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The news this week has been horrible.

I’m up at 3:00 a.m.  I cannot sleep.  I must remind myself not to look at Breaking News before I go to bed.

This week Weird Al Yankovic (yes, he’s still around) has dropped his new parody album.  While “Tacky” was quite funny, “Word Crimes”, a parody of “Blurred Lines”, is my favorite so far.

I needed to see and hear something light as we head into what is going to be a very stressful weekend.

 

 

Please forgive my geek out over Stromae (aka Paul Van Haver).

Last week I was in St. Martin to see my family and in Anguilla for work.  All week my sister, brother-in-law, and I, kept hearing this killer French song… in the car, at beach bars, etc.  The first time I heard it I was hooked.  It was so different from anything else out there in pop.

This morning I woke up to an email from my sister saying she Shazamed it but the clip didn’t show up until she returned to DC.

I went to iTunes because I had to buy the single. While I was there I noticed there was another single that was number one. I clicked on it and “discovered” it was  a song I’ve been hearing a lot in Italy lately.  I’ve been trying for weeks to track down it down.

Stromae was born in Belgium to a Belgium mother and a Rwandan father.  You can hear the influences of Euro dance music, African music, Caribbean music, and American hip hop in his work.

I am OBSESSED with his album Racine Carrée.   Obsessed.   It has been a monster hit in Europe, including the non French speaking countries.  I wonder if he will have a hit in the States.  I cannot remember the last French song to do so.  It also reached the top ten in Canada.

I will always associate this song with being in Caribbean.  It’s only March but it’s in the running to be my summer of 2014 jam.  The drums are giving me life.  Seriously.

 

Stromae studied music and film in school.  This video moved me.  His father was killed during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

 

And the song that is currently a huge hit in Italy.  Stromae showing both sides of a relationship.

Despite studying French for seven years in school, I speak at most ten words.  I looked up the translations to Stromae music.   His lyrics address a variety of issues, most of them pretty heavy.  There is substance to go with the beats.  I get why he has received both critical and commercial success.

I haven’t been this excited about a new (to me) artist since the first time I heard Amy Winehouse.

 

 

In the States we tend to define ourselves by what we do for a living.  Therefore, working in any creative field is not easy.  There’s the whole art vs business debate, the struggle to actually make a living, and the fact that most people have no idea what it is you do day-to-day.

I sometimes buy into this, feeling unanchored because I cannot be put into a specific category.   The last time I was in Los Angeles, I was speaking with a friend who’s an agent at CAA.  He  told me that I was over-thinking everything.  I could decorate and write.  I didn’t have to choose one over the other.

My brain couldn’t process this.  How could I BE two things at the same time?!

Thankfully, several of my very talented friends reminded me that creative people are creative.  Basta.   If you’re a truly creative person, you will not be fulfilled unless you are able to do the work that inspires you. It doesn’t matter what the medium is.  They also told me to stop confusing what we do with who we are.

Robert Downey Jr acts.  He also sings… well.  This confuses some people.  I don’t know why.  This is not a Paris Hilton “Stars Are Blind” situation.

Here he is singing one of my favorite Police songs.   I love his little dance move at the end.  I do that too but in the privacy of my own home.

Buon weekend!

It’s not easy to be thousands of miles away from my family on this day.   While we did celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s not a Caribbean holiday or tradition.  Christmas on the other hand, is celebrated big time on the islands and my parents brought their traditions with them to America.

It wasn’t really about the presents. However, I did flip out the year when one of my gifts was an Easy Bake Oven from “Santa” ( those cakes were gross but my family pretended to like them).   It was the decorating, the food, the music, and having our entertaining extended family over that made Christmas so fun and memorable.

Every year we went to midnight service.  Every year after church we would plead with our parents to start the tradition of opening one gift before bed.  Every year they said, “no.”   They were very consistent.

I won’t be in the Caribbean today saying, “compliments of the season” but I will be there in spirit.   Here are few of my favorite Christmas songs.

As a kid I watched this special on CBS every Christmas.  One of the best Christmas (and jazz) albums ever.

 

It wasn’t Christmas in our home until my dad busted out his Nat King Cole album.

 

Love this rendition of Mariah’s song, with the Roots and jimmy Kimmel.  The kids are too cute!

 

Does anyone else remember the group The Waitresses?  This came out in 1981.

 

Kirland and Baryhnikov, another yearly staple back in the day, on PBS.  So weird that he’s better known now for being the uptight Russian dude Carrie dated during the last season of SATC.

 

A  Motown classic from my first crush.

 

Donny Hathaway.  That voice.  He died way too soon.

 

This falls under melancholy Christmas songs.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have listened to it this year.

I was channel surfing the other day and watched a documentary about the Bee Gees on the History (!) Channel.

They were closely associated with the disco era because of the huge success of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. However, in reality they were not disco artists.

I’m always fascinated by what inspires creative people.  I was floored when I found out the inspiration for the opening bars of “Jive Talkin'” was a car going over a bridge.

The Bee Gees were recording in Miami and everyday would cross the Julia Tuttle Causeway.  This proves once again that inspiration can come from anywhere or anyone.

Buon Weekend!

No one really knows what makes a song THE song of the summer.

Is it the timing, the melody, the lyrics, sheer luck, or a combination of all these things?

One thing we know for sure is you cannot create “the song of the summer.” It just happens.

Pop culture, especially music, is so fragmented.  The song of the summer cuts across genre lines.

This year’s song of the summer, is Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”

The first time I heard this track it made me feel all the feelings.

It’s contemporary mixed with a disco-vibe.  It sounded a little like a classic from the band CHIC.  I was not surprised to read that the very talented Nile Rogers was one of the producers.

Pharell is also a producer on the song.  What a summer he’s having.  Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (with a Marvin Gaye sample) is also a monster summer hit.

I’ve just arrived in Salina and have heard this song all over the island.  When I hear it in the future it will always remind me of Summer 2013 on a beautiful Italian island.

Here is the male model version from the CFDA’s.  Unfortunately, it’s not a walk off.  I would like to see a gentleman wear an outfit from Thom Browne’s Amish/Hasidic collection off the runway, including the hat.

Someone did a ’70s Soul Train line mash up. The dude at 0:31 is too cool for school.  Love it. The fashion is amazing.  Some of these dresses you could wear now.

If this doesn’t make you move, call your doctor, you might be dead.

Buon weekend a tutti!

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