Sunday, April 17, 2016
Almost 70 years ago to the day, Lesley Sue Goldstein was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. When she was just a junior in High School, using the stage name of Leslie Gore, she reached the top spot of the music charts with her first song, "It's My Party." After a few more hits, Leslie Gore was offered a proto-femenist song called, "You Don't Own Me." Leslie recorded the song when she was 17. In February 1964, the song shot to the top of the pops, stalling at number 2, being blocked from the #1 spot by The Beatles song, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."
"Don't tell me what to do! Don't tell me what to say! And please, when I go out with you, don't put me on display!"
"'Cause you don't own me; don't try to change me in any way! You don't own me; don't tie me down 'cause I'd never stay!"
"I'm young, and I love to be young; I'm free and I love to be free! To live my life the way that I want; to say and do whatever I please!"
The music is in 3/4 time, a waltz basically. Instrumentation is strings with bass and drums, with lots of reverb. Leslie Gore's vocals float above the music. She has a wistful singing style in parts of this song, but she sounds strong, determined and self confident in other parts.
The producer of this record was none other than the well known music man, Quincy Jones! Quincy Jones is known for having worked with many famous musical names, from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson. Quincy Jones must have had this song in his mind for many many years, because last year, he worked with another young female singer to remake it! But first, here is the original song, You Don't Own Me, by Leslie Gore.
If you were not familiar with the original version, having only heard the new remake that is out today, you may be surprised to hear how closely the remake tracks the original. One possible reason for that is... Both songs were recorded and produced under the musical supervision of Quincy Jones! Leslie Gore passed away last year, and when Quincy Jones heard Australian singer Grace's voice, he felt that she should record a new version of "You Don't Own Me" as a tribute to Leslie Gore.
Grace Sewell is a young Australian singer who grew up listening to music from the 1960s. In 2015, at the age of 17, she began to record tracks with Quincy Jones. One was this remake of "You Don't Own Me," and it was released in March and the video came out in June. The song immediately shot to the top of the Australian charts. But it only began to hit in America after Grace began to promote her upcoming EP in early 2016, including an appearance in January 2016 on Live with Kelly and Michael, where she sang You Don't Own Me, almost identical to the original, without the rap parts in the radio version.
Currently, the official video for the Grace cover of You Don't Own Me has 30 MILLION views! The song is in the top 30 on the American charts, surely destined to become a major hit, and a great debut for Grace! Here now, is the new cover of You Don't Own Me, originally by Leslie Gore, now by Grace, featuring G-Eazy.
Friday, April 08, 2016
A few nights ago, a rather interesting band was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Their name is BABYMETAL and they were making their US television debut, performing "Gimme Chocolate!" I had not heard of this band. They are metal, and yet they are also J-pop. I like metal and some J-pop but I don't know what I think of the combination in one band!
BABYMETAL was on The Late Show to promote their new album, "Metal Resistance," which just came out on April 1, 2016. Buy it from Amazon using the link at the left! This is their second album, and just entered the UK charts at number 7 -- the highest entry by a Japanese band ever. Their first is self titled and is from 2014. The band consists of three girls who sing and dance in somewhat typical J-pop fashion. Su_metal is 18 while Yuimetal and Moametal are just 16. Backing them is a speed/thrash metal band called the Kami Band, although they have also performed with members of DragonForce.
So what do they sound like? This is a rather strange mix, in my opinion! Even Stephen Colbert was perplexed when he introduced them, saying, "I'm not sure what I'm about to see!" The performance of "Gimme Chocolate! begins with a rather typical heavy metal sound -- fast loud guitars, drums at double speed. But in front are these three young girls in black and red mini-dresses and tights doing dance moves combining Sumo wrestling, J-pop dance and Gene Simmons from KISS. The 4 piece band, dressed in white robes with white face makeup, is headbanging and the girls are doing their thing. Then they begin to sing verse one in Japanese, consisting of rather quick vocalizations, as they continue dancing. The chorus soon appears, and it seems a bit more J-pop structured than the verse. The girls are singing something about Chocolate and they continue to dance with some finger pointing motions. This is followed by an instrumental break that sounds like the fast part of Welcome Home Sanitarium by Metallica. Another verse if followed by an interesting guitar solo, followed by another short verse and the chorus, with some ending ba-ba-ba-ba singing. The crowd goes wild and Colbert greets them with their new album Metal Resistance in hand, as one of the girls says Thank You!
I have to admit, as I watch this again and again, it is starting to grow on me! Have a look for yourself!
Now if you thought that was a bit odd or strange or something you never heard before... let's go back 50 years to the Group Sounds days in Japan when everyone loved The Beatles and the new sounds coming from the UK and US. One of the bigger rock bands in Japan at that time was The Mops. Perhaps they got their name from the Beatles nickname, the four mop tops, referring to their hair style.
