Archive for April, 2019

Eurovision 2019: Semi Finals Part 1, Part…1. YEAH!

April 30, 2019

Eurovision has 41 contestants… 35 in the semi’s.. 6 guaranteed in the finals either because they pay so much for the competition (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) or are hosting ( Israel.)

So.. I’m getting not four… five posts out of this.


Let’s start off with eight of the acts from the First Semis.

AUSTRALIA! Which is not in Europe, but has great music, and everyone was happy they were brought in.

Ok.. so we’ve got Techno Kate Bush Doing “Frozen” With Operatic Flourishes.  This was made to hit Eurovision right in the love buttons. Plus… what the hell… is that a a lady in a dress flying around, or is she supposed to be a centaur? I DON’T KNOW AND I DON’T CARE.

I often say other countries are trying to be Ireland. Australia is trying to be Sweden and I am loving it.

Next up… BELARUS!

Yeah… Zena is cute, but is doing Euro Christina Aguilera With Dubstep. Meh.

But hey.. she was the Russian voice of Moana, so she has that going for her!

Next up… land of EDM, Chocolate, Beer, and a colonial history even more terrifying than the UK’s… BELGIUM!!!

I dig this one a little more. Not just for the video production, but there’s some umph to it, and Belgium always sends this skinny dudes who aren’t quite pretty, but aren’t.. not… pretty. Give them a shot!

Now… from a divide island where your stolen luxury car may have ended up.. CYPRUS!

Ok… this a proper Eurovision video. Sexy people, incoherent imagery, more sexy people, wet sexy people, more Xtina/Brittany pop sounds. It’s a fun song, hey.. they just smashed shit up!!!… but not a winner.

Now from the Czech Republic:

Ok.. this is fun. The Lake Malawi want to make world wide, and bring to mind Paul Weller in his Style Council period and Scritti Politti. These guys are a nice mix of 80’s sound, Daft Punk production, and aren’t creepy. I don’t know if they’ll do well, but after Australia, my next pick.

Now.. Estonia going Country, Aviici style:

Ok… I blame the Mumford sons for this as well. This isn’t a bad song, Just could be any song, anytime. A pleasant remember that the world loves US Country music too.

And now… from the country that gave us ‘HARD ROCK HALLELUJAH’. FINLAAANNDD:

oh.. Lordy.. no. Finland is one of my favorite Eurovision countries because they usually are interesting, and fun, even if not great. Despite having Sansa Stark dancing on a spinning cube, this song is just… blah. Oh, so blah.


Finally, another country dealing with Russia pushing their borders westward on a daily basis, GEORGIA:

Georgia is also decent rugby nation, often suggested as a replacement for Italy in the Six Nations Tournament. As for the song… look. not a fave, but Oto is at least pouring emotion into it, and has some traditional choral singers backing him. Not a fave, but respect. And look.. that girl with the cute hair and Captain Kirk sweater is trying to feel it!

Ok.. so First Semi’s Part One… Australia and the Czech Republic stand out. Georgia get’s special mention because at least the dude sounds like he cares.

Next, First Semi’s Part Two followed by the Guaranteed Finalists, and SECOND SEMI’S.. where my countries ( Ireland, Austria, and Romania) are competing!!!

Eurovision 2019:Off To Israel We Go…

April 30, 2019

Eurovision is known for many things… politics between the member nations, odd musical choices that leave the world equally amazed and confused, and a lot of fun, the UK being shat on even when they actually have a good performance… a lot of things.

Israel won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018 with this little ditty..

It’s actually hit some charts, and has been picked up by drag queens… which is the height  of heights for a Eurovision song.

I’m not being snarky. A Eurovision Song having a life outside of the following  Eurovision doesn’t always happen. After this post I’ll break down the two-semi finals into two posts, hopefully react to the winners in a timely fashion, and get some reaction to the finals.

I’m especially focused on my ancestral countries… Ireland- of which I’m a dual citizen, avid Irish Rugby supporter, and most connected to. Last years song from Ireland featured male dancer, gay romance, and irritated Vladimir Putin. It was also catchy as hell, and deserved to do better in the points.

Austria- home of Conchita Wurst, who SLAYED IT in 2014 with the best Bond movie song that never was. To be fair, Ceasr Sampson’s 2018 entry ‘Nobody But You’ was good, but it wasn’t… THIS:


And finally, Romania. Now, last year’s number by The Humans was great… but I wanted to post 2015’s entry. Eurovision is best when it’s songs have some heart, and Voltaj’s ‘Start All Over Again’ was about how millions of Romanians have to work abroad, leaving children behind. And while Romania will absolutely lean into the gothic imagery of Dracula or the folk sounds, it was nice to see them just speak a little bit of reality.

Oh… and Romanian history? If you don’t know… and I don’t know enough… it’s rough. When you’re basically a football between the Ottomans and Russia for most of your history, run by a Stalinist madman for decades, and you’re people abroad are targeted by bastards like the UKIP, yeah… you get to have some emotion about it.

Sadly, Eurovision won’t be shown live in the US this year. LOGO is not airing it again, so back to the YouTubes for,

Next post, Semi-Finalist Group 1, Part 1!


Oi, Adele, you got Soul? (2.0)

April 30, 2019

Note: For a while I was doing a separate and equally unseen blog on blogspot. Why? Silliness. BUT…  newer albums to previously blogged artists will allow me an excuse to port old posts over with fresh new paragraphs.

Ooooh…… recycled blog posts. oooooooohhh.

You’re welcome.


