There is constant criticism from internet trolls about whether Mariah Carey can hit the same notes she once hit in her prime. Personally, I find this talk enraging. For starters, I could give a collective zero sh*ts about whether Carey can still sing like a piercing dolphin to prove her vocal prowess. And this type of talk leads to lip-syncing, which I despise. If an artist sounds less than stellar due to technical errors, sickness, cold temperatures, or simply vocal wear-and-tear, that’s okay. I want authenticity over anything else, and we should stop bullying our artists into feeling as if they need to deliver perfection at all times. In fact, the best I’ve ever seen Sheryl Crow was in the midst of an alarming cold. She was phenomenal — rasp and all.
I’ve been hard on Mariah Carey, not because of her voice, but because she’s lost the authenticity that made her famous. In her attempt to keep up with her younger cohorts, she’s been wearing ludicrous leotards, trying her hand at terrible choreography, and lip-syncing (allegedly). She has also engaged in cartoonish, reveal-nothing interviews which involve the excessive use of “Dahhh—lings” while dripping with diamonds. I’ve had enough. I’ve also had enough of her finger-pointing at everyone but herself. You are captain of your career. Own it.
Now for New Year’s Eve. To say she redeemed herself is an understatement. It was shockingly cold, and she flawlessly sang two of her hits. She also made mention of missing tea, which was both funny and genuine. The cold weather made her cover up, which was a blessing. There was also zero choreography – thank goodness.
Mariah Carey’s performance of Hero (continued) pic.twitter.com/F3NiD3Urvb
— mariah carey archive (@mariaharchive) January 1, 2018
It’s a new year folks, and there are no words to describe 2018’s first pick for this week’s Artist on the Rise. It’s Valerie June, and her voice is so hauntingly beautiful it hurts my soul. To top it off, The Memphis-born singer-songwriter’s albums have incredible original material, with one track being better than the next. Her most recent record, “The Order of Time,” is no exception. June began her love of music singing gospel at her church three times a week sans instruments. She recounts her unique vocals, saying “My parents couldn’t get over how weird I sounded—like an old man when I was just a toddler! But no one was gonna shut me up.” Years later, she found it important to learn an instrument. Of the process, June said, “I’d had so much fun in the dirty dives in Memphis or heading to Mississippi or Arkansas, it felt like something huge was missing when I couldn’t play shows, so I decided I needed to learn to play guitar because I’d never get gigs if I couldn’t accompany myself.” She now also plays the banjo and ukulele, and she later generated the funds for her first album via kickstarter, which led to convincing Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach to co-produce, simply by sending him samples.
On March 17, June will perform with one of my favorite bands of all time, The Wood Brothers. I’ve seen The Wood Brothers live, and there’s no better show on the planet. Head to Nashville to see these powerhouses come together for an incredible show. Find out about other performances HERE. Listen below, you’ll be hooked immediately.
Here at The Dishmaster, I love to feature new artists. By “new,” I mean I recently learned of their music, whether I’m the last to know or not. I draw this distinction because this week’s feature is Lewis Capaldi, and his YouTube count suggests I’m late to the party. I discovered Lewis when I let last week’s feature, Freya Ridings, run endlessly until Capaldi’s videos began to play. Apparently YouTube is aware of my taste. His EP, Bruises, has satisfied my itch for a new release from Hozier, given that they share the same lane. The Scottish singer/songwriter wrote the single, “Fade,” with Grammy winner, Malay, and he was nominated for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award’ at the Scottish Music Awards. Listen below.
For my Los Angeles friends looking for tickets, he’ll be performing at Moroccan Lounge on April 1, 2018. For everyone else, click HERE to see if you’re lucky enough to see him visit your city.
Though I endlessly cover music on my blog, I’d fall short of calling myself a music critic. I’m certainly not going to offer a track-by-track breakdown. I’ll simply say it’s good. is it great? Probably not. It’s no secret that Eminem thrives with lyrics and falls short with production and beats. In casual conversation, someone close to me once compared Kanye’s rap ability to Eminem, which felt so out of touch it was laughable. Kanye would be the opposite. All production, minimal lyrics. Eminem is a poet, and music is a forum for him to express it. In the case of Revival, the chorus of each song is so annoying it should be left out. There’s no Dido juxtaposition that takes the song to the next level. Instead, it takes each song down a notch. Additionally, I don’t know who mixed this record, but the lyrics are way too low in comparison to the music. The music is actually getting in the way. It’s also worth noting that the “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” sample caused me physical pain.
I love Eminem. But sure — this could be better.
As we learned from yesterday’s post about Freya Ridings and an earlier interview I did with the very talented Aurora, television is often the perfect venue to highlight new artists. I’ll try to do this feature every week, and this week’s pick is Aron Wright, whom I discovered on Grey’s Anatomy. His soul-melting voice can also be heard on many other shows, including The Blacklist, The Vampire Diaries, and more. According to Wright, he records his music in a 100-year-old church he converted into a studio. His credits include co-writing the song “Hallelujah” by Panic! at the Disco and penning “Walk Out On Me,” which was performed by Courtney Love on the FOX television show, Empire. The multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, bass trombone, tuba and guitar) was born in Little Rock, AR, and raised in St. Louis, MO before eventually moving to South Africa. He now lives in Nashville. Listen below.
Television shows often have a limited music budget, which means they are forced to get creative when picking tracks. And it’s thanks to that creativity that I was introduced to the very beautiful song, “Lost Without You” by Freya Ridings, which was featured on TNT’s Good Behavior. This will be the third release from the 23-year-old Londoner, whose self-released singles have amassed millions of streams. Of the song, Ridings has said that she wanted to capture a heart-breaking moment from a train station that changed her life. The track was mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Adele, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Beck). Prior to “Lost Without You,” Ridings released “Blackout” and “Maps,” the latter of which is a cover of the popular Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs song. Listen to the stunning track below.
Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is one of the first men to bring the sexual harassment conversation forward by exposing Harvey Weinstein’s wrath, admitting that actresses Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd were indeed blacklisted by Weinstein. Though Lord of the Rings ultimately ended up at New Line Cinema, Jackson details early conversations with Weinstein about casting, in which he poisoned the well on the actresses who declined his sexual advances. When Weinstein countered his memory, Jackson stood firm. Kudos to you, Peter.
[M]any conversations occurred internally regarding potential casting. Fran Walsh and I recall . . . some of the names discussed with Miramax for possible roles in The Lord of the Rings movies. . . . Fran and I expressed our enthusiasm for Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino. In fact we met with Ashley and discussed two possible roles with her. After this meeting we were told by Miramax to steer clear of both Ashley and Mira, because they claimed to have had “bad experiences” with these particular actresses in the past. . . We have no reason to make it up.
Alec Baldwin has been a regular guest on Saturday Night Live since 1990 and holds the current record for hosting the show 16 times. His talent for mimicry lends itself for clever impersonations, breathing life into a wide range of characters. He’s played everything from a deranged elf to the President of the United States. He clearly enjoys sketch comedy. Baldwin’s playful, impish nature is inclusive, making us feel like we’re in on the jokes.
Baldwin and Tom Hanks play off each other in this uncomfortably funny skit depicting the hero-pilot of the Hudson River landing fame, Sully Sullenberger.
Top Gun fans of a certain age will enjoy Baldwin’s eccentric Al Pacino.
Baldwin’s ability to mimic subtle body language and accents fleshes out his Robert De Niro.
Amy Poehler’s character goes to a plastic surgeon, played by Baldwin, for a breast augmentation consultation. The sketch pokes fun at Baldwin’s passionate monologues from the movie Malice.
Baldwin’s elf channels his Glengarry Glen Ross movie character and breaks the spirits of his elf subordinates.
Steve Martin and Baldwin play themselves bumping into each other before the show. Martin turns homicidal trying to prevent Baldwin from breaking his record for hosting SNL.
This skit holds generational appeal to those of us who are old enough to remember the game show Hollywood Squares. Baldwin nails Reilly’s flamboyant nature with just enough camp.
Baldwin shines in this news segment poking fun at himself. He plays the pilot that threw him off a recent flight for refusing to turn off his mobile phone before takeoff.
If sexual innuendo is your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy the clever repartee of Baldwin’s secretary interacting with reporters during a news conference.
A dinner date goes horribly wrong. Baldwin’s pompous psychologist is impervious to his date’s growing discomfort while he unskillfully manages his child’s prolonged tantrum.
Baldwin’s depiction of Trump’s first press conference since his election is colorfully irreverent. No matter what side of the aisle you fall on, Baldwin’s impression of Trump has received great reviews and has led to Baldwin to explore his options and take his Trump impression on the road.
Depending on your tastes you’ll either laugh uncomfortably or with abandon while watching Baldwin as a father learn to master a Wii game with his sons.
Kate McKinnon and Baldwin skillfully lampoon the foibles of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. McKinnon would go on to win an Emmy for her performances on Saturday Night Live, with her role as Clinton being the most memorable.
The reigning crowd favorite of Baldwin’s SNL skits. As a guest on a highbrow National Public Radio cooking show, he discusses his recipe for Schweddy balls.