Now that 2012 is firmly in the rearviewmirror, it’s time to look forward with hope and optimism as to what the year 2013 holds in store for music fans like us. Considering that we’re not even three weeks into January and we’ve already been blessed with two delightful surprises —A new Destiny’s Child song! A new Timberlake jam!— we feel confident that this is going to be another banner year filled with an abundance of both monster pop smashes and crossover gems.
With that in mind, the VH1 Tuner team has put together this list of 13 of our most anticipated albums for 2013, which includes a healthy mix of familiar faces (Beyoncé, Lady Gaga) and artists on the come-up (Big Sean, Diane Birch), brought to you in the order of when we expect them to release their new material.
Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob (Expected Release Date: January 29): Sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have long been staples at alternative radio, but the synth-driven Heartthrob appears like it might be the LP that finally breaks them into the mainstream consciousness. “We really look at this as an opportunity to stretch into a world that we’ve been just outside of for a long time,” Sara recently told our VH1 News crew, and one listen to the album’s lead single, “Closer,” seems to be indicative of the fact that they’ve reached their goal.—Mark Graham
We’re quite fond of our January You Oughta Know artist, and it appears that the feeling is mutual. After Allen Stone included his visit to VH1 headquarters in the official video for current single “Sleep”–we’re blushing!–we’re more than tickled to be pulling back the curtain on his exclusive acoustic performance from within the cozy walls of YOK Live.
Of all the Nicki Minaj beefs that have been left on the fire over the last few years, this one is both laughable and disconcerting: Minaj has parted ways with her longtime hairstylist, Terrence Davidson. Colorful and constantly changing, Nicki’s hair has been a conversation piece when other subjects, like her lyrical ability and sizable behind, became exhaustive. The ease with which she transitioned from pink to green to bright blonde–in one video!–gave hope to little girls who grew up with unruly curls and spent the better part of their 20s being depressed by the theories of Patti Stanger. But with a new year comes new opportunities and new challenges, and we will get through this time of uncertainty (i.e. not knowing what to expect from Nicki’s hair as she preps for live television) together, friends.
Last year was dominated by celebrities, athletes and even politicians miming the lyrics to an undeniable musical force known as “Call Me Maybe.” The first few spoofs were cute–dare we say entertaining?–but after a while the sheer ubiquity forced us to temporarily break up with Carly Rae Jepsen and her infectious piece of pop perfection. It was for the best! Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Psy‘s “Gangnam Style” stepped in toward the end of 2012, but which act and his or he super duper catchy track will receive the same treatment in the new year?
These trends start with the kids, but often get the biggest boost once celebrities get involved. James Franco made a case for Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” last week, which was interesting (as all things Franco tend to be) but covering a song that’s nearly a year old feels like too little too late; there are more important Bieber topics to discuss nowadays. The latest entry vying for most shareable proof of celebrity goofiest comes courtesy of BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw, and features a bevy of British acts giving their best G.O.O.D. Music audition. Oh, God!
The arrival of Santigold’s aptly-titled video from the soundtrack, set in the Girls‘ backyard gives us even more reason to talk about just how she and Dunham are portraying New York City, millennial culture and fellow loosely-tied down young women who also happen to be nursing ex-boyfriends back to health. Sorry, haters. But between the increasingly direct (and steamy) approach to both sex and its critics AND a Tuner-approved playlist, you might want to throw up a white flag and jump aboard. We’ve come so far from the sounds of Charlie and Ray’s underwhelming live shows in sweaty basements!
Hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden (there to make sure Leslie Knope doesn’t make a move on her husband) Saturday’s children’s event will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and will also feature performances from the likes of Far*East Movement, fun., John Legend, Marc Anthony, Mindless Behavior and members of the Glee cast. Despite the wide cross-section of musical talent, all eyes will be on Katy to see what political piece of clothing she could possibly wiggle herself into this time.
Lest a certain Duke and Duchess from across the pond monopolize all of our attention, members of the American Royal Family stopped by morning television to update us on their own reproductive developments. “I’m due in July,” Kim Kardashian announced on Today Tuesday morning, confirming the growing fetus inside of her as well as offering more theories as to when and where she and boyfriend Kanye West conceived (if speculating on bedroom behavior is your kinda thing). After recently taking a “babymoon” to stroll through Parisian shops and discuss their firsborn’s inevitable dopeness, Kanye’s baby mama stopped by Rockefeller Center to talk about everything from her own struggle with fertility issues to her boo’s lack of filter. “He just kinda does what he feels,” Kim explained, when asked about Yeezy’s impromptu announcement made onstage at Revel Resort in the wee hours of New Year’s Eve.”I think once you’re past like the three-month mark you’re pretty safe. So he just kinda goes off of what he feels and he was feeling it that night, I guess.”
Life Is But a Dream, the forthcoming HBO documentary written, produced and starring Beyoncé, is the perfect subject to satisfy the needs of any pop culture viewing party during the off weekend between the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. Suggested party attire includes, but is not limited to: leotards, heels and anything with the Brooklyn Nets logo.
Along with entertainment value, the project is also the 31-year-old superstar’s attempt to slightly debunk the notion of perfection so many photo spreads and carefully calibrated interviews have created, or at the very least get us to believe that famous people have occasional moments of self-doubt and/or eat junk food on camera. Bug-eyed shots of Beyoncé pontificating out loud illustrate the personal testaments that she, too, feels insecure, particularly when forced to conform an ever-expanding, baby vessel into tiny stage ensembles. It is painful, we’re sure, but is it enough to get you to tune in?
Kenya Moore, the former Miss USA and newest Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member, takes issue with people who question her limitations, and straight up can’t stand those who mix up her pageant title. You see, she’s part of American history, someone your children will soon be learning about in Social Studies once all reports on the effects of Laguna Beach on adolescent development have been presented to the class.
Since she’s already engaged in a massive vacation blow-out and coined her own phrase, soon to be plastered across Bravo merchandise everywhere, the only thing left on her Real Housewives to-do list is record a hit single. And because these things don’t really take flight until they’re brought to life with beefy male backup dancers (see: Danielle Staub‘s live rendition of “Too Close” and Michaele Salahi‘s verison of “Bump It”) Kenya brought the first liiiive performance of the year to Bravo’s Clubhouse on Watch What Happens Live Sunday night. Her outfit was hot and her stage presence was undeniable–such a power stance likely comes from many hours strutting across a stage; her twirl was obviously perfected during her dramatic exit following a shouting match with Portia Stewart–but it all came together for me when she collapsed to the floor in what was either triumph or exhaustion. Performing takes a lot out of you, and we do not know the date of her last spa day.
The weather may be dreary, but things are heating up here at VH1, thanks to the voice of January’s You Oughta Know artist, Allen Stone. The deeply soulful singer-songwriter brings a unique spin to everything from accessories to his blonde-haired, blue-eyed stamp on the rhythm & blues, capitalizing on the crave for funky, retro sound that has been so kind to acts like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Bruno Mars in recent years.
Having honed his performance skills before church pews in small town Washington, Stone has experience winning over crowds and is comfortable taking time to preach to the unconverted. Inspired by—and often compared to—Stevie Wonder, now he’s giving the likes of Miguel and JT a run for their money in the panty-dropping department thanks to his ability to blissfully distract us from everyday stresses with a rich timbre. His is also a warm and inviting sound that welcomes us in a cozy embrace, and encourages to stay put all winter long.
Ace VH1 photographer Lauren Weissler followed Stone throughout his whirlwind day here in New York City just before the holidays, which included which included a festive stop by Big Morning Buzz Live and some quality catch-up time with his cell phone. Check it out below.