Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Dear Musically Inclined Readers:

Last week’s trip to the karaoke bar made me really want a go-to karaoke song.

To be fair, it hasn’t been an urgent need. I’ve only participated in karaoke twice in my entire life.

The first time was at McDonough’s in Savannah. Some friends and I laughed our way through “Summer Nights.

The second time was in Japan at a neighborhood bar (aka some lady’s living room). The song was “American Pie.” You think you know that song until you try to sing it. (Go on. Give it a try.)

There’s a sweet spot for good karaoke songs.

It needs to be something like “Sweet Caroline” where there always will be audience participation.

But because I’m a very special snowflake, it can’t be something everyone sings (i.e., “Don’t Stop Believin’” or “Livin’ on a Prayer“).

And I cannot abide sad-sackery on a night out. No slow songs!

So what’s it going to be? “Ice Ice Baby” or “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)?” Should I channel Dee Snider or Cher?

What is your favorite song to sing or to hear in a karaoke bar? Tell me in the comments.

Thanks!
Beth

*In a metaphorical sense. I do not actually want to sing the blues. Shudder. Thanks, Billie!

Read Full Post »

When Vladimir Putin isn’t being an international jerk, he’s at Market Tavern singing “Sweet Caroline.”

Dear Hanley Market Tavern Regulars:

You sure know how to make a girl feel special. A little bit too special in a zoo exhibit kind of way.

When my friend Nick told me there was a “rough” pub in town that featured karaoke on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, I was agog.

Afternoon karaoke at a “rough” pub?

Yes, please.

Jesse’s Divide was opening for Nashville Pussy in Hanley, so I decided to go.

As they were playing on a Wednesday, I made a little trip to Market Tavern before I met my friend Hannah at the show.

I walked in to someone warbling a song I didn’t recognize. Then I realized it was supposed to be “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” That’s a bad AND good sign. It’s a good sign of bad karaoke.

Perfect.

I got a drink and chose a seat at the back of the bar where I could sit alone and not draw attention. Smart move.

It was in front of the men’s room. Not a smart move.

My first gentleman caller was a man with a fully tattooed face. Think knockoff version of The Enigma.

He asked me if was going to sing.

At least, I think that’s what he asked me.

He could have asked me if he could dismember me in the Gents, and I wouldn’t have known.

He was 102 and drunk with a very thick Stokie accent that was hard for these American ears to understand.

My view from the hostess stand for the men’s room.

My next new friend was a man with four teeth and four iron cross tattoos. Delightful! He also sported a Confederate flag wristband.

He wanted to know if I had a boyfriend.

I toyed with the idea of saying, “Yes. He’s a Jewish man of color from Poland.” I think I could have made him explode “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style.

An older woman at the next table came over.

Her: Are you alright on your own there?

Me: Oh, yes. I’m fine, thank you.

Her: You’re American!

Me: Yes. What am I doing in the middle of Hanley, right?

Her: Well, yes.

She went to the loo, and I checked my phone for word from Hannah. I suddenly felt hands touching my shoulders. I yelped and turned around.

Creepy George: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.

Me: Well, you did. Please do not touch me.

Didn’t mean to startle me? Someone who doesn’t know you and has her back to you? What did he expect? “Hi handsome! Please come back to my temporary accommodation for stranger boning.”

When I went to the bathroom, I took my drink. Women know why.

Meanwhile, the show went on. It was definitely a crying-in-your-beer kind of vibe.

I Recall a Gypsy Woman” by Don Williams (!) was about the peppiest thing.

I knew it was time for me to leave when I heard what sounded like Fozzy Bear singing “Love on the Rocks.”

Leaving was cemented as a plan when my last gentleman caller insisted on a conversation:

Him: You’re an American.

Me: Yes.

Him: You’re drinking Guinness.

Me: Yes.

Him: I’m going to get you one, and I’m going to talk to you.

Me: (checks watch) I’m leaving in three minutes.

Him: Then I’ll take three minutes of your time.

My lady friend heard this exchange. “It’s because you’re new in here,” she said.

Yes. It was like Fisher Price: My First American.

I waved goodbye to her and the insistent fellow getting our drinks and headed out the side door.

Thank you all for giving me fodder for this blog.

I’ll be back.

Your new American friend,
Beth

* No one sang anything by The Carpenters, sadly.

Read Full Post »

Dear Crazy Legs,

When I go to a bar, I like to watch people. I especially pay attention if I’m having a club soda night.

(If I’m not, sometimes I become the watchee.)

Anyway, I had my eye on you. For good reason.

Look at those sweet moves!

My pseudo sister-in-law Becky said you’re a regular. And some drunk girl always ends up being your dance partner.

You + drunk girl = happiness

Everybody wins!

Tonight, though, you were really feeling yourself. Literally.

