Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Danity Kane is prefabricated band formed by Diddy on Making The Band 3. In his attempt to make a girl group for the new millennium, he failed. But in making a one hit wonder (the club banger "Show Stopping") I assumed he succeeded. But it turns out they have another hit in them, the hip-hop variation on the "First Cut Is The Deepest" This time around it's called "Damaged" and at first I thought it was kinda cheesy. But it grows on you, it's a little generic Euro-synth hip-hop, but with a fun beat and lyrics about the need for a post-breakup heart mender. The opening lyric "Do you have a first aid kit handy" is a cool and different way of asking "How you gonna fix what my asshole ex broke?" that every rebound guy has to tackle.
Swedish pop star Robyn was in contract limbo when she recorded the first song for what would become "Robyn." So she bought out her contract and made what is the best independent pop record I've ever heard. From the opening track, on which Swingfly lists her many accomplishments (including out-super freaking Rick James) you can just feel the pop music exuding from every note. It's pop music like only Swedes can make: crazy, catchy, beat-heavy, full of strings and synths and insane lyrics that don't make sense half the time but feel so real. She covers the Teddybears ("Cobrastyle"), makes disco magic with Kleerup ("With Every Heartbeat"), comforts a broken robot ("Robotboy") gets her heart broken ("Be Mine!") and breaks yours ("Eclipse") all while making you want to dance and sing along. It's possibly the most perfect pop album since ABBA disbanded.
Now that you can get the album in any record store, you should go buy it. It gets better with each listen, like a modern day "Thriller" or "ABBA Gold" just hot pop track after stunning pop gem after insanely catchy pop single. With Madonna's new album dropping the same day, I know poor Robyn will get overshadowed, but if you love Madonna, you really should try this disc. Track for track, the best album to drop this month, better than Mariah, Madonna and Leona Lewis. Buy it already! Or at least, check out the crazy videos below:
Speaking of his dread lord, Jason Castro is pretty much over it. Both of his performances were lackluster, no passion, no originality and none of the vocal grit that Neil Diamond brings to his songs. He gets an extra point for wearing blue jeans while singing "Forever In Blue Jeans" but that's about it. He should go home tonight, but he still has a fan base. I just hope they were lulled into sleep by the boringness.
David Cook choose two songs I've never heard before. "I'm Alive" sounded vaguely familiar, but it was only about three seconds long, so I couldn't be sure. It was pure DC, though, rocking and melodic. "All I Really Need Is You" sounded like a lost Three Doors Down track or something, really fresh and modern rock. I say it every week, and I'll say it again: it's his Idol to lose.
I'm not even going to comment on Brooke White's godawful karaoke version of "I'm A Believer" and go straight to "I Am, I Said" which was off the fuckin' chain! Brooke was back in her element, the vocals may not have been amazing, but her warmth and connection to the song was evident. It would make a perfect swan song, but I think she may be safe this week.
OK, I am officially in hate with David Archuleta. I hate his overly earnest child star mugging, his squinty eyes, his screaming fangirls, his stupid laugh. "Sweet Caroline" does not need seventy five runs, and if anyone could have made it work, it was a not a skinny white kid. And "America" is a terrible song, one of Neil Diamond's most obnoxious. He should leave this week, but God knows the world needs a new Jonas Brother for me to hate.
Syesha Mercado is the new Vonzell! Who, you ask? Vonzell was a very talented singer who came in third in the season of Underwood vs Bice. While she came into her own kind of late, but managed to pull out some hot shit towards the end, like "On The Radio" which I still love. Nobody remembers her, but she was good. This season, Syesha had her hottest performance last week, and then upped her game with a sweet, only slightly bland, performance of "Hello, Again" before just ending the show with a bang-up, gospel-tinged performance of "Thank The Lord For The Nighttime"
I think Jason and his bong will be reunited at last this week, when he goes home. Syesha will join him in the bottom two, just because she lives there. If we are back to bottom threes, it'll be Brooke crying her way across the stage. The Davids will be safe... as usual.
Monday, April 28, 2008
"Almost Lover" - A Fine Frenzy One Cell In The Sea
This heartbreaking song is from solo act A Fine Frenzy, whose poetic lyrics bite into me every time I hear this song. "I cannot go to the ocean/I cannot drive the streets at night/I cannot wake up in the morning/Without you on my mind" and "Now your gone and I'm haunted/and I'll bet you are just fine/Do I make it that easy to walk right in and out of my life" are painful lyrics that any victim of heartache will indentify with.
"Snatch The Crystal Cat Back - Khia vs Dan Deacon" - The Hood Internet Mixtape Volume One
The Khia track is the absolute filthiest thing on my iPod. Lyrics like "I should have never let you s*** this p****/F*** this p****/Thugs love this p*****" and "You'll never find another b**** with a p**** good as mine/That's better than this/Gets more wetter than this" and "D*** for days/and your head so good and you d*** so strong/make a b**** wanna s*** and f*** you all night long" would make Howard Stern blush. And I kinda know all the words, and will sing along to it in the car. Yeah, I'm that whore...
