Category Archives: Entertainment

“BEYONCÉ”: Music is Often a Marvellous Way

Nearly 2 years ago, singer-performer Beyoncé Knowles released her 5th studio album, “BEYONCÉ”. This release shocked the world of music fans, since there was no previous alert about it, such as a lead single or promotion, and a very few number of people knew it was coming. However, “BEYONCÉ” surprised her fans in a positive way, due to the new approach Knowles took. She didn’t just put a bunch of songs together: she shared a personal story through both lyrics and videos. And people liked her approach. “BEYONCÉ” sold 828, 773 copies during its first three days available exclusively in digital format via Itunes. A total commercial success, and more taking into account the risk the singer took when releasing an album out of the blue and hardly promoting it afterwards.

Leaving figures aside, let’s talk about art. A lot of people have described “BEYONCÉ” as Knowles most artistic work ever. Through a series of sort videos in YouTube, the artist herself explained she had a lot of control and power over what she wanted to express through her music and videos. For this project, creativity and freedom meant a lot to Knowles, which is reflected on the wide range of themes the album covered. From sex to feminism, the artist managed to make heard her view in various topics while she shared parts of her personal life, including motherhood and marriage.

Songs such as “Drunk In Love”, “Rocket”, “Blow” and “Partition” have very explicit lyrics and connotations, through which Knowles expresses her sexuality and desire for sex with a loving partner. This kind of topics are normally taboo, and singing about them without experiencing backlash is quite difficult if you are a celebrity and society considers you a role model for the young population. However, Knowles is 32 years old, and after various years in the music industry, she believed she had done her part and it was time for her to feel liberated. In spite of her words, her sexually explicit songs and videos attracted a lot of negative criticism, and this would have been awful it didn’t have started a conversation on feminism and sexualisation.

It is not unusual for male singers to sing explicit lyrics or to appear in sexual videos half naked, and society doesn’t seem to bother enough with that behaviour, because “boys are going to be boys”. However, as soon as a female singer curses or shows a little bit of skin in a video, she is deemed as “trashy with no self-respect”. The double standards in society are real, and Knowles didn’t hesitate in showing this with her song “***Flawless”, which contained an extract of a speech on gender equality by the writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

An additional important topic the artist sang about is insecurities, through songs such as “Mine”, “Pretty Hurts” and “Jealous”. Beauty, motherhood and marriage were ideas expressed in a fragile way, opposed to the general idea that these three things bring just happiness. With her opening track, “Pretty Hurts”, Knowles drew attention to the drawbacks of beauty pageants and the pressure for perfection in society nowadays: with “Mine”, she made listeners know motherhood made her feel different and down at times; and with “Jealous”, she expressed her concern about losing the love of her life. As Beyoncé has had pressures to have a perfect appearance due to her artistic career since a young age, she is married, and she was mother just a year before releasing the album, it is obvious the songs are directly linked to her own experiences, and even if she didn’t write them by herself, she put them in the album for a reason.

Despite these negative views on love and motherhood, other songs in the album such as “XO” and “Blue” show a different side of these two topics: happiness. “XO” has a positive vibe and beat that makes you feel instantly cheerful and festive. Even if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend to whom dedicate the lyrics, the song makes you celebrate love in all its ways. Alternatively, “Blue” starts off with a harmonic piano melody, accompanied later by the soft voice of Knowles singing calmly and sweetly. You can just feel how grateful the singer is about her daughter and how she sees her as peace in her life.

Another aspects of the album to talk about, other than the songs, are the videos, because they are very artistic too. Knowles said she wanted to create an “immersive experience” in her music for her fans, which is why she made the album visual. Every song in the album has a video which gives a better picture of what the artist wants to express through images, movements and colours. For example, the video for the song “***Flawless” is in black and white, and except for the part of the gender equality speech, the movements and facial expressions of the singer are aggressive, quick and tough, giving a sense of authority and strength to the whole concept of feminism, which is what Knowles is trying to express. The visual format of the song “Rocket” is also in black and white, but this time, everything is pictured in slow motion and with suggestive moments, what transmits a sense of calmness to viewers, making sexual liberation easier, which is the aim of the track.

In contrary, the video for “XO” is full of life and colours: it was recorded in an amusement park, which is usually a place of happiness and affection between families, friends or lovers. And the track in itself is about those two ideas. “Blue” was also illustrated in a colourful way, as it was shot in a tropical paradise, but the views of the sea offer a pacific approach to love between a mother and a daughter that found peace in a more solitary and less noisy environment. Conversely, “Blow” has a very colour rich video too, though it is more energetic and vivid than the other two, with neon lights and jazzy outfits. The scene is recorded in a roller skating rink, and as the song has influence from the disco genre, so does the video. It feels like a throwback to the decade the 80s.

A wide use of different dance techniques are present in the videos of the album, which are another form of artistic expression. For instance, “Grown Woman” combines a serious of African movements which link directly to the African sound of the song and the African background of the singer, while “Heaven” includes a woman dancing gracefully in a church to show the pain due to bereavement: this has been widely attributed to the artist’s miscarriage, but it is not clear, as Knowles rarely expresses very sensitive topics in a straightforward way.

Alternatively, in other videos such as “Ghost” and “Mine”, shapes and fabrics accompany the movements of the artist and her dancers. Knowles has always been an artist that shows her dancing skills through her videos and performances, so it couldn’t be different for this album. Moreover, her dancing often combines sexual movements, which can be shown in the video titled “Yoncé”, which is the audio that acts as intro in the song “Partition”. “Yonce” has a different style to other videos in the audio, as it was shot in the streets of Brooklyn and doesn’t show an actual story. This is similar to the videos for “No Angel” and “Superpower”.

Lastly, it is needed to comment on the videos for “Haunted” and “Partition”. On the one hand, filmed in a mansion, the visual format of “Haunted” makes honour to its title with evocative and gothic symbolism and outfits. It also contains sexual movements, linked directly to the theme of the song, which is a sexual desire. On the other hand, “Partition” was filmed in a cabaret club, and it is the video that most shows Knowles’s sexuality. The female sexual nature is unlocked with this visual, and sex is presented as a game of two. The connection between those two videos is not only erotic: it is provocative too, which is an aspect of Knowles personality, often portrayed in her past videos and songs.

On conclusion: artistically, “BEYONCÉ” set high standards in the music industry when comes to freedom of expression, as it is known deem a feminist icon for the liberation of women in areas like beauty, sexuality and love. Moreover, the album isn’t just explicit and provocative: with powerful and meaningful lyrics, followed by calm and heart breaking melodies, it touches sensitive topics such as the loss of a loved one and low self-esteem. Even if Knowles had the help of various songwriters and producers with this album, it can be easily seen how her songs and videos portray her thoughts and personal story. And at the end of the day, that’s something most artists aim for, because music is often a marvellous way of letting out ideas and experiences.

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Miley Made My Birthday Present A Birthday Party (My Bangerz Tour Experience)

I’m going to talk about one of the best experiences in my life. Something I have been looking forward to do since 2008/2009. This day last year I attended MY FIRST CONCERT EVER. And it was the concert of one my favourite artists; it was the concert of MY IDOL, MILEY CYRUS. I WENT TO HER BANGERZ TOUR SHOW IN THE O2 ARENA, LONDON, THE 6TH OF MAY OF 2014. AND IT WAS JUST ONE OF THE BEST NIGHTS OF MY LIFE. A FULFILLED DREAM! I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT HAPPENED! I INVITE YOU TO READ MY EXPERIENCE!

I decided to attend her concert a few months after she announced her Bangerz Tour European dates. It was not an easy decision, due to two main factors:

1) The nearest venue to my house with a Bangerz Tour show was The O2, in London. I don’t live in London; I had to get a bus, a train and a tube to get to the arena.

2) I had to pay the tickets for the concert and for the transport to the arena with my own money. The tickets for the concert were around 60 pounds, which is expensive to me. The travelcard for the train and tube costed 20 pounds, and then I needed more pocket money for other expenditures such as meals and merchandise.

However, after thinking and thinking, I said “yes” to attend the tour. Miley is like my top celebrity, I have loved her since Hannah Montana. I have always dreamt with watching her sing live. And the Bangerz Tour seemed like a perfect option, because I love the album Bangerz. Moreover, everyone that had gone to the Bangerz Tour’s shows in North America had tweeted about how good Miley was live and how much fun the concert was. So, why not? Yeah, the O2 Arena was far away from my home, but nothing is easy in life. And I could afford the tickets and transport, since I work. I could continue saving for university after the concert. One night, is one night. Who knew if I’ll ever have an opportunity to see Miley again? Some opportunities are there to grasp them, not to let them go.

Another argument in favour of me attending the Bangerz Tour show in London was that the date was going to be the Tuesday 6th of May: the week of my 18th birthday (my birthday is the 9th of May). I didn’t have any other plans to celebrate my birthday that week. I have hardly any friends where I live; there majority of my friends live far far away. Therefore I thought that seeing Miley would add some fun and a special touch to my 18th birthday. Even if the show wasn’t going to be the exact day of my birthday, it would be equally good.

So this is how and why I ended up buying tickets for Miley’s Bangerz Tour show in London. After buying the tickets a long wait of months and months came.

In April 2014, various horrible things happened: Miley’s dog, Floyd, died. Though she didn’t cancel her shows due to this, she was very sad. And it broke my heart thinking that the first time I would see my idol live, she would be crying and miserable. Another bad thing that happened in April is that Miley fell very ill. She had the flu and a sinus infection; she had to postpone some of her last USA tour dates. And when she was supposed to be back, she was rushed to the hospital due to an allergic reaction to an antibiotic. Damn. She had to postpone all the USA tour dates she had left, as well as two tour dates in Europe. As you can read, April was not Miley’s month.

