Posts tagged ‘Madonna’

April 30, 2010

Christina Aguilera is attempting to compete with Lady Gaga

So, this is the new Christina Aguilera video. It’s NSFW. If this video is any indication, looks like artists are going to start attempting to compete with Lady Gaga. She’s clearly trying to out “sex freak” her. This video apes the “Bad Romance” video and the “Express Yourself” video. I don’t feel much need to dissect the videos, it’s clear when you watch what Aguilera was “inspired by”. From the white aesthetic, to the outfits, to Aguilera crawling to a saucer of milk, to the shirtless men in rain, to Aquilera standing atop a tall balcony… Of course, Lady Gaga wants to be Madonna in ways, and Madonna wanted to be Marilyn Monroe in ways.

But, Christina Aguilera does get my Hot Mom Award™

Embedding is disabled for the “Express Yourself” video.

April 11, 2010

Tracy Morgan on The Marriage Ref

Along with Kathy Griffin and Nathan Lane. It speaks to how amazing Tracy Morgan is that he completely overshadows Kathy Griffin. Kathy Griffin. And, Nathan Lane is practically a non-entity too. As far as The Marriage Ref (created by Jerry Seinfeld), I think the show is kinda creepy and mean-spirited. But, I find the celebrities interacting with each other to be interesting and funny. Especially because they’re talking about (reasonably) normal, everyday situations in life. Not “being famous” or other self-centered celebrity things. In a way, the show breaks down a wall. The Madonna, Ricky Gervais, Larry David episode is my favorite so far. I’d watch those three do a panel on writing up building codes.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

November 19, 2009

OK Lady Gaga, I was wrong.

I think it says something this video from before she was famous is meant to reinforce that she is talented, rather than make her look stupid or something. You can kinda tell she’s a little nuts though.

Here are the three songs from the forthcoming The Fame Monster album. I really like them. Her duet with Beyonce is going to be huge I think. It says a lot for Lady Gaga that Beyonce is doing a song with her. “Dance In The Dark” is clearly meant to evoke Madonna, with the whole invocation of the “Vogue” bit. “Alejandro” has an obvious Ace Of Base sample, and also seems meant to remind you of “La Isla Bonita”. It’s hard to top Madonna, but Ace Of Base is an easy target. Either way, these songs are miles better than anything on The Fame. Lady Gaga clearly has seen from the success of “Poker Face”, “Just Dance”, and “Paparazzi” that people like her electronic dance stuff more than the bullshit during the last half of The Fame. Here’s hoping she stays on that path and keeps putting out videos as mindblowing as “Bad Romance”.

Telephone (with Beyonce)

Dance In The Dark

Alejandro

December 2, 2008

Oh right, this is a real pop artist.

Womanizer has caused an existential crisis. Aren’t I supposed to hate this music on principle? What kind of music snob am I? So, I watched some clips from Madonna’s Confessions Tour. Here’s “Erotica”, and look she sings while dancing. She actually dances just as much as her backup dancers. And, she’s 48 here. Fuck you Britney, you suck.

December 1, 2008

Womanizer

I’ve had this song in my head for three days now. Britney did three performances of Womanizer over in Europe this past week. I don’t think she’s actually singing. I read she didn’t want to sing live in order to focus on her dancing. Don’t let all the bullshit around her distract you, and you’ll see she’s really not doing much in the way of dancing either. My favorite bit is at 2:07 in where she does possibly the least sexy humping motion ever. She does look hot though. And man, what a fuckin song. I hope she paid the people who wrote and produced it well. Sure, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” is cute, but this song bangs. BTW, I have her last album Blackout. I heard it when it first came out and thought it was the worst album I ever heard. But, when the Break The Ice video came out I gave it another chance, and if I don’t think it’s Britney and think it’s some nobody with fuckloads of money to hire the best producers and writers, I think it’s a good album. Still a pale shadow of Madonna’s Confessions On A Dance Floor”, but fun nevertheless. Especially “Break The Ice”. Yes, I just said a Britney album is good. Apparently Circus is going to be a “safer” version of Blackout which probably means it’ll be more mediocre.

This live performance gets pulled down due to copyright. It may not work. (1/31/09)

September 3, 2006

5 Song Challenge

The 5 song challenge. That was a stroke of genius by a friend of mine. Make everyone come up with a 5 song playlist on your iPod appropriate for the occasion and then play it all at said occasion. Which is like the perfect thing to drive a bunch of geeks crazy. But I cheated and found reason to make it a 6 song challenge. Here is my playlist:

1. The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds
2. The Propellerheads – Velvet Pants
3. Madonna – I Love New York
4. LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge
5. Jimmy Bo Horne – (Let Me) Let Me Be Your Lover
6. Stereo MCs – Connected

I got a bonus song because “(Let Me) Let Me Be Your Lover” was sampled for the massive beat that is under the Stereo MCs “Connected”, which I think was a nice trip down memory lane. The theme of the mix is moving from New York to Phoenix.

December 1, 2005

Top Ten Albums of 2005

So, it’s December 1st, and the year is all but over. In my neverending pretention, here is my top ten favorite albums of the past year. It’s not really a list of the “Best”, but likely most of these will make “Best Of” lists in magazines and such. In order, and this is very long, my top ten…

10. Madonna – Confessions On A Dance Floor: I already put most of my thoughts about this album in an earlier blog. What surprises me most about this album is how much various songs will get stuck in my head. While this is largely a four-to-the-floor club album, Madonna & Co. didn’t forget about writing actual songs. So many songs are able to be hummed along to. Yet, the album has an almost seamless flow to it. And, there’s no filler to any of the songs. I’ve really noticed that every song gets going without any drawn out prelude. Because of all this, largely Confessions is an achievement. It would be so easy for this album to have a sameness to each song, yet Madonna escaped that trap. The only duff song in the bunch is “Push”, and I agree that “Isaac” is “Frozen Part II”. “Future Lovers” is still the highlight to my ears. I’m impressed by Madonna’s vocal performance, which sounds so assured after the 1:30 mark (where the bass finally kicks in). I’ve heard a lot of electronic music, trust me that Confessions is excellent.

9. Gorillaz – Demon Days: When will Damon Albarn be hailed as the musical genius he so clearly is? Demon Days is easily better than the first album. Nearly every track on this album is filled with melodic keyboards, fun creative beats, and interesting lyrics. Each song jumps out of the speakers. Listen to the acoustic guitar break on “Last Living Souls” or the crazy piano section in “Every Planet We Reach Is Dead”, courtesy of Ike Turner. The album highlights are seemingly endless. The children’s choir throughout “Dirty Hairy”, and somehow they shoehorn a rap into it. The bit in “All Alone” where it gets all pretty with what sounds like robotic birds and Martina Topley-Bird singing (coincidence?). “Dare” has so much going on in it, I don’t know where to start. How about the incomparable Shaun Ryder on vocals? Or the pristine production by Danger Mouse? Going the choir route is very easy to garner emotion, but “Don’t Get Lost In Heaven” and “Demon Days” is a very moving ending to the album. Damon Albarn is a true artist. He takes everything seriously, even his little “cartoon” band. He demands a lot more respect than I think he gets. This album is further proof. And, one final point: Listen to how much he does with his vocals throughout the album.

8. Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom – The Days Of Mars: This is ‘alone on a quiet Sunday’ type stuff, and not for everyone. Intricate, beautiful, affecting. The Vangelis comparisons are appropriate, and I also think they could be compared to Phillip Glass as well. It’s high praise to be compared to such artists. Their music is a work of art and should be appreciated as such. I find listening to the album to be meditative. The DFA have done a lot this past year, and as much as I liked the discs by LCD Soundsystem (which has grown on me greatly) and The Juan MacLean (which almost made this list), The Days Of Mars is The DFA & Friends artistic album. I appreciate this more.

7. M.I.A. – Arular: An album that is better than its hype. This is the driving in the summer with the windows down album. It’s a blast and M.I.A. sounds like she’s out for blood or sex… or both. Arular is one of those debut albums that is so strong and assured, I fear M.I.A. will never come close again. M.I.A. has a charisma few women rappers can ever hope to have. Through the socio-political sentiments of “Pull Up The People”, to the anarchist thoughts of the “Freedom” skit, to the sexual come-ons of “Hombre” or “10 Dollar”, Arular is a mental rush. Listen to the mixture of call-to-arms lyrics and sexual sighs in “Bucky Done Gun”.Then there’s how easily M.I.A. covers various musical styles. She’s a Sri-Lankan Brit, and the influence of ethnic diversity is all over Arular. The Middle Eastern influences in “Hombre”, the African influences in “Amazon”, and the Caribbean influences in “Sunshowers”. All this spread over a rap/dance CD. The beats are constantly interesting and hit hard and the synths make the album sound electric. She’s been compared to Missy Elliot and Timbaland, and she even name checks them on “Fire Fire”. Yet, I think M.I.A. resembles them little, and frankly is better.

6. Martha Wainwright – Martha Wainwright: If I wanted a song to represent the first half of 2005, “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole” will do. That Martha Wainwright is a talented singer-songwriter comes as no surprise, considering the family she is from. Again, this isn’t a list of the “Best” albums of 2005, just my favorite. I took much of this album to heart. She spoke to me when I needed someone who understood. Not to say this wouldn’t make a “Best Of” list. Her voice has a lot of range to it, from angry and bitter on “Ball & Chain”, to gorgeous and moving on “Wither I Must Wander”. As a songwriter, she can go from a rocker like “G.P.T.” to a ballad like “Don’t Forget”. And, “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”. A song written with such suspense, delivered with a vocal so passionate and uninhibited. An artist willing to bare their soul as Wainwright does is someone to treasure.

5. Goldfrapp – Supernatural: 2005’s album to fuck to. This sounds like the soundtrack to a decadent orgy. I never thought that woman singing on those early Orbital and Tricky tracks would turn into an S&M sex goddess. But, nevermind Alison Goldfrapp’s seductive vocals and lyrics. Her partner, Will Gregory, is also a music score writer, and it shows in the layers in the song writing. If you really listen there’s just so much going on in each song. With both production, song writing, and vocals, Goldfrapp have raised the bar high on this album. On every front. The disco abandon of “Ride A White Horse” and “Fly Me Away”. There is the orchestral beauty of “Let It Take You” and the pop-opera of “You Never Know”, the likes of which Goldfrapp perfected on Felt Mountain. “Time Out From The World” sounds like it will float you on a cloud. There’s only one “rock” album by strict definition on my list, but Goldfrapp make their keyboards rock. Listen to “Lovely 2 CU” or “Koko” and you’ll hear what I mean. Yes, songs like “Koko” and “Number 1” put their Gary Numan influence on full display, but that doesn’t take away from how great these songs are. The first track, “Ooh La La”, is a perfect mission statement for Supernatural. Listen to how the beat evolves over the first minute, until it finally pumps into high gear. Such is the whole album.

4. Royksopp – The Understanding: Epic. Their first album, Melody AM, does nothing to prepare you for hearing this. From huge techno epics like “Triumphant” and “Alpha Male”, to pumping dance tracks like “Only This Moment”, “Follow My Ruin”, and “Beautiful Day Without You”, to emotional breakbeat tracks like “49 Percent”, “What Else Is There?”, and “Someone Like Me” they do no wrong. As an electronic act, Royksopp’s ability to cover so many moods so well on The Understanding is relatively unparalleled in my experience. The album is flawless from beginning to end. I would compare the album to UNKLE’s Never, Never Land, but The Understanding is better crafted and more enjoyable. And, with Royksopp’s production on fellow Norwegian Annie’s album (See #2), clearly they’re a master at pop as well. Being part Norwegian, I feel a lot of pride this year. Great cover, too.

3. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods: This is the only rock album on this list, and maybe the reason is because it’s so far and above anything else I’ve heard recently. Yes, this is Sleater-Kinney’s “maturity record”. But, that usually means boring. These songs are filled with passion. From the raw intensity of album opener “The Fox”, you know Sleater-Kinney aren’t fucking around. The clear album highlights are “What’s Mine Is Yours” and “Let’s Call It Love”. Both songs are a startling departure for them. “What’s Mine Is Yours” begins normal enough, but in the middle there is a sudden roaring guitar solo from Carrie Brownstein. “Let’s Call It Love” is an 11 minute swirling freak-out. Yet, when you listen to these two songs, it is clear Sleater-Kinney are not creating wank for wanking sake. There’s so much passion in the songs, you can hear this is coming from an emotional place. “Let’s Call It Love” segues without pause into final song “Night Light”, which with it’s pleading vocal and down turning chords ends things on a moving, melancholy note. Sleater-Kinney haven’t forgotten to write great songs. As powerful as songs like “Wilderness” and “Jumper” are, they’re also very melodic, which shows how far Sleater-Kinney have truly come from their punk grrrl roots. It’s been an evolution on all on their own terms. There’s still room for social commentary, as on “Modern Girl” and the raging “Entertain”. In my opinion, no rock album comes close to the breadth of emotion, talent, and sheer rock ‘n’ roll power that Sleater-Kinney has with The Woods.

2. Annie – Anniemal: Pop is not a dirty word. Not when it sounds this good. Pop music normally doesn’t deserve production and beats this good. But, Annie does because she has charisma to spare. If you’re a guy, you’ll likely fall a little in love with her. I admit I have been seduced. She’ll play hard to get (Chewing Gum), she’ll chew you out (Always Too Late), she’ll shyly hit on you (Heartbeat), she’ll slyly hint how good she is in bed (Anniemal), and she’ll tell you how in love she is (Greatest Hit). Her singing makes you listen to the lyrics, and it’s rare that lyrics matter in pop songs. There’s more to her voice than I think we’ve seen yet, judging from “Wedding” (where yes, finally, she wants to marry you) from Annie’s DJ Kicks CD. Partnered with the production talents of Richard X and Royksopp, it’s no wonder Anniemal sounds so fantastic. I think “Chewing Gum”, rather than “Heartbeat”, is the perfect pop song. I wasn’t too impressed with “Heartbeat” at first. But wouldn’t you know it, the song got lodged in my head at some point too. The whole album has. Artistically, the album is phenomenal. Listen to the sparkling disco of “Greatest Hit”, or the complexity in the beat structure of “Heartbeat”, or the acid house mid-section in “Come Together”. I defy anyone to name a better pop album to come out in the last ten years.

1. Ladytron – Witching Hour: Hands down, my favorite album of this year. I listened to it non-stop for a week after I bought it. Literally, I listened to nothing else. I already have a blog about the album, but here are some more thoughts. It’s about as perfect of a sound to my ears as modern music could have. Keyboards, beats, guitars, and a female singer. Personally, I like their reliance on Helen Marnie, rather than Mira Aroyo. Marnie’s voice is much more front and center on this album and adds a lot of emotion to the music. Mira Aroyo’s disaffected vocals would get boring through a whole album. Another thing I noticed, listening to the album more, are the lyrics: “If I give you sugar will you give me, something elusive and temporary”, “You put the end in weekend”, and “The traffic won’t know, the traffic is slow and thoughtless” are but three favorites of mine. In my ten “Desert Island Discs”, this would make the cut.

Biggest Surprise: Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better: Never would guess that they were capable of slow songs. Maybe they will have a lasting career.

Biggest Disappointment: Dandy Warhols – Odditorium & blah blah blah: Proof that I am not biased in my opinions. This album really does suck.

Cooler Than Thou: You Say Party! We Say Die! – Hit The Floor: Pretty Girls Make Graves, Le Tigre, and the B52’s wrapped into one. Try and find it.

As Good As They All Said: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – S/T: Sure, I feel like I’m listening to the Talking Heads. Not a bad thing.

Guilty Pleasure: Kasabian – S/T: Sounds so much like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis, and Primal Scream I should hate it. Yet I love it so and hate myself for it.

November 17, 2005

Madonna’s New Album

I definitely do enjoy Confessions On The Dance Floor. Her last album, American Life, was a piece of shit, so I am pleased. If you haven’t heard, the new album is a strict club album. One trance and house track after another, naturally with a pop bent. Each song is mixed into the next like a DJ set, and it works really well. Trust me, even using studio technology it’s possible to fuck up a mix. Most of the album was produced by the guy out of Les Rhythms Digitales, who has done a few good remixes, so I had a feeling it was going to be good. But, the best song was produced by Mirwais, who worked on the Music album. “Future Lovers” has a “I Feel Love” (Donna Summer) feel to it. The song is a wall of sound. It’s an irresistably fun track and the album’s shining moment.

The song “Jump” actually is reminiscent of “West End Girls” (Pet Shop Boys). I do have to say “I Love New York” has absolutely atrocious lyrics. But, I never turned to Madonna for her lyrical content. The song itself clearly was meant to evoke the NY disco punk scene with its reliance on guitars. Not to say it’s as bad of a rip of the disco punk sound as “Boyfriend”, the current Ashlee Simpson single. Just a light touch. It’s a good song and I wish the lyrics weren’t so cringe inducing. The first single, “Hung Up” is a good example of how to use a sample. Madonna samples “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! A Man After Midnight” by ABBA. ABBA do not give out their songs for samples, so she must have paid a fortune for it. It works very well because she basically isolated the hook from the ABBA song, rides it and boasts the bass. I’m not surprised it’s become a hit already since the world loves ABBA. I think the album trails off towards the end and loses momentum. “Issac”, the track that has pissed off the Jewish faith, is an eye roller with all the chanting she has going on, but still a pretty cool track.

In my opinion, for the first 10 tracks the album is excellent. The songs are well written, the producion is gorgeous, and it’s of the moment. Not bad for a woman approaching 50. I’ve read some people critically say that she always used to set trends, and now she’s reverting back to her disco youth. I don’t get that criticism; how much can the woman innovate? No one criticizes Paul McCartney for putting out the same shit every album and no longer innovating anything. McCartney’s latest was produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, Divine Comedy, Beta Band), which to me is the same move that Madonna has made. So, give her a break already.

February 7, 2005

My bond with Music

Music and me are strange. Or, maybe not. I am not a poet. I have tried, but what I come with frankly is awful. So, I choose to express myself through the songs I hear. They come into my head all the time. I can express myself in lyrics from all over…

“I know you’ve got pain, but you’re not the only one.” — Add It Up by the Violent Femmes

“We don’t talk about love, we only want to get drunk.” — A Design For Life by the Manic Street Preachers

“Think about the good things I did to you. And, think about the bad things I didn’t do.” Jaded by The Crystal Method

“Open your heart to me baby. I hold the love and you hold the key. Open your heart to me darling. I’ll give you love if you turn the key.” –Open Your Heart by Madonna

“No one has ever loved you more than me, and no one ever will.” –Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill

“My love, Your light, Incantations, Struck, Stars like tears fall, The sequence ends and begins, Downtime, Godspeed, Hear/feel the way they concede, The sequence ends and begins, Everything you think you know, Blood ties the sequence ends.” -Everywhen by Massive Attack

My headline is a quote from a song as well.

I was listening to the album Boys For Pele by Tori Amos. And, the music sounds like me. Sounds like how I feel, instead of lyrics reflecting in words how I feel. I wish I could express myself in my own words better. Sometimes, I will post lyrics, and they don’t even reflect how I feel, but how I think another person feels. Meaning the “I” in the song is not me, but you. Whoever you may be. Anyone who I have made CDs for, listen to the lyrics. I think of my CDs often as telling a story, a story of how I am feeling. Most of the songs, maybe not all, but most tell that story.

Does it make me less of a person because I rely on song to tell you how I feel?