Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

Shania Twain Tribute 2

160px-It1927clarabow“It girl is a term for a young woman who possesses the quality It, absolute attraction.

“The early usage of the concept it in this meaning may be seen in a story by Rudyard Kipling: ‘It isn’t beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It’s just It.’

“Elinor Glyn lectured:

“‘With It you win all men if you are a woman and all women if you are a man. It can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction.’

“The expression reached global attention in 1927, with the film It, starring Clara Bow.”

–from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_girl

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I love the expression IT girl.

It fills the niche language requires for an often inexplicable phenomenon of desirability.

Shania Twain became the IT girl of country music in 1997 with the (pre-released sexy videos and the actual) album release of Come On Over.

Come On Over became the “best-selling studio album of all time by a female act in any genre,” the most popular country album ever with global sales of more than 40 million copies.

According to Wikipedia: “The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and stayed there for 50 non-consecutive weeks. It stayed in the Top Ten for 151 weeks.”

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This is a video of Shania Twain describing the title song and the album:

Nothing Shania Twain has done since has equaled the commercial success of the Come on Over album and analysis of its success continues to be a source of considerable speculation.

There is, for example, the observation that the album’s success was largely a result of the brilliance of her producer Robert JohnMuttLange–called by everyone Mutt.

Mutt

  • Co-wrote the Come on Over songs
  • Arranged for startlingly erotic videos
  • Insisted on Shania’s especially effective and previously unequaled video wardrobe

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I interrupt the thread by exposing you to more Shania message with the surprisingly static video:

“If you wanna to touch her, Ask” the number nine cut on Come on Over.

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Mutt

  • Married Shania
  • Fathered her son born (in all places for a country music performer) in Switzerland
  • Left Shania for her best friend and she…

Here is the Wikipedia account:

“In August 2001, their son Eja (pronounced ‘Asia’) was born. On 15 May 2008 a spokesman for Mercury Nashville announced that Twain and Lange [Mutt] were separating after Lange had an affair. Lange began seeing Twain’s best friend, Marie-Anne Thiebaud. The couple divorced in June 2010, and Twain is now married to Thiebaud’s ex-husband Frederic.”

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Here for the hell of it is another static video of what appears to me to be a feminist song, Shoes, co-written with Mutt.

Shania sings:

“Men: have you ever tried to figure them out?
Huh, me too, but I ain’t got no clue: how ’bout you?
Men are like shoes, made to confuse.
Yeah, there’s so many of ’em,
I don’t know which ones to choose….”

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To return to the consequences of Shania’s Coming Home success, when Mutt left questions remained,

  • Did Shania have the song writing talent to succeed without Mutt?
  • Could she wear clothes designed to look especially provocative in heavily marketed videos?
  • Could she refine and foster her feminist message and encourage others to follow her lead?

After a two year hiatus between albums, Shania released Up, a good album with a dreadful cover song (the only bad song she has ever released).

Impatience in fans for a sequel to Coming Home reached the point where one Philadelphia Country Music Station (whose devoted listeners consisted primarily of fans who had never ridden a horse nor could tell the difference between a soybean and a corn field) ran a contest. The winner obtained a free trip to Switzerland for the purposes of hounding Shania and asking her when she would finish the new album.

The album Up was widely regarded as a failure selling only 20 million copies globally compared to 40 million for Come on Home.

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Here is Shania Twain in 2003 demonstrating her post-Mutt star quality at the Michael Jackson spot at the Super Bowl, singing from both albums:

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Shania Twain remains productive and exceptionally desirable as she continues unrivaled as the Queen of Country.

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This leads one to ask: What is country music?

Shania Twain, whose first name was purchased by her former husband Mutt, never wanted to be a country performer. He goal was rock.

Now, a wide variety of singers have raised the crossover questions.

  • Is it country?
  • Is it rock?
  • What kind of music is it?

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The arbiter of course is Kris Kristopherson who declared definitely,

“If it sounds like a country music song, it’s a country music song.”

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Now would be a good time to describe The pantheon of country royalty which includes Shania’s place in the pantheon and the role of Country Music as cancer therapy. You may have been wondering when I will get around to this subject.

In the next posting  The pantheon of country royalty we will start with Tim McGraw, the undeniable current King of Country.

Here is Taylor Swift, undeniably country–her first solo performance was at a rodeo–, paying tribute to the King by singing the song that brought her fame:

Tim McGraw

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Joel Solkoff

Copyright 2013 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rodeo has enhanced my life—a cancer therapy digression

I swear out there ain`t where you ought to be / So catch a ride, catch a cab / Don`t you know I miss you bad / But don`t you walk to me / Baby run…. 

