Posts Tagged ‘Diplo’

Random Friday Thoughts –February 19, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the week and are ready for the weekend.

It’s been an interesting week since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” — Valentine’s Day, a snowstorm for Iowa and Illinois, the return of “The Walking Dead”, and warmer temperatures!

Have a fun weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today.

YOUR COMPASSION IS HEARTWARMING

Last Friday, I shared with you a vile response to a blog I posted on why I support Hillary Clinton for president.  It was one of my most viewed blogs on the day it was posted since  I started writing my blog four years ago.

MrazLoveAlbumCover

The feedback and compassion you extended to me was incredible and greatly appreciated.  I know there are so many more great people in this world than the jerks — they just spew their hate openly and loudly.

As I told many of you in my responses, rude comments like that tick me off.  However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings because being in the public eye, I’ve developed a tough skin.

Something it proves is that as much progress as we’ve made in this country, there’s still so much more work to be done before we reach equality — not just for the LGBT community, but for women, race, pay, and the list goes on and on.

Again, thank you!

LoveEqualityFormula

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DEAD

Speaking of equality, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man that made a career of voting against it, died at a Texas resort last weekend at the age of 79.

Since I was just talking about compassion, I’ll just say that I feel for his wife and their nine children.

Since the word “hate” is such a vile word, I didn’t “hate” Scalia, but I disliked him with strong convictions because of his long history of being anti-gay in his court decisions.

NATALIE COLE’S FAMILY UPSET ABOUT THE GRAMMYS

The family of singer Natalie Cole, who died on December 31, 2015, at the age of 65, is upset with the “shameless” tribute she received at Monday night’s Grammys compared to other musicians that were memorialized.

Cole’s son, Robert Adam Yancy told “Entertainment Weekly”, “Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than a minute-and-a-half tribute.”

Cole was remembered in a photo montage, while Lady Gaga performed a seven-minute musical tribute to David Bowie, who won two Grammys in his career.  (I’m torn writing this because Gaga was incredible.  It’s the principle I’m addressing here!)

There were also tributes to Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, & Fire), winner of seven Grammys, Glenn Frey of the Eagles (six Grammys) and Lemmy Kilmister (of Motorhead) with only one Grammy win.

One one other music tribute was to a musician who won more Grammys than Cole, B. B. King  (15 Grammys).

So, there’s my tribute video to Cole and not the others!

OKAY, I COULDN’T RESIST

Here’s Lady Gaga’s amazing tribute to David Bowie from the Grammys.

STARS READING “MEAN TWEETS”

These always crack me up because the entertainers make the best of a bad situation.  On the other hand, mean people really do suck!

What troopers — to read what idiots say about them!

“THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON”

We all know the story — a savage double murder in the posh Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1994 involving the wife of a famed football star.

A botched (?) criminal case that allowed a murderer (?) to walk free!

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (“American Horror Story”) are behind the new Fox series “American Crime Story:  The People v. O.J. Simpson” (notice the similar title).

This 10-episode series event is going behind the story to share details that we may not remember from the headlines or the circus that was the murder trail against Simpson.

After watching the first two episodes, I’m intrigued with the detailed story telling and the acting of Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), and Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran).

However, Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson is a hard sell for me.  One, Gooding doesn’t remind me that much of Simpson and, two, the constant whining and ranting is annoying.  I’m totally not buying him as O.J.!

Overall, a great show and it hasn’t even gotten to the trail yet!

YES, BEYONCE IS BLACK!

I’m sure you already know that Beyonce is black.  If not, she is!  And, remember that expression from the 1960s that “Black is Beautiful” and Bey is definitely beautiful.

Bey1

The most recent controversy with Beyonce started on February 6th when she released the “Formation” video, which features references to New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina black culture, racism, and police.

She performed the song the next day at “Super Bowl 50” and more controversy ensued from conservatives thinking she was promoting too much black — power, the Black Panthers, and Black Lives Matter.

Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani vented, “This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

While “Formation” won’t have the same radio success as “Crazy in Love”, “Irreplaceable”, and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, pop and R&B/Hip Hop stations are already playing it!

For the record, Beyonce has had huge success on the pop chart (Billboard Hot 100) with 26 hits, fifteen of which hit the Top Ten, and five of those went all the way to #1.

However, she’s had more success on the R&B/Hip Hop charts — 38 hits, 23 of which made the Top Ten, and 8 topped the chart.

And, this is not even counting her hits with Destiny’s Child!

“SNL” NAILS IT AGAIN!

“ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY” IS BECOMING GREEDY

I’m a huge fan of “Entertainment Weekly” and I look forward to my magazine each week even though I can find much of the same information online from their website and tweets.

It used to be that they’d have a feature series with several cover photos and present them all in the issue.  You’d just flip the cover and there’d be the next one.

That would have been perfect for this week’s “The Walking Dead” feature with six different collector edition covers.  However, they randomly picked which cover you’d get.  But, you could purchase the other five covers!

Seriously?

Rick EW.jpg

While I wanted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I got Daryl Dixon.  As much as I love the show, there’s no way I’d buy the other five!

Greedy!

29 AND ANCHORING IN NEW YORK CITY?  NO WAY!

If you’re familiar with how the television news business works, you know you start out at small market stations and work there for a couple of years before moving on to a larger market.

You work there for a couple of years and then move on again.  You continue this process until you get to the big markets (New York City is the largest TV market followed by Los Angeles and Chicago).

If you’re very talented and you luck out, you might skip one of these ladder jumping moves.  Or, maybe there’s other factors.

I’m not saying that 29-year-old Stefan Holt, the son of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, isn’t talented, but…

The younger Holt graduated college and interned at KABC in Los Angeles and with NBC News in London before joining the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, as a reporter and fill-in anchor.  This is market  #38 out of 210 (the smallest).  It’s unusual to get your first job in a market that size.

