Sunday, January 31, 2016

TaraElla's Song of the Year 2015

After much deliberation, I have decided that the greatest hit to come out of 2015, is...


Other honorable mentions:



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Is This Adele's Greatest Hit Ever?

In recent months there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Adele's late 2015 hit Hello. As of this week, it has spent ten weeks on top the Billboard charts. Whilst I think it's a good song, I really don't see this level of spectacularity in it, to be honest.

Adele's next offering appears to be much better, however. It's too early to say how When We Were Young will do, but I am already liking it better than anything else she has done in the past few years. Check it out.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Making Feminism More Inclusive: Part 1

This is part one of a series of ideas by TaraElla to help make feminism, well, more inclusive.

The movement of feminism has gained many supporters in recent years. Some of my friends have even come on board, even though just five years ago they would have thought it to be outdated. Though this may be encouraging, I have also encountered other women who still have concerns about identifying as a feminist. It's not that they don't want gender equality - all of us want that. It's just that they have a perception of feminism being about certain rules, including rules they cannot obey. Whilst this is certainly not true of feminism itself, if it's a perception some people have, I think it needs to be addressed.

For example, one of my friends thought that all feminists had to support affirmative action, something that she was consciously very opposed to, due to personal experience. In fact, when I told her that I was a feminist who didn't support affirmative action, she was surprised. I mean, parts of the feminist community do give us pressure to conform with the majority view here, but we do exist. For me, feminism is about equality, rather than about specific ways to achieve it. Therefore, there will always be differences amongst feminists. Whilst some feminists believe in affirmative action, others think non-rigid targets are more helpful.

Another friend was hung up on the idea that she could not, with her religious conscience, say that 'abortion is a woman's right'. Whilst this idea is often attributed to feminists, once again I don't think it's what feminism generally is about. Otherwise there wouldn't be pro-life feminists, right? Abortion is always a difficult topic, and even the most progressive and libertarian people sometimes have to agree to disagree. If feminism is to be a broad church, then we must show that both pro-life and pro-choice feminists are equally welcome. In true feminism, not only are men and women to be equal, women of different religious views and consicences are to have equality too.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Episode 2: Should we do more for Movember? I mean, Emmy Rossum just did.

Tara: November will soon be finally over. As some of you may know, November is also Movember, where men grow moustaches to raise awareness for men's health. And some female celebrities have joined in too. Emmy Rossum did so this year, and I agree with her on the important role women can play here.

Jess: Emmy Rossum grew a moustache? Besides that being biologically impossible, it's also gross!

Tara: No, not growing facial hair ourselves. I mean, we can help raise awareness about prostate cancer and other men's health issues. We can get the men in our lives to be more aware, and do regular checkups, for example.

Jess: I don't know about that. I think men know their bodies best, and these women are just doing it for the publicity. Not that men will listen to us on their health issues anyway.

Katie: As long as it's not growing a moustache, I think we should help if we can. But if it gets to the point of growing a moustache, then you can count me out. I'm not getting ugly for the sake of any cause.

Jess: You know, I reckon if we let this women should participate in Movember thing grow, maybe one day we will all be morally obliged to wear a moustache to work. I know one office is doing it this year.

Katie: If that happens I would rather quit my job! There's no way I'm wearing a hideous, fake moustache!

Tara: Then maybe we should join forces to stop it from happening in the first place. I mean, participation is good, but not if we have to look stupid.

Jess: Relax people, it's not going to happen, I was just joking. Even though that would be a pity, because I think you two would look good with some facial hair.

Tara & Katie: What?

Jess: Just joking again.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Episode 1: Taylor Swift thinks Cool is Overrated. Do we agree?

Tara: Country singer Kelsea Ballerini recently told media that her friend Taylor Swift told her cool is overrated, and warm and human is always going to win. I think I have to agree here. I mean, everyone is always trying to be cool, but it's meaningless. On the other hand, warm sounds like a much better way to be. I mean, you can show off 'cool' friends for a few minutes, but 'warm' friends will always be there to help you when you really need it. Also, some people aren't naturally 'cool', and have to fake it. But nobody needs to fake 'warm', in fact 'warm' can't be faked. So a warm friend is always real, whilst a cool friend may not be, and may even lose her 'cool' if circumstances change. I definitely have to agree with Taylor here.

Katie: Sorry, but I cannot ever agree with Taylor Swift because I think she's fake. I think she's neither 'cool' or 'warm', she's just fake. And whilst both cool friends and warm friends can be good friends, fake friends just disappoint. Like how you have been disappointed by her 'betrayal' of country music.

Tara: Not really. I mean, I do like country Taylor better, but you can't call people fake just because they decide to do something else. And Taylor Swift is a great friend, Kelsea Ballerini said it in her interview.

Katie: It's not just that. I don't know why you like her, but, in my opinion, not only is she fake, she doesn't even do it too well. Does Fearless, Red or 1989 represent the real Taylor? Will the real Taylor Swift please stand up?

Tara: Once again, trying different things doesn't mean one is fake. I don't think I've ever worn a striped dress, but if I wore one tomorrow would I then become fake? Anyway, let's get back to the topic.

Jess: In my opinion, Taylor Swift might just have proven herself wrong. I mean, I think she used to be more 'warm', but since Red and especially in 1989 she's more 'cool'. I think she changed because 'cool' is popular and sells records.

Tara: So you think Taylor is fake too? You're agreeing with Katie?

Jess: Not really. I don't think Taylor is fake, I just think she doesn't know what she's talking about there. Honestly, I think she's like that a lot of the time.

Tara: You can't be serious.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Life is Driven by Vision and Dreams, or it is Driven by Nothing

Have you recently been feeling 'down'? That your life is going nowhere, and that things are not going to improve? Or maybe you know a friend feeling this way?

An important root cause for the aforementioned feelings is a lack of vision. Without vision, there is no real drive to do anything. Trains and buses only run properly when they have a defined route and destination for the driver to follow, and our lives are the same. If the route and destination plan for your life is not yet available, you need to develop one. Even a rough draft will improve things.

Unlike trains and buses, where the route has been taken many times and is well known, you life is for you to explore, it is not somewhere that you or someone else had gone before. It is a journey into an unknown. Therefore, there will be a need to navigate obstacles, as they come up inevitably. Life visions can only be sustained in the longer term by dreams, and being both optimistic and flexible about them, but always holding tight onto them, never giving up, in the face of obstacles. A fundamental belief in your destaintion, despite temporary setbacks and difficulties, like the bus driver who sits in a traffic jam, but clearly still knowing that he will arrive at his destination, is the attitude we should have.

The Road to Where I Am Heading

Download the full song here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Thanks Selena Gomez. We Should All Stand Up to Bullying, in Any Form.

Selena Gomez recently told the world how bad she felt when she was having treatment for lupus earlier this year, and the media was calling her fat.

In my opinion, this was bullying, and Selena was right to take a stand against it. In fact, everyone involved in calling her fat should now be ashamed. It was not just some fun game you were playing, it was a real human being you were hurting. And I believe that had Selena spoken up earlier, this bullying would have ended immediately back then, too.

For everyone else currently or previously being bullied, maybe you can learn a thing from Selena too. It's often in our nature to not tell the world that we're hurt, that we're fine with whatever people say, even though we're not. This is not helpful, however. Tell the world how you're feeling, how they've hurt you, and that it's not OK. It's the only way bullying will end. And maybe, just maybe, the bullies themselves will be human enough to be ashamed of their actions too.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ariana Grande Kissed a Girl then Laughed. I'm Disappointed, Frankly.

I'm not sure where the trend started, but too many people have taken 'pretend gay' actions just for fun. The latest appears to be Ariana Grande, who posted a video (by mistake, she claims) of herself kissing another girl and then having a laugh.

As a strong gay and lesbian community ally, I have to say that I am frankly very disappointed. Imagine if someone pretended to be disabled and then having a laugh. I don't think it would be very well received, especially in the entertainment industry. However, the same industry has been more than OK with things like Britney Spears fake-kissing Madonna (2003), Katy Perry's ultimately disrespectful hit I Kissed A Girl (2008), and now this. It's really time people stop pretending it's OK.

Pretending to be something and then having a laugh is really the same as laughing at that something. There's no way around this, in my opinion. Even anti-PC me needs to say this. Sorry.

Download the full song here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The New, Modest Janet Jackson? Very Welcome Indeed!

Janet Jackson has been dressing much more modestly recently, and this has got the media speculating on reasons. Some think it may be out of respect of her husband's Muslim beliefs.

Whatever the reason, I think it's a very welcome thing. If only she could have done it in 2004, it would have made quite the statement. Still not too late to change now, really. If the star at the centre of one of the biggest 'wardrobe malfunction' controversies of all time can change, it just says that everyone else can too.

Will other celebrities follow suit? It's too early to tell, but if they do, it will be the beginning of a revolution. Whilst I'm not being judgemental of those who don't dress modest, there really is no reason for musicians and actresses to have such a high rate of skin exposure. It's not healthy for body image reasons, frankly. And choosing to be healthy is something we can always support.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Justin Bieber and JoJo: Comebacks Show Us People Do Better With Age

Justin Bieber's recent comeback with What Do You Mean has not only topped the charts, it has got people talking too. Many Bieber fans (or Beliebers - or do they still say that?) have said that they miss him so much, and are so happy that he's back. But what strikes me most is how much he's improved. I mean, it probably didn't sound so bad at the time, but Baby does seem silly in retrospect, almost just as bad as Friday by Rebecca Black in that regard. What Do You Mean sounds so much better, really. The Biebs was always going to make a great artist, it was just not going to be in 2010. Five more years was what it took.

But Justin Bieber isn't the only comeback this year, nor is his the most spectacular, in my opinion. That would have to be JoJo. JoJo's first release, Leave (Get Out), topped the charts in mid 2004, when she was 13. Which is quite an achievement. But really, it's nothing compared to her latest stuff. Tracks like When Love Hurts and Say Love show an emotional maturity that just wasn't there before. Which is not surprising, considering that JoJo is now in her mid twenties. She has always had a great voice, but the new emotional depth to her songs has allowed her to use that voice much better.

Contrary to the media's obsession with being young forever, people do actually do better with age - even just going from their teens to their twenties, as these examples show.

TaraElla's Latest Single Not That Kind of Retro

This song is now available at the TaraElla Google Play shop.