Sean Daly, Times Pop Music Critic

Sean Daly

Sean Daly is the pop music critic at the Tampa Bay Times. He has also alliterated for the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper and People magazine. An only child growing up outside of Boston, he spent great chunks of his youth sprawled in front of his parents' monolithic hi-fi system/coffee table. (He burned his besotted college years at Syracuse University doing pretty much the same thing.) Is he socially maladjusted? Absolutely. However, his music collection — from Otis Redding to Bob Dylan, Public Enemy to Stan Getz — is much bigger and better than yours. So there.

Phone: (727) 893-8467


Twitter: @SeanDalyPopLife

  1. Review: Ariana Grande's 'My Everything' likable but beige


    Ariana Grande is polite in lieu of provocative, a reigning pop princess with scant interest in pushing buttons a la the Mileys and Nickis around her.

    In the panache department, the hottest thing in Top 40 these days is benign at best, beige all the way. Even her Nickelodeon persona, the bubble-headed Cat on sitcom Victorious and spinoff Sam & Cat, was devoid of personality. She spoke in breathy non sequiturs and ditzy surrealities....

    Ariana Grande performs at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) CARR138
  2. Review: Ariana Grande's 'My Everything' likable but tame

    Music & Concerts

    Ariana Grande is polite in lieu of provocative, a reigning pop princess with scant interest in pushing buttons a la the Mileys and Nickis around her.

    In the panache department, the hottest thing in Top 40 these days is benign at best, beige all the way. Even her Nickelodeon persona, the bubble-headed Cat on sitcom Victorious and spinoff Sam & Cat, was devoid of personality. She spoke in breathy non sequiturs and ditzy surrealities....

    Ariana Grande, shown performing Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards, seems comfy playing the wailing good-girl wallflower next to the party stars on her new album.
  3. Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' shakes up pop world (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Taylor Swift, she of the saucer-eyed surprise face and cutthroat business acumen, rah-rahed back into our lives Tuesday with Shake It Off, a single from her upcoming "first documented official pop album."

    The new LP will be titled 1989 (psst: the year she was born) and releases Oct. 27.

    The "official" pop switcheroo is mainly hype; 2012 album Red wasn't exactly Loretta Lynn. Swift has been pretty poppy for a while. But by consciously uncoupling from her Nashville beginnings, the 24-year-old pride of Wyomissing, Pa., at least quiets those nagging folks who still bother debating what genre she is. Heck, at this point she transcends genre....

    Taylor Swift arrives at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Aug. 10.
  4. Vince Neil's shoddy vocals buzzkill otherwise dumb-fun Mötley Crüe farewell in Tampa


    TAMPA — We can only hope this really IS the end of Mötley Crüe, that this current "farewell tour" doesn't turn into one-more-money-grubbing-time a few hard years down Regret Road. Let this truly be the last time we all shout, shout, shout at the devil, okay? And I say that from the bottom of my suburban-dirtball headbanging heart.

    Because the L.A. grunts who sold out the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Sunday — once the world's most dangerous band, four party stars who earned the right to be dead by now — were less than flammable, less than fiery in their goodbye show, no matter how much pyro they launched into the night sky. They used to be...threatening. Not anymore. Oh, it wasn't awful; it wasn't dull for the 20,000 or so on hand, not with Tommy Lee's four-story roller-coaster drum kit and bassist Nikki Sixx, who looks like a shaved Sasquatch, keeping things profane. (Sixx's best line: "I promise you this, our music is going to haunt you 'til the [really bad word] day you die." Hooray?)...

