Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I hate to admit this: I enjoy late 90’s boy bands.

I’m not a guy who sits back and cranks up N’Sync every day, but I’m not a massive hater of the genre, either. In fact, I appreciate a good song regardless of whether or not it was sung by a group of wannabe posers. A good song is a good song.

After bands like New Edition and New Kids on the Block redefined what it meant to be a boy band in the 1980’s, the genre died off a bit at the beginning of the 1990’s. In fact, a number of genres died off to make room for grunge and house music.

bsbcoverAs the decade rolled on, however, out came a band that nobody had seen before: the Backstreet Boys.

The first hit was “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”. I’ll be honest…I had no idea this song was sung by five teeny-bopper white boys until a couple of weeks after hearing the song for the first time.

Then the next slew of hit songs were released: “Get Down”, “I’ll Never Break Your Heart“, “Quit Playing Games“, etc.

nsyncThe next thing you know, boy bands began to pop out of nowhere with hit singles…most notably, N’Sync. With hits like “Tearin’ Up My Heart”, “It’s Gonna Be Me”, and “Bye Bye Bye”, they became the #1 boy band world-wide and (being a club DJ) I had another slew of songs that I had to play every single weekend.

But then MORE boy bands came out. Some of them…

…did better than others…

but almost all of them had at least one hit song that you could dance to and enjoy.

It’s now 2014 and that time has passed. It’s been long enough that you can go back and listen to “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and not get thoroughly embarrassed. You can listen to “Rock the party” and turn up the stereo just a little bit after your drop your kids off at school.

You can even still see a few of these bands in concert, garnering throngs of fans both young AND old.

one2Of course, it’s also been long enough that a new type of boy band has arrived in the form of One Direction. These guys are massive superstars on a level comparable to the heights reached by N’Sync. Add in other bands like XX and XX and you’ve got an entirely new catalogue of songs to enjoy.

Y’know…if you’re into that kind of music.

Grease

Posted: March 28, 2013 in Movies, Music
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Grease is the word that you heard. It’s got groove; it’s got meaning.

Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion.

Grease is the way we are feeling.

Wait…what??

grease 3And so begins one of the most popular movie musicals of all time. Of course having said that, there aren’t a ton of really popular movie musicals out there to choose from. So how is it that this particular one, a movie with a blend of 70’s disco beats and 50’s classic feel with a splash of basic storyline stirred-up with a full batch of bad acting, has not only stood the test of time but continues to be a cult favourite over 30 years after it was released?

Grease Sing-A-LongI guess that’s the question, isn’t it. I mean, it’s not hard to see that Grease has a pretty basic storyline. There’s no real plot twists to speak of and it’s ultimately a “boy meets girl” kind of movie, so it’s not like The Sixth Sense or Inception or anything like that. The music, while fun and catchy, isn’t anything particularly brilliant. The acting is bad…just plain bad. From John Travolta’s over-the-top schtick to Jeff Conaway’s greaser friend to the ridiculousness of the faculty…each person is a caricature as opposed to being a character.

greaseAt it’s core, though, it’s got heart. And really, I think that’s why so many people love the movie and the music and the acting and the story so much after so long.

There are a multitude of reasons for why this movie should be forgotten forever (the sequel, Grease 2, has been considered a “guilty pleasure” but at the end of the day it’s just REALLY bad and should definitely be forgotten forever), but because it still lives on it has to be considered a major guilty pleasure.

Oh…and that whole “You’re the one that I want” song just never leaves your head once the movie ends…

Phil Collins

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Music
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Phil Collins

I’m almost hesitant to write this particular post because, quite frankly, I’m a massive Phil Collins fan. Saying that out loud, though, doesn’t happen very often.

Phil CollinsPhilip David Charles Collins was born on January 30, 1951. His career started off with a bang as he was a member of the English progressive rock band, Genesis. Starting as the band’s drummer and backing vocalist, Collins took over lead vocal duties once Peter Gabriel left the band in 1975. The band was seen as “cool” and “hip” and was, really, one of the original “alternative” bands during a time that disco, punk, and pop music was the norm.

All of that changed in 1982 with the release of Hello, I Must Be Going, which was Collins’ second solo album. Gone was the “coolness” of his Genesis songs like Turn It On Again and Abacab. Gone was the “kick-ass-ness” of In The Air Tonight from his first solo album. Instead, we were blasted with an example of where his career was going to go…

Phil CollinsNow this isn’t to say that the music of Phil Collins is bad in any way. On the contrary, his music brings a smile to my face every time I listen to it. The problem that fans like me have is that the music is, to say the least, “cheesy”. Whether it’s songs like Sussudio, Something Happened On The Way To Heaven, Invisible Touch, Dance Into The Light, Illegal Alien, or the entire Tarzan soundtrack…the musical path that Collins has taken has lacked a bit of (shall we say) “the coolness factor”.

Phil CollinsBut here’s some stats for you: Phil Collins has sold over 100 million records both as an individual artist and as part of a group (only Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson have done the same thing). As an individual and as part of Genesis, he had more Top 40 hits during the 1980’s than ANY other artist (think about that one, for a second). He is absolutely one of the most popular artists of all time.

So why the guilt? Well…how many times do you drive down the street with your windows down cranking out this little ditty?

Phil CollinsMaybe with the windows up? Yeah…exactly.

You KNOW that you love Phil, but you just want to keep that love to yourself. It’s fine…you’re not alone. Phil Collins is definitely worthy of being called a guilty pleasure.

Phil Collins

Gangnam Style

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Music
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Don’t even pretend to not know what “Gangnam Style” is. You can’t deny the power of this international one-hit wonder. It gets in your bones…it flows through your veins…it jumps into your pants…it makes you want to dance like you’re riding a horse.

Wait…what??

Unbelievable but true, some South Korean thirty-something “rapper” has come up with a song and dance that has gotten the entire world’s attention. Want proof? The dude just got recognized by the United Frickin’ Nations for having “unlimited global reach” and was named a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

All for dancing like he’s riding a horse.

Let’s face it…the song is catchy, there’s no denying it. There probably isn’t any way it would have become a global phenomenon if it wasn’t a catchy pop song. I mean, throw the video on and have him lip-syncing to David Hasselhoff’s “Jump In My Car” and you might have a slightly different reaction from the planet.

And that’s the key to this guilty pleasure, isn’t it? The video. I’m sure you remember the first time you sat there and watched it; egged-on by a co-worker who always spends too much time on YouTube because he lives in his parents’ basement. Your first reaction was probably the same as everybody else’s…

What in the f*ck am I watching right now?

So you add one incredibly insane video to a catchy song and you’ve got the “Macarena” for 2012 times 100 because of the strength of social media. I mean, this song has become such a massive one-hit wonder it’s like somebody took “I’m Too Sexy“, threw it in a blender with “U Can’t Touch This“, drank it and crapped out “Mambo #5” in Korean.

I mean, this song has gone to #1 in 29 COUNTRIES! There is absolutely no way that you can buy that type of success in today’s “here today gone tomorrow” world.

But I guess that’s the catch, isn’t it? Psy, the “artist” responsible for this musical nonsense, has never really been popular outside of Asia until this song and (if we’re being perfectly honest) won’t be popular outside of Asia in another few months…a year, tops.

Fame is fleeting, my friends. One-hit wonder fame is ever MORE fleeting…which is why they quickly become guilty pleasures.

Vanilla Ice

Posted: November 2, 2012 in Music
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Okay…I’ll be the first to admit that there’s not a whole lot out there to love about Ice after you’ve heard “Ice Ice Baby” a couple thousand times, but you gotta admit that there’s something lovable about the guy that just keeps him going more than the Energizer bunny (do they even DO those commercials anymore?).

For those unaware, Vanilla Ice was the first artist to take a rap song to the #1 position on the Billboard 100 charts. That, one would think, would be enough to cement his position at the top of rap’s “all time greats” list, right?

Well…not really.

There were many reasons for Ice’s lack of respect. One would be that he dressed like this:

Yeah…that pretty much eliminated any credibility he’d get with the black/hispanic/pretty-much-everybody-else community. I mean, can you imagine a bunch of kids on some street corner in Brooklyn thinking it was the coolest damn thing in the world to crank out “Ninja Rap” on their ghetto blaster to psych themselves up for a drive-by?

And people thought that Ice had pretty much disappeared after 1993 came to a close. Oh, I think not, people. This guy has been on television more in the last ten years than in the height of his popularity. Seriously.

Don’t believe me?

The Surreal Life — This was pretty much his “comeback” performance. He went around trashing the place and telling the world just how much he hated being Vanilla Ice and acted like a big  douchebag, yet went on to say afterwards that it was all just an act to make for interesting television. He then went on to perform “Ice ice baby” all around the world for years afterwards in front of some pretty impressive crowds…

Vanilla Ice, Jann Arden, and some other chick who comprise the judging team on “Canada Sings”.

