Beyonce is part singer, part fashion icon, part entrepreneur, and part goddess. She rose to fame while being the lead singer of R&B group Destiny’s Child, who became one of the world’s best selling girl groups of all time. As a modern day feminist, Beyonce creates songs that often uses themes of live, relationships, and female sexuality and empowerment. She has sold over 75 million records as a solo artist and 60 million with Destiny’s Child. She has won 20 Grammy Awards and is the most nominated woman in the award’s history. Time listed her among the 100 most influential people in the world for 2013 and 2014. Her Net worth is approx $440 million. Oh, Did I mention that she sings?! It seems like every song Beyonce releases is a hit. To talk about them all would take a book publishing. To put in perspective the power this woman has, her self titled fifth studio album was infamously released on iTunes on December 13, 2013 with no promotion or previous announcements, and quickly it became number 1 on multiple charts, including the Billboard Top 200. It sold nearly 1 million copies within it’s first three days. That number is currently around 6 million copes sold. Everything Beyonce does is flawless, as a musician, performer, and celebrity personality. She has had such an extensive career and has much more to come in the future.
Stevie Nicks is an Icon. She is best known for her work with the band Fleetwood Mac. Her solo career alone has produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold over 140 million albums. She is called my some the Queen of Rock and Roll. I have countless of her songs on my iPhone and it is really hard to choose one in particular. Rhiannon, I think, is a prime example of the power of Stevie Nicks. It was voted in The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone. The song is about an old Welsh witch. The song highlights her voice and some say when she sings it live it is like an exorcism because of the darkness surrounded in the song. So much so, that Stevie had to avoid wearing black clothing for about two years after the release in an effort to distance herself from the witchcraft and dark arts surrounding her as result of the lyrics to Rhiannon. That goes to show you that she has true talent to captivate an audience like that. I remember watching an interview online of Stevie taking about the songs she writes and sings, and talked about how she wants to be known for hits that last for decades to come, not just your typical pop song/act that will die out in a few months/years time.
We talked about a few punk bands in class, but growing up, I listened to a variety of styles of music, one of them being punk rock. The first band that comes to my mind is Blink-182, who consisted of Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Tom DeLonge. These three men were always ahead of their league releasing literally anything they wanted to sing about, making it a hit. Their hits include “I Miss You” which is a very dark song with sad lyrics to more outgoing creative hits such as ‘Family Reunion” which is a 30 second song with just curses for lyrics. The biggest hit that probably everyone can sing along to is “All The Small Things”. Blink 182 has been around for along time, and I wast really of age to go to a concert like that when they were in their prime time. Since then, they have parted many times, and reunited, but still I would give anything to travel back in time to hear these guys perform live when they were a well-rounded functional band. While Blink-182 may be never what they used to be, their old music will live on for many years to come for punk rock fans as they were such a monumental band.
Many great modern pop songs were written by the same artist, Sia. Diamonds by Rihanna, Pretty Hurts by Beyonce, Perfume by Britney Spears, Loved Me Back to Life by Celine Dion… the extensive list goes on. Sia is so gifted that she can write a song in 10 minutes and it will become a number one selling song. Ironically I titled this the face behind music, but Sia is notorious for never showing her face. Why? Because she has a disorder that makes her very shy and self conscious of herself. More so, she doesn’t want all the fame that comes with being a pop star. She described once in an interview that she is at the point in her life where she can walk in Target while her song is playing on the radio, and people won’t even know she’s the one singing it. She also is infamous for just showing her blonde hair, and many wigs are made to look like it so that way basically anyone can put on that wig and become Sia and sing her songs. She wants her music to speak, not her looks. Sia also has amazing vocals herself, and is heard on her hit song Chandelier. I respect everything Sia stands for, for her support for civil rights and equality for everyone, to her humbleness of letting anyone basically be her and have their voice be heard.
In our book, “Popular Music in America”, there is an article on the Dixie Chicks, particularly with their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide. The music video mixed traditional and modern, rural and urban, and real and surreal sounds to encapsulate the creative tension between then and now that characterizes much contemporary music. The two version’s of Landslide sound like not-too-distant points on a continuum. That is partially because the lead singer of the Dixie Chick’s voice is not too different than that of Stevie Nicks. It features an intricate acoustic guitar accompaniment to banjo and mandolin, added acoustic bass, guitar, and dobro, and sang the chorus in their trademark three-part close harmony. The song would serve as a prelude to the groups more thorough embrace of rock. Their album Taking The Long Way, is described as ” This album should sound like a great rock act making a country album, not a country act making a rock album. Taking the Long Way won several Grammys and entered the billboard Top 200 album charts at number one.
Ok, I admit. One time I asked my friend, “Whats a good album to listen to while having a drink”. His first response was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I knew it was by the Beatles, and was a popular album, but I never actually took the time to listen to it and appreciate it. The album was the 8th studio album released by the Beatles, and blends the style of rock and pop together. The whole album is very catchy and produces a relaxed/fun atmosphere. There was something about the lyrics too that stood out. After doing background research, its easily confirmable that the lyrics may possibly be linked to drug usage. “I get high with a Little Help From my Friends” is an example. Nothing, however, is more notorious than the song Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds. John Lennon claims it was inspired by a nursery school drawing called Lucy-in the sky with diamonds. But its no secret that is could also stand for LSD. Lennon denies these rumors, but if you really take a deep analysis of the lyrics… you may think otherwise. This is just one song on the album however, and like I said, if you ever need an album to relax with a drink in hand, maybe this is the album for you.
We talked about glam rock and Ziggy Stardust in class, who was a great example. However, when i think of glam rock, I think of the classic act known as Twisted Sister. Twisted Sister’s songs explore themes of parent vs. child conflicts and criticisms of the educational system. Twisted Sister’s glam was different from Ziggy’s in the sense that this band used more masculine sounds and their make up was more towards the grotesque side instead of beauty. This iconic image has brought it’s up and downs to the band. hey disbanded for many years and since reuniting their popularity hasn’t seem to be as great as it once was. This could be a testimony that image isn’t everything, it all comes down to if the music is good or not. “Were Not Gunna Take It” will probably remain as their greatest song during their period of fame.
On a personal side note, their Christmas album was in my opinion decent, and their cover of O Come All Ye Faithful somehow always seems to end up on my Christmas playlist…
When will she stop!?!?
Madonna has been around for what seems like ages, and is showing no sign of slowing down. We are talking about the best selling female artist of all time, however. She has sold over 300 million records. But for the sake of this blog, I would like to travel back in time to when Madonna released her music video for “Like A Prayer”. Yes, we watched the video in class, and I have seen it many times before, but i never really took an in depth look on the symbolization in the controversial music video, until now. Madonna wanted the video to be more provocative than anything she has done before. She also wanted to address racism and interracial relationships. The burning crosses is Madonna’s crafty way of exploiting the symbolization of evil. Obviously people see it as references to the KKK. Madonna also upset people over crossing the line by combing sex and religion in a music video. Some support Madonna’s video, as she is the “good girl”, because she saves the African American trapped in the cage by falling in love with him. Everyone will have a different perception on the video, good or bad, but nobody can deny that is was a brave and bold move for Madonna that molded the way for future female artists.
Now if we can only stop her from making out with rapper Drake in public…That to me is more scary to watch than the music video.
The article I’m reading is about Bob Marley. I always had an interest for Reggae music and Bob Marley is the Reggae icon. Marley’s career started off in the 1960s. His success gave hime worldwide recognition and brought popularity to Jamaican culture. He became the most powerful spokesperson for peace and brotherhood. While Bob Marley brought Reggae music to the world, the United States in particular had a right time catching on to it. It didn’t catch on until after the music became popular in England. My personal Reggae favorite is Bob Marley’s song “Three Little Birds”. I listened to that song as a kid growing up whenever I was feeling down. Hearing him sing “every little thing is gunna be alright” just seemed to put me in a more positive mood. That’s the beauty of Reggae. It can bring that positive message and good vibe feeling to anyone how listens to it. Many artists use Reggae’s power to free roam lyrics with mid-range rhythms. Reggae has helped shaped the way for many future songs such as Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye and What’s Love Got to Do With It by Tina Turner (Woot!, Tina Rocks).
While studying for the exam and listening to the songs ,one stood out in particular. It was I Got A Woman by Ray Charles. Just his voice alone is so soulful and immediately drew my attention. I have heard of Ray Charles’ name before, yet I was unaware of pretty much anything about him or the song. Ray was a pianist, singer, songwriter, arranger, saxophonist, and a skilled electric musician. The man knew how to play music, thats for sure. He moved t Seattle in 1948 and began playing in clubs and recording in a sophisticated rhythm and blues style. Ray had a charming personality and showed how a poor, blind man from the Deep South can overcome any obstacle. His song I Got a Woman reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and reflected an advance in his musical style. Charles became known as “The Genius” with this new style that blended so well together. Charles later introduced pop influences, and eventually won multiple Grammys. However, Charles later on struggled with a heroin addiction and from that point his hits were hit or miss. Yet, he still remained a big player in the music industry. In the late 70s, he released Brother Ray, which is the article in the reader. Charles died in 2003 from a liver disease. His musical talent and energetic personality can still be found today in his music. The Genius, Ray Charles, helped paved the for many musicians today.