Showing posts with label taylor swift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taylor swift. Show all posts

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Downloads? No Thanks.

Downloadable albums are so gauche.

Amazon keeps emailing me their "special deals" ~ $5.00 album downloads, and I think, nah, just not worth it.

What do physical CD's sell for nowadays?  Ten bucks?  Definitely not worth it.

At least, however, if one purchases a physical CD, they get something to hold in their hand, and a nice pretty picture, and some little tiny liner notes, along with their crappy music.

With a download, all you get is the crappy music.

I wouldn't give two figs for any of today's music, if I actually had any figs, and who does, really?

When's the last time I heard a song I liked?  Can we count oldies?

Maybe it's just me.  Maybe I'm worn out by music.

There was big online buzz recently about Taylor Swift's new single (I wonder how much she pays for that "free" publicity).  The song is titled, "We Are Never Getting Back Together".  Just the title alone makes me hate the song, without even hearing it.

To be fair, though, I clicked on the music video this morning.  I got through the first verse and half of the chorus before clicking it off.  Same old......

Taylor, do you ever just want to grow up?  Most little girls do.

(And, P.S., this is not country.)

Dwight has a new CD coming out soon.  I love Dwight, but the free tunes I sampled did absolutely nothing for me.  Did everybody suddenly get amnesia about what good music is supposed to sound like?

If you, and I mean you, know of a new song that I would really like, send me a link.  I want to believe that good new music actually exists.

Tip:  Here's an example of the kind of music I consider "good":

Thank you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pop Songs Are Getting Sadder

Maybe this is what's wrong with the world today.....

Pop music is getting sadder, slower, and more sophisticated, according to a new study published in a psychology journal. Researchers analyzed Top 40 hits in Billboard from the mid-60's through 2010 and discovered that popular tunes have increasingly been written in "minor modes"—which associate with darker emotions, reports Pacific Standard.

The top songs also have gradually become lengthier and slower in tempo, and their messages aren't as straight-forward.

“As the lyrics of popular music became more self-focused and negative over time, the music itself became sadder-sounding and more emotionally ambiguous,” say the researchers. They also pointed out a compelling similarity with the evolution of classical music, although on a much shorter scale. 

Examples abound of songs that are, as the author puts it, "self-focused".  From Taylor Swift's revenge songs about failed relationships, to Adele.  I like Adele a lot.  She's very talented.  I think this is a great song:

The author of the study contends that, as female singers/songwriters become more dominant in the pop music world, the sadder and more self-focused songs tend to prevail.

I will grant you that women tend to write retributive songs.  That's sort of just how we're made (yes, there are actually differences between men and women, contrary to the political talking points).

I've even written one myself.  It's never seen the light of day, because I am not an idiot.  Although, if I'd written one as good as Rollin' In The Deep, then all bets would be off.

Guys whine, too, though.  Just turn your radio dial to the adult contemporary station, and you will be bathed in tunes of self-pity before the next windshield replacement commercial assaults your ears.

It's generational, perhaps.  As a baby-boomer, who could be more self-absorbed than me?  And yet, the Beatles mostly did not feel sorry for themselves.  Look at Paul McCartney.  He was sunshine incarnate.  He even wrote a song about sunshine:

There's a reason, you know, why songs from the sixties live on.  They make us feel good.

I've said a million times that music is supposed to be fun.   That's why we like it!  

Maybe the difference between my generation and the generation of my kids is, they are all concentrated on getting somewhere, whereas we were just enjoying the ride.

Everything now is super-serious.

I'm not passing judgment.  If I hadn't just gone along for the ride, perhaps I would actually have money for my retirement.  But we thought we'd live forever, right?  And never get old.

Maybe there just needs to be a balance.  

The thing is, whether you're just going along for the ride, or whether you're documenting each of your accomplishments on a white board in your expensively granite-tiled kitchen, don't forget about music and love.

Now, doesn't that make you feel better?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 2011 Inductees

(Somehow, it seems like there should be an apostrophe in there someplace, but I guess it's technically correct).

Still, maybe "Songwriter's" (although that would only be ONE songwriter). How about "Songwriters'"? It's the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. It belongs to them.

Sorry, I'm off on a tangent before I even start.

Well, the latest inductees into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame were honored on October 16. (I bet it was in Nashville, right? It would be sort of counter-productive if it was held someplace else: "The latest inductees into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame were honored today in Wichita, Kansas."

I guess it was quite the gala, although from the paucity of information posted on YouTube, one would never know it. Maybe it was one of those "secret" inductions.

Well, their secret is unsafe with me! Because I somehow found out about it.

The 2011 inductees make up quite a lofty group. In researching the songs written by these guys, I find that they've written a whole bunch! Granted, most of them I haven't heard of, but that's my problem; not theirs.

And really, is it quantity or quality that matters? I say, quality. Because you could write one monster hit song, and there you go! Retire! And then, while you're lolling about in your mansion, and someone stops by and asks, "Hey, let me hear some of your other songs!", you could slap a CD on the player (or hand them a set of little tiny earbuds and make them listen through your iphone, but that's sort of awkward). And they'd listen for awhile, and then mutter, "Geez, you were really lucky to get that ONE big hit, weren't you?" But you wouldn't really be that offended, because after all, you have lots of MONEY! So, what do you care?

So, in trying to single out ONE big hit song from each of the non-performing songwriters, I shot for ones that I was at least familiar with. If you care to do the research to find out what other 4999 songs each of them wrote, well, it's pretty easy. Google is your friend.

John Bettis

I'm not going to quibble that the majority of songs John Bettis wrote are pop songs. Because he is obviously quite capable of writing a country song (as evidenced below). And you know, maybe he lives in Nashville. It's not the "Country Songwriters Hall of Fame" anyway.

Thom Schuyler

Let me just say that I really hate this performance by Kenny Rogers, especially because I love this song. I don't know what's up, but it seems like Kenny just wants to hurry up and get it over with. Why bother? Yes, Kenny, I know you've sung this song thirteen million times, and you're sick of it, but we're not.

Nevertheless, here it is:

Here's how it's supposed to go:

Allen Shamblin

Okay, okay. I just included this video in a recent blog post, but my goodness! If I'm going to pick an Allen Shamblin song, it's going to be this one! And Allen wrote a lot of good ones!


Okay, Allen gets two, because I also really like this song, and I haven't heard it in ages. This was co-written with Mike Reid:

Allen, of course (as if I knew this), wrote "The House That Built Me", which they tell me was a pretty big hit. DORK CONFESSION: Today, when I found it on YouTube, was the first time I'd ever heard that song. Seriously. But you know I don't listen to country radio. I'm more of a music historian than a hipster.

Anyway, my point in bringing this up is that, when you listen to all three of these songs, you see that Allen Shamblin has a soul. Unlike the majority of hit songwriters these days. Unless by "soul", you mean "wallet".

I like them, and I don't apologizing for liking them. Perhaps these songs are a perfect counterpoint to today's songs written by the likes of pseudo-songwriters such as Taylor Swift (And yes, I've heard them. I had to do research for a previous post, so I had to listen to them). You know, songs about, why do you have to be so mean to me? So touching. Really. I hear my church is adding that one to the hymnal.

Don't get me wrong. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame likes "wallet soul", too. That's why they named Taylor Swift their songwriter of the year.

But on we go, to other more important people.

The two performing songwriters who were honored are somewhat familiar names in the music industry. I heard that they each had a couple of hit songs, and have been able to make a comfortable living for themselves.

Okay, the thing about this guy, which is irritating for a music video blogger, is that, yes, he's a nice guy and all, but he's really stingy about allowing his music videos to be shared. I don't know why; that's his business. But this does narrow my options.

I have found a couple, though:

Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks - If Tomorrow Never Comes by romans34

Okay, that's it. Sorry. And that last one wasn't even a performance video. It was just a compilation of clips. Look Garth, if you want to get ahead in this business, you're going to have to let bloggers like me help to promote your music. I'm giving you this advice for your own good. I'm sure you'd like to have a little house out in Oklahoma one day, and not have to work anymore. Maybe grow a little garden. All that can be done! But you have to let me help you.

Unlike Garth Brooks, this next guy, you can find all the music videos you want! Nice! Thanks! This, however, creates a different problem. I don't want this post to be three miles long, so I have to pick two, or at the most, three.

By the way, I thought I would insert a plug here for a great music resource: All Music. This is a comprehensive site, and one does not have to wonder about the accuracy of the information here, unlike my old standby, which starts with the letter "W". Sometimes, with W, I have to surf over to another site to verify whether W is lying to me or not.

Alan Jackson

No video for "There Goes", which happens to be my favorite Alan Jackson song, but I also like this one a lot:

Quite a stellar group indeed. All five of these gentlemen are deserving of this honor. And it was fun to stroll down memory lane and revisit some of these songs. I find that there are so many great, great songs that have been almost forgotten, that when I get a chance to hear them again, they sound almost new. That's one of the joys of music.

So, out of these five songwriters, two are my favorites. You already know who one of them is, and I'm not revealing my other. I wouldn't want the other guys to feel like "runners-up". (And yea, I'm positive it would really, really hurt, considering that they just got inducted into a hall of fame and they're rich and they get to accost visitors to their mansions with an ipod filled with songs they've written). But still, I don't want to be uncouth.

I will note, however, that points have been deducted for the sparseness of available music videos. Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Song #1 For My Concept Album

After my snarky post last night (and I have no regrets!), I thought it might be a refreshing change to get back to what it is that I do.

What I do, exactly, is somewhat indeterminable. However, sometimes I write songs.

I've decided to take the "go slow" approach to songwriting. That is, write a new song every six months or so. In that way, I will have my concept album completed in approximately the year 2017. I will, therefore, be age 62, and will have LOTS of fodder for songs that fit my concept of growing older! It's a win-win!

You know us old people ~ we have lots of irons in the fire! We're busy. Busy counting out our daily pills, and trying to get down the stairs.

My one concern with taking six years to complete these songs is that I may become befuddled, and thus unable to form coherent thoughts. You know, sort of like Taylor Swift.

That is the chance one takes, however, when one decides that one is unable to write one measly song in the span of half a year, for God's sake.

You would think, after all that time, that the song would be absolutely FANTABULOUS. Well, I've set my sights a bit lower than that. When you're elderly, you learn to adjust your expectations. I'll settle for "eh, it's okay."

Bear in mind, however, that with the full studio treatment, any piece of festering, rotting garbage can sound exquisite! Again, much like Taylor Swift's songs.

So, without further a-dooo, here is song number one for my concept album, and if you care, or even if you don't (it really doesn't matter, since, as I've learned, mostly imaginary people are "reading" this blog), here are the lyrics:

Things never change
In this rundown town
Except it gets more
Run down

People disappear
And they never come back
And the store windows
Are black

They say why you don’t you go
I say hell if I know
Is it any better someplace else

The devil that you know
Might not give a real good show
But I’ve determined life
Is just like that

I walk down the streets
Of this rundown town
I can close my eyes
And know the way

From time to time somebody goes
Leaves little curios behind
I pick them up
And haul them away

They say why don’t you go
I say hell if I know
It don’t feel like this is my day

The cracks are getting deeper
And my bones startin’ to moan
But I’ve determined life
Is just that way

© Michelle Anderson 08-19-11

I suddenly realized that I'm supposed to include a video here, aren't I? Stupid video blog.

Well, I can't really find anything (or think of anything) that pertains to the subject at hand, so, when all else fails, I like to just fall back on something that I like, so here you go....

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Restless Heart. I realize that Larry Stewart is still out there performing, of course. But really, it's not the same, and it just can't be.

This video is from a time when country music was COOL, and not LAME. And it was still COUNTRY. Us senior citizens still remember that time. That's the advantage to being old, like me. One still remembers when music was GOOD, and not LAME (Oh, I already said that, didn't I? That's what happens....)

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Swiftification of Music

Oh, just call me "mean".

I'm frankly tired of surfing over to Entertainment Weekly's website or to my local newspaper's site and having to read yet another glowing story about Taylor Swift. (Okay, I guess I don't have to read them, but the masochist in me just can't seem to resist).

Even our local music reviewer, Jon Bream, has now labeled Taylor the "artist of the century", and I really used to respect Jon's common sense. I don't know for sure, but Jon looks to be about 62 (sorry if I'm wrong, Jon!) So, really? What 60'ish person is running out to buy Taylor Swift CD's? If they're even able to run.

I'm younger than 62, and I don't know anyone my age, or even ten years, or twenty years younger than me, who's buying her music. Jon, are you trying to hold onto your lost youth, the relevance you had when you were reviewing Led Zeppelin back in the seventies? Is Taylor really on your ipod? If you know how to work one of those new-fangled contraptions, I mean.

Sorry, but call me skeptical. The same way I seriously doubt that the legends of country music (and I'm not talking about stars from the fifties - how about stars from the last decade?), like Vince Gill or Patty Loveless, are comparing notes about which Taylor Swift song is their absolute, number one fave. "Ooh, I like 'Fifteen'! I can totally relate to being a freshman in high school, and all the boys are telling me how cute I am!", says Patty, or Vince.

Sure, ask them in public, stick a microphone in front of them, and they'll say, "Oh yes, we just LOVE her!" They know better than to rock the boat.

Privately, they're probably whispering to each other, "Can you believe this crap? What the....? Where did country music go?"

Well, Patty and/or Vince and/or the rest of you, how about coming clean about how this chick is ruining country music? Stop this politically correct garbage, Jon!

As a supreme sacrifice to my ears, and in the interest of this blog post, I clicked on over to Taylor Swift's official YouTube page tonight and listened (sorry, couldn't watch) to an assortment of her songs. Oh sure, now I'm number 28,512,234. Great. Just what I want to be known for.

This girl has remained on the outer edges of my consciousness for lo these past few years, for the simple fact that I really hate everything her songs stand for.

From my extensive (10-minute) research, I have found that the things Taylor stands for are these: boys, sparkly things, martyrdom, ballerinas, snowflakes, boys, glitter, canopy beds, lip gloss, boys.

Not that I have anything against snowflakes (or boys, I mean, you know, if they're my sons.)

Try posting a critical comment on one of these online stories, though, and the predictable retort magically appears, as if arriving on the tip of a snowflake: "Well. I'll have you know, I took my 12-year-old daughter to Taylor's concert, and she just loves her!"

Exactly! I'm not twelve!

You know, it wouldn't be all that bad, if every new act wasn't mimicking her. Thus, the "Swiftification of Music". Oh, you can hear it in practically every song now (if you dare listen). The same vocal cadences. The pop phrasing. The breathiness of the vocals (and then there are the female singers). I'm thinking they're afraid to speak in anything other than a whisper, because apparently there is a shortage of oxygen now (blame global warming!), and one really needs to save what little breath they possess in their eighty-pound bodies, because, who knows? Oxygen might come in handy one day!

Tammy and Patsy, I'll bet, are turning over in their graves. "What? I can't hear her!" "Get her a bigger microphone!" "Is she lip-synching?"

Then, of course, there are the run-on lyrics, like these:

This is looking like a contest,
Of who can act like the careless,
But I liked it better when you were on my side.
The battle's in your hands now,
But I would lay my armor down
If you said you'd rather love than fight.
So many things that you wished I knew,
But the story of us might be ending soon.

Now I'm standing alone in a crowded room and we're not speaking,
And I'm dying to know is it killing you like it's killing me, yeah?
I don't know what to say, since the twist of fate when it all broke down,
And the story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now, now, now.

The devil-may-care, who needs a song to rhyme, when you can just jot down your stream of consciousness ramblings that really don't need to make any sense, except to tweenagers, which makes the songs so much easier to write, because, if you've ever listened to a tweenager talk, she just goes on and on and on and on about nothing, until you really have to go into another room and shut the door quietly, in order to regain some sense of equilibrium and sanity.

There! See? I just wrote me a modern country song!

I like the term, "Tween Country" (which I have just now coined). I say, let's differentiate this stuff from real country music. And then I'm fine. Just stop calling it country music. In fact, while we're at it, can we stop calling all this current stuff country music?

Jon Bream, I know you have good taste. I've read your stuff for years. I know that you know what good music is. Stop pandering.

It's time that somebody, or a lot of somebodies, puts a stop to this.

Yea yea; why do I have to be so mean?

I leave you, as I generally do, with a video, since this is a video blog. Here's what a singer can do when she's not trying to hoard her oxygen supply:

Monday, June 13, 2011

CMT Video Awards?

Okay, I heard ("read") that the CMT Video Awards were broadcast this past week. Ho-hum?

Yes, as far as I know, CMT is a video channel. So, I'm certainly not going to hold it against them that they hold awards to self-promote. Where would this great land of ours be without self-promotion?

I'm so on the periphery of this phenomenon that I only learn about it from reading Entertainment Weekly, the arbiter of all things that really need to be known.

That said, EW really hooks you. They rave about something, or some video, or some incident that occurred that you really, if you want to remain relevant in this world, really need to see, or else you're just useless.

So, yes, I did search out some videos, based upon EW's recommendations.

The first thing that caught my attention was, Shania and that girl, Taylor, doing a take-off of Thelma and Louise. Well, I'm always up for a good parody, so I was eager to find a clip of this one.

Not completely impressed, I have to say, but that's mainly due to the fact that they had some "odd" (in the kindest sense of the word) stand-in for Brad Pitt, and that scruffy Kid Rock was also in the scene. Nice touch on Kenny Rogers standing beside the road, but overall, not really up to par. Sorry.

And yea, I heard that Shania fell down, but really? Give the woman a break. Who wouldn't fall down in that circumstance? I know I would.

They also mentioned Sugarland having the best performance of the night. So, I searched out and found a video of that one, but frankly, when I saw some girls hoist themselves up upon the stage to start waving a white flag with some indiscernible writing on it, I clicked off. Ack! Political correctness on a so-called country music broadcast? Thanks, but no. I guess I'll never know if the performance was good or not good. Stop preaching to me! I'm really not in the mood, and if I want to know what the politically correct line of the moment is, I'll switch on cable news.

I also heard that some kid called Justin Bieber was there, for some ungodly reason. I don't know. I'm completely perplexed.

I really, really would like to watch these awards (no doubt found on Hulu, where I watch all my favorite shows), but my self-respect tells me, no. Don't do it.

Let me just soothe myself in the misguided notion that country music is still country music. No, I'm not stuck in the nineties (well, maybe I am, but I do know what's hot; what's happening now, to a very miniscule degree).

Let me ask, where the hell was Alan Jackson? Where was George Strait? I think those guys are still charting, or am I completely off the mark?

Fine, you guys. If you want to co-opt my music, have at it. But could you call it something else? I would like to remember country music when it was country music, without having to spew out the words like I had a mouthful of cotton constricting my airway.

Call it sort-of-country-if-you-really-squint-hard-and-imagine-what-it-would-sound-like-if-it-was-country-music. I'm fine with that.

Wynonna, why don't you show those buffoons (even Kid Rock got it eventually), what country music is:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 CMA's

I'm going to write a song about my diary, and find a sixteen-year-old girl who can sing (relatively) on-key to record it for me.

I'll make millions!

(Now, if I can only remember back that far.....)