Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I do particularly love this clip (which I saw when The Bubble Boy posted it on Facebook, thanks for that) of the boys on The Graham Norton Show (airing tomorrow for those of you not going out for NYE or who have a Sky+) where they manage to hold their own against Graham Norton, Joan Rivers and Sarah Jessica Parker (who is on fine form it must be said).
Watching the boys careen around big name TV gigs reminds me of someone else. Another dynamic duo that were a hit with all ages and had no problem just being themselves and doing their own thing and cracking up the audience while they were doing it. I do of course mean Zig and Zag. Thanks to YouTube and the DVD they released last year I've noticed that their brand of zany humour and fun has been missing from TV in many ways. Its hard to watch this:
and not think of this:
I'm telling you, these boys have the Zig and Zag magic. And that is no bad thing.
And speaking of Zig and Zag this is priceless, I wish somebody, anybody would do TV as harebrained and effortless as this:
Veronica Mars: One of my favourite shows EVER and one that I will consistently rave about if given half the chance. A sharp, witty, moving, noirish, addictive thrill ride and one that will hook in the most cynical of viewers. The first season is a masterclass in how to build a mystery over a season of TV while still have plenty of time for one liners, relationship drama and father-daughter bonding. This should have so much bigger than it was. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Not least for the lead Kristen Bell who is several shades of amazing. She should become a huge film star, like many a great TV actress, but whether she does or not she will always have her winning performance in this to fall back on.
Some honourable mentions (that didn't qualify for date reasons or they didn't jump out at me at first, which is part of the qualification for this spur of the moment list) : Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Alias, Sex and the City, Undeclared, The Rachel Zoe Project, The City, America's Next Top Model, Life As We Know It, The Simple Life, Chelsea Lately, My Life On The D-List, The Dead Zone, Firefly, Dead Like Me, Gossip Girl, Samantha Who?, The Osbournes, (this is an awfully trashy list is it not?)
Monday, December 28, 2009
Saw this on Twitter earlier (thanks to Ian Healy) and I do love it. Lady Gaga whips out a phone and gives an over-excited fan a quick ring. I do love that she did this but found myself wondering throughout just HOW she got his phone number. It is a bit stalkertastic if you ask me.
And can you imagine Britney doing this? Or Madonna? Hilarious.
I'm aware that this should lead into a searing sociological style analysis of how this ties into the rapid way Gaga hs built a community of loyal followers by reconfiguring how we view fame culture and pop starlets.
But really... it is Lady Gaga. Resplendent in feathers. And phoning a probable homosexual who chants down the phone at her. While she sits at a piano mid concert. So really, my work here is done.
Well this is quite the development. Tyra Banks has just announced today that this season of her talk show, The Tyra Banks Show (she should have called it I Wish I Was Oprah if you ask me) will be her last.
What. A. Tragedy.
The Tyra show never really took off because in all honesty it is muck. Even compared to other talk shows. Tyra for all her self belief does not know how to interview people. It is always about her during each segment to an embarrassing degree.
Still it is a shame that now D list celebs will have to hawk their wares elsewhere, that girls who used to be on Top Model won't have this show to fall back when they need the bills paid or when Tyra wants to wear a swimsuit and tell people she IS NOT FAT. Forshame.
In honour of the annoucement watch this utterly cringealicious interview with TyTy and Miss Janet Jackson from last year. It sums up her fawning, utterly crap approach to interviewing quite succintly:
Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
When Rihanna had a hugely successful third album in "Good Girl Gone Bad" and a string of hits including the monster hit "Umbrella" there no doubt some label bosses who struggled to think how they would top its success. And when at the start of the year Rihanna was assaulted by her then boyfriend Chris Brown it sent everything into a spiral. Many assumed Rihanna would lay low and not release any music for awhile but reports emerged that she was working on a harder, edgier sound for a new album due this year.
But unlike most pop albums this album really shines in the mid-tempo numbers. “Fire Bomb” sounds like the theme song to the best road movie ever and would sound great coming out of a radio near you this summer. “Photographs” is one of the best productions Will.I.Am has lent his name to all year. A simple, delicate number on lost love Rihanna puts that new found vocal depth to good use and sells this one to the utmost degree.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Here you are, six songs I love at the moment. Just a selection but a fine bunch of tunes nonetheless.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I meant to post this when the album was a little less widely talked about but given how much I love this at the moment it only seems right to share it now.
Good god Lady Gaga doesn’t take time to stop does she? This album, originally announced as an adjunct to The Fame (already a hugely successful release) is now being touted as Gaga’s official second album. It may clock in at only 8 tracks but this is a breathtaking effort, dripping with characteristic Gaga charm and plenty of new tricks.
You already know lead single Bad Romance (and THAT video) by now but needless to say it’s a fantastic track. An aggressive beat, lyrics laden with twisted imagery it manages to sound like what we expect from Gaga and take it to the next level.
Next up is Alejandro, a whirling dance track that has recalls Ace of Bass and Madonna’s La Isla Bonita. Its catchy to the point of distraction and would make a brilliant summer single next year if Gaga isn’t on her 5th album at that stage.
Monster follows, a dark but deceptively upbeat track about a girl and a guy whose nightclub dalliance takes a turn for the twisted. It sums up much of the theme of this album while sounding like the younger cousin of Poker Face. This is a good thing.
Speechless sounds even more disappointing coming off the back of this number. Billed as Gaga’s big ballad it is a hard song to warm to. There is a beautiful idea in this one and some great lyrics but it all gets drowned out in layers of awful production that make it sound like some kind of Michael Buble track. This is one of those songs that cries out for an acoustic reswizz to make you see why it should be great.
Dance In The Dark swoops in straight after and helps rub away some of the cheese left bySpeechless. This is easily the darkest track on the album. A heavy synth line weaves around lyrics about a girl left broken by her man. It uses some deliberately heavy imagery and throws it against a Eurovision chorus but it works brilliantly. It’ll make you dance like a loon but has a fragile quality that makes it oddly haunting.
Telephone slides into view and its mindblowing. And that’s even before Beyonce (yes, BEYONCE) turns up to kick things into high gear on the second verse. This is slated to be the next single and it will literally swallow the charts whole for most of next year. A slamming piece of electro pop it throws around several hooks and bursts with frenetic energy.
So Happy I Could I Die is a bubbly almost ballad that manages to be both tender and make your head bob. It might not stand out as much as some of other tracks but it is still very very good and that says more about Gaga’s own high standards more than anything else.
Teeth is an odd but strangely appropriate closer. A loping R&B beat mashed with growling, suggestive lyrics (‘Take a bite of my bad girl meat” she suggests, which might turn some of you vegetarian) and a burlesque swagger you feel must be left over from Gaga’s early days in the New York clubs. It’s a neat reminder of how far she has taken herself from her first album and a teaser for some of the ideas she might play with on her next album.
So is this worth your time? In short, yes. It might come attached to an album you already own but that won’t matter once you give this collection a listen. This is an (almost) perfect follow up to a truly stellar release and one you will go back to frequently. Despite the huge pile of new releases sitting on my desk begging to be listened to (the joys of music journalism) I’ve come back to this album numerous times over the last few weeks, its brief running time making me come back for more and more. If you like your pop music at all this is a must have.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
So why does The City now work so well? The second season benefits from the lessons learned in the first. Less time spent on ridiculous supporting characters the audience have no relationship with and more time on Whitney and the pouty, bitchy but brilliantly entertaining Olivia. The addition of Roxy Olin, Whitney's childhood friend helps matters.
