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

The California Courts’ ‘Britney Standard’

Britney SpearsUngh!  (Neanderthal grunt),

When I wrote my first post for Lyrster a mere two months back, I implored the likes of Britney, Rihanna and Gaga not to let me down and to do something bonkers; to give me something wild and woolly to write about.  Rihanna and Gaga did not disappoint but Britney was a Poopin’ Pollyanna.  A 50′s song, ‘Cindy, oh Cindy’ comes to mind, slightly modified:–

 

Britney, oh Britney,

Britney don’t let me down;

Do something whacko soon,

But don’t be meltin’ down!

 

Well, the girl’s in the news.  Today’s breaking news is about religious fundamentalism coming to America (with an assist from Rick Santorum), courtesy of Britney – and the poor girl hasn’t even done anything!  These wimminfolk can’t be trusted to mind themselves and must be under control and dominion of daddy or husband, eh? . . . preferably *both*!  So the girl’s father and fiance have decided to ask the California courts (psst! it’s said that it’s a done deal) that Britney be placed under their joint custody and stewardship.

Hmm . . . perhaps that’s not such a bad idea after all.  Don’t you think that placing Gaga, Rihanna and other out-of-control females under male control would be a good idea?  That it would have salutary effects on society as a whole?  Perhaps Britney’s papa, lover-boy, and the California courts are on the right track after all!

Let’s compare and contrast with two other newsworthy music-biz females.  Just *look* at what that shameless wench Nicki Minaj was wearing at her weekend Times Square show – legs all exposed like that – tsk, tsk.  If she were under control of a thou-shalt-obey type of husband, you don’t think she’d be getting away with that kind of (over-)exposure, do you?  And as for Fiona Apple; that bad girl’s just announced that she’ll be travelling across the length and breadth of America, from New York to Hollywood, for a month-and-a-half – all by herself!  No papa!  No chaperone!  Can we allow this to happen or will the California Courts’ ‘Britney Standard’ be upheld?

Come on California Courts, do your thing!  Put these wild women under control of their menfolk!

Fundamentalistically Yours,

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

Offbeat and up-and-comers day!

Hello Music Hounds,

Let’s get offbeat and up-and-coming today, shall we?

First to the offbeat.  Idolator published a pair of funny photos side by side; we have a pair of blue- and green-haired punks.    Katy Perry was at a Paris studio session, haired dyed deep blue.  And Nicki Minaj arrived in Narita, Japan, hair a vivid shade of green!  (Okay, it was a green wig, and I suppose Katy and Nicki’s unusual hair colours aren’t exactly ‘news’.)  What made Katy blue and what made Nicki envious, we don’t yet know.

Anyway, I’m sure these fashion statements are the cue for Taylor Swift to dye her hair purple.  Now that would be news but I do think it ain’t gonna happen until hell freezes over!  All these fancy hair colours make one wish for the simple days of Debbie ‘Blondie’ Harry and nothing fancier than bleach and peroxide!  (And that was a gal who really could sing.)

Elliott Yamin is a lesser-known name than he should be.  In his catchy new single “Gather ‘Round,” he says he’s singing in a “Brand New Groove.”  Hmm, it’s a kinda Stevie Wonder groove, Elliott!  What’s more the soul-inflected singing is also reminiscent of Stevie.  And I mean that as a huuuge compliment.  Anyway that’s real singing from an artiste with some musical promise.

Train’s ‘Drive By’ is in an altogether different groove from Elliott Yamin’s new release but similar to it in being refreshingly musical and rhythmic, and with clean acoustic sounds.  Train have released a fancy-dance video on the making of their music-video, featuring a California vineyard and badass cars. Actually, the music is good enough to stand on its own without any upmarket ‘making of’ video!

Am I the only one seeing a trend?  The sexes in music – excluding the few exceptions that ‘prove the rule’ – have fallen into two distinctly different ‘grooves’.  A lot of near-established female singers (e.g. Perry and Minaj) can’t seem to hold their own musically and vocally, and have to rely on heavy synthesization and in-studio over-production (Mad-onna started the trend, of course).  However, the lads (e.g. Yamin and Train) seem to display genuine musical talent and can actually sing, and carry themselves without the excess of synthesization and in-studio over-production.

It’s a pity Corinne Drewery was never appreciated in America . . . I bet none of my readers have even heard of her!

Bye Y’all,

Shane

A mother, a woman, a girl, and a [deleted by ISP censor]

BeyonceHello Men,

Take a back seat: for Ladies Night at the Lyrster is a day early this week.  We’ll look at a mother, a woman, a girl, and a [deleted by ISP censor].

Two chanteuses of rather different musical persuasions have made news splashes for exactly the same dual reasons: new album and a series of shows.  Hello Mama Beyonce and Woman Nicki Minaj.

Beyonce, the mother, is apparently devouring a host of ideas from which to choose her upcoming album, which is in its incipient stages.  What’s a done deal is the shows.  Beyonce will be one of the performers to inaugurate the new Revel Entertainment Center in Atlantic City.  She will give three concerts during the end of May at the Revel’s Ovation Hall with its ‘immersive sound’.  Tickets on sale in April.  Do you have the dough and the luck to score them?

The woman Nicki Minaj’s new album is in a much more advanced stage.  The tracks for ‘Roman Reloaded’ were just revealed.  It has something in common with her debut album ‘Punk Friday’ – oops, I meant ‘*Pink* Friday’! – many tracks are duets and feature guest artistes.  One of them is Chris Brown.  One way or another, Nicki’s face may suffer: either Chris Brown may punch her in the nose or Rihanna may scratch her eyes out.  Minaj’s European fans have something to celebrate: between 8th June and 19th August she’s hitting thirteen cities in nine countries.

Next to the girl, Carly Rae Jepsen.  Carly Who?  Cue Justin Bieber.  Bieber and friends made a video on a track she had recorded; as a consequence, Carly Rae found fifteen minutes of fame.  Now, she and Bieber have had a work date and may rustle up a collaboration for her next album.

In an earlier post I slammed [deleted by ISP censor] Mad-onna’s album ‘MDNA’ as being the same ole, same ole tired stuff (which means a C- grade).  Turns out that the so-called ‘deluxe edition’ of that album has a track titled ‘I F—d Up’.  So the lapsed Catholic has recorded a confessional song!  Finally she’s got it.  Let’s all sing in chorus: “Yes, Mad-onna, you f—d up, yes you have – big time!”

Take it easy,

Shane