I can be the treble baby…

I can be the treble baby, you can be the bass
You can be the bass, you can be the bass

The poetry in the words and the beat are infective … I am happy to dance after the disappointment of the previous song. Considering her popularity, I was expecting stage presence and sensuality from Britney Spears but she was physically subdued and robotic in her movements… this song and dance, however, inspire her as much as it inspires the crowd.

But with the next song, she returns to her vacuous lyrics and mechanical imitation of dance sequences from the movie Flashdance… all I can do is watch the contrived media blitz where the number of phone cameras clicking exceeds the number of bodies responding to the lip-syncing and the clichéd beats pumping through the sound system.

I grew up eschewing all pop music. Heavy dosages of The Smiths, The Cure, and other 80s alternative bands were my mainstay with the exception of Madonna whose sensuality crossed all boundaries.

I had hoped to find some redeeming value in this popular icon’s presence in San Francisco. I was hoping for Madonna but found plastic Barbie.

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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in bad music


roll me in designer sheets…

Colour me your colour, baby
Colour me your car
Colour me your colour, darling
I know who you are
Come up off your colour chart
I know where you’re coming from
Call me on the line
Call me call me any anytime
Call me my love you can call me any day or night
Call me
Cover me with kisses, baby
Cover me with love
Roll me in designer sheets
I’ll never get enough…

I have been singing this song incorrectly for the past 20+ years. I realized my error recently when my boyfriend downloaded a karaoke software to help me practice singing Call Me by Blondie for an upcoming karaoke gathering.The first few lines of the lyrics were a surprise to both of us. I no longer recall how I previously sang these lines but I do know that the word “colour” (or “color”) did not exist in my version.

Something similar happened at the karaoke. The bar did not have the songs I had practiced so I sang Red Red Wine by UB40 and noticed that in addition to being a reggae song, it encompasses some rap rhythms.

Later that night, when a friend asked me to join her in singing Tempted by Squeeze, I was astonished that I knew most of the lyrics and the tune to a song that I had not heard since the 90s!

The unheard lyrics and the heard ones… both a surprise… amusing side effects of singing rather than simply listening.

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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in karaoke, listening, lyrics, memory, singing, song


do musicians have better memory?

Music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness,” says Nina Kraus, a prominent brain researcher at Northwestern University. She says that musical training expands a person’s “working memory.” Read more at In an experiment “students with musical training recalled significantly more words than the untrained students” as explained at music improves language and memory.

Watch how a math teacher uses rap music to help students remember mathematical rules and equations.

Did you know that listening to Mozart can improve test scores and that music has been shown to help Alzheimer’s patients?

Scientists are exploring the possibilities and the mechanics of music and memory. Here are some layman thoughts, a tongue-in-cheek brain activity explanation, and a neuroscience discussion which includes fMRI photos of music’s affect on the brain’s memory centers.

Got music?

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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in memory, rap, your brain on music



Amusia: an inability to process music

All music sounds like loud noise to her. She has no emotional reaction to music and does not perceive the rhythms and the melodies. It’s a condition called amusia. This is a true story. Many people have this condition at birth and sometimes they acquire it later in life.

Oliver Sack’s book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Editioncontains many stories of brain anomolies as they apply to the perception of music. In this video, Sacks tells the story of a woman who cannot process music due to amusia…

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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in sound, your brain on music


The NoBunny Effect

Before NoBunny sprang onto the stage, a  mellow, almost sleepy, energy floated through the club. It was just another Friday night at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco’s Protrero neighborhood. And then it wasn’t. NoBunny transformed us into a jumping slamming body-surfing field of bodies with their high-energy punk-n-pop sounds and the semi-nude bouncy charisma of the lead singer Justin Champlin.

[iPhone video by Josh Buchanan]

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in mosh pit, punk, sound


Lie to me

The hypnotic beat compels me to move my body… I’m listening to the music on the commuter train through my iPhone headset so I’m not free to dance right now.  But I feel my body relax and a smile spreads across my face. These lyrics from my youth remind me of the explorations of romance which were often filled with missteps and yes, perhaps even lies… Depeche Mode’s lyrics resonated with the uncertainties fueled by the restlessness of our youth… their beat encouraged us to enjoy our youthful vibrancy…

Come on and lay with me
Come on and lie to me
Tell me you love me
Say I’m the only one…

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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in 80s Alternative, dance, lyrics, poetry, song


yellow mohawk, head banging, & more…

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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in dance, sound


To Serve Man

In High School, I’d stay up until past midnight (unbeknownst to my parents) to watch the Twilight Zone show. Now, at 40-something, I own many of the episodes on DVD and have watched them at least three times. One of the most memorable episodes is titled To Serve Man, a story that any TZ fan will certainly know.

But even more than the iconoclastic themes of the episodes, its the theme music of the original Twilight Zone that will resonate for fans.

Many years ago, when I was sharing a house in Boston with three other people, one of my roomates was learning to play guitar and the TZ theme was one of the first tunes that he learned. Two decades later, I’m sometimes reminded of him playing the tune when I hear it.

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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in sound, television


Social Ocarina

This is an Ocarina. This too is an Ocarina.

An Ocarina is a wind instrument that sounds similar to a flute.

Within 5 minutes of hearing about it from a friend, I am able to purchase an Ocarina for 99 cents and play it. It’s easy on the iPhone. I just blow into the microphone and touch the blue spots to vary the sound. I can also listen to someone playing in Lisbon, Portugal (and many other cities) by switching to a global listening view. That’s the “social” part.

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in iPhone app, sound


Bollywood Big Bang

It had to happen. Last week Outsourced; this week Bollywood invades The Big Bang Theory. Great job by “Bernadette” in capturing some of the signature Bollywood dance gestures.

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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in dance, sound, television