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April 17, 2012 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-04-17

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I

8B - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Ten thoughts on 'Countdown'

Iknow this is awfully peri-
natal of me, but I've had
Beyonce's "Countdown"
on the brain for weeks. So, with
natural numbers, I'm running
down some
thoughts on
a song that
has been
stuck in my
head and
whispered
out of my lips
while antici- JOE
pating buses, DIMUZIO
scrubbing
my back and
pacing the kitchen, waiting for
the kettle to hiss.
Ten years of courtship later
and six years after "Crazy
in Love," Beyonce has pro-
gressed, to nutty-bordering-
incoherent - devotional with
one riff and defiant with the
next - in a kaleidoscope of
atomic vocalese. "Countdown"
gives her the canvas for it - in
mixed media - a patch-worked
roller coaster through which
no dominant melody or mood
can pierce. From that opening
melismatic "boy," (transcribed
loosely as buoyee-eh-eeh-yee-
hee-yee-hee-ee-hee-ee-yee-
ee! and yes, you call us "girl,"
we'll call you "boy!") Beyonce
is transfiguring/deconstruct-
ing (grammar?), tearing up
the damn place. Rather than
pie-ee-eece out her syllables
mechanically like Katy Perry
or faux-tropically via Rihanna,
Beyonce's (occasionally over-
achieving - but here, wholly
earned) aerobics massage
them, oiling in casual snarls,
octaval flips, jubilance. Love is
"low-ooh-of." Sing is "sayng."
(to rhyme with chain). Boo
becomes "hoof," no questions
asked. When language limits
me, I have been known to sing.
Or make up words.
Nine is the number of
people credited with writing
"Countdown," which bears
little skepticism considering

the soi
chassiE
horns,
drums
segme
edge-o
finger
tom-b
dated,
has tal
ist pop
final s
deep it
8. If
Beyon
we'reg
hyphet
wave,l
empov
World
(Put A
too cor
tion or
best in
revelsi
- still-
clubbir
eronor
kicks i
real lot
me you
and an
we've
it ain't
Yup I I
it, buy
sex an(
contro
wrote1

ng's Frankensteinian "Countdown" can't sit nicely
s. Dancehall, Tusk-style with anything Euro-thumping
Boyz II Men, steel the top 10 (even Rihanna has
, throw it all in! Each folded) these days. None of 4's
nt collides with the next, singles have had much stay-
f-folding-chair, white- ing power, which seems to say
tipped snare-rolling, more about their independence
reaking, methypleni- (maturity?) from pop radio's'
adjective pileup. If K-pop clubbing-turning-to-fatalism/
ken the torch of maximal- predestination (i.e. Ne-Yo on
, "Countdown" is the Pit-Bull's "Give Me Every-
alvo of a nation one year thing" "for all we know / we
nside a darker decade. might not get tomorrow,"
we're going to hash out a trend I like) than of their
ce's place in feminism, mediocrity.
going to need some 6. Let the culture vultures
ns. Post/non/second?- pick at "Countdown" 's video
Bey's calls for female for its cut-and-paste pastiche/
verment, like in "Run the plagiarism of Hepburn/Keers-
(Girls)" or "Single Ladies maeker/everything. The clip's
Ring On It)," are either hydra-headed po-po-mo veloc-
nflicted to bear inspec- ity suits the track like its kinky
reductive against their snapped fingers set against
tentions. "Countdown" those twee, clinking keyboards
in domestic pleasures - unexpectedly well.
-sexin'-but-no-longer- 5. A conversation via text
n,' unabashedly het- with a female friend at 3:15
mative. But she gets her a.m.:
n with the divine "Say it Me: Writing about Beyonce
ud if you fly / If you leave Friend: She run the world
out of yo mind," a threat Me: Thoughts on her?
invitation. But then Friend: Sassy diva bitch with
got "Yup I put it on him, meaty thighs (ina good way)
nothing that I can't do / 4!
buy my own if he deserve 3:33 - total track time, 213 -
his shit too," in which seconds total, 33 - number of
d money, as always, equal replays on my iTunes in a week.
l. Lest we forget a man Give it time.
these lyrics? Two months ago, there was
a comment - so beautifully
succinct - regarding previous
?his song is single, "Run the World (Girls),"
about who really "runs" the
yonce to the world, featured on an article
titled "Beyonce Wants to
wer of 10 Rebrand Feminism," saying it
better than I can: "SIMPLE....
million. MEN DON'T, WOMEN
DON'T...SATAN THINKS HE
DOES...BUT GOD DOES ACTU-
ALLY."
enty-one (I cheat 1... What is the countdown
imes) is the top spot to, exactly??

