Romance is boring? This video is boring (ho ho!)! Really though, it’s not for lack of effort—the makeup is top notch!—but the visuals have no rhythm, the video has no meat to fill out its concept, and there is very little reward for paying close attention. There are like a hundred members in this band and nobody had any better ideas?
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The deliberately mysterious and reserved British duo Hurts have yet to put out so much as a single, but between the stylishly retro videos for “Wonderful Life” last year and now “Blood, Tears & Gold”, whatever they manage to put out in 2010 ought to be incredible. What they do isn’t exactly innovative—the Guardian described them as “a boy-duo styled by Helmut Newton, directed by Anton Corbijn and produced by Trevor Horn on a Martin Hannett tip”, but if you like the certain kind of elegant, tightly reined in pop music those names conjure up, you ought to be paying attention, because so far Hurts do it exceptionally well.
“Blood, Tears & Gold” is the ballad counterpoint to the soaring Pet Shop Boys/OMD/Eurythmics synth-pop of “Wonderful Life”, and honestly, despite my love for that song, I didn’t know if they could pull something less icy off. But they do, and they do so magnificently.
Tuesday, January 19th marks the birthday of the late, great Janis Joplin. Born in 1943, Joplin rose to rock stardom in the mid-‘60s with her raspy, soulful vocals and colorful demeanor as the front woman of Big Brother and the Holding Company. Unfortunately, her life and career were short-lived due to continuous run-ins with various substances, ultimately passing away from an overdose on October 4th, 1970. Regardless, Joplin’s spirit, presence, and voice will be immortalized in her music. Happy 67th, Janis!
The musical event of the week on TV had to be the Austin City Limits appearance of two of the world’s best rappers, the incomparable and adventurous Mos Def and the Somalian born K’naan. Both produced sterling albums last year that found their way into many top music of 2009 lists, including our Top 60 list, and both create the kind of thinking-person’s hip-hop that has expanded the boundaries of the genre.
K’Naan “Waving Flag”
You probably recognize Ashley Greene as Alice, the psychic member of the sexy, undead Cullen clan in Twilight and New Moon, in theaters now. Yeah, you’ve seen the movies. Just admit it. Soon, you’ll see her in another guilty pleasure, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, due in just a few weeks. Greene sat down with PopMatters writer Ian Chant for a brief interview to talk about body paint, her upcoming film Skateland, and how to have a film career after being one of Hollywood’s most recognizable bloodsuckers for years.