Tag Archives: music

George Michael Might Not Approve

If you’ll allow me two seconds of name-dropping- I had a ticket to the CMT Music Awards last week! This, of course, was courtesy of the internship I’m enjoying this summer, blah blah blah, I know, just get to the picture already-

(HI MOM!)

Not surprisingly, I’ve never been to an award show before, so the format was super interesting. The crowd was taught line dances during commercial breaks, encouraged to applaud every five seconds and most of the ‘stars’ weren’t even in their seats for more than 5 minutes and were instead running around the arena the whole time with far-too-large entourages. It’s sort of crazy but subdued at the same time. I mean, all the dialogue is scripted and read off teleprompter, all the set pieces are moved around in a choreography that has been rehearsed for weeks and every joke or ‘surprise’ moment doesn’t really all seem that suprising. I mean, growing up in the generation that sees second-graders carrying and using iPhones, I guess ‘tv magic’ not being all that magical doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me anyway.

However, what does come as a surprise to me is Kid Rock.

Did I miss something big? Because for some reason I cannot see much to any appeal in this man. He was the host for the evening and I kept wanting someone with a cane take him offstage. I don’t think he’s a horrible human being or anything, but I just think as an entertainer, he fails to do just that; ENTERTAIN. The hats, the almost-inappropriate jokes, the goatee that refuses to leave his chin- all of it just confuses me. When was all of this combined supposed to make a satisfying end result? He’s not rebellious enough to be edgy but not safe enough to seem particularly family-friendly, and that place is just not suitable for most anyone. It’s…..kinda sad. He’s like a rodeo bull that used to buck everyone off and now he’s been tied to fence post and subjected to just eating grass all day.

(….was that last simile too “Texas” for you? Apologies. Anyway, moving on-)

My debate with Kid Rock, however, does not involve his music. While this may seem like the easiest battle to pick, if he wants to be all over the map, I completely support it! If he wants to make several duets with Sheryl Crow and call them ‘country’, I say go for it! If he wants to make explicit angry rock, then give him a microphone! I don’t have to like all or even any styles that he tries his hand at, but I do get a kick seeing artists trying something new that might be out of their comfort zone. It seems weird to make this point now, but I think that experimenting with different instruments and genres is important, and usually yields interesting results. I say ‘interesting’, but they might even end up spectacular! I mean, who knows, maybe if we handed Kid (is the proper title ‘Kid’? ‘Rock’? ‘Krock’?) a saxophone, he could put his own spin on “Careless Whisper” and as much as it pains me to admit this, that might actually be something I’d pay attention to……if only to provide sarcastic commentary.

And yes, internet, someone, somewhere is shedding a tear right now because of me comparing Kid Rock to the incomparable George Michael, but it simply had to be done. After all, you gotta have faith.

TN Adventures (First Week)

I’m in Nashville now.

I could hype this post or use a lot of words to tell you that, but rather, plain and simple, I’m out of Texas and in Tennessee. But with those four words come so many more things, internet. I started interning at a wonderful place called SiriusXM exactly a week ago, but it feels like it may have been years already.

The CMA Music Festival is a crazy event that happens once a year in Nashville, for 40 years now, where essentially, country music invites its biggest players and myriads of fans to the city for four days of crazy crowds and crazy-good concerts. It seems almost too-perfect that it also coincided with my first week of interning at SiriusXM which means my first week was probably the most chaotic I’ll ever have. But, and I can say this strongly…I LOVED this first week.

I loved it because hey, there are a few dozen or so memories, and, coincidentally, photos, that I’d never have gotten anywhere else!

I loved it because of the events that happened! (I know, “DUH!”) Yes, there was lots of meeting artists, attending fancy press conferences, standing in photo pits and using media passes to get in different shows, but it’s the little things that stick out to me, like editing and voicing audio snippets and then hearing them on the air, crying laughing while trying to learn how to pronounce “Aldean” correctly in a locker room, instantly bonding with everyone I work with and skipping out on seeing the final Taylor Swift performance for the sake of coming back to the office and having a mini ice cream party in the conference room.

