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Sound and Vision: Songs of the Season — 10 Great “Summer” Singles

Summer and songs. They fit together like Santa and snow, like sex and the city, like Coldplay and Rihanna in the “Princess of China” single and video, which both acts no doubt are hoping will be the song of the summer of 2012. (And if it’s not, Rihanna’s got another shot anyway, with “Where Have You Been,” the fifth single from her Talk That Talk album.)

But the songs of summer aren’t just about the latest, greatest hits when warm weather starts to roll around. If they were, we all would have been stuck with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” on an endless beach loop last summer (and certainly some of us were). The hottest season has been figuring prominently into pop since the beginning of time, regardless of the temperature outside.

This year, it will be no different. So while the rest of the world is sweating it out to Rihanna and Coldplay, or Rihanna on her own, or brand new music from Justin Bieber, Usher, Chris Brown, or Fiona Apple (my personal beach pick), feel free to pad your summer mix with these ten entries, some of the best “summer’ songs ever.

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Songs of the Season — 10 Great “Summer” Singles’

Hollywood Ex-Wives On Reality TV

 

via vibevixen.com

The ex-wives of Hollywood stars Prince, R. Kelly, Will Smith, Jose Canseco and Eddie Murphy are set to star in their own television series, creatively titled Hollywood Exes. The show will run for ten summer episodes and will follow the five women as they go about their daily lives create their own success. As of now, none of the women’s former significant others are scheduled to make an appearance. Hollywood Exes is set to air on VH1 sometime this summer.

Mark Wahlberg’s Celebrity Challenge: Making Justin Bieber a Movie Star

If anyone can do it, it would be the pop artist formerly known as Marky Mark. The task at hand: transforming Justin Bieber from Canadian teen-pop idol into Hollywood matinee idol

Mark Wahlberg already knows a thing or three about reinvention. When he first burst onto the entertainment scene in 1991 as the leader of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunk—a two-hit wonder from whom nobody expected any kind of longevity, and afterwards as a Calvin Klein underwear model—few probably thought he’d be likely to succeed past the mid-decade mark.

Yet two decades later, he’s still here. He’s a movie star and a respected actor, a successful producer (of the TV series Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, and of last year’s Best Picture Oscar contender, The Fighter) and an Academy Award acting nominee (Best Supporting Actor for 2006′s The Departed).

His next project: making Justin Bieber a film star. “I see the guy and spent time with him, and you see what he does and how he does it,” Wahlberg told MTV News last year, “and then you actually have a conversation with him, and it’s there.”

Picture this (because Wahlberg already has): Bieber in a The Color of Money-type film, which Wahlberg is developing for Paramount Pictures, with basketball replacing pool. Bieber would take the Tom Cruise role, and Wahlberg would cast a formidable screen legend like Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall or Jack Nicholson as the grizzled vet, the Color of Money archetype that finally won Paul Newman an Oscar in 1987.

It sounds like a dream job—for someone else. If Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake, Tim McGraw and Wahlberg himself have taught us anything, when making the transition from music to movies, it’s best to start small. Both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera tried to fulfill their film-star fantasy by starring above the title the first time out (in Crossroads and Burlesque, respectively), and thus far, neither one’s Hollywood dream has come true.

Enimen has yet to find a follow-up worthy of his debut starring role in 2002′s 8 Mile; the Hollywood heat surrounding The Bodyguard star Whitney Houston, set to test the acting waters again in a 2012 remake of Sparkle, quickly cooled after three films; Beyoncé has gotten plenty of acting work, but her Hollywood career has yet to generate any kind of major excitement; and Evita aside, Madonna has been most successful onscreen in supporting roles (Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own). Former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar her first time out for Dreamgirls, but what has she done for us lately?

That Bieber’s 2011 documentary/concert film, Never Say Never, was a major box-office success ($73 million in North America) indicates that movie-ticket buyers will shell out bucks to see him on the big screen. And he’s already had a guest-starring role in C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation. But pop stars are always booking cameos and story arcs in hit TV shows, and in Never Say Never, Bieber was literally playing himself. If Wahlberg is going to guide him through the Hollywood jungle, he’d be wise to pull out the map that he himself used.

For now, let somebody else drive. Don’t even let him ride shotgun just yet. Bieber would be better off in the backseat, cast in an ensemble movie where he doesn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting (see Taylor Swift in Valentine’s Day—on second thought, don’t).

When Wahlberg landed his first major starring role, in 1997′s Boogie Nights, he was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) and surrounded by highly esteemed talents like Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly and a soon-to-be-briefly resurgent (and Oscar-nominated for the first time) Burt Reynolds.

Even after Boogie Nights, Wahlberg’s most notable films—I Heart Huckabees, The Departed, The Fighter—have featured plenty of Oscar-caliber talent. And in The Departed, it was Wahlberg, not costars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon or Jack Nicholson who walked away with the Oscar nod.

But Wahlberg seems to have other ideas for Bieber, whom he calls “really talented.” And if he exhibits no discernible talent for film acting once the cameras roll? “I will extract it,” Wahlberg said.

Good luck to them both. They’ll need it. Wahlberg may have proven that he’s a miracle worker by going from rapper to underwear hunk to Oscar nominee, but Bieber holding his own with a DeNiro or a Duvall or a Nicholson sounds like an almost-impossible dream.

10 Music Stars Who Deserve a Hollywood Big-Screen Test

1. Lady Gaga

Best Performance in a Video: “Paparazzi”

2. John Mayer

Best Performance in a Video: “Who Says”

3. Ke$ha

Best Performance in a Video: “Blow”

4. Mary J. Blige

Best Performance in a Video: “Be Without You”

5. Pink

Best Performance in a Video: “Glitter in the Air” (live at the 2010 GRAMMY Awards)

6. Duffy

Best Performance in a Video: “Warwick Avenue”

7. Fiona Apple

Best Performance in a Video: “Fast As You Can”

8. Richard Ashcroft

Best Performance in a Video: “Break the Night with Colour”

9. Roisin Murphy

Best Performance in a Video: “Overpowered”

10. Brandon Flowers

Best Performance in a Video: The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done”

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Kanye West Bono
Adele Black Keys
  • Clearly, the only reason Kayne didn’t get nominated is because his works are so awesome that they offset each other.
  • Bono, if you want to stop sounding like a girl, you might want to take off those sunglasses.
  • Can’t really blame him. Carl Barat does have a very punchable face.
  • Nice to get the official odds for the office’s back-alley GRAMMY betting ring.
  • When Will Smith’s daughter decides to step in, you know that it’s been too long since the last Will Smith album.
  • Damon Albarn reveals himself to have been the Wizard of Gorillaz all along. Munchkins everywhere are shocked.
  • Did Sleigh Bells turn into a metalcore band when we weren’t looking?
  • Bieb’s just trying to show that teen heartthrobs gotta stick together. Undersized fist bump.

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!’

The EditoriaList: Top Ten Singers-Turned-Actor

Once you’re a hugely successful musician, with lots of people telling you how awesome you are, making the leap into acting (or painting, or politics, or baseball, or aviation, or molecular biology) must seem like a piece of cake. There are so many object lessons to teach us how untrue that is (Britney Spears’ Crossroads, anyone?). But there are a few double-threats out there who have successfully made the leap.

 

10. Queen Latifah

It’s pretty aggravating to see a talented actor take an opportunity to do quality work, wipe their ass with that opportunity and flush it down the toilet. Queen Latifah has done this a couple of times. She could have had a solid career as a supporting actress after The Bone Collector and Bringing Out The Dead, but then she kicked America in the crotch by being part of The Country Bears, among other debacles. She was then lucky enough to be cast in Chicago, and it was inarguably a star-making performance. Finding herself in that enviable position, she accepted roles in a bunch of utter garbage, including Taxi and The Perfect Holiday. Sigh. But dammit, she’s always fun to watch on screen, whether it’s comedy or drama, and I suspect she’ll continue to appear in quality movies from time to time. Just don’t expect consistency.

