condition … and no matter where you were, they were always right there in the darkness with you … and so, that genuine connection between linkin park, and the collective island of misfits … amidst this global village, so … for all the children who were tossed over the cliff, all the spartan kids who took that dive, who the village decided to exile … linkin park was right there as the safety net to catch them … the sonic safety net, to echo any of your insecurities, and your existence, to let you know they were right there at the bottom of the well with you …

so, all of that is to say … with the live fidelity here … i think linkin park’s performance at the vma was just, really beautiful … and amidst everything 2007, i think “bleed it out” — as a track — spoke to that sense of release, and catharsis … and, how you — again, the human condition amidst carnage — how the most human thing, sometimes, is just letting it out … and, when you’re facing that … and, again, speaking to, where we all are … and the things people want to sweep under the rug … sometimes, again, it’s just the shared existence of sorrow, shared existence of suffering … and finding camaraderie in that, is what cultivates, and restores — that reciprocity in release … can be really restorative … so, all of that is to say … incredible performance at a primordial level …

backdrop : again, 2007 vma … in vegas … at the palms hotel and casino … again, everything about that … casino capitalism … and really putting people’s lives on the line there … it was, entertainment spectacle … not even entertainment, just the spectacle of something that’s already somewhat spectacular … and apparently superficial … even further detached … vegas being in the middle of the desert … being sixty-five miles oustide nye county, give or take, home of the nevada nuclear test site … that sensory and atmospheric desertion to where, the sense of humanity — or, if you ever go to vegas … sometimes i feel like … well, the only time i went there, drove there from l.a. with a friend … and the further away from l.a. we got … the further into vegas we got … you just look around, and there’s just this sense of being in the middle of this desert, and being so far from water, being so far from anything verdant, anything living … it just feels like the kind of place where exile lives … and it’s like, “if i scream, no one will hear me” … kind of place … so, it’s a bit a waste land … a bit of that sense of desolation, and, at the same time, damascus … to where that’s where you can fall off your horse, your carriage, and have that epiphany moment … to bring you back to humanity … so, in a lot of ways, the 2007 vma felt like that … to where you went all the way out … you got that blinding light, and you came back with a bit more clarity … and, so yeah … that’s that on that

but the song itself … “bleed it out” live at the 2007 vma … 9/9/2007 at rain night club … in vegas … this was, again, like water in the desert … so, in that sense, it almost felt like this catharsis … but, again, just a bit of a mood board here, more than anything else … so, “bleed it out,” fourth track from linkin park’s third studio album, minutes to midnight, second single from the album … again, rule of thirds, here … it’s kind of interesting, i didn’t realize they only had three albums by the time 2007 happened … so, it was hybrid theory, meteora, minutes to midnight … and, again, just the title alone, i feel like linkin park is truly a rock band that is not afraid to dive so far into that darkness … just to be with you … and, to give themselves to that darkness, and, in that, sort of spark this light … just, the human spirit, and its resilience, and its everything else … so, timbaland maestro’d the intro, and what a catalyst … there’s that bass, and a bit of trap … so, it gives you a bit of flair, a bit of that catalyst spark …

the lyrics themselves, really pronounced here … so, weapons in the form of words … liberation of the oppressed … again, the sense that 2007 was this amplification of superficial celebrity culture … and the unraveling of substance … i think linkin park being pop stars, to the extent of global — a potential global audience — and being rock to the extent of that martian energy, to the extent of that rebellious anti-establishment kind of thing … all of that is to say, to go to the vma, and to be able to bridge those two worlds of pop and rock and global and the immediate … and to have everybody collect around this sense of imperfection, and flawed existence … lyrics here, again, that they got the whole crowd to sing along with them … the feeling of live fidelity … is, just that … here, you had, people who would have looked like any casino-goer … where, in vegas you have the showgirls, you have the high-rollers, you have the desert denizens, you have everything about mtv at that point … and you have the 14:59 syndrome of brightly-burning-quickly-dimming stars … you had ringtone rappers … you had the collapse of the star … you had britney, kanye, fall out boy, rihanna, beyonce, shakira … you had tons of people there … you had diddy … and, at the same time, linkin park gives it a bit of, always adds that bit of substance … and, not trying to be status quo spectacular or anything, but having that global reach, and global resonance of genuine pop … so, it’s just that connection of pure humanity … and the lyrics from the song speak to that crucible of fame … and, fame being the amplification of humanity … and the human condition, at all … it’s just mass surveillance … it’s just: your existence is amplified … your existence is expressed to the global audience … and people could potentially be tuning in all the time … so, it’s just being human … at scale … so, the lyrics, weapons in the form of words, if nothing else, it’s just the connection of the condition … an articulation of presence … and that they had the fans screaming with them … that that energy was so contained … and that the performance wasn’t at the award show venue, or on the mainstage, that it was on a satellite stage, at a separate venue … so, again, it’s that sense of, that sense of connecting in the basement, baptized in blacklight … and, the maestro that is timbaland, again, that global reach … so, it’s just amplified magnitude in a microcosmic space …

so, “here we go for the hundredth time, hand grenade pins in every line, throw ’em up and let something shine, going out of my [ xx ] mind …,” so the whole intro is just this ambivalence, and that warfare … of life being this battlefield, and “going for the hundredth time,” that endless cycle of it … “hand grenade pins in every line,” is literally the lyrics as weapons … so, this brings it full circle … that sense of the spectacle … the shock and awe of the fireworks, and the artillery in that … and, i think, “find a new place to hang this noose, string me up from atop these roofs,” feels like the rafters … it’s the celebrity … everything about these lyrics speaks to being a person on public display … and everything that comes with that … all the expectations, and the live fast, die young … and that sense of chasing something, and the looming context of always coming up short, and never having that peace, and forever living in the chaos, and just creating from that … so, “dug the trench out, laid down there, with a shovel up out of reach somewhere … make it a dirt dance floor, again … say your prayers, and stomp it out, when they bring that chorus in …” again, it feels like illustrating the idea of life as this battleground, and celebrity as the coliseum … and, everything that goes in that … and having the fans sing with you is just that shared experience … so, another moment of particular pronounce, to me at least, being “shotgun opera, lock and load, cock it back and then watch it go,” shotgun opera like a shotgun wedding … and, the staccato … and the shotgun moment being something that’s kind of forced, kind of coerced, but you go about it anyway … so, that’s that

so, i think, “bleed it out,” the sense of candy-painted hearse catharsis, the sense of humanity … we all bleed the same … because we are all made of star matter, chon … so, the sense that humans are stellar, and even when you bleed, you bleed star matter … so, that sense of catharsis, that liberation of the oppressed, the fact that — again — through narrative authority, telling your tale … apparently with this one … the sidenote is that:

“mike’s lyrics for ‘bleed it out’ were rejected multiple times. he was so frustrated he felt like he’d written hundreds of verses only to get rejected and told to write them again …”

so, to that extent, again … the inability to write your own narrative, and so, pushing through, and getting something out there, and when you’re live on stage you can say whatever you want because no one can stop you … and chester really went for it here … and the fans were feeding it back to him … so, that beautiful sense of caprice, and conversation, and the lyrics you wrote, and crafted, and you gave them to the fans, and they’re giving them back to you … that energy, and it’s so electric … and that’s that sense of immortality … again, never gone, forever with us chester … resting and rising in power and prominence … and living poetry right here …

so, last note about this one, the booklet note, is that:

“one of the band’s goals on this record was to enjoy it. this track is one of the places where that is most evident …”

so, it’s the metamorphosis … and from that prison chrysalis, that “candy coated brand new hearse,” and it’s just enjoying the process … and enjoying the fact and act of resistance and resilience … so, releasing it out, knowing that your body will restore … and knowing that everything has an ebb and flow, everything has peaks and valleys …

but, yeah, that’s just rambling about it … but, “bleed it out,” linkin park, live from the 2007 vma … as, anthems … the anthem of that lyrical arsenal, and bringing it to life in a live setting … and minutes to midnight … and that resilience and constantly fighting through that media event horizon to the singularity of return to the source … so, it’s about articulation, transcendence, return … and et repete, et repete … and repeat … so, beautiful, this one … i don’t really know where this is going … i just feel like, in and of itself, again, all of these moments capture what they are, in and of themselves … with or without my commentary … so, this one is just that beautiful connection and catharsis … and the restoration in rhythmic reciprocation … and the language artistry that provides the elixir to keep this going … and evolve immortality for that kinship camaraderie … that is these discotheque denizens … y’know … so, yeah … everything about that, just, whatever that means … liberation of the oppressed through live fidelity and language artistry …

so, without further ado, revisitation station … scene beret … live fidelity … linkin park, “bleed it out” … live from the 2007 vma … rain night club, in vegas … rest in peace, rest in power, forever risen, chester … and, without further ado, the lyrical catharsis that is linkin park’s language artis

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:: Remix ::

“Rehab” (Remix) ft. Jay-Z — Amy Winehouse (Rehab (Remix) — Single; 2007)

alright, so … scene berets, episode two … rippin up the disco, barreling through … where are we now … remix: amy winehouse, “rehab” remix featuring jay z …

so, a lot of remixes in a year defined by its reimagining, motley mash-up, and culture clash of the titans leitmotif on the whole … an apex of remix culture as the guiding guise in / of pop culture, pop media, and the mediated portrayal of that which is … a scene of the union address: apexed … which, the list leading up to this point has evidenced … and, in a way, indicative of everything that paved the driveway into this metaphorical garage bandstand …

bit of background on amy, and “why this one” … from the full rounded out scene beret vantage … the mic check of arms dealer, weapons in the form of words, people as the language artistry, the language artist, the language and the artist as one … the living discourse of people … fundamentally: the pop star themselves as the script … and conventional words as subplot … so, messages as this living entity, and the human as their own memoir and manifesto … so, in that, everything amy lived as discourse … weapons in the form of words and really

now then … background on amy … couldn’t think of 2007 without deeply considering amy winehouse, as anchor and a linchpin … and her name, in and of itself, just hearkens to everything that was … the winehouse, just reminds me of a living speakeasy … it’s where you went, where you lived in the shadows, and where you found that camaraderie among your other denizens in the darkness, just baptized in blacklight … and that soulfullness, and that weathered, worn old soul and youthful spirit … so real, and so human … and everything that — she didn’t shy away from the shadows, she stepped into the light, into that cold cruel world beneath the hot hot lights … and dove so deeply into the darkness that is so present and pervasive when it comes to fame … living the antithesis of everything celebrity was supposed to be, and — not even as the performance artist, just human art … living as the human condition … living the human experience, on this sidewalk stage, in the contemporary condition, and those conditions of amplified captivity … and the misfortune of fame … and then translating that everyday … just the poetry of the ditlo poetry … and genuinely the crucible in love …

and showing the dark side of fame, because, again, she was an artist — first and foremost — she was a singer, she was a songstress … and bard … and she fought fame so much more intensely and intently and honestly and genuinely than most anyone else … most everyone else, it felt like the performance of this fight … and i think that’s something that’s so ingrained in american culture, is this ambivalence with fame … and everything becomes a show … and it’s all a part of “show business” … and that is its own crucible, that is its own burden — and she and britney have that in common … it’s just britney was more ostensibly stellar, and the performer as that aesthetic, and the stage really was her coliseum … and there was that studio value, that production, that budget, and everything that comes with american pop that britney was wearing … everything she did was very “stellar“ … and there was that natural shine, that natural sheen to it … and britney really had to strip away, it was … stellar evolution, and the collapse into one’s self — that supernova thing … amy was just, whew … the other side of that … and she was the shadow to the light that was this hyperamplified fame and spectacle that was pop culture and celebrity culture as one … that was 2007 …

all of that being amy: coming from across the pond, being legit jazz , being contemporary, being this timeless tone, and this longing … and it wasn’t for the cameras, it was for the microphone … and it was something so resonant, and so deep, and so honest, and genuine and true … and everything about hers was just “a day in the life of” … the journey of someone’s journal … and, how pervasive love is, how that becomes your everyday … and you see everything through this lens, and it was just so beautiful … and it was living poetry, and just amazing … and she gave a rhythm to the otherwise routine … and everything became extraordinary in such a visceral way with amy … and the scar tales behind these star trails … and, again, watching her rise and descent … and back to black … everything about amy was just phenomenal … and everything about her was so human, so real, so tangible and resonant … one of, if not, the most prolific language artists of the era, of the contemporary era … one of those artists who truly could convey a feeling, and a mood, within a matter of minutes … and her ad-libbing, and her tone … so signature and so hers … fundamentally establishing a groove in the akashic record … and that’s what makes you immortal … and everyone knows it, and feels it … and that’s amy, just honest … a living fxxk it factor

bringing that all back to 2007 … “rehab,” anthem … again, amy, in her, being herself, narrating her everyday life, was just the microcosm of the metanarrative … right … this paper doll, but literally: rehab … that mood mentality, that discourse … was 2007 … and the way amy communicated this concept, how amy manifest said mentality, is what establishes an icon *snap* just like that … she’s able to tap into the zeitgeist … in a very real way … and again, the jazz element — and it’s something you can’t just read in a book — you live it to learn it, and you channel it, not “creating” anything … you’re just a conduit … and articulating the energy of the ancestors, and living as this vocal chord, and this crucible, but also this crux as that conduit … and this locus figure who lives the sacrifice of communicating the human condition amidst chaos … and, as a baroness of a broken system, that was celebrity and entertainment industry and all of that … so, “rehab,” being at the core of this …

“rehab,” is a scene beret, in and of itself … but the remix establishes this seminal second layer, this intersection vividly expressing the origin’s underlying dichotomy and duality … and so, second time, we see jay-z on this list … first time was with rihanna … and, in retrospect, i feel like in 2007, hov embodied this whole pied piper patriarch of pop … as this usher, this maestro, this svengali figure … looking at his clear presence … his attachment, his associations, how and to whom … almost this suitor, for these women — within the sonicscape, at least — and within pop culture, and pop music culture, akin to a de facto father figure … and with rihanna, it was definitely that; he ushered her into this whole, like, pantheon … just baptizing her in the blacklight that was “umbrella,” and ushering her into this whole new stratosphere of fame, and pop music culture … whereas here with amy, it was more of a peer situation, but duplicitous and specious, and there was that ambivalence … and so when you look at the lyrical comparison, it also highlights the reality of pop culture and where society was at that point ( e.g. the fundamental differential between women and men … and how addiction plays through that: one it’s a game, for another it’s not … just the difference, the stark contrast, the diametric opposition between a tale of two sirens, right … a tale of two soundboards ) … and, again, just that microcosm of the metanarrative …

looking at amy’s tale of rehab, which speaks so intrinsically to the woman’s condition, with addiction … and, somewhat peripherally, addiction to love … and it’s something that’s so inherent, and it’s not chosen, it’s not tongue-in-cheek … it truly is, just this sense of : dad says you’re fine, telling you to go to rehab, all these voices in your head — so very britney, so very every pop tart, every pop starlet, every young adult woman who attempts to establish this sense of independence … every woman who establishes a sense of independence, and the fight it takes to get them back into the system, right … whether, and again, that’s just the way the system works … whether it’s because it’s the moral panic of being a role model, or it’s just about being an independent woman and exercising the same agency that men have, for instance … it’s not being handled by a suitor in the right way, and how that reflects on your father, or your handlers … how that reflects on your male influences, or what have you … and it’s that sense of manufactured codependence, and it’s the hypocrisy of: dxxned if you do, dxxned if you don’t … and just everything that is

looking at amy’s lyrics … fundamentally: “tried to make me to go rehab, but i said no” … and the whole backstory of mark ronson, talking to amy, walking down the street in new york, and amy saying, “they tried to get me to go to rehab, i said no no no no no” … and *snap* bam that turned into a song … and her dad really saying, “not at that time, i didn’t want her to go to rehab, but later, of course, it was a different story” … and women as property … is, for some reason, just that sense of ownership or proprietorship — y’know, “amy proprietary limited,” “britney proprietary limited” — amy was giving such a gravity, and a soulfulness, and substantial mettle to everything that seemed so superficial and materialistically stylized for media consumption … like, “oh, these girls, going crazy,” and that hysterical female discourse coming right back in 2007, with the “paris lindsay britney, mary kate and whitney,” all of that … and that’s a reality … but, here, it’s literally saying: “no,” and the resistance … and she lays out all the reasons why … and it gets a bit more real … and, again, just that sense of beautiful poetry of something that seems banal or everyday … and the way amy phrases it, you realize it’s a metaphor for something so much larger … and it’s that precision, that makes something so precise, and so pinpointed … something so panoramic at the same time …

“mr. hathaway … rather be at home with ray” … that sense of, “it’s not hurting anybody,” y’know what i mean? … just that sense of: music, as your rehab … not having to go to a system … not having to go to indoctrinate yourself to an institution to release … that you can solve it on your own, that you know what’s best for you … and, learning through apparent loss … but having the space to sort it out in your own time, at your own pace, working through all the peaks and valleys and trials and tribulations, into the triumph of self-awareness if nothing else … but having the independence and support in that sovereignty to make mistakes and build a masterpiece from that … but again, the trust in that intuitive guidance is very true, because a lot of times, it is that outside influence that has pushed women and/or any marginalized individuals over the edge … the collateral damage that is the at-risk … and, what happens behind those walls … and, it’s that common sense of: why can’t you live your life, and know what’s best for you … y’know … and i think a crucial line here is the second verse and the second pre-chorus:

the man said, “why do you think you’re here?”
i said, “i got no idea”

lot of gaslighting … this is, effectually, the narrative of the gaslight …

i‘m gonna lose my baby … so i always keep a bottle near

literally, again … i don’t even know what else this speaks to but, just the authenticity of the narrative itself, and here: the baby bottle, but also losing custody of your kids … and something to cope: what bottle? it doesn’t matter … but, this is one of those hemmingway six-word story style, where there’s so much said in so little … but the notion of custody and coping here is huge … it’s that leverage … and it’s so inherently, something that women deal with, that connection with your kids, or your partner, that’s what they hold against you … and you look at the conservatorship now, and it’s something that — again, i don’t know where this is going, but just something that stuck out … 

and at the crux of it is

he said, ‘i just think you’re depressed; kiss me, yeah baby, and go get rest.’

