Friday, November 30, 2012

Christina Aguilera "Lotus" Track Reviews - "Red Hot Kinda Love"


The third track off Christina's Lotus is a fast-moving little ditty that reminds me of something off of Back to Basics.  The beat is pulsing and foot tapping, and the long, sung out ooh's are oh so pleasing!  Love this one!  Check out Red Hot Kinda Love.

Be sure to also check out the first track review from Lotus below and stay tuned for the rest...

Lotus Intro/Army of One

Lotus - Christina Aguilera

Song of the Day - B-Day Song -Madonna ft. M.I.A.

Good morning everybody! Today is my birthday and I've been waiting since February to put this song as my Song of the Day today, but I hadn't anticipated all the trouble I'd have.  Unfortunately all of the videos that feature this song are on YouTube, who will not allow the posting of videos on my blog.  Luckily after an exhaustive search, I found one that would work on here, albeit the speed is a little quicker than it is on the album.

Anyway, even though it is not the favorite song of some of my fellow Madge fans, I think it's perfect for a day like today...

                         And the beat goes on...

                                                 I'm a happy boy...


Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's not even my birthday...

Come and put your name on it 
      put your name on it 
Come and put your name on it 
           your name on it 

                                         It's not even my birthday ...

Rihanna - Birthday Cake ft G.Q. from G.Q. on Vimeo.

I've had this one in my head ever since I got my first birthday wish on Facebook earlier this afternoon.  At the moment I'm already up to 9, and it's not even my birthday yet...

He want that

     cake cake cake cake cake cake  ;-)

Yes he does!

More BS fees from the good old New York State DMV

Okay, here's a brand new rant against the beloved New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.  It was about a year ago that I posted What a Racket!, a diatribe on how traffic laws seem to be written only for the purpose of raising revenue and not really deterring people from breaking the laws.  Ooh, I could still go on and on about that issue, but where that one concerned local enforcement of traffic laws, this one is statewide.

My beloved, expensive New York

I love New York and am forever proud to be a New Yorker, but sometimes living here can be very frustrating on the pocket.  It's a well-known fact that the cost of living here in the Empire State is higher than that of many other states, and it's just something we all have to deal with.  There are so many things that are expensive about living here: property taxes, sales taxes, unchecked price controls at the gas pump and elsewhere, tolls, etc.  The list goes on and on and on, and it's a facet of life that I must accept if I want to live here in my home state, but that doesn't mean it's fair.

DMV - If it's a rule it's right, right?

Of course one of the areas where some of the biggest consumer ripoffs take place is via the good old New York State DMV.  Fees for car registrations, inspections and penalties for traffic infractions are astronomical, and a letter I received a few weeks ago was yet another ridiculous fee that I didn't see fact I never knew this even existed.

I want to preface my story by saying that before November of last year I had not gotten any sort of traffic ticket since 1998.  I drive about forty miles each way to and from work and I make the 60 mile trip into the city quite often, and not having received any infractions for more than 13 years would make you think I've had a pretty good record.  I feel that I am a good driver: yeah, I sometimes go over the speed limit, but I never fly past anybody or make erratic passes and I always keep up with the speed of the cars around me; I am courteous to my fellow drivers on the road, and I keep alert and defensive to everything around me.

Before I bought my Mitsubishi Eclipse two years ago from my pal Jorge, I drove a Nissan Sentra for four years, a VW Beetle for a couple before that, and a Suzuki SUV before that.  Now if you know any of these cars, you'd know that the Eclipse is sporty, while the others are middle of the road, everyday-type vehicles.  I never changed my driving style from car to car, but all of a sudden the police started noticing me more since I started driving the Mitsubishi.      

What is a surcharge anyway?

In the past year I've gotten pulled over three times for speeding, and twice was convicted for going a mere 5 miles over the posted speed limit.  My fine for each infraction was a whopping $125 with a $75 bullshit surcharge.  (WTF is a surcharge anyway?  Can anybody tell me?).  Reluctantly, I paid my fines both times and walked away with my head down, licking my wounds and trying to be even more wary of my driving, especially my speed.  My wallet was $400 poorer for a combined ten miles over the speed limit, and once it was paid, it was forgotten.  So far, so good, until earlier this month...

