This is a belated repsonse to a topic that had been whirling around the media for the past few weeks. I had dismissed it before with a snort followed up with a "who cares", but I've been having a particularly "girly" week. In other words, I'm having body-image issues. So I got to thinking about what is attractive and if it can be defined, or if beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. It got me thinking about those Dove divas.
For anyone who hasn't heard, there have been some "unconventional" ads for Dove's skin-firming lotion, in which so-called normal women were used as models. Normal being not the size 2 models that currently rule print ads, but the kind of gals we all see walking down the street. The kind of gals most of us are.
These ads, like any form of media that challenges what is normally forced down the public's collective throat, were met with praise at the beginning. The initial response was positive, mostly from women who were tired of seeing rail-thin models depicted as the standard of beauty. Women who were tired of seeing obviously twenty-something women advertising anti-wrinkle cream, or genetically blessed bikini models hocking ab-crunchers and butt-shapers. We're all smart enough to know that if we use Pantene, we won't automatically look like Beyonce. We also know that most celebs have enough money to hire personal trainers and nutritionists to keep them looking gorgeous, so the 30 minutes we spend at Curves 3 or 4 times a week isn't going to be getting us a cameo on Desperate Housewives anytime soon. So it was great to finally see a company willing to embrace real women with real curves for an ad campaign. After all, their target audience is real women, so why not?
But soon enough, the rumblings started. Up first was the issue of exploitation. Some folks felt like it was unfair to use heavier women in a skin-firming ad campaign. The argument was that if Dove was really trying to promote self-acceptance, they shouldn't be telling the very women in their ads that they need to use their product. To me, this is not a very logical argument. The ads weren't for any kind of weight loss product or diet pill. Basically all the skin-firmer does is tighten up the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Even skinny women can have cellulite. If a woman is a little chunky, she might love her curves but I guarantee you that she doesn't love her cellulite. No woman wants that. A voluptuous body is very sexy to many men and women, but the cottage cheese just ain't happening. It's not something that anyone finds attractive. It's not unbearable, and most of us and our significant others can live with it, but given the choice we would banish it forever.
Another problem that all the complainers out there conjured up was that the ad campaign was condoning being overweight, rather than promoting a healthy lifestyle. This is an overreaction, most likely from the I-run-5-miles-a-day-every-day-and-my never-had-a-cookie-vegetarian-bony-ass-talks-about-wheat-grass
smoothies-for-hours-on-end-to-anyone-who-will-listen contingent. The ad is simply promoting a beauty product. Dove's ultimate goal is to help women look and feel better about themselves while making boatloads of cash. Pretty simple. There was no huge tagline that read "Be Fat Like Us and You'll Live Forever!" Everyone knows the risks involved with being overweight. None of these models were morbidly obese. The thing is, people can be heavy for a variety of reasons. Yeah, sometimes weight gain comes from pure laziness and love of food. Sometimes it's genetic. And maybe there are women out there, like myself, who know that they should lose some pounds but they're either unmotivated or just trying and running into problems along the way. So, what should we say to these women in the meantime? "Feel bad about yourself until you look like Gisele?" No. There is nothing wrong with promoting having a healthy body image. And it's really hard to care about how you look, or even how you feel, when your confidence is in the toilet. Love the body you're in now, and you'll be more apt to take care of that body in the future. Or as one of Dove's competitors simply says, "love the skin you're in."
Of course, the most usual reaction came in the form of insults and mockery. People just flat-out said that they didn't want to see billboards with fat chicks on them. Apparently, it's disgusting. I think that some morons out there just make too big a deal out of body size. I wouldn't get turned on by a billboard of a hairy fat guy in a Speedo, but I wouldn't lose my lunch over it either. I certainly wouldn't write a nasty letter to my local paper or the company who was advertising, moaning that it should be taken down.
What's funny is, in such a PC world as we're living now, it's still perfectly acceptable to make fun of fat people. And not even just "fat" people, but those who are just carrying a few extra pounds around. Hell, I remember in college that if you weren't a petite girl with a perfectly flat stomach to show off your standard-issue butterfly (or dolphin) bellybutton piercing, you were virtually un-datable by most guys' standards. Then again, I've seen plenty of heavy women in great relationships with thinner men and vice versa. So obviously, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Why then, do we continue to look to the media as a gauge for what is attractive and what's not?
Making it all even more ridiculous, now all we read about in the tabloids is how girls like Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie are too thin. It's hilarious the way the media blames things like this on the media, and then they just continue to perpetuate the problem. Lindsay Lohan is so skinny, she needs professional help! Those Dove models are too fat, we get sick just looking at them! The Victoria's Secret models' perfect bodies are an unattainable goal, they need to be taken out and shot! I guess this will go on until some far-off future date, when science and medicine will have advanced to the point where all humans are genetically-altered, perfect freaks. But who will those models of perfection be?
What if they're Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes? Won't that be a kick in the ass!
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
This is a belated repsonse to a topic that had been whirling around the media for the past few weeks. I had dismissed it before with a snort followed up with a "who cares", but I've been having a particularly "girly" week. In other words, I'm having body-image issues. So I got to thinking about what is attractive and if it can be defined, or if beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. It got me thinking about those Dove divas.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I mentioned something in my last post about a great song parody from Sesame Street, which got me thinking about the show. I want everyone to think of what their childhood would've been like without that program. Sure, we still would've had Mr. Rogers and some cool cartoons, but Sesame Street was amazing in that it perfectly bridged the gap between learning and fun as well as between kids and adults.
Some of today's programs are so mind-numbing to watch, like The Wiggles and Teletubbies, that it can be really difficult to find something that your child enjoys but, at the same time, won't make you want to pull your brain out through your nose. The alternative would be to do something with them that doesn't involve TV, but those kids seem to have a sixth sense for programming. They know what's on and when it's on, and they know when they're missing it. And they'll make sure you know too. Loudly.
I don't have children, but I've spent a lifetime babysitting and hanging out with my nieces and nephews. I pride myself on being the "cool Aunt." I watch the kiddie shows with them, I'll run around and act like an idiot like they do, and I'm always looking for stupid ways to make them laugh and just love me more than they already do. There have been a few times when I felt like I was more excited about a particular show or movie than they were. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie was one such instance. I was honestly counting down the days until it premiered. I kept sending my nieces goofy emails and reminding them incessantly that "Spongebob time" was almost here. And when we went to see it, I probably laughed more than any of the kids in the theater.
Sesame Street is another love of mine. Now, I don't usually sit around watching entire episodes. First of all, it's on very early in the morning and I don't do mornings well. I get up at the last possible minute, just in time to shower, attempt to look presentable and get my sorry ass to my even sorrier job. (I actually do look kind of like Bert in the morning, though my eyebrows are less bushy these days.) The second thing is that my nieces are 10 and 12 now, so they really aren't into SS anymore. My youngest nephew isn't even 1 yet, so he obviously could care less. My other nephew is 4, and although he enjoys the show now and then, his attention span is limited to goofiness and vibrant colors all the time. They just talk a little too much on SS for his taste. He loves Spongebob and any cartoons where a lot of singing, dancing and odd noises are a constant. So, although he generally can't sit through an entire episode of Sesame Street, he absolutely loves the music videos on there. I'm sure a lot of other kids are the same way, so it's a blessing that there are tapes and DVDs of just the musical segments.
When I lived at home with my father, he used to watch the girls every day while their parents were at work. Therefore, he would go out and buy tapes to keep them entertained, in order to cut down on the incessant "Pap, Pap, Pap, Pap..." that went on all day long. Lucky thing he had me around, because as the cool Aunt, I could tell him what the kids would find cool, which was usually what I liked as well! Some of the first tapes we got were the Sesame Street compilations. We had about five different ones, but the two that were most popular with the kids, myself and the rest of my family were "Rock 'n Roll" and "Count it Higher." Both of these tapes were viewed with such frequency that they were eventually destroyed. We ended up buying new copies and then when my first nephew came along, his mom and dad bought him copies to keep at their house. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, let me just summarize what can be found on these tapes.
Rock 'n Roll - This is formatted like a radio call in show, hosted by - wait for it - Jackman Wolf! Ok, so already it's funny. Some of the muppet banter on here is priceless, though not quite as humorous as The Count's. But we'll get to him later.
Rather than go through every song, I will just list the highlights. The apparent "stars" of this show are Chrissy and The Alphabeats. Now, Sesame Street will often do direct parodies of artists and songs, but this band seems to be an amalgam of a bunch of artists. Chrissy mostly reminds me of Randy Newman. He's usually always playing the piano and has wild hair. I did see them once do a parody of Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire" called "Eight Balls of Fur," although I think that was Chrissy's solo project.
The Alphabeats' two songs featured on this tape are "You're Alive" and "Rock 'n Roll Readers." "You're Alive" is really quite funny. The two background singers keep inhaling and exhaling while singing in breathy tones, "Breathe in...breathe out...." The song is basically about how to tell the difference between living things and non-living, put to a rockin' beat. "Rock 'n Roll Readers" stresses the importance of books, letting kids know that even rockers think reading is cool by proclaiming, "When we're not onstage we're likely to be making an appearance at the library."
Another of my favorites is "(I Can't Get No) Cooperation" by The Cobble Stones. This is what Sesame Street does better than anyone else - creating something that kids can take and love at face value, but parents and older kids will fully appreciate because they're in on the joke. Whoever works the Mick Jagger puppet (known as Mick Swagger) really nailed his mannerisms and it's a riot to watch him strutting and dancing. The Keith Richards doll is positively hilarious. I don't know how Henson and company did it, but they managed to make a muppet look like a haggard, drugged out rocker.
Others I especially enjoy are "Telephone Rock" by Little Jerry and the Monotones (love that name) and "It's Hip to Be a Square," which is performed by an animated square with some other "shapely" friends. If only the original Huey Lewis song were this enjoyable.
Count it Higher - My favorite. These songs are classics, and I know them all by heart. The best part of this program is Count von Count. He plays the host of the SMV (Sesame Music Video) Countdown. I always liked The Count, but as a VJ (or "wee-jay, as he would say in his quasi-Transyl-Hungarian accent) he's at his best. He has a wealth of great lines that, no doubt, go over a lot of kids' heads, but are guaranteed to crack up the adults.
I mentioned "ZZ Blues" in my last post, which is a great send-up of ZZ Top. The song sounds frighteningly like a Top song, which probably wasn't too hard to achieve considering that they all sound alike. The part that always gets me giggling is at the end when the singer says, "The only band I ever worked with who can fall asleep and keep playing the blues," and then they all nod off surrounded by floating Z's.
Some really clever parodies can be found here, including The Beetles' "Letter B" and "The Ten Commandments of Health" by Dr. Thad and the Medications. My personal favorite isn't a parody, but an original rock song called "Wet Paint." The singer looks and sounds oddly similar to Chrissy, of Alphabeats fame, but it must be his long-lost brother. The band is called How Now Brown Cow, and as any good rock band should, features a cow on backing vocals. This is a really fun song to sing because they use phrases like "smishy-smashy" and "gloopy-gloppy," and the singer screams a lot. The best part is actually The Count's introductory commentary: "Here's a band who's taken the little bit of talent they have and milked it for all it's worth!" He should really be a VJ on MTV, because that phrase really sums up most of the popular bands clogging up the airwaves now.
As so often happens on Letterman's Top 10 list, the #1 entry isn't the funniest, but it is just fine and elicits some chuckles. The #1 video happens to be by SS's most popular band, Chrissy and the Alphabeats. These guys are like the muppet world's U2 or Green Day. They're everywhere. Again, the funniest bit is the Count's intro dialogue, which I thought I knew verbatim, but now I'm second-guessing myself. But it goes a little something like this: "Those of you who watch the Count's countdown regularly know that there is one thing you can count on veek after veek after veek. And that one thing is this - as long as I, Count von Count, am the host of this wideo program, the same song will always be number 1! Why? Because it's my favorite wideo, that's why! So now, for the 1,423rd veek in a row...and still holding firm...Chris and The Alphabeats with Count...It...Higher!!" I don't know if I got that week number right, but you get the general idea. It was a random, high number like that. Pretty funny stuff. The song itself isn't really all that great until they get to the end, where Chrissy starts ad-libbing a little. If I wrote down the part that cracks me up, it wouldn't really translate because it's more about the tone of voice the lines are delivered in, so I won't bother. Just know that it's funny. I'm the cool Aunt. I wouldn't lie.
As much as I love these Sesame Street tapes, my all-time favorite musical parody is nowhere to be found. I have found it offered on an audio tape or CD, but never the video version. It was a parody of "Born to Run," called "Born to Add" by Bruce Stringbean and the S Street Band. There has never been a more perfect song parody than this one. I happened to be watching SS with my nephew one day about a year back and, unbelievably, it came on again. I flipped out because I couldn't get a blank tape ready in time to snag it. It's just priceless. Therefore, I will leave you with the lyrics to it. (I didn't know these off by heart, but luckily found them on the web.) If you don't at least crack a smile...well, you're probably covered in green fur and live in a trash can.
Born to Add
When we're roamin' the streets and we see one car
We always add one and make it two
It don't matter why we like to add one and one
Out here it's the thing to do
Now some say that screaming one plus one all night
Means we're thoughtless, cruel, and bad
But kids like you and me baby, we were born to add
Yes, sir, we were!
As we keep on wandering we see two trash cans
So we add one and make it three
There's alot of us adders on the Jersey Shore
Out here it's the thing to be
Yeah, we'll keep on shoutin' one plus two
Even though it makes 'em mad
'Cuz kids like you and me baby, we were born to add
Baby we were born to add!
One and two and three police persons spring out of the shadows
Down the corner comes one more
And we scream into that city night, three plus one makes four!
Well, they seemed to think we're disturbin' the peace
But we won't let 'em make us sad
'Cuz kids like you and me baby, we were born to add
Baby we were born to add!
Baby we were born to add!
Add! add! add!
Baby we were born to add!
Add! add! add!
Baby we were born to add!
Baby we were born to add!
Baby we were born to add!
Add, add, add, add, add!
And upon seeing this video, Bruce Springsteen smiled, for he knew he had really made it.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
A.3 - The Alarm/Mike Peters - I've always felt that The Alarm were one of those bands that, sadly, slipped under most people's radar. I've heard them occasionally described as a "poor man's U2". There certainly are some similarities, but I think it's an unfair assessment. And hey, Mike Peters never went nuts and thought he was a human fly or started walking around wearing devil horns. They were actually on VH1's Bands Reunited not too long ago, and it was good to hear and see them again.
B.12 - The Bangles/Susanna Hoffs - A lot of people seem to think that you can either be a Bangles fan or a Go-Go's fan, and that you can't like both equally. I disagree. I like them both, but was never so rabid about either one that I would ever feel the need to rank them. They both had some good songs. I liked them because I was a chick (still am!) and they were chicks, and bands comprised of all chicks were few and far between in those days (still are!). I think from a guy's point of view, the girls in the Go-Go's were hotter. Although Susanna had all that hair and the eye thing going on. I will say that my favorite song out of both bands' catalogs put together would be a Bangles one - "Hero Takes a Fall".
