Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Not Dead

Hey guys
It's been what, 15 years since I last posted something on here. Ja, I kinda suck for that one. But in my defence, this year has been so crazy that I've put this on hold. It's bad, and I think I actually said something about neglecting things in one of my (very much) earlier posts.

Well, this is just to say that I'm still alive and I am still kicking and I am still thinking.

I actually have written a new post, but not for this blog. I recently was asked to contribute an article for a Facebook friend's blog. So if you check out inspired4writers.wordpress.com you may or may not find something there.

I do have something in mind to write about for my next post. People have been amazing and have checked this cranky ass blog out and inspired me to write again. So just keep your eyes open and don't forget about this blog (as I have), and your diligence and patience will be rewarded. :)

Best
Andrei Damane

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Freedom Economics 101

No matter the argument, once the race card has been played, the game is destined to turn ugly. It’s inevitable, and it isn’t more evident than in the news24 column, provocatively titled ‘Whites are more equal than others’, written by Khaya Dlanga.
Before we go into this blog post, I implore you to read the column at http://n24.cm/uEyIpV and have look at the comments. For the most part, I share Khaya’s sentiment, but at the same time, I completely understand why his article has caused such an uproar among his mostly white readers.
His article spoke of the deeply racial polarisation of South African society, and how economic freedom is a long-overdue discussion that could correct this. I say it again: please go read the column first, and have a look at the comments the column received before you continue with this.
1.       WHITE PEOPLE, THE SITUATION IS NOT YOUR FAULT
Khaya says, ‘the polarisation in South Africa mostly has to do with a lack of willingness for some people to understand the grievances each side faces.’ He later says that some white people want to pretend that things are just fine the way they are, and even deny that they ever benefitted from apartheid. Obviously this statement would raise blond and brunette eyebrows right across the country. What is undeniable though, is that this statement is absolutely true. In this country, just because you are white, even if you were born after the fall of apartheid, you will have benefitted from apartheid, no matter what economic situation you may find yourself in now. But I know you never asked to be born white and privileged, and you don’t want to be judged by the colour of your skin. For this reason, I would like to say that the effects of apartheid are not your fault. It is unfair for a boy to be sent to jail for a crime committed by his grandfather, just like it is unfair to point fingers at the white minority because of a policy put in place by people who have long since died. Yes, the polarisation of society is a result of apartheid, but the economic conditions that most people find themselves in, aren’t. Yes, white people live more privileged lives because of apartheid, but the white people that live in South Africa today are can no longer be blamed for apartheid.
2.       ECONOMIC REFORM IS A NECESSITY
The term ‘economic freedom’ has come to popularity because of its use by the ever controversial Juju. He has made everyone scared by his talk of nationalisation of industries and expropriation of land without compensation. Just last week, he led a march through Gauteng in the name of economic freedom. He has pushed economic reform to the top of the agenda. He really has got the country talking, and I’m glad he has, because getting the country talking is exactly what is needed. Even without whatever internal economic issues South Africa may have, the world at large is a very bad place for economy. Crises in the US, Japan and Europe have severely affected South African exports and unemployment in South Africa is spiralling out of control, across the racial board. Foreign investment confidence is way down and more jobs are being lost than created. The policies put in place by government are hindering job creation. Something drastic must be done to correct the situation before it becomes unsalvageable. Economic reform must be discussed and solutions must be found. However, nationalisation and expropriation are merely propositions, poor ones at that, and not fail-proof solutions. Nationalisation of mines isn’t going to create more minerals and thus a demand for more labourers. Hard labourers also have very slim chances for promotion because of their lack of skills.
3.       EDUCATION MUST BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY
I am very lucky to have attended former Model-C schools right through my school career. I had great teachers who knew what they were talking about and knew how to explain it to me so I could understand. Every exam season, I knew that all the work that I would be tested on, had definitely been covered in class. However in this prime learning environment, there were students who made little effort towards their education and failed. The shameful truth is that the majority of the disgruntled youth have taken their education for granted. Yes, the education that many get is way below par, with inadequate teachers who are often MIA, and students choosing not to attend class. Fact is, a poor education is better than no education at all. Around exam time every year, you hear of star students from poorly performing schools getting distinction upon distinction. This shows that the men can be separated from the boys. Some scholars are not willing to fall into the trap provided by the school they are enrolled in. On the flip-side, the education system isn’t geared towards building creativity and innovation. It’s said that art teachers prepare their students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. I can’t remember if it was a comment on Khaya’s column or a tweet someone retweeted, but someone out there said that the South African education system builds good employees, and not good employers. To be an entrepreneur, you need to have a vision, and that vision will require creativity.
4.       CATCHING A NUTT HAS ITS CONSEQUENCES
Teenage pregnancy is a big issue in this country, especially in disadvantaged areas. Yes, the rape rate is embarrassingly high, but most pregnant teens do the deed just for the kicks. Quite bluntly, kids should not be controlled by the penises or vaginas, because their attention spans are short and they can’t consider the future. It’s a shame that teenage mothers drop out of school to try and find work to support their child. The helper in our home doesn’t have her matric, but has a four-year-old son. It’s an even bigger shame how often teenage fathers refuse to take responsibility for their 30-minutes of fun. 
5.       IF THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT DOING ENOUGH FOR YOU, DO THINGS FOR YOURSELF
My mother was born and raised on a farm in the former Bantustan of the Transkei. Her education was heavily influenced and manipulated by the apartheid government. She is an alumnus of the Bantu Education system. I am typing this blog from my personal laptop in the comfort of my room in the leafy Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. Cape Town is a long way from the Transkei. The distance between Khayelitsha and Durbanville is roughly the same. My mother emancipated from the shackles of apartheid simply because she didn’t wait for someone to release her. She worked her way out. More than 15 million South Africans survive on social grants. You have to ask yourself, what are all these people doing? The vast majority of them are perfectly healthy and grew up in the same conditions my mother found herself in. the difference is my mother isn’t complacent. Never in her life has she sat and demanded. She has worked for everything in her possession. The black middle- and upper-class did not get to the suburbs by sitting and demanding that they be there. They took opportunities as they came. They fought for their liberation and success. They didn’t accept their circumstances. They wanted more, and so they did more and thus earned more.
6.       THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE
As daunting as it may seem, the future is coming. It waits for nobody. And with each day the future comes nearer, past moves further away. I know I sound all kinds of clich√©, but it’s the truth. The nice thing about the future is it isn’t set in stone. It can be changed before it happens. The exact opposite is true about the past. The decision that you make now have grave consequences on your future, whether good or bad. So please, before you do something drastic, think. How will this affect me in a week, a year, a decade from now? One day I will have things others do not have because I do things other people are not willing to do. I know that I want to live better than my mother did, and I want my children to live better than I did. I am still young, I’m turning twenty, and I still have time to make mistakes, but I know that the time will come when my mistakes will be unforgiveable, and may affect people other than just myself.
Best
Andrei Damane

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Money Talks

I watched an interview of the notorious Sushi King, Kenny Kunene, on Noeleen the other day. He’s such a colourful character, and I don’t judge him one bit about the lifestyle he leads. He quite nicely justified his lifestyle with these words: “Money is there to be spent. One cannot die with money.” I love that statement not because I agree with it, but because I feel it’s completely open for interpretation.
I have a very big issue with the way capitalism has promoted the worship of money. I hate how success is measured by the amount of money you have. I could be successful simply by winning the lottery. I hate how greedy people become when it comes to financial wealth. I hate how heartless people can be with their pursuit of riches. I understand that wealth often is hard-earned and well-deserved, and I respect those who’ve worked hard for their success, but I can’t stand it when people take it too far. But what I hate most of all about money is how absolutely necessary it is to have in the society we live in.
I think it’s clear that I’m not the biggest fan of money. You can say I have a love-hate relationship with it. I hate how it can dictate the course of someone’s life, and I hate that I literally cannot survive without it. And the fact that I want to be able to afford the luxuries that Kenny Kunene is famous for makes matters worse. I love and loathe watching Top Billing, with the abundance of over-the-top, decadent, unnecessary, extra STUFF that I want to have. The problem is I like things. And things cost money. But I also know that things cannot give me happiness.
Someone very dear to me always says, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure as hell can buy things that make me happy.” The example that’s always used is going for a shopping trip to Dubai. How the HELL do you return from that depro? It’s a fair statement and example, but how long does that happiness last? A day? A week? A month or two? What happens after that? You hear all the time of the rich and famous, people we idolise, being in rocky relationships, divorcing and remarrying, simply being miserable.
Getting a brand new car would make me happy, but its only brand new for a while, and eventually it goes out of fashion. That trip to Dubai would really work me up, but I’d be home again eventually, living my measly existence. Often times, people with money use their wealth to try and find what makes them happy. Luckily for me, I know what makes me happy. Sitting in front of a piano building melodies and stringing words together makes me happy. Sharing those melodies and words makes me happy. Listening to my sister relate the events of her day to me in her two-year-old’s gibberish makes me happy. Watching her dance on top of the coffee table makes me happy. Having a brother with wit as quick as lightning makes me happy. Two-for-one burger specials on Monday at Spur with my friends makes me happy. Listening to them insult each other makes me happy. Having some whom I know will always listen to what I have to say makes me happy. Close relationships and doing what I love makes me happy. In all honesty, I’d be a musician even if it did not make me a cent in this life. Not that I want it to, though. I refuse to work for money. That is, to do whatever I’m doing because it pays well, even if it makes me miserable. I’m perfectly content with doing what I love for the rest of my days. Money is really a perk that comes with my job of speaking to people through music and lyrics.
With all that being said, I am still unemployed and broke so I guess talk is cheap ;)
Best
Andrei Damane

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Can't Be Life

I’m quite certain we’ve all had that moment in the bathroom, while we’re filling the sink with water to wash our face, and we look at our reflection in the mirror. We notice the unsightly zit that’s forming above our left eye brow and give it a squeeze. We stare at ourselves. We slowly turn our heads left then right, scrutinising the flaws we see in ourselves. We pose. We pout. We smile. We may ruffle our hair, just to make ourselves look more, I don’t know, attractive. We squeeze some face-wash, or whatever product you use, into your palm, rub your hands together and start lathering our faces with product.
While going through the motions, ensuring that our entire visage is covered, splashing the water we had run for ourselves to cleanse the soap, our minds wander. We think about our relationships with friends and family. We think about who we haven’t called in ages. We think about how this person pissed us off today. We think about how old we’re getting, and start going down the mental checklist of what we wanted to have accomplished by now. We think about the things we wish were different about our existence. We look at the hand that fate has dealt to us and come to the same conclusion: this can’t be life.
What’s most amazing about this natural process is that it’s universal, no matter how awesome life may be. One can have absolutely everything going for him, but will have that ‘stop the world, I wanna get off’ moment. When you fall into a routine, your mind plays crazy tricks on you. It’s like suddenly you’ve become a philosopher and you question everything. You stare intensely at something, and try to anchor yourself with reality. Am I dreaming? Is this a dream? Am I a part of The Matrix? I, of course, am no exception to the rule, and I find myself having these moments more often than I’d like. What it proves is that, no matter how prepared you may think you are at tackling the journey called life, you will never, ever know what to expect.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to get at with this post. I guess I’m just voicing my thoughts. I, like many others out there, am questioning everything about myself, and finding myself humming the melody to Stacie Orrico’s ‘More To Life’, wondering just that. This can’t be it. There’s got to be more to life than just THIS.
Am I going crazy? Can someone answer that for me? Or am I one of 7-billion others with the same embedded query sitting in the cellar of my mind? I have aspirations, much like everyone else, and I have a time line and trajectory I’d more or less try to stick to. Sometimes I feel like I’m WAY off the mark, and that I should re-strategize. It’s painful to see your life take a direction that wasn’t intended, even if that direction isn’t necessarily a bad one. I’m right there in my life.
With all that being said, I would like to thank the Higher Power for the friends I have, who routinely slap me through the face, proverbially speaking, and tell me to calm down. I have this tendency to forget that I am but nineteen. I do, in reality, have an entire life ahead of me, as well as enough time to accomplish the things I’d like to accomplish. It’s such a bad habit for me, and everyone else on this green and blue planet, to compare my life with someone else’s and see things in that life that I would like in mine. Nobody’s life is sublime, and we should not live in the shadow of someone else.
I’d like to end saying that as hard as it may be to do this, it is imperative to appreciate and respect the seemingly measly life you live. After all, you are only given one of those.
Best
Andrei Damane

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stories I've Forgotten

I know a post is terribly overdue. My life has been a little heckers of late, but that is hardly enough of an excuse. The plan was to update my blog regularly, and even use it as an online journal of sorts. I won’t say, or rather admit, that that failed, but what I will say is it is failing. But then again, I’m the guy who starts things with the purpose of finishing said things, but ends up leaving those things by the wayside. Case in point: my blog, books I read, even lyric ideas I’ve penned. This blog is supposed to eventually become the hub of all things Andrei Damane, should I become a massive superstar, of course, and so far I haven’t given much away, have I?
Anyways…
What I have done a lot of, or at least more of, this year is read books. Don’t get me wrong, I do read, but I tend to read reviews and articles and columns from newspapers and off Twitter. I have a shortish attention span, see. And what’s worse is I skim through all the detailed bits and get the gist of what’s going on. This time round though, I made the effort to include bound sheets of printed paper to my reading arsenal. I have read a total of four books this year (and a couple of scripts for work, which I never actually finished), which is hardly much, but is more than I have read in the previous three years combined. They include two novels, an unauthorised biography and a memoir.
The first book I read this year, which I started while I was still filming Beaver Falls back in the summer, is the South African hit, Spud. The cover states that it’s ‘a wickedly funny novel’. I can’t say that is completely true. Don’t get me wrong, it left me thoroughly entertained for three month period it took for me to get through it. It had its moments, like when the Crazy Eight ask the priest sexual questions in their Biblical Studies class, and the fat dude being stuck in the window overnight, but it didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it, at least for me. That kinda left me disappointed, especially after hearing all the reviews readers had. But then again, those reviews were often hand-me-downs by people whose parents had read the book. I noticed that my mom found the book a lot more exciting than I did too, and came to the realisation that the book’s humour is aimed at people a little further on in years than I am. After all, none of my peers would describe something as being ‘wickedly’ anything. It’s still a good read, and it is funny somewhat, just not wickedly so.
Nothing really compares to the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies the closing of a book after finishing it, especially if you had taken as long a hiatus from leisurely reading as I had. I was quite chuffed with myself, and almost immediately (read as ‘a week and a bit later’) started on my next leisurely read: Oprah: A Biography by Kitty Kelley. Before I go on with my ‘review’, I’d like to explain something about myself. I tend to spoil the fun for myself by reading up on whatever thing I’m about to do before doing it. That is, I’m the guy who hears rave reviews about the movie Inception, then wikipedias the movie, reads a synopsis of the plot, then watches the movie, knowing more or less what’s going to happen next. That was the case with this book. Well, seeing as it’s a biography, I couldn’t read up on the synopsis, but what I did read were criticisms of Kitty Kelley, who is notorious for allegedly spinning the truth in the biographies she writes in order to make her subjects’ lives seem juicier than what they really are. There were claims of fabrication in her biographies of the British Royal Family and of Jackie Onassis-Kennedy, and naturally Oprah’s wasn’t without such. I went about reading the book knowing that parts of it might well have been bogus. That’s the thing with biographies and autobiographies: on one hand, the writer of a biography never lived the life of the subject and thus can’t verify things as fact, while on the other hand, an autobiography can be riddled with spice as the writer is at liberty to alter his/her life to make it more indulgent (see James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces).
Some chapters painted Oprah as being hostile and unforgiving, a marked difference to the warm and understanding persona she exudes on her show. Those chapters were of course hard to believe, since her show is the only physical reference I have of her. The biography also makes her out to be rather paranoid: her studio audience members pass through two security checks before getting to the auditorium; their pens and cameras are confiscated so they are not able to capture any footage of the show on their own; all her guests and employees have to sign confidentiality agreements to legally bind them from mentioning anything about their encounters with her; her employees are told to refer to her as Maria should they be talking about her in a public setting to ensure that nobody catches whom they’re employed by… stuff like that. She even has her personal photographer take her pictures should she be featured in a magazine other than her own, or buys the rights to use the pictures taken by another. I guess it’s the price you have to pay when your face, name and point of view are your brand. I think even after reading all that about her, I’d much rather believe that she’s charming and approachable all the time, instead of when the cameras are rolling. What the Oprah book did leave me feeling was inspired. Oprah really came from virtually nothing and worked tirelessly to become something greater than great.
One of the guests on Oprah’s final season was a spiritual guru she featured on her show for quite some time by the name of Iyanla Vanzant. She was quite a colourful and exuberant guest who had come on the show to clear the air as to why she left the Oprah show so abruptly, and also to publicise her latest book, Peace From Broken Pieces. I was fortunate to get my hands on a copy a friend, who had also watched the show, had sent to me. The book is a memoir of how Iyanla’s life fell apart, piece by piece, without her even noticing, and how she finally does come to the realisation and becomes at peace with the way her life turned out. It is a compelling and emotional read, but I personally only found it so when I was two-thirds in. See, a hard pill to swallow was her almost constant ‘all men are dogs’ rhetoric. Okay, it wasn’t that explicit, but she kept pointing out how all the men in her life were dead beats, including her son. She mentioned that that was part of a pattern that had been in her family for generations, blah, blah, blah, and how she was being guided to break the ‘pathology’, as she called it. She’s a spiritual guru, so all her reasoning was spiritual, naturally, which I believe is nonsense to an extent. With that being said, I found many parallels to the characters in her life story and those in mine, and because of that, I feel like some questions I had in my life could be answered because of her life story.
My last and favourite book read this year so far is Alice Walker’s crown jewel, The Color Purple. I should mention that it took me about a month to read Peace From Broken Pieces and less than a week to finish The Color Purple. That alone should say just how thoroughly gripping and enjoyable this book is. After all, it is a Pulitzer winner; what else would you expect? The story is told in sentences so full of bad grammar and spelling that the occasional correct sentence is an eyesore, yet it is effortless to read and instantly understandable. It actually left me in awe. How do you manage to tell a story without decent punctuation, spelling and grammar, and still make it beautiful? I will not disclose anything about the story itself, but that it is compelling and motivating and, for a lack of a better word, easy. It’s like there isn’t even a plot. I hope that one day I can put into my music what Alice Walker puts into her literature, and be able to provoke the same intensity of emotion and instant ‘relatability’ as she did with this masterpiece.
Surely with the amount I have written about in this post, you’d think that I’m a changed man, reading anything that’s put into my lap. I’m not. I haven’t opened a book in about a month. I have No Country For Old Men sitting in my cupboard, unread for nearly a year. I’m that bad. And I feel quite bad about it, actually. But one of these days I will read it and one of these days I will blog about it. I just hope that that review, which is probably months from now, isn’t the next thing I post, or else I’m totally hopeless. Until next time, which should be soon, but I won’t promise anything.

Best
Andrei Damane

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Spirit Says So

I’ve battled with my spirituality for a while. It’s so funny what brings you to the point of having to question something I feel is so fundamental in the construction of a human being. It shows that life is never ever an easy ride. And what I find is that those whose lives run smoother than most usually don’t have much going on spiritually. I’ll elaborate a little later.

I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian home. We went to church every Sunday, always had gospel music playing, and prayed every evening. It was not uptight or strict. I was hardly ever beaten and was never exorcised for being demon-possessed or judged for sinning. I’d say for the most part my formative years were rather average – lots of love in a morally sound household.

With that being said, I don’t think I ever fully believed what I had been taught from a young age was true. But at the same time I found it difficult to question ‘the truth’. It’s like pondering whether the grass is really green or if it’s only green because you were told it was. Is God really real or is He only there because you were told He’s there? It goes deeper. If God is omnipotent, omnipresent and benevolent then why would He allow evil to occur, knowing the harm it causes, if He can prevent it effortlessly? Why is He so markedly different in the Old Testament than to the New Testament if He’s the same yesterday, today and forever?

These puzzling thoughts were difficult for me to process because they questioned almost everything I had been told about spirituality since the moment I could speak. More so, I knew in my, well, spirit, that I’d probably not turn out to be the Biblical ideal of a man. Granted, I was raised very well and I consider myself a sane man with good morals, I will raise and support my kids, give back to the community and be a generally good person, but I doubt I’ll ever be a devout church-goer and fanatic Bible-reader. I gathered that if God, who is omnipresent, knew that I wouldn’t turn out to be the person the Bible would like me to be, then He had all the power, since he’s omnipotent, to prevent me from becoming a person who does not fit the ideal. When I reached varsity and was surrounded with the plethora of opinions on God and religion, I think I gave up on the idea of God being in control of everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is very real. I believe that God is in everything. I believe that God becomes more real to someone the humbler he becomes. I believe that God is perceived differently by every single person, and that nobody is wrong for their perceptions. I also believe that the Bible, as with any other religious text, is a good source, but also not the only source from which to base your spiritual outlook and moral well-being. I believe that God knows no religion. Many people have been raised in different cultures to become upstanding and inspiring human beings. A Christian can learn from a Muslim. A Hindu can learn from a Buddhist. I think the proper term for someone who shares my views is a Deist.

I also believe the truth of God has been lost and corrupted by religion and human interference and intervention. I believe that whatever things someone might have told you about God could be as flawed as that person himself. I believe that God understands just as much as He loves. Whatever type of person you might be, God understands why you are who you are, especially since He created you. At the same time, one should always strive to be better than who they are. You should not be threatened by hell to be a good or better person.

I’ve witnessed how people’s lives are affected by terrible suffering and hardship, and it has made me wonder what kind of sadist God must be to allow them to go through such pain. As soon as I was put in an abyss myself, I found that at times the only thing I could hold on to was the idea of God being there every step of the way. The less I was, the more God was. In a way, God was the belief that things would be better and God was the strength I felt on the victorious side of trial. Because of this, I find it somewhat foolish to disregard God or His existence completely. I think it’s very easy to do so when you’ve always had everything you wanted, and life has always been easy. Like I said before, God becomes more real the humbler you become. What I will always strive for is humility in my successes, so I never lose sight of what I’ve gone through. I guess there’s some truth in this statement: ‘you’ll only know that God is all you need when God is all you have’.

Best
Andrei Damane

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Face Of A Monster

I’m sure I am not the only one who sat in front of the TV in the summer of 2008/2009 and saw the Just Dance video thinking, ‘oh, okay’. The song was fun and all, but I was of the impression that it would probably be a one-hit-wonder and the last we’d hear of this Gaga lady. I, like many other MTV enthusiasts, was terribly wrong.
Then Pokerface came out, and again I’m not the only one who thought WTF when I heard the ‘muh-muh-muh-muh’ and ‘puh-puh-puh-pokerface’ hooks for the first time. I, like many others, thought it gut-wrenchingly annoying at first, not to mention taken aback by how raunchy and, well, kinda odd, the music video was. But, admittedly, the song was quite catchy and I found myself dancing like a fool whenever it played on Long or Edward Street.
That was the beginning of the meteoric rise (weak term) of the Gaga phenomenon. We all became enthralled by her crazy antics; like never wearing pants, tying her hair (or wig) in a bow, her cheesy choreography and her dodgy lyrics (if it’s love if it ain’t rough it isn’t fun; I wanna take a ride on your disco stick). But we still weren’t completely sold on her.
That changed when Paparazzi was released. To this day it is still my favourite Gaga track. It was complimented by a wonderfully colourful music video and a much unexpected performance at the 2009 MTV something-or-other Awards. It was a bloody mess, quite literally, but it made us all sit up and take notice. That, coupled with the half-dozen costume (not wardrobe) changes during the ceremony, made me start to question: is this girl being for real? Suddenly she went from being the new kid on the block to being a legend. And a freak. The “it”question changed from ‘have you seen this Gaga girl?’ to ‘what is she going to do next?’ Alas, she was still immensely intriguing. I was one of those who were waiting with bated breath for the next Gaga epic.
Then came Bad Romance, the lead single of The Fame Monster EP, and her biggest hit ever. The song was probably her catchiest yet, the video was the most provocative and controversial of the decade, with a Thriller-esque dance routine and imagery that was out of this world. This too, sadly, was when the music started singing back-up to the celebrity, and in my opinion was also the peak of her astronomical career.
Since then, while her celebrity has sky-rocketed, fuelled by dresses made of meat and captivating music videos with Beyonc√©, her music has become increasingly generic and, well, boring. She’d effectively managed to fool the whole world into believing that she was an innovative musician of epic proportions but that is not true. Let me elaborate:
You can’t churn out the same emotionless four-chord songs on the same Euro-pop house beats with the same repetitive hooks and be called an artist. That shit gets boring and does so fast. I appreciate Speechless, though. That was beautiful. Telephone was fun and all, and it was cool seeing Bey dance like a white girl, and Alejandro was dodgy on every level, but both those songs gained public interest because of their videos and not because of their music.
I was one of those who heard Gaga sing the chorus of Born This Way when she accepted her award at the VMAs, and from the little we all had heard, I was expecting a second Speechless. The melody and execution called for a ballad, and when she promised that the BTW album would be the most epic of the decade, I was almost certain that it would be a ballad. I was one who contributed to the hype surrounding the song’s release and I was also one of the millions who sat back disappointed to hear a song that I had heard before. I had heard it in Alejandro, Telephone, Bad Romance, Paparazzi and Pokerface, as well as a number of Madonna hits from the 80s. Many who concurred that the song did not live up to the hype then commended the song for its message of empowerment, tolerance and acceptance, but I could hardly be fooled. The imagery that complimented the song (or rather that the song complimented) told a very different story. How could a heterosexual, white and privileged woman be the champion of the homosexuals, ethnic minorities of America and the poor? We have Ellen De Generes, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey in those respective roles already. Also, I can’t see how protrusions on your temple, cheeks and shoulders can possibly promote the idea of being proud of the skin you were born in. Loopholes, Gaga…
News is that the Born This Way LP debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart at number one, with sales of 1,1 million. That’s a very impressive feat, especially in this very digital age, but also not unexpected, judging by the hype the preceded the album’s release. I haven’t downloaded the album off DC++ yet (you can judge me if you want, but frankly, I wouldn’t pay for the album even if I had the money anyways) but from the reviews I’ve read, it falls terribly short of the claim of epicness that Gaga had implied. I think that even she knew it would when she heard Adele’s 21 for the first time. Usher’s Confessions debuted at number one by the same number of sales 8 years prior. Confessions is probably the best RnB album released in the past 15 years. The point I’m trying to make is that had Gaga not worn a dress made of meat and duct tape over her nipples, the music itself would not have sold a million copies in a week. Bitch please, remove the smoke and mirrors and the crazy wigs and you ain’t shit.
But alas, she has caused a revolution. I’ve heard more euro-pop in the last two years from the most unexpected artists (Busta Rhymes, Christina Aguilera) than I had in my life prior the summer of 2008/2009. Despite what I’ve said, I still find myself singing along to Born This Way anyways. That was probably her intention all along. Our favourite crazy white chick seems to be here to stay.