I dreamt that i got mad referrals and mentions on other sites after slamming Eminem’s performance on SNL last night. Honestly i thought he was okay, but both the performances were lacking something. “Stan” went over well with Dido there to help out, but it comes off much more trance-like on the album. And “Real Slim Shady” just felt like it totally lacked energy. Usually i’m pretty impressed with Eminem when he performs live because he raps much better out of the studio, but last night left me nonplussed.
Yesterday I reread one of my favourite books, to reign in hell. It had been out of print for years and years, and i just got an original edition despite it just coming back into print. It’s about Heaven before there was an Earth, and how Satan was really the victim in all of this. Actually, everyone is the victim, but Yaweh is a bit more in the wrong than anyone else. He says that what he does (banishing Satan, Lucifer, at al) is because of foolish pride on Satan’s part, but really it’s just worse pride on his own part. The motivations behind Heaven, Archangels, Cherubim, and animals are all witty and extremely believeable. Also, if you don’t have any religious bias at all, you’ll probably be rooting for Satan the whole time. Or, maybe that was just me, but i think he came off as much more sympathetic (‘sympathy for the devil’).
I read the book in a single sitting, and afterwards i found myself believing it was all true for a second, but i caught myself before i could pledge allegiance to the devil.
What i truly love about this Madonna album is that it feels musically organic. First of all, whoever finally convinced Madonna to let guitars shine through in many of her songs deserves a pat on the back. Perhaps the country-gal album art is a nod to the overwhelming acoustic force on this album, but the simplicity of tunes like “Gone” that are just guitar, beatbox, and a few tracks of Madonna’s voice (with some electronic toys showing up as the song progresses) exemplify the newfound strength of her voice as well as the simple but heartfelt lyrics she’s come up with (and i still would love to know exactly how the writing process for a Madonna album occurs, but i fear that we’ll never know). “Music” at once doesn’t fit into the album at all and is perfect to kick it off… a bridge from “Beautiful Stranger” & “American Pie” to the present, showcasing all of her recent influences. “Impressive Instant takes us further in that direction, but by “I Deserve” it we see where the album’s true center is. I am left wondering what the next single might be… Ray of Light started off subtle with “Frozen” and then slammed us with the title track. “Music” is by far the best possible clubland single, so will Madonna try to top it with pop (“Amazing”) or grace (“I Deserve It”)?
Well, i’m off to Philosophy, so MadonnaBlog will be back later :P
I might add that the use of Aimee Mann’s music in Magnolia was spectacular. “One,” “Save Me,” and especially “Wise Up.” While it was an incongruous break in the film, it also served to show the similarities in each of the characters while setting a perfect mood across all of the various storylines. That and the frogs were two of my favourite points in the movie, by far.
Perhaps i am missing some vital piece of brain, but i think Magnolia was a movie with the utmost potential but zero payoff. Every actor and actress in the film was stunning, and each plot was riveting, but all of those elements threaded together made for a too-long mess of a movie in which you don’t ever really get a chance to sympathize with a single character. And maybe that was the point. However, some things seemed plain old extraneous. The William Macy plot could have been easily removed, especially since it seemed to drag the most. We didn’t need to see that much of Tom Cruise talking. Every monologue which spoke over a montage of scenes was lacking content, especially when given from a deathbed.
That said, some parts of the movie were absolutely fantastic. Julianne Moore’s frenetic soon-to-be widow was awesome, John C. Reilly’s bumbling cop proves that he is a character actor to be reckoned with, and Melora Walters coke-head was unbelievable (in the most believable way possible). I found myself glued to the all of Reilly’s plots and most of Moore’s, but Macy and his younger counterpart (who was a movie unto himself (and his monologues were awfu)) sent me running to the kitchen for more ice cream. I’d love to see a version of this movie with some of the long pauses in the slow plots edited down. However, long meaningful pauses with the better characters were nothing but sweetness, and i loved the frogs. I suppose you should decide for yourself, but i would have rather worked for 3 hours to pay for the amazing Aimee Mann soundtrack.
I caught myself crushing up Altoids with a spoon last night. Obviously i’ve got to stay away from those Paul Thomas Anderson movies.