29 September 2007

Music: The Soul Stirrer

I'm a huge fan of music. I believe I was a superstar musician in another life. And man did I rock! Seriously, though. For as long as I can remember music has always been in my life; I often think it is the root of creativity. Sure, painting, poetry, writing, and such are all impressive forms of art and self-expression, but there's something about starting from nothing, and making a song that is awesome to me! And I love the connection music has to memories -- I can't think of another art form that has that kind of power.

I've always been attracted to all genres of music--dance, folk, pop, and more--but more often than not I'm drawn to musicians who would typically be classified as "artists." And I frequently find myself attracted to Canadian artists for some reason. Strange, huh? Musicians like Sarah McLachlan, Ashley MacIsaac, Jann Arden, and of course, Alanis Morissette.

The latest of these discoveries is a relative newcomer [to the American music scene] called Feist. I actually read an amazing review of her latest release, "The Reminder," a few months ago and was ready to head out and purchase it based on the article alone. Then a few days following that I saw the video for the song "1234" on VH1. I'm sure you're familiar with this song because it's featured in the latest commercial for the Apple iPod Nano, which is in heavy rotation.

Feist made a recent appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman where she performed "1234," and I love the energy and enthusiasm both the song and the performance exude (take note of the joyful choir accompanying Feist). This is why I love music.

Here's the performance:

26 September 2007

Excuse me, Mr. Bush!

Say No to Crack has managed to entertain me, yet again. This video was featured in the daily e-mail newsletter I receive from them, and it had me in stitches! (I friggin' love [good] parodies!)

25 September 2007

MTV: Washed Up

I find myself talking about my disdain for MTV again. Shocker! Now, I'm a fan of the reality TV series "America's Next Top Model" (I can hear your laughter!). Hey...it's my guilty pleasure, OK! So MTV has been sporadically playing old cycles of the top model show; I can't really figure out what that schedule is, but they're playing the episodes in marathons...and have been for weeks, if not months.

I'm just now realizing how much MTV realizes they're in the shitter with their programming, or else why would they be playing this show so often. Sure, it's great for their [momentary] ratings, but how can it really help them long-term? I want to know what you think:

Is MTV on the way out? Or are they simply striving to keep-up with the ratings game?

18 September 2007

Kanye Pest?

Is it just me or is Kanye West the anti-artist? I mean, in my opinion, a true artist--including "true" musicians--is on earth to share their craft -- speak their mind, speak to other...really have something to say...regardless of whether or not people like or enjoy what they have to say. Let's define things a little:

Dictionary.com defines the word "artist" as the following:

art·ist /ˈɑrtɪst/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ahr-tist] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun

1. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.
2. a person who practices one of the fine arts, esp. a painter or sculptor.
3. a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.: a commercial artist.
4. a person who works in one of the performing arts, as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer: a mime artist; an artist of the dance.
5. a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.
6. a person who is expert at trickery or deceit: He's an artist with cards.
7. Obsolete. an artisan.

I suppose to some folks Kanye might fit into one or two of these.

Now, after losing all the awards he was nominated for at the recent MTV Video Music Awards (honestly, are these the gauge by which "artists" are now being measured?) Kanye West is now boycotting MTV. Seriously? Isn't this completely vain, and negating the whole point of being an artist? Who cares if you get rewarded? Obviously being rewarded for your craft is an honor, and certainly a wonderful feeling, but ultimately if the "art" speaks for itself at the end of the day, that should be all that matters.

As for the "battle" Kanye is currently in with 50 Cent -- don't even get me started. That's just a situation of corporate music strongholding the American music industry.

15 September 2007

My 18th Birthday Song!

I was checking my MySpace.com e-mail earlier this afternoon, and saw a bulletin posted by my friend Greta. The post was to find out what the number one song was on your 18th birthday. Now, I have a pretty good memory but I could not recall something that specific. I figured it was probably someone like C and C Music Factory (oh god!) or Mariah Carey (oh dear lord, please!), but no! It ended-up being Snow with the ridiculous "Informer"! Remember that song? That represents the state of music during my senior year of high school? How depressing!

If you would like to find out what the number one song was on your 18th birthday click here. (The charts available are for the US, UK, and Austria.)

Give me what I want!

Yesterday while breezing through Delightfulblogs.com I discovered a clever-and-creative website. While the end result of the authors' intent may be a bit far-fetched, I absolutely love the concept and have to give the site owners props!

The site I'm talking about is Wants for Sale, and the gist of it is a New York City couple trying to earn money to buy things they want, by painting each item and then selling each painting for the actual pricepoint of each item. Wait, that seems a little confusing. OK, let me give you an example:

The couple wants an iPhone (actually, I bet it's probably the husband that wants it!) so they create a painting of an iPhone, and then put it up for sale for the cost of the iPhone. Fun idea, huh?

Here are some samples of the items they have available for sale:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Some of the items listed on the site are "free," which I'm a little curious about. I'll have to look into that. If they are free I want one!

08 September 2007

Anyone Cold?

Today's featured video comes from Madonna. As written in a post earlier in the week I think she--and the creative team she surrounds herself with--is one of the most visionary artists that has ever existed. Feel free to argue with me; I know the haters are out there. Regardless, the song "Frozen", which is off of 1998's brilliant "comeback" record "Ray of Light" (although I debate whether or not she ever really "left") is not only haunting and beautiful but the accompanying video is as well.

Directed by English music video director Chris Cunningham, I give you "Frozen":

07 September 2007

Spark!

She's strange, sometimes uncomfortable, and almost always brilliant! A few months ago I wrote about my love for Tori Amos's music, along with how her videos are [usually] very creative. In fact, this very video was mentioned in that post. I feel that "Spark" from the 1998 album "From the Choirgirl Hotel" certainly fits into this category. Experimenting with many different electronic sounds on this release, the "Spark" video had a very defined storyline (although it's still a little confusing), which was something we'd not seen from Tori in previous videos.

Here is "Spark":

06 September 2007

What Else is There?

A couple of years ago I was stumbled across a relatively unknown [in America] group called Royksopp. Norweigen electronica artists in the same genre as Air and Mirwais, I think I may've seen the cover of their 2005 album "The Understanding" and was curiously drawn to it.


Quite honestly, at that point I recalled having read several complimentary reviews about the album so I made an impulse purchase. After one solid listen I immediately became hooked; there are some phenomenal tracks included. One of my favorite songs has a very "odd" video to accompany it. The track is titled "What Else is There?" and in true fashion of they music I'm typically attracted to, it's got a very solid beat, beautiful melodies, and an intriguing female vocal. Often when I watch the video I'm a little weirded-out, but it is certainly creative...you can't deny that.

Here's the video for "What Else is There?":

05 September 2007

Need a Room Makeover?


Do you need a room makeover? No need to fret! A couple of days ago my Techcrunch e-newsletter had a feature devoted to a new a site called Design My Room. Now, I rent the condo I live in so I haven't really done any significant decorating; however, I am borderline-obsessed with home/room makeover shows. Don't ask me why, I just am! I suppose I just love seeing the potential for anything (houses, rooms, people, etc.) to reach their greatness. Anyway, when I saw this DesignMyRoom.com site I was all over it! So...I decided to check out the site to see what it has to offer.

Firstly, I created a profile, which was extremely simple! I love sites that make registering with them easy! Here's a snapshot of the information they require:


Now one of the nicest features about the site--and perhaps it's because they're still in beta testing--is a "pop-up" window (which the user can request to never see again) that provides a synopsis, essentially, of everything that's offered on the site. From virtually redesigning one of your own rooms, to sharing your designed room with other DesignMyRoom.com users, to getting ideas from other site users. It truly is an interactive site.

While breezing through the site I also noticed a feature that's noted as "Coming Soon," and that's submitting your own photo, and having the site digitally enhance your room! So basically you upload the photo of any room you'd like to have redesigned, and the "experts" at the site will add color, wallpaper, etc. Whatever you have in mind so you can actually see what your makeover room will look like before you make any effort at all! Now I think that's really awesome! I'm going to do a little more digging around Design My Room and if I come across any more cool features I'll post them here. In the meantime I'll just imagine what it'll be like when I buy my own place, and can decorate-my-heart-out!

Take On Me

This is undeniably one of the most original music videos, particularly since it was released in the infancy years of MTV. Unarguably a groundbreaking video:

04 September 2007

Why? (Pay Attention Please...)

This post has nothing to do with "Music Video Week," although the artist performing this song is definitely a pioneer of the music video era. I ran across this video on You Tube while looking for recent content to post on my MySpace Blog.

While I didn't catch the live telecast of this Annie Lennox classic, when I saw this performane on You Tube, from this Summer's Live 8 I was overwhlemed with emotion. Forget race, forget sexual orientation, forget gender, and forget class. If this performance doesn't move you...well, you might want to take a closer look at yourself:

Today is Poetic...

Today's video comes from a controversial artist. And it's my belief you either get her or you don't. If you don't...hey, that's OK (but too bad for you). But if you do "get her" that means we'll more than likely be friends -- or at least get along! Her music is usually haunting, her videos are typically disturbing, and the combination of the two always makes her--as an artist--intriguing. In my opinion she is truly a visionary.

From the brilliant album "Vespertine," here is Bjork's "Pagan Poetry."

03 September 2007

"Music Video Week": MONDAY

Today's "Music Week Video" is Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". I remember the first time I saw this video--which was also the first time I heard the song--I was absolutely blown away. The song was like nothing else that was out in the market at the time, and the accompanying video just enhanced the song's groove. I love it!


So when I did a You Tube search for the "Crazy" video I discovered there's also second version, which I wasn't aware of. It's the "UK" version, and it's just as amazing as the first version. The colors are splendid and I love the layers of the graphics. You decide what you think:

02 September 2007

Video Killed the Radio Star? (Part 2)

Last week I wrote a post about my infatuation with music videos. Now, mind you...I don't really watch American music video channels like MTV or VH1 because they play nothing but crap, that is essentially bought by powerhouse music companies to get promotion for their artists. (Bitter, party of one, please!) That's OK...I can live with that. (Thank you, YouTube.com.) Anyway....

I always find it interesting to see the visual interpretation of a song, so in paying homage to the artistry of music videos I'd like to kick off "Music Video Week" here on Nifty Nation. That being said, it's only right to begin with one of the most visionary music video artists of our time: Madonna. Now, "How in the world can he choose a video from such a robost catalogue of work?" Well, it's certainly not easy, and there's a possibility another one of her videos may appear in the coming week. But for the sake of recognizing a video for the "creativity" aspect, I'm going with "Nothing Really Matters" from the groundbreaking 1998 release "Ray of Light". An exceptional song lyrically, to the naked eye the video makes no sense, and is really a mish-mosh of weirdness; however, there is a story behind the video, and it was inspired by the story Memoirs of a Geisha. If you'd like to learn more about the backstory click here.

Here is the video for "Nothing Really Matters":

Butt....

Say No to Crack does it again. There are truly no words for this: