Affection for your favorite artists

Well it certainly looks as if I’m not going to be able to give up this habit of using this blog to write about just about anything that comes to mind.
My thought of the day, if you will.

Anyway, when I found out that my favorite artist was going to be performing on Regis & Kelly this morning, I knew that I’d have to get up at 9am no matter what.
Naturally what ends up happening is that I wake up an hour earlier and I’m tossing and turning, falling asleep and waking up as the minutes tick by.
Of course I have a dream that I oversleep and miss most of the show, though catch some of the performance at the end.

One thing that really hasn’t cemented itself into my mind is the fact Jesse McCartney doesn’t have blonde hair or bangs anymore. That signature look I knew him by way back when… say, early 2000’s, 2000-2, maybe even up to 2003 when I saw him in concert and had a more fitting encounter rather than that fangirl-ish that gripped me the year before.

There’s a year or two difference in my age, but let me tell you something. You try standing in a non-moving line (seemingly) for 3 hours and staying calm afterwards.
As if coming of age from 14 to 16 is a big leap… I like to think so, but anything to defend whatever dignity I had left after that.

I’m sure every female fan has that experience at least once in their life. I’m never going to fall into the trap of “Bieber fever” or whatever the hell you wanna call it. “Beatles Mania” was way before my time, but hey, Dream Street was my flavor of that particular phenomenon. We all have that one artist we got crazy for.

But its also true that we have a certain artist that we feel such an affection for that you’ll follow them through just about anything. The sound of their voice just feels like home.

One thing Prince has taught us about being a musical artist is that you need to be able to adapt and change with the times. You always have to keep growing or you really won’t stand a chance against the mass amount of people just waiting to take your place if you can’t keep things interesting.

The case with my favorite artist is, well, let’s just say “interesting” is the best word I can use to describe it.

Let the record show, or keep showing because this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this, that my first impression of all of Jesse’s albums to this point really haven’t been positive. I expect one thing and hear another. The case of his first and third album, the sound was completely different from what I’m used to. The third album was a struggle at best, at first.

At this point, I was starting to phase out of my “all purple music, all the time” phase that I was in for nearly a year. I came up for air for my artist’s new album and then I find myself sinking back into Prince’s music to get away from the change I didn’t want to face.

As an artist grows, their sound changes. Its inevitable.
Needless to say, I took a lot of comfort of Jesse’s sound. That fine line between pop and R&B, but it was more guitar-oriented and organic. Opposed to the electronic R&B, keyboard sound that I have now.

Wow, its the Musicology/3121 debate all over again.

There’s an interesting debate (there’s that word again) I have with “Right where you want me” and “Departure” as well.

On the one hand, I love the sound of the music in the first, but I get a little enjoyment out of the more mature lyrics of “Departure.” He named it as such because its a departure from his old sound.

If I had it my way, I’d ask for dozens of albums just like “Right where you want me”… the continuation of that guitar-driven sound and lyrics that are more sung than rapped. There are only maybe a handfull of rap tracks on Depature, one of which I never listen to because the implications of it scared me to death. If I had it my way, I’d have a talk with him and ask him not to go into that territory or at least not linger long enough that it’ll swallow him whole.

Then he’d be just like all of the people in the industry that I can’t stand. They’ve gotten less and less over the years to the point I can’t count them on one hand. Maybe there are one or two… although Eminen always has a designated place.

And I thought I’d never use my middle finger for anything… if I had to count my least favorite people who have record deals on my hand, I’ll always count Eminen on my middle finger.

Strangely enough, though, my least favorite people these days, I can actually call them artists because they do write music.
Except for maybe “If its love”… I can’t stand Train. “Drops of Jupiter” I still don’t understand. “Meet Virginia” really doesn’t go anywhere. And that “Soul Sister” track… annoys me to no end, can’t even tell you.

Why the hell would a white guy write about having a “soul sister”… I’m under the impression that’s not one of our expressions.

I’d like to take a moment right now, while I’m kinda on race, it seems like this is becoming another generation where hate crimes are a common thing. And personally, I don’t get any of it. All of my past prejudices aside from when I was, boy how long ago is this… anyway, all of this coverage of hate crimes where two men beat a Hispanic immigrant to death and an African American at a local high school, the only one in that high school, found a picture of the KKK on his laptop’s desktop… then don’t get me started on the growing suicide rate among homosexuals… it just sounds too horrible. Why aren’t we over any of this yet? The whole black/white picture of the nation was so 50’s and 60’s. Shouldn’t we be over these prejudices by now?