I was very worried about her and her health during the whole April. But I was also worried about her cancelling the show in London. It may sound selfish, but if she cancelled the show, I would be terribly upset. But not with her; with the whole situation. I would have blamed God, destiny, life… Everything. Thanks to God, Miley’s condition improved and she didn’t cancel her London tour date, which is why the 6th of May at midday, I was in a train towards London. The journey to the O2 was quick and easy. While it was my first time moving around London alone, I didn’t have any trouble.

When I arrived to the O2, the first thing I did was buying merchandise of the Bangerz Tour. I first bought the tour book, and then I bought two t-shirts (one with “Marry Me Miley” on it, and another one with the European tour locations), a keyring and a set of six pins. After buying the merchandise, I sat down in a corner, and waited. I spent 5 hours in the O2 doing nothing but going to the toilet, eating and writing. During those 5 hours, the fact that I was going to see Miley started to sink in, and I started to feel overwhelmed. To calm down, I wrote part of a song in my notebook, and then I wrote a letter addressed to Miley. I knew that Miley will never read the letter, but writing it made me relax.

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The merchandise stands.

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The Entrance to the arena.

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Some of the merchanside I bought.

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The pins I bought.

At 19:00, the moment of the truth came: I was waiting anxiously on my door of entrance to the arena. I had passed successfully the security check, I had showed my ticket, and I had run up the stairs to those doors, impatiently. From outside, I could see the characteristic balloons used as decoration for the shows in USA. I was excited. When the door opened, everyone ran inside, me included. Although I didn’t have standing tickets, my seat was very decent (Level 1, block 102, row P, seat 56). I was in perfect angle to see all the movements in the stage. I was happy, because I wouldn’t have to struggle to see Miley, and my sight wouldn’t be blocked by anyone.

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The arena when I entered.

Little by little, the arena started to fill with people and my anxiety was real. I wanted to tweet or send messages about the whole situation, but I didn’t have connection inside the arena. All I did was wait patiently…. Till the lights went off and the sound of musical instruments started to play… And when the light came on again, Miley’s open act, Sky Ferreira, was on stage.

Sky played a few songs, and she set a pretty good environment in the arena. I already knew she was the open act for Bangerz tour, but I had never before listened to her music. Fortunately, I liked all the songs she played. My favourite one was “I Blame Myself”. Overall, despite her voice couldn’t be heard sometimes (I attribute this to her microphone), I liked Sky’s set. She is a gorgeous and talented girl, and she did a good job as open act.

After Sky left the stage, the normal lights of the arena were switched on to be switched off again a few minutes after. The arena went mad, and everyone started to shout with excitement (including myself). And Miley’s entrance number began. Her robotic face in giant dimensions climbed up the big screen of the arena, while her song SMS (Bangerz) began to play. I was very focused recording the whole scene, so till I heard someone saying “Its Miley, there, AWWW!!!!” I didn’t realise the actual Miley was on the small screens of the arena waving. Not her electronic version; her. She WAS THERE WAVING FROM BACKSTAGE. I STARTED TO TREMBLE AND SHOUT, WHILE SHE WAVED WITH A RADIANT SMILE. AND THEN, SHE WENT DOWN THE TONGUE SHAPED SLIDE, AND FINALLY SHE WAS IN THE STAGE SHOUTING AND SAYING “I AM BACK MOTHERFUCKERS”! AND EVERYONE WENT MAD AND CRAZY! AND THE BANGERZ SHOW IN LONDON BEGAN.

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Miley’s entrance number.

Miley’s first song set was formed by SMS (Bangerz) and 4×4. She used her dancers and choreography to perform both songs. Although, I don’t like SMS (Bangerz) a lot, while she was performing it, I was dancing and singing like if that song were my anthem. I don’t know, I couldn’t help it; the euphoria took over my body and mind. The same happened during 4×4! The whole arena went mad, singing and dancing along with the music. The performance of 4×4 (as well as the song) reminded me of Hoedown Throedown; but just a crazier version with a bit of hip hop influence. Hence, I loved it! Now I just need to learn the dance.

The second set of songs was formed by Love Party Money, My Darlin and Maybe You Are Right. The first song was Love Party Money, and the entrance number was so damn cool! I adore it. Miley appeared on top of a golden coloured car, surrounded by her dancers. Then, the car went down the stage slowly, while Miley sang and moved. Everyone in the audience yelled, with all their power and enthusiasm, during the chorus (LOVE PARTY MONEY) repeatedly. I also did that. I don’t like singing and talking in public, but who cared? I was in the concert of my idol. Keeping my mouth shut would have been a sin. I must admit that Love Party Money was one of my less favourite songs in Bangerz before the concert. But after the concert, it is stuck in my head and I’m in love with it!

After Love Party Money, Miley did a speech on her hospital experience (as I said before, she had to postpone tour dates due to a sinus infection and due to an allergic reaction to antibiotics). The speech was hilarious, Miley is a comical person, and she wouldn’t stop talking! Nevertheless I would never get tired of hearing her voice, so I was very happy with that. During the speech, she also slammed rumours about her being in hospital due to drug abuse.

Then, it was My Darlin’s turn. The arena went dark, and various people used their mobiles as beautiful shiny lights. The environment was perfect for the emotional ballad that My Darlin is. I have been very fond in this song since Bangerz was released, so listening to it live was wonderful.

Lastly in this set, it was Maybe You Are Right. This is my favourite song in Bangerz, so I was very ready for it and I had high hopes about it! I don’t really know why this is my favourite song; it doesn’t have the best lyrics and the best melody, but right now in my life, I can relate to it. Thus I can’t stop listening to it. And when Miley sang it, it felt like heaven. Moreover, everyone knew the chorus very well, and it isn’t even a single or a hit song! While performing this song, Miley was given a jacket as a present from someone in the audience. She looked so happy with it. I kinda wish I had a standing ticket, so I could have had the chance of seeing her near and even touching her. But on the other hand, there were too many people in the floor, and I would have felt overwhelmed.

The third set of songs was formed by FU and Do My Thang. FU is my second favourite song from Bangerz! It is an ideal song when someone betrays you. After a period of sadness, the best thing you can do is think “I don’t need disloyal people in my life. F*** them!”. And FU just has that attitude. The chorus gives me life, and I couldn’t help but leaving my voice when singing it while Miley performed it! FU was my favourite performance of the night, without doubt. However, Miley had some outfit trouble during this performance. She came out at the beginning of the song without the characteristic skirt she normally uses, and her outfit wasn’t correctly tied. She had to stop, and wait for her mum to help her. Anyways, despite this small incident, FU slayed me so hard!

The next song, Do My Thang, was so enjoyable! Instead of singing the album version, Miley sang the country version. I prefer the country version, so it was so much fun! I danced a lot during this song! I love how Miley moves in stage with her dancers. She is an unpredictable performer who focuses more on having fun, than in a perfect choreography. And I like that, because it makes the whole environment amusing and weird (weird in a good way of course)!

The fourth set was just one song: Can’t Be Tamed! Can’t Be Tamed featured in one of Miley’s old albums, Can’t Be Tamed. Sadly, the album didn’t receive its deserved attention, despite being beautiful. But it was the beginning of Miley’s transition of leaving her Disney star image to having an actual pop star image.

I like the song Can’t Be Tamed a lot, it motivates me to be who I am and to care less about others opinion. As the title of the song states, it encourages me to not be tamed and designed by family.

Another reason why listening to this song live was great, is because when the song was first released, I never imagined I would see Miley singing it live one day! But in that moment, I was seeing her! That performance was the living proof of the fact that dreams can come true.

Another thing to highlight about Can’t Be Tamed’s performance is that there was a giant figure of Miley’s dog, Floyd. She had it from the beginning of the whole tour, and the day after Floyd died, she was crying while hugging the giant figure. I watched the video, and my heart broke. I’m glad she didn’t cry this time, because I wouldn’t have been able to take it.

The fifth set was formed by Adore You and Drive. During Adore You, there was a kiss cam on the big screen of the arena! Miley encouraged the audience to kiss with the person near them, and it was so much fun. Besides, she encouraged boys to kiss boys, and girls to kiss girls. Miley has always been an advocate for the LGBT community’s rights, and her speech on how homosexual and bisexual people need to leave behind their fears and be confident about their sexuality was very inspirational. The whole arena supported her, by cheering very hard when people from the same genre where captured making out in the kiss cam.

Drive was also a very intense performance; Miley dedicated the song to Floyd (her dog that died) because it was his birthday the day before. Before singing, Miley did a small talk on how important is love in life, and how she was deeply affected by losing the love of her life. I thought she was talking about Liam Hermsworth, his ex fiancé, but it turned out she was talking about Floyd again. However, I believe that she is also heartbroken by the rupture with Liam, and when she sings heartbreaking ballads such as Drive, I believe that she thinks about him.

During this performance, the arena went even darker than during My Darlin, and Miley asked the public to light up the place with their mobile phones. It was a very beautiful and emotional performance.

The sixth set was performed in the small acoustic stage, and it was formed by covers of songs from other artists. Miley covered some songs she has been covering for a while: Why’D You Only Call Me When You Are High from Arctic Monkeys, You Are Going To Make Me Lonesome When You Go from Bob Dylan, Summertime Sadness from Lana del Rey, and Jolene from Dolly Parton. This set also included a song from her album Bangerz, Rooting For My Baby. I loved this acoustic set, because Miley’s voice for acoustic music is just perfect. Moreover, I was familiar with her covers You Are Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go and Jolene, because she sang them in her Backyard Sessions of 2012, and I loved them. My favourite cover she did was Summertime Sadness; she sang it so well! Her voice for acoustic music is just her best voice. Being there listening to her felt like glory.

The seventh set of songs was formed by Get It Right and Someone Else. Get It Right is a catchy song, not from my favourite ones of the album. The performance was fine, funny and entertaining, but it was not from my favourite ones of the nights. I liked how the whole performance was planned; Miley on a bed playing around with her dancers.Itt had a very original and creative touch. But on the other hand, it didn’t make me feel anything special, in contrary to other performances.

With Someone Else, I had a similar feeling. The song has a robotic melody, and I don’t like robotic melodies. However, I do like the lyrics of the song: the bridge is a killer. It describes love in all its forms, and it couldn’t be more accurate. Hence I sang the bridge so hard! I thought my lungs would end up coming out of my mouth through my throat! In addition, when Miley was singing the bridge of the song, she was riding a giant hot dog flying over the stage. It was so damn cool! A part of me was scared for her security, but the other part was amazed. During the last seconds of Someone Else, Miley said goodbye, and pretended that the show had finished. If it wasn’t because she did the same in her USA concerts, I would have believed her.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the arena at the beginning of her eight set. I couldn’t watch her last performances, which I believe that they were We Can’t Stop, Wrecking Ball and Party In The USA. I didn’t want to leave, but it was nearly 23:00, and I had to take the tube and then the train back home (remember that I live an hour away from London).

To be honest, I didn’t feel terribly bad when leaving The O2: I was very happy because I had finally seen my idol live. I don’t know if you know how it feels realising that the person who inspires you and brightens your days very often is real and is near you. It is a weird feeling that makes you emotional but also joyful. And I experienced that the night of the concert.

Also, I kinda see things about my life in a different way after the concert. No jokes or exaggeration. I’m so glad I went. Seeing Miley doing what she likes made my self-confidence grow a lot. She has always made my self-confidence grow, which is why I consider her an inspiration. And her speech on love made me reflect on my life, since love is one of those things in my life I lack from a bit.

Overall, the Bangerz tour concert was incredibly amazing. Literally with some of the reviews I out there, you would think the shows are just Miley being sexual and sticking her tongue out. But they aren’t! Bangerz tour has fun, vocals, dance, art, and talent. You can’t ask for more. You really can’t. It’s a show in which you can’t predict anything, and all you will do is have a crazy time and experience talent and emotions all the way through it. I can’t say that it is unique and original (even though I have never seen a similar tour, I may be wrong if I said it so) but I can say that it is creative and full of live. It is like if Miley’s favourite things had been put together in a creative, artistic, weird, and fun way for the designs of the Bangerz tour shows. She even worn a wide range of outfits for each set, some of them inspired by country style and others by hip hop style (most of them were shiny and/or made of bright colours). And in every song (except for the acoustic set and during Adore You), you could see creative edited videos on the giant screen of the arena; some of them were cartoons and others were edited photos of Miley’s photo shoots. That technique seemed original, and it was very well used for the empty spaces between the sets; the videos entertained people.

Miley is a good performer; she is energetic, funny, and she can put emotions when she needs to. Yeah, she swears a lot and some of her performances have sexual connotations; but is not even half as bad as media pictures it. If you have the opportunity to attend one of her Bangerz show, do it! If you are an extremely sensitive person, don’t. But if you love fun and emotions, go. Don’t waste that precious opportunity.

My way back home from the O2 arena was smooth and quick: I didn’t have to wait a lot to take the tube, nor to take the train. The only highlight was a conversation I heard whilst being on the train. There was a mother with her daughter of around 12 years, who was wearing a Bangerz Tour t-shirt (its assumable that they attended the concert). Two adult men were sitting in front of them, and they were asking the mother and the daughter how was the concert, as well as demonizing Miley a little bit. The conversation was not argumentative, but shade was thrown at Miley. All of the sudden, one of the men asked the mother how she allowed her kid to see Miley. The mother said, “The way I look at it is that her at this age she is watching Miley, and me at her age I was watching Madonna”. That response was SO GOOD! I wanted to clap, but I wasn’t even supposed to be listening. Sometimes, you would think that adults forget that they also had a controversial pop culture when they were kids and teens. It was nice hearing someone recalling this. Apart from that, nothing else happened on my way back and I got to home safe.

In conclusion: My Bangerz tour experience is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life. Miley made my birthday present a birthday party. And I’m thankful for that, because it was the only party I was going to have the week of my birthday. Furthermore, when seeing Miley live, one of my dreams was fulfilled. Now, all I can do is keep this night as a remarkable memory recorded in both my mind and my heart (apart from my camera of course).

Sharing one of my life experiences,

Emilie H. Featherington 🙂

(PS: You can check the full videos of the concernt on my Youtube account. Sorry for the bad quality of audio:

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Because Pretty Hurts. No, Really, It Hurts

The title of the song that I’m going to analyse today is “Pretty Hurts”. “Pretty Hurts” is a ballad written by Sia, which features on Beyonce’s fifth album, BEYONCE. The topic of the songs is basically what the title says: pretty hurts. Overall, the lyrics describe the society in which we live in the context of beauty pageants: the struggle to be considered beautiful, even if we hurt and fake ourselves in the process. I thought it would be a good idea sharing it here because beauty plays an important role in self-acceptance and self-esteem. I hope it inspires you.

I’m going to scan the lyrics verse by verse:

“Pretty Hurts”
 
(Uh huh huh)
(Uh huh huh)
(Uh huh huh)
 
[Verse 1:]
Mama said, “You’re a pretty girl.
What’s in your head, it doesn’t matter
Brush your hair, fix your teeth.
What you wear is all that matters.”
 
This verse basically talks about how some girls are raised to have a perfect clean image, linked to appearance and beauty. It also indicates briefly the pressure to be physically perfect above any other thing, even intelligence. And even if hearing this sounds absurd, there is a great number of people who think that wearing designer and smart clothes is more important than being wise and being a good person.
 
[Pre-Hook:]
Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down
 
The situation of the song is a beauty pageant. Personally, I dislike those competitions, and I wouldn’t even dream of participating in one. If I ever have a daughter, even if she is flawless, I won’t sign up her to one. Beauty pageants are way too exigent and superficial. It is not even about feeling beautiful; it is about achieving an artificial and idealised appearance of beauty. And I’m a person who beliefs that beauty is subjective. Very subjective. Plus, the struggle to be on a beauty pageant (unnecessary dieting, over exercising, eating disorders, kilos and kilos of makeup, cosmetic surgery, etc) is something I wouldn’t want anyone I love to go through. And less myself.
 
[Hook:]
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery
 
This is probably one of the best written hooks in the story. It is so accurate and relatable. Perfection is really the disease of a nation; some people do ANYTHING to be “beautiful” and  “perfect”. Even hurt themselves. And it is sad. In addition, the last two lines talk about cosmetic surgery. And I agree with them. I’m not a fan of cosmetic surgery, but I don’t  hate people who carry it out. I just don’t like it, because I believe in loving who I am naturally. I don’t even wear makeup daily. I’m not flawless and I don’t have the best body weight; but I feel beautiful on my own way. When comes to that, my soul is happy. And I just wish other people would feel the same way about themselves.
 
(Uh huh huh)
 
[Verse 2:]
Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says, “Bigger is better.”
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says, “Thinner is better.”
 
This verse describes the general idea of beauty amongst media. And the truth is, you can never win when comes to media. Either you are too fat, or too thin. Either your boobs are too big, or too small. Either you are too tall, or too short. It is an infinite battle, which is why I’m not in it. I couldn’t care less about what media considers “beautiful”. And don’t even let me started on the fashion world. Vogue magazine for example. Vogue uses thin models, or photoshops models/celebrities to look thinner, in their covers and photo shoots. Or another example, catwalks. Models in catwalks are generally very thin and tall, you can even notice their hip bones, and collar bones. And I’m not against thin people; but I think that other sort of body shapes should be used more often. Because we are now in a society in which, unless you are size 6 or 8, you are considered fat. And it is sickening what a lot of young girls do to have a thigh gap, collarbones or hipbones, just because that is what girls in magazines and catwalks have. And this wouldn’t be a problem, if it didn’t lead to eating disorders so easily.
 
[Pre-Hook:]
Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down
 
I already analysed this.
 
[Hook:]
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts (pretty hurts)
Pretty hurts (pretty hurts), we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery
 
I already analysed this.
 
[Bridge:]
Ain’t got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away
The pain’s inside and nobody frees you from your body
It’s the soul, it’s the soul that needs surgery
It’s my soul that needs surgery
Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far
Then you break when the fake facade leaves you in the dark
You left with shattered mirrors and the shards of a beautiful past
 
More emphasis on the drawbacks of cosmetic surgery. If you don’t like yourself, it doesn’t matter how much cosmetic surgery you get; you will never love yourself. You will always find something negative to point out. And if you don’t control yourself, it can become a sort of addiction. Self-acceptance doesn’t rely on the physical appearance; it relies on your mind and your soul. It is better to change your ideas and thoughts, than faking your body. At the end of the day, your values will be the ones who will determine your life. Not your physical appearance.
 
[Hook:]
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst (pretty hurts)
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery
 
I already analysed this.
 
[Outro:]
When you’re alone all by yourself (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
And you’re lying in your bed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Reflection stares right into you (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
 
You stripped away the masquerade (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
The illusion has been shed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
 
Yes
Uh huh huh
 
“Are you happy with yourself?” This is the question that I make myself everyday when I wake up. When I look in the mirror, sometimes I really hate my physical appearance. I’m like “ugh I need to cover this with make up” or “ugh I’m so fat and disgusting”. But after a while, I realise that this is me, and it is who I am always going to be. Yeah, I can lose weight and be healthier, which is what I want. But my face is my face. Forever. I can go out during the whole day, meet others looking perfect and acting perfect. But at the end of the day, I go back home and all I have is me. Makeup is just a temporal cover. An “illusion”. It is nice to wear it, and I like to wear it for special occasions. But I rather use it to “define my own natural beauty” than to “create a fake beauty on myself”.  

