Monday, January 9, 2012

#MyFive Tortured Days of Our Lives Characters

Get ready for another Chandler Massey-inspired blog, as I found myself saying "Poor Will" about 50 times this week. He does emotional angst extremely well, but he's only the latest in a long line of Days characters who the writers have put through the ringer. It's really unlikely your life is all that bad compared to these folks, so crack open a bottle of gratitude and read along with me, eh?

5) Billie Reed - Poor Billie. She bursts on the scene with one of the worst back stories in Days history. Her father got her addicted to drugs and pimped her out? Pretty harsh. Then he gets shot and killed (yay?) and a hero by the name of Bo comes into her life. Except it turns out his dead wife's not so dead, and try as she might, she just can't fight the eventual return of the supercouple. So she flies out of town (to the most depressing Bette Midler song ever), and to add insult to injury, she comes back several times over the years, only to be turned into a pathetic plot device for said supercouple each time. Here's hoping her return this year is less victim-y.

4) Greta Von Amburg - Poor Greta. She takes a simple acting job and ends up as (another) acid vat victim. Then she lives in the swamp for years, horribly disfigured. But it's okay. Someone will find her and she'll find true love, right? With Bo? Notsomuch. Eric? Woulda been nice. Austin? Virtual reality only. Jack? He faked being gay to avoid dating her. But at least she'll have a nice life as a princess, right? With a lovely coronation party, where absolutely no one gets shot in an NC-17 rated bloodbath. ...Right? Maybe she was better off in the swamp after all. 

3) Will Horton Poor Will. His mother's Sami Brady. Let's just process that for a second. He could probably write a book on all the horrors his mother has subjected him to. But let's just stick with the last year to make the point. Watching your mother cheat on her husband and bonk the guy who raped her while your brother's missing. Harsh. Being blackmailed by the aforementioned guy, who happens to be a very loathsome Dimera and knows all your secrets. Yikes. And trying to figure out your sexuality in the midst of all this, in a town that apparently has never really had gay people (except for fakegayJack and MIA Harold of course)? Sigh. Poor Will.

2) Hope Brady
 - Poor Hope. She fights every breakup plot device the 80s can throw at her, only to marry the man of her dreams. And then die in a vat of acid. And then come back not knowing who she is. And then remember. And then forget. And then remember again, but maybe not for real. And maybe she was a princess. Or actually just kidnapped by one. But don't worry, she eventually gets her identity back. And that's only the beginning. Every few years, one of her children are kidnapped, switched at birth, or run over by their siblings. Just keep an eye on Ciara, everyone. And your fingers crossed.
1) Marlena Evans - Seriously. No other choice. She's been through the loss of several marriages, complete with miscarriages, brainwashed priest impostors, brainwashing abusive doctors, and more. Her children were stolen from her, returned to her, raped, and sent off to Colorado for reasons unknown. She was possessed by the devil. Possessed. By the devil. She was also kidnapped and trapped in pits, secret rooms, and birdcages for months at a time, many of which appearing to not have a bathroom. She was tricked into thinking she killed almost all of her friends and was a serial killer (after another, albeit brief, possession), and was forced to live on an island with them. And worst of all, Hattie Adams. Poor Marlena.

Feel better about your day? I do. I just hope there's some good news ahead for some of these folks. And fewer bathroom-less birdcages and fake-gay boyfriends. Have a great week ;)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

#MyFive Moving Live Performances

Pop artists have a reputation for producing music that is fun and entertaining, but rarely emotionally moving, especially outside of the magic of the studio. I have been moved to my core on several occasions, however, by artists who infuse powerful and real emotion into their live performances. I thought I'd share my five faves on this frigid morning. Click on the links to relive the magic :)

5) "Because of You" - Kelly Clarkson: The charm of that low-budget first Idol season was how the contestants seemed just like you.  So when Kelly peformed a song she wrote as a kid live at the Grammys after an amazingly successful year, it was like watching your friend live her dream. The kicker was the "I've always dreamed of performing at the Grammys" video intro of a young Kelly.

