Thursday, July 7, 2011

Michelle Williams Releases Buzz Single, “Love Gun”

by Alex Nagorski


Yesterday was a big day for all of the ladies of Destiny’s Child.

Despite a flop (and totally misleading) single and mixed album reviews, BeyoncĂ©’s latest record 4 premiered at the top of the Billboard album charts. Snippets of all the tracks on Kelly Rowland’s upcoming album Here I Am hit the interwebs. LeToya Luckett stayed at home petting her cats while Googling reasons to sue Mathew Knowles. And Michelle Williams released “Love Gun,” a buzz single in anticipation of her fourth solo record, slated to hit stores this fall.

If the Druski-produced “Love Gun” is truly an indication of the direction Michelle is going in, then her upcoming album is going to be nothing short of fiyah burnin’ on the dancefloor.

While Michelle flirted with dance/pop on her previous record, 2008’s Unexpected, “Love Gun” completely removes her from that raspy Fantasia-like R&B sound she often experimented with. Instead, she fully embraces her electro-pop side to kick off what’s expected to be a completely dance-oriented album.

Sidenote: Had former band member Kelly Rowland looked at how her previous solo attempts had been received (“When Love Takes Over,” “Commander”), she would have wisely gone the dance/pop route as well. Instead, those new, bland leaked clips left the six fans she had left drained with no motivation to even pretend to give her album a second listen. (See what I did there?)

As far as buzz singles go, nothing will ever be superior to Lindsay Lohan’s “Bossy.” (RIP Spirit In The Dark.) That being said, Michelle Williams truly serves up a refreshing dish of beats and sultry vocals that could have easily fit on Robyn’s Body Talk album.

In these David Guetta-over-Timbaland times we live in, “Love Gun” is far more mainstream and radio-ready than Michelle’s previous solo efforts. I wouldn’t be surprised if–for the first time since she did Beyonce’s back-ups–Michelle had a real Top 40 hit on her hands. Let’s just hope the rest of the album lives up to the bar she’s now raised for herself.

So to sum up: Beyonce = Rich but meh. Kelly Rowland = Just go home and try again. Michelle = YOU DO YOU, BABY. ALL ‘DEM OTHA BITCHES GETTIN’ SERVED.

Originally published on MuuMuse

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

From Bradley to Alex: A Live Review of Kelly Clarkson’s Latest Leak, “Let Me Down”

By Bradley Stern and Alex Nagorski


Today, the full version of an as-of-yet unreleased Kelly Clarkson song surfaced online, entitled “Let Me Down.” It is off-the-charts amazing o’clock.

In lieu of typing out a full review of the newly leaked track, I now present our conversation in full (side references to Kat DeLuna have been edited out for decency’s sake.)

Brad: OH MY GOD THE NEW KELLY SONG.
Alex: I KNOW. Remember when you were little and you would wake up on your birthday and the world would just seem like a better place? That was me this morning when I heard the song.
B: I don’t remember that because I was drunk most of the time. But if I did, that sounds BEAUTIFUL.
A: I was like Kristen Wiig. I was so “friggin excited.”
B: The lyrics are literally everything. They are too real.
A: Because they’re emo! I’m so over all these self-empowering songs on the radio. Like we get it. Katy Perry thinks we’re all fireworks. Ke$ha says we R who we R. Lady GaGa claims we were born this way and Selena Gomez wants to know exactly who says we’re not perfect. It’s about time someone is bringing self-deprecation back to the radio so we can all start tweeting passive aggressive lyrics again without reusing old material.
B: My AIM status has never been more thrilled.
A: FUN GAME ALERT: Guess how many 16-year-old girls (and 24-year-old gay men) are going to make the line, “The funny thing about forever is it comes with a side of never” their Facebook status today.
B: ….I think I tweeted that earlier. Or at least, it was planned.
A: Oh, one of those “timed tweets”?
B: Like, actually.
A: You’re … pretty.
B: LOOK, MAXIMUM IMPACT. WAIT. Can we talk about the production?
A: You mean flawless production?
B: I feel like it’s a return to My December. The beginning reminds me of “Yeah.”
A: Ugh, you KNOW how I feel about My December. A.K.A. The greatest pop album of all time. I agree though … it seems like more of a blend of Breakaway and My December than All I Ever Wanted was.
B: *All Clive Ever Wanted.
A: Because AIEW was like the sad slap in her face to try and make her be a pop star after My December flopped. Hence the mocking title and colorful album cover.
B: WAIT OH MY GOD AND THEN THIS PART: “IT’S NOT FAIR TO ME, ‘CAUSE I KNOW, I KNOWWWWWW”
A: No like when she hit that note, I actually felt my balls jump up into my stomach. Is that weird?
B: That’s probably something that should be looked at. I can ask Ciara. WAIT ALSO. This song has to be about Justin Guarini, right?
A: Obviously. It’s not at all about a secret lesbian lover. Neither was “Can I Have A Kiss.” And the fact that she brings up letters makes me think of “Never Again” so I immediately went into my happy place. But really though, if this song proves anything — it’s that she’s stopped taking her medicine and is back to being overly sensitive and bruised. Which for selfish reasons makes me ecstatic because that means the album will be amazing. Not that “I Want You” wasn’t cute, but …..
B: Yes. I sincerely hope she is bruised. No, but I seriously love this song so much. I keep hitting repeat. Other music literally doesn’t matter today.
A: Other music doesn’t EXIST today. And in other news, they can’t make Beyonce comparisons with this song because she’s not trying to reinvent the career of Des’ree with her “new” sound. Or really any day … until the new Veronicas single comes out …
B: I mean, the only obvious comparison I can draw is to Madonna‘s “Express Yourself.”
A: Yes. If you play them on top of each other, you’ll see they’re the exact same song.
B: EXACT.
A: But it’s okay because Kelly got Madonna‘s blessing. She told Jay Leno so.
B: I saw. She was wearing that tasteful meat bolero. WAIT BUT OKAY. I love that this is kind of spacey sounding too. It’s a little electronic underneath.
A: I just truly feel that it has what Teresa Guidice would call all the right “ingrediences” to be a huge summer hit for her. It’s perfect for crying and dancing at the time.
B: I wouldn’t know anything about that.
A: Need I remind you about the state you were in when Wynter Gordon played over the weekend …..
B: ALLERGIES.
A: This song is also like “Behind These Hazel Eyes” in that it’s up-tempo and catchy as hell but also so depressing at the same time. It’s the perfect expansion of the Clarkson hit formula.
B: YES. I wholeheartedly agree. She is literally perfect. What if this isn’t the single? That would be a mistake.
A: Yeah … the same “allergies” you had when Cassie, Kelly Rowland, and Willa Ford came on. You mess. I mean I feel as though it has to be. They wouldn’t have teased so many clips of a buzz single, would they? And she did say that her single was dropping in July … so why release a buzz single literally RIGHT before the single release?
B: Well, this could always just be a leak from the sessions. I don’t know that anyone official has acknowledged it.
A: I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been acknowledged yet …. but timing wise, it does make sense that this would be it. Or maybe it’s just a demo version? Kelly demos looooooove to make their way online.
B: Maybe. (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
A: Yeah. (RIGHT BACK AT YOU!)
B: If it’s not the single, it’ll be the greatest pop injustice since Christina‘s “Woohoo” not hitting #1.
A: …… TOTALLY.
B: God, her breasts are as big as her face now.

Thank you for your time.

Originally published on MuuMuse

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ingrid Michaelson Releases New Song, “Spare Change”

by Alex Nagorski



There was a period when Grey’s Anatomy debuted a new Ingrid Michaelson song during each year’s season finale.

Over the course of the show, Ingrid released multiple non-album tracks such as “Keep Breathing,” “Giving Up,” “Turn to Stone” and “All Love” to soundtrack the show. While each of these songs were gorgeous and different in their own way, the concept for each song was the same: They made you want to draw a candlelit bubblebath, guzzle a bottle of red, and sob until your tear ducts drained.

When Ingrid stopped being the musical muse of Grey’s season finales, I was worried. Was I really going to have to wait until the release of her next album to hear some new Ingrid tunes? And where was I going to get my emo-anthem-of-the-year fix?

Luckily, Lady Ingrid Immaculateson heard my prayers. Last week, as part of a summer sale in her official online store, she released the single “Spare Change.” Previously only available as part of the audiobook to Augusten Burroughs’ 2008 memoir A Wolf at the Table, this marks the first time the song has been made available for individual download.

“Spare Change” follows the formula of Ingrid’s Grey’s singles in that it’s a haunting ballad tinged with sadness and yearning. “I grew from you / Branches from a dying tree / But I could save you / If only you looked for me,” Ingrid croons in the song’s opening verses. Her delicately powerful vocals are backed by a melancholy piano underscore, evoking Joni Mitchell’s classic Blue album.

The song builds as Ingrid jumps an octave in the chorus, joined in by a violin and subtle percussion. Lyrically, Ingrid has always been a sneaky genius, using deceptively simple imagery to drive her metaphors – but by the time the song has ended, the elicited emotions have fully engulfed the listener. To compare herself to a piggy bank in “Spare Change,” Ingrid sings about feeling fragile, innocent, and used.

“You can’t break me / I’m a piggy bank on the floor / Watch all my spare change roll out the door / Watch all my spare change / Roll across the floor / Watching me through / Your glass door,” Ingrid sings, cutting into her lover.

It won’t be until this winter that Ingrid releases another full-length album and embarks on her next tour. I’m crossing my fingers for another buzz single or B-side release to hold me over. Until then, my mascara will keep running to “Spare Change.”

“Spare Change” is currently available exclusively at Ingrid’s official online store.

Originally published on MuuMuse

Monday, July 4, 2011

THE COMEDY OF THE SUMMER

A review of "Horrible Bosses."
By Alex Nagorski

 

This is the summer of the R-rated comedy. Films like Bridesmaids and The Hangover: Part II not only raked in pretty sums on their opening weekends but are proving staying power on the box office charts. Bad Teacher opened to a solid $31 million, showing that America likes their humor to be raunchy, crude, and boundary-pushing. In a few weeks, the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis rom-com Friends With Benefits will be released. This film is surrounded by a lot of positive pre-release buzz as well as an unavoidable ad campaign smeared across every subway stop in Manhattan. Yet out of all of this summer’s R-rated comedies, none will make you laugh harder than Horrible Bosses.

Horrible Bosses tells the story of three friends (played by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) with the most insufferable, douchebag-iest, and inappropriate employers imaginable. Together, they decide to murder their bosses as part of a plan that not only would make their lives a hell of a lot easier, but also rid the world from what they believe are three living personifications of the anti-Christ.

Horrible-Bosses-Poster Cheesy concept? Maybe so. But where Horrible Bosses really hits a homerun is how unapologetically over-the-top it is. Each actor meticulously plays a hyper-exaggerated version of their character, providing for a non-stop camp-fest. As a result, Horrible Bosses is a brilliant, foul-mouthed and hysterically dirty modern-day farce in the vein of genre masterpieces like Wet Hot American Summer and Drop Dead Gorgeous.

While all the actors did a phenomenal job in this film, the two true stand-out performances belong to Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell. Both of these actors stepped out of their comfort zones as brand new characters who are the complete opposites of any role they’ve ever previously played. Aniston is laugh-out-loud sensational as Charlie Day’s nymphomaniac and deranged dentist boss. “You ever see that show Gossip Girl?” she asks Day in her opening dialogue. “I fingered myself so hard to that Penn Badgley guy last night that I broke a nail.” Not a very Rachel Green-like thing to say now, is it? Especially when it’s right before she sedates a patient, pulls off his pants and starts talking to his penis.

Same goes for Farrell. Playing a coke-head so out of touch with reality is something that I never thought I’d see on screen until a Lindsay Lohan biopic came out. Yet Farrell nails the role of Bobby Pellitt so perfectly that you completely forget that you’re not actually watching a heartless, ninja-and-vagina obsessed party boy who only got to where he was due to nepotism. Kudos to both performers for stepping up to the plate and really bringing their A-games.

I also predict that Horrible Bosses will do for Charlie Day what Knocked Up did for Seth Rogan. After this performance, he is undoubtedly the comedy genre’s next “it” boy. Day is a comedic goldmine who has previously shown his chops in the TV series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and a scene-stealing role in last year’s (underrated) film, Going The Distance. He was impossible not to laugh at every time he was on screen. Whether he was accidentally high on Farrell’s coke and singing The Ting Ting’s “That’s Not My Name” in his car or ultimately finding his boiling point with Aniston, Day showed some of the best character acting that’s been lacking from contemporary comedies.

All I’m saying is, hello MTV Movie Award Breakout Star (also known as the Oscar for actors not featured in holiday season-released period dramas).

I wouldn’t be surprised if Horrible Bosses follows in the footsteps of The Hangover and becomes a cult phenomenon. Both films feature the same dark and twisted humor intertwined with a series of misfortunate events that are almost so uncomfortable to watch that you want to turn away – but at the same time can’t because you’re loving every second of it. And while Horrible Bosses may not have any Mike Tyson cameos, Modern Family’s Julie Bowen raises the bar for brief guest-appearances with her cheeky portrayal of Kevin Spacey’s unfaithful wife.

When introducing Horrible Bosses at the pre-release screening I attended, director Seth Gordon expressed how proud he was of this film. And rightfully so. There may be quite a crop of gritty adult-geared comedies this summer, but if you really want to go see a movie that will make you laugh so hard that you’ll leave the theater with your abs feeling like you just did the P90X workout, then Horrible Bosses is the film for you. See it when it hits theaters July 8th.

Originally published on Crazytown Blog