Lady Gaga – Born This Way

I’ve spent the last five days pretty much listening to Lady Gaga’s new album, Born This Way, non-stop (with just a little bit of Fitz and the Tantrums thrown in…I know, weird mix, shut up). Anyway, The mere fact that it’s gone through so many listenings is a good sign, but I must admit that there are a few songs that I skip over. I did this with The Fame Monster, too, in the beginning, but that didn’t make me any less than a fan. I’m sure those few tracks will grow on me eventually, because they always do. It’s simply the power of Gaga.

I was beginning to wonder how many songs she was actually going to release before this album came out, because it was getting a little bit ridiculous. If you take the plain edition of the album, there’s only 14 tracks and she released at least four (five if you count “You and I”, also what’s up with the umlaut on that one? There’s supposed to be one). Granted, the deluxe edition has 17 plus five remixes, but still.

Only once I listened to the album did I really get it, and it was a great marketing scheme. People always buy that album for that song that they heard on the radio. Well, you’ve already heard (and most likely enjoyed) about a third of the album, so why not just buy it? Also, that whole Amazon/$1.00 thing really helped out, too. That dollar goes a hell of a long way when you consider the fact that this album is projected to sell 800,000 copies.

We expect Gaga to be (and this has become my new favorite word) “a weirdy”, but she’s really gone all out on this one. I mean, have you seen the video for “Born This Way”? If not, check it out. There is not enough LSD in the world to make that video “normal”. David Bowie would be proud. While previous albums were all about disco sticks, gettin’ drunk, and generally being fabulous, she’s gone off on an entirely different tangent. This time it’s religion and I still can’t tell if she’s genuinely into this whole religious thing or if she’s just being facetious. In one way, you have the uplifting, eponymous, anthem, but then you have songs like “Black Jesus/Amen Fashion”. She’s been going in this direction for a while, with the whole “Mother Monster”/”Little Monsters” situation and even with the Haus of Gaga, in a sense. Lady Gaga is no longer just a musician, she’s a brand, an entity. It’s easy to forget that this album entailed the assistance of 60+ people.

Even when speaking about the album in an interview with the BBC’s Newsbeat Gaga stated, “It’s finished and all, it’s just fine-tuning everything. It’s kind of like the post-operative stage of the album. I’ve already done the full heart surgery. I’m just sewing myself back up again. I think that lyrically this album is more poetic. It’s really written by the fans, they really wrote it for me because every night they’re funneling so much into me. So I wrote it for them. Born This Way is all about my little monsters and me, mother monster.”

Perhaps I’ve thought far too deeply about a pop album. That’s also quite possible. Apparently other people get this, too, though. From the EW review:

“The gospel of Gaga, as told in Born This Way, goes something like this: Humanity will be damned by its own self-doubt until Gaga the Savior delivers us with the might of her music. On the album’s first two singles, the messianic “Born This Way” and “Judas,” our muffin-bluffin’ Lady of yore is reborn as an earnest dance-party evangelist, retaining the beats but trading in her disco stick for a splinter of the Cross.”


In addition to that reoccurring theme, though, Born This Way is just as much about equality…in religion, freedom, sexuality, race, and pretty much anything else. Kind of an All American ideal over a euro-dance beat. Oh, and don’t forget the slutty parts like “Put your hands on me, John F. Kennedy” in “Government Hooker” or “I want your whiskey mouth all over my blond south” in “Heavy Metal Lover”. In a world of standard, radio-friendly pop hits, Gaga’s imagination is a welcome change.

The vast majority of the album is very good. “Marry the Night”, reportedly an homage to her love of New York opens the door to a fantastic pop album. Perhaps not the “album of the decade” like Lady Gaga promised, but pretty damn fun none the less. Minus the weird, diva-like aria at the beginning, I’m also really digging “Government Hooker”. Something about this song makes me think of a female Tim Armstrong. Maybe it’s her weird ass, almost drunk sounding “chorus”. That is a distinct possibility. For as weird as this song is, I can’t stop loving it. The perils of going Gaga, I suppose. It’s got a pretty fun, late 80’s inspired goth hook though, which also has elements present in “Highway Unicorn (Road 2 Love)”. Alright, I just want to stop to mention that that’s a ridiculous fucking song title. Gaga has managed to make everyone love her, from pre-teens, to teens, to twenty and thirty something party chicks to frat boys, to soccer moms to everyman. No everyman is going to be caught dead listening to a song called “Highway Unicorn”, okay? Other than that, it’s actually a pretty badass song.

