Sunday, March 29, 2020

This is... Halsey

If Selena's song was regret and loss, then today we are talking about anger, with a side of rage.

'Cross my heart, hope to die
To my lover, I'd never lie
He said "be true", I swear I'll try
In the end, it's him and I
He's out his head, I'm out my mind
We got that love, the crazy kind
I am his, and he is mine
In the end, it's him and I, him and I' - Him & I

This was released late 2017. The couple officially confirmed to be dating that September.
It was said for the song to evoke the myth of Bonnie and Clyde. While they say hindsight is 20/20, looking back at it, they certainly got it spot on.

Manic, Halsey's 3rd album released 17th Jan 2020.

It included singles released all the way back from 2018, "Without Me" and subsequent releases like "Graveyard". Curiously however, "Nightmare", the single released in May of 2019 was not included.

Collaborations galore throughout this album.

Today, we're talking about the last single that's released before the album drop:

You Should Be Sad - Halsey

'No, you're not half the man you think you are
And you can't fill the hole inside of you with money, drugs and cars
I'm so glad I never ever had a baby with you
Cause you can't love nothing unless there's something in it for you'

There's not much left to interpretation on how she feels about him.
This leads into the chorus:

'Oh, I feel so sorry, I feel so sad
I tried to help you, just made you mad
And I had no warning about who you are
I'm just glad I made it out without breaking down
And then ran so fucking far
That you would never ever touch me again
Won't see your alligator tears
Cause know I've had enough of them'

Everything is wrapped up in a country style, which I don't remember Halsey ever did. Of course the pantheon of country "Imma wreck his shit" genre that come to mind are "Before He Cheats" and "Picture to Burn". This is decidedly much darker.

'I'm gonna start this out by saying
I really meant well from the start
Take a broken man right in my hands
And then put back all his parts'

Compared to the previous song covered on this feature, it felt like the song was being sung to me.


I wish Halsey well. Saw she's dating Quicksilver now.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

This is... Selena Gomez

I love artists when they bear their heart and soul out.

The on and off, Ross and Rachel of the pop world, Justin and Selena.

'In time, ink lines
Bitches couldn't get on my incline
World tours, it's mine
Ten little letters on a big sign
Justin Bieber
You know I'mma hit 'em with the ether
Buns out, weiner
But I gotta keep an eye out for Selener' - Beauty and a Beat ft. Nicki Minaj.

That was Nicki Minaj rapping in a Justin song, no doubt it was well known that this was going on.
Subsequently, songs like "Sorry" and "What Do You Mean" are all reflections on what is happening at that point.

Selena did release songs.
Her album Revival in 2015 did not have any songs that addresses Justin specifically (maybe Same Old Love?).
She continued to release singles that are collaborations with other artists throughout the years.

Then in 2018, it was reported that they split in March.
6 months later, Justin and Hailey Baldwin obtained a marriage license.
Selena laid low for that year, one song "Back to You" from 13 Reasons Why.

She returned in 2019.
The first single off her 2020 album Rare, released October 23rd 2019...

Lose You To Love Me

'I gave my all and they all know it
Then you tore me down and now it's showing
In two months, you replaced us
Like it was easy
Made me think I deserved it
In the thick of healing, yeah'

In the making of video, she notes:
"I think it's cool to... see what music has been, cause I did this a year ago."

'To love love yeah
To love love yeah
To love yeah'

She released two songs that day, this one looking at the past.
The other called "Look At Her Now", spoke about strength, recovery, a rebirth.

'And now the chapter is closed and done
...
And now it's goodbye
It's goodbye for us'

These two songs represent a closing statement.
Everything that needed to be said, has been said.

Everything from here onwards, is the rest of Rare.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Farewell: a comedy?

This was spurred by a best friend of mine exclaiming to me that Awkwafina won the Best Actress by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. In his words... "Why is this film a comedy?!"

Let's ignore the fact that the nominations are actually submitted, and hence could be "decided" (see also: gamed) for the maximum chances of winning.
Side note: going up against Saoirse (sur-sha) Ronan or Scarlett Johansson is daunting to say the least.

I have noted that out of the times that I've been to see this movie, there were scenes that elicit different emotions from the audience.

Minor spoilers
The funeral home scene to me stood out.

There was a juxtaposition between the end of the last scene, with the mother saying that they employed people who cry... straight cut to a woman crying extremely loud and tearful in front of a funeral in progress. Seemingly to showcase the absurdity of the situation.
People laughed.

Then...
People laughed at the family burning paper iPhones, credit cards, cash.
People laughed at the peeling of the fruits, the opening of the chip bags, the idea that ancestors can't peel themselves in their corporeal form.
(The directors' real grandfather btw)

Honestly, I was a little taken aback. I mean, I also chuckled at removing the petals from flowers to prevent thieves. I have done it myself, and honestly, didn't think too much of it. It was until I saw some people taking the flowers and food from a grave. They picked out the good looking stalks, and then walked to the entrance of the funeral home to add to their existing flower bouquet.
Those... were for sale of course.

I stopped my chuckle. This... well.

The Farewell is, to me... a drama written and shot like a comedy.
While what's on screen is comedic, the events that trigger your own emotions is... drama.
That's easier to digest for people, and for repeated viewings. Pulling punches if you will.
Still, I don't see the fault in that, the film provides an interesting premise, and delivers.
They are designed as an escape, an outlet.

I wrote more about this film here.

This quote keeps floating back to me:
“你把生命看成是个体的。这正是西方和东方文化差异的问题。
东方人是把生命看作为集体的。家庭,社会。”

"You think one's life belongs to oneself. But that's the difference between the East and the West.
In the East, a person's life is part of a whole. Family, Society."

I think perhaps then... the hardest part for me, is to juggle between the two worlds. To be selfish... and be okay with it.

I do hope you find a balance as well.
______

P.S. While we are on this dramedy train, Fleabag is a good recommendation as well, more Brit dry wit, less ancestors.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Lunch

Sat down at a somewhat busy food court. He spoke while picking at his food.

He liked her, but he knows it's not enough. Not for a lifetime, he likes her. She loves him.
It's different.

"It's been a while since we last spoke. I know it is a shitty thing to say, but I'm going ahead with wanting a divorce."

"Did you think it through?"

It sure seems like that question is asked every time they meet.

"Yes, yes I'm sure."

Seems like everything is cyclical. He shifted his weight on the seat, leaning forward.

"This will break her, that I am sure of it. She loves me with all of her heart. But I need to be better to her."

He looked the other straight in the eye as he said it. He has convinced himself that this is the best course of action.

He went on about his plan, how it will supposed to be the least disruptive.

"All I'm saying is... they know. They know that something is not right. Hell, I ..."
"Just... talk it though"

"We'll get there."

"Yep... yep."

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Fountain

As summer came around, more and more people started congregating at the fountain.
Some of them are with dogs, well, those they need to.
Can’t expect the pets to pee in the apartments no?

The rest just sat around, there’s plenty of benches, tables with chairs. With books, they sit there with coffee on the table and a book in hand.
There is one with a weird keyboard contraption on his tablet.
Near the late part of summer, they started having plays at the fountain.
Plays, Shakespearean plays.

They have the costumes, they have the language, they have the grammar.

They have audience participation too. One of the actors came to the person at the front, and said “You are too young and too nice to bear the child of my blood, but thank you for offering”. I think... that's a complement?

I think it’s the commitment that impresses me really. There is no stage, there is no place to hide, no curtains. The only place for refuge is a little tent that they have setup for costume changes or touch ups. Every movement, even not as the centre of the attention, is in character.

In that sense, grabbing the audience attention is also difficult. With no stage, there isn’t a centralized place to look towards. Attention is attracted by either the sound that starts the scene, or just straight up vocal volume. It’s great.

Initially just walking past the fountain, he stopped one day when he heard a busker sing. She sang well, he stopped... and sat down nearby.

In that moment, with the sun shining down through the shade. He heard this song for the first time.
“Bülow - Two Punks In Love”
She delivered it beautifully. That song is now in his music library.

He went back every Saturday from that point on, sometimes he would be late, sometimes he would catch the last of the songs. He would sit there, and then enjoy the sun, enjoy the dogs that pass by, enjoy the breeze that comes through. Either listening to the busker, or listening to his songs on the phone.

Perhaps more importantly, enjoying the peacefulness.