Monday, December 28, 2009

Films of the Decade


Me love movies. Here's my list for my favorite films of the decade:

10. X2

BEST POPCORN FILM OF THE DECADE. It was the first film, I believe (sorry Dark Knight) that elevated the comic book genre. Bryan Singer should've directed X3 who knows how great that might have been...

9. Talk To Her

Talk to Her was the first Pedro Almodovar film that I ever saw and is probably my favorite film in his long and fruitful directing career. I'm still stunned by this film. its unique. engaging. witty. deeply profound.

8. Wet Hot American Summer

The funniest movie of the decade and probably one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Paul Rudd in this film solidified himself as a comedic genius. It was also great to see everyone in The State (or at least a majority of them) working together again.

7. Old Boy

I consider Old Boy to be one of those "game changer" type films and a film that made me go "OMG" a couple of times. Totally startling and completely riveting, Old Boy takes the revenge film to another level. Woo-jin played by Yoo Ji-tae might be the best villian since Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York).

6. The Lives of Others

BEST MOVIE ENDING OF THE DECADE. Infinite punches to the stomach. Don't watch the clip if you havent seen the film.

5. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days just takes a hold of you and never lets go. The last 20 minutes of the film are breathless and it deals with the subject of abortion and theme of friendship with such honesty. The film also features some extended takes (notably a scene during a dinner party) that are just amazing.

4. Adaptation

You can argue that Charlie Kaufman was the auteur of the decade what with his scripts for Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and his directorial debut Synedoche, New York. Adaptation is my favorite Kaufman script and for me, a total inspiration. Spike Jonze should only direct Kaufman scripts. The film features wonderful performances from Meryl Streep and Nic Cage but its Chris Cooper who shines.

3. In The Mood For Love

This is the film that Lost in Translation wanted to be. In the Mood for Love has it all: Gorgeous cinemtography from Christopher Doyle. Impeccable direction from the great Wong Kar-wai. and two luminious performances from Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung who say so much without saying anything at all.

2. There Will Be Blood

Three words: DANIEL DAY LEWIS. DDL as Daniel Plainview is arguably the finest acting performance of the decade. I have always been a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson and consider him to be one of the best directors of his generation. There was always criticism on PTA as being too flashy of a director (the glitz of Boogie Nights/all those frogs in Magnolia) but There Will Be Blood proved that he was truly a first class filmmaker. The cinematography is great. The production design is superb and oh yeah that score by Johnny Greenwood aint that bad.

1. Zodiac

Remember when I said that I happen to love movies that involved characters who were completely obsessed with something in their lives (i.e their jobs)? Well Zodiac is the Mt. Everest of those kind of films. Featuring a great script (besides being a great film dealing with obsession it is a gripping crime drama) from Andrew Kevin Walker, great performances from Robert Downey Jr, Jake Gyllenhall and Mark Ruffalo and just a tremendous directing effort from David Fincher, Zodiac in my opinion, is the best film of the decade.

Honorable Mention:


Youth. Literature. Friendship. The honesty conveyed throughout Reprise really hit me. If you haven't seen this film I definitely recommend it.

Albums of the Decade

My list:

10. The Avalanches – Since I Left You (Modular/Interscope)

An imaginative record. The myriad of samples and the creativity of how they were used. A perfect dance record.

9. Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (Matador)

"You've supported me for a long time/ Somehow I'm not impressed." This is post punk that I can support.

8. The Strokes – Is This It (RCA)

The quiessential rock record of the decade.

7. Outkast – Stankonia (La Face)

A record that contains so many jams its ridiculous. Its totally weird and its 100% Futuristic Hot Shit. Out of all the groups on this list that need to have a return to glory, Outkast is tops.

6. Radiohead – Kid A (Capital)

Being a fan of The Bends and Ok Computer, I was originally taken a back by Kid A. The immediacy of those earlier records were replaced by dense electronic songs that felt so cold and distant. I'm a firm believer of this record now and I feel its a benchmark to how far you can push rock music. When you think about it, it makes sense how Radiohead in Kid A captured the emotions felt during this decade.

5. Sigur Ros - Ágætis Byrjun (Smekkleysa)

I remember being 16 years old and listening to this record for the first time in my room. It was like a sucker punch to the gut. Who knew a madeup language could register such emotion. It helps that the music is so damn pretty.

