Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"The Importance Of An Amazing Live Show" by DailyUnsigned.com

If you are like me…a true music fan who loves an amazing live show…this article is for you!
Before I begin writing this article, I am going to turn on some really cool background music to set the right mood for myself. My goal tonight is to get thru this writing experience without it turning into a long winded –soapbox preaching – pontificating diatribe filled with expletive peppered rants. This is one of those subject matters (next to songwriting) that I am very passionate about..because next to music sales..it is one of the only revenue streams left for Bands and Solo Artists to make a living from that they have 100% control of.
Ok…are you ready? Here we go!
I want you to close your eyes and imagine the first concert that you ever went to…you saved your money for weeks to buy a ticket and to have some extra money to get a concert shirt to commemorate the whole experience. Now without sounding like I am trying to hypnotize you…I want to you to remember how you felt during the performance…the goose bumps that you got….the “holy shit” I can’t believe I am watching them perform feeling…that feeling you got like they were performing and singing to just you. Feels good huh? I too have the same memories of my first concert..I truly felt like I was part of something much bigger than myself..wow such a great feeling!
Now….let’s fast forward thru your prepubescent days to today!
You are now on stage performing your carefully crafted songs to an audience that is just standing there watching you…they are emotionless and ready to fall over from boredom….some of these fine folks are texting their friends..or better yet…they are Twittering about how bad your performance is to anyone who will listen to them. You of course are telling yourself in your head that the crowd sucks tonight and how the previous band really screwed up the mood in the venue tonight. Sucks huh?
But wait there’s more!
The rest of the band isn’t helping you…the bass player has his head up in the air during the whole performance (I think he is daydreaming about what is on TV right now). Your lead guitarist has been looking at his shoes the whole time and hasn’t once looked up to see what’s going on. Your drummer is in his own world theorizing macro-economics and parallel universes.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Your performance sounds like a train wreck…but do not fret…it is all fixable!
Ok…quick flash back to your first concert experience…let’s analyze why it was such an amazing experience so we can push your live show over the top.
Do you remember when you felt like you were the only person that they were performing and singing to in the venue? There is a reason for that!
The key to communication on stage is eye contact and body language…in other words…it’s not what you say…but how you say it or in this case…. sing it/perform it.
The reason why you felt like they were singing and performing to you is because the band mastered these performance principals. The lead singer when they looked at you while singing…he/she was also looking at the people behind you and to those to the left and right of you….everyone in the crowd felt a part of the experience. The rest of the musicians in the band also did this and you didn’t even realize it. Always remember that when you are on stage performing, the second you break eye contact with the audience…the communication with them stops.
As for body language, the correct body movements, hand gestures (reaching out to the crowd), hand on heart..etc….needs to be practiced before using in front of an audience (don’t want to look like a tool on stage). Have your band mates watch you perform for them and have them let you know if you are any good at it….practice makes perfect.
I recommend that you Google “Eye Contact” and “Body Language” for further tips and explanations on these subject matters since I can spend hours telling what you need to know.
I am going to be blunt here….
If you are not spending a lot of time pushing your live show performances to the limit, you are ripping off your customers and you should be ashamed of yourself. Every show that you perform has to be better than your previous one….why you ask? Because if it isn’t your audience will get bored of you and will stop coming to see you perform. Don’t you get bored? I love meatloaf….but I will be damned if I have to eat the same meatloaf 7 days a week for the rest of my life for dinner. So why should your audience have to as well?
What you need to do is this…start video taping your live shows and analyze them like you are in a Pro Football Team…find out what worked and what didn’t work from the audience’s perspective. Did you look like a tool on stage? Was someone playing sloppy on stage? Did your songs connect with the audience?
To truly make it as a live performance artist, you need to step up your game and make it a memorable “holy shit” experience for everyone involved.
Well…that’s all I have for you…hope you got something out of this article!
Daily Unsigned

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm Stuck In Blogging On Music Topics

Everyone, comment here on what I should write about music related. Topics, bands, albums, radio, ideas, theories, whatever.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Artist Vs. Song

I recently asked for blog post suggestions on Facebook, and Kyle Gardner suggested a very interesting topic. Here is what he said:
"My Dad always said in his day songs were popular not artists. Artists would remake the same song. I always thought it would be interesting to research this. I like the idea that the music is the star not simply the musician."

