Pages

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spotlight: Billboard.com Artists of the Decade

The end of the decade is near and so Billboard.com has compiled a list of the 100 Artists of the Decade. For your viewing pleasure I have once again used One True Media to compile a montage of the top 20 artists of the decade. They are (in order of their rank): Eminem, Usher, Nelly, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, 50 Cent, Nickleback, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, The Black Eyed Peas, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Kanye West, Linkin Park, Ludacris, Rihanna, Creed, and Christina Aguilera.



Music: The Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Rhyme: "I Turn To You" - Christina Aguilera

"I Turn To You" is a song written by legendary song writer Diane Warren who is responsible for hits by many artists. The song, which was originally recorded by R&B group All-4-One for the soundtrack to the 1996 film Space Jam, was covered by Aguilera when she was recording her debut, self-titled album. Released as the album's third single in the spring of 2000, the song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks.

The song's theme is thanking a parental figure, but it can also be a song about friendship. A true friend is one that will be a "shield from the storm...to keep me safe and warm". lyrics for Christina's song can be found here. Below is a list of ten rules for keeping friendships strong.



  1. Tell your secrets.

  2. Be honest.

  3. Apologize when you hurt each other's feelings.

  4. Keep promises.

  5. Be there when they need you.

  6. Be able to accept them for who they are--flaws and all!

  7. Tell them how you feel.

  8. Be able to accept and understand their opinions and viewpoints.

  9. If you have a long distance friend, work hard to maintain that relationship.

  10. Never take your friend for granted; be sure to compliment them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Rhyme: "Lover's Spit" - Broken Social Scene

"Lover's Spit" is featured on the band's 2002 album You Forgot It in People. It, along with "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl" are both fan-favorites. The album features complex and experimental musical techniques and a wide range of different instruments. In 2003, the year the album was reissued, it won the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. Sylus Magazine put it in 7th place on their Top 50 Albums: 2000-2005 list.

I first heard this song by listening to Jim Carrey's (woo hoo!) iTunes celebrity playlist. The man has excellent taste in music by the way. Anyway, this was a song that I immediately liked. I haven't quite been able to figure out exactly what the song is about, but I'm sure it's pretty deep. Mind you, the lyrics are suggestive but the song is a great one nevertheless, without the gimmicky lyrics. Many think the song is about meaningless love. That seems about right. See the lyrics here.



Picture credit: wikipedia

A Rhyme: "Life Goes On" - LeAnn Rimes

The release of "Life Goes On" in 2002 marks a departure in Rimes' career from country to pop and from girl to woman. While LeAnn enjoyed cross-over success in 2000 with songs featured in the film Coyote Ugly, (most notably "Can't Fight The Moonlight"), this was the first time she truly changed her sound. The album Twisted Angel is a mix of pop and R&B. The video for "Life Goes On" was shot in New Orleans and was perhaps most notable for LeAnn's more exposed clothing and suggestive movements. The song is about letting go of the past.

I enjoy anytime an artist decides to change their sound. It makes for something more interesting, especially when the change is something so unexpected. LeAnn lost some fans when she released this record, but I know she gained some as well. This is one of my favorite records of her's and "Life Goes On" is on of my favorite songs from the album.




Picture Source: eil.com

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Riff: Social Networking Gone Too Far

At a Clayton County school in Georgia, two teachers got into a fight at their jobs over a Facebook love letter from a fellow male teacher. Both teacher's claimed to be romantically involved with the same man. At one point, teachers Ebony Cobb and Chaka Smith fought inside a classroom, in front of students, shouting expletives in front of the children. The entire story can be read here.

So the question is, when does social networking cross the line? I think it goes over board when people post way too much of their personal business online. Also, when information like who you are dating and what is going on with that person comes into play and it starts to interfere with your professional life, then you have done something wrong. Two years ago, facebook removed photos of mothers breastfeeding their babies and banned others for "obscene content", angering thousands. But it must be understood that posting such photos is graphic and shouldn't' be allowed.

Personally, I am a private person. I don't put my business out in the street for others to know. I know what lines shouldn't be crossed. Do you?




