I gave my overall thoughts on the start of "Louie" season 2 in a review I posted earlier this week. In future weeks, I imagine I'm going to have a lot more to say about specific episodes, but I'll keep my season premiere thoughts brief, coming up just as soon as we sit and play the card game where nobody loses...
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I gave my thoughts on FX's strange, funny new buddy comedy "Wilfred" in today's review. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of Elijah Wood being suicidally depressed, Jason Gann as an Aussie man/dog hybrid, and all the rest? Is Fiona Gubelmann, as Dan suggests, the greatest name in human history? And for those of you familiar with the Australian original (also starring Gann as Wilfred), how would you compare the tones and effectiveness of the two series?
Still pondering how much I have to write about the series going forward, but I imagine I'll at least do brief posts on the next two episodes, which I've already seen. I do like it, but comedy is often trickier to write about weekly, even a weird, dark comedy like this.
"Burn Notice" is back for its fifth season, and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I have some tactical goals and a rough approach...
Crap. It’s the killer elimination results show, which will send not one but two couples home. There’s no avoiding it, of course, and it is a reality TV show competition, not a lovefest. But still, I think this episode might sting a bit.
As the raging nutjob Sheila on “Rescue Me,” Callie Thorne proved she had the chops to tackle anything – but she chose to go in a less crazy direction with the role of Dr. Dani Santino in the new series “Necessary Roughness” (debuts Wed. June 29 at 10 p.m. EST on USA). A Long Island mom and psychotherapist who finds her life in chaos after demanding a divorce from her cheating husband, by a stroke of luck (and a hot trainer played by Marc Blucas) she becomes the go-to head shrinker for high profile clients after she reforms bad boy football player T.K. (Mehcad Brooks). In a conference call Thorne talked to reporters about why the real-life story of Dr. Donna Dannenfelser got under her skin.
Is Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” a quickly sinking bomb? In its first week, it sold more than 1.1 million copies in the U.S. alone, but by week four, its numbers have dropped to 66,000. This week it drops to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 with total sales of 1.45 million (Worldwide, it has reached 5 million copies, the singer tweeted yesterday).
By contrast, Adele’s “21,” after selling 352,000 in its first week, keeps steadily chugging along. It quickly replaced “Born This Way” back at the top spot and has spent 10 weeks at No. 1. In its 17 weeks on the Billboard 200, it has sold more than 2 million copies and has never dropped below No. 3.
How do we even measure this stuff anymore anyway in the age of iTunes? I’m not so sure, but I can’t believe that Interscope executives are dancing with delight over Lady Gaga’s steeply falling weekly album numbers, especially given the near 24/7 perpetual motion promotion machine. If this were 2001 instead of 2011, “Born This Way” would likely still be selling 250,000-300,000/week at this stage. But that was before digital downloading and just at the start of album sales diving precipitously.
The numbers do tell us a few things:
*The initial rush and excitement very quickly fell off at a staggering rate for “Born This Way.” After months of build-up and leaking tracks, it’s possible that fans are simply experiencing Lady Gaga fatigue or her biggest fans snap up anything in the first week and her moderate followers don’t feel moved to purchase.
*The Amazon promotion that offered the entire album for 99 cents for two days of the first week was great for fans, but was a gimmick. Lady Gaga would have still had an amazing first week—more than 700,000 copies sold—without the Amazon promotion. But the 1.1 million will forever have an asterisk by it since Interscope achieved the numbers by practically giving it away (we’re quite sure the label would have done that if Nielsen SoundScan counted giveways, but it doesn’t).
*Radio still matters. Yes, listenership is down and more and more people discover music through the internet and from friends, but a radio hit is still important for massive sales to reach the widest possible audience. For example, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” has been No. 1 on the Hot 100 for seven weeks. That’s not only because it’s receiving Top 40 airplay: the song is a cross-format smash at rock and AC as well. First single “Born This Way” debuted at No. 1, but second single “Judas” never ignited at radio and third single, “The Edge of Glory” is doing well, but isn’t burning up the chart. It is No. 6 with a bullet this week on the Billboard Hot 100, bolstered, sadly, by the death of Clarence Clemons, who appears on the track and video.
*We have to look at the full picture. Yes, album sales have slowed to a trickle of what they were, but the digital downloads have already surpassed the 5 million mark in the U.S. alone. There are some people who feel that iTunes ruined the albums market. Others believe it simply has allowed consumers to purchase in a way that works for them. To me, it’s a bit of both. By the numbers: “Born This Way,” 2.94 million; “The Edge of Glory,” 996,000; “Judas,” 720,000; “You and I,” 124,000 (downloads of other songs on the album get the tally up to 5,098,000).
So how’s the scorecard look? I’d say mixed. We can no longer look at album sales in a vacuum to gauge a project’s success. On the plus side, there is plenty that Interscope can tout to signal excitement, including the album and single resoundingly debuting at No. 1. Her “Fame Monster” tour was one of the highest grossing tours of the years and she has gone from club act to arena headliner in remarkably short time. On the downside, it seems almost impossible that someone could work as hard as Lady Gaga has (she has an inhuman work ethic) and that can only translate to 66,000 people feeling moved to purchase her album this week. Her fame far eclipses her buying audience at this point. The challenge for her label is how to convert all the looky-loos to consumers.
Explosions in the Sky have a very cinematic sound, an arching yearning, fantastical approach to instrumental rock and post-rock. But the band has left a lot to the imagination as far as visuals go, with no music videos to their name. Until now.
"Last Known Surroundings" is a computer-animated journey to outer space, wormholes, fantasy planets and the underground. (Spoiler alert: my favorite part was with the floating islands.) This eight-plus minute adventure was created by boutique design house Ptarmak, based in the band's home city Austin.
"Surroundings" is culled from Explosions' perfectly titled album "Take Care, Take Care, Take Care," out now; It's extra odd that this mark's the band's first video because this set is their sixth full-length.
A word of warning, however: the crappy compression of the track does no favors for the band's well-deserved reputation for delivering an incredible and incredibly loud live show. Fans can have their opportunity to absorb "Last Know Surroundings" as the band tours various surroundings, dates below.
Adele makes it a lucky 7 as “Rolling in the Deep” stays at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for its 7th frame, but will Katy Perry spoil the party?
Perry is going for her fifth No. 1 from her album, “Teenage Dream” and it looks like nothing is going to stand in her way. “Last Friday Night (TGIF),” leaps from 31 to No. 4. As it gains both airplay and single sales momentum, it could leap to the top spot. Who does she push out of the No. 4 slot? Herself. Former chart topper “E.T.” featuring Kanye West slips from 4-5.
Hanging at the same slot as last week, Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” featuring Ne-Yo, Afro Jack and Nayer is No. 2, while LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock is No. 3, according to Billboard. Also holding steady is Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” at No. 6.
Elsewhere in the Top 10, Jason Aldena’s “Dirt Road Anthem” climbs two spots 9-7, while Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” similarly moves up two, 10-8. Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” winds down four spots, 5-9, while Lupe Fiasco slides up one to No. 10 with “The Show Goes On.”
In other news, Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” featuring Pitbull finally falls out of the Top 10 at 16 weeks as it moves 7-12.
The biggest entry on the chart belongs to Bad Meets Evil (i.e. Eminem and Royce da 5’9), whose “Lighters” featuring Bruno Mars rockets onto the Hot 100 at No. 16. The duo’s album, “Hell: The Sequel,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week.
Also, a big welcome back to Shania Twain. “Today Is Your Day,” which enters the Hot 100 at No. 66, is her first appearance on the chart since 2005.
After canceling a number of June tour dates due to laryngitis, Adele has rescheduled those shows plus thrown in six more.
The dates will take place in two shifts: August and October, starting Aug. 9 at Vancouver217;s Orpheum Theater.
Adele’s “21,” which drops to No xx this week, has spent 10 weeks atop the BIllboard 200 album chart and has sold more than 2 million copies since its February release making it the top seller of 2011. First single, “Rolling in the Deep” is No. 1 for the 7th week on the Billboard Hot 100. Though she is only 23, Adele has spent more time in the top spot in her native UK than any other female artist in history, according to her label.
August 9 Vancouver, BC Orpheum Theatre*
August 11 Troutdale, Or Edgefield**
August 12 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre*
August 14 Berkeley, CA The Greek Theatre*
August 15 Los Angeles, CA The Greek Theatre*
August 17 Los Angeles, CA The Palladium*
August 18 San Diego, CA Open Air Theater***
August 20 Las Vegas, NV The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas****
August 21 Salt Lake City, UT Gallivan Center**
August 24 Saint Paul, MN Theater at Xcel Energy Center**
October 7 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Spa & Resort****
October 8 Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center****
October 10 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium*
October 11 Asheville, NC Thomas Wolfe Auditorium*
October 13 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live****
October 14 Miami, FL Waterfront Theater at American Airlines Arena****
October 16 Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre***
October 18 Spring, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion****
October 19 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center***
October 21 Grand Prairie, TX Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie**
*All original tickets honored
**Venue change, original tickets honored
***Venue change, check with point of purchase for ticket information
****Newly added show
John Lasseter has always been the face of Pixar for me.
I love that he's been so front-and-center since the early days of the company, and as we discuss in this interview, it's led to some interesting responses from children who now recognize Lasseter completely and immediately.
He's a busy man by any standards, and it felt to me like it was important to him to actually be hands-on and directing again, even if it's just one movie every decade or so. The world of "Cars" is probably the most personal of all the Pixar worlds, and so I set aside my skeptical adult screenwriter hat for a while and, instead of trying to put Lasseter on the defensive about the internal logic of the world, I decided just to try to understand his enthusiasm for the world and the characters.
Sublime With Rome is a trio that consists of two of the three original members of California ska-stoners Sublime, sans late singer Bradley Nowell with singer Rome Ramirez in his stead. They mostly play old Sublime songs together
Wiz Khalifa is a rapper whose primary subject matter is on smoking weed and having sex.
These two artists have combined together for Sublime With Rome's new track, "Can You Feel It," a song about getting high.
It sounds exactly what you think it sounds like.
SWR's album "Yours Truly" is due July 12.
Time for the second of this week's two episodes of Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I review all the things we didn't have time for because I was so damn angry about "The Killing." The run-down: