Update your Bookmark Toolbar

Let’s face it: the main function of the internet is to consume our time while giving us a feeling of accomplishment. Does scouring Facebook for information on our “friends” qualify as social research or a waste of time? Everybody has their favourite sites, their Bookmark Toolbars with their most visited places. While wasting some time of my own, I found this story: A.V. Club’s Favourite Time-Wasting Websites. I realised it was time to update my bookmarks.

For about a year I’ve been addicted to Perez Hilton. It’s been like a car crash: I have to look, at risk of seeing something terrible. That’s a human reaction, right? Anyway, I have seen several accidents, train wrecks, and tons of stupid, baby-la-la shit. Sometimes its funny, sad, tragic and definitely juvenile. Sometimes I agree, others I disagree. But it is celebrity paparazzi culture, so I don’t let it affect me too deeply. But of all the double-standards that are all over that site (like some people are gross when they smoke, others are allowed), the final double-standard was when he announced that he was starting a record label. This label is going to be a success, and I have to give Perez props for deconstructing the entire entertainment industry, only to rebuild it under his rules. He really gives it his all, his personality is invested in the total identity of the site, and will spill over into the identity of his label. Excellent marketing.

And so I realised I needed a new vision when it comes to trash talking. I deleted my Perez bookmark and am feeling like I will get the same content between my music “industry” newsletter, Go Fug Yourself and new addition, Dlisted. Round it out with NME.com, the BBC and the occasional local perspective from either Midnight Poutine or Fagstein and there you have it: the world in pop culture.

Update your bookmarks accordingly.

Lame Music News (or Bored Publicists)

This out, this is what people (i.e. Perez HIlton) are saying about the “controversy” surround a Kelly Clarkson songwriter who wrote a song that kind of sounds like Beyonce’s Halo. This apparent “plagiarism” case is total bullshit. It sounds to me like the publicist ran out of things to run with (notice how Beyonce’s people could not care less?). Anyhow, while its working for team Kelly, it surely maddens the rest of us. Do we really not think about music to such an extreme, that duplicity and repetition only occur to us when someone else brings it up? Basically, Kelly’s people made the fatal move of putting the song out too soon. If they had let at least 3 years pass since Halo was released, no problem. No one said squat when Halo came out, and that it has almost the same chord progression as Umbrella? I guess my cynicism about how people listen to music has some truth to it: that basically we don’t listen to music. It just plays while we are around.

2) I recently read this story: IAN BROWN REVEALS KANYE AND RIHANNA SONGS. Says Brown: “We wrote this song called ‘Vanity Kills’ [for Kanye West] but we were a bit late sending it in, so I’ve kept it for the album. ‘Stellify’, we wrote for Rihanna, but as we got to the end of writing it I thought, ‘You know what? I’m gonna keep this for myself, we’ll give her another one’. She’d have probably sung it better, but it is too good for me not to do it”.

Again, bored publicists. Good results. I mean, I could say I wrote a song for Kanye and another one for Rihanna, too. I wrote several. Just missed the deadline/kept it for myself/dog ate it, whatever. Even if it is true, its still weak. I totally respect Ian Brown, now I totally respect his publicist, too.

I guess sometimes people’s people do what they gotta do to stay in the press. Its fierce out there.

More on Perez Hilton

I love Perez Hilton, totally addicted, can’t stop talking about it. Even you are sick of reading about me talking about it. It’s like a car crash: I just cannot look away but I gotta say…he has THE WORST taste in music. So it’s curious that he’s considered such a tastemaker…I mean, I understand that super pop is his thing but some of that stuff he hypes is pret-ty weak. Pop does not have to be shit, though sadly most of it is, but a good song and thoughtful production still hold value, at least to me. I’ve sometimes speculated whether or not he is paid to “recommend” things. I’d hope not, and I doubt it because then he’d be as shady as the shit he disses so I will give him that credit at least. No payola for Perez, in my books. He seems to be straight up when something on his site is sponsored, which I appreciate a lot.

At one point I was like: “Wouldn’t it be rad if Perez was into The Dears?” but then was like: “We are way too dark and real.” Much like real life. Which is the biggest problem: real life. That’s why Perez is rad: he offers the opposite, a fantasy world where the lines between reality and bullcrap are delightfully blurred.

Read more about it here.

What Will Become of the Spinning Newspaper?

One of my guiltiest pleasures is an additcion to PerezHilton.com (everyone has to get their celebrity street trash from somewhere). Anyhow, Perez has been reporting almost daily of cutbacks and layoffs in the media, most recently at newspapers like Tuscon Citizen and Minneapolis Star Tribune.

At any rate, the other day we were watching Spider-Man 2, — which, incidentally, Neptune loves, along with the Star Wars movies. She finds the Ewoks funny, which I think was the intention. — and they showed a spinning newspaper with a headline, pertinent to the storyline. I know with Spider-Man there is a particular relevance to newspapers, what with Peter Parker, the Daily Bugle and all, but it made me think: what will become of the spinning newspaper, if newspapers cease to exist? Will it be replaced with a spinning list of Google Search Results? Who knows.

This post is not anything, but a brief thought on culture, and how things are more interconnected that we sometimes think.

Celebrity Blogging = Neo-Tastemaking

I don’t know how this happened, but I’ve become dangerously addicted to Perez Hilton‘s celebrity blog. I’m not sure I condone what he’s doing (though I am thoroughly entertained), but from what I’m learning about paparazzi culture, most celebrities tell the paps via their publicists or representatives when and where they are going to be. So essentially they brought that shiz upon themselves. I’m not sure, however, that the rabid swarmings that Britney, Brangelina or TomKat receive are entirely necessary.

Anyhow, I have to stop…my addiction lures me back several times a day. The passive voyeurism I’m always on about is starting to skew my perception of reality: between Perez and TMZ I’m starting to think that the general public’s lives are informed by these kinds of shows. Actually, I’m not so far off. After his party at SXSW, music industry types were grumbling that Perez’s opinion was more relevant than some old-world media. The quote is quite good: “There were some at SXSW who grumbled about the fact that a gossip maven has decision-making power in the industry.” It’s called a tastemaker, bitches.

The industry is changing rapidly; not just in the phasing out of the CD, and the rise of digital music, but also in the traditional “set-up” of an album. Obviously with our new album nearly completed, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Will Soundscan and first week sales cease to be a measure of success? For a band like The Dears, those things have never been something that redeem us: sadly, it often informs labels and how they work a record. But it’s refreshing to see bands like Raconteurs eschewing the norm, by suddenly announcing the release of their record for one week later. In the “News” section of their painfully ironic PET website, March 17th entry, they proclaim:

“We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one had an upper hand on anyone else regarding it’s availability, reception or perception.”

Let’s face it: albums only get leaked by the irresponsible use of promo copies. The 6-8 week lead up time is dead, and the tables are turning to return the power to the people. YOU decide, not the exclusive clubs created by media or industry. Bloggers call it…but Perez Hilton owns it.