she liked Imaginary Men best of all


Leave a comment

Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016: Music Edition (and bonus picks!)

raw

Hello Fangirls and welcome to part 3 of the Fangirls Fall Guide by yours truly and Miss Julie Kushner author of TV Recappers Anonymous (where you will also find this series cross-posted).

Speaking of recaps – so far we’ve talked about TV we love and movies that excite us and today we’re pleased to present our top picks in music for your listening enjoyment. In the words of Billy on the Street Billy Eichner: And away – we – go!

Amy’s Picks

Music you should listen to: I watch a show online called Out of Ireland. I like to save a few episodes and then put them on while I’m puttering around my kitchen on a weekend morning. I pretend I’m in my house that happens to be in Dublin! An episode this summer featured a video by the band Walking on Cars. I didn’t pay too much attention to the visuals as I was doing something domestic, but the song “Speeding Cars” sent tingles along my spine. Then I watched the video which is gorgeous and mystical (although not the visuals you expect for a song about an affair!) Finding their debut CD Everything This Way was difficult stateside and I ended up with an import. But this is the kind of music that gets me in the heart and soul. Driving, majestic, U2-esque melodies and emotional lyrics. I don’t think I singlehandedly am going to make Walking on Cars “happen” in the US, but I highly recommend checking them out on Spotify. Some really beautiful and energetic songs perfectly suited for being heard in a stadium full of chanting voices.

 

Music I am beside myself excited for: America I will never forgive you for not embracing Robbie Williams. The English mega pop star sells out stadiums throughout Europe, yet I saw him in a club venue in Boston in 1999 which, is likely the last time he ever toured here. Robbie is cheeky and outrageous. His music is often bombastic and ridiculous and he delivers it with such smirk on his face and sparkle in his eye you can’t help but get into it. Plus it’s catchy as HELL. I don’t think anyone captures the ups and downs of fame better in contemporary pop music: the love/hate of adulation, the dangers of temptation and the thrills of celebrity. On one track he’ll tell you, “I am scum”(Come Undone) and the next he’s proclaiming “I’m the one who put the Brit in celebrity” (Handsome Man) He has a new album called The Heavy Entertainment Show coming out on my birthday although sadly, I won’t be in England to get it so I’ll have to patiently wait for my lovely friend Felicity to supply me with a copy which I will play endlessly while proclaiming, “DAMN YOU AMERICA!!!”

Julie’s Picks

Music you should listen to: Meghan Trainor. For those of you out there who may have wrote off this young ingénue as a teeny bopping pop star after her first album, which, most notably, included the catchy ear worm “All About That Bass“, and the 50’s nostalgic “Dear Future Husband,” take another look. Meghan’s second album, Thank You is edgy, sassy, mature, and will make you dance uncontrollably, even when you are in places you shouldn’t be dancing (like at work, or on the NYC subway). And the song lyrics are just great. Are you having an off day? Feeling down on yourself? Check out “Me Too” (“If I was you, I’d wanna be me too.”), and your confidence will resurge in no time. Heading for a night out with the girls, you need to be playing “No,” while you are getting ready. It will make you laugh and put you in a great mood just in time to hit the dance floor. (“My name is No. My sign is No. My number is No. You need to let it go.”) Indeed!

 

Music I am excited to hear: The Weeknd – Starboy  It doesn’t take a Nostradamus to predict that this is going to be the album blowing up everybody’s Spotify this winter. Every song these guys put out there almost automatically seems like chart topping gold. And their range is so diverse. The sultry “Earned It” feels like it comes from a completely different universe from the haunting “The Hills,” and the bass thumping, booty shaking “Can’t Feel My Face.” Need more evidence? The first single off the album came out on September 28th, less than three days later it had 19 million hits on YouTube. That’s insane! Out: November 25

Bonus! Our fave podcasts for your listening enjoyment!

Amy’s Pick

I have a very particular taste in podcasts. I don’t like anything of the genre I call “Two Guys Pontificating” in which two dudes like hearing themselves talk for over an hour. This is not sexist as I also don’t like “Two Girls Pontificating” either. I prefer my podcasts to have a narrative and structure. I don’t want to spend an hour with two people of any gender basically having an often tedious personal conversation that they somehow believe should be shared with a larger audience. That is why I am such a huge fan of You Must Remember This, which “explores the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.” I LOVE The Golden Age of Hollywood and all the stars and scandals so already I was sold on this concept.

But creator Karina Longworth does the work. Every episode is meticulously researched and when she does series, such as “MGM Stories” or the recent “Six Degrees of Joan Crawford” each episode is a chapter that builds on the last and prepares you for the next. Not only is the material fascinating but it is one of the best constructed podcasts I’ve ever heard. If you think the Brangelina divorce is explosive, you should hear what some of the original movie stars were up to behind closed doors in our supposedly “more innocent” history. Recommend: Star Wars Episode III Hedy Lamarr, Frank Sinatra in Outer Space.

Julie’s Pick

Serial, Season 1: Before Making of a Murderer gained a cult following, and took Netflix by storm…before True Crime became as mainstream as reality talent shows, there was a much beloved, but little known by the general public podcast called This American Life, produced by an enterprising woman named Sarah Koenig, who introduced us to the obsession we now know as SerialIn 1999, 18-year old Hae Min Lee, then a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, was murdered. Her body was found in the nearby Leakin Park, hastily buried in a shallow grave. The cause of death: manual strangulation. The chief suspect: Adnan Sayed, also a senior at Woodlawn High School, and Hae Min’s former boyfriend.

serial

There were a number of “bad facts” that pointed to Adnan as Hae Min’s killer. Cell phone towers pinged his location to be close to the murder site around the time the murder was said to have occurred. Witnesses saw Adnan offer Hae Min a ride home from school in his car that day. And, perhaps most damning of all, an associate of Adnan’s Jay Wilds admitted to helping Adnan bury Hae Min’s body.

Adnan was eventually arrested, tried and convicted of Hae Min Lee’s murder. But did he actually do it? Was the trial against him fair? Did he receive adequate counsel from his lawyer, who was disbarred shortly thereafter? Throughout this binge-worthy series that has spawned thousands of obsessive fansites to catalog and extensively discuss each aspect of the case, Sarah Koenig does an excellent job of exploring and unpacking, what, up until this point was a locally known “cold case” mystery. Without taking sides or placing blame, Sarah, through her investigations raises some very important questions, about the reliability of eyewitness testimony, particularly when most of those witnesses are teenagers, the accuracy of cell phone records, particularly in 1999, when the technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is now, and the necessity of a good defense attorney, and whether the lack of one prevents an accused person from receiving a fair trial. Sarah even interviews Adnan himself from jail numerous times, allowing viewers to judge for themselves whether he is, in fact, guilty.

The popularity of Serial (to date the podcasts have received over 80 million downloads) and its reinvigoration of interest in Adnan’s case, actually turned the tide of justice, resulting in Adnan receiving a new trial, nearly a decade after his initial conviction. So, if you aren’t one of those 80 million downloads, I highly recommend you jump on this bandwagon and enter the cult that is Series 1 of Serial. I promise you, you won’t sleep until you’ve heard the entire series from start to finish…

Get your tablets and smartphones ready because next time we tackle websites and apps!

For more check out Amy’s book The Fangirl Files: True Tales and Tips from the Fandom Frontlines and Julie’s novels on Amazon.


Leave a comment

New Album Crush: Mumford & Sons

Before David Letterman retired he had Mumford & Sons on to perform from their latest album. I don’t know a lot about them other than I didn’t like much of their previous work and that they were vaguely associated with hipsters (this may be more my own judgement and less fact).

