Friday, March 9, 2012

Current Song of Choice: Climax

There's no question that the current state of popular music is mediocre, at best. Everything is starting to sound like an LMFAO song, and that's not good. There's little originality or evolution of what's come before. I haven't been compelled to listen to much new stuff and when I do, it's rare that it leaves much of an impact. And it makes me really sad to even say that. I know there's some pretty damn talented people out there, so why aren't we hearing more of it on a grand scale is always something I wonder.

I do, however, have my go to artists that no matter what I gotta give an honest listen to their stuff. Usher is one of those artists. And while I haven't been too pleased with some of his more recent stuff (though somehow "DJ Got Us Fallin In Love" is a total guilty pleasure), when I saw a tweet from the producer of his new track, Diplo, I was intrigued. Since then, I've been completely obsessed with the song. I actually bought it. And I can't tell you the last time I legitimately was interested to buy a single.

Reading the title, I'm like "Oh boy, Usher's about to get all in sexytime mode again," then I listened to the lyrics and it's actually not at all that. But the beat? Sexy as hell. I almost want the instrumental just to have cause it's so awesome alone. It's so simplistic and complicated all at the same time. If you were forced to give a genre for the music alone, there's really not a way to classify it and I think that's what I love about it most. And it doesn't hurt that Usher delivers a great falsetto vocal on it. It'll be interesting to see if he can pull it off live but man, I'm sold. Like play the song on repeat for an hour sold.

Anyway, the video dropped today and I wanted to make sure I shared it, for all 2 of our readers. And if you don't already, get yourself acquainted with Diplo, the cool guy from the Blackberry Commercials. He's HILARIOUS on Twitter and though he's insanely accomplished in the DJ/Producer world, methinks he's about to blow up in grand fashion on a huge scale.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Glee 3.10 - Yes/No

So, here's what you missed on Glee:

A secret romance between Mercedes and Sam was teased, but then Chord Overstreet got fired, they asked to come back, he declined -  and then came back anyway. I'm assuming because he has bills to pay and whatnot.  There was some sort of love triangle between Coach Beiste, the football recruiter, and Sue - but no one cared. Emma must be extra crazy because she's hellbent on marrying Will, and here's some stuff about Will's ex wife Terri who was extremely entertaining so of course - they wrote her out. And that's what you missed, on Glee!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

YouTube Should Just Start a Record Label

You may have heard of this kid, his name is Justin Beiber. He got his break because he posted videos up on YouTube and someone saw them and decided to give him the big push and now, well, they're all millionaires. The funny thing is, my niece has been trolling YouTube for years to see people singing her favorite songs and I absolutely remember seeing Bieber before there were movies, earrings and perfumes with his name all over them. I absolutely get the "Never Say Never" thing because looking back even 3-5 years ago, who would've thought that someone could've gotten their big break just by posting videos online?

Every day, I get in the car, turn on the radio and hear shit. There's just no way around it. There's shitty, shitty shitastic music on the radio. It's actually kind of amazing the core level of raw talent you have to lack to get on the radio and into mainstream music when you just take a few minutes to visit Youtube. Here, take a a new tab, go to the site I'm sure you're more than familiar with and enter the name of your favorite song and at the end put "cover". You'll get so many videos returned and I can almost guarantee you'll find someone who's far more talented than Rihanna, Drake, or Ke$ha doing their version of the song. No autotunes...likely just the person, a guitar/keyboard, or sometimes an instrumental track. And once you start, you won't stop suggestions of more and more people doing that same song pop up and they're usually just as amazing and sometimes you come across the more beautifully talented people. It's actually really inspiring. Sure, there'll be some duds in there but man, the amount of talent far exceeds it.

In preparing for this post, I knew exactly a few people I'd post as examples of some of amazing voices I've come across but I wanted a few more for some variety of genre and people and what happened? I spent the last hour just going from video to video. It's hard narrowing down and I feel like I want to go get more because I'm sure there's even better than this out there but if I don't just post these videos, I'll never stop.

