Girl Power!

If you haven’t noticed, I love to highlight women who have made a mark on society in music and dance.  There have been many women who have created a legacy, changed the world for future generations, and developed magic for others to experience everyday.  International Women’s Day was on March 8th, but in my opinion everyday is Women’s Day!

Pop music is one of my favorite music genres.  It has broken boundaries and changed over decades, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the harmonizing quality girl groups have incorporated into their sound.  Starting in the late 1930s when the Andrews Sisters changed the music scene and the up-and-coming popularity of girl groups began.  In 1955 was the year that girl groups started to grow.  In 1960-1966 over 750 girl groups charted songs in the United States and the United Kingdom.

While listening to girl groups over the decades, I came across a group called “The Chantels” which was formed in the 1950s.  No words can express how excited I was to find this group.  I have a weird obsession with my name that date backs to when I was a kid.  When you don’t have a common name, you can never find cool things with your name on them.  Having a younger brother who has the most common name to man I was jealous.  Anyways, this girl group was revolutionary since it was the second African American girl group to have success after the Bobbettes.  Their first song to hit the billboard charts was “He’s Gone,” but their most popular hit was “Maybe.”  Many of the girl groups such as the Chantels, the Bobbettes, the Shirelles, and the Marvelettes have that doo-wop groove including the harmonized vocals, the simple instrumentations, and those claps that help to keep the rhythm tied together.

Jumping a few decades to the 1990s through to today, girl groups still have a hold in popular music.  During the 90s the sound of girl groups changed.  TLC brought a contemporary R&B sound to groups.  The harmonies were still there, but the style had more of an edge.  After TLC, one of the top selling girl groups ever hit the scene, the Spice Girls.  The Spice Girls is not only embedded in my childhood, but they were the women who taught the 90s generation about girl power and how important friendship is to your life.  Emma, Victoria, Mel B., Mel C., and Geri created a huge fandom and their legacy still lives on in popularity as the best selling girl group ever.  Their mix of dance party type songs like ‘Wannabe’ and ‘Spice Up Your Life’ to their soft ballads ‘2 Become 1’ and ‘Say You’ll Be There’ resinated with the 90s generation connecting their music to life.  The girl groups continue through today with the up-and-coming group Fifth Harmony who have some of the most amazing voices together.  Their vocal range, projection power, and instrumental simplicity to highlight their voices is something exhibits true talent.

In the US, we rarely see artists from foreign speaking countries (besides EDM) in the general popular music scene, but girl groups are huge in Japan (J-Pop) and South Korea (K-Pop) and have hit the music scene hard in the late 2000s with some catchy dance club tunes which include artists Morning Musume, 2NE1, and Girl Generation.  These girl groups bring in techno sounds of EDM, the R&B edge and rap style that TLC had back in the 90s, and power vocals such as Fifth Harmony and Little Mix.  This sound is going to continue to blow up especially now that EDM is hitting the pop scene with artists like Zedd working with numerous female vocalists such as Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande.

Watch out One Direction, Rixton, and The Wanted the girls are coming for your music crown and I think they have the power to take over.  Click here for a list of girl groups that have affect the music scenes from the 1930s through today, and celebrate the power of women everyday.

*All date information found through wikipedia.

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What’s In A Song?

We all have those songs that every time it is played it reminds us of a person, an event, or a period of time in our lives.  There are sad songs, party songs, and those never ending songs that stick in your head, but you don’t really want them there.  So, what is so special about these songs?  They are different for everyone, and is it really the song or the memory attached?  For me it has a lot to do with the lyrics.  I’m lyric obsessed and if the songwriter has a great
chorus or verse I’m in, but the memory is just as important, right?

ASDStPatty  Our lives are full of flashbacks and the only thing we have left once something is over are the memories and the pictures.  Fifty years from now someone is going to look through those pictures and have no idea what song was playing, what you were thinking when you decided to wear that skirt that was way too short, or why your friends look like they are being injured because their eyes are shut tight with their fists in the air.  Looking back over my time in college, I met some of the most outrageous and fun girls that are still some of the best friends today; my sorority sisters.  I know it sounds cliche, and there are some of you out there that would say that I paid for my friends, but I can tell you that we always had each others backs even when we were fighting because we were family.   You messed with one of us, then you had to deal with all of us.  I came across some old pictures and it reminded me of the numerous CD mixes that we made for any party that we threw at 47 Monroe, full of rap, top 40s, rock, and of course the Spice Girls!  ‘Wannabe’ was a popular song on our mixes and we would scream it at the top of our lungs (drunkly) along with gesturing every lyric that was sung.  Thank god video cameras were too big to carry around and cellphones had a limited amount of video power that no one wanted to waste on their flip phones.  Needless to say, there are a lot of pictures of us dancing around like fools.  Now every time I hear ‘Wannabe,’ I sing it loudly and dance around (soberly) wishing that I had my best friends with me.

ASDTooCool‘Go Girl’ by Pitbull (featuring Trina and Young Boss) was and still is my “lets get pumped” song.  I was introduce to this song by my pledge sister (in the car).  She put on her sunglasses and started rapping with Pitbull and I couldn’t do anything but laugh because I didn’t know the words.  After that car ride I learned every word and every time I was in the car with her after that we played that song and would again, be hand gesturing every lyric that they spat out on the radio.  This of course made it on our party mixes more than once, and to this day I need to have sunglasses on to sing this song.  I don’t know if it’s an insecurity thing, but I definitely feel cooler with the glasses on.

There is also the “sad song” that makes us feel better when someone breaks our heart.  I have two.  One is ‘The Way We Used to Be’ by The Scarlet Ending and the other one is ‘Gonna Get Over You’ by Sara Bareilles.  Both songs bring something different to the table.  The first one allowed me to wallow in my self pity when that guy broke my heart, and the second one got me out of that funk.  ‘Gonna Get Over You’ makes you want to go around and dance and sing in public, and not care if that cute guy/ girl next to you starts to judge you based on your weirdness.  Newsflash, we are all weird; some of us chose to embrace it publicly more than others.

CJFeolaFinally, there are those songs that you may be embarrassed to sing in public or around your friends because the song is not meant for someone your age or gender.  Luckily, I don’t agree with the status quo, and at this point in my life I don’t find too much embarrassing.  My roommate definitely has video proof of this through a little song called ‘Double Take’ from the Disney Channel show ‘Austin & Ally.’  Yes I know all the words, and even though the show is for twelve-year-olds it has got a great bouncy feel that you can sing to with a ladle in the kitchen.  My little brother and I like to sing Taylor Swift in the car; basically to the point that if she not on the radio station he changes it until he finds one that she’s on.  That is either fan dedication or an unhealthy addiction, either way I understand his obsession.  For example, any time the song ’22’ is played, we both get really high voices when she says,

“I don’t know about you, But I’m feeling 22
Everything will be alright
If you keep me next to you
You don’t know about me
But I’ll bet you want to
Everything will be alright
If we just keep dancing like we’re
22, ooh-ooh”

ASDIceSkatingThis probably sounds more like screaming instead of singing.  Either way I love every second of it.  So, maybe it isn’t about the song at all, but the memories with your favorite people and what those songs represented in that moment in time.  John Lennon was a smart man musically, lyrically, and intellectually, so in his words – “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted.”

What are some of your favorite memories and the songs that you associate with them?  I bet there are more then you think.