Posts Tagged ‘Zedd’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 26, 2016

It’s Friday and that’s makes me very happy.  The weekend is almost here and I get to share some of the things that got me to thinking this week.

As always, let me know your thoughts once you’re done.  If you disagree, that’s fine.  Just do it diplomatically!

SUPPORT FOR TRUMP CONTINUES TO GET SCARY

I had my “Random Friday Thoughts” all ready to go including a little spat between Donald Trump and Pope Francis and a quote from Trump’s Nevada Caucus victory speech earlier this week.

But, I bumped everything down when I heard about what David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Louisiana state representative had to say about Trump.

davidduke kkk

Duke says, “Voting for these people [Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio], voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.  I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump, in fact, I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action.”

Trump.jpg

Six months ago, Duke made similar comments in support of Trump.  The GOP front-runner then replied, “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement.”  And, he added, “I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.”

Duke is not the only white supremacists praising Trump.  When asked about it, Trump’s response is coy, “A lot of people like me. Republicans like me, liberals like me. Everybody likes me.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m have no positive feelings about Cruz or Rubio.

This is just scary, sad, and so reductive to the advances we’ve made in the past fifty years as a nation!

DONALD TRUMP TAKES ON THE POPE

The war of words between Donald Trump and Pope Francis has calmed down.

Last Thursday, while traveling  from Mexico to Rome, Pope Francis talking about immigration, said this of Trump, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”

The U.S. presidential hopeful fired back, “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith”.

By that evening, God must have talked to Trump because he had a much nicer message and someone else to blame, “I don’t think this is a fight.  I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media.”

Of course, blame the media! 🙂

PLEASE GRANT KANYE HIS WISH! 

I’ll admit up front that I can’t stand pompous ass Kanye West.  He may be a musical genius (as reported by others), but his ego is so disgusting, I wouldn’t think twice of giving his music a listen to see what it’s like.

Last week, he tweeted that “I love love love white people” after he tweeted this:

kanye

I hope white publications continue to get the word out about “black music”, but I wish that ALL publications would never write about Kanye again.  Maybe the world would be a better place?

THEY SAID WHAT???

DR. BEN CARSON (GOP PRESIDENTIAL WANNABE) — speaking of President Obama and saying if elected he might be the first black president:  “He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.”

MRS. BETTY BOWERS (COMEDIAN –AMERICA’S BEST CHRISTIAN): “It is so inappropriate for the Pope to say Donald Trump doesn’t sound like a Christian. No conservative American does! How unfair to single Trump out.”

DONALD TRUMP (in his Nevada Caucus victory speech):  “We won with highly educated, we won with poorly educated.  I love the poorly educated”.

ANTHONY (blog writer and political pundit):  “I rest my case, your honor!”

“STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON”

After seeing this summer 2015 blockbuster now on DVD, it definitely should have been nominated in the “Best Picture” category for the Academy Awards that’ll be handed out this weekend.

I can’t say that any one performance in the movie deserved an Oscar nomination and if so, it would have been Corey Hawkins, who played Dr. Dre.  Hawkins is now on the sixth season of “The Walking Dead”.

If you’re familiar with rap music, you know the story of “Straight Outta Compton”.  It starts with the creation of the rap band N.W.A. and how Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy E changed the world of rap.

When watching this movie, you never want it end and you never notice the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

The $28 million movie grossed $201.6 million and is now the all-time highest grossing music biopic and is all-time highest domestic grossing film from a black director in the United States.

GRADE:  A

#OSCARSSOWHITE WEEKEND

The 88th annual Academy Awards are this weekend, but sadly “Straight Outta Compton” will not be picking up the top prize.  I’m not saying it’s the best movie of 2015, but as I stated above, it should have been nominated.

It could still win an Oscar since it’s nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  I’d put my money on that one because the four screenwriters are white!

But, will there be more diversity next year when the nominees are announced?  Big changes have been proposed to ensure that people of color are nominated in the acting categories.  This year and last year, all 20 acting nominees were white, prompting #OscarsSoWhite.

The changes proposed are to double the number of women and minority members and there’s talk of taking away the voting rights of members that are not actively working in the movie business.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

My thoughts:  It great to diversify the membership to reflect what America looks like.

I also think there should be some kind of verification that when nominee selections are made that the movies were actually watched.  I’m sure if more Academy members had actually watched “Straight Outta Compton”, it might have been the ninth movie nominated this year for Best Picture!

A few more notes about the Oscars:  There are currently 6,261 members — mostly men and mostly white.  The show will be seen by about 40 million people and commercials are bringing in $2.2 million for each 30 second spot.

FOR THE LOVE OF HILLARY!

I just finished reading Hillary Clinton’s incredible 2003 autobiography, “Living History” and I love the woman even more.

In the book, she details her life from Chicago and Park Ridge, Illinois, to college and law school on the East Coast, to Little Rock, Arkansas, to becoming First Lady of the United States, and to winning the New York Senate race in November 2000.

The book ends with her and President Bill Clinton leaving the White House in January 2001.

The book details many of the personal and political attacks she’s endured in her years in the public limelight.  But, it was a quote on page 42 that jumped out and stuck with me throughout the 528 pages.

It shows that behind the exterior people see (good or bad), she’s human!

Hillary Living History Meme

“I have never been as good as or as bad as my most fervid supporters and opponents claimed.”

#ImWithHer

TAYLOR SWIFT SUPPORTS KESHA

Kesha has topped the Hot 100 chart four times including two solo #1s “Tik Tok”in 2009 and “We R Who We R” in 2010.  Last Friday, she lost a major court battle.

A New York judge ruled that Kesha would not be released from her contract with Dr. Luke to record new music without him.  (Back in 2014 lawsuit, Kesha claims Dr. Luke “sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused” her for nearly 10 years, starting at age 18.)

Now, it appears that Sony (her record company) says she can record with other producers (Zedd has offered his services), but she can’t get out of her contract.

However, Kesha picked up big support from Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 toward her legal fund.

Many stars, including Lady Gaga, Adele, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Zedd, and Lorde have tweeted their support of Kesha.

I posted this blog in early 2013 about Kesha’s phenomenal album, “Warrior”, which was her last full length CD.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/this-warrior-comes-with-a-parental-advisory/

Best of luck Kesha!

“EVEREST”

This movie is stunningly beautiful, but eerie and scary at the same time.

It’s a true story movie about a 1996 Mount Everest expedition that stranded and killed several climbers when they were caught in a “rogue storm”.

The movie features an all-star cast including Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, and Keira Knightley.

There were many WTF moments during the movie and several times I asked, “are these people crazy?” to want to do this.

 

GRADE:  B+

GOP DROP OUT!

I’m sure that many of you probably haven’t heard of comedian Randy Rainbow.

His latest parody of “Grease” and the GOP presidential candidates is cracking me up. You’ll have to look up the one about Carly Fiorina.  It’s funny to me, but I didn’t want to offend those easily offended by posting it.

Here’s his goodbye to Jeb Bush — you know the former Florida governor and son and brother to the former president and two-time president.  What happened to Jeb chances?  Maybe Barbara would have had a better chance?

“OUR BRAND IS CRISIS”

Since it is political season in America, this movie starring Oscar winner Sandra Bullock is timely.

Bullock plays a political strategist with the nickname, “Calamity Jane”.  She’s hired to turn around a presidential campaign in Bolivia where her client is down by 30 points just months before the election.

There’s a lot at stake here.  If her candidate wins, will the people of Bolivia win, too?

Sadly, after waiting months to see this movie, it was mostly disappointing.

However, there was one really rewarding scene near the end of the movie with her adversary, played by Billy Bob Thornton.  It involves a quote he steals from her (or did she feed it to him?).

GRADE:  C

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

We just finished the 10-episode first season of Amazon Prime’s series, “The Man in the High Castle” and it was fantastic.

After the way episode nine ended, the last scenes of the season didn’t shock me.  I’m definitely looking forward to the second season later in 2016, but I definitely don’t want the show to become another “Fringe”, even though it was a great five-season Fox series.

PICK HIT

I know it’s already one of the ten most played songs in America this week, but I’m really taking a shine to Selena Gomez’s latest, “Hands To Myself”.

It’s the third release and third Top Ten Hot 100 hit from her second album, last fall’s “Revival”.  Both of her albums have debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.

Until “Hands To Myself”, my favorite Selena Gomez song was her hit with Zedd last year, “I Want You To Know”.

THAT’S IT

I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about them with me.

Have a great weekend and have fun.

Anthony

2016: My (Not So) Lofty Expectations

It’s hard to believe not just that another year has passed, but that it seems to have gone by so quickly!  I think that comes with getting older.  There’s just not enough hours in a day.

