411 Music Fact or Fiction 06.20.14: Straight Outta Nowhere
Posted by Joseph Lee on 06.20.2014
Was it the right call to cast unknowns in the upcoming N.W.A biopic? Has rock music recovered from the grunge movement? Are we excited for a new Weird Al album? 411's Shawn S. Lealos and Daniel Wilcox debate these topics and more!
Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.
This week we have Daniel Wilcox against Shawn S. Lealos.
Shawn S. Lealos: FICTION. Actually, I really like the song. It is catchy and has a beat that just makes me happy. The lyrics aren't bad either and it is a nice sing-a-long song. Good music, descent lyrics and a catchy beat? That sounds like a winner to me and it actually makes me want to hear more of their new stuff.
Daniel Wilcox: FICTION. Fiction, fiction, a thousand times fiction. My admiration of Arctic Monkeys' 2013 LP AM is well documented on this site and the band's latest single "Snap Out of It" is no exception at all. The video is a fun and enjoyable ride, if not particularly ground-breaking, but the question asks about the song itself and I can't fault it. Lyrically, musically, and in terms of its appeal I cannot fault it. AM is packed with tremendously groovy, sleazy hits and "Snap Out of It" is just one of them. Lyrically, I love the track. It appeals to the everyman. We've all missed an ex-girlfriend and questioned said ex-girlfriends' future decision making when it comes to other guys. Why's she with that douchebag when she had me? The track reeks of frustration, desperation and bitterness and it's absolutely glorious. "Snap Out of It" isn' one of my favourite tracks on the record, but I still think it's fantastic. Just to be clear, AM is one of the best records of 2013, and one of my all-time favourites record, so check it out if you haven't already. It's essential.
Shawn S. Lealos: FICTION. I probably won't watch it. As a film guy, I probably should but it just isn't something I am really jonesing to see. It is interesting that the dude who made The Tudors is working on it, but honestly, I am more of a geek culture fan when it comes to TV shows (horror, comics, sci-fi) or cop shows when I am in the mood. I have never watched an episode of Mad Men no matter how much critical acclaim it got, so I don't think I will watch one about The Beatles either.
Daniel Wilcox: FICTION. First and foremost, I live outside of the United States of America and as such I would not know where to go to view this product. Apart from that rather practical reason, the fact remains that I've seen more than enough Beatles documentaries, films and television series that I genuinely do not feel the desire to see another one any time soon. I love the Beatles as much as the next guy, but I know all I need to know about their career and indeed their legacy. Unless I start reading rave reviews about this particularly documentary, I see no particular reason why I need to seek this one out.
Shawn S. Lealos: FACT. It at least won't be worth watching for me. I could care less about watching a series about her life or death personally. It's strange that they waited 13 years to make it after her death. I am sure for her hardcore fans, they will be excited but most people have moved on and – as sad as this sounds – forgot about her by now. Maybe if someone more impressive than a Disney girl like Zendaya Coleman was playing her it could perk more interest, but it is about a singer I never cared about and is on Lifetime. That is two strikes right there.
Daniel Wilcox: FACT. The word "probably" swayed me when it came to my answer to his particular question. On a personal level, I was never a fan of Aaliyah. Nor was I even a fan of R&B music around the turn of the century when she began to earn considerable success. It was only following her untimely and unquestionably tragic that I began to familiarise myself with her work and even then, I would never consider myself a fan. Thus, my interest in a biopic is minimal. Furthermore, the announcement of the biopic seems to have upset fans, who do not wish to see such a project launch without the consent of the late singer's family. That's fair enough. The previous Lifetime biopic's I have seen have not been up to much, so that's another mark in the "cons" column of this particular debate. On the other hand, telling this young woman's story to an audience that may not be familiar with her work isn't necessarily a bad thing. That said, due to my personal apathy towards the artists' work and the negative response from those that do like Aaliyah, I have to answer "Fact" here.
Daniel Wilcox: FICTION. This is perhaps an even more definitive answer than my response to the Arctic Monkeys question. I've never, ever been a fan of Weird Al, nor do I understand people that are. I consider myself a very open-minded fan of a wide-range of musical genres but just cannot fathom why anybody would get excited about a new album from a parody act. An act like this should never have the shelf-life that it has had, and while I give credit to the guy for the success he's had, I will never, ever be a fan. So it's a fundamental "no" from me. There's just too much good, orginal music out there for me to enjoy to have to waste my time with such drivel. Sorry.
