Eurovision Babbling pt. 2

Alright! Having written about the first semi-final, it’s time to tackle the acts that make up the second semi-final!

Lithuania – I love this song! Loooove. Love loooove. It’s bluegrass-y, Mumford & Sons-y goodness. It’s got a catchy chorus and is easy to sing along with. Especially that……………….pause! In the middle of the song. I think this will most definitely qualify. High hopes for it to do well after that, but I can’t say for sure.

Ireland – I quite like this song. Although last time I was gunning for Ireland, poor Ryan Dolan finished (UNDESERVINGLY) dead last. I definitely think that Molly Sterling is talented. I don’t know if she’ll qualify for the finals, though. I would love to hear this song on the radio, though.

San Marino – This song is well-composed. The vocals are cute. But meh. I’ll pass. Although San Marino could surprise everyone and possibly qualify like it did last year!

Montenegro – I’ve always really enjoyed the acts from Montenegro! Even more so, I like that they’re sung in Montenegrin! I don’t care if I don’t understand it, it’s beautiful to hear songs sung in native languages. I can’t say if they’ll qualify, but it’s a beautiful song.

Malta – Malta! Maltaaaaa! Every year, I gun for Malta to do well. And every year they DON’T. I feel like Malta is such an underdog every year and I hope that they do well this year! I’ll most likely keep loving them for years to come haha.

Norway – Man. Talk about a heavy song. I like it, though. What? No…no I’m not *sniff* I’m not crying. NO, YOU SHUT UP!

Portugal – Again, I love songs that are sung in their native language!! I was bored on my first listen but the more I listen to it, the more I enjoy it. Her voice is great!

Czech Republic – Sorry, Czech Republic. Not digging this.

Israel – One of the only uptempo songs this year, it seems. Cute song! It will most likely advance. Although, after last year’s SHOCKER of Mei Finegold not making it through, I don’t even know.

Latvia – Great vocals. I’m excited for this song. It will most likely qualify.

Azerbaijan – Meh. It’s alright.

IcelandYES. I think this is maybe my favorite song this year. I’m definitely getting some Emmelie De Forest and Taylor Swift here…but damn. I love it. And listening to this song in Icelandic? Even better! I hope this qualifies and does well!

Sweden – Alright. This is definitely an #UnpopularOpinion, but I really am not feeling Sweden’s song this year. Sure, it’s catchy, but that’s all. Måns is talented and I’ve liked him for years. But…this song is nothing really new to me. I mean, Sweden are always a powerhouse….but I’m really confused by the tidal wave of support that Sweden has this year. No doubt this will make it to the final and will collect an obscene amount of douze pointes….but I really don’t think Sweden deserves a win this year.

Switzerland – Meh. I would hate to have to perform after Sweden.

Cyprus – Meh

Slovenia – A ray of light in a forest a of ‘Meh’ closing acts for the second semi-final.

Poland –  Meh

 So those are my thoughts! What do you y’all think? Agree? Disagree? I’m especially curious to hear if anyone feels the same way about Sweden that I do haha. 

Eurovision babbling 1

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! EUROVISION! 

Now, as an American, I love watching Eurovision. I find myself to be mostly objective about the entries. Being so far removed from Europe, I don’t get caught up in all the political hooplah. I think it’s really more about the performances for me.

It is a bit lonely sometimes, though. Most Americans know nothing about Eurovision! But there are some who do. They are the few glittering sequins adorning this dark, clueless tapestry of the U.S.

2015 is looking to be an interesting year. (Can we talk about AUSTRALIA, THOUGH?!)

Here are some of my thoughts on the entries this year! From the first semifinal:

Moldova –  Pretty generic 90s sounding Euro pop. Weren’t there also allegations of this guy cheating the national selection process with voter fraud? It sounds like a well-known song…but I can’t place my finger on it.

Armenia – Hmmm there was a lot of hype for this entry, right? They released all the members one by one etc. I usually love Armenia’s stuff, but this is a bit underwhelming.

Belgium – This sounds like a song by Lorde. Maybe a bit too downtempo for Eurovision? Might be a surprise hit, but I’m not terribly impressed =\

 The Netherlands – “Whyyy why yai yai yaiiiii” – this song sounds familiar to me too! Why?! Where is that hook from?! This song is catchy and, judging by the surprising (to me) 2nd place last year, the Dutch entry could be a surprise!

Finland – This entry. I’m torn. On one hand, I’m impressed and inspired that Finland sent this act. It’s incredibly brave – especially considering how nasty ESC fans in other countries can be. On the other hand…I feel like it’s a bit gimmicky? We’ve seen this kind of an act out of Finland before – and it won. But I doubt it’ll be repeated again. Plus, it’s incredibly short.

Greece – Greece, what? A ballad?! I always rely on Greece to provide me with some kickass, uptempo ethnic-sounding dance party tune! I’m not digging this =\ She’s talented and everything, but meh.

Estonia – I’m honestly surprised by how much I like the Balkan entries this year! This might be the weakest one, but I still enjoy it! I think Elina’s vocals definitely outmatch her dude counterpart. This song is catchy, though, and I think it’ll do well in voting. Most definitely making it through to the final.

F.Y.R. Macedonia – I think this song is nice. It works well with the music video…but I predict it will be kind of boring when performed live. Maybe I’m wrong, though.

Serbia – Guuuuuurl. This song definitely feels like a favorite this year. Although, I think it needs to be sung in Serbian. I feel like translating it to English kind of waters it down. At least mix the two languages like Poland did last year. I think it’ll advance, though. Definitely.

Hungary – Okay. Like, I get what they’re trying to do and I respect it. But I don’t think this song is going to be received well at ESC. They already had some controversy over it; a sentence referring to how many children were killed in the Gaza conflict was removed from the background. This is one of those politically-charged songs that just kind of ekes past the guidelines about ‘no political statements’.

Belarus – After the shitshow of an entry last year, I’m glad to see Belarus sending a better act. It’s catchy and it has a cool beat. It’s not one of my favorites, but I think it will definitely advance to the final.

Russia – Eh. I’m consistently underwhelmed by Russia’s entries (ever since the adorable grannies). This kind of song, though? From Russia? lolol. I just imagine a little asterik “A Million Voices*”

*just not the gay ones. 

Denmark – Alright, Denmark. It’s like you know you can’t win again. Kudos to this guy, he’s alright but I don’t think he’s really serious haha.

Albania – I like it! It’s catchy, the vocals are good and it’s well-composed. May probably advance.

Romania – This song is surprisingly good, I think. It sounds beautiful in Romanian – even though I don’t understand a word. I’m curious to see how it does.

Georgia – YASSSS. YASSS, GEORGIA, YASSSSS. I’m loving this. What parallel universe am I living in where I’m actually super excited about an entry by Georgia?? Last year’s entry was terrible. TERRIBLE. But this? I am here for this. I assume they’ll advance and I really want them to.

What do you think, ESC fans? Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

Why I’m excited for the upcoming film ‘Home’

Next week, DreamWorks Studio will release its new animated film Home. Based on the children’s book “The True Meaning of Smekday,” by Adam Rex, the movie Home doesn’t look like a great film, to be honest. So then…why, you may ask, am I excited for a movie that looks like a cross between E.T. and Lilo & Stitch?

The answer is quite simple: Curly-haired representation.

This is the main character, Tip. She’s voiced by Rihanna. But do you see? Her hair. Her hair! It’s gorgeous, it’s bouncy, it’s CURLY! Now, it may seem like I’m overreacting…but trust me, I’m not. Curly-haired people often get shafted in popular media representation. The last main character with curly hair that I can remember was Merida from Brave (a great movie, btw). Aside from that, I’m hard-pressed to think of other memorable characters with curly hair.

The fact that DreamWorks has chosen a Person of Color as its main character is commendable, but to add in gorgeous natural hair to the mix? I live. This kind of representation is so, so important and I’m very happy to be seeing it.

Whereas I can’t speak to any experiences of being Black, I do have incredibly curly hair and I have been *this* close to buzzing it all off more than once in my life.

IMG_0467

Sometimes having curly hair can be pretty lonely. When I was growing up, I always wanted to gel it up into epic spikes like my friends did. Whenever I tried to do so however, it would curl annoyingly and fall to my head like sad, udon noodles. I grew to resent my hair and the weird things it did when it got too long so I kept it short for much of my early life – trying to skirt by without drawing attention to it.

There are other times, though, when curly hair draws unwanted attention from people. As a child, I vividly remember older women who would always fawn over my hair, reaching out their gnarly, perfumed fingers to grab handfuls of it while exclaiming to my mother how beautiful it was. Now, as an adult, my hair continues to be grabbed in bars and clubs by hands that are attached to drunk, tactless people.

Even something as simple as creating a Mii on the Nintendo Wii leaves curly-haired people feeling a bit shafted. Six pages of hairstyles and not one that really reflects my hairstyle. For my Mii, I decided to just select the bulbous afro and call it a day.

Nintendo aside though, there is definitely a movement in the U.S. to accept natural hair – which I love. A great example of this is the Dove ‘Love Your Curls’ campaign. The video might be a bit hokey, but I will admit I teared up a bit when I first watched it.

As someone whose hair explodes from his head in a curly mess every day, seeing a character who has similar qualities feels good. It feels satisfying. It feels…long overdue. If I, an adult male, feel this way, then imagine how cool it must be for a little girl or boy who has curly hair to see Tip on the big screen in all her wild, frizzy glory.

