It’s no real secret that Rihanna doesn’t write her own music, but as Leona Lewismight tell you, just because she can make a song famous does not necessarily mean she always does it best. And so when we first heard “Diamonds,” we noted that Rihanna seemed to be mimicking the song’s author Sia‘s enunciation and vocal quality at times. Sia sounded good on Rihanna, but the eerie verisimilitude got us wondering — if Rihanna’s is this good, just how great could the former You Oughta Know Artist‘s take be?
Sia performed the song at the Norwegian-American Achievement Awards ceremony a few weeks back and — to nobody’s great surprise — it turns out Sia’s version is really, really, very good. Stripped of the glimmering production and 808 thump, her go is interestingly haunted and maybe a bit mournful where Rihanna’s is hopeful and inspiring. Sia’s got a much more expansive vocal range and she was able to open new corners of the her song that’s since become Rihanna’s hit. And because it’s not duplicitous or better but just different, we now have two “Diamonds” to enjoy.
We think that the world is a better place for having both these “Diamonds” out there for out listening pleasure, but what say you: Do you think Sia should have kept “Diamonds” for herself? Or is it better suited for someone so #unapologetic as Rihanna?
As her 777 tour wound down last week, “Diamonds” became Rihanna’s 12th chart topping single, making Rihanna the pop star with the most No. 1 singles ever, an unusual honor when you consider that she had yet to put out a chart topping album to match. But this week that’s changed, as Unapologetic lands atop the charts this week, earning the star yet another plaque for her wall and her first ever No. 1 album. Seventh time’s a charm?
Their numbering system might be slightly off, but bear with us: Before ¡Trés!, the final installment in Green Day‘s ambitious ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Trés! trilogy drops on December 15th, comes ¡Quatro!, a documentary about their recording process that premieres tonight on VH1. And before we get ¡Quatro!, we get these sneak peeks.
Before embarking on this ambitions run, Green Day returned their act back to the intimate clubs and small venues they technically outgrew decades ago. “Playing clubs is really important to us because it just keeps us energized,” Billie Joe Armstrong explains of the shows that helped them shake of any dust and work out the kinks after so many years of performing together. “We needed to scare the sh*t out of ourselves a little bit.”
“Stars” is one of The Lion the Beast the Beat‘s more solemn tracks, with a piano line so languid and Potter singing about on of Potter’s childhood idols who “always did take it a little bit too far,” as she recalled during their VH1 Storytellers. It’s the sort of song that sits heavy in the gut, but she insists that the tears it inevitably summons not be she for her sake. “As much as I wrote it for myself about a friend who I lost, one of my favorite things about the song is seeing how other people react to it,” she told Carrie Keagan this morning. “I am glad to get it out their to the world.” And though we might have something in our eye after watching this clip, we too are feeling very glad that she got this song out into the world.
50 Cent didn’t take much of a gamble with “My Life,” the first single off Street King Immortal which he describes as his “recovery, his comeback.” The song is radio-friendly and carefully calibrated for success, with features from a hip hop legend (that’d be: Eminem) and a chart-topping pop star (cue: Adam Levine) and a thoughtful role-out strategy that includes a radio premiere yesterday, a live-debut on The Voice last night (see below) and this geared up new video.
The big-budget video finds the song’s stars on the lam, in fancy cars and on foot as they run from helicopters and spotlights. “The video is kind of abstract; it’s kind of metaphoric in a sense, like the paranoia of feeling like we’re being chased,” Eminem told MTV News last month, explaining that they’re running to keep their personal lives safe from fame and fortune’s trappings because, “Whether it’s true or not, it’s kind of how we feel.”
Earlier this month, Big Boi suggested to the Village Voice that his long time partner in crime Andre 3000‘s absence on his upcoming album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, due out December 11th, was a matter of priority — the no good, very bad news: “He had to do some Gillette shit. No for real.” — before calling his comments back and calling for an end to all questions Outkast related. The two ATLiens insist things are good between them, and with past label drama settled they are free to make music together as they please; but unfortunately, for one reason another and to the great dismay of Outkast-stans far and wide, they aren’t. But they are both still making music, and both had something new to share yesterday: Big Boi, his banging hometown anthem “In The A;” and as for Andre, his much-anticipated feature on T.I.‘s “Sorry.” It’s not a new Outkast song exactly, but if played in quick succession, these two songs might be of some consolation to yearning fans.
And just as it was beginning to seem that earlyAmerican Idol drama had begun to dial down, the quiet has been broken by a bell signaling a new round: this time, with Nicki Minaj and Steven Tyler trading barbs over Nicki’s judging ability. Speaking with MTV last week, Tyler lamented the lack of “camaraderie” between judges this season before really digging his teeth into Nicki, saying:
“These kids, they just got out of a car from the Midwest somewhere and they’re in New York City, they’re scared to death; you’re not going to get the best [out of them]. … If it was Bob Dylan, Nicki Minaj would have had him sent to the cornfield! Whereas, if it was Bob Dylan with us, we would have brought the best of him out, as we did with Phillip Phillips. Just saying.”
Nicki, of course, is not so sure that’s the case; and so yesterday she took to Twitter to defend herself against the Aerosmith frontman and Idol veteran’s criticisms. She suggested that he may be bitter about having lost his seat at the table, or more damning yet, that his “cornfield” comments might have been racist: Read more…
To build excitement ahead of his fifth album Jesus Piece‘s arrival on December 11th, Game has been dropping new music each week, #SundayService style. This week the Compton rapper and soon-to-be hitched Marrying The Game star used the pulpit to share a Wale collaboration called “Stripper.” Not your grandmother’s Sunday Service, this latest installment pays homage to dancers, but not the kind you’ll see at Lincoln Center.
Over a lazy and soulful beat, he goes into great (and often vulgar) detail as to the things he likes about strippers: work ethic (“She got two jobs, work late, college courses on her plate”), her look (“Them high heels, that black lace, that long weave”) and their taste in music (“UGK on the iPod”). He’s got one girl in particular on his mind, a girl with hips “like the kit of a Challenger” and she’s “the best [Drake's] ever had”: Maliah Michel.
“I knew Maliah before Maliah went to H-Town and that’s straight up,” he raps, staking certain claims for Drake’s -ex. And as for Drake’s tendency to rap about her, Game sounds like he’s not having it: “Drake talking ‘bout her /Make a n**** mad, you heard that song? Yeah, best that he ever had.” Wale chimes in in agreement, but unlike Drake, he is careful not to step on Game’s toes: “My favorite stripper although I got some options.”
After a year and a half of nonstop touring in support of their Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay have decided to grant their hard-working confetti cannons a temporary reprieve. Last week frontman Chris Martin hinted that the band may be calling it quits for a little while, telling the sold-out Brisbane crowd that, “This is the last big show for three years or so. I don’t want to stop.”One album, 100 hundred stadiums and five continents later, even the most heartbroken fans should agree that these guys have earned the chance to viva their vidas.
They’ve still got three more dates scheduled — one in Connecticut on December 29 and two in Brooklyn, where they’ll ring in the new year with Jay-Z — so here’s to hoping they pull out all the stops before settling into their time off (or Apple and Moses duty, for those members of Coldplay who have born children with GOOP proprietress Gwyneth Paltrow).