Great Moments From One Love Manchester

One Love Manchester, a star-studded, beautiful benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester attack, was a resounding success. First of all, the concert raised over $3 million for victims and survivors. Second, One Love Manchester sold out: 50,000 tickets. This matters because the attacker specifically targeted a concert popular with young children. Not two weeks later, audiences – including some of the same children injured in the attack, like fantastic 8-year-old Lily Harrison – flocked to yet another concert in Manchester, showing that they will not react in fear or anger; they will react by living as they always have. This city sang and danced in the face of terrorism. Plenty of adults we’re supposed to respect have been far more cowardly. Last, the success of One Love Manchester were a personal and career triumph for Ariana Grande. These two weeks will come to define Ariana’s career: not the thing a small, terrible person did to her fans, but how she reacted. There were a lot of things to love about One Love Manchester, so here are just a few, in no particular order.

This Crowd Moment During Justin Bieber’s Set

Okay, Justin Bieber did a nice job. His set was reminiscent of Bieber’s rise to YouTube fame with simple arrangements, and his speech was surprisingly heartfelt and sweet. But did you see this police officer dancing in a circle with little girls during his speech? One of the sweetest moments of the night.

Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande’s Adorable Friendship

Don’t Dream It’s Over is an underrated ’80s classic, and Miley’s voice really knocks it out of the park on exactly this sort of song. You also couldn’t miss how cute Miley and Ariana are together. They’ve both been famous for some time now, and this clip reminded me that they’re also just nice, supportive friends in their early 20s.

The Parrs Wood High School Performance

Parrs Wood High School’s cover of My Everything, in honor of the Manchester Terror Attack victims, made the rounds last week. They performed beautifully at One Love Manchester, and were joined by Ariana herself. 12-year-old soloist Natasha Seth’s reaction was precious, and Ariana’s reaction to Natasha absolutely made me cry.

Olivia Campbell And Her Mum

15-year-old Olivia Campbell was one of the 22 murdered in Manchester, and Olivia’s mother had some words for Ariana. In her intro to Side to Side, Ariana said “I had the pleasure of meeting Olivia’s mommy a few days ago, and as soon as I met her I started crying, and I gave her a big hug. And she said that I should stop crying because Olivia wouldn’t have wanted me to cry. And then she told me that Olivia would have wanted to hear the hits. So that means that we had a totally different show planned. We had a rehearsal yesterday where we changed everything.”

Suddenly, Side To Side was a touching tribute to a teenage girl who just wanted to go out and listen to pop music on a school night.

Don’t Look Back In Anger

Oasis is as associated with Manchester as Man United (at least for those of us living across the ocean). Don’t Look Back In Anger is one of their most recognizable songs and one that has made me well up even during good times. After the attack, a crowd at a vigil even broke out into the chorus after a moment of silence. Chris Martin of Coldplay did an admirable cover. You could feel that all 50,000 audience members, at least at that moment, believed that the best way forward was not to look back in anger – at least not today.

Take That and Robbie Williams

It’s probably a pop culture personality test: do you associate Manchester with Oasis or Take That? Or are you more of a solo Robbie Williams fan? At One Love Manchester, you didn’t have to choose: crowds were treated to both Take That and solo Robbie. My ’90s heart will always love Robbie Williams singing Angels.

Niall Horan’s Crowd-Talk

Niall has the sweetest, humblest variety of boy band polish. He didn’t say anything groundbreaking, it was more the way he just sounded like a boy… standing in front of a city… telling it that he loves it, instead of like a schmoozy musician.

This Finale

Ariana ended the concert with Somewhere Over The Rainbow. She cried, I cried, we all cried. It – like the night as a whole – was a beautiful tribute to the Manchester victims, survivors, and to a city that sings and dances in the face of terrorism.

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A Very Scientific Process In Making the Ultimate Boy Band

Question: Do we need another boy band?

Keep reading if your answer is yes. Because the correct answer is yes.

Executives at ABC recently announced a new reality show called Boy Band, a 10-episode series coming this summer featuring aspiring male singers vying for a spot in a – you guessed it – boy band. Viewers can vote for their favorites, with the top five forming the final group. Think American Juniors meets Making The Band, but sans sketchy Lou Pearlman and with adults.

But what if the singers of boy band past tried out for Boy Band? Would they make the cut? We make the ultimate group based on a very scientific method: what the singer was like at the height of their popularity, their voice, their voice blending with the other voices, how their popularity would shine on a reality TV competition and my own personal opinion.

Nick Carter

 

OG Boy Band: Backstreet Boys

Vocal Function: Lead Tenor

Personality Function: The Heartthrob

Why He Would Make The Cut: Every boy band needs a lead heartthrob with a singing ability to make you swoon in your over-postered bedroom. Circa ’99, Nick Carter was the picture perfect dreamboat, made to make the cover of Tiger Beat, YM and Teen People all over the world. Every time he asked, “Am I sexual?”, the answer is always a screeching, “YES!”.

Harry Styles

OG Boy Band: One Direction

Vocal Function: Second Tenor

Personality Function: Silent Heartthrob

Why He Would Make The Cut: That face. That accent. The way he belts those notes. That hair. The way he puts his hands through THAT HAIR.

Nick Jonas

OG Boy Band: Jonas Brothers

Vocal Function: Counter Tenor

Personality Function: The Seemingly Serious One But Actual Sex Pot

Why He Would Make The Cut: I’m talking Jealous -> now era of Nick Jonas even though the JoBros doesn’t exist and I wouldn’t even really classify them as a real boy band. But Nick is a smokeshow, can hit those falsetto notes like nobody’s business and did I mention he’s a smokeshow?

