It’s Blitz!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPods and the fact that I can download new music in a second, but there is still something so satisfying about purchasing a new CD or vinyl. The last time I went on a big CD shopping spree I bought MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, Tilly and the Wall’s O and Punk Goes Pop Vol. 2. Three CDs in one trip is a lot when you figure that you have to make the time to listen to all three enough before you buy another CD to add to the collection.

For Christmas, my brother bought me Flyleaf’s Memento Mori. Album versions are always better and this was proven when I compared the quality of the songs on the CD to the versions I already had on my iPod. I thought the songs sounded great on my iPod, but they sounded even better coming from the CD.

I borrowed my boyfriend’s copy of 1997’s On The Run and have yet to even pick it up and listen to it because I went crazy buying CDs yesterday (well, not to too crazy by some people’s standards, but crazy for me).

My brother and I went to FYE and I went up and down the CD aisles looking for a trace of Tilly and the Wall, The Bird and the Bee, Eisley or Silversun Pickups. Instead, different CDs caught my eye. I picked up a copy of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ It’s Blitz! that was only $9.99 and kept it in my hand. On the way down the aisles I picked up Marilyn Manson’s The High End of Low, some Huey Lewis and the News, Radiohead and Garbage. In the end I decided on Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Garbage and Radiohead – the last two being cheap used CDs that I had wanted but never wanted to pay the full price for.

The reason why I rarely listen to CDs anymore is because of this: http://www.last.fm/user/xEmilyBemilyx

My friend got me hooked to last.fm and I eagerly started to build up my profile and play count (I failed to realize I could have scrobbled in what I had already listened to on my iTunes from years previously – if I had realized that I would probably be up into the 20,000s by now). What I listen to on my iPod transfers to the website to count toward my play count. This is the reason why I never listened to CDs. All I wanted was to build up my play count. But, now that I am nearly at 10,000, I feel satisfied enough to listen to the CDs I bought and not worry about it counting toward something. Though I thoroughly enjoyed listening to lots and lots of music in a short amount of time, I knew I was listening to it for the wrong reasons. I had even stopped listening to records; something I had enjoyed.

I’m done listening to music for the wrong reason. Now that I’m at 10,000 plays I feel satisfied enough to dabble into my record player/CD player/radio once again and not worry about finding my radio hookup for my iPod so that the plays count for something (what I listen to on my iPod can count for track plays once hooked up to the computer). I’m going to keep listening to the CDs I bought and not give a crap.

Emily’s poetry, a history

I’ve been writing poetry for years. My mother named me after her favorite poet, so why not carry it on? I started out with a composition notebook that I decorated with stickers. Everyone just assumed it was my diary, as if it couldn’t be anything but a shallow notebook with all of my deepest secrets and fears hidden inside. Nobody gave me enough credit. Boys would steal it from me, but I managed to get it back without any harm done. They were only teasing. Teasing is harmless, right?

After that was filled, I moved onto a pink camouflage notebook that had pens attached to the front of it. It was nifty because if I had an idea I didn’t have to hunt for a pen before being able to write it down. The pens were just there. That notebook was also known as my “diary” and even a teacher asked: “why do you bring your diary to school?” To which I simply replied: “it’s not a diary.”

I poured random thoughts and whimsical dreams into those notebooks. Within about a month, the pages started ripping out of the pink camo notebook, so I saved the paper, but threw the rest of the notebook in the garbage. It was time to move on again.

I found a regular old yellow spiral notebook and plastered it with quotes, stickers, drawings, and pop-up sunflowers that I ripped off a thing I had at home. Poetry was transferred from my head onto the pages of that thing for about a year. I entered the seventh grade with the same notebook, and only showed the ones I was proud of to my then English teacher (who is now a teacher in the high school). The boys in my grade grew up a little and stopped calling it my diary, and I continued writing.

For my birthday that year, one of my best friends (we barely speak anymore…) bought me a hardcover spiral notebook with puppies on the front. Said notebook lasted me for nearly two years. That notebook taught me something important. Because I wanted the notebook to last, I only wrote poetry when I really really felt like it and had a good feeling about an idea. I decided that I didn’t have to write about everything – but there are some things that I will always wish to remember. I still have one page left in that notebook that remains empty. If I fill it in, the notebook is done forever. I always want to have the option of being able to fill it up totally. It’s amazing to go from the earlier poems in that book to the last few. It’s like traveling through two years of my life in thirty minutes.

Eventually, I took a little notebook that was a party favor at some birthday party I went to (I think it was Carin’s) and ripped out the used pages. I then covered it with duct tape, and voila! New notebook.

Using the duct tape notebook, I rewrote some of the ones I am really proud of, but I also wrote a year’s worth of new material. I am still busy filling it up with my life, so it’s a work in progress. It’s crazy to see how much I have grown in the past year. There are some poems in said book that are extremely naive and young-sounding. I know I will say the same thing in the future when I look back at what I wrote when I was fifteen (the present… for now), but I like what is exploding out of my pen at the moment. Maybe I will post some examples in the near future (which is defined as: later today).

XX is greater than XY (My latest NeXt article)

Take out your iPod, select the “Music” option and click on “Artists.” Scroll on through from A to Z and count the number of bands that are composed of only males. Male-fronted bands probably make up the majority, correct? It might interest you to know that some females in this world can rock harder than the opposite sex.

The three female-fronted bands that nearly everyone in the teenage crowd has heard of are Flyleaf, Paramore and Evanescence, but there are plenty more out there in this world that are none too popular. While Lacey, Hayley and Amy Lee’s voices are indeed beautiful, there are other gorgeous female voices that deserve just as much attention.

