09th Nov2007

80s Sax Solos, Intro To Sunny, and JC Producing BSB

by Will

“They’re too commercial to be real Dutch. I don’t trust them.”

-There’s nothing quite like Friday’s on The Knot. Hmm…that might make a good Style Network show.

-I really miss the art of the saxophone solo. Back in the ’80s, every hit song had a saxophone solo. I’m gonna give you a short list of some of the best:

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
True – Spandau Ballet
You Belong to the City – Glenn Frey
Hungry Eyes – Eric Carmen
Caribbean Queen – Billy Ocean
Who Can It Be Now? – Men at Work
The Glamourous Life – Sheila E.
Careless Whisper – Wham
Never Surrender – Corey Hart
Back in Time – Huey Lewis & The News
Livin’ in America – James Brown
If You Leave – Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
Hands to Heaven – Breathe

-Where are all the great comedians of the ’80s? OK, I’m stretching the definition of “great”, but I really hope there’s some stage show in Branson, Missouri comprised of Gilbert Gottfried, Yakov Smirnoff, Joe Isuzu (David Leisure), and Sinbad. It could be like the “Has-beens of Comedy Tour”. You think I’m being snarky, but I would pay good money to see that show. What a country!

– My new favorite show is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. How did I not know about this show? It’s been on for 3 seasons! It’s great because it’s like Seinfeld starring assholes. A show about nothing, starring a bunch of people who…really aren’t good people. That was my problem with Seinfeld, where they always kind of straddled this ethical line, but I never saw them as bad people. When the finale came along, and they go on trial for all of the asshole things they’d done over 9 years, it just seemed kind of heavy-handed. Sure, they were self-serving and whatnot, but a lot of their stuff was madcap. I’d never seen them as “bad”, per se. I think that’s why the finale left a bad taste in my mouth. Not so on It’s Always Sunny… These guys are assholes. And it’s hilarious.

-Can someone shed some light on Reverend Run for me? Is he really ordained? I mean, in this day and age, anyone with an internet connection can become an ordained minister. I just wonder if he’s for real. Like, maybe with a congregation somewhere. ‘Cause I’ve been watching Run’s House for a few years, and he’s the most secular minister since Reverend Camden. It’s not a knock or anything, as I understand that’s not what the show’s about. Still make me curious, though.

– Another music post callback, there’s a track on BSB’s new album that’s produced by JC Chasez. Yes, an ‘NSYNC’er produced a BSB track. This is a pretty major development. You see, ‘NSYNC & BSB are *not* friends. Or at least, they weren’t originally. I think that, over time, they bonded over the fact that they were both cheated by Lou Pearlman. In the beginning, though, BSB were upset because they felt that Lou was just trying to capitalize on their fame so soon after they hit it big with “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. Then, the shit really hit the fan when ‘NSYNC’s No Strings Attached album set the U.S. record for album sales in one week (2.4 million). If you look back, you’d say that ‘NSYNC came out on top, via a door opened by BSB. Everyone likes to go back to the NKOTB/New Edition era, but love ’em or hate ’em, BSB begat the 21st century wave of boyband pop.

Here’s where it gets tricky, though. People never realize that Lou simply recruited guys. He didn’t recruit groups. There were all these young guys, working at theme parks in Orlando, and he’d snatch them up. So, he’d have a stable of guys, and he’d just shuffle the arrangement to see what worked best. We almost had BSB with Chris Kirkpatrick, Nick Carter, Howie D. & AJ. Phoenix Stone was in BSB, and then spun off as a solo guy (who went on to do nothing major but a Jenny Jones performance). And those are the major successes; people sometimes forget Take 5 (“Shake It Off”), Lyte Funky Ones AKA L.F.O. (“Summer Girls”), O-Town (Making the Band 1), Natural (provided Bart & Milhouse’s singing voices on the boyband ep of the Simpsons), C-Note…With this is mind, they’re all the same guys, doing the same thing. Some just came out sooner than others. Once again, though, ‘NSYNC come out on top. Not only were they able to diversify their sound with the times, but they also had more “after-group” success, with JT becoming Pop Jesus, saving pop music, and vowing to return one day to take us all to pop heaven, where he’ll rock our bodies to the break of day…

08th Nov2007

One More Day, Reused Reality Sets, and WGA Strike

by Will

“Silence is not indifference. Silence is me assessing the situation.”

On my way to job #2, so I’ve gotta make this quick.

-Comic people, I know the secret to One More Day. Yeah, I do. No, I’m not telling.

-Hah, it seems I was on to something in that music post. Emanuel Kiriakou, the same guy who wrote “What’s Left of Me” did write “Inconsolable”. I guess he really wants someone to know that he doesn’t want to waste another day. Man, whoever that chick was, she really did a number on that guy…

-BTW, I was really touched to see the comments on that post. Glad to know that I’m not just writing this for myself 🙂

– I’ve always noticed that dating show contestants are recycled, but I never realized the sets were, too. I was watching A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila (ugh), and she takes the ladies to a house, dubbed “Heaven”. It’s so gaudy, as it’s the purest white of whites, and it has fur lining everywhere, and a 2-foot piano, and a boat in the middle of the swimming pool. Let’s just say that it’s a house you can’t exactly forget. Well, I realized that it’s the same exact house that Kimora was looking at when she went house-shopping on Life in the Fab Lane. So, I wonder if the realtor’s pimping the house out to make money while it’s on the market, or if this is a bonafide reality show/tourist attraction now.

-The WGA strike is going to fuck. some. shit. up. Lost fans? You’re done. Rumor is that it ain’t coming back until 2009. Fellow 24 fans, Fox has already taken it off the mid-season schedule. One thing people never realize about 24 is that they don’t have the season planned out. They have an idea of where it’s going, but they write the show 6 episodes at a time, to kind of gel with current events and see how the audience is reacting to everything. Well, they’re only 9 hours in at this point, so it would be a short day for Mr. Bauer. I lvoe how TV Guide.com said that Fox is suffering from a “Bauer Outage”.

