Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

Clef Notes: The “Exhausted” Edition

Every Friday, or at least until his spectacular rock star flameout, Giovanny will be dropping a week’s worth of music knowledge on you with Clef Notes, proof positive that he’s a one man music magazine


Cue the song from the end of Portal!

Cue the song from the end of Portal!

Apparently he's is human: Because of the Clef Notes production cycle, and the nature of deadlines, I'd already written last week’s edition and sent it off to the presses by the time I became aware of Lil Wayne’s latest health scare. Since last Friday, countless music fans with a serviceable internet connection have been glued to their screens trying to sift through the constant rumors, updates, and insanities which surround this story. Now, nearly a week after it all transpired, Weezy is finally out of the hospital, and presumably resting comfortably in Miami, yet there is still so much confusion and speculation as to what actually happened... which is where I've decided come in. Below is a chronology of Lil’ Wayne’s latest tribulations, wherein I'll attempt to address some of the numerous rumors and establish some facts (all times Eastern Standard).

3-12-13: While filming a cameo for Nicki Minaj’s music video, High School, Wayne suffered multiple seizures and was rushed to Cedar Sinai hospital.

3-13-13: Wayne is released from the hospital early Wednesday morning and, according to TMZ, is doing better.

3-15-13 (4:39PM): TMZ reports one of Wayne’s bodyguards found him unconscious on his bathroom floor, and Wayne was once again rushed to Cedar Sinai. This post has an exceedingly grim tone, claiming Wayne is fighting for his life and has been admitted into the hospital’s ICU. It's at this point where reports that Wayne's stomach was pumped three times due to an alleged codeine overdose first appear. TMZ also claimed Wayne was in a medically induced coma, breathing through tubes, and had even received his last rites; it should be noted these claims have all been removed from the website.

(5:16PM): Reports surface that Wayne’s mother is flying to California to be at her son’s bedside. TMZ ups the ante by claiming Wayne’s mother is considering numerous decisions regarding his health, including the possibility of taking him off of life support (As you can imagine, most of the Western World is losing it's collective mind by this point).

(5:19PM) Mack Maine (President of Young Money) refutes many of TMZ’s claims with this series of tweets:

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

(6:25PM): Wayne posts a tweet via his official feed:

Picture 1

(6:30PM): Wayne's condition reportedly improves, but he is still in critical condition in the Cedar Sinai ICU, leading many (including myself) to believe he did not actually send the aforementioned tweet. Of course, no one outside of that hospital will ever know the truth.

We all need a friend like Drizzy in our lives.

We all need a friend like Drizzy in our lives.

(8:50PM): Drake is spotted leaving Cedar Sinai as visiting hours end. That Aubrey is such a good boy! Other celebrities who visited Weezy on this first night include Chris Paul, Birdman, and lesser members of the Young Money Crew.

3-16-13: Nicki Minaj visits Wayne in the hospital, bringing an entire parade’s worth of balloons with her (Drake is unimpressed by her tardiness).

3-18-13: According to TMZ (are you sensing a trend here?) Wayne’s condition does not improve dramatically over the weekend, and as of Monday he is still in Cedar Sinai’s ICU.

(5:15PM) Wayne is moved from the ICU to a standard hospital room, and no longer needs round the clock supervision, as his condition has stabilized.

(11:00PM) Wayne is released from Cedar Sinai and, although reportedly weak, he maintains good spirits, and wishes to lay low until fully recovered.

3-18-13: Birdman calls Hot.97’s Angie Martinez to discuss the saga “his son” had just endured, attempting to “set the record straight”.

According to Birdman:

1) Wayne had been in the Hospital since last Tuesday, and was never released.

2) Wayne only had one seizure, and not the (up to) six which some media outlets were claiming.

3) Wayne’s seizures were a result of his dedication and intense work ethic, and “had nothing to do with drugs”.

4) Wayne was never on life support, or in an induced coma.

5) TMZ freaked the world out.

Father and son during simpler times.

Father and son during simpler times.

So where does this all leave us today? Well, at this point we’ll never know if TMZ was truly accurate with their reporting. In past situations, like the deaths of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, TMZ broke the stories correctly before all other news outlets. They were even light years ahead of their peers when it came to the Conrad Murray revelation regarding Jackson’s death. Now, I don’t necessarily feel that precedent is tantamount to truth, but I do think the bigwigs over at TMZ are very familiar with libel claims, and probably work diligently to uncover and fact-check details before they poat. That said, there is still a possibility some of their sources were incorrect in this circumstance.

Then you have to consider what Birdman had to say about all of this, which seems comical on numerous levels. Are we supposed to believe Wayne didn’t leave the hospital on Wednesday, and get readmitted on Friday? I think TMZ should be capable of getting those facts straight. In the end that’s neither here nor there, and nowhere near as absurd as the claim Wayne’s seizures were a result of his intense work ethic and dedication. I know we plebeians aren’t capable of understanding the sacrifices an artist must endure, nor the arduous nature of their profession (insert the sarcasm wherever you like), but I’m pretty sure I can name numerous artists who work themselves to the bone and don’t suffer this type of malady. We haven't forgotten-  this is the third set of seizures in 16 months. Beyond that, there have been uncountable instances when an artist fabricates excuses like "exhaustion", "dehydration", and "overwhelming stress"  to hide a drug problem, O.D., or rehab stint. Finally, I'd  like to point out that everyone knows Lil Wayne has a problem with syrup, so Birdman’s attempts at debunking all of this have to be more elaborate than claiming Wayne was “exhausted”; we know better than that.


New Moon - The Men

New Moon - The Men

There are moments during New Moon’s dozen tracks where The Men manage to remind you what made them a great band, but unfortunately there are too many instances when they insist on being something else- something less... [Full Review]

16th Notes:

She should expect to find me in her bushes any day now.