Canada Sings – This is an…umm…interesting concept. Basically, a bunch of co-workers at some Canadian company get together and come up with a Glee-esque performance. Three judges (of which Vanilla is one) will then give some opinions  and decide which team of co-workers get to earn $10,000 for the charity of their choice. I mean, it makes sense, right? Whenever I think of “judging the singing ability of others”, I think of Vanilla Ice. Immediately.

Dancing on Ice – I honestly don’t even know where to begin or WHAT to tell you about THIS one…

The Vanilla Ice Project – You would think this was a joke until you actually saw it. Apparently, one of the things that Ice was doing all these years was flipping houses…and doing it well. So now he’s got his own show on the DIY Network where he gets to show off his reno skillz while still dressing like a home-boy from 1991. Nothing like watching a guy wearing a wife-beater and side-locked wide-brimmed cap talking like Snoop Dogg about how the interior needs a waterfall to make it shizzle.  Or something like that…

Oh…and don’t forget that Ice had a pretty substantial part in Adam Sandler’s wildly successfulThat’s My Boy“:

Any way you slice it, Vanilla Ice is still a part of today’s mainstream culture in some shape or form. You want to hate the guy, but he pops up all over the place and makes you want to pay attention.

And really…you still LOVE to hear “Ice ice baby”, even if you won’t admit it. That’s okay…I won’t tell anybody.

It may be hard to remember, but there was a time when Britney Spears was “all that and a bag of Doritos”.  She was new to the music scene…was young, hot, and sang really catchy pop songs.

Honestly…for a very long time it appeared as though Britney could do no wrong.

Then something happened.  That something was a break-up with the (supposed) love of her life, Kevin Federline.  Similar to how Bobby Brown destroyed Whitney Houston’s career (and arguably her life) while they were together, Federline appeared to destroy Spears’ career once they split up.

Please…how many female pop stars shave their head for no reason and then attack photographers with an umbrella?

Everybody assumed her career was over.  There were conservatorship issues, child custody issues, and a HUGE public image issue to overcome.  I guess the moral to the story here is to never count out talent. Or Britney.

Blackout was released in 2007 and, while not the mega-smash she was used to, was still pretty successful…eventually selling over 3 million copies worldwide and proving that her fans were willing to forgive her for being bat-shit insane. Now, I was never a fan of the album but try as I might, I couldn’t resist the catchy single “Piece of me” (the first single, “Gimme more”, was actually her first top 5 single since “Baby one more time”).

Circus came next, as did the hit single “Womanizer“. The single itself sold over 3 million copies (probably helped by the fact that she was naked in the video) and helped the album became one of the biggest of 2008.

Do you see where I’m going here?

This was followed-up by 2011’s Femme Fatale, which is now on it’s third single “I wanna go“.

It has really gotten to the point where it is almost cool to like Britney Spears again.  ALMOST.

At the end of the day, Britney is still a low-class redneck chick who just happens to be extremely hot and makes fun pop music that people listen to. Honestly…if she entered the entertainment industry at this stage in her life, would anything other than pornography even be an option for her?

On top of everything else, she’s an in-studio artist who can’t seem to find a single note to sing live yet people flock to her concerts by the thousands. Try explaining THAT one to me.  Did we not learn anything from Milli Vanilli?

You don’t want to admit it…but you like her.  You listen to her.  You ENJOY her.

She has now become a guilty pleasure.

Rick Astley

Posted: July 5, 2011 in Music
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C’mon now…you and I both know that if you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, you’ve probably been a victim of “Rickrolling” at least once.

Seriously…it’s a freakin’ phenomenon!! He even appeared live to “Rickroll” the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade a few years ago:

And don’t try telling me that you hate the song, either.  All it takes is just one listen and you find yourself tapping your foot or humming the song in your head…whether you want to or not.

Astley first hit the music scene in 1987 with the release of that smash single, “Never Gonna Give You Up”. What happened in the years that followed was nothing short of amazing.

Millions of records sold…a number of hit singles (although none as big as his original release)…and fans worldwide.

But then the backlash began.

Astley was seen as an example of what was wrong with the music business in the late 8o’s.  He was considered “manufactured” and the music “soulless”. It became a joke to enjoy his music and, thus, his career kinda drifted off into the abyss.

Then that whole “Rickroll” started a few years ago and something funny happened…people began to become fans of Rick Astley again. As much as it was initially meant to be some kind of cruel joke, it’s eventually backlashed a bit and is no longer funny…it’s catchy!!

How popular has he become again?  Astley has toured the past couple of years, appeared on numerous television shows, and has even been working on a new album.

Ask the general population just how much they love Rick Astley and you’re bound to get a lot of negative replies.

But isn’t that what a guilty pleasure is all about?  You know you love the guy. How can you not?  Just look at that hair!!