Friday, May 23, 2014

Won the War: Britney Spears V.S. Christina Aguilera

This is a new series I'm debuting. Inspired by a tweet from perpetual lightning rod for controversy Azealia Banks when she inferred that although Michael Jackson won the battle, Prince won the war. This will be my take on which two rivals in packaging in the U.S. Music Industry, won the war in terms of longer success.

Round 1 of Won the War involves current Las Vegas attraction, Britney Spears and 4 time coach of The Voice, Christina Aguilera. When they debuted in the late 90s, both were immediately pitted against each other both having been from the same axed children's show. Oh and they were "naturally" pitted when their teeny-bopper sound had a 4 way battle with now more famed actress Mandy Moore and Weight Watchers spokesmodel Jessica Simpson. Defeating them in the short term was easy. Now the question is...

In longevity terms, who merely won the battle...and who Won the War?

As of 2014, Spears added an 8th studio album with late 2013 release Britney Jean. Aguilera released her 5th studio album [Spanish language album Mi Reflejo and Christmas album My Kind of Christmas not counting] Lotus in 2012.
Here's their album peaks from highest to lowest...

Britney Spears
- ...Baby One More Time at #1
- Oops...I Did it Again at #1
- Britney at #1
- In the Zone at #1
- Circus at #1
- Femme Fatale at #1
- Blackout at #2
- Britney Jean at #4

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera at #1
Back to Basics at #1
Stripped at #2
Bionic at #3
Lotus at #7

Naturally, being the mega sensations that they have been in terms of packaging, radio has played them every now and again. In terms of longevity when was their last #1 hit on the Hot 100? *Reminder: Hot 100 ranking does matter if you're absolutely looking for a gauge of where an artist is in terms of popularity*

Britney had her last #1 hit in 2011 with "Hold It Against Me" from Femme Fatale. So only 3 years and an album ago? Not bad.
Christina's last #1 hit? Not counting "Lady Marmalade" for Moulin Rouge...Her last #1 on the Hot 100...was in 2000. "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" from her first album. O_O 14 years and technically...4 albums ago? O_O

The last Top 10 hit of the Hot 100? Britney's song "I Wanna Go" from the Femme Fatale album went to #7. Christina's last Top 10 hit? "Ain't No Other Man" in 2006 from Back to Basics. O_O

Singing isn't the only thing these two have done; as has been weirdly declared "culturally kosher" both have attempted to act in movies. As tradition, both of their movies were read for filth. Here's the Rotten Tomatoes scores of their movies as of May 23, 2014...

Britney Spears' 2002 movie Crossroads
Tomatometer [critics]: 14% at an average of 3.9 out of 10 rating
Audience: 39% at a 2.2 out of 5 rating

Christina Aguilera's 2010 movie Burlesque
Tomatometer [critics]: 37% at an average of 4.8 out of 10 rating
Audience: 64% at a 3.6 out of 5 rating

Musically, there are naturally some weak points in an artists' career when say...a lead single doesn't go to #1 or released singles chart really low. These are the positions at the lowest of Britney and Christina's careers...

Britney's Lowest Charting Released Singles
- Lowest Charting Lead single: "I'm a Slave 4 U" at #27 on the Hot 100.
- Lowest Charting Released single: "Radar" at #88 on the Hot 100.

Christina's Lowest Charting Released Singles
- Lowest Charting Lead single: "Dirrty" ft. Redman at #48 on the Hot 100.
- Lowest Charting Released single: "Woohoo" ft. Nicki Minaj at #79 on the Hot 100.

Interestingly enough, their chart nadirs are pretty damn similar. Britney and Christina's lead single nadir didn't happen when their worst lead singles in terms of musical content were released. Spears' "Work Bitch" charted at #12 on the Hot 100; Aguilera's "Your Body" charted at #34 on the Hot 100. Both of those lead singles come from their lowest charting albums.
Their lead single nadir both happened in late 2001/early-mid 2002. "I'm a Slave 4 U" had the touch of the Neptunes on it, while "Dirrty" had the help of one of the more enigmatic rap presences of the early aughts. 2003 would see both of them try to help Madonna out of a situation called American Life by lip-locking with her...though only one would be seen and go on to make a song with Madonna [even though for whatever reason it only went to #35 on the Hot 100.]
Their lowest charting singles in general, have some critical favor for it, if not completely behind the singles. Britney's song "Radar" started off on her album Blackout. Intended for release after "Break the Ice", it was scrapped because this was the era when Brit-Brit went batshit. "Radar" then saw the light of day on Circus as a bonus track...but 4th single from the album. Critics positively loved this single due to them thinking it was the type of song people would die to have on their albums and play on radio. The video did garner some mixed to positive feedback; noting that while Spears' aesthetic for the video was interesting, it isn't necessarily the most fitting considering everything else in her career.
Aguilera's lowest single charting was met with mixed to positive reviews, because by this time any song that even had vaguely perceived influence from "Milkshake" by Kelis, it would be compared to it. Though not much else is remembered from this because by "Woohoo", people were scrubbing the pure suck of "Not Myself Tonight" from their palettes.

Now for the final points: iconic singles AKA, the one single people know is by that artist.

Britney has her debut single and first #1 "...Baby One More Time". This song is VH1 countdown fodder for days. The video, the song and this incarnation of Britney is iconic [pervs remember this fondly as "Schoolgirl Britney".]
Christina has "Beautiful" from Stripped. The time former 4 Non Blondes lead singer and prolific songwriter Linda Perry had become [VH1's words from P!nk's Behind the Music, not mine] "the go-to songwriter for pop stars in search of an emotional makeover". In terms of video and song delivery, no "Best of X-Tina" type list is complete without it. Yet, this song went to #2 on the Hot 100.

Some last bits of info for posterity, Britney Spears did S2 of the defunct U.S. version of The X Factor and came in second with her talent find, Carly Rose Sonenclar. Christina Aguilera is waiting until S8 of The Voice to mark her 5th season of coaching new singers [or maybe a failed act of the past or two]; her highest ranking talent find was 2nd place with Jacquie Lee in S5.
Their reality show mentoring career is even eerily similar O_O.

One can sing better than the other; one has had more commercial success musically than the other; one is a staple on TV; one is performing in Las Vegas...the result is as follows...

***UPDATE: Yes, Britney's lowest charting lead single was "Me Against The Music" from In the Zone at #35. Yet to drive the point of their combined nadirs, "I'm A Slave 4 U" was met with the same shit "Dirrty" was. Everything else about the outcome is unaffected.***

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Voice Season 6: The Finale Part II: The Day We Learn Who Won

Well, this is the end of another season of the NBC show with ratings. Tonight, remember this PRO Tip: Wait until the last 2-5 minutes of tonight's program to find out who wins. There's a shit-load of filler until then.

Tonight's line-up of famous people include Coldplay, OneRepublic, Tim McGraw and Ed Sheeran. Oh and FUN Fact: there isn't a Ryan Tedder song for the winner this year. Unless it's randomly plugged during the finale (Don't put shit past this show. Screwing Kristen Merlin because The Grimmie Reaper didn't go to her "top" iTunes position is utter shit.) it looks like HRFH -2.0 is the only one tumbling down. As in "Tumbling Down"...the song Tedder made for her...*shaaaaaaaaaaaaade*

Because I hated the Final 3, here's how my gut reactions will be if a certain coach wins:

- If Usher wins, I will be half disappointed; on one hand it will give non Shevine coaches a chance/motivation. On the other hand it'll have been because of Josh Kaufman. *shudders*

- If Adam wins, I will be over it; on one hand it does serve as more Shevine banter in the Blind Auditions. On the other hand, The Grimmie Reaper victory could confirm that this season was rigged.

