My Mandatory Best Music Of The Year Blog

I’ve been dreading writing this one, and mostly because I wanted to make the post a little different. I don’t want to just count down the songs I like. Instead, I’m going to focus on artists, albums, and maybe throw in a song here and there. 
Any “year end” list will have this lady at the top of it:
ADELE! I just read she has sold more records in a year since Usher did it way back in  2004. Over 5 million copies to be exact. Unbelievable. I keep wondering why Adele has been able to accomplish all of her feats. She continues to prove pop music is a chameleon. It doesn’t have to be flashy or overproduced, it just has to be simple and simple always works. With two Grammy wins under her belt, she will no doubt add all six she is nominated for at the 2012 ceremony. “Rolling in the Deep” is a song I will never get tired of. And although she has a laundry list of terrific self-penned songs, I love a good cover song performance. Here’s Adele at the iTunes Download Festival in London in July covering Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, I’m still speechless.
Speaking of downloading, I thought I would be bold and buy at least one cd this year and I don’t regret it. The Foo Fighters returned this year with the Butch Vig-produced Wasting Light, oh yeah. Recorded in Dave Grohl’s garage/home studio, this album is a rock supernova and it’s very heavy. It’s definitely the best rock record I’ve purchased in the last few years; it makes me miss my rock radio days.

Next up, I had only heard about indie pop band Foster the People, but I had never heard any of their music until I saw them on Saturday Night Live in October. Sometimes the combination of indie and pop don’t quite go together, but this band makes it listenable and really fun. I immediately downloaded (yes) their debut album Torches and it’s good stuff. I bet if you turn on the radio for a while, you’ll hear their crossover hit, “Pumped Up Kicks” which has some bold lyrics but the catchiness takes away from all that, well done!

Another album I downloaded was country, yeah I know, and I NEVER buy country anymore. Hell on Heels is the debut record from the trio Pistol Annies including hitmaker Miranda Lambert, and her pals, Ashley Monroe and KY native Angaleena Presley. What I like about the Pistol Annies is that their kind of country borders on the side of folk, now that’s a good combination. No wonder acts like The Civil Wars, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and last year’s Grammy darlings Mumford & Sons are basking in the new country folk movement. I’ll admit, I’m a fan of traditional country music, like Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Dolly Parton, and so forth. The Pistol Annies build on that downhome philosophy and sound. Here is “Boys from the South“, I recommend the whole album.
Okay, this is getting to be long and I know I will suffer mightily at the hands of my fellow Little Monsters if I don’t mention that 2011 wasn’t too bad for Lady GaGa. Born This Way was released in May and it went multi-platinum very quickly. In fact, you may remember online retailer offered the standard copy of the album for $.99 and all hell broke loose, and the record ended up easily selling over a million copies in its first week. The discounted price sales prompted Billboard to change its policy on counting sales on albums sold lower than $3.49, if it’s lower, it’s not counted towards official sales numbers, which is lame.  In 2011, GaGa dueted with Tony Bennett, she had her own Thanksgiving special on ABC, and she wrapped up her Monster Ball Tour, which I missed, and I’m still sad about it. But when the new tour rolls out, hopefully next year, I don’t care the cost, I’m there!
As for 2012, new albums are on the way from: Nicki Minaj, Maroon 5, Mumford & Sons, Jay-Z, Green Day, Muse, Paramore, the reunited Soundgarden, maybe No Doubt, and the most anticipated by far will be from Madonna with Ray of Light producer William Orbit back at the helm. The singer will team up with Minaj and M.I.A during her even higher anticipated Super Bowl halftime show in Indianapolis in February with the first single, “Gimme All Your Luvin’“…I can’t wait.

