Music that Defined my NY Journey, Part 2 : IMO

oh New York, I miss you so much!

oh New York, I miss you so much!

So the last time we left, I moved three times from Hell’s Kitchen Manhattan to Brooklyn back to Manhattan in the Washington Heights area. At that point, I felt a little more settled into the NYC life. I had a steady temp job, and was starting to plan my future there hoping I’d get that job permanently. Such is life, things don’t always work out the way you hope so this next crop of songs helped me cope with those bouts of depression I experienced over the uncertainty of my life on the east coast, but this set will also provide some fun because at this point I had met my besties and was out nearly all the time.

Miguel “Kaleidoscope Dream” – Album

This probably should have been in the last group, because I remember getting into “Candles in the Sun” during the time I was living in Brooklyn. However, I LOVE this album so much and it was always on rotation.

Lady GaGa “Fashion”

I was already OVER “ARTPOP”, but I saw a clip of GaGa’s Muppet Thanksgiving Special and the performance of this song with the Godess Ru Paul and I totally fell in love with the song. “SLAAAAY”

Usher “What’s Your Name”

This 2007 album track was oddly very popular to me during my evening Subway trips back home. I have no idea why, but I know it made me happy on days when I was annoyed or tired or whatever. I had to even make myself a new Usher playlist.

Whitney, Miley, Spice Girls and other random oldies at the Gay Bars

Some of the most fun I’ve had at the Gay Bars was dancing to either super-corny Pop, like the time at Bartini when they started playing “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. At POSH one night, they played a big block of Spice Girls and I smiled so incredibly hard the whole time. Vintage Whitney was a mainstay at all those Bars though; Boxers HK, Boxers Chelsea, Bartini and one of our favorites The Ritz. Nostalgia and cheesy Pop does wonders for your woes.

I’m kind of skipping months, but I have to add that on my birthday after Karaoke we went to a few East Village spots (err, I’m pretty sure it was the East Village) and Boiler Room had THE cheesiest, corniest, TRL-iest music and me and my crew (well one in particular who was right there with me dancing his butt off with me) were LIVING for the vintage N Sync, Britney, TLC, Backstreet Boys nostalgia. It was so much fun.

Kanye West “Hold My Liquor”

I love my Kanye, but it took me a minute to really get into that “Yeezus”. I remember my night walks in the little park near my Washington Heights place and really, really, REALLY getting into the vibe of this song. It’s pretty dark tonally, his lyrics and delivery sort of mimicked my feelings of desperation, anger, sadness and wanting to do something (or someone) to give yourself some power. I fell completely in love with it, and now I’ll always remember this as a Washington Heights song.

The Drums “Money”

This is slightly Arcadius related, but yeah I got RE-Obsessed with this song during my Washington Heights stay.

Red Hot Chili Peppers “Dosed”

Truth be told, I was all into the “Californication” and “By The Way” albums and a number of the songs. But I think this song matches the tone and vibe I was at back then. Kind of a melancholy, somewhat upbeat, but overall kind of sad vibe.

Beyonce “BEYONCE” – Album

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I’m REALLY Happy I was in New York when Beyonce dropped the bomb. It was great to experience the impact while I was actually out and being social. And I LOVED how all the bars and clubs were playing it. G Lounge in Chelsea and No Parking in Washington Heights played the entire album during Happy Hour, and “Blow” was a favorite at The Ritz and Berlin (yuck, hated that club). And of course… “Drunk in Love” was a favorite of bars, clubs and cars! It was just really fun to hear people on December 13th and on saying “did you get the Beyoncé album” “what do you think of the Beyoncé album” “where were you when the Beyoncé album dropped”. Definitely an iconic moment I was happy to share with a bunch of people, like the Pizza joint we went to during a Boxers HK night and they were playing the album out loud on their iPhone and we turned that little place into a little party. Good Times.

Sade “The Ultimate Collection” – ALBUM

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Never been a HUGE Sade fan. You know, I loved “Love Deluxe”, but other than that I have only liked a few songs from each album. One day, I was checking out that artist Rhye and she reminded me so much of Sade that I had to dig deeper into their collection. “Love is Stronger Than Pride” started it off, I was obsessed with that song for a while and than I started listening to everything I could from Spotify and landed on “The Ultimate Collection”. It’s a two-disc set that includes some previously unreleased songs, but it’s just fantastic. And that “Love is Found” song is EXCELLENT!!!

