Monday, May 2, 2016

And the Grammy goes to...Haley Reinhart, Better

Haley Reinhart just dropped the album of the year. There's not even a close second. Don't argue with me, or I'll pound you over the head with stacks of unlistenable formula pop drivel tracks that somehow pass for music today.

WARNING: If you are allergic to heaping helpings of lavish praise, or have shitty taste in music, you should stop reading now because I'm about to launch into a love-fest review of biblical proportions.

OK, so Haley Fucking Reinhart...WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST DO!! As an original Halien who's bought every stitch of music you've ever released, I know to expect nothing less than brilliant vocals and great music from you, and am never disappointed, but even I was caught off guard on this one. 

You see, people, this girl just released an epic masterpiece. An album for the ages that history will one day place alongside the all time greats. No, I'm not joking, either. 

Her 2012 debut album, "Listen Up!", was a solid debut effort that had some great songs, so it was natural to believe that 4 years later she'd build on the solid foundation with more sophistication and edge that comes with experience.

But this??? WTF!!

Haley, this is absolutely ridiculous. Sheer brilliance. Every song is a journey, and when put together it's the most cohesive fusion of genres, eras, production mix, technology and raw, organic vocals and musicianship you will ever find on an album.

What really floors me, though, is that Haley has primary writing credit on every song (save Can't Help Falling In Love), was the executive producer, and released it without a label as an independent artist. How the fuck? are BRILLIANT! 

I gotta confess, I completely underestimated you somehow. Yes, even as one of your most loyal and devoted fans, I was wholly in the dark as to the scale and depth of artistic capabilities you possess. I most humbly and profusely apologize for not realizing it before, and feel the need to plead for your forgiveness. 


So, with that, it's time to get into what blew me away about Better LP.  You see, what we have here is a musical score. A complete album that defies the modern music formula of assembling disjointed tracks around a single to fill out an album.

It's an intense experience listening to the LP alone with headphones on and no distractions. There's layers of sounds coordinated to bring you up, stop you in your tracks, twist you in a knot, leave you hanging on the edge, and then embracing you with flourishes of choruses, anthems and harmonies that are perfectly, yet unpredictably, merged for maximum effect.

The sexuality runs hot throughout the album. The instrumentation and production are a veritable aphrodisiac that teases, excites, arouses and titillates the mind and body. The clever, sometimes playful double entendre lyrics add to the seduction. Haley's voice, though....that's the centerpiece of everything. Her passionate, sultry tone lilting softly and tenderly one moment, then deeply moaning the next, and digging in with fierce, raw growls when it's time to climax with soaring choruses. If this album doesn't get you in the mood you're dead.

While seduction is a primary theme of the album, it's by no means just a sex kitten record. There is a message throughout emphasizing the importance of standing up for yourself in life, not allowing lovers to get away with disrespecting or devaluing you, and not selling out to phonies with a good line of bullshit. Haley especially enjoys turning the tables on pretentious, narcissistic, pretty boy douchebags, so if you happen to be one you may not love this album as much as I do.

If you like classic rock, jazz, funk, soul, and psychedelic mind fuck music, and would love to see all of them fused together in an epic masterpiece by one of the most brilliant and talented music talents of this generation, then buy the damn album. Buy it now. Listen to it over and over again. Thank me for introducing you to it. And, most importantly, love Haley like I do for delivering such a precious pearl to the world, and making it a BETTER place for it.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned a single song on the review. That's because while the album is made up of magnificent individual tracks, it's to be experienced as a whole. Like a great bottle of single malt scotch, you would never separate out the individual components inside of it. The flavors, colors, accents and spices which comprise the delicious finished product are enjoyed as part of the whole. It's a delight to the senses and the mind. Enjoy the album that way, as a whole, the way it's supposed to be consumed, This is too rare, too good, and too much BETTER than anything else out there, to experience any other way. 

Anything less would be uncivilized.

Poo Out!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Poo's Idol Tribute

As American Idol draws her final, dying breath after what was for years one of the most dominant television series of all time, I feel compelled to make one final post dedicated to the contestants who have mattered to me most.

My list is not based on record sales, number of twitter followers, degree of fame, or number of awards received. It's my tribute to MY Idol family, and with family you don't measure your love on superficial things.

* * * * * *

Crystal Bowersox
Season 9

Crystal, you are the very definition of authenticity. Your heart pours into your music, and the results of this outpouring is a gift I could never repay. Your music has depth, and reveals you as a woman courageous enough to share with us your soul, warts and all, even when at your weakest and most vulnerable. I respect this greatly. Whether good, bad, silly, tragic or anything else life has to offer, you bring us a perspective from deep and sometimes ruthless introspection.

