Rant and rave: Songs we should not have been singing as children

Did you know
there are over 6,500 distinct languages in the modern world? B
eing the articulate wordsmiths that we are, it kinda blows our
mind when we think about how many other humans there are that we simply
can’t communicate with. That’s why we love music, the universal
language. If there is anything that makes sense to everyone, it’s a phat beat.
No matter where or how old you are, ain’t no other experience in the world as
simultaneously personal and unifying than appreciating a piece of music and
that’s great, right? Let’s all just spend a couple minutes looking at babies dancing. Okay. What could possibly be wrong with this? OH YEAH, LIKE 85% OF
POPULAR MUSIC IS ABOUT SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Suddenly by accident, we’ve got all
this innuendo spilling from the mouths of babes! Think we’re exaggerating? Take
a walk with us, through dance parties of yore. Revisiting the lyrics of some of
these teeny bopper tunes, we’re no longer surprised our moms went grey early.


O-Town – Liquid
Dreams

Hooo boy, did
we ever love watching this boy band come to life on Making the Band every Friday on ABC (and again two months ago when
we realized all the episodes are on YouTube). The emotional turmoil of a bunch
of adult dudes living in a house together just trying to make it as popstars,
the beginning of reality television as we know it, Jacob Underwood’s facial hair/attempt at white-guy dreadlocks – truly revolutionary stuff. So when they
came out with their first official single as a fully formed band about their
DREAM GIRL, we were so excited to sing along that we didn’t really even stop to
think. Liquid Dreams? What the what?! The song lists all of the boys’ fave
celebs and their body parts and mashes them all together to make one super babe
(although it’s not all superficial, they do mention they want her to have a
good personality-like Halle B,), who stars in their liquid dreams. That’s just gross, you
guys.  

B4-4 – Get Down

In this
little ditty, a pair of male twins and a guy named Ohad came together to fill
our adolescent minds with promises of being the ones to love and comfort us
until the day we die. It’s a happy-go-lucky tune with such a cool built-in
dance routine that we probably didn’t notice sideways looks from our parents
when we were belting out “I’m gonna make
you come tonight
over to my
house”.
We’re all adults here (now), and we realize that this little “game
of give and take” is just really creative propaganda for oral sex. We’d also
like to note that twins Ryan and Dan are now billed as pop/classical/opera
vocal duo RyanDan and are performing in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace with Shania Twain for the next two years.

Spice Girls –
2 Become 1

Luckily
everyone under the age of 14 skips all the slow jams, so this song about
revisiting a former lover more or less went under the radar [Ed. note: speak for yourself! Some of us loved this song when it came out]. Now if we just put
this in text form at 2 a.m., it would make a pretty impressive drunk booty
call. Although we don’t agree with pre-teens asking “are you as good as I remember, baby? Get it on, get it on” we
gotta give props for also alluding to the importance of safe sex “be a little bit wiser baby. Put it on. Put
it on.”
Well done, ladies. Unrelated note – if anyone knows the story with
the hologram deer at the end of the video, we’d love to know what that was all
about.

Next – Too
Close

An elementary
school dance staple, this touching duet between a man and a woman discusses the
intimacy of young love and relationships moving too fast. Just kidding, it’s
about boners.  Poor mid-pubescent boys going
through the terrible NRB phase probably really related to this grinding anthem (“Girl I know you felt it, but oh ya know I
can’t help it”)
while being misled by girls who had no idea what this song
was actually about.

Salt n Pepa –
Push It

This song isn’t about dancing.


*This post is titled Rant and Rave, because we can’t quite decide whether it really was a good or a bad thing that we were singing these songs as pre-pubescent teens.








Rave: holiday playlist

Despite your stance on how early holiday music should be played in public (read various pieces about that here and here), you can’t deny that less than 1 week out, it’s now time. We’ve pulled together a not-so-obvious holiday playlist for your enjoyment. It includes some classics, some rare tracks, and healthy dose of Canadian musicians and some songs that you just gotta love despite the cheesiness. We’ll be playing this all day long on the fourth floor.

And for an added bonus: one of the best collaborations ever.

Enjoy!

Rave: The Big Band Show

As we’re on the cusp of the holiday month, prepare yourself to be bombarded with Christmas carols, candy cane-flavoured everything and Santa Clauses at every turn. If you’re like us, it’s likely one of your favourite holiday traditions is The Nutcracker ballet. The National Ballet has you covered on that front, with their annual production running from December 19 to January 5. However, if you’re looking to get into the festive spirit a bit sooner, then we’ve got the show for you!

Mr. Andrew Burashko

Art of Time Ensemble is one of Canada’s most innovative and artistically accomplished music ensembles, led by the inimitable Andrew Burashko. Their latest show is The Big Band Show, which features a 25-piece (you guessed it) big band on-stage. Classically-trained musicians are joined on-stage by some of Canada’s most renown jazz giants, to share the power and beauty of big band sound with audiences. 

There aren’t any tights on the Art of Time stage.



Now, you’re probably asking yourself “what the heck does that have to do with The Nutcracker, goddammit?!”. Well, we’re glad you asked. As you may know, The Nutcracker ballet is set to music by Tchaikovsky. What you probably do not know is that jazz great Duke Ellington re-imagined the classic score through the prism of jazz. Pretty cool, eh? Transforming the romantic orchestral composition into jumping jazz melodies is quite the feat, but not for Ellington! The cool cat takes the gorgeous classic and turns it on its head, resulting in the hip Nutcracker Suite

Duke tickling the ivories.



The Nutcracker Suite is the jewel of the program, which also includes Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto and Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 1. All three pieces are very rarely performed and, to our knowledge, have never been performed together. The Big Band Show plays tribute to both classical and jazz music, and the relationship between the two genres.

Dmitri Shostakovich, one of the greatest classical composers of 20th century.



The show opens on November 30 and runs until December 1. It’s a short run (only two performances), which makes it even more special. Some people buy limited edition purses, but how many people have seen limited edition big band shows? Not many, that’s for sure. Grab some hot chocolate, spike it if you like (we won’t tell) and kick off the holidays with some culture. You fancy, huh? 


Tickets from $25 to $59 are available online at harbourfrontcentre.com,
by phone at 416.973.4000 or in-person at the box office.



*All images courtesy of Art of Time Ensemble, unless otherwise noted. 

Fave Five: Young Local Artists

Here on the fourth floor, we appreciate
the finer things in life and as such, are taking a moment to honour our Fave
Five young Torontonians who contribute to the arts and entertainment scene
in Toronto.



Li-Hill
Born and raised in Toronto and a
graduate of OCAD’s fine art program, Aaron Li-Hill is one of our favourite visual
artists. His dreamy, industrial inspired
pieces employ a variety of mediums; from traditional paints and sketches to a
contemporary use of graphic design and graffiti. His art has been shown in galleries
throughout Canada and was recently included in SPiN Toronto’s first Plywood graffiti
art exhibit. http://li-hill.carbonmade.com/


Little.White.Dress
Not only do we love fashion, we also
love Mother Earth! This is why Little.White.Dress is a local
designer that we’re keeping our eye on. Made up of Ryerson grads
Jessica van Enckevort and Alexandra Wilson, Little.White.Dress focuses on
making unique, eco-friendly bridal wear, cocktail dresses and accessories. We
love their use of vintage and repurposed fabrics, and that each of their
dresses is one of a kind. @LWDressToronto



Devin
Cuddy
No stranger to the Canadian music
scene, Devin was literally born into it. Son of Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, Devin inherited more than just the famous
Can-Rock name and has been carving out a place for himself with the Devin Cuddy Band. Their country and New Orleans
blues inspired debut album Volume One was released on the Cameron House’s label, where Devin and his band can be
spotted playing every Wednesday. @DevinCuddy


Petra
Collins
Photog phenom Petra Collins  has made
her indelible mark on the art world with her nostalgic, sometimes
controversial, but always honest portrayal of young women. At just 19 years old,
Petra’s commercial clients include Urban
Outfitters, Vogue Italia, Chloe Comme Parris and Refinery 29.  In addition to that, she curates the female
art collective The Ardorous We love her unapologetic embrace of all
things feminine. @petracollins





Shasha
Nakhai
Since she moved to Toronto from Nigeria
as an international student in Ryerson’s Broadcast Journalism program,
Shasha has been an up-and-comer in the documentary film world.  She works full-time at award-winning
documentary production company Storyline Entertainment, and as a
producer/director for Squire Entertainment with Rich Williamson. Her very first documentary Baby
Not Mine
went on to win awards at the Human Rights Docfest and the Montreal
World Film Festival in 2009. Recently,
her documentary about the sugarcane industry in the Philippines, The Sugar Bowl  took Best Documentary and
Best Film at the 2012 Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, UK. @ShashaNakhai

Rave: Divas playlist

Working in an office of all girls has many perks – there’s always mascara to borrow, boy advice to be given and no one cringes when you talk about your time of the month. One slow-moving afternoon, when we all needed a little motivation, we spontaneously created what we believe is the greatest playlist of all time. The theme? Divas. 

Now, what makes a diva you ask? There’s a few criteria that come into play. You should be recognizable by your first name (i.e. Whitney, Celine, Beyonce, Aretha, etc). A set of pipes that can hit the highest of high octaves is helpful. Being notorious for insane demands basically guarantees you a spot (see: Mariah being carried everywhere, Madonna making TIFF volunteers face the wall). Finally, even if your vocals are sub-par, getting Ben Affleck to rub your booty in a music video means you’ve earned the diva title. 

Take a listen to the playlist (below) and let us know if you think we’re missing anyone. Tweet @rockitpromo if you have some diva-licious suggestions. 



City Living: Planet IndigenUS at Harbourfront

What’s the best thing about Toronto? There is always
something new to explore! This weekend is no exception. It marks the beginning
of the Planet IndigenUS festival at the Harbourfront Centre in association with
Woodlands Cultural Centre in Brantford. IndigenUS is the largest contemporary
international Indigenous cultural festival in the world and it only occurs once
every three years – so we don’t want to miss out (maybe we should see someone
about our fomo).
The festival celebrates current Indigenous culture.
With almost 300 performers from seven different countries taking part, the
presentation of Indigenous culture varies wildly. The acts range from Pow Wow Step to a Mongolian-folk-punk-rock
blend, to a high-energy technicolour dance performance by an Australian
company and a woman who weaves herself into a basket.
IndigenUS starts today and runs until Sunday, August 19, which means ten days
packed with great music, theatre, food, art and, if you’re willing to make the
trek to Gretzky’s hometown, even comedy. The selection of free fun to
participate in this weekend is overwhelming so we’ve listed our must see events
below.

Image courtesy of Harbourfront Centre.

A Tribe
Called Red (ATCR) and Electric Pow-Wow
DJ Bear Witness, DJ NDN and DJ Shrub of ATCR created
their own blend of traditional drums, Jamaican dub and club beats, which they
call Pow Wow Step (and you thought Moombahton was the new thing). We can’t wait
to bust a move to some new beats. You can catch ATCR at 11 p.m. on Saturday,
August 11 at the Harbourfront Centre,
235 Queens Quay West.
Image courtesy of Harbourfront Centre. 

Polytoxic
with Trade Winds
Australian dance-theatre company Polytoxic is known
for big bright performances. Trade Winds,
a story about the cultural exchanges that took place during the exploration of
the Pacific, is certainly a powerful visual experience. Polytoxic’s show starts at 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, August 16 to 18 at The Natrel Pond, 235 Queens
Quay West.
Image courtesy of Harbourfront

Ursula A.
Johnson: Basket Weaving Performance Art
Johnson has a theatre background and is able to turn
herself into a living piece of through her basket weaving. She will spend eight
hours creating her cocoon and emerge a butterfly. Just kidding, but we
definitely want to stop by for before and after shots. Ursula will be
performing from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 18 at Harbourfront Centre Site,
235
Queens Quay West.



Cris
Derksen: Electronica Cellist
Derksen is an award-winning Aboriginal cellist from
Alberta. She combines classic, folk and electronic styles to create her own
cross between traditional and contemporary music. We love classic strings with
an electric charge – and the girl’s got chops – she’s performed with Kanye West!
Derksen will be on the Redpath Stage,
235 Queens Quay West at 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 18.

Image courtesy of Harbourfront Centre.

Heck Init
Comedy Night with Don Burnstick and Charlie Hill
Okay, Brantford is a little far (one to two hours from
downtown, depending on traffic) but it does claim rights to Gretzky and Bell,
plus, it boasts a casino. Burnstick and Hill will be there poking fun at
stereotypes and political issues. These guys are talented; Hill has appeared
with Letterman, Leno and other famous funny folk. Burnstick and Hill will be
performing at Woodlands Cultural Centre,
184 Mohawk Street, Brantford.

Image courtesy of Harbourfront Centre.

Hanggai:
Mongolian folk/punk ensemble
This group from China preserves tradition in the form
of the horse-head fiddle, tobshuur and throat singing and adds electric guitars
and drums. The resulting sound is an exciting blend. Hanggai can be seen on Redpath Stage Friday, August 10 at 7
p.m.,
235 Queens Quay West,
on WestJet Stage Saturday, August 11
at 3 p.m.,
235 Queens Quay West
and at
Woodlands Cultural
Centre, 184 Mohawk Street, Brantford at
8 p.m.

Rave: Osheaga artists

This long weekend, there’s only one question everyone’s been asking: are you going to Osheaga or not? A lucky few ladies on the fourth floor are heading to Montreal for the annual music fest, but the majority of us are not and are experiencing major FOMO


Because we’re gluttons for punishment, we compiled some of the acts we’re especially bummed to miss out on. Whether you’re trekking to la belle province, heading up to a cottage or hanging around the city, we hope this playlist gets your long weekend started off on the right foot. Enjoy.


Psst: because we think long weekends are nothing without music, we’ve created another playlist for Monday. Make sure to come back here and check it out!