the hook brings you back

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
Well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
Well that’s alright because I love the way you lie ~ Rihanna (Love the Way You Lie)

does RiRi look like she's been crying?

I heard this song the first time a few weeks ago, and being an appreciator of RiRi’s voice, and susceptible to hooks, in general, I kinda liked it.  I’m a reluctant-at-best Em listener…so I wasn’t an actual fan of the song.  Didn’t hear the whole thing the first time – I suppose I had to get out of the car for some reason.  But the hook was most of what I heard.  Melodic and sultry, the way Rihanna is, what’s not to like?  Most of the time I’m into the music/beat of whatever anyway.  Not that I don’t appreciate great lyrical content – believe me I do.  That’s actually why I’m writing.

Because I think this song is supposed to be marketed as some kind of anthem for survivors of domestic abuse – people who “give as good as they get” in physical altercations in the relationship.

Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t mean
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
But your temper’s just as bad as mine is
You’re the same as me –

The video depicts a couple that fights and makes up fiercely.  In a house that burns on the outside, but seems mostly livable on the inside.  Some folks think it does a good job of demonstrating the dysfunctionality of violent relationships.  Some folks aren’t touching that with a red apple.  Megan Fox is in it, and donated her money from the vid to a women’s shelter for domestic abuse survivors.  That’s nice.

But tonight is the first time I watched the video, and while I’m sure I’m one of the few who hadn’t seen it, I still don’t think the visual overwhelms or undoes these troublesome lines:

Next time? There won’t be no next time
I apologize, even though I know it’s lies
I’m tired of the games, I just want her back. I know I’m a liar
If she ever tries to f****n’ leave again,
I’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire –
Eminem (Love the Way You Lie)

I just can’t get over those lines.  Having Rihanna sing the hook to this seems in particular poor taste.  I could see the hook in another context, but in this one – no.  NO.  I’m under no illusions – there are relationships like the ones depicted in the video out there.  And the video doesn’t seem to glorify that life too much…  But the lyrics.

The lyrics in the verses are the meat of any song – and these verses only speak from one POV – that of the man, in power.  The lines accuse the woman  of having a similar temper/being the same way.  He begs her to stay, and admits that his promise not to be violent again is a lie.  And then threatens to kill her.

Except, since this is a one-sided tale, we get no indication that she really does give as good as she gets.  In fact, in the video, Ms. Fox does indeed lash out quite a lot – but there’s a point where it looks as though she will be raped by Mr. Monaghan.  There is no point that I remember that looked as though she would rape him.  So it seems that she has quite a good reason to leave.  Excellent even.  Maybe one side of the story and an ending where everyone burns is enough to demonstrate the awfulness of domestic violence.  I would’ve liked someone to be led away in handcuffs and someone to be shown in recovery.  But that’s just me.

Either way, this is not the kind of song I can listen to over and over.  Not something I want to hear on the radio.  And yet somehow, it’s made it to No. 1 on the BillBoard Hot 100.  Am I just officially old now – completely disgusted by lyrics about killing a partner for trying to leave a domestic abuse situation?  Or is this seriously a sucky way to ‘address’ domestic abuse?

i need a new phone

junotI’ve been trying to vote for the lovely Ju’not and his smooth rendition of Hey There, Delilah on tonight’s Idol [the final 12].  But because I have the Samsung Glyde, I’m handicapped by having to press what seems to be an excessive amount of buttons to redial his number [05 – hint hint].  Or – I could just not know how to use my phone optimally.  That *could* be it…but I don’t think so.  Anyway, I’m hoping some other folks will vote for this guy cuz I loved what he did with the song, even if his performance did get a little buried amongst so many mediocre others.

I’m also feelin Lil Rounds [is this her real name?] and can’t wait to hear her do something a lil [ugh, puns] different.

I’m somewhat reminded of an article I read earlier today discussing the imbalance between American demographic realities and Hollywood’s scripted tv shows (in regards to featuring POCs).  Reality shows tend to feature POCs [in central/starring roles] with a MUCH higher frequency than scripted sitcoms and dramas.  Although it has often seemed to me, at least on network tv, that the POCs are there to serve some quota purposes.  They are there for the initial shows, as it would be to obvious to eliminate them at the first opportunity, but once everybody has acknowledged that the show fulfilled their EEOC obligations, the POCs are on the chopping block.

Take, for example, this season of Survivor, which I’m loving.  Taj is freakin awesome, and I hope she stays til the end.  But the article referenced at Racialicious states that 3 blacks are in the current cast of Survivor.  Not anymore.  It’s just Taj now.  [granted, the article’s from 2/22]  But to make the picture clearer, take a gander at the Bachelor/Bachelorette series.  These shows never actually fit in the group featuring POCs, but they would usually have one or two tokens in the initial competition – fading away fairly quickly.  [I don’t know if this was true for every single season, as there’ve been a bunch of them, and I can’t stand the show.  But I do remember this being a pattern with several seasons.]

Idol’s been one of the shows that has tended closer to an American representation, with fairly diverse top 12’s in the past.  I’ve been ranting about this season sucking the big one – which I ultimately still believe at this point – but I have to say, tonight’s 12 were much more promising than the previous 24.  Excluding Danny – who has a great voice and a great story for melting all the sentimental hearts.

**one moment.  apparently I’ve fallen for a spoof email and need to close my credit card account**

Ok.  So where was I?  Ah.  Uh.  Kinda hard to keep your train of thought when you’re thinking about people unscrupulously using your credit or showing up at your house to harvest your Wii.

Anyway, tonight was better than the previous two weeks shows, and held the last two POCs that may or may not make it into the top 12.  I’m thinking that Lil has a better chance, because her performance was at the end of the show – helping her stand out.  So I’m voting for Ju’not, and hoping.

But this doggone phone…..

idol 1st 12 – eliminations

So, last night I forgot to talk about the crappy sound/mic issues that the contestants had to deal with.  And Paula’s awful hair.  But the mic issues are back this evening – with the group performance of I’m Yours.  Not the best group song, actually, and Michael’s crowding Anoop out of the frame, which is sad – cuz I love Anoop.  But Paula’s hair is better tonight.

Alexis is safe.  Michael beat out Anoop by 20,000 votes, which sucks.  Anoop’s personality is awesome, though – as much as I’ve seen.  I’d like to know him.

And now, an insignificant blast from the past: Carly and Mike from last season.  They sing a really blah song through the still-crappy mic issues.  I forgot

And then Tatiana and Danny are the last two contestants.  And because America is not completely insane, Danny is through to the top 12.

3 down, 9 to go.

new idol season: blech

Everyone had awful song choices.  Everyone.idol-logo

I didn’t even listen to the person who chose to sing Donnie Hathaway’s A Song For You – it’s been so overdone, I barely like to hear *Donnie’s* version anymore.  Fast forwarded through most of all the other performances – from A Little Less Conversation to Saving All My Love and the hideous in between of Every Little Thing She Does, Rock With You.

There were two OK performances tonight: Alexis Grace and Danny Gokey.  And since there were so many terrible performances between Alexis and Danny, the judges were ecstatic to hear an actual good job on a song, and went Kuh-Ray-Zay over Danny.  [All except for Simon, who kept his head.]  Alexis did Aretha’s I Never Loved a Man, and didn’t suck.  She was  a ray of sunshine after the first two contestants, whose names I don’t think we’ll need to know.  But this is Aretha, y’all.  Big song to go after on night #1.  Danny chose another inspirational/sad song – as he always does.  I’m a HUGE Mariah fan – seriously – but I don’t need to hear Hero again.  I already lived through the 90s.

I have her entire catalog – minus maybe 2 songs? – and I just pretend that Hero doesn’t exist.  I’ll listen to One Sweet Day first.

So – why did these people choose these awful songs?  [Awful, in the sense of being completely wrong for their personalities and voices, with the exception of Danny, who hit with both, just -sadly- his personality is still on the negative side with the sympathy thing for his wife. …but I digress]  I have no clue why these people take months to come up with sorry crap – it’s hard, it’s scary…but it’s American Idol.  It’s the same show every year.

Surprise!  You have to choose songs that fit you, your personality, and remain current and relevant.

Most of tonight’s contestants were completely forgettable, and I’ve already forgotten them.  Hopefully Danny gets through.  Alexis would be nice, but doesn’t have to.  Everyone else should go home.  And Jamar should’ve been in one of their places.  Complete travesty, that.

Here’s hoping next week will be better.

ETA: Forgot Anoop was in this group.  He was lost in a sea of bad song choices and worse performances.  He did Monica’s Angel of Mine, and shouldn’t have.  He might be lost, which would be sad, cuz he’s cool.  But he was off tonight.

heroes: plot sinkhole

one reason I'm still watching

one reason I'm still watching

I’m addicted.  It’s so obvious I’m addicted.

I keep watching even though it’s … it’s sad.  How does a DHS official with a direct line to the president physically observe a woman she knows being tortured, issue a threat to close the entire operation down and charge a senator with human rights violations, and then she walks back out of the torture room – leaving her friend to be tortured?

