Saturday, May 05, 2012

Best of the Week - 5/5/12

Quote of the Week: You can’t escape it, Don. Soon your little girl will spread her legs and fly. (Megan’s dad, Mad Men)

Song of the Week: You Oughta Know – Alanis Morrissette (as sung by June, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: A Melancholy Happy Trails to Adam Yauch: I grew up with the Beastie Boys. Quite literally. I was a childish elementary school student when the sophomoric License to Ill came out. I was going through my alternative phase as they got weird on Check Your Head. I was heading out to the club when the released their most danceable Hello, Nasty. And I was getting political when they released their pro-New York, anti-Bush To the the 5 Boroughs. Where most groups have a standout performer, no one have a favorite Beastie Boy, they were all equally great and at their best when they were trading lines. I can count the number of artist whose whole catalogue I own on one hand and the Beastie Boys were one of them. MCA’s diagnosis of cancer pushed back the release of Hot Sauce Committee, part 1 in 2009 which did not get released until a year later (renamed part 2) but his illness kept him from promoting the album and recently had to miss his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month (which will be premiering on HBO tonight).

Free Download of the Week: China Girl – David Bowie (Google Play)

Deal of the Week: 100 Album for $5 on Amazon MP3: This month’s $5 albums include Norah Jones, Amos Lee, Dawes, and Rosie Thomas.

New Album Release of the Week: Strangeland - Keane

New DVD Release of the Week: Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season

Video of the Week: I have been worshiping at the altar of Apatow for about a decade now, but something is just not working with the first trailer to his four movie that he wrote and directed This Is Forty, a sequel of sorts to Knocked Up (which was probably done so he didn’t have to work with Katharine Heigl again which is understandable). At one point Leslie Mann tells Paul Rudd his eyes are glazing over an that is actually what he looks like throughout the whole trailer when he is fully clothed. And the only part I actually laughed was the “No technology” line. Hopefully this is just a case of a bad trailer and movie ends up being much better.

Next Week Pick of the Week: 2 Broke Girls, Monday at 8:00 on CBS: Sure the show ranks number one on my list of the most disappointing show of the season but Kat Dennings still carries the show fairly well even if all the other characters are one dimensional and the second lead has an annoying voice. But Caroline is less annoying than The Voices of other people that will be airing during the same timeslot on Monday.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Around the Tubes - 5/4/12

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, United Stats of America, Swamp People, Conan, Magic City, The 13 Most Promising Pilots, Saturday Night Live, Sullivan and Son, and Jane by Design.

- When the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced you could not help be excited: Guns n Roses, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. Unfortunately by the time the ceremony came around Axl Rose released a rambling letter why who was not going to show up while MCA and Rod Stewart could not make it due to illness. But the ceremony airing tomorrow at 9:00 on HBO should still be entertaining especially the final jam of Higher Ground by Red Hot Chili Peppers (who were inducted by Chris Rock), Slash, Jeff Beck, Billy Joe Armstrong, and George Clinton.

- As a history buff and a stat geek, the new History series United Stats of America sounds right up my alley. The show, which premieres this Tuesday at 10:00, is hosted by identical twins and stand-up comedians Randy and Jason Sklar who will reveal stories behind the most interesting and surprising statistics in American history. Check out a clip below:

- For those that watch Swamp People Thursdays at 9:00 o History and have a Twitter account, you could win a 50-inch plasma TV just by using #SwampSayings during the show while tweeting your favorite line from the show. Three weekly winners will also receive Swamp People gear and cash. Head over to for complete details and to enter.

- World Peace is coming Conan this Monday. No not the concept but basketball player Metta World Peace will stop by in his first sit-down interview since his NBA suspension. Joel McHale, Piers Morgan, and Tom Selleck will also be stopping by next week.

- Willa Ford will be appearing on tonight’s episode of Magic City airing at 10:00 on Starz as someone who gets up close and personal with Divin’ Dave Donahue. Check out a still from the episode below.

Willa Ford on Magic City

- has a list of the 13 Most Promising Pilots of the fall season which include Tami Taylor, her daughter Julie, a man in tights, a female Dr. Watson, and the annoying dude from Glee ripping off Modern Family.

- Get ready for some Moves Like Jagger jokes for the season finale of Saturday Night Live on May 19 will feature Mick Jagger as host and musical guest. Hopefully a successful hosting gig will lead to a Let’s Rob Mick Jagger reboot.

- Last week new TBS comedy Men at Work went into production and this week the network’s other upcoming sitcom Sullivan and Son started filming. Look out for the show when it premieres Thursday, July 19, at 10:00.