    Vince Neil interacts with the crowd during the Mötley Crüe Final Farewell Tour on Sunday night at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa.
  5. After decades of decadence, here comes Motley Crue once more

    Music & Concerts

    If Sunday's Motley Crue show in Tampa is truly the Sunset Strip heathens' "farewell" gig here — we know the drill with goodbye tours — then we should honor the hair-metalists as one of rockdom's most "dangerous" bands. After all, when it comes to the Crue (singer Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, guitarist Mick Mars), their misogynistic, hedonistic songs are tame compared with their real-life, real-wrong exploits. Girls Girls Girls, Dr. Feelgood, Wild Side, Shout at the Devil play like mere lullabies against the litany of morally and legally suspect exploits that went down in West Hollywood circa the '80s, when the Crue treated the rest of the world with a sneering, snickering disregard. (The quartet's opening act Sunday, Alice Cooper, isn't nearly as nefarious as his onstage alter ego.) If you want salacious specifics, read the Crue's 2001 oral history, The Dirt, compiled by music journalist Neil Strauss. As authors and rockers, the boys have zero shame and even less of a filter. But that's also why they're still cashing in, and we still care about them, all these decades of decadence later. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll is supposed to be a lethally dangerous combo platter. And no one debauched it better than Motley Crue....

    The Crue: Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee.
  6. Nerds, celebs help Tampa Bay Comic Con set attendance record


    Thanks to the surging rage of nerd culture, not to mention celebs from Lord of the Rings, The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, both the Tampa Bay Comic Con and its host site, the Tampa Convention Center, shattered attendance records during last weekend's three-day salute to popular culture.

    Comic Con drew some 44,000 revelers Aug. 1-3 — from those in tight superhero regalia to mere lookie-loos curious about the growing fuss. That tops 2013's haul of 28,000. ...

    Jody Kristofferson poses as “Captain Comic” on Sunday at Tampa Bay Comic Con.
  7. Review: A chronicle of pop from Bill Haley to Beyoncé

    Music & Concerts

    The Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, the Bieber: Pop music knows what we want, and pop music, for the past six decades of its "modern" incarnation, knows when we want it. That's important to remember these days. There's a lot of doomsday chatter about the death of popular music.

    But wobbly sales figures and fractured listening audiences be darned because pop music — rock, rap, soul, Motown, disco, dance, whatever juices up the masses in great tsunamic sonic swells — is self regulating based on our wants and needs....

  8. Review: Sean Daly loves Birchbox Man, hates saggy boxers


    Editor's note -- Sean Daly, the Tampa Bay Times' pop music critic and self-described "roiling sea of uncertainty" was at his desk a couple days ago pulling out a pair of powder blue boxer shorts and holding them in the air with great concern. Knowing Sean for as long as I have, I was like, "yawn," until I realized he was pulling said shorties out of a Birchbox, the OG beauty sample grab bag (box?). Turns out, Sean is a subscriber to Birchbox Man, and of course, we had to have a review. Here's Sean's take on the plethora of bro oils and boxers he gets from Birchbox once a month. Enjoy. And follow our Deal Diva for Day at @seandalypoplife, if you dare. -- Stephanie ...

    Bombas ankle socks from Birchbox Man keep the Daly feet happy.
  9. Four ways Jared Leto built the perfect career (w/photos)

    Music & Concerts

    Russell Crowe has tried to do it. Bruce Willis, too. Keanu Reeves, Kevin Costner. Minnie Driver, Zooey Deschanel, the list goes on and on. Plenty of actors have tried to cross-venture into rock stardom — don't forget Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin — all the while excelling at their day jobs. But arguably no one has done it with more success, panache and industry respect than Jared Leto....

    Getty Images
  10. INTERVIEW: John Rhys-Davies aka Sallah, Gimli, Frozen's Pabbie in ABC'S Once Upon a Time to appear at TB Comic Con


    I've interviewed Steve Martin and Tony Bennett, Roger Daltrey and Slash. I've chatted up some bold-facers for sure. And yet, I can't remember ever being as nerdily thrilled during a 30-minute phoner as I was with John Rhys-Davies, who played Sallah, "the best digger in Egypt," in my favorite movie of all time: 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Asps. Very dangerous. You go first." "BAD DATES." Oh, there I go, getting all light-headed again. That guy is AWESOME!! Anyway, my new friend John, also beloved by Lord of the Rings fans for his portrayal of Gimli the dwarf warrior -- plus he just signed on to voice Frozen's Pabbie the troll king on ABC's Once Upon a Time -- will be appearing at Tampa Bay Comic Con this weekend. I hope I get to meet him. And I hope I don't faint. In the meantime, HERE'S MY GUSHY GEEKED-OUT INTERVIEW WITH JOHN RHYS-DAVIES....

