Julia Stone Releases Magical Album: ‘Sixty Summers’

Julia Stone - Sixty Summers - Amazon.com Music

It appears half of the very talented Australian indie-folk pop brother/sister duo,  Angus & Julia Stone, has gone solo, and the result is magical. Sixty Summers marks Julia Stone’s third solo effort, her first since 2012. The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist ‘s new record has been described as “sonically adventurous,” “divergent, vibrant pop reminiscent of the mid-’80s,” and both “free and restless.”

Co-produced by St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) and Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett (Bartlett played keyboards on both Taylor Swift’s Evermore and Folklore albums), it’s worth (more than one) listen.

Listen below to a track featuring  Matt Berninger from The National.

Bennifer 2.0 Heats Up — And I’m Here for it

I must confess to the serious hatorade I drink during the reign of Bennifer 1.0 and to this day, I can’t articulate the issue I had with the A-list couple. Though it pains me to admit it, I’d venture to guess that the media played a role in my personal opinion.

In retrospect, while they did rub their relationship in our face (literally — Ben rubbed J Lo’s booty and her music video), the punishment didn’t fit the thirsty crime. It seems they really were in love, and their inability to navigate the press attention, might have been the catalyst that cause their breakup (and perhaps that whole strip club debacle).

So where are we now, and will this reunion go the distance, or is Ben Affleck simply a Band-Aid for Jennifer Lopez’s breakup with Alex Rodriguez? Buckle up, I’m about to answer my own question.

First, no one needs a Band-Aid to cover the wound of Alex Rodriguez. I’d venture to say she needs a Time Machine instead to avoid that very predictable ending of infidelity. Second, Jennifer Lopez lives a clean lifestyle and with Ben Affleck’s addiction issues, they are more compatible today than they were then. Third, when they are together their hotness quotient raises by 100%, which is a good indicator of happiness. And lastly, I think the pink diamond ring originally gifted to Jennifer Lopez by Ben Affleck is in Ben Affleck’s possession, and I predict he will propose again with that same ring. It’s true love — heaters be damned.

Bill Maher Tries to Restore Our Faith in Humanity

Bill Maher’s best skill has always been going against the grain in a non-troll format, and though he might have veered off track for a hot minute, the politically incorrect host has revved back up with some anti-establishment gems. In the video below, he restores our faith in humanity, and as a liberal cloaked in some conservative values (the sane ones), I appreciate the borderline uplifting New Rule segment. Watch below.

Wendy Williams Shoots (And Misses) Her Shot with Comedian Gary Owen

I’m all for shooting your shot, but Wendy Williams shot far too many times for Gary Owen, and judging by the video below, the man was desperate for an emergency exit.

Owen recently announced his divorce from longtime love Kenya Duke, who he often incorporated into his standup act. Wendy Williams made a shameless play for the newly single father-of-three proving that if it first you don’t succeed — try, try again…and again.

After watching there exchange in full, I did imagine what we might think if the gender roles were reversed given the endless amount of grief we still give David Letterman for often hitting on his female guests. In fact, Wendy took it a step further than flirtation, asking the comedian out on an official date, which is a lose lose situation. He clearly doesn’t want to go, but if he rejects her on air, he’ll seem mean.

It’s worth noting that I believe Gary has already moved on to a new relationship. I got a sense for these things.

Ben Platt Performs “Imagine” on Kelly Clarkson’s Show

I love Ben Platt, but he’s not exactly the most dynamic performer. He stands and sings, and though there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be limiting if you’re lacking Adele’s pipes and there’s no band on stage. Having said that, I have to give the guy well-deserved props for his performance of his new single “Imagine” on Kelly Clarkson’s show, which featured dancers that added some beautiful oomph to his moving tune. Watch below.

Music Spotlight: Haley Heynderickx

Haley Heynderickx might be one of the rare singer/songwriters whose speaking voice and singing voice match in their magic. Portland based and from a Filipino-American family, she grew up singing in church. She released debut EP, Fish Eyes in 2016 and her first full-length album, I Need to Start a Garden, in 2018.

American Idol’s Hunter Mett’s Ends Toxic Masculinity with ‘Falling Slowly’ Performance

When Hunter Metts took the stage at American Idol to sing the Academy award-winning song “Falling Slowly” from the film Once, I knew it would be spectacular. Metts has a soothing, unique tone that is the perfect fit for the track originally written, composed and performed by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. What I didn’t predict however, is that Metts would forget the lyrics at the end and in doing so, show the world what it looks like when a man is vulnerable.

Katy Perry received praise for her attempt to console him while he was mid-tears, but I’d like to instead praise Metts for using his huge platform to chip away at toxic masculinity. It is not often that we see men cry and when we do, we should embrace it.

It is brave to be vulnerable — and we need to remember that.

Sheryl Underwood Gives Lackluster Explanation for Ignoring Sharon Osbourne’s Texts

The Talk Cast Photo

When Sharon Osbourne released the apology texts she sent to Sheryl Underwood following Sheryl’s claim that Sharon had not directly reached out, I was floored. Surely there must be some explanation, I thought. Surely Sheryl didn’t receive those texts, because no human being would just outright lie in such a fashion. Turns out I’m naïve.

For those just tuning in, Sharon Osbourne unceremoniously exited The Talk following a heated conversation about race with Sheryl Underwood in which Sharon blatantly disrespected her co-host on air. When Sharon took to Instagram to issue an apology, she neglected to mention Sheryl’s name. Many saw this as further disrespect. Sheryl subsequently doubled down on a podcast, INSISTING that Sharon NEVER reached out. In fact, she made a joke about it. Sharon defended herself by leaking multiple apology texts to Sheryl immediately following the on-air spat and then again days later – to no response.

So did Sheryl block Sharon? Did Sharon have the wrong phone number? Surely there must be some good explanation for Sheryl’s claim. Unfortunately, there is not. Here is what Sheryl said:

“I have not spoken to and do not have any phone call missed or received that I can find in my phone, but there were text messages sent to me. The reason I did not speak about or acknowledge or even respond to those text messages, because they were coming to me during the internal investigation. I didn’t know if you were supposed to communicate or not communicate … I want to be clear on this: I have not spoken to Sharon. I have not had phone calls from her. And my fear of answering something because something pops up in the media that’s misunderstood.”

While it might be true that Sheryl strategically ignored Sharon’s texts, that does not justify Sheryl denying she received those texts in the first place. Furthermore, if you were in fact concerned about impacting an internal CBS investigation, then you should not have publicly discussed this issue until that investigation finished. Instead, you not only discussed it, you lied about it.

Khloe Kardashian Doesn’t Like “Normal” – Wants Photo Scrubbed from Internet

Courtesy of Khloe’s Instagram (and an example of the types of unrealistic photos she approves)

There’s a photo of Khloe Kardashian circling that Internet and her team is taking drastic measures to take it down. Why? Because she looks like a normal human being without all the Photoshop frills and the Kardashian klan doesn’t like normal. I’ve seen the photo and it is far from unflattering. For those following Khloe lately she has had an unrecognizable glow-up that’s caused some concern and the photo in question is actually a comforting reminder that most of the issues are actually Photoshop fails rather than extreme under-the-knife changes.

Team Khloé said that the photo “was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant. Khloé looks beautiful but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down.” While it is true that Khloe has the right to reject a photo she deems unflattering there’s a larger issue at play here — vanity, and a fake representation of what people actually look like. What’s so wrong with looking normal anyway?

Rachel Bilson v. Rami Malek – Who’s Right?

Rachel Bilson posted an unflattering high school throwback photo of Rami Malek on Instagram, Malek asked her to take it down via DM, and The O.C. actress complied…sort of. She recounted the story on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast and it predictably went viral, thereby further disrespecting the Oscar winner’s request for privacy.

Is it wrong to post an innocent, “nerdy” photo of someone sans their permission? Perhaps not. But as someone who has been asked to take down unflattering photos of friends and kindly complied, I can’t help but believe in Bilson’s malintent. Because Malek coldly made the request without any pleasantries attached, she felt offended – and struck back accordingly.