Archive for April, 2009

Looks like Eminem is ¨Relapsing¨

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

After four years of relative silence, Eminem is back with a brand new solo album and it looks like he´s bringing some old friends along for the ride.

 

Relapse, due to drop May 19th, is expected to have all of the usual charm expected from Eminem, his alter ego Slim Shady, and of course his long time collaborator Dr. Dre. And by charm I mean plenty of dirty language, potshots at our favorite celebrities and a few homicidal benders.

 

The Slim Shady LP, Eminem´s first big solo effort back in 1999, introduced the world to his very controversial, but brilliant skills, not to mention his infamous alter ego Slim Shady. The album was enormously successful, going triple platinum by the end of the year, but equally divisive due to its *ahem* strong content. Many of his singles, Guilty Conscience, either described how to go about murder, or at least highly encouraged some kind of violence, and usually towards the female sex. Eminem´s decided misogyny was even enough to get him into Bernard Goldberg´s book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (though when considering Michael Moore was number one, it sounds like quite an honor to me).

 

 

Eminem went on to offend even more people with his 2000 album, The Marshal Mathers LP, though apparently it wasn´t nasty enough to hurt his sales. It became the fastest selling hip hop album in history, surpassing The Dogg himself. His first single off the album, The Real Slim Shady got attention for roasting all kinds of celebrities from Christina Aguilera to Will Smith. But the true hit from Eminem´s second album was Stan, which sampled Dido´s Thank you, another twisted little rap story about a guy and his killing spree. The song was received with high acclaim, making it on to several lists that named it one of the best rap songs of all time, including number 290 on Rolling Stone´s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

 

After The Marshal Mathers LP, it seemed Eminem lightened up a little bit on the whole killing spree theme with his next two albums, The Eminem Show in 2002 and Encore in 2004. Without Me seemed to be a continuation of The Real Slim Shady, with pot shots at Limp Bizkit and groups like the Backstreet Boys. The single Just Lose it off Encore really hit its mark, creating all kinds of drama with its lead target, Michael Jackson. But we also got the chance to experience what you might call Slim´s softer side with Hailie´s Song and Mockingbird.

 

 

As we slowly learn more about Relapse, it looks like Eminem is giving us a taste of all his usual tricks. Dr. Dre produced the majority of the album, and both he and 50 Cent get in on a few of the tracks. The first single, We Made You, rips on the latest pop stars including some personal faves Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Though according to Eminem on MTV News, the real sound of the album is a bit darker, including the already leaked single 3 a.m. which takes us back to the I´m gonna murder my girlfriend while she´s sleeping feeling of 97 Bonnie and Clyde and Guilty Conscious. We´ll just have to wait until May 19th to see what kind of exciting controversy Eminem is going to stir up this time.

Teeny Bopper Musicals Versus the Real Deal

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Whether you are a parent, sibling, baby-sitter or maybe a fan yourself, it´s difficult to not have heard or been a part of the recent mania over teeny bopper sensations and their launch of the musical genre into the limelight. Kids like The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus with her box office success The Hannah Montana Movie, and the entire cast of High School Musical with their silver screen release HSM 3, have been running around, singing their little prepubescent hearts out.

 

With titles like High School Musical 3 dominating the box office and bringing in more money for the musical genre than their classic counterparts, one begins to wonder if when it comes to the big screen, the genre of ¨musical¨ now belongs to preteen stars and their poppy high school romances/dilemmas.

 

 

Or, perhaps it´s only that when people go to the movies to watch singing and dancing, they prefer singing and dancing of the perky variety. If you consider the musical releases in the last few years, the successes have been titles that boasted happy-go-lucky themes, a lesson learned ending, and only lacked the packaging of Zac Efron´s jailbait good looks to catapult the releases into record breaking numbers.

 

Films like the 2008 remake of the ABBA album based mother-daughter story Mamma Mia! and the don´t judge a book by its cover classic Hairspray in 2007 did very well, each reaching over 27 million. On the other hand, darker films such as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street made only 9 million and dramas like Dreamgirls, though it did eventually get its fair share of awards including several Oscars and a Golden Globe for the song Listen, only brought in about 14 million. Even 2005 Rent´s ¨No day but today¨ theme didn´t help it earn more than 10 million in its opening weekend.

 

Maybe I´m biased by my particular tastes in music, or perhaps it´s the fact that I am not a 16 year old Disney fan, but it seems to me that the musical genre has a lot more to offer than peppy choreography, cheesy smiles and bad acting.

 

Take, for example, 2007´s Across the Universe, a great effort that turned 33 of the Beatle´s hits into a trippy, beautiful illustration of love and the conflicts of the sixties. The movie was received well by some critics, worse by many, and barely grossed 25,000 million in theatres overall. In my opinion, from the first number Girl to the final, All you need is love, and every choreographed scene in between, Across the Universe boasted every classic component of a musical without recycling anything too boring from the usual bag of tricks and delivering it in the complete psychedelic way that a Beatles musical should be.

 

 

Musicals like Across the Universe hark back to the classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz. These are musicals that had those Somewhere over the rainbow moments, but also offered up enough monkeys flying on broomsticks and acid tripping choclatiers, that by the time Dorothy realized there was no place like home and Charlie learned you don´t have to be a spoiled brat to have your dreams come true, half the audience hadn´t keeled over from choking on the fluff that fills the more modern version of a musical.

 

Chances are that something like Across the Universe won´t be topping the box offices anytime soon. And the way things are going, the world may just be blessed with some sort of ridiculously successful musical centering on Vanessa Hudgens singing about college midterms and her long distance relationship with Zac Efron while one of those crazy Jonas Brothers tries to tempt her into drinking underage at the local frat party. Or maybe some producer will get carried away with this whole teenage musical business and put out another From Justin to Kelly (Kelly Clarkson´s decidely worse mistake since winning American Idol),  something that would hopefully bring the production of these teen crowd pleasers to a screeching halt, allowing some mor elevated musical to take the spotlight.

A little bit about Voting and How to Play Nice

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

With the launch of the New Voting System on Red Karaoke, I thought I would take this opportunity to breathe a little air into the Voting Guidelines we already have on the site. After all, voting and rankings can be some of the most fun and interesting aspects built into Red Karaoke, as long as everyone plays nice and fair.

 

In the playground that is Red Karaoke, there is really only one rule that tops the rest. That is, ¨Do unto others as you would have done unto you.¨ Let´s face it, if everyone could follow this rule, the playground would be a peaceful, fun place with no bullies and everyone singing happily together. And while Red Karaoke usually is this utopia of a playground for karaoke lovers, it never hurts to refresh people´s memories of the finer details when it comes to voting.

 

If you decide to vote on a song, you are given a choice of whether to vote between 1 and 10 stars. That´s a lot of choices! And there is a reason for that. There are all kinds of singers. There are shy singers. There are singers who do it for fun. There are singers who love the sound of their voice, no matter what anyone else thinks. There are professional singers like Elvis Presley and Celine Dion. That´s why we give you so many choices! Because here at Red Karaoke we welcome every kind of singer.  And since every singer is different, you should really take the time to think about each song you listen to, so that you can make a fair vote using any of the number of stars.

 

So let´s go over the votes and what each one means.

 

When you are listening to a recording and trying to decide what to vote, a little description of what each vote means appears. They are as follows:

 

1 Star: Very poor. Very serious problems with this recording.

2 Stars: Poor. Serious problems with this recording.

3 Stars: Inadequate. It can be listened to, but it has problems.

4 Stars: Fair. You´re almost there.

5 Stars: Over the threshold. Not bad!

6 Stars: All right. I like this quite a bit.

7 Stars: Good. Highly recommended.

8 Stars: Very good! Excellent version!

9 Stars: Excellent! It´s a hit!

10 Stars: Stairway to the stars. The ultimate version, perfect.

 

Now, it may be tempting to give your really good buddy a great vote because they´re your friend. Or maybe you are a really nice person and you want to go around giving 10s to everyone, so they all feel great about their songs. While that´s very sweet, in the long run it´s not very helpful. Everyone wants to make great karaokes, but everyone need help from time to time. With the voting you can help your friends and other users improve by giving them honest judgments of a performance!

