Friday, December 14, 2007


Being that I only get one TV station (and it's not the one that has Conan O'Brien), I missed this. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


This review originally appeared at

On their last album, Shake The Sheets, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists displayed a more stripped down sound after they whittled down to a power trio. For their fifth album, would they stay the course with more rock or would they branch out into the Celtic and dub reggae influences shown on earlier albums?

After the instrumental "The Fourth World War," the album kicks off with three politically-charged tunes, "Sons of Cain," "Army Bound" and "Who Do You Love?" "Army Bound" is a fantastic track examining the military induction as the only solution for disenfranchised youth to make their way in the world, illustrated by the opening lines: "Some modest dreams, they just don't pay out/Some modest means don't leave much way out/In every crade there's a grave now/In every owner there's a slave now." Lyrics like this make it clear why his songwriting has drawn comparison to Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer. The satirical stream-of-consciousness "Bomb Repeat Bomb" is a mixed bag. With its slightly grating stream of consciousness rantings for verses, it explores how some have become desensitized to all the Iraq war footage or more generally, war itself.

Leo isn't all politics though. "La Costa Brava" centers on how even the socially conscious need a break from the daily doses of bad news. "You know that waking up to the daily blues from waking up to the daily news, ain't nothing strange." The tin whistle solo on the nostalgic "A Bottle Of Buckie" is one the more overt Celtic influences on "Living With The Living." There are some misses like "The Lost Brigade" and "The World Stops Turning." These aren't bad songs per se, but they're just average, especially for Ted Leo.

What really stands out on Living With The Living, is Leo deciding to roll the dice and take some chances. Known for using dub reggae effects and an occasional Mighty Diamonds cover, Ted Leo's love of reggae is no secret. But "The Unwanted Things" finds Leo singing his first original reggae song, "The Unwanted Things." On this rootsy number, he channels his inner Junior Murvin and belts out the album's standout track in a sweet falsetto.

The second chance he takes his on "The Toro And The Toreador" which may be the first indie rock power ballad. (Yes, you read that correctly.) This could go one of two ways: sink or swim. Shockingly enough, it swims. It starts with an echoing guitar but segues into slow rock. (Think of The Beatles' "Something.") And what's a power ballad without a guitar solo? (Blasphemy is what it would be.) This song makes me wish I was in junior high now, so I could request it at school dances.

"Living With The Living" shows Ted Leo & The Pharmacists spreading their wings and taking chances. It leaves one wondering how they will top this.

Rating: 8/10


This article originally appeared at

Nike SB, the skateboarding division of Nike, has begun releasing sneakers from its "Fallen Heroes" series. The theme behind "Fallen Heroes" is an homage to pop culture icons who fell from grace. Nike SB Dunks to commemorate pop frauds Milli Vanilli and Nike SB Classics in honor of MC Hammer, have already been released.
Nike SB Lo Dunks a.k.a. Milli Vanilli Dunks
-Custom features: black laces which closely resemble those atrocious hair extensions they were famous for. Well, that and not singing.

Nike SB Classics (MC Hammer)
-Custom features: an insole with a picture of a broke(n) hammer on it. (insert rimshot)

Coming later this year, Nike will release a Nike Hi-Top SB Dunk with a Pee Wee Herman theme and a Nike SB Blazer with a Vanilla Ice motif.

Nike Hi-Top SB Dunk a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman Dunk
-Custom features: grey and red similar to Pee Wee's famous suit and bowtie. Also, the insole features a man wearing a suit sitting in what appears to be a row of movie theater seats. (Some jokes just tell themselves.)


Nike SB Blazer (Vanilla Ice)
-Custom features: three blue stars and a blue back tab. Personally, I'd like to see an insole depicting Vanilla Ice being beaten by 3rd Bass a la "Pop Goes The Weasel" or having it simply say "Word To Your Mother."


This article originally appeared at

I loved special episodes. You know, the ones where sitcoms would say "Hey, let's forget about the fluff and the cute kids. Let's talk about the issues really troubling America." Sadly, they seem to have gone the way of the buffalo. For those that remember, here's a trip down memory lane. For those that don't, here's what you missed.

1. Diff'rent Strokes-"The Bicycle Man"

WKRP In Cincinnati and Maytag man Gordon Jump plays a bicycle shop owner/child molester who lures Arnold and Dudley into his special back room in the back of the bike shop. I was only seven or eight when that it came out but it had me checking over my shoulder for creepy old dudes.

2. Maude-"Maude's Dilemma"

In this two-parter, a pre-Golden Girl Bea Arthur finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy at the age of 47. Ultimately, she decides to get an abortion. The crazy thing about this episode is that abortion was not yet legal nationwide, but legal in the state of New York where Maude was set. CBS received a flood of hate mail regarding this episode. Even by today's standards, it's still very controversial.

On a lighter note, a better special episode would have been her husband explaining why he found Maude attractive.

3. Growing Pains-"Thank God It's Friday"

Mike Seaver and his buddies, Boner and Eddie, go to a high school party. But this is no ordinary party because kids are doing (in a whisper) cocaine in the bathroom. When a hot girl asks Mike if he'd like to join her in the bathroom, he's left with a huge dilemma. Ultimately, Mike decides not to "go to the bathroom." I remember thinking if high school was going to be filled with fast times and wild parties like on Growing Pains. Sadly, it was not.

4. Family Ties-"Say Uncle"

In one of his pre-Oscar/post-Bachelor Party roles, Tom Hanks played the alcoholic uncle of the Keaton children and brother to Elise Keaton and brother-in-law Steven Keaton. The memorable scenes were of Hanks character, Ned Donnelly, drinking extracts in the pantry. But the feather in this cap, was Alex's attempt to stop Uncle Ned from drinking and Ned backhanding him across the face. So really you get the topic of alcoholism and domestic violence in one episode. (Note: the ex-hippie dad yells at Forrest Gump after the slap, but doesn't really go ballistic and hand out a beating of biblical proportions. One would think you would do if someone slapped the bejeezus out of your kid. I'm just saying...)

5. The Cosby Show-"Theo And The Joint"

This was the first special episode for The Cos' and family. Cliff discovers a joint in Theo's geography book. Despite the protests that it's not his, Cliff and Claire punish Theo, as any upstanding television parents would. Left with no other recourse, Theo has to clear his name and seek out the true owners of the joint. After tracking down the culprit, Theo uses his power of intimidation and imposing shag (a.k.a. the black mullet) haircut to tell the Huxtables that it's his weed. Theo even threatens the joint's owner with fisticuffs if he doesn't come clean to Cliff and Claire. Eventually, he does and Theo is exonerated.

(Note: Theo went to a New York City public school in the 1980s. The odds that he wasn't already smoking pot: pretty slim. The odds that Theo would have gotten stomped out like a cigarette butt by the rightful weed owner after his ultimatum: very, very high.)

6. Family Matters-"Life Of The Party"

During a rooftop party, bully Willie Fuffner retaliates against his nemesis Steve Urkel by giving the adorable nerd a glass of punch spiked with whiskey. This is retaliation for Urkel having the audacity to beat Fuffner in a boxing match in the episode "Requiem For An Urkel." Urkel's intoxication leads him to walking along the roof edge, eventually slipping and clutching to the rooftop for dear life until he's rescued by Aunt Rachel. Fuffner ends up in jail. Lesson: it's all fun and games until a nerd falls off a roof.