Ironically, Prince didn’t really get a taste of any of that until he opened for the Rolling Stones. He said in one interview that he grew up in a very black and white neighborhood so the colors were raised together.
Huh, this makes me think of his song “The Sacrifice of Victor” and one particular verse:

1967 in a bus marked, “Public Schools”
Rode me and a group of unsuspecting political tools
Our parents wondered what it was like 2 have another color near
So they put their babies 2gether 2 eliminate the fear
We sacrifice – yes, we did
Fighting one another
We sacrifice – all because of color The angel of hate – she taught me how 2 kick her
If she called me anything but “Victor”
If the only thing that tells is Father Time
Then sacrifice is a mutha sublime – we love it

Now that we know that the line “epiletic until the age of 7” is true, this verse could have some truth to it as well. These kind of things make you think.

Anyway, here’s a plea for world peace in the future.
Although I can’t make any promises about accepting illegal Mexicans… I don’t think we should beat them to death or anything that drastic, but that doesn’t mean that I like that they’re sneaking over the border.

Now I lost my place…
my least favorite artists.

I can’t really remember any of them because most of the ones I was complaining about aren’t in the hot seat anymore.

Justin Timberlake’s been taking time off from music for commericals where he’s playing himself. I’m all for that and his voiceover work isn’t too shabby either.

It bugs me that Justin Bieber probably will be more famous than Jesse will ever be as a singer and last night, I confess myself a little disappointed that Zac Efron is probably going to be a more famous actor than Jesse will ever be.

Both of them were a part of the show “Summerland,” but Jesse was one of the main stars. Zac Efron came on as a friend/boyfriend of Jesse’s sister on the show, and he has his share of drama as well. Jesse’s Bradin falls into the trap that engulfs some high school athletes, performance enchancing drugs, balancing their sport of choice, homework and girlfriend(s). He’s probably not a remarkable surfer, but he learned to do some for the role.

Zac Efron’s Cameron dealt with more home-grown issues. The only one I remember is that his dad was abusive and so there was a good bunch of experience he got.

Now he will probably be further known as Troy Bolton of the High School Musical franchise. You can knock it all you want, but aside from the 2nd movie (because it didn’t take place duirng the school year and not quite as believable), I love it.
I made a little post a few months back about the third movie and how it met my expectations just fine. That’s one set of movies not to be forgotten anytime soon, I guarantee it.

I’d need my fingers and toes to count my favorite artists, I have so many. But there really aren’t that many of them that are “relevent”… people in this day and age would know who they are and say that they listen to them too.
Of course it depends on who you ask.
You ask my musical aficianado uncle, a guy who could hear a classic song between the 50’s and 80’s and name the artist, and you’ll hear such a wide range of people from the heyday of 60’s/70’s rock n’ roll.

You ask anyone my age on the street and they’ll probably name Lady Gaga, Kesha,  and Justin Bieber alongside artists I never heard of and/or don’t listen to.

I have a wide range and I really do try to look into today’s artists and pick ones I think are going in the right direction.

Maroon 5 could possibly hit that pitfall I mentioned earlier, the artists that don’t change and adapt don’t stick around. Although rumor is, according to Adam Levine, the success of this album will determine whether or not the band stays together to make another one.
I’ll stick with Adam Levine if he goes solo, but I will not stick with Maroon 5 if they get a new lead singer. Unless of course its the lead singer for Five for Fighting because he has a similar voice.

Rob Thomas probably won’t reach to the point of any of the bigger names in his given genre, but he’s a personal favorite. I took a chance on him after I fell in love with “Her Diamonds” and made it my ringtone. Probably of the best chances I ever took and now I’m raring to get his first solo album and possibly some MatchBox20 stuff.

I found myself floored just moments ago when I found that his song with Santana “Smooth” is actually on an album we have. I never would have thought to look there.
I didn’t really get into the song at the time because I found Rob Thomas’s voice to be a little harsh and abrasive. But once I found out what he was actually singing, I’d gotten to enjoy it (apparently the Grammy committee thought the same thing because it won 4 grammys) and whenever I hear that song, I remember when it was popular on the radio.
Late 1999 when we were driving back and forth to Wilmington, Delaware for my many visits to the DuPoint hospital. I was never down there for pleasant circumstances but a little music goes a long way.