I like this. This has always been an interesting concept to me. Why is it that these days everyone knows about Britney Spears, but only a handful of people know more than 10 songs she has released? On the flip side, why does everyone know the song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" but few people know who wrote it?
Obviously those are just general examples, but there is a point behind it.
These days, money is poured into people or acts with the proper image, top notch performance ability, and talent. Many writers may go into composing one Justin Bieber song.
Back in the day, things were different. One person would write great music, and perform it brilliantly. These people caught the attention of record labels, who might offer some extra income by selling recorded music.
Written music was extremely flexible. Take, for example, "Ain't No Grave" If you're thinking Johnny Cash, then yeah, that song. But that's a pretty modern way of thinking.

You see, "Ain't No Grave" was written by a 12 year old boy named Claude Ely in 1934. He was sick and bedridden, so he taught himself how to play the guitar. When he was told that he would be dying soon, he said "No I most certainly am not" and played what would become known as "Ain't No Grave." He got better, attributed his health to an act of God, and went on to become a travelling preacher playing that song frequently.
This song has been released dozens of times by dozens of chart-topping bands and artists from a wide array of genres.

So why is it that once a song is released these days, no one is allowed to touch it? Why should that be ruled off limits for promotional purposes? Why do we let the artists become the stars rather than the music?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ark Music Factory: The Demise of Music

I'm not even going to ask, I already know the answer. You've heard "Friday" by Rebecca Black. With that, there is a 99% chance that you also agree it is probably one of the worst songs ever made. But if you're like me, you also noticed that the production of the song is really good, the video is pretty legit, and it is undeniable that it is way too catchy. These signs led me to one question; "Who is behind this catastrophe?"

Ark Music Factory. Thank you Google. Ark Music Factory is basically a team that finds kids with rich parents that want to be famous, get a check from those parents for a few grand, and then go make a song. As you can tell from "Friday", the songs are generally catchy, marketable to teeny-boppers, and suck.

Here's my thoughts: If they can do all this marketing and production for a horrible artist with a horrible song for a $4,000 check, why doesn't someone invest in the good artists with a catalogue of good music and make more money off the royalties? The risk and math lean toward the good music.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lady Gaga "Judas" - Song Meaning?

It kind of says something about Lady Gaga when I write two blogs about her. She's cool and all, but after the last one I thought that would be the last you heard of Lady Gaga from me. Then, on April 15th, 2011, she released the song "Judas".
The single is off of her upcoming album Born This Way. If you haven't been keeping track of the pre-production, production, and promotion, here's all you need to know:
The first single released was the title track, "Born This Way"
The second single is this song, "Judas"
She has described it as, (parental advisory) "something so much deeper than a wig or lipstick or a fucking meat dress"

A little crucial background info on Lady Gaga: She is absolutely a performance artist, 110% of her body is composed of creativity, she is unafraid of criticism, she loves her fans, and even her most mainstream, pop-ish songs have an often startling underlying layer of raw realness. So raw and real in fact, that the Catholic church has condemned her.

Okay so here's the classic Sam DeCross, Mixed In The Music artist/music breakdown. Ready? Go.

Lady Gaga, after repeatedly causing controversy and shocking the press by her repeated wild costumes, rumors, truths, etc; announces an album called Born This Way.
Lady Gaga releases the single conveniently named "Born This Way." Here it is below.

Now, the thing about Lady Gaga's lyrical content and presentation through her music usually seems like she's throwing it in your face as if she's saying "THIS IS ME, DEAL WITH IT." I've always perceived it as if she was just in that awkward situation where someone puts you on the spot and you freeze, but as soon as you walk away your head starts whirling in that "I'll tell you what I think, I'm on top of the world and I'm not afraid to tell anyone what's what in my book" kind of thing. I think this is why her followers find something to relate to in the meat-dress wearing pop star. For the 3 minutes of a Lady Gaga song, you don't even have to vent. She'll do it for you. I think the song "Born This Way" was the peak of that mindset. Let out everything that you are too afraid to show publicly because of what others might think.
In a more literal sense as I interpreted from the lyrics, she's saying "There is nothing wrong with who I am. I am what I am, God made me this way. If God decided I was the kind of person he would allow on Earth then who are you to challenge that?"
This obviously hit a nerve with a lot of people. Once that happened, all it did was prove the point that just because you make a point doesn't mean that you are forgiven. Even after she pointed out that, "Hey, I was born this way" she was still attacked and criticized for the same old things and more.

Cue the song "Judas". Here it is below.

The first time I heard it, I was like "Wow." I immediately thought of the scenes in Get Him To The Greek where Jackie O is singing those raunchy songs full of sexual innuendos that were so offensive it came out comical. So, I listened again and payed closer attention to the lyrics. It was then that I realized, "Wait... I know who Judas is!" Obviously she can't LITERALLY be saying she's in love with the biblical figure Judas, the man who turned Jesus over to be crucified.
Her "Judas" ties right into "Born This Way." Now this isn't going to keep the Catholic church away, but if God created her the way she is, why is it the people that criticize her the most are those who claim to represent God? Her Judas is the very way that God made her. Her Judas is her passion, her free spirit, her open support for the LGBT community, her standing up for the outcasts, her open raw reality that she shares with whoever listens.

