Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Idol down to 5 and we’re baaaaaack

Last week was such a blur I barely remember a single thing that happened...hopefully this week will be much calmer and we’ll actually get our blog postings out. Okay here’s whats up:

Last week on American Idol we lost two folks Anoop and Lil’Round and neither was a surprise to go. Both were very talented but there was nothing original about the sound of their voice, look, song selection, etc that made them stand out as star material. Not to say they won’t continue to develop these qualities and one day become stars it’s just not happening right now. Now we’re down to 5 contestants and the choices are going to be tougher. After last night’s performances I would definitely put Matt and Kris in the bottom two. Adam, Allison and Danny are all at a different level than Matt and Kris and I think the results this week and next will pan that out (or at least I hope so :)). Beyond that I had been hoping for an Adam vs. Allison finale for a long time but I can see its going to be difficult to keep Danny out of the finale. I really like Danny a lot, his voice and artistry are really good..I just think commercially that both Adam and Allison have a better shot at becoming a legimate star after the intial Idol attention fades (ie. A Kelly or Carrie vs. Taylor or Ruben.

This week is apparently National Karoake week so there are many opportunities to sing your stuff in your local bars, clubs and even online. Its kinda funny that this week coincides with nearing the end of the Idol season. Maybe you can use this week as a springboard to audition for next years American Idol :)

Mothers Day is around the corner (less than 2 weeks) and we’ll be posting lyrics to some of our favorite songs about Mom later this weekend. In the meantime have a great Tuesday and we’ll be back at ya on Thursday after the Idol results.

~Vincent James @

Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekend Edition - National Record Day 4/18/2009

Saturday April 18th is National Record day where you can help celebrate the spirit of the independant record store in 1000 locations throughout the US. Once the hot spot where almost everyone stopped and shopped to listen to and buy their favorite records, the number of stores continue to dwindle as the big chains and online retailers take over. I can remember early in my youth going to record stores, walking the aisles and browsing through hundreds of artists and titles and being fascinating by the very cool album covers (remember album covers anyone??). Oh well maybe album art will make a comeback in some fashion in the online world so we can print out own covers and posters from our favorites. Well remember a bit of history tomorrow by visiting your local indy record shop..there are contests, live performances and other cool stuff going on to help celebrate the day (visit Record Store Day for locations near you.

Sad note for all you baseball fans, our Philadelphia Phillies announcer for the last almost 40 years has moved on to the big baseball diamond in the sky. That's right Harry Kalas "That ball is outta here" passed away suddenly earlier this week and will be greatly missed by many. You could also hear Harry's voice prominently on NFL films for the last 32 years which brought Harry fans far beyond the Philadelphia and baseball worlds. Baseball and music were my two passions growing up and Harry's voice on the radio was a big part of my baseball world and I will definitely miss hearing him.

That's all for the weekend edition folks...enjoy the weekend and we'll be back at ya on Monday with some new music news.

~Vincent James @

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Saved by the Bell and Britains Got Talent Toooo!

As expected Adam and Allison were both safe safe safe (yeah) and our bottom three of the night was Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai. Matt drew the short straw and was sent wait a minute the judges have decided to finally invoke the special save and Matt stays another week. Matt is certainly relieved and next week two contestants will be sent packing (most likely two out of the three in the bottom three this week). Next weeks music theme is ugggh Disco week :) Well I kinda liked Disco as a passing fad (no other music sounds more dated to me). It should be interesting to hear what 7 song choices these folks come up with and I hope and pray they mix it up at least a little bit (ie. take a Disco song and extract the disco out of it...should be interesting.

So what did everybody think of the two judge comments after each performance on Tuesday instead of all four? I have to say it definitely felt better paced though at times I missed hearing what certain judges (meaning Simon) had to say about a certain performance. If all of the judges could learn to keep their comments brief and not ramble on then I guess it wouldn't be necessary ...I guess we'll see what happens next week.

