Sunday, January 7, 2018

Smells Like Autotune Spirit

There I was, hanging out on my couch sippin’ on a whisky watching some soap operas trying to warm the hell up. I had just finished shoveling the giant mound of snow and ice that the city plow had left in front of my driveway, which was conveniently placed there a mere 20 minutes after already shoveling said driveway. While I may have been bitter and checking Amazon for voodoo dolls to exact revenge on the stupid ass plow driver (plow man? I dunno), I soon became intrigued by a tweet that was retweeted onto my Twittersphere. It was from @TheBrandonMorse, including a video link and it read ‘Someone auto-tuned “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to a major chord, and now life is confusing.’ For full on credit, this was posted on Vimeo by Sleep Good under "Nirvirna - Teen Sprite". Gotta give this evil genius credit. I gave it a listen. You should too.

Holy hell.

Yes, this is Charles Barkley w/ Nirvana at Saturday Night Live
The ‘now life is confusing’ line of that tweet is an understatement. I fully understand that changing up the chords and what not can make any song different, but suddenly this 90’s anthem of teen angst, which was the dagger in the heart of hair bands (sorry Brett Michaels, Rock of Love was a wildly entertaining show though!) had turned into…a happy-go-lucky, cheery, go-get-em type of song? The first time I listened, I immediately wanted to go buy a pack of bubblegum and go for a nice stroll. This is music’s bizzaro world.

I’ve been asking people what it sounds like to them, and everyone seems to be right. It sounds like the beginning of Nicki Minaj’s 'Starships', it sounds like B*Witched’s b*loved smash hit single ‘C'est la Vie’. There is a bit of Hanson’s ‘MMMBop’ tossed in there. The guitar solo, which inspired many a grunge kid to buy a guitar to try and nail suddenly sounds like Big Country’s song ‘In A Big Country’.

This version of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit; could be the theme song for a ‘Friends’ ripoff sitcom circa 1998. It could feature in one of those classic Coca-Cola ads where everyone is suddenly happy. This could play during the closing montage that tells the audience what every character ends up doing in the future of one of those teen movies with starring a young Jennifer Love Hewitt and Seann William Scott (total aside, I had no idea he spelled Seann with two n’s, did anyone else notice this?). I imagine this playing at the house party when the couple that should be together finally gets together, while the goon in the film is tending to a nosebleed, and the dorky kid, probably played by Seth Green, finally becomes cool. I now want to watch “Can’t Hardly Wait” or anything starring the great Alicia Silverstone. My friend, and past contributor to this blog, Julie Strano said that listening to that made her feel like she should be in a convertible wearing a crop top, probably in southern California. I tend to doubt anyone has said that about the normal version of the song. You could even substitute this for Wham!’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ in Zoolander when the gang is riding in the Jeep before having a gasoline fight, which ends in disaster when one of the male models sparks up a cig. 

I think that part that is so shocking about this version of the song is just how catchy and amazing it still is, despite how different it is. I have listened to this song on repeat quite a few times over the past few days, and it just doesn’t make any sense. Nirvana has never really been known for cheer. ‘Come As You Are’ can make a beautiful June afternoon in Punta Cana turn gray and depressing. ‘Polly’, at first listen, seems to be a nice song about a parrot, but listen to the lyrics and it is quite darker than that. Maybe ‘In Bloom’ could count as cheery? Maybe guitar-wise it is, but I just remembered the opening line of that is ‘sell the kids for food’, so Nevermind (see what I did there!). My personal favorite Nirvana song is ‘About A Girl’ but I still wouldn’t listen to that when I’m all pumped up and ready to seize the day. 

This really makes you think. Would Kurt have been around still had all his songs sounded like this? Would Foo Fighters still be as big as they are had ‘Everlong’ or ‘Monkey Wrench’ been autotuned in a major chord? Would Nirvana’s picture with Charles Barkley been less awkward if this version of the song was out there in 1991? Would bands like Everclear, Gin Blossoms and, bless them, Sugar Ray have just thrown in the towel and given up knowing they could never right a pop-rock song like this? We may never know, but for once, Twitter actually provided us with something delightful. That may be the real shocker here.

