P is for People songs

peopleI had all these posts for Round 15 lined up, either odd words or 70th birthdays, except for a few. After I mucked it over a good while, I said, to no one in particular, “I’ve got nothing, people.” Then suddenly, I did. Songs starting with the word People in the title that I own.

One must start, naturally, with People by Barbra Streisand, her signature song from Funny Girl that went to #5 in 1964 on the US Billboard singles charts. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. Is that true? I was rather fond of the cover version by Nat King Cole) that only went to #100 that same year.

A lot of People songs are inspirational. – People Get Ready by The Impressions), featuring Curtis Mayfield, went to #14 in 1965, but was an anthem of the civil rights movement.

People Are Strange by The Doors, #12 in 1967 Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 127: Watching the news

NEWSFor her first nine years, I sheltered the Daughter from watching the evening news, viewing it after she went to bed, or before she got up in the morning. Sometimes, I’d watch it while she was in the other room.

Turns out that she is preternaturally interested in these things. Moreover, she develops opinions about them that did not necessarily come from us. Ferguson, MO made her aware that it’s a little scarier being a black child in America than she previously thought. The death of Palestinian children during the conflict with Israel made her angry. And she has great antipathy for Russia’s Putin.

Sometimes, she shows off her knowledge. Continue reading

Proust-like answers

proustBlame Dustbury; I do. He posted about the Proust Questionnaire. And because I apparently have ADHD, I decided to tackle the questions Marcel Proust reportedly answered at gatherings when he was 13 and 20. Some are duplicated, but of course I didn’t copy them.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The lack of a moral compass.

Where would you like to live?

In a compassionate land. Some place near flowing water.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

To live in contact with interesting people, listening to a wealth of music, and to have access to a good cinema and a good Internet connection.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?

To too much curiosity.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Continue reading

40 years ago: the Student Government held hostage

SUNY_New_Paltz_main_quadI got elected to the Financial Council at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the spring of 1974, but didn’t take office until the fall. We passed a budget, which was, I’m guessing, only incrementally different from the previous year’s.

This displeased a couple student groups, the Black Student Union and Hermanos Latinos. So much so, that one night while we were meeting, they sat in our offices, refusing to leave until the groups got in their allocations the percentage of funds equivalent to the percentage of blacks and Hispanics on campus. Continue reading

Book review: The Gospel According to the Beatles

gospel according to beatlesIn March 2015, the youth director of our church is putting on a musical review based on The Gospel According to the Beatles, which will feature The Daughter. This compelled me to buy and read the book. Author Steve Turner, as the book sleeve, informs me, has been writing about pop music for over three decades. This is, and I don’t want it to come off as a pejorative, a scholarly book, well-researched Continue reading

Songs on my birthday, 2004-2014

Katy Perry, Lady Gaga

Katy Perry, Lady Gaga

My friend Dan Van Riper sent me this list of all the #1 songs since August 4, 1958.

I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?

2/21/04 Twista feat. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx – Slow Jamz
2/28/04 <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSPhCS-15eE&feature=youtu.be&quot; target=_new.Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris – Yeah!
5/22/04 Usher -Burn

Slow Jamz has lyric content I hate. Didn’t know either Usher song, but wasn’t thrilled with Yeah, so I’ll pick Burn, unheard.

1/1/05 Mario – Let Me Love You
3/5/05 50 Cent feat. Olivia – Candy Shop
5/7/05 Gwen Stefani Hollaback Girl

I like the Mario song, but I really like the Stefani song. The 50 Cent song, which I didn’t know, I pretty much hate.

1/21/06 Nelly feat. Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp – Grillz
2/4/06 Beyonce feat. Slim Thug – Check On It
3/11/06 James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Don’t know Grillz, though I probably heard it at some point. Didn’t know the Beyonce either, though it should be noted that she mentioned twerking much earlier than the general public was aware of it; it did not do much for me on first listen. Blunt, by default.

2/24/07 Nelly Furtado – Say It Right
3/3/07 Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around
3/10/07 Mims – This Is Why I’m Hot

That I really never heard ANY of these I must attribute to raising a toddler. Rather like the Timberlake song, now that I’ve listened to it. If there are songs you think I REALLY need to hear on this list, please let me know.

11/31/07 Alicia Keys – No One
1/5/08 Flo Rida feat. T-Pain – Low
3/15/08 Usher feat. Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Another trio of songs I don’t know. I realize that I must be a real prude, because all these songs specifically about sex make me uncomfortable. So I’ll select Alicia Keys, unheard.

2/21/09 Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent – Crack A Bottle
2/28/09 Flo Rida – Right Round
4/11/09 Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Two Flo Rida songs in a row! I like this one a lot more than the other; it sounds familiar after I played it. Still, I’ll pick Gaga.

1/2/10 Ke$ha – TiK ToK
3/6/10 The Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be Rocking That Body
3/20/10 Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris – Break Your Heart

I like the idea of the Peas’ song more than its execution. Don’t know the Cruz song. I vaguely remember the Ke$ha song which has too much Autotune for my taste, but I’ll pick it anyway.

2/19/11 Wiz Khalifa – Black And Yellow
2/26/11 Lady Gaga – Born This Way
4/9/11 Katy Perry feat. Kanye West – E.T.

I’ve been reading this book about the Beatles, and note that they were struggling to figure out their own philosophy/theology. Gaga seems to have known right off; I pick that one. It STILL sounds like a Madonna tune, though. Don’t know the Khalifa song, and only barely remember the Perry song.

2/18/12 Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
3/3/12 Katy Perry – Part Of Me
3/17/12 Fun. feat. Janelle Monae – We Are Young

For the first time in years, I actually had heard all three songs before! I’ve always had affection for Kelly Clarkson from that first season of American Idol. The changing rhythms of the Fun. song intrigue me. I like the empowerment angle in the Perry song, so I’ll keep that.

2/2/13 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz – Thrift Shop
3/2/13 Baauer – Harlem Shake
4/20/13 Bruno Mars – When I Was Your Man

I think Thrift Shop must be a good song, because it conveys the ick factor of used merchandise. I remember when I got the video for Harlem Shuffle before it was popular, and I noted that I didn’t “get” it; it WAS a different video. That leaves the straight-ahead Bruno Mars tune that I’ll choose.

1/18/14 Pitbull feat. Ke$ha – Timber
2/8/14 Katy Perry feat. Juicy J – Dark Horse
3/29/14 Pharrell Williams – Happy

There are parts of Timber I like, mostly the sections without Pitbull. I didn’t know the Perry song, and it didn’t grab me. I read later it’s some sort of “reheated trip hop”; you know you’re getting old when the description of the music is meaningless to you.

So I’ll pick Happy. There was one of those online polls of the worst pop song, the kind of thing I usually pick the Men in My Little Girl’s Life by Mike Douglas (#6 in ’66 – sign of the devil) or We Built This City. Happy showed up several times. I think they are conflating bad songs with songs people get tired of hearing (Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, Yesterday, Piano Man); doesn’t mean the song is bad, but that it’s been heard too often.