Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-08-2016, 07:29 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
"There's a fine line between clever and stupid" - who would you argue is clever?

Or so says Nigel Tufnel. Or was it David St. Hubbins?

In this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=800528
Folks are arguing whether Sonic Youth played "microtonal, non-dodecaphonic music with non-Western intent" or just had some cheap guitars that sounded cool out of tune in a noisy way and which they based their sound on.

Similar to The Ramones: people dismissed them as loud punks, but when you read about them, and actually listen, they loved Phil Spector's Wall of Sound pop songs, couldn't afford or know what to do with a roomful of studio musicians, so they consciously tried to get that filled-in sound with guitar distortion.

That's pretty clever. And the Sonic Youth thread is ultimately about the same thing. What can you think of that's similar - and what side are you on? I would prefer arguments for clever vs easy dismissals as stupid.

Last edited by WordMan; 08-08-2016 at 07:31 PM.
  #2  
Old 08-08-2016, 09:07 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 8,054
A movie example: The jump cuts in Godard's Breathless.

Here's an article listing five proposed explanations for Godard's use of jump cuts:

1 (stupid): Godard had shot too much footage, and a producer insisted that movie should be shortened. In order to piss the producer off and deliberately ruin the movie, Godard cut out parts at random.

2 (stupid): Godard had made a movie that he knew was nothing special, but he wanted to fool the pretentious French movie critics into thinking it was brilliant. He cut out parts at random hoping it would astound the stupid critics.

3 (supporting stupid or clever, depending on point of view): According to Godard's own account, he agreed that the film needed shortening. He had made a movie two and a half hours long, but had been contracted to not exceed 90 minutes. He had made it too long at first because he was inexperienced and wanted to put "everything" into his first film. He invented the jump cut style to reduce the running time, sometimes cutting parts at random, but it was (at least presumably) to improve the film, as opposed to ruining it.

4 (clever): The jump cuts are meaningful in a storytelling sense, in that they reflect the disjointedness in the personality of the main character.

5 (clever): The jump cuts are meaningful on the level of the medium itself. They are part of a new cinematic aesthetic, introducing into cinema elements from other arts such as cubism or jazz.

Which side am I on? Well, I think the movie is gorgeous, and it certainly seems appropriate to me to say that it has a "jazzy" aesthetic. Maybe I don't have a clue, though. But, FWIW, a friend of mine with proven great taste is on record as loving it, so I think I'll trust her judgement.
  #3  
Old 08-09-2016, 10:19 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Nice. Just the type of example I was looking for.

I suppose another example would be MTV videos - 95% were crap, but the jump-cutty, fast moving style was adopted into the language of mainstream movies and TV soon after. So: often used for stupid videos, but the technique ended up being clever, in things like the Bourne movies, found-footage tropes, etc.
  #4  
Old 08-09-2016, 12:20 PM
scabpicker scabpicker is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Funkytown (Fort Worth)
Posts: 4,203
Hey, I'm arguing over there that Sonic Youth played "microtonal, non-dodecaphonic music with non-Western intent"* and that the specific varieties they arrived at were governed by their cheap guitars that sounded cool out of tune in a noisy way and which they based their sound on. My conspiracy theory accommodates both sides of the argument. Apparently I can back it up with walls of text, too.


But here, I'm gonna argue for the masters of knowing where that line is, blowing right past it, wrapping around a couple of times, and still ending up somewhere near that line. Probably by dumb luck, but they do it. Ladies and gentlemen: The Butthole Surfers!

Paul Leary said "Rock and roll isn't about being smart.", after he and his band had already been testing the theory for almost a decade. When you've got a name like that, scatological, uncomfortable content is to be assumed. If you show up at show where the name of the band is The Butthole Surfers, and you are offended by the content, I don't know what I can do for you. Still, through judicious application of Gibbytronics and an unconventional approach to almost everything in the studio; they produced clever, irreverent, and sometimes pretty smart songs. It's not as clear cut of a stroke of genius as the Ramones, because they were partly extending their path content-wise. Sonic-ally, there aren't really any predecessors, they were more warped than just about anyone. It's hard finding anyone who's as extreme as the Surfers, but were somehow able to pull it all into a rock song.

