Monthly Archives: February 2011

Oscar Snubs: Music That Should Have Won

If you were one of the few watching the Oscars last night, did you agree with who won for Best Original Song and Best Original score?

For Best Original Song, Randy Newman won with, “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”. It was his second Academy Award out of twenty nominations. It’s a nice song, but I felt Dido’s “I Rise” from “127 Hours” deserved the win. I felt like it was for one, a more original song, and two a very haunting song. It has a World Music feel and I found it very beautiful.

Also nominated was “I See the Light” from “Tangled” and “Coming Home” from “Country Strong”. Both decent songs, although I thought “I Rise” was the strongest song.

As for Best Original Score, wow. I really thought Hans Zimmer with “Inception” should have won that one. I was also disappointed that Daft Punk’s “Tron: Legacy” film score wasn’t nominated for Best Original Score, because if we’re going to go with experimental film scores like “The Social Network” then “Tron: Legacy” should have  at least contended with the others, because it was a brilliant film soundtrack and it was completely original and different from film scores past. Plus, that soundtrack was a huge reason many people saw “Tron: Legacy” at all.

The “Inception” soundtrack was quite brilliant, as Zimmer brought a threatening and hovering weariness to the movie. There was sadness and beauty and I felt like the emotions conjured by “Inception’s” film score were more vast than “The Social Network” by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I can see why “The Social Network” won, it was a good score, no doubt about it, but I felt “Inception” was simply better.

This song I thought was amazing, beautiful and heartbreaking. If you don’t feel anything hearing this, you must be deaf.

Also nominated were “How to Train Your Dragon”, “The King’s Speech”, and “127 Hours”. Out of those, I’ve only heard “How to Train Your Dragon” and I felt there was some quite exquisite music in that film as well, and I’m glad it got nominated.

I have to say, this song from “How to Train Your Dragon” REALLY pulls on my heartstrings. If you have not seen this movie, SEE IT! Right at “0:44” minutes when the bells start in, boy! That is just so beautiful to me. There is such an innocence that is portrayed by the instruments used in this song. Innocence in music or story always gets the best of me.

Also, I have to insert “Tron:Legacy” in here as well.

What were your favorite film scores? Who do you think should have won?

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Ke$ha New Music Video – Blow

No mythological creatures were harmed in the making of this video

Yeah, I never thought I’d post about Ke$ha, I’m not a fan of her work much at all. Yeah, some catchy songs, but you wouldn’t catch me bumping her latest in my car down Los Feliz.

Or have I spoken too soon?

Just checked out her latest on Vevo, “Blow”. This music video is a must-see. It’s funny. There’s human unicorns, and the most random music video hunk, James Van Der Beek. My favorite part is when he pulls a bra out of his shirt. Yes, it’s that weird and laugh out loud funny. The song itself? Pretty simple, but danceable. If you like Ke$ha, you’ll like this, I like it because it’s a good dance song. Simple chorus, but fun. I think this song and video are quite different for this artist than her past work. It’s an entertaining and very original video. It’s humorous and odd ball. Perhaps she’s graduating onto becoming a more entertaining singer? I think if Ke$ha keeps it up, she might become more relevant than being known as a young dance singer. I also think James Van Der Beek is a sport for being made fun of.

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One of the Most Beautiful Piano Solos “Regret” – Gackt/Malice Mizer

“Regret” is a song that isn’t new, it’s over ten years old. Although, I can’t really categorize it as a “Blast from the Past” because for most Americans, other countries, etc. haven’t heard this song until your privy into J-Pop AKA Japanese pop music. Gackt is a Japanese pop singer and was with the rock band Malice Mizer. Gackt is half Japanese and half French, and he has a one of a kind look.

I heard this song in a very strange way, when I first heard it, it was one of the most beautiful piano solos I have ever heard. It makes you want to cry. I was reminded of the song again recently, and I looked it up, and it still holds it’s own after so long. It’s still one of the most beautiful modern piano pieces I have ever heard.

This YouTube video is set on a Final Fantasy backdrop. I couldn’t really find a better music video, but I think the visuals help convey the song. I’m also attaching a live performance of “Regret” although, I’m not a fan when the drums start kicking in, maybe you’ll like it, but I just like the piano by itself.

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Blast from the Past Fridays- Aaliyah

Aaliyah’s death was such a tragedy. Right when her career was really taking off, her life was taken while flying out of location for a music video.

Growing up, I heard “One in a Million” and other hits. I didn’t become a fan until her last red album, “Aaliyah”. That album was brilliant. That was a true R&B album, with soul, heart and smoothness. I bought her last album after her death and I knew I would have become a big fan. I’m picky with who I become a fan of, Madonna is my idol, I love Michael Jackson, but Aaliyah was going to be up there for me too. I would have went to concerts, etc.

With that last album, it starts off strong with “We Need a Resolution”. The production on that song is still relevant today and doesn’t sound old at all. It’s also not mimicked at all, it stands alone as an original sounding song.

“Rock the Boat” is such a calming song, great groove and this song is the last music video Aaliyah performed in. This song is special for me. I always think of white sandy beaches and clear blue waters.

“I Care 4 U”, wow, if you are really crushing hard on someone, this song will pull on your heartstrings until you can’t bare it anymore. “Extra Smooth” and “More Than a Woman” have good upbeat grooves, something you can jam to and dance to.

This album is also interesting and unique because it also discusses domestic abuse, something I don’t really hear much of and still don’t hear much of. Of becoming a stronger woman and leaving a bad situation, and I think these songs are sorely needed to inspire women to reflect on a negative relationship. “Never No More” and “I Refuse” talk about domestic abuse, and “I Refuse” is a beautiful song, with good harmonies, and a dramatic piano.

Also, another interesting topic Aaliyah discusses, is cheating. In “I Can Be” the intro is haunting, and the song discusses being “the other woman”, letting the man cheat on his girlfriend with her. Although it’s a taboo topic, not really something a girl strives for in life, this song has a seductive energy to it, and it is one of my favorite songs on the album.

In “Those Were the Days” Aaliyah sings about a broken relationship. What it’s like when a relationship is over. Something everyone can relate to.

The album ends with “What If”, a very distorted guitar, I can’t describe what the instruments are. Disturbing sounds, but it works and this song is about turning the tables on a man and treating him the way she is treated by him.

This album has stories about being a strong woman, giving into weaknesses and all the rhythm and soul packed into a beautiful album.

And this album is over ten years old, and it stands the test of time. RIP Aaliyah.

 

 

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Strife of an Indie Artist

I mostly want this blog to be about music I like, music videos, album reviews, etc. I also wanted to drop in here and there about my own musical plights and adventures, such as networking events, and what it looks like for an indie artist to make it on their own.

Developing your own music can be done by anyone nowadays. If you have Pro Tools and a microphone, anyone can call themselves a producer, and if you have a video camera, anyone can be a singer online.

Now with music, the listener has to shift through loads of loads of musicians to find their niche. It’s definitely an interesting and fun time to be a musician, and I am glad that there is a “Do-It-Yourself” formula now. It makes it easier for someone who does have talent, to get out there in easier ways, although now the music scene is saturated with so many artists, how do you stand out over everyone else?

Well, my answer to that is be yourself. Most of the biggest musicians worked on their talent, but they were themselves. If you’re trying to be like someone else, you’ll just be another copycat and definitely won’t stand out over the rest. To be yourself, you have to get to know yourself. You have to be honest with yourself, which I believe is one of the hardest things to do.

Currently I am working on my craft, teaming up with different producers, trying to find that right fit. I’ve had a song I worked on in 2010, and now I am in the final stages of mixing and mastering the new release. It’s been a long process, because if you don’t have a label backing you, and if you’re not sitting on top of a fortune, it costs a lot of money to record music, produce it, mix it, master it. I had a friend tell me some good advice.

There are two ways of making music. You can either throw a lot of money at a producer, cut an album/EP/single and then take your chances in promoting the music yourself to labels, etc. Or, you can build your way up, collaborate with others and have people work with you for your talent. I’m choosing the latter, finding people that want to work with me for my talent. It’s a process, and in LA, it’s very easy to get screwed over. Mostly because people are looking out for themselves.

My thoughts are that I find other like-minded good people to work with and see where it goes. If I am talented enough, it will work. If I work harder on my singing, dancing, performing, etc. it will work. Although, it’s a slow process. That’s why, after a year of making music, I’m only going to be able to release one single. Although, that should change soon, as I am meeting more people in the music industry and making connections, I have a feeling I will be releasing more singles in the coming months.

Anyways, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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Art of Lady Gaga: Telephone Music Video

Finally following up on my Lady Gaga music video critiques. I am sure I will also talk about the “Born This Way” music video when it is released.

For me, the Bad Romance and Telephone music videos had an impact on popular culture, displayed Lady Gaga more as an artist and had strong messages about feminism. Check out my previous blog about Bad Romance here: https://elenamusic.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-art-of-gaga-lady-gagas-bad-romance-music-video-explained/

Lady Gaga’s Telephone music video starts off in a prison. Well, let’s rewind a little bit more, the song itself is about Gaga in a club, getting annoyed with getting several phone calls. She’s busy dancing on the dance floor and doesn’t want to answer the phone. Simple and vain at the same time. The music video isn’t really much about telephones at all.

Now, back to the prison, Gaga is admitted into her cell and she is stripped of her clothes. Two meanings there, we are reminded again of her being stripped in the Bad Romance music video, is she being stripped because the public wants more of her? She is more raw in this video, and she retaliates by jumping on the bars naked, thus, showing that is is a woman, and not a man or various incarnations the public has mapped her out to be. She’s saying, “this is me!”

Next we are introduced to the Exercise Yard, where we see a lot of butch women working out, trashy women, etc. You can overhear someone saying, “you ain’t gonna make it, baby”. I’m sure that’s a reference to people in Lady Gaga’s past who have told her she would never make it as a singer. She’s trapped in this prison, and she’s going to make it out, or “make it”. She is also “chained” to show how trapped she is. She kisses another masculine woman, showing her bisexuality and displaying a gay kiss that isn’t really seen in media often. Usually, lesbian kissing is with two hot girls, for the pleasure of straight men. This was a butch woman with a feminine women, for the pleasure of other lesbians, not men.

Gaga gets a phone call, and she has coke cans in her hair, previously in the Exercise yard she has cigarettes for sunglasses. Perhaps vices that Lady Gaga avoids or is hard to avoid? During the fight scene, right before Gaga answers the phone, there is a girl with sunglasses and long dark hair, and she looks like Lady Gaga in some way. A relative, perhaps? I just find that scene a little odd.

Lady Gaga is later busted out by Beyonce AKA “Honey B”. She is dancing her way out of her cell, and Beyonce greets her in the “P**** Wagon” which is the truck from the movie “Kill Bill”. That movie displays a woman taking revenge on those who tried to kill her. This music video follows the same formula, Gaga and Honey B will take revenge.

Honey B tells Gaga right away she’s been a “very bad girl”. I think that’s a tongue-in-cheek way of referencing her musician career as an outspoken artist. They also talk about two jokes. “Once you kill a cow, you gotta to make a burger” and “Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broke, but you can still see the crack in the mother-f**s reflection”. Both references to Quentin Tarantino’s method of writing screenplays. Also, it means, to commit to something and trust, once broken, will always show in a person.

They both end up in a cafe, where they both put poison in honey and in the food at the restaurant, thus killing the boyfriend and everyone in the restaurant. The boyfriend shows his sexist behavior, by getting up, slapping girls on the butt, arguing with people and taking all of Honey B’s honey. Which I think represents money. The revenge in Gaga’s Bad Romance music video, is continued in this music video, further blending femininity and masculinity by making women the killers, taking revenge and being violent, which is usually known as a masculine trait.

Beyonce also furthers the blurring of the lines when you see her dressed as a soldier in her bedroom. After everyone is thoroughly dead, Gaga and Honey B are dressed in American grab and begin a big dance number. This scene is showing the freedom of Americans, that things can change, and also mocks the absurdity of the situation.

One of the reporters, is one of the guys from the previously popular TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Eye”, another nod to the gay community.

In the end, Gaga and Honey B drive away, looking like widows, in a Thelma & Louise style, further asserting their femininity, and the last thing you see is the female symbol ending the scene.

A lot of messages in this music video, some very blatant and some you need to read into a little bit, but definitely very interesting and something different from music videos in the past.

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Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Hey all, sorry I’ve been MIA this weekend. Here’s the latest in music…

Adele is an artist I keep hearing from other people. She is definitely an artist with a word of mouth buzz about her.

Adele has an amazing voice. Soulful, precise, and begs to be heard more. If you’re looking for an old school song, this song “Rolling in the Deep” has 50s elements and I have to say some of the back-up vocals has a Bee-Gees feel to it. The syncopated, throbbing beat is accompanied with clapping with a driving feel.

The music video itself is beautiful. I love seeing the shot glasses moving to the beat of the music, and seeing the soldier/dancer in the sand. Ooo. Very beautiful, I could watch that throughout the whole music video. The lyrics are great too. Check this one out for sure.

 

 

 

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