(Note: Willie Fuffner was played by Larenz Tate, the actor who went on to play O-Dog in Menace II Society. Steve Urkel was played by Jaleel White who went on to be known as The Guy Who Played Urkel for the rest of his living days. )

7. Party of Five-"Point Of No Return"

Bailey's escalating drinking problem was a constant theme throughout the third season. It reached a triumphant climax during baby brother Owen's birthday party. When a constantly sloshed Bailey forgot to hire a clown for the party, he decides to save some dough and step in as the clown----a DRUNK clown. Oddly enough, a wasted clown only upsets the little tykes further. Bailey tells a youngster "Stop crying. Be a man." These pearls of wisdom probably hit home to a two year old. When older brother Charlie tries to tell him to take it easy, Bailey shoves him into a gazebo Charlie had been working on, causing even more damage. Appropriately, the next episode was an intervention for Bailey.

8. Full House-"Shape Up"

DJ feels her body isn't perfect and stops eating. The only one who knows her secret: little sister Stephanie. In her quest for the perfect body, she ends up passing out after a rigorous workout on the step machine. After passing out, Stephanie finally spills the beans. Luckily, the dad is Bob Saget who calmly tells her that she looks just great. It would have been great if he had videotaped it and sent it to America's Funniest Home Videos. But I guess that would have been a bit surreal.

(Note: Who were the co-stars on this show? The Olsen twins. You'd think they would have learned a valuable lesson)

9. Punky Brewster-"Just Say No"

Punky and Cherie fall in with a popular crowd at school. The catch: the popular girls do drugs. Punky and Cherie aren't sure what to do. Ultimately, they decide to say no. This episode ended with Punky Brewster being seen at various anti-drug rallies and helped kick off Mrs. Reagan's Just Say No campaign.

(The great thing about Punky: she stayed hot. When you were eight and thought she was pretty fly, that was one thing. Twenty years later, boom. Still dope. Doesn't happen every day. Mad props to Punky Power)

10. City Guys "unknown episode title"

This show really brought the special episode back into the Saturday morning TNBC lineup. It was an urban, third-rate Saved By The Bell with the twist being that two complete opposites became best friends. Anyway, in this episode, there's a new kid with a shaved head who's got a bad attitude. Lead characters Chris and Jamal think he's a racist skinhead due to his dislike of pretty much everything. After confronting him, it turns out he's not a skinhead. He's got cancer and does walk through life angry due to his circumstances. The bald look is due to chemotherapy, leaving Chris and Jamal to feel like idiots. In turn, the audience feels like idiots for wasting 30 minutes of their life. Not the greatest special episode, but it is one with an M. Night Shyamalan twist


This article originally appeared at

In honor of VH1's wildly entertaining ego trip's The (White) Rapper Show, I present a list of the finest melanin-deficient MCs.

(Note: I'll be countering this with a list of the ten greatest black rockers, as to not catch an "Imus.")

1. R.A. The Rugged Man
The best rapper most people have never heard of.

Trivia: Once released a song called "Every Record Label Sucks D**k." This may have had something to do with his label's inability to market him.

R.A. The Rugged Man - "Lessons" from Die, Rugged Man, Die

2. Cage
The illest four letter in the world is Cage.

Trivia: His song "Agent Orange" produced by Necro, samples the theme from A Clockwork Orange.

Cage - "Shoot Frank" from Hell's Winter

3. Eminem
Somehow, he didn't know that Elton John was gay. No word yet on if he's realized that water is wet.

Eminem - "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile Soundtrack

4. Beastie Boys
Who would have thought that a group who had an inflatable penis during their concerts would go on to hang out with the Dalai Lama?

Beastie Boys - "Shake Your Rump" from Paul's Boutique

5. El-P
Hip-hop's version of Phillip K. Dick

6. Everlast (House of Pain)
Does anyone remember going to shows in the early 90s where there were at least two dudes with shaved heads and goatees wearing Celtics jerseys? Yeah, me too.

7. 3rd Bass
Mostly known for their smash hit/Vanilla Ice diss "Pop Goes The Weasel," their breakout single was "The Gas Face" in which they managed to diss MC Hammer and former South African president P.W. Botha. Eventually, God decided that P.W. Botha got the gas face.