"Mamma Mia" - ABBA ABBA Gold
Aw snap, you know ABBA is my jam! And I just saw the trailer for the movie version of the Broadway show of the same name this weekend, plus someone sang it at kareoke last week, so I am in a ABBA kinda mood. I always put ABBA Gold on when I want a pick me up, just poppy goodness.
"See-Line Woman" - Nina Simone Verve Masters 17
I am obsessed with Nina Simone, I first heard "Black Is The Color Of My True Loves Hair" about 5 years ago and fell in love. This is a jauntier track about a dancer and/or whore who casts a spell over every man. Feist later remade/sampled this song as "Sea Lion Woman" on The Reminder.
"Here (In Your Arms)" - Hellogoodbye Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
Hellogoodbye confuse me. Are they an pop-punk/emo band who can bang out a dancefloor anthem like this one, or techno-lords who dabble in emoland? Buying this album didn't help me decide, it's a lot of both. But's all good, this track never fails to get my body moving on the dancefloor, and the lyrcis are emotastic.
In some of the songs you can clearly hear some of the influences listed on their MySpace, like Led Zepplin and The White Stripes, like the opening of "Harrouka-Fula Part 2 Dynamizer" mimicking the opening of "Seven Nation Army" and an oddly Blue Oyster Cult vibe on others. But what you should be noticing instead is the lyrics: "Talk to me, dictate all my morals/What am I to wear today/What color on my face?" is the cry of a young man easily influenced by his friends or a girl. On "Young Turks Do Mando Jams" the chorus "If it wasn't for this knowledge fruit/in the center of my poison shed/I may as well be stranded/I may as well not see a light again" turns the Garden of Eden story on it's side.
It's not just the songwriting that is to be applauded, but the clever use of unusual instruments, like the mandolin on several tracks, as well as just plain playing good songs well. Acoustic tracks leave less room for error but that doesn't stop The Snoods from giving us ones like "Oh! Sun" one of the best acoustic rock songs I've heard in a while.
Only one caveat, sometimes the vocals could be stronger, they can be a little generic. But they never resort to emo whining or metal screaming, which would have been a real shame. Chris and Zack may not have voices like rock gods Freddie Mercury or Steven Tyler, but they have a honest quality that I enjoyed.
If you can get a hold of a copy, I really do recommend "The Snoods."
One word I would like to reintroduce to the world, though, is a very pretty French-based word: "chantpleure." It means "to weep and sing at the same time" and since I can't think of another word that means the same thing, I'm not sure why it was ever disused to begin with. Curiouser still, I don't know why musical theatre critics, or any type of music critic, haven't brought it back. It's such a specific meaning, and such a lovely word, I shall be attempting to use it in my writing and I encourage you to do the same. I'm hoping Brooke will chantpleure on American Idol this week, that will make it easy to slip it in, especially since I doubt I'll have a use for it in my reviews of the new albums by the Snoods or Madonna. Maybe if I review the new US release Robyn's album I can make it fit. But I'd rather introduce it organically than shoehorn it in. It's not like "that's hot" or "bootylicious" it's a more sensitive word.
Delightfully sharp comic writing and timing make it hilarious. Rachel and I laughed a zillion times, from sight gags, one-liners and an amazing supporting cast, like Sigourney Weaver as a surrogacy specialist who get pregnant the old fashioned way, even when her "eggs are from the '40s" and Steve Martin as the new-age president of Tina Fey's Whole Foods-esque company. But it's the chemistry between Fey and Poehler that sings. When they are sniping at each other, when they are bonding, it doesn't matter. They work off each other like no comedy duo has this millennium. And even when it gets a little sweet at the end, the laughs never really stop. It may not have the quirk of Juno, or the potty humor of Knocked Up, but this movie has nine months worth of laughs.
Friday, April 25, 2008
File this under: please sir may we have another? David Beckham undresses as he walks the hallway of the Ellen show to his dressing room. Proof there is a God, or just further proof that Posh is luckiest girl in the world? Watch it over and over until you are sure. I did. ;)
Not enough Becks? Is there such a thing as enough? Check out the close up scan of his Armani Underwear campaign. There are no words.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
But that's not the thing that's wriggling around in my mind. Also while I was there, I picked up a couple of books, one very interesting one that I may blog about later. I was standing in line, and a woman joins the line behind me. I just glanced over at her book, and it's a novel by Ted Dekker. My sister Abby loves that author, so I said so. She told me she thought it looked suspenseful, I told her the ones I'd read were. She told me she had finished her book and was out grabbing lunch, so she needed a new one. We spoke for a couple moments longer about Borders Rewards vs B&N's club thingy.
It was just a simple conversation, but I don't conversate with strangers that often. Well, I do sometimes. I do occasionally mention CDs I like, compliment cute shoes or hair, that sort of thing when I'm out and about. I don't do it all the time, but I like it when strangers compliment my hair, rings or coat, which they do, so I like to give a shout out to funky hairdos when I see them. But never to cute guys! I have no game with dudes, I can compliment a chick without thinking, but I see a hot guy and all I can do is think "Must not stare" and try to avoid them. I don't know how to change that, I really wish I could though. How many possible dates have I passed up by being so stupid? Well, not that many I'm sure, but if it's been even one I'm seriously bummed.
