Category Archives: Music

Music Review – My Analysis of Childish Gambino’s “This is America”

Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever reviewed a music video on this exceptional blog.  Perhaps it could be the start of a trend.

Actor/comedian Donald Glover was the funniest part of NBC’s “Community,” but for years, he’s rapped under the moniker, “Childish Gambino.”  As rappers go, I thought he was ok, he had some skills but never really blew any wind up my proverbial skirt until now.

Although it isn’t for the squeamish, his new video “This is America” is worth a watch, and maybe even a couple watches just to pick up all the hidden and/or double meanings.  He’s definitely lit up the Internet, getting people talking and there are all sorts of theories about what he’s trying to say.

I’ll give my two cents though I admit up front I could be entirely wrong in my interpretation:

#1 – On a surface level, it’s a psyche out.  It begins as though he’s going to sing a happy song, something lively and fun in the wheelhouse of Pharell’s “Happy.”  But then it turns dark.  Ever so nonchalantly, Gambino blows away a man seated in a chair with a bag over his head.

The tone of the song goes from happy tune to hardcore rap…and yet, ironically, Gambino and a gaggle of young students in school uniforms proceed to dance happily, as though the happy music was still playing.

This happens a second time, when the happy music starts up again, then Gambino machine guns a church choir, then the hardcore rap plays yet he and company dance happily to the hardcore beat.

The casual, non-introspective viewer will think this is just a bait and switch, get you to look left while you get walloped with a right hook you weren’t suspecting.  But there’s much more.

#2 – Obviously, gun violence is a major theme.  One thought I had is that the first shooting was a street crime style shooting.  As the dancing goes on in the foreground, a small amount of people freak out and run around in the background.

Meanwhile, the second shooting was an act of terrorism, and tons of people freak out and run around in the background.  I could be stretching here but it dawned on me that people freak out when a lot of people are shot at once in a mass shooting and they demand that something be done to stop mass shootings.  Yet, individuals are shot in criminal i.e. (you crossed me or you got something I want) style shootings and the public doesn’t respond with equal alarm, even though if you add those individual shootings up, the numbers get high.

Both types of shootings need to be solved, stopped, prevented.

#3 – The choir scene is clearly a reference to the Charlestown church shooting where 9 black worshippers were gunned down by a white supremacist.  And I think Gambino was trying to make a point in how quickly and casually he was able to wipe out a whole choir, cutting a large group of people down as easily as how a hot knife would go through butter, perhaps trying to make us rethink the idea of letting the average person wield a device that carries so much power.

#4 – Dancing happily amidst tragedy = the general public seeks constant entertainment and distraction.  We sort of know that these shootings are going on, maybe we heard about them on the noise or something, we care for a little bit and then…ooohh, hey!  What’s that new song?  Time to dance to this new beat!  We’re easily distracted and should be taking the time we put into entertaining ourselves with pop culture and putting it into solving society’s ill, gun violence in particular.

#5 – We celebrate black pop culture and black entertainers in particular…the music, the dancing and so on…and yet, are we doing enough to help inner city African Americans who suffer all day?  Do we only care about African Americans who can sing and dance but not about those who live in downtrodden neighborhoods who just want to get through their day without becoming the next victim?

I don’t know.  Those are some of my observations.  Could be wrong.  I don’t know if he has done it yet, but would love it if Glover would come out and spoon feed us what he was trying to say.

What do you think?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Awkwafina’s “My Vag”

Hey 3.5 readers.

Are you down?  Do you need a laugh?  Please drop what you are doing and watch this girl rap about how much better her vag is than yours.

It’s pretty catchy.  “My vag won best vag, your vag won best supporting vag…”

This is probably one of those things that the kids knew about for years and I’m just learning about it right?

“My vag is Godfather 1 and your vag is Godfather 3.” Ouch.

Tagged , ,

Happy Birthday Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain.  He briefly stepped onto the music scene in the early 1990s, gave us grunge aka alternative rock, the most depressing yet beloved sound of the 90s and then, sadly killed himself.  I mean, I don’t want to say it’s not surprising that the King of Depressing Music killed himself but, yeah, I guess that’s what happened.

Kurt would have been fifty today and no, millennials, he would not have been a baby boomer.  He’d of been on the older side of Generation X.

Sigh.  Generation X.  The forgotten generation.

Put on your flannel shirt and rock out, 3.5 readers.

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Top Ten Halloween Songs

shutterstock_113293567

It’s time to get this Halloween party started right, 3.5 readers.

If you’ve got a pad full of fly ass witch hunnies and dope ass Frankensteins, they’re going to want to boogie, so without further ado, from BQB HQ in fabulous East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Halloween Songs:

#10 – “Season of the Witch” – Donovan

An oldie but a goodie. Has that 1960s vibe with an eerie twist. Also, it is about witches so there you go.

#9 – Monster – Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and a Plethora of Other Rappers

This one’s relatively new, having come out in this decade. However, it uses “monster” in a double meaning. You can assume that they’re rapping about being a monster as in being bad in order to get ahead or you can actually assume they’re rapping about become real ass monsters.

Nicki Minaj pretty much became known for sounding sweet and innocent and one verse, only to turn dark and evil the next.

Sweet one minute, evil the next. Yes, I know. This describes most women.  Moving on…

#8 – Time Warp – Rocky Horror Picture Show

I saw that movie once. It was so old that it featured a version of Susan Sarandon that you actually wanted to see in a bra.

There was supposed to be a live performance of it. Did that happen yet?

Eh, catchy song, though whoever came up with this show must have been smoking copious amounts of herb.

“Let’s do the time warp again…”

Paging Dr. Frank N. Furter…

#7 – Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell

Aha! You thought this was by Michael Jackson, didn’t you?

Wrong! It was by Rockwell, though admittedly he sounded like Mike.

The beat and lyrics are creepy. I defy you to listen to it and not feel like someone is actually watching you.

No one ever watches me though. They’d be very bored by my lame ass life and would puke whenever the bathroom parts happen.

#6 – Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.

Sure, it’s a theme song for one of the greatest 1980s comedies, but it also has an awesome beat.

It’s fun. It’s not scary. And you can dance to it. “Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good!”

#5 – “This is Halloween” – Danny Elfman – The Nightmare Before Christmas

Oh Jack Skellington. What will you get into next? But seriously dude, stop trying to steal Christmas.

#4 – “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” – Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan on NBC’s 30 Rock

It was a parody on a sitcom but Tracy yuks it up as in a song about a werewolf celebrating his bar mitzvah.  “Arrwoo!  Boys becoming men…men becoming wolves!”

#3 – Halloween (the movie theme song) – John Carpenter

Yeah. You can’t listen to that song without imagining Mike Meyers chasing you with a knife (the fictional murderer, not the comedic actor).

#2 – Thriller – Michael Jackson 

It’s got Michael Jackson. It’s got Vincent Price. It’s got zombies dancing in sync. ‘Cause this is thriller!

#1 – Monster Mash – Bobby Pickett

No Halloween party worth its salt or its fun sized candy bars finishes without playing the Monster Mash, because as you know, it is a graveyard smash.

Or you could check out the Key of Awesome’s modern update of this classic song:

Tagged , , , ,

Will a New Form of Music Ever Be Invented?

The 1970s-1980s gave us rap.

The 1990s gave us alternative and gangsta rap.

Is it me, or has a new form of music not been invented in awhile?

Have they all been invented, or is a new sound coming soon?

Discuss.

Tagged

RIP Prince

Dig if you will the picture, of BQB and his 3.5 readers embraced in sadness today as we mourn the loss of super funkadelic pop star Prince Rogers Nelson.

Yes. Prince’s name really was Prince. With a name like Prince, it would have been a waste had he become a claims adjuster or some such nonsense so he used his moniker to its fullest potential and became the manliest son of a bitch to wear frilly antique shirts and purple coats.

Oh Prince.  You will be missed.

 

Purple Rain. When Doves Cry. You know, people haven’t mentioned this as much but my first exposure to his music was when he performed songs on the original Batman (1989) movie soundtrack.  Like the Joker, Prince’s color was purple.

Will there ever be another music legend capable of sporting that much purple?

I don’t know. But let us take a moment of silence.  And then, let us listen to his hits and get funky.

Tagged , , , , ,

I got nothin’

I got nothing!  Nothing!  Nothing!  Don’t make me close one more door, I don’t want to blog anymore…la la la la la la la I love Whitney Houston.

Hey actually I do have something.  Have you ever heard that Work Work Work song by Rihanna?  “Work work work work work” that’s all it is.  I can’t stop singing it.

Tagged , , ,

RIP Scott Weiland

Sad news, 3.5 readers.

Scott Weiland, legendary grunge music icon of the 1990’s and Stone Temple Pilots frontman has died at 48, passing away in his sleep according to news reports.

Bookshelf Q. Battler was saddened by the news.  Mr. Battler spent most of the 90’s dressed head to toe in flannel like he was a Canadian lumberjack or something (as was the style at the time) and listened to STP’s catalog extensively, Big Bang Baby being his favorite of all the STP releases.

You will be missed, Mr. Weiland.  You will be missed.

What was your favorite STP song, 3.5 readers?

(PS – 3.5 millennial readers, there was a decade called the 1990’s.  Bill Clinton was president, the WB was churning out some fabulous shows (i.e. Buffy and the most popular music at the time involved men in flannel singing about how depressed they were, which may or may not explain a lot about the world as we know it today, come to think of it, but that’s a debate for another time.)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Official Bookshelf Battle Dog

Everything is awesome around here, including Bookshelf Battle Dog. Here he is- doing a beats solo selfie.

IMG_1399.JPG

Tagged

Lyrics to Tito Puente’s Senor Burns

As a comedy aficionado, I am really enjoying the “Every Simpsons Ever” Marathon on FXX. One of my favorite songs from the show is Tito Puente’s “Senor Burns.” The Setup – in the “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” episodes, oil is discovered at Springfield Elementary School, causing Principal Skinner to spend lavishly, including hiring Tito Puente as the school music teacher. But, when Mr. Burns blocks out the sun to force everyone to buy more energy from his nuclear power plant, everyone in town has a grudge against Mr. Burns, as well as a motive to shoot him. Tito is cleared as a suspect when it is learned that he chose to get his revenge on Mr. Burns, not with violence but through an insulting salsa song:

LYRICS TO SENOR BURNS BY TITO PUENTE
Wounds won’t last long, but an insulting song
Burns will always carry with him.
So I’ll settle my score, on the salsa floor
with this vengeful Latin rhythm.
Burns! Con el corazon de perro!
Senor Burns! El diablo con dinero!
It may not surprise you, but all of us despise you.
Please die and fry. In hell, you rotten
rich old wretch!
Adios viejo!

By the way, my Spanish is rusty but I believe the palabras en espanol translate roughly into “Burns you have the heart of a dog!” and “Mr. Burns you’re the devil with money!”

Literally, with no exaggeration, every few years, I’ll catch this episode on TV and end up singing the song for at least a year after. I haven’t even caught the episode on the marathon but it popped into my head and I can’t stop singing it.

Random thought – Are they going to show the Simpons Movie? They can’t really call it “Every Simpsons Ever” if they don’t show the Simpsons Movie, can they?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements