Saturday, March 24, 2007

Beauty The Stars

Remember a several months back when I posted a blog entry ripping Fall-Out Boy? I posted it around the same time I first started thinking (but not aloud) that maybe living in Athens, while single, and working a non-salaried, non-benefits-providing job in my mid 20s (don’t even say it: 26 is closer to 25 than 30 damnit) well, maybe it wasn’t the best idea.

Plus as a result of my occasionally bouts of self-doubt and extreme pickiness (though I prefer the term “high standards”) and long dateless spell, I was shall we say, a bit bitter. And “sugar we’re going down” was getting played way too much. And that song with the long title, longer (seemingly) video, and whatnot was all over MTV2 and FUSE. So I took my pissed-offitude out on them.

But here’s a multi-part confession: I liked then, and still have a weakness for the other single from that album. “Dance Dance” is catchy as hell, even if I’m no great fan of the lyrics. Pete Wentz=not half as clever as fancily-coiffed high school scene kids would have you believe. That said even some of his cheesier moments lyrically looks like Wallace Stevens compared to crap like that Papa Roach song (I forget the name, but the video royally pissed me off—he's a pompous, self-rightous straightedge punk, and oh no, his girlfriend, played by the ohmydamn-inducing Taylor Cole, gets drunk at a party and falls down on some folks. So he pours out her booze, she accidentally burns down his house and he dumps her. But I maintain if he hadn’t been such a dick and poured her booze out, she wouldn’t have needed the cigarette…and Google says the song was called "Scars", but anyway, back to my rant).

(That bottle in her left hand looks like Dewars...I think pouring that out's grounds for your place burning to the ground but that's just me.)

So yeah, guilty pleasure? Maybe. But Infinity On High is good stuff so far (though I’ll admit a strong bias to the song Butch Walker guests on).

Related sub-confession: I still don’t like the first single from the album (“Shut the god damn door” just doesn’t work for me as part of a hook. The lesson being, I think, that if it’s something a crotchety old person would say, it doesn’t belong in the chorus of a rock song. But give it a few more decades and there’ll be old folks screaming out classics like Poison Clan’s “shakewhatchamamagaveya” so this is a rule with a time limit) but Panic At The Disco, when they’re good, is pretty damn good indeed. “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage,” seemingly needlessly long song title aside, is a really kick-ass blend of that 80s pop/dance revival stuff The Bravery and The Killers (well, on Hot Fuss anyway) did so well, with semi-pop-punk rock. And the ADD arrangement style of most of the songs (like an MTV film editor and cuts, they don’t stick with any one musical passage for long) works.

There is some melancholy in all this though too: while Fall Out Boy headlines an arena tour, there’s part of me that goes through my old concert ticket stubs, pulls out one from the 40watt, and wonders “why didn’t Left Front Tire blow up?”

They put out two full-length albums with a great (and listening to bands like The Academy Is… and Fall Out Boy, clearly marketable) blend of Blink 182-style pop punk and 80s arena rock. So many songs had catchy hooks I get tempted to make a bad simile involving a fishing license. They opened for Butch Walker at On the Rocks in Atlanta (I believe this 99X show is where Butch’s kickass “Queen Medley” was performed…since I didn’t get to attend his acoustic show on his DVD, this is my current chance to be on the same recording as Butch—even if it’s along with 20,000 or so other folks screaming/singing the “Bohemian Rhapsody” opera parts…I hit the high note though. Plus Butch invited the entire crowd to Smith's after the show, and thanks to LFT being there, I was able to briefly meet the man himself.)

They had a song on the American Pie 2 soundtrack. They played Music Midtown and Big Day Out multiple times. They were (and still are) what is sadly a rarity in the music business: genuinely great guys. Sure, they may barge into your apartment with a bottle of Jack and give you a whiskey wake-up call, but if that’s really “horrible” to you, I advice you go back to the Focus On The Family and Parents Television Council websites. Nothing here will not piss you off. has some clips from 42 Ways to Lose a Friend I highly recommend scoping out.

Also, their old Drummer, Josh, now sings and plays keys for a new band, Holiday, that’s a bit more rock/alternative and a good bit less punk, but still very good. Check ‘em out on MySpace.

In Thursday night TV news, well, Grey’s must not have missed me or paid attention to my blog (not that I really thought they would: you can go ahead and accuse me on many counts of being self-absorbed, but not this), because they spent a while showing repeats after the OC went to the big TV show heaven in the sky (it’s currently being wooed by Arrested Development, after a fling with Wonderfalls and a disastrous first date with BtVS). But now, we’ve had two new episodes in a row (and NBC has even put 30 Rock—which kicks ass—on what better not be permanent hiatus)…and…there are some great moments and some stuff that really just bugs me.

So Callie has a brobdingnagian trust fund, large enough that she can not only easily live at Seattle’s version of The Waldorf-Astoria, but eat wildly expensive room service…but a few months ago she was homeless and stuck sleeping at the hospital? Are we supposed to believe that she’s so quirckly odd about her huge trust fund and money that she’d violate hospital policy and…I dunno…let the trust fund money pile up? Or are the writers hoping that we just forgot about that plotline now that she’s starting a potentially doomed marriage to George?

(Give me this every month and I wouldn't be crashing in the hospital, but again, that's just me...)

Speaking of George, it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with the whole Callie v. Izzie triangle. When it happened I had extra high hopes because:

1. Callie tells George, in the midst of their fight Izzie likes him

2. He shows up to talk with Izzie with a bottle of whiskey, and then invites her to drink.

I hated the “blackout” aspect (despite some good material coming out of it) because the events of the previous episode hinted that George knew what he was doing. He wanted to get drunk so he could potentially have an excuse (in my experience, if you’ve been drunk quite a few times, you know if you blackout or not, and what amount and types of booze achieve these results) to cheat, and, more damning for George, wanted Izzie to get drunk with him, thus increasing his chances of getting some “supermodel”-level ass.

Even when the show was pissing me off back in the fall, I liked what they were doing with Karev. Credit to the writers and the actor at taking a basic “asshole with a heart of gold” archetype and doing kickass stuff with it. On the other hand, now that he’s the perfect guy, Dr. Sheppard doesn’t seem to have anything to do, but beg to have sex with Meredith, and worry about her, and then get castigated for worrying about her. While I know offering advice to a fictional character is about as useful as trying to get an honest answer from a non-under oath high-ranking Bush Administration figure, I can say this to Derek: don’t get caught up in trying to be the “perfect boyfriend”, it’s a game you can’t win. Don’t mistake knowing a good bit about her, for knowing her better than she knows herself. Because “the one that got away” hurts a little, but “the one you pushed away (even with good intentions” hurts a hell of a lot more. (And yes, I may as well wave the red flag and say "I'm trying to work out a personal issue via addressing a fictional character here.)

On a related Thursday note: Scrubs seems a bit off to me this season, and I can’t place why (though the clip show didn’t help). I hope they can bounce back, or they'll have a short final season like the OC.

30 Rock and What About Brian, two shows I started watching this year and dig the hell out of, are both “on the bubble” renewal wise. Brian has a season finale next week, I recommend watching (especially if you have a Neilson box), and keep your eyes peeled for online petitions. It worked for Arrested Development

And even though they’re shooting parts of it in Atlanta, and it stars Laura Prepon (who was one of the best non-Red Foreman things on That 70s Show and yet this is her first show since, whilst Wilmer Valderrama has parlayed his T70sS stint—and dating Lindsay Lohan prior to the multiple rehab stints methinks—into a terrible MTV show and movie roles…seriously Hollywood: what the hell?) I just haven’t given October Road a chance. I’m no fan of critics, but they universally ripped this show from the beginning, and the plot point mentioned in one review (the protagonist’s mean book publishers wouldn’t let him change the names of real people in his novel to other names? If this is true, Writer’s Guild of America memberships or not, no one on the show has worked in publishing or even, read the disclaimer works of fiction have about names on the page facing the title page.) But the real reason is my aforementioned 7am-4pm Mon-Fri schedule, which, coupled with the fact that both LOST and What About Brian wait until 10pm to start…well, I don’t know if I can stay up and watch the show. And I have some qualms about that, because, potentially sneaky editor/publisher issues aside, this sounds like a show right in my wheelhouse. First, there’s a protagonist who’s a writer only slightly older than me (ok, see, here you can call me self-absorbed) who ran away from his past and now has to deal with it. It’s likely about second chances in relationships (a great tv staple). It’s got people in Boston Red Sox hats (hopefully also spewing some “Yankees suck”-type diatribes too). All that and Laura Prepon. It’s getting a shot this week, even if it’s via TiVo…

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