Monday, February 29, 2016

Steve Grand Hits the Gym

After an eventful last week with "We Are the Night" getting a much hyped and #GrandFam requested music video treatment, singer/songwriter Steve Grand returns to the lovely Gu-vlog [gulag + vlog = Gu-vlog] landscape known as YouTube. Here's what daddy* talked about this week...

Observations: Health and Fitness? How 'bout fitness this d...never mind; his vlog his rules.

- I was eating McDonald's as I watched this so thank you for that delicious irony, Steve.

- Getting those perv views with that armpit action. Smell of success on fleek.

- In case this looks dated, this is from when Steve had only announced being sober back in December/the beginning of this year.

- NIPPLE ALERT...if you're new. One of Steve's nipples returns on a vlog since that DaveyWavey collaboration from 2015.

- Let me be serious Steve. DON'T YOU EVER BECOME A GYM RAT. Working out is fine, but you're a hot person with a soul and gym rats HAVE NO SOULS. Maintain your soul as a hot person, Steve.

- At least Trevor LaPaglia has a budding career in thirst trap camera work. I'd've said porn but budding was poor word choice...

- Again, DON'T BECOME A GYM RAT. You're a hot person with a soul. Don't conform to this health bullshit just to impress other people.

- I'm secretly [yeah fucking right] seething at all this "bro" shit. Sorry...breaux shit. Hopefully the Pappadeaux spelling of that means he will still have a soul despite being in the gym and melding with gym culture...his vlog, his rules I know but goddamnit DO NOT BECOME A GYM RAT.

- That protein shake spill...Steve knows the perv faction of his audience rather well. Come on, self awareness.

Now that that's done, the rest of you watch the video for "We Are the Night". If you made time during Christmas to watch his cover of "All I Want For Christmas Is You", you can take time out of February going on March to watch the video closing out the All American Boy era.

*If you're wondering what the "daddy" thing is about, Steve once called Jon Hamm "daddy" on Twitter after Hamm had finally won an Emmy. "Daddy" ended up sticking with Steve, especially when in SoCal, he once tweeted something to the effect of "daddy likes his tub time". Like a true Lana Del Rey fan, he gots a taste for men who are older...*

Thursday, February 25, 2016

This List is RANK: The Top 20 Donna Summer Songs of All Time

Called the "Queen of Disco", but is the only woman maybe artist to have been nominated in 5 different genres of music at the Grammy Awards [Disco, Pop, Rock, R&B & Dance]. Donna Summer and her quality songs stretch way beyond the mid to late 1970s when she was labeled the "Queen of Disco".
Up until 1991, she enjoyed levels of mainstream success and experienced some of the most infamous lows a recording artist could.

For the purposes of this list, I'm considering all proper releases from her that don't suck from Love to Love You Baby to the 1 good song from Mistaken Identity (Crayons from 2008 felt like a retread and was mediocre and material from albums named The Wanderer, Cats Without Claws & All Systems Go are disqualified for being lurid trash.) along with lost in the 80s but released in the 90s I'm a Rainbow and the 2013 remix album Love to Love You Donna.

20. "I Need Time" [from I'm a Rainbow]- One of the more subtle productions especially for Giorgio Moroder, Summer's vocals present themselves with such grace in a "lost" ballad that Geffen should've been behind along with the other material from this album.

19. "To Turn the Stone" [from I'm a Rainbow]- Although the Celtic adjacent vibes are unsettling at first, this other "lost" treasure does show what many don't exactly know about Donna; that she really did more than disco songs really well. This ballad showcases the late singer's near perfect projection and vocal control.

18. "Love to Love You Baby" [the title track from her proper U.S. debut]- "WHAT?! HOW DARE YOU, THIS SONG IS LEGENDARY." No, the mythos behind this song is legendary. Donna Summer had WAY better songs than even this classic. Recorded when she was laying down on the floor because as Summer herself revealed on [at least] the Arsenio Hall show that this was how she envisioned Marilyn Monroe singing it (Remember; Donna was on her back & this is how she thought Marilyn would sing it...the shade wrote itself.)
As for the orgasms...err vocal performance, it did showcase potential left and right that led to Summer becoming the definitive artist of the 1970s.

17. "Spring Affair" [from Four Seasons of Love]- An under-appreciated cut, this showed the playful facet of Summer's vocals while still sounding just as "lustful" or "come hither" as most of her material from that time.

16. "When Love Cries" [from Mistaken Identity]- Let's get this out of the way now; had it not been for this song, Mistaken Identity wouldn't be represented at all as that album for all of its 90s New Jack Swing type of R&B appeal...just sucks and did nothing for her vocals at all.
This lone exception showed that had producers actually put in way more effort, this infamous flop known as Mistaken Identity could've stood a better chance in the eyes of music critics. Her final Hot 100 entry stands out for containing her most alluring vocals on any record of hers.

Friday, February 19, 2016

NEW VIDEO ALERT: "We Are the Night" by Steve Grand

Continuing his video release hustle but ending the All American Boy era on a high note, singer/songwriter Steve Grand has just released the official video for his song "We Are the Night". *NOTE: On January 4th, in the midst of a graphic design contest announced on his Facebook page, Grand revealed that the video mix is the Dave Audé remix*

If you include the acoustic rendition from back in November of 2015, this marks a second video treatment for the song [which almost wasn't included on the original album, but due to more than positive reception from the Grand Fam convinced him it deserved a place on the album].

Filmed in early December of last year, the John Lavin* directed video features Grand and standout dancer Dexter Mayfield among those having the time of their lives. [*John Lavin if you remember also directed the video for "All I Want For Christmas Is You"] Here's how the review for the video will work: the only real factor is cohesion between the visuals used and the song. All other commentary will be used for entertainment purposes (Meaning, No T, No Shade, GET OUT OF YOUR FEELINGS)

The preview for the video from his Behind the Scenes shaker vlog gave the impression that apart from giving sex appeal in a red jacket, Grand and co. are having the time of their lives even if their surroundings seem to indicate they should be miserable (Though Grand suffered once he revealed that one of the rental cars was a Chevrolet Spark AKA the D- student of Chevrolet cars.)

Observations: [getting these two out of the way] DAT ASS and THAT RED JACKET to do what a lot refuse to do and move on to the content itself.

Side note for Steve: I don't give a remote controlled fuck how much you spent on that red leather jacket; it looks amazing.

My biggest question is this; what the hell is with EDM/EDM adjacent music and thin white triangle outlines? Geometry on fleek, but that's confused the hell out of me since 2009 [when this music type went mainstream].

Dexter Mayfield and tutu-chick are amazing in the video.

Steve at some points does give a little "Empire" by Shakira realness what with the posing with dead looking/brittle looking tree/shrubbery looking things.

CLOCK the rental cars! A blue Honda sedan, that damned Spark and a custom Scion tc sedan.

Steve cannot dance but when gifted with singing, dancing is usually sacrificed [ask Mariah Carey] but that dust kicking move was cute. OK, Steve can't dance but he can certainly do some runway walking [as only his adorkable ass can].

CORRECTION: Steve CAN dance if a spin move counts as a dance.

Credit to the dancers/video models with rhythm; your routines were cute and get 10s across the board.

Steve's face at the end of the video is a bit too intense for such an upbeat remix [but maybe because as one person on Instagram pointed out, the NBC/Comcast building was in the background and post-production became a bit of a bitch.] but I'll allow it. That man has good genetics on his side and I shant clock him too much for intensity.

VERDICT: It's a cute video that deserves attention ESPECIALLY FROM BUZZFEED. The concept is "self-esteem anthem in the desert" and it's executed fantastically.

NEW MUSIC ALERT: "We Are the Night" by Steve Grand (Dave Audé remix)

Talk about AUDÉ Lang a new music release, singer/songwriter Steve Grand has just released a remix of his song "We Are the Night" as remixed by Dave Audé. Yes, you read that right (And not just the bad pun based off of Auld Lang Syne); Steve Grand now joins the ranks of Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Madonna and other mega-stars to have a song of theirs get a remix by Dave Audé.

AND IN RECENT DEVELOPMENT THERE ARE 3 REMIXES; Full, Radio and Video edits. I will review all 3.

For the purposes of this review I must say these things in no particular order and no particular semblance:

- I will be listening to the remixes as they are on Spotify [too poor and Android for iTunes]. If like me, you're resorting to Spotify, please take to social media outlets [Twitter, Tumblr, etc.] and shamelessly plug the song as to draw support for him.

- If you happen to have iTunes and need to add a Steve Grand song or a Dave Audé remix, please head to iTunes and buy the track and encourage/pimp the hell out of it to draw support for him.

