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The Show Floats on—Tremendous Feat or Musical Suicide?

Publicity Photo from http://www.lupefiasco.com

Now that Lupe Fiasco’s single “The Show Goes On” has become a Top 100 hit around the world, it is time to mention its “originality”. Many people consider Lupe Fiasco an original and innovative artist. However, this single is not very original.

I understand that greats learn from the successes of other greats. Innovation is finding a new way of doing something or improving on an existing work. The music industry is no exception. Lupe Fiasco has been an innovator in the past based upon his unique subject matter and sound, like in his 2006 single “Kick, Push”. Now, Fiasco attempted to improve an existing work; that work was Modest Mouse’s “Float On”.

The first time I heard “The Show Goes On” it was on a hip-hop radio station. I thought to myself, “Why are they about to play Modest Mouse on this station?” I continued to listen and nearly gagged. “Float On” is one of my least favorite songs in the entire world. Personally, I think Lupe Fiasco made a HUGE mistake sampling this track.

The initial guitar lick is enough to draw parallels to the greatly successful Modest Mouse track. Fiasco goes on to imitate the chorus as well. Modest Mouse’s song sings “All right, already/We all float on” and Lupe Fiasco’s sings “All right, already/The show goes on”. The similarities may be used to introduce Lupe Fiasco to a new market, fans of artist like Modest Mouse. He may have also used the technique employed in many Caribbean songs. Once a song becomes popular, ten more songs will come out on the same riddim so they will be well-received.

Unfortunately, taking Modest Mouse’s “riddim” may not work for Fiasco because fans of the two artists may not overlap. He may consider the music universally attractive. The universally attractive theory proves to work; it ranked #7 in U.S. Rap Songs and #2 in Australia. The idea of listening the “The Show Goes On” a few more times does not completely disgust me, so I would say Lupe Fiasco accomplished a tremendous feat. He took a love-it-or-hate-it alternative rock song and turned it into an extremely successful hip-hop single.

Midterms Week Playlist

This week, MTL will cater to the college kids who are stuck in the library studying, writing papers, and procrastinating. Everyone can use a good playlist, so here is one to get you through midterms week.

  1. Maroon 5–“Stutter”
  2. Maria Rita–“Num Corpo So”
  3. Ke$ha–” Blow”
  4. Bruno Mars–“The Lazy Song”
  5. Everclear–“I Will Buy You A New Life”
  6. Britney Spears–“Oops I Did It Again”
  7. Natalie Imbruglia–“Torn”
  8. Nena–“99 Luftballons”
  9. Inna–“Hot”
  10. Avril Lavigne–“What the Hell

Would you rather cope with midterms as spelled out to the left, or with the playlist? To listen to the entire playlist, and watch the music videos, click here.

Kim K Talks Over Her “Jam”

Reality star, model, and perfume designer Kim Kardashian made her musical debut yesterday on “On Air with Ryan Seacrest”. Her debut single “Jam” was highly-anticipated, and heavily-promoted. Kardashian made sure all of her Twitter followers knew to listen.

Ryan Seacrest seemed somewhat excited about the song and stated that he wanted to play it again. Unfortunately, Seacrest is not an actor and could not show genuine support for Kim and her new “Jam”. It is apparent that he was not a fan and was trying to stay positive in the artist’s presence. The biggest downfall is the ordering of the songs. Online listeners got to hear the new single immediately after Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me”.

There is no comparison between Spears and Kardashian; Britney is a natural performer and Kim is an entertainer in a less professional sense. The Britney Spears track seems almost like a challenge to Kim. Without a doubt, Kim Kardashian will never be a pop star. She takes the Johnny Cash route as she rhythmically talked her way through the song. Kim’s song doesn’t have any substance, so Johnny’s method may not have been the best way to go. The best part of the song is that the proceeds from the single go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

The track itself may have been better with a stronger voice behind it, like Ke$ha. Kim’s mousey voice is overwhelmed by the extreme bass. It has club potential, but there is no point in having lyrics because they are so weak. How would a live performance turn out?

Kardashian stated that an audience in Las Vegas received the song well and was singing along by the end. Listen to the song here. Do you think the song or music career will last?

O Tempo Não Pára

MTL Readers,

I have not been able to post on time lately.  However, I have made sure I could get something up by the end of the day Thursday. My school life has been crazy with a lot die this week. I will get back into the groove soon! This week I have been working on a music presentation for my Portuguese class.  My group focused on Brazilian singer Cazuza and his song “O Tempo Não Pára“.  The title translates to “Time Never Stops”.

More to come,

Alex

Green & Yellow Lives On

This year’s Super Bowl had a new level or excitement with not one, but a song to support each of the teams involved.  Wiz Khalifa recorded a Pittburgh anthem entitled “Black & Yellow”. Later, Lil’ Wayne recorded “Green & Yellow” in support of the Green Bay Packers. As you may already know, the Packers won and Wayne’s track will live on.  To listen to “Green & Yellow”, click play below.

Lil’ Wayne’s song is simply a Packers-minded remake of “Black & Yellow”. To listen to “”Black & Yellow”, click play below. This still raises the question: will support songs be the norm for major American sporting events? I can see sports teams collaborating with musical artists in the future to create team anthems. Will it happen?

Nicki Minaj Marries Mediocrity

Nicki Minaj in "Moment 4 Life" Photo: Derick G (http://derickg.com)

When a music video is promoted as much as Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life” was, viewers can expect it to be a good one. Waiting for the video to premiere on MTV drove excitement as its advertisements came on every commercial break. The excitement turned into disappointment because the video had no true plot.

Die-hard Nicki Minaj fans may have enjoyed the video, but it was not a genuinely great product. Minaj is known for her alter egos, and she introduces a new one, Martha, in this music video. Martha plays King Nicki’s fairy god-mother which draws parallels to Cinderella. The video alludes to the fairytale once more when Nicki receives her diamond stilettos, not glass slippers. In Cinderella, the slippers are the only gift from the fairy god-mother that is not time-sensitive. The rest of the night diminishes and Cinderella cannot hold on to the moment past midnight.

If the storyline had influences strictly from Cinderella, it would have been much better. The costumes are the biggest problem with this video. The opening scene at the vanity is a set straight out of another Disney princess film. With many references to Cinderella, why does Nicki’s costume look so much like Jasmine form Aladdin? There is a costume that could have been left out completely as well. There is no introduction to the character with pink hair in the brown gown. In a video based so deeply in plot, costumes and shots strictly for aesthetics should be avoided. Nicki the bride should have dark hair as well to maintain continuity; the pink hair does not belong at all.

If Nicki prides herself in her acting as much as she claims, then she should have had more control over her video—or less depending on the decisions she made. The video seems like a short film about King Nicki wanting to hold on to the moment of her wedding for the rest of her life. However, due to set and costume changes it seems like King Nicki and the bride are completely different people. If she wanted a Cinderella story, she should have reconsidered the primary costume choices. If she wanted it to be a good video, she should have clung to one idea rather than merging the ones she thought were decent. The music video is nice to look at, but overall it is just okay.

Gwyneth Shows Her Chops

Gwyneth Paltrow in Counrty Strong. Photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

Gwyneth Paltrow recently revealed her singing ability when she guest-starred on FOX’s Glee as substitute teacher Holly Holliday. Lately there has been a lot of talk about her return to the show as a substitute in future episodes. Paltrow wowed Glee viewers when she belted out Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” on the show, and some may be surprised that the voice on the track is her actual voice.

Over the past year, Paltrow has been doing nearly as much singing as acting. You can get a taste of her country singing abilities as Kelly Canter in Country Strong (1/7/11). Kelly Canter is a country singer who finds herself in a bit of a downward spiral when she finds herself in a rehabilitation facility and flirts with an orderly who aspires to be a singer. Gwyneth Paltrow embodies Kelly Canter and sounds like she is at home singing country music in the “Country Strong” music video.

The title track is an uplifting track about tapping inner strength. Being country strong is when getting up when life knocks you down. It is losing a fight, but never losing faith. Gwyneth’s voice adds a special element to the song that makes the lyrics seem like they are coming from her heart. Gwyneth takes on the character of Kelly Canter so beautifully that she could pursue a country music career, because she is country strong.

The film also includes country star Tim McGraw as Canter’s manager and husband and Leighton Meester, an actress-turned-singer, as a beauty queen-turned-singer. Meester has contributed her voice to songs like Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Go Bad”. It should be interesting to hear her sing in such a different genre.

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