Posts Tagged ‘Seth MacFarlane’

My 14 Favorite Albums of 2014

2015 is almost upon us and I’m so excited for the new Madonna album, “Rebel Heart”, which is expected March 10th, and Reba McEntire’s new album, her first since “All The Women I Am”, which came out in November 2010.

As this year winds down and I start counting my down my favorite albums I bought this year, here’s a track from my favorite album last year, “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace.

Push Rewind

If you want to see the rest of last year’s Top Ten, here’s the link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/my-top-ten-favorite-albums-of-2013/

2014

Now, my favorite fourteen albums of 2014.

#14 Movie

CALVIN HARRIS — “MOTION”

MOTION CALVIN HARRIS

13

LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT — “CHEEK TO CHEEK”

Tony_Bennett_and_Lady_Gaga_-_Cheek_to_Cheek

12

DISCLOSURE — “SETTLE”

DISCLOSURE SETTLE

11

ARETHA FRANKLIN — “ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS”

aretha franklin

#10 MOVIE

KYLIE MINOGUE — “KISS ME ONCE”

Kiss Me Once

#9

LEANN RIMES — “DANCE LIKE YOU DON’T GIVE A … GREATEST HITS REMIXES”

LEANN RIMES DANCE LIKE YOU DON'T

#8 MOVIE

SETH MacFARLANE — “HOLIDAY FOR SWING”

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

#7 CD

AMY GRANT — “IN MOTION:  THE REMIXES”

Amy Grant

#6 CD

IDINA MENZEL — “HOLIDAY WISHES”

Idina Holiday Wishes

#5 MOVIE

RENEE FLEMING — “CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK”

renee-fleming

#4 MOVIE

TAYLOR SWIFT — “1989”

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

green 3

KIESZA — “SOUND OF A WOMAN”

Sound_of_a_Woman_cover

1-1-2

Folks, there is a statistical tie for my favorite album of the year.  These next two albums were flawless and pure pop perfection.

One of the acts has been charting across the world since the 1980s and the other since the 1990s.  And, what’s very interesting is that I saw them both in concert for the first time this past October in Chicago on the same weekend!

1

ERASURE — “THE VIOLET FLAME”

The Violet Flame

1

ENRIQUE IGLESIAS — “SEX AND LOVE”

Enrique SEX AND LOVE

X

I honestly could listen to both albums on repeat at any time.

So, those are my 14 favorites of this year.  What are your favorites?

Anthony

 

 

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Random Friday Thoughts — October 24, 2014

The weekend is almost here and I hope you have fun plans.

The nice thing is that temperatures will be near 70° for Iowa and Illinois.  If you recall by this time last year, the Quad Cities had already had its first measurable snow of the season! (0.4″ fell on October 22, 2013, in Moline, Illinois.)

Snow

Yes, I have a few random thoughts to share and I hope you enjoy reading them.

EBOLA FEARS & BLAME

As of now, one person has died here in the United States from Ebola, a disease that has killed close to 5,000 people in Africa.  However, the World Health Organization says that the true number may be three times that official number.

Twice recently, while traveling, I had the unfortunate experience of watching Fox News in the hotel room and I was disgusted that the talking heads were blaming President Obama for not doing enough.

Maybe they need to step back for a moment and look at this fact!

EBOLA - AIDS

If you think that’s just some Democratic, liberal slant of the facts, read a full article that I blogged about that in July 2012.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

REBA IS READY FOR A COMEBACK

It’s sad to say that when you have more Top Ten hits on the country chart than any other woman in history and you’re tied with Dolly Parton with the most #1 country songs by a woman that you’re staging a comeback, but that’s what Reba McEntire, my idol, is doing.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women I Am” was released almost four years ago and it featured her last #1 song, Turn On The Radio”, which topped the chart on New Year’s Day in 2011.

Here’s Reba performing that song in Moline in October 2011.

Since then, the next three singles faltered at country radio peaking at #22 (the remake of Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”), #40, and #44.  Thanks country radio!

Nevertheless, she’s back with a new label and she’s making new music.

Earlier this week, Reba announced that she signed with Nash ICON Music, a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group (Taylor Swift’s label) and Cumulus Media, the broadcasting giant that owns 460 AM and FM stations in the United States.

Reba

Reba is working with her longtime friend and producer Tony Brown, who’s behind her biggest hits albums from the early-to-mid-1990s including my favorites, “Rumor Has It” (1990) and “Read My Mind” (1994).  James Stroud is also co-producing the album.   Stroud has produced some of  Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence’s biggest hits.

