A Star is Born (2018)

When Lady Gaga's The Monster Ball concert tour first hit amphitheaters in late 2009, it was hailed as transcending the traditional live music experience. While formally a rock concert, her breakout tour had equal components of underground dance rave (first-pumping fury with pulsating trance beats), experimental avant-garde filmmaking (projected as thought-provoking interludes between sets), and … Continue reading A Star is Born (2018)

Purple Rain: A Traditional Musical with an Anti-Traditional Score

West Side Story. Singin' in the Rain. My Fair Lady. Ask any film fan for a classic example of the Hollywood musical, and these are the ideas that first come to mind. And they'd be absolutely correct; each of these classics, and more, helped define and refine the genre. The electrifying 1984 film Purple Rain thrust … Continue reading Purple Rain: A Traditional Musical with an Anti-Traditional Score

Under the Cherry Moon (1986)

Christopher: I ain't afraid of shit! Tricky: You afraid of bats? [Both look up] Christopher & Tricky: BATS! This is one of many bizarre moments in Under the Cherry Moon, Prince's follow-up to Purple Rain. We're far away from the smoky Minneapolis nightclubs and wooded forests, to a dreamy French Riviera with wealthy heiresses, schmoozing … Continue reading Under the Cherry Moon (1986)

Work, Work: Repetition and Circular Songwriting in “Hamilton”

Look at where you are. Look at where you started. Most songs, whether on the radio, on stage, on film, follow the basic "Verse-Chorus" structure. If the Chorus is the "thesis," or point of the piece, the Verse is the "body paragraph," providing specifics, examples, additional color to flesh out the key message of the … Continue reading Work, Work: Repetition and Circular Songwriting in “Hamilton”

Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiians – “Voice of the Trade Winds”

Search the world over for enchanting and romantic music and you will find none to compare with that of the Hawaiian Islands. For here is the music of leisure, happy vacation times, and fond "Alohas"...music that is the memory of the blue Pacific. Distinguished far and above the many who play and sing of this … Continue reading Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiians – “Voice of the Trade Winds”