Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet History

Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet

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Backstreet Boys with Millennium

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A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell are the members of Backstreet Boys, one of the longest boy bands that are still around since the 90s. They were form and sign in Orlando, and got their name “Backstreet Boys” from a night market. They sang all kinds of music from ballad to hip-hop to dance and R&B.

They debut their first single “We’ve Got It Goin’ On” internationally, and they hit the number one stop in every country but not America. Focusing on the foreign market, Backstreet Boys release their first album and gain popularity internationally. Two years later, they tried again releasing “Backstreet’s Back” in America, and that’s when they establish as one of the best selling boy bands and new teen idol during that time. There were many bands form during that era. Bands like N’sync, 98 degree, Westlife, S club 7, Five, Atomic Kitten, Steps and many more. Most of them were UK bands.

Backstreet Boys were like teenage idols and role model. Every guy wants to be like them, able to sing, dance and look cool. Girls want to have a boyfriend like them. It was like back to the 60s where people get crazy about The Beach Boys and The Beatles. The Backstreet Boys become the trend starter.

The album that really made them famous was “Millennium”. They have many hit singles like “I Want It that Way, Larger then Life, The One, Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely”. They sold one million copies worldwide during the first week, including the highest amount of shipments in one year and the most copies sold during an album’s inaugural week. This was the album where they try to do different genre of music, from electronic rock, to mature ballad. Two of the members Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell also help in the songwriting process. With this album, many artists like N’sync, Britney, S club 7 tried to go for the success path. They set the pop music trend.

Like I’ve talk about before, this was the album where Backstreet Boys tried almost every genre they can during that era. One of the main characteristics of this album is, the futuristic setting for the song “Larger Then Life”. It had them flowing in space, wearing sliver clothes that represent them living in space. The music is very electronic rock dance base setting.

Another characteristics of this album is, it release during the new millennium. The whole album is trying to tell the audience that they are at their transition from teen to adulthood. Instead of singing songs, that are love and puppy love, they start sing about loneliness “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”, about not wanting someone in your life “ Don’t Want You Back” and for the Fans “The Perfect Fan”. They want to show their maturity that they have and trying to expand their target audience to older people.

As a listener, I love them. I started listening to English music during the boy band era. Millennium is an album that I feel has all the pop things that teenagers like and meaningful lyrics that listener feels connected with their parts of their lives. As an industry professional, it reminds me of the good old times where song lyrics have meaning to it. It make me think through as a songwriter, will my lyrics tell a story and connect feeling with the listener or just words trying to fill up the gaps in the medley.

Being in a boy band doesn’t mean they can’t sing, good harmonies are the thing that made boy bands special. I understand there are auto tune and all kinds of software things to do that. But if the singers can’t even sing properly is harder to make them sound good and natural using tuning software. In five years time, I hope that more boy/girl/mixed bands are form. I believe the trend of having harmonies and fullness in the vocals will be back. In terms of visual, there are more things to do as a group compares to a solo act. 

Yang

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Peer’s Comments Jack Streets

Hi Jack,

I’m just like you, was never really into electronic music. However, after listening to Kraftwerk’s works, I actually find them interesting. I agree with you that Kraftwerk’s were very innovative and creative. I cannot image at their time, as a classically trained musician are willing to go that extreme with their music making. Their concept music was great! They have an interesting way of using electronic sound to create sound of trains and cars. Overall even with so many people doing the same kind of electronic music at that time, Kraftwerk’s stay true to themselves and create a unique style of electronic music that inspire people all over the world.

Yang

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Kraftwerk

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Kraftwerk is a electronic band from Germany, form by Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider in 1970. Kraftwerk in german means power station, and always a four piece band. In between the years from 1970 until present, there are many new members have join and leave the band. At first most of them were invited to join the band as session musician, but soon everyone have some input in the making of their albums.

Kraftwerk was the band that started of with pure electronic sound to make music. The group were described as robot pop. Their music were very simple, minimal with obliquely rhythmic. Every sound they made were all made by themselves. At their time, they do not have synthesizer or any electronic sound equipments for them. Every sound was hand made to create sounds they want. The music they produce were mostly like alien, machine and something that we call computer sounds. They would record many live instruments like flute, guitars, strings, and bass, then distort their sound through tape machine manipulation.

They started off by making instrumental electronic music. There is no singing or lyrics, just electronic ambient like sounds with simple rhythm machines created by the help of their friends (electronic engineer). During that era, Conny Plank was their producer for their first four albums, he actually help them a lot in the creative side and mixing side. At their fourth album Autobahn in 1974, with newer technology with minimoog and EMS Synthi KS, they try to move away from all the sound they use to do and added lyrics to connect with the audience. With this album, Kraftwerk break through the international market and got an opportunity to promote Autobahn in America. They were peak at number five in the Billboard top 200. Autobahn was a conceptual album describing about road traveling.

After the great success, in Autobahn, the following year they release Radio-activity, which describe about radio communications. With their global popularity at that time, they start to release both german and english versions. However it did not do as well, however in France they were famous. In 1977, they put their aim towards France, and came out with a concept of Europe and trains. After that in 1978 the came out with The Man Machine, and was a success in UK. The concept was about portraying themselves as human robot making electronic music. They were successfully, but not as good when Autobahn was release.

After three years of nothing, they finally came out with Computer World. They were clever knowing that Computers with take over the world as the main technology in the future. The music were more like computer language beeps and or old video games audio. That was the album that break through the international market again. During these time, people like Eno and Bowie were so interested in their music that they went to find them to work with them. Not only Bowie got influence by their electronic music and used it in his album, but many other electronic bands and punk bands.

