“Somebody That I Used to Know” is the Most Unlikely Pop Hit Ever

11 Mar

If you asked for an unlikely pop hit, I would probably suggest something slow, acoustic, with weird instruments, and not from an American artist. Yet, “Somebody That I Used to Know” appears to have broken all the rules and propelled Australian-Belgian singer Gotye to international stardom.

Gotye enjoyed a devoted following in Australia, but had not achieved any substantial international acclaim for his acoustic, thoughtful songs. Then, inspiration struck him in the middle of the night in his parents’ barn. He quickly penned the lyrics and laid down the track “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

After finding a female vocalist to enhance the story, the 21-year-old New Zealander Kimbra in this case, Gotye released the song as a single from his upcoming album, Making Mirrors. It took off.

At present, the song has topped the charts in fifteen countries around the world. It sits atop the American iTunes charts and lies at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Australia has been very kind to the song. It has been at #1 for 8 weeks there (2nd best all-time) and has been certified as 8X platinum. That’s nothing on Poland, though. In the Northern European country, “Somebody That I Used to Love” has been at #1 for an all-time high of 18 weeks. It’s the all-time most popular song there.

Gotye’s ballad has also topped the charts in Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Ireland among other places.

It’s also been a hit song on social media. The music video has more than 106 million views on YouTube and a cover version by Walk Off the Earth has more than 66 million views.

There’s also an incredibly popular a capella version of the song by Pentatonix.

Must be good to be Gotye these days.

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Whitney Houston’s Last Performance and Time of Death

11 Feb

Whitney Houston

Update 2: New sources now claim Houston was found “unresponsive” in a bathtub in her fourth floor room. Reports also claim Houston was drinking and partying heavily last evening at her hotel. Police have asked for a search warrant to search her room for evidence, including drugs.

Update: TMZ says Houston’s mother and cousin Diane Warwick spoke to the singer just minutes before she died. They said she sounded normal and their conversations were mundane. Though earlier reports suggested that R&B singer Ray-J found Houston dead, those have been discounted and multiple sources now say her bodyguard found her unresponsive. Paramedics performed CPR for nearly 30 minutes, but were unable to resuscitate the singer. Ex-husband Bobby Brown is in Memphis for a New Edition concert. Reports suggest he is “beside himself” with grief.

Video posted to YouTube appears to show the last performance of Whitney Houston, who died earlier today at the age of 48. TMZ reports that a member of Houston’s staff found her unresponsive, called for help, and paramedics unsuccessfully performed CPR. Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.

Houston was last seen on Feb. 10 for a rare public appearance ahead of the Grammys. She briefly took the stage at Tru Hollywood nightclub where she attended “Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For The Love Of R&B Grammy Party.”  She had not been seen on the red carpet for a year.

Paparazzi captured a belligerent and bleeding Houston leaving the nightclub early in the morning of Feb. 10. Gossip sites were suggesting she needed to return to rehab. After taking a seat in the back of a waiting vehicle, Houston appeared to calm down.

Houston recently completed filming on “Sparkle,” her first movie in 15 years. The movie is due out in August 2012.

“We’re all kind of shocked, but nobody’s really surprised,” her publicist, Howard Bragman, said.

Whitney Houston Dead at 48

11 Feb

In one of the most shocking deaths to rock the music world since Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, superstar singer and troubled Hollywood legend Whitney Houston has died at age 48, her publicist confirmed. No information about how or where she died has been confirmed, but TMZ reports she died at the Beverly Hilton hotel this afternoon.

At her peak, Houston was one of the most dominant forces ever in the music world. She sold more than 200 million albums worldwide and starred in several hit movies.

Amazingly, every trending topic on Twitter right now is dedicated to the singer. Here is her biggest hit of all (a cover of a Dolly Parton song)— “I Will Always Love You.”

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Japanese Teens Need to Have More Sex

31 Jan

Japan has one of the oldest and quickest aging populations in the world. The country has not reached replacement rate for its population for quite some time and the population will likely decrease by a third by 2060. In spite of this rapid population decline, young people appear unwilling to help the situation, if a recent survey is to be believed.

According to the results of the survey, young people simply don’t want to have sex. More than one third of all male teens between the ages of 16-19 (36%) insist they are “indifferent or adverse” towards having sex. The numbers are even more shocking for female teens. 59 percent of female teens aged 16-19 feel the same way towards doing the nasty. Those numbers represent an increase of 19 and 12 percent, respectively, since the survey was last conducted in 2008.

Married couples didn’t do well in the survey either. Among the married couples surveyed, “vague reluctance after child birth,” “can’t be bothered,” and “fatigue from work” were cited as the top three reasons for not being intimate. Over 40 percent of married couples hadn’t had intercourse within the last month, according to the survey.

Doesn’t sound like the population crisis is going to get any better anytime soon.

Photo: Danny Choo

Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

30 Jan

Syringe

Last November I celebrated my 10-year anniversary. 10 years of being a Type 1 Diabetic. I was diagnosed with diabetes just three days after my 13th birthday (nice belated present, eh?) and have been on a lifelong experiment ever since then.

More than three million people have Type 1 diabetes, but they are generally overwhelmed in media coverage by the nearly 23 million people other people who have Type 2 diabetes (per the American Diabetes Association). Nearly 80 million people also have pre-diabetes, which means their lifestyle choices put them at greater risk for developing the disease. The two diseases present many of the same challenges, but are radically different in what causes them and how they are treated. Here’s a VERY abbreviated explanation.

1) Type 1 Diabetes: So sometime in my early teens, my pancreas began to shut down. By the time I was diagnosed with diabetes, my body was producing no more insulin. My pancreas was essentially useless, doing nothing, and just taking up space (still is). Scientists aren’t quite sure why this happens, but they think it has something to do with genetics. At birth, I was predisposed to developing type 1 diabetes and then something in my childhood triggered the disease. When I was little I had a 105 degree fever. That could be it. My original endochronologist believes that the fever somehow got antibodies inside me to turn on the insulin-producing cells. It’s not clear, but the important thing (from my perspective anyway) is that my pancreas no longer produces any insulin.

2) Type 2 Diabetes: Unlike type 1 diabetics, the bodies of type 2 diabetics often still produce some insulin, they just don’t produce enough. In these cases, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin for the body or does not produce the insulin efficiently . That’s why some type 2 diabetics can manage (or sometimes “cure”) their disease simply through better diet and exercise. That doesn’t work in all cases, but it is true that some diabetics can alter their lifestyles to the point that their bodies make enough insulin. Many others take medication (not always insulin through syringes) to force their pancreas to make more insulin.

Those are the big differences. One type of diabetes has a pancreas that simply doesn’t work and the other has a pancreas that doesn’t work efficiently enough. They seem like small differences to most people, but to those people who suffer from the diseases, they mean the world.

Photo: Jill A. Brown