411 Music Fact or Fiction 05.30.14: So Long Mikey, And Thanks For The Savage Animal
Posted by Joseph Lee on 05.30.2014
Would it be disappointing if Aerosmith never recorded another album? Does Whitney Houston's life deserve more than a Lifetime TV movie? What did we think of Nicki Minaj's latest single? 411's Chad Webb and Mikey MiGo debate these topics and more!
Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.
This week we have Chad Webb against Mikey MiGo in his final 411 appearance. Just when he thought he was out, we pulled him back in.
Mikey MiGo: FACT. A friend and I have been making jokes about how much they look alike since the early aughts. I know we were never alone in this. For years it was an on-running joke that "the drummer from the Chili Peppers looks like Will Ferrell" and until recently it felt like no one was mentioning it in bigger mainstream scale. When these two started their "feud" on the internet it was hilarious. Then the payoff was even better. When next to each other the gag got "real" because you can see just how much they DO look alike. Chad has a sense of humor as expected and Will has decent drum chops as not expected. I'd like to see this rivalry continue. Chad Smith should star in Anchorman 3.
Chad Webb: FACT. Definitely. I knew they looked alike, and perhaps I heard rumblings of a running gag, but I was not aware of the Reddit AMA exchanges before news of this drum off had hit. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has become pretty popular due to great bits such as this. It was funny to see the two sit down for an interview having dressed the same. Despite what you may think of his latest movies, Will Ferrell is still hilarious and made his career on short sketches like this. The drum off itself was terrific and of course ended in spectacular fashion for anyone who is familiar with Ferrell's SNL days. And ultimately, the two did this for charity, which is awesome any way you slice it.
Mikey MiGo: FACT. Has anything Nicki Minaj put out been considered "very good"? Hell, has anything Nicki Minaj put out been considered "good"? I'll even go as far as asking has anything Nicki Minaj put out been considered "listenable"? The answer to all three of these questions is "No".
Chad Webb: FACT. According to Wikipedia, "Pills N Potions" has been "unanimously praised by critics." Allow me to be the naysayer then. I have always said Nicki Minaj has talent in the rap game, but she can't decide whether she wants to be that or a mainstream pop artist. Roman Reloaded was a case of split personality, some tracks being rap, others pop/R&B. "Pills n Potions" attempts to mix the two a bit, but the hook is sooo generic. It's as if she is actively trying to be confused with Rihanna and Beyonce just to score a Top 40 hit. This is my problem with some of the popular music today. So many people are just replicating what others have done. It gets boring and repetitive. Many critics have said this is a departure for Minaj. Yes, it is a tad slower as a piano ballad, but far from a huge departure. This is not totally unexplored territory for her. The message of rising above her detractors is honorable enough, but certain lines make it come off as a bit contradictory. Don't get me wrong, it's far from her worst song. It's not even terrible, but overall I'm indifferent to it. Blah.
Mikey MiGo: FACT. If it's previously unreleased material that has Mercury's vocals then I'm all for it. If it's stuff where they plug in random vocalists to fill the void then I care as much as I do about a Queen "reunion" at this point. Brian May and the band are talented guys, but the band Queen is Freddie Mercury. This man's voice is undeniable and one of the best in all of not just rock, but music history. He cannot be emulated or replaced. I'm all for new material. I just worry that it was "unreleased" for a reason. If they didn't want to put it out when the band was around they had to feel it wasn't right. In this case I'm sure of two things, 1.) It's a money grab or attention grab to support their upcoming tour with the kid from American Idol. 2.) My ears are waiting.
Chad Webb: FACT. Am I interested in the album? Sure. As a Queen fan, I would love to hear what the unreleased material sounds like. Will it be any good? That's another story. I'm torn on that. Part of me feels like these tracks have been kept in the vault for so many years for a reason. Brian May said they now have the technology to restore and rework the scraps that were left over. Who knows? The other part of me says, any unreleased material might as well be put out there if it can be. These are just rarities and whatnot, so I doubt people will be expecting a new classic with Mercury long dead. I'm sure the band wants to added revenue too. Still, there might be a lost gem on the album. I'm all for it if they are just keeping the tracks basically as they were recorded. If this is a project that will involve guest musicians, as has occurred with Michael Jackson rarities in the past, count me out. I'm curious as to what these tracks are, since the remasters from 2011 almost all featured bonus unreleased songs. Still, Queen rocks, so bring it on.
Chad Webb: FICTION. I'm not much of a Wiz Khalifa fan, and a mixtape that clocks in at 1 hour and 29 minutes sounds like a chore, but I'll give it a listen for this column. The fact is, I don't think Wiz Khalifa is all that good. As a rap artist, he has the timing and speed down, but his lyrics are commonly repetitive or just stupid. He had a big, overplayed hit with "Black and Yellow," but other than that he isn't all that special. This mixtape is overall, forgettable. It is brought down heavily by an overuse of auto-tune and redundant themes. All the typical areas are touched on: money, weed, and women. We get it, you like to get high. Moving on. He also pulls out a Jamaican accent on a few tracks that is a bit perplexing, which also doesn't help tracks that could have been passable. Oh wait, this is an alter-ego named Trap Wiz. Ok, whatever. Having said all that, there are at least two tracks on this that I enjoyed to the point of revisiting them: "On A Plane" and "The Last." The former features Wiz rapping over a New Edition song. "Different So Fast" was ok too. This album features a bit of experimentation (which fails) and recycling trends. It has some bright spots, but a few out of 28 damn tracks means 28 Grams gets a thumbs down.
Mikey MiGo: FACT. It's not the best thing ever, but it's a solid release. It's a mixtape so it's hard to take it too seriously. Mixtapes are generally the hip hop equivalent of a rock band's band rehearsal. It's just them screwing around and putting out some randomness on their mind. Some of these are more in the lines of an "EP", but some are just the randomness. "28 Grams" is more in the lines of a traditional EP. Wiz is a talented rapper but I'd rather hear a full release instead of these teaser releases. "28 Grams" is also a witty name for an album. For those who don't know, it's one pound, typically in reference to marijuana. Apparently this Wiz guy likes that stuff.
Chad Webb: FACT. I guess? I'm not even sure how the Lifetime effort is being made since Houston's estate is furious over it, are considering a lawsuit to prevent it, and are planning their own, which they compare to Jackson's This Is It (whatever that means). Whitney Houston was an iconic voice in music, and combine all of her success with her personal struggles and controversial relationship with Bobby Brown, and yeah, you have an interesting story. But she died in 2012, not all that long ago, so while I agree she deserves a big screen biopic, I think it would be too soon to do so now. And also, just because this special will exist doesn't meant it will be the only account of her life and legacy until the end of time. Give Hollywood time. What's the hurry? To be honest, the Lifetime movie might be beneficial. Filmmakers will see this made-for-TV special and learn from its mistakes (although her life is perfect for Lifetime content). It could happen. Lifetime movies are commonly over the top and poorly acted. The issue is that what Houston's life deserves and what that turns out to be, might be different as far as the public's expectations are concerned. What if a biopic for the big screen was rushed and half-assed like so many of them are? Then why was it better that she receive a major film instead of a TV movie? As of now, biopics on James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and more will be hitting theaters. One on Houston would get lost in the shuffle and likely be a dime a dozen pile of mediocrity. Wait a decade or two and hire someone that is willing to put their heart and soul into the role, akin to Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles or Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. What I'm saying is, make a major motion picture with proper intentions in mind. Sadly, when the estates get involved, the story is usually skewed to their liking.
Mikey MiGo: FICTION. I'm a fan of Whitney Houston. Growing up in the 80s she was a life force of pop music. Her music and singles were better than most pop stars people get crazy over like Gaga, Madonna, or Cher. She had an amazing voice and seemed like an amazing person. Does EVERY amazing person "deserve" a big feature about them? Do we need bio pics about EVERYONE? I don't think so. Whitney had an interesting life and a great career. I'd rather remember her for that instead of trying to reprogram my brain to visualize some run of the mill actress in her place for two hours. With it being on Lifetime those who want to see it will see it and those of us who want to ignore it can. I'd rather this be the case instead of seeing marketing and promo for three months hyping something that's unneeded. I'd rather see a Bobby Brown movie.
Chad Webb: FACT. Aerosmith is my favorite band, so I would certainly be disappointed if they never recorded new material. I still buy CDs gladly and will continue to do so until I can't, but if all Aerosmith released were EPs on iTunes as Joe Perry insinuated, that would be better than no new music from them at all. Though I suppose the EPs don't have to be exclusive to iTunes. The band is in an awkward place at the moment, just as they were before Music from Another Dimension was recorded. They are unhappy with how the album was marketed, it was the end of their contract, and with Steven Tyler set to release a solo outing at some point, it is an odd period. Yet having said that, they still tour together and kick ass. You don't know what to expect from them. Add on to that the fact that Joe Perry is releasing a memoir in October, and in the music industry, books have made and broken groups. I definitely hope they get back in the studio and release something. Music from Another Dimension was underrated and in my opinion, had a lot of excellent stuff on it regardless of the fact that it didn't sell as well as they had preferred.
Mikey MiGo: FACT. I'm a big fan of this band, but even looking at it objectively it's clear that Aerosmith is the biggest and best American band of all time. There are favorites and bands to be big in certain time frames, but for the longevity, the success, the hits and the impact it's all Aerosmith. In recent years they haven't had the blast of hits as before, but they still kept kicking. With the weird inner-turmoil between everyone and the health issues it's a shame they're going out like this. The sudden recording halt would suck. I tend to think this kind of talk could have some truth to it, but it's also one of those things bands say when they have a big summer tour they want people to come out to because it's a fear tactic of "oh no, this MIGHT be the last time we see this band!" I don't want them to put out junk album after junk album, but I'd like to see them go out with one final album. Go into it, get it all out, and call it a career.
Score: 4 for 6
Thoughts? Comments? Animal? Vegetable? Mineral? Reply in the comments below to give your own take on this week's topics!