Archive for the ‘Pharrell Williams’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: MAGGIE ROGERS-Tiny Desk Concert #642 (August 7, 2017).

I had been hearing Maggie Rogers’ name on WXPN and have liked “Alaska” which they’ve been playing.  But I didn’t know much else about her.

But reading the blurb reminded me of where I had initially heard of her:

Maggie Rogers became a viral star on the strength of a video in which Pharrell Williams raves about a demo of what’s become her signature song, “Alaska.” Since then, Rogers has signed a label deal, toured extensively and released a sweetly approachable, inventively arranged EP called Now That The Light Is Fading.

For her Tiny Desk debut, Rogers performed all three of the EP’s best-known songs, opening with the recent singles “On + Off” and “Dog Years,” the latter of which she calls “a song for all the pups.” Then, after dismissing her band, she treated us to a few warm words about public radio before introducing “Alaska.”

Maggie has an interesting voice that sounds similar to someone (it’ll come to me), but with a slight country twang.  It seems like she could easily fall into the country umbrella but her songwriting goes in a slightly different direction.  (I’m also astonished that she looks to be about 18).

She plays three songs (there are 5 on her EP),

“On+Off” starts with a piano intro and Maggie singing. When the middle section kicks in and she plays guitar there a much louder sound. It’s quite catchy.  I really like the delivery of the “Ooohs” that she adds.  There’s something about the way she does it that sounds very cool.

“Dog Years” is a slower, slightly more country-sounding song, but again the “ooohs” won me over.  This time the ooohs are harmonized by her band and it sounds even better.  She also demonstrated some wonderful high notes.

Her band leaves for the final song which she starts by telling everyone that “public radio has been a part of her musical discovery–since she used an NPR compilation to DJ her middle school recess.”  She’s very sweet.

Th final song is “Alaska” which she says is a song about coming back into your body.  It has a really pretty chorus–once again, her voice soaring to lovely high notes.  I prefer the recorded version to this solo version, but she sounds great by herself as well.

[READ: June 27, 2017] “Crossing the River No Name”

I was a little concerned about this story because it was set in Khost, Afghanistan and I thought it was going to be an intense war story–and war stories, like sports stories, pretty much end one of two ways.

So it begins on a rainy night in March 2009.  The narrator and his patrol are sent to interrupt a group of Taliban.  They reached a river and Hal, the leader, called on the best swimmers to swim across and set up the guide rope.  They made it across and secured the line.  The rest of the patrol got across but when it was the narrator and Hals’ turn they hit trouble.

Hal was afraid of the water.  He’d joined the Navy to get over that fear and it worked.  Most of the time.  He knew of one other example when Hal had had a brief freak out.  But this was the second one.  The river grew darker and they were pulled under. (more…)


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stopthisSOUNDTRACK: PHARRELL WILLIAMS-“Despicable Me” (2010).

meAfter coming back from Universal, we watched Despicable Me again.  I had totally forgotten that Pharrell Williams, that “Happy” guy, had written this song about “having a bad bad day.”

Now since this is an open credit sequence, I think he can be forgiven for repeating the two verses FOUR TIMES.

Of course, that makes it insanely catchy (I’m havin’ a bad bad day), and the melody is a nice combination of bouncy jingle and suspenseful spy type movie.

It’s nice to see Williams run the gamut of emotions in these two songs (“Happy” comes from Despicable Me 2).

[READ: November 7, 2014] You Have to Stop This

This is the final book in the “Secret” series.  It has been quite a while since I read book four, so I was a little worried that I wouldn’t remember what was going on.  And I really didn’t, but that didn’t matter too much, because I immediately jumped right back into he plot and figured out the details as I went along.  And I flew through this (it was a great vacation book).

One of my favorite things about this series is the way that Bosch plays with the conventions of storytelling.  I’m not even sure if young readers can appreciate the jokes at this level (have they read enough to know what is being spoofed?).  So when chapter one begins with a pick your own beginning, it made me laugh because of the types of opening lines you can choose, but also because of what the answer is.

And then in chapter 2, the narrator promises to reveal the Secret right away… (more…)

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pettySOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Now That’s What I Call Polka” (2014).

npwpolkI knew that Al wouldn’t make a video for his polka medley (always a highlight of his albums).

I was surprised that I knew so many of these songs (on the last album I knew hardly any of the apparently huge songs that made up the medley).  So either I listen to more mainstream music now (or, perhaps I have kids who know more mainstream music) or the music was just much huger this time around.

This batch includes: “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People “Best Song Ever” by One Direction (I didn’t know this one, and I crack up at the childish way he makes the “best song” sound like gagging) “Gangnam Style” by Psy “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen “Scream & Shout” by will.i.am featuring Britney Spears (I didn’t know this one) “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra (I can’t believe how different this one sounds) “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha (I didn’t know this one) “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO (or this one) “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz (or this one, amazingly) “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams.

It’s in these medley’s that Al’s lyrics are the most graphic, because he’s actually singing other pop lyrics, not his own.

It’s always fun when he sings this live because he matches up the original videos to his new sped-up tempo.  Looking forward to Mandatory Fun Live in 2014 (or 15).

[READ: August 3, 2014] Petty Theft

I was intrigued by this story because of the strange cover art–two people in a book store–a hunched over guy and a pretty girl–both reading books.

The story is about Pascal.  He and his long time girlfriend have broken up and he is in a hellish limbo. He’s staying in a friend’s spare room and he is not drawing anymore.  In fact, he’s looking for a major change in his life–the whole cartooning thing isn’t working out for him.  The only comfort he has left is running, but on his last run he hurt his back and has been laid up practically immobile for weeks.

He goes to the chiropractor who helps him out some (although it hurts him as much as his back already hurts).  But she tells him that he cannot run for a couple of months.  He is despondent.  So he decides to go to the bookstore, his favorite local indie shop of course, and look around.  While he’s looking around he sees a girl pick up his own book (Bigfoot)…and steal it.  He is offended and intrigued at the same time.  He tries to follow her but loses her in a crowd.  And now he has to decide what to do.  Especially since he hears the clerks talking about how many books have gone missing lately.  And because he thinks the girl is really cute (and she likes his book!) (more…)

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bookhuntSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Tacky” (2014).

altacky“Weird Al’s” newest album comes out tomorrow.  In preparation he has created 8 videos, which will be released one a day for 8 days.   The fact that the release day is the same day as the second video bothers my sensibilities, but what does that matter, honestly.

I have pre-ordered the CD, but because of a shipping issue, I likely won’t get it until all of the videos have been released, so I’m going to keep media silence except for the videos.

This is a parody of Pharrell William’s “Happy,” the most ubiquitous and catchy song in recent memory (my son recognized the parody from the opening drum beats).

The video is a star-studded extravaganza all done in (I believe) one take.  The guests include: Aisha Tyler, Margaret Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Kristen Schaal and Jack Black.  All of the stars are dressed crazily as they sing some very funny lines about being “tacky.”  We wondered of course who dressed the stars (was it Al, or did they bring their own–we like to think they brought their own).  There are some very funny lines in the song (the pregnant line, the Kanye West line, the resume in comic sans), and of course, the melody is spot on.

Now that my kids are in school and they are exposed to pop music, I had to wonder if they will know more of the original songs than I do.  We’ll see.

[READ: July 2, 2014] Bookhunter

I enjoyed Shiga’s other books, but I loved this one.

Bookhunter is about a member of the library police.  He doesn’t go after fines, he goes after serious book criminals.

Set in the 1970s (and drawn in a wonderful brown and tan style, Special Agent Bay seeks out those who would censor or steal books.  In the opening scene, Bay and his agents have tracked down a man who has stolen all eight copies of the Oakland Public Library’s “The China Lobby in America.”  After a detailed plan (involving radioactive ink), the agents storm the culprit’s building,  When the suspect threatens to immolate himself and everyone else, Bay hatches a crazy plan straight out of an action movie.  It’s very exciting

The main part of the book though, concerns a book that has been stolen.  Copyrighted 1838, it has been on special display at the Oakland Public Library.  But something’s not right about the book and the library is sure it is a forgery. (more…)

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