- If Blake wins, this will have been some bullshit. Jake is a nice fellow at least on camera, but if Blake wins 4 times during his tenure, this is obviously a secret reboot of Miranda Lambert starting point, Nashville Star.

These are the nouns, pronouns, gerunds, banter, fuckery, marklar and crowning that transpired...

Let's play rough and get it on!

First, due to some iTunes fuck-up [Josh's "Set Fire to the Rain" cover not being available due to a glitch] all iTunes votes from last night to tonight don't count. Telescope [the show voting partner] assured that those iTunes votes being removed didn't effect the outcome.
OneRepublic then took the stage to pimp a new song. Ryan Tedder was wearing the same Marlon Brando bullshit look Adam had on for a costume change last night. Isn't that cute? -_-

Coach's Corner was all "My artist is ***Flawless like Beyonce!" (Except Shakira.) Then they group hugged because at the moment Shakira isn't coming back for a future season. Coaches shuffle like a goddamn iPod.

Jake Worthington brought back Kat Perkins, Kristen Merlin, Audra McLaughlin, Ryan Whyte Maloney and Morgan Wallen to sing "Summertime" by Kenny Chesney. Apart from the set design clenching...

JIMMY BUFFET VOICE-BURGER IN PARADISE Realness at the Swear Ball Extravaganza!

...this was nothing to write home about.

Then, Ed Sheeran was punished for something we didn't know about because The Grimmie Reaper performed his song "All of the Stars" with him. *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade*
Then Delvin Choice, Stevie Jo, Morgan Wallen, Patrick Thomson and Jake Barker did the "ALL MALE MANLY Singing" portion of the show. They did some Hall & Oates song and I was like, "Really? We can do better than Hall & Oates, can't we?".

Usher's montage is then shown in a way more decadent and tacky than that new FOX show about 12 dumb broads thinking they could be within 2 feet of Prince Harry. -_- The Shevine moment is cute.
Then a noun named Justin Moore took the stage to sing country...OK; now I am convinced this is a secret reboot of Nashville Star.

Josh Kaufman brought back T.J. Wilkins, Stevie Jo and HRFH -3.0 to sing "Am I Wrong" by Nico and Vinz which are apparently a thing. The More You Know, y'all.
Shakira then gets her montage where it is essentially hot blooded Latina woman stereotyping y'all. -_-
Ed Sheeran then performs "Sing" off of his album X pronounced "multiply". Ed is a rather soothing artist and I can't clock his appeal too much. O_O I know.

Jake Worthington and Alabama then took the stage to perform Alabama's song "Mountain Music". The Voice: where country, pop/country, bluegrass and Southern fried tunes are mixed with scant smatterings of other genres of music like good ones...err Pop, R&B/Soul and bearable rock. -_-

Dani Moz, Deja Hall, Tess Boyer, Melissa Jimenez and Madilyn Paige then did the "GURL POWER, Y'all" performance with "Umbrella" by Rihanna ft. Jay-Z because the producers didn't ask for "SOS" like they were supposed to. -_- At least Deja sang again so there is a positive...but dammit the song they should've sang is "SOS". End. of. discussion.
Taxicab Confessions happened...and oh hell I still can't get over this borderline secret Stagecoach/Nashville Star thing with so much for this. Oh and they get cars from show sponsor Kia.
Adam gets his montage where it's revealed a lot of songs are "Adam's favorite songs". -_-
Josh gets his come uppance when he and Robin Thicke sang Robin's song "Get Her Back". Retribution is a sweet flavor indeed.

Tim McGraw then takes the stage...ugh; more country perform his new song "City Lights". At least Tim McGraw is sexy. In a "celebrity figure who doesn't spontaneously age like milk" way.
The Grimmie Reaper brought back Bria Kelly, Tess Boyer and Jake Barker to sing "Team" by Lorde. At least it isn't country music; that much can be said of the performance other than Jake busting a move during the number. Still, Deja Hall and Delvin Choice could've been brought back to any of their performances.
Blake gets his montage and his bonding with Jake...ERMAHGERD FEELS -_-

Coldplay then took the stage to pimp their latest album Ghost Stories and sing "A Sky Full of Stars".

Now...we find out how the final 3 placed...

3rd Place: The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam. HAHAHAHAHAHA

The Voice S6: Josh Kaufman of Team Usher. This marks the first time neither Blake or Adam has won the show.

Runner-up: Jake Worthington of Team Blake.

Well that's it for Season 6 of the NBC Show with Ratings. 0 for 6 winners I have ever liked; I hope the streak dies in S7 when Pharrell and Gwen Stefani take their places with Mr. and Mr. Shevine (Personal note: they better kiss next season. : P) Thanks to any and all the people on my Twitter follower side that have ever retweeted and favorited my links. See you for S7.

"Excuse me; I'm indecent at the moment!"

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Voice Season 6 Finale Part I: The Final 3 Performances

[Let's just say out of the final 3 left, these last two episodes aren't worthy of a pun worthy title.]

Well, it's a matter of time before Adam, Usher or Blake will have their last contestant win S6 of the NBC show with ratings (Sorry Shakira, but that's what you get for getting rid of Clarissa Serna and Deja Hall for Dani Moz.) Tonight will determine if Blake gets a 4th win overall, Adam a 3rd win overall or if Usher will be the first non Shevine related coach to win. These are the nouns, pronouns, gerunds, banter, fuckery, trickery, dickery, dock and marklar that transpired...

Let's play rough and get it on! *Editor's note: All but Josh are reprising their Blind Audition songs. Josh will reprise his Battles Round II song which he lost to Delvin Choice.*

First, The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam singing “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, her Blind Audition song. Come showtime, she sounded twice as bad than when she first sang it. At least Charlotte's Web was featured as a set piece *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaade* At least Adam picked a look that suited his ill-advised blonde hair; it's very Marlon Brando meets Ryan Gosling through an Instagram filter realness. Coach's Corner was all, "You are a winner regardless! ***Flawless like Beysus! T_T"

Second, Josh Kaufman of Team Usher singing “Every Breath You Take” by The Police as a duet with Usher. Come showtime, Usher sounded amazing while Josh managed to sound creepier than Sting on this song (And keep in mind, this song exudes stalker-like behavior O_O). I should finish by clocking the crip/Garden State bullshit Josh's outfit had on the left shoulder, but I'll only say, Usher was amazing. Coach's Corner is not around for duets, just to assure that critique can never be on the show.

Third, Jake Worthington of Team Blake singing “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley, his Blind Audition. Come showtime, he possessed the clean but still gravy-sweating country that I personally can't stomach. I might be from Texas but I am no stereotype. Still, Jake is charismatic when not singing so there's that. Coach's Corner was all, "You are a winner regardless! ***Flawless like Beysus! T_T" Oh and Fun Fact: Shakira wants to squeeze him for being cute. *You just got learned*

Shaki and Blake performed the duet they recorded for her most recent release Shakira, "Medicine". I was wondering if there was any to help with the chorus stuttering. All T, All Shade.

At it again, Josh Kaufman of Team Usher singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder; the song that Delvin Choice defeated him cleanly on but Usher decided to steal him on. Come showtime, I remembered why Delvin won. This song is so not for him. There's only hoping that the Hobbit community does not revolt against the show, but that's something different. Coach's Corner was all, "You are a winner regardless! ***Flawless like Beysus! T_T"

Second in this round, The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam singing “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye ft. Kimbra as a duet with Adam. Come showtime, Adam was the highlight...mainly due to the fact he dyed his hair blonde weeks ago; OK I can't stand the blonde hair and never have. It was an impulse move that should never have happened. Other than that, it's another performance I don't care about because I have nobody I like left in the competition.

