Fresh(ish) Bop Friday 10/20/17

Uhhhhh

I heard somewhere, “If you wait until you feel like writing, you’ll never start.” So here were are. Yes, I skipped a week (again). Yes, this has seemingly turned into exclusively a music blog (I’m sorry, that will change…but not today, it’s Friday. Duh.) 


So last week was cool and this week is kind of light so this worked out a bit. Still this post will be kind of light because I’m exhausted.  

Lies. This turned into a long thing.

Image result for dancing gif

Taylor Swift-Gorgeous

My expectations of Taylor are kind of gone and I’m just waiting for the full album before I care anymore. “Gorgeous”, Swift’s newest single, is totally fine. The instrumental kind of reminds me of video game music in its whimsical synths and almost 8 bit-like drums. It doesn’t suck so that’s good. At this point I’m just glad that the last two singles weren’t anywhere as bad as “Look What You Made Me Do” *barf*.

Future, Young Thug-Super Slimey

I’m like halfway through this but I don’t feel like much will change as I progress through the project. This takes me back to early 2017 with its fully trap fill beats with Future and Young Thug spitting over top. It definitely knocks but has that odd emotional touch that both rappers bring to their music along with the women, money, drug stuff. Maybe since the middle of the year when I dove into pop music I have kept up with hip hop less but this almost feels dated? It’s perfect to have on while you write (heh) or process paperwork at work. Meh.

Christian Scott and Jessie Ware

These two artists are so good. I’m combining them because I haven’t listened to their albums YET but I will. I’m sure they will both be great.

Christian Scott is a young trumpet player whose roots in jazz and makes his music soar through genres such as R&B, rock, and obviously jazz. He plays with so much heart; you can feel it when he plays. His last project was incredible and at times it felt like he deferred the melodic load to other instruments. It’s so much more than just a trumpet album, it is an full fledged project that happens to led by trumpet. I expect The Emancipation Procrastination to be no different. Oh and this dude has released three albums already this year………

Everything about Jessie Ware is beautiful. She just seems like the nicest woman ever. I listened to her first album Devotion a ton when it came out and kind of fell in love with her pure voice. Her smooth contemporary R&B/pop sound is just so delicious and warm. I knew this project was coming out but somehow completely forgot that it was today. I just listened to the first song on Glassdoor and it’s absolutely wonderful. Randomly, I had a though like “Oooh if Demi was like way more mature, this could fit at the end of her last album”. Really looking forward to this one. Just looked her up and found out she’s married so my life no long has meaning.

Stuff from last week

I did this to myself but I did want to touch on a few projects that came out last week that really deserve to be talked about.

Gucci Mane-Mr. Davis

Honestly, this is the first Gucci album I’ve listened to the whole way through. Currently, Gucci features on one of my current favorite songs and he’s also kind of just winning at life. Mr. Davis clocks in a hair over an hour and you can tell. Like I know we’ve been waiting for this full length for awhile but near the end it felt like rehashed topics and beats. The feature list on this album is great though. It was good but I can’t see myself coming back to it over and over again.

Beck-Colors

Man, I don’t know anything about Beck. My knowledge of him goes as far as “Oh he’s the dude that one Album of the Year over Beyonce that one year.” Anyway, I try not to be ignorant so when I saw that Colors had dropped last week, I figured I would give it a chance. What the fuck? It’s so good! The first song is such a well produced uptempo pop/rock masterpiece. A healthy amount of pan flute, claps, and drums set a perfect stage for Beck’s vocal performance complete with many additional vocal parts. It’s a great way to start an album. From there it doesn’t really stop in its excellent production even if some of the ideas aren’t the most interesting. The song “Wow” is a little weird but I kinda dig it. Anyway this was a surprise and now I have to go back and peep the catalog.

