Jóhann Jóhannsson (1969-2018)


Did Biggie Prefer Double Stufs?

I was at first surprised when I heard Biggie’s music in an Oreos ad.

But then I remembered Lil’ Kim’s informing us on the very same album that Biggie did indeed eat Oreo cookies:

(Gee, I wonder why they didn’t use that endorsement in an ad.)

But I highly doubt Biggie would have eaten an Oreo Thin; he definitely struck me as a Double Stuf kinda guy.

The song also reminded me of Kat’s dance in 10 Things I Hate About You:

Is it just a coincidence that millennial teen flicks switch from ’80s music to hip hop when things start to get “funky”?

Stepping Up with Girly Music

The 2018 Grammy Awards have been receiving a lot of well deserved criticism for their attitude towards women, like not offering Lorde, the sole female nominee for Album of the Year, an opportunity to perform solo, while non-nominated Sting performed twice (granted, once in a comedy sketch), or awarding Best Pop Solo Performance to Ed Sheeran, the sole male nominee, for his slight “Shape of You” (no, it’s not really a surprise that the Grammys went with the safest bet, but still).

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow’s explained (mansplained?) women’s absence:

It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome. I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.

Pink responded far better than I ever could:

Women in music don’t need to “step up” – women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.

Neil Portnow has since apologized for, excuse me, clarified his statement:

Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, “step up,” that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.

Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it.

I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.

Is there any doubt that he believes those who took his words out of context and misconveyed his thoughts must have been women? (I imagine him sighing “What do these women want?” while typing his statement.) Because the “we” who are supposed to empower “them,” women, are most certainly men.

Is it ironic that the president of an organization honoring musical performances would be so tone deaf?

Now this is purely speculation, but I cannot help thinking that Portnow’s entitled condescension is at least partially built on the longstanding rockist attitude that rock is serious music (because it is mostly associated with men?) while pop is frivolous music (because it is mostly associated with “girls”? Not sure where Ed Sheeran’s music is supposed to fit in here).

As Bono, who performed twice at the Grammys (once with Kendrick Lamar), recently complained:

I think music has gotten very girly. And there are some good things about that, but hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment – and that’s not good. When I was 16, I had a lot of anger in me. You need to find a place for it and for guitars, whether it is with a drum machine – I don’t care. The moment something becomes preserved, it is fucking over. You might as well put it in formaldehyde. In the end, what is rock & roll? Rage is at the heart of it. Some great rock & roll tends to have that, which is why the Who were such a great band. Or Pearl Jam. Eddie has that rage.

Bono has become yet another boomer who believes the pop, excuse me, rock music of his adolescence is and forever should be the standard against which ALL music should be measured. And that popular music’s true purpose is to express male experience alone.

I’ll leave you with Lana Del Rey, whose Lust for Life (my choice for best of the year) lost to Ed Sheeran in the category of Best Pop Vocal Album:

Ever wonder why females are referred to as girl or chick singers while males are just singers?

Cybersecurity Engineers by Day, Hackers by Night?

Was this intentional?  I certainly hope so.

The MarketWatch article claims data scientist is the “no. 1 job in America.” But to illustrate this story touting desk jockeys who mine consumer behavior to help large corporations exploit it, they used a picture of Elliot Alderson, . . .

. . . the depressed and outright delusional hero of Mr Robot who used his computer skills to bring down E Corp, AKA Evil Corp, the biggest of such corporations, whose logo just happens to evoke that of Enron:

“Time to shut them down.  Just a regular cybersecurity engineer, but I’m a vigilante hacker by night”