I loved it because every bit of the chaos was all directed towards music, which is my first love. This town is easy to get distracted in when every single bar has melodies trailing out of its doors at all hours of the day and night, but I couldn’t ask for anything more exciting, really! Music takes on such an importance to me, and  instead of the usual “oh, well that’s nice” response, the people I work with are the same! We’re all musically obsessed together! Every last detail of albums, tours, lyrics is all considered vital and of course, this could be considered a plug, but our office is always playing something great on the radio!

I don’t usually fall in love fast, as I’ve said before, but this love for my ridiculously-all-of-the-sudden Nashville life happened in just one week.

So, at this rate…who knows what two weeks in this town might bring?!!

(Most photos all provided by my homegirl Kathrine Brock– she is a rockstar!)

Words Of Wisdom; Gaga

(Note: I like to quote people I love and call it “Words Of Wisdom”.)

“We are on the edge of glory, baby. In fact, I’m the MAYOR here on the Edge of Glory!”

-Mom, declaring our location to everyone in Target who was wondering

(Ps, Along with this quote, I love Gaga, no matter what anyone says. My heart is so excited that Clarence Clemons from my favorite E Street Band plays with her on the new album! Although this version of the song has no saxophone, I adore it, simply because it proves that she is so talented, even without the costumes and “controversy”. Just her and a piano and a thousand little monsters singing along. Enjoy!)

Sooner or later, I have to talk about Arcade Fire (Part 1)

Okay, I’ve put it off long enough– let’s do this.

 I feel entitled to Arcade Fire.

I know what you’re thinking- yeah, you and every other hipster on the planet!

However, in some small way, I do. Their albums are like little snapshots of my growing up, and if that’s too much for you, you might want to stop reading because I’m about to get even more ridiculous. I don’t take music lightly, I can’t ignore it, can’t get enough of it, spend too much money on it and can talk about it for hours on end. Add that fact with my favorite-live-act-with-all-members-still-alive-and-still-touring and you get marathon-long paragraphs and comparisons. So buckle in, internet, because Arcade Fire and I have some talking to do.

My entitlement stems from the fact that each album this band has made ends up being one I can’t shake away. Instead, I want to hear it again, know all the words, learn the instrument parts, discuss it with people, play it for my friends and soak up ambitiously. So, I’ll do my best to tell you why.

Funeral, their first album, screams of growing up when you don’t want to, of seeing the hurt in the world and letting it creep in, but standing at the end with one fist in the air saying, “NOT YET! You can’t take us yet!” It’s a face-to-face conversation about death, about what to do when nothing lines up like you’d heard it would and about finding something great amidst so much loss. To me, Funeral declares that we may be young, but we’ll yell until we’re hoarse to prove that you can’t take away the beauty of the world yet no matter how much death may affect it. It’s the perplexity — growing up should be better because we learn more, experience more and share more, but it also means we deal with more hurt, more loss and more pain. “Our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.” But it’s not all bad- there’s love to be found amidst the cold world, and if the snow buries my neighborhood, then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours. I have a feeling this album taught me how to be a secret romantic. Funeral spun on repeat in high school for me and stuck in my brain like advice- telling me that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t sure how to handle the world as I got older, but that it wasn’t hopeless. It’s never hopeless, and if it ever feels that way, just sing along as loud as you can.

Neon Bible, to say the least, takes the little speck of beauty found in the world and turns it upside down. Neon Bible, at least for me, is about taking that headstrong grown-up kid into America today and basically saying, well, this is it. Neon Bible is about not being satisfied, about wanting more and about setting up camp in this world and insisting HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT.  Sure, there’s beauty, but it’s been cut down and taken away and Neon Bible urges it to be brought back.  Neon Bible longs for more and while Funeral let you rest in its depth and harmonies, this album urges you to move, to not stand still but to be diligent in finding out how things really are.  Needless to say, this permeated my ears toward the end of high school and college. My biggest change-moving from the safety of home to being on my own, made a little more sense when this album played. The transition in my life and the fast pace it adopted all matched the rhythm of LET’S GO! The lyrics and drumbeats kept me moving, but still left me wanting more.

Combine both albums and all of these melodies were ones I wrapped up in and used as my own little defense to the world while growing up in The Suburbs.

Yes, I went there.

Perhaps Arcade Fire’s newest album, The Suburbs, is the one I stake the most claim on. We can say it’s because the lead singer Win Butler and his brother Will grew up in the Woodlands, a suburb of Houston, Texas that is less than an hour away from my precious suburban hometown, but that’s too easy. We grew up near each other- no big deal, really. (Okay, it’s a little bit exciting for a music nerd like me. Sue me.) However, Suburbs strikes something with me because it’s beautiful, and I suppose I love to hear beautiful things, but it is also so ridiculously expressive and celebratory that I can’t turn it off. This frustration that continues about not being ready to transition into the real world is at its highest in these sixteen tracks, and it’s thick with nostalgia. And you know what, internet? I suppose to be honest with you, it would be so easy to tell you that high school wasn’t Disneyland and I’m overjoyed to be moved out of the seemingly-sheltered place I once lived, but sometimes I get crippled by my childhood, wishing that I could go back. I’m not saying college is a battlefield, but take it from Peter Pan or everyone on this earth that I’ve met- growing up is hard. And so to return to the place where it seemed easier, to the place where so many things, for better or for worse, shaped me into the person I am today- well, it gets me every time. “The kids wanna be so hard- but in my dreams we’re still screaming and running through the yard.” Sometimes I want to saunter on back to my old doorstep and remember when riding my bike through our neighborhood was my biggest concern. Call it emotional, but I can’t distance myself from this album and I’m so grateful Arcade Fire wrote it to share some of their own same feelings.

……..Or, you know, maybe they just wrote it to win the Grammy and are musicians with no soul. I doubt it, but in the end, it doesn’t matter to me. I like the art more than the artist, anyway.

Simply put, the fact that I have found just a small collection of songs that I can relate to in a real sense is enough of a celebration to carry me for a long time. When artists seem to take the words from my mouth and write about exactly what I feel, I get obsessed and excited. However, what’s even more exciting is when I see a stage with this displayed-

Seeing some of my favorite songs performed by some of my favorite musicians less than 5 feet in front of my face at a loud volume!!? Well, that’s a subject I can really get wordy about.

I saw Arcade Fire two nights in a row, front row, and I can honestly say those two nights were two of the best in my short twenty years to date.

….But, that’s another post altogether.

(Part 2 on its way!)

Yoda Slippers and Guitar Licks

San Marcos, Texas- I love you.

Just when I should be the most stressed out due to projects, papers, finals week (aka this week), ongoing senioritis and schoolwork madness, I’ve got a permanent grin on my face and sore feet from dancing to live music. My beloved college town hosted a free concert festival this weekend, (holla atcha, MR Fest!) and lemme tell you, internet, please fall in love with THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR. This band is the answer to all my dirty, gritty, loud-and-soulful rock and roll problem. Essentially, they’re like Led Zeppelin– only less poetic.

Also, they have more dance grooves….

…..more keytar…………and more ‘STACHE!

Okay…so maybe they’re nothing like Led Zeppelin. But they rock hard, and I can’t get enough of obnoxiously-executed guitar solos and rowdy energy that pays off in fantastic live shows, of which I was a part. My voice is a little hoarse from yelling, my ears may have rung for hours after, but it was all worth it and needed after being cooped up with my notes and reviews! Thank you, BLSH, for making my ears and toe-tappin’ all excited. You’re so much better than a library, and I’m streaming you daily now.

Of course, this is all a nice vacation from the stacks of notes and books staring me in the face from across the room, yelling, “STUDY US! READ US! CONSUME US FOR HOURS!”

Fortunately, there’s light at the end of this stressed-out tunnel.

All I gotta do is make it to Tuesday and Wednesday, because they mean two more concerts that I have been excited for nearly months about and I’m ready to start! But more on that later, internet. I’ve got studies to get back to.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Most importantly

I just realized I’ve been walking around most of the day in both my Empire Strikes Back tank coupled with my Yoda slippers.

Geek overkill or simply not enough? Decide, you must, internet.

Soul Music > Studying

It’s the last full week of classes and motivation in this Lion’s den is at an all-time low.

