Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘music

Pondering Gothic / Vampire Songs for my Class

with 2 comments

I am in a pretty cool graduate class if I do say so myself. It’s called “Spectral and Sublime: The Gothic Tradition,” which is offering me the chance to read fun things like Dracula, Jane Eyre, Carmilla, and many more stories (a lot of them dealing with vampires that are my favorite). While the books themselves are pretty awesome, the professor also asked us to think of some songs that are related to the Gothic or to vampires. So I have been on the interwebs looking for songs that I feel represent these two aspects; however, the few songs that I have here are only a smattering of what I’ve found… and what may be locked away in the deep recesses of my mind.

The first is “Moon Over Bourbon Street” performed by Sting. This song is about the vampires that appear in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles with an emphasis on Lestat. In the song, it is imagined Lestat is going down Bourbon St. in New Orleans with the moon high overhead and existing much as vampires do: stalking their prey and enjoying the immortal life.

The second song was played during the credits of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992). Performed by Annie Lennox, “Love Song for a Vampire” is beautiful and chilling and embodies the emotions of love and loss that seem to be common themes throughout the whole of the film. Moreover, it’s easy to hear how Annie Lennox continues to get work singing for films as she is a sultry siren.

Finally, “I Would Do Anything for Love” performed by Meatloaf and written by Jim Steinman is not a song that is particularly Gothic or vampire-y in a lyrical or musical sense. However, the video itself is quite Gothic with the large architectural feature of the gloomy mansion and the fact that the he is a monster that is in love with a beautiful young damsel. Additionally, he is transformed in the end by the power of their relationship (mayhaps… this is really unclear to me). The fact that he will not do something for love also makes it interesting to a large degree.

Vampires, the Gothic, and music mixing makes me a happy camper because they are all things that excite and interest me. However, I do not think that this is even the tip of the iceberg for these kinds of songs. And to any readers out there, I would appreciate any suggestions that you might have to help me compile songs for my professor’s list.

Unintentional Musical Themes of My Life: Part 2

leave a comment »

As a couple of weeks ago, I have had several songs of late that have been the unintentional musical themes of my life. Now, I’m not saying that they fit completely because they really don’t. However, sometimes the music is just fun to sing along loudly to in my car. This week, there’s a little bit of randomness in the variety of songs. I know that some of you out there must be thinking that I’m listening to the same or similar radio stations; however, these songs have been on at least 3 of the 5 stations that are programmed in my vehicle…which is a little more than coincidence to me…

The first is a song by Cher. “I Found Someone” is a song about vengeance and jealousy on the parts of both individuals in the song because she “found someone to take away the heartache.” Again, this is a little odd because the song came out in 1987 (or at least the video did). Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I like Cher. I have a thing for women with husky voices, especially if they can sing, and honestly, Cher is still amazing at 65 and still sounds pretty awesome (take that auto-tuned Taylor Swift and most of the singers of today).

The second song is by Blondie. “Rapture” is an interesting song to say the least… and honestly, I’m not sure exactly what it’s about. However, I love Debbie Harry for similar reasons to Cher (gravelly voice and what have you). The song also has a rap from Debbie Harry which is pretty entertaining and not bad… Additionally, there’s a guy in a white suit dancing. What more could you ask for?

The final song is one from the 90’s that I loved during the 90’s. It’s Shawn Colvin’s “Sunny Came Home.” I’ve always had a special place in my heart for pop-ish folk music… I don’t know it’s just the sheer oddity of it. On the surface level, the song is about revenge. Sonny is going to punish those that didn’t listen to here and persecuted her… Let’s just say that the song ends with fire… fire and someone getting a sweater.

These are the songs that have been following me around of late… Again, I don’t know what the universe is saying in the form of song. What songs have been coming into your world via unintendedness?

Written by uncannynerdyguy

November 17, 2011 at 12:20 am

Songs that Just Don’t Make Sense: Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”

leave a comment »

So, I think it’s fair that I more than dislike Taylor Swift because she’s just awful. That being said, I know that there are people out there who ardently admire and think that she’s god’s gift to the world of music. Aside from being one more of those auto-tuned, country-star crossover artists, one of her songs really peeves me every time I hear it on the radio. Now, I typically change the station but sometimes I am lost n thought and don’t realize till the song is almost over. Still, the song “Love Story” has to be one of the most poorly written in terms of what the song is about: Romeo and Juliet.

While I get what the song is trying to do, it is not very effective. I know that it’s trying to tell us about a beautiful love story between two young people, and the fact that their family disapproves. However, every time I hear it, I wonder “Does Taylor Swift know how Romeo and Juliet ended?” I mean Romeo doesn’t get to “take her,” and she ends up alone… there is no wedding, and her father does not allow them to be together. They both end up dead, which does not reflect the happy ending of the song… Here’s to all of those out there listening to this song thinking that it’s a beautiful thing… it’s really not. If we’re going to take it as Romeo and Juliet, I think there should be some of the tragic irony and death in the song too… I think that it’s only fair. If she’s going to use the names, she should incorporate the play’s ending into the song as well…yeah…

Written by uncannynerdyguy

November 8, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Music and Its Soothing Effects

leave a comment »

I know that it’s kinda corny at times to think about phrases like “music soothes the savage beast” or more profound ideals like Anais Nin’s “music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together,” but I feel that music can do a lot of these things. Within the past few weeks, I have been a little stressed to say the least (to say the most would not be fun) and haven’t been able to find my focus due to things that are going on in my life. However, tonight, instead of letting myself get bogged down in my own thoughts and crummy feelings, I spent a little while on youtube.com looking up musicals and opera because they intrigue me. Before I knew it, I had spent a care free hour listening to everything from “It’s not Easy Being Green” sung by Big Bird at a Jim Henson tribute (which is heartbreaking) to “Glitter and Be Gay” (a song from Candide the Musical) to The Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute. All these songs help me in ways that express a little of what is going on in my head.

It’s a song with a beautiful sentiment to memorialize the memory of Kermit and the man behind him. It also helped to listen to something that was a little blue.

With this one, “The Queen of the Night Aria” performed by Diana Damrau is beautiful and exciting and sort of helps punctuate all the anger, frustration, and angst I’ve been feeling…so yeah…

This last one was just for fun because I needed something to help lift my dark mood. “Glitter and Be Gay” performed by Kristin Chenoweth is pretty amazing because it is light and airy while dealing with some pretty depressing ideals (i.e. she is betrothed to a random duke or other…). It’s a perfect mood lifter…Overall, I feel like this may have help me run a full gambit of emotions while not really thinking about it…while this may not seem healthy or logical to some people, music helps me move along in my mentality and to think through things…maybe you do the same thing and don’t even realize…

Crazy on You

leave a comment »

Heart has been one of my favorite bands for the longest time. I don’t know what it is but they have a unique blend that keeps me coming back every time. From Ann’s powerful, gravelly, rocktastic voice to Nancy’s guitar playing prowess and sweeter voice, I just love the combination. I’ve seen them live in concert and can say that they are amazing live. I hope to see them again soon, but who knows when that will be.

One of my favorite songs of theirs is one that many people know. It is “Crazy on You” which states my mental state at this point of time…I want to “go crazy” on a lot of people…The song is an existential dream…So, I leave you with a live version (the version of “Dreamboat Annie” is an extra). Enjoy!

Written by uncannynerdyguy

October 4, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Somethings that Make Me Tear Up Everytime

leave a comment »

So, I’ll be honest with you. I’m a person who is pretty dead when it comes to being emotional in front of people. Part of this may be due to my raising because in the south boys aren’t supposed to cry. Part of it may also because I am just a person who understands that there is a time and a place for emotions. For example, I don’t think that everyone should share the dirty laundry of their break up with people that they might at best consider acquaintances. It’s just a thing. Perhaps, I suffer alone without rhyme or reason. I don’t know. However, I will continue to do such because it’s ingrained in my nature now.

There are a couple of things that get me every time though. Both of them are musicals. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, music is the great emotional manipulator in my mind. Why? It mixes the strong emotions of the world with music.

 I am a sucker for music. It is a great love of mine. I love music from classical to contemporary because it hits on so many levels within my psyche. It manipulates me like no person will ever be able to. I am a wimp when it comes to musical manipulation or surprises (don’t get me started on this…the end of Atonement , a movie, and Next to Normal, a musical).

The main things that get me are musicals. It’s because of the music. It’s the one thing that will get me time after time. It breaks down all the barriers and makes me feel at ease before it shatters the barriers that I put up to contain my emotional baggage.

Recently, there have been two musicals that have done this to me. Next to Normal and Les Miserables cause me much grief as I listen to the beautiful heartache that is contained within the melodies and harmonies of each. They each have a great overarching story that makes me sad (what with a bipolar mother and the effects on the family and the French Revolution). However, each of them presents their sad tale in the form of a musical drama. This is the worst/best part for me. I love the music of each musical (matter-of-factly, N2N is brilliant across the board musically).

They set me at ease and then take me into the depths of despair. They each leave me with hope and allow me to face emotions that I would never think about pouring myself into. They make me think which is pretty phenomenal for anything that is supposed to be as superficial and candied as a musical. I find myself starting to get into the action and feel with the characters every time with these two musicals. Quite frankly, I suggest that if you haven’t heard/seen them that you do so as soon as possible because they are an experience not to be trifled with.

Lately

leave a comment »

In the past few seconds,

I know that I have not been

Who people expect me to be.

I am in constant transition

Between what is right

And what is gray area.

In this infinitesimal space

Of time and emotion that we

Call living.

Each of us strives

To dance to our own

Drumbeats.

Some of us, however,

Do not know that our drummer

Is dead…and a beat box of monotony awaits.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

April 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Posted in Poetry

Tagged with , , , , ,

The Sweeney Phantom Who Won’t Pay Last Years Rent in Chicago: Musical Movies

with one comment

Over the past ten years or so, many musical movies have come out to appeal to the general public, and while some of them are good, most of them have been lack luster at best. However, I’m not saying this about all of them because there have been a few that have stood head and shoulders about the rest. So, I’m going to discuss the good, the bad, and the “eh”.

The Bad:
The Phantom of the Opera–A broadway success that was finally brought to film by Joel Schumacher (very poorly I might add). While the costumes and things were grandiose, the leads were terrible. Christine (Emmy Rossum) and the Phantom (Gerard Butler) were just awful. Neither one of them could carry off the vocalization of the parts or the characters themselves. Most of the time Rossum looks like she is in a trance and has what my friends would call the “muffin face” which is the where her mouth is open (the majority of the movie) and a muffin could be placed in it. Also, they cut a whole verse of “The Phantom of the Opera” theme song because she couldn’t make the key change. It was too high for her. Butler is not much better…while his voice isn’t the worst in the world, he is nowhere near the quality of voice needed to play the Phantom. Why? It is because the Phantom has to be a tenor with an extremely large range…Butler is a smoker with a normal range…also, I suspect that he isn’t a tenor…he is a faux-tenor (a baritone masquerading as a tenor). Both of them are also pitiful when it comes to the emotions behind the show…but I will not get into that…and lip syncing ability (watch the movie their lip match is the worst).

The best part of this show to me is the supporting cast. With Minnie Driver (who did not sing the Carlotta songs…but did sing “Learn to Be Lonely” during the credits), Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, and others, they are the reason to watch…I recommend watching the ensemble pieces which are fairly okay…

The “Eh”

Sweeney Todd–A movie directed by Tim Burton and featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim. It contains dark music, and the tone of the movie accentuates this. However, the main two characters Todd and Mrs. Lovett played by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are not the caliber of singers needed for these roles. Broadway greats such as Len Cariou and Michael Cerveris and Angela Lansbury and Patti Lupone have played these characters too much success, but they have something which the movie main characters didn’t have. They have power. Depp and Carter do not…they come off as hollow shells of the original characters. Because of this, powers songs like “A Little Priest” and “My Friends” came off as wimpy.

Again, I will have to make allowances for the supporting cast. Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen, and the others all do a tremendous job of bringing the world of the demon barber to life.

The Good

Chicago and Rent are the two movies that I would say adapted well and kept the heart of the original. Why? Because for the most part they got Broadway caliber actors to perform the roles. Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Rapp, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, and a majority of the others have actually been on Broadway…OMG! Such a concept to have Broadway stars in MUSICAL Movies…They add so much to the overall sound and dynamic of the show.

They also don’t try to play the musicality of the movies too realistically. If you have watched either movie, they are pretty blatant about keeping the audience in the “you’re in a musical” loop. Now, don’t get me wrong; they don’t beat you over the head with it. However, they play with the idea of it being in a character’s head (Chicago) and the fact that all of them are artists living a very unrealistic disillusioned life(Rent). Why not have music?

They tie both the worlds of the realistic and the over-the-top world of musicals into a cohesive whole. They make no claims to be anything but what they are. I think if other musical based movies tried to follow suit that more of them wouldn’t get lost to the wayside and be considered to be crappy renditions of a once great show.

Gravity

leave a comment »

Turn tables are spinning out our destiny.

Each is measured against the drumbeats

Of our souls.

Perfect harmony cannot be created while

Our lives are compelled by such dissonant

Concussing.

We are strings vibrating in a dance of the bow.

We are each strum in time resonating

Thoughtfully.

Each twinkling of a hollow reed

Or Brazen coil’s cacophony of tones

That Ring.

Silence…a point when out song dies…

Each half-step slowly stumbling toward

Resolution.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

April 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm

The Phantom of the Opera

leave a comment »

Recently, I got the opportunity to go to New York City for the second time. While I was there, I got to watch several musicals (my whole reason for wanting to go…there’s nothing like watching a musical on Broadway). Of these several, I got to see The Phantom of the Opera (POTO) for the third time, and honestly, I can say that I enjoyed and felt like I was watching it for the first time because new actors bring nuances to characters that I might not have ever thought of before. However, with this being said, some other thoughts came to my mind after I enjoyed watching the show.

I’m sure some of you have heard of the sequel to POTO that just premiered in England and will be making its way to Broadway in the fall. I have heard the music and the plot and believe that Webber is making a tragic mistake in trying to write this particular musical. Love Never Dies is set in Coney Island, New York where the Phantom runs a freak show. He lures Christine to him…and then, all hell breaks loose….it’s an odd concept. Also, most of the songs are slow and musically boring for me. It lacks the pizzazz of the original…My thoughts about the whole thing are as follows.

1. With POTO being in the Majestic Theater for the past 23 years, I wonder if they are going to try to replace it with the sequel. I think that this would be sheer lunacy on their part because POTO has never had an unsold seat (as far as I know)…I was there the other day, and all the seats were filled to brimming with people of all nationalities and backgrounds. It still mystifies people even now.

2. Will the sequel be successful? I think in my own mind that it will have some success because it is tied to POTO, but I also believe that the success will be short lived. Listen to the cast recording, and you’ll understand. Their voices are nice; however, the songs themselves have no substance….I started listening for  “Masquerade” or “Point of No Return” and heard nothing that reminded me of any of POTO other than they used the same characters…

3. Will this musical have an effect on POTO? Is this musical going to cause POTO to lose its popularity? Or is there nothing out there that can make this happen?….Honestly, I don’t know about this one…it’s a toss up because people are fickle. If people were predictable, then, this question would be more answerable in my mind.

4. Is Andrew Lloyd Weber losing his touch? Since the 80’s, Webber has enjoyed limited success with his music….he has opened a few musicals (Woman in White, etc.) that haven’t done well at all…has he lost his touch? I think that it may be because he is trying to find something fresh and new for himself when he should stick to his 80’s power ballad style…