Anyway, I don’t see this one resolving itself anytime soon. The stakes are pretty high, as the writers want a cut of the DVD sales. There’s no precedent for this, as TV shows weren’t released as commonly on VHS. We’re talking mp3-royalty level royalties here, and the recording industry still hasn’t really figured that one out. The closest thing they’ve got is Rhapsody, where I can “rent” my music by the month to make sure everyone’s getting paid. Not the best model, and I don’t see it working for TV. Everyone knew it was coming, but I feel bad for the shows that were slated to end at the end of the season. Scrubs, for instance. They were already going with an abbreviated 18 episode season, but it seems like they’ve only got 12-15 done. What happens when they run out, but don’t have the finale? Do they bring it back for an abbreviated 3 episode season next Fall? Also, if the strike is resolved, say in late March, do we forge ahead into the summer, or do we consider the season a wash and start over in September?

Bleh, well, those are my random thoughts. Time to go fend off soccer moms and trophy wives…

01st Nov2007

2007 In Music

by Will

“You may look all nice, and sing all nice, but you are not nice.”

So, my good friend, Marcus, went and stole my idea for a post. You see, I’ve had a music post in me for the past couple of days, but I just needed a chance to sit down and hammer it out. He, on the other hand, snatched the concept right out my brain for his myspace blog. Whatever. A myspace blog is a step up from a livejournal…

Anyway, he’s the only one who’ll probably read this, so it’ll really just keep me from having to pick up a phone and call him. God bless technology!

First of all, I need to admit defeat in one area. Back in May, I declared Sean Kingston‘s “Beautiful Girls” as the song of the summer. I really thought I was on to something, but people were sick of that song about a week after that post. I hate to do it, but I really think “The Way I Are” took that title. Was there any other song that got more airplay over the past 3 months? Timbo was everywhere this summer, but this song was part of every long music stretch on Top 40 radio. They even tried to switch things up halfway through the summer by replacing the regular album version with the hook-laden radio edit. The whole massive repeat of the hook was done for the extended version, but why anyone thought you could just cut the song there and omit Timbo’s rap is beyond me. It’s not like it had to be cut for content. Either way, this song is still riding high on the charts.

Now, Marcus goes on to call Rihanna’s “Umbrella” the song of the year. I will say it was the most remixed/covered song of the year, but I don’t think I’m willing to give it his distinction just yet.

He also says that there was no album of the year. His criteria include the fact that it has to be enjoyable from beginning to end. I beg to differ on that. I still say that Fall-Out Boy’s Infinity on High is the sleeper hit of the year. It has had its singles, and its questionable videos (a chimpanzee? Uganda? Really?), but there is not a bad track on that album. Especially, I love that they come up with the BEST names for songs. My personal favorite at the moment is “It’s Hard to Say ‘I Do’ When I Don’t” (bonus track on the Wal-Mart version). Close runner up: G.I.N.A.S.F.S. (Gay Is Not A Synonym For Shitty)” (bonus track on international version).

Daughtry – I really hated this guy and all he stood for. I wanted to write him off as “the bald Bo Bice”, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love “Over You”. Like “Rockstar”, it’s got such a singable chorus, and I want to think it’s the male answer to “Before He Cheats”.

Nickelback – “Rockstar” is a funny song to me. Moreso, the video to Rockstar is funny to me. You see, they’ve got cameos by a whole bunch of people who, I’m sure, hate Nickelback. I wonder if these people were even told that they would be lipsynching to a Nickelback video. I can write some of them off, like Gretzky & Taryn Manning, but Kid Rock? Gene Simmons? Nelly Furtado? Really? It’s a fun song, which I’m sure is ALL THE RAGE in your neighborhood redneck karaoke bar. It’s officially the White “The Way I Are” for the year.

BSB vs. Britney – A face-off between Britney & Backstreet. Man, that takes me back. It’s also pretty f’ed up on the part of Jive. It sucks because Brit’s album was leaked, so they had to get whatever sales they possibly could. In the meantime, they’ve been flying Backstreet around the world since May just trying to drum up international support for their release. They’d really dumped too much money into the BSB Machine to move their release date. I didn’t get Britney’s album because it’s not a “destination album” to me. I can always download it, or buy it from a used store in 3 months. Hell, I just bought her last CD about 2 months ago for $4, and it was well-worth it. It’s not a bad album, but it’s totally a “fuckin’ album” Not “love-makin'”, but FUCKING. It’s what you put on when your drunk sorority girlfriend wants to “do it like in that movie with that guy”.

Anyway, I did get Unbreakable by BSB. It’s a longstanding tradition that I buy all BSB albums on release day. Sad, I know. I’m really getting sick of their whole “we’re still here” gimmick with the album titles. First, was Black & Blue, which signified all they’d been through from their label and the press. Then, there was their last album, Never Gone, which made some people wish they would go somewhere. It was too soft-rock for their own good. Now, they come back with Unbreakable. We get it, guys. While it might pertain to the fact that they’re still around even though Kevin left the group, let’s be honest: vocally, he never contributed much to the group. He’s the bass, but they never sing 5-part harmony, so it didn’t matter. Plus, none of his singles were ever released on the American versions of their albums.

Sadly, Unbreakable is just more of the Never Gone stuff. I don’t know what’s wrong with songwriters, but it’s like they’ve run out of lyrics. At the beginning of the year, Nick Lachey gave us “What’s Left of Me”, with the hook, “I don’t wanna waste another day.” BSB’s lead single, “Inconsolable”, gives us the hook, “I don’t wanna waste another day.” But, the VERY NEXT SONG on the album (“Something That I Already Know”) gives us the hook, “I don’t wanna waste another minute.” Really? Are you kidding me? You mean to tell me that no one even considered moving that track to later on the disc?!

