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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!’

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

The National win best album at Q Awards

This week Q Magazine’s Q Awards took place, bringing together some of the biggest names in music. Winners included Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine for Best Female, Paolo Nutini for Best Male, and Mumford & Sons for Best New Act. The National beat the likes of Green Day, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and Muse for the highest honor of Best Album for High Violet. Check out the full list of winners here.

Katy Perry gets hitched

Katy Perry and Russell Brand got married in a lavish ceremony on a wildlife reserve in India this past weekend. Bo-ring!

The Bad

Bon Jovi neighbor pens apology letter

“Dear Bon Jovi,

I’m sorry for throwing empty beer cans on your lawn.”

So begins a grand apology by a 17-year-old neighbor of Jon Bon Jovi, posted to TheAwl.com. So what possessed a teenage boy to vandalize the lawn of New Jersey’s favorite son? Bad lyrics, apparently. Read the letter in its entirety here—it’s funny stuff.

T.I. changes album title

Now that T.I. is facing 11 months in jail for violating his probation, his album name, King Uncaged doesn’t make much sense. This week the rapper announced that the new title will be No Mercy. Still no word on a release date … for the album … not T.I.

The Ugly

Alice Cooper loses blood and other stuff on flight to UK

Don’t you just hate it when the airline loses your fake blood, skulls and plastic bats? Oh, that’s right, you’re not Alice Cooper. The ghoulish rocker was en route to a Halloween show in London when he discovered his luggage had been misplaced, and with it, all sorts of props for his show. Cooper was not happy, nor should he be. Oversized syringes and skeleton arms don’t grow on trees.

Taylor Momsen flashes audience at New York show

Is there anyone, ANYONE, more desperate to be seen as a bad girl than Taylor Momsen? The dead hooker makeup, the underage smoking, the torn fishnets, the apathetic gaze, the pointless trash talking—it’s like a 17-year-old pretending to be Courtney Love for Halloween. The Pretty Reckless singer borrowed another move from the bad girl playbook this week when she flashed a crowd during a performance, revealing taped nipples a la Wendy O. Williams. Yawn. Julia Roberts’ performance in Pretty Woman was more shocking. Sorry Miss Momsen, you’re not bad, just unoriginal.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

New Arcade Fire video brings it home … to your home

Remember when Arcade Fire came out with that incredible (and creepy) interactive video for “Neon Bible” and we all thought THERE’S NO WAY THEY CAN TOP THIS. Well, Montreal’s finest just topped that. Check out their interactive video for “We Used to Wait,” which uses Google Maps to incorporate your childhood home address into the footage. Customized nostalgia. There’s no way they can top that … right?

Kanye releases another track on his Web site

This one is called “Monster” and features an eclectic all-star lineup of Nicki Minaj, Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, Jay-Z and Rick Ross. What happens when indie-folk and hip hop collide? Find out here.

The Bad

John Lennon’s toilet sells for $15,000

That’s a lot of money for a porcelain throne, even if it once belonged to rock royalty. No butts about it.

The Ugly

Guns N’ Roses bomb at Leeds & Reading

Unless you’re easily shocked, the following will come as no surprise. Guns N’ Roses performance at England’s Leeds and Reading festivals left a lot to be desired. Like, for instance, punctuality. The band showed up an hour late to Reading and had to cut their performance short due to strict curfew laws. A few days later they repeated the tardiness at Leeds and were cut short again. Axl Rose took to Twitter to explain to fans, claiming there was “a deal in place” for the band to continue after curfew and “someone wasn’t informed, [someone] changed their mind … or [it] was a con.” By most reports, the performances were terrible, so thank goodness for cons and curfews.

Taylor Momsen is drinking the haterade

Taylor Momsen may have begun her career as the adorable Cindy Lou, but she’s become quite the Grinch in her off-camera life. Trying a little too hard to be tough and anti-establishment, the Pretty Reckless singer has spat the haterade out at Miley Cyrus, public toilets, Rihanna and her band name. We kind of hate that last one, too.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Ryan Adams to release two new albums

Ryan Adams

What’s better than one new Ryan Adam’s album? Two—duh! This week Adam’s posted a message on his Facebook page to announce he’ll start recording part one of a new solo album, what he dubs “West Coast Sessions.” Fans can expect something like the “evil twin” of Cold Roses, minus all the noodling. And if that doesn’t set you adrift on memory bliss, remember that there’s a double album with his backing band, the Cardinals, called III/IV that’s coming down the pipe, too. How d’ya like them roses?

The Bad

Big Star bassist passes away

Big Star

What a rough year for Big Star. First singer Alex Chilton dies of a sudden heart attack in March. Now, four months after playing a tribute show to Chilton at SXSW, bassist Andy Hummel has succumbed to cancer. Chilton, Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens formed the band in Memphis in the ‘70s to modest renown. But bands like R.E.M. and Paul Westerberg, who cited Big Star as an influence, garnered the band a cult following in the ‘90s. Hummel, who was a longtime employee of Lockheed Martin, quit the band in 1974 before recording their most influential record, Third/Sister Lovers.

Pink suffers fall on stage in Germany

In what definitely left a mark, Pink fell into a barricade minutes into her concert in Nuremberg Germany and was immediately rushed to the hospital. After reassuring fans she was OK with Twitter updates, the singer explained that she had not been clipped into her harness correctly. Upside: “I made that barricade my bitch,” she cheerfully tweeted (cheeweeted?).

The Ugly

Gaga warns fans about Westboro Baptist Church protest

Lady Gaga

After the fundamentalist, and—ok let’s face it—batshit crazy Westboro Baptist Church members (the same class acts who protested soldier’s funerals with the signs that read “God hates fags”) announced they would be in attendance outside of Lady Gaga’s concert in St. Louis, Gaga headed to her Twitter page to warn her little monsters. “Pay these hate criminals no mind. Do not respond to their provocation,” she advised. “Feel gratitude in your heart that you are not burdened or addicted to hate, as they are.” Only a handful of Westboro church members ended up showing up.

Score: Love, 1, Hate, 0.

Enrique Iglesias uses fan’s camera to snap pic down his pants

Ew. And gross. And why? And … how did it turn out?

Miscellany

 


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