Donnie Wahlberg

OG Boy Band: New Kids on the Block

Vocal Function: Bass

Personality Function: Bad Boy

Why He Would Make The Cut: Similarly to Nick Jonas, I’d say later era Donnie Wahlberg is primo Donnie Wahlberg. I saw him on the NKOTBSB tour with BSB and I was completely shook and quite frankly upset with myself that I had not been paying more attention to Donnie all these years. He is straight up beefcake, masculine to the max sexy, and his speak/singing voice will automatically take your undergarments off.

Joey Fatone

OG Boy Band:*N SYNC

Vocal Function: Baritone

Personality Function: Jokester

Why He Would Make The Cut: Joey is the type of dude who would thrive on a reality TV competition show. He’s such a ham for the cameras that audiences would lap it right up. See: Dancing with the Stars.

BONUS: Justin Timberlake would be the second one to make the group, but like Ikaika before him, he left to pursue a solo career. Nick Jonas takes his place in a dramatic results show episode.

Disagree? Agree? Chime in!

Merry Hip-Hop Christmas Motherf#cK3R$!

There’s a famous record store in California called Ameoba Records that is known for its extensive music and DVD collection. The one in Hollywood happens to be near my movie theater of choice, so when I was killing some time before going to said movie theater recently, I walked around Ameoba and stumbled into the holiday music section. The collections isn’t as large compared to all the other sections in the store, but the fact that they have to divide it up into genre and not just by artists should tell you that this wasn’t a normal Trans Siberian Orchestra and Vince Garabaldi Trio situation. No, Ameoba had an entire Hip-Hop and R&B holiday music section which I immediately scoured through. Did I expect Whitney Houston? Sure. Destiny’s Child? OK. But did I ever think this particular CD even existed?photo-dec-08-6-42-13-pmphoto-dec-08-6-42-18-pm

Short answer: nope. Absolutely not. You’re telling me a TWO CD compilation featuring what seems to be a line-up of stars who peaked in 2005 recorded Christmas specific tracks for an album that has cover art made with Microsoft Word Art is for sale?! Because I’m a cheapo, I swiftly snapped these pix and noted to look it up on Spotify later. And boy or boy did it turn out to be gold indeed. The very first line of the entire album is said by Cam’Ron (of Hey Ma fame), and he yells out, “Merry Christmas motherfuckers!” Honestly, how can you stop there. I had to listen to the entire thing. You can stream the entire album here, but I’m selecting a few standout “favorites” from this gem of an album to spread the holiday cheer. Enjoy, bitchez!

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells by Onyx

Right off the bat, Onyx declares he hates Christmas, which for a Christmas album is a pretty bold move. Or gangster move, if you will. In fact, the entire song is a gangster rap song, except with a few key Christmas phrases thrown in there.

Other key lyrics: “Fuck Christmas, fuck all holidays/I’m the grinch bitch, got a new hot plate”… “Jingle Bells, Shotgun shells, n***az get shot every day, hey!”

“Deck the Halls with weed and Henny (*in the background* Black Santa!)… Y’all really think Santa tryna come out to the ‘hood? Santa ain’t comin’ out here. This is Oakland. Santa ain’t tryna get shot” – Deck the Halls by Luniz

 Christmas Treez by Baby Bash

Spoiler alert kids – “Christmas Treez” is code word for weed. But the gag is that the song’s not even really about smoking weed. It’s about fucking bitches. While high. That’s right. Because nothing says, “welcome baby Jesus” like the phrase “pearl necklace”. They just referenced Netflix and apparently this is a new release. A 2016 RELEASE. I AM SHOCKED.

Other key lyrics: “She give me that XXX from Texas/A blessed bitch/Over the next bitch/Man eat her for breakfast.”

It’s a real shock to the system when R&B group Az Yet starts singing Angels We Have Heard on High in all earnestness.

Chingy’s Christmas by Chingy

Who knew the first refreshing song on this album would be from Chingy? He actually is approaching the song with a story, and a story of philanthropy none the less! He’s “got a bag of goodies for all y’all” and gonna “make it rain gifts like Santa Claus”. Truly inspirational. And if you’re wondering what happened to Chingy, you’re not the only one.

Kb Christmas Delight by Kurtis Blow

It’s really throwing me off that this album was made this year. I legit thought this was from 2005. So hearing references like Netflix are jarring. In this song, KB starts namedropping rappers coming to his Christmas party, like Snoop and Rev Run from Run DMC. But what’s even more jarring is when when he mentions that Kim and Kanye roll up in the party.. Also, I’m not a Kurtis Blow aficionado or anything, but do his songs all sound the same?

Other key lyrics: “Ring ring at the door again, in walks Kanye and Kim/Don’t let the paparazzi in, only hip-hop fam and friends/Knock Knock who will we see? Beyonce and Jay Z/B and Jay Z came by just to party with me/No shade we ain’t sipping tea”

Surviving Christmas by Kool Moe Dee

Straight up the most depressing Christmas song I’ve ever heard. Including that Christmas Shoes one. You’ve just got to listen to this one.

The placement of these songs is so wrong. It’s a mixtape gone horribly wrong.

Ho Ho Ho (Dirty Christmas) by Ying Yang Twins

When I first picked this lost gem of an album up, the one track that really stood out to me was this one titled Ho Ho Ho (Dirty Christmas). Judging by the parenthetical addendum as well as the fact that it was by Whisper Song stars the Ying Yang Twins, I deduced the title wasn’t referring to Santa’s favorite phrase. And man oh man. Was I wrong. First of all, the hook is to the tune of Frére Jacques, but the lyrics are now: “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas/Ho Ho Ho/Ho Ho Ho/ Santa where my presents? Santa where my presents?/I’ve been good! I’ve been good!” And while a “ho” is mentioned in the beginning, it’s mostly about wanting presents? I don’t know what to do with this.

Other key lyrics: “Kids runnin’ around/playing with all their toys/You better sit your ass down/Makin’ all that noise/Take your ass outside/And ride that bike/ But your ass better come in/When that light come on”

“Macy’s got a black santa on the sixth floor!” Black Santa Clauz

It’s Still Christmas by Celly Cel

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this album is that Santa gives presents that all these rappers want, and also it all happens in the hood. In this song, we should all keep the chorus in mind when Dec. 25th comes round this year: “If we don’t get what we want/It’s still Christmas/Let the haters hate/We gon’ celebrate

Other key lyrics: “Spoiled little kids get pissed, if they don’t get everything on they’re list/Girlfriend’s mad cuz she didn’t get a ring/Boyfriend mad cuz she joined another team.”

I Can’t Wait Til Christmas by The Force MD’s sounds like a song made specifically for JCPenney TV commercials

Silent Night by J-Kwon

For a song that’s all about peace and stillness, J-Kwon’s version begins with a non-peaceful chant of “Silent Night Silent Night Silent Night Silent Night Silent Night”

Other key lyrics: “Let my girlfriend trip she don’t get no gifts today”

A sincere version of What Child Is This? shouldn’t be on the same album as “Merry Christmas motherfuckers”, right? It’s completely tone deaf.

It’s Christmas by Trick Daddy

I… kind of like this one? It’s a catchy chorus? I’ve been listening to this album for too long. IT’S TWO CDS WORTH OF MUSIC!

Other key lyrics: “I’m dancing with a fat girl but I can’t kiss her though” what are you talking about

And we’re back to the most non-merry version of Jingle Bells I’ve every heard.

Santa Baby by Khia

The producers of this album decided the best move to end this ridiculous record was to close it with a version of Santa Baby by Khia, who you might know from her work on My Neck, My Back. I feared she would turn this song too sexual, but thank God she didn’t. That aside… it’s still not good.

Playlist of the Month: Songs I Liked Before They Got Overplayed

We’ll never learn. We hear a new single on the radio, declare that it’s really amazing, and maybe even tell all of our friends about it. Within a few months the song is completely overplayed, we can’t stand to listen to it, and we’re frankly embarrassed that we liked it in the first place. But since there are no secrets on the blog, we’re confessing all today: at one time, these tunes were music to our ears. Now, years after they came out, we STILL change the station when we hear the opening chords.

Molly’s Picks

Hey There Delilah by Plain White T’s

Ten years ago this March, both of us were traipsing across Europe on our semester abroad. Meanwhile, my suitemates back home had a replacement roommate (who ended up becoming our friend, so that worked out great)! Anyway, she introduced everyone to this catchy new song that wasn’t even on the radio yet: Hey There Delilah. I even remember someone asking over IM whether I had heard it (hey there, 2006). I had not. Cut to over a year later, the single reached number one and I was very, very sick of it.

Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer

I was in junior high, it was featured on both Dawson’s Creek AND She’s All That, and that’s no excuse. I had a head start on this song thanks to the W.B.’s heavy music marketing, so by the time it was on the radio I was already done. I mean, just kiss someplace normal.

Daughters by John Mayer

To this day, I cannot make it all the way through this song. To this very DAY. But Heavier Things was one of the defining albums of my high school years (lest anyone think I’m at all cool), and there was a time when I’d get very excited every time I heard my favorite fake-sensitive acoustic-rock guy on the radio. That all died with Daughters, as the more (and more… and MORE) I heard it, the more insipid it became.

Sugar We’re Going Down by Fall Out Boy

Because no list of songs that sounded really good before you listened to them 100+ times would be complete without something from the Fall Out Boy/ The Killers / Panic At The Disco / Kings Of Leon neighborhood.

Ho Hey by The Lumineers

“Have you heard of The Lumineers? They only play them on the indie station now but I think they’re going to get really popular!” – This idiot, c. 2012.

Traci’s Picks

Kiss From a Rose by Seal

It was the summer of 1995. I was 9 years old, Michael Keaton was Batman, not Birdman. It was a different time back then. After featuring on the Batman Forever soundtrack, the song basically launched Seal into a global superstar when the song skyrocketed constant radio rotation. It’s a good, haunting song that is perfect for Seal, but it go to the point that I heard it so much on the radio (because in 1995 we didn’t have Spotify or SiriusXM, kids) that I would demand the station be changed from the backseat of my parents’ car. It was like hearing nails on a chalkboard for me.

Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

I, like many others, were introduced to this song via Justin Bieber’s rather brilliant homemade music video with his then-GF Selena and her BFF Ashley Tisdale. I couldn’t resist the catchiness of the song and played it on my own personal rotation constantly. And then it became popular on the radio, people started doing covers of it, and the rest is history. In defense of Carly Rae, this may be the song she’s best known for, but she’s got other great hits too. I.E. her entire album, E MO TION, which is hands down, one of the best pop albums I’ve ever heard. Get on it.

Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye

Remember when this song blew up in 2011? And how no one knew how to pronounce his name if they saw it on paper? And how we don’t know what’s happened to Gotye since?

Torn by Natalie Imbruglia

Like Seal’s Kiss From A Rose, I had an adverse reaction to this after day number 410 of the song being played on repeat in 1997. To Americans, Natalie was a new artist who had a one-hit wonder with Torn and her memorable music video in an apartment that never changed settings. To Australians, she was and still is top actress who happened to have a hit song around the world. Fun fact: Natalie’s version is actually a cover of American alternative rock band Ednaswap, who featured Torn on their 1995 album.

Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell and T.I.

Before all the legal battles and misogyny, this was a good song. In fact, I was fan of Robin’s from his other tracks like Lost Without U and The Sweetest Love, so when he came out with this tune I was excited. Then it went downhill from there.

Playlist of the Month: Christmas Songs by Jewish Artists

Hanukkah 2015 is already in the books. That means that from this point onward, people of all religions can focus on that other December holiday: Christmas. Sure, if we’re getting technical about it Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus – but it’s also turned into a cultural celebration where we put our differences aside and eat cutout cookies, decorate trees, and jam out to the likes of Barbra Streisand and Amy Winehouse. Who better to sing Happy Birthday to one of the most famous Jewish babies in the world?

Traci’s Picks

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Mel Torme and Judy Garland

This tune is one of the iconic Christmas songs we all know and love, but did you known it was written by two Jews? Mel Torme and Bob Wells wrote it in 1945 in the middle of summer in an effort to cool down. Truth. Bob was randomly writing down wintery things on a notepad like, “Yuletide carols” and “Jackfrost” and “folks dressed up like Eskimos” because he was so damn hot, but when Mel (who was 19 at the time) took a look at it he saw them as song lyrics. The rest is history. This version features Mel on Judy Garland’s self-titled TV show, and also includes a sly Over the Rainbow ref. This is the kind of song that just warms your heart.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)
Adam Levine & Sara Bareilles

Many people have covered John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s iconic Christmas protest song, but there’s something special about the pairing of Adam and Sara. Adam has the right range for it, while Sara can literally sing anything and I’d be on board.

This Christmas
Carole King

This Christmas is one of my favorite modern day holiday jamz. Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to Platinum Christmas and heard R&B singer Joe’s version on repeat, but I associate this with pop and R&B acts, not folky types like Carole King. But that’s what makes me love this version that much more. She gives it a lived in, Tapestry quality to it that makes you want to curl up by the fire and drink hot cocoa.

From a Distance (Christmas version)
Bette Midler

Listen up. Sometimes I enjoy turning up to the easy listening radio station. I can enjoy a good Kenny G tune or Celine Dion power ballad every once in a while. I can also appreciate Bette Midler and her classic tune From a Distance. BUT, in doing research for this post, I found out she made an alternative Christmas version that is maybe even better than the OG? Maybe. But the Queen of the Jews singing “Joy to the World” at the end is the best. The best.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Amy Winehouse

No bit zone – I really think Amy would’ve made an amazing Christmas/holiday album. Her voice is already astounding, but her spin on classic songs would’ve been such a hit.

Molly’s Picks

Baby It’s Cold Outside
Idina Menzel and Michael Buble

Yes, this song is creepy, but this version subs out some of the skeevier lyrics, making it my favorite rendition.

It was only a matter of time before Idina Menzel released a Christmas album. This particular song is really just a winter song, but there are plenty of Christmas-specific tracks on the album.

White Christmas
Barbra Streisand

How about a two-fer: when he wrote White Christmas, Irving Berlin, nee Israel Baline, made the most important Jewish contribution to the Christmas holiday since the Virgin Mary. Then Barbra Streisand covered it, and while nobody, not even Babs, is Bing Crosby, this is still pretty darn wonderful.

Must Be Santa
Bob Dylan

If you ever doubt the extent to which Bob Dylan DGAF, just watch this video.

Christmas Must Be Tonight
The Band

Two things you may not have known: The Band performs a good Christmas song, and Robbie Robertson is Jewish.

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
The Ramones

This is my second-favorite song about sparring on Christmas (after the fantastic Fairytale of New York) – and it proves that you don’t have to grow up celebrating Christmas to know that it’s a holiday that sparks a lot of arguments.

Hamilton Explained: The Schuyler Sisters

True to our promise, we’re becoming a Hamilton blog. Okay, maybe not full time, but you didn’t really think we’d stop at one post, did you? We’ve both been playing the cast recording nonstop, and new references and allusions rise up in the songs every time we listen. I’m sure we’ll keep discovering more, but we’re ready to start unpacking some of the many-layered references in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics.

First up – our introduction to the O.G. Kardashians, the Destiny’s Child-Made-Entirely-Of-Beyonces, the It Girls Of The Eighteenth Century… the Schuyler Sisters. Lyrics are in italics, the lines that I’m elaborating on are in bold, and our comments are next to bullet points.

The Schuyler Sisters

[BURR]
There’s nothing rich folks love more
Than going downtown and slumming it with the poor
They pull up in their carriages and gawk at the students in the common
Just to watch ‘em talk

  • In 1773, Alexander Hamilton began studying at King’s College – now Columbia University – in New York. King’s College was “overwhelmingly loyalist” at the time. [source]
  • The Liberty Pole in the Common (City Hall Park) was a popular site for debates between the Loyalists and Patriots. [source]
  • As a student, Hamilton wrote treatises, delivered speeches, and was known to frequent the Liberty Pole in the common. [source, source]
  • From genius.com: similar in flow and topic to Melle Mell’s verses in Grandmaster Flash classic The Message. [source, source]

Take Philip Schuyler, the man is loaded

  • The Schuylers were a prominent Dutch American family, and Philip’s wife was Catherine Van Rensselaer of the absurdly-wealthy-and-influential Van Rensselaers. Colonial power couple, right there. [source]
  • And his house was pretty legit:schuyler

Uh oh, but little does he know that
His daughters, Peggy, Angelica, Eliza
Sneak into the city just to watch all the guys at

  • The Schuyler sisters, raised in the pretty good mansion pictured above, stayed with their aunt and uncle for a time in Morristown, NJ. At the time, Philip was serving in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. [source] They met officers in Morrisown, a revolutionary hotspot. [source]

[COMPANY]
Work, work
[ANGELICA]
Angelica!
[COMPANY]
Work, work
[ELIZA]
Eliza!
[PEGGY]
And Peggy!
[COMPANY]
Work, work
The Schuyler sisters

  • The repeated “work, work” in the chorus is a bit reminiscent of Do You Love Me by The Contours – possible coincidence. [source]

[ANGELICA]
Angelica!
[PEGGY]
Peggy!
[ELIZA]
Eliza!

[COMPANY]
Work!

  • A Rap Genius user suggests that this might be a tribute to the roll call in Hairspray’s The Nicest Kids In Town. [source]

[PEGGY]
Daddy said to be home by sundown
[ANGELICA]
Daddy doesn’t need to know
[PEGGY]
Daddy said not to go downtown
[ANGELICA]
Like I said, you’re free to go

  • I haven’t tracked down evidence of the Schuyler sisters gallivanting through New York – although TBH if it was a stealth sneak-out like Angelica’s describing, I guess I wouldn’t find that anyway. But since New York City was occupied by the British during the war, Philip Schuyler probably wouldn’t have wanted his daughters there. [source]
  • But—look around, look around
    The revolution’s happening in New York
    [ELIZA & PEGGY]
    New York
  • The repeated New York, New York sounds a bit reminiscent of the Alicia Keys chorus in Empire State Of Mind.

[COMPANY]
Angelica
[SISTERS & COMPANY]
Work!

[PEGGY]
It’s bad enough Daddy wants to go to war

  • Gen. Philip Schuyler was chosen as a major-general by the Continental Congress in 1775, and went on to aid the colonists in their instrumental victory at the Battle of Saratoga.[source]

[ELIZA]
People shouting in the square

  • During the Revolutionary War era news and treatises were often read in public (town criers, anyone?) and public debates were common, as mentioned in the first verse. Imagine a live-action internet comments section.

[PEGGY]
It’s bad enough there’ll be violence on our shore
[ANGELICA]
New ideas in the air

[ANGELICA & MALE ENSEMBLE]
Look around, look around—

[ELIZA]
Angelica, remind me what we’re looking for

[ALL MEN]
She’s looking for me!

[ANGELICA (COMPANY)]
Eliza, I’m looking for a mind at work (work, work)
I’m looking for a mind at work (work, work)
I’m looking for a mind at work (work, work)
Woa-oah
[SISTERS]
Woa-oah
[SISTERS & COMPANY]
Work!

  • A twitter user pointed out that “looking for a mind at work” seems to be a West Wing reference:

This was also mentioned on genius.com. [Which I always thought was called Rap Genius??]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda has confirmed West Wing as an influence in writing Hamilton. [source]

[BURR]
Ooh, there’s nothing like summer in the city
Someone in a rush next to someone looking pretty

  • Potential allusion: The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer In The City – Hot town, summer in the city / Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

Excuse me, miss, I know it’s not funny

  • Potential allusion: Jay-Z’s Excuse Me Miss. Not convinced because the flow sounds nothing like that one, but this verse definitely sounds like … something? Right? Anyone?

But your perfume smells like your daddy’s got money
Why you slummin’ in the city in your fancy heels?
You searchin’ for an urchin who can give you ideals?

[ANGELICA]
Burr, you disgust me

[BURR]
Ahh, so you’ve discussed me
I’m a trust fund, baby, you can trust me

  • A play on “trust fund baby” – a rich kid with family money.

[ANGELICA]
I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine

  • Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was a 1776 pamphlet that you probably read or learned about in American history. It was extraordinarily popular and was influential in drumming up popular support for the Patriots’ cause. [source]

So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane

  • One Burr biographer described Angelica as “witty, intelligent, and rambunctious,” which is a nicer way of saying it anyway? [source]

You want a revolution? I want a revelation
So listen to my declaration:

[ALL SISTERS]
“We hold these truths to be self-evident

That all men are created equal”

  • Declaration of Independence,  1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal […].”
  • Its words were echoed 70 years later at the Seneca Falls Convention, in the Declaration of Sentiments (We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal). Which will be relevant in like two seconds.

[ANGELICA (COMPANY)]
And when I meet Thomas Jefferson (unh!)
I’mma compel him to include women in the sequel

  • So, there’s that: the words of the Declaration were an important part of Americans’ continued fight for independence. Maybe not an intentional reference, but still interesting.
  • As for the Thomas Jefferson part: Angelica Schuyler Church carried on extensive correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. From his letters to her, it looks like she at least tried to talk politics, to little avail. Jefferson wrote: “You see by the papers, and I suppose by your letters also, how much your native state has been agitated by the question on the new Constitution. But that need not agitate you. The tender breasts of ladies were not formed for political convulsion.” [source] Can’t win ’em all.
  • Aaron Burr, however, would have agreed with Angelica: he was really into Mary Wollstonecraft. [source]. But he was still kind of a dick, though.

[WOMEN]
Work!

[ELIZA]
Look around, look around at how
Lucky we are to be alive right now

  • This could be a reference to the ‘look around, look around, look around’ part of June Is Bustin’ Out All Over from Carousel, which I forgot was like 10 minutes long. [source] Probably not, because Carousel just doesn’t feel like an influence here. Plus “look around” is like …. kind of a common expression.
  • Okay, now we’re heading into repeat lyrics, so it’s a good time to mention that I grabbed the lyrics from genius.com, where folks collaborate on explaining and breaking down lyrics. No doubt more will be added there over time, so you may want to look back in a while. [source]
  • Official lyrics are here.
  • And finally, we can both vouch that dropping $20 on the iTunes album was two Hamiltons well-spent.

[ELIZA, PEGGY]
Look around, look around at how
Lucky we are to be alive right now
[ALL SISTERS]
History is happening in Manhattan and we
Just happen to be in the greatest city in the world

[SISTERS & COMPANY]
In the greatest city in the world!

[ANGELICA (ELIZA, PEGGY) ((MEN))]
Cause I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine
(look around, look around)((hey, hey, hey, hey))
So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane
(the revolution’s happening in)((hey, hey, hey, hey))
[ANGELICA (ELIZA, PEGGY) ((WOMEN))]
(New York) You want a revolution? ((look around, look around))
I want a revelation (In New York, woah)
So listen to my declaration ((the revolution’s happening))

[ALL SISTERS (WOMEN) ((MEN))]
We hold these truths to be self evident
(look around, look around) (hey, hey)
That all men are created equal
(at how lucky we are to be alive right now) (hey, hey)

[ALL SISTERS & COMPANY]
Look around, look around
At how lucky we are to be alive right now
History is happening in Manhattan
And we just happen to be
[WOMEN (MEN)]
In the greatest city in the world (in the greatest city)
[COMPANY]
In the greatest city in the world!

[COMPANY]
Work, work
[ANGELICA]
Angelica!
[COMPANY]
Work, work
[ELIZA]
Eliza!
[PEGGY]
And Peggy!
[COMPANY]
Work, work
[ALL SISTERS]
The Schuyler sisters
[COMPANY]
Work, work

[ALL SISTERS (COMPANY)]
We’re looking for a mind at work (work, work)
Hey (work, work)
[ANGELICA (COMPANY)]
Woah-ah! (work, work)
[ELIZA & PEGGY (COMPANY)]
Hey (work, work)
In the greatest city

[ALL SISTERS]
In the greatest city
In the world!

[COMPANY]
In the greatest city in the world!

The Best Of: Carrie Underwood Cover Songs

Anyone else always forget that Carrie Underwood began her career as an American Idol winner? Maybe I forget because that season aired my first year of college, and I was too busy going to frat parties, watching Shaun of the Dead in a crowded dorm room, and excessively highlighting my textbooks in lieu of reading them. Or maybe it’s because Carrie didn’t follow the Idol tradition of having an underwhelming career after the show (other exceptions include Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson).

But when you look at how great she is at cover songs, it all makes sense. Idol is all about covering well-known songs, except for that one usually awful original song in the finale. Sure, you have to “make it your own” and “not be pitchy” or whatever, but mostly the game is just to sell a cover.

It’s summer, and in our book, summer means country music. So in the spirit of our post highlighting the best of Kelly Clarkson’s covers, here is our fav country singer/Idol contestant’s proof that sometimes a stint on reality TV really does pay off.

See You Again – Wiz Khalifa

This made the rounds big time a few weeks ago. I’d be lying if I said I don’t like country covers of hip hop songs… just not when people do that country-rap thing where it sounds like they’re saying a nursery rhyme.

Fix You – Coldplay

Have I mentioned ever how much I hate this song? I hate this song so much. There. Said it. But this cover makes me not hate it, which is saying a lot.

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams

Sobering moment: if this song were released today – it’s originally from 1985 – it would be about the Summer of ’99. Yet it sounds fresh and new in this cover.

Sweet Child Of Mine – Guns N Roses

Problem I didn’t think I’d have: picking which Carrie Underwood Guns n Roses cover to include. She also does a great rendition of Paradise City.

Different Drum – Linda Ronstadt

It’s always interesting to see who gets chosen to cover songs at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions. Sometimes it’s an artist who has worked with the person being honored, sometimes it’s someone from a totally different vibe, and sometimes it’s this – something I wouldn’t have predicted, but it works.

Something Good – The Sound Of Music

Let’s talk about the NBC Sound of Music production. It was not… very… great. It was not great. We also didn’t hate it, though – it was fun, and that was the point. Plus now we have Carrie Underwood singing what is both of our favorite song from The Sound Of Music, so, I mean, somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good.

Everybody Hurts – REM

Another song to file under “I usually don’t like this but it’s fine as a cover.” I think it’s not even the song I dislike, it’s just a Pavlovian reaction because it was used to signify that something sad was happening in every movie or tv show that came out when I was a kid.

