the Buzz for June 2013


Ed Sheeran — “Lego House” (from +) —

Don’t allow this tune’s titanically ludicrous title — after all, if the name of a song is meant to evoke imagery and deep emotion, I think we can all agree there’s a wonderfully wide gulf between Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” and/or Tom Waits’ “Ol’ 55” and this, though could we reasonably expect something more from a chap who decided to name his debut album after the mathematical symbol for addition? — to distract you from its simple, serene quality: when the books are written on 2013 and its music, this modest ditty might just emerge as the year’s sweetest love song.


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Jimmy Eat World — “Please Say No” (from Damage) —

It’s Sherry Ann’s birthday this fine Saturday, and she informed me last year that her favorite gift is usually the annual blog post, starring her, which appears on this website every year on this day. (When I was a plumb fool last year and failed to acknowledge her birthday in a timely fashion here on the Buzz, she was not at all bashful in letting me know precisely how unhappy she was about it, and trust me: won’t be making that mistake ever again.) I wish I had more time to write reams about what a fabulous woman, magnificent mother, and ferociously fantastic friend she is, but alas, I can only offer her this meager pittance of a paragraph. She was supremely excited to learn that one of her favorite bands was releasing their latest album on a week which happened to contain her birthday, so in honor of Sherry Ann Day, the Buzz’s speakers are blasting this tune, a haunting (and even a tad depressing, which is their wont) highlight from Jimmy Eat World’s rough-hewn new record. So, so much love to you, my bestest of best friends, today and always.


Jessica Sanchez — “Don’t Come Around”
(from Me, You and the Music) —

Sanchez made her name on American Idol last year by positioning herself as a doe-eyed innocent with a Whitney-style rafter-rattler of a voice, but on her first official release as a recording artist, she’s clearly trying to stake a claim in Rihanna’s lane, with the able aid of a wicked-cool sample lifted wholesale from my all-time favorite Tom Petty track, his smash 1985 collaboration with Dave Stewart, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (which you may or may not know was originally intended to be recorded way back when by the peerless Stevie Nicks). I strongly suspect this record is going to be overwhelmed by the crush of marquee releases heading to retail this month, which’d be a mighty shame; Sanchez is clearly still figuring out who she wants to be as an artist, but — creatively, at least — she’s off the blocks with a killer start.


Brendan James — “The Fall” (from Brendan James) —

Lord Jesus, if this sultry, sweltering Saturday morning is a sneak preview of what this impending Centex summer is gonna look like — quite literally, my shirt is wet enough to wring out — I think I’m gonna hide in a hole and not come out until mid-November, when it will once again to be cool enough to at least open the front door without choking on humid, heavy air.


Demi Lovato — “Heart Attack” (from Demi) —

Where in blue hell did this thing come from? A former Disney Channel princess who hurled herself up to the big kids’ table last year with her smash single “Give Your Heart a Break” and a lauded stint as a judge and mentor on Simon Cowell’s otherwise misbegotten Americanized version of The X Factor, Lovato lunges back into the spotlight — in full-blown bitch goddess mode (which, shockingly, fits her like a satin glove) — with this smashing about-face. Hey, Christina and Britney: y’all had best be keepin’ both eyes on this gal, because she is clearly playing for keeps.


Elton John — “I Swear I Heard the Night Talkin'”
(from To Be Continued. . . ) —

A couple of years out yet from one of the classic comebacks in pop music history — 1992’s grand The One — and still seemingly struggling a bit with his sexuality (or, at least, with the public ramifications of same), Sir Elton caps a half-decade of flying (fabulously) under the radar by turning to his chief therapist — lyricist Bernie Taupin, duh — to help him come to grips with the demons of desire in this unheralded gem from a career-capping box set.


“I’m okay, though. Trust me.”

— openly gay MSNBC newsman Thomas Roberts on Monday’s Morning Joe in the LMAO moment of the day, responding off-the-cuff to an earlier news story — which the clearly amused host Joe Scarborough continued to make light of for the remainder of the show — in which actor Michael Douglas apparently revealed to the UK’s Guardian that his recent and devastating bout with throat cancer was incited by a virus he contracted by performing oral sex on his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones. (By the by, Joe’s response to the above comment, once his hearty belly laugh subsided: “Yeah, he’s the only one on this set not sweating right now! Sittin’ pretty, are ya?” PS: The wickedly funny playback of this madcap exchange can be seen here.)


Moby — “We Are All Made of Stars” (from 18) —

A and I spent our Memorial Day last Monday taking a relaxing, leisurely, music-filled drive up into the Texas Hill Country, with stops as far-flung as San Saba, Lampasas and Killeen. But the highlight of our journey was a layover in Llano, Texas, a quaint li’l burg roughly a half-hour north of Fredericksburg that, I quickly surmised, had rarely hosted the footfalls of gay men prior to last week. (This conclusion wasn’t difficult to reach based solely on the looks we got from the fine folks at the town’s Dairy Queen, who sized us up with the same scrupulous scrutiny one might reserve for a pair of stranded Martians who missed the last shuttle back to the cosmos. And to be fair, we wouldn’t have even attempted to grab some grub at the DQ, but A has this slightly psychotic notion that the only time he is allowed to eat chicken strips is while he’s on a road trip, and I had a hellacious hankerin’ for a dipped cone, so the Queen was the only available eatery that checked all the aforementioned boxes.)

The best part of our day (for my money, anyhow) was a visit to Llano’s local Alco store, which, even though I live in a reasonably metropolitan city and thus have easy access to a multitude of stores and shopping experiences, is always such a supreme treat. If you’ve ever patronized an Alco, then you know exactly where I’m coming from on this, but if you’re a newbie: it’s essentially a Wal-Mart in miniature, selling everything from sheet sets to school supplies to clothing to luggage to household tools to Blu-Ray players to the latest Pistol Annies CD, with perhaps a greater concentration of kitschy home decor items that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else on Earth. A quick visit to Alco’s website informs me that they operate over two hundred stores, mainly in smaller cities (populations between five and ten thousand) strewn across the nation’s heartland clear from Idaho to Florida, and if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of one, you should pop your head in and take a look around. Even if you end up purchasing nothing, you’re sure to find the store’s offerings fascinating, and you never know what you might find.

To wit: while ambling through the housewares section in the back corner of the Llano store, I ran across what is quite literally the gayest pillow I’ve ever seen. Oversized and made of a soft and fuzzy velvet-like polyester blend (or so the tag tells me), this pillow is adorned — liberally — with rainbow-colored glitter and star shapes. A was instantly mortified by the pillow’s ostentatiously loud fabulousness, but I was immediately entranced, and though he tried in vain to convince me I didn’t really need it, it quickly found its way into my basket. The poor cashier lady was visibly trembling as I laid it upon the counter for her to ring up; it was as though: a) she really had never seen a gay person in her lifetime (see: my postulate in the first paragraph above), and b) she couldn’t quite wrap her mind around the idea that someone would actually have the balls to walk into her store and purchase this pillow.

I’m madly in love with this furry, grandiose glitterbomb, and though it has yet to find its final resting place inside my home one week on — A is a bit intimidated by its relentlessly cheerful, cosmic facade and has absolutely barred it from the bed — I have no doubt that whichever sofa it ends up gracing, it will live out its days there with fierce, freakish grace. (If you’re wondering what exactly a gay pillow looks like, please allow me to direct your attention to the photograph below. May it suffice to say: if gay heaven doesn’t look something like this, to paraphrase ol’ Hank Jr., I’d just as soon stay home.)



“I love [Adele], because she’s like, ‘I do music.’ And I feel like that mentality got lost in, like, ‘Look what I’m wearing, look how crazy I can be!’ She plays her cards perfectly, I think. That’s what music is, right? Just write a song. Write the world’s favorite song. There’s a piano, give me the microphone, thank you, good night.”

— Grammy-winning superstar Bruno Mars, expressing admiration for his fellow award poacher Adele to Entertainment Weekly‘s Leah Greenblatt.