After just two years there, he moved on to NBC5 in Chicago (market #3) as a reporter and weekend morning anchor.  Holt was promoted to weekday mornings just months later where he worked for five years.

Again, 29 and anchoring in the biggest television market in the country!  What’s next? Filling in for his dad on “NBC Nightly News”?

JUSTIN BIEBER

Okay, first things first about Justin Bieber.

I bought his “Purpose” album last fall and it’s a great album and has already produced four huge hits, including three #1s, “What Do You Mean”, “Sorry”, and “Love Yourself”, and my favorite 2015 Bieber hit, the Grammy Award-winning “Where Are U Now”  with Skrillex and Diplo.

And, if you haven’t noticed, Justin is gorgeous and I feel more comfortable saying that now that he’s a man — over 18 years old!

Bieber

However, I was a little freaked out by music executive and producer L.A.Reid’s description of Bieber in his new book, “Sing To Me”.

Reid says, “this kid was beautiful, like a woman can be beautiful and men rarely are, and he turned it on as soon as he stepped into the room.”.

This one sounds more innocent and I totally agree, “Justin was simply beautiful.  His superpower was his face.”

PICK HIT

Zayn Malik, another sexy and beautiful man, who left the boy band One Direction for a solo career, is off to a great start.

“Pillowtalk” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is burning up the radio airwaves.  It’s already on the short list of my favorite songs of 2016.  I know, it’s only February!

The video is pretty erotic and steamy, too!

Malik’s debut album, “Mind of Mine”, comes out March 25, 2016.

“THE MARTIAN”

I finally got around to see this $614.2 million dollar blockbuster that’s nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for star, Matt Damon.

Everyone (and their mother) has already seen this, so I won’t write a long review.  I loved this movie much better than “Gravity”, which I didn’t like, and I haven’t seen “Interstellar”.

Damon does a great job in the role, but Oscar winning-worthy?  No.

My biggest complaint — the 2 hour, 21 minute running time was excessive and I think the movie could have been just as entertaining 30 minutes shorter.

GRADE:  A-

“THE OVERNIGHT”

In stark contrast to “The Martian” in running time, “The Overnight” is one hour, 18 minutes long and it works in a lot in that short time.

A couple with a small son move from Seattle to Los Angeles where they meet another father and son playing in the park one day.  Since they don’t know anyone and the boys get along, they’re invited to a pizza party.

At the party, after much alcohol and the boys go to bed, the foursome talk about everything, including sex.  Inhibitions are lowered and tempers flare when insecurities surface.

The question becomes will they or won’t they and how will that change the course of the relationships — between each couple and the two couples’ friendship.

GRADE:  B

“FREEHELD”

This movie is an expansion of the Oscar-winning “Best Short Documentary” in 2007 with the same name.

This 2015 film stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore as Laurel Hester, a 23-year veteran of the police force in Orange County, New Jersey.

She sues after finding out she has lung cancer and her request to have her domestic partner receive her benefits is denied.  Oscar nominee Ellen Page (“Juno”) plays her love interest, Stacie.

The acting is superb not only from the female leads, but also from Michael Shannon, Hester’s partner on the police force, and Luke Grimes, a closeted police colleague.

However, watching the movie, it did feel like a Lifetime movie.  And, that’s not a bad thing.

This is based on a true story.

GRADE:  B

“TRUTH”

This movie focuses on the authenticity of documents reported by “60 Minutes” on CBS from iconic news anchor Dan Rather during George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential re-election campaign.

The controversy called into question if Bush received preferential treatment while he served in the Texas Air National Guard in the early-1970s.

Robert Redford stars as Rather in the last days of his career at CBS, but the focus of the movie is on Mary Mapes, Rather’s producer on the investigative piece.

Mapes is played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.  As expected, she is flawless.  Yet, even she couldn’t save this movie and make it a thriller.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough thoughts for one week.  As always, thank you for taking the time to check out my randomness!  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — as long as you’re diplomatic.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

My 20 Favorite Songs of 2015

I miss hearing the late, great Casey Kasem counting down the biggest songs each week and, especially, his year-end countdowns.

I’ve always loved charts and the best and worst of the year lists.  So, now, I compile my own.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/my-favorite-movies-of-2015/

Yesterday, I shared my 20 favorite movies I saw in 2015.  That’s the link above if you missed it.  Tomorrow, I’ll post my favorite albums of the year.

But, today, it’s my 20 favorite songs of 2015 (actually, there are 30 because I’m sneaking the others in).

Before we start, my favorite song in 2014 was “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift.

And, in 2013, it was “My Boyfriend is Gay” by Hailey Rowe with a video featuring the gorgeous and funny Blake Peyrot.

Now, let’s begin.

2015 Songs

#20

“HEY MAMA”  — DAVID GUETTA, NICKI MINAJ, BEBE REXHA, & AFROJACK

19

“I DIDN’T JUST COME HERE TO DANCE”  — CARLY RAE JEPSEN

 

#18

“PRAY TO GOD” — CALVIN HARRIS & HAIM

#17

“KISS YOU IN THE MORNING” — MICHAEL RAY

16

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” — DAVE AUDE FEATURING OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN & CHLOE LATTANZI

15

“HOLD MY HAND” — JESS GLYNNE

#14 Movie

“WORTH IT” — FIFTH HARMONY

13

“SOMEBODY” — NATALIE LA ROSE & JEREMIH

Bonus

Here are some of the songs that missed out on the Top 20, but are still some of my favorites of the year:  #30 Heartbeat Song (Kelly Clarkson); #29 “Honey I’m Good” (Andy Grammar); #28″Outside” (Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding); #27 “Lay It All On Me” (Rudimental & Ed Sheeran); and #26 “El Mismo Sol” (Alvaro Soler).