4) "Silver Springs" - Fleetwood Mac: I was too young to grasp FM's musical talent when I saw this reunion performance, and I was also too naive to get just how complicated and painful relationships could be (Zack & Kelly never seemed to be that intense). But the moment I heard Stevie sing this song, and more importantly, the way she looked at her ex as she sang, I got it. I got the talent, I got the pain, and I felt everything she was feeling, long before I'd know those things for myself. That's true talent.

3) "Falling Slowly" - Kris Allen: I was Team Kris from his first song, but my friends were all Team Adam. I had many an argument with my sis about her lack of a soul, until this performance. The second it ended, my phone rang, with my sister crying and apologizing on the other end. On a night of cliche and over-indulgent movie songs, Kris picked one with true heart and soul, and it was the perfect vehicle for the world to hear just how moving his voice can be.  Team Kris, ftw.

2) "Live to Tell" - Madonna: This song wasn't a fave until the Confessions Tour, when it blew me away. When someone pretends to be Jesus at a church play, they do it to inspire people through the tale of someone who died for others. Madonna was doing the same thing, but instead used the analogy to suggest how Jesus would want us to help people, particularly children. The imagery and music combined to from an inspirational masterpiece.
1) "Glitter in the Air" - P!nk: Everything about this exhuded vulnerability, bravery, and authentic emotion. The raw, imperfect vocals, the nude jumpsuit, and most beautifully, the seemingly-effortless and stunning movements of her body as she dangled from only sheets. She sang of fighting your fear and pride to achieve those rare and incredibly beautiful moments in life, no matter how brief or risky they may be. You could see the awe in the faces of everyone in that auditorium, just as easily as you could see the tears on mine.

There you have it. Which performances have inspired you?

Monday, January 2, 2012

#MyFive Anticipated Albums of 2012

Of all my pop culture vices, music is definitely the biggest. I had fun looking back on my faves of 2011, so I thought I'd look ahead to 2012! Also, I showed up at work today without realizing I wasn't supposed to, so since I'm here with nothing to do... 

5) No Doubt - I hesitate to even put them on this list, as Gwen and the boys have been threatening to release the new album for years now. But surely this is the year they finally do it, right? No Doubt was such an important band for me in my teenage years, and they made some awesome pop music. I'm so ready for some more, that every time I see Gwen Stefani hock makeup or clothes in a commercial, I yell at her to get her ass back in the studio and make me some music. Not kidding.

4) Wilson Phillips - Thank you, Bridesmaids, for making it okay to vocalize my love for these ladies again. For years, they were the secret little shamebased treasure I missed the most, but now others are just as captivated by their harmonious voices and not-so-harmonious personalities (please tell me you saw that reality special). Everyone told me I was nuts for holding out for a Wilson Phillips come back. But I got my way, 'cuz I Held On for one more day (actually for several years, but I guess that's a much-less inspiring lyric).

3) Kris Allen - If you haven't figured it out yet, you should expect Mr. Allen to pop up in any of my music-related blogs. Favorite American Idols, Best Songs of 2011, Anticipated Albums of 2012, hell, I'd probably find a way to stick him in my Favorite R&B Divas blog (which I now feel challenged to do). Beautiful voice, beautiful heart, beautiful face, beautiful dog. "Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful". Hey Kris, maybe that should be your album's title. Either that, or "I love you Wesley Ryan". Actually, that last one sounds better. Go with that.

2) Fiona Apple - I'm most inspired by talented singer/songwriters who weave a web of poetry with their lyrics. In that regard, I'd argue that Fiona's the best of my generation. She can create a song that is so unique and unlike anything you've ever heard, but the picture she paints is so perfect that you wonder how no one ever thought of it. When you combine that talent with all the ish this inspirational survivor has overcome, you have one very powerful artist, who can pull your deepest emotions out of you before you even know what they are.

1) Madonna - She's been making amazing albums for almost 30 years, which is why I cringe when people call someone "the next Madonna". They'd have a long way to go to pull off the success that ol Madge has maintained. I've loved her recent dance-focused LPs, but my favorite Madonna is actually ballad Madonna, and rumor has it her new effort will include her first slow-tempo treats in over a decade. If they're anything like the leaked song "Masterpiece" I will be beaming all year long. She's my favorite artist ever, and 2012 is hers.

What are you looking foward to in 2012? Are you as excited about Madonna? Are you sick of my Kris Allen love? Did you show up to work today for no reason? Sigh....