It’s been a year since my last visit to the opera. I’m sure a year has changed my perspective on a lot of things, but since my first operatic experience was something of a “eh, so-so” event, I wasn’t expecting to have a particularly strong response to The Marriage of Figaro.

Thankfully, I was wrong. The music itself was beautiful (though I still cringe at the idea of opera singing, for some reason); I guess I can thank Mozart for that. I’m certain the cast was ideal, though I don’t claim to be anywhere near an expert on the subject. There was a tie between the hilarity of the action and the ideal cast for ‘the-best-thing-about-it,’ because I doubt a less skilled group of performers could have convincingly expressed the action in a way that could be easily grasped (yes, the subtitles were a great help, but the whole thing was in Italian and I swear I could have looked at the action on the stage and kept up with things fairly well if the subtitles crapped out – which they did at one point). There were some ridiculous characters in the opera, not to mention some exceptionally backwards ideas about marriage and fidelity, but those things didn’t seem to bother me at the time, which is all one can ask for.

And just as the audience was giving the entire cast its standing ovation at the end, when I thought things couldn’t possibly get anymore gratifying – they did. The lead (I guess…Fab Friend, is Figaro considered the lead?) proceeded to propose to his girlfriend (also a member of the cast) on stage! It really was adorably romantic. It seems the two had met while performing The Marriage of Figaro some years ago (what a lovely coincidence) and the woman said “yes!” before he even got the question out. That was the first time I’ve witnessed a public proposal of marriage and it sent chills down my spine. Eeep! So cute.

If I had to analyze what made this experience so much better than my last, I’d put it down to two things: 1) The action itself was memorably comedic. I can’t remember what happened in La Traviata and honestly, I can’t be bothered to look. But I don’t think I’ll forget what happened in The Marriage of Figaro because it was patently absurd and made me laugh out loud multiple times. 2) I attended this performance with Hubby, who has a genuine appreciation for music and radiated enjoyment throughout. Last time I attended with three girls similarly unrefined as myself (sorry Funky and Dear Friends… but I doubt you’d deny it!), and I think we all were sort of confused most of the time. I don’t think it would have spoiled this performance for me, but having someone there who was truly looking forward to the arias and overtures certainly didn’t hurt anything.

I am so glad I gave the opera another chance. I’d like to thank Fabulous Friend for the tickets and Hubby for joining me and adding to my enjoyment! Brava!

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Okay. I hate myself in advance for you. This is one of the most embarrassing admissions I’ve made on this platform. But I’ve said enough of my love of Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake (okay, I haven’t fully admitted my feelings regarding JT as of yet, but love is one of the many and varied emotions he evokes in me) that a deep appreciation for Ke$ha’s “music” shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone.

Here’s the thing. She doesn’t do a lot of actual singing when she sings. And she’s basically one of the um…(is it slander or libel when it’s in writing?)…skankiest pop stars I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’m not sure what I’m worried about because I think “skank” is the look she’s going after. I don’t see how it can’t be. Classy is not a word she appears to be familiar with. In any sense of the word. Except the sense in which it is spelled this way: Klassy.

I recently got forwarded a link to Ke$ha’s ten trashiest lyrics. Or was it stupidest? I dunno. But you know, it’s one of the reasons WHY I love her. She’s unrepentant in her total stupid grossness. She talks about brushing her teeth “with a bottle of Jack,” which actually sorta makes sense. Doesn’t alcohol kill germs and stuff? More people should try it. And she wants a dude that looks like Mick Jagger? Really? I can’t figure that one out. And according to her Blah Blah song, she has no appreciation at all for a guy who likes to talk. She’s missing out, but at the same time, she’s hilarious. And she’s real. Well, I guess somebody else probably wrote all her songs (oh my, do I have no journalistic standards? It would take about ten key strokes to find out if she had any input into her music, and it probably would have taken less time than constructing this aside. Really? So sad), but her songs are honest. She is a young woman who really just enjoys youthful frivolity and excess. She doesn’t try to hide it. There’s something to be respected in that sort of self understanding. She doesn’t hide her true colors. She embraces them. Plus, her song called Dinosaur about old dudes hitting on her is perhaps the funniest EVER musical expression not intended to be funny. Or at least I don’t think it was intended to be funny (but what do I know?).

Her songs are catchy (or should I say, ‘katchy’) and silly and rebellious and fun. She’s perfected the skill of talking in a way that sort of resembles singing and I think her speaking voice is very intriguing. The friend who sent me the link to her stupid lyrics said point-blank that poor Ke$ha can’t sing. I don’t know about that. I’m no Simon Cowell. I don’t always know the difference between fantastic and mediocre singing when I hear it (though I’d like to say that I can hear it when people sing off-key), so I won’t claim to say she’s got the best voice on the radio. I don’t think that (not even close), but I do turn up the volume when I hear one of her songs come on. We all know, LizHarrell is addicted to crap pop music and the people who read this blog probably fall into one of two camps – 1) who is Ke$ha?, or 2) how can you listen to that crap?, so I’m not really in much hope that I’ll have many supporters on this one. All I can say is that the CD player in my car is broke (“broke” instead of “broken” is an intentional typo to show how down I am with the hip young lingo), I have an iPod shuffle that used to connect to my radio but I don’t know where the cord is anymore, and I like to dance while I drive. Perhaps not good enough excuses for most of you, but I’m addicted to pop now. I can’t stop!

