Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘songs’

Christmas Album Wish List

Are you ready for Christmas music? As a music fan, I enjoy buying new Christmas music every year from my favorite artists. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of Christmas albums — everything from Amy Grant and Cyndi Lauper to En Vogue and Kenny Chesney. This year brings new seasonal music from Fantasia, Gwen Stefani and Sia. It seems like every artist records a Christmas album (or at least a song) over the course of their career. Here are the artists I hope to hear Christmas music from in the near future:

 

Superstars

  • Madonna. She only did “Santa Baby” on the “A Very Special Christmas” album. Image if she brought her song craft to some Christmas originals. I would love it, but I have serious doubts she will ever do it.
  • Bruce Springsteen. He has a Christmas song too, but no album as of yet. I can’t think of any rock Christmas albums. A mix of old and new would be music to many Boss lovers.
  • Diana Ross. Sure, she did an album with the Supremes, and even a solo Christmas album in 1994 — but it was never released in America. Isn’t time it came out here, or she recorded new takes on Christmas classics. She could call on her children to help her out.
  • Janet Jackson. Wouldn’t you love to hear what Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Janet would do with a batch of holiday tunes? I am sure we would be dancing around the Christmas tree!

 

Current Pop Stars

  • Rihanna. She is one of the most consistent hit-makers of the last decade. She always find ways to surprise her fans with her music. I would love to see this happen.
  • Lady GaGa. Yeah, she isn’t as popular as she used to be — but she can still sing as evidenced by this year’s Super Bowl. She could do an album of very traditional songs with Tony Bennett, or a dance-pop Christmas album. I would be interested in both.

 

Country

  • Dierks Bentley. Hunky county star Dierks could do a bluegrass Christmas album or a modern country pop album. He would shine on the CMA Christmas special I am sure.
  • Carrie Underwood. Vocal powerhouse Carrie Underwood would be sure to be a bestseller, if she ever releases a holiday album. I am sure there would be a few spiritual songs on there. Another one that I could see being a #1 album.
  • Little Big Town. This group, that I describe as a country version of Fleetwood Mac, is known for their trademark vocal harmonies. A good mix of traditional songs plus a few new tunes too would be a winning formula.

 

Divas

  • Taylor Dayne. Taylor has one of the most distinctive voices of the 80-90’s. I could see her putting her own spin on some Christmas favorites. “Tell It to my Heart, Santa” could be a good title for one song.
  • Jill Scott. I heard she was great at the Hollywood Bowl this past summer. A soulful holiday celebration, with a few gospel tinged numbers would be great.
  • Angie Stone. Another big-voiced R&B diva. She has worked with Josh Groban in the past, and Justin Timberlake is a fan too. Imagine a Christmas duets album, that would be something different in the market.
  • Jennifer Lopez. Can you think of a Latin pop Christmas album? Neither can I. Just imagine all the guest stars she could pull in for the accompanying TV special… Pitbull, Enrique, Marc Anthony, Lin-Manual, and more.
  • Britney Spears. She’s only done 1 Christmas song in the past. How about a Christmas album to tie us over till her next all-new pop album? I would love to hear her take on holiday classics, and a few choice new tunes too.

 

80’s

  • The Human League. The ground-breaking new-wave group could bring something new to the table for sure. I would definitely be up for this.
  • Bon Jovi. Jon and the crew would definitely rock the holiday. Again, a mix of new and old songs would be just right. Maybe even call in former duet partner, Jennifer Nettles.
  • Belinda Carlisle. The voice of the 80’s girl band, The Go-Go’s. Plus she had a decent solo career too. Songs about Christmas in L.A., or maybe songs with some hippie-dippy vibes.
  • Duran Duran. Another big 80’s band. They could call in Mark Ronson or Nile Rodgers (both of whom they worked with before) to produce the album for them. I would love to hear them take on some original songs.

 

Boy Bands

  • Backstreet Boys. NSync did a holiday album back in the day, surprisingly BSB did not. It is never too late. Call up Max Martin and get this one going. I am sure it would sell well for them.
  • One Direction. With the members all enjoying varying degrees of solo success, it may be awhile before we get to this album. But they are good singers, and would definitely bring something different to the table.

