“Baby One More Time” Turns 16

Here’s something to make you feel old if you’re around the same age as me: Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” was released 16 years ago today. 16 YEARS. Meaning it is the same age Britney was when she released the song in 1998. I was 10.

Honestly, I didn’t even realize it until I saw this article from Billboard wherein they include 5 great performances of the song. Naturally, it got me thinking: for a total “POP” song, the one that catapulted Britney’s career and really is one of the defining pop songs of the late 90s, it has been done/redone/remixed so many ways by Britney herself (as evidenced by the Billboard article), but has also been covered a lot by other artists, some in very unexpected ways.

So to supplement the Billboard article (check out the videos they have there!), I present you with some more versions of “Baby One More Time,” by Britney and others. Two things of note: 1) Watching the early Britney performances makes you realize that she tried to sing live at times; 2) It’s interesting that most of the covers of this song are all by male artists.








Confessions of a Blogger

Credit to The Nerdy Girlie, Megan Gotch, for the graphic

Credit to The Nerdy Girlie, Megan Gotch, for the graphic

The Nerdy Girlie recently did a post entitled Confessions of a Blogger and called out the rest of us for our own confessions. So, as part of the Female Geek Bloggers community, I accepted the challenge!

1. Self-Conscious

I created the blog back in 2009, in my senior year of university, simply as a means to get my thoughts and opinions about pop culture out. I rant and discuss things with friends, but my friends don’t have ALL the same interests as me, and aren’t as crazy about pop culture as I am. Thus, Pop Cultured Randoms was born! I began blogging (and still do) just to get my thoughts out there, beyond the 140 characters of Twitter, and I never expected people to read it, but sometimes I do get a little self-conscious and wonder why I’m doing it at all if not many people read what I have to say.

2. There’s a Reason I Don’t Blog As Often As I Think I Should

I am keen on writing – in university, if I had the option to write a paper instead of doing an exam or to make a final exam worth less, I took it. But writing takes a long time…and I’m kind of a perfectionist…and I need to be inspired. I don’t like to blog about whatever; if it’s something small, that’s what Twitter’s for. If I have something I really need to rant about or just something I really want to share, then I’ll blog about it. Otherwise, I don’t want to blog just for the sake of blogging, ya know?

3. Multitasker

I always need music in the background, regardless of what I’m doing. I hate quiet – mainly because I’m already a quiet person, so I just need noise in general to fill my head. I do my best to actually sit down at my desk to write, but if you’ve read this blog, you’d know how much of a TV nerd I am and how much time that takes up. So more often than not, I end up writing on the couch, while watching TV. Not the best way to do either things, but I’m a person who likes to maximize my time.

4. I’m Still Learning

I’m not terrible with technology and I want to say I’m pretty good at working the internet (LOL that just made me sound ancient), but five years of blogging, and I’m still learning how to work with WordPress, graphics, and whatnot. For the longest time, I used a standard WordPress template for my background. Then I realized I should TRY to personalize my page, however much I could, to the extent of my abilities. So that’s when I finally made my own background, putting pictures of my favourite things together, and spending longer than I really should have with Photoshop. Like I said, I’m not terrible with technology but I’m not particularly good with technical stuff and jargon I don’t understand. Aannndd that’s why I’ve had the same background for like 2 years now.

5. It’s Pop Cultured RANDOMS For a Reason

There are lots of blogs dedicated solely to fashion or beauty or just one thing – good on you if you’re doing that. That’s not me. I’m interested in too many things relating to entertainment and pop culture to be bogged down by just one thing. If I’m REALLY into something, you’ll notice by the frequency I blog about or mention it (ie. my obsession with the show Nikita, up until the very end…and even now after it’s over). Otherwise, if I get inspired to write about something, I’ll do it. Simple as that. Plus, since these are my confessions, I feel like the “Randoms” part gives me an out to not only write about whatever I want, but also write whenever I want. Which again is just an excuse for me when I don’t feel compelled to write anything. But I am trying harder to write more! Proof: this post will be my third for the weekend!…which will probably be followed by two weeks of nothing, if my past habits are any indication.

And there it is, my blogging confessions!

Music Monday: Reality TV Alums

There was a time I used to love American Idol, before everything about it started to annoy me. These days, The Voice is my singing competition of choice, but even I have to admit that them doing two seasons year is quickly burning me out. But you know what? At the end of the day, you can’t deny some of the talent that comes out of these TV singing competitions. Just two weeks ago, American Idol season 8 winner Kris Allen released his third album, Horizons, and it got me thinking about all the other alums who came out of Idol or Voice, whose career I still follow and music I still listen to.

  1. Kelly Clarkson, Sober – Too obvious to put Kelly in this list? Who cares? Let’s be real, it all started when Kelly won that first season of Idol and moved on to international success. It would be easy to put one of her massively successful singles, but instead, I’m going with my favourite Kelly song of all time.
  2. Kris Allen, In Time – As previously mentioned, the winner of American Idol season 8 just released a new album and “In Time” is one of my favourites off of it. People may have wanted to Adam Lambert to win that season, but I was a fan of Kris’ from the get-go and have absolutely loved everything he’s done since the show.
  3. Tessanne Chin, Count on My Love – I’ve loved The Voice from the beginning, but Tessanne’s album (which got released in June) is the first Voice winner’s album I’ve actually bought. She’s an amazing and unique talent, and the album does feel like its an extension of the person you met on the show.
  4. Chris Cauley, She Can’t Take My Love – Chris appeared on the second season of The Voice and immediately impressed me with his rendition of “Grenade.” Though his time on the show was short-lived, I was so impressed by his voice that I continued to follow his music. So glad I did and helped fund (through Kickstarter of course) his EP My Turn which was released last year.
  5. Dia Frampton, Walk Away – She may have been known as one half of the sister duo Meg & Dia prior to being on The Voice, but Dia made a name for herself and took it to second place in the first season. Her album Red was one of my favourites in 2011, with its eclectic mix that still managed to personify Dia as an artist.
  6. Will Champlin, Eye of the Pyramid – Will came in third place in season 5 of The Voice, and that was after being stolen twice during the run of the show! His album Borrowing Trouble was released in June and like Tessanne’s album, it’s what you would have expected from him if you were a fan of his during the show.
  7. Jordis Unga, Hold on Me – I first remember Jordis from when she competed on a show called Rock Star: INXS and one of my favourite songs she did on that show was “The Man Who Sold the World” by David Bowie – that was 2005. Flash forward to 2012, where Jordis re-appears on my radar, appearing on season 2 of The Voice. Like Chris Cauley, I backed her Kickstarter, and “Hold on Me” is one of the songs that is featured on her album A Letter from Home.
  8. David Cook, Life on the Moon – I think it’s safe to say that David kind of ruined how I watch American Idol, in the BEST way possible. That is to say, season 7 of Idol was a game changer and that’s because David regularly remade the songs he performed on the show so they didn’t sound exactly like the original. I mean, who can forget his rendition of “Always Be My Baby“? Classic. Since then, he’s released two full albums and I actually wanted to include his song “Laying Me Low” which is a little bit more recent, but because Spotify doesn’t have it, I picked my favourite song from his first album.
  9. Tony Lucca, All My Friends – Tony had a pretty decent career/following before going on The Voice. I wish I could say I’ve followed his career for a long time but The Voice really was my true introduction to his music (I only knew of him previously as a former Mickey Mouse Club member). He released an EP under Adam Levine’s 222 Records label, but has now gone back to his indie roots and has released another EP Drawing Board on his own.
  10. Melinda Doolittle, You’re the Reason (U.R.Y) – One of the best talents to come out of Idol and she needs to get more recognition. Melinda is simply amazing and this song, from the album of the same name, features her flawless vocals over a modern R&B sound that still has a little old school feel to it. So in other words, it’s awesome.
  11. Ben Hazlewood, Twice – Ben surprised me on the first season of The Voice Australia and it continued post-show. I was incredibly impressed by his EP Loveless which turned out to be a very solid collection of pop songs.
  12. Diana Rouvas, If We Never Said Hello – I feel like it’s a pattern with me, following the careers of more non-winners than actual show winners, but that’s because there’s just so many talented singers who deserve recognition. Diana is another alum from the first season of The Voice Australia, who has such a soulful yet cool voice. I’ve got one of her original songs here, but may I suggest you check out her rendition of Beyonce’s “Love on Top”? Just as good, if not better than the original (yeah, I said it.)
  13. Carrie Underwood, Undo It – I wasn’t a huge fan of Carrie’s, thought she was a great singer on Idol and she deserved to win, I just wasn’t that big on country music. I slowly became a fan after the release of “Before He Cheats” and by the time she released her third album Play On, which features “Undo It” I was a convert. I still can’t do the REALLY COUNTRY songs, but give me a country song with a rock edge and we’re good.


Music Monday: Current Obsessions

I love the feeling of hearing new music; there’s just something so exciting about it. While there are a lot of songs on the radio I really can’t stand, there are quite a few radio hits and a few songs from recently released albums that I’m currently obsessed about.