4. Daft Punk - Discovery (Virgin)

There's not a lot that you can say about this record that hasn't been said already. All I can say that its a record that illicits so much joy.

3. Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise (Asthmatic Kitty)

When I think of the word sprawling, I think of Illinoise almost instantly. This record can be a bit hit or miss but its such an ambitious record that you must give it, its due.

2. Panda Bear – Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)

Our generation's Pet Sounds. I'm totally serious. This record is layers upon layers of inspiration. And its such a simple record too what with its repeated loops and straight forward lyrics.

1. Arcade Fire – Funeral (Merge)

A record that illicits such a wave of emotions. A record that felt so personal yet was enjoyed (immensely) communally.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best of 2009 (Part 2: Film)

Note: I still haven't seen A Single Man, Nine, Bright Star, Crazy Heart, An Education, Broken Embraces and The White Ribbon. I imagine maybe one or two one of those films would've made this list. With that said...

1. A Serious Man

Its usually hit or miss for me in regards to the films made by The Coen Brothers. This however is an exception. This may be my favorite Coen Brothers film. With a superb cast and an ending that is totally uncomprising, A Serious Man is my favorite film of the year.

2. Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's best film since Pulp Fiction and quite possibly the best script he's ever written. I remember two years ago I was walking back to my car from an prior job in the valley and saw Tarantino work on something at some English pub. He had a dozen books on the table as he was writing something down. He may have been working on Inglorious Basterds, who knows. Anyways job well done QT. Oh yeah: Christoph Waltz had better win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

3. 500 Days of Summer

Out of all the films I've seen in 2009, 500 Days of Summer is the film that I had to argue the most about. So what if the film had way too many gimmicks or that it was pandering to some sort of "hipser audience," 500 Days of Summer spoke to me in a way that no other film did in 2009. NUFF SAID. HOLLER.

4. The Hurt Locker

I tend to like films that have characters who are completely obsessed with a certain thing (i.e. their job). Even though the film veers in a completely different direction in its third act, the Hurt Locker is tense as heck and features two breakthrough performances, one from Jeremy Renner and the other from the always great Anthony Mackie (dude needs to be in some major staring roles ASAP). The film is directed with such expertise by Kathyrn Bigelow and probably has the best movie ending of 2009.

5. Up In The Air

Probably my favorite Cloon Dog performance. This film really surprised me. I wasn't expecting a lot but it really hit me emotionally. Sure it was topical and it was a "NOW" type film but the theme that struck me the most was the whole "sure you're successful but are you really even though you dont have someone in your life." yeah im a total softie.

6. Up

If you didnt cry at least once during Up then frankly you dont like movies.

7. Star Trek

J.J. Abrams has never failed in my eyes. Star Trek is no exception. My favorite popcorn film of 2009.

8. Anvil! The Story of Anvil

My favorite documentary of the year.

9. Avatar

If you know me then you know that i'm a big fan of James Cameron. While this film isn't as great as Aliens or Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Avatar is still a worthwhile cinematic experience based solely on its visuals (motion capture) which I believe are a landmark achievement in cinema. The king of the world is officially back. Now I hope he'll make True Lies 2.

10. Fantastic Mr. Fox

I'm usually up in arms with the film aesthetic of Wes Anderson. Sometimes it works to perfection (Rushmore) other times it becomes this bloated style over substance exercise (A Life Aquatic). Fantastic Mr. Fox is a return to glory for Anderson.

Honorable Mention:

Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist

Charlotte Gainsbourg's performance in Antichrist is completely fearless that it deserves a mention on this list. I still have that image of genital mutiliation in my head. OUCH.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Best of 2009 (Part 1: Music)

Music (albums, songs, concerts):

1. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavillion.

My album of the year. I think I had to listen to "My Girls" on a constant loop when I first heard it.

2. Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest

My second favorite album of this year. I still don't know how to pronounce the title though.

3. Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

I've always like Phoenix but I had no idea that they would be as BIG as they are now. God bless the French.

3. Girls: Album

Pizza and a bottle of wine. Nuff said.

4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

I get a lot of shit for liking this band but listening to them makes me want to fly a kite with my imaginary girlfriend on the beach or chase after my cat (if i owned one) in the living room. And if that's wrong well then I dont know whats right. P.s. Peggy I <3 you.

5. Cass McCombs: Catacombs

Beautiful record. Also this record has produced three of my favorite videos of the year. Our generation will probably use You Saved My Life as the new song to play during their wedding.

6. The Jesus Lizard reunion.

Best reunion show I've ever seen. The show smelled like weed and male body odor. It was uh-may-zing.

7. My Bloody Valentine at Coachella.

Second best reunion show I've ever seen. Next time I ask you "can you repeat that but say it much louder," know that I asked you that because my ears essploded during this massive MBV set.

8. The Dream - Rockin That Shit

The Dream is a genius. Plain and simple. This song will change your life.

9. Lady Gaga - Paparazzi

Lady Gaga is probably our country's best musical entertainer since Elvis Presley. Ok maybe not but this video is pretty great with a song that has a chorus that will never get out of your head. This time its a good thing.

10. Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me

Kanye West is still right about Taylor Swift BUT this song is pretty damn good.

Honorable Mention:

Interviewing Zach Condon (Beirut) and talking about hair and the finer points of washing it on tour.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Evening Ramblers

I wish i had a pizza, a bottle of wine and a girlfriend

Monday, September 28, 2009

Au Revoir Simone "Shadows"

such immaculate haircuts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I can dream

All I want is a new york apartment, no kids, a wife or long time gf who does something creative. And all we is dance to Bowie tunes:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gold Soundz

Who needs girls when you have records:

Monday, July 13, 2009

The pains

Why is it a pain trying to find someone to take to the pains of being pure at heart show?


Sunday, July 12, 2009

It Makes No Difference

Rick Danko is making my Sunday feel a bit better. Garth's sax solo always floors me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I'm tired

of getting flaked on.

Monday, July 6, 2009

John Takes Exception #1 - Jim Jarmusch's Hair


Dear Jim Jarmusch's Hair,

Now I've only see two films of your owner, Jim Jarmusch. I thought the movie with the vignettes, Coffee and Cigarettes was pretty good but I thought the film Broken Flowers was very overrated. I've also seen Mr. Jarmusch's appearance on Fishing With John and while he didn't catch any fish, his chemistry with Mr. Lurie, a friend of his, was excellent.

My friends keep telling me to watch more of Mr. Jarmusch's films but I haven't had the time really. And if i did , it would be difficult for me because in reality i think his films are "pretentious elist cockamammy films." I know I know you might be angry but really I don't take exception to his films but rather you, the hair of Jim Jarmusch.

First off, its a stark white and seems almost too daper. Too regal. Is gell involved? When Jim gets out of bed are you that perfect when he looks in the mirror and brushes his teeth. I know the effect that hair has on women so I can only imagine its power on those that inhabit the lovely city of New York, New York. Was Cate Blanchett impressed by you? Was Tilda Swinton impressed by you? Were you the one that convinced Bill Murray to sign on for Broken Flowers? If so I'm envious, except for the last part.

If it were technologically possible, [Face/Off gadgetry perhaps] that I were able to switch hair with Jim and sport you, Mr. Jim Jarmusch hair..I don't think it would look good on me. And that is why I take exception to you.

Please write back but I know it would be impossible. Not even Nic Cage, with John Travolta mannerisms, could help.


A New Feature - John Takes Exception

In an effort to become a mega star in the blogging world, I've decided that the only way to do it is to create a captivating feature that will not only garner much attention around the world but also make me extremely popular.

Now for the many that know me, its safe to say that I'm a very that's not it. Let me start again, now for the many that know me, its safe to say that everyone knows that i enjoy the art of complaining. He/She/It/ whatever, I like to complain.

What that said. Welcome to the very first day of "John Takes Exception" were I'll highlight a specific person/thing/place/event and give you my "an adverse criticism" for it.

Take Care.

Friday, July 3, 2009


why is everyone in a relationship?

oh yeah its summer.

Thanks 500 Days Of Summer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


My first immediate reference point to me ever listening to music was listening to the music of Michael Jackson.

I remember as a kid constantly playing the Thriller LP on my parents' record player.

