It all started with email from Hulu.
I get emails from Hulu because I subscribe to it, having cut the cord a couple of months ago. Usually I ignore them. But this one had a link to a clip from Jimmy Fallon’s show, where he and Rashida Jones did a parody of popular songs using Christmas-type lyrics…or was it a parody of Christmas songs using popular lyrics/music?
I don’t know, gimme a break, I’m old.
So I watched it, and some of the songs sounded vaguely familiar, but most didn’t. To the audience, ALL the songs were familiar and so I thought, depressingly, I am so out of touch with music now. Me and my Seattle 90s music. Me and…Tool, who haven’t put out a new CD since “10,000 Days” in 2006!!
(By the way, for a funny and oh-so-true article on Tool and their fans, read this on Cracked.com)
Ok, anyway…feeling really out of touch with pop culture, as I have since, oh, forever, I had to first look up Rashida Jones, because who is she? A singer? An actress? A stand-up comic? Jimmy Fallon’s sister/wife/best friend?
Turns out, she is an actress on a TV show called “Parks and Recreation”, which I have actually watched. Not a lot, but I have seen it. It’s an ok show, I guess.
Oh and she is also the daughter of Peggy Lipton (“One Black, One White, One Blonde”) and Quincy Jones (if you don’t know who he is, I can’t help you – even I know who he is).
And if you recognise the “Mod Squad” reference, you’re old. Like me. You’re welcome.
Right, so………….anyway…………..I decided to look up the popular songs on which the parody was based. “Top pop hits!” shouted the article from Today.com.
First up? “All About the Bass”, by Meghan Trainor. On to YouTube. Nice song, I guess. Lovely girl, very young, hope her success continues and she doesn’t spiral downward into a life of drugs and..oh, sorry. Moving along.
“Stay With Me” by Sam Smith. Heartfelt video and song. But the song sounds a lot like “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty (1989). Go play both videos and see. I’ll wait.
Lalalalala….see? They do sound alike, don’t they?
Tossing aside the urge to Google “Tom Petty Lawsuit”, I looked up the next song/video. “Bang Bang”, by someone called Jessie J (never heard of her), Ariana Grande (never heard of her either), and Nicky Minaj (now her, I have heard of).
The song is catchy, and apparently written by Jessie J because, being an old fart and not understanding the lyrics (“booty like a Cadillac”? huh?), I looked them up. I am kind of sorry I did.
Some of the lyrics were funny. I hope that was the intention. Some of them were of the “put-your-hands-over-your-grandson’s-ears” kind (or, when my kids were little, the equivalent of sprinting to the TV whenever Madonna was on MTV). I know, a losing battle. I don’t think my grandson listens to this music but if he does, he probably knows the lyrics and doesn’t think twice about them.
These girls are beautiful (though they wear more makeup in one day than I would wear, well, all my life), and they can sing. They can dance in heels! In short, they are amazing and I wish them all well. My take on it, as a whole, is that pop music is incredibly sexist, still, but I guess having women be in control of the sexism is better…isn’t it?
I see where they’re coming from, and I don’t condemn them one bit. Feminism has evolved in some strange ways, and I refuse to condemn what I do not understand, especially when it concerns women who appear to have gained some power in the music industry.
Oh, yeah, I did turn Madonna off the TV so my young kids couldn’t watch her crawl through a video that was set on a porn show stage (“Open Your Heart”, 1986). But I never badmouthed her, because I don’t crap on other women who are trying to get a foothold in a male-dominated business on their own terms, even if that isn’t how I would have done it.
Hey, she’s a gazillionaire, and I am one of the ELIs (Extremely Low Income people), so whose way is more successful? Can’t argue with success.
Right, so, on to the next pop song. I will bypass the passing reference Jimmy and Rashida made to Sir Mix-a-Lot, because I got that. “Baby Got Back” was in 1992, which is a musical decade I am familiar with.
DJ Snake’s and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What”.
“Oh my goodness,” she thought, all grandma-like and such. I didn’t understand the video at all. I think it was meant to be funny. I did think it was funny, kind of. Funny, and a bit scary. I am going to pass on that because I just. didn’t. get. it.
Finally, “Fireball” by Pitbull (feat. John Ryan). I actually know who Pitbull is, sort of. I know he was one of the writers of the 2014 World Cup Song “Ole Ola”, which I loved. I don’t know who John Ryan is. So I pulled up “Fireball” on YouTube.
Wow. Yes, the lyrics are sexist, kind of. But the lyrics are also funny. Either I am just seeing humour in nearly every pop song I hear, or these artists do a fantastic job of making fun of either themselves, or everyone else, or both. And wow, because Pitbull is…
…very, VERY sexy. Oh yes he is. Sorry, he is. Sorry if this grosses out my younger readers but I ain’t dead, honey. This guy is hot. And he can sing. And dance. And smirk in a way that would make me fan myself if I were an old Southern bat from the 1800s (no, I am NOT that old).
Lyrics be damned, I am out to buy all this man’s music. Oh I did see another video called “Rain Over Me (feat. Marc Anthony)”…why MA was in it, I have no idea, though he can sing. Great song, loved it.
I watched a few more Pitbull videos. I am still overheated. So I decided to write this blog entry…um…not sure why, as I am sure most people on the planet are familiar with all this music. Oh yeah, I remember now…
Maybe just to prove that, eventually my dears, YOU will be where I am. Out of touch, wanting to see what the world has to offer since your kids grew up and have lives of their own..to see if you can still relate, if not participate. You will recall how you used to cringe when your parents listened to “your” music. And how they didn’t get it, but pretended to. Or, even worse, DID get it, and your friends thought your dorky parents were cool.
Hey, my dad went on tour with Led Zeppelin in 1970 (he did security for them), and I thought that was cool until he decided my older sister and I had to wear dresses to meet the band (“jeans are for groupies”, he said)…MATCHING dresses. I wanted to die. I was 13.
I thought my parents were out to embarrass me, just by their very existence. So yeah, I get it.
I get that no one – not my kids, not my grandson, not anyone under the age of 30 – wants me to show up at a Pitbull concert. No worries, I am not that deluded. I promise I won’t even hang up a poster of him in my apartment, join his fan club, or even play his music in your presence if you don’t like him.
My ringtones? Now that’s a completely different matter…
Which is better for Grandma to have as a generic ringtone? “Aenima”, with its liberal use of the “f” word, or Pitbull, with his sexually-suggestive lyrics?
If you say “neither”, or “Grateful Dead” (who I love, by the way), I am going to reach through this computer screen and…
Staying current = staying alive and happy, in my book. I never want to become one of those people who are always talking about ‘back in the day’. Because, in my opinion, ‘back in the day’ is never as good as ‘right now’. Or even ‘the future’. Which I hope to see a lot of in the coming years.
Pitbull, you say? Download Pitbull ringtones? Already on it.