C.9 - Crowded House/Neil Finn - Tragically, heinously underrated band. They were actually on a show about one-hit wonders! If we're being technical, they had two hits ("Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong") based on the Billboard definition of a hit, which is any song that cracks the Top 40. However, they were no mere flash in the pan. Most people will remember songs like "Better Be Home Soon" and "World Where You Live". Fans will remember records full of great stuff, all which somehow never caught on with the generic mainstream. I still love these guys and Neil Finn remains one of my favorite vocalists.
D.21 - Duran Duran/Simon LeBon - Okay, now if anyone missed this one, shame on you for 6 weeks. If anything, you could've easily cheated by going down to my huge post about the Double D. I think everyone knows how I feel about this band at this point. I won't gush any further!
E.19 - Echo and the Bunnymen/Ian McCulloch - When these guys were popular, they were a little too "arty" for me. I did like their cover of "People Are Strange" and have always been a big fan of "Lips Like Sugar". I guess "The Killing Moon" was probably their best known song, but I never really got into that one. Last year I bought Ian McCulloch's solo record, Slideling and I love it. Lots of older, wiser Brit-pop with jangly guitars. Highly recommended.
F.23 - The Firm/Paul Rodgers - Paul Rodgers could sing the national anthem of Uzbekistan and I would be enthralled. I am going to go out on a pretty sturdy limb here and shout from my treetop at you all that he is the greatest rock singer of all time. That voice is just Heaven-sent. I loved him in Bad Company, but it was so great seeing him paired up with Jimmy Page in The Firm. And let's not forget the bald drummer and the crazy-haired bass player. (Random bit of trivia: crazy-haired bass player, Tony something-or-other, went on to play in Blue Murder, whose song "Jellyroll" is an oft-forgotten '80s rock gem.) Their big hit was "Radioactive" but my favorite was always "Satisfaction Guaranteed". That song is just pure sex. But then Bad Company's "Burnin' Sky" is the sexiest song in the world to me, and it's about a prison break. It's all in the man's voice. He feels like makin' looooove...ba-da-BA..ba-da-BA... And when he sings, so do I!
G.6 - Go-Go's/Belinda Carlisle - I've already talked a little about these gals, so there's really not much left to say. My brother Joe thought Belinda was the hottest thing on two feet. I always liked Gina Schock, the drummer. Mostly for her name, but I thought a chick drummer was super cool and I liked her haircut. Plus, she was kinda butchy, but still pretty. I was so excited to find out in my adult years that America's Sweethearts were total drugged-out sluts!
H.11 - Human League/Philip Oakey - The lead singer and the two girls looked nearly identical. They all wore so much makeup, it was hard to tell who was who. This guy even put Nick Rhodes to shame. As far as their music, if you can name more than 3 songs I'll give you a cookie. Of course I'd have to ship it and by the time it got to you it would be all crumbled and nasty. But then I really don't think anyone knows 4 or more Human League songs off the top of their head.
I.25 - INXS/Michael Hutchence - I get a little depressed when I think about INXS now. Obviously because of what happened to lovely Michael. But mostly because they're taking part in that stupid reality show, looking for a new singer. Earth to the surviving members: you will not be INXS without Michael Hutchence. You will not find anyone that good looking, charismatic and talented that will win over the hearts of your fans. Hang it up or start playing under a new name. Although...I might decide to pretend I can sing and ask for a private audition with Jon (hot drummer boy) Farriss.
J.14 - Judas Priest/Rob Halford - I really don't have much to say about Priest. I liked a few of their songs. Never knew Halford was gay until the '90s, like most people. Ummm....that's about it.
K.26 - Kajagoogoo/Limahl - I liked "Too Shy" but that Limahl dude annoyed the hell out of me. He just looked like a pompous ass, strutting around with that porcupine on top of his head, making fancy-boy pouty faces. Name another Kajagoogoo song (without looking it up, sneaky) and there will be cookies for everyone!
L.22 - Lone Justice/Maria McKee - Maria is my girl! Not many people that I know remember that this band existed. They were kind of countrified pop-rock. Their best known songs are "Ways To Be Wicked", from their first record and "Shelter", from the second and final one. WTBW was always one of my favorites, but another one is "Dreams Come True (Stand Up and Take It)", which earns serious '80s points for having been featured in that horrendous Coreys movie, Dream a Little Dream. Maria has several solo albums and of them all I would recommend You Gotta Sin to Get Saved to just about anyone.
M.5 - The Motels/Martha Davis - Martha always looked like a bit of a psycho to me. She kind of had those bulging eyes and the big pouty lips, and always seemed to wear an expression of shock. I saw her on Bands Reunited though and she seemed pretty darn normal. She also carries the distinction of being one of the "three most important people in the world" in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. You go, Martha. I was never a huge fan of The Motels, but "Only The Lonely" is one of my favorite '80s songs. It's just got such a great mood, great lyrics and the vocals are out of sight. On the other hand, "Suddenly Last Summer" is one of those '80s songs that I wish I could wipe from my memory forever. Yuck.
N.10 - Night Ranger/Jack Blades - Weird as it may sound, I had kind of a mini-crush on Mr. Blades. It must've been the hair. Or maybe it was his name. Say it a few times...Jack Blaaaaades. You have to draw out the "a" sound. It's an awesome, totally tubular name. Now, technically Night Ranger had 2 singers who switched leads (though Jack got the bulk of the singing duties), but no one ever remembers Kelly Keagy, which is odd considering he sang lead on their most famous song - that radio staple -"Sister Christian". I guess it's not really his fault. He sat behind the drum kit and Jack Blades got to dance around with his guitar rocking tight jeans, with his pretty long hair blowing around. Of course everyone is going to focus on Jack. And he did sing my favorite NR song, "Four in the Morning". Don't ask me why that's my favorite. I don't know. It just is. Better than the crappy song from that equally crappy Michael J. Fox movie.
O.4 - The Outfield/Tony Lewis - I know virtually nothing about these guys. They had a few good songs, "Your Love", "Since You've Been Gone" and "All The Love". All fairly bland, yet likable. I don't think there will be an Outfield Behind the Music anytime soon.
P.18 - The Pogues/Shane MacGowan - Shane did nothing to dispel the stereotype of the sloppy, Irish drunk. He was kind of hard to understand, but the guy only had about 3 or 4 teeth rolling around in his head, so that's to be expected. I never really got too into The Pogues, although their records are must-haves come St. Patrick's Day.
Q.7 - Queensryche/Geoff Tate - Generally I don't like Jeffs who spell their name "Geoff". That's just silly. Especially because they get mad when people pronounce it "Jee-off". Anyway, I'll let this Geoff slide because he's got one hell of a voice. I didn't get into Queensryche until Empire came out, and I played that tape (yes, that was back in the days of cassette tapes, kids!) until it nearly unraveled. I could've done without hearing "Silent Lucidity" every hour on the hour though. That has to be one of the most overplayed songs in the history of music. The rest of that record is bitchin'.
R.13 - Ratt/Stephen Pearcy - Round and round...blah blah blah. Not a Ratt fan. Not at all. I liked "Round and Round" and "Lay it Down". I couldn't stand Stephen Pearcy's voice, who was apparently involved in some decade-long glass eating competition with Tom Keifer of Cinderella. Honestly, I think Tom won.
S.2 - The Smiths/Morrissey - Now here's a guy I would love to slap. Then he would cry and write a song about it. It would sound the same as all their other songs.
T.17 - The Thompson Twins/Tom Bailey - I won't get into the standard Thompson Twins discussion about how they were neither Thompsons nor twins. I have no real opinion on this band one way or the other. I start to think they had some good songs and then I think, eh, they weren't that great. I probably wouldn't turn them off the radio if they came on and I probably still know all the words to most of their tunes. I still wouldn't bother to buy a record though.
U.24 - UB40/Ali Campbell - Not into the white reggae thing. Come on. I just needed a "U" band that wasn't super-obvious U2.
V.20 - Vixen/Janet Gardner - Of all the hair bands, I think these girls really put the men to shame. No one had bigger hair than they did. I thought at one point that Eric Brittingham of Cinderella and Janet Gardner were quite possibly the same person. And then there was that lead guitarist, who wanted to be Nancy Wilson in the worst way, only with much bigger hair of course. Identity and hair issues aside, I actually really liked Vixen. Well, I never owned one of their records, but I dug the songs they had out. I think "Edge of a Broken Heart" was my favorite.
W.1 - Warrant/Jani Lane - Jani Lane was always goofy looking. I have no idea how he hooked up with that Bobbi Brown chick. Well, she pretty much hooked up with one member of every '80s hair band, so I guess by the time she got to the W's, the rest of the guys in Warrant were already shagging other supermodels. I always kind of had a thing for the bass player (historically, I go for bassists) with the big, bushy eyebrows. I really liked Warrant's first record and then by the time Cherry Pie came out, I wasn't really digging it as much. I could make a joke about how Jani had too much cherry pie and that's why he's on Celebrity Fit Club now, but I think it's been done.
X.15 - XTC/Andy Partridge - I think this guy had some kind of weird John Lennon complex. He was strange. Still, they had some good songs with some fairly Beatlesque melodies. My fave is "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead". I'll always remember the video for that, where they drew parallels between the deaths of Jesus and John F. Kennedy. Odd, but interesting.
Y.16 - Yaz/Alison Moyet - No real comments here. I only vaguely know this band. I think "Situation" is a great '80s dance tune. Other than that, I don't have much to say. I used to read this magazine when I was younger called "Star Hits", which I believe was a British mag. They were always mentioning Yaz. I just wanted pictures of John Taylor.
Z.8 - ZZ Top/Billy Gibbons - I've never been a huge fan of ZZ Top, but like everyone else, I thought their videos were fun. All their songs pretty much sound the same though. There is a really great parody of them on a Sesame Street video tape that I bought for my nieces. The muppets had the long beards, they were called Over the Top and the song was called "ZZ Blues". It was about how hard it is to write songs because "there ain't enough Z-words, got the ZZ Blues". Yes, I know all the words to that and every song on that tape. Sesame Street rules.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Having just seen The Breakfast Club again for the umpteenth time and with the fall school semester in full swing, I've been thinking a lot lately about my teen years. To borrow a line from Patty Griffin, I hated every day of high school. Really. It was just a miserable experience. I wasn't pretty, I wasn't athletic, and I wasn't rich. I didn't do drugs and I didn't get laid. I was smart, but not "nerd-smart." Add all those things together, and you get what is called the hallway ghost. I don't know if that's what "they" call someone like me, but that will be my term. I was like Ally Sheedy's character, without all the dandruff and with a slightly better wardrobe.
I was always nice to everyone in school (at least I hope I was) but I never really had many chances to be nice. It's kind of hard to be nice to people when they don't even talk to you, or ignore you when you talk to them. I didn't have many friends and wasn't involved in any activities. Thinking back, I can't really figure out if I wasn't more active because I didn't have friends or I didn't have friends because I wasn't active. I think it was probably a combination of both. Believe me, I tried on several occasions to be more outgoing and make new friends, but that generally didn't work. I was always hoping to be accepted into the "in crowd," but actually hung out with the “burnouts” in junior high because they were, I felt, the most genuine people in school. Eventually I fell out of that crowd as I got older because at that age, I wasn't up for smoking doobies and letting boys feel me up. The burnouts were the final frontier, the last group I could cling to. After them, there was nothing. I just became invisible. I basically became what is commonly known as a truant. I just thought of myself as beyond high school. I couldn’t wait to get to college. I was longing for the day when I would be recognized as an individual with a unique set of personality traits rather than someone to be filed under a simple high-school category.
We're all familiar with the different categories of high schoolers. If you were blessed enough to have been home-schooled, you've probably still seen The Breakfast Club at least once. That movie is quite possibly the best movie ever made about high school. It's not the best because of its realism. There is much about TBC that is pretty far-fetched. The reason it's so effective is because it really illustrates how ridiculous high school is. Nowhere else on earth, with the possible exception of Studio 54 in its heyday, will you find such a self-made, elitist society. All teenagers feel the intense pressure to "belong" somewhere. Anywhere. Most often it's the pressure to be popular. No one realizes until they graduate that all the time spent on building up a popular presence was completely wasted. It just doesn't carry over into the real world. And those people who do still judge people by who they were in high school are the biggest jokes around. It's actually sad to think of anyone who looks like a full-grown, mature adult on the outside, but whose head is still back in high school. As Randall “Pink” Floyd said in one of my other favorite high school movies, Dazed and Confused, "If I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life, remind me to kill myself." High school is not the golden era of our lives, regardless of how good it may have been for some.
The thing that I wonder about now is this - if the goal was to be popular, why didn't everyone just try to have as many friends as possible? Why not just be open to everyone? Why were we all adhering to some definition of popularity that was made up by God knows who? We could use the excuse that we were just young and foolish, but I don't buy that. And you know why? Because of The Breakfast Club, that's why.
Everyone I knew in high school loved that movie. When it came out in 1985, I was actually only in 7th grade. My life then was much better. I had more friends. I had more fun. It wasn't until 8th grade that things went downhill. To make a long story short, my best friend got mad at me for reasons still unbeknownst to me and started hanging out with a new group, became a cheerleader at one point and then slowly turned into one of the “bad girls.” Whatever. That's not really vital to what I'm talking about right now.
Even in the 7th grade, there were cliques. The junior high wasn't nearly as bad as the senior high, but it was shades of things to come. At any rate, The Breakfast Club was universally beloved. It only seemed to gain popularity as the years went on as we all had opportunities to watch it and re-watch it over and over. I can't tell you how many people listed that movie as their favorite in the yearbook. I can't tell you how many people quoted lines from it on a daily basis. It was, in the parlance of the times, totally rad. I never quite got how ironic that was until after I was out of teen prison and in college. If everyone loved that movie so much, why did they never get it?? For as many times as my fellow students saw that movie, the message never sunk in. Why, when they were all gushing about how great it was, did they never stop to say, "Hey...this movie has a point. Why are we all so mean to each other? Does this popularity contest really matter?"
Now we have a new set of problems because that same struggle for popularity exists, but kids seem to be so much nastier now and they want to grow up too fast. Now the movies that depict high school life are about kids lashing out with violence, as in the Columbine-inspired Elephant, or spiraling out of control, like Thirteen. If The Breakfast Club were filmed today, Bender would probably attack Claire, Alison would jump off the roof out of despair and the kid who had his buns taped together by Andrew would come back and shoot everyone. This might not be the case if all those Brat Pack fans really took the message of their favorite movie to heart. Does it really take having a gun put to their heads for kids to figure out that high school shouldn't have a caste system?
Monday, August 22, 2005
There is nothing interesting happening in showbiz right now. Nada. Zip. Don't these damn celebrities know that I'm counting on them to do ridiculous things so I can use them as fodder for this blog? Ah well. I'm sure something will come up soon. In the meantime, I've devised another quiz. This should be easier than the lyrics quizzes because it's just matching. All you have to do is match the band with its lead singer. And being the anal person that I am, I've picked a band for every letter of the alphabet!
This will pretty much revolve around '80s bands because, as I'm sure you all know by now, I was a blue eyeshadow-wearing, rollerskating, leg warmer-sporting, big-haired (as big as mine could get) child of that decade. So without much further ado, your quiz....
