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Album Review: Michael Jackson’s “Michael”

Michael reached number 3 on the Billboard album chart

The first release of Michael Jackson’s since his death a year and a half ago, and the first album with all new material in nine years, Michael is an amalgamation of tracks. Many sound similar to different albums of his career with small touches to make them sound more modern by various people though it’s hard to tell what was changed by ear alone.

The most modern sounding of these tracks is “Hold My Hand” and “Monster”, thanks to appearances by Akon and 50 Cent respectfully.  Unfortunately, the weakest song is his duet with Akon which was to be originally released on Akon’s 2008 album, until the unfinished track was leaked. The first track to chart on the Hot 100, it reached the Top 40.  “Monster” on the other hand is much better, with anger and persecution in the vocals you would find in the last three of his studio albums.  Indeed,many of the songs sound as if they came from these albums. “Best of Joy” sounds like a song from Invincible, “Hollywood Tonight”,with its opening reminding one of “Who Is It” and a catch phrase and spoken vocal reminiscent of “In the Closet”,from Dangerous.  Originally recorded for Invincible, “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day” sounds as though it came from Blood on the Dance Floor or HIStory. It was produced and written by Lenny Kravitz with guitar and background vocal by Kravitz.

The three best songs on this album are “Breaking News”, “Behind the Mask”, and “Much Too Soon.”  The latter two were both written or cowritten by Michael during the Thriller era and it’s not hard to tell.  “Behind the Mask” is the best track on the album, with the sounds of a concert crowd  opening the song.  It includes a sample of the Yellow Magic Orchestra song of the same name.  Yellow Magic Orchestra was a pioneering electropop group from Japan, who released their original version in 1979. The only criticism is that the saxophone on the track may be a little cheesy for some.  The album closes with the song “Much Too Soon”, the title  seeming to comment on Michael’s untimely death.  However,the lyrics itself have nothing to do with the death and instead talk about love lost.  The finale harkens back to Michael’s solo songs before Off the Wall, but this time with a twenty-something voice.

Overall, the album has received reviews that were neither strongly negative or positive.  Personally, I would recommend it especially for fans of MJ.



Jeff Goldblum Was Dead

Here’s a very funny clip from the Colbert Report where Jeff Goldblum is reportedly dead based on Twitter posts.  The funniest thing about this is that it really happened (the twitter posts) and  reported as fact on the Australian Today Show.  His death  is to have happened on the same day as Michael Jackson’s death and this clip includes the Australian Today  Show segment.


80’s Music Videos: Theme From 2010

I have decided to start an occasional series that spotlights an 80’s video. The videos spotlighted will be rare, unusual,creative or ones that are well-known.   So to start off not only the series but the year is, appropriately enough, the video “Theme From 2010” by The Police member Andy Summers.  The song is an updated version of “Also Sprach Zarathustra”.  The movie which the theme was taken from is the sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001”.  The music video incorporates scenes from “2010” and of Andy Summers in a great way. Enjoy!


Reading Rainbow: The Final Chapter

Yes, it’s official as Ryan first told me.  Reading Rainbow aired it’s final episode Friday.  It was something that always was in the background of my life, having first aired in 1983.  I even remember watching my first episode “Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain” and how my mother was abuzz about some new show on PBS we were going to watch. Then summer after summer during the 80’s, anxiously waiting to watch new episodes.  Strangely in the late 90’s, RR became sort of an obsession for me.  Slowly, I tried to add a complete list of guest narrators  to the Reading Rainbow entry at the Internet Movie Database.  I would gather info from the internet or happen to catch an episode and then write down the name of the narrator, episode, and year of the original airing.  Then in 2006, when I opened my first account on youtube,  I posted probably 20 or more clips from the show after getting my hands on some tapes from my parents. Both are teachers and had used Reading Rainbow in their classrooms for many years. So here’s a big salute to you RR, and as Levar would say at the end of each episode “I’ll see you next time!”

Below are just two of my favorite Reading Rainbow moments, both from my newer youtube account.


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Predictions For the Next 10 Years

I watch and read a lot of news, thinking about issues and where the world is headed and what not.  A new decade is fast approaching.  Hard to believe, but the 2010’s are less then 9 months away.  Anyway these are my thoughts for the next 10 years.

Abortion: Now I’m not necessarily for abortion, but I can’t see abortion becoming illegal in the United States.  Their  may be tougher restrictions in the future, but overall abortion will still be an available choice.