'Laguna' captu
By JENNIFER XU
Magazine Editor
Jan. 3, 2012 - Ican tell I'm get-
ting older because the bare-faced
stars of Hollywood no longer hold
any appeal for me. I look at pic-
tures of Selena Gomez and Justin
Bieber grasping pinky fingers and
I feel nothing- no envy, no desire,
just the curious energy of a zoo-
keeper looking in on a foreign spe-
cies of baby dolphin.
I've put off watching "Laguna
Beach" (the real Orange County)
for a while now because I never
felt I could understand it. What ,Seeepheeen!"
did I have in common with a
cluster of busty, bubble-headed goes. But somet
youths? I'm not from California understood thr
and have never glided atop a surf- existence, from
board to the torch songs of Hilary "Room Raiders
Duff. Little did I know this show that clever wo:
would come to represent all that indicators of
my formative years were, and a rush of fam
might have been. ing these real:
"Laguna Beach" is the great and touch, bec
Greek tragedy of a sexuality not concerned
discovered and lost. Exploring but with what
each other's nether regions, head Teenager-hood
atop bare chest, skin grazing stares and ei
skin, the teenagers of "Laguna "Laguna Beach
Beach" leave lust marks on each more potent be
other's bodies, uttering words
which feel new and true and1
blue. Drinks flow free, ice cubes Real
clinking at the sides of crystal
decanters. Count
Its Icarus, fittingly, is the pink-J
lipped, cherubic Stephen Colletti,
whose toughest decision in life is
choosing which golden, saltwater "Kristin's a;
goddess, LC or Kristin, he wants hook up with a
to "hook up" with. In the show's Stephen says it
intro, Kristin emerges from the black tufts of h
pool, hair slicked back, beads of by the wind. "A
water clingingto her scarlet bikini. so amped on h
We see the scene, again and again, - we can just
like a tape recorder in perpetual fun. But comi
rewind. The sun paints shadows boyfriend andg
on tanned, heaving bodies and the like, Lauren w
sky is the color of cocktails. girl."
Teen dramas, my desert island The words fi
staple, have long depended on and more emb
30-year-olds playing 17-year-olds nal truth.
because the real 17-year-olds are Stephen pic
too stupid to properly assess their should, while
generation - or so the thinking and bites her li

red teen nature

I
I

MTV

t
r
r
s
r.
r.
l
r
h
I
a
i
1.
1
1
f
c
i

thing that MTV has I've seen pictures of Stephen
oughout its bumpy now, and at 24, he's a veritable
"Jersey Shore" to geriatric, dating some silicone
" to "Awkward," is gal from a Jonas Brothers movie
rds aren't the best and insinuating his way into
honesty. There's whatever guest star roles he can
iliarity in watch- eke out of his short-lived fame.
17-year-olds flicker Kristin and LC also look a little
cause the show is worse for the wear, as if their
with what's right tanning beds had crackled out a
exists. Just being. few too many times. High school
i is about vapid was the sun-kissed zenith of
mpty spaces, and their existences, and every year
" is perhaps all the trailing in its wake an everlast-
cause that's all it is. ing backslide.
Were these teenagers missing
out on something vital about life,
r g or had they figured out one of its
greatest secrets? Are we really
real life, any different from the characters
of "Laguna Beach," our finest
moments spent in the transitory
halos of our high-school-senior
really good girl to years? First loves, first times.
nd have fun with," Stolen kisses in the orchestra
n an early episode, room. Late nights in the parking
air artlessly ruffled lot of a movie theater. Maybe we
And that's why I'm are all kidding ourselves when
er. And I love, like we say the best years of our lives
have like so much age like wine. Maybe life actu-
ng down like the ally ends when you're 18.
girlfriend stuff, it's, In two years I'll be exchang-
ould be like a better ing my graduation tassels for a
white coat and the Hippocratic
eel less Valley Girl Oath, and in another four I'll be
lematic of an eter- responsible for the lives of oth-
ers. In these twilight hours of our
ks Kristin, as he youth, Nabokov's words ring out
Lauren looks on the loudest: "... and the rest is rust
p. and stardust."

Be
.pc

Se
someti

"Countdown" has reached
on the Billboard Hot 100 (as
of writing this) which sug-
gests some things and makes
nothing clear. To begin with,

Nov. 15, 201 - Dimuzio is
looking for other things to count
... down. E-mail suggestions to
him at shonenjo@umich.edu.

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