at the core of rehab is what happens behind closed doors … when the therapist uses apparent weakness as an in for exploitation … so, the rehab they’re prescribing is just another plane of systemic exploitation … and, that’s not a cure, that’s not a treatment … it’s just another causeway to captivity in a system like the one you’re in right now … so, behind those closed doors and beyond the bottle, just that need for expressed human reciprocity — just that “need [ for ] a friend,” human interaction beyond high-priced isolation … i don’t know, there’s just something about it …

the scene beret notion of weaponizing the form of words, is literally exhuming all of this … and line-by-line, the reality … and very similar to blackout in ways … and also a bit of “everything’s just wonderful,“ to where there is an external critical sense of apparent privilege, self-imposition or self-sabotage: “you’re so privileged” … the entity of rehab itself, for a lot of people, seems like something that the privileged deal with, or a luxury from within that bubble … but amy counterpoints here, gives it a sense of valid truth, makes it palpable, evokes a universal sense of humanity … and any time you have that external voice telling you to put yourself in a system, and you’re like: “no, i got this [inaudible]” … and the only reason it / this got to where it was, to that eventual extreme, was potentially because of the outside influence, and fame pushing you to this … and what you have, and what you can offer other people …

the remix aspect, where jay-z comes in … his lyrics … when i first heard it, i thought that he was talking from the tone of the pusher, right … like he was the pusher, he was the pied piper … like a therapist, right … talking amy down, as that svengali … and that smooth-talker — that mack the knife … and then when i listened to it again, more recently, i realized he’s paralleling himself with amy … and in that, it establishes an even deeper reality, and even deeper meaning in that … to him it’s a game, and he’s addicted to money … he’s not addicted to drugs … but it also echoes a lyric from another one of his tracks, in “public service announcement,” from the black album, “i hope you don’t think users are the only abusers” … and here, again, he’s not using drugs, but he did push drugs, and he understands addiction from a different angle … and never get high off your own supply, but there’s a sense of the consequence and the end game … and for amy, for women for instance, it’s much more grave, much more dire, and it’s more apparently life-and-death … but it doesn’t have that sense of gravity or reality there in the lyrical realm of the remix — it’s effectually inconsequential, it’s effectually a character trait … for jay-z, and handlers with privilege … where for amy, and her peer parallels, it becomes a death knell and the scarlet letter … so, yeah, hov effectually just talks about his addiction to money, prominence, material wealth, and rap and the game … but again, for him, it’s that whole parallel of power, is his addiction … and when he parallels himself to britney, whitney, bobby, amy, marilyn, anna nicole — if you don’t listen to the lyrics, and you’re just listening to how he’s saying it — it sounds detached, it sounds proxied, second-hand … and he’s in it, and he’s not of it … and he sees these peers, these addicts, as … he sees them from the peripheral, but it’s not really a peer, it’s consumers and customers … it’s like he never understood that addiction that way … and his addiction to money is something where he’s able to exploit people who are living the reality in, on, and of the other side … so i, this just reminds me of a mack the knife situation … privileged proxy participant exploiting a situation for profit and gain … and that’s really just two sides of the game … right, the pusher and the peer-turned-product … and that’s it

but, i don’t know, it’s interesting … this one just established such a clear portrayal through the poetry of the human condition … and the rhythmic language artistry of these words … so, this retrospective took a bit of a different spin … in a lot of ways … so, yeah, rehab as the discourse … and “rehab,” in general, i guess, overarching as akin to “piece of me,” weaponizing through narrative authenticity, narrative authority, everyone just establishing through articulation of their presence, and their lived condition of their reality — not right, wrong, good, bad, whatever: it’s just the truth … and so, for amy, it’s: “here’s where i am, here’s what they’re prescribing, here’s what i’m resisting …” bam … and you look at it, and you’re looking at someone who they’re trying to get back in the system … then, in the shared frame opposite stage, jay-z was never told in this way to get back into the system … he’s treating it like a game, y’know, playing it, but he’ll never lose … so, it’s two sides of the same coin: boys will be boys, girls will be hounded by the media … and, rehabilitation is something that, when they rehab you, it’s about getting you back into the system — not about improving the quality of your life, so much as sustaining the imbalance of the status quo … putting you in an institution, getting you committed, rewiring you, and rehabbing you… in terms of social rehabilitation … they’re changing who you are as a person, it’s not really the drugs — it’s just trying to get you acclimated into / reaquainted with the apparatus … so this is about independence … and it’s about fighting for your independence, fighting for your liberation, and explaining — breaking down: what they mean, when they say …

weapons in the form of words … amy living her artistry, and living the human condition, and journaling that journey … and putting it out there … and that — her own narrative, her own tale — being a cultural biography … because wow, it was the contemporary condition … rehab was the discourse, in one way or another: just rehabilitating people who were deemed “deviant,” and you look at: why are they seen as deviant … it’s not because they’re crazy, it’s because the system that they are in, that they cannot escape, the entertainment industrial complex, which exploits for profit, has pushed you to a place where you want to release, you want to escape … and because you want to release, and because you want to remove yourself from the system, their prescription, and their mandate, is to reinstitutionalize you, and return you to the system, reclaim your agency for the structure … so it’s that fight for independence, versus — it’s liberation versus captivity … so, and you see the two sides of it, because once jay-z remixed it, it presents the other side of the coin … how the other side lives … so, the beautiful thing about this remix is it shows you two sides of the scene … it really is a tale, of two perspectives … a tale of the tape … a tale of two … classes — i gotta figure out a word to fit there … but it’s just a tale of two … and a tale of two truths …

… “rehab,” amy winehouse, prolific language artist, just living poetry … and truly once-in-life artist … and who lived her work, and was really the word made flesh manifest … and wow what a siren … so all of that is to say … amy amy amy, where’s your moral parallel …

amy winehouse, scene beret, episode two, remix, amy winehouse … “rehab” (remix) featuring jay-z, produced by mark ronson, 2007, from the back to black : b-sides, rarities  … i believe, i’m not sure … but, anyway, this one was all over the place, but abstract really winding it down … but i have no idea if this had any sense of cohesion or not … but the living discourse that is amy winehouse, truly a living narrative, and living work of art … just the language art of the contemporary condition that was the mid-aughts

so, without further ado, revistation station … amy winehouse featuring jay-z: “rehab” remix

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:: Terset ::

alright, took awhile to get here, but here we are … made it through … wow … so, at the terset, rounding it out, i think it’s been a pretty intense trek thus far … i can’t even, this was an extensive episode … but, moving on

“Bird Flu” · “Sincerely, Jane” · “If U Seek Amy” (Official Music Video)

so, this terset, this triple play — a bit different than the first one, and it’s bit different than the way this is probably going to play out in the future — just keeping in line with the overall theme, this one’s a bit more concerted, a bit less caution-to-the-wind … i looked at a slate of songs, and decided to do a bit of sous cheffing … that’s to say i just looked at a general slate of songs from the year and vibed with what felt alive, and what would be a strong capstone … and if nothing else, because this list is so extensive, and because this episode itself is definitely more academic, theoretical, conceptual, more-theoretical-than-conceptual, very discursive … empirically-backed — but it’s pretty dense and thinky, and at the same time nebulous in its explanation … which, obviously, i have very little doubt in my mind it’s been lost in translation — got real hazy and nebulous … so, with this terset, i wanted to bring it all together and find a way to synthesize everything that came before … and have a triple play / 7” that spoke to everything precedent …

all of that is to say this terset is a mic check / scene berets, and … i don’t know … a lot this is vibes, and the hardest part about any of this is making it make sense … at the beginning and end of the day, it really is just a playlist … and it’s a score, for a mood, and a mentality, and a scene … taking a scene, and developing its underscore … it’s sort of the phonic side of the film that is this celluloid life … so, the underscore to a pop culture scene

so, that being said, these three that ended up on this terset are related … i picked them individually, then looked at them, and stepped back and saw what they had in common … so: backstory/trackstory on these three … putting it in context of the mic check of — again for the umpteenth time: arms dealers fitting with weapons in the form of words … but also tying it back to what i lost track of, which was, again: scene berets’ unconventional warfare and liberation of the oppressed … which, for the past few songs, i’ve sort of missed the scene beret, and focused more on the mic check, but i think it’s crucial here to understand that all of the songs here – in their own way – liberate the oppressed through narrative authority and narrative authenticity and articulating presence from the perspective of those who are in a position of privilege – of having a public platform, and the unconventional warfare of using your platform and using your persona and, at times, your body as that battlefield – and using that as your platform and living your narrative … and having your body become representative, and a vehicle for the liberation of the body politic … and trusting that you are informing and enlightening, and speaking and living truth to the power — both the power dynamics of the status quo and the establishment — at the risk of losing your self, your stage, and your sound booth, your soundboard, your soapbox … and understanding that, at the same time, in losing yourself you are liberating everyone else who doesn’t have that privilege … so, really fine line is being drawn here, but everything on this list speaks to liberation of the oppressed through unconventional warfare of: using your words, and using your articulation as artillery – as that arsenal – you being a living discourse, that everything that is embedded in that secret language and these are just small examples of how pop music culture – in form and function – brings that liberation, through abolition of oppressive systems, to light … and, in that, it lives the lesson … y’know life is a tough teacher: it gives you the test first, then teaches you lesson … and so, all of these artists are living as the lesson and the lecture, and the lyrics are, in a way, the lecturer … so, everything is kind of flipped here

so, all of that is to say … a tl;dr about everything that came before this … but, a nice segue into the terset … so, these three … tl;dr before we get into each individual selection … m.i.a.’s “bird flu,” from her 2007 debut kala, janelle monae’s “sincerely, jane,” from her 2007 debut, metropolis: suite i (the chase), and the “if u seek amy” – bit of a pivot – official music video, here, i just think, the song was one thing here, but the video just completely leveled this up … and, again, if there’s a scene beret moment of liberation of the oppressed through unconventional warfare of counter-terrorism and all of that stuff : “if u seek amy,” in so many ways, is just that: hidden in plain sight, eyes wide shut … britney, at those burgeoning moments of a conservatorship, and that being the harbinger, and that setting the stage and establishing the blueprint for everything that would follow … and completely speaking to how it’s a constant battle, you’re constantly battling, it’s never over … abolition as action, it’s active, and constantly liberating through the abolition of any system that’s holding you back … and as soon as you get complacent, comfortable, or leaning on convenience – that becomes a liability – and that’s when the shackles start to get a bit tighter … and those prison walls start closing in, and that’s when you gotta see those prison walls as a chrysalis, and break through … and metamorphosize … metamorphose? anyway

all of that is to say: “bird flu,” “sincerely, jane,” “if u seek amy” (the video) … these three, if nothing else, it’s very “looking backward / looking forward” … and it’s a great way to embark on this send-off, and have the post-script be the preamble to what liberation looks like – in action … “if u seek amy,” again, being released in 2009 … again, years ahead from 2007, but showing how this can move forward — when you come from blackout, and here’s the light of the circus, and – even under conservatorship – how you can still be a source of light, and how you can *bam* break through – those walls are closing in and you can just push right on back … and how resistance leads to that release, and revolution

so, all of that is to say, all together it feels like a sense of … post-pop, post-colonial preamble … just a blueprint in establishing that canon, skeleton … but, again, just a mantra manifesto …

so, without further ado, just going to jump right into it … and see where it goes

· · ·

okay, so: m.i.a.’s “bird flu” …

“Bird Flu” — M.I.A. (Kala; 2007)

… i, think … [inaudible] my proper backstory with this doesn’t really exist — i’m sure i’d heard it because of kala and all of that — but, listened to it again … and just that guerrilla warfare, guerrilla pop, indigenous, like this digital underground feel of — again — shock and awe soundscape, and very much that graffiti guerrilla sonic aesthetic that m.i.a. is known for … and, again, using the social landscape, and this global village, as her vantage point and a feeling of a mercenary, but an amazonian feel … so, everything about that urban jungle, and everything that m.i.a. is … but again, this idea of divine feminine meeting that feminine denizen … and that soldierette … and, again, here’s that post-pop feel of the postcolonial …

so, if you’re looking at pop, here, as a colony, right … the idea of colonialism, and imperialism, and capitalism … and you look at pop culture as a colony, and something that’s been colonized by the establishment — by social institutions, and the capitalist superstructure — and you look at postcolonialism, which is: once you’ve been liberated from your oppressor, how do you move forward? how do you establish identity in that newly liberated sovereignty? so, that whole discussion … and, here, postcolonial would be post-pop … and post-pop, jesse mayshark — personally, i think it’s an instrumental theory, and concept, that is very true … at least, it’s something that’s been indicated, or evidenced – particularly in popular media, his focus was cinema, but you can look at it in music – but media in general … post-pop being this pivot, and this pendulum, from postmodern – this quentin tarantino feel of genre-based, plot-based, culture – something that was very apathetic towards the humanity, of the narrative … it’s a plot-driven narrative that was smart, very gen x, very nihilistic, in a way, and something that was a piece, or artwork – media, cinema, television, music – that was watching the audience watch it … and the audience is almost taking a backseat to a piece that’s watching itself, because it’s so self-referential, and it’s that much smarter … and the audience isn’t really even that involved … it speaks to itself …

