Posted by: gdevi | December 26, 2011

Rising star and Headliner

This year, D got christmas presents for two of her current interests: american popular music and horse riding. She got a lovely wool blanket with the picture of a horse on it, a riding jacket for the winter months when we go back to Elaine’s in spring, and a horse charm bracelet. She also got two PS3 games called SingStar and RockSmith. Singstar is a competitive game where you and another player (or you the single player) sing along to the musicians and their official music videos, and the game judges your performance based on timing, how you hit and maintain the notes, and pitch, and at the end of the game give you a score. The game has different titles based on your score: rising star, stage sensation, superstar, headliner etc. While you are singing the game also comments on your performance with comments color-coded for your microphone such as “cool,” “good,” “awful” etc. There are three levels based on timing, sustaining the notes, and pitch — easy, medium and hard.  When two players play you follow the pitch bars on screen that are color-coded for your microphone.

K and D inaugurated the games on christmas day. Since it was christmas, they picked songs that were religiously inspired. They first sang with REM’s Losing my religion (D was stage sensation and K was superstar), then they sang Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil (D was stage sensation and K was rising star), then Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (very hard song to sing — D still made stage sensation, K passed on this one; I was watching D sing this song –this is an incredibly dark song sung by a very angry woman filled with foul expletives and D was completely oblivious to the words and simply following the pitch bars on screen and the lyrics! Lyrics are really superfluous in music most of the time, unless you are Bob Dylan), then Dire Straits’ Walk of Life (one of my favorite songs–I never knew that the music video is about baseball–makes sense when you think of it), Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind ( D was stage sensation and K was superstar), then some group called Warrant with a putrid song Cherry Pie.  There should be a warrant out for them for ruining people’s eardrums with trash, no doubt. K and D skipped it after the first listen.

Then D found three songs that we have now heard her sing at least a hundred times. I don’t know any of these singers–I hardly listen to contemporary music anymore–I would like to but I am teaching or working on my classes most of the time — anyway they are all apparently very famous.  K. T. Tunstall’s Black Horse and Cherry Tree– a modern song written conspicuously like an old myth, Corinne Bailey Rae’s Three Little Birds–reminded me of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds –I played that for D when I heard this one, and Mika’s Grace Kelly, whose music video is very disturbing. It is always so suspicious when you take pre-pubescent girls and make them the central character of your song which contain adult themes. This whole “child-mama-daddy” register of popular adult songs just freaks me out.  Deep-down it is psychologically perverse. I don’t think it matters to anyone, except for a few folks such as me. So now we have heard these songs a hundred times, it sounds like. D has moved on from the “medium” to the “hard” level in all three songs.

Then K and D played on Rocksmith, where you actually plug in your own electric guitar into the PS3 as an input device and pick from their big catalog of songs and play on your guitar–they play the song and the chords and the game tells you which string to play and how. The game also teaches you how to tune your guitar, and has again has three levels–beginner, proficient or medium, and advanced or hard. Anyway K and D started with the Rolling Stones and I can’t get no Satisfaction and D could actually hit the chords pretty okay. Then they moved to a very interesting song–reminded me of the Rolling Stones — some group called Black Keys and a song called Next Girl. Very interesting song–very interesting tunings to gather from what they were showing on screen. Very interesting song.

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