Syesha Mercado finally found her niche it seems. I've never heard "One Rock & Roll Too Many" before, I've never even heard of Starlight Express, the musical it comes from. But it seems our Syesha is a Broadway diva in training, this is her element! And she does love to perform with a piano, doesn't she? Sexy, fun, cool, this is apparently the Syesha we were waiting for. But is it too late? I think she may still be in the bottom three, but she may have made it another week longer.
Jason Castro doesn't know a song from Cats would have been sung by a cat? Dude, put down the bong and pay attention! Every song from Cats was sung by a cat! And "Memories" is such an interesting song, he could have pulled it off with his Jack Johnson vibe, but instead he just sang it with the full band and string. It was overly breathy, not in time and just bad. His worst since "Michelle" and enough to put him back in the bottom three.
Poor Brooke White! She just doesn't seem to have the will to go any further. Her choice was uninspired, the emotional connection she usually has is gone. It just didn't feel natural. One of her worst. I actually hope she leaves tonight just because she seems so broken, I want her to get some rest before the tour.
Lil' David "Archie" Archuleta is finally sounding like a teen pop star! He took another song I don't know and teen-popped it up. Not great, a little forgettable like Simon said, but enough to keep the tween girls happy and voting.
Carly Smithson was the most fun I've seen her so far! "Jesus Christ Superstar" was a perfect choice, even if she forgot a bunch of words. It was the most rock 'n' roll we've seen her, and it suits her. She will escape the bottom this week, I think. And the "Simon Likes Me (this week)" tee was off the chain.
My future boyfriend David Cook was spot on vocally doing "Music Of The Night" from Phantom Of The Opera. It wasn't his best performance, but one of his best vocals. It proved he can sing, not just rock. Plus it was really beautiful. Still the clear winner!
Hitting the bottom three? Syesha, Jason and Brooke, although D. Arch and Carly may be a surprise bottom dweller. Which of course means that if I'm wrong, David Cook will be going home and I will cry. Unless he's coming home to me... Brooke needs to go, for her own sanity.
Monday, April 21, 2008
"Believe" - Cher Believe
OK, let break it down. Gay men love Cher, it's just a fact of life. I don't love every Cher song, but who can resist dancing to this club track? Funny story behind how I got this CD. My sister Rachel babysat for my cousin's son when this CD came out. My cousin had gotten this CD and didn't like it I guess, since she gave it to Rachel as a bonus. Rachel must've played it way too much while at my cousin's house, cause one day I was playing it and my cousin came running out and just very angrily turned it off, she had heard it way too much. I think I then stole it from Rachel, but she's really not a Cher kind of person she may have just given it to me.
"I'm Into Something Good" - Earl-Jean One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Groups Lost & Found [Disc Two]
This boxed set of rare singles, minor hits and flops alike, from the hey-day of girl group fever is awesome. For a pop fan, these are the cream of the crop, songs that are hooky, full of harmonies and sing-along choruses, but not overplayed. Plus, it features rare tracks by stars like Dolly Parton, Cher, Twiggy, The Supremes, The Ronnettes and complete unknowns alike. And the packaging is delicious, it's a black and white hatbox, with each CD in a case that looks like a makeup compact and an almost 200 page liner note book designed like a vintage diary. This is the original version of the Herman's Hermits hit, sung by the lead singer of the Cookies. Just bouncy pop fun, like I love.
"Getting Into You" - Relient K Two Lefts Don't Make A Right... But Three Do
I always describe Relient K as a "the Ohio snark-punk-poppers," but this is not a snarky song. It's a sweet description of love between God and man, and man for his fellow man. Relient K is the only band to have three full albums on my iPod at all times. Definitely my favorite emo band.
"Know My Name" Blake Lewis feat. Lupe Fiasco Audio Day Dream
Supposedly written about Natalie Portman, this tale of celeb crushes is one of the many stand outs on American Idol runner up Blake Lewis's debut album. And while I still am miffed over his possibly homophobic comment in Blender, this album is a hot electropop collection. And after his interview over at Electroqueer, I'm thinking I may have misjudged Blake. Of course, his hotness may just be clouding my judgement, I'd love a slice of his moist delicious Cake. (AI shippers know what I'm talkin' 'bout!)
"Filthy/Gorgeous" - Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
My iPod is a British gay club kid, it is official. I've only done seven of these Five Songs On Shuffle blogs, and this is the third track to pop up from the Scissor Sisters' debut album. This is tied with "Tits On the Radio" for my favorite track, I do love some really dirty pop music. Electronica with a bouncy vibe, and the lyrics are, well, filthy and gorgeous.
I must say, when I heard that "Who's That Girl" was Robyn's next single, I went straight to the Madonna/Eurythmics place, but Kudos to Raj at EQ for taking it to next level. Apologies to Marlo Thomas, but that girl is Angelina Jolie, I'm pretty sure.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Whatever she tries next, she's still my favorite girl. And I almost wish she would leave, cause she' seems to have had her spirit broken. but not in a Brittnum Twins kind of way, thank god!
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I knew D. Archie would do "When You Believe" like any good Mormon boy should. He's so focused on saving the world through song, how can anyone fault him? This song is from the "Prince Of Egypt" soundtrack, it was a divariffic duet between Mariah and Whitney. And the fact lil' Archie could almost hold his own with that song is astonishing. It was good, not amazing.
Carly Smithson needs to hire a new stylist. Black hose with black shoes and dress? Girl, any gay could have told you no on that ensemble. Her vocals were strong on "Without You" but something was off. I can never quite put my finger on it, but she just never quite gets there with her songs. I want to like her, but she keeps making it so hard to do.
I loved the runs at the end, Syesha! But I'm still missing that emotional connection. I don't know "Vanishing" and it doesn't sound like my kind of song, I enjoyed parts of it, but I think this is the final week for you.
"Hero" is the song that Brooke White had to do. It was the only one that fit her well enough. And while Brooke doing her thing on the piano is always a good thing, this wasn't as amazing as it could have been. I think a choir at the end, or maybe some strings, could have made it better. But any female artist doing Mariah is going to suffer in comparison so can't hate too much. It was a very "Brooke" performance, but I don't think she can win that way.
Paula is right. Kristy Lee Cook could have a country hit with her version of "Forever" but her vocals seemed weak in spots. It ended well, but I still have a raging hate-on for her.
You know I love David Cook, right? You know I will have his children, right? You didn't think I could love him more, right? Wrong! I FRIGGIN' LOVE HIS VERSION OF "ALWAYS BE MY BABY" WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING! It was emotional, beautiful, it rocked like a real rock song, it was the best performance on Idol since Fantasia did "Summertime" in season three. Stunning! He will win, he must win, he makes me horny. Um, I mean, he's really talented.
Jason Castro is always just so chill. He's so real, he's just a pothead with a guitar just pouring out his soul with an earnest cover of "I Don't Want To Cry." It seemed like he wrote it in his bedroom after a breakup, not like a cover of a diva song. It was really a special moment.
I think bottom three will be all chicas. Kristy, Syesha and Carly with Syesha going home. I'm not saying the possibility of Carly leaving or Brooke being in the bottom doesn't exist, those are both very real possibilities. We'll see tonight. Oh, and I highly recommend Mariah's new E=MC2, it's pretty hot.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
While you're at it, check out her video, one of my favorites right now, for her new single "Honey"
Monday, April 14, 2008
Just in time for Mariah's album release tomorrow, here is an intrumental take on her hot single "Touch My Body" Weirdest shiz you'll see all day, methinks. But I kinda like it...
"Weapon of Choice" - Fatboy Slim Fired Up 2
I do love some Fatboy, and this song is no exception. Techno that sounds like it's played with real instruments, with a heavily distorted vocal that you can barely understand before launching into a nonsense chorus of "you can go with this/or you can go with that/or you can go with us" repeated makes it kind of fun to dance to. Like Christopher Walken did in the memorable video.
"100 Years" - Five For Fighting I Hurt Myself Today (Walmart Mixtape)
Yeah, I'm a sap. I love this song, I love the message of "live for today." But to keep this from getting too sugary, it's time to drop one of my pet peeves into the mix. I hate when "bands" are actually just one person. Stage names are fine, but when that name is makes it sound like a five-piece band it irks me. I know it's totally irrational, but there you go. See also: A Fine Frenzy, Nine Inch Nails.
"That's That Whirlwind - Snoop Dogg feat. R Kelly vs Archetecture in Helsinki" - The Hood Internet Mixtape Volume One
How many Hood Internet mashups are on my iPod anyway? This is not one of my favorites, but it does have a goofy charm.
"Should Have Known" - Robyn Robyn
One of the few tracks on Robyn's amazing self-titled album (that will finally see the light of day in the US this month) that I don't love with the passion of a thousand suns. It's a pretty good pop/R&B hybrid, but after the disco brilliance of "Every Heartbeat" the hip-hop kiss-offs of "Konichiwa Bitches" and "Handle Me" and quiet heartbreak of "Eclipse" it was bound to pale.
"Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" - Mika Life In Cartoon Motion
This is the song that made every critic say "Oh Mika's just like Freddie Mercury!" I do like it, it's a poppy hug around the ladies who aren't afraid to lunch. Fun!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
But the writing is so very odd. I don't know if it is brilliant or just showy, but I almost couldn't get past the first couple pages. Then I was so sucked into it, I couldn't stop. The heartbreaking conclusion makes it worth the difficulties you may encounter in the wild narrative style. I wouldn't recommend it to the casual reader, but Gaeten Soucy might be up your alley if you want something different.
It's kind of an odd phrase, and I've never heard anyone use it before. A quick Google search reveals that there is a celtic/folk band with that name, and a YouTube video of some beat boxing, plus a lot of Smash Mouth references. If I heard someone say 'mouth music' my mind would go to beatboxing, scatting or accapella groups first, not kissing. But I can't get the phrase out of my head.
