Music To Get You Through The Trump Years…

Hi all,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I felt inspired to share a playlist I procured. The last couple of years and particularly the last few weeks have been terrible for our country, future, the world, and our sanity. With all the disgusting things being done now by the Trump administration and some of his uniformed and bigoted supporters and how far it has and will continue to set us back, I find myself more hopeless and angry than ever. When I feel like I’ve reached a breaking point, I’ve been listening to a playlist I created called “Revolution” which is exactly what we need! We have tried and are still trying peaceful revolution via protests and political discussions via social media and in person, but it doesn’t seem to have gotten us anywhere. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” (JFK). You can save and listen to this playlist whenever you want by clicking “Follow” at the top of the playlist in Spotify. The playlist is embedded at the bottom of this article.

There are songs on this playlist that address the Democratic Primary and the rigging, cheating, and sandbagging of Bernie Sanders. Thanks a lot Hillary, DNC, and the media for screwing us of the only decent person to run for President in 2016 and probably since the 50s or 60s! Bernie would have won! The opening song “Disco Inferno” is a direct deference to Bernie, as it became an unofficial anthem for his campaign and is a fun note to start such a dark and angry playlist on. Bern baby Bern! There are songs that directly address Trump and his Facist mentality. There are songs that address the government at large and how we got to where we are. Many of these songs express the anger that is stirring and that we will need to harness to overthrow the current regime and shape a better future than we have had for the past 30-40 years. There are songs about our dying planet. There are protest songs. There are songs about the militarism of the Police. There are songs about race. Black Lives Matter! The only song missing from the playlist is Prince’s Black Lives Matter protest song “Baltimore” since his music is unavailable on Spotify. If you want the full experience you can insert that song after Bruce Springsteen and before Pussy Riot. There are also songs about income inequality. And  toward the latter half of the album, there are songs of hope and love, which is just what we need. Obama was a good step further and he made some good changes, which are now being undone, but he never went far enough. He wasn’t allowed to because he was still owned by Wall Street and Corporations like almost every other politician. He answered to them ultimately. Not us. We need a real Progressive in office who doesn’t take money from Wall Street or Corporations, who can’t be bought, and whose only concern is the betterment of life for the poor and middle class of this country. Like Bernie! Bernie and/or Tulsi Gabbard 2020! We shall overcome…someday, but until then, I hope this playlist is cathartic and helps you push through the dark times we are living in. Power to the people! Viva la revolucion!

Song(s) of the Day: 4/17/12 (Hail Mary/2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted)

This year’s Coachella Music Festival’s first weekend was this past weekend and boy were the attendees in for a big surprise when Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre “brought Tupac back to life” via an on stage hologram!!! What an awesome idea!!! The performance of “Hail Mary” and “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” was great and makes you miss the Hip-Hop legend all the more. Snoop and Dre are actually in talks about taking the Tupac hologram on a tour too!!! This is a very cool and interesting idea. I would love to go to one of the show. Think of all the other great artists they could do this with (e.g. Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix etc.) Tupac lives!!!

Song Of The Day: 2/24/12 (#8. Jamiroquai) (Virtual Insanity)

A few weeks back I shared a song from each of my top 7 favorite artists/groups as songs of the day. The artists were as follows #1 The Beatles, #1 Michael Jackson, #1 OutKast, #4 Kate Bush, #5 *NSYNC/Justin Timberlake, #6 Matchbox Twenty & #7 Billy Joel.  I decided that sharing my top 7 just wasn’t enough and that my #8 to #10 artists/groups more than deserve to be shared too. So coming in at #8 is the amazing, Jamiroquai!!! I absolutely love these guys and the pure, delicious funk they deliver time and time again. Most of you probably only know them for today’s song of the day “Virtual Insanity”, but they are very big around the world. Not so much in the U.S.A. which I’ll never understand. You may also know their song “Canned Heat” from the dancing scene in “Napoleon Dynamite”. Jamiroquai is what music is all about. Making you feel good!!! This song is only the tip of the iceberg for Jamiroquai. They have so many gems. I got their CD “Traveling Without Moving” back when it came out in 1996 and “Virtual Insanity” from it was a big hit. For many years (about 7) I never really listened to the album. I was going through my CD collection in high school and disposing of bad and emarrasing CDs, when I came across this CD and decided to give it one more listen before I tossed it. I fell in love with it instantly and needless to say kept it and have been a huge Jamiroquai fan ever since. Their smooth, fun, funky grooves also have helped me through some hard times. They always do the trick on really cheering me up and making me want to get down with my bad self.

Song Of The Day: 2/22/12 (Tabloid Junkie)

This song, “Tabloid Junkie” by Michael Jackson is one of my very favorite songs from later in his career off of one of his very best albums “History: Past Present and Future”. It came on my iPod, this morning, while I was working out and it got stuck in my head all day. The message of the song is important, not just in reference to Michael Jackson’s life, but with everything. People take what they read in the newspaper and magazines and see on the T.V. as if it were the word of the lord and a lot of it is sensationalized crap and the rest is simply untrue.  I don’t believe much of anything that was ever said about Michael in the media. I don’t believe the sexual charges aimed at him. I think they were just trying to play on his weakness and, yes, his inherent “different-ness” and make him into some sort of monster and get his money. When you rise so high, people just want to bring you down. All the stories about plastic surgery are ridiculous too. They would say he wanted to be white, but that’s simply unture. He was born with a disease called Vitiligo that caused him to have white spots on his skin and as he got older it got worse. At a point it became too much work to cover it all up with makeup and you can see in his “Off The Wall” and “Thriller” days that the makeup was taking a toll on his skin in the form of really bad acne. So instead of keeping up the charade, he took the only other option he had and bleached out the remaining black skin so at least he would be all one color and because of that his more pronounced Black features didn’t look quite right with his new look so he had some work done, but yes after that he went to far, continually trying to improve himself. I do think he was different, but what do you expect from an artist as amazing and earth shattering as Michael Jackson? However, I do not believe any of the nonsense said about him during his lifetime in the media. He was a gentle and kind soul and was uber, uber talented. He should be remembered for the GREAT artist, trail-blazer and humanitarian that he was. Don’t believe everything he see or read because as Michael said, “Just because you read it in a magazine or see it on the T.V. screen, don’t make it factual.” Michael Jackson never made a video for this song, but this is a pretty good fan made video.

Song Of The Day: 2/11/12 (Thriller)

On November 30th 1982 one of the greatest album’s of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was released!!! Just over a year later, in 1984, it won Album of the Year at the Grammys. Since its release it has sold somewhere around 110 million albums worldwide!!! That makes it an 11 times Diamond record!!! Now if you follow this blog you know from a post from a few weeks back that Michael Jackson is tied for my #1 artist of all time with The Beatles and OutKast and “Thriller” just goes to show you the heights that true talent can achieve. What makes “Thriller”, an already infinitely great album, even better, for me, is the fact that one of my other #1 favorite artists, Paul McCartney, was featured on it, on the song “The Girl Is Mine”. There really isn’t much I can say about “Thriller” that has never been said a million times before. It was…well…a “Thriller”. It blended just about every and any genre of music known to man with perfect Pop sensibility, which of course made it appealing to just about anyone who loved any kind of good music. It actually also played a pivotal roll in breaking down racial barriers in America. Among the many racial barriers broken down, the popularity of “Thriller” and Michael Jackson made him the first black artists to be played in regular rotation on MTV (when they still actually played music). In honor of one of the greatest albums ever recorded and another GREAT Album of the Year winner at the Grammys, today’s song of the day is “Thriller”!!!

