Friday, August 29, 2014
Friday Fun: A Tip of The Cap
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
And you know.
It’s an open invitation. If… you’re man enough.
Sure, it’s the look in his eye. Maybe his stance. Perhaps the way he lovingly rearranges that massive bulge in his jeans.
It’s all for your benefit. In order to catch your eye.
But that tip of the cap.
His strong fingers gracing the brim. That quick, assured, single bob of the chin.
That’s what seals the deal.
You know exactly where this is going.
But you don’t know how far… and that’s part of the excitement. Part of the danger.
And now… you wait. Your eyes glued to his.
He needs to make the first move. And he will. For he already knows that you’re more than willing and ready to follow his lead.
And you will. Follow him wherever he wants to go. Willing to do whatever he wants to do.
Moments before? You were total strangers.
And now? You’re committed. Locked together in this very subtle, very public dance.
And all it took was…
…a tip of the cap.
Have a happy and safe weekend.
Wisihing you the very best...
- Uptonking from Wonderland Burlesque
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Overdue Music Reviews: August Singles, Part Three
Ah, just time enough to sneak one more set of reviews in before August 2014 becomes a thing of our past.
They say imitation is a form of flattery, but so many of the brown nosers I review this week are phoning in something someone else has already done, the music studios of this fair land must be overflowing with gushiness.
But then, everything old is new again.
Unless it’s not.
Now that seems to be something that never goes out of style.
Which help explains the popularity of…
Shake It Off
Debuting at number one this week, ‘Shake’ is Taylor’s (long expected) way of saying “so long” to country music, shaking its dust off her boots once and for all.
Produced and overdubbed for maximum power, the vocals come across as pointed and a tad shrill, but that’s so Taylor can compete with the likes of Ariana Grande. That sound will also get her on the radio, which currently seems obsessed with sounds that irritate as a means of grabbing our attention and breaking through the static in our lives.
It’s radio’s way of saying “pay attention, dammit”. You know, as opposed to actually giving us a reason to listen by providing any actual content.
‘Shake’ is a simple upbeat empowerment anthem with an ancient fifties R&B vibe rumbling beneath. The nice thing about it? It’s very high school, playing to her core audience, and it’s rather refreshing to hear Taylor behaving like someone their age, rather than morphing herself into a mini Faith Hill.
Be sure to check out the video, where Taylor tries on all sorts of borrowed personas, including Lady Gaga, and demonstrates once and for all that she cannot dance (which is the vids intent) - to hilarious ends.
It’s so Taylor.
It Was Always You
Even by Maroon 5 standards, this song is slight, and ripped right out of the playbook of Duran Duran (listen to their ‘Come Undone’ and play spot the similarities).
Oh, don’t get me wrong, it will be a big hit, eating up huge blocks of quality radio time.
But that doesn’t mean, as songwriting goes, this qualifies as much.
Adam Levine and the boys seem aware of this, so mega production values (a la Depeche Mode) are brought in to keep things interesting. They also hedge their bets by not doing the expected: holding back from the big bombast everyone expects at the 1:20 mark.
That strategy ultimately dooms ‘It Was Always You’ from ever truly taking flight.
Mired in 80’s synth / machine drum pop dreck, ‘Always’ never manages to get where our ears want it to.
The Promise (Original Mix)
Kissy Sell Out feat. Holly Lois
This is dance via the early 1990’s. Robin S. mined all the gold out of this sound long ago.
The vocals – edited and looped, are pitched high and tinny, working in harmony with the slight, hollow pipe backdrop that drives this thing.
If it’s a new sound to you, I can understand being seduced. But back in the day, this stuff was everywhere and, for me, at some point, wore out its welcome. So, I’m not too excited about ‘The Promise’ – it simply doesn’t seem to hold much.
Chasing The Sun
Hilary Duff is America’s Kylie Minogue. Just check out her latest video and see if you agree.
I’ve only listened to Ms. Duff in dance mode, all whipped up by some ambitious re-mixer, so ‘Chasing’ caught me off guard.
I guess timing is on her side; we’re on the downside of summer, sliding into fall, so in a way we’ll soon be chasing the sun. But I’m not sure if that is enough to put this one into rotation.
Her voice is fairly average (in a kewpie doll way) and the song, which could just as well be a country song, asks very little of her. It is also fairly average in a Colbie Caillat / Sara Bareilles, bouncy / happy manner.
But she sure is still cute as a button.
Somebody needs to put her back on the television – where she belongs.
Gonna Get It Right
Where ‘Gonna’ is concerned, familiarity breeds a kind of fondness.
On the whole, this is pretty by-the-numbers diva dance music. The all-too-familiar thump is in place, and the synths alternately rev things up and cool things down while filling in space as needed.
The song is okay, too – catchy enough, I guess. At first, I wanted to dismiss it, but I have a feeling it will wind up on my nano.
Maybe it’s Nikkole’s voice.
I’m not sure what it is, but vocally, she reminds me of Kathy Dennis (remember her?), and I always liked her.
So, ‘Gonna Get It Right’ receives a passing grade; sweet little homage to a time I recall fondly.
Pitbull Featuring John Ryan
I’ve come to realize that the reason Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Bailando’ has become such a big success is because Pitbull is nowhere to be found on it.
Yes, it seems my tolerance for all things Pitbull has reached its limit. I find this man more and more insufferable. It’s how flagrantly he flaunts his laziness that irritates the hell out of me.
Although, musically, ‘Fireball’ possesses a sassy authenticity to it (shored up by John Ryan’s turn), the flow of the verses reminds me too much of Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’. That said, I’m not sure if he’s actually copping to ripping it off or just giving us a sly wink when, at the break, he stops and drops “And walk this way”.
Dude’s got balls.
It doesn’t matter. His previous two hits, the awful ‘Timber’ with Kie$ha, and the boring ‘Wild, Wild Love; with G.R.L, sealed this man’s doom and, much like Tonneloke before him, Pitbull has worn out his welcome and shall, too, quietly fade away.
That said… I’d still do him.
No Flex Zone
Rae Sremmurd = Drummers Ear. Clever, huh?
Remember Musical Youth and ‘Pass The Dutchie’? It was a song that aped an adult musical genre but was issued from the mouths of babes. It was funny, because little kids singing about smoking weed? Oh, yeah, that’s funny.
No. No, it wasn’t.
But there really wasn’t anything horribly offensive about it.
‘No Flex Zone’?
Oh, yeah… super offensive.
This is bottom of the barrel stuff. Totally upsetting.
Kids that don’t even have pubic hair dropping rhymes that are normally issued from adult mouths, worshiping bling and designer goods, and referring to women as ‘ho’s’? Yeah, I don’t even know where to begin.
Thing is... the vid starts out with them dissing traditional rappers for doing exactly that.
But if this is culturally relevant – and not a joke?
Then it’s time for a new culture.
Because this? This is nothing to inherit.
This one has been on my nano since the end of spring. Released in November of 2013, I would not have given it a chance in hell of ever charting, but guess what? In its fifth week on the Hot 100, it’s at #66. A slow climber, to be sure, but you never know what might happen. Songs have certainly lingered longer before breaking as big.
With its friendly guitar strumming and weird, mush toned vocals, ‘Stolen’ strikes me as something of a novelty song, perhaps a holdover from the heady days of Shawn Mullins (Yes, it seems everybody reminds me of someone else today).
It could break big, if it gets tied into an episode of some popular television show, but on its own? I don’t think it’s direct enough to get radio play. Charming enough, oh, hell yeah. But these days stations only seem interested in piercing through our texting/sexting/cellphone fog, penetrating our ear drums with surgically precise, computer enhanced vocals.
I’m not sure the duo Milky Chance has much of one.
Just as quirky as ‘Stolen Dance’, chart-wise, ‘Riptide’ is in the exact same boat. But where Milky Chance goes all mumbly, Vance is all earnest throat yodeling, a style I find annoying.