You know, England never lost soul. I mean, Soul & R&B in the US have splintered into so many different directions and sounds… there is not a distinct modern US Soul Sound. Feel free to disagree with me… you are probably right.

But the English have held on to Soul circa mid-60’s on for much longer then the US has. Underground events when desperate souls cross the isle and join each others for dance ins’. Don’t believe me?

Evidence: Nick Hornby’s “Juliet Naked. Read it.

Then see “Blue Juice”- a 1995 Welsh Surf movie. Yeah.. you can stream it. No worries. You’ll notice that as time gone on, Sean Pertwee.. the actual male lead of the flick, has been pushed aside for Catherine Zeta Jones and Ewan McGregor on the DVD or streaming service pics.

That’s not the point. The point is you’ll see over the scenic views there is an English soul scene that I just don’t think is here in the states. I know there are amazing soul musicians and bands… just not that lingering scene.

So when people are shocked by the waves of English Blue Eyed Soul singers ( never mind that the UK is racially diverse and has talented people of all backgrounds sharing music), they shouldn’t be. Save for their press and relations with contested territories, the Brits have had soul, and always had soul.

Now, Adele… she goes beyond the hype. And yes they’ve tried to hyper her up. And yes… they’ve likely been pressuring her some to fit the more standard image of a pop singer. Or just held pictures of Duffy in front of her saying “YOU SHOULD LOOK LIKE HER!”

No, she shouldn’t.


The fact that Adele is a singer and a writer who made two brilliant albums out of utter heartbreak give her cred. The fact that she sings with undeniable soul.. both in style and in practice,  give her cred. The fact she gets’s so many different sounds as young artists in not just two, but three amazing records by the age of 25… she is an artist who’s more than a strong belt.



“19” and “21” got 4 out of 5. Damn fine, I wouldn’t argue if you gave them the full 5. Of course, then came ’25,’ which is just plain 5 stars. She was in full queen mode, fully earned. If you don’t remember,  this SNL sketch rightly gets the feelings that “Hello” could induce at any bad moment…

She’s talked about retiring, but I hope not. Regardless, she’s a must own.

Artist: Adele

Album: 19
Year: 2008
Date Listened in Tour: 4/22/09
Rating: ****
Best Songs: “First Love”, “Chasing Pavements”

Artist: Adele

Album: 21
Year: 2011
Date Listened in Tour: 7/18/11
Rating: ****
Best Songs: “Set Fire To The Rain” , “Rolling In The Deep”, her cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong.”

Album: 25
Year: 2015
Date Listened in Tour: 1/19/16
Rating: *****
Best Songs: “Hello”, “Water Under The Bridge”,

Grand Tour Drinking Game: 1 Drink for Covers, but honestly, 2 drinks so you can savor two perfectly chilled drinks over the course of the album.

Wait… Bradley Cooper Is Winning Me Over? The Hell…

April 28, 2019

So… finally back in the blogging game. Years of not taking enough time to sit and write, listening topodcasts, and a couple of days updating my spreadsheet, and I am back.


Actually, no. Backstreet Boys sucked. I don’t have any ironic joy of them, I will not blog them. Don’t worry. You are safe. I’m still listening to podcasts.. Apocalist Book Club is a fun one when I’m not catching up on MSNBC casts or Pod Save America. BUT BACK TO FAHKING MUSIC!

I’ve mentioned my dismay about writing about Tori Amos…. an amazing artist who I just don’t feel as much as I used to… but, I caught a break. Because, between now and then, I’ve bought a couple discs that push her back in the queue.

So onto the 2018 OST for ‘A Star Is Born.’

Now, I was slightly skeptical about the movie. Bradely Cooper was an actor who just got on my nerve on a regular basis… he was great as Rocket Racoon and the skeezy FBI Agent in ‘American Hustle,’ but mostly I just wanted to slap his character.  His character in ‘Silver Lining Playbook’ was a deeply psychotic serial abuser who needed to be locked away instead of given dance shoes. But then I saw he was working with Gaga, and heard how much work he was doing on the production… I was interested. Plus, my wife is a huge fan of the “Star Is Born” movies, so there was no way we weren’t going to see it.

And then that first trailer, the first time I heard Gaga as Ally rip into the yodel/holler from ‘Shallow’… that was a moment.


I dug it… the impressionistic/Hong Kong feel, the degree to which Cooper was willing to degrade Maines to let Ally shine as a star… the weird jump of her going from Americana queen too well… Lady Gaga was a little odd… it grabbed me. The music itself… I really enjoyed it. It’s been everywhere… every Starbucks and supermarket…  but here’s one more taste incase you ran away screaming before trying another song.


There are better OST’s, better individual songs, and yes… Bradely Cooper is totally indulging his every whim on this whole shebang. That being said… he’s generous to other artists and worked to create a decently fun album. It get’s four overly emotional stars, and I don’t care if you judge me.

You don’t need to buy this album. Your collection will be complete without it. But, try more than just the two songs you heard while waiting for a frappe or the leg machine at the gym. You’ll be happy you did.

Artist: Original Soundtrack
Album: A Star Is Born
Year: 2018
Date Listened in Tour: 12/25/18
Rating: ****
Best Songs: ‘’Shallow’, ‘Always Remember Us This Way’

Grand Tour Drinking Game Score: Soundtrack (1) + Cover (1) + Live Performances (1) Drink + DIALOG SNIPPETS!!! (1)… Don’t be like Jackson Maine and chug. Enjoy your drinks over the course of the cd like a civilized drunkard.