So, how about I end with a small challenge for the 5 people who might read this? Do what I said, go to youtube and put your favorite song -- in the comments post your favorite cover of said song (I'm talking to you too blogmate Maggie). I wanna know what you find because seeing all these great artists out there makes me believe there is hope and maybe the Mayans weren't right...there is a great future ahead and it's gonna be filled with some awesome music to get us there.

I stumbled on this one when I was telling some friends about this song. It's acapella...he recorded tracks for his voice for each part. So impressive. This is the guy who inspired me to want to do this post -- Daniel DeBourg:

Legaci -- I've known about these guys for a few years just stumbling on one of their covers. I was happy to see they'd been hired to be Bieber's background singers on tour complete with a segment to showcase what they can do during each show. Man, we're overdue for a new Boyz II Men/Color Me Badd/All 4 One. Here's my favorite cover of theirs:

Brandon Hines -- It might be a sacrilege to say this but this dude might have outsung Maxwell on this song. Just sayin:

Ashley Watson -- This girl should go on The Voice. I mean, it's not like she'd be catapulted to stardom cause apparently no reality singing competition does much for the person that wins anymore but I just think it'd be awesome to see her up on that stage completely blowing those judges away. I stumbled on her tonight. She's

Jayesslee -- Twins. Who sing. Well. That right there is a free easy marketing tool. Their harmonies are flawless:

Andrew Garcia, JR Aquino, & Passion -- Andrew was on American Idol a few seasons back. He did a cover of "Straight Up" for Paula and made it through. Kinda crashed when they went live but he's better than he was on that show. JRA I found a few years back and stumbled on in this video again. He's good stuff. Passion...this boy. Go to his youtube page and listen to the song he dedicated to his grandmother, "Well Done". He's flawless. Thought when I found this one, I'd just put them all together but check them out individually, too. Great song, by the way:

Lana Fame -- Stumbled on her in my travels tonight. This song is currently a popular youtube cover (Thanks, Bieber & Jaden!) but this girl's got the ability to do runs that remind me of old jazz singers. I'd love to see her tackle an Ella song or something. She could probably sound like a scatting trumpet. Enjoy:

Britten -- Throwing this one in even though I didn't find him on YouTube. Saw him open for someone about 2 years back and have been rocked by his voice ever since. This is one of the few covers you'd find him doing online. He has a CD out called "Six Strings and a Drum Machine" and the kid really does have radio ready stuff and such a unique, soulful voice:

Ace -- ending with another one that's not a find online but rather a friend. A very talented friend who the world needs to hear more from. She also needs to post more videos so using an old one that I love:

Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's New Years Eve! (No, not the one starring every celebrity on the planet.)

 If there's one thing I love about the end of the year, it's all of the lists that come out counting down the top ten songs, movies, news stories, trends, things I had for lunch, etc. In the spirit of this time honored tradition, I present to you my own personal favorite songs of the year and in a few cases, the covers of said songs that brought me to them to begin with. I'm a sucker for a cover...and a list...and a boy with a guitar...and a well written tv show...

I digress. The list below is in no particular order, but has been vigorously road tested. What I mean by that is that if we made it to the end of the year and I'm still singing a song at the top of my lungs whenever it comes on in the car - it made the cut. If you're at all familiar with my infamous lack of attention span, you know that this is a much higher honor than a Grammy could ever dream of being.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Self Realization: I'm A Gamer Girl

This weekend, I came to the realization that I really am a gamer. I was able to run from the word because like many people when I heard it, I thought oh that's some boy who sits on Xbox live talking to random people playing fighting games all day. That's not me. Until Friday.

That day I started playing the sequel to a game I'd recently discovered because it totally is the problem solving sort of game I love to play. That game is Portal. I started at 5:30, stopped at 7:30 because I had to go out for dinner, immediately came home and started playing again and didn't stop til 3am. When I finally forced myself to go to bed, I'd realized I'd messed my own equilibrium off by staring at the screen for so long. When I closed my eyes to go to sleep and what did I see? Portals. I wanted to get through the weekend away from the game. I went back to it Saturday and I'm fighting the urge to get at it today.

Then I took a step back and realized, you know what? Every single day of my life, I play some sort of game usually. And that's thanks to having it at my fingertips with my iPhone. On there and on the computer I'm all about Time Management games. Diner Dash was my gateway drug thanks to my blogmate here.

If it's not one of those, I'm on the Kinect dancing along with my little characters on Dance Central and Dance Central 2. It's virtually replaced my cardio regimen at the gym because I can get on there for like an hour and just sweat. But I don't just sit up there and think "Oh this is fun!" I have have have to get 5 stars on every level (I'm almost done on DC2) and I get mad and try songs over and over and over til I can do it. I get all kinds of competitive with it. Even with this, I'm a gamer.

So there, in addition to being quite the techie, I'm totally a gamer. And you know what? I'm okay with it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Madness!

Yeah, this really happens.

So, I'm well aware that I'm one of those bitter folks who has been in retail for too long. But the fact of the matter is, most of the year, my job is pretty fun. I work with awesome people who are like my family, and we have a pretty good time.

But the truth is - Black Friday is my least favorite day of the whole entire year. It looms over the month of November like a thick black cloud, and now that it has crept earlier and earlier and now is into Thursday, has effectively killed my Thanksgiving.

But that's okay. It's all so you, the consumer, can save a few bucks. It comes with the job, it's not going anywhere, and I've done so many I'm the go to expert for my department (arguably the most important one in the store on this holy day).

None of that makes it any easier, and it's certainly not fun. But there are a few simple things that you - the crazy deal seeking masses who ensure that this one day keeps getting more and more and more out of hand every year - can do to make this day more safe and bearable for all.

1. Don't bring your children. First of all, people die during this thing, and if you need more of a reason than that, you're already seriously disturbed enough that you should just stay home to begin with.

2. Don't show up drunk. Because if there's any day that being belligerent and difficult will get you booted out of your favorite retailer, it's this one. We generally draw the line at when you start cussing us out, fyi - and the management team is extremely lenient when it comes to us firing back on this day. If you get snippy, we're going to get snippy back. Complain all you want, and demand that we get fired - unless you're leaving with bruises, it's not happening. 

3. Stop running, pushing, and why the hell are you yelling? I've often compared that moment when the doors open to the scene in the Lion King where Mufasa gets trampled by the stampede. As people rush through the building toward the electronics counter in a sale induced frenzy, it straight up sounds like a riot. Calm down, crazy people, we all know what we're doing here. It's not like we hide the sale items from you, you have a map that tells you where you are. (Although hiding them sounds like an amazing idea and I want to try it next year.) Also, and I know this one is hard to believe - we can hear you. There's no need to scream at us when demanding to know where the digital cameras are. My ears work just fine, thanks.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, call the store.  Any phone call that occurs during the first four hours of Black Friday madness, will either go largely ignored, or will be answered with the shortest, best guess of an answer possible. The fact of the matter is this - everything is so chaotic that we rarely actually know what we have left in stock until the dust settles anyway, so you're probably not getting the correct answer to begin with, and furthermore, there's not a chance in hell that we're going to traipse across the store to find out, nor are we going to hold whatever you ask for anyway. Save your minutes, either let the dream die, or show up like everyone else.

5. Don't touch me.  I mean really, just don't. You will get an elbow to the jaw.

6. You're going to have to wait.  The lines are long, and the team is busy. Deal with it.

7. Once the doorbusters are gone, they're gone.  Sure, we're going to tell you that we have a truck coming on Saturday morning and there's a chance that we'll get more back in just to get you out of our hair. Here's an insider tip for you: I've been to this party seven times - it's never happened, it's never going to happen. Sorry about your luck.

8. It's not the day for a tutorial.  You'd be surprised just how many times people will come up in the midst of the most chaotic few hours of the year, park themselves in front of me clutching a doorbuster camera/tv/other random electronic item, sigh with labored irritation and demand that I tell them everything that they need to know about this product. "Sigh. I don't know anything about digital cameras, can you tell me about them?" Any of the other 364 days of the year, I'd be more than happy to explain to you how cameras work. But there are punches being thrown behind you and a line of impatient, exhausted, drunks in front of you. Keep it moving and look it up online, or come back next week.

9. You get what you pay for.  There's a reason that you don't see that giant tv that you paid like ten dollars for on the wall with the tvs that we carry all year. It's because we get them in for the sole purpose of this two day event and will never see them again. Until a month from now when you haul your broken one back in and you're SOL because we can't replace it. Just saying.

10. Don't hand me your list and tell me to find you "any of this."  This happens every day of the holiday shopping season, and unless you're a sweet old lady, is completely lazy and rude.

11. The rules exist for a reason. Did you see that line outside? Yeah, that means that we have to try and make that many people happy in span of about two hours until things calm to a dull roar. So when we say there's a limit on purchasing, we mean it. And stop telling me that you have twins, triplets, are the octomom. I see you here all the time, and you've never been hauling anything but a latte and an iPhone, and even if you are straight out of an epsiode of 18 Kids and Counting, you're not getting more than one tv/camera/whatever.

12. We're people, not robots. People lose their shit during these sales. I mean really. So if we have go to get you something from the back room and it seems to take forever - that's because the back room is like a damn day spa while the war rages outside of the swing doors. It's quiet, nearly empty, cool. So while someone is pretending to look for that last tv, we take full advantage of a few moments to breathe, cry, sneak off for a drink of water, or to pee. A couple of years ago, some woman bitched me out because I wouldn't give her a deep discount on a video game that wasn't even on sale, even after the manager next to me shut her down twice. It was near the end of my shift and I was tired both physically and emotionally, and her rage fest was almost enough to push me over the edge. The man who was waiting patiently behind her until she stomped off in a huff, had been paying rapt attention the entire time. I started to ring up his purchases, and he stopped handing me things until I looked up at him - when he smiled sympathetically and said "Hey, just so you know, you're doing a really good job." It made my whole holiday season better. Seriously.

So as you head out tonight in a tryptophan and wine haze and stumble into a herd with the rest of the crazed shoppers clutching your ads and your coffee, take a minute to remember that people have been working around the clock for weeks to make sure you have the best chance of getting the items that you want. But once the floodgates open, our resources are limited and there's only so much that we can do. Being rude, pushy, and aggressive isn't going to change anything, and isn't going to help your case if there's any sort of negotiating to be had. Be nice to us, and we'll be nice to you. Isn't that some sort of golden rule or something?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"I worked that song like a hooker pole."

It's no secret, I love Glee.

Sometimes, I love to hate Glee.

Here's the deal: I know how completely ridiculous it is. I get why people hate it. It's cheesy, silly, and it's EVERYWHERE. Lea Michele is so sickeningly sweet and perky she makes you want to punch her in the face. Mark Salling is playing a high schooler but looks like he's well into his 30s. Some of the covers belong straight on a Kidz Bop compilation. Show creator Ryan Murphy has no concept of continuity. Don't even get me started on Matt Morrison. Did I mention that Lea Michele is completely exhausting?

But the thing is, some of the performances are good. Really good. Like, stuck in your head for days but you don't want to tell anyone good.

I promise.

But this is only going to work if this relationship is based on mutual giving, so you have to promise me that you'll watch each performance once.

It won't hurt, I swear.

You may even like it.

So follow me, as I count down my top ten Glee performances.