Grammy-Worthy Songs for Each Year of the New Century

ince the turn of the century, the biggest change in music has centered on indie rock, which is a close cousin of alternative rock. The genre itself contains a wide array of artists, but what they share is a lack of corporate promotion or air play on rock radio stations.

The Grammy Awards finally gave some recognition to alternative rock, designating an award for “Best Alternative Album.” Last year, St. Vincent took the award for her self-titled release.

A further indication of the importance of alternative music can be found by simply looking at the Grammy committee’s choice for “Album of the Year,” Morning Phase by Beck. He was in fact one of the pioneers of indie rock, having broken onto the scene shortly after the death of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement.

Still, this popular genre is sadly underrepresented by the Grammy committee, who has limited it to just the one category. That is the same number given to niche genre like bluegrass, contemporary Christian, gospel, reggae, and spoken word.

If rap, country, and blues deserve as many as five categories each, surely the Grammy committee can afford to add a second award to alternative. The most sensible solution would be to have an award for “Best Alternative Song,” and here are examples of what the year by year list might look like since the start of the century.

2001 “Last Night” by the Strokes

This group brought a resurgence of guitar rock with their debut album, Is This It?

2002 “Heavy Metal Drummer” by Wilco

A few years after the demise of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy struck gold with this gem from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

2003 “Hackensack” by Fountains of Wayne

Bittersweet lyrics backed by a gorgeous acoustic guitar make this the true treasure from Welcome Interstate Managers.

2004 “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand

This Brit quartet and its self-titled debut gave alternative rock an element you could dance to.

2005 “Trouble with Dreams” by Eels

Mark Oliver Everett, who refers to himself as E., finally broke through with this song and the entire four sides of Blinking Lights.

2006 “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)” by the Flaming Lips

Wayne Coyne served as one of the pioneers of indie/alt rock as a colleague of Beck, and he even makes a fun political statement on this tune from At War with the Mystics.

2007 “Heat Dies Down” by Kaiser Chiefs and “The Underdog” by Spoon

It is impossible for me to choose which of these tunes is the best because of the former’s catchy rock beat and the latter’s acoustic guitar spiced with brass.

2008 “Pop Lie” by Okkervil River

Will Sheff has kind of become a modern Morrissey with his baritone and his cleverly biting lyrics, especially on this tune from The Stand Ins.

2009 “Love That Never Was” by the Minor Leagues

This Cincinnati-based band has never quite reached national prominence, but they did manage to write the best unrequited love song of the 21st century.

2010 “Write about Love” by Belle and Sebastian

This title track highlights the ten-year career of Stuart Murdoch’s acoustic rock band.

2011 “Houdini” by Foster the People

“Pumped Up Kicks” made the group a household name, but this album mate better represents their overall sound.

2012 “Teardrop Windows” by Ben Gibbard

Taking a break from Death Can for Cutie proved to be a great move, as proved by this track and the rest of the Former Lives solo album.

2013 “Oh Brother” by Frank Turner

After a career in a stellar punk rock group, the singer-songwriter adopted a more mainstream approach for Tape Deck Heart, and the result can be found in this tune.

2014 “The Ex of All You See” by Old 97s

Rhett Miller warns her new man about his ex-girlfriend’s fickleness in this catchy eerier from the otherwise unremarkable All Messed Up.

2015 “Do It By Myself” by Guster

A decade and a half into their indie career, this quartet continues to amass great pop-rock tunes like this one from their latest album, Evermotion.



Kanye West – Love Him? Or Hate Him?

In truth, Kanye West, love him or hate him, is someone who inevitably comes up in conversation these days. Whether you’ve heard his name today, this past week, or just floating around from time to time, his presence is unavoidable and arguably obnoxious. However, despite his personality, it is critical that we examine this man that claims to compare himself to God. Because, here’s the thing: Whether you like it or not, Kanye West is one of the biggest icons of this generation.