Examples:

22 Going on 23 - 1987. Warning: This song uses a recording from a call-in show from a woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted. Whether that is true or not, it appears that she is an unreliable narrator through parts of the call. Combined with the editing, it makes for a disorienting nightmare. That is enhanced by the rest of the band's performance. Pinkus' bass is nearly chromatic (the only scale I can see it fitting in is double harmonic), and Leary's guitar work is chilling.

Hay It's "22 Going on 23" in reverse at high speed, and re-worked. The cows at the end of "22 Going on 23" are what sounds like "Hey".

One's a complete nightmare reflecting what I think is a good abstraction of the world that person might inhabit, and the other is a crazy joke song. They both appear on Locust Abortion Technician. There's absolutely no indication of what speed you're supposed to play that record at, on the label or the sleeve. About half of the songs actually work at either 45 or 33 rpm, depending on whether you're interested in the vocals or some other random instrument sounding near it's correct pitch. Many of them aren't at concert pitch at either speed. Clever or stupid?: IBM presents "You Make the Call!"

Their "Day in the Life" equivalent is probably Jimi**. It's the audio version of a Francis Bacon painting for about seven and a half minutes, then a church bell rings, Lurch answers "You rang?", and it drifts off into one of the most creative soundscapes I've ever heard, with bowling for percussion.

So, I'd call them on cutting edge of stupid/clever, even at this late date.

I can probably also make a case for Capitan Beefheart, but that will have to be for another morning.




*But I think I might have settled on xenharmonic.

**Not named that originally, the original record has pictographs for song titles.

Last edited by scabpicker; 08-09-2016 at 12:22 PM.
  #5  
Old 08-09-2016, 02:48 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
I kind of agree: Sonic Youth walk that line between clever and stupid, consciously playing with tunings, sometimes to great effect and sometime just making noise.

I have a book which I reference regularly here, Our Band Could be Your Life by Michael Azerrad. ISTR that he had a good chapter on the Butthole Surfers, pointing out their anarchic, chaotic approach that often produced worthy stuff.
  #6  
Old 08-14-2016, 07:01 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,282
Stupid.

Clever.

This is arguable of course and both "pieces" are completely anecdotal in my opinion but at least Schulhoff had to work a bit. It makes me smile whereas the Cage... not so much.
  #7  
Old 08-14-2016, 09:59 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
Stupid.

Clever.

This is arguable of course and both "pieces" are completely anecdotal in my opinion but at least Schulhoff had to work a bit. It makes me smile whereas the Cage... not so much.
LEDS - sorry, I am not familiar with Schulhoff. Or sheet music . Can you 'splain what I am looking at?
  #8  
Old 08-14-2016, 10:38 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 24,111
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
LEDS - sorry, I am not familiar with Schulhoff. Or sheet music . Can you 'splain what I am looking at?
Are you at least familiar enough to see that there are no actual notes there, just rests?
  #9  
Old 08-14-2016, 11:10 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,282
Quote:
[Schulhoff]'s early works exhibit the influence of composers from the preceding generation, including Debussy, Scriabin, and Richard Strauss. Later, during his Dadaist phase, Schulhoff composed a number of pieces with absurdist elements. In futurum, part of his Fünf Pittoresken for piano, is a silent piece composed entirely of rests that anticipates John Cage's 4′33″ by over thirty years. Schulhoff's composition is notated in great rhythmic detail, employing bizarre time signatures and intricate rhythmic patterns.
From here.

In short, both pieces are completely silent.

But the difference is that Schulhoff actually went to some absurd lengths to fill the sheet music with rests of various durations only (no notes), in complex time signatures and with some indications like clefs and fermatas (i.e. pauses), all of which are completely useless of course. Amusing and clever.

