Blogs > Tuned in to Pop Culture

They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What is "The Event"?

The promos on NBC refer to "The Event" as the lovechild of "24" and "Lost". Six episodes in, I'm starting to see that.

I watched several seasons of "24" via Netflix and was somewhat burned out after that. I don't remember which season I last saw, and I don't know if I'll ever go back to finish the entire series. "Lost," on the other hand, might be my favorite TV series of all time. I've mentioned that I didn't think any show could replace "Lost," but that was all the chatter I had heard about "The Event." So, I'm giving it a try, and it's kinda sorta growing on me.

The show flashes back and forth between present time and the past -- 66 years earlier, five years earlier, 10 hours earlier, 10 days earlier. Jumping around in time can be a tricky tactic to tackle, and it's something "Lost" did really, really well (maybe "The Event" would benefit from a sound effect to notify the audience of a transition). "The Event" is getting better at it as the show goes on, or I'm just getting more used to it -- not to mention that the jumping around is starting to make more sense as it now is actually advancing the plot.

The show in general is beginning to make more sense as more of the mystery is revealed. I guess that is where the "Lost" elements enter: These characters are trapped in some kind of crazy happenings, trying to figure out what is going on so they can get home safely. The "24" aspects of the show include a national emergency, government secrets, bad guys pretending to be good guys, and one guy who is determined to save the love of his life and her family -- all in a fast-paced, high energy setting that is incredibly similar to Jack Bauer's adventures. "The Event" also seems to have a bit of "Heroes" in it, with people who aren't exactly human. (And, the same creepy guy from "Heroes" is portraying the same character from "Heroes": the governmental aide who wants to keep the special beings locked up.) ("Heroes" is another show I started and stopped but might return to someday. The first season was so great, and the second season went nowhere. I think I tuned out in the third season.)

So can a mix of a highly successful show, a darn successful show and a moderately successful show that got awful fast become a success? I can't tell yet. I think the rest of the season will be fine, but I'm not sure where it will go from there. After all, we're still trying to figure out what the namesake of the show is (was that what was happening at the end of episode six????). And after "The Event" of season one, are we going to have another "Event" for season two, and so forth? Or will the "event" keep happening? (Or is it what happened in 1944????) I'm curious about what's going to happen in the next episode, but not in the same way I was with "Lost," when I would watch and re-watch and re-watch the preview for the following week (and spend a big chunk of my free time talking theories about the show, browsing Lostpedia, and preparing for an audiocast about the show for I just don't feel that way about "The Event," and I'm not entirely confident the series will become my new "Lost."

For now, I know of two things that will keep me tuning in every week: Jason Ritter and Ian Anthony Dale.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Friday, October 29, 2010

First look at Captain America

The Captain America movie is slated for release next summer, but there hasn't been much information about the film.

Until now. Actor Chris Evans, who will play Captain America in the film, graces this week's cover of Entertainment Weekly wearing Cap's red, white and blue, including the iconic shield. The outfit looks very cool. Let the countdown to July, 2011 begin!

- Mark Podolski

Thursday, October 28, 2010

John Carpenter's "Halloween" never gets old

There's something about the 1978 movie, "Halloween," that fascinates and scares the daylights out of me at the same time.

Maybe it's the fact the story is so simple. We all know it.

Or the fact Michael Myers' mask sends shivers down my spine. (Here's a did you know? The production bought a Captain James T. Kirk mask and cut the eyes out, thus created the simple, yet iconic prop.)

Or the fact the movie's score is so simple (ala "Jaws"). You can't think of the film without thinking of the music. They are synonymous with each other.

Or the fact there's hardly a drop of blood spilled in the film and yet we're still scared to the bone.

Of the fact the movie holds up so well. Others that followed (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, to name a few) don't hold a candle to Director John Carpenter's classic.

"Halloween" is the Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth of scary movies. The rest come in second. It's not even close.

Every year, the TV station AMC runs its Fearfest marathon. Last week, it was pretty much a Friday the 13th movie marathon. This week? You guessed it. It's "Halloween" week. Thank goodness.

- Mark Podolski 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The risings of more "Avatar," Batman movies

I get an e-mail roughly every seven seconds here at The News-Herald. OK, I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

They come fast. They come furious. They often come in duplicate.

