Jose Nation Writes a Love Song

She's The One by Jose NationLove. Possibly the most written-about topic on the face of the planet, even though it’s without question the most difficult of subjects to express in words, pictures, or music. How in the world do you elucidate such an insanely deep emotion without belittling or making trite? It’s not easy, I can tell you. I know that now because I finally got around to writing one. CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO IT.

For me, it was an extremely time-consuming process. First of all, forget about emulating all of your favorite love songs. They’re bullshit now. Seriously. Most of them were bullshit when they first came out. In fact, most love songs suck, period. Be honest. Do you like a single one of Paul McCartney’s ridiculous compositions shat from his melodious ass while evacuating with Wings? Just one: Maybe I’m Amazed. Pretty incredible song. Strikes a great balance. More on that balance later.

HEY! I see that look on your face! Don’t get pissed at me! McCartney ADMITTED as much in one of his OWN love songs! He titled it “Silly Love Songs!” So shut up. Sit down, for Christ’s sake. You’re making a scene.

Even the best bands falter when it comes to writing decent love songs. Ask yourself: what is Metallica’s very worst song? Why, it’s “Nothing Else Matters,” of course. Some of the worst bands of all time made nothing but love songs. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit for your disapproval: Air Supply.

And then you have little old me. The Nobody. The no-name Brooklynite via the midwest who walks into the pact room and blows their minds with an explosive mixture of insight, whimsy, and heart. This is my love song. I wrote it for my wife as a birthday gift, and it is far superior to any of Paul McCartney’s sugar-glazed, puerile meditations. Listen:

Fucking amazing, right? It’s quite possibly the best song you’ve ever heard. You may be wondering how I did it. The answer is simple, in hindsight. You need to be inside the Triangle of Taste for Love-Song Construction. Obviously, there are three points to the triangle. Sincerity, cool, and expression. Anywhere inside the matrix merits a level of success, but the closer to the center, the better. I think “She’s The One” hits a bullseye. But not without struggle. The whole endeavor was a walk on the tightrope, and any shift in the balance of the song would have sent me plummeting, flailing and powerless, dying on impact on the hard ground of my wife’s expressionless stare. Revisions to the lyrics were countless. Entire shifts in lyrical focus occurred daily. Keeping the guitar wails inspired with tinges of plaintiveness–but not morose or hopeless–seemed an endless struggle. But more than anything, I wanted to nail the bass line, because this is often the love of my life’s favorite component of a song. And you know, I think I came close.

In any event, my wife seemed to be genuinely touched by the gesture, while she despises Paul McCartney’s silly love songs, and that is all the proof I need. I kicked Paul McCartney’s old, decrepit ass into the gutter. Sorry, Paul. Sucks to be you.

Rex The King and Other Things

Rex The King by Jose Nation

Once you’ve taken the time to painstakingly perfect a creative venture, you’ve probably ruined anything about it that might intrigue others. That’s what I’ve generally found to be the case, and with this in mind, I’d like to present to you the latest Jose Nation musical offering in all of it’s imperfect glory: Rex The King. It’s the second volume in a line of songs I’m writing and recording for my nearest and dearest, and if you’re wondering if you’ve made the list, then you didn’t.

Go ahead and take a listen by clicking on the little arrow thingy below, and then, do me a favor, click here, and just buy the goddamned song already.

And for all of the trouble-making assholes out there who refuse to use iTunes, here’s a different link to click.

This project was an interesting change of process for me, in that it was the first time I had taken a previously recorded chunk of music that had been kicking around my archive for a significant period of time—specifically the keyboard and guitar hook for the verse sections of the song—and actually turned the sparse idea into a finished product (I say product hoping this entices people to buy it). Actually, there was very nearly an entire instrumental piece written, but I never liked the bridge, and the guitar for the chorus was far too literal; was too close to the melody to be interesting. I ended up completely trashing the original bridge and chorus guitar, and re-recorded the guitar for the verses.

The biggest reason for doing reconstruction, besides the fact that much of the original material totally sucked balls, was because of a major change in workflow. I recently moved from GarageBand to Logic Pro, and after having imported the old GB files into Logic, I was all like, “ahh, you know, what the hell,” and just started deleting things—which, if you’ve never tried deleting things, you really should. It really gets the blood pumping and makes you feel like you’re living.

So Logic is cool and blah blah blah, and I don’t want to get all caught up in a DAW review here, because other people have already reviewed every aspect of the software much more thoroughly than I ever could. Yes, it looks like a big grey piece of shit, and much of it is far more complicated and redundant than it needs to be, but whatever. It gets the job done. Logic is the obvious choice for people who have moved beyond GarageBand for recording and arranging. Especially arranging. Honestly, I’m easy to impress. I started recording at home more than a decade ago with Cakewalk 3 or 4 (now Sonar), I can’t remember which, and all of the DAWs have come such a long way since that time. If only I hade the hardware and software available then that they have now. I was born too soon, dear readers. But that’s a different post entirely.

For the most part, I’m happy with this song. I’m not going to list all the goals here, because I’m a big believer in letting people listen to a track and letting them create the story around it for themselves. To me, if a song has the room inside of it to allow a listener to fit their own imagination, it has a greater chance of being successful.

I’m sure most of my close friends will hate it, but I’m curious what acquaintances and strangers will think.

Jose’s Foray Into Kiddie Tunes

Boat Party by Jose Nation

We here at Jose Nation never shy away from a challenge, so when our fans deluged us with letters saying, “Hey, Jose, lately it seems like every band and their mother is making kid-music. When are you gonna jump in and give my snot-nosed brat something to chew on?”

Our readers are one-hundred percent correct. Creative people–writers, illustrators, musicians, even douche actors–are knocking over everything in their paths to grab themselves a piece of the tot market these days. And why shouldn’t they? Modern parents drop every dime they make on anything marketing folks tell them to in the hopes that their purchases will keep little ones off the psych couch in adulthood.

Unfortunately, nothing can stop the inevitable, but when it comes to children, there’s no excuse for not trying. And so, to kill two birds with one stone, I wrote and recorded a song for my son’s first birthday. Honestly, I’m surprised by how much I like the results. My son seems to love it (of course, he’s one, so who can tell). That’s one box checked. Now all that is left is YOU, kind reader. Will this satiate the need to sooth the beasts inside your own young? If not, don’t worry. I’ve got more kids, so I’m gonna have to write more songs, or else I risk them ending up on the couch. Take a listen to Boat Party:

Thanks so much to my super-hot wife KTray for providing me with the perfect base line. Let me know what you think, readers. Eventually, I’l get it into the iTunes store, and then you can buy it if you want.

Crapping On What You Love: The Sad Dowager Meryl Streep

The tacky gold queen, Meryl Streep.Some time ago, I began a series called Crapping On What You Love. They turned out to be, as one might suspect, some of my most controversial articles. The premise is really quite simple, and something you’ve probably guessed: I take beloved icons of our culture, and I crap on them. Not just for the hell of it, mind you, but because I feel these icons are either WAAAY over-rated or flat-out stupid. If you want to see the past posts, CLICK HERE.

Today, I’m going to crap on your favorite actress, Meryl Streep.

There’s only one thing more annoying than an unsuccessful actor, and that’s an actor who’s meager abilities has garnered them unprecedented adulation. There is no actor more adulated than the depressingly average-looking Meryl Streep. She commands legions of adoring fans, each one of them more eager than the last to die defending her honor whenever a brave soul like me dares to knock her down to size. It’s an embarrassing display of hero worship that never fails to leave me absolutely flabbergasted. I mean really, you’d think this half-baked, two-bit hamboner was the second (third?) coming or something. She isn’t. She’s just another stupefyingly mediocre actor who’s Plain Jane looks have convinced thousands of self-esteem challenged geeks that she’s “one of them.”

She’s not one of you. She walked up your back to the top of the mountain.

Somewhere out there, a fan is choking on her indignation, appalled that I could call such a strong woman with so much “inner beauty” a Plain Jane. Save it, sister. I just call ’em like I see ’em. I couldn’t care less about her internal bombshell, and neither could the camera. We simply know what director Phyllida Lloyd knows: Meryl Streep is the perfect actor to play one of the most homely public figures of all time, the former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher. Some would say she’s born to play it. Going on looks alone, I would agree.

But if we’re talking about acting…

Ok, enough with the cheeky gab regarding appearances. It has its relevance — you can’t parade yourself as America’s duchess of cinema and not expect someone to talk about your looks or lack thereof — but the thing that really chaps my hide about Her Highness is how obnoxiously pleased she is with every project with which she is involved. It’s written all over her smug face. Not only in every insufferable interview I’ve ever sat through — watching Morley Safer drool through his age-blasted, loose lips as he watches her speak; hanging on her every average word; over-joyed simply to be within radius of her smell; knowing he hasn’t a chance in hell yet maybe he does (oh the things he’d do to her) — but also in any movie I have ever had the misfortune of watching her traipse through. It’s unforgivable.

The point: an actor’s job — you know, the job we pay Meryl millions to do — is to try her best to NOT be herself for the ridiculously short amount of time the film is rolling. To tuck her real — and, in the case of many celebrity level performers, disfigured and bloated — ego away so that we may be allowed to lose ourselves for a moment within a story somewhat more illuminating and eventful than our own. Some, like Holly Hunter or Gary Oldman, seem to create whole new personages to inhabit, with unique affectations specific to whatever role they happen to be playing. Others, like Bob DiNero or Tina Fey, simply infuse their own strong personalities into the character. Both of these approaches work, because the actors in question are successful in BEING the character. The real person seems to disappear, and we are left to follow the fictional one.

With Streep, it’s different. Everything is a wink from her to us. No matter what she’s doing, it’s like she has a creepy, life-size puppet propped up in front of her, and Meryl’s always peering over its shoulder, glancing at us out of the corner of her eye. “Can you believe this?” she says to us. “Can you fucking believe how hard I am rocking this script right now? I am acting the SHIT out of this, right? Don’t try and put me in a wet paper sack, because I will act myself right the fuck OUT of that bitch, people.” I hate that. It drives me bat shit. It’s an invitation to agree with how great Meryl thinks Meryl is; but while confidence is a wonderful thing, braggadocio sucks ass.

Not to mention she always dresses like crap. Please. Hey Meryl, you have the cash, you have every designer in the world clamoring to dress you. Get it together. Stop wearing gold lamé sacks everywhere. You look like the world’s oldest swing choir nerd.

I’ll never forget the first and only time I suffered through Out of Africa. Actually, let me take that back. I did forget it. Entirely. I couldn’t tell you one thing that happened in that horrible film. It’s as if I were molested in a large, dark closet filled with other people also getting molested by a snooty, frumpy blonde with a 10 inch zipper, and then blocked it all out. I guess I’m glad to not remember. It’s far better this way.

Here’s a little breakdown outlining how I feel about a few of her other ‘films:’

Silkwood: yawn.

Postcards From the Edge: exhausting portrait of a woman adrift, and Streep does nothing to make her likable.

The Bridges of Madison County: I have never been more disappointed with Clint Eastwood than I was at this time. It’s like Clint stepped back into time and rubbed shit into the nostrils of the boyhood Jose. To work with such a wuss actress on such a wuss movie based on the wussiest book ever written…it hurt so much, and still does.

She-Devil: please. Just. Fucking. Stupid.

The River Wild: again, yawn.

Sophie’s Choice: a boring movie about an unconscionable woman. What kind of mother is she? To hell with her. She gets everything she deserves.

Death Becomes Her: pure stupid. Goldie Hawn’s lowest ebb. Bruce’s, too. Even his Levi commercials were better.

Kramer Vs Kramer: ok, the one movie with any saving grace. Perhaps it was filmed before she became spoilt.

The following is a list of movies that are so pitiably retarded that I would never even consider seeing them, even if it meant saving my own life. If I had a big ole’ heap of cancer, and these movies would cure it like nothing had ever happened, I would rather die:

Music of the Heart
The Devil Wears Prada
A Prairie Home Companion
Momma Mia!
Momma Mia!
Momma Mia!
It’s Complicated
One True Thing
Julie and Julia
The Hours
Lions for Lambs
Momma Mia!
The Iron Lady

To be honest, I could add more movies to the second list all day, but I’m getting tired of typing.

I’m going to wrap up with this thought: Meryl Streep sucks.

Ok, I’ll expand upon that. There’s a movie out there better than anything Meryl Streep has ever made. It’s called Rocky III. Somewhere in the middle of the film, there’s a scene where Mickey tells Rocky that the only way he could keep Rocky winning fights is to send sub-par fighters his way:

Well Rock let’s… Well let’s put it this way. Three years ago you were supernatural. You was hard and nasty. You had this cast iron jaw. But then the worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter. You got civilized. Don’t worry kid. You know presidents retire, generals retire, horses retire, Man o War retired, they put him out to stud. That’s what you should’ve done, retire.

Meryl, maybe there was a time when you were worth a damn. But now, please, you and your baggy gowns…retire.

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