Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Nameless

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is bad album names.

Yesterday I was listening to Harry's excellent radio show (Tuesdays 5-6pm on University Radio York) and he played a song by Californian whinge-rockers Hoobastank, from their album For(N)ever. This got me thinking, is that the worst name for an album I've ever heard? Yes. But recently there have been a swarm of terribly named albums, so I thought I'd give you my 10 Worst Album Names Ever. Then I remembered that I'm lazy, so decided to limit it to last year. It's also worth noting that most of these are included because I have a problem with the actual artist. So here are my 10 Worst Album Names Of 2011. As usual, conducted with zero research and even less consideration.

10. Michael Bublé: Christmas - I would love to have been in the primary school classroom in which this name was chosen.

9. True Widow: As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth - I've never heard any True Widow, but if their music is as unwieldy and pretentious as that album name, I never want to.

8. Owl City: All Things Bright And Beautiful - gggfhvghgggggg Oh sorry, I fell asleep on the keyboard.

7. Jennifer Lopez: Love? - No?

6. Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues - When naming albums, some words should just be avoided. On that list, above Residue and Pudding is Helplessness. It's barely even a word. And it feels like it goes on forever. Which is appropriate, because it's by folksy bore-block Fleet Foxes.

5. Adele: 21 - Don't hate Adele for her appearance; hate her for her music. Hate her for complaining about having to pay tax on her earnings from the sale of 6.5 million copies of her first album. She said that upon receiving that tax bill, "I was ready to go and buy a gun and randomly open fire." It's almost a shame she didn't, because she'd have been sent to prison, where she wouldn't be able to release more albums. That first album was called 19, because that's how old she was when writing it, and this one is called 21, because that's how old she was when writing it. That seems face-punchingly lazy, but in fairness, she does look sleepy on the cover.

4. Earth: Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I - Having looked them up, Earth seem like a band I might really like. Which is a shame, because I will never ever listen thanks to this laughably self-important album name which sounds like Dan Brown-meets-Spinal Tap. Here's a tip: Never release albums split into Part 1 and Part 2. You're not writing Henry IV. Let's look at the rest of Earth's album names:

Earth 2: Special Low-Frequency Version
Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions
Pentastar: In the Style of Demons
Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method
The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull
Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I
Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II

Ok I've genuinely changed my mind, those are brilliant names, I'm downloading them all now.

3. Beyoncé: 4 - So called because it's her fourth album, making Adele's system look like creative wizardry.

2. Ed Sheeran: + - For me, Ed Sheeran is filed under "Things I hate despite never having heard or seen them", alongside the Zooey Deschanel sitcom New Girl. Incidentally, I just looked her up to find that her albums are called Volume One, Volume Two and A Very She & Him Christmas. Nice how these things all come together. But when I found out that Ed Sheeran had called his album + I spent days and days deliberately and repeatedly stubbing my toe on a brick.

1. Florence + the Machine: Ceremonials - Florence Welch and her brother The Machine Welch are seemingly omnipresent; the Abi Morgan of music. One of their typically whiney songs was used in this week's episode of How I Met Your Mother, as if a special committee had got together to specifically design the worst thing for me. Album names of a single word can be brilliant, but only when that word is well-chosen. Unlike Ceremonials, which just sounds too similar to Cereal or Chlamydial.

Thanks for reading, I'll leave you with the Slipknot song that this blog is named after, from the suitably terribly-titled album Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses). Enjoy!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Party Politics Part 2: Mehdi's Revenge

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is the New Statesman magazine.

About a year ago I wrote a blog about the New Statesman, so now I'm doing the inevitable: Ruining it with a sequel. And as with most sequels, the audience are bored, the writing's getting lazy and the idea was never that good in the first place. Here are 3 things that have annoyed me in the New Statesman recently:

3. This interview with Abi Morgan, writer of Thatcherite creepfest The Iron Lady and just about everything currently on British TV. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that she was secretly writing the news. Firstly, I hadn't heard that the director Phyllida Lloyd had called The Iron Lady a "Shakespearean" film, but as the self-inflicted staple-wound on my face shows, I have now. I'll go through some of Abi Morgan's quotes:

"I think there's a vividness to Phyllida's work" - I assume she's using vivid in its meaning of "brightly coloured". In which case, a fair comment. If anything can be said for Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady, it's that they're brightly coloured. You know, like Shakespeare.

"It was always my intention to interrogate Thatcher's political life" - Well in terms of interrogation, it was more a Rural Affairs Select Committee than Guantanamo Bay.

"This is a very small film" - No it isn't.

"I saw it as a small film" - IT FUCKING ISN'T.

"A kind of King Lear for girls" - Presumably because girls don't understand Shakespeare, the idiots.

2. This article by Mehdi Hasan. I love him, but this is a staggeringly punchable piece of non-debate. He starts by posing an interesting question: "Can you believe in God and science?" And then he argues that yes you can, because look at all of these people that do! Case closed, right? WRONG. Simply pointing out that there are people who believe in both God and science completely evades the issue. Yes people do believe in both, but the debate is about whether that set of beliefs is coherent.

It's like the argument about religion and morality; when the religious just reel off the same list again and again (Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Bono) to prove that religious people are "good" people, the real debate is neatly sidestepped, and kicked in the groin.

The question Mehdi Hasan initially asks isn't, "Are there people who believe in God and science?" But that is the question he chooses to answer. And a very boring question it is too, because of course there are. The question is "Can you believe in God and science?" That's the interesting question, and that's where the debate lies.

Then right at the end, "The biggest threat to science and scientific progress is not religion or religious believers, with our superstitious or supernatural beliefs, but the arrogance of those atheist fundamentalists..." Firstly, surely the "arrogance" lies with those claiming to be watched over by an all-powerful God, and secondly, if anything is a "threat to science" then it's "superstitious" fucking beliefs.

1. This political cartoon, which are things I've complained about on here before, but this one is just so brain-meltingly lazy and dreadful that as I was scanning it in, I had to repeatedly slam the lid of the scanner shut on my fingers just to render myself physically unable to phone the police and report the New Statesman for crimes against humanity.


And people say the New Statesman lacks the academic clout of The Economist...

Thanks for reading, this blog is named after a Catch-It Kebabs song which obviously I've used before, so I'll use their song 5 Years because it's also political, enjoy! Oh, also I'm willing to bet that the title of this blog has the best New Statesman/A Nightmare On Elm Street crossover joke in the world.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

2-Tone Army

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is those adverts for army jobs.

If adverts are the devil incarnate, then army adverts are him putting on a hat and dancing around on your TV screens during the breaks in Come Dine With Me. It's bad enough that the military has to force its agenda into our living rooms, but what's really troubling is the glamorisation of war. I'm also deeply suspicious of anyone prepared to join the army, but let's not go into that now. The commodification of violence aside, here are the 5 worst army jobs adverts (that I could find online):


I choose [D] Cry and eat biscuits.


A fairly disproportionate response for a snowball fight...


Because the army can also be really fucking boring.


"You kill people. You get killed. A life without limits."


I'll stick to the thousand hours of TV thanks. You patronising fucks.

Tanks for reading (some army humour for you there), I'll leave you with the song by The Toasters that this blog is named after, enjoy!