Swiper, No Swiping

Ok, I’m sitting at work primarily useless so lets talk about 2017: Justin’s year of dating.

This will not be interesting but I’m bored so skip this one if you want.

Ok, so I broke up with my girlfriend in March for reasons. If you want to find out those reasons, get me drunk or idk hit her up. After that breakup I went on a hardcore campaign to be the man whore I felt I always needed/wanted to be. Years of observing social interactions and the general maturing of taste had prepared me for anything. First step, download all the apps: Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble and OK Cupid. Fill in the stuff, start swiping….keep swiping. “Wow, this sucks.” Then the levee, not so much breaks but lets in a little bit of water. I’m not gonna breakdown each girl that I saw this year because that’s ridiculous but I’ll sum up my experience briefly. Dating is so weird. You have to adapt to each woman you talk to while sticking to really the only rule that matters: Don’t. Be. Fucking. Weird. I’m serious. That’s it. Did you talk about your job for 15 minutes straight without her getting a word in? Weird. Did you text her at the crack of dawn after your first date telling her felt something special? Weird. Did you talk about how problematic black women are? Weird and wrong.  I’ve had experiences that ranged from downright boring to absolutely great but nothing that was dreadful (KNOCK ON WOOD).

So I’m dating, do not have a girlfriend and a majority of the summer/fall I was not in the market for one. This means at any given point I could have been talking to a number of women and this didn’t always feel right. I think they were all mature enough to know this and it would have been naive to believe that I was the only guy they were seeing. Still though, it felt weird. Carefully constructing schedules, rereading texts to make sure you had certain details right, never repeating restaurants for first dates. Unnecessary work for something that may last anywhere from one date to several months. I quickly grew tired of this but I’m a weak man and I think I became addicted to the game. How do you approach this conversation? How will she react to this sex joke? Oh she uses a great deal of emojis, follow suit. I think I discovered that I just like chatting with strangers. Wait, that seems lonely. Uh. A conversation is a puzzle and I like figuring them out. Add a level of trying to figure out multiple puzzles at once and you can get a little high from it.

Oh shit. I’m a bad person. It sounds impersonal and a total disregard for the other person’s feelings and intentions.

I’ve tried to remain honest with my intentions throughout the entire year and it has worked out even if it spelled the end of a situation. There’s only been a couple points of drama that I’ve dealt with that caused me any stress but I stand by my honesty. Lately my mindset has changed and I’ve been open to finding things that are more meaningful. There’s a person of interest and I’m interested in seeing where it goes. Even if nothing happens, it shows that I’m actively trying to let go of the past and willing to open up to someone else. We’ll see, it’s still early.

 

Eh, I don’t feel like editing this, screw it.

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Taylor Swift-reputation

About time you jerk


 

Okay so here we go.  Taylor Swift finally let the streaming services have her newest album reputation after blue balling us for nearly a month. I’m not going to act like I’m Taylor’s biggest fan but she is talented, a drama magnet and immensely popular. I was looking forward to this project for those same reasons but after hanging out with some white people recently two things became very obvious. The first is that I know so little of Taylor’s catalog. The second is that I know waaay more of it than I thought. First comes cryptic Instagram posts which means, finally new music is just around the corner.

“Look What You Made Do” drops and holy moly this song blows. Reception is either “Yay!” or “Wow this is terrible.” Here is my review of the song and I will touch on it again in a bit in context of the album. So out the gate I’m skeptical; we’re getting a different Taylor. She’s no longer the girl next door, she doesn’t care about her…reputation (roll credits) any more. Completing this single drop are the album cover:
And video:

Ugh.

Her next couple singles were leaps and bounds better but then I had to wait to listen to the full album. Jerk.

Honestly, I didn’t hate reputation. I’m very happy that Taylor didn’t have this petty, emo attitude throughout the whole project because unless the production was incredible would have been a turnoff.  There are some “I’m a strong woman, idgaf” tracks on here and that’s totally fine. A majority of the subject matter is relationships, boys, breakups, the usual stuff. Some attack these subjects from cool angles like “Ready for It.” She’s letting her subject know that she’s coming for him and that he better get ready for the games. The instrumental matches both her aggression and the more softer parts of the track and is a rather enjoyable way to kick off the album.

Next up (I’m not breaking down every song, chill) is the swagged out “End Game” featuring Future and MY FAVORITE MUSICIAN, Ed FUCKING Sheeran. AlrightIlikethissongalot. Taylor sings about how she wants to be the last girl you are with, not some stop on the road, and not “just another ex“. She doesn’t want to go through the pain of missing you or hurt you like those other girls. There’s a pre-chorusy chant that talks about her reputation and the last verse by Taylor speaks on how she cant help the drama that just happens to follow her. First off, the chant just sounds cool. It’s catchy, rhythmic, and the features are cool. So now two songs in a row that I like…well alright alright alright.