A. The Alarm
B. The Bangles
C. Crowded House
D. Duran Duran
E. Echo and the Bunnymen
F. The Firm
H. Human League
J. Judas Priest
L. Lone Justice
M. The Motels
N. Night Ranger
O. The Outfield
P. The Pogues
S. The Smiths
T. The Thompson Twins
Z. ZZ Top
1. Jani Lane
3. Mike Peters
4. Tony Lewis
5. Martha Davis
6. Belinda Carlisle
7. Geoff Tate
8. Billy Gibbons
9. Neil Finn
10. Jack Blades
11. Philip Oakey
12. Susanna Hoffs
13. Stephen Pearcy
14. Rob Halford
15. Andy Partridge
16. Alison Moyet
17. Tom Bailey
18. Shane MacGowan
19. Ian McCulloch
20. Janet Gardner
21. Simon LeBon
22. Maria McKee
23. Paul Rodgers
24. Ali Campbell
25. Michael Hutchence
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Well, it looks like I've been "tagged." I had no idea what that meant before I started this blog, but apparently it's when other bloggers give you some little assignment to write on your own blog, and then you pass it on and so on and so on. It's kind of a blessing when you have nothing to write about, I suppose. So, I'll play along. And the guy who tagged me has labeled me a "hot chick" so hey, anything for him. (Luckily this isn't one of those "meaning of life" quizzes. It's just something short and sweet.)
List five songs that you are currently digging - it doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions and the five songs (with artist) in your blog. Then tag five people to see what they're listening to.
1.Lost In Time - Vic Thrill & The Saturn Missile
2.Mary Kay - Bill Janovitz and Crown Victoria
3.Dancing With Joey Ramone - Amy Rigby
4.Taste The Summer - Duran Duran
5.Love Is Everything - k.d. lang
Now, after an exhausting round of "eenie-meenie-miney-moe", here is my random selection of tagees:
Get crackin'. And I'm really hoping to see William Hung on someone's list.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I love old people. I think I've mentioned before that the lack of grandparental influence in my life has made me yearn for that type of relationship. Must be why I have such a soft spot for the elderly. Of course, I'm not a fan of the crotchety variety but hey, there are jerks in every demographic. Most snotty little brats grow up to be asshole adults, who in turn become grumpy oldsters. A lot of young folks are under the misapprehension that the elderly are all just pissed off people with white hair who hate loud music. I am here to set the record straight. I've always said that old folks rock. But now, I have some proof to back me up.
I came across this story on the CBS News website about a traveling choir known as the Young@Heart Chorus. In a group where the youngest member is 73, you would expect staples of their show to be hits from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and maybe some Bobby Vinton. In most cases, that would be a fair guess. In this case, you would be wrong. Outkast's "Hey Ya" and Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" are just a few of the contemporary rock numbers that the chorus performs on a regular basis. If you click on the link above, you can read the full story and play a video to hear the group in rehearsals. One highlight is an adorable clip of a little old lady sweetly belting out "Ruby Tuesday". The Stones might actually want to think about snagging Young@Heart as an opening act for some of their tour dates. At the very least, it would be nice for them to have some people their own age to hang out with.
Another clip shows that same woman, the eldest member at 91 years young, getting choked up at the thought of having to leave the group. Apparently her health is failing and she is faced with moving to live with her son. Judging by her reaction, I don't think that being away from this group is going to be the best thing for her. Dear lady's got the music bug and no amount of medicine is going to cure that.
I'm telling you, this is what I want to be doing when I'm in my golden years. I don't want to be sitting on a porch in my rocking chair, moaning about how the music of my day was the best and how the garbage that my grandkids listen to makes my ears bleed. I want to be gettin' jiggy with it. Unfortunately, I can't carry a tune in a bucket. I'm assuming that they don't just let you in the group simply because you're old. You still gotta deliver. And even by untrained amateur standards, I'm painful to listen to. So, my dreams for 50 years into the future are already dashed. But, who knows? Maybe they'll need a roadie. With all the heavy lifting, there's bound to be a high turnover rate for that job.
If the CBS video wasn't enough for you, please check out the official Young@Heart Chorus Website. There are several MP3s available to download. I suggest the cover of Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime". It's awesome. I didn't know whether to laugh hysterically or jump a plane to wherever these guys are and give them all kisses on the cheek. I'm not laughing at them, I'm laughing with them. It's obvious that they're all having a good time...letting the days go by.
Monday, August 15, 2005
More of those oddly fascinating stories from the world of entertainment...
Bobby McFerrin has decided to take time off from touring. - Umm, ok. I think the majority of us thought you fell off of the face of the Earth in 1988, after "Don't Worry, Be Happy" wore out its welcome. But, whatever. Gee, we'll all miss you Bobby.
Demi and Ashton are trying to have a baby. - Demi, Demi, Demi. Why? You already have 3 (or is it 4?) kids. Your body is probably in the greatest shape of your life at 42. Why rock the boat? You've already got a boyfriend who's young enough to be your son, and there were no labor pains involved. Just sit back and bask in the glow of having it all. Well, with the minor exception of a viable movie career, but you had a good run, honey. Don't worry. Be happy.
Rod Stewart's daughter Kimberly calls Jennifer Aniston "homely", then apologizes. - Jen was quoted as saying that the remark "ruined her night", after reading the article. Jen, have you seen Kimberly Stewart? I know no one likes to be called ugly, but I wouldn't be too upset if the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock said it.
Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham admits she's never read a book. - We never doubted you for a minute, Vic.
Fiona Apple's new album is finally ready for release. - Yay! Fiona's back! It's only taken her 6 years to carefully smudge her black eyeliner and pretend she has something to say. The new record is sure to please those of you who are suffering from a pretentious bullshit deficiency in your musical lives.
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie both have movies coming out this fall. - What is that I see on the horizon? It looks like four horsemen, but I can't quite make them out...