–George Strait

This is Taylor Swift singing her favorite George Strait song: Run

Consider the performance a teaser not on the importance of country music. Personally I love Mozart (five instruments or fewer).  I love country; I love what is happening to country music.

Here and now, I am trying to prepare you for my appreciation of the influence rodeo–yes rodeo–has had on my life.

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Consider the following first two paragraphs from a column I published February, 2011:

“The handler applies the fully charged cattle prod to the rear of a bull bred for ferocity. The cowboy—Slim really is his name—holds onto his hat with his left hand. In his right hand are the reigns, two strips of leather held on tightly at first, but capable of falling apart to help the rider jump away from the bucking bull to safety after the regulation eight second ride is complete.

“The maximum score is 100 points; 50 for the rider and 50 for the bull. A mean angry bull is the most desirable because he gives the rider the opportunity to make the most money. This bull is mean. When the bull jumps higher after the cattle prod, Slim smiles with optimism. The gate leading to the ring fails to open. Historically, when the gate sticks, a confined maddened bull has been known to break both legs of a rider. Slim, who attended rodeo schools, is aware of the danger.As a reporter at the World Series of Rodeo at Oklahoma City (before it moved to Los Vegas), I am sitting next to the handlers on the inside wooden planks of the chute. It took considerable effort to get permission to be this close to Slim—close enough to watch his pupils dilate into huge ovals displaying a fear he cannot disguise. The lead handler asks Slim if he would like to wait 20 minutes before beginning the ride. Slim nods him off. The gate opens.

“Sometimes it is prudent to know when to give up.”

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Later in this posting I will explain how I came to be sitting on the edge of the bull shoot watching the electric prod holder pressing his instrument against the mean bull’s huge hide and watching the fear in the bull riders eyes when he realized he was trapped with a maddened bull with the door to escape locked? What did I learn from that?

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Orientation note: I know I am missing something here. It feels as if I lost my car keys and am frantically rummaging through my stuff looking for the keys. Of course, what I am looking for here is some context.

Why is Joel [I am now going back and forth first to third person in describing myself clearly split in some way] writing about rodeo?

He just had cancer.

Doesn’t Joel have better things to do but type away words and words and words about the time he covered the World Series of Rodeo for a solid week of

  • Bull riding
  • Bronco riding
  • Roping
  • Barrel racing
  • Fervid pro-rodeo rhetoric
  • Groupies up from Dallas just waiting
  • a near-fight in the Gusher Club when the World Series Champion of Rodeo five years in a row nearly punched me for lifting the Champion’s $560 hat off the chair I wanted to sit on. It was a close call. “Never, ever touch my hat,” he said convincingly.

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Here is the Prologue Joel [that’s me] failed to provide on his way of introducing his rodeo theme.

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I have been thinking about my life. Next month I will be 66:

  • What have I accomplished?

  • What is left to be done?

For me the key to surviving cancer was the knowledge that I could not die because there was work to be done. The first cancer would not let me die because I had a book to finish under contract and my publisher would kill me if I defaulted. Nor would I have been alive to conceive my elder daughter Joanna.

If I died after the second cancer, I would not have had the opportunity to watch Joanna grow until next month when she will marry.

I am especially delighted that she is marrying Jade.

If I had died from the second cancer, I would not have been alive to conceive my younger daughter Amelia Altalena.

Amelia and I will see each other at the wedding after the cancer awfulness became successful surgery to remove the death threat of kidney cancer–an operation less than a month ago from which I am slowly getting better. Slowly.

Certainly, expert medical treatment and good odds were essential. I had the best medical care available during a period when advances were occurring rapidly and I was as close to those advances as possible.

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It is late during a very long day during which I made arrangements to attend Joanna’s wedding outside a horse barn in Mebane, North Carolina. I have been writing this posting automatically in the middle of serious stuff I am dealing with. For example, I have not yet recovered fully from major surgery and my mind does not have the attention span it once had. I find I am writing several things at the same time, saving the document, going away for a while.

When I went away for a while this morning, I saw George Strait play Amerilla.

I thought of the rodeo and what it meant to me. Sadly, I cannot leave you with more lessons learned and appreciation of rodeo, not to mention my life. I will return to rodeo. Do not you worry. I have a bad reputation for straying from the beaten path.

You can depend on it.

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Joel Solkoff

Copyright 2013 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

Here  is the first stanza from George Strait song Amarillo, the best cowboy song ever written.

Amarillo By Mornin’ / Up from San Antone / Everything that I got / Is just what I’ve got on ./ When that sun is high in that Texas sky, /  I’ll be buckin’ at the county fair.”