J. Holiday – I think R&B might be on an upswing, as Omarion’s “Ice Box” was the hotness, but J. Holiday had to come along and give us a good old-fashioned I’m-gonna-do-you-dirty-but-still-act-like-we’re-just-makin’-love song. “Bed” is just smooth. I really don’t want J to be a one-hit wonder, especially being a DC boy. This isn’t his debut, but it’s definitely gonna be the song that puts him on the map. This has LSG written all over it, and it’s refreshing to here after we’ve been through the whole “Confessions/Trapped in the Closet” phase of R&B, of “I’m sorry I cheated on you, but I’ve still somehow managed to come out ‘the good guy’.”

Soulja Boy – What can I say? “Crank Dat” is the Seinfeld of Hip-Hop: A song about nothing. And that’s just want ignorant folks want, to not have to think about their music. You can’t be thinking about deep lyrics when you’re trying to get the dance right. You worry about the words after the dance is down. That’s what works for Britney. Who’da thunk a song about just busting on a woman would be such a hit? Oh right, we already knew because it worked so well for Lil John on “Get Low”. The kids love their moneyshots!

Beyonce – “Get Me Bodied”: Wow, Beyonce made a song that I like. I won’t lie; I’ve liked other stuff, but honestly, her solo stuff has left me cold. I was way more into Destiny’s Child than The ‘Yonce. Yes, there are subtle differences in the song choices of the two. Anyway, “Get Me Bodied” makes you move. You can’t fight it. And it works everywhere. Close your eyes and it’s that high school dance, that birthday party, or that family reunion (you know the kind, where black folks rent out the local community center and hook up an old Aiwa stereo as the music choice). The best way to experience this is the extended version, which also doubles as a commercial for her clothing line, House of Dereon”. I didn’t even know the song was still going. i’m sitting there thinking, wow that was a smooth transition. Little did I know she’d come roaring back, telling me to shake my derrier in the House of Dereon. It makes you want to get up in church and testify. it’s got such a “Pick a Bale O’ Cotton” vibe to it near the end.

Alicia Keys – “No One”: This song is just on the verge of hotness. What it needs is an uptempo remix. It’s almost there. I’m feeling the laid-back old school groove, but I can just hear the potential in this song. The funny thing about Alicia is that her gimmick was “the black piano girl”, but in recent years, though, she’s moved more from Vanessa Carlton to pre-crack Whitney. She doesn’t have the vocal range, but the piano is taking a backseat in her songs of late. She was killing those keys in “Fallin'”, while the background of No One is pretty much comprised of practice scales. I still think the song is hot, but it could be hotter.

Colbie Caillat – “Bubbly”: I really didn’t want to like this song. I give her the same credit I give Tila Tequila & OneRepublic, in realizing that it takes a lot of work to build a true fanbase through Myspace. She did it and got her album out. She could either go the Sheryl Crow route or the early Nelly Furtado route (ya know, before she started hanging out with Black guys, i.e. “Like A Bird”). If she can stay pure, we might have something here. I really don’t want her to be a one-hit wonder, but I’d prefer that than having any chance of hearing the Bubbly remix, feat. T-Pain, Akon, Timbaland & JT.

Thriller – A Halloween mainstay, I heard this song about 3 times yesterday, and it’s STILL HOT. I swear on Great Odin’s Beard, this song never gets old. Sure, I could do without the campy Vincent Price part at the end, but the song MAKES you move. And everybody wants to learn that dance. Before I die, I want to be part of a large-scale, choreographed dance. I don’t know if I have to go on Broadway, or just plan a party of equally geek-minded people. But dammit, I’m gonna learn that dance.

I have a song, which many refer to as “The Biebl” that is my therapy. It’s a version of “Ave Maria”, arranged by a composer by the name of Franz Biebl. It was given as a gift to the Cornell Glee Club back in the 70s while they were on tour. Many people laugh at the notion, but I truly believe that it is the most beautiful piece of music ever. It’s my therapy. If I hit rock bottom, that song brings me back. You don’t have to know Latin, you don’t need to really believe the “message”. All you need to do is let go to the music. To me, Thriller is the Pop Biebl. You hear that, and you refuse to believe that Michael ever touched those kids. You refuse to believe that he’s ever gonna go crazy and marry Elvis’s daughter, resulting in a half-nekkid video. You forget that he’s going to blow all his money and create a zoo/amusement park at his house. All you know is you need to dance, because you’re listening to the rockin’est song of the past 25 years. Yeah, I said it. The entire album was unstoppable, but this song, and it’s incredible/incredibly expensive video were a driving force in making it the greatest selling album of all time.

28th Oct2007

Brody Jenner, Sunday Best, New York Times, and Timbaland/OneRepublic Connection

by Will

“If you can’t sell pussy, you can’t sell anything.”

I swear, I’ve got stories, but they take so friggin’ long to write up, plus I have to process them and break them down to the bare essentials. After all, that San Diego recap is so overdue it’s embarrassing. Anyway, it’s still coming, but here’s another random-things-on-my-mind post.

– I swear, Brody Jenner is determined to be a reality star if it kills him. I don’t think people realize how many times he’s been around the reality-block. First off, he milked his stepfather’s, music producer David Foster, fame when he starred in the short-lived Fox reality show, The Princes of Malibu. Pretty much, the show was about how Brody and his brother were a bunch of layabouts, and Foster wanted them to get jobs. It was basically the male equivalent of The Simple Life. That got canceled after no more than 3 episodes. Then, he popped up as LC’s love interest du jour on The Hills. While he’s still got that gig going, he’s also in his stepsisters’ show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. After all, his biological dad married their golddigger mom. I swear, I wouldn’t be surprised if his next stop is Big Brother.

-Speaking of MTV stuff, I love how they manage to answer questions that I never knew I had, such as : “What’s it like being the hottest girl at fat camp?” And while answering said question, I’m glad they produced one of the most twisted lines I’ve ever heard: “I will love you more than any boy ever could.” If you can’t understand what’s sad about that statement, then you’re just the demographic their aiming for.

-As much as I love a trashy dating show, I couldn’t give a shit about Tila Tequila. I give her credit for actively lobbying to be “friended” by everyone in the world, but she looks like the result of some crazy Roswell experiment. It’s like some scientists said, “We’re gonna use alien DNA to create a chick with a rockin’ body”, yet they weren’t able to fully extract all of the alien facial characteristics. Seriously, she’s like an anime character with fetal alcohol syndrome.

-I was reading the special college supplement of the New York Times, and I learned about a little place called Occidental College in LA. Do you know that they have some sort of unspoken tradition of going barefoot? Not just around dorms and whatnot, but *everywhere*! Cafeterias, gyms, classrooms, bathrooms! Isn’t that some sort of OSHA violation? I wonder if they’ll see a crackdown following that article. Haha, Occidental! You’ve just been Xposed!

-Can I just say that I hate how pretentious The New York Times is? I hate how they refer to “Mr. So-and-So”. For example, if they wrote an article about me, they’d phrase it as, “Mr. West was found, shivering in a mysterious puddle and clutching a firearm. The firearm was designed by SoHo Jeweler Sol Rubestein.” The whole “Mr” article comes off as condescending, while they always qualify the worst situation with some sort of high society tag, as if to say, “See, there’s some merit to our publishing this, as it pertains, in some way, to the highest of social circles.”

-Man, Britney and Backstreet Boys have albums dropping on the same day. It’s like 1999 all over again!

-Anybody seen Gotti’s Way? The saddest part about that show is that it seems like Irv is the last one to know the game is over. If you pay close enough attention to everyone else on the show, it likes they’ve pretty much given up on him, or they humor him to make him think he’s still got some magic left in him. From his wife to his kids to Ja Rule, it’s like they nod and smile ’cause they know he’ll lose his shit if he ever just sits and realizes the truth. Yet and still, he’s running around, spouting off about his dreams and how he’s gonna take over the music industry.Sorry, Irv, but the market’s changed. I really doubt people are clamoring for that next Ja Rule album, unless it’s got an Akon cameo on it. If he can develop some sort of substance abuse problem, we may have the next Breaking Bonaduce on our hands. VH-1: It’s like middle class NASCAR.

-I’m really digging Sunday Best on BET right now. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically the gospel equivalent of American Idol. The catch, however, is that it’s not all about your vocals. Sure, you need to be able to sing, but you also have to be able to take “The Message” back out into the community, and live your life in a manner that proves that you’re “Sunday’s Best”. Wow, that is some muthafuckin’ pressure! With American Idol, you better believe that TMZ and US weekly are gonna drag your shit out into the open. That said, the AI producers really just hope you can keep your shit together long enough to keep the Coke/Ford Focus endorsement deal, and to finish off the national tour. Once that’s over, and you’re left doing auto shows and county fairs, they really don’t care how many times you slept with Paula or stripped to feed your baby. Sunday Best expects you to carry on the tradition long after the competition is over. I’m sorry, Bebe Winans. That’s just too much to ask. Hell, Kirk Franklin’s the host, and he’s addicted to porn! Don’t ya think you’re being a little hypocritical there, Brother Kirk? Anyway, I hope a chick wins, ’cause I can’t wait for her fall from grace following the inevitable King/XXL Magazine photo spreads.

-Yeah, I get that he’s helping to boost OneRepublic to stardom, but I really don’t get why Timbaland is credited as the artist on “Apologize”. That’s a OneRepublic song that he remixed and put on his album, but it is not his song. In a lot of ways, the regular version is actually better than his. All of this “Timbaland, feat. One Republic” shit is starting to bother me. It’s like a song can’t come out this year without having Timbaland’s fingerprints all over it. OneRepublic doesn’t seem to be saying anything about it, but that’s ’cause they know what’s good for them…

OK, I think that does it for now. Sometimes, you just gotta vent!

22nd Aug2007

Two Coreys, Umbrella Remixes, Mission: Man Band, Drake & Josh

by Will

“Never underestimate the healing power of a blonde, Miss Potts.”

I’m still not feeling the San Diego recap, as work’s kinda kicking my ass right now. So, here’s a fill-in post about a few random things on my mind lately:

-Why did no one tell me The Two Coreys had started? In some ways, it’s better than I thought it would be. In others, it’s not as good as I thought it would be. I still find it hilarious that Haim doesn’t have a driver’s license. That’s like learning Cusack never owned a boombox.

-I just know that, somewhere, Rihanna’s saying, “‘Pon de replay! Stop fucking wit ma song!” Right now, there are more versions of “Umbrella” than stars on the flag. For starters, she had no clue there was gonna be a Jay-Z intro. She says that the first time she heard his contribution was the first time that she heard the finished song, and it took her by suprise. Then, Scott Simon covered it.Then, the Chris Brown “Cinderella Remix” popped up. Then, Marie Digby covered it, as heard on The Hills. Then, Mandy Moore covered it, with it sounding exactly like Marie’s version.

-Speaking of The Hills, Spencer’s proposal to Heidi was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen on TV, scripted or reality. That dude is such a douchebag. I can’t even stand looking at him. If there’s any doubt as to the scripted nature of that show, rewatch the season premiere, and pay attention to Heidi’s reaction. That, my friends, was scripted.

-The Celebrity Roast for Flavor Flav was pretty awful. The Shatner one was good, as was the one for Pamela. Flav, not so much. The funniest part was when Greg Giraldo told Flav that he looked like a skeleton wrapped in electrical tape. Maybe it’ll be better when they show it uncensored in The Secret Stash.

-Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Has anybody seen the Chris Brown video where he turns into a vampire and dances with those little boys outside of the Power Rangers’ old Command Center?

-I need to start actually calling people, and stop all this text bullshit. You know it’s gone too far when Verizon texts you to tell you that you’ve gone over your texts…The worst part about texting is that there’s no “goodbye”. You can be flirting along, and then….nothing. It’s like the phone commercials where the calls drop. “Did I say something wrong? Was that too far?” Nothing. And then, 2 weeks later, you get another text like nothing happened. I can’t live like this anymore!

-No, Timbaland, I can’t handle you the way you are, mainly because you keep giving it to me every 20 minutes. I’m really tired of this summer’s radio being dominated by the “Timbers”, ‘land and ‘lake.

-They’re really making a Flavor of Love 3? Come the fuck on…

-I think Denzel has finally made a movie that I’d want to see. Go watch the trailer for American Gangster!

-Jeff Timmons is getting on my last nerve on Mission: Man Band. He’s “pulling an Ikaika” (10 points to anyone who understands that reference) with the whole “I don’t want to be here” routine. Dude, nobody begged you. As far as 98 Degrees rankings go, you were #3, behind both Lacheys, but before the old, weird, ugly bass. Since that group folded, you’ve done one infomercial and your wife left you. When they introduced you on Man Band, you lived with your parents. Cut the shit and start singing. You need this, bitch.

-The NBC special on the Beckhams just reignited my fire for Victoria. Never cared much for David, as he lacks personality. Posh, though, was always my #2 Spice. She’s still #2, but it’s because she’s clawed her way back up the ladder. And that feat, to put it in her terms, is simply may-juh!

-I have an almost unhealthy obsession with Drake & Josh right now. They’re funny guys, it’s scary how much weight Josh lost over the course of the show, plus their sister is played by the little bitchy girl from School of Rock. I forgot how good Nickelodeon shows could be…

-Anybody seen Topanga’s weight loss commercial? Damn, I’d like to get me some of those pills!

-If somebody calls you first thing in the morning, offering free roses and whatnot, don’t fall for it. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!” It’s a radio station, and your girl already knows you’re cheating on her. Just hang up and handle your shit off the air. That said, “War of the Roses”, on Hot 99.5 (and various other stations across the country), is my favorite form of morning entertainment. I do think, however, it’s the kind of thing that gets morning DJ’s sent to Hell. Just sayin’…

-TV Land’s Back to the Grind is the best idea in ages. If you haven’t seen it, they take an actor from an old TV show, and they make him perform the job of his character to see if he could really pull it off. For example, Night Court‘s Harry Anderson actually had to be a judge for a day, and WKRP‘s Loni Anderson actally had to be a receptionist for a day. Priceless.

-Anne Hathaway, if you’re reading this, could you please try to do more movies set in the present? I get it, you like period pieces, but you’re gonna get typecast. So far, you’re good at playing princesses, frumps, and frumpy princesses. And there’s that straight-to-dvd flick where you showed your tits. Otherwise, I’m gonna need to see some diversity out of your roles, honey. After all, this is your job we’re talking about!

06th Jul2007

Harry Potter Asshole, Comics Lifestyle, iPods, and IDE Tags

by Will

“You’re way too beautiful girl, that’s why it’ll never work…”

I’m kind of phoning it in today, so you know what that means: random post.

-I’m trying not to talk shit about people behind their backs. Now, I try to say it to their face. It might be dick, but at least I keep it real. Here’s a fun example: after the librarian free-for-all a few weeks ago, I had dinner with a few “book people”, including a former honcho at Scholastic. The conversation turned to the Modern-day Messiah himself, Harry Potter. Whenever this comes up, I always try to stay out of the conversation. That’s the best way to stay out of trouble. But I’d had too much Pinot, so silence wasn’t an option. If I remember correctly, I came out with a, “Hey, it’s a cute little book and all, but I don’t get how it’s taken the world by storm.” It was beautiful. James & Marcus probably understand the feeling, but it’s basking in your own confrontation. You pushed the right button, and you’re enjoying the swell before the fallout. Being an asshole for asshole’s sake.

But in either the smartest or dumbest move of my career, I managed to spin it ever so successfully. After the shock and silence subsided, I swooped in with the follow-up. “Not to take anything away from the franchise, as I appreciate everything Potter has done for literacy. It’s just that, reading the thing, there was too much of a sense of ‘been there, done that.'” And they totally agreed with me. That’s when I went for the cherry. “I’m a huge Roald Dahl fan, and it offends me that Rowling is a billionaire, using pretty much his ideas, while he died a penniless, suspected child molester.” Let’s just say that the conversation totally swung back in my favor, and I was the belle of the ball. I shit you not. I’d go into more detail, but I really don’t want this anecdote showing up on Bookslut or something. I think I saw a glimmer of my future that night, so I certainly did something right.

It’s bad enough that I’m seen as the Antichrist for not liking a children’s book about a boy witch. Oh, I’m sorry. Wizard. Semantics. It mainly shocks people because I supposedly love all things childish. “Oh, it’s a kids thing? Will would love that!” I do, but even I have my limits. I guess I’m just a snob that way. I’d probably love the series had it not blown up like the Death Star. It’s the same way I abandoned Snow Patrol, 24, and Queer Eye when all they became all popular. I don’t like hype.

