Just you wait

August 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

One of the things I love about musicals is that they give you the opportunity to express yourself, and your emotions, in ways that you would never be able to do in real life. Some people find that element of musicals to be cheesy. I find it cathartic.

One of my favorite “angry” songs is Jo Dee Messina’s “My Give a Damn is Busted.” The other one is “Just you wait” from My Fair Lady.

This song occurs in the climactic moment of the musical when poor Eliza Doolittle just can’t take any more of Professor Higgins’ relentless speech lessons, and his less than encouraging attitude. To Higgins, Eliza is a nobody – a being without feelings or needs, merely a plaything he is using to prove a point. Thus, he shows little compassion and little patience for Eliza’s struggles to master the speech lessons he is giving her, and eventually, Eliza snaps.

Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait!
You’ll be sorry, but your tears’ll be to late!
You’ll be broke, and I’ll have money;
Will I help you? Don’t be funny!
Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait!
Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins, till you’re sick,
And you scream to fetch a doctor double-quick.
I’ll be off a second later And go straight to the the-ater!
Oh ho ho, ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait!
Ooooooh ‘enry ‘iggins!
Just you wait until we’re swimmin’ in the sea!
Ooooooh ‘enry ‘iggins!
And you get a cramp a little ways from me!
When you yell you’re going to drown I’ll get dressed
and go to town! Oh ho ho, ‘enry ‘iggins!
Oh ho ho, ‘enry ‘iggins! Just you wait!
One day I’ll be famous! I’ll be proper and prim;
Go to St. James so often I will call it St. Jim!
One evening the king will say:
“Oh, Liza, old thing,
I want all of England your praises to sing.
Next week on the twentieth of May
I proclaim Liza Doolittle Day!
All the people will celebrate the glory of you
And whatever you wish and want I gladly will do.”
“Thanks a lot, King” says I, in a manner well-bred;
But all I want is ‘enry ‘iggins ‘ead!”
“Done,” says the King with a stroke.
“Guard, run and bring in the bloke!”
Then they’ll march you, ‘enry ‘iggins to the wall;
And the King will tell me: “Liza, sound the call.”
As they lift their rifles higher, I’ll shout:
“Ready! Aim! Fire!”
Oh ho ho, ‘enry ‘iggins,
Down you’ll go, ‘enry ‘iggins!
Just you wait!

Watch a video of the scene from the movie, starring Audrey Hepburn. Personally, the soundtrack with Julie Andrews is miles better, in my opinion, but I couldn’t find a video with Julie. Oh well, you’ll get the idea.


Don’t Rain on My Parade

June 14, 2010 - Leave a Response

Last night was a very big night for New York City’s Broadway scene. It was the 64th annual Tony awards, and being the theater junkie that I am, I had to watch at least part of it, even though I haven’t seen any of the shows that were nominated for awards.

Somehow I managed to miss most of the performances by the Best Musical nominated shows (though I did catch the wild party that is American Idiot. I can’t imagine having to do that eight shows a week!). However, I did see the special performance by Glee stars Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele. It is Michele’s performance that has been on my mind today. She sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” which is a song that I really like. She sang it well – check it out, here – but she’s no Barbra Streisand. If you want to hear someone who CAN sing it as well as Barbra, check out the beautiful and talented Stephanie J. Block.

Of course, you could just listen to Barbra, but I wanted to take this opportunity to, once again, put in a good word for the woman who, in my opinion, has a voice that is only surpassed by Julie Andrews (prior to her unfortunate surgery, of course). Someday there will be a revival of Funny Girl, and there is no one better suited for the role of Fanny Brice than Stephanie J. Block. www.stephaniejblock.com


Rain Is A Good Thing

June 10, 2010 - Leave a Response

The dry spell is over at last! After weeks of waking up to a blank playlist, I finally had a song in my head this morning – and it was none other than Luke Bryan’s “Rain Is A Good Thing.”

Bryan is a relative newcomer to the music business – he released his first album in 2007. But his name has become more well known through hits such as “Do I,” “Country Man,” and “Rain Is A Good Thing.” His name will likely continue growing, especially after last night when his video for the song “Do I” won a CMT Award for “Best Breakthrough Video of the Year.”

But let’s get back to the song in my head. “Rain Is A Good Thing” is based on the fact that on a farm, rain is needed to grow crops. Bryan uses that basic survival necessity and takes it several steps further, turning it into a fun song about finding the good in something that many think of as an inconvenience. I’ll let the chorus show you what I mean:

Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey
Whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky
Back roads are boggin’ up, my buddies pile up in my truck
We hunt our honeys down, we take ’em into town
Start washin’ all our worries down the drain
Rain is a good thing

It’s an upbeat song with a hummable tune. My only complaint is that when Bryan gets to the part about “washin’ all our worries down the drain” he actually starts singing about “warshing” our worries down the drain, and I get confused every time. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how people can find an “r” in the word “wash.”  I tutor kids in reading, and I can promise you, there’s no “r” in that word.

Oh well, it’s still a fun song. Click here to watch the music video.


p.s. If you want to watch the CMT Award-winning video for “Do I” click here.

White Liar

June 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

Today is a big day for me. I’m going to tell you about a song that I really don’t like. I’m going to smash it to pieces. And it makes me a little nervous to be putting my unfavorable opinions out into cyberspace, because I think that there is too much dislike and hate in the world. So I want to make something clear. I don’t dislike the person who sings and co-wrote this song (just look at my previous post). I just really dislike this song.

Yesterday I turned on the radio and heard the opening strains of “White Liar” by Miranda Lambert. I quickly changed the channel. A couple months ago, when that song first came out, it seemed like I couldn’t even drive down the block without hearing it. It was on all the time. And I’ll admit, at first I didn’t think it was so bad. I didn’t love it, but I could handle it. But after hearing it about 50 times in three days, my mere indifference quickly turned to something much stronger. Something more akin to hatred.

So, like I suggested in my previous post about Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”, I tried to give this song a second chance by listening to the lyrics. However, when I did, I discovered that the song doesn’t even make any sense! Consider the refrain:

Hey white liar
the truth comes out a little at a time
and it spreads just like a fire
slips off of your tongue like turpentine
and I don´t know why
white liar

Supposedly this song is about a woman who discovers that her boyfriend/lover/husband has been lying to her about where he’s been, with the suggestion that he’s been spending time with another woman. Sounds familiar – a large portion of country songs are about relationships – especially cheating. The surprise twist at the end is that the singer admits that she’s been lying too.

Overall, it’s not a bad premise for a song. It’s worked before, and hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But when you look at the lyrics, they talk about a white liar. Not a dirty rotten scoundrel liar, which is the category in which I would place a cheating boyfriend. And if there’s anything I can’t stand, it is the misuse of words. Semantics are important.

A white lie, as I was taught when I was five, is a relatively harmless lie that you tell when your best friend’s mom cuts her bangs too short and you want to reassure her that it doesn’t look that bad, even if it does. According to that definition, lying about cheating on a loved one does not constitute a white lie – not by a long shot.

So, I guess I’m just thankful that the popularity of this song has died down considerably, because it definitely did not deserve the attention or positive reviews that it received.


The House That Built Me

June 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

Once again, there were no songs in my head when I woke up this morning. Apparently starting a blog so that you can talk about songs that are stuck in your head is the perfect way to get songs OUT of your head. Keep that in mind the next time you hear “It’s a Small World.”

Perhaps this phenomenon is an opportunity for me to start paying more attention to the world around me, instead of what’s going on inside my head. Ignoring the fact that the previous sentence makes me sound unnervingly like someone who may be a candidate for the psych ward, I’ve discovered that this blog has made me actually listen to the music on the radio in the mornings. So often music becomes background noise, but I’ve discovered that, even in a song that I’ve heard too many times, I can find a lyric or two that really hit home.

Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” is a song that has been played a lot. It is the fastest-rising single of Lambert’s career, reaching the Top 20 in its eighth week. This success is reflected by the fact that it is on the radio all the time. Unfortunately, even when I like a song, I get really sick of it if it’s on the radio every single time I get in the car.

Thus was the case when I was driving to work this morning. When I heard the opening strain, I sight inwardly, prepared to tune out until the next song. But then I started listening to the lyrics, and changed my mind.

This song is about a girl who goes back to the home she grew up in and asks the current owners if she can look around. She’s a grown woman now, but she is returning to her roots, looking for something – healing, closure, peace, memories – from her past. A portion of the lyrics go like this:

You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can.
I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here its like I’m someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around I swear I’ll leave.
Won’t take nothing but a memory
from the house that built me.

Those lyrics show some of the tenderness she feels towards the place where she grew up. She found comfort and security within those walls, and by returning she’s hoping to find it again. It’s not an uncommon feeling, I don’t think, which is probably why the song has been so popular – it resonates with a lot of people. Even the title is significant – “The House That Built Me.” For the woman in the song, it was the house, not her parents or siblings or neighbors or teachers who had the most influence on her growing up. It’s a powerful image.

While I think the song is very nice, I’m not at a place in my life where I can look back and truly see how my childhood shaped me. I’m not far enough away from it yet. I’ve only lived in two houses for any length of time, and I’m still working on the “getting away from home” part of life – not the returning there.

However, there is one line in the song that stuck out to me as something that will be very relevant to me about 10-20 years from now. When the woman in the song is talking to the owner of the house, she starts telling her things about the house that only someone who lived there would know:

And up those stairs, in that little back bedroom
is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar.
And I bet you didn’t know under that live oak
my favorite dog is buried in the yard.

The one that gets me, though is this: “These handprints on the front steps are mine.” In both houses that I’ve lived in, there are hand and thumbprints of mine, and my sister’s in a couple of different places. I never thought much about it, before, but I wonder what will happen to them when new people move in. In the case of the house that has already had a couple of new residents – what did they think of those marks on the corner of the porch? Did they even notice them? A seven-year-old’s thumb isn’t very big, after all. Did they remodel the house and tear up the piece of concrete altogether? Do they wish that they could soften a different corner and add the handprints of their own kids – make a sort of “wall of residents”?  I don’t know.  But the more I think about it, the more I understand how strong the pull to find out could be. Because the fact is, the houses that I grew up in may not have done the actual “building” of who I am, but they definitely play an invaluable role in safe-keeping the memories that were created while I was being built.

I guess even the most over-played songs can still hold meaning if you just stop and listen to them. It’s a good lesson to remember.


Never Neverland

May 28, 2010 - Leave a Response

I woke up with “Hell on the Heart” playing in my head this morning. Doesn’t my subconscious know that I already blogged about that one? Seriously.

So, instead of repeating myself, I’m going to talk about a song that I fell in love with a couple of years ago, which has opened up a whole new arena of musical artists for me since then. While I was trolling the videos on Youtube one day, I stumbled across the following video (it has kind of a long intro, but it’s hilarious, so you can either skip it and go straight to the song, or enjoy the banter between broadway actresses):


The song is “Never Neverland” written by Scott Alan and performed by Broadway actress, Stephanie J. Block. Since I heard this song I absolutely fell in love with Stephanie as well as Scott’s work. Scott Alan has several cds out, and in each he has a variety of performers sing his music. He also has a channel on youtube where he posts videos of people who perform his music and video blogs of himself talking about what he’s doing these days. Stephanie is a broadway actress who has been in such hits as Wicked, Boy from Oz, The Pirate Queen, and recently finished a run in 9 to 5 the Musical, which I had the privilege of seeing in NY – it was amazing.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I did, and I would highly recommend browsing through the related videos featuring music by Scott Alan as well as Stephanie J. Block.



May 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

I heard a new song on the radio today. I don’t usually listen to KS95, but I hate commercials, so I was station surfing. Have you ever noticed that radio stations tend to play the same 5-10 songs over and over again? It’s kind of refreshing to listen to different stations now and then, just to hear something different. What did surprise me was that in this case the lyrics jumped out at me, which doesn’t happen that often. I usually have to hear a song several times before I actually pay attention to the lyrics, but for some reason this one was different.

I googled the song and found out that it’s official title is “Smile” and the artist is Uncle Kracker (watch the music video here). Turns out it’s not just the song I’ve never heard of before. Uncle Kracker? I admit, I’m definitely not always on top of things when it comes to popular music, but I almost always at least recognize the artist’s name. So, either I’m really out of touch right now, or Uncle Kracker hasn’t reached the “big time” yet.

After doing some preliminary research, it looks like I can relax a bit. While Uncle Kracker has released several albums, he started out as a rapper, which I don’t listen to at all. His last two albums were all country, but they haven’t reached the top of the charts yet. “Smile” was released as a single July 13, 2009 and appears to have done pretty well, but clearly he’s not in the same league as, say, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. That’s okay. It takes time to work your way up, and I liked “Smile” a lot. The lyrics are sweet and the melody is catchy.

Here’s the refrain that caught my attention:

You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed, sing like bird
Dizzy in my head, spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Ohh, you make me smile

That’s one of my favorite phrases – “You make me smile.” I’m glad somebody used it in a song. I just love the images here: fall out of bed, dizzy in my head, dance like a fool, buzz like a bee. It’s just a happy song.

Keep smilin’



May 25, 2010 - Leave a Response

I’m feeling a little lost right now. I haven’t had a song stuck in my head for several days now. I don’t really know what to do with myself.

So I decided that, to celebrate the fact that Wicked is coming to town (tickets went on sale to the public yesterday!) I would take this opportunity to put in my two cents on the subject – especially since I don’t have any other songs to talk about at the moment.

I saw Wicked for the first time in London two years ago. I have seen it two other times since – in London a second time, and in Minneapolis the last time it was here. After I saw it the first time, I was stunned. I honestly feel like it changed my whole perspective on life. It was fantastic. I hesitate to talk it up too much, because I know that if you go into something with super high expectations, no matter how good it ends up being, it doesn’t always end up fulfilling them. However, I can honestly say that this show is worth seeing. It’s the smartest, cleverest, deepest story I’ve ever seen on stage, with the most beautiful and powerful music I’ve ever heard. The combination of those two things make this show unforgettable.

A little background: Wicked the musical is based on the novel, Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. If you’ve already read it, I’ll tell you that I liked the book a lot, but as it’s own entity. The musical is very different. The basic plot is the same, but the tone and presentation are much more showy and upbeat. If you haven’t read the novel, I would suggest waiting until after you see the show. They are just too different, and reading the novel would give you the wrong expectation for the show. It’s like when a book is made into a movie, only on a larger scale. The two mediums are so different, that they can’t really be compared.

Anyway, the book itself was inspired by L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In Maguire’s version, he tells the tale from the perspective of the green witch, Elphaba (whose name derives from the initials of L. Frank Baum). Maguire’s story is rather enlightening – and from an English major’s perspective, nothing short of genius. He manages to take a story that seems straightforward, and give it a twist here and there which turns it’s entire meaning upside down. (As a sidenote, Maguire has written several other books in which he does the same thing – Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Mirror Mirror, and Son of a Witch – the sequel to Wicked, among others).

The result is a story that crosses generational, political and emotional boundaries, carrying audiences on a journey they will not easily forget. This is a story about politics, evil, good, friendship, love, discrimination, standing up for what you believe in, and the power of societies to condemn without just cause. It forces you to think, and if you’re lucky, you’ll learn something about yourself and maybe change your behavior the next time you realize you’ve only heard one side of a many faceted story.

I hope you are able to experience this show for yourself. I highly recommend it.


If I can dream

May 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

I learned something new today. This morning while I was brushing my teeth I started humming “If I can dream.” Until today, I had only heard this  sung by Della Reese on Touched by an Angel. But then I googled the song and found out that it was originally recorded by the king himself – Elvis Presley. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.

According to Wikipedia, the song was written by Walter Earl Brown, using Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech as inspiration, and was recorded by Presley in 1968. It then found it’s way to me via the Touched by an Angel Christmas cd in which Della Reese gives it her own special touch. It’s a beautiful song with really meaningful lyrics.

There must be lights burning brighter somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true?

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away
All the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear?

We’re lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We’re trapped in a world
That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength enough to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

Deep in my heart there’s a tremblin’ question
Still I am sure that the answer’s gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there’s always a beckoning candle
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true, ohhhhh, right now
Let it come true right now

Let me repeat my favorite lines

“If I can dream of a better land, where all my brothers walk hand in hand, tell me why can’t my dream come true?”

It’s such a spiritual song – and it excludes no one. It’s a spirit that encompasses each and every one of us, and doesn’t differentiate based on beliefs or appearances or anything like that. It’s really beautiful. I would highly recommend listening to it – I’m rather partial to Della Reese’s version.


Hell on the Heart

May 13, 2010 - Leave a Response

It happened again! Except this time, I knew what song was in my head when I woke up this morning – “Hell on the Heart” by Eric Church. The thing that happened again was that when I got into the car to go to work, the song was on the radio. I think I’m psychic. You know how weird it is to turn the radio on and hear the song that you were just thinking about? So strange.

So, since we’re on the subject, I’ve heard the song many times lately (and I like it, for the record), but until today, I didn’t really know how sang it. Now I know the artist’s name, but I don’t really know who Eric Church is. So I googled him. “Hell on the Heart” was on an album called “Carolina” which was released in March of last year and is his second album. “Hell on the Heart” is one of his most popular songs, as well as “Love Your Love the Most” which was his first Top Ten hit. I didn’t know he sang that song, either, or that he co-wrote both of them. I think this is showing that radio deejays need to do a better job of telling their listeners who they’re listening to. Or am I the only one who recognizes music but never knows who sings it?