Cage picked a sheet of paper, wrote "I, II, III" , each followed by "Tacet" (silent) and said: "Job done!". Stupid and lazy.

None of these two works are masterpieces, mind you, but as I said earlier, the Schulhoff makes me smile. The Cage doesn't even deserve a "roll eyes" (and yet some hipsters will tell you that it's "like, so deep.").

Last edited by Les Espaces Du Sommeil; 08-14-2016 at 11:11 AM.
  #10  
Old 08-14-2016, 01:56 PM
Shakester Shakester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,913
I'm going to say Mark Rothko.

To people who get it, his works are gorgeous.

To people who don't get it, they're a con, and the people who (pretend to) like them are dupes. Or something.

I'm not saying anyone has to like anything, but the conspiracy theory version of modern art history deserves the same level of respect as any other conspiracy theory.

ETA: See also; Jackson Pollock.

Last edited by Shakester; 08-14-2016 at 01:57 PM.
  #11  
Old 08-14-2016, 02:23 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 12,698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
I'm going to say Mark Rothko.

ETA: See also; Jackson Pollock.
Clever = Jackson Pollock.
Stupid = Mark Rothko.

I definitely have a preference .
  #12  
Old 08-14-2016, 03:20 PM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Clever = Jackson Pollock.
Stupid = Mark Rothko.
This is what you meant, right?

Clever = Mark Rothko.
Stupid = Jackson Pollock.

  #13  
Old 08-14-2016, 03:37 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 12,698
...and thus new tribes arise and wars are declared .
  #14  
Old 08-16-2016, 08:24 AM
Haldurson Haldurson is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
I would prefer arguments for clever vs easy dismissals as stupid.
I can explain why people think something is stupid. If you like something, it doesn't matter how stupid it is -- you like it. And if you dislike something, it doesn't matter how clever it is, because it's wasted on something you consider to be crap.

And that's basically it.

You are never going to convince someone of anything regarding music that they don't like by claiming that it's clever.

I'll give you my own example of clever, and you tell me. When Bob Dylan first started, he sounded like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWz88VY-FkA

The problem was, he wasn't selling records. So he changed his voice to sound more like a blues singer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHMBs5yZDEc
And sure enough, he started selling records.

Now if you don't like Dylans voice, I'll never convince you that what he did was clever, and if you do like Dylan, it doesn't matter how clever it was.
  #15  
Old 08-16-2016, 08:47 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Are you at least familiar enough to see that there are no actual notes there, just rests?
Ah - I am an idiot. I hadn't looked closely enough. Once I saw sheet music, I had a guitarist's instinctive reaction: to panic and shut down that webpage

I love both Rothko and Pollock, so, yeah - not going to go there. Now, someone like Jeff Koons, who is famous for making big sculptures that are meant to look like giant balloon animals, he walks a fine line. The balloon animals seem really stupid to me, even in person. But he has another large sculpture, Puppy, that really works IMHO in person. It's big and monumental, but it's a puppy, so you get that weird cognitive dissonance, kinda like Warhol depicting a soup can with all of the trappings of Great Art: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...5o0&ajaxhist=0 He is attempting the same with his balloon animal sculptures, but one works for me and the other doesn't.

I can't listen to clips right now, but will go back and check out the links to Dylan. Not sure if that qualifies as clever vs. stupid.
  #16  
Old 08-16-2016, 09:02 AM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 8,054
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haldurson View Post
I can explain why people think something is stupid. If you like something, it doesn't matter how stupid it is -- you like it. And if you dislike something, it doesn't matter how clever it is, because it's wasted on something you consider to be crap.
Whether someone likes or dislikes X is a different matter. Although I suspect that it's just a matter of time before the thread devolves into the usual "X is so cool!" vs "No, you're so dumb, X is stupid!" slapfest.

We're not there yet, though, so maybe we can get some more examples in. I think the more interesting cases is where you like something, and you'll like it either way, but you still can't decide whether it's brilliant or dumb. It's funny you should mention Dylan, since he's like that for me at times.