Reba has already cut 11 songs for the new album and six are finished.  She adds, “I’ve got three more to record that I have found.  I’m always trying to beat out what I have already, so we just keep looking.”

While there’s no date set for the new single and new album, Reba promises it will be “soon”!

“GONE GIRL”

The latest David Fincher masterpiece, “Gone Girl”, is amazing.

The movie is based on the New York Times best seller and critically acclaimed novel of the same name by former “Entertainment Weekly” writer Gillian Flynn.

In just three weeks, the movie starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris has grossed more than $216 million worldwide with more than one-half of that domestically.

While I plan on reading the book in early December, the movie was incredible.  It really helped that Flynn also wrote the screenplay for the movie.

Here’s the trailer, which tells you what you really need to know about the movie.

Affleck was very solid just as he was in “Argo” and Pike definitely has a future in Hollywood.

Harris is so versatile as an actor and this is one of his most revealing and vulnerable, naked performances he’s given.

Let’s just say that he was definitely acting on Broadway in his critically acclaimed role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, because there is much more there!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Okay, that’s my way of saying you see more of Harris in this movie than you’ve ever seen before! 🙂

GRADE:  A

WE’RE HEADING TO THE CHAPEL AND WE’RE GOING TO GET MARRIED…

Marriage equality is sweeping the nation as court challenges and the Supreme Court of the United States are giving more Americans the freedom to get married.

Marraige Equality

Yet, that idiot and Fox News mouthpiece Mike Huckabee, the failed Presidential candidate, will not let it drop.

Check out this tweet and a Twitter response to his assessment of what Jesus probably thought.

Huckabee

While that might have offended some, that wasn’t my intent.  However, it made me smile and I couldn’t have said it any better.

PARIS AND TEL AVIV HIGHLIGHTS

Last week, I turned the big 5-0 and we saved our pennies and dollars and celebrated the milestone birthday with a trip to Europe (Paris, France) and the Middle East (Tel Aviv, Israel).

Here are some of the interesting things we experienced on the trip.

My birthday present from Ray was dinner cruise on the Seine River, followed by a trip to the Eiffel Tower at night.  We paid the extra 12 Euros to go to top and it was amazing to see the sprawled out city of Paris twinkling in the distance.

And, the night didn’t end there.  It was then off to the historic Moulin Rouge for a show and champagne.  I actually turned 50 during the show.

AP R Moulin

Thanks Ray!!!!!!!  You’re incredible.

We also had duck and goose a couple of times and while I’ll not make it a regular part of my eating habits, it was rather tasty.

The oddest thing I saw in Paris was a Chinese buffet near our hotel that we kept eyeing on our walks.  We finally gave it a try and you actually had to microwave your food that was sitting out on the buffet!  I wasn’t a fan of that.  Osaka Buffet in Moline, you have nothing to worry about!

But, then again, who goes to Paris and has a Chinese buffet?

It’s a small world after all.  As we were waiting in the line to go through customs at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, all of a sudden I heard “Hey Moline” and it was a sweet little, older couple that was coming back from a European River Cruise.  You never know who or where you’ll see your peeps! 🙂

TLV Sunset

Then it was off to Tel Aviv for three days.

It’s absolutely gorgeous there and from our hotel room, we could see the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea!

We were amazed at how beautiful, healthy, and in shape most Israeli men are.  Note to self:  eat better and work out more!

The morning Israeli breakfast our hotel, Prima City Hotel, was very tasty.  However, our favorite meal was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Sea.

Starter

That was just the salads and “starters” that they brought out.  Yes, fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

Incredible!  I wanted to go back again, but we didn’t.

TEL AVIV SCARE

Sadly, we didn’t get our a stamp on our passport from Israel.

The customs agent was so flustered from ranting a woman in front of us for sticking her passport in her mouth that he forgot.  He refused to let her go through his line because he wasn’t going to touch her passport.  And, I really don’t blame him.  However, his approach was a little abrasive.

As for us, our only scare was when we happened upon the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the way to dinner.  It was dusk and we decided to take a picture of it for our photo album.

However, three guards came out (one with a large weapon) and told us not to take pictures and took my driver’s license and called it in since we weren’t carrying our passports.  After a very long five minutes or so, they let us go and told us not to take pictures.

It’s very interesting because last month in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, the guards there had no issue with photo-taking tourists.

And, on our return flight home, the snow-covered Alps were beautiful!

Alps

PICK HIT

While in Tel Aviv, Israel, I was delighted that VH-1 showed music videos all the time.  There was no filler programming or reality crap, just real videos like in the old days of MTV and VH-1.

I fell in love with the song, “Stolen Dance”  by the German pop/rock/folk duo, Milky Chance, made up of singer Clemens Rehbein and DJ Philipp Dausch.

What I was surprised to learn is that the song is #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart (six weeks) and #1 on the Rock Airplay chart (four weeks) in the United States.

And, it’s already topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, and Switzerland, and it peaked at #2 or #3 in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, and Sweden.

So far, it isn’t a Top 40 hit on mainstream radio in the U.S., but it’s catching on.

THE CALENDAR SAYS HALLOWEEN, BUT…

I’m already in the Christmas spirit.

However, I plan on watching “Hellbent”, a gay horror movie, from the people who brought us “Halloween” and “The Nightmare on Elm Street”.  It’s a movie that I watch every October.

Now, back to Christmas.  There are many upcoming holiday releases coming out including LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

But, I’ve already bought two new CDs.

Idina Holiday Wishes

I just got Idina Menzel’s “Holiday Wishes” this week.

While I believe that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a tired Christmas song and it’s becoming one of my least favorites, Idina’s version with sexy crooner Michael Buble, is fun and enjoyable.

Other standouts on the disc are “Silent Night”, “Holly Jolly Christmas”, her remake of the Joni Mitchell classic, “River”, and the aforementioned duet with Buble.

I admit that it did take several listens to her version of the Mariah Carey classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, before I could like and appreciate it.   Carey’s version is perfect!

It wasn’t Menzel’s voice that threw me for a loop.  The arrangement is all over the place and the song is over five minutes long.  Once I “got it”, the song was more enjoyable.

GRADE:  B+

And, another one you definitely need to add to your Christmas music collection is actor, singer, producer, writer, and Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, “Holiday For Swing”.

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

He has an amazing voice and brings an old-time Rat Pack feel to Christmas on “Holiday For Swing”.  If you love jazz and Christmas music, you’ll love it.

Sadly, there are no snippets that I can find online to share with you.  What’s up with that, Seth?

I’ve listened to the album countless times and it could definitely become a standard!

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT FOR NOW!

It was nice to share my random thoughts with you again.

As I promised when I stopped doing it weekly, I’d do one every once in a while.

I really miss writing, but I just can’t find the time to do with my crazy work schedule.  Work just seems to get in the way, but I do need that small paycheck.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

It’s Not Too Early For Christmas Thoughts

So, Christmas is now less than three months away!

That should come as no surprise because I saw Christmas decorations in the “seasonal” aisle at Walgreen’s with the Halloween costumes and candy this past weekend!

notchristmasyet

The good news is that we’re going to be seeing very warm temperatures for this first weekend of autumn in the Quad Cities and across much of the country.

But, now that I’ve mentioned Christmas, I want to talk about my favorite holiday of the year!

Christmas Outside

The first thing I do is look ahead to see what new Christmas albums I want to buy for the season.

Erasure Snow Globe

Last year, my favorite Christmas album was “Snow Globe” by Erasure.

Erasure is my favorite band and this week, they just released a fantastic new dance album called “The Violet Flame” and I’m excited to see them in concert in Chicago next weekend, October 4th.

My other two favorite Christmas albums last year were “Wrapped In Red” by Kelly Clarkson and “Christmas, With Love” by Leona Lewis.

Idina Holiday Wishes

Idina Menzel, who had huge success last year with the motion picture and soundtrack, “Frozen”, and the hit “Let It Go”, is releasing her first Christmas album in mid-October.

It was produced by Grammy Award-winner Walter Afanasieff, who has worked with Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Josh Groban, and so many more.

The track list reportedly includes “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and many more classics and non-traditional songs.

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

Seth MacFarlane is behind some of the biggest shows on television (“Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show”), the blockbuster movie, “Ted”, and, in 2013, he hosted the Oscars.

He also sings!  In 2011, he released “Music Is Better Than Words”, an amazing jazz album and on September 30th, his first Christmas album, “Holiday For Swing” comes out.

It’ll feature holiday standards like “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, plus many other classics.

MacFarlane gets some assistance from Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”).

jim-brickman-on-a-winters-night

Jim Brickman is one of the best-selling pianist of all-time and he’s collected 27 hits on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts!

Not only is he his getting his latest collection of Christmas songs ready for release on October 7th, but he’ll be playing at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa, on December 28th!

“On A Winter’s Night” features appearances from John Oates and Kenny Rogers and holiday classics like “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “Blue Christmas”, and “Away In The Manger”.

Also, the album will have many less familiar tunes.

ABBA Christmas Card 001

I also love writing out Christmas cards to my friends across the country and I always look forward to the new Christmas stamp selections.  This year, the United States Postal Service will celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” with a stamp.

hermey-rudolph01

But, the ones that I’m going to purchase are called “Winter Fun Contemporary Christmas”.  Those definitely look fun!

14-WinterFun-4designs

And, I’m still deciding on what flavor cheesecake to make this year.

A couple of years ago, I made a red velvet cheesecake for Christmas.  While it was beautiful and tasty, I want something new and exciting this year.

Red Velvet 2

Finally, my Christmas shopping list is smaller this year because Ray, Gretel, Tammy and I are getting away before the holidays for some fun in the sun and on the high seas.  That is our gift to each other this year.

So, in honor of that, here’s a little less wintry-sounding Christmas song.

Merry Christmas!  Oh wait, that’s still about three months away.

Anthony

They Said What??? Clive Davis, Howard Stern, Joan Rivers

FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JON HUNTSMAN

“Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.”

CULTURE CLUB LEAD SINGER BOY GEORGE

(talking about the pictures showing off his weight loss):  “I love that the size of my ass is trending worldwide!”

COMEDIAN JOAN RIVERS

On why she kissed a woman):  “Lily Tomlin, who is my very good friend, she and Jane Lynch had a dinner party, and I met this lovely woman.  At this point, all the men I go out with remind me of my father — dead … I figured I might as well try it at this point. Maybe I’ve been missing something.”

MUSIC INDUSTRY LEGEND CLIVE DAVIS

“I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have a relationship with a man as well as the two that I had with a woman.  I’m still attracted to women. … You don’t have to be only one thing or another. For me, it’s the person.”

SINGER KELLY CLARKSON

(upon hearing that Clive Davis mentioned that she “burst in to hysterical sobbing” over her second album in his new book):  “So I just heard Clive Davis is releasing a memoir and spreading false information about me and my music. I refuse to be bullied and I just have to clear up his memory lapses and misinformation for myself and for my fans. It feels like a violation. Growing up is awesome because you learn you don’t have to cower to anyone – even Clive Davis.”

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(defending Clarkson):  “It sickens me when management guys like to set the record straight about how f—ing creative they are and what geniuses they are.  This guy is trying to diminish what she does? Doesn’t he have enough in life, can’t he tell his story without f—ing degrading her?”

OSCARS’ HOST SETH MacFARLANE

“Daniel Day-Lewis is not the first actor to be nominated for playing Lincoln. Raymond Massey portrayed him in 1940′s Abe Lincoln in Illinois. I would argue, though, the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.”

Anthony

And, The Oscar Picks Go To….

Do you prefer to call them the “Oscars” or the “Academy Awards”?  I like using both.

While I’m much better at predicting weather, I always like to make my picks for the award shows.  The People’s Choice Awards, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the Country Music Association Awards are the easiest to predict since they’re mostly based on popularity, or so it seems.  I’m horrible at picking Grammy Award winners.

Tonight is the 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre) in Los Angeles, California.

I’ve never watched “Family Guy” or “The Cleveland Show”, but I still want to see “Ted”.  So, I know little about host Seth MacFarlane except that’s he’s supposed to be funny and that’s he a trained pianist and singer.  I ordered his debut album, “Music Is Better Than Words”, because I love his voice.

music is better than words

Back to the Oscars, yesterday, Ray and I sat down and picked our winners independently of each other.

My advantages are (1) I keep up on pop culture and entertainment (2) I read the bible of the entertainment world, “Entertainment Weekly”, and (3) I put more thought into it.  On the other hand, my disadvantages are (1) I keep up on pop culture and entertainment (2) I read the bible of the entertainment world, “Entertainment Weekly”, (3) I put more thought into it, and (4) to some extent, I have been influenced by other people’s thought processes.

Ray’s advantages are (1) that he’s goes by his gut feeling and (2) he has to listen to me quote “Entertainment Weekly”.

So, while I picked “Argo” to win Best Picture, if it does win, it will be a rarity because only three times in the history of the Academy Awards has a movie won for Best Picture if the director wasn’t nominated.  And, Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director.  The last movie to win Best Picture without a Best Director nod was 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy”.

In all honesty, I wasn’t influenced by this, but it’s adorable.

Goldens Pick Oscars

While I really think that “Lincoln” will win Best Picture, I’m going for an “Argo” upset.

And, for Best Actress, I think it’ll come down to Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), but I picked Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour).  I would be so thrilled (and shocked) if Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) wins and becomes the youngest Best Actress winner ever.  Riva would become the oldest Best Actress winner if she gets the Oscar.

May the best man (or woman) win in the Oscars and the Oscar picks.

Anthony