30 September 2010

Pussycats, Pavement, and J. Lo

Today I woke up at 7am. It's a disgusting practice and I pray every time it happens that it will never occur again. I'm the worst morning person in the world. I look, sound, and act like Walter Matthau before 12pm and it's not pretty on me. The one thing that makes any morning better is my iPod.

A few days ago after one too many homemade margaritas, I decided to go on Limewire and illegally download "feel good" songs. In my head these would be hip, cool songs that I could listen to when I'm home having a couple drinks, partying with my cat. Needless to say things turned ugly fast and good taste (Pavement, The Kinks) turned bad (Jennifer Lopez, The Pussycat Dolls).

I don't know what it is in my brain that likes absurd music that I know is created by machines and auto-tune but I can't help myself. I'm overly empathetic towards a lot in my life and music is no exception. After watching Jennifer Lopez's Behind the Music where she chronicles her first traumatic recording sessions, I liked her music even more - despite the fact that she was openly admitting to having a bad voice. When Usher sings about infidelity and gets on his knees to hug faceless women's legs in music videos, I chalk it up to unique artistry, certainly not scumbag-level arrogance. When Snoop Dogg is featured in every video with girls dancing around in skimpy clothes (i.e. Katy Perry's "California Girls", Pussycat Dolls "Buttons"), I figure it's because he needs to make extra dough to support his adorable family I grew to love on "Snoop Dogg's Fatherhood", the spectacular E! Entertainment Nework reality show.

It all comes back to this morning. As I was standing outside in the pouring rain I decided to put my headphones on and listen to Ms. Lopez's classic song "All I Have" with LL Cool J. I won't deny my history with this song - I love music videos. When I was younger they were all I watched. This particular video was on all the time. As a youthful teenager I thought Jennifer Lopez was utterly beautiful: she wore Jimmy Choo boots, furry coats, had those curves.. so much to look at. Indirectly, I'm sorry to say, this video, and others like it, are probably in my subconscious for the rest of my life. Luckily I think I understand the ironic humor within the lyrics and don't plan on dating any guys that tell me they're "cats that creep all over town" (you know I'd prefer to play that role). I never realized until today in the rain how insanely sexist the lyrics are or how good this song is. I don't think it's really trying to teach anyone a lesson and of course which of these artists is truly synonymous with power? The answer is obvious so there's no reason to feel too bad for the plight of females within this context. Although it's important to point out that it's dangerous to listen to songs like this when you're young. I do believe that personal relationship insecurities can be stirred by false images in pop songs. If I have children I won't let them listen to Neil Sedaka until they're at least 17.

The thing that bothered me most is my relationship with songs like this. I always thought I had a healthy relationship with music, so much that I could openly relay any of my interests to anyone who wanted to know. Standing there in the rain, with my black glasses, skinny jeans, and wannabe Rastafarian, maroon hat, I quietly listened to Jennifer Lopez... any time someone would walk by I lowered the volume as if I thought they cared or would even hear it over the raindrops falling on cement. I was embarrassed. I should be listening to something different, not Jock Jams from 2002 or something. Who do I think I am? It brought back memories of sixth grade when my friend Danielle told me I had no right to appreciate Selena's music.

"But I really love her."

"Why because you saw the movie?"

"Yes but I swear I have at least one of her cd's in my room."

"Please. You don't understand her."

I don't know why I always remember that. Danielle was actually one of my best friends at the time so I know she wasn't deliberately hating on my musical preferences but she felt a particular kinship to Selena that apparently I wasn't allowed to feel. I can't even express to you how much I really did love that crazy movie. I've always been a total sucker for all things Jennifer Lopez. I'll watch that movie with her and Matthew McConaughey about the wedding stuff anytime it's on and I usually hate movies like that. She has some crazy charisma that I'm drawn to - or as a drugged up male friend of mine once said, I'm just drawn to the "exotic ladies".

And it really doesn't end there. I go from 12 year old in 2002 to 45 year old in the '80's. "King of Wishful Thinking"? "Danny's Song"? Kenny Loggins? TOTO?! What am I doing?

Does anyone remember Joe? The song "Stutter" has always been a personal favorite. I relate a little too much to the lyrics these days but when I was a kid I just thought he was a pretty good looking cat with a great voice.

I'm also in love with Pharrell but I'm not too embarrassed by that.

I think that's all I'm ready to admit.

I actually believe Nicole Scherzinger is an excellent role model for young girls. I'm always an advocate for women taking control of their own sexuality and not leaving it up for the debate of the opposite gender.


Gary The Gorilla said...

My favorite JLO movie is Enough. That is a solid, well crafted JLO flick. Just watching her kick some ass turns a cat like me ON!

Lester Barnum said...

MM, how do you feel about J being a host on AI? I don't know how I feel...I guess I'm ambivalent about it but I go to you for the latest mmmmmmmmmmmusic news. PLEAZE le me know!