(Readin’ time: 3m 38s)
I promised you a “blow off some steam” week here on [PMC], and of course my ability to fulfill that promise depends largely on a) wacky shit happening in the world or b) me remembering wacky shit from my life.
Fortunately, the world did not disappoint!
Matt Levine does not miss an opportunity to revel in the living, breathing, walking cognitive dissonance that is Elon Musk, and so his commentary on the latest from Elon will probably be funnier than mine, but when has that ever stopped me from putting my oar in? Never! Never, say I! I’ll try to make you laugh today, and you’ll like it!
“The latest from Elon.” Boy, that is a phrase that is always pregnant with possibility.
Is he using a tweet or two to spit on the ground in front of the SEC?
Or is he pinballing between being insulted by short sellers and defiantly mocking those same short sellers that seem to hurt his feelings so?
Or is he tweeting about some legitimately groundbreaking development in one of this companies that actually does push the industry (cars, space travel) forward in a more-than-evolutionary way?
Surely somebody has put together a Bingo board with all the usual suspects. <ALT-TAB, sound of clickey keyboard typing…>
Ah yes, of course somebody has put together that Bingo board:
Anyway, it’s none of the above this time. In what is both a totally wild and predictably predictable development, it’s a rap single.
Elon Musk has released a rap music single.
I made myself listen to every second of it. All 1m and 56s of it.
I have bad news: it has a hook, and that hook has a non-zero chance of getting stuck in your head. The hook is actually hook-y, but I bet money you wouldn’t be caught dead singing it to yourself loud enough for someone else to hear.
I used to think Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” is the worst song that you can get stuck in your head, but a) that might have never been true. There might have been far worse songs to get stuck in your head, songs that I was blissfully unaware of. And b) if it was true, “Tiny Dancer” has some serious competition now. This is yet another way in which Elon Musk is pushing boundaries and advancing the state of the art… of songs you do not want to get stuck in your head.
This is not a popular opinion, and I certainly can’t prove it (so this doesn’t rise to the standard of a point of view), but I think where hip hop music went wrong has to do with neo soul. Listen to D’Angelo’s “Brown Sugar” and I think you’ll hear the template for over half of the hip hop music that’s been produced in the last decade.
Now, I love soul music, and I think neo soul is mostly fine with some real bright spots. But neo soul kind of ruined hip hop.
Or, alternately, neo soul softened the hard edges (which is the part I really miss about contemporary hip hop) and allowed hip hop music to become truly mainstream. This is certainly the more optimistic take on things, isn’t it?
We see this a lot. Things change. The thing that we liked, that perfectly fit our tastes, changes and gets “ruined” somehow.
I think the pre-touchbar unibody Macbook Pros and the cheese grater Mac Pro were the height of Apple’s industrial design. They fit my tastes perfectly. Then Apple decides they want to compete along a different axis of competition. They decide they want to be world-class at miniaturization–compromises be damned–and this involves tradeoffs I do not dig.
Maybe the evolution of hip hop as a whole into something I do not dig happened for similar reasons. Maybe it’s as simple as a critical mass of artists saying to themselves, “huh, those neo soul artists sell more tickets and CD’s than I do. Ima sound more like them.”
Anyway, this new single from Elon Musk definitely fits into the neo soul-influenced hip hop category. And… it uses a lot of auto tune on his voice.
I’m working on a unified theory of why the hell do some people decide to release a rap single? It’s more common than you’d think.
My theory is not very far along, but I’m testing the hypothesis that it has something to do with not having enough people around you who say “no” to you on a regular basis.
Also, why didn’t Elon collaborate with Die Antword on this whole rap music single thing? I think if he’d given them a role in this project, it would have leveled things up quite a bit.
In other news, a new scientific study has found that “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex stops mosquitos from having sex.
While it is not the the conclusion of this study, I believe future studies will discover that the reduced sex (and eating, too!) among mosquitos is because they’re too busy grooving to the music, trying to score some molly from that guy over there, or waiting for that sick drop to hit.