My Thoughts on the 2018 Grammy Nominations

About a week  or two ago, the nominees for the 2018 Grammy Awards were revealed to the public. In recent years, I have been pretty disappointed with both the nominees for the Grammy’s and the results. The Recording Academy seemed to pander too much to what was popular and commercial rather than what was actually good quality music. Upon seeing the nominations for some of the major categories this year, I was pretty pleased. For the first time in a while, I thought the Grammy’s got it right. I’m not sure if I should attribute this fact to them actually making good choices or the quality of music just being all around better in 2017.  I thought I would share my thoughts on the nominees and say who I think should take home the award in each category. Let’s start with Record of the Year.

Record of the Year

“Redbone” — Childish Gambino
“Despacito (Remix)” — Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
“The Story of O.J.” — JAY-Z
“HUMBLE.” — Kendrick Lamar
“24K Magic” — Bruno Mars

Overall, I think this is a pretty good group of tracks for Record of the Year. The only track that I’m unfamiliar with is Jay Z’s “The Story of O.J.,” but other than that, I know the other nominees pretty well. Record of the Year is based off of a song’s sound and production quality. “Redbone” is a groovy track that anyone could vibe too. “24k Magic” is another groovy tune with funky throwback sounds. “HUMBLE” is a west coast hip-hop banger. Although I think other tracks should have taken “Despacito’s” place among the other nominees, the track has clear, crisp guitars with a signature Latin flare. If I had to pick a winner for this category, I’d have to give it to “Redbone.” The bass line and the funky guitar riff weaved throughout the track are so infectious, the production is pristine, and as I said earlier, anyone could vibe to it.

 

Album of the Year

“Awaken, My Love!” — Childish Gambino
4:44 — JAY-Z
DAMN. — Kendrick Lamar
Melodrama — Lorde
24K Magic — Bruno Mars

I can’t say too much about this category because I have only listened to Melodrama and DAMN. all the way through. DAMN. is brilliant plain and simple. It is Kendrick’s Lamar’s most listenable/radio-friendly album, but it is still socially conscious. “HUMBLE,” “DNA,” “ELEMENT,” “LOYALTY,” and “LOVE” are all standout tracks. Kendrick Lamar is the real deal. Melodrama is also an amazing album from its lyrics to the production. I’m a huge Lorde fan. Her debut  Pure Heroine is one of my favorite albums of all time. While I did not like Melodrama as much as its predecessor, it was still enjoyable. “Homemade Dynamite,” “Supercut,” “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” and “Perfect Places” are gems. Out of all of the albums nominated, I could relate to Melodrama  the most. I’ve heard a lot of the singles from 24k Magic, and while I don’t think the tracks are bad, I’m not a huge fan of throwback music. It’s not that it sounds bad, I just think it sounds unoriginal. I heard that 4:44 and “Awaken, My Love!” were amazing, but I don’t have an opinion on them since I haven’t listened to them yet. This was a really tough category for me to pick a winner for because Melodrama and DAMN. are both so great, but I think I’d have to give it to DAMN. because it’s more impactful. Not many people can make conscious music that also sounds good, and Kendrick mastered that.

Image result for damn kendrick lamar

 

Song of the Year

“Despacito”-Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber

“4:44” -Jay Z

“Issues” -Julia Michaels

“1-800-273-8255” Logic ft. Khalid and Alessia Cara

“That’s What I Like”-Bruno Mars

Song of the Year is all about a track’s lyrical content, and I must say these are weak nominees. There were so many tracks with better lyricism than what we have here. I love the Spanish language, but if “Despacito” is translated into English, it isn’t saying much. It is just another pop song. I haven’t heard “4:44,” so I can’t really comment. “Issues” is an annoying song in terms of sound, but lyrically it doesn’t do much for me either. “1-800-273-8255” is a socially conscious song that sounds good, so I’m a fan. “That’s What I Like” isn’t really saying anything at all, so I don’t know why it was nominated for this category. The final verdict? “1-800” should take home the award.

 

Best New Artist

Lil Uzi Vert

Khalid

Julia Michaels

Alessia Cara

SZA

I think this is a good group of nominess for Best New Artist. Lil Uzi Vert is changing the hip hop culture, and I love “XO TOURLIFE.” When I saw Coldplay a year ago, Alessia Cara opened for them, and I thought she was very talented. I do think some of her songs are generic, but she has beautiful voice and I hope she sticks around. I’m not a fan of Julia Michaels. SZA is a generational talent. “Love Galore” and “Supermodel” are textbook R&B tracks. Khalid is something special. The youth really identify with him, he’s unique, and he’s versatile. I love “Young Dumb and Broke,” “Location,” and all of the other songs he’s featured on. To me, Khalid is the most promising artist, and in some cases the most memorable out of this group. I think he should win.

