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Archive for October 2011

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Sometimes You Need a DIRTY MIND

As I sit here and listen to Prince's 26th studio album Planet Earth, it makes me realize why I have been a fan of his for almost 3 decades now. The man is just dripping with talent, sometimes too much to comprehend. Some people think he is no longer relevant in today's music industry of one hit wonders, boy bands and manufactured music, but I say that is total nonsense. He may not have the radio play and albums sales of the 80's, but no one can touch him as far as stage performance goes..no one. This brings me to the topic of this blog, Dirty Mind. I was a mere lad when I came across this album at the local record store where I grew up. The album cover alone was bad enough to were my mother said I couldn't get it. But, I went ahead on my own and purchased it, but never told her that I did. Realize, this album came out in 1981 and was the very first cd in the music industry to receive a Parental Advisory sticker. I played it several times and although I did enjoy it, I didn't actually realize what I was listening to....a groundbreaking masterpiece. Flash forward years later and several Prince albums later, I was home one night and decided to dust off the cd and play it again. It had been a while since I had listened to the entire cd. I was completely floored at what I heard coming from my speakers. How could this album be from 1980? It was truly groundbreaking, it had elements of funk, new wave, rock and pop. But how could an album that was only 8 tracks and 30 minutes long accomplish this? One word, Prince. Every instrument, every vocal and every lyric was Prince, unprecedented at the time. His touring band was made up of different races and women, another first for that time period. As I continued to listen to this album, I thought to myself, I can't be the only one realizing the greatness of this album. So, I searched the web and found many critics agreed with my opinion. Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the 500 best albums of all time. Here is a review from AllMusic.com that pretty much sums up this album:
Neither For You nor Prince was adequate preparation for the full-blown masterpiece of Prince's third album, Dirty Mind. Recorded in his home studio, with Prince playing nearly every instrument, Dirty Mind is a stunning, audacious amalgam of funk, new wave, R&B, and pop, fueled by grinningly salacious sex and the desire to shock. Where other pop musicians suggested sex in lewd double-entendres, Prince left nothing to hide — before its release, no other rock or funk record was ever quite as explicit as Dirty Mind, with its gleeful tales of oral sex, threesomes, and even incest. Certainly, it opened the doors for countless sexually explicit albums, but to reduce its impact to mere profanity is too reductive — the music of Dirty Mind is as shocking as its graphic language, bending styles and breaking rules with little regard for fixed genres. Basing the album on a harder, rock-oriented beat more than before, Prince tries everything — there's pure new wave pop ("When You Were Mine"), soulful crooning ("Gotta Broken Heart Again"), robotic funk ("Dirty Mind"), rock & roll ("Sister"), sultry funk ("Head," "Do It All Night"), and relentless dance jams ("Uptown," "Partyup"), all in the space of half an hour. It's a breathtaking, visionary album, and its fusion of synthesizers, rock rhythms, and funk set the style for much of the urban soul and funk of the early '80s.
That review right there sums it up. To give you even a better taste of this album, here is the video of the title cut:
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Idris Elba meet Superstardom!

You know it's very rare that I admit that I am wrong when it comes to my choices in entertainment. I've been a pop culture junkie for a long time and when it comes to picking great films, TV series, music and so on, I think my track record speaks for itself. Now I have to swallow my pride and admit to a grave error...I didn't watch The Wire when it initially aired on HBO. My reasons were actually pretty valid. Yet, another cop procedural with the same hum drum storylines and characters. So, after having at least 25 people tell me I needed to watch the series. I finally sat down to watch it. Thanks to my good friend Jessica Howe, I sat down to watch the pilot episode. Ok, fast forward one hour and I was sitting in my apartment with my jaw on the ground! What did I just watch? Why didn't I watch this from the beginning! I just witnessed probably one of the best hours of television I have ever seen and I've seen alot! Needless to say, I ran through those 60 episodes in under two weeks. I couldn't tear myself away from the screen. Each hour was as riveting as the one before it. I would look forward to getting home from work, getting things ready for the next day and just sit and watch The Wire until it was time to go to bed. There are many fascinating characters on the show, Jimmy McNulty, D'Angelo and Avon Barksdale, Bodie, Poot, Kima and Lt. Daniels to name a few. But the character that stuck out to me was Stringer Bell. He was the partner in crime with Avon Barksdale. A drug dealer, but one with ambition and drive. Someone who was educated and wanted to take the money they were making and invest, not splurge in the drug lifestyle. I found his character fascinating and the actor who played him, Idris Elba, fascinating as well. I knew I had seen him before on TV and the movies and found out that alot of projects he was involved in, I enjoyed. He's a fantastic actor whose range is top-notch. So, to my surprise, I found out that Idris was a British actor and had a series on BBC America called Luther. Well, without hesitation I jumped at the chance to watch this series. If you haven't heard of it, check out this trailer for the first season: As you can see by this trailer, the show is not your normal bad ass cop procedural, yet one with depth and an Emmy nominated performance by Idris Elba. If you have BBC America, you should definitely check out this series. The first season was only 6 episodes and season 2 was only 4 episodes. I don't understand the British way of doing things as far as episodes per season goes, but I did really enjoy watching this series. Idris Elba is an actor to keep on your radar. He has several big time movie projects coming up, including the Ridley Scott film Prometheus. So, remember the name Idris Elba, he is going to become a big star in the industry!
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