October 6th, 2006

Don't Hassle the Hoff

You're KILLING me ... get it?

Why do I care about The Killers? Do I think they're a particularly amazing band? Not really, they're OK. BUT, I think they have the POTENTIAL to be a really important band in American Rock Music. Whether I love them or not is irrelevant (and will continue to render this point moo if they flop horribly after this album).

Do you know why they're getting so much flak in the U.S. press while (allegedly) getting rave reviews over in Europe and the lot? Because, in American culture - as far as music's concerned - the mainstream music fan is interested PRIMARILY in lyrics, and secondarily with music; whereas, in Europe, it's music before lyrics.

In other words, the music is very good on this album, you can tell it's VERY well produced and rehearsed and edited and all that. No complaints whatsoever on that regard, in fact, it's impressive how excellent this record sounds.

But the lyrics are EMBARASSINGLY bad! I can't even get over it. And, anyone who's aware of this band knows: you do NOT go to The Killers for quality lyrics. I mean, listen to "Somebody Told Me" or "Mr. Brightside." Some of the lyrics just don't make any sense! However, the urgency and feeling of the singing behind those nonsense lyrics allow the listener the ability to relate to what he's saying. They may not understand it, but dammit, he's singing with passion, and yeah my heart's been broken (I THINK that's what he's singing about, whatever, who cares), and blah blah blah. That notwithstanding, the new batch of lyrics on "Sam's Town" are PATHETIC! I mean, I kinda understand the Springsteen comparisons, because on some of the songs Brandon Flowers adds a little unsettling husk into his singing voice. Not like an imitation, but he's normally got that high, whiny voice, and it's disconcerting to hear him otherwise. Couple that with the fact that he's singing pseudo-Springsteenesque lyrics in what's still, for the most part, a high and whiny voice: you just can't take him seriously! He's a punk white kid from Vegas who's about as straight-edge as they come (except, oh he smokes cigarettes, he's a rebel!). Say what you will about Springsteen - I don't think he's particularly all that great; he's no lyrical mastermind; his music sounds mostly the same and that's UNimpressive - but at least when you listen to him sing about Johnny and Sally in Downtroddenville, Middle America, you get the feeling that he actually KNOWS what he's talking about. He's been through the rough times and come out wiser, or something.

It's pretentious is what it is. Look, I understand Killers, you tried your best. You went in with a vision and put your all into it. But, when you're writing these lyrics that's supposed to appeal to the working man - and you're metrosexual white boys from Vegas - I'm just not buying it. And neither is anyone else in America. Sure, Europe eats it up because they don't know any better. They hear all this and they think, "Man, America's more backwards than we thought. I've heard of New York and L.A., but the rest is just so FASCINATING." Meanwhile, we know better. It's NOT fascinating, especially when you don't know what the FUCK you're talking about!

Bottom line, Killers, you play your instruments pretty damn well. You've created a good Wall Of Sound thing going there, you should be proud. Stop with the concept albums, STOP writing lyrics, and for God's sake, go with what works! I don't agree with Rob Scheffield very often in Rolling Stone, but he said that your last album was well-received because you stuck to your 80's style neo-pop type music. Go with it! Trying to sound like these high fallutin' bands like U2 and whathaveyou - they've got it down to a science! They can pump out their Uplift Rock out at the drop of a hat! It's what they do best! So, Killers, you just do what you do best - singing about girls who look like boys and losing that special someone to Eric Roberts - and you'll be just fine. Don't reinvent the fucking wheel, man.
  • Current Music
    The Killers - This River Is Wild
Don't Hassle the Hoff

It's Called Vegetarian Chili, Holmes

I've cooked exactly two things since I moved here, and one was Nate's pasta salad, minus the carrots because I'm lazy. So, when I finally do muster up the strength to make something, it's kindofa big deal.

When you've grown up for 25 years eating something like Nalley's Hot Chili all your life, you tend to take that for granted. I don't get the hankerin' for chili like I used to, but every once in a while it's nice to sit down to a bowl. So, I went to the store last week - fully prepared for the fact that I'd have to eat something OTHER than Nalley's chili for a change (oh that Valley, oh how I love ye). Long story short, in the whole entire supermarket, they had exactly two brands of chili: Hormel and something random called Firefighter's Chili or something. Well, shit man, I don't like Hormel! Whore-mel is more like it! AND it cost $1.79 for a can. Fuck THAT! I will NOT pay over a dollar, MAYBE a buck twenty five tops, for a can of fucking chili. And, the firefighters brand was twenty cents more! Granted, that one donated portions to "firefighter charities" whatever the hell that is.

Dejected, I left the store last week without any chili. That got me to thinking. The ONLY other kind of chili I've ever had was my dad's homemade chili. I'm not saying he grew the fucking kidney beans, but it's about as close to "From Scratch" as you can get. However, since Emily doesn't eat meat - and I'm making a huge pot of this shit - I had to find a substitute for the hamburger my dad normally throws in.

Dig it. I'll be the slow, ineffective Rachael Ray, here.

And welcome back to 150 Minute Meals! I'm your host, Long Dong Taylor. Today, we're making Vegetarian Chili.

First of all, you'll need this little bag of red kidney beans (about the size of your foot). Now, you're gonna want to soak those badboys in a pot of water overnight (so, if you haven't already done that, then you're kinda fucked). These beans, these little fucking beans, man! They'll balloon up to three-times their size by the time you're ready to get to it!

***And this is where I stop the show to tell you that, I was UNAWARE that they'd get so big. I mean, I knew they'd get bigger, but not THIS big! When I first poured them into the water, they hardly took up an inch of room on the bottom of the pot. Next day, the fucking beans took up 3-quarters of the fucking thing. I had to buy a bigger fucking pot! And now, back to the show***

Beans in pot, 3/4 filled with water. Now, you're gonna think I'm crazy, but this is what you do: 6 oz. can of Tomato Paste AND a little bottle of Chili Sauce (found in the ketchup aisle). Both go in. Now, buy one of those 4-inch tall dealies of Chili Powder and fucking DUMP 3/4 of the bottle in with the beans and tomato products. Stir.

Chop an entire onion, in it goes.
Chop a big-ass green bell pepper; in it goes.
Chop a big-ass green chili pepper, in it goes.
3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped; in it goes.
3 red tomatoes, chopped; in they go.

Stir it all up, add some cayene pepper, add some crushed red pepper flakes, and BRING that shit to a boil. Once you got it boiling, bring 'er back down to medium-low, put the lid on, and let 'er cook until the beans are soft (that's what she said).

For me, it took two fucking hours for the God damned beans to get soft. I hate gas stoves. But the chili? Fan Fucking Tastic. Make a couple pans of that Jiffy Corn Bread, pour yourself a big ol' glass of milk, and you're in for a MEAL. In two and a half hours (not counting bean-soaking time).

Tune in next time when I'll be making pigs in blankets.

Now, when I say big-ass, I MEAN big-ass! Find the biggest fucking bell pepper on the pile! The onion's gotta be big too; or just get two small/regular-sized ones. Whatever. I could've added mushrooms - because we already had them lying around - but I forgot. I'm kinda glad I did. Mushrooms ain't all that. I'm telling you, this chili is the shiznit or your money back*.
  • Current Music
    My Morning Jacket - Mahgeetah (Live In Japan)