All right kiddies, here are those long-awaited answers:
1. If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now/It's just a spring clean for the May queen - "Stairway to Heaven", Led Zeppelin
2. And so you're back from outer space/I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face - "I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
3. Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions/I keep my visions to myself - "Dreams", Fleetwood Mac
1. If you need me, let me know, gonna be around/If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down - "Take A Chance on Me", ABBA
2. I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain - "Daniel", Elton John
3. Say love ain't the same on the south side of town/You could look but ya ain't gonna find it around - "Same Old Song and Dance", Aerosmith
1. If I said what’s on my mind, you’d turn and walk away/Disappearing way back in your dreams - "A Man I'll Never Be", Boston
2. Well, I have to follow you though you didn't want me to/But that won’t stop my lovin’ you,I can’t stay away - "Nights on Broadway", Bee Gees
3. Hey you, good lookin’ female/Come here! - "Jailbreak", Thin Lizzy
You’re walking meadows in my mind/Making waves across my time - "Strange Magic", ELO
1. Well, dance all night get real loose/You don’t need no bad excuse - "Shake it Up", The Cars
2. So why don’t you use it/Try not to bruise it - "The Reflex", Duran Duran
3. ’Cause I know what it means/To walk along the lonely street of dreams - "Here I Go Again", Whitesnake
1. And do you feel scared?/I do/But I won’t stop and falter - "Things Can Only Get Better", Howard Jones
2. Oh, this empty bed is a night alone/I realized that long ago - "Foolin'", Def Leppard
3. Eight hours, for what?/Oh, tell me what I got - "Footloose", Kenny Loggins
1. Lace and satin pressed against me/Should we call a chaperone? - "Naughty Naughty", John Parr
2. Clear your mind and do your best/To try and wash the palette clean - "We Belong", Pat Benatar
3. And if the mountain should crumble, or disappear into the sea/Not a tear, no not I - "The Unforgettable Fire", U2
I’ve had a bad time, now love is resigned/I’ve been such a fool, I’ve loved and goodbyed - "Another Nail For My Heart", Squeeze
1. Bob Marley walkin’ like he talk it/Goodness me can’t you see I’m gonna cough it - "Give It Away", Red Hot Chili Peppers
2. Take my hand/Off to never never land - "Enter Sandman", Metallica
3. They said, ’I bet they’ll never make it’/But just look at us holding on - "You're Still The One", Shania Twain
1. Well you couldn’t be that man I adored/You don’t seem to know, don’t seem to care what your heart is for - "Torn", Natalie Imbruglia
2. Can you see them, out on the porch/But they don’t wave - "Yellow Ledbetter", Pearl Jam
3. We must engage and rearrange/And turn this planet back to one - "Are You Gonna Go My Way", Lenny Kravitz
1. Something’s wrong ’cause my mind is fading/And everywhere I look there’s a dead end waiting - "Devil's Haircut", Beck
2. Why did you keep the mousetrap?/Why did you keep the dishrack? - "The Old Apartment", Barenaked Ladies
3. So here's to the future 'cause we got through the past/I finally found someone that can make me laugh - "Whatta Man", Salt-n-Pepa
It started back in 1963/His momma wouldn't buy him that new red harmony - "Perfectly Good Guitar", John Hiatt
1. I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright - "Can't Buy Me Love", The Beatles
2. How many years can a mountain exist/Before it’s washed to the sea? - "Blowin' in the Wind", Bob Dylan
3. I need you more than anyone, darlin'/You know that I have from the start - "Build Me Up Buttercup", The Foundations
1. I found an island in your arms/Country in your eyes - "Break On Through", Doors
2. In school they all stop and stare/I can't hide the tears, but I don't care - "Leader of the Pack", The Shangri-Las
3. So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak - "Mother's Little Helper", Rolling Stones
1. Step by step, I got a brand new walk/I even sound sweeter when I talk - "Something's Got a Hold on Me", Etta James
2. Standing on the turnpike, thumb out to hitch hike/Take her to New York right away - "Creeque Alley", Mamas and the Papas
3. He was big and bent and gray and old/And I looked at him and my blood ran cold - "A Boy Named Sue", Johnny Cash
Mary, oh what a sweet girl/Lips like strawberry pie - "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)", The Monkees
New Millennium Songs
1. Looking back on the things I’ve done/I was trying to be someone - "Shape of My Heart", Backstreet Boys
2. I'm coming out of my cage/And I’ve been doing just fine - "Mr. Brightside", The Killers
3. I’m your operator, you can call anytime/I’ll be your connection to the party line - "Get The Party Started, Pink
1. Call my name and save me from the dark - "Bring Me to Life", Evanescence
2. No one ever said that it would be this hard/Oh, take me back to the start - "The Scientist", Coldplay
3. Now all that's left of me is what I pretend to be/So together, but so broken up inside - "Behind These Hazel Eyes", Kelly Clarkson
1. I don’t want pity/I just want what is mine - "Cry", Faith Hill
2. When I whip with my hips you slip into a trance - "Bootylicious", Destiny's Child
3. Anger’s today’s fashion/So sing another song about bashing someone’s head in - "Kick Some Ass", Stroke 9
Better ask questions before you shoot/Deceit and betrayal’s a bitter fruit - "Lonesome Day", Bruce Springsteen
1. Think of the tender things that we were working on - "Don't You (Forget About Me)", Simple Minds from The Breakfast Club
2. Now with passion in our eyes/There's no way we could disguise it secretly - "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" - Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes from Dirty Dancing
3. With new pistons, plugs, and shocks I can get off my rocks - "Greased Lightning", John Travolta from Grease
1. Barely even friends/Then somebody bends unexpectedly - "Beauty and the Beast", Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson from Beauty and the Beast
2. Once in your life you will find her/Someone who turns your heart around - "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)", Christopher Cross from Arthur
3. Baby I could never steal you from another/It’s such a shame our friendship had to end - "Purple Rain", Prince from Purple Rain
1. Maybe I'm an open book because I know you're mine/But you won't need to read between the lines - "For Your Eyes Only", Sheena Easton from For Your Eyes Only
2. Am I wrong?/Have I run too far to get home? - "Would", Alice in Chains from Singles
3. From my heart and from my hand/Why don’t people understand my intentions - "Weird Science", Oingo Boingo from Weird Science
A higher voice has called the tune/Two hearts that lost the beat will now resume - "Twist of Fate", Olivia Newton-John from Two of a Kind
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Someone asked me the other day, in between bong hits, "where are the '60s songs, man?" Maybe my original lyrics quiz was a bit ageist? It's possible. So, I've decided to tack on a '60s section as well as lyrics of the New Millennium, for those of you with a short attention span. Since I had 3 segments in the last quiz ('70s, '80s and '90s) and I get very anal about stupid things like keeping everything "even", I'm going to make up a 3rd category. I'm not going for '50s songs, so I've decided that the final category will be Movie Song lyrics. In keeping with my ageist attitude, all movies that these songs come from will be from the '70s or later. The format will be the same as the original quiz, with 3 questions each in 3 levels of difficulty and a bonus question per level. Good luck!
1. I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright
2. How many years can a mountain exist/Before it’s washed to the sea?
3. I need you more than anyone, darlin'/You know that I have from the start
1. I found an island in your arms/Country in your eyes
2. In school they all stop and stare/I can't hide the tears, but I don't care
3. So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
1. Step by step, I got a brand new walk/I even sound sweeter when I talk
2. Standing on the turnpike, thumb out to hitch hike/Take her to New York right away
3. He was big and bent and gray and old/And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
Mary, oh what a sweet girl/Lips like strawberry pie
New Millennium Songs
1. Looking back on the things I’ve done/I was trying to be someone
2. I'm coming out of my cage/And I’ve been doing just fine
3. I’m your operator, you can call anytime/I’ll be your connection to the party line
1. Call my name and save me from the dark
2. No one ever said that it would be this hard/Oh, take me back to the start
3. Now all that's left of me is what I pretend to be/So together, but so broken up inside
1. I don’t want pity/I just want what is mine
2. When I whip with my hips you slip into a trance
3. Anger’s today’s fashion/So sing another song about bashing someone’s head in
Better ask questions before you shoot/Deceit and betrayal’s a bitter fruit
1. Think of the tender things that we were working on
2. Now with passion in our eyes/There's no way we could disguise it secretly
3. With new pistons, plugs, and shocks I can get off my rocks
1. Barely even friends/Then somebody bends unexpectedly
2. Once in your life you will find her/Someone who turns your heart around
3. Baby I could never steal you from another/It’s such a shame our friendship had to end
1. Maybe I'm an open book because I know you're mine/But you won't need to read between the lines
2. Am I wrong?/Have I run too far to get home?
3. From my heart and from my hand/Why don’t people understand my intentions
A higher voice has called the tune/Two hearts that lost the beat will now resume
Ok, that should keep everyone busy until either Monday or until I get my groove back. I'll post the answers to both quizzes on Monday. Thanks again for playing!
Friday, August 12, 2005
Just for fun, and since I'm dealing with the dreaded writer's block again, I thought I'd put together a little lyrics quiz for everyone. This was inspired by Layla who has a few different music-related blogs. And since I'm just a working-class schlub, your only prize for guessing correctly will be your own smugness. Let's all go by the honor system and not google search the lyrics, ok? Really, I'm impressed enough that you people enjoy my blog, so your musical knowledge couldn't make me love you any more and your lack thereof couldn't make me love you any less. So, on to the game!
I'm breaking this up into decades and levels of difficulty. (Of course, levels of difficulty is a bit subjective, so forgive me if some are ridiculously easy or unbelievably hard.)There will be 3 songs in each level along with a bonus lyric, which means each decade will be represented by 10 songs. There are no limits on genre, although I'll stick mostly to rock and pop rather than busting out some obscure Himalayan mountain chants or something. Good luck, folks!
1. If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now/It's just a spring clean for the May queen
2. And so you're back from outer space/I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
3. Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions/I keep my visions to myself
1. If you need me, let me know, gonna be around/If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down
2. I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
3. Say love ain't the same on the south side of town/You could look but ya ain't gonna find it around
1. If I said what’s on my mind, you’d turn and walk away/Disappearing way back in your dreams
2. Well, I have to follow you though you didn't want me to/But that won’t stop my lovin’ you,I can’t stay away
3. Hey you, good lookin’ female/Come here!
You’re walking meadows in my mind/Making waves across my time
1. Well, dance all night get real loose/You don’t need no bad excuse
2. So why don’t you use it/Try not to bruise it
3. ’Cause I know what it means/To walk along the lonely street of dreams
1. And do you feel scared?/I do/But I won’t stop and falter
2. Oh, this empty bed is a night alone/I realized that long ago
3. Eight hours, for what?/Oh, tell me what I got
1. Lace and satin pressed against me/Should we call a chaperone?
2. Clear your mind and do your best/To try and wash the palette clean
3. And if the mountain should crumble, or disappear into the sea/Not a tear, no not I
I’ve had a bad time, now love is resigned/I’ve been such a fool, I’ve loved and goodbyed
1. Bob Marley walkin’ like he talk it/Goodness me can’t you see I’m gonna cough it
2. Take my hand/Off to never never land
3. They said, ’I bet they’ll never make it’/But just look at us holding on
1. Well you couldn’t be that man I adored/You don’t seem to know, don’t seem to care what your heart is for
2. Can you see them, out on the porch/But they don’t wave
3. We must engage and rearrange/And turn this planet back to one
1. Something’s wrong ’cause my mind is fading/And everywhere I look there’s a dead end waiting
2. Why did you keep the mousetrap?/Why did you keep the dishrack?
3. So here's to the future 'cause we got through the past/I finally found someone that can make me laugh
It started back in 1963/His momma wouldn't buy him that new red harmony
Hope you all had fun! I'll post the answers after I feel like enough people had their chance to sumbit their guesses.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
I heard a song on the radio the other day that reminded me how much I love schmaltz. Schmaltz is so underrated. You know those songs that are so melodramatic that they border on being hilarious...yet something about them pulls them back from the brink of campiness, leaving just a really great song that begs to be belted out? I love those songs. So, in honor of schmaltzophiles everywhere, I give you my Top 15* Overly Dramatic Songs:
1. Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, Air Supply
Everyone loves Air Supply but it is rare to find those brave enough to admit it. Well, I am brave. These two Aussies are like oxygen to me. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit now. Whatever. I like them a lot. This is their best song, and I defy anyone not to sing along with it. You all know the words, you know you do! They can make every tackle at the sound of the whistle and they can make all the stadiums ROCK, dammit!!
2. Heaven Can Wait, Meat Loaf
I was really going back and forth between this song and "For Crying Out Loud," which is probably a little more over the top, but I really think this song is beautiful. And then I laugh at myself for thinking that. And then I say to myself, "What the hell are you laughing at? This song kicks ass!" It was so hard to pick just one Meat Loaf song. He has a flair for the dramatic. Actually, I should say that Jim Steinman, who wrote all of Mr. Loaf's songs, is the dramatic one. He will be heavily featured on this list. He already has been twice. Yep, he wrote the above Air Supply song too!
3. Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young, Fire Inc.
Any '80s child should remember this song being performed at the end of Streets of Fire. Everyone should be forced to see that movie at least once. Oh that Michael Pare, what a treasure of the American cinema. As supremely cheesetastic as that movie was, it had quite an awesome soundtrack with some cool tunes by The Blasters and Ry Cooder, as well as one of my favorite gals, Maria McKee. The big hit from it was "I Can Dream About You" by Dan Hartman. However, if you watch the movie, I guarantee this is the song that will get stuck in your head for days, weeks, maybe months. It's in my head now because I'm writing about it. Diane Lane didn't actually sing it, but let's pretend that she did because it's more fun and I can't think of the girl's name who provided Diane's voice. And guess who wrote it? If you said Jim Steinman, you are absolutely correct! I wish I had a Streets of Fire DVD to give you as a prize.
4. Amanda, Boston
I'm not really sure that this song belongs in with all this schmaltz because it's just '80s Arena Rock at its best. Hmm, I really don't think I made a good case for it with that description. This really is a great love song either way. I wished my name was Amanda for quite some time after this first came out. Brad Delp just has one of those awesome rock voices that can give you goosebumps, especially when he hits the high notes, which he does often. The best part is when he sings, "YOU, you and I, girl...we can share a life together, it's now or never...and tomorrow may be too laaaaaaaay-aaaaate...whoa oooh whoa ooh woah..." When he hits those "whoas" I swear his voice reaches the exact same pitch and tone as the guitar and they become one. Definitely a lighter-worthy moment.
5. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion
All you Celine haters out there, cram a croissant in it. I don't care if she does dance like a spaz and contorts her face into mock expressions of sincerity. The woman is a complete cheeseball, but she believes it. And the woman can sang. Who doesn't hear this song and try to hit those notes, usually resulting in severe coughing fits? Who doesn't at least scream along to the "baby baby BABY" part? Paired with the video, this song reached new heights in drama...even if it was rather similar to Meat Loaf's video for "I Would Do Anything For Love." Why not? The songs are similar. Wonder why...they were both written by that Steinman dude.
6. Weekend In New England, Barry Manilow
For those of you who don't recognize this song by the title, here goes. "When will our eyes meet/When can I touch you/When will this strong yearning end/And when will I hold you again." You know it. Barry writes the songs that make the whole world sing. Did you really think he wouldn't be on this list?
7. Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Bonnie Tyler
Jim Steinman....again. All his songs have basically the same style. And like this one, the original versions are usually too damn long for radio, so when you actually buy the record you find out there are about 3 other verses that you never knew existed. I've heard other people try to sing this song and it just never quite cuts it. Bonnie and her sandpaper voice were a perfect match for the lyrics, especially when she rasps, "we're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks."
8. The Winner Takes It All, ABBA
I think Agnetha's accent added to the dramatic quality of this song. There's something about hearing foreign women telling tales of heartbreak that sounds so much more tragic. The video was great too. There was poor little blondie, looking sad, weighed down by tons of blue eyeshadow, sitting at her piano emoting. It looked as if she might never dance and have the time of her life again. But she carried on to disco another day.
9. Without You, Harry Nilson
Nothing like a song about wanting to lay down and die after your sweetie leaves you! And Nilson's delivery is priceless. Mariah Carey totally slutted, er screwed this song up.
10. All By Myself, Eric Carmen
Another ode to the hell that is being single. Except that the best part of this song is that the lyrics spell out that the guy is alone because he screwed around too much and now no one's available when he wants to settle down. Ah, funny how life so often imitates art or vice versa. Celine Dion (the drama queen) covered this song and did a pretty good job with it. She hit notes that Eric didn't even know existed...and he has a pretty high voice.
11. Superstar, The Carpenters
Gen Y and younger will remember this song as being belted out by David Spade and Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, right before their hood flew up. (Waiting while all the youngsters have a moment of acknowledgment.) Or, they may remember it as being sung by Ruben Studdard every day the year he won American Idol. But he was doing the Luther Vandross version of it. I dug Luther, but the original will always be the best. The Carpenters are another band, like Air Supply, who everyone makes fun of but secretly adores.
