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Best of 2007

Highlights from 20 Interviews (2007)

Lil' Wayne / Illustration by KEVIN CHRISTY

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

By Dave Tompkins


I spent a little of ’07 thinking about defective parachutes. And how my grandmother once saved me from a jellyfish in full bloom. Couldn’t stop watching the trailer for Worst Case Scenario. Or listening to Lil’ Wayne over Mantronix’s “Listen to the Bass of Get Stupid Fresh Pt 2”; or Turf Talk over Mantronix; or Lil’ Wayne over the Schoolly D kick that Schoolly D once foot-pedaled in an old JC Penney in Miami, back when T-Pain was Tallahassee Diapers. (Loved “Calm the Fuck Down.”)

While reading Pynchon’s Against the Day, a crush on Merle Rideout’s daughter Dally got me to the Tunguska Event in Siberia 900 pages later — not to be confused with a mysterious case of ball lightning ID’d by Ion Hobana in the village of Robozero back in 1663 — what the hay. What the huh?: The dream where my mom’s Civil War bookend yelled, “Get that lightning under yer ass!”

Also in '07: The chess master’s Other Russia and The Lives of Others. Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep. Gucci Mane’s “Bird Flu,” Carlos Nino's "Triumph," M.I.A.’s “20 Dollar,” Radiohead's “Reckoner,” the guy in the bear suit, “International Players Anthem" (RIP PIMP C), Mladen Dolar's A Voice And Nothing More, Justus Kohncke's “Fuerland,” “Planet Rock” backwards in Egypt, Freeway’s detachable moon dog beard, more from Mr. Fulton please, Funkmaster Flex lamenting his unplayable baconatered Wu-Tang records during Hot 97’s Nineties hip-hop epic.

Three best reissues: “I’m The Man” Spade Brigade, the Qwest/Boyscout 12, and Tammi Terrell’s “All I Do (Is Think About You)” on 45. (Not to be a dick while being a dick, but only 20 of those were pressed.)

Old Things I Never Heard Before that Freaked Me Out: Prince “Extra Loveable” and “I Wonder U”; DJ Harvey’s dub of Billy Paul; Bee Gees “Song of Summer”; Mosaic Tweed, Kinetic Force’s keyboard player; Newcleus’ 13 minute demo of “Computer Age”(especially when the tape gets eaten alive); the Cure “All Cats Are Grey”; my friend’s electric toothbrush — guy from Papa New Guinea playing a live beetle inside his mouth.

Carl Craig playing Chaka Khan’s “I Know You, I Live You” at a friend’s wedding. After we got transmattered by Daft Punk, a Short Circuit garbage robot wheezed down the empty Coney Island boardwalk toward the parachute jump (a used box of Icehouse rattling in its pincer). Oprah’s Book Club, crushed by the apocalypse: “When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again, then you will have given up.” Maybe shouldn’t have watched Kuroi Ame on my birthday — Taste of Tea to the rescue, again. Tuff Crew reunion in Philly and Overlord Ice Dog, shading his eyes from whatever we can’t see coming. “Seen ’em come, seen ’em go!” It’s Madeleine L’ Engle, just Tessering through.

 

Dave Tompkins’ story “Pretty Much Pretty Weird” appears in the Wax Poetics book of album art, Cover Story, which was released in December. He’s currently writing about the Vocoder


This piece originally appeared, in shortened form, in the 20 Interviews issue. Click here for more on this issue

 

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