Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Top 10 Songs of 2006- #10

#10- Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland "Promiscuous"

2006 was officially the year of Timbaland thanks in part to him producing two of the biggest hits of the year (both of which appear on my list) for two of the most unlikely artists: Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado.

It's the latter name on this list that really surprised me. Nelly Furtado? That strange like Portugese-Canadian who sang those funky folk pop songs like "I'm Like a Bird" and "Turn Off the Lights"? The idea seemed ludicrous- especially when I heard the title. "Promiscuous"? What the hell?

But then I heard the song and I was like...whoa. This little old tune is damn fine. First there's that signature Timbaland beat that sounds like nothing being made right now. And then there's that sexy interplay between Ms. Furtado and Timmy that flows really nicely. Take for example my favorite lyric from the song: "Roses are red/Some diamonds are blue/Chivalry is dead/But you're still kinda cute". On paper it seems like nothing special, but in the context of the song, it is golden.

With "Promiscuous", Ms. Furtado has combined the quirky aspect of her first songs with the, to quote Kathy Griffin, "sleek, sexy and modern" stylings of Timbaland without any trouble or lack of credibility. It doesn't seem that out of place for her to be going this way with her career and that's what makes this song even sweeter.

I Know This is Practically Common Knowledge But J. Hud is Amazing

Ever since I saw "Dreamgirls" on December 30th, I've been enamored and practically dumbstruck by the talents of one Miss Jennifer Hudson. I'm almost embarrassed that we, as a nation, let her go so early on "American Idol" that fateful 3rd season. This girl has got talent spewing out of her ass. And I'm not just talking about her triumphant version of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" that tore the theatres up. The only time I've ever seen an audience clap during the middle of a movie is when J. Hud sang this song...and they did it multiple times. Behind me, a couple of girls kept saying to each other throughout the number "Damn, that girl can sing!" and started cheering loudly.

While that hair-raising, goosebump-inducing performance was movie magic at it's best, J. Hud also has her other shining moments. Her performance of the new song written for the movie "Love You I Do" is two minutes and 50 seconds of pure exaltation, elevating what could have been a cheesy, upbeat love song into the perfect expression of love. During "I Am Changing", we sincerely believe that she intends on changing her ways for the better. And it's during "One Night Only" that we see her finally able to hone her craft and make a single displaying all of her talents.

Even when she is not singing, J. Hud nails the character of Effie White. Lord knows I know and love my divas, and thanks to J. Hud, Effie is now one of my favorites. Whether it's telling Curtis and Jimmy that she don't do "ooohs and aaahs" or purposely singing over Deena during "Heavy, Heavy" in the studio and then walking out during the middle of the session, J. Hud knows how to throw a diva fit. And my favorite moment of hers is when she has the audacity to complain to Curtis about Martin Luther King, Jr. getting an album before she does. You can't get any more diva-riffic then that.

I sincerely hope that my girl J. Hud will win her deserved Oscar on February 25th and I can't wait to see what she does (musically and acting-wise) after all this hoopla.

Top 10 Songs of 2006- Honorable Mentions

I know the time for the end of the year lists has somewhat passed, but I feel the need to share my personal Top 10 songs of 2006.

2006 was, in my opinion, a great year in music---the return of the shitty, so-bad-its-good pop song. After a couple of years of the same old-same old rap songs and crappy JoJo songs like "Leave (Get Out)", 2006 brought back some catchy shit to sing along to.

In honor of this wonderful year in music, everyday or so I am going to post one entry in my countdown. And today I will be starting with some songs that I loved but just missed making the list.

>Chamillionaire "Ridin'"---Apparently there's a message about racial profiling in this rap song, but that only adds to its inherent corniness. This is the way I like my message songs- easy to dance to and with a catchy chorus.

>Cherish "Do It To It"---Okay, so I know that these girls don't really have much vocal ability and will probably have a hard time producing another hit, but this song really accomplishes what it has set out do- it makes me want to "bounce with it, drop with it, lean with it" and "rock with it".

>Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean "Hips Don't Lie"---Oh Shakira, it's been too damn long. From the woman who brought us such wonderful ass-shaking songs like "Whenever, Wherever" and "Objection (Tango)", we get another catchy, Latin dance song. I don't know how she keeps on making songs like these, but I hope she keeps it up.

