Monday, November 30, 2015

Oh hi, Maroon 5.



Hey, this actually isn't so... OH DEAR GOD THAT CHORUS WHY IS SOMEONE THROWING ADAM LEVINE OFF A ROOF HOLY MOSES THIS IS TERRIB- no wait, I'm still pretty indifferent to it. Damn. I've gotta say, as superpowers go, this is a pretty weak one. I would have preferred flying or invisibility or at the very least, indifference to Justin Bieber.

And hey, it's a pretty bold move to record a song while you're being castrated. And then thrown off a roof.

Monday music musings ~ the last time I was cool

First things first - Edmonton Eskimos, 2015 Grey Cup Champions!!! It's been a while since I've watched a hometown team win, and damn it felt good. Maybe I won't relinquish my Sports Fairy title quite yet. ;) The halftime show was Fall Out Boy lol. I didn't watch it, we switched to the Raptors game. Because sportsball>other things.

So let's talk about early to mid-2000s rock and pop-rock. This was kind of a last hurrah not just for me, but for any kind or quantity of good, "mainstream" rock. It's easy to forget that there was a surge of smart, energetic rock that came after Nickelback and Creed. So as much as I'd like to, I can't really fault them for killing it. (Or at least putting it into a coma - I'm not ready to declare mainstream rock dead yet.)

I have Fall Out Boy to thank for this. Listening to some of their early stuff, I was reminded of what I listened to in that approximate window between 2001-2006. I've said this before, but here's a piece of my musical map: I listened to pop, rock and country throughout the 90s and into the early 2000s, but country was my bread and butter. My go-to radio station. Post-9/11, that changed. My safe musical haven turned into "stick a boot in yer ass," and I was set adrift for a while. I remember listening to "Standing Still" by Jewel over and over again, cause it spoke to my general mood. Pop was mostly god-awful then, so eventually I found myself going back to something I hadn't been into since the mid-90s - alternative rock. Mainstream rock was still pretty Nickleback-y, and the worst of emo was about to hit our unsuspecting ears with Simple Plan and the like, but damn if there wasn't some good stuff put out then. Some of it became mainstream, and some of it feels like it's still my little secret. One of those bands is Ash, and their 2001 album Free All Angels.





If there's one album I can credit for getting me through that dark time, this is it. And it was followed by many more. Kay Hanley's Cherry Marmalade. The White Stripes, Jimmy Eat World, The Killers, The Hives, AFI, The Strokes, harder-edged stuff like System of a Down. I was really into Evanescence for a while. (A good thing to note about this time - some of the emo stuff is really awful, but not everything labelled emo is bad. Some of it was pretty authentic music.) I'm not sure if rock and roll was a logical reaction to 9/11, as it was to the Vietnam War, or if I just hadn't paid attention before then. A little later came stuff like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance (I forgot how good they were!) and Paramore, a band I've become unsuspectingly obsessed with over the past few days. I remember liking them at the time, I think I had that CD with Misery Business on it. But my interest in rock was about to wane.

In 2006, I got back into country in a huge way. This is due almost entirely to Miranda Lambert, who was love at first listen, but we were well out of the footwear-stuck-in-anal-cavities era of country by then, and thank gawd. There was suddenly a lot to like: Josh Turner, a Brad Paisley duet with Dolly Parton, Dierks Bentley, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town, and good stuff from old favorites like George Strait, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw. And damn if I don't love that Wreckers album. What a beautiful, melodic example of pop-country done right. I put it in the same category as Lucy Hale's album. So yeah, I was back into country in a big way, and when ZBB hit a few years later, they kind of owned my soul for a while.

In that time I lost touch with whatever vestiges of good mainstream rock were left, and apparently so did most people, because when I went looking for it again it was all but gone. What happened? I have no fricking clue. Maybe electronic music is the new rock, and woe if it is. But at least Paramore's still around, and I like some cuts off their latest album. Just not the singles really. (Is this becoming more and more common? Idk, but you've really gotta check out albums to find good stuff). Like, this song is AMAZING.



This evokes Rilo Kiley for me, that kind of heartfelt alt-rock that makes you feel like part of something bigger. Something human. If, like me, you're a fan of girly alt-pop-rock bands like RK, Letters to Cleo, Veruca Salt, the Darling Buds, The Sundays, etc., Paramore is a great fit on that playlist. I have a revived interest in this genre. I'm maybe, almost, cool again! Or at least, getting there. I'm still listening to a lot of 10 year old music. But I'm slowly scrabbling my way towards the present. I mean, I can only listen to so much classic rock and 90s country til my brain needs a shot of adrenaline.

This isn't to say rock is inherently "cooler" than country - Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves are two of the coolest musicians out there. But, other than those artists I know I like, I haven't listened to much new country lately either. This is partly because of the whole bro-country and radio sucks thing, but not entirely. I've just gotten bad at broadening my horizons. I tend to like music that reminds me of something, but you have to listen to it first to get that starry-eyed feeling about it. What I mean by "cool" - not the high school idea of it but something much bigger. It's both being on the cutting edge and timeless, the way the Rolling Stones are timelessly cool. Cool =/= trendy.

Because, I really don't wanna be the woman in this song, as much as I love the 80s. At least I don't have kids to tell me I'm uncool. I don't want to brag, but my cats think I'm pretty rad.



It's been about 10 years - maybe we're due another rock resurgence? Til then, here's the coolest rock song I've heard in a long damn time and my favorite song from last year.



Friday, November 27, 2015

After making my best songs list, I gave another listen to a few old Fall Out Boy songs. Honestly, "Sugar, We're Goin Down" and "Dance Dance" are not bad at all; I kinda dig them. But "My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark" is the dumbest song title ever of all time, beating out even "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" and my personal favorite, "Dropkick Me Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life." At least that one's funny.

Am I the only person under 50 who knows there's a song called "Dropkick Me Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life?" I'm probably the only one who got there from talking about Fall Out Boy songs, anyway. :P

Okay, happy weekend! My Edmonton Eskimos are in the Grey Cup, so I'll be all a-bustle with football doings.

Feel Good (Black) Friday ~ ZBB

"I got everything I need and nothing that I don’t." Happy black Friday, y'all. ;)



Hey, no one loves good old retail therapy more than me. Just remember: it's not about status, it's not about having the newest, shiniest things you don't need, it's about surrounding yourself with things that make you happy. And not devaluing the things you can't buy at a mall.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

So, having lived in the US and now Canada, I can tell you Canadians really get the shaft in certain ways. Most food and alcohol is more expensive, our mail is slow as fuck, and just try ordering something from the US on ebay. Item cost: 4.99. "International" shipping cost: 19.99. SO MUCH FUCK YOU. WE'RE RIGHT ABOVE YOU, NOT IN SIBERIA OR SOMETHING. GIVE US A BREAK. And some places won't even ship here at all.

BUT, I think I found one way that Canada wins: American Thanksgiving/Black Friday. If stores start their black Friday sales on Thursday here, who gives a crap? It's not a holiday, no one's missing time with their family, it's just Thursday. And I just got a sweet new plaid shirt for 50% off, guilt-free! Yay!

Sometimes, it really is the little things that make you happy. Also the plaid things.

Randoms

You know, you'd think if 2 Chainz really wanted to boast he'd be like, 12 Chainz or something. Mr. T is not impressed, is what I'm saying.


I see sooo much critical hate for Maroon 5, and I guess my superpower is that Maroon 5 songs just pass right through me, idk. It's the end of 2015 and I'm still completely indifferent to them.
I've said this before, but it bears repeating as we near the end of another year.

A criticism is not old, or cliché, if the problem still exists.

I feel like I've been railing against the same things for a while now, and yes it does get old, but not nearly as old as the things themselves. Lemme tell you, being able to focus on music I actually like for my best list was a breath of fresh air. As was probably evident by the 1627 songs I picked lol. I picked more good ones than bad. And that makes me happy... yyyy yyyyy yyyyy. Okay that song was so last year, whatever.

I'm not even here to rail against people who like, say, Luke Bryan songs - only those who Mount Everest-like them. "A Luke Bryan song is *there*, I guess I'll buy it!" These are the people who keep mediocrity flowing, these lazy fuckers. Here we are now, entertain us, etc. I can't really fault someone for genuinely liking something. But I strongly believe Luke Bryan's last few #1s have been the result of sheer momentum, or possibly inertia, or some combination of the two. Is that even physically possible?? No, probably not. But it's some kind of physics, is what I'm saying. Some force that's causing people to believe they want a truly terrible song like "Kick the Dust Up." I refuse to believe more than two people actually like that song.

So remember, my hate comes from love. I care about music and I want it to be happy. When I see it being so self-destructive, I have to say something. We need like, music rehab or something. (Though actually, this year wasn't too bad, at least pop-wise. Mainstream country was awful, but it was so awful I'm not sure it can sustain itself much longer. And that could be a good thing, for listeners anyway.) I try not to say something is "bad" just because it's not my taste. I try to separate judging something because it's new or different or just not for me, from judging something because it's cheap and lazy. I DO think there's more cheap, lazy music now than ever before, and it's important to keep fighting it. Even when so many people are saying it, it's become cliché.

The problem, really, is the internet. Well, not the internet, that's the platform and it's a damn good one really, but the sheer number of people on the internet. Whatever your thing is, whatever movement you care about, there will always be a douchebag faction of it on the internet. This faction creates a backlash not only against the douchebags, but the movement itself. I'm thinking now about "nostalgia." This has always been a friendly word to me. Sometimes it's nice to reflect on your past, remember what made you happy, and try to bring some of that cheer into your present life. I've always regarded music nostalgia as a fun, positive thing, but I don't take it too seriously. I mean, I can roll my eyes and remember all the ridiculous shit in the 80s and 90s. I like some of that ridiculous shit, but I get it. One person's nostalgia is another's "what the fuck is that?!"

But because some people on the internet have terrible attitudes (shocking, I know!), and say things like ALL NEW MUSIC SUCKS, there's a certain backlash against nostalgia. Some of this is a generational thing too. It's different when you were actually a conscious human being in the decade you're nostalgic for. I was there, I remember. I can see how someone would roll their eyes at some 20 year old kid who's always saying "old music was better, I wish I was around back then," etc. On the other hand, they're not really wrong. It's just, any time you watch a video of an older song on youtube, the first comment is inevitably "music was so much better back then." It's automatic. Eventually, everything becomes this sort of spectre on the internet, because there are just too damn many people with too damn many opinions, and they all become played out and annoying. It happens fast too, because internet time is like four times faster than regular time. I mean, I'm just writing this post, and it already happened four days ago. Damn!

Maybe some of us wouldn't be so into nostalgia and looking more toward the future if so much of today's music didn't sound like keys and a chipmunk being fed down a garbage disposal. Poor chipmunk.

All I can say is, just listen to good music, whatever that is to you. Find good stuff from every decade. Music is timeless, it doesn't really matter when it was made in the long run. It only matters if it speaks to you. I'm a generation removed from today's teens, and I managed to find several songs - hit songs, not even counting all the stuff that didn't chart - that speak to me. I'll always love the music I grew up with, as well as my parents' generation. It's okay to be critical of things you think are wrong, even repeatedly if it's important to you, and it's okay to like whatever you like. To avoid being in the douchebag category, try not to make blanket statements like "ALL _____ SUCKS" or "ALL _____ IS GREAT." For a happier, healthier internet for all!

Also, avoid any and all political discussions. THE END!

TBT - a delightful repost

Happy American Thanksgiving, or as we here in Canada call it... uh, Throwback Thursday. (Or alternately, "Why isn't Big Bang Theory on tonight? Oh right. dammit" Day.)

There is this, though.


Can I have that child? I think she and I would get along swell.

Anyway! In light of my recent listings, here's a post I made right after my 2014 list, about last year's pop music. It doesn't apply so much this year, I guess 2014 was the year of the Horrible Relationship and Angry Animal Sex, but we do still have #4, really unsexy sex (Hi, Charlie Puth). I'm gonna say 2015 was the year of disrespecting much better, dead musicians.

At a glance, I'm still seeing more heartbreak songs than love songs, and songs I have no idea what they are (I guess I'd learn what a Trap Queen is, if I cared). "The Hills" might be about unsexy sex, it might be about addiction, it might be about hideous mutants. It's interesting, I'll give it that. Justin Bieber is just confused. "What Do You Mean?" I like to think that was inspired by someone telling him they want to punch him in his stupid haircut. "Thinking Out Loud" is this year's "All of Me." I like Ed Sheeran, but he won the 2015 "boring requisite love ballad" lottery. Oh! We have a new category this year: "I'm not gonna cheat on you, even though all these bitches want me!" I'm just gonna call that progress. And basically, this year has an epic moped song, so it wins.

Okay, let's throw it on back!

Here's something else I just noticed (probably because this is the only time of the year I actually listen to current music, before scurrying back to a more pleasing decade. I'd rather listen to a medley of my old camp songs than most of this shit): anyway... do people, like, HATE their relationships now?

Seriously, what happened to love songs? "All of Me" is pretty much... all of it. NO I'M NOT COUNTING THE UNDERWEAR SONG, DAMMIT.

Scanning some lists, the songs seem to be primarily about the following:

1. Ending relationships, with the subgenre "escaping from your horrible ex." This is YOUR doing, isn't it, Taylor Swift?

I've got one less problem without you! These hoes ain't loyal! Let it go! Let her go! This is the part where I break free! (Damn, Ariana Grande really hates relationships) What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! (Okay, that was like 3 years ago, but still) Hell, is "Happy" about getting out of a bad relationship too? "Because I'm happyyy yyyyy yyyy I never have to see you again, bitch!"

2. Boasting

I'm so fancy! I'm gonna shake off the haters with my mighty giggle! This is how we do! This is how we roll! I'm all about that bass! He love dis fat ass HAHAHAHAAHHQAAAAAa@%&snmAAAAH! Presumably anything by 2 Chainz since his name is a boast of how many chainz he possesses! Presumably about half the rap songs on the chart! Started from the bottom now I'm fucking here!

3. I'm a horrible person, let's hook up! (Or alternately, I'm an animal that will kill you!)

Animals! (that was literal) I'm a black widow baby! I'm coming at you like a dark horse! (which is apparently something that will eat you, and not an underdog ncaa team) Got a long list of ex-lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane! I came in like a wrecking ball! Don't get too close, it's where my demons hide! Because I'm happyyyy yyyyyy yyyy! (oh wait, wrong section)

4. Really unsexy sex

Talk dirty to me, differently-raced girl! Lying nekkid in my bed, burnin it down! Stick my pink umbrella in your vagina, I mean drink! Your boobs remind me of a katy perry song! (what???) You know what to do with that big fat butt! Bang bang all over you! (dear god, they're beating him with a hammer! maybe that one belongs in theme #3 instead)

5. Cheating

These hoes ain't loyal (again)! Don't tell em, don't tell em! You caught me cheating on my phone, oops oh shit!

6. Partying

Meh nothing new there, though I think there's less of it than usual. Sadly, this is my favorite of the themes so far. I'm yelling Timber!

7. Whatever the hell "Hot Nigga" is

I'm gonna file it under "boasting," to save me the trouble of having to listen to it.

8. Whatever the hell "Rude" is

I guess this is a love song? One that focuses on the guy's relationship with the girl's... father and his purported rudeness, which isn't actually rude, thus negating the entire point of the song? Fuck, I have no idea why this song exists or why it was popular.

9. Whatever the hell "Show Me" is

This song seems to be about absolutely nothing, so I'm just gonna go with "rejected state song of Missouri."

10. Aaaaand whatever the hell "Turn Down for What" is

I don't know what this is to be able to talk about it. I don't even understand the title. Well done!

Not every song is "I hate love," but there is a staggeringly low number of actual love songs. So yeah, I think that explains the hugeness of John Legend this year. If you actually like your significant other, IT WAS THE ONLY SONG TO PLAY FOR THEM. Well played, John Legend. And I think Pharrell's the only one who's happy, cause everyone else seems really fucked up and miserable.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I'm sorry, Drake. I wish I was, anyway.

Drake was on the Raptors broadcast tonight (apparently it was "Drake night," but really, isn't every night Drake night?) and OMG he seriously seems like the nicest, most personable guy. I feel kinda bad for ripping him, but WHY DOESN'T HE MAKE MORE INTERESTING MUSIC? We're all pulling for you, man! You can do it!

If the rumor of a Hotline Bling remix with Adele is true, the song gets exponentially more interesting just by putting her name in the same sentence with it. Not that that's hard to do, but we'll see.

Also, my top 10 best songs list isn't even a day old and I already edited it! I discovered a new song I had to squeeze in. This is not a bad thing.


Top 10 Best Hit Songs of 2015 - don't believe me just watch!

The "best" lists are always harder for me to do. Not because I didn't find enough songs, I actually found more than I can even include.* But what do you say about goodness other than "damn, that's good!" I keep looking around for something to snark on. That said, it is nice to talk about music I actually enjoy sometimes. Out of all the top 20 pop and country songs I found, I earmarked 23 candidates for this list. These were all the songs I liked, or at least respected, to varying degrees. It might not sound like a lot, but I was pleasantly surprised. So I'll be focusing on the songs I genuinely enjoy listening to. Like, I respect the songwriting of "Blank Space;" those are some pretty killer lyrics. But musically, it doesn't really do much for me.

*what the hell, I'll just put in a bunch of honorable mentions. I mean, how often do I actually talk about music I like? That was made after 1985?

But before I get into my honorable mentions, what's this year's "song I like that everyone else seems to hate?" *drumroll* Cheerleader, by OMI! Okay, okay. If you want to judge this song musically, laugh at it for being ridiculously lightweight reggae and silly and immature, I get it. It's a summer song. It's not great art, but it's something I was missing on the charts: FUN. It's dumb fun, and if that's not your thing I totally get it. HOWEVER. If your complaint with this song has nothing to do with the actual music but the fact that a woman is being called a "Cheerleader" - um, do you actually listen to what else is on the charts? If you think "cheerleader" is the worst slam on women in pop music, I'd like to move to your planet. Nicki Minaj says more degrading things about herself, let alone what the men say. Bitches! Hoes Strippers! ... wait, a CHEERLEADER? What what what? TOO FAR MAN.

Honorable mentions!

Hello - Adele
Remember what I said about "Good for You" and its dull, barely there vocals? Well, here's the opposite. I'm so glad Adele and her strong (but still nuanced) voice is back. I'm not really a ballad person, which is why this didn't make my list, but THIS is how you do it.

Downtown - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis & a bunch of cool old school guys
This is a messy song. I know it. But I like it. It's full of energy and positive noise. It sounds like the city, which wouldn't usually be my thing, but this just works for me. Macklemore can do even better, but in a year of lifeless music, I'll take this sort of... odd moped epic. I'll take it. "God damn man, everybody got Bugattis, But I'm a keep it hella 1987." Indeed, Macklemore. Indeed. I might even say, Word.

