Monthly Archives: October 2008

Beautiful! Bodacious! Brilliant! BEYONCE…

Quote of the Day: The Rhythm Of Life is a powerful beat/Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet/Rhythm in your bedroom/Rhythm in the street/Yes, The Rhythm Of Life is a powerful beat…” “Rhythm of Life” from Sweet Charity

No one on the music scene todayand I mean nobody, not Ciara, not Rhianna, not Britney, and sadly, most certainly not Madonna, anymore–has the style, showmanship, and savvy of the superstar named Beyonce. Two new singles out to promote her upcoming release; only one of them moved me, the ballad “If I Were a Boy.”  The other one, “Single Ladies”, just seemed like a retread to me, a nursery rhym-ish Destiny’s Child track remixed as “Get Me Bodied” from the B’Day CD. 
Then I saw the video (thanks for the early morn shout-out from Mr. Chase-Marshall–hyphenated brothas looking out, indeed!). And I got it…
This video is, simply put, magic: so amazingly on-target, so dazzingly inventive in its simplicity, so ferocious and potent, it reminds me of Prince’s “Kiss” video in a way, relying as it does solely on the sheer star power of the artist, the hotter-than-July cinematography, and some cool and breathtakingly gorgeous choreography. The choreography! Did someone resurrect Michael Kidd and play him some hardcore r&b beats? Did someone bring back Bob Fosse and ask him to teach some steps to the Ikettes? No other artist today steals so smartly and effortlessly from the best of the past to create the future of popular culture. 
When I interviewed Beyonce for the cover of Giant magazine back in 2006, on the eve of the release of B’Day and Dreamgirls, I told her about a show called Liza With a ‘Z’, a Bob Fosse-directed one-woman show that Liza Minnelli did for one night only on Broadway back in the 70s. I gave Beyonce a DVD of the show and told her that I thought she was the only artist who could pull off something as elegant and sophisticated and fun and wild. She demurred–as she should have, frankly–but I could tell she liked being compared to a show biz legend like Liza. Homegirl’s turn as Deena Jones in Dreamgirls may not have turned out to be the showcase for this showstopper that she (and others) wanted it to be, but then, Dreamgirls really isn’t Deena’s show to stop. It’s Effie’s, and frankly, as good as Beyonce was in the flick, no one was going to stop Jennifer Hudson, the same way no one was going to stop Jennifer Holiday 26 years ago in the original production. BUT…Beyonce has her videos, and years still to find the vehicle that will show off her stuff as vibrantly as possible.
This video is one step closer, I think, to Beyonce With a ‘B’
Okay, I’ll stop gushing now…Check it out, kids…

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New and Improved SCOTT TOPICS coming soon!!!!

Quote of the Day: “Tides are turning bringing winds of change/ Why do I feel this way?” — “Promise of a New Day” by Paula Abdul

So, for those of you who’ve stuck me, through thick and thin and disappearances from the blogging scene, I have an announcement to make. For the next coupla months, Scott Topics will be undergoing some changes. 
Starting next week, each day will have a theme of sorts. I’m going to start my countdown of the best (or, well, my favorite) cover songs/remakes of all-time. This started because of a debate I got into with a friend over which was better: Prince’s original “I Feel For You” or Chaka Khan’s 1984 re-do. I think Prince is a musical genius who can, for the most part, do almost no wrong. But I still think Chaka Khan’s version of the song is the definitive artistic statement. So there. Please send me some of your choices for the best remakes (and why you think so) and maybe they’ll make the blog.
One day, probably Wednesday, will be dedicated to The SPB Q, a questionnaire/interview with someone I think is interesting, who I think you might/should find interesting, too. I think the first one MIGHT be with Jody Watley, who I’ve loved for years and years now and who’s doing some interesting fun things with her music independently…
One day will be just about books–reviews, publishing industry news, stuff about my own writing. I’ve gotten tons and tons of emails from people who wanna hear about that stuff, how my own writing is going, how I maneuver my way around the business, advice, etc. So look for that, probably on Mondays.
I still haven’t decided what to fill the other two days with, or even if I will. I may leave them open to answer questions I get from readers in my email box. Or I might write about some music stuff. Or politics. Or I might leave the space blank–and take a rest. I am about to start a new book, which always takes up a bunch of time; and teaching has turned out to be much more involving, time-wise, than I ever expected. But it’s fun and I won’t stop doing it anytime soon.
So, there ya go. Your Scott Topics update. Again, sorry for the lag in time between postings. But I’m done with The VIPs, my new novel which comes out next May. I’m just waiting to get edits back to take it to the next level. I’ll be showing you guys the cover soon; that’s exciting!
Welcome to the new Scott Topics. Stay awhile.

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Donna Brazile Speaks…

Quote of the Day “Oh Donna/Oh Oh Donna/Oh oh oh, Looking for my Donna…” — from HAIR

I love this woman….I really do…Just listen…

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Catching Up…

Quote of the Day: “The freaks are rising up through the floor …” Oasis, “Bag It Up”

Getting Updated: 
  • The year’s almost over and I’ve heard a bunch of new records but the only one I’ve been playing over and over and over again is Dig Your Soul Out by Oasis. It really is my favorite Oasis record since What’s the Story Morning Glory. I know, I know: you’ve heard that before. But this time it’s true. I believe you have to love any CD that quotes the Beatles AND LaBelle in one track. And though there aren’t as many stadium-shout sing-a-longs as there have been in the past, the songwwriting is, for the most part, crisp and full of the kind of Oasis balls-out swing that still marks them, really, as the last real rock stars. And Noel Gallagher has written a song called “Falling Down” that is, far and away, one of the best songs he’s ever written: it somehow manages to be atmospherically autumnal, groovy, and rocking all at the same time. Sublime.
  • Speaking of, the new reunion single by LaBelle sounds wack. Other judgment withheld til I hear the whole album.
  • For some reason this past summer I watched a slew of Paul Newman flicks. I watched, in the span of about three days: Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, From the Terrace, Hud, The Long Hot Summer, and Sweet Bird of Youth. I also watched, in that same span, a coupla Marlon Brando flicks: A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront. I know that Brando’s considered the greatest–and I do think he’s done some of the best screen acting in the history of screen acting, especially in Waterfront and The Godfather–but when I think about Newman, who was in the same generation of 1950s-launched hearthrob/serious actors with Brando and Dean and Montgomery Clift, I have to believe that Newman really was the best. The most professional, the most versatile, the one who, at the end of the day, lasted, and left a body of work that transcended time, genres, and generation. Go watch Sweet Bird of Youth, if you can. Or The Sting. Or Hud. Or Cool Hand Luke. Watch Newman’s agile way of finding the depth in his often callow characters. Then come back and tell me that Brando–who did change the way the game was played–was anywhere as fluid and subtle a player as Newman. And, to quote cinematographer Conrad Hall, he was just so freaking beautiful…RIP Mr. Newman.

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