OK, So I'm not actually Arthur Brown, but I was born on the same day that shooting for The Empire Strikes Back began. So that's gotta be worth something, right?
Speaking of sampling, which is the subject this quarter's post... M.A.R.R.S.'s hit Pump Up The Volume sampled Eric B. and Rakim's I Know You Got Soul, and Aaliyah's Try Again lifted a bit from Got Soul too, but in that more obnoxious way where they don't sample it, they just use 99% of the phrase and musical structure of what should have been the sample. Leaving you to spend the next 8 years going "I know this, where the hell's it from?" everytime you hear the freaking song. Anyway, my point (well, I'm not sure there was one when I started this, just felt like posting) is that the worst abuse of sampling I've heard lately is Nasty Girl featuring a phalanx of Bad Boy artists. It takes the opening verses of Biggie's Nasty Boy but lays some really pussy R&B crap over top and cuts the rest of his track (the better verses)... Biggie with Usher and Jagged Edge? *CRINGE* Someone at Bad Boy should be shot. Again.
Oh, and a month or so ago I found a dozen cassettes in the garbage room (in a carry case, none the less!). I now own (and therefore can legally download decent MP3s of) Asia, April Wine's Greatest Hits, Hall and Oates, Billy Joel's Piano Man... It's good to have in the car for the daily commute (rather short on tapes). Anyway, that's how I discovered that De La Soul's Say No Go sampled Hall and Oates' I Can't Go for That. Which, as you might have guessed by now, is another useless music-related fact I'm happy to now know.
Anyway, just had to get that out of my system. I tried to espouse most of this to Tracey last night, but I could see her eyes start to glaze over. So we popped in Crash. No, not Crash, Crash. Strike one; using the same title as another major release of the past decade. It managed to have me loving it, then so-so-ing it, then just annoyed at it by the end. Started out good; nice cast, I like those movies set in LA that are shot like and have the feel of Heat (pacing/cinematography thing I guess), and it had that multi-character/plotline deal going. But then it became annoyingly obvious what was going on and was going to happen and that I'd seen it all before and in a much better movie: Everyone was going to meet someone else and have a little epiphany that they're a racist raging prick and end up on the path to being a Good Person in the end. It somehow managed to spend two hours discussing racism and prejudice without being at all interesting or challenging. Bravo, here's your Oscar. But at least I was allowed to legitimately dislike Sandra Bullock, points for that. I imagine the conversation the producers had when they took on this project may have gone something like this:
Setting: Some kinda upscale bistro thing, wrapping up a California pizza lunch.
Cathy Schulman: Paul, I want an Oscar.
Paul Haggis: [bored, distracted] Mmm?
Cathy: Seen any good movies lately?
Paul: Magnolia was really good, just watched that again last night.
Cathy: Let's water that down and focus it on racial prejudice. Have lots of scenes that make people a little uncomfortable but don't make them think, so they can pretend the're donating to the NAACP just by watching our movie. Ooh! Set it in LA! That way we don't have to explain to people that cops are racist.
Paul: [Flicking his napkin around the table, half-listening] I like the part where it rained frogs.
Cathy: [Her massive arm pounds a fist onto the table; wood is heard to crack] Just keep it simple! Have it snow during the climax if that'll make you happy. That's strange enough for LA.
Paul: [Shocked to attention] OK! OK... I'll take the todo to make sure the message is as obvious and as digestible as pablum. Sheesh.
Cathy: And make sure all the characters have some kind of happy ending. Remember, focus on the Oscar.
Paul: Sure, I mean, we want Oprah and her army to like it right?
Cathy: Exactly. With Oprah, her army, and my unstoppable arm of death on our side we'll be, well, unstoppable.