I wonder what the next chapter in the Lady Gaga Born This Way tell-all will be...

Special thanks to Melissa for suggesting this topic. Good call.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spread The Word!

If you like any of these posts or the whole blog in general, PLEASE spread the word! There is a row of Share buttons below each post including a Facebook one. Share posts, strum up conversations, etc! And by all means, GET INVOLVED! If you want to see a post written about something, or even if you want to write a post, let me know and we'll talk!

Pace and Constant - Conscious Rap At Its Finest

I'll kick this post off by stating that yeah, I know these kids. Not only that, I manage Pace. I just want to put that out there right now so I'll be the first to say I have a bias on this post. But dang, it's a blog not a Time Magazine article.

So a few months back I'm putting on a Hip-Hop show in Phoenix, AZ. On the bill are local artists like New Breedz, 4XL Ent, Stunna Mike, good ol' bumpin Hip-Hop. As I'm posting on Facebook at LEAST once a day about the show, this kid Constant says "Hey man, you got any open slots on that show?"
Since I've heard his music (also amazing artist btw) I say "Sure, come on down."
Sure enough that night he's there, and he brings a buddy along, Pace. The night is absolutely horrible, there's maybe 15 people in the "crowd", the sound was absolutely bad, and the schedule was being thrown off every five minutes. Every single artist there was just throwing it down and taking advantage of an open stage and a microphone. From a promoter's standpoint the night was a wreck; from an artists standpoint, why not have fun. As each rapper performs the girls are dancing and the guys are giving that repetitive nod like, "Yeah, you're good."
Everyone has done their set, and it's time for Constant and Pace to go on. As soon as they get on stage, they don't look like they belong. One's a white kid you would expect to see shopping for 2XL Hollister tees, the other a slim asian-ish kid that always looks like his brain is going a million miles an hour; definitely stops to smell the roses. Obviously the room is kind of quiet, just wondering what is going to happen. Constant starts. His song "Night" begins, the instrumental playing while he holds the mic in both hands in front of him, his eyes down as if in prayer. As a recorded narrator reads a small excerpt from Elie Wiesel's book Night, written about the Holocaust. He looks up slowly... with the mic snatched up to his lips and a hand thrown out toward the 15 person crowd, he slams into the song.

Here's the song:

Night by Constant by sdec

Here's a video of Constant performing the song Night at his High School talent show.

Wow. The crowd didn't dance. They didn't nod their heads. They just stood completely still. Some stared at him, some stared at the ground. Maybe a wall. Who knows what they were looking at. It's funny to say, but for the first time that night at a concert, people were actually listening.

Next up is Pace. He does his song Forrest, a play off of the movie Forrest Gump.
I'm not going to say much about Pace. I want you to find out yourself. If you live in Phoenix, he has a show May 13, 2011 at Club Red. You can hear his music below, or at www.reverbnation.com/paceaz
Also check out his Facebook at www.facebook.com/paceofficial

If I could manage both artists I would. Constant lives in Flagstaff, AZ right now, attending NAU. He is releasing an album soon, and as soon as I have details on it you will too. The last thing I'm linking into here is one of my favorite songs that was done as a group called 3PM, which consisted of Constant, Vice Versa, and Pace. The song is called "Top Of The World".

Top of the World by 3PM by sdec

Sound Strike - The Day The Music Died In Arizona



You know how there's that whole thing going on in Arizona where everyone is racist and every single person is attacking Mexicans just because they are brown? How there is this crazy governor, and that insane sheriff that all the white people love because they hate Mexicans too? Have you realized I'm being completely sarcastic?
Yes, there is a senate bill floating around, SB-1070, that is causing a massive hooplah. It has been pegged as racist, hateful, and unconstitutional. This bill has somehow made ALL Arizonans racist Joe Arpaio supporters who like to raid businesses for illegals. To be honest, I think that is a bigger issue than SB-1070 itself. Let's be honest, we all know that bill isn't going anywhere. Even if it did it wouldn't do anything. All the horrible parts in it that were there in the beginning are gone, all that's left is this empty shell of a proposal that was so lame to begin with that Arizonans have kind of forgotten about it.
I live in Arizona. Phoenix actually. I live in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. If someone were to specifically ask me how illegal immigrants have directly affected me, I would be stumped. The majority of Arizonans that support SB-1070 would be too. You know who REALLY has NOT suffered ANY impact from illegal immigration? Arizonan Musicians. Arizonan Music Industry professionals. Promoters, managers, merch printers, sound techs, A&R reps, marketing execs, label owners, graphic designers, web developers, audio engineers, studio owners, photographers, writers and journalists, distributors, printers, keep the list going. You know what kind of people are most publicly against SB-1070? Arizonans involved in the music industry. You know who is now being boycotted? Arizonans involved in the music industry.