And that’s my list! Did I miss anyone? Did I leave out one of your favorites? Please sound off in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Top Ten Madonna Performances

In the 30+ years of Madonna’s career, she has only gone on tour 9 times. The tours were: The Virgin Tour, Who’s That Girl Tour, Blonde Ambition Tour, The Girlie Show, The Drowned World Tour, The Re-Invention Tour, Confessions Tour, Sticky & Sweet Tour and MDNA Tour. She just won the award for Top Tour on the Billboard Music Awards this past week. In honor of Madonna’s latest tour coming to TV on Epix (plus a DVD later in 2013), I thought I would count down what I think are her 10 Best Live Performances:Madonna 2013

Like a Virgin (Blonde Ambition)
Who could forget the staging on this one? Madonna in gold lame with cone bra with 2 male dancers in exaggerated cone bras too, in some sort of harem/middle Eastern setting. And ending with a simulated masturbation sequence. Great lead in for the religious segment of the show.

American Life (Re-Invention Tour)
So the album was a flop, but the tour was not. Madonna gave us a hard rock version of this song. The dancers were dressed in military fatigues, while images of war and casualties played on video screens. There were some dancers dressed as religious figures (priest, nun, etc.). Plus dramatic use of a descended walkway.

Music Inferno (Confessions Tour)
I was absolutely going crazy during this one when I saw it. Madonna in a white suit inspired by “Saturday night Fever” as well as the lighted multi-color dance floor from the movie too. Plus John Travolta’s famous choreography from his dance solo in the film too. This was an awesome number!

Sky Fits Heaven (Drowned World Tour)
One of my lesser favorite tours only because of the lack of oldies, this was one of the stand-outs for me. The number had Madonna in a geisha oufit — swinging and flying around the stage like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Holiday (Who’s That Girl Tour)
Pure joy! Madonna has always had love for this song, and often reworks it for her shows. Celebrating her first stadium tour, this was her most elaborate show up to that point. Madonna, her band and dancers perform a high-energy routine that has everyone on their feet.

Give Me All Your Lovin (MDNA Tour)
From her most recent tour, Madonna as drum majorette leading cheerleaders and drummers in a high-stepping, demanding routine. She worked the V-shaped stage down front, and also had drummers suspended from the ceiling too.

Into the Groove (The Virgin Tour)
She has definitely had bigger productions of this on later tours, but the simplicity of the production is part of her charm here. This was her first tour, and it was obvious she was a star. Just Madonna (with a tambourine) and 2 male singer/dancers.

Give It to Me (Sticky & Sweet Tour)
Her 2nd time doing a stadium tour in the US, this was the finale song for this tour. An amped-up version compared to the album version, the set was inspired by video games and after the 2-hour show she performed, the lyrics took on new significance (No One’s Going to Stop Me!).

Fever (The Girlie Show)
Sadly, I never got to see this tour live as the show never came to Los Angeles. It was her take on the Peggy Lee classic “Fever” with her and 2 hot scantily-clad male dancers working it for all their worth. It ended with the 3 of them surrounded by flames as they descended under the stage.

Live to Tell (Confessions Tour)
Never one to shy away from controversy, this one had Madonna hanging from a mirrored cross with a crown of thorns on her head. Behind her on the video screens showed images of poverty and destruction caused by the AIDS crisis in Africa with emphasis on all the AIDS orphans. My take on it was she was saying that we should be like Jesus and do something to help these people.

With so many great performances through out her long and varied career, it was hard to narrow it down to just 10 songs. So did I get it right? Did I leave out one of your favorites? I would love to hear from you. I am sure I will be adding to this list after future tours.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is almost here. This time of year always flies by for me. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. One of the most exciting Christmases of my childhood was when I got my Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. As an adult, the one that stands out was when my partner got 2 cockatiels for me for Christmas, Adam and Steve.Christmas 2010

Every family has their traditions. Here are some of mine:

  1. Christmas music. We always had a lot of Christmas music around our house growing up. My Mom had these compilations with a variety of stars on them like Andy Williams and Rosemary Clooney. Plus she had the Christmas albums from Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Nat King Cole and the Carpenters. I loved Barbra’s “Jingle Bells” especially — she does a very fun version of it. Now as an adult, I have quite a collection of Christmas CDs — everyone from NSync to Amy Grant to Donna Summer to Josh Groban. If someone in the last 30 years has put out a Christmas CD, I probably have it!
  2. Christmas caroling. This warrants its own listing. Besides listening to a lot of music, we sang a lot too. We sang at church and at home too. I went to Catholic grammar school and the kids of the school often sang at one mass on Sundays including at Christmas too. At home, we would sing Christmas carols at parties with family and neighbors. My mom made up these song sheets of Christmas carols, everything from “Rudolph” to “Silent Night.” We would even go to the neighbor’s houses and sing for them too. One my favorite parts of the celebration would be the singing of “12 Days of Christmas.” So everyone would pick out a random verse of the song out of a bowl, and then you would be responsible for that verse… Everyone always wanted “5 Golden Rings” as that is the biggest most dramatic verse to have. Now we have my nieces and their families in on the tradition too.
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