I CAN NOT WAIT!

On Tuesday, August 23rd, Barbra Streisand and Columbia Records will release What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand sings the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman

The sixty-fifth release by Streisand, has already garnered positive reviews from industry insiders and those that have been lucky enough to listen to the album in its entirety pre-release.

Following the 2009 release of Love is the Answer, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, Columbia is planning a media blitz – to prove that indeed Streisand is still “What Matter’s Most.” To gain maximum effect – Streisand will be featured in an interview on CBS Sunday Morning this coming Sunday (August 21st) and Starbucks is getting into the action, offering a rare opportunity to see the footage from this year’s MusicCares Tribute to the singer between the 23rd and 30 of this month. Even BBC Radio has debuted tracks from the album.

Facebook marketing (how subtle)

QVC has already offered the “Deluxe” edition of the album (2 CDs) with a DVD bonus. Hey, it makes sense to me! If the marketing can get Streisand yet another #1 album, Go for it!

Of the reviews I’ve read: from the less than challenging (So-so Gay) or the B+ given by Entertainment Weekly, perhaps one of the most direct and honest comes from Allison J. Waldman who writes, ” ‘What Matters Most’ shows us that she continues to possess the voice of a wondrous Stradivarius, the skill as a consummate actress and the intelligence of a fine director — all wrapped up in one amazing package.”

You can read her entire review here.

Thank you, Ms. Waldman for writing a most thoughtful and honest review of the album.

Honestly, I’m tired of insipid reviews of albums that barely scratch the surface. Whenever an artist (it doesn’t matter who) releases a new recording, it helps to immerse oneself into the recording. Finding all the nuances, phrasing, listening to the orchestra, the arranging. Music should be enjoyed on a multitiered level.

I enjoy the experience of listening over and over again to records – Barbra Streisand’s recordings are no different, at least for me.

I’ve already purchased (i.e. pre-ordered) my copy of “What Matters Most,” so I can’t wait to listen to the album!

Although I’m curious. Since the new album is only 10 tracks – why isn’t being released in Lp format? Who wouldn’t want to spin a vinyl copy of a NEW Streisand recording?!

Oh Tuesday, please hurry up!

Another Step Closer

Despite the heat, despite the economic woes, despite how life seems to get us down – it still goes on.

I’m a step closer, a day closer to yet another fall semester full of school. I’m taking on a nice 15 hours, with the option for another three. I’m resolved that my summers should be filled with doing something. Something, just to keep myself busy. I decided not to go for summer classes, I didn’t think I had the attention for it, and the job applications I sent out went unnoticed. Oh, that’s such a surprise. I’m rethinking my decision NOT to go to summer school. I should have, but I can’t cry over it now as the summer session concludes soon.

Tuition is due on the 23rd and school restarts for the fall semester on the 27th.

I’m quite excited about this semester and hope I can remain positive and forthright about how I feel about my classes. I started this blog with one consideration: detailing how my last year of undergraduate education is going to pan out.

While cleaning out the linen closet, a few days ago, I found my mother’s copy of The GRE for Dummies 3rd Edition by Suzee Vlk. I flipped through the book and true to the title “for dummies,” I felt like one. I looked at the math portion thinking, “I’m doomed!” Heck, I plucked the book out of relative dusty obscurity, thinking I would just look at it. Now, I’m not so sure an MA is in the cards for me. I’m looking too far down the road anyway, I haven’t even finished my BA program yet.

I wonder what truly is in the cards for me academically. I know I will graduate from MTSU, I succeeded in doing so at Motlow. But, really what is there out in the “real world” for someone with a BA in English and Cultural Studies?! One is either going to take the teaching route or end up doing their own thing.

I’ve been reading up on Yahoo! News about those college degrees that those graduating in 2011 and 2012 will find most useless – B.A. in English wasn’t one of them. Yet, what can one do successfully with a liberal arts degree besides teaching? Who knows. The real world has yet to slap me in the face.

For now, I’m just going to focus on finishing up my degree. Here’s to yet another semester with my shoulder to the wheel and my nose to the grindstone.

Until next time.

What Matters Most

Barbra Streisand, is an entertainment grande dame. She’s done everything and has acquired every accolade the entertainment biz can provide: 2 Oscars, 8 Grammy awards and multiple Emmys, Golden Globes and a TONYS et al. She is the inspiration and driver behind some of the greatest pieces of entertainment ever seen. Streisand’s presence is all over Hollywood and the small screen, as “Glee” makes full use of Streisand signature tunes on the television show.

On August 23rd, she returns with yet another album What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand sings the lyrics Alan and Marilyn Bergman, an album of 10 carefully chosen pieces Streisand has not previously recorded in her illustrious nearly 50 year career. Streisand returns with a new album after her 2009 release, Love Is The Answer which rocketed to #1 on the Billboard charts in the United States and topped the charts in the U.K. making her the ONLY artist in history with #1 albums in 5 consecutive decades.

Thus far, I have heard three cuts off the album: “The Windmills of Your Mind,” “That Face,” and “Solitary Moon,” the latter just being aired recently on BBC Radio 2 in a world wide exclusive on Ken Bruce’s show. I have to say (without being too “Gaga”) that Streisand at 69 is still in remarkable voice and sounds to my ear more relaxed and less strained than on her 2009 release. The silkiness of “Solitary Moon” is at once both lush and sensual, the arrangement by Johnny Mandel is beautifully cohesive and carries his signature sweeping orchestral touches.

Streisand explained how the Bergmans have a ‘remarkable gift for expressing affairs of the heart’, noting her long-held desire to devote an entire album to the couple’s ‘amazingly varied and consistently inspired music’. In fact, the affection and respect between the lyricists and the artist is quite something: ‘When we write a song, we hear Barbra,’ the Bergmans said.

There’s still a month to go, but already Streisand fans are drooling for this new album. Perhaps it’s just me

Streisand is still What Matters Most.

A and B

MTSU English Professors

WE MEAN BY IT THEY WRITE OF UNIMPORTANT THINGS; THEY THEY SPEND IMMENSE SKILL AND IMMENSE INDUSTRY MAKING THE TRIVIAL AND TRANSITORY APPEAR THE TRUE AND ENDURING. – Virginia Woolf

I’m tired of an education where I do not get any satisfaction out of anything. Unfortunately, this is where I am in the English Department at MTSU. Some of the professors are nice, most of them know their craft, but I just can’t stand being talked down to and being told what to read and what to believe. I’m positively ill with being told what to think when reading Modern British Literature or that my views on  literary analysis are wrong. The only concrete methodology of doing anything is only in mathematics. 2+2 must always = 4.

Why then am I told what to believe or that my writing sucks?! I make errors just like the next person. I am flawed. But, why talk down to someone who wants to improve? I want to better my skills as a writer. I want to become a practitioner of the complex art of English. I’m no Dr. Johnson, Charles Dickens or a great author of the 20th century. I just want to be me, a guy who loves English and loves to write, and aspire for greatness

I remember when I did my associates at Motlow, how much of a grand time I had. Okay, so I spent three years at a two year school. Go ahead, judge me. “Chris is slow.” Shut up. No, I had to deal the agony of attempting to get my asinine mathematics credit out of the way. You can just imagine how the specter of the GRE looms in the back of my mind. But, I digress. When I was at Motlow, the professors cared that their students understood and developed a since of themselves. Classes were small, teachers took time to know their students, one felt like they belonged. I owe a lot to that school, not because I have an Honors Associates Degree from it, but because of what it taught me.

In high school, I was never challenged. Motlow changed that. I was given the tools and the courage to succeed, I was allowed to spread my wings and fly. Such a gift I can never return.

I wish MTSU was like that. I wish instead of focusing on the mundane and the superficiality of sports, the insipidness of the SGA and teachers who don’t give a rats fart about their students, the college was more student focused. The whole “I’m One” slogan is a joke. I don’t feel like I’m apart of anything than a machine, Welcome to the Machine a song by Pink Floyd effortlessly comes to my mind.

When I graduate. That’s right it’s when I graduate, not if. I want to be able to say that I learned something appropriate, something useful. I want to be shout that I can finally differentiate the uses of a comma and a semicolon. I want to shout that I can actually proofread and edit my own material, I don’t have to beg someone friend of mine to do it for me.

Most of all I want to be able to USE my degree to further my own aspirations and dreams. I long to write either for a newspaper column or online news source. I want to fashion pieces in the same beautiful style as Meryl Gordon (who I adore.) I’ve loved English for so long, I can’t see myself doing anything else.

Here we are, again.

I never thought I’d find myself on WordPress again. I still have my old one “Thou art vain.” Only, I haven’t updated that since somewhere in 2009. This time I want to take people on a journey of my last year of college. The final year of educational madness before life truly begins. College has been such a rewarding experience for me. I have met so many wonderful friends, I’ve been challenged beyond belief. Most of all, I’ve made discoveries about myself I never thought possible.

This time it’s different.

This time I’m for real. I want to make my words count. I’d like you take the journey with me.