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin' that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone's tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A. look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose


OK, that is either great poetry that was sweated over and revised endlessly, or just some weird stuff that Bob wrote down while drunk, on a napkin, in the back of a taxi, and then found the next day and decided to keep. It's really hard to tell sometimes. I'm pretty sure that he employed both methods.
  #17  
Old 08-16-2016, 10:29 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
...
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose...
Seriously? I always thought it was "better stay away from those Carolina bayoes."

Not that that makes any more sense.

Personally, I think Dylan has been fooling everyone for 50 years about how clever a songwriter he is (including himself). But that's just my opinion. Even so, he straddles that line sometimes. And I like SHB!

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 08-16-2016 at 10:30 AM.
  #18  
Old 08-16-2016, 10:51 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
Whether someone likes or dislikes X is a different matter. Although I suspect that it's just a matter of time before the thread devolves into the usual "X is so cool!" vs "No, you're so dumb, X is stupid!" slapfest.

We're not there yet, though, so maybe we can get some more examples in. I think the more interesting cases is where you like something, and you'll like it either way, but you still can't decide whether it's brilliant or dumb. It's funny you should mention Dylan, since he's like that for me at times.

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin' that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone's tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A. look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose


OK, that is either great poetry that was sweated over and revised endlessly, or just some weird stuff that Bob wrote down while drunk, on a napkin, in the back of a taxi, and then found the next day and decided to keep. It's really hard to tell sometimes. I'm pretty sure that he employed both methods.
I think these days we would say that Dylan had a good "flow" - like a rapper. If the flow is working, a lot of nuttiness is more than acceptable.

Martian - I used words like "I like" and "I dislike" - but what do you think of my Jeff Koons examples? In both cases, he is trying to jar our thinking by taking childish things and making them monumental - again, depicting them using the language of Great Art(tm). And both are dogs (he had done other balloon animal sculptures, but his most well-known is a dog) - http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...ao0&ajaxhist=0

The Balloon Dog doesn't work as well as the Puppy - IMHO, the former is "stupid" and the latter "clever." As with Rothkos and Pollocks, it really is better if you see them in person, to take in their size, the level of craft that went into them, etc. But the Balloon Dog looks like some company could have manufactured it - like you could order a dozen of them, even that big, and have them delivered by Friday*. The Puppy looks like a shit-ton of work. For some reason all of that apparent effort, and the "hey, wouldja look at that - a big puppy!" reaction create that interesting dissonance.

*apparently the Balloon Animals are super-hard to make, require teams of metal craftsmen and plenty of rejects where Koons's team has to start over. Again, that seems so ridiculous to me for the effect it delivers.
  #19  
Old 08-16-2016, 12:25 PM
Eonwe Eonwe is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Burlington VT
Posts: 8,061
I resist the dichotomy. Or, rather, I think we (modern?) humans have a tendency to need to qualify the things we like or admire as being "smart" or "brilliant" . . . we justify and legitimize our opinions by insisting that the creators of art we like are visionary or somehow really smart.

I think that most of the time, good art is just an expression of something that felt right, cool, or satisfying to the artist, and is a synthesis of that artist's experience up to that point, filtered through their chosen medium.

Sometimes that synthesis is interesting to the rest of us, and other times it isn't, but very rarely is anything truly brilliant, or does a thing's 'cleverness' rise to a level that is notable.

I don't really know the music of Sonic Youth, but my guess is that their sound is something they fell into, and is not 'clever' in the sense that they put their mind to figuring something out. Bob Dylan writes the way he writes.

Very few of us can help but to be ourselves; is an artist who creates work in their own unique way clever, or just the same as the rest of us?

(Sorry to inject wishy-washy philosophy here, but to me, once a person decides to express themselves authentically, all analysis after that is in the eye of the beholder).
  #20  
Old 08-17-2016, 07:42 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 3,360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Clever = Jackson Pollock.
Stupid = Mark Rothko.

I definitely have a preference .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
This is what you meant, right?

