Spotted: ‘Gossip Girl’ has returned!

Your One And Only Source Into The Scandalous Lives Of Manhattan’s Elite has returned.

Uh oh! It looks like the Upper East Side needs to be careful. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorn. Especially if that woman leaked everyone’s dirty little secrets. Gossip Girl is back on the Upper East Side, and she has to make up for the lost time.

Since July 2019, the world has been patiently waiting to see what will be of this new “Gossip Girl” will bring us. And on July 8th, it premiered to the joy of everyone who used to watch the original. While no one of the original characters will make an appearance, yet, it still left us all asking one question: Who will be the new Chuck Bass?

Let’s be honest: Everyone wanted Chuck Bass. Chuck Bass wanted Chuck Bass. It was all about that Bass. Who didn’t love Chuck Bass? Luckily for us, it seems like it answered that question in the first episode.

“Gossip Girl” is the sequel series of the 2007-2012 series that aired on the CW. It’s produced by the same team that did the original series. Still taking place in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, the new series sees the rebirth of the former website turned Instagram account and the new generation dealing with her wrath and quick witty posts that expose their secrets. It takes place in the same universe as the original series with nine years passing from present-day in the series and series finale of the original series.

Kristen Bell (“Veronica Mars“) returns as the show narrator, aka Gossip Girl. The show’s main cast is more diverse as they are more LGBTQ+, aka gayer and less white. The cast itself is more of a newer cast with some bigger names in being Thomas Doherty (“Descendants 2“), Eli Brown (“Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists”), Whitney Peak (“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina“), and famous actress and magazine editor Tavi Gevinson. It’s still a super attractive cast and they work really well together for a newer cast.

SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD

Now, I’m going to try to keep this spoiler-free as possible. The first episode of the new series does an excellent job of setting the stakes of what made the lead to the return of Gossip Girl, the impact that she had on the original series, and what happened after her disappearance following the reveal that Dan Humphrey, aka Lonely Boy, was the creator of the blog. Unlike the original series, they don’t tease who is behind the account. We know who is behind the new account within the first act of the first episode. It’s a little weird, and the setup I wasn’t a huge fan of just because it was weird. Like, I get why they did it, but it was just not something that I liked.

Also, I didn’t particularly appreciate how there’s not really any mystery behind who is running the account. That was kind of what made the original series good. You didn’t know who was behind the account, which added a little mystery to the drama. A little ridiculous at times but still good. As I said, I just wasn’t a fan of that and I’m not sure how it will work past one season. Though I am curious if they and how they will continue this on.

“I’ve been so good for so long, it’s time for me to be bad.”

The two new Queens of Constance Billard School for Girls

Now the series really starts to pick up after the iconic return of Gossip Girl. She remains to be “That Bitch.” The kids attend the same schools that the OG characters attended. They aren’t as likable as the original characters, but they are still good, and I hope we get to know them more. The first season is only 12 episodes, so sometimes you don’t get a lot of character, don’t get characterization, if any.

We do get a lot of setup for the storylines of “Gossip Girl.” They are callbacks to the original series but more of a twist to them. We have a sibling rivalry that will literally set the Upper East Side on fire, a love triangle, and a bi-curious love triangle that seems like they want to share. I get Netflix teen drama series “Elite” vibes from this show, and I’m here for it. The series is rated TV-MA so it’s more raunchy and risque. This isn’t your “Gossip Girl.” There isn’t any nudity yet, but there is a lot of implied sex scenes. Like it’s to the point where you know what’s happening because it’s very obvious.

“Destiny is for losers. It’s just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen.”

Like most reboot/sequel series, you can’t help but compare the new characters to the original, and this one is no different. In fact, it seems like “Gossip Girl” wants you to compare. She won’t judge you for that. The most blatant one is Doherty’s character of Max Wolfe. I got big Chuck Bass vibes from him, and I’m here for it. I would go as far as to say he’s the Chuck Bass that we wanted in the series. A self-obsessed total manwhore that screws everyone. I hope he has a similar arc to Chuck. But there will always and forever be one Chuck Bass.