And, there’s a version of this song with Jennifer Lopez.  Here’s the teaser that came out in October.  I’m still waiting for the full video.  If it’s released, maybe it’ll make my countdown next year!

Back to the countdown!

12

“STYLE” — TAYLOR SWIFT

11

“LEVELS” — NICK JONAS

10

“GHOSTTOWN” — MADONNA

9

“CAN’T FEEL MY FACE” — THE WEEKND

#8 MOVIE

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN” — JUSTIN BIEBER

#7 CD

“GOING OUT LIKE THAT” — REBA

#6 CD

“CAKE BY THE OCEAN” — DNCE

Bonus

Here are more of the songs that missed out on the Top 20, but are still some of my favorites of the year:  #25 “Love Me Like You Do” (Ellie Goulding); #24 “Tempted” (Giorgio Moroder & Matthew Koma); #23 “Style (ASAP Science); #22 “Joan of Arc” (Madonna) and #21 “Beautiful Now” (Zedd & Jon Bellion).

Now, back to the countdown!

#5 MOVIE

“BURNITUP” — JANET JACKSON & MISSY ELLIOTT

4

“SHUT UP AND DANCE” — WALK THE MOON

#3 CD

“KING” — YEARS & YEARS

#2 CD

“WHERE ARE YOU NOW” — SKRILLEX, DIPLO, & JUSTIN BIEBER

Before we get to my favorite song of 2015, here is one of my favorite videos of the year and definitely has style!

“WTF (WHERE THEY FROM)” — MISSY ELLIOTT

And, now, my favorite song of 2015!

#1 MOVIE

“WANT TO WANT ME” — JASON DERULO

That’s it.  My list started with 78 songs from 2015 and I kept narrowing it down until I got it to 30.

In 2016, I’m excited to hear new music from Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Kylie Minogue.  I hope we also get a new album from Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Erasure.  I’m sure we’ll find some new stars and re-discover past hit makers.

Gag Me

Now that you know my favorites of 2015, here are my six least favorite songs of the year.  And, I know some were insanely popular!  “Hula Hoop” and “Cheerleader” by Omi, “Downtown” and “Growing Up” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Uptown Funk” from Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars, and “Pretty Girls” by Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea.

By the way, I’d be perfectly okay in 2016 not hearing the names Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks!

Bonus

Here’s an artist I hope to see and hear much more from in 2016.  This song was on the long list and that’s not “Gibberish”!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2015

Fall is here and I hope it’s off to a great start for you.  In the Midwest, it’s starting out very warm and dry — just as summer ended.

I feel inspired to write about a few things that crossed my mind, so here’s a guest appearance of Random Friday Thoughts!

HOLY STAMPEDE

I’m really baffled by the stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  It’s reported that at least 700 were crushed to death and about 900 were hurt!

I know that about two million people take part in this, but what happened to orderly fashion?

Hundreds were also killed in stampedes in the past and in 1990, 1,426 people died in Mina, which leads to the holy sites.

While I love attending Christmas mass, I’m not going to trample over people to get there!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

I’m guilty of it and I bet you are, too.  How many times have you started snacking while waiting for dinner just because you’re hungry?

Pastries

I’m doing that with “Fear The Walking Dead”.  While I’m enjoying the show, it’s so slow and the fourth episode was so uneventful until the very end of the hour.

I actually got excited when the previews of the next show came on at the end and it said something like “only two episodes left”.

I know the final two shows will likely be great and move faster, but I’m really ready for dinner to be served — the season six premiere of “The Walking Dead” on October 11th.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-1

SUMMER IS OVER

While we enjoyed the pool this summer, we took it down last weekend.

Pool

But, that doesn’t mean we’re ready for winter and snow.  We dived into the biggest project ever and it turned out fantastic.

MOVING UP TO THE EAST SIDE!

You’ve heard me talk many times about the fish pond we built back in May 2012.  It held about 250 gallons of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recently, some of our friends gave us three of their goldfish and koi and this fall, we were going to acquire a dozen more that our friends decided not to keep.

So, we expanded the pond last weekend.  It’s now three feet deep and holds almost a thousand gallons of water!

Fish Pond

We now have 33 gorgeous fish and because of my recent mink encounter, the pond has added security!  (If you missed that mink predator ordeal, click here).

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

SINCE WE’RE TALKING FISH….

Fish Be You

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

Whether it’s pizza, wedding cakes, or marriage licenses, controversy arises when two sides see things differently when God (or one’s perception of God being judgmental) is involved.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of equal rights for everyone, especially the LGBT community since I’m part of that subculture of humanity.

But, when we advocates raise awareness about people who deny others equal rights, there’s also a backlash.

MarriageEquality-711906

When marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, there were many reports of gay bashings the weekend after the Supreme Court of the United States made its ruling.

When a small Indiana pizza joint spoke out against marriage equality and when bakeries refused to make wedding cakes for gay ceremonies, the LGBT community spoke out and the media extensively covered the stories.

Rainbow Cake

The restaurant and some of the cake makers started getting donations in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for taking a stand against the LGBT community.

And, when a county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she became a martyr for standing up for her religious rights.  (No, I’m not posting a picture of her or saying her name.  She’s had enough celebrity and hopefully her fifteen minutes are up soon!)

Now, just in time for Christmas, I read that she’s penning a religious book with an advance of seven figures.  Becoming a millionaire for refusing rights to the LGBT community and standing on the wrong side of history?

A Christmas Carol

I sure hope that when she is confronted with the ghost of Christmas past, it’s less haunting for her than for Scrooge!

gays_in_church

But, I’ll still raise awareness for LGBT equality.  I just wish the price wasn’t making celebrities out of people who use God and religion to hate!

AM I A “BELIEBER”?

Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is a superstar.

Justin

While I’ve never declared myself a member of either camp, I have to admit he is a beautiful (and slightly troubled) young man.

