Women who are better than Katy Perry and Teenage Dream

Not So Soft

I meant to transfer to the iPod the CD Kanlungan Mga Piling Kanta ng Buklod which Kiel got me two Christmases ago but I never got around to it because I am drowning in a sea of albums and there is no more iPod to transfer it too. Ani DiFranco’s Not so Soft reminds me of the pureness of Damien Rice’s music, the type that has the least amount of post-production tinkering that either polishes or ruins an album, which is not to say that I don’t like them overproduced, studio-manufactured pop sensations. For Christmas 2010, Kill gave me Not So Soft, which is of the Damien Rice, Gary Granada mold: unadorned, just guitars, studio intervention-proof, and melody-deficient album the likes of which I’m fortunate to have industrious, online-purchasing, eccentric friend who would think to give me such things, aside from the obvious that I like receiving things of the round and shiny kind. I may never catch the nuances of Ani’s beautiful poetry, I may take issues with its lack of soaring melodies, but I can see why certain people would take to her soaring emotions. I can imagine how at some point in someone’s life songs like On Every Corner and Not so Soft (in a forest of stone, underneath the corporate canopy, where the sun, rarely, filters, down, the ground, is not so soft, not so soft…), might have struck someone’s something, the way Damien Rice’s O lulled me to sleep and kept me company during certain Quiet Rage moments not too long ago.


A striking opposite of the folky, guitar artistes is Kylie Minogue, a recent obsession of mine in this electropop-crazy music situation of late. I knew the moment I heard that Star World teaser commercial which used the Get Outta My Way intro that Aphrodite had to be mine. I rarely like first singles but All the Lovers and Get Outta My Way make me feel really happy and empowered and deaf. She makes the kind of disco, let’s dance, dance floor, love me with your disco balls, disco songs that are truly dance- and happy-making. It’s all crazy in the dance floor silliness that are organically gay and disco.

The Fantastic Florence plus the Fabulous Machines

There’s a drumming noise inside my head, it makes such an almighty sound. Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air. I know I can count on you. Gone are the days of begging the days of theft, no more gasping for a breath! (in terms of obtaining the album legally). These lyrics and the way she sings them, the kind of delirious, gleeful singing she does, approximate the experience of listening to Lungs. It’s the kind of album that puts you in listening phases. It starts, perfectly, with Dog Days are Over and progresses majestically to the middle, around Drumming Song through Cosmic Love, around which horrific sing-alongs at the top of my lungs ensues. The listening experience is the kind that makes you sit up in rapt attention (here comes Between Two Lungs! I must sing!). And ends with explosive sweetness with You’ve Got the Love (When food is gone, you’re all my daily need).

I’m so glad I watched TV the day I did, at that pivotal moment when the Dog Days are Over video happened to be playing on Channel [V], and I discovered this. This Florence fawning reminds me of my Tori Amos phase. I got to appreciate Tori around Scarlet’s Walk, which is to say very belatedly, and wondered how it must have felt to fall in love with her when Little Earthquakes was new. I could say the same for Mariah, Sarah McLachlan, etc., but I just feel like it’s more sensational when someone goes through a Tori Amos phase. I know it’s all so vague and so queer. I’m just glad to have paid attention to F+tM right on time. I haven’t seen a single foreign act concert because the effort it takes to go to one is just too much (lining up to buy the ticket, hailing a cab to get to the concert). If Florence Welch  (or Sarah McLachlan) comes over, I’ll be attending my first ever. Promise! The only sad thing about Lungs is that it ends. The music is sweeping, grand, operatic and spine-tingling.  None of which can be said of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Yes, we really do need to bash others in order to effectively get some of our messages across.

Queen Robyn

Just when I thought her discography couldn’t get any better, it gets any betterer. After obsessing over Body Talk for a month and a half, I did some digging and discovered the oldish Robyn which also turned out to be an outstanding, impeccably made pop album. The Robyn slobfest is evidently far from over.  That the album be as listenable from start to finish is really all that you could ask for which is precisely what the Robyn albums are.

Sometimes I feel like my tastes are heavily influenced by consensus and by critics whose judgments and sensibilities I wish were mine, since I hardly listen to radio anymore, so that if some snobby music site says Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion album is so good, I ‘obtain’ it and convince myself that it is in fact good. I very randomly choose music to ‘obtain’ so the pride I felt for having discovered Robyn, out of sheer curiosity, is a moment of great pride and confusion. I’m very confused why her songs are not as famous as those stupid G6-airplane songs. I’m confused why this genuinely Europop artist FROM EUROPE is not as popular with the electronica pop-crazy music market of the moment. Lady Gaga is understandably famous since she’s quite the artiste, she sings and dresses insane, and The Fame Monster is all the work she ever needed to convince the heathens that she’s a bona fide musician whose talent far outweighs the antics. So she’s fine.  But with everyone else, WHY? Why is Robyn opening for acts like Katy Perry!? Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to work. Had Robyn been a chart-topping Billboard queen, I don’t think she would have been the sort of musician that I would go the ends of the earth to scour old albums for, and cry in frustration for its lack of popularity. Now that I’ve thought about it, in music, everything is very much right how they should be.

What 2010 gave me

I was going to join an essay writing contest with a whopping P3000 Sodexo (?) GC prize, with the theme, What is the most important thing 2010 gave you. Quickly, me and Romy White thought about the type of essays people are probably going to submit, stuff that would basically announce to the world that in their hollow, middle-class chests, a heart beats, and in their Carpal Tunneled limbs, a hand that gives.

My first thought was 3000 is a lot of CDs, around 6 or 7. So I set aside work to write my pretty stupid idea for an essay about how I’m grateful finally for MP3s and technology in general. I would have said that I’m grateful to 2010 for finally giving me the epiphany that technology is good, that it makes people lead better, convenient lives. But I thought the society of writing geniuses that run the contest might misinterpret the essay as incorrect or just plain stupid, and that I’m missing the point of it since it’s quite clear that one is supposed to write about a heartwarming, modesty or charity-driven Chicken Soup type of essay, which I just don’t have the persuasion powers to pull off.

I would have also said that I’m grateful to 2010 for giving us one of the best Kathy Griffin Specials, Whores on Crutches, her funniest since Strong Black Women. But it’s too much of a giveaway.

Finally, I thought too of saying that Robyn’s Body Talk albums is 2010’s most precious thing. I want to implore everyone to download it since it’s one of those albums they don’t make available in CDs in 3rd world nations, and I think it is really so good. You really, really should hear it. It’s the best. Do you remember 90s singer Robyn? Do You Really Want Me Am I Really Special and Show Me Love? It would have been so gratifiying to win P3000 GC at its expense by saying at 500 words or less, about how much I wanted to give 2010 a blow job for giving birth to Body Talk.

I probably would have gotten away with something about how 2010 gave me the realization that music hoarding is not good and then segue into how hoarding and owning many material things is not a good state of being but then it would have been just as bullshitty as the MP3/technology epiphany horseshit.

Actual human-filled events happened in 2010 including weddings, (two, one that is corked so hard and one that was such a spectacle in all sorts of fashions), illnesses, special gifts (as in Apple special), human kindnesses done to me, really annoying things done to me, death of a friend’s loved one, heart attacks, heart conditions of friends’ families, actual feelings felt for family, etc, etc. These were all important to me and I want to relish or pick life lessons off them but 2010, it also made me realize how incapable I am of assigning importance to what really makes life meaningful, illegal downloads or people. It’s a tough choice so maybe it’s best not to submit them for scrutiny, yes? Yes.