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Body

Caught a preview screening of Jennifer’s Body. It wasn’t as awful as I’d read, but I can say that there’s going to be a cadre of folks who are interested in seeing the thing just for Megan Fox’s body. And they’ll be disappointed, because though some of the billboard adverts have given it that bro-skin-flick sheen, that it ain’t. It may have some overbearingly brazen Hollywood affectations (let’s cram as many pop songs as possible in the most awkward situations), Diablo Cody may have gone a bit too over-the-top with her Diablo Cody-isms (though, to be perfectly honest, I know people who speak with the same “quirky” speech affectations), and the humor-horror mixture sometimes trips over itself.

Sometimes. It’s still fairly entertaining, though I wish Cody would’ve explored certain aspects in greater depth (though I can see how it may have been overkill/distracting).

WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead. (Nothing too terrible, but if you’ve seen or read anything about the film, you won’t be caught terribly off-guard.)

At the crux of all the movement is a band called Low Shoulder, who end up performing in the backwoods town that Jennifer lives in and results in a massive Great White-like disaster. (As an aside, I thought the horror take on a club fire was kind of in bad taste… perhaps because it’s exploitative nature that’s eerily like an event that feels so recent/always feels close to home considering the countless teeny spaces I myself cram into for shows could always be a potential nightmare.) In any case, the town and nation are somehow deluded into thinking the band are heroes, with the entire local high school head over heels for the group. A conversation ensues where a Needy (Amanda Seyfried) gets in an argument with a classmate who worships the band based on facts she read over wikipedia and claims that “we need them now more than ever.” It’s this kind of stuff that makes me really respect Cody: she may write a kind of dialogue that goes to extremes of online banter as used in life, but her abilities to display how people react in the most insignificant of situations is uncanny. I found that one relatively sideline scene to be so endearing, the idea that people will seek anything as a source of hope and use the word “hero” for a person who may not well deserve it, a third rate entertainer no less. (It’s kind of funny seeing Adam Brody in another role outside of The Ten where his character is revered for no apparent reason.)

On another, more scrupulous note, Brody’s fake band reveals a certain way people perceive, well, certain kinds of bands, within the context of a film and out of it. Left Shoulder are basically billed as an “indie” band on several occasions in the film, and the watered down song that’s parlayed throughout the film is basically as bland as anything that can be passed off as such. And though the only mention of emo in the entire film is something of a “quirk line” (“puncture wound? That’s so emo.”), some folks are already calling Brody’s faux act an emo band. So sayeth Metromix’s Geoff Berkshire:

When rising emo band Low Shoulder come to town, Jennifer makes it a priority to meet the lead singer (Adam Brody), leading to a night that changes her forever.

The giveaway for the band being remotely “emo”? Probably Brody’s guyliner. As Brody told MTV about his role:

I play this guy named Nikolai Wolf, and he’s a singer in an emo band. He’s looking for fame and fortune and is basically a sociopath who came upon the idea that devil worship and sacrificing a girl is the surefire ticket to fame and fortune. And he has no problem doing that, whatsoever.

….

Yeah, there’s some Jared Leto in there. I threw in a bit of Brandon Flowers. There’s a little Maroon 5. There’s no nail polish, but there’s a little bit of eyeliner.

And there you have it. Gotta love how Brandon Flowers, though he’s previously been outspoken against emo, is probably a greater basis for Brody’s character than Leto: Brody’s stage manner resembles that of Flowers in that over-indulgent, I’m-so-great-look-at-me-slowly-sway kind of way.

What’s more interesting is the band’s supposed evil status. I realize the film is a mixture of comedy and horror, but this is where the mixture doesn’t really work. The ease with which Brody and his band-mates are compelled to commit some heinous act with barely any 2nd guessing (that being the whole “hey, it’s either this or be a barista” argument, which is fairly lame) just didn’t do it for me. Why? Because any band that would have such a brazenly vanilla sound probably wouldn’t be in the same room as anything occult. Nor would they think “that dude from Maroon 5” is cool. Because no one thinks that guy is cool.

Now I’m just nitpicking…

Jennifer’s Body trailer:

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Quick Sunny Day Real Estate Reunion Announcement Reflections

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You can say that again Brian!

Our old Twitter buddy dropped the hint back in March about the potential reunion, which I promptly picked up and got a screen shot. One month later and BAM, instant SDRE reunion meme… possibly fueled by the combination of Marco Collins’ tweets and blip.fm entries, Travis Hay’s bit on Collins for the Ear Candy Blog, and whomever combined these elements with my blog entry and Brian’s tweet (jeez, still can’t believe I’m saying stuff like that) into Wikipedia… Actually, methinks it was probably the wikipedia stuff that really spread the word to the blogs and then the bigger blogs.

