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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Currently Booming: New 'Freedom' Documentary Rips The Bandaid Off & George Michael's Death Still Stings

I can still see my dad coming through the door with a big grin on his face. It was the summer of 1984 and he was carrying a record in his right hand. That sight was actually quite familiar because back then dad worked at a radio station and he made a habit of “borrowing” records overnight. He would tape them on a scrap tape and then add the song to the mixtape in his expansive musical library where he thought it sounded best. The next morning he would slip that record back into the pile at work and act as if he never had it in the first place. On this particular occasion, it was a group called Wham! That had put the smile on his face. He was barely in the door when he began telling me about the song and how I had to hear it, right then and there.

I followed dad upstairs and curled up in his big green armchair as he fiddled with his turntable before turning to put his headphones on my head. I had just turned thirteen and was already familiar with Wham! It was that pretty boy George and the other guy. They wore short shorts while dancing around in big “choose life” shirts. Bubblegum pop wasn't exactly dad's thing so I was a bit shocked by his excitement until the music started. I sat listening, just melting into the saxophone and the smoky vocals of “Careless Whisper”. I looked at dad and he knew that I totally got it. I couldn't put my reaction into words any better than him, but I shared his excitement. Thirty-two years later nothing really compares to the feeling of finding a piece of music that, for whatever reason, resonates. It's private and it's personal, yet it's a feeling that millions of people understand without any explanation ever being needed.

Learning of George Michael's death was like a knife piercing through my thirteen-year-old heart. It's a feeling that has been brought my way a few times too many.

Musicians like David Bowie, Glenn Frey and of course, Prince. Sitcom parents like Florence Henderson and Alan Thicke. Hell, even fake villains like Stefano DiMera on “Days Of Our Lives” wasn't safe from the grim reaper that 2016 ultimately turned into.  Those of us that came of age in 1980-something need the sadness to stop and we need to roll along with at least some of our childhood icons untouched.

I mean, have you really thought about why the collective loss of so many celebs seems to be cutting so many of us to the core? I don't know about you but I feel that with every death I feel just a little bit older. The sometimes harsh reality is that those of us that were teenagers when Headbangers Ball was first a thing and when dressing in the perfect mix of neon, lace bows, and rubber bracelets were a fashion “do”, aren't getting any younger. In fact, we are teetering around age fifty, give or take a few years.

Fifty. Remember when thirty sounded absolutely ancient? Now add two decades. I can still rap right along with the Beastie Boys, but I have a husband, kids, a house, grandbabies, work stress and all sorts of daily multitasking to accomplish. I'm at an age where I'm fortunate to still have my parents but many of my friends have buried theirs. It's also a time in my life when so many around me have waged their own life and death health battles that I can't help but wonder when it'll be my turn. Sometimes the only thing during the day that takes me back in time to when finding the perfect shade of Princely nail polish was my only care in the world is spending four minutes in the car listening to “When Doves Cry” on blast.

Adulting is hard and we naturally hang on to everything that takes us back to an easier time. Watching as time has systematically picked off parts of my own pop culture history has felt like slowly shutting the door on my own childhood. Every generation has watched as their own icons have fallen, but never like this. The internet, with its' developing stories, instantaneous tributes and social media platforms that allow us to grieve side-by-side with complete strangers has also made the death of Michael, Bowie, and Prince that much more palpable. It hurts to think that there will be no more new music, interviews or live appearances and it's now okay to admit that hurt because it has become a hugely shared experience. One that actually seems to somehow help.

'Freedom' was filmed near the end of George's life and it has made me realize how much his absence still stings. Why is it that we appreciate people a little more after they draw their final breath? I've been listening to George Michael all morning long- ('Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged' have been reissued and are now available) wondering why I don't do it more often. How is it that people end up being placed on a glass pedestal after their death rather than being fully appreciated while they are here on earth?

Nothing and no one is permanent. I'm working harder at appreciating people and their talent while it's unfolding in front of me. Assuming that they'll always be there when I have more time or feel like paying attention is just foolish. Oh and that bucket list? I added George Michael to my concert bucket list after Prince died and well, I should have seen him when I had a chance ten years ago. I regret not doing it now.

This year I've made good on my vow to buy the tickets, spin the vinyl lining shelves in my office and be grateful to have experienced the likes of Prince, Madonna and George Michael in their heyday. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Currently Booming: George Michael- 'Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged' (Deluxe)

Listen Without Prejudice 25 [Bonus Disc] [CD] - Front_Standard

Freestyle Friday: Sweet Sensation - 'Never Let You Go'

"You are the earth and I am the sea
The world together, forever, I'll be all that you need
You and I were always meant to be
If you should leave and go your own way
I'll still love, I will survive but every night I pray
That you will find your way right back to me
I'll, I'll never let you go
I'll keep you on my heart"

I love Freestyle Friday here at Boom because it's one of my very favorite genres of old school music. Back in the fall of 1988 glam rock was everywhere and it almost made some of the dance tracks even more appealing since they were so completely different from the likes of, well, "Welcome To The Jungle".  Sweet Sensation was one of several girl groups (Expose`, The Cover Girls, JJ Fad, etc.) that were doing battle on Billboard's charts. "Never Let You Go" was their first break out hit and after it hit number one on the dance charts mainstream radio also embraced the girls.

