Tag: Music

Eurovision! (A Guide for Americans)

Eurovision! (A Guide for Americans)

Eurovision 2015 will be streamed live Sat 5/23 at 3p (est)!


What Is Eurovision?

Eurovision is campy, over-the top, EuroPop performances. It is very self-aware. And it is also very serious business.

This year will be the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest! Eurovision combines the national pride of the Olympics with the live performance & voting style of American Idol. Some call it the World Cup of song competitions. There will be 27 live performances this year; usually there are 26. This year is extra special because, for whatever reason, Australia has been invited to compete.

Unlike song competitions and award shows here in the states, Eurovision is streamed live because there are no commercials. The show is not drawn out painfully forever to try to increase ad sales. Instead, the show plows through one performance to the next. The pacing makes you feel like you cant take a break until it’s time for voting! Twenty-seven performances in about two-hours!

After a speed run of live performances, there’s a break where the host makes awkward banter and bad jokes. They don’t mean for them to be bad. But, the entire show is in English. Usually in countries where English is not their first language. So you end up having two people trying to make stage-talk in a language that both of them only half understand. The result is as you would imagine (great).

Then comes the voting! The votes consist of 50% audience voting and 50% “panel of expert judges” voting. You cannot vote for your own country. While Europe is voting (we can’t vote, obviously) there are musical acts. Or a history of Eurovision montage. Then they painstakingly display the results from each country as spoken by a country representative via live satellite link. Sometimes the satellite link works correctly. And sometimes it doesn’t. You’re not supposed to vote politically…

Then, they declare a winner! Somehow, Eurovision is a very efficient award show machine. They crank out 27 live performances, voting, results, and crowning a winner in just about four-hours. I’ve seen episodes of American Idol that have barely 5 performances take two-hours! The winner is actually important because it determines where the competition will be hosted the next year. This year’s is in Austria because they won Eurovision last year.


Drinking Game / Bingo

Because simply watching a campy EuroPop song competition isn’t enough, many people play Eurovision Bingo. Or, much simpler, just a drinking game. The competition is this predictable. Yet, it’s also not predictable at all some years.

The list below make up some of the bingo card slots that I compiled this year. Read through to get an idea of what this competition is all about! Feel free to download the bingo cards pdf to print out for your own Eurovision party!

 

eurovision bingo game

 

  • ABBA Mentioned
  • Air Instrument Played
  • Audience Member witih Face Painted
  • Awarding Points for Political Reasons
  • Awkward Joke
  • Blows Kiss to Camera
  • Country Representative Goofs
  • Crawling or Kneeling on Stage
  • Dressed All in White
  • Dub Drop
  • Host Changes Outfits
  • I Love You Europe
  • Mid-Song Costume Change
  • Obvious Neighbor Voting
  • Out of Sync Backing Dancers
  • Shirtless Man
  • Singer Doesn’t Move
  • Technical Glitch
  • Thank You Australia
  • Wind Machine

 


Eurovision Past Winners

Eurovision has some famous artists under it’s belt. Like Celine Dion, Katrina and the Waves, ABBA. But more often than not, the performers competing are big in Europe just not over here (or yet). Here are some highlights of previous Eurovision performers:


Rise Like A Phoenix by Conchita Wurst (Austria)

A drag queen performer sings a song reminiscent of a James Bond theme song. She won last year’s competition.


Party For Everybody by Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia)

This song features a group of grandmothers singing about partying. During their performance they bake a batch of cookies.


Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi (Finland)

Eurovision’s only winning rock song to date. These Gwar-esque performers won in 2006.


Moustache by Twin Twin (France)

Last year, France’s goofy entry received the lowest amount of votes with a total of 2.


It’s My Life by Cezar (Romania)

Sometimes Romania sends falsetto-singing vampire warlocks to perform.


Irlande Douze Pointe by Dustin the Turkey (Ireland)

In 2008, Ireland sent a turkey. His name is Dustin. He is a TV personality and has recorded several albums.


Watch Eurovision streamed live Saturday May 23rd 3p(est)!

Spotify Playlist: Literal Summer Songs

Spotify Playlist: Literal Summer Songs

Last year I put together a playlist that consists of literal summer songs. Every song title mentions “summer” “ocean” “beach” “hot” “sun” “surf” “ice cream” “sand” “pool” etc. So songs that simply remind me of summer by association are not included.

Because the playlist is about song titles, it spans various genres of music. Hip-hop, rap, pop, punk, indie, and country. Here’s the break-down, I’ll include the playlist at the end.

Actual Summer Songs Playlist

  • Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince / rap (1991)
  • Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran / rockabilly (1958)
  • The Boys of Summer by Ataris / pop-punk (1984) (Cover)
  • Summer’s Comin’ by Clint Black / country (1995)
  • Surf Wax America by Weezer / pop-rock (1994)
  • California Gurls by Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg / pop (2010)
  • Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow / pop (2002)
  • Rockaway Beach by Ramones / punk (1977)
  • Sunshine by Matisyahu / rap-rock (2012)
  • Sunshine by Mos Def / rap (2004)
  • Steal my Sunshine by Len / pop-rock (1999)
  • My Own Summer (Shove It) by Deftones / rock (1997)
  • Summer’s End by Foo Fighters / rock (2007)
  • Summertime Song by Clay Walker / country (2010)
  • Sippin’ on Sunshine by Avil Lavigne / pop (2013)
  • Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys / surf rock (1963)
  • Summer Lovin’ by The Vandals / punk (1978) (Cover)
  • Drop It Like It’s Hot by Snoop Dogg & Pharrell Williams / rap (2004)
  • Summer Nights by Rascall Flatts / country (2009)
  • Summer Love by Justin Timberlake / pop (2006)
  • Summer Girls by L.F.O. / pop (1999)
  • Summertime by NKOTB / pop (2008)
  • Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes / rock (1983)
  • Ice Cream by Raekwon & Ghostface Killah / rap (1995)
  • Summer by Sum 41 / pop-punk (2007)
  • You’re So Last Summer by Taking Back Sunday / emo (2002)
  • Always Summer by Yellowcard / pop (2012)
  • Too Darn Hot by Ella Fitzgerald / jazz (1956) (cover)
  • Feel Good Hit of the Summer by Queens of the Stone Age / rock (2000)
  • Sunshine and Summertime by Faith Hill/ country (2005)
  • Long Hot Summer by Keith Urban / country (2011)
  • Summertime by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes / punk (1933) (cover)
  • It’s Summertime by Flaming Lips / indie (2002)
  • Summer Breeze by Type O Negative / rock (1993)
  • California Love by 2Pac / rap (1996)
  • Ice Cream by Battles / pop (2011)
  • Beat This Summer by Brad Paisley / country (2013)
  • Warmth of the Sand by Dashboard Confessional / emo (2004)
  • Summertime by Kenny Chesney / country (2005)
  • Seasons in the Sun by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes / punk (1974) (cover)
  • Summertime by Beyonce & Diddy / hip-hop (2003)
  • Summer Skin by Death Cab for Cutie / indie-pop (2005)
  • Miami by Will Smith / hip-hop (1997)
  • Let’s Go Surfing by The Drums / indie-pop (2010)
  • Ocean Breathes Salty by Modest Mouse / indie (2004)
  • Oceans by Coasts / indie (2013)
  • Walk on the Ocean by Toad The Wet Sprocket / rock (1991)

 

Music I’m Listening To – May 2015

Music I’m Listening To – May 2015

There was recently a study that people stop listening to new music at the age of 33. I stopped listening to new music when I was 23. After graduating from college my musical interests completely froze. And my passion for discovering new bands froze completely. In the past decade, there are less than a handful of bands that I’ve folded into my regular listening.

Teenager me is cringing right now. Especially since I live in NYC. And I should be at a show right this second. And I’m probably missing the-next-big-thing as I type this. Instead of going to shows, I go to bed. Some shows start at 11p! That is not my idea of a good time.

But I still love music! So recently I’ve tried to get up to date with new artists, old artists new stuff, and anything in between. With the help of various websites and Spotify, I’ve been fairly successful. My tastes have definitely broadened since I was a teenager though at the same time I’ve become incredibly picky. But if anyone has recommendations for new artists, especially Brooklyn ones, please let me know!

Here’s a few selections that I’ve been listening to lately. Lately means either the past week or the past few years.


Ground Up / Hip-Hop

I’m pretty sure I found this hip-hop group on Spotify, somehow, within the past year. Ground Up are based in Philadelphia and are trying to become successful… from the ground up. So far, it’s working out for them. Below is the first song I heard by them Got Damn. Although I’ve just found them within the past year, the song below is 5-years old. That’s where I am with music nowadays. Better late than never. Let’s Ride is another good one and that was released last year. Apparently it’s perfect for a summertime mix.


The Julie Ruin / Dance-Punk

The Julie Ruin is because Kathleen Hanna will never stop making music. And that’s fine by me. They have released one album, Run Fast in 2013. But just released a new single a few months ago. So I’m not too behind the times with this one. If you’re not familiar with the name, Kathleen Hanna fronted the band Bikini Kill in the 90’s and then Le Tigre in the 00’s. She was significantly a part of the riot grrl movement. She’s brilliant and talented. The Julie Ruin doesn’t disappoint. While not every song is a hit for me. It’s all good stuff.


Blur / Brit-Pop

Blur is back. A band I loved growing up has released a new album The Magic Whip. And it’s quite good! I have no qualms about a band going off to do side projects then getting back together. Everyone grows and changes. You don’t want to do the same exact thing for your entire life. Musicians love playing music. But their tastes change. Just like my taste of what music I listen to has changed. Of course theirs will change too. So they all took time off to just live their lives. Play in other bands. Learn more things about things. Have families. And now they took all those experiences and came together to put together a surprisingly great album. If you’re not familiar with Blur, you may remember their hit Song 2 in the late 90’s. A short track that basically was just Albarn shouting “whoo-hoo” the whole time. I’m really glad they took a break.


Refused / Hardcore

This is another band who is releasing a new album after a huge hiatus and it’s just great. Refused had a minor hit in ’98 with New Noise. At the time I liked any song where the lead singer screamed, so I instantly loved it. Unfortunately, that 1998 album, The Shape of Punk To Come, was their last. The band broke up later that year. They played their last show to a crowd of maybe one hundred people. Their last show in the US was in Virginia. It wasn’t big news when they broke up. And then no one heard from them for about a decade.

Then in 2012, they announced some tour dates. But were firm that this was not a restart of their career. They were just playing some shows. I was fortunate to see them play at Terminal 5 in April of that year. It was an absolutely amazing show. And it was great to see a band who broke up over a decade ago to a hundred people, come back and sell-out two shows at Terminal 5 in nyc. It really goes to show they were ahead of their time. And it’s nice to see them getting recognition. They recently released a single Elektra and have a new album in the works. This track does not disappoint. I can’t wait to see what else they have for us.


Life Size Maps / “Glitch-Pop”

I’ve been following this Brooklyn band for the past several years. They play here regularly and it’s enjoyable. This isn’t necessarily my favorite type of music. But I like what they do. After having various one-off tracks on the Internet, they just released their self-titled debut album last month. Here’s the first single.


EUROVISION

I can’t talk about music in May without mentioning EUROVISION! I will do a full post on this next week. But for now, there are some great songs in the line-up this year. UK’s Electro Velvet is like a dance-pop-jazz-revival track. Australia’s Guy Sebastian is sure to win. And Denmark’s Anti Social Media brings us a song of pure pop with a positive message and it’s sooo sugary. There are also a lot of ballads this year, as usual. Italy’s Il Volo serenades us with Grand Amore (swoon!). I’m so glad these guys are automatically in the finals.

Here’s a full Eurovision Spotify playlist with most of the contestants. Take a listen! Here’s Denmark.