the Buzz for May 2009

31
May

 

June kicks off with a pair of highly-anticipated returns and yet another dip into the catalog of an artist whose posthumous output has far exceeded what he managed to produce during his short time on this planet. Read on:

 

He only released one album (the amazing Grace) in his lifetime — he was recording number two when he accidentally drowned in Memphis at the heartbreakingly tender age of 30 — but his influence continues to be felt today on artists as varied as Rufus Wainwright, Radiohead, Duncan Sheik, even Kings of Leon. And in the year in which we commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of that one album’s original release, a new three-disc set, entitled Grace Around the World, arrives to reveal yet more of Jeff Buckley‘s devastating brilliance. The collection’s first two discs document, on both CD and DVD, the highlights of the two-year world tour upon which Buckley embarked to promote the record, and the third disc contains the award-winning documentary Amazing Grace, which chronicles the enduring legacy of Buckley’s tragically brief career and life.

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26
May

A handful of my Facebook friends were up in arms this afternoon over the California Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the controversial Proposition 8, which amended the state’s constitution last November to decree that within the state, only a marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized as legally valid. Several of my online pals whose opinions I otherwise completely respect have taken to calling the Court’s justices terms like idiots, morons, and much harsher affronts, and even as a proud gay man who has grown incredibly weary with this two steps forward, five steps back dance toward mere legal equality, the juvenile name-calling just doesn’t sit right with me.

What began its life as an incredibly simple blog post — wherein I was going to admonish my pals for leaping too quickly without truly comprehending the judgment the Court handed down today — has grown remarkably complex inside my own mind, as I’ve tried to justify for myself, by boning up on the intricate particulars of the California state constitution and its Equal Protection Clause (which this same exact Court employed last year in temporarily making same-sex marriage legal), how six of seven people ended up deciding as they did this afternoon.

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25
May

 

We close out May with only a handful of major releases, but don’t be fooled by quantity this week: they’re diamonds, all.

 

Island Def Jam teams up with those mad geniuses over at Ultra Records this week for the sterling new compilation Just Dance, and the star power contained herein is mighty impressive: remixes from The Killers (with Armin Van Buuren’s strong reworking of their trippy gem “Human”), Lionel Richie (with his terrific new single “Just Go”), Rihanna (the painfully catchy “Disturbia”), and Duffy (the instant classic “Mercy”) pop up alongside the likes of Pitbull (who offers up his irresistibly stupid new smash “I Know You Want Me”) and my old fave Anastacia (back, thankfully, with a brilliant new single, “Absolutely Positively”), and while, sadly (and a bit misleadingly, given the album’s title), my new fave Lady GaGa is nowhere to be found on this disc, the intoxicating spirit and sense of fun that she has brought roaring back to the radio is alive and well all over it.

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25
May

let the memory live

posted at 11:58 am by brandon in thank you, india

Forgive me for a transitory shift toward the somber, but amid all the fun and frolic of this warm May day, I hope you’ll take a moment to remember not only the friends, the family, the loved, who have passed on from this plane, but also those brave warrior ones who lost their lives protecting your right to spend this Monday however you choose, whether you’re boating and boozing with the boys, tangled in the sheets with your lover, or simply trying to compose a short, serious blog post that is devoid of banal sap. (It’s harder than it sounds, believe me.)

20
May

 

6:48 pm:   At long last, the finale is here! 12 minutes and counting!

6:49 pm:  Anybody out there willing to take a chance and call this race right now?  ‘Cause I tell you what, I really have no clue who’s gonna win.  Who knew Banshee Boy and Choirboy would end up being so evenly matched as the last ones standing?

6:51 pm: A’s take:  “Adam has a bigger persona, but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily better.”  Well said, honey!

6:53 pm: So, I’ve heard that, among others, the celebrity guests tonight include my beloved Cyndi Lauper, Queen Latifah, and Lionel Richie.  But will anyone be able to top the surprise appearances by Ryan Tedder and my all-time fave George Michael on last year’s finale?

6:55 pm: A is stunned to learn that Kris is a choirboy!  I need to teach that boy how to read Entertainment Weekly!

6:58 pm: Anyone enjoy “Glee” as much as I did last night?  That show was infinitely more fun than “Idol,” as it turned out.  I should have live-blogged that!

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19
May

 

6:37 pm (NOTE: all times central): No agricultural emergencies delaying my progress this year. We’re actually startin’ early!

6:39 pm:  Last year’s “Idol” live blog was the first thing that really put Brandon’s Buzz on the map in terms of garnering some attention from the online world, so I’m very excited about tonight!

6:44 pm: Assuming that Adam was always a slam dunk to make the finale (and Paula predicted it twelve full weeks ago, so there you have it), I still think an Adam / Alison faceoff would have provided the most bang for our entertainment buck.  But I still think we’re in for a riveting evening of music, madness, and mascara tonight.

6:46 pm:  Let’s set up the cast of characters.  In one corner, we have Adam Lambert.

6:47 pm:  Because Adam screeches, shrieks, screams, wails, and just generally irritates the piss out of me, he will be known tonight as Banshee Boy.

6:48 pm: Adam is a glam rocker following the obvious David Bowie template — at least visually — but when he opens his mouth, he sounds like the love child that Robert Plant and Siouxsie Sioux might have created in an ill-fated night of passion.  (You might think I mean that as a compliment, since I rather like and admire both of those people, but I really don’t.)

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18
May

 

It’s a huge week out there in music land, as the favorite artists of both myself and Sherry Ann come up to bat with highly anticipated new efforts. Only time will tell if they are worth the wait, but the early returns are certainly encouraging. Take a gander:

 

Since she is without question the planet’s foremost Kate Voegele authority, I asked the magnificent Sherry Ann to compose some text regarding this week’s release of A Fine Mess, Voegele’s sophomore album. What follows is her response in its entirety: “Stay out of it,
Nick Lachey!” Six words that made me laugh so hard that I nearly fell off the couch while watching “One Tree Hill” two weeks ago. While no one else in the room with me at the time found those words particularly funny, I was vindicated when
“The Soup” picked up on the scene and has been showing it non-stop. These words were spoken by Mia Catalano, also known as Kate Voegele, whose sophomore album, A Fine Mess, drops this week. Voegele uses her onscreen alter ego to debut her music to the loyal Tree Hill brethren each week in the hopes that we will run right over to iTunes after the show and buy it, which I do every time. I have purchased five of the singles from this album on iTunes in the months leading up to its release, and I fully intend to march into the local record store and buy the album on Tuesday. The standout track for me is “Angels,” which does have a Vanessa Carlton-type of quality to it (but hey, I am a sucker for any chick that can play the piano). Another great track is “Manhattan from the Sky” — another piano pop song that has a catchy chorus — which was inspired by the way the city looks from cruising altitude. Bottom line on this album is that “One Tree Hill’s” head honcho Mark Schwahn has personally given his stamp of approval to 5 of the 12 songs on this album. What else do you need to hear? Buy it!
(Editor’s note: First, aren’t all of her songs of the piano-based pop variety; and second, couldn’t have said it better myself.)

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16
May

three women

posted at 11:39 pm by brandon in if music be the food of love
  • If you’ve yet to give the Amazon mp3 store its proper due, you’ll never find (or need) a more palpably urgent motive than this to head on over there and check it out: just ahead of the release of my spectacular
    Tori Amos‘ tenth studio set Abnormally Attracted to Sin (due on Tuesday), Amazon has posted a free download of one of its album tracks, the devastatingly gorgeous “Maybe California.” A harrowing narrative about one mother trying desperately to stop another from committing suicide, “California,” in a stunningly beautiful four minute tour-de-force, renews my hope that Sin will stand as a remarkable return to form for Amos, whose last record — 2007’s horrifically muddled American Doll Posse — found her drowning under the weight of her own pretentious ambitions. Having not been impressed by Sin‘s first official single, the middling “Welcome to England,” I was fighting fears that we were in for more of the same, but I’m officially afraid no mo’. Welcome back, baby.

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15
May

“The too is necessary to you? People! Same very simply to find!”

— more hijinks from the Buzz’s spam filter, this one coming from a site advertising all manner of services, from cheap electronics to a cure for angina. (Don’t know what the hell the above verse means, but it starts to make a freaky kind of sense the longer you stare at it, doesn’t it?)

14
May

oleta-adams-banner

13
May

and then there were two

posted at 11:55 pm by brandon in idolatry

An Adam / Allison finale would have been more sonically fascinating, I think. (I continue to believe Allison was the vocalist with the purest raw talent that the show uncovered this season, and it was a crying shame that Uncanny Karaoke managed to outlast her last week.) But I also think this impending Adam / Kris showdown has the potential to be very interesting, and the great thing about it is, Kris, with that knockout reinvention of Kanye West’s “Heartless” last night — talk about saving your hole card for when you most needed it! — beat listless ol’ Danny fair and square. Let the games begin, boys.

11
May

 

The good news: Tori Amos, Mandy Moore, Eminem, and Sherry Ann’s beloved Mat Kearney are all due with new music this month, and the debut season of that all-time television classic “Designing Women” finally arrives on DVD. The bad news: none of that happens this week. Once again, the pickins are pretty slim. But dig in:

 

Creatively, they have concocted some of the most satisfying rock music of the past fifteen years, but commercially, they’ve spent that very amount of time chasing, to varying degrees of success, the same kind of instant victory they achieved with their debut single, 1995’s deliberately infectious smash “Good.” And this week, one of the great underrated bands, New Orleans-based rockers Better Than Ezra, returns after a four year hiatus with their sixth full-length album, Paper Empire. Their last effort — 2005’s terrific Before the Robots — spun out the surprise (and stunningly moving) radio hit “A Lifetime,” and lead singer Kevin Griffin still owns one of the most spine-tingling voices going. My hopes are high.

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9
May

Damn, it’s good to have you back, girlfriend.

 

After an excruciating detour into a brand of angst-drenched filth that wouldn’t pass muster in a fourteen-year-old wallflower’s tear-stained journal, it pleases me no end to report that the divine Kelly Clarkson — the first and, Carrie notwithstanding, still the best American Idol — is back on top and better than ever with her spectacular fourth album, All I Ever Wanted. A blue million miles from the stem-to-stern maudlin misfire that was 2007’s My December, Wanted is a heady mix of fast fun and simmering slow burns which zips along at such a breakneck pace that you’ll scarcely have time to do anything but hit the repeat all button and dive in all over again.

 

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