The Department of Driver Responsibility Assessment - Bull!

On November 2nd, a letter, or more correctly a bill, was sent to my home from the NYS DMV Office of Driver Assessment.  "Persuant to a Vehicle and Traffic Law, blah, blah, blah," that was passed in blah, blah, blah "November of 2008," I must now pay another $300 for accumulating six points on my license, $25 per point for three years.

At first I thought it couldn't be real.  I thought a person, as a part of his or her inalienable rights, could not be charged twice for the same crime, yet here it was in black and white.  They gave me three weeks to pay the bill, either in full or 1/3 now and another 1/3 for the next two years.  How nice of them!  Of course, because our system of muddled bureaucracy is such a twisted, convoluted mess of bullshit, there's really nothing I can do but complain here.

I'd like to meet the lawmaker who devised this law.  I can see the thought process involved in trying to attain their goal:  "Hmm, what bullshit rules can we add to our books that will squeeze more money out of people for breaking the law."  So now in the end I will have paid $700 for going five miles over the speed limit twice.  Does that sound fair to you?  I'm sorry, but I will scream it loud from the rooftops over and over until the day I die:

This is bullshit!!!!!!

Music News Bytes: New Music by Alicia Keys, and Britney, Ke$ha; Adam Ant Returns

Another Hot New Music Week

After a really slow summer of fresh new music, the scene this fall has taken a big upswing with hot new releases from some of my favorite artists.  P!nk, Rihanna, Christina, Nelly Furtado, and Calvin Harris have all come out swinging with brand new sets, and Bruno Mars, Cher, and a few others are set to return to the spotlight with new albums as well.

This week saw big time new music releases from DJ Tiesto (Dance: RED Save Lives), Bon Jovi (Inside Out - Live), Kid Rock (Rebel Soul), and one other of particular interest to me...

Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire"

It's been 11 years since Alicia Keys first burst on to the music scene with her debut smash, Fallin, and this talented singer/songwriter has come and gone throughout the years since with memorable scorchers such as the funky Karma, the tender No One, and a prominent spot on Jay Z's Empire State of Mind.  This week, Ms. Keys returns to the top with a brand new smash song and album, Girl on Fire, another soon to be classic.  The song is wonderfully written and powerfully produced, and the reviews all seem to concur that both the song and the album are on fire! Check out the video of Girl on Fire.

Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys and Britney debut "Scream and Shout"

One of the big stories in the dance music world this week was the release of the new collaboration by Britney Spears and on the new track, Scream and Shout.  When I first saw that the song had been released, I jumped to hear it right away, since I like both artists.  Even though I wasn't too crazy about their first collaboration, Big Fat Bass, from Britney's Femme Fatale, I was hoping for something I could sink my teeth into.

The song is really nothing new, with sounds of past tracks and Britney's way over-altered voice set to a frenzied dance track.  There are only a couple of short snippets of the song where it actually sounds like her singing, the altering is so big. Otherwise, you might swear it was someone else.  I'm sure this one will receive airplay in clubs, but not in many other places, which is too bad, but judging from its performance on iTunes (it currently sits at #1 on the most downloaded chart), I may be wrong!  Check out the video for Scream and Shout, which debuted on X-Factor the other night.

Scream & Shout (feat. Britney Spears) - Scream & Shout (feat. Britney Spears) - Single

Ke$ha's "C'mon"

Ke$ha has never really been one of my favorites, but she does have a couple of songs I've liked over the years.  Her voice isn't exactly angelic, in fact it's pretty downright bad, but she's got an ear for today's listener with saucy lyrics and catchy hooks.  That being said, I am loving her latest, Die Young.  That song to me is her most pop-friendly yet, with a nice music track and pleasant chorus, and in anticipation of her newest (due out next Tuesday, December 4th), she's released her second single, C'mon, which is another nice one. Who knows, I may just buy this album! Check it out C'mon.