Now that 2016 is here, I’ll share the same wish to you that I shared a few days ago when I looked back on my 2015 in a blog, “I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.”

Time

So, what do I want to accomplish and do with my time in the new year?

I want to nap more.  My work schedule is a strange one and I always feel sleep-deprived.  Part of that is my fault because I always find things I could or should be doing in the afternoons when I should be snoozing for a couple of hours.

I’ll strive to be a better person.  In 2016,  I hope not to let other people’s actions or incompetence agitate me.  Yes, I’m human and so many people disappoint me with their inaction.

I plan on sticking close to my budget.  This will allow me the opportunity to travel as much as I can in the new year.

In 2015, I was fortunate to go to New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anchorage, and to Mexico twice, Riviera Maya in the summer and to Puerto Vallarta in December.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took in 2015 from home and afar from some of these amazing places I visited.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10153326556919849.1073741954.500579848&type=3

I saw some great concerts and shows last year (Madonna, Janet  Jackson, Bette Midler, Michael C. Hall in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, and Renee Fleming in “The Merry Widow”).

This year, I’d love to see Britney Spears in Las Vegas.  I saw her a few years back on the “Femme Fatale Tour” and she was incredible.  And, I hear she has new music dropping this year.

Britney Las Vegas

We already have two trips planned for the new year.  One, we booked in the spring of last year and paid for it in monthly payments for the remainder of 2015.  There’s there budget thing again!  I’m sure we’ll announce when and where before we go. 🙂

Also, for Christmas, we gave Gretel a trip to New York City for her spring break.  She’s always wanted to go and she loved the pictures of our trip there last New Year’s Eve, my first time.

AP Ray NYC

She wants to see Madame Tussauds and probably visit a museum.  Ray hasn’t said what he wants to do and I’ve already bought tickets to see Carly Rae Jepsen at Terminal 5!

If you haven’t checked out her 2015 album, “Emotion”, you’re missing out on a pop masterpiece!  It was my #3 favorite album of last year and if you only know her from “Call Me Maybe”, this set of songs is more mature and just as catchy!

And, in May, Ray and I are going to see Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, outside Chicago.

I love Ellie Goulding’s music, but I chose this concert to see the opening act.  Years & Years released “Communion” last summer and it’s incredible.

Lead singer Olly Alexander’s voice is so soulful and powerful.  If you love Adele, you have to check out “Communion”.  And, it was my #2 album of last year.

Click here and another window will open and you can see my favorite albums of 2015 and hear more selections from Years & Years to see what I’m talking about.  You’ll also see what album was my favorite since I mentioned #3 (Carly Rae) and #2 (Years & Years)!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/my-favorite-albums-of-2015/

While I already mentioned Britney, 2016 also promises new music from Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue and if I’m really lucky, new albums from Erasure, Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Enrique Iglesias!

However, my most anticipated album of 2016 is by Matthew Koma.  I loved his song “Tempted” with Giorgio Moroder and his work with Zedd.  But, it’s his solo album that I want.

Here’s a fun song from Matthew, but you may want to check the title before you click on it — if there are kids in the room. 🙂

So, that’s it for me and a few of the things I look forward to in 2016:  sleep more, smile more, not let people tick me off as much, travel more, and see some fantastic shows.

Those expectations aren’t all that lofty, right?

Happy New Year!

Anthony

 

My Favorite Albums of 2015

I’m one of those people who tracks music, movies, charts, polls, and the sort all year-long.  And, when December comes, I love seeing the best and worst of the year lists.

I posted my favorite movies of the year last week.  “Lilting” was #1.

Here’s the link if you want to see the complete list:

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

And, I posted my 30 favorite songs of 2015.  Jason Derulo came out on top!

Here’s the complete list to see if your favorite made my countdown.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/my-20-favorite-songs-of-2015/

Now, I ready to share my favorite albums of the year with you.  But, before I do that, I want to channel my radio idol, Casey Kasem, and look back at my favorite albums of the past.

In 2010, it was Scissor Sisters’ “Night Work”.  “Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears was my favorite in 2011 and Madonna’s “MDNA” was tops in 2012.  In 2013, it was “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace.  And, last year, it was a tie between Enrique Iglesias’ “Sex and Love” and Erasure’s “The Violet Flame”.

Now, my favorites of 2015.

2015 Albums

17

“NEW EYES” — CLEAN BANDIT

Clean_Bandit_New_Eyes

#16

“TODAY IS CHRISTMAS” — LEANN RIMES

LeAnn

#15 Movie

“UNBREAKABLE” — JANET JACKSON

JanetJackson_Standard-2

Here’s what I wrote about her Omaha concert on the “Unbreakable World Tour”:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/janet-jacksons-unbreakable-world-tour-dazzles/

14

“PURPOSE” — JUSTIN BIEBER

justin cd

13

“DELIRIUM” — ELLIE GOULDING

Ellie CD

12

“TRUE COLORS” — ZEDD

True Colors Zedd

#11 Movie

“KYLIE CHRISTMAS” — KYLIE MINOGUE

Kylie Christmas

10

“I CRY WHEN I LAUGH” — JESS GLYNNE

jess-glynne-i-cry-when-i-laugh

9 CD

“MICHAEL RAY” — MICHAEL RAY

michael-ray

Here’s what I wrote about the album in August:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

#8 CD

“TALKING IS HARD” — WALK THE MOON

talkingIsHardBgImage

7

“REBEL HEART” — MADONNA

Madonna Rebel Heart

Here’s what I wrote about the album in March:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/still-a-rebel-heart-and-an-unapologetic-bitch-32-years-later/

#6 CD

“25” — ADELE

adele

Here’s what I wrote about the album in November:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/adele-25-is-almost-perfect/

#5 MOVIE

“EVERYTHING IS 4” — JASON DERULO

derulo

4

“LOVE SOMEBODY” — REBA

Reba Love Somebody

Here’s what I wrote about the album in April:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/rebas-return-to-country-music/

green 3

“EMOTION” — CARLY RAE JEPSEN

carly-rae-jepsen-emotion

#2 CD

“COMMUNION” — YEARS & YEARS

Communion

I wrote about the band in July when the album came out:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

1

“DEJA VU” — GIORGIO MORODER

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

Here’s what I wrote about the album in June:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/giorgio-moroder-the-70s-magic-its-deja-vu/

So, there you have my favorite albums I bought in 2015.

I can’t wait for new music in 2016 from Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, and I hope there’s new music from Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Erasure.

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

Years & Years’ “Communion” Is Definitely King!

I’ve become much more selective when buying new music.  Back in the 1990s when I was disc jockey, I’d buy new CDs just for a song and hope to find other gems.

Thus far in 2015, I’ve only bought eight new albums.  Of those, four are from American artists and four are European — Zedd (Germany), Giorgio Moroder (Italy), and from the United Kingdom, Clean Bandit and Years & Years.

It really doesn’t surprise me that I still love European music since it dominated what I listened to in the 1980s, outside of Madonna and Janet Jackson, during the second “British Invasion”.

My latest find that I highly recommend is “Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years.

Communion

Years & Years is lead singer and keyboardist Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, and synth player Emre Turkmen.

I’m not sure where I heard “King”, the song that made me aware of Years & Years.

While it did get some Top 40 radio airplay in the United States and a decent amount of dance club play, the song topped the charts earlier this year in the U.K., Bulgaria, Croatia, and Scotland.

After getting “Communion” and listening to it on repeat, I’m amazed at the booming voice that comes from Olly and his waifish-body (and I mean that in a good way because I would love to be that thin again).  Youth!

Years & Years

It’s such a bluesy sound that, at times, reminds me of amazing English singers Alison Moyet, Gabrielle, and Helen Terry.

Yes, here’s a slight detour in talking about the amazing debut from Years & Years.

If you’re reading my blog from the United States you might be on Google typing in each of those female vocalists I just mentioned.

In America, Alison had one Top 40 hit, “Invisible” (#31, 1985), even though she had nine hits in the U.K. (six reaching the Top Ten).  Gabrielle had 16 Top 40 U.K. hits (ten reached the Top Ten), but only “Dreams” was a hit in the U.S. (#26, 1993, on the Hot 100, but #1 on the Dance chart).  And, Helen Terry, scored just one modest hit in the U.K., but she’s famously known as the back-up singer on many of Culture Club’s biggest hits.

“Shine”

As much as I love “King” and so glad that it grabbed me and turned me on to Years & Years, my favorite song from “Communion” is “Shine”.  It’s the latest release from the album and has already topped the charts in Scotland and reached #2 in the U.K.