  11. Tampa Bay Comic Con: John Rhys-Davies has soft spot for Sallah, Gimli


    John Rhys-Davies — better known as Sallah or Gimli, depending on your age and level of geekery — had a chance to be in the fourth installments of not one but two Hollywood franchises he helped launch: 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

    He said no to both, which means he also said no to both Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, the powerful directors who made him famous....

    Actor John Rhys-Davies says dwarf warrior Gimli in Lord of the Rings “is packed with all of the opposites in him,” but he hated the makeup.
  12. Tampa Bay Comic Con survival guide


    The three-day convention draws thousands to the Tampa Convention Center for bold-faced celebrity meet-and-greets and some 400,000 square feet of merchandise mania, panels, vendors, comics, cosplay, videos, toys, action figures, Star Wars, anime and video games. That means you need more than a Darth Vader costume to survive. Here's what you need to know

    Can't-miss panels

    The masses will get lectures, Q&As and good ol'-fashion foam fighting. Wait — foam fighting? Herewith, our picks and best guesses for the coolest, or at least oddest, panels at Comic Con:...

    In this 2014 photo provided by the Food Network, judge and host, Marc Summers, poses for a portrait on set during the filming of Food Network's "Rewrapped," Season 1, in Montclair, N.J. The reality TV show  is a cooking competition in which three chefs create their version of famous snacks. It debuts April 21, on Food Network with host Joey Fatone. (AP Photo/Food Network, Anders Krusberg) CAET177
  13. Tom Petty to play cuts from 'Hypnotic Eye' on Kimmel Thursday


    Not only will Tom Petty and his venerable Heartbreakers play Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday, but our Florida guys (yeah, that's right, I'm still claiming them as ours) will be rippin' out cuts from the crew's best album in years, the new Hypnotic Eye. You can read my gushy review here. Then, after that (and only after that), you can rock out to first single American Dream Plan B. Fair warning: That Mike Campbell guitar solo is a monster. ...

  14. Review: Tom Petty returns to fun, sing-along form on 'Hypnotic Eye'

    Music & Concerts

    There is nothing that startling or spectacular about American Dream Plan B, the opening track on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' new LP, Hypnotic Eye. And yet the attitudinal song, the catchiest cut he's crafted in years, is a jangly revelation nonetheless. It's been awhile since our beloved Gainesville guy sounded like he was having any semblance of fun, a native Floridian in a cold, gray Nebraska gloom....

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Times Forum in 2010.
  15. Revenge Marriage? Months after splitting with Big Sean, Glee's Naya Rivera gets hitched


    Is this a classic case of "revenge marriage," as my colleague, and savvy student of lovelorn celebs, Stephanie Hayes dubs it? No idea, but we're digging the totally irrational concept. In April -- as in, a few months ago -- Glee's Naya "Santana" Rivera split with fiancee and rapper Big Sean. Instead of sulking about the breakup, the 27-year-old Rivera immediately started dating longtime friend -- and now husband! -- actor Ryan Dorsey (Southland, Parks and Recreation). The two were hitched up in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, over the weekend...or right around the time Big Sean and his former lady love were supposed to wed. "We feel truly blessed to be joined as husband and wife," the newly betrothed couple told People. "Our special day was fated and everything we could have ever asked for....True love always prevails." Every good revenge marriage deserves an even better revenge rap song! Drop the bass, Big Sean!   ...