My Thoughts on Mainstream Music

Welcome back to the 30 Topic Blog Challenge! As you have probably figured out if you read my blog, my follow through on things is horrendous. I start these projects thinking yes. I can do this. I totally have time! This will be awesome. and then life gets in the way and I realize I am obviously not a professional blogger and no I can’t do it and suddenly my 30 topics in 30 days becomes just….a topic once in a blue moon. BUT I am actually ahead of the game here at work for once and everything is finished and I have free time and I have the motivation and I want to listen to music so let’s do this!
My thoughts on mainstream music.

I am most certainly not up to date on popular mainstream music so after some extensive research I found out which songs are killin it in America right now. I decided to listen to the top 20 and provide brief commentary.

  1. The Hills- The Weeknd: What. America how is this the number one song what’s wrong with you? His hair looks stupid.
  2. What Do You Mean?- Justin Beiber: What do you mean this is number two?! First of all his hair makes me want to puke. Why do boys all have weird hair now? And secondly this song sounds kinda…autotuned and….lame. I guess if you listen to it a few times it could be alright maybe. But don’t ever watch the video because just don’t. It’s stupid.
  3. Can’t Feel My Face- The Weeknd; This guy again? Ok this song is pretty catchy. I don’t know why he can’t feel his face but I kinda like it.
  4. Hotline Bling- Drake: There’s no words….? Oh no wait wrong link. Yeahnope I hate it. He just sounds all whiney because he left town and this girl has clearly moved on and his ego can’t handle it. Next.
  5. Watch Me- Silento: At first I thought noooope but..now I like it a little. It’s fun. It’s like that song Happy-you can listen for maybe half the song and then its like nope I’m done that enough.  
  6. 679- Fetty Wap ft Remy Boyz: I don’t not like it…I don’t get why it’s in the top 20.
  7. Locked Away- R. City ft Adam Levine: Yaaaaaassssss! I love this one so much so far it should be #1 on this stupid list.
  8. Good For You- Selena Gomez: I kind of like her voice but that baby face…I can’t listen to it and watch the video I feel like I’m watching someone’s little sister trying to act too sexy for her age and it makes me feel weird.
  9. Cheerleader- OMI: Eh..yeah? Nah? I dunno…it’s pretty slow it’s not really a dancing song but almost? I don’t know how I feel about this one.
  10. Wildest Dreams- Taylor Swift: I….I like it.

General overall feelings? Not into it. You guys….come on we can do better than this! Most songs these days just feel shallow and usually derogatory. Don’t get me wrong if I’m out drinking in a club and a remix of this type of music comes on I’ll still dance to it because alcohol and a dance floor. However, in general I don’t think I’m really a fan of what’s hot right now.

**UPDATE: I just noticed that at the beginning of the post I said the top 20 and yet I only did the top 10. I proved my own point in this very blog post! Unbelievable. That’s actually a little embarrassing.

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Hardwell in Bangkok

I am far too lazy to write another complete post, and honestly the 2 day concert with Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Dyro, Vinai, Dub Vision, and many others was just so much fun but not really an experience I can tell a real story about. Instead I will leave you with a few pictures! 😀 Photos from the first night only because after that I was far too busy….enjoying the night.

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Hardwell 2

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Karaoke Queen and Loy Krathong

IMGP0950Every year in November Thai’s celebrate Loy Krathong, a tradition of bringing joy and luck and ridding yourself of all negativity. Here in Bung Kan we went to the Mekong IMGP0946River to float our krathongs. We used the trunk of a banana tree as the base and decorated our krathongs with various leaves and flowers. As you prepare to float your krathong you put in some fingernail clippings and/or hair (sending away the old and decaying) as well as a few coins and you make a wish and prayer as you release your krathong into the water and send it on it’s way.

Emma and IMGP0947I got the chance to create our own krathongs, and while mine looked like a kindergartener sIMGP0959tapled a bunch of leaves onto a stump (until I cheated and stole someone elses pretty braided looking leaves) I had a lot of fun! We spent the day making krathongs and selling them and went to the river that evening to sIMGP0972end them off. Great way to spend a Sunday!

There is a song for the Loy Krathong Festival and way back at English Camp I told teacher Udom I wantIMGP0953ed to learn it. He gladly taught both myself and David and told me to memorize it. Last Thursday he informed David and I that we would be singing this song, in Thai language, for the 3,500+ students, teachers, and administrators at morning assembly on Friday.I had a one day warning that I had to belt out a Thai song in front of all these native speakers! David and I grabbed some students who love to sing and bribed them with extra credit to go on stage with us. It totally worked.

I would like to take a moment and thank Maia for making me sing karaoke so much at the Irishman- because I used to be terribly shy. After all those nights of belting out Hotel California, Livin on a Prayer, and Vanilla Ice during my Irishman hours I am now at least IMGP0999fairly comfortable sounding like a dying cat over the microphone for all to hear!

Much to our delight Ajarn Jiraporn sprung it on the rest of the foreign teachers the morning of that they had to go up and sing it with us. Hah, suckas. Since they didn’t know the song at all they had to try to keep up and do some background dancing. My genius plan to step back a bit and let the voices of our student helpers drown me out failed miserably when the boy holding the microphone kept holding it closer and closer to me (I think he sensed my master plan and wanted to thwart it).

I have discovered something previously unnoticed about myself that day. When I get nervous I apparently try to raise my voice a whole octave, and quite frankly my vocal chords are not down with that. I think it was a bit of a disaster, and it was all caught on film by one of our dear administrators. I have no idea where that video is or will end up, and I don’t think want to know…I’m not to keen to hear the playback on that one. That’s the last time I let Mr. Udom teach me a song, I’m making him sing American Christmas carols next month.

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Here is the song in both English and Thai! (Well, Thai written out in a way you can understand it…)

Loy Krathong (Thai)
wan pen deuan sìp sŏng 
náam gôr nong dtem dtà-lìng 
rao táng lăai chaai yĭng sà-nùk gan jing wan loy krà-tong 
loy loy loy krà-tong, loy loy loy krà-tong 
loy krà-tong gan láew kŏr chern nóng gâew òk maa ram wong 
ram wong wan loy krà-tong, ram wong wan loy krà-tong 
bun jà sòng hâi rao sùk jai, bun jà sòng hâi rao sùk jai    

Loy Krathong (English)
 November full moon shines
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong
And the water’s high in local river and the klong
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong
Loy gratong is here and everybody’s full of cheer
We’re together at the klong Each one with his krathong As we push away we pray We can see a better day.
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong Loy gratong is here and everybody’s full of cheer

Georgetown Heritage Festival

I happened to arrive in Georgetown at the right time. My first full day there was spent wandering the National Park with my new Pennsylvania friends Jolene and LDSCN1160iedeke, where we ended up spending a couple of hours reading under the shade of a palm tree on Monkey Beach after an hour or two of easy trekking through the park. We ended our day back in town eating roti banana (banana pancake) and kopi ais (ice coffee), creating a nightly ritual that would continue as long as we were in Penang. The Georgetown Heritage Festival, a celebration of culture, started the very next day.  We spent two days wandering the crowded streets of Penang checking out the activities. We saw puppet shows, theatrical productions, and story-telling. All of this was in a different language, of course, and despite not understanding DSCN1193a word of it I enjoyed watching each culture showcase its traditional activities. The night ended with a very impressive show of strength, agility and balance. Atop a row of upright posts of various heights, two men dressed in a dragon costume leapt from post to post, precariously balanced on each one as well as each other. I held my breath for most DSCN1244of it, praying neither of them would miss a landing.  Of course we went back to the restaurant from the night before to get our usual roti banana and kopi ais before going to bed. But oh! the horror! There was only one banana left!! “One banana!?” we cried, “We’ll go buy some!” The man shook his head sadly, “the banana stand is closed for the night, we can’t get any more.” We were devastated, but let him talk us into some sort of sweet, sugary roti and roti chocolate as well as the last roti banana. “We will have more bananas tomorrow.” We left with this DSCN1454promise, happy bellys despite the lack of bananas.

The next day was full of street dances, ethnic food, and even more performances. Penang certainly lived up to its reputation as being the “food capital” of Malaysia, I have never eaten more in a day than I did in Penang. I feel like I was always snacking on various foods from street hawkers. There were street dances and performances going on throughout the day, but things got exciting once night fell in Little India. The three of us found our new dorm mate, Sarah, near a snake show and joined forces. The snake show was cool, he had a massive python wrapped around his shoulders and was letting other people hold it. I wanted to hold the snake, but we were in the back of the crowd and he didn’t see us. Dejected, we moved on to some sort of weird combination of fighting and dancing going on farther along down the road.

We caught the end of that show and began walking back towards the main road when officials started yelling to make room for the fire dancers as they ushered people into a circle. We were crammed in the middle of a huge throng of people, and by lucDSCN1417ky chance we happened to be in the front of the circle! Without even trying to, we had managed to find ourselves front and center for the fire show. “Move back! Make more room! More room!” they officials yelled, urging people to take a couple steps back to widen the circle. Not wanting to lose their viewing spot, people were hesitant to budge, and the circle hardly expanded. Sarah and I were in the front, rows of motorbikes behind us. This was good because no one could push in front of us and no one was behind us, but it also meant that we couldn’t step back any more than we already were. “Back, back” a man urged us as we shrugged and pointed helplessly at the cluster of bikes behind us. “What is the problem?” Upon seeing the bikes he muttered under his breath about stupid people and why would they park their bikes there anyway? as he picked some up and tried to force more room by moving them around.

The performance started, young men running into the circle, their bare chests and arms painted up in tribal looking designs and wielding batons of fire. They would fill their mouths with kerosene from a water bottDSCN1428le (which I thought had to be so bad for them…) before spitting it out on the flames, not only creating huge fireballs but showering each other in kerosene. More men would come into the circle, each with a new lit up instrument. About 3 minutes into the show someone came in with two batons, chains running down the ends of them with a huge glowering ball of fire at each end, swinging them exuberantly around as part of the show. Suddenly, one of the coals broke loose and a fireball went flying into the crowd. Screams broke the cheers as people jumped back, leaving a burning hole in their wake. The fire was quickly dampened but fear had been instilled, and as the circle instantly grew wider without any urging Sarah and I realized with horror that we couldn’t back up. And there was nothing in front of us to stop a fireball from flying into us. We cringed just a little bit each time they came near us, hoping we weren’t going to be the next victims. Flying fireballs certainly add an element of danger to the show I guess.

DSCN1432We survived the show burn free and followed the crowds, finding ourselves back at the snake show. It was over and most people had left, so I jumped at the chance and finally got to hold the snake! Win. We stopped in front of an information board on the street, deciding where to go next, when someone asked for my name. I turned, not quite realizing how loud his voice had been, and was shocked to find a microphone in my face. “Um…Kayla.” My voice reverberated around me for all of Georgetown to hear.

“And where are you from, Kayla?”
“America” I looked to the girls for support but they had backed well up against the wall and stood watching me, cameras up and letting me unwillingly take the spot light.
“And how do you like the food here? Would you recommend anything to try?”
Unfortunately with his accent I didn’t understand a word of what he said, so I stared for a second before looking to the girls. “the food!” Jolene offered. “Oh!” I said, “…It’s delicious!”
My interviewer looked at me a second, waiting for the rest of my answer. Correctly assuming that I had nothing else to say on the matter he asked me if I could name anything that I had eaten that day. My mind blanked, wiped free of everything as I tried to remember the name of…anything.  I stole a glance back over to my “friends”, who were currently laughing as Liedeke had the camera rolling and Jolene was helping me out. Nasi kendar she whispered.
“Nasi rendar. And, uh, roti.…” I offered, blanking again “rotiiiiiii….(canai! I hear from the sidelines) roti canai!” (I would make a horrible celebrity)
“Ok,” he laughed, “and would you come back again next year for the festivities?”
“If I’m here yeah, it’s been a lot of fun”
“Ok thank you Kayla, enjoy the rest of your night.” With that closing comment he was gone as suddenly as he had arrived.

I now know why people say the dumbest things on Jay Walking with Jay Leno, I know why they can’t remember simple things like the presidents name or the capitaDSCN1460l of their own state. When you are accosted with a line of questions and caught off guard, camera and/or microphone flung into your face, you just…forget…everything. Like a deer in the headlights, you stand there stunned into stupidity. I’m onto you Jay.

On our way to a traditional Indian dance performance we passed by our new favorite roti provider. “Hello girls!” He called out to us in the street, DSCN1461waving happily with a huge smile, “We have bananas tonight!” Elated, we promised to return in less than an hour. After a great show we did in fact return, and ended the night with our usual, thus establishing ourselves as regulars in this picturesque town.

Assembly Required

I’ve been meaning to do this shameless plug type post for a while, I just haven’t quite gotten around to doing it (you know how it is). Anyway, I discovered a few months ago that a couple of my Christchurch friends happen to be some badass musicians! I met Sam while working at the bar one night during open mic, and the second he started singing Maia and I developed an instant bar crush. His voice….is the most amazing thing I have ever heard. He is our Lion Man and I would pay him to sing me to sleep. He and his friend Simon fused to form a wicked band called Assembly Required and I have to say, I can’t get enough of them! They have done a lot of covers, most recently  “Home” by Phillip Phillips, and have been working on some originals as well.

If you are amongst the bajillions that waste hours of your day perusing facebook, take a few minutes to check out their page. If you have successfully evaded the social media black hole that is fb, they also have a youtube channel that’s worth looking into. Just to make it more convenient I will even hand you one of their videos on a silver platter…

……wait for it…..

waaaaait for it…….

……Ok maybe I won’t. I’ve actually spent the last 2o minutes cursing at the screen while trying to figure it out. Obviously I’m not as tech savvy as I thought I was. Once I find myself a computer geek to help me out I will hopefully be able to update this post with the video in it instead of just a stupid link.

In the meantime, check out the other links I provided, enjoy the music and spread happiness by sharing the vocal magic!

Song for the Day

Have you ever noticed that Somebody That I Used To Know is the same tune as Ba Ba Black Sheep? This was just pointed out to me. I’m surprised I’ve missed that considering all the times I’ve heard this song.

In other news, listen to this song! And watch how they are all playing the same guitar! How awesome is that?!

Somebody That I Used to Know Cover