The main few characteristic were creating sounds from scratch. In their early years that I talk before, they create their own drum machines keyboard and other “special” instruments. They were very lucky to have talented friends to help them build their instruments. Their music were very simple and minimal, but at the same time it creates a new environment where audience never hear before. They music that they created were mostly too ahead at their time. That was why after Autobahn, most audience could not accept what they were producing. But many bands learn from them and put it into their music and make it famous accept for them. I feel that, not because of them, there will not be Disco era, where Donna Summer music were mostly electronic.

The other characteristic of them were trying to portrait robot image for themselves. When they were touring in America, audience like their music, but was unable to put their image with their music. They were wearing suits and tie and quietly playing their music. Soon they develop themselves like a robot, to have the connection with their music. When Computer World was release, they slowly stop showing themselves on stage, and use human mannequins and visual effects to connect their performance with the audience.

As a listener, even until now, I still find their works, very unique. I’m not saying that I didn’t like it, but is so futuristic. After listening closing, I do able to catch some ideas or concept that other band use in their own music. Kraftwerk may not be the very first electronic band. but maybe the godfather of all electronic style music.

As a professional, I am impress with their determination of not copying other acts but learn from them and improve on what they are doing. Every year there are new technology coming out but they did not change their signature character in their music, but just improving more with better help. Only good musician dare to take huge experimental risk to succeed.

Yang

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David Guetta

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This week assignment is on electronic music, and I chosen David Guetta. I do not have much exposure to electronic music. However, David Guetta Titanium featuring Sia was a big hit everywhere in the world and lots of people trying to cover that song is all different ways.

David Guetta, born in France, a DJ and producer for lots of big artist like Black Eye Peas, Akon, Chris Willis, and many more. He started his career as a DJ, around club in France. He was the first person that brought house music (Dance Music) into europe and fusing his electronic style into it. In 1987, when he heard a Farley Jackmaster Funk track on French radio, he was so fascinated with it, he taped the track down, and used it during one of his shows. That is when he started to be recognised. Soon he met Robert Owens, Chicago based house legend. He show some of his work to him, thats when Guetta had his first collaboration with a big artist. Soon people notice his talent and wants to work with him or even having him to produce their songs.

David Guetta electronic music have influence so many people all around the world. He re-introduce this genre of music to everyone, let them know that electronic music is not mechanical and can be very lyrical and emotional. If you have listen to his works before, most of them can be rearrange to an acoustic cover or orchestra arrangement. He actually puts lots of musical thought like chord progression, beats and other musical ideas into every of his songs. If you notice, he is one of the few DJs that is able to release his own album as a DJ and not singer or artist. Most of his songs he have different artist come in to sing for him. Being a top DJ and producer, he is willing to share everything he knows and learn from people too. He like to find talents that are not famous to work with them. The reason behind is because, he feel that good talent should be promoted, and able to discover new things through them.

David Guetta has so many characteristics in him and his music. One of the main ones is when he work with an artist in producing their songs. He always try to make the artist feel a little uneasy or unsafe in the studio. He believe that having them feel unsafe or un prepare, it give them a little more space for them to experiment with new things. Making the artist themselves realize what they can do and allowing himself as a producer to learn new things from them too.

Another characteristic of his is, being very relax and carefree attitude. He feel honor if people learn his style of music and use it in their own. He believes that because he inspired them and that is why they learn from him. He believe in sharing and learning from everyone. To him, a good vibe like positive energy, relax state can bring out the goods things in you and your music. In live concerts and shows, he likes to prepare his tracks, but not pre mixing it. He wants to feel the energy from the crowd and mix and change track according to the audience reaction.

As a listener, I really like his music. His electronic works is so simple but complex in the some ways. He do not just create nice beats and chords and mix them around, but actually thinking how this musical ideas and influence the listeners feeling.

As a professional, I impress with his passion and love in not only promoting electronic music, but discovering new talents and help them with their music. He is famous and at the top of the entertainment industry, but he is so humble and willing to share and help anyone. Lastly not forgetting your roots.

For those who have not heard of his works, you should. I will recommend Titanium, Getting over and When Loves takes Over for a start.

Yang

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Peer’s Comment on Emilea

Hi Emilea,
After reading your blog post on Marvin Gaye, I agree with you that he really did come a long way to release this album. The one point that you missed out was that, he was at his lowest in his music career. He wanted to do something he like, which is jazz and people just don’t buy it. When he got to know about What’s Going On, he really like it, and at the same time, know about terrible wars experiences from his younger brother, and lots of social issues, he so confident to do the song to change the world.
I am with you when you say that nowadays lyrics are all about being the best, sex, popularity, and money. They just give a wrong image or makes no sense about it. Songs like What’s Going On, help people to realize whats actually happening to the world and inspire people to think about whats happening around them and make a change.

Yang

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Peers Comment On Pet Sounds

Hi Rich Sibley,

I like your blog post about Brian Wilson and the Pet Sound. I totally agree with you about the idea and concept about the whole album. Telling stories from a teenager live to adult hood. Starting with a perfect live, happy marriage to problem and difficultly in in his love live and how he deal with it. His arrangements for all his sounds were incredible. Using exotic instruments that most bands will not use. He is willing to sacrifice the touring with his band just to create an album to top The Beatles. I feel that he did, it and that actually inspired cause The Beatles why they had Revolver. Lastly, I do have the some song stuck in my head too. God Only Knows is so lyrical and uplifting. It just feel us a feeling that we are in place where you feel that you are flowing around. Overall, great job on the post.

 Yang

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