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<p>Katy Perry's &quot;Prism&quot;</p>

Katy Perry's "Prism"

Credit: Capitol Records

Katy Perry's 'Prism' reflects her heart and soul set to a beat: Review

Her fourth album reveals a new dimension

Katy Perry’s fourth studio album, “Prism,” finds her recovering from her divorce from Russell Brand and headed straight into love again... this time with John Mayer and, hopefully, with better results.

“Prism,” out Tuesday (22), is filled with lessons learned and self affirmations, and part of the fun is voyeuristically listening to tracks and knowing they’re about Brand or Mayer. The pop priestess lays herself bare on a number of these tunes including the confessional “By the Grace of God” and jubilantly romantic “Double Rainbow.”

Working with a range of producers from Dr. Luke to Stargate, Cirkut, Benny Blanco and Klas Ahlund, Perry pushes herself melodically here, with many of the songs seemingly influenced by the ‘80s and ‘90s. Tempos shift, synths weave in and out, and her voice rides the musical tide, often soaring on “Unconditionally” and “Double Rainbow.”

Just an any Perry album is a bit of a deep dive into her diary (she just doesn’t catch as much flack for it as Taylor Swift does... ), her sets are also a chance to cut loose, forget your cares and hit the dance floor. All your boogie needs are met as well with the playful “Walking on Air” and “International Smile.”

At this point into her career, Perry should be stretching herself a little more than she does, especially lyrically. Some of her phrases are often sound like a school girl’s, but it’s a small quibble when she admirably remains willing to reveal her soul.

Here's our track-by-track review of "Prism."

Roar:  Perry asserts that she is back and she is better than ever on this feisty first single from “Prism.” The steady stomp keeps the former No. 1 track  grounded, while much of the rest of hand clap and mid-tempo piano production sound straight out of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. In fact, if you’re old enough it may remind you a little bit of the chorus of  Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” crossed with M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” with some Avril Lavigne thrown in for good measure. GRADE: B+

“Legendary Lovers”: Set against a middle-eastern beat, Perry’s words rush out in a torrent as she declares her intent to be part of a pair of lovers who are legendary in their ardor. The song shifts tempos and styles throughout. More intriguing than catchy. “Legendary Lovers” is “Prism’s” “E.T.” GRADE: B-

“Birthday”: Perry gets her Prince on in this delectable pop confection. Bouncy and fun as it gets, with a winking, sexy nod to bringing out the “birthday balloons.” GRADE: B+

“Walking On Air”: Perry enlisted the air of Swedish producer, Klas Ahlund, best known for his work with former Perry tour mate, Robyn, for this ‘90s-inspired fluffy house twirler. The juxtaposition of Perry’s airy vocals with her big-voiced, Martha Wash-like collaborator are heavenly. GRADE: A

“Unconditionally”: A big mid-tempo power ballad, propelled by Dr. Luke and Cirkut’s wide-open synth and percussion production. The title is a bit of a mouthful for Perry to get around over and over, but the theme of unconditional love resonates in part because of her convincing delivery. Is this song, the second single from the set, about John Mayer? We say yes. GRADE: B

“Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J: It’s not as out there (literally and figuratively) as “E.T.,” but it’s definitely not Perry’s standard pop, though with its finger snaps and pulsating, hypnotic beat, it will certainly fit in at radio. Juicy J’s rap —outside of regrettable line “She cuts your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer”—fits in smoothly, though makes the cut sound a little dated. GRADE: B

“This Is How We Do”:
It’s hard not to raise your arm in the air and wave it back and forth in this old-school sounding track about partying. Perry name drops Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boys in a song that would border on Ke$ha-like novelty if it weren’t for the more infectious beat. Unlike anything else Perry has recorded before. Could be a sleeper hit. Klas Ahlund is also behind this partially spoken track.  GRADE: C

“International Smile”: A musical cousin to “California Gurls,” this ode to a girl who is making the most of the mile high club as she traverses the globe is a bit of a jumbled mess, though it will make a cute video, and the upbeat track could make a strong live set piece. GRADE: C