C'mon - C'mon

Ri-Ri on Fire

Rihanna has just scored her very first #1 album with Unapologetic, as Diamonds continues its' reign at the top spot for a second straight week, according to Billboard.  I'm actually surprised that this is her first top album, considering that to me it is not nearly her best effort.  It just goes to show you how big of a star the 24 year-old singer has become.  Be sure to check back to this blog in the coming weeks as I continue to break down the tracks on Unapologetic.  Check out the first three here:

Phresh Out the Runway



Adam Ant pictured in 1981

It Came from the 80's: The Return of Adam Ant

I just read an article about the impending return of 80's new wave/punk British singer Adam Ant.  Many may remember Adam from his 1982 smash Goody Two Shoes, but even before that he and his group Adam and the Ants were an eccentric new wave band, with a gothic, Revolutionary War era style of garb and an eerie sort of fun music.  The band were a staple in the early days of MTV, and even after they disbanded in 1982, Adam went on to more success with more hits and other entertainment gigs.  In fact, back in the day, Adam was quite the sex symbol, and even my girlfriend at the time (yes, I did say girlfriend!) had the ultimate hots for him.

Well, it's been 17 years since the now 58 year-old Mr. Ant has done anything new musically, and he's about to hit the music world again with a brand new set called Adam Ant in The Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter.  Strange title, huh?  Well if you were ever a fan of Adam, then you might understand that the title is a typical one for the eccentric star, who's been gone so long partially because he's been battling mental health problems.  I'm not sure if I'll pick up the set, but I'm sure to take a listen.

In the meantime, here's Adam's biggest, irresistable smash from the 80's:

Goody Two Shoes - Friend or Foe 

Well, that's all he wrote for now.  Stay tuned for more Music Tidbits in the near future...

Song of the Day - 1+1 - Beyonce

Today's song is from Beyonce's most recent album, 4, and for some reason it's been playing in my head over and over for the past day or so.  I just don't understand how things work in life and love sometimes, and when I'm feeling this way, a song like this helps me to think about things in a calm, collected way.  I said once in a piece about this album that "1+1 is a tender and beautiful love song, with little else than a soft, electric guitar allowing Beyonce to showcase her powerful pipes," and I still believe  this.  Oh, and I love the lyrics, too!  Enjoy!


1+1 - 4


If I ain't got nothing
I got you
If I ain't got something (I don't give a damn)
'Cause I got it with you
I don't know much about algebra (but I know)
One plus one equals two
And it's me and you
That's all we'll have when the world is through ('cause baby)

We ain't got nothing without love
Darling you got enough for the both of us (so come on baby)

Make love to me
When my days look low
Pull me in close and don't let me go
Make love to me
So when the world's at war
Let our love will heal us all (right now baby)

Make love to me (me, me, me, me) oh, oh
Make love to me

Hey, I don't know much about guns but I
I've been shot by you (hey)
And I don't know when I'm gon' die but I hope
That I'm gon' die by you (hey)
And I don't know much about fighting but I
I know I will fight for you (hey)
And just when I ball up my fist I realize
I'm laying right next to you baby

We ain't got nothing but love
And darling you got enough for the both of us

Make love to me
When my days look low
Pull me in close and don't let me go
Make love to me
So when the world's at war
Let our love will heal us all (help me let down my guard)

Make love to me (me, me, me, me) oh, oh
Make love to me (me, me, me, me)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Song of the Day - Rain - Madonna

Today's song is yet another birthday dedication, this time for one of my newer friends, Sean.  Whereas I am one of Madge's longest-running followers, Sean is one of her most avid.  I can't begin to tell you just how much Mr. Sean loves Ms. Madonna, but let's just say he's seen twice as many MDNA shows as I have, and I've seen three.

I asked him what song he'd like me to dedicate to him and he picked this one.  One of her absolute best!  Anyway, Happy Birthday Sean!  This one's for you!

Rain - Erotica

Me and Sean

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christina Aguilera's "Lotus" Track Reviews: "Lotus Intro / Army of One"

Song bird, rebirth, unearthed creature
Submerged from hurt, pain, broken pieces
Emergency, heartbeat increases
Rise up Lotus, rise up, this is the beginning

This is the beginning
This is the beginning
This is the beginning

Okay, now that we're off to a good start with the first three tracks of Rihanna's Unapologetic, it's Christina's turn for a little observation of her latest, Lotus.  Being of the gay persuasion, I love my divas, and these two are among my favorites, so both albums are worthy of my honest, fan-based opinions.