I remember trying to do his dance movies and trying to perfect them in my room.

I remember staying up late at night [9 p.m.] to watch his music videos which would premiere on TV

And really I just remember how much of a huge impact his music had on my childhood and how it continues to this very day.

This is really one of the saddest days.

He will be missed. Especially by me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


man this sounds good:

“I AM...BEYONCÉ” - Meet & Greet VIP Package

* Front Row Ticket
* Meet & Greet with Beyoncé
* Photo with Beyoncé
* Special entrance for VIP's
* Limited Edition Deréon bag (including autographed tour book & more)
* Collectible laminate and/or wristband
* One year membership to the official Beyoncé fan club
* Onsite event management staff


* On-Stage ticket in the Diva Zone - The Ultimate Fan Experience
* Special entrance for VIP’s
* Limited Edition Deréon bag (including tour book & more)
* Collectible laminate and/or wristband
* One year membership to the official Beyoncé fan club
* Onsite event management staff

“I AM...BOLD” - HOT SEAT VIP Package

* Premium PL1 ticket
* Limited Edition Deréon bag (including tour book and more)
* Collectible laminate and/or wristband
* One year membership to the official Beyoncé fan club

i wouldn't even know which plan would be the best to do for the Staples Center show.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grizzle Bizzle

i saw Grizzly Bear at the Wiltern last night. A couple of things:

1. best show ever.
2. ed's voice was absolutely amazing. it filled the entire venue. i think i started weeping during "Foreground."
3. chris taylor is the master on the flute/bassoon/sax/or whatever else he plays live. him congratulating [to get a cheap pop from the audience] the lakers was hilarious.
4. dan rossen is a really interesting guitar player. everything sounds so bassy but it works beautifully.
5. chris bear goes HARD on those drums.
6. "colorado" was life affirming.
7. best show everrrr

Tuesday, June 16, 2009



i'm starting to believe that Stanley Kubrick is the best director of all time. i can just stare for hours at the font style he used for his main titles and end credits

Dear glowing sun

you were way too hot today.



Monday, June 15, 2009

Dear Natasha Khan

you are fabulous.

two quick questions:

1. are you a fan of The Wire

2. are you a fan of eating pizza


Friday, June 12, 2009

Deep thoughts #1

we generally want to have a girlfriend/boyfriend that shares the same kind of musical & film interests that we do?

i know i'm guilty of it.

especially if i find a woman who loves The Wire.

Wuh oh.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's all part of the game

One of my favorite scenes from The Wire. I really do miss the show.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Its on the tip of my tongue

There's something about this trailer for 500 Days of Summer that really pisses me off...Hmn I wonder.

He's back

I've always appreciated the more off kilter Martin Scorcese films (i.e. Cape Fear, Bringing Out the Dead, The Last Temptation of Christ) so this trailer for Shutter Island makes me very happy. Plus Jackie Earle Haley laying the smackdown on Leo should be worth the admission.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I forgot how much I loved this video:

Takes me back to a time when playing video games in your underwear in the afternoon was okay. Wait, i think that was yesterday.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Master of my domain

Larry David and I share similiar views.

Friday, May 29, 2009

You're so silent Jens

Dear Jens,

you are my new hero.


Monday, May 18, 2009


I wish i was at the Cannes Film Festival

Sitting on a lounge chair along the beach.

Just watching a bunch of movies.

Hanging out with Park Chanwook

or Lars von Trier

or Jane Campion

maybe even Martin Scorsese.

i heard Mariah Carey was there

yeah that'd be cool.

i dream too much.

You know that feeling

when you just want to fly away.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reality TV is real people

As of late:

My dating life (or potential dating life) has revolved on meeting, talking to and getting numbers of women that are on reality TV shows.

That isn't my purpose but I find it bizarre that this has been a common occurrence as of late.

Has everyone in LA (besides myself) been on a reality show?


Saturday, May 16, 2009


I finally saw Armageddon. I absolutely loved this film.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Question Answered

the question has been answered.

just floating around if you will.

now i wonder if i'll get a response from it.

hakuna matata ya know..

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let's play a game

How about you give me your number.

and then I'll give you mine.

and then we can text one another back and forth.

maybe if you were up to it i can call you one of these days when you weren't doing anything and we can talk for hours talking about anything.


how about it?

