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.








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DIY: Be a karaoke rockstar

To the uninitiated, karaoke can be a bit of an intimidating scene. As good as we sound singing in the shower, getting up and singing on a microphone in front of a group of strangers (or even friends) can be as appealing as being water-boarded. Thankfully, we’ve got some karaoke pros up on the fourth floor who are sharing some insider info to ease you past your fears and up on-stage. 


Start small


Look how fun this is!

Everything is easier surrounded by friends, and the same goes for karaoke. If the idea of singing in front of a packed bar makes you break out in hives, then go see a doctor. Afterwards, gather a couple of your most trusted amigos and rent out a private karaoke room.  There’s a multitude of such establishments in Toronto, which vary in size and price. The largest concentration can be found in Koreatown, but really, they’re everywhere. We rounded up some of our favourites in a past post. Once you’ve gotten into a karaoke groove, you can expand to entertaining strangers. It’s not as scary as you think, especially with a bit of liquid courage. 


Do what you know


As if you could ever forget this.



Listen, we’re all for experimentation. But just like you wouldn’t attempt to make a soufflé for the first time your boyfriend’s parents were coming over for dinner, you should also not try to sing a relatively unknown song at karaoke. Stick to the classics to start: “Don’t Stop Believing”, “You Oughta Know”, anything by the Spice Girls. Once you’ve gone enough times, you’ll generate a list of songs you’re comfortable singing. If you’re serious about karaoke, we recommend keeping a running list going to add to whenever you hear a particularly good song. 


Know your limits


This is not you. 



Knowing the lyrics is key, but we can not stress enough the importance of knowing your vocal range. Whitney Houston may be your jam, but let’s be real… you ain’t Whitney. Or Mariah. Or Celine. Heck, we wouldn’t even recommend Frank Ocean or Lauryn Hill. Nobody wants to hear you screeching into the microphone like a cat in heat. Keep it realistic and everyone will thank you. 


A little flair never hurt nobody


Work it. 

At the end of the day, some people are born with voices that sound like a choir of angels and some people are not. The majority of us fall into the latter category, so sometimes a little smoke and mirrors can be your best friend. You may be nervous, but you’ll have ten times more fun if you relax and actually enjoy yourself. Plus, you’re the centre of attention! What better time to show off your “Single Ladies” dance moves. You didn’t spend an entire weekend rehearsing that for nothing, did you?



Fave Five: Olympic Moments

That massive international competition where athletes of the world compete for shiny medals (also known as the Olympics) is now over. We’re bummed all the superhumans have left London, mostly because it means we no longer have an excuse to watch hours upon hours of television.
We’re still reminiscing, as we’re sure you are too. To start you off, here are
our five fave moments from the
London 2012 Olympics.


This guy can seriously do no wrong. Besides
the fact that he’s the fastest man in the world, he also created the Usain Bolt Foundation, which puts funding into athletics, schools and medical facilities in his home town of Trelawny, Jamaica. 

Closing Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony was interesting, to
say the least, but the closing one was basically a concert of British legends.
Obviously we died over the Spice Girls reunion, but a big shout out to Fatboy Slim and that inflatable octopus (can we have it at our next birthday party?), Ed Sheerhan for holding down Pink Floyd and of course, the always fabulous Annie Lennox

Props to Oscar Pistorius, the double
amputee from South Africa. Called the “Blade Runner” for his carbon fibre prosthetic legs, he was born without a fibula in both legs. Pistorius made history as the first double amputee to participate in the Olympics and has been recognized as one of the fastest sprinters in the world. 


Drunk Bottle Thrower
What’s the stupidest thing you could do at the 100-metre men’s final as the entire world is tuned in to see if Usain Bolt wins a gold medal? Throw a bottle onto the track, which is what this guy did. Did we mention he happened to be sitting next to a Dutch judo bronze medallist? Bolt still won the race, of course.
Olympic Volunteers
Of the 70,000 volunteers, some lucky Olympic-goer captured this one making the best of her experience. Sitting for hours on end trying to get a crowd excited for the games is not something we would take on, but she does it with ease and comedic genius.

Rave: Karaoke

We’re not going to lie, initially the idea of karaoke made
us cringe (and let’s be honest, a little terrified). Singing in front of an
audience not knowing what notes we can or cannot hit and without an
abundance of shots? No, thank you, not for us. All this changed when we
discovered the world of private karaoke rooms at a friend’s birthday, then
later while visiting Korea and Japan, where karaoke
bars are their answer to an after-party. So whether you’re braver than us and
it’s public karaoke you’re after, or you prefer less audience and
more mic time, we’ve rounded up the best places in the city to sing your heart
out.



Public karaoke bars
Cadillac Lounge 1296 Queen St. W.
Complete with a full-size stage and smoke machines, we only
recently discovered that this bar (with one of the best patios in the city) offers
karaoke on Saturday nights.


The Gladstone 1214 Queen St. W.
Head on over to the Melody Bar at the Gladstone Hotel Friday and Saturday nights and hang out at what Now Magazine has
voted “Best Karaoke Bar” for eight years straight.  


Sneaky Dees 431 College St.
Sing away your case of the Mondays at Sneaky Dee’s Monday
night karaoke. With more than 15,000 songs to choose from, no cover and $3
drinks before 11 p.m., now the nachos
aren’t the only reason to head to this College Street favourite. 

TKO’sSports Pub 1600 Danforth Ave.

Don’t
be fooled by the crowds of men watching hockey or UFC – the upstairs of this
Danforth sports bar doubles as a karaoke bar on Saturday nights. Bonus: great
wings, great burgers. We’re sold.


The smoke machine adds a little something extra at Cadillac Lounge.



Private karaoke rooms



XO Karaoke 693 Bloor St. W.
Thank you to one of our best friends who decided to host her
birthday at XO Karaoke a few years back and introduce us to this gem. Conveniently located beside Clinton’s in the heart of Korea Town, we say why not make a night of it, or hit it
up late night like they do in Korea and Japan. And if XO is too crowded, BMB Karaoke is just down the street!

Bar+ Karaoke & Lounge 360 Yonge St. 2nd floor (above Swiss Chalet) 
Another private karaoke bar intro’d to us via a birthday celebration, Bar+ has a huge selection of English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Thai music open to all who love to sing and dance. One of our favourite parts? We got to bring our own snacks in, as long as we bought drinks from their bar. Stuff your face, sing at the top of your lungs and get your drink on. Good times.



Izakaya  294 College
St. 
After enjoying our regular sushi dinner at this delicious
new Japanese restaurant at College and Spadina, we got to talking to the owner
who let us in on a secret: the back room of the restaurant turns into a private
karaoke room if booked for 20 people or more. Sushi and karaoke? You know where
to find us at our next birthday.


S Lounge 4901 Yonge St. 2nd floor
If you are willing to make the trek (we prefer adventure) to
Yonge and Sheppard then we strongly suggest you check out this snazzy karaoke
bar. With themed rooms and a menu clad with pub
favourites and Japanese food alike, this karaoke bar is in a league of its own. 


Just two of the rooms at S Lounge
So next time you’re looking for birthday, bachelorette, or just regular Saturday night plans, why not check out the karaoke scene in Toronto. After all, there’s never a dull moment when a little Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys or Journey singalong is involved. 

Meet Our Team: Erin

Erin is our newest intern, and so far, she’s been knocking our socks off. She is currently in her second year of the Media Studies program at the University of Guelph-Humber, specializing in public relations. Growing up, she wanted to be a princess or a bride, then a pop star.
Now, her ambitions are focused on pursuing a career in PR (but it’s not too late to be a bride or a princess too, Erin!). Erin has a diabetic cat named Oreo, a younger sister named Paige and likes to watch delicious dishes being created on the Food Network (but not create them herself). 
Welcome to the fourth floor! 


Twitter: @erin_cochrane

How long have you been part of the team?

It’s my fourth week! 
 
What do you love most about living in Toronto?
Right now I am living in Mississauga, calling T.O. my second home. Working at rock-it promotions has given me the opportunity to explore the city a bit more. The ladies here know all the best hot spots.

What can’t you leave the house without?
My transit pass! My feet would be really sore without it. 

Best gift you’ve ever received?
This past Christmas I was surprised with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls with friends (the best friends a girl could ask for!) and my boyfriend. Even though the average age of the patrons there was probably six, I left with a wet bathing suit and my dignity intact. 

How do you like to relax?
Hanging out in my fuzzy pink bathrobe catching up on episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

Best part about being a publicist?
As a publicity intern, I love that every day is different: events, meetings, you name it. I am learning a ton!

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: Someecards.com. I love reading (and sending) their hilarious, crude cards about current events. 

Designer: My grandmother. She always made the best Halloween costumes, from Sleeping Beauty to fairy princesses. 

Store:  Banana Republic.

Book: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.

Snack: S’mores. My friend Maria makes the best ones with gooey peanut butter – yum.

Season: That in between point of spring and summer, where it’s warm enough that you don’t need a jacket, but you don’t feel like melting in the summer sun. 

SexyConfidence.

Inspiration: Friends, family. Women that kick butt and look good doing it.   

Drink: Diet Coke. 

Motto in two words: Be awesome.