Thursday, 31 May 2012

ARTICLE: If Aaliyah Was Still Alive, Would Beyoncé Be As Successful?

It is a question that has circulated the web for over half a decade. With the loss of one of R&B's most promising stars and the subsequent undeniably stratospheric rise of Beyoncé's solo star, many have often wondered whether the latter came as a consequence of a former and whether the now titled 'Queen B' would be as successful if Aaliyah had not passed away in 2001. 

While it is fair to consider it a question with merit, one must also wonder as to the motivations behind it. Indeed, one often finds that the 'stan' allegiance of those posing it is somewhat... expected. However, this article has no intention of exploring this issue as a means of criticising them or 'calling them out', so to speak. In fact, it shall attempt to put forward an argument that lacks as much stan bias as possible, with only the use of facts, statistics, as well as media and public opinion.

First, in order to hypothesise as to where Aaliyah would be career-wise in 2012, allow us to discuss just how successful both Aaliyah and Beyoncé were at the time of the former's passing. It is undeniable that Aaliyah's One In A Million performed better than Destiny's Child's eponymous debut; with the former being certified double platinum within a few months and being ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the best albums of the decade, while the latter had only one hit and took far longer to ship just one million copies.

However, Destiny's Child's luck soon changed with the release of their second record, The Writings on the Wall. It was home to the group's first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, spent most of 1999 in the top 40, and by November 2001, had been certified eight times platinum. It has since gone on to sell over 17 million copies worldwide. Additionally, DC's third record, Survivor (which was released in the same year as Aaliyah's self titled third offering), had two #1 hits and sold almost eight million copies worldwide by the end of the year. To date, it has been certified four times platinum in the states and has shipped fifteen million copies worldwide.

Comparatively, Aaliyah (released shortly before the star's premature passing), while being better received by critics (it scored 76 on metacritic, higher than Survivor's 63), sold only one million copies in five weeks. However, upon Aaliyah's death, the record saw a still unmatched 800% increase in US sales, with over 300,000 copies sold in a week. It spent over 68 weeks on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell almost three million in the states. 

What these sales demonstrate, more than anything, is that, prior to her death, Aaliyah's reach only truly extended as far as US shores. Her sales were heavily weighted in her home nation's favour, with One In A Million taking over twelve years to sell eight million copies worldwide and Aaliyah (the star's final album) taking ten years (and the sales-boosting effect of her tragic death) to sell thirteen million worldwide. Additionally, while she had numerous hits states-side, Aaliyah scored only two top ten hits outside of the US before her death. 

In comparison, Destiny's Child saw considerable worldwide success. While their self titled debut album may not have performed well, its first single, No, No No, was a top five hit in several countries in Europe. Similar success followed songs like Bills, Bills, Bills; Bug a Boo; Say My Name and Jumpin' Jumpin'. This is in addition to the worldwide smash hits Independent Woman, Survivor and Bootylicious. When you also take into consideration the considerable worldwide sales of The Writings on the Wall and Survivor, it is quite clear that, in terms of worldwide success, Destiny's Child (and, therefore, Beyoncé) trumped Aaliyah. 

Indeed, how could one argue Beyoncé's considerable success came as a result of Aaliyah's death, when, clearly, the former was arguably more successful at the time? Wouldn't it be more logical to argue that, in fact, their careers would have continued on in a similar trajectory?

When the question of whether Beyoncé would be as successful if Aaliyah were still alive is discussed, another issue often pops us: that of how talented the two ladies were at the time. Indeed, it is often argued that the latter was considerably more talented than the former and would, therefore, be considerably 'bigger' if she were still alive. What these people often forget, however, is that, Aaliyah's live performances rarely received the critical acclaim that Beyoncé's did at the same age.

At 21, Beyoncé was the better vocalist and, arguably, the better dancer. One has only to compare Aaliyah's final performance on Jay Leno of More Than A Woman and Beyoncé's Crazy In Love showing at Star Search in 2003. While Aaliyah's choreography was perhaps more intricate and complex, Beyoncé's 'fire' was undeniable, lending the performance a certain energy that set her apart from most of the female artists of the time.

Allow us to also use the example of Beyoncé's now famed 2004 Grammy showing with the legendary Prince (when she was only 22, the same age as Aaliyah at the time of her passing). Since cited by many as being one of the 'greatest Grammy performances of all time', some even argue that it is B's best showing to date and that it might even be just one of the best performances in history. 

