Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Music Video: Titus Jones "College is Crazy" (Britney Spears / Beyonce / Jay-Z / Gnarls Barkley / Asher Roth)

I'm a little bit troubled by how much I like this one.

Titus Jones (of "I Wanna Bulletproof Dancer" and "Good Girls Burn Miami") has done a whole album, Culture Shock (available for download at his website), and of the two Culture Shock songs for which there are videos so far, this is my favorite. It's also one of my four favorite tracks on the album overall (the other three being "Oops I Shot Jolene's Mom," "Pokestar," and "We Love Hustling Drugs"). I cannot figure out why I like it, though; Asher Roth, around whom the rest of the mix seems to be constructed, strikes me as being sort of aggressively and pointedly douchey, the sort of person I would go out of my way to avoid, particularly in the bridge. And yet.1

It might be that I'm liking the way the other songs (esp. the Gnarls Barkley) comment on and partly undercut the Asher Roth. I don't know.

Titus Jones, by the way, will do mixes for hire.2 Were I to win the lottery or something, I think one of the first things I would do would be to contact Mr. Jones and buy a 4-5 minute mashup of the following songs:

"Baby" (Justin Bieber)
"Baby Baby" (Amy Grant)
"Baby Baby Baby" (TLC)
"Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby" (R. Kelly)
"Say Baby" (David Garza)3

Might be one of those things that would turn out more clever than good,4 but if anybody could spin that mostly-shitty straw into gold, it'd be Titus Jones.

Anyway. When there's a video for "Oops I Shot Jolene's Mom," I'll post about that, too. That'll probably be a shorter post, though.


1 There's also the issue of the word "crazy" being repeated over and over. Mental illness advocates, and some people with mental illness, don't like this kind of thing. The word "crazy," they say, is used to stigmatize, ignore, and demean those with mental illnesses, and using it to mean "more extreme than anticipated" or "uncharacteristic" is somehow likewise demeaning to the mentally ill. I can sort of almost see the point, but I think the logic is flawed: I think watering down a slur by giving it additional meanings is the best possible way to take away the sting. Insisting that people not use the word because it upsets you only gives people more power and incentive to upset you by using it, particularly if the word has become essentially meaningless. (Like for example "fucking:" a "fucking good party" is basically the same as a "crazy good party," and in both cases, the only purpose the words "fucking" and "crazy" serve is to intensify the description and convey an attitude. They're not interchangeable in all situations, though: "You're crazy" is obviously not the same thing as "You're fucking.")
No doubt some could make counterarguments, but that's not even really the point: my point is that although some people would be upset by how many times "crazy" is used in the mashup, I'm not one of those people. I have cut certain words from my vocabulary because of arguments like the above ("lame," "retarded," "bitchy" -- though "totally bitchin' Camaro" is still acceptable), but I'm keeping "crazy." I'm not trying to be an asshole, but it's crazy fucking useful.
2 Though they're pricey: the cheapest option is a mashup of three songs to make a new song under two minutes long, and that costs $50.
3 A song which is not on YouTube (except in a really crappy live version) but worth looking for -- I like the whole album Overdub, actually -- and which is primarily about how in order to get played on the radio, one has to write songs that "don't forget to say baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby." I heard the song on the radio about nine years ago, so obviously it worked.
4 I haven't even heard the R. Kelly song: I'm only using it because it was the only song title I could find with more than three "Baby"s. (Oh. Wait. Now I've heard it. Well, maybe Jones could do something with it anyway.)


Pat said...

The Asher Roth spoilt it, it needed more Gnarls.

On the subject of crazy, might I recommend "Prejudice" by Tim Minchin?


Paul said...

Agreed, Asher makes me sick to my as$.

Ivynettle said...

Sheesh, they're not serious, about this 'crazy' thing? That's just... well... crazy.
As if I needed any more proof that this whole political correctness thing is getting out of hand!
I've been called - and have called myself - crazy quite often, and am proud of it. They can't take that word away from me!

Daisy said...

Titus Jones has the most reasonable priced mixes of any custom mixing service out there.

mr_subjunctive said...


They're serious, yes. I've witnessed (but not participated in) a few "crazy" comment fights on line, the most recent at Slacktivist. (Not sure of the specific post, but it wasn't that long ago.)

I'm not unsympathetic to the idea; if you had actual mental health problems and then were also emotionally abused by a partner or parent who called you crazy all the time, and meant it, then I could understand how hearing the word again might trigger unpleasant feelings. And certainly there are some contexts in which the word makes me angry too (notably the "bitches is crazy" school of standup comedy, where men complain about and make fun of the unfathomable minds of women and all their ridiculous concerns, thoughts, and preferences). But word-policing doesn't work. If you make a word socially unacceptable, people will find other ways of expressing the same contempt. And that's if you can manage to make it unacceptable in the first place. I think making "crazy" unacceptable is impossible; it'd be like trying to outlaw "cool" or "okay." But even if they were successful, "nuts," "cuckoo," "cracked," "insane," "loony," "bonkers," "bananas," etc., are waiting in the wings to take over.

The real solution, it seems to me, is to destigmatize mental illness so that it's not something people find funny or shameful or whatever.

For what it's worth, I have more or less purged the mentally-ill definition of "crazy" from my vocabulary, and try to use it only in the meaningless-intensifier, unexpected, extreme, absurd, etc. senses. Plus idioms.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Interesting post. Love the vid mix. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

Ivynettle said...

This whole 'crazy' thing kept going round and round my brain yesterday. But I'm not going to post any of the things I kind of want to say here - it'd turn into a massive essay of a comment, about something that isn't even the real subject of this post. Sorry I don't have anything to say about the mashup - just not my kind of music. Definite lack of hurdy-gurdies. ;)