Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best And Worst Comments

Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best And Worst Comments

Music streaming as we know it is 20 years ago today. Rhapsody launched 12/3/01 and was the first on-demand music platform offering unlimited access for a monthly fee. The initial library had only 15,000 indie songs, but within seven months they’d brought on all five major labels’ catalogs. Later it acquired then rebranded as Napster, and is now owned by a VR company. And that’s how we got all bangers all the time.

THIS WEEK’S 10 HIGHEST RATED COMMENTS

#10  raptor jesus
Score:31 | Nov 30th

Roller coaster of a headline.

Posted in: Rihanna Is Named National Hero Of Barbados, Unveils Savage X Fenty Butt Crack Pajamas
#9  thegue
Score:31 | Nov 29th

Do I have a club/homeless story?

YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I DO.

I’ve mentioned The Bank before, located at 6th and Spring Garden streets in Philly, which was the greatest club I’ve ever frequented. One night in ’93, a friend of mine came up from the shore (beach, to non-Jersians) and we decided to head over to the club.

The bouncers stopped him from entering. There was a strict “no sneakers” policy, one they weren’t willing to overlook even after he and I pleaded from sometime about the distance he’d covered to get to The Bank. Dejected, we walked away and turned the corner towards the parking lot.

“Psst! Hey buddy…want some shoes?”

Two homeless people had set up a used shoe shop alongside The Bank, for people with the same predicament. Why not? I mean, I’m sure they’ve been sanitized…

There were two options in Ed’s size: a set of black dress shoes, and a pair of moccasins. He held up an excited index finger: wait a minute!

Ed ran back to the bouncers, and asked if he’d be allowed in if he was wearing moccasins. They looked at each other; no one had ever asked that question before. Finally, they agreed: he’d be allowed in.

A few minutes later, Ed’s sneakers were in the trunk of the car, and he was wearing a pair of moccasins with enormous holes in the bottom of each.

It was, as he said later, the best $8 he’d ever spent.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Mariah Carey’s “I Don’t Wanna Cry”
#8  you beautiful bastard.
Score:33 | Nov 26th

People who have experienced relative advantage for long enough to think of it as the natural order of things tend to think of equality as oppression.

Posted in: Brian May Blasts Brit Awards For Adopting Gender-Neutral Categories, Says Queen Would Not Be Woke Enough Today: “We Would Have To Have A Trans Person”
#7  Both Grouse
Score:36 | Dec 1st

THE ESSENTIAL MOMENT OF ”MORE THAN WORDS”

I’m typically not a fan of situations where Hard Rock bands have their first big hit with a ballad. This is the exception.

This song was one of the sharpest marketing moves of the decade. The stripped-down arrangement made it stand out in ways that no amount of cushion-y synths, tasteful Spanish guitar, or (god forgive them for they know not what they do) misplaced string sections could match. ”More Than Words” was almost like a prank on the music industry.

How long had it been since someone had had the savvy to distill a song down to a single acoustic guitar and two voices? It was a glaringly obvious approach that was exactly the right thing at the right time, because it was so far removed from what was fashionable back then.

It sounded like a breath of fresh air at the time, and still holds up today. Maybe the simplicity of it is the key to its timelessness. My favorite moment was always 02:57, when they really lay into the line ”… don’t EVER LET ME GO!…”. The singer puts the oomph behind those few words and Bettencourt slams the strings a few times. It’s a brilliant bit of dynamics, just enough of a climax to let the listener know that these guys had a lot more range than what they were displaying with this gentle, heartfelt tune.

One of the best #1’s of the year, and the perfect antidote to the travesty we’ll be facing in a week’s time.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Extreme’s “More Than Words”
#5  kidcassette
Score:36 | Nov 26th

What are the “the long-term consequences” of gender-neutral awards categories?