Want to Want Me - Jason Derulo
I was actually close to putting this in the top 10, until I found a song I thought was from like two years ago I had to add. But yeah, Jason Derulo. This is the first song by him I've ever liked. The first one that isn't straight-up embarrassing. I'd feel weird about putting the "Wiggle" guy on my good list, but this is a really different sound for him and he pulls it off. I could put this on a mix of late 80s/early 90s jams like Bobby Brown, Bell Biv Devoe, etc., and be completely happy.

Burning House - Cam
That this didn't make my top 10 is an indicator of how many good songs there actually were this year. Or rather, how good those good songs were. I like this song, but I love her voice. It turns what could have been a less interesting song in the hands of a lesser vocalist into something haunting and affecting. WHY CAN'T THE NUMBER 10 BE BIGGER. :(

She Got the Boy - Jana Kramer
Whoa, a lost 90s country song outta nowhere! This is refreshing.

Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift
I REALLY wanted this to make the list. This is my favorite T Swift song since "Sparks Fly," so of course it's the lowest charting single off 1989. lol oh well. Here's an example of a quieter song that really works for me. I love the production on this. The music is minimal, which I'm usually not a fan of, but it has this vocal layering and soaring melody that sounds so lush. I'd put this song on a soundtrack of a beautiful vacation, then look back on it wistfully.

Homegrown - Zac Brown Band
I was gonna put this in a tie with the other ZBB song on my list, but as much as I like it, the other one is a clear favorite. Not a knock on Homegrown, just testament to how much I love the other song (spoiler: it's not Beautiful Drug :P). This is a pretty classic, full ZBB sound, something I fear might be endangered as the "band" in "Zac Brown Band" seems to be getting pushed out. So I'll enjoy it while I can. Also, I come from a small town. I miss it. So this scores nostalgia points too.

Smoke Break - Carrie Underwood
I was also gonna put this in a tie with the other Carrie song on my list, but as much as I truly dig this, the other one is just superior. I've already written about this song, so on to the top 10!

EDIT: Because this list totally needed another honorable mention lol. But I just heard "Renegades" by X Ambassadors, and I listened to it a bunch of times and now I'm like attached to it and can't leave it off. It's a cool song, and very different from anything else on the charts. I don't even know how to describe it? Big and stompy and weirdly, contagiously fun.

10. Diamond Rings and Old Barstools - Tim McGraw and Catherine Dunn
A country song? On the country charts? What is this madness?! Boy, am I glad I was wrong when I declared Tim's career dead, cause I think he's better than ever. I haven't delved into his Damn Country Music album yet, but I will soon. I've heard it's really good, despite the lead single being lukewarm. But this last single off the mostly-good Sundown Heaven Town is one of my favorite Tim McGraw songs. Including his 90s stuff. I love sad, contemplative songs featuring barrooms. Neon Moon is my favorite country song, after all. And this is a worthy companion.

9. Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd
This guy came out of the gate with a couple strikes against him for me. One, he did that awful 50 Shades of Gray song, and if your first impression is something connected with garbage, well, it's gonna take awhile for that garbagey smell to go away. And a lot of Febreze. Two, his voice kinda grated on me. So I avoided him for a while, til I finally heard this song. This song is the Febreze that blasts away the 50 Shades stank. This song is funky, and I don't give much higher praise than "funky." I hadn't been able to use that word much until this year... maybe not since the last time I listened to Morris Day. Also, his voice doesn't sound annoying on this. He has stupid hair, but so what. I'm from the 80s, we like stupid hair!

8. Uma Thurman - Fall Out Boy
So, I am not a Fall Out Boy fan. I actually sort of pegged them as everything that had gone wrong with mainstream "rock." Even looking at them as a pop band, I find most of what I've heard from them insufferable. But this? This is awesome! This is... groovy. As far as I can tell, it's a song about being cool, set to the bitchin' surf rock theme of The Munsters. If that sounds weird, well it is, but it also totally works. At least for me. This is a song I can listen to a lot and not get tired of. So add Fall Out Boy to the Jason Derulo list of Artists I Mostly Dislike But Finally Made a Cool Song. And hey, I wanna like these guys. I love a good Simpsons reference.

7. Like a Cowboy - Randy Houser
This is the song that messed up my list. Sorry, Jason Derulo, I really wanted to reward your good effort. I swear, this song came out two years ago! But there it was on the list, number nine in 2015. I guess it took its sweet ass time to peak on the charts. Anyway, this is a great, almost 90s throwback country song, sung by my favorite voice in all of country music. And for once, it isn't wasted. This is the kind of song Randy Houser was made to do, or his earlier stuff like "They Call Me Cadillac" - NOT ridiculous warmed over bro shit like "We Went." I'd listen to this man sing just about anything, his voice warms me down to my tiptoes, but unlike Luke Bryan fans, I won't buy subpar music just because it's by a certain artist. But hell, I'd buy Like a Cowboy twice just to tip my hat to it.

6. Something in the Water - Carrie Underwood
The opposite of all the light, poppy, minimalist snoozers, this song packs a serious punch. This is Carrie Underwood at her absolute best. I don't really know what to say for this song that it doesn't say for itself. It's a powerhouse, it's a shot in the arm that music needed and continues to need because apparently it has a chronic condition where it keeps slipping into a damn coma, and yeah, I love this song. I've always liked most of Carrie's music, it's a good example of how pop-country can actually work, but she took it to another level this year. When she takes material that's actually as good as her voice, as this song is, she's an unstoppable force.

5. Loving You Easy - Zac Brown Band
It's hard to put into words why I love this so much, it just hits a sweet spot for me. I love that it evokes early 80s country, like old Alabama songs, because nothing sounds like that anymore and it hit me how much I miss that sound. And it does it in a way that sounds fresh and modern; it's not gimmicky at all. It's a mellow, easy, relaxing, feel good song; the perfect thing to play out on your porch on a summer evening with a jug of fresh lemonade and fireflies off in the distance. The kind of song you just want to sit and listen to and let the world go by for a few minutes, the only other sound the faint hum of crickets. It's a close your eyes, slow down and enjoy life song, and we all need that sometimes. I'll still be listening to this in 20 years, I guarantee it.

4. She Don't Love You - Eric Paslay
Oh man, this would have been a huge hit in the 90s or 2000s. This isn't a throwback-sounding song, it's just beautiful, timeless country. So of course it barely cracked the top 15, while Chase Bryan Swindell Aldean churned out hit after hit. But whatever, at least this song is here, and that's a gift in itself. Eric Paslay has a beautifully textured voice that sounds almost raw in places, in the best way. It perfectly suits the tone of this song, and man I wish he'd do more stuff like this because he's wasting his talent if he doesn't do authentic music. This is the kind of rich, emotional, personal sounding song you don't hear much anymore. I'm going to savor it. This is a song that, despite not hitting the top 10, country fans will still be listening to long after chart position is relevant. if it ever was relevant. So screw you, charts. This song is a gem.

3. Shut Up and Dance - WALK THE MOON
So, I wrote about these guys awhile back. "Um... is this a lost Howard Jones song? Maybe the Thompson Twins, or Simple Minds? I'm a sucker for 80s cheese so I can't really dislike this, even though it feels like a direct rip-off of a song that doesn't even exist. BUT, what is with the random ALLCAPS? And of a completely nonsensical phrase, no less. WALK THE MOON? That doesn't even make sense in lowercase, why are you shouting it at me!! If you have the audacity to name your band in ALLCAPS, it better damn well be something fitting like STOMP! or OOGA! or EXCUSE ME, YOU SEEM TO HAVE A LIVE PORCUPINE ON YOUR HEAD!"

Since then, I've listened to this song about... 267 times? This is a shot of pure joy and energy. This is the "Pompeii" of 2015. Part of it is 80s nostalgia, but I just love this song on its own merits. I'm so glad it was a hit, and a hit among people who weren't even alive in the 80s. Welcome to my world, folks. This is what I've been missing. You don't have to make songs that sound like the 80s or 90s for me to like them (though it helps :P), but you do have to make songs that sound like songs. I'm... kind of shocked this beat out ZBB and Eric Paslay, I wouldn't have predicted that, but I just kept pushing this higher as I made my list. The power of a catchy song with a good beat. Also, perfect New Year's party song! I'm gonna put on my bling cat ears, drink champagne, and dance with my cats!!

The top 2, however, are not surprising at all.

2. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
Okay, maybe it's a little surprising this isn't #1. A lot of people put this #1 last year, and I wanted to put it on my list but it wasn't on the Billboard top 100, so I put it aside til next year. Well, last year it would have been my #1, but this year something beat it. Sorry, Mark and Bruno, but I'll still shout my praise for this song from every mountaintop I find. You want funky? Well son, this has the word right in the title. And it ain't lyin'. I LOVE how it's both an homage to 70s/80s funk music and totally has its own personality, thanks to the perfection of Bruno's performance (he was born to sing every line of this song) and the amazing production of Mark Ronson. This is how you do it, folks. This is a musical schooling. I don't want to hear clones of this song, but I'd sure like to hear more with this kind of energy. And more funk, uptown, downtown, or otherwise.

1. Exes and Ohs - Elle King
BLAM! This is a sonic slap to the face, in the most positive way I can mean that. BEATS! Remember what those sound like? SLAP! Now you do. Remember what singing like your heart was on fire sounded like, instead of all that wispy-ass shit? SLAP! Rockin' chick vocals to the face. We need more of this. Dear God, do we need more of this. I already wrote about this song here http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2015_09_01_archive.html#1620033925960774559 and I don't really have much to add, just... I'm so thankful this song hit the top 10. There are signs of life in the universe!! I first heard this in a beer line at a food festival, and it hit me immediately. It almost stunned me with how electric it was. Three words: THIS. SICK. BEAT.

Well, that actually left me feeling somewhat positive for next year, as I hoped it would. Country is still a damn mess, but there were some good, surprising hits, by female artists no less, and hopefully that trend will continue. Men, get your shit together. Seriously. You're not teenagers, and that stuff is more played out than... well, I can't think of anything else even close to being that played out. Pop had some major high notes this year, despite the continuous low drone that keeps plaguing, especially, hip hop. I guess we'll see if there's anything as good as Shut Up and Dance, Uptown Funk, or Exes and Ohs next year. I know Adele will be major, and I think "Hello" might keep growing on me. It could even make my top 10 next year. Okay, bye!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top 10 worst pop and "country" hits of 2015 - in before everyone else!

Damn you, 2015, for being the year I couldn't ignore the existence of Donald Trump and Justin Bieber. I'll take Bieber over Trump and, ... yeah, I'm just gonna let that depressing sentence dangle. On to the list! I'm getting the bad songs done first, so we can end this skidmark of a year on a somewhat positive note.

Okay, some rules apply. For my pseudo-list last year I used the Billboard top 100 of the year, but since that isn't out yet it might be a little tricky. To qualify as a hit song, it must have been A; in the top 20 on any of the US pop or country billboard charts this year and B; actually released as a single. So if it was released last year but still in the top 20 this year, it counts. I haven't heard every single top 20 song, but I think I've heard all the big ones. *sigh* The things I do for this blog...

There are also way too many boring, samey bro/pop country songs to possibly include, so I'll probably just pick one or two to "cover" them all. I mean, THEY'RE LITERALLY ALL THE SAME SONG. I'm going for egregiously bad, not dull. So sorry, Cole Swindell, you're not even interesting enough to make my shit list.

First off, some dishonorable mentions.

Fight Song - Rachel Platten
What a fitting title, though "Generic Feel Good Platitude Song" would be even better. If you can't get around the subtle nuances of "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger," "Fight Song" is for you. While you're at it, don't forget BREAKUP SONG* and PARTY SONG and BALLAD SONG and LOVE SONG... wait, that was actually awesome. But that was The Cure, not Rachel Platten, or as I like to call her, FEMALE POP SINGER.

*"This is my BREAKUP SONG, I have no MAKEUP ON, cause I'm home alone with my cats"
Okay, that might need some work. Anyway, this is the plain white label beer can of music.


THIS IS MY BEER... song. (I probably should have put this in the top 10; I seem to have a lot to say about it. But in the end... IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER. Really, it doesn't. This song has the weight of dust bunnies.) Jeez, even her name tells you you're in for something boring. "Platten" sounds like a long, dull stretch of road. Nothing but dirt and scrubbly bushes and tumbleweeds.


Wow, look at that beautiful Platten!

Bad Blood - Taylor Swift
I like Taylor Swift. Really, I do. I don't like all her music, but it's mostly palatable. This, however, is the worst Taylor Swift song I've ever heard. This is a jarring cacophonous mess of near-Dark Horse proportions, and that's not like you, Taylor. It's not even catchy. It leaves you with the feeling that someone just yelled at you and you have no idea why. What'd I do, Taylor? Come on, what'd I do??

Watch Me - Silento
This might actually be the worst song of the year, but I'm not interested enough in it to put it on the list. I mean, what do you do with novelty songs? They exist, but they kind of don't? (Ditto "Hit the Quan," whatever the fuck a quan is. Don't care.) The musical equivalent of an infomercial.

Homegrown Honey - Darius Rucker
Oh Darius, you ought to be ashamed. What an embarrassing career stain. I would have put this on the list proper if it wasn't already rightly forgotten.

Dear Future Husband - Meghan Trainor
I already ranted about this and then some. http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2015_06_01_archive.html#3111656014108979086 Only saved from making the list by having a decent melody and sounding like an actual song. EDIT: This totally belonged in the top 10 instead of Drake. Oh well.

This "Fetty Wap" business. It's all over the charts, I don't understand it, and I don't wanna delve into it enough to put it on the list. I'll just wait for it to go away, and we forget the brief moment in time that music listeners cried out for autotuned gargling.

Buy Me a Boat - Chris Janson
Seriously, why did we need this?

... not listening to something called "White Iverson." NOPE.

What Do You Mean - Justin Bieber, and Where Are You Now - some robot music dudes feat. the Bieber
Let's get him out of the way. 1. What Do You Mean: I don't like this song BUT, I feel it's more that it's just not my taste than it's really "bad." Like, if this is your kinda jam, you could do worse. 2. Where Are You Now: Damn, this guy has a lot of questions. Pipe down, junior. My question is, is that a whale crying? That just makes me sad. Also, not sure if Bieber is actually less annoying now, or just benefitting from the word "shawty" falling into disuse. Okay, done with him for the year! *whew* that wasn't so bad.

On to the list!

10. HotFlatline Bling - Drake
ZZzzzzzZzZzzzz... where's the hook? where's the music? why is this snoozefest such a huge hit? And why doesn't Drake make better songs? Usually I'd just ignore something this boring, but this is like the biggest star in the world. DO BETTER.

9. Stitches - Shawn Mendes
I hate whiny songs. "And now that I'm without your kisses, I'll be needing stitches." Oh boo fucking hoo, do you need a cootie shot too? It's like a male version of that gawdawful Jar Of Hearts song. Leave the teen poetry where it belongs, balled up in the Hello Kitty trash can in your bedroom. (Don't tell me this guy doesn't have a Hello Kitty trashcan. He sang "I'm without your kisses, I'll be needing stitches." Pshaw. Okay, maybe it's a Pikachu trashcan.)

8. Gonna Know We Wanna Make Tonight Look Good on You... Girl - Jason Thomas Chase Rice Rhett Bob Johnson Shelton
Welp if this doesn't cover everything that was wrong with "country" this year, I dunno what does. "Make Me Wanna," "Gonna," "Gonna Know We Were Here," "Gonna Wanna Tonight," "Tonight Looks Good on You." Apparently, they've reached their quota; any additional words cost extra. I'm waiting for the next song in this progression, "'Na." For what it's worth, I think the Chase Rice song is the worst. "If you wanna then we're gonna girl, I hope you're gonna wanna tonight." Good Lord.

7. A TIE! Truffle Butter - Nicki Minaj
Listen to that dull thud of a beat, over and over and over. Listen to it. LISTEN TO IT. PLINK PLONK, PLINK PLONK. This woman is a damn fierce rapper, why does she waste herself on boring dreck like this? And when did music get so... impersonal sounding? Okay, I'm coming back to that thought another time.

and Only - Nicki Minaj
Disgusting. So was Anaconda, but at least that was funny. This is gross and boring, what a combination. I don't get it. You've got talent, Nicki. DO BETTER.

6. ANOTHER TIE! Breakup in a Small Town - Sam Hunt
NOPE. Lemme fix that for you.



and House Party- Sam Hunt
NOPE. Lemme fix that for you.


There, I just made Sam Hunt irrelevant. GOODBYE!

5. Good for You - Selena Gomez
... There's no "there" there. I've read some praise for this song and I don't understand why. Where are the vocals? She's just breathing. Is she trying to sing or give birth? "Push... just a little harder... remember to breathe... PUSH!" This is clearly not for me. I like strong vocals, or beautiful ones if they're more quiet and subtle. This has all the passion of a whispered comment you forget two seconds later. It's like Justify My Love all over again, and that effectively ended my Madonna fanship.

4. Sun Daze - Florida Georgia Line
PINK. FUCKING. UMBRELLA. They don't even understand how innuendo works, because they already used the phrase "get laid" earlier in the song. SUBTLE. This is an absolute garbage song that doesn't belong on the radio, and sure as hell not on country radio. I know where I'd like to stick that umbrella.

3. Kick the Dust Up - Luke Bryan
What.. what are they doing to that banjo to make it do that? STOP TORTURING THAT BANJO RIGHT NOW! Ironically, the only one of Luke Bryan's hits this year I don't find mind-numbingly boring is the one that makes the list. Of course, that's because it's mind-numbingly bad. Dallas Davidson*: "HEY GUYS, you know that tired, watered-down bro formula that everyone and their uncle's getting sick of? Well - wait for it - let's DOUBLE DOWN on it and add in some of the most grating, non-musical music ever heard in a country song!" Cha-ching! A sizable chunk of Luke's own fanbase didn't care for this, but apparently they bought it anyway. "He's LUKE, he's still great even when he's terrible!" RIP FUTURE OF AMERICA.

"Back it on up, fill your cup up." Umm Luke, honey, that implies she's filling the cup up with her ass. Or she has eyes in the back of her head. And her arms are on backwards. Any way you look at it, not a pretty sight. On the bright side, all these party in a cornfield songs make me think of Freddy vs Jason, and lots of murder. At least I've got that, dammit.

*"Dallas Davidson" sounds like a parody of a bad country songwriter, but sadly he's real.

2. Marvin Gaye - Charlie... Puth and Meghan Trainor
I still can't get over "Puth" being a real name. Okay. Well, I thought this would be my number one til I perused the list o' hits and hooo boy, did I forget an awful one. So, Charlie and Meghan, your having fake plastic sex on the grave of one of music's most legendary artists gets saved by ONE thing that's even more disgusting. Let's Charlie Puth and suck.

Damn, this was a bad year for disrespecting the dead. Marvin Gaye, FGL rhyming Bob Marley with Harley, that awful "Biggie and Nirvana" song that didn't chart high enough to make my list. Even the Paul Walker tribute song by Wiz Khalifa and... oh hi again, Mr. Puth, is generic as fuck. Like, it would have been the soundtrack to a long-distance phone company ad kind of generic. That "Ohohohohohhhh" part swelling inspiringly in the background as you phone up your Aunt Minnie for Christmas. And she's holding her little dog. That she just knitted booties for. You know. But anyway, at least that one tried to be respectful, or at least as respectful as you're gonna get from a guy named "Wiz."

I already talked about "Marvin Gaye," and a list of things that are sexier than this song, here: http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2015_09_01_archive.html#3792283392042835294 and here http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2015_09_01_archive.html#6550548396968321808 and the ONLY positive thing I'll say about it is, like all Meghan Trainor songs, it sounds fine musically. It has a melody. But that can't even begin to make up for how wrong - wrong wrong wrong! this song is.

Aaaaand the worst musical atrocity of this year and probably many others is....

1. "I don't fuck with you
You little stupid ass bitch, I ain't fuckin' with you
You little, you little dumb ass bitch, I ain't fuckin' with you
I got a million trillion things I'd rather fuckin' do
Than to be fuckin' with you
Little stupid ass, I don't give a fuck, I don't give a fuck
I don't I don't I don't give a fuck
Bitch I don't give a fuck about you or anything that you do
Don't give a fuck about you or anything that you do"

This was a HIT SONG. In both 2014 AND 2015. This "song," for lack of a better word, is "I Don't Fuck With You" by Big Sean. This is like that "Hotline Bling" song multiplied by 100 for annoyance and stupid offensiveness. Where's the hook? Where's the music? It's so dumb, I don't even want to call it offensive. I'm not bothered by curse words. But they should be used for emphasis, not in every other syllable of a song! Would I give a "fuck" if the song had a great beat and a damn hook to it? I mean, I love the song "Fuck You!" That's a great song. So much energy and pure contagious JOY in telling that dirty cheater FUCK YOU. And fuck her, too! Fuck it, I'm gonna go listen to that.

I mean really, what else is there to say about this song? It's the worst of all the bad things. It's gross, it's ugly, it's boring, it's empty, it's impersonal sounding, it has no hook or joy or energy or any kind of music I can discern at all. It's dumb without being fun. This is anti-music. This makes Meghan Trainor sound like Aretha Franklin. This makes Sam Hunt sound like George Strait. This blows all the other crap out of the water.

And I'm done. See you for the good, or at least better hit songs!

Repost and Revision

I didn't do a real list last year, but I did do this based on the Billboard top 100 songs of the year:

Okay, one more roundup of 2014 before we run headlong into this new year of crap, I mean hope. Hope. Yes.

I just listened to pieces of the top 100 songs of 2014. I had never heard about 60% of these songs before so it might be unfair to judge them based on a soundbite, but I'm not listening to a bunch of shitty songs all the way through. So instead, I'm gonna focus on the songs I liked.

There's about 5 of them.

Maybe 6 or 7.

Out of 100.

3 of them are country.

1 of them is country, but not really.

1 of them is not country, but kind of is.

Okay, maybe it's more like 10?

Oh, and I'm not counting stuff I already said I liked last year, like those Imagine Dragons songs. Seriously, haven't "Demons" and "Radioactive" been on the charts for like 3 years now?

Okay, let's roll! *cough* In order of their chart position, not mine:

1. Timber - I'm sorry, I just love how catchy and fun this is! I'm allowed to have fun! *cries*
2. Pompeii - Holy FUCK is this good. What's this doing on a list of hit songs of 2014? That's like putting caviar in a corn dog.
3. Habits - This has a kind of soaring melancholy, like "Video Games." I wouldn't listen to this often, but I do think it's a good song.
4. Boom Clap - This is a really nice straightforward pop song, and Charli XCX has a good voice. Not just good, but interesting. The song is nothing earth-shaking, but pop music doesn't have to be earth-shaking to be enjoyed.
5. Burn - Another song so good, it really sticks out like a sore thumb on this list. Or a... non-sore thumb. A perfectly healthy thumb. Yes, that's what this song is.
6. Hey Brother - Well, I guess this is the other thumb. Also, one of the most country-sounding songs on the list to me, despite being EDM. It has country soul. This is a pretty amazing song.
7. Dirt - the best designated "country" song on the list. What an odd little blip in FGL's career. I actually thought this signified a turning point for them. Ha! Ha! Oh well, I still enjoy it.
8. American Kids - I've liked Kenny Chesney from day one, and I always will. This is actually a pretty strong song for so late in his career. Good summer fun, cause yes, I do enjoy such things when they're done right.
9. Leave the Night On - Okay. Make no mistake, this is NOT a country song. It's a pop song. That doesn't mean I can't like it though, cause it's actually one of the better pop songs of the year.
10. I Don't Dance - Again, nothing earth-shaking, but a good solid country song.

That doesn't mean I hate the rest of the top 100. Some, like "All of Me," I respect for making the effort to be actual songs, they just leave me kinda "meh." I have no issue with "Happy," or "Counting Stars," or "Problem." A few on the list might warrant further listens (like, of the whole song), such as Shakira. Some I'm just gonna pass over, as I'm clearly not the target audience for "Hot Nigga." Um, you just go do that, sir. Godspeed.

If I had to pick an 11, it would be, of all things, Drunk on a Plane. My initial distaste for this song was based on two things. One, I really like Dierks Bentley and he's done much better. Two, that stupid "like a G6" line. Why would you pick such a nothing pop song to quote, and put it in your chorus no less?! But that's a dumb reason to hate a whole song.

The fact that "Dark Horse" is the number two song OF THE YEAR is just... well, fitting actually. Cause it's a piece of shit. At least I get the appeal of say, "Fancy" or "Shake it Off." They're catchy. Dark Horse is just nothing. In the year of barely-there, it was the most non-present of all. So goodbye, 2014. You will not be missed. At least until this time next year, when I talk about how much worse 2015 was.

Because I'm happyyyy... yyy... yyy... yyy.


lololol "that's like putting caviar in a corn dog" I think I'll say that about every good song this year. There, list done!

Okay, I can't really say if 2015 was better or worse. Maybe worse cause it had Bieber in it. Maybe better cause it had one decent Jason Derulo song instead of three embarrassing ones. There's no "Dark Horse" or "Black Widow" or other animal-themed metaphors that want to have sex with/kill you. But there was a sexy (?) song that referenced The Hills Have Eyes, of all things, so let's just call it a wash. (Next year: sexy Texas Chainsaw Massacre song. Calling it now.)

Anyway, revisions. For some reason, I neglected to put my favorite hit song from last year on this list, "Come With Me Now" by Kongos. So I'll take out "Leave the Night On" for that. (I do still like Leave the Night On as a pop song, it's jangly and I like jangly pop, but eh. Sam Hunt wore out his welcome fast.) I also liked "Can't Remember to Forget You," so I'll tack that on at #11. Other than that, I stand by my list.

I still listen to "Timber." I'm sorry.

Okay, that's that! On to 2015. I actually sort of miss Kesha this year. Don't tell anyone.
I'm about to go full speed ahead on my best and worst hit songs lists, so this week's Billboard charts will be the last ones that apply. MAKE THEM COUNT, BILLBOARD.

*four hundred and twenty-two Justin Bieber songs*

... Excuse me, I seem to require a bit of medical care.

12 GRUELING HOURS LATER

*grumble* With all the bloody advances in medicine, how is there no procedure to specifically remove Justin Bieber from your brain (or the planet)?! Okay okay, I'll just take some of these happy pills here. We are all on drugs, and this is why.

In a possible attempt to restore balance and sanity to the world, or at least the charts, Uptown Funk has climbed back into the top 25. That song can be on the charts forever as far as I'm concerned.

Okay, I seem to have recovered, and all the brightly-colored dragonflies buzzing around my head agree. So it's list time! I'm doing my lists early because I like to read everyone else's and I don't want to be influenced, even indirectly. I'm guessing "Marvin Gaye" will be a lot of people's #1 worst song. It will probably be mine. Um, spoiler alert? lol







Monday, November 23, 2015

Another headline? Okay, why not.

"Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth's ‘Marvin Gaye’ Make Out Session Shocks Fans"

Really? They could have stripped down, had a threesome right on stage with idk, Justin Bieber or someone similarly icky, and it still wouldn't have been as disgusting and disrespectful as that song.

Damn, popular music is in a sad state. You couldn't have paid me to watch that show.

Walking Dead!

I actually thought they were gonna have Glenn survive the walkers, only to be killed in some stupid way. Like shot by a pouty teenager. That would have been such a huge f u, but I might have laughed at the absurdity. Absurdity is appropriate in a zombie apocalypse.

But I'm glad they didn't do that. Not really sure why they did the Glenn narrative that way - obviously when they stretched it out thaaaaat faaaaar we knew he was gonna survive. Well, whatever. Next week should be exciting. Walls fall! Everybody dies!

Also, Tara flipping Rick the bird made me indescribably happy. He was being excessively Rickish, and Tara's cool.

Worthless Headline of the Day

"University of Ottawa: Free Yoga Classes Canceled by Student Union Over Cultural Appropriation Concerns"

From the article: "When she checked back in with the centre in September, she said she was told by them the class wouldn't be happening because some students and volunteers were uncomfortable with the "cultural issues" involved. "I guess it was this cultural appropriation issue because yoga originally comes from India," she said on Sunday. "I told them, 'Why don't we just change the name of the course?' It's simple enough, just call it mindful stretching.…"

Sooo um... Laugh? Cry? Shoot self to the moon, hope for the best?

Guess I won't be making that chicken curry tonight. That's cultural appropriation, bitch! Maybe I should call it "spicy reddish-orange chicken?"

Doublespeak. It's happening. When you do stuff like this, it chips away at the real issues that are actually hurting people. It makes people roll their eyes at anything that might be "politically correct," even things that are actually important. Like, you know, treating people equally regardless of race, religion, etc. I said I was going to retire "politically correct" from my lexicon because it's lost all meaning, but this kind of thing is why the phrase exists in the first place. So maybe we still need it, just used more sparingly. Or maybe just call this stuff what it really is: stupid. Of course we should be sensitive to different cultures, but this is just out of control. Someone will always complain. They can't always win. Common sense needs to win.

It's a great time to be a satirist, and a terrible time to be a human.

Soon even satire will lose all meaning, because who can tell the difference?


Friday, November 20, 2015

Feel Good Friday

Really? A gospely Tom Waits song about death and how hard life is for "feel good Friday?"



This is probably the song I find most inspiring in my entire library. I'm not sure if he's talking about a big, cheery house party, or God's house, or maybe heaven is a big cheery house party with all your family and friends, or all of the above, but it works any way you look at it. Maybe it's a sort of purgatory, a way station where you can kick off your shoes and relax without having to make any decisions or do anything for a while. Just be. It's inclusive; we're all invited to come on up. Sit by the fire. We all have troubles, it's okay. Stop pummeling yourself for being human.

Going into winter, and the world in such a sad state, this is the song I need, maybe the song we all need. Because you can look at it however you need to; "the house" can be whatever brings you comfort wherever you are in life. If that doesn't define art, I don't know what does. And what better message is there for a cold Friday night than to drop your troubles and "come on up to the house?" As warm and comforting as a late night shot of whiskey, and the Tom Waits song playing on the stereo.

Keep it down in there!

Doing preliminary research for my top 10 best and worst songs lists, and holy wow. Since I'm combining pop and country, I'll have no trouble picking 10 best hit songs, but I'll certainly have no trouble picking 10 worst ones either. Well, I won't in that there were approximately 144.2 terrible hit songs this year, but I will in that most of them are terribly boring. OMG. How do you choose between one boring thing and another? And how do you do it before you fall asleep??? These are the things bloggers must deal with. It's a heavy load, lemme tell you.

I already wrote a bit about the "death" of hip-hop - not that the genre's dead, but most of the hit songs are so lifeless. Not just hip-hop, but a lot of pop too. I'm calling it "library music," because it sounds like everyone's trying to make as little noise as possible. Whispery, barely there vocals. Beats so weak, you could produce more sonic thunder tiptoeing across a shag carpet in bedroom slippers. It's like everything has been muffled by a giant pillow. I don't get it. This is music, not story time. Crank that shit!

I'm not talking about ballads that are supposed to be quiet. But even ballads need to have energy. There's a place for softer music, even in pop. But it still needs to sound full in its quietness. It needs to resonate, somehow. So much from this year just sounds like nothing. Ambient noise with something that may or may not be human intoning their grocery list over it. Do robots even have grocery lists? Are they just the word "batteries" over and over? These are the important questions we must consider when making these lists.

And country... oh God, country. We'll see what impact Chris Stapleton and his brand of actual-music has on mainstream country - I hope to GOD it's not just a Timberlake-infused fluke - but most of the year was really, really dull. Like, the kind of songs you forget right after hearing them. Or even in the middle of them. "What am I listening to again? ... oh yeah." And five minutes later, forgotten. This is where making a worst list gets hard. Anything I forgot so quickly must be bad, but how can I remember to put it on the list if I forgot it??

Yeah, it's that kind of year. I mean, did I listen to "Nothin Like You" by Dan + Shay? Probably...? Did I like it? Did I hate it? I can't even remember if I heard it! "Gonna" by Blake Shelton? Wow, great title bro. There's one for the ages. "I'm Comin Over" by Chris Young? Well, that one I vaguely remember... actually I don't. I don't remember how the song goes at all. What I do remember is my disappointment that a great talent like Chris Young is making music so mediocre and instantly forgettable. This is the guy who did "Drinkin Me Lonely" and "Neon," two of my favorite modern country songs. "Already Callin You Mine" by Parmalee? I don't think I've heard this one, but does it matter? If there's anyone that exemplifies bland, forgettable music, it's Parmalee. Not egregiously bad, like FGL - egregiously dull. Stubbornly mediocre.

This stuff brings new meaning to "disposable." It's literally in one ear and out the other. One of the hugest stars in the world right now is Drake, who I've found quite charismatic in interviews, but where's that charisma in his music? Every song I've heard is just this low, flat nothing. Flatline Bling. Hahahahaha. I'm sure I'm not the first person to say that. Screw you, internet, I said it anyway. It's only unoriginal if you didn't actually think of it yourself!

So yeah. There's a lot of dull dreck that won't make my list. I might pick one especially boring* song from each genre to represent this sad trend.

*can something be especially, boring, or does that automatically make it interesting?
I take back what I said about Supernatural. Well no I don't, those were valid criticisms, but I'm putting them on hold for a while. The killer Easter bunny wearing a plaid shirt was just so delightfully meta. Please tell me that was intentional. And pleasepleaseplease don't bring Donna back just to kill her later in the season. It has no dramatic impact anymore, it's just cheap. But so far, I'm enjoying this season more than not.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Remember when the world didn't suck and wasn't totally full of hate? No? Me either. But remember when it wasn't blasted into your head 24/7? I do. And I'm going back to that quiet place. News, and all social media except this blog, is going to fuck off for a while.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'm nobody, who are you?

I started this blog in November 2002, which means it's been 13 years now. Wow! In internet years, that's like 100! To drive home just how long that is, this blog had its origin in a Geocities page I started in 2001. Geo. Cities. This thing is practically an artifact. I can't really read the older entries anymore; they're personal and often quite emo as I was going through depression. I leave them up for posterity and the occasional funny line.

I never made a conscious decision to switch from a personal blog to a mostly music, etc. one, it just happened a few years ago. It's been a lot more fun. Talking about yourself is pretty boring. So here I am, a sort of pop culture Emily Dickinson. Except for a few fandoms, I'm not really part of today's pop culture, but I do like to observe it out my window.

This blog is pretty much my oldest friend, it's been with me through a lot. If you count the original Geocities page I switched over from, this blog has gone through six states and two countries with me. Through the Red Sox crushing defeat in 2003, to their amazing victory in '04. There's a lot of history and nostalgia here, and I'm not sure I can express my gratitude for it still being around in this crazy world of action. In the midst of all the gone things you can never get back.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday musings

The whole concept of selling out is so weird to me, as it's predicated on the assumption that most people have terrible taste.

I would guess overall, this has been right more often than wrong. Who are these people, anyway? Apparently they're the majority, but who are they? Where are they? Do they live in clubs and just listen to terrible music all day? Are there hives involved?

And how does one calculate the formula to "sell out?" It's essentially calculating just how terrible the public's taste is - how low we'll go without going too low. (We'll call this the "Donkey" metric. Thanks, Jerrod Niemann, for giving us a precise rock bottom that people won't sink to.) That's pretty cynical even by cynicism standards. Music industry standards. It's not "how good can we make this?" but "how perfectly bad can we make this?" It almost seems like it would take more effort to work out that formula than to just make something good, and effort is obviously what they're trying to avoid here. All hail the cheap buck, now more than ever. But apparently not. Maybe they have a computer program that figures it out for them. No, not maybe. I'm going with probably. Maybe almost definitely.

Maybe it's not that hard, at least not in "country" music. It's actually been proven that many recent "country" hits are pretty much the same song - same words, same chords, same tempo, same damn song, just a different dude with a soap opera name* and a V-neck tee. And they're pretty interchangeable, too.

*Chase, Cole, Luke, Blake, Kane - the next one of these will be called Brock or Steele.



Let's roll, indeed.

I don't know what any of this means. I know it makes me want to throw things. I can't even be properly insulted on behalf of the popular music listening public, because they're doing this to themselves. I can't say, c'mon, you're better than this! because apparently they are not. They're exactly what the cynic cackling in front of his Hit Song Generator 5000 like some second-rate Bond villain* thinks they are. That's the saddest thing of all. And this isn't coming from some music critic who only listens to indie shit unsullied by human ears. I'm a populist at heart. I think we all deserve nice things, especially in the realm of art. And this is where my impotent anger and sadness stems from. Why the "if you don't like it don't listen to it, go find something good on the internet" argument fails to win me over. I mean, that is what I do, but I actually still care enough about the world to think we deserve a better mainstream culture. I'm not gonna spend my life pining over it, but when I do think about it, I get angry.

(Though I guess I do understand why bro-country exists; I mean, Limp Bizkit fans had to go somewhere.)

*you could take over the world with bad music. This might have already happened.

On the bright side, my favorite time of year is coming up! It's the most wonderful tiiiiime of the yeeeeear... no no, not that, and God that is a crap Christmas song. That's like the Christmas song you hear right before you die. It's the soundtrack to the mall in Hell.* In fact, "Christmastime in Hell" fills me with more holiday cheer. Stop playing that shit all the time. ANYWAY, I'm of course referring to year end top 10 lists! When crap gets the beating it deserves, and good stuff gets to shine like um, shiny diamonds. I've actually heard enough music this year to make my own lists, so I'll be busily working on that!

*not really any different from any other mall. They just don't sell ice cream.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Worthless Headlines of the Day

WE HAVE THE DEFINITIVE WORD, LADIES AND GENTLEMAN. "Candace Cameron Bure: Actress Says Starbucks Red Cup Is Not Offensive"

Thank gawd, our long national nightmare is finally over. We can now return to the nothing we were doing. And boy, if a Cameron thinks your religious outrage is batshit... you might have some soul-searchin' to do.