A few bands that fans of Paramore might enjoy are: Hey Monday (of West Palm Beach, Fla.), Damone (from Waltham, Mass.), The Material (which started out in San Diego, Calif.), and New Years Day (of Anaheim, Calif.). Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday and Noelle LeBlanc from Damone are sure to gain more fame in the next few years with their voices leading the way.

Colleen D’Agostino of The Material has a beautifully clear voice that is irresistible. One might think that a female singer changes the gender of a band’s fans, but both Roi Elam from The Material and Ashley Costello of New Years Day disagree: “I don’t really think so,” said Elam, “I see an equal amount of guys and girls at our shows.”

“Nooo … not at all, and I was surprised by that,” exclaimed Costello. “When we play I see just as many guys in the crowd as I see girls. It’s really cute.” New Years Day has often been described as the female version of Fall Out Boy. Yes, here and there a likeness is detected, but New Years Day is a band all its own. “I feel like a lot of people took more notice of us because there was a girl singer, but it’s also very hard,” said Costello. “There are so many guy-fronted bands that I feel sometimes the female-fronted band gets pigeon-holed and maybe a label won’t look at us.”

Many people are skeptical of females being in rock bands, but listen to some New Years Day, and let Ashley change your mind in “Temecula Sunrise” or “My Sweet Unvalentine.”

Pretty close to one another in your iPod should be two bands: Fireflight from Eustis, Fla., and Flyleaf of Texas. Both bands are Christian rock, bordering on metal, and are led by females who know what they are doing.

The lyrics that Dawn Richardson and Lacey Mosley sing are powerful and attuned to God. “We all contribute our own parts and help each other to improve upon each other’s suggestions,” said Dawn. “Both Justin [guitarist/ background vocalist Justin Cox] and I work on the lyrics but I am the main lyricist, I imagine me being a girl does affect the way I write…” Nobody would think Flyleaf and Fireflight are all about God, but listening to their lyrics very carefully can help you realize just how much their faith influences the artists in these bands. “We write about what we have gone through in our lives and how God’s love has brought us through,” said Richardson.

Think the farthest thing from the music made by Flyleaf and Fireflight and you have a band called Save Ferris from Orange County, Calif. Although they are no longer together, their deliciously quirky sound and clever lyrics do not fail to entertain. Check out “Under 21” or their cover of “Come On Eileen” (originally by Dexy’s Midnight Runners) and enjoy some ska. Monique Powell is now a solo artist, but her voice was perfect for the likes of Save Ferris.

Ask me: who is the exact opposite of Save Ferris? I will think about it for a second before I reply with one word: Kittie. Don’t let their adorable name fool you — this is a cat you do not want to cross paths with.

Kittie strikes me as the female version of Slipknot — Morgan Lander attacking the listeners with her voice. After many changes over the years, currently rounding out this all-female quartet are Mercedes Lander on drums/vocals/piano, Tara McLeod on guitar, and Ivy Vujic playing bass. Originating in Ontario, Kittie has been around for years, putting many a CD out. Check out “What I Always Wanted” or “Paperdoll” and behold the scarily musical meow that is Kittie.

From Amy Lee to Dawn Richardson, Ashley Costello to Morgan Lander, some females can really rock. So put away the Avenged Sevenfold or Metallica CD and go try something different and new. Found on my iPod is a playlist called “Female-fronted bands.” Maybe you should create one as well, and drag all of the music from these bands onto your iPod.

Also worth listening to: Within Temptation, Garbage, Automatic Loveletter, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 1997, Meg & Dia, The Donnas, Be Your Own Pet, Letters to Cleo, The Morning Of, Veruca Salt, Lacuna Coil and The Veronicas.

“Being the only girl in a band is awesome. It has just as many pros as it has cons. I’m always protected, but then again I am always picked on by them. It’s like a little sister-big brother relationship,” said Ashley Costello.

Emily Steves is a sophomore at Gowanda

Alone

Some people my age might be a little frightened to be home all alone, but I really enjoy it. For a few hours, I can do what I please, which is mostly just writing and reading, but without ANY interruptions. Another plus about being by myself is that I don’t have to fight the urge to burst out in song. I can walk around the house belting my guts out, and not feel self conscious at all. The place I usually sing my heart out is in the shower, but when nobody is around I belt it out wherever. I can sit here at the computer desk, and sing as I type.

Sometimes I feel stupid and wonder if the neighbors can hear my voice, but honestly, who cares if they do? Are they going to come up to me and tell me that they heard me singing? Probably not. I do my best singing when I am all by my lonesome, with only my two dogs and cat to keep me company. They are the only audience that really gets a taste of my voice.

Now, what is it that I sing when I am alone? Well, I belt out whatever meets my fancy. Mostly it’s some Paramore, but we musn’t forget Evanescence, Flyleaf, 1997, Automatic Loveletter, Hawthorne Heights, t.A.T.u., New Years Day, Garbage, and Autumns Monologue by From Autumn To Ashes. I love singing Paramore songs because Hayley’s voice is much like my own, and I love trying to match Amy Lee’s voice whenever I sing My Immortal, Hello, or Lithium. I find it challenging to sing Lacey Mosley’s parts, but I have fun trying.

One of these days, I want to put videos of me singing on YouTube. I like listening to other girls my age singing some of my favorite songs, but I cannot help but think that I could do a better job than they can. Hopefully someday soon, I will be able to prove myself, but I doubt my mother would approve of it. I will probably have to wait until college to begin videotaping myself singing.

Once they pull out of the driveway, I open my mouth and out comes something not very many people have heard. I sing rather conservatively in public, but when I am in the shower, or home by myself, I let it all out. I love getting home from camping because then I can finally lock myself in the bathroom and get all of the singing out I couldn’t do while we were all camping together. I hope to someday make a career out of this little hobby of mine. Only time will tell…