Friday Video – Danger Mouse, “99 Problems”

Over the last decade, we’ve seen some curious new pathways to success or, at the very least, fame. (They are not always one and the same, you know.) The most notorious one, of course, is the sex tape. Kim Kardashian may have a gigantic empire now, but it wasn’t long ago that she was just the daughter of a defense attorney and BFF of tabloid staple Paris Hilton. Then, one day, she had a thought: “I could make a videotape of myself having sex with a guy, then leverage my friendship with Paris for maximum exposure. What’s that, honey? You want to pee on me? Yeah, whatever, as long as it makes me famous.”

Then there is the path forged by one Brian Joseph Burton, whose debut album didn’t contain a lick of original production or content. Instead, he took the rhymes from Jay-Z’s The Black Album, and put them to the instrumental tracks from the Beatles’ The Beatles (aka The White Album), and poof, The Grey Album was born. And really, once you heard about this project, was there any question which song Danger Mouse would use to back up “99 Problems”? Hell to the naw. Of course it would be “Helter Skelter,” which is still one of the most hard-rocking songs ever recorded.

Have a good pre-Christmas weekend, everyone. May your problems be fewer than 99.


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Friday Video – Independence Day two-fer: The Beatles and Rage Against the Machine

Granted, neither of these songs is actually about the American Revolution, but last time we checked, there weren’t a whole lot of songs written about The Revolutionary War that would make for good background music during happy hour, so we’re going with songs that approach the theme, if not the subject. First up, the only band that matters: The Beatles.

There is a great story about Paul McCartney showing up at a record release party for the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet, where lucky members of the public are hearing “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man” for the first time, and they’re duly impressed. So Paul, innocently or not so innocently, asked if he could play an acetate of a couple tracks the Beatles had just recorded. They said sure, and Paul drops “Hey Jude” and “Revolution,” at which point Mick Jagger is absolutely furious because once again, the Beatles are two steps ahead of the Stones. And at their own record release party, no less. Ow.

There are no entertaining stories around our second song, though. The music video is a giant plea for lenience in the case against Leonard Peltier, a Nativa American activist who received to consecutive life sentences in 1977 for the deaths of two FBI agents. All right, who wants to party? Woooooooo!