Top Notch: Performances to Ponder

I’m only human. I go up the stairs and feel a bit short of breath afterwards. I play tennis and I can only last for two hours. Basically, I have the stamina of an exhausted college student and the performance level of an average achiever.

These solo artists put me to shame (and they should. It’s their job). From Beyonce to Kendrick Lamar to Bruno Mars, here are some performances I found curious for their strength, skill or aesthetic styles.

/Okay, fine, I just had a lot of time to surf through YouTube. But hey, productivity./

1. Spice Girls and moving cars

Embed not allowed by the freaking Olympics :( Click the picture to link back to the page!
Embed not allowed by the freaking Olympics :( Click the picture to link back to the page! 

Comments: Unfortunately, I didn’t know all of the songs sung by the Spice Girls during their London Olympics performance. (I’m a shame to all girlband-ers everywhere). But my lack of singalong abilities didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the performance. Gosh, they’re all so much older now but still all so gorgeous.

Actually, what just really hit me was that they were singing on top of moving cars. I mean, you can probably get it with practice, but you can guess how much they had to balance themselves with one hand on the rail and another with a mic. While wearing heels.

2. Beyonce and a chair

Comments: I thought I absolutely hated this song. I was so disappointed with the queen, opening up the Grammy’s with a performance that won’t stand against her more titillating pieces like Run the World (Girls) or even Single Ladies. The song was just weird, growling all over the place about a kitchen and a question and, more confusingly, a surfboard.

Several months later, with Drunk in Love hitting the radio and my playlists, I take back my opinion. This is an unbearably catchy song (though still with confusing lyrics). Her vocals were fine, though there are some doubts if she could have performed as well without the playback? I’m not so sure. But the fact that people were watching even when she was just working a chair is ridiculous. She’s that sexy.

I don’t have much to say about Jay-Z, except for the fact that he’s really lucky. Ha!

3. Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons and a bunch of powder

Comments: First, it’s an awesome mix. I haven’t heard of M.A.A.D. City before this performance, which was a tragedy. Second, the performance was pulsing with energy. It felt real and alive. I don’t know how to explain it. I watched this performance livestreaming the Grammys, I think, or at least from another source, and I remember saying: this. This is how you perform onstage the Grammys (which hits a lot of the other Grammys performers… really).

Third, the props and instruments. I have no idea whose bright idea it was to blow powder into their clothes and faces, but ace job anyways.

4. Florence and that note

Comments: There are a lot of things I found uncomfortable in this video: her unflattering dress (though at this point it seems to be a staple of F+tM’s gigs), the weird dancers… But then none of that mattered to the song itself. The vocals were clear and heart-wrenching.

Actually, really. I just want to direct your attention to the note starting from 2:51. Ridiculous.

5. 10 minutes of Bruno Mars and band

Comments: I’ve heard some people laud Bruno Mars as the next Michael Jackson. I’m not an authority on any matter relating to MJ, so the only thing I can say is that Bruno Mars is amazing.

He just has talent. From playing drums to writing songs, dancing on stage and singing consistently well, he’s deserving of the Superbowl Halftime slot, the BRIT International Male Solo Artist Award… Keep it up! :3

(And they’re all so cute! It’s like a vintage band. So romantic.)

6. One Direction and that live performance

Comments: A year later and I am still an unapologetic directioner. A lot of people would cringe at the fact that I’m putting up 1D beside Bruno Mars and in the same list of Beyonce, and I agree. Vocally and individually, and even as a group, 1D has a lot to work on to be as musically mature as everyone in this list. But it’s not their Grammy nomination I’m after anyway –it’s their group dynamic, it’s their faces, it’s their brand.

But nonetheless it was their strong live performance that I’m sharing for this number. It’s very rare for me to find a live performance of theirs that didn’t have screaming fans in the background (or even the foreground) and a significant amount of audio noise on top of that. And in the pool of videos where you can actually hear them clearly, there’s no performance of theirs that was as strong as this one. I think.

It doesn’t have any of Zayn’s high notes or much of Harry’s growls, but it works well enough.

7. Rihanna and. Rihanna.

Comments: To be honest, I’ve never liked or watched out for Rihanna after Unfaithful, which has been a long long time. But I’ve been peripherally aware of how successful, fashionable and groundbreaking she’s been. I did watch that one where it was raining on stage and the one for VSFS (2013?).

Watching this, and then going on a Rihanna binge after, I reconciled with the fact that Rihanna is sexy. She doesn’t have an hourglass body. Her voice is debatable when live. Her song choices are debatable in general.

But for some reason she’s sexy. How does she do it? No one knows.




Life Update

I haven’t been blogging lately for two reasons:

  1. I’m looking for a song. I’m yet to even start on the second part of my Singapore blog post (part 1 here) because I can’t start with the video. That perfect tune is just so elusive.
  2. Since my last post, I have put up two new blogs: one on tumblr and definitely not safe to associate with my personal branding (haha!) and another one on WordPress, a writing blog called DailyLimit I’ve put up to challenge and better my writing skills.

Whoo. It’s still summer (one more month to go!). I’ve recently applied for a student permit to learn how to drive. Awesome.

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