So after reviewing Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' song & video combo a while back, I couldn't not review Lily Allen's 'Hard Out Here,' which includes many a satirical reference pointing out the problems with his song. But she's not just going after Thicke, the song (& video) for 'Hard Out Here' points out issues with the music industry and society's treatment of women in general. There's also been a good few people comparing 'Hard Out Here' to P!nk's 'Stupid Girls,' so if you're not bored of my feminist critiques yet, watch out for my analysis of that problematic comparison in the next few days!
Lily's comeback into the music industry after having two children definitely makes a whole lot of valid points, and the song's actual lyrics have very few problems. From the perspective of the male consumer Lily sings:
"If you’re not a size 6, then you’re not good looking
In fact the only real problem I found with the lyrics was right at the beginning with "Don’t need to shake my arse for you ‘cuz I got a brain." This line gives off the impression that the women who do choose to shake their asses don't 'have a brain,' having less value than her? Not a fan. But considering Allen goes on to try out 'shaking her arse' with a group of her backup dancers and a statement older white male for effect at 1:49 in the video, maybe we can put this one down to she doesn't need to dance like this for anyone but she can if she wants to? Not sure about this one - what do you think?
The main potentially problematic elements show up in the video itself with many people critiquing her use of black women as backup dancers - wearing significantly less clothing than her and spending the majority of the video surrounding Lily and twerking. Valid points have been made about how this can be seen as objectifying and demeaning/dehumanizing black female bodies while simultaneously glorifying her white female body. You can also quite clearly take the fact that she's wearing a lot more clothing than them as an assertion of her dominance, and combined with the fact that she goes on to slap their gyrating rear ends later in the video it's definitely hard to overlook this as a problematic element with a big possibility to offend. Saying that, I do think this was put into the video with the intention of being 'from the perspective of the male gaze' and Lily has stated that she simply hired the best dancers out of those who auditioned, race was not a factor. In fact the video's dancers also include a Caucasian woman and an Asian woman as well - BUT these two women were wearing jackets at the beginning vs. the black women in only leotards and bikinis. Hmm. Opinions from both sides here make really interesting points, head to Google for more info if you're as interested as I was! Allen defends her video in this tweet with quotes you can read below.
"If I was a little braver, I would have been wearing a bikini too... me being covered up has nothing to do with me wanting to disassociate myself from the girls, it has more to do with my own insecurities and I just wanted to feel as comfortable as possible on the shoot day."
All in all, there are definitely some problems with the video itself that I'd love to see Lily address more, and that we can't and shouldn't ignore, but I think this catchy song does serve a purpose in bringing awareness to a lot of important issues and that shouldn't be overlooked either. Aaaand I can't say I didn't love the well-deserved pokes at Robin Thicke at 3:08 with a few certain silver balloons and the lyrics at 2:09 questioning some of T.I.'s lyrics in Blurred Lines.
Watch the video (with parental advisory...) and form your own opinion! I don't think I can post it here though- wouldn't want to endorse booty shakin at SDSS.
This time of the year has been, and is continuing to be, huge for mainstream artists. Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Eminem, 1D, and Justin Timberlake have all released (or will release) albums in the recent weeks or months. But another band, famous in their own right, are releasing their first Greatest Hits album to celebrate the 10 years that have passed since their first UK show many moons ago. Now I am a HUGE fan of this Las Vegas based band - The Killers. They garnered much mainstream success following their first two - very well-received - albums: 2004's Hot Fuss and 2006's Sam's Town. Their sound has tones of 80's rock, electronica, pop, and indie just to name a few. The Killers have something for everyone. Now they might not have created the headlines like Miley, the international epidemic like One Direction, or changed the face of Hip-Hop like Eminem, but that being said, the opening bars to 'Mr. Brightside' are instantly recognizable - arguably iconic. We've all heard about that '...Boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year." And what about the repetitive "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier"? Yes, The Killers, led by frontman Brandon Flowers, have created some critically acclaimed and celebrated anthems of their own.
