#4: Another Favorite Song! “Sk8ter Boi”

Another favorite song of mine is “Sk8er Boi”. The upbeat and fast instrumentals make this song great. Not only that, but the cute little love story behind it contributes to its greatness. The song is about a girl and a boy who liked each other, but never admit to it. The boy was not good enough for her, and unfortunately was rejected. As years past, the girl was sitting at home and saw the boy on MTV. Regretting it, she finally decided to be with him. In my opinion, the song deserves to be a movie. It was actually announced by Avril that this song will be made into a movie. Producers of a film decided to use the plot of the song in 2003, but the production stalled for some reason and never happened. I believe this song PERFECTLY sums up Avril Lavigne’s style, which at the time was “Punk rock chick”.

The song starts off talking about a boy and a girl, whose appearances were completely opposite of each other, the girl was a ballerina and the boy was a skater. Despite the differences, the boy and girl liked each other very much but would never admit to it. Of course, the girl’s friends did not approve of him due to his appearance and “baggy clothes”.

He was a boy
She was a girl
Can I make it anymore obvious?
He was a punk.
She did ballet.
What more can I say?
He wanted her.
She’d never tell.
Secretly she wanted him as well.
And all of her friends
Stuck up their nose.
And they had a problem with his baggy clothes.”

 

As the song goes on, the lyrics and story shift gradually. Instead of using second person such as “she”, she begins to use first person and refers to her own self by using “I”. The shifts used in this song show Avril’s creativity as she tries to tell the change in time. The time period changes from past tense to present tense, as Avril describes that she is currently with the boy. Not only that, but the tone and mood of the song changes greatly. The last line of the song says “Singing the song we wrote about the girl you use to know”. I think that refers to Avril and her old style, over the years she turned from a ballerina girl to a punk rock girl. The song that is being referenced, in my opinion is this exact song, Sk8ter Boi. The girl and boy just wrote about their history.

 

He’s just a boy and
I’m just a girl
Can I make it anymore obvious
We are in love
Haven’t you heard
How we rock each others world

I’m with the Skater Boy
I said see ya later boy
I’ll be backstage after the show
I’ll be at the studio
Singing the song we wrote
About the girl you use to know”.


The mood goes from sad and lonely to happy and together. Avril’s originality and personality peek out so heavily throughout this song! I think the overall message throughout this song is certainly do not judge a book by its cover. As well as, if you want to tell someone something, do it, because later on it might be too late and you might regret it. This song gets a rating of 4 out of 5!

“Shouting Fire” Documentary

The documentary “Shouting Fire” begins with Martin Garbus, an attorney stating “Congress should make no law abridging Freedom of Speech or of the press or the rights of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition government for redress of grievances, which is the First Amendment (part of the Bill of Rights). Before September 11th, 20% of people thought that the First Amendment went too far. In addition, after the September 11 attacks, 50% of people believed that the First Amendment went too far. During times when our safety is threatened, people of course generate fear. When fear is created, civil liberties are attacked. Not only that, but when unpopular topics are mentioned, fear is also created, which leads to opposition. However, although I believe that everyone should have Freedom of Speech, at the same time words could be very hurtful. Yes, the saying says “stick and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you”. But people, especially now in the modern days, can do and say very offensive stuff and actions certainly do speak louder than words. Since if everything every individual said would be illegal because it was deemed “offensive”, we would be like robots or puppets. So what could be the perfect solution for all these conflicts?

