katy perry

#522: Smells Like Tim McGraw

GETTING MORE TALE #522: Smells Like Tim McGraw

Music fans can buy just about anything with their favourite band’s name on it.  While Elvis merchandise and the onslaught of Beatlemania stuff makes for fun collectibles, Kiss really blasted things into overdrive, for better or for worse.  Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, we were inundated with Kiss.  Neighbors on our street had Kiss cards, the Kiss remote control van,  Kiss comics, Kiss posters, books about Kiss and more.  You could buy Kiss dolls.  Kiss Your Face makeup.  Everything!  At the time Kiss were heavily criticized for their merchandising.  Paul and Gene defended it by saying, ‘if our fans want to buy a Kiss hat, then why shouldn’t they be able to buy one?’  Turns out their fans wanted to buy a lot more including cars and coffins!

Now the merchandise door is wide open.  Everybody has dolls; my sister had some wretched New Kids on the Block dolls.  I have a friend who owns the Spice Girls.  I myself own Johnny Cash, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne.  Today, music celebrities have their own alcohol, such as Motley Brue or The Trooper beer.  Rock stars even have their own hot sauces.  I was a proud owner of Joe Perry’s Boneyard Brew.  (I’ve never been able to find Michael Anthony’s Mad Anthony sauce.)  I often like to picture Joe Perry hard at work over a boiling pot, mixing specially selected peppers and spices until he finally came up with his own Boneyard Brew.  It’s not impossible, although it is unlikely.

What is very highly unlikely is that Justin Bieber studied perfume chemistry to come up with his own scent, “Girlfriend”.

It seems perfumes and colognes are the latest hot trend in celebrity endorsements.    We are not so naive to think that the stars have anything to all to do with their own perfumes, but look at the list below.  (Courtesy once again of Uncle John’s calendar.)  Taylor Swift and Beyoncé don’t surprise me, but I didn’t know Tim McGraw had his own scent (“Southern Blend”).  Check out some of the interesting names below.

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Who knew Carlos Santana had a scent called “Carlos Santana”?  I wonder who came up with that clever name?  (Whoever they are, they probably make more money than us.) Even Kiss have a cologne, called “KISS Him for Men”. Kiss sell aftershaves and deodorants too. But we can’t blame Kiss for this trend, can we?  This one is on the shoulders of Hollywood.

The first celebrity scent was “Sophia” by Sophia Lauren, in 1981. The Italian film icon’s perfume was released by Coty who work with just about every major celebrity today. That’s not the interesting part. What is interesting is that we might be able to blame Gene Simmons just a little bit for the first music celebrity scent. After all, it was his ex-girlfriend Cher who was the first music star to enter the perfume world. Her scent “Uninhibited” was the first for a music performer. Did her ex-boyfriend’s merchandising ways have anything to do with this? The truth is, probably not — but it’s fun to blame Gene anyway.

With the reigning queens of pop like Katy (“Killer Queen” and “Purr”) and Gaga (“Fame for Women”), not to mention the boy-throbs like One Direction (“Our Moment for Women”), it is likely that music perfumes and colognes will remain big business for years to come.

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#421: First It Steals Your Mind, Then It Steals Your Soul

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#421: First It Steals Your Mind, Then It Steals Your Soul

Pop music:  love it or hate it, it does exist!

I have found myself briefly flirting with popular hit songs from time to time, but I find that the rush goes away fast.  You can be totally into a new song, only to be bored with it after hearing it dozens of times over a week or two.  Then, on to the next thing.  This is nothing new, that’s pop music for you.  But why do modern-day pop songs lack longevity?  Whether it’s Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Beyonce or One Direction, their songs are hook-laden and catchy.  Yet there’s nothing about them that sticks with you for long.  People don’t really carry around a Beyonce track for life like they do with a Led Zeppelin number.  Why?

Pop songwriters always try to hit the biggest possible audience.  That’s what they are paid to do.  As such, a lot of pop music ends up sounding very “neutral”.   The songs are vaguely catchy and lyrically bland so as to appeal to “everyone”.   That doesn’t seem to be enough for a song to stick forever.  Rather than try and make a pop song interesting, producers would rather throw in whatever sounds, beats and hooks are “in” right now.  Rather than do something new, they go for something familiar.  That’s what the masses go for – songs that sound like songs they already like.  As long as it’s not much longer than three minutes….

