Journey on Ellen

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Can Journey withstand the hype? for the last few months the blogosphere has been a-buzz about Journey’s newly appointed frontman, Arnel Pineda. even here on retroblog, you can find a whole slew of posts about Pineda’s progress with Journey and the new album. with the kickoff of their summer tour looming in June and the release of their album Revelation just days away, the spotlight, the pressure and the attention are all on Pineda right now. so, is Pineda and the rest of Journey ready to deliver? well, after viewing their recent performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, it appears Pineda still has some more work to do before hitting the road with the band. I wasn’t that impressed with their live rendition of “Separate Ways” on the show. It was a high profile U.S. TV debut for the new frontman and they should have been more prepared than this.

Pineda sang flat in places and appeared to be uncomfortable leading the legendary rock band. the rest of the band members aren’t known to be flamboyant or animated on stage so all eyes would obviously fall on lead guitarist Neal Schon and Pineda. but when he’s not singing, Pineda appears very unsure of himself on stage. He really needs to work on his stage presence and his confidence level before the tour begins or the fans might just eat him alive. don’t get me wrong, I’m rooting for Journey. I don’t think they’ve gotten this much attention in a long while so hopefully things will pay off for them. but with an inexperienced lead singer in tow, there’s a chance that this might get ugly…

Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head

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You know, I have to give Scarlett Johansson credit. she could have taken the easy route and released some sort ofvanity album with a slick pop producer similar to what countless other young celebs have done in the past. with her pull in the industry, she could have easily gotten the top pop/R&B producers to get her radio-ready songs for her to be auto-tuned on top of. instead, she got together with TV On the Radio’s Dave Sitek to record an album of Tom Waits covers titled Anywhere I Lay My Head . So, it’s great to see that she’s not doing this as a promotional tool to further own celebrity status but you have to wonder what the point of all this is then. I don’t think this album appeals to the majority of Tom Waits fans. and let’s just say that Johansson’s voice wouldn’t get her past the first round of American Idol auditions. But I like Sitek’s approach here surrounding Johansson with broad sonic soundscapes saturated with reverb.

With the textured instrumental arrangements, Johansson’s vocals aren’t necessarily the focal point which is wise since she’s obviously got a limited vocal range. Sitek brought in musicians like Nick Zinner, David Bowie, Jaleel Bunton and Tunde Adebimpe to help create layers of sound reminiscent of Brian Eno and Phil Spector. I’m not sure if I’ll be listening to this disc six months from now but I have to say that it’s an interesting concept and a definite stand-out among other projects done by celebrities turned wanna-be singers. highlights include: Falling Down, Fanning Streetand I Don’t Want to Grow Up.

Teeth lacks bite!

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I don’t think the director or writer knew where to take the story. the film, Teeth , wasn’t successful because the director essentially sat on the fence with it. he could have went with a black-comedy or full tilt horror movie or maybe a even a heartfelt teen-angst drama. but the resulting movie is neither here or there. It just seemed director Mitchell Lichtensen simply had a checklist of items he wanted on-screen:

bloody cut off penis - check!

visit with perverted gyno - check!

evil step-brother - check!

brain-washed christians saving themselves for marriage - check!

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s centers around a teenaged girl who ends up learning that the ancient myth of vagina dentata is actually real. the story had lots of potential but nothing noteworthy comes out of it. and the viewpoint is a bit skewed against men as well as the christian “true love waits” conservatives. ultimately it’s a waste of talent and a waste of time. I personally give it a “thumbs down”.

Random thoughts

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- The first installment of the Rescue Me minisodes was a bust. the humor felt forced. I’m beginning to think that Denis Leary and company won’t be able to stop this boat from sinking. it’s sad. especially since the first two seasons of the series were so good!

- Watched Definitely, Maybe last night. man, can a movie get any more un-original? the writers stole so many chick-flick elements from other more successful movies, I’m surprised they weren’t sued. I should have known just from the lame title. It was dissappointing to watch especially with such a likable cast (Ryan Reynolds, Elizabeth Banks and Isla Fisher).

- Voting for the Blogger’s Choice Awards is winding down. so if you haven’t already, be sure to cast a vote. thanks!

- Upcoming music reviews I’m working on: new releases by Aimee Mann, Julianne Hough, Chicago, Martha Wainright, Mate of State and Sam Phillips. I’m not sure when I’ll get to them all but rest assure, they are in the works.

- I’m tinkering with another new site. I might be just spreading myself a little thin with all these various sites across the net. we’ll see how this goes. man, how many more websites do I really need??? I mean, really?