The documentary then continues to  talk about McCarthyism, which is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty without proper evidence. During those times of McCarthyism and even now, as soon as someone went  against the “norms” of society by exposing the government or its corruption and expressing their thoughts, they were automatically punished somehow and thought to be immoral. An example of this is when hundreds of teachers’ licenses were revoked because they exposed things about communism. Nothing bad was said, but that is a perfect example of freedom of speech being abridged. More specifically, an example is the case of Professor Churchill in the University of Colorado back in 2005. Churchill was under investigation because he expressed his idea on the motives behind the terrorists of September 11th. He said that all of the major television news networks were saying that “9/11 was a senseless act” “how did they know?”. Exactly. Those news networks were just being gatekeepers, but in a negative way. A government official also so “he blamed the 9/11 victims”. Did he? In the trial for Churchill many students attended. As soon as a student attempted to speak out by saying “let the students speak”, a guard approached him to try and silence him. The student responded with “This is McCarthyism at its finest”. Just because Churchill did not censor his curriculum and said exactly what was on his mind, he was under “attack”. His civil liberties, as well were under attack. Churchill was not the only one, there were thousands of other professors on “the list” of “bad” professors. At the end, Churchill was guilty of misrepresentation, fabrication, plagiarism, and failing to comply with established standards of research. Just like the documentary mentioned, Churchill himself was not being punished, but his speech and civil liberties were.
Debbie Almontaser came to America thinking it was like sugar, that everything great will occur. Debbie was a teacher and in the year of 2005 started the Khalil Gibran International Academy. The response, all the families of 9/11 victims were opposed to the new school opening and thought it should be closed. They feared an Arab school being opened up as they thought it would teach the tots how to be terrorists. Not only that, but the school was though to be an anti-American/pro-terrorist school just because it was an Arab school. Was it a religious school? No. I found that so ridiculous. Although Almontaser is Muslim, does not automatically mean that she is a terrorist. It is true, that majority of the terrorists involved in the September 11th attacks were Muslim, but that does not mean that every single Muslim on the planet earth is a terrorist, but unfortunately that is the stereotype they all have to deal with after 9/11. David Horowitz stated “they want to start a radical Mandrassa (school in Arab)”. When he was asked how he knew it was a Mandrassa, he paused for a minute and then answered “Well, we know who Debbie is and the people who are behind it”. Okay? Muslims are behind building the school but does that mean all of them have terrorist intentions? NO! Debbie Almontaser was always questioned if she thought the September 11th attacks really happened. Her response was that she begins to talk about her son who was activated into the army on September 11th, of course she thinks they happened. So..what? People think that her whole life is a cover up for her “terrorist” life? After many accusations and much stress, Debbie Almontaser was literally pushed so far to the limit that she had to quit her position as Principal of the Khalil Gibran school.

The documentary then continues with a couple of other instances of where freedom of speech was abridged. Another thing, The Patriot Act. It was a response to the September 11th attacks. Just like a protester said in the movie “The Patriot Act is illegal, unconstitutional, and treasonous”. Basically, the act gives the government permission to get people’s private information. Not only is that against our civil freedoms, but as well as a huge invasion of privacy. It was signed by George Bush but then later a four year extension was signed by Obama. Overall, I think the solution to this problem could be very difficult to come up with. As I mentioned before, if our Freedom of Speech is taken away, we will be like sock puppets. In addition, if speech that is “offensive” becomes illegal, then the government might as well make talking in general illegal. That is because everyone is different, so everyone can find at least one thing offensive. Although I do not have a lot of knowledge on majority of these topics and events, probably because I was eleven years old at the time they occurred, I agree that everyone should have Freedom of Speech. Just like talked about in class, does burning a flag go against Freedom of Speech? In my opinion, no because it just depends on your motives and intentions behind it. I honestly, would have to say I do not know where I stand in this situation. They are both pros and cons of Freedom of Speech, but “If we do not fight for it, it will be taken away”.

Sources:

http://dictionary.reference.com/

http://www.uscourts.gov/EducationalResources/ClassroomActivities/FirstAmendment/WhatDoesFreeSpeechMean.aspx

#8: Wrap-Up

Radiohead has a purpose for all their music. Their previous album Ok Computer was so different from Kid A that people just did not know what to think of the album at first. But after listening, people enjoyed it. People enjoyed it so much, that the album won a Grammy for best alternative album. Not only that, but it also won album of the year. It is shocking to me, that Radiohead changed up their music so much from their previous album and gained so much success so fast. Usually, devoted fans either HATE or absolutely LOVE new music of their favorite artists.

The album is random as hell and experimental, yet so successful. It is actually considered to be a very challenging album, but in my opinion, some songs just do not belong. Those couple of songs that I do not like just have no challenge and are TOO simple or have a cliché experience (divorce in Morning Bell). However, the songs that I do like are extremely enjoyable; they pose a challenge, as well as an underlying theme that a successful album does not have to have a specific structure or theme. Despite Radiohead being very political, each song is not about that, but about something different and in general life and what’s to come. Although there really is no theme, I have noticed that in every song, Thom sings as if he feels defeated, almost close to giving up, but he continued to write music and show all of his feelings. At the end, however, he proves that he is alright and has that determination and motivation to keep on going. I have to admit that the songs I ended up hating, I knew from the first listen I wouldn’t like them. The songs I loved, all made a great first impression to me. These songs “uniqueness” just drew you into this “world of Radiohead” and everything else gets paused and muted. Overall, I have come to appreciate the album way more than when I first listened to it. The album is certainly unlike anything I have ever listened to, it is very different, but in a good way. Just keep in mind, some songs may be a little strange at first impression and only after the first full listen the album seem like it is a masterpiece and is worth listening to. However, after listening to it for a while a listener will be able to distinguish that. There is definitely a song for everyone on this album, you will certainly make a deep connection to your life with at least one song. The soothing sounds, space-like beats, Thom Yorke’s sweet voice, and the ambiance of the album are perfect if you are feeling sad and alone, this album is definitely something you should listen to because it will definitely calm you done and cheer you up!