I’m speaking very generally now.  I know there is pop music out there that defies the pigeonholes that people often want their music slotted in.  I’m not talking about those songs.  I’m talking about the same damn beats, same damn words, and the same damn melodies that you hear every day.

How does today’s pop music steal your mind and soul?  Below, find some reasons:

1. Today, pop songs trick you into thinking an artist can really write, play and sing. A look at the credits shows that 18 writers from Sweden wrote that song, and got sued by 7 different writers from America for stealing it.  A computer fixed every missed beat and note.  The song was almost completely untouched by human hands.

2. The lack of innovation and exploration in pop music leads to stagnation. Just copy, copy, copy.  Have a hit with an idea similar to someone else’s.  There’s very little new out there.  How can you expect your mind and musical taste to grow by listening to the same damn song every day?

3. Faceless performers don’t have much ability or personality compared to the golden days of the 60’s. Back then, you knew when it was Aretha singing.  Today, you have to use an app on your phone to see if that was Katy Perry or Demi Lovato.  Listen to them sing live – they do a low sultry voice, and then belt it out on the choruses, aided and abetted by computers.  Sure, Demi has lungs, but her voice gets pretty thin when she’s reaching for notes without assistance.  Thankfully this is usually covered up by the screaming crowds of teen girls.

4. We’re long past the days of people like Michael Jackson being the King of Pop. Jackson, a talented writer, worked with one of the best producers in the world, Quincy Jones.  Together they worked hard and played hard to create real pop music with actual soul.  Who is left in the world of pop of that stature and talent?  Surely not Justin Timberlake.  Timberlake has never written anything with the soul of “Billie Jean”, not that I have heard anyway.

5. Pop music and pop culture have become so intertwined that they have formed a complex web of stupidity. Remember when Britney Spears said, “I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that”?  Pop stars today are saying even dumber things.  Witness this zinger from Ariana Grande about “cow tit pus”:

“In America, almost everybody thinks you need to have meat for protein. Protein, protein, protein! And what’s in dairy? Calcium, calcium, calcium. It’s those kinds of proteins that latch onto the insides of your blood stream and make it easier for you to have a heart attack. Look, cows produce milk with nutrients for cows. Maybe that’s why Americans end up looking like cows! Ultimately, no one wants cow tit pus in their food, do they?”

And don’t even get me started on Biebs, the Little Turd from Stratford.

And these reasons, dear friends, are only some of the ways that modern pop music can steal your mind and then steal your soul.  Stick to the classics, and beware!  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

#345: Tyler and LeBrain episode 4 – Return of the Monster Truck

MEAT TRUCK

RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale
#343: Tyler and LeBrain featuring Seb episode 4 – Return of the Monster Truck

This time we take on leather vests, the 90’s, Katy Perry, best singers ever…and Uncle Meat.

Part 99: Cover Thief!

RECORD STORE TALES PART 99:  Cover Thief!

Because our cases were kept empty, thieves didn’t have a lot to steal.  Some stole empty cases thinking they were getting the disc, true.  Some, however, just wanted the cover.  That’s all.

They’d leave the case behind and just steal the booklet.  You could understand why, in some cases.  Usually it would be, say, the new Beyonce CD that loses its cover mysteriously.  I imagine today, perhaps Ms. Perry or Ms. Rihanna would go missing from their cases.  In rare cases, it might be, say, the cover to And Justice For All that goes missing, because it’s a badass picture.

The creepiest thing that ever happened was when the cover to Kathryn Ladano’s CD got stolen.  I think I know who stole it, too.  And I think it was the one known as Wiseman.  He was always telling me my sister is hot.  Why he would do this, I do not know.  The fact that I never punched him proves I’m a nice guy.

One day, the cover just went missing.  Poof.  Gone.  A Recital of Works for Bass Clarinet, cover only, disappeared into thin air.  You got the bare minimum of cover thieves rocking the classical section of the store, too.

With Wiseman giving me all the creepy talk about my sister, I think it was him.  Gaaah!

To Wiseman:  You only hurt the artist, you know!  Your creepy ways only means my sister couldn’t sell that CD anymore!  Jerk.