Bleats

Nirvana Are Officially Better Than Queen Which Everyone Obviously Already Knew

Here we are now, entertain us!

Saying that Nirvana are better than Queen is similar to saying that orgasms sting less acutely than pant-wasps, not least because Nirvana made good records which are enjoyable to listen to and Queen are dreck.

It’s a fact, don’t @ me.

Yep.

Anyway, science (science!) have confirmed this basic universal truth via a new analysis of songs by researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London, led by music AI expert Professor Mick Grierson, which concluded that ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is the most iconic song of all time.

Number 2 was John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, number three was, confusingly, U2’s ‘One’, Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ was fourth, and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was wrongly placed at five instead of at nothingth.

Oh, and before you ask: the Beatles were in there, at number six with ‘Hey Jude’.

As an aside, Dr Grierson found there were certain words which were especially common in the songs on the list, including “love”, ‘baby” and “nah” – although the aforementioned inclusion of ‘Hey Jude’ probably pushed that nah-count way, way up.

Yeah: nah.

Since iconicness isn’t a thing that can be measured they went with running the songs from seven all time best of lists from respected music publications through software which analyised the key, tempo, lyrics and “timbral variety, and sonic variance” which is a fancy way to say “sound”.

Now, this was a British study using largely British music lists – as Spin points out, this explains why Oasis’ highest ranking song is the passionately Brit-loved ‘Live Forever’ (at number seventeen) rather than the international hit ‘Wonderwall’ – but even so we could assume that it’s even more parochial and UK-centric than would be the case with international data.

And thus in a better-weighted study, Queen should be even lower. Maybe even last. That would make sense.

Because Queen are awful.

Again, don’t @ me.

Some Hipster Filmmaker Decided To Release His Indie Music Documentary On VHS Only

So, anyone actually got a video player?

As a bearded, bespectacled lefty sort I generally find complaints about insufferable hipsters a little close to home – but the news that the maker of a documentary about the world’s most achingly indie record label is making said film available only by renting it on VHS makes me want to cry into my artisanal microbrew.

This guy feels the same.

The label in question is Elephant 6 – which started up as a collective of a bunch of friends to live together, share equipment and play on each other’s stuff in Denver, Colorado, in 1991.

And all indie-cool aside, they formed goddamn amazing bands including Olivia Tremor Control, the Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel.

Yes, it’s a real band. Not just a joke on Parks and Recreation.

Anyway: Chad Stockfleth started making a documentary about the label/musical collective/friendship group five years ago, now entitled A Future History Of: The Elephant 6 Recording Co.

This film has now been completed, and you can watch it. If you pick up a flyer at record stores around Portland, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and other selected US cities.

Once you have the flyer, according to Pitchfork, you can get the number for the Elephant 6 Video Rental Club, who will give you instructions which eventually ends with you being sent the video cassette in the mail.

That package also contains as a “library card” to sign when the tape is mailed back, and a fresh flyer the renter is to put up in their ‘hood.

So yes, this is all offensively twee. But it’s also kind of perfect for the weirdly out-of-time music of the bands themselves.

Anyway, at the risk of looking even more hipster, now I just want to find a VHS player and watch this documentary. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get on my fixie and play In The Aeroplane Over The Sea on wax cylinder (vinyl is SO mainstream, you guys…).

The Genius Bot That Created This Wild Batman Script Deserves Bruce Wayne's Millions

But how does goth ham taste anyway?

There are many areas of human endeavour under threat of replacement by artificial intelligence right now. Meteorologists, travel agents, writers of Batman scripts: the list of jobs where bots can do a better job gets ever longer.

For an example of that last category please cast an eye over these glorious two pages of a script which writer/comedian Keaton Patti made a bot create after plugging in a bunch of Batman screenplays.

First up, it’s very funny. And lines like “Eat a dinner, Mattress Wayne” and “I drink bats, just like a bat would!” have a certain A1 vibe to them.

But… the puns? The expired coupon for parents? The flipping of Alfred? They just feel a bit too good for a bot, unless Patti’s got a next level AI from the future that’s come back to stop John Connors, in which case he’s really burying the lede.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that “I forced a bot to do this” is a phrase with a lot of different meanings, ranging from predictive text keyboards operated by humans (which is how Botnik Studios, masters of these sorts of hilariously surreal bits of writing, tend to operate.

“Neural networks”, a form of machine learning, tends to do better with short bursts of things because of the weird dream-logic is employs which makes it meander off theme relatively quickly. Great for making cat names, not ideal for sustained narratives – which is why Janelle Shane’s AI Weirdness blog is such a consistently rewarding read.

“Have I been laughing at a comedian and NOT a robot?”

So, did Patti actually put a bunch of Batman scripts through an AI, or is this just a parody written in the style of a bot by a human in some sort of confusing human-as-bot-as-human meta-project?

That’s the sort of a question which can only be answered over a tall, cold glass of bats. And maybe some goth ham.

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