Tag Archives: music videos

Modern One-Hit Wonders (and their Parodies) – Throwback Thursday

It worked at the time, but I don’t know if this one has aged quite as well – but the question now stands, what are some newer songs that have good parodies? 


I’ve been covering bands for the last few weeks. Kind of like in a concert, when the band gets going, and plays a bunch of songs in a row without stopping. But it’s time to slow back down a bit, get back into a groove of talking about music, as well as bands.

This week, I wanted to talk about one-hit wonders. Usually, figuring out what songs are one-hit wonders requires a good deal of time to pass, so that you can look back and say that, “yep, none of their other songs ever made it big.” However, I think that makes it fun to speculate about which recent songs will end up as one-hit wonders, as the artists fade into the night.

I think that today’s day-and-age has an interesting twist to the one-hit wonder as well: YouTube and the Internet. Now, the songs are potentially big not only just as a song, but as a music video people can watch, share, and interact with. It’s the fact of interaction that I think can point the way to the one-hit wonders: songs where there’s a ton of parodies and other interaction leading to the popularity (or notoriety!) and life of the one song, but not to the artist’s career overall.

I think that in the past, Weird Al Yankovic almost single-handedly had this same effect with some songs – and may still today, with his new album. Time will tell! But let’s look at a few songs that I think are going to go down in history as one-hit wonders, and some of the parodies that lead me to think that way!

Call Me Maybe

Remember this song? Annoyingly catchy and all over the place, and I remember being surprised that it wasn’t an artist I had really heard of before – it seemed like a Katy Perry song or something like that. However, part of why this song was big was because there were so many parodies of it. I tried to avoid this one as best I could, so I don’t have a parody that stood out in my mind or that I remember. Instead, here’s a link to a basic search for parodies of this song:

The top five parodies that came up have roughly 272.5 million views between them. That’s a lot of views. And there are a bunch more parodies! Oh, and the original song has 577.5 million views. Just looking at Carly Rae Jepsen’s VEVO, I see a few other songs with a decent number of views… but nothing to touch this one song. Will history remember her as a one hit wonder? My sources say maybe.

Somebody That I Used to Know

Here’s another song that blew up, was hugely popular, and had a video which people loved to parody: “Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye. This one has 533.7 million views just for this one version.

And it’s a really artistically interesting video, and it’s a vocal duo which is always popular and different, and it’s just this interesting and unique sound… songs that meet those sorts of qualifications often don’t live up to expectations with the rest of an artist’s work. It seems to be the same with Gotye.

There’s one parody of this song I definitely remember, which was really well done both for content, topic, and for copying the art style of the original video. This one is great, if you’re any kind of Star Wars fan!

Continue reading

Advertisements

I’m On Top Of The World! – Imagine Dragons for Throwback Thursday

I love Imagine Dragons. At this point, they’ve had two albums since this post – Smoke + Mirrors and Evolve. They’ve kept me interested and kept up their quality, which has been great to see. Having seen them live, I feel a bit more connection – and understanding – for this band. Hopefully I imparted some of that below!

 


Last week I wrote about Lorde, one of the sudden, big hits of recent years. She’s so young that some of the question is, how genuine is she, how much will she maintain who she is now into the future? She sings so much of being small, but has become so big that you have to wonder what the future holds for her.

Night VisionsThe discussion, about how genuine she is, and if it will last, got me thinking of a different band – another recent rise to fame. A band whose name and first full album I keep seeing listed as a top-selling album – 2 years after its release. The album is Night Visions, and the band is Imagine Dragons.

My wife Holly and I were fortunate enough to see Imagine Dragons in concert last year. And by fortunate, I mean that we planned far in advance, got the tickets, and flew many thousands of miles to see them. And what we saw was a band that seemed truly, humbly pleased with their fame, who seemed overwhelmed with it all.

Waiting on this for a while now… Paying my dues to the dirt

Continued SilenceA quick scan of the Wikipedia page about the band shows that some of it was luck that they hit it big, filling in for someone else (Train) at a large concert. We started following them with their early 2012 EP, Continued Silence. And then Night Visions came out, and has been hanging out on iTunes, at least, as one of the top selling Alternative albums ever since, whenever I’m looking for new music.

A lot of their music has been coming out, bit by bit, on EPs, and after the album even, on soundtracks and one at a time. Part of their success has been in the ability for people to get their hands on their music digitally, rather than only through traditional albums.

That also says to me that they’ve been making music for a while, have been putting it together bit by bit, have been trying to figure out what people might like, and what they like to play. As the lyrics say – “been dreamin’ of this since a child.”

And now, they’re on top of the world.

Continue reading

Victory’s Contagious – Lorde for Throwback Thursday

Interesting to think back on the earlier days of Lorde, now with her second album out. Enjoy this next Throwback Thursday from when I was trying, so hard, to understand music


You’ve probably heard of her. Award winning new artist. Young. New Zealander. Lorde.

I found her through Pandora, when it started working Royals into my playlists. But I’ll get back to Royals. It’s what I’ve encountered in the rest of her music that makes me want to talk about her.

She’s swept music by storm, and I have a few thoughts about why. If I were to sum it up at first here, it’s because the music is so smart. No, there’s a better word. It’s wise. Wise beyond her years. She’s 17. And at the age, she has the potential to become to voice of a generation – or to become the next fallen icon. But let’s take some time getting there!