-Sometime I love my job, and sometimes I hate my job (yes, I realize everyone feels this way):
Love my job: got paid today
Hate my job: actually looked at the check
Love my job: debated the timeline of G.I.Joe, as it’s actually “work related”
Hate my job: while that conversation was going on, I got about 10 e-mails that could be considered “emergencies”
Love my job: It’s comics. Woot!
Hate my job: Yeah, this is gonna do wonders for that business school application
Love my job: It’s comics, yay!
Hate my job: which forced me to move back home with my mom, setting me back about 4 years psychologically

Fucking comics…

iPod Randomness:
-For some reason, I have about 8 different versions of This I Promise You. Don’t ask me why. It’s not like it was a hot party song, nor were there any remixes other than the Spanish version, Yo te Voy. Wait, I have that, so make it 9 versions. And many of them are live. And it’s not a song that changes much when sung live. That’s a sign of taking boyband fandom too far.

– I have a shitload of Peter Cetera. I remember going through a phase during senior year of Cornell, but I didn’t think I kept all of that stuff. I didn’t even know he had that many songs.

-My iPod really loves Carly Simon. And it’s funny because I only have 3 CS tracks. That’s it. And they’re all variations on the same song. I get it. Something is coming around again: this fucking song! I think it’s the song that comes up the most during shuffle.

-I’ve got a ton of California Dreams songs that are of a quality so low that I should be ashamed to even have them. Not that possessing CD songs isn’t shameful enough. I converted these to mp3 from some Real Audio files I found on someone’s website years ago. The sad thing is that they recorded them by placing a tape recorder up to the TV. So, you can guess that what I’ve got is per-it-ty shitty. But, what can I do? A nigga loves his California Dreams…

-My ‘pod glitched up on me the other day, so even though it was on random, it was playing songs in the exact order it had played them the day before. So, for awhile, I actually thought I had ESP. I was going, “The next song will be Always.” And it was! It wasn’t until about 15 songs in that I figured out what had happened. Or maybe I willed those songs to play. The world may never know.

-You certainly reap what you sow. I have always boasted about how I never pay for music, I get all my tracks from German porn sites, etc, but there’s a downside to this. No, I’m not talking about viruses. I’m talking about IDE tags. You see, when a song is encoded, it is usually assigned an IDE code, which is essentially its name. It’s the thing that, if you bought the song from iTunes, will make your file show up as “Last Call – Drops of Jupiter – Vestosterone”. In a perfect world, the IDE tag will tell you artist, song, and album. This is pretty standard on all legal, copyright protected downloads. BUT, if you get your files illegally, from some weird download site, you’re subject to all kinds of bad IDE tags. Sometimes, a song name might be in Cantonese, so you’ve just got a bunch of symbols and squiggles because they didn’t translate properly. Sometimes, you’ve got an Aretha Franklin song with the IDE tag “Big Old Fat Bitch”. And the problem with the illegal files is that you can’t change the tags (at least not without a ton of unnecessary work), so these don’t organize well in iTunes. So, the upside is I got a hot album for free, but the downside is that I can never find the damn thing because the IDE tags are all fucked up. Sometimes, they’ll even split an album. The first few tracks are by “Fall Out Boy”, while the second half of the album is by “Fallout Boy”, and iTunes doesn’t see fit to link the two. I need to look into a solution for this, as the bulk of my mp3s are from the days before the term “legal download” was even coined.

OK, that’s enough rambling for now…

05th Jul2007

When Should I Leave My Drug Dealer Boyfriend? An Analysis of Fergie vs Hinder

by Will

“Baby, I’m Dr. Montalban!”

You know what song I really hate right now? Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a lame song, but I hate it even more because of the video.

You see, it’s supposedly this whole “It’s not you, it’s me” song. The whole vibe is “I’m growing up, I want more from life, and I think it’s time to go after it.” OK, that’s all well and good. But what I’m not digging is the whole, “It’s not you, it’s just something I have to do for me” message. Why? Well, in the video, her boyfriend is a fucking drug dealer. I would hope her leaving does have something to do with him. A LOT to do with him. He’s a fucking dealer! You can’t just up and leave, and act like you made some bold, personal decision when your man is slangin’ that rock in your driveway. I feel the video undermines the whole message of the song because it’s no longer a song about independence, but one of blind stupidity. She should’ve left long ago, with her hobo-looking ass. And she’s not making a bold stand by leaving him because he’s dealing; she’s leaving ’cause she wants to, but he just happens to deal. The two things shouldn’t be considered related. It’s like the song and the video are on 2 different wavelengths.

It also bothers me that it’s a hackneyed reinterpretation of Hinder’s Better Than Me video. It’s like the whole No Scrubs/ No Pigeons response videos from back in the day. In Hinder’s video, the chick stays and watches her man die, while Fergie leaves her man before it gets to that point. But she ain’t even leaving because of the drugs. She’s just leaving. Because she has to. Ummm….OK.

I think what gets me the most about the video is that her boyfriend is played by none other than Milo Ventimiglia. I swear, Milo is the “Andrew Keegan” of the 21st century. Wait a minute…why are you giving me that look? Am I going to have to explain who these people are?

Andrew Keegan was the everyman hot guy of 90’s television. If there was ever a role for a hot, pseudo asshole, it was played by Keegan unless David Lascher decided to take one more go at teenagerdom (he and Melissa Joan Hart played teenagers for about 15 yrs…). Keegan was on everything from Baywatch to Step by Step to his most stable role, Wilson, the teenage father, on 7th Heaven. He was also king of the failed pilot. He went after a lot of shows, but few of them were either picked up or successful. His biggest movie role was 10 Things I Hate About You. Keeg’s is getting older, and he’s not going to have his looks to fall back on one of these days. Or, maybe he will. He’s pretty much going to grow up to be Andrew Shue, so maybe he’s good at soccer or something.