After a hiatus following 2008's Day & Age, the four boys from Nevada took some time to focus on their solo careers and families. They then came back with a bang last year with Battle Born. Today they have just released a Greatest Hits album titled Direct Hits, containing an arsenal of their most celebrated tunes, along with a couple new ones to tide the fans over until they release their next new album. Of course I bought it, despite owning nearly all the songs on its track listing already. Now how did they do with their choices? Were some of their bigger hits snubbed? How did some lackluster songs make the cut? As long as their earlier anthems made it on, I knew I would be a happy girl. So am I? You betcha. (Even if Jenny Was a Friend of Mine was rudely left off the album). Are their two new songs any good? Yessiree. And a little 'something special' for those who should feel so inclined as to purchase the deluxe edition of the album is the original demo of the band's signature track Mr. Brightside. It's a little rough around the edges, missing some of that studio refinement, but it's got a great rock vibe to it that definitely makes it worth a listen. Overall, it's a fun album for fans who have been waiting for something more from their beloved band, providing a nice collection of tracks to listen to on repeat until the boys from the desert give us more insta-classics.
The Killers - who have even earned comparisons to the likes of Coldplay and U2 and have been deemed our generations great rock band - are proving that they are still relevant in today's British Boy band, forgettable bubblegum pop dominated music scene. Don't lose hope music fans, The Killers matter. Give 'em a listen, you just might be impressed.
I've been sick for nearly 3 weeks. I'm - dare I say it - tired of wearing PJs. My room is littered with tissues and empty mugs of tea. So naturally I'm laying in bed doing the one productive thing I have the strength to do: write articles.
So last night, in my lessened state, I watched the CMAs (Country Music Association Awards for those of you not in the know), something I quite enjoy. I know, I know. Country music is quite a polarizing genre. Who would've known how dividing honky-tonks and heartbreak could be? But nevertheless, that's just the impact they have had.
I myself grew up on these folksy tunes. My dad was always either watching the Weather Network, TSN, or CMT. Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, and Brad Paisley, to name a few, were household names in mine.
My point is, in watching this Award show, I knew what to expect: Country's of-the-moment heartthrobs belting out songs written for their wives, girlfriends or ones that got away. And for the most part, that's exactly what I got. And I loved every minute of it. It was all good and dandy, and then something marvelous happened. A new singing sensation by the name of Kacey Musgraves stepped to the stage in a neon dress with a guitar around her neck. I had low expectations for Nashville's newest, but boy was I wrong.
In a day and age where Taylor Swift is the genre's biggest female star, and with each new song is becoming more Pop than Country, this girl was bona fide Nashville material.
She belted her latest single Follow Your Arrow off of new album Same Trailer Different Park, and count me impressed. Unlike the rest of Music City, who tend to conservatism and cliches about whiskey and heartbreak, this song tackled individuality, even touching upon same-sex relationships, all while keeping true to Country's familiar sound. It was catchy, refreshing, and inspiring. Despite early fears that Nashville 'wasn't ready for a song tackling such topics', she wasn't booed off the stage - people even applauded. Perhaps Nashville is a little more in the 21st century than it's given credit for. Kacey Musgraves certainly is.
For those of you Country-haters who avoid the genre based on lyrical content, I urge you to check this girl out; her soul lives and breathes within each song and gives new spirit to the genre as a whole. Now for those of you who detest the genre for the banjo and harmonica-laden melodies, well, I can't help you there. But for both parties, know that Country music has gotten the message that society is evolving, and Ms. Musgraves is offering an eloquent response.
There’s no denying the fact that when One Direction’s biggest hit ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ comes on the radio, it is impossible not to sing along (don’t you dare try to convince me that you don’t). This renowned 5 member boyband from the UK are said to have become bigger than the Beatles - yes, you heard me, THE BEATLES. The group of guys with a 2 second long climb up the ladder of fame consists of Zayn Malik (the pretty one), Harry Styles (the curly haired one), Liam Payne (the muscular one), Niall Horan (the compulsory Irish one), and Louis Tomlinson (the short one). They have released two studio albums that consisted of nothing but the expected cookie-cutter pop music; not to say it wasn’t good - it was just everything you’d presume would come from a fresh faced young boyband. However, on October 28th, a song was released that made everyone cock their head and wonder if they had accidentally clicked on the wrong Youtube link. This new single from their upcoming album Midnight Memories is titled ‘Story Of My Life’. It’s a smooth, guitar-driven song that seems to have been largely influenced by folk and alternative music, and thankfully the lyrics are a wee bit more insightful than we’ve seen in the past (ie. “We’re like na na na, then we’re like yeah yeah yeah”… Repeat 20 times). Perhaps they thought it was about time to record a song that was more fit to their personal tastes in music, rather than the typical, crowd-pleasing, bubblegum pop. The song starts soft and transitions into a fuller chorus, which remains true to the boys’ strong harmonies with the drum and acoustic guitar keeping an enticing beat. Does this foreshadow that the one direction they're heading in will be touring their new album in underground pubs and selling it only on vinyl in smelly old record stores?
