Terrifying

I guess we can file this under the hashtag #kidsthesedays?

Last week, British GQ released the covers for their September issue, featuring the boys of One Direction with a cover each. Under each of the boys’ photos was a cover line, and the “Directioners” had issues with (to put it very mildly) the one for Harry Styles: “He’s out all night to get lucky.”

See some of their reactions below (and more here):

 

 

Now, I’m no stranger to teen boy band fan-dom, as you may already know, so I know a thing or two about “hating” someone who says something less than positive about my beloved Backstreet Boys. I officially “hated” *NSYNC for a few years simply because they were BSB’s direct (and very strong) competition.

But even when *NSYNC asked fans to buy multiple copies of No Strings Attached, to specifically beat Millennium’s one-week sales record, I have never felt the urge to feed someone’s insides to my dog. My teenaged “hatred” and “indignation” never reached a point where I thought of anything violent, much less verbalized it.

And it’s not just the “Directioners” either. “Swifties,” “Beliebers,” and Chris Brown (yuck) fans have all had their turns lashing out at people and institutions that had the courage to take a shot at Taylor and Justin.

How did things get to this point? Being a fan of musicians, boy bands and pop singers in particular, should be fun, silly, exciting and exhilarating and these kids have turned that experience into something serious and disturbing. Since when has being a loyal, loving fan entail issuing death threats? Since when was it ok to threaten to stab an entire company over a few words on a magazine cover? Since when was it ok to threaten to stab someone, period?

Part of it, I suspect, is due to Twitter, Facebook and all the paparazzi coverage Taylor Swift and her ilk get. That would explain the intensity of their fandom. The updates, the constant stream of information, knowing what Harry had for lunch, seeing an Instagram selfie by Justin from his dressing room is like fuel to an already volatile fire for these kids. We had nowhere near this kind of access to Nick Carter and Justin Timberlake back in the day. Thank God for that.

But that still doesn’t explain the threats. It’s one thing to be a screaming, hysterical, rabid fan, but the graphic and terrifying violence in these kids’ threats completely boggles and disturbs me. How could they possibly think that it is acceptable to write and say things like this? How do these young kids even come up with this stuff? Where are these kids’ parents?

All this is just too troubling, not just for the GQ staffers, but for these kids, and for the world at large, where the future generation threaten people with horrific violence over a few harmless words about a pop star and say things like “you need to be raped and murdered” when their beloved Chris Brown gets (correctly) called out for lip synching. And while we’re on the subject, what are we teaching young girls, that they are still pathetically loyal fans a young man who almost killed his girlfriend?

It’s so upsetting, that I don’t even know how to conclude this ramble of a blog post. How to get these fans to stop; how to make them realize that this is unacceptable, borderline criminal behavior, I don’t know (again, where are their parents?). What I know is, my future kids aren’t getting Twitter accounts until they’re 27.

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Revisiting Mariah Carey’s Butterfly album

I swear, it was all a coincidence. My current Mariah Carey nostalgia started even before the news that she was going to be judge on the next season of American Idol. It started with this tweet from Karrots. It struck a chord with me because I feel exactly the same way. Pre-Nick Canon, pre-Glitter, Missy-Eliott-and-P.-Diddy-collaborating MC was pretty awesome, especially when you consider what Mariah is like now.  Then one of my friends posted the music video for Breakdown on Facebook, and I have since been on a Mariah Carey nostalgia trip.

I remember being in high school and listening to the album Butterfly on my Sony Walkman day in, day out. I played it so much that the track list and album name printed on the side of the plastic of the cassette tape (yes, I am old) was chipping away already. And fifteen years (!!!) since its release, I still think it’s Mariah’s best album.

The singles were fantastic. Honey, Butterfly and My All were all hits. And Breakdownwhile not as big of commercial success as the other singles (it was on limited release), is now widely considered an iconic, career-changing record for Mariah. Apart from Breakdown, though, the singles were not the standouts of the album for me.

Fourth of July is sweet, dreamy and romantic. It is a about a shy first encounter while watching fireworks and holding hands during a rain shower, after all. Yes, it has chimes and birds chirping and Mariah practically whispering throughout the song, but the bass, the great bridge towards the end gives Fourth just enough edge to contrast with the overall airiness of the rest of the arrangement.

For The Beautiful Ones, there’s an entirely different mood and feel. Dru Hill (where are they now, anyway?) makes a guest appearance in this very R&B driven track about how “the beautiful ones hurt you every time”. Despite that line, the lyrics on this song aren’t the best, but Mariah’s and Sisqo’s (let’s face it, Dru Hill is Sisqo) vocals more than make up for the lackluster lyrics. Their voices take the song from loneliness, to yearning, to something akin to anger, then ending in a sort of bittersweet sadness. Mariah and Sisqo sound so good together, listening to the song made me actually miss Sisqo’s voice. Yep. As in the guy who sang this.

My favorite song from Butterfly is my favorite Mariah Carey song EVER and probably one of my favorite songs EVER. Period. The Roof, about a romantic encounter on a rooftop (duh) on a rainy night (apparently I like songs that involve rain), is melodic, sexy and beautifully written. I think it strikes a perfect combination of the heavy, edgier R&B influence that is all over Butterfly and Mariah’s more romantic inclinations. MC’s vocals are also on point in this song. There’s none of the excessive belting and trilling that she’s known for and does so much of in her more recent work. Make no mistake, she still hits the high notes in The Roof, but she does so with restraint, and the result is beautiful.

I’m very happy, then, that that tweet from Karrots brought on this sudden wave of nostalgia for not just for my favorite version of Mariah Carey, but the music she made during that time as well, some of which are arguably the best of her career. Now if only we could get the old Mariah back…

I’m pretty sure y’all know what the real title of this post should be…

I’m actually quite embarrassed to admit how happy this picture made me when I first saw it. I actually let out a loud gasp.

All five Backstreet Boys. Together. As it should be.

Kevin’s return to the group was announced months ago, and my reaction then was already… well, let’s just say I did not take the news calmly. But this photo made it that more real. This is it. The thing I (and millions of other BSB fans) have been hoping for since Kevin announced his leaving the group has happened. After six years, he’s back.

Backstreet’s Back. Alright!

(yeah, I actually went there. Hahaha!)

And what’s even better than a picture of the guys in a van together? A picture of the boys singing for their new album!!!

Or a picture of the boys holding random instruments making music together again! With Kevin possibly playing the piano (and not just randomly standing near one)!

afjfhhggafljlgjafhgalfjkagkhajkhsdfhsdfgadfhajghdfljghli!!!!

My thirteen year-old self is dying with glee and anticipation right now! Okay, okay, my 20-something self is, too.

All photos from Kevin Richardson’s Twitter account

Oh, John…

John Mayer is a d*bag. He’s a jerk. He’s a first rate a**hole. I know that. But I am still a fan because despite his appalling behavior in real life, his songs just really get to me.

You may already know from my post on his Manila concert that one of my favorite songs of his is Edge of Desire. I love this song so much that I practically had a panic attack when I though he wasn’t going to sing it here, and then a nervous breakdown when he did actually sing it as his encore. And just when I thought my emotional reaction to this song couldn’t get more extreme, I see this video where he intros it with this short speech:

So a lot of you guys are gonna head home and either receive texts in the dead of night or actually compose them. That are not going to be fully representative of how you feel for the rest of the day or the rest of your week. But you’ll be reaching out, if you’re not reaching out you’ll have someone else reaching out to you. And your friends and your brain and your morals and your conscience have all trained you not to respond.

But I’m gonna go against the grain and I’m going to suggest that the next time you get a text from the one you like, the only person in the world  that you love and can’t talk to, that you respond. That you just write back. When they ask you if you’re up and you’re up and you love ’em just write back: ‘Yup, Come over’

Cause life is just too short to keep playin’ the game. Because if you really want somebody, you’ll figure it out later. Otherwise, you’ll be layin’ in bed with a Blackberry on your chest staring at it, doing nothing for the rest of the night. Hoping that it goes ‘bzzzzz…bzzzzz…bzzzz’

If you love someone
If you love somebody
Don’t say a word
Just come over

That speech is trouble, ain’t it? And then he goes and follows it up with the opening riff to Edge of Desire, the song for the yearning, if ever there was one.

If you actually do send out that text and it works out for you, yey! And you’re welcome. If it doesn’t and it blows up in your face, blame John Mayer. Like I said, guy’s a douche.

Or you can blame my sister, who showed me this video and had the patience to actually transcribe the speech. Thanks, G!

Post NKOTBSB thoughts

To think I almost missed it. I had second thoughts about watching the NKOTBSB concert in Manila, held on June 3 at the MOA Arena (mainly because I couldn’t find someone to watch with and didn’t want to watch alone). Thank goodness my sister finally decided to go, or I would have missed out on a really, really fun and entertaining night.

My head is still in a blur, to be honest so this post’s format is going to be a little lazy. So here are my thoughts on the NKOTBSB concert, in bullet points!

The MOA Arena is a good venue but… A lot of work still needs to be done on getting things organized. There was more than one entrance to the venue but only one was open. The lines were so long, that at one point people were lined up on the street. It was also disorganized inside the arena, especially at the point where they check the tickets before you enter your section. One line literally went in circles, in a corkscrew shape because the ticket holders were left to their own devices in forming the lines.

Also, less than a month into the Arena’s opening, some things already need repair. In the women’s toilets I went to, one faucet was already detached from the sink while another was already clogged.

SM is touting the Arena as world class, but they need to get their act together if they want the venue to deserve the name.

I need to start stalking golf courses – Saturday morning, Brian Littrell and AJ McLean played golf where I live. And I had no clue whatsoever. And I think it’ll take a while for me to get over the fact that I missed them when they were so close. I know it sounds pathetic (it probably IS pathetic) and I think only a diehard fan of any band/singer/athlete will understand how disappointing and heartbreaking this is. They were practically in my backyard! I know for a fact that they were in my street! The street where I live. MY. STREET. BACKSTREET BOYS ON MY STREET. aweursvhoafhweurfgfvnhopqwrhfnsdblauqr!!! So yeah. The next time the Backstreet Boys come over, I’m stalking golf courses.

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It’s true. First love never dies – Cheesy, I know. But I think the tens of thousands of screaming women (because let’s face it, there were very few actual “girls” in the audience) is a testament to that. These boys came into all our lives somewhere between the ages of 10-12 and, as much as we’ve grown, as much as we’ve moved on to other crushes and to relationships with actual boys, as much as we thought we’ve gotten over them we never really did. All it took was the lights turning off to signal the start of the show to reduce us to screaming, giddy, fanatic thirteen year olds again.

Donnie Wahlberg – There can’t be a NKOTBSB post without a section dedicated to Donnie. Before the concert, he was just Mark Wahlberg’s brother, Lipton in Band of Brothers or the guy in Blue Bloods. After the the concert, he is now known as Donnie: the guy with the abs. The guy with the hip cuts. The guy with the guns. The guy who thankfully ripped his shirt off… Mark Wahlberg who?

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I’m sorry, but I don’t get the falsetto – I might get a lot of hate from NKOTB and Jordan Knight fans for this, but I really don’t get it. It sounds… bad.  His normal singing voice is good and I think the falsetto in I’ll be Loving You Forever is tolerable (although it has to be noted that he didn’t even try and made the crowd sing the really high parts). But in Please Don’t Go, Girl it was just… bad, I’m sorry. Outside of the fact that it’s off-putting to hear a 40-something man sing with a prepubescent boy’s voice, it’s just too shrill for my taste. Sorry.

I miss Kevin – And not just because another good looking face on the stage never hurt anyone. I miss his voice and the way his bass just gives their songs an additional layer of depth. I noticed this particularly in As Long as You Love Me. Plus, it never really felt right that someone else sings “Love me mouth to mouth now” in Drowning (although AJ does a good job of it) or his solo in I Want It That Way. So I’m really happy he’s back in the group. I can’t wait to hear their new stuff and see him back on tour with the guys. And yes, I fully expect a final reunion tour with all five of them.

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Those “Philippines” jackets – That was sweet. Most of the time when bands and singers say that “This is the best crowd ever” or, in this case “We saved Manila for last, we planned it that way!” or “This is the best place to end the tour in!” it’s probably a case of them saying what the fans what to hear (not that I fault them for it). But the wearing those jackets was a really sweet gesture. It may have been a PR person’s idea, who knows, but it still comes through as a genuine show of appreciation.

And I guess on that note, it’s my turn to show my appreciation. Thank you Jordan, Joey, Donnie (for tearing off your shirt!), Jonathan, Danny, AJ, Brian, Howie and Nick for such a fun night. It was fun to be thirteen again, even for just a few hours.

KTBSPA! If you know what this means, high five, sistah (or brother, I won’t judge)!


 

Hanson live in Manila, pt. 2 (yes, I’m still not over it)

You’d think the mania and the swooning would’ve passed by now, about a week and a half after the concert. But, if anything, things on the fangirl front have gotten worse, actually.

For one, I’ve finally seen the Hanson documentary, Strong Enough to Break, about their struggle in making their album Underneath and the circumstances that finally led to them leaving Island Def Jam to start their own record company (first episode here). Fandom aside, I think it’s worth watching for the insight into the music industry and how ruthless and appallingly money-driven it is. Also, through behind the scenes looks into their recording and writing sessions,  the documentary also further showcases what talented musicians Isaac, Taylor and Zachary are. But of course I knew that already.

I have also watched their Best of 5 of 5 DVD a few times over the long weekend.

Yeah. It’s bad, I know.

So, this is an attempt to get this Hanson craziness out of my system. This post is a little different from the one I wrote about the concert, where I attempted to keep my emotions in check and be as balanced as possible. For this post, I am going to indulge in a lot little honest to goodness fan-girling via some of my favorite photos from the concert. You have been forewarned.

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 My friends and I think this photo is funny and rather appropriate because it looks like it’s from an apparition of some heavenly being of some sort. Which would be accurate. A heavenly being in very, very tight jeans.

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Guys. Serious question. Is he looking directly into my camera here? I’ve asked this question on Facebook and on Twitter, and no one’s answered it… I wonder why… Hahaha.

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I like this shot for obvious reasons. Hair flip!!

Goodness me, how big Zac has grown. And I don’t mean that in a sleazy way (although I know some girls who mean it in exactly THAT way. Haha!). I’ve seen the videos, the interviews, of course, but it didn’t really dawn on me how tall and bulky he was until I actually saw him in person at the meet & greet. They were actually all taller than I thought they would be, Taylor, especially.

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Let’s show Old Man Hanson some love, shall we?

This was during A Song to Sing, which, as I’ve already mentioned, is one of my favorite song of theirs. It’s just so sad and beautiful and lonely. Isaac sings so beautifully in it, too.

Taylor

I love this set of photos. This was during If Only and Taylor was trying to get the crowd to cheer louder. If you’re so inclined, you could choose to imagine that Taylor is gesturing towards you, beckoning you to come over… Not that I’m inclined to do that… It’s just an idea, you know…

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I will not make the obvious harmonica joke here. I. Am. Better. Than. That. I. Am. Above. That.

I, however, am not above highlighting (again) how tight those jeans are.

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. That smile. *falls over*

Ok. Done. Hopefully, after all that,  (1) the Hanson mania dies down or, at the very least, is kept under control from this point on and (2) y’all haven’t lost all respect for me yet. I’m not always like this, you know. It’s just that that last photo… That hair. That smile. That voice.

Ok. Must. Stop. Now.

Hanson live in Manila: Shout it Out World Tour

Guys, I’m serious. You gotta learn to look past Mmmbop and the fact that one (or two, depending who you ask) of them looked like a girl back then and give Hanson a listen. Because when y’all weren’t paying attention, Isaac, Taylor and Zac grew up and turned Hanson into a legit, straight-up pop-rock band. SERIOUSLY.

I, on the other hand, have been paying attention since their album “This Time Around”. That album, with If Only (and Taylor’s awesome harmonica solo) and quite possibly one of my favorite songs EVER, Runaway Run (which the Rolling Stones reviewer called “amazing”, by the way) sealed my fate as a Hanson fan. And, no, this is not a blind, illogical love like the one I admittedly have for the Backstreet Boys. Hanson actually make good, I daresay some of it even “great”, music.

I reserved and bought tickets the first day they were available to the public, which was way back in November. Apart from the fact that I’ve never seen them perform live (I have no recollection at all of their coming to Manila when I was in college, I blame accounting class), I was also excited because their new album, “Shout it Out” was my favorite of theirs since the aforementioned “This Time Around.”

“Shout it Out”, with “easily one of the best singles of 2010” Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’, is filled with ridiculously catchy, sunny (probably the word used most by critics to describe the songs in the album), bob-your-head-to-the-music and just downright FUN pop-rock songs. Naturally, I expected it to be a fun night and concert.

