Jake Zavracky Writes About This Week's Hot 100, Millions Rejoice Part 2.

In 2018 I will answer the burning question in every American's mind: What does Jake Zavracky think about this weeks top ten? I will answer this question bi-weekly. You're welcome America. Now these successful millionaires will feel the sting of my barbs and it will probably challenge them to do better, which is my aim.


1. Perfect: Ed Sheeran Duet With Beyonce

How much Ed Sheeran is too much Ed Sheeran? I guess it's up to America to decide. Personally I would have given up a long time ago.

2. Havana: Camila Cabello Featuring Young Thug

This song may never make it to number one because it's continually being cock-blocked by horrible songs, which is not exactly a travesty as travesties go but it still seems unfair.

3 Finesse - Bruno Mars & Cardi B

Bruno Mars is cheesy, but the best kind of cheesy. Usually someone combing through the history of R&B and imitating it would be boring but he executes it so well and with so much electricity, he makes it very easy to sign on. With "Finesse" we're in a late 80's/early 90's Bobby Brown/Janet Jackson/Jam and Lewis vibe - gated reverb, swing 16th notes, key bass, multi-layered harmonies. Cardi B nails the Salt n' Pepa/TLC rap breaks. Fun stuff.

4 Rockstar - Post Malone Featuring 21 Savage

I don't know how many songs there are that have been called "Rockstar" but it's now one too many. There are lots of words out there people, let's find some other ones.

5 No Limit - G-Eazy Featuring A$AP Rocky & Cardi B

I don't think this song is that great but it's different enough to make itself stand out among the 57 hip hop songs in the Hot 100 that all sound exactly the same. And by "different enough" I mean a "little tiny bit different".

6 Thunder - Imagine Dragons

This band does not make me imagine dragons. It makes me imagine a group of dudes with wispy mustaches hanging out at a gas station drinking Mountain Dew.

7 Bad At Love - Halsey

This song is weird because Halsey describes some ex-boyfriends who sound like a bunch of jerks and then comes to the conclusion that she's the one that's bad at love.

8 Too Good At Goodbyes - Sam Smith

I love Sam Smith but this song is some sliced cheese that was left out overnight and is hard on the sides.

9 Filthy - Justin Timberlake

As much admiration as I have for Timberlake, I've always found it a little hard to buy the part of his act where he speaks in urban colloquialisms - from the time he was very young he was, as most people know, a cast member of the Mickey Mouse Club, which is not typically a source of street cred. It feels appropriation-y to me, not to mention unnecessary because his songs can easily stand on their own without that.

10 MotorSport - Migos, Nicki Minaj & Cardi B

Like nearly all the hip hop in the top 10 recently, this song is unimaginative by-the-numbers nonsense with boilerplate production, charting high while more creative R&B and hip hop artists always seem to be found much further down the list, or, more likely, not on it at all, but that's basically business as usual on the pop charts and it has been forever.






Jake Zavracky Writes About This Week's HOT 100, Millions Rejoice.

In 2018 I will answer the burning question in every American's mind: What does Jake Zavracky think about this weeks top ten? I will answer this question bi-weekly. You're welcome America. Now these successful millionaires will feel the sting of my barbs and it will probably challenge them to do better, which is my aim.

1. Perfect: Ed Sheeran Duet With Beyonce

I don't like this. To me it's disqualifying-ly trite, which is probably why it's number one. Beyonce doesn't fit well with this tune, which is not a knock on her performance, it's just not a very good song and her muscular vocals sound out of place on it. In a general sense, Ed Sheeran impresses me because he plays arenas and stadiums by himself with a guitar, which takes some pretty large nads.

2. Rockstar: Post Malone Featuring 21 Savage

I find this excrutiangly dull. I can see overlooking how boring it is if it resonated lyrically but the lyrics are mostly nonsense. That said, I've seen an interview with Post Malone and he seems cool: I would like to be best friends with him and take him under my wing and teach him how to be less successful.

3. Havana: Camila Cabello Featuring Young Thug

Good hook. She has a nice voice. I think this track could do with less production tricks because the melody is strong enough on its own. It doesn't need the guy with the gruff voice going "ay" on the upbeats for example. Can we remove this element from pop music now please? It would sound good with just the piano loops, bass and drums. It would be nice if the drums were not the ubiquitous 808 (or a variation thereof) with the plastic sounding hand claps but I guess that's asking too much these days. That is the only acceptable thing to have happening on 2 and 4 in the current down-tempo pop/hip hop music template. It's been well over a decade since the resurgence of the 808, I think we can move on now.