St. Vincent-MASSEDUCTION

So…like…I love St. Vincent. It’s a big deal when my dad is like, “Justin, you gotta check this girl out.” I remember watching her perform on Austin City Limits all those years ago and falling in love with this weird, pale, guitar shredding woman. Her music is all the eccentricity and brilliance that I was pretentious about back in like 2010. So she has a great deal of great credit with me that will allow her to slip up every once in awhile and remain absolutely adored by myself. I thought MASSEDUCTION was her about to dip into that reserve when I heard some of the singles. She’d seemingly all but abandoned the indie rock, damn near orchestral turns of her early work and replaced it with sharp synths. To her credit, it was all still working and I loved it. I neeeeed artists that I love to show growth and innovation but maybe we were about to go a step too far. The result is yeah, she went there but I still liked it. It is synth heavy and programmed drums all day. She still creates interesting melodies and rhythms but the instrumentation has changed. It’s still weird and still undeniably St. Vincent. That being said it is not even close to my favorite of her work. After I got over the initial shock of the albums differentness (that is definitely not a word) I still found it quite enjoyable.

 

Ok that’s enough. There was a TON of good stuff that came out last week and today so go try to listen to it. I will be going back to listen to Glassdoor because the first couple songs kinda won’t let me go.

 

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GUNS

I swear yall, this is not a political blog. It’s just been a crazy couple weeks. 


There is no denying that there are problems in our country. People will admit things are wrong but will shift the blame to make themselves feel better. I want to talk about this Vegas situation and the returning argument about gun control. We know what happened, I’m not going to rehash the situation. People are saying that America has a gun issue. “What’s the purpose of a civilian owning a machine gun?” and “There needs to be a stricter process for people trying to obtain guns.” While others posit, “Should I be punished for the actions of a few? I’m not crazy.” and the ever present “Guns don’t kill, people kill,” statement. I don’t know where I fall in this argument but I’m going to work out my thoughts.

Paris Las Vegas was dimmed to honor victims. 

The other week I defended the kneeling in the NFL not only because I believe in Kaepernick’s original cause but because the country players live in allows them to do so. So how does that freedom of choice relate to the next highest constitutional right? Sure the law was written hundreds of years ago but it still exists despite its glaring issues. One of its many problems is the context around when it was written compared to the modern era. The primary purpose of a firearm should be for protection of one’s property and to a lesser degree, sport. Obviously that has not been the case as guns have been the center of tons of unnecessary deaths. So just have the government take the guns away. Simple?

Nope.

The much bigger problem is that the United States has a mental health problem. No normal person goes on an “unmotivated” killing spree. People don’t up and kill themselves to the surprise of friends and family. Aside: I REALLY  REALLY REALLY REALLY hate how it is seemingly glorified now to have some sort of mental issue. Like sure, you went through something traumatic or whatever the case may be but you shouldn’t let that define you or project that as your defining trait. Get the help you need and try to be the best person you can be. End Rant. Now yes, that is easier said than done especially with the history of oppression mental health has faced in this country but strides have been made to alleviate that stigma. It’s not enough though and I don’t know when it will ever be enough. How can you even start to help people that 1. don’t know they are sick 2. are afraid to get help. Then one day you get pissed and they kill a bunch of people. How do you prevent that? Justin, we already said it. Take away the guns or reform the gun laws.

But what will that solve? People won’t have access to semi-automatic weapons but a majority of the gun crime is from handheld guns. Oh, I don’t have a gun check out this bomb I made from household products. Also, do we really trust the government to be able to stop themselves from taking over everything. Let’s bring back prohibition to stop DUI related deaths. Let’s ban the internet to stop porn from ruining our minds. These are super extreme examples but there are people out there that wholly believe that the loss of our guns is the beginning of the death of our freedom…

So this brings us back to the mental health issue. What’s the solution? More money in programs that help those in need, research that looks for earlier signs of problems. Some how getting rid of the fear of the stigma or admitting one has problem and a willingness to go get help–which I see as the biggest hurdle. This is valiant and important work but all of this will take a great deal of time.

So while we tackle the much more difficult people problem, we can more “immediately” (would still take mad long) reform gun laws. I don’t hate guns. I’ve never shot one and I actually really want to. I have no problem with hunting and Olympic events. Guns are relied on a great deal in action movies and you’re not going to stop watching them. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to keep having tragedies like Las Vegas. Crazy people don’t need guns to hurt people but that doesn’t mean we should give them out like candy while we work on a better solution that appeases everyone.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Deny

Bend the Knee

Ugh…I hate everything


It’s naive to think we could just all get along. The issue is that when things were less divisive the problems in the country just got ignored by the majority. Now that we have a tactless and sensitive president these issues are being brought to the forefront. People are now emboldened to be just as crazy as they want to be. Now, I did not want Trump to be president. I didn’t vote for him BUT I had a sliver of hope that his presumably and shockingly bad political turn could bring the country together.

NOPE

I was right that it would be shockingly bad but clearly had too much faith in our country.

So this past week, Trump stated “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired.'” Unsurprisingly this was met with cheers from the crowd in *sigh* Alabama. Now compare this to his statements concerning Charlottesville, “You have people who are very fine people on both sides.” So you mean to tell me that people doing this should be given a chance to prove they are good people but this is flat out unacceptable to the point where you (THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES) are insulting them? Got it.

This past weekend we saw similar protests around the league but for a very different reason than what Colin Kaepernick originally sat/kneeled for. Kaepernick did it to protest the inequality of people of color in this country. His words, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The murdering of black people was a hot topic last year and as obvious a problem as any. This was Colin’s way of bringing attention to an issue that he felt strongly about. It worked by garnering attention but the conversation quickly shifted to the method of protest and not the reasoning behind it.

I saw a ton of tweets and Facebook posts of people up in arms about the protests. “Kneeling is disrespectful to the flag, this country and the men who died for your freedom,” they said.

Huh.

Let’s define freedom:

noun

  1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

Perfect! Right? Apparently not.

Freedom of speech is a much more complex definition but at the core it states that one has the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint. Obviously that has its limitation but it is the highest protected constitutional right that we should not take for granted. Included in such freedoms is the right to speak out about the United States and its very real faults. We are free to fight for change with the same vigor that people fight to keep their guns. This means the military fights for those freedoms, not for personal glory. At some point (probs WW2) a great deal of people figured the flag represented the armed forces and not the ideals they were supposedly fighting for; ideals that should be extended to every person in this nation. It would be absurd to think that instead of fighting for the freedom of choice people were instead fighting for blind loyalty.

Tangent: Pretending the USA is a perfect nation that has only recently lost its way is hubris and ignorance. This country has always had social problems, we just weren’t connected with the entire world like we are now with the advent of the internet and rise of social media. Also, the generations before us were raised to think that everyone should glorify the military because they fought to protect the freedoms we hold dear in admittedly important wars. Now everyone has a voice, everyone has a camera. Injustices can be posted and go viral in a heartbeat. Dissenting opinions also gain a following and make their voices heard. In a perfect world this would be great, people could discuss their differences in opinion in a respectful manner with people they would have never met. The world isn’t even close to perfect so that does not happen. People get dragged and there is not even a chance of meaningful discourse before it turns to insults and memery. 

If vets think it is disrespectful to kneel then they are clearly unaware of the mission of the armed forces of this country. I don’t support the human troops themselves, I support the cause they fight for even if they don’t realize it themselves. People can join the military for a multitude of reasons whether it be financial, honest patriotism, or just because they want to shoot a gun. In the end they are fighting for the people of this country and I have the utmost respect for someone who will lay down their life to protect those basic human rights. You signed up for that, I don’t mind if you stand. You’re fighting to protect my right to rage at the president. It’s not about you, soldier, it’s about all of us. It’s a huge deal…just peep the budget.

But if all the people in this great nation aren’t being treated equally, then what is being protected? The status quo. Comfort. Privilege has made people so stuck in their ways that anything they deem wrong is an abomination and unpatriotic. These protests are really rubbing people the wrong way, which is hypocritical of the kneel dissenters.

The right loves to say that the PC culture of the left is making everyone soft and to a point, I agree. People hunt and thrive on finding something to be offended about to the point where I wonder, “Can you enjoy anything at all?” Which the answer is yes because they are hypocrites; I saw you singing that Chris Brown (who beats women) song last week. The funny thing is that now those same people are SO BUTT HURT about this kneeling situation. They threaten to boycott the NFL and boo those athletes at football games. Hilariously, when Steelers’ player Alejandro Villanueva took to the tunnel to stand for the anthem, his jerseys sold out. YOU’RE STILL SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS YOU SWORE TO BOYCOTT BY GIVING THEM MONEY.

