Beyonce Keeps it Simple

By Chris McPherson

In my nightly scan of the blogosphere I find millions of things. Unreleased songs with promise that never see the light of day, the newest sliver of juicy details celebrity gossip (FYI: Miley and Liam are now sleeping in different rooms—so sad), and a megastorm of new images. Last night, I came across an interesting photo of Beyoncé that I really liked. Here’s why.

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If you popped “Beyoncé” into any search engine, you’ll get a world of data. But try an image search and you’ll see the R&B (sometimes pop, gotta make that money), in a wide array of different “wigs” literally and figuratively. You’ll see pictures of her in movies, on stage performing, and some promotional endorsement ads. No matter which “wig” (project) the songstress may be fronting, she’s usually seen in a blonde wig. Blonde Beyoncé is pretty much the main Beyoncé. I can safely say it’s her most frequent choice.

Recently some new pictures have leaked from her and Jay Z’s controversial trip to Cuba. Looking thought the images, seeing her stripped down without much makeup, or extravagant clothing and extensions. Just simple long dark BROWN braids. I must say it was refreshing to see her like this.

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I know that it’s a bit ridiculous for me to take the time out to focus on Beyoncé’s hair decisions, but it was a nice break for her. I think that she should rock the braids more. I’m not saying I’m some natural fanatic, I’ve seen that black women have been gravitating towards wearing their hair more natural and long box braids (90’s Brandyesqe) have climbed back into trends, but I think Black women—intact any women should be able to wear their hear any way they see fit. But I will say that seeing Beyoncé with a simpler look never made her look more beautiful. And the huge bleach blonde Beyoncé I saw today on the Pepsi ad in Times Square won’t change my views on that.

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Pop Music and Potential Employers, Come and Get It

By Chris McPherson

Good music is something ubiquitous. Turn on your radio. Plug in your TV. Or just hop on YouTube for something to jam out to. But meaningful music can be hard to find.

Songs like Rihanna’s We Found Love make you wanna spin around in circles in euphoric motion for hours and never get dizzy or nauseous. Other tunes like Macklemore’s Thrift Shop may invoke an urgency to find the nearest vehicle you have the keys to and drive down a significant boulevard, while singing the lyrics like you’re wearing pre-owned clothes with questionable odors. While Pink’s Just Give Me a Reason may bring up some serious feelings that you can only express in an empty room full of pillows, ice cream and a television playing Reba reruns for hours (which in fact does happen everyday – she’s a survivor). But enough of country star Reba’s magnificent reign on daytime cable tv. Songs with meaning make you feel something.

Screenshot from music video

Selena Gomez, sometimes referred to as Sellie G, Beibs’ Baby Mama, and Disney Princess # 3, released her new song, Come & Get It, a couple weeks ago. It’s safe to call the single a “hit,” since it landed on the Billboard Hot 100’s top ten last week at number six, her highest peaking single to date. I will say this infectious tune, pickled in seduction, but somehow marinated in sex appeal, has been a guilty pleasure of mine. But where is the meaning? How does this apply to my life? I mean, I don’t have someone I can encourage to “come and get it.” I mean, I could probably write a song called “I’ve been ready, does anyone want it?”

So I sat down and tried to understand the deeper meaning behind this song. Was there a hidden allegorical thread behind these lyrics. Maybe there was a speck of symbolism within the three minutes and fifty-two seconds of pop gold. Then I thought, “Eureka, I’ve got it.” No I didn’t. But I did find that the song could serve as an anthem for the thousands of college students who are now out searching for jobs.

If you are one of these people, tell those search committees, recruiters and HR professionals, “so baby whenever you’re ready [insert five seconds of ‘ayy’].” At the end of my next job interview, right after I say goodbye, but before I leave the room, I’m gonna say, “When you ready come and get it.” Then say “na na na na” as I walk away.

When Senorita Gomez says, “When you ready come and get it,” “it” is clearly a metaphor for the hard work and dedication you plan to bring to the potential employer and/or company. Duh!

