Throwback Thursday: TLC – No Scrubs

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When the single NO SCRUBS came out twenty years ago (February 2, 1999), TLC was the best-selling girl group in the world and fierce feminists at a time when the music world was suddenly getting overrun with Lolita-esque divas like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

I chose this song for my Throwback Thursday because when the song came out I loved the message it promoted. For the first time, you had women who were confident enough to say, “NO.” No, they didn’t want a man who had no ambitions and was a deadbeat parasite. And if you think that this message wasn’t bold, you’re gravely mistaken. For centuries women have been groomed to always say, “Yes,” that stating a “NO,” loud and clear, for women to actually have standards of which men could pursue them, this was a big deal.

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Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes were known for being bold, independent, and outspoken young women. They were no damsels in distress, these women were ambitious and hardworking and didn’t expect anything less from their men. This song actually had men questions themselves for the first time, ask themselves if they fit the “scrub” list or not. Ironically, usually, the men who did fit the “scrub” list were the ones who got the most upset over the song.

Of course, this song wouldn’t have been the same without Hype Williams amazing futuristic music video, especially in an age where music videos could make or break a career (this was back in the day when MTV still predominantly only aired music videos on their channel). Hype Williams at the time was considered to be one of the best music video directors around with his bold colours, anime style sequences, and notorious for his fish-eye view which distorted the image in central focus. In his vision, Chilli, T-Boz, and Left-Eye were futuristic warriors that could be both sexy but ferocious, in other words, they were fierce.

The video went on to win the MTV Video Music Award for that year, beating out the all-male competition of boy bands like Backstreet Boys and Nsync at their career highs, which was no small feat.

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Listening to this song twenty years later only emphasizes how much this message is still relevant today. Not that long ago when just idly chatting with my boyfriend in the car, he said he couldn’t understand my need for all this ambition, that he’d still love me even if I were a slob who’d spend all day at home and wait for him to return and he said something along the lines of, “Wouldn’t you love me still the same way if I were like that?” And I replied, “Look, as TLC taught me, I don’t want no scrub. I’d never date someone with no ambition or dreams to be better.” Probably not the kind of response he was relying on (after all, most men would hope that women are “romantic” enough to like them even at their worst), but it’s the truth.

I expect a lot from myself and would never dream of being someone who’s just looking for a way to get out of work to stay at home. So for anyone to think that I’d expect less of them just because out of romantic notions is kind of absurd. TLC taught many girls the power to say no, and that’s a lesson that many of us took to heart. I know I did.

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Top Ten Halloween Songs

Hosting a Halloween party and need to find the perfect tunes, or maybe you just want to get into the festive mood? Whatever your reason, the music world has lots to offer in regards to scary songs. So use this playlist as a guide to help you infuse your nights with some major creep factor.

I Put A Spell On You – Marilyn Manson

The shock-rocker gave this cult classic his own creepy vibe to it with his unique Mansonesque ways (dark vocals, death drums).

Welcome To My Nightmare – Alice Cooper

There no way that a Halloween playlist could be complete without the master of shock rock himself, Alice Cooper, named after the ghost of a woman he spoke to through the ouija board, it can’t possibly get creepier than that.

Astro Zombies – The Misfits

The Misfits are those goth friends of yours that wished they could celebrate Halloween everyday, and with their undead looks and spooky lyrics, these fellows are living the goth dream.

Pet Sematary – Ramones

After being inspired by Stephen King’s novel by the same name, about using an ancient Indian burial ground to bring loved ones back (always a mistake!), they explored why sometimes dead is better.

Nightmare On My Street – DJ Jazzy – Fresh Prince

As a HUGE Freddy Krueger fan, I just had to choose a song that was written inspired by the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Too bad that Wes Craven wasn’t too keen on the rappers using references to the movies, suing them for copyright infringement.

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

This strangely seductive song has been a staple of the horror culture and suicidal teen goths of all ages. It’s been used in Halloween and Scream, and although the band’s leadsinger assures that the song isn’t about a romantic suicide pact, it’s hard to decipher the lyrics, “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity, we can be like they are,” as anything else.

