Tuned Out: June 2008: Archives

June 19, 2008

Mika - Lollipop & Billy Brown genre: Gaylingual & Tuned Out & Uncivil Unions & Video-Philes

Mika, born in Lebanon and currently living in London, doesn't get a lot of mainstream attention in the States. I've included two of his videos below. The first is for the song, Lollipop, an infectious upbeat tune with a fun animated video that just seems appropriate for the start of summer. I'll come back to the meaning of the song in a moment.

The second video isn't actually the music video for the song, Billy Brown...but it does a good job in telling the song's story. In fact, there isn't an official video for the song since one was never released. The song, in my opinion, tells the story of a man who struggles to accept his homosexuality.

That brings me back to Lollipop. There has been a fair share of buzz about Mika's sexuality, a subject he has not chosen to address. Some have speculated that he's gay but doesn't disclose that fact as it could hinder his popular appeal in the United States. He points to Billy Brown as evidence that he isn't shying away from sexual orientation.

Let me be clear. Mika's sexual orientation is irrelevant to me but to the extent that issues of orientation may influence the songs he performs makes my psychology wheels spin. In this particular instance, call it instinct, intuition, or gaydar...but whatever it is, I find the content of his songs fascinating. Both of these songs talk about love and relationships...with a focus on a lack of fulfillment as well as a measure of preoccupation with norms and conventionality.

Granted, Lollipop is far more gender and orientation neutral than Billy Brown, but what I hear in both songs is the undertones of a personal struggle...one that leaves the protagonist is a state of limbo. If he follows his heart, he'll have to endure the whispers and judgments of others...if he conforms, he can fit in but he'll be denied the happiness he seeks.

Hence, he vacillates between the two, which I view as akin to the back and forth of a pendulum...always struggling to find the center...but always overshooting the mark in an endless battle for a measure of constance and comfort. In other words, the center is safe but often wholly meaningless. Mika's song, Stuck in the Middle, reveals more of this concept. The lyrics can be found here.

One line captures the essence of what I'm talking about. When Mika sings, "Oh Billy Brown you are a victim of the times", I hear the angst I've described above. Whether that angst is Mika's or simply the words expressed in a song he sings, I don't know. Regardless, the song succeeds in capturing real feelings that I suspect resonate for many in the gay community.

You can find the video for Happy Endings here and the video for Grace Kelly can be found here.

Mika - Lollipop

Mika - Billy Brown

Tagged as: Billy Brown, Grace Kelly, Happy Endings, LGBT, Lollipop, Mika, Music, Relationships, Stuck In The Middle

Daniel DiRito | June 19, 2008 | 12:20 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 12, 2008

Donna Summer On David Letterman - Stamp Your Feet genre: Tuned Out & Video-Philes

Despite Donna Summers unfortunate labeling as anti-gay back in the early 80's, she is undoubtedly an iconic figure in shaping the trajectory of the gay music scene. Summers has long denied the accusation that appeared in a New York publication and her support of AIDS related charities suggests she never abandoned her gay audience.

History aside, it's great to see her back with a new album titled Crayons. From what I've listened to, I think it has some real potential...especially in the dance club genre. Given the number of remixes that have already surfaced, I suspect the attention her new CD receives will only intensify.

I caught her recent performance on The Late Show with David Letterman and I've included video of that appearance below. From what I've seen, her voice is still intact and I wouldn't be surprised to see the song Stamp Your Feet achieve some measure of "gay anthem" status. I for one hope the gay community embraces this latest iteration of the "Bad Girl"

NOTE:

Here's some links you might want to check out:

To listen to more tracks from the CD:

DonnaSummer.com

One of the better remixes (IMO):

Stamp Your Feet Remix 08

Donna Summer On David Letterman

Tagged as: Bad Girl, David Letterman, Donna Summer, Gay, LGBT, Music, Stamp Your Feet, The Late Show

Daniel DiRito | June 12, 2008 | 10:23 AM | link | Comments (0)
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June 10, 2008

Tuesday Tunes: Cyndi Lauper & The Brighton Port Authority genre: Tuned Out

The following videos are unrelated except for the fact that I've posted them together. The first video is Into The Nightlife, a new offering by Cyndi Lauper from her latest CD, Bring Ya To The Brink. Lauper doesn't get a lot of mainstream attention but this song is worthy of it. I have no doubt that it will be a big hit in dance clubs. The album is somewhat of a deviation for Lauper in that it is primarily dance tunes. I think this is a good move for Lauper and I hope it brings her some of the recognition she deserves.

The second video is from The Brighton Port Authority (Latest project of Fat Boy Slim) and is titled Toe Jam. In a strange combination, David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal are the featured vocals. All that aside, what makes this video noteworthy is its creativity. OK, there's nothing original about naked people...but if you can break away from watching the booties and boobies and pay attention to the black censor bars and the patterns they create you'll see the unfolding of the originality of this video.

Cyndi Lauper - Into The Nightlife

The Brighton Port Authority - Toe Jam

THE BPA 'TOE JAM' FEAT. DAVID BYRNE & DIZZEE RASCAL

Tagged as: Cyndi Lauper, David Byrne, Dizzee Rascal, Fat Boy Slim, Into The Nightlife, Music, The Brighton Port Authority, Toe Jam

Daniel DiRito | June 10, 2008 | 11:47 AM | link | Comments (0)
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