FLASHBACK: Michael Gray's "The Weekend," Still a Great Theme Song for Fridays


12 years later, Michael Gray's "The Weekend" is still a great song to kick off your Friday morning and get you pumped up for 48 hours of pure, unadulterated leisure time.

And the video is also an opportunity to ogle a bunch of underwear models pretending to be office gals who work hard for the money:

@TheFirstEcho


St. Lucia's "Matter" is Already One of the Best Pop Albums of 2016


St. Lucia's sophomore effort, Matter, is the New Order / Depeche Mode / Erasure revival album I never knew I needed. The entire collection is an energetic cornucopia of earwormy synths and beats that will be playing on repeat for the next several months. From the uplifting "Dancing on Glass" to "Help Me Run Away," a song that belongs in the opening credits of an 80s spring break movie, Matter is a pop masterpiece.

You can sample some of the amazing tracks from the following videos in which the group's lead vocalist and founder, Jean-Philip Grobler, breaks down each song on what is proving to be one of the best pop albums of 2016 (and we've only just finished January):


And here:

And here's the album in its entirety:

@TheFirstEcho


My 800th Post: 16 Predictions for 2016!


Every new year usually begins with some hope that the next 365 days will bring about great change, new surprises, and enjoyable fodder we'll most likely forget once the next one rolls around.

But screw resolutions. I'm not here to spew out a list of personal promises. Here are 16 things I know I will be facing in the coming months...

1. Between The X-Files revival and this summer's Independence Day sequel, 2016 is going to feel very 1996. All I need now is a Natalie Imbruglia comeback single to complete the process of turning me back into my 16-year-old self.

2. Chris Rock will say something controversial but hysterical about #OscarSoWhite at the 88th Academy Awards. Consequently, Twitter will have a field day.

3. I will endure countless comments and photos of people preparing for Coachella. (My condolences while you endure #CoachellaDiet2016.)

4. I will turn another year older, officially making me old enough to have fathered a teenager. (Thankfully that has never happened...I think.)


5. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will make a nice sum of change at the box office.

6. Troye Sivan will make an impression on Top 40 radio. (Fingers crossed. After all, Ellen loves him.)


7. Donald Trump will have several more insults under his sleeve for Hillary Clinton. The American public will react with equal amounts of vitriol...and yawning.

8. Adele will have to cancel one or more concerts due to vocal complications. Sorry fans in [insert any major city here].



9. The Girl on the Train will be a good movie, despite its location change to New York. Emily  Blunt will deliver. And so will Justin Theroux.

10. Summer will be hot.

11. My spring break will include partying it up with retirees on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where I will also find a great deal at the local shopping outlets. After all, I've already booked a flight to visit my parents who have become new members of the Snowbird community (New Yorkers who escape the winter and take up residence down south).

12. This will be Leslie Jones's year. (That is, if Ghostbusters doesn't flop.)

13. Bok choy will become the new kale. "Hi, I'll have the bok choy salad with a bok choy smoothie and side of fried bok choy chips."

14. Shonda Rhimes will give us another reason to tune into ABC and blow us away for the umpteenth time with The Catch.

15. Another famous celebrity will die.

16. It will rain in L.A.

@TheFirstEcho


Song of the Month: January 2016


Rudimental's "Lay It All On Me" featuring Ed Sheeran is the perfect track to use while adjusting to the post-holiday doldrums of January. Its mid-tempo, melancholy-tinged sensibility feels just right around this time of year.

The video may be a bit of a downer with some of its imagery, but the lyrics work as a reassurance that everything will be all right as we kick off this promising new year. And I can't stop listening to this.

@TheFirstEcho


TWENTY16: Sounds of the New Year


Here it is, my brand-spankin' new playlist to help you properly kick off 2016.

Granted, I'm a little late to the party on some of these. For instance, Rudimental's "Lay It All On Me" featuring Ed Sheeran (track 2) somehow flew past my radar back in September, but this hypnotic collaboration is currently on repeat, a definite shoo-in for January's Song of the Month.

*And be sure to check back because I'll be adding more tracks as we move further along into the winter. (Breaking these out into separate volumes is now a thing of the past - why not have all of the season's goodness in one place, right?)

@TheFirstEcho


Nerdgasm of the Month: It's Like 'Downton Abbey' Meets 'Scream'


One of my all-time favorite murder mysteries, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, is finally getting a new remake, courtesy of BBC One and co-producer Lifetime. (!!!)

I first read the novel back in in middle school at the prodding my mother, a huge Christie fanatic. I was immediately intrigued because it took on the format of a traditional slasher flick. (Ten strangers isolated from the outside world being picked off one by one.) And as a kid raised on countless Friday the 13ths and any other horror movie I could watch, this book seemed like great middle ground, a compromise between a son and a mother who wanted him to read more "classics."

And Then There Were None is also the OG when it comes to large ensemble murder mysteries. I guess it's no surprise that movies like Clue and Murder by Death, which lampoon the genre, appear on my Top 10 All-Time Favorite list.

Some pop culture pundits have said that Hitchcock's Psycho is the Original Slasher Film, but really, ATTWN should be crowned that title. And for those of who have never read the book or have never seen one of its many adaptations (see below), let me sell it to you this way: It's like Downton Abbey meets Scream.


Ever since catching an Agatha Christie double feature at the New Beverly two months ago, I've been pining for someone to produce a really compelling remake after the 1945 black-and-white original (above), the 1965 camp classic, the 1974 European remake, Russia's bleaker and more loyal 1987 adaptation, and the little-seen 1989 version that starred Frank Stallone and Brenda Vaccaro (I shit you not).

That day has finally come.

Check out the 30-second promo of the miniseries that just aired in the UK (We Americans will get to watch it on cable sometime in the new year.)

@TheFirstEcho