TMZ has breathlessly reported that pop star Katy Perry and British actor/buffoon Russell Brand are divorcing after just about a year and a half of marriage. Despite openly disliking Brand (and still working on getting over my open dislike of Perry, which has been somewhat nullified by a string of great singles,) I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for the two-or at least kinda disgusted with the snark that’s been posted on the internet since the news was made public. Marriages fall apart all the time (even after only 18 months,) and I’m sure that there are plenty of non-celebrity couples that go into this type of agreement for what they consider to be the right reasons and then back out because they realized they made the wrong decision. Ultimately, I’m not really sure why I’m posting this-will the news of two people with no children divorcing really affect anyone who isn’t a friend of one or the other? Russell will (unfortunately) still make movies after this, and Katy will still make records. Of course, there’s also a part of me that feels as though this is yet another move designed to get Katy’s “The One That Got Away” into the #1 spot so Michael Jackson’s long-standing record of five consecutive #1 singles from one album can be broken. Man, when did I turn into such a cynic?

Van Halen has scheduled the release of their new album for 2/7/12. It’ll be their first album release in 13 years, following the ill-fated Gary Cherone-led Van Halen III, and will be their first album release since 1984 with original lead singer David Lee Roth. Of course, people are wondering if the band should still call itself Van Halen. Hell, the band has three of the four original members in addition to three members with the last name Van Halen, so I’d think they have every right to call themselves that. What I’m more curious about is whether anyone thinks that the foursome (Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen, and Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass) is capable of making even a halfway decent album when their recording glory days are nearly two decades behind them (forgive me, I liked Balance.) While they will undoubtedly continue to be a top-drawing live act, people are going to see them based on nostalgia. I don’t think anyone gives two shits about a new VH album. Jimmy Iovine, president of Van Halen’s label home Interscope, better work some of his magic to make this album a hit.

Finally, pop star Kelly Clarkson appeared to have a major foot-in-mouth moment when she endorsed Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination on Twitter. After facing extreme backlash from a segment of her fanbase, Kelly appeared to backtrack slightly while not retracting her endorsement. Conservative Paul has come under fire for appearing to promote racist and homophobic ideas in newsletters published under his name some years ago. Rumor has it, though, that since Clarkson made her comments, copies of her album Stronger, which has been underperforming, have been flying off the shelves. Whether her endorsement helps or hurts her career will be reflected in upcoming charts, I guess, but the most interesting part of the story, to me, is that when Clarkson made her endorsement, she was unaware of the furor over potential racism/homophobia. Not that anyone should expect celebrities to be any more informed than the average person when it comes to politics, but folks should also know that the more eyes you attract, the more weight your word holds. I’m sure lots of people over at Kelly’s record company are wishing that she’d kept her mouth shut. Or, if sales are up, maybe not. It’s a weird thing to shell out money for a piece of music just based on their political endorsements, especially when the artist’s music is not politically inclined. I mean, if you listen to The Clash or Rage Against The Machine or Public Enemy, chances are you agree with their political stance. But Kelly Clarkson? Really?

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