Saturday, July 07, 2007

Live Blogging: Live Earth

Today is the Live Earth Concerts and since it is supposed to top out at around 90 here today, I thought I would try live blogging for the very first time. You can stream the Live Earth concerts on MSN.

Scooter Update: It is the day after and I have a few more thought on things I didn't get to or didn't see yesterday.

- The Police get great closing out the show. Not that surprising when they brought out John Mayer, who has been known to do an version of Message in a Bottle in concert. But the big surprise was when Kanye West popped up. Yeah the rap was kind of lame with lines like "Sting is the only police cool in the hood" and it was obvious that it wasn't Sting's idea to have him as he mispronounced his name (Kane-ye). But it was a cool way to end the show.

- Roger Waters with the rest of Pink Floyd was a huge letdown even with the weird "Save Our Sausage" pig balloon (get it, because SOS was a running theme and sausage is made from pigs part of Pink's imagery? Oh never mind). It was cool when he brought out the children's choir for Another Brick in the Wall until the chorus hit and you realized that they weren't miked up and they were piping in the album version.

- Who had the Smashing Pumpkins being the only artist (that I saw) to shameless promote their album? Then to make it worse Billy Corgan went on to insinuate the band lackluster sales in the late nineties were because of illegal downloading. No Billy, it was because the product wasn't very good. And it looks like Billy recruited yet another female bassist, his third for the band) and this new one is definitely the most attractive one, you know, in a creepy goth kind of way.

- Shakira straighting her hair: upgrade.

- Unless I missed it, it was nice to see Rihanna skipped her new single Shut Up and Drive. It was silly enough to have a car company sponsor the event. But I'm not sure what was the worse fashion statement of the day, her Sandy at the end of Grease outfit or KT Tunstall's.

8:10 - Well I think I finally hit the wall. It is time to take the dogs out and actually turn of the computer (I'll even switch off the power strip, see I did learn something today). I'll catch up on the rest which includes Bon Jovi, the semi-reunited Smashing Pumpkins, Roger Waters sans Pink Floyd and The Police later and may add them to this later.

7:50 - I got to imagine that Kanye West's string section is getting tired with always being paraded out with weird makeup ever performance. At least Gnarls Barkley dresses up their backing band in cool outfits that they wear with them. He also breaks out Golddigger which he opened his Concert for Diana with. Yeah that was appropriate.

7:35 - Sadly Kelly didn't take my advise as she brings out back to back songs from her new album as the audience visibly thins. Okay Kelly, we get it, you are a bitter chick with daddy issue, it time to move on.

7:25 - It is Kelly Clarkson time and she wisely didn't up with anything from her unlistenable new album. Hopefully that trend continues.

7:10 - Wow, that was a blistering performance of Don't Drink the Water, which is very appropriate for the day's festivities.

6:50 - Okay, that was coo, they just had on the US feed what I assume was from earlier in the UK a massive drum ensemble featuring the drummers from Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Queen along with a bunch of what looked like high school age kids. But I can't complain that it got cut off because it is time for one of the best live acts ever, the Dave Matthews Band.

6:30 - I'm really digging this new Alicia Keys song, That's the Thing About Love(?). It's goosebumps good. And when did she get so hot? Maybe it's the sweat or that flattering pink dress she is sporting, but she is looking real good tonight.

6:20 - Looking at his waistline, Randy Jackson won't be running for president any time too. It hard to take energy conservation tips from people that aren't conserving their food intake. He is out to introduce Alicia Keys who starts of with a great medley of For the Love of Money, Living for the City and Mercy, Mercy Me. I can't wait until she finally puts out her next album that should be out by the end of the year.

6:00 - Al Gore is back out and he is now shouting. Bored now. People say you can tell if Gore is going to run in 08 based on his waistline. Well it looks like he won't be running at this point.

5:45 - Now it is time to catch up on some of the acts I missed earlier like Genesis in the UK, Linkin Park in Japan, and Snoop Dogg, who know more about living green than maybe even Al Gore, in Germany all while I wait until Alicia Keys comes back out in the US.

5:30 - Back from dinner and it looks like I missed the start of the John Mayer set. And it looks like John is know longer waiting as he has changed the lyrics to his hit song to "We're not waiting on the world to change." While I was eating I checked out the Bravo broadcast and Dave Holmes actually made me spit out my food when someone said Akon was coming up to which he responded, "Somebody's gonna get humped."

4:45 - Darn I missed all but the end of Fall Out Boy. Oh well. And with Madonna in the UK and Akon in the US, I think I'll take my dinner break now. Be back in an hour or so.

4:35 - Dave Grohl, with his new Jesus look, dedicated Best of You to "you know who". Actually I don't, can someone help me out?

4:20 - The Foo Fighter start off with my favorite song in their catalog All My Life. If that life can't get your blood rushing I'm not sure what could. Then they follow that up with my second favorite Hy Hero. Can Big Me be next?

3:55 - Ludacris really needs a new hype man. I know they can't all be Flavor Flav but c'mon. Now he is preforming Pimpin' All Over the World. I'm sure all that pimpin' has to have a pretty large carbon footprint. It is never a good sign when you set is so bad you make me switch over to the Pussycat Dolls. And no, I still don't wish my girlfriend was hot as any of them because that would be a downgrade.

3:40 - Gee had I known that Keith Urban was going to bring out Alicia Keys to sing Gimmie Shelter I may have watched it live. Well probably not because he was still against the Beastie who set the bar pretty high for best performance of the day on any continent. Of course that is because you, and maybe the Beasties, never know what record Mix Master Mike is going to put. Not it is time for a major lull as the Pussycat Doll are coming up in the UK while Ludacris takes the stage in the US. Seriously who invited the Pussycat Doll, together they probably killed a good chunk of the Ozone every performance with all the hairspray they go through. Well they do save some electricity considering only one of their microphones are ever turned on.

3:35 - It's the fracking Beastie Boys doing fracking Sabotage!!! Frack Yeah!!!

3:25 - It's the fracking Beastie Boys!!!

3:10 - Crap, I turned in early as not to miss the Beastie Boys and happened upon James Blunt butchering Wild World. That's enough to turn Yusuf Islam into an actual terrorist. Please get the Beasties out soon so I can erase this from my mind.

3:00 - I guess I spoke too soon about competing venues as I am having trouble figuring out who I care about less, James Blunt in the UK or Taking Back Sunday in the US and there is always Xzibit in Japan. I may sink to watching Crowded House in Australia because I continue to not dream it's over. Ooo, Beatie Boys are up next in England.

2:55 - Spinal Tap certainly brought out everyone to help them out with Big Bottom yet even though they have about twenty different bassists onstage, it doesn't sound like any of them are actually plugged in but not that it mattered because the visual was good enough.

2:35 - Now that the US event is up and running there are going to be some hard decisions as it goes head to head with Britain. Right now it is either the Spinal Tap (with the dude from The Office) or KT Tunstall (in gold tights, shorts and a tank top, no seriously). Luckily they will be streaming these after the fact. But Live 8 gets the reunited Pink Floyd, Live Earth reunites Spinal Tap. Mmm.

2:05 - Decisions, decisions, upcoming there is Jack Johnson in Australia, Metalica in Britain or the 12 Girls Band back in China. I think I'll go with Jack who wrote one of the best environment song in recent memory, The Horizon Has Been Defeated.

1:50 - Is it wrong that whenever I here Keane's Somewhere Only We Know I instantly think of that horrible Lakehouse movie just because they used the song in the trailer? Then coming up in Japan is AI, I wonder is (s)he is related to the Antwain Merriweather look-a-like TI.

1:45 - There is currently (I assume) a German rapper on the Germany named Jan Delay (who I assume isn't related to Tom, but one can hope) feed right now, this may be the most entertaining thing I have seen all day.

1:30 - Ugg, the Live Earth website really needs to work on the timing. I missed the beginning of Corrine Bailey Rae because it still says she won't be on another ten minutes will Jack Johnson has been going back between 50 and 45 minutes for a while now even though that concert is already over so there shouldn't be any guessing. Cool, John Legend has joined Rae onstage for a version of Mercy Mercy Me.

1:00 - Darn, while watching the Peppers in England, I missed Enrique Iglesias in Germany. Oh well. And what is with him being in Germany, is he big there? (Insert your own Hasslehoff joke here)

12:35 - Chris Rock making fun of Paris Hilton and introducing the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Classic. Oddly enough he called U2 the "Baddest Band in the Land" at the 1997 MTV VMA's. Wow, that was ten years ago, I feel old. And where is Bono in all of this? If you can't get U2 to a charity event, how important can it be?

12:20 - In between acts on the England feel they have "Put Your Computer to Sleep" which is the biggest irony of this whole event because think of the amount of energy is going into including to power all the concerts and the TV's and computers who are watching, and I'm sure all the waste at the events can't be good for the environment. I know if this wasn't on, my computer would be off right now and I'd be outside doing yard work.

12:00 - So while making my lunch, I turn on Bravo's coverage it it is fracking Fergie again. Can we please end the Black Eyed Peas era? And your host on the television is Dave Holmes, the original loser of MTV's Who Wants to Be a VJ contest and Duffy, the short lived VJ from the nineties. C'mon NBC, can't you get the people at Today to work an extra day of the week? Now Duran Duran is playing Notorious. It is weird to hear this song without Kelis from the great Notorious Trick mash-up.

11:50 - Gee, I take a shower because Fergie is on and I get back and John Legend is already done just to be followed by one of the Spice Girls. Did he just get one song. Now it's Duran Duran who I just saw at the Diana Concert so that's my cue to get some lunch. Hopefully I don't miss the Red Hot Chilli Peppers who are next.

11:25 - Insterersting, in Germany, Maria Mena also sang What a Wonderful World, a much better version if not shorter. I wonder if it was suggested to artist to do the song or if it is a coincidence. Only thirty minutes until John Legend hits the stage in England.

10:10 - I liked Paolo Nutini's New Shoes but this dude is not a very good live performer. He is currently butchering What a Wonderful World. I gotta hunt down the Loius Armstrong to remember how great the song is. But there is only ten minutes until 12 Girls Band hits the stage in China. While Eskimo Joe still plays Down Under. They must be huge there to get such a long set. Speaking of Australia, where is Midnight Oil, aren't they a requirement for every event in that country?

10:55 - Finally Al Gore and I'm already nodding off. Poor Al, he hit the interview circuit last week in one of the worst week with the Fourth of July in the middle of the week to take about Live Earth. Then everyone wanted to talk instead about his son getting caught with the sticky-icky and if he would throw his hat into the presidential ring because the current lackluster candidates.

10:45 - Now there are two American Indians. C'mon, there is only one person that I want to bore me today and that is Al Gore. I'm almost ready to switch over to the Australia feed to listen to Eskimo Joe.

10:30 - Random old dude not named Al Gore coming straight from the National Mall. I guess when you ask Congress to okay a concert featuring Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood was a better idea than getting to okay one featuring Akon and Kanye West.

10:20 - A commercial with Jessica Biel in a bathtowl, if that can't get people to recycle, I'm not sure what will. Well, maybe her actually doing my recycling in a bathtowl. And only ten minutes until a speech from Al Gore. Yeah.

10:00 - Okay, this may not be much for normal music fans, but I totally geeked out when David Gray and Damian Rice performed together. Yeah, I like the sappy troubadours.

9:45 - A nice way to wake up is to the sounds of Snow Patrol. Unfortunately they only got three songs. I guess that will be the norm until the big name old timers hit the stage later.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Don't Download These Videos vol. XXIII

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Tarantula - Smashing Pumpkins

I got a chance to hear the new Smashing Pumpkin album, Ziegist (look for a review sometime next week) and it sounds like they started right where they left off, musically irrelevant. And a look at the first video, Billy is still rocking the creepy pseudo-psychedelic gear that he was sporting near the end of the first Pumpkins run. Oh well, at least it still better than anything that tried to fill the void left by the Pumpkins back when they were still relevant much like My Chemical Romance.

First Time - Lifehouse

On the other end of the rock spectrum, Lifehouse has firmly engulf themselves in the mom rock that gets them plenty of airplay on adult contemporary radio stations. Although there latest album was too bland to even warrant a review as all the songs sounded pretty much the same and pretty much like every other Lifehouse song. Although the special effects in this video are pretty cool.

Clothes Off!! - Gym Class Heroes

Despite being found by the annoying dude from Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes reeled me in with the catchy Cupid’s Chokehold cleverly reworking the Supertramp song with help from the less annoying dude from Fall Out Boy. Well after hearing their new song, I’m officially off the Gym Class Heroes bandwagon for desecrating one of the greatest one hit wonders of all time. Seriously, do these guys write any of their own hooks? For those of you born in the eighties or later, let me explain, I am speaking of Jermaine Stewart and his song We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off (check out the very eighties looking video here), notice the orginal has “Don’t” in the song title which the updated version wrongfully took out. And of course the irony of Stewart’ song is that he died, partially in part because of taking his clothes off. So kiddies, be sure to do as Jermaine says, don’t do as he does.

Gotta Work - Amerie

It has to be hard for Amerie to try to come up with anything as catchy as one of the best R&B songs of the new millennium, 1 Thing. Throw in some horn from Sam and Dave’s Hold On, I’m Comin’ and she come close. Although she is definitely serviceable, she should not work with whoever did the wardrobe for this video. That all black number is completely unflattering.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

There’ll Be Girls Across the Nation That'll Eat This Up

Little Voice - Sara Bareilles

Whenever a new female singer-songwriter who plays piano comes along, also comes the instant comparisons to the like of Fiona Apple and Norah Jones, even if the only thing they have in common is they are females who just happen to play the piano. And so you may here the same comparisons for the latest pianist on the block Sara Bareilles. Sure you can here the other artist named throughout her debut album Little Voice (click the link and you can buy it for the low price of $6.99 on iTunes), true be told, Sara is not as moody as Fiona nor as mellow as Jones.

Don’t compare her to Vanessa Carlton either because unlike the classically trained artist, Bareilles had no formal training on the instrument. But on listen to album and you find she didn’t need any. Little Voice is full of accessible pop songs that will undoubtedly show up on cheesy medical dramas when their writers are too lazy to write a couple more pages of dialogue and instead choose to close out an episode with yet another lengthy musical montage.

The album starts off the bouncing ditty Love Song, a refreshing kiss off to a guy who requested one but doesn’t come off as annoyingly bitter like other artists who recently made a bad decision to write their own songs, while Bottle it Up takes a slower bounce to slightly better effect. On the other hand Vegas is a smooth track that would play very well if you were to take a late night road trip to the Strip. The song would also play well, much like Love on the Rock, in a smoke lounge just off the Strip. Fairytale whimsically re-imagines different princesses from children’s tale that didn’t live happily ever after. The album concludes with the beautiful Gravity, a simplistic song about always going back to the guy whom she begs for him to let her go.

Even though Little Voices is loaded front to back with a bunch of good pop songs, the album is missing that one hit single that would make a big slash at radio much like Anna Nalick had with Breathe (2 AM) that kept her on the airwaves over a year. But that doesn’t mean you should check her out know so you can say you knew her way back when she finally gets the inevitable hit single especially at a price like $6.99.

Song to Download - Bottled it Up

Little Voice gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Check Thyself Before Thou Wreck Thyself

To be honest all I could handle of the train wreck that was called Flavor of Love were the premiere and the finale, well and of course the reunion show. Really all of those dating shows are pretty nausea inducing even with Flavor Flav at the helm. Yet when the spinoff, which I believe is the fifty-second branch in The Surreal Life family tree, Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School, I was completely onboard. And luckily it didn’t disappoint.

The show did start off a little rocky as they burned in effigy the names that Flav gave to the girls and we had to relearn all of his castoff’s names again. But we get to fins out that Buckwild’s actual name was one of the whitest names ever, Becky. Then there were some questionable casting omissions most notably the girl who did her lady business in the middle of Flav’s foyer. And if you are inviting the chick who got kick out for beating up a white girl and not also include the white chick she beat up?

But all those quibbles were laid to rest as soon as they ladies started to settle in and started trying to out ghetto each other leading the show to being funnier than most sitcoms the networks trot out each fall. This is mostly thanks to the previously mentioned Buckwild as well as Saaphyri who were both good for a one-liner per episode. My personal favorite was from the latter in the finale, who said when it was announced there would be a guest judge, “Who is it, Bill Clinton? He likes school girls.”

In my original assessment of the show, I feared that it would lose its entertainment value because the show was supposed to teach this girls manner, but their hood rat personas were the reasons to watch the show. Luckily the show never lost that edge thanks in part to Pumpkin Brooke and Bootz Larissa making it deep into the competition. Unfortunately without either of them in the finale, and the finale three actually seeming like they wanted to change just as much as they wanted the money for winning, a paltry $50,000 in reality contest terms. Luckily this won’t be the lasting image of the show as we get the reunion special next week. And hopefully there are already plans for a second semester of charm school and maybe they can incorporate the I Love New York rejects or the groupies that get tossed off the upcoming Rock of Love featuring the dude from Poison (and no I won’t be watching that).

Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School get a Terror Alert Level on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

You Can't Start a Fire Without a Spark

Born in the U.S.A.

With the Fourth of July in just three days, if you live inside the United States, you will undoubtedly be hearing Born in the U.S.A. a couple times from now until then maybe even scored to exploding firecrackers. Yeah, for anyone who has actually studied the lyrics knows that the song isn’t as patriotic as people like Ronald Reagan would believe. But whatever the shard your state is, it is hard not to have your blood start pumping as the bombast of the song starts up. That, in part, is why the Bruce Springsteen album is this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

The title track is in no way the main reason why the album is getting inducted as the was able to spawn seven top ten singles, a record that is shard only with people that have the last name Jackson (Michael’s Thriller and Janet’s Rhythm Nation 1814) and could have conceivable had more if any other singles were released because there are no skipable tracks here. Hey, Working on the Highway could have conceivable extended the Stray Cats rockabilly phase a couple more years if it were released.. My personable favorite being I’m on Fire, a short dark driving song that features Springsteen mumbling sweet nothings. The song also has the dubious honor of having one of the greatest cheesy accompanying video of all time with Bruce playing a mechanic who in the end decides to walk home after delivering a car instead of getting an invite inside.

The album also features one of the greatest drunken karaoke songs to be performed by a group of guys of all time, Glory Days. Not to mention if you were to play this song in the presence of any dude born in the seventies, I guarantee he will stop whatever he is doing to start singing along. The only other song I have witness that can cause such an effect is NWA’s Automobile. Then once the song ends, he will probably start discussing with the closest other dude who was also singing along which verse he most relates to and why. Personally I once saw a baseball player from high school, yes he could throw that speedball by ya, at a bar recently.

We also have Dancing in the Dark to thank for giving us Courtney Cox. And even though it wasn’t as cheesy as I’m on Fire, Bruce dancing in that video was pretty cheesy too. And yes I tend to break it out whenever I here that song. Then on the other part of the spectrum you had the album closer My Hometown and even though it took until my teenage years to understand the true meaning of Born in the U.S.A., it was hard not to read into the racial themes in the song even as a kid.

So on this Fourth, maybe throw on this album at your cookout and reminisce about the Glory Days over some burger. And if you get drunk enough, you may be able to find someone to do the Dancing in the Dark swing with.