Maybe the Internet Raised Us…

In preparing for this post, and listening to Lorde’s Pure Heroine a whole bunch of times, I’ve been trying to think of a term to describe her. And maybe the term is conscious innocence. As in, she knows she’s young. Knows that things are going to get more “real” (whatever that really means…) in the future, but that for now, the simple life is hers. 

She sings a lot about bruises, dreams, and clean, white teeth. Simpler sorts of observations, about life, about people. She’s drinking orange juice. It’s childhood and adolescence. But it’s like she’s got the age and wisdom to be reflecting back on it and reminiscing, while also being right in the thick of it.

There’s also the talk of fame. There’s plenty of times where she calls out the rich, the powerful, the famous. She speaks truth to power. The ridiculousness of modern stars. Their excesses. 

However, she juxtaposes this with talk of her own rising fame and stardom. She talks about her impending first plane ride, about how she still likes hotels – something she recognizes may well change as she starts to travel and perform. 

Here’s some of her lyrics, to show what I mean:

Lorde Lyrics

Her songs describe the cusp of stardom, the end of adolescence and innocence, and do so in a way that expresses such self-understanding that it’s easy to see why she has captured the imagination.

All Work and No Play…

However, is that all it is? I wonder. Do people just love her because she’s saying things that not only sound true, but feel true?

Or, when she’s calling out the powerful and the famous, are some of these people waiting for the hypocrisy?

We see so many young stars who end up falling into the worst habits of stardom: the drugs and alcohol, the stupid stunts to prove they’re someone else other than the young star we once knew and loved. Think in recent years of Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber. Okay, maybe not loved with these stars, at least not for me… but you get the point. They fall apart.

Are we watching Lorde because we’re waiting for her to fall? Or at least, are some people? Is the media, maybe, especially?

And after singing so much about it, wouldn’t Lorde’s fall just be that much the worse? But the thing is, it seems like she sees it. She sees the risk, the danger. It’s there in the lyrics. Will she change? Will she give in to it?

I don’t have the answers. Listening to the music, I don’t think Lorde knows. I guess it’s wait and see.

We’re Bigger Than We Ever Dreamed…

So we’re back to Royals, I think. This song encapsulates all that I’ve said, the simplicity of the life that Lorde is coming from, and the life of luxury of the stars whose ranks she’s joining. It encapsulates everything she’s saying, and thus was a perfect first single.

It has all the features of a one-hit-wonder, as well. Catchy tune, memorable chorus – the sort that you work on trying to memorize and figure out, so you can sing along. And different in sound from other songs on the album.

If this is all you’ve heard of Lorde, you’re missing out. There’s more. And it’s good. I really hope this is an artist we’ll be listening to for many, many years to come – that she holds to her ideals, that she keeps being wise beyond her years. 

I definitely recommend checking out her award-winning album, Pure Heroine! But what do you think about Lorde? Let me know in the comments below!

I thought long and hard ’bout what I should say… When I was through it just came out this way! – The Black Keys for Throwback Thursday

Another week, another Listening to Music Without Understanding it post! The Black Keys haven’t released a new album since then, so it’s still pretty accurate in that regard…


Hello and welcome again for another post in my Listening to Music Without Understanding It series. It’s time for another in-depth look at some music, and this week, it’s The Black Keys. 

I was hoping to write something up with them earlier on, in advance of their new album coming out. Then their new album came out a week earlier than I was expecting, and there went that plan! With it out, I wanted to give it some time, check it out, and then report my thoughts. I think we’ve made it to that point!

I also just read the interview of Jack White in Rolling Stone the other day. In it, he kind of called out The Black Keys for riding in on his coat-tails – a fellow two-person rock and blues combo band, coming to popularity after The White Stripes. And I have to admit, I started listening to The Black Keys after listening to Jack White and his many projects. However, the reason I really explored them, and really started to pay attention, is different, and so I will share a bit of an introduction to the band, to why I like them, and hopefully I will leave you interested in them for their own sake!

I’m a Lonely Boy… 

If you look at The Black Keys as starting with their hit album El Camino, then yes, maybe they are just a recently-popular band without a history. After all, you probably know them from this:

And oh man, is that a catchy dance. A catchy song. It’s fantastic, and a great way to start an album. From there, I would actually describe El Camino as a musical. I can almost see it, as the album goes on. Lonely Boy is the opening act, and then it moves on from there, song by song, a narrator telling his stories, moving through a town. Interesting to think of it all as the same characters in the songs, really, as well.

This was not where I first came across The Black Keys, however. That was with their prior album, Brothers. Continue reading

The Wit and Wisdom of the Lumineers – Throwback Thursday

One of my favorite blog series I’ve done is my “Listening to Music Without Understanding It” series over on Sourcerer. I thought I would reblog it here for Throwback Thursday over the coming weeks. Enjoy!


One of the most interesting bands I have found in recent years is the Lumineers. They are hard to describe in a few words, hard to nail down to a genre or style. iTunes describes them as “front porch Americana.” Not a bad start.

I want to consider a few of the great traits of this band, to share with you what I like about this band, and to share why I think you they deserve a listen – if you haven’t already! Their eponymous first studio album came out in 2012, so I’m at least hoping there’s more to come from them soon.

In the meantime, this is a band from Denver, and I’m from Denver, and it would be neat to see them play there sometime! But for now, my sense of the Lumineers.

A Sense of History

One of the things that stands out about the Lumineers is their sense of history. They sing songs set solidly in the past, and seem to capture some of the feeling from the time. They tap back into the Roaring Twenties, World War II, and Vietnam.

Continue reading