Once in a while, there is something that comes along that is as beautiful as it is unusual. Well, BMW has showcased such a prize. Everyone say hello to GINA.
Sure she reminds you of a Nissan Z Fairlady, but this vehicle is so much more. It appeals to the humanistic side of German engineering. This car is going to change the aesthetic appearance of automobiles forever. Literally, it brings the car to life. The engineers looked at the human form, after realizing that we are all different and applying the Howard Roark philosophy of allowing the material dictate its own purpose in design. The GINA project applies a skin to the car around its bone like frame. The car then assumes a personality. Think about the endless possibilities of using materials that are stronger, more protective than metal and lighter, more flexible than skin.
Currently, the US is still stuck on Asia for the new urban market. I’ve somehow have stumbled on the European music and trend scene. After years of Godzilla stomping through Japan, I’m starting to like Europe’s scene. I’m completely unfamiliar with it. It speaks to me more than marveling at young Asian trend setters imitating what already exists in my subculture. I don’t think the Asian urban phenomenon is great, it is innovative. But, innovation builds on what’s already there.
I think young African-American celebrities latch onto Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea because they are narcissistic. They understand that the urban Asian subculture is imitating the nostalgic African-American subculture with a slightly different flair. You have young African-American celebrities parading around claiming, “I got the new hip-hop flavor from Japan. I know they are copying our style, but this is why it is different.” I find no love in innovation and polishing of styles that copy without understanding the meaning behind the style. If you go to Japan and ask am average cat about his style, he couldn’t give you a self-expressive reason on why he is doing it. I can also say the same here in the States. Young cats love Lil’ Wayne not because he is a great lyricist, but his hype portrays him as being good. If they actually took the time to dissect what he is saying and how he is saying it, they would not revere his art. The young urban subcultures are following the life cycle of the Rock-n-Roll movement on a global level.
Anyways, here are things I’ve learned to love on my honeymoon experience with Europe:
A few years back, I heard that N.E.R.D. were not going to craft another musical soundtrack to life after the lackluster response to their sophomore album, Fly or Die. Fly or Die did not fall into the sophomore jinx album category. If anything, N.E.R.D.’s sound is perfection. It is so perfect that they fell into the uncanny valley of sound. If you listened to either of N.E.R.D.’s previous two albums closely, you would notice that the flaws seemed planned and calculated to deliver an authentic sound. I loved these albums. They illustrated artistry at its finest, diversity of sound, ignorant and intelligent subject matter, and just good music. It was easy to see, I mean hear, the efforts of Pharrell, Chad, and Shay pour into a montage of life. Now, the trio is back with their third effort, Seeing Sound. Fortunately, N.E.R.D. have not deviated from the roller coaster ride through soundscapes and subject matter. No two songs are alike on this album. Honestly, songs transform and go through a metamorphosis within themselves. Moreover, the lyrics borderline ingenuous song writing to outright surrealistic babble gook. Pharrell ignites the album rapping over a syrupy funkdafied guitar rift on “Time for Some Action” in his monotone I’m-reading-my-lyrics style. The album then plunges into “Everyone Nose (All the Girls Standing in the Line for the Bathroom),” the first single that sounds like a live house song. From there, the album skates across every era of rock-n-roll. They use Hip-Hop to fuse together a stream of classic rock, light rock, punk, and Electronic rock songs throughout the album.
Moreover, it is amazing that Pharrell’s falsetto or monotone rap delivery does not detract from making the album good. The songs are fitting for the current climate of rap and rock. But, I honestly believe the complex lyrical construction, double meaning subject matter, and wit of the lyrics will fall on many deaf ears. This album is for the music lover that visualizes life through sound. The N.E.R.D.’s well-crafted song making does not escape some pitfalls of music peril. For example, “Spaz” sounds ametuer and immature for trying to bind rock with acid jazz undertones. It sounds like a song that should have been given to Fergie or Pink. I expect more sophistication from these three above-average song composers. “Sooner or Later,” one of my favorite songs on the album, sounds like a leftover track from Fly or Die. Furthermore, the layering of sounds and music is less focused, yet blends well together in its naturally artificial soundscapes. At times, I felt confused about loving a song or hating it because the parts surpass the whole composition. You can see the artistry in all the parts, but sometimes they felt disjointed when played together. To add insult to injury, it seemed that Pharrell, Chad, and Shay purposely composed the disjointing elements of the album to prove to the world that their sound isn’t always perfect and can be raw emotion. It leaves the effect of being counterculture for the sake of being counterculture.
I have not given my final verdict on the album. I believe this album has some timeless qualities that will show after years of listening, but today it seems to be a lot to digest. It is like the Chinese saying, “When the five flavors fall over the tongue at the same time, the food becomes tasteless.” N.E.R.D. gives you an overdose of flavors at the same time without an ounce of direction to guide you on their Seeing Sound journey.
On a more positive note, the group draws on raw energy of music making in order to paint a picture of sound for the audience to see. They do accomplish the feat of making the listener see sound. Purchase this album to hear great music that is perfect in its imperfections. But, isn’t perfect inperfections something we have come to expect from N.E.R.D. You will either kill for or be killed by this album at the end of the day, but remember no ever really dies.
For all of you that know me, know that I wear my emotions and opinions on my sleeve. I live by my words and plan on dying by my words. I’m an individual that holds no punches and will openly express how I feel to any deemed fortunate enough to listen tomy rambles. I do not subscribe to talking behind people’s back nor am I apologetic for addressing situations even when my conversation leaves casualties. The brutal truth is a two way street, and I’m willing to give and receive any repercussions for my expressions. I consistently maintain an aire of integrity, honesty, and truth in my actions, and I refuse to deviate from it.
I’m a critic. I analyze and criticize everything. My closest and dearest friends know I am an eccentric when it comes to style, arts, and good living. I want to have the best life that life can offer. I’m not one to settle for sub par or average living. I want the finest and best things. I want to travel to the best places and eat the best food while chillaxing with the best people talking about the best experiences in their lives. In my seeking of the best, I critique and openly address issues that hinder me in my striving for the best. I thumb through the Robb Report and see what wealth can provide the individual that seeks financial excellence. I read about the Dalia Lama to understand the best spiritual excellence. I study the subjects that I’m passionate about to be the best person to discuss them. If you haven’t figured out by now, I only want the best. I’m very proactive in seeking the best and always express my emotions about things that hinder or lead me to the realm of bestness.
For my personal New Years, I’ll dedicate my life to the Ministry of The Best. No, it is not Scientology. It isn’t even religious affiliated. It is just my personal ministry to stay away from things that block my journey to reside in the Land of Best. Today, I will not squander my precious and priceless time on things that I don’t love or feel are the best things to do. I will not waste my time on people that do not strive to be the best global citizens. Lastly, I will not waste my time on issues that distract me from achieving the best life.
Finally, I do not want a good life, I want the best life. I will unapologetically wear my desire for being the best on my sleeve with my emotions that express being the best. This declaration includes criticizing any and all things that are not the best or hinder me from being the best.