Kanye West is a 21 time Grammy award winner, and has made more than a mark as a songwriter, producer, rap artist, filmmaker, and most recently, clothing designer. Looking at straight facts and music career alone, he is an enormous talent with 352 nominations to prove it. Not to mention hundreds of “best songs” on highly respected lists such as the Billboards and Rolling Stones. This doesn’t mean I condone (or even slightly encourage) his behavior and stream of ridiculous commentary, but it is important to recognize the man, because as Ae Padilla stated, “he is one of the greatest examples of a revolution and a dying artist.” He identifies as a millennial and represents one in every way. Perhaps if we look a little closer, this might be something we are in need of these days.

If I had five dollars for how many times I heard someone say, “Yeah he’s talented and has great music but I just can’t stand his personality,” I would be a millionaire. The thing is no matter how cocky, rude, and most oftentimes ridiculous Kanye is, he is more than his music and talent. Most of what he does is a publicity stunt and it works: People tune into music awards just to see what crazy thing he going to say next. However, when Kanye does something over the top, is he doesn’t just do it for the clicks or the views. All of his outrageous comments are to express something that is truthful and important to him, and he is willing to forgo social norms and niceties to do it. The man is always 100% himself. He doesn’t feel constricted by what is “polite” or “appropriate” as many of us do, but his passion for creative freedom and social justice move him to speak honestly.

The consistent outcome from West doing such bizarre things is that he is talked about. People “hate” him but they tweet about him. He is staying relevant, in a time period where staying on top is mostly about how many times your name can be said in one day. This is why we love to hate him. He is unmovingly Kanye every single time. Kanye believes in Kayne more than anyone in the world. He isn’t afraid to say he is not only decent at something but he is the absolute best. And why not? The man believes in himself and does not feign humility. Insecurity and lack of self confidence is a plague of this generation. Kanye doesn’t care about likeability for one second, yet he still believes the world loves and worships him. Our generation needs a revolution of this kind. Not only does he not care if he is liked, he in facts puts a middle finger to the biggest voice that says we shouldn’t believe in ourselves… society. A prime example of this is that he married the on-going joke of our pop culture.

If we take this one step further, he is not just someone trying persistently to make sure he is himself in everyday life like you and I, which is hard enough, he is in fact working in an industry that will do everything in their power to ensure that you aren’t yourself, but rather what they want you to be. As Rhymefest says in the book The Cultural Impact of Kanye West, “He is constantly creating and evolving in a society and industry that is constantly watching, gathering information, and scrutinizing his and other Black artists every move.” Rhymefest suggested that he is operating within a society that is hell bent on demagnetizing black artists and ultimately making them disposable. The one thing that is most feared is people coming together. Kanye strongly fights back the system by how he presents his music.

Sometimes Kanye’s extremism can make it hard to understand him, but one must understand where West comes from. His persona is formed by Chicago; its history, music, politics, and streets. Chicago is the birthplace of house music. Ryhmefest explained that, “the culture around house inspired Kanye to be open and experimental. It influenced his style of dress and it also taught him the importance of being accepting of folks who roll in different ways. In looking at Kanye it is important to know that a song is not just a song, especially when it comes from oppressed communities where music is an important form of expression. It is a tool for healing and communication, one that connects generations.”

U.S rapper Kanye West attends the Cannes Lions 2014, 61st International Advertising Festival in Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival is a world’s meeting place for professionals in the communications industry.

Ultimately, Kanye West doesn’t hold back: He is confident and isn’t afraid to say he is good at what he does. If we learn from this, it allows others to do the same. He is constantly growing and evolving. The man we see performing Yeezus now is not the man we knew with his mouth wired shut from a car accident still dedicated to creating music years ago. This goes to prove how dedicated and committed he is to standing behind his ideas and he teaches others to do the same. He believes in “the idea.” Frequently as millennials we are put down for this way of thinking. We are criticized for not doing much besides constantly being on our screens and social media waiting for our next “big idea” that will lead to our big break, as if it is lazy to not do things the traditional way and be stuck in a system. Kanye encourages people to have those “big ideas” and to turn against the conventional way because that is the future.

There is a case however, for being humble and knowing that you aren’t always right. But Kanye does recognize the people who have supported him in his music (listen to the song “Hey Mama”). He apologized as well, for example, to Taylor Swift after the whole awards show fiasco, though some found it insincere. But that is Kanye, staying true to himself because he only does things that he truly means. He keeps it real. As Ae Padilla again puts it best, “Sure, I think the guy is annoying and self-involved. Ironically attains too much attention. Is an asshole. But he is starting a dialogue, and we must always always be grateful for any dialogue and we must all question said dialogue.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.



Melissa Etheridge As Vocal As Ever

Melissa Etheridge is a mammoth talent armed with electrifying energy, a custom Les Paul guitar and a powerful, raspy voice that penetrates the soul. The Academy Award- and Grammy-winning artist spent the summer on an extensive tour encompassing solo and full band performances, festivals and several dates with Blondie and Joan Jett. Now she is back in the studio creating new songs to top those in her 13th album, “This is M.E.”

“The inspiration can come from a chord on the guitar, a memory or a glance out the window,” she said. “Sometimes the song comes quickly, like ‘A Little Bit of Me,’ which I wrote during an airplane flight. ‘Who Are You Waiting For’ was the most difficult in the album, because I wrote it for my marriage. It came straight from my heart, and I wanted to get it perfect, so it took a few weeks.”

Melissa Etheridge is proud of her numerous accolades, but none more so than the Academy Award for “I Need to Wake Up” from Al Gore’s 2006 documentary about global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“Winning that Oscar probably gave me the greatest pride,” she said. “I grew up in Kansas, where watching the Academy Awards was an important form of entertainment. The academy has lots of categories, but only one for music, so receiving it was a major honor. When I first heard about the film, I thought it might simply be a slide show in a high school and had no idea what impact it would have on our lives.”

Protection of the environment is just one of the many causes she champions. A cancer survivor, a user of medical marijuana and a gay rights activist, she gladly expresses her opinions about many political and social issues whenever asked.

“Just by saying that I am in favor of something, I automatically become an activist,” she said. “Overcoming cancer has given me even more enthusiasm for my life and work. I have a holistic belief in the symbiotic relationship between the body and its diet. The energy I have on stage is all about health. The whole foods I am eating and the lack of sugar in my body take away stress so that being on stage is a celebration.”

Just as the lyrics she writes reflect her beliefs and emotions, her actions reflect respect for her heritage and love for her late father, a high school teacher in Leavenworth, Kansas. To celebrate his life, she performed a benefit concert there to raise money for a ball field named for him in a park near the high school.

She would have loved to share with him the genealogical information about her ancestors unearthed last season during her appearance on TV’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” In addition to discovering that her early immigrants placed family first, she was able to trace the movement of one from Quebec, Canada to New France in what today is Missouri. A highlight for her was visiting the house that he built there, the oldest one in the area and a designated historical site.

Now that she has her own independent label, she looks forward to pleasing her fans time and again. “The recording industry has changed and is becoming a renaissance for the artist,” she said. “My next album should be out in several months, so look for it.”

Melissa Etheridge celebrates humanity with songs inspired by her political and social concerns.



A Titanic Love Affair – Marxist Criticism Approach

There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers” (Philip Franklin), these were words that had gone down in the history. Titanic dubbed as the “UNSINKABLE” was ironically foundered in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It was known as the ship of dreams. Surely, it was. The Titanic movie was considered the second highest grossing film and was directed by James Cameron. It was a dramatization of the ill-fated sinking of the most famous ship in 1912 after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic encompassing the love story of two fictionalizes characters, Jack Dawson and Rose Bukater. It focuses on the love story of first class passenger Rose Bukater and a third class passenger Jack Dawson. The gap between the poor and rich and how social class affect one’s live and what the two lovers will for their love despite of social differences was greatly shown in the film.

84 years later after the Unsinkable ship sank; a 100-year-old lady reveals the story of her life set in April 10, 1912 on the ship Titanic when a young lady, Rose Bukater, together with her mother, Ruth Bukater, and fiancé, Caledon Hockley, who belongs in the upper class passengers, boarded in the departing ship. Meanwhile, young boy, Jack Dawson, together with his friend, Fabrizio De Rossi, luckily won third-class tickets to the ship in a game. Jack and Rose met when Rose tries to take her own life by jumping on the deck because she is distraught over her engagement between Caledon Hockley. Rose was discovered with Jack, and she told them that he saved her life that’s why Caledon felt obliged to invite Jack over dinner. Jack realizes that Rose favors him more than Caledon. Rose takes Jack to her room and requested him to sketch her. Caledon went looking for Rose and ended up seeing the sketch together with a note from a Jack and the necklace. Jack and Rose witnessed the collision of the iceberg and the ship and when they came to inform Caledon and the others, Caledon secretly put the necklace in Jack’s pocket and accused him of theft. The ship started to sink and from the lifeboat, Rose flees to save and free Jack. Cal and Jack convinced Rose to board on the lifeboat by Cal claiming that he and Jack can get off safely. As the boat lower, Rose realized that she can’t leave Jack so she jumped back on the ship. Cal couldn’t believe on what Rose did and chases Jack and Rose with a pistol. Cal also realized that the necklace is on the coat he gave to Rose. The boat started to sink and passengers were falling to their deaths. Jack and Rose jumped on the ocean. Jack died of hypothermia and Rose survived.

From the beginning of the movie, the gap between social classes had been observed. The movie is a representation of classes. In the ship itself, shows wherein it was divided into three depending on your class. It shows the different treatments between classes. In the movie, passenger with the same social class should be grouped together. It shows how higher class looks down at the lower class. Like Rose being forbidden to meet with Jack due to social class difference. Despite of this Jack and Rose still breaks the tradition and tries to step in the line between the poor and the rich. Ruth Bukater insists on Rose marrying Caledon Hockley because he is rich and he can help them financially. There is also a scene where Jack was accused of theft, they pointed out his social status for the crime. When the boat is sinking, passengers in the higher class were more likely to survive and were the priority. The lifeboats weren’t filled where it can contain more passengers and can save lives. the lower class were locked up in the bottom of the ship because the upper class were being prioritize to board on the lifeboats. The conflict due to social classes created a love story that conquered everything just to be together until their last breath.

I consider Titanic as one of the best romantic movies of all time. The not-complicated story, characters, special effects and adding the theme song make it more breath taking. It’s not a cliché love story wherein they will have their happily ever after. You can see and feel the huge power of love. This movie really triggers your deepest emotions. I may have watched it many times but it still gives me the thrill and suspense feeling despite of knowing what will happen. The portrayals of the characters were impressive and Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have great chemistry. There are scenes that really cause tears in my eyes even they were just shown for seconds and were not focused on Jack and Rose. It is the scene where the musicians decided come back to their comrade and continues to play music, as well as the scene where two old people were lying on the bed and a mother comforting her two children. It gives me hope that true love really exists and can conquer and overcome everything, even if it means losing your life, just for love. Kudos to everyone who made this movie happens.



Ballroom Dancing Classes

What could be perplexing for newbies having Ballroom Dancing Lessons is selecting on which design and style to get going in. This text describes the variances among International Latin Ballroom Dancing and various kinds like American Rhythm, American Smooth or Intercontinental Conventional and how to choose the design is the fact that good for you.