Anyway, Milo is on the very same career path. His star is just starting to rise after dwelling in Hollywood limbo for the past few years. His most stable role was that of Jess on Gilmore Girls. After that, he was cast in Heroes, which is supposedly the best thing since sliced bread. Plus, he got to play Rocky’s son in Rocky Balboa. But he first had to walk a long, hard road filled with cancellation. From Opposite Sex to Boston Public to American Dreams to Bedford Diaries, it was like Milo had the Ted McKinley “Show-Killer Curse”. He has killed so many good shows at this point that I can’t stand to look at him. To me, seeing Milo is like watching your doctor put on that latex glove: you’re about to get your ass violated, but it’ll be over quick so don’t sweat it too much. Wow, that was more hardcore than it needed to be! I’m gonna have to reel it in more next time…

22nd Jun2007

P!nk, Clive vs. Kelly Clarkson, Sean Kingston, Rosie O’Donnell, and Michael Bolton

by Will

“I’m not here for your entertainment, you don’t really wanna mess with me tonight…”

I felt the need for a pre-weekend blog, but I’m not sure why. It’s gonna be pretty stream-of-consciousness…

-Fellas, if your woman really loves P!nk’s U+Ur Hand, you’ve got a problem. The writing’s on the wall right there. Listen to the lyrics. Just sayin’…

-If only Kelly Clarkson had figured out how to make a proper “fuck you, all things with penises” song, she wouldn’t be in the mess she’s in. Months ago, everybody was saying, “Crazy old Clive Davis should leave her alone! What does he know about music?” Clive Davis fucking carried music for the latter half of the 20th century. If he says your album sucks, it’s actually horrendous. Clive isn’t the kind of guy to just outright say something. He’d beat around the bush and say that it was “still in development” or something. For him to just out and tell her, “This is bad”, that meant the shit had really hit the fan. That’s when neither Diane Warren, David Foster, a 50 Cent/Nelly/Bustah Rhymes cameo, nor a Jay Z intro can help you anymore. The man knew what he was talking about, and it took this long for people to finally admit, “You know, it doesn’t really have much of a tune…” Knocking authority might’ve worked back at the Piggly-Wiggly, but you’re in the big time now, Kelly.

-Speaking of music, I put my little “song of the summer” theory to the test last weekend. At two different points Saturday, I found myself driving through Georgetown or Bethesda. When Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls came on, I was like the fucking Pied Piper! It just makes White people dance. It’s like it channels that latent gene (which is usually beaten up by the beer-pong and flip-flops- in-winter genes), and just lets it loose. It’s gonna be an amazing summer, as long as that song doesn’t get old fast. I really hope he’s got a follow up in the bag. Otherwise, he’s headed straight to Song of Summer Hell, along with Los Del Rio & the Quad City DJ’s.

-So, Rosie wants to host The Price is Right…would someone put a fucking Koosh bullet in her brain already? The problem with Rosie is not that she’s a loudmouth, nor is it her politics or orientation. The problem with Rosie is that she’s got professional ADD. She does something until it bores her. This might be a nice, stress-free way to live, but it’s not the thing upon which contracts are built. She wanted a talk show and did it until she got bored. She wanted to be on The View, and then she got bored and started wrecking shit. If you’re taking over Bob Barker’s obscenely long microphone, your ass better be ready for a 20 yr commitment! That’s why I wanted Mrio Lopez to get it. He can only be remembered as Slater for so long, and it’s not like he has any real long-term career potential. This could be the career renaissance that he needs, like when Tiffani Theissen went to 90210. We could look back on this era and say, ‘That’s when Mario became his own man.” If Rosie gets it, it’ll simply be known as “that period after she left The View, but before she opened her lesbian dude ranch in Vermont”.

-I came across something hilarious the other day, if you’re up on your 80’s music. Apparently, Michael Bolton would take anyone’s scraps. He’ll always be thought of as Elvis II, aka the Other White Guy Who Stole Music from Black Guys. But it doesn’t stop there. It seems that he was even taking scraps from Air Supply. Yes, All Out of Love and Making Love Out of Nothing At All Air Supply. His seminal hit, How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, was deemed unacceptable by Air Supply. They were too busy….supplying air. But Mr. Bolton looked up from his plate of ribs (I always felt like he would be that weird white guy hanging out in the rib place, just waiting to still hooks from some freshly groomed R&B group. Can’t you just see that? There’s always that White guy. He’s usually a PhD candidate or something, doing an “immersion experiment. And they always have long hair. Like we ain’t gonna notice long hair!), and said, “I’ll take one of those, please!

15th Jun2007

Last Call: Brewed In The Attic, Lil Mama & Avril Lavigne, Where’s Christopher Cross?

by Will

I wake up, it’s a bad dream
No one on my side
I was fighting
But I just feel too tired
To be fighting
Guess I’m not the fighting kind”

I tell ya, nothing brighten’s up your morning like hearing the squarest bunch of guys around singing T.I.’s “What You Know (About That)”! In-freaking-credible! Yes, folks. It’s gonna be a music post!

So, LC sent me Brewed in the Attic, which is their latest CD. Now, I feel I need to preface this because it’s going to come off a little backhanded: this CD is awesome if you’re into nouveau, mixed a cappella. I’m coming to the realization that I like bad a cappella. The kind that’s not really processed, and you might hear the soloist crack a note every now and then. I realize this is equivalent to a guy admitting that he likes ugly women, but I like what I like.

Don’t get me wrong, this CD blows the doors off anything I ever had a hand in recording, and I was really impressed by most of the tracks. First off, I’m jealous of Jamie & Nishant, as they got to sing 2 songs that I’d kill a hobo to record (Get Ready & A Change is Gonna Come, respectively). This CD solidified the fact that Nishant is one of the top 5 soloists in LC history (no, don’t ask me the other 4, and no, I don’t consider myself one of them).

And John Cape *killed* Careless Whisper. I didn’t know he had it in him, as it’s such a well done track. I’d be such an asshole in this group, ’cause I’d be auditioning for ever solo thrown out there. I really love their active rep. Oh yeah, they were the square guyssinging What You Know (About That), which caps off the album. For reals. And it was awesome. Part of me thinks they got the idea from Divisi doing Yeah!, but I don’t care. Amazing arrangement!