Instead of the parents being considered main characters, like in the original, it appears that the teachers will take that role in the series. Frankly, I’m not sure what to think about this. So far, I don’t like the teachers and frankly, they are needed to tell the story. They are kind of set up to where we are supposed to feel bad for the teachers and in all actuality, we don’t we just hate them. Hopefully, something happens with them. We also find out their true objectives within the first two acts of the episode. So it’s truly up in the air with what will happen with them.

Final Thoughts

Based on the first episode, the 2021 sequel series “Gossip Girl” is a great continuation of the iconic late 2000s show it’s based on. Like most first episodes, it starts off slow before finding its footing. This is exasperated because it’s trying to set up the universe for a new audience while also trying to find a happy medium between continuation and reboot. It’s a good start, and as a long-time Gossip Girl lover, I enjoyed the series once the return of the infamous blogger now turned influencer returned.

Whether you are a new watcher of “Gossip Girl” or you watched the original, I highly recommend you check out the sequel series. You don’t need any prior knowledge to understand or get the plot, like stated above, they get you caught up. I do though strongly recommend watching the original “Gossip Girl” because it’s a time machine of that era and frankly, it’s everything.

You can watch both the new “Gossip Girl” and the original “Gossip Girl” on HBO Max. New Episodes premiere every Thursday.

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Flashback: Miley Cyrus still ‘Can’t Be Tamed’

2010 was a weird era in the Disney Channel world. It was when the golden age began to slowly leave their mouse overlord for bigger and better things. Demi Lovato announced that she would be leaving “Sonny with a Chance” before rehab in 2011. Oh, She gifted us the iconic album “Here We Go Again” as well. The Jonas Brothers did “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” with Demi before “being in between projects” and their first hiatus in 2011. Selena Gomez was last to leave the mouse as “Wizards of Waverly Place” was just getting started with its success.

Miley Cyrus, the 2010s Disney queen, finished production on the final season of “Hannah Montana.” Miley also donned bird wings and hopped in a birdcage to proclaim that she “couldn’t be tamed.” It’s time to unlock the birdcage and revisit the start of Miley’s maturing image and become the artist we know today.

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I wanna be a part of something I don’t know

Miley from “Can’t Be Tamed” video

“Can’t Be Tamed” is Miley’s third studio album. It also was her final album released on Disney’s label Hollywood Records. Released on June 18, 2010, “Can’t Be Tamed” was produced by Rock Mafia and John Shanks. You’ve heard Rock Mafia’s music before as, like Jason Derulo, they feel the need to have the artist on their song spell out or say their name at the beginning of the song. Rock Mafia was exclusive to Disney Channel and their Hollywood Records label.

The album was a departure from Miley’s previous works, which were more pop-rock. It has more of a dance-pop vibe to it. This would be Miley’s start experimenting with her sound that would continue on with follows up albums. The album has a common theme: being free of expectations and being yourself. Not being tamed by anyone or anything. “Can’t Be Tamed” was the start of Miley’s more mature image, similar to what Britney Spears did with her third album “Britney.” Essentially, an artistry makeover into adulthood.

Singles

There are only two singles from this album. The titular track and “Who Owns My Heart.” While we know that “Can’t Be Tamed” is the stand-out from the album, “Who Owns My Heart” wasn’t the best second single that they could have used to promote the album. Now, I’m not a big fan of having the singles next to each other on the tracklist, especially when they are at the beginning of the album.

“Who Owns My Hearts” is a good song, but it doesn’t carry on the tone that the first single gives you. Personally, I would like liked “Robot” to have been the second single in hindsight. I would have probably help with the promotion. Also, it’s just a better song. Her vocals on it aren’t overly autotuned. It also carries the theme of not being controlled better.

The album

The album itself isn’t bad, but it’s not her best work when it comes to coherent sound. While it’s a dance-pop album, just a few songs just don’t fit in with the album. They aren’t necessarily bad songs, but they just feel out of place. I’m all for Miley singing ballads, and every album needs to have some of them. This album has about 4 of them, including a cover of “Every Rose has Its Thorns” by 80s rock band Poison. The cover isn’t the greatest thing in the world but breaks up the three dance-pop songs. After “Two More Lonely People,” it just turns into a mess when it comes to pacing.

If there was a better flow of the tracks, then it wouldn’t be so bad. It just felt like they gave up trying to tell a story with the album after “Two More Lonely People” and just threw the songs together. This would be the same with the production as well. There’s just way too much production on Miley and her vocals at points. Miley’s vocals don’t need to have autotune on them. You don’t need to have autotune to have dance-pop. “Permanent December” is the perfect example of this. It’s not a good song, and the autotune and the production on it just sounds like a poor attempt to recreate Kesha’s hit 2010 song “Tik Tok.” This album was really all over the place and not in a good way.

The Verdict

“Can’t Be Tamed” didn’t age well for me at all. I remember liking it when it first came out. I have fond memories of listening to it on my iPod in my room, but it just doesn’t hit the same 11 years later. The dance-pop songs are all classics and amazing to re-listen to. It’s the ballads and poor decisions for the placement of songs and productions that make me not want to re-listen the entire album again. Besides the first single, “Can’t Be Tamed,” I highly recommend checking “Two More Lonely People,” “Robot,” and “My Heart Beats for Love.” “Stay” and “My Heart Beats for Love” are the best ballads off this album. If there were only two ballads, then this album would have been way better.

While my feelings have changed for the album, this is still an iconic album and it really helped Miley find out who she is. Without this, we wouldn’t have gotten her next studio album “Bangerz” or even her latest release “Plastic Hearts.” I highly recommend checking out the album if you haven’t already, or if it’s been a while since you heard it. It’s totally worth it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

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Review | Jonas Brothers’ ‘First Time’

It’s was a dark, dark time if you were a Jonas Brother’s fan or a Jo Hoe in 2013. On October 29, 2013, they broke up as a band. Our sugar hunk Nick Jonas decided that it was time for the brothers to go their separate ways as a band.

“To call it creative differences is almost too simple,” Nick said in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, “And I think a lot of people lost the appetite for what we were putting into the world. So, you know, we were putting up shows that weren’t selling. We were making music that I don’t think we were all super proud of, and it wasn’t connected.”

One of the songs they released is a bop named “First Time,” which is considered not a good song for them. This is, of course, by the Jo Hoes. A lot of them hate the song. They wouldn’t call it the worst song that would go to “Don’t Charge Me for the Crime.”

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Make it feel like the first time

“First Time” was released on June 25, 2013. It was the second single off of what was supposed to be their fifth album, “V.” Unfortunately, the album wasn’t released official due to the band breaking up four months later. Eventually, “V” was released apart of their latest cash grab: Jonas Vinyl Club. They ship you monthly vinyl records of their singles and albums every month. Rip off club if you ask me.

Nick produced the song and written by all three brothers. It has this chill vibes to it. It’s not overly produced and just still simple with lyrics and vocals. It was something different than their usual songs. Ironically, It sounds like their actual fifth album, “Happiness Begins.” It’s a chill pop song.

There’s also a subtle sexual undertone to the song. That’s right; the Jonas Brothers gave us a sex bop that we all slept on. Let’s be real: The oh’s in the chorus is them having sex. “Make it feel like the first time” is about doing for the first time. Nick Jonas planted his sex bops seeds for his solo career in this song. I’m here for it.

Kevin Jonas is the underrated hero of this song. Sure, he has a small solo in the song, but he’s also carrying the chorus and frankly, the song with underlying vocals and harmonies. When all three harmonize, it just sounds so good. Kevin did something right, and we should applaud him for that.

Music video

The music video doesn’t make sense with the song. It’s a montage of the brothers hanging out and partying in Las Vegas. Yep, you read it right. They are drinking and having fun in Vegas. It was risqué for them at the time. We just learned they didn’t have purity rings, and now they are partying and drinking in Vegas. What’s next? They become sex symbols, and everyone wants to bake cookies on their abs? Oh, wait, that happens for 2/3 of the band.

The video was shot while the boys were during their time rehearsing for Miss USA 2013. I honestly believe that the Jonases needed to make a video and couldn’t decide what to do, so they did this to meet their deadline. The video is excellent for behind the scenes content, but I would have preferred not to have a video at all. You can say the video is having fun and that feeling like it’s the first time when you hang out with someone. That’s stretching.

Final thoughts

If they released it today it would slap

“First Time” is frankly a song that didn’t get its moment to shine in the sun. I wouldn’t call it the best Jonas Brother’s song, but it’s one that shouldn’t get the hate it does. Sure, maybe Nick was testing out what might have been his solo style, but not a horrible song. Sidebar: Nick solo music is rather good. It slaps and is a worthy single. I’d even go farther and say it’s a better single than “Pom Poms.”

“First Time” was a more mature sound than what we had gotten previously. If you haven’t heard “First Time,” I definitely recommend checking it out. You don’t even need to sign up for their damn club. And if you were one of the Jo Hoes who despises “First Time,” I recommend re-listening to it. You might be shocked to find your hatred for this bop is gone.

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Review | Demi Lovato ‘Don’t Forget’

Nostalgia has been running wild as we were forced into our homes and into Quarantine. I don’t know about you, I’d be listening to all the music of my youth. Feeling the feels that those songs that bring up. One of those albums I had to listen to was Demi Lovato’s first-ever album, “Don’t Forget.” While I wasn’t a Demi fan during the original release of the time (Team Miley 4 Lyfe), the singles and the videos were kind of everything. Who doesn’t love a queen singing a pop-rock banger in the rain with a light show fountain?

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Somewhere we went wrong
We were once so strong

“Don’t Forget” is the debut album of Demi Lovato. Released in the fall of 2008, the album is in the pop-rock genre. It’s followed suit with most of Demi’s Disney counterparts during this time. Most of the records released in 2008 by Disney Stars were pop-rock. The Jonas Brothers produced the album with John Fields. Demi chose to have the Jonas Brothers work with her on the album.

“I tend to write songs that are, I guess, a little bit more intense and less catchy, and I needed help writing catchy songs,” Demi told MTV back in 2008, “So that’s where they came in. I put a lot of my musical input and lyrics into these songs, and they just helped me with hooks and stuff like that.”

The album is hugely front-loaded with “La La Land” and “Get Back,” starting the record, aka the first two singles. It also doesn’t help that the two songs sound so similar and just blends. It all sounds like one track. This is one of the downsides with the 2008 teen pop-rock. It wasn’t until you get to the titular track that the album started to sound different. Even then, it sounds like one big track. The album also feels like songs that should have been on the Jonas’ third album “A Little Bit Longer” but they didn’t want. It’s sounds like we’ve heard all these songs before.

Lyrically, it doesn’t suffer from the Jonas’ wordy lyrics, which is a perfect thing. The words get a little more emo after “Don’t Forget,” but they are your standard Disney lyrics. It just doesn’t sound like Demi. It seems like Demi is trying to be the Jonas Sister. That hurts the album because, as I mentioned above, it sounds we’ve heard them before. That hurts the replay of the album. Out of all 11 songs on the record, I’ve only listened to 4 of them on repeat: “Until You’re Mine,” “La La Land,” “Get Back,” and “The Middle.”

Verdict

“Don’t Forget” is a good album, but it suffers from the first half of the album blending together. It also suffers from sounding like a Jonas Brother reject record. It might have to do with the fact that they did everything on this album, but it definitely hurts the record. I do recommend this album because it’s not a bad listen. In fact, it’s a good listen. Just one that is familiar and won’t last a long one.

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