‘Riptide’ is just all right. Annoying, but harmless. No great shakes.
Of late, there have been a number of acts mining this same field with great success. Blame it on the success of Mumford and Sons and Jason Mraz. They opened the door for a whole bunch of quirky, indie, D.I.Y. folky pop to sneak in (Passenger, Of Gods and Monsters, et al). The genre, as a whole, does little for me, though it does find its way on the radio - primarily, as an antidote to all those Pitbull songs.
See Luke Bryan, looking all constipated in his latest video.
When this song begins, I kept thinking it was going to be a commercial for Folger’s Coffee, or maybe some erectile dysfunction medication.
“She wears a cross around her neck”, are the first words he sings.
Yep, you know you are in for a special, special time.
You, know… like that first cup of coffee in the morning, as the sun is coming up?
Yep, it’s Folgers in your cup.
And like coffee, I bet this song will eventually help Luke Bryan poop out a good one.
Yep, this song has a lot in common with coffee…
…and other brown things.
The day country music gets real and stops spinning tales about a time that never existed except on ‘Leave It To Beaver’ and ‘Father Knows Best’, is the day I start taking it seriously again.
It’s just so much brown stuff.
And I’m not talking coffee.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
TMI Questions: Happy Birthday!
My attitude toward getting older has changed drastically. I used to be rather bitter, resentful, and overly concerned about aging. In other words, a big old vain gay cow.
Oh, I didn’t mind if someone else was older (in fact, I preferred them that way), so I was no ageist.
No, I merely hated the idea that I was getting older. I still had (and have) so much to do and experience. Because ageism is so prevalent in our society, I thought that meant my options would become more limited and that certain parts of life would simply be closed to me, once I reached a certain age.
I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve stopped being afraid.
I could really care less. My age is merely a number (a large one, in my case), and it doesn’t define who I am, who I can become, or how I feel. If the world is a place of endless possibilities, then my growing one year older in no way inhibits what I am able to create and bring into my life.
If I’m to succeed, being smart about aging now, in the present, is going to be key.
I eat right. I have learned to do things in moderation. My head and heart are healthy and frequently self-examined. I work out regularly and frequently while seeing my physician on a regular basis, in order to ensure that my body is in it for the long haul.
Granted, the mirror is still not my friend. Never has been.
I am getting older, but I am not old. I figure I will be old when I am in my 90’s. Until then, I look at it as a challenge. I want my body to remain looking as good as possible for as long as possible. I want to redefine what we need to accept about getting older. I want to be able to bend and stretch and reach without limitations.
And, I guess, that’s my whole point. I want to live without limits. And that includes those supposedly imposed by growing older.
So, light those candles. Sing that song. Bring it on.
Birthdays equal validation, as in: I’m still here.
Questions designed to reveal Too Much Information
TMI Questions: Happy Birthday!
Do you enjoy celebrating your birthday (forgetting about the getting older part)?
If someone else insists on it, I will go along with it, as long as not very many people are involved (six is my limit). That’s because I’m such an introvert and people exhaust me. I don’t want to be exhausted on my birthday.
Well wishes are appreciated. Other than that, not much is required.
I do enjoy celebrating other people’s birthdays, in a social setting.
But being the center of attention? Not my thing.
What's your sign and is it accurate?
I am a Valentine’s Day baby! That used to be the only part I like about my birthday. I never had to suffer feeling overlooked on Valentine’s Day, because I would get attention, whether in a relationship or not. Hence, no Valentine’s Day blues for this baby!
The humanitarians of the Zodiac, the Aquarius are inventive and modern individuals. Honest truth-seekers, they are broad-minded and creative people. The new, novel and modern have a magnetic allure in the amiable Aquarius’ world. Friendly, gregarious, candid, the Aquarius are popular people in their circles. No wonder they have innumerable friends! However, the truth is, while Aquarius may have many acquaintances, they may not be really close to anyone in particular. In fact, they may be quite detached and changeable.
