Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence Is Ridiculously Awesome

If I were going to be BFF's with any Hollywood person, I would chose Jennifer Lawrence hands down every time. Not only is she refreshingly real, eats pizza and refuses to be a size zero, but she has an impressive array of skills: she can shoot a bow and arrow (true story, she trained with an Olympic gold medalist to learn how to have Katniss worthy moves), dance moderately well and prob better then me (Silver Linings Playbook anyone?) chop off her hair and still look awesome, AND she can sing. I will confess I was a total doubter when I heard she was featured on the Mockingjay soundtrack, but what do you know, that girl can do it all. I'm sending her a BFF locket in the mail's not creepy, she'll love it.

In addition to the song being a haunting American folk tune, the song "The Hanging Tree" is climbing charts both across the pond in the UK and here in the States. In Europe, it's currently sitting in the top 15, and here in America it's steadily climbing up the top 40 Billboard hits. I'm just thrilled to not be listening to Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift. It's like it's a brave new world out there! Jennifer Lawrence is quoted as saying she actually wasn't a fan of singing for the soundtrack, and she was actually terrified to do it. But, as they say, facing your fears can really pay off. The end product is a lovely song that perfectly fits the movie.

If you're a fan of the Hunger Games (meeeeee! I loved those books, even if they are like Lord of the Flies did a mashup with 1984...those are two of my favs anyway so who am I to complain?) and/or a JLaw devotee (I already claimed her as my BFF, find your own) you'll love this song. Check it out!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spotlight on: Daughter

Being a Libra means life is a little bit of a paradox. I can be both incredibly spontaneous or I'll deliberate a situation forever and ever amen. I can make snap decisions, like packing my bag and jumping on a plane at the drop of a hat and without regret I might add. I love anything that lends itself to making memories or having an adventure. On the other hand, I can mentally paralyze myself analyzing at every possible angle of a situation. I'm talking a full on mind paraplegic over basic choices like ice cream: I can't move I don't know which flavor to chooooooooooseeee, waaaaah! (This actually happened to me, this summer. It's harder to decide than you might think!).

 I carry my paradoxical tendencies over to the music scene. Most of the time, listening to music is a very organic process. I feel the song in my blood, the lyrics settle into my bones and I connect to the music in a very visceral and beautiful manner. There are other times when I have to think over a song, analyzing it and deliberating over it. When songs stand up to my scrutiny, I find they often become favorites. Simply put, I love anything that makes me laugh loud and long or leaves me deep in thought.

A musical group that I have a pure emotional, intellectual insta-love for is Daughter. Wistful, heartfelt, and somehow delicate and gut-wrenching, their songs have it all. Listening to Daughter's music is like reading through Pablo Neruda or Sylvia Plath (two favorite poets...don't get me started on poetry, I love it so!). The songs are written with a deep sense of pain and sorrow that is expressed in such a beautiful way that it's like musical poetry.  The best genre description is that they're moody folk-music with a electronic blend that is a perfect snow day mix. Their second EP was released by Mumford & Sons label. Songs like "Youth," "Landfill," and "Medicine," and "Smother" are not easily forgotten and reach listeners one a more complex level in a way only music can. For fellow sensitive souls, I have a feeling (pun intended haha, ok, enough, enough) you'll also love this music. Be sure to check out "Still" which is just lovely in the most chill, reflective way possible. Much love and happy Sunday Funday!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Why the Top Billboards Are Making Me Despair in Humanity

If you cannot tell from my lengthy, verbose title, the Top Billboards are absolutely making me want to throw myself over a musical cliff. I mean, for the love of all that is musical, could there be a more annoying line up of tunes?! Certainly, I think everyone should listen to jazz on vinyl records and attend a symphony at least a couple times a year, but this is simply toooooo much. TOO MUCH I SAY! I shall now rant in a rather uppity manner that my yoga instructor would frown upon, so bear with me or skip to the end of this post and listen to a nice little mix. Also, if these are your top favorite songs in the whole wide world, this is no reflection on you...certainly not. Just your current top favorite songs in the whole wide world. See the difference? And now: THE RANT! I LOVE CAPITALS RIGHT NOW!

Here are the current Billboard Top 5 Songs and Why I Hate Them (In No Particular Order)

1. All About That Bass: it was mildly clever for a quick minute. What? No treble/trouble? Oh you don't say, you pithy girl! I instantly added it to a playlist. But if I hear this song one more time, you'll find me rocking back and forth in a corner, Blair Witch Project style. It's a song that grows old really quickly and is high redundant.

2. Shake It Off: Arrrrrrrghhhhh! Taytay! I cannot even handle her or her music. It's so poppy, so bubble gummy, so cotton candied that I feel like I get musical diabetes the second it comes on. I mean, does she even do country anymore or play a guitar? I'm so confused. But she does look fabulous in skinny jeans and fall booties with her long leggy legs and twig body. *open sigh of jealousy* Just hearing her music makes me feel more superficial and like I should be giggling over boys while I twirl my hair around my finger. I need to put on Miles Davis right now.

3. Anaconda: Stop it. Just stop it. Firstly, W.T.F was going on with the picture on her album cover. I mean....honestly. Children will have nightmares for years. I have loved a plentiful booty every since I heard Sir Mix-a-Lot sing about them, but madam! There is a limit! That advice is free of charge.

4. Black Widow: this song is just weird to me. The lyrics creep me out. Spiders creep me out. Vindictive lovers creep me out. That weird boop-boop-boop overtrack on the song creeps me out. I just don't like it. MILES DAVIS, PLEASE.

5. Bang Bang: this song is actually pretty catchy and a little sassy, and it came on a random Spotify list when I was blissfully biking around DC, ignoring the life threatening traffic around me. Here's the thing: I really, really, really do not enjoy Ariana Grande and therefore boycott this song. I could go into countless reason why, starting with her perpetual half up/half down hairdo (surely her stylists have heard of Pinterest at very least, no?), her iridescent go-go boots or the fact that she is yet another very young singer in a long lineup of singers to try to sell music with an overly sexed up image. I teach a ton of young girls who look up to these singers, and I would love to shake them (gently of course, but firmly) and tell them a woman can be an seductress by being goddamn smart, clever and true to herself and not pushing the sex image. I also find the lyrics to be overtly and almost ridiculously sexual, which doesn't personally offend me but I don't consider it talented lyrics.

So instead of inflicting you with the task of listening to these five tunes of mediocrity, I have this great ACL 2014 playlist brought to you by Spotify, which is like my personal DJ/bringer of great tunes. Why? Because I love ATX like I love cake, puppies, and a good shoe sale at Saks. I also love great mixes, and this one has quite the variety. Have a wonderful week, loves, and remember: sometimes disagreeing with the majority is a really good thing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sam Smith: In the Lonely Hour

Ok, ok, it's time. I can't fight it any more, I just have to talk about Sam Smith. With a name as everyday-ordinary as Sam Smith, who would have figured that boy can sing? And I don't mean sing, I mean saaaaang. Like whoa, son. His voice is so beautiful it's almost pristine, and his lyrics are inquisitively soul searching. I'm not too sure about his hair do, but everything else is spot on so I can't fault him for this weird triangle-Mohawk thing he has going on.

Sam Smith is a Brit, born and raised in London. (I love me a British anything, actually, having had a strong case of anglophilia since the moment I realized I had no chance of becoming a princess and living in a castle if I stayed in America. Being a First Lady just doesn't have the same appeal.) His cousin is Lilly Allen, another highly talented musician with a true gift of singing/composing.

But his music, oh his glorious music! It connects to a deep place in each person, because he writes about the desire to love and be loved in return. In the Lonely Hour was inspired when he fell in love with a person that didn't return his love. Like so many people, the exquisite pain of unrequited love drove him to a dark place and taught him a definition of loneliness he hadn't experienced before realizing he had never received true, romantic love before. 

One last thought: if I hear one more person say "Stay with Me" glorifies a one night stand, I will shake my fist at the sky and protest the lyrical ignorance of our nation. This would never happen if people paid attention during their literature classes or read more books. Never! But I digress. If one listens to the words, it's about the deep desire for love, and how love in random places and faces and brief interludes cannot and does not fill that need or end that quest. But that deep desire drives an individual to try to fill the void and make believe that their is a true connection, all the while still longing for the real thing. It's actually a tragically beautiful, gut wrenching song, truth be told. And yes, I love it and I sing it like I'm part of a Southern Baptist choir whenever it comes on. Yes, people. I saaaaang it out, real loud and real proud.

Sam Smith's music is a beautiful mix of talent and soul. His own inspiration comes from soul greats like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Adele. Anyone that can mix that up successfully is sure to produce a great album. See for yourself here:



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Noteworthy Artist: Lana Del Rey (Does Ultraviolence)

How can you not like Lana Del Rey? Listening to her music is like being transported to those dervish years of Studio 54, back when it was swanky, star studded and detrimentally sinful. I don't know how she gets such a legit late 60's sound and look without seeming like a poser, but she does it kids, she does it. She even has that lank, long hairdo and sad 60's bedroom eyes that can only be accomplished by layering on about 20 coats of mascara, partying all night, and going to bed without washing your face, then rising and repeating. Seriously, that's how you get that eye makeup look. I should do a youtube video on how to get the perfect smokey bedroom eye look, except I hate makeup and lack this basic life skill.

Lana Del Rey's music is soulful, sad, and sensual. It aches with the emptiness of a faux-glamorous lifestyle and unkept promises; she music is alive and haunting. It should be listened to in original vinyl format, because it's just such an experience. I feel like I need to be in a retro lounge and broken-hearted to fully grasp it's greatness, but even with my wildly-happy-super-in-love heart, I deeply appreciate the atmospheric, vintage style pop tracks that she produces.

It's no wonder her albums Born to Die and Ultraviolence have skyrocketed to success. Ultraviolence is definitely an even more mature and darker look at Lana's exquisite emotional tunes, and is quite lovely and depressing all at the same time. Lana is the queen of internal sadness and struggle, but her music makes it sound glam for sure. Some people really enjoy lovely and semi-depressing music, and if you're one of them, then this album has your name written ALL OVER IT. Or, actually a spin on the famous Isabelle Colling Dufresne's name, more widely known as Ultra Violet. She was a muse of the American Pop Art culture and one of Andy Warhol's superstars. She even worked closely with Dali. Now, there's a biography worthy reading at the beach! Forget those lame chick-lit books, I'm getting under an umbrella, avoiding the sun at all cost and diving deep with some Lana Del Rey tracks with a book about Ultra Violet. BAM! For those of you who long for the way back when days, here's some music to guide you!



Monday, July 7, 2014

Album Review: X by Ed Sheerman

Hypocritically, I do not always enjoy ginger boys. I know, I know, shame and degradation be upon my redheaded self for uttering such words, but hear me out. Sometime ginger boys look and/or act creepy. It's just a fact. Examples: Carrot Top (terrifying creeper to the max, and in my humble opinion not one bit hilarious), Ronald McDonald (probably eats children, which has McDonald has neither denied nor confirmed), and Southpark's Cartman, whose original case of Gingervitus launched the belief that ginger kids have no souls and such other urban legends. If ever there were a ginger boy I adored, it would have to be Ed Sheeran. The only fault I have with him is that he's besties with Taylor Swift, but I won't fault him for his horrible taste in friends. Ed Sheeran is quite possibly one of the sweetest singers in the music industry, and his new album is fraught with emotion and a feisty flare that of course comes naturally to a ginger kid post-breakup. And this is definitely a post-breakup album. Sheeran himself admits the songs served as cathartic healing after his relationship with Ellie Goulding dissolved with rumors of her cheating circling around the two singers.