3rd Bass - "The Gas Face" from The Cactus Album

8. Ill Bill
Political yet gangsta.

9. Sage Francis
2000 Scribble Jam freestyle champ who eschewed the battle scene to do more political music. (See: 2001's "Makeshift Patriot")

10. Joe Strummer
The original white rapper, Joe Strummer was first introduced to hip-hop during The Clash's seventeen show stint at Bond's Casino in New York City. Guitarist Mick Jones loved it so much that he began rocking Cazals (large oversized glasses like The Human Beatbox of The Fat Boys wore) and carrying a boombox, earning the nickname "Wack Attack."

The Clash - "Magnificent Seven" from Sandinista!

Honorable Mention:
Brian Austin Green


This article originally appeared at

Here's the follow-up to this list.

(Note: the inclusion of Lenny Kravitz pained me just as much as you. But naming ten viable black rockers is a daunting challenge. Go ahead. Try. I dare you. Double dog dare you.)

1. Jimi Hendrix
There's really nothing to add here.

2. Prince
Don't challenge him to a game of basketball.

3. Chuck Berry
Who knows where we'd be if he never got that phone call from his cousin, Marvin...his cousin Marvin Berry.

4. Bad Brains

4. Bad Brains
Call them Black Dots. Call them Fearless Vampire Killers. Or just call them awesome.

5. Little Richard

Before the mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, WOOOO!. he did this...

6. Fishbone
Blame them for every third rate ska band you've ever heard.

7. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)
True definition of Black Irish.

8. Slash
The other guy besides Abe Lincoln, who made the top hat cool.

9. Living Colour

It's a shame the "wetsuit look" never caught on.

10. Lenny Kravitz
Jimi Hendrix for people who don't like music.


This article originally appeared at is reporting that Nike SB will be releasing Guns N' Roses Dunk Mids in November. The colorway will be black and grey with a white midsole. The insole will be a picture of a girl in a coffin, just like "November Rain," and it will have a Guns N' Roses-themed tongue.

Odds are the sneakers will hit stores before Chinese Democracy.


This review originally appeared at

That guy who got shot nine times is back. And he's a sexy roller-coaster, so to speak. "Amusement Park," the second single off his upcoming album Curtis, is another song extolling 50's virtues as a lover which I think we're all dying to know about. What does this song have to offer? More tepid crooning over a mellow-to-the-point-of-boring R&B beat. Let's not forget about dozens of double-entendres comparing his lovemaking ability to an amusement park, like "Some rides go fast, some rides go slow/You feel heights when I'm high, hell yeah, I go low." Wow, 50 brings the A game.

Hopefully, he goes back to talking about shooting haters. At the least, it would keep my attention.


This review originally appeared at

R. Kelly has put out nine albums. That's quite an output for someone who is marginally talented. But what do I know? I'm a silly blogger. And he's the King of R and B. He's managed to come back after getting thoroughly clowned by Dave Chappelle and...ahem...other issues. Double Up offers the world what you think it would: club songs, slow jams and melodrama.

The club tracks on Double Up serve as a hedonistic how-to guide of nightclub behavior, including bringing not one, but two ladies home ("Double Up" featuring Snoop Dogg,) stealing someone else's girl ("I'm A Flirt (Remix)" feat T.I. and T-Pain) and getting freaky in the club ("Freaky In The Club"). You have to appreciate an artist who gets right to the point with his song titles. The club songs all produced by Kelly, seem just average at best. You can see how people would dance to it, but it lacks the GNF (Go Nuts Factor.) He's got an ear for writing a catchy tune but nothing great.

Kelly's true strength is his ability to weave melodramatic storylines into pop songs as evidenced by his magnum opus "Trapped In The Closet." "Best Friend" features Keyshia Cole and Polow Da Don visiting Kelly's character in jail. It turns out Cole and Polow's character have begun dating while Kelly's character has been in jail. On "Same Girl," Usher and R. have a conversation where it turns out--surprise, surprise--they are both dating the same girl. "Real Talk" though may be where R. keeps it the realest, no pun intended. This song is annoying because Kelly punctuates every line by saying "Real Talk." But the nuts and bolts of the song are true. It is, in fact, "real talk." How do I know? Here's an example. Sometimes, you're in the mall and you're just quietly waiting for your smoothie from Smoothie Criminal or whatever your local smoothie proprietor is called. There's a dude on his cell phone behind you, arguing with his girlfriend about her hearing that he was out at the club, getting freaky on some other chick. But all you can hear is him defending himself. This is exactly how "Real Talk" plays out. He makes it so authentic by repeating a sentence three times in a row as if his cell phone is cutting out: "Did she say there were other guys there?/Did she say there were other guys there?/WERE THERE OTHER GUYS THERE??" And all you can hope for is that they hand you your smoothie, so you can get away from a cellular domestic dispute.

Kelly's weak points on this album are the same that he's had his entire career: he can't write lyrics to save his life. This fact is compounded by the guests who wield excellent command of the English language. "Sweet Tooth," a terrible allegory for a woman's body, contains the laugh-out-loud line "I'm all up in your middle/Ooh, you taste like Skittles." He seems to be setting himself up as an R and B Spinal Tap or Tenacious D. He may have reached a new plateau in musical comedy with "The Jungle" and "Sex Planet." "The Jungle" boasts the line "I got your soul wet, it's like a rainforest/Like Jurassic Park, except I'm your sexasaurus, baby," complete with monkey noises in the chorus. (Seriously, he says Sexasaurus) "Sex Planet" which sounds like a late night Cinemax movie, can be summed up with the atrocious line "Girl I promise this will be painless, painless/We'll take a trip to Planet Uranus, Uranus." He may want to start employing a ghostwriter, just so it doesn't seem like he's the world's worst songwriter.

Interestingly, it's not all about being ballerific and urban soap operas with Kelly. He makes a stab at appearing more human on tracks like "Havin' A Baby." Oddly enough, this is about having a baby. He pays musical tribute to the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings on "Rise Up" which sounds a lot like "I Believe I Can Fly." I don't know if this is a PR move to make us forget about his pending legal issues or if he's that compassionate. This could be what he meant by saying he was today's Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye.

Aside from the comedic benchmarks he has set, this is pretty crappy. Also, if you want comedy in your R and B, you can always check out Percy Miracles. The best move R. Kelly could make to achieve the Marley-Gaye status he has claimed, would be to hire a ghostwriter. Or he could just audition for "Saturday Night Live." I think he could top "D*ck In A Box" if he really applied himself.

Rating: 6/10

Bonus: R. Kelly - The Zoo


This blog originally appeared at

Hair metal bands. (The term "metal" being used loosely) Hairspray bands. Glam rockers. They always come up in conversation amongst people who get excited every summer when the the local hair metal revival tour breezes through town. Or if you're at a bar with one of those Internet jukeboxes and a someone shoves a twenty in and plays nothing but hair metal for the next two hours. Then, you try to beat them at their own game by putting forty bucks and utilizing the "Your Song First" feature in an attempt to force good taste on the masses. It's a battle of good versus evil and the only ones who win are the people that own those infernal machines.(Note: the Internet jukebox may be the biggest double-edged sword in the pop culture world. It can do so much good, but can do SOOOOO much evil.)

Poison will be releasing an album of covers called Poison'd. (I wonder if this is due to the rise of guyliner) On this offering, they perform a cover of The Romantics' "What I Like About You" and have released a video of it. Lucky us. The concept of the video is a high school yearbook come to life in which all the pics tell each other what they like about each other. I wonder how long it took them to come up with that concept. The band is dressed in suits, but not quite 80s style. They just look like a hair metal wedding party. This video seems like it was a pretty good idea.....for when Poison was a popular band. Poison ruins the track which is surprisingly hard to do. The original has a bare bones, garage rock feel. It's not rocket science. Brett Michaels puts a little too much of glam, faux-soul swagger in his voice which doesn't work. The harmonica solo has been replaced by dueling harmonica-guitar solo, complete with simplistic noodling. You can totally see the sales guy from work having a few too many Bud Lights and playing air guitar to this at happy hour.

My guess is people who like Poison will like this no matter what I say. In fact, they'd probably like it Poison released a techno record, simply for the fact that it was Poison's techno record. As for me, this is the only poison I'll ever need.


This blog originally appeared at

Finally, some genius on Youtube has merged two of my favorite things...gangsta rap and Star Wars. For those who are confused please refer to this.


Originally appeared at

Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" seems like your typical song about heartbreak. boy meets girl,boy leaves girl, girl is totally bummed out and spends the rest of her nights walking around a mansion, reminiscing about her lost love.

The video is a whole different story as it takes Bonnie Tyler's power ballad takes a sinster turn a la Mary Kay Letourneau.

For your viewing pleasure.

(Warning: this video contains ninjas, dancing boys in football equipment and boys with REALLY bright eyes)


Originally appeared on

Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in "Heat." Nas and Jay-Z on Hip Hop Is Dead's "Black Republican." When two artistic icons come together, the expectations are nothing less than epic. So when Kanye West and Lil Wayne (a.k.a. The Rapper Eater a.k.a. The Best Rapper Alive) team up on "Barry Bonds" for West's upcoming Graduation...well, disappointment is a strong word, but it could have been better. Kanye's lyrics and beat are better than average, but not good enough to be a single. It may have also served to have West rap by himself on it. The Best Rapper Alive spits a better than average verse, but nothing jaw-dropping. His verse lacks the lyrical prowess that's vaulted him to the top of the rap game. One of the shortcomings is the chorus: "Here's another hit/Barry Bonds/We outta here, baby." I don't know if there's ever been a lazier chorus. ("Whoomp! There It Is" may have it beat in terms of laziness.) The songs seems like they rushed through their lyrics.

Overall, it could have been better. Barry Bonds? Not quite. Maybe a long single and reaching second on a throwing error.

Kanye West feat. Lil Wayne - Barry Bonds (Courtesy of

Sunday, December 2, 2007

2 Girls 1 Cup

Why'd I watch it? I don't know. I guess I thought to myself "How bad could it be? What's the worst thing someone could record and then put on the Internet? Surely, this couldn't be it."

WRONG, wrong, wrong. This quite possibly could be the worst thing ever in the history of Al Gore's Internet.

And it's got different levels of sickness. A sampling of reactions I had:

-Oh God. Why would you do that into a glass? This must be the end. Accurately, we've seen the 2 girls and the 1 cup. I'll never look at chocolate soft-serve the same way again. This must be over.

-Oh no! Don't lick it. It's not ice cream. It's far from ice cream. Taste-wise, that'd have to be on the opposite side of the spectrum than ice cream.


I'm glad I ate breakfast before watching it. Holy shit, that was gross (no pun intended).


-how much do you think they had to pay the actresses? (adult video insider, this questions for you)

-how did they talk them into it?

-how did someone dream this up?

-will this ever be topped?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The New Nate Dogg

The 2007 winner of the Nate Dogg "Right Place, Right Time" Award is Dwele. A lot of people may disagree, thinking T-Pain and his vocoder should win. Granted, T-Pain has been nominated for two Grammys. However, the Grammys really don't mean that much to me.

Dwele's brilliant 2007.

Common - "The People"
Pharoahe Monch - "Trilogy"
Kanye West - "Flashing Lights"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Welcome to the new blog

Hey, this is my new blog. Now, that I have no job, I have nothing better to do but write and write and write. Mostly what I'll be writing about is music, with occasional ventures into movies and TV (despite not having cable.)

Coming later this week
-a review of the Little Brother's "And Justus For All" mixtape