Wednesday, February 28, 2007

American Idol Top 10 Women

These are my real time thoughts as I watch the show, so they are untainted by the judges opinions, and will be unedited and messy. But here are my notes in all their glory! They'll hopefully give some insight into my thought process as I'm watching the show

CONTESTANT: Gina Glocksen
SONG: Heart - "Alone"
COMMENTS: Dedicated to her boyfriend. Touching but bland video. "He's my little punk rocker wannabe", which is funny because it's not exactly like she's a punk rocker, doing this song. Really dangerous song choice, given that Carrie Underwood's version of this is one of the best/most famous AI performances. Don't like the red dress. The beginning of this song requires a bit more of a light touch than she can really give. And it's not good. But she's definitely got the vocal power to pull out the rockin parts! I love her lower register. Another good performance from Gina, despite the slow start. Judges love it, saying that it's a good choice of song. Simon says she isn't edgy enough. But what I love about her voice is that it naturally adds edge to the sappy pop songs she does. She's not dressed right? I thought this was a singing competition! Simon way off the mark here. But unless she can learn to do non-power songs, she might be in trouble.

CONTESTANT: Alaina Alexander
SONG: Dixie Chicks - "Not Ready to Make Nice"
COMMENTS: Alaina is obviously attractive, but something about her just looks off to me. Love her dress, like her hair too. Man, she looks good with her hair up in her video. I hope she becomes good because being a shallow man I always root for the hottest girls to go on. She's doing the most overrated Dixie Chicks song. The problem with this song is that it requires a great power and anger and attitude that Alaina is totally not bringing. Her phrasing is really nice (one of the best of all the contestants), and she's got a nice tone, but she's really off pitch. Dancing was awful. Really bad song choice. I like her voice and phrasing but she needs vocal training. She's not ready for this competition and she's probably toast, which is too bad because I like her. I'd vote for her, but let's put her out of her misery folks. Judges are basically right about the performance, though I would have stated it in nicer terms.

SONG: Gladys Knight - "Midnight Train to Georgia"
COMMENTS: As I've said before, though I respect her talent, I'm not the biggest LaKisha fan. Living in Georgia I've heard this song about 100 times too many. She's got great power and she knows how to use the runs, but I still just don't care for the tone of her voice, and her interpretation skills are nothing special. But great power and great gymnastics; this was, like last week, a very good performance. But like last week it's just one I'm not like blown away by. Unlike the judges, I actually liked it as much as or better than last week. She put way too many runs in both weeks. I've disagreed with Simon on almost every contestant this year, which is making me so confused. Even when I do agree with him he goes into stupid crap about their "attitude" or something that I just find so off the mark. She's missing her "swagger" or something. Whatever. She's going on and she deserves it, but she's just not my favorite of the big divas this year.

CONTESTANT: Melinda Dolittle
SONG: "My Funny Valentine" by lots of people.
COMMENTS: She's the only person so far in the last two episodes who has dedicated her performance to friends, as opposed to parents or grandparents or significant others. I like this girl, she's meek and mousey. Very good singing, as usual from her, but she seems to be overpowering this a tad bit. It's a very simple song though, so you've gotta do something. She's got such a rich tone to her voice though. Good phrasing and interpretation. I think she laid it on too thick, and she needs to improve her performance skills, but this is the best performance thus far. Maybe a little overpraised, but I don't necessarily disagree that this is the best performance of season 6 so far. Just that I'd give it like an 8/10 whereas they seem to be giving it 10/10 praise. She's the most talented performer in the competition. I fear, though, that I'm gonna get so tired of this style of singing by the time the season is over. Melinda looks really uncomfortable with this banter.

CONTESTANT: Antonella Barba
SONG: Celine Dion - "Because You Loved Me"
COMMENTS: Just based on this singer and the artist she's doing I'm dreading this. But let's see which Celine song she chooses, at least. Dedicated to her brother! I think this is the first sibling dedication so far. Her video was real cute. Like Alaina, I actually like the tone to her voice, she's just not singing the song well. She really badly wants to be a type of singer she's not. Stick to what you can do. Very bland, this is a really, really bad performance. She's just got no musical smarts at all and cannot stay on pitch. Eek. Second week in a row that all they've said good at her is that she's attractive which is just so condescending and prickish. If somebody said that to me I'd deck him ("Well you suck and you have no talent and we hate you, but you are hot!"). Simon and Randy on the mark here. First time I've completely agreed with Simon so far. The talkback to Simon came off as really bitchy. I think she's here to stay and I've made my peace with that. Or at least I will have made my peace with that until somebody I love gets eliminated.

CONTESTANT: Jordin Sparks
SONG: Christina Aguilera - "Reflection"
COMMENTS: I love Jordin and I love many Xtina songs so this will hopefully go well. Another sibling dedication. Jordin is so adorable. Not one of my favorite Xtina songs, but ah well. She owns the cheesiness here. This is a musically perfect performance, as far as I can tell, but she's not really doing anything to make a boring song any more listenable. This season, just having a bunch of vocal power ain't gonna cut it. Nothing crazy here with the interpretation or performance. She's going to need to show something else. Randy says it's pitchy, which it may well be (I often can't hear when singers go off pitch since I'm kinda tone deaf). I didn't think it was bad, I just thought it was kind of bland. Not as good as "Give Me One Reason", but she's just so naturally likeable. Judges overpraising this a little. Haha making herself short next to Simon. Made me smile. I like this girl a lot. Lots of divas this season splitting votes, so I hope she's not a "surprising" pre-finals elimination.

CONTESTANT: Stephanie Edwards
SONG: Beyonce - "Dangerously In Love"
COMMENTS: Initial reaction - Whoa, filled with way too much melisma and vibrato. There's some nice phrasing in here, but I'm not 100% sure if it's in the original or if it's her interpretation. I have yet to hear a good performance of a Beyonce song on Idol. Oooh, that glory note was very good. The performance picked up at the end. A bit "so what" but I liked it. I predict it will get really overpraised again. Think the judges are pushing these divas or what? Randy says it was "way better than last week" which I just completely disagree with. Simon says that somebody is putting their mark down, coming out to win, has the right attitude, which he keeps saying and I still have no idea what it means. Bad song choice.

