Happy Canada Day with The Barenaked Ladies!

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Happy (Late) Canada Day!

Two years ago, I wrote a post about Jane Child to celebrate Canada’s Independence. This year, I want to talk about the Barenaked Ladies and their infamous song, “One Week”.

Before you say “Wait, what?”, hear me out! “One Week” was one of the musical themes during the fourth grade. I still remember riding in my mom’s car, hearing then-musical newcomers such as Britney Spears, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and etc. on the radio, and debating which boy band member was the best during lunch time. Even though the Barenaked Ladies weren’t technically new when they released “One Week” in 1998 (as they formed ten years earlier), they were pretty new to me as well as the United States music scene back then.

Why was “One Week” such a popular song back in the 90s? You have to admit, the musicality of the song isn’t anything amazing; a basic 90s’ rock song that doesn’t have any amazing vocals nor instrumental solo that really stand out. Yet, the answer doesn’t lie in the musicality, but more in the lyrics. These lines are oozing with multiple pop culture references.  As someone wrote on the song’s Wikipedia article: “The song is rife with pop culture references, which includes the following: Aquaman, Swiss Chalet, LeAnn Rimes, Bert Kaempfert, The X-Files and its character, The Smoking Man, the film Frantic and its star Harrison Ford, Sting and tantric sex, Snickers, sushi and wasabi, golf clubs, the film Vertigo, Akira Kurosawa and his film Seven Samurai, Sailor Moon, A Tribe Called Quest’s song “Scenario”, Birchmount Stadium and its annual Robbie International Soccer Tournament.”[1]

These popular references give listeners something to relate to. For example, I have watched X-Files with the lights on (who hasn’t done this?). — though I had to because I watched X-Files as a young girl and let me tell you, that show was scary as hell when you are young. Another example is the Sailor Moon reference. Whenever this song came on the radio, I would always wait for my favorite part, which was when the band’s vocalist Ed Robertson sang: “Gotta get in tune with Sailor Moon Cause that cartoon has got the boom anime babes”. I was beginning to become a big fan of Sailor Moon when this song came out twenty years ago. So, when I heard it being mentioned in a hit song, I became super excited: someone famous knows my favorite anime, and put it in a popular song!

Robertson also makes this song addictive to sing to with his smooth style of rapping during the verses. The cleverness of how Robertson writes the lyrics also makes anyone want to sing this at karaoke.

“One Week” might not be memorable as a talented musical piece like Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always As Love You”. But with its bouncy rhymes and pop culture references, the song made listeners excited to listen for our favorite pop culture items inside the tune back in the 90s. Now, it lets us reminiscence on 90s’ pop culture.

Were you are big of “One Week” back in the day?


About the Band:

Barenaked Ladies is a Canadian rock band with four members: Jim Creeggan (vocals and bass), Kevin Hearn (guitar, keyboard, and vocals), Ed Robertson (guitar and vocals) and Tyler Stewart (vocals and drums). Barenaked Ladies formed in 1988 in Ontario as a duo (Robertson and Steven Page). The band kept adding members afterward with brothers Jim and Andy Creeggan joining at the end of 1989 and Stewart was added in 1990. When Andy Creeggan left the group in 1995, he was replaced by Kevin Hearn. Also, Steven Page retired in 2009.

The group released their first album, named “Buck Naked” in 1988 as a cassette tape under a indies label. The became popular when they released their third indies album, named “The Yellow Tape”, in 1991. The album reached #9 on the Canadian charts. Due to the success of “The Yellow Tape”, the band signed with the major label Reprise a year after and released “Gordon”, which reached #1 on the charts. They broke into the US music market in 1998 with the release of “Stunt”, which reached #3 on the charts there.

The band is still active as a quartet as they released the album “Fake Nude” last year.


References:

[1] “One Week (Song).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 June 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Week_(song).

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The Mid-Year Review (2016 Version)

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It has been half a year! Time has mostly definitely flown by! I am sorry that this blog wasn’t as active like last year. Work has been extremely busy since the beginning of the school year (aka April) where I would just come home, cook dinner, take a shower, and go to bed extra early.  I also worked six days a week. I felt like I was working too much and not getting the necessary sleep I needed.

But! Everything has changed as I now work 5 days a week. I also have ample time to sleep and relax on a new bed. That’s right, a new bed! I was sleeping Japanese style for the past year with a bunch of futons and mattress piled on a hard wooden floor. But now I have an actual bed, I am able to sleep more peacefully now.

Enough of talking about the love of my life, I mean, my bed and my life. Let’s talk about music! Here are the top 5 most popular blog entries from January to July 2016!


5. Reporting Live: Sakura Cinderella near Nagoya Station (August 8,2015)  (Written on January 12, 2016)

Sakura Cinderella is another “local idol” group here in Nagoya. Unlike Idol Kyoshitsu who performs in another company’s sushi restaurant,  these girls perform in their own cafe near Nagoya Station. Formed in 2014, this AKB48 copycat group performs in their cafe every day and does street lives all over the city. Named after one of the main streets “Sakura Street”, Sakura Cinderella’s catchphrase is “Tidy and pretty true idols”.

Read more here.