The song, “Believe” stunned me. I rewound about 4 or 5 times because I kept falling more in love with it. In the last few weeks I have been listening to the album Wilder Mind a lot and I absolutely love it. It is rare for me to find an album where I like each and every song and yet that is exactly what has happened with this one.

In doing some poking around I’ve found that perhaps the reason I am loving M&S so much is that this album sounds very different than their previous ones! I always thought of them as sort of folksy and twee but now they sound like a catchy hybrid of U2 and Foo Fighters which I know sounds totally bizarre but they have got the soaring anthemic guitars of U2 happening (“Believe”, “Tompkins Square Park”) and the slow burn to a loud crescendo “whisper to a riot” that Foo Fighters are masters of (“Snake Eyes”, “Only Love”)

The other thing is that there’s a lot of sad-relationship-bitterness-heartbreak in this album. The songs are all about painful realizations and last moments and it’s making me feel heartbreaky even though my heart is fully safe. THAT is a mark of good songwriting and songs if it’s making you feel something that you’re not actually experiencing at that moment. It’s evocative and makes me long for a good Cheesy Teen Drama to watch and then enhance with these angsty lyrics!

So I guess I’m one of those annoying johnny-come-lately-fans that hardcore fans always hate. Does liking Mumford & Sons make me a hipster now? Please advise.


Leave a comment

An Ode to Dave

In my early teens I developed an obsession with Late Night with David Letterman. I’m not sure how I discovered it but it must have coincided with when we got a VCR which allowed me to tape episodes (given that 12:30AM was much too late to be up on a school night!)

For much of my teen years I was an avid fan and would record a week’s worth of shows and then spend the weekend watching them. I even kept a notebook with a dedicated pen to write down my favorite quotes and skits that the show did. There was “Bridget Jackson’s TV Nest Egg” where he had a staffer who was getting married come on and perform to earn different amounts of money towards her wedding (for example, $600 for doing a puppet show); during a writer’s strike Dave had a fountain built in front of his desk that he called “The Dancing Waters” and every night he’d introduce it and Paul would tinkle on the piano and they’d light up the fountain – and – that was it. That was the bit! When he tired of that they changed it up and added various other liquids (milk or Windex) and re-named it “The Prancing Fluids”; there was his crush on Connie Chung (one of my favorite bits was him spending the day running errands with her and deriding her need to get “shoe trees for Murray” – her husband and Dave’s romantic nemesis Maury Povich); there was the woman in the building opposite 30 Rock that he started calling randomly and chatting with; or yelling demented things through a bullhorn at an annoyed Bryant Gumbel as the “Today Show” tried to shoot.

Dave was absurd, irreverent, caustic, snarky, hilarious and sharp. He made me realize what made me laugh the most and what I wanted to emulate in my own humor were those very same qualities. I truly idolized David Letterman and that notebook was my way of keeping track of what it took to BE David Letterman. In all honesty I wanted to grow up and inherit his show when he retired. With that deadline looming TONIGHT I clearly did not reach that particular goal. I could have possibly come close at one point: in college I was looking for summer internships and found one on The Late Show. By then my Dave Worship had dwindled but seeing that there was a possibility that I could actually WORK on his show pulled me right back in. As I scanned the requirements I found I did not meet an important one: I was not a Communications major therefore I couldn’t receive credit which was required as part of the Late Show Internship program. Once again, my Dave Dreams were dashed.

So Dave was a big part of my formative years and he was also strangely a comfort during a particularly rough time in my life. When I was 15 and my parents told me about their separation I went numb and curled into a fetal position on my bed. I remember them gently asking me if I would like the TV moved into my room so I could “watch Dave” and I nodded and the TV was set up next to my bed where I watched with glazed over eyes and willed Dave to make me forget what was going on outside my door. I don’t remember anything about the episode other than being grateful for the familiarity of Dave doing his monologue when everything else had just been turned inside out.

