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Music Video Spotlight: “The Stars Are Out Tonight” by David Bowie

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If you are familiar with David Bowie’s music and music videos, then you know that anything David Bowie does will be a bit out there.

The song “The Stars Are Out Tonight” discusses people’s obsession with celebrities and how celebrities or the people who represent them take advantage of that.

The music video directed Floria Sigismondi takes the song to another level by showing the viewer what celebrities could do to everyday people. It features not only David Bowie, but also actress Tilda Swinton as his wife and model Iselin Steiro as a younger David Bowie.

This is my favorite music video from The Next Day because of who stars in it, and because it is so weird and creative and so intelligent. The weirdness immerses you in the video and lets you feel things from the perspective of Bowie’s character and Bowie himself.

Bowie’s videos that are set in real life make you think about the lyrics more and how they reflect your life and the world around you.  It is something that Bowie has always done in the past and something I’ve always appreciated about Bowie.

“The Stars Are Out Tonight” is from Bowie’s 2013 surprise comeback album The Next Day. It is also the second of five music singles that have been released so far and the second of five music videos made to promote the album.

 

 

Written by Serena Zola

November 9, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Album Review: The Next Day by David Bowie

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U.S. Release Date: March 12, 2013

David Bowie’s first album in ten years is witty and pleasurable, a wonderful way to embrace the past while reflecting on the present. By being himself and  alter-egos like The Thin White Duke, he is at his zenith of creativity.

One of the notable things on the album is the music composition. There are songs that have melodies that are reminiscent of Bowie’s past work. For instance, the song “Dirty Boys” echoes the song “Fame” from Bowie’s Young Americans album. “Heat”, the album’s final track, flashbacks to Bowie’s album Low.

Besides the music composition, there are the lyrics. They are like a work of art, like a painting you look at in a museum. If you find them interesting, then you start thinking, “What does this mean to me?” This is something Bowie has been known for since the sixties and to see that this hasn’t changed is very gratifying.

Last but not least, the vocals. Bowie is getting older, but his vocal range hasn’t changed too much. There are times where he sounds like is talking rather than singing, but various instruments (i.e. guitar, drums, etc.) makes up for this flaw. His best vocal work is on slow-paced songs like “Where Are We Now?”

Overall, this is an excellent album. This is Bowie’s best work since 1997’s Earthling. I recommend this album to anyone looking for authentic and intelligent music.

Written by Serena Zola

March 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Favorite Ways I’ve Discovered and Enjoyed David Bowie’s Music

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Yesterday, I read in an article that David Bowie will be releasing a new album entitled “The Next Day” and has released a new single and accompanying music video called “Where Are We Now?”

My reaction: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! and also “OMG, the video I saw on the YouTube homepage about David Bowie was official! It’s a new song; must go back and view it!”

As you can see, I’ve been excited ever since. Why? It’s only been 7 months since I became a David Bowie fan and I never thought he would release an album in my lifetime. And so, I’ve decided to share my favorite ways I’ve discovered and enjoyed David Bowie’s music in order to celebrate.

  1.   A teen film called Bandslam– This film made me realize that although I was a young person, it was possible for me to connect to Bowie and his music, even though it was out there and all over the place. I had more Bowie songs on my iPod after I finished the film than before I started because I ended up looking up Bowie’s studio album discography.
  2. A documentary called Sound & Vision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlmuuQBM4Gs– This made me respect and admire David Bowie as a musician and a person.
  3. An hour-long tribute video by Soulwax– This tribute video was fun to watch because it was like watching a movie featuring David Bowie’s various alter-egos and music. It also felt good to hear different versions of songs like “Heroes” and “Rebel, Rebel”.
  4. David Bowie’s performance of “Fame” on Soul Train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW9x7OkwpxA–  A little bit of this performance was part of a Soul Train documentary I saw in February of last year with my dad. It was the first time I saw and heard David Bowie. The performance also formed a precious memory of me and my dad; he was the one who said, “That’s David Bowie right there.” when the performance came on-screen.

If you are a David Bowie fan, feel free to comment on this post. Tell me how you discovered David Bowie’s music and what you think of this post and anything on it.

On a more personal note, I’d like to dedicate this post to the memory of my dad, who passed away a few days before Christmas last year. Thanks for introducing me to David Bowie, Dad.  I love you ❤

Written by Serena Zola

January 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM

My Personal Book, Musician, and Movie of 2012

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Since the year is almost over and I’ve been seeing “Best -insert artistic medium here- of 2012” I’d figure I should go ahead and make one of my own. The best book, musician, and movie I have chosen are based on what I have posted this year on this blog. So, without further delay, let’s see my choices.

Favorite Book I’ve Read in 2012Wuthering Heights

Last year, I read a story in an American Lit I class called “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Not only did it make me want to start reading gothic novels, but it also taught me the one thing I’ve come to appreciate about great literary characters: duality. Having a character with both redeeming and distasteful qualities, a public self and a private self,  shows how truly complex we are as human beings. While I have read other novels (in other genres, not just gothic literature) that have well-developed characters, Wuthering Heights is, to me, the best example of duality I’ve read this year. It is for that reason I loved Catherine and Heathcliff even though they aren’t goody-goody characters.

Best Musician I’ve Listened to in 2012: David Bowie

When I first stumbled onto David Bowie’s music, I was watching a tv special on the show Soul Train. When I saw the red-haired white dude dancing to a funky, catchy rhythm and singing “FAMEEE”, I decided to look up the song  “Fame” to hear it in it full and then look up his albums. Once I did the latter, I decided not to listen to anymore songs because I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy his work. His Ziggy Stardust persona was a bit weird and intimidating  for me.  The rest of his work seemed like something I wouldn’t relate to or like because it was all over the place when it came to its genres.

Then, I saw the film Bandslam and I was convinced to look up more of Bowie’s work, especially after hearing the song “Rebel Rebel” in the film’s soundtrack. Seeing how the main character of the film Will Burton connected to Bowie made me reconsider the impact Bowie’s music could have on me as a young person. After listening to Rebel Rebel and loving it, I went back and listened to the first song David Bowie got attention for: “Space Oddity”.  My mind was blown as soon as I heard the stylophone and Bowie’s ethereal vocals afterward.

The rest is history. I grew comfortable with Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona after Rebel Rebel and found a couple more Ziggy era songs I liked. Furthermore, I ended up appreciating his eclectic music style after finding songs with beautiful, awesome melodies and lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics were relatable, sometimes they weren’t. I realized that I enjoyed not only introspective lyrics, but also lyrics that make you think and  lyrics about different aspects of life. I didn’t enjoy a particular album or all of David Bowie’s work, but all the songs I personally liked demonstrated how amazing and talented David Bowie is.

Favorite Songs:

Space Oddity-  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKE3FSPJu-4

Changes-  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCgzX7vwlFk

Rebel Rebel- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTe0Ow5-i2o

The Jean Genie- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLbi6y4ktgc

As The World Falls Down- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A95oIgQ_vgQ

Bring Me the Disco King (Lohner Remix)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2gMMZB0FaU

Favorite Movie I’ve Seen in 2012RENT

Sometimes, watching Jeopardy leads you to awesome things. I googled RENT after hearing a question about it on the show, and while the fact that it was a broadway musical turned me off (I hate show tune music) , but the fact that it featured rock music got me interested. I rented RENT and was surprised to see how much I enjoyed and connected to the movie. Some of characters in RENT (Roger, Mark, and Angel) were the artistic friends I always wanted. At the same time, the characters of Joanne and Collins provided a practical yet impulsive perspective that I also enjoyed.

I could relate to the character Roger, how he wanted to write one great song before he died and how he was afraid to get close to people. Furthermore, I admired how everyone had pride in what they stood for and what they loved doing; the “La Vie Boheme” scene in the Lite Cafe is my favorite part of the movie. The only thing I was disappointed about is that I was too young to experience the original broadway show in its prime.

Written by Serena Zola

December 7, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Movie Review: Labyrinth (VHS/DVD)

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 Originally released in 1986, Labyrinth is a fantasy film starring David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King and Jennifer Connelly as a teenager named Sarah. The film plot starts when Sarah wishes her baby brother Toby away to the magical land of the Goblin King. When the Goblin King appears he tells Sarah that if she wants Toby back, she must solve his labyrinth and make it to his castle in thirteen hours. If she fails, Toby will become a goblin and remain with the Goblin King forever.

Labyrinth goes beyond an ordinary kid fantasy film by including things that appeal to adults and kids. One incredible feature in the movie is the music, the most notable of which was contributed and performed by the musician David Bowie. The songs seem to be a fusion of David’s style and the movie’s lightheartedness. A catchy song in the film that is also humorous is “Dance Magic Dance”. Adding drama to the film are the songs “As the World Falls Down” and “Within You.”

Another notable thing about the film was the use of Jim Henson’s signature puppets. These puppets have heart poured into them because most of them are inspired by creatures from classic fantasy works. For instance, there is a small blue caterpillar that is reminiscent of the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. One of the most striking creatures is Ludo, who bears a striking resemblance to the horned creature Carol from the novel Where the Wild Things Are.

A last commendable thing about this film are the main characters Sarah and Jareth. Watching Sarah progress from being a selfish girl to a more mature and compassionate young woman is heartwarming. As for Jareth, he is a fantasy version of Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff.  While kidnapping Toby makes him villainous, his musical declarations of love and angst make him a compelling character.

All and all, this was a very good film. I recommend it for any David Bowie or fantasy fiction fan, no matter the age group.

Here is the scene for the song Dance, Magic Dance

Written by Serena Zola

June 19, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Great Eclectic Musicians

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Once in a while, you might find someone who listens to more than one type of music. An even rarer find is a musician that has more than one sound. Here are my personal favorite eclectic musicians the songs that display their variety:

Musician: Pink

Songs:

Lonely Girl- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXn5ooXBIiM&feature=channel&list=UL

Misery-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlAtrY2zkso&feature=BFa&list=ULrXn5ooXBIiM

I’m Not Dead-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8urL3BEH368&feature=channel&list=UL

Bridge of Light-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjWNckjaRWQ&feature=related

 

Musicians: The Beatles

Songs:

Oh Darlin-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PZWGGkrMCk

Tomorrow Never Knows-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spjcPS4ekOA

Eleanor Rigby-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaRNrDaoMqw

Paperback Writer-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taADLPtyDb0

 

Musician: David Bowie

Songs:

After All- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJRk1pz3tk4

Rock n’ Roll Suicide-http://www.youtube.com/watchv=k_RfY4pVkBo

Dead Man Walking-http://www.youtube.com/watchv=z3qm2tTD_oQ

Bring Me the Disco King-http://www.youtube.com/watchv=kNzPD3i9cic

Written by Serena Zola

June 11, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Movie Review: Bandslam (Now on DVD)

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From just viewing the trailer, it may seem like Bandslam is just a Disney rock band movie. If you give this movie a chance, you’ll see it is so much more than it appears to be. The story of the film involves teenager Will Burton, music enthusiast and David Bowie fan. When he and his mom move from Cincinnati to New Jersey, his life starts to change. Once introduced to the Bandslam music competition and two girls named Charlotte Burton and Sa5m (the 5 is silent), Will has the opportunity to find out who he is.

One of the best things about this movie is the music. Not only does it play an important role in the film, but it is something unique. It features a mixture of retro and new rock music from musicians and bands such as David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, and the Burning Hotels.

In addition to the music itself, there are the singers. Vanessa Hudgens (Sa5m) and Aly Michalka (Charlotte) have something in the film you won’t see with Disney: soul. With Hudgens, her best vocal performance is with the song “Everything I Own”. For Michalka, it is the song “Amphetamine”.

Besides the music, the main characters are developed well. As the film progresses, there are shocking things revealed about them. Also, they say and do funny things from time to time. In one scene, a good bit of deadpanning occurs between Sa5m and Will. “Why do you talk like that?” Will asks. A few moments later, Sa5m says, “Why do you look like that?” By showing authentic personalities, the characters become a part of the film’s theme of identity.

  Overall, Bandslam is a great film. I recommend it to anyone who loves music, especially any teen or young adult.

Here is the scene for the song Ampetamine

Written by Serena Zola

June 4, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Black History Spotlight: Soul Train

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I’m a young person who has a mostly contemporary taste in music, but even I was shocked to hear about the death of Soul Train’s creator and host, Don Cornelius.

Why?  Even though I wasn’t around when Soul Train premiered in the seventies, I have some appreciation for the music and culture that was on the show.

The music that was on the show during its early years included some of the best black live performances of funk and soul, including James Brown,  Sly and the Family Stone, and Al Green.

 

 

In addition to having great black musicians and a huge amount of black viewers, there was also white musicians such as David Bowie as well as a hefty amount of white viewers.

 

 

Something else I appreciate about Soul Train is the dance crazes it started. Some of them include the pop, the lock, and the robot. These were either done by the Soul Train dancers or by various musicians. These dances are the background for the hip-hop dancing of today.

 

 

As you can see, young and old have a lot to appreciate and love about Soul Train. This show promoted blacks in a positive way and paved the way for future generations. I wish all Soul Train fans and Don Cornelius peace, love, and soul!

Written by Serena Zola

February 9, 2012 at 8:38 PM

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