Tim McGraw

#522: Smells Like Tim McGraw

GETTING MORE TALE #522: Smells Like Tim McGraw

Music fans can buy just about anything with their favourite band’s name on it.  While Elvis merchandise and the onslaught of Beatlemania stuff makes for fun collectibles, Kiss really blasted things into overdrive, for better or for worse.  Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, we were inundated with Kiss.  Neighbors on our street had Kiss cards, the Kiss remote control van,  Kiss comics, Kiss posters, books about Kiss and more.  You could buy Kiss dolls.  Kiss Your Face makeup.  Everything!  At the time Kiss were heavily criticized for their merchandising.  Paul and Gene defended it by saying, ‘if our fans want to buy a Kiss hat, then why shouldn’t they be able to buy one?’  Turns out their fans wanted to buy a lot more including cars and coffins!

Now the merchandise door is wide open.  Everybody has dolls; my sister had some wretched New Kids on the Block dolls.  I have a friend who owns the Spice Girls.  I myself own Johnny Cash, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne.  Today, music celebrities have their own alcohol, such as Motley Brue or The Trooper beer.  Rock stars even have their own hot sauces.  I was a proud owner of Joe Perry’s Boneyard Brew.  (I’ve never been able to find Michael Anthony’s Mad Anthony sauce.)  I often like to picture Joe Perry hard at work over a boiling pot, mixing specially selected peppers and spices until he finally came up with his own Boneyard Brew.  It’s not impossible, although it is unlikely.

What is very highly unlikely is that Justin Bieber studied perfume chemistry to come up with his own scent, “Girlfriend”.

It seems perfumes and colognes are the latest hot trend in celebrity endorsements.    We are not so naive to think that the stars have anything to all to do with their own perfumes, but look at the list below.  (Courtesy once again of Uncle John’s calendar.)  Taylor Swift and Beyoncé don’t surprise me, but I didn’t know Tim McGraw had his own scent (“Southern Blend”).  Check out some of the interesting names below.

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Who knew Carlos Santana had a scent called “Carlos Santana”?  I wonder who came up with that clever name?  (Whoever they are, they probably make more money than us.) Even Kiss have a cologne, called “KISS Him for Men”. Kiss sell aftershaves and deodorants too. But we can’t blame Kiss for this trend, can we?  This one is on the shoulders of Hollywood.

The first celebrity scent was “Sophia” by Sophia Lauren, in 1981. The Italian film icon’s perfume was released by Coty who work with just about every major celebrity today. That’s not the interesting part. What is interesting is that we might be able to blame Gene Simmons just a little bit for the first music celebrity scent. After all, it was his ex-girlfriend Cher who was the first music star to enter the perfume world. Her scent “Uninhibited” was the first for a music performer. Did her ex-boyfriend’s merchandising ways have anything to do with this? The truth is, probably not — but it’s fun to blame Gene anyway.

With the reigning queens of pop like Katy (“Killer Queen” and “Purr”) and Gaga (“Fame for Women”), not to mention the boy-throbs like One Direction (“Our Moment for Women”), it is likely that music perfumes and colognes will remain big business for years to come.

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REVIEW: Def Leppard – Songs From the Sparkle Lounge (Japanese import)

For Aaron’s KMA review of this same album, click here!

DEF LEPPARD – Songs From the Sparkle Lounge (2008 Deluxe edition, Japanese version)

Could it be? The band who I once wrote off with the Euphoria album, followed by the dismal X, actually came back with something approximating a rock album! And not a bad rock album at that!

The band say that doing the covers album Yeah! revitalized them. Maybe. Personally I thought the covers album sucked, and that the dozen or so bonus tracks available elsewhere were way better than the actual album they released. Whatever. That was then and this is now, inside the Sparkle Lounge.

Terrible title, although I liked the single-disc cover art quite a lot. We know Def Leppard are more of a glam band than a metal band. The problem is, they were such a great metal band! High ‘n’ Dry is a masterpiece of riff-rock. Anyway, if you can forget High ‘n’ Dry, On Through The Night, or even Pyromania, you can get into Sparkle Lounge for what it is: A strong ballad-free return for one of the most beloved rock acts of the last two decades. Even Joe Elliot decided to show up this time, and sing to the best of his ability.

Very few weak tracks, lots of strong ones. “Go”, “Love”, “Hallucinate”, “Tomorrow”, “Only The Good Die Young”, “Bad Actress”…there is some serious fire happening here on these tracks! But the band saved the best new song for last. “Gotta Let It Go” has a riff and melody that fit right in with Def Leppard’s earlier sound. Only the occassional drum programs betray the thunder.

One song that I would call a weak track is the single “C’Mon C’Mon”.  In my review from the 12″ vinyl single, I called it a “crap song”.  It’s a shameless T-Rex rip-off, and also a Def Leppard rip off.  Next!

Japanese bonus tracks are disappointing in the sense that they are not different songs, just different mixes. “Nine Lives” appears without Tim McGraw (this is my preferred version as nu-country is like kryptonite to me and would probably kill me if I was overexposed). “Love” appears as a powerful piano version, in some ways superior to the original, but turning it into a ballad dilutes the purpose of this album.

I have no comments as to the SHM-CD. It sounded the same to me. I guess these things are supposed to last longer? The DVD includes the music video for “Nine Lives” (yuck), an album commentary and a “behind the scenes” feature.  For me, the all-region NTSC DVD contents and the lacklustre packaging don’t really  justify the existence of a “deluxe edition”.

So, whatever went right, this is the best Def Leppard album since the criminally underrated Slang in 1996. It could be the heaviest album since Pyromania. It’s far from perfect, but the good news is you can play it in the car with the windows down and nobody will laugh at you.

3.25/5 stars