Welcome to Obsessed, a weekly series featuring everything the KQED Arts gang can't stop talking about. We're bringing the conversation from the water cooler to cyberspace! This week, we're freaking out over creepily accurate cartoons on the My Idol app, a Taylor Swift/Lana del Rey mashup, the credits from The Jinx, and more!
The 'Duang' Scene in the My Idol App
If you've been on the internet in the last 48 hours, chances are you've seen people posting eerily accurate cartoon versions of themselves. The creepiness comes courtesy of My Idol, an app from China that blows Bitstrips and other cartoon-yourself services out of the water. (If you're interested, here's a basic primer, and the app comes with English instructions too.) Though you can make your doppelganger sing "Let it Go" from Frozen or do a pole dance, my favorite scene is the utterly bizarre "Duang" song. Based on a nonsense word invented by Jackie Chan, "Duang" has your character alternately preening and acting tough, all while badly rapping in Mandarin over what sounds like an instrumental to Marc Anthony's "You Sang to Me." You just have to see it, really.
Taylor Swift & Lana Del Rey: A Match Made in Music Video Heaven
Maybe you've already seen this mashup on KQED Pop or on Billboard or Nylon. If not, here's the deal: Taylor Swift's music video for her upbeat song "Style" was anything but, more Lana del Rey moodiness than happy-go-lucky. I couldn't help but wonder: What would happen if I put "Summertime Sadness" over the music video? The result: two works of art that coincidentally play off each other really well, à la Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and Wizard of Oz. I can't stop watching it, not because I made it, but because it makes me feel things. I also can't stop cracking up while reading the hilarious comments on Tumblr, like when one user said "God has spoken" and another replied "This transcended God tho."
The Jinx's Opening Credits
Seriously, when did television title sequences get so good? TV is now stuffed with the kind of imaginative openings that movies have used for decades, and the strikingly creepy opening credits of HBO’s true-crime saga The Jinx are some of the best, not least because of the music. On first listen, I thought this song was a bizarre cover of Bruce Springsteen’s "State Trooper" because of the virtually identical HOWL! that suddenly bursts forth amid the falsetto and grungy guitars. But no, it’s "Fresh Blood’ by Eels, a band I literally haven’t thought about since the days of their hit song "Beautiful Freak." As a title theme, it’s as instantly iconic as any of The Wire’s multiple versions of "Way Down in the Hole’ — and like Pavlov’s other, more crime-obsessed dog, I start salivating for my next dose of televisual intrigue whenever I hear it. Howl, indeed!
"Heartbreaker (Remix)": A Feminist Anthem from the '90s?
My new favorite radio station (besides KQED, obvi) is 102.1, which specializes in hip-hop throwbacks. They recently played a DJ set in which Snoop Dogg's "It Ain't No Fun" and Mariah Carey's "Heartbreaker (Remix)" were mashed up, and I realized that Mariah's '99 hit was a feminist response to the highly offensive Snoop track from '93. It makes me cringe knowing I screamed Snoop's derogatory lyrics while riding around in my friends' cars in high school.
A few years after Snoop released his song, Mariah teamed up with Da Brat and Missy Elliot to not only sample that Snoop song, but revise the original lyrics as a counterpoint to the misogyny of Snoop and his collaborators. Snoop appears in the video, so the call-and-response game wasn't exactly contentious. Da Brat and Snoop dress up like a bride and groom, and he hangs his head while she takes him down a few pegs, spitting her appropriated lyrics in his face, providing a female perspective on the demeaning story told in his original hit.
Throughout the video, Mariah is writhing around in a metallic bikini per usual, and she even washes Snoop's car while wearing booty shorts, so I'm not saying this was a breakthrough for gender equality or turning the tables towards matriarchy, but I enjoyed the reminder of how Mariah, Da Brat and Missy Elliot officially put Snoop and his collaborators on notice, way back in the last century.
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