So thanks Selena, you’ve got the world dancing, and the job seekers thinking. Who doesn’t want a new employee who knows how to sing seductive lyrics to them. When you hit your interviewer with the “come hither” eyes, make sure they know you mean business. On a resume that skill can easily be filed as “persuasive mindset” or “strong communications skills.”

Thus, next time you hear Selena’s new jam, think, “will this song get me hired.” And then immediately answer yourself (it’s okay this one time because I told you so) “Yes. Yes, it will.”

“I’m not too shy to get your coffee, I got no regrets” – Come & Get It (Workforce Remix)

Tunes Remembered While Tardy

My junior year I decided to take a graphic design class. I was late all the time. It was my first time living on a different part of campus and I couldn’t rely on waking up for class 10 minutes before start time and expect to get there right on time.

Every Monday and Wednesday I rushed to class, walking swiftly- well as swiftly as I could. One thing I couldn’t do was walk to class without a pair of headphones to amp up my walk a bit.

I can’t remember what playlist I listened to at that time, but I remember now song I always listened to every day was Cupid’s Got a Gun by R&B singer, Shanell. The song also featured a rap verse by Nicki Minaj. I’m pretty sure I listened to that song every time I walked to class.

Shannel sang “He told me love was pain.”

More than two years later and I’m now in grad school working on news story about bioscience summer camps in Rochester for my public relations internship. My iPod is on shuffle, and Cupid comes on. I don’t think I’ve heard the song since my junior year, I guess I lost interest a long the way.

It brought back to my mind then. When that song was an everyday thing for me. I was 19 going on 20. I barely knew what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve had so many experiences since then. Some great, some egregious. But I’m just glad, I can look back and know that I’ve grown past who I was back then. Yes, I still have the tendency to run into a room five to ten minutes later than scheduled time, but some things never really change.

That’s So 2012

By Chris McPherson

Yes, it’s been a while since 2012, but I recently had to provide my three favorite songs of 2012 for an internship application and it really got me thinking about my music interests. i figured I’d share my top 3.

 
Rita Ora had an interesting debut in 2012, with the Rihanna comparisons, How We Do’s highly anticipated, and yet moderate success, and let’s not forget her debut album’s lack of release in the United States. With all of this, Radioactive was a gem on her album, Ora. It’s only right that music genius,Sia, co wrote this song, because it puts me on top of the world when it pounds through my headphones. The line Palms to the sky was my anthem near the end of summer 2012. Despite the fact that it was never released in the U.S. and barely promoted in the UK, this song’s potential will forever light up 2012 for me.
 
 
Rihanna made the world dance in 2010 and 2011. We were all relieved that she seemed to be in a better place after dark and gritty, Rated R. But I loved Diamonds because it reminded me that Rihanna has a way of truly pulling in her audience. Yes, We Found Love had me bouncing up and down in the club, but Diamonds meant something more than a nice beat and breathy vocals. Regardless of her relationship status this week, next week, or next month, those lyrics were rock solid emotion. RihGold.
 
 
 
To me, Beez in the Trap wasn’t just a homage to the hypothetical life of a successful and equally ambitious drug trafficker, it was hip hop gold. Crossover appeal for mainstream artists is one of the most coveted things in the pop world, so for Nicki Minaj to release a song like this right after she sang Starships were meant to fly was impressive in my book.

 

News Outlets Bow Down to more Beyonce controversy

By Chris McPherson

Beyonce has had her fair share of criticism for her song Bow Down, but it feels like this is all just a frequency of publicity stunts for the powerhouse performer lately.

First, she said she was going back in the studio to work on her fifth studio album. Then, there was the announcement of her Super Bowl performance and a lucrative Pepsi endorsement deal. Moving forward to her inauguration performance, the backlash for lip syncing, and then her live performance at a press conference subsequently after. And let’s not forget her heartfelt HBO documentary, Life is But a Dream, that even unleashed a tear from my eyes. Leading us all back to the release of the buzz track Bow Down.

This all seems a bit suspicious for someone like Beyonce, who has done a superb job of keeping herself out of the media’s attention. Yes, there were always reports of her, like her domination of Destiny’s Child, her diva demands, and surrogate accusations, but none of this ever hit mainstream media reports. What is this? PR stunts fired in heavy sequence to build enough steam for her new album? A crack in Bey’s security armor? Or are news outlets getting better at acquiring personal information from her life.

Whatever it is, I’m still a fan. I’m not 100 percent behind Bow Down, but it is a great song to dance to when no one is watching. And as the famous internet star, Glozell said in her review of the song, “is this Rihanna or Nicki Minaj?”

Here is a tribute to Bow Down I made with my friend Daisy on Saturday. Some college students sleep all Saturday, I decided to do something semi-productive. Enjoy!

Projecting Similarities, Ariana Vs. Jessica

By Chris McPherson

In 2013, it can be quite difficult task to maintain a successful career in music, while also maintaining originality. I mean, with centuries upon centuries of music, is there any melody or technique someone can use that is completely new? But it can get quite awkward when two similarities pop up around the same time. I’m talking about the music videos for young singers, Ariana Grande The Way ft. Mac Miller and Jessica Sanchez Tonight ft. Ne Yo.

If you watch both music videos, you’ll notice that they both feature the singers in front of a projector screen. Now this may not be the first time anyone has ever done this in a music video, and it probably won’t be the last time. But both of these music videos were filmed around the same time and premiered within a week of each other. So is this foul play? Did someone steal the idea from another? Or is it a mere coincidence?

Luckily this should be the least of the both girl’s worries. Grande, who got her start in 2010 on Nickelodeon’s Victorious playing the ditzy Cat Valentine, is ready to release her debut album almost two years after signing with Universal Republic Records. Sanchez on the other hand, just catapulted to fame a year ago as the runner up for 11th season of American Idol.

As far as the actual songs go, I can definitely say I side in favor of Grande. Although Sanchez’ Tonight  is a certified club banger, there isn’t much going on here besides a nice beat, a nice song, and a nice feature from Ne Yo. This comes as a suprise given than it was made by superstar production team of Mikkel Storleer Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen, better known as StarGate. These guys are the reasons for Billboard number ones like Rihanna’s Diamonds, Katy Perry’s Firework,  and Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow along with a wide set of more heavy hitters. I would have liked more.

Grande on the other hand decided to delve in her inner R&B princess. A sample of the late Big Pun’s Still Not a Player,  I dub this song a homerun. It sounds familiar while also so new, and her power house voice steals the show. Who knew a little girl from Nickelodeon could belt some sweet notes like that?

All in all, do you think the similarities are too obvious?

Cold Hearted Naya Does it Again

By Chris McPherson

Just when you think Naya Rivera can’t get any better, she knocks another Glee number out of the park. Her rendition of Paula Abdul’s number one hit Cold Hearted was not only amazing, but also seems to fill a void that was missing for a while in the fourth season of Glee.

I have been a dedicated Glee fan since the beginning and have watched the plot, characters, music and show as a whole grow since. It is obvious season four has had its ups and downs after the graduation of a large part of it’s main cast. But when Naya Rivera returned to the show this year, I was reminded of what this show was all about. Yes, Rivera made several appearances in the first have of this season, but it seems like she’s taken over the second half and I have no complaints. The show was beginning to seem like a Glee 2.0 with a Rachel Barry subplot that was not as interesting as I would have hoped it to be. Lea Michelle is an amazing singer, but her voice is so Broadway/Theatre trained that I’ve cringed at her pronunciation of some notes in her solos this season.

Rivera, on the other hand, has been bringing her all. Nutbush City Limits. Girl on Fire. And now, Cold Hearted. Although Abdul’s career was before my time, I have been exposed to her music, and Cold Hearted was one of my favorites. Rivera jazzed up the song by hitting her usual belts with her heavy vocal prowess. Abdul did a great job with this song decades ago, but Rivera stepped it up a few notches from the 1989 single. She can never disappoint when it comes to a big number. Let’s see what more she has this season.