Many of them are spam, but most of them are something some public relations person somewhere in the world hopes will pique my interest enough to give it some coverage, be it in print or online.

"Mark, are you planning any holiday gift guides? We have a product that blah, blah, blah" -- many of them go something like that these days. (And, for the record, the answer is no.)

Every once in a while, though, something notable does find its way into my inbox, however. Today it was a release from Fox Filmed Entertainment -- aka 20th Century Fox -- announcing that the next two films made by director James Cameron would be "Avatar 2," slated for December 2014, and "Avatar 3," December 2015.

Was this surprising news? Uh, no.

The Academy Award-nominated "Avatar" -- Cameron's science-fiction adventure that broke box-office records and is responsible for today's 3-D craze -- certainly was going to have a sequel or sequels. But it's a little interesting that the franchise will follow the course set by the "Matrix" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," knocking out two movies in succession and releasing them one year a part. (As a fan of movies, I like this strategy, but it would be easier to be excited if the original films in those franchise gave way to good sequels.)

By 2014, I expect to be thoroughly sick of 3-D; I'm about halfway there now. So this is my plea to Mr. Cameron: Please make "Avatar 2" in 4-D. Know that if I'm not hit in the face by an alien tale 45 minutes into the movie, I'm walking out. You've got the time, sir.

In all seriousness, I'm at least looking somewhat forward to those movies. However, the news that really excited me today was that director Chris Nolan's third Batman film has a title: "The Dark Knight Rises." It's not so much that I like that title -- it's fine -- but it's that a title makes amovie feel more real. It's coming, people.

Nolan's movies are terrific, and he'll no doubt be feeling the pressure to wow the film-going world again following the successes of "The Dark Knight" and "Inception."

Oh, I almost forgot the really good news about Nolan's movie: It will not be shot in 3-D. Bravo. 

Well, I have to go. I just got 700 e-mails.

- Mark Meszoros

Joe Budden: Mood Muzik 4: A Turn For The Worst

 By Nick Carrabine

“If you went to Def Jam would you notice
If they was out for my best interest or do they just see a dollar in Joseph?
Guess I ain’t sure how I feel anymore
Ever since I got signed, I can’t tell what’s real anymore
I mean them same record execs that wanted me in
Don’t care that I’m the next (rapper), they just wanna see spins.” -Joe Budden, “Walk With Me”

Joe Budden rapped the above lyrics almost eight years ago. Who would have known the at the time 22-year-old rapper could predict on his debut album his future record label woes? He never did release another album on Def Jam records, as they refused to release what would have been his sophomore effort, The Growth.

Budden simply had no other options but to release mixtapes as he was contracted to Def Jam but couldn’t see eye to eye with them to release an official studio album.

The New Jersey rapper went the underground route and released three critically acclaimed and well received mixtapes over the past six years, known as the Mood Muzik series.

On Monday, he released the fourth installment of Mood Muzik, free to fans, titled, Mood Muzik 4: A Turn 4 the Worst.

Budden’s Mood Muzik’s are dark, twisted, yet brutally honest, which sets Budden apart from most rappers who bank on boasting about materialist items, women, cars, clubs, etc. Budden is one of the few rappers out there who wears his heart on his sleeve, addressing deeply personal issues such as his manic depression, relationship issues and of course, his feelings toward being blackballed from the music industry. He also has a son who he doesn’t have custody of and raps about it often, admitting feelings of guilt for not being a world class father. In other words, content other rappers refuse to talk about. It’s hard to imagine many rappers rap about the following, which appears on “Black Cloud:”

“Normally it’s just me and my lonely mind
Everyone storm is different so this forecast is only mine
Fans recognize my misery uplifted me
Shifted me to my epitome, guess the curse is a gift to me
Maybe it’s serendipity, maybe it’s weighing on me physically
Maybe I should man up and tell God not to solicit me
Been medicated, meditated
Sedated, hated
Character assassinated, all theses years I masqueraded
Hard headed, if it was on my mind I had to say it
Tongue on the devil’s pitchfork to see how disaster tasted
Rap is fabricated, rappers are so exaggerated
...I’ve Promised to maintain being unique but relatable
All while suffering from a disease that could do away with you”

That’s exactly what Budden is, relatable. Listeners can relate to his struggles and it’s a big reason why the Mood Muzik mixtape series have been so successful and welcoming to fans.

The problem the fourth edition presents however is, I think Budden is at a stage where he’s not sure what kind of rapper he is, or at least, what kind of rapper he wants to be at this point of his career. The fourth installment isn’t nearly as dark as the first three, and on many songs, Budden focuses more on flash rather than content, to try and prove he is more than just an emotional rapper who wears his heart on his sleeve. I love Slaughterhouse, which is a group that consists of Budden, Royce da 5’9”, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz, but Budden doesn’t really fit with the other three rappers and at times, seemed miscast as the fourth member of the group. The other three are “lyrical murderers” who just attack tracks in a hardcore fashion trying to be creative using puns, metaphors, etc. Budden, to me, doesn’t fit in that category. He’s more of a straightforward rapper sticking to personal experiences and telling some exceptional stories in the third person. I think Budden on Mood Muzik 4 tries to please both his hardcore fans, and Slaughterhouse fans, but the two are completely separate, in my opinion, so at times, the mixtape seems confusing, or tries too hard.

Speaking of stories, there are no great narratives that made the other Mood Muzik’s standout or even a song that rivals the epic “10 minutes,” which appeared on his debut solo album.

With that said, there are still some great tracks on Mood Muzik 4 including the “Intro (Pray for them),” “Remember the Titans” which boasts appearances from Royce, Lloyd Banks and the always solid, Fabolous. “Black Cloud” is probably the best track on the album, because it’s Budden doing what he does best, being as honest as possible with his fans.

In a sense, it’s a decent mixtape, but one that shouldn’t be tied to the other Mood Muzik’s, because really, it’s nothing like the others and certainly doesn’t do anything to greater the series.

And besides, I’m more interested in hearing another official studio album, rather than a mixtape which leads me to my next point.

It’s tiring trying to keep track of what is going on with Budden. His third official LP titled The Great Escape was supposed to be released late last year, then in the spring, then in the summer to now, who knows? I think record labels are afraid of Budden, who wouldn’t be caught dead writing another “Pump it Up” record, which was the upbeat, club hopping, grammy-nominated first single he released eight years ago that put him on the map. The content of his music flies under the mainstream so he’s not a “sell a lot of records” guy, even though his popularity right now is at an all-time high thanks to the release of Slaughterhouse last summer, which caused rumors of Budden, along with the three other members of the group, to be signed to Eminem’s Shady Records. Whether that happens, who knows. The members of Slaughterhouse keep insisting they’ll end up on Shady Records and Eminem has came out and said he’s worked with them. But the record labels that the four individual rappers are on now, are hesitant to just let them leave because if they do go to Shady Records, they’ll blow up in the mainstream, whether their music is radio friendly or not.

Budden deserves it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bayside: Phenomenal talent, horrible marketing?

By Nick Carrabine

Bayside, one of my top five favorite bands of the past decade, have released their new single to their upcoming fifth studio album, Killing Time.

“Already Gone” is absolutely incredible but the only problem is, they released it four months before the album is to be released.

Four months? Really?

In this age of the pitiful music industry, today’s hit is next week’s old news. The industry is hashing out singles left and right from awful bands in an attempt to keep them relevant. Releasing a single four months before the release of an album is suicidal.

For one, in one month, most people (not the die-hards) will forget about it. The reason bands even release singles in the first place is to generate buzz surrounding the release date of an album, you’re not doing yourself any favors by releasing a killer single and then fans can’t do anything about it for another four months.

Two, Killing Time is only a 10 song album, so even if they release a few more singles, then you have the problem of everyone already hearing half the album. Then people simply won’t buy the album, (besides the die-hards, oh, no wait. That was a joke, people don’t buy albums anymore...) and there won't be as much anticipation or mystery to the album.

This is first go-around for Bayside being on a major record label, so maybe they have a better plan in place for them, but seeing as how major record labels have become a joke, I’d lean on them not.

Anyway, below is the first single “Already Gone” and surely, by the time Killing Time is released, the buzz surrounding the single will be long gone.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Live from New York ... It's "30 Rock"!

Tina Fey and the cast of "30 Rock" did something bold and brave last week -- a live show. The NBC comedy was performed twice Thursday night -- once for the East Coast and once for the West Coast -- in front of a studio audience that provided a laugh track. And I think they nailed it.

NBC / Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin share a scene in the
live episode of "30 Rock."
I'm a casual viewer of "30 Rock" because I miss it more often than I catch it, but I've always enjoyed it. The actors play roles perfectly suited for them and they work quite well together, and that transferred Thursday night in a live setting. The plot was kind of flat, but the excitement from the episode came from the fact that they were filming it in a new way. The half hour was filled with snappy one-liners and enough energy to keep the show moving along, even if the story the characters were telling wasn't that exciting. Maybe my favorite thing about the episode was Julia Louis-Dreyfus playing Fey's Lemon in the show's sidebars. She was funny, clever and unexpected.

Should "30 Rock" try this again? Probably not. The novelty of attempting a live show will be tiring if it's done too frequently, and I can't think of another instance in which it would make sense to do it. But if there is a reason, time and place, Fey will figure out how to make it a success.

If you missed Thursday's episode (or want to catch what happened on the other coast), I've embedded the videos below.

East Coast:

West Coast:

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2011: The Year of Ryan Gosling?

By Nick Carrabine

Ryan Gosling, who sits comfortably at No. 2 on my man crush list, is looking to have the biggest year of his career in 2011.

The 29-year-old hasn’t appeared in a movie since the critically acclaimed Lars and the Real Girl in 2007 — which came just a year after being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as a drug-addicted, inner city school teacher in Half Nelson.

According to his page, Gosling’s two newest movies, All Good Things and Blue Valentine will get limited releases by the end of this year. The latter of which is garnering more talk about the young actor receiving another nod for an Academy Award.

Gosling has always been a phenomenal talent, the problem is, he isn’t considered a mainstream actor and not too many people outside of film snobs know who he is - other than being “that guy from The Notebook” - which makes me cringe.

Gosling doesn’t like to make big major studio films with big budgets with other big name actors, in fact, on his quote page on imdb, he’s quoted as saying:

“I understand the studios, in the sense that if they’re going to spend $100 million on a film, they want to make sure they’re gonna get that back. But I don’t know how to guarantee you you’re going to make that money back, and I’m uncomfortable working with those kind of numbers...There is this idea in Hollywood, and I’ve seen it work for people, where the unspoken rule is ‘Do two for them and one for yourself.’ And that’s kind of considered a fact. I’ve never really found that to be true for me. I’ve gotten more opportunities out of working on things I believed in than I ever did on things that weren’t special to me.”

Even if Gosling isn’t nominated for an Academy award in February of 2011, I guarantee you he’ll be in the conversation.

It also seems he is opening up about taking bigger studio films as he is scheduled to release three more movies in 2011, which would make it the biggest year of the young actor’s career.

In April, he’ll star in his first comedy with Steve Carell, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei and Emma Stone called Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Currently he’s filming another movie set to be released in 2011 called Drive, about a Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong, according to

And what might be the biggest role of his career, he is currently in negotiations for the starring role in George Clooney’s Farragut North, which also stars Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti.

According to imdb, Farragut North is about an idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate who gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. It would undoubtedly be released in time for the 2012 Oscar season, which means a November or December 2011 release.

Below is the trailer for Blue Valentine, which review after review from critics is being described as an extremely depressing film about a young couple’s divorce with outstanding performances from Gosling and Michelle Williams.

More OK Go, less Snooki

Maybe you remember when MTV used to play music videos. That's a fuzzy memory for me. I remember a lot of Skee Lo's "I Wish" and Warren G's "Regulate". Now MTV has moved far, far from its moniker and quality programming to cheap reality shows and a whole lot of tanning oil. I'm looking at you, "Jersey Shore".

I bring this up because of John Benson's feature on OK Go from Monday's News-Herald. If you haven't heard of OK Go, you probably will recognize them from that music video with the treadmills (they've disabled embedding for the video, so I REALLY recommend you click that link to watch it if you haven't). Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros picked the band's video for "This Too Shall Pass" to add to the bottom of the story on Like "Here We Go Again" (with the treadmills), the video was shot in one take. And like "Here We Go Again," the video is awesome. It utilizes the biggest Rube Goldberg machine I've ever seen and is awesome. Did I mention it is awesome?

See for yourself:

A couple weeks ago I had seen another OK Go video that, like "Here We Go Again" and "This Too Shall Pass," was shot in one take and is awesome. And it includes some talented furry friends:

I wish MTV showed more of these videos and fewer spray tans. Musicians exercise their creativity on videos that go viral on YouTube but rarely make it to the boob tube. Fortunately we have YouTube to view and share videos from OK Go or about funny animals or on news we're far away from. How unfortunate that the public is so entertained by Snooki that MTV is getting more advertising revenue from her drunken mishaps than it could get from good music visualized in a fascinating way.

If you liked the above videos, take a look around the YouTube page for OK Go, where you can check out more of their great work.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Jimmy Eat World: Live in Columbus

By Nick Carrabine

I'm not sure what I did to deserve to go through the things I went through getting to the Jimmy Eat World concert in Columbus Saturday night.

First off, the concert sold out the morning I purchased my single, general admission ticket 10 days before the show leaving no tickets left for two of my friends who were going to purchase tickets later that day.

Up until the night before the concert, I was planning on driving to Columbus solo and going to the show by myself and then justify this lonely action by staying with some friends that I still have down in the state capital.

Luckily, one of my best friends, in an effort to not make me feel like the biggest loser in the world, decided to tag along on the road trip and we got a hotel for the night. However, there was still the problem of going to the concert by myself.

So instead of one loser hanging out by themselves, there were two...and did I mention, lost, in Columbus.

As we parked our car at the hotel we were staying at, approximately three miles from Newport Music Hall, we decided to walk to get food. However getting lost in conversation and well, just lost, we had wandered a mile and a half down the road until we stumbled into some bar. (Thank God for smart phones, how did anyone get anywhere back in the day?) We got a quick bite to eat and by then it was almost 8 p.m. and it was either walk back another mile and a half to the hotel to get the car to drive to the music venue, or just count my losses and walk another mile and a half toward Newport, by myself of course.

I did the latter and before I knew it, I had walked three miles to the concert venue while my friend walked back to the hotel.

And then of course, when I got to the venue, there was something wrong with my ticket, they had said it had been “re-issued,” whatever that means. They told me to “go take it up with the box office.” At this point, I went to the box office and told them about my two and a half hour car ride, my three mile walk to the venue and the very legal, very legit purchase of my ticket. I offered them to show them the original e-mail from Ticketmaster on my phone (again, these things are life savors, literally.) I’ve been to close to 100 concerts over the past 11 years, never have I had this problem. They reiterated my ticket had been “re-issued,” whatever that means, but still let me in. I cannot tell you the hell I would have caused had I not been allowed to enter that venue. Lets just say you’d be reading about me in the news had that occurred.

Anyway, enough about the drama, and more about Jimmy Eat World blowing my face off.

This was my third time seeing the band live, however, I haven’t seen them since 2002. I’ll stop short of saying this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, but I can honestly say it was one of the best set lists I’ve came across. Normally when you go to a concert, you leave wishing that the band would have played this song or that song. Not on Saturday, the band played a masterful set list spreading across their five major albums (they have seven) playing fan favorites, "Blister," "23" and for the first tour in eight years, the 16-minute "Goodbye Sky Harbor" (although, they probably cut it to about 10 minutes) to initially close the show.

Also, I normally don’t notice things like these at concerts, but the lighting was incredible. I’ve never seen a show at Newport Music Hall, so I’m not sure if every show is like that or if it was specifically done like that for Jimmy Eat World, but the backdrop was filled with dozens of diamond shaped lights that flickered sporadically matching in rhythm with each and every song.

As I said for my review of the band’s latest album, Invented, Jimmy Eat World isn’t the most energetic band, but their set list was jampacked with their most energetic songs, kicking the night off with “Bleed American” and playing a slew of their hard-rocking songs, “A Praise Chorus,” “My Beat Theory,” “Futures,” “Pain,” etc.

The four song encore was worth the price of admission alone. Most bands come back for a two-song encore, Jimmy Eat World came back with the seven-minute “23,” followed by “Pain” and arguably the band’s two biggest hits from 2001s Bleed American, “The Middle” and “Sweetness.”

In all, the band played 21 songs, spanning just under two hours, approximately double the time it took me to walk to the venue.

Set list:
Bleed American (Bleed American)
Your New Aesthetic (Clarity)
A Praise Chorus (Bleed American)
My Best Theory (Invented)
Let It Happen (Chase This Light)
For Me This Is Heaven (Clarity)
Futures (Futures)
Big Casino (Chase This Light)
Action Needs An Audience (Invented)
Dizzy (Chase This Light)
Coffee And Cigarettes (Invented)
Movielike (Invented)
Hear You Me (Bleed American)
Evidence (Invented)
Work (Futures)
Blister (Clarity)
Goodbye Sky Harbor (Clarity)

23 (Futures)
Pain (Futures)
The Middle (Bleed American)
Sweetness (Bleed American)

Below are the only decent videos I can find from Saturday's show:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio, the new Jay Gatsby?

"The Great Gatsby" has been one of my favorite books since I read it in high school, and now it looks like it will be coming alive on the big screen in a big way. reported last week that rumored cast members for the 2012 film include Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway and Amanda Seyfried as Daisy Buchanan. Add in the fact that Baz Luhrmann owns the rights to the novel and could serve as director, and you've got yourself a hit. These actors were made to play these parts, and I would be seriously disappointed if the rumors aren't true.

Who would you want to see in a "Gatsby" movie? Will the new film be better than the 1974 adaptation?

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The reason why today's music is garbage

By Nick Carrabine

If anyone has been paying attention, the music industry is in shambles.

Today’s artists aren’t concerned with making an album, they’re concerned with releasing singles, surrounded by filler. Record labels, often encourage, or even force the artist to do so.

The sad reality is, albums don’t sell anymore, singles do.

Which is why it’s sad to see some of my favorite artists be blackballed by their own record labels.

Lupe Fiasco completed his third album, Lasers, more than a year ago and handed it over to his record label, Universal Records. To this day, Universal has still not released the album, despite Lupe’s first two albums receiving both critical acclaim and commercial success. Lupe has said Universal told him that they didn’t think Lasers had any quality singles, they even sent him new beats with different hooks and Lupe, rightfully so, declined to make any changes to the album.

My Chemical Romance, who are about to release Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous KillJoys on Nov. 22, were in a similar position two years ago. They wrapped up production and recording to their follow-up 2006 monster release, The Black Parade, in 2008 and handed in an album that their label wanted to hear. However, feeling that they have sold their selves out and made a record the band wasn't comfortable with after pressure from their label, they took it back, completely scrapped it and started from scratch to create what will now be Danger Days.

Joe Budden’s (original) second album, The Growth never saw the light of day. He’s going through record label woes again as not only will Amalgam Digital not release his new record, The Great Escape, they are not allowing him to sign with Eminem’s Shady Records as part of the Slaughterhouse group.

Now what really makes me angry is what I saw on Thursday. An e-mail that Nas sent to executives at Def Jam Records regarding the status of his Lost Tapes Vol. 2 album, which is a compilation of b-sides and rarities recorded over the past decade. It was supposed to come out on Dec. 14, but apparently Def Jam refuses to release it, causing Nas to write a Dan Gilbert style letter to his bosses.

The major problem I have with this, more so than the three previous examples, is Nas is a certified legend, has been around the block now going on 18 years, has sold millions and millions of records and has received nothing but critical success for 90 percent of his projects. So if Nas can’t release an album these days with a label’s backing, who can?

With CD sales declining, and the increase of music being released digitally, I believe within the next decade, there may not be such a thing as a major-record label anymore. Bands and artists are now starting to realize, they can release music on their own over the internet while still making money. Not only that, most money bands and artists make is more so through touring and merchandise - and not record sales.

Weezer, who has been around for a decade and a half and have been one of the more popular rock bands since their inception, opted to leave their major record label earlier this year to go the independent route. Brand New, who were signed to Interscope Records, left the label and plan to release their upcoming projects by themselves. Countless other bands and artists are following suit.

I’m glad these bands and artists aren’t caving in to the major record label demands, sticking to their true art creations and defending themselves, as well as their fans.

The truth is, these artists and bands don’t need the big executives anymore to put out music.

Quite frankly, all the big executives are doing is ruining the music industry.

Below is the e-mail sent from Nas to Def Jam executives earlier this week. confirmed from “one of Nas’ people” that Nas himself wrote the letter and while it never intended to become public, the Nas camp “aren’t mad about it.”

From: Nas

To: LA Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino, Chris Hicks

Subject: PUT MY (record) OUT!

Peace to all,

With all (due) respect to you all, Nas is NOBODY’s slave. This is not the 1800s, respect me and I will respect you. 

I won’t even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. People connect to the Artist at the end of the day, they don’t connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it. Yet time and time again it's the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist’s dream and aspirations. You don’t help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don’t even do a great job at selling it. The #1 problem with DEF JAM is pretty simple and obvious, the executives think they are the stars. You aren’t.... not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn’t work out so you took a desk job. To the consumer, I COME FIRST. Stop trying to deprive them! I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP. Pretty (messed) up situation

This isn’t the 90s though. Beefing with record labels is so 15 years ago. @ this point I just need you all to be very clear where I stand and how I feel about “my label.” I could go on twitter or hot 97 tomorrow and get 100,000 protesters @ your building but I choose to walk my own path my own way because since day one I have been my own man. I did business with Tommy Mottola and Donnie Einer, two of the most psycho dudes this business ever created. I worked well with them for one major reason....... they believed in me. The didn’t (care) about what any radio station or magazine said....those dudes had me.

Lost Tapes is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands. I started this over 5 years ago at Columbia and nobody knew what it was or what it did but the label put it out as an LP and the fans went crazy for it and I single-handedly built a new brand of rap albums. It’s smart and after 5 years it’s still a head of the game. This feels great and you not feeling what I’m feeling is disturbing. Don’t get in the way of my creativity. We are aligned with the stars here, this is a movement. There is a thing called KARMA that comes to haunt you when you tamper with the aligning stars. WE ARE GIVING THE PEOPLE EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. Stop throwing dog (expletive) on a MAGICAL moment.

You don’t get another Nas recording that doesn’t count against my deal....PERIOD! Keep your bull(expletive) $200,000.00 fund. Open the REAL budget. This is a New York pioneers ALBUM, there ain’t many of us. I am ready to drop in the 4th quarter. You don’t even have (albums) coming out! Stop being your own worst enemy. Let’s get money!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Holloway perfect for "Mission: Impossible" franchise

Josh Holloway as Sawyer on "Lost"
The Hollywood Reporter has reported that "Lost" bad boy Josh Holloway will be heading to the big screen "as a member of the Impossible Mission Force, the secret agent task force headed by Tom Cruise in Paramount's 'Mission: Impossible 4.' "

Holloway's portrayal of gun-wielding conman James "Sawyer" Ford in "Lost" was so convincing that becoming part of a secret agent task force seems like a natural step. Sports Editor Mark Podolski has long said that Holloway would make the perfect Harry Callahan in a remake of "Dirty Harry", and I don't think portraying a secret agent is much of a stretch from that.

I'm really looking forward to hearing more about Holloway's "MI" character, and to seeing what else he has coming up now that "Lost" is finished -- you know, because I just totally respect him as an actor and am interested in seeing what else he is pursuing professionally and not because watching him for six seasons of "Lost" has helped me to develop some sort of celebrity crush on him (though I do hope he will be cutting his hair now that he is no longer marooned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean).

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Monday, October 4, 2010


Following a string of suicides that could be attributed to bullying (especially anti-gay bullying), relationship/sex advice columnist/podcaster Dan Savage and his partner launched a project called It Gets Better. They have invited other individuals to submit videos to talk directly to teens and share a simple message: It gets better. Dan and Terry's "It Gets Better" video can be viewed here.

(Note: I have not viewed all of the videos, and I'm sure some of them include potentially offensive language or dialogue. I think the project is a great idea and encourage people to watch some of the videos. I can't promise the content won't be offensive, but I'm guessing it won't be as bad as what some bullies are saying to LGBT high schoolers. Dan Savage's column and podcast, on the other hand, are for mature audiences only.)

Some submissions to the project have come from celebrities, including:

The project also has a Facebook page.

-- Cheryl Sadler


A History of Rap

Last week, on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," the host, guest Justin Timberlake and The Roots performed "A History of Rap." I saw this blogged and tweeted several times before I was able to watch it, and it is definitely worth the hype.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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