SONG: Nina Simone - "Feeling Good" (?)
COMMENTS: I love Leslie Hunt a lot, because she's got cute indie girl looks! But also because she's the one remaining female singer (other than the toast Alaina Alexander) who isn't a big power singer. I have nothing against that type of singing but it consistently sickens me how much American Idol promotes that only. Some variety please. I really, really hope she gets through because a finals filled with 6 sing-your-head off, overpowering, loud female singers is gonna get real old. Anyways, all of this was written before she even started singing, so lets see how she does. Leslie's dressed really casual. Her speaking voice bugs. OK, here we go. First song so far I don't recognize at all. Same song AJ did!!! I love the tone to her voice so much, and she's got a great touch and phrasing. The scatting is not great. But she's still got a nice touch to her voice. Got worse as the song went on. She's getting savaged here (I still think that non-powerful singers are underrated on this show). I hope she doesn't get eliminated. Better than AJ's. I liked it a lot.

CONTESTANT: Haley Scarnato
SONG: Whitney Houston - "The Queen of the Night"
COMMENTS: This is really, really weird. A little off pitch. Man, she is absolutely crazy, and she's trying to have some kind of edge that she doesn't have. Not much to say here, this is pretty forgettable stuff. The song itself sucks ass, so maybe that's coloring it. She's trying really hard to be different, but this is one of the oddest AI performances I've ever heard. This wasn't any better than last week, I disagree with the judges. At least she was having some fun with it. Simon - "Manic, verging on insane", completely on the mark. Simon was great this time.

CONTESTANT: Sabrina Sloan
SONG: Whitney Houston - "All The Man I Need"
COMMENTS: A lot of power, but not much there. I feel like a broken record here, but there's just so many singers this time who are BIG power singers that don't have much musical smarts or a great tone to their voice to back it up. The only one who went beyond the sheer power this week was Melinda Dolittle (also LaKisha somewhat). She's trying to overpower me with her voice. Coming this late in the show I'm just a little tired of this type of singing. The runs were way too much. I don't like her, she seems to have no control over her voice at all. Predicably overpraised.

This was a bad episode. Way, worse than last week. I am not feeling this season at all.

Top to bottom:
1. Melinda Dolittle - "My Funny Valentine"
2. Leslie Hunt - "Feeling Good"
3. Gina Glocksen - "Alone"
4. LaKisha Jones - "Midnight Train to Georgia"
5. Alaina Alexander - "Not Ready to Make Nice"
----Good/Bad Line----
6. Jordin Sparks - "Reflection"
7. Haley Scarnato - "The Queen of the Night"
8. Stephanie Edwards - "Dangerously In Love" (the more I think about this the more I think the great fireworks at the end don't overcome the bad actual vocals)
9. Sabrina Sloan - "All The Man I Need"
10. Antonella Barba - "Because You Loved Me"

20 American Idol Contestants ranked top to bottom (based on both performances, their personality, etc.)

1. Leslie Hunt (I'm still rooting hard for her for the sake of variety, and because I like her goofy personality and she's entertaining, and I just wanna see her on TV. And I think she's attractive.)
2. Melinda Dolittle (She gave my favorite performance 2 weeks in a row)
3. Blake Lewis
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Gina Glocksen
6. AJ Tabaldo
7. Phil Stacey (slight boringness and has trouble starting songs but nice AM radio voice)
8. Chris Sligh
9. Stephanie Edwards
10. LaKisha Jones
11. Brandon Rogers
12. Alaina Alexander (shallowness! Plus I do like her singing and phrasing)
13. Nick Pedro
14. Haley Scarnato
15. Sabrina Sloan
16. Sanjaya Malakar
17. Sundance Head
18. Jared Cotter
19. Antonella Barba
20. Chris Richardson

Greg's dream world final 12: Leslie, Melinda, Jordin, Gina, Stephanie, LaKisha; Blake, AJ, Phil, Chris S, Brandon, Nick (You'll notice that despite the dominance of girls at the top this is almost entirely my top 12, the only difference being Alaina swapping out for Nick, which I don't really care about.)
Would Send Home Tomorrow: Chris R., Jared; Antonella, Sabrina

Top 12 predictions: For the guys, Chris S., Chris R., Phil, and Blake seem to be pretty much locks. Sundance seems to be a near lock. Leaving one final slot that I think Brandon will take.
For the girls, Melinda and LaKisha are the only two I'm certain about. Stephanie and Jordin seem like good bets. I'm gonna guess Gina and Antonella for the last two slots. I hope that Leslie sneaks in.
Going Home Tomorrow Predix: Haley and Alaina seem like fairly easy calls for the girls. Jared seems very likely for the guys. Last guy slot very hard to predict, I'd guess Nick Pedro but I don't feel great about it.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Album Review: Jordan Pruitt - No Ordinary Girl

I make no promises for swift updates and new content over the near future, as I am busy with work and other things. I will continue post when my muse strikes, but don't expect the posting frequency to increase any time soon. It should stay about where it's been for the last month (8 - 10 posts a month or so). (Whoops, I did just make a promise so ignore the first sentence!)

I've written a lot about these individual songs before, but how well does it all work together as an album?