Clever = Mark Rothko.
Stupid = Jackson Pollock.

I found the Jackson Pollock simulator on the web and played around with it for a while (left-click to change the color). When I compared my "creations" with the real thing I was struck how lifeless mine were in comparison. Perhaps it's because I wasn't handling a physical medium but I think it's more Pollock had something I lack.

Rothko I have no opinion.
  #21  
Old 08-17-2016, 10:12 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDog View Post
I found the Jackson Pollock simulator on the web and played around with it for a while (left-click to change the color). When I compared my "creations" with the real thing I was struck how lifeless mine were in comparison. Perhaps it's because I wasn't handling a physical medium but I think it's more Pollock had something I lack.

Rothko I have no opinion.
There are plenty of Modern Art threads on the SDMB - perhaps search on "Rothko" or the user capybara, whom I haven't seen lately but is an expert and patient with the Modern Art is all Crap types.
  #22  
Old 08-17-2016, 11:10 AM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 15,125
I'm having a brain fart moment as to exactly what acts/shows/movies qualify, but I have to think that a lot of comedy straddles this particular edge.
  #23  
Old 08-17-2016, 11:15 AM
Shakester Shakester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,913
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
I'm having a brain fart moment as to exactly what acts/shows/movies qualify, but I have to think that a lot of comedy straddles this particular edge.
Good point, I nominate Zoolander as a film that is both stupid and clever.
  #24  
Old 08-17-2016, 11:28 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
Good point, I nominate Zoolander as a film that is both stupid and clever.
Oh yeah!

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Something like Buckaroo Banzai, too!
  #25  
Old 08-17-2016, 06:53 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: The bunghole of WA
Posts: 12,348
Toby Keith himself described "Red Solo Cup" as "the stupidest thing I've ever written", but I think it's pretty damned clever
  #26  
Old 08-22-2016, 02:13 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,983
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Oh yeah!

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Something like Buckaroo Banzai, too!
Yeah, I was thinking of Buckaroo, wondering if it was appropriate for this thread.

I really loved this movie. I recently re-watched it with my son. Yet I don't really know if it's genius, or stupid, or both.

The cheesiness of the production values and dialog contrasts with the caliber of the actors in a very interesting way. The weirdest part is how seriously the movie takes itself. It certainly has many layers. But also, the plot is actually a bit lame and the dialog is often wooden and expository.

For me, I think the big thrill is imagining a world where there could be a Buckaroo Banzai person, a comic book character in real life. (That's why I love lines like- hunter looks at comic book with his flashlight and says, "It's 'Buckaroo Banzai'; it's the latest issue.")

I'm guessing the actors either had a blast making that movie, or hated every minute.
  #27  
Old 08-22-2016, 02:32 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Laugh a-while you can Monkey Boy!!

So many great, stupid lines in that movie.
  #28  
Old 08-22-2016, 02:46 PM
scabpicker scabpicker is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Funkytown (Fort Worth)
Posts: 4,203
Oh lord, Buckaroo Banzai is probably the poster child for this idea, if anything is. It's dialogue is littered with priceless jewels that make you wonder if there actually is a line, or if you can only accurately graph clever/stupid with the overlap of a Venn diagram

Dr. Lizardo: Laugh(a) while you can, monkeyboy!

The President: Buckaroo, I don't know what to say. Lectroids? Planet 10? Nuclear extortion? A girl named "John"?

And again, the Prez.: What are you talking about, man? Some kind of race war in New Jersey?


Buckaroo Banzai: John Parker, take this wheel. Just... just hold on, that's good. It flies like a truck.
John Parker: Good. {pause} What is a truck?

Buckaroo Banzai: {as the thermopod is in free-fall} Can't you fly this thing?
John Parker: I'm a diplomat! I failed flight school!


New Jersey: Why is there a watermelon there?
Reno Nevada: {after a pause} I'll tell you later.


Scooter Lindley (who is about 10 years old): Get away from that car, or I'll drink your blood!
Secretary of Defense: {noticing Scooter is holding an automatic rifle}Whatcha got there, son? That's not... real, is it?
Scooter Lindley: {fires a shot to the side} Get 'em up!

ETA: Hahah! I actually say that to people IRL.

Last edited by scabpicker; 08-22-2016 at 02:47 PM.
  #29  
Old 08-22-2016, 02:58 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,983
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Laugh a-while you can Monkey Boy!!

So many great, stupid lines in that movie.
Overhead PA: "There are monkey-boys in the facility."

Billboard: "Yoyodyne- Where the Future Begins Tomorrow!"

Gotta love'em. I could go on and on.

They really had me when I bought the line about the promised sequel- I now believe it was a joke and they had no intention to deliver.
  #30  
Old 08-22-2016, 03:27 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
Overhead PA: "There are monkey-boys in the facility."

Billboard: "Yoyodyne- Where the Future Begins Tomorrow!"

Gotta love'em. I could go on and on.

They really had me when I bought the line about the promised sequel- I now believe it was a joke and they had no intention to deliver.
Clearly, there was completed sequel for Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League, but somehow it fell into nefarious hands!
  #31  
Old 08-22-2016, 04:45 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,983
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Clearly, there was completed sequel for Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League, but somehow it fell into nefarious hands!


It must've been that she-devil, HRC! Lock her up!
  #32  
Old 08-23-2016, 03:07 PM
gallows fodder gallows fodder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 4,287
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Ah - I am an idiot. I hadn't looked closely enough. Once I saw sheet music, I had a guitarist's instinctive reaction: to panic and shut down that webpage
I laughed like a loon at this. Thanks, man.
  #33  
Old 08-23-2016, 06:56 PM
EinsteinsHund EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 2,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haldurson View Post
I can explain why people think something is stupid. If you like something, it doesn't matter how stupid it is -- you like it. And if you dislike something, it doesn't matter how clever it is, because it's wasted on something you consider to be crap.

And that's basically it.

You are never going to convince someone of anything regarding music that they don't like by claiming that it's clever.

I'll give you my own example of clever, and you tell me. When Bob Dylan first started, he sounded like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWz88VY-FkA

The problem was, he wasn't selling records. So he changed his voice to sound more like a blues singer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHMBs5yZDEc
And sure enough, he started selling records.

Now if you don't like Dylans voice, I'll never convince you that what he did was clever, and if you do like Dylan, it doesn't matter how clever it was.
Huh? I honestly can't grasp what point you're trying to make. Your first link is Lay Lady Lay from 1969, when he had already sold tons of records with his "blues singer" voice as you put it. One of his biggest single hits btw. Second link, The Time They Are-A Changing, is from 1964. Heck, Dylan sounded never more like a blues man than on his very first album. Even if you unintentionally swapped the links, it wouldn't make sense. He DID change his voice for 1969's Nashville Skyline, nobody knows exactly why (he said it was caused by having stopped smoking. Right Bob ), but I've never heard anything about him trying to sound more commercial. This voice was in any way a brief intermezzo (and one of the many oddities) in his career that was forgotten after the next album, Self Portrait.
  #34  
Old 08-23-2016, 07:11 PM
EinsteinsHund EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 2,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
Whether someone likes or dislikes X is a different matter. Although I suspect that it's just a matter of time before the thread devolves into the usual "X is so cool!" vs "No, you're so dumb, X is stupid!" slapfest.

We're not there yet, though, so maybe we can get some more examples in. I think the more interesting cases is where you like something, and you'll like it either way, but you still can't decide whether it's brilliant or dumb. It's funny you should mention Dylan, since he's like that for me at times.

