Friday, December 5, 2014

SHOULDN'T THEY REPLACE THE GRAMOPHONE WITH A COMPUTER?  The Grammys have now announced their nominations in all categories save Album of the Year, and a few observations:
  • The Album race is going to be interesting, since so many of the singles honored in the Record/Song category don't have an eligible accompanying album ("Shake It Off," "All About That Bass") or are from albums that didn't make much of a splash ("Chandelier," "Fancy")
  • Beyonce didn't crack the record/song categories, but seems a safe bet for album, right?
  • Despite being the top selling album of the year, recognition for Frozen thus far limited to soundtrack categories.  No nomination for Menzel.
  • The big winner from the nominations?  Sam Smith, who's up for Record, Song, New Artist, Pop Solo Performance, and Pop Vocal Album, with a decent shot at getting into the Album of the Year category.
  • For those looking for guidance on the Original Song Oscar, the Grammys are of little help, nominating 3 songs that were eligible last year alongside "Everything Is Awesome" and a song from the Glen Campbell documentary.
  • EGOT Watch--Donald Glover (Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album), James Franco (Best Spoken Word), Sarah Silverman (Best Comedy Album), Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig cast recording, with a win bringing him to EGT), and the Lonely Island (Best Song Written For Visual Media).

Thursday, December 4, 2014

STRANGER AND STRANGER:  Two big pieces of Marvel casting news today.  First, as much rumored, Benedict Cumberbatch will be the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange.  Second, Krysten Ritter will play retired superheroine turned PI Jessica Jones, opposite Mike Colter (The Good Wife's Lemond Bishop) as Luke Cage.
UGG. AND UGG:  In anticipation of tonight's live broadcast, can I just confirm with everyone that ... Peter Pan just isn't that good of a musical in the first place?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DIME-STORE HIMBO DESK:  EW's Entertainer of the Year is Jimmy Fallon.
WERE IT NOT ASSIZE-TIME ; )  On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Elonis v United States which should -- hopefully -- give us some guidance on the probative value of emoticons.

Elonis sent a message to an AUSA: "I am rapidly approaching the date of my release.  Accordingly, I would like to begin researching the ordinances of the municipality in which you reside.  I simply do not wish to run afoul of any of them when I set fire to a cross in your yard. :-p"  Elonis has appealed the effort by prosecutors to use this threat -- such as it is -- to add an additional condition to his probation, and argues that the emoticon showed he wasn't being serious.

To me, it seems that "I will kill you!" is different than "I will kill you ;)"  and might be different still than "I will kill you, Mr President =|:^| }}}}}"  Yes, there's a law review article in here somewhere, and I've got a stack of notes I've been collecting on this very point but never quite gotten around to getting it to paper.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DON'T FORGET THE ROBOT:  With this photo essay of the American Mall in 1989, you can go to the mall, today!
NOW I GET WHAT I WANT:  The Atlantic's Kevin O'Keeffe argues for "Since U Been Gone" as the best pop song of the past decade:
There have been strong pop songs to come after “Since U Been Gone,” of course. "TiK ToK" was just as influential on the party rock sound that continues to dominate airwaves. "Bad Romance" and other early Lady Gaga tracks were the signs of a promising new artist with something new to say. "Call Me Maybe" and "Shake It Off" stretched catchy hooks to their extreme, becoming viral phenomena along the way. And Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” was equally successful at mixing formats and genres to produce a unique sound on pop radio. 
But as far as I can tell, none of those tracks have quite the effect on a bar full of people, or a dance floor, or a karaoke room, as “Since U Been Gone” does. And those places are where pop music matters the most. The energy is frantic; everyone knows all the words. The joy of hearing it is made even better knowing that Clarkson, the first and arguably only true American Idol, fulfilled a nation’s hope in her with one perfect song.
[From 12/26/05 (comments lost to blessed memory): "In the Kelly Clarkson hit "Since U Been Gone," when she sings that "Thanks to you now I get what I want," does 'get' mean 'understand' or 'obtain'? Your detailed responses are welcome."]
HICCUP:  Sorry about the unintentional holiday hiatus; my hard drive crashed and burned Wednesday night, and I'm still in the process of recovery.  Posting from me may remain sporadic for the next few days, but here's something I'm wondering about, given a recent discussion several of us had last night on the Twitters re: Prince's Batman soundtrack -- what's a piece of pop culture you continue to regard as deeply underrated?

[N.B. to several here: "Adnan Syed's claims of innocence" does not constitute "a piece of pop culture."]