Cuff The Duke – Union

When I changed my Facebook status a week ago to “I know how to nod my head like yeah, but I’m still not sure how to move my hips like yeah” (and in the process got more attention than I usually do for serious life changes), it certainly wasn’t in the anticipation that Miley fucking Cyrus would be new news in North America ever again. After all, she’s 20. She’s a symbol for a group of people who are younger enough than me that a good portion of our cultural touchstones are different. Not quite a new generation, we all watch Breaking Bad, but one would imagine that, now that she’s 20, her fans would have mostly moved onto liking things that are actually good, like non-teens tend to do. And they did, good for them!
But the goddamned media couldn’t fucking move on. No, stuck in neutral like the dead-eyed middle-aged nothings that the fine at CNN, NBC, and Fox are, they just made Miley Cyrus Today’s Top Story…because she twerked on the guy who sang “Blurred Lines” at the MVAs. Yes, I just typed “twerked” and meant it. Even Word thinks I mean “tweaked.” I wish, Word, that’d be way more fun to see, but no. I know that it’s on us viewers, but this is perhaps the apex of the failure of Western society to live up to its potential. It’s bizarre to see people being shocked – shocked! – at a twenty year-old woman being rebellious in a way that gets her attention. Why is the reaction even “what is this world coming to?” Shouldn’t it be “yep, young people are gonna young”? Did people Candy Crowley’s age really never see a young woman do something brazenly sexual, like maybe when they were 20? No, surely only their generation should do coke off of Mick Jagger’s stomach, young woman today should be virtuous, to be role models to the kids who’ve grown out of them! And – can you imagine – she was dancing sexually during a performance of a song called “Blurred Lines,” a song that’s explicitly about seduction! To think of that young lady polluting such a wholesome message! Oh my achy breaky heart. And of course she did it in front of cameras. She was a child star! Being in front of cameras is all she knows! Somehow, an entire cohort of people not much older than me have entirely forgot that they once taught their children that they’re free to be whatever they want to be. I guess that’s unless they’re licentious young women. Dancing sexually – can you imagine a young woman doing such a thing???
And I also don’t want to let off the hook, because I never can, the doofuses on my Facebook feed who’ve decided that it’s okay to attack her as long as it’s on racial grounds. I don’t know how smart Miley Cyrus is, but I can guarantee that she wasn’t doing it to exploit black culture. And don’t say that doesn’t matter, because the fact that she’s doing a (currently) VERY popular sexy dance move couldn’t possibly count. Unless they’re accusing everyone who’s ever danced in North America of being racist, but….guys, cultural miscegenation is inevitable. Pretending the Jersey Turnpike is an act of racial exploitation is way over the top. Sometimes arts majors just need to get paid by feigning outrage. Oh, and the two ladies at the Culture Gabfest who mocked her for being skinny can fuck right off. I thought we didn’t judge women’s bodies anymore in privileged chattering class world. Don’t let that only apply to people who look worse than you.
Now what, you might be wondering, does this have to do with Cuff the Duke? Well, Cuff the Duke wrote Miley Cyrus’ classic “Party in the U.S.A.,” so it really comes full circle.
They keep reeling me in, but only far enough that I don’t swim far out to sea. Not that I’d ever leave them, because I have a silly website (this one) that I channel all my obsessive tendencies into (and why do people say “I’m so OCD” anyway? Wouldn’t that mean they’re saying “I’m so obsessive compulsive disorder”?), but they give me glimpses of greatness then let it SAIL AWAY SET AN OPEN COURSE FOR THE VIRGIN SEA
For the most part, this album sounds like a bunch of Tom Petty filler songs. Or, if you’d rather, Blue Rodeo tracks. Which probably sits well with these guys, since I was once going to see them open for Blue Rodeo until the show was cancelled, but t’ain’t my style! I like chances in my music, not slightly above-averageness!
This is all a bunch of nice light country rock, with too many lyrical placeholders and meh choruses like “stay with me tonight.” I’d never let it be said that they’re a lazy group – there’s quite a few good little grooves here and the solos never follow the verse melodies. I get that they’re trying, but too much of it is completely unmemorable B-side material. Four songs here, by my count, start off with potential but lose it when the words start gettin’ made and the music takes the backseat. And what the hell does “I just want to life my life / In my time,” the chorus of the opening song, even mean? And could that possibly be at all interesting?
In all of these wasted ears there’s still two great songs where the musical inventiveness carries its way onto my ‘Recently Played” list with regularity. “Where Did We Go Wrong” builds like a 90s rock song into something danged fine to hear, while “Open Your Mind” braves sounding like Steely Dan and jazzing out with way too much falsetto (somehow in a good way), and a guitar line that they let play off the theme instead of forgetting about. Good stuff.
Trust me on the Cyrus though. It’s pathetic. Just let the girl dance.

6 / 10

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