Continue reading ‘The EditoriaList: Top Ten Singers-Turned-Actor’

Soundcheck: Music In Movies — Rappers Turned Actors Turned Rappers

It’s never a surprise when an entertainer has more than one talent, and in the hip hop world, that usually translates to rappers trying their hand at the silver screen.  Some have been more successful than others—carving out bona fide acting careers that ultimately overshadow the music—and some probably wish they would have stuck to the mic.  Here, a rundown of hip hop’s adventures in Hollywood.

Will Smith: The Fresh Prince made the transition from hip hop to household name look easy.  Aside from his hit TV show that ran from 1990-1996, he surprised everyone with his serious acting chops in movies like Independence Day and Men In Black. Now, the esteemed actor has movies like Ali and The Pursuit Of Happyness under his belt, earning as much, if not more credibility in acting circles than music ones.  It seems he’s finally found a way to meld all of his talents, serving as a patriarch of one seriously talented family.  Daughter Willow blew up the charts last year with her hit, “Whip My Hair”, son Jayden starred in last year’s Karate Kid remake and hit the stage with Justin Bieber at this year’s GRAMMY Awards and wife Jada is still going strong with her TNT show, Hawthorne as she moonlights as front-woman for her band, Wicked Wisdom.

Queen Latifah: The Queen took a cue from her longtime BFF, Will Smith, and transitioned from a hip hop heavyweight to a Hollywood starlet.  She took on tough roles like Chloe, in Set It Off, in 1996 and showed off her comedic timing with smash hit Bringing Down The House. She proved her singing abilities in the hit musical, Chicago, in 2002 and has followed up with a string of successes at the box office including Beauty Shop and Just Wright, co-starring our next crossover champ, Common.

Common: The Chicago rapper made a name for himself in underground circles long before he hit big in the mainstream.  After the success of his 2005 album, Be, he hit the silverscreen alongside Alicia Keys in Smoking Aces. He has followed up with roles in American Gangster and Street Kings, and has managed to remain relevant on the music scene, with his last albums, Finding Forever and Universal Mind Control scoring high marks. Now, he’s taking heat for his latest visit to the White House, after being invited by President Obama.

Ludacris: Luda shocked everyone when he took his raunchy reputation to the big screen and pulled a complete 180 for his role in the Oscar-winning film, Crash. The Atlanta-bred rapper earned the respect of Hollywood without compromising his street cred; which remains in tact after the release of his 2010 album, Battle Of The Sexes.

T.I.: Before his recent stints in the big house, T.I. tried his hand on the big screen, starring in ATL and last year’s Takers alongside Chris Brown. While his efforts were well-received for ATL, his role in Takers was a bit of a stretch, suggesting that this emcee might want to stick to what he knows best.  Still, his undeniable appeal was enough to bring music fans to the movies, so we’re guessing there’s more to come.

50 Cent: G-Unit’s leading man first flexed his acting muscles in the  film, Get Rich Or Die Tryin, where he basically played himself, rather convincingly.  His next attempt was a serious fete; the rapper starred in 13 and then dropped over 50  pounds to play a cancer-stricken football player in his next film, Things Fall Apart. The movie is due out this year, and in it 50 solidified his place as a real method actor, likely opening him up for future projects. In the meantime, he’s not hanging up his mic, recently promising a new album to fans by year’s end.

Bow Wow: Bow Wow has been on the scene since he was just a pup, dabbling in acting gigs between best-selling albums.  He starred in Roll Bounce, a movie suited perfectly for his tween fan base of the time. He also had roles in Car Wash and Hurricane Season, but has since returned to his rapping roots, signing with Young Money last year.  Now that the dog is all grown up, we wonder if he’ll take a shot at some more adult movie roles.  At the moment, you can catch him starring in Tyler Perry’s latest film, Madea’s Big Happy Family, in theaters now.

