As I read the latest headlines in the entertainment news, I totaly feel like I’m back in High School. Elton John and Madonna in a war of words. Beyonce and Jay Z called out on being selfish. And all those cheesy songs on the charts, but everyone is listening to them anyway.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” (Ceilie from The Color Purple). It seems ever few months, with the help of the internet, somebody has something to say about someone else. I keep hearing that Madonna cast the first stone with the leak of her rehearsal footage for her tour mash-up of “Express Yourself”, “Born This Way” and “She’s Not Me”, but Elton John is obviously trying to defend his new found friend, Lady GaGa. Elton is known for his tantrums and arguments with past friends like George Michael and even the late Princess Diana. You would think someone his age would know better than to get into a Pop Diva catfight, but wait...we are talking about Elton John (one of the few men to be booked for a VH1 Divas Special).
Well, in actuality their feud has been going on for over a decade. Apparently Elton accused her of lip-syncing on her Re-Invention Tour and has spent the past decade bashing her, especially after she won “Best Song” at The Golden Globes this year. So, when I saw that Madonna had not responded to any of his attacks, I had to take my hat off to her. Do I think she has thrown a few undercover attacks at Lady GaGa and Mariah Carey over the years? Hell yeah! But she’s smart enough not to get into it with a music legend like Elton John. Even though Elton and GaGa’s little monsters have been saying that her career is over and she’s a has-been.
So, when I read a post on facebook by a New York friend, Linda Simpson that gave props to Madonna for using her tour dates to support the LGBT Community in Russia I had to throw support behind her. And Linda threw a dig at Elton by ending the post with “It sure beats Elton John singing at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding.” There’s some irony for ya! I guess at some point when you are making all that money a concsience is nowhere to be found on both their parts. Hell....I still haven’t forgiven Elton for performing with Eminem at the Grammy’s!
And I don’t see Elton making any statements of support for Pussy Riot (Russian Punk-Rock collective that were arrested for doing an impromptu performance in a church). Madonna along with artists like Yoko Ono, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Pet Shop Boys, Peaches, Pete Townshend, Patti Smith, Faith No More, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tegan & Sara, Johnny Marr, Propagandhi and Anti-Flag all sent letters of support to the Russian Government demanding their release.
And speaking of fighting with music legends.....did you hear about Harry Belafonte calling Jay Z & Beyonce out as being selfish? When asked by The Hollywood Reporter "are you happy with the image of members of minorities in Hollywood today?" Belafonte said “Not at all. They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are. We are still looking. We are not determinated. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis or the Spanish. It is all -- excuse my French -- shit. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.” Hopefully Jay and Bey will not spar with this man who marched with Martin Luther King. There are only a few people of Belafonte’s generation who are still around. If your elder is disappointed in you, you should really consider what you can do to rectify that. As my grandmother always said “You don’t get to be old being a fool.”
And now to the music.....I cannot believe that Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is the biggest song of the year to date. It just won’t die! Somebody please....make another catchy Pop song to replace this one. I mean....she’s 27 years old and singing a doormat song! What girl would lower herself to say to any man or woman...”Call Me Maybe”?
And just in time for the Caribana Celebration, Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) released “La La La”. What the hell is this? Produced by Major Lazer, this downtempo old skool Reggae track is just plain awful! Apparently he has moved to Jamiaca where his wealth from the US makes him a billionaire. About a month ago, Snoop Dogg made a major announcement that he was dropping the “Dogg” persona. He said he was not going to rap about Gangsta Life anymore. He decided to move to Jamaica to help the poor people there. Perhaps he has been talking with Harry Belafonte before making his decision. Well, I hate the new song, but I applaud him if this is real and not a publicity stunt.
And to backtrack to Madonna....I just got promo mixes of “Turn Up The Radio”. Normally I mention all of the remixers, but this time I’m only gonna mention the one who got it right.....Laidback Luke. His mix has the best production. It’s short and sweet. It doesn’t drag on and it has the right kind of bounce and Pop appeal. It even has a guest rap by some newcomer who calls himself FM (which is cute since the song is about the radio). He sound like he trained under LMFAO. If she pushes this mix and reworks her video to fit this version, she’ll have a hit.
Okay...I don’t know whose bright idea it was to pair the late Aaliyah with Canadian rapper Drake on a new single called “Enough Said”. First, I would like to point out that any vocals she may have laid before her death were outtakes of songs that didn’t make it to her last album. As for the production on the track, I felt as though they were concentrating on keeping her vocals the main focus instead of giving it an updated Hip Hop sound. And with all the fallout of his scrape with Chris Brown, Drake just can’t catch a break. The critics are not feeling this song and I’m not feeling it either. ‘Nough said!
And last but not least, let’s talk about the long anticipated soundtrack to Sparkle. Unfortunately Whitney Houston’s last recordings did not even debut in Billboard’s Top Ten (Pop or R&B Charts). And when the duet, “Celebrate” with Jordin Sparks was released back in late June it came and went with very little fanfare. I didn’t like any of the remixes that I got through my pool. Whitney only shines on “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” (which is no surprise because she always gave her all on Gospel Hymns). The original soundtrack was a masterpeice written by Curtis Mayfield. Although, I never understood why Aretha Franklin sang all the songs on the 70’s release when it was Irene Cara, Lonette McKee & Dwan Smith did all the vocals as a girl group in the film. But this time around, they only used 3 songs from the original and R. Kelly has written all the new material for the 2012 version. Cee Lo Green’s “I’m A Man” is really great and Goapele’s “Running” is brilliant, but the rest is not so much. Even the covers of the Mayfield songs sound kinda weak. I made me wish that this movie had been made when En Vogue were still on the charts. Their cover of “Givin’ Him Something He Can Feel” was hot! One too many girls for the cast, but it paid homage to the movie version. The only good thing about them remaking this movie is perhaps the generation now will discover the the original music from the original film and help preserve the African-American Culture. Unlike Dreamgirls, I don’t think this is going to be as big of a hit. They are billing it as Whitney’s last movie, but it is actually a vehicle for Jordin Sparks. Unfortunately, I don’t think she will follow in Jennifer Hudson’s footsteps.