Crazy-Sex Friday! (That’s what Fridays are for)

Lady GagaHowdy out there,

Thanks, Gaga – you’ve made a slow news day into a kooky (or ‘gaga’) news day!

Lady Gaga’s prurience and her preoccupation with same-gender sexuality has caused an upwelling of protest in, no, not Saudi Arabia or Iran, but, South Korea, of all places.  The protestors’ term for the prurience and preoccupation: “pornography” and “homosexuality.”  These protestors belong to several Christian groups in a country with a devoted and faithful Evangelical Protestant demographic numbering around twelve million.  ‘The Christian Council of Korea’ does not want Gaga’s ‘homosexual’ attitudes polluting Korean culture.  Don’t blame the Koreans, the Christians, or anyone else – Gaga could generate controversy in Antarctica!

Perfect transition to Queen and Freddy Mercury, poster boys of the, er, shall we say ‘alternative lifestyle’.  Offbeat actor Sacha Baron Cohen decided that he wants to play Mercury in a biopic and took his idea to Brit-American producer Graham King.  King jumped at the chance to ‘do’ Queen and the movie is on!  Freddie Mercury was a larger-than-life character who was ‘out there’ so it will be interesting to see what angle the script will take on this polarizing singer.

To close out this sex-oriented blog post, we go to One Direction’s Harry Styles and The Bieb.

The Bieb has announced that he ain’t gonna marry Selena anytime soon and says he wants to “have a family” “in ten years.”  That gives some hope for all the dreamy-eyed Beliebers out there.  Any of you girls think you can displace Selena by 2022?

Young Master Styles has no interest in marriage; instead he has expressed his desire to bed a duo of Kates – Moss and Winslet – plus Ms. ‘Binbag’ Jolie.  There’s perhaps a tiny chance Master Styles may make one score but the hat-trick of his dreams?  Million-to-one odds!

TGIF,

Shane

Catch-up Music-News Monday

BillboardHello out there,

We had an upsurge of news late last week and there was the usual Billboard review, which has meant a news pile-up.  To catch up lets’s dive right in!

*  Too many female artistes are scripted in their statements and actions, either by themselves (think Mad-onna), or by handlers who want to maximize the gain from their cash cow (think Britney).  Or, they say and do bizarre, flaky things (think Gaga) or act vulgar and sleazy (think Rihanna).  Nicki Minaj is a refreshing change.  This Friday Nicki was irritated beyond measure at Twitter’s failure to stop unauthorized leaks of her songs.  As a sign of protest and while throwing a tantrum, Nicki deleted her Twitter account!  Though some may call this an over-reaction, it bespeaks a singer who is not scripted and is frank and authentic.

*  During a shoot for his ‘Boyfriend’ video Justin Bieber was spotted kissing a girl’s hand and getting cuddly with her.  As it happened, Selena happened to stop by.  Not a bad idea to be keeping tabs if your boyfriend’s Justin Bieber, eh?

*  Bee Gee Robin Gibb is out of his coma and able to communicate but now we are told that, after everything he has suffered, he has colorectal cancer.  Gibb surprised his doctors by emerging from his coma and I hope he surprises them by walking out from the hospital as well.

*  The Bob Marley ‘docu-drama’ ‘Marley’ is playing at about 50 theatres in the U.S.  But if you’re a reggae-lover in a small-town in the heartland, you can watch it as a VoD (Video-on-Demand) on your computer screen.

*  Deadheads should be just as happy as Marley-fans: They can now play an interactive game, ‘The Grateful Dead Game: The Epic Tour’.  Who wants the Jerry Garcia avatar?

*  In closing, Congratulations to Neil Diamond!  At three-score-and-ten he has become a husband for the third time.  Best Wishes to his wife, his manager Katie McNeil.

Till tomorrow,

Shane

Smackdown at the Billboard!

Nicki MinajHallo!

It’s smackdown time!  Same day last week I wrote: “If we . . . have any sense or taste, ‘Tuskegee’ will bump Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’ from its top spot next week!”  Well, I was half right!  It wasn’t ‘Tuskegee’ by Nicki Minaj’s ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ that booted Mad-onna’s album from top spot – and how: ‘MDNA’ has been booted all the way down to no. 8!

‘Tuskegee’, as a matter of fact, has dropped to no. 4 with ’21′, after over a year in the charts, ascending one place to take its no. 2 spot.

I had blogged earlier about Nicki’s frenetic activity paying off by keeping her in the news and enhancing her popularity.  A single from her no. 1 album, ‘Starships’, is still on the Singles Top Ten at no. 6 to go with her no. 1 album.  The girl’s really done it!  (Though the album just may end up being a one-week wonder.)

What with all the hype swirling around Mad-onna and the media slavering over Nicki, Rascal Flatts’ new album ‘Changed’ has flown under the radar to debut at no. 3.

Something else I had written is borne out by ‘MDNA’s steep drop.  Last week I had explained ‘MDNA’s debut at no. 1 thusly: “It’s quite incredible what publicity and the media can do.”  Well, it all seems to be catching up: Billboard reports that ‘MDNA”s dizzying drop, saleswise, is the *biggest one week decline of all time.*  First week sales of 359,000, driving by “publicity and the media” shrunk to 48,000 in the second week for an 86.7 percent drop-off – a new record.  (Mad-onna and her people – of course – are not going to take it lying down and their publicity machine will probably swing into action to try to push their product.)

On to the Hot 100 (Singles) Chart.  I gotta say that it has become an amazingly static chart – correct me if I’m wrong but *seven* of the Top Ten have either held their position or changed by a single rung.

One noteworthy point is that with ‘Roman Reloaded’ in the albums Top Ten, Nicki Minaj has joined One Direction as the only performers in the Top Ten on both charts.  (One Direction’s ‘Up All Night’ has risen one spot to no. 5 and their single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ has jumped from no. 9 to 4.)

fun’s and Gotye’s singles are still parked in their usual places, give or take a rung.  My sources tell me that they and Billboard have signed a secret long-term lease.

Justin Bieber’s fan-atics will be distraught to see their ‘Boyfriend’ slide from no. 2 to no. 5 in only the second week of release.  Well, Beliebers, how about another Twitter campaign? (translation: onslaught!)

Cheerio,

Shane

Justin Bieber: The Twitter-Master!

Justin BieberHi All!

Whaddya know – we have a grandad-grandkid theme again today!

Beauty before age, so grandkids go first.

A while back I had blogged about Nickelodeon’s KCAs. British teen band One Direction had performed at the awards and, it appears, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift had grooved to their music.  Excited by the dancing dolls and falling for MTVs set-up questions, a few band-members are now dreaming about more attention from the dolls; any of them.  And that would make her an – ‘older woman’!  I’m tempted to say, “Keep dreaming, boys,” but it would take only one madcap female to prove me wrong!  So— silence is golden.

Grandkid Justin Bieber is a Twitter-Master.  He has been tweeting and teasing his fans about his upcoming music-video for ‘Boyfriend’ (lead single from the to-be-released album ‘Believe’).  The boy’s also been tweeting fluff and factoids about both the video and the album, driving up his fans’ suspense levels to crazy heights.  Now let’s hope the music-video is not a let-down.

The ‘One Direction of 1970 were The Rolling Stones (albeit rather less wholesome) and now these grandads are in the news, courtesy of guitarist Ronnie Wood.  Wood is busy with his own painting and solo career but he spilt some beans on the Stones.  He said that the band’s Golden Anniversary is coming up this year and so they’re going into a studio “to throw some idea around,” “to go into training.”  Are the grandads making a new album?  Sure sounds like it!

Cyndi Lauper cannot be classed with The Rolling Stones being of relatively more recent vintage; the 80s.  Though she ain’t no grandma, she *is* one hot mama!  Cyndi Lauper, of ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun Fame’ is someone Mad-onna has aped, if only a little.  Come Autumn, a Simon & Schuster imprint will be publishing a memoir from Lauper.  I wonder how she’ll dish the dirt on.  Mad-onna, better mend your fences with Cyndi now . . . .

Cheers,

Shane

Justin, Nicki, Whitney — Wow, What a Medley!

Rihanna Ashton Kutcher DatingHi Everyone,

Our Monday Medley had to take a back seat because of the weekend’s Country Music Awards and Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards so let’s do our bits-and-pieces medley today.

You must have heard about Rihanna’s latest gossip-of-the-moment: her, er, developing ‘friendship’ with Demi Moore’s ex, Ashton Kutcher.  Well, Rihanna’s ex, Chris Brown has gone one better, and done it musically.  Brown has really come back from the wilderness as his single ‘Turn up the Music’ has debuted on the U.K. singles chart at no. 1!  The pressure’s all on Ashton now to match that.  Come on Ash, impress your new girl!

Two singers are so hot these days that they just can’t seem to keep out of the news.  They’re Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber.  Nicki because she’s an MTV favourite and Justin because he’s a fan favourite!  And how: the lead single, ‘Boyfriend’, from his upcoming album ‘Believe’, has notched over half-a-million downloads in its first week.  (You’re one of those half-million, aren’t you?!)  This stat puts it in second place for most downloads of a single in its first week of release.

Nicki is just so up and about that she keeps making the news.  Today is the official launch of her new album ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’.  Her video for ‘Beez in the Trap’ is also geared for release today, so Nicki’s trying to go two for two.  What’s more, it comes in two versions: one clean-cut, the other one X-rated.  Which one do you want to see, kids?