Here are my other four favorite songs from the album that I recommend that you download now and put it on heavy rotation on your summer playlist.

And, a final note as you watch the videos, when you get to “Real”, it’s not only Olly’s voice that is mesmerizing.  The captivating Ben Whishaw (from the incredible, touching, and sadly underappreciated movie, “Lilting”) really gets into the groove and is so alluring!

More Years & Years

It just so happens that I arrive in San Francisco in late September, the same night that Olly, Emre, and Mikey will be playing live at The Fillmore and I plan on being there!

“Desire”

“Real”

“Eyes Shut”

“Worship”

I’ve highlighted my favorites from the album that are mainly upbeat, but “Without” is a killer ballad.

While I’ve talked about Olly’s vocals throughout the blog, the sound of the trio is incredible.

“Communion” is very 2015, but it also takes me back to the very experimental and fun sounds of the early-1980s.  You can’t listen to “Ties” without thinking of Jimmy Somerville and Bronski Beat.

When talking about Bronksi Beat, Alison Moyet, Gabrielle, Ben Whishaw and “Lilting”, I wish Years & Years great success because I don’t want to listen to “Communion” and think that they are “underappreciated” here in America, but loved throughout the world.

With Years & Years, I’ve found my fix to hold me over until Erasure (Andy Bell & Vince Clarke) release the follow-up to my favorite album of 2014, “The Violet Flame”.

Communion

GRADE:

A

“Communion” get an “A” and I can’t wait to get to San Francisco on September 28th to see the guys perform live.

Anthony

If you’re still reading, you know I love Years & Years and their debut album.  However, I’m featuring an amazing track from Alison, Gabrielle, and Bronski Beat.

Also, a poignant scene from “Lilting”.  Discover now what you likely missed then!

Gabrielle — “Dreams”

Alison Moyet — “Whispering Your Name”

Bronski Beat — “Tell Me Why”

“Lilting”

Random Friday Thoughts — July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Happy Fourth

Oh, Liberace!

I hope you have an incredible time this weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday. 

Many things have happened recently that brings the thought of “United States” to the forefront.  But, is it really “United” or just “States”?

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

It’s been one week now since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 to bring marriage equality to all 50 states.  While 57% of Americans, in a recent poll, agree with the justices, there will always be detractors.

marriage

I’ve always been proud to be an American and to live in a country that so many men and women have given their lives to give me freedom that I have today.

I’m even prouder now to live in the most populous country in the world that allows two people, whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women to commit to each other in marriage.

I feel more “united” now with my fellow Americans knowing that everyone here at home has that right.  It makes me feel less of a “second-rate citizen”.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & RELIGION

One of the first arguments I heard when marriage equality was realized last week (and even before that when certain states allowed it) was about God and his condemnation of the union of two men or two women.

Let it go, people.

God

I pray every night to God.

I don’t fear that God is going to condemn me to the fires of hell because I’m gay and that I have a loving, sexual relationship with a man whom I’ve been with for going on seven years and married to for almost four years.

I also think that if you really believe in God, it’s said that he is the one that will “judge” us when the time comes and I’m okay with that.  Let God judge me.  When that day arrives, it’s a meeting that I’m comfortable with and I’m not afraid of the outcome.

Worry about your own relationship with God!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”

It really becomes rather pathetic when you’re on your second, third (Donald Trump), fourth, fifth, etc. marriages and you’re still screaming about “traditional marriage” and how marriage equality will destroy the sanctity of your marriage.

gays_in_church

Also, you shouldn’t expend too much energy worrying about Adam and Steve’s marriage when you might have issues in your own household.

I can guarantee you that I don’t spend my family time worrying about what some other married couple is doing — if it doesn’t directly affect me.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & GAY BASHING

Sadly, last weekend, while those in the LGBT community and their friends were celebrating the marriage equality milestone, idiots and haters were out inflicting their ignorance on others through physical violence.

There were several reports of gay bashings including ones in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington.

Pathetic!

People, live your lives and let others live their lives.  It’s sad when people are so insecure that it makes them feel better to inflict pain, mental or physical, on someone else.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & THE STATES SHOULD DECIDE

We are the United States of America and I like the idea of a “United States”.

Does it really make sense before SCOTUS’ decision on marriage equality that you could be married in one state and not have that marriage recognized in another state?  Not at all!

Let’s be a “United States” and let all men and women be equal.

AND, SPEAKING OF A “UNITED STATES”

After the racially motivated killings of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Confederate flag has been in the center of a national debate about its history and heritage.

This is a controversial topic that goes back to the Civil War in the early-1860s.

Then, and now, for some in the “American South”, it’s a symbol of pride.

However, the war ended 150 years ago and while some of the beliefs held then have gone away, there’s no denying that many Southerners still hold onto the thought-process that prompted the war in the first place.

Is there a correlation between that flag, those beliefs, and the shootings in South Carolina?  That’s up for debate.

Church Fire

But, in a very sad reflection of what being an American is, since those deadly shootings in South Carolina, there have been suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT…..

Many of you remember those words kicking off Sir Mix-a-Lot’s #1 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”, that sold almost 2.4 million copies that year.

You know, “Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt.  It is so big.  She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.  Who understands those rap guys?  They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute!”

That Becky and Sir Mix-a-Lot, I can sing along with and enjoy.

Becky-Wegner-Rommel

However, this Becky has me shaking my head and just saying “OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER…..” for different reasons.

An Indiana woman, Becky Wegner Rommel, posted a 4-minute-plus rant on YouTube last Friday about SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality.

While defending Christians, she not only blasts the Supreme Court and gays, but President Obama and Islamic “extremeless”!

This video is NOT to be missed!  🙂

Bless her heart!  I’m glad Becky has the freedom to say what she thinks, but seriously…

“MAGIC MIKE” AND HIS XXL RETURN

On to a much lighter topic…

When the box office smash, “Magic Mike” hit theaters in 2012, I went and saw it and enjoyed it.

APMagicMike

I’ve decided that I’ll be seeing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”, when it arrives on DVD.

I mean if it’s really “XXL”, I’ll be able to see EVERYTHING on my big screen television at home. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m so in awe at how comfortable star Channing Tatum is with his sexuality that he can admit (even if there’s some joking involved) a “man crush” and bromance with co-star Matt Bomer.

ChanningTatum

Recently, Tatum said that he “gets lost” in Bomer’s eyes (which are beautiful, by the way), adding “I don’t know what they are made of outside of dreams and rainbows and amazingness.”

Matt Bomer

Bomer replied, “I mean, obviously, I blushed.  Knowing Channing, and what a kind soul he is, I guess when you’re the most handsome man on the planet – and probably the most desired man on the planet – you have the security to give those kinds of compliments.”

He added, “It was great. It made my day, of course! I and the rest of the world feel the same way about him.”

Ahhhh!

EVEREST

It’s crazy to think that it’s early July and I haven’t been to the movie theater this year.

“Unbroken”, the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, was the last one I saw and that was in late December 2014.

I think I’ve found one that I want to see on the big screen.

“Everest” is a true story stemming from a 1996 disaster involving a group of climbers caught in a blizzard.  It’s based on the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the amazing “Into The Wild” (1996).

“Everest” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

The $65 million adventure thriller opens September 18th.

“BITCH I’M MADONNA”

Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in early September and I can’t wait to see her in Minneapolis the following month. Recently, she released the third single from “Rebel Heart” and of course, radio won’t play it.

Madonna Rebel Heart

But, the song is on track to become Madonna’s 46th number one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.  This week, it moves from #26 to #15 in only its second week on the chart.

Madonna now has more number one songs on a single Billboard chart than any artist.  Her closest competitor is George Strait who has 44 number one hits on the Billboard Country chart.

Here’s Madonna and her celebrity friends having a blast in one of the most exciting videos of 2015.

MID-YEAR UPDATE

Can you believe that it’s already July and that means that the first half of 2015 is already behind us?

Music fans, here are the top-selling albums for the first half of the 2015 posted by Billboard based on Nielsen Music.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)

And, if you have a great memory, this time last year the top-selling album was the “Frozen” soundtrack.

Frozen Soundtrack

At mid-year in 2014, it had sold 2.7 million copies.  However, by the end of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989” would outsell it to become the top album of 2014.

The top-selling song so far this year is “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs

1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (4,883,000 sold)
2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (3,450,000)
3. Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (3,073,000)
4. Maroon 5, “Sugar” (2,884,000)
5. Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (2,294,000)
6. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (2,155,000)
7. The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (1,966,000)
8. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (1,925,000)
9. Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” (1,868,000)
10. Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” (1,864,000)

Last year at this time, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, was the top-selling song with 5.6 million copies sold.

“HANNIBAL” FUTURE LOOKING BLEAK\

In late June, NBC announced that the third season of the amazing “Hannibal” would be its last.

The show is one of the most intelligent, well-acted, and incredibly crafted and shot shows on television, but it’s seriously ratings challenged.

Hannibal

There is an online petition to save the show and even show creator Bryan Fuller has hinted that it was being shopped around for another network to pick up.

However, show stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Hugh Dancy (Will) have now been released from their contracts, which means that they can now sign on to other shows.  Additionally, Fuller is now attached to another show.

Also, since “Hannibal” is available on Amazon, that means that services like Netflix and Hulu are probably not options.

Sadly, this is not the news I want to feast on.

Hannibal 3

Come on, Amazon, pick up this show NOW and I’m sure the one to two million people who watch it on NBC will come to the table for more servings of our favorite cannibal.

hannibal gillian

Yes, I know that Gillian Anderson will be appearing in the upcoming return of “The X-Files” in January 2016, but her Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is so captivating and I can’t really think of just having eight more episodes of her!

“ZOO”

Did you check out the series premiere of “Zoo” on CBS earlier this week?

I’ll be checking it out this weekend and it looks very interesting.

I really hope that this is a hit for James Wolk.

The very attractive actor hasn’t had much success on television.  “The Crazy Ones” on CBS ran for one season and “Lone Star” lasted only five episodes.

He did have a 12-episode appearance on the hit, “Mad Men” in 2013-2014.

However, several of the shows that I’ve enjoyed (“Hannibal”, “The Following”, and “Stalker”) were recently cancelled, so maybe I shouldn’t get too invested in this new thriller.

“BEAUTIFUL NOW”

One of my favorite new songs at Top 40 radio the second single from Zedd’s latest album, “True Colors”.  “Beautiful Now” features singer Jon Bellion.

The first single from the album, “I Want You To Know”, with Selena Gomez reached the Hot 100 Top 20 earlier this spring.

True Colors Zedd

Other standout tracks on “True Colors”, in addition to the first two singles, are “Addicted To A Memory” with Bahari, “Bumble Bee” with Botnek, “Daisy”, Straight Into The Fire”, and “Papercut”.

GRADE:  B+

ELECTION 2016

The 2016 presidential election is still sixteen months away and there are already, at least, sixteen (!) Republicans vying for that party’s nomination and five Democrats.

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014” blog, I wrote, “I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.”

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, that seems to holding true.

Real Clear Politics is reporting that a CNN/Opinion Research poll last weekend shows former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton with a 41% lead over her nearest opponent and former Florida Governor Bush with a 7% lead over Donald Trump.

In a match-up between Ms. Clinton and Bush for the November election, the CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Clinton a 13% winner.

“PRIDE” IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD

Many cities across the country celebrated Gay Pride last weekend.  I hope all of my friends in Chicago had a fantastic time without me.

I’m sure there were some fantabulous parties and outfits.

However, my hands down choice for best exhibition of “pride”, in both actions and costumes, goes to this 8-year-old boy at the New York City pride.

gay-pride NYC

While some are criticizing his mother (SHOCK!  NOT!), Wendylou Napoles, for letting the boy express himself in style and for dancing in the parade, she stands by her actions and parenting.

She says, “He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development.  He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls that was fine with me.”

Kudos to Wendylou and to the brave child!

SUMMER 2015 PICK HIT

“Shut Up And Dance” is one of my favorite songs this year.  It’s the first mainstream hit for the Cincinnati, Ohio, band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their album, “Talking Is Hard” is fun and is one of the best albums I bought this year.

The album’s second single, “Different Colors”, was just released and is my pick hit today.  And, it’s a convenient song to end the blog — especially with the topics I’ve discussed today.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

It’s been fun sharing my random thoughts with you.  As always, let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July and fill every day with pride regardless of who or what you call yourself.

Anthony

Giorgio Moroder & The ’70s Magic – It’s Deja Vu!

The hottest music stars today are mostly in their teens, 20s, and 30s.  You can’t turn on the radio without hearing Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith, Zedd, and Luke Bryan.

But, none of them can hold a candle to one of the hardest working international musicians that just turned 75-years-old this spring.  (Okay, maybe 88-year-old Tony Bennett, who topped the charts last fall with his duet album with Lady Gaga.)

I’m talking about legendary music producer Giorgio Moroder, who just released “Deja Vu”, his first album in almost 30 years.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

And, this new album isn’t just any album – it’s a masterpiece!

So far this year, Madonna released the incredible “Rebel Heart”, Reba returned with the amazing “Love Somebody”, and I fallen in love with Clean Bandit’s “New Eyes” and Walk The Moon’s “Talking Is Hard”, which has reached galactic heights.

Madonna Rebel HeartReba Love SomebodyClean_Bandit_New_Eyes talkingIsHardBgImage

However, with six months to go, “Deja Vu” may end up being my favorite album of 2015.  It’s that mesmerizing!

Moroder lined up pop music icons Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, current pop stars Sia and Charlie XCX, and dance club chart toppers Foxes, Matthew Koma, and Kelis, and highlights the beautiful voices of Mikky Ekko and Marlene.

Giorgio Moroder DJ

For those that were not around 40 years ago when disco was ready to take over the world, here’s a quick introduction to the Italian producer who made the world fall in love with summer – Donna Summer.

He wrote and produced the 1975 classic “Love To Love You Baby” and was asked to make an extended remix for the dance clubs, one of the first songs to be released in that form.

It went on to become a number one club hit for Summer in early 1976 and was one of the most talked about and controversial songs because it featured more than 20 moans of ecstasy from Summer.

“Love To Love You Baby” was also named as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Donna Summer Girogio Moroder

Moroder produced many other Donna Summer smashes including “Bad Girls”, “Hot Stuff”, “Last Dance”, and “Dim All The Lights”.

And, the four-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Oscar winner didn’t just work with Summer.

He’s also produced chart-toppers, classics, and award winners for Irene Cara (“Flashdance…What A Feeling”), Berlin (“Take My Breath Away” from “Top Gun”), Blondie (“Call Me” from “American Gigolo”), as well as songs for David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler, Freddie Mercury, and many more.

That’s the legend.

Now, let’s talk about the man, who decided after working with Daft Punk on the 2014 Grammy winning “Album of the Year”, that was ready to record new music with a fresh arsenal of current talent.

The first release from “Deja Vu”, “Right Here, Right Now”, featured international superstar Kylie Minogue.  The song topped the Billboard Dance charts earlier this year.

The follow-up single is the title track with pop superstar Sia, who has dominated radio with “Chandelier”, “Titanium”, and “Wild Ones” and has written songs for Britney, Kylie, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.

I honestly couldn’t find a song on the album that is not pure pop heaven, but I can’t post all twelve songs here.  (Well, I guess I could!)

Some of you may remember Suzanne Vega as a one-hit wonder with 1987’s Top Five hit, “Luka”.  But, it’s the follow-up that never charted in the U.S., “Tom’s Diner”, that with Britney Spears’ sweet vocals and Moroder’s magic fingers and genius mind could become the most unlikely dance smash this year.

Britney’s “Tom’s Dinner” is the floor filler that the radio version of “Pretty Girls” (with Iggy Azalea) strives to be.

English singer Charli XCX, who has topped the charts here in the U.S. with “Boom Clap”, “Fancy” (with Iggy Azalea, again), and “I Love It” (with Icona Pop) in the past three years, sparkles on her hi-energy collaboration with Moroder, fusing disco with rap.

And, you can find samples of awesome contributions from Kelis, Foxes, and Marlene in the mega-mix from Moroder at the bottom of my blog.

And, Moroder doesn’t just make the music of his female partners sizzle.  He saves plenty of his musical wizardry for Mikky Ekko (“Don’t Let Go”) and Matthew Koma (“Tempted”).

Koma is working on his debut album and has already topped the Billboard Dance charts twice with dance wunderkid producer Zedd on “Spectrum” in 2012 and “Find You” from the “Divergent” soundtrack.

If you’d heard of Ekko, it was likely on Rihanna’s 2013 chart-topper, “Stay”.

Even when Moroder works without vocalists, the instrumentals “74 is the New 24”, “La Disco”, and “4 U with Love” are dazzling perfection.  If you close your eyes, you’d be transported to a disco in the late-1970s or a modern-day EDM festival or Las Vegas nightclub with lasers and pyrotechnics blowing your mind!

If I haven’t been convincing about how spectacular this album is (or you have no pulse or two left feet), here is a fun remix that Moroder put together to highlight “Deja Vu” before its worldwide release.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

“Deja Vu” gets a rare perfect score of A+ from me!

Anthony