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin' that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone's tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A. look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose


OK, that is either great poetry that was sweated over and revised endlessly, or just some weird stuff that Bob wrote down while drunk, on a napkin, in the back of a taxi, and then found the next day and decided to keep. It's really hard to tell sometimes. I'm pretty sure that he employed both methods.
This is probably my favorite Dylan verse of all, and I bet the napkin theory is much more probable, or maybe he wrote it in the back of the studio between two takes. That was his style of writing in those times. And right, later he employed the other method, in fact he had long spells of writer's block later in his career, whereas he could write a song in ten minutes in the mid-sixties. For me, everything in those lines makes sense (except for "No Doz" because I don't know what it means) and it gives me glimpses of the time and place in which it was written. Of course WordMan is right, the flow and the beat in those lines are crucial, that's why they work better when Dylan sings them than printed on paper or pixels on a screen, respectively.
  #35  
Old 08-24-2016, 05:50 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,983
"No Doz" = caffeine pills IIRC.

Stone Age "Red Bull"
  #36  
Old 08-24-2016, 06:31 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 21,318
Ah, I've got one: for a while here on the SDMB, I have posted to Best Lyric-type threads with this. Also, there's been a recent, kerfuffly Beatles Suck thread where "you show me your best Beatles lyric and I will show you better!!!!" was tossed down all gauntlet-y (and shit). If it would've been productive, I would've posted it again there.

The Beatles, When I Saw Her Standing There: "She was just seventeen, you know what I mean."

Paul thought it was stupid. He trotted it out as filler while he was trying to sell the song to John.

John knew it was clever. Because, yeah, we knew exactly what Paul meant. He told Paul "no way, keep it in!!"

Fuckin' A. I love that.

Last edited by WordMan; 08-24-2016 at 06:32 PM.
  #37  
Old 08-24-2016, 07:03 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 81,286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Clever = Jackson Pollock.
Stupid = Mark Rothko.

I definitely have a preference .
Bingo! I totally "get" Pollock. I did from the very first canvas I saw. Rothko, I just don't "get".
  #38  
Old 08-24-2016, 07:39 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 8,054
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
"No Doz" = caffeine pills IIRC.

Stone Age "Red Bull"
I don't actually think he's saying "No Doz". I admit that I was lazy and grabbed the lyrics from the intertubes. Should have been more careful. I can't tell with certainty from the record, but after some further research, I think the actual line is:

Quote:
don't tie no bows
  #39  
Old 08-24-2016, 09:45 PM
EinsteinsHund EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 2,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
I don't actually think he's saying "No Doz". I admit that I was lazy and grabbed the lyrics from the intertubes. Should have been more careful. I can't tell with certainty from the record, but after some further research, I think the actual line is:
FWIW, this bugged me, so I checked my good old print copy of the official “Lyrics 1962-1985“, and there it is “Don't try 'No Doz'“. Although this is an official publication, it's somehow infamous for sloppy transliteration and so there is no guarantee for accuracy, but this is how I also always heard it, without knowing the meaning until this thread.
__________________
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
  #40  
Old 08-24-2016, 10:33 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 8,054
I swear I'm hearing "no bows". Maybe I'm going nuts, though.

Yet another possibility: In the famous video, Bob is holding up a cue card at that point with the text "no dose". Some of those cards are punny, though, so it doesn't have to mean anything.
  #41  
Old 08-24-2016, 10:43 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 8,054
Hang on. What about this version?

I'm hearing "no bows" on that one, too. What do you think?
  #42  
Old 08-25-2016, 04:51 AM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,608
Obviously, Lennon's I Am The Walrus was influenced by Dylan. I always figured a lot of the lyrics were just Lennon playing with the sound of the words and the rhythm of them, not the meanings. Although I'm sure there were some who spent hours trying to write academic papers on the deep meaning of lyrics like "Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye"
  #43  
Old 08-25-2016, 07:48 AM
EinsteinsHund EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 2,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
I swear I'm hearing "no bows". Maybe I'm going nuts, though.

Yet another possibility: In the famous video, Bob is holding up a cue card at that point with the text "no dose". Some of those cards are punny, though, so it doesn't have to mean anything.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
Hang on. What about this version?

I'm hearing "no bows" on that one, too. What do you think?
You know what? Listening again (and I've listened to the song umpteen times, and I knew the alternate version too), I now clearly hear "Don't tie no bows". Whereas the aforementioned lyrics book and the official Bob Dylan website say "Don't try No Doz". But that doesn't count for much, as I said Dylan lyrics were often sloppily transcribed, and he used to change lines in the studio on the spot between takes, and maybe his noted lyrics differed from the final sung version. There are many such ambiguities in his work.
  #44  
Old 08-25-2016, 08:15 AM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Right here
Posts: 17,979
I am reminded of the now banned poster lissner who defended Showgirls at every turn. It wasn't a movie so poorly made it made stripping unwatchable and sex in a pool with Elizabeth Berkely an erection killer but a brilliant satire in which Paul Verhoeven's genius flew over everyone's head.
  #45  
Old 08-25-2016, 08:50 AM
mack mack is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NYC
Posts: 3,417
Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
Stupid.

Clever.

This is arguable of course and both "pieces" are completely anecdotal in my opinion but at least Schulhoff had to work a bit. It makes me smile whereas the Cage... not so much.
Well, not for the first time Stupid had a better PR machine than Clever.
  #46  
Old 08-25-2016, 09:39 AM
EinsteinsHund EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 2,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Similar to The Ramones: people dismissed them as loud punks, but when you read about them, and actually listen, they loved Phil Spector's Wall of Sound pop songs, couldn't afford or know what to do with a roomful of studio musicians, so they consciously tried to get that filled-in sound with guitar distortion.
Same with their lyrics. People may say they were simplistic or didn't make any sense, but I find songs like Teenage Lobotomy or Cretin Hop very clever (isn't "Guess I have to break the news, that I got no mind to lose" a great line?). Those lyrics perfectly matched the music, and Joey's obsession with mental illness was grounded in his own lifetime struggles, and in my book were a perfect expression of handling them. Though the Ramones may never have heard of Hans Arp or Kurt Schwitters, there's a common thread from 1916 Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich Dada to modern Punk (if anybody is interested further, I can only recommend Greil Marcus' book Lipstick Traces about those commonalities). Primitive doesn't always equal dumb.
  #47  
Old 08-25-2016, 09:54 AM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 16,538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggirl View Post
I am reminded of the now banned poster lissner who defended Showgirls at every turn. It wasn't a movie so poorly made it made stripping unwatchable and sex in a pool with Elizabeth Berkely an erection killer but a brilliant satire in which Paul Verhoeven's genius flew over everyone's head.
Must have been weird not having anybody come on him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff
Obviously, Lennon's I Am The Walrus was influenced by Dylan. I always figured a lot of the lyrics were just Lennon playing with the sound of the words and the rhythm of them, not the meanings. Although I'm sure there were some who spent hours trying to write academic papers on the deep meaning of lyrics like "Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye"
He deliberately wrote the song to fuck with people who did just that with other Beatles songs - IIRC he'd received mail from a kid whose teacher had given them such an assignment, and had become furious. "Let's see you analyze this, fuckers" was the sentiment, if not the actual quote (my Beatles biog is out of arms' reach).

Last edited by Kobal2; 08-25-2016 at 09:55 AM.
  #48  
Old 08-25-2016, 02:17 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 12,698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggirl View Post
I am reminded of the now banned poster lissner who defended Showgirls at every turn. It wasn't a movie so poorly made it made stripping unwatchable and sex in a pool with Elizabeth Berkely an erection killer but a brilliant satire in which Paul Verhoeven's genius flew over everyone's head.
To be fair it wasn't just lissener. He was just rather more aggressive/abrasive about his arguments. Other more popular posters with a film education like Cervaise agreed with him. Without re-hashing those arguments I could kinda see their point, though in the end I think it was clever speculation more than an absolutely provable argument ( unless Verhoeven has since come clean on the topic ).

Doesn't make Showgirls anymore watchable though . Brilliant satire or not, as simple entertainment it was a gigantic, absolutely massive fail.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 08-25-2016 at 02:18 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017