Only in Dreams

So lately I've been having celebrity cameos appear in my dreams this week.

One dream I was back in New York and at some party and I was chatting it up with Parker Posey.


In the second dream I was in Dodger Stadium but I was wearing my Baltimore Orioles hat. All of a sudden Dodger Stadium transforms into this giant boat with a huge hologram screen in the middle. The boat was being led by Lakers point guard Derek Fisher.



Friday, March 27, 2009


dang on demand doesn't work.

now I'm stuck in decided on what to do:

1. Be creative and win the hearts of everyone that I oh so long for


2. Destroy precious brain cells by playing video games.

On Demand

stuck on a Friday night. watching the 40 year old Virgin.

i probably have seen this movie a million times.

just wasting some time until my On Demand on my cable box will work

so i can watch Hunger.

and just avoid driving and sitting in some art house theatre.

LA can be pretty boring. when theres absolutely nothing to do. or when everything can pretty much just be found in your home.

paul rudd is hilarious.

i still like that woman.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No one will read this (Part II)

but I'll just say it anyway.

i really like this woman but i wonder if she likes me.

No one will read this

but ill say it anyway.

i want a woman who will appreciate me and the plaid shirt that I borrowed from one of my best friends.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


so I've been having this recurrent dream as of late:

Last week I dreamed of taking notes for this history class and this one science class that were combined as one big class.

Today I had a dream were I took the test from that specific lecture BUT in reality it was a nightmare because the test was 10 PAGES LONG + Essay (front and back). that's not a test!

I can only hope that during my next dream I passed the test because I totally woke up cause I couldn't take it anymore.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Its Saturday Night

Why do I always go weak in the knees when attractive female cake decorators make cupcakes? And to make matters worse during the cupcake making process they mess up and act all goofy during it. Sure enough like all good endings, they recover rather beautifully. Damn you Ace of Cakes and your Saturday night marathon. I don't think I can watch this show any longer. The cute factor is off the fucking charts.

Monday, February 23, 2009

And the winner is..

so last night was the Oscars party that my friend Steven always throws every year. the party has been going for like six years or so and it started in college. the party has better every year. first it was just him and I and our friend Will eating mojo potatoes nowadays the party has grown to like 3 more people and its always a good time.

long story short: i got pretty crunk. i ate a lot of rise crispy treats. ate a lot of those chicken wings. and its' come to me that I kinda need to find "someone special." going solo to these parties is great and all but dammit i need a change.

in other news:

1. i just discovered the show Damages. its the best drama series I've seen since Mad Men.

2. i think i have crush on that bat for lashes girl.

Monday, January 12, 2009


No other artist has had a greater impact on my so called musical life than Michael Jackson. My most immediate reference point to the King of Pop was Jackson’s Thriller record. Lodged between my parents’ endless pile of cassette tapes was an LP of Thriller. The hours spent digging through the broken cassette plastic and then figuring out how to work my family’s record player were worth it just to hear on an endless loop the album’s top most notable songs (for me), “Billie Jean” and “Thriller.” That brings me to the next immediate reference point: the dude could dance. For someone that firmly admits to having no rhythm in his body, the hours spent mimicking every spin move, flip of the hand and at appropriate times crotch grab were endless. Add to that my almost devotion to MTV at the time which had those specific music videos on a constant loop, well…it’s safe to say I was doing my best to keep up with the choreography. My exuberance still exists to this day as I still YouTube Jackson’s legendary performance at the Motown 25th Anniversary, his performance of “Billie Jean” still can illicit this magnetic energy. No other artist I feel has combined song with dance as perfect as Jackson whose choreography often shined more so than the song itself (i.e. Remember the Time) seemingly elevating it to as high of a plateau even if the steps were just for show. It goes without saying however that when both art forms were aligned, things were downright cosmic.

