Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good song, no depth

Top picture: Beyonce in her 'Single Ladies' video. Bottom left: Beyonce in her 'If I Were a Boy' video. Bottom right: Ciara in her 'Like a Boy' video.

“ALL MA SiNGLE LADiES!” Beyonce wails in her latest musical offering ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’. The song, as you probably know, is a stimulating mix of catchy lyrics and a beat that should get people moving on the dancefloor. This song’s popularity is further propelled by the eye-catching video, which has spawned many spoofs on YouTube.

However, as good as this may be to dance to, this song has absolutely no depth to it. As soon as this beings to get old, Beyonce will gyrate her hips in a new video (don’t act like you didn’t notice), easily replacing the last one like chewing gum. She is not the only one constantly churning out single after single. Many musical artists these days have gone from being artists to being powerhouses, continually releasing songs that are forgotten within a short space of time, or have little thought put into them.

I think this is having a detrimental effect on the music business, as it is now seen as just that – a business. There is less room for individuality or creativity, the focus is more on how many units an artist can shift and how many awards they are winning. Songs are being made that sound like other songs (e.g. ‘Single Ladies’ sounds a lot like ‘Get Me Bodied’) while some songs are just simply nonsensical time wasters. Mainstream seems to be the only stream, with the general consensus that music is on a downhill journey.

Good music is supposed to intrigue the mind while touching the soul. But even the stuff that is being touted as ‘good’ is garbage. Take for example Beyonce’s ‘If I Were a Boy.’ The song is terrible! I’m not even going to delve into the lyrics because they are just dire, you can investigate them for yourself. And it’s an absolute copy of Ciara’s ‘Like a Boy’, which is completely out of order. But yet people still buy it. It truly amazes me.

I think music should return to the former, where artists made music because they loved it, not just to get rich or acquire fame. Music is ill, it needs rehab. Check out here, and here, for some real songs.

Time marches on…

So it’s New Year’s Eve and now millions of people around the world are reflecting on the past year and looking forward to what the New Year may bring. As well as planning inventive ways to get drunk and have a “good” time.

I’ve been reflecting, and this year hasn’t been too bad for me. I’ve been here and there, done this and that and met a couple of people. Of course, there have been highs and lows, but overall I’d say it has been an above average year.

I think I’ve learnt a lot this year, and it’s strange, because I remember a couple of years ago talking to a friend who was then seventeen and he said you do learn a lot about other people and yourself when you turn seventeen. And it’s true; I have learnt a lot about how people work and who to trust, and social things like that.

One of the biggest things for me this year was finally being able to pretty much do as I please without my mother ringing my mobile three thousand times a day, just to check where I was. It has amused me (and her) the tales I have to tell her about my escapades the night before, and her pretending to be angry with me (and saying in her slightly African accent: “So you think you’re a big boy now?”).

But social liberation comes with its own problems. And I’m not just talking about the mundane problems of how to get from A to B without missing the last train, or where to meet up with everyone. I’m talking about problems where you have people within your group of friends that clearly don’t like each other (which causes tension), or having two or more groups of friends and feeling like you’ve chosen one over the other. It’s a difficult situation to be in, even worse if you’re squarely trapped in the middle.

Another lesson I’ve learnt is how quickly your life changes. I knew before that one minute you can be on top of the world, and the next minute you can be down in the gutter, but it struck me just have amazingly fast things change. Things really can ‘fall apart,’ which is sad, but hey, what can you do?

I guess I’m still on the massive learning curve that adolescence brings. It’s quite interesting stuff, I suppose. Much better than learning about the xylem and phloem (which is what I should be doing right now).

Oh, and by the way, I’ve also learnt that nothing good comes with getting drunk, so whatever you decide to do today, do it sober. Trust me; your liver shall thank you for it.


P.S: For quizzes about 2008, click here. For stuff to look forward in 2009, click here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"I'm a PC..."

This I’m sure has been blogged to death, but I couldn’t really find anything wrong with Microsoft’s ‘witty’ response to the Mac adverts. Until now.

