Tag Archives: pop culture

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.

Bat-Friendly and Kryptonite-Free

We can blame it on the fact that I’ve been watching more (fantastic!) british television that centers on heroes, just finished reading a heckuva comic book series, or simply that I am friends with a certain DC ‘enthusiast’, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about having superpowers.

Based on experience, I can say that if you’re ever in line for something, suddenly in the middle of an awkward silence, or crammed in  car on a long roadtrip, one of the most defining questions you can ask is:

“If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”

The answers often vary, but don’t be fooled in thinking that this is a simple query by any sense. Superpowers are a big deal!

Let’s take flying, for instance. While this one may seem played out and like the most obvious answer, when it really comes down to it, soaring through the air above the earth would be AWESOME. I mean, seriously! Forget rush hour traffic, you just pop up and you’re there! Not to mention, fellas, ladies totally love clouds in their hair. However, I do wonder, do your ears pressurize normally? Is there enough oxygen? I mean, the views are worth it, but I’m not sold on flying.

So then there’s superstrength. This is a little less popular, but if you can pick up a car or an elephant and hold it over your head like it’s no big deal, that would be amazing. However, I can’t help but wonder why exactly you would need to lift a car. And where did you get the elephant anyway? And in all honesty, if I’m having trouble opening a jar or something, I usually just try to bat my eyelashes and get a regularly-strong male to do it for me. For some reason, I’m not sold on superstrength, either. I’d be afraid to hug anyone if I had said power, and I simply cannot live without hugs.

So we come to invisibility and mind-reading. Now, on paper, these are both winners. To be able to see and hear what people are doing and go undetected? Priceless! Although, having lived my short 20 years, I know I may not be the most knowledgeable, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to hear what’s going on in people’s heads all the time. I mean, I think a LOT of ridiculous and potentially-embarrassing things, internet! There’s no way I want to hear everyone else’s same thoughts! And as for invisibility, most of the time I would prefer to show off my cute accessories rather than go unnoticed. You have to wonder about people that choose invisibility- sounds to me like they’re up to something sneaky!

So what’s left? Millions! You could be able to tell when someone is lying, breathe underwater, move things with your mind, x-ray vision, teleportation, travel at superspeed and even be able to turn everything to ice cream! Though I’ve barely scratched the enormous surface of superpowers, I think that it’s a lot to take in. I mean, if I suddenly was graced with a intense and fiercely intimidating superpower, I honestly don’t know how receptive I’d be.


I prefer to think a bit more…simply. If you want to know, internet, or if you don’t, if I could have one superpower, it would be to have two strong women behind me to sing everything I just said.

Yes, internet, I’m wishing endlessly for backup singers.

If Diana Ross can do it, then so can I!

Is this a weak power? I beg to differ! With two powerful voices echoing my words, suddenly everything I said would sound more exciting and of utmost importance. Not to mention that no conversation would be boring ever again! Imagine with me:

“Oh hey guys, I’m going to go blow my nose for a second.”

“SHE’S GOING TO BLOW HER NO-OH-OH-OSE!”

“Has anyone seen my gray cardigan?”

“HER CARDIGAN IS LOST! SOMEONE MUST PAY THE COST!”

“This toast is great.”

“MMM! THIS HEATED BREAD IS REALLY SOMETHIN’!”

You see? With backup singers, every action I did would be musically super and if that can’t save the world, then really, I don’t know what can.

(Photo credit: here)

Two & A Half Small Victories

There were other subjects I was going to blog about today, but there is BREAKING NEWS that I feel I must share with you, internet.

TWO AND A HALF MEN HAS HALTED PRODUCTION.

While this may not be important news to you, this is life-altering to me. Perhaps I hype situations, but for many reasons, this is a victory on several fronts. In my little head, I sometimes aspire to do something crazy with my life like write for television, and for the past 7 years, the bane of my existence at times is to see the constantly number one rated comedy on television be the LAZIEST written half-hour in existence. The premise is so weak, the jokes aren’t funny, the acting is cringe-worthy and the laugh track feels so out of place. The characters are so sad and unchanging- Charlie Sheen womanizes time after time, Jon Cryer keeps being uptight and socially inept and Angus T. Jones is just a half-grown up kid who might mirror his uncle or maybe his father. Really? For 7 seasons now? It’s ridiculous! Sure, we can talk for hours about Charlie Sheen and his shenanigans, but that fact of the matter is that original, well-scripted, compelling and creative television shows get canceled or are never even considered because networks cling to what makes money, and frankly, what makes money isn’t usually the greatest. I know that we should please the public and I see nothing wrong with sitcom format, but Two & A Half Men just irks me uncontrollably.

So, receiving this very news that Two & A Half Men might receive cancellation? I don’t want to say that I’ve won, internet, but just know that I woke up breathing a little easier. Also, I wrote a song about this matter years ago. I even mentioned Charlie Sheen by name! (GASP!!!)

Just between us, maybe my music is prophetical? Perhaps I can predict the future with lyrical lines? What ever will I do with such power, internet?!?!

Remind me to write a song about The Beatles coming back to life and reuniting. That, and one about puppies staying young forever. Oh, and maybe one about me having a successful tv show in the future. Also, animals talking. Any requests?

(photo credit: here)

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 )