Projecting Similarities, Ariana Vs. Jessica

By Chris McPherson

In 2013, it can be quite difficult task to maintain a successful career in music, while also maintaining originality. I mean, with centuries upon centuries of music, is there any melody or technique someone can use that is completely new? But it can get quite awkward when two similarities pop up around the same time. I’m talking about the music videos for young singers, Ariana Grande The Way ft. Mac Miller and Jessica Sanchez Tonight ft. Ne Yo.

If you watch both music videos, you’ll notice that they both feature the singers in front of a projector screen. Now this may not be the first time anyone has ever done this in a music video, and it probably won’t be the last time. But both of these music videos were filmed around the same time and premiered within a week of each other. So is this foul play? Did someone steal the idea from another? Or is it a mere coincidence?

Luckily this should be the least of the both girl’s worries. Grande, who got her start in 2010 on Nickelodeon’s Victorious playing the ditzy Cat Valentine, is ready to release her debut album almost two years after signing with Universal Republic Records. Sanchez on the other hand, just catapulted to fame a year ago as the runner up for 11th season of American Idol.

As far as the actual songs go, I can definitely say I side in favor of Grande. Although Sanchez’ Tonight  is a certified club banger, there isn’t much going on here besides a nice beat, a nice song, and a nice feature from Ne Yo. This comes as a suprise given than it was made by superstar production team of Mikkel Storleer Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen, better known as StarGate. These guys are the reasons for Billboard number ones like Rihanna’s Diamonds, Katy Perry’s Firework,  and Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow along with a wide set of more heavy hitters. I would have liked more.

Grande on the other hand decided to delve in her inner R&B princess. A sample of the late Big Pun’s Still Not a Player,  I dub this song a homerun. It sounds familiar while also so new, and her power house voice steals the show. Who knew a little girl from Nickelodeon could belt some sweet notes like that?

All in all, do you think the similarities are too obvious?

The Duff Days Aren’t Over

By Chris McPherson

Disney Channel has done it again. Last night they tugged on my faint memories of an old Disney Channel of the early 2000s. For the past couple of years, Disney Channel has been known to air classic Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOM) around 2 a.m. on weekends, and I was not ready for what they decided to show on Sunday night.

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Usually it’s just another old flick, like the Halloweentown or High School Musical, but Disney went way back and aired Cadet Kelly. How could you Disney Channel? It was way past my bedtime and I could not afford to stay up any later because of my 9 a.m. class. It took me about 15 minutes to find the courage to turn the TV off and get some shut eye.

The hardest part of choosing sleep over Cadet Kelly was missing the chance to take a glimpse into The Ghost of Hilary Duff Past, circa the Lizzie McGuire era. It seems like its been ages since I saw Duff on a Disney Channel screen, and I must say, I miss it.

This all all seems somewhat coincidental since Duff is currently working on a career comeback since giving birth to her first child early last year. If you haven’t been trolling the blogosphere for the up-to-date details on Duff’s next move, no worries, I can fill that void. She will soon guest star on the Fox comedy, Raising Hope. She also just signed a development deal with Fox to produce her own show. And let’s not forget Duff is a woman of many talents. She hasn’t dropped the microphone for good. Hil’s been in and out of the studio for the past year working on new music.

Duff is on her way to the top. She’s managed to do all this while maintaining a relatively private and drama free life, unlike her other teen bopper counterparts.

So Lizzie, Hilary, beloved wife and mother. Do your thing, girl. I’ll be waiting for what you have to offer. In the meantime, I’ll probably search the Internet tonight for an online version of Cadet Kelly.

Also, speaking of Cadet Kelly, has anyone seen or heard from Christy Carlson Romano lately? Apparently she was in the movie as well. But after the end of Even Stevens and Kim Possible, she seems to be kind of off the grid. Where has she been?

The Truth Sinks In, Toni Braxton

By Chris McPherson

For some time now, I’ve tried to act like it didn’t effect. Like I’ve never spent evenings laying on the my living floor listening to Spanish Guitar after popping the CD in the stereo system. Like I don’t want to sway across the room when Breathe Again comes on. Or that Braxton Family Values is not only a show, but a popular search term in my YouTube account. I’m going to miss music from Toni Braxton.

Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Yes, she recently announced that she won’t be releasing new music, and that she just doesn’t feel the same way about it anymore, but I just feel so cheated, and this feeling has just started to sink in. The songstress that was once making me high, is now making me sad. Toni was an icon for not only people around my mother’s age cough cough – old. But she was a gem of 90s R&B music. And it wasn’t until recently that I went back into the vault of her era that I understood how much of a star she was.

Of course those money issues she ran into a number of times were somewhat embarrassing, but she came back with a dance hit this summer, I Heart You, that went number one on US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard). The fact that she wrote and produced such a great song independently without much promotion truly convinced me that she was going to reemerge and let these young gals know she can still deliver. But no. She said bye bye.

This may be a delayed reaction, but I have noticed that it tends to take a while for me to truly understand the gravity of some celebrity news when they occur. In fact, it wasn’t until this past December that Whitney Houston’s death really started to hit me.

The only bright side from all of this is that she is still set to release her eight studio album, Chapter VIII: The Encore of a Gemstone, this year. But after that, she plans to retire from music.

Here’s her first song to reach Billboard number 1.

Is This Love? Jordin Sparks

By Chris McPherson

American Idol alum, Jordin Sparks is back with a vengeance in the new dance tracl, “Is This Love.” The man behind the song, Italian DJ Alex Gaudino paired with the Pop R&B songstress for what could be a new direction for Sparks.

“Is This Love” feels like the perfect spring/summer song  for Jordin to make a music comeback. Although she’s recently been in the media for her high profile relationship with Jason Derulo, we haven’t seen much music from her. Is this love? I’m not sure, but it could be a step in the right direction.

It hasn’t been said if this could be the beginning of new album for Sparks, but that would be nice idea given the fact that she hasn’t released an album since 2009. And besides her stint in the movie Sparkle, Sparks hasn’t released any new music since 2011 with “I Am Woman,” which didn’t quite result in an album. I can still hear my favorite line of the song “It ain’t easy walking in stilettos, but somebody gotta do it.”

Not sure where this is going for Sparks, but any new music is well received. We’ll see how the critics feel about it soon.