I’ve got that rock and roll; I’ve got that future flow

We’ve Got The Beat That Bounce
Watching the video for “Boom Boom Pow” this weekend – just because, okay? – raised the obvious question: what do the other two guys in the Black Eyed Peas do? Why are they there? You’ve got Will.i.am producing the songs – and as little as I like their songs, “Boom Boom Pow” has a really catchy beat to it. You’ve got Fergie on vocals and eye candy. While the latter trumps the former in most pop acts, she has a good voice in her own right.

But then there’s the other two guys: the ugly one and the guy with the samurai topknot. What do they add? They’re not very talented rappers. I can’t imagine they have a lot of female fans screaming over them. Now that the Black Eyed Peas have become world-class superstars, why are these guys around?

The world seems to have answered that question for me, in that Will.i.am has made tentative crossover steps (like his role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Fergie has a solo career. Whereas no one cares about Taboo’s aborted solo projects, or his role as Vega in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li. So, asked and answered.

Of course, it would be rather mercenary for a band to drop its less attractive / useful members once it achieved superstardom. And since pop music isn’t known for its mercenary attitude, I suppose we’re stuck with those two until the end of time.

Things Not To Say, Even At A Whisper, In A Conference Room Full of Coworkers When You Realize You’ll Have To Present First

Have You Come Here For Forgiveness? Have You Come To Raise the Dead?
U2 played at Foxboro Stadium, south of Boston, this past Monday. I did not go to see them, though I had ample opportunity. At least three friends e-mailed me, forwarding along info from friends who were trying to offload tickets. One of them needed to get rid of a dozen club-level seats (private bathrooms, free snacks, etc) at $250 a pop.

I like U2 as a concept; I’m glad they still exist. But I have no real desire to ever see them live. Certain bands generate an energy when heard live that trumps any of their albums. I can’t imagine what hearing U2 live would add, other than “more fireworks” and “Bono’s face on a Jumbotron.”

Here’s some anecdotal data: I’ve gone to karaoke probably one hundred times in the last three years. My favorite haunts all have very extensive songbooks. But I have never heard anyone sing a U2 song from later than 1996. And if we exclude the one time somebody covered “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” (from the Batman Forever) soundtrack, no one goes more recent than Achtung Baby. That’s eighteen years of irrelevance.

I Guess I Thought You Had The Flavor
In conversation with a friend recently, I realized how much the question, “Why do I always want what I can’t have?” answers itself. You want what you can’t have because you don’t have it. If you had it, you wouldn’t want it any more – because you’d have it. This is true whether you’re talking about romantic partners, careers or a 42″ plasma TV. Wanting what you can’t have doesn’t make you weird or broken or hopeless – it’s part of the human condition.

“Why do I always want what I can’t afford?” is an interesting question. But wanting what you can’t have is normal. There’s a reason Buddhists say not wanting is such a big deal: because it’s really, really hard.


2 Responses

  1. But.. wait.

    Regarding wanting what you can’t have, you’re right, but I think you’re oversimplyfying it.

    If it was just a matter of wanting things because you don’t have them, logically we should still be looking for things that are at least possbile to have, whether it’s careers, partners or prizes.

    So to me, “why do I want things I don’t have?” (the answer being obvious, as you pointed out) is not the same as “why do I want something that I know I will never have a chance at having?” (which further qualifies objectis of desire into two categories and asks why some are preferable over others).

    People tend to seek plasure and avoid pain so it doesn’t make sense on a basic level that we would seek out failure again and again, which is why, I think it’s also a more interesting question than simply “Why do I want?”

    Additionally, I think when people ask this question they are also implying (in most cases) that they *don’t* want what they either *do* have or could very easily have.
    “Why do I want the partner who doesn’t want me but I don’t want the one who does?”
    “Why do I crave take out tonight when there is plenty of food in the house?”

    Which isn’t as explainable.

    If I want an ipod touch, of course I want it because I don’t have it. I would even say that I want *for* it. I have a void that it might fill, whether it’s an actual need or just whimsy.

    However, it does not automatically follow that I don’t want it anymore once I have it. I no longer want *for* it, no longer have a lack of it. But if I actually stop *wanting* to own it I would give it away or sell it.

    Buddhists would say that even wanting things we already have, including relationships and careers and subsequently developing Attachment to these things is just as bad as wanting *for* things we don’t have. Satisfaction is not a bad thing, but we should also be willing to lose and move on. Very hard to do.

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