"Woman complained to Campbell’s about new gay-friendly soup ad"

OMG GAY SOUP!!!1 What great scourge is coming next, transgender tea? Cause gay people don't eat or drink like regular folks, they run on batteries and the souls of small children. TRUE FACTS. My favorite Gay Soup flavor has to be Lesbian Lentil, but I'm also quite fond of In the Navy Bean. Play me out, Village People!

Happy Friday the 13th!

I've been rewatching the entire Friday the 13th series this year, mixed in with (many, many) other horror movies, and last night I was up to Jason Takes Manhattan. Which means tonight I'll be watching a double feature of Freddy vs Jason (yay!) and Jason in Space, Yo! (eh...). Yes, Jason Goes to Hell is so bad I'm actually skipping over it to watch Jason in space. I might watch the 2009 remake for curiosity's sake - it does star Sam Winchester, and at least they didn't PG-13 that shit. It's pretty much universally lame to remake something that didn't need remaking, unless they really kick ass with it like the Romero zombie series. But I watched the Carrie remake, so I can get through pretty much anything. Except those Halloween remakes... we will not speak of those.

I've watched SO MANY horror movies since the end of August (I started a Wes Craven marathon the day he died), and I'm still going strong. It's been a nice mix of favorite classics, a few old ones that were new to me, and some really great newer ones I'm glad I gave a chance to. For all the PG-13 jump scare CGI horror shit of the last 10 years, there are still some great horror filmmakers out there. I can't wait to talk about this once I've finally seen all the films on my list. That'll probably be in December, so might as well add the Silent Night Deadly Nights, Black Christmas, and the nostalgia blast that is Gremlins. :D

Feel Good Friday - CHRIS FREAKING STAPLETON

It's the feel good country music story of the year! Listen to how the crowd responds to this - like hungry orphans who'd been waiting for a meal, and are delighted to receive steak instead of gruel. Good music shouldn't be a surprise. We've been starved of it for too long. So bring it on. And bring me a steak, while you're at it. Medium rare please.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

TBT... sorta

Where I discuss a current video regarding the holidays and our nostalgia for them. Yup, I'm gonna count it.



I heart the nostalgia critic. In this video, he discusses our current obsession with over-holidaying, why it's happening, and how to deal. He brings up some good points.

"We're trying to figure out what made us happy in the past, and use it in our everyday lives."

Bingo! Among those of us who feel nostalgic, how many actually want to live in the past? Not me. I just want to feel the way I did back then, before the time of 24/7 cable news and vapid reality shows and pure concentrated greed that would make even the 80s blush. When the world was a quieter, less plugged-in place. It used to be, when someone was outside of their home you couldn't contact them. And it was glorious. Peaceful.

So a quick, easy way to try to recapture that magic is through celebrating the holidays we grew up with. And celebrating, and celebrating, and... I KNOW WHERE YOU CAN ROAST YOUR DAMN CHESTNUTS, YOU BASTARD! Yeah, it all gets to be a bit much, even for me. The same Christmas songs, over and over, starting as early as October. Christmas decorations moving in right after Halloween, or in some cases before. It's a cynical ploy to make money, and it's obvious, yet many of us still buy into it. Why? Because we need it. It's nourishing some part of our souls that today's world simply doesn't nourish enough.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the more cynical, the more greedy, the more stressed out, and the more technology-based our world becomes, the sooner we start celebrating holidays (or getting offended by people celebrating holidays, which is apparently also fun!) We need that joy and innocence, even if it is sometimes fueled by commercialism. (Commercial Innocence, quick someone go name your band that!) Christmas has been a commercial holiday since I was a kid, but oh what fun it was. Those damn toy ads are some of my favorite memories. They were just so catchy. Barbie and Lite Brite and I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys r Us kid! Even the once non-commercial Halloween has been commandeered by our Pumpkin Spice overlords... our delicious, delicious overlords. But I still love it.

It's kind of ironic... the very machinations that make us yearn for our childhoods and things like Christmas, are pushing the holidays earlier and earlier to make a buck. It's like they're getting us drunk on it. But just like actually getting drunk, it can be fun sometimes. It's not all bad. I mean, they could be pushing something much worse than holiday cheer, whatever their reasoning behind it. You don't have to take it in the spirit it's being offered, is what I'm saying. You can enjoy it non-cynically.

As Doug says, the worst casualty is American Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in mid-October, so it's kind of overshadowed by Halloween, but at least it's not as bad as being overshadowed by Christmas. AND it's unsullied by Black Friday. Thanksgiving is the one holiday I feel has been swallowed whole by consumerism, as it seems to be more about Black Friday now than sitting down and eating a damn turkey. Why is this? Well I don't give a rip about Black Friday, I'd rather go hide out in a cave on that day, but turkey day hasn't meant much to me in awhile. Sure, I make dinner for me and my husband, but it's just the two of us. We don't have any family here. And I wonder if that might be part of the decline of Thanksgiving. Families are more and more separated by miles, and people have less time and money to travel.

I think Doug's point is a good way to deal with all this: remember what it is that made you happy, about the holidays or about anything, and try to keep that alive. But does that mean we should start celebrating holidays two months early? Are we that starved for joy?

Next point: "Try doing the things you want to do and being the person you want to be every day."

Yes! I have long been a proponent of surrounding yourself with the things you love, all the time. I've made blog posts about this. Maybe it sounds simple, but how many people actually make an effort to do this in all the stress of their lives? It helps, of course, if you're like me and love lots of simple things. If you give yourself little things to look forward to every day, you don't have to look quite so forward to things like Christmas. It's not like, "Christmas is coming, I can be happy now!" Cause you don't, like Doug says, need permission to make yourself or your family happy. You don't need permission to dress up, or bake something special, or help others.

"Holidays are supposed to be reminders of what's wonderful in the world."

This brings me back to what I was saying a few posts ago about gratefulness. I've been trying to cultivate an attitude of everyday gratefulness for a long time now. It's not always easy, and some days it just ain't gonna work, but don't let those days stop you. Keep it going. Holidays will always be extra-fun times, and that's great. We need special things that only come once a year, times when we go all out, whether it's decorating, feasting, dressing up, giving to charity, or all of the above. But there are plenty of things to feel wonder about the rest of the year, too. Try a new recipe, even a crazy sounding one. Go somewhere you've been "meaning to go." Donate to your local food bank or animal shelter or charity of choice at a time of year they probably don't get much help. Curl up with some hot cocoa and a book. Watch a horror movie, or a Christmas movie, any time of year. Give someone a gift just for fun. These are the kind of things I try to practice, and it cuts down some on the OMG!CHRISTMAS! crazies. :D

And it's okay to start celebrating a little on the early side. It doesn't hurt anybody. Just please, no roasting chestnuts in October. I'm so bloody sick of that song. And try to avoid doing what these people did:


"Ima just put out my ghosts and skeletons AND all my Santa Clauses... welp I'm done for the year LATER BITCHES!"

More about the Great Stupid

I recently asked a question on savingcountrymusic.com, about why some terrible pop/bro-country songs succeed and some fail. The Band Perry and Eli Young Band, among others, recently flopped with their big sellout pop songs, yet Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell, etc, continue to succeed on minimal talent. It's all shit, but why does some of it float and some of it sink? The overwhelming consensus: TBP and EYB sold their souls, while Thomas Hunt Swindell had no soul to sell.

Basically, you've gotta come right out of the gate stupid. That's how you succeed. That's... pretty depressing.

A few exceptions I can think of. Taylor Swift, while not exactly a poster child for country music, should conceivably have failed when she released what was, even for her, a big pop sellout "We Are Never Ever, Etc." Maybe Taylor was already so poppy that nobody really noticed. Maybe she was such a brand by that time she could do no wrong. Maybe she sold out at just the right time. Who knows, but the transition worked for her. And here come all the doomed-to-fail copycats.

Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean actually made some decent country music before they released "Country Girls (Shake it for the Chiggers)" and "Generic Back Road Song, but with Rappin'!", possibly unleashing the apocalypse. I'm still undecided on that one. So they started out as serious country artists, not saying they were Alan Jackson or anything but they weren't jokes. So why did selling out work for them? I can only guess it was timing. They did it first (GEE THANKS GUYS), and now everyone wants to do it. But not everyone can anymore, especially if you're a mid-tier act. You only alienate what fanbase you do have, without making waves in the already-saturated market of stupid. You have two choices: stick to what got you there, or become an embarrassment.

Some things are still a mystery to me. Luke and Jason should have been laughed right out of town with those dumb songs, instead of starting a trend. I will never understand why that shit caught on. And Cole Swindell should have no career whatsoever, by this metric. Okay, he came out of the gate stupid, I'll give him that, but he's also a cipher. A copycat with absolutely no charm, personality, charisma, or talent of his own. He's not even handsome. By all accounts, he should have failed. I guess it was a timing thing. He came along right when the public was clamoring for a pale imitation of Luke Bryan. "Hey, this guy's generic enough, he'll do!"

Happy Veteran's Day. Now look at my bulging arm muscles. LOOK AT THEM!


Brantley... bro... thanks for taking the time to remember our vets. Seriously, I wish more people your age felt that way. But next time, could you remember to put on an actual shirt? And take off that ridiculous thug chain? It ain't even like it's July and you might have the excuse of being hot, it's November. November, the month that men grow giant beards to keep their chins from freezing off. (At least, I assume that's the reason.) Not sure when I've seen such a simultaneous show of class and no-class. "I'm here to pay my respects to the Unknown Soldier... AND I BROUGHT A KEG!"

You're halfway there, bro. Keep tryin', you'll get it eventually.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

In light of Jason Aldean's most recent dumbfuckery (which I maintain is still not quite as offensive as his music), let's look at a few celebs who've had race controversies.

1. Michael Richards, Kramer on "Seinfeld" - launched into a racist tirade complete with several n-words at a comedy club. Retired from stand-up and pretty much ended his career.

2. Justin Bieber - sang a sweet little ditty featuring the n-word and referencing the KKK, and laughed like a ninny the whole time. Had a huge hit this year, and another rapidly climbing the charts.

3. Mel Gibson - has made multiple violent, racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks. Is still working, but not nearly on the level of Braveheart. I hadn't even heard of his post-tirade projects.

4. Jason Aldean - dressed as Lil Wayne for Halloween, blackface and all. Was it meant to be racist? Probably not. He's probably a fan of Lil Wayne; they both seem crude and stupid as shit, so whatever. What kind of backlash will result from this, if any, remains to be seen. But here's my guess:

Aldean's fan base, like Bieber's, will answer with a resounding "so what?" Because they are stupid, or maybe apathetic, or both. And hey, I get the desire to regard the Outrage of the Day with apathy, to tune it out, to say "who cares?" But sometimes we need to be more discerning than that as fans, as people. My very simplistic take here: Michael Richards had a more intelligent fanbase, so when he did something stupid, his fans reacted accordingly and turned on him. Mel Gibson had such a wide fanbase that I'm not sure you could categorize them, but overall I'd say fans of Braveheart and Mad Max are probably more discerning than fans of "Baby" and "Burnin it Down" (as are single-celled organisms). Also, Gibson's tirades were pretty shocking since they were also violent, so that probably played into it.

If Aldean's career suffers no harm from this, as Bieber's didn't, this is a pretty good example of how stupid breeds. If someone who's intelligent, or has at least done reasonably intelligent projects does something stupid, the backlash is huge. If someone stupid does something stupid, there's really not an existing force to create enough backlash. The kind of people who care about them in the first place don't give a shit what they do. So the stupid just goes on, unscathed. I realize we're just talking about dumb celebs here, but this is actually kinda scary on a philosophical level. I don't like when stupid wins.

Ummm so my point is... if you're white and wanna dress as a rapper, you should probably go as Iggy Azalea. You'll actually look less stupid. Now try to get Jason Aldean dressed as Iggy Azalea out of your head. Just try. Scary yeah, but not as scary as deep philosophical angst, so whew.

Tuesday something something

I want to talk about a song today. That's it, nothin fancy.



I've brought up this song before, but not in any depth. The reason I like it is more complex than you'd think on first listen. It's not just because I'm a nostalgic 80s kid; I think this song has more levels than that.

To me it's really not a "things were better in the good ol days" song, though I can see how it would be taken that way, good or bad, depending how you feel about nostalgia. But I think it's bittersweet, not black and white. I don't think the point is the advances in the world that have made it more "automatic" are bad; it's how we've responded to them. How they've made us more entitled. Cause, as good as my memories of making mixtapes are, do I really want that back instead of iTunes? Do we really want snail mail to replace email? No. And even if some of us did, we're not going back. There's no changing the tilt of the world. And sometimes nostalgia's just nostalgia.

BUT, here's why I find this song uplifting, rather than just wistful and nostalgic: we CAN control how we react to things, how we feel about things. We can still learn to be grateful, even in a world of "automatic." We just have to stop and think about it sometimes. Adjust our thinking. I don't think GPS has made us entitled, the bad side of human nature has. And we can fight that, if we want. It even applies to the more serious stuff, like the "staying married" line. Too bad that didn't work out for Miranda, but just because we live in the time of the 50% or whatever divorce rate doesn't mean we have to join that statistic. Divorce is a thing because some problems are unfixable. Not all of them.

So that's my pledge for today, to feel grateful and unentitled whatever way the world turns.

Also, while I'm sure this is ridiculously evident, I am 100% "Team Miranda" ... not because I embroil myself in celebs' personal lives, but because Miranda makes way better music. And I hate to say this, since I feel genuinely bad her marriage ended, but I think it can only be a good thing musically. Maybe we can pretend that whole "Boys Round Here" thing never happened, and get on with making music like "Me and Charlie Talking" again.

Worthless Headline of the Day

"Donald Trump: Republican Presidential Candidate Suggests Boycott of Starbucks Over Holiday Cups"

I refuse to accept this headline unless it begins with, "In a perfect storm of stupid"

They're still RED, for Pete's sake. Like Rudolph's nose. Muthafuckers could be PURPLE, is all I'm sayin'.

Monday, November 09, 2015

p.s.

And what do you know, my favorite author Joshilyn Jackson, who is always right on in any multitude of ways, just shared this:


That might be all that needs to be said on this subject, actually.

Hoo boy.

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/starbucks--plain-red-holiday-cups-causing-uutrage-among-christians-174214942.html

Okay, this has gone far enough. EVERYONE IS WRONG IN THIS DEBATE. EVERYONE. Capslock and italics levels of wrong. Can we please just have common sense back? The sweet, sweet valley of sanity? Also, wtf is "uutrage?" Is that like, uber outrage?

So two things. This post is not about religion. I have my beliefs, most everyone has or specifically doesn't have beliefs (even agnosticism is a belief in, idk, "meh?"), and that's between you, God, your family, and your church if you go to one. It's not a matter of public debate.

Also, the context in which I first viewed that dumb viral video, because you must be either dumb or a cat to go viral, is a weirdly personal one. So I'm gonna get this out of the way so it won't color the rest of my thoughts. I recently found out that the person I dated before I met my husband got married. Let me say with absolutely no irony how happy I was to see this. I ended the relationship, I felt bad about it, and seeing him happy was almost a relief. Then, out of natural curiosity, I read his wife's facebook page. (Hey, it's the times we live in. I'm not above sating my curiosity.) He and I were together for five years, so this is someone I knew really well. Long story short, the absolute last kind of person I would have expected he'd marry is someone who posts dumb "war on Christmas" videos. Unironically. And Donald Trump quotes, and agreeing with "Obama is a Muslim!" fearmongering propaganda. Whether you like, hate, or are somewhere in between on Obama, like I am, that kind of beside-the-point blustering inanity has no place in serious discourse. It's a distraction from real issues, as most manufactured controversies are.

So this man, we'll call him Steve because his name is not actually Steve, is way more cynical than even I am. He would laugh that kind of shit right out of town. He's an atheist, for pete's sake. I'm no atheist, but I don't use my belief in God for great stupid. And this isn't even about politics or religion to me. If you're religious, non-religious, conservative, liberal, somewhere in between, it's all fine. JUST BE SMART ABOUT IT AND STAY YOUR COURSE. Don't take the bait from the absolute basest side of your cause. This is about willful ignorance. It's about the lowest common denominator, and fearmongering, and divisiveness. So to say I was shocked when I saw all that stuff is a bit of an understatement. But hey, it has nothing to do with me. If he's happy, then right on. I just hope he doesn't let that bullshit slide, because an intelligent person letting that kind of (non)thinking ferment in their own home is frightening to me.

So that's my personal experience with this dumb video, and now that that's out of my system--

Look, I'm one of the people who's on the side of preserving Christmas traditions. I've posted about it before, I'm very much pro-Christmas, pro-Halloween, all the wonderful fun things I grew up with that today's children should not be denied. And here's why this post isn't about religion. ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS THAT ARE BEING DISCUSSED ARE SECULAR ONES!!! Starbucks has never put crosses on their Christmas cups. School Christmas parties weren't religious when I was a kid, let alone now. The only publicly religious thing I remember growing up is Christmas pageants about the birth of Jesus. While nice, I completely understand and respect why that belongs in a church, and not public schools.

But why do we have to lose the rest of it? The word "Christ" is in Christmas, okay, but most of the traditions, outside of churches, are completely secular. So on that side, it seems what's causing the offense is the first syllable of the word "Christmas." And the need to be offended about something. Because unless someone is pushing their actual religion into your face, there's nothing offensive about pine trees and reindeer, and there sure as hell isn't anything religious about it. So those people - I don't wish to use the phrase "politically correct" anymore since it's lost all meaning - but the people who want to deny secular Christmas celebrations to kids (and adults, but kids missing out on that magic is what bothers me most) because of a syllable and a bull-headed minority, are wrong.

But now we have this video guy and his cup, and based on his level of thought processes I'm surprised as hell he didn't call it #cupgate, trying to tell us that snowflakes and pine trees are Christian, and removing them is anti-Christian. NO. YOU'RE ALL WRONG. If Starbucks did remove trees and snowflakes to not "offend" anyone, then they are wrong, because these things occur in nature and are not religious. (Or maybe they're just trying to make them look like red solo cups. Maybe it's a tribute to Toby Keith. DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT??) But equating these secular things to religion, which doesn't belong in the public arena, is just doing more harm to those of us who want to preserve Christmas traditions. Who want today's kids to grow up with the same wonder and innocence we did, and not all this damn overanalyzing everything. Please stop bring wrong, everyone. You're hurting my brain.

We live in a time of 24/7 manufactured controversies. The loser is common sense, and you, and me, and all of us. Maybe be mad at Starbucks over charging $6 for a cup of coffee, rather than how they design their cups. Also, red is at least half of the traditional Christmas colors and therefore, by cup guy standards, at least half Christian. Man, if I celebrated a holiday that didn't include red as a traditional color, I'd be offended as fuck. Or... not. I'd just go get a $2 cup of coffee at Tim Horton's and feel very smug about it.