This album is a big test for Ms. X-Tina for a lot of reasons, and the opening salvo above speaks to her attitude going into the venture.  After a poorly received Bionic (2010), which I mostly liked, and a divorce from husband Jordan Bratman, Christina has been aching to be seen in the glowing light she once basked in, musically anyway.  

So far, the album has shown disappointing results, debuting on the Billboard charts at only #7, her lowest ever, and even though there are a few bright spots, I can say with certainty that this is not her best effort by any means.  There are good songs and there are lackluster ones, as we will soon see, and Lotus is not the stellar concept album that it was promised to be, not nearly as wonderful as 2002's breakthrough Stripped or 2006's fantastic Back to Basics.

I review the first two tracks here together, as they sort of mesh together to start things off.  To me, a good album always begins with a great track, and the intro doesn't quite fit the bill, though it does introduce a really nice song in Army of One.  The Lotus Intro is certainly a dramatic prologue to something, though I'm not sure where the lotus comes in, or if she ever really reaches what she intended to do with the record.  She claimed herself that she was all over the place conceptually and musically with this one, and maybe therein lies the mistake.

Army of One continues the mantra of the opening salvo, namely 'rising up,' and it showcases the fact that Miss Christina still has the powerful, beautiful pipes she's always had. I particularly love the crescendo in the chorus rising up from a nice melody.  It's catchy and is perhaps it will be the second single after Your Body. She performed this little set at the AMA's a couple of Sundays ago, which you can check out here.  

You can also check out the studio versions of the Lotus Intro and Army of One, and as always, feel free to comment if you've got anything to add.  In the meantime, stay tuned for more tracks off Lotus.

Lotus - Christina Aguilera

Lyrics taken from Metro Lyrics.

Rihanna's "Unapologetic" Track Reviews: "Numb," featuring Eminem

So far, the first two tracks off of Unapologetic are pretty good songs, but it's here that the record starts to get a little ho hum for me.  I'm sorry, I know that Rihanna and Em once collaborated on Love the Way You Lie, which was an absolute monster of a hit, but this time their teamwork falls absolutely flat.  The song is very slow-moving, and the repetitive chorus kinda makes me go Numb.  When someone like me can say that Eminem's part is the best section of the song, then you know it's bad!  Sorry Ri-Ri!

Check out Numb if you like, or check out reviews of the first two tracks off Rihanna's Unapologetic:

Phresh Out the Runway


Unapologetic - Rihanna

Song of the Day - Who Knew? - P!nk's Storytellers

A couple of nights ago I finally watched P!nk's Storytellers special on VH1.  This show is perfect for a master storyteller/lyricist like P!nk, and I watched each segment with great anticipation waiting to see what song she would talk about and perform next. It's really too bad the program was shaved down to an hour, for I'm sure she could have, and maybe even did, a full two hours.

While I had been researching and reviewing The Truth About Love tracks, I'd discovered that when P!nk writes songs, there's always a particular story behind the words she writes, of course, yet she likes it that listeners can take their own meanings from her words and sort of make it their own.  It's one of the things that makes her a fantastic songwriter.

This happened with me and the song The Great Escape, which I and apparently several of her fans thought was about suicide. As it turns out, the song was really about how people escape the pain in their lives by turning to drugs, which makes perfect sense after taking another listen to the words.

She commented on this during the Storytellers episode, and she noted that she doesn't always like to share what the songs are about for fear of ruining it for other people.  The song she was referring to was this wonderful song, Who Knew?, which I always thought was about a past love, but it is not.  I'll let her tell you all about it, and then you can enjoy this wonderful acoustic rendition of the song.  Enjoy!  

                      Who Knew (VH1 Storytellers) - Music Videos - Live Performances

Who Knew - I'm Not Dead

Monday, November 26, 2012

Song of the Day - Guilty - Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb

Today's Song of the Day is a special birthday dedication to my pal Rich, AKA Dita. Ever since I've been on my own, Rich has become my go-to friends, someone I can laugh with, commiserate with, and tell all my troubles to, and I owe him a lot of thanks for that. Today is his birthday and since Barbra's his diva, I am sending this one out to him. Oh, and the song? Well lets just say I've heard him singing it recently and it's the next best thing to the real thing, lol.

Happy Birthday Dita!  Love ya!


Guilty - Duets

Eddie, Rich and I zip-lining in Ohio

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rihanna's "Unapologetic" Track Reviews: "Diamonds"

Just a couple of weeks ago, I told you that this song took me a long time for me to like, but I finally did!  The tune, which was released in September, just reached the number one spot on Billboard's Hot 100 and for good reason.  Though this song doesn't have that mesmerizing feel of We Found Love, her first single from Talk That Talk, it's hypnotically soothing in a different way and it grows on me with every listen.  Now I love it!  Check it out... 

Rihanna "Diamonds" from Leslie on Vimeo.

  Diamonds - Single - Rihanna

Check out the last track review below and stayed tuned for reviews of the rest of the tracks on Unapologetic, as well as my take on X-Tina's Lotus.

Song of the Day - I Cry - Flo Rida

Here's the latest from Flo Rida.  Like many songs from rap artists today, this one employs and old sample in its chorus, giving it that air of familiarity whilst making it brand new.  This time it's Piano in the Dark, by Brenda Russell, and I kinda like it.  Enjoy and happy Sunday!

I Cry - Wild Ones (Deluxe Version)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rihanna's "Unapologetic" Track Reviews: "Phresh Out the Runway"

Okay, here we go... Since my track by track review series of Madonna's M.D.N.A. and P!nk's The Truth About Love albums fared so well, I thought it might be a good idea to try it out with both Rihanna's Unapologetic and Christina Aguilera's Lotus.  Since these two are among the artists I follow, I like to share my honest opinions as a fan for my fellow fans.

First up is RiRi's Unapologetic.  The album, her 7th, came out on November 19th and I can honestly say at first listen that it is not as good as last year's Talk That Talk.  Sure there are a few nice tunes on it, but I remember when I first downloaded the last one, I practically loved every single song at first listen.  While that one was bolstered by the awesome We Found Love, the first single off this one, Diamonds, is not quite as infectious, though it does hit the #1 spot on this week's Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart.

Unapologetic opens with fast and furious Phresh Out the Runway.  The song has a quick-paced track with equally fast lyrics that are filled with expletives, something which Ms. RiRi seems to favor in her music these days.  Check it out for yourself right here.

Unapologetic - Rihanna

Cher's New Song!

cherwomansworldsingle CHER Officially releases WOMANS WORLD   Listen!

Wow!  I had almost forgotten that Cher was working on a new album!  I feel like I reported on it more than a year ago, and since then the idea just flew out of my head...until this morning.  Well, she has been making new music, her first new album since 2001's Living Proof, and she's almost done with it.  A short, unfinished version of her newest song, Woman's World, had been leaked on YouTube, and the diva was PISSED!  She said that the snippet wasn't even of a finalized version of the tune, and as a result of the whole thing, she has officially put the song out on her official page, ahead of schedule, because of the leak.  Check out Woman's World here.

Woman's World is a fast-moving club tune with a killer dance track and a nice hook.  Cher sounds as good as ever and there's no doubt this one's gonna be at least a hit dance tune.  The website says that the song, originally due to be released on November 26th, will be out "soon" on iTunes. The album is set to include a whopping fifteen new songs, and plenty of them are of the dance genre.  The singer described the album succinctly to her Twitter followers:

It's ”like Believe CD ! Eclectic!Lots of dance,but None r SAME KIND OF DANCE ! Have Big ass Choruses,Some HEART RIPPERS !”

Well, this is awesome news and I cannot wait!!!

Song of the Day - Dynamite - Taio Cruz

It's a beautiful Saturday and I think this calls for a happy tune, and here is one happy, fun song.  Now, put your hands up in the air and say "Ay-oh, baby let's go..."

Have a great Saturday!


Dynamite - Rokstarr

Seaside Heights roller coaster to stay in the ocean?

