Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
- Hot Mormon Fantasy
- Guys with Sexhair
- Guys in Baseball Uniforms
- Guys on Motorcycles
- Emotionally Damaged Boys
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
And for months we waited. Suddenly, however, within the past couple of weeks, Joe flooded the media with new stuff as fast as Nicholas Hoult did after the premiere of A Single Man. First was the news that Joe had taken a side job as a male model while recording his album. I was initially skeptical, but his pictures are surprisingly amazing. His somewhat generically pleasing good looks in real life somehow become absolutely stunning when he's in front of the camera. Joe is like one of those America's Next Top Model hopefuls who Tyra & Co. find kind of boring during judging but are left speechless when they see that week's photo. Next came the release of the absolutely gorgeous album cover for his upcoming debut, Wide Awake. His face was just meant for black and white photography, I swear. Whenever you see him on TV or in a color photo, his beauty never pops quite as much as it does in black and white.
Finally, over the weekend came the first listen of Joe's first single, 'Ambitions.' The song is a cover of a fantastic song from last year by this Norwegian band called Donkeyboy. When I first heard this, I was leery because if there's one thing about the UK music scene I just don't understand is their love of song covers. Every year, whether it's because of X-Factor or the Comic Relief charity single or some worldwide catastrophe that needs a relief single, at least four or five covers top the chart. I wouldn't have a problem if these artists actually changed the song to make it their own, but every damn time the cover is just a lifeless karaoke version of the original. The example I always cite is The Saturdays' recent hit cover of 'Just Can't Get Enough.' The song is cute enough, I guess, but what exactly did they do to the song to make it their own? Females are singing the leads this go-around and the sound is updated to be more "now" but other than that? Absolutely nothing. 'Just Can't Get Enough' sounds exactly like something a couple of my friends and I could produce after a round of drinks at the local karaoke bar. Yes, it may be a good time, but it not what I would call a "successful" cover. In order for a cover to be good in my book, I think the artist either needs to have a distinctive enough voice that whatever they sing automatically sounds like them or the artist needs to reinterpret the song either emotionally or musically. For the former, I like to think of Britney Spears. Her covers over the years of '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction,' 'I Love Rock 'N Roll' and 'My Prerogative' never deviated much from the original versions, but Brit's warble is so distinctive each of those songs sound unmistakably hers. As for the latter, Whitney Houston's megahit version of 'I Will Always Love You' turned Dolly Parton's slow, melancholic original into one of the biggest power ballads ever recorded. And then there is Kris Allen changing Kanye West's 'Heartless' into a surprisingly awesome acoustic jam. Simon Cowell is usually the one to blame for all of these covers, but occasionally he gets one right, as he did with Alexandra Burke's 'Hallelujah' and Leona Lewis' 'Run.' So why can't he do it more often?
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I wasn't familiar with the song before I saw this video (I am properly acquainted now), but that didn't prevent me from giggling like a schoolgirl. He's so adorably awkward that he even makes an interview with the fucking horrid Peter Travers bearable. And I love how by the end neither he nor Carey Mulligan can keep their shit together. Peter Travers is sitting there like the out of touch fuddyduddy he is, unmoved by Andy's impromptu excursion into topical pop music, thanking them for their time while they are obviously not paying attention and don't give two shits about him anymore. It literally goes: "Thank you, Carey." "*snorts in laughter*" "Andrew" "I hate you, Peter." (That last bit warms my heart, even if it's sort of out of context). I could literally watch this all day. Actually, I was going through withdrawal while at work this morning and had to watch it as soon as I came home.
