teenage wasteland

April 2, 2009

teenage wasteland

one of my favorite contemporary movies is southland tales.  i really think it’s a shame that it was so poorly received.  i mean, i’m not much of a richard kelly fan — donnie darko was one of the most annoying movies i’ve ever seen — and i’m not the sort of aintitcoolnews kind of target audience, either — i don’t like comic books or science fiction or film noir, all of which feature heavily in southland tales.  despite this, though, i still think it’s a good movie, one i probably come back to more than any other made this century (besides maybe marie antoinette, which i just come back to for the prettiness).  maybe it’s not even good, i don’t know, maybe it’s actually shit (it’s definitely shit in parts, like the part with the giant toilet) but if so, it’s really visionary shit, it’s shit that somebody put a lot of work and thought and energy into.  an epic fail, literally, a failed epic.

i kind of see it the way i see the tyra show.  where i live, the ellen degeneres show and the tyra show play opposite each other at five o’ clock every day.  the ellen degeneres show provides a very consistent level of quality talk show — there’s a guaranteed decent performance that ellen gives: decent skits, decent audience interaction, decent interviews.  however, she’s never surprising or exciting.  the tyra show, on the other hand, is all over the place in terms of quality.  i mean, i don’t even really like tyra as a person because she can be so crazy judgmental of people (recently, the way she treated the pregnant prostitute and porn star parents were both really fucked up), but as a producer and host, she’s incredibly idiosyncratic and interesting.  the tyra show, because her auteur sensibility is so crazy and scattered, so sort of outsider art TV, has the potential to be really amazing, even when it’s bad.  that’s why i like it and kind of why i like southland tales.

so anyway i did a song called “teenage wasteland.”  it started out as a bishop allen-y kind of generic indie love song but then i just couldn’t figure out how to write generic indie love song lyrics without it being stupid, mean parody (if i had written that sara bareilles song, the chorus would be “i’m really just not quite able to write you a love song” which is not as sassy and girl power-y by half).  instead, i loaded it it up with the standard pretentious allusions, pseudo-genre play, and puns (since everybody loves puns, right!).  i wanted to use the original “all falls down” interpolation but i could only get a really low quality version so i just sang it myself.  i guess for me it’s another indie rock diss track (previously) although, again, i don’t actually hate the bands i’m dissing, so that kind of deflates it.  that’s good — i don’t want it to really have any kind of authority, thus the yrics being like a criticism of collage texts and impersonations that is then undermined by the fact the song itself is a collage text full of impersonation.

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