M.I.A. “Bad Girls”

So now I’m in another spot in Washington Heights. I was let go of my temporary assignment with no prospects of another job. I hung out in my room a lot, I had lots of random sex, and walked around a lot. With nowhere really to go. Anyway, I remember watching this video finally and loving it, and I also remember walking around NYC on Valentine’s Day listening to it back to back.

Pitbull & Ke$ha “Timber”

I’m gonna close out with this little piece of pop goodness. Me and my friends would get so silly when it would come on that it just leaves me with great memories of smiling and laughing and being happy.

 

Additionally, I should add that Janelle Monae‘s “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Primetime” would always pop back into rotation at random moments. I got into a Maxwell kick early in the year, as well as going back to that good Chaka Khan from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Chairlift (“Planet Health” in particular) and Twin Sister were some of my favorite Indie discoveries. The Killers‘ “Shot at the Night” became a favorite. Katy Perry‘s “International Smile” was one of my favorite songs when I had a big project at work. AND… that’s all I got right now.

Overall, I had a GREAT TIME in New York and I gotta get back there. In the mean time, I’ll always have the music!

Music that Defined my NY Journey, Part 1 : IMO

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centralparkglitch1I’ll be honest, I’m not in the best mood right now and was almost not going to do this post. But hey, I still have over an hour before my class starts and I already promised I would post it… so, this might be a little condensed and not really what I wanted to share, but I’ll try my best.

Basically, my New York journey lasted for about 5 and a half months. I had lots of fun there, lots of frustration, met really amazing people. Even though I had moments of pure irritation, I truly did feel I fit in there as opposed to my Bay Area home. And I also felt like I was growing into the person I’ve always wanted to be.

But enough about all of that, let’s talk about the Music. I’m a music fiend, so the music I listened to and heard while there shaped my NYC Soundtrack. There are certain songs that now whenever I hear them, it always reminds me of a moment in New York.

So here is a chronicle of some of those songs and albums that now have a permanent New York stamp on them.

Jessie J “Wild”

The line “am i asleep, no i’m alive” was one that stuck with me the first day I was in NYC, walking around in Times Square and in disbelief that I actually made it and was there.

Britney Spears “Work Bitch”

I guess this song was a Billboard flop? Who cares, this song is the shit! And I would have never guessed it was a flop because when I finally did start going OUT this was very popular among DJ’s and drunks alike.

Ikona Pop & Charlie XCX “I Love It”

Speaking of going out, I swear it seemed like every time I entered a bar or club (well, the ones that played Pop music) this song was playing. I can’t stand the song, but whenever I hear it I’ll think of that.

Kendrick Lamar “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”

I think once I switched from tourist to job-seeker, this song helped out a lot.

Tamar Braxton ‘”Love & War” – Album

Tamar-Braxton-Love-and-War

And yeah, my very confusing trips on the Subway were almost always accompanied with HER. This album was released only a few weeks before I left for New York so it was still new, but familiar enough so I could zone the fuck out and mime her amazing vocals and great songs. This album was actually the most played my entire trip to NYC … until of course Beyonce came back around, but we’ll get to that later.

Lorde “Royals”

I think Ikona Pop’s song was fading out at the same time this song was blowing up. I have a slight tolerance for this song NOW, but gawd I hated it when it was getting popular and of course all those bars were playing the hell out of this. Actually the night me and my FullBlast buddy went out to Industry I caught a pretty decent drag queen singing (and I mean actually Singing) this song.

Jay-Z & Justin Timberlake “Holy Grail”

Another song I HATE, but this was popular among the cars rolling past. I really cannot get over Timberlake’s screech fest on this song and still hate it, but it will always remind me of New York now.

Drake “Nothing Was the Same” – Album

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Drake’s third album was released maybe a week after I arrived to New York. I wasn’t instantly loving it, but apparently NYC was. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” gave the Urban clubs LIFE nearly every time I went. And I would always hear random songs bleeding out of people’s cars (I guess this album replaced Jay-Z’s that year). One fun memory though, One night (had to be sometime in November) me and my girl -friend were out late hella drunk and we went to Boxer’s HK (one of our favorite spots) and it was empty so I guess the bartender or whoever put on the Drake album and me and my friend were acting mad crazy to “Worst Behaviour”. I should also say towards the end of the trip, I was really connecting with “Connect” (ha! see what I did there)

Eminem & Rihanna “Monster”

I remember getting an email that this song was out, and I just immediately went to iTunes and downloaded. I was suffering a real Rihanna drought and had to have it. I remember the night I did, I was in Brooklyn maybe my first week living there (I moved there late October) and I walked up and down the blocks with this song on repeat.