 

Rating 4.5 out of 5!

 

Sources:

http://www.last.fm/music/Radiohead/Kid+A

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-best-albums-of-the-2000s-20110718/radiohead-kid-a-19691231

#7: Impression After One Week…

After a week of listening to the album, I got more and more into the album. I actually noticed that I was humming Everything in its Right Place the other day. Thanks professor Dunphy!

I have listened to the album in various venues such as my room, on the train, in school, and just walking on the street. I have to say, the album sounds like crap listening through iPod headphones, it is so much better sounding through loud speakers or my boyfriend’s noise-canceling DJ headphones, you hear everything! I have noticed that for some reason, listening to Kid A on the train always annoyed me and I always wanted to skip all the songs. I guess it was because majority of the time, I was miserable going to school so early in the morning. Only at home, school, and other places I could listen to the album fully in peace and actually enjoy it.

Everything in its Right Place got a lot better. At times when I was down or studying, it just seemed to cheer me up, give me more energy, and the upbeat music and sort of fast vocals gave me a little more optimism.

Kid A got a little more creepier to me after a week of listening. It actually kind of scared me thinking about the future. One of my biggest fears is growing up and just change in general. Now that I know the meaning of the song, it makes me picture the future world as it was portrayed in the movie “Artificial Intelligence”. The beginning of the movie starts off with showing New York City, destroyed and abandoned. If Kid A was played at that very scene, it would have been perfect. The baby in the song, as I picture it, is played by Haley Joel Osment. Hopefully we won’t get THAT advanced so soon.

Overall, majority of the songs on the album, I did like. There was something about each song that made me like it, something different, each song had its very own personality. I think this album is definitely a work of art, just not at the first listen. You have to listen to the album more than once to get into it.

Rating: Still…4 out of 5!

#6: Song that… ???

The song I really cannot even have an opinion for and dislike is Treefingers. The song starts off soft, and has basically the same beat throughout the entire song, ambient slow sounds. Just like Kid A, it has this sort of space-like feel to it. While listening to the song, the title reminded me of a huge tree in a Twilight-looking forest with huge roots; with Bella creepily standing there and Edward weirdly sparkling. Those roots symbolize fingers and are just slowly moving on their own. I really do not know the meaning or reason for this song because it has no lyrics. Perhaps it is just a little segway song Radiohead created for the next song on the album, which is Optimistic.

The song could be interpreted to be optimistic, it is really relaxing and peaceful, definitely something I would listen to while doing yoga. However, this song is definitely not something I would blast on my iPod while walking on the street. It really has no use for me and I think it is two minutes and thirty-two seconds of nothing. I have to admit though, since Treefingers is a fully instrumental song, it was the soundtrack of my train ride one morning. Everyone in the train, including me was so miserable to be going to work or school. Everyone’s sluggish movements fit perfectly with the slow song, as if people heard my iPod headphones and were purposely moving to it. Someone in a review actually said:

Sounds like they got too lazy to write a real song, so they said “hey, let’s make random guitar noises and call it abstract. Don’t get me wrong though, Radiohead is awesome”.”

I actually agree with that person’s opinion. Seems like Radiohead just clicked random buttons on a computer or synthesizer to create this song. (It is actually speculated that a lot of the lyrics on the album have just been picked out of a hat). In an interview with Ed O’Brien, the guitarist and backup vocalist, actually said that this song was all done with guitar. It was at first a guitar solo by him and then Thom recorded about ten minutes of it and then cut and paste it into a sampler to create this ambient song.

Overall, I think this song belongs in some soundtrack and that is exactly what happened, it is the original soundtrack in the movie “Memento”. This song is nothing but a bunch of random noises to me.

Rating 1.5 out of 5!

Sources:

http://www.greenplastic.com/radiohead-lyrics/kid-a/treefingers/

#5: Absolute Favorite Song!