It kind of works as a description of French kissing, though, if you think about it. Lips press together, like someone playing a brass instrument. When the tongue makes it's venture outward, the motion is not unlike the plucking of a guitar. But most telling is the idea of the harmony needed between the kissers. They don't move as one, more like a duo playing their instruments both in sync and as counterpoint to each other. One accepts the tongue, the other invades with it. Then they switch. Or they overlap, the two tongues entwined like the harmony of a soprano and an alto.
But mostly, it sounds like a punchline for a bad pick-up line. "Let's make some mouth music, baby," I can hear some greasy guy with half unbuttoned shirt, gold chain and pornstache saying. But it does have a certain roll to it.
I don't always follow trends. A lot of trends are for skinny people, and I am not one of those. One trend I didn't like last summer was the plaid shorts. I thought they were old-mannish and reminded me of golf pants. I decided this year I'd have to give in and at least try them on. I hit my favorite stores for clothes, Marshall's and Ross's, and tried some thangs on! Here's how it went down:
After work last night I grabbed my littlest hag, my cousin Sarah. She's only ten and not the savviest at things like color matching, but I hate shopping without someone to bounce ideas off. So we went to Ross's first. I tried on three shorts, a pair of black wide pin striped shorts, a robin's egg blue pair with a brown grid in a synthetic fabric and a pair of blue and black hounds tooth Red Snap rockabilly shorts. The synthetic ones were really billowy and wide legged, plus I really disliked the fabric. I thought they were swim trunks when I first saw them, but the don't have the liner. I really did not like them at all, plus they were a little big. I love pinstripes, so I really wanted to like that pair. But they were really tight, and gave me camel toe. I didn't get them either. I was starting to think short shopping was a bust, but then I tried on the Red Snap pair. I fell in love! They kinda make my ass look a little big, but Dana says I have a nice butt so I thought I should show it off a little. They have a little skull and cross bones printed above the right back pocket. I'm really into skulls right now, so I was hooked. I also tried a navy polo with a few multi-width orange stripes across the chest. It was too small, and not cool enough to be worth buying in hopes of a further slim down. So I bought one pair of shorts, which I model below with a chocolate polo I bought last fall and my plaid hat:
After that we crossed the parking lot to Marshall's. I hadn't even considered any of the couple plaid shorts we'd seen at Ross's, and I had remembered seeing some I actually liked in Marshall's a few weeks ago, so I was hoping for the best there. I went to the shoe department first, but didn't really see anything I loved. Which is good, because I really don't need any new shoes. So we went over to the men's clothes racks, and I started going through the shorts. I saw some DKNY plaid shorts, and I really wanted to try them on, since DKNY is my brand of choice. but they were $25 and really dark for summer. I skipped them. I pulled a couple of plaids of the rack and didn't really like any of them. Then I saw the green plaid Izod's and thought they were OK. I wasn't really sold on them, yet. I still am resistant to the whole plaid thing. But I carried them around and hit the shirt racks. I saw a salmon colored Izod polo and held it up with the shorts. Sarah was all about it right away. I still wasn't sold, and I knew Sarah wasn't always the best at matching colors. At Ross's she had suggested a a shirt in a paler shade of robin's egg blue to match the robin's egg blue shorts, so she doesn't always grasp matching. But she tries!
So I tried them on. And I stood in the three way mirror and thought "What a preppy bitch I am!" and knew I had to have it. I didn't know about the salmon with my red hair, but I had to do it! I asked Aunt Tina when I got home, and she confirmed it looked OK with my red hair. So here it is, with the new messenger bag I bought for work:
I also picked up some new sheets for my bed, so I knew I had to stop spending my money. But Sarah was on the hunt for some press on nails, so we once again made our way across the parking lot to Five Below. And I didn't intend to spend anymore money, but I made another find. I always do. It's a tacky little pop-art inspired plastic ring for one dollar, but I think it looks funky fresh! What do y'all think?
Friday, April 11, 2008
The standout of the CD is, of course, "Bleeding Love" the stunning pop song penned by Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder. But there are other songs on here, good ones even. The Akon produced "Forgive Me" is a classic Whitney Houston-style r&b dance track, and should be the next single. But the Whitney/Mariah sound alikes abound, like "Better In Time" and "Yesterday" both could have been lost album cuts from either diva. But it's not all sugary pop ballads and club bangers, one of the best tracks is a cover of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" sung beautifully with a minimal band support, in a classic piano jazz style. A few mis-steps like "I'm You" prevent me from gushing too much, but this is a great pop debut, from a talented young lady with a bright future ahead of her. 3 out of 4 Stars.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Michael Johns wants to be a rock star so bad. It's obvious, he always tries to do these classic rock numbers, and they just don't work for him. "Dream On" is not an easy song to do, see Jordis Unga on "Rock Star: INXS" for proof. And it requires a voice with the power, range and a quality that that only Steven Tyler has. It wasn't terrible, but we are back to karaoke superstar status again.
Yeah, let's do the horrible coronation song from four seasons ago, Syesha Mercado. That's the stuff. First off, the song is features way too many sucktacular cliches and Fantasia almost made them work. Syesha didn't, plus she got shouty in places and the choir drown her out in places. Not a good combo. I think she's gone this week.
