Tag Archives: pop

We’ve Only Just Begun

Hello again, little earbuds. Once again I’m dreadfully behind on, well, pretty much everything this past week. I recently got the news that not one, but both of my best friends are moving, and that’s thrown me for a bit of a loop. Though neither is moving terribly far (just to the next state over) the news has put me on a roller coaster of emotions. My goal is to keep it together, at least until they leave, because I want to be supportive, but selfishly I’m devastated. These are pretty much the only two people I’ve consistently hung out with for the past five years, and not having them close by (or at least as close as they have been) really, really just flat-out sucks. I see these folks on a daily basis: we talk on the phone, we go to movies, play video games, go shopping, attend concerts, have deep talks, eat long dinners… And all of sudden I won’t have that anymore, at least not every day. It’s been rough, I’ll say that. There were a couple of days filled with tears, but now I’m just focusing on helping them pack and supporting them both as much as I possibly can.

So that explains my tardiness, at least this week. I’m doing better now, though I’m trying to only think of the fun road trips in my future instead of how much I’m going to miss having them close by. Part of keeping it together, is, you guessed it, music. By sheer coincidence I had purchased The Wanted’s self-titled album on a whim just before the news broke. It was a $.99 download special, as was Beach House’s Bloom, so I treated myself to both. I assumed that I would listen to the latter the most because it’s dream pop, which is usually more my speed than mainstream pop. However, I’ve barely given Beach House a listen because I’ve been so enamored with The Wanted. I thought that I would get a couple of fun songs to add to my workout mix, but I never imagined that the entire album would be filled with undeniably uplifting dance tunes. Right now that’s exactly what I need to keep my head above water, so that’s what I’m sharing with you today: The Wanted’s infectious single “Chasing The Sun.”

I kind of figured that my boy band days were over by this point in my life. I mean, sure, I still have some choice ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys floating around on my iTunes for nostalgia’s sake, but I rarely make it a point to listen to them. When it comes to over-the-top pop I usually go for the divas: Lady Gaga, Rhianna, Madonna, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and yes, even Britney. However, The Wanted have been a pleasant and welcoming surprise. What I like even better is that I’m not caught up in their looks or their biographies. I could care less who was born where and which one is growing a goatee. Hell, I don’t even know their names. I just enjoy their music, it’s that simple. This song in particular has that great mixture of peppy beats and hopeful lyrics that feeds my soul when I’m down and really in need of cheering up. And that, dear reader, is what I think music is all about.

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Filed under Memories and Nostalgia, Music Videos, New Album Love

All I Ever Wanted

Once again it is dreadfully late, dear reader. Well, late depending upon how much of a night owl you are. I happen to hoot with the best of them, and have been known to watch the sunrise before bed, so this isn’t late for me. However, when you have the goal of one blog update per day, Monday through Friday, midnight becomes a frightful hour indeed. Where has my day gone? A great deal has been spent playing around on Tinier Me (never have I been to a more addicting website). Then there was the two-hour period in which I finally checked out some much-anticipated anime, Vampire Knight Guilty. But what I’ve spent the most time planning (not only today but throughout this entire week) can be summed up in the title of the following classic music video. Enjoy this fabulous flashback, dear reader. Hoot hoot!

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Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent: Viva La Drag Queen!

Tonight I’m going to my first drag show! This is a bit strange, dear reader, as one would assume that I have already been to a drag show. I’ve been to gay clubs, drag dances, and I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race religiously. Yet in looking back, I cannot recall a time when I have been to an official, full-on drag show. Well after tonight that will be remedied. I shall be a drag virgin no more. In celebration of that fact, today’s video is one of my favourite RuPaul songs, “Jealous Of My Boogie.”

I love drag queens so much, and RuPaul in particular, not just because they are fierce and can do some amazing things with makeup and hairstyles. I love that they show how so many of what we consider to be “feminine virtues” are social constructs. Women aren’t born wearing makeup and high heels. These are facets of lookism that are placed upon us. We are still women whether we wear makeup or not. We are still women regardless of how high our heels are, or whether we wear skirts, or whether we choose to have sex or not and with whom. We are still women if we are not mothers and if we have no desire to be. So often society gets caught up in what a woman “should” be that we forget that we are women whether we fit into what your version of “woman” is or not.

Drag queens help to prove this point, because if a man can dress up as a “woman” and successfully take on all of the trappings associated with femininity, that proves that the notion of ingrained female characteristics is false. We can embrace traditionally “feminine” aspects if we choose to, but it should be a choice, not a requirement. By the same virtue, drag kings prove a similar point about “masculine” traits. However, as Madonna so rightfully points out in her song “What It Feels Like For A Girl:”

Girls can wear jeans
And cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots
‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading

Drag queens not only help in the fight for freedom of choice, they show that embracing feminine qualities is not degrading. Being female is far from degrading, no matter how we choose to present ourselves, act in public, or live our lives. And that is why I am thoroughly delighted to support the drag community tonight. Viva la drag queen!