With that out of the way, here's how the song review will work for the remixes; obvious factors like instrumental/production choices and vocal preservation will be combined with the overall vibe detected. From the preview of his Behind the Scene shaker video, it sounds like the remix respected the natural projection Grand has in his singing*

[*Here's what I mean by that; for posterity, the AllMusic review of the 2013 Donna Summer remix album Love to Love You Donna chastised the production work at large for over-processing the vocals and relying too much on big names to reintroduce Summer's work to the EDM/Electro crowd*]

VIDEO: Length of time clocks in at 4:26. That vocal preservation I hinted at looks to be realized as Grand's natural skill isn't fucked with too much on the song. Instrumental wise here, the Audé touch doesn't really kick in until the 1:40 mark [or before the second verse]. Once on the verse, the remix sound is sort of hard to get used to at first.
Again a Steve Grand song isn't the type that SCREAMS "I need a remix"; it's the same thing I personally see with Lady Gaga songs. KDrew barely got a good reworking of "G.U.Y." and not for nothing, Grand and Gaga are the types to get their songs right more or less on the first try.

Another area of the song being remixed I had only considered mentally was the spoken part where Grand shows support for the trans community. Mixed in with a bit of the instrumental is actually more serviceable than I thought it would get. In reality, the remix further proves this song was Grand's version of "Born This Way".

RADIO: This is the shortest edit at 3:56. So here's my thing about the remix with this version; the video edit is slightly better as the radio instrumental skips the transition in between verses. It happens throughout this version of the song and I find it quite problematic. The remix itself isn't that Hi-NRG to where it can afford the sudden switch to verses and no instrumental until the tail end.

The tempo of the remix is actually really complimentary here and on the video edit, but cutting the transitions in between the first and second verses was a bad call.

FULL: Clocking in at 5:56, this is the longest version of the song available at least on Spotify. The beginning of this version with the "ight" version of the song title made me worried that perhaps vocal preservation was only respected in the video and radio edits. However, once the song kicks in, that worry was put to bed. As expected, the full version is the most club-friendly as even the intro was given a specialized treatment.

It should be noted that across all 3 versions, the second rendition of the chorus is replaced with the spoken shout-out to the trans community after the 2nd verse. I'll consider this minor gripe just me being spoiled with the studio/album version. The outro to this version is proof that Audé knew exactly what he was doing on what I can consider one of his tougher songs to remix.

FINAL GRADES: The full edit gets a B++/A-. It's the best treatment of the song just based on audio experience alone [even with my spoiled ass having a minor gripe with a pretty common vocal/production choice with remix artists]. Get this version if you can handle a near 6 minute song (To practice, become a fan of Lana Del Rey. That will build up a tolerance of long songs that you will not believe.)

The video edit gets a B+/A-. It's giving off such promise for the video and if you need an audio experience but can't make it to almost 6 minutes, this is the version for you.

The radio edit? That gets a C-. Not including the groovy instrumentals in between verses, waiting until the end and being barely shorter than the video edit? BAD. CALL. The tempo wasn't all Hi-NRG here to afford such jarring transitions from verse to verse.

Use your judgment in case you may or probably will disagree with me, but use this as a basic (Not the Starbucks and Uggs "basic") primer as to what to expect from each remix.

Again, if you're iTunes able, buy the version of the song he pimps.
If on Spotify, get thee to social media and share the hell out of this my personal gripes be damned. He deserves the support.

Stay tuned for the video review of "We Are the Night".

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Steve Grand & How Non-Perverted Orders Are Fulfilled

No draft to brag about this time. Singer/songwriter Steve Grand is the STUNT KWEEN DUJOUR. So here's what the #GrandFam gets this time around from daddy...

SIDE NOTE: We're probably not going to know what happened to this video/print screen which has been unofficially declared dead before arrival. The "Stop Objectifying" video must've been what this video was going to be. Oh well; it's a mystery to is the poo emoji. No clue why it's a thing.


Observations: The special contest edition of the We Are the Night t-shirt looks to be out "next month"; winner is probably not going to be named until that day but that much is speculative.

- I clocked that bit of ab at the 0:53 mark of the video. <3

- Visit ; see, he's not the only one with more shameless plugging abilities like a power strip.

- So Big Cartel is like Squarespace but for online stores...I that he's plugging them as well.

- Steve, you have [in no simpler term] a FUCKTON of visitors with numbers that require the maths and such and this is about the most math we remember...

I'm amazed at the fact either of us can consider this CHARTED territory.

- Steve will actually tumble for us...he's such a romantic. A dork, but romance is rare and I will gladly take that.


- 2:45 mark...any man willing to get THAT close up to a camera is more courageous than I ever will be. No T, No Shade that's some hardcore shit right there.

- Honey, no one gives a remote controlled fuck about being SOOOOOOOOO phisticated. We're in the U.S. for Gaga's sake.

- Staples, give Steve money to hawk your products and services. He name checked you.

- Bottom line: keep up with him, bitch. Pretty much to secure your order, have questions or just to not be confused as fuck.

- A printer from 2007 that still works? Holy fuck you're made of magic.

Keep up with him on social media!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Steve Grand: Valentine Stunt KWEEN & YouTube's Gay Dad

After that much needed last entry from his chest, singer/songwriter Steve Grand returns to his latest vlog schedule. Here's what he has in store for the #GrandFam this week...

Observations: Steve is such a stunt KWEEN and I live. He's currently in Denver awaiting to play a gig at around midnight and he decides to post this video. STUNT KWEEN.

- So a niche audience he worked out is the foot fetishist audience. Some T, Some Shade if lotion shows up in the P.O. Box you set this up yourself Steve.

They're crying "defeat" for a WHOLE 'NOTHER REASON

- HOT PEOPLE EAT SOLID FOOD...OH MY GOD. Apparently, it's Butter Pecan Breyer's Ice Cream. I'd've preferred a palatable flavor like Strawberry but his video, his rules.

- Hallmark bullshit must be abolished. Plugging the website, must be continued forever.

- PRIORITIES ON FLEEK, Steve. SIDE NOTE to Lady Gaga; start a record label and sign Steve AT ONCE.

- Nothing says romantic setting like a sweaty armpit stain in a t-shirt and eating copious amounts of food by yourself. As RuPaul says, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell can you love somebody else?"

- "Clean your butthole" & "Trim out the forest" = PURE. JOY. when said by a person invested in sarcastic, nuanced humor.

To be honest, receiving from him has been a dream of mine.
Advice however, was not part of that dream.

Do as he says and follow his adorkable ass on social media; "We Are the Night" video comes out February 19th.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Steve Grand: Stop Objectifying Me!/Look At My Shirtless Gym Bod

NOTE: This marks the 275th post for the blog.

APPARENTLY, Steve has updated and is on the nuanced offense and I LIVE...

Here's what he said in full...Queerty, NewNowNext when it was The Backlot, Towleroad, etc. this is aimed at you.

*mic drop*

Look for the music video for "We Are the Night" on Feb. 19th but if you want to keep up with him and his hot dork antics, he is rather active on social media even with him recording & writing new material and touring the country...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Steve Grand: Haters are Motivators

(Me: "Another post about a vlog from Steve Grand? How thirsty are you?"

Also me: Yup, and considering keeping up with him is more fulfilling then trying yet again with The Voice you can have several seats in every auditorium in the Western Hemisphere.)

In keeping with the ever so detailed criterion of "within a week" and "one(ish)", singer/songwriter Steve Grand is on his side hustle of vlog enthusiast (When not giving businessman in the making realness having secured a t-shirt deal with bassackwards tees and having determined a winner of the "We Are the Night" t-shirt some point in this Gregorian calendar year...)

This time, Grand opens up about how the initial criticism of "All American Boy" would affect him...

Observations: he doesn't go into exact criticism he's received. Considering he's just now opening up about this, it's just a step in the right direction towards being open with his audience.

- In the thumbnail, there's a picture not previously seen in which he's shaved head with what appears to be blotchy skin...Steve, what was happening here? Was this prior to your re-emergence at Cleveland Pride 2015? I'm wondering.

The devil's in the details, but Steve I hope you were
OK because that picture kind of scares me...

- His disclaimers are proof that he is growing as a person. Granted they do seem a bit unnecessary if it's HIM opening up, but by the by it's HIM so again...step in the right direction.

- SIDE NOTE: this personal hell thing is something I inadvertently picked up on prior to his social media break fromantic August of last year. I wrote him a letter about something he touched on...perception vs. reality.

- Him admitting things got to him is disheartening especially if like the Grand Fam at large, you know the things he's done especially related to activism, being nice to lovestruck wackos like me, etc. 

- PERSONAL NOTE: talking about songwriting would not only make me happy, but also help address critics who call you country when you're actually POP IN THE SINGER/SONGWRITER VAIN.

- This honesty is why I DMd you my number, Steve.

On deck: "We Are the Night" music video review.

Pending: "We Are the Night" remix review ONLY if it's on say, Spotify, Soundcloud or YouTube as a separate entry on his channel.
If that isn't the case, the music video review will double as a review of the remix.