What rhymes with "hug me"? Let's help Robin Thicke (UPDATED)

The Robin Thicke song-of-the-summer "Blurred Lines" asked, with practiced super-produced fake-spontaneous laugh, "What rhymes with 'hug me'?".  Let's give it a whirl...

#Thicke. Get it? It's a boast, and HIS NAME! Lol. 

To start, here's the clothed video to the song. I've linked to the "unrated" version in another post, but don't want to shock people unfamiliar with the concept that we higher primates are attracted to attractive, naked members of our same species. The key lines at 1:33: "I feel so lucky. / You wanna hug me? / What rhymes with 'hug me'? / Hey-ey-ey-ey."

Going straight through the alphabet with single-letter replacements we get: 

You wanna bug me.
You wanna dug me.
You wanna fug me. ("fug", adjective, a stuffy or malodorous emanation)
You wanna jug me.
You wanna lug me.
You wanna mug me.
You wanna pug me.
You wanna rug me.
You wanna sug me. ("sug", verb, to Sell Under the Guise of conducting market research)
You wanna tug me.
You wanna vug me. ("vug", noun, a cavity in rock with mineral crystals)
You wanna zug me. ("Zug", noun, a German-speaking canton in Switzerland)

Some of these clearly won't work and/or are bad grammar. Some work marvelously. Other possible choices, especially if sung at a quickened pace to stay within the measure: 

You wanna chug-a-lug me.
Bella Abzug and me.
It's 'A Bug's Life' we'll see.
This tastes nougat-y. 

I've got to go catch up on some recorded television, but your suggestions are heartily welcome here!

More ideas: 

You wanna thug me.
You wanna shrug me.
Let's do The Frug, G.
You look like Pugsly.
C'mon butt plug me.
Butt butt butt butt me.

Fiona Apple's "Hot Knife" with ex Paul Thomas Anderson

I rarely like albums on the first listen, but Fiona Apple's "The Idler Wheel" is my favorite album from last year, and I liked it from the first. 

I enjoyed her hit "Criminal", but was bored by Jon Brion's production style (foot on piano pedal for echo, pound and hold chord, repeat) and soon tuned her out. I also worried about her, getting a sense that by listening to her songs I was injuring her in some way. 

After reading a review I got her album and listened to it on headphones during a long walk. Then listened to it again. An interview Apple gave on Marc Maron's WTF podcast gave assurance that she was resilient and funny. She puts herself on her sleeve, and actually lets some of it get on you, or lets it fall to the floor with a laugh. But she has tenacity and creativity.

Her video for "Hot Knife" is directed by ex-boyfriend Paul Thomas Anderson, an excellent film director ("Boogie Nights", "There Will Be Blood")  who also keeps knocking up Maya Rudolph. Respect.

Being the hottest bitch in this place

I knew Alan Thicke's kid was a singer. Hadn't heard any song by him before (or at least connected any song with him). His photo would show up here and there, then his name. I'd think "Ah. Alan Thicke's kid. Bet that's a steep climb, or a career boost. Whatever. Looks like a dullard. Like an even-blander Enrique Iglesias." 

This week, I discovered the name of that song I've heard 300 times this summer ("Blurred Lines)", and that it was Alan Thicke singing it. Great production. Not surprised Pharrell is involved.  The video is causing a stir, due to the presence of naked female models (let's all of us clothed primates gasp in horror). Even so, only Pharrell and T.I. come across like the only humans within worth hanging out with. Even better, though, is the parody video. Unfortunately, getting many of the jokes in the parody require seeing the original. Here you go [Not Safe For Work unless you work someplace awesome]:

The funnier, more personality-driven parody by Mod Carousel that swaps the genders:

Bet the group in the parody video had more fun than the pretend-fun in the first video. 

Now female nipples are okay around Timberlake?

"Pop, pop!" 

Justin Timberlake's new video for "Tunnel Vision" has a jillion moments of female nudity, boobs with nipples included. YouTube/Google has given it a pass and posted an explicit version, saying: "We make exceptions when [nudity] is presented in an educational, documentary or artistic context, and take care to add appropriate warnings and age-restrictions.”

(Video below is probably NSFW, but if it IS Safe For Work where you are I totally want to know more!}

JT: "Though I tore at your clothes and we rehearsed this, I'm going to hide and leave the impression this was your fault, m'kay?" JJ: "Okay."

Recall that on February 1, 2004 the nation lost its mind (or the media did and CBS had to deal with fines) as we were exposed to a mammary gland from a fellow mammal during the Super Bowl halftime show with Timberlake and Janet Jackson. The top of her bustier was pawed at on the line "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song" so some kind of exposure was planned.  The "wardrobe malfunction" excuse never, well, covered it.

This is progress, I guess?

Linda Perry: cawing, har-hawing harridan

Linda Perry, a songwriter behind hits like "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera and "Get The Party Started" by P!nk, is approaching lifelong nemesis status for me. She's the singer-songwriter behind 4 Non-Blondes and their epically shitty "What's Up?".

4 Non-Blondes is a band you could look at, know they were annoying as people, and sense what they smelled like. And Linda Perry continues that to this day. Here's a recent clip of her talking about how she loves beaver (ha! ha! she's a lesbian! get it?)  and how Justin Bieber looks like a girl. HAW HAW HAW!

Not Linda Perry. You'd think Rachel Madow had more fashion sense than this.

Not Linda Perry. You'd think Rachel Madow had more fashion sense than this.

I'm not above remarking on Justin Bieber's epicence quality, but I put some effort into it. There's something about a tanned, tatted-up raccoon-eyed Skeletor making a lowball joke about a boy who looks like a girl (a joke that would have KILLED in 1982) with an acrid, molting bowler that's - ugh! And the interviewer laughs, as he is obliged to, while Perry pretends to be the new Fran Liebowitz! No, Oscar Levant! Oh, you raconteuse, you!

When the A.V. Club's ongoing "Hatesong" series (it's hit & miss) got to "What's Up?" it felt soooo good.  Mickey Melchiondo from Ween goes deep:

I remember hearing it and thinking, “This is the most obnoxious fucking hollering I’ve ever heard in my life.” I could envision the horrible, horrible female that was singing it, and I knew that it was gonna be a hit, just by how bad I hated it. I knew that it was going to be played for years by every fucking bad girl band that came through my local bar, and sung on every karaoke night for the rest of time.

Aaah. Hate can be soothing. I've read the article twice now, each time brings solace. The world feels less empty. A friend and I have been howling and barking about "What's Up?" for about 20 years. Knowing others loathe it is good, we as a species may still get shit done. When the apocalypse comes (zombies, Jesus regulating, Shiva feeling done, Ragnarok, whatever) it's pleasing to know that instead of hoarding food, weapons, finding shelter - there will be a few of us who have our priorities straight. While the swine are squealing about, we the elite aesthete force, hearts full of pride in humanity and art and civilization, that will destroy all record of "What's Up?"

Timberlake's "Mirrors" - Addressed to anyone else?

Someone had to Windex these before & after the video shoot.

Justin Timberlake's song "Mirrors" drones like a leaf blower that changes the pitch by waving the nozzle up and down. Most of the time when it comes up, I change the channel or jump to another track.

Mirrors are overdone as a metaphor or object of contemplation. Or, they're perfectly natural things to regard but it's tough to come up with anything new. But while enduring a few minutes of "Mirrors" and listening to the words, a thought emerged: "What if it isn't addressed to another person, at all?"

I doubt that is an original thought about this song. Glamorous people have to look at themselves the normal amount PLUS as a matter of commerce. "What's new/the same about my appearance? Will it maintain/build/detract from my marketability?"

Attractiveness can be a burden. "It's hard for people to take me seriously!" attractive people claim, with merit. We nod, thinking inwardly "How many traffic tickets have I ended up with compared to what you were able to talk your way out of?"

Attractive people: "No one ever asks me out. They're too intimidated by my looks." We laugh with compassion, thinking inwardly: "When we hang out, we can't even go to the grocery store without you getting looks and hit on a half dozen times. Your lack of dates comes from something else. Or you're measuring loneliness in hours and days, not weeks, months, years."

(Yes, it is a brooding, complex experience running errands with me. Seething, cutting resentments and anthropological assessments makes the time pass faster.)

Some lyrics to ponder:

You were right here all along.
It's like you're my mirror,
My mirror staring back at me.
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me.


I can't ever change without you, you reflect me, I love that about you
And if I could, I would look at us all the time.