so, in that, here, bringing it all back … the sense of post-pop is completely character-driven, and you’re diving so deeply into the character and their narrative — people who are actually on the periphery, people who have been pushed to the periphery of a pop culture that’s fundamentally genre-based – focused on the system, and the structure – as opposed to the agents who fuel it … and here, i think, in a technological world, and a global economy, in an attention economy — but also the media industrial complex, and the military industrial complex, and this corporate global village that’s everything becomes a consumer product or a market demographic to where you’re not even a person — i think, pivoting that, is where post-pop came in, with sofia coppola and david fincher … movies like donnie darko, and fight club, and the virgin suicides — as opposed to reservoir dogs or pulp fiction … and you’re looking so much more at people, who were at the pulse of this shift – from postmodern – but also looking at the power dynamics … how this shift is going from the patriarchal power structure, to something definitively more feminine …

and in this coming-of-age you have these gen x men, who are losing power to millennial women … and how that’s reflected in western civilization, particularly, who, again, has a stranglehold on the global economy – but is losing it – and, just the overall flux of how the hegemony is fixing into culture … how, again, this uprising and the groundswell of millennial girls, who are inheriting this power … and they are empowered – for whichever reason, natural cycles and seasons of pendulum shifts … but, again, looking at the shadow side — looking at the intuition, looking at the dark side of the moon – or, the moon as opposed to the sun, and these things that are hidden in the shadows, and bringing those to light …

so, again, focusing so much more on the agent, focusing so much more on the former periphery coming in here … and, again, looking at, again: what are the central conflicts that are dictating the cultural landscape, the cultural climate, and the structure of feeling … so, as opposed to something that was so self-referential, and genre-driven, and structural … the plot-driven narrative of postmodernism to where everything is anything and nothing is all the things and does it matter and — the cynicism … and: “how dare you care” … “how banal of you, to care at all” … apathy as the only emotion, and it’s the lack thereof … so to where, before, humans were being pushed to the periphery, here, they’re being put front-and-center … and because of the conflict, because of their brokenness, that’s what you focus on: you cultivate some sense of character, and some sense of significance and purpose in that fragmentation … and, again, that bildungsroman, that coming-of-age, comes from the conflict, and the discrepancy, and the uncertainty … and having that be the blueprint is how someone makes it through this conflict, and this uncertainty, and this coming-of-age …

so, all of that is to say … where this ties back into this terset, of post-pop postcolonial, is looking at pop as a colony, and post-pop being something that, again, once the oppressed have been liberated — and let’s look at millennial girls – who were on one side of the power structure, and now being center stage, and the power of the media, and the way everything kind of came together — women living as the discourse means that the audience of their peers are now looking to them, and, even though there are wizards behind the curtain, these girls are living their own narrative, and they can break free … in this coming of age, where, what defines adolescence is the fact that it’s a stage that you’re going to outgrow … and it’s in this that you define your adult self, and that you can define it any way you want … and growing out of your teen years on a stage means that, naturally, the teen years could be a colony – just like pop … and so, when you grow out of that, you become who you are, and you actualize yourself … so, again, just the fact that conflict is when pop culture happened to capture a lot of these girls en route to becoming women … whatever they left behind, that being what they left behind … so, independence, overall, liberation from the system, and establishing independence in your sovereignty, and finding a sense of community in that … and the people who come along with you, and help you establish that sense of self, is really the summit moment … and, so, for all of these women, their coming-of-age, their bildungsroman, in tandem with this cultural shift, really just established this paradigm — this post-pop postcolonial paradigm — that was built from conflict, and that conflict is what defines that coming-of-age, and this bildungsroman was really about personal development … and it was like a butterfly breaking from the prison chrysalis

so, all this kind of says is, the narrative authority in that … and you being the living discourse is how you liberate the oppressed: through living through that, through your own form of oppression, and breaking free, and never losing contact with your community … so all of that is to say i think that contextualizes — i buried the lede — contextualizes these three songs / selections, and how they do it

so, m.i.a. comes from this other side of the global village … and i think what’s important about hers is the bird flu … and, again, how the women just taking that living discourse of women being seen as baby-making machines in revolution … and flipping that … and her own struggle in that, the memoir being the metanarrative … and m.i.a. has a strong grasp of the scene and the global village, and how she can use her own narrative to speak, to echo, that of the audience and her peers … and flipping the underground, and emerging from that primordial ooze of pop culture … so, here, it’s looking at the resilience of these rebel soliders — child rebel soldiers, some might say … and flipping it – m.i.a.’s is literally about flipping the patriarchy: period …

the second verse is, i think, what really pops off here is the

Protocol to be a Rocawear model?
It didn’t really drop that way, my legs hit the hurdle
Protocol to be a rocker on a label?
It didn’t really drop that way, my beats were too evil

she literally tried, made the attempt, to be a rocawear model — didn’t work, she was too short — and she ended up signing to roc nation … moving up in the social mobility and the agency, from rejection, resist and push through … so instead of being a face, she’s a voice … work your way into the system, become the means of production … liberate yourself, and there you go … it’s one thing to answer inquiries, it’s another to make sport of the inquirers … and, again, liberation of the oppressed: just keep pushing …

and, effectually, the way it closes, as a narrative storyteller, is talking about crop-dusting … and everyone knows about crop-dusting — dropping chemicals on plants, to where, within this context, starving out the entire village of an indigenous people — and here, m.i.a.’s taking her bird flu – which is the flu, and the dis-ease of the emerging feminine – and she’s going to crop-dust with that … releasing the poison without poisoning yourself … using the master’s technique to dismantle his house, and rebuild from that ruin … unconventional warfare … everything’s part of this overarching ecosystem, and she’s taking her bird flu, taking the dis-ease of being a woman – with her sovereignty, and critical vantage of an anti-incumbent establishment woman – and infecting said incumbent establishment with said antidote … so, by infiltrating the system – as britney glitched the matrix, became the glitch, and dismantled from the inside – so, m.i.a.’s dismantling a superstructure, in a more apparently natural way … unconventional warfare through metaphorical chemical warfare, but, taking down the artificial by injecting the natural … which, again, would be a dis-ease to that which is artificial …

so, “bird flu,” m.i.a. … lil’ riff on that … m.i.a. vibes, and i feel like this is a dope song … and it speaks in an underground guerrilla pop way … and pivoting to the other side, which would be janelle monae … right, now

