Music: Summer Hits of 2013: Troublemaker and Blurred Lines

“Troublemaker” by Olly Murs and Flo Rida

Good GOD. I love summer songs. They are full of life and love and sex (maybe, probably, HOPEFULLY). The first time I heard Olly Murs’ song “Troublemaker” I instantly loved it. It’s a refreshing move away from the synth-crazed hits of the radio over the winter. Plus there is not even one note in any of the melodies that is questionable. It just winds around the simple yet full instrumentation so sweetly. Plus PLUS Flo Rida adds a little FLORIDA FLAIR (oh god) making it a perfect A+ summer hit. Extra points for have a strong-willed female in the vid.

“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell and T.I.

Robin-Thicke-NSFWThis song is pure sex. Robin Thicke is hot as FUCK, Pharrell is awesome and I guess T.I. is okay. Along the same lines as “Troublemaker”, the instrumentation is simple yet compelling and PHRESH because it’s not the same electro stuff we’ve heard for the past billion years on the radio (don’t get me wrong I love electropop but JESUS, instrument diversity is cool too RADIO). This song is just so fun. You can’t help but move around to it, and maybe kiss ur honey in the process.

BUT, the more I listen to the lyrics, the more I started to like the song less:

ok he was close

tried to domesticate you

but you’re an animal

Baby it’s in your nature

just let me liberate you

Knee-jerk reaction: bitch PLEASE.

One terrible part of loving pop music is the antiquated and rather dull views on gender roles and sexuality. A woman who was unhappy with a controlling man should let you liberate her because she can’t do it herself? COOL STORY BRO. NO, REALLY. I’m so glad another mainstream pop/r&b artist has written a song alluding to the fact that women can’t think for themselves. Real neat. SO 2013.

The uncensored video is kinda really fuckin lame too. I mean, it’s pretty and well shot, but super objectifying and YAWN. It’s full of topless and naked models with fully clothed men. Hey, here’s an idea dudes: why don’t you stop being so insecure about your stomachs/biceps/dicks/manhood and flop them around for a change? IDGAF if it isn’t as pretty as women being naked. EQUALITY MOTHAFUCKAS.

I know it’s a pop song and it IS a fun and catchy tune. But sometimes it’s still hard as a human, who respects not only herself but everyone regardless of gender, to hear lyrics that once again play into gendered stereotypes of sexuality, i.e. men are strong and women are weak. PUKE. All it tells me is that Robin Thicke and co. are living in a fantasy world where they think women need men to save them from other dudes cuz we can’t make a decision for ourselves. EW. YUCK. We’re all just human beings, man. Cut this gender shit out. It’s SUCH a bore and pretty intellectually embarrassing.

A- SUMMER HIT because the music is awesome but the lyrics are so 1873.

Music: Being in love with Marina and the Diamonds “Electra Heart”

Marina and the Diamonds “Electra Heart”

If you can imagine what Barbie would be listening to in her lumped out jeep, it would be this album (which gives Barbie a lot of cool cred but let’s face it, bitch was fierce).

I AM OBSESSED WITH “Prima Donna” by Marina and the Diamonds. It is the most beautiful pop song that is SO POP that I’ve heard in a very long time. Pop music has definitely taken a more electro/dubby route in recent years. Which I don’t really have an opinion on right now because I haven’t had coffee yet. I also realize I’m about a fucking DECADE late hopping on the Marina train. Whatevs, I work through pop stars on my own time bc I Am Not A Robotl

My newfound Marina love began when I finally burned a new CD for my car after months of listening to weird mixes and Taylor Swift’s “Red”.

(It’s really fun to discover new favorite music in your car, especially if you live in a big city. Traffic is kind of like an album anyways. It gets slow, you get stuck behind big trucks and you’re outraged, or you’re driving super fast on the highway and blasting anthems.)

Anyways, my favorite tracks from Marina’s Electra Heart are hard to pick because I’ve only been obsessively listening to the album for 3 days (granted the first day and a half was spent with “Prima Donna” on repeat and feeling invincible). BUT early favorites are: Teen Idle, Radioactive, Sex Yeah, Valley of the Dolls, and Bubblegum Bitch.

Pop music and escapism vs. reality

I love Marina’s take on pop music. Electra Heart is one of the most poetic pieces of pop I’ve ever listened to recently. Not because she’s trying to sound poetic, but because that is the way she writes and the art that she wanted to make. If Marina truly wanted to be a “pop star” in the traditional sense that we know them to be, she’d have worked with Max Martin and adopted some sort of British Ke$ha persona. However it’s easy for many people/audiences to forget that pop stars and pop music don’t have to come out of a machine: they can come from the heart too.