Jordan Pruitt - No Ordinary Girl
I've been a big Jordan Pruitt song ever since I first heard "Outside Looking In" in July of last year, in the context of the film Read It and Weep. I expected and hoped she would be a confessional savior. And in a lot of ways, she is, even though very little of the album is in the traditional confessional musical style of "Outside Looking In". Most of the songs feature an R&B tinge to them, but all feature lyrics about teen concerns and are thus confessional in that context, plus they feature fairly traditional confessional style melodies and song structures.
It's obvious that the lyricists on this album (Jordan herself with a few others, most notably Robin Scoffield) put a great deal of effort into crafting lyrics that not only outline teen concerns but that could conceivably have been written by a teenager and that can be easily understood and interpreted. All of the lyrics take on a very conversational tone, and are extremely frank and to-the-point about their topics. The work that they put in really pays off here, because they are, in large part because of this not despite this, excellent lyrics that generally have all sorts of interesting things going on. Songs take on topics such as popular girls, waiting to get physical until the relationship grows deeper, loneliness, and inevitably breakups. But there are only 2 traditional breakup songs on here, which is greatly appreciated. The topics addressed are in addition largely dealt with all the excessive drama that the teenage years bring. For example, the title track "No Ordinary Girl": we might try to guess based on the title is about how she's special and great. However, the song states that she's "No Ordinary Girl" in the sense that she wants to wait until she knows the guy better and has true love before she gets physical. This has the perhaps troubling implication that most high school/middle school girls want to get physical before having a romantic relationship, which may or may not be true, but remember that this is a TEEN who overdramatize everything (contrast, though, with the similar triumphant kissoff song "Later"). It always seems like the whole world is against you at that age. In fact, the feeling of the whole world being against you and of loneliness and of being an outsider permeates this entire album, though it's only explicitly addressed in "Outside Looking In".
When the lyrics get to meta, and become explicitly concerned with the trials and tribulations of teenage years, they tend to falter. I greatly prefer the songs like "Outside Looking In" and "No Ordinary Girl" and "When I Pretend" that take very general and universal feelings and put a distinctive teenage/conversational spin on them. When a song like "Teenager" or "Who Likes Who" or "My Reality" though, concern themselves directly and explicitly teenage matters, I think the lyrics tend to become less on the mark to me, maybe just because I'm well above the target age for the album though.
This is a minor complaint though; the album has first rate lyrics all the way through. The other genuinely first rate aspect of the album is the singing. Jordan Pruitt is one of the best new singers I have heard in a long, long time. It's not just that she has a beautiful voice (which she does), but she's a truly gifted interpreter and performer, and she really knows how to sell the drama of the song, and how to let her voice amplify the concerns of the song. On a song like "No Ordinary Girl", her voice sounds forceful and assured, but listen to the absolutely heartbreaking twang to her voice on "Outside Looking In" or her lifting, lilting voice on "Jump to the Rhythm". This girl is a real pro, and I anticipate/hope that this is far from the last we're gonna hear from her.
The music on the album is the (relative) weak point. They do "beautiful" extremely well as "Outside Looking In" and "When I Pretend" and "Waiting For You" are genuinely beatiful songs in an absolutely heartbreaking way. All three of those songs kinda make me tear up (but then again I am a softie). The music to the song also appropriately scores the lyrics in an appropriat light, in for example, the bouncy fun melody of "Who Likes Who" and the more edgy music in the chorus of "Over It" and the pretty low strings in "Outside Looking In". So from that perspective, there's not much to complain about. I'm afraid my concerns about the music are much more shallow than that: the melodies just aren't catchy enough. All of the songs have some catchy hooks and melodies, but there aren't any of the just knock-you-over catchy melodies that, for example, several Hannah Montana or Hilary Duff songs sport. For this reason, the album lacks a true standout, a real like top 10 single of the year contender (even though I think I did kinda underrate "Outside Looking In" in my year end singles list last year [#34], there's no way it makes top 10). Then again, all the melodies are at least good enough to drive the song into pretty good territory, even on my two least favorite songs "Who Likes Who" and "My Reality". A lot of the melodies and musicmanship tend to be rather generic on this album too. But that being said, even if it lacks a genuinely outstanding song, it is a consistently very good album. There are plenty of catchy hooks on here...if you can listen to "No Ordinary Girl" or "Later" without getting them in your head I admire/pity you...but there's not enough consistency there. On several of the songs (such as "Over It" or "Teenager") I actually prefer the verses to the chorus, which isn't generally a good sign on a pop song, as it usually implies the chorus falls kind of flat (which they, in fact, do on those two songs).
Final Rating/Comments: It's not worldly and intelligent like Ashlee, and it's not heartbreakingly deep like Kelly, but it's not going for those things. It's overdramatic, and it's conversational, and it's shallow, and it's deep, and it's generic, and it's a big ol lyrical mess, but that's what being a teenager is like. It's a shockingly accurate portrayal of teen/pre-teen life, the most accurate one I've ever heard. These songs could have come straight from a 9th grader's diary (well, a 9th grader who was a great writer) (in a good way!). And Jordan is such a great singer. If it just had more consistently great melodies, this would be a lock for my top 10 albums of they ear. As it is, 8/10, and it may well contend for my top 10 anyways. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts here. This is so close to being the genuine confessional classic I was hoping out of her in the wake of "Outside Looking In" and I'm now more convinced than ever that there's something like that in her future.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Song Analysis: Hilary Duff - "So Yesterday"

I urge everybody to check out "Take a Walk" by Sara Paxton, currently linked in my sidebar, if you don't know it already.

In some ways, "So Yesterday" is a pretty important song in my musical autobiography, and I liked it at the time for very specific reasons I'll get into below. Before I get into it, really briefly on American Idol (I'll post a full update on my thoughts in another week or 2 once the chaff [Paul Kim] is gone and we've seen a few more performances).

The guys: Liked Blake, Chris Sligh and Brandon Rogers were OK but kinda boring, didn't really care for any of the others. One of the weakest AI shows I've ever seen. Sanjaya has the least stage performance I've ever seen in an American Idol contestant, it truly is stunning. Let's see if his cuteness carries him through. Favorites: Blake; Voted For: Nobody; Would Like to See Go Home: Sundance and Paul Kim

The girls: Wow, way better than the guys. But extremely retro. I generally have liked the more current voices among American Idol contestants, but the group is just so talented. Agreed with the judges for the most part: Lakisha, Melinda, Jordin, and Steph all very good. I thought the judges went a bit overboard in their Lakisha praise. My problem with Lakisha is that I don't like that song and I still have a lot of trouble emotionally connecting with that type of singing. Only counterexamples I can think of are Mariah and "I Will Always Love You" (not even Aretha, really). In any event, I liked Melinda better. I liked Gina a lot, though she was a little off pitch. Antonella was awful, I've done a complete 180 on her. I really, really like Leslie Hunt, even though her performance wasn't the best; I love her for real crazy personality. She's not the best performer, but it's good to see some vocal restraint UITP, I like her smoky voice a lot, and she's the most entertaining remaining contestant, to me at least. Favorites: Melinda, Jordin, Leslie, Gina; Voted For: Leslie (I felt like she needed my help); Want to See Go Home: Antonella, Nicole

That went on a little longer than intended, here's the main content:

You can change your life (if you wanna)
You can change your clothes (if you wanna)
If you change your mind
Well that's the way it goes
But I am gonna keep your jeans
and your old black hat (cause I wanna)
They look good on me
You're never gonna get them back

At least not today, not today, not today

If it's over let it go and
Come tomorrow it will seem
So yesterday, so yesterday
I'm just a bird that's already flown away
Laugh it off and let it go and
when you wake up it will seem
So yesterday, so yesterday
Haven't you heard that I'm gonna be OK

You can say you're bored (if you wanna)
You can act real tough (if you wanna)
You can say you're torn
But I've heard enough
Thank you, you made my mind up for me
When you started to ignore me
Will you see a single tear?
It isn't gonna happen here.

At least not today, not today, not today


If you're over me I'm already over you
If it's all been done what is left to do
How can you hang up if the line is dead
If you wanna walk I will step ahead
If you're moving on I'm already gone
If the light is off then it isn't on

At least not today, not today, not today


Song Analysis/Comments: Seemingly very simple and straightforward lyrics, that are rather easy to interpret. Which they are. Clearly, her boyfriend isn't paying very much attention to her, so she's decided to pre-emptively break up with him. She's made up her mind and is telling him to go ahead and get over it now. Very Kelly Clarkson-ish, and I actually like the lyrics to this one. Simple, but very effective. Now for story time, and we can see why I chose this song for a song analysis.

This was Hilary Duff's third "Disney single", by my recollection, following "I Can't Wait" and "Why Not". At the time this song came out (2003) I was in college, and I would pretty regularly watch repeats of Even Stevens and Lizzie Mcguire, having largely missed the boat on these shows earlier. And they would show the videos for those songs a whole lot. Remember, Hilary Duff was their first big breakout star, and they were pushing her music career hard. Anyways, I really disliked both songs, as I was very indie at the time. (Still don't like "Why Not", "I Can't Wait" is pretty good). My initial reaction to "So Yesterday" was the same: stupid pop crap. But then, I slowly started to like it. Finally, I had to admit to myself that it was a good song, which horrified me. It was a small but significant step to my curret poptimism/teenpoptimism.

What I loved about the song then, and still love now, and what I want to talk about, is the "At least not today, not today, not today" part. The first verse builds up with very definitive lyrics. We start by noting that he can change whatever he wants and it's not gonna help him get her back. Nosiree, she's made up her mind. Not only that, but she's stealing your stuff too, and you are gonna like it. Very self-assured, harsh lyrics, and Hilary delivers them with the best self-assured sneer she can muster up. Which is kinda cute. The musical tone of the acoustic guitar then lightens up significantly as we get to "At least not today, not today, not today". Ha, this is somebody trying to convince herself she's made up her mind. She knows he's bad for her but can't let go. Interesting to note there's significant overdubbed harmony on this line too, which also softens it up a lot. Makes it sound very vulnerable.

The second verse is even more so. "Will you see a single tear? It isn't gonna happen here." Not even sad! Well, at least not today! What I like about the line at all is that it inserts a nice bit of vulerability in a song into an otherwise straight ahead breakup number. Which, in my opinion at least, makes it more real and allows me to connect with it more. I can really empathize with Hilary here, wanting to do the right thing, and forcing yourself to pretend that you have enough strength to do it. Welling all your strength up into doing the action itself, and leaving none behind for the aftermath.

Many songs seem to just pick one mood and go with it. Like "I'm over you" or "I still love you" or "I wish you loved me" or whatever. But I think it's more real when there's several emotions swimming together in your mind together. Which is why I love "Moodswings" so much, incidentally. Rather than integrate the several moods into the course of the song though, like "Moodswings" or "Hear Me", the song just provides a bit of self doubt as a counterbalance to the anger in the rest of the song. So rather than having wishy-washy "I wanna break up with you because you don't like me much, but I'm not too sure and I still like you and...", they convey each emotion separately, in turn. And that's the kind of crap I love, injecting a whole new layer of meaning on top of a song with just one simple line! Of course, if it's not executed perfectly, that's also the kind of thing that can come back to bite you. But I'd say they convey the vulnerability and woundedness of her rather perfectly with the line.

These days I like a lot more about the song than just that one line, and I'm relatively unashamed to admit my Duff love, but it's still what propels the song into greatness for me.

FINAL RATING: The song has an extremely catchy melody and deceptively deep, complex lyrics. It's not as good as "Come Clean" or "Fly", but it's up there. 9.5/10.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

28th Annual Young Artist Awards

Before I get into the 28th annual Young Artist Award nominations, let me take a second to revise my previous post. I said that I didn't know why I loved Antonella Barba, but actually it's pretty clear. She is (by far) the most attractive female finalist, she's got a really great soulful tone to her voice, she's confident without being cocky, and she comes off as genuinely likeable. It still seems like AI wanted me to hate her, but I think she's an almost lock for the top 12 (I'd say her, Gina, Melinda, and Jordin seem very likely to make the final 12 at this point). Doing a bit of research at lunch today I noted there is a strong correlation between Antonella fans and McPhee fans, which makes me feel better.

OK, the main thrust. The nominations for the 28th annual Young Artist Awards have been released, and here I will go through them, blow by blow, giving the offical TCR endorsed winner in each category. There's a shitload of categories, so strap in. Fun.

Thomas Sangster - "Nanny McPhee"
Logan Lerman - "Hoot"
Connor Donovan - "Twelve and Holding"
Alex Neuberger - "Running Scared"
Cameron Bright - "Running Scared"
Josh Hutcherson - "RV"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Logan Lerman. He stars in the only of these movies I've seen, though he wasn't anything special. I've never even heard of 2 of em.

Sara Paxton - "Aquamarine"
Dakota Fanning - "Charlotte's Web"
Brie Larson - "Hoot"
Keke Palmer - "Akeelah and the Bee"
Emily Rios - "Quinceanera"
Keisha Castle-Hughes - "Nativity Story"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Keke Palmer. My love for Sara Paxton and Brie Larson are well known by now but they aren't very good in these respective roles. Sorry Sara, take a walk. Keke, on the other hand, was great (and was good in Jump In too). Do they give speeches at these awards? If so, I'd lean towards supporting Brie just to hear her acceptance speech. For now I'll stick with Keke. Dakota is the reigning winner in this category (Dreamer).

Cameron Bright - "X-Men: The Last Stand"
Tristan Lake Leabu - "Superman Returns"
Rory Culkin - "The Night Listener"
Connor Paolo - "World Trade Center"
Chase Ellison - "End of the Spear"
Troy Gentile - "Nacho Libre"
Josh Flitter - "Big Momma's House 2"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Cameron Bright. I only saw two of these movies, and I hated the little kid in Superman Returns. Leech is the choice here, despite his rather unchallenging role. At least he didn't screw anything up.

Zoe Weizenbaum - "Twelve and Holding"
Emma Roberts - "Aquamarine"
Joanna "Jojo" Levesque - "Aquamarine"
Hallie Kate Eisenberg - "How to Eat Fried Worms"
Hannah Marks - "Accepted"
Lucy Boynton - "Miss Potter"
Allison Stoner - "Step Up"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Emma Roberts. The movie sucked, and it wasn't her best performance, but she was still very good.

Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick - "Omen"
Jimmy Bennett - "Firewall"
Noah Gray-Cabey - "Lady in the Water"
Jake Johnson - "Talladega Nights"
Nathan Gamble - "Babel"
Dylan Blue - "Deck the Halls"
Jake Cherry - "Night at the Museum"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Jake Cherry. Didn't see a single one of these films and haven't heard of a single one of these actors. Just picked at random. From now on I'll skip a category if I have no idea or no favorite.

Tatum McCann - "Click"
Ryan Newman - "Zoom"
Chloe Grace Moretz - "Big Momma's House 2"
Elle Fanning - "Babel"
Sage Kermes - "Sweetland"
Abigail Breslin - "Little Miss Sunshine"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Abigail Breslin is the obvious choice here. Probably a slam dunk, as she is nominated for an Oscar (won't win, but still...).

"Nanny McPhee"
"How to Eat Fried Worms"
"Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause"
"Unaccompanied Minors"

TCR Endorsed Selection: "Unaccompanied Minors". An entertaining film.

[Skipping various international and short film categories, for hopefully obvious reasons.]

Zac Efron - "High School Musical"
Jason Dolley - "Read It and Weep"
Matthew Knight - "Candles on Bay Street"
Micah Williams - "The Ron Clarke Story"
Brandon Smith - "The Ron Clarke Story"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Zac Efron. He was truly great as Troy Bolton, kid's got some real talent.

Vanessa Anne Hudgens - "High School Musical"
Sammi Hannatty - "Hello Sister, Goodbye Life"
Kay Panabaker - "Read It and Weep"
Maya Ritter - "Molly: American Girl on the Homefront"
Hannah Hodson - "The Ron Clarke Story"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Kay Panabaker. Hopefully by now this won't surprise anybody. As explained in an old post here, Sammi Hanratty's nomination is a big joke.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV MOVIE, MINISERIES or SPECIAL (Comedy or Drama)/Supporting Young Actor
Corbin Bleu - "High School Musical"
Beans El-Balaui - "Half Light"
Jake Smith - "For the Love of a Child"
Jonah Meyerson - "Griffin and Phoenix"
Andrew Chalmers - "Molly: American Girl on the Homefront"
Benjamin Petry - "The Lost Room"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Anybody but Corbin Bleu. Too hammy in that role, for my taste (he was good in Jump In). Lucas Grabeel was robbed (too old?).

[Skipping best supporting actress as I know nothing of any of the nominated films. Nobody from HSM was nominated. Presumably, Ashley Tisdale was already too old.]

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES (Comedy or Drama)/Leading Young Actor
Cole Sprouse - "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
Tyler Williams - "Everybody Hates Chris"
Michael Seater - "Life With Derek"
Dylan Sprouse - "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
Devon Werkheiser - "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide"
Kyle Massey - "That's So Raven"
Jamie Johnston - "Degrassi: The Next Generation"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Michael Seater. He was great on Strange Days at Blake Holsey High and is great on this show too, despite the fact that it's not that good. Kyle and Jamie would be fine choices as well. The Sprouses were nominated together last year, but separately this year. If they win, there is no God.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES (Comedy or Drama)/Leading Young Actress
Ashley Leggat - "Life With Derek"
Emma Roberts - "Unfabulous"
Jamie Lynn Spears - "Zoey 101"
Mikey Cyrus - "Hannah Montana"
Christa B. Allen - "Cake"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Emma Roberts. Once again, by now this will not surprise any reader of my blog. I think Emma's superb. Jamie Lynn and Miley being nominated is another hilarious joke. Ashley Leggat does very fine work on her show (and is a personal favorite). She wouldn't be a bad choice except that Emma totally outclasses her.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES (Comedy or Drama)Supporting Young Actor
Daniel Magder - "Life With Derek"
Andrew Chalmers - "Darcy's Wild Life"
Dan Curtiss Lee - "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide"
Paul Butcher - "Zoey 101"
Dean Collins - "The War at Home"
Alexander Gould - "Weeds"
Jesse Plemons - "Friday Night Lights"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Andrew Chalmers. I don't think I've talked about Darcy's much here, but I'm a big fan of the show. Sara Paxton's a big part of that, but the supporting cast is very talented as well.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES (Comedy or Drama)Supporting Young Actress
Miranda Cosgrove - "Drake and Josh"
Victoria Justice - "Zoey 101"
Emily Osment - "Hannah Montana"
Allie Grant - "Weeds"
Mackenzie Rosman - "7th Heaven"
Aimee Teegarden - "Friday Night Lights"
Hayden Panettiere - "Heroes"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Mackenzie Rosman. The best actor on the show, which I admittedly haven't seen in a couple years. Hayden's really improved over the course of the season, but not good enough. Emily Osment wouldn't be a bad choice either, I suppose, but she's a bit manic and shouty for my taste. And Hannah Montana winning an acting award would be so very wrong.

[Skipping Best Age 10 or under actor as the only ones I recognize are the Brino twins from Seventh Heaven and CJ Sanders from Heroes and I hate em both.]

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES (Comedy or Drama)/Young Actress Age Ten or Younger
Ariel Gade - "Invasion"
Ariel Waller - "Life With Derek"
Maria Lark - "Medium"
Billi Bruno - "According to Jim"
Conchita Campbell - "The 4400"
Emily Everhard - "Cake"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Oh, Conchita Campbell by a mile, she's really great. All due respect to the v. good Ariel Walker, but this is the biggest walk in any category yet.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES (Comedy or Drama)/Guest Starring Young Actress
Alyson Stoner - "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
Emily Hirst - "Smallville"
Sammi Hanratty - "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
Tay Blessey - "Cold Case"
Monet Monico - "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
Chloe Grace Monetz - "Desparate Housewives"
Rachel Rogers - "Monk"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Was gonna skip this, but Chloe Grace Monetz deserves to win, she's a cutie pie. Had no idea (two time YAA nominated!) Sammi Hanratty was in Suite Life. Love Monk but Rachel had about 2 lines in this role.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES (Comedy or Drama) Recurring Young Actor
Louis T. Noyle - "My Name Is Earl"
Noah Crawford - "My Name is Earl"
Masam Holden - "ER"
Daniel Goldman - "Dexter"
Jacob Kraemer - "Naturally Sadie"
Tyler Patrick Jones - "The Ghost Whisperer"
Cody Linley - "Hannah Montana"
Charley Stewart - "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
Adam Langley - "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide"
Marc Donato - "Degrassi: The Next Generation"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Cody Linley. He's the best part of the show, when he's on. Way too many nominees in this category.

[Skipping recurring young actress as I have no feelings one way or another on any of the nominated ones. I've heard of a few of them, but none make an impression.]

