Author

George B. Meier

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Ohio University basketball fans remember their star player DJ Cooper.  He never made it to the NBA, but he has found a place in the European leagues.  That is, until now.  Mr. Cooper just got a nasty two-year suspension for failing a drug test.  The test revealed that he was pregnant!  It was not performance enhancing drugs or recreational drugs that brought him down, it was substituting his girl friend’s specimen in an apparent attempt to avoid something else that got him.  It’s a first.  His FIBA suspension was actually for fraud, but it’s the same thing, right?  Cooper’s friend didn’t know she was pregnant at the time, so in spite of being out of work, the good news for DJ is; you’re goin’ be a daddy.  Congrats.

1. The Black Keys

The Black Keys: Let’s Rock
Featured Song: “Lo/Hi”

2. Gena Bruce

Gena Rose Bruce: Can’t Make You Love Me
Featured Songs: “The Way You Make Love” and “I Don’t Think I’ll Get Over You”

3. Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke: ANIMA
Featured Songs: “Twist” and “Dawn Chorus”

4. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: Bandana
Featured Song: “Giannis”

5. Runaway June

Runaway June: Blue Roses
Featured Song: “Head Over Heels”

6. Chris Staples

Chris Staples: Holy Moly
Featured Song: “Halfway Over”

7. Daughter of Swords

Daughter of Swords: Dawnbreaker
Featured Song: “Gem”

8. Dizzy Fae

Dizzy Fae: NO GMO
Featured Song: “Altar”

“Bad Guy” is more proof of the multi-faceted artistry of Billie Eilish.  She operates on so many levels it’s hard to track them.  Her tunes are pop confections of consistent quality, her visuals are inventive performance art pieces and her vocals move from feathery to sinister.  That’s just on this song.

All of this was apparent in her easiest work, though by comparison it seems as though she was playing it safe back then.  The song “Ocean Eyes” from three years ago is one of her most straight forward attempts.  The video starts with a simple singer/songwriter delivery and then, without bringing attention to it, her hands come into frame and they appear to be stained with blue ink. No reason, just a visual mention of Ms. Eilish’s bend approach, an approach that has flowered and released all its strangeness as her career has moved forward.

Notably, it is the haunting melodies of hers that provides the solid foundation allowing the strangeness to work so well.  If they were too abstract, it would all be disconnected from reality.  Billie Eilish is a master work and she has come along at the perfect time, a time when multi-layered media opportunities abound for a multi-faceted artist.  The audio-video medium is her instrument.

“Bad Guy” is the number three streamed song and the number six purchased song in the last week of June.

If you are a music fan, there is a new show on NBC made for you. It’s called Songland.  Adam Levine, from Maron 5 and The Voice, was part of the team that created it, but he’s not the story.  The story is that Songland gives you the most accurate glimpse of how hit songs happen as has ever been aired.  Each week a big time artist has a chance to choose a between songs pitched by unknown songwriters.  Some of them are wannabe artists, others can sing well enough to present their music, but will never be lead voices themselves. While the stars change every week, there is a stable panel of major league record producers who, after hearing the songs, provide constructive criticism.  They suggest ways to improve the song.  Then you see the studio process and how those changes are realized. The show ends with the weekly star choosing one of the reworked songs to record.  Here’s a great example of the beginning and the end of the process for a song called “Greenlight” by unknown singer/songwriter Able Heart.  Watch the first video to see Able Heart present the song.  Follow that with the second video of the Jonas Brothers version that sits at number 9 on the iTunes most purchased list this week. Song selection process:
Jonas Brother’s Hit Song: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-pty-pty_maps&hsimp=yhs-pty_maps&hspart=pty&p=jonas+brother+greenlight#id=1&vid=fe23ebafb770384044251fa567331bde&action=click

“Senorita” by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello sounds like summer as their mellow voices alternate, then harmonize, then alternate again with a light Latin snap rhythm in support of a pretty stock melody.  It also sounds like something else; a chart topper.

The two artists had a hit together as teens four years ago with “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which came out of Mendes’ album Handwritten.  There‘s been some growth from then to now. Check them out getting steamy in their latest music video below!

 

Miley Cyrus knows how to keep her name in the mix.  She recently liked an IG post saying that she, Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey will soon be releasing collaboration, and the internet is abuzz.  Although Ariana added to the noise when she too liked it we’ve gotten no hints from Del Rey.

Cyrus and Grande are no strangers to collaboration, they released, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” a couple years ago for charity.  Adding Lana’s soft, plaintiff voice their big voices could make for nice musical contrast, if Del Rey can punch through.  Although this whole story started from mere speculation the attention it has garnered might bring the trio into the studio anyway.

What may have started as a joke back on June 9th when Justin Bieber challenged Tom Cruise to a fight, may actually happen.  Cruise, who is around 15 years older than Justin’s father, hasn’t directly responded, but there are reports that his people are talking to Justin’s people who are talking to UFC president Dana White, who would love to put the two stars in the Octagon.  One hopes that there’s an adult in the room who knows that fight scenes in movies, even Tom Cruise movies, are staged.  They are more like dances than fights.  Tom doesn’t actually get hit in his pretty face.  On the other side, does Justin know that Tom Cruise is the most prepared man in Hollywood, that if he accepts the challenge, Justin’s pretty face will be in jeopardy?

Either way, we are here for this event which if it occurs could become the biggest spectacle in fighting history!

Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in February 1988, was raised in Bridgetown, Barbados, an important early influence on both her music and her style. She was still a teen when she scored with her first single, “Pon de Replay” that featured her signature Caribbean dancehall sound, a form of hip hop influenced reggae. It was hot and fresh and led to hit after hit and tour after tour.

It wasn’t until 2005 when she moved to the US that the limitations of Barbados became apparent. Rihanna’s musical world expanded beyond reggae and hip hop. At various times she has listed her influences as Madonna, Miriah Carry, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, Celine Dion, Grace Jones, Lil’ Kim, Alicia Keys, Prince, Fefe Dobson and Brandy.

Rihanna’s charm comes from her ability to reinvent herself musically and stylistically. Since she’s been in the US her music has evolved well beyond what she brought from Barbados and she has grown into quite the style icon. She has said that her interest in fashion started with her mother.

Her sense of individual style has been recognized by the some of the best fashion houses in the world, which has made her not just a singer who dabbles in fashion, but a real player in the the international fashion business. She has been seen on over 70 magazine covers and has been associated with some world’s leading brands: Mac Cosmetics, Dior, Armani, Balmain, Stance, Manolo Blahnik and Puma.

In association with her personal stylist, Adam Selman, and British street fashion house River Island, Rihanna presented her first fashion collection at London’s Fashion Week in 2013. The next year she was given the prestigious Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers. That’s impressive.

In May 2019, Rihanna launched a fashion brand called Fenty (spelled FEИTY) through the luxury fashion house LVMH.

Where Beyonce parlayed her music career into a parallel movie career, Rihanna has used her music career to expand into fashion. Her movie career has been minor league so far, but her radiant personality and beauty is a good predictor of a future in that medium as well – it’s only a matter of time.

Distinctions

  • Rihanna’s resume includes: executive producer, fashion designer, actress, astute business entrepreneur and philanthropist.
  • She has amassed 81 million Facebook fans, 57 million Twitter & 35 million Instagram followers.
  • She’s sold more than 54 million albums, 210 million tracks worldwide and is the best selling digital artist of all time with more than 100 million RIAA gold & platinum song certifications.
  • She’s earned eight Grammy awards and 14 Billboard Music Awards
  • She’s the youngest solo artist to score 14 number 1 singles on the Billboard’s Hot 100—the fastest to do so.
  • 2016, Her hit, “Work,” became Rihanna’s 27th top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100, which tied her with Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Elton John for the fifth-most top 10s in Hot 100 history.  They are old, she is young!
  • 2014 Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers

Discography     

  • Music of the Sun (2005)

  • A Girl like Me (2006)

  • Good Girl Gone Bad (2007)

  • Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded (2008)

  • Rated R (2009)

  • Loud (2010)

  • Talk That Talk (2011)

  • Unapologetic (2012)

  • Anti (2016)

Tours       

  • Rihanna: Live in Concert Tour (2006)
  • Good Girl Gone Bad Tour (2007-09)
  • A Girl’s Night Out – Charity concerts (2008)
  • Last Girl on Earth Tour (2010-11)
  • Loud Tour (2011)
  • 777 Tour (2012)
  • Diamonds World Tour (2013)
  • The Monster Tour w/ Eminem (2014)
  • Anti World Tour (2016)

Filmography   

  • Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006)
  • Battleship (2012)
  • This Is the End (2013)
  • Home (2015)
  • Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
  • Ocean’s 8 (2018)
  • Guava Island (2019)

A standing ovation for more than four minutes from the sometimes snooty Cannes Film Festival audience at Rocketman’s world premier says it all. This is the second summer in a row to be dominated by a music legend biopic. Last year it was Bohemian Rhapsody about Freddie Mercury and this year it will be Rocketman about Elton John.

Early reviews make it clear that Taron Egerton, who plays Elton, carries the film on his back with his own singing – a point of contrast between him and Rami Malek, who played Freddie Mercury by lip syncing the songs.

Another contrast to Bohemian Rhapsody, and most other biopics, is that Rocketman’s story is driven by Elton John’s classic songs rather than by a story line in which the songs are placed. It is more a musical than a drama with music. Still the story gets told.

Like other compelling biographies, Elton John’s story is one of massive highs and equally massive lows. There is the almost instant ride up to stardom followed by the myriad of addictions – drugs and sex and food – followed by a happy ending, a clean and sober adulthood. There is the one constant through all of this, Elton’s writing partner, Bernie Taupin, played by Jamie Bell.The production is an ‘R’ rated sequin-fest that will surely produce an Oscar nomination for Taron Egerton and for production values like costumes and maybe for director Dexter Fletcher, who incidentally was brought in to save Bohemian Rhapsody. And so it goes full circle.