Yes, I realize I am now officially obsessed with Andy Garfield, but now is the perfect time for it to be rearing its pretty little face. With two high-profile movies out in the coming weeks, both hoping for some Oscar nominations in a few months, and then Spider-Man, Andy will be in the public's eye for awhile now (which is a-okay by me). Since he's on the verge of becoming a big star, however, now comes the time for everyone who knew him before the Spider-Man announcement to enter an imaginary contest of "Who Knew Him First?" Because, apparently, if you knew about him first, you are clearly a bigger fan and deserve to keep Andy all for yourself. This is destined to tear people apart, as everyone, even people who are apparently friends, is fighting each other to sink their claws in him. I know I was one of those people but now that I've reflected on it I'm here to ask, "Can't we all just get along?" There's no sense arguing about something petty like who knew about Andy first; if we take turns, there's plenty of him to go around. And with someone as clearly amazing as Andy is, this is definitely more than enough to keep one satisfied. With little nuggets like this, he's the gift that keeps on giving.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Nick is certainly happy. And I am, too. I've made no secret of my attraction to the youngest Jonas but I've always felt the eensiest bit guilty over it. Even though Nick was technically "legal" in some states, it still felt wrong to (for lack of a better word) sexualize him. He's not Taylor Lautner, where his whole persona is based on taking off his shirt at the drop of a hat and baring his chest; he's just a dude who is known for playing his guitar and never smiling on his TV show. So I resisted for many, many months being a complete horndog over every little revealing picture of Nick I've seen online (in public, anyways). But now the time has come to lift the embargo. He's 18 now and I'm now free to lust without the slightest bit of recourse (except from those odd ducks who don't find him hot). Here are some pictures of Nick being especially sexy; it feels like the only appropriate way to celebrate this monumental day.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
It's no surprise that as a gay man obsessed with British pop music, Girls Aloud is one of my favorite musical acts around. Ever since I heard 'Sexy! No No No...' for the first time about two and a half years ago, I have been quite devoted to the Way of the Aloud. Over the years, I've met quite a few Girls Aloud fans online (a surprising number of them Americans) and the subject of their best songs always comes up before long. Most people agree on 'Biology,' but, beyond that, all bets are off. They have released so many singles, album cuts, B-sides, remixes and unreleased tracks that it's impossible for two "Best of Girls Aloud" lists to match. In fact, I know I've been asked to come up with a list on a couple of occasions and I'm sure that even my own lists didn't match each other. I wanted to create a definitive, once and for all list of their best songs but that seemed too, I don't know, ordinary. Let's try and make this a tad more interesting by focusing only on the non-singles. Any minor Girls Aloud fan knows that 'Biology,' 'Something Kinda Ooooh' and 'Call the Shots' are magnificent pieces of pop music, but where on earth do you start with the rest of their catalog? Well, here 10 good places to start exploring Girls Aloud beyond the hits.
10. Rolling Back the Rivers in Time
From Out of Control
The Girls and longtime collaborators Xenomania pushed their sound into a surreal electropop sound that neither of them had ever really explored before. 'Untouchable' was probably the masterpiece of this experiment, but 'Rolling Back the Rivers in Time' is not far behind. It's hard to describe, but this song feels like a dream where you're not quite sure what's going on but everything about it feels so damn good that it must be alright. Not sure if that makes sense but, hey, it sounds good to me.
09. Miss You Bow Wow
From Out of Control
Replacing the surrealism of 'Rolling Back the Rivers in Time' with a hard, pounding edge, 'Miss You Bow Wow' manages to turn repetitive, downright silly lyrics into a masterful, memorable song. Again, as with 'Rolling Back the Rivers in Time,' I have no idea what it means, but it feels oh-so-right.
08. Wild Horses
Quite possibly, one of the strangest songs Girls Aloud has ever recorded. The intro is, more or less, a church hymn, slow and steady but not exactly straying into dire ballad territory. Then, 20 seconds in, the hymn is ditched and the Xenomania production kicks in full-force, producing one of the most jarring transitions I've ever heard. The rest of the song is great, and the chorus is catchy as hell, but that opening is the true reason why I love it so much.
07. Black Jacks
From Tangled Up
I don't know if anyone else does this, but I often associate songs to ideas and meanings that have absolutely nothing to do with the song itself. 'Black Jacks' is one of those songs, and for whatever reason, I associate it with some kind of end-of-the-world apocalypse. It's the line "It's hard having fun when you can't see the sun anymore" that really set that interpretation in stone for me. The rest of the song probably doesn't fit, but when you think about it in that context, the lyric is almost too beautiful.
06. Memory of You
B-side to The Loving Kind
A curious omission from the Out of Control album, 'Memory of You' fits in with the album's electropop sound and dream-like atmosphere. Even curiouser, the track was only featured on the vinyl edition of the single. It's like everyone at the record company purposely tried to keep us from hearing this song. But we showed them, those buggers, and the fans have been totally receptive to this killer track.
05. Hoxton Heroes
B-side to Can't Speak French
Girls Aloud isn't normally known for starting shit but on 'Hoxton Heroes' the queens of British pop decided to take the piss out of all the indie rock bands (and their fans) who, for years, had called their music garbage. Hey, indie fans, your music is garbage too, so fuck off. What I love about 'Hoxton Heroes' is that it's one of the few pop songs to wear that label like a badge.
04. You Freak Me Out
From Sound of the Underground [Bonus Track]
I'm not going to argue that 'You Freak Me Out' breaks any new ground in the realm of pop music, but it is excellent for what is: a bright, silly pop song about people who just don't get each other. And that chorus! Such fun.
03. Crazy Fool
B-side to Whole Lotta History
A lot of people cite the ambitious 'Memory of You' as Girls Aloud's best B-side, but I like to think of the simpler, yet stunning 'Crazy Fool' as my favorite. The chorus is stunning; I love how stylized and accented the lyrics are. Freaking beautiful.
02. Live in the Country
From Out of Control
A beautiful yet all-around wacky (check out those pigs and ducks at the very end!) song about the desire to give up the fast life for the simple country life. I love personal pop songs, and I feel like 'Live in the Country' is the perfect snapshot of Girls Aloud circa 2008: exhausted and ready for a break from it all. After this song, it's no surprise that they have been M.I.A. since with no word yet on a follow-up album.
From The Sound of Girls Aloud [Pink Cover Version]
After songs like 'Something Kinda Oooh' and 'Sexy! No No No...' with their relentless beat and unstoppable drive, a song like 'Singapore' is a sweet, simple relief from the group's "harder" edge. Achingly tender and melancholic, yet surprisingly upbeat, 'Singapore' reveals a softer side of the Girls without having to descend to depths of shallow ballad hell. And when you've been forced to listen to one 'I'll Stand By You' after another, this song looks better all the time. Bonus points for this fan-made video which has to be the greatest Girls Aloud video ever:
Monday, September 13, 2010
And here are some of my favorite tweets from some other awesome twatters out there.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Video of the Year
Will Win: Lady GaGa & Beyoncé 'Telephone'
Should Win: Lady GaGa 'Bad Romance'
I mentioned this when I did my write-up of this year's nominees, but it bares repeating. Lady GaGa is going to win; there's very little doubt about that. She's as much of a lock as 'Single Ladies' was last year. While 'Bad Romance' is technically the better of her two nominated videos, I don't think voters will be able to resist the massive pull of the 'Telephone' video. GaGa + B + Tarantino-inspired dialogue + high concept + massive runtime + massive hype = a video which can't be ignored.
Male Video of the Year
Will Win: Usher featuring will.i.am 'OMG'
Should Win: Drake 'Find Your Love'
Trying to find a decent video amid this lackluster bunch is quite difficult. If Eminem wins here, he'll win Video of the Year since history has shown that his wins are correlated as such. I don't think Em will win the top award, so I'm down to B.o.B. and Usher. Both songs were massive hits, but this category has been considerably kinder to non-Video of the Year nominees, so I think Usher will pull ahead with the win. Drake not only has the best song of the bunch (slightly bested by 'In My Head') but his video is the only one that stirs me in any way besides revulsion.
Female Video of the Year
Will Win: Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg 'California Gurls'
Should Win: Lady GaGa 'Bad Romance'
I think this is down to Taylor Swift (in an attempt to make up for Kanyegate last year) and Katy Perry, who has somehow snagged herself three noms in a row in this category. She's already tied for 5th with a host of other legends (including Annie Lennox!) for the most noms in this category ever. 'California Gurls' was a massive hit, Katy Perry has never been hotter and she's technically "due." Bold choice, perhaps, but I think she'll nab it from Taylor.
Best New Artist
Will Win: Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris 'Baby'
Should Win: Nicki Minaj featuring Sean Garrett 'Massive Attack'
The Beebs has this one wrapped up, especially given the fact that people at home are the ones voting for the winners. And, you know what, I think he honestly deserves it. Who knows if he'll stick around in the future, but he's made a hell of an impression this past year and he's legitimately talented. If he wins, I won't be upset. However, I think the best in this category is Nicki Minaj, whose video manages to represent her as the out-of-this-world creature that she is.
Best Pop Video
Will Win: Ke$ha 'TiK ToK'
Should Win: Lady GaGa 'Bad Romance'
GaGa could surprise here, but I think Ke$ha and her ode to getting fucked up will take the prize.
Best Rock Video
Will Win: Paramore 'Ignorance'
Should Win: ?
Haven't had a chance to look through all the videos yet as I'm very weak when it comes to this genre. I think Paramore is still popular with the kids so I'm gonna go with them. No fucking clue though.
Best Hip-Hop Video
Will Win: Eminem 'Not Afraid'
Should Win: ?
Also pretty weak with this category so I'll update later. Eminem usually wins one just for appearing at this damn awards show so I expect him to pick this award up easily.
Best Dance Video
Will Win: Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull 'I Like It'
Should Win: Lady GaGa 'Bad Romance'
This comes down to a process of elimination. Cascada and David Guetta aren't too unfamiliar to win. GaGa might win, but I don't know if she's "dance" enough. Usher has a chance but I think Enrique, especially with the help of the Jersey Shore kids, will take this in the end.
Will Win: B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams 'Airplanes'
Should Win: Beyoncé and Lady GaGa 'Video Phone (Extended Version)'
B.o.B. has to win somewhere, right? It pains me to type that but it's true. My pick is between Jay-Z & Alicia, who have the better song, and B & GaGa, who have the...I won't say better, but more interesting, videos. I went with 'Video Phone' because that video is nuts and I can still recall it vividly months after last watching it.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Every time I see a new headline about Zac's beard, I get confused. WHICH ONE ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?
(By the way, am I the only one kinda digging his facial hair? I think it works even better with those sunglasses. Mmmmm, sexy scruff.)
Friday, September 10, 2010
All throughout the movie, I kept thinking about what a Hollywood remake of this film would look like. Sure, I mentioned that The Father of My Children is, essentially, a Hollywood film already, but there are moments that are far too subtle and un-histrionic for a major Hollywood tearjerker that would need to be amplified so us dumb Americans would get it. Actually, with just a couple of changes, I could see this as an Oscar contender for one of Hollywood's A-list actresses. Sure, the original French film is more about the father, but men aren't allowed to be emotional in Hollywood films so the actress will have to do all the heavy lifting. I ran through a score of capable actresses for my imaginary remake, but the one who made the most sense was good ole Sandy Bullock. With this film we'd get a Best of Both Worlds from her. In the first half we would get the fun, lovable, eternally charming Sandy that makes her so appealing in her romantic comedies. Then, in the second half, after her husband dies, Sandy the Strong Mama will come out and blow us all away. When she's upset, she's really going to be upset. When she has to put on a brave face for her girls, she make it the best damn brave face you've ever seen. When she faces the prospect of losing her husband's company, she's going to save that company even if it takes every last bit of her already waning strength left. When her daughter finds out about her husband's son, Sandy is going to bring everyone together and convince her daughter (and, therefore, the son, too) what a great man her dad was and the scene will end with a big emotional group hug that will bond them permanently. Okay, so maybe I'm being a little glib here, but the point still remains: if Sandy Bullock wants Oscar #2, she needs to get on an English-language remake of this movie and change a couple of minor details to suit both her persona and Oscar's taste. I think it can happen so let's make it work, people!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The real tragedy of Cronin's death goes even deeper than his literal death. Cronin is one of the first of my pre-teen idols to pass away. I may not have thought about him in ages, but his death is a reminder that we are all growing older and the people my generation worshiped back in junior high is also getting older. I'm saddened by Cronin's passing, and he was only a minor influence. I can't imagine what will happen when a major player, like a BSB member or Jessica Simpson, eventually passes. Everyone from that time period is irreplaceable and it saddens me to think that they won't all be around at some point. RIP Rich, you made my transition from elementary school to junior high, from my old house to my new one a teensy bit easier with your music. You will be missed.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Britney Spears 'Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know'
# # # # #
Britney continued to grow up right before our very eyes with this video for 'Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know,' the fourth and final single from her Oops!...I Did It Again album. The video, a chronicle of two young lovers shacked up in a tiny hut adjacent to a gorgeous tropical beach, sounds like the perfect opportunity to exploit the barely legal Brit and her bangin' bikini body. But, rather surprisingly, the director went in a different direction, offering a genuinely beautiful look at young love. Brit and her beau spend the entirety of the video clad in next to no clothing—Brit in a bikini top and cutoffs, the dude in the lowest riding bathing suit I've ever seen—and helplessly intertwined in various romantic poses, but 'Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know' never once feels exploitative. Instead, the video is sweet, tender and sensual—many things Brit, at this point, hadn't tried to be yet. So, the best way to look at 'Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know' is from the perspective of Britney, once again, subtly, pushing the boundaries of her persona into unchartered territory. Late 90's pop music's very own Lolita trying her hand at softness and sensuality? This sounds like something to scoff at, but Brit pulls it off surprisingly well. The only major downside of 'Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know' is the fact that since the video is so sensual, Brit is required to act sensual. She gets the body language down but her facial expressions, for the most part, are lacking a bit. She's not an actress, so you can hardly blame her, but her face looks completely vacant rather than like the emotionless mask I'm sure the director asked of her. But that's a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things with Britney trying something new on the way to her third album.
Previous installments: ...Baby One More Time | Sometimes | (You Drive Me) Crazy (The Stop Remix!) | From the Bottom of My Broken Heart | Born To Make You Happy | Oops!...I Did It Again | Lucky | Stronger
Saturday, September 4, 2010
There are many fine matches on the Wrestlemania VII card, but the one I'm discussing today is this epic confrontation:
Yes, my friends, now this is what wrestling is all about. This match isn't my favorite so much for the technical aspect--if you're looking for the best in that respect, why not try another Macho Man Randy Savage match with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III--as the incredible amounts of dramatic tension that is built into the match's backstory and everything that goes on in the ring. The creative team behind this match deserve medals for their work here; the fact that they managed to work so many different emotional angles--from revenge to reunited lovers--is a modern day miracle.
To start off with, the match is Career Ending Match, the first of its kind, according to our night's commentators Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. What this means is that whoever loses the match will never wrestle again. Whoa, now that's what I call having a dark cloud looming over you. One mistake and you're history. But, as if that isn't enough to build the emotional tension, we have to go into the backstory. After the Ultimate Warrior won the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania VI, Savage had been pestering him for a chance at winning the belt. Finally, after Savage's manager Sensational Queen Sherri confronted him at the Royal Rumble in January, he gave her his final answer:
Macho Man is obviously pissed (wouldn't you be?) and decides to act out on his aggression. During the Warrior's championship match, Sherri runs down to the ring and distracts him. He gets annoyed and chases her outside the ring and down the walkway to the dressing room. The Warrior gets down quite a way when...
BOOM. Out comes Macho Man with a clothesline out of nowhere. Betcha didn't see that one coming, did ya, Warrior? Now that he has taken the beast down, Savage decides to acquaint a nearby spotlight with Warrior's face.
Savage runs off and we then cut to the end of the match. The Warrior's real opponent, Sgt. Slaughter, has pushed him into the ropes. Savage has somehow ended up on the floor of the ring (I'm not sure how. All I know about the match is what is in this 30 second clip package) so he takes his sceptor and pummels Warrior in the head with it.
OH SNAP. The Warrior ends up losing the match and the title, so the reasons for revenge in this feud are even higher coming into this match.