Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Quintessential Song of the 2000s

I’m going to just say this: “Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake was the best song of the 2000’s, in terms of summing up the decade’s shift in pop music. Here’s why:

1. It straddled the shift in pop artists. Indie stuff aside, this was right when music shifted from boy bands and manufactured stars to emerging solo careers and independent artists. If you missed N’Sync (and you did, don’t lie), this is when you got over it.

2. It straddled the shift in music videos. This is one of the only videos that I actively looked for on TRL and still worth referencing on YouTube.

3. It straddled our opinion of Justin Timberlake. Sure, we all enjoyed “Like I Love You” more than we were expecting to, but this is the song where he earned our respect and we realized he had staying power.

4. It straddled the rise and fall of Britney. As Joe R. on the great Low Resolution pointed out, this was the moment Britney’s image and eventual sanity shattered. We had proof that she had faults. Slutty, cheaty faults.

5. It straddled Timberland’s career. Prior to 2002, he focused mainly on hip hop artists like Aaliyah and Ginuwine. Post JT, trainwrecks like Lindsay Lohan stalk him at parties because they know he can turn any pop artist into gold. This is the album that kicked it off.

6. It straddled the shift between our mild curiosity and crazy obsession with celebrities. Not going to lie, I sort of believed Britney when she said she was a virgin? Not because I cared, but because I didn’t have her vajay shoved in my face every time I turned on my TV or computer. I didn’t care and I didn’t have a cultural obligation to care. Before this video, we weren’t sure why Britney and Justin had broken up… there were rumors that she cheated on Justin with Wade Robson, a choreographer and Michael Jackson protege, but no one knew for certain. And then this video hit – with a Britney lookalike, a Wade-ish dude, subtle clues like a fairy figurine, and the entire story for our entertainment. While TMZ has given us full access to celebrities today, back then it was pretty rare to be a fly on the wall. In short: sofa king awesome. I wish all gossip and dirt resulted in this kind of art.

7. It straddled the moments I did not and absolutely did want to straddle Justin Timberlake.

8. It’s the ultimate SNAAAAAAAP. I spent at least half of this decade as a spurned lover, so I can fully appreciate the vengeful, “Oh yes he did” factor.

When Timberlake sings, “You don’t have to say/What you did/ I already know/ I found out from hiiiim,” he’s gleefully tiptoeing around Britney the same way Bugs Bunny dances around Elmer Fudd.

Plus, you know, it’s simply great. Damn JT. I still adore everything about this song and video… aside from when you make a tear with your finger when you sing the word “cry.” Which you still do. Stop it.

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Youth, It Was A Gas

The Gasometers on Hwy 44 are down! NOOOOO!!!

For non-St. Louisans – two giant gasometers used to sit along 44 right at the border between St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Toby from the awesome B.E.L.T. blog explains why these gasometers were so rare and loved here. He also shot this great video of a sight that’s so familiar to St. Louisans:

When I was a teenage Shortcake, my friends and I would sneak into the city to party with our more badass friends. Before I drove and understood how the city was put together, these structures told me I had arrived.

Every time I saw these gasometers to my left, my brain said, “IT’S PARTY TIME.” And every time I saw them to my right, I thought, “Man, that was a great time.”

(Actually, since I commute to the county from the city now, my brain said the exact same thing.*)

Like that giant dove at West County Mall (which signaled to a young me that I was almost home), this is a landmark that wasn’t just a familiar sight. It sparked familiar feelings. Great ones.

R.I.P. Gasometers. You will be missed.

*Mostly unrelated, but is there anything more depressing than listening to “School’s Out” while heading back to work on your lunch break? Cuz that happened to me today.

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“And My Buns: They Don’t Feel Nuthin Like Steel”

I was honestly too sad about Brittany Murphy to write about Brittany Murphy when she died – and at this point, does anyone have the energy to write about another dead celebrity? – but she was my favorite actress for a long time, so I want to write about her.

Like everyone else, this girl won my heart and cracked me up in Clueless. And when she started playing creepy roles to perfection, like in Girl, Interrupted, I was excited to see how far she could go.

I’m not going to lie, I felt a little betrayed when she appeared out of nowhere on the 2002 MTV Awards red carpet, skinny as hell with a mane of blond hair. She wasn’t fat before by any means – she was refreshingly healthy, if anything – but as a fat teen, it was reassuring to see someone realistically round on the screen, and a pleasant surprise to realize that you didn’t have to be stick-thin to be adorable, charming and nothing short of lovable.

But then the opening song of the MTV Awards started, and at 2:38, she did something awesome:

… and instantly won my heart back. And inspired me to do some tricep kickbacks.

(Also, I remember they kept cutting to her during Eminem’s performance of “Without Me”. This was right before 8 Mile came out and I didn’t realize she was in it. They cut to her so much and she was singing and dancing with so much enthusiasm that I thought, “Omigod, are they doing it? They’re totally doing it!” And then all these rumors floated around that they were doing it.)

I forgot until yesterday that she did that somewhat badass song with Paul Oakenfold. And I remembered that for a long time, there were rumors that she was going to play Janis Joplin in a biopic. And I was really looking forward to that.

Not going to lie, her husband ooks me out just a tad. And while a heart attack at 32 is not unheard of, it’s still suspicious, as someone on the Internet may have already mentioned. The whole thing grosses me out and I hope it wasn’t an eating disorder or drugs, but… would that make it any more or less tragic? Honestly, out of all the possible causes of death, “natural causes” is probably the scariest.

When I broke the news to Clueless fanatic Janternet via text, she replied awesomely with, “She died like sporadically.”

So yeah, even though she got dangerously skinny and probably got her lips injected (seriously the dumbest thing that Hollywood women do) and she married a greasy con man, and starred in a bunch of terrible comedies and was slowly stirring up trainwreck-y rumors… I was rooting for her. I was really, really rooting for her. And out of all the celebrities that died this year, this was the one that hit me the most.

And I don’t know, like, stuff.

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Filed under Botheration, Pop Goes The Culture

“We Know It’s Hell Living With Two Dudes, So…”

I’ve wanted a papasan chair (or as Rachael, Rachel and I used to call it, a “cereal bowl”) for 15 years. Rachael and I used to get in drunken slappy fights over Rachel’s chair all the time.

I mentioned this to my roommate Jason like 6 months ago and promptly forgot about it. And when it came time to exchange presents with Dan and Jason (the F.U. Penguin book and the Slap Chop, respectably), they rolled out this:

Agh! You guys! My family isn’t doing Christmas til next week, so I wasn’t expecting any presents on Christmas day. I figured they’d just get me something from the “As Seen on TV” aisle at Walgreens, if anything.

But man… I spent the whole Christmas Day in the ICU, and my dad was like hallucinating the whole time and it was so exhausting and sad, and I wasn’t expecting a single good thing, and then BAM. My (other) dream present. My version of a pony. An Easy Bake Oven. A Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time. What on earth.

Obviously I teared up. I am very lucky to live with such sweet dudes.

I’m almost as excited about my chair as Justin is about his animatronic dinosaur:

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“Is That A Turkey Sandwich?”

I was going to do a “Best of 2009” thingy, but all I wanted to talk about was Ari Graynor in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. And then I realized N&N came out in 2008.

But you know what? It’s Christmas and I do what I want. So let’s talk about Ari Graynor in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

People didn’t give Nick & Norah a chance because it came out during all the Juno backlash, but I thought it was incredibly sweet. (And it’s based on a book by a writer I like, yay!) Sure, it was a predictable story, but when I was a teenager I spent a lot of time running around the city with my friends, and this film captured that feeling perfectly. Nick & Norah (and this probably the saddest thing I will ever type) makes me feel young.

But while the whole movie is adorable, it’s Ari Graynor as drunk Caroline that makes the repeat viewings worth it. She plays Hilarious Sloppy Drunk to perfection, and I heard the majority of her scenes were improv. From slurring, “Waitareyoumadatme?” to locking herself in the car, everything she does reminds me of my old best friend when she partied with me, and this movie is the closest thing I have to time travel.

Today for Christmas, my grandma made turkey sandwiches for us to eat at the hospital. So as a Christmas present to you, I present the (terribly uploaded) Turkey Sandwich Scene:

Merry Christmas. Omigod… hiiiiiii…

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Not A Creature Was Stirring

Not even this asshole:

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There’s No Crying on Christmas

Have you guys ever heard the “Testosterone” episode (#220) of This American Life? In one segment, they interviewed Griffin, a man who was born as a woman. He said that one major change after he started living as a man was that he had a hard time crying.

“Before testosterone, it was great to, you know, if I was frustrated or angry or sad – have a good cry; you feel better afterwards,” he said. But that as a man, the quality of a cry and the amount of tears was never the same.

That segment really made me appreciate the power of a great cry. Not even the emotional part – just the physical act of crying.

Every now and then, people will sort of marvel at how positive I’ve managed to be during this whole ordeal. But the secret is: I would make sure to cry.

Over the past few months, I would find the dumbest moments – moments where I wouldn’t need to cry, moments where I was alone – like watching 90210 or Jersey Shore. I would just let myself physically cry and let it out, and it would somehow be enough to get me through the next day or two, especially those moments when I was faced with something scary or sad.

But now the situation with my dad has gotten worse, and I’m finally at the point where I cry when I’m actually sad, and it happens all the time. I don’t want anyone to see me cry because I don’t want to bum them out around Christmas.

But because it’s Christmas, there are people everywhere right now. Everything is a total bitch to accomplish. I’m at this point where sadness could hit me anywhere, like the grocery store, and there are just millions of people passing by me and freaking out, like, “OMG is she crying?” Usually I can camouflage it to resemble a bad cold, but there’s a second or two of glassy eyes and an escaping tear – at a random place like the bread aisle – and someone is bound to catch me.

Let’s be clear: I’m not sad that all this is happening around Christmas (I used to be, but I’m used to this by now)… I’m just sad that other people have to be sad for me around Christmas. Do you know what I mean? I don’t want to bum people out by telling them about my problems right now. But eventually people ask how he’s doing, or someone sees me crying, or… I have nothing else to write about on my stupid daily blog…. and it comes out. Only my 2 best friends and my boyfriend know all the details, and even though those are the people I should call, who want me to call them, I still feel like shit for bumming them out.

*That This American Life episode also includes a great segment where everyone on the staff tests their testosterone levels and they take their results so personally and get giggly about each other’s and it’s one of the most fun segments I’ve ever heard. TAL and Frank & Erik are getting me through the day.

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