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Celebrities In Halloween Costumes: Heidi Klum, Diddy, Fergie & More!

It’s that time of year again! Between the carved pumpkins lining doorstops, shelves of candy practically disappearing overnight, and costume stores boasting Dracula, Superman, and pretty pretty princesses, there’s no doubt that Halloween is just around the corner.

This spook-tacular holiday isn’t just for kids anymore, (I mean, who doesn’t love free candy and dressing up?), and to help you get into the holiday spirit, we’re bringing you a taste of how celebrities across the country are celebrating this year. Check it out after the jump. Continue reading ‘Celebrities In Halloween Costumes: Heidi Klum, Diddy, Fergie & More!’

Sound And Vision: Why Hasn’t Tabloid Notoriety Turned John Mayer into a Total Joke?

“John Mayer Gets a Haircut After Katy Perry Split!”

As breaking news of the day goes, it’s not exactly groundbreaking. Still, there it was, in multiple variations, splattered across the online pages of E!, Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly (which called it a “hair break-over”), People magazine and so many other websites devoted, in large and small part, to such trivialities. You’d think Samson had risen from the dead and taken up guitar.

But wait! Shouldn’t Delilah — I mean, Katy Perry — have been the star of this life (and a new ‘do)-after-love story? Traditionally, the celebrity tabloids and gossip websites pursue female celebrities about whom they date, whom they marry, whom they divorce, to search for baby bumps, and fashion dos and don’ts. Guys generally get in only when they’re dating one of them. (Why do you think Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger, who once went from long to short without causing so much as a media ripple and is now engaged to Avril Lavigne, is suddenly “newsworthy”?)

By those standards, John Mayer must be some kind of publicity-baiting genius. In the last several years, he’s made himself as much of a tabloid fixture as an A-list starlet by dating a succession of them: Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift, and most recently, Katy Perry, his pop-star paramour of a few months. Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Why Hasn’t Tabloid Notoriety Turned John Mayer into a Total Joke?’

Sound And Vision: Why Bieber Fever Can’t Touch Beatlemania?

Don’t believe everything you read.

No matter what the media say—and for more than a year now, they’ve been declaring Justin Bieber as big as, if not bigger than, the Beatles—Bieber Fever is no match for Beatlemania. Even if Bieber’s new holiday album, Under the Mistletoe, which was released November 1, ends up being the biggest one ever (the first single, “Mistletoe,” just debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 11, immediately making it the seventeen-year-old’s biggest solo hit yet), remember this: The Beatles never released a Christmas album. (Thank God!)

Obviously, Bieber Fever does have one thing in common with Beatlemania, a movement launched by The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 that continued long after the Beatles broke up in 1970: girls, girls, girls (all screaming at the top of their lungs). They are the cornerstone of Bieber’s success, but Beatlemania involved so much more than overzealous female fans caught up in the rapture of hot musical act.

Thanks to his largely underage female following, Bieber does reasonably well commercially, though he lacks the opening-week clout of Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne or even Coldplay (to name the artists behind the Top 3 debuts of 2011). In the US, he’s sold some 5 million copies of one full-length studio album, three compilations and one EP. That may barely be on par with the sales standards set by pop’s top divas, but it would put him in the running for modern pop’s most commercially viable male star.

Still, Bieber is no chart phenomenon. For all of the hysteria he spawned in his first two and a half years in circulation, he only hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 twice in his first eight tries. The highest-peaking of those was “Baby” (No. 5 in 2010), and both were collaborations with rappers (Ludacris on “Baby,” Jaden Smith on “Never Say Never”), which means Bieber has yet to score a massive hit based on his star power alone.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Why Bieber Fever Can’t Touch Beatlemania?’

Sound And Vision: It’s the Same Old Song for Thespians Who Sing — and Chances Are It’s Not a Hit!

Though Susan Boyle helped make music’s mainstream safer for the mature crowd, her chart-life-begins-at-nearly fifty success story remains a rarity. But perhaps in the case of Jeff Bridges, who won an Oscar for playing an alcoholic country singer in Crazy Heart, a music star could have been born at the ripe old age of 61. Alas, it was not to be. His debut album, Jeff Bridges, entered Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 25 the week after its August 16 release and then tumbled to No. 58.

Thankfully, Bridges is in no danger of losing his day job.

These are hard times for actors and actresses moonlighting as recording artists. Back in the ’80s, the biggest movie stars usually were guaranteed at least one big pop hit if they bothered to try. Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis, Don Johnson and Patrick Swayze all did, and each managed one trip to the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. But that was then. By the ’90s, mega-stars like Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves and Russell Crowe were forming rock bands that went nowhere on the charts.

More recently, Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds to Mars has approached a level of heat commensurate with that of his acting career (which, considering his overall filmography, isn’t as impressive as it might sound), but there hasn’t been a movie star who’s been able to consistently score on the music charts since Jennifer Lopez made her seamless transition to pop diva in 1999 with the No. 1 hit “If You Had My Love.”

A handful of TV stars have done slightly better. Just in time for the September 18 Emmys, House star Hugh Laurie, an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominee, sees his debut album, Let Them Talk (produced by Joe Henry, Madonna’s talented brother-in-law, and released in the U.S. on September 6, months after its successful spring launch in Europe), enter the Billboard Top 200 album chart at No. 16. Meanwhile, the single “Police Dog Blues” debuts at No. 58 on the Hot 100 — respectable, if not spectacular. But does his chart career have long-term potential? At first, Hilary Duff‘s seemed to, but her music career stalled nearly a half-decade ago (her one-time nemesis Lindsay Lohan‘s never really took off), and Miley Cyrus, who had to make her initial cross-over to pop as her small-screen alter-ego Hannah Montana, is in flux after tanking last year with Can’t Be Tamed.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: It’s the Same Old Song for Thespians Who Sing — and Chances Are It’s Not a Hit!’

Sound And Vision: Celebrity Feuds — Pop Is a Battlefield, World War II

“Take back Vanessa Redgrave
Take back Joe Piscopo
Take back Eddie Murphy
Give ‘em all some place to go”

— Tom Petty, “Jammin’ Me” (1987)

“Fuck Tom Petty!”—Eddie Murphy

Oh, those crazy stars! What will they say next? And will they ever learn? What a tangled web they weave when they start to take pot shots at each other.

Celebrity feuds have existed since before the dawn of the pop charts. Eminem owes much of his early notoriety to cutting down to size the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, ‘N Sync and Moby in videos and on record. Meanwhile, off the record (though always totally for attribution), Katy Perry has never met a fellow chart-topper she wouldn’t slag off.

But lately, stars keep colliding and disturbing the peace in the music galaxy. Liam Gallagher just filed suit against his brother Noel over the latter’s claim that Liam pulled out of a high-profile Oasis gig in 2009 due to a hangover and over comments Noel made blaming Liam for the demise of the band. But then brothers in arms have engaged in verbal—and occasionally, physical— combat since the heyday of the Kinks, which featured the dueling Davies, Ray and Dave. Chris and Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, William and Jim Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Kings of Leon‘s Followill brothers have the battle scars to prove it.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Celebrity Feuds — Pop Is a Battlefield, World War II’

Soundcheck: Hip Hop Hits…And Misses Playground Music Festival

Hip hop heroes did more than disappoint this weekend when headliners for the First Annual Playground Music Festival skipped their sets, leaving fans and promoters scratching their heads and looking for refunds.

The event was billed as a two-day hip hop, rock and electronic festival, suited for all ages, and promised 200 bands over thirteen stages.  Hosted by Nick Cannon and headlined by The Game, E-40, Too Short, Big Sean,  New Boyz, Panic! At The Disco and The Bravery, it even boasted appearances by Lindsay Lohan and Pete Wentz.

When gates at Hidden Valley, Irvine opened at noon on Saturday, the mostly vacant parking lot was an early warning sign that the 30,000 capacity outdoor venue might not be packed that day.  Once inside, fans found their way across thirteen stages strewn throughout the Hidden Valley property, ultimately leading to the main stage, where Game was expected to perform his Number 1 album, R.E.D. later that evening.

With no signage or announcements of show schedules and stages, it was tough for fans to find the sets they came to see.  Luckily, we caught OurStage’s own ForestPunk delivering one of the best rap performances I’ve seen in years. The twenty-year old Los Angeles native spit thirteen tracks in his hour-long set, which included an eclectic range of thought-provoking prose over heart-pounding dubstep beats, up against his softer-sounding songs like “Scary Monster” over acoustic guitar. His set-closing number, “Bad Monkey” had tinges of Lupe-inspired sound fused with the insight and confidence expected from an artist twice his age.

As the night moved on, Shiny Toy Gunz and The Cataracs gave lackluster performances to an eager but small crowd.  As the lock neared 8PM, the sound plug was abruptly pulled and an announcement followed that “Game won’t be performing tonight. Show is over. Please proceed to the exits.” No talk of refunds or rescheduling followed, only herds of fans rushed through the grounds with no explanation as to why.  Too Short and E-40 also missed their headlining slots, with the entire night going up in smoke.

Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Hip Hop Hits…And Misses Playground Music Festival’

 


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