We have yet to find a performance of Aaliyah's that was so recognised by both the media and the general public. Yes, she was one of the better performers of her considerably talented generation, but it is arguable that Aaliyah was not, as some claim, the better performer. And, if we are going by where they stood talent-wise at the same age, and the rate at which Beyoncé has since improved over the last nine years of her solo career (with almost every performance after that time being lauded by the public and critics alike), it is possible to claim that Beyoncé would have still been the better performer in 2012. 

What must also not be ignored is the fact that, during the nineties (the peak of Aaliyah's career), she was consistently being outsold by similar artists like Brandy and Monica. As well as having won over 100 awards throughout her lengthy career, the former is currently ranked by the RIAA as being one of the best-selling female artists in history. Brandy's sophomore effort, the critically acclaimed Never Say Never, sold 14 million copies worldwide, with over nine million of that being sold worldwide. 

The current state of her career, however, is very different. Brandy's latest record, Human, saw her lowest sales to date, with less than 200,000 copies having been sold, total. And, it must be pointed out once again, that this is an artist who was one of the biggest of the nineties, and one whose star shone a light brighter than Aaliyah's. Why would Aaliyah's situation be any different in 2012? If anything, wouldn't it be more logical to argue that Aaliyah would, in fact, be worse off than Brandy (and Monica) in terms of her music career?

It is entirely possible that Aaliyah, judging by the avenues she was taking at the time of her death, would be one of the best known black actresses of today. Indeed, her role as Trish in the box office success Romeo Must Die garnered her critical acclaim. In fact, we'd go so far as to argue that she was a far better actress than Beyoncé, and would have continued on in a similar fashion.

Perhaps Aaliyah would have pursued that acting career; a wiser option in a post-Beyoncé world, and one that many an artist should have considered after Dangerously in Love was released. We have little doubt that she would have proved successful, being more talented in that area and having garnered the acclaim necessary to score notable roles. In fact, the role of the eponymous character in Honey (the film that saw Jessica Alba reach the career highs she enjoyed post-2005) was initially intended for Aaliyah. 

However, if we are only discussing a career in music, claiming that Beyoncé's success would have been hindered by Aaliyah's continued presence is one foundered in hypothesis; and one without any factual basis. At the time of the latter's death, Beyoncé was more successful worldwide and, at 22, was also arguably more talented. Additionally, the subsequent downfall of Aaliyah's more successful peers, Brandy and Monica, lends credence to the claim that her music career would have followed a similar trajectory. 

Allow us to add one further point; one mired in personal opinion. It appears that Aaliyah's name is mentioned after each significant milestone Beyoncé passes. Whenever she wins an award or is recognised by a noteworthy organisation or committee, certain 'stanbases' ask the same question, knowing that it is one based in theory, and is, therefore, more difficult to disprove. It is arguable that, knowing that very few female artists can stand up to Beyoncé (and it is suspicious that those that support those artists never seem to ask this question), they use Aaliyah as a symbol of all the hopes they have for their favourite (whom, they are well are, will never actualise those hopes). This is far from fair as it leads to the star's memory being insulted by those who see fit to do it. Would it not be more just to allow Aaliyah's legacy stand alone, to not be denigrated in favour of arguing a moot point?

After all, over ten years later, Beyoncé is still one of the biggest stars in recent history. And, if there is anything the princess of R&B deserves after all this time, it is to be allowed to rest in peace.

NEWS: 'The Devil Wears Prada Sequel' Announced...

Almost ten years after the #1 best seller was published, a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada has been announced. 

Follow the jump for details on the plot and the book's release date...

OUTTAKES: Outtakes from Charlize Theron & Kristen Stewart's 'Interview' Cover Shoot...

With the release of the highly anticipated Snow White and The Huntsman, its stars Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart have been on a heavy promo blitz for the film. 

Above is one of the photos from the Interview cover shoot the two recently posed for. Featuring a noir background, peep two solo shots of Auntie Charlize and Twilight baby after the jump.

OUTTAKES: Outtakes From Rihanna's Controversial 'Esquire' Cover Spread...

In between shooting a video for her latest hit, Where Have You Been, and promoting her fated first film venture, Battleship, Rihanna found the time to shoot a cover spread for Esquire.

Featuring a curiously lightened RiRi, the photos are, nevertheless, Little Miss Sunshine's usual fare - meaning controversial and with a scantily-clad star. Peep the rest of the shots, taken by Matt Irwin, after the jump.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

TRAILER: First Teaser Trailer For 'Les Miserables' Released - Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman..

Less than 24 hours after we posted several photos from its set, a teaser trailer has been released for the upcoming silver screen adaptation of Les Miserables.

Peep the visual and appreciate our girl Anne's haunting vocals after the jump.

OUTTAKES: Outtakes from Blake Lively's Stunning 'Bullett' Cover Shoot...

As well as working hard to distance herself from the travesty that has become of the once great Gossip Girl (an issue we shall address in due course), Blake Lively recently found time to do a cover shoot for the summer issue of Bullett magazine.

Featuring the actress in a variety of poses and numerous gorgeous ensembles, check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

CANDIDS: Eva Longoria Spotted At London's Heathrow Airport...

Eva Longoria (formerly Parker) was recently spotted outside London's Heathrow Airport. The actress, whose producing debut Devious Maids was recently turned down by ABC, kept it chic with a white mini and burnt-orange Hermès bag. 

Check out the other photo of Ms Longoria after the jump.

CANDIDS: Charlize Theron Snapped Outside 'Today Show'...

The flawless Charlize Theron was recently snapped leaving the NBC studios after a quick stop at the Today Show on the Snow White and the Huntsman promo trail. 

Sporting baby-pink lipstick and a stylish black sheath, check out more photos of Auntie Charlize after the jump.

VERDICT: Eva Mendes on the Cover of July 'Marie Claire'...

Actress Eva Mendes recently shot the above cover for the July issue of Marie Claire

Our thoughts? Well, while we are in love with the crystal-encrusted playsuit and Ms. Ryan Gosling's Tyra-worthy pose, we can't help but feel disappointed at her slightly stiff facial expression. The smile looks a little... forced. 

For that alone, we shan't be giving her as high a score as the rest of the shot deserves.

VERDICT: 7.98/10

OUTTAKES: Outtakes From Victoria Beckham's 'Interview' Cover Shoot..

Pop icon, and now hot designer, Victoria Beckham recently did a cover shoot for German Interview. Featuring the fabulous mother-of-four in a variety of gorgeous outfits, peep the other photo after the jump.

PHOTO: New Promo Photo For Alexandra Burke's 'Heartbreak On Hold'...

Pop starlet Alexandra Burke recently released the above promotional photo for her long-awaited sophomore record, Heartbreak on Hold. Set for release on 4th June, its lead single, Elephant, already proved a hit, with the second, Let It Go, looking set to follow.

FILM ARTWORK: Another Two Posters For 'The Dark Knight Rises' Released...

The wonderful folk over at Warner Bros are really spoiling us, aren't they? Above is just one of the two new posters released for the most-anticipated release of 2012, The Dark Knight Rises.

Featuring a cat-suited Selina Kyle, as well as a Bruce Wayne who clearly means business, check out the other poster after the jump.

TRAILER: Showtime Releases Trailer for 'Dexter' Season 7...

With just over three months to go until its return, Showtime has released a trailer for the upcoming seventh season of their hit show Dexter

Peep the visual after the jump.

LIST: 'Our Fifty Favourite Songs Of All Time'... #40-31

As promised, we are continuing in our endeavour to list (in order of favour) our fifty favourite songs. Take a gander at the second instalment, featuring #40-31, after the jump.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Jay-Z & Kanye Release 'No Church In The Wild' Video...

Fresh of the success of the hit N***** In Paris as well as the UK leg of their Watch The Throne tour, Jay and Kanye have seen fit to release the visual for the much-anticipated new single, No Church In The Wild.

Check out the revolution-themed video after the jump.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

TRAILERS: Our Review Of The CW's Trailers For Their New Series - 2012

The CW has released the full length trailers for the new series they ordered for the 2012-2013 season. Read their respective press releases, watch the trailers and discover our predictions for cancellation, as well as our final rating for the CW, after the jump.

SNEAK PEEKS: Five New Sneak Peeks From USA's 'Common Law'..

USA earlier released five sneak peeks from the next episode of our new favourite summer show, Common Law

Starring Michael Ealy and Warren Kole and airing Fridays at 10pm, watch all five after the jump.

VERDICT: Delta Goodrem Graces July's 'VOGUE' Cover...

Having recently make controversial claims that she felt 'trapped' in her long-term relationship with former boyfriend Brian McFadden, Delta Goodrem also recently found time to shoot the above cover for July's issue of Australian VOGUE.

And, as with David Beckham's ELLE cover, it looks to be another weak July cover. Despite her modelesque features and artfully tousled ponytail, the harsh white background clashes with that ugly orange font, and detracts from Delta's almost-matching outfit. In truth, they are what keeps this cover from being a hit and it is a shame, for this is Delta's first VERDICT.

Maybe next time, DG?

VERDICT: 6.14/10

OUTTAKES: Outtakes from Delta Goodrem's 'VOGUE' Cover Shoot...

The beautiful and very talented songstress Delta Goodrem recently did a stunning cover shoot for the July issue of Australian VOGUE

The star, who will soon take on the role of judge on The Voice down under, can be seen in a variety of edgy shots after the jump.

TV SPOT: Another TV Spot for 'The Dark Knight' Rises Released...

It is quite apparent that the promo train for The Dark Knight Rises has officially left the station and is quickly picking up steam. Warner Bros just released yet another tv spot for the upcoming epic, this one entitled 'For Old Times Sake'.

Get your daily dose of Nolan magic after the jump.

PHOTOS: Nine New Photos from 'Les Miserables' Released...

Nine new photos have surfaced from the set of the upcoming Les Miserables

Starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Russell Crowe, peep the rest of the shots from the big screen adaptation of Victor Hugo's epic novel after the jump.

TV SPOT: Another TV Spot for 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Released...

20th Century Fox has certainly been busy today. With its release set for 13th July (a full week before the epic The Dark Knight Rises makes a mockery of the box office - very wise, might we add), the folks over there have released a trailer for the upcoming fourth instalment in the box office juggernaut that is the Ice Age series, Continental Drift.

If you happen to still be checking for it, peep the trailer after the jump.

TRAILER: Third Trailer for 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Released....

TRAILER: Third Trailer for 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Released....

With less than a month to go until its release, 20th Century Fox has seen fit to release a third (and, presumably, final) trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Starring Benjamin Hunter as the eponymous hero in the silver screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel, peep the trailer after the jump.

PHOTO: Photos Released From Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' - Jamie Foxx, Leo DiCaprio...

PHOTO: Photos Released From Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' - Jamie Foxx, Leo DiCaprio...

In the swirling maelstrom that is the bustling film industry in summer 2012, you'd be forgiven for forgetting about a few of the year's later releases. Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, is one such movie. And, realising this, the studio has (cleverly) seen fit to release several photos from the release in anticipation of its December release.

Peep the rest of the shots after the jump.

Monday, 28 May 2012

LIST: 'Our Fifty Favourite Songs Of All Time'... #50-41

LIST: 'Our Fifty Favourite Songs Of All Time'... #50-41

Having come to the realisation that we listen to a broad spectrum of music, we deemed it interesting to discover just which songs we favour above all others. 

With our fifty top tracks being revealed in order of favour over the next five days, check out which songs made it in at numbers 50-41 after the jump.

TV SPOT: Warner Bros Releases New TV Spot For 'The Dark Knight Rises'....

TV SPOT: Warner Bros Releases New TV Spot For 'The Dark Knight Rises'....

We have yet to fully prepare ourselves for the wonder that shall be The Dark Knight Rises but we are going to have to, for Warner Bros is upping the ante where promotion is concerned. 

In addition to the banners and posters we posted earlier, the good folks over at our new favourite studio have just released a new tv spot for the most anticipated release of 2012.

Hold on to your seat and peep the visual after the jump.

ARTWORK: Summit Releases Posters For 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II'...

ARTWORK: Summit Releases Posters For 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II'...

It is pretty much common knowledge that Twilight has taken a faster fall into irrelevancy than the planking craze, but apparently Summit didn't get the memo as they recently released some posters for the upcoming Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part II).

If you still care about what our least favourite trio (*raises Martini to Harry, Hermione and Ron*) have been getting up to lately, peep the other two (blander than beige walls) posters after the jump.

ARTICLE: The Difference Between 'Singers' And 'Vocalists'...

ARTICLE: The Difference Between 'Singers' And 'Vocalists'...

The question concerning the difference between 'singers' and 'vocalists' is one that many appear to have an issue with. Indeed, while it is undeniably true that there are several factors that separate the former from the latter, it seems that only a select few seem to actually know what they are and just how valuable they are for artists to have in their bag of tricks. This article aims to outline just what those factors are, identify just who among your favourite artists is a vocalist, who is a singer and what identifies them as such. 

REVIEW: 'Born This Way' - A Year On...

By: Joshua Lee

Before releasing an album, an artist generally spends an average of six to eight months doing press and building hype before the big reveal. However, in Lady Gaga’s case, she spent almost two years going through this process in preparation for Born This Way’s release.

Sadly, this over-hyping of what could have potentially been the best album of the past 10 years, did not pay off. It created a fan and media frenzy which resulted in overly high expectations for the record extending all the way from mid-2010 to February 2011, when the eponymous lead track was released. The expectation for this first single was that it would be a game-changing song about loving yourself for who you are, with a great blend of different musical influences.  It was also expected by many to be a ballad of sorts, however, it turned out to be an up-tempo Pop record with Madonna influences and two catchy hooks, “Don’t Be a Drag/Just Be a Queen/I’m on the right track, baby/I was Born This Way”. It was not majorly game-changing, but it was a good record nonetheless.

