Monthly Archives: September 2006

Bringing Sexy Back? From where? With what?…and other observations

Quote of the Day: “Honey I know, I know, I know times are changing/It’s time we all reach out 4 something new/that means U 2…” — Prince, “Purple Rain”

I just don’t get the Justin Timberlake thing. Sure he makes cute little ditties—and did a better job on Justified than on this recent excessively-named and excessively over-produced Futuresex/Lovesounds. But he’s been doing that since he was in NSYNC. Is he the shit now because he’s dabbling in r&b and hiphop sounds? Is it that typical thing where white folks and black folks start taking an artist seriously because black talent is giving him dap?

Is it just me or is Justin Timberlake just not as sexy as he seems to want to be? I liked N’SYNC a lot. “Tearing Up My Heart” was, to me, sincerely fine pop on the level of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” or Hanson’s “MmmBop”—the kind of irresistibly melodic, ear-pleasing, radio-friendly hit that transcends time, genre, and finicky rock-crit angst. I liked Timberlake’s Justified, the solo record that was supposed to be his pop/r&b bid for Michael Jackson (or at least George Michael) level superstardom. Well, it wasn’t as good as say, Usher’s Confessions (to name one of JT’s contemporaries), and as far as the blue-eyed soul thing goes, well, let’s just say that vocally-speaking, I’m sure Steve Winwood, Elliot Lurie, Daryl Hall and the Georges of the 80s (Michael and Boy) would have something to say about that. Wasn’t Justified hot because of the beats, because it was fun, because of the flowing pop-bitterness of “Cry Me a River”?

And as for pop-star cuteness, is Justin really all that cute? He wasn’t even the cutest dude in NSYNC. And as he makes his way onto the silver screen, he pales next to the Ashton Kutchers, Josh Hartnetts, and Sean Faris’s of the world. And when he performed “SexyBack” on Letterman the other night, he seemed to be just following Timberland’s lead, musically and choreographically. Maybe that’s his plan. Maybe if he comes off like he’s learning to be like a black boy, people will give him sympathy-dap. But bringing sexy back? From where? And with what? Did Usher retire and nobody told me? Can you not buy the DVD of Purple Rain anymore and watch Prince do “Darling Nikki”? Are all the Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, and Marvin Gaye CDs out of print now? I didn’t think so…

HUNG is in paperback. I did a fun interview with Karu Daniels over at AOL. Go check it out here

In GIANT news: The new ish of GIANT magazine is hitting stands this week. I wrote the cover story profile of Janet Jackson. Different than the Beyonce story but fun nonetheless. It’s always weird to do a piece on someone so in the public eye, who’s dominating the covers of so many magazines. I haven’t read the other pieces yet, so I have no idea what she’s said to everyone else, but I think I got some good stuff out of her. Check it out if you if you can.

DVDs on the Brain: Been spending a bit of time in front of the TV, watching DVDs that have blown me away. Obsessed now with Supernatural, the CW show about the hot brothers chasing demons around the U.S. Also reliving my youth by enjoying the first two seasons of Family. For some reason this show was absolutely stamped into my brain as a kid. I loved the “serious” subject matter. It’s aged well, particularly Sada Thompson’s stoic honest portrayal of one of TV’s original desperate housewives and Kristy McNichol as a straight-outta-Judy Blume teenager who’s roiling inner life made her as interesting as the older characters. Check if out if you never watched it: you’ll see the seeds of almost every great sensitively-rendered family show, from thirtysomething, to Judging Amy, to the beautiful and sublime Once and Again

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