Becky and I were not the only ones shocked when you appointed yourself the Extremely Pointless Fly Girl.

Er. Fly Guy.

The whole crowd was incredulous but amused.

Thankfully, you didn’t overstay your welcome. One song, then you bowed and took off.

Becky said it well: “That was the highlight of my day!”

Becky and I remained off stage.

So I guess I’ll see you next time?

Keep on dancing,
Beth

* Thanks, Van Halen. BTW, it is not Halen with Hagar. That’s Van Hagar.

Read Full Post »

Dear Kara,

I was SO HAPPY to see you Saturday night.

In general, of course, but also because you too wanted to wear a mask to see our brother Lodell play in his Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band.

Diamond Music Hall was SOMETHING ELSE.

I had no idea this place had COVID repellent. They need to bottle it and sell it.

I mean, CLEARLY they have some kind of protection because there were 4,352 people inside and no mask in sight.

Yikes!

I walked in and started hyperventilating. I told Lodell that he’d be the last person I’d see pre-infection.

It was a super-spreader event, for sure. Great for the band to have so many fans. Not great for my health.

But you showed up and normalized mask wearing.

The fear is real.

I am grateful.

I’m also oddly grateful to the nearby couple who decided a Southern rock show was a good place to practice the dance moves they learned after Bible study.

They were fascinating.

And Freebird USA put on a great show.

I’m a fan.

I’m willing to go out again, but only if you are with me in mask solidarity.

Deal?

Your sister,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Hey Rock Music Fans! Have I got a new album for you.

Jesse’s Divide releases “Thirteen Steps” tomorrow. Some of you even responded to my prior call to action and helped fund this album. It’s their first.

“But wait, Beth,” you might say. “Haven’t they been a band for years? Haven’t they released songs?”

Well, yes to both. But this is their first ALBUM. The others were EPs.

Now, I’ve reviewed books, movies, plays/musicals, performances, etc., but I’ve never reviewed an album before.

But like an antivaxxer who knows ALL ABOUT the danger of the COVID vaccine thanks to his YouTube research, I’m going to act like an expert.

This is a great album — their best work to date.

Let me give you a frame of reference for my taste: Of their EPs, I’m partial to “Strange Alchemy.” Specifically the title track.

So let’s get to it. The debut features 10 tracks plus a special “secret” track, which is not so secret, clearly. (Why isn’t it 13? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them.)

  1. Bad Decisions
  2. Free Thinker
  3. Down Again
  4. Long Time Coming
  5. Fyre!
  6. Thirteen Steps
  7. Jajvam
  8. The One
  9. Hollow Throne
  10. Anubis
  11. SYCM (aforementioned “secret track.”)

Bad Decisions

I feel like this is “my” song. My oft-used phrase “bad decisions make good stories” was, I’ve been told, the inspiration for the title. And the song is about bad decisions the guys made during their U.S. tour: Too much beer on the plane for Nick, too much tequila on stage for Rob, too much ALL THE ALCOHOL for Si in Savannah. The chorus even references what you do with a tequila shot. (“Lick it. Down it. Suck it. Wooo!”)

Photo evidence of debauchery:

I know you want to look at Si’s tongue. Don’t. Look at Rob’s dead eyes.
Look at Rob’s tequila sweats.
In addition to looking vaguely like Papa Smurf, Si has the dead eyes like Rob.

I don’t have photos of Drunk Nick, sadly. I wasn’t on the plane.

Anyway, the song. It kicks off the album with a bang. The main riff vaguely resembles the theme from “The Munsters,” so I’m a fan. Si has a fantastic voice, but here he screams like Steven Tyler. That’s great, if that’s your thing.

Free Thinker

This is the song for the antivaxxer mentioned who will think the guys agree with him. (Hint: They don’t.) It’s a critical COVID anthem.

Down Again

“Free Thinker” segues nicely into “Down Again.” And it’s catchy as all hell. It’s been in my head every morning this week. This could and should get radio play.

Long Time Coming

The lyrics make me think someone in the band is getting a divorce. (What’s going on, guys?) Again, catchy as hell. Accessible to people who like rock, pop, alternative. Also could and should get radio play.

Fyre!

No one likes a KISS soundalike song more than I do, so this is a song for me. I want them to wear fancy pants and big boots and play this in a stadium full of fans, all of whom are yelling “Fyre! Fyre! Fyre! at the chorus. “Burn baby, burn.”

Thirteen Steps

The title track is a heavy-as-balls concoction that references 13 steps to the gallows. Grim. But the song is a banger.

Jajvam

What the heck does that mean? A Google search says it’s Klingon for “Today is a good day to die.” Delightful! “Jajvam” hearkens back to JD’s first EP “Metadome.” And it would be a great song on that EP. Here it is overshadowed by everything else. Sorry. It’s just that the others rock SO HARD. (To be fair, I saw them do this live, and it killed.)

The One

This will kill live too. I want them to play it after “Fyre!” It’s an energetic and infectious rock song.

Hollow Throne

The opening riff sounds like a mix of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and the soundtrack to a whodunit. This, “The One” and “Thirteen Steps” are, in my opinion, the heaviest on the album. But they still are accessible to pop-lovers like myself. We’re not talking Slipknot* heavy.

Anubis

Like “Down Again” and “Long Time Coming,” “Anubis” feels commercial. I could hear this on any number of my Sirius presets. It also sounds like a divorce song. (Seriously guys: Are you OK?) That said, it feels optimistic. It connects the whole album together and ends it on a high note.

Oh, but wait.

SYCM

It’s an acoustic amuse-bouche. Why here (this position and at all)? I’ll probably never listen again. I’m so sorry. I’m honest to a fault. I hope the guys will still love me. 😉😘

Anyway, the album rocks your face off the whole way through. No real ballads here, which is fine by me. It’s already pushed out “Strange Alchemy” as my favorite release of theirs.

So, be a trendsetter: Download the album on your favorite streaming service today! If you like it, spread the word and buy some merch.

*Look. Listen. I know there’s way heavier stuff than Slipknot. Not for me. This is as far as I go. You know my taste!

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends,

If you’ve spent any time at all reading this blog, you know how much I love all kinds of music. Well, almost all.

Two of you (Logan and Julia) wrote music-related Facebook posts recently.

I’ve done a take on the “10 albums” challenge, but this is different: These are songs that you associate with a time or a person.

Here are 15 songs indelibly linked to a certain someone.

“Tusk,” Fleetwood Mac and “Escape,” Rupert Holmes: These were the first two 45s I bought at my friend Michele’s suggestion. Solid choices.

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” Wham: Michele again. We played tennis rackets and sang this at 2 in the morning during a sleepover. A videotape exists somewhere.

“9 to 5,” Dolly Parton: I dressed up as Dolly and performed this for a talent show at church. I think of my dad because he made me do it. I mean that in the very best way. I had not yet fully discovered my ham gene yet.

“Coat of Many Colors,” Dolly Parton: At the church talent show the next year, I sang this while my dad played guitar. We were huge Dolly fans. Clearly.

“Beat My Guest,” Adam Ant: This is not a song that is appropriate for ninth graders, but there Julia and I were — titillated at the lyrics and salivating over Stuart.

“1999,” Prince: Julia again. See screenshot above.

“I Melt With You,” Modern English: High-school boyfriend Tom. It was “our” song.

“It Takes Two,” Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock: My Chi Omega sisters and I changed the words and sang this during Greek Week. I STILL remember most of our lyrics (“The situation that Delta Sig is in … “).

“No Sex,” Alex Chilton: Mike put this on a mix tape. I had never heard of Alex Chilton. Mind blown.

“Friday I’m in Love,” The Cure: Post-college boyfriend Rob. “Our” song because that’s what was playing when our friend Harry caught us kissing on the Malone’s steps. Oops.

“Mr. Vain,” Culture Beat: Eggy “watermelon” lipsynced to this while Sophia danced on a box for a music video Eddie had to do for a class. Alex debuted some dance moves. James too.

“I Swear,” John Michael Montgomery: Eddie and I danced to this for our first dance at our wedding.

“Si Tuvieras Tus Ojos,” Edgar Joel: This was on a Salsa Mix CD our friend Billy gave me. I’ll never forget him dancing to this. For a husky guy, he is shockingly graceful. (Billy, that is. I have no idea about Joel’s physique.)

“Take On Me,” a-ha: This is my song with Gideon. We sing it with gusto. Sometimes we can hit that high note. Sometimes not.

I feel like this is a Part 1 post. As soon as I put it up, I know I’ll think of others.

What are yours? Tell me in the comments.

Happy trip down memory lane!
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Rick Springfield,

Thanks for the chat this week. It was … surreal to talk to you on the phone. It was even more surreal to say this to my family:

I have to turn on the ringer on my phone; I’m waiting for a call from Rick Springfield.

But these are the perks of being a freelance reporter.

Granted, my angle — your seething hordes of rabid female fans — is a little unusual.

You were bemused by my questions, I could tell. But I made you laugh, so that’s good.

Thanks for being gracious and humble. And a 71-year-old heartthrob who’s clearly still got it.

Why do I know this? Because I saw your fans in action at Chastain Park in Atlanta in August 2018.

This is you braving the crowd. I was impressed.

See you Friday night at the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Block Party!

Your fan,
Beth

*Yes, I took liberties with the song.