The Sound Strike is an organization that has decided it would be appropriate to teach Arizonans a lesson and not play any shows here. Yes, that is correct; a community has decided that the best way to act on an issue is to NOT join forces with the local like-minded folks and spread awareness. Umm... Good plan? They say the reason the Arizona music scene is being punished is because the state governement only cares about the bottom line: money. They say that as if the state government actually notices that money comes in from concerts. It's time to run some numbers.

Let's say that Kanye West (one of the artists participating in The Sound Strike) actually did decide to play in Arizona and risk funding a government deportation palooza. His highest grossing tour ever was his 2008 Glow In The Dark tour, which grossed $30.8 million and included 49 concerts. Take that and average out the gross income per each concert, and it's generous to assume that a single Kanye West concert would gross $614,000. Now take that gross income, and assume 6% gets handed over as taxes. $40,000 just got passed to the government. Multiply that by 15, as that would be about as much money as all those artists combined would make in Arizona within a year, and the government has saved up $600,000 from your concerts. NOW lets take that total of $600k and figure out what percentage goes to law enforcement; about $48,000. Now to the law enforcement who would actually be tracking down illegal immigrants, should this bill somehow come to life and pass? Not quite $1,500. Congrats Sound Strike. Throughout a whole year of your boycotting, losing money for yourself, putting our local professionals out of work, burning bridges between you and the Arizonans who had wanted to work with you, you prevented one officer from getting hired on. Or one truck from getting gas for a month. You may have prevented them from buying a three month supply of zip-tie handcuffs. Who knows, maybe you just cut funding for first aid kits in border patrol vehicles. Maybe you pissed off a cop so bad he actually wanted to ask a random hispanic person for their birth certificate, just to make you feel like you were fighting for something.

Let me put this simply. There is a community (hispanics) that are being targeted by a smaller community with more power (couple whackos in government). To counter this, a small community with power (The Sound Strike) is targeting a larger community (Arizonans). Again, ignore the irony.

All we want is our national community to help us fight SB-1070. Not whatever The Sound Strike is doing. Someone from somewhere other than Arizona form an organization that will actually do something to help keep families together, keep food on families tables, etc. I'm surprised that My Chemical Romance couldn't come up with a better publicity strategy than pretending to care about a poorly-planned humanitarian cause. Do a cover or something.



What's So Great About Atmosphere and Rhymesayers?

Chances are if you're in high school or college and take pride in non-conforming to the mainstream, you've heard of Atmosphere. Ignore the irony. Of all the hip-hop and rap going on these days the duo Atmosphere (made up of lead emcee Slug and beat producer Ant) have succeeded in the very thing spoken about by the Gucci Manes and Flava Flavs; keeping it real. With strong lyrical content focused on the highs and lows of normal-person life and beats oriented more around instruments you can actually play live, Atmosphere is on a lower pedestal than Lil' Wayne... and closer to their audience. Take the release of their most recent album, The Family Sign. It's their seventh official studio album, they have accumulated millions of fans, and are in the midst of kicking off their album promo tour. So what can they do that even compares to Lupe Fiasco's G-Shock Watch contest for Lasers? They sit down and actually sign every single pre-ordered album by hand as a way to say thank you.

With all these fan-oriented marketing strategies and genuine passion, it's no surprise that Rhymesayers Entertainment, the label formed by the members of Atmosphere and couple other artists/business oriented guys (Sean Daley, Anthony Davis, Brent Sayers, and Musaab Saad) has such a close-knit and supportive fan base. The Rhymesayers label is pretty much what every artist or die-hard music fan has thought about at least once. It's something simple, a tool for up-and-coming artists to reach the fans, get their albums out, and pay for a weeks supply of Ramen Noodles. To a degree it still is. The only difference is now they actually have an office space, actually live well successfully in the music industry, and put on their own major tours.
The biggest thing that comes to mind to someone who knows a little bit about the label, artists, and founders is that they actually CARE. The label is actually a LABEL, they care for and work with their artists. The artists are actually ARTISTS, they put thought and effort into their work. The founders actually FOUNDED, they built the entire business from the ground up with blood sweat and tears. What did all of this get them? Fans that are actually FANS. People that religiously check to see what their favorite artists are doing, when they will release even a sneak peak of a single, that have calenders on their wall, phone, and laptop all marked for the day that a tour is coming through their town. Kids are learning more about life through the music of Brother Ali, POS, Atmosphere, Blueprint, and Musab then they are from their own fathers. They feel closer to Eyedea than they do with their cousins. Is this really marketing, or is it just being genuine? Maybe marketing exec's could learn a thing or two from these guys at the label and the artists. Maybe instead of using scientific research to determine that painting the logo red and yellow induces a reaction felt as hunger, McDonalds should use what they already know and paint "You should eat here because it tastes good" on all their restaurant walls.

Start listening to genuine music. Not completely, I'm not saying that. All music is good, and of course I have good things to say about Gucci Mane, Justin Bieber, and William Hung. But every now and then just play something that actually has an effect on you. Makes your brain do things. It's refreshing to let something invoke emotion. Especially in a world where you're not allowed to show any.

And go buy The Family Sign. It's really good.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

As per usual, I shall begin with the background information.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was written by Queen’s frontman, Freddie Mercury. I’m not going to do much of a biography on Freddie Mercury, just the things that relate to this story. After all, Freddie Mercury was notorious for his privacy.
Freddie Mercury was a man who loved music. If you have ever listened to a full Queen album straight through, you might notice how many of the songs are nearly different genres than the others; “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and it’s Rockabilly style versus “We Are The Champions” and it’s Progressive Rock style. For a long while Freddie was with a woman named Mary Austin. The relationship ended when he admitted to her that he was indeed gay and had an astonishing long list of boyfriends. Freddie and Mary remained best friends until his death. Freddie was born in Zanzibar, and his family practiced in the Zoroastrian religion, which strongly opposed homosexuality. His family disapproved of his homosexuality very much. After his death, a close family friend named Rusi Dalal said: ‘They were very unhappy about his homosexuality. Being gay is not accepted in the Zoroastrian religion. We also have very few believers and the religion can only be passed on through the Father to his children, Obviously a gay man will have no children and this deeply upset the Bulsara family.’
Freddie Mercury died of broncho-pneumonia as a result of AIDS. Throughout the better part of his music career his friends and former lovers had been dying of AIDS.
Shortly before his death Mercury and his family made peace. His family was very proud of his accomplishments and he loved his family very much.
Now, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has never been explained in detail by Mercury or the band Queen. As a matter of fact, they claimed it had no meaning at all, just randomness put together to make a good song. On the other hand, both Mercury and the rest of the band have confirmed that the song was Freddie’s big project. He wanted this to be the song that he was remembered for. Everyone in the creation process has agreed that Freddie Mercury poured a lot of himself into the song; including Freddie Mercury. However, a real meaning behind “Bohemian Rhapsody” has never been officially released and remains a secret; if anyone other than Mercury himself even know.
With that being said, I am now officially stating that everything you will hear from here-on-out is my own insight and conclusion and has never been confirmed by anyone with the authority to do so. Basically, this blog entry could be as far from the truth as James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces.” I’m also warning you that my analysis will probably be unorganized, confusing, and boring. Sorry ’bout that folks.
Begin: Analysis of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, as analyzed by Sam DeCross.
The song starts out with Mercury’s vocals. (This remains a feat in the recording industry, they used numerous recordings of his voice bounced down to one for the effect. It was so complex that Mercury couldn’t pull it off during live performances and instead started the song with the vocals from”Mustapha” or the piano intro from “Death On Two Legs.”) The lyrics are “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.” These opening words seem to refer to the mindblowing AIDS epidemic at the time. AIDS was sweeping the nation and left many people in the medical field baffled. It just didn’t seem real. Next, the piano kicks in. The next lyrics with piano accompiniment are,
“Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy (Poor boy)
I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
Little high, little low
Any way the wind blows
Doesn’t really matter to me, to me.”
This has a couple different possible meanings to me. First, it could be taken as words from a narrator symbolizing all the people affected by AIDS. There are so many people that they really have lost their individuality and respect and instead have become a statistic. Second, it could be a direct narration from Mercury describing his own childhood in poverty. Mercury wasn’t diagnosed with AIDS but he was afraid he could have had the virus from the early 70′s due to the amount of sexual partners he had and the amount of former sexual partners that had fallen to the virus. A mixture of the two possibilities would suggest that Mercury was giving a first person narration as himself and saying that as a man with AIDS who used to be poor and unknown, he was just a poor boy looking into the sky and awaiting his death. In that scenario, it really wouldn’t matter what happened because he was going to die soon either way. “Either way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me.” This apathy toward his demise would also speak for the lack of knowledge and cure for AIDS at the time. No matter what, there was still no way of curing it or stopping it.