Last week I expressed my admiration of Les Paul when I blogged about the scheduled auction of his treasures (a few of which changed the course of recorded music).  This weekend some of Whitney Houston’s effects went under the hammer, courtesy of the same auctioneer who will do the Les Paul auction: Julien’s Auctions.  Those of Whitney’s fans who are wealthy enough snapped up Houston’s gowns and dresses.  However, it was two or three items from her role in ‘The Bodyguard’ that were sold for eyecatching figures, none more so than two pair of earrings (i.e. four total) which went for nearly $10,000!  That demonstrates real star power.

Cheerio,

Shane

The Boss and The Beib

Hello All,

Back in Old Blighty we sure love our ‘golden oldies’ – some days back I had written about old men Engelbert and Tom Jones making headlines once again.  Now witness Bruce Springsteen, who was ‘Bossing’ it in America back in the 80s, beating out all competition to rule the roost on the U.K. album charts!  Springsteen ‘Wrecking Ball’ album is no. 1 in U.K.  Not bad, Boss – and not bad, Britishers too!  You’ve got taste, for Springsteen is as genuine a rocker as they come.

But you can’t say the same about everyone.  Here in the States Billboard seems to be going ‘mad’ about Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’ album.  (Why are you trying to hype and push it, Billboard?)  I sampled a few tracks and it’s just more of the same – overproduced, synthetic, generic dance-club tracks under the ‘Madonna’ brand-name, quasi-sung in that insubstantial, thin and reedy voice we all know and love so well.  Nothing new, nothing artistic here.  How this juggernaut keeps rolling on and on escapes me.  Credit the image-makers and PR people – they can sell anything!

Something far more engaging and authentic is Fun’s ‘We Are Young’ (which, in all honesty, is too dark to be mere ‘fun’).  Billboard reports that it is the first debut single by a rock band to ascend to no. 1 on the singles chart in a gazillion years.  Not by any stretch a ‘rocker’, this appealing song, driven by a heavy backbeat, sounds as if it’s influenced by 80s and 90s Euro-Pop.  It’s driving me batty because I can’t remember just who it reminds me of!  Perhaps someone will be able to make the connection and post a comment.

Looking two weeks ahead to the 26th, Justin Bieber’s ‘Boyfriend’ should land in the Top Ten – at least.  It’s the lead track from his upcoming album, ‘Believe’, which is said to be quite a departure from his earlier work, and so much so that the boy – er, man, now – himself thought it needed some justification: “You can’t really expect anything from my album. It’s really, really different. . . . I’m not trying to lose any of my young fans.”  No worries, Justin, you probably won’t – ‘Believe’ me!

Here’s an odd couple that I wouldn’t mind seeing (and hearing): Bruce and The Bieb!  How about Bruce Springstein and Justin Bieber duetting, backed by The Boss’s band?  Intriguing thought, eh?

In closing, it’s particularly apropos to refer to Britain as ‘Old Blighty’ in a music blog – ever heard ‘Take me Back to Dear Old Blighty’?

Blithely (and Blightily) Yours,

Shane

For Grandparents and Grandkids Only!

Hello Grandparents and Grandkids,

Welcome to your special blog post this Friday!  For a change, let’s put beauty before age and talk about the grandkids.

Justin Bieber is the featured star on a new single by Far East Movement, taken from a soon-to-be-released hip-hop album.  Billboard estimates that it will generate well over 100,000 sales on the digital charts by the weekend.  Is it the song or is it Bieber’s teeny-bopper sex appeal?  Whichever it is, it ain’t bad for a grandkid, specially as it appears he can steal star billing even when he collaborates with an established act.

Kelly Clarkson is also a ‘grandkid’, relatively speaking.  She’s made news by way of her song ‘Stronger’ hanging around in Billboard’s Top Ten singles chart after earlier being at no. 1, before making a comeback to the top spot.  In other words, ‘Stronger’ got ‘stronger’ on the singles chart over the past week!  It also got ‘stronger’ on the Radio and Digital Charts.  Kelly is clearly no one-hit wonder; she is here to stay on the charts.

Now to Grandpa Engelbert Humperdinck who was having worldwide hits like ‘Release Me’ and ‘Winter World of Love’ before Clarkson and Bieber were even born!  Us Brits are well known for being somewhat un-modern and traditional but I wonder if choosing this 75-year-old grandpa to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest isn’t a bit much?  Just kidding, all you granny-fans!  Engelbert’s a top, top vocalist and we wish him well in bringing the prize to our Sceptred Isle.

We close with a veritable gang of grandparents – The Rolling Stones!  Yahoo Music reports that they will release a “record” in July but, no, it’s not that kind of ‘record’ – it’s a “photographic record.”  This will be a picture book tracking the band’s rise (and, evidently, no ‘fall’). The date is significant because it was in July half-a-century ago (well before any grandkids were born) that these geezers debuted as a band!  Congrats also to Mick & Co.!

Have a good weekend, grandparents and grandkids,

Shane