Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The White Stripes Sing in Spanish

If you missed my Jack White/White Stripes bashing e-mail a few weeks ago, go ahead and read that now. I'll wait.

Okay, so the only thing to report at this juncture is that The White Stripes have released a Spanish-sung version of "Conquest." Sure, it's as gimmicky and as much a novelty item as the Pixies' barely understandable (in Spanish or English) "Vamos" or "Isla del Encanto," but Jack singing in Spanish is actually not too terrible. So for now, he's partially forgiven for thinking this song sounds like Mexican mariachi music instead of Spanish paso doble. Maybe, I was a little too hard on ol' Jack White, after all on "Ickey Thump" he does thump anti-immigrant sentiment when he sings, "Why don't you kick yourself out, you're an immigrant, too?"

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mexico and Spain Are Two Different Countries, Jack

Maybe this is my retaliation for the shitty way in which Jack White said farewell (he mumbled a mixture of "thanks" and "fuck yous" and "motherfuckers") to his audience at the conclusion of the White Stripes' show at the Patriot Center at George Mason University in Virginia in 2007. But I wouldn't have a leg to stand on, if Jack and Meg wouldn't have begged for it by cementing the most common mistake made in music this past year. Many music publications who commented on the song "Conquest" off the White Stripes over-hyped "Icky Thump" album, suggested that the Stripes where scratching a mariachi or Mexican itch during the intro, when in fact, the blasting horns and bullfighting flavor of the song was 100 percent, unequivocally "paso doble"--a traditional Spanish (as in from Spain) played during a bullfight. Up to Dec. 11, 2007, I thought it was simply a case of journalists committing a benign, literary faux pas much in the same tradition that many Americans shout "Olé!" when about to chomp down a fajita at a Mexican food joint. (For the record: "Olé," sangria, tapas, flamenco, castanets are mostly Spanish traditions, while "Orale," margarita, fajitas, Mexican hat dance are... well, Mexican). Anyway, on Dec. 11, the White Stripes released their "Conquest" EP on iTunes. Track 5 is called "Conquest" (Acoustic Mariachi Version). ¡Pinche cabrones! Now that, my friends, IS Mexican slang.

"Walk Hard:" Laughing at Tragedy

Gratuitous or unprovoked meanness just doesn't sit well with me. Comedy at the expense of someone who really doesn't deserve it takes the funny element out of it.

"Borat" was a classic example. The world laughed and praised this guy who turned a struggling country and its people into the laughing stock of the world. Who the hell knew anything about Kazakhstan before Sacha Baron Cohen found this novel way of making himself rich by pretending to be from there and singlehandedly attributing the worst, unfounded stereotypes you can imagine to them? You can picture the scenario when a mostly uninformed American, who watched "Borat," encounters a Kazakhstani student at a bar. Embarrassing.

The more recent movie that comes to mind is "Walk Hard." All I needed to see was one trailer to be utterly disgusted. Although I'm a fan of John C. Reilly and I get the whole Johnny Cash/Jim Morrison/etc. parody, some stuff is just sacred and unnecessary. Of all the material to chose from in Cash's life (and, admittedly, there was plenty to mock, even though I am a diehard fan), they chose to mock the tragic death of Cash's older brother Jack who died in a power saw accident when he was only 12 (I believe). The movie trailer shows a kid learning to play a guitar and singing something stupid like, "I cut my brother in half" or some crap like that. WTF!