The next three tracks are cool solid middle of the album songs even though they are 3-5 on track listing. “I Did Something Bad” is another song with Swift as the villain with solid chorus. “Don’t Blame Me” is a slower but synth heavy tune about being addicted to her lover. My favorite of this bunch is “Delicate”. It’s a light vulnerable bop that is quite cute. It shows that Taylor is taking her time with this new guy as her past relationship may have ended because she jumped into them rather quickly…then wrote a hit song.

I’m gonna speed this up.

I still really hate “Look What You Made Me Do” but the production of the song makes a little bit more sense in the context of reputation but the writing and general attitude still just isn’t interesting. I feel like it just doesn’t fit. Right after that though, comes “So It Goes” which has the best 45 seconds on the album right at the beginning which then you find out is just the verses. The melody, muted basses and bass drums sound so great then tease like they are about to crescendo into something great. The chorus actually isn’t bad but personally I disagree with the drum programming. I would have preferred something a hair more epic by removing some of the bass drum hits and hi hats. I really enjoy it though and I’m glad it follows the disaster before it.

“Gorgeous” was another single and there seems to be a little whimsy to the synth line which coincides with Taylor gushing about her partner being so attractive. It’s goofy and it works. There’s always a point on an album that you feel like an artist has explored all of their ideas out and everything that comes next is just a rehash. We get there at track nine, “Getaway Car”. There isn’t really anything wrong with this song but it’s kind of just there. “King Of My Heart” feels like Taylor is just using the same melodic rhythms that we’ve heard before but then some cool, tom-filled drums kick in that got me dancing a bit. There are a few more throwaway songs that bring up the rear. “Dress” where she only it bought it so you could take it off. Fine. “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is probably about Katy Perry or…idk she mad. The album wraps up with “New Year’s Day” a nice little piano tune and it closes out Taylor’s project nicely.

reputation grew on me as I listened to it a whole bunch today. I can’t see more than two or three songs really sticking with me but the album is cool. I didn’t realize that she sung so rhythmically and quickly at times but it didn’t take anything away from the tracks. The album is heavily produced and at times I thought the instrumental could have done less; less hip hop tinged drums and less synth here and there. Despite the ridiculous album cover, general vibe I got from the album art and first single, she kinda stuck to what she knew subject wise. One theme that popped up a lot is how her reputation has affected her ability to be in “normal” relationships. We know her as one who is constantly followed around by drama which has tainted her image and could make her hard or even scary to date. Anyway like I said, I didn’t hate it and I would even say I kinda liked it.

Neato.

Zoos

I fucking love zoos


Zoos are awesome. You get to see animals that you would never see unless you spent a buttload of money to go to their homeland. Unfortunately those same animals would kill you because you just strolled into their house and one of you bastards killed their neighbors kid, Todd. Todd had a great life ahead of him; he was being groomed to be the leader of that crew of hippos. So zoos it is.

Obviously there are people against zoos because of the captivity that these natively wild creatures are subjected to unwillingly. I’m not the right person to argue about animal rights, I don’t even want a pet and just don’t have that emotional attachment to animals. BUT in a zoo, for whatever reason, I find myself wondering/worrying if they are being treated properly. I saw goose just walking around and was trying figure out if it would be ok not in its’ habitat. There was another exhibit that looked like it had some trash and I felt a sting of anger at whoever thought THAT was the proper place for their refuse.

Sometimes I imagine if the animals have existential crises’. “What is my purpose?” Darryl the lion thinks to himself. Do they wonder what they are doing? Do they think about life outside the enclosures? Would they like to meet those monkeys across the walkway? Do all snakes have to deal with that one (million) fucking eight year old that keeps banging on the glass?

Probably not. It’s more like:

“Man, that particular human looks tasty.”

“I hope Tara comes with that good meat today.”

“You know, I haven’t explored this section of rock…Oh wait, yeah I have.”

“I wish Larry would stop talking about his wife like I don’t understand him. She was here yesterday with a black dude and they were making out like lunatics. He has to get out of that relationship.”

“That tree looks like a great spot to scratch my butt.”

“Yo if Sharon pets me again, I’ll spell out all the secrets she tells me in the dirt. She’s killed 7 people!”

“How long do I have to sit here before they move on?”

“Dinner time! Thank God, I was about to go over this fence.”

“Oh look, that giraffe just had another kid.”

“Get in fucking water, Grant! You smell shit!”

