Posts tagged "music"

There was a debate going on about what was the song of the summer.

Angel said it was the big crossover reggaeton hit with Daddy Yankee; I didn’t know the name was “Oye Mi Canto,” but we could all sing the refrain:

Boricua, Morena, Dominicano, Colombiano,
Boricua, Morena, Cubano, Mexicano
Oye Mi Canto


Bonnie snorted. “Y’all are crazy,” she said. “It’s Fat Joe!”

We all replied, “Lean Back,” and dropped one shoulder back in smooth unison.

Kenyatta said, “Well, I don’t like her, but that song by Christina Milian — ‘Pop, Pop, Pop That Thang’? That song is blowing up.”

[…]

Pom-Pom spoke up. “I don’t know where you think y’all are at, but there’s just one song this summer. And that’s ‘Locked Up.’ Look around you! End of discussion.”

We had to admit, she was dead on. All summer long, anywhere there was a radio playing, you could hear the almost eerie, plaintive voice of Akon, a Senegalese rapper, singing about prison.

Can’t wait to get out and move forward with my life,
Got a family that loves me and wants me to do right,
But instead I’m here locked up.


Even if the song had not been a huge hit on the outs, it had to be the guiding anthem in a place like the Camp; you heard women who weren’t even hip-hop fans humming it tunelessly under their breath as they folded laundry: “‘I’m locked up, they won’t let me out, nooooo, they won’t let me out. I’m locked up.’”
Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison (2010)

Britney Jean Spears is 20 months older than I am, and as a result, the Britney Narrative has never seemed right to me; since her 1998 debut, I’ve seen Spears’s career in blurred double: the Britney I saw overlaid with the Britney the media, her handler’s, the industry, perhaps the artist herself wanted to present. Twenty months is a small enough gap that for a singer whose being seemed designed to denote youth was someone I best understood as old.
In the Britney Narrative, Spears was introduced to America at sixteen as adolescent and wholesome, appearing in her first video pigtailed and in school uniform. She was underage yet newly sexual — she told interviewers that she planned to save her virginity for marriage, yet her songs vibrated with uncontainable and teenage lust — and this is the frisson the adult men who produced for her and wrote about her picked up on. Spears was a little girl who didn’t know she wasn’t little anymore; Rolling Stone shot her in her bedroom with plush animals and lingerie.
This narrative, notably, is one defined by people who didn’t particularly have much interest in Spears musically; it wasn’t for fans, it was for the public, for people who engaged with Spears as celebrity and cultural object, not as musical performer. I don’t mean to omit Britney’s agency from consideration, but for someone who so quickly became a pop-cultural icon, her intentions in regards to her self-presentation became subservient to those of the pop culture industry tasked with defining her.
As Britney grew older, she became less untouchable and her sexuality became less illicit. She was eighteen when, in “Oops!… I Did It Again,” she confided “I’m not that innocent,” and less than a month shy of twenty when she mused “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” complaining of being “Overprotected.” (The album from which those songs come, Britney, also featured her most overt expressions of sexual desire to date, in the form of “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Boys,” both of which seemed much more concerned with presenting Spears as sexual actor than sexual object than her previous singles.) Next thing, Spears, at 21, now probably entirely a woman, was kissing Madonna at the VMAs and singing about masturbation.
There are so many flaws with this narrative, but the extent to which Spears contributed to it, through the changing themes of her lyrics, videos, and publicity work, speaks to its power. And, growing up with Britney, it always seemed transparently wrong to me.
Those twenty months Britney has on me seem enormous in high school: we were close enough in age that I could consider her a peer, but I was sufficiently her junior that the youth the media insisted defined her was invisible to me. Rather, I thought, Britney was inescapably old: she was like the big girls a few grades ahead of me. (Her older sister status meant I never saw her an object of attraction either; I was interested in girls my own age.) “…Baby One More Time” wasn’t an expression of untouchable nascent sexuality and I couldn’t see any of the porny subtext the older men deciding whom Britney should be saw. It didn’t make sense to consider Britney as pre-sexual, because the girls I saw at school obviously weren’t, and they, like me, were younger than Britney. They weren’t naïve coquettes; they were wholly formed people with the same desires and maturity I thought myself to have. When Britney sang that she wasn’t a girl, but not yet a woman, it seemed preposterous, because I had just turned eighteen, and could drink and vote and fight wars, and I had no interest in pretending to people I wasn’t an adult. I assumed Britney didn’t either.
There’s a Margaret Atwood line about how “little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life sized,” and it should probably also apply to not-so-little girls. Britney always looked life-sized to me.
As many women since Britney have discovered in varying ways — Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Vanessa Hudgens, etc., etc. — our culture has trouble allowing girls to become women in the public eye. They are supposed to retain a childlike asexuality long after they’ve stopped being children, and yet they are supposed to claim womanhood at the precise time onlookers are not made uncomfortable by their sexuality: usually long after they have become actually women. When Britney went through this process, we were growing up just closely enough that I could see how truly bizarre the pantomime was.

Britney Jean Spears is 20 months older than I am, and as a result, the Britney Narrative has never seemed right to me; since her 1998 debut, I’ve seen Spears’s career in blurred double: the Britney I saw overlaid with the Britney the media, her handler’s, the industry, perhaps the artist herself wanted to present. Twenty months is a small enough gap that for a singer whose being seemed designed to denote youth was someone I best understood as old.

In the Britney Narrative, Spears was introduced to America at sixteen as adolescent and wholesome, appearing in her first video pigtailed and in school uniform. She was underage yet newly sexual — she told interviewers that she planned to save her virginity for marriage, yet her songs vibrated with uncontainable and teenage lust — and this is the frisson the adult men who produced for her and wrote about her picked up on. Spears was a little girl who didn’t know she wasn’t little anymore; Rolling Stone shot her in her bedroom with plush animals and lingerie.

This narrative, notably, is one defined by people who didn’t particularly have much interest in Spears musically; it wasn’t for fans, it was for the public, for people who engaged with Spears as celebrity and cultural object, not as musical performer. I don’t mean to omit Britney’s agency from consideration, but for someone who so quickly became a pop-cultural icon, her intentions in regards to her self-presentation became subservient to those of the pop culture industry tasked with defining her.

As Britney grew older, she became less untouchable and her sexuality became less illicit. She was eighteen when, in “Oops!… I Did It Again,” she confided “I’m not that innocent,” and less than a month shy of twenty when she mused “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” complaining of being “Overprotected.” (The album from which those songs come, Britney, also featured her most overt expressions of sexual desire to date, in the form of “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Boys,” both of which seemed much more concerned with presenting Spears as sexual actor than sexual object than her previous singles.) Next thing, Spears, at 21, now probably entirely a woman, was kissing Madonna at the VMAs and singing about masturbation.

There are so many flaws with this narrative, but the extent to which Spears contributed to it, through the changing themes of her lyrics, videos, and publicity work, speaks to its power. And, growing up with Britney, it always seemed transparently wrong to me.

Those twenty months Britney has on me seem enormous in high school: we were close enough in age that I could consider her a peer, but I was sufficiently her junior that the youth the media insisted defined her was invisible to me. Rather, I thought, Britney was inescapably old: she was like the big girls a few grades ahead of me. (Her older sister status meant I never saw her an object of attraction either; I was interested in girls my own age.) “…Baby One More Time” wasn’t an expression of untouchable nascent sexuality and I couldn’t see any of the porny subtext the older men deciding whom Britney should be saw. It didn’t make sense to consider Britney as pre-sexual, because the girls I saw at school obviously weren’t, and they, like me, were younger than Britney. They weren’t naïve coquettes; they were wholly formed people with the same desires and maturity I thought myself to have. When Britney sang that she wasn’t a girl, but not yet a woman, it seemed preposterous, because I had just turned eighteen, and could drink and vote and fight wars, and I had no interest in pretending to people I wasn’t an adult. I assumed Britney didn’t either.

There’s a Margaret Atwood line about how “little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life sized,” and it should probably also apply to not-so-little girls. Britney always looked life-sized to me.

As many women since Britney have discovered in varying ways — Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Vanessa Hudgens, etc., etc. — our culture has trouble allowing girls to become women in the public eye. They are supposed to retain a childlike asexuality long after they’ve stopped being children, and yet they are supposed to claim womanhood at the precise time onlookers are not made uncomfortable by their sexuality: usually long after they have become actually women. When Britney went through this process, we were growing up just closely enough that I could see how truly bizarre the pantomime was.


Young Reid ft. King Kun & Lil Jaey, “Live Life Like Fuck That,” Welcome to Reidsville, 2013

Young Reid is a rapper from backwoods North Carolina who last year made the important discovery that if you make a hard-headed gravel-voiced rap song with a chorus that consists of shouting “LIVE LIFE LIKE FUCK THAT” it turns out great. This deserved to have blown up and have become a hashtag.


making the self from the story

This book.

This book.


TAYLOR HEDCUT!

TAYLOR HEDCUT!


The Singles Jukebox is seeking writers!

oh hell yes.

oh hell yes.

(Source: fiercegifs)


hndrk said: Whoa whoa whoa whoa WHOA! Charli XCX like "a less accomplished version" of Sky Ferreira!?? *emergency brake noise* (Just no.) ;)

I mean, this just doesn’t seem like it should be controversial to me! OK, Exhibit A: “Everything is Embarrassing.” Exhibit B: “You’re Not the One.” Exhibit C: “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay).”

The defense rests. ;)


thesinglesjukebox:

CHARLI XCX - BOOM CLAP
[6.88]


[insert rebloggable John Green quote here…]

Jonathan Bradley: The Jukebox has reviewed seven previous Charli XCX singles for an average score of [7.18], and I haven’t found myself with anything to say about any of them. Neither objectionable nor striking, her songs strike me as the pop equivalent of a photo shot through an Instagram filter: a lot of alluring haze and allusive artefacts overlaid on to something not inherently remarkable. The result is almost compelling, and artful enough that, for me, criticizing it has seemed as forced a task as praising it. “Boom Clap,” then, is the first time I’ve really felt anything about a Charli XCX song, and I feel that I like it — a lot. It punches with the force of the titular onomatopoeia, and Charli delivers these exhortations with the same spirit she did her hook on Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” The undulating waves of electro still seem designed to call back not to synth pop in its original incarnation, but to contemporary music that seeks to invoke those older records, but here the recursion properly aches with the romanticism of forced nostalgia. This is from the soundtrack to a movie based on a young adult novel I haven’t read, but the song feels like the best kind of young adult novel: urgent, vital, and overwhelming in its immediacy.

[8]

[Read, comment and vote on The Singles Jukebox ]

In an entirely non-judgmental way, I’ve been baffled by my Jukebox colleagues intense admiration for Charli XCX — she’s always seemed to me to be, in her gothy electro-romanticism, a less accomplished answer to Sky Ferreira— but I like this one. Perhaps appropriately, the Jukebox consensus seems to be that this is a pop move missing what it is that makes Charli genuinely exciting.



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