“Ghost”: “You sent a text, it’s like the wind changed your mind,” Perry sings in the opening line of this touching mid-tempo tune about her split with Russell Brand. “My vision’s 20/20/I see through you now,” she sings without a trace of vitriol, except when she delivers the line, “So rest in peace/I’ll see you on the other side.” Last album’s “E.T.” is this album’s “Ghost.”  GRADE: B+

“Love Me”: Hushed synth droplets open the track as Perry sings about getting lost in someone else (possibly about Brand but more likely about Mayer from the first go-round) before turning the song into a self-love anthem (no, not that kind silly!) about how “I have to love myself the way I want you to love me.” A vulnerable, stripped-down song, despite a few awkward turns of phrase. Nice production by Swedish producer/songwriter Bloodshy. GRADE: B

“The Moment”: A treacly mid-tempo tune about how all we have is this moment, “so why don’t you be here with me.” The melody doesn’t really suit Perry’s range and the lyrics are straight out of a bad Hallmark card. However, if you are a high school girl looking for a prom theme song, here you go. GRADE: C-

“Double Rainbow”: She’s learning to love again in this sweet love letter to John Mayer, produced by Greg Kurstin and co-written by Sia. “When I found you, it was all pitter-patter,” she sings. Great raw, emotional vocal delivery by Perry here. Big drums come in giving it an ‘80s feel. Unabashedly uncynical. GRADE: B

“By The Grace of God”: Gut-level honest ballad about her divorce and how she  felt it was all her fault until she realized in some ways, it had nothing to do with her, and that she made the decision to go on: “I put one foot in front of the other and looked in the mirror and decided to stay. I wasn’t going to let love take me out that way.” On the piano/synth track with ‘90s production, she thanks those who helped her through, like her sister. This is autobiographical as it gets. More appealing for her honesty than for the melody.  GRADE: B

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 207

Dan and Alan also discuss last night's 'Homeland' and talk about recent renewals and cancellations


Happy Monday, boys and girls! For real this time! For the first time in a few weeks, the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast comes to you on its regularly scheduled day, in part because the office where I current rent space is in the process of being dismantled (you may be able to hear the sounds of movers and contractors in the background of today's show), and if we didn't record today, we probably wouldn't be able to for a while. This week, we discuss NBC's droopy "Dracula," Cinemax airing the first season of "Strike Back" under the title of "Strike Back: Origins," check in on "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," discuss last week's TV news, answer some mail and then do our second "Homeland" segment in a row because last night's episode, for good or (mostly) ill, demanded it.

It's unclear exactly when my new office will be set up, but hopefully we can aim for two Mondays in a row.

The rundown:

"Dracula" (00:01:20 - 00:19:05)
"Strike Back: Origins" (00:19:05 - 00:28:25)
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (00:28:30 - 42:15)
Recent TV News (00:42:20 - 00:53:15)
Listener Mail: Straight-to-Series orders (00:53:40 - 01:00:15)
"Homeland" (01:00:30 - 01:14:00)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.


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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 207

Dan and Alan discuss 'Dracula,' 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! After a couple weeks of trying to train you to salivate for podcasts on Thursdays rather than Mondays, we're back on normal schedule this week. Suck it, Pavlov.
Apologies for the inference. 
My point? Monday Firewall & Iceberg has returned, at least for one week. 
In this installment, we've got reviews of "Dracula" and "Strike Back: Origins," plus a glance at ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.EL.D." four weeks into its run. We looked through some recent TV news, answered a bit of mail and then... sigh... we talked about "Homeland" for the second straight week. I hope it won't happen again next week. 
Here's today's breakdown:  
"Dracula" (00:01:20 - 00:19:05)
"Strike Back: Origins" (00:19:05 - 00:28:25)
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (00:28:30 - 42:15)
Recent TV News (00:42:20 - 00:53:15)
Listener Mail: Straight-to-Series orders (00:53:40 - 01:00:15)
"Homeland" (01:00:30 - 01:14:00)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.



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<p>Justin Bieber's 'Hold Tight'</p>

Justin Bieber's 'Hold Tight'

Justin Bieber's new sexy jam, 'Hold Tight': Listen

Those are some powerful kisses his lady is delivering

It’s seksi time for Justin Bieber in his new track, “Hold Tight,” his third track in his series of #MusicMondays releases.

Backed by a R&B slow jamming click track, Bieber brings out his falsetto to talk about his lady’s great kisses.

Between lyrics like “That thing is swollen/you got me oh so in a trance,” “So hard/work it out” and “trying to maintain, so don’t mind if I turn away” we’re trying desperately to get certain mental images out of our head. 

The song has no change in tempo at all and Bieber’s delivery instead of sounding sexy, just seems forced, but if you’re a Bieber fan who dreams of getting your boy in a lip lock, this song will probably work for you.

Have you started your countdown clock until Dec. 25, when Bieber's movie, "Believer" opens? 


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Kevin Connolly: It's not official, but the 'Entourage' movie should begin filming in January

Kevin Connolly: It's not official, but the "Entourage" movie should begin filming in January
Connolly tells TMZ that everybody is on board, but nothing is set in stone.

"The Walking Dead" down 2.2 million from its record premiere
About 13.9 million watched last night, compared to 16.1 million from last week.

Why "Homeland" owes John le Carre a royalty check

Last night's shocker was straight out of the spy novelist's 1963 book "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold." PLUS: Why this twist feels like a cheat.

Kelly Clarkson is married
The "Idol" champ tweeted pics of her wedding yesterday in Tennessee.

CBS' 50th-anniversary JFK special will omit Dan Rather, who was part of its 1963 assassination coverage

"As It Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years" will, however, feature Bob Schieffer, who as a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter got an exclusive with Lee Harvey Oswald's mom. Rather, meanwhile, was a key part of CBS News' coverage, reporting from Dallas.

NBC is about to launch a Winter Olympic promo blitz
On Oct. 29, with 100 days to go, NBC viewers will begin seeing a promotional bug at the bottom of the screen with NBC's logo wrapped in Olympic rings.

ABC announces key return dates

"Pretty Little Liars," "Switched at Birth," "The Fosters" and "Twisted" are back in January.

Pee-wee Herman visits "Comedy Bang! Bang!" this week

Dressed as a cowboy!

New "Unspoiler" browser add-on will put a giant red box over spoilers
Unspoiler covers all web pages, including Facebook and Twitter.

Kevin Jonas' "Married to Jonas" mansion is for sale
The property had become too famous thanks to his reality show.

Watch Conan's 80-minute interview with Mel Brooks
It's the latest episode of "Serious Jibber-Jabber with Conan O'Brien."

Rashida Jones to female celebs: "Stop acting like whores"
The "Parks and Rec" star shared a series of tweets Saturday, chastising celebrity women for revealing too much skin.

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Listen: Taylor Swift's new track 'Sweeter Than Fiction' from film 'One Chance'

Singer co-wrote track with fun.'s Jack Antonoff

Pair Taylor Swift with fun.’s Jack Antonoff and the result is just as one would expect: an upbeat pop track with swelling choruses and a peppy message. So it is with “Sweeter Than Fiction,” the tune the pair wrote for “One Chance,” the British film about “Britain’s Got Talent” winner Paul Potts’ rags-to-riches story after he went from store clerk to chart-topping singer.

The song, which will run over the end credits, is a sweet tale about loving someone before they were famous and how glorious the success is after all the rejection that came before it. Of course, in the song, the pair stand united after fame hits instead of his dumping her for a younger super model.

The opening guitar strum will remind Swift fans of “You Belong With Me” run through fun.’s synthesizers and an '80s  British  synth pop filter. It could almost be in a John Hughes movie, though it's too mainstream.

Having just finished her world tour, Swift continues work on her next album the follow-up to 2012’s “Red.” She pretty reliable releases an album every two years in the fall, so expect her fifth studio album next fall.

This trailer features Swift talking about being inspired by Potts' struggle to write the song, as well as footage from the film and Swift and Antonoff in the studio.  Below is the full version of the song.

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NBC preempting the next 3 'Parks and Rec' episodes, including an Oct. 31 Halloween-themed episode

NBC preempting the next 3 "Parks and Rec" episodes, including an Oct. 31 Halloween-themed episode
"The Voice" and an "SNL" special will replace the low-rated NBC comedy for the next three Thursdays. That means Tatiana Maslany's 2nd "Parks" appearance will be delayed.

Mark Burnett: "CeeLo will not be fired" for felony ecstasy charge
"The Voice" star's job is safe, says the reality TV honcho.

"Once Upon a Time" ties a series low, "Sunday Night Football" sees a 15-year high

Last Night's Peyton Manning vs. Colts game was the highest-rated October primetime NFL game since 1998, with 26 million watching.

Netflix is close to passing HBO in U.S. subscribers
The number of Netflix subscribers will likely be 30 million, compared to HBO's 28.7 million.

Syfy renews "Face Off"
The special effects reality competition will be back for a 6th season.

"Friday Night Lights" team members reunite
Scott Porter posted a photo of him, Gaius Charles, Matt Lauria, Zach Gilford and Kevin Rancin hanging out on Sunday.

Oprah recalls canceling on Arsenio Hall after he made a Stedman joke
On "Oprah's Next Chapter," the two addressed some of the tension they had in the early 90s, especially when he'd tell jokes about her.

BBC orders a celebrity gymnastics reality show -- "Let's Get Ready to Tumble"
Will this competition cross the pond to America, like "Dancing with the Stars"?

See the "Frasier" stars, reunited
It's been nearly a decade since the NBC comedy went off the air.

Billionaire paid $100,000 to reenact an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri
The new "Inside the Food Network" book also reveals that Mario Batali took Rachael Ray and Marc Summers to a strip club back in 2004.

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<p>Colts QB Andrew Luck</p>

Colts QB Andrew Luck

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Colts-Broncos thriller brings huge numbers to NBC Sunday

ABC celebrates a small 'Betrayal' bump as 'Once,' 'Revenge' slip
Fast National ratings for Sunday, October 20, 2013.
The drama of Peyton Manning facing off against his old team, plus a high-scoring and action-packed game, gave NBC the best Sunday numbers for any network since the Oscars in February and the best NFL primetime October numbers since 1998.
As you would guess, NBC won Sunday in all measures.
CBS was second thanks to its own scheduled 30 minutes of NFL overrun, plus an additional 14 minutes of overrun in a number of major markets.
Meanwhile, while "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" were both low, ABC's "Betrayal" went up week-to-week for some reason.
On to the numbers, which are very subject-to-change.
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Olivier Dahan and Nicole Kidman on the set of "Grace of Monaco."
Olivier Dahan and Nicole Kidman on the set of "Grace of Monaco."
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: 'Grace of Monaco' director takes on Harvey

Also: 'Intimate ordeals' at the movies, and Cumberbatch's 'Fifth Estate' setback

Another day, another director feuding with Harvey Weinstein over the editing of his movie. This time it's Frenchman Olivier Dahan, who's none too pleased with the postponement of his Nicole Kidman-starring biopic "Grace of Monaco" to next year, and is fighting Weinstein's proposed changes. Speaking to a French newspaper, he says: "It's right to struggle, but when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, not to name names, there is not much you can do. Either you say 'Go figure it out with your pile of shit' or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn't as violent ... If I don't sign, that's where the out-and-out blackmail starts, but I could go that far. There are two versions of the film for now: mine and his ... which I find catastrophic." So, this bodes well. [Hollywood Reporter]

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'Homeland' boss: 'We were hoping' viewers would react strongly to the first 3 episodes

"Homeland" boss: "We were hoping" viewers would react strongly to the first 3 episodes
Alex Gansa talks last night's episode, and says: "I was just hoping we hadn't played it for one or two episodes too long." PLUS: "Homeland" is good again, everything makes sense now, leave Dana alone, this feels like a Hail Mary pass, and what the heck is going on with this show?

Paula Abdul joins Australia's "So You Think You Can Dance" as a judge
Says the former "American Idol" judge: "Aussie dancers are without doubt some of the best in the world and it is an honor for me to be a part of finding Australia's best dancer."

Fake "Breaking Bad" funeral in Albuquerque raises $17,000, but causes some outrage
Some people didn't like that a fake funeral was being held in a real graveyard. "This is a place of mourning," says Manuel Montano, whose son is buried near Walter White's fake tombstone. "It's not a spectacle."

Carol Burnett accepts the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were among those paying tribute last night. "You mean so much to me," said Fey. "I love you in a way that is just shy of creepy.”

Nothing has changed with "Queer Eye" guys

Last night's reunion revealed that their chemistry was still the same 10 years after the Bravo sensation's debut.

CeeLo Green cleared of sexual assault charges, but will face an ecstasy possession charge
The L.A. County DA is expected to announce a decision on "The Voice" star's case today, according to TMZ.

"The Walking Dead" spinoff will "exist in its own world"
Robert Kirkman will develop the companion series, and he jokes it might take place in space.

Conan O'Brien tries announcing a horse race
On Friday, Conan got to call a race at Santa Anita.

"Bates Motel" to introduce the infamous fruit cellar from "Psycho"

"There are many creepy things down there," says Freddie Highmore.

Lena Dunham could end up on the cover of Vogue
The "Girls" star is reportedly being wooed by Anna Wintour.

"Once Upon a Time" casts Rumplestiltskin's dad
British actor Stephen Lord will take on the role.

Watch the trailer for Spike Lee's Mike Tyson documentary for HBO
"Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" debuts Nov. 16.

Stephen Amell welcomes a daughter
The "Arrow" star became a dad last week.

"Boy Meets World" weddings: Rider Strong and Danielle Fishel their longtime loves
Strong wed in Oregon on Sunday, while Fishel got married Saturday in Los Angeles.

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Listen to Lady Gaga's R&B-inflected new single 'Do What U Want' with R. Kelly

Listen to Lady Gaga's R&B-inflected new single 'Do What U Want' with R. Kelly

Lady Gaga heads into new genre frontiers with sorta-sexy-time jam

Since thongs are having a moment now, we should let you know what's up with Lady Gaga's for "Do What U Want." On the cover to the newly unveiled single, the pop star's derriere, long hair and colorful lingerie are part of her new iteration, a turn at club R&B featuring R. Kelly.

Kicking off with some traditional ad-libbing over what could be the "Drive" soundtrack, Mother Monster tries to combine her signature defiance into a certain pop radio formula. "You can't have my heart," check, "You can't stop my voice / 'cause you don't own my life," OK, "... but do what you want with my body."

It's a schlock shock to hear lines like these, and, "I would fall apart if you break my heart / so just take my body and don't stop the party," not because of its expression of fear or trepidation, but because this is the same artist who brought us the Disco Stick: where is the joy in this sexual summons? Why is it so plain? Where is the half-insane art preambles, since she actually seems a little sad?

And why is she growling?

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<p>Tom Hanks is Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is P.L. Travers in &quot;Saving Mr. Banks.&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks is Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Should 'Gravity' and '12 Years A Slave' be worried about 'Saving Mr. Banks?'

Tom Hanks could be on his way for Oscar no. 3

LONDON - "Saving Mr. Banks" closed the 2013 BFI London Film Festival Sunday night and, as expected, officially entered the 2014 Oscar race. When your movie tells the true story of the sparring relationship between the Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks, no less) and author P.L. Travers (Emma "where have you been this past decade" Thompson) over the making of "Mary Poppins," the Oscar bait signs are pretty obvious. Happily, and you can learn more in Guy Lodge's review, the film is actually pretty entertaining with some honest dramatic moments audiences won't expect. And yet, whether "Banks" will have a real impact on the Best Picture race might be too hard to gauge Stateside.

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