DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.
Sky Ferreira’s “I Blame Myself” on The Tonight Show
syvo: My intense adoration of Ms. Ferreira is well-documented. “I Blame Myself” is easily the best song on her intelligent and electrifying debut Night Time, My Time (which happens to be my favorite album of 2013). The performance here is thrilling, starting with Ferreira’s calm, effortless coolness and building to a delightfully intense rendition of the song’s beautifully confident chorus. According to my iTunes, I’ve listened to this song 82 times. But this performance made it feel like the first time.
BK: When you first gave me the Sky Ferreira album, I really thought it was a situation of ‘Syvo-hype’ that would die down in a couple weeks once you got over the release (anyone remember Kreyashawn? Me neither). In fact, I only gave the album a quick once-over on the subway and decided it wasn’t for me. And then I went back and listened to it again a few months ago, and I have to concede that you were actually spot on. The album is remarkable and she sounds great. This performance confirms that she is an extremely talented artist and I am psyched to see what she does next. (Also, I’m digging the new look. On to the next one…)
Atmosphere – Kanye West
BK: Atmosphere has gone through some major changes over the years, and I would be lying if I said this song didn’t make me nostalgic for ‘Scapegoat’ and ‘God Loves Ugly’, but this track is also totally legit. The beat is grimy and the verses are solid. The hook is a bit preachy for my taste, but if there is any preacher worth listening to (even after almost TWENTY years) it’s Slug. Name-checking Kanye is an interesting choice, but I am down with that too. This one definitely has me excited for the next chapter in the Atmosphere saga.
syvo: This song is OK, but lines like “She said she wants to find a cure for death” feel unbecomingly recycled for him at this point. The whole thing feels like leftover Slug, which can be either good or bad depending on your tastes. My sense is he won’t be winning too many new fans with this one.
The Roots – “When The People Cheer”
BK: I was initially disappointed when The Roots took over as Jimmy Fallon’s band. They are such an amazing group that I was sad to see them marginalized and featured in momentary snippets throughout a (cheesy) talk show. I was dead wrong on that one (seems to be a theme this week). Taking over as The Tonight Show band has given them a level of exposure they never received previously, even though they deserved it. This new track is vintage Roots with a sweet, beautiful and soulful beat. I’m also a sucker for Black Thought’s verses. He’s the man. Questlove ain’t bad either.
Lucy Trailer – Starrting Scarlett Johansson, Dir. Luc Besson
BK: Limitless starring Bradley Cooper was an underrated movie, but I found myself thinking the whole time ‘wouldn’t this be better if Scarlett Johansson was in the lead role, kicking ass and taking names and blinking her eyes into different colors?’ Thankfully, Luc Besson and ScarJo have provided us an answer with the trailer for Lucy. It looks like a perfect summer flick and I am anxious to see if Ms. Johansson can continue her run of solid movies.
syvo: I actually hated Limitless. I thought the concept was juvenile and lacking in basic creativity. But I’m somewhat more interested in the nonsense idea this time around, if only because they’ve really ran away with it. This isn’t minor league stuff like “figuring out” the stock market or getting on Robert DeNiro’s nerves. This is about unraveling the fabric of reality itself. And Morgan Freeman is there to just effortlessly tie the whole thing together.
I’m a fan of Leon: The Professional (1994), but the last thing Luc Besson did that interests me was a mediocre Madonna music video for one of the better songs on her absolute worst album. What that means for you, dear reader, only you can decide.
Chance the Rapper – “The Writer”
BK: Back to the MUSIC. This is simply one of the best Chance songs I have ever heard, and I listed Acid Rap as one of the top albums of 2013. His flow on this track sounds like Eminem circa- Slim Shady LP (or even Infinite) and for good reason; this song actually was written and recorded prior to Acid Rap. There’s no hook. The track is short and incredibly sweet, and he sounds as passionate as anything we’ve heard to date. I’m also digging these piano beats. Gives the song some gravitas where it wouldn’t be otherwise.
Girl Meets World First Trailer
syvo: I totally agree that all the Buzzfeedy 1990’s nostalgia crap is annoying (I know, I know), but when it comes to Boy Meets World I just don’t care. That show is part of me. It’s been years that they’ve been talking about bringing Corey and Topanga back, and it feels kind of crazy to see that they’re actually doing it. Of course, the show will be abysmal. The clip above appears to have been shot in one take with absolutely no rehearsal, with a kind of surreal incompetence unseen since the great Ed Wood. But it matters not! I am going to watch the shit out of this show and if you’re anywhere near my age, I’m sure you will too.
BK: Oh man, this is ridiculous, and not in a good way.
Is that a real trailer?!?! Come on. This has to be some kind of sick, tasteless a joke. Where is Mr. Feeny when you need him (to stop production on a terrible show)?
DOPE Digest Throwback: Genesis – “That’s All”
BK: If you haven’t taken the time to listen to Genesis, Peter Gabriel and (yes guys, seriously) Phil Collins, you have some homework to do. This song came on in a bar a couple weeks ago and I have been total Genesis mode ever since (it’s a weird mode). It’s catchy as hell, and the piano and drumbeat (COLLINS!) are as good as it gets. I never knew there was a video for it, and even this bizarre Oliver Twist-meets-Newsies thing is working for me. It’s a great Friday track and a good start for your upcoming Genesising. Good luck.
syvo: Easter is just around the corner, so feel free to also check out Peter Gabriel’s excellent score to Martin Scorsese’s then-controversial (now kind of quaint) The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). If you really need to get pumped for the weekend, I mean.