Category Archives: stupid ideas

Ashlee Simpson and AOL screw everyone over.

Via OTD:

Too carefree for sound quality?

In an attempt to keep up with the freeloading download-obsessed music fans of today, Universal has “leaked” Ashlee Simpson’s newest single, “Outta My Head,” off her a- yet unnamed third studio album, which will come out sometime in March. “Outta My Head’s” official iTunes release is December 11; and apparently Universal thought they’d drum up some buzz (and hopefully erase that whole SNL thing from everyone’s memory) by “leaking” the song on AOL. We use quotes around “leaked” for two reasons. First, is it really leaking if the label goes ahead and gives the song to a major website? The second, most maddening reason is that, on a sound quality level, the song sounds kind of like someone was recording it in a basement with one of those handheld crappy digital recorders we use for interviews at Phoenix HQ. Or maybe it was our mom’s old Sony boom box, with the Cocktail soundtrack still in the tape deck. The volume inexplicably rises and falls, and the vocals sound fuzzy and crackly, and not in the experimental, Grizzly Bear-type way. We got about halfway through before we wanted to yank our sound-enhancing headphones off and throw them across the room. What. The. Fuck. We’re gonna go ahead and guess that it’s not that AOL and Universal couldn’t scrounge up the dough for a decent mastering of this track; rather, it seems the thinking here is that fans will endure the crappy version until December 11, then race to iTunes for the “high quality” version. This faulty logic exemplifies major label thinking as a whole, but beyond that, it’s an insult to the fans. Ok, maybe it’s not so far off from Radiohead’s grand, apparently not planned plan, but at least Radiohead gave us a steady volume level, minus any unintentional crackling, on the first version of In Rainbows. When will the major labels get it?

LISTEN: (If you can endure it) Ashlee Simpson, “Outta My Head”

ALSO, I got to talk to Ted Leo recently, and it was awesome. Check it out here.

UPDATE: The sound quality now seems slightly better. Maybe AOL tweaked it a bit and I should get off of my jump to conclusions mat?

How to get an education, a family, and happiness

Courtesy of Salon.com 

From the Phlog:

My favorite blog of the moment, Feministing, reports today on the Bush administration’s national abstinence campaign, which is apparently in full swing, despite heaps of evidence proving that abstinence-only education doesn’t work. From a related entry on ThinkProgress:

“…this ‘information’ is not grounded in science. A recent federal report concluded that abstinence-only programs have had ‘no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.’ Yet the latest public service announcement by 4parents.gov ‘encourages parents to talk with their kids about waiting to have sex.'”

Watch this video and try to resist the wide-eyed youngsters, pleading: “Tell me what you want from me – an education, a family, happiness,” because apparently those things are only available for the abstinent. Personally, my only proof that abstinence-only teachings don’t work is anecdotal: I attended a strict, all-girls Catholic high school in Baltimore, where they literally tested us on this stuff, i.e. “Sexual intercourse is for (fill in the blank).” The blank, as you might guess, was something along the lines of “a woman and a man who are married.” These tests were administered in religion classes, which nearly every student passed, most with A’s or B’s, and yet none of my friends were abstinent. And, on average from freshman year to senior year, at least two members of my 125-student class became pregnant per year.

This week’s This American Life takes a different approach. With the theme “How to Talk to Kids,” host Ira Glass talks to students who write and edit a publication and website called Sex Etc. (with the warning that he’s not going to be sexually explicit, but he is going to acknowledge that kids have sex), a place for teens to find information about safe sex, consult sexual health experts anonymously, find out where to get tested for STD’s, or where to turn in a crisis. Visit the website here (on TAL the students were quick to warn that it’s sexetc.org – other standard URL endings lead to pornography). Download the TAL podcast here, and listen through to the end – there’s a fun little segment by Dan Savage, and it’s (surprisingly) NOT about sex.