Under the Radar: Music

Under the Radar is a category that includes music, movies, TV shows, books, or any other type of media that we think might be flying under the radar but we think you should check out (some new – some not). First up is Laura’s pick of five songs/artists she’s listening to these days:

“Everything is Embarrassing” by Sky Ferreira

20-year old singer-songwriter Sky Ferreira’s “Everything is Embarrassing” is a synth-pop stunner balanced with hints of 80s rocker edge.

“Idea of Happiness” by Van She

On this quirky but catchy jaunt, Australian electro-pop band Van She declares what we all know to be true  – that “time just keeps on slipping away”…

“Emmylou” by First Aid Kit

Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg make up this folk duo whose single “Emmylou” combines stellar harmonies with lyrics that pay homage to music greats like Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris.

“Plain Gold Ring” by Kimbra

Best known as Gotye’s female counterpart on his juggernaut single “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Kimbra proves she’s more than somebody’s duet partner in this feverish performance.

“Disparate Youth” by Santigold

Often compared stylistically to MIA, American singer-songwriter-producer Santi White kills it with this dark, new wave-inspired track.

Top Ten Underrated 80s Bands



10. The Cure. OK, OK. I received much grief for my inclusion of the Cure in Most Overrated Bands of the 1980s. Then I heard a fantastic song at the end of last week’s episode of “The Americans” — it turned out to be the Cure’s “Siamese Twins.” I’ve since delved into more of the Cure, and I’ve changed my tune. They’re actually pretty good, even if Robert Smith is a sad bastard.

9. Crowded House. Most well-known for their hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” these Aussies and Kiwis (that’s folks from New Zealand) wrote some of the catchiest pop melodies of the 1980s. Unlike many of their 80s contemporaries, however, Crowded House stands up to the test of time. Their debut album, which is chock-full of great songs courtesy of main songwriter Neil Finn, is still in regular rotation in my iTunes library.

8. The Cars. Somewhere around 1987, I got my ten-year-old hands on a cassette of The Cars’ “Heartbreak City.” They had me at “Hello Again.” Band leader Ric Ocasek, like his counterpart in Crowded House, was a master at crafting songs that stuck in your head like bubblegum to the bottom of your shoe. While The Cars broke up long ago, Ocasek has had his hand in numerous bands, producing albums for Weezer, Black Flag, Bad Religion, and Guided By Voices, among others.

7. The Minutemen. When singer/guitarist D. Boon died in a car crash in 1985, the 1980s lost what could have become its most influential alternative rock band. I was introduced to the Minutemen when I was in high school and searching for every punk album that I could my hands on. The Minutemen transcended the “punk rock” category; their quirky time signatures and sonically adventurous songs rival anything the Police — who also began life under the banner of punk rock — wrote and recorded.

6. The Cult. Bridging the gap between punk, goth, and hard rock, The Cult formed a style completely their own. Singer Ian Astbury was a modern-day Jim Morrison; his reputation, not to mention a vocal range eerily similar to the Lizard King, led former-Doors Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger to ask Astbury fill the role of Morrison in their band Riders on the Storm. “She Sells Sanctuary” and “Firewoman,” played at a volume of 11, should be enough to cure anyone of the bad day blues.

5. Living Colour. Breaking the colo(u)r boundary of the predominantly white hard rock/heavy metal scene, Living Colour also changed what it meant to be in a hard rock band. Poppy vocal melodies, courtesy of Corey Glover, easily co-existed with Vernon Reid’s scorching and stunning guitar work. One of the best guitar solos of all-time has to be Reid’s fretwork in “Cult of Personality.”

4. The Stray Cats. A true throwback, the Stray Cats were a life-raft of swing/rockabilly/classic rock in an ocean of synthesizer-driven bands. Guitarist Brian Setzer set the tone with his jazz-inflected solos, while bassist Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom laid down the rock-solid rhythm. The Stray Cats, and Lee Rocker in particular, are hailed as heroes by today’s rockabilly bands. Setzer has since started his own Brian Setzer Orchestra, which is another true throwback to the swing sound of the 1940s and 1950s.

3. Traveling Wilburys. Best supergroup of all time, perhaps the best band of all time. Wanna argue with me about that? My only answer to you is the following list of Wilburys: George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. The lyrics to their most famous song “Handle With Care” were apparently written collaboratively while everyone was hanging out at a barbeque at Bob Dylan’s house. Everyone took turns writing lines, and if everyone laughed or agreed, the line got into the song.