K Michelle “Rebellious Soul” – Album

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Okay, so K. Michelle did an interview on The Skorpion Show. I liked K before hand, but I was struck by her comments on Tamar (or Ta-Muppet)’s album. Of course the girls were at odds at the time so she wasn’t going to say anything glowing about it, but it just made me interested in finally checking out her album. I’m glad I did because it definitely became a favorite.

James Blake – ALL

James Blake was my first and only New York City concert. I was really excited because I obviously love his music, and I was interested in checking out the NYC concert crowds. So I was getting ready by listening to him almost obsessively. I remember my night walks in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn vibing to his tunes. If I was going to pull one song, it would have to be “To The Last”.

Justin Timberlake “You Got It On”

Just dope, love this song.

J. Cole & TLC “Crooked Smile”

Remember when that TLC movie happened, well this (as well as the TLC Playlist I had to make) was because of that. I recall several mornings waiting for that 4, 5 or 6 to my Upper East Side job with this song on repeat.

Lady GaGa & R. Kelly “Do What U Want”

This song was surprisingly popular in NYC. The energy you would feel when it was played was high, like everybody was HERE for GaGa and the just released “ARTPOP” album. Another favorite song that accompanied me on my late night Brooklyn walks.

fun. “Some Nights” – Album

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I honestly don’t know what spurred on my need to purchase this album, but I swear to you THIS album was such a big help for me throughout the last few months of being in NYC. By November I was getting extremely frustrated by not having a full time job, by my living situation at the time, by lots of things, and this album seemed to speak to me in several different songs. “All Alright” was my fave, “Some Nights”, “Stars” and a bunch of songs had lines in there that I related to and felt like “well hey, I’m not alone in this feeling”. I think “Why Am I The One” was especially funny because I was moving from Brooklyn to Washington Heights (my third time moving in three months) and “why am I the one, always packing up my stuff” perfectly fit my mood at the time. Bottom line, this album was my NYC album bar none.

 

So, I have an hour left in class and I won’t have time to finish this. As of now, I’m officially making this Part 1 and Part 2 should be up sometime tomorrow. And I’ll add YouTube clips and more pics and all that as well. The only reason I’m posting this now is because I promised it. It’s already Wednesday in New York and only a few hours left in Tuesday here… but, eh, whatever!

NYC Week?

nycglitch1Tomorrow marks 6 months since I moved away from New York City, and I want to write about it. I’m just not sure if I should commit to a full week of NYC goodness, or just flood WordPress tomorrow with a bunch of different posts.

What do you all think?

What I have in mind is at least one testimonial about New York, about how much I loved it yet at the same time was completely frustrated most of the time I was there. I also wanted to talk about some of the mistakes I made in moving there, as a sort of guide for anyone thinking of taking the leap to the Big Apple.

One thing I definitely want to do is to talk about the Music that truly defined my stay there. I’ve been trying to get that together for a while, and wanted to pick a landmark date to post it.

So, readers you should expect SOMETHING NYC related tomorrow and I’ll be sure to let you know what I decided.

My Top 10 Songs of the Week “Unsung” : MYFAVORITES

No explanation needed, Let’s get into it shall we.

10. Mariah Carey “Meteorite”

Not initially my favorite from Ms. Carey’s latest album, I kinda felt she didn’t give 100% vocally, but it’s such a cute song and like most of the tracks from “Me. I Am Mariah…” it has grown on me considerably.

 

9. Diana Ross “Muscles”

Had this craving to hear this sexy sexy MJ written song about Muscle Men this morning. It’s one of my favorites from her, and I was thinking of trying to remix it with Garage Band lol!! Let’s see how far I get with that.

 

8. The Emotions “Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love”

So, The Emotions were this week’s group on TV1’s “Unsung”. I was watching it like “okay, ‘Best of My Love’ and ‘Don’t Ask My Neighbors’… but what were their other hits, I know that had like 3 or 4″. Can’t believe I had forgotten about this gem (and that B Angie B remake circa 1991 that made me love the song initially). More Emotions coming very soon.

 

7. Ed Sheeran “Lego House”

I LOVE me some Ed Sheeran. I JUST downloaded his latest album “X” but haven’t gotten a chance to listen, but I did have a mini flashback this morning through his “+” album. So this, the next song, and another song further up the list are included this week.

 

6. Ed Sheeran “The A Team”

Yup! Told you!

 

5. Mariah Carey “Supernatural”

Yeah, I hadn’t had a good Mariah-fix until yesterday after work. Love the album, Love this song. Enough said.

 

4. Ed Sheeran “This”

THIS was the one I really wanted to hear this morning. SO GOOD!!

 

3. Iggy Azalea featuring Charlie XCX “Fancy”

Ugh, another example of caving to the pressures of catchy-ness. I heard this song a few times and was like “umm, this kinda sucks”… but after hearing it a few more times I couldn’t get it out of my head. So, Yeah!!

 

2. The Emotions “Flowers”

So yeah, when this song came on “Unsung” I was totally like “YES YES YES!!”, I absolutely love this song and think it’s just so pretty with such great harmonies.

 

1. The Emotions “So I Can Love You” / Teams vs. Star Slinger “Say Please”

So, this was The Emotions’ first hit, but I had never heard it. When they started playing the song on “Unsung”, I KNEW I didn’t know it… but it sounded TOO familiar. And I remembered Teams vs. Star Slinger and that album I loved a few years ago, the song “Say Please” used the original in such a beautiful way. At the end of the day, I need to get into The Emotions a little bit more (“aah aah yeah”)

 

 

What I learned from “Drunk History” last night (Hollywood is Racist) : IMO

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Drunk_HistoryWhat I learned from “Drunk History” last night is that Hollywood is racist. I knew this before and have blogged about it before, but last night was a sort of jaw-dropping experience.

I have been meaning to watch “Drunk History” since it first aired on Comedy Central, I want to say over a year ago, but never did. I caught it last week and fell in love with it. I love it because they have good stories, and having the actors mime the narration of the Drunk storytellers is a really funny element of the show.

Last night was a Hawaii theme, and two of the three stories were so heroic and triumphant and inspiring. The first story was about how Captain James Cook and his crew landed on a Hawaiian Island and automatically assumed the native people thought him and his “white” crew were “Gods” and totally took advantage of all of their kindness. Typical History lesson really, because most of historical stories involving Europeans ends with them destroying someone’s culture.

The two stories that struck me the most were of Japanese-American soldier Daniel Inouye and Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau. Two incredibly amazing stories that show that Hollywood is only interested in ONE type of perspective.

war hero Daniel Inouye

war hero Daniel Inouye

So from what I gathered, Inouye was a Japanese-American who proudly tried to enlist in the Army after the bombings on Pearl Harbor. There was a ban against Japanese-Americans enlisting, but a few years later he joined the 442nd Combat Team which was a unit made up of mostly Japanese-Americans. He was a true hero during the war, quickly being promoted up in ranks, and he lost his arm and nearly died defending his country. He became a decorated War hero, but got fed up with the racism in the US – his own country – that he decided to get into the senate and try to make a change. Long story short, he became a celebrated congressman and spent most of his life in the senate.

Eddie Aikau was an amazing Hawaiian man, a risk-taking surfer and the first Lifeguard in Hawaii, with an impeccable record of saving hundreds of lives during that time. He became a bit of a living legend on the Islands, and this was before he got lost at sea during a triumphant and heroic mission. His legacy lives on to this day with the popular Hawaiian term “Eddie Would Go”, which speaks to his no-fear attitude, and he continues to inspire natives and tourists alike.

Hawaiian Legend Eddie Aikau

Hawaiian Legend Eddie Aikau

Now what do we have here? A war hero who fought for change in the US, and an adventurous hero of the Islands with a strong legacy. WHY ARE THERE NO MOVIES ABOUT THESE TWO?

And I ask why because, how many lame War movies do we get each year that focus on white guys and their perspective of the war and battle. How many crappy surf movies and shipwreck movies do we get in a decade, again focusing on white guys. Well, because Hollywood is racist. That’s the only thing I can think of. These two men are amazing and so inspiring, but because they aren’t white it feels like their stories have been completely passed over and instead we get these cookie-cutter War and Surfer movies that have predictable scripts and lame love stories, leaving the viewer with nothing really new to learn or to take from it.

The white male perspective seems to be the only thing Hollywood wants to put out. And while I’m tired of being the one who says “HEY! We need diversity on the screen”, after watching “Drunk History” last night it really bears repeating.

You just have to stop and think, how many great stories are we NOT hearing just because they aren’t stories with white men as the focal point?

So that was my rant of the day. What do you guys think?

Top25Tuesday is NOT HAPPENING Today

I don’t know what happened.

I’m hopping around different wifi spots trying to get a fast connection so I can multi-task. So I went from the library to Barnes and Noble Cafe, but I didn’t actually shut down or restart my PC before I changed wifi names so my connection was screwy when I got here. I knew I was going to have to disconnect or restart, but I had written a lot for the post I planned to post tonight and I didn’t want to lose it.

So what do I do? I COPY what I had written. I actually copied it THREE times just to be sure I had it. So I move, restart, re-connect, pull up WordPress and think it’s gonna be a simple thing of pasting what I had written. NOPE!!! Because it’s ME for whatever reason the stuff I copied didn’t keep. So I tried to paste three times and nothing.

So … sorry, readers (are you out there?) Nothing today. I’m not staying consistent and I’m a little upset about it, but I’m tired and irritated and just don’t have the energy anymore. So that’s that.

 

You want to know what it was that I was trying to put together though? My Top 25 Favorite TV Shows of All Time. I might post it next week, who knows, but for now… you can at least see the little pic I made for the post. It’ll give you an inkling of what shows were included.

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So until next time folks.

 

My Top 10 Songs of the Week “WORK SUX” : MYFAVORITES

Alright. Keeping it moving. Staying consistent. All that good stuff.

You guys, it has been such an AGGREVATING day here at work and I almost forgot about my weekly Top 10 List. So I’m gonna get it together and post it, but as a warning this is going to be completely random and spur of the moment. Sometimes those are the best though… so here we go.

10. Cypress Hill “I Wanna Get High”

Because I really really, REALLY REALLY DO!

 

9. Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea “Problem”

Ariane is just so cute, and talented. This song seems a tad dated, but I just think she’s so cute and the song is incredibly catchy. (Who loves that run towards the end “I got one leee-ees”)

 

8. Drake “Own It”

“Niggaz talk more than bitchez these days”

 

7. Beyoncé “Rocket”

#BEYONCEWEEK is DONE!!! I might do a post or two on Saturday, but it came to a point yesterday where I got completely sick of even WRITING her name. LOVE this song though.

>Beyoncé be pulling shit from YouTube!<

 

6. Blink 182 “All the Small Things”

“Work Sucks”… YES, IT DOES!!!

 

5. Michelle Williams featuring Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland “Say Yes”

I finally listened to this Afro-Gospel song last night, and it has been stuck in my head all day. I think I needed it, because UGH!!!!

 

4. Dirty Money featuring Swizz Beatz “Ass on the Floor”

I’m gonna say this… this song is WAY better than Bey’s “Run The World (Girls)”, and I would venture to say it’s better than “Pon De Floor” (which is fuckin’ amazing, but that high high pitched part always annoys me. This song is just like BUDDAH!!!

 

3. Danity Kane “Sucka For Love”

#RIP Danity Kane. I might do a blog post about these girls next week, but for now I’m just gonna share my ultimate favorite DK song.

 

2. Toni Braxton & Babyface “Sweat”

That “Love, Marriage & Divorce” album is so good, been kinda stuck on it this week. And this was probably my most played this week.

 

1. Disclosure featuring AlunaGeorge “White Noise”

The vocals are kind of… meh, but that track is flippin’ amazing. It really reminds me of the kind of 1991’ish House sound that I love so.

#TopTenThursday Top 10 Beyoncé Videos : MYFAVORITES #BEYONCEWEEK

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Beyoncé is so very nice to look at, which is why her music videos are so celebrated, and a huge part of her Legacy. She can be incredibly sexy, she can dance her ass off, she even does a great job of expressing emotions and attitudes using just her gorgeous face. She’s also a fashion Icon, so the styling in her videos are always fresh and unique. Below are my Top 10 Favorite Beyoncé videos that have all of these qualities and then some. Many of these (even some of the ones not included) have started trends in hair, dance, make up and fashion proving her trendsetting ways, and proving she’s one of the best and most creative artists around.

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10. “Check on It” featuring Bun-B & Slim Thug

An incredibly fun and vibrant video, showcasing the genius of Video Legend Hype Williams and Beyoncé the performer. All of the looks are fantastic, the choreography is technical and on point, and we get #RATCHETBEY in all her weave-pattin’ gum-chewin’ glory.

 

9. “If I Were a Boy

The black and white mini-movie for “Boy” is perfectly executed for a few reasons. Firstly, the role-reversal angle works so well to match the lyrics of the song, and the twist-ending is surprisingly powerful. It shows Beyoncé in a different light, perfect for the Pop/Rock sound of the song which was totally different for her at the time. And EXCELLENT casting on that HOT HOT cop that plays Bey’s partner and on-the-side-love interest. Yum!

 

8. “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z

The simplicity of this video is it’s biggest selling point. The majority of Beyoncé’s videos are highly stylized with several different set-ups and clothing, so it’s nice to see something like this from her. The BEST part of the video is that it feels like a peak into Beyoncé’s life, she’s just drunk dancing to a song she really loves with her man in tow. Great stuff!

 

7. “Why Don’t You Love Me

The video that no one saw coming. This thing popped up out of nowhere on Vimeo, and instantly the fans fell in love with it’s 60’s retro look. Beyoncé as B.B. Homemaker was adorable and sexy, and a perfect compliment to the song. And we all loved the little “Grammy grooming” #SHADE.

 

6. “Countdown

One of those videos that’s so fast paced, that has so many things going on, so many effects and cool edits, you can’t look away. And you don’t want to. A great compliment to the song which itself is fast paced and constantly changing. It’s really a shame this song and video didn’t get the promotion it deserved.

 

5. “Work It Out

Bey’s first solo video succeeds in looking like a 1974 Soul showcase reminiscent of some sort of Tina Turner and Sly & The Family Stone performance on Soul Train. She looks AMAZING and brings that Funk vibe of the song to the screen in beautifully eye catching ways.

 

4. “***Flawless

Can’t help but be cliché here, but… this video is FLAWLESS!! The whole punk look isn’t necessarily the imagery you’d get from “Flawless” or “Bow Down”, but it works so well. And most of the different shots are nothing short of amazing, like the slow-mo break in the mosh-pit. And the dancing (though there could have been more) is so fitting and fun, a visual treat that you can’t take your eyes off of.

 

3. “Irreplaceable

As if the song “Irreplaceable” isn’t funny enough, Beyoncé acts out the sass and attitude of the lyrics so perfectly in this clip. All of her eye-rolls and hair tosses are perfectly placed for comedic effect, but on top of that she looks BEAUTIFUL in every shot of this video. The more brown-tint of her hair and complexion really look great on her.

 

2. “Crazy in Love” featuring Jay-Z

This rapid paced, fashion forward, ultra-sexy Jake Nava video instantly cemented Beyoncé as a force to be reckoned with as a solo artist. She pulled off things nobody even ever thought to do, and this video became one of those Iconic clips that were often imitated but never duplicated. A true original.

 

1. “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

I gotta do it… I can’t NOT do it… “Single Ladies” is “one of the BEST VIDEOS OF ALL TIME… ALL TIME!!” Iconic, Legendary, Phenomenon are just a few words that describe this simplistic yet Grandiose piece of work. There’s those Iconic dance steps that everybody and their clown-face-wearing cousin tried to copy. Her styling, which has become such a memorable look for her. The direction, lighting and editing which don’t often get the praise they deserve. Most importantly though, in 2008 this video was something fresh and new, something that no other Pop R&B artist would have even attempted doing.

 

So that’s it for today.

Can I be honest!? (I’m getting tired of #BEYONCEWEEK but I’m going to come up with something to round this out tomorrow! I hope YOU all enjoyed it though, let me know in a comment!)

Discography Review : Beyonce (2003-2013) #BEYONCEWEEK

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There are so many different elements that make up the machine that is Beyoncé . She’s an entrepreneur, producer, philanthropist, style Icon, sometimes Actress, wife, mother, sister. It’s easy to forget with all of those titles that she’s a recording artist First and foremost. Over the past 11 years she’s accomplished so much as a celebrity, let’s take a moment to analyze her art.

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Dangerously in Love

Beyonce-DangerouslyInLoveApparently Beyoncé recorded hundreds of songs, trying to fine tune her debut solo album and make it perfect. Over 10 years later, “Dangerously in Love” does stand as a great piece of work and a more than solid debut effort. I remember being surprised by the fact that the majority of the album was filled with slower songs, given the fact that the bulk of Destiny’s Child’s hits were very uptempo. This album is frontloaded with more contemporary upbeat sounds (“Crazy in Love”, “Naughty Girl”), but drifts off into throwback jams like “Be With You” “Gift from Virgo” “Speechless” and her duet with Luther Vandross “The Closer I Get To You” which all, in their ways, harken back to the 70’s R&B feel. Ultimately this was a good move because it makes the album more timeless, AND it was a chance for Beyoncé to show off her vocal talents. We were used to her rapid fire rap/sing styling in Destiny’s Child, so “Dangerously in Love” gave us a new Beyoncé who let us hear the power and range of her very complex and skilled voice.

Grade: B+  Best: Crazy In Love, Speechless, Baby Boy

 

B’Day

Beyoncé_-_B'DayAll these years later, this is still my favorite Beyonce album and the only one I can play front to back. It’s only 10 tracks long, but that brevity adds to the beauty of this perfectly sequenced album. As a sharp contrast to her debut, this album is mostly uptempo and FULL of attitude and urban swagger. The album chronicles in a narrative fashion a girl being so crazy in love with a new guy (“Suga Mama”), and gradually getting strong enough to kick him to the curb (“Ring the Alarm” to “Irreplaceable”). Each song stands on it’s own because of the confidence and power Bey puts in every note, but mixed all together “B’Day” makes for an excellent outing. It’s perfect for a party, but it also is (I’d imagine) empowering for women who are going through the different levels of a bad relationship. And the skill Beyonce displays as a recording artist and vocalist showed that she was a professional and one of the best in the industry, and only on her second album. (I’m not going to talk about that Deluxe Edition, I’m not here for re-releases.)

Grade: A   Best: Upgrade U, Suga Mama, Irreplaceable

 

I Am… Sasha Fierce

I_Am____Sasha_FierceThis double album is her best and her worst for a couple of conflicting reasons. On the one hand, with the Pop/Alt sounds on the first disc the Diva really does stretch herself and goes in new directions. Songs like “Satellites” and “If I Were a Boy” were totally new sounds for her, and Beyoncé did an excellent job of toning down her powerhouse vocals for the songs, being more nuanced and subtle to great effect. The downside of that disc is that it comes off as a little boring and often too mellow to listen to all in one sitting, even though the songs themselves are great.

The upside of the second disc is that it’s full of great uptempos and plenty of that standard Beyonce sass and attitude. “Video Phone”, “Diva” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” to name a few are so fun and infectious it’s hard to hate. The downside is that the second disc is horribly sequenced, almost like she just threw songs together randomly. The second disc lacks the flow of the first, and some of the choices don’t even make sense (like, “Scared of Lonely” is such a downer and ballad-like, it should have been on the first disc. I also feel that “Sweet Dreams” doesn’t fit well on this disc). “I Am… Sasha Fierce” is an album you have to cherry-pick through, and though it has some of the best tracks of her career, the overall feel of the album is too much of a mish-mosh to enjoy altogether.

Grade: B-    Best: Sweet Dreams, Halo, Smash Into You

 

4

Beyoncé_-_4Years after my first review, “4” is definitely still enjoyable. Though I cherry-pick through it, at times I can listen to the entire thing front to back. It stands as another timeless album because it’s so steeped in that old school sound of the 70’s and 80’s ( another reason I tend to think of this as “Dangerously In Love” Part Two). It’s not necessarily my favorite of her albums, but as you saw on my Top 25 Favorite Beyonce songs, a good number of the songs from this album ranked very high on the list. I get bored with stuff like “I Care” or “Start Over”, but always marvel at the awesomeness of “Countdown” and “End of Time” among others. So it may not have the quantity of classic songs, but the ones that are great are among her greatest. It’s a solid album simply because at this point Beyonce had gotten so comfortable and professional at what she does, and had grown so much as an artist, it really showed.

Grade: B   Best: End of Time, Countdown, I Miss You

 

BEYONCE

beyonce_album_cover8 months later, I’m still pretty much stuck on this album. Don’t know what I can say that I didn’t say in my first review of the album, but this visual album is nearly perfect. It’s so diverse, it’s sequenced so well, and it shows Beyonce’s maturity and talent at a new height. It’s a masterpiece for Beyoncé because it collects all of the things musically we have come to love from her. The album elevates all of these bits of Beyoncé, the artist, with excellent production value and the singer feeling more at ease and deservedly confident.  “BEYONCÉ” is really a fully realized version of who Beyoncé has become as an artist.

Grade: A   Best: Drunk In Love, Mine, XO

Three Reasons Why I’m not going to the “On The Run Tour” : IMO #BEYONCEWEEK

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imageTONIGHT is the NIGHT! The last two shows on the US leg of Jay-Z and Beyonce‘s “On The Run Tour”, and it’s in San Francisco – right over the bridge for me. You’d think I’d definitely be in attendance, as if it’s some sort of obligation for any BeyHive member, but sadly I won’t be in the house. I’m not going to lie and pretend I really don’t want to go, because if somebody snuck me a ticket or I found a couple hundred bucks on the side of the road – I would DEFINITELY be there tonight with no hesistation. But you know, being an adult sucks and … well, there are three main reasons why I’m not gonna be there with the rest of the crowd.

3. NO MONEY AND NO FRIENDS.

Based on the prices for Beyonce’s “Mrs. Carter Show” last year, I was REALLY surprised to see the price range for the “On The Run Tour” were actually reasonable. That is, if you don’t mind looking at the monitors for most of the time. The seating arrangement at AT&T Park is kind of jacked up, so even if you are just 10 rows away, you aren’t very close to the stage at all. I have to admit though, that’s not that big of a problem because most of the fun of any concert is just being in the house with your friends a bunch of other fans singing and dancing along to your favorite songs. However, when you think about the fact that I don’t have anybody to go with, it’s kind of like “Why pay that money to go by yourself?” (which I’ve done for Beyonce twice already).

So yeah, I’m gonna let the suckiness of adulthood be the reason here. I am just now settling back into the Bay Area life and I got bills and loans to pay off. Although the concert would be a deserved splurge for me, I’m gonna be responsible and not spend all that money on two artists that are already multi-millionaires.

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2. IT’S ON HBO

I think what really sealed the deal for me NOT going was when HBO announced that the Paris show would be broadcast live September 20th. I can wait for a few weeks, and I’ll be able to see things more clearly, hear things better, and have the liberty to watch it over and over again (although, DAMN, I don’t have DVR anymore). Of course you are disconnected from the crowds, but you still get the show.

 

1. THAT SET-LIST THO!? 

I generally tend to stay away from looking at Set-lists of Tours online. I’m all for that element of excitement and surprise, which is COMPLETELY LOST on this generation. I ASSUMED that since Beyonce was on tour just last year, before her “BEYONCE” album was released, that THIS tour would be somewhat dedicated to the new album. Meaning her set would consist mostly of those new tracks. If I had went to the show thinking that, I would have been severely disappointed.

When the online media outlets starting reporting about Bey changing the lyrics to “Resentment”, I thought “WHY IN THE HELL IS SHE SINGING ‘RESENTMENT’ ON THIS TOUR”? I mean, it was never a single, and it’s such a DOWNER of a song. So I went ahead and looked at the set-list and I was struck with a big WTF! The choices from BOTH artists are a little confusing to me, like “Show Me What You Got” by Jay is one of his least favorites among fans, and “Jigga My Nigga” is ancient and mostly forgotten by now (it was one of the lesser tracks on the excellent “Blueprint” album). On Bey’s end, “If I Were a Boy”, “Why Don’t You Love Me”, the aforementioned “Resentment”, “Ring the Alarm” (a song she completely ditched after “The Beyonce Experience Tour” – and only sung halfway on THAT tour), and a cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” seem to be odd choices.

HOFF_CHI_SHOW-2723The BIGGEST thing for me is the exclusion of “Blow” and “XO”. Two of the best songs on “BEYONCE”. “Blow” has that really fun and bouncy sound that would have the crowds going wild, and it has that great Call/Response of the “Cherry” part. And “XO”, she performed it a few days after “BEYONCE” was released in December on her “Mrs. Carter Show Tour”, and she said the song was dedicated to her fans… so what happened? She doesn’t love us like XO Anymore?

Now I know that one of the draws for the show is that the two supposedly mash up their songs, which I think is an interesting idea (albeit something Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake did on their joint tour last year). But let’s be honest, in those big stadiums sound quality is a problem. Not only do you MOSTLY hear the crowds, but a lot of times sound quality is generally a little muddled and doesn’t really travel to every part of the venue. So those subtle mixes from Bey to Jay songs will end up being almost unheard to the crowds.

So I’m not going, but I’m SURE it’s going to be an amazing show. From what I’ve seen, they both LOOK great, and hearing “Drunk in Love” Live has to be amazing. The NEED to go isn’t all that severe to me though, I’ve seen Beyonce live three times (five if you include Destiny’s Child), and I’ve seen Jay live twice. So, I’ll save my little coins and just wait for September 20th.

Everybody who IS going tonight and tomorrow though, HAVE FUN!!!! Take lots of pics, and DANCE YOUR ASS OFF!!! chicago

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