The song that has really just fucked the shit out of my ears, though, is “Scheiße”. Gaga goes straight up German Hardcore. Well actually, she doesn’t speak German, but she will if you want her to, and in her own brand of quasi-fantasy German. That doesn’t make it any less hot, though.

Songs that I’ve been skipping are “Americano”, an in your face knock-off of “Alejandro”, except in female form, “Hair”, disappointingly self-explanatory, and “The Queen”…just can’t get into that one. This does not mean they won’t grown on me. Chances are they will in just the same way that “Dancing in the Dark” and “Monster” did.

All in all, I can admit that I expected more from Gaga, but I hold her to pretty high standards. At this point, I feel like this album is already over. With all the pre-releases, it’s like we’ve all been listening to this album for a year. Now, it has me eagerly awaiting her next, strange adventure. It still gets an A, but in the lower percentages. You can check it out for yourself, streaming for free on her Myspace.

Have some videos and a great holiday weekend, everybody!


“Government Hooker”

“Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)”


New Lady Gaga Album on Amazon for LESS THAN $1!

You guys! The new Lady Gaga album is available for digital download on Amazon today for NINETY NINE CENTS!

Go get that shit! And while you’re at it, go thank BNac for letting me know about it!

Click below for the link. Happy Monday!

Rapture? Bring it.

Buh-bye, Earth.

So, in case you haven’t heard, the end of the world starts on Saturday, May 21, 2011. I hate to break it to you, but I already RSVP-ed “Yes, I’m Attending” for 2013 on Facebook. I have prior obligations, Harold Camping! From Yahoo! News:

“Harold Camping, a Christian broadcaster from California, has ascertained the exact date of Doomsday. It is this Saturday, May 21. Five months of torment for the unbelievers will be ushered in, with the universe ending Oct. 21.

Apparently the Elect will be caught up in the Rapture on Saturday, leaving the rest of us sinners to face the music. Camping apparently did not draw the date out of his, er, hat, but rather has developed actual math to support it. According to MSNBC:

“He believes Christ was crucified on April 1, 33 A.D., exactly 722,500 days before May 21, 2011. That number, 722,500, is the square of 5 x 10 x 17. In Camping’s numerological system, 5 represents atonement, 10 means completeness, and seventeen means heaven.”

Camping’s system is not perfect. He had previously predicted the date of Doomsday as being Sept. 6, 1994. The date came and went without the Rapture happening and without the Tribulation descending upon the Earth.

End of the world fads have been around at least since the birth of Christianity and are not necessarily confined to the religious. The religious, of course, believe that at some point that Book of Revelations will come to pass or that the 12 Imam will arrive. The effects are much the same thing, with the chosen Elect being spared the apocalypse and the rest being condemned to pain and torment. Of course there is also the Mayan inspired idea that the world is going to end in 2012, which further inspired a special effects packed movie.

Secular people get into the fun of predicting the end of the world by darkly pointing to nuclear war, over population, environmental holocaust, world-wide plague, the super volcano, an asteroid strike, or the potential presidency of Sarah Palin.

Camping is one of those rare, bold folks to affix a day and date to the end of the world. There have been people like that in history. They have all wound up confused and wondering what happened (or didn’t happen.) Camping has already experienced this in the wake of his failed 1994 prediction. One suspects that he will be disappointed again.

But, just in case, I think I will have some much needed fun Friday night. One never knows.”

In honor of this spectacular occasion, I’m gonna have myself a little shindig. What better reason to make home made pizza, throw back some beers, and kick some ass in Soul Calibur on my new PS3?

And like any good party, it needs a playlist….
Here’s the start of the official Rapture Party Playlist, so far (pretty upbeat, no?):

    1. Highway to Hell – AC/DC
    2. Until the End of the World – Apoptygma Berserk
    3. Farewell Ride – Beck
    4. Imagine – John Lennon
    5. I Will Survive – Cake
    6. Say Goodbye – Reel Big Fish
    7. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
    8. Sons and Daughters – The Decemberists
    9. The End – The Doors
    10. Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
    11. Get Happy – Erin McKeown
    12. If I Ever Leave This World Alive – Flogging Molly
    13. As Heaven Is Wide – Garbage
    14. Last Living Souls – Gorillaz
    15. Like A Prayer – Phil Turkas
    16. In The End – Green Day
    17. La Petite Mort – Erin McKeown
    18. Devil’s Haircut – Beck
    19. Meteor – The Bird and the Bee
    20. Rapture – Blondie
    21. Sing You Sinners – Erin McKeown
    22. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
    23. Motor – Cake
    24. Help Save the Youth of America from Exploding – Less Than Jake
    25. True Believers – The Bouncing Souls
    26. Lights Go Out – Jupiter One
    27. Will The Revolution Come? – Reel Big Fish
    28. They Can’t Save Us Now – Kill Hannah
    29. Disco Heaven – Lady Gaga
    30. Personal Jesus – Marilyn Manson
    31. Lose It (In the End) – Mark Ronson
    32. Dead Souls – Nine Inch Nails
    33. Dinosaurs Will Die – NOFX
    34. God – Tori Amos
    35. No Sign of Life – OK Go
    36. It’s A Sin – Pet Shop Boys
    37. Holdin’ on Together – Phoenix
    38. First Day – Placebo
    39. It’s the End of the World As We Know It – REM
    40. Heaven in A Place on Earth – Belinda Carlisle (Happy Hardcore Mix)
    41. So Long, Farewell – The Vandals
    42. Closing Time – Semisonic
    43. The Rapture – Siouxie and the Banshees
    44. Last One Out of Liberty City – Less Than Jake
    45. Last Girl on Earth – Supreme Beings of Leisure
    46. Women and Men – They Might Be Giants
    47. Whatever Gets You Through the Night – John Lennon
    48. Stairway to Heaven – Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
    49. The End of the World – The Cure
    50. Thank You, Lord, For Sending Me the F Train – Mike Doughty
    51. Thank God – Mindless Self Indulgence
    52. Judas – Lady Gaga
    53. In The Hands of Gods – Morcheeba
    54. We Will Become Silhouettes – The Postal Service
    55. The Wars End – Rancid
    56. The Likes of You Again – Flogging Molly
    57. Happy Phantom – Tori Amos
    58. Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution – Reel Big Fish
    59. Leaving On A Jet Plane – Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
    60. People That Are Going to Hell – The Vandals
    61. The Devil is Bad – The W’s
    62. Comfort Eagle – Cake
    63. Living Hell – Morcheeba
    64. We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel
    65. From the End of the World – Electric Light Orchestra
    66. Party at the End of the World – Jimmy Buffett
    67. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
    68. How Far We’ve Come – Matchbox 20
    69. Sprit In the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
    70. The End of the World – Zombina and the Skeletones
    71. Long Hard Road Out of Hell – Marilyn Manson
    72. Heresy – Nine Inch Nails
    73. Calamity Song – The Decemberists
    74. Happy Death Day – Alien Ant Farm
    75. The Sign – Ace of Base
    76. Instant Karma – John Lennon
    77. Volcano – Jupiter One
    78. Best Wishes to Your Black Lung – Less Than Jake
    79. Earthquake Weather – Beck
    80. For Tomorrow – Blur
    81. The End – The Beatles
    82. Sudden Death in Carolina – Brand New

So, what is everyone doing for the rapture? Inquiring minds want to know! Leave it in the comments.

Amy Heffernan – Friggin’ Little Know It All

Two things that I love include pop music and Canadians. Amy Heffernan has ’em both. The Canadian radio darling has just released her second album, Friggin’ Little Know It All and it’s a mix of everything I love and hate about pop music and female vocalists in general. Some of the songs are right at that “mediocre” level, but there’s this cluster of pure pop gold in the middle of the album that completely makes you forget about that sub-par song that you just heard two tracks ago.

From the press release:

“Amy Heffernan has never doubted music is what she was born to do. From the moment she saw the video for the No Doubt’s “Just A Girl,” she declared “That’s it – that’s what I want to do!” Years later, she is living out her childhood dream.

After receiving a 10K20 Grant from Rawlco Radio, Amy began work on her second full-length album, Friggin’ Little Know It All in late 2010 along with her brother Doug Heffernan and writing partners Steve Giles and Cal Curtis. [Released on] May 3, 2011, the album features everything from party anthems like “Friggin’ Little Know It All” and “Crap” to upbeat love confessions in songs like “Perfect” and the Boney M cover “Rasputin”. The spunky first single “Dance Ourselves Sober” is already making waves at radio.

Starting out as a drummer and touring North America with Juno-nominated artist Janelle, Amy then packed her gear, left her oil city home, Fort McMurray, AB, and headed south to Los Angeles to team up with her older brother, Doug.

“My debut EP is my baby, but it’s way too serious,” Amy explains. “I can be serious, but not ALL the time”. Amy immersed herself in the music scene of L.A. going to as many clubs to watch as many different acts as she could. Steering away from the typical singer/songwriter artists, she and went to watch such acts as Lady Gaga, Robyn and Juliet and The Romantiques.

The music industry got their real first taste of this emerging pop artist in spring 2010 when Amy was invited to perform at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Ontario, catching the attention of several label, music and radio tastemaskers. Canadian radio responded immediately to the infectious single “Being Awesome” and its follow-up “Dance Ourselves Sober,” building momentum on playlists from coast-to-coast.”

As for the album itself, you have tracks like “Friggin’ Little Know It All”, a No doubt flavored tune with the anger of Liz Phair and the syncopation of Fiona Apple along side songs like “Perfect”, an infectiously catchy tune (seriously found myself singing along after two listenings) easily from the end credits of a teenage rom-com, next to songs like karaoke anthem, “Being Awesome”. All three of those are definitely “singing in the shower” worthy.

But, then you have some tracks that, while not entirely falling flat, have just been done to death already like “Dance Ourselves Sober”, a slightly cleaner version of Lady Gaga‘s “Just Dance” and “Creepin’ Me Out”, a younger man’s version of Ke$ha‘s “D.I.N.O.S.A.U.R.”.

I’ve been hearing a lot of “Pink” thrown around while referencing this album, and I’m just not hearing it. I think more “Shakira” (though I do not know the status of Amy Heffernan’s hips). She’s got a unique inflection that is certainly not for everyone’s tastes, but happens to be for mine.

Heffernan seriously has so much potential and I’ve been trying to keep in mind the fact that this is only her second album. It’s right around that high C, low B range, but because the she has the potential to be super ultra awesome, she gets a B. She’s definitely one to watch out for, though. Check out some of the tracks below and you can find out for yourself. You can also find out more about Amy on her Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter.

“Perfect” (Oh yeah, did I forgot to mention how adorable she is, too!? I guess I did.)

“Being Awesome”

“Friggin’ Little Know It All”

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Sometimes it amazes me how much I genuinely enjoy Dave Grohl considering the amount of hatred I have for Nirvana. In fact, I think you should see this, right now.

Alright, now that that’s done, Foo Fighters have yet another album, Wasting Light, making a grand total of seven full length albums in sixteen years. It’s almost impossible to keep tabs on these guys anymore, they’ve got so much going on. You have Dave Grohl with the whole Them Crooked Vultures thing in addition to helping out Slash on his self-titled album, making cameos on tour with Tenacious D, and hanging out with Paul McCartney. Then there’s the rest of the band reportedly getting back with Sunny Day Real Estate (Nate Mendel), making their own home-style side projects (Chris Shiflett), and doing MORE stuff with Slash (Taylor Hawkins), you wonder how these guys have time to sleep, much less make new albums and tour.

Well, however they do it, the seasoned veterans of rock have managed to crank out another solid album. By far the heaviest that I’ve heard from the guys, it’s a full 180 from Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace. While ESPG was made of the stuff that sells out Wembley, it seems that the Fighters have made an album that they wanted to make.

A throw back to the early days, Wasting Light could have just as easily come out in 1994. Produced by Butch Vig (Nirvana’s Nevermind) with a surprise appearance by Krist Novoselic and the full-fledged return of Pat Smear, I feel like I should be looking for my old flannels and Docs somewhere. Also incredible, is the fact that after all of these years and all of that hard work, this is the FIRST Foo Fighters album to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200. Crazy, right? It’s about time, though, the boys deserve it.

As for the album itself, this isn’t the Foo Fighters that you hear on the radio. Opening with the guttural growl of Grohl on “Bridge Burning”, you don’t get a break until track ten, “I Should Have Known”, with it’s Kings of Leon-esque vibe. You also get tracks like the beautiful “Arlandia”, a haunting and melodic nursery rhyme side by side (literally) with tracks like “White Limo”, another heavy track with a little help from Motorhead’s Lemmy. Perhaps a gift to the fans of the old Probot days? It certainly sounds like it. While I hate to admit it, the first single “Rope”, is my favorite song so far. What can I say? I love Dave Grohl’s voice and this is the highlight of it on this album. It also has just the right amount of pop-song catchiness, without being overdone.

While most rock bands would have at least plateaued (if not dive bombed) by this point, Foo Fighters are still out there making consistently good records, which gives me hope for music in general. This album is downright satisfying. It’s everything a quintessential rock album should be, so it gets a resounding A from me. Check it out for yourself…it’s streaming for free on their Myspace now. You can also check out their site, Facebook, or Twitter for more news.

“Rope (Deadmau5 Remix)”

Fitz and the Tantrums – Pickin’ Up the Pieces

Man, I got this album a little after it came out last year, and totally forgot about it until a well-timed reminder from Mikey Shanley.

Fitz and the Tantrum’s debut album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces came out most likely when I was hardcore hooked on something else (Decemberists? Two Door Cinema Club?) and unfortunately, fell by the wayside. Lucky for them, the new releases right now are substantially lacking and I need some new tunes.

For this album, founder Michael Fitzpatrick enlisted friend James King and The Rebirth’s Noelle Scaggs (you might also know her from Dilated Peoples or the Black Eyed Peas) as well as Joseph Karnes, Jeremy Ruzumna, and John Wicks. Recorded in Fitzpatrick’s living room on a second (or third or fourth) hand organ, Pickin’ Up the Pieces is on the right side of the fine line that is neo-soul (see: Honeycut). They don’t sound like their trying too hard (see: Maroon Five) and it really works out for them. Don’t get me wrong, I kind of have a shameful love for Maroon Five, but there’s a good chance that’s because they’re soooo hokey. It’s fun, but I’d never be able to take them seriously.

Also awesome, is their selection of instrumentation. Mostly, the absolute absence of a guitar. Anywhere. There’s organ, saxophone, flute, Scagg’s voice  (which I’m going to include as an instrument, because it’s that utterly awesome) but not a single strum of a guitar. Despite that, there’s certainly no lack of full sound anywhere to be had on this album.  It comes off like actual 60’s B-sides, not cheap knock offs. Seriously, check out the video for “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” below. Crazy!

And what can I say? The likelyhood of this album putting you in a good mood on a dreary, Monday, Pittsburgh morning? Pretty good. A.

You can check out more of their stuff on their site, Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter.

“Money Grabber”

“Breakin’ the Chains of Love”

Atmosphere – Family Sign

After a long three years, Atmosphere has released their sixth studio album, The Family Sign. Not too often will you come across hip-hop here on That Girl With a Blog, but when something’s good, it’s good.

In addition to the usual duo of Slug and Ant, they’ve added keyboardist Erick Anderson and guitarist Nate Collis to elicit a pretty different sound that the norm. While never your typical rapper, the lyrical genius, Slug, gets somehow even more sentimental on this album. He was never about “doin’ drugs and rollin’ with his thugs” or “shooting [expletive deleted] and gettin’ fuckin’ stupid” (thanks, MSI!) but this album literally hits home. They seriously “keep it real”. Songs about getting older, having kids, domestic violence, dealing with loss…shit that people seriously go through every single day.

There’s a whole lot less humor on this album, which I think makes it even more quality. You have so many rappers out there talking about bling and bitches and guns, but how about some actual (oh god! Dare I say it!?) poetry? That’s what this album is…pure poetry on top of Ant’s skilled beats, mellow guitar, and minimal piano. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a certain clever humor, but in a more macabre sort of way as seen in “Bad Bad Daddy”, where Slug reminisces of what it would be like to have kids now if he had never changed…if he was still a lonely borderline alcoholic.

Lyrically poignant, as always, it’s a fantastic album in that respect. As for the music… it’s oddly captivating for the duo. I’m so used to being drawn in almost solely by Slug’s lyrics, but the addition of mellow guitar and minimal piano really add a depth to Ant’s beats not seen on their prior efforts. Even if you’re not into hip-hop, check out this album because it’s far more than that. It’s a solid B.

You can check out all the latest news on the guys over on Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter.

Check out the video for their first single from the album, “Just For Show” and have a great weekend!

“Just For Show”