 

#FlashbackFriday: Modern Day Fourth of July Songs

You’re almost there, folks! Fourth of July is tomorrow, and that means not only freedom for America, but freedom from work and nearly all our responsibilities! I hope you guys have a great weekend, but to make it even better, how about a soundtrack worthy of the amount of hot dogs and hamburgs and fireworks you’ll be taking in this weekend.

In 2013, we compiled a list of our fave America-inspired and summertime-centric songs, so we’re bringing it back again for your enjoyment in 2015. Have a safe and fun July 4th, y’all!

Enjoy the entire playlist on Spotify!

Traci’s Picks:

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

You’re probably expecting Born in the USA. But I thought I’d throw a curveball, and also I like this song better.

Jack and Diane – John Mellencamp

This may be a little ditty about Jack and Diane (two American kids growing up in the Heartland), but apparently it’s also about the loss of innocence amongst teens. So yeah, kids in the USA go through life changing experiences, and that’s a part of American culture.

All-American Girl – Carrie Underwood

A touching tale of a boy who grows up, falls in love, gets married, and hopes for a son to carry on his football legacy, his dreams changed when he has a baby girl. An ‘All-American’ baby girl. But hey, it’s 2013, girls can play football too. Theoretically.

Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts

Fourth of July obviously means summertime, and this is a great song to play if you’re chillin in the back of your friend’s pickup truck drinking an ice cold Budwiser in the middle of a corn field. Note: I’ve never done this, I just imagine that’s what kids in the country too.

Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

I think my thing with Fourth of July songs is that I picked songs that everyone knows. Independence day is celebrating America- One Nation, Under God, etc. etc. What better way to come together as a whole than by singing a song together that everyone knows? In saying that, Sweet Caroline personally reminds me of the Red Sox and Fenway Park – baseball, Americana, etc. And the ‘Ba Ba Ba’? Who doesn’t love a good ‘Ba Ba Ba’?

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus

Because, America.

Molly’s picks:

America, Fuck Yeah – Team America: World Police

On the 4th of July, you will be hearing a lot of soaring, majestic numbers about amber waves of grain and there being ain’t no doubt you love this land. Fine. But I like an America that can laugh at itself. LOL jingoism.

Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters

Independence day barbecues are all about the cheerful oldies. You need to play a selection of the summery ones – whether it’s this song, Summer In The City, Surfin’ USA, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini … whatever it takes to make you feel like Megan Draper without all the, you know, troubles.

Electric Feel – MGMT

    If I picture outdoor summer parties from the past 6 years or so, this song is always playing. I don’t know who made the rule that every 20-something’s summer party in the 2010s has to play MGMT, but the rule exists and you may as well follow it.

Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

    Right?! Right.

At The Beach – The Avett Brothers

    If it’s 4th of July, I need some kind of country or folksy music. It’s no wonder that the best 4th of July celebration I’ve been to was in Nashville. Something about the modern version of country/bluegrass/folk just makes me really happy to be from the good ol’ U.S. of A. So put on Devil Makes Three, or the Avett Brothers, or Father John Misty, or Old Crow Medicine Show, or whatever, and thank God that you live in America.

American Pie – Don MacLean

    Everybody knows this song, everybody loves this song, and it’s one of the best singalong tunes I know. Plus the word “American” is in it so… you know.

Identical Song Twins

Remember that episode of Friends when they were in Las Vegas and Joey met his “Identical Hand Twin?” He needed anyone and everyone to know that he had met his digital double:

I do the same thing whenever I hear two songs that sound exactly alike, trying to make everyone I know bear witness to how similar they are. And this week, Identical Song Twins had their day in court. Marvin Gaye’s estate just won a $7.3 million suit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams based on the apparent similarities between Blurred Lines and Gotta Give It Up.

From my perspective as a person with legal training and working eardrums, I think this decision is hogwash. The overall vibe of Never Gonna Give You Up is there in Blurred Lines, sure, but those similarities will always occur in songs of the same genre. The riffs, chord progression, and song structure are all distinct. I still believe in Identical Song Twins, though. I just don’t think that all of them are straight-up rip-offs. Many of them – like Joey Tribbiani’s Identical Hand Twin – are just unrelated, random, identical coincidences. Do these sound alike to you?

That One Country Song From Last Year and Every Other Country Song From Last Year

You know those people who say that they listen to “everything but country?” Yeah, that isn’t us. We both really enjoy a good, laid-back summertime country song… drivin’ down that little ol’ dirt road… Sittin’ in my pickup… la la la something with blue jeans… you know, that song. We aren’t the only ones who noticed that all of these summer anthems are identical, as this mix illustrates.

You Raise Me Up and Danny Boy

The first thing I noticed when I heard You Raise Me Up is that it’s absolute drivel, like the musical version of one of those sappy stories that your one aunt always forwards, that always somehow relate to how things were better in the old days, or supporting our troops, or prayer in schools (I love the old days and our troops as much as the next gal, but you know the kind of sap I’m talking about). The second thing I noticed is that it’s Danny Boy, the song that Irish-Americans doggedly cling to even though it was the 19th century version of a pop song, written by an English guy no less. At first, nobody believed me when I said it, probably because they weren’t subjected to Danny Boy with as much regularity as I have been. Well within about a year, a “mashup” of the two appeared, or whatever you call a mashup when it’s something that my dad would listen to. Totally the same song.

Born This Way and Express Yourself

I guess this has turned into a feud between Lady Gaga and Madonna, but it doesn’t have to be like that. I remember one episode of Kids Incorporated where two of the incorporated kids wrote the same song, and they both claimed the other stole it, but they just both came up with it out of their own brains. That might be what happened here, except that Lady Gaga’s brain had spent about 20 years listening to Express Yourself, so maybe she was influenced without meaning to be. I don’t know, I guess I don’t have strong enough feelings about either Lady Gaga or Madonna to have a dog in this fight.

Anyway, here’s the Kids Incorporated thing, I’m not crazy:

Last Dance With Mary Jane and Dani California

Poor Tom Petty. These songs are different enough that they can be explained by the overlap in Tom Petty and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ style, but still. This sort of always happens to old Tom.

Won’t Back Down and Stay With Me

See? Petty and Sam Smith settled this one out of court, but hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Say what you will about the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty can write a really catchy melody.

Roar and Brave

I don’t see any stealing happening here, these just both sound like midtempo female pop songs from the 2010s… but they’re still song twins. Identical or fraternal? Jury’s still out.

California Gurls and Tik Tok

Katy Perry, at it again. Again, I don’t think this is a commentary on Katy Perry (/her “team”) stealing their tunes (this time from Ke$ha), but more on how a certain kind of pop song always sounds the same.

Best Song Ever and Baba O’Riley

I was late to the game with this one. By the time I heard Best Song Ever and thought “jeez, has nobody noticed that this is the long-lost song-twin of Baba O’Riley?” and went online to Google it, I discovered that I was wrong. Everybody had noticed. I have nothing against One Direction, they just aren’t my cup of tea, but if it gets a few more teens Youtubing The Who, that’s cool.

Sinner’s Sonnet and Landlocked Blues

Bright Eyes reminds me of 2005, when emo guys with feelings were the in thing and I was all about Conor Oberst. Admittedly, a lot of that mid-2000s Saddle Creek stuff has a certain sound to it. So a few years ago when I heard Sinner’s Sonnet it took me a minute to realize that it didn’t sound familiar because I had heard it before, it sounded familiar because it was song twins with Bright Eyes’ Landlocked Blues. Sinner’s Sonnet never got airplay or anything, but from my internet searching it looks like it popped up on Pandora for quite a few of us.

My Sweet Lord and He’s So Fine

It didn’t feel like I could make this list without including these identical song twins, but it also felt like stating the obvious — like putting Jesus on a list of People You May Not Have Noticed Were In The Bible or something. My Sweet Lord is one of George Harrison’s solo efforts, but this still shows why George’s songs are some of my favorite Beatles tunes. It’s because they’re basically identical to other, very good pop songs. If you can sing along to My Sweet Lord without inserting “doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang” into the chorus, you have a better ear than I do.

 

Best of C+S 2014: Taylor Swift Dancing to Cheesy Love Songs at Awards Shows

Despite the fact that Taylor Swift has gone country to pop this year, the one thing that she hasn’t changed is her penchant for showing off her dance moves at awards shows. Or rather, producers’ decision to keep showing her dancing at awards shows. But what if we took TSwizzle out of the element and pictured her dancing to non-dancy songs? We explored this in April, and here are our findings.


The Academy of Country Music Awards were on Sunday (I’m sure you all watched it. No? Okay), and we were treated with another installment of “Taylor Swift Dances at Awards Shows”. While the producers opted not to show T Swift the ENTIRE time like other shows have, they waited until almost the final performance to cut to her moving awkwardly. Just when we thought we had escaped her.

If you’re one of the folks that didn’t watch this show, it’s important to note that she’s dancing to Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum sing Wagon Wheel, a mid-tempo tune that doesn’t reallllyyy warrant this kind of dancing. Just note everybody else in the audience – they’re clapping and singing along, while Swifty is jamming out like it’s Daft Punk on stage.

But then again, she IS the type of person to dance to the beat of her own drum. For example, this (a-mah-zing) gif of her dancing at the Grammys this year to Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. #WhiteGirlsDancingInTheFrontRow #EveryoneElseIsSittingDown

Since it’s basically proven Taylor will dance to anything, it made me think of how great it would be to see her dancing along to slow jams. Not just any slow jams, but love ballads from the 1980s, when everything was overdramatic and cheesy, filled with teased hair, shoulderpads, and pounds of makeup. The only thing we need is Taylor mouthing the words to these tracks, because she has to also prove she knows every single song in the world by practically unhinging her jaw when singing. We get it. You like every artist and know all the lyrics.

So click on any one of these tunes and scroll through this collection of GIFs:

Up Where We Belong by Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker  ♥  If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ♥ Endless Love by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie ♥ True by Spandau Ballet Careless Whisper by George Michael ♥ Tonight I Celebrate My Love by Peabo Bryson & Roberta FlackAll By Myself  by Celine Dion

Or check out the playlist here and view the GIFs super slowly.

*Sidenote: IDK if I am going crazy or sleep deprived or all of the above, but i LIT’RALLY was crying laughing to myself while putting this together. Get a freaking grip.

98% of the time she turns to her friend/Selena while dancing, they’re not paying attention.

she is dancing with the award she won around her wrist

This was the Pinnacle from the CMAs – an award which has only been given to one other person in the history of the show – GARTH FREAKING BROOKS. AND THIS BITCH HAS IT DANGLING ON HER WRIST LIKE A SPARKLY BRACELET YOU WIN WITH 10 TICKETS FROM SKEE-BALL AT CHUCK E CHEESE