Happy Fourth of July!

Yesterday I was at a nursing home that was decorated for the Fourth of July and listened to an older gentleman sing patriotic songs and older songs.  It was amazing to watch the audience light up at the music and the way the performer recognized veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces.  I remember the celebrations that I attended when I was younger (maybe five or less) with my great-grandma.  Those are memories that I still cherish as I watch fireworks on the Fourth of July.  As I think about contemporary culture and the music choices of our modern age, I can only hope that we continue to appreciate music greats like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and many others – as well as appreciate the classic patriotic medleys that are so uplifting and continuously relevant.

Each year at Boy Scout camp, the staff would add a little something special to the opening and/or closing campfire to recognize the Fourth of July.  We have given speeches, sang songs, recognized veterans, had “fireworks” shows with glow sticks, and much more.  We have also “reenacted” the revolution at the waterfront complete with Paul Revere’s ride, George Washington on the Delaware, Boston Tea Party, King George, and the actual war.  It is always a good time.  I am interested to hear what this year’s staff ends up doing.  The camp staff sings a lot of songs at various times.  One of my favorites (although I do have a lot of favorites) is called “America”.  It is sung in a round –

America, America
How can I tell you how I feel?
You have given me many treasures
I love you so.

It is simple yet so powerful when sung at a Scout camp – or elsewhere.

I am planning on going to Fair St. Louis tonight downtown to celebrate the 4th.  I have not been downtown for such a celebration for as long as I can remember.  It should be a good time.

Enjoy the day, however you choose to do so.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our wonderful country, the United Sates of America!

B.o.B. – Airplanes ft. Hayley Williams

Airplanes by B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore is currently one of my favorite songs.  I had heard bits and pieces, but first heard the song in its entirety while at Lodo’s in Denver with some good friends.  We were reminiscing and celebrating the end of senior year and the song seemed to have relevance as I was about to graduate and hoped (and still do) that the memories and I friendships I had made would stay with me for quite some time.  I like the fact that the song is hopeful, and has more depth than most of the popular music that seems to be overplayed.  It is also a good song with a catchy beat.

While there were plenty of fake music videos for the song, the official video was only recently posted.  Interestingly, I read on MTV’s website (this may be the only MTV article I have read this year), that Hayley Williams and B.o.B. have never met – and did not plan to even for filming the video.  That’s kind of strange, but it is a great song nevertheless.

Lyrics:

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now

Yeah
I could use a dream or a genie or a wish
To go back to a place much simpler than this
Cause after all the partying
The smashing and crashing
And all the glitz and the glam and the fashion
And all the pandemonium and all the madness
There comes a time when you fade to the blackness
When you’re staring at that phone in your lap
And hopin’ but them people never call you back
But that’s just how the story unfolds
You get another hand
Soon after you fold
And when your plans unravel in the sand
What would you wish for if you had one chance?
So airplanes airplanes
Sorry I’m late
I’m on my way
So don’t close that gate
If I don’t make that
Then I switch my flight
And I’ll be right back at it
By the end of the night

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now

Yeah
Yeah
Somebody take me back to the days
Before this was a job
Before I got paid
Before it ever mattered what I had in my bank
Yeah back when I was trying to get a tip at Subway
Back when I was rapping for the hell of it
But now days we rapping to stay relevant
I’m guessing that if we can make some wishes out of airplanes
Then maybe oh maybe I’ll go back to the days
Before the politics that we call the rap game
And back when ain’t nobody listened to my mixtape
And back before I tried to cover up my slang
But this is for decater
What’s up Bobby Ray
So can I get a wish to end the politics
And get back to the music that started this shit
So here I stand
And then again I say
I’m hoping we can make some wishes out of airplanes

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now

Ellen Signs Greyson Chance

Ellen Degeneres had Greyson Chance on her show again.  This time he performed one of his original songs, “Broken Hearts”.  As good as his Paparazzi performance was (and it was good), I like his original songs better.   In addition, Ellen, who has been getting more involved in music, has started a new record label, eleveneleven, because of Greyson and signed him as her first client.

I like this story because Greyson had no intention of doing any of this, it seems.  His video was posted from a school talent show.  Ellen is making good things happen for him!  In addition, Greyson won her $10,000 found on the internet prize AND Yamaha is giving him a piano.  Madonna’s manager and Lady Gaga’s manager have signed on to manage Greyson.  How cool!

OneRepublic @ DU

OneRepublic performed a sort of “impromptu” concert in the middle of the University of Denver’s campus during DU’s annual May Days celebration.  The band’s management approached the University of Denver Programming Board on Tuesday about coming to campus on Wednesday and performing a short set for FREE!  Who wouldn’t want that?

The short concert was promoted on Facebook as a “surprise” that students should show up for. The band came, performed, took pictures, and left. The set was short (All The Right Moves, Apologize, & Secrets – their new single), but it was quite awesome!  The band literally had some instruments put in the middle of the Driscoll Green, a circle of students formed, and then they walked up and started playing.  There were no microphones or speakers, but I believe they did film the performance for some online site (which one I am not sure).

Best May Days ever!

I have videos of the first two songs they performed.  I apologize for the low quality – my camera microphone isn’t necessarily the best.

