#29: The Benefits of Traveling With A Shapeshifting Sharpshooter

Okay, we have a lot to cover today. First, we have some Lady Gaga news. A few months ago, The Remix, an EP of remixes of various Gaga songs including all of the singles up to that point, was released. The international version was released first, this contained remixes of all of her radio singles, two or three each, more for the newer songs, presumably because the newer remixes are just better in general. The cover art was one of Gaga’s shots from her David LaChapelle photo shoot, where she’s completely naked, but covered in scraps of paper with words written on them.

The Remix was then released in the UK with an alternate cover featuring Gaga in a nice white-and-pink lace outfit (these two covers are two of my favorite Gaga pictures) and a new tracklisting, containing some songs that weren’t singles, and some that weren’t yet singles (a remix of The Fame from the first album, and Alejandro and Dance in the Dark, neither of which were released as singles yet, and the latter of which is considered to be the next single from the Fame Monster. I think Alejandro should have been Monster or even So Happy I Could Die, but that’s just my two cents). Well, The Remix is now set for a US release date, which I’m surprised I didn’t anticipate, I guess I just assumed it was an international thing. The US cover art will be the same as the UK, pink-and-white Gaga, which I personally like more at the moment.

At any rate! The US release has notably the shortest tracklisting so far, and unlike the previous two releases, contains one remix of each song. I’m now going to give you the tracklisting and some of my thoughts.

One night, Gaga sat idly at the dinner table, looking for inspiration, when she thought she'd try putting the doily on her head. The results were fantastic.

1. Just Dance (Richard Vision Remix)
2. Poker Face (LLG vs GLG Mix Remix)
3. Lovegame (Chew Fu  Ghettohouse fix featuring Marilyn Manson)
4. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) (Frankmuzik Remix)
5.  Paparazzi (Stuart Price Remix)
6. The Fame (Glam As You Remix)
7. Bad Romance (Starsmith Remix)
8. Telephone (Passion Pit Remix)
9. Alejandro (Sound of Arrows Remix)
10. Dance in the Dark (Monarchy `Stylites Remix)

I don’t really like remixes in general, but for every single, Gaga releases some kind of remix EP. They tend to get better as they go along. For instance, I hardly like any of the Just Dance remixes, the Richard Vission mix is the one included here, and from what I can remember of it I’d prefer the original. They went with the obvious Poker Face remix, the LLG vs GLG mix, and no, I have no idea what that stands for, but this mix is very similar to the original. My favorite Poker Face remix is the Jody Dean Broeder mix.

An unlikely pair, or a perfect match? You decide.

Next we have the Ghettohouse Fix featuring Marilyn Manson for Lovegame. If you haven’t heard this mix, you should, it’s a more fast-paced version of the original but musically not too different, and it actually features guest vocals from Marilyn Manson (he screams “Fame!” in the background and sings the second chorus alone). Eh, Eh is next, and this is my least favorite Lady Gaga song. I seem to get the idea that I’m not alone in that opinion, I find Eh Eh to be annoying for the most part, it sounds like aggravating 80’s glam-pop palm tree music to me. I’ve heard her do a live version with the piano that’s much better, but anyway, addressing the remix, I haven’t heard this one, but most remixes of Eh, Eh are pretty much as undesirable for the original in my opinion, but you decide for yourself. Hey, I can’t be expected to like every single song.

Ah, now we get to a good one. This is in my opinion possibly the best remix to a Lady Gaga song, and it really takes the cake as remixes go: the Stuart Price mix of Paparazzi. I love this version, it actually made me tear up a bit when I first heard it, it just has such a tragic and beautiful feel to it, it’s one of the remixes that shows off how dark Gaga’s songs actually are musically, but you usually can’t tell beneath the pop effects and instrumentation. This remix is a must-hear. Go listen to it on YouTube right now. Or maybe when you’re done reading this.

There’s a remix of The Fame, which in general is not my favorite song. We now move into songs from The Fame Monster, and at this point you may share my opinion (especially after just listening to The Fame) that The Fame Monster is so much better than it’s predecessor that it’s ridiculous. It’s like Gaga’s ability got ten times better over the course of one album. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that she was able to work with bigger and better producers on this album, but nontheless, a direct comparison between The Fame and Bad Romance absolutely cements my point. Well, at least to myself. A lot of the songs on The Fame (The Fame for instance, Money Honey, and Summerboy to name a few) felt like filler.

