In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

A Gauntlet Has Been Thrown!

Every now and then, I take a few precious minutes out of my extremely busy schedule as a Professional Humourless Feminist to listen to what I believe the kids refer to as ‘popular music’ or ‘pop music’ for short. I believe that this is part of what is known as ‘pop culture,’ something which less serious feminists seem to take extremely seriously, wasting their time on ‘critiques’ when there are Serious Things Going on.

Several months ago, my fellow Professional Humourless Feminist Annaham introduced me to a musical artist named Janelle Monae. I was reluctant at first to eject the compact disc of the World’s Greatest Military Marches that I usually loop on repeat, but I decided to give it a whirl.

As I listened, I felt a strange, uncomfortable, and distinctly unfamiliar sensation. I looked down to realise that my foot appeared to be making a strange twitching motion. I was powerless to control the peculiar feelings that swept over me, and I suddenly found myself pulled out of my chair as though by magnetism and careening around the living room. Explaining this alarming reaction to Annaham later, she explained that what had happened is known as a ‘Spontaneous Dance Party.’

I was initially so fearful of this turn of events that I threw the musical disc into the darkest corner of my desk drawers, but I found myself oddly compelled, and played it again one day to see if the Spontaneous Dance Party would recur. This was done in the interests of scientific inquiry, to determine whether or not the Dance Party was correlated with, or perhaps even caused by, this ‘pop music.’

After several weeks of controlled testing, I can confirm that this appears to be the case. I have submitted a writeup of my findings to the New England Journal of Medicine and am currently eagerly awaiting a response.

I bring this up, not with the intention of sharing my frivolous side activities that clearly distract me from Very Serious Feminist Things, but because I cannot allow my fellow guest blogger Sarah’s embarrassingly effuse praise of the musical artist Robyn to stand without comment.

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Cause you can’t handle me

more on the not-so-secret feminism of Robyn!

Once upon a time, one of my favorite feminist blogs was called Pop Feminist. Its author has since moved on to bigger things, but I refuse to call them better because I LOVED Pop Feminist. (I also love the lady behind it, who has become a friend because of blogging-mutual-love. The powers of the Internet, people!) Pop Feminist is gone, but her archives are here and you should peruse them for sheer awesomeness.

Anyway, she would regularly post Pop Feminist Dance Parties, putting up a song or a short playlist and inviting readers to have a solo dance party, on her. This post is definitely dedicated to her.

So, by possibly-not-popular demand, MORE ROBYN.

(lyrics below)

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Wednesday Fluff!

I’m really mesmerised and intrigued by Albania’s Eurovision entry. I keep coming back to this video because I think there are layers of interesting visual things going on here.

The artist is Juliana Pasha, and the song is ‘All About You.’

Description and lyrics below the cut.

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Friday Random Ten – the Good Taste In Music Is Clearly Genetic edition

Haven’t done one of these in a while, but I could sure use something mindless and not-stressful or infuriating today — how about you?

Set your MP3 player to “shuffle” and post the first 10 songs that come up. Friday video: Harlem!

1. Neko Case- Vengeance is Sleeping
2. White Denim – World As A Waiting Room
3. Elvis Costello – Deep, Dark Truthful Mirror
4. Tom Waits – New Coat of Paint
5. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Woodfriend
6. The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry
7. Cat Power – Islands
8. Van Morrison – Fool For the Spirit
9. Thao – Geography
10. Lykke Li – Tonight

More videos, mostly of songs that have been stuck in my head this week, below the fold.

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Record Store Day

record store day logo

Straying from our normal social justice focus, I want to take a moment to note that tomorrow, Saturday April 17th, is the 4th annual Record Store Day. Held primarily though hardly solely in the U.S. and UK, Record Store Day is a day to celebrate music and the culture of independent record stores, and to promote the reasons that those independent stores are worth keeping around.

It’s no big secret that with big box and online retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and Amazon, along with the huge popularity of digital downloads, a lot of independent record stores are in trouble. Over the years, many, many of those stores have closed. Many other stores are treading water, have had to let employees go, moved to a business model that largely involves online trade, and so on. This is bad for independent record store owners and employees, bad for local communities left with empty storefronts, and bad for many music lovers. Independent record stores are very far from extinct, but they are endangered.

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Magic is everywhere in this bitch.

The fact that this video exists is proof enough, I think, of all the magic and miracles that the Insane Clown Posse discuss:

via Gabe, who I think I might be in love with. Lyrics — which are amazing — are below the fold.

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Let’s all say it together: awwwwww.

The YellowJackets at the University of Rochester have put together a really rather charming same-sex version of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”. Here’s the a capella version as performed by the YellowJackets, performed on stage with the visuals included below in the background – with a Kanye West joke at the end I’m afraid. Below is the YellowJackets’ video, the visuals in the style of the Swift video and using her vocals. The video stars Michael Pittman in Swift’s role and Matt Francis as his love interest. There’s a video description at the end of the post. Lyrics here.

Now, “You Belong With Me” is the most mainstream of mainstream songs. It is, after all, about a white American high school student! who is into a boy! in fact, the literal boy next door! but cannot be with him because she is not like that pretty popular girl! (because apparently we’re meant to be pretending that Swift is not a pretty popular girl!) and of course we must go for the “ugly” “unpopular” girl who will be changed as though from an ugly duckling to a swan! with a white dress and everything! and the popular girl must be put right back in her place! and our girl must end up with the boy!

So it’s a relief as much as a pleasure that the YellowJackets have taken this so very conventional song and queered it up. Not only do we get a very sweet story, but we lose some of the elements of the original video that made me pretty uncomfortable. We still get the bad bad girlfriend, but at least she’s not in competition with the “good girl” in the white dress. The taking off of the glasses is less marked, and it’s not a part of the act of transformation into a “worthy” partner – er, I mean, into the person the main character was all along – as with the Swift video. I’m pleased that they chose to make a video very similar to Swift’s in storyline and setting, the better to recognise the differences.

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