Also, Ke$ha is totally bad ass. I mean, she has a dollar sign in her name. How awesome is that?

There was once a band called Hanson. You may remember it. Actually, they’re still around, but instead of long-haired, pre-pubescent boys, they’re now far less famous young men. Still one of my all-time favorite musical groups. Hey, I’ve shared a lot of embarrassing stuff in this public forum. But anyone who knows me already knows this most embarrassing of facts, so no real revelations here. Just a deep, deep love for the brothers Hanson and a slightly shame-faced Liz.

At the height of their fame, Hanson went on SNL as a musical guest. The folks at SNL were kind enough to include the three fellas in a sketch, which mercilessly ridiculed their most popular tune, “MmmBop.” It took place in an elevator, which if memory serves, was stuck between floors. The brothers Hanson, among a few other people, were stuck on an elevator which was, conveniently, playing “Mmmbop” on an endless loop. The scene jumped in time… forward an hour, everyone was still humming along, happy-go-lucky. Three hours later, the other passengers on the stuck elevator were conversing amongst themselves, attempting to ignore the music. Isaac Hanson was starting to break. An hour later, Taylor Hanson started pulling his beautiful hair out. Zach started acting like a freakin’ crazy person another couple of hours after that.

The point I’m trying to make here is that even the catchiest songs can be unbelievably irritating upon continuous repetition. Honestly, I’ve never tested my threshold for tolerating popular music on repeat more than one or two times over. Recently, I’ve started enjoying the musical stylings of one Miss Miley Cyrus. Please, friends, forgive my sucky taste in music. I know, I know. I should be doing one of two things: 1) listening to what I enjoy and pretending I’ve never heard any of it when questioned about my favorite artists or 2) owning my taste in pop music and acknowledging it proudly. I have no desire to be dishonest about my taste, but I also can’t help but to feel a deep sense of shame for appreciating popular music. It’s weird. But whatever. For right now, I’m owning my enjoyment of Miley. “Party in the USA” makes me dance. It’s just a fun song. I won’t even comment on how much fun I have when I hear “See You Again.” Awe. Some.

Now, if you’re cool, you undoubtedly have no idea what I’m talking about. Which is fine. I think you’ll still appreciate the story that the three previous paragraphs were building up to.

I was in Atlanta for my job. I’m not certain what the radio stations in the area are all about, but with a basically busted CD player and a puny little iPod Shuffle, I was stuck with that. I scanned a few times and landed on 94.1, who was playing “Party” to my extreme delight. I was on my way to an appointment and that’s a fabulous song to get pumped up with.

Well, I soon found out that Miley is headed to Atlanta for a concert sometime in the next month, and by way of advertisement/a ticket giveaway contest, the station was playing “Party” regularly every half hour. “Sweet!” I thought. “This is going to keep me inspired to keep rockin’ the appointments all day long!”

Um. Not so sweet, by the end of day two. I won’t say that I can’t stand “Party in the USA” because let’s be honest, I’ll get over it soon enough and be back to full enjoyment of the song, but there came a point where I actually changed the station during the song’s intro. It was Miley Overload. I was shocked by the vehemence of my reaction, considering how much I generally enjoy the singing and dancing along. But I just spend way too much time in my car to deal with overloading on any one song. Variety, please! Everything in Moderation! Even Miley 🙂

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little obsessed with Pandora radio. It’s truly awesome. I would be mortified if anyone knew the sorts of songs I input as my favorites for my station to be built by, but I suppose that’s what’s so awesome about Pandora. No one has to know.

I guess the least embarrassing away to describe my music is that it is very upbeat. Keep in mind that I’ve had a lot of Mountain Dew today so I may just be pumped from the caffeine and sugar racing through my system, but I have been really getting into some of the more upbeat songs playing on my station. Bouncing, dancing while seated, doing some wicked neck isolations, and basically getting down. I’m pumped.

And when I get really pumped, the first thing I want to do is write. Mostly I think about working on my novel for awhile, then I remember that it’s been ages since I posted so I’m here, doing this. But then I got to thinking about how interesting it is that when I’m pumped, I get excited about writing. I know Hubby has songs that make him just want to go running or lift weights or something equally athletic. Music doesn’t really inspire me to activity (unless you count my head rolls and bouncing while seated…) like it does for him. Hubby is a very athletic fella for the most part so it makes sense that when he’s pumped, he wants to pump some iron (…okay…sorry…bad pun :)). I wonder if everyone has an activity they get really excited about when they hear really stellar and inspiring music?

What about you? What do you look forward to doing when you get pumped?