I'm sure many of you have seen the story already but in case you haven't, there recently was an amazing audition contestant for AI's counterpart Britain's Got Talent. Apparently for this show there is no age limit and when 47-yr old Susan Boyle took the stage absolutely no-one in the audience wanted to give her a chance. As the old adage goes "appearances can be deceiving" and they certainly were as Susan "rocked the house" with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Le Miserables. Check out this incredible clip on YouTube at Susan Boyle Audition tape

That's all for Thursday will be back Friday with some non-Idol related music news (hey we've got to find something else to talk about once this years show is over sometime in May :))

~Vincent James @

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday - Adam in Concert and This Rose isn't blooming

Sorry we missed our post yesterday this means we'll need an extra one this weekend to catch up ha ha. Last nights Idol Movie Theme night demonstrated once again why Adam Lambert is the clear front runner. Singing "Born to be Wild" from Steppenwolf he managed to take his performance both vocally and visually to another level. I honestly don't see any other contestant having a chance against Adam in the finals. The trick will be what song choice will they dump on Adam once he is the new Idol and how much leeway will he have after the initial Idol song to forge his own artistic direction.

Most of the other songs sung last night were nicely done but my goodness with all the possible movie songs did we really need to hear that many sappy ballads (and this is coming from me the king of ballads ha :)). Anoop sang "Everything I do" from Bryan Adams and Matt sang "Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman" both well sung and with great feeling but just too much slow stuff. I more enjoyed Kris Allen's take on an obscure song that I can't even remember at the moment but at the time it had me more interested (bad me I'll have to look up the tune was faintly recognizable as I heard it last night).

Lastly Lil decided once again to sing an old song "The Rose" which is again again another ballad and another old song for her. Yes she dressed up the 2nd half with some R&B flavor but in the end its still "The Rose" from like 1980 and you would never hear that song in a ballad arrangement as a new tune on radio. With all the great vocal ability Lil has, she really doesn't understand what Simon means about song choice...pick something more current/hip, whatever you want to call it and even then re-arrange it to make it your own. For the first half of "The Rose" last night I could close my eyes and it was almost exactly like Bette Midler's version from way back..which was real nice way back :)

I really think that unfortunately we'll be down to a single lady contestant after tonight and that will actually be teen Allison Iraheta who did a nice job with Aerosmith's "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing". It was a current song (within last decade) and was sung originally by a different gender (always smart to do) and although the beginning part of the arrangement was a little dull, the song and her voice picked up considerably after that.

So my bottom 3 for tonight will be Lil, Kris and Matt and Lil getting the unwanted ticket home.

~Vincent James @

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday - Start of Tax week boooo :)

That's right if your in the US this is the week to get your taxes in by April 15th oh what fun. I usually manage to delay mine by 4-6 months with an extension so we'll see how it goes by this Wednesday :)

I took a look around and thought it was interesting that Entertainment weekly also is listing Adam (no surprise) and Allison (yeah!) as their favorites to be in the American Idol finals (see Adam and Alison on EW ). With any luck and some continued seasoning on Allison's part our wish will come true :)

Todays posting is short as not much went on music wise over the Easter weekend. I did see that the new Music video channel coming from Google and Universal has a name and the name is "Vevo"...kinda like Viva only not as exciting ha ha. Hopefully the service will do a little better than the name.

Have a great rest of tooday Monday and we'll see ya tomorrow for some new info on AI and other music happenings.

~Vincent James @

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter Weekend!!

To all the folks who celebrate this holiday I wish you all a very happy Easter Weekend. Its a very meaningful holiday for many of us and for the rest well its an excuse to scarf down jelly beans, marshmellow peeps and chocolate bunnies :)

Amazon joins ITunes with Variable Pricing for MP3s

It appears that, and other online retailers are also being pushed into variable MP3 pricing by the record labels. Some songs are at 0.69, many more at 0.99 and some of the bigger hits are 1.29 . Its funny now that the labels finally see the eventual demise of record stores and physical CDs they are starting to jack up the price. I know I said this before but come on I should be able to buy 10 good songs for $10...there are no manufacturing or inventory costs for them so the profit they make from each sale is increased. In fact if the record labels had jumped on the digital band wagon long ago like they should have then they could have had their own digital online store eliminating the middle man costs of Itunes/Amazon and letting us pay even less.

No More Digital Rights Management for MP3s

The only good thing the labels have done with the variable pricing move is finally eliminate the DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection the MP3's we can freely move our purchased songs from computer to computer to Ipod to anywhere without having to worry about losing our rights. This move was long over due and of course will give the labels a chance to blame piracy once again for their own misguided business decisions. Since the labels in large part no longer discover and nurture new talent, new and even existing artists no longer have to be tied to major labels to get their music out to the masses. I can write a song this morning, record it this afternoon and have it available for listening and for sale by this evening all over the world. What an incredible shift in power this is for artists folks. Of course with this power comes the responsiblity to create the best art we can and not litter the internet landscape with piles of sub-par art that we all have to wade through just to find something decent. More on this topic later...

Please all have a great weekend and we'll see ya on Monday with another update. AI is down to seven contestants and we'll see whose star is rising and whose star is beginning to fade.

~Vincent James @

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Its ByeBye for Scott - Was a great ride!

I admit when I first heard Scott MacIntyre audition I was rooting for him. He definitely has a great voice but like most of us there are limitions to his voice and some of his recent song and arrangement choices did not serve him well. But we will get to see Scott on the tour and hopefully his American Idol exposure will lead to some good opportunities for him.

We're now down to the lucky 7 AI Contestants and its going to get harder each week as more talented folks start to get cut. I was originally rooting for Anoop to be in the top 2-3 and he certainly has the voice to be..however I don't believe his onstage persona is large enough to rate star quality and that will eventually bring him down in the competition. The same goes for Kris Allen and Matt and Lil to a lesser extent. I believe the top 4 will round out to be Adam, Danny, Allison and I'm rooting for Lil to make an artistic comeback with some smart song and arrangement choices...we'll see as the weeks count down.

Universal and Google to Launch All-Music Video Channel - Just announced Google and Universal are teaming up to launch an all music video online website later this year. Universal Records is one of the four major labels left in the game and currently only their artists will be a part of the channel, but the new venture is negotiating to bring the other 3 into the venture. Well if your old enough to remember the launch of MTV in August 1981 it was so cool back then when there was a channel dedicated to playing video's all day and night..yes I know there are MTV spin-offs/etc that do play mostly videos but its just never the same as the original. Maybe this new web channel will bring a spark of creativity and newness to the Music Video profession and we'll be rewarded with some really cool music videos made especially for web viewing.

That's all folks see ya tomorrow with our Easter-edition weekend blog!

~Vincent James @

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday – Idol Recap, Beatles Remastered and Itunes

My AI Recap - Last night was practically 80’s night with most of the idol’s singing songs from the year of their birth which only puts Allison in the 90’s. Adam Lambert closed the show with a Tears for Fears cover “Mad World” and his amazing performance was rewarded with a rare standing ovation from all 4 judges. Week in and week out Adam finds a way to amaze us with both his vocal chops and his artistic choices. Other Idols delivering good performances last night included Danny Gokey, Anoop Desai and Allison Iraheta. Many of the idols however broke the golden rule and picked songs from the same gender and the only time you can get away with that is if your performance and arrangement are over the top incredible. Lil’Round in particular did a great Tina Turner’ish version of “Whats Love Got to do with It” which unfortunately can only be compared with Tina’s version and it doesn’t match up. Scott MacIntyre also made the same mistake and fared even worse with his version of Survivors “The Search if Over” as his vocal chops were definitely not up to par with the original for that song. In both cases if Scott and Lil had substantially rearranged their songs to be different from the original they would have gotten away with it. Doing that serves two purposes as it allows their performances to not be compared with the original artist so easily and it demonstrates their own creative artistry which is sorely lacking by most of the Idols. This is as they say “where we separate the men from the boys”..the folks that can just sing and the folks that are true artists.

My vote tonight is for Scott to go home and I am hoping Lil can return at least one more week with a glimpse of real artistry.

Beatles and Apple - In other unrelated news it looks like the Beatles catalog is going to be finally digitally remastered. Most other classic groups have seen their catalog digitally upgraded two or three times since CD’s first came on the scene in 1983. Should be pretty interesting to hear the difference on some of our favorite amazing Beatle tunes when this comes out. For more info check out this LA Times article Beatles Remastered. Also yesterday the new ITunes variable pricing from Apple began and in a week or two we’ll start to see if there is any fallout from that.

That’s all for Weddddnesday folks. Have a great day and we’ll be back tomorrow with Idol results and other new news!

~Vincent James @

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tooosday Today - What makes a great song choice??

Did you ever wonder why Tuesday is not spelled Tuesday?? I don't know why but I do :) Well today is Idol Tuesday and I'm a little late posting as the show starts in a little more than an hour (plenty of time right ha). Tonight we get to hear songs from the year each contestant was born and like you I'm praying for some good song choices.

Here's my top 3 rules for choosing the right song....

#1 Pick a song sung by the opposite gender....

#2 Pick a song that has not been played to death or was made popular by a major voice (Celine, Whitney, Michael Jackson, etc).

#3 And last but not least pick a song that you can sing well and make it your own by changing the arrangement (possibly a lot) and melody (at least a little).

Make us want to hear your version of the song again and again. Granted this isn't always an easy task but with some research and effort this is achievable by almost anyone. So we'll tune in at 8 PM EST and see what they sing and we'll report on it in a Wednesday morning blog (that's right I said morning ;))...see ya in the AM and have a great nite!

~Vincent James @

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Monday – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Paul McCartney and Carrie Underwood

It was a busy music weekend with lots going on. First up Paul and Ringo reunited for a benefit show in New York on Saturday nite for the David Lynch Foundation. David is the writer/film maker behind Eraserhead and Blue Velvet who is trying to spread the message of change through meditation. In addition to McCartney and Starr other acts included Sheryl Crow, Eddy Vedder and Ben Harper. For the full scope visit Paul and Ringo reunite and you can also catch some of the performances on YouTube search David Lynch

Saturday nite was also the inducation of the 24th class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio with Metallica, Jeff Back, Run-DMC and Bobby Womack among those honored. The 3 ½ hour show included a who’s who of guitar legends onstage including Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones) and Joe Perry from Aerosmith. Boy I would have loved to have been on stage for that let me let down a few simple piano chords for you guys to jam on :) For full info on the night visit Rock and Roll 24th Induction

Last but not least the Academy of Country Music Awards show was last night and American Idol queen Carrie Underwood took home the top honor Entertainer of the Year…the first time a female entertainer had won that award since the Dixie Chicks won in 2000. Newcomer Taylor Swift also snagged a top honor with Album of the Year with the album “Fearless” that featured tracks “Love Story”, “Our Song” and “Teardrops on My Guitar”. Was a great night for the gals of country which is always good to see. If you missed the awards you can catch up with some of the performances on my favorite Video channel YouTubeeee.

That’s all for Monday folks..a little late today but hey you know what they say :) Have a great nite and we’ll see ya tomorrow ‘round lunch time and we’ll talk some Idol

~Vincent James @

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dizzler Fun - Listen to any song you want!

Woo hoo the weekend is finally here and can you believe it we did 5 new Blog postings this week! I almost can't believe it myself :) but hey we're on a roll and will be posting 5x/week Monday through Friday going forward. Soon you'll also be able to post replies on the blog and tell us whats on your mind.

Well we were going to talk about some of the interesting online dating sites today, but we'll cover that sometime next week. Instead I want to mention this really cool free music service called Dizzler. Dizzler allows you to listen to almost any song you want and build up a playlist of favorite songs. I'm not exactly sure how it works but somehow it goes out on the internet and finds available MP3 copies of songs and streams those songs right to you. You can't download or save the songs (at least i don't know how to :)) but I'm sure the music industry lawyers are still trying to find a way to shut it down. Basically it amounts to free online radio where you can pick the songs you want to idea whose time has come. It also looks like they even provide a widget you can add to your own Website so you can stream almost any song right from your own (that I will have to check out).

To check out Dizzler visit . To learn more about its launch last year here's the Fox News press release at Fox News Dizzler article

Have a great weekend folks and will be back on Monday with a new post!

~Vincent James @

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thirsty Thursday – Idol’s and Song Choice

Okay I don’t know what Thirsty Thursday has to do with song choice, except after last night I am really dying for some better songs (read on). Last night was the Idol Results Show and I there wasn’t much love lost when we said goodbye to Megan Joy. Earlier in the season I kinda liked her vocal style and it seemed to fit with the song choices she made. But as the weeks wore on it just became harder to listen to her quivering voice. At least she’ll be able to do the tour, get some more experience under her belt and perhaps something will come of her Idol experience.

David Cook and Song Choice - Yes I know David Cook is last years Idol but now more than ever song choice is very important if you want your career to have life after your initial Idol album. I was listening to David’s performance last night of “Come Back To Me” and was the first time I had heard this tune. Honestly this is a B-Side song if I ever heard one…a B-side for those not from the Vinyl days is a song that’s not good enough to be an A-side hit on the front of the 45 Single (back when we all played records on a turntable :)). I jumped online and was relieved to see that “Come Back To Me” was off David’s debut Idol album and not a new album. Meaning the record label is just trying to milk the album for more singles (after "The Time of My Life" and “Light On”)…I haven’t heard the rest of the album but if “Come Back to Me” is the next best song its time to stop marketing singles off this CD and quickly put together a new one with at least 2-3 hit quality songs. Many of the Idol winners (Taylor Hicks, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard) and runner ups have not had much chart success after their initial album and the #1 reason is song choice, song choice, song choice. Instead of the label/19 Entertainment going out and finding the best possible hit songs for these artists the song choice is left more to the artist or others controlling the production of the CD (producer, manager, etc). There’s a saying “It all starts with a song” and its absolutely true the better songs they put on the albums (regardless of who wrote them), the better chance the artist will have a lengthy career. So can you tell I’m a songwriter with this rant :)

We’ll do a followup posting on Song choice soon with more fun details to kick around. Next week this years Idols will be singing songs from the year they were born…so will range from 1980 (Danny Gokey) to 1992 (Allison Iraheta). As always should be interesting to see what songs they pick.

Tomorrow’s blog will touch on some different dating websites and the different audiences they attract. Have a great Thursday and will see ya soon!

~Vincent James @

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Fools Day (as I wave to myself in the mirror :))

World Kissing Record - Yep today is April Fools day and unfortunately I don’t have any timely news for this holiday. I did however see something interesting recently that happened back on valentines Day. About 40,000 people gathered on Valentines Day in Mexico City for a group kiss and set the worlds record for the largest group ever assembled for a group kiss (see ).

Now that would have been an event I would have liked to have joined in on ha ha. Seriously though its nice ot see positive news and events coming out of Mexico with all the reports of gun-violence below the border. I can’t wait to see what they do to try and top the 40,000 puckered lips next year :)

American Idol Recap - Last night was definitely interesting with a few songs that I wasn’t really familiar with. I pretty much agreed with the judges across the board especially regarding Lil’Rounds song choice..she definitely needs to lean younger/hipper on her choices. I did however like Alison’s outfit, my only problem with her was her singing Gwen Stefani made it more sound-a-like with less room for originality. I know she’s only 16 so she probably needs more real guidance on song choice than anyone. Overall my favs last night were Adam Lambert (again) and Scott MacIntyre (which surprised me). As much as Megan seems nice to talk with and has the looks and image, I really have trouble listening to her sing the last few weeks (even after she’s feeling better). Her voice quivers way too much giving it little to no definition..something the ear can latch on to. She may keep on hanging in there though as there are only 3 girls left..more than likely one of the guys will go these time.

That’s all for wacky Wednesday April fools day….be back tomorrow with some new news on the website and reactions to tonights results show.

~Vincent James @