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:,

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