Monday, December 28, 2009

New Music : December 22 - 28

Eminem "Relapse: Refill"
Lil Wayne's "Rebirth" has been delayed ... again ... but that doesn't stop Weezy from popping up on Eminem's new title swapping rhymes with Drake, Kanye West, and Eminem on the hit four-way "Forever," one of seven cuts amended to the expanded edition of Shady's chart-topping full-length from earlier this year. With "Relapse 2" on hold until 2010, this stop-gap should satisfy dedicated fans with additions including "Taking My Ball" (as featured on the new DJ Hero game) and "Hell Breaks Loose" featuring Dr. Dre.

Mary J. Blige "Stronger With Each Tear"
With the movie "Precious" popping up on many film critics' year end best-of lists, the timing seems ideal for a new album from Mary J. Blige, who contributed the churchy "I Can See in Color" (co-written with Raphael Saadiq) to its soundtrack. The ninth studio record from the queen of hip-hop soul features many collaborators from her 2007 hit "Growing Pains," including Tricky Stewart, The-Dream, Stargate, Ne-Yo, Johnta Austin, and Sean Garrett. Lending some additional vocals and lyrics are T.I., Trey Songz, Jazmine Sullivan, Darkchild, and Polow Da Don. Aside from "Color," the fourteen tunes include the defiantly self-assured "I Am," and the recent club banger "The One," with featured guest Drake..

Mudvayne "Self Titled"
A follow up to "The New Game" that is produced by Jeremy Parker (Slipknot, Evanescence). The album art and text is printed in ink that reacts under black light. Singer Chad Gray has said that the eleven new songs -- including "Beautiful & Strange" -- are "more retro" sounding than their more recent offerings, while drummer Matt McDonough claims "that this album is the best that the band has recorded since our second album, 'The End of All Things to Come'."

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack "9"
Kate Hudson rocks!! Playing fashion journalist Stephanie Necrophuros in the motion picture "Nine," the actress rips into "Cinema Italiano" with jazzy gusto. Based on the hit Broadway musical (which was inspired by Fellini's autobiographical masterpiece "8½"), the film also stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, and Sophia Loren -- all of whom are featured on the soundtrack. Admittedly, Loren's turn on "Guarda La Luna" is pitched somewhere between spoken word and Julie London at her laziest. Fergie, who portrays the prostitute Saraghina, slathers on the cheese for her campy number "Be Italian."

Other New Releases Worth Checking Out:
(Have not listened to, but please feel free to post a review)

* Hurricane Chris: "Unleashed"
* James Brown: "The Singles, Volume Eight: 1972-1973" [Remastered]
* Rupert Gregson-Williams: "The Prisoner" [TV Soundtrack] (More on the show)
* Duke Ellington and Count Basie: "Souvenirs" [Remastered]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

CydeClops' Top Movies of the Decade (2000 to 2009)

As this decade comes to a close and a new one on the horizon. Time now for the CydeClops Productions Top Lists!! First ever, since the company's formation within this decade. We will shell out our picks of the greatest, in our opinion, in Music Albums and Movies. Hope you were entertained the same way we were and we hope you think the same way about them. If not, please feel free to post your own picks and let everyone else know what your thoughts are!!

This blog will cite the Top Movies by particular categories between 2000 and 2009. Some may be trilogies, double features, prequels, or sequels. In some cases, we either named the entire collection as one or just the particular movie of the collection. The movies aren't numbered as cutting down the list was hard enough!!

Here's how what we based our picks on (not in any particular order).
a) Technical - acting, plot, visual effects, etc.
b) Sales
c) Groundbreaking effect
d) Hype - news, media, friends, word of mouth

Top Movies of the Decade (2000-2009):

Top #10 Drama
- A Beautiful Mind
- Kite Runner
- The Last Samurai
- Million Dollar Baby
- Crash
- Gran Torino
- Pursuit of Happyness
- The Bucket List
- Blow
- Gangs of New York

Top #5 Action
- The Bourne Series
- Kill Bill Series
- Casino Royale
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith
- Live Free or Die Hard

Top #5 Sci-Fi
- The Matrix Series
- Lord of the Rings Series
- Avatar
- 300
- Star Trek (2009)

Top #5 Comedy
- Wedding Crashers
- Me, Myself and Irene
- The Hangover
- Borat
- Meet the Parents

Top #5 Animated
- The Incredibles
- Monsters, Inc.
- Shrek Series
- Up
- Finding Nemo

