Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down :: MUSIC & PODCASTS

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The Billies of 2019:

I like pop music. I do. I tend to enjoy the stuff the kids like. (Fine. To a point. I’m still a 40-year-old suburban mom; nothing can stop that. But you know who can sing more words of that new Taylor Swift song or the Jonas Brothers song? Me or my kids? Me. So there.) But I draw the line at whatever is happening with people named Billy right now. Or Billie. Any kind of Billy/ie!

I saw a meme on Facebook that lamented “kids these days” only knowing Billy Ray Cyrus for something called, “Old Town Road.” Then I heard someone mention Billie Eilish on a podcast, saying that she was super talented and up and coming and all the things pop singers are supposed to be. So, on a recent solo road trip, I decided to investigate both these things.

And I WAS HORRIFIED. Or, at least, deeply disappointed. C’mon, Billy Ray! You can do better! You’re breaking my achy heart with this business! WHAT ON EARTH is even happening. (In other words, I do not enjoy Old Town Road by a rapper and featuring a chorus sung by Billy Ray Cyrus. I just don’t.) And Billie Eilish? Wow. I am officially too old to understand pop music, it seems. Based on my reaction to her music, I’m guessing my knowledge of all things T-Swift and the Jonas Brothers is not actually as cool as I once thought. Huh.

Well, even if it makes me old or uncool or a mom who just doesn’t get it, I’m giving the Billies a THUMBS DOWN.

80s Baby by NKOTB

I’m not sure what’s happening in the world right now. My five-year-old’s favorite song is by the Backstreet Boys (a new one, I mean) — and “Boys in the Band” by New Kids on the Block isn’t far behind. WHAT YEAR IS IT?

I joke, but I can’t deny I’m all for nostalgia and bringing back the oldies but goodies (while still complaining that the things of my childhood can possibly be considered “oldies”). Still, I was a little bit surprised to see a second new song from New Kids on the Block leaning into nostalgia and novelty. While Backstreet Boys are genre-bending (their second recently released song is played in pretty regular rotation on country stations), NKOTB has apparently decided to just stick with what they know.

And I’m not mad about it. The video of this newest song is mostly footage from their Mixtape Tour (with Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Salt-n-Pepa, and Naughty by Nature), which made me smack my own forehead because WHY didn’t I go to that show when it was in town?! But it’s fun, and the song is, too. I’m not saying it’s a work of art, but I enjoy it so I’m giving it a full THUMBS UP!


You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift (insta story, 6.17.19)

I’m not sure how you could have missed it, but if you did, let me tell you. Taylor Swift released a new song and video this week. (Watch it here!) It is bold and colorful and T-Swift at her poppiest, cashing-in-on-culture best. I’m not going to beat around the bush; I love every single thing about it. I love the music. I love the colors. I love the cameos. I love the message. I love the Taylor and Katy of it all. TWO THUMBS UP!

Spotify’s Best of Broadway playlist (insta story, 6.26.19)

I listen to a lot of Spotify when I’m working. Because my work involves words and needing to think the words and focus on the words, my usual genres are either instrumental (soundtracks, classical) or words I don’t know or can’t understand (K-Pop, French “coffee shop” songs). But this week I spent a good amount of time creating graphics, so I knew I could listen to something much catchier and wordier.

Scrolling through some premade playlists on Spotify, I found a whole section dedicate to Pride Month — and that’s where I hit the jackpot! I found a Best of Broadway playlist there and IT IS GOLD. I’ve been listening (and singing and dancing) to it for days now, and I’m giving it an enthusiastic THUMBS UP. Or, the Broadway equivalent, which everyone knows is full jazz hands! You can listen to it here.

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