Then it was sewed up quite nicely when Tracy was left to break the chains and show off her power right in front of the same DHS official.  Just in time to get a bunch of funding for Nathan’s evil plan.

Indian food?

oh these judges.


Jamar [best friend of Danny (whose wife died)] didn’t make it to the top 36 of American Idol.  Danny made it.  Jorge Nunez [with some real shaky vocals] made it.  Tatiana – the most annoying contestant to ever be on the show – made it.

Nobody – nobody – wanted Tatiana to make it.

And Jamar – cool, soulful rocker Jamar – no more.

That ‘Norman Gentle’ dude made it.  Matt and Michael made it.  Not Jamar.

I’m glad Anoop made it, but it won’t be as fun without Jamar.

it begins.

the requisite Idol commentary

It has been said that this season of American Idol holds the most-talented group of contestants. I do not agree. Maybe they’re just not showing the talented moments on tv. We’re in the top 24 stage, right now, 12 girls and 12 guys. Last night was unspeakably bad. Like – actually – I can’t talk about it. I fast-forwarded through most of it cuz it sucked SO bad. There may be …two? salvageable guys?

The girls, on the other hand, actually lend themselves to review – so here they are:

kristy.jpgKristy Lee Cook, “Rescue Me” – nothing spectacular, but she was on key, for the most part, so that’s good.

jo-anne.jpgJoanne Borgella, “Forever” – I just don’t like the tone of her voice. It seems to border on shrill. Maybe she just doesn’t have a lot of control. Whatever the issue, the performance wasn’t very good. She’s prettier than her voice.

alaina.jpgAlaina Whitaker, “Love You More Today” (?) – THE worst song of the night – sung very well. I hated the song. Passionately. It was terrible, but she brought energy and warmth to empty words and a lackluster tune. I hope she gets to stay.

amanda.jpgAmanda Overmyer, “Baby, Please Don’t Go” – I haven’t liked her from the beginning. I’ve tried. I just don’t like her. She performed well. But – ugh. I do not like her. Or her hair.

amy.jpgAmy Davis, “Where the Boys Are” – I really like that song, so it was really sad to hear it done so badly. I actually fast-forwarded through most of it. Maybe she’s really sick and nervous and that’s why her voice wobbled and wouldn’t stay on pitch. That could be it. If she makes it to next week she’s gonna hafta step it up.

brooke.jpgBrooke White, “Imagine Me and You” – Poor song choice. She needed to pick something better for her range. She’s not going anywhere though, because she has a passing voice and her looks/personality will carry her at least a couple more weeks. [if not much further]

alexandrea.jpgAlexandrea Lushington, “Spinning Wheel” – Possibly my favorite performance of the night. Sung well, with attitude and inflection. And an excellent song choice. I love this song, so I’m completely biased, but it’s gotta say something for me to think she did it fair justice for an early Idol rendition. I think Simon was furthest off-base with his critique on this song. [He said he didn’t ‘get it’.] I will say, though, that there were better singers on the stage tonight.

kady.jpgKady Malloy, “Groovy Kind of Love” – I had no idea this song was actually from the 60’s. I know Phil Collins’ version and that’s it. This girl’s probably not going home, but the song has been done better. WAY better. I’m not sure she’s got longevity in thie competition, though.

asiah.jpgAsia’h Epperson, “Piece of My Heart” – Stellar performance. Maybe best of the night. This girl’s got to go far – she’s good.

ramiele.jpgRamiele Malubay, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” – Very well done. She’s probably one of the best with control and musical styling. I’d actually love for her to win it all, but I fear that versatility is not her strong suit. I’ll cross my fingers anyway.

syesha.jpgSyesha Mercado, “Tobacco Road” – Good job. Not my favorite, but very well done, just the same. She’ll be in for the long haul unless something crazy happens.

carly.jpgCarly Smithson, “The Shadow of Your Smile” – Good, but not great. I don’t really like this girl’s personality.

Paula’s hair: scary. Why are the extensions hugging her so tightly? It’s just too long and a lil bit scary.

So far: guys – 0; girls – 5.

the king (of pop)

You know, I’ve pretty much been a Michael Jackson fan my whole life. Not the kind that faints at concerts…or even goes for that matter, but, yeah – I like his music. Certainly, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been touched by any of his music…

I remember someone brought the ‘Eat it’ tape into my kindergarten class for show and tell.

My dad used to play ‘Thriller’ at night and scare me with Vincent Price’s voice.

And I’ll never forget that one night, my first year in college, when we listened to ‘Remember the Time’ on repeat, for the entire night.

He’s a weirdo – no doubt. It’s a bit unclear to me as to whether he should be in jail. But for some reason, I have much better feelings about him than I do about R. Kelly. I don’t even listen to R. Kelly anymore. But I digress.

I like MJ. So this was, in its own way, a stirring tribute – lighthearted – but definitely a tribute. After all these years, and all the crazy, no one could mistake the music or the voice. The affect is simply one-of-a-kind – so much so, that it can be instantly recognized whenever it’s copied. But I digress again.

Here’s my point:

*pffft* – bwaHAHAHAHA

Apparently, Clay Aiken [same age as me], though he is now playing the perfect role for him in “Spamalot” [Brave Sir Robin], thought Monty Python was actually a person up until a few months ago.

I needed that.

[full disclosure: I fell in love with The Holy Grail when I was about 15, and toward 18 or so, I had probably half the script memorized. I believe that part of my brain has been co-opted by song lyrics since then, but I still remember a few lines. I’m also just a tad bit partial to the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Suppose my fascination with all things British started with my Agatha Christie obsession back when I was about 11. Funny the roads your life takes you down.]

why not Roker?

it’s too bad the writer’s strike is still on – I’d love to see someone’s take on the current Tiger/Tilghman controversy with Al Roker in the place of Al Sharpton. Just cuz.

I don’t really understand why, but I’m not really thrilled with how the Rev. Sharpton [via racialicious] has become the de facto spokesperson for Black People. Especially Offended Black People. Now, I am completely against all the racist crap going on [of course!], so don’t get that twisted. But I’m still trying to figure out which day we were all supposed to have voted for Al Sharpton to speak for us – or Bill Cosby – or Tavis Smiley.

I think the fact that this is a trend that continues – that one black dude [the only lady would be Oprah – and she’s ambiguous sometimes when it comes to race (at least to me)] could speak for Black America – is more of a sign of America’s sustained racist system than the few moments when someone lets loose with ‘let’s lynch him’, the ‘n’ word, or other incidents. Sometimes, it seems as though Al is asking for a pound of flesh – other times, it seems like as long as the offender apologized to Al, the rest of us have been apologized to by proxy.

But it isn’t hard to see that the Reverend is not universally revered. I, myself, can’t really take him seriously. I don’t know if it’s some kind of latent self-hate that I have yet to deal with, or if I’m being completely rational [which is a conundrum that I deal with fairly often, and I feel really guilty about]. He seems sincere sometimes. Sometimes I agree with him. But often, I feel like he’s jumping into situations and blowing them up – maybe out of proportion? I’m not sure if it’s that I think there are more worthwhile goals that we should be focused on, or if I just don’t know how effective it is to jump on each racially-offensive incident that takes place as a method of fighting racism in this country.

Let’s take the ‘n’-word funeral as an example. I was embarrassed. They put that junk on the news! NAACP bigwigs were there. The grand gesture. But uh – what was the effect? Have people stopped saying the word? Is it illegal now? What are the consequences of use? A complete ceremony, with fanfare, and most people don’t even remember that it happened last year. I went to a funeral last year. Haven’t seen the decedent since. Seen the ‘n’-word, though. Perhaps they should have waited to bury it until after it was actually dead. Seems like what happened instead, was that it became undead, and is now devouring brains across the country, just to stay…undead.

So, what kind of power is Mr. Sharpton actually wielding? Does he speak for me? No. Just cuz I agree that the kids in Jena should be free doesn’t mean that we’re -right there- on everything else. Which brings me back to the point: when we can believe that one or two or three specific black people can speak for/fully represent the apparent monolith that is Black People, we are subscribing to racist rhetoric. I know for a 100% fact that Kelly Tilghman’s comment has not been construed as the ‘white’ view – even though there are plenty of white people who could completely understand her ‘faux pas’, cuz they were thinking the same thing.

I don’t know how to fix this, though. Other than getting more and more voices out there – voices that do represent me more fully, and voices that represent other [differing] black and brown people, I can’t offer a solution.

In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure how I feel about this Tilghman comment. Yeah – I know she’s racist. Should she be fired? Well – Imus was. But then, he had a history of saying [actually, way worse] stuff. Should that count? [the history?] I know she was the first female commentator on the Golf Channel, and considering, it’s the Golf Channel, it may be a little more difficult to find a non-racist commentator…but couldn’t they try? I bet there are some. Ladies, even. Give this girl some time to reflect – she won’t stay out of work. [Obviously, Imus didn’t]

I just wonder. Are we helping things by demanding that people do a better job of hiding how racist they are?

I wonder what Al Roker would say.