The next part introduces the bass, as well as the next chapter of Mercury’s lyrical story. The next lyrics are:
“Mama just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooh
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters”
The drums enter after “Now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.” I interpret this as Mercury’s way of acknowledging regret for his lifestyle. Not his homosexuality, but his “party” attitude and numerous sexual partners. It seems he felt guilty and blamed himself for his friends dying of AIDS as if he had given them the virus. It seems he is using the metaphor of putting a gun to someone’s head and pulling the trigger for passing the AIDS virus. He ends with “If I’m not back again this time tomorrow, carry on as if nothing really matters,” as if he’s a fugitive on the run for murder. He knows that with AIDS he is just as likely to die as anyone else. But it seems like he sees it as karma. He gave the virus to someone, now it’s going to get him to. He sees this as fair, so if it happens, just carry on as if it didn’t. Next:
“Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body’s aching all the time
Goodbye, everybody
I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, oooooooh (Anyway the wind blows)
I don’t want to die
Sometimes wish I’d never been born at all”
Again, it seems he is describing the systems of an illness along with AIDS. Shiver, aches, etc. He is acknowledging that his time is running out and he’ll be leaving soon. Still, he sees this as punishment for a crime he has committed. He doesn’t want to die, as he pleads to his mother, and again we catch a hint of guilt as he admits that he wishes hhe had never been born.
Here’s where it gets interesting! There is the guitar solo, and then the opera takes over. Lyrics for the opera:
“I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me
(Galileo) Galileo (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro
I’m just a poor boy nobody loves me
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go
Let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go
Let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go
Let me go (Will not let you go)
Let me go (Will not let you go) (Never, never, never, never)
Let me go, o, o, o, o
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh mama mia, mama mia) Mama Mia, let me go
Beelzebub has the devil put aside for me, for me, for me!”
This is my favorite part to pick apart. To me, it seems that this opera part has two sections. The first is after the death when he’s in heaven. He sees a silhouette of a man who ends up being the judge who determines his entrance into heaven. Instead of a formal judgement based on sin and acts during his life, the judge, (God, St. Peter, whoever it may be,) says “scaramouch, will you do the fandango?” Scaramouch in theatre is a dimwitted but proud character, and the fandango is an old dance. Basically, his admittance to heaven is based on a silly song and dance. “Magnifico!” says the Judge. The main character thinks this is rediculous since he was planning on being fairly judged on the things he had done for peace of mind. He asks to be let go, and a choir of angels partakes in the sing-song. He asks once more if he can go. This turns into a comical bickering between him, the judge, and the angels. “Bismillah” is an Islam phrase that loosely translates to “In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate”. So when the character asks if he can be released and the judge replies “Bismillah, we will not let you go” he is actually saying “In the name of God, we will not let you go.” The character, or Freddie Mercury, is now by the decree of God being punished for what he has done. The lyrics end by illustrating that what he has done is so evil that he has replaced the devil.
Next in lyrics:
“So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here”
These lyrics are accompanied by heavy guitar. This is interesting. The tables have done a complete 180. Now instead of being the assailant and paying for his crime, the character sees himself as the victim. Sure, he may have given the AIDS virus to someone. But who gave it to him? Has that person paid the way the character is paying? Now it just isn’t fair. He doesn’t belong in purgatory for what he has done, he needs to get out.
Guitar solo. Next lyrics are accompanied by soft piano.
“Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters to me”
Again, he’s in that mindset where he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. No matter what happens, he still has to face the same fate and nothing can change it.
“Any way the wind blows…”
No matter what happens between then and the future, he still knows that he can’t change the past and the future still holds the same fate. Any way the wind blows, he still did what he did and the consequences are still the same.
*Song fades out.*
Like I said, probably not even close. But hey, I haven’t heard a better explanation yet. Have you?