John Mayer probably has a leg up on Rob Thomas that comes with a little more experience as a solo artist. He’s remotely pleasant to listen to, though not to the same degree.

I got to think about this the other day. I find it a little depressing that most of my albums aren’t all happy-go-lucky as far as the vibe goes. Maroon 5 comes and goes between different songs. I’m come to accept more of their newest album.  “Hands all Over” (title track) feels like an underground hit in a way I didn’t expect to like it, but it just kinda grew on me. I guess I can blame it on that one time when I was listening to my headphones but there was something else going on in the car at the time so I didn’t really hear the song. The second play did it. There’s a nice edge to the guitar in it, and the pacing of the lyrics is something that Adam Levine is brilliant at. He knows how to phrase the lyrics to where they have the most effect and you’re more likely to remember them later on.

The only thing about the album is that it slowly tapers off to depressing ending. “Out of Goodybes” is a great duet between the group and Lady Antebellum, but every other song for the remaining 20 minutes is sad, talking about saying goodbye, break-ups, all that melodramatic jazz.

Something I’ve been trying to do lately ever since Prince came into the framework is listen to albums in their entirity or given them a chance in that respect. “Amerian Idiot” is one of the few I can do that with simply because I’d hate to leave one track off the album. It’s like you’re missing a small part of the overall progression.

That’s recently become a popular new musical.
I would absolutely LOVE for a “Songs about Jane” musical featuring Maroon 5’s music and it includes songs from all their albums so you get more than one piece to a particular puzzle. They tell of the ins and outs, ups and downs about love. Might be a very soap-operatic musical, but you gotta have a little of that in there anyway.
I’d love for a chance to sequence the songs to a point they’d work in a story and send it in. Just to see if anything happens.

And as I’ve mentioned time and time again, Hall & Oates has become a huge part of all of this. It seem that I can’t go a month without listening to some of their songs. I’d ask myself every now and then, what I have done all my life without their music?
Truth be told, I think I still would be getting on fine without them, but its hard to get over the stuff that truly makes you happy. They’re just another part of the 80’s that I can hang on to and enjoy anytime I wish.

I will say this: if I had not been working where I was, I probably wouldn’t have gotten curious enough to check them out. Because I heard “Kiss on my List” maybe dozens of times as well as “Out of Touch.” There were songs on the radio I didn’t know the artist of, I’d look them up and find some of them, I’d actually heard of.

There are some rock songs I wouldn’t have gotten a feel for without the exposure.
When I first got the Internet back on my own PC, the first YouTube video I watched (or listened to) was “Layla” by Derek & The Dominos, featuring Eric Clapton on guitar.
I don’t know much about the guy, but I’ve heard amazing things about him that I can’t remember.

The thing that sticks out for me in this song, okay things, come in three. There’s the signature guitar riff you can’t mistake for anything else. I’m sure I’d heard it for years, but had no idea who’s it was. My favorite part is the piano coda that takes the second half of the song. I’ve heard it was in the background in the movie “Goodfellas”… meaning that at some point I’ll probably have to see it.

For me, few things in a song hit me as hard as a good ending. Maybe it’s bit of OC’ness (as in OCD), but a song’s not quite fitting unless the end is just right, on the right note.
I will literally listen to hear to the whole song just for the high-pitched bird call at the very end.

I’d put it up there with some of Prince’s sharpest endings. “I’m Yours,” “Live 4 Love,” and “Alexa de Paris.”

I played it half a dozen times over the course of a week and right now, I’m able to recall it in an instant. It’s a little indescribable something extra.

Despite how big an influence Prince has been to my life as a music junkie, I don’t have quite the same relationship with his music that I do with my favorite artist.

Your favorite artist is the only one where one album listen on a rainy day makes you feel better. It makes you feel like you’re hanging out with your best friend. Their triumphs became yours and the opposite part of the spectrum is true as well.
Try laying in bed or your favorite chair with your favorite album by your favorite artist sometime. If you ever need a time out from reality, something to chill you out and relax when you’ve had a hard day or its in the middle of the day and you didn’t get enough sleep the night before.

Doing something like that every once in a while is good for you.
Trust me.

I spent one midmorning in between classes alone in my campus apartment listening to “Right where you want me” and I tell ya, it was the best midmorning/afternoon I spent that week.

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