China: China is fast becoming a world power and major player on the world stage.  It will surpass the United States as the economic power. And the United States will no longer be the sole superpower politically. Instead it will be a “multi-polar” world where the U.S. Europe, Russia, China and to a lesser extent, other parts of the world will have an equal footing and say on the world stage. For culture such as movies, TV, popular  culture, and music America will still be the dominating force though not as much and other countries being a greater force worldwide.

Health care: The United States will have some form of universal health care in place by 2019. I just think it’s inevitable with Obama in office and the Democrats in power.

Past Torture Issues: Irrespective of whether the Bush Administration really crossed the line or not in respect to the handling of suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay or those sent to “secret prisons”; Bush, Cheney and others  working for them will not be put on trial.  Obama has already said it will not happen.  Doing so will make Republicans even more against his policies and agenda in my opinion.

Gay Marriage: Gay marriage will become legal across the nation, probably on a deeply divided vote by the Supreme Court.

War on Terrorism: Surprisingly, I believe the war in Afghanistan will have not only ended by 2019, but in less then 5 years.  2  possible scenarios :The Taliban and the U.S. will come to some kind of truce or the Taliban will simply give up much like Al-Qaeda did in Iraq due to our drones bombing them and their leaders. Once the Taliban are gone Al-Qaeda will soon be destroyed – and Osama Bin Laden.

Just want to say that these are just my thoughts and even a few of my predictions I hope will not come true. Feel free to give your own opinions and thoughts.

2010movie_end Discokid

Movie Party: The Rocky Series


WARNING-This Post has Spoilers to the Rocky Movies

So I had asked for and received the entire Rocky series for my birthday. This month I finally got around and watched the entire series. This may surprise people,(or make them angry) but I think Sylvester Stallone is really a genius when it comes to the writing of the series.  First off, tying in the first Rocky fight with America’s bicentennial and placing it in Philadelphia is a very smart move and definitely one of the reasons people get so involved with the series.  Of course the training scenes is another big part.  Ending the movie the way Stallone does is a smart move.  The fight becomes about him defying the odds and doing the unexpected.  He doesn’t win it, as is the cliche in so many movies (and would become the cliche for most of the series),but instead ties Apollo Creed. It allows him to win in a way, but not really because Creed keeps his title.  A tie also occurs in the last film of the series, Rocky Balboa. As mentioned before, him winning had become expected, and a tie serves the same function as in the first Rocky movie. 

Him coming back from such incredible hardships in the sequels is another genius move. Rocky three has him facing not only having been defeated but the death of Mickey.  Part 4 has the death of Apollo Creed, the pride of America, and having to train  in the Soviet Union. Part five involves him losing everything and going back to his roots.  These elements don’t necessarily make all the movies great but it does help to keep the series afloat. Probably the two cheesiest films of the series is part three and four.  Especially the training scenes in part three, when Apollo and Rocky race on the beach and hug. What also makes it cheesy is the flashiness of the 80’s. 

 Lastly what makes the writing so great, is not that the series is about boxing, but in my opinion that it really is about his love for Adrian. All the movies involve him in some way fighting to prove himself to Adrian. The ending of part two is an example of this, when he yells “Yo Adrian I did it”, but the clearest is the very final scene in the entire series,where he simply places roses on her grave and then walks away. Overall, the Rocky series is very tightly written.




First Ten Rap Hits (On the Hot 100)

Everyone knows that the first rap hit was “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang, but what was the second rap hit or the third?  That was something I couldn’t find even on the internet, so inspired by the book “Top Ten of Everything” I decided to make my own list of the first 10 after doing some research. Each had to be on Billboard’s Hot 100 the main singles chart.Most noticeably absent is  “White Lines” by Grandmaster Flash.  It did hit the R&B chart but never the Hot 100. Also some of the songs on the list may be considered rap by some, and others not.  The First Ten Hits are:

  Date                        Song                           Artist                                          

1. 11/10/1979     Rapper’s Delight          Sugarhill Gang
2.  9/6/1980        The Breaks                   Kurtis Blow
3.  1/31/1981      Rapture                       Blondie
4.  2/7/1981        8th Wonder                 Sugarhill Gang
5.  2/13/1982      Apache                       Sugarhill Gang
6.  7/17/1982      Planet Rock                 Afrika Bambaataa*
7.  10/16/1982    The Message               Grandmaster Flash#
8.12/17/1983      Electric Kingdom         Twilight 22
9.  6/2/1984        Jam On It                      Newcleus
10. 8/4/1984    Beat Street Breakdown Grandmaster Melle Mel^   


          *with the Soul Sonic Force
           #and the Furious Five featuring Melle Mel
            ^and the Furious Five      
2010movie_end1      Discokid                   

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