Music & More Music

November 8, 2010

“Make Love, Not War”… and that’s what they did.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennifer Chang @ 6:07 pm

T-Pain, Jamaican Mento, Disco and Funk

What an awesome ending to an awesome day of presentations.

Professor Herzog’s last segment in class was definitely a blast from the past.  I wished we watched the entire documentary.  I forgot what the event was called but it was definitely 110% better than the clips I’ve seen from Woodstock.  Also, thanks to Adrianne, Laura and Oscar for their presentations.  All of the presentations were informative and definitely gave us something different in class.  Adrianne’s passion for rap music, especially for T-Pain, showed from the examples she gave in class.  Her presentation got the entire class attention from old school Public Enemy (?), Notorious BIG, Jay Z to the new school T Pain sound and Nicki Minaj.  I know some of your heads were bumping and mimicking the lyrics.  Laura’s gave a detailed explanation of the disco era.  She even had an old vinyl record and gave a really cute example (thanks to her little brother).  I thought Oscar’s presentation was very interesting.  The type of dance he chose was sensual and provocative.  He definitely drew everyone’s attention with the description and from the clip he showed.  Do not try this at home, it’s a dance only a highly trained person can do.

The 1970’s were filled with drugs, love, peace AND war.  From what the hippies were celebrating (love and peace), war was still going on and fighting against political issues was on everyone’s agenda.  It’s funny to learn what people were trying to protest, they were still doing hard-core drugs, men raping women, fighting against the government and even sometimes killing one another.  Seems kind of backwards to me.  The music (disco, funk and old school rap) was not only a huge influence of “love and peace”, but also influenced acts of sex, drugs and fighting against the government.  Back then, that was the norm.  Imagine if we lived like that now.

My personal favorite segment was the video on the Carpenters.  The use of the barbie doll portrayed Karen Carpenter and her personal issues with her weight and fame.  The segment showed what the audience doesn’t see.  Unfortunately for a long time, Karen suffered with anorexia and depression, which eventually caught up with her and died from the side effects of the disease.  It’s sad to see that the messages of love these performers were trying to deliver, they themselves were suffering their own demons and sadness.

PS… Thanks for reading and posting responses on my page.

October 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennifer Chang @ 4:13 pm

Are cover songs, “covers” or are they “hijacked”.

In Michael Coyle’s article, Hijacked Hits and Antic Authenticity:  Cover Songs, Race, and Postwar Marketing, he explains (extensively) about the difference of “covers” and “hijacked” songs and also, where the idea came from.  This article is interesting because Coyle plays devil’s advocate when it comes to a cover song being either stolen or borrowed, whether if its the recording company’s way to earn more profit or whether it’s the artist to make a song “better,” and when and how covering/hijacking really happened.  So, here is the argument, are cover’s just a way to make another version of an original song or is it considered stealing? Is it a compliment when someone else uses another person’s work or is it wrong?  Is the music industry and the new generation of musicians and music artist trying to replace the OLD with the NEW?

Unfortunately, it’s a little bit of everything.  Certain covers that are hijacked are for own personal reasons, where the artist is trying to make a “better version” and the music industry to earn more profit from its sheet music.  Coyle’s article mentions that there were high sheet music sales in the 1930s before the Copyright Laws were established in the 1950s.  The main idea of these high sales even when individual companies were in competition, were to win the highest consumer interest.  Elvis Presley was known to cover songs

I am guilty of listening to covers and actually falling in love with the newer versions, maybe not all the time but I still do.  Here are some examples that are hard NOT to love.  (Sorry, posted my newly favorite songs of the week)

Boyce Avenue- Teenage Dream- Original from Katy Perry

Boyce Avenue: Teenage Dream

The Saturdays- Beggin’

The Saturdays- Beggin\’

The Long Road of Recording

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennifer Chang @ 4:07 pm

Millard, 285-295

Recording has come a long, long, long way.  Before the idea of recording, music and performances were remembered only by memory.  After the phonograph was invented, music and sound were unclear and difficult to hear but definitely one of the greatest inventions ever made.  In this chapter, Millard writes about the fundamental difference of record studios and sound stages, critical elements in determining how the music was recorded and how it sounded on playback and people who were huge influence in the music industry such as, Les Paul, Sam Phillips and Buddy Holly.

This chapter was extremely interesting because we get a better understanding how far recording has come and the people that helped influence it.  Take Les Paul for instance.  Personally, I am not a guitar player nor do I have any extended knowledge about the instrument but I know the first time I heard his name was in the movie Juno, 2007.  when Ellen Page admires and Jason Bigs Les Paul’s guitar.  Paul created a solid body electrified guitar which is now known to be one of the high end guitars sold on the market.

As for Sam Phillips, he was noted to discover one of the most influential musicians such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.  Phillips was also noted for combining different styles of music.  And lastly, what can we say about the young Buddy Holly.  Though he died at the young age of 22, Buddy Holly was known to be a pioneer of rock-n-roll.

Knowing the fundamentals of anything not only make a person more knowledgable but also, to find a deeper appreciation where everything started and how these people (and more) paved the ways for future musicians and artist.

October 4, 2010

Beyonce Knowles “If I Were a Boy” Featuring R. Kelly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennifer Chang @ 2:36 am

If I Were a Boy Featuring R. Kelly

Lead singer to the former group Destiny’s Child, known as an American pop and R&B singer and song writer, actress, fashion designer and how can we forget, married to one of the most influential rapper and businessman, Shawn Corey Carter, also known as Jay-Z.  What else can we say about Beyonce Knowles?  As lead singer and one of main members, Knowles started a new era of music with Destiny’s Child.  Because of her vocals, Destiny’s Child first album, The Writing’s on the Wall sold over eight million copies.  From there, she and the group continued to grow in exponential portions.  With Knowles amazing vocal skill, creative song writing and luminous personality, landed her six Grammy Awards, endorsed by multiple top brand companies such as Pepsi and Armani and listed as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Known as one of the Greatest Artist of All Time, Knowles produced yet another hit single, “If I Were a Boy”.  Though Knowles did not write the song, she co-produced with one of the writers and her voice made it into a top single in over seven different European countries and top five on the Billboard Hot 100.  Mostly written by BC Jean and co-written by Toby Gad, “If I Were a Boy” was the only track on “I Am… Sasha Fierce” that Knowles did not co-write.  There were also many different remix; I have chosen my favorite version which features another well-known R&B artist, R. Kelly. 

The song is set in a moderate tempo of about 90 beats per minute.  Beyonce Knowles starts the song acappella, “If I were a boy…” as the guitar and keyboard comes in.  She continues as the drums comes in on “Drink beer with the guys”, causing a stronger push and begins the song.  The intros starts low and a little slow even after the drums come in on the second verse until the first set of chorus begins.  The chorus begins “If I were a boy…”,which is sung slightly louder and with her vocals becoming more powerful and again on “I’d listen to her, Cause I know how it hurts, When you lose the one you wanted, cause he’s taking you for granted, And everything you had got destroyed”.  As the first set of chorus ends, R. Kelly’s verse begins, which starts similar to how the intro is sung, “If you were a boy”, which starts soft as the guitar and keyboard plays in the background and drums come in after, “ So I go to clubs with the guys…”.  The song continues which a similar beat and tones in every verse and chorus.  What is also interesting about this piece is that it has an R&B sound with a touch of a ballet. 

BC Jean, one of the song writers, was inspired from a break-up that she went through.  The song is about a female knowing she could do a better job in a relationship if she were the boyfriend.  Jean emphasizes that the boyfriend is unreasonable and treats the relationship casually without thinking about the girlfriend’s feelings.  And with R. Kelly’s version, it makes this song is no ordinary remix.  Obviously it was made after the original but it was made to sound like a duet which what make this remix interesting and addicting to listen to.  Another reason what makes this remix amazing, is the meaning of the lyrics and how it is made.  R. Kelly’s verses are made to sound like he is defending himself to Knowles verses. 

The song starts with the original intro,

If I were a boy

Even just for a day

I’d roll out of bed in the morning

And throw on what I wanted and go

 Knowles begins the song what a stereotypical guy would do, not caring what he would wear after getting out of bed. 

Drink beer with the guys

And chase after girls

I’d kick it with who I wanted

And I’d never get confronted for it

Cause they stick up for me

She continues that no matter whom the boyfriend is with or what he does, no one will say anything because his friends would defend whatever he is doing.  And then the chorus goes back to what she would really do if she were a boy.

 If I were a boy

I think I could understand

How it feels to love a girl

I swear I’d be a better man

I’d listen to her

Cause I know how it hurts

When you lose the one you wanted

Cause he’s taking you for granted

And everything you had got destroyed

 Rather than having a good time with random girls or going out with the guys, the singer is saying that she would be more understanding and would never take the relationship and the girlfriend for granted, if she were the boy.  R. Kelly’s verses begin as if he is the boyfriend and defends himself and his “wrong doings”.  Also, an interesting note that stands out in his first verse is his first line, “If you were a boy”, where we finally hear the transition of gender and his argument as the boyfriend. 

If you were a boy

The girl, you’d understand

You need to stop listening to your friends

Love, respect and trust your man

 So I go to clubs with the guys

And sometimes flirt with the girls

I should be able to roll out

As long as I’m coming home to you

And give you the world

An interesting part of the song is how where R. Kelly’s verses come in.  He gives a convincing argument in whatever typical boyfriend does.  No matter what the boyfriend doing, he will still always go home to the girlfriend and everything he does, is innocent and the girl should trust the boyfriend.   As the song continues there is a melody and almost like a conversation between the singers, Knowles goes back to sing what a stereotypical boyfriend would do and R. Kelly’s character would defend himself,

Knowles: I would turn off my phone

R. Kelly:  I wouldn’t pay games

Knowles:  Tell everyone it’s broken, so they’d think I was sleeping lone.

R. Kelly:  Girl you know that’s wrong

Finally, the song finishes with the original track with a few back-up vocals from R. Kelly.  The main idea that the writer and Knowles try to convey is that the boyfriend acts more casual in the relationship and the female go through an emotional stress because of it.  It is obvious that the song is about a man cheating on his girlfriend however the interesting twist of the song is written from the female point of view which makes the version more interesting because both Knowles and R. Kelly contradicts and defends both arguments.

September 26, 2010

Forgotten Appreciation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennifer Chang @ 9:13 am

9/20:  Millard 5-7

It’s funny how most of us stopped appreciating what we use and have on a daily basis.  iPods, cellular phones, flat screen high-definition televisions and even listening to the radio, just to name a few.  I, for one am guilty of this forgotten appreciation for techology until recently.  During the first day of Ms. Amy Herzog’s class when she played the first recording of Thomas Edison’s voice, it opened my eyes how much the world changed and how much of an influence he was.  I know, “Jen Chang is an idiot”, but in all honesty, listening to his voice was amazing.  Because of his ideas, we are fortunate enough to get a taste to the past where it all started and to the future where it will probably never stop improving itself.

Andre Millard also says this in his text, “The growth of the technology of recorded sound and the business enterprise based upon it exceeded even Edison’s grandiose plans for the phonograph.”  From the phonograph, the innovation created new ideas, new machines and new systems of recording and with these new creations, big companies such as RCA, General Electric and Sony were borned.  Millard also mentions with the history of recorded sound also started the history of motion pictures, which started the collaboration of ideas with film makers and record companies.  Again, what the phonograph started was a whole new era that Edison probably never imagined it would turn out to be.

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