Tracks like "I See Fire" are simple and have a folk edge that makes it both haunting and heartbreaking at the same time. Other not to be missed tunes are the hits "Sing" and "I'm a Mess." And not to be missed: "Don't" which chronicles  the short-lived relationship with Ellie Goulding in the a bluesy, funky style that somehow musically jumps the shark and neither sounds mopey nor bitter. It's quite a fabulous little tune, truth be told. The other thing to love about Ed Sheeran in addition to his writing talent is his gorgeous voice. I could listen to it ALL DAY LONG. Talk about fabulous. If you haven't checked out his latest, you can listen here. And do yourself a favor, kiss a redhead. They're probably not Irish but will pretend to be if that's what it takes.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Grammys: Overrated But Delightful

Let's have a moment of honesty, shall we? I think the Grammys are a little to a lot overrated. It's kind of like someone put together the worlds most affluent, expensive playlist and we all are pretty sure who's going to win before it happens. Some of those songs happen to be soooo awesome, and some of them are shall I put this? Not. Not awesome at all. I don't even know how or why certain songs get nominated, let alone win. But nominated they are, and sometimes even WIN. What?! Ayn Rand would weep over this example of blind acceptance via Collectivism. For those of you who neither know of Ayn Rand or Collectivism, to the Google! Or better yet, to the book!

Some very popular bands that are particularly fabulous were overlooked, and this came as a surprise to everyone, including the bands themselves no doubt. Why, you might ask? I don't know. There is not a magic 8 ball in the world that can answer that perplexing question. But know who was nominated? The World's Most Unpleasant Rapper aka/i.e./e.g. hashtag Kanye West. Seriously. I'm totally over him and the whole Kardashian Klan. GO AWAY. First of all, his songs are racially offensive and ignorant. Reverse discrimination and promoting this concept of racism is stupid. Plus, his lyrics are out of control. "I keep it 300, like the Romans, 300 b****s, where are the Trojans?" The real question, where were you in a history class of any sort? OMG. I can hardly stand it. The Spartans weren't Romans. Um, hello? At very least, did he not ever watch the movie 300????! I know not everyone is a super nerd like me, but come on.

Some of my favorite songs:

1) Get Lucky by Daft Punk (oh Daft Punk, )
2) Around the Block by Pretty Lights, because it is sassy pants ON.
3) I also really like Jack White's "I'm Shakin'" because it's just the right amount of blues dancing up to punk rock. Although, can we talk about the pics he chose for his album? I'm all for the vampire look (what with being the exact same shade as one myself), but I think a dab of bronzer would have done wonders for his look (said the Libra, nevermore).
4) Stay: I'm not really a fan of Rihanna, but I love the song "Stay." Maybe it's because a love songs between my fiance and me, or maybe (probably really) it's because of the fab, simple piano arrangement that totally wins me over.
5) Young & Beautiful ,in which Lana Del Ray hauntingly asks whether or not love can last when youth and looks have faded. The answer, darlings, is if your heart remains youthful and lovely and you've done more to invest in the inward beauty than the outward, than yes...true love can go the distance. Think about it. Here's a gorgeous rendition:
6) Lego House by Ed Sheeran, which was the exact kind of breathy, guitar, mushy sentimentality that I was crazy about when Howie Day was Colliding into all of us.
7) ZEPPELIN> enough said

Want to hear the complete list of nominees and winners? Have it it! Some songs are definitely playlist keepers!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Album Review: Reflektro and Her by Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire was one of those bands that any music purist was crazy about before they became, well, Arcade Fire. They were the underground Indie group that everyone loved to love, and it was really no surprise hat they became a huge success in the mainstream world of music. Still, we music snobs like to point out frequently that we stumbled upon their music and adored them with a deep devotion before the rest of the world discovered them, handed them several Grammy awards, and therefore made concert tickets about four times more expensive.

Whenever my favorite off-the-beaten path bands produce a new album post-fame, I always get nervous for them. What if they cave in and sound mainstream? What if they lost their je ne sais quoi quality? What if they start buying $500 grudgy looking tops and skinny jeans to still look hispter but really aren't anymore? I held my breath for Arcade Fire with each album they release. Despite their success, this band refuses to lose their Indie appeal. Following their wildly successful album The Suburbs, the band just recently released their album Refelktor and Her. Good news, kids: the album is quite good. It has a bit more of a 70's flare with a dash of funk than former albums, but it's still the same great vibe that we've come to know know and love. It has a bit more sass as well, which I'm always a fan of as I'm sure any regular readers know. Be sure to check out their latest album. I've included their former albums so you can pull a marathon Arcade Fire music session if that's the way your day needs to play out. Enjoy!