I vividly remember when I was in a horrible job situation three years ago, and your "Get Me Out" was the only thing that got me through my morning commute to that hell hole. I would literally crank it up full and belt out every word with tears rolling down my cheeks. I felt trapped, suffering, and this song was my savior. It's so brilliantly written, so beautifully sung, and so brutally honest that I felt it like a living, breathing life form.

Therefore, I want to thank you Crystal. Thank you for having the courage to bear your soul so people like me can find inspiration and connection through your life stories put to music. You are an absolutely brilliant writer, and if I knew a word beyond brilliant I would use it. You are also a tireless touring artist devoted to living a musician's life. Your voice is a beautiful, pristine, penetrating cry. I am truly grateful to have virtually met you through Idol, and seeing you in person only reinforces that opinion.

Get Me Out

* * * * * * *

Haley Reinhart
Season 10

My precious Haley....where do I even begin. Your determined run on Idol was unlike anything I saw on the show before or since. I was so fired up when you would get dissed by the judges after a sensational performance I was ready to run through a wall. Your vocal talent captured my imagination, your moxie captured my respect, and your seductive beauty captured my heart. I was hook, line and sinker, and remain that way 5 years later.

Since Idol, I've felt as invested in supporting you as I was with your run on the show. Along the way, I've been amazed by your ceaselessly sunny demeanor, unflappable sense of optimism, and unshakable belief in yourself. Sometimes it drives me nuts, to be honest. I am a tremendous skeptic, believe with perfect faith in Murphy's Law, and constantly fight self-doubt. Apparently, opposites attract!

As you surely must know by now, I'm absolutely mesmerized by your jazz vocal chops. That said, I also know you are an artist with interests in many different styles and genres. I have no problem at all with this, and think it's healthy. I enjoy whatever music you make...even those genres that are not a natural fit for my tastes.

I pegged you from the start as a once-in-a-generation talent with the entire package, and despite what has at times been a rough ride I see you moving inextricably in the right direction for industry respect as both an artist and person. That matters to me almost as much as it does to you, and I am beyond proud of you, Haley.

I feel like in a way your journey is also my journey, and I love living vicariously through it. Best of luck on the upcoming album, girl, and thank you for making me feel like a part of your magical ride. Can't wait to see where the road takes us next.

My Cake

* * * * * * *

Pia Toscano
Season 10

Pia, you left the show way too early back in Season 10, but when you left the world about stopped spinning on its axis for a week. America was in open revolt! It seems like forever ago now in some ways, but just like yesterday in others.

That was then, this is now. What I love most about you is your tender heart and open soul. As gorgeous as you are, and holy crap are you gorgeous, your willingness to wear your heart on your sleeve endears you to me the most. You are fragile but feisty, and are willing to fight for what you believe in. You project such a warm heart, and I perpetually want to give you a hug.

With a road harder than most, you've fought through the wilderness, led the Kings to 2 Stanley Cups, and ultimately landed the elusive victory of releasing new music. I just downloaded You'll Be King, and absolutely love it. I know this is the start of a big run for you, and one day hope to collect on that hug.

* * * * * * *

Phillip Phillips
Season 11

Dude, absolutely love how underneath that laid back country boy vibe beats the heart of a very deep thinker, brilliant writer, tremendous recording artist, and even better live performer. You also stand up for what you believe in. The battle you've taken to 19E for conflict of interest knowing it would be a very tough career risk takes stones.

Your season on Idol was the last one I gave even a half a shit about. You stood out for me from the beginning, but when you won it with that tearful victory performance of Home where you hugged your parents mid was one of the most captivating TV moments of all time.

The music you write is edgy, deep and powerful. I loved both your albums, but nothing beats the original vigor. Still pissed as hell they didn't put Take Me Away on the standard album and make it a single. Anyway, no complaints.

Live you're an absolute machine. That Lollipop Mashup is INSANE! Blows the crowd away every time.

Bottom line, you seem like a real cool dude. A regular guy you could drink beer and watch college football with. Fame and fortune didn't change you a lick, and I doubt it ever will, either. That's not in your DNA.

I also appreciate you for liking my sense of humor. I toss a lot of crap out on twitter for a laugh, and you frequently like what I sling.

Lastly and mostly, I look forward to many more great songs, meaningful songs, rocking songs, and fun shows in the years to come. Cheers, bruh.

Lollipop/Lose Yourself/All I Do Is Win/ Mash

Poo out.