The focus on work and career is what made The Hills so interesting in the first place and its a forumla thats beens replicated with great success in this run of The City. More importantly it stills feels relatively off the cuff with things happening that look like they weren't planned (even if they were). And it looks gorgeous, the vibrant backdrop of New York providing a perfect setting for all that unfolds. This feels like a production that is being developed and honed and you can't help but feel that MTV are waiting for this to really kick into high gear and have it take over from The Hills sooner rather than later.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Not only did I got to see comedian/actress/activist Janeane Garafalo do her first ever Irish standup show in Dublin this week I also had the pleasure of meeting her. Lovely! Garafalo is T.I.N.Y. in person and looks nowhere her 45 years. I was intrigued to see what kind of style her stand up would take figuring that whatever happened it was bound to be interesting. And I wasn't wrong.
Garafalo was undoubtedly funny but she was also fascinating and though provoking too. Veering from topic to topic and completely aware of her lack of focus she cut a charming and likeable figure. She touched off her experience in Ireland, her relationship with alcohol, her own self image, the origin of the universe (No. really.) and wrapped up with cute puppies and man sandals.
Her material on her own battles with alcohol/food/moderation were the most illuminating. Her unwillingness to subscribe to the advice willingly suggests someone who is glad to be sober and "healthy" but misses the ease with which alcohol allowed her to live her life.
Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love
For this worried that Cheryl's rather lovely but rather sedate solo single lacked punch this video should go some way towards changing your mind. I love the colours and the styling (lets overlook the leopard print dance trousers shall we?) and it looks and feels like the arrival of Cheryl as a Proper Popstar. She oozes charisma and I like the use of graphics and set ups too with military garb Cheryl and "writhing against a wall" Cheryl being my favourites. Lets hope her next single is a stomper so that she can do another video as good as this.
Alexandra Burke - Bad Boys
There is something awfully 80s action movie about this video but that's no bad thing. It also underlines quite clearly the "She's not Leona, she can dance!" vibe that has become a large part of Alex's appeal. I like the strange mix of would be bad ass hip hop guys and the Broadway show esque dancing through every sequence. Its the kind of mix that is perfect for a pop video. If I were being churlish I would point out that Alex looks a little stiff but its her first proper video so I'll let her off. Its a confident and bold video though and anything that isn't Leona doing 90s Mariah is fine by me. And besides the bit where the music drops out, Ms Burke kicks a wall down and struts into some dance off related showdown is quite fantastic. The rest of the video could have been utter shit and I would have liked it for that part alone.
Amerie - Heard 'Em All
Great video attached to not so great song alert! This is clearly Amerie's big budget re-entry to the music scene. The tune is listenable but hardly groundbreaking and I fully expect it to disappear which is a shame but the video! My god, talk about slick. Directed by Anthony Mandler (who has worked with a slew of hip-hop heavyweights and most recently did Run This Town for Jay Z) this video looks and feels like every inch the mini movie and I love the image of Amerie as this hooded agressive figure stalking her way through some kind of factory/abandoned warehouse/derelict building. The choreography is great too. The song will pass you by but its nice to see people can still rustle up big budgets for music videos these days.
Kesha - Tik Tok
In one way nothing really happens in this video but its awfully good fun nonetheless. The debut single from Uffie meets Britney pop starlet Kesha it does a fine job of introducing her messy locks and thrown together look. The clever edits at the start tease the eventual party scene that we get to look at but not before Kesha hangs around with some dodgy looking guys and shocks a white picket fence family. The best bit is undoubtedly Kesha wobbling around during the middle eight before making her way to the inevitable hipster hoedown. While I can't help but wish for a more eye popping video this does a fine job of letting us see that Kesha is both a hot mess and a fine popstar. And who could ask for more than that?
Miley Cyrus - Party In The USA
Given that both this track and Kesha's were produced by Dr. Luke they sound fairly similar. In fact Party In The USA is like Tik Tok's more responsible but still fun loving younger sister. This video ain't too exciting either but Miley is oddly charming. In fact its the best shes ever looked in a video. Fun lovin' but grown up, not winding around a pole (thank you Teen Choice Awards) and flanked by some backup dancers who've got ten years on Miley and seem to think they're in a Flo Rida video this is another step on the ladder for Miley to become a big league popstar as opposed to a teen star done good.