Saturday, May 23, 2009

Announcement: SemStarter 2009

AguPips! We're having a swimming parteeh to celebrate the last few days of summer and kick off the incoming school year! Here are the details:

DATE: May 28-29, 2009
VENUE: Villa Alfredo's at Baliti, City of San Fernando

MEETING PLACE: McDonald's, Dolores Junction at 9am
*Lunch, merienda and dinner will be served

Confirmed attendees:

*John Carl

Sunday, May 10, 2009

List of Dream Idol Theme Nights

For me, having musical theme nights has been one of the Idol format’s strengths. Although its actual usefulness to the contestants’ musical training is debateable, these sometimes unpredictable theme nights are almost always entertaining.

An argument against theme nights is there’s no point in testing one’s musical versatility when one would most probably focus on one’s preferred musical genre anyway. A recording artist may slightly experiment with his or her sound on his or her album but you will not find an artist who dabbles in multiple and entirely different genres in the same album, right?

Ever since I religiously watched American Idol, I’ve always looked forward to the theme nights. I like them because it allows me to appreciate music genres or not-so-popular songs that I probably wouldn’t have had the chance of being exposed to if not for the show. For one, I credit American Idol, specifically Season 4, for my current appreciation of country music. Before, my musical taste was confined to what is popular in local radio stations and music channels. I guess I just realized that there is a bigger musical world out there filled with artists or songs that are equally or even better than what mainstream is trying to shove into my ears.

So for this post, I will make a list of theme nights I’d like Idol to have. In one of my favourite Idol websites, they already presented their choices in a photo slideshow, so I figured I’d make my own list of Idol dream Theme Nights.

Idol has been known to pay tribute to the careers of celebrated and accomplished artists or songwriters. So how about having these people on the show:

JANET JACKSON We already had Michael Jackson night during the Season 8 Top 13. Who’s to say Janet’s own career and discography isn’t as impressive? I know that she hasn’t been churning out popular hits lately, but there was actually a time when instead of Beyonce, Janet was the female chart royalty.
Songs I’d like to hear: Again (1993), Runaway (1995), Everytime (1998), Someone To Call My Lover (2001), Son Of A Gun (2002)

AEROSMITH Aerosmith has been covered prominently in many seasons of Idol, so we might as well dedicate one entire night for their rockin’ music. I’m not really a fan (or even aware) of Aerosmith’s celebrated career, except for their releases in this decade. But I think it will be a good night and I am more than welcome to listen to their other wonderful songs. Besides, I think Steve Tyler would make a hilarious mentor.
Songs I’d like to hear: Walk This Way (1977), Jaded (2001).
A song I wouldn’t want to hear: I Don’t To Miss A Thing (1998). I mean, what’s the point of celebrating the rest of Aerosmith’s music if we’re gonna listen to this song yet again? They have other songs, you know.

BABYFACE Babyface is an all-around musician. He’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, record producer, film producer and an entrepreneur all rolled into one person! He has successfully written and produced for a whole lot of other artists so I guess we can include those songs in the selection as well
Songs I’d like to hear: Every Time I Close My Eyes (1997), Fire (1998), Reason For Breathing (2000), What If (2001), Breathe Again (with Toni Braxton), Change The World (Eric Clapton), Just Stand Up (with the Cancer divas), Sittin’ Up In My Room (with Brandy), Take A Bow (with Madonna)

(Suggested at the EW List) Well, he’s one of the hottest record producers today, it would prove useful for the Idols to be mentored for their eventual recording and chart journey.
Songs I’d like to hear: Try Again (2000), Cry Me A River (2002), The Way I Are (2007), Apologize (2007), Promiscuous (2006), Sexyback (2006), What Goes Around (2006), Wait A Minute (2006), 4 Minutes (2008), Rehab (2008)

Janet Jackson & Babyface

Some theme nights simply focused on musical genres. Country, Disco and Rock were usually the “hardest” themes simply because these genres can prove to be challenging for singers that are not suited for them. I know that we’ve featured the usual genres, sometimes even decade-specific and quite not current at that. It’s not really rocket science so I’m wondering why they haven’t featured these themes yet:

And who knows, even a slight hint of hip hop. The Billboard Hot 100 charts is littered with mostly R&B-Hip Hop anyway and if the Idol contestants are to become eventually chart toppers, why not test their mettle with currently popular styles. Songs of Alicia Keys have been sung prominently especially in the semi final rounds so I think she can be a great mentor for this night.
Songs I’d like to hear: Too many to mention, but on the top of my head: So Sick (Ne-Yo), Irreplaceable (Beyonce Knowles), T-Shirt (Shontelle), If I Were A Boy (Beyonce Knowles), Superhuman (Chris Brown & Keri Hilson), Take A Bow (Rihanna) and more from Alicia Keys’ soothing catalogue.
A song I wouldn’t want to hear: If I Ain’t Got You (2004). So sick and tired of this song being performed!

I’m not sure if this is really what they call it, but I am thinking along the lines of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and other blonde pop divettes at the turn of the century. You can even throw in the boyband saga to make it more interesting. Haha! Yeah yeah, I know it may be uncool now but come on! We used to love these guys, haha. And EW’s List said it best that if these auto-tuned vocalists can perform these songs well, so can the truly more talented Idol contestants, right? Besides, we do enjoy it whenever great vocal talents on Youtube cover these songs, don’t we? It should be highly interesting and I hope the contestants will take liberties in personalizing the arrangements of the songs.
Songs I’d like to hear: Any song that will remind me of my childhood and high school days. Haha!
Songs I wouldn’t want to hear:
The prevailing “uncoolness” of the music is quite a handicap itself, so I hope the contestants wouldn’t choose the cheesiest ones like Candy (Mandy Moore), Get Down (Backstreet Boys) or Baby One More Time (Britney Spears).

