“Rhythm in Me”-Altar Boyz

August 15, 2010 at 8:02 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Hello again!  As explained before, life gets in the way of posting regularly.  I’ve been taking acting classes this summer, and I’m in a show.  Classes just ended, and I had a lot of rehearsing for the final, and tech week (Hell week for everyone in theatre) for my other show has kept me very busy.  By the way come see Waiting for Lefty either Sunday or next weekend, if you’re in L.A.  See link for more info.  It’s a really great show!

Anyway, rehearsals have kept me busy, and I’ve been too tired after rehearsals to blog.  That being said, here I am with more Altar Boyz stuff.

I’ve been through my Altar Boyz explanation.  This song is “Rhythm in Me,” another song in their concert, hoping to cleanse the souls of the audience.  It’s just a fun number.

Lyrics-wise, there is nothing too spectacular.  However, I do love that Juan, the Latin lover says “God put Mass in English so we’d know what it’s about,” since Mass was originally in Latin.  Granted he’s Spanish, I think, but at least it’s a Romance language.  It makes me smile.

Something about this number really reminds me on a N’Sync song.  I can’t really remember which one, if any reader does, please let me know.

I think musically, my favorite thing in this is the use of autotune.  As you can tell in the following video, these boys do not need autotune to sing well:

However, the autotune is very clear in the recording, especially in the second verse, in the lines “God put Noah on the Ark so all would not be lost.”  I love that they use autotune in the recording because it is just so fitting!  Since autotune became really popular in 1998 with Cher’s “Believe,” it it a trend very popular with the boy bands of the 90’s.  Altar Boyz wants to imitate that sound, and it does, even to the point of autotuning the recording.  I love that detail so much!

Another favorite thing is the little inserts Mark has after the dance/music break: “Put it in me,” “Put it, put it, put it, put it,” and “Let me tell you!”  I’m not sure completely why, but it’s adorable.  Please watch the video to see his dancing in that part, too!  So good.

Listen with me (still can’t figure out how to get it without making a Powerpoint of it, but please listen to hear the autotune): “Rhythm in Me”

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“We Are The Altar Boyz”-Altar Boyz

August 4, 2010 at 7:26 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So, I have finally gotten to a song, I’ve consciously heard before now.  It’s from the musical Altar Boyz. Since I am going through things by album, the next several posts will be about this show.

An off-Broadway musical that parodies both religion and the boy band crazy of the 90's. A.k.a. my life.

The concept of this show is that an off-beat Christian boy-band is performing the last show in their tour, where they played in church basements, youth group meetings, and various other tiny concert halls.  In the process of performing their final concert, the group tells you about their history, issues, and relationships, all while attempting to cleanse the souls of the audience members, with the help of the Soul Sensor DX-12, which displays the number of heavy souls on a screen (keep this in mind).  It’s fun and cute, and has quite an energetic punch.

Now, I’m going to come clean, I am not religious.  At all.  I have no issue with religious people, but I am not one of them.  I saw this show for my birthday a year or so ago at this tiny theatre.  It was adorable.  Really, it parodies the boy band fetish that was so prominent in the 1990’s.  N’Sync?  Backstreet Boys?  Dream Street?  Anyone remember these guys with a little too much fondness.  I know I do.  While it isn’t  really about religion, I think it does contain the idea that religion is a good thing, but we shouldn’t take everything too seriously.  This however, is not a religious blog.  Any mention of religion will really be about the show.

As the title implies, the song introduces the band itself.  The members are:

1. Matthew-The band leader.  The one who started the group. (Played on this recording by Cheyenne Jackson)

2. Mark-The sweet, VERY effeminate one.  Also can sing higher than many girls, including me.  Yes, I’m jealous. (Played by Tyler Maynard)

3. Luke-Lovable, but a little dense.  Crashed the van once because he was “exhausted.” (Andy Karl)

4. Juan-Latin lover.  Orphaned, his family is the band. (Ryan Duncan)

5. Abraham-He’s Jewish.  Sort of fell into the group by accident. (David Josefsberg)

The introductions are from about 3:14-3:24 on the song, towards the end, if you can’t see the time.  I think my favorite part, is the introduction of Abraham.  Literally, “Abraham!  He’s Jewish!”  You can see it in the video, too, at about the same time.

This is a shot from the production I saw. Left to right, the boys are Juan (Robert Acinapura), Luke (Jake Wesley Stewart), Matt (Jesse Bradley), Abraham (Kelly Rice), and Mark (Clifford Banagale).

As far as the song itself, it’s fun.  Yes, the line “We are the Altar Boyz, and I think you’ll find, we’re gonna alter your mind.” is corny.  But, it is intentionally so.  I think the lyrics are clever in the sense that they are just not clever enough to be ridiculously close to something like N’Sync.  Personally, I find it hilarious.

The sound imitates “boy band” to a T, which I love.  The beat is peppy.  I’ve listened this this musical at the gym on many occasions.  It’s really good stationary bike music, I swear.

Listen with me: We Are The Altar Boyz (So, the only way I could figure out how to put this in was to turn it into a Powerpoint.  I don’t want to pay for a blog upgrade, at least not yet, and I can’t seem to find a good video of the song.  Download it, listen to it, and then if you like, trash it, but it’s a fun listen.)

Also, here is a video of it:

It’s not the best video or audio quality, but you get a sense for the show.  It really is so energetic live.  Also, please vote in my first poll!  I decided “Favorite Boy Bands” would be a fun poll, since we’ll (more likely I’ll) probably talking about them for a bit.

On a personal note, I am just too lazy to post everyday, so very likely I will be blogging for the rest of my life.  Well, hopefully people see this as a relaxing thing to read when they reach their 80’s.  It’s a goal.

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“Alt for Norge (Norway)”-Drillos

July 27, 2010 at 8:28 am (Uncategorized)

The last few days have been a wonderful example of how my life gets in the way of blogging.  It was good, mainly seeing friends from out of town, and working on lines for acting class, (I also saw a wonderful production of the musical 1776 by Musical Theatre West!  But that might be saved for when I reach 1776 in 10 years or so) but it kept me on my toes and off the interwebs.

Tonight’s song is “Alt for Norge” by Drillos from the album Absolute Champions.

Most of the words are in Norwegian, and there are some words, including the The lyrics for this song, really make me think of a patriotic march, a war song, all about sacrifice.  It does mention “the whole game,” but it describes more than the strength of people, but a beautiful country, and Viking history as well.  From my very basic information (please note, I am not really researching things, if you, the reader have information please share it with me), I have conflicting information that is was a war song, or it was a song recorded by an ad hoc band for the the 1994 World Cup.  I personally, am leaning toward the second definition just from the melody.

This song does not sound like a Viking war song, not that I really can know what a Viking war song sounds like, but I don’t picture something like this.  This song does sound like a football (soccer) cheer song to me, especially the very beginning chant and what I’m going to call a wail.  There may be words, but I can’t understand them, and they don’t come up when I translate the song.  You can hear these things in the first 16 seconds in the video.

I’m not terribly fond of this song, I admit it.  I can’t remember why it’s on my iTunes, but I’m going to guess it had something to with Hetalia, which I love dearly.  I’m not a sports person, so since this sounds like a chant for a sporting event, I just don’t really care for it.  It’s not terrible.  It’s not fantastic.  One thing I will say, with the tune and Viking history definitely go beyond most football chants, and many college fight songs.

The whole English translation from Google is here.

Listen with me (also, the Norwegian lyrics are in the video):

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“Montreal”-Quebec Antique

July 24, 2010 at 7:52 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Finished watching A Very Potter Sequel.  It was fun.  I think the original was funnier, but I think the songs were better in the sequel.  Worth a watch.  Now, I need to wait for a recording of those songs to come out.  That being said, I do realize how long this task is going to take.  3046 songs divided by 365 comes out to a little over 8 years.  In addition, I always love adding new songs to my iTunes.  Maybe, I’ll be blogging the rest of my life, but that’s not a terrible thing.  Many people keep daily diaries their whole lives, and there are some blogs with no certain end date.  Or, maybe one day we’ll grow tired of this, and I’ll stop.  Only time will tell.

That being said, today’s song is “Montreal” by Quebec Antique from the album The Abbey Tapes.  Quebec Antique is a relatively new group from Austin, Texas.  Michael Blake and Andrew Dollerson are the two musicians.  On Quebec Antique’s website it describes the group’s music as a “balance of organic and electronic,” a description with which I agree.

The song has no lyrics.  Under the chords and a gentle melody, there are ambient noises.  I think I can pick out typing on a keyboard, muttered conversation, and words like “Montreal” amongst other sounds.

The melody is very simple, but I find it captivating.  The website says that Quebec Antique makes use of many instruments, including children’s instruments, and I think that really shows in this song.  Just listening to it, there is a real sense of innocence.  The background noises are also very well placed.  Those are the kind of things that can be very annoying in a song if not done correctly.  In this song, however, it sounds pleasing and casual.  It’s the song I want to play as I walk down a main street.  I could also imagine a video of children playing in parks and running around.  It just makes me smile.

I think the lack of lyrics and everyday sounds gives the song a very Everyman feel.  There are really no words for people to understand or not understand, and the simple melody strikes us on a gut level.

As much as I like this song, it isn’t the kind of thing I’d think, “Oh, I just really want to hear ‘Montreal’ right now!”  I could be wrong, maybe one day this will happen, but I don’t see it.  I do however think, it’s the kind of thing that will come on when my iTunes is on shuffle, and I will think, “Oh, yeah, I remember that I really like this song.”

I still want it to play when I walk through a park or down the street.  Can someone make this happen?

I love the banjo in this picture. Aside from the painful High School Musical (personally I hate HSM, but to each his own) jump similarity, I think this is adorable.

To listen to the song with me, you can go here and click on “samples.”  It will let you listen to all of “Montreal” and a couple other songs, which I also like.

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“Suomirokkia”-Aknestik

July 23, 2010 at 6:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

So, as promised, my first blog post on a song, is today.  I tore myself away from watching A Very Potter Sequel (go watch it and the original!) to do it.

The first song on my iTunes is “Suomirokkia” by Aknestik from the album Aallonmurtaja.  This is a Finnish pop song, and the title translates to “Finnish Rock.”  Aknestik released its last album in 2001, and the lead singer Jukka Takalo released his self-titled singe album in 2005.  As far as I can tell, from a spottily translated Wikipedia article on the band, it stopped touring in 2008.

From what I can understand from Wikipedia, Aknestik may have been named after a skin care product. I'm totally serious.

This is one of the songs, which is on my iTunes, but I’ve never consciously heard.

It is in Finnish, which has it’s pros and cons.  The issue, is I don’t understand Finnish, and Google Translate is terrible at translating Finnish (and arguably other languages).  Therefore, I have no connection to the lyrics of this song, and I am the kind of person who can be wowed by really well-written lyrics.  These lyrics might be brilliant, but I don’t know that.

The up side, is I don’t think they’re brilliant.  From what I can tell, and I admit I can be wrong, half the lines are “Finnish rock (insert action/noun here).”  While I understand the power of anaphora showing the pervading power of Finnish rock, I don’t think it’s very original.

The fact that I don’t really understand the words masks the repetitiveness to me.  A Finnish person probably will have an absolutely different reaction, and there may very well one day be a Finn who will read my blog and laugh at the ignorant American that I am.  To that hypothetical Finn, I say, well how many Americans have any Finnish rock song on their iTunes, give me that!

Lack of lyrics comprehensible to my American ear aside, it sounds fun.  It’s catchy and the perfect tempo for head-bobbing.  I also think it’s pretty.

There isn’t any particular musical moment that strikes me on this recording.  But, I think the moments where the drums come in about 4 seconds into the song (19 seconds into the video) and when the guitar chords about 11 seconds (25 seconds) in would be the kind of thing to give me chills in a live performance.

Now, all there is left to do is wait for the reunion tour in 20 years.

Listen with me (the music video amuses me, too):

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A Beginning

July 22, 2010 at 6:24 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Hi!  I’m Amanda.  I love music.  I have known this for years, of course.  However, just yesterday did I really pay attention to how many songs are on my iTunes: 3046, and I have no plans on stopping importing.

The sad thing is I realized that there are songs to which I have never listened, songs I haven’t heard in years, and other songs which I know like the back of my hand.  So, in reaction to this, I have made the decision to go through my iTunes and consciously listen to all of the songs on it.  To keep myself honest, and make sure I listen to all of them, I made the decision to blog about the songs.

In this blog, I will cover A LOT of musical theatre.  I fully admit to being a musical freak, and there are a lot of musicals on my iPod.  However, that is not all that my iTunes holds.  It varied from Alternative to Renaissance Music and everything in between.  Many of the songs were downloaded from iTunes, or my CD’s, or gifts from my friends or family.

In my mind this will have one of three outcomes:

1. I can be amazing and inspire people of all races and creeds to listen to different kinds of music.

2. More likely, I will write about songs, and maybe amuse people, mostly my friends.

3. At the very least, this blog will help me keep track of the songs I know and the unknown songs that have made their way onto my iTunes in crazy ways.

So, I will try to blog about a song a day.  However, I have a busy life, and I will not always make it.  My plan is to listen to each song, as they are ordered in my iTunes, which is ordered by album, alphabetically.  I’ll talk about the song, my reactions to it, and maybe its history, maybe not.  Who knows?  And, my life will probably slip into it, too.

Anyway, I welcome anyone to join me on this journey, which has no foreseeable end.  I hope someone will have fun.  The listening begins tomorrow! Read the rest of this entry »

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