Friday, January 18, 2008

The New Nostalgia

For several years now, when it comes to nostalgia the eighties have been all the rage. This renascent interest in the eighties popularly peaked with movie versions of The Transformers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There is a new nostalgia about to sweep the country though, and its already started. The new nostalgia is for the fifties.

You hear this everywhere. Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" sounds like it could come blaring out of a soda fountain. Fergie's "Clumsy" is a complete ripoff of Little Richard's "The Girl Can't Help It." Shawn Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" sounds like a frat-reggae cover of the Drifters. You are starting to see it too, with knee-high boots and caked-on makeup becoming all the rage. The thing is, I heard people talking about the 80s comeback several years before it was in full spring, but I haven't heard peep about the 50s comeback. Somebody is doing a really good job of marketing the 50s as though they weren't the 50s.

What really bothers me is the source of this rebirth is rockabilly. Hellbilly, psychobilly, rockabilly ... these forms have thrived, and have done so mostly underground since the disappearance of the Stray Cats. As the Carson Daly crowd co-opts the fifties, rockabilly and all of its divergent substrands are at risk of losing their vivacity; hopefully, the cool hunters won't kill their prey this time.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary

I think that with all the hubbub surrounding the recent death of Sir Edmund Hillary, it is important to look back and reflect on his greatest achievement: inspiring one of the phattest boasts in hip-hop history. As Hesta Prynn spouts it: "Sir Edmund Hillary couldn't climb this. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme this." Not only is this a fun rhyme, but its effective on multiple levels. What Edmund Hillary can't top is badass feminist rapping. With him being an icon of the rugged white male, who still had to hire a heretofore unnamed native guide so he can get credit for something many non-Westerners had almost assuredly already done, that makes this like a pretty good slap in the face of pompous maleified culture. You go girls!