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New blog

Rest assured friends, I have not fallen into the depths of the internet.  I'm still alive, although I've had an extremely busy year.  Since I've not updated this in forever, I decided to move to a more permanent and more accessible location within the blogosphere to write about my studies, travels, and music more generally--which will hopefully stir some scholarly discussion.  You can keep up with me here.  I hope you keep reading!

Tschüss meine Freunde!

For the Record

America gets it wrong again.

For a second year in a row, America does not understand what American Idol is really about. The show has been sucking beyond recognition this year and has failed to capture my attention with the subpar contestants, aside from Melinda Dolittle, and the B-list celebs teaching the master classes every week.

Last year, they picked McPhee and Sir Hicks-a-lot over Elliot Yamin, clearly the more talented vocalist out of the bunch.

And this year, it happens again. Blake and Jordin are left to duke it out in the final and Melinda is sent home.

Luckily, the second and third place contestants typically get better record deals than the winner who (aside from obvious marketing fame and wads of cash) gets locked into an unbreakable contract and basically sells their soul to Idol for the rest of his/her life. So, go Melinda! You'll have more artistic control than the rest will and people will actually buy your album because you have a flawless technique.

But wow, America never ceases to surprise me with the stupidity.

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G

What the hell is with this spelling trend in pop music over the past two years? I'm not talking "YMCA" Village People spelling either. That's not spelling a word, that's an abbreviation. Aretha Franklin spelled it out in "Respect," but that song actually has substance and a great form. The power in her voice makes each letter a percussive living and breathing thing. It has meaning. Here, the single word drives the entire song. And the repetition makes it more powerful.

Fast forward to 2005. Someone should have sent a memo to the record execs. "Stop spelling." But, like all pop fads, once one person revives a trend, everyone jumps on board. Suddenly, we've become a society of trashy 14 year olds not wanting to hold back from flashing our "junk." Ugh. It's especially prominent in the likes of artists such as Gwen Stefani ("Hollaback Girl"), Black Eyed Peas, and pretty much anything Fergie gets her hands on.

Speak and Spell Fergie is pretty much the worst offender. Even worse than the spelling is perhaps the mindless repetition. "My Humps," anyone? Call me a blind little pop culture sheep, I don't care...I still find it entertaining and want to shake my ass to her songs. Her songs are addictive like Doritos. Do I feel instantly stupid by listening to her music? Hell yes. But, at least I can work off those calories by dancing. Or being easy. Or being sleazy. Or just being up in the gym just workin' on my fitness... He's my witness.

I know that every girl in America wants to be a cheerleader, but holy crap this is getting old! And apparently it doesn't matter if you are a pop hottie or a hip hop master or an aging icon anymore. Even Tori Amos is spelling out M-I-L-F in her new single "Big Wheel" from the much unanticipated concept album American Doll Posse. By the way, if you are unfamiliar with what a MILF is, ask your mom. My final thought on all these spelling songs is that most singers who have good voices do not rely on their spelling skillz. Word.

Favorite spelling songs, in terms of "tastey-ness":
1. "Fergalicious" --Fergie (imbued with MUCH spelling, including T-A-S-T-E-Y!)
2. "Hollaback Girl" --Gwen Stefani
3. "Glamorous" --Fergie

And of course, the random pop notes of the day:
Anything Timbaland touches turns to gold.
Goldfrapp is D to the E to the L-I-C-I-O-U-S.
And a big HALLELUJAH that Sanjaya is no more an Idol contender.

Hoop Lacrymosa

As Alex Ross pointed out in his blog, the new Nike ad:

Nike + Mozart

Ah, the havoc of thy holy hoop.

Haha!

I know I've been lax in updating this blog, but I've come across some comical things over the past couple of days.

First, Belinda Carlisle, the middle aged Go-Go, of 1980s pop fame, has reinvented herself as a French chanteuse. Yes, that's right. She just released a new album in FRENCH, Voila!. Her disco-esque reinterpretation of Piaf's "La vie en rose" is scoff-worthy; however, some of these tracks are pretty fantastic. It probably helps that Brian Eno is one of her collaborators. I particularly like the track "Contact." I may have to check out the whole album now...but you can preview a few of the tracks on her MySpace page.

Whitney sent me a link to this video on YouTube, which as a music historian, I found pretty amusing:


On a more serious note, Delerium has a new album out which seems to have some fantastic tracks. I've also reacquainted myself with two albums from 1996: Me'Shell NdegeOcello's Bitter and Dar Williams's Mortal City, both of which have held up over the decade quite nicely. In other news, I can't seem to get enough of Dave Brubeck these days. I'm not a hardcore jazzophile as it were, but Brubeck never ceases to excite me.

I am currently working as a nanny and the 11 week old infant in my care LOVES Puccini. LOVES IT! She especially loves when I sustain high notes that crescendo and release into a glissando. Watching her facial expressions while I am singing is priceless. I am the voice of her Lamaze bug "Guiseppe" as I've named who sings Italian opera, and her Lamaze frog "Claude" who sings in French, and her German pilot "Franz" who hangs over the changing table. Franz usually just holds long conversations in German, but occasionally breaks out into some lieder. It looks like we need to get her some female companions as well...maybe a nice Irish woman and a jazz singer. :)

Personal music news

Good news!

I am going to the MidPoint Music Festival (Sept 20-23). Since I'm a musician, I got a FREE full delegate pass with access for free admission to see all 300 bands and attend all the conferences and panels. ROCK. They also have a open demo critique, so I can bring along the remastered versions of a couple of my tracks to be critiqued, which would be extremely helpful. I'm getting business cards made up in time for the festival too. I wish I had my EP done, so I could whore it out to industry professionals, but it's not done yet... Anyhow, I think this will be a decent way to break-in to the scene, get a lot of networking done, and be on good footing to submit my material for next year's festival.

Some of my myspace contacts will be there, so at least I can meet up with them and hopefully get some face time about either collaborating or doing double-bill performances once I have at least an hour of music ready to go. I am super excited about meeting up with the Cincy band Entheos and talk promo, publicity, booking, and of course MUSIC, etc. which I am REALLY looking forward to!

Next step: find cheap (but professional looking) web design for my music website.
Then such fun things such as the photo shoot, graphic design, and studio recording can happen. Time is flying.

Tori Amos news

I am way too excited about this.

Amazon doesn't give all of the info (you can find out more on http://toriamos.com), but bet your sweet ass that I am getting this. Those of you who know me may describe me as slightly obsessed. It's true. Considering I own nearly everything the woman has recorded on CD, she's taken over about half the space on my iPod, and I've spent pretty much years of my life researching her music, societal impact, and cultural appeal...this really is a must-have. It's a five disc set with 86 tracks. The real reason I must own it is not because it has seven new tracks or that it has early demos of some of her more popular songs.

I am more excited because now I can now listen to some favorite early Tori gems such as "The Pool," "Flying Dutchman," "Take to the Sky," "Daisy Dead Petals," "Never Seen Blue," "Here. In My Head," "Sister Janet," and "Home on the Range" on CD! I have all these songs on a fuzzy cassette that is now about 12 years old. The fact that she is re-releasing all these old songs fills me with glee!

One month to go...whee!

Happy Independence Day

Now, for something completely non-YouTube related...

Musical theatre diva Kristen Chenoweth released an "inspirational" pop CD entitled As I Am. I love Broadway and Broadway babies, but since her appearance on the scene, I cannot stand Chenoweth. It may be the over-bubbly cute factor, the perfect blonde hair and Hollywood looks, her piercing nasality...I'm not sure. Millions of people love her though...even though this album is the most self-indulgent thing I've seen released in quite some time.

Filled with Christian goodies (which is fine if Christian inspiration-pop is your thing). Musicologists take note...Chenoweth even took the liberty of adding new lyrics to "Joyful, Joyful" which uses the ever familiar theme from the final movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony. Somewhere Schiller is rolling over! While I do not consider myself a music purist on ANY level as I also like to manipulate and mess with standard rep., there are certain things that are better left alone.

But the reason I am even writing this post, is not that I am annoyed with Kristen's Christian burblings, but rather, the bonus track, "Taylor, the Latte Boy." Yup. A song about a barista. In musical-theatre fashion. Yikes!

Taylor, the Latte LyricsCollapse )

"Bring me java, bring me joy!"?!?!

In the eternal words of the snotty Maitre D' in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I weep for the future.

Scissor Sister Videos

Who knew the Scissor Sisters had videos?!?!

OMFG I LOVE YouTube!!!

"Laura"

"Take Your Mama Out"
Jake Shears wins for gayest man alive in OVERALLS! A FUR CAPE! AND FEATHERS! All in the same vid. He is fabulous. The facial hair; however, must go!

"Filthy/Gorgeous" UNCENSORED and by uncensored, I mean VERY VERY UNCENSORED!
I love Ana Matronic!

Regina Spektor videos

I downloaded Spektor's extended Begin to Hope album on iTunes this weekend and I cannot stop listening to it. Brilliant!

For your viewing/listening pleasure:

"Samson" Directed by stop-motion guru Peter Sluszka.

"Us" This one is still my favorite! Directed by Adria Petty.

"Better" Another one by Adria Petty. The 80s-inspired visuals are simple and fit the song well.

Here's the promo vid. for "On the Radio" filmed at the school her mom teaches at in Mt. Vernon, NY.

I went to college the same time as Spektor... She was at SUNY Purchase and I was at Manhattanville. It's strange we never bumped into each other. Purchase isn't THAT big! LOL. We probably would have become friends.

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