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Posts Tagged ‘Pop Music’

Dear Jennifer,

Thanks for visiting! You gave me an excuse to go to Grant’s Farm. I had heard about it, but never gone.

The main reason to go? CLYDESDALES.

There also are elk, deer, giant rabbits, goats, zebras, donkeys, peacocks, llamas, water buffalo and camels (seriously) to admire.

And as it is the Busch Family estate, two free samples of beer.

What’s not great is the tram system. I did not realize you had to take a tram from the parking lot to the main attraction area, then wait for a tram to take you back.

This would be a fine plan if the retirees in charge filled the trams each. They did not. You and I were both annoyed by the lengthy wait times in the broiling sun.

Anyway, I’m glad we went. I’m also glad we enjoyed the many other lovely things this city has to offer:

  • And, of course, the pizza at IMO’s Pizza

We hit some major St. Louis highlights.

And we even saw a rainbow.

It was such a fun weekend, but now I’m exhausted!

Next time, I promise we will squeeze in Broadway Oyster Bar.

Safe travels, and come back soon!

Love,
Beth

*Thanks, Randy.

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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!

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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.

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Dear Goat Yoga Lisa:

Thanks for being my first non-family visitor to test out the guest room! I’m glad it was during the ramp-up to Mardi Gras, but sorry there was still snow and ice all over. (Especially sorry for the Missouri drivers and the shards of ice flying off their cars.)

Having you in town was a great excuse to visit the Gateway Arch — the iconic monument I hadn’t explored since moving here.

Tiny Terror that you are, we had to explore my neighborhood bar too.

And also my neighbor’s ice-cream shop.

And Taste of Soulard — my neighborhood’s neighbor.

I enjoyed meeting your cousin Claire!

That’s where we saw interesting people like this guy.

I wonder if he knows that portable Bluetooth speakers exist.

And a goat who is the GOAT.

And racing weiners.

I promise a more comfortable sleeper sofa the next time you visit. And that I will have become a regular, “Cheers” style at the local bar.

Love and kisses!

Your fren,
Beth

P.S. Thanks for the hostess gift. I wouldn’t call me “sweet” by any stretch of the imagination, but I appreciate it.

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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!

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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

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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.

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Dear Friends of My Sons,

I feel lucky. You are all really good kids. I like you, and your parents seem great too.

I spent loads of time with you over the weekend as it was Gideon’s birthday. I laughed so much.

Let’s recap:

Friday night, I took Roscoe and Gideon to meet Trent to see “A Quiet Place 2.”

Gideon: I forgot my debit card.
Roscoe: I have $2.
All: [pause]
Roscoe: I’m ballin’
Me: [howling] Big pimpin’

Saturday, on the way to Six Flags, I discovered Cole is not a fan of roller coasters. He must really like Gideon to agree to go to a theme park with him.

We drive up to the entrance and see a coaster.

Me: That’s the Georgia Scorcher. You stand up on it.
Cole: [blanching]
Me: Are your hands clammy now?
Cole: My whole body is clammy.

Y’all are at that age where you don’t really want parents around, so Eddie and I peeled off.

You found us at Macho Nacho.

Me: Where’s Dominic?
Gideon: He wanted a turkey leg, so we left him.
Me: Dang. That’s cold.

Eddie and I felt sorry for Dominic, so we went to find him.

Me, calling Dominic: Where are you?
Dominic, sounding annoyed: I’m getting a turkey leg.
Me: Where?
Dominic: At the Sky Screamer Drinks and Eats. It’s across from the Sky Screamer.
Me: We’ll be right there.

We get there, and Dominic tells me he has had the exact same conversation with Josh, Gideon twice, me, then Roscoe. I started laughing, because he repeated the conversation each time for my benefit.

An hour in line (no exaggeration), he finally had his leg.

This is my son. (I do this too.)

We had to leave Six Flags. It was just too crowded. Clearly there’s no COVID in Georgia. 🙄

Trent chatted amiably with me on the way back to the car. I learned all about his job search. And other things.

Trent: I just need about a thousand dollars for equipment.
Me: When you get your job, that will happen soon. What kind of music do you do?
Trent: I rap for Jesus.
Me: Oh! Ok. You have a rap name?
Trent: It’s Trent Truth.
Me: That’s great!

We decided to resume Gideon’s birthday at the pool.

The next day, we took Dominic and HIS friends whitewater rafting. I’m eternally shocked at Dominic and Gideon’s choice of music for car rides.

Dominic: Green Day to Bee Gees to Taylor Swift
Gideon: Neil Diamond to Doom

And then there’s Adem’s choice of footwear. I was surprised to learn Crocs are hella trendy again.

Adem: I’ve got my Crocs in support mode.

That meant he used the back straps. Dylan could have taken a page out of Adem’s book.

If you are on the Ocoee River and find a shoe, it’s Dylan’s.

I feel fortunate. I do. My children have chosen wisely.

See you for plenty of adventures this summer.

Love,
Dominic and Gideon’s mom

*Dionne FTW.

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Dear Mom of College Friend (and anyone else who shared this meme),

Most of the time, I scroll on past all the crazy things you post. I was taught to respect my elders, so I don’t want to call you out.

But I have thoughts about this meme.

  1. I wrote a whole post about false equivalency. Please read it.
  2. I know that the meme is comparing these two because of their beef, but Cardi B is an entertainer. Candace Owens is not.
  3. It is possible that young girls can idolize both, and also various other public figures as well as people in their own lives.
  4. We need to normalize black and brown people in positions of power. It shouldn’t be EITHER Cardi B OR Candace Owens.
  5. Why is this a left/right thing?

I know you and loads of your kind (aka white Boomers) are clutching your pearls over Cardi B’s Grammy performance and the song in general.

I have thoughts about that too:

  1. I bet you didn’t even watch. Your friends and people on chosen news outlets (i.e., Owens) told you that you should be wound up.
  2. If you did watch and were offended, you could have turned it off.
  3. It should not be considered offensive to celebrate female sexuality. (I got into it at Christmas over “WAP” vs. “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”)

All of this is so silly to me. All my life, I’ve heard older people lose their minds about music, video games, books and whatnot having a negative impact on children.

You know who should be worried about children? Their parents. Period.

I’m far from perfect, but I do frankly address topics like sex, drugs, etc., with my boys. I’d rather they hear the truth from me, as uncomfortable as it may be for them and for me.

So stop worrying about what other people and their children are/are not doing, and mind your own business.

Also, perhaps consider getting out of the meme game.

Sincerely,
Your daughter’s friend

*People actually complained to the FCC about the performance. Get a grip! It’s the Grammys. What do you expect? Everyone knew Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion were going to perform. Just change the channel if you don’t like it.

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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

 

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