I know Parks and Recreation has been over for a while, but I just started watching it on Netflix and I’m hooked – I don’t know why I didn’t watch it when it was originally being aired (although, it’s kind of great watching a show that has ended because you can binge the whole season and not have to wait months for the new season, or a week for the next episode).
For those unfamiliar, the show stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, an ambitious woman working in the Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and it chronicles her (mis)adventures of her trying to make the best Pawnee possible.
The thing I really like about the show is that they did a great job making the fake city of Pawnee seem real and making it a cross platform experience. You don’t just watch the show, you live it. For example, there’s an episode where Leslie writes and publishes a book on Pawnee, and they made it an actual book you can purchase and read – yes, they actually made up the historical background of a fake city. Most shows would just make a prop book for the episode with blank pages, but Parks went above and beyond.
When Leslie runs for office, they naturally created her website. But, they went further and created websites for such minor things. Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom, starts many different businesses throughout the show, and they created websites for all of them. There’s even one episode where Leslie online dates (the service she used was made up for the show), and they made a website for that made-up service. There’s also an episode where Chris Pratt’s character writes a song for Leslie’s rally and he gets the whole cast to sing it…and they actually recorded it (see below).
I think it’s this dedication to bringing alive all the small details of the show made Parks so successful and create the cult following it still seems to have. I do have to say that I wish Mouse Rat actually released an album.
I found Astrid S’ song “Hurts So Good” in a list of “underrated” songs of 2016…I am now obsessed with it. The song seems to have done well in Astrid S’ home country of Norway and other parts of Europe, but it has yet to gain traction in America (thus it’s “underrated” status). The song, overall, has great beats and cool synth work. I also love the way she sings the chorus of “When it hurts, but it hurts so good” – it’s full of such great emotion.
The other great thing about this song is it’s snappy lyrics. The opening lyrics of “You’re fighting me off like a firefighter, so tell me why you still get burned” is so enticing and clever. At first, I thought it was a bit of an unusual reference, but then I realized that if the person is fighting her like a firefighter, then she must be a flame or fire. This revolves around the entire message of the song: when things get bad, do you run or do you “take it?” If she is a flame, she can keep this person warm or burn them. Are they going tough out the difficult time or are they going to only stay if it “hurts so good.”
Anyway, I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out (or, rather, ear?) for Astrid S in 2017 – hopefully a full length album is on its way.
I found this article on Buzzfeedlisting the forty underrated pop songs of 2016. Naturally I found it intriguing – I’m always up for new music to listen to. I listened through most of them, and one of the songs they list is “Pretty Girl” by Maggie Lindemann (below). When I went to the YouTube video, one of the comments suggested changing the video speed to 1.25 (you can do that by clicking on the little cog icon). And, my god, what a good idea. The faster tempo suits the song better. Perhaps we know why it was “underrated” (more like unknown) in 2016.
Personally, I thought the best songs in the list were:
For a while I’ve been hearing about Amy Schumer talking about filming a movie with Goldie Hawn in Hawaii. They finally released the trailer for the movie, entitled Snatched. It appears the movie is about Schumer convincing her mom (Hawn) to go on a trip to South America, where they are kidnapped, or, rather, “snatched.” I generally like Schumer’s stuff – it’s a bit on the disgusting side for me (e.g. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the movie that scene where she’s cleaning her privates is heavily focused on), but on the whole it’s usually worth a good chuckle. So I am pretty intrigued by the movie. I’m still waiting for her movie she wrote with Jennifer Lawrence. That’ll be great.
I find it interesting when a song gets reincarnated over the years and gets covered by so many different bands and artists. We’ve seen it with “Angel of the Morning” and “Torn,” and so many other songs.
Recently, I stumbled across the song “Stuck in the Middle with You,” originally by Steelers Wheel,” and I love this song – the lyrics are so snappy and clever.
From my very brief research (the semester just ended, I’m a bit exhausted), Juice Newton, Michael Bublé, and Grace Potter all took stabs at covering this classic song – I’m sure there are more but, I think it’s interesting how they each took the song and did it rather differently:
Grace Potter didn’t actually release a full studio version of the song – she sang the chorus for the theme of Grace and Frankie, but I think she needs to record a full studio version.
While I’m a purist and think the original is technically the best, I think Grace Potter had the best approach to the song. It appears that in most versions, the song seems to have a slower tempo, but I think the song should be done at a faster tempo with a rock edge – it makes it so epic.
So the 2017 Grammy nominations came out a few days ago. Normally, I’m counting down the days, and then spend the whole next week after the nominations come out digesting the results, then I try to get as many of the nominated albums as possible and try to listen to it all.
I completely forgot about the nominations. I’ve been so busy with work and school that I just haven’t had time to care. On the whole, I still like the notion of the Grammys because, in my opinion, they celebrate music and they work to celebrate all kinds of music. Indeed, they are always creating new categories to accurately reflect the new genres coming out. While I may not always agree with the nominees, I think it is at least a good attempt to bringing recognition to the importance of music.
This year, I got to say there were a lot of nominees that I didn’t see happening. I mean, it was no surprise that Beyoncé and Adele got so many nominations, but I didn’t think Justin Bieber would ever get an Album of the Year nod. Purpose did really well for Bieber these past few years, so it’s not surprising, it just unlike the Grammys. I was pleasantly surprised by Mike Posner’s Song of the Year nomination for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” – the song, particularly the original, is incredible vulnerable and beautiful, and I would love to see it win. However, my bet is it’s either “Hello” that will win or “Formation.”
Anyway, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who will win – if I remember!
Finally. After almost ten years, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the revival of the hit television show, was released on Netflix. And, yes, on the day of the release, I woke up at 6 a.m. to binge watch the whole series. I got to say, it was incredible.
The amazing thing about the show is that it’s as though no time has elapsed. The writing is as snappy as ever, and each actor captured their character perfectly – you’d think after all that time, one of them would waiver in their performance. But every performance was perfect. In particular, Kelly Bishop’s performance of Emily Gilmore was Emmy and Golden Globe worthy, as was Liza Weil’s Paris Geller.
One thing I noticed in the second episode, “Spring,” Lorelai is talking about her relationship ship and she says she was married to Rory’s dad but got divorced because “it was never supposed to happen. It was always supposed to be Luke.” The interesting thing is Lorelai got married in the seventh season, the season Amy Sherman-Palladino (ASP), the creator, was not working on the show – she left due to contractual disputes. This revival gave ASP the chance to end the show she had intended. I read an article where ASP and her husband Daniel Palladino said they’d probably would’ve ended the show in the seventh season anyway, but they would’ve “done it better.” So, I was thinking perhaps Lorelai’s comment that her marriage was never supposed to happen was literally ASP stating the marriage was never supposed to happen – when ASP was forced to leave the show, the network took the show down a road that wasn’t right.
Anyway, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is absolutely incredible – if you aren’t a Gilmore Girls fan, you will be soon!
I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but I’m really digging Ingrid Michaelson’s new song “Hell No” (although, at this point, how new is it?). The empowerment and attitude of the song is really what makes it stand out – you don’t need someone (specially a jerk) to feel validated. The boldness of the chorus matched with the vocal accents of “I get it” and “whatever” makes the song pop.
Every time I listen to Lindsey Stirling’s music, I can’t help but think “that’s such a friggin good idea.” Stirling is a violinist, but instead of playing typical classical music, she plays more EDM, dubstep music. It’s so out of the box and epic. Take a listen of these songs from her latest album Brave Enough:
"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." – JK Rowling