The Forty Ounce, Episode 20: The Early Years/For The Ladies

A quick glance around the contents of this website should demonstrate that I have a deep fondness for pop culture in all of its forms. What you might not know is that this fondness has existed since I was quite young, although it didn’t truly begin to blossom until I was in high school. What you also might not know is that I was crazy in high school.

A new episode of The Forty Ounce is now available for your listening pleasure. In the 17 months since this podcast began, Daniel and I have ventured far away from the original format, and this is our furthest excursion yet. The real theme is “stories about how weird we were as teenagers,” but there’s a secondary theme about two kids who loved music and movies but didn’t quite know how to process them in a healthy manner.

Actually, my first story isn’t even about me; I was part of the events that transpired, but a close friend of mine (who has okayed me sharing this story) was the instigator. I make up for it with a late-in-the-game anecdote concerning my sometimes co-author and podcasting rival, Kate. Sorry again, Kate.

These stories only scratch the surface of me and Daniel’s barely-restrained madness, but they still paint a decent picture… even after I cut out the story about how I used to bring a video camera to parties and film everything. Because, seriously, I used to do that.


The Forty Ounce, Episode 18: You Murdered Those People, Batman

Forty Ounce back in the house again/podcasting from our couch again.

After (another) longer hiatus, Jason and Daniel are back with an all-new episode of the (somewhat) revamped Forty Ounce!

This time, Jason and Daniel try to tell stories about their personal lives but end up talking about Pitbull, Icona Pop and Batman. The boys also check in with a couple of new friends who are sure to delight and infuriate in equal measure… but we’ll let you decide for yourself.

This time, we consciously tried to veer away from talking about pop music but spent two-thirds of the podcast doing just that. The real meat of our “personal lives” discussion got pushed back to the next episode, which will be published just as soon as I can stop cringing about how weird I was in high school.

(also, this episode opens with a pretty dumb, out-of-nowhere, extended joke, which I’m saying now just in case you’re not familiar with our podcast)

Dispatches From The Mainstream: 2/15/2013

Kelly Clarkson – Catch My Breath

Kelly Clarkson is weirdly likeable. We should be resistant to her, because her entire career is non-organic and extremely forced. But I guess we love her because we picked her. You might even say that Kelly Clarkson is the last thing our country agreed on. The very next season of American Idol was beset with controversy about homophobia and missing votes. And even when someone actually does win American Idol these days, do we give them a career? Sometimes we do, but sometimes we end up with Taylor Hicks. Yeah, I said it.

I like Kelly Clarkson so much that I’m disappointed in myself whenever I don’t enjoy her current single, but I couldn’t stand “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” I’m no minimalist, but that junk was too noisy. The chorus was like the inside of a car factory. That entire album was kind of wash for singles, really: “Mr. Know It All” was a slightly less annoying version of “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars–but only slightly–and do you even remember “Dark Side?” I do, and I’m not too happy about it. I guess that was Kelly’s “unlistenable, non-catchy chorus” phase.

“Catchy My Breath” succeeds by dialing it back a little bit: “Stronger” was exhausting before the first verse even started, but this song uses a repetitive melody to great effect. The construction of the chorus is great, too: it’s simple and it gives Clarkson a chance to show off her fantastic voice. “Catch My Breath” also has that same life-affirming, in-your-face, no-screw-YOU power that “Stronger” had, but with a wider appeal—hey, people who aren’t escaping a toxic relationship need anthems, too! Just sayin’.

Rihanna feat. Future – Loveeeeeee Song

Rihanna’s music has always had a streak of unsentimental iciness. Maybe it’s because her voice doesn’t allow her to sound truly nurturing or emotional or any other stuff that codes as “feminine,” but there’s always been an air of hardness about her. Then in 2009 she went through some seriously bad stuff and put out Rated R, an album that channeled the darkness of her life into some of the most aggressive music ever to be put out by a pop diva. There aren’t a lot of MALE R&B stars that make music that aggressive.

Since then she’s gone back and forth between “dark” Rihanna and a more conventionally “feminine” role, ping-ponging between the two several times over the course of a single album. For example, “We Found Love” & “You da One” appeared on the same disc as “Talk That Talk,” “Cockiness” and—ugh—“Birthday Cake”. Unapologetic is no different, opening up with the aggressive and sonically unpleasant “Phresh Out The Runway,” switching back to love-struck-Rihanna for “Diamonds” then whipping around to “Pour It Up,” which sounds like it was pitched to about twenty different male artists before Rihanna snatched it up. Put it this way: when a female singer is talking about “strippers going up and down that pole,” you are dealing with some binary-breaking business.

“Loveeeeeee Song” is a more subtle inversion of gender norms than “Pour It Up,” but it’s more interesting because it pairs the a-typically aggressive Rihanna with Future, a rapper best known for his love of autotune and his unusual sensitivity. On the hook, Future pleads openly for “love and affection” without a hint of bravado or ego. In the verses, Rihanna plays a more guarded role, tossing out sexy come-ons and promising to “lay you down.” Not only is it one of the few listenable songs on Unapologetic, it’s a noteworthy pop song. Not because of how unusual it is, but because of how close it is to a normal Top-40 duet between a man and a woman. All Rihanna and Future did was trade places.

