Taking random pictures of the sky

I recently finished reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson and, reluctant to start another book until after my move back to California, I've been passing time with my flatmates' back issues of Blender.

I know, I know… But Parade costs money!

Nowhere is Blender's shoddy journalism more evident than in the blurbs for its "20 Songs You Should Download This Month" feature.

I culled the following from the magazine's online "20 Songs" archive, which spans three years.

Exhibit A: jeopardy! mad libs
"this Canadian quintet" (The Arcade Fire)
"this Harlem meanie" (Cam'ron)
"this Harlem oddball" (Juelz Santana)
"this London phenom" (M.I.A.)
"these California newbies" (We Are Scientists)
"these Dirty South newbies" (Dem Franchize Boys)
"these San Fernando Valley metallers" (Incubus)
"these New Jersey punk-metal rookies" (My Chemical Romance)
"this Sri Lankan-born beauty" (M.I.A.)
"these Austin art-popsters" (Spoon)
"this former British teen-popstress" (Rachel Stevens)
"these lo-fi Minnesotans" (Tapes 'n Tapes)
"these White Stripes-endorsed Cincinnatians" (The Greenhornes)
"this Neil Young-obsessed Idaho foursome" (Built to Spill)
"this New York State punk foursome" (Matchbook Romance)
"this Brit foursome" (Kasabian)
"these Athens, Georgia, indie-rockers" (Elf Power)
"this Buffalo, N.Y., indie troupe" (Mercury Rev)
"these Brooklyn indie faves" (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)

The blurbs frequently incorporate a location, seemingly just to fill space. I mean, who cares that Incubus is from the Valley?

Exhibit B: "bellingham, washington" is 21 characters long
Sep 05
"these Bellingham, Washington, sensitoids" (Death Cab for Cutie)
Oct 05
"these Bellingham, Washington, indie-rock swooners" (Death Cab for Cutie)

Likewise, who cares that Death Cab is from Bellingham, Washington? I don't even know where that is, yet Blender feels the need to mention it in consecutive issues.

Exhibit C: don't play that
"Jay-Z's chubby homey" (Beanie Sigel)
"two Georgia homeys" (Da BackWudz)
"50 Cent's gruff homie" (Lloyd Banks)
"Kanye West's Chi-town homey" (Rhymefest)
"Ludacris's tough homiette" (Shawnna)
"Curtis Jackson's high-voiced, oft-jailed Queens homey" (Tony Yayo)

Apparently, black people can't be "friend"s. Of all the synonyms though, the writers exploit "homey"?

Exhibit D: u-turn
Apr 05
"an R&B understudy sets her sights on Beyoncé's Manolos" (Amerie)
Jun 05
"[she] gets her Mary J. on" (Amerie)

Well, which one is it?

Exhibit E: what is "punk"?
"agit-punks" (The [International] Noise Conspiracy)
"art-punks" (Art Brut)
"dance-punk" (Franz Ferdinand)
"emo-punk" (Fall Out Boy)
"freewheeling punk" (The Libertines)
"garage-punk" (PJ Harvey)
"New York State punk" (Matchbook Romance)
"post-punk" (Kaiser Chiefs)
"pop-punks" (Motion City Soundtrack)
"power punk" (Be Your Own Pet)
"prog-punk" (The Mars Volta)
"punk-metal" (My Chemical Romance)
"punkish New Wave" (We Are Scientists)
"rockabilly-tinged, saxophone-laced punk" (The Zutons)
"screaming punk" (Blood on the Wall)
"ska-punk" (Dogs Die in Hot Cars)
"smartypants London punk" (The Rakes)
"synth-punk" (LCD Soundsystem)

A: a suffix, more or less

Exhibit F: 40 acres and a mule
"Ludacris's smoove protégé" (Bobby Valentino)
"Usher's rapping protégé" (Rico Love)
"Jay-Z's new R&B protégé" (Teairra Marí)
"Dr. Dre's new bullet-scarred protégé" (The Game)
"Lil Jon's rowdy crunk protégés" (Trillville)
"from the producer of the 'The Whisper Song' comes a new Georgia protégé" (Homebwoi)
"with his new protégé in tow, Wu-Tang's finest MC…" (Theodore Unit)

Off-topic curiosity. Errrbody got their someone.

I also question Blender's "20 Songs" selection methodology.

Exhibit G: repeat offenders
19. Cam'ron – "Get Em Daddy Remix" (Mar 06)
14. Cam'ron feat. Jaheim – "Something New" (Sep 05)
10. Cam'ron feat. Kanye West and Syleena Johnson – "Down and Out" (Mar 05)
2. Cam'ron – "Girls" (Jan/Feb 05)
6. Beanie Sigel feat. Cam'ron – "Wanted" (Nov 04)
12. Jim Jones feat. Cam'ron and Bezel – "Certified Gangstas" (Oct 04)
13. Cam'ron – "Lord You Know" (Aug 04)

9. Tony Yayo feat. 50 Cent – "So Seductive" (Oct 05)
4. 50 Cent feat. Mobb Deep – "Out of Control" (Sep 05)
1. 50 Cent – "Ski Mask Way" (May 05)
5. 50 Cent – "Candy Shop" (Apr 05)
13. The Game feat. 50 Cent – "Hate It or Love It" (Apr 05)
17. 50 Cent – "Disco Inferno" (Mar 05)
4. The Game feat. 50 Cent – "Westside Story" (Jan/Fed 05)

The online archive is incomplete, so God knows exactly how many Cam'ron and 50 Cent songs charted. My guess is ALL OF THEM.

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