girl authority?

Boston-based tween pop group covering hit songs from the past fifty years.

cover of Girl AuthorityHave you ever been in a van with a bunch of tween girls singing along with the radio? If so, then you probably have a good idea of what Girl Authority sounds like. The band is a record label creation formed from eight young girls age 11-13 and one age 8, all with musical theater backgrounds. The girls have created alter egos for themselves that are reminiscent of the Spice Girls and the reign of girl power in the late 90’s; “Rock n’ Roll Girl,” “All-Star Girl,” “Glamour Girl,” “Urban Girl,” and “Country Girl,” just to name a few. At best, the band is cute. At worse, they are just another marketing campaign.

Each of the girls takes the vocal lead on one of the fifteen tracks, selected to fit their alter egos. For example, “Country Girl” Crystal sings lead on the country pop SHeDAISY’s “Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” The rest of the tracks are group songs with lead vocals traded off by all members of the band. They certainly had fun putting together these arrangements, which is apparent by the giggling and silliness used to cover the censored parts of “Hollaback Girl.”

If it seems like I am ambivalent about the CD, it is probably because I am not in their target market of tween kids and their parents. Maybe I would have really grooved on this record when I was 12. The songs are pop hits, so at least as a parent I would have some connection to the music. But, as a basic music listener with a taste for well-crafted original music, this is not a CD I would want in my collection.

It’s too bad, because pop music is in need of some real girl authority. Were I a tween now, I would be looking for a band that sings my stories, not adult pop songs. I would want the band members to be themselves, not marketing creations that turn them into stereotypes. Hopefully, someday Girl Authority will become something more than just a wishful name.

matadora ha tumbado al toro

NYC band deftly balances Latin styles and modern rock.

cover of En este momentoWhen I am scanning through the radio stations in rural Eastern Washington, it seems like half of them are Spanish-language stations, and 99% of the time the music irritates me. It is ironic that I enjoy Latin music in general, but I cannot stand to listen to most of the music picked up by my car radio. If only these radio stations would play Cordero, then I would be listening to them every chance I could.

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cooking

I haven’t cooked something in a long time. I don’t think that reheating a frozen dinner or making microwave popcorn counts for cooking, and that’s about the extent of my time in the kitchen in recent months. I baked a few pies, but again, not exactly a dinner entre.

Yesterday I was at the grocery store picking up a few items, and I found myself browsing the beef section. For some reason, the strip steaks caught my eye, so I picked up a small package of them. Today, I made a single portion of rice, and while that was steaming, I fixed the meat. In a pan with a little oil, I added a single portion of the strips, dusted them with black pepper, and fried them until they were done. Just before the meat was thoroughly cooked, I added a handful of chopped onion. When the rice finished, I forked it out onto a plate and threw the steak strips and onions on top. Then I salted it.

Wow! Amazingly good tasting, and it wasn’t too hard or complicated to make. I really need to stop being so lazy about cooking for myself and just do it.

yoga

picture of my clock at 12:47 amYesterday, I went to my first yoga class after work. It’s being offered once a week through the continuing education program at my university. It was a small group (under ten) and all women, so it was a mostly comfortable environment for me. We went through some breathing and warm-up exercises, and did them in such rapid succession that I don’t remember them all now, but I think I’ve got enough of the principle to make sure my joints and muscles are warm before moving into the yoga postures. Our instructor taught us Mountain, Half-Moon, Warrior, Triangle, and Standing Angle. I felt so good afterwards that at 12:47 am, I was still wired and wanting to practice what I’d learned, but instead I took this picture and then made myself go to bed.

colbert-inspired web 2.0

Unlike the Isolatr, snubster is a functioning anti-social networking site. Users create two lists: those people or things that are on notice and those people or things that are “dead to me.” Both lists are inspired by Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report. So far, I can think of only one thing for my “on notice” list, but I’m sure more will be added in the future.

you can hear ’em singing la la la

I’ve got invites for anyone interested in joining la la. Send me an email or leave a comment. So far, I’ve sent out three CDs and received four, and all it cost me was $3, since the first one was free. la la provides all of the mailing stuff, so no trips to the post office or packaging supply store required.

the pen

Music for the literate masses.

John McCutcheon - Mightier Than the SwordBefore I listened to Mightier Than the Sword, my experience with John McCutcheon’s music consisted of one track from his 1987 Step by Step, which featured the hammer dulcimer. The song is “Babylon is Fallen,” which is an old Sacred Harp tune, and one of my favorites to sing. When I bought that CD some years ago, I was singing with a shape note group in Kentucky. Now I’m in Washington, surprised to discover that this hammer dulcimer player is also a guitar-playing contemporary singer/songwriter of repute.

Mightier Than the Sword first attracted my attention because of its theme. McCutcheon has been a voracious reader for most of his life, and the themes from the books he read found their ways into his songs. For this recording, he took that a step further and collaborated with willing authors to write a collection of songs inspired by a particular book or poem of each author. I haven’t read any of the works that inspired this recording, but after having listened to it, I feel like I know the essences of them.

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