2. Huey Lewis and the News. In the SF Bay Area, Huey Lewis and the News are living legends. Outside of their home turf, however, Huey don’t get no respect, and that’s just a crime. “Sports” is one of the single greatest albums of the 1980s. The band relied on tried-and-true, no frills, blues-based rock n’ roll. Huey Lews and the News was my very first concert. They rocked the Oakland Coliseum when I was in 4th grade, and the fact that Dwight Clark, Joe Montana, and other 49ers greats of the time joined them onstage for “Hip To Be Square” made me a fan for life.

1. The Clash. If you only know The Clash by “Rock the Casbah,” I strongly urge you to dig a little deeper; “London Calling” should be your next musical purchase. Known as a punk band, The Clash — and Strummer in particular — were deeply influenced not only by the sound of the Jamaican reggae musicians who had moved to London in the 1970s, but also by the socio-political messages that reggae espoused. The world lost a staunch defender of the people’s music from around the world when Stummer died unexpectedly in 2002. For a more full picture of his influence, check out the most excellent documentary “The Future is Unwritten.” These days, ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon appears on albums by Gorillaz and The Good, The Bad, and The Queen — both post-Blur projects of Damon Albarn, whom I will definitely talk about when it comes time for 1990s-themed Top Ten List.

Honorable Mention: Tears For Fears. “Songs from the Big Chair” also captivated my young, pre-teen years. Funnily enough, I was so naive at the time that I thought this was a soundtrack for a movie called “The Big Chair.”



10. Mr. Mister –  Whether you like it or not, “Broken Wings” is the quintessential 80s pop song. Lead singer Richard Page (who was once offered the front man gigs for Chicago and Toto) urges you to “take your broken wings and learn to fly again…learn to live so free.”  How can you say no to that? It is, however, their lesser-known song, “Kyrie,” that earns them a spot on my list. I have no idea what or who Kyrie is or understand what they’re saying half the time but I will proudly rock out to that song any day of the week.  And I’m still waiting to have a heated debate with someone over what is truly the better Mr. Mister song.  I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a while.

9. Billy Ocean – I recently Googled Billy Ocean to see what he’s up to these days. I wish I could say I was making that up for the sake of this list, but I would be lying.  Why did I do this? Because Billy Ocean freaking rocks. Okay, maybe he doesn’t so much as ROCK, but he’s a badass. If you try to tell me you don’t like “Caribbean Queen,” you are either hard of hearing or a liar.  Few 80s artists get me to turn up the volume on my car stereo faster than Billy Ocean. His hits include “When the Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going) and “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry),” but it’s none other than “Get out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car” (the theme song to the 1988 gem of a movie “License to Drive”) that is my absolute favorite.  Spotify that song right now. You know you want to.

8. Howard Jones – One could easily lump in Howard Jones with the standard 80s pop fare: Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Wang Chung, et al. But I think there should be a special category for artists like Jones, Crowded House and Tears for Fears, who are certainly “pop” artists but have a little more substance when it comes to their lyrics and composition. Jones had hits with “Things Can Only Get Better” and “Life in One Day,” but it’s his song “No One Is To Blame,” that will transport you back in time and have you rethinking your life. Maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but it’s a solid, solid tune.

7. Toto – I presume I will get the most shit from people for my inclusion of Toto.  I just don’t know what it is, but “Africa,” in all of its soft-rock/background music at your dentist’s office goodness, it’s just such an excellent song. It seems that the band has had quite the revolving door of members during its tenure, but it was stellar in its late 70s/early 80s heyday, with songs like “Rosanna” and “Hold the Line” – I mean come on! And their lesser known ballad “I’ll Be Over You”…Shut the front door with that song! Do not, I repeat NOT, listen to that after going through a breakup. Man alive, that is a tearjerker. (Oh, and listen for Michael McDonald on background vocals – LOVE that guy).

6. Wham! – I’ve already shown my true dork colors by my earlier Billy Ocean freak-out, but here’s where I’m really going to go over the edge. I have a list of top 5 songs of all time (doesn’t everyone?!), and on that list is “Last Christmas” by Wham! Go ahead and judge me, I give you permission.  I’ve always been a HUGE George Michael fan, and this no doubt started with a little ditty called “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Call it cheesy, call it silly, call it AMAZING, I don’t care. It’s a catchy saccharine dance track that demands some respect. More than a one hit wonder, they also had success with songs like “Freedom,” “Everything She Wants,” and “I’m Your Man.”  And do I even need to mention “Careless Whisper?” I think not. Wham! for the win.