The Mops had a song called Blind Bird. It is fairly slow and plodding, with a fuzzy guitar and bass and very little drums during the verses. The singer is singing Japanese lyrics. The song is kind of cool if you like 60s Garage Rock like I do. The very strange and disturbing part comes in the chorus, when the only words in English are sung. The English words are, "Please Kill Me!" I suppose if you are a Blind Bird, you might feel that way. Life can't be good.
Have a listen to "Blind Bird" by The Mops, and ponder on whether this old slice of strangeness from Japan outdoes the new BABYMETAL band or not!
Monday, April 04, 2016
Back to school or work after Spring Break? Need something to make you smile? Here it is! You're welcome.
When you see someone about to do something dumb and dangerous, you have to ask yourself, "What were they thinking?" Here is a collection of demented dudes doing dumb, daring, and dangerously deeds. I don't have to tell you in advance that they aren't going to end well. You can tell that right away, from the first frame of each clip.
This video may cause you to laugh hysterically! Or it may leave you shaking your head. You may recognize the song as a parody of "That's Amore" once performed by the Late funny man Dean Martin. Or you may be hearing this melody for the first time. That's okay and it doesn't make you a Moron. Try one of these stunts if that is your goal. But I don't recommend it!
Sit back and relax, and be glad its not you in these clips that include parkour fails, flip fails, bike fails, gym equipment fails, cliff jumping fails, pool jumping fails, beam walking fails, dangerous chain saw swinging, prank fails, swing fails, roof jump fails, kung fu fails, car jumping fails, and laughing animals!
That's A Moron - Parody of Dean Martin "That's Amore" by Al Mahan
Published on Jul 31, 2013. 2 million views in April 2016.
Hilarious parody set to Dean Martin's "That's Amore by Al Mahan.
Young People doing dumb, daring, and dangerously stupid stuff.
Friday, April 01, 2016
This post is about slut shaming, from the point of view of Hannah from the YouTube channels YayHanYay and Hanna BooksAndBeauty. We will look at two recent videos from Hannah on this topic, and then, just for fun, watch one of her very early, and very funny, videos!
I have been a fan of Hannah since she started sharing videos some 5 years ago. It has always been apparent to me that she is witty and intelligent. She makes thoughtful comments on the books she reads, and she reads a lot! Hannah can improvise and has comic sensibility and timing that seem natural and not forced. You can see some of that in the last video below.
But first, let's see what Hannah has to say about a recent picture that Kim Kardashian posted in a tweet, with "breasts covered and her lady garden covered." In other words Kim Kardashian was naked but not exposed. That tweet received many different replies, some of which Hannah feels can be considered slut shaming. Hannah does not care for labels and feels that it is "damaging and leads to darker places". Hannah points out the double standard between the sexual stigmatization of female versus male behavior, and notes that when women are calling other women sluts, they are making it okay for society to say it to women.
Hannah talks about replies to Kim Kardashian's photo from Chloë Grace Moretz, Lena Dunham, Amber Rose and Pink. She feels that it was absolutely fine for Kim Kardashian to post that pic because she builds a good part of her career around how she looks, both stylishly dressed and at her discretion, undressed. Hanna says that women's breasts and bodies are sexualized by society, and that women are much more than just their bodies, they are human beings who are multi-dimensional -- they may be a mom, business woman, wife, sister, daughter.
Hannah feels that women should be able to do what they want and be what they want. Women can be a model or they can be a scientist; whatever their goal is, they should go for it! Watch the entire video and listen to many other points she makes, in addition to the ones discussed above.
Hannah says in the description, "We shouldn't be soooo offended by someone being naked....ITS COMPLETELY NATURAL!! And if you slut shame a women just know your shaming us all! ♡ Lets Chat! ♡" The chatting has begun in the video's comments. Watch the video and join in the chat!
Now we'll see a book review by Hannah, which touches on many of the same topics. Here, Hannah reviews a Young Adult (YA) book called THE DUFF, by Kody Keplinger. Duff is an acronym for "Designated Ugly Fat Friend." The book was turned into a movie which was released on February 20, 2015. Hannah reviews only the book, and considers it one of the worst books she has come across! She backs up her assessment with many examples of the damage to girls from words and attitudes which are described in the book. Watch Hannah's review and I think you'll want to see more book reviews from Hannah!
Let's go 5 years back in time and see an early funny video from Hannah on her original channel. The above videos are from Hannah's Books and Beauty Channel. Here is a classic Hannah video where she comments on one of her own videos. She makes cultural references and observes that we should make friends but we should not be pressured into doing so. I like to imagine that Hannah had a few key words on a cue card and just improvised her dialog based on the topics she wanted to touch upon. If you like this video, subscribe and comment, because "every comment helps!"
See more of Hannah at her Vlog Channel, where she talks about Breasts, Cultural Appropriation, Political Correctness, Feminism and much more!
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