All I’m saying is tell me what would you prefer athletes to do? Would you rather people start killing those deemed white supremacists? What if all the black athletes just stopped playing their respective sports? I don’t have the answers but I fully support those that kneel because they live in a country where that is their right. Telling black athletes to just stick to sports is just as bad (racist) because now they are just entertainment and money making entities. Athletes become heroes to millions and if they shouldn’t use their influence to drive a positive change then you are reducing them to temporary slaves. Well paid, yes. Possibly disconnected, definitely. At least they are doing something that is seen by millions of people. When was the last time you did ANYTHING that affected that amount of people? Go Google what Colin Kaepernick or Lebron James are doing for the upcoming generation. I honestly don’t care about the motivation behind it but the resources being poured into helping communities are tangible.

Look, I love the national anthem (the actual song) and I recognize the great opportunities that have been afforded me by living here. I will not act like all people are treated equally in this country. These protests are peaceful, not hurting anyone (save people’s feelings) and alerting others that there are people out there that think there is a problem. Whether it creates change or not is yet to be seen because the focus has changed.

If anything, it is more patriotic to draw attention to these concerns because fixing them would actually make America great for once. Kneel or stand because that choice is the most American thing one can do.

Finite

You just gotta get to the end of the day. The hours you work are a finite amount of time. You plop into your chair at 7:54 and smack the spacebar. Your computer whirs to life from its nightly nap and you start retrieving all the work that came in. Open all the necessary programs with the stacks of paper neatly organized in three piles around you. Browse Spotify before settling on your carefully curated playlist.

8:09

Stamp. Staple. Record. Distribute. Fingers flying across the keyboard while Disclosure thumps in your headphones.

Stamp. Staple. Record. Distribute.

9:17

Finished the overnight work. Now wait for new stuff to trickle in. Answer calls. Reddit, WordPress, YouTube. Off-season NBA posts, Word of the day is cotton, trending video is a Jimmy Fallon clips. Wait for specific company to send me a buttload of stuff at once.

11:00

Handle late morning rush. One hour until lunch. Perusing new tab of r/AskReddit tryharding for karma. Watch CinemaSins episodes.

12:00

Lunch time. There’s a finite amount of time and money; those limits are small. 4.5 hours until you get to go home. Salad, ranch dressing, no crutons. Water. $4. Eating at desk and getting annoyed every time the phone rings when you’re mid chew. Sure you could eat elsewhere but this is where the computer is and you can essentially take a break for as long as you want….

1:00

3.5 hours left. Take care of lunch build up and post lunch rush.

2:30

Daily poop. Tinder on the toilet. Grab the mail. Back to desk to slowly finish out the day.

4:30

Gone. 8.5 hours at work everyday. A finite time strictly adhered to by you. Work stays at work and no need to stay overtime. This block of the day is spent at this location while the rest of the time is up to you.

Just make sure this finite state isn’t infinite.

 

via Daily Prompt: Finite

Rhymes with Critical. Bad Bars

I really can’t write poetry or rap but ya know…here we are


You know what rhymes with critical?

Elliptical

Come running through your house with both arms like an elliptical

Physical

I pull up to the sleepover faster than greased lighting,

Got ya girl singing before and after the race, that’s typical

Big tits, thick thighs, hair kinda sandy,

Call her Olivia Newton-John cuz she begging to get physical.

Biblical

I swear my punch game is mystical.

Right hand up to God and the left will be biblical.

(ok this one was truly awful, I apologize)

Critical

Stop talking about action and do something visible.

Despite what the media wants, you’re definitely not a criminal.

Ignore the stupid haters, yes it may be difficult.

You achieving your goals? Nope, it’s not mythical.

And when you start to err, there will be someone that’ll care

To right that sinking ship because, for you, it’s mission critical.

 

 

This maybe my best work yet

 

via Daily Prompt: Critical

Memorize

Buckle up nerds, we got a long one


Do you remember when you memorized the alphabet? Or your mom’s phone number? Think of all the stuff you’ve permanently stored in your brain. Now think of all the stuff you would know if you remembered everything you learned. If I reflect back on all the things that I’ve memorized at some point and the time taken to do such a thing, it’s daunting…but also telling of how much time I wasted. I want to talk about several things that I will remember forever and their importance to my life thus far. This might get long so apologies in advanced.

First up, the beatings or spankings we got as kids. If you haven’t gathered, I am black and was raised in church. The Bible says “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” and my parents believed in punishing us when we did something wrong. There are two situations in particular that I will never forget. In our old house we had this deep fryer that sat on the counter. It was full of oil one day and one of us knocked it over onto the kitchen floor. Instead of us telling our parents, my brothers and I SKATED IN THE OIL WITH OUR SHOES ON. When our parents found out…they. wore. us. out. We deserved it, that’s ridiculous.

The second was when we were a bit older at our current house. We had borrowed a CD from someone and when our parents got home, it was broken. The only reason this was a big deal is because we were given explicit instructions to be careful. So parents get home, CD is broken. “Alright, who did it?” We all vehemently deny it. At this point the issue was less the broken CD but the fact that SOMEBODY was lying so boldly. So obviously, we all had to get it. Fair enough. What happened will go down as one of my proudest moments as a child. So like, I knew I didn’t do it. I was NOT about to get a beatin’ for either of my brothers.  I was pissed and said something like, “Well, I didn’t do it and I’m not getting beat for it.” Then walked away. Anybody with parents that value respect knows that I could’ve died right there. Later I found out that my dad, executioner at the time, was so surprised by my conviction and boldness that he concluded that I didn’t do it and let me leave. I hated getting beatings but my parents were very fair and we probably deserved everyone we got. I’ve memorized so many of those moments and learned that if I don’t act crazy, then I’ll be fine.

So the next huge amount of information that I have memorized is everything concerned with League of Legends. This game pretty much took over my life at the age of 18. I played so much and I still suck but I’ve memorized soooooooo much about the game. Names of champions, builds, strategies, mechanics, game history, the pro scene from its inception. Nearly eight years of consuming information. THAT’S NEARLY A THIRD OF MY LIFE. It actually makes no sense that I’m this bad at the game but whatever. Will all of this information help at any other point of my life? Probably not but it happened. I can only imagine what my life would be like if I had replaced that brain space and time with anything else.

Something that many of people never forget is their first time having sex.  Mine was interesting.  First of, there was a time in college that I was H A M M E R E D and almost/maybe did have sex with a friend of mines sister. I don’t think I could get it up but I don’t know, I’m not counting it. The first actual time was at a friend of mine’s wedding. Not at the ceremony but the hotel after the reception. It was Memorial Day weekend and I was in peak physical condition. I remember seeing this black girl sit in front of us at the wedding thinking 1. She’s definitely sitting on the wrong side because the bride’s people are on the other side and 2. She is stunning. Anyway, wedding is done and we travel to the other side of the world to the reception. She’s sitting nearby but ya know whatever I suck with girls. The newlyweds have a cute book for people to sign and decorate. Her and I get up to this thing at the same time and I make a quick joke about letting her go first. Get a smile and continue on. Food is being served buffet style, smiles exchanged again. Dancing starts (YO IF YOU DON’T DANCE AT A WEDDING I DON’T WANNA BE YOUR FRIEND) and she comes up and we start dancing together. She then whispers, “Are you coming to the hotel party afterward? I wanna fuck you.” I’m in shock but manage to say yes. “I’ll be in Room whatever(I don’t remember)” Fun time are had, things are winding down, people are heading over to the hotel and I ask my boy for a condom, he comes through. We are having fun at the party but I don’t see her. Fine, that was weird anyway. Out of nowhere she comes in, grabs me and leads me to her room. I remember that I’m wearing a brown wife beater (smh) because I was worried about losing any piece of clothing in this hotel as clothes start flying. We have sex, it was fine. She stops at some point and runs to the bathroom. She kicks me out because she wasn’t feeling well but makes me promise to text her the next day (LOL). I promise and leave. I remember that day/night so clearly. There are a ton of other sex things that I remember like specific locations, fear getting caught, anal for the first time but this is getting suuper long.

Hang in there. I only got one more thing left.

As all my adoring fans of this blog may know, I love music. I’m a musician and I spend a great deal of time listening, finding and thinking about music. I cannot even begin to fathom how many songs that I have memorized at one point or another. Whether it is warm-ups for Wind Ensemble, Portrait of Clown in Concert Band, the hits that were added years later in the third chorus of Things Fall Apart or all the odd metered breaks in Flounder Warehouse. Add on playing songs in church for years. Knowing how your pastor liked you to play a certain song, shout bumps, Fred Hammond songs that your praise team ambitiously wanted to perform. There’s more! Just listening to music played over and over again on the radio or finding songs that I like then sleeping to them for months on end. I’ve memorized beat changes on ten minute prog rock songs, piano solos on jazz odysseys, intros of pop songs and random ad-libs from A$AP Ferg songs.

It’s a lot.

On the flipside, I cannot remember song lyrics. For the life of me, I can’t do it. Gun to my head, if the alphabet don’t count, I’m dead. I would probably mess up the national anthem. It’s sad, even songs that I love to death I would stumble. It’s sad.

 

Well holy moly. I wrote so much. Most of these are just memories but I’ve memorized details about them and the lessons and feelings gained from these experiences.

Tell me, what was the last thing you memorized? (I’m kidding, nobody talks to me)

 

via Daily Prompt: Memorize

Come on Taylor…

This song is bad. It’s so bad in fact that I decided to write about it at damn near midnight.


“Look What You Made Me Do” is the brand spanking new single by drama ridden, divisive pop star Taylor Swift. Personally, I don’t care at all about Taylor Swift. She seems to be this super nice girl that makes music about boys she once dated and people love it. For whatever reason there just ALWAYS some drama surrounding her though. The newish stuff with Katy Perry, obviously the seemingly endless thing with Kanye (apparently she really hates other famous people with K names) and the string of high profile relationships that end up turning into chart toppers. Something just seems a little shady and it rubs people the wrong way. On the flip side, 1989 was super good (“Style” is a banger, don’t @ me) and showed that once she finally shed her country skin, she can make really good mainstream pop music.

So much edge

I guess “Look What You Made Me Do” is her being done with her good girl image. The lyrics and production point to a more darker, attitudey, “I ain’t scared and you’re gonna get it” persona. Which is fine…but like…the song sucks. The track kicks off with some nice synths but quickly devolves into a uninteresting, 808 driven verse with dated snares and uninventive vocal melody. The prechorus brings in some piano that sounds like we’re going to build into a cool chorus and then…..

“Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do
Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do?

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Like come on yo. What is this? You reuse the boringness from the verse for the chorus which is a total let down. There is barely anything melodic anything in the song save the quick intro and the bridge. WHAT DID WE MAKE YOU DO? Oh we made you write another song about the people that wronged you? Surprise! This is basically same Taylor but now it’s not even interesting.

The first verse is clearly about Kanye and the issue that stemmed a line on his album The Life of Pablo. I’m not completely certain what the second verse is referencing but I don’t care enough to look it up.

“I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined
I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!”

Who are you Santa? Arya Stark? What are you gonna do with this list of names? Murder?

“The world goes on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma
And then the world moves on, but one thing’s for sure
Baby, I got mine, but you’ll all get yours”

Ugh, yeah we’ll see if you’re done with the drama. She’s naming her album Reputation, so I’m assuming it’ll do nothing but cause drama.

“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now
Why? Oh!
‘Cause she’s dead!”

*Laughs maniacally* You know what. I’m ready for whatever new version of Taylor is coming with this release. Cannot wait for November. In the meantime, this song is booty and should be treated as such.

Can’t believe over 500 words about Taylor Swift at midnight. How salty am I?