My Favorite Superbowl Halftime Shows

So Superbowl Sunday has arrived!!! I’m not into sports at all, but I love Superbowl Sunday for the food, drinks, commercials and of course the halftime show!!! As mentioned in a post earlier this week, Madonna will be performing at this year’s halftime. Although I’m not a big Madonna fan, I’m looking forward to seeing her halftime performance, especially since I now know that she will be performing a song with Cee-Lo Green!!! I got to thinking today about the great haltime shows of the past and thought I would share my top 5 favorites with you, in chronological order.

Of course, Michael Jackson’s 1993 halftime show was epic!!! I love how they created the allusion that he teleported from one end of the stadium to the middle of the stadium and I love how he stands there for about 2 minutes before he even starts and people are just going CRAZY!!!

I also loved the 2001 *NSYNC, Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige & Nelly halftime show. I liked seeing so many great artists from different genres sharing the stage and killing it. And you gotta love the opening sketch along with Ben Stiller & Chris Rock!!!

And then a few years later at the 2004 halftime show, there was the “wardrobe malfunction” heard round the world, when Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake performed. If you watch the performance you can tell they planned on doing exactly what happened. I mean he says in the song, “I bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song” and do you see how he really digs in there and so obiously, purposefully pulls her breast covering away and how it pulled away so perfectly. That was totally planned!!!

The next year they brought in the great and safe bet, that is Paul McCartney, to clean the shows reputation up a bit. And boy did he put on one hell of a show, as he always does. Viva La McCartney!!!

And finally in 2007 they brought in “The Purple One” A.K.A. The Artist A.K.A. Prince!!! He put on an awesome, rip-roaring spectacle. Unfortunately the Youtube video doesn’t include when he plays Purple Rain at the end, for some weird reason and I couldn’t find it on Youtube. I had to find another video of it on a different website, but that website won’t let me embed the video into this post so follow this link to see the rest of the performance (http://www.veoh.com/watch/v389304XGYhx25k?h1=(Purple+Rain)Superbowl+Halftime+Performance+-+Prince). I love how they added in the thunder and lighting, but how perfect was it that it actually rained!?! The power of Prince, people!!!

Song Of The Day: 2/4/12 (Glee’s, “Smooth Criminal”)

On Tuesday the TV show, Glee, did an all Michael Jackson themed episode. I have to admit, this is only the second time I’ve ever watched Glee and I only watched it this time because I heard they were doing all M.J. music. The other time I watched was also because I heard they were doing an M.J. song during the episode. So I don’t really “like” the show, but I LOVE Michael Jackson. Most of the covers in the episode were……ehhh, but I have to admit that “Smooth Criminal” was actually pretty cool!!! This was mainly because of the Cello duo, Santana & Sebastian’s “Smooth Criminal” instrumental cover (which predates the TV Show) that accompanies, the characters ok singing. Check out Glee’s, “Smooth Criminal”. What do you think of their recreation of this classic?

Song(s) Of The Day: 1/19/12 (#5. Justin Timberlake / *NSYNC) (Rock Your Body/Bye Bye Bye etc.)