Red Right Hand – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Nick Cave is one creepy dude, and his whole Murder Ballads album could pretty much be the defacto go to album for Halloween. This song was inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the vengeful hand of God. This song is considered so creepy that it’s been used in all three Scream movies, so you know you can’t go wrong with Cave when it comes to dark and twisted.

Helena – My Chemical Romance

In the early aughts, Gerard Way had perfected the living dead boy look to a T. The song is inspired by the death of his grandmother, whilst the video shows the band during a funeral and at the song’s climax, the lady of the hour, Helena, herself gets up from the coffin and shows that the after life can be as much of a dance party as the living.

The Devil’s Rejects – Rob Zombie

Named after the movie he directed of the same name, Rob Zombie has been creeping kids out since 1995. He’s a huge horror fan and nothing goes better with rock than dark lyrics.

Thriller – Michael Jackson

No proper Halloween playlist is complete without Michael’s iconic single that catapulted him to stardom. Bonus perks to this track: The king of horror himself, Vincent Price recorded the spoken word section. You can’t get any more horror-infused than that!

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10 Things You Don’t Know About Me

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A candid photo from when I got talked into modeling for Back to School attire (P.S. that’s vegan leather so no worries!) 

  1. I’m bilingual. I’m fluent in Italian and English.
  2. I was born on a Thursday, January 8, just like David Bowie.
  3. I drink every beverage with a straw, and yes, this also includes hot tea and coffee. (Method to my madness, drinking from straws lowers your chances of damaging your teeth and staining them).
  4. I studied piano for close to ten years. I had a love/hate relationship with it, as I love music and loved playing it, but hated the long practice time (over an hour every single day) of it and being forced to study Bach by my teachers (when I preferred Beethoven, I actually decided to learn to play the piano because I was obsessed with his music).
  5. If you only know me through blogging, then you may not know that I’m a writer, and have several books up for sale on Amazon including a paranormal urban fantasy: CUT HERE, a collection of short stories: DOLL PARTS – Tales of Twisted Love, and an anthology I edited: MY AMERICAN NIGHTMARE – Women In Horror Anthology.
  6. My first celebrity crush was Leonard Nimoy who played Spock on Star Trek when I was two, and yes, I did prefer him because of his quirky ears and thus began my path of crushing on odd dark-haired men.
  7. My favourite city in the whole world is London, England. I love it so much that I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to it.
  8. My love for lipstick started at the tender age of three when I begged my aunt to leave me one of her lipstick tubes. I haven’t stopped wearing lipstick since.
  9. The historical figure I’ve been obsessed with since I was three is the last French Queen Marie Antoinette. Watching the anime Lady Oscar – The Rose of Versailles for the majority of my childhood did have a hand in that.
  10. My four favourite novels are novels I’ve read more than once (which I often don’t re-read novels as I have a good memory and find it hard to reread something I already know everything that’s going to happen) are: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde), Interview With the Vampire (Anne Rice), 1984 (George Orwell), and A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens).                                                                                         White and Pink Strikeout Cosmetics Beauty LogoDid you enjoy what you just read? If yes, then FOLLOW THE BLOG, give the post a like, or leave a comment! New posts are up every Tuesday & Thursday!

My Bad Romance: My First Time

london

One of the most important moments in a girl’s life is the time she loses her virginity. So much time is spent on how we hope events will play out, who it will be, and how do we know that the guy or girl we’ve chosen for that particular moment is the right one? I know as a teen I obsessed over this so much (mostly over how was I gonna know that the person was the right person to lose it with?).

In my daydreams, I always thought it’d be a lot more romantic. Or at least, the setting would be far more romantic. But when it happened, it was kind of last minute, I hadn’t planned for it to happen, it just did.

I had just started talking to the soulmate. He had a music event to go to and asked me if I could be his date. That meant that I was going to go to London. I left that afternoon to get on the plane, and couldn’t wait for those three hours to pass by quickly. I knew that he liked girls dressed in leather, and I had worn a leather dress that I had “borrowed” from my mum.

The whole event was a whirlwind, and when it all ended, he asked me if I wanted to see his flat and listen to music. I was on the fence over whether I wanted cause I had recently read American Psycho and knew what happened to girls who fell for charming blokes ala Patrick Bateman.

When we arrived at his flat, we were greeted by his white cat Stardust. He turned on the radio and was busy looking through various CD’s as we spoke about various things. It was a cold February night, and I was freezing in my short ensemble, not to mention that I could barely breathe.

I looked over at the soulmate, his beautiful face. I thought: I love him so much, and tonight may be the last time I ever see him. That thought broke my heart. I knew he could be my everything, but I couldn’t tell him that because we had barely met and he was leaving for a lengthy tour.

“Please excuse the mess,” he told me, as he tried to cover up his unmade bed. His bedroom was filled with stacks of hardback books, CD’s, and cigarette packets strewn everywhere. Three guitars rested against the wall. I looked over at the clock and noticed that I had two hours before I had to be back at the airport.

A terrible song from Venga Boys started playing. He came close to me and being at loss for words, I was inspired to use those from a Meatloaf song, stating, “We shouldn’t let a night like tonight go to waste.” Those words changed everything. And I couldn’t explain to you then how important that moment was to me, cause really can you halt a storm just to spew technicalities?

When our lips met, it was like an explosion in the sky. Suddenly, it didn’t matter whether the room was a mess or that shitty music was on the radio, it didn’t matter that none of the settings coincided with my idea of how I wanted things to be. Cause what really mattered was that I was there with you.

Our clothes were on the floor and your lips were everywhere and I kept thinking, Is this really happening? Cause I couldn’t believe that any of it was real. That you were real.

When it was over, I held you close to me, too afraid that perhaps you weren’t real. I needed to make sure that you were there, and I didn’t know then what the future was going to hold, all I knew was that if I was given even that one night with you, it was enough to be happy. One night with you was worth a thousand nights with anyone else.

You were my sun, and I was merely a star that reflected off of your light.

Eventually, I said the dreaded words, “I need to get going,” but a part of me never left that room. My ghost still haunts that flat, and maybe even yours does too.

Maybe we couldn’t have a happy ending, but then again, we haven’t really reached the end. And our ghosts remain in that flat, unchanged, and happy.

london love

By: Azzurra Nox

Remembering Dolores and the Summer of 1999

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While the majority of the world became a Cranberries fan with the iconic song Zombie, I didn’t become a fan till 1999, when their fourth album Bury the Hatchet was released, preceded by their single, Promises. Something about that angry revenge anthem spoke to me (I was an angsty, angry teen) and I also loved the music video cause the wicked witch of the west resembled Fairuza Balk a little. Someone else who was equally a fan of that album was my cousin Melody.

I remember how she and I would listen to the album and daydream about living in London or Los Angeles. That we felt that maybe, in cities like that, our mutual weirdness would be better understood or at least not scoffed or poked fun at, as opposed to where we lived.

My cousin was a bigger fan than I was, to the point that she said, “I wish my name could be Dolores at least it would be better suited for me than Melody. Do-lo-res…just saying it sounds darkly poetic.”

We’d sing along to Animal Instinct whilst applying makeup and drinking conspicuous amounts of coffee and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Clouds of smoke would circle above our heads as we shared lipsticks and secrets, all the while Dolores O’Riordan’s voice at times aggressive, other times ethereal playing in the background. We’d stroll the cobblestone streets of our small Sicilian town, humming Just My Imagination, and dreaming big dreams. This was before selfies were a thing, so I don’t have photos documenting those moments of us together, but they’ve remained engrained in my mind, milk fresh as though they’ve only happened several months ago, and not years ago. How we’d lie both in bed, our long hair meshing together, her’s bleached blonde, mine strawberry blonde, and how it created the perfect sunset hue, and the notes from the songs would transport us elsewhere, somewhere we were convinced that we’d be better versions of ourselves.

On Christmas Eve of 2013, Melody committed suicide—and although I hadn’t seen her in years since 1999 (I had moved to America and she had moved to Turin), I couldn’t stop thinking of the last summer days we spent together. Of how everything seemed possible—when we were young and fearless. And we didn’t know it then, but maybe, we already were the better versions of ourselves but we were just too blind to see it.

Now, with the recent and unexpected death of Dolores O’Riordan, I can’t help but think about how Bury the Hatchet had been the soundtrack of my last days spent with Melody. And how often, these last five years, I’ve found myself listening to the familiar songs as a way to feel closer to my cousin, as a way to be transported back to those careless summer days.

And now, I’m merely left with the songs and the memories of a summer that’s gone and with it its dreams.

By: Azzurra Nox

My Bad Romance: The Pianist

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Maybe if I had met him when I was older, I would’ve known that he was a beautiful disaster and that our so-called love was merely a one-sided obsession. But when you’re thirteen and you meet an older boy (he was seventeen at the time) with long, black hair who plays Beethoven in a way that makes your heart fall apart, well….you can’t help but feel like he’s the one.

I was a fellow pianist, such as him (although not quite as talented) and so that already made me feel as though we had something in common. So it was natural for me to suggest that he’d give me some tutoring lessons (which he had accepted to). My thirteen-years-old heart beat so fast you’d think I was close to a coronary. I was gonna be the first teenager to die of a burst-from-happiness heart.

Sadly, that happiness was very short lived.

Fast forward to when I’m seventeen. The Pianist and I are now not only friends, but I’ve managed to become a staple in his household. We’ve done Easter plays together, our families have spent holidays together, and we even planted a cactus together, my heart expanding every year when it’d bloom flowers, as though it were some proof of our unwavering love. But I was growing increasingly frustrated with my limited friend label. I wanted more. I wanted a mad love, stolen kisses, and passionate summer nights. I wanted ice cream dates, movie dates, and gazing at the stars.

Then his twenty-first birthday came around and for the first time that I had ever known him he was having a party.

“I hope you can make it tonight,” he told me, his dark eyes shining with a secret. “I’ve got something I want to tell you.”

My brain went through all the various scenarios of what he could possibly be wanting to tell me. Of course, the curse of being in love is that you’re always hopeful, and so I spent the day listening to a shitty love song (“Kiss Me”) on repeat while applying makeup and slipping into the very best little black dress I owned. I was determined to look memorable.

Fast forward to a few hours later when The Pianist is pulling me away from the crowd of friends saying that we need to go outside. I follow wordlessly. But nothing would’ve ever prepared me for what truly happened.

His girlfriend arrived and he wanted me to be one of the first people to meet her. I was too in shock to properly react. I numbly went through the motions of civil interaction as my heart cracked in two.

I then managed to escape the party. I didn’t have a car at the time and I didn’t want to tell my parents that I was abandoning the party, so I walked all the way home. And I couldn’t even cry as living in a small town everyone knows everyone and me walking down the streets in tears would’ve been all over town by morning.

At home the waterfall of tears fell in painful torrents. I pulled down all the photos we had together from my wall. And then I saw it.

The cactus.

In a fit of rage I hurled it against the wall.

If you were willing to kill my love, I was willing to destroy any evidence of it.

Years later, still in love, I found myself writing a lengthy email to the Pianist. I wanted to explain my love, how I never stopped believing cause I wanted to be that radical that Ola Salo sang about so much.

You want to know what he said to my emotional vomit?

GOODLUCK.

But I guess luck has never been on my side.

If I were lucky, I never would’ve met you.

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Depeche Mode – A Sexy Night In Santa Barbara

If there’s one word that can define the atmosphere of a Depeche Mode concert it’s “lush.” There was a certain tinge of sensuality hovering the night as concert goers made their way up to the Santa Barbara Bowl as Warpaint songs and Theresa Wayman’s enticing vocals beckoned us to the venue.

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There seemed to be an unspoken dress code amongst the audience: clad in black attire, even better if it’s leather.

The full moon bathed the audience in its brilliance as the band emerged from the darkness opening with the song Going Backwards and the whole venue went W-I-L-D.

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Many of the songs were accompanied by amazing videos in the background, one of my favourites was that of two ballet dancers doing an intricate sensual choreography whilst Dave Gahan crooned In Your Room. Another visually stunning moment was when they displayed a video of a gender-bending musician getting dolled up before hitting the night to perform in gravity-defying stilettos as Gahan appropriately sang Walking In My Shoes throughout the video.

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Another highlight of the night was Martin Gore’s acoustic performances of A Question of Lust and Somebody where the dancing slowed to a sway and even the ones with the blackest heart found tears lingering in their eyes threatening to make their mascaras run.

Being a huge David Bowie fan, it certainly made my night when the first notes of Heroes began, and nothing drove me wilder than them closing with Personal Jesus. Cause right about now we’re all in need of reaching out and touching faith.

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SETLIST:

Going Backwards

So Much Love

Barrel of a Gun

A Pain That I’m Used To

Corrupt

In Your Room

World In My Eyes

Cover Me

A Question of Lust

Home

Poison Heart

Where’s the Revolution

Wrong

Everything Counts

Stripped

Enjoy the Silence

Never Let Me Down Again

ENCORE:

Somebody

Walking in My Shoes

Heroes

I Feel You

Personal Jesus

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: The National – Sleep Well Beast

the national

Sleep Well Beast is The National’s seventh studio album, and much like their previous albums they’re here to deliver us sadness by way of dreamy, layered music and moody lyrics. Many people either find this band brilliant, or utterly boring. And the easiest way for you to find out where you fall on the spectrum is to ask yourself this, “Do you like The Smiths?” Because if you do, then you’ll love the melancholy found in The National’s songs, but if you don’t, then you may feel like the suicidal-charged baritone of leadsinger Matt Berninger to be too much to deal with.

Usually all of The National’s albums are compared to Alligator because it was considered brilliant, and so subsequent albums have always had to try to outdo that one.

Like most successful bands, The National have found their winning formula, and it’s the following: Berninger’s tragic baritone voice half-singing half-murmuring anxiety-ridden lyrics over soft guitar chords, piano, rhythmic drumming, with a dash of strings and horns thrown in the mixture.

Now, Sleep Well Beast sorta sticks to this same formula as the previous albums on pretty much the majority of the tracks. Although some tracks have been amped up a little and feature a faster tempo with some subtle shouting ala Mr. November or Available, especially on the track Turtleneck where Berninger candidly let’s up know that he keeps the weed next to his bed.

Some of the strongest tracks from the album are Carin At The Liquor Store, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, Walk It Back, and Day I Die. To say this is record is dark and bleak is an understatement. It’s almost like watching the dissolving of a relationship, but trying not to be outwardly destructive about it, although you’re feeling like vomiting your heart as a way to get rid of your weakest organ.

This album is best for those who don’t mind drowning in sorrow and befalling some serious dose of emotion sickness. If you’re looking for something to cheer you up, look elsewhere. You’ll only find sadness in its purest, most beautiful, and bleakest form here.

Life is sad, and The National are here to remind us of that. But there’s a strange beauty in the sadness. We almost don’t mind feeling so depressed.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

By: Azzurra Nox

Top Ten Songs That I Love To Dance To!

You know that song, the one that always manages to make you get up and dance, the one that makes even the dude who says he doesn’t dance, tap his foot to the rhythm. Summer time used to always be a time for me to hit the discos (yes, such things still exist in old world) when I was a teenager in Italy. My music selection is a bit eclectic, as I love many genres, so what makes want to dance may not always be the same that gets others out of their seats and on the dancefloor. So amp up the volume and as David Bowie says, put on your red shoes and dance the blues (away). Here’s ten songs that will always make me wanna dance, no matter where I’m at:

Breathe – The Prodigy

Rebel, Rebel – David Bowie

Sally in the Galaxy – The Penelopes

Hella Good – No Doubt

DARE – Gorillaz

Cosmic Dancer – T. Rex

Sweet Dreams – Marilyn Manson

Push It – Garbage

Fancy – Iggy Azalea

Charlie Big Potato – Skunk Anansie

What songs get you groovin’? Share in the comments below!

By: Azzurra Nox