The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

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I really enjoy reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Intervention, True Life, and Gypsy Sisters. If you blend those all together, take away the censors, and greatly amplify the shocking antics, you’d get The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. It’s a documentary following four generations of the Whites, a family of outlaws from Boone County, West Virginia. This could quite possibly be the most dysfunctional and entertaining family I’ve ever encountered. 

I’ll introduce you to some of the members:

Bertie Mae White:  She’s the matriarch of the White family at 84 years old. Bertie Mae doesn’t like it when her children blow pot in her face and crush up and snort pills. They do it regardless. Bless poor Bertie Mae.

Jesco White:  The wildest White in my opinion, he’s one of Bertie Mae’s children. He’s a “famous” mountain dancer who huffed gasoline growing up, followed in his deceased father D Ray’s dancing footsteps, and legitimately frightens me. The film White Lightnin’ is based loosely on Jesco’s life.

Mamie White:  Mamie is my favorite member of the family. She is Jesco’s older sister and she likes to party. Mamie sings a mean “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seems to be a prescription drug dealer. She wants her funeral to be a wild party. I respect that.

Mamie White

Sue Bob White: The self-proclaimed sexiest White, Sue Bob is Bertie Mae’s youngest child. Her son Brandon shot a man’s face off and almost killed him. He’s in prison. Apparently she’s in jail now, too. Don’t take her to Taco Bell. I repeat: Under no circumstances should she ever be taken to Taco Bell.

Kirk White: Kirk is one of Bertie Mae’s grandchildren. CPS took her baby before she could even leave the hospital with it. I think it might have been because Kirk and another woman were snorting pills in the hospital room right after she gave birth, but what do I know. Kirk goes to rehab and gets clean by the end of the documentary. But, not before flashing her boobs on a night out.

Those are some awesome names, right? While this documentary is very funny, it’s also eye opening. The culture of Appalachia is very different to that of the rest of the U.S. Coal mining is still a popular and dangerous job there and poverty is just a way of life. Boone County doesn’t seem like an easy place to succeed. I can’t really blame the Whites for resorting to crime to survive. Getting social security checks for all of your children by claiming they’re all crazy is some next level shit, though.

It’s clear that the little kids in the film weren’t raised in the most innocent atmosphere. Kirk’s son Tylor drops f-bombs and says he’s going to kill her ex-boyfriend. He was literally bouncing off the walls after drinking 6 cans of soda. It’s inappropriate behavior for any age, but it’s extra alarming coming from a child. The insane part is that the parents see nothing wrong with their kids swearing and doing whatever they please. That’s how they were raised and the cycle continues.

There’s a rumor floating around that the Whites were supposed to get their own reality TV show. That would be epic! I don’t know what channel could show it, seeing how explicit it is. Mamie claims that Johnny Knoxville, the executive producer, didn’t give the family as much money as they were promised for the film. She feels like her and her family were used and I can definitely agree with her. Throughout the documentary, it was obvious that producers were egging the family on. Shock value sells.

If you love drama, obscenity, and picnic table clogging, then this documentary is a must-see. It kept me enthralled and I’ve watched it numerous times. I swear my Southern ancestors draw me to this stuff.

kirk

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Top 13 Albums of 2013

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Happy New Year all! Last year I did a post on my favorite songs of the year. This time around I’m sharing my favorite albums of 2013. We have a lot to cover, so let’s jump in!

13.) Jewel – Greatest Hits

I know I’ve done a whole post on Jewel, but I have to mention her again. This album exemplifies all that is perfect about Jewel. From her folk roots to her country present and some pop goodness in between. Her updated duets with Kelly Clarkson on “Foolish Games” and Pistol Annies on “You Were Meant For Me” are extra powerful. I recommend this to first time Jewel listeners and long-time fans.

Jewel Greatest Hits

12.) Millionaires – Tonight

Filthy, silly, and fun, Millionaires know how to party. This album could disgust some with its sexually explicit lyrics. You have to be familiar with these girls’ previous work, though. This is tame for them. Trust me. Their electropop rap music is meant to be played on a night out to the club. I love singing to this album in my car. I especially enjoy the song “Drinks On Me” which is all about alcohol. Pour me another shot, girls.

11.) Blood On The Dance Floor – Bad Blood

Definitely my venting album. Bad Blood is a great record to blast when you’re pissed at the world or having a bad day. Sometimes I partake in screaming offensive song lyrics as loud as possible out my car windows. BOTDF always delivers. The hard electronic beats and hardcore lyrics are pretty epic. A negative is when the pair try to be inspirational. Excuse me, but calling someone a basic bitch and then trying to positively influence fans doesn’t work for me. Other than that, this is a solid brutal electronic album.

bad blood

10.) Lorde – Pure Heroine

With a fresh sound and a badass artist name, Lorde has mixed reviews, it seems. I think she’s wonderful. Pure Heroine tells an ordinary story in a novel way. The electronic instrumentation is simple, allowing the listener to interpret the lyrics. Not an album one would expect from a teenager. “Royals” was just so unique to anything else on the radio. None of the other big female names in pop music are singing about the things that Lorde is. Intelligence has nothing to do with age. Give Lorde a try.

9.) Ayria – Plastic Makes Perfect

Industrial dance pop starlet Ayria is virtually unknown to a mainstream audience. Her music is exactly what I would want to jam to in a Goth club. It’s got the perfect mix of pop melody, edgy lyrics, and a darker dance sound. In fact, when I fantasize about being a singer, I would want to be like Ayria. Normal enough to attract an audience, but different enough to stand out. Plastic Makes Perfect is a gothy taste for a typical pop fan.