OneRepublic Performing Live at the University of Denver - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I also got a picture with Ryan Tedder, the lead singer:

Me and Friends with Ryan Tedder at OneRepublic's Live Performance at the University of Denver

Someone else got video of “Secrets”.  The quality is a bit lower than mine – but hey, you can see me in the video 🙂

Flash Mob @ DU

After the video of the flash mob at Ohio State, the University of Denver Programming Board decided to try to create a flash mob at DU.  The ideal time would be during May Days, our annual week-long spring festival.  People were brought together from all over campus and people posted that a “surprise” would occur on the Driscoll Green at a certain time (so that extra people would be in the area and participating in other May Days events).

The video, edited by a student, is pretty cool:

I had originally planned on being involved and a part of the dance, but life was too busy.  I did help recruit people though.  While I think that too many songs may have been used, it was a great idea and definitely a success.  There were a ton of students watching this!

DU Today, our school’s news site has a story about the flash mob.

The Northern Lights – A Band

Through a few of my friends I was recently introduced to a new hip-hop (and I might add a bit of R&B) band.  My friend Ronnie is friends with the band.  Their debut album is called “Journey Through Your Mind’s Eye” and is available online as a free download.  Check it out.  The music is definitely worth listening to.

My favorite song of theirs is On Hold, based, I think, on “True Colors”.

The Amazing 12 Year Old Sixth Grade Musician

This guy is going places.  Greyson Michael Chance is a 12 year old in the 6th Grade in Oklahoma.  He plays the piano, writes songs, sings, etc.  He has great musical talent and is clearly going somewhere.  He has become famous for a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”.  In the past 3.5ish hours, the video has received almost 1 million new views for a total of more than 2.1 million views!  Personally though, I like his two original songs even better.  Watch out Justin Bieber…

Check out Greyson’s YouTube Channel.

The following article is from Yahoo!:

Little Lord Gaga: Greyson Michael Chance’s “Paparazzi” Is A Web Sensation

Posted Tue May 11, 2010 4:17pm PDT by Lyndsey Parker

Lady Gaga parodies and tributes abound on the Interweb–some funny, some serious, some good, some not-so-good. But the school recital performance of “Paparazzi” by boy wonder Greyson Michael Chance just might be the best yet. As the teacher emceeing the Edmond’s Sixth Grade Festival says at the end of Greyson’s stunning piano performance, this mega-talented kid could even “teach Lady Gaga a lesson.”

Greyson is bona fide prodigy (as his lovely original piano compositions “Stars” and “Broken Hearts” on his YouTube channel demonstrate), and his talents are being celebrated on a national scale now that his “Paparazzi” video–in which he bangs out the piano ballad while his classmates look on in shock and awe, mouths agape–has gone viral. The video has gotten more than 36,000 views so far, and he’s even been invited to perform on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” this Thursday.

According to his bio on his YouTube profile, Greyson is “very inspired by Lady Gaga and Augustana.” Greyson additionally explains: “Lady Gaga is a freak but she has so much talent and her style of music is what I would like mine to be when I’m older. Augustana is one of the most underrated bands I think ever to step [on] the planet. They have so much talent it is not funny. They have such a good concept with folk and rock. It is very sad that they are so unknown.”

Greyson may look like a Justin Bieber clone with his sideswept-banged bowl cut, but with musical taste like that, clearly this boy is no prepubescent pop robot. This kid is deep. (His aforementioned original song “Stars” is about a woman who dies of cancer and meets her husband in heaven, for instance–not exactly “One Less Lonely Girl,” huh?) Today’s tween fangirls would be way better off worshipping a role model like Greyson over Bieber–and judging from the flustered way the girls react in the background of his recital clip, such wide-scale worship may not be far off. After Greyson’s upcoming “Ellen” appearance, surely countless more tweens will be his biggest fans, following him until he loves them.

Quote #3 – How to Save a Life

The Fray says this song is open to interpretation so I am going to take them up on the offer.  How to Save a Life is one of my favorite songs and I find that its words can be applicable to many situations.  In light of recent occurrences with some people I care deeply about, I think it may be appropriate.

The Fray – How to Save a Life

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it’s just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
And you begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you’ve told him all along
And pray to God, he hears you
And pray to God, he hears you

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you’ve followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he’ll say he’s just not the same
And you begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

How to save a life

How to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
How to save a life

How to save a life

Flash Mob @ Ohio State

The new “flash mob” trend is pretty awesome.  I really like the organized yet spontaneous nature of flash mobs.  While they confuse people, they seem to genuinely make people happy.

Earlier this week, The Ohio State University had a flash mob in their new student center.  It included the mascot and the university’s President.  How awesome!  Now DU is trying to organize something like this, perhaps for May Days.  Interested?  Let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the right people.

Ben Folds: I Thought I Knew

Every once in a while I get a song stuck in my head.  One day this past week, I listened to three Ben Folds albums while working on my thesis.  The song “You Don’t Know Me” (featuring Regina Spektor) is now stuck in my head.  It has been for several days now.  Some say that listening to the song again will make it go away.  It did not.  I then looked the song up on Wikipedia and saw that it is supposed to have a cool music video.

I decided to look up the music video.  At first, I found this video on YouTube:

It’s pretty cool, but I found out it is not the official music video.  The official video was taken down to to copyright issues.  Of course.  Still, for an unofficial video, it has almost 800,000 views.   That’s impressive.

After a lot of searching (because the song is still in my head), I found the official video on Vimeo:

There are all kinds of metaphors and hidden meanings in this.  It’s kind of crazy – and much deeper than I had thought.