But their eventual divorce did lead me to another grand plan and that was to get my mother to marry Dave and have him adopt me, therefore making me an actual, legitimate heir to his talk show crown. My mom however, didn’t warm to this plan citing Dave’s cigar smoking as a deal breaker (around the same time Letterman had an actual stalker who was always claiming to be his wife so it is likely this particular plan would not have gotten very far.)

Last year when he announced his retirement I realized that I probably wasn’t even going to fulfill probably the easiest Dave Goal to reach and that was to go to a taping of his show. The last few weeks I’ve been DVR’ing the Late Show and getting very nostalgic and even weepy about my youthful adoration of Dave and all his silliness. In recent years when I’ve caught the show he seemed bored at best, cranky at worst. In this home stretch he’s loosened up considerably and it’s reminded me how funny he is and how big a part of my life he’s been these last thirty years.

Late night TV is a changed landscape and now the entire point of a talk show seems to be getting a good clip that will go viral the next day – the Jimmy’s are the co-kings of this. But Dave is still old school and I’m sure CBS is a little relieved he’s decided to go and that the more viral-friendly Stephen Colbert is coming.

Just watching the final Top Ten lists has made me a little weepy so I fully expect to be a sobbing baby when I watch his final show. I truly feel it’s not just a man who is retiring but an entire form of entertainment – the last original late night talk show. He’s going out with a lot of accolades and deserved thanks from comedians and other hosts who would not have careers without the goofy and hysterical path he paved. But to me he’ll always be the guy who made me want to be as funny as he was when I was still finding out who I was.

Letterman Final

 


Leave a comment

Band Dynamic Documentaries

Tonight VH1 is premiering the Backstreet Boys documentary Show em What You’re Made Of and I think you should watch it. I say this not as a BSB fan but as a fan of anything that involves uncovering the fascinating world of band dynamics.

I recently read Mick Fleetwood’s autobiography Play On: Now, Then and Fleetwood Mac because for my money there is no band with more incredibly complex, deranged inter-band dynamics then Fleetwood Mac. Marriage between members? Check. Affairs between members? Check. Break-ups between members who then make the person they dumped sing songs about how awful their break-up was on-stage to thousands of fans? CHECK. Their episode of Behind the Music is well worth 45 minutes of your life.

Less romantically tangled but just as fascinating to this U2 fanatic is the near destruction of the band pre-Achtung Baby detailed in Bill Flanagan’s U2: At the End of the World and explored further in the band’s own documentary on the experience in From the Sky Down. Coming off of a decade of unparalleled success the members find themselves on opposing sides when it comes time to define themselves for the 90’s and nearly fall apart until they stumble into One.

And the king of all band dynamic documentaries is surely Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster which details abrupt departures, rehab stints, long buried animosities, and the band partaking in some of the craziest “group therapy” you’ll ever see. I am not a Metallica fan but I was enraptured by this film and the exploration of the complexities of being in a band and staying in a band, sharing your life, livelihood, emotions and talents with multiple other people who may not always have the same agenda or investment.

Which brings me back to the Backstreet Boys and their documentary detailing the making of their latest album In a World Like This and the subsequent tour. I watched it on VOD when it as released a few months ago and it hits all the sweet spots of a good band dynamic documentary: the camaraderie and frictions, the long-standing tensions and love for each other and the music. There was always a lot of backstage drama with BSB – the contract lawsuits, Brian’s heart problems, AJ’s addictions, Nick’s arrests – they were basically a documentary waiting to happen. The group visits to each member’s childhood home reveals a lot about each guy not just to the audience but to their other band members (the one to Nick Carter’s elementary school and his reunion with a teacher who supported him is heartbreaking as Nick’s very raw breakdown at the memory of what a lonely little boy he was and what kindness and faith this woman showed him is difficult to watch.)