Positive Qualities of Aquarians
Veracity, Legitimacy, Investigative spirit, Pleasing personality, Candor and Innovation
Negative Qualities of Aquarius
Inconsistency, Disinclination, Detachment, Tendency to deviate, Inefficiency.
Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Boris Yeltsin, Dick Cheney, Franklin Roosevelt, Michael Jordan, Paris Hilton.
Well… sure, I guess.
Yes, I have so much in common with Albert Einstein (sex addiction), Boris Yeltsin (borderline alcoholic), Dick Cheney (delusional, mean asshole), Michael Jordan (rapist) and Paris Hilton (no-talent slut). Gee… I feel so… special.
I must admit I am a total airhead, scatter-brained, and easily-distracted (oooh… shiny object). My desire has always been to be creative, but I fear it’s a muscle that while exercised frequently, has never functioned properly (could be a birth defect, could be due to oxygen deprivation).
I have met a lot of people whom have wanted to be my friend, but I seem incapable. Friendships used to happen frequently and easily, but they would not last for long. I would burn them out.
Also, as a total introvert, I tend to avoid crowds of people… or all people, actually.
The positive/negative traits listed are pretty on the nose, save for that ‘pleasing personality’ part. And that ‘popular’ thing. Yeah, I wouldn’t peg me as either.
But then that depends on your interpretation. I am eager to please others and be of service. However, personality-wise I tend to be a bit of a crabby-patty.
Want to change that?
Hand me a boodles martini (up, olives, side of ice) and you will find I become an absolute delight to be around.
What's your Chinese zodiac sign and is it accurate?
Chinese Zodiac Sign: Metal Ox
The Metal Element allows the Metal Ox to be the most intense, determined and motivated of all the Ox signs. The Metal Ox needs to be engaged in practical pursuits, where it is then possible to display their passion. One must know that the toughness of the Metal Ox should go without question and the same can be said for their loyalty and dependability. More so than any of the other Ox's, the Metal Ox lives life with a foundation of morals and tradition.
- (I have never been very practical. Typically, I resort to such only in light of some catastrophic creative failure – call it my recovery mode. Determined? You betcha. But these days I am more likely to spot the folly-to-come before committing any resources. Yes, I am sadder, but wiser. But, really – richer for it. Experience is a great teacher. And, boy, have I learned a lot.)
- (Cah…. Wha? Huh? Oh, THAT thing.)
The highly motivated Metal Ox has very few limitations as long as they keep their passion. In this sense, the Metal Ox can pursue any genuine interest they desire. With a strong sense of values and justice, the Metal Ox could do well in politics or law, which is the case for Metal Ox Barack Obama. Similarly, there are been several successful entertainers, among them being George Clooney and Forest Whitaker.
- (Very passionate when I want to do something. However, there are fewer and fewer things I want to do. Politics? Ummm, only if you want a big juicy scandal. And yes, let me entertain you – wink, wink. We’ll have a real good time…)
- (I like that this comes with a warning! I should come with one, too.)
At times, the Metal Ox can seem arrogant, but realize that this is a product of their determination turning into impenetrable stubbornness. To overcome this potential downfall, the Metal Ox has to spend time to develop an open mind. In the same sense, the Metal Ox can often be too blunt for most people's taste and should be aware of their ability to offend. Be aware that when the Metal Ox is too committed to their own views, it is not unusual for clashes to occur!
- (I have been accused of being intimidating and once, by a passive aggressive manager of being physically intimidating (I can’t see how.). These days, I am the first to recognize when I am being pig-headed and have therefore come limit the number of things in this world that I insist upon. That’s why I am good a big picture thinking/planning, because I can see most sides of an issue, due to a kind of empathy. I am also good at debating issues, because I am truly interested in what the other person believes in and why they believe it. They may be totally wrong, but that’s the only way to find the chinks in their reasoning – to be empathetic.