Top #5 Thriller
- Ocean's 11 Series
- Man on Fire
- Catch Me If You Can
- The Village
- Minority Report

Top #5 Couple Movies
- The Wedding Planner
- Moulin Rouge
- Hitch
- The Break Up
- The Notebook

Top #5 Super Hero Movies
- Superman Returns
- Dark Knight Series
- Iron Man
- Hancock
- Wolverine

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Web TV Series Looking to Mirror "American Idol" Success

An ambitious web series, "If I Can Dream," launching in 2010 with three distribution partners, two major sponsors and one goal - do for web video what "American Idol" did for broadcast TV in 2002. 19 Entertainment's Simon Fuller, creator of "American Idol," being the brains behind it may help to accomplish that goal.

The series will be following five young Hollywood hopefuls who will live together, "Real World"-style, in a house in the Hollywood Hills. The names of the performers are expected to be announced before 2009 ends. Footage will be streamed live, 24/7, at, while viewers can also interact with the show via Facebook and Twitter.

Hulu, Clear Channel and MySpace are distributing "If I Can Dream," and each will take unique roles in pushing out the series and its five stars. Hulu will stream one episode of highlights per week beginning in late February. "If I Can Dream" will also be the first series to stream to select international audiences on Hulu. MySpace will be the exclusive social-networking platform for "If I Can Dream," where fans can upload videos to audition for potential inclusion in the series. "If I Can Dream" will also have a dedicated MySpace page for fans to interact with the show and its cast members. Clear Channel Radio is the exclusive radio partner, which brings its local on-air personalities and online network of 28 million unique monthly users, 8 million of whom stream audio and video content.

Evan Harrison, Clear Channel Radio's exec VP-head of digital, talks about how the show's creation with 19 Entertainment began about six months ago. Both parties worked out a plan to introduce talent in a nontraditional way.

"Our feeling was we could collectively chart the show's success with our on-air distribution and marketing and following it online. We are in the business of bringing that kind of content to the masses. We already do it for music, news, talk and sports, so this is a new opportunity for us to pair up with a top-notch creator and production company," he said.

The pressure for all distributors of "If I Can Dream" is to help establish the web as a destination for original, appointment programming. Hulu has created an audience for watching broadcast programming online, with TV-like viewing numbers after its record October viewership. Clear Channel, a primarily on-air radio company until Mr. Harrison's appointment in 2004, has created a bigger digital footprint in recent months, thanks to the growth of its iPhone and BlackBerry application iheartradio. MySpace, which is losing the social-networking share battle to Facebook, has focused on its MySpace Music.

Although Mr. Fuller has hinted that "If I Can Dream" could potentially include a TV component, the onus is on the web to make it work. "The benchmark is to help break talent and create a new paradigm for doing that," said Clear Channel's Harrison.


Is this concept too new to the digitized audience it seeks? Its a novel idea that has the makings of a revolutionary turn to web instead of TV. Could also be the beginning of death of TV... as if that has not already begun!! The partnerships of major corporations and media companies forms some great alliances and a big influence in what audiences view, hear, download, etc. Will there be an App. for this too? Future musicians may want to see how this all unfolds, as will we... To Be Continued.

New Music : December 15 - 21

Alicia Keys "The Element of Freedom"
No twists or curves on her new album and that's pretty wise. Keys made her dent in the flashy world of pop largely by displaying consistent good taste and genuine talent. Although the disclosure of her romance with a married man (Swizz Beatz, one of several producers on "Freedom") generated some gossip, the meditations on love and desire on her fifth full-length seems to sidestep undue melodrama. "Put It in a Love Song," her team-up with Beyoncé, underwhelms (you'd expect more sizzle from the meeting to these two superwomen), but the successes outshine the snoozers. "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)," which features backing vocals by Drake, vividly evokes the mix of vulnerability and confidence that accompanies giving one's self over to a lover. And no matter how many times you've heard the No. 1 hit "Empire State of Mind," you won't miss Jay-Z a bit when you hear Keys close the album with her alternate, solo rendition.

Robin Thicke "Sex Therapy"
The title track to Thicke's new album basically rewrites "Sexual Healing" for a generation too young to remember Marvin Gaye. It's complete with breathy, upper register vocals. Miraculously, Lil Wayne, who appeared on Thicke's last two records, is MIA this time (how do you make a record without Lil Wayne in 2009?), but his label mate Nicki Minaj represents the Young Money crew, talking raunchy on "Shakin' It for Daddy." Snoop Dogg, Kid Cudi, Estelle, Game, Jazmine Sullivan, and Jay-Z also appear. Polow da Don, Teddy Riley, Jeff Bhasker, and Scott Storch help out on the production side.

Animal Collective "Fall Be Kind"
After their "Merriweather Post Pavilion" showed up on tons of best-of-2009 lists, the timing seems ideal for them to slip a little something else into the marketplace. The five-song EP isn't quite as sunny in its psychedelic splendor as that critically lauded predecessor (although those Beach Boys harmonies still permeate opening cut "Graze"). The sprawling, polychromatic "What Would I Want? Sky" interpolates the first officially licensed sample of the Grateful Dead, which seems appropriate.

Pet Shop Boys "Yes"
It doesn't nearly live up to all the kudos it received, however, one of the album's brighter spots is "All Over the World". It cleverly interpolates a chunk of a perennial holiday favorite, Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite." Which makes that ditty a perfect bonbon to stuff into the electro-pop duo's five-song digital "Christmas" EP. Also included are a new recording of the 1997 fan club offering "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas," two versions of their cover of Madness' "My Girl," and the medley of "Domino Dancing" and Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" featured on their recent concert tour.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Music : December 01 - 08

Allison Iraheta "Just Like You."
The success of Chris Daughtry proved that finishing fourth doesn't always auger the worst for an "American Idol," and there are certainly entertaining moments for her debut full-length. I Good guitar riffs on "Robot Love" with a sample of Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part Two." "Beat Me Up" seems good, but with questionable lyrics. Iraheta puts it over with energetic glee, however. Album also includes two cuts by Swedish hit machine Max Martin, including lead single "Friday I'll Be Over U," while Pink and Kara DioGuardi contribute the power ballad "No One Else."

The Bravery "Stir the Blood"
The Bravery's third official go at it way with more catchy songs - front man Sam Endicott and producer John Hill wrote two numbers on Shakira's "She Wolf," including the title track. Predictable, perhaps because of how its new wave/post punk pastiches often evoke the atmosphere and sound of earlier artists, from U2 to the Cure, yet never quite reach their aesthetic heights. The first single, "Spectator," with its affected vocals and woozy synth hook, sounds like something Franz Ferdinand would do. The album lacks much originality with sounds that have been done a decade or two ago, but it's not like many current artists are reinventing the wheel, either.

R. Kelly " Untitled"
Kelly hasn't had an easy time of it the past few years, between album leaks and legal hassles. His ninth album, which he told the media that fans should call the record whatever they please, includes some yodeling. Longtime supporters will probably be excited with the traditional sexed-up fare like "Echo" and "Number One." The latter, a collaboration with Keri Hilson, recently put Kelly back in the R&B top 10, for the 35th time since he started appearing on the charts back in 1991. The album has 15 cuts that also include the swaggering "Supaman High," and "Pregnant," a collaboration with Tyrese, Robin Thicke, and The-Dream.

Juvenile "Cocky & Confident."
After his 2006 predecessor, "Reality Check," entered the charts at No. 1 and ten years after his breakout hit, "Back That Azz Up," the New Orleans gangsta rapper returns with his ninth studio full-length. He's already spun three singles off the 18-song selection, including the rugged "Gotta Get It," "We Be Getting Money," and his collaboration with R&B crooner Pleasure P, "Hands on You." Other guests on his first album following the 2008 slaying of his 4-year-old daughter include Bobby Valentino, Rico Love, B.G., and Kango Slim.

Enya "The Very Best of Enya"
Since 1988's "Orinoco Flow", Enya has gone on to become one of the world's most popular artists, selling more than 70 million albums worldwide during her 22-year solo career. "The Very Best of Enya" compiles 19 of the Irish new age icon's best-loved offerings (10 of them newly remastered), including "Book of Days" and "Only Time." The program also features a previously unreleased version of "Aníron (I Desire)," from "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," and (just in time for Christmas) her interpretation of "Silent Night," "Oíche Chiuín (Chorale)."

Other New Releases Worth Checking Out:
(Have not listened to, but please feel free to post a review)

* Blakroc (The Black Keys): "Blakroc"
* Il Divo: "An Evening With Il Divo: Live in Barcelona"
* Soundtrack : "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel"
* Westlife: "Where We Are"
* Cunninlynguists: "Southernunderground"
* Soundtrack : "Up in the Air"