Lil' Wayne Shot Himself In The Chest

Today I’m going to make a few points that go along with the story. First, the story.
Yes, it is a fact. Lil’ Wayne, a.k.a. Dwayne Carter Jr., acidentaly shot himself in the chest when he was 12 years old. It was an ordinary day in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans. 12 year old Dwayne had gotten out of school early (report card day; students everywhere know that day) and stopped by Burger King on his way home. He took his meal to go and made himself comfy on the bed in the master bedroomto eat his burger. That is, until he noticed the blue steel Taurus 9 mm handgun. A family friend has left it at the house after a football game. What would you do if you were a 12 year old aspiring rapper who just found a loaded 9 mm while you were home alone? You would do exactly what Dwayne did; blast the music, stand in front of a mirror, and get’cho gangsta on. The only problem with that game is that he wasn’t playing with a toy. Pretty soon the gun went off sending a bullet straight through his chest and out the bedroom window. Lil’ Wayne was down. Somehow the bullet missed every vital organ, but 12 year old Dwayne Carter was bleeding out quickly. He managed to dial 911. Here’s the Lil’ Wayne attitude from an early age; when the operator pressed for details on the injury, Dwayne responded, “You’ll find out when you get here.”
When the 911 call went out, an off-duty New Orleans P.D. Officer named Robert Hoobler happened to be in the neighborhood. He went to Dwayne’s apartment, 3409 Monroe St. Apartment D. Hoobler pulled up to the complex at the same time as Officer Arthur Thompson. They went up to the apartment, knocked on the door, and heard no answer. They tried again to no answer. When they asked a neighbor what she knew about the family in Apartment D, she said they had jsut moved in and she didn’t know them at all. As Thompson went to find the maintenance man to unlock the door, Hoobler knocked once more. This time, he heard a faint response, “Help me, I’ve been shot!”
To make a long story short, Hoobler kicked the door down to find Dwayne laying in a pool of blood. He searched the apartment for a gunman, but only found a pistol at the foot of the bed, a shell casing next to the half-eaten burger, and a stereo blasting gangsta rap. No ambulance was available to come to the scene, so Hoobler took Dwayne to the nearest hospital in the back of his squad car. He got there just in time for doctors to rush Dwayne into surgery and save his life.
The first point I want to make is this: Idiots should not leave their pistols around town after football games! When police questioned him about the unregistered gun, Dwayne said it was his stepfather’s. It wasn’t, but his stepfather, Reginald “Rabbit” Carter, ended up doing six months in jail as a result of the incident. This is a prime example of why extra care should be taken to protect children from guns within the home.
The second point is tricky for me. In the debate on media influence on children, I’m independant. In my own opinion, I think there should be a level of censorship and restriction on media up to certain age levels. On the other hand, a 12 year old kid has a reasonable grasp on right and wrong. Obviously Dwayne Carter had been exposed to some less-than-clean gangsta rap music; as a child he would rap at parties and he never was into the bubblegum rap that most teen artists are. At 12 years old when Lil’ Wayne first signed with Brian “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams he was already known for being a gangsta rapper with dedication. The main reason the Williams brothers signed Lil’ Wayne to Cash Money Records was because they were getting freestyles left on their answering machine every day. The only thing I can say in Lil’ Wayne’s defense was that he actually did have a level head as a kid. He wasn’t a gangbanger, he was a businessman even at that age. He was out to make a name for himself as an artist, not as a thug. His mother even pulled him from Cash Money for a while because Dwayne started wearing gangsta style cothing. As soon as he convinced her that he had nothing to do with any gang, he was back in the studio. Yet the question still remains: If the music didn’t turn him gangster, and he wasn’t a gangster with a record deal, then why did he feel the need to play with a loaded 9mm in the mirror? Kids will be kids. Kids with guns will be dead kids.
The third point is the most interesting to me, and requires more story.
For years after the incident Officer Hoobler would hear about this “Lil’ Wayne” all over town. People were talking about him, there were posters all over the city, radio shows had interviews and advertisements. One day as Officer Hoobler is sitting at a restaurant eating his lunch, a man walks up to him. The man says, “Lil’ Wayne wants to talk to you.” Hoobler follows over to a table packed with people crowded over a man with long dreads, goldchains, and a silver grill. Lil’ Wayne says, “Everyone, this is Officer Hoobler. This man saved my life. I almost died and this man saved my life. I’ll never forget him.” Hoobler reache over and bumped Lil’ Wayne’s fist. They had a small chit chat before they each returned to their meals. When Officer Hoobler went to pay his bill, the waitress said, “Don’t worry about it. Lil’ Wayne covered your bill.”
I find this nearly mind-blowing. Honestly. Have you heard gangsta rap? Have you ever heard a GOOD thing about cops? Have you ever heard a song by Lil’ Wayne that said something GOOD about cops? I’ve heard tons of stories about a gangsta getting shot and then fighting to get away from the cops that are there for their safety. I’ve heard songs and stories about rappers that say they’ll never forget the face of the cop he killed or the cop that shot at him. I have never heard of a rapper who never forgot the face of the cop that saved his life. I have never heard a story of a rapper who bought the cop that saved his life lunch. I have never heard a rapper tell a cop “Thank you for saving my life and being out there to save everyone else.”
Hoobler lost his home and was seperated from his wife for 5 days when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Lil’ Wayne was there helping as soon as he could.
Lil’ Wayne, notorious for his tattoo’s, has a large tattoo on his chest that says “Bang Bang” to commemorate the shooting, and has a tattoo that says “Rabbit” on his arm in memory of his stepfather Reginald “Rabit” Carter who was kidnapped and murdered shortly after he was released from the jail where he served time for being responsible for the unregistered gun Dwayne shot himself with that wasn’t really his.
When Hoobler, a rock-music enthusiast who has never heard a Lil’ Wayne album, heard that Lil’ Wayne was releasing the album Rebirth, a rock album, he said, “Now there’s something I might listen to.”
Not-So-Fun-Fact: When Jay-Z was 12 years old, he shot his brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.

