Posted in Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: A 2016 Reflection

This is the final Thursday of 2016 and as this is a nostalgia column, I felt it would be appropriate to take a minute for reflection. In the world of pop culture and entertainment, this has been a rough one. An overwhelming number of celebrities died this year, including David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman and, as of Tuesday, Carrie Fisher.

Fuck you, 2016. Just . . . fuck you.
Fuck you, 2016.
Just . . . fuck you.

When a celebrity dies, social media is often filled with tributes to the deceased, sometimes with a short “RIP Princess Leia” and other times with a long, heartfelt message. And then, sure enough, some asshole comes along and says something to the effect of how stupid it is for people to mourn a celebrity they didn’t even know when people die all the time.

Basically this kid, but with a Facebook account and an over-inflated sense of superiority because they feel nothing at the death of another human being.
Basically this kid, but with a Facebook account
and an over-inflated sense of superiority
because they feel nothing at the death of another human being.

Although people may not have known the celebrity personally, that doesn’t mean the public doesn’t have a reason to mourn. Movies, music, television shows, and books can have profound impacts on us as people. Hell, that’s the whole reason I get to have this column–we loved stuff decades ago and its presence shaped our childhood and adolescence.

This movie is integral to who I am as a person. Also, Bette Midler isn't allowed to die. Ever.
This movie is integral to who I am as a person.
Also, Bette Midler isn’t allowed to die.
Ever.

When a celebrity dies, we are mourning not only the loss of an individual but also the loss of what might have been, what more they could have done. The beautiful memories of these people live on but the chance for more has been taken away. There will never be a new single from David Bowie, Alan Rickman will never star in another movie, and the Star Wars universe just got a little darker.

*whispers* "Meesa gonna be the new princess. . ."
*whispers*
“Meesa gonna be the new princess. . .”

That reasoning might sound a little selfish–“THEY’RE DEAD, THERE’S NOTHING LEFT TO CONSUME!”–but that’s not how I mean it. Many of the people we’ve lost in 2016 are devastating due to what they meant to their fans. Take David Bowie–the dude was weird as fuck. But by being weird as fuck, he let other people, younger kids especially, know it was okay to be weird, too.

Sometimes, being a space oddity pays off.

Carrie Fisher was like that too. In her portrayal of Princess Leia, she showed multiple generations that you can be a woman and a total badass and you don’t need some guy to save you. Even when she’s captured by Jabba the Hut, she doesn’t sit around waiting for Luke and Han to save her–she strangles Jabba to death because she’s got shit to do.

"Fuck you and your oppression bikini!"
“Fuck you and your oppression bikini!”

You don’t need to personally know someone in order for your life to be touched by them or their work. A loss is still a loss and people need to be given time to mourn and reflect, and 2016 has certainly given us a lot to think about. If you feel the need, take your time to be sad. That’s okay, despite what that dick on Facebook says. I’ll see you next week with our regularly scheduled nostalgia nonsense.

Posted in Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: “Bitter Sweet Symphony”

Inspired by last week’s column, I decided to revisit one of my favorite one-hit wonders from a band that was completely destroyed by The Rolling Stones.

When the world ends in nuclear war, only the cockroaches and Keith Richards will survive.
When the world ends in nuclear war,
only the cockroaches and Keith Richards will survive.

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” is the signature song of The Verve, a British rock group. You probably recognize it from the end of Cruel Intentions:

This song is off of the band’s third album, Urban Hymns, which was released in 1997. The band had enjoyed some moderate success in the UK but it wasn’t until this album–and specifically “Bitter Sweet Symphony”–that this band found international success. Before recording this song, The Verve got permission to sample four bars of an orchestral version of the Stones’ song, “The Last Time” by Andrew Loog Oldham. However, once “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was released and got insanely popular, this guy decided he didn’t like it:

Keith Motherfucking Richards
Keith Motherfuckin’ Richards

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger then sued The Verve for copyright infringement, claiming that The Verve had relied too heavily on the original song. Vanilla Ice blatantly ripped off Queen and lied about it but no, let’s go after the group that legally acquired permission to use four bars of a cover of a Stones song. The Verve argued that they didn’t violate the copyright permission, but it didn’t matter. Because they’re Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and can afford better lawyers because they’re the goddamn Rolling Stones, they won the lawsuit which entitled them not only to the songwriting credit, but 100% of the royalties because fuck you, The Verve, that’s why.

