Friday, November 9, 2012

The Strings Blog Has Moved!

Click here to visit the new blog!

The Strings Music Festival Blog has moved! Strings has incorporated the blog with our newly launched website. To keep following, please bookmark in your favorites.

Be sure to check out our new website. One new feature is the ability to choose your seats online

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Obama and Romney Get On Spotify

Spotify has been available to the general public in the United States for just over a year now, which means that this is the first Presidential Election to have access to the new music streaming software. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney set up Spotify playlists to accompany their campaigns.

Obama was first to get on Spotify, making his campaign playlist back in February. The songs were carefully chosen by his team to represent his campaign. The playlist now contains more than 40 songs featuring a wide variety of artists from many different genres, including Earth, Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, and BeyoncĂ©. Generally, the messages are patriotic, upbeat, and easy to understand. He pledges his allegiance to the people (Wilco – “I Got You” and Ray LaMontagne – “You Are The Best Thing”) and petitions for his next term (Al Green – “Let’s Stay Together” and REO Speedwagon – “Roll With The Changes”).

My favorite selection is Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song.” The story behind the song and Obama’s ethics match perfectly. When Bareilles was starting her career, her record label rejected her songs and told her that she needed to write a marketable love song. Instead she went home and wrote, “I’m not gonna write you a love song, cause you ask for it, cause you need one.” Ironically, her anti love song fulfilled the request of her record label and sprung her to the top of the charts. During the campaign, Obama has not sacrificed his morals by just telling the American people what they want to hear. Instead, he has laid out the facts and what he really intends to do as President. I’m sure he’s also hoping to follow in the footsteps of Bareilles to win the popular vote.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Call Barack Obama Maybe

This week's cleverly spliced video features Barack Obama singing Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." The song took off earlier this year, where it stole the #1 spot for nine consecutive weeks. While there are enough spoofs on this song for an entire blog post and more, I just had to feature this one for this month's campaign music theme. I'll let you come to your own conclusions on the intended message. To me it's just plain funny.

And in case you're as obsessed with the song as the rest of the country, here's Carly Rae Jepsen's version.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Barack Obama's Campaign Music

As promised last week, it’s now time to examine President Barack Obama’s use of music in his campaign.

Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama

As the incumbent, the President had already built a base of celebrity supporters from the 2008 election. One of these was Bruce Springsteen, who wanted his political career to be short. He told the New Yorker, “It seemed like if I was ever going to spend whatever small political capital I had, that was the moment to do so. But that capital diminishes the more often you do it. While I’m not saying never, and I still like to support the President, you know, it's something I didn’t do for a long time, and I don’t have plans to be out there every time.”

Clearly The Boss is again worried for the future of the country because he’s agreed to do two rallies tomorrow in Ohio and Iowa.

But Springsteen’s point of having a limited amount of political clout, may not hold up. History shows that despite the power of music, it may not do anything to sway an election. The first time musicians rallied behind a politician was the 1972 election Nixon vs. McGovern. Despite anti-war demonstrations supporting McGovern by Carole King, the Grateful Dead, and Simon and Garfunkel and Neil Young’s “War Song” written expressly for the candidate, Nixon still won the election with the most electoral votes in American history.

Springsteen himself has seen one candidate lose and one win for each election he’s supported. His first step into politics was in 2004 Bush vs. Kerry, and then made a return performance in 2008 Obama vs. McCain, both times supporting the Democratic nominee. Looking at all of these examples, it’s hard to find any evidence of musician support influencing the vote.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up

In keeping with this month’s politically themed posts, I wanted to share some presidential video spoofs. Some clever people have taken the time to splice together words that Romney or Obama have actually said and fit them into a popular song. “Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up,” is one I particularly enjoyed. It’s a spoof on Eminem’s song “The Real Slim Shady,” and the message is that it’s hard to figure out who Romney actually is because he has made so many conflicting statements. While the creator has clearly put his own spin on Romney's words, it's entertaining nonetheless.

And just in case you want to see how the spoof matches the real song, I've included the original Eminem video as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mitt Romney's Campaign Music

In light of the upcoming election, I thought I’d explore the angle of music along the campaign trail. A celebrity endorsement can be worth thousands of campaign dollars and since music sends such powerful messages and feelings, a musician endorsement for a campaign can really boost voter interest. To be fair, Romney and Obama will have his own post examining the musicians aligned with or opposed to his campaign.

Mitt Romney and Kid Rock

Mitt Romney chose Kid Rock’s 2010 hit “Born Free” as his theme song. Kid Rock gave Romney, and anyone else, permission to use his music. He posted, “Anyone else who wants to use my song do not need my permission. I said he could use it and I would say the same for any other candidate. I have to have a little faith that every candidate feels like he or she can help this country. Without faith, we got nothing. I make music to have it be heard.”

But just because Kid Rock allowed Romney to use the song, didn’t mean that he endorsed the Presidential candidate. Back in February, Romney contacted Kid Rock about performing at the Michigan Rally. Kid Rock said he would consider it as long as he got a private interview. After Romney promised to help the state of Michigan if he is elected, Kid Rock agreed to perform “Born Free” at the rally and gave his official endorsement to the candidate.

On the other side of the spectrum, some musicians are not as forgiving when their songs are used without permission. Some prefer to stay out of politics and do not want to be seen as endorsing a campaign just because the candidate is using a particular songs. The band Silversun issued a cease-and-desist order to the Romney campaign on the song “Panic Switch.”

Friday, October 5, 2012

Psy - Gangnam Style

Psy in "Gangnam Style"

What a surprise I found when I opened Spotify yesterday and saw that “Gangnam Style” was the #1 song in Top Lists. After weeks of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Fun.’s “Some Nights” dominating the top spots, “Gangnam Style” suddenly appeared at #1 without, to my knowledge, even making an appearance at any of the other top 100 spots.

Released in July, the song made Korean pop an international splash. One of my co-workers sent me “Gangnam Style” a few weeks ago and I had intended to feature it as a song of the week showing that a song can be catchy even if you can’t understand the lyrics. But apparently when rapper Psy’s video made it to the Video Music Awards in early September the rest of America proved this point for me by bumping the video’s hits on YouTube to over 350 million.

I’m not sure if it’s the invisible horse dance, a dubstep-esque breakdown in the middle, or a melody that makes me want to sing even though I don’t know the words, but “Gangnam Style” is worth listening to, language barrier and all.