Sources: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Sydney Morning Herald

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Rhyme: "Confessions" - Usher

"Confessions" or "Confessions Part II" is the fourth single released by R&B crooner Usher on his 2004 album of the same name. It is a continuation of the interlude, "Confessions Part I" which tells of a mans infidelity. Part II goes on to convey a man confessing his infidelity to his beau about getting his mistress pregnant. Of course, the song stirred rumors that Usher himself had impregnated a woman while cheating on a girlfriend, but Usher maintained that it had never happened to him. Instead, one of the co-writers of the song, producer Jermaine Dupri admitted that the ideas behind the songs on the album are his. Still, rumors persisted that Usher had cheated on a girlfriend and knocked up a lover.


The issue of pregnancy, specifically unplanned ones, still looms. Especially among teens. The teen pregnancy rate has been increasing in recent years. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this trend is that some teens actually want to get pregnant--as young as age 13! Some defend teens, saying they feel a need to be loved or they feel a void that needs to be filled. But teen pregnancy is inexcusable and is the fault of both, irresponsible partners. It is a serious undertaking to raise a child and it should, not be taken lightly.

Picture Source: wikipedia, blogs.blackvoices.com


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Riff: Blogging for Fun

Why do I blog? Well, simply put, I do it because I enjoy it! Blogging allows me to express things about about myself about the topics I enjoy. I love music; I always have. Music is something every and anyone can relate to. So blogging about music is really fun because it allows me to talk about why I enjoy and I can explain what I like about it so much.





On this blog, I can have fun expressing my certain likes and even dislikes about a particular song or artist. Previously, I have often wanted a medium through which I could discuss such topics but I was unsure about how I could do that. Now that I have found blogging, I have a forum in which I can have fun discussing my favorite topic.





To celebrate the fun I've had on the blog, I've included a musical slide show showcasing the different Rhymes I've featured so far. Have fun!


http://widgets.clearspring.com/o/46928cc51133af17/4af23a1c7f591f29/46928cc51133af17/7570232e/-cpid/9fd7201546dcf48" id="W46928cc51133af174af23a1c7f591f29" width="432" height="240">http://widgets.clearspring.com/o/46928cc51133af17/4af23a1c7f591f29/46928cc51133af17/7570232e/-cpid/9fd7201546dcf48" />
Picture cred: condemnedtorocknroll.files.wordpress.com, .avistarentals.com, ultimateturntables.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spotlight: Artists and Self Expresion

Self Expression is the expression of one's individuality usually through creative activities. Many artists use self expression in their work. Whether it's in their songs or in their music videos or concerts, many performers use their career as a means of expressing themselves. My favorite singer, Britney Spears, (Yay!) said in her 2008 documentary Britney: For The Record that art is her therapy. Many singers who also dance on stage during concerts get to express themselves and their music through their choreography .

But what happens when artists' self expression goes too far? Britney Spears has been criticized for going too far during her concerts and live performances, like at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards when she debuted her single "I'm A Slave 4 U" and performed with a snake. She received much criticism for her so-called raunchy and suggestive performance. Many think Britney goes to far in her performances and songs because of what she expresses. My personal opinion? Artists have the right to express themselves how ever they feel as long as it isn't causing anyone harm. When an artist is expressing themselves and someone is harmed, then self expression has gone too far.


Picture credit: britney.com, killthelights.org

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spotlight: Country Music & Suicide

According to an article published back in 2007, a study shows a link between listening to country music and committing suicide. The article asserts, "Country music is hypothesized to nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work." I don't know about you, but while country music of today still talks about these issues, that sounds like the country music of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. The report goes on to say that "the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate." So basically if you listen to country music while on a road trip from Georgia to Florida, you'll probably want to commit suicide by the time you get down there? Or will it take a while to sink in, and by the time you get back home to Georgia, you'll want to commit suicide?


What I don't understand are the terms under which the study was conducted under. What kind of country music did the people in the metropolitan areas listen to? And for exactly hoe long? By which artists? Were they male or female? Does it matter if the particular song or songs were up tempo songs or ballads? I first started truly listening to country music when I was in the 4th grade. I listened to LeAnn Rimes, (I used to have her song "How Do I Live" on repeat while my sister on my way to gymnastics! I've always listened to her.) Rascal Flatts, Terri Clark, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney and other artists. While the thought of my immortality does cross my mind sometimes (who doesn't think about their dying day--presumably when they're old and gray? ) but I never thought about seriously ending my life prematurely. I still listen to country music, but not as much as I did back then. I do indulge in the sounds of LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts, and Carrie Underwood more than other artists, and while their songs may deal with serious topics, they don't push me to think about ending my own life. Maybe it's because I listen to other genres of music as too. Who knows?

You can read the rest of the article here, although the entire report is unavailable because it seems to be out of date.

Source: The Monkey Cage

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Rhyme: "Breathe Me" - Sia

"Breathe Me" is a song by Australian alternative singer, Sia (pronounced See-uh). It is featured on her 2004 album "Colour The Small One". The song became popular in America when it was featured on the series finale of the HBO drama Six Feet Under. The song has been used in commercials including the Coca-Cola commercial aired during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Since the song became so popular, the album was re-released in 2006. The song seems to be about someone who is in desperate need of a friend and companion, as you can tell by reading the lyrics and listening to the track here.

When I first heard this song, I thought the Sia’s voice was very unusual to say the least. I admit I didn’t like the song very much at first. But upon a second and third listen I liked the song more and more. The best part is when Sia sings “…and breathe me” for the last time and the music slows down--almost stopping, and then swells again becoming even grander than it was before. Sia is a true talent and hearing this song has led me to further listen to her work. You’ll be hearing more from her in the future on this blog.
Credit: Rhapsody

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Rhyme: "I Look So Good (Without You)" - Jessie James


"I Look So Good (Without You)" was written by Jessie James, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, and Savan Kotecha. The song was released on August 4, 2009 to iTunes and released to radio on August 25th. Rudy Klapper from Sputnikmusic said of the song: "James is at her best when she’s imitating Aguilera’s brazen sass on the rhyming verses of “the song,” perhaps the only tolerable real ballad on the album".

I heard this song today at the hair dresser and I really thought it was a really sweet, wonderful song. I've never heard a song about a woman whose broken up with her beau put into lyrics like that. I love the way Jessie sounds in this song. It is much more tolerable to hear her sing in this song and she sings it very well. Some compare her vocal stylings to the likes of Christina Aguilera, LeAnn Rimes, or Carrie Underwood. Of the three, I think she sounds the most like Carrie with a mix of Rihanna. I really like this song; it's a sweet typical pop ballad.



Picture credit: Wikipedia
Source: Sputnikmusic

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Rhyme: "Closer" - Kings of Leon


"Closer" is the opening track on Kings of Leon's 2008 album Only By the Night. The song features electronic and synth elements and guitar that sounds like psychedelic rock. The song isn't typical of the bands usual sound. According to the bands website, lead singer Caleb Followill says the song is about a lovesick vampire.

Personally, I see the song as something a little more realistic. I see it as being about a lovesick man who was stranded in a relationship by the woman he loved. Now he is wondering if she still cares. Even still, he continues to chase her but the chase is taking a toll. I really like this song because it's so laid back and moody. But even with the lazy rock-synth beat, there is a stong element in the song.



Picture credit: Wikipedia

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spotlight: Kier's Playlist

Here's a playlist full of the music that I like. Many songs that I like are NOT on here so there may be another one in the future. Enjoy!


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Rhyme: "Good Life" - Kanye West f/ T-Pain

"Good Life" is basically about the life Kanye has always wanted, and the life he now has. The song won a Grammy in 2008 and features John Legend and Ne-Yo on background vocals. T-Pain is featured on the track that samples keys from Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T . (Pretty Young Thing)". Kanye wrote the song along with others including legendary composer Quincy Jones.

This song is great because who doesn't wan't to live a life like that? In the song, Kanye talks about wishing he was living the "Good Life" as a kid and now he has made that a reality. A notable line in the song is " 50 told me go 'head switch the style up/And if they hate then let 'em hate/And watch the money pile up". People are always going to hate on you when ever you try to do something different. But when you end being successful, you're the one who gets the last laugh.




Picture credit: Wikipedia
Credit: Rhapsody

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Rhyme: "Limp" - Fiona Apple


"Limp" was the second single from Fiona Apple's 1999 album When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king... The album title actually has more that 400 characters and once held the world record for the longest album title. "Limp" was a less successful single than the first single from the album, "Fast As You Can". Fiona's then boyfriend directed all the videos for the singles from her sophmore album.

I don't think I've ever quite heard a song like this before. It was one of those songs that when I first listened to it i thought. "Hmm I don't know if I'll like this." But then it picked up and I really liked it. Fiona seems kind of angry on this but it's like she has a right to be. She's basically saying that this person provokes her and then blames her for her reaction, which seems to be an angry one. Sounds like something I can relate to.



Picture credit: Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Rhyme: "Shadow" - Britney Spears

Britney Spears' song "Shadow" is from her 2003 album In The Zone. One reviewer compared the song to an 80's power ballad in terms of the musical arrangement. The song is about a girl who is in love with a man that doesn't return the feeling to her. Contrary to popular belief , Britney does write (many) of her own songs. Whether or not they make it onto the albums is another thing. "Shadow" is one of the songs she wrote (with several others, including Charlie Midnight) that did make it onto the album.

The reason why I like this song is because it doesn't sound like any song Britney has ever done before. I always enjoy when an artist does something different with their music, and that's basically what In The Zone is. It's a transition from Britney's pure-pop sound of the past into the more futuristic, dance sound that she currently has. "Shadow" is my favorite song off of this album. It's written in a poetic metaphore that sweetly compares a man's deprivation of love to a silhouette. Very artistic.



Picture credit: Wikipedia

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Rhyme: "Cry"- Kelly Clarkson


In March 2009, Kelly Clarkson returned to her pop-rock sound with All I Ever Wanted. The first ballad that appears on the album is "Cry". The song is according to Kelly, "very much influenced by country -- it's a waltz." She calls it the most personal song on the album and says it's about betrayal. Kelly co-wrote the song with two other writers and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder provides backup vocals.

The thing about this song is that Kelly has claimed that she has never been in love. So how can some one write about such betrayal in a relationship if she's never felt so passionately about a person? The question is answered clearly in a single listening of this song. Not only in the lyrics or even in the sappy music, but in Kelly's vocals. When she hits those notes you can feel the pain in her voice. Along with her cover of Keri Noble's "If No One Will Listen" this is probably her best ballad.



Picture credit: Wikipedia
Source: Popeater.com

A Rhyme: "Stay"- Sugarland


Sugarland's (fourth) single, "Stay", from their 2007 album Enjoy the Ride is a ballad. It's about a mistress who wants the man who is cheating with her to stay with her instead of going back to his wife. The song was inspired by Reba McEntire's song "Whoever's in New England". That song is about a Southern woman who fears her husband is having an affair while he's in New England on business; she vows to still be there for her husband when he gets back despite her thoughts.

"Stay" had a unique premise for a country song, or any song for that manner. A song about cheating would usually follow the woman being cheated on rather than the woman with. The song is very simple in arrangement, with only Jennifer Nettles on vocals and (Sugarland's other member, Kristian Bush usually provides harmonies) an organ and acoustic guitar creating the music. The main focus here are the vocals and most importantly the lyrics.



Image credit: GACtv.com

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Rhyme: "Just Like a Pill"- Pink


The single "Just Like a Pill" by Pink was released in June 2002 off Pink's sophomore album Missundaztood. The album itself marked a departure from Pink's sound on her previous record, which had more of an R&B sound. Missundaztood still had R&B elements but the music was more rock tinged, like "Just Like a Pill". The song is about getting out of a painful relationship told in a metaphor about drug abuse. It was written by Pink and Dallas Austin.

This is my favortie Pink song...EVER! This song made me buy the album back when I was in 5th grade. Pink sings the song like she means it; and she does--in an interview, she said that the song shows "part of who I am" refering to her problems with drugs. The song is very clever and there are many songs out there that deal with hurtful relationships, but this is the only song that I've heard that relates it to such a dark subject. It's very true--staying in a bad relationship will make you ill, instead of making you better, just like a pill.



Picture credit: Wikipedia
Source: musicOMH

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Riff About Me (and the Blog)


Welcome to Rhymes and Riffs! This a a brand-new blog where I will make a post about a song (new or old) that has meaning to me. I'll be giving you some info on the song and tell you my thoughts and feelings on them. The songs I plan on exploring will span different types of genres.


Now, allow me to introduce myself. I am a girl of 16 (going on 17) who loves music of all kinds and thoroughly enjoys exploring my creativity. Through this blog, I hope that you, the readers, get a sense of who I am and what I am about through the music I like and my opinions about the music and lyrics of the songs. Enjoy the blog! And be sure to leave comments about the songs I post and tell me what songs you think I should post (be sure they have lyrical meaning!)

Wibiya