Dance and dance crazes will always forever attached to the mainstream. Lines really have never been crossed. Before the Moonwalk, there was The Twist and unfortunately for every Twist there’s the Macarena, which I’m not ashamed to admit: in 1996 I did the Macarena, me and the rest of the 50,000+ screaming Dodger fans at Dodger Stadium. What made me do it? It may have been a spur of the moment, a “why not” feeling that persuaded me to move said arms and hips in a motion that I’m not even sure I perfected. What may be the bigger question however is what persuaded the millions including my parents to buy the Los Del Rio single? That’s easy…the dance. The simplicity of the dance itself allowed for young and old to do it but the kicker was its communal aspect and as the millions did it from wedding ceremonies to sports arenas it only drove the product.

It shouldn’t be ignored that with each dance craze I’ve mentioned the songs associated with it exploded within our pop lexicon. That’s not to say that MJ needed to moonwalk to make “Billie Jean” so popular and make Thriller the most successful album of all time but for Los Del Rio can we really remember any other hit of theirs and why is that when we do hear about them it’s when they’re mentioned in a Vh1 where are they now/one hit wonder retrospective. Dance has and will always be a brilliant market tool. If you thought that the Macarena was the biggest thing musically in 1996, just imagine how, insanely popular the dance would’ve been had it been established within our tech heavy/web 2.0/social network society.

We can as long as we don’t move our hands and hips but rather do the Superman. It goes without saying that the Crank That (Soulja Boy) dance phenomenon of 2007 was as equivalent to what the Macarena dance was and may have succeeded it as “Crank that” will more than likely spawn several doppelgangers. Even more significant when looked at a fine microscope in the next 10 years, the phenomenon will likely be the origin point on how music meets dance meets technology as the YouTube tutorials and the millions of videos of teenagers to adults alone…16,800 and counting has proven that people LOVE to dance and sure enough will buy the record that is making them dance. And yeah the Houston artist suffered waves of criticism from the rap community in particular Ice T, the legendary rapper signaling him out for killing hip hop but I agree with a fellow hip hop luminary (who so far hasn’t perfected a dance to one of his songs…yet) Kanye West who believed that that Soulja Boy personified what hip hop is. By becoming more extroverted and in essence sharing instead of propagating a big money lifestyle, Soulja Boy raked in the rewards. If anything else the trend will be a major influence for up incoming artists not just in hip hop but all fields of music to showcase some type of dance step to the masses to increase awareness not only for their music but for the image they’re trying to project. Plus it gives mainstream artists an immediate flash bulb that as long as you do a catchy dance, you’ll sell a ton of records no matter the song.

And as 2008 has now since ended and a new year has now begun, we can reminisce about those dance moves that swept us off our feet and into our hearts. Last December saw two mainstream artists use dance as a tool to not only entertain but give an added presence to an already good song. Call it the Moonwalk effect. For Beyonce…ahem…I mean Sasha Fierce, Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) was just another sublime hit for Ms. Knowles that has once again captivated the world, not just for its catchy hook but for its Bob Fosse-esque inspired choreography that is featured in the song’s video but also displayed vibrantly throughout Beyonce’s many TV performances of the song. So far there have been uncanny YouTube demonstrations even a bit of a frolic in the snow and yes…you know when a dance has made its mark when its lampooned case in point, Justin Timberlake sporting a leotard to dance with B in a SNL sketch parodying the music video. Still there’s a huge difference between this now signature Beyonce dance with the other dance phenomenon that has caught up this month and will be huge in 2009 and it’s this: I can’t do the Single Ladies dance but I probably can/will master the Busta Rhymes’ “Arab Money” dance. Controversy or not Busta Rhymes’ “Arab Money” is a straight up club banger courtesy of Ron Brownz’s slick production. And the dance: though it may be more difficult than the Lean Back, it’s definitely more enjoyable and could possibly be more mainstream. All it is a simple point to the left, point to the right and then a standard shimmy but it’s funny when matched with the song it’s too infectious. Call it the strange beauty of dance but for Busta Rhymes call it a big time hit, a song elevated by a dance that will give the much beloved rapper a return to glory. With a CGI extravaganza of a video that has Jim Jones, Rick Ross and Soulja Boy (its synergy yo!!!) doing the dance, the blossoming phenomenon has most definitely increased the awareness of Busta’s new album Blessed which was supposed to be released at this end of this month but now sees a release date of March 2009. You might call it the Crank That (Soulja Boy) effect.