Posted in: Brian May Blasts Brit Awards For Adopting Gender-Neutral Categories, Says Queen Would Not Be Woke Enough Today: “We Would Have To Have A Trans Person”
#4  oddity
Score:37 | Nov 26th

““Freddie came from Zanzibar, he wasn’t British, he wasn’t white as such — nobody cares, nobody ever, ever discussed it,” May began. “He was a musician, he was our friend, he was our brother. We didn’t have to stop and think: ‘Ooh, now, should we work with him? Is he the right color? Is he the right sexual proclivity?’”

That’s really all that people are asking for now. Don’t consider those things when making someone your friend or bandmate. Just accept who they are.

Posted in: Brian May Blasts Brit Awards For Adopting Gender-Neutral Categories, Says Queen Would Not Be Woke Enough Today: “We Would Have To Have A Trans Person”
#3  Vivek Maddala
Score:38 | Dec 1st

Compositionally, “More Than Words” is a straightforward ballad, but it has some notable things going on. The song is played in G Major, but Nuno tuned his guitar down a half-step, so it’s actually in F#. For clarity, I’ll use G Major as the reference key for this discussion.

(1) The song uses a “secondary dominant” pivot chord to create a marvelous melodic hook. On the vocal line “all you have to do to make it real,” and then later on the line “all I ever needed you to show,” Nuno sneaks in a G7 chord, which is the V of IV. This creates a particularly ear-catching turn in the song because it comes right after Gary has sung an F# (7th degree of the G-Major scale). The G7 chord forces Gary to move the melodic line down a half-step to F natural — which creates a big harmonic shift. This secondary dominant chord effectively functions as a pivot point, leading to a classic V-I cadence in a new key. In other words, the maneuver pulls the song’s center of gravity away from G Major and towards C Major. It’s a way of rotating the harmonic axis of the song, and it keeps the tune from becoming tedious.

We can trace this kind of harmonic motion to 18th-Century Europe, and specifically, to the late Baroque period. A great example is the last movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 5 in G major. In 1939, composer and Harvard professor Walter Piston explored the concept of the secondary dominant in his seminal text, the “Principles of Harmonic Analysis.” Notably, he used the Mozart example to describe how the diminished 7th degree creates a “secondary leading tone” that can resolve down to the 3rd degree of the newly “tonicized” chord.

This is precisely the device that Nuno and Gary are using in “More Than Words”: the F# in the melody moves down to F natural (on the G7 chord) as a leading tone to move stepwise down to E (the 3rd of C Major). Voila! It’s a charming little turn in the song.

(2) After the secondary dominant chord, when Gary sings the line “Then you wouldn’t have to say,” Nuno follows the newly “tonicized” C Major chord with a C minor. This is the “minor iv” chord in the key of G — sometimes called a “borrowed chord” from the parallel minor key. It creates a brief bittersweet moment as the harmonic motion resolves back to the G Major. This iv-I resolution is a lovely cadence, and it’s an effective musical device for injecting a sense of romance into an otherwise bland musical passage.

Another well-known song that uses this cadence is Radiohead’s “Creep”: think of the end of the chorus when he sings the line “I don’t belong here.” That’s a iv-I cadence going back into the verse. The chorus of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” uses the same maneuver, as does the Beatles’ “Nowhere Man.” And an even better example is the Eagles’ “Desperado,” as it uses not just the the iv, but the iv6 (Cmin6). This creates a real sense of longing, because minor 6 chords are really inversions of min7b5 (minor-7-flat-5) chords, which possess a wistful, aching quality.

John Williams’ “Han Solo and the Princess” love theme from Star Wars is an exquisite example of this use of the minor vi6 interacting with the I. It’s a kind of variation of the diatonic chords built off the “6th diminished scale” (a concept that comes from bebop and modal jazz). But that’s a more sophisticated use of the minor iv. The way Extreme is using the minor iv in “More Than Words” is pretty simple — but effective.