Now, I’m beginning to think I may be a psuedo-Belieber (defined as a HUGE Justin Bieber fan)!

I loved his last song, “Where Are U Now” with Skrillex and Diplo, which hit the Top Ten in America (and #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart).

And, “What Do You Mean?”, the lead single from his upcoming album has already topped the charts and is one of the biggest songs of the year just weeks after its release.

COUNTRY RADIO, SEXISM OR CUMULUS MEDIA?

I’ve written several times before that I think that country music radio is ageist and sexist.

There are many women’s new music in country that I’d love to hear in heavy rotation on the radio other than Reba, but she ignites that fire for me.

Now, I think it’s more than just sexism and ageism.  I seriously think those elements are still there.  But, I’m now convinced it’s Reba’s affiliation with Cumulus Media, which is a part of her new label, Nash Icon, that is the major problem.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Case in point is the second single from her #1 country album, “Love Somebody”, “Until They Don’t Love You”.  It’s an incredible song and sounds great live.

It was released to country radio August 7, 2015, and now seven weeks later, it only being played on 61 stations (out of more than 260 reporting country stations) with 879 plays.  (To put that into perspective, the #1 song on the chart was played 13,901 times.)

George Strait

Earlier this week, country legend George Strait released “Cold Beer Conversation”.  It’s now being played on 163 stations and got 830 plays in just two days!.

Yes, George is country music’s “king” to Reba’s “queen”, but obviously royalty isn’t being treated equal.

So, yes, there’s still the sexism thing.  But, moreso, I think Reba made a big mistake by allowing Cumulus Media to play and promote her music, thus shutting out the larger radio groups.

I guess we can listen to “Until They Don’t Love You” and her new music at home because we won’t find a home at country radio or high on the country music charts.

PICK HIT

“Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

“Desire” is the new release here in the U.S. and I hope it gets more airplay than their first American hit, “King”.

The band will be in San Francisco at the Fillmore Monday night.  I’ll be there, too, but sadly the concert is sold out and I don’t have tickets. 😦

If you missed my album review of “Communion” and you want to know more about the album, here it is again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

One of the best movies I seen lately is out on DVD.  I mention DVD only because it’s late September and I still have not been to the theater this year to see a movie.

Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl” and “Savages”) and Michiel Huisman (“The Game of Thrones” and “Nashville”) star as a couple that falls in love.

The problem is that Adaline is 107 years old, but doesn’t age due to a freak accident.  So, while everyone else in her life, including her daughter, played by Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, ages and dies, she stays the same.

GRADE:  A

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

A movie I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Austrian psychological thriller, “Goodnight Mommy”.  The trailer definitely creeps me out.

“DEXTER”

Although it’s been a couple of years now since my favorite sexy serial killer signed off Showtime after eight seasons, he’s still alive for me through books.

dexter-season-6

I’m reading Jeff Lindsay’s eight-book series that the television show was originally based on.  I’m on book six now.

I’ve decided in January, in the heart of winter, that I’m going back and watching all 96 episodes again!

It so interesting to see how much different the television show and the books are with characters that died in one format and are still alive in the other.  Also, the differences in the cases between the book and the show.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my Friday Random Thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — what you agree with and what you don’t.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

VMA Nominations Announced & My Favorites!

Drama!  Drama!  Drama!

The MTV VMAs nominations were announced Tuesday and Nicki Minaj went to Twitter to express her dissatisfaction about the picks for video of the year, even though she’s up for three other “Moonmen” awards.

Nicki Minaj

Her beef is with Taylor Swift, who Nicki didn’t mention by name.  But, it was so clear.

Taylor Swift

And, thankfully, T-Swizzle took the high road on Twitter.

Here’s a full list of the 2015 VMA nominees and my favorites (not necessarily what will win).

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

BEST MALE VIDEO
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
The Weeknd – “Earned It”
Nick Jonas – “Chains”

BEST FEMALE VIDEO  (Yes, I want this category to end up in a tie!)
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Sia – “Elastic Heart”
Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

BEST POP VIDEO
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Maroon 5 – “Sugar”

BEST ROCK VIDEO
Hozier – “Take Me To Church”
Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”
Florence + the Machine – “Ship To Wreck”
Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”
Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Big Sean ft. E-40 – “IDFWU”

ARTIST TO WATCH
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Vance Joy – “Riptide”
George Ezra – “Budapest”
James Bay – “Hold Back The River”
FKA Twigs – “Pendulum”

BEST COLLABORATION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”
Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE
Jennifer Hudson – “I Still Love You”
Colbie Caillat – “Try”
Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”
Rihanna – “American Oxygen”
Wale – “The White Shoes”

BEST ART DIRECTION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)
Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)
Jack White – “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jeff Peterson)
The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (Michel Gondry)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Chris Grant, Additional choreography: Gabriel Valenciano)
OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)
Chet Faker – “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)
Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)
Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

BEST DIRECTION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Cameron Duddy)
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)
Hozier – “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty, Conal Thomson)
Childish Gambino – “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

BEST EDITING
Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)
A$AP Rocky – “L$D” (Dexter Navy)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Gloria FX, Tomash Kuzmytskyi, and Max Chyzhevskyy)
Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)
Tyler, The Creator – “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)

The show which will be hosted by Miley Cyrus airs Sunday, August 30th.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015

It’s hard to believe that July is almost over and that means we’re getting closer to fall, my new favorite season.  Sorry winter!

Have yourself a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

BLAKE & MIRANDA GETTING DIVORCED

Marriages and relationships take a lot of work and when both people are celebrities, it’s much harder.  So, I’m a little surprised at people’s shock about the impending divorce of country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert after four years of marriage.

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Yes, I’m bummed about it.  But, I’m not shocked.

Country singer Chris Young, who has toured with Miranda and considers himself a friend of the couple, is speaking out that he had nothing to do with the couple’s marriage problems.

CY

That response was prompted after the gossip-mongers at TMZ reported what they learned from “multiple sources familiar with the situation”!  Have I ever mentioned that I can’t stand TMZ and its bitterness?

I always hope that love is real for everyone and I hope Blake and Miranda find it again.  I’m definitely a romantic that wants the fairy tale.

SPEAKING OF FAIRY TALES

Can you believe this year marks the 25th anniversary of “Pretty Woman”?

pretty-woman

The romantic comedy that skyrocketed Oscar winner Julia Roberts to fame made $463 million dollars at theaters after its spring 1990 release.

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

Okay, this one is far from the fairy tale or a romantic comedy!

I just finished reading Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”.   I walked so much on the treadmill just to finish the book because I didn’t want to put it down!

The Girl on the Train

This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!

It’s been reported that Emily Blunt (“Into The Woods” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) is set to star as Rachel (and also reported that she’ll play Jess/Megan).

Emily Blunt

Since I’m a real-life television meteorologist and not a Hollywood casting agent, as a fan of the book, here’s my dream cast. And, in case you haven’t read the book, I’m only giving character names and not how they play into the story.

I know actors and projects have to line up, so I’ll offer several people for each role.

Tom — Michael Fassbender, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), James Marsden, and Andrew Lincoln (“The Walking Dead”)

Michael FassbenderDexterHugh DancyJames MarsdenAndrew Lincoln

Scott — Grey Damon (“Aquarius”) and Shawn Ashmore (“The Following”)

Grey DamonShawn Ashmore

Let’s go with it that Emily will take the role of either Rachel or Jess/Megan.

Jess/Megan and Anna —  Elisabeth Rohm (“Stalker), Jennifer Aniston, and Evan Rachel Wood (“True Blood”)

Elisabeth RohmJennifer AnistonEvanRachelWood

And, finally, Dr. Kamal Abdic — Manish Dayal (“The Hundred-Foot Journey) and Enrique Iglesias

Manish DayalEnrique Iglesias

Okay, I’ve enjoyed my fantasy casting enough.  One more “reported” claim about the movie is that the locale will move from London to the United States.

Tate Taylor (“The Help”) has signed on to direct.

Paula, your thoughts on the casting?

And, in honor of Rachel! 🙂

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

“THE SNOWMAN”

Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember on Mondays back when I blogged all the time, I had the feature, “They Said What???”  Why not revisit it with these fun ones!

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABEE LINDSEY GRAHAM

(on “CBS This Morning” about Donald Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans): “Run for president but don’t be the world’s biggest jackass.”

Pitbull

POP SINGER PITBULL

“I want to tell Marco Rubio, step it up!  Jeb Bush, step it up!  Hillary Clinton, step it up!  Because Donald Trump can’t be president.”

(More Pitbull to Trump):  “I want him to know I’m not a politician. I’m a musician. I’m a Latino first. I support our people.”

DIRECTOR/ACTOR TYLER PERRY

(speaking of the media reporting on Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown):  “It makes me sad to know that everybody wants to be the first to report something awful. So much so, that they find it OK to speak death onto those who are still alive. May I ask you all to please show some decency and respect?”

IRRELEVANT “ONE-HIT WONDER” SINGER SINEAD O’CONNOR

(on Facebook blasting “Rolling Stone” for its Kim Kardashian West cover):  “What is this c**t doing on the cover of Rolling Stone? Music has officially died.  Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it? Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh can no longer be expected to take all the blame. Bob Dylan must be f**king horrified. #BoycottRollingStone”

Kim KW Rolling Stone

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(responding to “North Dakota Today” news co-host Chris Berg.  When talking about Stern’s salary of a reported $95 million, Berg asked how Stern could be making that much money.)

Berg

“Douche, you can do the same thing. Leave Fargo, get a show and work on your comedy chops and work on being interesting.”

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

(MORE STERN):  “The reason I worked so hard is so I wouldn’t have to live in Fargo, North Dakota, honestly. No offense if you live there. I’m pretty sure if you’re living there, you’re trying to get out … Gee whiz … I didn’t know Fargo still existed … Good lord. Well, anyway.”

DJ/PRODUCER SKRILLEX

(on Justin Bieber):  “Justin is a f**king virtuoso.  He’ll school you at every-thing: Ping-Pong, basketball, freestyle rapping.  The kid is so competitive.  Whatever he does he’s super good at, so you don’t stand a chance.  It’s not even fair.”

And, here’s Justin’s latest with Skrillex and Diplo.  I love this song and the video is so cool.  It’s takes me back to the fun days of music videos on MTV.

DONUTGATE

I like donuts and I cannot lie!  (You can sing that along to “Baby Got Back” if you want.)

Donuts

And, while they’re so delicious, the unhealthy treat was thrust into the national spotlight recently when pop tart Ariana Grande was busted “allegedly” licking a donut in a California shop without paying for it.

I’m glad that charges will not be filed against her for the silliness.  Yes, it’s gross if she actually Frenched the pastry for someone else to buy, but there are more pressing matters for us to deal with here in America.

Here’s another perspective on the matter.  When you were young, could you see yourself doing that if you were dared by a friend?  I can’t say that my young self would have done it, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t have!

SUMMER 2016 PROJECT

While there’s still several weeks left in summer 2015, I’m already making plans for next summer and setting my goals high.

Back in the summer of 2012, I ventured into making jelly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made 44 jars of mint, jalapeno-mint, apple mint, lemon balm-basil, and rosemary-lavender-lemon-mint jellies in many festive colors. While rainbow-colored, I didn’t call it “gay jelly”.

I just came across a recipe for pickling vegetables and it looks simple and tasty.

So, next year, pickles and pickled veggies!

ACCEPTANCE OF THOSE IN LOVE

As I’ve talked about in the past, my relationship with my alcoholic father was strained at best.  When sober, he was more tolerable.  However, overall, he didn’t like people, including his own family.

I know if he was alive today he would likely not be a part of his gay son’s life.  But, who knows, he could have softened in his golden years and surprised me.

I usually don’t think of him (he died in 1987), but I did think of him again when Jennifer Hudson’s “I Still Love You” was nominated earlier this week for an MTV VMA “Moonmen” award for “Video With a Social Message”.

The album (and song) didn’t catch on with radio or music buyers, but the video and the song are incredible.

TILDA SWINTON AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HER

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton is all for looking bad for a great role.

She’s hardly recognizable in “Snowpiercer” as Deputy-Minister Mason or as Madame D. in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, a very old woman.

But, check out the 54-year-old actress in the new movie, “Trainwreck”!  (It’s the picture on the left.)

tilda-transformation

Incredible!  What a chameleon.

SKIP “IT FOLLOWS” AND RENT “THE BABADOOK”

“It Follows” was critically acclaimed and made enough money that a sequel is being discussed.

The premise is cool — a supernatural “it” stalks people after they’ve had sex.  The only way for it to leave you alone is if you pass it along to someone else.

After watching the very SLOOOOOOOW movie, I realized that if “It Follows”, it’d definitely catch them!

Watch the trailer, which is better than the movie and save a couple of dollars renting it.

GRADE: C

However, if you want something supernatural that’s scary, check out the Australian-Canadian psychological thriller, “The Babadook”.

“Mister Babadook” is a pop-up storybook that mysteriously appears and re-appears in the home of a mother and her 6-year-old troubled son.

The supernatural entity starts tormenting people when they are made aware of its existence.

Essie Davis are Noah Wiseman excellently portray the fear and horror of being tormented by the “Babadook”.

And, how cool is the word “Babadook”?

GRADE:  B

MID-YEAR CANADIAN MUSIC LEADERS

In my last “Random Friday Thoughts” back on July 3rd, I reported that at the halfway point of 2015 that Taylor Swift leads in album sales and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have the top-selling single in the U.S. with “1989” and “Uptown Funk”, respectively.

I guess our friends to the north in Canada have the same taste.  Here are the sales there through mid-year and T-Swizzle has now surpassed Ed Sheeran in album sales and Ronson and Mars lead there, too.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Top Selling Canadian Albums (through June 30, 2015)

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 — 172,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, X — 170,000
3. Fifty Shades Of Grey, soundtrack — 134,000
4. Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour — 132,000
5. Yoan, Yoan — 101,000
6. Hozier, Hozier — 101,000
7. Drake, If You’re Reading This… — 101,000
8. Maroon 5, V — 92,000
9. Meghan Trainor, Title — 86,000
10. Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind — 84,000

Top Selling Singles (through June 30, 2015)

1. Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk! — 526,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud — 346,000
3. Wiz Khalifa Feat. Charlie Puth, See You Again — 315,000
4. Maroon 5, Sugar — 289,000
5. Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney, FourFiveSeconds — 289,000
6. Hozier, Take Me To Church — 279,000
7. Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do — 245,000
8. Omi, Cheerleader — 242,000
9. Andy Grammar, Honey, I’m Good — 204,000
10. Walk The Moon, Shut Up & Dance — 200,000

“SHOW ME YOURS”

A couple of years ago, singer Hailey Rowe released “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.  It was a fun song and the video was incredible frisky and sexy.  It ended up being my favorite song of 2013.

Now, Canadian singer and internet sensation Scotty Dynamo has released the next big gay thing.

His “Show Me Yours” video reminds me of a modern-day version of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, which was very scandalous and controversial back in 1981.  Maybe that’s why the song ended up spending ten weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and was the biggest-selling single of the 1980s in the U.S.

BETTE MIDLER & DIVINE INTERVENTION

Congratulations to Bette Midler on the 32 sellouts shows on the “Divine Intervention Tour”!  It made an incredible $36 million!

Bette

We saw the amazing Las Vegas show in May!

GUESS THAT’S ENOUGH FOR NOW

As I’ve said many times, I wish I was wealthy enough to just write all the time.  But, I must pay the bills and find time to get a few hours of sleep, pay the bills, and go on vacation.

Thank you very much for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about them.  If you agree with something, let me know.  If not, tell me that, too.

I value your thoughts as much as I appreciate you checking out mine.

Anthony

Still A “Rebel Heart” and an “Unapologetic Bitch” 32 Years Later

It’s hard to believe that Madonna’s first album, “Madonna”, came out almost 32 years ago.

Madonna 1983 Album

Just this week, she released her 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart”.

Madonna Rebel Heart

At 56, she still has a lot to say and she still brings relevance to pop music even though most radio stations in the United States and England are blatantly ageist and won’t play her new music.  That’s the only reason that I mentioned her age.  It appears that if you’re a woman of a certain age, it doesn’t matter if the music is good or not, you have no place on today’s Top 40 radio.

This isn’t my opinion, this is fact.

BBC Radio1 in the United Kingdom wouldn’t add Madonna’s new single, “Living For Love”, the first release from “Rebel Heart”.  However, it was added to BBC Radio2 stations.  That’s the U.S. equivalent of not being hip enough for MTV, but okay for VH1 — when they were music video stations.

Madonna

Last year, BBC Radio1’s George Ergatoudis, who programs the station’s playlists, stated they were going for a younger audience, ages 15-30, “The vast majority of people who like Madonna, who like her music now, are over 30 and frankly, we’ve moved on from Madonna.”

So, is Rebel Heart” worthy of radio airplay in the U.K. or the U.S., two of most influential countries in the world of music?  The first single, the Diplo-produced, “Living For Love” is incredible and it became Madonna’s 44th number one song on the Billboard Dance Club chart.

