MTV

I Gotta Be On My Own

Over the last year, there’s been several times within blog posts where I’ve mentioned having an epic concert night last November. I first wrote about it shortly after it happened when I wrote about Tegan & Sara. Then I wrote about it again while writing about ARIZONA. It’s almost been a year since I saw two concerts in one night so I figured it’s finally time to write about the other concert I attended on November 3rd besides Tegan & Sara, the one that ARIZONA was the opener for.

Before the Tegan & Sara concert last year, my friend and I decided to grab tickets for Hayley Kiyoko. Kiyoko grew up involved in the music and acting communities in Los Angeles, CA. Before even hearing of her music, I knew of her from watching the Disney Channel. She starred in a few episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place and the 2010 Disney Channel Original Movie Lemonade Mouth. She was also involved with Cartoon Network starring as Velma Dinkley in the 2009 TV film Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and then reprising her role in the sequel Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster. She has of course acted in other small parts on various television channels and networks as well, but the roles I just mentioned are what she is best known for.

Hayley Kiyoko (Alcroft) has always been about music though. She started drum lessons at the age of 6 and learned several other instruments over her lifetime such as guitar, bass, piano, and accordion. In 2007, she became part of the all-girl pop group The Stunners which was formed by former pop star Vitamin C. The Stunners lasted as a group until 2011. They broke up before a full album was ever released.

Kiyoko released her debut EP A Belle to Remember in March 2013. Her second EP This Side of Paradise was released a little less than two years later in February of 2015. She co-directed and directed two music videos from the EP for the songs “Girls Like Girls” and “Cliff’s Edge”, respectively. In August 2016, she released the upcoming single, “Gravel to Tempo”, from her latest EP Citrine as well as the music video for it. The EP itself was released just over a year ago on September 30, 2016. Since then she directed two more music videos for the songs “One Bad Night” and “Sleepover”, another new single. Today she debuts her latest single, “Feelings” on MTV’s TRL.

Most of Kiyoko’s following comes from the internet. Her video for “Girls Like Girls” currently has over 79 million views. Last spring she went on her first nationwide headlining tour, which was nearly sold out. Her music draws a lot of attention from the LGBT community because of its subjects. As an out gay woman, Kiyoko wanted to write music that girls and women like her could relate to.

Her music is part of the dreampop/synthpop genre. I’ve always thought her songs have a subtle edge along with a hypnotic flow to them as well. They almost have an R&B style sexual feel going on too.

Last year when my friend and I decided to see her we both knew a handful of her songs. The tickets were pretty cheap too and the show only had some overlap with Tegan & Sara (Hayley Kiyoko was on during the Tegan & Sara opener, but finished before the Canadian twin duo took the stage). Also both shows were in different parts of the same venue. It worked out well for us and made for an epic concert night, one that I’m not sure we’d be able to replicate. It was kind of special occurrence too since we decided to attend Hayley Kiyoko’s show on the day of. It was one I didn’t prepare for, which in some ways made it more exciting. Plus I was super stoked when I realized ARIZONA was the opener for Hayley Kiyoko. She played a short set list, but played all of the songs we both knew and a quality mix from her 3 EP’s. She even covered Hailee Steinfeld’s “Starving”. My friend and I were both glad we went. The venue was small. The setting was intimate. It made for a great opportunity to see her since we both expected her popularity to rise and it has already. We’re lucky we took advantage of the chance to see her.

If you’re into the kind of music she plays, I suggest you check her out. I also recommend that if there’s any artists or bands on the rise that you like that you should go see them live. See them in a small venue. See them in an intimate setting. See them like that because it’s special and you may never get another chance to. I’m glad we saw Hayley Kiyoko like that and I’m glad she gave us an epic concert night we never expected.

 

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Well I Guess This is Growing Up

When I was in 5th grade, I liked mostly mainstream pop music. It was all the stuff you’d hear on local popular radio stations. I also liked a small amount of good music too thanks to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Superman by Goldfinger anyone?!). Fortunately, on occasion, good music gets played on mainstream radio, which is what happened while I was in 5th grade. I totally fell for it. The song was “All the Small Things” and the band as you may already know was Blink-182.

Blink-182 was formed in the early to mid 90’s when guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Scott Raynor decided to play music together. The band was formed in Poway, California which is a city located in southern California just north of San Diego. The band was originally called Blink but changed their name to Blink-182 to avoid legal complications with an Irish band of the same name. Before releasing their first record Chesire Cat in 1995 under indie label Cargo Records, the band played at a variety of venues in the San Diego area. They garnered some local attention upon the release of their debut album as well as attention from other well known punk bands and their management. The guitarist of one of those bands, Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise, even convinced the founder of the Vans Warped Tour, Kevin Lyman, to sign Blink-182 for their 1996 festival. By 1996 major record labels began to notice the band, which resulted in a bidding war. Eventually Blink-182 signed with MCA.

Blink-182 released their sophomore album Dude Ranch on June 17, 1997. The album included the single “Dammit”, which earned them mainstream fame. They again spent another summer on Warped Tour and toured extensively afterwards, promoting their newest album. Tensions in the band began to fly in 1998 due to the long touring and issues involving heavy drinking with Scott Raynor causing his eventual departure. Raynor was replaced by drummer Travis Barker.

In 1999, Blink-182 released their third full length album, Enema of State. The album featured three singles, “All the Small Things”, “What’s My Age Again?”, and “Adam’s Song”, that garnered more mainstream radio and MTV airplay for the band. Enema of State gave the band multi-platinum success by January of 2000 and sold 4 times as fast as their previous album.

After gaining greater popularity and playing arenas throughout North America and Australia, the band got together to record a fourth album. Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was released in 2001 continuing the bands fame with mainstream singles “The Rock Show”, “Stay Together for the Kids”, and “First Date”. Between the release of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and the band’s 2003 self-titled album, tensions again began building between bandmates fueled by DeLonge’s interest to pursue other music styles. The tensions lead to the hiatus of the band in 2005. During the hiatus, Hoppus and Barker continued to make music together in the band +44 and DeLonge began his new project Angels & Airwaves. It wasn’t until a traumatic plane crash involving Travis Barker and 5 others (4 were killed) that the band decided to regroup.

In 2009 the band announced their reunion on their website and joined Weezer and Fall Out Boy on tour that summer. The group recorded a sixth album,¬†Neighborhoods, together that was released in 2011. Neighborhoods didn’t receive as much success as anticipated. In the following years, the band toured, released an EP, and again parted ways with Tom DeLonge, who yet again wasn’t focused on making music with Blink-182, in the midst of planning a seventh album.

Since then, Alkaline Trio frontman and guitarist, Matt Skiba joined the band in DeLonge’s place. The group released the band’s seventh album California a week ago. Blink-182 will begin a tour in support of their newest album on July 22nd.

Blink-182 was a punk rock band from the start. Through their success their music began to have a more pop-punk feel. Whether you call that selling out or developing their sound, the Blink-182 most people are familiar with plays pop-punk music. It’s upbeat, sometimes fast, and has that punk edge. Their roots are strictly punk though.

As I mentioned before I began paying attention to Blink-182 in 5th grade. By 9th grade, I was supposed to attend a Blink-182 concert with my best friend at the time but it fell through. I was bummed it didn’t happen for several reasons (TBS opened, seeing Blink would have been amazing, and I totally wanted to spend as much time as possible with this friend for…certain reasons *wink wink*). I might still be slightly bummed too. During high school, as my music interests developed I began to appreciate Blink-182 more, especially after I purchased their Greatest Hits album. I guess my knowledge of Blink-182 to a certain extent is their greatest hits, but I still know a few more beyond that. Throughout high school, college, and even after Blink-182’s music was a part of my life. They’ll always be a legendary band in my mind for that. “Dammit” will always be the number one coming of age/nostalgic song. “All the Small Things” will always be my first favorite Blink-182 song and “Going Away to College” will always be one of my favorite songs to play on guitar. As with many other bands, much of their music is a part of me and my life. It’s pretty incredible how music can do that.

Anyway, the reason I decided to write a post about Blink-182, besides being a legendary pop-punk/punk rock band, is to talk about the new album. I recently found out that Matt Skiba joined the band after listening to a few of the new tracks. As a former Alkaline Trio fan, I feel like this new version of Blink-182 combines the two bands musically. It’s epic! The new music has a classic Blink-182 sound but lacks DeLonge’s notable vocals. Instead there are elements of the new material that remind me of Alkaline Trio, especially with Skiba’s singing. Only time will tell how successful this record will be with the new Blink-182 lineup, but for anyone who grew up listening to both of these bands, it’s worth a listen. Here’s two lists. One contains all my old faves and the other contains songs off the brand new record you should listen to.

New Songs

  1. Sober
  2. California
  3. Bored to Death
  4. Kings of the Weekend
  5. San Diego

Old Songs

  1. Dammit
  2. Going Away to College
  3. All The Small Things
  4. What’s My Age Again?
  5. M+M’s
  6. Adam’s Song
  7. First Date
  8. Feeling This
  9. I Miss You
  10. The Rock Show

 

Let’s Go Back, Back to the Beginning

Something I learned recently is that reality TV is cheap and easy to make. We all know it’s not exactly “real” either. Despite this lack of quality, people still watch and have been doing so for quite some time. MTV (aka Music Television…yeah they don’t even play music anymore) has been one of the pioneers in reality TV with The Real World having been one of the first and most notable reality TV programs. Since The Real World, MTV created other reality shows that have impacted and continue to impact their viewers, myself included.

One of my favorite television shows while in high school was the MTV reality drama, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. This show was huge for me because, along with The OC (another show I watched at the time, set in Newport Beach, CA), it gave me an interest in Southern California and the lifestyles of the people who lived there. It did this so much so that last year when I visited my cousin in SoCal, a trip to Laguna Beach had to be a guaranteed part of the itinerary (you can bet I went to Laguna Surf & Sport…check out the pics at the bottom). I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone in my interest either. If you watched Laguna, you definitely wished you lived there or could visit there at some point.

Laguna Beach followed a group of high school upperclassmen, mostly seniors, as it chronicled events during their last year of school which meant parties, bonfires, barbeques, concerts, fashion shows, a spring break trip to Cabo, prom, graduation, and leaving for college. The show was narrated by a senior girl named Lauren, aka “LC” (you know her now by the name¬†Lauren Conrad), but also included her best friend Lo, friends Morgan, the supposedly innocent one, and Christina, the preacher’s daughter, her long-time friend/crush/occasional friend with benefits Stephen, her guy friends and Stephen’s best buddies Trey and Dieter, Talon, the junior that all the girls seemed to have a thing with, and of course Stephen’s sort of girlfriend/the root of all LC’s drama, Kristin. In Laguna, the amount of drama was always at the forefront between all the hook-ups, relationships, talking behind people’s backs, and the rest of the high school bullshit you want to forget about after you graduate.

So why am I bringing up an MTV reality show that’s not even on TV anymore? Well firstly as I mentioned it was one of my favorite shows and I still watch old episodes from time to time especially from Season 1 (there were 3 and the first was the best). Secondly, Laguna Beach was a starting point for the careers of some of the main cast members. Lauren Conrad has taken the fashion world by storm and after starring in Laguna Beach, went on to film the MTV spinoff “The Hills” which lasted six seasons. She recently just married former Something Corporate guitarist William Tell (so cool…I was a huge SoCo fan back in those days too). Stephen Colletti went on to become an actor. You may have seen him in a few episodes (or 50 some) of “One Tree Hill”. Even Kristin Cavallari has had her fair share of moments in the spotlight while starring in “The Hills”, “Dancing with the Stars”, and is currently married to Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler with whom she has two children. From what I’ve heard the other cast members also seem to be doing well in their respective lives and careers.

Lastly and really the main reason I decided to blog about this show right now is because Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the show’s premiere on MTV. It’s crazy to think that it’s been that long since I watched Stephen and LC check out the property of LC’s unfinished, future home that overlooked all of Laguna while two palm trees were placed in the ground. It feels like just yesterday I was watching those kids ask each other to prom in the most extravagant, yet somewhat adorable ways (Yes children Laguna Beach did promposals before promposals were even a thing) or graduate from high school while Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” played in the background. However in the past week I’ve seen posts all over the web about Laguna’s 10th anniversary so I know even after 10 years it’s evident that this show affected more than just me and the cast members. I’m not the only one who remembers that Kristin was the only person who wore white to the Black & White party or that Trey almost got in a fight with a midget after the Blink-182 concert or that Stephen dressed up as a bear and scared all the girls when they were camping at Catalina. It’s not just me who hears the name Stephen and can’t imagine it being said without really stressing the last syllable (cue the “Ste-PHEEEENNN”). I’m not alone in believing that Lauren and Stephen should’ve ended up together and was “stoked” to get the impression that maybe they would when he picked her up from the airport in San Fran before they started college, and I certainly can’t be the only person out there who still wants to know what happened with LC and Stephen that night in Cabo! They definitely didn’t just watch movies or whatever was said they did. Unfortunately, as we all know what happens in Cabo, stays in Cabo. Overall, it’s good to know that there’s a lot of people out there who loved this show just as much as me.

So thanks Laguna Beach for entertaining me in high school. Thanks for being part of the reason that started my love for California. But mostly thanks for still being pretty gnarly and memorable after 10 years. Now, like Kristin’s car, this blog post is so dunzo.

Laguna Beach

Check out that Laguna coastline.

LS&S

Stephen’s former place of employment.

LC's House

LC’s house overlooking Laguna from the first episode. Notice those palm trees.