Thursday, October 31, 2013

You Should Know: Mikky Ekko's "Pull Me Down"- Toya



I've been obsessed with about three songs this year so far: Justin Timberlake's "Strawberry Bubblegum", Solange's "Locked in Closets" and as of right now (like seriously, right now listening for probably the 98th time today) Mikky Ekko's "Pull Me Down".



"Pull Me Down" came out late last year and while I remember liking it upon hearing it, for some reason it didn't hit me like it hit me today.  I wrote about Ekko earlier today on a local blog I created because he's from Nashville and is currently on Jessie Ware's tour which stopped here on Tuesday (incredible show by the way). You know how songs sometimes just grow on you? Well this song has grown on me, is permanently attached to me and basically we go together now. It is gorgeous and I am currently playing the snot out of it.  I've been familiar with Mikky Ekko's music for years but a lot of you may have first heard of him on Rihanna's number one song "Stay" which he sings with her and also wrote.



For more on Mikky Ekko, check out where he is on these internet streets:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eye Candy of the Day: Dolvett Quince - Tia


 I have been a fan of The Biggest Loser for a long time. It is so inspirational and it makes me want to make better choices in life with regards to my fitness and eating habits. And y'all know how I feel about Bob. But look here...that Dolvett Quince is EVERYTHING!!

Dolvett makes me want to gain 100lbs so I could be on the show. (Not really...but sorta) I understand why Tanya was losing her mind during the first episode. Some men are just so fine that you can't think straight. I get it. I would have been just as flustered, if not more so.

I know this sounds crazy but he could yell at me all day, every day in the gym. If he asked me to do 100 push-ups, I would do it. If he told me swim 100 laps, I would be in the pool before you could say "swim cap." If he told me I have to give up bacon for the rest of my life...let me stop. He ain't THAT fine. (I'm not giving up bacon.)


But I mean, for real y'all. Look...


And can we talk about his smile. He looks like a walking Crest ad.


Dolvett used to have a gym here in Atlanta. I'm not sure if it's still open. But I've heard through whispers (i.e. the beauty salon) that he still spends time in Atlanta. So if you hear about a tall black woman being arrested for jumping on a complete stranger's back that was probably me.

Side note: Idris Elba is known to spend time in Atlanta as well. So that back jumping thing is most likely going to happen with one of them. And I'm not sorry about.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Best Friend Challenge - Part 2



I (Tia) am still learning iMovie. So my apologies for the delay in getting part two up. If you see any weird blips or dead links let me know. That was probably me trying to get fancy.

Shout out once again to Superfruit for the great idea. And let us know if you and your bestie end up doing the Best Friend Challenge.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Best Friend Challenge - Part 1


We decided to do the Best Friend Challenge after watching the adorable guys from Superfruit do it. It turned out to be very long and very funny. One day we will learn how to edit but until then please enjoy this peek into our BFF-ness. Part two is coming soon.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BGLU News: Girl Group Heaven! TLC Releases A New CD and Are Out of Eden Getting Back Together?




Tuesday has brought us girl group loving joy here at BGLU over the release of TLC's greatest hits CD 20 and a picture on Instagram that has us wondering if there is an Out of Eden reunion brewing.  Let's start with TLC first so my inner teenage Toya doesn't explode trying to talk about both of these groups at the same time.

Just in time for the much anticipated biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story airing on VH1 on next Monday, TLC's greatest hits CD, 20, was released today and... pause. 20? As in it has been 20 years since TLC got together? Lord no. I need that to mean that there are 20 songs on the CD because surely 20 years have not passed. Moving on...

Of course no TLC greatest hits CD would be complete without the mega-hits "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg", "No Scrubs" and "Waterfalls" so those songs are a given. What is also included on the release are the songs "Damaged"(yes!!!!) and "Kick Your Game". I think they did a great job of putting fan faves all on one CD but if they missed your jam, let me know. What song do you wish would have been included on TLC's greatest hits?

In more girl group news, I was minding my own business on The Facebook when I saw what some would consider a miracle on Danielle Kimmey, formerly of Out of Eden's Facebook page...



Do it Jesus!!!  He's able!

For so many of us Out of Eden was that musical group that when we were in church youth group's we would hear "if you like (insert secular artist here) then you will love Out of Eden". The cool thing about Out of Eden was that they were one of the few groups that you would hear and you actually liked them as much, if not better, than what they were suggested as the alternative to. 

Anyway, we at BGLU love these girls and even though we respect what they are now doing individually, any hopes of them getting together just one mo' 'gin makes us happy. As soon as I get the scoop, I'll let y'all know. In the meantime, let's reminisce with one of my favorite Out of Eden tunes of all time,"Meditate". I love slow jamz for Jesus!


Monday, October 14, 2013

5 Things to Love About Janelle Monae and Miguel's "Primetime" Video - Toya

This video is giving me Peaches and Herb realness and I live!


In my humble music snobbish  opinion, Janelle Monae is everything that is right with the world right now. She is an amazing uber-talented visionary taking the industry by storm but not at all by their rules.  Her latest CD, The Electric Lady, is a grand masterpiece and one of those gems in that masterpiece is her duet "Primetime" with R&B crooner and fellow pompadourian (you're welcome) Miguel.  Here are five things I love about this video and song:

  1. Although I won't be participating this year, it is "primetime" for some cuffin' season songs and this one is my number 1 pick.  Before this and Alicia Keys' and Maxwell's "Fire We Make", have we even had any R&B duets for the past few years?  More of this please!
  2. I am absolutely crazy about how Janelle Monae's uses different variations of her signature look to keep her looking fly.
  3. Miguel's adorableness factor in this video make his "How Many Drinks?" song pretty much forgivable in my book. Bygones. 
  4. The party scene reminds me of how cool it is to have friends that know where the best and most random parties are. If this is what the Space Age is going to look like, I'll take it along with the flying car I was hyped up about as a kid while watching The Jetsons. 
  5. Although fictitious, Janelle Monae and Miguel are one of the cutest little pocket sized couples I've ever seen.  As a pocket sized person myself, I totally appreciate this. 
Youtube is being a hater so if you want to see the video, click here. It's totally worth it. To see if  Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady tour featuring Miguel is hitting your town, visit  www.jmonae.com/tour



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Apparently this is a thing: (Dumb) People think Lorde is racist - Tia


I often feel people put things online just to get attention. Some stuff is so ridiculous I refuse to entertain the fact that someone could legitimately hold such an absurd opinion. So they must just say nonsensical things for attention.  The current "Lorde is racist" thing falls squarely in the "this is too stupid to be real" category.

In case you haven't heard, some random blogger is calling foul on Lorde's huge hit "Royals." Blogger Veronica Bayetti Flores has accused the cheeky lyrics about excessive opulence of being racist. Not just racist. "Deeply racist" (I'll give you a minute to crack up laughing, because that's what I did.)

In case you've been under a rock and haven't heard the song, the lyrics are as follows: 

But every song is like, gold teeth, Grey Goose, tripping in the bathroom
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashing the hotel room
We don't care
We're driving Cadillacs in our dreams

But everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair

Flores has accused Lorde of attacking rappers and has stated that listeners have not taken the time to analyze "the racial implications of the lyrics." To that I would like to tell Ms. Flores to head for the nearest corner and have a seat. 

Is she serious? I would give more validity to Ms. Flores' argument if two things weren't true: 1. So much music (not just rap, but pop as well)  IS about an unattainable lifestyle that most listeners will never glimpse, let alone live. 2. The opulence that Lorde sings about isn't solely relegated to black rappers. From Ryan Lochte to Miley Cyrus, white people have shown that they too are willing to rock tacky ass gold grills. And while I can understand Ms. Flores' confusion since ONLY colored folks enjoy Grey Goose:
She's black, right?

Wait..

Those people look non-colored.

Hold on...I found a picture with black folks enjoying Grey Goose...

Oh sorry...wrong one

Not to stereotype, but didn't white boy rock & roll artists invent trashing hotel rooms? And aside from Michael Jackson on the cover of Thriller, a quick Google search for "pet tigers" disproportionately shows it's NOT rappers who are keeping insane pets. 

While singing about the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous life is a heavy theme amongst rappers, hip-hop has not cornered the market on music about champagne wishes and caviar dreams. To call Lorde racist because she chose to write a song that points out the ridiculous nature of a music industry that so heavily focuses on abundance and wealth is not only flawed but it's misdirected. 

