Throwback! Carole King “It’s Too Late” (1971)

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“It’s Too Late”(1971)  by Carole King

Which song was #1 exactly 45 years ago?!

—”It’s Too Late” by Carole King.

Released: April 1971. It was the first single off of "Tapestry."

#1 for 5 weeks (June 13 - July 17)

Genre: Soft Rock, Doo-wop 

Length: 3:51

Label:  -Ode Records

Writer:  -Toni Stern -Carole King

Producers:  -Lou Adler

My Thoughts:

“It’s Too Late” is the first song I have memory of singing along to (6 years old). My mom and dad played it in the car.

I still sing it—14 years later. Now, I’ve come to realize what a big hit it was in 1971.

In my opinion, this is THE breakup song.  Why?

-It has a terribly realistic viewpoint. Carole King isn’t saying, “you’re the one with the problem, I’m perfect.” Nor is she saying, “It’s all my fault.”

The lyrics are quite neutral on who is the culprit. One thing is for sure, Carole King knows that it’s over.

Music critics talk about the sadness of the song. I, on the other hand, don’t think it’s that sad. She sounds remarkably decided and confident during the choruses. One might argue the verses are sad. I think they are more pensive, and reflective then downright sad.

This track was a double A-side with “I feel the Earth Move.”

It was the #3 record of 1971 on the Billboard “Year-End Chart.”

“It’s Too Late” made Rolling Stones Magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

The song won a Grammy Award for “Record of the Year” in 1972.

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(Tapestry era photo)

Fun Factoids:

Apparently Toni Stern (the other songwriter) had inspiration for it right after her love affair with James Taylor ended.

Favorite Lyrics:

1. “Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time.”

What a fresh opening! And who hasn’t stayed in bed all morning when you’re feeling down and don’t know what your next move should be.

2. “They’ll be good times again for me and you. But we just can’t stay together, don’t you feel it, too. Still I’m glad for what we had and how I once loved you.”

She keeps an optimistic outlook on their separate futures, while still tipping her hat to their good times—Then the final chorus explodes!

 

Here is a link to the full lyrics on Genius.com:

http://genius.com/Carole-king-its-too-late-lyrics

Here are links to two videos for the song. One is an audio and the other is a live performance (the days before music videos existed).

1.  Audio:

2.  Live:

Review by: Gio Bradley.

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Throwback! “Lady Marmalade” (2001)

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“Lady Marmalade” (2001) by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and P!nk

Which song was #1 exactly 15 years ago?!

—This super famous cover version of “Lady Marmalade!”

Released March 27, 2001

#1 for 5 weeks (May 27 - June 30) 

Genre: R&B, Hip hop

Length: 4:24

Label:  -Interscope

Writers:  -Bob Crewe  -Kenny Nolan

Producers:  -Rockwilder  -Missy Elliot

My Thoughts:

Score: 9/10

I like this cover just as much as the original LaBelle 1974 version.

Usually the original always wins against the newest version. “Lady Marmalade” (2001) is an exception.

The song comes off of the soundtrack for Moulin Rouge! starring Nicole Kidman.

If I were a young adult in 2001, I’m pretty sure I’d go crazy every time it came on.

This song is a fun, festive song. The four women together create a nice sonic variety of style during those 4 1/2 minutes.

It’s a great girls night out song to sing along to (gays included).

It won a grammy for “Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.”

“Lady Marmalade” won “Video of The Year” at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.

It has sold more than 5.2 million physical copies worldwide which also made it the worldwide best selling single of 2001.

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Fun Factoids:

It was the third airplay-only song ever to Reach #1 without another commercial format available.

“Lady Marmalade” still holds the record on Billboard’s radio Mainstream Top 40 for the longest #1 for an all female collaboration (9 consecutive weeks) .

It became the first time a female rapper appeared on a #1 single. Congratulations Lil’ Kim.

Favorite Lyrics:

1. “Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir. Voulez vous coucher avec moi.”

That means, “Would you like to sleep with me tonight. Would you like to sleep with me.” It’s sung by all of them in the chorus.

What can I say, it sounds even better in French.

2. “We come through with the money and the garter belts.”

Lil’ Kim sounds beyond confident as she begins her verse. I imagine my friends and I going out at night, knocking down brick walls with our rolls of money and garter belts.

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Here is a link to the full lyrics on Genius.com:

http://genius.com/Lil-kim-lady-marmalade-lyrics

Here is a link to the music video found on Youtube:

Review by: Gio Bradley.

Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Music Videos

Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Music Videos

  1.  The First Listen

This was released the same day as the song (May 6) as a nice little buzz video to help the song gain streaming ratings quickly.

What Surprised Me:

That such a silly format now exists. Now it’s becoming a standard to drop these “little” videos before the standard ones.

What I Didn’t Like:

The recording studio scene was awkward. I felt awkward for them. It reminded me of spirit week in high school—where you fake enthusiasm at some points because you don’t want people to hate you.

What I Liked:

Gwen Stefani singing in the car. She could just sit there and scratch dandruff from her head and I’d still be mesmerized.

2.  The Regular

Released May 16, 2016.

What Surprised Me:

I didn’t feel surprised.

What I Didn’t Like:

The cheap sentiment. “Oh, hey guys, I’m Justin, and I’m just like you. Here I am doing regular things that you do.” Bye. I don’t care if it wasn’t his choice, but the choice of DreamWorks & RCA.

You’re a superstar, Justin Timberlake, act like one.

During the second verse when he sang, “It’s in my blood,” he literally tried tapping his Cephalic vein as if he were about to get an IV. Still not cheesy? Fine.

What I Liked:

Some of the dancing characters were endearing. At the end they list all the names. Jonah (green dress shirt) and Stevie (barber shop) were my favorites.

Review by: Gio Bradley.

Desiigner “Panda” music video

Desiigner “Panda” music video

Released: May 17, 2016.

What Surprised Me:

Not much. The storyline, imagery and themes in here are the same as most rap music videos.

The Kanye West Cameo was semi-surprising. Although Desiigner is signed to Kanye’s record company so… not too surprising.

Maybe the black woman with the platinum hair feelin’ him up on the bed. She looked like a panda (which they obviously did on purpose). I wasn’t expecting that.

What I Didn’t Like:

The slow-motion melodrama. We get it, you want us think you’re tough. I would probably think him more hard-hitting if the video was further in real time.

What I Liked:

Again, the loud facial expressions were nice to see in the video.

The minimal use of characters. There weren’t that many people in the video (yes, I know there were groups at the beginning).

It’s common for rap music videos to use a lot of extras on set. The “Panda” video had relatively few in it. We will wait for upcoming Desiigner videos to really judge his style.

Review by: Gio Bradley.

Drake’s first “One Dance” performance

Drake Performes “One Dance” on SNL.

What Surprised Me:

The Box, the minimalist “Hotline-Bling-esque” box was surprising. Yeah, maybe it’s obvious and I should have seen it coming. Well, I didn’t. Also, I keep forgetting SNL has small stage(s), so it wasn’t going to be an elaborate set up to begin with.

I understand why Drake would and should bring the box back. If he uses it more than once (the more the better), then pop culture will slowly associate him with the box. Did he invent dancing inside of an LED lit box? No. But, that’s  pop culture for you—it doesn’t make sense and easily forgets its predecessors.

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It’s a funny gif^. I’m imagining seeing a guy (besides Drake) doing this at a club.

What I Didn’t Like:

I thought Drake was a little shy at some points. Drake you’re Drake. Don’t be shy. Even if you are, it’s part of your job as an entertainer to to give us the illusion of self-confidence.

Now, I might be overreacting about his shyness. Maybe he was trying to hit the verses just as softly as the track does.

The backup dancers outfits. Who was in charge of costuming? Please reconsider those outfits. At first I thought the two girls were awkward onstage, then I realized no there outfits are awkward.

What I Liked:

The corny dance moves. I mean we’ve all been agreeing for a while now that we find Drake’s corny dance moves sexy. If any other guy does them? Well, probably it’s gonna be a harder sell.

The backup dancers. Yes, I brought them back. Their outfits may have thrown me off, but their moves were on point. They added a breath of fresh air to “One Dance.”

The LED colors they used inside the box added nice ambience to the performance.

Review by: Gio Bradley.

Justin Timberlake’s first “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” performance

Justin Timberlake performs “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” at the “Eurovision Song Contest 2016” in Stockholm, Sweden.

What Surprised Me:

Ummm…

O.K., the live performance helped me like “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” a little more than before. I’m still not the biggest fan, but the performance improved my overall thoughts on the song.

I was not expecting the “Rock Your Body” intro. Now that’s song I will always dip to. It was a kute moment. I get it—the beginning song of his solo career and his latest song.

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What I Didn’t Like:

It lacked drive. It was kute, clean, nice, but I’m not going to remember it for long.

His dance breaks. Mr. Timberlake, you are famous for dancing it up onstage. Were you having an off week? Did you have no time to rehearse more choreography? Because his longest break was about 8 seconds.

What I Liked:

Overall, this performance brought to mind all of Justin Timberlake’s legacy. He’s been off the radar for about 2 years. By viewing this video, I had nostalgia for all of his other moments.

He had fun. Even if the performance was borderline basic, he had fun. And it was sweet watching him have a blast in front of the stadium crowd.

Review by: Gio Bradley.

 

Desiigner’s first “Panda” performance

Designer performs “Panda” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

This was actually his first network television performance ever (again, he is a 19-year-old).

What Surprised Me:

The amount of energy he used to perform. I thought he would have been going for a ice cold, calculated demeanor.

Instead he was jumping around for almost the whole time. Desiigner had lots of arm movements, big facial expressions (some were really funny). That’s not at all what I expected.

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Which is a good thing! Nowadays it’s hard to be surprised by the actions of a song/music video and/or performance.

During his performance, Desiigner even rolled most of the “R”s himself.

What I Didn’t Like:

His voice did not match the playback. I realize that’s an obvious statement. Due to the energy he was using how could he have the serious yet detached vocals of the recorded version? I get it. At the same time, what if someone wanted to hear him rap live just the same way as he sounds on the track?

I probably don’t know enough about rapping, so the expectations might be different. However, if it’s a singer onstage, you hope they sound exactly as good as the recording, if not better.

What I liked:

Overall, even if he didn’t match the playback, I am happy I watched this performance. I would have never seen this hyper side of him if I didn’t press play. His live performance adds more to someone’s own mental image of Desiigner’s persona.

Now we know he sounds relatively calm on the track, but can get very active and physical onstage. I appreciate that he let himself go there. I’m sure beforehand his circle must have told him, or were thinking about the risk of him going “crazy” onstage and looking too weird.

It’s nice that Desiigner didn’t hold back.

Review by: Gio Bradley.