 

Let´s use as an example, our good friend Ferreira, CEO of Red Karaoke. He´s great! We love him for bringing us all together here and giving us the chance to share our karaokes. So when scrolling through his karaoke recordings, we find his version of I Believe in A Thing Called Love by The Darkness:

 


I believe in a thing called love - ¡Vota por mi grabación!

Wow! He definitely was having fun… but now it´s time to give him a vote. Would it be fair to think, ¨Ferreira is so great, and I don´t want to give him a low score because of that.¨ and give him a 10? Not really, since it doesn´t really fit the description of ¨The ultimate version, perfect.¨ Ferreira is a cool guy, and he wants to improve his singing and recordings. He, like all users of Red Karaoke, should be able to take a really honest vote, no matter how low it is. So unless the recording you´re listening to sounds something like this:

 

Remember that rarely anyone is perfect and to be honest about all of your votes, no matter whom you are voting for!

 

When it comes to low votes, there are some things to remember as well. Some people are really bad singers, but they still really love karaoke and want to have fun making recordings too. But if a person keeps making recordings and keeps receiving really low votes like 1 or 2, they may be discouraged to make more. That is why you´ll notice that the descriptions of the votes between 1 and 4 are more about the technical quality of the recording than the singing. Karaoke singers aren´t always meant to be great, but if they have good quality recording, they deserve at least a 4 or 5 for the effort!

 

As an example, here is the Administrator´s version of Happy Birthday:


Happy birthday - Vote for my rendition!

 

While there isn´t that much wrong with the recording, it does seem the mike volume is too low and it’s a bit difficult to hear the words in comparison with the music. So maybe this recording deserves something like a 3 or 4.

 

The important thing to remember is, always be honest and vote fairly! If you don´t want to give someone a low vote because they are your friend, but the recording doesn´t deserve a high vote, just comment! If a recording has a bad quality, give it a low vote and leave a helpful comment so the next time that user makes a recording they can improve! If you hear a recording that sounds like Mariah Carey joined Red Karaoke on the down low, by all means, give it a 10!

 

Red Karaoke is here for everyone to have fun doing what they love, singing karaoke! So don´t take it so seriously, share some karaokes, and play nice!

 

Also, check out all the details on the new anonymous voting system on Red Karaoke in the forum.

Dave Matthews Band Sings Away Their Woes

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Dave Matthews As Cervantes said, ¨He who sings scares away his woes.¨ Something Dave Matthews Band knows all too well as they kick off their summer 2009 tour, in the shadow of founding member and saxophonist Leroi Moore´s death last August.

 

The bands opening concert in Madison Square Garden, a huge draw as always, and their upcoming album, Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, are ripe with strong influence and remembrance of the incredible saxophonist. Dave Matthews took time to recognize their brother, introducing Why I Am, the first song the band played from the new album due to drop June 2nd, as the ¨very, very favorite of our good friend Leroi Moore¨. The song was delivered spectacularly and received with incredible energy. As the band tested some of the new tracks on the audience, it was clear that everyone was excited about the album Moore and the rest of the band had worked so hard to put together before his death last summer.

 

 

In an interview with Billboard, Matthews talked about Leroi Moore´s excitement and desire to make the album a big success, describing Moore´s belief that Dave Matthews Band could and should be as good in the studio as they are in their reknowned live shows. When asked by Billboard about finishing the album so closely after Moore´s death, Dave Matthews responded, ¨I think it was real therapeutic… there were times when we really had time to think about him and be grateful for this time we had with him.¨ A beautiful outlook that shows how strongly Moore and all the members were tied together by making music together.

 

Last August, just hours after the announcement of Moore´s death, Dave Matthews Band took the stage with tears in their eyes, knowing even then the importance of celebrating their friend´s life through music and memory. The show Dave Matthews Band put on that night was felt by many as a true showing of music´s healing power. The concert was filled with favorite DMB including Bartender, Ants Marching, Everyday and Crash into me, but it was the bands determination to play through the pain and to play for their friend that made it a truly moving show. ¨It has not been a good day for us,¨ Matthews confessed, ¨but there's nobody I'd rather be with than all my family up here on the stage.¨

 

 

Big Whiskey and the Groogrux Kind, which begins with a sax solo by Moore, is filled with themes of life and death. But in his interview with Billboard, Matthews attests to its optimistic nature. ¨There´s no need to be lonely and overtly self indulgently mournful. That wouldn´t serve us, Roi or anybody.¨

 

There is a lot of pain and hardship in the world, but Matthews reminds us that there are beautiful things like music that can lift us out of our misery. ¨One of the things about playing music,¨ Matthews says, ¨is that it´s a source of joy. So even if we´re singing about death or loss or the end of the world, at the very core of everything, there´s got to be hope.¨

Taylor Swift is Making History

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift has been keeping busy making history since her 2008 album Fearless debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, then stayed there garnering more consecutive weeks in the top spot than any other album since 2002. That monumental achievement aside, Swift was just awarded Album of the Year at the 2009 Academy of Country Music Awards. At the age of 19 that makes her the youngest artist in history to have ever been awarded that honor. For a girl who loves fairy tales, seems like Swift is making her own.

 

And that's not all she's doing. After her single White Horse was the first ever video to debut at #1 on the CMT Top 20 Countdown, giving Swift her fourth #1 country single, she also went on to have Love Story become the first ever country crossover to appear at #1 on the Top 40 Pop charts (she´s always said 13 is her lucky number, but I´m beginning to think number 1 is). All this success in just a few months, plus appearances in CSI, the new Hannah Montana movie, and on the covers of Seventeen and Allure magazines. Add more than just a hand full of performances including a preview of her recently released single You belong with me on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and it´s no wonder Rolling Stone named her on their list of The 100 People Changing America.

 

 

Rolling Stone praises her as, "The first teen pop star who seems to get what it means to be a teenager." And they aren't the only ones who see it. All the fans, whom Swift is always abundantly praising, have fallen in love with her down to earth, lyric driven songs, all written or co-written by Swift herself, about love, fairy tales and sometimes not happy endings… the stuff of teenage romance. Swift is the first to recognize that their growing admiration of the young star is what has made her story possible.

 

It´s really no wonder though. With one peek at Swift's Myspace, you can't help but wish you were a teenage girl and Swift's best friend. "I love people who are nice to me, I've never been one to say things like 'All you people think you know me, well you don't.' Because I'm not that complicated. My complications come out in my songs. All you need to do to be my friend is like me." Swift writes, and it´s hard not to after watching her heart-warming and funny home videos.

 

 

After the excitement of her history making ACM Award, Swift is now gearing up for her first ever head-lining tour, Fearless, beginning April 23rd, most of which has already been sold out. With the road ahead of her and her recently announced nominations for four honors at the 2009 CMT Awards, including video of the year and CMT performance of the year, there is no doubt Taylor Swift´s fairy tale has just begun.

 

Check out the songs that got Taylor Swift to where she is now including Our Song, Teardrops on My Guitar, Fearless and of course, the can´t get enough of it hit, Love Story. Hey, she got started with a Karaoke demo, maybe you´ll be just as lucky!

Hannah Montana Going Strong At the Box Office

Monday, April 13th, 2009


Alright, so Hannah Montana has proven again to be ‘The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs’ for Disney. No kidding. Hannah Montana the Movie registered the biggest opening day for any G-rated movie. Well, it was Easter weekend too so families flocked to theaters. Nevertheless, according to estimates, the film came on top with over $34 million. That means that it even crashed the Vin Diesel “Fast & Furious” sequel. By the way, the Monsters vs Aliens movie also did quite well making over $20 million as well as Fast & Furious.

 

 

So, this screen adaptation of Disney’s popular TV series “Hannah Montana” has shown to be uber-popular with the tween crowd and I guess it touches a nerve since the plot of the movie revolves around identity issues. Miley Stewart and/or her secret pop-star alter ego, Hannah Montana are feeling the pressures of stardom and decide to head home to Tennessee with her dad Billy Ray. But hey Tennessee is no Malibu so the teen star goes through an adaptation saga as she adapts and adopts her new surroundings, including falling in love with a cool cowboy.

 /

 

So yeah in light of the Miley Cyrus craze we thought of sharing with you Hannah Montana hits such as Girl’s Night Out, I Can’t Wait To See You Again, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Goodbye, The Driveway, Wake Up America, 7 Things, etc. Grab the mic and give us your best shot at singing Hannah Montana’s songs. And don’t forget to share with us your comments or feedback on Hannah Montana The Movie.

 

Jamie Foxx’s “The Soloist” Opens on April 24

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Jamie Foxx is doing it all. From comedy to motion pictures, he’s a multifaceted individual who is currently promoting the long awaited release of his most recent flick “The Soloist”, scheduled for release on April 24 in a theater near you. As part of promoting the movie the comedian, actor, hip-hopreneur was recently in Philadelphia where an unknown intruder forced his way into Jamie Foxx’s penthouse in the swanky AKA hotel. That would scare anyone.

 

Foxx who won an Oscar for his formidable acting in the movie “Ray” recently released “Blame It”. The video of the single features renown Hollywood luminaries such as Ron Howard, Forest Whitaker, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, T-Pain and Quincy Jones. The video so far has had a very warm welcome by the press and critics.

 

 

The versatile Jamie Foxx already has already been the recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As for his music career, he has released a third album titled “Intuition”, featuring such artists, Kanye West, T.I., Lil Wayne and T-Pain. As for his new movie “The Soloist”, the film’s plot is based on a true story of a musician who becomes schizophrenic and homeless. Jamie Foxx portrays Nathaniel Ayers, who is considered a cello prodigy, and Robert Downey Jr. portrays Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist who discovers Ayers and writes about him in the newspaper. So far, the movie has received positive reviews and after several delays will finally release on April 24.

 

 

So, if you want to catch up with what’s going on with Jamie Foxx and his career he’ll be making tv appearances on different shows to promote his latest movie. Below is the schedule:

 

Jamie Foxx - TV Appearances “The Soloist”

 

 

April 14th
Jamie Foxx
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC)
Panel for “The Soloist”

 

April 23rd
Jamie Foxx
The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS)
Panel for “The Soloist”

 

April 24th
Jamie Foxx
Good Morning America (ABC)
Panel for “The Soloist”

 

April 24th
Jamie Foxx
Live! With Regis and Kelly (ABC)
Panel for “The Soloist”

 

April 24th
Jamie Foxx
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Panel for “The Soloist” and Performance of “TBD”

 

Or if you prefer to sing to some of Jamie Foxx’s karaokes, this is the place to be. Have fun singing!

 

The Killers: What Happens in Vegas…Doesn’t Stay in Vegas

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Yes, you read it! What happens in Vegas…doesn’t stay in Vegas and this has all to do with the rise to prominence of the alternative rock band, The Killers. The band originally from Sin City is actually taking America by storm. The band is said to be part of the post-punk revival and since 2002 they have released four studio albums for which they have found an avid audience and therefore record sales.

 

 

The Killers’ first album “Hot Fuss” released in 2004 was actually classified 4x Platinum by the BPI, and 3x Platinum by RIAA. Tracks suchs as “Mr. Brightside” and “All These Things That I’ve Done” rapidly made it to the top of the charts in America, as well as on the other side of the pond. Their second album entitled “Sam’s Town” was released in 2006 selling over 700,000 copies around the world. The compilation album “Sawdust” and “Day’s Age” were subsequently released in 2007 and 2008. Overall, success has been generous to the band as reflected by a nomination as the Best International Band made by NME last February. Even Kanye West stated in his episode of VH1 Storytellers that the Killers were his favorite group. That’s a good compliment coming from Kanye.

 

 

As for what they are up to now, the band happens to be in kiwi land. That’s be New Zealand. From NZ they are heading to Melbourne and Perth to play for the Aussies then back to the continental US, Canada and Europe. But, if you are in Vegas the band will actually be playing on April 17 at The Joint in Sin City. I know it’s uber-exciting. So, if you can’t see them in Vegas because tickets are already sold-out then we we invite you to sing to The Killers’ most popular karaoke tracks. Start singing now!