She should expect to find me in her bushes any day now.

The National have finally revealed some details regarding their follow-up to the 2010 triumph High Violet. The record, Trouble Will Find Me, will be released on May 20th, and will be followed by a tour that'll probably last about three years... According to numerous reports, Arcade Fire is still hard at work in James Murphy’s New York DFA recording studio, and hope to have their fourth LP out before the end of the year. We can pretty much just give this unreleased record the Album Of The Year title now, right?.. Animal Collective have been forced to cancel a slew of upcoming tour dates because Avey Tare is sick once again. That guy really needs some immune system help... Earlier this week a tracklist for Tyler The Creator’s upcoming album, Wolf, leaked, and much of the music world was obscenely confused by the presence of Dave Matthews as a collaborator. By this point we know the tracklist was a fake, which is a shame because it was fun to watch the heads explode as people tried to make sense of the Matthews/Wolf Gang union... Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy was arrested in Los Angeles last weekend after allegedly being involved in a hit and run accident, possibly while under the influence of methamphetamines. There is a good chance you read that last sentence and thought: “Isn’t Bauhaus, like, some kind of art movement, or something?” To which I say: “Just put on more Skrillex, and stop embarrassing yourself”... Finally, we learned that Katy Perry and John Mayer broke up this week. I know that you can’t see me, but I'm dancing...

Top Ten List:


Being prolific is a difficult achievement for any artist. On the one hand, you must possess a surplus of inspiration, and enough focus to convert it into actual creations. On the other hand, you must posses an extreme amount of self-confidence, which emboldens you to release your art into the world with little concern over things like public opinion and oversaturation. In the end some artists are prolific because they are geniuses, while others simply have high opinions of themselves and the value of their work... Damon Albarn is a genius.

Born forty-five years ago tomorrow, Damon Albarn has spent his days on this planet making music. Lots of it. Over the course of his illustrious career, Albarn has been in two (TWO!!!) massive, life-changing, beloved bands, has contributed music to works from artists as diverse as Deltron 3030, Elastica, Massive Attack, Fatboy Slim, The Black Ghosts, Gil Scott-Heron, and has even been featured on numerous soundtracks (I won't even mention the two operas he wrote). A talented multi-instrumentalist, an accomplished producer, a patron of the arts, and a composer of some of his generation's most adored songs, Albarn is a musical treasure and, at this point, every track he provides us with are the cherries on top. Below are Albarn’s ten best non-Blur songs of all-time.

10) Hey Shooter (Rocket Juice & The Moon ft. Erykah Badu)
9) Dub Lola (Written by the Kinks, rearranged by Albarn for the film 101 Reykjavik)
8) Herculean (The Good The Bad & The Queen)
7) Sunset Coming On (Mali Music)
6) Closet Romantic (Trainspotting Soundtrack)
5) The Good The Bad & The Queen (The Good The Bad & The Queen)
4) On Melancholy Hill (Gorillaz)
3) 19-2000 (Gorillaz)
2) Feel Good Inc. (Gorillaz)
1) Clint Eastwood (Gorillaz)

Clips Of The Week:


Back in the long forgotten days of VHS tapes and VCRs, I was the proud owner of a two-tape set of Nine Inch Nails tour footage and music videos known as Closure. Because of the rarity of shops which carried such a sacred product (this was long before Amazon.com), I would constantly invite my friends over to “unwind” in my room while watching Trent Reznor and company be completely glorious and badass (Closure was constantly screening at my home, as was The Smashing Pumpkins’ Euphoria, Nirvana’s Unplugged and, for those with a refined ear, the Hendrix Fillmore East footage). Even after constant repetitive viewing Closure still felt like a unique treasure, and in the modern age of Tumblr and improved bandwidth Reznor has decided to share the first half of the collection on the internet... for free. The first half of Closure possessed all of the valuable clips and concert footage from the collection (the second half contained all of the music videos you can now find on Youtube), and is a must-see for any fans of Nine Inch Nails who want to know what the band was like in their prime.


A few years back, as we here at Culture Blues were taking our first uneasy steps into the internet, we decided to write up a litany of “Best Of The Decades” list. My choice for the Best Album of the first decade of this millenium was Kid A, and that still stands as the correct choice-though admittedly this is all a matter of opinion. Although Kid A is one of the very best records EVER made, the truth is it wasn't my favorite record of the last decade; that honor goes to Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots, by the venerable Flaming Lips.

Last week, while the entire music world was doing cocaine and waiting for Prince to perform in Austin, Texas, The Flaming Lips held their own performance at SXSW. The magicians from Oklahoma played two sets during their performance; one was their upcoming record, The Terror, in it’s entirety... and the band’s second set was all of Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots. I can't even begin to express my jealousy. Maybe you weren’t in Austin last week, or maybe you were, and were too wasted to remember it. Whatever the case, I have provided you with the entire Yoshimi set, because I’m like your guardian music angel or something.

Track Of The Week:

I would love to get a transcript of this conversation!

I would love to get a transcript of this conversation!

Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe (Remix) - Kendrick Lamar ft. Jay-Z: There's been an enormous amount of buzz surrounding this particular remix of Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 monster-hit, Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, maybe Jay-Z had something to do with that. As the release date approached the internet was rife with anonymous confrontation, as countless hip-hop fans engaged in heated arguments over whether or not Jigga’s guest verses would outshine Compton’s current favorite son. Now that the remix has echoed through the ether for the last few weeks it’s safe to say HOVA didn’t exactly light the track on fire, but there are a couple of new verses by Lamar, which is totally worth a couple of spins.

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