What’s refreshing about independent/artistic journeys like Marina’s into pop music is you get the lyrical depth that is absent from mainstream pop/dance music. Sometimes it’s great to yell “Mazel Tov!” “Tonight!” or “Dance!” when you want to be enveloped in the total escapism pop music gives you. Shallow pop music lyrics have a purpose, because ain’t nobody want to contemplate their shitty relationship or societal woes on a Friday night dancefloor. But when it comes time to feel again, you can say hello to Marina or Lana Del Rey, where you too can contemplate love and life like a normal, suffering human being.

Marina’s Tunes

Check out her soundcloud here because it’s got a lot of songs and remixes up. But I like her originals better than most of the remixes up on her page, except this Passion Pit remix of “I Am Not A Robot”.

Music: New Order live and my problems with live electronic music

First of all, New Order is one of my favorite and most influential bands of all time. I’m an electro-pop artist (Dennis) and a DJ, and “Bizarre Love Triangle” is one of my favorite songs of all time. ALL TIME. This song is fucking beautiful. This band is fucking beautiful. BUT.

As an an electronic artist myself, it is incredibly difficult to translate the emotion and excitement of electronic music into a live performance setting. As I watched New Order perform one of my fave songs on Jimmy Kimmel Live, I was completely underwhelmed and saddened due to the lack of electronic musical stage translation. New-Order-256e4

I think the lead singer, Bernard Summer, was great vocally; he sounded just like the record did nearly 30 years ago. However, the guy standing in the back of stage perhaps playing a drum machine is the reason this performance wasn’t as good as it could have been. Plus these people are old now. There is something so hard about watching old rock bands perform. I really hate to say it and even admit it to you and myself because these bands are idyllic. But their bodies have grown old. So much of being an alluring artist is a sexual appeal of some sort. Their spirit has changed too. Not worse or better, but different, which naturally causes their performance art to change.

(But then again you can watch modern day Stevie Nicks perform and she still has the passion necessary to keep an audience interested. It’s all a crapshoot.)

I’m not sure how many live DJ sets any of you readers (thank you for reading, i heart you so much) have ever been to. But they are fucking BO-RING. This has nothing to do with the fact that many DJs are SUPER talented DJs and know how to mix some insane, genius-level beats. It has to do with live show translation: it is simply not exciting as an audience member to watch anyone push buttons. (Exception: DJs mixing and pressing buttons for a dance room setting. As openers for other bands DJs tend to always run stale because nobody is drunk and dancing to openers, especially if the set is lacking visual excitement)

This is where electronic bands get into trouble. A drum machine is awesome, but you can’t FEEL a drum machine like you can feel a live drum kit. It gives the audience a mandatory heart beat to the pulse of your music that can’t be recreated through speakers.

Demands of the Modern Audience

Having been to a ton of shows throughout my life and most recently in the Minneapolis area, stage performance is a big part of why many shows are so underwhelming. Where is the creative lighting? Projectors of slideshows put together by the band to represent their aesthetic and therefore their performance art? Anything to keep the audience intrigued?

I don’t know if many artists have gotten the memo, but consumers/audiences are demanding as fuck in this modern age. They want all their senses taken care of. Being a musician isn’t just about making music anymore. You’ve got to give the audience something good to look at, something to feel, something to be, something to strive for. ladygaga-1

Why do you think pop stars dress so wild? That’s how they get attention. Being successful is about how much attention you’re getting. Good, bad; it doesn’t matter. And if that means you have to wear a piece of shit on your face so all the blogs are linking back to poor style choice *AND* your song, so be it. That’s how you get famous. That’s the world we live in now, and it’s not changing anytime soon.

Consumers want to be sold a lifestyle (Ke$ha, The Strokes, Lil Wayne, LMFAO etc.), and if your band- new or old- isn’t able to sell that, then sorry! That’s why you see so many pop stars and celebrities selling fragrances or clothing lines (not to mention the fact that music doesn’t make nearly the kind of money it used to): it’s all about the lifestyle brand. Buy this and be like this person. Buy this and you will be accepted by this group of society. Maybe it sucks, but whatever. That’s life. That’s entertainment. A lot of things suck more than pop artists slingin’ perfume. Its the most cliché shit ever, but LEARN THE FUCKING GAME ALREADY. *drops keyboard and walks off stage*

 

Download this track “In for the Kill” by Dennis

dennis, music, minneapolis
Shit’s gettin ice cold baby. Image via dennismpls.bandcamp.com

 

This is the music project I’ve been working on for a year! Here is the first single, “In for the Kill”. It’s about fucking someone who is empty and kinda dead inside. Which we’ve all probably dealt with. It’s a surprisingly protective feeling though. You just want to make them feel alive despite their own wishes not to be. (And then you get over it because ain’t nobody got time for that!)

Here is the link to the Dennis bandcamp page in case you want to hear the whole EP. Bedroom made electropop from the midwest. Get wild.

 

 

THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING: Ashlee Simpson to release bad album

Image via celeblowdown.com. What the fuck look is she going for here.

GO TO HER WEBSITE. WATCH AND LISTEN. WHO SAID THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? Oh, dear God. The quiet, festering death crash and burn of this new Ashlee Simpson album is going to be insane. There’s a countdown on her website. Last time I checked, anyone my age who listened to Ashlee Simpson in the confusing days of high school does not ever listen to her anymore. Not even as a joke. This girl is so uncool that nobody would even be listening ironically (i hate that sentence, but you know it’s true).

EVIDENCE this will blow

She got caught lip-synching on SNL (which is the first thing that pops up on youtube after you type her name in), and by the way it is painful every time to watch. She used to have a reality tv show on MTV. She was married to and then divorced to Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy who hasn’t really done anything musically in yeeeears. She had a baybay. Two years ago, She was rumored to be working on a folk album. A FOLK ALBUM. A nose job, a short haircut. WHO IDENTIFIES WITH YOU. She seriously might be a sociopath. Think about it: if she was actually cool, then she’d know that she isn’t cool. The more you know.

Music: Christina Aguilera’s new song is no comeback material

I don’t know how I feel about Xtina’s new song “Your Body”. It’s not horrible by any means, because it sounds just like most things on the radio right now, without autotune because baby gurl has that shit built in. But it’s not a “holy shit, that’s my new jam” kind of song. The hook is alright but forgettable, because as I am writing this post I forgot the name of the song and any melody it had. Not that I have an amazing memory, but still. If this song is any indication of her new album, we might be in a similar situation to her previous album fiasco Bionic

PLZ FIND INSPIRATION TO BE GREAT AGAIN. Image via youknowyoucare.com

I just don’t get what she’s doing. If you have a voice like Christina Aguilera, you need to pick songs worthy of Christina Aguilera’s voice, not something Ke$ha took a next-morning-whiskey shit on and then passed over. Of course I’m exaggerating because the song isn’t THAT bad, but it’s not up to the standard that we all have in our head of Christina Aguilera. Remember Beautiful,  or anything she did before Bionic? That shit was gold because it had personality. But lately it’s like she’s chasing trends that started 5 years ago, and it is NOT working in her favor. Diva legends don’t chase old trends; they hire talented enough people to create their next award-winning image for them create new ones. Xtina isn’t doing herself any favors by picking songs that are infinitely forgettable.

Where’d her Stripped passion go? Shit, even Back to Basics? Did being rich and comfortable ruin her ability to put out a good album? Or is she just an amazing voice with little artistic fury? Only time will tell. But if personality-disordered Britney can put out AMAZING fucking albums AND be on a TV show just like Xtina (what is this, 1999 again?), then I just don’t know about this girl.

(And please, there is no way there is an Xtina Britney feud because of their “warring” shows. Our Princess of Pop Brit-Brit is too medicated to give a shit about mostly everything.)

Britney Spears singing live on SNL circa “Everytime” is amazing

Seriously, FUCK Lana Del Rey. If Britney Spears, the famous lip-syncer and mental breakdown lady can sound amazing LIVE on SNL, then anyone should. Watch is. She’s AMAZING! There’s just something about her that you can’t look away from. Lana del Rey just kind of stood there too, and everyone was like “what the fuck bitch!” But when Brit Brit stands there the entire song, singing live, you just stare at her. Je ne sais quoi to the max.

But for real, this gives me hope that someday we may have a Britney back that is more involved in performance and music career. Watching her on the X Factor is weird, because she has psychological issues that leave her in a conservatorship where she can’t make any life decisions on her own. But she’s judging a HUGE talent competition like the X Factor? It just seems kind of weird. Almost like all the people surrounding her, even though they have her off the street drugs and on the prescribed ones, are exploiting her name and face for millions of dollars. Sometimes I just don’t know what to think about our B. Spears. I love her to death, but her life is fucking insane.

LONG LIVE THE PRINCESS OF POP