This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #473: That Power by will.i.am. (featuring Justin Bieber).
A few weeks ago, when I first started discussing this “500-Songs” project at home, my girls were supportive but, not overly enthusiastic. They correctly predicted that there wouldn’t be many songs, if any at all, that were from their time frame. Both girls like music and listen to their own tunes in their bedrooms and/or when we go on road trips in the car. But yet, they both complained that the songs I was posting were “old songs for old people” and, as such, they lost interest in my work. So, as a way to include them in what I was doing, I gave them the opportunity to submit ten songs each that they felt were, not only important songs but that were, in their opinion, actually, modern songs. Today, I am premiering the first of those songs. I had the girls rank their songs in order of personal preference. “That Power” by will.i.am and Justin Bieber is Song #10 on Leah’s list. As I go through the entire list of 500 songs, I will drop in a song from the girls every 25 posts or so, just so ya know.
Both Leah’s and Sophie’s lists are very different. Each list reflects their individual personalities but more, the lists reflect a bit of their value systems, too. In the case of Leah’s list, she chose her ten songs based on personal connections and memories that the songs eschewed. “That Power” is a song that reminds her of cherished memories from her elementary school days. The format of “That Power” is not a traditional music video or live performance. Instead, it is from a website called Just Dance. This website is a platform for musicians to have their work reach their audience in a different way. In this case, it is via a video game-like dance experience (as you shall see in the video I am linking to this post). In these videos, your job is to pick one of the avatars on screen and follow/replicate the way it moves throughout the song. By performing with friends, you can learn a cool dance routine as you listen to the song and move to the music. The “Just Dance” videos are often used by teachers in classrooms as a means of having their students participate in some quick, fun physical exercises. For Leah, she has many fond memories of her time in elementary school and of working out to the Just Dance videos with her early school friends. These memories always bring a smile to her face. She and Sophie watch these videos at home now, too and enjoy the quick twenty-minute workout they are able to get by doing so.
But, what is important and informative about “That Power” to me is that it highlights the wide variety of platforms that artists now use to connect to their audiences. When I was their age, I heard music on the radio, sometimes on tv and live, in person, in my Church or somewhere else in my hometown. Today, my girls hear songs online from streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify. They listen/watch songs on websites like “Just Dance”. Some of their favourite songs are including in the soundtracks to video games, too. But, more than anywhere else, my girls go to YouTube as their main source for music and music-related content. When I asked them about what was so good about YouTube compared to everything else, they replied that on YouTube, you can access music in multiple ways such as going to an artist’s “channel” and having easy access to content created or promoted by them, all in one place. They also said that they enjoyed using the Search function because of the way the YouTube algorithm works. In this case, choosing a favourite song will lead to YouTube predicting likes and dislikes and, sooner than later, new songs and artists that are similar to what they originally searched for will start to appear. In this way, both girls said that they are hearing a wider range of songs than they would have known to look for otherwise.
Because of how Leah and Sophie access their music, they are being exposed to singers and songs that Keri and I have never heard of in our lives. Every now and again, we get a glimpse into this part of their lives when they decide to access Just Dance, for instance. But, for the most part, they are developing their own musical tastes and styles, independent of what their “old Dad” might think constitutes good music. I have to admit that I am actually pleased with the lists that both girls submitted. There is good music on both lists. They may not be my playlists but, they are good lists, just the same.
In the case of this specific song, I assume that most of you who have been reading these posts know who Justin Bieber is. If you don’t, he is the pride of Stratford, Ontario and the owner of multiple Top Ten songs, Gold records and sales in the tens of millions or, as the kids might say, he has been streamed tens of millions of times and has racked up millions of views on YouTube. The main singer of “That Power” is will.i.am., who was one of the founding members of the very successful group, Black-eyed Peas. Like Bieber, will.i.am. has enjoyed much success and has channeled much of that success in ventures that have a philanthropic bent. Much of his solo work involves children; hence the inclusion of his song on Just Dance in a way that helps children become healthier and that doesn’t expect them to spend any money on merchandise. He has, also, contributed music to Sesame Street, as well as, many charitable community-focussed projects that aim to help bring youth and music and the Arts together.
There is a lot of consumerism interwoven into much of what children access online these days. However, websites like “Just Dance” and singers such as will.i.am., strive to give children a positive experience that benefits the child and not the singer. As a parent, I approve of that message. I am, also, happy that Leah and Sophie have been exposed to such a wonderful and beneficial platform where they can become healthy and develop their own musical tastes and styles at the same time. So, ladies and gents, enjoy “That Power” by will.i.am., featuring Justin Bieber, as seen on Just Dance. If you are so inclined, feel free to get in a quick workout of your own. There are loads of other “modern” songs on this website, too. Have fun. My girls sure do!
will.i.am has a wonderful website that you should check out. You can do so by clicking them link here.
Just Dance has a website that can be reached by clicking here.
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