4. Gucci Gang: Lil Pump

This single has easily the worst album cover artwork I've ever seen in my life. I can't believe there wasn't at least one person in the room that said "maybe we should go with something else". The track sounds like it was written and recorded in 45 minutes by a bunch of guys on xanax smoking bong hits, which it probably was.

5. No Limit: G-Eazy Featuring A$AP Rocky & Cardi B

A$AP Rocky always seems to stand out to me as one of the few guys that doesn't sound like he's bored and mumbling to himself in a corner these days. I don't know anything about G-Eazy. It's a decent track.

6. Thunder: Imagine Dragons

"Thunder, feel the thunder. Lightning and the thunder." I'm not feeling thunder and lightning in this track. What I'm feeling is boredom. It's not a "song", it's a bunch of ideas going nowhere cut and pasted together that go nowhere as an entire track.

7. MotorSport: Migos, Nicki Minaj & Cardi B

This is more bong-hit/xanax music.

8. Too Good At Goodbyes: Sam Smith

I find this uninteresting but I really love Sam Smith. There's never been a voice quite like his. He could sing the phone book and it would be interesting, unless this song was in the phone book.

9. Bad At Love: Halsey

Halsey's lyrics are confessional, they sound like they've been written in a diary. I can see how her voice and her whole sort of aura would capture the imagination of teenagers worldwide. She has that thing where she's your friend, she's talking directly to you, soothing you. I don't think she's quite there yet musically though, she could dig a little deeper.

10. Cardi B - Bodak Yellow

I like this. She seems to be bucking the mumbly MC trend that is so prevalent these days. I don't have much to say about the song, I don't think I would listen to this multiple times if it wasn't for it's unavoidable-ness.

OTHER NOTABLE SONGS IN THE BILLBOARD HOT 100: Him & I: G-Eazy and Halsey: it should be "him and me". You wouldn't say "In the end it's I". Yes I am correcting the grammar in a pop song. Miguel and Travis Scott "Sky Walker": I really like Miguel. This is not one of his more forward thinking tracks but it's one of the better boilerplate pop songs in the Hot 100 this week. Huncho Jack and Travis Scott: There are a whopping 7 tracks from this album in the Hot 100 this week. Shockingly, I think they're all terrible. It's hard to wrap my brain around how much trap music has taken over this list. I'm in full realization that I'm not the target audience for trap, but can we try doing something that even slightly veers from the trap template please? Outkast were forerunners of trap but they varied it up, not every fucking song was the same tempo, rhyme scheme, delivery, personality etc. I can't imagine anyone listening any of these artists 15 years from now like people do Outkast, or that any of these guys will be held up as legendary MC's the way Andre 3000 and Big Boi are.... but maybe tastes will have deteriorated to the point where they'll be pining for the heyday of Lil Yachty. Also I don't understand why DRAM is not the biggest thing ever.... Until next time!





Lycra

Recently, or maybe ten years ago, I discovered lycra. After I discovered it, I only wanted to be wearing one thing: lycra. It's form fitting, and I don't spend all that time at the gym for nothing. After all, what's the point of working out if people can't bear witness to my oversized muscles? It would be a complete waste of time! My life would be pretty meaningless I'd say.

I love talking to all the guys at the gym while I'm wearing my lycra. We talk about interesting things: football, reps, how many chicken wings I ate last night. Because my lycra is so revealing, the ladies at the gym can see my rippling muscles while I ride the exercise bike. Then when I'm done, I'm all sweaty and I get off the bike. Everyone can admire the rough outline of my cock and balls. I'm looking pretty good, feeling good; not bad for a 49 year old guy!

I go around and bump some more fists, talk to the guys doing reps about guy things, like protein shakes, and racism. I can tell everyone is thinking "Glen is in good shape. He certainly doesn't look ridiculous!"

My favorite thing to do in my lycra is ride around Prospect Park on my $4000 racing bike. Spending that much money on a bike certainly was not a product of a mid-life crisis, why would you be thinking that? Sometimes I join a group of like ten other guys, and we ride around together, pretending we're in the Tour De France. We love to buzz by other cyclists who aren't taking things seriously enough. They yell "why do you have to come that close to me?" but I don't see why it isn't a totally acceptable activity for someone nearing 50. I love to angrily tell all the people going the wrong way on the bike path that they're breaking the rules. Then I give them one of my famous glares of disapproval. Satisfaction guaranteed. Sometimes I ask people on the side of the bike path that might have some problem with their bike if they're OK. I yell "you good? you good?" as I speed by them. They're always good, they always wave me on.

Off I go, always ready for what's next.

Cats in Sunglasses

If there's anything funnier than a cat wearing sunglasses, I don't know what it is. It certainly isn't Jeff Foxworthy.

Mark Hamill's eMail to J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan After Reading the Original Star Wars: The Force Awakens Script


Here's a recently unearthed email from a few years ago from Mark Hamill to JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (and George Lucas et al), the writers of the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" script, regarding a difference of opinion about the direction of the storyline. If you haven't seen "The Force Awakens", be warned, there are **SPOILERS**. Here's the email:

Guys, 

Just received the new script. Pretty cool! I think there's a lot of "interesting" stuff going on. Seems like there's something missing though, and I think that's a little unfortunate, ha ha ha! ;) But I DO think there's some ANOTHER direction we could go with this, just hear me out!

First of all I appreciate that you guys mention my character Luke's name so often throughout the film, but it does seem a little disappointing that we only actually see Luke for the last 27 seconds of the film. (And I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be disappointed ha ha ha!! What about all those millions of Luke fans out there? ;) ).

After reading the script I spent some time being disappointed and a little sad with this direction, and I thought "*sigh* another year before it's Hamill-time again" and I sat around eating cheetos and looking at production stills of me and Carrie during Empire like I always do on Sundays, and then I had a thought...

WHAT IF instead of only showing Luke for the last 27 seconds of the film (I know I said that already but I'm really trying to just let it hit home with you guys, ergot the bold) it goes a little more like this:

(note: I'm not good at writing scripts so bare with me)

WE OPEN with me on the cliff, like you have it at the end. then we close up on my face, and then there's a weird kind of reverse sound and we FLASH BACK to a different close up of my face, this time with me just awaking. (The Force Awakens!). (J.J., you should be familiar with that sort of transition from Lost.) Now we go through my back story, what I've been up to since the end of Jedi. You show me doing a bunch of awesome stuff with my lightsaber and maybe I got married or I'm hooking up with a few chicks (to play up my sex symbol side).

Then we show me getting more Jedi training from ghost Yoda (who is still a complete pain in the ass ha ha!) but I'm able to do even more cool stuff than I even could do in Jedi. I can maybe take like two lightsabers and twirl them around above my head and take off like a helicopter (that's just an idea). 

Maybe we can also have me have some kind of drinking/drug problem that I have to overcome in order to become a great Jedi again. I had a difficult relationship with my father, that could be the root of it. There might even be some Oscar bait there! Do I hear best actor bells ringing? Ha ha. 

That takes up something like the first hour, hour and a half. THEN we cut back to me on the cliff with Rey and I say something like "I will teach you". And then we basically start the story as you have it in your version of the script (let's call it the "old" version). It's just shorter. (and I'm in it obvs) Maybe reduce Han's role a little bit, Harrison's not looking too hot these days (don't tell him I said that). 

OOOH also those yellow floating letters at the beginning should reflect all of this stuff I've said. Don't forget, George, the original movie was supposed to be called "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker" so  let's keep that in mind OK???

Think it over, LMK!!!

Best, 
Mark.

ps if you decide to use any of this we can talk about royalties, i'm flexible!






A Critical Companion of the Video for Starship's "We Built This City"

Today we will over-analyze the video for Starship's "We Built This City", their 1985 hit, in an effort to understand what the group and those responsible for creating the video may have been thinking:

We open with a pastoral scene; it is dusk, and we are looking out at the hills beyond a rural town. A church steeple in the foreground penetrates the azure sky. All is peaceful.

Suddenly, piercing through the quiet comes a blast of terrifying rock and roll that is sure to shake the very foundations of this tranquil hamlet; the opening lines of Starship's "We Built This City".

Then day turns to night and a giant Mickey Thomas, singer, fades into the foreground, hands in his pockets. He is quickly overshadowed by Grace Slick's enormous floating head. A flying saucer whizzes by in the background. What any of this means is unclear.

The bassist and guitarist, both of whom look like they'd clearly rather be doing other things, replace Thomas and Slick. A pair of drumsticks wave in front of them.

Now we dissolve back to Thomas. He is in good voice as he sings the first verse of the song, and he is joined now onscreen by a pair of random floating heads with 80's haircuts. They look like pictures that could have been ripped from the walls of a nearby salon. We wonder what it means.

Now another person appears in the background, wearing some sort of hat and pantomiming being on the phone. We cut to a young man, wearing sunglasses, frozen. We cut again to a young woman, wearing an expression that looks like she's being yelled at by her dad. Now we're back on Thomas, again surrounded by the floating haircut heads.

We close in again on Thomas, he turns his head to the right. He is replaced onscreen by the turning head of some other haircut model, then another turning head, then yet another and then we quickly cut to, for some reason, the Lincoln Memorial. Where are we going with this?