4. Get ready for the Olympics with Kobushi Factory (Written on July 17, 2016)

It is less than three weeks to the 2016 Summer Olympics that will be held in Rio de Janeiro. But, everyone is preparing for the major event of the year by releasing merchandise, airing the pre-game qualifiers on TV, talking about it on every morning show, and incorporating themes of the games and Rio de Janeiro in film and music.  This is no exception to Hello! Project, who has started a trend of providing Olympic-themed songs in the last five years.

Read more here.

3. My Thoughts on Eurovision (Written on May 15, 2016)

Eurovision 2016 has already come and go. There were really exceptional acts, good acts, and worst ones. As there were 26 performers for the four hours final, it will take me a while to get through all the acts. So, if I can remind myself to do it, there will be a part two next week to cover the other performances.

Read More Here.

2. Boogie Woogie Into Saturday Night with Morning Musume (Written on May 22, 2016)

One of my all-time favorite Japanese pop girl group just released their 61st single! Yes, you read it right, 61st! Although, I did talk about their 60thabout six months ago. Nevertheless. Morning Musume always impresses their fans with the ability to successfully reinvent themselves for the past 18 years.

Now, the 61st is a Triple A single, with the songs being ‘Tokyo to Iu Katsumi”, “The Vision”, and “Utakata Saturday Night”. I won’t be talking about all three songs as that could be a huge essay that could bore you and that I wasn’t really digging two of the songs from the single.

Read more here.

1. Celebrating Canada Day with Don’t Wanna Fall in Love by Jane Child (Written on July 5, 2015)

Over the past twenty or so years. many Canadian artists have been featured and became immensely popular all over the world. Barenaked Ladies, musical goddess Celine Dion, rock-pop princess Avril Lavigne, “boy wonder” Justin Bieber (which you should check out his new single with Skrillex), and others. But, none were more eccentric or skillful at playing the keyboards than today’s featured artist.

Read more here.

Celebrating Canada Day with Don’t Wanna Fall in Love by Jane Child

janechild-dontwannafallinlove

Happy Canada Day to all my readers!

Over the past twenty or so years. many Canadian artists have been featured and became immensely popular all over the world. Barenaked Ladies, musical goddess Celine Dion, rock-pop princess Avril Lavigne, “boy wonder” Justin Bieber (which you should check out his new single with Skiillex), and others. But, none were more eccentric or skillful at playing the keyboards than today’s featured artist.

Jane Child was born and raised in “The Big Smoke”, Toronto. She came from a musical family as her mother was opera singer Lorraine Johnson and her father was violinist Ricky Hyslop. Growing up, she sang in various chours including the children’s choir at the Canadian Opera Company. By her teenage years, Jane started to create her own bizarre fashion styles as she had braided hair with a mohawk, nose chains, and the Sinead O’Connor-type of clothing.

Sometime near the late 80s, Jane was offered a recording contract with the label Warner Bros to write and produce her own music. She released her self-titled debut album in the fall of 1989  It produced a couple of singles, including the hit “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love”. That single was featured on many top 40 charts in various countries, including #2 on the US Billboard 100. Jane released a follow-up album, named “Here Not There”, four years later, which was not as successful as her first one. By the late 90s and early 2000s, Jane Child faded from the spotlight as she worked in many indies outlets with her husband Cat Gray.

“Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” is a pure synthesized keyboard pop song with some R&B thrown into it. You can hear the R&B influences within the first fifteen seconds of the song with the mid-range, twangy melody to introduce the song. After that, the song keeps going with Jane’s meticulous use of the keyboard. She really knows how to master a keyboard with the techniques she displays during this song. One of my favorite parts of the song happens to be the modulated chords before the first verse. As you could see in the video, Jane plays with such raw emotions that you can even feel it while listening to “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love”, especially when she rams the modulation switch back and forth while pounding away on her keyboard. Other great parts are at the musical interlude (she has some amaaaaazing keyboard skills here because I haven’t heard or seen a person play like that ever, or maybe I have…) and at the big musical exposition with Jane moving up the scale before the last chorus.

The other prominent aspect of this song is Jane Child’s vocals. Her vocal style reminds me a lot of Avril Lavigine’s as both are, as you could. classified as “rock meets pop” vocals. Although Jane’s are more nasally and trying to emulate a R&B style in this song, both ladies put that “oomph” that you can only hear in a rock or R&B song. You can hear this particular vocal style during the second verse when she sings “And you have started sinking in, Whoa baby you’re way out of line now”. When she sings like this, it intensifies the song’s emotion. Sadly, I feel like she has lost that fiery vocal style recently. If you take a look at the performance on “The Wayne Brady Show” below, she can barely sing  “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” with ok vocals.

Besides that, you should listen to “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” as it displays Jane’s amazing keyboard skills and fiery vocals. The song is one of my most recent favorites because it’s an amazing song that you can’t really attach a label to it. Sure, it’s a mixture of rock (as it’s edgy), synthesized dance music (hey, keyboards), and R&B (see “wooo” and “oh baby” vocal parts), you can’t exactly say it solely belongs in one genre. It belongs in many.

Please give it a listen and tell me what you think!

A 2004 performance of the song on the “Wayne Brady Show”: