Posts Tagged ‘dolly parton’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 4, 2016

Happy November!

In just days, the country will elect a new president.  I’m excited for two reasons — a shattered glass ceiling and this nightmare of an election will be over.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be decking the halls, decorating our homes, visiting with families and friends for the holidays, and vowing to lose weight after eating and enjoying too much Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and delicious Christmas treats and cocktails.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to disagree, but do it diplomatically.

THIS IS HALLOWEEN!

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THIS IS NOT — AND I REPEAT — THIS IS NOT HALLOWEEN!

I’m very confident that many of you reading my blog today will find this image as disgusting, disturbing, and tasteless as I do.

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This is a “Halloween” display in Florida.

It just might be a coincidence that the homeowner is a supporter of one of the most outwardly racist presidential candidates in quite some time.

After the public outcry of seeing the effigy of two dark-skinned men hanging from a tree, supporters of the creative idiot behind this display replied, “it’s just Halloween”.

What?  What kind of person looks at this as entertainment?

You know the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Well, this is 32-year-old Rubin Stacy in Florida in 1935.

Rubin Stacy Florida 1935.jpg

Is this just “Halloween”?  White men and women coming around and gawking at the hanged body of a black man?

By the way, there were children on the right side of the picture witnessing this atrocity.  I took the liberty of cropping them out hoping that they became more open-minded in their adulthood than their family and friends in this picture.

This is real life folks!  This is what ignorance and intolerance looks like.  This is the hate that still thrives today and these people are teaching the same ignorance to their kids and grandchildren.

This is not just Halloween!  If that’s as creative as you can, then buy a lighted jack-o-lantern and put it on your porch!

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION DAY”

I’ve been a fan of “The Purge” movie series since the first one hit theaters in 2013.

The Purge Masks

That movie with a budget of $3 million earned $89 million at the box office and the sequel the following year earned even more, $111.9.

“The Purge: Election Year” this year has ended up being the most profitable in the franchise making $118.2 million.

I wrote this back in March before the movie came out this summer, “the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!”

If you’re unfamiliar with “The Purge”, it’s an annual, 12-hour period when all criminal activity, including murder, is legal.

While the original is still my favorite, I did enjoy this one and I’m looking forward to a fourth installment, which hasn’t been announced.

However, I did have a couple of issues with the sloppiness of the script.

It’s March in the movie, yet the trees are ablaze with fall colors (the movie was shot in New England in the fall).  Oops!

And, when the presidential election is held in May, one candidate reaches the 270 electoral votes needed to win.  Unless our election process changes in the next 24 years (since the movie is set in 2040), that countdown to 270 happens in November.

But, it’s Hollywood — and the future.

GRADE:  B-

REDBOX WEBSITE

I love renting movies from Redbox.  It’s very economical and I can take a chance on movies I might never watch and not break the bank.

REDBOX

However, the most recent changes to its website frustrates me.

It used to be that I’d click on the location I wanted to rent from and it would list just the movies available in that kiosk.

Now, when you click on a location, it lists the movies, but when you click on a movie, it’ll either pop up if it’s in the kiosk or have you choose a nearby location.

Go back to the old way.  Just show me what’s available in the kiosk that I want to rent from!

TWEETERS CAN BE MEAN (AND FUNNY)!

We all know how miserable a lot of people are in life.  You know how I know that we know?  Look at the their posts on social media and the tweets they send celebrities.

Sadly, I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets”.  “Sadly” because, like the celebrities reading them, I’m laughing at them, while at the same time, I’m thinking, “f**k you and get a life” to the people that send those tweets!

In honor of ABC’s “CMA Awards 50” this week, Kimmel had some of country’s biggest and brightest stars read mean tweets about themselves.

As usual, Dolly Parton handles everything with so much grace and humor.  And, Cassadee Pope and Dan + Shay made me smile.

CALLING SAVANNAH HOME

A couple of months ago, we visited Charleston, South Carolina (during Hurricane Hermine) and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

While in Savannah, I finally watched “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, Clint Eastwood and Kevin Spacey’s 1997 movie about Savannah that didn’t make that big of a splash or its money back in theaters.

I even saw the Mercer House (now the Mercer-Williams House Museum), where Jim Williams lived, several times on my walks in the city.

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I just read the book and I enjoyed it as much as I did the movie.

As writer John Berendt proclaimed in the book, Savannah is the “hostess of the South” and the first question a Savannahian will ask you is “What would you like to drink?”

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In the few days that I was there, I could definitely see myself living there and enjoying the southern charm of the city.

Who knows?  Retirement is only years away!

PET SHOP BOYS THIS WEEKEND

I’m very excited to see my first Pet Shop Boys concert this weekend in Chicago.

Yes, the Pet Shop Boys, from the 1980s.  You know, “West End Girls”!

super-tour

In anticipation for “The Super Tour”, I went back and listened to every album they’ve released since “Please” in 1986 and ranked my 20 favorite songs from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

I know most of you didn’t check out my blog when I posted it earlier this week, so here it is again for you!

Just click on it and make my day.  I guarantee that you’ll find a Pet Shop Boys song that you’ve never heard and love it.  You can thank me later. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

If you click on that and listened to some of my picks, you now know they’re still producing amazing music thirty years later.

DAYA — “SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY”

It’s been an incredible 18 months for 18-year-old Grace Tandon of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

We know her as Daya and it was in the spring of 2015 when she released her first single, “Hideaway”.

While it put her on the radio, this summer she topped radio airplay charts with “Don’t Let Me Down”, a collaboration with The Chainsmokers.   (Sadly, it’s not on her debut album that I’m blogging about today and I don’t download “singles”.)

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Daya’s first full length album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty”, came out in early October and it’s definitely one of my favorite albums of 2016!

If you turn on the radio, you’ll hear the title track, which is one of the ten most played songs in the country.

What I love about Daya, other than her voice, is her maturity and the material she choose for this album, as a teenager.

In addition to the two hits, my other favorite standout tracks are “Words”, “Back To Me”, “Cool”, “U12”, “Talk”, “Love of My Life” and “I.C.Y.M.I.”.

Several stations across the country are beginning to play “Words”, although it hasn’t been officially picked as the third single.

It has my approval!

HALLOWEEN & A PUBLIC SERVICE REMINDER!

My favorite Halloween costume this year comes from Brooklyn, New York.

This 8-year-old not only set out to get candy, but he’s also lining up votes for Hillary Clinton.

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And, one of his moms, Deb, says that’s not a wig.  Now, that’s a lot of hair!

Of course, homophobic idiots, internet trolls, and uneducated-Donald Trump supporters took this as an opportunity to bash the parents, the little boy, and Hillary, but all I can say about that is, “bless their hearts”.

Please vote Tuesday!

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We have to keep Trump away from the White House!  In doing so, we can send a strong message for him to get out of politics, too.

Good riddance Donald!

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 10, 2016

We’re moving closer to the official start of summer, but this is going to be the hottest weekend in the Quad Cities since last September.  I’ll definitely be floating in the pool with a cold beverage!

Great response and feedback to last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, so let’s jump right into this week’s edition.

WHITNEY HOUSTON RUMOR CONFIRMED (?)

It’s been more than four years since superstar Whitney Houston died, but in his new book, “Every Little Step”, ex-husband Bobby Brown confirms a longstanding rumor about Houston.

As I wrote in a blog in early 2013, there was always speculation that Whitney was in an intimate relationship with her personal assistant, Robyn Crawford.

Whitney Robyn

In that blog, Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston denied it.

However, in his new book, Brown says that Whitney was bisexual and that she and Crawford were in a longtime relationship.

Brown writes, “I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today.” He goes on to say that Whitney didn’t have any close friends after Crawford.

It’s sad to think that if that’s true and she had been accepted for who she was, she might still be with us.

You can read my blog about her mother’s views on Whitney’s sexuality and relationship with Crawford by clicking this link.  (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/whitney-houstons-mother-her-conditional-love/

One last thing — Bobby Brown, please don’t continue to mine Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s deaths for your personal financial gain.  Let them R.I.P. after this.

BEST.COMEBACK.EVER.

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Those 115-thousand-plus Hillary retweets and likes were just in the first hour!

On the other hand, Donald Trump’s comment had 100-thousand less retweets and only 26-thousand likes in the same time period!

Oh Snap!

BERNIE SANDERS, THANK YOU!

While things didn’t work out for Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic race for president and he did get testy and borderline rude toward the end of the primary and caucus season, I commend him on the fight and the awareness of the broken system he brought to this year’s race for the White House.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

After meeting with President Obama Thursday, Sanders told reporters he would “work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States”, which he said would be a “disaster”.

He also said, “I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1%.”

Here’s to unity and the political demise of Trump!

PAUL RYAN CALLED DONALD TRUMP WHAT?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate) this week said that 2016 Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump made “a textbook definition of a racist comment” about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Trump claims that because Curiel is of Mexican heritage he can’t preside over Trump’s case fairly because the likely GOP presidential candidate wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

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But, Ryan still says he’ll be voting for Trump in November.

Nicely played, GOP!

GOODBYE BRETAGNE, YOU BEAUTIFUL GIRL

Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”), a 16-year-old golden retriever, crossed the “rainbow bridge” earlier this week in Houston, Texas.

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She’s the last known surviving canine hero who searched the rubble of “Ground Zero” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“The Daily Golden” reports that her owner and handler noticed that Bretagne wasn’t eating (her favorite thing) and she knew something was wrong.

On Monday, members of the Texas Task Force 1 and the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department greeted Bretagne as she entered the veterinarian’s office for the last time.

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She was later brought out draped in an American flag while her admirers still stood saluting.

An autopsy is being conducted since the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is conducting a study of all 9/11 search and rescue dogs.

I don’t often tear up when writing my blogs, but I did with this entry.

GORILLA KILLING FOLLOW-UP

Last week, I talked about the Cincinnati Zoo incident that led to the shooting death of a 17-year-old silverback gorilla after a 3-year-old child crawled into the animal’s exhibit.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced earlier this week that no charges would be brought against the little boy’s mother stating she “did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and turned her back.”

Deters added, “The zoo lost a beautiful animal and one that many people in this area have enjoyed watching for some time.”  But, he continued, “it’s still an animal”.