Dicks.

The Verve never really recovered from this huge hit and they disbanded two years later. They’ve reunited a few times for tours, but all anyone really wants to hear is “Bitter Sweet Symphony” which probably stings a little. It’s sweet because people want to hear their music but bitter because of all the legal issues and the association with the demise of the band. It’s a bittersweet symphony, if you will.

I’ll show myself out.

Several artists have subsequently covered or sampled “Bitter Sweet Symphony” including Beyonce, Madonna, Kanye West, and Limp Bizkit, the latter of which kind of feels like adding insult to injury.

Looking at Fred Durst just makes me want to wash my hands.
Looking at Fred Durst just makes
me want to wash my hands.

This song was also played at Super Bowl XLIX when the Seattle Seahawks took the field. I imagine it worked equally well as a depressing song to listen to on the bus ride home after coach Pete Carroll made one of the stupidest play calls ever made in football.

WHY WOULD YOU THROW IT WHEN YOU'RE A SNEEZE AWAY FROM THE END ZONE AND YOU HAVE MARSHAWN LYNCH?!?!?!?! WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?
WHY WOULD YOU THROW IT WHEN YOU’RE A SNEEZE AWAY FROM THE END ZONE AND YOU HAVE MARSHAWN LYNCH?!?!?!?!
WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I’m not saying it’s the song’s fault, but you don’t hear my team listening to the curse of Keith Richards this song.

I'm just sayin'.
I’m just sayin’.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Posted in Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: “Rico Suave”

If that slimy feeling you get when a creepy dude hits on you had a theme song, it would be “Rico Suave.”

“Rico Suave” was a 1990 single by Ecuadorian rapper Gerardo, and it’s basically four minutes of him repeating “Rico Suave” in the creepiest sexiest way possible. In between pelvic thrusts, Gerardo raps a bilingual brag of his prowess with the ladies, which is understandable because I don’t know how any woman would be able to resist poetry like this:

Breathtaking
Shakespeare ain’t got shit on Gerardo.

He also brags about being two hours late for a date because the girl insisted he meet her parents. In case you’ve forgotten what he looks like, check out the photo below–what woman sees that guy and says, “YES! THIS is the one I bring home to mom and dad!”?

Everything about this photo just screams "douche."
Everything about this photo just screams “douche.”

Gerardo has often referred to himself as the Latin Elvis and the Latin Frank Sinatra, which tells us that tying a bandana too tightly can result in brain damage. They should really consider adding a warning label.

For some, the warning comes too late.
For some, the warning comes too late.

While Gerardo is best known as a one-hit wonder, he actually produced a total of six studio albums. However, none of his other songs rivaled his “Rico Suave” success. He eventually moved behind the scenes as a record executive and within the last few years, he also became a youth pastor.

Yeah. This guy.
Yeah. This guy.

He also had a short-lived reality show on VH1 called Suave Says, which followed life at home with Gerardo, his wife, and their three kids.

There are no immediate plans for a second season. I fell like this is self-explanatory.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wash my hands because while writing this post, I’ve just listened to this song more times in one sitting than any human should.

Pictured: Me
Pictured: Me

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Posted in Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Z is for “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century”

Zoom zoom zoom! Make my heart go boom boom! My supernova girl!

You're goddamn right I still remember the lyrics to this song.
You’re goddamn right I still remember the lyrics to this song.

We have finally reached the end of our TBT ABCs and there’s nothing I could have chosen for Z other than the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. Zenon, a girl of the 21st century, lives on a space station in the year 2049. She gets in trouble and her parents literally ground her by sending her to Earth to stay with her aunt. When she gets there, she has a hard time making friends because the Earth kids all think she’s weird.

Probably because she said shit like this.
Probably because she says shit like this.

But she’s a cute blonde so eventually, a couple guys get over it and befriend her.

Zenon frequently video chats with her best friend on the space station, Nebula (played by Raven-Symone), on what is basically an iPhone with better reception. Our heroine then learns that one of the higher ups on the space station (or “space stay”, as she annoyingly calls it) is trying to destroy the ship with a computer virus. To save the home she loves, she has one of her new Earth friends create an “anti-virus” (not anti-virus software. An anti-virus). Zenon then hitches a ride into space with a rockstar, Proto Zoa, who recognizes Zenon from a “Dance with Proto Zoa” contest she won (which I think means she won a chance to be a video ho but I can’t be sure).

This guy.
Dude, even the air traffic control guys in orange are laughing at you.

Zenon gets up to the space station, she saves her home with the anti-virus, blah blah blah. It’s a Disney movie, how else do you think it ends?

Oh, right, I forgot this was an option.
Oh, right, I forgot this was an option.

But instead of flames and hyenas, this movie ends with a rock concert and a bunch of fan girls screaming like hyenas.

Look at that hair.

This movie was actually created as a failed pilot for a TV series but it did generate two sequels: Zenon: The Zequel and Zenon: Z3. It was also apparently based on a book that shares its name with the first film. In the book, Zenon is sent to Earth to stay with her aunt as she is in the movie, but she then lives on her grandparents’ farm to do chores and learn about the low-tech life. Evidently, Disney thought it would be way better to change the story and do it their way. Instead of learning the value of hard work and other life lessons, Zenon gets a dance party.

Good luck ever getting that song out of your head.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Posted in Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Y is for Yak Bak

When I was a kid, I watched Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and, like most red-blooded kids in America, I really wanted a Talkboy. Instead, I got a Yak Bak.

It's totally the same thing.
It’s totally the same thing.

Introduced in 1994, this was the less expensive alternative to the Talkboy and featured “Say” and “Play” buttons which are pretty self explanatory and I don’t feel the need to go over those in detail because you, my readers, are brilliant individuals who can figure out how record and playback buttons work. This device allowed you to record up to six seconds of whatever you wanted, making it the 90s precursor to Vine.

https://vine.co/v/hzxpjd6b9d9/embed/simplehttps://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

This video has almost 31,000,000 views. My husband accounts for around 4,000,000 of those views.

In retrospect, it’s probably better that my parents got me a Yak Bak instead of a Talkboy because I do much better with the written word than I do speaking aloud.

These are real screen grabs from an interview I did last year. It's clear why I prefer to sit behind a computer.
These are real screen grabs from a TV interview I did last year.
It’s clear why I prefer to sit behind a computer.

The Yak Bak was actually quite popular, possibly due to this Oscar-worthy commercial:

It was so successful, in fact, that it inspired a series of follow up toys, including:

Yak Bak 2: the only difference was a locking mechanism to keep you from accidentally erasing your recording.

The only difference was a locking mechanism to keep you from accidentally erasing your recording like a dumbass.
Like a dumbass.

Yak Bak WarpR: this one could warp your voice.

This one could warp your voice. Sometimes for nefarious purposes.
Sometimes for nefarious purposes.

Yak Time: an annoying watch.

An annoying watch.
I don’t need my watch to talk. I have a friend.

Yak Back SFX: SUPER COOL! HIGH TECH! JUST LIKE HOLLYWOOD!

How can I say no to
How could I say no to squish sounds and cool color combos?

Yak Backwards: it plays your recording backwards.

It plays your recording backwards. That's it.
That’s it.

Yak Bak Ball: a ball that plays a recorded message so your friend can hear something funny when you chuck this at their head.

Why? Why was this necessary?
Why?
Why was this necessary?

. . . and a few other variations that are frankly too stupid to make an already stupid list. Instead, here’s another commercial about a kid who can’t handle a tongue twister:

The message: stop trying to get better. You’re only embarrassing yourself.

Happy Throwback Thursday!