Third in this round, Jake Worthington of Team Blake singing “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx. Come showtime, it was snooze-worthy. As much as he has emotional connect, this is reminiscent of Kewpie Doll from S4; boring but tries hard...and doesn't get a single vote from me. Coach's Corner was all, "You are a winner regardless! ***Flawless like Beysus! T_T"

Adam and Usher then proceeded to sing "Untitled (How Does it Feel)" by D'Angelo...O_O WOW. Interesting to say the least.

Closing out their tenure, Jake Worthington of Team Blake singing “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams as a duet with Blake. Come showtime, they sounded country. If you're into that sort of thing, fantastic. Yet, I can't help but think somewhere, there's at least someone offended by the whiskey barrels in the background; not just for perpetuating alcoholism being a Southern thing, but at the sheer tackiness of the props.

Closing out their tenure second, The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. Come showtime, I felt bad for Elvis Presley fans *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade*. There's a bad feeling either she or Josh could win. Personally I want people to vote for Cee-Lo's animals as the winner of the show. Coach's Corner was all, "You are a winner regardless! ***Flawless like Beysus! T_T"

Closing S6, Josh Kaufman of Team Usher singing “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele. Come showtime, I thought he sucked but knew the coaches would exploit Adam's discerning for talent in the moment in the Knockoffs by picking Delvin...ugh; Josh Kaufman is awful. The Final 3 are awful and shit, I'm just done with this season. Coach's Corner was all, "You are a winner regardless! ***Flawless like Beysus! T_T"

All in all, at least some of the contestants I like are returning tomorrow. What the fuck ever as to who wins. 0 for 6 winners I like. (The record is alive, y'all -_-)

Up next for scrutiny, the Finale of S6.

W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I. Post 16.2: Madonna [from Ray of Light to MDNA]

This is a series dedicated to women who despite success in the U.S. Music Industry, have est. a very complicated image for themselves.

*This post is a continuation over Madonna; this is the second half of her career in a nutshell from a nutcase*

By the time of her next 6 albums, Madonna had become an international phenomenon. Winning VMA Moonmen, having a lot of successful singles and knowing how stir shit up to sell her image, the next half of her career seemed almost impossible to fuck up...

Her next studio effort, Ray of Light, was released in 1998. This was the album inspired by delving into Kabbalah, Hinduism and yoga (The only justification for a song called "Shanti/Ashtangi" to be on the album). Five songs were spawned from the album and 3 of those would chart within the Top 15 of the Hot 100.
The lead single was "Frozen". This is another one of Madge's regarded ballads. Like "Live to Tell" it was regarded as a standout track, but critics have said this song was delivered with sonic* grandeur...

*Sonic: in this context, from the word sonar; relating to sound*

The song would peak at #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts.

Second released from the album was the title track. This song is acclaimed as one of if not arguably her best by critics and by die hard fans (Who I like to call Ciccone-heads...because Madonna has a last name and it's Ciccone.)
The video has essentially been declared immortal as damn near every retrospective music video show has given love to this video for its imagery; people existing at a speed/crack/cocaine pace representing how people are fucking clueless or some shit...O_O Shade aside, the song and the rest of the album's electronica tropes were regarded in positive fashion as the single and album were seen as the best of fusing electronica with radio friendly things. The title track went to #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts.

Third, a song called "Drowned World (Substitute for Love)" was released internationally and not in the States due to the title track having been released late.
Fourth released was "The Power of Good-Bye". All that's really known of the song and/or video is Madonna playing chess. The song peaked at #11 on the Hot 100, #14 on the Adult Contemporary and #18 on the Pop Songs charts.
Finally, "Nothing Really Matters". Following the "Human Nature" tradition of poor charting on the Hot 100 [it peaked at #93...O_O] and going to #1 on the Dance charts, "Nothing Really Matters" is remembered as Madonna dressing up as a geisha (Something I'm betting Katy Perry would wish got Madonna flak for claims of cultural misappropriation.)
Success was Madge's yet again, as Ray of Light peaked at #2 and awards were given to her in two major ways; first this was the album that got her a Grammy. Second, she clenched the more important then VMA for Video of the Year.

Cut past her contribution to the Austin Powers: Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack with "Beautiful Stranger" which despite no official single release to radio, went to #19 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance chart.

Her eighth overall effort, Music, was released in 2000. For a 10 track album, only 3 of the songs were released. All 3 would chart in the Hot 100 and go #1 on the Dance chart. By now, Madge had enlisted a producer by the name of Mirwais Ahmadza├»; a French techno producer. Popular Culture buffs remember this as the era Madge loved wearing cowboy hats.

First, the lead single and title track. The song and video despite some initial tackiness of the words "boogie woogie" propelled the album's success. Yet singles enthusiast would learn to savor the song's legacy because as of today, it's her last #1 entry on the Hot 100. O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O The video despite the tackiness of featuring strippers and Madge in a pimp meets Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard realness, did launch the career of Sacha Baron Cohen who appears in the video as his character "Ali G" (Which for posterity provided these soundbytes..."BOOYAKASHA!" "Big up yaself!" "Respek!" "One brovah, one honky and guy.")
Second released was "Don't Tell Me". Having a weird as hell beat certainly helped its success peaking at #4 on the Hot 100. Music video buffs remember this video for the following reasons:

- Dancing cowboys
- Treadmill walking
- Sand
- Being synchronized as fuck
- Did we mention the dancing cowboys?

Finally, "What it Feels Like For a Girl" was released...and went to #23 on the Hot 100. Not much is really remembered of it.
Music would begin a #1 streak of Billboard 200 albums that to this day has yet to be broken.

By now, Madge had been tasked with creating a path to true Popular Culture Immortality: creating a James Bond theme song. In her case, the 007 film was Die Another Day and her song of the same name...wasn't exactly met with accolades for 007 songs. Critics were split on this song; the consensus is essentially "For a Madonna song, great; for a 007 theme, it's not the first option we'd consider but it could reflect Bond being in the modern age."
Despite the criticism, the song went to #8 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts. Even the music video for the song got enough acclaim to justify it existing; even if showing off 007 props in a gallery like setting throughout the years while fighting yourself in said gallery is technically "cheating".

Then came her most derided work and with good reason thanks to the lead single and title track...
American Life was released in 2003 and man did this title track get raked over the coals. Weirdly enough, all four singles would hit #1 on the Dance chart. Remember the name Mirwais? He's the reason for this album's terrible reputation.
The title track was the result of him encouraging Madonna to rap verses of the song...most can see where this went wrong. For those who could actually stomach the song, they were inducted into sainthood because they had to deal with the following rap section...

"I'm drinking a Soy latte 
 I get a double shot-tay 
 It goes right through my bod-day 
 And you know I'm satisfied,
 I drive my Mini cooper 
 And I'm feeling super-duper 
 Yo they tell I'm a trooper 
 And you know I'm satisfied 
 I do yoga and pilates 
 And the room is full of hotties 
 So I'm checking out the bodies 
 And you know I'm satisfied"

Oh no...there's worse than this section...

"I'd like to express my extreme point of view 
 I'm not Christian and I'm not a Jew 
 I'm just living out the American dream 
 And I just realized that nothing is what it seems."
-Madonna on "American Life"

Amazingly, this was not a commercial flop as it peaked at #37 on the Hot 100. Yet the damage would soon be done in ways not possibly imagined. The second single "Hollywood" though able to survive this travesty [it was featured on a 2009 compilation] was at the time marred by just how awful the lead single was.
"Hollywood" though just as artistically inspired as any previous work; music video inspired by Guy Bourdin photography became her first single since "Burning Up" in the 80s to not chart on the Hot 100. The third and fourth singles "Nothing Fails" and "Love Profusion" would join "Hollywood" in no man's land Hot 100 wise.

Yet around this time, the MTV Video Music Awards had happened. Popular Culture buffs and damn near everyone remembers the reenactment of the "Like a Virgin" with relatively stable and "fresh" acts at the time Britney Spears & Christina Aguilera...and although Christina's wasn't shown, Madge and Britney cashed in on pearl clutching controversy by kissing each other on national TV. However, this wouldn't be the only way Madge would try to save this album and the single "Hollywood".
In a move seen as desperate, Madonna decided to do a commercial for Gap cord jeans.

"Madonna and Gap? Her teeth yes; clothing? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

Even with the help of Missy Elliott, nothing could be done to save the album in its entirety. Yet despite a terrible lead single and a song that pulled a Mollie from Animal Farm and was able to be saved, American Life amazingly went to #1.

2005 saw the released of her 10th studio effort, Confessions on a Dance Floor. This is the era defined by a pink leotard and a Guinness World Record for her best lead single, and my all time favorite song from any of these eras and up there with "Like a Prayer" as my favorite Madonna song ("GASP! How can you choose?!" Because I have ears...and am a bit of a picky the fuck what?) Four singles were released and only one would make the Top 10 of the Hot 100.
The lead single from the album was "Hung Up". Sampling the ABBA song "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", this song would end up in the Guinness Book of World Records for reaching #1 in 41 countries. The U.S. oddly, is not one of them (I blame this on a certain song that goes "Umbrella-ella-ella-ay-ay-ay"...) as it only reached #7. Following tradition, the song went to #1 on the Dance chart. Video wise, this helped rehabilitate Madonna's image to not suck as demonstrated on her previous effort. The video featured the French invented style of hooliganism on speed known as parkour (And made it that thing that made people hurt themselves on YouTube.) *Fun fact on this video: Madonna broke 8 bones due to a horseback riding fuck up and still managed to get the dance shots in three hours.*
Despite the lasting effect of the lead single and video, its subsequent releases didn't measure up; at least with the second song, there was an underlying cause to its minimal success.

Second released from the album was "Sorry". Song and video wise, this was made as a sort of sequel to "Hung Up" in that the same dancers were used to continue their fun adventures with a superstar who had only fucked up one album ago. However, despite going to #1 on the Dance charts, radio relating to the Hot 100 didn't give it the airplay needed to make this another commercial hit. "Sorry" peaked at #58 on the Hot 100 but at least it did make something of an impact on the charts.
Her last releases from the album "Get Together" and "Jump" would go the way of "Nothing Fails" and "Love Profusion"; #1 on the Dance chart and not even close to the Hot 100. Which leads to this; what the hell happened in this era of Madonna's career?

A 007 theme and even a Gap ad in 2002 and 2003, A Guinness World Record 3 years later; the lack of Hot 100 hits after "Hung Up" should not have occurred. [NOTE: Your local Ciccone-head has at least 3 conspiracy theories thought up as to why this was.] Maybe the suck of American Life and the title track had tainted her legacy While that's true, think back to the VMAs mentioned around American Life. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were among some of the "modern" pop acts to be featured as their careers were looking strong. Also in 2003, Beyonce would mark her solo debut. Add Rihanna becoming a thing from around Confessions on a Dance Floor and it's a little clearer.
Madge's consistency didn't mean much to the "youngun" she had to entertain at the time; so while it's plausible that at the time, they liked the performance and/or music videos, they weren't exactly keen on requesting her songs to radio or even waiting to hear her songs on the radio. It was something that Madonna picked up on (Give or take some poorly written lyrics, Madonna has always been known to start and/or capitalize on music trends.) for her next effort.
Confessions on a Dance Floor went to #1.

Madonna's 11th studio album, Hard Candy, was released in 2008. 3 songs were released from the album. This was the era defined by collaborations and a garish album cover. At this time, she had enlisted the assistance of two major producers/vocalists of the era; Pharrell and Timbaland. She also managed to get Justin Timberlake off of the Saturday Night Live set long enough to lay a vocal on the lead single [which I just flat out don't like.]
"4 Minutes" was the lead single for the album. Even with Timbaland on production/instrumentals...this song is just awful. I could never understand its popularity outside of the names on the song. Timbaland was commercially enjoying himself; Justin Timberlake was enjoying the fruits of his labor FutureSex/LoveSounds. Still despite the flaws of the song and lackluster music video; they escape a deteriorating world and dance on top of cars...-_- the song went to #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts. Though fans would learn to embrace this song's legacy as to this day, it remains her last Top 5 hit on the Hot 100.

Next released from the album was "Give It 2 Me". This was one of the many tracks with the hand of Pharrell on it. Yet following in her previous album's tradition of notable lead and subsequent releases getting shafted, "Give It 2 Me" peaked at #57 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance chart.
Finally, "Miles Away" was released as a promotional single in Japan. In the U.S. it went to #2 on the Dance chart. What the hell went wrong with Hard Candy? Did people think it tasted like butterscotch? *B-bad pun*
Well at the time, Timbaland and Pharrell had long been enjoying the fruits of their mid 2000s success, but no more than Timbaland. At the time, he had helped make Nelly Furtado a thing in 2006 with her single "Promiscuous" and the album Loose. Madge had realized that chart success would keep panning out as it had for the time. So she decided to call up the big name producers she felt could reinvigorate her career. With a #3 single that seemed to have happened, right? Kind of. Upon review, Hard Candy was blasted for sounding dated [by about 2 years thanks to Furtado & Timberlake's sound being heard first.] and for trying to "harness the urban market"; all that is, is bullshit that means "she tried way too hard by getting Pharrell and Timbaland to make her look cool."

Despite the initial trouble being absolved by the Sticky & Sweet tour being the second highest grossing tour...of all time, Hard Candy went to #1.

Cut past another greatest of compilation called Celebration, and its singles "Celebration" and "Revolver" ft. Lil' Wayne...not doing a damn thing on the Hot 100 as "Celebration" only peaked at #71 and going #1 on the dance chart while "Revolver" only went to #4 on the Dance chart.
Also, Hard Candy would be the last album she would do with Warner Bros. after 25 years with the label. Now that that's aside, this next effort and lead single would show that by this point Madonna simply phoned shit in when her Interscope deal began; oh guess who else is on Interscope that helped Madonna gain some press? Lady Gaga! More on that later.

MDNA is the 12th and most recent studio effort, released in 2012. Around this time she had just performed at the Super Bowl halftime show which artists take despite the fun fact...Super Bowl performers don't get paid to do the show (Also, the now defunct group LMFAO were tasked with joining Madge at the Super Bowl. Shameful decision.) 4 songs would be spawned; 3 would chart in the States while "Masterpiece" would be released in the UK.
The lead single for the album had enlisted more collaborative help from other Super Bowl assistants rapper M.I.A. [and her middle finger] and whatever that "Super Bass" chick's name is.
"Give Me All Your Luvin'" (Which until J.Lo released "I Luh Ya Papi" had clenched Most Unforgivable Spelling Error at the Swear Ball EXTRAVAGANZA) received just enough positive feedback from critics to reach #10 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance chart. Though it is unforgivable still for under utilizing M.I.A. for that other one on the record.

While subsequent releases "Girl Gone Wild" and "Turn Up The Radio" would go to #1 on the Dance chart, "Girl Gone Wild" got the accoutrement of controversy alongside existing. Creator of the Girls Gone Wild franchise, Joe Francis, took issue with the song title...because in his eyes it was deemed too close to his movies. The world shrugged "who cares" and we moved on.

MDNA upon reception was seen as Madge's edgiest album in a while, but was blasted for haphazard song content and half-assed production value. Still, MDNA went to #1.

After that album and performing at the Grammys with Macklemore X Ryan Lewis & Mary Lambert [while channeling Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard] during the mass wedding event, what of these eras and previous eras make up Madonna as one of many W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I.? Everything she proceeds to do.
In recent events, she proceeded to assert that Gaga had ripped off her song "Express Yourself" for her single "Born This Way" calling the sampling "reductive"; used the "n" word on her Instagram account when posting a photo of her son [then proceeding to provide this "classy" follow up...]

"Let's try this again. #Get off my dick haters"
-Madonna on Instagram

She then proceeded call both Russian source for American internet amusement, Vladimir Putin and the leafy green vegetable, kale "gay" in a word association game interview for internet playground for Mean Girls posts and lists upon lists of which things from the contributors rooms as a child grossed them out from least to most, BuzzFeed. While Putin being called "gay" was seen as a comical jest at the anti-gay reputation Russian politics is building itself, kale being called "gay" sprung accusations of Madonna being casually homophobic with her words (That is until BuzzFeed proceeded to cover her ass when Holy SPEAR-it/Godney Gregorian Monk, Matt Stopera "conducted" an interview with kale in which kale confirmed that it was indeed gay. -_-)
The reason BuzzFeed covered her ass so swiftly was that she had originally worked at BuzzFeed to help promote her project ArtForFreedom. Look it up, it's actually meaningful.

In terms of music, it's nothing different from any of the other major pop acts I've covered thus far. Accusations of skating by on image and/or dancing ability as opposed to singing ability? Madonna's heard that more than once. Assertions of cheapening sexuality to sell records and create buzz by shock value on songs and music videos? She's heard that too.
Yet what has Madonna regarded as a great was simply this; she was the first mainstream pop act to do all of these things on a level where media coverage progressed to what it is today. In essence, she's regarded as one of the best because she was the first. Hell, she's the reason this equation from a previous post exists...

"How to Have a Prosperous Singing Career"

Singing ability + Controversy + Sex appeal = Prosperous singing career

All in all, whenever Madonna breathes she attracts attention for better and worse and she damn well knows what she's doing by now. With a 13th album in the works, we should at least have an idea as to where this will end up.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I. Post 16.1: Madonna [from Madonna to Bedtime Stories]

This is a series dedicated to women who despite success in the U.S. Music Industry, have est. a very complicated image for themselves.

Round 16 is going to be split into 2. The reason being is that this particular recording artist is the very woman who many music critics consider to be the Queen of Pop Music. This artist is Madonna and the bitch started many a trope for female recording artists (Including but not limited to):

- Switching looks between songs and/or albums

- Having controversial music videos that further promote the song and/or album in question

- Using sex...tons and tons of sex alongside having aforementioned tropes to create an end all be all image for that particular era.

This post is examining her first half of 12 [soon to be 13] albums, Madonna to Bedtime Stories.

It all started for the Pontiac, Michigan raised singer when eponymous debut effort (Big ol' words that mean "album with the artist's name on it") was released in 1983. Five singles were released although 3-5 would begin to birth her career. The first two singles "Everybody" and "Burning Up" although Hot 100 busts by not charting began Madonna's backup plan: ranking on the Dance charts [both went to #3 on the Dance charts].
The first major single and third collectively was "Holiday". Released after the LP had its ground work, the single would eventually peak at #16 on the Hot 100 and at #1 on the Dance charts.
Second was "Lucky Star" and out of the 3 major singles was the highest Hot 100 peak, doing so at #4 while it replicated #1 success on the Dance charts.
Third was "Borderline", which peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Dance charts.
Things in this era were screwy at first because her label didn't put her face on initial packaging of singles or album art. The reason being is that they were attempting to peddle her as an R&B artist and it wasn't until Madonna had pleaded to do the video for "Holiday" and onward that she at least est. herself as an artist of image. Singing credibility would take some time.
Her self titled debut peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200.

Cut to her breakthrough album, the 1984 released Like a Virgin. Madonna image buffs remember this for one reason: humping stage while performing at the VMAs in a wedding dress with a belt that read "BOY TOY". As with her previous work, 5 singles were released but 4 managed to find success as opposed to 3 ["Into the Groove" wasn't released in the U.S.]
The lead single and title track, would reach #1 on the Hot 100 and Dance charts [*Fun fact: Music enthusiasts call this a "crossover" smash; when a song that normally does well on the niche charts can go to the top on the Hot 100*] The video for the song was one of the most iconic of the MTV generation (From damn near every retrospective music source.) as Madonna is traveling around in a gondola in Venice, Italy wearing a shit-ton of jewelry and personifying early 80s fashion. As mentioned before, the fever pitch of the song came at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards where...she humped stage in a wedding dress with a belt that read "BOY TOY".

The second song released from the album was "Material Girl". Video wise, this is remembered as the homage to the Marilyn Monroe movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and its tie-in song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend". The song itself would peak at #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts and like its predecessor establish her ability to use image as a way to spread word about her singles an in turn album.
The reason this is in turn troubling, is that 2 more singles would be released [remember; "Into the Groove" was not one of them.] "Angel" and "Dress You Up". Both of these songs would peak at #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts. Yet because of the 2 lead singles and MTV video airplay [and song aging] these two became something to the effect of under-appreciated if not totally ignored songs.
This point in her career saw commercial success tie in with her radio success as Like a Virgin peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200.

Third, came the 1986 released True Blue. In traditional format, 5 singles were released. What ended up happening is that all 5 singles would chart in the Top 5 of the Hot 100 and 3 of them would go to #1.
First released was "Live to Tell". Video wise, she took inspiration from Marilyn Monroe and kept it subtle (Apparently, subtle can be used in the same sentence as Madonna and Marilyn Monroe.) Song wise, it's regarded as her best ballad and was a success in Adult Contemporary circles. The song itself peaked at #1 on the Hot 100 but was the first of her released material to utterly miss the Dance charts.

Second released from the album was "Papa Don't Preach". "Awesomely Bad"/"Guilty Pleasure" buffs remember this as the song Kelly Osbourne covered and achieved moderate at best success with. Madge buffs know this song as one of her iconic hits. *Fun fact: this song deals with teenage pregnancy and abortion. In fact, there are a ton of songs by all sorts of artists that are actually talking about abortion.* The song peaked at #1 on the Hot 100 and at #4 on the Dance charts.

Third, the title track. It eventually reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the Dance charts. Much like the lead single, it's retro inspiration serviced it well. The video history is in 2. The first was directed by James Foley who had worked on her previous videos "Live to Tell" and "Papa Don't Preach". The second video was the result of some genius promotional skills. The record company and MTV partnered to find who could make a decent follow up video. Taken from Wikipedia (Fuck off; I know it's subject to criticism but fuck off.) this is the winning entry description...

"The winning entry was by Angel Gracia and Cliff Guest and it showed the female protagonist (played by the director's sister Anabel Garcia) being supported and guided by her girlfriends who introduce her with the male protagonist. The girl even goes to the boy's door to gift him flowers, thereby reversing the usual gender-directed pattern of gift-giving. The male protagonist is portrayed as a "perfect boy" (played by William Fitzgibbon) having the sensibilities like attentiveness, cuteness, playfulness like a friend (after the lyrics "You're my best friend") and not sexual overtones. The video in-turn contrasts him with a self-centered boy who puts on sunglasses, throws his leather jacket over his shoulder and walks away from the girl."

Fourth, "Open Your Heart". This would peak at #1 on the Hot 100 and Dance chart.
Finally, "La Isla Bonita". This would peak at #4 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the Dance chart. Despite the seemingly low/paltry placements, this song is regarded as one of her best. With this effort, Madge had managed to break her hit and miss singles success. By this era, she had been something of a social crusader; being one of the first major pop acts to support gay rights and safe sex. Mix in the success of these singles, and this was by now her most lucrative phase of her career.
True Blue went to #1 in the States [and about 27 other countries O_O]

The came the most prevalent controversial era she would have to date [so much so, that it carries itself between two albums...]

Her fourth effort was the 1989 released, Like a Prayer. Six singles were spawned from the album. This was the era where Madge was something of a relatively edgy pop sensation as nothing she did was entirely eyebrow raising/"terrifying" in terms of music (With acting, however...eeep. There's a reason her movie career at best has been...what's the word...sporadic.) so much so that she was in talks with Pepsi to produce a commercial with her*

*TODAY'S LESSON: Why Pepsi Commercials Mattered to Recording Acts

You see kids; long ago in the U.S. Music Industry starting in a time called the 1980s, a recording artist knew something to the effect of Popular Culture Immortality was theirs when Pepsi-Cola came a knocking. Pepsi has a long standing history with music programs 'n shit, but a commercial; that was something every artist dreamed of. No, not just to sell the soda; but to make a fuck-load of money from the deal too...
(Sadly, a famed incident RE: Pepsi commercials of the time involved Michael Jackson, a spotlight, hairspray fumes and a trip to the hospital. Modern Pepsi commercial fame came when Bill O'Reilly of Fox News threw a fit over Ludacris being offered a deal simply because Luda existed.)

That shit changed quickly with the title track and lead single from the album.
"Like a Prayer" [my favorite single from any of these eras ("GASP!" Who the fuck are you? Joslyn Fox?)] went to #1 on the Hot 100 and Dance chart, but what added to the controversy of Madonna was the music video. Intended to be ballsier than any previous video she ever did, the video centers around Madge falling in love with a black man playing Jesus. Mission accomplished for controversy...if not for the accoutrement of BURNING CROSSES in a scene.
Protests occurred and eventually Pepsi nixed the deal with Madonna.

Second released from the album was "Express Yourself". Reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance chart, this was the song Lady Gaga would be accused of ripping off for "Born This Way" (SPOILER; It's a different song in sound and execution.) The video is essentially Madonna in a suit; in a factory; being...well...Madonna.
Third released from the album was "Cherish". Reaching #2 on the Hot 100, missing the Dance chart and reaching #1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary charts, this was a simple song and video compared to the lead single and even to "Express Yourself" by a long shot. Here's the abridged and exaggerated version of their reaction; "Oh thank God; nothing 'Black Jesus-y', androgynous or weird."

Fourth released from the album was "Oh Father". The song itself didn't make the Dance chart...but did hit the Hot #20. Music video wise, there's an image of a woman with her lips sewn shut. Because this is the late 80s/early 90s, this was considered disturbing.
A fifth single, "Dear Jessie" was limited to international release. Critics were split on this song in general; some liked it, some went "What the fuck is she on?!"
Finally, "Keep it Together" despite another split review form the critics went to #8 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts.
For all of the controversy and nixed Pepsi deal, Like a Prayer peaked at #1.

In terms of controversy, she was merely warming up...

Cut past another acting gig in a Dick Tracy movie, her iconic single/music video "Vogue", a greatest hits album called The Immaculate Collection and its singles "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me", a Jean-Paul Gaultier cone-bra, the Blonde Ambition tour where she simulated masturbation on stage to her next album.

Her fifth studio effort, Erotica, was released in 1992. Because this is the early 90s, this album would be perceived as controversial...but not entirely for its music. Six singles were spawned and not one of them hit #1 on the Hot 100.
The lead single and title track went to #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts. This song was in the era of Sex...the book of naked people like Madge, Naomi Campbell and Vanilla Ice. "Erotica" would be defined by this book and its music video being banned by MTV and pissing off the Vatican (You know the not common at all but oddly true saying: "Piss off the Vatican and you've done something right.")

Second released from the album was "Deeper and Deeper" which went to #7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts.
Third, "Bad Girl" went to #36 on the Hot 100.
Fourth, a cover of a song called "Fever" which went to #1 on the Dance charts.
Fifth, was "Rain" which went to #14 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Dance charts. Critically, this was seen as something of a return to form and is regarded among the best of her ballads.
Finally, "Bye, Bye Baby" was international only.

When I typed out "this song was in the era of Sex", the other singles are in a "guilt by association" terms with the album's legacy as well. For all of its critical pearl clutching, Erotica peaked at #2.

The final album in part I of this analysis is the 1994 released Bedtime Stories. By this album, Madonna's selling points were clear: sensationalized imagery/artistry and the occasional singing. Yet when this album came about, the feel of the sound was less severe than her predecessor. Four songs were released from the album and two were commercially successful.
The lead single from the album was "Secret". Peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance charts, this song would garner favorable reviews from critics who more or less saw this as the less hardcore sex-laden version of her previous works.
Second from the album was "Take a Bow". The song would be her first #1 on the Hot 100 since "Justify My Love"; it would also hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
Two more singles from the album would be released, though success would not come on the Hot 100.
Third from the album was "Bedtime Story". Despite the lackluster placing on the Hot 100, at #42, the song saw #1 success on the Dance charts. Keep in mind, the Dance charts have been backup for any artist, Madonna being no exception, but more on that in Part II.
Finally, "Human Nature" only went to #46 on the Hot 100, #1 on the Dance charts but has infamy through its music video. Picking up on most of Erotica's tropes of kinky shit/waving the freak flag high, the video rose to fame for the BDSM themes and sort of...Showgirls style of camp by poking fun at BDSM [which if you didn't feel...err know stands for Bondage Discipline & Sado Masochism named after Marquis de Sade...more or less nothing but a French pervert.]
Bedtime Stories peaked at #3.

So what made Madonna one of many W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I. through at least the first half of her career? Sex, Sex, sensationalized imagery which in turn lead to controversy which in turn was a justification for any least from Like a Prayer to Erotica in terms of music. Early Madonna music wise was simply an attempted passing off as an R&B singer in general when really all she is and continued to be was a dance-floor diva.
Madonna in non-music mode from the first half of her career was simply an "eyebrow-raising"/"pearl clutching" recording artist who...was one of many to try her hand at acting [for whatever reason, some musicians are coaxed into acting in movies/TV with often...shitty results] and was met with usual derision until she played "All the Way" Mae Mordabito in the movie A League of Their Own and playing Eva Peron in the movie adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita. Her being Eva Peron managed to piss off Argentina and secure a Guinness World Record of Most Costume Changes in a Film [85 times (which included 39 hats, 45 pairs of shoes, and 56 pairs of earrings)].
In summation, this was Madonna being an artistically inspired act in the industry who give or take some instances of being an outright "STUNT QUEEN!" had the commercial backing to justify it all.