For the most part pop and hip hop were well represented in 08 but what about rock? Maybe the defunct Washington D.C. band The Dismemberment Plan were right with their song “Do the Standing Still.”I’m not trying to say that independent rock music should be broken apart for the sole purpose of manufacturing some easy steps to mix well with some sort of guitar riff. All I’m saying is just live a little! It’s interesting though as nowadays rock now is defined by several dance/rock hybrids such as Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem etc. It’s with all of that, that a flash bulb blinked; what if some of the best indie rock songs of 2008 had an extra pep in a few choice steps. Who knows we may still be hearing some of these tunes this year. Remember “I don’t do no dancing still...”

Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal”
: The men of Fleet Foxes wear vests or plaid and sport rather large beards. In addition lead singer Robin Pecknold is known to sit in a chair while performing. NEXT!

Bon Iver: “Skinny Love”: NEXT!

Vampire Weekend “A-Punk”: The success of the debut record from the New York Ivy Leaguers was marked by their successful merging of “Graceland” accented rhythms with timeless punk pop. Though they flooded the MTV airwaves and broke somewhat through mainstream rock radio, just imagine the wave of attention they would’ve gotten if they introduced the Ivy Leaguer? It’s simple enough that even your grandmother can do it. All you have to do is grab your cardigan sweater or that ridiculously huge scarf that wrapped around your neck. Once those opening guitar licks strike it’s your cue to grab it and swing it around like a helicopter all the while you freestyle shimmy. Call it a “Jump On it” for the hipster loving crowd.

Cut Copy “Lights and Music”
: When I saw Cut Copy play in Los Angeles in 2008 I noticed something interesting that singer Dan Whitford liked to do throughout the show. It became evident when I caught a TV performance on Last Call with Carson Daly that I realized that it was a standard routine. Whitford often lifted his arm upward an almost praise you like gesture from high up above, the movements coinciding whenever a song was building up to an almost blissful release. So again, it got me thinking: imagine instead of just one arm it was both and instead of just one arm raised it was a continuous left and right motion that would build until the crowd almost grew tired. As the hooky chorus blared it would be a flood gate of jumps in the air and a raining down of arms at an almost breakneck pace as clearly one has been captivated by the synth flares. It’s simple yet effective, just what a dance should be.

No Age “Eraser”: The opening guitar licks from No Age’s Eraser were some of the brightest heard from all of 2008. You also can’t help but feel something as the pristine acoustic lines mixed with the heavy percussion. I recently saw No Age at a local art space in Los Angeles and couldn’t help but feel captivated by those early guitar notes that almost encouraged me to shimmy and spazz. While I didn’t I did picture an interpretative dance routine of rising above the ground, almost akin to the “Shout” breakdown portion that was in the film Animal House. As the guitar continues to build and the drums merge your body is knee deep on the ground just shaking feeling the varying rhythms. Finally as the barrage of drum and guitar become this supreme landscape of noise it’s your signal to jump up and push as you mosh ever so forcefully. Call it a spastic version of “Drop it like it’s hot” until you can’t help but cool down and just punch air.

TV On the Radio: Golden Age
: If guitarist Kyp Malone didn’t have to play guitar while he sung the lush “Golden Age,” I can only imagine that he’d do his best Prince Imitation as the song evokes the pure heat that emanated from those records. Malone often appears so stoic on stage and if it were up to me (pure imagination on my part mind you) I’d suggest for every future “Golden Age” performance a performance of this signature move: The Williamsburg Waltz. The song contains a lyric that states “Clap your hands.” Sure enough the Williamsburg Waltz would contain multiple hand claps over 8 easy to follow steps. While clapping your hands move two steps to the left, two steps up, two step steps to the right and finally two steps back. Rinse and repeat. Mix it up by shaking your hips to and fro. It’s a signature waltz for the wayfarer wearing set.

Whether or not these suggestions prove to be fertile remains to be seen but if I see on the Internet a so called Williamsburg Waltz sweeping the Interweb in 2009 I know I’ve done my job. And for those who feel that it’s best to leave rock alone and just stick to the notion of just playing your instruments, I say this: that’s fine, “Single Ladies” looks to have mileage for a few more months. And if not that then you can always just go back doing the Macarena. Yeah it’s back!

Happy New Year everyone! Keep on dancin!