Despite the song being very slow and being about such an intensely emotional event (not typically what I like), Motion Picture Soundtrack is another song I love. The song starts off with a church-like organ playing. Not a surprise, but the beginning once again draws me in, I find it so calming. But when Thom Yorke’s beautiful soft voice enters the picture, the song gets twenty times better. The beginning lyrics of the song:

Red wine and sleeping pills
Help me get back to your arms
Cheap sex and sad films
Help me get where I belong”

Red wine and sleeping pills suggest only one thing, which is suicide, death, or just absence. However, knowing a little bit about Radiohead, I know they do not really have a history of writing about committing suicide which leads me to believe this song is not about Thom Yorke or any of the band members committing suicide but someone else. Maybe the person did not die, but just does not exist in Thom’s life, perhaps a beloved ex-girlfriend. The lyric that suggests this is “help me get back to your arms”, which is obviously referring to another person. Once again, I can deeply connect with the feeling after a special someone is just not there anymore, both physically and mentally. It does not necessarily mean death, just the lack of an individual’s presence. “Cheap sex and sad films. Help me get where I belong” shows how Thom Yorke is slowly breaking down and does not know how to react. Perhaps, he is receiving cheap sex from a prostitute. The prostitute and sad films are just distractions for Thom to help him cope with his recent and unfortunate loss.

Stop sending letters
Letters always get burned
It’s not like the movies
They fed us on little white lies”

This next set of lyrics suggests even further that maybe Thom broke off a previous relationship himself. He sounds so defeated, so close to giving up, almost fed up. His ex-girlfriend keeps sending him apology letters, but he just keeps burning them to try and get rid of that memory. The happy endings that were shown in movies were not going to happen, the letters were not going to change Thom’s mind. Another very familiar experience to me. Breaking off a relationship is just as hard as getting broken up with because no matter what there will always be that little “spark” (or at least most of the time).

Motion Picture Soundtrack is only about 3 minutes long, but the song lasts about 7 minutes long. I always thought that was just a glitch on my iPod because after the song was over, there was just silence, so I would always skip it. Little did I know, that if I continued to listen, at about 4:30 a new hidden song begins to play. The hidden song only lasts about a minute and has no spoken lyrics, just music playing, which for some reason reminds me of the “Hallelujah” song. The song has a godly sound to it.

My absolute favorite part of the song is when the background music starts to suggest a little optimism. Behind Thom’s voice, these magical-like harps start playing. Even though it does not fit into the genre at all, it fits in so perfectly with the song. Like I said previously, it has such a godly-like tone to it, perhaps trying to make the connection to heaven and that is where Thom will meet the person in their next life. Another favorite part is when the music has a slight pause and Thom’s voice hits a high note, saying “maybe I will see you in the next life”. He holds the last high note for so long. I just love the emphasis on that very last lyric of the song. So much emotion in such a simple song!

Rating 5 out of 5!

 


Sources:

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=8750

#4: The Song that Makes Me Want To Cry…

Another song, which I enjoy but makes me want to cry is Morning Bell. The song starts off with “Light another candle. Release me”, I do not know what that means but can only come to the conclusion that it is a religious reference. The song then continues to say “you can keep the furniture” and “bump on the head”, which in my opinion, refers to a divorce. A “bump on the head” could symbolize the physical fighting that was going on. The lyric “release me” is constantly being repeated, which I think means that Thom just does not want to be held and imprisoned by his wife or girlfriend’s chains any longer. Just like mentioned later on in the song, “nobody wants to be a slave” and neither does Thom. He is sick and tired of being the one who mainly contributes to the relationship.

Thom is then trying to find the car, trying to get away. “Clothes are all over the furniture”, so perhaps his clothes is everywhere being thrown around. Seems like Thom is getting kicked out but then he remembers about his dear children. “Cut the kids in half”, in my opinion suggests that if the parents do split up, the kids’ time will also be split up, they will have to share their valuable time with both adults.

I can easily interpret this song because it is something I dealt with at a very young age, too young. Although I did not fully understand everything, I began to connect the dots. At that age, I saw and heard things I should not have; my parents were constantly arguing over things I didn’t comprehend, yelling and just fighting 24/7. Then one day, I saw clothes everywhere and my dad packing. Everything happened so slow, yet so fast. Now, being almost ten years since their divorce, I realized how well I dealt with the situation and how much I learned. I was “cut in half” like the song said. My time had to be shared with both my mom and dad, even up until this day. It is difficult, it really is. The song is great , with a lot of emotion in it. However, it makes me picture everything that went on, which I do not really want to think about. Which is why I do not like this song.

After doing some research, I learned that Thom has a long term girlfriend (it is not known if they are married) whom which he has two kids with. Thom has never been married, which leads me to think that this song is not about going through divorce, but maybe the desire to get divorced at times where he feels pressured and stressed. The reason Thom doesn’t want to get married is possibly because he does not want his marriage to lead to divorce. He does not want to be labeled, and believes that you don’t have to be married to love a person. Everyone knows that relationships can get tough and at times you just need time alone to think. Perhaps Thom, at one point, felt as if he was being taken advantage of and didn’t receive enough credit.

Rating 3.5 out of 5!

Sources:

http://www.tv.com/people/thom-yorke/trivia/

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/radiohead/morningbell.html