15: A song people wouldn’t expect you to like.
When people ask me about my favorite songs of all time and I mention O-o-h Child by The Five Stairsteps they are usually quite surprised. I was actually very young when I first heard it, because at age 11 or 12 a friend introduced me to Tupac who he had borrowed the chorus from O-o-h Child in his song Keep Ya Head Up. Of course I wasn’t aware of this back then, but I did like Tupac’s song very much. Years later I was watching a skate video and – unexpectedly enough – there it was: O-o-h Child. The chorus I was so familiar with thanks to Tupac. The original version was an instant favorite, and it still is.
The Five Stairsteps – O-o-h Child
Tupac – Keep Ya Head Up
13: A song by a musician that has passed away.
Some weeks ago I watched Amy, the documentary about Amy Winehouse, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since then. I just can’t stop thinking about the tragedy that was her life. I found three scenes particularly painful to watch:
- An interview with Amy after her debut album Frank was released. Someone asks her if she thinks she’ll become famous, and her answer is that she’s sure she won’t because she’s a jazz singer and that is not a commercial genre. Hearing this was just painfully ironic, knowing the influence her work would end up having in the music industry and knowing fame would end up playing a big role in destroying her.
- A brief moment about 1:22 into the movie. Amy’s standing by a car. A few paparazzis are circulating around her. They are all hidden behind their camera lenses and constantly taking photos. Amy doesn’t look at them even though they are inches away. This scene resembles predators approaching their victim, except this is grown up human beings. Approaching another grown up human being, who they know is in deep trouble and in desperate need of help. I cannot emphasize this enough: they know about her situation. Yet they keep disturbing her, comfortably distansed by their cameras. How can a paparazzi photographer sleep at night or even spend money they’ve earned without feeling sick to their stomach? They are literally – in many cases such as this one – stressing people to death. You can never justify something like that by saying that you’re “just doing your job” or “if I don’t do it someone else will”. What also strikes me while watching this documentary is that all paparazzis are men. Enough said.
- The Belgrade concert. Despite having been in very bad condition for a long time, and despite currently being passed out at home, Amy is driven to the airport and put on a flight to Serbia to perform. The documentary shows Amy on stage. She’s apparently too drunk to do her job. Some people in the audience start booing. The look on Amy’s face is devastating. It is the face of a confused and horrified child. My thoughts watching are: “Seriously? They are booing a fellow human being who is clearly agonized and broken? Who does that?” Some people are even laughing at her. Everything about this scene is so tragic. What her life became. How people treat other people.
When you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, I would really recommend watching Amy. If you have a heart the movie might exhaust you, like it did with me. But it will be worth it, because improving your empathy is always important.
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Filed under jazz, soul, watch
New Year’s Eve. Already. A lot has changed this year. I finally graduated from the university (became a teacher), I moved to Stockholm. A whole calendar year (January – December) without ever seeing or talking to my mum passed. It still feels surreal. The whole thing. Death. A couple of days after Christmas when me and my girldfriend were in the car with dad, we drove by a car accident. While in the queue, waiting to drive past the accident scene, I think we counted to eight ambulances arriving to help those in need. When we reached the cars and people that were involved we saw things that are stuck in my head since then. Destroyed cars. At least five people lying on the ground covered in blankets (it was hard to tell if they were dead or alive). Some people hugging each other. Cops. Ambulance staff. Blinking blue lights.
Life is so fragile. Exactly how fragile is, I believe, impossible to fully understand.
I’m not going to list my favorite music from 2013 or anything like that. I just don’t find making lists like that very pleasing at all. But there are three songs that have been very popular on the radio here in Sweden (a few of them surely also in other countries) that I will keep listening to for a long time. These three songs are just fabulous, in my opinion.
Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
Seinabo Sey – Younger
(Haven’t heard of this one? You have to listen to it! Probably the best Swedish song right now.)
Mirrors is the most perfect song I’ve heard on the radio in years. Seriously. I personally think that really good radio hits are rare nowadays, but this one is… addictive. There’s just something about it that mesmerizes me. The layers of Justin’s voice. The whole production, I guess. Seeing this performance Justin did on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with the live band, makes me really wanna see him live. If he brings that band. Buy Mirrors on iTunes (or buy a physical copy of JT’s album) and put some nice headphones on to appreciate it fully.
Filed under pop, r&b, soul
A while ago I was doing the dishes and listening to the radio, and a live performance came on. It was a girl called Miriam Bryant, a name I had never heard of before. She started her set with this song (this video is from a difference performance, though):
… and as I stood there doing the dishes, I found myself really enjoying this music. Her voice is so intense. Some people mention Adele’s voice when talking about and to Miriam Bryant, and I can see why. Miriam’s voice has more of a rock touch to it, though. In my opinion.
About a day later, I heard Miriam’s song Push Play on the radio, and I realized I had heard her many times before. That song is played on the radio quite often right now. However, now that I had first got a chance to appreciate Raised in Rain, it was as if I could listen to Push Play in a new way. I really, really like that song too, now. Push Play has a more electronic, upbeat sound than Raised in Rain. Same goes with Miriam’s biggest hit so far: Finders, Keepers. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to press play on a Miriam Bryant song expecting to hear the Adele kind of music. That would just be disappointing, because the genres are totally different.
So, what does Miriam sound like? Well, check her out on YouTube or Spotify. She seems to have her roots in soul, but the music you’ll hear is more like electronic pop. Here’s her song Push Play, quite popular in Sweden right now (and maybe in other countries, too?):
Miriam Bryant currently has 4 739 listeners on Last.fm.