Showing posts with label billy ray cyrus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label billy ray cyrus. Show all posts

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Delight Of A Fluffy Pop Song

Pure pop music is as old as music itself. When I was a kid, what I called rock music wasn't truly rock. It was pop. But I didn't know better. KRAD was our local station and it called itself "rock 'n roll", even though it played everything -- everything -- from Dean Martin to Bobbie Gentry to the Beach Boys to Roger Miller, to every possible incarnation in between. If I heard a song by a new group like the Supremes, I thought, hmm, that's different. I inherently knew that someone like Roy Orbison was rock (at least some of his songs), but I wasn't quite sure why. My brother bought me an album by the Yardbirds and I hated it. That was rock. I considered the Beatles, who magically appeared on the earth in 1964 to be a rock group, but in actuality and hindsight, they really were pop; just a bit more amped-up pop. Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, who were a tiny bit before my time, were more rock than the Beatles.

Pop isn't easy to define, but like obscenity (I guess), you know it when you hear it. A pure pop song should be bouncy. A repeating refrain is a plus. Even if the lyrics are sad, the music should be uplifting. Often it means nothing (which is how I generally prefer my songs, to be frank). Most lyrics that try to be deep are instead insipid. "Deep" songwriters miss the joy of music. I like my music fun; not studious, and especially not angry.

The first pop song I fell in love with, when I was eight years old, was "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore. I was in fact obsessed with it. I used to stand atop our picnic table in the backyard and frug and sing this song a cappella.

By the time I reached the mature age of ten, I liked this:

Time moved on (okay, by one year) and by then music had changed. Now it was visual as well as aural.  Granted, the guys were cute, but leave it to Neil Diamond to write an almost perfect pop song:

It was hard to find a good pop song in the seventies. It was hard to find anything good in the seventies. The seventies was a dreary decade. But every era has at least one thing to offer, and as for pop music, the nineteen seventies offered ABBA.

Conversely, the nineteen eighties were rife with pop. I could get into a whole sociological explanation of why people felt better in the eighties and more open to happiness, but it's really quite evident.

This song is glorious in its pop-ness.  

It's almost as if Lesley Gore had been reincarnated, but more blissful.

Sheena wasn't the only one.

Come on, admit it. You liked this song. You really, really boogied on down to this song. Rick Astley was an eighties god:

If you want to just feel good (and who doesn't?), peruse the nineteen eighties pop catalog. I could include another twenty tracks here, but I won't. Springsteen might bemoan how awful President Reagan was; yet he still recorded "Glory Days", so there you go. Sometimes as hard as one tries to be miserable, circumstances budge their way in.

Even as I began listening to country music again in the nineties, I was drawn (albeit reluctantly) to poppish confections. Hate it if you want, but just try not to dance to it:

I submit that pop music is the salve of mankind. 

It's time someone gave pop music its due.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Maybe it's a facet of getting older. I'm generally a pretty even-keel person, or maybe I'm just in denial. I do know that I now get too upset by workplace irritations and I'm not necessarily handling them well. You know, the usual -- people who ignore emails, someone taking over a room I've had reserved for two weeks and expecting me to find other accommodations. People declining to shoulder their share of the burden and being pissy in their refusal.

No wonder I don't sleep.

I read:  Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the "stress hormone," and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. (link) I didn't think I was depressed, but maybe I am. Even if I am, what am I supposed to do with that? I have to continue to "deal", because that's how life goes.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be selfish, to not be beholden to anyone. I think it would be heaven for a while. I would settle for just a tiny bit of fun. To be honest, I think I've forgotten what fun is. I asked myself, what would I do that would be fun? The first thing that popped into my mind Dance like an idiot. Wave my arms in the air and swivel my hips like a bad Elvis impersonator and clap my hands over my head. Stomp my feet to the beat. Get those pheromones whizzing.

Music rarely fails to lighten my mood. Tonight it kind of failed me. The first song I heard that even registered was this one (thank you, Brian Wilson):

If I was alone on a dance floor and nobody was watching, I wonder what I would dance to....

Okay, I feel better now.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Trying Too Hard

You know that look of desperation? We've all seen it. Everything is going wrong, but it needs to be salvaged somehow; and trying to fix it only makes things worse.

I think I may have even experienced that feeling a time or two in my life. Kids fool themselves into thinking they can right a faux pas by overcompensating. A mature human being realizes that if you've failed miserably, own up to it. People will be on your side, because who hasn't screwed up?

I suppose it's different in the quest-for-fame game. Hangers-on pat you on the back and say, "You were awesome!" It can't feel too good, though, when you look at yourself in the mirror (which faux-celebrities, I hear, do a lot.)

Somebody, in the last week, managed to make a giant ass of herself. I don't give a flying fig about former Disney "stars". That's hardly my demographic. If I think about it, though, I guess, "like father, like daughter". BRC was kind of a joke, back in 1992. His giant (giant!) hit was dissed by everybody, who secretly turned their radio dials up to ten and bounced around to the song, while bemoaning that it spelled the demise of country music. (It didn't.That would come later.)

But at least that song had some redeeming factors. It had...something....hang on...Okay, well, it had a repeating chorus that everybody could remember. It had a good beat - you could line dance to it (ha HA!) Sure, it was cheesy, but tons of one-hit-wonder songs are cheesy - in fact, MOST of them are.

But this daughter! I don't know WTF she was doing, and apparently, neither did she.She was trying way too hard. And she came off looking like a loser. I almost feel sorry for her - nah - I don't. If she wants fame so bad, she's willing to debase herself, then Mamaw and Daddy must be truly proud.

You can say all you want about Brittney and Madonna and whoever else made spectacles of themselves on the VMA's in past years. At least they kinda, sorta, understood the mechanics of the whole thing. A bewildered post-teen hanging her tongue out like an overheated dog just looked...desperate.

Good luck with that career, though. 

I don't wanna give any more press to the Cyrus family. I think BR should probably give his daughter a timeout - banish her to her room until she realizes the error of her ways. Somehow, though, I think they've got a hand-embroidered sign nailed into the wall above their wringer washing machine that says, "Any publicity is GOOD publicity." Amen, and all that.

Still, this song is catchy. In spite of it all:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thoughts On My Singer-Songwriter Series

I wonder how many people in this world consider themselves to be songwriters.

I'm thinking there's a lot.

I've so far featured three singer-songwriters. Three damn good ones. (Not to confuse you. You've only read about two, but trust me, I've written about three. It's just all out of order, because, well, that's how I roll, apparently).

How many damn good ones are there? I'll say you can count them on the fingers of two hands. Okay, maybe three. But how many people actually have three hands?

I don't think songwriting is like a puzzle. It's not as if you can work on it long enough and hard enough to crack it.

You either have it or you don't.

Yes, I've used that phrase every time I've posted one of my "episodes". That's because it's true.

I've called myself a songwriter for about nine years or so. And I'm thinking, nuts to that. I'm not going to crack the code.

Unlike Radney Foster, I haven't written 25-50 songs per year. I frankly don't have the subject matter. Some years, in fact, I probably wrote two. If it wasn't for FAWM, I would be sitting at about number 13 at this point.

Oh, it's not for lack of desire.

It's for lack of ability.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone. But I will say, write for yourself.

If you like it, that's really the only point there is. I still really like some of mine; not most of them, but some. I guess you had to be there (ha); you know, in my subconscious, to really "get them'. That's, I guess, the problem.

I don't even know what it is about us that makes us want to do this. It's not for commerce. Because that would be the most doomed business enterprise ever created.

Can you imagine a storefront advertising songs for sale? Nobody would stop in. Or, if they did stop in, they'd say, oh, that's okay; I'm just browsing. And then they'd surreptitiously make their way over to the door, and slither out.

There you'd be, following them around, wearing your nice white apron, asking, "Is there something I can help you with?" And they'd murmur, "I was just looking for something bright and shiny; you know, something I can dance to".

"Well, I've got this song about love and loss", you'd say. "Oh, that's okay. I was kind of looking for something different. A little variety. I'm not really in the mood for love and loss today. I've already got a bunch of that at home."

"Well, let me just play you this one. You'll like it, I think."

Then strum, strum, strum. Your three-minute intro.

And you look up, and they're gone. Out the door.

You mutter to yourself, I don't know what people want. Maybe I should have stayed in customer service. Maybe starting my own songwriting business wasn't such a great idea. I guess people just don't understand greatness.

At this point in my songwriting career (okay, I can call it a career if I want), I look at the songs I've written sort of like a diary. I think maybe only one or two of them are completely fictional.

I read something that another songwriter wrote on one of those songwriter sites, and I'm paraphrasing, because I'm really too lazy to go back and re-read it, but he said that every song he wrote had some personal truth in it, even if he had to go back afterwards and cover up all the tell-tale signs. I kind of like that.

Songwriters (at least the un-schlocky ones) are really telling their life stories.

The problem with that, commercially, is that most people don't care about other people's life stories. Not really. Even if you know somebody really well, you are sort of interested, but not as interested as you are in your own life.

So, it's the rare (again, count 'em on three hands, if you have them) songwriter who can transcend that complete and utter disinterest, and invoke some kind of recognition in the listener's mind.

Either that, or the songs need to have a catchy beat.

I can go either way on that.

I'm being semi-facetious, but not really. For what is music, really, if not entertainment? What's wrong with a nonsense song that's infectious? I've got some of those guilty pleasures in my music collection, and I really like them.

That same songwriter that I referenced earlier (I think I'll call him "Jed") likes to talk about hearing music that touches his soul, or something like that. And I like that sometimes.

But sometimes, I've had a really crappy day, or a crappy week. My husband has lost his job (like a quarter of the population, apparently), and I'm worried about stuff like paying our bills, and insurance, and how we will survive when we're old; that kind of fun stuff. And I don't really want to hear some singer crying about...well, anything. I don't need to listen to some sad song to make me feel sad. I'm already sad. I just want to forget my troubles for one measly hour of my life and hear something fun and mindless.

And, come to think of it, the few songs of mine that people say they actually like are those kinds of songs. Entertainment. No offense to Jed, but I don't think the majority of people want to wallow.

So, what is the point of this post?

Well, it's two-fold. Listening to great songwriters (and so far, there have been three, but there are many more to come), I realize that this just isn't the gig for me.

I'm at a crossroads, and the road I'm traveling on right now is leading me toward just writing, but not songwriting.

Maybe I'll change my mind later (probably), when I'm in a better frame of mind. But I'm thinking, why keep beating my head against the wall? It's giving me a real headache, and I've got enough headaches already.

The other point is, let's have fun!

I'm going to search my music collection for "fun" songs, and post a few here and now. The week has been long and difficult (for you, too?), so it's time to kick back.

(Thank you, Dwight. I can always count on Dwight).

(Thank you, George. I used to always be able to count on George).

(Thanks, Marty. You're a rock.)

I know I posted this one before, but I don't care! If you don't like this one, well, I guess you just don't like country, and you just don't care, and you just don't really know what real country music is. Pity.

(My four go-to guys: Dwight, George, Marty, and Mark. George, you're moving further down my list, but you still have time to rise to the challenge. I haven't given up on you yet; at least not completely).

We're not done.

And while we're having fun, and throwing caution to the wind, let's not forget this one:

Tomorrow (or sometime) I will post the sad songs. But not tonight.

Don't forget, songwriters, that music is entertainment. We all just want to feel better; forget our troubles. So, while you're pouring out your guts, and lamenting your life circumstance, everybody else doesn't want to think about that.

I think that's the best advice I can give.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The CMA Awards - More For You in '92

We're countin' 'em down, folks! Gettin' nearer to the finish line (at least my finish line). At a certain point, this whole CMA awards retrospective will need to end for me, not because I've run out of years, but because I will have run out of patience (with country music, that is).

But that time is not now! In 1992, country music was still alive and kickin' (which is also the name of one of my favorite local bands from that time, Alive & Kickin' - wonder whatever happened to them).

First, of course, a bit of background on the year that was 1992.

In perusing the world events of that year, I find that war broke out in Yugoslavia, and there were some other unpronouncable countries in the news, such as Bosnia and Herzegovinia.

Closer to home, Ross Perot announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Watch it here:

And I REALLY, REALLY miss Phil Hartman.

In the world of movies, A League Of Their Own was a hit:

In pop music, and delving right into the CMA awards, I am thrilled to include probably the biggest hit of 1992; country or non-country.


Sure, it got sickening. But not "Friends In Low Places" sickening. And dang it, it's catchy and I LIKE it. If you watched CMT back then, like I did, you saw this video scores of times. And what better lyrics than, "you can tell my arms go back into the farm"? What?

The sad news, aside from Billy Ray's mullet, is that he has spawned some sort of freakazoid teen daughter, who has consumed the music business with her questionable "singing skills", but yet has ensured Billy Ray a very comfortable retirement, albeit at the expense of we, the listening public. But hey! Much like the line dancing of yore, we are adaptable! And we aren't actually forced to listen to her! So it's a win-win. I guess.

The MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR was once again Mark O'Connor. Yes, Mark had a good run (for a couple of years), but selfishly, I'm hoping that he doesn't continue to win, because frankly, the number of Mark O'Connor videos is severely limited.

But, for at least this time around, here's one, called, "Bowtie":

Watch more On the Mark videos on AOL Video

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR went to Alan Jackson (the fifth finger of the hand that was the nineties ~ I guess you have to read my previous posts to make sense of that).

I'm a sucker for those minor chords and, of course for anything relating to Hank Williams, so this song by the tall lanky Georgian is tops in my book.

Here's Midnight In Montgomery:

SONG OF THE YEAR was this one, written by Vince Gill and Max D. Barnes (wonder what the "D" stands for, and why he feels that it's necessary to include it ~ but I'm just riffing because I already included this song in my last retrospective, and I don't really have anything more to say about this song, except that I'm a fan of it!

Here is, Look At Us:

Was this Vince's only award in 1992? No. It wasn't! Vince was also named MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR.

I'm ecstatic that I was able to find this beautiful live performance of Vince, singing, "I Still Believe In You":

Vince Gill I Still Believe in You (live) - The most amazing bloopers are here

Finally, FINALLY, I get to include one of my favorite country artists EVER, in the pantheon of CMA award winners.

The VOCAL EVENT OF THE YEAR was won in 1992 by Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt, for "this one", coincidentally called, "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For A Long Long Time)":

Seems that there was a new VOCAL DUO on the scene in 1992; a couple of guys named Ronnie and Kix. Wonder whatever happened to them.

In the great tradition of Billy Ray Cyrus, these two guys cornered the line dancing market in the 1990's. Yes, set foot inside any honky tonk at that time, and one would immediately be accosted by this song (not that that's a BAD thing). One of the greatest country voices, combined with one of the most enthusiastic duet partners, made for one class act; the act they call BROOKS & DUNN.

Here's Boot Scootin' Boogie:

The VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR is one that I can definitely get on board with ~ Diamond Rio!

I actually had the opportunity to see the group in concert at a casino, and as I was eating my dinner, I noticed poor Gene ("mandolin") Johnson just trying to eat his steak dinner in peace, while numerous fans came up to his table to bother him. I thought, how rude. I was sitting at a table right behind him, and I wouldn't have even considered bothering the poor man. All he wanted to do was enjoy his baked potato. Poor guy. But the concert (later) was fantastic! Here's Mirror, Mirror:

It's so nice to see some fresh faces on the awards stage, for a refreshing change. And here's another.


I always liked Mary Chapin. Where did she go?? Oh, here she is. Still singing, still writing. Not incognito, per se; just not getting played on the radio anymore....but then again, who over age 30 is? Well, I, for one, am glad that Mary Chapin got her award in 1992 (and maybe even one in 1993 ~~ time will tell).

The HORIZON AWARD in 1992 was bestowed upon another great female vocalist, Suzy Bogguss. Yes, another "old" (a year younger than me) artist that radio threw away. I think Suzy had the last laugh, though. She took charge of her career, and by the sounds I heard on her website, she still sounds wonderful.

Here's a nice live performance from Suzy, of "Someday Soon":

This all leads us, of course, to the ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR award.

No offense to Garth (and his hat), but I'm hoping (for my blogging purposes) that Garth doesn't win again for awhile. Because I am having a heck of a time finding Garth videos, and the ones I do find aren't really faves of mine (but that's just me....and my hat).

This single was actually released in 1990, but eh. I do what I can do.

Garth Brooks is/was a great artist, and a heck of a nice guy, and I know that I sound rather blase about him, but he just never was one of my idols. So shoot me.

Anyway, after that wonderful introduction, CONGRATS, Garth. Oh, and here's "Unanswered Prayers":


Frances Preston

Frances Preston began her working life as a receptionist at a life insurance company in Nashville. (Did all those people back then work for a life insurance company? I read about this all the time. Is Nashville, unbeknownst to me, the life insurance capital of the world?)

Luckily for Frances (and through hard work, too, I'm sure), she went on to eventually become president and CEO of BMI. I'm guessing there was a pay raise, too.

Since I have no video of Frances, here's a picture:

(Frances is second from the right).

George Jones

It actually took until 1992 for George to get into the Hall of Fame?? The HOF is not known for its promptness.

Well, what's there to say about ol' George that hasn't already been said? Nothin'. So, let's just enjoy some videos, instead, okay? (and I purposely looked for some older performances).

Walk Through This World With Me

The Race Is On

White Lightning (vintage!)

Milwaukee, Here I Come (with Tammy Wynette)

One Woman Man

Love Bug

She Thinks I Still Care

The Grand Tour

A Good Year For The Roses (with Alan Jackson)

And, of course:

He Stopped Loving Her Today

That's a pretty dang good career, Possum. In the interest of brevity (ha!), I left a lot of great ones out.

Congrats, George Jones, for your belated entry into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

So, 1992, in a (really huge) nutshell. We saw the yin and the yang of country music, from "Look At Us" to "Achy Breaky Heart". We saw big hats. We saw some classic singers that we won't ever hear again on the radio. We saw the Possum put most of them to shame.

All in all, a pretty good year.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Camp Classic Du Jour

I decided that I should start posting some camp classics (those songs you are ashamed to admit that you like).

And believe me, this video is unusual in a queasy sort of way. Great chest hair, though. And the background is so "realistic".

And then, suddenly, the song ends. Well, what can you do? This is the only video I could find.

And then I thought, well, how about another camp classic?

Camp Classic du Jour - part II

Okay, a couple of things: Gotta love the eighties hair (both male and female). Also, um, he plays his guitar backwards. Is this a prop? Does he actually know how to play guitar? And get some boots, man! I mean, the Nikes have got to go. Although they're handy for "running in place". Geez, great choreography there, BRC.

I do hear, though, that he's making big $$ off one of his kids now. Kudos!