Thirteen Reasons Why – Proof of Positive Celebrity x sociopolitical interaction

When it was announced that Selena Gomez had been an executive producer on a Netflix version of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why I think the world around people were admittedly wary. With such touchy subject matter how would they turn the revered novel into something visual? And then it came out – and we were in awe. It became the Netflix’s most popular show, racking up 3.5 million social volume impressions in the first week following its release. Here’s why that’s important: it’s proof positive that if celebrities are provided with the information to disseminate to their fans we will be establishing an entire generation of socially, politically engaged individuals with actual fact behind their engagement. The fact that the show features powerful messages about mental health and other issues that teens face today means that hopefully, people will be encouraged to talk about their own experiences after talking about the show; and that the stars and in Selena’s case producers, are accessible because of social media makes it that much more powerful – its tangible because of this.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – social media is not the root of all evil; celebrities having an opinion on social issues and politics and expressing them is not cause for telling anyone to shut up and sing – both of these things come together to create a dialogue from which we have a lot to learn. I give Selena mad props for putting herself out there for a project as important as this one. As we learn in Thirteen Reasons Why – everything affects everything.

Music as a Religion? Maren Morris Might Think So.

In Maren Morris’ ‘My Church’ she uses traditionally religious rhetoric to communicate the depth of her feelings about music and songwriting. In an interview with Genius, Morris described it as ‘a road song’ saying, “I wrote it in a place of inspiration. I get a lot of my songwriting done while driving around Nashville—sometimes it comes to me that way. I tried to write about that feeling, that connection.”

The chorus of the country chart topper sings,

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen

Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

Check out the song, and see about the reference to music as religion for yourself.

Refugee Choir Brings People Together

“Imagine as you read this story, the sound of a choir in the distance learning “What a Wonderful World.” Music is truly a universal language.  No matter our differences in religion, politics, or ethnicity, it brings people together”

A choir of refugee’s from across the planet come together to sing in Tacoma, Washington. Though they don’t speak the same language they come together for the universally binding – music. Follow the link below for the full story:

A Case Study on Censorship – Not Ready to Make Nice (Song of the Week)

Does censorship still exist? You’d say no, right? But let’s look at the Dixie Chicks, and  then I’ll ask you again.

On March 10, 2003, the Dixie Chicks were on the opening date of their ‘Top of the World’ tour in London, England, just days before the initial invasion of Iraq when lead singer Natalie Maines told the crowd, “Just so you know, we’re ashamedthe president of the United States is from Texas” about President Bush. The trio finished their tour but were essentially banished from mainstream country music in the United States and virtually censored for three full years as they faced public and media scrutiny following the incident, including threats of physical harm and death wishes

In 2006 they release ‘Taking the Long Road’ which included ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’with lyrics such as “how in the world could the words that I said send somebody so over the edge that they’d right me a letter saying I better shut up and sing or my life will be over?”

The Dixie Chicks were effectively censored in 2003, a censorship which stood in the United States until 2016 when they announced a State Fair circuit, but will likely never release or perform in the States in the same capacity as before their comments on Bush.

So I ask again, does censorship still exist? And what are you willing to do if it does?

Protecting Punk

The nature of Freedom of Speech is often tested. Since the beginning of time music has existed, and since around the same time (thanks Government) so has censorship. The idea that music is inherently powerful – usually that power is assumed to be corrupting, to be negative and threatening. We can see that from opera to rap.

The late 80’s cultivated “antirock legislation” and “passed [it] in more than a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Virginia. Each state legislature acted on the assumption that all controversial music was legally obscene and had no redeeming value.”[1]

The 2000’s showed less concern about sexual exploitation, offensive/hateful language or demonstrations of violence. Has our concern for protecting the impressionable from the obscene diminished or have we figured out that maybe that SLAPS test has a point after all, (proving serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value of a work.)

I’d argue the later – as seen by Tomi Lahren’s rise to infamy and Green Day’s most recent release. Check out the punk legends newest release, a very pointed discussion of the current state of politics in the United States, and one that (for now) is entirely protected.

Song of the Week: F**k Apologies – Jojo feat. Wiz Khalifa [explicit]

The angsty thirteen year old that lives on inside of me has been waiting for a JoJo song to bring back the era of ‘Leave’ AND IT HAS FINALLY HAPPENED. If you follow me on Twitter (which, honestly I’m practically begging at this point, plz) you saw me recommend this song on Friday, well I couldn’t let those of you who actually read this corner of the internet miss out on the quality that is a JoJo, Wiz Khalifa collaboration!

Click the video above to watch and appreciate the return of the millennials preteen Queen who’s next album is due out 10.14.16 entitled Mad Love!

[Image from Instagram]

New Music Friday: Friends – Francis and the Lights (Feat. Bon Iver & Kanye)

Francis and the Lights is a music group led by Francis Farewell Starlite, for more information on Francis and the Lights visit their website or Wikipedia. Francis has toured with Drake, MGMT, Ke$ha and La Roux in the past and have four eps available currently: Striking (2007,) A Modern Promise (2008,) It’ll Be Better (2010,) and Like a Dream 2013. Their last single released prior to Friends was in 2008.

Watch Friends above!