Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Phillips Punks Haters, Debuts #4 on Billboard

Gee, guess Phillip's haters feel kinda stupid now

So, how do they like him now?

Remember a few short months ago when Phillip Phillips won American Idol, and his haters went apoplectic all over the internet about how this "low-talent white guy with guitar" had just destroyed the credibility of the show?

No? Yes? Maybe?

Well, I sure as hell do, and now it's time to call them out. You see, World Form The Side Of The Moon just debuted #4 on Billboard selling almost 170k copies, and his winning single, Home, is about to go triple platinum. Guess P2 is hardly the train wreck those so-called "experts" predicted he'd be, eh?

Anyway, because Phil is far too classy, humble and smart to return the smack with fistfuls of "I told you so", Kenny Poo will be only too happy do the dirty work. With that said, here's a rundown of some of  the most outspoken "geniuses" who ripped Mr. Phillips.

* * * *

Stefano Langone

Former Idol finalist Stefano Langone is simply the douche who can't stop douching. After his wretchedly cheesy run to a 7th place finish in Season 10, "Fano" just hasn't been able to resist publicly bragging about himself or talking shit about others.

A few months ago, Fano talked all kinds of shit about "being with" the beautiful and talented Pia Toscano during their run on the show. Of course, she is WAY too classy to air private dirt, but to her credit she did fire off a nice subtweet putting "Fano" in his place without ever mentioning his name.

BTW, Pia, for the love of GOD, repeat after me in your best Mommy Dearest/Joan Crawford imitation: "No more narcissistic douchebag players... EVER!"

Backdating to Season 10 of Idol, after Pia dumped the douche for Mark Ballas "Fano" somehow then douched his way in with the luscious and gifted Haley Reinhart, and they remained an item after relocating to LA when the Idol tour ended.

Now, fast forward a few months to when Haley got savaged by TMZ for not knowing the lyrics while doing an improv MJ song as a favor to a jazz club. Since she was on a date with "Fano" that night he could have easily defended her on twitter or elsewhere when the story exploded, but amazingly he went silent and never stood up for his girl against the attacks.

Classy, huh?

Now, I tweeted him on this when it got out of control... gave him the easy opportunity to defend her and clear her name. He responded with some nasty snark, essentially telling me to STFU and stay out of it.

So, is it any big surprise that this is what "Fano" had to say after Phillip won American Idol?

For the integrity of the show, to me this is a travesty. The result this year solidifies the reality of idol no longer being a talent show … But a popularity contest. Unfortunately I’m not the first to have noticed.

Nicely played, Mr. Langone. BTW, how many copies has your album sold again?

* * * *

Elliot Yamin

I didn't watch the season he was a finalist on Idol, and I've never bought any of his music. After reading this quote, I'm glad I didn't bother.

Missed the Idol finale tonite #AI …..but it sounds like I didn’t miss much by the sounds of who “won” #justsayin Jessica Sanchez is a REAL singer!.. I thought this was a singin competition??.. what a shame. American Idol has become MUCH like politics, in the sense that – we, as a people get mad at who’s in office, when WE are the people who put them there…or, are we?

So, uh... Ellie...kinda wish ya had that one back now? Maybe next time you'll be a little more careful before tearing into actual winners.
* * * *

Laura Prudom

Writing for Huffington Post entertainement, Laura just couldn't stop herself from jumping on the bash Phillip bandwagon. In a column entitled, 'American Idol': Why Phillip Phillips And The White Guy With Guitar Trend Are Bad For Business, here's one of her precious gems as she rants that no-talent white guys with guitar like Phillip are ruining civilization as we know it by winning American Idol.

Why is this an issue, you may ask? Why not let the excitable teenage girls (and the older women who should probably know better) have their fun and flood the phone lines with votes for these attractive, guitar-plucking fellas? Simply put, because those attractive, guitar-plucking fellas don't actually do that well once they've ventured out of "Idol's" protective embrace and are expected to sell albums under their own steam -- and that's a problem for "Idol" as much as for the winners themselves.

Guess he isn't so bad for business after all, eh, Laura?  I tweeted Laura about this, asking her if she wanted this one back, and she of course stands by her idiocy and insists this is all "very dangerous".  Then again, what else should we expect form a radical "female empowerment activist" living in an insulated political bubble?

* * * *

Michael Slezak

Love Michael too much to drill him for this miss, but he also piled on the "WGWG who will be bad for Idol and won't sell shit" storyline. All I'll say is I'm given Mikey a mulligan on this one, whether he cares to take it or not is his business.

* * * *

OK, so maybe I was a little too harsh. I suppose Stefano is kind to his family and doesn't torture puppies. I'm also pretty sure the rest of the folks I nailed today are in many respects quality people who can't just be lampooned as one dimensional dolts. But let this be a lesson to all of you with a voice in the media. Kenny Poo is watching, and if you talk shit and are proven wrong about someone I like, well, you can expect to see my guns blazing while I show your ass.

Peace out, and congrats Phillip on a fantastic start to an incredibly promising career.

~Kenny Poo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interscope chapter closes for Haley Reinhart

"I'm hot enough, talented enough, and doggone it a new label will sign me."

Well, the handwriting's been on the wall for awhile now. With mediocre sales numbers, minimal airplay for her single (Free), no 2nd single, and no tour, even a simpleton internet blogger could sense that things weren't all that rosy in Label Land.

Still, that doesn't make the news that Interscope chose to release my Haley feel any better. Bottom line is they just didn't believe the prospects were good of her hitting it big, thought new talent coming in had a better shot, and cut her loose. It's a cold blooded industry, and the sting of rejection hurts.

Which begs the question: What went wrong??

Well, to be honest, there's certainly plenty of blame to go around. Some of it's management, some the label, and, yes, some has to go on Haley, too.

Not striking when The Iron Was Hot

Haley's run on American Idol ended in May, 2011. She was riding a ton of critical acclaim from her amazing performances on the show, had a lot of industry and media credibility building, and a huge legion of passionate fans of all ages that were in a frenzy for all things Haley.

So, how did they maximize this incredible window of opportunity? Well, Haley foolishly and shockingly turned her back on twitter and social media for almost 3 months, alienating all but her most devoted fans at the most critical time, and effectively vanished from public consciousness while the other Idol finalists were cranking out music and staying in the spotlight.

Then, either Haley or her team, or both, decided to wait until after the tour was over to even begin the process of creating her album. According to Haley, she completed work on it sometime in January 2012, released her single in March 2012, and her album Listen Up! in May 2012.

Now, May 2012 is one full calendar year from her Idol run when she was the talk of the town. Her album release coincided with Phillip winning Idol and releasing his MONSTER hit Home, which dominated the news cycle and relegated Haley to back page blurbs. By now she was no longer the hot item people were buzzing about, just last year's Idol finalist that some crazy devoted fans still obsessed over. For the rest of the world she was, "Oh yeah, that girl I liked from last season. What's her name again?"

Miss the window, miss a lot. I hope Haley learned from this experience the importance of timing and maximizing life's moments of opportunity.

Free not radio friendly

So, after all that delay, the greedy, shortsighted suits at Interscope decided, "Hey, let's release the one song on the album Haley gets no writing credits on so we can keep all the money ourselves. So what if it's not radio friendly."

Shockingly enough, this "Mature breakup song" never resonated on radio, didn't sell very well, and peaked in the middle of the Hot AC radio chart. It was a tough sell to release a 4 minute, mid-tempo breakup song without a catchy hook or beat, and sure enough it just didn't get it done.

The promotion of it was also disjointed. Instead of emphasizing the song's sadness and frustration with a roller coaster relationship, Team Haley tried to sell it as a "mature breakup inspiration song", and vamped her up as a seductive temptress on her Idol performance and music video.


Nobody wants to buy a song inspiring people to improve their breakup skills, and the vamping routine just made Haley appear the least sympathetic part of the breakup. What a strange, shallow and uninspiring message, and no surprise it failed to resonate emotionally. Now, ironically enough, Free is actually a fitting song for the end of the passionless, inherently flawed Interscope/Haley relationship.

Not enough gigging

Once her radio promo tour of Free was done, that was it. Barely any gigs, and the few she had were almost never with her full band. It showed, too, as all too often Haley struggled in her rare live shows with remembering lyrics, loosening up, and being in synch with the band.  It takes repetition, lots of time rehearsing and gigging, to come together as a cohesive unit.

This is such a tragic shame, because Haley is so good when she's relaxed and feeling confident. Her shows sitting on a stool in small clubs with guitarist John Notto are among her very best performances, because she was able to be relaxed and completely herself with his familiar accompaniment. The charming, funny, warm and personable Haley came out rather than the stiff, tentative and awkward Haley we saw in some of the bigger shows.

Now, who is responsible for the lack of gigs? Well, I have no idea if her manager failed to line up gigs, or Haley was too picky about gigs, or not enough work was done on all sides to get it done, but no excuses. She needs to play live more, period, end of story. It's the only way she'll become a success in this business.

* * *

So, now that we've done the WTF happened here, the next question is WTF needs to happen from here?

Well, there's no question Haley has the goods. She's beyond gorgeous, has one of the most distinctive, addictive and beautiful voices anyone will ever hear, and has fantastic vocal instincts. She also likes to write, and hopefully that will pay off, too.

That all said, what I really hope she does is learn from her mistakes, move forward with real determination, find a smaller, jazz-friendly label that has a clue what to do with her talents, and will mentor, guide and inspire her to take her career to the next level and not waste the once-in-a-lifetime gifts she's blessed with.

Today is a new dawn, it's a new day, and I'm feeling goooood that Haley will now find the right home to become the respected artist she wants to be, and we want her to be. Cheers to Haley finding her path to a long and successful career!

~Kenny Poo

Monday, November 19, 2012

Phillips Goes Deep With "Side Of The Moon"

First off, let me just take a moment to console all those teenage "Beliebers", "Twilighters" and "Directioners" who still held out hope they'd get to be squealing away to some cheesy, auto-tuned, formula dance-pop from this year's American Idol winner.

Not happening here, kiddies.

Same goes for all you douchebag posers, with your spiky hair, waxed-abtastic gym-bods, spray tans, faux-diamond studs and thick gold chains.  Better look to score some synthed club-beats someplace else, "bro", because, uh, yeah, Phillip Phillips ain't for you, either.

However, for those of you (like me) who dig a substantive yet catchy rock album laden with musical and lyrical depth, well, Phillip Phillips' debut LP "The World From The Side Of The Moon" kicks some serious fucking ass.

Phillips melded a unique combination of diverse styles to somehow form a very cohesive and original album with a sound all his own. Imagine a mix of Dave Mathews' alt-rock with Mumford & Sons neo-folk, plus the gospel blues-rock of Johnny Lang, some rhythms and phrasing of Oasis, and a sprinkle of Jim Morrison's hauntingly poetic classic rock and you get this eclectic combination that forms one hell of a powerful album.

In short, it's authentic, it works, and it will probably become a GIGANTIC seller that successfully carries the momentum from his double-platinum hit coronation song "Home". It's a very precocious, serious effort by Phillip, and I suspect will be even more popular outside the Idol bubble than within it.

With that, here's my track-by-track review of the iTunes Deluxe version.

1. Man On The Moon:  Think Oasis' Wonderwall with a bit of Mumford banjo, Mathews snarl and a whiff of sweet sax. Very skillful acoustic guitar work by Phillip (a theme that runs throughout the album), and the catchy chorus nicely brings together the song's complex lyrics and instrumentation. Definitely one of my my faves.

2. Home (Studio): Home is Phillip's monster hit coronation song, and if you haven't heard it yet you've been living under a rock. It's simply EVERYWHERE. With an irresistible rockabilly jamboree beat and very inspirational lyrics, Home has gone double platinum for good reason.

3. Gone Gone Gone: Like Home, this has a rockabilly vibe, inspirational lyrics and a catchy hook. Also like Home, it's the only other song on the album not written by Phillip. Thoroughly enjoyable to listen to over-and-over, Gone Gone Gone is bound to be a very popular track.

4. Hold On: A bit of Irish folk beat and instrumentation, Hold On is a sweet, sensitive song that's very uplifting. Not really a ballad, but with the strings it's definitely a softer and gentler track.

5. Tell Me A Story: Much like Hold On, Tell Me a Story is a tender, dreamy, slightly haunting folk "ballad" with inspirational messaging.

6. Get Up Get Down: A funky, swampy rock'n roll song that'll get you up on your feet dancing. Get Up Get Down is pure fun, and bound to be a hit in his live shows.

7. Where We Came From: The artsy guitar and lyrics of the opening melody are followed by a catchy pop chorus replete with "whoa-whoa-whoas". You can feel the tug of war in this song between the label wanting a commercial hit and the artist wanting to stay true. Kinda wish the artist won out more on this one.

8. Drive Me: Another funky rock song with lots of horns and growl. Absolutely love it. Catchy, authentic and fun to rock out to. Like Get Up Get Down, this one is gonna be A LOT of fun live.

9. Wanted Is Love: Can definitely hear the Dave Mathews influences on this one. Haunting, dark, growling with a hint of grunge, Wanted Is Love is definitely one of my favorites on the album.

10. Can't go Wrong: Wonderful guitar work by Phillip at the beginning, followed by a very catchy melody, beat and lyrics. Can't Go Wrong is a MEGA hit waiting to happen a la Home. Absolutely loved it from the first listen. So earwormy. Interscope: This song absolutely NEEDS to be the next single. Can't Go Wrong with Can't Go Wrong.

11. A Fool's Dance: Fool's Dance is a dark, anxty, soul searching song that questions what's the purpose of it all.

12. So Easy: A real sweet folk song about love. So Easy is the joyous counter to the despair of Fool's Dance. Perfect album placement for this track.

13. Hazel: This is all about the long, painful road to recovery from heartbreak. Very emotional song with just Phillip on guitar sharing his struggles to overcome heartache.

14. Wicked Game: Haunting cover of the haunting original. Like Hazel, this is all about heartache. A little echo added to give an even deeper sense of suffering and despair.

15. Home (LIVE): Live version of his original, this is the perfect song to end the album. Uplifting, jamming anthem that when delivered live is an even bigger warm hug than the studio version.

Kenny Poo Rating of "The World From The Side Of The Moon": A FIVE STAR DOUBLE-FUCK YEAH!!

~Kenny Poo

Monday, November 12, 2012

Jermaine Paul: "I Believe In This Life"

The Voice Season 2 champion Jermaine Paul has released his debut single, "I Believe In This Life".  On the show, I thought he was a weak vocalist who won based on popularity/image rather than talent.  He warbled thru tired ballads, showed no originality, and had no musical identity to make me think he had a chance to outperform the dreadful post-Voice sales of Season 1 champ Javier Colon.

Well, Jermaine's embarrassingly cheesy, auto-tuned, generic House Music single only further reinforced my opinion.

While Colon may have delivered an uninspiring collection of bland, mid-tempo singer-songwriter tunes on his debut, Paul managed to go a step further and release what can only be considered an unintentionally funny joke of a single, and the video is even worse. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure laughing at an artist who's trying to be portrayed as cool and relevant on his first major label release probably isn't the reaction Paul had in mind.

Consider this dreck sunk before it even sets sail. I give Jermaine 0.5 of 5 Stars. Check it below if you want, but if you happen to be lactose intolerant you'll probably get a bad reaction from the stinky cheese.

~Kenny Poo

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Closest To The Presidential Pin

Let's have a little fun on election night! Tell me who you think will win the presidential election, and with how many electoral votes, and you could win the honor of being praised in a featured post by Kenny Poo!

So you know, I'm a Republican and am voting for Romney, but I have as many liberal friends as conservative and am not interested in fighting a political war. This is strictly for enjoyment to see who can give the best prediction.

The winner will be announced the morning after the election. To participate, please give your prediction in the comment section, and make sure to include your username. No anonymous picks will be accepted.

Now, allow me to go first. 

Kenny Poo: Romney 305 - 233

Summary: I believe Romney's advantage with independents and economy-first voters, plus a substantial receding of Obama's 2008 turnout tsunami, will be enough to send Mr. Romney to a close but decisive victory. I see PA very vulnerable to tilt Romney due to Obama's environmentalist policies threatening the coal industry. WI is almost always a very competitive state, and I see enough boost from Ryan being on the ticket to push it over the top for Romney.

Click here to see my full electoral map prediction. Share with me yours!

 ~Kenny Poo

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Phillip Phillips New Album Snippets

Phillip Phillips, P2, PP, Phil-Phil, or whatever you like to call the American Idol champion who's hit single "Home" is absolutely destroying the Billboard sales and airplay charts (last I checked he'd sold just over 12 billion copies and was #1 on 19 different radio charts), has now released snippet previews of his upcoming, debut album World From The Side Of The Moon (see above).

Now, snippets can often be liars, so it pays to reserve judgment when giving these tracks a listen. That said, my preliminary take is that there's reason to be very optimistic his debut album will be a damn good one. Yes, it's a bit popped up for commercial appeal, and, sadly, his darker, jazzier, more haunting side seems minimized so as not to scare off the ignoramus masses, but that doesn't mean it's fluff by any stretch. To my completely amateurish (yet brilliant) ear, I'd say it's sound is a combo of Mathews, Matchbox and Mumford in style and feel.

That said, they are only snippets and I could be completely changing my tune about his tunes when the album drops for real on November 19th. My very early faves are Man On The Moon, Where We Came From, Drive Me and Wanted Is Love, but, again, snippets can be misleading so we'll wait for the album to do a full review.

Bottom line: Sounds great so far!

~Kenny Poo