12. One Year Of Love, Queen
This is not really a very well-known Queen song, but if you have the Classic Queen CDs, I'm sure you've heard it. Freddie Mercury's voice was just made for theatrical songs. "Bohemian Rhapsody" doesn't qualify for this list because it's a damn classic and it rocks. (It still is pretty dramatic though.) This song belongs here because the first time I heard it I snickered and thought, "what the hell is this??" But after another listen, it really grew on me. It's such a fun song to sing along with. The lyrics are actually quite nice.
13. I'll Never Love This Way Again, Dionne Warwick
You'll never love this way again, Dionne? Wow, that's a pretty bold statement. Dionne stands by it, though. She is so loud in this song. She's not gonna love this way again. Ever. Bitches. And she wants everyone to know. On a personal note, this was a favorite song of mine from childhood and I have a really stupid association with it. We had a huge basement with just a concrete floor, so my friend Donna and I would always rollerskate down there. Well, my Dad would always yell at us if we tried to walk up the steps in our skates, like if we needed to go to the kitchen or something. We always did anyway. So, thinking that we were really clever, we decided that we would sing loudly on our way up so he wouldn't hear our wheels hitting the steps. For some reason we always sang this song. And for the record, no my Dad wasn't that stupid.
14. I'm Gonna Be Strong, Juice Newton
This wasn't written by Juice but I have no idea who wrote it or who may have performed it originally. I'm fairly certain that Cyndi Lauper covered this at some point. But I like to say the name Juice. And she really does have a great voice. This song is on her Greatest Hits CD, which I confiscated from my brother, after making fun of him for having it in the first place. The song is basically about someone pretending to not care that their honey just walked out on them. It builds slowly to the climax, at which point Juice proclaims, "you'll never know darling, after you kiss me goodbye...how I'll break down and cryyyyyyyyyyyy." That last note goes on forever. It's like she's trying to dig through your chest into your heart with a spoon.
15. Unanswered Prayers, Garth Brooks
There are probably an infinite number of country songs that could go on this list. No other genre loves to push the weepy buttons as much as C&W. But, I picked this one because I almost did cry the first time I heard it. It's about Garth running into his high school sweetheart one night when he's out with his wife, and how he starts thanking God that things never worked out with the ex even though he always prayed for it, because if they had worked out he never would've ended up with his wife. When I think about it, it's so contrived. Still, Garth has that all-American, down-home, genuine quality that allows him to pull this off.
I'm sure I missed a few of everyone's emotional favorites, so get cracking on the comments. No doubt some will be mentioned that I'll kick myself for missing.
*I couldn't narrow it down to 10 and I was too lazy to go for 20.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Everyone gets junk e-mail. There's really no getting around it. The best spam filters usually can't keep everything out. But I'm curious about something. People are always going on and on about how the internet is a dangerous place full of trackers and spiders and cookies, oh my! Apparently Big Brother is out there, collecting all kinds of information on you and I. So how is it that the bulk of my junk mail is comprised of ads for great deals on Viagra and tips for enlarging my nonexistent penis? Apparently, to the internet spies, I am a male/she-male or I'm married to or dating a guy who either can't get it up or can't find it.
Recently, I started getting bombarded with emails advertising cheap Rolex watches. (I guess I need one so I know when it's time to take my Viagra.) Now, here's the interesting part. Where are these companies or individuals coming up with these bizarro subject lines? Here is a sampling of actual email headers I've received in the past week:
Be fix to sharpshooter
But fly my rectangular forbad
To teach by emperor stubby
To roman with true nine
On sit or thickener counterclockwise
As can is microbe overstay
Is talk be homogenous rice
What?? Are these subject lines supposed to mean something? The best part is that they always start with Re:, as in Re: Be fix to sharpshooter. Do they really expect us to believe that their email is in any way related to any email correspondence that we've initiated?? Is that supposed to fool us into opening this crap?
I used to wish this damn junk mail would stop, but I've actually become amused by those subject lines. I almost look forward to them now.
Monday, August 08, 2005
I'm completely fascinated with a new breed of celebrity: The VH1 Star. These are people who have seemingly built careers based on nothing but their boundless availability and penchant for talking about random pop culture topics for as long as the public will listen. (We haven't stopped yet.)
Where do you sign up for this job? Why wasn't I notified? Obviously, I am something of a pop culture freak myself. So, when do I get my chance to rap about Teddy Ruxpin with Mo Rocca or debate who's having the "best week ever" with Hal Sparks? God, I feel so cheated.
As bitter as I am, I have to say that these "media gadflies" (a term that I first heard on VH1) are some of the most interesting people on TV right now. Let's take a gander at some of the more ubiquitous panelists:
Rachel Harris - Rachel seems to be a pop-culture movie character come to life: the "nerdy" girl with the glasses who is actually kind of hot. She's pretty funny though. I like her deadpan humor, though in large doses it can wear a little thin.
Christian Finnegan - Here is one in a long list of many "up and coming" comedians you can find on any number of VH1 programs. Christian is probably one of the funniest…I really like him. He looks like a big, cuddly teddy bear too, which doesn’t hurt. Ok, ok, so I have a little crush on him. I guess that means that he’s having the best week ever!
Hal Sparks - Ok, so Hal did have a job before becoming the spokesman for all things VH1, but so what. He hosted Talk Soup after all the good hosts left. (There were only two good ones - Greg Kinnear and John Henson.) I honestly hated Hal on that show, but he’s really grown on me since then. Maybe it was his stirring rendition of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" that won me over. Or maybe it has something to do with his naked ass on Queer as Folk.
Michael Ian Black - Michael is Hal's stiffest competition in the race to become Mr. VH1. He's also a little more well-known than some of the others, from his work on The State and Ed. I've had more than one person tell me that he seems like the ideal man for me. I guess it's common knowledge that I like weirdos, and this guy definitely fits the bill. He's so freaking funny though. I would love to spend a day with him. Preferably somewhere like the MTV Video Awards so we could ruthlessly rip on everyone.
Paul Scheer - Another unknown comic who apparently hung around the Late Night set before settling down on everyone's favorite music channel. He is upholding my new theory that all guys with a gap between their front teeth are funny.
Paul F. Tompkins - Yet another witty, gap-toothed comedian on the rise. You can't see either one in this picture, but he's got the smile of Letterman and the hair of Cosmo Kramer. How could a guy with all that going on not be funny?
Michael Colton and John Aboud - These guys are described on the VH1 website as "the best Best Week Ever commentators ever". Well, there you have it! They are pretty hilarious guys, but they kind of look like they could be serial killers too.
Melissa Rauch - One of the few female comediennes who I actually find funny. That may sound sexist, but since I’m a woman, it’s not. I suppose it’s just bitchy. My hairdresser told me once that I reminded him of her...not looks-wise, but attitude-wise. See!! I could be where she is! I should be where she is!! Oh, the unfairness of it all. I might have to go all Single White Female on her ass.
Donal Logue - Or as I like to call him, Donal Loathe. I can not take this guy. He must be related to someone at the station. It’s the only explanation I can up with as to why VH1 keeps inviting this jackhole to come and give his annoying commentary on everything under the sun. I use the term “commentary” loosely, because all he really does is blather on aimlessly about nothing, and getting louder as he goes on. Please make him go away. HE IS NOT FUNNY. I remember way back when he did those short "Jimmy the Cab Driver" commercials on MTV. They were pretty amusing. But, if you give this guy an inch, he'll take a foot. He just doesn't know when to shut up. I think it's about time he's replaced. *Ahem*
Hey, Christian Finnegan - if you read this, give me a call. And if you can hook me up with a job as a panelist on one of these pop-tart shows, I'll play "hide the shillelagh" with you.