There are several versions of the album available.  Here in the U.S., there’s the standard 14-song collection and a 19-song deluxe version, which I bought and I’m talking about today.

While I think that Madonna and Reba McEntire are two of the greatest entertainers in music and I’m huge fans of both, I’m not one of those people that think every song and every album they release is the best thing ever.

Madonna is putting that to the test this week and Reba’s first album in more than four years, “Love Somebody”, comes out on April 10th.

Reba Love Somebody

Rebel Heart

Back to “Rebel Heart” which is likely to debut at #1 in the U.K. becoming her 12th number one album.

In the U.S., it’s in a neck and neck race with the “Empire” television soundtrack to top the Billboard 200 chart.  If “Rebel Heart” does top the U.S. chart, it’ll be Madonna’s ninth number one album and her sixth consecutive chart topper dating back to “Music” in 2000.

Of the 19 songs on the deluxe album, eight are absolutely flawless (“Living For Love”, “Devil Pray”, “Ghosttown”, “Bitch I’m Madonna”, “Joan of Arc”, Holy Water”, “Inside Out”, and “Rebel Heart”).  Those all are A+ songs.

“Ghosttown” has already been picked as the second single from the album.

Religion still plays a big part in Madonna’s music and here’s a warning:  “Holy Water” really isn’t about what you’d think is.

It’s a song about sex and it’s very graphic with lyrics that would make me blush!  Oh, who am I kidding?  It’s my favorite song on the album, but listen at your own risk!

“Holy Water” sounds like a continuation of her 1993 “Erotica” album and it’s fun and very sexual.

And, Madonna gets points for smoothly working in her 1990 hit “Vogue” into “Holy Water”.

Seven more songs are great and would still rate an “A” or “A-” (“Unapologetic Bitch”, “Illuminati”, “Iconic”, “HeartBreakCity”, “Wash All Over Me”, “Veni Vidi Vici”, and “Messiah”.

That leaves four songs that are just okay.

Honestly, there’s nothing really wrong with “Hold Tight”, “Body Shop”, and Best Night” because I love Madonna’s voice on them.  However, for a woman who’s had more Top Ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 than the Beatles, those three of the four weakest songs on “Rebel Heart”.

Madonna Boob

Obviously, Madge still loves sex and is not shy singing about it.  I love it that Madonna is still a very sexual woman and that she still wears what she wants and loves showing off all of her amazing assets (if you know what I mean).

The final song that I haven’t mentioned, “S.E.X.” is the opposite of the sexy she exudes on “Holy Water”.  It’s sounds very juvenile and unsexy.  Maybe it’ll take more listens before it arouses my musical curiosity!

I want to feature a few of songs that I deemed “A+” and “absolutely flawless” before I share my final grade and some parting thoughts about “Rebel Heart”.

In the fun category and with a little help from her friend, Nicki Minaj, “Bitch I’m Madonna” took me back to the zaniness of “I’m Going Bananas” from “I’m Breathless”, music from and inspired by the movie “Dick Tracy”.

The fun doesn’t stop there on “Devil Pray”, the second song on the album.  It sounds rooted in bluegrass and would compliment “Don’t Tell Me”, Madonna’s hit from the 2000 album “Music”.  “Devil Pray” will likely play prominently in the fall “Rebel Heart Tour”.

While Madonna is known for her ability to fill dance floors, she excels at ballads and that is so clear on “Joan of Arc”.  I could listen to that song all day!

If you buy the standard version instead of the deluxe version, you’ll miss out on the title track, which is one of the most autobiographical songs of Madonna’s career.

FINAL SNIPPETS ABOUT SOME OF THE SONGS

“Unapologetic Bitch” has a very reggae sound.

“Illuminati” name checks everyone from President Obama to Oprah Winfrey and from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga.  Is it the new “Vogue”?

“Iconic” opens with boxing legend Mike Tyson and features a very weak rap by Chance The Rapper.

“Wash All Over Me” is a beautiful, subtle ballad.

“Veni Vidi Vici” features many Madonna song titles as lyrics and a poignant and time sensitive rap by Nas about rioting in Ferguson.  Too bad that Nas didn’t rap on “Ironic”, too!

Madonna Rebel Heart

Age should not be a factor when of the top-selling music artists of all time releases a new album.

“Rebel Heart” shows that Madonna is still relevant and that she still has her finger on the pulse of pop music.  After all, she is and will always be the “Queen of Pop”.

Sadly, radio groups saturate their playlists with artists that appeal to teenagers and young adults.

It would be nice if these people could experience the music of in icon that has changed with the times and refused to act her age.  After all, age is just a number and Madonna is a “Rebel Heart” and some things will never change.

To borrow a line from the best, she “ICONIC”.

“REBEL HEART” gets an…

A

After just the first few listens, I haven’t decided if “Rebel Heart” will be of my favorite Madonna albums of all time and replace “Like A Virgin” in the Top Five.

For right now (and in April 2012 when I first blogged this), Madonna’s self-titled debut is still my all-time favorite:

#5  “Like A Virgin” (1984)

#4  “MDNA” (2012)

#3  “True Blue”  (1986)

#2  “Confessions on a Dance Floor” (2005)

#1   “Madonna” (1983)

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!  To those that got a divorce from that loser on this day, I’m happy you’ve declared your independence.  What?  Oh, the country’s independence from Great Britain.  Well, that’s certainly different!

I hope you have fun with your fireworks, your barbeques, or whatever you do to celebrate our country’s 238th birthday!

It’s going to be a nice one in the Quad Cities.

4th

“Fernando” by ABBA is the song that I remember most about the Fourth of July as a kid.

While “Fernando” only reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, it hit #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and would become ABBA’s best-selling single of all time selling more six million copies in 1976 alone!