(3) Towards the end of the song, on the line “‘Cause I’d already know,” they insert the b9 (flat-9) upper extension on the V7 chord — i.e., making it a dominant-7-flat-9. This is a tasty variation of the V7, and it contains many points of tension that crave resolution back to the tonic chord. We can think of it as a diminished-7 chord superimposed on the root of the V, a half-step above it. It’s a colorful chord most often heard in jazz standards (like “Stella By Starlight”), and it’s unusual to find it in a modern pop song. In fact, “More Than Words” might be the last Billboard #1 single to contain this chord — until Silk Sonic used it in “Leave the Door Open,” which recently topped the chart. Can anyone confirm if this is the case?

Also, the single version of “More Than Words” ends on the tonic chord, but one of the vocal harmonies goes from the 5th to the 6th scale degree — creating a sort of Beatlesesque musical ending. It’s surprising, and I kind of like it.

(4) One thing kinda bugs me about Extreme’s “More Than Words” recording: the vocal intonation. To my ear, Gary’s voice sounds a little flat in parts of the song. For example, whenever he sings the D# (in the key of F#), the 6th, over the tonic chord, his pitch sounds slightly flat to me. Anyone else hearing this? This surprises me given that he’s a good singer and the whole band is pretty fastidious. It occurred to me that he’s singing mostly without vibrato — perhaps to create a more sincere-sounding performance (probably a good idea given how creepily manipulative the lyrics are, as Tom Breihan repeatedly pointed out). Vibrato has a tendency to make the pitch average of a note sound sharp due to the nature of the oscillation. If you’re used to singing with vibrato and using that oscillation to center your pitch, I can imagine that your intonation would go flat in the absence of vibrato.

Other thoughts?

Posted in: The Number Ones: Extreme’s “More Than Words”

THIS WEEK’S 5 LOWEST RATED COMMENTS

#5  remer
Score:-17 | Nov 30th

I respect how they feel and there are grieving but you can’t not blame Travis Scott for astroWorld tragedy he had no idea people we’re dying it already been proven live nation it the most responsible lawyer already said that he will be dismissed these lawsuit

Posted in: Travis Scott’s Offer To Pay Funeral Expenses Rejected By 9-Year-Old Victim’s Family
#4  Brian Lizarraga Lynch
Score:-17 | Nov 27th

Non binary people are still male or female. Just because they don’t “feel” like either one doesn’t change the biology of who they are.

Posted in: Brian May Blasts Brit Awards For Adopting Gender-Neutral Categories, Says Queen Would Not Be Woke Enough Today: “We Would Have To Have A Trans Person”
#3  werme1978
Score:-20 | Nov 26th

“We would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and we would have to have a trans [person]… You know life doesn’t have to be like that. We can be separate and different.”

“We would be FORCED”, “we would HAVE to have”.

Nice to see Brian calling out the fascist identity politics.

Posted in: Brian May Blasts Brit Awards For Adopting Gender-Neutral Categories, Says Queen Would Not Be Woke Enough Today: “We Would Have To Have A Trans Person”
#2  you beautiful bastard.
Score:-27 | Dec 2nd

Seth’s glasses/stubble combo makes him look like he’s said “But what if the child consents, though?” out loud more than once in his life.

Posted in: Extremely High Seth Rogen Was Confused To Be Front Row At Adele TV Special
#1  werme1978
Score:-37 | Nov 26th

Why’d you type “normal” four times? Does the existence of white people enrage you?

Posted in: Brian May Blasts Brit Awards For Adopting Gender-Neutral Categories, Says Queen Would Not Be Woke Enough Today: “We Would Have To Have A Trans Person”

THIS WEEK’S EDITOR-IN-CHIEF’S CHOICE

  Jeff Buc-lee
Score:22 | Dec 2nd

Hey guys, long time listener, first time caller, just have one question for you guys: is Charlie Puth hungies or not?

Posted in: Stereogum Presents: Callin Me Maybe

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