"Life With Derek"
"Darcy's Wild Life"
"Zoey 101"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Life With Derek. A very strong category, any of the choices would make me happy except Zoey 101 (actually the reigning winner). I was nearly tempted to pick Unfabulous, entirely based on Emma, but Derek has the much deeper cast overall. And it feels more like an ensemble, than Unfabulous, which is a one person show. Just because the writing sucks isn't their fault. Darcy's Wild Life, like Unfabulous, is too dependent on the excellent performance of its lead to deserve an award like this.

"The Ron Clark Story"
"High School Musical"
"Hello Sister, Goodbye Life"
"Candles on Baystreet"
"Molly: An American Girl on the Homefront"
"For the Love of a Child"

TCR Endorsed Selection: High School Musical. Hello Sister, Goodbye Life being nominated over Read It and Weep is awful, but HSM would deserve to win anyways. Presumably it will win.

"Flight 29 Down"
"7th Heaven"
"Brothers and Sisters"
"Ghost Whisperer"
"Friday Night Lights"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Flight 29 Down, though none of these shows are really any good. Ghost Whisperer stole Joan of Arcadia from me, and I will always hate it for that.

"The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
"Darcy's Wild Life"
"Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide"
"Zoey 101"
"My Name is Earl"

TCR Endorsed Selection: Unfabulous. Interesting to me that Life With Derek wasn't nominated after all those cast nominations, but the writing is just so bad. Anyways Unfabulous an easy choice to me, though Darcy's Wild Life is good too. But just say no (justfanoe) to Zoey 101.

[The last four categories are all awards for best feature films in various ways, and since I saw so few movies I'm skipping them all. I do, however, support Akeelah and the Bee for best drama.]

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Very Early Thoughts on the American Idol Top 24

Since I only intermittently watch the auditions, and Hollywood Week was cut so short this time, this is extremely preliminary, but here are first thoughts on all the American Idol contestants. I don't really care about any of the ones who were eliminated, except that I loved poor Sarah Burgess and was really hoping she would make it through. Alas, there's always next year. Here's the finalists:

Jared Cotter
Paul Kim
Nick Pedro
Chris Richardson
A.J. Tabaldo
Stephanie Edwards
Leslie Hunt
Amy Krebs
Sabrina Sloan
Nicole Tranquillo

They gave way more face time to the guys this year, so presumably they are angling for a guy to win. Anyways, these are the finalists who I don't care about at all one way or another at this point. They didn't get enough face time so I'm gonna have to wait and see.

Quick thoughts on the rest of the candidates, the ones I do remember:


Rudy Cardenas: Like to see more non-African American minorities on this show. I like this guy, I think he may go far.

Sundance Head: Extremely powerful voice, but really belts it out during the songs. Kinda shouty. The kind of voice and singing style that can be amazing if done right, but just mess up one or two small things and it can sound completely awful too (e.g. Katharine McPhee, but without the hotness, of course). This guy might not go far, because on an off night he could give a truly awful performance, like he was doing in Hollywood.

Blake Lewis: A beatboxer with a mohawk, and a cocky little bastard. We've hardly heard him sing so far, though he sounded OK when he did. His "group sing" with Chris Sligh and 2 others was a lot of fun, and this guy is amazing at beatboxing. Love this guy right now, will have to see how well he can do as a pure singer. The incongruity of it all is making me really want to root for him though. He seems like a good guy, apart from the cockiness.

Sanjaya Malakar: Seems like a nice guy, but no way is he gonna make the finals. Likeable cannon fodder. He'll probably be one of the first 2 guys out, unless he can improve a lot.

Brandon Rogers: Apparently an internet favorite already. A former backup singer to many star acts, including Anastasia, who I don't really like at all. He's a good singer, but has bored me so far. I may start to hate him as the competition goes on.

Chris Sligh: One of my favorites so far, and it has little to do with his personality. Even if he doesn't have the technically best singing voice, he seems to be the best song interpreter of the top 24. Really feels the lyrics and seems to convey them well. There's a lot more to singing than being able to hit the glory notes (ahem: Sundance Head). Possibility for greatness. Funny guy too, of course.

Phil Stacy: Great singer. Missed the birth of his child to try out. Early favorite in the competition. Boy band. Creepy stare though.

Favorites: Blake, Chris Sligh


Alaina Alexander: Her performance of "Without You" in Hollywood, based on the brief clip they played, was horrible. Please do not attempt to sing Mariah Carey songs on American Idol, very few people can pull off the vocal gymnastics with emotion like she can. (Song originally by Nilsson of course, but she was doing the Mariah version). Not good.

Antonella Barba: You know, I really love her and can't explain why. Seems like most people hate her and think she's bitchy (like Katharine McPhee!!!). All I can say, I guess, is that I don't get that impression at all and think she's a great singer. Seems a bit abrasive, but it's hard to tell her personality from what they showed. I think they want you to hate her. She handled the whole acceptance very well, I think she's got a grounded head. Great tone to her voice, but a tendency to give into the vocal gymnastics a bit too much. Possible greatness. My favorite so far.

Melinda Doolittle: Another background singer, like Brandon Rogers, and like him they are pounding that story hard. Former background singer becomes star in her own right! She's just OK to me, but I think she's gonna go real far.

Gina Glocksen: Lots of early buzz on her and deservedly so, as she's fantastic. Has a great pop/rock voice. Has to be considered a favorite to win at this point, based on face time and looks and singing voice. The best singer of the top 24 based on what I've seen, but haven't seen enough of her personality really want to root for her yet. Possibly another Kelly Clarkson.

Lakisha Jones: This season's Mandia/Jennifer Hudson. Like them she has a very powerful, soulful voice. Technically good singer, but may have troubles, as they did, connecting emotionally to the songs. Jennifer seems to have gotten over that, and good for her. They were both shockingly eliminated in 8th place in their seasons, and I doubt Lakisha can make it farther than that. I don't like her. Not my thing.

Haley Scarnato: I remember her name, and I remember when she was on the show that I liked her, but now I can't remember a damned thing about her. Apparently likeable but forgettable.

Jordin Sparks: Heh, a former America's Most Talented Kid winner, and that show has officially had about 20x the impact I ever thought it would. Cheyenne had her own MTV reality show, Jojo is a great and really popular singer (and going into acting too!), Diana DeGarmo was a runner up on American Idol (and sang the National Anthem at every Atlanta sporting event for a year straight), now Jordin Sparks is on American Idol too. Very young, which never portends well, but she sings great. Likeable. Possible greatness.

