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She’s The Man!

GQ’s Man of the Year Isn’t Who You Think

They’d say I hustled, put in the work

They wouldn't shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve

What I was wearing, if I was rude

Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves

Taylor Swift, “The Man”

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MUSIC

The New Freddie Mercury Demo Has a Vital Message for Our Time

Mercury's stripped-down rendition of "Time Waits for No One" from the multimedia musical "TIME" is a stunning gift from an unforgettable talent.

Dressed in white from head to toe, surrounded by smoke and stage lights, Freddie Mercury looks every inch an angel descended to earth in the video for "Time Waits For No One."

Mercury first recorded the song in 1986, and a version featuring a massive choir of backing vocalists was released that same year. Yesterday marked the release of a never-before-heard demo of the song, featuring only his voice soaring over a triumphant piano backdrop. On it, the singer's unmistakable vocals take center stage, and the stripped-down arrangement communicates the lyrics' message even more powerfully than the original.

Freddie Mercury - Time (Official Video)www.youtube.com

"Time Waits For No One" is an almost painfully relevant song that seems handmade for our day and age—though, then again, its call to solidarity taps into something that humanity has seemingly always needed to hear. "We have to build this world together, or we'll have no future at all," Mercury sings, a resounding sentiment for our times and for all time.

The song is taken from a musical called TIME, with a book by David Clark and David Soames and music by Jeff Daniels. The show is about a rock star named Chris Wilder, who gets transported along with his band to the High Court of the Universe in the Andromeda Galaxy. Once there, he meets the Time Lord Melchisedic (allegedly inspired by the Time Lord of the Doctor Who series), who tells him that the moment has come to determine if the people on earth can be a part of the universal journey towards peace.

Time the Musical - Dave Clark and Cliff Richard, Freddie Mercury, Dionne Warwickwww.youtube.com

Though he never performed in the show, Mercury sang the main character's part on its concept album, which also featured Julian Lennon and Dionne Warwick. The show's spoken theme, which includes a philosophical speech narrated by Lawrence Olivier, was an unexpected hit on the charts in Australia, but in spite of this, the album remained offline until 2012, when a 25th-anniversary edition was released on iTunes.

"Time" (renamed with a longer title on the new demo) is the third track on the concept album. Apparently, Mercury preferred the demo to the official version. According to songwriter Dave Clark, "When we first recorded [the song], I went to Abbey Road and we ran through with just Freddie and piano. It gave me goosebumps. It was magic. Then we got down to recording the track and we [added] 48 tracks of voices, which had never been done in Abbey Road before, then the whole backing. It was fabulous—but I still felt there was something about the original rehearsal."

That something is palpable in the chill-inducing video from that first rehearsal. In it, Mercury is a larger-than-life presence, an embodiment of conviction and hope, communicating a message that seems to be largely absent in modern music. "Let us free this world forever, and build a brand new future for us all," he sings. His voice and presence, which radiate an almost unearthly star power even through the computer screen, are so powerful that you can't help believe in the possibility of a better world.

Billie Eilish

Shutterstock

Certain musicians are blessed with the ability to hear, see, feel, or taste music, a variant of the neurological condition known as synesthesia.

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CULTURE

Kate Bush’s Rocket Man Video is Like if Hillary Clinton Tried to Make a Stoner Anthem

Kate Bush is an incredible musician and "Rocket Man"is an incredible song. So what went wrong?

Kate Bush - Rocket Man - Official Music Video

Kate Bush is a very, very talented musician. "Rocket Man" by Elton John is a very, very good song. So where did Kate Bush's cover go wrong?

It could've slept peacefully in the 1990s, accumulating cobwebs and fading from public consciousness. But today, Bush decided to release the video of her cover officially for the first time—alongside the announcement that an album of her B-sides and rarities, called The Other Side, is coming out on March 8th.

Bush's "Rocket Man" starts out promisingly, with Kate wailing in her singular soprano over dreamy synths, albeit sounding a bit breathier than usual. But disaster strikes about a minute into the video, when the full band leaps in with a disorienting reggae rhythm and Kate steps into the spotlight with a ukulele, hips swaying side to side robotically. The first chorus ends with a flourish on a sitar, a sound effect that's unexpected, to say the least, especially in light of the Uilleann pipes, concertinas, and synths jingling away in the background.

Kate Bush - Rocket Man - Official Music Videowww.youtube.com

It's too many genres mixed together, and it fails to capture any of what makes Kate Bush and Elton John so virtuosic. This cover skips all that and instead features a Celtic-sounding fiddle solo three-quarters of the way through, which collides disorientingly with the reggae beat.

The mash-up of styles is an issue, but another problem is that the whole band seems to be having way too much awkward middle-aged fun. Maybe the trouble is that "Rocket Man" is such an emotional song, but Bush seems to be trying to turn it into a stoner anthem—which Young Thug actually did more successfully, with his appropriately spacious "High." That cover is initially disorienting, but it possesses the melancholy expansiveness that makes the original "Rocket Man" so extravagant and blissful to listen to.

Young Thug - High (ft. Elton John) [Official Audio]www.youtube.com

Bush's cover feels like convoluted abstract art rather than music. If she's really using reggae and hip-shaking to turn "Rocket Man" into a celebration of marijuana, she's doing it in a way that's almost as cringe-worthy as when Hillary Clinton said that she was "just chillin'."

There are many ways to read "Rocket Man." It's rife with metaphors and cosmic allusions. It could be about getting stoned, sure, but it's almost certainly also about loneliness, life on the road, and the isolation of fame. Bush's cover just ignored all this, it seems. Her first hit was about Wuthering Heights; she can understand words, and she chose to read "Rocket Man" this way.

What a lost opportunity. Imagine "Rocket Man," but with the intensity, elegance, and clarity of vision that defines every track on Hounds of Love, or almost every other track she has released. Certainly, the odd Bush stan will love this cover, but most music fans will question its existence—instead of questioning their existence, which is what anyone who listens to "Rocket Man" should do.

Elton John - Rocket Man (Official Music Video)www.youtube.com

There are a few shining exceptions. The image of Bush conducting a symphony of planets and fireworks is aesthetically gorgeous, and the few moments where she does unleash a flood of reverb and harmonies (at the very ends of the choruses) hint at what could have been, and why it became a No. 12 hit in 1991. But for the most part, listeners will be stuck feeling deeply uncomfortable.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter at @edenarielmusic.


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FILM & TV

REVIEW | How ​One Day at a Time​ is changing the sitcom game

It's hard to describe just how important this show is - but I'm going to try and do it anyway.

One Day At a Time - Season 2 | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS LOTS OF SPOILERS

TV is a powerful medium. It's also an ever changing one - what used to be impossible on major networks is made a reality by online streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. These new forms of TV have given voices to voiceless sections of American and other parts of the world beyond our wildest dreams. Still, even with all of these amazing shows, none of them have managed to capture such a specific, yet entirely relatable picture of modern day America than One Day at Time.

One Day at a Time is a reimagining of a popular sitcom of the same name from the 1970s. The original show ran for nine seasons and followed the life of a single mother, Ann Romano, struggling to raise her to two daughters and give them an amazing life. The new show is very similar, but takes a lot of really amazing liberties. The new series is about a Cuban-American family, Penelope (played by Justina Machado), an army Vet and nurse, lives with her mother, Lydia (played by Rita Moreno), and her son and daughter, Alex and Elena (played by Marcel Ruiz and Isabella Gomez).

There are some similar elements - the character Dwayne Schneider appears in both shows - and there is at least one storyline that is a little similar. Still, these are not the same shows - and they shouldn't be. The strength of this new One Day at a Time is it's focus on modern issues, and it's fearless and honest depiction of a multi-generation Cuban-American family.

It's difficult to decide just what to focus on when talking about this show's groundbreaking elements. Do you talk about the fact that Penelope is a war vet and suffers from PTSD? Or do you talk about the show's beautifully written and incredibly relatable storyline about Penelope's young daughter realizing that she's a lesbian and coming out to her family? And you can't forget the heartbreaking story of grandmother Lydia's time escaping from a Castro-controlled Cuba? I can't decide!

I think the genius in all of these elements rests in the show's ability to seamlessly incorporate them into a sitcom format - and maintain a sense of comedic honesty without being offensive or melodramatic. One minute, Alex, the young son of Penelope, can be doing a project Cuba, and Lydia can be having the time of her life. And then, you see her change - and suddenly she is unable to continue. As the episode progresses, she tearfully reveals that she was forced to leave her big sister in Cuba when she immigrated through the Pedro Pan program (because her sister was too old).

It's powerful, and one of the most intense pieces of TV I've ever seen. Not only is the writing brilliant, but Moreno is a powerhouse - leading the scene with expert intensity. And the show gives everyone a chance to shine. Isabella Gomez acts Elena's coming out story beautifully - and honestly, it was the first time I'd ever felt a television show captured a true queer experience. Marcel Ruiz got an amazing storyline involving racism in season two. And Machado's PTSD is a constant cloud that looms over her Penelope - and her story of struggle and coming to terms with her illness is nothing short of brilliant.

Of course, the show does have a few issues here and there that are nitpicky at best. While all of these elements are amazing - they can get a little preachy - but I feel like that's what a sitcom is. It's in your face and doesn't require the subtlety of a show like Breaking Bad. There's sometimes where I feel like they don't go far enough - especially in terms of Elena's queer storyline. But, that could also be due to how used to pain and trauma TV loves to give to queer characters. Maybe we're past the point of torturing our queer teens and should I accept that.

In the end, One Day at a Time is brave - and that separates it from a lot of its TV contemporaries. It's honest, and unafraid to the make the viewer feel uncomfortable while also making them laugh. It's very small, minor issues are overshadowed by the relevant and thought provoking storylines that manage to hit all the marks without too much drama or unneeded pain for the characters. It's a beautiful show - and I implore you to please go and watch it.

You'd be doing yourself a favor.

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MUSIC

MUSIC MONDAY | The Oscars: Best of the Best Original Song goes to...

FEB 26 | Listing All 90 years of Academy Award Winners

Celebrating 90 years of Academy Award-winning music.

Every January, the entertainment community and film fans around the world watch the Academy Awards in eager anticipation. Hundreds of millions of movie lovers watch the glamorous celebrities and extravagant ceremony that reveals who will receive the most prestigious honors in filmmaking.

We thought it would be fun to make a mix of songs that won an Oscar, and also deserved it. There can be politics involved. When you look at some of the other nominees, how could they be passed over? But sometimes the Academy can really get it right. The music that does win can leave a lasting impact as there is a confirmation from the highest authority, that these songs are noteworthy. It becomes a mental note that every time we hear that song, it brings us back to the year we would hear it every day, until it faded from every minute to once in a while. The Oscars guarantee the life of the song lives on for generations.

It will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California at 5:00 p.m. PST on March 4, 2018. Jimmy Kimmel will host for a second consecutive year, making him the first person to host back-to-back ceremonies since Billy Crystal in 1997 and 1998.

Below you will find a complete list of every Oscar winner for Best Original Song since 1934. For a complete list of nominees for the 90th Oscars, click here. What music made the final cut?

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