You can find two principal models danced while in the US. International Model and American Model. Within the American Ballroom social dancing scene, American type is danced at social ballroom get-togethers. Usually there are some smaller sized social groups that dance Worldwide type but that is exceptional. Social ballroom dancing is principally dance inside the US. The rest of the globe tend not to dance Ballroom socially like we do here, they teach in International Style and contend or acquire their medal examinations. I would love to listen to from you Should you have examples exactly where social ballroom dancing is occurring outside of America – what I necessarily mean by social is accurate foremost and next, men and women turning up at a dance occasion and dancing with one another rather than couples dancing a routine jointly.

American design is also danced in competitions, but only from the US. American design and style is also only taught in Ballroom dancing classes or personal dance lessons only while in the US.

Intercontinental model ballroom has two divisions – International Latin and International Common. Here is the style danced in competitions all through the earth such as the US.

Global Latin Ballroom Dancing is built up of the subsequent dances – Rumba, Cha-Cha, Samba, Paso Doble and Jive. The Intercontinental Latin strategy is different from American Cuban Movement for Rumba and Cha-Cha.

Worldwide Latin is danced on a straight leg ie. each stage for Rumba and Cha-Cha is danced on a straight leg with excess weight transfer wholly around the leg. American Cuban Motion is with a bent leg ie. each individual action for Rumba and Cha-Cha is danced by using a bent leg or flexed knee, the load transfer is delayed till following the beat usually on the ‘&’ counts.

Worldwide Rumba timing is danced With all the Gradual to the four-one counts as well as a slower tempo than American Rumba that is danced While using the Sluggish to the one-two counts. The method for Samba is similar for both Global and American styles. Paso Doble and Jive is unique to International Latin Ballroom Dancing.

Worldwide Conventional Ballroom Dancing is produced up of the following dances – Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Tango and Quickstep. The Worldwide Typical system is similar to American Clean.

The Intercontinental Typical figures are mainly in shut posture and since it isn’t really danced socially, utilizes a body Get in touch with closed posture keep. Amercian Clean has quite a few figures which happen to be in open up positions and because it’s danced socially, the keep can vary from entire body Make contact with to three-8 inches aside among a pair. There appears to become a discrepancy during the timing with the Gradual counts among Standard and Easy. In Standard, the Slow rely is danced on depend two. In Easy – the Gradual is danced on depend 1.

I used to be explained to by Ron Montez (my previous coach and renowned choose and ballroom TV host) that this is sometimes taught as rookie timing (Bronze). In my observation and interviews with many other Easy instructors, this is due to deficiency of superior method teaching in their portion. Most are instructing Clean Silver and Gold figures (Superior) and even now dancing the Sluggish on count one.

I’ve experienced to fix the timing of a lot of my a lot more State-of-the-art pupils and this was a difficult procedure for them. It really is less complicated with novices as I educate them the correct timing from the beginning.

American Rhythm is designed up of the next dances – Rumba, Cha-Cha, Bolero, East Coastline Swing and Mambo. These five dances are the Main Competitiveness dances. The other dances are Merengue, West Coastline Swing, Samba and Salsa. Rumba, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Merengue and Salsa makes use of exactly the same system – American Cuban motion. East Coast Swing utilises Swing Hop motion, Samba approach is similar to Intercontinental Samba. Bolero is unique to American type – utilising cuban movement and increase and fall.

American Easy is designed up of the following dances – Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango and Viennese Waltz. The strategy is similar to Intercontinental Standard but danced a good deal in open up positions.

There is a latest new group called Nightclub dances which can be designed up of Nightclub Two-Move, Hustle, Lindy Hop, Salsa and Argentine Tango.

Every of these Ballroom Dancing designs comes with a syllabus with ten-fifteen figures Each individual for Bronze (beginner), Silver (intermediate) and Gold (Sophisticated) amounts. Discovering the syllabus figures first is like learning the abc’s of a new language. You will learn vital ballroom dance features and ballroom dance techniques which might be then put together into figures. Identical to using the alphabet to create a phrase. Then once you dance the figures in a particular sequence, you may have choreography – similar to stringing words jointly to type sentences, into paragraphs into a music, poem or e-book.