*The following reviews were gathered from Bruno Mars’ performance at the FedEx Forum on June 6, 2014. He’s currently traveling the United States for the second leg of his Moonshine Jungle Tour.*
Alex Beene: I never saw Michael Jackson live in concert. Sad, I know. Thanks to MJ’s weird obsession with staying off the road in later years and blowing millions in Vegas on junk that now occupies dusty space in the attic of Neverland Ranch, my knowledge of the former King of Pop’s performance power will forever be limited to clips from the past.
Alex Beene: Disney’s latest animated feature is one of their biggest hits ever. “Frozen” has made more than $1 billion worldwide, has merchandise selling out in stores nationwide and has kids lining – and parents paying – up to get in on the fun (the wait to see the “Frozen” princesses at Disney World runs an average of two hours!). Read more
Last summer’s hit song, Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines,” was awesome the first time I heard it. Catchy the next 20 times. But naturally, like most summer jams, it got really, really stale by the middle of June. Then there was the whole Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke VMA debacle that completely ruined it.
About a week ago, I heard “Love Never Felt So Good” off of Michael Jackson’s posthumous release Xscape. Then I heard the version of the song that featured Justin Timberlake. Immediately I knew this would be the 2014 summer mega-hit.
It’s catchy. It’s danceable. The video is great. It alludes to Jackson’s past videos and features JT doing some signature MJ moves. It’s pretty much the perfect song for the hot summer months. So look for it in the club, on the radio, on the streets, everywhere.
And in about two months, look for it to still be enjoyable. “Blurred Lines” became very easy to hate. “Love Never Felt So Good” will be a song the world is still enjoying years from now. The duet between the King of Pop and who I believe is his heir-apparent is a refreshing change of pace for the inevitable continuous airplay this summer.
If you haven’t heard it, check out the video below. I bet you’ll love it. And I bet you’ll still love it next summer.
Last year I shared my knee jerk reactions to the Beale Street Music Festival lineup announcement. Comments came along throughout the day lauding how great a job Memphis does getting decent acts to Tom Lee Park for the affordable event, and I felt like a jackass for putting down the Little Festival that Could.
The year before last, my last time to attend the BSMF, I wrote a short review and a long rant about how to make the festival better. I still stand by those thoughts. Read more
Kudos to Virginia Sen. Mark Warner for proving himself to be – like most of his D.C. colleagues – completely off-focus. Instead of making headlines for doing anything legislatively progressive, he saw top news billing for saying he would sign a petition to deport Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber.
And why has this petition been started? Multiple stories have surfaced in recent weeks of Bieber’s wild lifestyle. He got a DUI, which subsequently produced a memorable mugshot. Investigators have pulled drugs from his homes and planes. The paparazzi is following him on a 24/7 basis at this point, and not a day goes by that his photos aren’t splashed on media sites.
Let me insert a rare dose of logic into this mainstream entertainment disease: Justin Bieber is 19 years old. I’ll repeat that: he’s 19. To put into context for guys and girls of my generation how young he is, he was three months old when “The Lion King” released to theaters for the first time. Yeah.
In many ways, the 56th Annual Grammys was a mixture of everything right and wrong with modern awards shows. Performances ranged from the inspirational to the outlandish, but all proved to be the type of buzz-worthy segments show producers were eager to achieve.
The 2014 ceremony was all about the leading women in music. Beyoncé kicked off the show with a sizzling “Drunk in Love” bit with husband Jay-Z. Lorde kept her angsty persona going with a memorable “Royals” solo. Who didn’t love Pink’s stunning descent from the ceiling? And Taylor Swift seemed hell-bent to prove her critics wrong and did such with a stunningly aggressive rendition for “All Too Well.”
Of course, the boys had their fun, too. Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons easily stole the show with an intensity rarely seen on the Grammys stage. Ditto to Metallica’s return and the crazed finale that saw Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and Dave Grohl go ballistic with one of the best rock mash-ups in recent memory.
It was Daft Punk and friends who really owned the evening, though. Think it couldn’t get any better than an on-stage medley with Stevie Wonder? Amazingly, it did, as the crew swept the show, earning Record and Album of the Year. All of the “Get Lucky” love almost made us forget about Pharrell’s outrageous hat. Well, almost.
There was a time when I thoroughly enjoyed the popular music that was played on the typical Top 40 station. Then I grew up…got a job…and a wife. I’ve become dissatisfied with “today’s best hits” (primarily consisting of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Pitbull) and the banter between adolescent callers and androgynously-named DJs. If you find yourself relishing the moment a commercial comes across the airwaves–you’ve got a problem. If your radio station has you banging your head against your dashboard, I’ve got your solution–blues.
As a Memphian it is easy to think that all blues music sounds like that of W.C. Handy and B.B. King; however, that isn’t the case. There are many genres of blues–Contemporary, Electric, Windy City Blues, and Delta Blues (just to name a few). I think you’d be pleasantly surprised in comparing some of your favorite songs to blues music. There are certain similarities and likenesses. In an interview with Mick Kolassa, Vice Chairman of The Blues Foundation, he explained to me that often blues is the “foundation” of most of today’s music; more or less, blues gave breath to all music of the last generations.