By Ken MacQueen and Mika Rekai - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 0 Comments
Psy and a Jay-Z’s baby topped music charts, while a blogger and Kim Jong Un also earned the world’s attention.
A career in the music Biz
What with the yachts, limos and baby bling, it’s been a sweet first year for Blue Ivy Carter—the most beautiful baby ever, according to her parents, hip hop royalty Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z. Within days of her birth, Jay-Z had mixed her cries and coos into Glory, a song he wrote celebrating her birth, making her the youngest artist to ever appear on the Billboard charts. All Dad wants for her, he says, is to “love herself . . . be respectful and be a moral person.”
Maybe it’s the baby face and his love of theme-park rides, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has yet to earn the level of fear enjoyed by his late dad, Kim Jong Il. He intends to change that by gaining control of the military. Some 14 senior officials have been purged this year and army vice-minister Kim Chol was allegedly blown to bits with a mortar round after Kim ordered his obliteration.
Tied up with a good book
E.L. James has been called the Julia Child of mommy porn, and with her Fifty Shades series she’s found the recipe for riches. The three volumes of her trilogy fought for domination on bestseller lists most of the year. As in most cookbooks, there’s a certain amount of whipping, kneading and heat involved in achieving the desired result, but that’s where the similarity ends. Erika Leonard, her real name, is a British mother of two. She’s coy about her own sexual proclivities but says, “I had a good time researching these books.” Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 10:00 PM - 0 Comments
10 did it for Boléro, now Fifty Shades is giving a 16th-century composition a bounce
A sexy bestseller is the best way to introduce someone to serious music. Or that’s the assumption record companies are making about Fifty Shades of Grey. EMI Classics, one of the oldest classical record companies in the world, announced that it will be releasing an album of classical pieces “personally selected by author E.L. James herself.” These works were mentioned in her hit series of novels, or, as she put it in a statement, “inspired me while I wrote the Fifty Shades trilogy,” and all of them are being presented on the album as a way to get her readers interested in the classical back catalogue. The hope is that since her protagonist Christian Grey likes Frédéric Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach, her readers will too. Or as British music critic Norman Lebrecht puts it, “Classical labels were always quick to jump on a book or movie bandwagon.”
The potential of Fifty Shades of Grey as a classical gateway drug became apparent to record companies earlier this year. The book provided a major boost to recordings of a 16th-century choral composition, Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, whose “astral, seraphic voices” accompany a sex scene in the novel. “We noticed a big jump in sales back in April but did not know why,” says Steve Smith, who produced a recording of the piece for the group the Tallis Scholars. “We remained oblivious to the reference in Fifty Shades of Grey until early in July when, having reached No. 7 in the U.K. classical singles chart, we made a determined effort to understand what was happening.”
Fifty Shades isn’t the first movie to boost the popularity of classical music. It’s not even the first to give it naughty associations: the Dudley Moore movie 10 mainstreamed the idea that Ravel’s Boléro was the perfect accompaniment for sex. “Classical music is often used as shorthand for ‘sophistication’ or indicating a character’s depth,” explains Vancouver Courier arts and entertainment editor Michael Kissinger. By tying a potentially trashy scene in with this type of music, authors and filmmakers can give a high-class veneer to their work—and encourage fans to check out the music to prove they’re as sophisticated and sexy as Christian Grey.