Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Who Rocks it Better: Cocoa Avenue vs 4Minute

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This song is now stuck in my head, both versions. So for me it’s a toss up on who is doing it better.

I present the original:

And the remake, which is only a few weeks older:

Coco Avenue’s cover definitely has more soul, which I’m used to.

Which, for me, leads me back to the question of black fans for KPop: where are we in that genre, can we love the music and not expect anything back from the performers we love and why is it many of the artists and record labels that are pursuing entry into our tough markets aiming more for mainstream white audiences instead of targeting specific genres like R&B, soul and forming alliances with black artists?

I guess that’s a topic for another day but I’d love to hear your thoughts as my nascent ideas begin to form. Drop your opinions below as well as who won between these two groups. For me: tie.



Written by rentec

18 April, 2016 at 3:39 pm

RIP Brother Fred

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h/t to Maria and The New York Times

Fred HoIt is with a heavy heart that I write that musician/activist/matrilinealist Fred Ho has passed away from cancer Saturday 12 April at 7:30 am

Mr. Ho, who was of Chinese descent, called himself a “popular avant-gardist.” He was inspired by the Black Arts movement of the 1960s and by the ambitious, powerful music of African-American bandleaders, including Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and especially Charles Mingus. But he rejected the word jazz, which he considered a pejorative term imposed by Europeans.

Fred Ho, Saxophonist, Composer and Radical Activist Dies at 56, April 13 2014

I have written a couple of times here about Fred Ho, even made him my freedom hero, because I look up to him.  I was happy when I discovered his music years ago and reached out to him, back when you could do such things via the internet.  He responded back and was as kind, humble, and erudite as he came across through his music and essays.

If you want to learn more about him you can listen to this NPR interview and then pick up his books or listen to his music.  For a newbie I would suggest his book Legacy to Liberation.   For music it’s hard for me to choose, but my favorite is still “Yes Means Yes, No Means No, Whatever She Wears, Wherever She Goes“.

His passing is a great loss to the arts/Blasian/socio-theoretical community.  He will be missed.

In preparation of his transition from leaving his corporeal form to become warrior light, Fred worked with a film crew to make a documentary of his last year of light.  Check for it when it comes to your city.

You can also learn more about Fred at the website Discover Fred Ho

Peaceful journey brother Fred.




Written by rentec

13 April, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Asian Americans, music, Passings

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Groovin to…

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Q.u.e.e.n by Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu.

If I have to explain this one to you about why it’s hot then you must ask yourself why you even bother to read this blog.

So I’m just going to shut up and replay the video. I suggest everyone else do the same.

Written by rentec

2 May, 2013 at 11:26 am

Posted in music

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Groovin’ To…

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Bones 1 by The Tontons.

This song is bouncy, fun and I am sure many young women can relate to the sentiment of wanting to put off the responsibilities of life for the moment.

I love this group, but I don’t know much about them.  Their previous EP, Golden, is on heavy rotation in my collection.  I love the lead singer’s voice and the musicians rock hard.

Check out their one and only video I can find:

Golden can be purchased through iTunes and Bones can be bought from The Tontons from Bandcamp.

Written by rentec

22 April, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Posted in music

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Who Rocks it Better? SHINee or DTMG

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I bet you thought I’d never do one of these again.  I wasn’t sure if I would since I haven’t found songs I’d like to compare.

Today, the two songs  we have to juxtapose is an original and a remake.  And this time when I ask “who rocks it” we have a candidate that actually does rock.

First the original: SHINee.

So SHINee comes out strong with their song Dream Girl which reminds me of the Pop-Funk dance music of the early 90s. This song was released about two months ago (19 February 2013).

Next we have the contenders: DTMG featuring Puma Shock.

DTMG took the song in a totally different direction, they threw down the guitars and rocked the song. I also love that they sang the song in the original Korean instead of Sukiyaki-ing it (yes, I made that noun into an verb. What!)

Puma Shock is a favorite of mine, as evidenced by previous blog posts.