Betty Dee Lebron is the main voice behind the group and back in the 80's they had some of the best choreography around. The original line up of Lebron and sisters Mari and Margie Fernandez grew up together on NYC's lower east side and by 1988 Shelia Vega replaced Mari. Together the trio performed all over the world, bringing their Latin freestyle sound with them.

Sweet Sensation was one of those groups that helped convince me to take a break from the hair bands every now and then. My friends and I also figured out how to mix the huge headbanger hair with biker shorts, crop tops, and little ruffled skirts so that we could pay homage to both genres at the same time.

Ironically, the Fernandez sisters technically own the Sweet Sensation name and along with Sheila Vega still do shows. Betty Dee also performs the Sweet Sensation catalog regularly with Belle Ritter and Jenae Colon. Both ladies joined Sweet Sensation back in 1991 and have stuck with its' original lead singer ever since. The great news for freestyle fans (especially in the NYC area) is that you can still catch the ladies performing all of their classics live!

You can get a copy of Sweet Sensation's debut album Take It While It's Hot which features "Never Let You Go" by clicking below!

Currently Booming: 80's Halloween Costume Idea- Axl Rose

DIY Guns N Roses Axl Rose Halloween Costume Idea 3

Currently Booming: Daily Boom 80's Dance Playlist

This one, too. Retro poster print  Dance To The Music 2  A3 retro by yumalum, $29.00

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Throwback Thursday Vinyl Heaven: Janet Jackson- 'Janet'

"Like a moth to a flame
Burned by the fire
My love is blind
Can't you see my desire
That's the way love goes
Like a moth to a flame
Burned by the fire
That's the way love goes
My love is blind
Can't you see my desire?"

1993 was a great year for music. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and other grunge acts had brought back the old garage band style of rock and roll that was missing during the years of the almighty hair bands and R&B slow jams had really become a thing. There truly was something for everyone and if your musical taste hopped across different genres then you had a lot of great music to choose from. In May Janet Jackson released  Janet. her best selling album to date.

After years of preaching sexual abstinence and supporting various social injustices, Janet decided to give us something a whole lot more personal. The album, from one end to the other is rooted in embracing sexual freedom, a topic that Janet was able to take on after finally finding comfort in her own skin.

The album contained six singles, starting with "That's The Way Love Goes" a smooth groove with a slick video. In fact, the way that all of the singles were packaged really went a long way in adding to the success of Janet. She brought along her friends, back up dancers and then-husband, Rene Elizondo Jr. for the video ride. Check out Janet in its entirety below and also check out the videos from this great album. I think my very favorite is still "If", how about you, what's yours? 

Currently Booming: Top Ten 80's Horror Movies

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: New Edition- 'A Little Bit of Love (Is All It Takes)'

Image result for new edition a little bit of love

"If you want to make things right
Love can make a way
If you want to take the time
Act like what you say, yeah

A little bit of love is all it takes
A little bit of love goes a long, long way
A little bit of love is all it takes
A little bit of love is lovely"

I'm going to be totally honest here. I don't remember New Edition's "A Little Bit Of Love (Is All It Takes)" at all. Not a single bit. Nothing from my archive of 1985 memories screams New Edition either. But I recently had MTV Classic on and the video came on and I was hooked. I have a hard time believing that I didn't like this song. I mean, I must have, right? This was the last album before Bobby Brown left for his run at a solo career and it was at a point in time when things behind the scenes seemed to be going pretty smoothly.

I think I almost have more appreciation for New Edition and other boy bands more now than I did 20 or 30 years ago. Back then the market was saturated with groups of guys that could sing and dance to the point of normalcy. It's just not the norm anymore. Pulling together a bunch of guys and getting them to move as one while harmonizing isn't an easy task. Since my radio is no longer blowing up with a bunch of 20-year-olds put together to sell records I really appreciate the originals. Say what you want about New Edition or NKOTB or Backstreet Boys but the fact is, they've had longevity for a reason. The music was and still IS good. Check out "A Little Bit Of Love (Is All It Takes)" below!

Currently Booming: Slow Jams Playlist

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Currently Booming: A-ha - 'Take On Me' (Live From MTV Unplugged, Giske / 2017 )

Currently Booming: 80's Style Costume Ideas: Elliott and E.T.

Items Needed
Red hoodie, jeans, basket, bike handlebars, white sheet, rope, E.T. doll or baby doll and paints

Steps1. Attach the bike handlebars to the basket. Alternatively, break off one handle on the basket and turn it into two pieces.
2. Wrap E.T. doll in a white sheet. If you’re using a regular doll, paint over its face so it kind of looks like E.T. Then cover the face with the blanket.
3. Attach a rope to the basket, so you don’t have to carry it the entire night.