April 30, 2017

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’

-Robin Williams

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Phoenix Releases Newest Single “J-boy”

It’s always a good day when Phoenix, the indie pop (or as the NYT calls it, “disco-rock”) band from France, releases new music. Their sixth album, Ti Amo, comes out on June 6 and their latest single from the album, “J-boy” was release this past week.

They spend years and years crafting new music. Their last album, Bankrupt!, came out in 2013, in time for that year’s ACL fest (I still have the super blurry, static-y video of “Entertainment” my friend sent me). The album before that, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, came out in 2009. They are not strangers to the philosophy that quality is better than quantity.

You’re probably wondering, “What does J-boy mean?”. I spent a good day wondering about it too. J-boy is an acronym for “Just because of you”, which is sung in the chorus.

On the surface level, it’s pretty easy to tell it’s a dreamy love song. As you get deeper into it, it’s not just happy happy joy joy love, but more of a fanciful, fresh way of questioning what keeps people in love while almost analyzing the ups and downs of love. You can hear it in tone where it goes from dreamy elation as Thomas Mars, Phoenix’s frontman, sings the story of how it all started. As the song goes on into the third verse, the personal story is taken out of the picture, replaced by the melancholy of a bigger picture of the generalized world. In the fourth verse, it shifts back to that personal story. I took it as a bit of nostalgia not necessarily because the people in the story are broken up but nostalgia for how new and fresh everything was in that moment.

The song could be about Mars, Phoenix’s frontman, and his wife if you want to look at the versus involving the personal stories. Some of these stories, like the store, the Masquerade Ball and the time they laughed, seem way too specific to be generalized.

Or possibly the band and their sound? The chorus provides potential backup:

Just because of you

These things I have to go through

Is it so bad? Is it so true?

Is it so you?

Just because of you

These things I have to go through

It’s more than that, we’re chained

And there’s no one else to blame

But us two

The fact Mars questions it being so bad and true makes it seem like he is questioning his own sound. You could also go with the lyrics in the first verse:

Something I was stealing for no reason at all

They hang me higher than a disco ball

But you talked them into letting me go

It’s no Picasso, Michelangelo

Could it be letting go of the old sound? It ain’t as geometric as a Picasso nor as grand as a Michelangelo. It ain’t perfect but it’s Phoenix. It’s their sound. It’s their music. It’s their way of trying and creating new things.

There’s also the NYT profile on Phoenix that provides some evidence. In the New York Times, Mars goes on to say he was bored with his voice, hence the change in sound with “J-boy”. It’s a half-sung, half-rap with some rhythmic beats that sound like a sci-fi romantic 1970s disco. As I mentioned early, it’s fanciful and fresh.

Love the song. Can’t wait until their album comes out to see if they continue with the new sound.

Phoenix
Photo taken by Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Check out the song and comment your thoughts on “J-boy” below!

Heineken: Worlds Apart

We all know about the Pepsi ad flop. You know, the one with Kendall Jenner stopping a protest by giving a police officer a can of soda. Nothing against Kendall Jenner. The creators of the ad, however, its a different story.

Now I am not here to rant on how wrong Pepsi’s marketing department was. No negativity here. Rather, I would like to praise another brand’s ad for truly bringing opposite ends together to have a reasonable, calm-mannered, rather friendly conversation.

Yes that’s it ladies and gents: Heineken with their “Worlds Apart” ad. The video has essentially reached every news site around the internet these past couple days, so you may have already seen it.

The ad is a social experiment in which the participants are interviewed individually on their views of the world. The opposite views are unknowingly paired together to work on a project. Midway through the project they converse with one another casually. Connections are made. They finish the project before the individual interviews are revealed. Faces drop. Shock courses through the participants as the person next to them is everything their values are against. The glorious moment comes when the hosts of the experiment provide the option to either leave or sit down and discuss matters over a bottle of Heineken. Well, I’m not going to tell you how it ends because that would be incredibly rude. To view the video, check out Delish‘s article by clicking here.

What Heineken does splendidly is the fact they do not portray fighting. They do not portray protesting. They portray people with their views. Views they have either been taught since childhood or views they’ve collected throughout life. Heineken prove that differences can be united. Just because they have different views doesn’t mean you can’t work with them to complete a simple task. Heineken also teaches us a lesson on judgement. Basically, don’t judge a book by its cover. You don’t know where the person has seen or been through.

The final aspect, one not so philosophically based, is marketing based. Heineken’s bottles are strategically placed on the table for the label to face the screen. The nice thing about it is that is does overpower the ending. The focus is on the participants and their newfound knowledge of their partner. The beer is simply a prop for beginning conversation, not the sword in the stone to end the battle.

Kudos to Heineken for creating a thoughtful ad.

Poetry Games: George Gershwin

I finished watching An American in Paris (1951) and figured I should play the game out of Gershwin’s music. Here we go!

In the “Summertime”

On a “foggy day”

There was an “American in Paris”.

The American,

a tall, handsome fella,

sure could dance.

he would put on a “funny face”

when he would “strike that bass”.

A “fascinating rhythm” he had.

He would always joke

“‘The can’t take that away from

me!'”

He was “someone to watch

over me”,

“the man I love”,

“but not for me”.

Good sir,

“embraceable you”,

“‘s wonderful”.

“I got rhythm” now.

It’s a wonderful

“Rhapsody in blue”

So “strike up the band”

with the “Cuban overture”

because “they can’t take

that away from me!”

KGSR Announces First BOTG Show

If you are in the Austin area, then you must know about Blues on the Green, the free concert series at Zilker Park hosted by 93.3 KGSR. This should be their 24th year running (correct me if I’m wrong fellow reader).

According to culturemap, “no Austin summer is complete without Blues on the Green.” True dat.

The 2017 series will fall on May 24th, June 14th, July 12th and Aug 2nd. This morning, it was announced that local favorite Jamestown Revival will headlining the May 24th with Texas artist Walker Lukens as the opening act. As mentioned before, the show is FREE. There’ll be food trucks, vendors and, if you prefer the luxurious amenities like catered meals and shade, KGSR hospitality passes, which KGSR is giving away on their website.

The concert is a great way to kick off the summer with friends and family. Hope to see you there!

BOTG KGSR
Blues on the Green’s first show is at Zilker Park on May 24th.