Verdict: I can’t decide. I am a big fan of electro pop music so I like the original.

But then I also like rock music and I am so glad that these guys came correct on the song, made it their own without detracting so much from the original that you can’t tell what it was.

It’s hard.

I am going to make this one a toss up. Because really, depending on the day I am into dance or I am into rock.

What is your POV? Leave a comment down below if you have a favorite.

Written by rentec

11 April, 2013 at 10:56 am

How Do You Say “Hide Your Daughters” in Mandarin?

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I am going to set aside that Chris Brown is a man-child who is prone to throwing tantrums in green rooms when people bring up his public behavior.

I am not going to talk about how he, a child of abuse, abused his famous girlfriend and then got back with her to the dismay of nearly all his fans.

Over the last few years those things have been hashed about by better writers than myself, who know more information and follow more gossip rags than I do.  If you are on Team Breezy then there’s nothing I can say to deter you.

But!  I will parse his new video.

First off I’m like…. waaaaah?

We come in on a young Chinese family where the father talks about belonging to a triad (gangsters) but can’t let his daughter date a guy who is young thug.

Shot to the daughter who is wearing a dress that looks like a 21st century cheongsam.

And I ain’t gone lie, I covet that dress.

chris-brown-filming-Fine-China-video-392x494Up drives Chris Brown in the Back to the Future DeLorean where he steps out looking like he just finished practicing with the Broadway musical, Newsies.

Underlying story, he’s the boy next door, how can he be a thug?

Then, Chris goes into song and dance à la Michael Jackson, “The Way You Make Me Feel“.

If you remember anything about MJ’s song and the context behind it, you will remember it comes at a time before the child sexual allegations but at the height where people were starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with his Peter Pan/asexual imp act. He was grabbing his genitals on stage but hanging out with Emmanuel Lewis and McCauley Culkin, something wasn’t right.

MJ had to change the narrative to make himself seem like a ladies man, which he accomplished by spending 4 minutes chasing after female doppelgänger Tatiana Thumbtzen then one minute to two minutes taking out his sexual angst by demolishing a car.

Yeah, that happened.

So, where MJ tried to cultivate an air of masculinity in the late 80s and early 90s by telling you he’s bad, Breezy is trying to defend his image by allaying your fears.

“It’s alright, I’m not dangerous” he sings. “When you’re mine, I’ll be generous.”

At the end of the video the father comes back to defend the Karreuche Tran look-alike. But really, I don’t think the young lady is supposed to be a stand in for Karreuche or even Rihanna. The person Brown is trying to love but keeps seeming to be taken from him is the public love. Fame is china fine: delicate, expensive, hard to obtain. In the end we have a stand-off between Team Breezy fans, Team Breezy critics who are keeping Brown away from his lady love.

So the question is, was Brown’s song and dance good enough to get back his lady love? Are you applauding it? For a minute we had fun (though we didn’t truly believe) that Michael had fun with Naomi Campbell and Iman in his early 90s music videos. He even went as far as to sell an album as dangerous, although he was singing about a woman.

By the end of the 90s things turned around a lot differently for MJ.

Maybe things are different. Maybe Brown is as innocent and innocuous as his music purports.

And if he isn’t, his fans will have good music to dance to.

Written by rentec

1 April, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Judith Hill on The Voice

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I have spoken about Judith Hill before.  She is a talented singer who needs to get more shine.  How can a sister with this type of talent not be a household name?

If you still are unaware of this amazing young performer then you need to watch The Voice. And when you become a fan then vote, not just when she wins the competition (I have been a fan of hers for a few years now so I can’t see why she wouldn’t win this thing) but when her next album drops go out and buy it, because money talks, bs walks.

Hopefully, Usher will be watching her more closely while she’s rocking the stage, too, because how could he not remember her from the Michael Jackson memorial? Well, I guess it was a very sad day.

Here is another song off of Hill’s début album, the movie soundtrack from Red Hook Summer.

Written by rentec

29 March, 2013 at 10:13 am