Shawn S. Lealos: FACT. True story – I was just graduating high school in 1988 when Weird Al released "Even Worse" and I was a HUGE HUGE Weird Al fan. Hell, I loved a ton his songs and still – to this day – will sometimes have his song come to mind when a beat starts for Like a Virgin, Bad, Beat It, I Lost on Jeopardy, I Love Rock and Roll and Lola. And don't even get me started on his polka montage songs. The guy is a master at comedy spoof songs. Sure, I haven't paid a lot of attention to him over the last two decades but just hearing his name makes me want to start surfing YouTube for my favorite songs. Plus, if this is his last album, I want to hear how he goes out.
Daniel Wilcox: FACT. Again, it's a topic that I don't have a particularly strong opinion on either way, despite my interest in the project. That said, as a general rule I will always support the use of unknown actors in movie projects. That thesis is doubly true when it comes to biopics, as you are then able to partially eliminate the comparisons between well-known actors and well-known musicians. You give young actors a chance to establish themselves and you let the artists' story tell itself. I've spoke before about my interest in this film and I most certainly look forward to seeing how he actors and production crew do with this legendary groups' tale.
Shawn S. Lealos: FACT. Honestly, when watching a movie about the NWA, I don't want to see famous actors playing the roles because - in this case – it would take me out of the moment. I love love love the idea of Ice Cube's son playing his dad in the movie. The next two casting choices was for Dr. Dre and Eazy-E and I have no problem at all with unknowns playing those two as well. I hope they throw in two more unknowns to finish off the band and then have some name actors playing supporting characters, but for the members of the band, making them unknowns is the perfect decision. I also want to say that I do not want Ice Cube or Dr. Dre to have cameos either unless it is over the closing credits with maybe some vintage video.
Daniel Wilcox: FICTION. The way the statement is present here, the answer is quite clearly "Fiction." On the flip side, Rob Zombie's point about rap stars taking over in the late 90s in terms of their attitude and the way the youth latched onto them is pretty much dead on. But a front man does not a great band make. Rock music in the mid to late eighties, in all fairness, wasn't up to much in the sense that while you may have had great frontmen, the music itself was a little bit lacking in terms of creativity and originality. That's not the case nowadays. In all sub-genres of rock, from hardcore to metal to indie, there's plenty to enjoy if you know where to look. But there are fewer and fewer superstars emerging from the rock genre. Dave Grohl and Josh Homme are the obvious modern examples, but outside of that you have... Alex Turner? Gerard Way? In terms of the stereotypical preconception of a "rock star", they don't live up to the standard regardless of their artistic merits. But what grunge did was make the music the most important factor once again, the way it should be. And that's something you see in a plethora of artists theres days, regardless of the mainstream attention they attract.
Shawn S. Lealos: FACT. I was going to say FICTION and then I went and checked out what Zombie was trying to say. He is 100% right about the problem with rock in the United States. When I was a kid, 80s metal and hair bands was the in-thing and damn if the concerts weren't just freaking awesome. Even if you don't care for the style of music, the concerts I went to indoors and outdoors were amazing and there were a ton of people there. I guess I see what he is saying about how grunge made people not care about giant rock and roll concerts anymore (although Pearl Jam really put on a hell of a show). Honestly, today when you get hard rocking bands like Zombie, Motley Crue and Aerosmith, you still get big shows but the U.S. music scene is an embarrassment when it is compared to overseas – and especially in Japan. I don't always agree that people won't go see major rock concerts in the U.S., but it has to be a MAJOR star for it to work and most mid-level metal bands are lucky to play casinos and small clubs these days. I hate the fact that metal and hard rock shows have been relegated to the small time in the U.S. and would love to hit one of the foreign shows like Download. Those shows are what rock and roll is all about. It really does make me sad as an old school rock fan.
Score: 4 for 6
Thoughts? Comments? Animal? Vegetable? Mineral? Reply in the comments below to give your own take on this week's topics!