Monday, January 1, 2018

I Am Looking Forward To 2018

Much like how the title of this post tells you, I am looking forward to 2018. Boom. It’s out there. I think it’s safe to say 2017 was like the drunk college freshman who just won’t leave the party the seniors are throwing and eventually pukes in one of the said senior’s beds. This once happened to me. Anyways, 2017 was no bueno, but why look back with a scowl when we can look forward with….I don’t know, a smirk? To put it in terms of characters from Parks and Rec (this is becoming more of a useful and widely accepted tool of comparison, I am learning), I am trying to be more Chris Traeger and less April Ludgate. Actually, let’s clarify. I would like to be optimistic like Chris, and I guess it wouldn’t hurt to age so damn gracefully either. I still think we should all strive to be weird like April. Maybe just less pessimistic?


I tend to be accused of being pessimistic when I just think I’m being realistic. For instance, if you were to come meet me at a restaurant with 33 pancakes as a tribute to former New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing and asked, with a hint of hope, if I thought that you could eat all those pancakes in 5 minutes, I would tell you no. Not because I WANT to doubt you, it’s just that, realistically, I do doubt you and you probably won’t eat all those pancakes. That’s a lot of pancakes. But anywho, I guess this was a long way of saying that I will be trying to be more ~cheerful~. Doesn’t hurt to give it a whirl and maybe tell you that, maybe, you can eat all those pancakes. I mean, it can’t hurt, right? Things are looking up! I got a new laptop for Christmas, so blogging has once again become easy and enjoyable, as opposed to having my old piece of crap Macbook freeze up on me halfway through writing a power ranking of Michael Scott’s most cringeworthy moments. The writing will be at an all time high this year, and with more shenanigans than ever before! I know you were all looking forward to that statement, so good for you, your 2018 is off to a smashing success. And, you know what, good for me as well! Maybe I’ll even get those Breakfast at Jimothy’s t-shirts made, too.

This blog had potential, I promise.

Anyways, here are some things that I would like to discuss, and hope happens to yours truly in 2018. As I write this we are 16 hours into the new year and I already had to cancel my credit card because someone spent $452 at Victoria’s Secret and didn’t even have the class to send me a bathrobe, while this was a real bummer, I am keeping my head up and thinking, hey I’ll probably have a day real soon where I won’t get my credit card stolen. Baby steps, people, baby steps. 

One of my first goals is to travel somewhere, maybe by myself or by tricking someone whose company I enjoy to join me. I think I am personally due for a voyage somewhere, and most likely centered around music, tacos and a *scene* that doesn’t suck. Basically I’m saying that I want to finally go to Austin so I can eat tacos, check out a ton of bands and drink spicy margaritas at dive bars. I am also taking suggestions and recommendations for places to check out, things to do, people to meet and also stay away from (this includes self-proclaimed Sorcerers and the French. I trust neither). There are times where I get bored in lil ol’ Providence, Rhode Island, and maybe seeking some form of adventure would be just downright swell. I was fortunate enough to see one of my favorite bands, Jawbreaker, play one of their first shows in 21 years in Chicago (probably my high point of 2017), and it hit me that I enjoyed that and, you know, maybe I should do that again some time. It’s almost like traveling to a major city to see something that I like while drinking beers with a friend is a good thing.

Another goal of mine is to develop the perfect spicy queso dip. I was discussing the importance of a good queso dip recently and the notion was arrived that every situation gets at least a little better when chips and good queso enter into the equation. Hockey games, funerals, barnstorming’s, one person riots outside of Starbucks, your niece’s dance recital, all of these and more can be made much, much better with queso. Much like my wardrobe, the spicier the better, so I’ll be looking to kick some serious ass in the queso making game in 2018. That sounded a lot better in my head.

