Tag Archives: music

Day Nine: What We’re Listening To

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J:

jessie 9

“Second thing I do after I get to work, start listening to CBC radio.  The morning line up is usually not so bad- but I do have my guilty pleasure…I kind of adore the gardener they have on the “Ontario Today” show every week.  I’m not a gardener, but he captures my attention every time with his cray-cray knowledge of every shrub, flower and seed.”

M:

maggie 9

“New City and Colour album.”

Text 2 minutes later:

“Now I’m bored.”

A:

annie 9

“Christian Louboutin addressing the crowd at the opening party for his exhibit!  Short and sweet.  Apparently the French ‘don’t make speeches’.”

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So, it’s November, by j

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Is everyone having the same conversation as I am?

“Can you believe it’s November?!”

The past few weeks have been crazy- but good…shall we recap?

1. Celebrating auntie

The fam (or at least some of us) went up to the Pillar and Post for some birthday spa-ing.

It included some drinking of wine out of plastic glasses, steak eatin’, and being touched by a stranger.

Oh, and I walked into a glass door.  Note to masseuse: when I tell you to slow down because I took my glasses off, listen to me.  Your spa is so dark I think it’s lit with nightlights.

Also, I prefer my pedicure woman to be less judge-y about my feet.  Don’t be telling me my nails be short.  I know.  They’re my feet.

2. I went to the Santa Claus Parade this year, on account of the fact that I’m all up in a BOARD OF DIRECTORS now!  It brought back a lot of lovely memories.  We used to go to our local parade and see all the floats.  Here’s what I remember from my youth: candy (there was waaay more candy), snow (I remember wearing snow pants to the parade), more bands and less dancing.  Here’s what I don’t remember: the Star Wars characters.  Every year there is a group of Star Wars folks (Jedi, Chewy, storm troopers, etc.) walking downtown with their light sabers.  I can’t be too mad, I sure that these lovely folks don’t get out much in their costumes.

There was one group that I could have used less of- the Shriners.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the free masons do some kick butt work for the community (I hear that keeping that secret handshake safe is a full time job)…but perhaps we could get rid of this:


The Shriners in the Middle Eastern garb playing their symbols and fancy instruments strikes me as a touch…racist?  They used to scare me as a kid, I hated when they marched by in their head scarfs.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure this is where my internalized Islamophobia started.  Thanks a lot.

3. Did you hear?  It’s World Kindness Day.  Let that soak in for a minute.  We have a day to remind us to BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.  I’m not sure how I feel about this dedicated day (which is a dedicated week in the office).  Apparently we need to stop, look around and check our KINDNESS!??!  DOES ANYONE THINK THIS IS THE SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE?  I’m all for reminding us to take a minute and remember to check our breasts for cancer, think about mental health issues or to plant a tree.  But kindness?  KINDNESS?!  WE NEED A DAY TO REMIND OURSELVES TO BE DECENT HUMAN BEINGS?

4. It was Remembrance Day.  My irritation continues that we pay lip service to those who are in war and who have been fighting, but treat them like this and this.  I am kind of over the tokenism that it our country’s Remembrance Day celebrations.  If I had my way, I would change the entire process by which we remember.  It would be a critical examination of war, the motivations, how folks find themselves in the armed forces (whether by force or by choice…’cause I put money on coercion being used), and all the casualties of war (including civilians caught in the middle of battles, and the soldiers that come home injured physically and mentally).

But that’s just me.

5. Related: I heard a big ol’ stink by several people who complained about Christmas decorations going up before Remembrance Day was properly recognized.

Now listen here: I’m all for soap boxes.  I love them.  But people that I heard complain to “wait for November 12th” for the lights, music and yuletide excitement need to calm down.  Firstly, you need to relax, because if you were this concerned about remembering those who serve in the military maybe you should be talking about how suicides are increasing by the month for those coming home from Afghanistan and how families are waiting years for government support that good old Stephen promised (you know, before he got himself a majority government).  Second (and I think my grams would agree), Jesus doesn’t care when you put your lights up.

6. My second placement is almost done.

Which means I’m closer to being DONE this entire degree.  And for which I am practicing this walk:

7. Christmas is coming.  M and FFD are bringing their pup.  According to our mama, this thing is going to be huge by the time they roll into SWO.  I prefer to believe that this is what it will be like to spend some time with Jackson over the holidays:

8. We are getting ready for GREY CUP WEEKEND!  Also known as the merging of the families in TO in a week and a half.  While we are ALL there we are trying to get some tickets for the Grey Cup.  I’m not excited about this, as I don’t understand football.  But I hear Bieber is performing at half time.  Maybe this will make up for my confusion.

9. Tonight we made some epic plans.  Can’t say what, but it will be amaze balls.  And a little weird.

Hahaha my thoughts exactly!

10.  Did you hear what the 2012 Word of the Year is according to Oxford Dictionary people?

IT’S “GIF” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So enjoy:

Where have you been all my life…

Video

I’ve heard of this British singer, Ed Sheeran before; he’s had numerous notable mentions on various outlets on the interweb and is gaining quite a bit of momentum in North America. Up until now, I haven’t given in to the hype.

But now I will buy his albums and wear his face on a t-shirt. Watch this video and tell me you don’t feel the same way immediately. I DARE YOU.

Open Letter to Bob Geldof, by j

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Dear Geldof,

Yes, “Astala” is quite a unique name.  And I can kind of understand why you would beg your daughter to change your newborn baby grandson’s name.  It is fairly odd.

But when you have named your own daughters “Peaches”, “Fifi Trixiebell”, “Pixie” and “Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily” you kind of don’t have a leg to stand on.

Sincerely,

A Person Who Wouldn’t Use Their Child’s Name As A Way To Feel Special and Unique

There Is Something Wrong With the World…by j

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There is something wrong in this world when there is ridiculous media coverage, outcry and anger when MIA gives the finger during the Superbowl halftime show…

…and then no one says a goddamn word when Chris Brown wins a Grammy.

Hey, Chris Brown!  Where were you at the Grammy’s 3 years ago?  I seem to remember that you were supposed to perform.

What?  Oh, yes.  You were beating the shit out of your girlfriend.

And three years later you win a Grammy in some sort of twisted “comeback”.

Pardon me, Grammy people.  But who the do you think you are?  Did we forget how Chris Brown wailed on his girlfriend in the front seat of his Lamborghini?  What?  How can that be possible?  Did you forget about how he didn’t take responsibility until he posted a passive aggressive video on YouTube?  Did you forget how the court, JUST LAST MONTH, refused to lift his probation because they weren’t satisfied that he understood what he had done.

I just can’t.

Here’s video that identifies more wrongness:

And this article sums it up even more perfectly.

I’m Not Okay with Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys and I’m Not Sure Why You Are

by Sasha Pasulka

I’m sick and tired of people acting like it’s no big deal that Chris Brown will be performing at the Grammys.

I’m frustrated that the mainstream media is covering this story like it’s any comeback story, like an exiled prince’s return to a former glory, like this is another political timeline — as though some rich and powerful old white men in the music business have not just issued an enormous ‘f**k you’ to every woman who has been, is or will be on the receiving end of domestic violence.

We should be furious.

Why aren’t we?

A Long, Long Time Ago, or Three Years Ago, But Who’s Counting?

For those of you who are currently listening to ‘Look at Me Now’ and wondering what the big deal is, a quick recap: The night before the Grammys in 2009, Chris Brown got angry at his girlfriend, Rihanna, and he took it out on her face. She went to the hospital and then to the LAPD, where this photo was taken and promptly leaked to TMZ. (The LAPD issued a stern statement on the leak, threatening penalties “up to and including termination”. TMZ reportedly paid $62,500 for the photo.)

Both Rihanna and Brown had been scheduled to perform at the Grammys the following evening. Neither did.

Instead, Chris Brown turned himself into the LAPD at 7 pm, was booked on suspicion of criminal threats and was released on $50,000 bail.

Then the Internet exploded.

I was a full-time entertainment writer at the time, so I had a front-row seat to the action. This is what I expected: I expected a string of celebrities to comment on how horrific this situation was, how sad and angry they were for Rihanna, how domestic violence is unacceptable in any context, how as a nation we need to condemn this and condemn it loudly.

Instead, Hollywood went silent and, when they did speak, they teetered on the brink of defending Chris Brown.

Carrie Underwood: “I don’t think anybody actually knows what happened. I have no advice.”

Lindsay Lohan: “I have no comment on that. That’s not my relationship. I think they’re both great people.”

Nia Long: “I know both of them well. They’re young, and all we can do is pray for them at this point.”

Mary J. Blige: “They’re both young and beautiful people, and that’s it.”

Jay-Z, one of Rihanna’s mentors, spoke up: “You have to have compassion for others. Just imagine it being your sister or mom and then think about how we should talk about that. I just think we should all support her.”

In a sane world, Jay-Z’s statement would sound insane. Why would he have to remind his fans to support Rihanna after what happened is that she got hit in the face?

Jay-Z issued that statement because the Internet was, in early February 2009, engaged in a very serious conversation about whether or not all of this was Rihanna’s fault. In fact, large segments of the Internet had devoted themselves to making Rihanna the scapegoat for any woman who ever had the gall to do something worth getting hit, and then the cloying self-esteem to go to the cops about it. Bloggers and their commentators flocked to Chris Brown’s defense in droves. It was a full-blown tearing-down of female self-worth, an assault on any progress women have made in this country in the past 200 years, and the mainstream media ignored it.

It horrified me. It still does.

Later in February, a photo of Brown riding a jet ski in Miami hit the Internet, and singer Usher was caught on video commenting on it: “I’m a little disappointed in this photo,” Usher says in the video. “After the other photo [of Rihanna’s bruised face]? C’mon, Chris. Have a little bit of remorse, man. The man’s on jet skis? Like, just relaxing in Miami?”

The backlash was so severe that Usher was later forced to publicly apologize.

“I apologize on behalf of myself and my friends if anyone was offended,” he said. “The intentions were not to pass judgment and we meant no harm. I respect and wish the best for all parties involved.”

The message we sent to young women was unmistakable: You are powerless. You are worthless. You will be a victim, and that will be okay with us.

The Fall-out, and the Lack Thereof

In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years probation and 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to felony assault.

In December 2009, he released his third studio album. It sold over 100,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts.

On June 8, 2010, Brown was forced to cancel his tour dates in the UK when the British Home Office refused to grant him a work visa on the grounds of “being guilty of a serious criminal offence”. Less than three weeks later, he performed ‘Man in the Mirror’ at the BET Awards’ tribute to Michael Jackson.

His fourth studio album, released in March of last year, debuted at #1.

In December 2011, Billboard crowned him their artist of the year.

And, this week, Grammy producers confirmed that Chris Brown will be performing on Sunday’s show.

“We’re glad to have him back,” said executive producer Ken Ehrlich. “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”

Read that quote again. Think hard about what is being said. Here is what this quote says to any woman who’s ever been abused:

  • By blacklisting Chris Brown from the Grammys for a “few” years (actually, a grand total of TWO Grammy Awards), the Grammys have gone above and beyond expectations for the social exile of an adult man who hit his girlfriend so hard she went to the hospital, and honestly it was really, really hard for them to show even that much support for victims of domestic violence worldwide.
  • It was rather thoughtless of Rihanna to go and get herself hit in the face by her boyfriend, because it’s put such a burden on the Grammys. Maybe if she hadn’t made such a big fuss out of it, things could have been easier for everyone.
  • The Grammys think that they were the victim of Chris Brown hitting Rihanna in the face.
  • The Grammys. Think. That they. Were the victim. Of Chris Brown. Hitting. Rihanna. In the face.

Hitting People Is Wrong, Y’All

I agree that people deserve a second chance. It’s great that we live in a country with a justice system that allows offenders to reclaim themselves and their lives after their sentence. I’m happy about that, and I hope Brown is a changed man at the end of his sentence. (The US justice system has Chris Brown on probation through 2014. It was nice of the Grammys to let him off a couple years early for high record sales good behavior.)

And my suspicion is that Rihanna has no interest in being a poster child for victims of domestic violence. She probably wishes this would all disappear, and I don’t blame her for a minute. She didn’t ask for this – for any of it – and she’s under no obligation to speak out about it.

But someone has to. Because what is happening here is unmistakable. It is, in my eyes, so unmistakable that I wonder if I’m wrong, if I’m missing something huge, because I cannot believe more voices aren’t railing against this.

We – the grown-up influencers in this country, the people with platforms and with educations and with power — are allowing a clear message to be sent to women: We will easily forgive a person who victimizes you. We are able to look beyond the fact that you were treated as less than human, that a bigger, stronger person decided to resolve a conflict with you through violence. We know it happened, but it’s just not that big of a deal to us.

We were so mad when the Komen Foundation pulled its funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. “This is not fair,” we shouted. “This is not fair to women, and this is not fair to the women who don’t have a voice, and we will not allow it.” We shouted it so loudly that Komen reversed its decision in three days. We forced the resignation of one of their top executives.

Planned Parenthood, no doubt, has a well-funded and fine-tuned PR machine, adept at galvanizing a population against a perceived injustice. They outmaneuvered Komen easily.

Does domestic violence have a less sophisticated PR machine than Chris Brown does?

Because to me, this situation isn’t all that different. Accepting that Chris Brown gets to perform at the Grammys because some people bought his album is no different from accepting that women without health insurance don’t get to be screened for breast cancer because some VP at Komen is anti-abortion. It may happen, but that doesn’t mean we should tacitly accept it. What if Chris Brown had hit your sister that night? Or your daughter? (What if Chris Brown had hit Taylor Swift that night?)

We’re accepting the message that women just aren’t that important, that their health and their safety and their self-respect is only important until it stops being convenient for everyone. We should be angry about this, and we should be angry publicly about this.

So I want to say this to anyone who is listening: This is not okay with me. A man hitting a woman in anger is unacceptable and is not easily forgotten or forgiven. A man who hits a woman in anger deserves to be reported to the authorities and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of who might be inconvenienced in the process. A man who hits a woman in anger may eventually be permitted to go on with his own life, but he is not permitted back in my life, even if it’s been three whole years.

Featured image via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Sasha is the VP of Marketing for Pop Salad and a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @sashrocks.
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Lana Del Rey, by m

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My mom called me last week and basically said, “Did you watch the latest internet sensation ruin her career on SNL over the weekend?”. I hadn’t. I like SNL, but I never see it. Let’s face it, at 11pm on a Saturday, I’m generally either blackout or snoozin. Hehe.
Since my mom has gotten better over the years at recognizing what’s trending (less LL Cool J, more Lil Wayne), the comment resonated and I ended up googling the whole thing this weekend.

Lana Del Rey...from the neck up, she's all Adele

From the neck up, she's all Adele...from the wrists down, Rihanna

Lana Del Rey’s album drops at the end of this month. She’s been uploading what she calls “video collages” to YouTube for the last few years, and eventually set them to music that she wrote and recorded.

Her SNL performances were mediocre at best (lack-luster-off-key-snooze-fest), so I guess I agree with all the smack-talkers, but the thing is…I think I might love her.

Sure, she sometimes sucks when she sings live. She knows it too, saying in a recent interview, “I think that the people who have been listening to my music for a little while know that I’m more of a writer and, like, a studio singer…you can’t expect too much from my show”.  She’s well produced. Her millionaire daddy plays a huge role in marketing her career. And her manager was the one who made the decision to ditch her hum-drum name, Lizzy Grant.

But just LISTEN to the (studio produced) music!  I’m kind of in awe. I could care less about everything else when I watch her videos.  Whether it’s the pretentious “video collages” or the recently released (and very carefully produced) video for her latest single, “Born to Die”…I can’t stop watching.  I can’t actually figure out if it’s because I like the way the music sounds, or if she’s a really clever pretty-girl-who-sings-about-sex.  Either way, I’m a little dumb-founded. AND I CAN’T STOP SINGING ALONG.

“Video Games” (and a lot of her other music, like the song “Blue Jeans”) reminds me of Johnny Cash and the word “drawl” [a perceived feature of the English language, generally indicated by longer vowel sounds]:

“Born to Die” makes me think that she wants to be a little like her fellow New Yorker, Gaga, but with more “drawl”:

SNL “whoopsie”…too much DRAWL:

Review, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, by m

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About a month ago, Lioness: Hidden Treasures was released.  It’s a compilation of eleven previously unreleased tracks by Amy Winehouse.  I got my hands on a copy about  a week ago.

You never know how to feel about potential cash grabs from record companies, but I just watched  a quick documentary on her VEVO account about the making of the album, and it seems like the producers that worked closest with her chose the songs really carefully, and with a lot of heart. They say a lot of the songs were done in just one take, sometimes recorded on the fly (like “A Song For You”, which was recorded as she unpacked sound equipment in her attic. She sings and she slurs and she cries and she talks about the singer Donny Hathaway. Really emotional, but refreshing to hear something that isn’t auto-tuned to death).

There are new versions of my favourite songs of hers on the new album: “Valerie” and “Tears Dry on Their Own”. On her last album, Back to Black, her producer remixed her lyrics for “Tears Dry on Their Own” with the music from “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough”.  The music served as a great hook, but now we get to listen to the song as Amy wrote it.

She covers “Our Day Will Come”,  “Girl from Ipanema”, and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”. You can’t listen to her sing that last one without admitting that she  had the kind of talent that you might only witness once in a generation…

Worth the download, good for a listen on a Sunday afternoon 🙂