At this point, I don’t particularly care whether Home is a good movie or not. I’m just excited because it not only represents curly-haired people, but also features a strong main character who isn’t White. I believe it’s a step in the right direction that I wish more companies would take. There are, of course, other characters and celebrity voices that are featured in this movie…but I honestly don’t care about them. I’m here for Tip and her gorgeous head of curly hair that will no doubt resonate with a segment of the audience that greatly deserves it.

Things I didn’t “get” in 2014 – a look back

Hey! Guess what? It’s almost 2015! Holy shit!

If 2014 were a series that you were bingewatching on Netflix, you would be on the penultimate episode! If it were a book, you would be on page 364 of 365! Isn’t that CRAZY?

When I talk about this past year, it’s with a lot of confusion. Like…a lot of shit happened. But at the same time…not much seemed to happen at all. I don’t know, maybe it’s me? 2014 wasn’t entirely unremarkable…but I think I’m just so ready for it to be over. I’ve kind of already emptied my brain. I’ve deleted the caches of memories from the year in preparation for 2015.

I decided, though, to make one final post before 2015 begins. Everyone loves lists, right? Especially END OF YEAR lists!

Here are some of the things that happened this year that I just didn’t “get”. I’m hoping these are all from 2014 but, like I said, my memory of this past year has been a bit hazy. Also, please please please don’t assume I’m some kind of cultural guru or connoisseur of all things pop culture; I’m not. I’m simply a bored twenty-something who wants to write about stuff in his blog.

  •  Flappy Bird – Like…what was this game, even? I never downloaded it. It looked like a huge ripoff of Super Mario. People were going craaaazy over it! People seemed more than eager to torture themselves with something that seemed impossible to win.

 “Yeah yeah, I’ll donate or whatever. But first….let me take a #SELFIE” 
  •  The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – I had a couple of friends tag me in this and I promptly ignored them. ALS is definitely a terrible disease, there’s no doubting that trying to raise money for its research is a great idea.

    Butttttt I think the message got a bit lost somewhere in the millions of repetitive videos. I mean, everyone from Malloree P. from Delaware to the President of Turkmenistan seemed to be dumping water on their heads for attention. It was nice to see the Ice Bucket Challenge give so much exposure to ALS and the need for research. At the same time, though, something about the whole thing was just really off-putting to me.

  •  Snapchat – I tried it. I really, really tried it. Maybe I’m just too old for this app, though? I would get group snaps and think that the sender was talking to me personally, so I would respond back and not make any sense. I just never understood the point of it. I don’t know, call me old-fashioned but I guess I just prefer to send a picture via text message to someone.

No thank you, creepy Pringles dude. Please leave me alone.

  • Mustaches – Were mustaches a thing this year or am I just imagining it? It seemed like every white trendy hipster boy was trying to rock a sad little caterpillar ‘stache twisted up on the ends like a wannabe Dali.

Yo Iggy, drop a sick freestyle!

  • Igloo Australia
  • Igthorn Amoeba 
  • Igby Aragorn 
  • Iggy Azaelia – I just…can’t stand her, really. I don’t know if it’s the way she raps – she sounds like a toddler trying to read their first book. Or maybe it’s her irritatingly catchy ‘Fancy’ song. Or maybe it’s how she capitalizes on Hip Hop/Black culture while not seeming to actually give a fuck about doing so. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I just really don’t get why everyone was so obsessed with her this year.

  • American Horror Story: Carnival – A lot of people seemed to wet themselves over the new season of AHS. Admittedly, I’ve only seen the first season. I watched the first episode of Carnival and though “Hm. Okay.” and then I couldn’t ever remember to watch it again. I don’t think I missed much, though.

  • The fascination with Nick Jonas – Okay, I get it: Nick Jonas is hot. He really is. And he’s cool with gay fans too? That’s awesome. He was spotted in a NYC gay club and flashed abs? Wow, awesome! Oh? He…flashed his abs again on the cover of a gay magazine? Oh-okay.

It seemed like so many people went apeshit over ~*~*~*~Whether or not he’s gay~*~*~*~*~ . It seemed like he was bombarded by all things queer just because he expressed that he was an ally. I saw one unfortunate interview where he was made to awkwardly “guess the bulge”. Like, c’mon now. Whether or not he is or isn’t LGBT is none of our business. Although I do have a bit of trepidation about how far he’s willing to ride this rainbow wave of publicity. *shrug*

  • Gluten-free shit – I don’t know…I just never really understood the whole craze.

 So that’s it! My list! Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know! I think that it’s a very strange, oddly specific list so I would be interested to know what others thought of 2014 haha. 

 ALSO! I just want to give a huge THANK YOU to all the people who follow my little blog and all the ramblings it contains. I seriously appreciate it and I look forward to 2015! ❤