Image result for khalid

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Something Just Like This”-   The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

 “Despacito” Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber

Thunder”-  Imagine Dragons

Feel It Still”-Portugal. The Man

” Stay”-  Zedd & Alessia Cara

I’m a total Coldplay homer, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of their collaboration with The Chainsmokers. I will give “Despacito” its props for being such a musical juggernaut, but it’s not the best song-it’s just generic. I actually liked “Thunder” even though there is not much to the track at all. “Feel It Still” is a jazzy little song that I enjoyed on many a car ride. “Stay” is  a nice upbeat track, but it doesn’t break new ground, and it got a bit annoying. I’d give the Grammy to “Feel It Still.”

 

Best R&B Performance

Get You”-  Daniel Caesar Featuring Kali Uchis

Distraction”  -Kehlani

” High”-Ledisi

” That’s What I Like”- Bruno Mars

The Weekend”-  SZA

“That’s What I Like” is more of a pop song to me, so I don’t really know why it’s here. The other tracks I either haven’t heard or I’m indifferent towards. I think SZA should win. She has the most soul and the most personality.

 

Best Rap Performance

“Bounce Back” -Big Sean

” Bodak Yellow”-Cardi B

 “4:44”-  JAY-Z

” HUMBLE.”-Kendrick Lamar

“Bad And Boujee” Migos Featuring Lil Uzi Vert

I like “Bounce Back,” even though it’s not saying much. The track is one of Big Sean’s best. “Bodak Yellow” is trash. I haven’t heard “4:44.” “Bad and Boujee” was great for memes and the internet, and it is catchy, but it’s not a high quality rap song. I’m sorry. That leaves “HUMBLE.” as the clear winner of this category. It’s a banger that says something. This category overall is pretty weak. There were way better rap tracks that could’ve been here.

 

Best Pop Solo Performance

Love So Soft”-Kelly Clarkson

Praying”-Kesha

Million Reasons”- Lady Gaga

What About Us”- P!nk

 “Shape Of You”- Ed Sheeran

I find “Shape of You” to be almost insufferable, which is crazy considering I initially enjoyed it. It is one of the most generic songs that Sheeran has put out. I think “Love So Soft” is a solid effort by Kelly Clarkson. It’s definitely soulful. “Praying” was a slowburner for me, but now I love it. I love that Kesha’s growth and maturity is on display, and it culminated in  a very soulful and emotive performance. “Million Reasons” is a great track by Lady Gaga,while P!nk’s “What About Us” is kind of blah to me. I mean does it not sound like everything else she has put out before? I’d give this one to Kesha. She has come quite  a long way since her “Tick Tock” days.

 

Well, those are my thoughts on some of the 2018 Grammy nominees. Overall, I think the collection of artists nominated is pretty strong. It will be interesting to see who takes home the awards next month.

Thanks for reading,

Couturely Sound ❤

 

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Black Friday(Thursday) and America’s Greed

I’m thankful for a lot of things. My family, my friends, God, and the resources at my dispense are some to name a few. I’m also thankful that I have a job( with the exception of yesterday haha). I decided to get a job for experience, but it was primarily for money. One could say I don’t truly need a job, as my parents provide me with the necessities and more. One could say I was being greedy,kind of like how people are on Black Friday-I mean Thursday, Black Thursday.

I’m thankful I got to eat a short Thanksgiving dinner with my family before heading out into the trenches and endless messes of consumer America. Some people I work with didn’t even get that, voicing to me that they would be eating alone that night.

I understand the importance Black Friday holds for retailers. It’s everything to them. When companies think of Black Friday, they see money bags. As time has progressed however, money bags on Friday just hasn’t been enough. They just had to make even more money on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, a day that should be designated for family and giving thanks. Being open for Thanksgiving Day, negates everything that the holiday should be. Instead of taking one day to say thank you, thank you, thank you, companies are saying more,more,more and consume, consume, consume. It’s maddening. What’s most sad, is that the people calling all of the shots at the top, are most likely spending Thanksgiving the way it’s supposed to be spent, while their workers slave away for long hours.

The people are not blameless. They are actually a major part of the problem. Without their zeal and fervor to spend money on stuff that they don’t need, (at late hours of the night)perhaps their would be no reason to open up doors on Thanskgiving Day. As I pulled into work yesterday, I was shocked to see the parking lot completely full. When I actually made it inside of the store people were everywhere, clogging the aisles, like food clogs arteries. I wondered why they were out shopping instead of having dinner with their families. Or maybe they inhaled their plates fast, so that they could exhale all of the money from their bank accounts sooner. It made no sense to me. Business is good, but I also prayed to myself that they would all go home where they should be.I got a lot of pity from customers. ” You poor thing,” they would say,” I’m sorry you have to work Thanksgiving.” They meant well, but their apology seemed a little disingenuous considering they were the reason I was working at all. Their money talks, and the corporations heard. As I left work late last night, the store was still full…

America is so greedy in a lot of ways. How many TVs or pairs of boots can one own before they are satisfied? Apparently not enough. In a year, or maybe even less, the stuff that people purchase will hold little to no value to them. Family on the other hand, is what is truly fulfilling.

