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Monthly Archives: June 2011

*UPDATED* MUSIC WORLD: Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” Video + Three Remixes

Apparently, Drake started something with his release of “Marvin’s Room.” Next to Kelly‘s “Motivation,” this is the most remixed song I have seen in a while. Check the video and ALL the remixes below (with download links).

Low-budget, but it works. In addition to his orignal song which you can hear below, JoJo, Teyana Taylor, AND Chris Brown have added their own spin to the song.

Drake‘s original “Marvin’s Room:”

Next was JoJo, who I’ve been a fan of since her first album and her rendition of SWV’s “Weak.” Check it:

Then Teyana Taylor took the time to remind us why she’s so talented. In addition to the track, she has also released a visual to her rendition:

Most recently Chris Brown released his interpretation of the song, much to the excitement of #TeamBreezy, I’m sure. Listen below.

Sooo… which is your favorite interpretation of them all?

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TV WORLD: True Blood Season 4, Episode 1 Recap

Although my DVR stayed full during the fall TV season (aka the time when True Blood hadn’t come back on yet), I still was counting down the days until season four returned. Most self-respecting TB fans I know had already seen the first six minutes, followed by the next two minutes and then another full viewing of the first eight minutes of last night’s episode that were released a few weeks ago. Fortunately, that teaser wasn’t the best the season premiere had to offer. So let’s jump right into the highs, lows and all the other particulars of last night’s episode.

·       Apparently having an accent is a requirement for fairy godmothers and ‘fairy godfather’ is a term that will never be used, as confirmed by the TB universe.

·       I’m glad Sookie had the sense not to eat the forbidden fruit. Her character has never struck me as the type to ‘drink the koolaid’, but I always forget how quick she is when she’s not under the Eric/Bill/Alcide influences.

·       Grandpa Earl (bka Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh from Office Space) had seemingly been stuck in this fairy world for years, which we knew was possible from Bill’s foray there last season. Sookie had to deal with losing him twice, but I’m not sure if this is the last time we’ll see him.

·       Ball and Company showed that they could use their CGI budget for more than blood and guts during the mini-battle with the zombie witches (I refuse to call them faries when they look like that).

·       Jason (!!!) explains to Sookie that she had been gone for a little over a year. I’m a big fan of (explainable) time jumps because they leave so much room for new plots (as illustrated by how much things have changed for everyone that wasn’t stuck in a fairy world).

·       Enter Bill. Who Sookie learns ‘gave up on her’ just like Jason did. Enter Eric. Who never gave up on Sookie being gone, something he’ll prove by having been the one to buy her house (smart of the producers to find a way to restore that home to its pre-Maryann glory). I feel this will be the catalyst for helping distance Sookie from Bill and perhaps the rest of her friends.

·       Jesus really wants to bring Lafayette into the circle of practicing witches. Aside from his lack of facial hair that I’m assuming is supposed to provide a look of innocence, I’m not all that confident that he’s good for him. I don’t trust the old lady and when she inevitably does something big and bad this season, I don’t think Jesus will be far behind.

·       I know that all signs point to that being Rene’s baby, but I think that will be a throw-away plot by the time we reach mid-season. The timeline for Arlene’s pregnancy doesn’t quite add up for me and they’re pushing it too hard (baby breaks heads off of dolls, must be a potential sociopath murderer!).

·       Tara is now a lesbian. A cage-fighting lesbian. A cage-fighting lesbian who cage-fights her own girlfriend. Tara just became interesting, which can increase greatly when she finds her way back to Bon Temps and crosses paths with Pam (there’s been no evidence that this will happen, but it should).

·       Watching Jessica’s interaction with Hoyt reminded me that she was only 17 when she became a vampire. And as Pam pointed out, cohabitation and monogamy are not natural vampire traits. Hoyt will try to make it work, but I think the cute guy from the bar will be the first of many ‘dark-side’ traipses for Jessica.

·       Sam is still a jerk. His brother still seems untrustworthy. It’s nice that Sam found a group of shifters he can work out his anger issues with, but I was expecting something more exciting.

·       Lafayette is either a much stronger witch than he knows or he’s the missing link for that coven.

·       Bill is the new King of Louisiana, which explains why Eric respected his authority in their first scene together. I haven’t decided how I feel about this yet, but I’m interested to see how he moved up in the ranks, what kind of ruler he is and just how busy (and away from Sookie) this keeps him for the season.

·       Jason has seemingly changed the most out of everyone (Tara would be next on the list). Of course no good deed goes unpunished in the TB universe and when we last see him the citizens of Hot Shot are locking him in a faulty freezer for reasons not yet explained. I have a theory, but I’ve read the books and coupled with the clips from upcoming episodes, it’d be cheating to say what that is.

Very solid and a typical cliff-hanger TB ender for this season’s first episode. It wasn’t enough to make me forget the disappointment that was last season’s finale, but a strong start that leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I’m already excited for them to start filling in this missing year, as well as if Sookie will go back to being everyone’s axis. Pam’s usual blunt and brash conversational style provided my favorite interaction of the episode (Jessica’s overly excited, “Really?” while Pam simultaneously says “Not a bit”) and here are a few others that I enjoyed. Until next week…

Lafayette: We’ll stay for five minutes. 10 if they got dranks.
Eric [after seeing Sookie naked]: “Such a strange sensation when the reality matches what you’ve pictured in your mind so precisely.”

 

Pam: “The way you’re eye-(bleeping) fangbangers from across the room is especially romantic.”

Editor’s Notes: This following post has been submitted by my regular True Blood contributor, Nicole Nalls. 

MUSIC WORLD: Review of Beyonce’s “4”

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Beyonce‘s new album for more than a week. In this time period, I feel like I have formed some pretty solid opinions about the album as a whole. Despite only presenting 12 tracks for regular release, a release from Beyonce creates fanfare like few other artists can do. Check my full review below.

Let me begin with discussing my expectations for the album. When the single “Who Run the World (Girls)” dropped, I was excited. It was a different feel for Beyonce and for most of what was being played in major radio markets. After the record hit the general public, there was a lot of talk of Beyonce bringing something “new” and “exciting” and even “creating her own genre of music.” I felt the first single and accompanying video played into this. The album as a whole, feels very familiar though. That isn’t a completely bad thing, I just felt like I got duped by false advertising. Check my track by track review of the standard album. There will be a deluxe version released through Target with a few additional tracks.

1. “1+ 1” – I’m not surprised at all that this would be the first track of the album. After watching her riveting performance of this song on American Idol, I could tell she felt this song to her core. This track finds Beyonce in a vulnerable state will complete control of her voice. Though the lyrics are questionable (I don’t know much about algebra but I know 1 +1 equals 2), you can’t deny the grit and feel of this song. A wonderful way to open the album. Check her raw rehearsal of the song taped by her husband Jay-Z.

2. “I Care” – In this song, we get more of Beyonce’s gritty voice over a familiar, yet fresh, production sound. The energetic hook is a great balance to the calm of the verses. After reminding her beau why he hurt her, Beyonce screams out that she stills cares, despite the hurt. Most women can relate to the lyrics, if nothing else. Despite the unnecessary guitar solo, it’s a solid song on the album.

3. “I Miss You” – This track presents eerie production full of echos. I find it  mirrors the sound of the first half of the album with its overall gentle and calm feel with poignant lyrics about love and denial of feelings. Lasting only about 3 minutes, there isn’t much else to share.

4. “Best Thing I Never Had” – Co-written by Babyface, this song serves as Beyonce’s official second single from the album. It has an “Irreplaceable Part Deux” feel to it, so I expect it to be a similar crossover hit. At first listen, I wrote it off as a typical Top 40 hit, but after listening to the lyrics a few more times, I really like what she’s saying here. It’s not your typical “break up” song. Instead she reverberates powerful words full of certainty. My favorite line: “You showed your ass and baby I saw the real you… thank God you blew it, thank God I dodged a bullet.” Genius.  The video is expected to drop soon.

5. “Party” featuring Andre 3000 and Kanye West- Standing as the lone track on the album to feature anyone other than Beyonce, “Party” brings a smooth summer feel to it. The song samples Slick Rick (my fave) and is reminiscent of 90’s block parties and barbecues. Though Andre 3000’s contribution is slightly forgettable, it’s a welcome addition to the song. I’d be more interested to see what artist find this gem of a track and provides their own interpretation and feel. Oh and ‘Ye could’ve kept that “swagu” shit to himself.

6. “Rather Die Young” – I’m not sure what to make of this track. It seems like it’s odd placement following “Party,” and the lyrics feel like a personal journal entry to Jay-Z. The feel of the song is again, memorable, yet fresh. As a ballad-heavy album, I’d be interested to see how she interprets this song for a live performance.

7. “Start Over” – I almost skipped reviewing this song because you can certainly skip this track. There really isn’t anything exciting about the production or lyrics of this song. It’s fully of cliche phrases like: “let’s give our love wings,” “maybe we reached the mountain peak and there’s no more left to climb,” etc. This should’ve been a bonus track… in Japan.

8. “Love on Top” – Reminiscent of 1980’s feel good R&B, I almost want to speed up this track and turn it into “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely feels out of place. You can tell she was channeling her inspiration, Michael Jackson, during his Jackson 5 days. It’s a fresh track, but I don’t see the placement on this album.

9. “Countdown” – This track is the Beyonce that we expect to hear following her introduction of Sasha Fierce. This track would’ve fit right in with her best album to date, B’Day. And that’s a compliment. I like the simplicity of this track and feel-good vibe. I would love to see a visual interpretation of this video. Listen to it below:

[audio http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/4/14/2828242//09 Countdown.mp3]

10. “End of Time” – This track leaked awhile back. There were claims that it wasn’t complete, but it appears on the album sounding just like the leaked track. It’s a simple dance song that I could see getting major play in Euro clubs. It continues the streak of tracks that fans look forward to from Beyonce: big sounds, fast lyrics, danceable beats.

11. “I Was Here” – Full of dramatic sounds and futuristic thoughts, I find this song to be the most forgettable of the entire album. It reminds me of an American Idol finale song, and I think Beyonce is above this. That’s all I have to say about that.

12. “Who Run the World (Girls)” – With this track serving as the lead single for the album, I’m surprised it got placement at the end of the tracklist, but I love the energy of this song. And it feels much more appropriate as part of the album than as a stand alone track. Check the video below.

I always feels so cheated with 12-track albums. There will be the deluxe version released via Target tomorrow, though. It includes the other leaked tracks “Lay Up Under Me,” “Schoolin’ Life,” and “Dance For You” in addition to a couple remixes of “Who Run the World.” My final verdict…

3.5 stars/5 stars