The Band Perry – “Better Dig Two”

I haven’t checked in with The Band Perry since “If I Die Young,” a song that was so poorly written I had trouble believing that the writer was almost 30 years old. Kimberly Perry is the first adult woman I’ve known whose death fantasies can rival those of a teenage LiveJournal user. Especially annoying was the winking bridge, with the lyrics, “maybe then you’ll hear the songs I’ve been singing/funny when you’re dead, how people start listening.” Not only is that a remarkably dull observation, it sounds like it belongs in a totally different song.

“Better Dig Two” wasn’t written by any of the band-members Perry, but it sure fits their lyrical style, right down to the fixation on white wedding dresses as a symbol of purity. The title and the music promise a much darker story than what we get–to me, it harkens back to that scene in A Fistful of Dollars when Clint Eastwood tells the guy how many coffins to build. So cool. Anyway, the chorus of “Better Dig Two” describes a woman who would rather die than go on living without her husband… but then the verses hint at a darker meaning to the titular phrase. She vaguely threatens to either kill herself or kill herself and her husband, which would be an interesting direction to go in if the song could just commit to it.

Other crimes include use of the contraction “I is”—as in, “I’s gonna love you till I’s dead”—and a jarring reference to meth in the middle of a song that otherwise sounds like it was written sixty years ago. The music is a step-up from “If I Die Young”, with handclaps and creepy banjo on the verses, and those electric guitars that take us right back into pop-country territory aren’t totally unwelcome. This is a muddled song that could be a fun little bit of darkness if the lyrics had gotten a second draft.

The Forty Ounce, Episode 16: … and introducing Merle Dixon as “Ol’ Knife-Hand”

In a sudden but not unreasonable shift away from our podcast’s original theme, me and Daniel have devoted an entire episode of The Forty Ounce to our feelings about The Walking Dead. Because why not, right?

Do you like the Forty Ounce but hate all that talk about music? Do you watch The Walking Dead on AMC? Do you want to hear Jason lose a dollar over a stupid bet? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ then this is the episode for you!

In this episode, Jason and Daniel take a break from ranting about pop music to rant about The Walking Dead. Topics discussed range all the way from how bad the show was in Season 2 to how much better Season 3 is than Season 2. Plus, you can find out who Jason and Daniel’s favorite characters are, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Join the Forty Ounce as we discuss the most problematic show on basic cable!

Considering that this is our first episode that has nothing to do with music, I think it came out pretty well. We could probably have been a little more organized, but that’s always going to be a problem for us. The fact that we stuck to even a basic format is a small miracle in itself.

The Forty Ounce, Episode 15: Another Episode About Pitbull


If you’ve ever listened to The Forty Ounce, me and Daniel’s pop-music podcast, you know about our obsession with Pitbull, a.k.a. Mr. 305 a.k.a Mr. Worldwide. So, it should come as no surprise that we did a podcast celebrating the release of Pitbull’s new album. 

On this episode of the Forty Ounce, the science is in on Global Warming, and we’re not talking about climate change!

Pitbull’s newest album, Global Warming, has been released, and this podcast is the only place you can hear Jason and Daniel experience it for the first time. Having learned nothing from their experience with Rebelution, Jason and Daniel go through all sixteen tracks of the new album! Will they love it? Probably!

This episode is a little messy, because we listened to (nearly) each track for the first time before talking about it. Also, it’s an hour long. Hopefully we still managed to keep things interesting. Hey, at least we’ve got enthusiasm! That has to count for something, right?

The Forty Ounce, Episode 14: You Weren’t Funny At Summer Camp And You Aren’t Funny Now

The rumors are true! You can now listen to the newest episode of me and Daniel’s pop-music podcast, The Forty Ounce! 

In this episode of the Forty Ounce: Daniel talks about his favorite coffee mugs, Jason explains the process of editing the podcast, and the guys off on a wild, fifteen-minute tangent about stuffed animals, California rolls and southern accents.

And also they talk about pop music.

Maroon 5, Green Day, Trey Songz, Taylor Swift: none shall pass unexamined by the critical eye(s) of the Forty Ounce! Tune in and listen to the all-new Forty Ounce, now with 85% less awkward pauses!

That part about awkward pauses is legit: this is the first episode in a while where we’ve discussed beforehand what we want to say about each of the songs. This means we can react to one another’s opinions without those long stretches of dead air where we’re getting our thoughts together. And, hey, whenever we still do that, I just edit it out! Hopefully, the result is a podcast that’s short and more listenable.

(also please forgive the weird ad that runs before our podcast: Podbean’s doing this advertising thing now, and you just gotta sit trough that little thing at the beginning to get to the musical goodness)

The Forty Ounce, Episode 13: I’ve Never Been Shanked Before

Despite all evidence to the contrary, that Forty Ounce train is still rollin’ on, and this episode is an all-Breaking Bad spectacular. Yes, for proof that Daniel and I can actually go forty minutes without talking about Pitbull, look no further! Well, okay, Pitbull does come up once or twice, BUT MOSTLY we’re talking about the recent season of Breaking Bad and discussing our Top 5 Songs In Breaking Bad.

Favorite parts of this episode: 1) I manage to form a cohesive explanation of why Breaking Bad has some of the best montages ever, 2) the outtakes at the end of the episode, which were much longer before I cut them down. Actually, I’ve started editing the podcast a lot more overall, so hopefully there’s less of those awkward pauses that happen when me and Daniel try to put words together.