Soulja Boy: The teen dream rap phenomenon has already added “actor” to his resume, starring in the soon-to be-released remake of Juice. In it, he reprised the role of Bishop originated by Tupac Shakur in 1992, sending some fans into a fit of rage.  Now, he’s considering stepping into Pac’s shoes again after being offered the role of Pac himself in the upcoming biopic by Antoine Fuqua.

 

Sound And Vision: Five Music Stars With Family Members You Didn’t Know Were (Almost) Famous

For many an aspiring singer, having the right last name can provide a considerable career boost. Though the pop flames of many celebrity offspring and siblings burn out after a handful of hits, if that many (poor Julian Lennon, Jakob Dylan, Lisa-Marie Presley, Wilson Phillips, Nelson, Lalah Hathaway, Louise Mandrell, Stella Parton and Ashlee Simpson), a precious few have managed to sustain significant music careers. (Natalie Cole and Liza Minnelli come immediately to mind, as do Rosanne Cash, Pam Tillis and Nancy Sinatra.) Meanwhile, Sean Ono Lennon has never troubled himself with the pursuit of mainstream success, and the jury is still out on Miley Cyrus and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith‘s brood.
Francis Bean Cobain, your move.
While we’re waiting for the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love to claim what would seem to be her birthright, we’ve got plenty of big names from musical families to entertain us—though many fans might not even realize their impressive lineages. Family value may have given these performers opportunities early on, but in the end, like Nancy Sinatra’s dad, they did it their way—not because of their surnames. Yes, nepotism is alive and well in pop—and it probably will continue to be—but these brothers and sisters (and sons and daughters) are doing it, for the most part, for better and worse, for themselves.

Ke$ha

The woman who is responsible for some of the trendiest pop hits this side of Katy Perry’s breasts is actually a little bit country. Seriously. Though I wouldn’t expect her to break out into yodeling mid-song, in-between swigs of Jack, I also never say never. Her mom Pebe Sebert cowrote “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle To You,” which was  No. 1 country hit for Dolly Parton in 1980. I once interviewed Parton, and when I told her that “Old Flames” was one of my favorite of her songs growing up, she feigned indignation and snapped, “Oh, and it just happens to be one I didn’t write!” So not only is Ke$ha responsible for throwing “Tik Tok” on an unsuspecting world, but thanks to her mom, I incited the ire of Dolly.
Albert Hammond Jr.
I didn’t think it was possible, but the dad and namesake of the Strokes guitarist might be even cooler than his little boy— if you happen to be a fan of ’70s and ’80s soft-rock. I saw an infomercial for his most recent album, Legend, on Australian TV recently, and I was shocked by all of the major hits the singer and producer has written (from his own “It Never Rains in Southern California” and the Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” to Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” and Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”). His most recent high-profile production: Endlessly, the sophomore album by Welsh singer Duffy, who, contrary to popular belief, is not the daughter of Shakin’ Stevens.
Chord Overstreet
Why don’t the Glee kids give more props to country music? After all, one of their very own, Overstreet, the blond-haired, pout-lipped actor who plays the blond-haired, pout-lipped Sam Evans, is directly descended from Paul Overstreet, one of the biggest country stars of the late ’80s and early ’90s, with nine straight Top 10 hits, including two No. 1s. Though the cast of Glee have yet to make it to Billboard’s country singles chart, Overstreet the elder must be proud that over on the Hot 100, his Nashville-born son is part of the act that’s now had more hits than Elvis.
Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum
Speaking of country, Lady Antebellum has two members who are part of the family business. Hillary Scott’s mom, Linda Davis, had a No. 1 GRAMMY-winning hit duet with Reba McEntire in 1993 called “Does He Love You.” Charles Kelly’s big brother Josh is a singer-songwriter who’s married to former Grey’s Anatomy star and current rom-com regular Katherine Heigl. Thanksgiving dinner at the Kelley’s house must be some star-studded affair. I wonder if there’s a red carpet leading to the turkey?

 


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