Welcome to the United States in the year 2015, where we need to hit you over the head with our themes of sex or humor or else you won’t get it.
At least that’s how the new Weeknd music video for the song, “Earned It,” that will be featured on “Fifty Shades of Grey” felt. Call me old-fashioned but when I tune into an S&M inspired music video I have some expectations. High expectations, especially when I know the artist is the sultry and smooth Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd.
I wasn’t mad, I was just disappointed.
The music video was directed by the director for the actual movie so now I don’t even want to go see the movie. It’ll just be on the nose SEX. The little main character –what’s her name –will be walking into the dungeon getting a peak when cut-to and it’s all thrusting and whipping (I haven’t read the book.) But no male frontal nudity! Because God forbid we let the audience, who have read three torture-sex books, see some actual peen.
The music video, for me, was like an appetizer for what the whole meal, the movie, will be like. And the music video was not sexy. It was kind of uncomfortable. You have a bunch of barely clothed semi-model, semi-dancer girls awkwardly walking around stage.
And the placement of the tape? Is that supposed to be some kind of metaphor? Good God, does the director even know what a metaphor is? The director is as clueless as the board game—now that is a solid metaphor that far surpasses the intellect exhibited by this video.
It’s just a shame because I had such respect for the Weeknd. He seemed like such a suave and sophisticated artist that to be attached to this movie makes him cheaper to me. I know he’s selling out, that’s what good artists need to do. But like this? Maybe he’s always had this style to him and I’ve just never noticed. Color me betrayed.
By: Ryan Kor
“My love is a life taker…” The last lyric of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” fades out and the gentle rumble of the guitar shakes the speakers in my little Toyota. Before the disc has time to begin the next song, I switch the radio on to 100.1, Athens’ destination for hit music. I haven’t listened to the radio in months. Instead, I’ve been slowly chipping away at my boyfriend’s complete R.E.M. CD collection and searching through my glove compartment for some of my old favorites. My ears itch to hear something new, and I thought I might find that on the radio. Instead I find that Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is playing simultaneously on two radio stations.
“Blurred Lines” hit number one on the Billboard 100 in September of last year. After a lewd VMA performance, a plethora of feminist backlash, and over a year later, this song is still permeating the radio. Which brings me to the point of my rant—I am bored of “hit music”.
The current chart topper is “All About that Bass” by Meghan Trainor. It has been on the chart for 16 weeks, or four months. I am sure those of you who listen to the radio with any bit of consistency could easily bleat out every single lyric to this woefully repetitive song. This same repetition is the driving force behind the concept of top 40 stations. Maybe if you hear the song enough times, you will eventually succumb to its charming auto-tune and brilliantly mechanic drum beats.
Music lovers, I urge you not to settle for monotony. I am not criticizing pop, hip-hop or rap, but rather the idea that only a minute portion of today’s music is deemed worthy enough to be a “hit”. There are limitless options when it comes to music. Sifting through all the unknown names and quirky bands is a fun way to figure out what kind of music matters to you. Even the radio has other options besides just hit songs.
If your life were a playlist, would you want it to be filled with over-played, hit songs? For me, the answer is no. I am always going to keep searching, consuming, and listening to new music. Excuse me while I create my soundtrack.
By: Ryan Kor
Fall is undoubtedly one of everyone’s favorite seasons. It’s also the perfect time to take a walk outside with your headphones in and look at the beauty that is around you. Instead of listening to the same songs already on your playlist, mix it up with some of my personal favorites this season. In total, this playlist will give you an hour of musical bliss. Here are the picks:
(Song- Artist, Album)
Passenger Seat- Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism
-Delicate piano and soulful vocals. The perfect song for looking out the windows of a car.
Good Bones- Quiet Hounds, Wild Hunt
-Fresh with powerful drums and killer harmonies. Song for adventuring.
Flightless Bird- Iron and Wine, The Shepherds Dog
-Calm and melancholy. Sure it was on the Twilight soundtrack, but we can forgive that.
These Stones Will Shout- The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely
-Twangy, blues rock. Jack White always has it right.
Ghosts That We Knew- Mumford and Sons, Babel
-Deep and flowing, with gratuitous banjo. Hope in the darkness.
Shaking Through- R.E.M, Murmur
-Driving and energetic. What would Athens be without R.E.M.?
Hannah Hunt- Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
-Bare background track with signature vocals. Reminiscent of an untrustworthy lover.
Undone (Sweater Song)- Weezer, Blue Album
-Quirky and totally 90’s. Plus, the “Sweater Song” definitely belongs on a fall playlist.
Do I Wanna Know?- Arctic Monkeys, AM
-Intense and bass-y, with plenty of English accents. One of the hits of the year.
Can’t Get Enough- Tealvox, The Next Room Over
-Fun-loving rock song. Local Athens flavor.
Wings- Birdy, Fire Within
-Angelic vocals. One of Birdy’s many covers.
Police Station- Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’m With You
-Haunting lyrics and lots of musical range. One of the Pepper’s softer pieces.
The Light- Futurebirds, Baba Yaga
-Southern and Folksy. Listen to this when you’re driving past the pastures.
Dead Sea- The Lumineers, The Lumineers
-One hundred percent indie. An organic symphony of sound.
The Girl- City and Colour, Bring Me Your Love
-Charming and Romantic. Song for Cuddling.
By: Ryan Kor
Sanford Stadium erupts into an electrifying array of sound as the third quarter begins. Gratuitous piano grace notes, heavily distorted electric guitar, and siren-like vocal patterns make up the instrumental track that has become a theme song for the Georgia Bulldogs 2014 football season. Despite its presence on Saturday’s in Athens, not many people even know the name of the tune.
The track is “High Ball Stepper”, off of Jack White’s new album Lazaretto. Lazaretto was released on June 10th, 2014, and was White’s second solo album. The album topped the charts after its release, ranking number one and selling 130,000 copies in the first week.
I received a vinyl copy of Lazaretto for my birthday, and it instantly became the soundtrack to my summer. I’ve always been a fan of White’s work, The White Stripes and The Raconteurs are two of my favorite bands. After only one listen, I was captivated. The songs range from twangy ballads to blues-rock melodies. “High Ball Stepper” was the only instrumental track on the album.
Lazaretto is partially based on a collection of poems written when White was 19 that he found in his attic. The album’s lyrics constantly allude to ghosts and loneliness. The word “Lazaretto” itself is defined as a highly quarantined hospital for lepers. Isolation must have been a theme for White when he was younger.
One of things I found most interesting about Lazaretto was White’s utilization of female musicians. White had 17 accompanying musicians work with him on the album, and 7 of them were women. These women contributed most of the background vocals and a variety of other instruments. White himself contributed far more than just vocals and guitar to the album—he played piano, drums, and even maracas.
In my opinion, Lazaretto is one of the few albums with a truly unique sound. The music is sophisticated in its complexity, yet conveys earnestly raw emotion. Each component of the music is carefully crafted to contribute to the eclectic sound of the album. Even design of the album is unique. The colors used on the CD are exclusively blue, black, and white, and the 10 inch vinyl is marbled light blue and white.
Though our next home game is weeks away, the stadium will once again be filled with the vibrant tune of “High Ball Stepper.” But this time, you’ll be able to identify it.
By: Ryan Kor
“That’s the SpongeBob theme song,” I thought to myself as I listened intently to the familiar tune. The hearty drone of the accordion echoed off of the brick walls that line the streets of downtown Athens. The sound drew me in and I pursued it until I found its source; a bearded young man who manipulated the instrument as a skilled puppeteer operates his puppet.
His name is Jared Price, a recent graduate who obtained his Master’s degree in social studies education from the University of Georgia. Price has been playing the accordion at his post downtown since his freshman year at the University of Georgia in 2008. Price said that playing downtown “at first felt pretty weird” until he realized that he was not alone. Along with guitarists, bongo players and singers, Price is part of the thriving community of Athens’ street performers.
“I’d like to think it adds a little bit of character to the downtown atmosphere,” said Price. And I’d have to agree with his statement. Price’s music creates a whimsical vibe, and when he is playing at night, the lights from the storefronts and the Georgia Theater make downtown feel like a carnival.
Price began to play after he received a toy accordion for Christmas as a child. Since then, he has expanded his instrumental ability to include the concertina, which is a miniature accordion, and the ocarina, a flute-like instrument. The concertina accompanied Price on his five month long hike through the Appalachian Trail. His musical repertoire includes videogame themes, Irish Folk songs, and French café tunes.
“I have kind of a quirky personality and this was a way to act in line with that,” Price said about his downtown performances. When I asked him how he would describe his musical ability, he humbly said it was “superficial, but passable.”
In my opinion, his work is far beyond passable. As long as Price remains in Athens, the quaint melody of the “Drunken Sailor” will enliven the downtown air and add to the artistic energy of the town.
By: Ryan Kor
“There is a storm coming soon.” These seven words are not merely a statement about the weather, but a promise.
Last week I tweeted the Quiet Hounds, an ethereal Indie/Rock group, and inquired about when they were next scheduled to play a show. I have an impressively low number of followers on Twitter—four to be exact—and did not even think the Quiet Hounds would see my tweet, much less respond back. But to my shock and elation, they responded in a way that is truly fitting for the mysterious group; “There is a storm coming soon.”
I was introduced to the Quiet Hounds by a friend who saw them perform at Athfest 2013. The Atlanta native band has a sound that is original, but hauntingly simple. Vocal harmonies intermix with driving drum beats and cascading guitar riffs to create an organic orchestra of beauty. Inspired by history, the Quiet Hounds reference the Civil War in several of their songs. Their music alone sets them apart from many current day bands, but their signature stage presence makes them a true enigma; they perform wearing animal masks.
Fox, wolf and hound. The masks are an extension of the allusions to nature the Quiet Hounds incorporate in many of their songs. It’s clear that the Quiet Hounds find value in obscuring their identity and remaining anonymous, and their mystery only makes fans like me more intrigued. Their newest album, Wild Hunt, was recently featured on the iTunes homepage.
It is my stubborn goal to see the Quiet Hounds live, despite how difficult they are to track down. The Quiet Hounds rarely announce dates for their upcoming shows. Their vague response to my tweet was all I needed to keep the hunt alive. I intend to check for their upcoming shows constantly until I am gazing at their masks from the audience.
There is a storm coming soon. I better bring my umbrella.