Well, how does it feel having seen everything come to fruition in sets of 96 hours (the Kollective tweet on Saturday), 48 hours (all the info released on Monday), and 24 hours (the official announcement from Sunny Day Real Estate and Sub Pop)?

Relieved for one thing. I’d come upon this reunion stuff as a fluke, merely searching for “Sunny Day Real Estate” on Twitter when I joined up. But once people flooded the blog and turned my questioning of the possibility of a reunion into a reality, some folks had a stake in my words. It was because of these people that really fueled my interest in (un)covering all the SDRE reunion rumors and facts, not just my own interest as a fan of their work.

When you’re one of two sources that people credit for a rumor, that’s a lot of pressure. No, it’s not like my words potentially saved folks or potentially put people in harms way, but diehard fans sought it out and put their faith in these words. And that’s a bit scary and a big responsibility in and of itself, especially speaking from a fan’s point of view. In that, I’m glad it’s all come to fruition. Not only because I’d like to see SDRE, but because those who’d opened up their calendars for a potential concert date, who may have saved up vacation time or allowance money, who have re-injected LP2 or How It Feels To Be Something On or Diary or, hell, The Rising Tide into their listening cycle, were clinging to a couple of paragraphs of unconfirmed internet chatter about their favorite band. And for them, I hope it’s everything they’ve wanted.

Be on the lookout for a more detailed overview of how everything has come to fruition with the Sunny Day Real Estate reunion, a reflection on the rumors that have cropped up, and the reunion debate that’s been tossed around in the general music scene.

Those Sunny Day Real Estate Reunion Rumors

Tim Karan had an interview with former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk for Alternative Press posted the day after the release of his newest solo album, OK Bear. What’s interesting was the conversation at the very end of the interview:

Is there any truth behind the rumors that Sunny Day Real Estate are getting back together?
There’s a huge force behind Sunny Day Real Estate that none of the band members ever controlled. It took on a life of its own. It had nothing to do with us as individuals, and it created a lot of expectation from the music industry and fans. It became a gigantic beast. 

I imagine it’s like a pressure cooker right now.
A little bit. I’m already sensing this–not individually or personally within the members–but on the outside, suddenly all of these people are freaking out. And it’s like, “Woah! Pull the reins in a little bit here.” It’s a bit overwhelming.

As soon as there’s so much as a mention of the chance of a Sunny Day reunion, people go crazy. That must be a lot of weight on your shoulders.
Yes, and people want to control it, as well, which is the weirdest thing.

It should be just yours, right?
Apparently. It’s supposed to be just ours, right? But the thing is that it’s not. That’s the force that Sunny Day create: It’s everybody else’s. People love to own it for themselves and that’s very special. But as a person who’s actually doing the work, it’s like, “Okay, start swimming. Here we go!”

When you are talking about other people wanting to own it, are you talking about the music industry or the fans?
Well, especially the music industry. Our fans have a very passive ownership of it in that they own it in their CD player or their iPod and it’s very special to their hearts. But it’s the industry that is the most controlling. They see the potential explosion of it–and I’m not saying that they just want to profit off it– but they want to see it flourish. With Sunny Day there’s always been the question of why we didn’t get bigger than we were and people think, “Well, let’s do what we can to make it happen for these guys.”

So you’re saying it’s still a “never say never” situation?
What it comes down to is that I just fear getting fans’ expectations and hopes up. It would be just a major bummer to be like, “Hey, We’re doing this!” and then suddenly not do it. alt 

How oddly ambiguous… But, outside of the unknown future of SDRE, Enigk does have an excellent point to all this. Enigk deftly manages to explain the power of internet rumors and its ultimate impact on the fans. It’s something I ultimately agree with, and I too do not want to give up fans’ hopes, including myself: as much as I really want to see Sunny Day perform, I hope that my own words haven’t spurned definitive thoughts of a reunion in the minds of others.

Since I first wrote about the potential reunion/rumors back in March, my piece had been getting tons of traffic. It’s gotten picked up by Absolute Punk, Alter The Press, Alternative Press, Paste Magazine, an emo blog from Japan, and even the Sunny Day Real Estate Wikipedia page. While I was certainly honored to be written up in these fine places, I’ve been a little worried about folks reactions. Suddenly, the question mark at the end of the post’s title indicating some lack of veracity became an exclamation point, and this blog became one of a couple of “sources” claiming that the reunion was, in fact, true.