LONG STORY SHORT: Filled with emotional lyrics and solos that could cause a nation-wide swooning epidemic, this song is a definite success in my books. It’s the type of song that just makes me want to ride a horse bareback through a stark desert, or something deep and intense like that, you know? The songs that just make you think of a galloping horse? Yeah, it’s one of those.
Jimi Hendrix is the most known, talented, celebrated and influential guitarists of all time. As if his rumored 400-guitar-strums-per-minute fingers weren't enough to bewitch an audience, he is also know for his wild stage acts, and he once set his guitar on fire during a performance. He quotes "The time I set my guitar on fire was a sacrifice. You sacrifice things you love. I love my guitar.". After experimenting with several bands during the early 60's, in 1966 he created his own band; "The Jimi Hendrix Experience". Keith Richards, a member of the Rolling Stones, wanted to help him with his musical career and recommended his name to several record label companies. Famous singer-songwriter Eric Clapton comment on one of his shows "He walked off the stage... And my life was never the same again."; an emotion clearly share with many others, based on his success. Even as a child Hendrix clearly demonstrated his unusual musical talent and by the time he was 19, he could play guitar at such an advanced level he taught himself to play with his teeth, later to become a trick commonly shown at his performances. His most famous songs are "Purple Haze" and "Foxy Lady", and "Purple Haze" is often considered to be the greatest song of all time. Even though I never got to experience Jimi Hendrix performing live on stage, YouTube videos were as close as I got and the moment I first saw Jimi playing guitar the way he did, my life was, like Eric Clapton's, changed forever.
Chances are you’re thinking “what on earth is “KC and the Sunshine Band?” Well, they’re a very popular American disco band who started out in the early seventies. And trust me, you do know them, you probably just don’t recognize the name. KC and the Sunshine band consists of the lead singer whose stage name is “KC” and the “Sunshine Band”, named after their home state Florida, the “Sunshine State”. Their jam is disco, and if you’re thinking “disco sucks”, you’re not fooling ANYONE. Some people think they’re too much of a “badass” to listen to “that kind of music”, or that disco is too “sissy”. Disco kicks ass. People are fooled that if you like pop, or blues, rock and roll or any other genre of music you have to be one dimensional in just like that specific genre. Totally not true. KC and the Sunshine Band was one of the most progressive bands of the seventies and is still just as wildly popular as they were when they started back in ‘73. As they have had over 100 millions record sales, this puts them at the same level of sales as Bob Dylan and the Who. With 40 years of experience behind them, they've still managed to get people out of their seats and dancing to their upbeat feel-good melodies. Some of their greatest hits are “Keep it Coming Love”, “Shake Your Booty”, and “That’s the Way (I Like It)”. I guarantee you've heard at least one of these hits as they are still incredibly popular and are included in many soundtracks of popular films. Check 'em out!
With 20 year old, Miley Cyrus' recent actions at the VMAS and other events around the world, people have come to question - is Miley actually crazy? Miley used to be the star of Hannah Montana, a popular television show on Family Channel, but with her drastic hair chop and scandalous new clothes, it is plain to see that Miley has left Hannah behind. In June 2012 Miley and her boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth, announced their engagement - their relationship started 3 years ago during the filming of 'The Last Song'- which recently was broken off. The conditions of the end of their engagement and their relationship was exposed to the world on Miley's new album 'Bangerz'. This is Miley's fourth studio released album and has a "dirty southern hip-hop" feel to it. When Miley announced the title on Twitter there was an uproar of people dreading an album filled with a once Disney star trying to rap and 'lay down some beats'. However, when actually listening to the album no one could have expected what they heard. Aside from the two songs that Miley tried a little to hard to rap, she did an excellent job of portraying her emotions into her new songs. The album consists of songs dedicated to her then fiancé, Liam, and show her love for him - especially in the song 'Rooting For My Baby' on the deluxe addition of 'Bangerz'. It also includes songs about the terms of their break up and Liam's anger issues. In the song 'F U', Miley states that she found out that Liam was cheating on her over some texts she found on his phone. Miley sings "Then I accidentally saw a few things in your cell. I even LOL'd man I should've known... I was over it the second that I saw her name". 'Bangerz' has shown the journey of Miley and Liam's relationship over the last 3 years. From being totally in love in the song 'Adore You' to becoming broken and trying to fix herself in 'Someone Else'. Miley did an excellent job on the album with 'Bangerz' debuted at No.1 on the Billboards top 100 list. Hopefully Miley will keep making music! Maybe Miley is a little crazy but who isn't?
What did you think of 'Bangerz'? Amazing? On repeat? Makes you're ears bleed? Don't care? Let us know!
Dedicated fans are well aware of the lead singer’s crazy vocals and ecstatic performances. Matt Shultz, along with his brother, Brad Shultz, and fellow band mates, Jared Champion, Daniel Tichenor and Lincoln Parish form Cage the Elephant, a Kentucky rock band with a real punch. These fellows just released their hugely anticipated third album, Melophobia, on October 8th. The album, a mix of The Pixies, The Strokes, Kasabian and a hint of The Arctic Monkeys, reminds us of the good old days, a time of classic rock. While many fans were surprised not to hear crazy drums and guitar like in Japanese Buffalo or Sabertooth Tiger from their second album, the album is a bit more relaxed. However, fans of Aberdeen, Back Against the Wall and Shake Me Down will love Melophobia. The first and fourth songs, Spiderhead and It’s Just Forever, have more of an old time rock feel. Meanwhile, Come A Little Closer, Telescope, Hypocrite and their ending track, Cigarette Daydreams, are mellower like Flow. Take It Or Leave It is a cross between the Beatles and The Beach Boys, while Halo is similar to their 2011 hit song, Around My Head. Finally, Black Widow and Teeth will satisfy those more hard core rockers. This album is something different and will impress most rock fans. Melophobia deserves a 10/10 for amazing lyrics and a refreshing sound. It’s also one of my favorite albums from 2013. And as a bonus, there’s a video of Letterman freaking out about Come A Little Closer!
This is a full stream of their new album:
And this is Letterman:
All right T Wass, here’s what’s hip in Vancity; the Bank Dogs; Joseph Abbott, Zak Youssef, Skye Lambourne, and Liam HillAllen. These four teenage Vancouverites have been together since 2007 and have since been performing all over the city. Their feel good music is a mixture of jazz and funky-rock. They've been working hard to score a record deal for over 5 years, and now their dreams have come true; GRB Productions realized the Bank Dogs’ enormous potential and thanks to them their debut album was released this year. Their fantastic album is great for having company over, or simply to play on a cold rainy night. Here, success has just begun, and they definitely have the potential to hit the big time. Some of their “hits” around the neighborhood are “Castaway”, “Dance with me”, and “She’s Like the Sunshine”. Undoubtedly in future years they’ll be considered a classic jazz band. You can follow them on Twitter, add them on Facebook, YouTube them, or see ‘em live! Check ‘em out!
Starchild, the Demon, Space Ace, and the Catman; so notorious they would once not allow themselves to be seen in public without excessive amounts of costume make-up; the rock group, KISS! First known as Wicked Lester in ‘70 to ‘72, their name was later changed to KISS in ’73, when they hit the big time. Their self-titled debut album was released in ’73 and is considered one of their greatest. Bands spend entire careers trying to write amazing songs such as “Black Diamond” or “Strutter”, and KISS did it on the very first shot. Best known for their make-up and stage acts, believe it or not, in ’82 KISS went bare and took off the make-up for over 10 years. It wasn’t until ’96 that they realized what a brilliant way of advertising themselves and pleasing their fans the make-up was, and they put it back on. While Gene Simmons shows off his 7 inch tongue as he breathes fire and a mysterious red liquid runs down his face, Paul Stanley could be smashing his guitar to bits, haze may be arising from Ace Frehley’s guitar, or perhaps Peter Criss’ drum set may be rising far above the stage. It isn't a mystery why KISS has a reputation for throwing “the greatest rock and roll show”. Some of their greatest hits are “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Nite”, “I Was Made for Loving You”, “Cold Gin”, “Parasite”, “Deuce”, “Love Gun” and many more. KISS is so big that they have licensed their name to over 3000 products. Major motion pictures “KISS meets the phantom of the park” and “Detroit Rock City” were released in 1978 and 1999; with both plots revolving around KISS. They have also made an appearance in Marvel Comics, Howard the Duck issue #12, starring KISS as superheroes. They first started performing in small clubs in New York, and they are now one of the most known and influential rock bands of all time. “All right, you wanted the best and you got the best; the hottest band in the world; KISS!”