- Not only will Teri Hatcher guest on the upcoming season of Jane by Design as Jane’s long lost mother, she will be making her directorial debut for the episode. Look out for it when the show returns Monday June 5 at 9:00 on ABC Family.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

You Better Get to Getting on Your Goodbye Shoes

Blown Away - Carrie Underwood

With American Idol and The Voice (and its laughably bad finalists) wind down another season, the start of Duets later this month and all the other singing competitions that have come and gone the past decade, it is easy to remember with all these shows, there have only been two successful winners from any of these show, Kelly Clarkson, who has been making the reality rounds this year on two different show, and Carrie Underwood. Sure Underwood would probably never win a singing competition on the radio, but she has a quality that just draws you in even when you know you should not like her music.

Like most Carrie Underwood albums, after the first listen to Blown Away it is striking as to how boring and bland it is, even more so than her previous albums. Yet by the second listen it has already become mostly catchy. And much like her previous albums, the new one straddles the line between country and adult contemporary which is moving more and more to the latter with every passing album. Just how pop-rock is the new album? There is a song, See You Again that blatantly steals the “ohh ohh ohh” part from Laura Branigan’s eighties classic Self Control. But It is hard not to be disappointed in the one song on the album written by Hair-Metal master “Mutt” Lang Who Are You which attempts to being an uplifting power ballad but fails massively.

Strangely for someone who is not much of a pure country fan, some of the most entertaining tracks are the few most traditionally country sounding ones. One Way Ticket is a fun sitting on your porch with friends and sing along kind of song (which is ironic considering the song is about getting off your butt). While Cupid’s Got a Shotgun is so absurd it starts becoming entertaining. But the best song on the album is the title track where Carrie goes big and succeeds. She really needs to ditch the overtly sappy songs and record more like Blown Away in the future.

And what Carrie Underwood album would be complete without an absurdly sappy song for country radio, so be sure to be prepared to hear Thank God for Hometowns in heavy rotation in the near future for those that still listen to the radio. Wine After Whiskey is no slouch in the so over the top cheesy you have to roll your eyes department.

Song to Download – Blown Away

Blown Away gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

You Tried to Replace Me but You Didn’t Get Far

Little Broken Hearts - Norah Jones

Nothing perks up my ears these days than “produced by Danger Mouse.” In a decade behind the boards he has moved into rarified air of must hear producers like Rick Rubin. And much like Rubin who go seamlessly between rap, metal and folk, Danger Mouse (government: Brian Burton) has worked from people as wide ranging as cartoon Gorillaz, blues rockers The Black Keys, and his groups with Cee-Lo Green and James Mercer. Then on his spaghetti western soundtrack to a movie that was never made that he made with Daniele Luppi Burton made his most unlike collaboration yet: Norah Jones.

Yes Norah Jones, the jazzy-pop artist that every soccer mom in America played over and over again in their minivans a decade ago when she released Don’t Know Why. But in the ten years since, Norah has gotten more and more adventurous with the tracks she applies her silky vocals to culminating in her previous best album The Fall released back in 2009. Then Danger Mouse recruited her to appear on his Rome which ended up being the three standout tracks on the album. The soccer moms who still have not removed Come Away with Me from their minvans may scratch their heads at the pairing, wondering why Norah Jones is working with the weird dude who was in a group with the even weirder Cee-Lo, but to those of us that continued to follow her career, the pairing is a perfect (or dare I say Perrrfect) match.

With Danger Mouse behind the board, the new Norah Jones album Little Broken Hearts sounds like a continuation of their work together on Rome as they both have a darker, more menacing feel than previous works by Jones. She even kills the title character in Miriam, but does it so smoothly you may not even realize it unless you read the lyrics sheet. Take It Back sound very similar to the Rome song Black when it hits its crescendo at the end with the same style of piano notes. And if I didn’t know better I would have guessed Burton brought in his buddy Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys to play guitar on the trippy blues song All a Dream.

If the title album Little Broken Hearts did not tip you off (or other song titles like Say Goodbye, She’s 22, After the Fall, 4 Broken Hearts, or Travelin’ On) this is her break up album. Thankfully there are no angry kiss off songs like Since U Been Gone as it sounds by the time Jones got around to writing the album she had since moved on to the fifth stage of grief (Reconstruction and working through) and most of the album is her getting all the way up to the seventh and final stage (Acceptance and hope).

As moody and mellow as the album is, it is a bit jarring when she picks up the tempo for Out on the Road nine songs into the album. But that does set things up for the stand out track, the bouncy and snarky Happy Pills (which it what Norah claims she felt as she just took after the break up because she feels so good). The “Out I’m gonna get you, out I’m gonna get you outta of my head, get out” chorus may be the catchiest kiss off since I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair. As Brian Burton ranks up new bands, hopefully Little Broken Hearts is the first of many collaborations with Norah Jones.

Song to Download – Happy Pills

Broken Little Hearts gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Did You Know That Life Has Given Love a Guarantee

Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder started out the seventies releasing the great classic Motown style music the teenager was known for up to that point when he released another ultra catchy love song Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Your. But as the musical prodigy transitioned into his twenties, his music got a little darker, longer, and much more political with songs like Superstition and Living for the City that still remained as catchy as his earlier work. All this collimated with his last album of the decade and best of his career Songs in the Key of Life, this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

As the title suggests, the album is not simply just about love or politics, it is about life and everything that comes with it. And the complications of life can explain why it took two albums, a bonus EP, twenty-one songs, and an hour and forty-five minutes to get through. There is joy, pain, entertainment, and struggle, from the ghetto to the penthouse, from the cradle to every twenty-six years Stevie had lived upon the release of Songs in the Key of Life on the album. Does it get heavy handed at time as most double albums do? Yes (especially the eight and a half minute Black Man that went on too long before the classroom segment at the end) but it is still hard to say there are any throwaway tracks on the albums.

Like most people my age, who were yet to even been conceived when the album was released, it took me a while to discover the album as I consider Stevie Wonder a singles artists for most of my life. I will not even confirm nor deny that the first time I heard Pastime Paradise my first thought was who is this stealing from Coolio? But I will admit Coolio did help me realize that the ultra poppy Stevie Wonder from the sixties was just one part of an even grander career than I realize at that point in my early life. The haunting original Pastime Paradise was a death march that put other songs in the Wonder songbook that I already knew into a new perspective like Living in the City.

My favorite song on the album, and maybe number two in his catalogue behind Superstition, is the simplistically titled As. The title is a stark contrast of the grandiose love song with its sweeping chorus and beautiful verses. And where a couple songs go on for too long on the album (did we really need to hear Aisha Wonder take a bath), the seven minutes of As go too fast and could have went on for twice as long and I would not have minded. You may have to actually live life to fully appreciate Songs in the Key of Life (or at the very least hit a quarter-century like Stevie did as he was recording it), but once you have, the album should become a cornerstone of your record collection.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Voice Semifinalists Power Rankings

Last week I complained about the Instant Eliminations, but now that everything has played out I have done a complete 180 because it is clear America cannot be trusted. Sure I can quibble with a couple of the coach’s decisions during the Live Shows, the only egregious decision they made so far was Christina Aguilera unceremoniously giving Jesse Campbell the boot. Yet has got it wrong time after time saving Pip and James Massone (which the coaches had to right with their Instant Eliminations) and did not save Charlotte Sometimes in the last round while head scratchingly saving the fifth rate opera singer and rock music ruiner Chris Mann and embarrassing to watch Tony Lucca while the more talented Ashley De La Rosa and Mathai are sent home. So the coaches made just one completely stupid decision while America made five.

After the Sweet 16 was decided this year I thought it was significantly better than last season. But at the end of the results show Tuesday I thought to myself, “Even though the quarterfinalist were much better than the first season, the semifinalist somehow managed to be worse and the semifinalist last year were not that strong. Thanks soccer moms with too much time on your hands.” To see if my premise was right or not, instead of doing a power ranking of just contestants from this season, I thought I would expand it to the semifinalist from both season to see which season was actually strongest (this season’s contestants are in bold).

Dia Frampton from The Voice1. Dia Frampton

2. Lindsey Pavao

3. Xenia

4. Nakia

5. Jamar Rogers

6. Javier Colon

7. Jermaine Paul

8. Juliet Simms

9. Vicci Martinez

Lindsey Pavao from The Voice10. Katrina Parker

11. Beverly McClellan

12. Erin Willett

13. Tony Lucca

14. Casey Weston

15. Frenchie Davis

16. Chris Mann

If you would add those up giving 16 points to the best and 1 to the worst, Season One would have a 73-63 edge over season. And all you would have done to have significantly better semifinalist this season would be to have simply swapped Ashley and Mathai (who would have been in the top five above) for Chris and Tony. But if voting patterns hold up tomorrow like they did last round, the finals of Jamar, Jermaine, Tony and Chris would be extremely worse than last year that featured Dia, Javier, Vicki and Beverly. Hopefully Christina, who has been shown more than willing to play the game this seasons and clearly does not like Chris at all, will tilt the favor towards Lindsey if the coach’s allot points again this season to their singers because the final would be much more boring without her. And let’s face it, what possible song in her catalogue could she sing with Chris Mann? I bet Christina has already practicing a Hurt duet with Lindsey.

If you are like me a prefer last season to this, you are in luck because all four finalist from the first season are confirmed to perform on the Results Show tomorrow. Vicci will perform with former coach Cee Lo Green. Dia will be performing with Kid Cudi. Beverly will duet with Cyndi Lauper. And winner Javier gets to go stag.

I’ll probably update this space sometime after the show with who I am voting for and you can use the links above to vote for each of the contestants on iTunes or head over to Unless you are a Chris Mann supporter, if that is the case please refrain from voting or go back to ruining American Idol by voting for mediocre singers.

Scooter Update: Two spots are beyond obvious: Lindsey and Jermaine. I would give the slight edge to Jamar and Katrina. That is what should happen, but I predict what will happen is Tony and Jermaine are solid locks. Even if America continues to have poor taste and vote for the fifth rate opera singer, Christina will wisely push Lindsey through to the finals. And Cee-Lo is a big toss up and if forced to predict, Jamar squeaks through by one percent.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 4/29/12

Once Upon a Time: Being from “writers of Lost,” very early in the episode it became blatantly obvious to me that the mysterious writer was Rumplestiltkin’s son (I cannot believe I did not think of this before even though during the Beauty and the Beast episode I wondered whatever happened to his son) and though it was blatantly obvious I assumed that it was Lost writers at the helm we would have to wait two seasons for the reveal. But low and behold they actually gave it to us by the end of the episode. Except it turned out not to be his son.

Which begs the question which storybook character is the mysterious writer. Oh wait, the promo monkeys pretty much spoiled that, oh never mind. And for a spell the Blue Fairy said cannot be replicated, there seemed to be a couple of storybook characters that made it to the real world without the curse like Emma and her magic wardrobe and mysterious writer (and possibly whoever the writer was talking to about speeding up the plan; actually I would not be surprised if we get an entire season of flashbacks of storybook characters in the real world if the show lasts that long).
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Mad Men: Kind of a cheap Lost-type storytelling for the episode. But all is forgiven with the Roger Sterling on LSD scene (but not for Peggy’s extracurricular activities in the movie theater).
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

The Voice: I defended Tony Lucca two weeks ago against Christina Aguilera’s harsh comments and what does Tony do in his very next performance: give a very one dimensional performance. When The Voice started, the producers and coaches were all altruistic talking about not having any joke performances, but Tony’s performance was such a joke it rivals that of Erin Martin. It was such big of a joke; his backing band might as well have been William Hung and his Hung Jury. But I guess it could have been worse, when I realized they had not announced what song he was singing, I thought, “Oh my God, he’s actually going to sing Genie in a Bottle.”

But after every elimination and Save last week seeming to be controversial (though Jordis Unga seemed the right choice for Blake to send home), a pretty uneventful time for eliminations this week with James Massone and Pip rightfully getting the Instant Eliminations (though the teen girl voting bloc may disagree). I could quibble that Mathai was more entertaining than Katrina Parker, but it is hard to argue against her and Juliet Simms got through (though I could argue that much like Chris Mann last week, the two girls were much more deserving of the public’s vote but unlike Chris it was pretty obvious Tony was getting through). Really the most shocking event that happened this week was that Pip performed sans bowtie before James ditched his headband. Certainly did not see that coming.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can download songs from this episode using the widget at right.

Survivor: One World: I always love the pecking order challenges because it shows everyone where they stand in the tribe. Unfortunately only a few people on the bottom of the totem pole have taken advantage of the situation and it looks like it will not happen again this season unless Kat can hatch a master plan instead of just complaining about it. And Kat managed to be the dumbest person this week. Seriously, how does Alicia, a Special Education teacher not know how IQ work?
You can stream recent episodes over at

Survivor on iTunes

Revenge: As someone who is meticulous and calculating as Emily is, how could she think her father’s murder was just a random jailhouse fight? Of course the Grayson’s were behind the killing. It should have at least clicked when she saw how Vicki could get to her son on the inside.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

The Big Bang Theory: The show needs more Roasts in the future.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.

Community: Sometimes the show tries so hard in being spot on with their parodies and being clever they forget to actually be funny. This week was one of those times.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.

Awake: Of course Pierre Chang had a broken arm. But anyway. I wondered the deeper they got into the move what could the possible reason they would have to end up staying (you knew they were never going to go to Oregon) and having a grandkid is a very worthy excuse.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Awake on iTunes.