But as I was saying, Bad Romance is our next track. My personal favorite mixes of Bad Romance are the Skrillex mix, and the Bimbo Jones Remix, but after giving the Starsmith remix a listen I actually enjoy it too. It has a very fashion show feel to it. Kind of like all the music in The Devil Wears Prada. Did anyone else notice that all the songs in that movie were very relaxing fashion pop? I find them relaxing anyway. They opt for the Passion Pit remix of Telephone, a very lengthy but very pretty remix with a lot of slow instrumental sections. I haven’t heard either of the final two remixes; Alejandro finally grew on me after a bit, it was my least favorite song of the album for a while though. I’m ready for Dance in the Dark to be released for radio, both because I’m tired of hearing “Ale-ale-jandro Ale-ale-jand-a-ro!” and because Gaga will have reached her 4-single minimum, and maybe we can get the new album sooner.

Did I mention she’s completed her third album? She’s just waiting to release it now. If The Fame Monster is any indication, her albums are growing quite exponentially better. I probably would have preferred that The Fame be as brief of an album as The Fame Monster, some tracks (like The Fame, oddly enough, Money Honey, and Summerboy) just felt like filler, and weren’t very interesting. The Fame Monster is so much more engaging of an album.

So there you have it. Let’s review. The Remix will be released in the US, white cover, ten tracks, one remix each. The Fame Monster’s fourth single should be Dance in the Dark from what I understand, and I think the public will react well to that one, and besides I’d like to see a video for that song. Hopefully it will contain less cutscenes. Short films are good and all, but maybe we should keep it down to a shout, Gaga. Finally, the third album, currently untiltled from what I understand, is complete and just waiting to be released. It has been mentioned that it won’t be out by Christmas though, so it’s most likely going to be a 2011 release. Somehow, though, I just don’t think that makes much sense, unless they’re planning five singles for The Fame Monster or something.

Anyone bored from all my overly detailed statistics yet?

I got a new book! Since I plan on focusing on music and literature when I go to college, I do want to be somewhat well read, and besides that I just enjoy reading “the classics.” For one, because I enjoy a good book, and I’m tired of looking in the teen fiction section for something good, because there’s very little there that’s truly gripping. And besides, I’ve been though the Twilight series, and I’m not going back.

I have read at least one staple of classic literature, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I bought it when I was still in my vampire phase, but didn’t actually read it completely until later. It was a surprisingly witty and romantic book, I really enjoyed the dialogue. Everyone was so polite and corteous, and it wasn’t boring or dry, it was in fact very engrossing. Most of the book centers around the two female characters, each of whom are preyed upon by Dracula, and after the first few chapters of the book, Dracula himself only makes about two or three appearances before the end of the story. I have to admit I found the ending a little anticlimactic, but altogether it was a very interesting book, I very much enjoyed the characters, and especially the good English spoken amongst them. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent a good deal of time in teen fiction novels, most of which are written with a lot of slang, and that tends to annoy me after a while.

This version is zombie free.

Apart from Dracula, I’ve also gotten ahold of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It seems to be a pretty quick read, but I haven’t finished it. I’ve read the first couple of chapters and found them very interesting and easy to follow. And so now I have added one more volume to my collection of classic literature, a quaint little paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice. I’ve gathered that many Austen readers prefer Emma, but I’ve been told that you can’t really appreciate the novels humor if you’re not already familiar with Jane Austen’s style.

I was honeslty hooked from the first sentence. I’ve only read the first chapter so far, but I think it’s going to be a great novel. The characters seem to be very witty, and it feels like a very fun book. I would like to venture into Dickens eventually, and perhaps try my hand at the Divine Comedy, which of course our society of dark, vampire-loving youth have grappled on to, but it might be like Dracula, and turn out to be fantastic. Good literature is good literature, a fan base doesn’t change it’s power. There was an episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart where the guest was promoting a book about Heaven, and society’s various perceptions of it. She said that her personal favorite interpretation of Heaven was Dante’s, in which the main aspect was that there was a brilliant light through which everyone was intimately connected with God. I’m probably not phrasing it as well as she did, but what she described did sound very beautiful, and I’m sure the Divine Comedy is an inspiring piece of literature. I’ve only glanced over it, and from what I can tell it seems to be written in verses. I have a feeling that might cause me a bit of aggravation, but I’m sure I’ll get over it if I ever read it.

