Rihanna “It Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas”

December 1, 2011

Rihanna’s Loud, a decent, if vapid pop album, got a nomination by the Grammys for best album of the year. I actually don’t find anything wrong with Rihanna, and I think with her army of songwriters and producers behind her, she has quite a bit of good, deserved hits. But here’s the thing, Rihanna is well, blank. Her voice is decent, but has no character. She’s certainly attractive, but we can’t actually buy her as a sex fiend or sassy urban girl or whatever she tries on. Molly Lambert describes her best, honestly. She’s a display case that showcases ideas well, but contributes absolutely nothing beyond that. There’s nothing awful about Rihanna. And her library of hits is quality and admirable. But would I remember her as a great voice, singer, songwriter, dancer or even a pop star? I honestly don’t think I ever considered her as any of those in the first place.

Loud might not be memorable, but it’s just the type to get a Grammy nomination for best album. It’s sold a lot of copies, and Rihanna’s staged “edge” seems just hip enough to pass for artistic integrity. Yet, Loud isn’t too edgy for it alienate blocks of a voting base that’s just too big and disparate to vote for anything too out there (Arcade Fire notwithstanding). Bruno Mars, who might not have as many hitmakers behind him as Rihanna but can actually sing, is also an easy nominee for similar reasons. And of course, the old, white voters that still makes up a sizable bloc will get their say with the Foo Fighters. But it really is all for naught because Adele’s 21, which we all knew would win 10 months ago, is a 2-5 odd to take that prize. She’s the next star who can be embraced and shared by any demographic (and SNL nailed the base appeal of Adele) and her music is classy enough for your grandparents, even. I thought there’d be room for Bon Iver, but I guess his warble was too esoteric, I guess. And there was no baby boomer who was worthy either (I wouldn’t know though). So we’ll have to settle for Rihanna, Bruno Mars and the Foo Fighters as the nominated losers who’ll smile politely while Adele accepts her trophy and quickly thank everyone in her fourth or fifth acceptance speech of the night.

But the obvious question is, “where’s Kanye?” (people are asking where’s Taylor too, but her last album frankly sucked) His previous albums have been nominated every time before. Finally, he records an album that matches his ridiculous sense of self-worth, an album that, after a year’s distance, still holds up as one of the greatest ever in it’s genre, and that’s the one that gets snubbed. Maybe his antics really did catch up to him. Or maybe Grammy voters really hated the Chris Rock interlude. Personally, I’ll miss his contorted face as he fails to contain his anger and annoyance when Adele wins. We’ll have to settle for content disappointment when he wins yet another rap album of the year, robbing us of a desperate chance at breaking up what will surely be a broadcast duller than even previous years.

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Tom Jones and David Foster – Mary’s Boy Child

November 30, 2011

Tom Jones giving the sex eye to the camera.  David Foster tickling the ivories.  A miracle at the 2-minute mark where, in an instant, Jones magically descends from the top of a church pulpit to the orchestra pit for the second half of the song.  It’s everything you want in a network TV holiday special.

Do yourself a personal favor and share this with a loved one as an early Christmas gift.

 

Horace Andy “Christmas Time”

November 29, 2011

I don’t think we’ve posted a reggae Christmas song on this site before. UNTIL NOW.

Scott Weiland – Winter Wonderland

November 28, 2011

We’re starting to hit the holiday sweet spot.  That time after Thanksgiving where even the scroogiest of people start getting into the spirit, and radio stations switch to an all-Christmas format, playing old standards and new additions to holiday music canon.

Scott Weiland mixed old and the new with his Christmas album, putting his touch on the usual standards.  It’s not bad,  just odd.

Weiland took Bing Crosby’s arrangement of the song and re-recorded it.  He croons like the old timers, and surrounds himself with singing women while looking constipated.  I like that he kept it simple.  Sometimes the material speaks for itself and there is something to be said for not reinventing the wheel.  He didn’t try to make a Stone Temple Pilots sounding album, though that would’ve been intriguing.  A “Baby It’s Cold Outside” / “Sex Type Thing” mash up would have been Christmas GOLD.

William DeVaughn “Be Thankful for What You Got”

November 24, 2011

If pepper spray is indeed a food product, then it’d make one hell of a turkey spice. WELCOME TO FLAVOR COUNTRY. It’d especially work well for deep frying. And maybe in a green bean casserole, because green bean casseroles are awful except for the French’s fried onion part. If there’s ever green bean casserole at a Thanksgiving dinner, I stealthily reach for that first, instead of turkey, so I can get all the fried onion parts. Let the other fools get their turkeys and stuffing. I’ll have a monopoly on French’s onion. I’ll be the JP Morgan of fried onions in my household. My family might think I’m a selfish asshole, but hey, what Thanksgiving without passive-aggressive familial resentments.

On that note, happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you stuff your foodhole past the point of satisfaction and into sheer, unadulterated pain. HURTS SO GOOD!

Cinderella “Coming Home”

November 23, 2011

Today is the busiest travel day of the year. For some reason, this song, a 23-year-old power ballad, is most evocative of this time of the year. It helps that “Coming Home” is off an album titled Long Cold Winter. Plus, dig that hair! Girls still wear their hair like that back home. Listening to this song truly makes me homesick.

Lady Gaga “White Christmas”

November 22, 2011

Last year, we posted this awful, awful Lady Gaga Christmas song from earlier in her career, before she was really famous. Now that she’s a bit more successful and whatnot, she’s taking another crack at this whole holiday music thing with a holiday ep. And look, she’s going for the older, classier look. Look at the sweeping gold cursive font. And nothing evokes a proper Christmas like a photo where you look like Barbra Streisand from “Yentl.” Still, while most people sing Christmas songs, and maybe a Hanukah song here or there, no one actually releases music based around Thanksgiving (probably because no one ever had a TV special called A Very Gaga Thanksgiving) So I guess Lady Gaga does deserve some credit for representing an underrepresented holiday, with a rendition of “White Christmas,” of course.

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