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Genius or Joke?: Ryan Adams “1989”

For Christmas last year, some of my co-workers bought me Taylor Swifts “1989” as a joke. After months of hearing about Swifts album and all my colleagues singing “Haters gonna hate hate hate”, I wanted to jump out the window of my 48th floor. Instead I brought the album home to my wife (who is a huge fan), and she would blast it in the car while my kids would shake their heads to “Shake it Off”. Every time I got in the car myself, it would be there, haunting me. After about 25 times or so, I started to leave the album on. I was starting to actually enjoy it and I hated myself for it. Consistently I found myself playing “I Wish You Would” over and over again. If “1989” wasn’t playing in my car when I got in to drive, I would put it on. I was slowly becoming a Swifty.

So you can imagine when I heard that Ryan Adams (one of my favorite artists) was covering the album, I was as happy as can be. However as a big DRA fan, we know he could be a jokester, and that maybe this wasn’t to be taken seriously. Then when he released “Bad Blood” last week I knew this wasn’t just some joke. It was real, and it was gorgeous.

Listening to the album in full and what transpires is a thoughtful, emotional, and powerful rendition of Swifts music. The subtly of “Blank Space” and the slow stick beat to “Shake It Off” might be some of the best things I have heard all year.

There is a creative genius at work here on a pop icon, and we wonder how this even transpired. In truth this is a great move for both parties. On one side you have Swift converting old farts like me into liking and APPRECIATING her music. On the other, you have Adams showcasing his talent to a younger generation, hopefully sparking an appreciation for independent artists. Lastly you have the stream game. Swifts “1989” is only on Apple Music, while Adams “1989” is streaming on Spotify. This allows the album in general to get more exposure across multiple platforms.

So is this Genius or Joke? I think you know how we feel: Ryan Adams has done it again. Furthermore, and more importantly, I have come out of this respecting Taylor Swift more than ever. I will be listening to both albums for some time, and no longer am I ashamed to say it!!

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Genius or Joke? Sia – Elastic Heart on SNL

Sia kicked off Saturday Night Live’s 40th season in 2015 with a performance for the ages. Kevin Hart announced Sia after a few sketches and what transpired over the next 4 minutes was absolutely mesmerizing. Sia stood sideways to the camera in a silver top with black pants while her “black bangs” or veil covered most of her face. Two female dancers then started to perform one of the most WTF dance routines ever performed on SNL. The music video for this song has generated some outrage but this performance was different. (more…)

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Genius or Joke – PSY – “Hangover”

I mean really? Hangover? What a perfectly titled song. After hearing 1 minute of this “song” my head started to feel like the morning after St Paddys. If you are gonna be a one hit wonder why ruin someone else’s career? Over 22 Million views on YouTube while talented musicians travel town to town trying to build up a following? The song is so ridiculous I’ve tried to listen 3 times and can’t get past the 1st minute mark. I don’t know how much Snoop Dog got paid but it wasn’t enough. Anyone that actually bought this or likes this song has no place following our blog.

This is without question the biggest joke we’ve seen and Snoop Dog and PSY are laughing all the way to the bank.

Please feel free to torture your ears and see if you can make it past the 1 minute mark. We know we can’t.

Tuneyards – Genius or Joke

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Upon seeing Tuneyards performance on Jimmy Fallon there was no way we could leave this alone. Tuneyards took performance rock to a whole new level. Any band that places Pee Wee Herman-esque furniture on their stage for a performance is opening themselves to the question: really?? This would be our take on their performance.

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The Fonz most definitely jumped the shark on this performance. Bizarre lyrics, terrible makeup and the overall feeling of someone trying way too hard, the Tuneyards are sure to be a flash in the music landscape that when looked back upon will be nothing more then a bad example of what Arcade Fire was doing at the time.

With that being said we don’t see the genius in Tuneyards and see them as a complete joke. We aren’t drinking the Kool Aid and definitely not drinking from the water fountain. Enjoy your 5 minutes Tuneyards.

See for yourself:
http://m.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/5776

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Future Islands – Genius or Joke?

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A little late to the party but what a party it is. Here at BOTC we never really listened to Future Islands until a few weeks ago. Lounging around on a Saturday evening we came across Coachella 2014 live on AXS. After watching a few performances of bands we were more familiar with, Future Islands came to the stage. Not knowing what to expect, we figured another hipster band would play some decent songs to the apathetic Coachella crowd. What we watched on stage was both mesmerizing and a little confusing.

Lead singer Samuel T. Herring would intro songs with a little snippet of what the song was about or where it was written. Herring would then transform from a normal NC boy into a coked out angry Morrissey like character. Singing the lyrics with such passion that it seemed to be ripping him apart on stage and causing actual physical pain.

Then the dancing began. And that is where we really didn’t know if a joke was being played on us. Duck walks, strange tap step movements, staring in to the crowd and other dance moves that looked more suited for a 45yr old mom at an aerobics class. We literally couldn’t stop watching what Herring was doing on stage. We thought that might be the most peculiar aspect to their performance until Herring started screaming lyrics in his best Gwar death metal voice. WTF indeed.

With all this going on we continued to watch the full Future Islands set. Going from one moment of appreciation for the subtleties of the inner workings of Gerrit Welmers, William Cashion, and Michael Lowry to being completely confused by the manic performance of Herring. The performance was so unusual/engaging that the Future Islands became a must listen for us. Diving in to the album Singles there is little not to like.

So the question begs to be answered, are the Future Islands live performances helping or hurting them? Are the performances so distracting and unusual that they are actually detracting from their music? If David Letterman’s reaction to their performance on Late Night is any indication, I think you will be seeing more and more of Herring’s crazed performances. BOTC says bring it!! We will be doing our best Samuel Herring dance routines throughout the summer or maybe just staring, in to the distance with our arms reaching out. Definitely Genius.

Best Tracks: Seasons (Waiting On You), Doves , Back in the Tall Grass