So I don’t think you have to be a fan of a particular band to find their story and their relationships interesting. In some cases seeing the non-glossy, not-so-glamorous reality of what being in a band is actually like makes me appreciate them in a way I wouldn’t have if it was just about listening to their music. Check out any of these docs I’ve mentioned and you can start tonight on VH1 🙂


3 Comments

Of U2 Covers and Candy Soulmates

My British BFF Felicity went to see The Killers in London this weekend and made sure she got this video:

Because she knows how much I love Brandon Flowers covering songs by U2!!

And because she’s the World’s Most Awesome Candy Soulmate, she also sent me THIS for my birthday!!

 

FUCK YEAH CADBURY!!!


2 Comments

Mullen Monday: Best Skirts EVER!!

This summer I stopped by a local music festival with The World’s Best Boyfriend and while he was snapping some pics, I strolled over to browse the arts and crafty area. The very first thing that caught my eye was this:

Um yes THAT IS A U2 SKIRT!! And not just any U2 skirt but one from the Achtung Baby era which is of course only my FAVORITE U2 ALBUM EVER!!!!

This masterpiece is the creation of Sardine Clothing Company and it’s called a “T-Skirt” because it’s made out of old t-shirts and it’s just as comfortable as one! Their creator Maryanne is also a U2 fan and had some other tour shirts in her stash so she created this one for me to give to the Awesome Jill for her birthday:

 

That one has TWICE the U2 and Jill was absolutely thrilled. Maryanne also does custom orders – you just send her the shirts – so don’t think I haven’t been going through my tour shirt collection to figure out the perfect creation 😉

My only disappointment is that there is no U2 tour coming up for me to twirl around in this because let me tell you, anytime I wear it I get plenty of compliments and attention because It. Is. Awesome.

 


6 Comments

He’s real and he’s spectacular!

So the last few years I’ve had all this trouble with Stupid Real Life Boys. And of course I have a lot of Imaginary Boyfriends. But something funny happened recently – I got myself a Real Live Not At All Douchey and in Fact Totally Amazing Real Life Boyfriend!! I KNOW!! RIGHT?!??

Source

Just how amazing is he? Well he walked into my 16 Year Old Girl Bedroom home office which contains (among other things): an enormous Brandon Flowers poster, Backstreet Boys nesting dolls, Vampire Diaries paraphenalia, and a Wall of Men 3.0 – and instead of turning on his heels and running he exclaimed with utter enthusiasm:

This is awesome!

Did you hear that? It was my heart having joyful palpitations 😉

And he doesn’t bat an eye at my crazy shenanigans of chasing bands and obsessing on TV shows! He even offered to see Magic Mike with me! AND he said with absolutely no prompting whatsoever – that if a Backstreet Boys museum existed “I would go with you.” Did you get that part? How I didn’t even ask that?!? (and for the record – why doesn’t that exist goddamnit?!? I already have a date for it!)

I feel like anytime I talk about him I turn into a total gushing girlie. He’s a bit of a fanboy himself about movies and directors – breathlessly calling the night he got to meet one of his directing idols, “the best night of my life” which I took as one of the signs we were on the same wavelength about the stuff we love. He’s so great and he’s CUTE! Let me just say that his celebrity doppelganger is someone we like to call Jake Gyllenhaal:

Laugh it up Jake – you’ve been replaced!

Source

A friend of mine said, “you’ve obsessed so much on imaginary men that it’s almost like you dreamed him up!” And if it weren’t for the fact that she and other people have also seen/heard/observed that he is indeed a real guy and not one in my head – it makes this exchange from last week all the sweeter:

Setting: Save a Prayer by Duran Duran is on TV

Me: That’s my husband John Taylor

Him: Hi John Taylor!

Me: I mean, you don’t have to worry because I’ve been waiting for him to marry me since I was 13 – but if he WERE to show up – I would have to leave you

Him: OK. You should tweet him and tell him he’s your husband

Me: DON’T THINK I HAVEN’T TRIED!!!!

Even better – one found me that thinks I’m perfect the way I am – in all my Crazy Fangirl Glory and really, what more can one ask for?