Gloria Estefan and Donna Summers had their moments already and sure, the music eras they represent are formidable. But this time, I am hoping for the music that I myself jam to, not the ones our parents dance to in their ballroom parties. I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for a “family show” like Idol, but I hope they’ll get the Pussycat Dolls and Robin Antin (the PCD founder) as mentors.
Songs I’d like to hear: Closer (Ne-Yo), Forever (Chris Brown), Umbrella (Rihanna), Don’t Stop The Music (Rihanna), Insomnia (Craig David), When I Grow Up (Pussycat Dolls)

Acoustic arrangements of songs have mostly been warmly received, like Tracks Of My Tears and She Works Hard For The Money for the current season (Black Horse & A Cherry Tree back in Season 5 is my favourite). So why don’t we make everyone sing acoustically to really feel the vulnerability and pureness of the vocals. Whatta very Paula Abdul thing to say! Haha! They can choose any song they want from any genre and decade for as long as they will do it acoustically. Consider it as their training for eventual small gigs, mall shows or television guestings.

If we’re really looking for the next Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks or David Cook, then I’m sure any worthy successor will perform the songs by these proven Idols astoundingly. We can also throw in the hits of the non-winning Idols (Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, etc) in the mix for choices.
Songs I’d like to hear: A Moment Like This (Kelly Clarkson), Do I Make You Proud (Taylor Hicks), Lessons Learned (Carrie Underwood), Now You Tell Me (Jordin Sparks), No Air (Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown), Home (Daughtry)

Idol has had a number of specific theme nights like the cute “Songs from the year you were born” (an excuse to show the Idols’ baby pictures) to the annoying and pointless “Top Downloads” (for maximum iTunes pimpage). But these are getting old, why don’t we make it a little more twisted:

(Suggested at the EW List)

Then we can see the adolescent pictures of the Idols! Hehe! “Perhaps the show's producers should let 'em perform songs that shaped their early musical identities — ones that would hopefully result in an outpouring of youthful angst and passion right there on the Idol stage”. –EW List

“Here's a crazy three-step idea, inspired (a little) by Project Runway: Let each contestant's parents pick their five favorite songs, and put 'em on a list. Then have each Idol pick a set of parents (but not their own, of course). Finally, watch the contestants freak out when they're forced to pick their song from one of their competitors' parents' countdowns. Guaranteed fun — for the whole family!” –EW List

As an Idol junkie, I know that there are a lot of factors in the probability of these theme nights actually happening on the show: sponsors, song rights, getting the relevant and deserving mentors, impact on the show, entertainment value and relevance, etc. Some of these are probably even wishful thinking. But in the entire life span of the show, it has continually grown and broaden its audience and song catalogue (Beatles songs were cleared in Season 7, and for Season 8, we finally heard a Led Zeppelin song on the Idol stage). Who knows what changes may arrive. I just hope it’s for the better.

So how about you, guys, any ideas for fantastic theme nights?

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Resolution of the Emo

For the first few days of our Sociology class, we discussed the relation of the self to the social interlinked with the essence of the “subject” to the ever-changing society and language (nosebleed!). I got many good points from my teacher. She always talked about self infliction, types of suicide, social class, social order, and many aspects in Sociology that may build up oneself. I learned what really makes us exist: our mind and experience.

Most of my friends who know me find me as an emotional guy – the one who always has the breakdown complex. But I guess I found the reason that would explain why I get too emotional on certain situations.

First thing first, what’s in my mind? Explaining far from being philosophical, removing the external world from my being, one would see me as beggar of love. My looking-glass self depicts a person who is incapable of living alone: fewer relationships from the social. Even if I live a fairly independent life in UP, I tend to grasp opportunities to gain relationships from selected newly found friends – but now I find this VERY VERY STUPID.

Next is the experience. I may ask this question: What does my environment dictate me to become? This is more of Goffman’s concept, Dramaturgy, which says that my life is like a theatre. When I am at the stage, I follow the script that the production gave me. I show what they expect me to be.
When people around me have the conception of me being maarte, more likely, I'll be maarte. In short, I have constraints that mold be to the person I am now.

Combining both aspects gives birth to what people know about me. However, I don’t like what people see in me.

“So what should I do?” I asked myself.

From March to April, I have been feeling the change of character in me. Still, I am the joke-all person, porn-loving guy, and extrovert-to-ADHT patient. On the other hand, I feel something that changed my perspective to life. Maybe this is biological, but who cares with the reason?

I imply here what my teacher told me about Society and Power, which my classmate expounded. He gave us an example. Here’s how it goes: “Imagine yourself as a revolver and the different attributes of you as the bullets. Usually, when bullets are shot, the revolver turns in a normal consecutive way. But having a POWER OVER ONESELF AND THE SOCIETY, you, as the revolver can freely revolve, allowing you to choose which bullet to set. Now the society is the trigger that will make your bullet ready to fire. (Lindol De Castro).” Amazing huh?

With what my classmate said, I now can weigh which side of myself I’m going to be in different situations. For me, it’s just nice that there are other options arising than being wild and emotional that come up to my mind whenever self-infliction is about to come…and it’s now easy to decide what bullet I’m going to shoot.

Hopefully, this entry won’t follow what I wrote before: Benignity is the twin brother of Malignity. Nonetheless, I have all my bullets, and I now have to power which to fire.

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