Ms. Flores seems to be offended that a white artist would call out the ludicrousness of songs that talk about nothing outside of unattainable wealth and lavish living. But shouldn't the ire be directed at the artists who insist on singing about a kind of lifestyle that most of their fan base have no frame of reference for? Should the audience have to constantly suspend disbelief in order to enjoy a song? How is a kid who rides the bus every day to his minimum wage job supposed to relate to waking up in a new Bugatti? Instead of fueling unnecessary racial arguments, why don't we take rappers, hip-hop artists and pop stars to task for continuing to perpetuate lyrics without substance. Let's stop rewarding those who insist on glorifying things that will eventually fade away. I would much rather give my hard earned doubloons to someone who is making quality, relatable music. And besides, if you're buying up the bar every weekend, you don't need my piddly little coins anyway. So you'll excuse me while I ignore your umpteenth song about lavishness and listen to "Royals" for the 200th time. 


and for good measure:


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Top Ten Favorite Songs of Summer 2013


Last weekend it hit about 88 degrees which had us walking around here in Nashville like it was still summertime.  As of right now, however, I am sitting on my bed typing this under almost every blanket that I own. It is officially fall y'all. With that being said, let's recap my favorite songs from the Summer of 2013!

I don't remember the last time I loved pop music as I have this year. This has been a good year for memorable pop tunes, so much so that I find myself listening to the radio now more than I have in recent years.  This was also a good year for guilty pleasure songs.

Side note:  By the way, I refuse to put "We Won't Stop" by Miley Cyrus on this list. I don't care how catchy it is. Nope! Not doin' it.  There will be no "dancin' with Molly" around these parts.

 Check out my top 10 faves in no particular order- well, except for the first three.


1. "Locked in Closets"- Solange
 


Oh my goodness, I LIVE for this song. Hear me? LIIIIIIIIIVE! I cannot tell you how many times I have just put this song on repeat and just left the room. If you can be in love with a song then I've got it bad for this one.  Above is the mini-video made for it by Absolut and Refinery29 and can we just talk about how Solange is the coolest thing walking right now? I am pretty sure if I ever met Beyonce' I'd ask her how it feels to be Solange's sister and if she ever raids her closet.


2. "Closer"- Tegan and Sara


    SoundCloud Widget    
Let me tell you about the Molly Ringwald dancing that occurs deep down in my spirit when this song comes on.

Get it Molly.
Sheer unspeakable joy.  And they are SO cute! I've been hearing about Tegan and Sara for a minute now but they definitely got my attention with this one.

Now these next two are my absolute guiltiest of pleasures of Summer 2013.

3. "I Love It"- Icona Pop



Someone, who will remain nameless, said that this song sounds like drunk white girls. Umm...no comment. What I will say is that I do have a guilty pleasure for insanely girly tunes. This one fits the bill along with sounding bratty and obnoxious and guess what? "I don't care! I love it!"  And this may or may not be me in the car when this song comes on. I love Nick from New Girl.


By the way, have you ever heard of Robin Thicke's slow jam cover of this? Hilarious.

4. "Cruise"- Florida Georgia Line ft. Nelly




The makeup of this song sounds like almost everything I'm against and yet I don't hate this song! I so wanted to but... *Heavy Sigh* I just can't help myself. And you know what? You can hit a real smooth Dougie during the chorus. You oughta try it sometime.

I'm happy to say that a few rap songs made my list. It's not that I don't like rap. It's that I love hip hop and rap is giving hip hop a bad name right now. However, these next three songs I absolutely love.

5. "Can't Hold Us" Macklemore and Ryan Lewis 




This song makes me feel like I can do anything!  Seriously, I feel like I can run up the City Hall steps like Rocky when this song comes on. It's so good.


6. "Power Trip" J. Cole ft. Miguel



"Would you believe me if I said I'm in love?"

*Insert body roll here*

I love Miguel's voice and this right here is one of my favorites of the year. Kudos to J. Cole for rhyming about a dude gettin' sprung. Love it.

7.  "LoveHate Thing" Wale ft. Sam Dew



This song just rides and Sam Dew's vocals are mesmerizing. Sick track. On repeat.

8. "Treasure"- Bruno Mars




Yaaaaaaaaassss Bruno! I was so glad when this song came out.  I will not rest until I have all of the choreography down from this video.


9.  "Primetime"- Janelle Monae ft. Miguel



I know that this song came out late into the season but it is hands down the slow jam of the summer. Period. Just forget about it. I don't know what Mariah's "#Beautiful" was trying to do but this record shut it down. If you haven't picked up Janelle Monae's "Electric Lady", I beseech thee to go to the nearest Target and get your life.


10. "Clarity" Zedd/ ft. Foxes



 Remember what I said about girly tunes? Yeah that. If you can sing the chorus to this song without making a face that looks like you are in excruciating pain then you are not doing it right.

Oh and just in case you were wondering, I am not here for "Blurred Lines" anymore. Not since the VMA's burned this memory into my mind every time I hear that song now:

No thank you.

What are your favorite songs from the summer?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blame It On Me- Toya



"Blame It On Me" is by the one and only Chrisette Michelle who is a BEAST of a singer. Good golly!"

Hi, my name is Toya. I recently quit one of my two jobs (the highest paying one) to become a freelance writer.

It's been almost three weeks. Ask me how much freelance writing I've done.

None.

Okay but this is the thing though: I've done more research on freelance writing and how to be self employed than actually doing it! It's been three weeks! Had I known that I would need about three weeks to find my mojo in this thing, perhaps I would have stayed at my job longer. Do I have regrets?  You have no idea.

I'm not saying that I did the wrong thing. I am saying that I may have done the right thing at the wrong time...which really in essence is the wrong thing in my opinion.   I just read a piece on Clutch Magazine that almost identically mirrored what I shared about how I did not realize how unhappy I was at my job until my emergency wisdom tooth surgery forced me to be off from work.  However the author of this piece said that she saved up a modest amount of money before she made her exit.   Now I knew it was going to get slim for me but in my head, I had it all worked out. So I thought. Turns out in factoring my bills, I somehow forgot about a large bill that was due. It wasn't one of those "pay half now and pay later" bills. It was a "pay now or that's your behind" bill. How on earth do you just not remember that?  How does that slip one's mind???  While I have been able to breathe better since I left my job,  I have never been more aware of my inadequacies as I am right now. This has been the most emotionally draining year of my entire life. So much so that this is what I prayed on my way home from work in regards to my finances:

"I can't worry about this. I don't mean that as a way to psyche myself out. I mean I absolutely do not have the capacity. I just don't. I don't have it in me to worry, I don't have it in me to cry, and I don't have it in me to tarry in some long drawn out "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" type prayer. I don't have it in me anymore. This is the real: I'm in the pit right now. Just help me get out of the pit.  If you choose not to intervene, I still love you. I still believe that you work out things for my good. But hear me when I say, I have no more emotion to offer to any of this and the nineteen other things going on around me right now. "

That's all I've got really. As Luvvie of the blog Awesomely Luvvie says often, when it comes to worrying, I can't and am unable to can. I just don't have it in me anymore. Come what may, I am just going to deal with things and keep my head above water.

Let's talk about some positive life lessons though:

Lesson #1: In regards to going out, there is no such thing as "it's only ten dollars." Oh no ma'am. It's so real out here right now. Ten dollars may as well be one hundred dollars at this point. I'll take both please.

Lesson #2: I know I said that I have never been more aware of my inadequacies as I am now. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I am becoming more aware of how I am wired. I am becoming more and more aware of the kind of creative person I am and in what environment I thrive in. For example, I need to see people on a daily basis. I have got to get out of the house if I want to get anything creative out of my system.  I may not always need to write in public.  In fact I am currently writing this late at night at home after getting off from work.  But to get my thoughts flowing I need to be around people at some point during the day be it the library, the gym, or whatever.  I spent the whole day today working alone and couldn't even manage to finish one thing because the thoughts just weren't flowing. I felt so isolated.  The only company I had was a rotisserie chicken that I got from Sams Club.

Which brings me to Lesson #3:


Lesson #3: In no way should I ever EVER have the option of being left alone in the house with an entire carcass of chicken.  That's just way too much chicken for one person.  I've never consumed so much chicken over the course of one day in my entire life and it started the moment it got in the car with me. Those drumsticks never had a chance.

Lesson #4: I don't care what your pastor or the latest hit on gospel radio says, it is not everyone's season.  I feel like some churches are really big on declaring at the top of a new year that people are entering a season of people reclaiming what has been lost in recent times. I get that it's a very popular and encouraging message.  I hear it all the time (not in my church though).  This is the thing: it's not everyone's season. It CAN'T be EVERYONE'S season! It's easy to get caught up in that if you don't know how to listen to the ways that God speaks to you and around you.

I've been reading Psalm 107 which tells a few examples of people who have gone the wrong way and yet God was merciful and rescued them. I have no idea what that is going to look like for me.  What I do know and am understanding more and more is that life is hard and if you are still here then that means that there is a chance of things getting better. There is always a way out. You just have to be patient and wait for it.  In the meantime, I am going to just press forward and do the best that I can with what I can. Something needs to happen fast though or this is going to be me...