Ayria Plastic Makes Perfect

8.) Krewella – Get Wet 

Euphoric EDM music embracing love and freedom. Some of you may remember my obsession with their song “Alive” about a year ago. It’s still my mantra, but the rest of this album is equally inspirational. I’m critical of dance music because I love it. These girls and guy take me to another dimension with their crazy beats and epic message of living in the moment. I also really appreciate their presence in a genre dominated by male DJs. A Krewella rave is exactly where I want to be.

7.) Britt Nicole – Gold

I listen to Christian music. Shocked? Yeah, me too. That’s how good Britt Nicole’s music is. Dubstep, rap, and ballads all appear on Gold. I really love the mix of EDM and uplifting lyrics. This album is just a super positive soundscape all around. Britt could be a huge pop star, but she’s chosen to stay true to her Christian roots and that’s admirable. I will never be a religious person, but Britt and I have the same mission: spread love and light. She’s inspiring a lot of kids and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

6.) Skylar Grey – Don’t Look Down

Skylar is a smart girl and a brilliant songwriter. I looked forward to this album for a long time. I didn’t even need to listen to it to know it would be amazing. Her previous work had already convinced me of her talent. Skylar goes against the pop star grain. Her song “Religion” reminds me of Alanis’ “Ironic” in the lyrics and vocal styling used. Don’t Look Down is a no bullshit pop album with bite. Skylar is an underrated gem and that needs to change.

SkylarGrey-DONT LOOK DOWN-Artwork

5.) Charli XCX – True Romance

This album contains many things I love: dark synthpop, dramatic lyrics, and rapper Brooke Candy. The title, True Romance, is fitting as this album explores all aspects of love. The standout track “You – Ha Ha Ha” is a catchy break-up song, while “Take My Hand” describes getting high on love. There is a perfect balance between mainstream appeal and a novel sound. “Deep in black roses, dateless doses”…Charli makes my gothy heart sing! Oh, and the album cover is drop dead gorgeous. Charli’s rad fashion sense would stop me in my tracks if I saw it in a store.

True Romance

4.) Natalia Kills – Trouble

Natalia Kills, the Queen of Dark Pop, returned this year with her second album Trouble. She explores some pretty dark themes, like a broken childhood on the gorgeous song “Saturday Night” and the dangerous influence of the media on “Television”. The awesome thing about Natalia is she will have you singing and dancing to disturbing stuff when you stop to think about it. Her songs are like mini dramas that could easily unfold on film. The Alice in Wonderland inspired “Rabbit Hole” about teenage sex takes me back to the song “Wonderland”, my favorite from her first album. Who doesn’t want to sing about screwing like rabbits? lol

3.) Britney Spears – Britney Jean

Britney Jean feels different from a typical Britney album. At the same time, it’s definitely a Britney album. It’s sexy, catchy, danceable, and a bit personal. Or, at least as personal as can be expected for Britney. The songs “Alien”, “Perfume”, and “Passenger” come from a genuine place. They feel real. Fear of infidelity, surrendering control in a relationship, and feeling like an outcast are all universal experiences. Fierce “Work Bitch” Britney is great and that fills the other half of the album. “Til It’s Gone” has that David Guetta dance sound I adore, making it my favorite on the album. This is definitely some of Britney’s best work. Bitch worked. Hard.

2.) Panic! At The Disco – Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die

Synthpop heavy and filled with theatrics, I feel like this newest album from P!ATD is inspired by Depeche Mode. And I fucking love it. The distorted vocals fit nicely with the dance beat backdrop. The haunting “Far Too Young To Die” conjures up images of a dreary day walking alone in the city. It’s a lonely and desperate song, but it’s beautiful. “Nicotine” equates bad love to an addiction and “Girls/Girls/Boys” discusses the confusion that comes with love. The lyrics of the album are strange at times, but that’s typical Panic! style. I really like the direction the band took with this album. It’s exciting when artists you’ve loved for a long time switch it up.

1.) Demi Lovato – Demi

I would have never guessed this album as my favorite of the year. I bought it on a whim and I don’t have any of Demi’s other CDs. I heard her first single off it, called “Heart Attack”, got obsessed with it, and thought the album might be equally amazing. I was blown away. Every single song is spot on amazing and relevant to my life. This is a pop album through and through. I get bored with music quickly, but I probably played this album for a month straight in my car. Demi is a Summer album for sure. It’s full of energy, light, and is super easy and tempting to sing along to. “Neon Lights” is a rad dance track I naturally gravitated to. Slow songs like “In Case” and “Shouldn’t Come Back” are heartbreakingly sincere. Demi is a tremendous vocalist and very honest in her music and life. Unlike some other Disney stars, she was absolutely born to sing. Albums rarely entrance and inspire me. This does both. Thank you for sharing your remarkable journey, Demi.

Whew! Those were my picks. I had such a hard time placing these albums with numbers. They all feel like my children, so how can one be better than the next?! haha

I know I’m beyond terrible at posting here, but I’m looking forward to a great 2014. This is going to be the year of elevation and hard work. I don’t know what to expect and that’s really fun! This is just the beginning for Asylum Attendant. I haven’t even opened the asylum doors yet…;)

Lots of love,

~Asylum