The Blue Man Group Speaks (the Pseudo Genre of Percussive Entertainment)

I’ll never forget the London Blue Man Group show my grade 12 class went to on our England trip in 2007. The moment when the blue trio crawled through the audience for the finale is embedded in my memory. Colourful streamers and large, inflated spheres rolled over each row in abundance.

As we were in awe, one Blue Man singled me out and plucked my favourite hat off of my head. He looked at me and I just knew what the look in his eyes meant: he ‘signed’ my hat with a blue thumbprint. I was livid. I couldn’t believe he’d mark my hat with paint.

After the show, I realized how ridiculous my reaction was and found the same Blue Man outside posing for photos with people. In his English accent, he reassured me the paint would come out in the wash. He could’ve been lying to me, but I believed him. The mark remains on my hat to this day. Maybe it was a good thing I acted out. I mean, I did get a Blue Man to actually speak to me in the end.


The Blue Man Group’s percussive show grasps the audience with visually stunning schticks and appealing choreography. Here’s a taste of what their show is like…

I’m happy to see the Blue Man Group still going strong today. Go see them if you get the chance. It’s a great show.

I’ll take this opportunity to ridicule my high school, Goldilocks self.

2007 Manny and the English Blue Man who spoke to me.

I’m sporting a classic tourist look: a Hockey Night in Canada shirt and a digital point-and-shoot camera case strapped underneath my rain jacket. You can see the blue thumb print on top of my hat as well.

I wonder what this man is doing today. I wonder if he’s still a Blue Man and still performs. I wonder if he still gives the same soul-piercing stare in every photo he poses in.

Cheers to the Blue Man Groups all over the world and cheers to humiliating decade-old pics.


Do you listen to these obscure genres?

We all know music genres can be totally arbitrary. Some are made up on the spot to describe a group’s sound that is strange or different. To be fair, genres allow us to label music, compartmentalize it, and essentially market it so that a target listener makes the decision to press play and give it a chance.

As I go through the process of releasing music, I’m having trouble categorizing it in a genre… If people are to find me online, they need a descriptor to relate to. We instantly judge, for better or for worse, something based on its label. It’s just what our brains do.

I find the whole idea of music needing a label kind of ridiculous (go figure… I blog about it), but I also find it very entertaining. There are some weird genres out there.

Honestly, a lot of them we could do without. But everybody wants to be special and I personally love hearing the strange genres that come out of the woodwork.

This week, I’ll take another break from looking at only one genre and give a fun list of obscure ones Spotify has available for your curious ears:

deep discofox: A goofy earnest genre featuring slick techno-disco and the occasional video.”

fallen angel: Fallen angel is a dark, often-orchestral, form of metal that features female vocals.”

fidget house: This variant of electro house features clicky treble and sludgy bass lines, with blurry synths and a midrange tempo.”

footwork: Footwork is a style of music and street dance from Chicago that involves drum fills and hand claps. By improvising elaborate twists, turns, and movements of their feet, dancers move quickly to the beat of the music and compete against each other.”

nerdcore: Nerdcore is hip-hop music catered to nerds. Lyrical subject matter may include science fiction and computer games. Most nerdcore features DIY production and uncleared samples.”

vegan straight edge: Vegan straight edge is hardcore punk that espouses a vegan and drug-free lifestyle. Lyrics feature themes about animal cruelty and clean living.”

And my personal favourite:

wrestling: The sound of wrestling stars.”

For more entertaining, wacky genres, check out the full list on the Spotify Insights blog:

Sources: Spotify Insights

The World’s Listening Map & Listening Stats

Do you ever wonder what music people listen to in different parts of the world? Thanks to Spotify’s interactive listening map you can now click and know in a matter of seconds. Not sure how I only stumbled upon this now. I am entranced. Take a look:

Click on a city to find the 100 “distinctive” songs that are played there disproportionately relative to the rest of the world. Click on a country to see its most distinctive, emerging, viral, and popular track for the current week.

I first checked Amsterdam, then meandered over to Reykjavik. Then I thought: what the heck, what do people living in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina listen to?  Click on a city to find its distinctive 100 songs that are played disproportionately from the rest of the world.

The Apple Music vs. Spotify war rages on and each streaming service has its pros and cons, but something I’ve always appreciated with Spotify is stats. I am intrigued by listening stats: who, what, where, the whole lot. I’ll often waste a lot of time looking at stats Spotify provides. Data springs up all over Spotify’s user interface, and I love it.

I like to track new music’s stats especially. When mega artists like Ed Sheeran and Lorde drop new music, it’s fun to see the virality unfold. Sheeran took over the Spotify-streaming throne from Drake and is now first worldwide with 48.5 million monthly listeners (up from 42.18 last month—see chart below). Lorde is seventy-sixth worldwide with 12.8 million monthly listeners.

Sheeran’s album, ÷, broke the single day streaming record on its release date with 56.73 million plays on Spotify worldwide, according to Music Business Worldwide. The Weeknd’s Starboy had the previous record with 29 million last November (2016).


From Music Business Worldwide

Anyway, back to the listening map.

I wondered what was distinctive, emerging, popular, and viral in Winnipeg. So here it is… Winnipeg’s favourites on Spotify. How many of these songs have you listened to? My score is 7/100. Hmm, maybe I should move.

Sources: Spotify Insights, Music Business Worldwide, MBW 2