5. Bruce Hornsby –  About as talented as they come in terms of musicianship. An accomplished pianist, accordion player, singer, writer and producer, Hornsby has written for artists like Huey Lewis and Don Henley, and he played piano on Bonnie Raitt’s massive hit “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” That is all aside from his own achievements with his band Bruce Hornsby and the Range (“Mandolin Rain,” “The Way It Is,” “Every Little Kiss”) and his subsequent stint with the Grateful Dead (who knew?).  All hail Hornsby.

4. Hall & Oates – I was a somewhat early adopter of Spotify and one of the first playlists I made was a “best of” Hall & Oates mix called “You are the Hall to my Oates.” Dumb title, I know. But the music is certainly not.  By sheer numbers, Hall & Oates is one of the most successful duos of all time (the most successful, according to Billboard).  Former college roommates Daryl Hall and John Oates hit their “rock and soul” stride in the 80s with “I Can’t Go For That,” “Private Eyes,” “Kiss On My List,” “Maneater” and my favorite “Method Of Modern Love.” With seven platinum and six gold albums, you’d think they’d be more respected in the industry.

3. Christopher Cross – There are things in life that everyone should plan for: buying a house, having kids, retirement, and of course, choosing the song that will play at your funeral. Luckily, I have done one of these things (okay, I also have a 401K, but whatever).  The song that will play at my funeral is “Sailing” by Christopher Cross (family, please make this happen).  Strangely enough, there is another Christopher Cross song called “Think of Laura” that would work better, but no thank you.  The multi-talented Cross’s unique voice lends itself to songs like “Sailing,” “Ride Like The Wind” (backed by Michael McDonald – have I mentioned I LOVE that guy?) and “All Right.” But it is “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” that earned him an Oscar for best song in 1981 and left us with some sage advice should we ever find ourselves caught between the moon and New York City.

2.  Michael McDonald – The aforementioned blue-eyed soul of baritone Michael McDonald…what can I say? Former front man of the Doobie Broothers and background vocalist for Steely Dan; writer, producer and collaborator with countless artists… he’s an American treasure. Scoff if you wish, but McDonald is legit, and he really came into his own in the 80s.  My favorites of his include “I Keep Forgettin,” “On My Own” (a duet with Patti LaBelle), “Sweet Freedom” and “Yah-Mo Be There” (a duet with James Ingram).

1. Lionel Richie – There are artists that I hold in such high musical regard that I call them by just their first name: Phil, Michael, Elvis and yes, Lionel. (That’s Collins, Jackson and Presley for anyone keeping track at home.) By now it should be clear that my musical heart beats a little differently than most. Lionel Richie is no exception here. The lead singer for The Commodores (whose song “Sail On” was the first song in my life that I can associate with a distinct and specific memory of childhood), Lionel Richie rose to solo fame in 1982. He has amassed an arsenal of hit songs, creating a soundtrack to the 1980s that few other acts were able to duplicate. As a master balladeer, he served up gems like “Say You, Say Me,” “Truly,” and “Hello,” the latter of which has sealed its spot in pop culture history through one of the most iconic music videos of all time (Lionel’s clay head anyone?). There are too many epic Lionel songs to list here, but if I had to choose one that is tops on my Lionel list, it is hands down “Penny Lover.”  You’ve never heard of it – I get that. But trust me, it is impeccable, from the subtle first notes to the “Oh Penny baby” that closes it out. Genius.

Honorable Mention: I struggled with whether I should include Mike & the Mechanics or Bruce Hornsby on this list.

Top Ten 80s Bands We Wish We Could Forget



10. The B-52s“Love Shack” is one of many songs — along with the Macarena, Who Let the Dogs Out, Celebration, YMCA and Mambo No. 5 — that will be included on a “Do Not Play or You Will Die” list given to the DJ at my wedding (if I ever get married).  The only slightly acceptable B-52s song is “Roam,” but even then I can only handle it for about 57 seconds.

9.  Bon Jovi –  My distaste for Bon Jovi is most likely due to hearing one too many horrible karaoke versions of “Livin’ On A Prayer.” I cannot listen to them for an extended period of time before feeling like I’m in a giant karaoke club. The karaoke club of death. And I must get out! I will say, however, that the live acoustic performance of “Wanted Dead or Alive” that was performed on the awards show circuit in 1989 is excellent.

8. Poison – The 80s hair band contingent has now officially written me off. The long hair, the hairspray, the spandex, it was, and still is all very confusing to me. It’s like someone put all of the most unattractive attributes for a male into a blender and voila, out came hair metal bands! Though these days Bret Michaels seems to exist solely to provide reality television shows with contestants, he did have a very successful band once. But, they’re a crappy band. Give me Warrant, or heck, even Winger, any day before Poison.

7.  ChicagoThe 1980s were not kind to Chicago. Or, shall I say, Chicago in the 1980s was not kind to anyone in any kind of relationship at all whatsoever.  The 80s Peter Cetera-era (Cetera era!) put Chicago on the map for quite possibly the sappiest ballads of all time: “Look Away,” “Hard Habit to Break,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”…the list goes on. They may as well have included a box of Kleenex and a pamphlet on why suicide is not the answer with every cassette tape sold.

6. Patrick Swayze First of all, RIP Mr. Swayze. I liked you as an actor, and you seemed to be an all-around good guy. What you were not, however, was a good singer. Your song, “She’s Like The Wind,” from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack was a noble effort. But you are on this list by default based almost entirely on the first seven words of that song: “She’s like the wind…through my tree.”  Today’s songwriters, please learn from this epic, epic fail.

5. Kenny GOh, Kenny. Kenny Kenny Kenny. Where would we be without your sweet saxophone stylings? You undoubtedly were the soundtrack to endless wedding dances and video montages of lovers walking on the beach. No, wait, that was you…in a wife beater, in the “Songbird” video.  But I digress. The musical time capsule that is the 1980s would not be complete without you, in all of your corny instrumental glory.

4. Irene CaraI never understood the whole Flashdance thing. Maybe I was a little bit too young. “What a Feeling” oozes cheese for me…but, then again, my favorite movie of all time is Footloose, so clearly my cheese meter needs to be checked.

3.  Toni Basil – I realize that “Mickey” is probably on every single “Best of the 80s” mix ever made, and the video is iconic and all that. But why, oh why, must the song be so grating? I’m pretty sure my ears bleed a little every time I hear that song.

2.  Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians – Ugh, Edie Brickell and her annoying hippie weirdness.  Her voice is irritating and the lyrics to “What I Am” are just as irritating: “I know what I know if you know what I mean…” No, I don’t know, and frankly don’t want to know. Now shut up.

1. Abba – Technically Abba is a 70s band, but they released their last album in 1981.  Abba songs make me truly physically ill.  If you ever want to torture me, force me to go see “Mamma Mia.”  All the singing along and people clapping to horrible, horrible music. I can’t even…just…no.



10. Billy Squire. Every time I hear “Everybody Wants You” on the radio, I think to myself that Billy Squire is guilty of being the biggest rip off of both Robert Plant’s vocals AND Jimmy Page’s riffs.

9. Warrant. Warrant enjoyed the very height of the hair band era, when the Spandex just couldn’t get any tighter and the hair any bigger. That era ended abruptly when Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was released in the autumn of 1991. I remember going to see Warrant in concert at Great America — hey, my buddy had a free ticket! And they were playing with Trixter and Firehouse — What a treat! It was about a week after I had first heard Nirvana, and I remember being struck by how utterly fake and contrived Warrant seemed. They didn’t sing about anything, they didn’t stand for anything. Their music was an empty calorie meal. Thankfully, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Tool all emerged in 1991 to fill my musical stomach with nourishment.

8. Talking Heads. Maybe I just don’t “get” the Talking Heads, but to me, David Byrne’s vocals sound warbly and off-key. Not a big fan of the music, and I still scratch my head when they are talked about as one of the most influential bands of the 1980s.

7. Paula Abdul. I heard “Opposites Attract” on the radio last week, and I never realized before how awfully limited a singer Paula Abdul is. In the days before “vocal correction” in the studio, upon which many of today’s pop stars rely, Abdul’s two-note melody lines and tone-deafness reach through the speakers like a hypodermic needle piercing your ear drum.

6. Journey. I could never get behind this band for some reason. Their songs sound forced, somehow. I’m not denying their musical talent; Neal Schon and Steve Perry are juggernauts. I just don’t care for their songwriting. It really sounds of the time, and the songs haven’t matured with age. Great songs and great bands get better the more you listen to them. Journey makes me cringe ever harder with each listen.

5. Fine Young Cannibals. One of the most annoying songs of all time is “She Drives Me Crazy.” That alone lands FYC on this list.

4. Def Leppard. To qualify, I’m talking about the one-armed “Hysteria” era of the band. Talk about the most overproduced rock album of all time. What does Joe Elliot’s voice really sound like in person? My opinion of the Lepp really took a dive when I watched the VH1 Classic Albums about “Hysteria.” The band relied completely on “Pyromania” producer Mutt Lange (a great album, Pyromania; wish they would’ve quit then and there…) that they couldn’t even write a song without Lange holding their hand.

3. The Cure. Mopey lead singer Robert Smith should’ve just quit playing music if he was so unhappy.

2. New Kids on the Block. OK, I know I just pissed off every female reader of the blog of a certain age … my age. My seething dislike for “NKOTB” goes way back. My friend Rob and I penned our first song together around age 11, and it was an Ode to New Kids. Best lyric of the bunch? “They wish they could be me/So they could stand up and pee.” Brilliant stuff, about on par with actual New Kids lyrics. But I digress. Another reason for my lingering discontent over the existence of New Kids is that their popularity spawned every future boy band from N’SYNC to Backstreet Boys to, now, One Direction. And they all make me want to stick my head in the oven. But my oven is electric. Damn you, New Kids!

1. REM. Michael Stipe can kiss my white British ass. This is a guy who said the Beatles and Rolling Stones were like “elevator music” to him. Oh yeah? I say REM, with Stipe’s whiney vocals and pouty disposition, is a much better candidate by which to torture terrorists than the heavy metal bands the CIA usually goes for during interrogations.

Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience – Track by track review

Photo credit: Tom Munro, RCA Records

Photo credit: Tom Munro, RCA Records

After a seven-year absence from music, Justin Timberlake’s ‘The 20/20 Experience’ will be released on Tuesday, March 19. Here’s a track-by-track review of JT’s third album.

1. Pusher Love Girl  JT’s soul influences come out in force here – think early Prince and The Isley Brothers.  It’s a valiant, groovy effort, but it ultimately falls flat.

2. Suit & Tie – If you can get past the excruciating first 45 seconds, when that beat finally kicks in and JT’s sultry falsetto glides over the breezy percussion and gets comfortable, I dare you not to shake your hips. Even a little.

3. Don’t Hold The Wall  – For a song that urges us to “Dance – don’t hold the wall,” I kept waiting for this to take off into a full-fledged dance song.  Sadly, it never does, stalling uncomfortably and forcing us to return to our wallflower status.

4. Strawberry Bubblegum  –  With a Barry White-esque intro and hints of Roger & Zapp at the conclusion, it’s clear that this is your token baby-making jam of the album. While songs of this nature are typically slow by definition, this is mid tempo, backed by chirpy, suggestive synth beats. Which, at its core is the most true to JT- full of swagger and confidence.  Pretty sure he’s not actually talking about bubblegum (or lollipops, for that matter), but that’s quite alright.

5. Tunnel Vision  – Timbaland’s imprint is clear, not only because of his backing vocals but because of the recycled beats, circa 2006. Having said that, it works, but it’s only mediocre.  It sounds like a track that was left on the cutting room floor of a  “FutureSex/Love Sounds” recording session – only to be resurrected here.

6. Spaceship Coupe  – Hop into my spaceship coupe! Let’s make love on the moon! (Save yourself the 4 minutes). Subtle Stylistics sampling can’t even save this one.

7. That Girl  – A soulful head-bobbing, toe-tapping throwback jam with horns courtesy of The Tennessee Kids (Justin’s new backing band).

8. Let The Groove Get In  – Another dance song that never quite comes to fruition. “Are you comfortable?” asks JT. Yep, we’re comfortable. Just waiting for a good dance song to come on…

9. Mirrors  – More regurgitated Timbaland beats served up via a self-realization love letter to Jessica Biel.  I think.

10. Blue Ocean Floor – Though masked by sounds that suggest cycling through an old-fashioned slideshow projector, this is a delicate and pretty song that showcases Justin’s voice. It shows the most creativity and originality, even if I could have done without the muffled sea sounds.

Where his first two albums were more pop-centric, this is firmly rooted in soul and R&B.  I respect that effort but I think it’s clear that Justin Timberlake, the musician, has seen his relevancy eclipsed by the likes of Bruno Mars, Miguel, and even Justin Bieber.  And he definitely needs to learn one word if he keeps releasing music: simplify.

Verdict: BadPop


Alec Baldwin vs. Shia LaBeouf



Ah yes, there’s nothing quite like a celebrity kerfuffle. I mean, who doesn’t want to read about rich actors trading verbal and Twitter barbs like a couple of immature 15-year-olds? The latest celebrity shouting match pits Shia LBeouf against Alec Baldwin. The two recently began rehearsals for a Broadway play, “Orphans,” and let’s just say, there was a slight personality conflict between the two actors, so LaBeouf decided to leave the production.

If it had only stopped there, none of us would’ve ever heard a peep more. But no, Mr. LaBeouf, in his infinite wisdom, decided to tweet emails between himself and Baldwin, and himself and the director; these emails are not very flattering to Baldwin, but c’mon, we already know he’s a bit of a dick. This is a guy who left a voicemail for his 11-year-old daughter calling her a “rude, thoughtless pig.”

But I digress. What could possibly be LaBeouf’s goal in making public a series of private emails that suggest Baldwin wasn’t quite prepared on the first day of rehearsals, other than to cover his own ass and make himself look like the good guy? Tweeting these emails is only slightly less childish than Taylor Swift recording a break-up song about her latest celebrity boyfriend who gave her crabs. (OK, I made that last part up.)

To me, this smacks of LaBeouf’s fragile yet overblown ego. I’ve seen the Transformers movies. I saw Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, although I wish I could have those two hours of my life back. LaBeouf, you’re not that great. In fact, you’re quite mediocre. I don’t care if you call yourself a method actor (somewhere, Robert DeNiro is laughing his ass off). I don’t care that, in the latest movie you filmed, you actually had real sex on screen with your 18-year-old co-star. And then promptly dumped your girlfriend for said 18-year-old co-star. Your pretty face and your weird name have gotten you this far, not your talent.

Baldwin, on the other hand, has “Flatliners” on his resume (oh wait, that was the handsome William Baldwin…. oh well, I’m sure Alec coached him on his performance….) along with iconic late ’80s flicks “Beetlejuice” and “The Hunt for Red October.” “30 Rock” is one of the top 5 sitcoms of all time, in my humble opinion. He’s hosted SNL 1,200 times, and he’s fucking hilarious each and every time. He’s the king of the Baldwin clan, although I miss Stephen (and apparently, William too…)

LaBeouf, when you can claim 30 years of acting experience and still find yourself relevant in the entertainment world, after two or three comebacks, as Mr. Baldwin can claim, then maybe we can talk. Until then, keep your mouth shut, LaBeouf!

Verdict: Shia LaBeouf is BADPOP



Look, let’s be realistic here. Neither of these guys has a stellar track record when it comes to being media/paparazzi/journalist/girlfriend/wife/daughter/whomever-friendly. But they are both good actors.  Yes, I said BOTH. Sure, you probably only think of Shia LaBeouf as the dude from “Transformers” and the guy who screwed up the Indiana Jones franchise (get over it, people!)…and I get it – but how can one truly exercise their acting chops while running from CGI robots and crystal-skulled aliens?

The reality is that Shia LaBeouf is an accomplished actor with much more range than he’s given credit for. Two prime examples would be his roles in “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” and “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”  These are both great movies with impressive acting by LaBeouf.  Not to mention his role in the Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens” – which showed genuine comedic talent and earned him a Daytime Emmy at the tender age of 17.

But that’s not the issue here – the question is whether Shia LaBeouf proved himself to be the ultimate douchebag by tweeting private emails sent between his director and “Orphans” castmates.  In retrospect, sure, he might cringe at that decision one day, but how would you feel if every media outlet was defending the more well-known and respected actor (Baldwin) even if Baldwin was the one who was clearly unprepared and difficult. Aren’t actors supposed to read the script and know their lines BEFORE they come to rehearsal?

Alec Baldwin just skates along and gets away with his bullshit tantrums because, well, he’s Alec Baldwin. I give LaBeouf credit for stepping up and showing that he’s not just a “celebrity chef” like Baldwin so cleverly (not so much) stated. Sounds like Baldwin’s just a little bit jealous of LaBeouf’s talent and commitment – oh, and that little thing called actually knowing your own lines.

Verdict: Shia LaBeouf is GOODPOP