Now, as I said, I would absolutely relish the ability to attend an SDRE show, but until there is an official announcement concerning a Sunny Day show, it’s a little to early to call anything go. And yet, just the other day when Enigk released his album, there was a new wave of rumors cropping up, saying that the band might be playing this year’s Bumbershoot. However, many of these write ups were definitive.

There was Marco Collins, who’s original Twitter post for that day spurned the original Bumbershoot rumors. Marco was one of a couple of folks that the original reunion rumors were based on, and he’s known as credible considering his closeness to members of the band, or at least with Enigk, and at least for work. Collins originally had this to say:

Sunny Day Real Estate @ Bumbershoot? Fact or fiction?

He then took the post down and said this a little later that day:

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And then there’s the Seattle Post-Intelligencer‘s Ear Candy blog, written by Travis Hay, who’s last piece on the reunion said the eventual Bumbershoot set was all but inevitable. And though Collins, who retracted his statement, was all but definitive, questioning the very idea, Hay has been recklessly positive about the group’s appearance, calling Collins a credible source because of his insider knowledge and previous positive, potentially-educated, guess about a festival headliner. Though the outline of Hay’s piece isn’t definitive, the tone of it surely is, and the constant ambiguous Twitter-postings certainly show that Hay believes the reunion will happen. But, as Collins perviously stated that the band would be performing summer festival dates and the first two albums, and most summer festival announcements are coming to a close (Bumbershoot’s schedule isn’t finalized, but that’s in the beginning of September, so technically still summer… all that’s left is the Virgin Music Festival), I’m still a little suspect.

But, what might be most troubling about all of this is Hay’s attitude about his work. Take a look at this conversation over Twitter:

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And the response:

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It’s a little stunning if you ask me. Sure, it’s ok if you don’t take your job seriously; no one in that working relationship hurts more than the individual who thinks of their job as nothing serious. But music journalism, true music journalism, is like all kinds of journalism: it’s meant to inform the public about their interests. Readers, music fans, and people take this stuff seriously, and take it to heart, and it’s a damn shame when someone involved in journalism just doesn’t think anything of their words or their affect. 

To end things, I’d like to take something that Ian MacKaye said in an interview with Alex Cook for The Believer:

IAN MacKAYE: How could it be that someone under the age of twenty-one is not allowed to see a band? I mean, did you like music when you were under twenty-one?

THE BELIEVER: Of course.

IM: Did it mean anything to you?

BLVR: Yes, it meant everything to me, in fact.

IM: Of course it did. It is completely absurd and insane that because of the economic dependency that musicians have been faced with which maintains this status quo, that they are forced to say, “That’s the way it is.” And I think that’s a bunch of bullshit. I know music predated the rock club. I know music predated the music industry. I know music predates the alcohol industry. I know music predates it all. Music is no joke, and the fact that it has been perverted by these various industries for their own profit is discouraging to me.

While what MacKaye was talking about was strictly focused on age restrictions at rock clubs in conjunction with alcohol sales, it’s still a particularly applicable for this piece. Hay’s job is merely another part of the music industry if you want to think of journalism (especially music journalism) in terms of consumer writing, and so his preponderance over a popular broken-up band potentially reuniting is all good business for him (and that is very much an ugly interpretation of journalism and I partially apologize for that as I tend to view journalism as something greater than simply consumerist influences). But what’s most important about that quote is how serious both these individuals look at music. Music was, and is, an important part of their lives. And music journalism is a part of the culture of music today; it allows us to discover new bands, learn more about the humanity behind bands we love, and find out about potential reunions. And Hay’s strong focus on a Sunny Day Real Estate reunion and his positivity of it is potentially dangerous. And while Hay’s words certainly aren’t responsible for the Spanish-American War or putting individuals in harms way, they certainly are putting pressure on a group of talented individuals to do something they might not want to, and feeding into the hopes of many a passionate SDRE fan who are amorous about music and nothing else. And to let those people down on a whim would be unfortunate.

I’ve still got my fingers crossed, but we’ll have to wait and see. And if any member or friend of Sunny Day comes across this and wants to voice their opinion here or anywhere else, I (and so many others) would be completely supportive.

Sunny Day Real Estate – “Seven” (Live on The Jon Stewart Show, right before their first break up… interestingly enough, they were thought to have broken up immediately at the end of this set, but that claim is untrue… you’ll have to read Norman Brannon‘s Anti-Matter Anthology for the SDRE 1997 reunion piece originally featured in Alternative Press):