Also, I should mention that I am completely obsessed with soul music, especially that of the 1960s.

I should not be let anywhere near a computer at 1 AM after having at least 4 cups of coffee in rapid succession, but let’s just say that combined insomnia and horrible study habits have lead me back into my caffeine-fueled haze where nothing that I am attempting to read over is sticking in my temperamental brain.

What is sticking, however, is a certain melody you may have heard called “Hound Dog” and consequently, how much I adore Big Mama Thornton. No, seriously, this woman is FIRE. She wrote the book on rockabilly, has a voice that can command a room and if she was wonderful enough that even Elvis, the KING, stole a single from her, you know that she has something insanely good wrapped up in her soul.

Here’s a little something for all you visual learners-

See what I mean? Magical. Yes, Elvis made the song his own (as evidenced by this attractive video, seriously, the 1:03 is dangerously good) but I can’t get enough of how much she tears it up like it’s no big deal. Her emotion is effortless but so felt. It’s normal for me to dance along with my Spanish notes in hand, right? Can’t help it!

You know, I may have days where I’m distracted, but give me a toe-tapping rhythm and you’ve got my entire attention span from the first beat to the end. People write a million essays, books and thesis prompts on the science of sound and the transcendental qualities of chord progressions, but I think it’s simpler- satisfy my ears and you’ve got everything else. My focus, my conversation, my voice singing along, my interest and my dancing feet all are yours! No seriously, I fear I might just sign away my life if a good band was playing at the time.

So, you see, it is incredibly difficult to learn the subjunctive and imperfect verb tenses when my record player is right across the room- Aretha Franklin vinyl all ready to spin!

Is this a white girl problem? Naah. Too much soul to be one of those!

Crushed

I think I just must be allergic to “crushes”.

I realize that writing that sentence is the closest to Carrie Bradshaw that I’ve ever sounded, but I’m feeling that it is true. I don’t write this blog from a sappy doe-eyed girl perspective on relationships, (although I have been there once or twice) but I just feel like admitting it- I find it hard to just ‘like’ someone all of the sudden. And I don’t say this from a temporarily-scorned-i’ll-never-love-again point of view, I really mean that if my history shows anything, it’s that I don’t get all jumpy jittery and crush-crazy over boys. Not notably often, at least. We can call this a white girl problem, but hey, this blog is my tiny corner of the internet, and so I will illuminate it with whatever is on my mind, and today it’s this predicament.

I know people who say they get this “crush” feeling too often or just accept it as a part of life, but I feel like I’m neither or like I’m doing something wrong for not constantly having a beau to talk about or steal gazes from or dream of. However, feelings can’t be manufactured, and so I’m stuck being somewhat comfortable on my own.

I mean, I do love people; I do have feelings, I swear! My family takes up a huge part in my heart, my friends make me sing happy-go-lucky songs about them, and most of my favorite songwriters evoke feelings of attachment. Heck, I even write little love letters to SONGS. But for some reason, I happen to lack the crazy butterfly-like rush, or at least its popular frequency.

I feel like I’m supposed to be more boy-crazy. Does this sound crazy on its own? DOES THAT MAKE ME CRAAAZY?

I can count my so-called past ‘crushes’ of my short 20 years on one hand.  I’d go as far to say that I feel like I relate to Cady Heron and her African love ‘Nfume’ in this sense. Take that as you may.

So, now that you’ve made it this far into this post, you must be wondering- why am I jumping all over the place with my words and emotional run-on sentences? Two words: The Wombats.

Yes, I’ll blame this fantastic song by The Wombats that has been on repeat for days for bringing it out of me, so, internet, turn up your speakers and let me lay it on you-

THIS IS NO BRIDGET JONES!

Maybe I was spoiled by movies and tricked by tv shows into thinking I should have my own complicated love triangle happening by now. Maybe it’s because I’m at the age where I’m apparently supposed to have my five-year plan mapped out, including my picturesque wedding and marriage. Maybe it’s because for years I wanted to have someone to giggle about at 7th grade sleepovers but lacked a muse. Maybe it’s because I have to keep promising myself that I’m not a freak for not giving my little affections away so easily.

But all I have to say is that-

IF THIS IS A ROM-COM, KILL THE DIRECTOR!

Because, honestly, I just have to think that it’s not about ‘crushes’ and mind games and that I’m NOT weird for not constantly having someone I dream about.

When and if this whole stomach-butterflies-flapping-and-crushed -to-the-ground event happens, I’m serious when I admit that you’ll find me with my eyes glazed over, listening to Ella Fitzgerald on my record player and sighing and giggling like a lucky sap should, but for now, I’m not there. And after all, I’m sure you’d much rather read coherent sentences rather than “OMGHEISSOHOTANDPERFECT<3<3” over and over again.

……right?

(And internet, I promise you that when this rare crush feeling stumbles upon me, rest assured that I do turn into a bumbling idiot. Did that happen this week unexpectedly and maybe prompt me saying all of this in the first place and remaining confused? Ehh, I’ll let you decide, internet. But aren’t you glad you read the small text? So illuminating, I know.)

Happy Adele Tuesday, Yall!

Things you should do today:

  1. Buy Adele‘s album, 21, on cd

  2. Buy Adele‘s album, 21, on iTunes

  3. Buy Adele‘s album, 21, on vinyl

  4. Tell a friend how fantastic Adele is

  5. Repeat steps 1-4!!!

I’m subtle, I know. Adele is not a phase or a trend or a singer that has a one-hit wonder. I know I can talk for hours about whatever is entertaining me at the moment, but this British sensation is here to stay, at least if I have any say in the matter. Adele is a woman whose voice is like a security blanket to me but at the same time, scares me so often with her intensity that I can’t help but write about her and encourage the world to hop on board her soul-lovin’ singalong philosophy.

Although it is officially released today, I’ve been anticipating since December and streaming her new album nearly every single day and finding myself growing attached to it like one does a therapist. Most often I want to talk back to each track and say, “Me too! I’ve been there!” or give my girl A a high five or a hug for belting out hard truths time after time. She sings the most honest lyrics, but unlike most female artists, her words don’t tell weak stories of a long-lost damsel in distress, upset simply after one boy didn’t look their way; Adele’s loved dangerously, given every ounce of her love the best she could and had it taken away so heartlessly. She isn’t just “the girl on the bleachers” (sorry, Taylor!). She’s strong but broken, and all at the same time held-together in her pain and struggles, slightly better by the fact that she will hit a high note or two that will make you shudder.

Best part? Homegirl is only 22 years old! She wrote the album when she was 21, hence the name. She’s scarcely 2 years older than this little lion! She’s barely been around the block, but she sings with pain that’s experienced and a wisdom beyond her years and I can’t, nor do I want to, get enough. The songs on 21 are diverse, written in anger, bitterness, sadness, memories, and laced with goodbyes, but at the same time the tiniest bit of maybe-I’m-not-over-you-after-all. Most of all, they all center around love, for better or worse.

I’ll be straight with you, internet. Without naming names, I have to interject that this album specifically affects me so deeply because at times it’s like someone reached into my little heart and brain pulled out the perfect rhymes and melodies to express exactly how I’ve felt and continue to feel. If I didn’t already tear up at how beautifully-sounding and written the entire album is, I’d be tearing up with how much I can relate. She says everything I wish I could say out loud and she says it with all the sass, hurt, pain and happiness that I could ever feel.

Holden Caulfield (of one of my absolute favorite books, The Catcher In The Rye), whether you adore him or hate him, has his quotable moments, and this one always gets me:

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

I’ve written on this quote before and worn it out, but I always come back to it because it happens so often to me. I wish I could call up Adele Adkins and tell her over a cup of coffee about my past few years. I wish we were terrific friends, because I have so many questions to ask her and compliments to give. That, and if she ever needed a backup singer, once I got past the sheer emotional rush that hit me every time she opened her mouth and let out a song, I’d be down. I’d be so down.

UPDATE: Z and I may have just bought out Target (their deluxe edition comes with 4 more tracks!) and Sundance Records. The Adele Tuesday Celebration continues, get excited!!

(Album Cover Photo Credit: here!)

Dolly Parton Is A Genius

Dolly Parton is a genius.