The whole song, should you listen/endure it, is full of psychological gems of this sort.

Then as a tonic listen to Carly Simon's "You're So Vain", wearing your apricot scarf. One eye in the mirror as you watch yourself go by...

Sonnet 29: On friends & love & shunning kings

9 lines of despair then 5 of exaltation in love and friendship. I enjoy the turn at the end of this very simple poem.

Jumpstarting (and applying a prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation to) my writing aspirations the last three (!) years, especially the last two, definitely has me engaged in the typical carping of hopeful artists caught in the throes of enthusiasmos/manqué anxieties. "How can THAT person be successful? Ugh, such mediocrity in the agora!" Yes, my annoying artist side engages in conspicuous use of Greek terms even more often than French.

Sonnet 29
by William Shakespeare

When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate,
   For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings
   That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


"Desiring this man's art" I take as a mix of envying another's accomplishment and salesmanship (or saleswomanship), not so much the substance of the work. And those who find creating art a refuge relate to often being unsettled and grouchy about it: "what I most enjoy contented least".

Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. PopoZão. PopoZão.The objects of the Sonnets shift between a Dark Lady to a handsome young man. Shakespeare's sonnets to the young man reach greater heights. While there is a romantic reverie at the end here, this poem sums up much about how I feel about friends I have known and those in the present. I am fortunate in friends, and while envy of celebrities and other artists kicks in frequently, in times of even light reflection the burdens of fame and the coteries that form around it look annoying as hell. Glad for my friends and the people I love. I'm content to keep them instead of being like, say, Kevin Federline digging on his own song "PopoZão". Federline surely had "friends" telling him this song was great. Ye gods, this moment from 2006 is golden:

Air Supply "Lost in Love" - darker than you think

"Lost in Love" is a fucking bonkers song, and either Air Supply deserves more street cred or should be constantly monitored by police.

Air Supply was the soundtrack for a puppy love phase the summer 1981. Me, a 12 year-old townie in Eugene going into 7th grade. Her: a sophisticated older lady, age 14, from another town and headed to high school. I told her I was 13. Hey, age ain't nothin' but a number. Am I right, "I'm a 27 year old man who married my 15 year old girlfriend Aliyaah to avoid getting jailed" R. Kelly?

Any-hoo, summer camp ended and we went to separate towns and ... those Air Supply songs? On the radio? They felt the way WE did. The world didn't understand, but Air Supply was there!

One dude was named Graham Russell. The other was named Russell Graham. I think. There may be a handy resource for looking up such details but damned if I'm leaving this laptop to go to a library.

Jump about 17-18 years later, I'm joking with my friend Paul about Air Supply. He does the BEST (okay, only) impression I've seen of the lead singer's manner of holding a corded microphone and gently shifting his weight back and forth. We start running over songs and realize every Air Supply song we can think of is an apology. Hilarious! Wimps! (Them, not us.) The topic gets left alone. I still avoid listening to Air Supply, as it fills me with puppy love shame. Certainly my summer girlfriend got a significant upgrade over me in the course of her life. Yet, there were eternal promises made that I've fallen short of.

Jump forward to now. Looking at a karaoke experience coming up, a friend wants to duet on an Air Supply song. Sure. Confront the fear, can only make me stronger. A few days I listened to "Lost in Love". Of course I still knew the words, but I hadn't contemplated them for a while. They are weird and terrifying. Let's take a look! (After the video)

I realized the best part of love is the thinnest slice,
And it don't count for much.
But I'm not letting go,
I believe there's still much to believe in.

What is "the thinnest slice"? Is love best when it's portioned out by a miser? Tough for anyone, who has watched a movie or tv show about killers who imprison a person they fetishize, to NOT grow alarmed by these initial words. Still, let's assume positive intent and that he wants to believe in this love bond in defiance of some undefined oppositional force.

So lift your eyes if you feel you can.
Reach for a star and I'll show you a plan.
I figured it out,
What I needed was someone to show me.

Why would the love object have difficulty raising her/his eyes? Sadness? Hogtied and laying on the floor? Let's go with sadness. Positive intent. He's addressing the love object, and boasts about having figured something out concerning reaching toward stars and getting a plan. Presumably, it wasn't the love object who showed him, as she/he cannot even look skyward.

You know you can't fool me,
I've been loving you too long.
It started so easy.
You want to carry on. (Carry on)

Palpable menace here. Goodwill over positive intent diminishing. Our fingers start moving toward the phone to call for help. Imagine the two lines being reversed: "I've been loving you too long. You KNOW YOU CAN'T FOOL ME!" So, the love object may have tried to fool him, he protests here that's not gonna happen. Things started simply, and the love object wants to carry on. To persist in love? To cry out for help? Damned vague.

(Now I'm) lost in love and I don't know much.
Was I thinking aloud and fell out of touch?
But I'm back on my feet,
And eager to be what you wanted.

Now the dynamic has changed. He was the man with the star and a plan. Now he's obsequious. He has stumbled or been off-balance and now regained his footing. The disorientation is possibly related to having shared his thoughts aloud. Was there something wrong about the thoughts? He seems to speculate there is. Now he's changed for the love object, can't she/he see that? Does she/he not approve?

Air Supply. Run. As fast as you can.Lyrics repeat several times, including a musical bridge with outer space noises. Then reaches the climax where a yielding to the moment has far exceeded a craven thankfulness for a thin "slice" of love. Now the narrator is engorged, intoxicated, and in a revelry over his now abundant portion of love.

Now I'm lost, lost in love.
Lost in love, lost in love.
Now I'm lost, I'm lost in love.
Lost in love, lost in love.

But as any creature with an appetite learns, satisfaction is a temporary state. The cravings return and one must consume again. To move from a niggardly "slice" of love to an outright banquet. The song is a warning.


"Wonderwall" still drones, bores

"Aaaaaaawwwwllllll..."A post today on the A.V. Club celebrating the song "Wonderwall" by Oasis vexed me. I never got into Oasis. The lyrics to their hit songs were simple and pointlessly riddled with Beatles and Rolling Stones references. The word "wonderwall" is a George Harrison reference. And hearing more than one song of theirs is exhausting. Not because of their high energy, but they nag.

Their brotherly squabbles were occasionally fun to read/listen to. Re-listening to the song to see if I feel any differently about it 16-17 years on, the answer is I don't. I still feel like the only tension to Oasis songs is whether lead vocalist Liam Gallagher will find a third note to sing, or even a second. Pass.

Defending Taylor Swift. Okay, not really.

Jokes about Taylor Swift dating a lot feels like unsavory slut-shaming. I don't dig that.

Taylor Swift sings hyper-produced songs with gimmicky hooks. Good. Inane. Fine. She also has a penchant for dating male celebrities. It's an old showbiz move: two celebrities date, both are kept relevant in gossip circles, careers extended. Lovely. Go, kids, go.

What's the frequency of her dating? Whom she's dating is in the news a lot, but the pace of her dating doesn't seem that unusual. Not that she needs anyone's approval, but is it that much different from high school or college dating?

What rankles most is her using her dating history to sell records, over and over, then the objection to comments on her relationships/marketing strategy. She's profiting from the national hobby of assigning each of her songs to a particular boy/man she's dated. Nifty. It works. Adds some needed flavor to her Applebee's blandness.

Okay, strike what was said earlier, what bothers me the most about her songs that blame bad behavior on, and screeching her independence from, these purported villains is that I'm sympathizing with her targets, who typically don't respond in kind to her histrionics. Things are so warped that I feel empathy for her targets, including soporific talk-singer John fucking Mayer!

One of Swift's ex-boyfriends, Harry Styles, who is in English boy band One Direction gave an interview where mumbling about Swift came across as dignified. She mocked him in her Grammys performance, a truly weird dyspeptic fantasia disturbing and tedious simultaneously, using a British accent. Styles' response? "She's always good on the stage. She's been doing it a long time. She knows what she's doing on stage. It was just another good Taylor Swift performance. It was good." Boring yet classy.

Taylor Swift or her advisors have set on the strategy to keep milking the dating song dedication angle over and over until it doesn't yield anything anymore, but she may be authentically motivated by a lot of rage. Choose one or the other, but don't muddle them up and wonder why people are laughing. It would show some character if she realized "Hey, I'm just an angry beast, and I'm going to re-launch the riot grrl concept for Millenials and be the new Kathleen Hanna or a less scabby and bewildered Courtney Love."

In defense of Love, her dating Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan got them to help her out with songwriting and production, making her art better.