VERDICT: David Beckham Is First Man On 'Elle' June Cover...

VERDICT: David Beckham Is First Man On 'Elle' July Cover...

Notably making fashion history, iconic football player David Beckham is the first man to grace the July cover of Elle magazine. 

In spite of its significance, however, the cover leaves a lot to be desired. While the background's colour palate is a perfect choice, David's pose is awkward and stilted, with the result being suited more to an ad for H&M, rather than the cover of a fashion bible.

Additionally, the styling is sub-par. A v-necked long-sleeve shirt would have been a better choice, especially as it would have covered up the extensively revealed tattoos. 

All in all, not David's best shot, and far and away from his best cover.

VERDICT: 5.12/10

OUTTAKE: An Outtake From David Beckham's 'ELLE' Cover Shoot...

OUTTAKE: An Outtake From David Beckham's 'ELLE' Cover Shoot...

Above is an outtake from David Beckham's historic shoot for the July cover of ELLE magazine.

While it is an improvement on the travesty that is the actual cover, once again the pose is awkward, stilted and implies a lack of motion; something that is necessary for shots like these. The styling of the hair is also (ironically) not cutting it.

Maybe next time, David.

NEWS: Rihanna Celebrates 7th Anniversary Of 'Pon De Replay'..

NEWS: Rihanna Celebrates 7th Anniversary Of 'Pon De Replay'...

Pop titan Rihanna today celebrates the 7th anniversary of her debut hit single, Pon De Replay. Launching one of the biggest pop careers of the last decade, the song peaked at #2 both in the UK and in the States. The star has since gone on to sell over 60 million singles from 40 releases, as well as 25 million albums worldwide. 

RiRi had this to say on the matter:

Relive the Pon De Replay video experience after the jump.

TRAILERS: Our Review Of CBS' Trailers For Their New Series - 2012

TRAILERS: Our Review Of CBS' Trailers For Their New Series - 2012

CBS has released the full length trailers for the new series they ordered for the 2012-2013 season. Read their respective press releases, watch the trailers and discover our predictions for cancellation, as well as our final rating for CBS, after the jump.

PHOTOS: Cheryl Cole Releases Promo Shots For 'A Million Lights'...

PHOTOS: Cheryl Cole Releases Promo Shots For 'A Million Lights'...

Aspiring pop star Cheryl Cole just released several new promotional photos for her upcoming album, A Million Lights.

Featuring the star in an array of modelesque poses, peep the rest of the shots (snapped by the renowned Ellen Von Unwerth after the jump.

ARTWORK: Warner Bros. Releases 'The Dark Knight Rises' Posters & Banners...

ARTWORK: Warner Bros. Releases 'The Dark Knight Rises' Posters & Banners...

Having heard our (admittedly) loud cries for the ante to be upped where the promo for the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises is concerned, Warner Bros. recently released a poster and various banners for the film. 

Check out the rest incredible artwork for the year's most anticipated release after the jump.

ARTWORK: Showtime Releases Posters For 'Weeds' Eighth Season...

ARTWORK: Showtime Releases Posters For 'Weeds' Eighth Season...

Being home to a show that has actually improved with age, Showtime has proudly released several posters for the highly anticipated eighth season of Weeds

With the premier of the eighth season set for Sunday 1st July, peep the rest of the artwork after the jump.

CHART: The Top Ten Of The UK Singles Chart - 27th May...

CHART: The Top Ten Of The UK Singles Chart - 27th May...

1) We Are Young - fun. (feat. Janelle Monae)

2) Chasing The Sun - The Wanted

3) Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen

4) R.I.P - Rita Ora (feat. Tinie Tempah)

5) Too Close - Alex Clare

6) Where Have You Been - Rihanna

7) Picking Up The Pieces - Paloma Faith

8) Drive By - Train

9) Somebody That I Used To Know - Goyte (feat. Kimbra)

10) Young - Tulisa

CHART: The Top Ten Of The UK Albums Chart - 27th May...

CHART: The Top Ten Of The UK Albums Chart - 27th May...

1) Our Version of Events - Emeli Sande

2) Driving Towards the Daylight - Joe Bonamassa

3) 21 - Adele

4) Born and Raised - John Mayer

5) Number Ones - Bee Gees

6) Strangeland - Keane

7) Some Nights - fun.

8) Spirit In The Room - Tom Jones

9) Streets in the Sky - Enemy

10) Every Kingdom - Ben Howard