Favorites: Antonella Barba, Gina Glocksen

I'll update my thoughts on these guys in another couple weeks, once we've gotten some real substantial performances out of them. Right now, as I said, I'm liking Blake, Chris S., Antonella, and Gina. It always changes once the actual shows start though.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jukebox Update

Still very busy with non-blog stuff, so I don't have a lot of time to post, but in the meantime, I have been contributing to the Stylus Singles Jukebox, so here's links to my reviews, plus ones that didn't make the cut:

Katharine McPhee - "Over It" [8]
Regina Spektor - "Fidelity" [7]
The Shins - "Phantom Limb" [4]
My Chemical Romance - "Famous Last Words" [9]
Salem Al-Fakir - "Dream Girl" [7]
JC Chasez - "Until Yesterday" [6]
Relient K - "Must Have Done Something Right" [2] <-- Maybe a bit harsh but the song does suck ass.

Cutting Room Floor:

All Saints - "Chick Fit"
Upside: The verses have a nice gliding melody to them, the chorus is catchy, and the whole song has nice new love lyrics, about acting stupid in the face of love. Downside: Nothing special in the vocal performace here and the production is a bit too minimalist for its own good. Which makes it a good pop song overall, but if they had dome more with it in production, the song could have benefitted greatly.

I hope you guys have been checking this out, because it's been great so far. I have some more reviews coming up, and somewhere along the line I'll find a way to balance singles review writing, message board writing, and blog posting. Anyways, hopefully I'll be back this weekend with some more substantive content.


Monday, February 05, 2007

I Am So Totally "Over It"

Today's new brand of smart, confident, self-assured solo teenpop female artist isn't bogged down by guy issues. Maybe the guy strung them along or hurt them at one point, but by now they are completely over it. How do I know this? They can't stop telling us! All three of the major solo female teenpop albums this year (maybe I'm missing some, but these are the only three I know of) contain songs called "Over It": Katharine McPhee by Katharine McPhee (in fact, "Over It" is the lead single on this album), Headstrong by Ashley Tisdale, and No Ordinary Girl by Jordan Pruitt. In this post, I will review all 3 songs.

The Artist: Katharine McPhee, runner up on season five of American Idol, whose debut album Katharine McPhee, featuring lead single "Over It", was released in January 2007.
Songwriters: Josh Alexander, Billy Steinberg, Ruth-Anne Cunningham
She's Totally Over...: The pain she felt over a guy who leads her on while not ever really having feelings for her.

The Song: Alexander, Steinberg, and Cunningham were the exact same trio who wrote Jojo's "Too Little, Too Late" (my #14 single of 2006), and it's good to see them branch out into new and different things. Because this song is totally different, and nothing at all alike that Jojo hit. OK, clearly, as even the most casual observer could tell, the two songs are very, very similar. Kat was my favorite on American Idol 5, and not JUST because of her looks, I thought she was a great singer too. Her voice sounds a bit lifeless and generic on record, which is disappointing, and it's shrouded in electronic effects in the chorus, which I wish they hadn't done. Nevertheless, it's got a great melody, and that "Too Little Too Late" formula just works so well that it can drive at least a few more great songs. Lyrics are a bit generic, actually somewhat like a toothless Kelly Clarkson lyric. But there are some good lines in there. It's the type of song I'm a sucker for, in any event, because rather than go for a bitter "You suck and I'm over you" vibe, it goes for a subtle, wistful "I'm over THE PAIN" vibe, that has a lot of melodrama to it. Now it doesn't quite hit that lyrically, but it definitely hits it musically, which is close enough for me.

Convincingness That She Is, In Fact, Over It: 5/10. She doesn't seem to be singing with very much conviction, and she seems a bit too wistful talking about the old days. Needs a little more time.
Final Rating: 8/10
Listen: Katharine McPhee - "Over It"

The Artist: Ashley Tisdale, who was in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and then, famously, High School Musical. Her debut album, Headstrong, was released on February 6th, and was surprisingly good. I will post more on the album as a whole later.
The Songwriters: Michael "Smidi" Smith, Ashley Tisdale, Bryan Todd
She's Totally Over...: A cheating boyfriend.

The Song: The song has extremely simple pop accompaniment to it, and is one of the less R&B and more bubblegum songs on Ashley's album. It's also one of the better songs. The central problem to this song is that the verses, bridge, and production are all rather boring without much going on. But, it's got a great chorus, great biting lyrics, and features one of Ashley's best, most assured, vocal performances on the whole album. Lyrically, it's an extremely simple account of ditching a cheating boyfriend for the web of lies, etc., but it does the job and has the right amount of bite to it. OK, but while McPhee's song is about being over the PAIN of being in a bad relationship, Ashley's is about being over the relationship itself. A subtle but key difference. Wimpy lyrics go well with the wistful melody of McPhee's song while the confident melody of this goes well with confident lyrics, so all is right with the world.
Convincingness That She Is, In Fact, Over It: 8/10. Not much doubt here that she's going back to that guy. Whereas I get the impression that McPhee would go running back if that guy ever could show he really can commit, Tisdale doesn't seem to want to go back at all. But, the vocal performance is the slightest bit weak and wavering, so it gets less than full marks.
Final Rating: 7/10. Could have been great, if they had spent more time fleshing the whole thing out.
Listen: Ashley Tisdale - "Over It" <--- For a limited time only! JORDAN PRUITT - "OVER IT" The Artist: Jordan Pruitt, a particular favorite of the TCR, whose initial album No Ordinary Girl was released on February 6, 2007.
The Songwriters: Keith Thomas, Robin Scoffield, Jordan Pruitt
She's Totally Over...: The boyfriend who broke her heart and now wants her back. Not unlike "Gone"

The Song: Like I've come to expect from Jordan Pruitt's songs, this has a nice lyrical content that's a bit more dense than it might seem on first glance. The first verse details the normal problems with the relationships (boyfriend not invested, lying, etc etc), and as that passes and they get into the chorus ("I've had enough and I'm not looking back/I'm over it, I'm over it") it seems very similar to the Tisdale song, a casting off of a bad boyfriend. But in this case, it adds a separate wrinkle, first hinted to in the chorus with the line ("You broke my heart/Gonna break yours back"), which just hints at what's to come, but leaves you wondering. Great line. Then, as the song continues on, they go into how the boyfriend wants her back, and since she's had time to reflect and now realizes he was a crappy boyfriend she's not gonna take him back. You go girl. So once again, it takes a simple concept, complicates it a little, and fills it with great lines. And Jordan is a really great singer, one of the best teenpop singers I've heard in a long, long time. The problem is, as always with non-"Outside Looking In" Thomas/Scoffield/Pruitt songs [EDIT: Actually this one is a Thomas/Kipley/Pruitt song, not Scoffield], with the melody and musicality of the song itself. It's just uninteresting and unoriginal musically. There's a great album inside Jordan, an album full of "Outside Looking In"s, but she needs to unleash it. Else, she'll just be releasing a bunch of near great, songs with great lyrics and performance to them, like this one.
Convincingness That She Is, In Fact, Over It: 10/10. The guy blew his shot. Jordan says so.
Final Rating: 6/10. Not a bad song, by any stretch, but still a bit disappointing
Listen: Jordan Pruitt - "Over It"

I will, of course, keep you apprised of any future female stars who are over things in the future. (Avril has a song called "Get Over It", but it's not exactly the same, and that's a few years ago anyways. Actually, now that I think of it, "Get Over It" and "Over It" are almost opposite titles).

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Great Lyrics: Lee Ann Womack - "I'll Think of a Reason Later"

I was gonna write a full song analysis tonight, but I kinda realized that the song I wanted to do an analysis of (Lee Ann Womack's "I'll Think of a Reason Later", for those of you not into reading titles) doesn't need one, as the lyrics are extremely straightforward. There is no trickery, and as far as I can tell the musicality of the song does not enhance the lyrics at all. I'm going to print the lyrics here anyways, since they demonstrate something I wanna talk about a bit. The song's not available on Youtube or any other free listening site as far as I can tell, boo! Anyways, I recommend you download (or legally buy!) the song, because it's great!

Here are the lyrics, before I get too ahead of myself:

I heard he was gone to marry some girl from Denver.
Then my sister came over, had the Sunday paper with her.
There was the girl on the social page,
loooking in love and all engaged.
We decided she don't take a very good picture.

It may be my family's redneck nature
Rubbin' off, bringin' out unladylike behavior.
It sure ain't Christian to judge a stranger,
But I don't like her.
She may be an angel who spends all winter
Bringing the homeless blankets and dinner.
A regular Nobel Peace Prize winner,
but I really hate her.
I'll think of a reason later.

I drew horns and blacked out her tooth with a marker.
Childish, yes, but she made such a thin little target.
I couldn't be happier on my own,
But I've got the slightest of a jealous bone,
And seein' her with him tends to enlarge it.

It may be my family's redneck nature
Rubbin' off, bringin' out unladylike behavior.
It sure ain't Christian to judge a stranger,
But I don't like her.
She may be an angel who spends all winter
Bringing the homeless blankets and dinner.
A regular Nobel Peace Prize winner,
but I really hate her.
I'll think of a reason later.

Inside her head may lie all the answers
To curin' diseases from baldness to cancer.
The salt of the earth and a real good dancer,
But I really hate her.
I'll think of a reason later.

(Well, it was just one tooth.)
(Did I mention I don't particularly care for her.)
(She makes me sick.)

Reasons this song has great lyrics:
1. It has a great story and simple theme that is used in a few other songs but not so many other songs as to make it totally overdone. I can't really think of another song that deals with quite this aspect of your ex hooking up witha new lover.
2. It doesn't need a whole lot of words to say what it's got to say. It gets its message across then rides off into the sunset
3. The lyrics are genuinely funny and nearly have made me laugh out loud on some occassions (though, admittedly, some of the humor is in the performance too). I love love love the "thin little target" line. Also where it punches in with the "We decided she don't take a very good picture" out of nowhere.
4. It's a country song that is anti-redneck! Take that red states!
5. It demonstrates that songs don't have to be serious and oblique to have great lyrics. Anybody could listen to the song once and instantly understand (and probably identify with) the message to the song, and it's entirely tongue in cheek the entire way. But the lyrics are still great! Back when I was indie (a.k.a. "The Dark Years") I used to only respect (and I get the idea that a lot of people still do this) songs that had obtuse, inscrutable lyrics with multiple interpretations. Or only one correct interpretation but it's hard to get to. Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, etc. And a song as tongue and cheek as this is a silly little throwaway novelty hit; maybe good for fun but not to be seriously enjoyed. Anyways, this song demonstrates that silly and very straightforward songs can have great lyrics if they can pick a good theme and consistently turn good phrases, as this song does. [Not that serious or inscrutable or general or vague songs can't have good lyrics too, of course.]

Song gets a 10/10, it's one of my 10 favorite country singles of the 90s.

As a bonus, here's another great song with great lyrics that takes the same general idea and goes a different way with it [Note: Setting the line breaks in these lyrics was really hard]:

Well he used to be mine, not so very long ago.
I was crazy to ever let him get away.
But girl you should know better,
than to go braggin' in my face.
So forgive me for what I'm 'bout to say.

Big deal.
So what.
Who cares.
You just got lucky, that's all it was. Shut up.
Don't wanna hear another word about candlelight and long-stem roses
And how you've fallen head over heels
In love.
So what.
Big deal.

He's perfect, I heard ya
the first ten times that you told me, yeah yeah
It's amazing, it's lovely, I can't believe I let him go
I regret it, there I said it.
You call yourself a friend but you just keep rubbin' it in.

Big deal.
So what.
Who cares.
You just got lucky, that's all it was. I swear.
If I hear another word about candlelight and long-stem roses
And how you've fallen head over heels
In love.
So what.
Big deal.

Congratulations I'm just so happy for you
I can't contain the way I feel.

[Chorus repeats a few times to close out.]

Youtube: LeAnn Rimes - "Big Deal"

Miscellaneous note: This one goes with the angle of pretending not to care when she clearly does, which is another nice angle to take on the matter. Lyrics have a nice sense of humor but are more anguished and definitely less funny than "I'll Think of a Reason Later". So I guess it's a matter of taste, but I prefer the Womack one. Anyways, this is probably my favorite LeAnn Rimes song. This or "Commitment".

Meta: I was at a Sara Evans concert on Thursday night and I'll probably put something down on that this weekend. Jordan Pruitt album comes out this Friday, and I'll be posting a review of that sometime soon (as I have gotten my hands on an advance copy). Plus there will be a real song analysis coming soon. My queue on that is growing, but the plan as of right now is to do "So Yesterday" then some Sheryl Crow song, maybe "My Favorite Mistake". Plus other stuff too, if I think of it I guess. Maybe some non-musical stuff but I haven't been watching much of TV lately and I don't really watch movies, so whatever. Still waiting on Unfabulous to come back on...(screw you Nick).

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