The #5 artist/group on my top 7 artists/groups is Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC. They are my favorite contemporary (from my generation) Pop act. Let me explain why Justin/*NSYNC is on this list with such legends and icons. First, you really have to understand that Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC are pop icons of my generation. Just like Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson were of their generations. These guys were so wildly popular when I was in middle school and high school. I grew up on them/him. They are one of the first groups/artists, I remember liking, all on my own, from my generation (the very first, I can remember, is actually #6 on this list and you will hear about them tomorrow). The first concert I ever went to was *NSYNC (with my mother). It took me a while to admit that. But they were awesome!!! They have the top 2 fastest selling albums of all times. When Justin went solo he got even better as an artist. I’ve seen him solo in concert also, with a friend, back in 2007 and he was great as always and showed he was also a respectable musician by playing piano, guitar, drums and even keytar!!! You can see the exact concert I was at, on DVD “Futuresex/Loveshow – Live From Madison Square Garden”. People have made a lot out of who is the “new” Michael Jackson”. People have said Justin Timberlake, Usher, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, but the real inheritor of M.J,’s impossible to fill throne is without a doubt, Justin. Not only is he the most successful of this aforementioned group of performers, as well as super talented, his music is often uncannily similar to that of M.J., he was a child star like Michael (Mickey Mouse Club), he was in a boy band like M.J. (Jackson 5 of course), and let’s not forget that Michael Jackson gave his personal stamp of approval to Justin by performing with *NSYNC at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, as well having *NSYNC perform with him at what turned out to be his final concert. Justin Timberlake is without a doubt the biggest male star of his generation. He’s made so many catchy, well crafted pop tunes with and without *NSYNC. And he is still young. Unfortunately he hasn’t had a new album since 2006’s, “Futuresex/Lovesound”. Come on with a new album already J.T. (also known by his initials like M.J.). You too OutKast!!! OutKast also hasn’t had a new album since 2006’s, “Idlewild”. All you guys need to come on!!! So today in honor of #5, Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC, check out “Rock Your Body” from Justin, “Bye, Bye, Bye” from *NSYNC and I’ve also included the two videos of Michael Jackson and *NSYNC performing together, all for your viewing pleasure.

Song(s) Of The Day: 1/17/12 (Tied for #1. OutKast) (The Way You Move/Hey Ya!)

My final #1 favorite music act, tied with The Beatles and Michael Jackson are OutKast. You may be wondering why I did a 3 way tie and how that could be. The Beatles, Michael Jackson and OutKast are all so different and equally great in their genre. They have all played very important parts in my life and in the molding of my musical taste. Being that one is Rock, one is Pop and one is Rap, I didn’t think it was fair to compare them and rate them 1, 2 & 3, so I tied them all for #1 because they are all my favorite. OutKast is without a shadow of a doubt, the best, most original and most talented Rap group to ever do it. My favorite for sure. They are also 2 of the best lyricists in the Rap game. They have even been called the Paul McCartney and John Lennon of Rap. They have made classic album after classic album and are still the only Rap group to ever win a Grammy for Album of the Year for “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”, one of my personal favorite albums of all time. “Speakerboxx/The Love Below” as well as all of their other albums, which are all so different, innovative and genre bending, opened me up to even more music than I was before. “Speakerboxx/The Love Below” was a double album. One disc “Speakerboxx” was technically a solo album by Big Boi and the other disc “The Love Below” was technically a solo album by Andre 3000, all under the moniker that is OutKast. It was a very successful album. One of the few Rap albums to ever go diamond. It swept the nation and world. Today I decided to do 2 songs of the day. “The Way You Move” (for some reason I couldn’t find the video for this) from “Speakerboxx” and “Hey Ya!” from “The Love Below”. Both of these videos are also available in one large video, that is connected by a segment in between, but I couldn’t find that version online either. Enjoy. Tomorrow we move on to #4.

What Michael Jackson Meant To Me……

The death of Michael Jackson on June 25th, 2009, caught me by complete and utter surprise, as it did with millions of people, worldwide. The sadness enveloped me very quickly and I found it hard to breath. His music started pumping out of every radio station as I drove home and I couldn’t help but tear up. I know many people will say it’s weird to be sad or even affected by the death of a celebrity you never truly knew, but with Michael Jackson as is the case with many celebrities, you feel like you truly know them. His sudden death came as especially eerie to me seeing as only 2 days before his death, I bought Michael Jackson’s CD “History”, which was the last CD to complete my whole Michael Jackson collection (from Off the Wall to Invincible). I was listening to him non stop for the days leading up to his death. I go on music binges every now and than with artists. I’ll be completely enthralled with their music for a while and listen to only them and that’s what I was doing the days leading up to his death. I was speaking with my friend only the night before he died about how much I loved him and his music and how along with The Beatles and OutKast, is one of my favorite artist and biggest musical influence. I was also telling her how if I tried really hard to think back as far as I can to my first memory, I can’t remember anything before the first time I ever watched the Thriller video. Truly that is as far back as I can remember. There is nothing before that. My mother, step-mom, and even my brother had him playing around the house and in the car all the time. When a person is in your very first memory and their music, style, dance moves, and charisma is engrained in your psyche and in the fabric of your life (from childhood to adulthood) you are bound to be deeply sadden by their passing. Just like the passing of Elvis, John Lennon and any other great legend in the past, people are deeply sadden by losing someone so talented, influential, and important to them.

People have had a lot of horrible things to say about Michael in the past because of ignorance and a lack of tying to understand a person who was different from them. You don’t get to be who M.J. was by being just like everyone else (for good or bad). No doubt Michael Jackson had some problems, but I never believed him to be a molester. This is America and everyone is innocent until proven guilty and seeing as he was never proven guilty, he is innocent. You have to keep in mind Mike was one of the most famous people in the world. When you are on top, people want to bring you down, We have seen that time and time again with many great people. Michael Jackson was a very easy target too because he was so soft spoken and tender hearted. Everyone knows Michael Jackson had an affinity for kids. That in no way means he was a molester. He had psychological problems stemming from his childhood. When he was a kid he seemed so grown up and when he was grown up he seemed like a kid. He really felt like he was a kid and that’s why I don’t think his relationships with kids ever became sexual. A kid does not have those sexual desires. He was a very lonely man. He had millions of fans, but very few real friends. Everybody wanted something from Mike (money mainly). That is the main reason I believe people tried to sue him on molestation charges. He was an easy target because of his eccentricity and because he had so much money. People wanted to take him for a ride. The court cases never held up in court because the kids and parents testifying against him were lying. When they were put on the stand, their stories fell apart.

As for Michael’s physical appearance over the years, it’s time to put all the rumors to rest. Michael Jackson did not bleach himself to be white. He had a skin disease called Vitiligo, which causes you to lose the pigment of your skin. If you look at pictures of him from the Off the Wall, Thiller era you can see he had a lot of acne. His acne was a result of the layers of makeup he had to wear to just look normal and cover up his blotchy leopard skin. Eventually the white part of his skin got too much for him to cover up with make-up so he completed the process by bleaching out the rest of his skin so he wouldn’t be all spotty. If you had the same disease you would have more than likely done the same thing, especially if you were in the spotlight everyday with pictures being taken of you all the time. Once he was white, his African-American facial features still were there. Black people have more pronounced noses and lips so once he was white he felt it necessary to thin out his nose and lips to look more normal for his new skin tone. I think that is understandable. Everybody in the world wanted to pass judgment on his childness, his skin, his nose, everything. So he became ever more reclusive over the years and more “strange” because of people’s constant picking him apart. He was already painfully shy and lonely and pointing all his flaws out and problems out caused him to further fall down a spiraling road.

In the end Michael Jackson should be remembered for the things he did. He sold over 750 million records worldwide to people of all races and religions and musical persuasions. He broke the racial boundary on MTV (before him no black artists were played) and in turn made MTV what it is or was. He invented Pop music which was more or less a mix of Rock, Disco,/Funk, R&B (everything). His songs had a little something for everyone and that is why is music touched so many people. He innovated the art of music video with every one he made. He innovated the art of dance. He was an activist for world peace, and against world hunger, child abuse etc. He inspired scores of dancers, singers, artists, everyday people etc. He was truly the King of Pop!!! He will be sorely missed by the billions of lives he touched. I know I will miss him and I deeply respect him for what he accomplished in his life. Let’s all respect his memory and just enjoy his music, moves, and all around greatness. Mike you were a true idol/icon to me. You were the first musical artist I ever listened to. There will never be anyone like you ever again. You are truly the greatest. In your own words “I just can’t stop loving you.” R.I.P. Michael Jackson A.K.A. The King of Pop.