"Daughter" by Pearl Jam

This is definately one of the best songs ever created in my book. The song “Daughter” by Pearl Jam tells an amazing story, but the lyrics are… extraordinary. Their simplicity tells the whole story itself. First of all, here’s what Eddie Vedder has said about “Daughter.” (Warning: Language)
“The child in that song obviously has a learning difficulty. And it’s only in the last few years that they’ve actually been able to diagnose these learning disabilities that before were looked at as misbehavior, as just outright rebelliousness. But no one knew what it was. And these kids, because they seemed unable or reluctant to learn, they’d end up getting the shit beaten outta them. The song ends, you know, with this idea of the shades going down—so that the neighbors can’t see what happens next. What hurts about shit like that is that it ends up defining peoples’ lives. They have to live with that abuse for the rest of their lives. Good, creative people are just fucking destroyed.”
With that being said, I have heard a couple rumors about this song. The first is that the song was actually Eddie Vedder’s own childhood. It’s possible that he changed some things, like the main character being a female and such. But according to the rumor, the song is about Eddie Vedder’s struggle as a child with undiagnosed Dyslexia, and his stepfathers frustration with Vedder’s inability to do well in school. The part about being called Daughter basically highlights the pain of his stepfathers abuse, and Vedder’s feeling of being less than a son.
The second rumor is that the song is actually about a real girl who was killed by the abuse she recieved as a result of her learning disabilities.
The song itself is, like I said before, amazing. The lyrics tell the perfect story; from the emotional guilt, depression, and frustration felt by the child, to the abuse that the child recieves, to the ending where the blinds are shut so the outside world wont see what happens. Vedder’s vocals express the emotion behind the words superbly. The drums, bass, and guitar are strong enough to bring out the emotion but also simple enough to double that effect by imitating the simplicity of innocence and childhood.
If you don’t know what song I’m talking about, please look up “Daughter” by Pearl Jam.
Stay gold Ponyboy.

So, What’s Up With Lady Gaga?

Well, does anyone really know? Lady Gaga (a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) was almost a normal kid. She was bullied a lot and hated high school. That’s really not uncommon amongst artists, right? She loved music, especially Queen. There may not be a bigger fan of Freddy Mercury than Stefani Germanotta. Her college days were spent doing shows in Manhattan. So common for artists it’s almost cliche’, right? She was signed to Def Jam after L.A. Reid heard her singing down the hallway from his office. That’s a pretty lucky break, yeah? She was soon dropped from the label, but continued to work with producers. In fact, her stage name Lady Gaga came from a weird glitch from a producer, Rob Fusari. Since Stefani was such a Queen fan, her “entrance song” at the studio was “Radio Gaga.” Fusari tells the story, “Every day, when Stef came to the studio, instead of saying hello, I would start singing ‘Radio Ga Ga.’ That was her entrance song. [Lady Gaga] was actually a glitch; I typed ‘Radio Ga Ga’ in a text and it did an autocorrect so somehow ‘Radio’ got changed to ‘Lady’. She texted me back, “That’s it.” After that day, she was Lady Gaga. She’s like, “Don’t ever call me Stefani again.”
Her mom even calls her Gaga.
So what about her crazy outfits? Well… Who knows? It’s just Gaga. It’s crazy, it’s flashy, it’s in-your-face, it’s exotic, erotic, and neurotic. It’s her thing. There’s really no big explanation. It’s her tribute to the wild 70′s scene. Glam rock, pop, disco. She bottles it all up, shakes it like a polaroid picture, pops the cork and pours it in a tall glass of modern edge and creativity.
Lady Gaga: The definition of Performance Artists.
Oh, and no; she’s not a hermaphrodite.