I also believe I will nail down a modeling contract this year. 

Look at this photograph (I hope you read that in your head in the same tone as Chad Kroeger from Nickelback sings it). I thought I looked rather nice so I had my friend Sam take it. Stunning! It doesn’t matter at all that most of the comments on Instagram are making note of how awkwardly large the straw in that gin and tonic is, I’m reaching for the moon here. This may or may not have just been an elaborate ruse to get a song stuck in your head.

I would definitely like to learn more guitar, mostly because I know next to nothing except the opening to Weezer’s Sweater Song, the opening to ‘Psycho Killer’ by Talking Heads, and Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ (to be fair that is my Dad’s favorite band and I think he taught me that when I was still sleeping in a crib every night). I’m not saying I am going to start trying to woo ladies around Providence by standing outside their windows playing something by Something Corporate (it’s freezing outside!) but if I want to become a true renaissance man and elevate my game at swanky dinner parties, I figure learning guitar could come in handy. I think if I had a quick top 5 without thinking in depth (aka I’m leaving a lot of songs out that I’ll be kicking myself for in about 15 minutes) of songs that I’d like to learn, it would have to be Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team) by Taking Back Sunday, Where is My Mind? by Pixies, Someday by The Strokes, Boxcar by Jawbreaker, and probably some cover of Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. I know it’s a new year but you really can’t expect me to not give some love to the crown jewel of Canada’s music scene. I will undoubtedly learn 0 of these songs in 2018, but I will still be an admirable addition to any dinner party any of you want to throw. 


2018 will also be the year I finally work at listening to friend’s suggestions for TV shows and movies. I am awful at this. The newest show I watched was Ozark, which was absolutely bonkers and I loved it. The next newest show? I guess Parks and Rec, which I loved immediately and keep re-watching over and over, along with The Office, instead of checking new things out. I like most of my friends, so I do need to get better and listening to them, but I’m not giving into Game of Thrones. If I can gripe for a second, I’m sick of people telling me I’ll like Game of Thrones. I won’t. I say this and mention the fact that I don’t go for that whole middle earth bullshit, and everyone gets all offended, and most people will say “but Jim you sly devil, don’t you like Lord of the Rings?” thinking I’ll suddenly say yes and automatically love Game of Thrones. What ends up really happening is that I tell them no, I hated Lord of the Rings and only saw the first two for various birthday parties I had to attend. This usually results in that person giving up, and me going to the fridge to get another beer. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally watch movies like Shawshank Redemption, Goodfellas and Forrest Gump in 2018. We’ll see. 
No shit. It's January.

Lastly, while it seems like no one got along with anyone in 2017, it appears that, somehow, Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis have buried their hatchet. If these two could finish out 2017 by no longer feuding, then we can all try to get along, somehow. Honestly, it’s all nice but I always liked Blur more than Oasis, so the feud just kind of amused me while also serving a purpose of not having to worry about them releasing a new album. Now, I have to worry about this, and it hit me that an Oasis reunion will most likely headline Coachella, Lollapalooza or, (since 8o% of festivals are all the same lineup these days) both in 2018. I tweeted this prediction out on 12/20/17 at 10:57 and I want to be acknowledged as a Swami if this becomes true. While it’s sad that this feud is over, we still have some amazing feuds that will carry over into 2018, most notably, Drake and Josh, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, Martha Stewart and Gwyneth Paltrow, and of course, my sister Allison and our family’s dentist. Still don’t know how that one happened but it is very bitter and I love that it’s a thing.
It'll last.

Look at that, first blog post out of the way in 2018. I can honestly say that I feel a bit, rejuvenated(?) and I honestly do hope that I’ll be blogging a whole hell of a lot more. It’s always nice to make fun of things and rant and rave about nonsense, so I hope you all enjoy what is to come. I wish you all a very happy new year, for Vanessa Carlton to make a resurgence in 2018, and for that queso dip to work out.

God protects idiots, you guys.