I don't recall what commercial this version of "Over The Rainbow" was in, I think it was either for cereal or insurance. But Jason Castro did his thing that he does best, sells a song based on just being himself. He's always Jason, and while I doubt that'll win him American Idol, it's nice to see. Plus, he had the emotional connection.
I don't think Kristy Lee Cook sang "Anyway" near as good as Martina McBride, but she was good. How does this keep happening? As most of the rest of them get worse or more boring, KLC gets better. She's not great, and I don't think she will win, but I think she will be this year's Pickler, not this years Sanjaya.
I still love you David Cook and I will still have your babies, but dude, that was not good. It was OK, it didn't suck out loud, but it was seriously not up to par with anything you've done so far. He still has some hot jackets, and he still has that rock star swagger, and I still want to throw him on a bed and molest him, but this week? Not as much love. And I was one of the three people in the world who liked the "Give Back" on his hand. I thought it was cute.
I know everybody else hated it, but I loved Carly Smithson's version of "The Show Must Go On" by Queen. It was dramatic, moody and dark, it didn't fit with the idea of inspirational songs, but I thought it rocked. She looked amazing, and while it wasn't her best performance, I loved it. And yes, it was angry, but that doesn't make it bad.
D. Arch. Whatever, you'll still win this thing. I'm so bored by his little boy blue act, all ballads and sweetness and :retch: Whatever, dude. I really don't even care. He could sing "Froggy Went A Courtin'" and still get votes. I just wish he would do something that interesting.
It was the song we all knew she would sing. Brooke White completes her Carly Simon/Carole King transformation with a mesmerizing performance of "You've Got A Friend" and once again blows me away with her emotionality. She feels so much, that's what I love about her. And she's always Brooke, like Jason, she knows who she is as an artist and whether you like it or not you have to respect that.
Bottom three: Michael Johns, Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson. Carly doesn't deserve to be there, but America won't like it as much as I do.
Monday, April 7, 2008
"Girls Just Wanna Fixx Up - Dizzee Rascals vs Cyndi Lauper" - The Hood Internet The Hood Internet Mix Tape Volume One
My absolute favorite mashup of all time, the sub-Caribbean beat of Lauper's grrrl-power anthem is the perfect foil to the barely intelligible rhymes of England's craziest rapper. Hottest shit evs.
"Hand In My Pocket" - Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill Acoustic
It took me a second to realize that this was the acoustic version of this song, the original was pretty low key, too. I bought this CD for my sister Rachel as a Christmas gift. She had heard it on Rhapsody's Listening Party, and fell in love with it. She didn't buy it at the time, and I finally tracked a copy down at Best Buy last year. I thought I was finding the perfect gift, turns out she bought me an iPod, which really is the perfect gift for me. It was a good Christmas.
"Dance, Dance" - Fall Out Boy From Under The Cork Tree
I love the lines "Why don't you show me a little bit of spark you've been saving for his mattress, love?" and "I only want sympathy in the form of you crawling into bed with me." Those who blast emos for poor writing skills should step off. The bass on this is insane, too.
"La Isla Bonita" - Madonna The Immaculate Collection
I really don't like this song. I love Madonna, but this one has terrible lyrics, a really dated Latin guitar and a Muzak quality to it. Like it should only be played at tanning salons and tiki bars.
"Satellite [Acoustic]" - Mika Life In Cartoon Motion [Best Buy Exclusive Tracks]
This is a cover of Dave Matthews Band's "Satellite." I have never heard DMB's original, so I don't know if it's a good cover or not, I do like this version. It was an exclusive track for the Best Buy version of Mika's stellar debut album. It's poppy, but simple. Much better than the other bonus track, an acoustic take on his single "Love Today" which suffers from too much bombast. The original had plenty of it, too, but in the acoustic setting it sounds like an audition tape for a Broadway musical.
First off is Colbie Caillat's second single off Coco, "Realize." I hated "Bubbly" so very much, it blinded me to the heart wrenching tale of newly realized love that may not be reciprocated. It sounds so much more personal and real than "Bubbly" but I was ignoring it, to my own detriment. "If you realize what I just realized, that we'd be perfect for each other and we'd never find another... We'd never have to wonder if we missed out on each other" is a line that I wish I'd written, which is something I've never said about anything in "Bubbly." We've all felt that sting of love both secret and unrequited, and I love a good song to wallow in that grief with.
Next is a song I blasted pretty harshly in one of my single rundowns a few months ago. It's in digital print that I thought "See You Again" by Miley Cyrus sucked. It's turns out that it's not all horrible, just the lyrics are really bad, and feel awful for saying that since she is just 15 and co-wrote the song. But I call a spade a spade, it's who I am. The beat is hot, though. The surf guitars and club friendly vibe is awesome, I just wish Miley's vocals had something there. They have no oomph. With all that said, I kind of love the song now. It took some time to get hot for me, but I turn it up in the car all the time now.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
The first entry, "Love and Friendship" is a completed story. It's over the top melodrama non-stop, understandable since she wrote it at age fourteen, but definitely in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The tragic tale of young Laura, who meets, falls for and marries the son of a baronet in the space of about five minutes. The baronet does not approve of his new daughter-in-law, forcing misadventure upon the young couple and their friends. That is only the beginning, the tragedies pile up, as does the ridiculous coincidences that allow our heroine to travel all over England, fainting, meddling in private affairs and ultimately losing her husband and friend. The story is beyond ridiculous, but the sparkling wit and amusing conversation between characters that Jane would put to good use in masterpieces like "Pride & Prejudice" is on full display.
