Holiday weeks are hell on columns like this one. Not because nothing happens, but because nobody's around to report on what's happening. In any event, here's what we were able to find out about what went down while we were hanging Christmas lights, getting sick, and stuffing ourselves full of turkey last week.
[jump] Billy Joel Is Still Dying Slowly, As Are We All
Ever notice how these days, there's no such thing as good Billy Joel news? We learned last week that Joel survived double-hip replacement surgery, which is positive, but ultimately it's kind of info that just reminds everyone that Joel will probably die before we will, and that his eventual obituary will emphasize that his best days were far, far behind him.
Ray Davies Kinda Resembles The Joker, Doesn't He?
Drunk On Thinkpieces, Hype, and the Cultural Moment, Pitchfork Bestows Hallowed "10.0" Rating Upon not-quite-worthy My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
And so, Kanye West steps atop the highest P4K pedestal, breathing the same rarified air enjoyed by the likes of Wilco, Radiohead, and the Flaming Lips. What? Gimme Noise doesn't deny that he's spent a lot of time and energy prattling on about West's exploits - recorded and otherwise - this year, and I don't regret anything I've written. When West rapped, in "Power," "I've got the power [to] make your life so exciting," he wasn't fronting. But a 10.0 for MBDTF? Really? Has the game seriously been changed here? Do people really prefer listening to this album, glass of red wine in hand, to 808s & Heartbreak? Even with "So Appalled" clogging the record's core instead of the far superior "Chain Heavy"? And all that aside, isn't the man's head big enough as it is? What's next: a Pazz & Jop win? I fear so. Dominating the national conversation - and polarizing those engaged in it - for a prolonged period doesn't quite justify this.
(BTW, in case you missed West lip-syncing "Lost In The World" on a float during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - well, it wasn't like they were gonna let him perform "Hell of a Life" in that sterilized, family-friendly setting - check the bizarre spectacle here.)
Black-Eyes Peas To Bring Severe Robotic Imagery and Geometrically Psychedelic, Eye-Raping Costumes To Universe Yet Again, This Time Via Super Bowl Stage
Will.I.Am, Fergie, and the other two - Frick and Frack, whatever they call themselves - will perform a truncated medley of their electro-pop/rap favorites during the Super Bowl halftime show, hopefully during a torrential rainstorm with lots of loose, electrically charged cables and wires lying around onstage. Whether this will improve or ruin the Super Bowl for you will depend on (a) who you're rooting for and whether that team is winning, (b) how many beers you've polished off, and (c) your tolerance for creatively cut and sewn fashion-forward functionless leather club gear. Oh, and they're putting out a new album tomorrow. (I didn't know about it either! Until last Friday.)
Polly Jean Harvey Expanding Rapidly In Size, Primed to Rampage Across Picturesque English Countryside
Gimme Noise's adoration for PJ Harvey goes way back to the early 1990s, when he borrowed Dry from a militant Yenta-in-training. Given that Harvey's recordings are typically interior in nature - exploration of personal feelings or fictional situations that she inhabits - I'm interested to hear what a politically-engaged PJ Harvey record will sound like. From the sounds of things, Let England Shake will be that record. So: a politically-engaged autoharp record. Damn.
Here's what Harvey told NME about the album: "I think a lot of my work has often been about the interior, the emotional, what happens inside oneself. This time I've just been looking out, so it's not only to do with taking a look at England, but taking a look at the world and what's happening in the current day world affairs. But always trying to come from the human point of view because I don't feel qualified to sing from a political standpoint."
Nicki Minaj Has Issues
Well, yeah - one could very easily infer that from her performances and general demeanor - but the shit gets deeper: dad was a whacked-out drug fiend, she tells Rolling Stone. You know what the entertainment world needs now? More stars with dull, unconventional upbringings to mirror the actuality of those basking in the distant, beguiling light they cast: that most of us led and continue to lead drag, painfully boring existences. I mean, my sympathies to the likes of Emmanuel Jai, Dave Navarro, Robert Downey Jr., 50 Cent, and, you know, Nico's son, but most punters aren't born into brothels and crack dens, feel me?