- I am blunt (horribly so), and have a tendency to offend. This has caused a lot of trouble for me in my lifetime, so I have learned to mind my words now. My opinion isn’t always important. I do love a good debate, so clashing with others is rather second nature for me. I can be horribly contrary, on purpose, simply for effect. The human condition is of great interest to me, so on occasion I will do or say something in order to get the balls in rolling.)
Those born under the Metal Ox sign have the added benefit of strengthened lungs and large intestines. Metal Ox's are encouraged to not threaten these vital systems with unhealthy habits.
- (I am happy to learn of the vigor of my large intestines. I only hope my liver is also well fortified. My lungs, on the other hand, are not what they used to be (one of them is a bit crushed on the bottom). Sigh. Was really hoping that a different organ of mine would have been of significant size. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m above average, and have never received a complaint. Still… it would have been nice to have been given one physical characteristic that I could have built a career on. You, know… John Holmes style.)
- (Wait a minute… if I remember right, that didn’t turn out all that well.)
Do you celebrate your pet's Birthday?
I do acknowledge them. But, no.
As much as I love them: no cakes, no parties. Just lots of love.
What was your best birthday?
The one to come.
I simply look forward to time passing. I want to be here. I want to experience it all. So, if growing older is part of that deal, then sign me up.
I’m not being stupid about it, either. I’m planning for my future. I see my life path, and some of it - I have a say in, and some of it - I must accept and honor.
Bring it on. I’m simply grateful for the opportunity to be anywhere.
I can be young in my heart forever. I can believe in the power of love for the rest of my life. I’m not reliving anything. I’m not trying to hang on to anything either.
What’s to come, what’s down the road, what can I make happen next?
Those are the things that matter to me.
What was your worst birthday?
When I was ten my folks insisted we go to these friends of theirs on the night of my birthday – which meant no cake, no special meal for me. No friends to stay overnight either. So, I was in a pissy mood and acted up quite a bit, which angered my mother – a force to be reckoned with in those days. You did not want to mess with her (hormonal imbalance).
But, I was distraught because no one seemed interested in celebrating my birthday.
My mom yelled at me the entire way home and once we got in the house gave me the spanking to end all spankings. Not only did it hurt, but I really felt way too old to be spanked. So, I was outraged, embarrassed, frustrated, and emotionally hurt.
Then – kaboom – my mom drops all these presents on me; a ton of Hot Wheels related items that I had been dreaming of – and a cake. I could not believe she had gotten me what I wanted and had found a way to afford to do so.
That said, the whole thrill was tainted by what had preceded it. It was emotional whiplash. Here: I will beat your ass. Here: now be joyously happy. Well, I couldn’t be happy. It all felt creepy and sad and I hated every bit of it, but didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I pretended to be deliriously happy.
You know the album cover for that Hole album, ‘Live Through This?’
Yeah, that’s how I felt.
And – here’s the thing about all those toys I so loved…
They never worked the way they showed them on T.V.
There was always something wrong with them: they wouldn’t stay on the track, they were out of balance, the batteries ran out too fast or wouldn’t hold a charge – always something. Same goes for those electric race car sets. I just had no luck with that kind of thing, and that made for many a frustrating disappointment.
…you know, kind of like birthdays used to be.
What has been your best age so far?
My current one.
I live in the moment because it is the only way I am sure I’m still alive.
Therefore, I tend to like wherever I am, whenever I am.
I remain grateful.
Because… in so many ways, I really shouldn’t still be here at all.
Not a fan.
Dislike icing, frosting and the like. I do like real whipped cream. And I do like certain kinds of cake – the simpler, the better.
White. Fresh. With whipped cream and some fruit compote, maybe strawberries. Small portion.
I’d rather have an ice cold martini.
That way there is always a reason for me to blow on my birthday!
Is birthday sex expected, a present or a rarity? Do you get spanked?
This year, I got laid on my birthday! For the first time. Ever.
It pays to have a great boyfriend.