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And, oh, what a night it was.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I was lucky enough to meet the guys (and lose all my mental faculties over the very brief period) AND that my friend also happened to get the first guitar pick Isaac threw to  the crowd. But I daresay shaking Taylor’s hand (and not fainting on the spot) and getting a souvenir was just the icing on the cake.

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I said I loved Hanson for their music, and last Friday’s concert was validation that my love was not unfounded. From the appropriate first song, Waiting for This to the mathematically-correct A Minute Without You and Taylor’s teasing vocals in Crazy Beautiful, the first half of the concert was a good mix of their lesser-known older stuff and the more upbeat songs in the new album.

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It’s during the first couple of songs in the second half, though, where I, ummmm… how do I say this, went absolutely bat-sh*t crazy had my strongest emotional reactions to the music. Wish That I Was There was an old, sappy, sentimental favorite of mine while the piano-only A Song to Sing is just so damn sad, and both Taylor and Isaac sing on it so beautifully. And they sang these songs back-to-back. So, yes, tears may have run down my cheeks and I may have sung along with one hand in the air and one over my chest.

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I did not have any other extreme emotional reactions after this, errrrm, attack (I’d like to think of it as like an allergic reaction, something I can’t help). The rest of the second half of the concert, I made up for lost cardio time by alternately sweating it out and jumping around to This Time Around, dancing (or, more like my lame-ass version of it: moving my shoulders around) to Penny and Me and Give a Little, then jumping up and down again like a 14-year old on a sugar high to Lost Without Each Other (my favorite from their album “Underneath”) and to Taylor’s sick harmonica solo in If Only.

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Alas, they only had one encore, In the City from “This Time Around”. I was disappointed they didn’t sing at least one more extra song, preferably the aforementioned Runaway Run (although it’s probably a good thing they didn’t as my head would’ve probably exploded within the first few notes of that guitar intro). Plus, In the City wasn’t a particular favorite of mine. I had to admit though, it was fun singing along to Taylor’s “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me, little pretty?” and answering in my head “HELL, YEAH! I love you!”. Bwahahahaha.

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 Joking aside, yeah, I really do love these guys, and their music. Admittedly, their lyrics sometimes tends toward the saccharine-sweet, but I’m a sucker for that. Lyrics aside, though, they have such a great sound. Fun, summery (another word a lot of reviews used to describe “Shout it Out”), infectious and, I know I already said it, but it really is just great fun. What’s remarkable, too is that the music they’ve been playing is almost entirely written, produced, arranged and performed by just Isaac, Taylor and Zac over the last 15 years.  And isn’t there something in that? Sure they haven’t been as commercially successful as some of their contemporaries, but  that they’ve been around for THIS long (where are The Moffats now, anyway?), relatively scandal and drug/alchocol rehab free, too, I might add, is surely something. And not only are they still around, but the fact that they are also earning the respect of their peers (Taylor is in a band with James Iha, after all), still touring, making good music for a decade and a half could only mean that these guys have got something good going, no?

Which is why, like I said earlier, you guys gotta give them a chance and listen to their stuff. Even if you won’t love it as much as I do, I daresay it’s still much better than 90% of what’s playing on the radio nowadays, and infinitely better than what today’s pipsqueaked teen-aged pop stars are “singing”.

The Setlist: Hanson Shout it Out World Tour Live in Manila

  • Waiting for This from Shout it Out
  • Where’s the Love from Middle of  Nowhere
  • Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’ from Shout it Out
  • Thinking of You from Middle of  Nowhere
  • Minute Without You from Middle of  Nowhere
  • Crazy Beautiful from Underneath
  • Can’t Stop from This Time Around
  • Strong Enough to Break (Acoustic) from Underneath
  • Deeper (Acoustic) from Underneath
  • Wish That I was There (Acoustic) from This Time Around
  • A Song to Sing from This Time Around
  • With You in Your Dreams from Middle of  Nowhere
  • This Time Around from This Time Around
  • And I Waited from Shout it Out
  • Penny & Me from Underneath
  • Give A Little from Shout it Out
  • MmmBop from Middle of  Nowhere
  • Lost Without Each Other from Underneath
  • If Only from This Time Around
  • Encore: In the City from This Time Around

Update: Part Two, where I indulge in a little silly fangirling, is up!