· ·

okay, rounding this one out, massive exhale, at the end of a complete marathon journey of an episode that’s probably spanned the course of three or four months, on and off, just riffing on these tracks and trying to have some sense of cohesion and connection … burying the lede, all the way through this labyrinth … that being said, finally here at the end of the terset … started with “bird flu,” and now we’re closing out with “sincerely, jane,” and “if u seek amy” the official music video … i guess with this, it’s going to be more of a lighting round, and just, for once, letting the tracks speak more for themselves than i am speaking about them … this one is going to be more contextual, a lens through which to look at the work …

so, here, in the span of time since the last one and this one, i’ve had a bit of time to follow my bliss and go back to what i enjoy doing, which is researching (nerd) … but, really got caught up in the idea of the postcolony and pop colonial … post pop postcolony … when i riffed on it before, it felt resonate … and i followed that rabbit hole, and it came to fruition with these last two … so, this terset, what brings these three songs together is post colonial theory … this idea of post pop … but on the postcolony … and looking at it from the mbembe perspective … and i reviewed his work, and on the blink, two chapters pronounced most prominently in relation to these final two selections …

“Sincerely, Jane” — Janelle Monáe (Metropolis Suite I: The Chase (EP); 2007)

first up, looking at “sincerely, jane” by janelle monae … this one … debut ep, metropolis : suite i (the chase) … everything about that is very conceptual, very sci-fi … afrofuturism echoes … but more so just human futurism … looking at the human at the next level … and liberation of the oppressed, and this sense of the other … which was at the anchor of metropolis : suite i … this idea of the other, and hearkening to the “absolute other” at the core of on the postcolony … so, the contextual lens here, “sincerely, jane” … the sonic aesthetic itself feels postcolonial … the idea, that lyrical free flow, and the harmony … how the harmonies and the melodies coalesce over orchestral music … neo-classical in a fundamental way … a new spin on classic … full orchestra, and the riff, and the beautiful rhythm of the lyrics themselves … honoring tradition, and then breaking the mold, at the same time … rules were made to be broken, but you can’t make broken rules … and, in that, it reminded me of the postcolony … being bound to this traditional system, and then breaking out of it … and how to create an identity from that past … and then breaking out of it … and everything aforementioned regarding m.i.a. … but here, fundamentally, it is janelle looking at the android as this other, akin to how mbembe articulates africa …

but this postcolonial, and i guess where this one comes to play — again, just context — “sincerely, jane,” inspired by a letter wherein:

In an interview for Public Radio International, Janelle Monáe explains that this song came from a letter written to her by her mother in Kansas, encouraging her not to come back, but to “run to the future, because my present was not a safe place to be.”

that, in and of itself, and the postcolonial contextual lens … in context of liberating the oppressed … moving past your former self, innovation and moving forward … progressing from the incumbent … and liberation and abolition of the past: acknowledge and abolish …

so, here, a snapshot of the past she’s leaving behind … giving a script, looking at the landscape … this weapons in the form of words because of the clarity on the perspective that janelle establishes here … and this is effectually music as a soundtrack of the scene of the union … and it’s a soundtrack and a score to the social landscape … and because janelle gives a snapshot — she offers the problem, she offers the resolution, and she articulates it through poetry … so, it’s that articulated presence, making it science ficiton, and then coming back from that science fiction to a place of shared experience, and fact … circling back to that docupop sense of pop culture as a means and vehicle intended to depict / express reality … this is that

in terms of postcolonial, the concept the resonated most immediately here … is the introduction and “time on the move” … so, locating the discourse about this “absolute other” … locating the discourse about the oppressed … becoming largely trapped in tropes and fantasies, in which the other and the oppressed are rarely seen as possessing things and attributes properly part of human nature … and when so, these are considered of lesser value, little importance, or poor quality …” so seeing anyone who’s marginalized, seeing the oppressed — whoever that may be, who you’re hoping to liberate — as the “absolute other,” as the anti-norm, analyzing in terms of the lack or the void, as opposed to the presence … being perceived as that which lacks, being perceived as the anti, being perceived as that which lacks human nature … something so inherent to both the pop figure – who has lost their humanity, in their prominence, as a consumer product, as, if nothing else, a means of propaganda – and connecting that, also, to workers who – faceless names, nameless faces – and they’re all perceived as numbers, cogs in a large machine … in that, is that sense of the spectacular subaltern … and, can they speak: here they do … and it’s in a world of science fiction where you can bring the social margins to the mainstage, and through that narrative authority of making believe and then manifesting that is where this surfaces and comes through … the traverse between science fiction and social fact and finding a stage for that and creating a space for that creative intellect and that lens to breathe life through lyrics … and that constant traverse between fact and fiction and shared experience … and the make believe bolstering that …

what “sincerely, jane,” echoes here is the sense of creating that space, establishing that discourse, and expanding perspective on the problematic reality … moving forward into a space of apparent science fiction, and coming full circle, showing the resolution in edifying that, and manifesting – making believe – to mend the ruptures in a broken system … and the other falling in love with a human … bringing together this other — the thing and its double, the thing – the thesis and its antithesis … the norm and its nemesis, and bringing harmony in that, and finding love as that eternal ether, and communicating that through lyrical expression … here, is where that comes into play … here, all of that is to say, the context through which to look at “sincerely, jane:” liberation of the oppressed – time on the move … from postcolonial theory, whatever it is that that means … establishing a sense of presence where there was absence, and granting the spectacular subaltern room to speak

right then … “sincerely, jane” … just beautiful … postcolonial, to me, in the sense that it’s finding the hybrid between that which remains in your past as your foundation, and finding a future in whatever it is you manifest, as its antithesis … and finding the hybrid and harmony in that, and, if nothing else, recording that journey … recording that release to mend the rupture between your past self and your absence of self in reclamation and reconciliation and restoration of that which you were built to become …

also, it’s releasing your alter-ego, and establishing the articulation of presence of your essential inherent self … and that dialogue, and bringing the thing and its other together … the dialogue that mends the fragments in that distance

· ·

moving forward to britney, this video … because it’s the lightning round, because i‘m really tired, i have no idea what i’m going to say here … this one, “if u seek amy,” britney, again, coming full circle, we’re looking at this, dropped, i believe in 2008 / 2009 … it was filmed in 2009, so we’re looking at two years past blackout, and echoing that, coming full circle … and from postcolonial theory, for me, it’s establishing that sense of a sovereign state speaking directly to the former power … so, it’s moving past imperialism, and looking past imperial dead in the eye, as claiming independence, standing toe-to-toe, with the incumbent empire, and the past power … and establishing your own worth from the shadow of that former self … claiming everything they said you were, and moving past that … so, it’s wearing that shell, as your shield, and then stripping that away, sheathing said former …

here, background on this one … janelle’s, i just vibed with that one, that one just felt right, and it aligned, it just resonated as synchronous, and it does fit, here … britney’s, circus, i was, undergrad, living in d.c., it was that obama era of “new” … and circus was new, and it was the second coming of the “comeback” … this one, “if u seek amy,” just top to bottom, this brings everything leading into it together … this one, i’m going to let speak for itself, lightning round here …

“If U Seek Amy” (Official Music Video) — Britney Spears [ Dir : Jake Nava ] (Circus; 2009)

before, i think, i even wrote about it, i just said, something about june cleaver, and kate trask from east of eden, and some other motley hauswife american icons, but because of what it is, it’s so very secret language — “that” … it’s the zeitgeist of: britney — as far as the media figuration, everything she meant, and was … it’s this spectacular structure of feeling … and very mona lisa in how you see it reflects what you’ve been privy to, up until this point … your awareness, “if you know you know” … that’s all i’m going to say about that

top-line: jake nava directed it, who directed “my prerogative” ( that footnote, in-and-of-itself: echoing whitney, echoing kevin / bobby, chaotic, pre[inaudible] here … it’s 2005: her greatest hits, leading into blackout, leading into everything that is ) … so, in terms of the narrative sequence, and the narrative arc here … a lot of full-circle, and complete closure, in motion toward the next step … it’s closing out who she was in a lot of ways … very much a bildungsroman, in this narrative arc … moving on

jake nava, palisades, california, lot of brands … she was wearing louboutin, lacoste, [ lingerie], very eyes wide shut overall motif here … but, fundamentally, what we’re getting into … postcolonial theory, and the theme, and the lens in which i perceive this — on the pop postcolony — is “the aesthetics of vulgarity” … one of my favorite chapters, and one of the ones that always springs to mind when it comes to mbembe, and when i think about postcolony, and what i attribute to it most, is the aesthetics of vulgarity: zombification, the banality of power, the grotesque and the carnivalesque in this position … so, the lens through which to look at this one … background on this: secret language, “if you know, you know,” ears open / eyes open / mouth shut, whatever that is … weapons in the form of words, liberation of the oppressed: here, through narrative authority … and unconventional warfare, media battlefield  … this is the coup de grace … hidden in plain sight : “you know what i’m saying, and i haven’t said a thing — keep the record playing” … body language

megyn kelly, america’s newsroom … when the song came out, “if u seek amy” — again, if you know you know — “if u seek amy” came out, megyn kelly came out, guns blazing, and attacking britney, was nothing new to anybody … that was default for news, it was modus operandi: punch down on britney … when in doubt: punch down … and that was just fine … here, you use your platform to fight back, fire with fire … megyn kelly, fox news, corporate media — fundamentally, brintey doubled down on what she did to get her here … megyn kelly attacks britney, quiet … britney releases a music video with a parody of megyn kelly introducing her official video … the ensuing everything this is: what happens behind closed doors, “what you see is watching you,” is the lens for this …

it’s using your platform to speak your piece … your perspective, as your point of power and your platform … you being a media channel, you can exercise your soft power … articulation of presence, narrative authority as your weapon of choice … the living discourse, your artwork, as your words … and that’s what that is here

this video, for me, establishes the lens of aesthetics of vulgarity, the banality of power …

refers both to the multiplication and routinization of bureaucratic and arbitrary rules and to elements of the obscene and grotesque intrinsic in systems of domination. It explores “the complex interplay of consent and coercion in the postcolony and the carnivalesque disposition of both rulers and ruled in the production and maintenance of hegemonic relations of power and subversion.”

“if u seek amy“ music video … aesthetics of vulgarity, banality of power … tying back in to janelle monae: “are we really living, or just walking dead now?” … zombification in the postcolony … here the flatline … so, this sheds light, gives a stage, and is the imagery, and the aesthetic of the scene beret … “protect this house” … handing power back into the hands of the artist, and the artist, the human community, culture as human, not industry, and taking power back from the gatekeeper …

the postcolony here, is holding down your fort, you being the body politic … and just the solidarity behind those closed doors, and stonewalling all day … so, two sides of the coin: what happens inside that house, what happens outside that house, poker face, mannequin … the tie-in between circus and “carnivalesque” …

· ·

but, effectually, here is just liberation of the oppressed in establishing a sovereign space where culture exists in the community, and not in corporate towers … here, it’s just a few words on the pop postcolony, and tying it all together with m.i.a.’s “bird flu,” and janelle monae’s “sincerely, jane,” britney and the “if u seek amy” official music video … just very postcolonial, to me … establishing a sense of sovereignty … the purpose of which is, if nothing else, establishing new paradigms and modes of analysis after a point of chaos and destruction … restoring it from a vantage of humanity, and the people who lived it … and establishing paradigms in the articulation of presence from individuals who were pushed to the periphery and became the pulse … and looking at it from the lens of a locus, and letting the spectacular subaltern speak … so, here, scene berets as the spectacular subaltern … and establishing a new paradigm in what is seen as the postcolony, but what is really the primordial of sovereignty and solidarity in human connection … and articulating the presence of that shared experience

just something along those lines … the soundtrack of solidarity within the community of the spectacular subaltern … that being docupop and that being liberation in the abolition of the imperial … but, the empire striking back …the empire of the pop icon and their indefatigable camaraderie … that being said : m.i.a. “bird flu,” janelle monae “sincerely, jane,” britney spears “if u seek amy” official music video … out of the world, into the mitochondrial mesopoptamian womb of terra nova … yes, arms dealers fitting you with weapons in the form of words, articulation of presence, scene berets

not really sure where this is going, but for now, just articulation of presence, structure of feeling in the solidarity and the spoken word of the spectacular subaltern, and the living discourse of discotheque denizens and divine humans …

this terset … is a triumvirate of the g.i.r.l. … the girl in real life … guerrilla in real life … but girl-illa ( giuerl-illa ? ) in real life … girls, in real life … pop as the postcolony, and sovereignty in the solidarity of the spectacular subaltern, as the structure of feeling, speaking ( singing ? ) life into existence, speaking agency into existence, and existing as the shared experience … the locus form of new life

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


Mood: Mondegreen Berets · liberation station of the spectacular subaltern, living discourse of the pop dilettante, unconventional alchemy in the arsenal of secret language artistry

Bard: karioke


:: The Playbuild ::

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