That’s really all that I have to mention today, I had some other things I thought I might share my opinions on, but I’m not exactly in an articulate mood, I’ve been staring at television and computer screens for the better part of the last couple of days, and my head is a little to swimmy for me to put together any good reviews on anything.

Warning: the next couple of paragraphs deal exclusively with Final Fantasy VII. If you haven’t played the game, you probably will be lost and bored.

Random information! I’ve restarted my file on Final Fantasy VII. Why? A few reasons. First, because I was adventurous this time, and didn’t use any of my normal characters (my favorite party tends to be Cloud, Vincent, and Cid); I went with Tifa and Nanaki. Both are characters I like and who I’ve never completed the game with, but altogether, though I do enjoy Nanaki, I found him to be a little anticlimactic. His weapons are few and far between, his double materia growth weapons are all found nearer to the beginning of the game and don’t have a lot of power, and his Limit Breaks, while not bad, just weren’t satisfying enough for me. Tifa’s limit breaks are really cool, she’s the only character in the game who uses every limit ability consecutively, and she wasn’t a bad character, I may use her again but I have a feeling I’m going to revert to my classic party this time; she may travel with me for a while until then, I’m not sure yet.

Aside from that, I used Materia that I never normally used this time. I’ve always been very focused on magic materia, and rarely ever used the character’s physical attacks. This time I minimized magic usage, for the most part I didn’t own more than one piece of each magic materia (previously, I’ve always gotten two or three Lightnings, Ices, and Fires). I also equipped things I normally don’t, like Cover and Sense, just for the fun of it and so that my stats wouldn’t be beaten up by all of the magic materia. Once you start getting the powerful magics and summons, they really starting draining your attack power. Another reason I want to restart is because I failed to get the Huge Materia from outer space, which means that if I wanted to master all of the assist materia and fuse them, I wouldn’t be able to, and I also didn’t get Bahamut ZERO. I tried twice, and it was very aggravating both times. Next time, I’m just going to look up the combination to get the Huge Materia out on Game FAQs or something, Cid was a real pain.

Oh yes, there’s another reason I want to restart: I didn’t use Cid. Upon the party’s first meeting with Cid, he’s a mysogonist pig and a cruel bastard. But I can’t help it, I just like Cid. I usually even think that cigarette in his mouth at all times is gross, but I don’t care, I just like Cid. Besides, he’s one of the only characters with a weapon that has triple materia growth, so when it comes time to level up materia, you really need to include him in your party whether you’ve been using him or not. Besides, he is one of the character’s you’ll be controlling for a little while, and I’ve found that having Cid on your party and not including Tifa is much easier than the other way around.

Because who else in your party transforms into a minotaur or the Frankenstein monster when they get mad?

I do like controlling Tifa though, and using her in the chocobo races, but I think I’m going to stick with my classic party of Vinent and Cid. Vinent just looks cooler than everyone else in all of the cutscenes; he has a cape on for crying out loud! Just look at his sprite: fully covered in a cool red getup, cape following him at all times, lots of gymnastic moves, and his Limit Breaks are one of the game’s most unique sets. I can’t help it, I felt weird not using Vincent or Cid. Although, I have been giving thought to including Cait Sith in the party, but I think if that were to happen it would just be temporarily; for instance, until I get Vincent and Cid, I might just use Yuffie (I like her sprite too) and… well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go crazy and actually use Barret for once! But probably not. He’s an eco-terrorist for crying out loud! Besides, his racist stereotype antic are kind of annoying.

And those are today’s thoughts. Perhaps I get a little to engrossed in details, but I enjoy my details, I have to be knowledgable about something, it might as well be the things I’m interested in. My reading list is getting larger and I still have hardly finished any of the many books I own, if I count all of my books that I’ve begun and need to finish, the list is: The Rivers of Zadaa, Animal Farm, The Looking Glass Wars, Vampire Hunter D, The Vampire Lestat (stopped reading that one a long time ago), Memoirs of a Geisha (looking forward to that one), and Redwall. There are certain books I want to finish (The Looking Glass wars, for instance) just to have them finished, so I can tuck them onto a shelf and be done with them. I did it with The Innocent Mage, didn’t I?

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4 thoughts on “#29: The Benefits of Traveling With A Shapeshifting Sharpshooter

  1. I’m usually a fan of remixes but I love Lady Gaga. She’s incredibly talented. I love how she is uniquely herself no matter what she does. I’m looking forward to her new album.

    Your boyfriend sounds adorable. Sometimes opposites do attract. Stas and I are opposites. He’ll curl up with some book on nuclear theory or something he describes as “juicy” or “brutal” and I curl up with the classics. His pets are named things like Fiend and Malice, my pets are usually named for literary characters. So I completely get the opposites thing.

    Calling someone “Miss” here works, or I used to have customers call me “hun” or “sweetie” that was ok, too. This on kid called me ma’am and I wished rain on his prom.

    Part of the reason why I love the classics is because they reflect a time when to be a writer really meant something. It reflected talent and no matter then genre it reflected a certain romanticism. Kind of in the way that prior to Vietnam, going off to war was romantic. Today to put out a book doesn’t necessarily require talent so much as it requires sitting at a computer and tapping out a book. There are some novels that sound interesting in the synopsis and I just can’t get into them, whereas with the classics even if I dislike the story itself I cannot put them down. I’m completely enraptured with them. I’m excited that you’re getting into the classics.

    • She’s an inspiration to me in the aspect of her performance, her attitude, and the feel of her music, but so far I only know how to play simple organic music, and things on the piano. When it comes to piano, Gaga pretty much just sticks within her jazz scale, so when I tried to mimick her I found that I wasn’t being moved by it. I think she’s better with minor key songs, and does well within the dance/pop field, but alone with a piano she rarely astounds.

      Stas actually sounds like my boyfriend, he loves gore and violence, and frequently wrestles with me making gut-wrenching noises and pretending to rip my skin off, etc. etc. He knows it psyches me out, and so he does it to mess with me. His other favorite thing to do is hide behind corners and jump out at me. I think he’d stop if my reactions started becoming less hilarious, but they never do. I usually either squeal or spasm or something, one time I actually stomped my foot and went “Hmph!” and he found that absolutely hilarious.

      While it does kind of seem like literature has become lost to us today, maybe our modern-day literature just hasn’t had enough time to become a classic yet. In a hundred years, people might think our society and way of speaking are just as quaint as we find it in the classics. There are good books today, it’s just that there aren’t many writers who are heralded as being genius. Or maybe I’m just anaware of them.

  2. Now I see that in US the tracklist changed, actually I think of it as a better idea, since the remixes from the international edition most are horrible. I agree with you that the Jody Den Broeder of “Poker Face” is a better remix. There’s also a Love Game remix not included the one of Robots to Mars is a good one. The Stuart Price in my opinion is the best remix from Gaga, I actually prefer this one than the original. The Monarchy and Starsmith mixes are also good ones to listen sometimes… and also I’m also reading Pride and Prejudice, I just started but I’m liking it:)

    • Yes, the Robots to Mars mix is my favorite Lovegame remix too, it’s really the only one that takes the song in a completely different direction; a lot of Gaga songs sound very good when played slowly with a simple accompaniment by guitar or piano, as that remix proves. The Stuart Price mix is definitely one of my favorite Lady Gaga mixes, another one of my favorites is the Doctor Rosen Rosen Mix of Telephone, it takes that song completely out of left field and gives this huge feeling of grandeur. I think the things that remixes do best is that they keep the song alive; once I’d heard Telephone a million times I was kind of burnt out on it, but then I started listening to the remixes and it made me like the song again. If remixes are done well, they really compliment the original, and give you a whole new world to explore with a song.

      I’m still near the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, but there’s really never a dull moment, it’s just constant wit.

      Thanks for your comment!

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