We cut to another turning head, and now back to the Lincoln memorial, with all the haircut models moving slowly toward it. Mickey Thomas sings the chorus of the song to Lincoln, who suddenly comes to life and begins singing along. What any of this means is unclear.

Mickey Thomas and the haircuts look on, apparently unimpressed by a 40 foot statue suddenly coming to life in front of them. Why the non-reaction? Are they in a state of disbelief? Or are they just a symbol of the ennui of the teenage years?

These questions go unanswered as we cut to Grace Slick in Las Vegas.

The setting, actually, does not appear to be actual Las Vegas but a faux-Las Vegas from future times.

"Someone's always playing corporation games/who cares, they're always changing corporation names" sings Slick, wisely choosing this video as the perfect forum to speak out against corporations.

Not to be outdone by Mickey Thomas, she is also being joined by her own steady gathering of floating heads.

Things slow down a bit for the meantime as we watch Slick sing, intercut with shots from various faux-Las Vegas locales. "Marconi plays the mamba" she sings. Is she talking about Marconi, a pioneer and key figure in inventing radio? But why would Marconi be playing the "mamba"? Does she mean the "mambo"? Mambo is a style of music, as is "samba". Mamba is a snake. Modern mambo had yet to be invented by the time Marconi died. So the only conclusion we can reach here is that a dead man has come back to life and has learned how to play the snake.

Once again anticipation begins to build. We cut to a casino sign that says "Uncle Sam's" with two giant dice hanging underneath. "Uncle Sam's", we think to ourselves. That can't be good. Out of nowhere, the dice begin to fall to the street below. We cut to the haircuts, heads quickly turning to see the falling giant dice.

And now it's chaos.

One of the dice pursues the haircuts down a strip of casinos; they scramble to get clear. Now the mob runs past the buildings to a clearing, and by a foursome that looks on, for some reason unimpressed by the madness. Perhaps they are trying to figure out what the hell "Marconi plays the mamba" means.

The symbolism here is obvious: "Uncle Sam" is obviously the U.S. government, which is trying to kill the youth of America by dropping giant dice on them.

Guitarist and Carvin instruments endorser Craig Chaquico dissolves in and rips a solo that last for six seconds. Now united, Slick and Thomas appear onscreen.

"Who counts the money underneath the bar? Who rides the wrecking ball into our guitars?" Who indeed. Not a very sensible person, that much we can say. It would make more sense to count the money on top of the bar, since there's assuredly more light there. And there's probably better ways to destroy a something as small as a guitar than renting a wrecking ball (I assume that's expensive). Why would you need to ride it? That sounds dangerous.

Now the entire band is playing on top of a skyscraper. The throngs of haircuts watch from below, expressionless. Can they actually see or hear a band playing on top of a skyscraper? It is unclear. Most of the answers we're seeking never materialize: the video ends.











Distilled Water FAQ

Disclaimer: After reading this, do not leave the house for at least three weeks.

Lately, a lot of questions have been coming up about distilled water and its uses, due to the discovery of pollutants in tap water that have been reported to cause diarrhea and cancer of the spleen. Here is a helpful FAQ to help answer your questions and concerns.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water that has been distilled using a distillation process to distill it.

Should I drink distilled water?

You should only drink distilled water. According to unconfirmed, possibly untrue reports, all other water is unsafe and may cause swine flu, and possibly immediate death. The EPA is working on it, but the house has voted against any action, and also, to end the EPA.

How is distilled water different than regular water?

Distilled water is just regular water with all of the cancer and diarrhea filtered out.

Should I bathe in distilled water?

People have been bathing in distilled water for centuries with no problems. George Washington used to bathe in it, and he got the idea from Ben Franklin. Thomas Jefferson bathed in it when he wrote the constitution, and Einstein discovered electricity just after a distilled water bath.
John Adams refused to try it because he thought it was silly.

Should I used distilled water to boil my spaghetti?

You shouldn’t eat pasta at all. It has a lot of carbohydrates which turn to sugar and you’re already fat. Lose some weight.

I heard that distilled water can cause kidney failure. Is this true?

There is no known link between kidney failure and drinking distilled water. The only known side effects of drinking distilled water are 8 hour boners, acting silly, and lung cancer.

Should I give my cat distilled water?

You should only give your cat milk. Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t like water, and don’t need it. I only give Senor Meow Meow cow’s milk. My friends claim this is the reason he weighs 57 pounds and is basically immobile, but I am scientist.

Hopefully you will find this FAQ. But if you have further questions please post them in the comments section and I’ll try to get to them when I can. However, commenting has been disabled. That is your conundrum to face. I am very busy blazing trails.

Bottle up!