Let’s stop being greedy. Let’s take one day to stop and reflect, and then we can go crazy on Black Friday every year. “Black Thursday” doesn’t even have the same ring to it…

Always be thankful, and be kind to retail workers this holiday season.

Couturely Sound ❤

 

New Music Round-Up 11/3/17

Well my friends, we have finally made it to Friday. After a long week, I feel like this is an appropriate time to share some new music. Below are seven songs that I’m enjoying at the moment. Let’s party.

1. “The Way Life Goes”-Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi is back at again with the bangers. “The Way Life Goes” is no “XO TOURLIFE,” but it’s still a solid effort from the Philadelphia rapper. Like “XO TOURLIFE,”  “The Way Life Goes” is a fusion of different genres. It has trap influences, pop influences, hip hop influences, and it has an alternative vibe to it, especially through the lyrical content. Life is hard. I think we all know that. On this track, Lil Uzi assures listeners that we’ll get through life, as nothing lasts forever, not even hardship. The lyrical content  paired with a catchy trap beat makes this song a 10/10.

2. “Bad at Love”-Halsey

 

Never in a million years did I think I’d like a Halsey song, but “Bad at Love” is too great to ignore. Halsey delivers a surprisingly soulful performance. As she belts “I’m bad at love” in the chorus, I’m convinced as a listener. For once, she isn’t pandering to the hipster crowd( although she might think differently), and the result is a well crafted pop song.

3. “Good Old Days”-Macklemore feat Kesha

Everyone remembers when Macklemore took over in 2013 after “Thrift Shop” took off. The guy was inescapable. In recent years however, he has maintained a lower profile, and I hadn’t heard much from him in the realm of radio. This track seems to be the beginning of a new era for the Seattle rapper. The featured artist on this track, Kesha, also seems to be starting  a new era of her own. The track is feel-good through and through. The subject matter is not too deep, there are nice melodies, and there is a sense of nostalgia. Kesha delivers a solid vocal performance, and Macklemore contributes greatly to the sentimental feel of the song.

4. “Sky Walker”-Miguel feat. Travis Scott

When I first heard this song, it immediately caught my attention. It’s super catchy and it has a nice beat. I think what I like most about this song is Miguel’s vocal performance because of its personality and swagger. I think “Sky Walker” is  a fun song. The word play really takes the cake.

5. “LOVE” Kendrick Lamar feat Zacari

“LOVE” is probably my favorite song on this round up. I’ve had it on repeat for days. Not only is “LOVE” a jam, but it’s also really sensitive. I didn’t know that Kendrick Lamar was capable of making me “feel all the feels,” but he did. Kendrick doesn’t do it alone. By enlisting the help of Zacari, who is an exceptional vocalist, and employing nice, atmospheric production, Kendrick creates a  well-rounded song. What makes this track so sensitive is its lyrical content. Kendrick asks of his lover, “If I didn’t ride blade on curb (drive expensive foreign cars) would you still love me?” There’s no question that Kendrick has made it, so he has to wonder if his significant other’s love is unconditional. Is she there for him or for the money? I love this song.

6. “Supermodel”-SZA

SZA continues to deliver. The song opens with SZA showcasing her melodic voice over subtle guitars. “Supermodel” has an organic sound which makes it especially soulful. The song reaches a climax at the end as more instruments, particularly percussion, begin to come to center stage. Much like SZA’s track “The Weekend,” I don’t agree with the song’s subject matter, but the track is so sonically pleasing, and this girl can really sing.

7. “Too Much to Ask”-Niall Horan

Niall Horan on my new music round up? I can’t believe it either. I knew I had to add this song to this list when I started singing it one day in the car without even thinking about it. Niall is doing pretty well as a solo artist. I would say he’s had one of the better solo debuts among his former 1D band mates. While “Too Much to Ask” is pretty generic, I can’t help but like it. It’s emotive and it has a nice, soaring chorus.

Well, that’s all for this roundup.

Have a great weekend!

Couturely Sound ❤

Celebrities AREN’T Role Models

When I was a little kid, I was the biggest Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus fan there was. I had every album, posters were plastered across my room, and I had every bit of merch you could imagine. There are still remnants of my Hannah Montana days in the form of a blanket and a lamp.

As a Disney Channel star, Cyrus made sure to maintain a squeaky clean image, and she gave the public the impression that her life was based off of wholesome, Christian values.

Image result for miley cyrus 2007

Circa 2009, Cyrus’s image began to change. A controversial performance  of “Party in the USA” at the Teen Choice awards that summer featured Cyrus in daisy dukes dancing around a pole. She was 17, and the public had no idea that the worst was yet to come for the child star .  In the days following her risque performance, I began to hear a lot of whispers from parents. Statements along the lines of “Oh my gosh! What a horrible role model!” and “Wow, she is setting such a bad example for our kids!” were repeated frequently.

Image result for miley cyrus 2009 teen choice awards

When Miley Cyrus began to make her change, I was just as perplexed as all of the parents. There I was, 9/10 years old, and my favorite singer who initially sang  about “true friends” and “the best of both worlds” was now pole dancing and telling the world that she “could not be tamed.”

Image result for miley cyrus can't be tamed

When 2012 rolled around, Miley went full on “adult” mode. She got  a new haircut, she sported several new tattoos, and she was  a friend to foul language. Then, 2013 rolled around. First, “We Can’t Stop” happened. Then, her infamous VMA performance broke the internet. And finally,  the video for “Wrecking Ball” dropped jaws and became etched into our memories forever. By 2013, I was shocked and maybe a little disappointed by Cyrus’s actions, but I wasn’t wounded. I had moved out of my Hannah Montana phase, and by then, I had become desensitized to her crazy antics.

Image result for miley cyrus vma 2013

Following her wild 2013, there was still talk about how Cyrus was a bad role model for kids, and all I have to say to that is that she was never a role model. I’m not saying she was never a role model because of her behavior. I’m saying she was/is not a role model because that is not what she signed up for.

Celebrities aren’t role models. None of them.

At some point in time, our society equated being famous to suddenly being a figure that shows the world how they should live their lives. I think that is ridiculous.

We get so emotionally attached to celebrities when in reality they only provide us with a product and that’s it. Entertainment, music, books, comedy-they are all products. Outside of making music, Justin Bieber should not have any other role in a person’s life because he has already done his job of providing the public with entertainment. The same goes for athletes. They are not paid to be upstanding citizens. They are paid to play football, basketball, etc.

Furthermore, I know Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber about as well as I know the person giving me food at a Chick-fil-A drive thru, but I don’t look to my food server to show me how I should live my life. They give me my product and I move on with my day.

I understand that celebrities have a wide sphere of influence. Little boys want to be just like Steph Curry, or teen girls dream of looking like Taylor Swift. Beyonce is worshiped for crying out loud. I get it. Celebrities have impact, but would they have so much impact if we didn’t expect them to be role models?

Image result for stephen curry

 

There’s a reason why so many ex-Disney stars resent the network that made them famous ; they were expected to be role models because they catered to kids. A few years ago, Joe Jonas completely bashed the Disney network, and while he did come off as ungrateful (I mean Disney gave he and his brothers a platform, propelling them to international fame…), I did understand to an extent why he was angry. The network puts too much pressure on their stars.

 

Image result for jonas brothers

 

Rihanna, the good girl gone bad, was never expected to be a role model. She made it known early on that she is an adult entertainer. The same goes for Eminem or Kendrick Lamar. They were never considered role models either.  It’s all about the kids. If you never cater to kids, you never have to be a role model, but I still think the pressure on those celebrities that  do cater to the youth is unfair. After all, so many people on Disney  and other children’s networks aren’t actually teenagers, so why should we expect  twenty-somethings to act squeaky clean as if they aren’t adults?

Role models should be people that are actually in your life. Parents, friends, teachers, siblings coaches, mentors-those are all people that should truly be role models. It’s crazy that parents expect Miley Cyrus to be a role model for their kids when they should be  a role model for their kids, and if they don’t like what a celebrity is all about, then they should remove their child’s access to that individual. My parents did that a lot in my youth. It wasn’t fun, but now I know not to blindly follow celebrities.

I look towards the people in my life to set examples for me, and I let celebrities inspire me and nothing more. For example, I’m a big fan of Lorde. I love her music, and I can really relate to it, but she parties a lot, and she has different views than I do on certain issues. I’m not a fan of partying and I don’t always agree with her opinions, but I love Lorde’s product aka her music. I’m not looking for Lorde to teach me how to live, and I don’t think anyone should put that much pressure on a person.

Image result for lorde 2017

Over the years, it has become more and more clear to me that people mess up! They are always going to mess up, they are always going to be brought back down to earth from their pedestal that we put them on, and they will disappoint us in some way. No human is perfect, so why should we expect celebrities to be? Especially teenage ones. If normal teenagers struggle with identity crisis, sex, and drug abuse, why wouldn’t a celebrity?

I’m not expected to be a role model, although I try my best to be of good moral standing, but if that role were assigned to me, I would probably feel the pressure. I could virtually never mess up, never fail a test, never procrastinate, and never make any mistakes. That’s way too much to put on a person. Thank God I’m not famous.

Couturely Sound ❤

 

Soccer in America

A lot of people may not know this about me, but I’m a huge sports fan. Basketball, football, the Olympics-you name it, I’m watching it. However, despite my love for sports, I’ve never really payed much attention to soccer, and I don’t exactly know why. Maybe it’s because I’m American, and as far as I know, America doesn’t like soccer very much,especially not now.

Today I had the pleasure of coming home for an extended lunch, and as I ate, I decided to turn on one of my favorite sports shows, The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FS1. Colin, always the eccentric sports analyst, expressed his disdain over the US Men’s Soccer Team’s loss to Trinidad and Tobago, and he immediately got my attention. In my understanding, this match was a must win for Team USA in order for the team to qualify for the World Cup in 2018. Long story short, they lost, and people are not happy. It is the first time since 1986 that the US Men’s Soccer Team has not qualified for the World Cup. To many people, that is 30 years of progress down the drain.

Rebecca Blackwell/ Associated Press via New York Times

 

Colin ripped our treatment of soccer in the US, saying that we don’t put enough emphasis on the development of players like we do for football, basketball, baseball,etc. Meanwhile, European countries turn their kids into soccer machines at a young age.  The US is home to the best sports leagues in the world-except for soccer. Soccer is like the ugly step sister in America. We even watch golf more.  Cowherd then pointed out that soccer is a “suburban” sport, as it is the sport that every little kid in the country plays at some point in their life. When Americans think of soccer, they think of “soccer moms” and orange slices at half time, rather than a legitimate sport. In my own experience ,many critics of soccer have called it a “sissy” sport, and that’s putting it nicely, but that is to be expected when football, a “macho” sport replete  with bravado and brain damage reigns supreme in the USA.

Americans already didn’t respect soccer,  so they definitely won’t now. I’m sure our country would appreciate the sport more if the team was dominant, but since they aren’t, forget about it.

What are my thoughts? What do I think of soccer?

I had a soccer career a long time ago. It lasted a whopping three months.

I was trash, just like the quality of this picture.

 

I was one of the many kids in America that plays soccer at least once in their life time. When my family lived in England, my brothers and I played a lot of youth sports through the Air Force base, and when I was seven, my mom thought it would be a good idea to sign my brother and I up for soccer. Always, the natural athlete, my brother was really good. He had all the makings of a good soccer player-quickness, speed, agility-all of it. While my brother was the star of his team, I was the type of player that would get a “Most Improved” trophy at the end of the season. Soccer requires a lot of coordination, something that I lacked greatly at the time. I remember I had one break out game where I stole the ball from an opposing player. That was a happy day. By the conclusion of the season, I ended up getting “most improved,” and my coach never pronounced my name correctly, but I had a lot of fun. I really did. I don’t know why I never revisited the sport.

One of my best friends plays soccer and so do several of my peers, so I respect soccer as a sport and I respect the athletes that play it. Although I do get bored watching it, I don’t think I’ll ever discredit it. After all, it isn’t an easy sport. I couldn’t even play it at the youth level.

I mentioned earlier that my family lived in England. While we were there, we got to experience first hand the prominence of soccer in Europe. It is huge there. During the World Cup in, I think 2006 (We were in England from 2005-2008), I remember laying in my bed trying to go to sleep only to hear my neighbors screaming loudly in celebration or frustration over what transpired with their soccer, or I guess I should say, football team. In America, we have basketball courts everywhere. In England, they had cement soccer courts where kids would play and get into brawls all day long.

Image result for concrete soccer court

It kind if looked like this, just more “suburban”

I remember one time being up at one of these courts with my brothers and our American friends that also lived in the neighborhood. Our British peers were really getting into their little match. There was a bunch of elbowing and foul language. One kid got pushed to the ground, and his entire leg was scraped up and bloody. It looked like he needed stitches. Some cops happened to be driving around the neighborhood, and they stopped to see what was going on. They got the kid all cleaned up and then they took him home. It was quite the experience to witness.

My stepmom is Colombian, and her family is crazy about soccer. In summer of 2016 ,I took a trip to Florida where her family lives. The Copa America was going, and you’d think it was the Super Bowl. I think Colombia made it to the quarter finals before they were eliminated from the tournament. I was mostly indifferent, but her family screamed and hollered at the TV just like Americans do when football is on. It was really interesting to see the cultural differences.

It got me thinking. The entire world adores soccer except for the US. I’m very perplexed by this.  I’m going to get superficial here, but if you go to Leo Messi’s Instagram page or  Cristiano Ronaldo’s page (two of the best soccer players in the world), you will find that they have exponentially larger followings than a LeBron James or Tom Brady. This is simply because soccer is such a globalized sport. For some countries around the world, it is their pride and joy. It unites entire nations. Meanwhile, our sports leagues are dividing this nation, but that’s a whole other story…What does our disdain for soccer say about us? Do we have to be so different from the rest of the world? Is it some weird form of American exceptionalism? I mean the rest of the world has the metric system, and we use inches, Fahrenheit, and feet. Our dates are structured as 10/11/17 and theirs are structured 11/10/17. We always say that the world is backwards but maybe we are backwards. I’m all for standing out. America does a lot of things well, exceptionally even, but I do think we can be on our high horse too much. Rather than dismissing soccer as “gay,” maybe we should try to develop our soccer players better,  so that we can be dominant in yet another sport on the world stage. I’m no soccer aficionado or a soccer expert by any means, but I do think our team would perform better if they had their country’s respect. How funny is that? Americans get mad when a team they don’t even support loses. I am rolling on the floor laughing.

I’ve always thought that sometimes you have to lose before you can win. Maybe the soccer team’s loss could act as a starting point for reconstruction of the program in the United States. It’s possible that USA soccer could be just as dominant as USA Basketball or the New England Patriots in the NFL, but only time will tell. Perhaps right now could be a starting point for the US to start appreciating soccer, but after such an ugly loss, that may be a lost cause. Here’s to 30 more years of growth.

Couturely Sound ❤

Link to Cowherd’s segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwepDm2mYS8

 

 

 

Dissecting the Billboard Hot 100

Today when I was driving, I had the radio on, and of course I was annoyed by it like I always am. I don’t know why I even bother with it at this point. Sometimes the radio is enjoyable, but most of the time it’s not.

First off, it’s super repetitive. Every morning when I get into the car, the same song is on. It’s like clockwork. Apparently the stations are all in sync too. Whenever a song I don’t like starts to play I, naturally, switch the station. My efforts to escape the cruel noise flooding my ears is almost always in vain because 75 percent of the time, the song that I tried to avoid is playing on the station I switched it to! I’ve gotten to the point where I would rather listen to ads than some of the music playing on the radio. I either listen to the ads or I turn the radio off, forcing myself to listen to my own thoughts, and those are no fun to listen to either.

I will never understand for the life of me how some songs become hits…Well, actually I do understand. In order for a song to become a hit, a lot of people have to like it, buy it, and share it. What I meant to say is, I will never understand how so many people can enjoy some of the music on the radio.

For decades, Billboard magazine has ranked the top 100 songs in America from week to week on their Hot 100 list. I thought it would be fun to go in and analyze 50 (plus or minus)  songs from that list, so here goes. Enjoy my lousy since of humor and second rate criticism.

1. “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)”-Cardi B

 

I had never heard of Cardi B until this song came out. In my understanding, this is her first number one, so, I guess, congratulations to her. It is quite the feat to get a rap song to number one, so it’s cool to see this song there. Cardi B has also seemed to inspire Instagram captions everywhere. Everyone is making “money moves” these days. Despite her impact on popular culture and her contributions to the rap game, the song is still annoying.

2. “Rockstar” -Post Malone feat. 21 Savage

“Rockstar” has a good beat. That’s about all it has going for it.

3. “Look What You Made Me Do”-Taylor Swift 

Put any other artists’s name on this song, and it’s not a hit.

4. “1-800-273-8255”-Logic feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid

I like this song. It’s catchy, it’s soulful, and it has a message.

5. “Despacito”-Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber

I think it’s cool that American charts are becoming more globalized, but seriously, when “Despacito” is translated into English, it is just another trash pop song. Also, how is it still so popular? Last time I checked, summer was over.

6. “Unforgettable”- French Montana Feat. Swae Lee

The irony is that this song is forgettable. In a few months time, everyone will forget it existed.

7. “Feel It Still”-Portugal the Man

I have no idea what this song is about, and half of the lyrics are undecipherable, but I actually like this song strangely enough. It’s kind of jazzy, so that’s cool.

8. “Believer”-Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons are so hit or miss for me. Sometimes I really like their songs. Other times I’m not a fan.  I’m not a fan of “Believer.” It’s too repetitive for comfort, and it sounds like a lot of their other music.

9. “Rake It Up”-Yo Gotti Feat. Nicki Minaj

This song is just nasty.

10. “Sorry Not Sorry”-Demi Lovato

We’ve finally made it to another song that I like. Demi kills it on vocals, and she emanates so much confidence. I’m a fan. Sorry not sorry.

11.  “Attention”-Charlie Puth

The video for “Attention” has 503 million views. I’m sure Charlie Puth won’t notice or care that, outside of this blog post, I have invested no time or money into this song.

12. “Strip That Dawn”-Liam Payne Feat. Quavo

Of all of the One Direction solo debuts, this is by far the worst. According to Liam Payne, this is what being an adult and making “mature” music looks like.

13. “Slow Hands”-Niall Horan

Oh, look, another ex One Direction member. I feel like this and “Strip That Down” should switch places, but what does my opinion matter anyway? “Slow Hands” isn’t a bad song, but it is so darn middle of the road. I don’t know which is worse.

14. “Too Good At Goodbyes”-Sam Smith

I think Sam Smith is super talented, but a lot of his music sounds the same. While “Too Good At Goodbyes” is beautiful, it’s super boring.

15. “Bank Account”-21 Savage

I don’t really know what to say. As far as rap music goes, this song doesn’t break new ground or distinguish itself.

16. “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”-Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes seems like a really nice kid, but his music is so pedestrian. “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” sounds generic and similar to every other single he has put out in the past.

17. “Thunder”-Imagine Dragons

Remember how I said Imagine Dragons was hit or miss for me? Well, “Thunder” is a hit.

18. “Wild Thoughts”- DJ Khaled Feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller

I wonder if the public is aware that  the guitar riff in “Wild Thoughts” is a Santana sample. I’m beginning to wonder what DJ Khaled actually does musically besides shouting his name and “Anotha one.” Nevertheless, I like this song. I’m a fan of both Bryson Tiller and Rihanna, and I think this was a good collaboration. Wow, that’s two songs in a row that I like.

19. “Shape of You”-Ed Sheeran

This song was released in January. HOW is it still on the charts?

20. “What Lovers Do”-Maroon 5 Feat. SZA

In recent years, Maroon 5 hasn’t put out the best music, but with “What Lovers Do” they end that streak. I really like this song, and I think it was a good idea for the band to bring SZA along. “What Lovers Do” is a fun, light, and airy track that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

24. “Praying”-Kesha

Yes, I skipped 23 and 24. I don’t want to be here all day, and I’m pretty indifferent to the songs ( “Mi Gente” and “That’s What I Like”) occupying those spots. As for Kesha’s “Praying,” I’m a fan. I like the message of the song. It shows that she has overcome adversity. It shows strength, and it shows maturity. Very soulful performance by Kesha.

25. “Young Dumb and Broke”-Khalid

I love this song. It should be higher on the charts.

26. “Body Like A Back Road”-Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt graces us with a cute little pop song, and yes I said pop. Hunt may be a country artist, but take away his accent, and no one would even question that this was a pop song.

27. “XO TOUR Llif3”-Lil Uzi Vert

My Jam.

28. “Humble”-Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick can do no wrong.

32. “Love Galore”-SZA feat Travis Scott

I skipped 29-31 because why not? “Love Galore” is a brilliant song. SZA’s voice is beautiful.

33. “Location”-Khalid

It’s strange. As I move down the chart, the songs start getting better….”Location” is no exception to this trend.

34. ” Say You Won’t Let Go”-James Arthur

It’s a cute song, despite how cliched it is. This song accomplishes what it aimed to accomplish: making lonely girls feel like someone loves them.

35. “Congratulations”-Post Malone Feat. Quavo

I don’t know what to think of Post Malone. Also, what  song is Quavo not  featured in?

38. “Loyalty”-Kendrick Lamar Feat. Rihanna

Oh, look, I skipped more numbers. For those of you that are dying to know which songs I skipped, I’ll link the hot 100 list at the end of this post, but anyway, Kendrick + Rihanna= magic.

39. “Ready For It?”-Taylor Swift

 

It’s better than “Look What You Made Me Do.”

42. “I’m the One”-DJ Khaled Feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, & Lil Wayne

This was a great collaboration for the summertime.

43. “Redbone”- Childish Gambino

Groovy.

44. “Havana”- Camilla Cabello Feat. Young Thug

This song has a lot of flavor. I like it.

47. “Stay”-Zedd & Alessia Cara

Although “Stay” has been on the charts for too long, I enjoy the song. I think Alessia Cara is very talented.

50. “The Weekend”-SZA

I heard this is supposed to be some kind of “side chick” anthem. While I can’t get behind the subject matter of this song, I can get behind the musicality and SZA’s vocal performance. Girl’s talented.

It may seem like I don’t like music, but that’s not true. I love music-when it’s good. Today’s hits are pretty disappointing, but I will say that the music this year is much better than it was last year. I guess I’ll just have to suck it up when I listen to the radio on my various commutes. If only my car had an aux cord….

Couturely Sound ❤

Link to the Billboard Hot 100: http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100

 

Gossip Girl 10th Aniversary

Do you ever think back to a time or event and wish you could have been around for it? Or, at least a little older? I feel that way all of the time. Over the years, there have been so many great things circulating through our culture in the forms of entertainment, sports, and beyond.

There are a few moments in pop culture history that I wish I could have been, not only alive for, but more specifically, a teenager for.  Titanic is my favorite movie ever. It came out two years before I was even born, and I wish I could have been around when it first hit( no pun intended). There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been one of the rabid fan girls screaming for Leo DiCaprio. The Twilight series was a staple of my preteen years. I was the ultimate Twilight fan girl or, twihard if you will, but I often wish I could have been a teen during the height of its popularity. I could have gone to midnights, participated in fan events, and I would have had an even better understanding of the story. It would have been more relevant to my life, and besides, its always more fun to be a part of things when they are current. I’ve come to realize that so much of what I enjoy is after the fact, mostly due to being too young at the time these phenomena occured. Yeah, I can watch Titanic whenever I want, or read Twilight and watch the movies whenever I want, but it doesn’t hold the same excitement as it would if it were all happening right now when I’m 17 and not 7.

On that same token, Gossip Girl is one of those phenomena I wish I could have been a teen for. I mean, I watched it as a teen, but I wasnt a teen during its original run. It wasn’t until 2013, when I was 13, that I finally watched. Many of my peers started to watch too. We were only 6 years behind schedule, but can you blame us? Not exactly a show for second graders. Gossip Girl first premiered on this day in 2007. It came to a close in 2012. Thanks to Netflix, it still remains popular to this day. I wonder what it would have been like to be a teen back in 2007, watching Gossip Girl as I marveled at a keyboard on my cute little flip phone or checked MySpace. That’s the thing though. As our society changes, so does our pop culture. By the time I reached my teenage years, flip phones were obsolete, and on the show they were the main feature. Not exactly relatable as much as it was reminiscent of the past. I mean I had a flip phone( that I could only call on) at one point, but cell phones were not first introduced to me during my teens. I’m sure that was a very exciting time for people whenever phones started to first rule the world. I guess what I’m saying is, I would have loved to have been around for that ride as it was happening.

As I said before, Gossip Girl premiered in September of 2007. 10 whopping years ago. When I think of 2007, I don’t think “decade ago.” In a lot of ways, it feels like yesterday. Pretty crazy how time flies and how much things have changed. To celebrate,Gossip Girl’s 10th anniversary, I thought I’d showcase 10 of some of my favorite looks from the show because let’s be real-Blair and Serena, played by Leighton Meester and Blake Lively respectively, killed it every single episode. I mean could we expect anything less from New York’s elite? Introductions aside, here are my favorite ensembles from the iconic show.
These outfits have me singing if “If I was  a rich girl nananana….”

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Why not start with the very first look viewers were ever exposed to? This photo was taken from the first episode of the show, the one where Serena(pictured above)  returns from boarding school to the shock, and maybe annoyance, of all of her peers in the Upper East Side. I love this look because she looks so cosmopolitan. The contrast between the brown jacket and the black and white stripes is perfect, and I love the neck scarf. It’s a nice touch. It’s a simple look, but it’s oh so stylish.

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Blair(pictured above) was an extremely flawed character, but her style never disappointed. She was the master of preppy girl chic, totally owning her role as a New York elite . If you know me, you know I love ponchos, so it should be to no surprise that I adore this look. The pop of yellow throughout the outfit is a nice touch, and I love that the ensemble was styled with burgundy heels. The contrast is everything.

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The Upper East Siders were  at events or parties non stop. Such occasions call for the best fashion had to offer , and Serena always killed it in her party dresses . This dress stands out to me because of the print and the cut. The pearls add some sophistication to the look as well, making Serena really look the part of the socialite that she is.

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More yellow from Blair and I love it! This looks is so flirty and sweet. I love the bright colors, the prints, and the accents.

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Ponchos, peeptoes, and a Chanel bag for the win!

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Serena rocked this poncho dress! It is so cute, so polished, and perfect for fall. I love the contrast of the ensemble with the brown booties, and the tights are a perfect addition.

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So classy, so fabulous, and the purse just pops.

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I am just loving the colors in this outfit. The plumbs and the greens are so pleasing to the eye. The shoes are killer , and the cut of the dress is perfect. I need this dress, and the purse….and the shoes.

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I love the simplicity of this look and the super cute headband. I never see people wearing headbands like that anymore! The plumb color is beautiful, and this dress would be perfect for a party!

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Olive green heels with gold bottoms? Yes, please! This look is so gorgeous and perfect for spring time. The statement necklace, the soft prints, the blazer…I need it all.

Gossip Girl was a very entertaining show, even though it was somewhat toxic and pretty unrealistic( I mean c’mon all of the characters, who were high school aged, never once got ID checked when they frequented clubs and bars). Serena and Blair, frenemies to the end, made a lot of bad decisions, but at least they looked good while doing it!

Happy 10th Anniversary to Gossip Girl! There is no denying the impact it has had on popular culture. Maybe I enjoyed it late, but I’m glad I got to enjoy it all.

P.S. I still can’t get over who gossip girl was hahahaha.

XOXO

Couturely Sound