Call me crazy, but I can’t help but adore the woman. She’s unapologetic. She’s large, in charge, loud and proud and people are going to continue to think I’m kidding when I say that I truly love her, but I. LOVE. HER.

Think I’m nuts yet? We have the same middle name (Rebecca; thanks, Mom and Dad!) and although I doubt my impact on the music scene will ever be as influential, I’ll continue to look up to Dolly.

She grew up poor and took hold of the world, performing in churches and singing her heart out with the words that shaped her future. She sang about things that affected her and only shined brighter from there. Can anyone express hurt and heart quite like Dolly? Jolene shows her pleading to have her man back even though she knows he loves another woman more. OUCH, there goes my heartstrings! Here You Come Again sounds so easy, but it’s hard to handle as she wants to let go of a relationship but as soon as that man comes close, he’s right back in her heart again. Whether you think it’s overplayed, I truly think the sincerity in her voice in I Will Always Love You (which she wrote!) can cut like a knife. And of course, I’ll be darned if 9 to 5 it isn’t one of the best sing alongs in the entire world, whether you are a sassy woman trying to get ahead in the workforce or not.

She earned her keep as a force to be reckoned with, wrote her own music, and knows 100% of who she is. Her plastic surgery can’t be debated, but she talks about it in such a comical way and sees herself as a larger-than-life figure so everything else comes easier. She can siiiiing like nobody’s business, take movie roles if she wants them, tour the country and still sell out arenas at age 65, wear dresses that make people blush and at the same time, do it all while saying in her sugary-sweet Tennesse drawl that, “I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else.” The woman has her own theme park, for crying out loud! She can do anything with her image and it will only rise, because according to Dolly, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity!”

Can you tell I love Dolly Quotes yet? This confidence she has bowls me over. She says what she wants, dresses how she wants and walks into a room saying, this is me, and I’m going to be it to the fullest extent. (Sidenote: I realize the elephant in the room when I say things like “large and in charge” or “fullest” Laugh with me! Now, move on.) She’s had struggles and it hasn’t been the easiest but she comes out smiling. I’m not saying I want to be the woman, although can we please agree that SHE IS THE QUEEN OF LION-HAIR?!

What a mane!!! I’m obsessed, but I digress.

I don’t desire to imitate her (joke about my affinity for sequins here) but I admire this strong woman who can really belt-it-out-sing and who has proven to the world that if you’re just never afraid to be absolutely yourself through-and-through, every other detail will fall into place. That, and that big blonde southern hair has a place in this world, which, I, of course, will always take to heart.

(Photo Credit: 1 )

Ukuletter

Dear Ukulele,

I don’t talk, or type, about you enough.

You are the least intimidating, cutest instrument on the face of the planet. You are easy to learn and people fall in love with you as soon as they see you, due to your size. I can sing along, I can make stuff up, and not a lot sounds bad with your four strings.

You were my companion to freshman year loneliness (and my new roommate!) my summer plaything and you have always been portable and fun. Now, you’re my ticket into coffee shops and venues. Because my dream to become the next  Janis Joplin or Envy Adams of The Clash At Demonhead is not a reality yet (unless you or the internet know any struggling rock and roll boys that need a slightly feisty female to lead), for now it’s ukulele and my voice, and recently, accompanied by guitar and another fabulous lady. I can play little ditties on you and strum patterns and on a sunny day, make everyone feel slightly like we’re in Hawaii…even if we’re just on the concrete apartment porch.

You could have been a trend, uke. I could have picked you up temporarily and then let go when the next tiny instrument craze came along, but you fit into my fingers so well and stuck with me and now I’m hard-pressed to go anywhere without you. My friends all got ukuleles too and now we’re a family! Or at least a group of enthusiasts. Or just that annoying band that won’t stop. Something like that.

Oh, and the internet LOVES you, ukulele! Seriously, you make every song better. Like this, this, this and especially THIS! With you in my hands, there’s nothing I can’t accomplish. So thank you, ukulele. I would be awful sad and a lot less musical if you ever left my side.

Xo,

Lion

(Ps, that picture is by the wildly talented Victorio, of course!)