WORST FOURTH OF JULY

With more than five inches of rain this past Monday night in the Quad Cities, luckily I was inside the house helping Ray fight basement flooding before the electricity went out for about ten hours.

While that wasn’t on Independence Day, my worst Fourth of July was back in 2007.  I was caught in a flash flooding event around 2 a.m. after more than four inches of rain in a very short period of time flooded out my car on 19th Avenue in Moline.

FloodingBSticker3flat

Here are the scary details and I was one of the lucky ones to survive!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/my-favorite-least-favorite-fourth-of-julys/

MOST “INCOMPARABLE” GAY NEIGHBORHOOD

Forget San Francisco, Hollywood, Barcelona, and Madrid, Chicago’s “Boystown” has them beat!

I’ve lived in some shady places in life, but now I can say that I spent three of my four years in Chicago living in “Out Traveler” readers’ most “incomparable” neighborhoods.

While it’ll show up as Lakeview on maps, anyone that is anyone knows that the club area near Lake Michigan between Lincoln Park to the south and Uptown to the north is “Boystown”.

I lived there for a year in 1995-1996 (Addison and Lake Shore Drive) and from 2002-2004 (Belmont and Sheridan).   Miss ABBA and I spent a lot of time in her “puppy years”  playing around Belmont Harbor.

2014 Brackets 001

“Out Traveler” says that Boystown “was the nation’s first officially-designated gayborhood” and that it has “everything you could want: bars, clubs, restaurants, architecture, walkability, its own El stop”  and now, marriage equality.

PLEASE DON’T “WIGGLE” FOR ME!

I just heard Jason Derulo’s current hit, “Wiggle”, for the first time today and I hope that I never hear it again!

Sample lyrics:  “You know what to do with that big fat butt/Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” and “Hot damn it/Your booty like two planets/Go head, and go ham sammich”.  Ugggghhhh!

Jason+Derulo+JasonDeruloCoverTCC

I loved Jason Derulo’s self-titled 2010 album and it ended up being one of my favorite albums of that year.  It produced three Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100;  “Whatcha Say” (#1), “In My Head” (#5), and “Ridin’ Solo” (#9).

Jason, go back to real music and not trashy, gimmicky songs that you’ll regret having to sing the rest of your career!

MEETING PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN

A couple of Friday nights ago, Ray and I got a chance to see the “Grits & Glamour Tour” with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa.  And, we lucked out and got to meet both ladies before the show.

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

We’ve seen them both in concert before separately.  On this tour, they performed together and it’s an amazing show.

It’s just sad that country radio is so ageist and sexist that it won’t play new music by women over the age of 40.  You think I’m wrong?  Think of radio’s reception to the latest recordings by Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, and Faith Hill.  And, before them, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and the list goes on and on!

While you may have missed that show, Lonestar and Sara Evans will be at the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton on Friday, July 11th.

“GLORIA”

This Chilean drama is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.

Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee that has to face the single life now that her two children are grown and have moved out.  However, Gloria doesn’t spend her life at home feeling sorry for herself.

Watching the movie and seeing Gloria out drinking and meeting men that could possibly be “the one”, I was so impressed with her strength and determination.  I spent the first part of my 40s alone with just me and my golden retriever, ABBA, wondering if we’d ever meet “the one”.  Like Gloria, there were many empty dates and hook-ups, but I found love again.

I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s.

Garcia’s heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.  The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.

When it was in theaters earlier this year, it made $2.1 million in the United States.  You can rent it at Redbox.

GRADE:  A

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Hearing a much different version of “Gloria” in that movie got me thinking of Laura Branigan.

It’s been almost ten years now since the singer died of a brain aneurysm at her home on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, three reached the top ten:  her first hit, the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.  It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

MADONNA’S GETTING CLOSE!

I’m only speculating based on recent Instagram posts, but I really think Madonna is getting close to dropping her follow-up to 2012’s “MDNA” album.

She has posted that she’s been working with EDM producer/disc jockey Avicii (who also remixed “Girl Gone Wild”), Natalia Kills, and Diplo.

Diplo tells “Rolling Stone” about Madonna, “I’ve done about three weeks with her, and we’re gonna do some more projects at the end of July. She’s just really cool. I think as far as artists reinventing themselves, she did it before anybody else. She kind of began that trend of actually coming back with a whole new look and style and sound and winning it and hitting the top of the charts. Those records are gonna be crazy-sounding. We really pushed the envelope with some of the stuff we were doing.”

And, just this week, she posted this teaser:

Madonna Messiah

There’s also been rumors that the English electronic duo, Disclosure, is also working on the album.  While they deny it, they say they’d love to work with her.

And, if that collaboration would sound anything like their current #11 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Sam Smith, I sure hope they do something with Madonna since I love the song and the video!

Something tells me she’s going to silently drop the new album this fall or by the end of the year like Beyonce did last December!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

I saw Martina McBride in concert 2001 as part of Reba McEntire’s “Girls Night Out” Tour in Darien Lake, New York.  What a big voice from such a small woman!

Since blasting onto the country scene in 1992, she’s scored 42 hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 20 reached the Top Ten and five topped the chart:  “Wild Angels” (1996, one week), “A Broken Wing” (1998, one week), “Wrong Again” (1998, one week), “I Love You” (1999, five weeks), and “Blessed” (2002, two weeks).

“I Love You” was also featured in the Richard Gere and Julia Roberts movie, “Runaway Bride” and it’s her biggest crossover hit, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I couldn’t find it, but luckily, my friend, Christopher found the official video to “Independence Day” for me.  It’s one of the most powerful songs ever released in any genre.

Because domestic abuse is a heavy subject matter, the song only reached #12 on the Billboard country chart in 1994, but it did win Country Music Association Awards for “Song of the Year” and “Video of the Year” and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

THAT’S IT

Have a great Fourth of July weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony