“I want to go to Cohen’s Fashion Obstacle.” (Don't EVER ask them to adjust your glasses.)
[Conversation between author and publisher, as the former typed.
“Isn’t this weird?”
“Yes. Do you have any idea when you’ll be done?”
“Probably after Starbucks is closed. Look at all the fives. It’s like a five factory. The fives are dancing.”]
What was typed:
hi. i am not 4 or 3 or 2 or 1 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or 0. end, ok? good good good. xoxo
do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do1234567890
[Watching a smoker’s smoke rise into the trees.]
“Hey, wait for me! I want to take a little ride!”
This past Saturday, John Loder passed away. Loder founded Southern Studios, which, over time, spawned Southern Records. His achievements in the D.I.Y. community are enormous: for starters, Southern still produces and distributes Dischord Records. A less enormous achievement, but relevant to us here: without him and his American counterpart, Danielle Soto, there would be only one Ui record (our first EP). He was one of the two significant British Johns in the band's life, the other being John Peel. Peel was an indirect presence, a radio patron and a north star for us aging weirdos to follow; Loder was very much in our lives—a voice on the phone, a cheerleader and a constant friend.
John was one of the most generous and kick-ass people I've had the pleasure to know. He was never, ever done with music. He had constant enthusiasm for new bands, and was infinitely patient with musicians, even when they were fractious and juvenile. I will not forget the image of him coming towards us, hugs for all, when he retrieved the band from Heathrow in 1996, at the start of our first nervous trip as a band. He wore a freshly laundered Melt-Banana t-shirt and told stories about Crass, offering us room and board in his house while we recorded an EP that wasn't even coming out on his label.
We should all be so lucky as to meet half a Loder.
Maybe my brain was on "muuhh" because of this, which I haven't heard. But anything that a) starts with the premise that "rap is bad now"; and b) quotes Brian Wilson on anything other how to multi-track vocal harmonies, is not likely my cup of tea. (UPDATE: Snag on Mr. Closed-Minded! It's kinda good, better than the way-too-appropriately titled "The Grey Album.")
I don't want to say I told you so, but I told you so. Don't you think that if Fiona had wanted that puppy out there as is, she woulda been stage-diving, hair-pulling, billboard-renting, listerv-flaming, talkshow-ranting and Watergate-leaking her tiny and well-defined heart out? (UPDATE: Coolfer presents a more factuated told-you-so.) For future reference, to be laminated: Fiona, not CIA operative, not hiding her feelings.
Good lord, this rain. Equally liquid, sound and light.
Sorry to be away so long—hope to be back soon. (The Steve Earle show is up as an MP3. Wait, no—it's not. This MP3 is the Legs McNeil interview. My interview is nowhere to be found. If memory serves, this is no great loss.)
Get a weave, girl, especially now that you're all urban and shit. (R&Swe?)
Look right—links and TNY archives updated. Wuuuh.
(* We don't mean this at all. We just have to stick out our tongues because we are boys. When Ange suggested Elton John as ür-gonzo, everyone had to nod. Oh, that she'd had all night with that notebook.)
Michael offers some excellent guesses here. They may not even be guesses; Mike may know these things. My music lawyer source is on vacation, so I can't fact-check the rules around samples and re-use. But this might well might explain why there has been a Cash Money Millionaires best of (no samples!) but no Nas best of. In part.
My rudimentary theories about why there are so few rap best ofs—beyond the diffculties surrounding samples—can be found after the jump.
1) Catalog sells to older buyers, and labels assume that young rap fans won’t go for a best of when there’s something new on offer.
2) What best-ofs we’ve seen—Run-DMC, Tupac, Beasties—haven’t done well enough to disprove the assumption in 1. (Have not confirmed or contested this with real SoundScan numbers yet.)
3) Some best-ofs that exist—UGK and KMD, to pick two acronymic examples supplied by Jordan—seem like internal problem-solving at label HQ. In the former case, UGK is half-incarcerated, and also may be trying to fulfill their Jive contract and move on to another label. The best-of kills those two birds with one stone from a pocket full of. In the latter case, KMD was too low-selling to justify a full reissue of the albums. Squeeze the good bits together and hope the nerds buy enough copies for Warner to recoup on whatever they paid for new art. (This is not always a bad thing for the listener—I prefer the KMD best-of to any of the actual albums.)
Considering how great many street “best of” mixtapes are, especially those collecting collabos and freestyles, hip-hop seems ironically perfectly situated to make the box set a good idea. How hot would a thorough Big L or Jay-Z box set be? And both LL and Nas could stand to remind everyone how great they were, and sometimes still can be.
Here are some aging “facts,” now a week old, about best-ofs and hip-hop. (Chart position, title, gold or platinum status.)
Top Pop Catalog Albums, Issue Date: August 6, 2005
1. The Beach Boys, The Very Best Of The Beach Boys: Sounds Of Summer, 1
6. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Greatest Hits, 7
7. Queen, Greatest Hits, 7
12. Green Day, International Superhits!, GOLD
13. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits, 10
14. Lynyrd Skynyrd, All Time Greatest Hits, 1
15. INXS, The Best Of INXS
16. The Beatles, 1, 10
17. Bob Marley And The Wailers, Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers, 10
18. Stevie Wonder, The Definitive Collection, 1
20. Jimi Hendrix, Experience Hendrix: The Best Of Jimi Hendrix, 1
21. Journey, Journey’s Greatest Hits, 10
23. Luther Vandross, The Essential Luther Vandross
26. Luther Vandross, Greatest Hits, GOLD
28. U2, The Best Of 1980-1990 , 2
29. EMINEM, THE MARSHALL MATHERS LP, 9
32. Kenny Chesney, Greatest Hits, 4
33. Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Best Of Lynyrd Skynyrd: 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection, 1
34. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chronicle The 20 Greatest Hits, 4
37. Led Zeppelin, Early Days & Latter Days: The Best Of Led Zeppelin Volumes One And Two, 1
38. 50 CENT, GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’, 6
39. Abba, Gold -- Greatest Hits, 6
41. Billy Idol, Greatest Hits, GOLD
43. Ray Charles, The Very Best Of Ray Charles, GOLD
44. Tim McGraw, Greatest Hits , 4
46. The Eagles, Hell Freezes Over, 8
47. Eric Clapton, The Cream Of Eric Clapton, 2
48. Jimmy Buffett, Meet Me In Margaritaville: Jimmy Buffett The Ultimate Collection, 2.
It helps to be recently dead or touring constantly.
I especially enjoy the essay questions: “How big do you imagine the dresser to be?”
Why doesn’t hip-hop work the greatest hits compilation like country? The two genres move in tandem on other fronts: formal and political conservatism; disdain for instrumental passages; one-album-every-year pace; narrative compression; songs keyed to the physical pleasure principle; excellent engineering; comfort with video channels and awards ceremonies; funny lyrics; improbable head coverings.
We should already be able to buy best-ofs from DMX, Fabolous, Ludacris, Jay-Z (at least two volumes, George Strait of this game), Eminem, 50 Cent (best of the boots), and about a dozen others. I can’t understand how record companies, so deeply fond of reselling commodities they’ve already paid to produce, can be fumbling this one.
“Hey, buddy, did you remember to put on your mosquito stuff and the sunblock?”
“Well, don’t get sunburned and don’t get bit.”
“Dad, he won’t get bit because he can just scare the bug away but he can’t scare away the sun.”
Just waving hello through the steam and leaving a permalink on your pillow: Liz! (If you bloggers don't use the Blogspace NYT link generator, consider doing so. The link will last forever, like an old telephone.)