At this point, I’m just convinced that animals have coherent thoughts and a firm grasp of the English language due to being around people all day.

Well this went off the rails.

I fucking love zoos.

 

via Daily Prompt: Zoo

Cool?

Recently I’ve been questioning if I’m as cool as I think I am. The answer is “who cares” but it’s a legit thing to think about.  This is all spurned by the “Memories” on Facebook.  You get to see old pictures when you weighed 20 lbs less and reflect on old statuses you wrote that got two likes. It’s these old statuses that I always take note of because I wonder what my mindset was when I posted them. Did I think I was being cool? Was I begging for attention? Some of it still brilliant and I GOT NO LOVE BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE HATING ON THE KID. The vast majority of it is cringe worthy and I’m left trying to figure out why that statement needed to be said. It’s probably because I thought, “I like this, people will like this.”

This leads me to think, “Is what I’m posting in 2017 cool not just now but forever?” I can’t peer into the future to see if my mindset has changed but currently the answer is yes. Carefully curated Facebook posts, thought out but purposely reckless tweets creating an image that I wish to portray. Talk about pop culture, sports, overshare, and mostly stay away from politics; don’t flood people’s timelines but be active. Be funny, don’t engage with morons and under no circumstances do. not. be. corny. So many rules but it’s worth it because despite this sounding a tad narcissistic, I have a social media presence that I would want to follow. I think what I do is super cool and others may not but who cares about them.

Will I feel the same way in 5-10 years? I hope so because right now I believe I’ve ALMOST (been complaining a lot recently and I shit on Christmas recently) hit peak social media performance-I just aint got no followers. When I’m 35, will my social media just turn into pics of my kids, dusty opinions about politics, Tasty vids, and other old people stuff? Will I look back on old posts from 2017 and cringe the teeth out of my mouth?

Eh.

Who cares.

11/10/2017

Title is the date cuz I ain’t talkin bout nothin


Whatever, Fresh Bop comes and goes as it pleases. Today was supposed to be a full review of Taylor’s Reputation but since she’s all anti-streaming and I’m not about to buy her music…that will have to wait. Or maybe I won’t do it all because you have enough money so give us the music instead of being annoying for no effect. What else? Kimbra aka bae released a new track called “Top of the World” and it’s amazing. Girls have been annoying this week and I’ve been tired since Tuesday.

Today I thought of this fantasy world that I created when I was younger. As the main character I would put myself in all sorts of situations and come up with missions that I had to take care of. I did this deep into my teen years for whatever reason. I don’t remember a lot of the specifics but I want to write about it because I’m bored.

So I watched a lot of cartoons and anime growing up. Toonami was the best thing to happen young boys. Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Teen Titans, Naruto, etc WAS. MY. SHIT. I’m pretty sure Raven is the origin of my very real attractive to that emo, goth look. Anyway. I wanted to be one of those super-powered teens, I wanted to fight powerful villains and hordes of monsters. So in my head I just did it. I remember having Yusuke’s spirit gun, an ability to pull out LITERALLY any weapon from some invisible, inter-dimensional fanny pack. I could literally do anything I could think of which obviously made me the most powerful being in the universe. That’s twice I’ve used literally and I mean it. I could do it all. No cooldowns, fatigue or drawbacks. Anything.  Flying. Done. Invisibility. Child’s play. Super speed, energy blasts, telekinesis. EASY. My “costume,” which I thought a great deal about, was a hoodie and shorts. Thinking back, for safety reasons, probably not the smartest but it is still the most comfortable outfit in the world.

There was this one mission I was sent on. Where everyone was bad so my only option was to just blow up the entire planet. The conflict occurred because I did not want to do such a thing; obviously there had to be innocent people that  did not deserve to get vaporized. I did it anyway since the bad outweighed the good and I was a heartless teenager. The government wanted to experiment on me because of my abilities and I let them. In all other shows the heroes wouldn’t let them which I always thought that was weird. Like if I didn’t like some of the test I would just leave, they couldn’t stop me. Fantasy Justin had a blast and I don’t know why I just went to that place so frequently back then. I could be at church, school or just in bed before I passed out creating scenarios that I would have to fight my way out or defeat some evil.

Ok that’s it. Seriously check out this Kimbra song:

Bad Bars: Orange

I was gonna do flips of the daily prompt word, throw in some rhymes but the word is….orange….ORANGE. I’m not Eminem so I won’t rhyme with that but I am gonna try to have fun.

Your skills are on a sharp decline

Losing steam with those faulty rhymes

The crowd throws fruit cuz your act is terrible

The oranges move bodies like the Broad St Line

You can catch these hand wherever, I will run up on this guy,

Follow him to the bathroom, I won’t even say hello

Sneak him while he pissing, have him bleeding out his nose

Docs be seeing orange when I mixed that red and the yellow

You can leave and I don’t care where you go

Go somewhere cold, somewhere hot, or somewhere a little toasty

But don’t drive, you better fly, or I’ll run you off the road

And then you can die just like Marissa in the OC

Shots fly, rounds bouncing off the floor

Come back the next day, scouts need to see more

Good prospects, I got agents coming to your door

Basketball scheme just cuz basketballs are orange (that’s a super reach, jeez)

Weed dealers coming into town, get rid of them with rational means

Agent Orange the crop, side effects be damned

Bodies covered in orange like the Dutch national team.

I plant the best trees, my results are nonsensical

My apples are regal and my oranges are presidential.

That’s a Trump bars and my rhymes are inessential.

 

OK that’s enough. These are so bad but was so fun to think of. Gotta go listen to music #DoublePostFriday

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Orange

Thandi Ntuli-The Offering

Alright, so another music post but at least this time I focus on one project…Right!? Guys?? Please don’t leave!


Well, last night I had an epiphany. I’m picky about my jazz. The problem is that I really can’t afford to be. Jazz is a well established genre complete with sub-genres and strange offshoots but it is probably the least popular form of music in the world (idk this is conjecture). These artists need our support though; they deserve all the recognition and attention that pop garners. The problem is that when your favorite pop artist makes a song with a little jazz influence, it is heralded while true jazz musicians starve. For example, look at the acclaim To Pimp A Butterfly received or how popular La La Land was upon release. Jazz can work if properly presented to the public but only in small doses because the attention span just isn’t there. I got way off topic. My point was that I’m picky because like EDM, there is so much jazz and so much of it can be similar. For me it takes something special; some innovation, a new approach to rhythm/melody or extreme skill to keep me engaged and win me over. This isn’t the birth of jazz, you don’t get brownie points for knowing how to play your instrument and presenting a solid solo.

That brings me to Thandi Ntuli and her album The Offering released in 2014. I had never heard of this South African pianist until yesterday when I was told to check her out. She hails from Capetown where she studied jazz in college there as well. My initial reaction to the album was that Ntuli has a strong grasp of the things that make great jazz as well as a formidable command of her instrument. Technically, there is nothing wrong with the project. The players execute things very well and Thandi makes commendable songwriting decisions that hold my interest. There is a wealth of solos by everyone and, I will contradict this later, a lot of them are very non-masturbatory. This sentiment actually bleeds out to the whole album and I appreciate the restraint. There is no “Look at me! I can blaze over these chord changes!” My favorite solos occur in the tracks “201 Aa”(the first piano solo) and “Uz’ubuye(Intro)”, the latter of which is just a five minute piano solo. I was told that which makes Ntuli so great is that she has great command of the the alto region and after listening I can understand that statement. She stays in her bag and does so much in that space.

But…but…I…I just want more. I set super high expectations with this album for two main reasons. I have recently listened to Mark Guiliana’s Jersey and Christian Scott’s Emancipation Procrastination and those projects blew me away. I thought I was hitting a hot streak. The second reason was all I knew about this project was it is South African jazz. I was strapped in and ready for new rhythms, possibly a wealth of auxiliary percussion and other musings that represented the artist’s home. Sure we get track listings and the DOPE cover art but outside of that, it is just a jazz album.

The other issue is that the lack of risk/innovation. Now, I’m very aware that this could be a personal opinion but I stand by it at the risk of sounding stupid. This lack of risk taking is mostly felt through structure and in the solos. I applauded this safeness earlier because its ideas are executed well but I will contradict myself here. At no point did I feel like any of the players were just going for it. I wanted blood. I wanted to imagine that after a solo people were exhausted, someone’s mom was crying, wigs tossed. Obviously that doesn’t belong on every project but The Offering definitely had some room for it. There is a trumpet solo on “H.T.” where I feel like dude was heating up a little bit but then the guitar solo afterwards does in fact cook. Outside of that and half of “Uz’ubuye”…*shrugs* tasteful and controlled solos. There is one exception. On the second track “Contemplation” and the last song, “In Between Spaces” we get pretty lackluster drum solos which is a shame because the space given is so perfect.

Overall, The Offering is really good. I can always appreciate well made music that is recorded well. Highlights for me include the aforementioned “201 Aa” and  both “Uz’ubuye” tracks. Thandi Ntuli is now on my radar and she has an album coming out this year. Hopefully she continues to grow and comes with fresh ideas. I appreciate this recommendation and this album.

Check it out here: