American Idol: Hollywood Week Returns

Hollywood Week began last night on “American Idol,” and they are definitely changing things up this season. For one, by tonight, if someone sucked on their initial Hollywood audition, they would be given a second chance a few days later. Secondly, we went from 164 contestants down to 50 after some brutal, immediate eliminations. Thirdly, no group performances. Fourthly, they could play an instrument while performing. And finally, we will have our 24 finalists by tonight. Geez, that was fast.

Anyway, in making short work of Hollywood Week, we were asked to give Fox an extra hour of our day, as it was a 2-hour episode, and tonight we go back to one hour. I’m not complaining, only telling you that there is a lot to summarize in short space here. So I’ll do it by telling you who looked great, who looked mediocre and who sucked and went home. Here we go….

Absolute finalists:

David Hernandez—I don’t remember this guy from the initial rounds, but he sang “Love the One You’re With,” with a really cool arrangement to boot. He was really, really good and I would definitely peg him as top 24 material.

Amanda Obermeyer, the biker nurse, threw another twist Read the rest of this entry »

  

DMed’s Video of the Week: Rocko, “Umma Do Me”

Say hello to Atlanta rapper Rocko, who has apparently spent years writing, producing and developing major label talent (though curiously, the press release does not name a single one of these artists). He makes his solo debut with a song called, no joke, “Umma Do Me.” The press release goes on to talk about how Rocko is at “the forefront of the new Southern movement in hip-hop where business acumen and consumer awareness reign supreme.”


Scene from the “Umma Do Me” video

Uh huh. So that’s why he spends the entire video throwing Monopoly money at the camera? Or up into the air at the club? Because of his business acumen? Which is it, Rocko, are you a savvy businessman and phony playa, or splashy pimp with no fiscal common sense whatsoever? You can’t have it both ways, dawg. Guys who make it rain in da club are clowns, and eventually, they’re broke clowns. As for consumer awareness, doesn’t that just mean that Rocko knows what sells, and is pandering to the lowest common denominator for a buck? In other words, he doesn’t stand for anything more than making money. That’s not an example of business savvy. It just means he’s willing to whore himself.

Now, let’s talk about the lyrics. I’m no hip-hop scholar, but I’ve heard enough to know that this is lazy, lazy shit.

“I’m from the old school, you’re from the new school / My old school costs more than your new school”
“You really like her, you might wife her / I don’t like her, so I one-night her”
“You in my rear view, yeah, you history / First to second, two seconds, I love a six speed.”

I want to call up Chuck D and read these to him, just to see how angry it makes him. Here it is, bam! Chuck would say, “God damn! This is a wack jam.”

Now for my favorite part: the following line repeats during every chorus:

“Wanna see how’s it done? Watch me do me.”

Is this song an ode to self-love? If he’s doing himself, is that slang for masturbation? Naw, dude, I don’t want to watch you do you.

Ah, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the comments on the video’s YouTube page (embedding, sadly, is disabled). Check out these gold-star props Rocko has received from his fans:

“nigga killed sayin u might wife her i one night her killin it. do what it do”

“This song is da shit! I just do me all day everyday!!Baby just rep yaself and where you from dont worry bout all des otha haters. they jus bitches”

I, on the other hand, will side with the following comment:

“haha do yaself bra! junior varsity shit nigga”

Enough of this phony gangster bullshit, already. No one’s impressed. Enjoy the moment while it lasts, Rocko, because your moment in the sun will be fleeting and unpleasant. For everyone.

To watch the video, click here.

  

American Idol: All I See Is Corn

Last night’s “American Idol” auditions were held in Omaha, Nebraska for the first time ever, and it seemed like every other contestant was from some farm in Iowa with a town of 200 people…seriously. Anyway, Paula Abdul’s plane was delayed, so they started with just Randy and Simon judging. And just like last week, Fox gave me an hour of my life back, for which I genuinely thank them.

With that, here were the freaks from last night….

An effeminate dude named Chris started things off, and he carried a photo album with pics of himself and Kelly Clarkson. He also said he was a huge fan of Paula, who, lucky for Paula, wasn’t there yet. Anyway, Chris sang Kelly’s “Since You’ve Been Gone, ” and it was predictably horrible. He then asked if he could audition for the “Red Carpet” for the finale, and Simon took the liberty of giving Chris the gig, saying he just needed to contact his local Fox affiliate and tell them he approved. Hilarious.

Hard to believe, but aside from a medley of freaks singing Steeler’s Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You,” they only showed one other dud last night. (Well, I think they did…our power went out for five minutes). That dud was Johnny, who was dressed in a gold jacket and said he was inspired by the great James Brown. Simon said he hated everything about it, and so did I. Paula, meanwhile, is drunk again! She even hiccupped during Johnny’s audition. Classic.

On to the good Read the rest of this entry »

  

Worst. Rhymes. EVER.

Alas, the new Cracked Magazine – edited by Michael Ian Black – has been cancelled after only 3 issues…but, thankfully, Cracked.com will continue to exist online, so why not start in with your support by checking out their list of the 20 worst rhymes in pop music history. It’s not actually as comprehensive as the title suggests, since it leaves out America (“In the desert you can remember your name / ‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain”), but it earns music geek points for including Steve Miller’s “The Last Wombat in Mecca.” Wow, that’s obscure…

  

Deep Cuts: Pearl Jam

Read the entire Pearl Jam Deep Cuts list, and check out Bullz-Eye’s review of the new self-titled Pearl Jam album.

A confession: I can’t remember the last time I played Ten start to finish. It’s been years, quite a few of them, in fact. And yet, I’m one of the biggest Pearl Jam fans you’d ever meet. So why have I neglected Ten, one of the defining albums of the 1990s and the most significant release in my own music universe, for so long? I guess I’ve outgrown it. It’s no big deal. I’m not putting it down, and I’m certainly not forgetting the impact it had on me and so many others more than a decade ago. The album just doesn’t ring true for me anymore.

In a very tangible way, I’ve grown up with Pearl Jam, or at least with their discography. Every release had songs that I instantly and eagerly latched onto, some admittedly more than others, and more than a few of those songs have provided me with insight into some of my own questions about life. Now, 12 years after I first heard “Black” on the bus ride to a track meet in high school, I don’t have those same questions. I’m about to turn 30, so I guess that’s a good thing. I just hope kids in high school today are listening to Ten.

So consider this all a disclaimer, because you’ll only find one song from Ten on this list of Pearl Jam Deep Cuts, and just one from Vs., the band’s sophomore release. Aside from the reasons I laid out above, everyone’s heard Ten and most people have heard Vs. too, so uncovering more than one or two true deep cuts from each album is next to impossible. Besides, the music from the band’s more recent releases, including their new self-titled album, is simply better than the stuff they were putting out in the early ‘90s. It’s true. Just like I’ve outgrown Ten and the whole grunge “thing,” Pearl Jam has too.

“Porch” – Ten
Like so many people, I played Ten to death, but I couldn’t kill “Porch.” For a long time, “Black” was my favorite cut off their debut but, while “Black” has faded a bit, “Porch” has endured. Nobody knew it at the time, but this song offered the clearest preview of what was to come. In fact, without “Porch,” there may never have been a “Corduroy,” and see if the opening riff of “Severed Hand,” off the band’s latest album, sounds at all familiar. Forget why you used to love Pearl Jam so much? Play this song.

“Leash” – Vs.
“Drop the leash, drop the leash / GET OUTTA MY FUCKIN FACE!” Gee, why did high school boys dig this song so much? This song should’ve made it clear to everyone that Pearl Jam was more than just a grunge band. “Leash” is one ballsy rocker that still sounds great 13 years later.

“Last Exit” – Vitalogy
Those who claim Pearl Jam went soft with Vitalogy need only listen to the album’s first track to drop that notion. Raw, defiant and edgy, “Last Exit” is the pitch-perfect opener for Vitalogy, an album crammed with jagged lyrics, crunching guitars and bold experimentation. It also served as an early notice from the band, an indication that things were going to be a little different this time around. Listen to Eddie roar, “Let my spirit paa-aaaass!” and try calling him a softie.

“Whipping” – Vitalogy
One of the best cuts from Vitalogy is the single “Not for You,” in which Eddie shouts at everyone greedily clutching his band’s coattails, “This is not for you / Oh, it never was for you / Fuck you!” That retaliatory mood also churns throughout “Whipping,” a relentlessly paced song that confronts the backlash Pearl Jam experienced from fans, critics and label execs who resented the band’s refusal to stagnate and follow up Ten with Eleven: “They don’t want no change / We already have.” In many ways, “Whipping” represents a more mature and refined “Leash,” just as aggressive but much more focused, and instead of “Get outta my fuckin’ face!”, Eddie growls, “Don’t mean to push / but I’m being shoved!”

Find the entire list here.

  

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