I’ve realise what is wrong with these adverts: they try too hard. Way too hard. These adverts are like the odd one out in the ‘cool’ group at school, the ones who were only allowed to hang with the cool kids because they were the slave, or were the pun of all the jokes. These adverts desperately seek attention, rather like Stephanie Pratt from The Hills, or a forty-seven year old woman in a mini-skirt. They try so hard to be noticed, they just end up looking ridiculous and terribly, terribly uncool.

The worst part of the television advert is the Asian man in the glasses towards the end. He says: “I’m a PC and a human being. Not a human doing, not a human thinking, a human being.”

This line pretty much sums up and proves every negative point that every blog is saying. I bet the people at Mac are rubbing their hands with glee, waiting in amusement as Microsoft seek new ways to destroy themselves.

P.S: Pharrell Williams and Eva Longoria, I don’t care how much you got paid; I just lost some respect for you.

Image taken from here. Please don't sue me.


Poor souls.

The other day, I had a letter popped through my door with my name on it. ‘Great!’ I thought, as I ripped it open with anticipation. I don’t get letters often (apart from my bank showing me how depressing my finances look), most of the important stuff I get through email, or someone ringing my mobile. So I ripped open the envelope (badly), and saw it was a letter of acceptance from one of the universities I’ve applied to.

I read it carelessly, not expecting anything different from the letter they sent me on UCAS Track. ‘You must get this grade…’ yes, ‘We have upcoming open days…’ ok, ‘…your first year of study will be £3225…’


It suddenly dawned on me that university is absurdly expensive. I mean, where exactly does all this money go? The seats had better be gold plated if I choose to pay for the ‘privilege’ of going to university.

But the funny thing is, the government want to shake off the image of university only being for the middle class, rich white student. They want fifty percent of young people to go to university by 2010, to create some sort of skilled nation. Other European countries have more people applying to university, and the government want to match their numbers. But I think someone failed to tell them that in other countries it's cheaper.

The supposed solution is to get a student loan. It’s what all the advisors tell you with smiling, beaming faces. ‘And you don’t have to pay it back until you’re earning, which is easy, because if you go to university, you’ll earn more than people who don’t’ is what some girl from Essex university said (it’s funny, she studied linguistics, even though she ‘didn’t really know what it was about’). I love the way they paint a perfect picture of how easy it is to pay the loan back. Go to uni, get a loan, graduate, get a high paid job, pay the loan back, live the rest of your life. Simple.

However, this ‘perfect’ picture was completely obliterated by the head of my sixth form during one of the slightly more interesting PSHE lessons. After going through how much money you would hypothetically receive as a loan (which sent all of us into frenzied calculating), he told us that he finished paying back his loan last month. A wave of horror swept through the common room like a sharp winter breeze. My head of sixth form is over thirty. Hypothetically, it has taken him nine to thirteen years to pay back his loan (depending on his actual age).

With the average debt rising (it now stands at around £4,500 per year), plus the current recession (I had to start university during a recession), things look to set worse, not better.

Nine to thirteen years?

Looks like I’d better start saving.

Original image taken from here. Sorry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Up and Running...

Urban [ur-buh n]

1. Of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town.
2. Living in a city.
3. Characteristic of or accustomed to cities; citified: He is an urban type.

Articulation [ahr-tik-yuh-ley-shuh n]

1. The aspect of pronunciation that involves bringing articulatory organs together so as to shape the sounds of speech
2. The shape or manner in which things come together and a connection is made.
3. Expressing in coherent verbal form; "the articulation of my feelings"; "I gave voice to my feelings"

Hello and Welcome.

I am a seventeen year-old male living in London, and this is my blog about growing up in this vibrant, messy, noisy city that I call home. I write about what I see, read and hear; things that inspire me.

I am not the stereotypical "rudeboy" knife-carrying, territorial, feral creature. It has become all too easy hating on teenagers, and I find it funny that this has been allowed to happen. It's bizzare, a lot of people say teenagers don't have any respect for anyone, but how can you cultivate respect for people when they are disrespectful to you?

Anyway, so this is my blog. Read it, comment, suggest things, criticise (nicely)...Whatever.


Definitions of 'urban' and 'articulation' taken from The logo I created myself.