This is the analysis of the song “Pretty Hurts”. I honestly believe everyone needs to listen to this song, because you can feel instantly connected to it. I’m not a very insecure person when comes to my physical appearance; my self-esteem is high there. But I obviously have doubts and feel bad now and then. And this song helps me to cheer up.  And to make the right decisions.

I can also analyse the video for this song, “Pretty Hurts”. Here is the link, so you can see it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXQLa-5n5w

However, even if the video is a must see, there is no more analysis to add, that the one I haven’t added yet during the lyrics analysis. Well, maybe there is.

The video shows the beauty pageants world, from the hand of Beyonce. Beyonce herself has participated in beauty pageants during her childhood, so she probably understands what she is singing about. I would like to point some important scenes: the one in which the guy is measuring Beyonce’s waist, the one in which a very thin girl is eating a cotton wool, the one in which Beyonce evokes bulimia, the one in which Beyonce throws down the pyramid of beauty pageant awards, and the one in which the man asks Beyonce which is her aspiration in life.

These are my favourite scenes, because they are powerful. Just a few images, but powerful.  How you need a perfectly measured waist to be even considered an option to participate in the beauty pageant; how some participants end up using horrible techniques to not gain weight, or even lose more; how the pressure and the desire to win is so big, that you even end up with eating disorders; and when you realise that an award based on your beauty is not the equivalent to happiness.

On conclusion, “perfection is the disease” should be like a kinda of new anthem. Because pretty hurts. No, really, it hurts.

Analysing songs and talking about inspirational issues,

Emilie H. Featherington 🙂

(This post is subject to correction of grammar and punctuation)

The Most Relatable Song At The Moment

I have realised that I don’t blog much about my personal life, apart from volunteering. But right now, there is nothing really interesting going on. I mean, things are happening. But they are not good things: in general, they are complicated. And I don’t feel like opening up about them in the blog.
I promise I will talk more about me. I can actually talk about so much things! I’m just not inspired enough. Sorry.
By the moment, I will share these lyrics that, more or less, show how I have been feeling lately. You may recognise the song they belong to. Here goes a clue: it is from one of my favourite artists, who is Canadian and writes great ballads.
 
“I’m standing on a bridge
I’m waiting in the dark
I thought that you’d be here by now
There’s nothing but the rain
No footsteps on the ground
I’m listening but there’s no sound
 
Isn’t anyone trying to find me?
Won’t somebody come take me home?
 
It’s a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won’t you take me by the hand?
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I… I’m with you
I’m with you
 
I’m looking for a place
I’m searching for a face
Is anybody here I know
‘Cause nothing’s going right
And everything’s a mess
And no one likes to be alone
 
Isn’t anyone trying to find me?
Won’t somebody come take me home?
 
It’s a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won’t you take me by the hand?
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I… I’m with you
I’m with you
 
Oh why is everything so confusing
Maybe I’m just out of my mind
Yeah-he-yaa, yeah-he-yah, yeah-he-yah, yeah-he-yah, yeah!
 
It’s a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won’t you take me by the hand?
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I… I’m with you
I’m with you
 
Take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I… I’m with you
I’m with you
 
Take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I… I’m with you
I’m with you
I’m with you..”

Here you can check to which song these lyrics belong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGR65RWwzg8&hd=1

So yeah, this is the most relatable song at the moment in my life. I know it is a quite sad tune, but we are all allowed to feel down sometimes. Because feeling down ensures one day I was up and one day I will be up again. Life is a rollercoaster guys.

Hugs and love,

Emilie H. Featherington 🙂 ❤

And The End Of The Day, That Is What Art Is About

Taylor Swift’s decision to pull her music out of Spotify has been a topic of debate and discussion in the last few days. The singer believes music should be paid for, and she added that Spotify is an experiment she doesn’t want to be part of. A great number of artists and online blogs have supported her decision, with statements such as “music is a privilege”. Moreover, in the last few years we have heard a lot of similar complaints arguing that “the music industry is sinking”, “nobody buys albums anymore”, “artists don’t get paid enough for their work”. Illegal downloads are one of the main reasons why people say this, but streaming services such as Spotify have often been blamed too, because they allow people to listen to music for “free”. To be fair, it is true that every day, less and less people buy physical copies of albums and songs. We are in a digital era, and people tend to listen to music on devices such as mobile phones and computers, which is why it is easier buying music directly from Itunes, Amazon, Google Play etc. However, is it correct blaming free music services for the “downfall” of the music industry? I don’t think so. And here is why.

Music is an art: an activity through which passionate people express their feelings and shape their creativity. As other arts, it is about freedom. Someone who likes to draw and spends their free time drawing is an artist. Someone who likes composing songs and spends their free time composing is an artist. In addition, creating brand new and original art requires time and passion: you have to be patient and determined. And in most cases, your art is for yourself. Yes, you can share with others. But it is not like a product made to sell: it is about expressing your feelings and ideas. Artists like songwriters use their compositions for story telling and to express their views on issues quite a lot. I once learnt in psychology an interesting term known as “sublimation”, which is when “behaviour and thoughts which are not accepted within society are expressed in a way that will be accepted within society”. Art is an excellent technique for sublimation; songs, drawings, plays, poems and books are prime examples.

I suppose you are asking yourself where I am going with this explanation of what is art to me, and how it links to the reason why I’m writing this post. The answer is simple: perhaps, the music industry wouldn’t be sinking if it didn’t have turned into such a commercial business. It is not about freedom and creativity any more: it is about selling. Don’t get me wrong: I have NOTHING against artists wanting to make a living from their art. But art should never be about money. Passions are not about money. Currently, finances are all that matter in the music industry and in other artistic/creative industries. A lot of singers get turned down by record labels because their image wouldn’t be appealing to the public, not because their voice isn’t good. In the same way, a lot of writers get turned down by publishing houses because their books “are not appropriate for the current market”, not because their book isn’t good.

Furthermore, the music industry generates millions every year. Hollywood is also another artistic industry that generates millions. Ever year we get Forbes lists with “the richest persons” in the world. A great number of known artists  in magazines and TV are millionaires who live a life full of luxury. For some weird reason, being rich is seen as a life aim for a lot of people. And the way in which the media pictures positively the live of artists has made more and more people crave for fame and money. Because of this, nowadays we get a lot of non passionate people wanting to be singers or actors, just to be rich and famous. And this has ruined the true meaning of art. Besides, we all know there is at present a lack of creativity and freedom in the professional music world. And actually, a lot of artists have complained about how their image and music are exploited, edited and manipulated, just to create more profit for their labels. “Stolen dreams” they call them. Mixing arts and finances have lead to a degradation of what art meant at the beginning, which has not only impacted negatively on society, but also on artists. It is not about talent any more, it is about money. Like everything else in life right now.

When I read the statement, “music is a privilege”, I couldn’t help but feel upset. Music is certainly not a privilege. Music is not only what we hear in the radio, what we see in the top 10 charts. Music exists even in the poorest societies of Earth. People manage to make instruments and sounds from any sort of raw material, such as wood. It is okay if you want to make people pay for your music, but that is YOUR decision. Not a universal law. Cultures and societies around the globe are different, and gladly, there are still places in which money has not erased the true value of art. I’m not saying that art loses its essence when you sell it: but refusing to share it with others because you don’t make money out of it shows that in some way, your finances are more important than your willingness of sharing your creativity and freedom.

Due to all this, I couldn’t disagree more with Swift’s and other artists negativity towards Spotify. In addition, Spotify is not actually a free music service. A lot of people pay a monthly subscription, while users who have it for “free” pay in form of adverts. And what’s more: artists do get money from Spotify. The service pays artists an average of “between $0.006 and $0.0084” per stream. This may not sound like a lot, but Spotify’s CEO has said that artists like Swift make around $6 million a year from their service. Not bad at all. Maybe the problem is that some artists believe they don’t get enough money from it. However, I thought the most important thing about being an artist was sharing your creativity with the highest number of people: not getting the highest amount money.

Another main reason why I support free streaming services such as Spotify is because, some people (like me) prefer having a first listen to a song or album, before deciding to buy it. And legal streaming services are better than illegal downloads, aren’t they? In addition, not everyone can buy albums from all the singers they like (due to location, money etc.), though they will still support them in other ways (voting in awards, attending concerts etc). And lastly: personally, I have discovered a lot of albums and songs I like through Spotify’s shuffling and adverts system. And this is without doubt a benefit for artists, mainly for singers who are just starting out and need more exposure.

Before finishing this post, I would like to recall the fact that I’m not talking without knowledge in this subject. I write novels. I write poems. I write songs. I create my own art, and sharing it in a free website such as Wattpad, which millions of people can access around the world, makes me very happy. I even share my songs and poems in this blog, because I want people to read and feel my words. Would it be nice making a living from my writing passion? I suppose, but that’s not my aim. However, I must admit that in a future, I would like to self-publish my novels, so people can get hard or e-book copies if they really like what I write. But my readers will always still have the online versions either in Wattpad or in my blog. Writing will never be my career, since it is more about expressing my freedom and creativity than making money.

On conclusion, I’m not in any way criticising Swift’s career as an artist, nor any other singer who is against Spotify for the same reason. I’m a fan of Swift myself, and I know how much work and dedication she puts into her music. I know she uses her songs to share her ideas and feelings. And I applaud her for that. However, her statements against Spotify have not left me indifferent. Wanting to make money from your art is not a crime. However, making art about money is something I quite dislike. It is not like if Itunes and other paying services don’t exist. And artists still get money from other activities such as concerts, interviews, adverts… Yet, the most important aspect about being an artist should be sharing your freedom and creativity with as many people as possible. And the end of the day, that is what art is about. Or at least was.

Sharing my thoughts and opinions,

Emilie H. Featherington