  1. Keira Knightley, Lost Stars – It brings me absolute pleasure to see Begin Again (fka Can A Song Save Your Life?) finally get released and people loving it. I saw it at TIFF last year and just fell in love with both the movie and the songs, so it was an excruciating wait to get my hands on the soundtrack. There’s actually two versions of Lost Stars, the other sung by Adam Levine, but surprisingly I love Keira’s version more. There’s a sort of pure quality to the mix and her voice, that I really love.
  2. Nikki Yanofsky, Necessary Evil – Nikki Yanofsky is a Canadian talent, whom you may remember as the voice of the official Olympic song for Vancouver 2010. Regardless of that fact, she just released a new album with the help of the legendary Quincy Jones. This song got me right away when I first heard it because I immediately started picturing an Argentine Tango being choreographed to it. [The barometer of how much I like a song now depends on whether I can picture choreography to it…despite not being a dancer.]
  3. Ed Sheeran, Don’t – You thought I was gonna pick Sing, with all its Justin Timberlake/Justified inflections, which I still love but I’m obsessed with Don’t. It samples a Lucy Pearl (remember them?!) song and just has this awesome R&B groove to it.
  4. Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, Problem – That 90s R&B throwback sound with the horns? LOVE.
  5. Tessanne Chin, Everything Reminds Me of You – Tessanne’s recently released debut album is actually the first Voice winner album I’ve bought. This song in particular seems made to fit in with Top 40 radio in the same vein as Emeli Sande’s songs, which is part of the reason why I really like it. If you listen to the other songs on her album, you can really hear her Jamaican influences mix well with the pop/R&B sound. Everything feels authentic and doesn’t feel like it was haphazardly put together.
  6. Maroon 5, Maps – I was a little bit wary about the song because I feel like Overexposed (their previous album) was playing too much as mainstream pop. There were still some songs that I really loved, but the album as a whole didn’t do it for me. Maps though, is a little bit more true to form for the band; it has a quality that plays well to Top 40 radio but still feels more decidedly Maroon 5 than most of Overexposed. Jesse Carmichael being back certainly helps, as does the fact that it doesn’t sound so Ryan Tedder-y despite him having a hand in producing/writing the song.
  7. Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake, Love Never Felt So Good – Let’s be real, this song just feels good.
  8. Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars – Let it be said that even when Coldplay is experimenting with their sound, their songs still sound distinctively theirs. You can tell it’s a Coldplay song and this one’s no exception.
  9. Hayden Panettiere, Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet – OK so this is kinda old but for some reason, I can’t stop listening to it. It’s the right amount of country with a little bit of an edge that I seem to gravitate towards.
  10. John Mayer, XO – John Mayer doing a cover of Beyonce’s XO and it is awesome. After two very folk-ish albums, him doing this cover just made me think: Where has this John Mayer been for the past 5 years?! It sounds like the JM I used to know and love! Will he keep this up for the next album? I don’t know but I hope so!

Music Monday: The Forgotten Pop Songs of the Late 90s/Early 00s

I loved The Nerdy Girlie’s Boy Band edition of Music Monday last week that I kinda had to steal her idea. Ok, so stealing isn’t the right word, more like inspired. From time to time, I still go back and listen to songs from 5ive, BBMak, and SoulDecision, but their inclusion in Megan’s list got me thinking: What other songs did I used to listen as an impressionable young teen that might have been forgotten about or didn’t quite strike the same nostalgia chords as say an NSYNC or Backstreet Boys song did or for some reason weren’t quite as big a hit as I might have thought they were? I mean being Canadian, we got music that came out of the U.S., homegrown in Canada, and stuff from the U.K., so I’m not even sure if everyone has heard all of these songs. Oh well!

  1. Westlife, Swear It Again
  2. S Club 7, S Club Party – If you know this song, you love it. Don’t lie.
  3. All Saints, I Know Where It’s At
  4. MyTown, Party All Night – For the longest time, I didn’t realize that Danny and Mark from The Script used to be in this boy band. Like seriously. I couldn’t believe it and now I can’t help but giggle every time I listen to The Script.
  5. M2M, Mirror Mirror
  6. Eden’s Crush, Get Over Yourself – Hey, remember the first girl group Nicole Scherzinger was apart of?
  7. A-Teens, Upside Down
  8. Robyn, Show Me Love – Robyn is known as a dance artist these days, but when she first came on the scene, she was decidedly much more pop.
  9. 5ive, When the Lights Go Out – I had to include this song, if only so I can mention the music video. Now they had a video when the song was released in the UK but then they did another one for the US release…AND it featured Bethany Joy Lenz (aka Haley from One Tree Hill)!
  10. Jennifer Love Hewitt, How Do I Deal – When JLH tried her hand at singing. It wasn’t bad – and she did actually release a couple albums – it just wasn’t spectacular.
  11. Jennifer Paige, Crush – I legitimately loved this song, almost on par with Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn.
  12. Sugar Jones, Days Like That – Canada’s girl group that came out of the show Popstars, similar to how Eden’s Crush was created.
  13. Scene 23, I Really Don’t Think So – Hey, remember when Josh Henderson was in this pop group before becoming an actor?
  14. Willa Ford, I Wanna Be Bad
  15. Dream, He Loves U Not
  16. BBMak, Back Here – Because I still love this song. And it still totally holds up to this day.

Man, I could totally extend this list even more. But I won’t. This has been fun though, so I may have to do more Music Monday posts.

And for your listening pleasure, a Spotify playlist featuring (almost) all the songs!

Because even Spotify has its limits, I’ve included the videos for the missing songs below.