Friday, March 4, 2016

#NeverTrump, #Rubio2016, #HaleyAlways

Yes, I realized I haven't posted in forever. Yes, I know this blog has typically been devoted to my favorite American Idol alums. Yes, I get that Haley Reinhart is a knockout. Yes, I love her seductive voice. Yes, she has a new album called "Better" coming out soon. Yes, I posted a picture of her below because I want to look at her while I type. Yes, I have digressed, but I have no regrets.

Anyway, on to the main point. I can't stand Donald Trump.

Really. I mean, I hate the guy, Detest the guy. Loathe the guy. Abhor the guy. Will never vote for the guy. Never, ever, ever, ever, never.


It's utterly insane to see this petulant, certifiably insane billionaire, who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars from his daddy, and has used that money to scam ordinary people, bully old ladies, buy political favors, and become a media whore with a bullshit celebrity reality TV show, is the GOP front runner.

Look, I've been Republican for nearly my entire adult life. I've had to hold my nose and vote for "lesser evil" candidates I didn't care for more times than I want to admit (see: Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole). In politics, that's typically how it goes.

Not this year. Trump is a bridge too far.

It's hard to imagine how such an uninformed ignoramus could get to this point. He knows absolutely nothing about the economy, foreign policy, social issues, taxes, trade, health care...need I go on?

His campaign is a mixture of "America First" protectionism and Jerry Springer ad hominem. He's leveraged his TV fame to con well intended (but woefully gullible) Americans to believe he's the savior they've been waiting for to shake down Washington's inept, corrupt political class and fix the our problems.

He does this with incessant screams, insults, threats, bombast and hyperbole under a crude, twisted pretext of patriotism. His political enemies, real or imagined, are smashed with the hammer of xenophobia enabled by an unprecedented media bully pulpit.

His flock follows him unconditionally. Policies are non-existent, as is a single shred of human

decency, but who cares? He's a pissed off celebrity billionaire, and that trumps everything if you're Trump.

He supported and donated to every Democrat, including Hilary Clinton, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi? So what! It was payola to get get special favors, so it's all good. Gotta respect such a transparent lack of ethics and principle. He can't be bought, because he does the buying!

Evangelicals, who back in the 80's launched the Reagan Revolution as the Moral Majority, and  proudly wear the label of "Values Voters" and the "Religious Right", have appsrently decided to burn their bibles at the altar of Pagan Trump.

Why? Because despite his history of scamming, lying, cheating stealing, and supporting every value and organization they oppose, they have a blind messianic belief that he'll "Make America Great Again".

At one time, evangelicals held their candidates to the strictest of moral codes. Not sufficiently pro-life? Buh-bye. Adultery? Gone.

Now? A thrice married, pro-Planned Parenthood conman, who proudly references his adulterous conquests, and brags about his dick size and how he could make Mitt Romney get on his knees and blow him if he wanted, is their Chosen One.

I also have Jewish friends utterly undeterred by his rabid White Supremacist following. Have a David Duke endorsement, Louis Farakhan endorsement, and show reluctance to denounce them in kind? No problem. All they know is that he will "build a wall" and "Make America Great".  After all, Trump knows best.

Trump does not have a single policy that explains how he'll "Make America Great", just the unsubstantiated belief  he must know what he's doing....afterall, he's a rich and famous celebrity!

It says a lot about how desperate and pathetic the State of The Union has become. The past eight years, liberals were conned by Obama, thinking he was the messiah who would make sure they didn't have to worry about paying for gas or their mortgage, gullible voters on the left just bent over and took it. Most still would bend over and vote for it again if Obama could go a 3rd term.

Hopelessly blind belief in a charismatic leader who will deliver a Utopian world is not a knew phenomenon.  History is littered with false messiahs for a reason: People are lemmings.

Now, Trump has the conservative electorate on their knees ready to service him with the same blind loyalty liberals had in Obama messiah.

Suffice to say, I'm pretty disgusted rightt now with the cult mentality of the Trump Chumps. So naive, so gullible, and so lacking in common sense. When you stop thinking for yourself you cease being free, and that's what's happening. They just want Trump to think for them because thinking for themselves is too confusing.

Thus, my support is for Marco Rubio. I give tremendous credit for leading the charge to expose the fraud that both Trump and the Utopian Democrat candidates truly are. It took stones, and he showed he's got a pair.

Add to that, Marco is funny, brings serious policy depth, is youthful, understands the real life struggles of first generation Americans, and is the kind of positive messenger we need to unify the country. He's conservative, but also pragmatic when necessary.

I respect his vision, and hope somehow, someway, before we sell the nation out again to another huckster making false promises, that we somehow manage to get it right this time. I know I'll do my part.

#NeverTrump, #Rubio2016