Read Full Post »

Dear Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen,

One of your songs came on the radio, and I immediately changed the channel.

I mean no disrespect. I’m just not a fan.

I know, I know: I’m an American, so I’m supposed to love you and your music.

I don’t. I can live without hearing one of your songs ever again.

There is a whole list of singers/bands who fall into that category for me:

Bruce Hornsby and The Range
Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
The Grateful Dead
Chicago
Joe Cocker
Don Henley
The Cars
George Thorogood
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Steely Dan
The Eagles
The Doobie Brothers

It’s a theme I’ll call “Americana.”

But Cheap Trick? Boston? Blue Öyster Cult? Hell yes.

Look. Listen. I can’t explain my taste.

I can live without “folksy” folks too:

4 Non Blondes
Indigo Girls
Bob Dylan

Good LORD: I cannot STAND Bob Dylan.

I’m sorry. I feel guilty. I feel like I have to turn in my “American” card (which, by the way, I have been tempted to do by things other than music).

Keep on rocking, just not within my earshot.
Beth

 

Read Full Post »

Dear @adampocalypse,

I’m very sorry my public reply to your public question to AITA on Twitter upset you so much that you blocked me.

I’ve never been blocked before — not to my knowledge, anyway.

Maybe you block people regularly, so you don’t remember our exchange.

(And if you do block people regularly, perhaps you should stay off Twitter. Or stop commenting on tweets from popular accounts.)

To remind you, @AITA_reddit posted a selection involving a grown woman whose teenaged boys were mortified by her One Direction decor in one of the bathrooms.

As a mother of teenaged boys, and as someone who loves One Direction, I was interested in the post and fully on her side (as most people were).

But there’s always one person who wants to make it awkward.

That person was you.

It seemed like quite a leap from liking a band to being a pedophile. I’m shocked 584 people implied they agreed with you.

I was compelled to respond. (Because of course I was.) But I wasn’t the only one.

1. Target sold these candles.
2. I guarantee you that most moms of teenaged boys are not into thinking sexually about teenaged boys. They are gross.
3. Yes, I know some women do. That’s gross too. And, thankfully, not that common.

I think you are too sensitive to be on a public forum. You also seem to be projecting.

I am a middle-aged woman who thinks Harry Styles is very cute. He does not meet the age requirement (half my age plus seven) for naughtiness, and also, HE’S A CELEBRITY I’LL NEVER MEET.

Harry IS dating an older woman in the age-gap allowance (Olivia Wilde), so good for her.

(Side note on the age thing: I’m very excited to know that I can date all those hot middle-aged men when I’m 80. Cougaring FTW!)

When my aforementioned teenaged boys were young, they liked to watch iCarly. So I watched too. I thought Freddie Benson was adorable, but I did not want to sleep with him.

Now?

Hello, Freddie!

But no. Still not in the acceptable range. (Also, I’m married. Hi, Eddie!)

My point?

You can think someone is cute and not want to groom them for sex.

Just because a grown woman likes a boy band does not mean she is a pedophile.

I’m sorry if that’s hard for you to believe. And that, sadly, says more about your life.

I’m sorry my response upset you enough for you to block me. You didn’t need to worry, though: I had not planned on having any subsequent interaction with you.

May your future responses to @AITA_reddit bring you more peace, joy and solidarity than this one.

Sincerely,
@BethCon5

*I’m apparently a mean girl, so this works.

Read Full Post »

Hey Y’all!

It’s that time of year.

My birthday is coming up.

😉

Gideon said something funny the other day.

Him: It must be great to have a birthday close to Christmas: More presents!

Me: (head explodes)

No, it’s not great to have a birthday near Christmas. In general, no one cares about your birthday because CHRISTMAS.

When someone DOES remember?

Here’s your birthday AND Christmas present.

In Santa wrap.

It’s not fun.

That’s not to say there haven’t been good birthday moments.

Trish the Human planned a scavenger hunt (with help from Ed and Eddie).

And 36-hour Tina always sends me a treat for my birthday and often meets up with me in New York to share the big day.

Tina knows the way to my heart.

Friends once threw me a half-birthday party in June. (Thank you, Heidi, Mark, Venessa and Bob.)

But these are just a few fun times, and I’m old. You see what I’m saying.

What’s that?

You want to make it up to me?

Sure you do.

😉

Follow this link and donate money so that my favorite band, Jesse’s Divide, can make their first album. Yes, I’ve mentioned them before. Repeatedly.

Why is this a gift for me?

If they get the money, they make an album with new music. That makes me happy.

When the world returns to normal, they will tour to support it. Likely in the United States. That also makes me happy.

So be a pal and help my pals. They aren’t asking for much. I don’t think I am either.

These guys are great. I promise.

Thank you!

Love,
The Soon-to-be Birthday Girl

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »