April 23, 2010

Friday musings: music, hook-ups, and flowers

Posted in Feminism, Music, Musings at 10:50 am by The Lizard Queen

I’ve been on a Liz Phair kick lately, focused especially on Exile in Guyville.  A couple of weeks ago now I found myself in a dilemma, as I had “Fuck and Run” stuck in my head all day, and normally when I have a song in my head, I’ll sing it, I’ll listen to it multiple times, etc.–but I was at work, and that’s not exactly a song that can be called “safe for work,” in the parlance of our times.

So, with that background, you can perhaps imagine my delight at the recent Tiger Beatdown post that discussed “Fuck and Run” (plus another song by some dude)!  That got me thinking about a couple of related things that would have been sort of tangential and derailing to put in the comments at TB, but that’s part of why I have my own blog, no?  Here we are, then: Read the rest of this entry »

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August 19, 2009

Hump Day Music: Dar Williams

Posted in Music at 1:50 pm by The Lizard Queen

I thought I’d post some tunes in anticipation of our going to see Dar in concert tonight!  (I’m super excited.)

“What Do You Hear in These Sounds,” from her 1997 album The End of the Summer:

A couple of songs that are way better than their videos (though of course Dar is, as always, adorable in them): “It’s Alright” [sic] from the new album, Promised Land, and “As Cool As I Am” (one of my favorite Dar songs ever), from her 1996 album Mortal City.

Eee!  🙂

August 11, 2009

Musings on motets and writing without acquiring encyclopedic knowledge on a subject

Posted in Blogging, Music, Musings, Personal at 4:15 pm by The Lizard Queen

Gye Nyame recently requested a post about songs I like, which I’m going to interpret relatively loosely, because on his blog he recently mentioned motets (or rather, I see as I click over to the post in question, a particular motet), and I thought, ooh!  Motets!  I know about motets.

When I was a junior in high school I got it into my head that I should audition for choir.  I’m not sure where the idea came from (I was… okay, and really still am, when given half a chance… a dedicated band geek), maybe from successful experiences in various musicals, but I do distinctly remember my boyfriend at the time pooh-poohing the idea.  (Harrumph.)  At any rate, I have a good ear, which got me into the chamber choir for my senior year.  In the chamber choir we focused largely on motets, about which I went over to Wikipedia to brush up my knowledge/memories.

Whereupon I discovered that I pretty much don’t know anything about motets.  Read the rest of this entry »

December 23, 2008

Deep as the sea of Yoko

Posted in Feminism, Music at 5:50 pm by The Lizard Queen

Over at the Curvature, Cara is in the midst of an exceptional series about Yoko Ono, feminism, and the Beatles.  Here are a couple of brief excerpts from what she’s written so far:

Introduction: Oh Yoko!

Yoko Ono’s name is tossed around as an insult, sometimes “jokingly,” sometimes really and truly hatefully.  Any woman who dates a male band member and expects to be treated like a person, or any woman who is seen to in some way cause a change in a male artist of any kind, is particularly at risk of being called “Yoko.”  To a lesser extent, so is any woman who expects to be given equal consideration as her partner and her partner’s friends friends. Why is it an insult, exactly?  Well, because “everyone” hates Yoko Ono.  She’s a mentally unbalanced, scheming, money-grubbing, castrating bitch. Oh, and she broke up the Beatles.  Or so they say.

. . . If you actually take the time to read Beatles history, you’ll see pretty clearly that the cracks in the band were showing for some time before John Lennon even met Yoko.  John was growing away from the Beatles musically, struggling with drug addiction and with the insecurity he seemed to feel in varying degrees throughout most of his life, and was therefore lashing out and pulling away from the group.  Paul McCartney was making a power grab for control of the band, one that he was winning and John felt powerless to stop — and while John had a tendency to be nasty to the people closest to him, Paul had a tendency to be extremely condescending and controlling.  George Harrison was resentful of John and (especially) Paul’s refusal to take his songwriting and musicianship seriously — even though despite being neither the greatest songwriter or vocalist in the group, he was absolutely fucking brilliant.  Ringo Starr never had a serious problem with any of the other Beatles, but was feeling incredibly marginalized within the band and distraught over the disharmony.

The other thing that changed my mind was John himself, and his persistent, repeated earnestness in professing that he wanted out of the Beatles long before Yoko and she only gave him the strength to do it; not to mention his proclamations of happiness and rightful insistence that anyone who hated Yoko and didn’t respect their relationship certainly didn’t love him or have his best interests at heart.

And realizing that Yoko wasn’t to blame for the Beatles breakup makes you ask a question. Why does the myth persist?

Part One: The Ballad of John and Yoko

John saw Yoko as a similar musical talent who he wanted to work with and who he thought could do the Beatles some good. Of course, whether or not this was a reasonable belief is another story. Though a big fan of Yoko as a person, a thinker and an artist, I do not enjoy her music. I also don’t pretend that I am a great arbitrator in taste — and Pop Feminist has a good feminist defense of her music.  But in the end, it’s really not the point. The Beatles didn’t reject Yoko because they thought she was a crap musician — the thought of Yoko as a legitimate musician never actually seemed to cross their minds — but because she was a woman, and because the role of a Beatles woman was at home waiting for you all dolled up, not sitting by your side.

John asserted more than once, and entirely correctly, that they never would have treated any other musician like that. He said that he brought Yoko in and expected that she would be treated with the same respect that their other musical buddies got, and would play with the band just like they did. Instead, the Beatles didn’t even have the decency to say that they didn’t like Yoko’s music, to argue with her when they disagreed, or to discuss the situation with John. They just ignored her. And I’d say that gave John and Yoko both the right to be pissed the fuck off.

. . . Now, I’m not saying that Yoko was never an asshole to the Beatles. I’m sure that she was. I’m saying that she was hardly the only or the worst asshole in the room. They were all acting like assholes — but as the history gets told, Yoko’s the one who bears the blame. The truly amazing thing is that in order to actually believe this, you have to totally erase the fact that John wanted her there. She wasn’t showing up in her own car, throwing hissy fits or tracking them down at secret locations. No, sadly for her detractors this misogynistic stereotype didn’t fit Yoko at all.  When Yoko showed up at a meeting that everyone seemed to think that she had no right to attend — even when it was to discuss major decisions that would, as John’s wife, affect her own financial future — it was because John brought her. She didn’t infiltrate, she was invited.

Now, I love the Beatles, but Cara loves them even more.  And I think her clear appreciation of the band and her vast familiarity with all the little details of the band’s lives and day-to-day experiences — the sort of familiarity only a die-hard fan is likely to have — is a big part of what makes this series so excellent.  While I don’t know as much about Yoko Ono as I’d like, I find her fascinating (and I actually love a lot of her art, at least the pieces I’ve heard about), and I’ve never been comfortable with the vitriol directed at her in pop culture.  Cara’s series is a brilliant counterpoint to that vitriol.  If you’re at all interested in the Beatles, Yoko Ono, and/or intersections of popular music and feminism, I highly recommend checking out the series (just the two posts so far, but more are coming).

[My post title comes from the lyrics of Dar Williams’s songI Won’t Be Your Yoko Ono.”]

November 4, 2008

Music for Election Night

Posted in Current events, Music, Politics at 10:40 pm by The Lizard Queen

This song popped into my head as I was sitting here, watching election coverage on TV and poking through my overfull blog reader.  Oddly enough, the version I tend to hear in my head is Simon & Garfunkel’s, I went looking for Bob Dylan’s, but was struck by Tracy Chapman’s rendition, so that’s what I’m posting.  (After watching this video I enjoyed a lovely live rendition of “Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution,” but thought that might be a bit much, all things considered.  That said, though, if you like such things and weren’t already aware, Tracy Chapman’s debut is a fucking amazing album.  Just sayin’.)

Anyway, on to the music — The Times, They Are A-Changin’:

March 27, 2008

Thursday YouTubein’: 12!

Posted in Children and adolescents, Music at 8:31 am by The Lizard Queen

A bit of nostalgia for a dreary (here, anyway) Thursday: the counting-to-12 song from Sesame Street:

January 24, 2008

Thursday YouTubein’ — They Might Be Giants

Posted in Music at 6:41 pm by The Lizard Queen

Just ’cause.  🙂

Ana Ng:

Dr. Worm:

The Statue Got Me High:

January 3, 2008

Thursday YouTubein’ — “Weird Al” Yankovic

Posted in Humor, Music at 4:20 pm by The Lizard Queen

Not much to say about this week’s installment except that I’m always up for some humor, and I suspect Al Yankovic and I would get along famously. 🙂

“White and Nerdy” (a parody of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’;” from Straight Outta Lynwood, 2006):

“Bob” (an original song in the style of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues;” all the lines are palindromes; from Poodle Hat, 2003):

Read the rest of this entry »

January 2, 2008

Hump Day Poetry: Robert Burns

Posted in Music, Poetry at 11:03 pm by The Lizard Queen

It’s actually a song, rather than a poem, but I thought it was appropriate either way. More than once someone around me has asked, probably rhetorically, whether anyone really knows all the words to Auld Lang Syne. The answer, of course is yes: while I personally only knew the first verse and the chorus before looking it up, Wikipedia knows all

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ auld lang syne

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
Read the rest of this entry »

November 29, 2007

Thursday YouTubein’ — La Dolly

Posted in Music at 3:36 pm by The Lizard Queen

Liss posted this video today, and I couldn’t help but snap it up for myself, as I too am a lover of Dolly and Amy:

I also very much appreciated what Liss had to say about the song in the above-linked post’s comment thread:

Normally, that sort of “pull yourself up” Oprah-y, “The Secret”-y message bugs me

Me, too. But the difference with Dolly is that she doesn’t say you need to “fix” yourself if your house is a mess or you’re overweight or whatevthefuck; she’s saying, “That’s fine — don’t let it stop you!”

In a subtle but real way, this song is the antidote to that other stuff, which is based on letting you know something’s wrong with you that needs to get fixed. Here, the message is specifically that you shouldn’t feel that way. Go out and live your life and be happy and strive and try and achieve, no matter what.

Cool.  More Dolly-love — in the form of a wicked cool cover featuring Nickel Creek — after the fold: Read the rest of this entry »

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