The Big Hurt: Taking on pain, cooling on wangs

Music news in brief
By DAVID THORPE  |  August 31, 2009

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WEEZER's forthcoming album will be titled Raditude. It's cute at first glance, but there's something so morbid about its desperate attempt to be hip that one can only read it as some kind of deliberate, defeated acknowledgment of the band's permanent shitness. It's so despairingly self-depreciating that I almost want to pep them up: "Come on, Weezer, you're not that bad." But they are.

This week in awful press releases: country singer NAOMI JUDD is taking a brave stand against pain. "Pain robs people of their lives. It can interfere with everyday activities that most of us take for granted, like going to work, driving a car, or even hugging your children. That's why I'm speaking out — pain can and should be treated." She's signed on as the spokeswoman for "Partners Against Pain," a "national education program" designed to tell people to take drugs if they hurt. The program is run by Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin.

Can you believe it? I'm actually tired of wondering whether LADY GAGA is packing a wang. Sure, it was fun for a while, contemplating its possible dimensions and configuration and such, but after all this ceaseless Gaga wang hoopla, I just find myself bored with the prospect. Back to wondering whether Chris Martin has one, I guess.

It's super-cute how seriously JARED LETO takes his awful band. You may remember him as the dreamy illiterate kid from My So Called Life. (I point that out only because every time it's mentioned in print, he punches a wall and storms out of the room to brood.) But lately he's been better known as the singer for the hysterical malaise-rock outfit 30 Seconds to Mars. They're working on a new record, and Leto keeps ejecting these loathsome little tidbits of self-reverence. "One really exciting thing we did a couple of weeks ago," he told MTV, "we had been working on recording with some Tibetan monks for about a year, and we finally got them in the studio and recorded their voices chanting. We did some chanting with them. They were in [my] house, chanting and recording."

Moving from the Delicious Pretensions Department to the Cockamamie Schemes Bureau, he outlined his plan to solicit noises from fans via (barf) Twitter. "We wanted to further the connection between the band and the audience, to use the collective conscious as an instrument on the record. [Pause for laughter.] People are sitting in front of their computers, either by themselves or with their friends and family, all around the world, and they're recording sounds and singing and answering interview questions. . . . It's as simple as clapping or stomping, to singing a chorus on a song." In further adorableness, he referred to this as a — get this — "digital summit."

So, when can you look forward to this masterpiece? "We are literally in the death throes," he told MTV. "Or, the, uh, y'know, about to give birth to this record."

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