What will Saints fans do with the 30 percent less crunk? And we have thoughts on the new Arcade Fire.
A New Crunk?: We were told Sunday that we'd hear less of "Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk)" in the Superdome. Evidently no one passed that word to the LSU Marching Band, which performed the song shortly after it was played following a Saints second quarter touchdown. Since The Ying Yang Twins' songs are better suited to the strip joint than the sporting arena, I've always been amused that everyone from kids to grandmothers were dancing to them, grinding the last drops of hip-hop cool out of "crunk" in the process.
In the third quarter, the Saints scored and instead of The Ying Yang Twins, we got Trombone Shorty and "Hurricane Season." It didn't get much love from the crowd, even with a Dance Cam promotion to help get people moving, but that's no surprise on its first play. I'm not sure an instrumental is the best choice since people love to sing along - "Here we come to get you" was the "Halftime" hook - but I love the idea of making New Orleans music a bigger part of the city's sporting events. In a music city like this one, I've never understood all of the young country music hopefuls that the production staff can find to sing the National Anthem. We have singers, and I'd certainly like to hear more local music fill the silent spaces that producers won't let exist in the dome, maybe something as simple as "Fiyo on the Bayou," or a little DJ Jubilee. After years of getting crunk, doing the Beanie Weenie should be a snap. (Alex Rawls)
Arcade's New Fire I:We're three quarters through 2013, and it's safe to say this year saw the Internet music promotion flipped on its head. From Jay Z's exclusive album app to Kanye West's worldwide street projections, it seems artists are fully committed to using social media like Vine and Instagram to amplify old school guerilla marketing techniques. So no one was particularly confused when Arcade Fire took to the streets with esoteric graffiti promoting something called "Reflektor." We now know (or have reason to believe) that Reflektor is the name of the Canada-via-Houston act's newest album and single, as the track leaked Saturday and slowly rolled out Monday.
But the hype went beyond mysterious Instagram photos. Video and audio teases were popping up everywhere, as well as a rainbowed-out single cover featuring band members as "The Reflektors." Music blogs exploded once news spread of secret shows at a salsa club. It was hard not to get wrapped up, but Arcade Fire made sure to meet an essential requirement of hype: The music is actually worth it. "Reflektor" was surely out of left field for devout fans, but the disco touches of the song should have been expected with LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy as producer. Yet the track retains that "thing" that keeps Arcade Fire fans enamored — a beautiful, energetic build up with an unexpectedly phenomenal payoff, reflecting the Herculean marketing effort to make sure everyone was listening. (Brian Sibile)
Arcade's New Fire II: I was nervous when I heard that Arcade Fire planned on incorporating an EDM sound into their upcoming album, Reflektor. Why push into new genres? But after listening to the new single, “Just a Reflektor,” about a half-dozen times, I should have never doubted them. The music video doesn’t resort to nudity (looking at you, Robin Thicke) or cheap thrills to impress viewers. Utilizing smartphone technology or one’s mouse to change lighting and transition effects, the Google Chrome-aided video provides a unique experience for the audience every time it is viewed. The innovations also work well with the theme of the song. At one point viewers are literally put into the video, allowing them to see their own reflection while watching. Creepy, sure, but something that allows for a more personalized viewer experience makes me both excited and anxious to see how other artists will respond. And the album. (Will Halnon)
Way into Waits: Tom Waits is more ‘gettable’ than he seems, and on more colored levels than “mysterious genius” or “raspy piano drunkard as portrayed by Shrek 2’s Captain Hook.” Take his 1983 album Swordfishtrombones, which solidified Waits as both a prolific and genre-elusive artist. The album is gritty and whispering with a sometimes explicitly stated nautical theme (check out "Swordfishtrombone," "Shore Leave," and "Undergound"). More standard ballads like "Johnsburg, Illinois" create a transition between raucous sailor life and remorseful tenderness. Waits has carried that sweet and prickly dichotomy into his music today, but it was Swordfishtrombones and the rest of the '80s that showed him as more than just a vaudevillian (albeit poetic) caricature of heartbroken boozing. (Casey Donahue)