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Unicorns, Female Pigs, and Dawson’s Cheese (aka Phoning It In)

Apologies to the three people who actually read this blog, but Miss Pink has gotten oh so behind lately (hence all the late evening posts). However, part of this whole blogging experiment is about keeping to a schedule, so dammit I’m going to post something come hell or high water. Even if it’s just a music video. Still, I hadn’t seen this one until a few days ago, and if you haven’t yet, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. I was glad to see James Van Der Beek still kickin’ around, and he and Ke$ha prove to be very entertaining in this little vignette. And since I began the week with pop music, why not carry it on through hump day?

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I have mixed feelings about Ke$ha. She’s from Nashville, so yay for a (nearly) local girl making it big. Her song “Tik Tok” was cute for about eight seconds, then I couldn’t take it anymore, and I never even bothered to listen to the rest of the album. However, I caught the vid for “We R Who We R” on my beloved Logo and went ape over it. It’s a great song for in the car, exercising, dancing around the kitchen, what have you. And the message seems frothy amidst all the booze bandied about, but at its core it’s a solid self-esteem boost. Then a friend posted the video for “Blow” and I adored it so much that I purchased the rest of the LP it came from, Cannibal, earlier this very day. However, the rest of the album is… iffy.

Her song “Grow A Pear” is one of the most blatantly sexist songs I’ve heard in a while, so much so that I don’t know that I can stomach to listen to it in full again, catchy pop beats be damned. While Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold” hints that boys acting “feminine” is undesirable, Ke$ha’s “Grow A Pear” outright states that boys with feminine traits do not melt her butter. While there’s nothing seemingly wrong with having a personal preference for clichéd “masculine” traits in a mate, equating the “feminine” with weakness is degrading. “I just can’t date a dude with a vag,” is one line of lyrics from said song, and she goes on to show how his feminine attributes such as wanting to talk are the reason that she’s breaking up with him.

While this song could mistakenly be taken as having “girl power” because she’s cutting him down a peg or two, in actuality it’s degrading to both men with traditionally “feminine” qualities as well as all women in general. This song is a prime example of female chauvinist pig culture, in which women try to cut down other women in order to be included as “one of the guys” and perhaps therefore get a slice of male privilege. Not only that, but this behavior distinguishes the woman in question from all other women; “What’s with chicks, man? They’re crazy! I’m not crazy, I’m not a chick, I’m like the guys.” Ariel Levy discusses this phenomenon brilliantly in her book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. (Read it, it’s awesome!)

So, overall I’m just not sure about Miss K-dollar sign-ha. Does she truly think so little of “femaleness” in general, or did she just believe that she was writing a funny song? Whatever the case may be, I hope that she takes a note from the many empowering female pop stars before her as to what real girl power in pop music sounds like. As for the rest of the album, time will tell if it remains catchy or falls to the wayside after a few more listens.

Ha, look at that. Guess I can’t stop myself from posting a real entry after all. Enjoy, little earbuds, and come Friday, new album review!

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Defending Gaga: An Open Letter to Camille Paglia

A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted this article about Lady Gaga from The Sunday Times, written by Camille Paglia last autumn.

Oh, Camille Paglia. Despite being the anti-feminist’s feminist (as feminist essayist and poet Katha Pollitt said about you being part of a “seemingly endless parade of social critics [who] have achieved celebrity by portraying not sexism but feminism as the problem”) I still can’t manage to escape your name in women’s studies classes, feminist forums, and online articles. Perhaps that’s your goal? Do you have Gaga-esque aspirations yourself? Are you merely taking out your frustrations about not being a worldwide mega superstar before the age of 25 on one who did achieve that dream? Your article simply reeks of the lady protesting too much. I would like to address that same article paragraph by paragraph.

Your critique that her statements about music, art, and Gaga are lies not being corroborated: How do you corroborate a statement as objective as “Art is a lie?” It seems to me that such a statement is meant to purposefully obfuscate, a statement to make one think, as opposed to the black and white notion of fact or fiction.

Your implied critique of her two-faced virtue in calling her fans superstars while pocketing their cash: Do you not get paid for spewing your frighteningly sexist views across any magazine that will take you, Ms. Paglia? Do you suggest she should put on concerts gratis? How do you expect her to make a living? She is a musician, she gets paid to perform. Even your much-beloved Madonna does the same thing. That does not mean that she doesn’t truly appreciate and love her fans; quite the contrary, since their cash allows her to live the life that she chooses.

Your criticism of her affluent upbringing not matching her status as queen of the freaks: This just smacks of classicism. So because she wasn’t born in a dumpster she doesn’t have the right to explore other personas? You, Ms. Paglia, remind me very much of a group of boys I knew in high school. When I began wearing more black clothing and exploring Goth style and music, they called me a poseur because I used to wear kitten sweaters in middle school. Because, as we all know, if you aren’t born wearing a black baby bonnet and listening to “Lucretia My Reflection,” then you really aren’t Goth. However, after they actually talked to me and got to know me, they realized, as all intelligent people do, that I am awesome. Perhaps you and Ms. Gaga just need to have a Breakfast Club moment as I did so many years ago. It is common knowledge that during the period in which we are raised by our parents we are usually more in keeping with who they raise us to be, not necessarily who we feel we are or even who we wish to be. Youth is for exploring, and both Gaga and Stefani are still very young. And for the record, you really have no reason to get upset about the disconnect between her upbringing and her celebrity, seeing as she fully warned you that her music, art, and indeed her very persona as Gaga is a lie.

Your objection to Gaga appearing in flamboyant outfits in airports instead of choosing to do the clichéd celebrity-incognito bit: Again, she is striving to be a work of art. And she can do as she chooses. Why does this upset you so much?

Your critique of her homages to other artists and your insinuation that Gaga is not sexy: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you know. And there is an entire movement of art that is based on the postmodern recycling of known tropes. Plus who says that her goal is to be sexy? Simply because she is a biological woman, that does not imply a need or even desire to be sexy. (You would think that as a “feminist” you would understand that.) The more that I read of your article, Ms. Paglia, the more I get the feeling that you simply don’t understand the concept of art, and you have no desire to try.

Your statement that Gaga has a “trend towards mutilation and death”: Again, I can’t help but see this as part of her exploratory art. Death is regarded as rather taboo in America, something to fear, something to sterilize and think on in no greater way than a tombstone. What is so wrong about questioning and exploring the facets of death and mutilation? And I have to say it yet again: what’s wrong with not being sexual?!? Celebrity is not synonymous with sex. Just ask Mother Teresa.

Your criticism of Gaga trying to “have it both ways” and your offense that her fans might not be familiar with artists of earlier generations: Funny, I think she’s succeeded in being both avant-garde and yet popular. Isn’t that why you chose to write this critique aimed at her? I mean, you aren’t writing it about some unknown NYC street artist, I suspect because you crave a piece of her celebrity pie. As for her fans being unaware of Tina Turner or Janis Joplin, many of them are young themselves. Were you already a fan of Billie Holiday by the time you were 14, Ms. Paglia? As I have stated before, youth is a time for exploration (and hopefully, that can continue into adulthood). I know that there are many wonderful and important musicians I was not exposed to as a child either through household taste or culture, but I sought out many on my own, and I found (and continue to find) those seminal artists via friends, the internet, the classic radio station playing at the coffee shop… To blame a generation for not automatically embracing artists of yesteryear seems very ageist of you, Ms. Paglia. But then, perhaps you are simply out of touch with the times, trying desperately to find a link to the younger generations of today by criticizing one of their idols. Not a very smart move, in my opinion.

In closing, Ms. Paglia, I must agree with cultural writer and literary critic Elaine Showalter when she referred to you as “unique in the hyperbole and virulence of her hostility to virtually all the prominent feminist activists, public figures, writers and scholars of her generation.” I know that all of us who call ourselves feminists aren’t always on the same team, and you have every right to offer your opinion on whatever topic you please. Remember that it is just that, your opinion, and nothing more. Neither your criticism of her fans nor your disgust with Lady Gaga herself will ever make me ashamed to call myself one of the “little monsters.” I think that Lady Gaga is a refreshing breath of air in the stagnant mire of current pop culture, and the fact that she brings so many feminist ideals and human rights issues to light in an easily digestible pop music mix thrills me and gives me hope that things can change for the better, as pop culture is often a reflection of the society that produces it. Speaking of which, it has been all over the news how much Lady Gaga has done for LGBT rights since achieving superstar status. When was the last time you did something so phenomenal for a discriminated group like that, Ms. Paglia? Because this article certainly doesn’t count for much.

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Steampunk Funeral, Friday Poll

I was watching PopLab on Logo last week, which is the best channel on TV to find new music, in my humble opinion. (Not that any of you ‘net surfers need something as 2001 as television, but Miss Pink likes to be old-fashioned now and then by settling down in front of the tube and finding a surprise or two.) I was thoroughly digging new vids by Kylie and Ke$ha when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a Panic! At The Disco music video set at a steampunk funeral. “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” is a gorgeous murder mystery complete with goggles, guns, and golden gears, as seen below:

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Young Brendon Urie certainly likes top hats, doesn’t he? But he can pull them off with his roguish Jonathan Rhys Meyers charm, so why not? However, the song itself is… okay. It’s a little bland for my personal taste. It almost gets there with the opening music box chimes and sorty-kinda catchy chorus, but the payoff never quite lives up to my expectations. If it was playing on my car’s radio I might pause to listen, but I’d probably keep searching for an eighties station. I’ve been suckered in by Panic! At The Disco once before with their carnival wedding video for “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” I liked the video so much that I began to believe that I actually liked the song, too. But once I had the single alone on my headphones, I became uninterested and skipped it nearly every time it came up on shuffle. However, My Chemical Romance’s lovely ballet funeral video for “Helena” made me go back and listen again, and after a few more viewings I really came to love the song. What about you, dear reader? Can a great video win you over and make you a fan of the song on its own?

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