Earlier this month, the rapper Joe Budden — he's a "star" of VH1's Love & Hip Hop, but you probably still know him best for "Pump It Up" — went on local New York affiliate Fox 5 News to bravely tell his story. See, all summer he'd been experimenting with Molly, and Molly almost killed him dead. “I didn’t see a problem with the fact that maybe five days would go by without sleeping," Budden told gravely concerned reporter Lisa Evers, while the two reclined on a plush couch in his New Jersey home. "I didn’t see a problem with the fact that maybe I was hallucinating at times." He managed, just barely, to fight it off, Evers told us grimly, with the help of people who loved him, and he hopes his plight will send the message to the world: “Popping a Molly can make you feel happy and sexy. But experts warn that just one dose can mess up your brain for life.” Then she plugged his new album.
I'm not trying to take the piss out of Budden's, or anyone's, legitimate substance abuse issues. But this, at least as packaged, is something else. The ominous allusions, the scarred survivor story, the aggressively substance-free reporting — this is a bit of Drug Trend Paranoia 101.
In a couple of weeks, Ducktails drops its eagerly anticipated fourth album, The Flower Lane. This time around, front man Matthew Mondanile — whom you may remember for such things as also being the guitarist in Real Estate — got a bunch of his pals to chip in (guesting on the record are members of Ford & Lopatin, Cults, Future Shuttle, and Daniel Lopatin, a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never), and the result is a more fleshed-out vibe than he's dropped on us yet. (Check out the sweetly groovy title track for proof.)
And so, as we do every once in a while here at Songs of the Week HQ, we got Mondanile on the phone to chop it up about some of this week's more notable burners. Matt told us he's "stoked" for the album release, and is "busy doing stuff for it," but still had time to chat. He was just a touch surprised, though, about speaking with Grantland: "I thought you were gonna ask me who my favorite sports players are."
As the Grantland staff looks back this week on the highlights of the year in music, TV, film, and sports, we would obviously be remiss if we left out the one medium to rule them all: the Internet. Here are our picks for the best (and worst) of the Information Superhighway in 2012.