Part II sees this mostly in tact until the lead single of her ninth effort overall and third in the analysis all change...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Voice Season 6: Clocking Out at 5 For Good

[Who gets the pink slip of elimination and who gets promoted to the finale status? All will be found out as Carson's Rules of Order of Opener, Coach's Corner, Saved, Fodder, Fodder, Fodder, Saved, Bottom 3, Bottom 3 Performances and then Saved by ECT {East Coast Twitter} are parlayed out.]

Tonight marks when 5 become 3 on the NBC program with ratings. Each coach other than Adam has one artist to their name; Adam at the moment has 2. Will the two I voted for last night, Kristen and Kat (She sold me on "Chandelier" so much I forgave her awful second song choice.) make it or could this be the first time since S3 where a favorite of mine will have missed the finale? Or will it be like S4 all over again and be an Adam and Blake finale? *"Or is it the 1989 Denver Broncos?" O_O* These are the nouns, pronouns, gerunds, banter, fuckery and marklar that transpired...

Let's play rough and get it on!

Rascal Flatts performed a song called "Rewind". Country music = time to kill on TV shows, apparently.

Saved by Voice Jesus: Jake Worthington of Team Blake. The results are read in no particular order, so WOW. Blake will have a finalist AGAIN.

Oh great; Taxicab Confessionals...ugh. Then Coach's Corner happened and OH SWEET JESUS. STOP WASTING OUR TIME! What is this, the Battles Round 2? *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade*
Jacquie Lee of last season performed her debut single "Broken Ones". A self-esteem anthem so young in her career? She and X-Tina were a perfect fit for each other.

Then, Will Champlin took the stage performing a song called "Eye of the Pyramid". A stage piece looked like he stole the tip of the Luxor in Las Vegas. I can't with him.

Then: Josh Kaufman of Team Usher. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The Bottom 3: The Grimmie Reaper, Kat Perkins and Kristen Merlin of Teams Adam & Shakira. Eeek; especially considering that sources online know that the Grimmie Reaper has boatloads of followers online as opposed to the others. T_T

Then HRFH -2.0 took the stage to perform a song called "Everything Reminds Me of You". She performs on a stage constructed in a Vegas strip like way. *shudders*

Kristen performs "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood.

Kat performs "Good Girl" by Carrie Underwood.

The Grimmie Reaper performs "Apologize" by OneRepublic.

And while I was trying to post a save tweet for Kristen, internet was being screwy. Oh and the graphics for the show showing the real time voting block was removed for glitches though the votes were still good.

E.C.T. Saves: The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam.

Getting the Boot: Kristen Merlin and Kat Perkins of Teams Adam and Shakira. With a Top 5 finish Shakira is ousted from being a winning coach. Just like in S4.

All in all, the show is ending soon. Take that as you will.

Up next for scrutiny, the Finale Part I.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Voice Season 6: Your Daily Source of FIVE-boflavin

*Reminder: Constant consumption of this week's episode of the NBC show with ratings can increase your FIVE-boflavin by 525,600 x 0 x 100 percent!*

Tonight is signaling the much too rushed end of Season 6. At this rate, internet sources of the show are fearing and/or readying for a Josh Kaufman/"Soul Hobbit" or Christina Grimmie/"The Grimmie Reaper" victory. Kat Perkins and Kristen Merlin are looked at as worthy underdogs and Jake Worthington...well let's say that apart from charm, the country boy is getting not just raked, but fried over the coals. We at least get to find out in what's left of the live shows what Adam, Shakira, Usher and Blake thought were just amazing and shit. These are the nouns, pronouns, gerunds, banter, fuckery and marklar that transpired...

Let's play rough and get it on!

Usher first took the stage with the awfully titled new single he has called "Good Kisser". If I start thinking song titles like "Come Get it Bae" are deep, you have failed in terms of credibility. Gurl NO; NO; Gurl NO. (Also, Shakira has some diamond encrusted dandruff/Swarovski looking crown of thorns bullshit. I can't.)

First, Kristen Merlin of Team Shakira singing “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert. She dedicates this to her family and friends and such back home. Come showtime, she did have energy working for her but she seemed way too half-baked to do one of these "pissed off" songs. I can't clock her entire body of work tonight because of another song she'd yet to perform. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

Second, Josh Kaufman of Team Usher singing “All of Me” by John Legend. He dedicates this performance to his band The New Etiquette and of course his freakin' kids. Yes, that sounds heartless but it's The Voice; not The Daycare. Come showtime, he was nothing to write home about. Breath issues and really shaky lower registers. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

Third, Kat Perkins of Team Adam singing "Chandelier" by Sia. Rehearsals indicate that her vocal "gymnastics" are what need to be carried over into showtime. Come showtime, she was fantastic in this. That's right. I could not clock her singing in this performance. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

Fourth, Jake Worthington of Team Blake singing “Good Ol’ Boys” by Waylon Jennings. He dedicates this performance to his friends back home. Come showtime, I realized he plateaued weeks ago. He'll have had his fun and told Adam his aunt thought he was the sexiest thing ever. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

Fifth, The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam singing “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. Rehearsals indicate that the main thing to take away is that this song way too hard for anybody (Let alone, this one). Turns out she'll be using the vocoder thing Imogen did for this song. Come showtime, her performance was just flat. A marked improvement over flat out awful, but she's still terrible. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!" Note: Usher clocked her for emotional disconnect but then tried to be nice.

Going first for Round 2, Josh Kaufman of Team Usher singing “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. Grounds for immediate disqualification! A OneRepublic song being performed in public. Rehearsals indicate that crowd interaction is a bit of an accoutrement he's experimenting with. Come showtime, green lights were everywhere. That, the smoke effects and Adam's hair were the unfortunate highlights of the night (See Blake? THIS is how you shade his hair. "Barney Rubble" and "Sharon Stone". GURL please -_-) Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

At it again, Kat Perkins of Team Adam singing “Let it Go” from Frozen as sung by Idina Menzel. Come on; even I'm over the "Adele Dazeem" jokes. Oh and grounds for disqualification! Crappy Disney song being sung in public. She dedicates this performance to her loved ones and such from back home. Come showtime, lots of blue and ice to match Adam's hair. OK; that shade was me not trying. This was poor song choice on her end and I was wondering if people would be affected by Primacy or Recency effect. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

Re-tried in the Court of Public Opinion, Kristen Merlin of Team Shakira singing “Foolish Games” by Jewel. Rehearsals indicate that nerves are what she has to overcome in her second performance. Come showtime, she was better than her first song of the night. Recency effect could work in her favor if fans are willing to take in all of her previous works. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

Giving their second shot of the night, The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam singing “Some Nights” by .fun. She dedicates this to the loved ones she has from back home. Come showtime, she was just flat again and nothing special happened other than day-glo. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!" *P.S. please remember that balloons are not to be wasted like in her performance at the end.

Closing the night, Jake Worthington of Team Blake singing “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. Rehearsals indicate that he will have to make "rawk" seem country y'all. Please; if he were to ever say the play name H.M.S. Pinafore he'd make it sound like the Grand Ole Opry. Come showtime, he has an emotional connection that is at least deep for "country". He's still not getting my votes, but whatever. Coach's Corner was all "We are the AAA dedicated to helping tow you towards your dreams, simply because you are amazing!"

All in all, this season with the sole exception of Kristen Merlin, is the worst in show history. Too many good contestants have been cut for the fact and/or fear that either some YouTube hack who once opened for Selena Gomez [Grimmie Reaper] will prevail or some Dad with Dreams whose "struggle" was having to tutor kids for stuff like the SATs [Josh] will win because of pity votes a la Javier Colon from S1.
Neither of them are good; yet because of tone deaf people with iTunes accounts and pity votes, I already sense the winner ratio of like to hate will be 0 for 6. Granted, most of the "Chosen"/"Phone book" singers are gone, this season will have left one of the most sour tastes in my mouth.

Up next for scrutiny, the Results of the Top 5.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Voice Season 6: The TRIPLE BYE-PASS

Tonight: 3 contestants from the show are being axed like trees for the thing books used to be made of (Paper...books were once made of paper.)

Let's find out if Shakira and Usher get decimated or if Adam and Blake's team will FINALLY take a hit.
These are the nouns, pronouns, gerunds, banter, fuckery and marklar that transpired...

Let's play rough and get it on!

For whatever reason, Kat Perkins was put in the all-country artist group (Alongside the actual country peoples Jake Worthington, Audra McLaughlin and Kristen Merlin) performing some song by The Band Perry.

First saved by Voice Jesus: Josh Kaufman of Team Usher; also known as this season's iTunes bait. Thanks iTunes consumers...-_-

Then: Kristen Merlin of Team Shakira. YES! Someone I've learned to put up with makes it! \(^_^)/

By now, Team Blake and Team Adam will take a major hit.

Oh great; a Mother's Day Taxicab Confessions. *Moms are important y'all.*

Then: The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam. This was the other iTunes bait of the season. Go to hell, iTunes. (Turn past the Miley Cyrus concert and where Carson Daly is going for the Starbucks plug via the Mother's Day Taxicab Confessionals for the show.)

Then: Jake Worthington of Team Blake.

The bottom 4: HRFH -3.0, Kat Perkins, Audra McLaughlin and Delvin Choice of Team(s) Adam and Blake.

HRFH -3.0 sings "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin. All I can say is BACK UP; this is Amanda Brown and Kelly Clarkson's song.

Audra sings "Done" by the Band Perry. How fitting...*shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade*

Kat sings "Barracuda" by Heart. Maybe if she sang this instead of that Bon Jovi bullshit laden version of "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell she wouldn't be IN the Bottom 4. DURRR.

Delvin sings a song called "Young Girls".

East Coast Twitter saves: Kat Perkins of Team Adam. Go to hell, Twitter. Wait, you voted off HRFH -3.0 so YAY!

The 3 getting the boot: Delvin Choice, Audra McLaughlin and HRFH -3.0 of Team(s) Adam and Blake. Her "majesty" has been dethroned. YAY!

All in all, the show shouldn't be rushing the Live shows. They simply should not.

Up next for scrutiny, the performances of the Top 5.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Voice Season 6: Love is BLONDE

[Tonight's recap title is in reference to Adam Levine going blond. Like short of bleach blond...blond. It's also based off of the Eve song "Love is Blind".]

The Top 8 of the NBC show with ratings: a time with the exceptions of S4 and S5 when by now, favorites of mine are completely booted from the competition (So that the precious "Chosen Ones"/Over-pimped contestants get the chance to ruin the end part of an experience.) Adam, Shakira, Usher and Blake attempt to guide the contestants in ways that appeal the voting block and East Coast Twitter the next day. These are the nouns, pronouns, gerunds, banter, fuckery and marklar that transpired...

Let's play rough and get it on!

First in the Court of Public Opinion, HRFH -3.0 of Team Blake singing “River Deep Mountain High” by Tina Turner. Rehearsals [aside from Gwen Sebastian from S2 being there to help advise] indicate that potential nerves could screw with her with her mother being in the audience for the first time. Come showtime, she did nothing special with a Tina Turner song (Which is breaking one of the few commandments a singer is supposed to adhere to.) Also, whoever styled her must be fired. I can't with this knockoff Lupita N'yongo [Oscar winning actress for the film 12 Years a Slave] look. Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

Second, Josh Kaufman of Team Usher singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. Rehearsals indicate that apparently...-_- all he has to do is make the song more "personable" (Then he essentially tells Josh to "smize" for the cameras. I can't). Come showtime, he tried...he really did. Yet, his performance had really shaky introductory notes. For those wondering why I clock intro notes, I cannot be given any reason to clock someone so early in the performance. Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

Third, Kat Perkins of Team Adam singing “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. Ballsy song choice for a "rawker" chick. Rehearsals indicate her biggest task is beating the Insta-Save curse. Then, its revealed she's making it all "rawker" friendly. T_T Come showtime, she did have stage presence kind of working in her favor, but I simply couldn't with the Bon Jovi in the 80s style vocals. It's a personal preference, honestly. Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

Fourth, Kristen Merlin of Team Shakira singing “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice. Rehearsals indicate her task is to not fuck up a song that means something to her. Not exactly the highest bar to set, but finesse can clock a bitch on OUT of the competition. Come showtime, it dawned on me she is the most emotionally connected artist and that could be her BOOTS or secret weapon (He's the producer of the King Beysus' latest album...who has a mixtape available for streaming on SoundCloud called WinterSpringSummerFall which is out now. Shameless plug). Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

I would've talked about Pharrell's performance but it was a song he did with Miley Cyrus called [no kidding] "Come Get it Bae"...and it sounds like where Gwen Stefani's song "Wind it Up" died. I just can't with this.

Fifth, Delvin Choice of Team Adam singing “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly. Rehearsals indicate that Adam was initially against the song choice; then Delvin's emotional outpouring sold him on the song choice. Come showtime, it was a touch maudlin in staging and initial delivery. However, he did improve by the song's end vocally. Staging wise he was WAY too maudlin and over the top. Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

Sixth, Audra McLaughlin of Team Blake singing “Forgive” by Rebecca Lynn Howard. Rehearsals indicate that enunciation is her thing to work on with this particular song. Come showtime, her singing is decent but her singing of the "iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" in the word "forgive" sounds really off. It's standard safe singing for her but I don't know if she can make it past this week. Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

Gwen Stefani then performed "Hollaback Girl"...because apparently that's the only acceptable song to associate her with. -_- [There's "Luxurious", "What You Waiting For?", "The Sweet Escape", "Cool" or even "Rich Girl" ft. Eve]

Seventh, Jake Worthington of Team Blake singing “Hillbilly Deluxe” by Brooks and Dunn. Rehearsals indicate that Jake "needs" to be more badass and less "Southern Fried Quasimodo" and I hate that brief. His endearing side is what's gotten him by in TV presentation terms. Come showtime, I'm sure diehard country people just "lurved" this as much as the coaches do. I can't clock country too much with Blake because I'm not a devotee of country like them. Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

Finally, The Grimmie Reaper of Team Adam singing “How to Love” by Lil' Wayne. Rehearsals indicate that Grimmie was against this song. She showed a last minute ability to call something oddly similar but also sort of sensible as iTunes...blah blah blah, she hated this song first. Come showtime, the whole thing was flat out wrong and incorrect. The staging was too much "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes and the arrangement was a bit too Jem and the Holograms in ballad form awful. That was all before I remembered that the Napoleon Complex is strong in this one. I simply can't with this. Coach's Corner was all "That is amazing! You are amazing! We make Paula Abdul look like Michelle Visage by comparison!"

All in all, it wouldn't kill the coaches to critique people's performances. That and 3 people are being booted tomorrow. O_O

Up next for scrutiny, the results of the Top 8.