Note To Self: Don’t See The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo With Your Parents

I rarely go to the movies anymore, and mostly because movies are not as good these days. I’m not taking anything away from the ones that are awards fodder or the ones I really like (Bridesmaids, hello?!?), I just never go to the theater that much on a regular basis. But when I do, I normally end up going with my parents, and they are cool people, yet I don’t think they or I was ready for the shocking scenes in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Let me start by saying, no, I haven’t seen the original. I knew about the Swedish trilogy (books and films) from friends and through my own brief investigation, I knew about the main characters. Well, only Lisbeth Salander. Her image is very striking: the hair, the piercings, the tattoos, it all sounded good to me. I sort of knew about the brutal violence in the story, but I had no idea how violent or how sexual explicit it was until I saw it…with my parents.
We were torn on seeing it or three other movies: The Adventures of TinTin, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, or War Horse. Time was tight, so I was sure Dragon was eliminated; I thought we would end up seeing War Horse. However, my parents decided to modify their original plans so we could be on time for Lisbeth and Mikael Blomkvist. As usual, we ended up running a little late anyway. My Dad has to have a snack, Mom doesn’t care if she has a snack, and I didn’t either but Dad ended up buying me a Coke. I sat down to save our seats while the concessions were too busy, Mom and Dad made it into the theater just as the actual movie previews began. First of all, thanks to Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the opening credits are maybe the most bad-ass I’ve ever seen. They were able to license Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (performed here by Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) but only for the teasers and the opening credits. Nevertheless, the score is really good, although it sounds no different from Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails stuff. Oh well. 
Aside from the graphic sex and violence, including one memorable rape scene (WTF?!?), the film itself is very good, but it drags in spots and I know at least 30 minutes could have been cut off at the end. It’s already awkward when you see sex on screen with your parents sitting beside you, but this kind of brutality was on a whole other level and even I was a little in shock. My peripheral vision would dart over at my parents and they were speechless. Oh sure, me and Mom had our fair share of mini-riffing at a few elements, but the sex scenes were off limits. I could see myself mentally cowering into a corner when Rooney Mara’s naked body would pop up and it does A LOT, and secretly, it was a little guilty pleasure for me…shhhhhh! By the way, Golden Globe-nominated Mara is wonderful as Salander. I did determine she and her older sister actress Kate, best known as of late for American Horror Story, they sound and sort of look exactly alike. I hope the younger Mara can also capture an Oscar nod. Speaking of Oscar nods, how about one for David Fincher? This is not his best, but he’s certainly deserving of something considering he was able to take on an already established story and film. 
I recommend The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I highly recommend leaving your parents at home!


Murder House I Barely Knew You Or An Airing Of Grievances

It’s Festivus and I have a big grievance to air. Apparently, after this week’s clunky American Horror Story season finale (I’ll get to that shortly), series co-creator/man I love to hate Ryan Murphy, broke the news season two would be totally different, as in a new setting, new lead characters, and a new haunting and/or ghost scenario. HUH?!?
Although I’m not opposed to the idea, what will become of this lady?
Are you telling me Jessica Lange aka Constance Langdon will NOT be back next year???? It’s crazy talk considering Lange and the series have snagged Golden Globe nominations for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series, or Motion Picture Made for Television” and “Best Television Series-Drama”. Oh and Lange has also netted a SAG nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series”. Here’s the nutty part, she’ll win, but she won’t have a series to go back to, unless Murphy thinks of a creative way to bring her back without drudging up all of the back stories from the Murder House. I guess this means Jennifer Grey’s cameo as Constance’s hairdresser will go unfulfilled as well. Sigh.
Okay, in the article, Murphy says some of the regulars from season one will be back, but who? I could care less about everyone except for Connie Britton…she is easy on the eyes! Now, about that finale. Could it have been more fluffy?
I say the episode was clunky, because it seemed the writers tried to cram all the Harmons and the other ghosts into one sequence, and when they tried to scare away the new family moving in, it played out much like this:
 It fooled me into thinking it was maybe the first episode of season two, you know the whole “three years later” and then seeing one of the twins holding a bloody knife with a shit-eating grin. Very Dexter which I have not watched since season one. American Horror Story will definitely fall into a sophomore slump, and I hate that. I’m not saying my curiosity isn’t piqued, I’m just not sure you can erase everything that made the first season of the show so good. This is the reason I’m dreading season two of The Killing, a show that also failed to deliver in the season finale. Who killed Rosie Larsen? “We aren’t telling you until season two and then we are going to move on to another case.” BULLSHIT! I guess if Ben (Dylan McDermott) hadn’t died then the series would have continued in LA, but I guess he had to die, he had to be just as an annoying asshole in the afterlife as he was in his previous life. Mission accomplished! 
Thus my tumultuous relationship with Mr. Murphy rolls on. He’s lucky he cast NeNe in Glee or I would have had to dot both of his eyes out.

GLEE Scores Its Biggest Rich Bitch Yet!

Okay, so I have to get up a little bit early tomorrow, but I saw this breaking news and I had to share.  Here’s the tweet from Ms. NeNe Leakes herself! Oh hells yes! Leakes has not been happy with Bravo and since it was announced fellow Atlanta Housewife (and hater) Kim Zolciak would be getting a spin-off following her wedding preparations, entitled Don’t Be Tardy For The Wedding, (though it won’t be permanent) Leakes now wants either her own show or she wants out of the Housewives franchise that put her on the map. What better way to raise the stakes than guest starring on GLEE? NeNe will be playing McKinley High’s synchronized swimming coach, Roz Washington. According to one story, the character might become a regular. Her first episode is due to air on January 17th, with a second appearance scheduled the very next week, which is when the series’ Michael Jackson tribute episode drops. WOW! 
I just hope she teaches Sue Sylvester a thing or two…ya think?

Whoopi Goldberg Uses ‘The View’ As Her Personal Toilet

I hope the SNL writers were paying attention, because they and Kenan Thompson have a guaranteed skit for tonight’s winter finale.
 On The View yesterday, in the middle of a serious chat with Homeland star Claire Danes, Whoopi Goldberg let an audible air biscuit rip live on the air. And as the article states, it’s not the first time Goldberg has talked about her flatulence problems on the talk show. Let’s all admit it, farts are funny, and this scenario wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if Goldberg dropped a silent but deadly bomb on the set. I couldn’t sleep last night, so I browsed the web on my phone and I found the story. I had to go to YouTube immediately and I preceded to watch the clip I would say a total of ten times. No wonder she wears such roomy clothes. Does she want to add an “F” to her EGOT?
I’m assuming Whoopi wants to prove actors are human beings just like the rest of us, but God, why in that way? And as you’ll see, Barbara Walters was NOT present. Forget Steve Jobs, Whoopi Goldberg is the “Most Fascinating Person” of the year. 

Black And White Photos Or Welcome To Hell!

“Oh Edie!, did you stockpile more cat shit and old boxes yet?”
She sure did, and this is just one example from a wonderful new site I just discovered today:
 I think the “wtf” part is an understatement. People back then were just plain weird, and it was fantastic. Who cares if Lindsay Lohan shows her goodies to the world, these photos are original and downright startling. Here are just a few examples.
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen these prehistoric Muppets, gah! Poor dog.
Obviously the inspiration for Boxing Helena.
Anne Sullivan knew the day would come when Helen Keller would screw her over for a piece of ass.
 Uh, WTF for this one!
Sorority initiations back then were all about who could survive the bloody mattress dangling over her head. It was also used for determining who was a witch.
   Why child labor laws were invented; I can’t explain the chicken’s presence.But then again, this isn’t the first or last instance of children smoking 
It looks as if Monty Python was about 40 years behind, talk about confuse a cat.
“It brushes the fox head or else it gets the claws again..”
  WTF #2 
 The Easter Bunny’s cousin, the Labor Day Sack Ghost.
 Whichever head he chooses, it won’t matter because it’s not the one she really wants. (RIM SHOT!)
 All-American Girl by God! Animal crackers to boot?
“Just kick the fucking pickle Irene!”
  WTF? WTF? WTF? (infinity)


When In Doubt (Or Bored), Robyn It Is!

I know I harp a lot on how bad Saturday Night Live has become. Okay, it has its bright spots–I still heart Kristen Wiig, but it just isn’t the same. That said, sometimes the behind-the-scenes footage can be a gold mine. Case in point, second year featured cast member Taran Killam, along with a few other cast members/writers were burning the midnight oil in anticipation of this past Saturday’s show starring Katy Perry (as host!) and Europop goddess Robyn as musical guest. I just want to once again point out the only part worth investing time lately in is when the musical guests are on, because in the past, if there had been DVR, I would’ve wasted no time in fast-fowarding through the music segments. Anyways, Taran and the others decided they were so bored or so in procrastination hell, they decided to act out Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” video. All I can say, this is classic and I hope we see a few more unseen moments like these come to life. Taran Killam, you are good people.

Don’t Cry For Me Rachel Crow, Yeah, I Watched X-Factor This Week

**SPOILER ALERT** Cute little Rachel Crow, who needed $5 million dollars for her own bathroom, will not be winning The X-Factor, no, she will be fielding offers from countless kid-friendly studios, so her bathroom dream is still attainable. Especially since TMZ broke a story about a meeting with Disney. I think if we remember Rachel, we’ll remember her personality, and I won’t remember her singing except for her initial audition. I’m not convinced a 13-year-old was ready for a big music career, and Nicole had go and do it and force the “deadlock”. So basically it’s your fault America!

What you’ll see above, if you didn’t see it Thursday night, is what I call a primetime soap opera over acting moment, for both Crow and Scherzinger. I may sound mean, but Crow can act, and yes I know she was actually upset. And when Nicole walked away from host Steve Jones when he asked her for a comment after the whole funeral-like scene went down, she refused to speak. She’s lucky, because now her “Over 30” candidate Josh Krajcik, just might win; I just hope he NEVER covers Rihanna again, what the hell was that? And although Simon is pissed about Rachel Crow, he can almost guarantee Melanie Amaro will make the finals and she will probably win. I’m still not buying her “authentic” accent, because if there’s a better acting job than Rachel, it’s Melanie pulling off her very convincing American accent.

As for LA Reid’s remaining competitors, Marcus Canty impressed me this week and Chris Rene did not. I don’t know why Rene is still there, he had his tiny moment in the auditions, now we all know he’s not any good. Canty is polarizing and he’s been in the bottom the last 3 weeks?!? I’m still of the opinion it’s Amaro’s and Simon’s to lose, we’ll see.

Bonus picture, celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves posted a few pictures of Rachel’s “new hair” on his Facebook wall, she looks pretty happy to me…

Video Deconstruction: (Abbrviated) Lady GaGa "Marry the Night"

What you are looking at, if you haven’t seen “Marry the Night” yet, is a scene from the nearly 9 minute prelude to when the track starts to play. It’s a story of madness and redemption, although it’s meant to play out like a true prelude to GaGa mania. Did GaGa really lose it when she was turned down the first time by a major record company? Did she go into a mental hospital? Did she really do it all in style? 
 I love the French subtitles and this translation is something I can actually remember from taking 2 years in high school and 2 more years in college: “but I am an artist.” Simple enough. What ensues is naked madness played against a scene where GaGa is a ballet dancer on a dark stage, one spotlight. 
I just noticed that’s a maxi pad she’s covering her chest with; maybe an idea for next Halloween. And it has wings, bonus! GaGa must also have a thing for Cheerios as she is seen slathering plenty and milk all over her body and then finally, she plops into a bathtub to dye her hair blond.
After she has her breakdown, in all her bedazzled glory, she returns to show the bad-ass ballerinas a thing or two. I got a very Amy Winehouse make-up vibe here. Or maybe it’s another Madonna moment. 
“I know that diamond for my tea cup is in here somewhere!” This is what we all saw as part of the main video shoot, cars on fire, a dirty GaGa what have you. Did I mention I love this song? 
What would a Lady GaGa video be without dancing? I doubt we’ll ever see a video without dancing, since it’s part of who she is and in this instance, it helps to drive the story. This post is getting a little corny, my apologies.
 WHOA! No, that’s not a toilet she’s leaning over. And that’s as naked as I’ve seen GaGa in a video to date, at least natural naked. This is a prelude to the Vanity Fair naked shot. Insecurity? Ha!
 I just thought it was funny when GaGa picked up the faux Black Swan up off the floor. Yeah, this post isn’t so good.
When all is said and done (and danced) this shot appears towards the end, God those nails look dangerous! It’s a wonder we never see Jimmy Iovine. Patience pays off while watching this video, but it’s not my favorite. I want to see her live!!!!
(All video screenshots courtesy of