>Beyonce "Irreplaceable"---Beyonce's third single from "B'day" is the biggest hit from it yet and is further proof that she is actually trying to take her music into a better, more mature direction.

>Fergie "Fergalicious"---As if "London Bridge" wasn't great enough, Fergie had to unleash this upon us...and I LOVE her for it.

>Jennifer Hudson "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" and Beyonce "Listen"---If these songs had been released as singles, they would have been included in the Top 10 (probably at #1 and #2). But I had a hard enough time choosing this list and felt it wasn't fair to have those songs compete with these two showstopping, power ballads from the musical Dreamgirls. There will be more about J. Hud's and her impressive interpretation of this legendary number in an upcoming post, but Beyonce earns her due as she tears shit up on "Listen" and more than holds her own in the vocal department.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Warped Sense of Humor If I've Ever Seen One

Okay, so I've been told (or at least I like to believe) that I have an unique sense of humor. Think of the most offensive thing you could possibly say and I'll probably laugh. For example, I've said to my Jewish friend Sammi repeatedly that her people killed my Savior (even though I'm an Athiestic Catholic---more about that later). So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to explore my sense of humor and the various places it comes from:

1. The Golden Girls: As I've said before, I have watched "The Golden Girls" on Lifetime since the 6th grade. I've probably seen every episode 15 times and can almost quote word for word some of my favorite episodes. How does this affect my sense of humor?: I think it's in the way the girls make fun of each other and can take a joke while still loving each other. From Sophia's cantankerous, old-age quips and Dorothy's yelling and general mean disposition to Blanche's bitchy, aging Southern belle rants and Rose's random confusion. I especially love it whenever they gang up on Rose whenever she tells a St. Olaf story...priceless.

2. South Park: I first started watching this show after my friend Ashley told me about it back in 11th grade. I fell in love with the show and have seen almost every episode. How does this affect my sense of humor?: What other show can you think of that can make fun of "The Passion of the Christ", Catholic priests, Tom Cruise and police framing black people? I'd love to say that this where the offensiveness of my sense of humor got started.

3. Duck Soup: Everytime I see this 1933 Marx Brothers classic, I fall more and more in love with it. How does this affect my sense of humor?: The randomness of the one-liners and, come to think of it, almost every other joke, really inspires me. If only I could write a screenplay in which every single line is a one-liner just like in this one.

4. Keaton and Chaplin: The greatest of the silent clowns (I don't get Lloyd) and every film of theirs is a masterpiece (well, maybe there are a few duds...). How does this affect my sense of humor?: I laugh everytime I see someone fall down.

5. World War II: Now, this is rather offensive, but hear me out. What Hitler did was terrible, but can you think of another dictator who is this much fun? I mean, Jesus, he inspired "Springtime For Hitler"! Add to that concentration camps, the Holocaust, Japanese kamikaze's and the Hiroshima bomb and you've got plenty of offensive hilarity to last for a long time. How does this affect my sense of humor?: Ashley and I have been thinking about writing "Holocaust! The Musical" ever since Photography class last year (quietly, of course, because we didn't want Mr. Dewey to hear).

Well, here's the basic components to my screwed up sense of humor. Tell me what you think with a lovely comment.

The First Entry is Always the Most Awkward...

Oh, why, hello out there! Welcome to "The Rants of a Diva", the first blog from me---James Henry. Why "Rants of a Diva"? Well, I tend to rant about random things (and there will be many) and I am a diva (a much bigger one than a certain person who thinks she's a diva.

Here are some things that will pop up periodically:
1. Movies---This is my major passion in life and it, at times, consumes my life. I love films from the silents to now, so any film could be talked about at any point.
2. Favorite Actors & Actresses and Performances---I love film performances and can define my life from any given number of characters, so they will be mentioned quite a bit.
3. Movie Awards---Alright, I'm an awards show junkie. I can admit it.
4. "The Golden Girls"---Possibly the GREATEST TV show ever created. I've been watching it religiously for years on Lifetime and now own almost every season on DVD.
5. Other Random TV Shows---I love TV almost as much as movies. You'll hear about shows as diverse as "I Love New York" to "House".
6. Celebrity Gossip---Sorry, but it can't be avoided- a major part of my existence is devoted to Britney's latest antics.
7. Tons of other fun stuff!

I hope you all look in on my blog once in awhile and comment whenever you want. If you care to disagree with me and my opinions, do so (I guess) :P. Well, so long for now!