"The Three Sisters" is not finished, I think it would have ranked among Miss Austen's classics if it had. Mary Stanhope has been proposed to by a very boring, unattractive and slightly obnoxious man who has a modest amount of wealth. She doesn't want to accept, but eventually does in order to be the first among her sisters and friends to be married. She reminds me of Lydia Bennett a great deal. When she goes to gloat to her friends, she is introduced to a handsome newcomer. Oops, guess she should have waited! The story ends about there, but I have a feeling it would've been a good one.
The final piece is called "A Collection Of Letters" which describes it perfectly: five stories written as letters. The first is kind of boring, a mother tells of her girls introduction into society. The second involves a girl who has been dumped for reasons not mentioned, and is feeling it much harder than her prior misadventures in romance. She then converses with a older woman who tells her a tale of love taken by death. The third is vignette of another young girl whose frenemies take her to balls, only to make fun of her being less well off. It's kind of funny. Fourth is the awkward conversation between an very nosy young lady trying to learn the back story of a newcomer to the area. Last is a tale of star crossed lovers and their love notes. Each of them would fit perfectly into any of Jane Austen's stories: scenes with out context, but obviously well-written, well-paced and featuring Jane's impeccable sense of delight in love gone a little awry.
As a huge fan of Jane Austen's books, I found this collection delightful. If you don't like Jane Austen, or have read very little of her work, you may find it tedious and lacking in plot.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
Did anybody else notice a lot more jiggle to the Material Girl's bosoms? She must've changed exercise plans, cause the girls were much flatter in the Confessions videos. Not that I'm dissing, she still looks hella good.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
OK, new Madonna video, probably won't be on the internets very long. It's awesome, like a Madonna video should be. It's kind of strange, Madonna and Justin Timberlake are walking through these sets with people eating and shopping and making out and stuff. And this strange darkness is following them. And it eats the people. Only not like they disappear, it's like a cross cut action, like from a science class or dentist office. Seriously strange. Ooh! And Madonna and Justin totally like almost kiss twice! But the S&M theme I'd heard about is gone, which makes me sad 'cause I was hoping for some Justin in a leather harness and Madonna whipping him. But it's still friggin' awesome, except the dancing could have been better. I still love it! Oh, and Madge is looking so fine! The hair is on fire and the bod is smoking!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
"New Shoes" - Paulo Nutini These Streets
A minor hit for the Scottish pop-rocker. I loved it, not just because of my natural affinity for footwear, but because it's catchy as hell. And so true! "Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly every thing's right" is the way I always feel. There is no better feeling then putting on some hot new Chucks in a funky design, or a pair of sweet black sport fusion casuals with a contrasting white stripe. Well, maybe there is, but it still ranks pretty high.
"Like A Prayer" - Madonna The Immaculate Collection
The original album mix is far superior to this one from Madonna's greatest hits collection. The choir has a weird breakdown at about the 4:23 mark, the guitars are not as strong. However, it still remains one of my favorite songs of all time.
"Strange Fruit (Tricky Remix)" - Billie Holiday Necessary Beats: The Mix Tape
"Strange Fruit" makes me angry. It boils my blood to know the inconceivable evil man can visit on his fellow man. (I also have the original version as well as a version by Nina Simone on my iPod.) This remix is bizarre, spare and haunting with harp-like guitar plucking and a strange horn and random electric guitar for the beat, it doesn't have the same emotional impact, but it's not a club banger either. But when I do my updated Top Twenty Songs Of All Time, this song will be on it. No other song stirs such emotions: bitter sadness, vengeful anger, a hopeful optimism that one day we will just all get along. Racism is the ugliest thing, we must never forget just how ugly it can get.
"Stay (I Missed You)" - Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories Stay (I Missed You) [CD Single]
I love this song, I think it my also end up in my top twenty. The simplicity of the arrangement, the emotional vocal, the heartbreaking lyrics, all combine to make a perfect indie-pop single. Heartbreak is a painful thing, but also a inspiration.
"Laura" - Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
I must love the Scissor Sisters, this is the second time one of their songs have popped up on my five songs on shuffle series. This isn't one of my favorites of their songs (that would be "Tits On The Radio" and "Take Your Mama Out") but I do love the kiss off line "This'll be the last time I ever do your hair" Oh, snap!
"No, this is how it works, you peer inside yourself. You take the things you like, and try to love the things you took. And then you take that love you made and stick it into some, someone else's heart pumping someone else's blood. And walking arm in arm you hope it don't get harmed but even if it does you'll just do it all again." - Regina Spektor "On The Radio"
"When love comes so strong, There is no right or wrong, Your love is your life." - Stephen Sondheim "West Side Story"
"Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am free again. Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am clean again. However far away, I will always love you." - The Cure "Love Song"
"There's a club if you'd like to go, you could meet somebody who really loves you. So you go, and you stand on your own and you leave on your own and you go home, and you cry and you want to die. When you say it's gonna happen 'now' well, when exactly do you mean? See I've already waited too long and all my hope is gone. You shut your mouth how can you say I go about things the wrong way. I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does." - The Smiths "How Soon Is Now"
"You don't know what love is, you just do as you're told." - The White Stripes (song title)
"But I need love. It is patience, it is kindness. I need love. It is rain after the dryness. I need love. Sister Wisdom, help me see it's the one thing that I need. The only thing that I need." - Sixpence None The Richer "Love"
"Oh, what's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a second hand emotion? What's love got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?" - Tina Turner "What's Love Got To Do With It"
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." - The Apostle Paul, 1st Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV translation)
Love sucks, love hurts, love heals, love is pain, love the most important thing. Love makes you crazy, makes you remember, makes you cry. Love may be a many-splendoured thing, but mostly it's just the most elusive and magical feeling.
First up was my girl Brooke White, doing my song "Jolene." It wasn't a stunning performance, but she sang and played well. I thought the small band was good idea, but I had one complaint, and it's the same I had for her "You're So Vain" she smiled too much. The song is about her man being stolen by that red-head slut Jolene, that's nothing to smile about! But if you closed your eyes and just listened, it was good. I wish she would blow me away again, but for now I'll take good.
OK, as soon as I heard "Dolly Parton on Idol" I thought David Cook will do one of two things: either cover her cover of either "Stairway to Heaven" or "Shine" or do the White Stripes' version of "Jolene." Both of which would have been disappointing. Instead, he continued his hot streak by doing the title track from my favorite latter-day Dolly album, Little Sparrow. This was the album that made me fall back in love with Dolly Parton, a stunning bluegrass collection that features the Collective Soul cover I mentioned as well as some of her best story-songs and a kicky version of "I Get A Kick Out Of You" and background vocals by Allison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent. And he did what he does well, a dramatic rock cover, with moody and stellar vocals. He never gets shouty like so many rockers have done on Idol. I will download this one, for sure. God, I friggin love David Cook and Dolly Parton so much!!!!!
We come to the part of the show where Ramiele Malubay sucks. We have this segment every week, and every week I pray to God I'm wrong, since I used to love her. But, lets be honest. Girl's voice is tired these days. Her vocals were lost in the band, it was like half-way decent karaoke. She looked awkward on stage, and I feel bad, 'cause she did have a good voice during the auditions. But now she's getting stale and boring, when she's not sucking.
Ever since "Hallelujah" Jason Castro has bored me. Until now, that is. "Travelin' Thru" was the perfect song for him, it showed that he can do an upbeat song and it was one of his best vocals. His voice never sounded so interesting and colorful. I loved it.
Carly Smithson has an amazing voice, no one can deny that! And her version of "Here You Come Again" was stunning with vocal acrobatics and both power and tenderness. I really liked this one too, it may have been the best performance of the night.
Lil' D. Arch needs to lighten up a bit. Seriously, I've never seen a 17 year old so earnest! His vocals were good, his stage presence was improved from the last few weeks, but I stopped loving him. "Smoky Mountain Memories" is such an old fashioned song for him, he needs to do some more teen friendly songs. But I'm pretty sure America loved him, they always do. Cuteness factor waning, though.
This is the week Kristy Lee Cook should have stood out more. And she did make an impression by dissing her mother in favor of Dolly Parton, right before singing one of the most emotional songs of the Parton songbook, "Coat Of Many Colors." Real smart, KLC. Vocals were OK, I think she may have been flat a couple times, but I really wish she would go away.
Syesha Mercado made the smart choice to do the Dolly version of "I Will Always Love You" at first, then powering into the Whitney Houston version for the end. I don't know if it's enough to save her, but that last note was longer than Titanic, that should help. Plus, she's the only diva left. A good performance, but I fear for her safety tonight.
I had never heard "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" before last night, but I just listened to a clip at iTunes, and Michael Johns definitely rearranged it into a much bluesier number. This is the first time I thought of him a star, not a karaoke singer. I'm not huge fan of blues, but that was really good, a little more free-form than I like, but good. I'm feeling it.
So, Dolly Parton gave them some hot songs to do, they did them well for the most part. There is only one who deserves to go home, that is Ramiele. I don't know if she will, but she should be bottom three. The others that will probably be there are Syesha and Kristy Lee, but Brooke may make a dramatic appearance there, too. We'll see tonight!
Also making news is Madonna, who grabbed her 37th top ten hit with the booty-shaker "4 Minutes" surpassing Elvis as the artist with most top ten hits, once again thanks to downloads. 217,000 of the to be precise! She landed a 68-3 jump this week.
What about Leona Lewis? The actual charts haven't been posted online yet, and I can't afford a subscription to Billboard (Christmas gift anyone?) so I don't know that status of my new favorite Brit, but who else is guessing she's the meat in the middle of the Madge/Mariah chart sandwich?