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Possibly it's because I'm a woman, possibly it's because I've found a novel which is refreshingly different, but I found something in Alice Walker's novel 'The Color Purple' nothing less that inspirational. Set in black America of the early 20th century, 'The Color Purple' traces the life of a repressed young girl, who is not only supressed by a racist state, but also by the men in her own community. The book is in a diary form, which can take some getting used to, as Celie, the main character, is largely uneducated, and spells words as they sound to her: 'pore' for 'poor', 'set' for 'sit' etc. Most of the diary is made up of prayers to God, who, at the beginning of the novel is her last remaining hope. As the novel opens, we hear the atrocities that Celie has been put through by the time she is fourteen: raped by the person she calls her father, her mother has died ad she's been sold into marriage with no choice. Her new husband uses her as a slave, and separates her from her sister, who is her only friend. The story is an optimistic one, however, where Celie's courage grows as she gets to know her husband's glamourous mistress, and explores her own sexuality. I do think this book sometimes lacks in organisation, and some of the plot is a little too 'convenient'. However, altogether it is an inspirational, feminist novel. About time too!
Having already downloaded 'Change' and 'Passenger' by the deftones as recommended by a friend I was very impressed. And when I bought their album 'White Pony' i wasn't in the least bit disappointed. There is a range on the album from heavier songs to more lyrical melodic ones, but every track conveys something to me. The lyrics are simple but effective, such as 'change': "I watched you change... into a fly...". The relatively simple accompaniment is powerful, and certainly does not lack in expression. The slow melodic nature of some of the pieces adds to their poignancy, and contrasts well with faster, heavier pieces, which tend to be upbeat and potent. Another Deftones' song I would recommend is "Be Quiet and Drive". Unfortunately this is not included in 'White Pony'. A slow, melodic piece, itis astrange mixture of Coldplay and heavy metal influences. I look forward to buying the next album!
If you switch on my hi-fi you will find good music of one or two particular genres - generally heavy metal and rock. This is my staple musical diet, and one i intended to stick to until I heard "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. Whenever I hear this song I am struck y the musicality of the singer, her strikingly clear, but not strident voice, and the song's haunting melodies. This encouraged me to buy Alicia's album, "Songs in A-minor" and I was no less impressed. I particularly liked "Piano", but I cannot say any of the songs put me off the album. This album has the unusual quality of solely good tracks, without a mish-mash of good and bad typifying even the best pop and rock albums. I would recommend this album to anyone. The great thing is you can enjoy it whether you normally listen to hip-hop, pop, rock, even classical. Whatever. I hope to buy Alicia Keys' next album when it comes out, and I imagine that will be just as good. Happy listening!
The white Detroitian rapper Eminem would make an unlikely star: He never met his father, his mother was never in work, he dropped out of high school after failing his grade three times and was put in a three day coma by gang rivalry when he was nine. Yet he has been nominated for four Grammys and his singles have reached the Number One spot in six different countries, bringing him in line with mainstream artists such as the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears (who he’s insulted in "The real Slim Shady"). What really is unique about Eminem is his ability to attract people from both sides of the social divide. His fans from the "neighbourhood", with a similarly deprived background to his own are predictably ardent followers of the young rapper. What is more interesting is his following from middle-class American teenagers, and now young Europeans and Asians. It was this uniqueness in the marketplace, and Eminem’s extraordinary talent that brought rap royalty Dr Dre on the scene. After signing him to his own label, "Aftermath", the two worked on the single "My Name Is" which sold over a million copies world-wide, making Eminem an immense star. Not everyone is taking this success as good news however. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance, The Sun, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and half the parents and politicians in America to name but a few. Of his "Marshall Mathers" album, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance said it contained "the most blatantly offensive, homophobic lyrics we have ever heard”. Members of the music industry itself have criticised the rapper, most noticeably the editor of "Billboard" who accused the rapper of "glamorising violence against women”, and urged his readers not to buy the album. Only heavily edited versions of his song are played on the radio. Yet "Stan" which tells of an obsessive fan who murders his girlfriend and kills himself
when Eminem does not respond to his letters, but contains fewer expletives than his other songs, has many of the lyrics dubbed, or simply cut out of the song. Even his wife Kim has had her reservations. When Eminem "saw” her kissing another man in the car park, he revenged her by stabbing a blow up doll called "Kim" on stage. The real Kim proceeded to slash her wrists. The song "Kim" wasn’t one's average dedication to a loved one either, ending in the lyrics "Bleed, Bitch, Bleed”. His mum was similarly treated with the lyrics "When I was little I used to get so hungry I would throw fits/ How you gonna breastfeed me Mom when you ain’t got no tits?”. But she sued him over $10 million for claiming that "I just found out my Mom does more drugs than I do”. It is no wonder then that certain parents are becoming concerned. As the man himself said "Hi Kids! Wanna copy me and do exactly like I did? Try acid and get fed up worse than my life is?” On the other side of the coin, his collection of fans forms a very diverse bunch: members include Sir Elton John who described him as "a genius”, Charlotte Church, Dr Dre, Missy Elliot, David Beckham and the other 25 million who’ve bought his music. His video for the single "Stan" has become one of the most frequently requested items on the music video channel The Box. And whatever the morals (or lack of them) behind his music, it cannot be denied that Eminem has an extraordinary gift: The ability to articulate the feelings of a depressed drug addict from a broken home with little schooling who has finally been given the chance to speak out. His cynical self-analysis is enthralling: "There’s a million people just like me, Who dress like me, Who just don’t give a f**k like me, Walk, talk and act like me, And might be the ne
xt thing but not quite me.” The real brilliance of Eminem is that he speaks for everyone – on one level for the underrepresented, the poor, the uneducated from a broken home; on another for humans in general who are depressed but can’t get their feelings across. It is this autobiographical lyrical eloquence however which is much of the controversy surrounding Eminem: We have always been able to accept decadent imagery as purely fictional entertainment, but come reality the mothers and the teachers and the media come rushing out the protect our children’s ears from such a dark vision. Nevertheless, as Eminem himself says: "Since birth I’ve been blessed with this curse just to curse, And just blurt this berserk and bizarre s**t that works, and it sells.”