arts

Column: Laugh it off



I used to be a music snob — then came this semester.

A semester fraught with all the stresses of school, work and everything else thrown at the average college student.

This stress has led me to abandon my elitist, indie ways and turn instead to the guilty pleasures of popular music from artists like Taio Cruz and discover the glory of listening to a ridiculous CD.

I used to be all about the labels behind the music and the philosophies of the bands. But in the stress of the past semester, I’ve realized that the cure for a bad day is always an outrageously trashy song. Because — let’s be honest — we all love to hear about the craziness in others’ lives. Their stories make us feel more sane and provide us with some entertainment.

By far, the greatest new artist, or at least the most played, on my iTunes this semester has been Denise LaSalle. LaSalle is an African-American woman in her early 70s who just happens to enjoy singing about her sexual experiences. She is a very interesting soul who possesses a very independent nature. And with more than 40 years’ experience singing and sexing up young men all over the country, she definitely knows how to tell a story of love gone wrong.

I happened upon her CD by chance. After seeing the craziness of the cover after a long day, I thought, “why not take a listen?” And what I heard was the most over-the-top, sexualized album I have ever encountered.

Her songs are based in overtly sexual metaphors, narratives of cheating, lewd remarks and a heavy reliance on auto-tune. This hilarious combination has provided my friends and me many nights’ worth of laughter, which leads one to ponder what exactly makes music “good.”

Sure, LaSalle isn’t The Beatles, but then again, she doesn’t claim to be. Her music has a very different, yet still important, purpose.

Her songs provide an escape from the realities and drama in our lives and offer us exciting soap opera-esque tales of intimacy and lost love. She shares with us her most personal moments in ways that are surprisingly more realistic than the poppy images provided by Akon, Ke$ha and Bruno Mars.

She discusses the hard truth that relationships don’t always work out and are often messy.

LaSalle isn’t for everyone, but I certainly believe she can help put a smile on anyone’s face. So the next time you need an escape from the craziness of college life, look no further than Denise LaSalle’s station on Pandora. I assure you, you won’t be bored.

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