I was just surfing around the Internet and saw an article on Yahoo that caught my eye.  It was about that roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, that washed into the ocean during Hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago.  I remember seeing pictures of it when it first happened, and it captured my attention only for a moment because at the time there was so much to see.

seaside heights roller coaster, nj toppled roller coaster hurricane sandy

Well anyway, as I would have imagined, the site has become somewhat of a tourist attraction for people either living around or passing through that area.  It's not every day you see a roller coaster sticking up outta the ocean.  Today's story spoke of the town's mayor, Bill Akers, who spoke with reporters today, said that he was in talks with the Coast Guard to decide what to do with the structure.  He says if the structure is stable enough, he thinks it would make a great tourist attraction.

What do you think?  I don't know if I'd ever go out of my way to see it, but if I happened to be in or near Seaside Heights, I'd probably check it out.  They couldn't possibly charge for it either.  Or could they?
Anyway, check out a couple of pictures of the thing.  Kinda cool!

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 file photograph, the roller coaster from an amusement pier rests in the Atlantic Ocean in Seaside Heights, N.J., after the region was pounded by Superstorm Sandy. The remains of the roller coaster that was knocked off a New Jersey amusement pier by Superstorm Sandy and partially submerged in the Atlantic Ocean might be left there as a tourist attraction. Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers tells WNBC-TV in New York that officials have not made a decision on whether to tear down the coaster. But the mayor says he's working with the Coast Guard to see if the coaster is stable enough to leave it alone because he believes it would make "a great tourist attraction." (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

roller coaster, new jersey toppled roller coaster, seaside hights

Friday, November 23, 2012

Flashback Friday Song of the Day - Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Here is a song from the mid-eighties that rocked dance floors all over the place whenever it was played. Complete with sexual innuendo and a pulsing, hypnotic beat, Relax is one of those songs that still gets you going, especially if you were around back in those days. I heard it the other night at Nuts & Bolts and I knew then that I wanted it for today's flashback. Enjoy!


Relax - Welcome to the Pleasuredome

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve at Nuts & Bolts

Thanksgiving Eve is probably the most well-attended night at bars and nightclubs across the country, as practically everybody in the world has the next day off.  All of the gay bars on Long Island were having special parties to mark the occasion, and even the M Lounge had their monthly get together last night.  Among all of the stiff competition going on for Thanksgiving Eve bar dollars was the opening of Nuts & Bolts, a new bar in Holbrook that's been a long time coming.

I've long been complaining about the nightlife scene here on Long Island.  Ever since entering back into the fray of singledom five years ago, I found that the bar scene out here had been decimated at best.  What was once a thriving community of choices and types of bars had become a sparse, disjointed mess, with the few clubs out there catering to the twinkie and drag queen set.  Now there's much more I can say about that, but this is a topic for another time.

Enter Nuts  Bolts, a bar whose opening had been rumored since last spring, but had yet to come to life until last night.  I had actually met the partner of one of the owners a couple of weeks ago at M Lounge.  His name is Bernard and he gave me the scoop on the new place, and I posted a preview of it on Examiner last Saturday.  Opening night was last night, Thanksgiving Eve, and judging by the crowd at the new place and the competition for the night, the evening was a smashing success!

I won't go into all of the details about the place itself here...I just posted my review of it here, but I will tell you that I had a great time.  Talk of the opening was the buzz at bowling on Tuesday and many of my fellow bowlers were on hand, in addition to other friend I'd not seen in a long time from the old Bunk House, Fire Island and other places.  My pal Dit also came by to check it out and he was equally impressed.

So hopefully the place will endure.  It is a much needed local alternative for people like me, who often get ignored by the cliquish crowds found at other bars.  One opinion, though, while I'm thinking about it, is that they need to establish an anchor night that will attract the kind of crowd that they had last night.  The place will be open 7 nights a week, and so surely they won't be getting the type of crowd they got last night.  There will be a disco night on Sundays starting at 6, but maybe an extended happy hour on a Friday or even a Thursday might bring in larger amounts of people on a regular basis.  Just a thought!

Anyway, I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it from me as time goes on. In the meantime, here are a few pictures...

Me and Bernard

Me and my pal Sean

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