As Albert Einstein once observed: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” I know exactly what he meant. I’ve been doing this music-critic thing for decades — but every day, there’s more and more stuff I just don’t understand. Case in point: Wednesday’s headscratching Late-Night TV Music lineup. I don’t know what Al would have made of it, but I sure have plenty of questions. To wit:
1 How in the hell did Future Islands become popular? That is not a dig at their music, which is totally enjoyable, as you can see from their competent performance of For Sure on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. I just don’t get how a synth-pop band that apparently formed by a bunch of suburban dads — and fronted by a weirdo weightlifter with male pattern baldness — ended up becoming pop stars in a music landscape dominated by pretty, vapid teenagers. Though if I’m totally honest, I am secretly glad they did.
2 Why is 070 Shake hanging out with mutant lizard-people aliens in the desert at night to sing History/Guilty Conscience for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon? After all, the song seems to be about someone coming home at 5 a.m. and catching their lover in bed with someone else. Though you have to wonder why they’re coming home at 5 a.m. in the first place. Are we supposed to believe 070 Shake was roaming around the desert with ETs? Or that she’s also a mutant lizard-person alien? ’Cause that’s not really going to fly, either.
3 Do we really need yet another genre of music? Natanael Cano seems to think we do — and it’s called Corridos Tumbados (Trap Corridos), a fusion of hip-hop and traditional Mexican folk. If that interests you, get a taste of what you’re in for with his tune Yo Ya Se on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Followup question: Do you think he wears his hair that way on purpose, or because he lost a bet?
4 Is Conan Gray’s cross-gender jealousy single Heather — which he delivered on The Late Late Show With James Corden, complete with a revealing ending — just a little too daring for the masses? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Of course, by the time I learn that, I’ll just have more questions. Guess you can just call me Al.