He stated that zoo officials are “heartsick” and “on so many levels, this is a tragedy.”

TODRICK HALL IS A GENIUS!

If you’re a big YouTuber or an avid “American Idol” fan, you might know 31-year-old singer-dancer-choreographer-actor-director Todrick Hall.

If not, let me share with you a soon to be masterpiece.  Hall blends together two of my favorites into seven minutes of pure bliss — Britney Spears and “Beauty and the Beast”.

So, until Britney drops her new single “Make Me (Oooh)” in July and the album this fall and the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters next spring (more on that below), this will be on repeat on my computer.

Classic!

THE PUBLIC RESTROOM DEBATE 

Confused over the whole controversy of allowing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of their gender identity and not their sex?

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If you haven’t been following the story, North Carolina put into place “House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” which bans people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex in late March 2016.

The Department of Justice alerted the state’s Governor and the University of North Carolina system that this is a violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

In just the first month after “House Bill 2” was announced, tourism and hospitality took a $77 million hit in investments and visitor spending with cancelled concerts, TV and movie production, and many state and city governments refusing to travel to North Carolina.

THE INCREDIBLE DOLLY PARTON SPEAKS OUT

You don’t have to be a country music fan to think the world of Dolly Parton because of her open-mindedness and honesty.

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While Dolly didn’t cancel the opening night of her “Pure & Simple Tour” in Greensboro, North Carolina last Friday night, she definitely has something to say about the transgender community and the controversy.

This appeared on CNN Money’s Facebook page last Friday.

Kudos Dolly!

“JUST PEE”

Pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Broadway and movie star Harvey Fierstein, and the cast of Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” have an entertaining and thought-provoking look at the whole bathroom debate with “Just Pee”.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

We’re already six months into the year and I still haven’t gone to the movies yet.  I had planned on seeing “Money Monster”, but that never materialized.

Last year, it was December before Ray and I finally went to the theater and we saw “Krampus”.

This will all change October 7th when “The Girl on the Train” hit multiplexes with Emily Blunt.

The Girl on the Train

If you’re not familiar with it, get on board and read the thriller.

In Paula Hawkins’ 2015 worldwide best seller, “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, she 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!”  (That’s what I had to say about the book last July.)

Here’s the movie trailer.

After finishing the book last summer, here’s a blog I posted with my dream cast.  Needless to say, Hollywood didn’t listen.  But, I do love Emily Blunt.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/my-dream-cast-for-the-girl-on-the-train/

A TALE AS OLD AS TIME….

“Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite Disney movie ever!  I absolutely adore Belle!

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I honestly grew up in Kentucky as the male “Belle”.  In Mayfield, where I was born and raised, I felt like Belle in the “poor provincial town” — just waiting to get out there and I’ve been gone 26 years now!

I’ve been very protective of the 1991 “Best Picture” Oscar-nominated original.  I haven’t seen the musical, but I’d like to one day.

When the direct-to-video sequel, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” arrived in 1997, I bought it only because it was Christmas-themed.  It was enjoyable.

Two summers ago, a live-action version of the film was announced for a March 2017 release date starring Emma Watson of the “Harry Potter” series and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.

I was elated and scared at the the same time.  Now, after seeing the first trailer, I can’t wait until March 17, 2017 arrives!

The trailer has been viewed almost 16 million times already in just over two weeks!

PICK HIT

American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor blasted on the music scene with her chart-topping single, “All About That Bass”.  That song stayed #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was downloaded more than 9 million times in the U.S. alone!

“Bass” also won two Billboard Music Awards in 2015 and in 2016, Trainor picked up a Grammy Award for “Best New Artist”.

She’s now added three more Top Ten hits on the Hot 100 (“Lips Are Movin”, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (with John Legend), and “No”).

While I thought her music was cute, I didn’t jump on the “Bass” band wagon.

However, I do like “Marvin Gaye”, a duet with Charlie Puth.

I fell in love with Meghan after her smoking hot performance of her new song on Jimmy Fallon’s show.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if she hadn’t fallen off her high heels after the incredible performance.

But, it was the style and class she exhibited when she fell that endeared her to me.  And, the song, “Me Too”, is now one of my favorites.  It’s such a fun “Song of the Year” contender.

“Me Too” is already a Top Ten hit in Australia and Canada and is currently one of the twenty most played songs on American Top 40 radio.

“SONG OF THE SUMMER”

There’s already speculation as to what will be 2016’s “Song of the Summer” (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Justin Timberlake’s “Trolls” movie song, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”, is a front-runner.

“Billboard” magazine just released its Top Ten songs of each summer dating back to 1985.

Flashing back thirty years to 1986, Madonna had the “Song of the Summer” with “Papa Don’t Preach”.  I remember so well getting ready on Saturday nights and heading out to “Club DV8” jamming to this song.

BEN WHISHAW…JUST BECAUSE

I have nothing new to report on the talented English actor!

Ben_Whishaw

However, if you haven’t checked out the mini-series “London Spy” or the movie, “Lilting”, stop wasting time and do so now!

THAT’S IT

Well, this has been fun and I already have some thoughts for next week.  I didn’t want you to have to read all day!

As always, thank you for checking out my thoughts and I always welcome yours — as long as you’re diplomatic if we disagree.

Until next week, peace, love and understanding!

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Anthony

Reba’s Obstacles To Another #1 Country Song

It’s no secret that I love Reba McEntire.  I own every album she’s ever released, I’ve seen her in concert thirteen times, and I even got to meet her back in 2005.

Reba Anthony 2005

However, much to my chagrin, she’ll likely never have another #1 song on the Billboard Country charts (unless she duets with a chart-dominating, younger star)!

Reba

Reba’s place in country music history is cemented as iconic.  She’s the “Queen of Country Music” and she’s a member of the “Country Music Hall of Fame”.

Reba has more Top Ten hits than any other woman in country music and she’s tied with Dolly Parton for the most #1 songs on the Billboard Country charts by a woman at 25.

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So, why did the lead single from her latest #1 album, “Love Somebody”, “Going Out Like That” only peak at #23 on the Billboard Country chart (and #28 on the Country Airplay chart) and why did it take six months to rise and fall at country radio?

Reba Love Somebody

And, why is Reba’s latest single, “Until They Don’t Love You”, only being played at 60-something country stations?  It’s just now cracking the Top 50 country radio airplay list at #48.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Here are my thoughts and I know this might not set well with some Reba fans.  But, being one myself, I’m being objective.

At this point in her career, Reba may not be concerned about #1 hits at country radio.  As an avid chart watcher and huge Reba fan, the fault might be mine — I care, but Reba may not.

While Reba released her first album in 1977, it wasn’t until she switched labels to MCA that she had her first gold album with 500,000 copies shipped (“My Kind of Country”, 1984).

Her first platinum album (one million copies shipped), “Whoever’s In New England” came out in 1986, and her first multi-platinum album was “Greatest Hits”, which dropped in early 1987 and has sold more than three million copies.

Reba Albums

Reba’s biggest selling album, “Greatest Hits, Volume 2”, has moved more than five million copies and that one came out in 1993.

Since then, her album sales have been dropping.

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Her 2010 release, “All The Women I Am”, has not even been certified gold and it featured her last #1 song at country radio, “Turn On The Radio”.

As I mentioned earlier, Reba may not be concerned with how high her singles go on the chart.  She may not lose sleep over how many album she sells because she knows that her concerts are huge draws and they always will be.  Concerts are where artists make their money.

Reba 2011

Reba is not alone.  It’s the same for pop music.  Madonna has dominated pop music for as long as Reba has country music and her tours are some of the biggest money makers and she sells out every show.Madonna MDNA

However, Madonna’s hit singles at Top 40 radio are as infrequent as Reba is at country radio lately.

When Reba followed up the chart topper “Turn On The Radio” with her remake of the Beyonce song, “If I Were A Boy”, that song stalled at #22 and the two other singles released from the album peaked at #40 and #44.

Shortly thereafter I questioned a friend in the radio industry about the cool reception for the final three singles from “All The Women I Am”.  He said he wasn’t surprised “after having ‘If I Were a Boy’ shoved down our throats.”

After that album’s release, Reba devoted more time to her family, her Reba brand at Dillard’s department stores, acting one season on ABC’s “Malibu Country” and touring.

Now that she has a residency in Las Vegas with Brooks & Dunn and she’s touring again supporting the new album, “Love Somebody”, why aren’t the first two singles burning up the charts?

Reba Love Somebody

In one of my first blogs, I brought up the topic of ageism and sexism in the entertainment world.  You can read that blog here:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/todays-country-radio-wheres-reba/

While that is still blatant, I think the real problem for Reba now is her association with the Nash Icon record label, which is focused on the “biggest country artists of the last two decades, who are still recording and touring but not getting enough exposure today”.

If that wasn’t limiting enough, it’s affiliated with Cumulus Media, the third largest radio group in the business.  And, that is reflecting in the number of stations that played “Going Out Like That” and the new song.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

As of yesterday, “Until They Don’t Love You” is being played on 67 of 262 stations that report to Mediabase.  Of those, many are Cumulus stations.

This is purely speculation, but I feel that other radio groups, such as Clear Channel (#1) and Infinity (#2) don’t want to get into the business of promoting singles that another radio group, Cumulus, is making money off of.

Another example to prove this point is Ronnie Dunn, who is on the Nash Icon label.  His new single, “Ain’t No Trucks In Texas” is faltering at country radio.

When I saw Reba live in early August, she performed both singles from the “Love Somebody” album and they sound great.

I hope that I’m wrong about Reba never topping the country singles charts again without the support of say someone like Luke Bryan or Carrie Underwood.

Country radio, prove me wrong!

Show me that you still love Reba and that there’s room on your playlist for new songs in heavy rotation and not just the occasional classics.

Anthony

Michael Ray Could Bring Me Back To Country Music

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits.

Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.

It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became a fan of was Keith Urban.

keith_urban

However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).

MICHAEL RAY — ALBUM PICK HIT 

I also came across Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” video.

Being honest, his striking good looks and tattoos caught my eye.  So, I took a listen and the song was upbeat and fun.  It’s also the most played country song in the U.S.

“Kiss” was a strong enough song to make me take a listen to more of his music and I ended up buying his self-titled debut album that came out last week and I’m so glad I did.

michael-ray

This is definitely one of the most solid debut albums I can recall.

Michael has been working on his craft professionally since appearing on The CW’s reality series/singing competition show, “The Next:  Fame Is at Your Doorstep” in 2012.

The Florida native won that completion performing songs by Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Jake Owen and now he’s competing against those same men for radio airplay and I know he’ll do just fine.

Now that “Kiss You in the Morning” has topped the country airplay charts, Michael already has his second single, “Real Men Love Jesus”, ready to go out to radio in mid-September.

It’s a mid-tempo song that touches on some of the core elements of country music: fishing, fast cars, football, sexy women, Mama, and Jesus.

One thing that Michael excels at is slower and mid-tempo songs.

My choice for the third single is “Run Away With You”, one of my favorite songs on the album.

Other slower choice cuts are “Everything In Between”, “Wish I Was Here”, and “Think A Little Less”.

And, when he’s ready to rock, he brings life to the party.

If I worked for his label, I’ve already got the fourth single picked out.  “Livin’ It Up” is a fun upbeat song that will be on “repeat” once you get the album.

I mentioned a third and fourth single, but I’m being modest.

This album is solid enough that it could go five or six singles deep for country radio.

If you’re a country music fan, you’re going to love this album.  If, like me, you’ve been away from the genre for some time, this is a breath of fresh air.

michael-ray

“Michael Ray” is a fun album that isn’t too heavy on the current country rage, “bro-country”.

GRADE:

A

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 14, 2015

The weekend is almost here and after working the past eight Saturdays, I’m back to having my weekends off again!

I plan on having a fun one and I hope the same for you.  Let’s kick it off with my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

As always, let me know what we agree on and what we don’t!

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER HAS CANCER

My favorite President, Jimmy Carter, who is now 90-years-old, revealed Wednesday that he has cancer.

Jimmy Carter

It was discovered during a recent liver surgery.  He also stated that the cancer had spread to other body parts.

He plans to undergo treatment and says he’ll share more details next week.

I’ll say an extra prayer for President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, for a speedy recovery.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was an 11-year-old boy growing up in Kentucky when he was running for President in 1976.

I even devoted a full blog to him in March 2012 that I want to share again with you.  (You can click on the link below and it’ll open in a new window so you don’t lose your place in this week’s blog!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

REPUBLICAN RACE SHOWDOWN

After a television debate last week with most of the Republican candidates vying to become the next President of the United States, most people talked about Donald Trump and his rude comments.

Fox News commentator Megan Kelly started a question with “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals’, and Trump replied, “Only Rosie O’Donnell”.

Rosie O'Donnell

While a sad expression of honesty from a man who wants to run this country, it must be working for him.  An NBC News poll after that debate showed Trump as the front-runner with an increasing lead.

Donald Trump had 23% followed by Ted Cruz (13%) and Ben Carson (11%).

Carly Fiorina surged to fourth place (8%) and is now tied with Marco Rubio.

The rest of the top ten: Jeb Bush and Scott Walker (7%), Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee (5%), and Rick Perry and John Kasich (2%).

santorum

Rick Santorum and George Pataki are in last place with 0%!

THEY SAID WHAT???

REPUBLICAN FRONT RUNNER FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

(about Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly after her questioning in that debate):  “there was blood coming out of her eyes … blood coming out of her wherever.”

MORE TRUMP

(after an uproar accusing him of being sexist with the hormonal overtones to his comment about Kelly):  “Do you think I’d make a statement like that? Who would make a statement like that? Only a sick person would even think about that.”

Kelly Trump

FOX COMMENTATOR MEGYN KELLY

(speaking about the personal attacks from Trump):  “Mr. Trump is an interesting man who has captured the attention of the electorate. That’s why he’s leading in the polls. Trump, who is the frontrunner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism, so I’ll continue doing my job without fear or favor. And Mr. Trump, I expect, will continue with what has been a successful campaign thus far. This is a tough business and it’s time now to move forward.”

POP ICON & ACTRESS CHER

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

(About going back out on tour after having to cancel the second leg of her “Dressed To Kill Tour” because of an acute viral infection affecting her kidneys):  “You know, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do this. That’s my wish. But I can’t say that I actually will be able to… My will is pretty strong, so… I don’t know.”

MARVIN GAYE’S SUE HAPPY FAMILY

The family of late R&B legend Marvin Gaye sure loves to sue people.

They successfully sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell over the mega hit “Blurred Lines” claiming that it ripped off “Got To Give It Up”.  Gaye’s family was awarded $7.4 million in damages for copyright infringement, but this is being appealed.

Empire

Now, a son is ready to sue the makers of Fox’s very successful #1 drama, “Empire”, claiming that it was his idea.

I’m thinking two things:  First, they don’t want Taraji P. Henson’s “Cookie” to come down on their asses and secondly, that family needs to get a life – their own!

MORE “MARVIN GAYE”

Singer and songwriter Charlie Puth topped the charts earlier this year with “See You Again” with Wiz Khalifa.  The song was featured in “Furious 7” and was a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker.

Puth is now racing up the charts with “Marvin Gaye” with a little help from Meghan Trainor.

The song is already one of 25 most played songs at Top 40 radio in the U.S.

I especially like the fun, sexy, and LGBT-inclusive video!

REBA — YOU TAKE THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD

Sadly, since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” in late July, my idol and country superstar Reba McEntire and her husband Narvel Blackstock announced they were separating after 26 years of marriage.

On a more positive note, I saw Reba in concert for the 13th time when she played the Mississippi Valley Fair last week.  She also announced last week, “Until They Don’t Love You”, would be the second single from her album, “Love Somebody”.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

This song sounds amazing live and she also performed it on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Wednesday night.

You can click on this link to see it:  http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/reba-mcentire-until-they-dont-love-you/2890917

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE”

If you listened to music in the late-1970s, you probably know that’s part of a lyric ( “You have to believe we are magic, nothin’ can stand in our way”) from Olivia Newton-John’s #1 smash “Magic” from the motion picture, “Xanadu”, that hit theaters about this time in 1978.

Now, Olivia has re-recorded part of that song with her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi and DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude.

Olivia and Chloe look incredible re-enacting the vibe from “Xanadu” in and around Las Vegas.

I believe that this song and remix will return Olivia to the Billboard Dance chart.  Her last appearance on that chart was back in 1988 when “The Rumour” peaked at #17.

Olivia’s last Top 40 on the Hot 100 was “Soul Kiss” back in 1985.  It reached #20.

“HANNIBAL”

I’m truly saddened that there’s only three episodes of “Hannibal” left.

Hannibal-NBC-Poster-2012

This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television.  Maybe it was too intelligent!

I’ll especially miss Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

However, I’ll still see Anderson in “The X-Files” in January 2016 and I’m really enjoying her as Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson on the BBC hit show, “The Fall”.

It also stars Jamie Dornan, best known as Christian Grey of “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

If you haven’t checked out the two seasons of “The Fall”, it’s a must see!

“MR. ROBOT”

Another show I highly recommend is my new summer favorite, the incredibly intelligent “Mr. Robot” on USA Network.

MR. ROBOT

Rami Malek is the breakout star as Elliot Alderson, a computer hacker by night and a security technician at a cybersecurity company by day.

Elliot suffers from chronic depression and social anxiety disorder, which makes him quirky and very awkward in social situations.

Christian Slater stars as Mr. Robot.

This is definitely a thriller drama you need to check out and it was renewed for a second season even before the first episode aired!

FALLING IN AND OUT OF LOVE WITH COUNTRY MUSIC 

This part will be very familiar if you read my blog earlier in the week!

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010.  In his career, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits, 17 of which hit the Top Ten, and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.  It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became fan of was Keith Urban.

keith_urban

However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).

MICHAEL RAY — ALBUM PICK HIT 

michael-ray

Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” is the most played country song in the U.S. this week.

I just bought his self-titled debut album and I’m so glad I did.  Here is the link to my review of the album and you’ll get to hear more of my favorite tracks from it:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

And, it’s pretty cool that even with his busy touring schedule and with radio and television appearances, Michael had a chance to read my blog and review of his album and tweeted back at me.

Michael Ray Tweets

“THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL”

As much as I love movies, it’s crazy that I still haven’t been to the theater this calendar year.  The last theater movie for me was “Unbroken” back in late December!

I’ve been waiting to see “Jurassic World”, but my summer work schedule nixed that.  And, I’m definitely going to see “Everest” on the big screen (the release date is now September 25, 2015).

Now, I’ve found another one that looks amazingly funny and bold and it has a 95% positive rating on the site, “Rotten Tomatoes”.

“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is the story of a 1970s teenager, Minnie Goetze, played by British actress Bel Powley, and her affair with her mother’s boyfriend told from her diary.

Kristin Wiig, who’s been in two of my favorite movies over the past year, “The Skeleton Twins” and “Welcome To Me”, plays Minnie’s mother and Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”) stars as Wiig’s boyfriend.

The movie is only playing in selection theaters now, but will be expanding in August.  Hopefully, it’ll be in the Quad Cities this fall!

“UNDER THE DOME” — THE END?

I loved the first season of “Under The Dome” on CBS and suffered through the end of season two.

under-the-dome

After watching just a bit of the season three premiere, I’d had enough.  And, I guess America has, too.

The show premiered with 13.5 million viewers (17.76 million with DVR figures added).  Last week’s episode was down to an astonishing 3.88 million!

I highly suspect that the show will be cancelled (along with “Extant”).

CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler at the Television Critics Association’s press tour earlier this week told reporters that the dome will come down in the finale.  “Entertainment Weekly” reports that “producers have written the finale to serve as a potential series finale or a season finale”.

Regardless of the fate of the show, two great things came out it — one gorgeous and one gory!

600full-mike-vogelCOW UNDER THE DOME

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!  I still try to catch the show’s opening just to see the dome split the cow in half!

FALL IS GETTING CLOSER

Okay, let me get that taste out of your mouth!  Look what’s new from M&M for this fall season: Pecan Pie M&Ms!

Pecan Pie M&M

Yum!  I can’t wait to try them!

While I love spending time floating in the pool and I love snow (but not the extreme Midwestern cold), fall is my new favorite season.

Fall

That all sounds incredible, but it’s really all about…

“THE WALKING DEAD”

On August 23rd, “Fear The Walking Dead” premieres on AMC and hopefully that’ll hold me over until October 11th when the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” begins.

Here’s the incredible new trailer for “The Walking Dead”!

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  Let me know your thoughts on anything I wrote about today.

Have a great weekend.  I’m going to relax and enjoy the pool.

Anthony

Reba’s Return To Country Music

When a singer is forty years into a musical career that has produced more top ten hits than any other woman on the country chart and she’s tied with Dolly Parton for the most #1 singles by a woman, it’s hard for songs to sound original.

But, on her 27th studio album, “Love Somebody”, Reba McEntire sounds original and familiar at the same time.

Reba Love Somebody

In its first week, “Love Somebody”, Reba’s first new album since late 2010’s “All The Women I Am”, debut at the top of the Country Album chart and at #3 on the Billboard 200 (a ranking of all musical genres) selling 62,000 copies.

This is her 12th number one country album and her ninth Top Ten album on the Billboard 200.

The first single, “Going Out Like That”, is now up to #25 on the Billboard Country Singles chart.

“Love Somebody” comes in two versions:  a standard 12-song album and a deluxe Target exclusive that features two additional songs.

Hopefully when you bought the album or you buy it, you give yourself time to listen to it without interruptions.

When I listened to it for the first time, I was driving and got only two or three songs into the album before real life forced me to start listening to it again later.

That was a disservice to Reba’s efforts on the album and for my listening pleasure.  Because of that, at first listen, I thought the album felt disjointed.  That is far from the truth.

Upon devoting proper time to my idol’s heartfelt gift to her fans, I realized how much the album is classic Reba and how much I’ve missed hearing new music from her.

While the first single, “Going Out Like That”, which kicks off the album, was released four months ago and is slowly gaining traction at country radio, there’s no talk publicly of the second single.

As you explore the album for possibilities, the clear cut winner would be, “Enough”, the second cut on the album, which is a duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

This song tells the story of a married woman hoping her man finds enough about her to stay while “the other woman” is hoping for the same thing.

Earlier when I said the album sounds original and “familiar” at the same time, “Enough” will have you flashing back to Reba’s Grammy Award-winning, #1 smash duet, “Does He Love You”, with Linda Davis, from 1994.

Reba has always had her finger on the pulse of people (mostly women) going through breakups and dealing with heartbreak, people hoping to find love, and for people finding that love.

“She Got Drunk Last Night” and “I’ll Go On” both satisfy the breakup and moving on theme.  “I’ll Go On” reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Reba songs that was never released as a single, “He Wants To Get Married” from 1992’s “It’s Your Call”.

In 1991, following a very dark time for Reba, she released a very personal album, “For My Broken Heart”.  The title track and first single and the last song on the album, “If I Had Only Known” are alive in this album’s “Just Like Them Horses”.

The beautiful song is stunning.  It’s about one person facing the reality that their time on Earth is over and they convince a survivor that they’re ready to go and that have to say goodbye.  They do it with grace, dignity, and respect.

When Reba got the song, she thought of her father, Clark, who wasn’t doing well.  When he passed away last October, Reba sang it at his funeral.

Reba 2011

Finding love against all odds is a strong point for Reba and through my 25 years of being a fan, she’s given me hope when I didn’t think there was any.

On this album, “That’s When I Knew” would give any man or woman faith that love is right around the corner and it’s my favorite song on “Love Somebody”.

Reba excels at upbeat anthems, too, and there are many on “Love Somebody”.

“Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet” and “Until They Don’t Love You” are great, and then there’s the simplistic beauty of the mid-tempo, “Promise Me Love”.

When there’s a new Reba album, I admit that I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a song that doesn’t truly rip your heart out and bring you to tears.

On her recent efforts, “Moving Oleta” (from “Room To Breathe”) and “Roses” (from “So Good Together”) come to mind.

On “Love Somebody”, that song is “Love Land”.  After I got over the mindset that the mother didn’t want her daughter to have a child outside of marriage, the message song brought me to tears — first, of sadness and then, happiness.

Reba Love Somebody

“Love Somebody” is a solid album and it makes you realize how much Reba has brought to country music over the past forty years.  It also makes it clear how much she could offer country music radio if it looked beyond ageism.

This is Reba’s best album since 2004’s “Room To Breathe”.

GRADE:  B+

My favorite tracks:  “That’s When I Knew”, “Just Like Them Horses”, “Promise Me Love”, “Until They Don’t Love You”, “Going Out Like That”, and  “Enough”.

Here’s a Reba bonus.

Last summer, before it was announced that Reba was working on “Love Somebody”, she released “Pray For Peace”, featuring her good friend, Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, and her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson.

It’s featured on the new album.

Random Friday Thoughts – June 13, 2014

Happy Friday and Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week and have a great weekend!

ACCEPTING JONAH HILL’S APOLOGY?

It’s been almost two weeks since two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill (“This Is The End”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and “Moneyball”) screamed out a homophobic remark to the paparazzi that was hounding and berating him in a Los Angeles neighborhood near Hollywood.

He quickly went into damage control mode expressing how disgusted he was with himself because that’s not how he really feels and that he’s always been very supportive of the LGBT community.

While he’s a solid actor, I can’t say that I’m a fan.  On the other hand, I don’t dislike him.

I feel he’s genuinely sincere with his apology.  However, if he was really pushed into lashing out, he could have still said, “Suck my d***” without the derogatory f-word that precipitated this whole apology tour.

When I’m mad, I may use choice words, but they definitely don’t start with “F” or “N”, because those words are not part of my daily vocabulary and shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s!

BRAD PAISLEY IS AWESOME

I met country music superstar Brad Paisley back in 2001 in Canfield, Ohio, when he was just starting out and was promoting his second album.  (That’s a much younger me in the middle with the microphone).

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

At the time, he was new to business and came across as rather shy.  Now, he’s very outgoing and outspoken.

Here’s how he handled the Westboro Baptist cult outside his show in the Kansas City, Missouri, area back on June 1st.

Brad Paisley WBC

He took a selfie with the group that was protesting him and said that they’d “play loud” enough that night for the group to hear outside.

Awesome!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

At this point, I might as well feature Brad as my weekly country music pick of the songs and artists that I’ve loved or admired when I listened to country music.

Brad first hit the chart in 1999 when “Who Needs Pictures” peaked at #12.  The follow-up, “He Didn’t Have To Be” topped the chart in December of that year.

In all, he’s had 37 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 30 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Of those, 18 have reached #1.  As a matter of fact, he had an amazing run from 2005-2009 with ten consecutive number one hits on the charts!

While I love, “He Didn’t Have To Be”, “We Danced”, and “When I Get Where I’m Going” with Dolly Parton, my pick hit today is convenient.  “Celebrity” reached #3 in 2003.

Brad has sold more than 12 million albums, picked up three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards.

“TONY AWARDS” HUMOR

Hugh Jackman from Sunday night’s “Tony Awards” broadcast:  “There’s the amazing Neil Patrick Harris, nominated for Hedwig.  He is a legendary four-time Tony host.  But, Angela Lansbury has hosted five times. So, Neil is right behind her and I was right behind him, which is still illegal in 13 states.”

Hugh Jackman

Disclaimer:  That picture of Hugh Jackman has nothing to do with the Tony Awards.  Oh well….

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

It’s now June and I’ve only gone to the movies once this year.  I saw “August:  Osage County” back in January.

I still want to see “Godzilla” on the big screen and I’ll wait to see “Neighbors” on DVD.  Other than that, there’s nothing out there or coming out anytime soon that I can’t wait for to watch at home.

The next movie I anticipate seeing is “The Hundred-Foot Journey” with Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (“The Queen”, 2006, Best Actress).

The movie is co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and is directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”).

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” opens August 8th.

CHER IS COMING BACK TO THE QUAD CITIES

This fall, music and screen icon, Cher, will be making another stop in the Quad Cities on October 22nd with her “Dressed To Kill Tour”.  Pat Benatar is opening for her.

Cher 2014 311

I saw her last Friday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Cyndi Lauper opening for her.  The show, from the costumes, the sets, the choreography, and Cher’s humor and voice, was amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi back in 2002 in Chicago on “The Farewell Tour” and the “Dressed To Kill Tour” was much better and more entertaining.

DO YOU KNOW RYAN LEWIS?

Ryan Lewis is part of the biggest act that has hit pop and rap music in the past few years.  He’s the good-looking half of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

But, could you pick him out a crowd?  Obviously, New Yorkers couldn’t.  Lewis is so funny in this clip from “The Tonight Show”.

COOKIE FAIL

I got really excited when I saw that Chips Ahoy had birthday frosting and Oreo creme filled cookies.

Chips Ahoy Filled Cookies

I wasn’t impressed.  I think the cookies would have been much better if they were crunchy Chips Ahoy with the creme frosting filling.  I’ll save my 75 calories per small cookie for something more rewarding.

PICK HIT

Swedish music producer and DJ Avicii has produced songs for some of the biggest names in music — Madonna, Coldplay, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Daft Punk, Robyn, and many more.

He even scored his first hit album with himself as the star.  “True” debuted at #5 in the U.S. last fall and was one of my favorite albums of 2013.

The first two songs from that album have made a big impact on Top 40 radio in America and both have topped the Billboard Dance chart.

“Wake Me Up” reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013 and was downloaded more than 4 million times.  The follow-up, “Hey Brother”, peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.

His new song, “Addicted To You”, has already topped the Billboard Dance chart and is now racing up the Top 40 radio chart.

Warning:  the video does include shots of butts!

SPEAKING OF MADONNA

It seems that she is hard at work on her 13th studio album.  While there is no release date set, it appears that she’s working with Avicii,  the English duo Disclosure (who’s scoring big on American radio right now with their Top 15 hit, “Latch”), American DJ and producer Diplo, and English singer/actress Natalia Kills.

I really thought that Natalia Kills would have been big in the U.S. in the wake of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  However, that didn’t happen even with will.i.am on her side.

But, “Wonderland” is still one of my favorite songs and videos.  Warning — it’s disturbing.

THAT’S IT

Have a splendid weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week!

Anthony