As an avid country music fan, I found it difficult to pick a song and roll with it, because there are so many I could choose from. I decided to just narrow it down to my all time favorites, one being, “Springsteen,” by Eric Church. It is very much like a lot of country songs are, all about summer, driving and reminiscing about good times passed. But this one is different than the rest, the sound is different and so is the feel. One of my friends put it best when she said, “It makes me nostalgic for a place I have never been, if that makes any sense.”
The song sort of takes you away to a place that feels welcome, but you can’t really pinpoint where it is. When I listen to it, I feel like I’m driving down an open road with just a few people that I love, being young and free, heading off into a bright future of promise. It’s odd for a song to illicit such a specific feeling, so I thought it was worth talking about.
Another great and rather new artist is Andrew Hozier-Byrne, or more commonly known, “Hozier.” He recently came out with a new album called, “Hozier,” and once again I have discovered that there is not a single song on the album that I dislike. He has a very blues-y sound, and his voice is very deep ad melodic. His hit single, “Take Me to Church,” is all about recent anti-gay movements in Russia, which I find very important that he brought it to the attention of the world. (Although, it definitely is not even the best song on the album.)
His music is incredible, his songwriting is hypnotizing and he is just all around incredible. I don’t generally like many new artists today, but he is definitely one of my absolute favorites.
So many wild and…interesting things I could say about the clock-wearing, silver-toothed Flavor Flav. I spent much of my youth watching his absurd reality tv show Flavor of Love, and to this day that is still how I remember him. But he was very prolific in the rap world in his prime. On one of the episodes of his show, he had a group of his rapper friends show up to his house to “test the waters” with the new ladies who came in to fight for the wildcard’s love. G-Unit showed up, and I remember thinking at the time, who are these guys? But they were the kings of rap, long before I would ever listen to anything like that, and learning their evolution has been ever so fascinating.
Flavor Flav has the iconic clock, as well as the Katt Williams’ velvet-wearing, pimp-suit look. The best way I could think to describe him would be, “ridiculous,” but in the best possible way. He was just that, but so much more, as he and his many rapper friends paved the way for much of the music my friends and I enjoy today.
One of my favorite songs in the entire world is, “Kiss” by Prince. I love the simplicity of the song, the electric beat in the background along with his very peculiar voice coating the song like icing on a birthday cake. What I like most about this song is what he chooses to do with his vocals. I have never heard anyone sing a song like this, complete and obvious head-voice, almost like a whisper. Until the end, of course, when he brings you all the way down to his chest, then up again on the word, “Riiiiiiiich!”
This song is so funky and dance-worthy that I never fail to play it whenever I’m listening to music with my friends. It is such an interesting tune and the best way I can think to describe it is by calling it rather addictive. I always find myself playing it on repeat every time I put it on.
I’ve decided to go a different route with this blog and write about a favorite artist of mine, a favorite that I happen to share with my father. His name is Amos Lee, and his blues-y voice and poetic lyrics have touched me so much. Have you ever come across an album that doesn’t have a single song on it that you dislike? That is what his albums are for me. I have never disliked an Amos Lee song. My father showed me him when I was about fifteen, and at this time my dad and I had everything but similar tastes in music, so this was a rather big deal for us. (I spent most of my life believing I was more like my mom than anyone else, but since our musical revelation, I think I am definitely more like my dad.)
Amos Lee’s, “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight,” was the first one I had ever heard and really fallen in love with. True to his form, his lyrics were touching and all about the simplicity of life and the changes that come with growing and moving on. “I’m in love with a girl who’s in love with the world,” is one of my favorite lines in that song. His tone is almost melancholy, and immediately upon first hearing him I fell in love. There’s not greater feeling than that.
First of all, before I even begin reading this article, I would like to say that we are comparing royalty, here. As a huge fan of both bands, I feel injustice afoot! The Beatles are just that… The Beatles, but the Rolling Stones… I mean, come on! It’s Mick and Keith! As a fan of both bands, I am hard-pressed to delve into this article, although as soon as I read its title I was hooked. One minute into reading, I find the word “feminism,” and I know I’m about to have a great time reading this article.
I must say that at first glance I was preparing myself to have to defend the Stones to the death in this blog. But even as I lean hard towards my man Mick Jagger, I believe that this article is a bit harsh against my other man John Lennon. Although I do agree with many of its points, I do tend to favor the Stones as the writer does, I don’t think The Beatles were as simply put as she made them. I think they were genius, and the Stones definitely mirrored their music with more vigor and sex appeal, but John Lennon and Paul McCartney were absolute poets, and amazing ones at that. To criticize their work can often be like pulling apart perfection, just for critical reasons. I can say that I like one more than I like the other, but I would never go as far as saying one was better than the other. If that makes any sense at all.
Something that I find very important about this article is Berry Gordy’s first discussion about jazz. Jazz, I believe, is such an important part of music, not only because it is amazing, but because it’s the backbone of a lot of Soul and Motown music. Gordy says in the beginning that, “If you weren’t hip to “The Bird,” man, or Miles Davis could soothe you to death. I can still hear it today. I really did love jazz.”
I didn’t realize there were so many facets to Motown. Of course, each music genre is basically made up of the next, and the subgenres are all even more mixed than their predecessors, but in Harvey Kubernik’s interview, he was spitting out some seriously defined names in music. Stevie Wonder I already knew was widely considered Motown, but Michael Jackson or even Diana Ross? I suppose the gist of it all makes sense in the grand scheme of things, for each is made up of the other in some kind of small way. I find that very interesting.
I decided to write a blog on this specific chapter because of my admiration for Elvis Presley. He made an immense impact on popular music, and plus he is my grandmother’s all-time favorite performer, so I couldn’t resist talking about him. I find it interesting that, upon first hearing him, listeners did not know if Presley was white or black, and I think that this has something to do with his wild popularity as he was able to appeal to both audiences. I also like that this article refers to Elvis and his team as “the trio,” as opposed to crediting only Presley. This is an important fact when looking at their influence.
I really enjoyed reading the interview with Sam Phillips because it gives me insight into what it was like working with Elvis, and also the man who made him. Phillips gave Elvis the start he needed, and I was happy to read that he didn’t regret selling their contract, because I think he did a good thing by it. But I also think Elvis did eventually lose himself, and that’s what Phillips touches on in the end when he mentions, “dying before you actually physically die.” It was tragic for Elvis, but he had something no one else did. He had the charisma, the looks, the voice and the presence that is just so few and far between.
This week I chose to write about “The Songs of Chuck Berry,” in the article From Rhythm and Blues to Rock ‘n’ Roll. I find this article to be fascinating because it is about an artist who was alive and making music at the very peak of fame for rock ‘n’ roll music. He is commonly associated with old rock artists like Little Richie and Elvis Presley, as stated in the article, but I like how he comments on the different styles of music during his interview. He says that he plays rock when he feels like dancing, or when he’s sentimental, he play western music. Berry ends by saying, “And of course I do play jazz because that’s the only music you can learn something from.” I find this quote to be amusing, in a way, because that is how I feel about music today. I retain very little from the popular music of right now, as Chuck Berry felt of his time. Jazz was the beginning of true popular music, as was rhythm and blues, so I feel it’s appropriate for him to say this. Of course, I don’t agree, as I feel there is plenty to learn from the music of the 50s-70s, but his statement I can surely relate to.
I decided to write about Bessie Smith and her influence on jazz and blues. Of course, it is a fact that almost all of our current popular music and the popular music before today can be traced back to the very early ages of rhythm and blues. I believe that this chapter is a testament to the influence of blues, which originated from African American culture, as well as the influence of women in society through music. Someone like Ella Fitzgerald, and Bessie Smith before her, had an undeniable impact on the advancements of women in American society through their musical abilities. I find this to be truly amazing. I also like how Buster Bailey incorporated a comparison to Louis Armstrong, he said, “Bessie was the Louis of the blues singers.” It’s interesting to read this kind of an analogy because it helps me scale the level of fame that she achieved. I always thought Ella was amazing, but Bessie nearly surpasses her. Both were incredible, but Bessie came first, and in the 1920s it was even harder for a woman (let alone a black woman) to reach that kind of stardom.