Sweet Soundz: Music News


It’s August, and nothing says summertime like baseball.  Or,  more specifically, Red Sox baseball.  So how about getting to take in a Red Sox game in the summertime – for free!

Yes, I’m giving away a PAIR of tickets to see the BOSTON RED SOX on Monday, September 6th at 7:10 pm against the Tampa Bay Rays at the historic FENWAY PARK in BOSTON!!!  If you’ve never seen a game at Fenway Park, it’s truly remarkable.  I grew up a Mets fan, and loved taking in games at (the old) Shea Stadium, but seeing a game at Fenway Park….you can just feel the history there.  Plus – the tickets are absolutely free!

The game is during Labor Day weekend.  I hate Labor Day because it marks the unofficial end of summer, but I love Labor Day because of all the “top songs of the summer” countdowns.  There’s nothing like hearing a song and instantly being brought back to happy memories of the summer.

HERE’S HOW THE CONTEST WORKS:
In the comments section below, list your favorite song of the summer of 2010, both artist and title.  I want to know: when the Labor Day countdowns start in a few weeks, what tune will you be happiest to hear?

RULES:
1. You can only enter ONCE – so make it count!
2. HOWEVER, you can get a bonus entry for including a summer memory linked to that song in your comment.
Example:
“My favorite song of the summer of 2010 is Gyptian’s ‘Hold Yuh.'” =
1 entry
“It’s my favorite because I first heard it on our honeymoon in Jamaica in late May, and when I’m driving home from the gym on a warm summer evening with the windows down and I hear the song on the radio, I’m instantly reminded of the fun memories of our honeymoon” =
Bonus entry
3. Please include your email in your entry.  It won’t appear in the comment – but I need it to contact you if you’re the winner!

Post your entries by 9 pm EST on TUESDAY, AUGUST 24th.  One winner will be picked at random and announced on Wednesday, August 25th.

Good luck!

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Yesterday I added to my ongoing collection of CDs-to-replace-my-old-favorite-well-worn-cassettes.  I picked up a copy of TLC’s “Ooooh … on the TLC Tip” at Newbury Comics in downtown Boston.  This was an album that helped shape and form my early, early teens, and it kicked off my appreciation for female musicians with attitude & early 90s hip-hop.  Did you know that the album came out 18 (!) years ago?!  Man, does music change. 

 There’s been SO much coverage of 2009 reflections and looking back at the 00’s (or the naughts, or the decade of Y2K…).  And there’s been a lot of coverage of music and the music industry over the past few 10 years, which I love.  So I wanted to share some of the recent cool stories I’ve seen – enjoy!

If the 2000’s could sing:
“I don’t know where I’m goin’
Now that I am gone
I hope the wind that’s blowin’
Helps me carry on
Turn on your radio, baby
Listen to my song….
Turn on your record player
Listen to my song
Turn on your night light baby
Baby I’m gone…”

-Harry Nilsson, “Turn On Your Radio”

I can’t believe the 2000’s are almost over.  Remember the “panic” of Y2K?  Seems like ages ago … and eerily, it was!

New Year’s Eve 1999 was 10 years ago.  I was trying to think back to where I was then:

I was in the middle of my freshman year of college.  Didn’t know where I was headed after graduation, but I think at the time was gearing up for a career in radio (I was a Communications major).  We had a big group party at my friend Felix’s house on Long Island.

It was a blast.  We played a board game version of Family Feud and lots of rounds of Twister.  We met Sterling, thanks to Jen Ro.  Kate and Pakalika at one point donned a witch wig found in Felix’s house and sang to a song from Rocky Horror Picture Show.  At one point I climbed out the first floor guest room window and dashed out into the snow to dance around with my friends and demand piggybacks (I was in a funny stage).

I remember waking up on January 1, 2000 still in my black poufy Jessica McClintock prom skirt I was wearing the night before (after prom, I insisted on getting my money’s worth and wearing it to every New Year’s party for a couple of years).  I still had some tinsel and glitter in my hair, and someone had written “Hi Mem” on my arm (thanks Kate, I think it was you…).

And I remember thinking, now what?

I was in such a different place than I am now.  Ten years ago I wasn’t in a relationship, still called Long Island my hometown, and felt like I had thousands of years ahead of me until I became an adult.

Now fast forward ten years.  I won’t even begin to go into the many changes since New Year’s 1999, but I can tell you that had you told me ten years ago (heck, even five years ago!) that I’d be where I am now, I would’ve laughed at you. 

But I’m here.

And I love it.

2010 starts off with me loving my PR job in Boston and only five months shy of my wedding to the most amazing guy.  2010 kicks off the beginning of our life together, a whole new chapter in my life that will lead to even more wonderful chapters – our first house together, kids, etc …

When I look back at the 2000’s, I see a lot of happy times.  But I see a lot of sad times, too.  I see a lot of lonely times, and frustrating times.  I went through a lot of guy hell through the 2000’s.  And it’s finally time to close that chapter on my life for good.  I’ve found happiness, and I’m not looking back.

Billboard recently released the top one hit wonders of the past decade.  It made me start to think about what song I would use to sum up the 2000’s for me.  But I can’t.  There’s too many songs that might fit.

However, I feel like this song is a good indicator of where I am now.  See ya later, 2000’s – I’m ready for the next step. 🙂

Random notes for the evening:

  • I got a fantastic email from Rachel Platten last night thanking me for a review of a show I saw her perform at in April with Lucy Woodward and Toby Lightman.  Awesome.  It reminded me how much I miss going to shows (at one point I was seeing 1 – 2 concerts a week!).  And how cool musicians who appreciate fans are.  Time to tap the new music again, soon.  And thank you Rachel and Toby for seeking me out. =)
  • Also, Rachel is playing tomorrow night around 9/9:30 at Cafe 939 on Boylston in Boston.  You should go.  Seriously.
  • Glee, I love ya.  But I feel like next week’s season finale (Wednesday at 9 p.m. on FOX) is going to leave us all hanging and leave me very, very mad because of it.  Also, please stop focusing on one storyline and then pretending it never happened for 6 weeks until you decide to focus on it again.  It’s breaking up the character consistency.
  • I wish we could leave Tiger Woods alone.  But we won’t.  We have a vicious cycle when it comes to the nature of celebrity.  It’s like that couple that crashed the White House party or Bubble Boy or even the Gosselins.  We don’t want to give them their 15 minutes but we can’t help it and so we talk about the time about how we hate talking about them and about how they’re all media ho’s … but then by talking about them, we’ve now granted them their wish.  D’oh.
  • Also sending love out to The Soup on E!, Bones on FOX, and Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. 
  • Have you seen the wedding blog yet?  http://markandmem.wordpress.com.  Just checking. 🙂
  • Is it just me, or is everyone having trouble with maintaining personal space lately?  On the train, multiple times at the gym, walking to South Station…
  • Grammy nominees announced tonight!
  • Also tonight: the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center.  I’ve already decorated the house for the holidays (and even received 2 Christmas cards!).  I’m really ready for the season this year.
  • While I love you, too, social networks, sometimes nothing fixes a bad mood better than a nice conversation with an old friend.

Holidays are almost here.  What’s on your wish list this year?

From the movie "Holiday Inn" - *love* that film!

Today was Michael Jackson’s funeral service. I had it on in the background during the day at the office (through CNN.com/Facebook, the next generation in monumental event live-viewing).

I wanted to watch because I felt like this was my generation’s Elvis or Marilyn . . . and what amazes me more than anything is the bond people are forming over the music.  Not over the scandals, the weird news stories about him over the past ten years, or the court allegations.  Yes, they are all valid and should be noted.  However, the most amazing thing that is lasting over everything else is the music.  And it’s incredible to watch how something as simple as music can bring people together.

Tonight, at my Zumba class at the gym, the instructor ended the class with an MJ tribute.  She put on “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and instructed us all to move closer together.  Then, she led us in a simple routine to the classic dance song.  At first, there were a few smiles, grins, people slowly getting into it.  But by the end, there were wide grins, cheers, hoots, hollers, arms waving in the air, and people squealing and singing.

Here was a group of 50 women or so, of all races, colors, creeds, ages, and sizes, who normally don’t even make much room for each other during class, much less talk.  However, with this one song on such a monumental day, we were brought together into a group of women who just loved letting loose to some great music.

I know, it sounds cheesy and silly.  But honestly, even after watching the 2 hour ceremony today, even after hearing Michael’s choked up daughter speak about her father, the whole thing didn’t hit me until that class.  I was near tears watching the power of the song as it came over the group, and thinking about how much I treasured Michael when I was 3, 5, 7 and 12, but haven’t really appreciated him much as of late.

So I want to get back into his music, as cheesy and clichéd as that is to do now.  Because he is-was-an incredible dancer, singer and musician, and I don’t want to forget that.  I want my kids to know about it, and their kids.

As Rihanna sings in her classic song that samples one of Michael’s,
“Please don’t stop the music.”

[Or as my 2-year-old squeaky voiced self used to say, “Biwee Jean, snap my luhv, Biwee Jean, snap my luhv…can you heahw it?”]

I’m currently rocking out to “Say Say Say.” 

What Michael Jackson song are you currently digging?

Looking for ideas for your 4th of July party playlist this year? Here are some ideas, in no particular order, that will keep the party going long after the fireworks quiet down:

  • John Mellencamp – “R.O.C.K. in the USA”
  • Counting Crows – “American Girls”
  • Mat Kearney – “Girl America” (great late night summer song)
  • Live – “Merica”
  • Matt Willis – “Sound of America”
  • The Soup Dragons – “I’m Free”
  • Better Than Ezra – “American Dream”
  • James Brown – “Living in America”
  • David Bowie – “Young Americans”
  • Razorlight – “America” (another chill summer evening tune)
  • Phil Vassar – “American Child”
  • George Michael – “Freedom”
  • Elton John – “Philadelphia Freedom”
  • Madonna – “American Life”
  • Andrews Sisters – “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
  • Tom Petty – “American Girl”
  • Supertramp – “Breakfast in America”
  • Bree Sharp – “America”

*Note – although some of these songs are not about America per se, or might even be slightly derogatory, they’re still great for a patriotic party!!

What songs am I missing?  Post your suggestions, too!

Have a great 4th of July!

(I so want these shoes!)

Okay, I have a big secret to share.

You know how everyone has that one longtime dream, that goal to be something that they know will never happen but always love to daydream about coming true?  For some, they want to be President, act in a movie, or fly a plane.  Me?

I want to be a back-up dancer and go on tour with a big pop star like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or Janet Jackson.

Sounds silly, right?  It makes sense, though, especially if you know me.  First, I absolutely LOVE music.  It is my life.  I live, eat, breathe music.  I crave music.  One of my biggest fears is going deaf.  To never hear music again would be devestation.  So naturally, my not-so-secret-anymore dream would involve music, somehow.

Second, I love dancing.  I am not very good at it.  I’m okay, and I’m pretty good at remembering routines and steps (like the fact that I still remember the steps for the dances we used to choreograph at the camp I worked at in my teens).  But I adore dancing, and my belief is, even if you’re not good at something, if you can demonstrate uninhibited love and joy with whatever you are doing, then people will still want to watch you do it and your enjoyment will be contagious.

Also, I’m a Leo.  I love attention.  I love being on stage and performing.  So that one’s an easy guess.  Of course I would find thrill in having hundreds of people watching me.

Finally, I’ve always had dance in my life in some funny, odd little way:

  • I took ballet for the first few years of my life.
  • When I was 8, I used to sit in my room and sketch out choreography routines to INXS and Elvis Costello songs in my journal.  I would draw the stage and use stick figures and numbered instructions to show the moves, all the while acting them out myself to make sure they looked awesome.
  • In elementary school there were always opportunities to make a fool of yourself during class shows and recitals.  Guess who always volunteered…hence why there exist photos of me dancing around with props to 50s songs in 4th (and 5th!) grade, or performing “Cherish” in a denim mini skirt in 5th grade.
  • At sleepovers with one of my groups of friends when I was 10, we used to assign each song from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack to every one of us.  Then we had to go and choreograph a routine and perform it for everyone else.  I used to look forward to those dances way more than Truth or Dare.
  • My pen pal Claire came to visit from England when we were 13, and most of the trip was spent choreographing dances we went public with in my front lawn (Annie Lennox songs) or in secret when we were supposed to be asleep at night (Whigfield and Shampoo).
  • My friend Emma and I loved performing when we were little, so much so that we used to create dances to popular Disney songs and act them out for our parents (so happy to see she is now an accomplished actress and singer!).
  • I have hours and hours and hours of footage of music videos I used to create.  Most of them involved getting dressed up and dancing and singing in front of the screen … so if Gwen Stefani ever needed a stunt double, I’m your gal.
  • In 2003 I discovered Jazzercise, which combines dance and aerobics.  During class, to stay focused and push myself, I would imagine I was on stage.  No wonder I later started training to become an instructor.  And now, even in my other favorite classes like Hip Hop Abs at the gym, I still pretend to be on stage dancing for an audience.

So why am I sharing this?  Maybe to just get it off my chest.  Maybe to help explain why I sometimes look like I’m staring off into space when I’m commuting with my iPod on (I’m mapping out the routine in my head).  Maybe it’s to help explain why a choreographed routine may suddenly appear next year at the rehearsal dinner or during the wedding itself…

But maybe it’s also to make you think about your own private little dream.  Even though it may never become a reality, when you really reflect on what it may be, it’s interesting to see how it’s always been a part of your life in some way.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to be an Olympic skier and you spent your childhood on the slopes and used to host Winter Olympics viewing parties with your friends.

I think these dreams are so important because even if we never achieve them, they help form our character, our values, and help define what is important to us.  They create hobbies, carve out social groups, maybe even get us a job in the same field or industry as our goal.  Or they become a reality after a mid-life crisis or a layoff when we just go, “You know what?  F-it!  I’ve always wanted to travel only by train across the US for a year, and now I can do it!”

My big advice here?  Figure out what your secret goal is, and never let it go.  When the chips are down, you’re feeling low, and there doesn’t look like anywhere to go but down, conjure up this little goal and guaranteed, it will make you smile.

On a side note, what’s interesting is how I never want to be the star…but rather in the ensemble, in the supporting role.  Maybe I’m not ready for my closeup just yet.  Maybe I like the idea of being a part of a group rather than being on my own.

So you think you can dance?  I think I will.

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