So, what’s my problem? I like my recorded a cappella pure. My mom once asked me, “What’s the point of a cappella? So, they don’t have instruments? Why not go and get some instruments?” It sounded delightfully ignorant at the time (I’m such a snob sometimes), but now I see where she was coming from. Back in the day, part of the charm was that you could harmonize and substitute for the instruments. Your mouth wasn’t a guitar, but you were “ooh-ing” and “bah-ing” in lieu of an instrument. In essence, a cappella was the art of vocal improvisation, in a way.

I like my a cappella to sound like the same thing I’d hear in concert. As far as mixed cd’s go, I’ve always thought they’d be a cool thing to have around A) if you had the funds available and b) you just wanted to see how you might sound in that format; purely for shits and giggles. I don’t like my a cappella to sound like Peter Cetera (listen to Glory of Love or Hard to Say I’m Sorry to understand that…). The way the “industry” is going, though, all collegiate a cappella is heading down this road, which somewhat saddens me. I was reading a review of a Hangovers disc the other day, and they said something like, “This would have been BOCA quality 4 yrs ago.” What has changed? Talent hasn’t changed. The essence of music hasn’t changed. But the production expectations have changed. It’s a new ballgame out there, and while these groups are doing awesome, awesome things, I think my number was up in a cappella at just the right time. Anyway, enough about a cappella…

Amy Winehouse’s album is even better than people say it is. It’s such a creative concept; it’s like someone asked, “I wonder what a Supremes album with a parental advisory label would sound like.” Same vibe (which I’ve been begging someone to bring back for yrs now!) and same general song length. It’s like a Motown revival! Sure, Rehab is great and gets a lot of spin, but you really need to check out Back in Black and Love is a Losing Game. So true, Amy…In any case, I hope she doesn’t get boxed into a corner. Now, she’s “broody, soulful Motown chick”, but the novelty of that might wear off. Remember, Fiona Apple was the brooding, jazz standard chick. The inevitable “reinvention” album is right around the corner. And then, Amy’ll end up fighting with her 80 yr-old label head over what’s considered “cool” in the music game…

While I felt it was too early to crown the “Song of Summer 2007”, I know that the distinction HAS to go to Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls”. It’s so cute and catchy, and you’re going to fucking hate it by Labor Day. Like I posted on Marcus’s blog, “Suicidal, Suicidal, Suicidal” is going to be the white kids’ new “Hey, it must be the money!”

Why did Rihanna sample Blue Monday? It doesn’t even fit that song!

Maroon 5’s Makes Me Wonder is pure hotness. The instrumental, alone, is disco sex, but the lyrics just add the spice as they’re so bitter. If you go back and listen to Songs About Jane, you’ll see that most of their songs are pretty post-relationship and bitter. With the exception of She Will Be Loved, Adam was telling some chick that he was fucking through with her. Apparently, that has carried over to the new album.

U+Ur Hand has grown on me. Still kind of hate the message, but I get where she’s coming from.

New BSB single leaked. Happily Never After. It’s awful. I don’t even know why they’re still trying. And I was their biggest fan. This current shit is too lame for Soft Rock Adult Contemporary. They’ve just lost their…thing.

The Li’l Mama & Avril Lavigne Girlfriend remix is the shit. It makes me wanna break into a high school and bang on lockers, as Toni Basil drones on and on about that Mickey fucker…

Where is Christopher Cross right this very minute? There is a hole in Adult Contemporary that could easily be filled by an amazing Christopher Cross comeback. The man gave us Arthur’s Theme, The Best That You Can Do, and Sailing. There isn’t an elevator out there that hasn’t played a Muzak version of his stuff. I really think he’s got a few more hits in him for that Delilah demographic.

All for now. Back later with a 21 Day Wedding Party update…

08th Jan2007

High School Musical Is Gonna Save Pop Music

by Will

“My wife’s vajeen hangs loose like sleeve of wizard.”

Mark my words: In one year, pop will be back in full force. No, I don’t mean that dreck that’s currently on Top 40 stations. I mean pure, unadulterated, don’t-worry-about-the-lyrics, bubblegum pop. Hell, we might even get a few boybands out of it.

And you know who’s gonna be responsible for it? The Disney Channel. More specifically, “High School Musical”.

Now, I haven’t had the pleasure of watching this movie, but I hear it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Apparently, if you pause at 00:03:16, you can even see Jesus in the background! No, that’s a lie, but you’d think it were true considering all the press this movie gets.

For a movie that has only been in existence for a year, it has been released on DVD 3 different times! No, not three different release dates; there are 3 different versions of this thing in stores, and they all sell like Disney’s going out of style. 1.2 million copies were sold of the first version, within 6 days of its release! The soundtrack has gone TRIPLE PLATINUM! That’s 3 million copies of a soundtrack to a made-for-TV movie! A stage show, complete with original cast, has been touring the country for months!

While I haven’t seen the movie, I HAVE seen enough talk show appearances, Disney 365 specials, and random commercial break music videos to know what’s going on. The songs these kids are singing are pretty much the same thing that sold gangbusters back in ’99. Add to that the fact that they’re being sung by beautiful White kids and Halfies, and you’ve got the recipe for pop success.

You may laugh at me now, but in a year, you’re going to be hearing nothing but Corbin Bleu on the radio. Hell, I thought that was a sandwich at Wendy’s, but High School Musical has taught me the error of my ways. As we’ve learned before, all it takes is one to open the door. Backstreet Boys were so influential that every White kid with 4 more guy friends put together a boyband. ESPECIALLY if they lived within driving distance of Orlando.

So, a year from now, when you’re watching MTV and thinking to yourself, “Wow, Justin Guarini got younger and cuter”, just remember that Will brought it to ya first!