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Music

Randy Rainbow

When I was younger, I was obsessed with Mamma Mia. I played the cast recording so much, my friends probably got sick of it. Looking back, I can’t say I blame them.

So when Randy Rainbow released his parody of “Mamma Mia”, all the nostalgia came rushing back. And, politics aside, Randy Rainbow is hilarious. I always get excited when I recognize the songs in his parodies.

Enjoy!

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Music

Singers v. Songwriters

Singers and Songwriters. These days, they’re almost one and the same. But what about the people who don’t (or didn’t) write their own songs?

I don’t know how they do it. Maybe that’s just because I can’t imagine not writing my own stuff. If you’re just a songwriter, what do you do? Write songs and sit around until someone wants to buy them? That sounds like rough going.

And how does someone go about buying songs that they can sing? Do songwriters just throw songs out there for you to choose from? That sounds overwhelming. I know sometimes people write songs specifically for other people, but that seems rare.

How can someone take credit for what someone else wrote? That would usually fall under the category of plagiarism. But it doesn’t seem to be that way with songs.

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Music

A Little Bit of What Now?

Back in May, I believe, Rachel Platten came out with a new song: “Little Bit of Love”. Well, it’s actually Tritonal’s song and she’s featured on it. But, as far as I’m concerned, same difference.

Like any of Rachel’s songs, this is good. However, it’s somewhat of a departure from her usual style. And that departure takes the form of the lyrics. The second verse and refrain are as follows:

I’m the protagonist

I’m not givin’ up on this

But can we just take a breath?

Everything you’re feelin’

I’ll make you question it

You won’t know what’s comin’ next

Why we fightin’?

When time is borrowed

So, let’s stop fightin’

Let’s get back to it tomorrow

I just need a little bit of love

Love tonight

I just need a little bit of love

Love tonight

And everything’s fucked up

And (But?) let’s pretend that it’s alright

I just need a little bit of love

Love tonight

I just need a little bit of love

If someone focuses on the refrain, it sounds like Rachel’s trademark positivity. However, the second verse describes an abusive relationship. And I’m not sure how I feel about that. I still like the song, of course, but an explanation of the thought process behind the lyrics would be nice.

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Music

The “Droughtlander” antidote

Musical composer genius Bear McCreary recently dropped the soundtrack from Outlander season 4. We won’t have to wait much longer for season 5 – my personal favorite as far as the books are concerned.

I made a master playlist of all the soundtracks, and I’m listening to it as I write this. I may like some songs more than others, but there’s never a bad song in Outlander.

These songs got me through some hard times in my life. When I wasn’t sure I could keep going, Outlander and its music were there for me. I can’t thank Bear enough for that.

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Music

Rediscovering Aaron Carter

A few weeks ago, my inner six-year-old decided she wanted to come out and play. So I found myself browsing Apple Music to find Aaron Carter’s first album, which was probably the first CD I ever had. I think I even remember getting it for my sixth birthday. I definitely remember having the biggest crush on him. I mean, just look at the picture. 13 year-old Aaron Carter is adorable. It was the definition of “puppy love”.

As luck would have it, I was able to find it, and I immediately added it to my library. Listening to “I Want Candy” brings back so many memories. It was my favorite song back in the day. However, I’m also creating new memories with some of the other songs. They’re actually helping me write some of my fan fiction.

I haven’t really checked out his other music yet, but I think I will.

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Music

Walk Me Home Above Water

Walk me home in the dead of night

I can’t be alone with all this on my mind

So say you’ll stay with me tonight

‘Cause there is so much wrong going on outside

P!nk, Walk Me Home

This refrain really resonates with me. Because, when I occasionally have sleepless nights, my mind is racing with thousands of different thoughts and beating myself up about things that have already happened or comparing myself to people and blaming myself for not being at the same point in life that they are when I know I probably could be. I can’t be alone on nights like this, and all I want is a member of my family of choice to climb into bed with me and hold me. I try to hug myself sometimes, or cover up with my blankets, but it’s not the same.

Yeah my life is what I’m fighting for

Can’t part the sea

Can’t reach the shore

And my voice becomes the driving force

I won’t let this pull me overboard

God keep my head above water

Don’t let me drown

It gets harder

I’ll meet you there at the altar

as I fall down to my knees

Don’t let me drown

Don’t let me drown

Avril Lavigne, Head Above Water

As I was listening to “Head Above Water” this morning, I noticed similarities with “Walk Me Home”. Both songs are about survival, maybe more specifically not wanting to be alone. Wanting someone to be by your side to help you fight through whatever life throws at you.

Definitely two songs I need right now.

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Music

An Evening with Kristin Chenoweth

mayoarts.org

Kristin Chenoweth might be best known for her role on Broadway as Glinda in Wicked. However, her career also spans decades of television and voiceover work.

Last Friday, April 12, she performed at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, Virginia, as part of the opening night of the Virginia Arts Festival. She was accompanied by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra under the direction of visiting conductor Rob Fisher, whom she has previously worked with on Broadway.

Most of the songs Chenoweth sang were from Broadway. And most of them were unfamiliar, but that didn’t matter. Because although Chenoweth is only 4’11”, she’s a powerhouse. It’s amazing that such a powerful voice can come from someone so small in stature. She could sing the phonebook and it would be beautiful.

Kristin Chenoweth is also spunky and hilarious. She made the members of the audience feel as if they were her friends. When she finally sang “Popular” from Wicked toward the end of the show, she actually encouraged the audience to take out their phones and record because “I know you’re all doing it anyway!”

Chenoweth closed out the evening with “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (during which she was accompanied by students from the Governor’s School for the Arts) and Elvis Presley’s “How Great Thou Art”.

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Music

Rachel’s Broadway counterpart

I’ve written before about Rachel Platten and how her music is important to me. Maybe I’ve gone a little overboard. I’m not ashamed of it though. Because, at the end of the day, her music isn’t just fun and games. It serves a very important purpose: It makes me think about my life.

Rachel’s the backdrop for my highs and lows. She helps me process my feelings. She seems to have a song for whatever I’m feeling in a given moment. It’s almost like she and I are the same person.

However, Rachel Platten isn’t the only person who can make me think. Alexander Hamilton really blows my mind sometimes. Or maybe I should say Lin-Manuel Miranda. Yeah, that makes more sense, doesn’t it?

During my senior year in college, I had a lot on my mind that I was trying to cope with. And the Hamilton soundtrack – ahem, I mean original cast recording, sorry – seemed to be a giant metaphor for all of it. I could find something in almost every song that related to how I felt. Its relevance to my life was almost freaky. Two years later, it still means a lot to me, even though I have yet to see the play.

Rachel Platten and Lin-Manuel Miranda may not run in the same circles, but both of them mean a lot to me.

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Music

Thoughts on Apple Music

cnet.com

When Apple Music was first introduced a few years ago, I thought it was stupid. Why pay $10/month when I already paid for every song individually? It seemed pointless.

My attitude changed while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, when a friend of a friend showed me how it works. When I got back from vacation, I thought about the free trial for a few days. I figured if I didn’t want it after the trial, I could cancel it. There was no reason not to sign up.

And, I have to say, I really enjoy Apple Music. I’ve been using it for almost a month, and I already know that I don’t want to cancel it. I can listen to any song without having to download it to my phone. And that’s a lot of songs. Apple Music grants access to everything under the sun. Well, at least most of the songs I’ve been looking for.

One of my favorite things about it is that I now have access to lyrics. So whenever I don’t catch the words, I can look them up. Or when I want to write about some of the lyrics, I don’t have to recall them from memory and risk getting them wrong.

I also enjoy the playlists curated by Apple, because I love finding new music to listen to and songs that inspire my writing. It’s also fun to create my own playlists and see what my friends are listening to.

Apple Music is so much more than I thought it was, and I’m very happy to be proven wrong.

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Music

Halsey, Without Me, and Narcissism


Halsey. Don’t get me wrong, I like her music. Plus, she’s cute. But this song is complicated. Actually, that might be an understatement. Let me explain.

Narcissism

When I first heard Halsey sing “Without Me” in a beats (headphones) commercial, I was instantly hooked. It was catchy, and the beat was good. Sometimes, that’s all I need.

However, once I downloaded it and started listening to the lyrics, it was a whole other story. It became a trigger. (Triggers are real, whether you like it or not). Because the song is about someone putting someone else above them on a kind of pedestal, and no matter how hard you try, the other person is in the relationship is never satisfied.

Narcissists will try and make it sound like they are the ones putting all the energy into the relationship. They love the refrain of this song:

Tell me, how’s feel, sittin’ up there

Feeling so high but too far away to hold me

You know I’m the one who put you up there, name in the sky

Does it ever get lonely?

Thinking you could live without me.

Narcissist love to make another person feel that they can’t live without them.

But wait, there’s a flip side!

If you think about the refrain a bit more, it becomes clearer that the song can also be about the non-narcissist in a given relationship. The “non-narc”, so to speak, spends so much energy trying to please the narcissist. Trying to figure out what they can do to try and avoid an explosive argument about something trivial. Never knowing when the narcissist will throw out a hurtful comment as if it’s nothing and they say they’re “just kidding”. Doing their best to hide all the things they care about because they know that if the narcissists finds out, the things that make them happy will be ruined. So much so that happiness normally associated with what makes them happy won’t seem real.

In other words, Halsey’s “Without Me” is a kind of validation that toxic relationships exists. It gives me hope.