Archive for the ‘International Music’ Category

I came across an article a while ago, stating this year’s supposed summer songs have fallen short, and I couldn’t agree more. The pop world has let us down once again, and given us lame, played out tracks that are so been there done that. How are we supposed to enjoy our summer now? In spite of this, I’ve decided compile a list – I just had to get more creative.

“Handclap” – Fitz and the Tantrums

This track comes off Fitz and the Tantrums’ self-titled third studio album. They blur the line between rock and pop here, giving them more reach. It’s catchy/infectious, involves synchronized claps (it’s even in the title!) It passes the ultimate summer song test too: you definitely want to blast it and sing along with your car windows down (and not be embarrassed about it.)

“Free” – Broods

This track from New Zealand brother-sister duo is not to be missed. It’s grungier than your typical summer dance track, but it’s anthemic and empowering. You just can’t help but hit repeat over and over once it ends, because that good a feeling is so addictive.

“Hasta Que Se Seque El Malecón” – Jacob Forever

No summer song list is complete without a little Latin flare. It’s your standard reggaeton track, and I mean that in the best way possible. Your hips  want to sway, you want to dance, and even if you can’t exactly sing along or understand the lyrics, it doesn’t matter. You hear this, and all you see is partying somewhere warm, beachy, drinks flowing; it’s irresistible.

“Wow” – Beck

Okay, so I have no idea where/how Beck came up with this track. He’s known to be rock/indie, and although his music has always been a little offbeat and eccentric, I’ve never heard anything like this from him” it’s borderline hip-hop. The music is perfectly produced and executed, and just keeps building and building – it’s a dope track even without lyrics. I never thought Beck would be on a summer jam list, but that just shows how talented he really is (right, Kanye?)

“The River” – Bishop Briggs

Briggs is a British musician who has taken the indie scene by storm with this track. Musically, you hear a bunch of different sounds coming together, and it’s impossible to ignore the hook. Vocally, she hits all kinds of ranges showing her versatility as well as how strongly she’s feeling the music. All you want to do is enjoy the crap out of this song.

Enrique Iglesias has been a busy guy. Son of singer Julio Iglesias, he can sing in Spanish and in English. He is romantically linked with Anna Kournikova, and he recently had his signature mole removed. What keeps him most occupied, however, seems to be his obsession with dance. He recently dropped his single “Bailando” off his upcoming album Sex + Love. It reminded of one of his earlier tracks,  “Bailamos.” Here’s a look at both of them.

Bailamos

English translation: Let’s dance/We dance

Language: Spanglish

Versions: 2

Album: Cosas del Amor (Limitied Edition) 1998; Wild Wild West Soundtrack, 1999

Premise:  Enrique loves some girl, and just wants to dance with her, he loves her so much. He urges her to let the rhythm take her over. He makes it clear that he’s hers. Most importantly, he insists that tonight, they dance.

Videos: One is super sexy, super Latin, flashing lights, in a dance club. Hands going everywhere, disco balls, glitter, and on-stage couple grinding. The other, is muted, slowed down, and more a pining kind of love, but also features a group dance. At the end of both of them, Enrique gets the girl.

 

 

Bailando 

English translation: Dancing

Language: Spanglish

Versions: 2

Album: Sex + Love, 2014

Premise: Enrique loves a girl and the way she moves. He does not want the night to stop; he wants to be with her, live with her, and most importantly dance with her.

Videos: Both follow Enrique and his “boys” – Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno, and Sean Paul (English version only) – running around the streets of some warm-climated country. There’s a lot of traditional group dancing vs. contemporary street dancing. There’s even choreo with soccer balls. At the end of both of them, Enrique gets the girl.

 

 

I could only come to one conclusion after this detailed analysis: it’s the same damn song.

 

Bhangra music. Aka Punjabi music. When it blasts through the speakers at Indian wedding receptions, the dancers rush to the dance floor because for them, it’s music for the soul. The non-dancers, however, run and hide because for them, it’s just too daunting. It’s not that they don’t enjoy the music, it’s that dancing to it is difficult. The moves are complicated, require a lot of co-ordination and no one wants to embarrass themselves. For the non-dancers, Indian or not, you’re in luck today. I’ve compiled a list of moves to help you fake it:

Knee Bend/Hand Clap – first find the beat. It’s the best way to keep the rhythm. The beat generally is whenever you instinctively feel like bobbing your head, tapping your foot or clapping your hands. If you don’t naturally have those instincts, then it’s whenever you hear the loudest drum/dhol sound. When you find it, do a slight knee bend every time you hear it. When you get the hang of it, add a hand clap. That way, it seems like you’re feeling the music.

Game of Opposites – possibly the easiest dance move to pull off because it’s not actually a move. All you do is seek someone out, watch what they’re doing , go towards them and just do the opposite. If their hands go up, your hands go down. If they move to the left, you move to the right. It creates the illusion that you’re in sync on a whim and therefore able to improvise – sign of a true dancer.

Systematic Squatting – this is a solid move. When you’re lacking inspiration, regardless of the track, just start lowering your body into a squatting position. Someone else will always inevitably catch you doing that out of the corner of their eye, and automatically take it as a challenge. Their competitive edge will take over and they will come over and try and squat lower than you. It becomes a measure of willpower and strength, and once someone’s knees fail, you both stand up and hug it out.

Props are Key – use what you have. Ladies, use your chunnies (scarves), the length of your lengha/sari/dress; move them side to side, spin in a circle and let the accessories do all the work. Gents, use your ties: put them around your head, use them comically to catch a girl’s attention. Doing something silly with a prop on the dance floor is often confused with a legitimate dance move. It makes you look like you know what you’re doing.

Ring of Fire – probably the least favourite place of a non-dancer. Basically it entails everyone in a circle watching two or more people engage in a dance-off. When their turn is over, others jump in. To avoid being thrown in the centre under the heated spotlight, stand back and do the knee bend/hand clap. If that’s not possible and you find yourself around the perimeter, motion like you’re going to go in, but instead find a dancer standing nearby and aggressively push them in the middle. They won’t mind, and you’ll be off the hook.

Random Yelling – you don’t have to understand Punjabi to know what bhangra songs are about. It’s always girls, drinking (like hip-hop/rap music) and every once in a while they’ll throw out something that sounds like “Brap!” or “Chak De!” Don’t freak out. They don’t mean anything. It just gives everyone license to scream and shout, and take a mini break before they let loose again. Feel free to participate.

Don’t Be a Cliché – specifically, don’t do the whole “screw the light bulb”/”pet the dog” routine. It’s like a cry for help; like you’re announcing you have no idea what you’re doing. Dancers respond to this by making you their pet project for the night, trying to teach you moves they think are simple. They will keep you company on the dance floor only out of pity and will tire of you quickly. But not before saying something both condescending and encouraging, like “Maybe with a bit more practice you’ll nail it!”

Be Corny – one thing about dancing to bhangra music is anything goes. The running man, moonwalk, chicken dance, anything. It all works, it’s all passable. As long as it’s gimmicky. Two perfectly straight guys grinding up on each other is completely acceptable and appropriate within the confines of the dance floor. Shoulder shrugging is always allowed and can be a move on its own, or combined with any of the other ones mentioned.

Enhancers – when all else fails, alcohol can solve most problems. On one hand, it can vastly improve your skills, because all inhibitions are lost and you don’t think about it so much, but move naturally instead. On the other hand, with these same lost inhibitions, your innately lackluster skills may come through, but you’ll be too unaware to care. Note: do not overuse enhancers, no one respects a sloppy dancer.

It would be wonderful if we could all “dance like no one’s watching.” The problem is, unless you’re in the privacy of your own home, there’s always someone watching. I get the idea is you shouldn’t care, but that’s easier to say if you know what you’re doing. Hopefully these tips will help a few people out and make the dance floor at wedding receptions a little less intimidating. Remember though, the most important part is to enjoy yourself. Have fun. Brap, brap!