Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

Last Lap: Wednesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

We kid, we kid. However, in the new issue of Rolling Stone, which hit newsstands today, the California Gurl talks at length about her newfound awareness of what makes this great land of ours tick. “It just feels like the thing running our country is a bank, money,” she tells RS contributing editor Erik Hedegaard. “I know it sounds like an intense viewpoint, but I’m only slowly but surely getting the wool taken off my eyes. When I was a kid, I asked questions about my faith. Now I’m asking questions about the world.” Lest you think she’s totally lost her way and turned into a stuffy economics obsessive, she then goes on to talk about her boobs. [Rolling Stone]

Hot on the heels of last week’s rumors that Beyoncé‘s new album, 4, was going to be pushed back to September, this morning’s New York Post contained a juicy item planted by someone who clearly isn’t on Team Bey. According to the snitch source, Columbia Records execs are “very nervous about Beyonc?’s new record” because “it doesn’t have the hit songs that her fans are used to. They asked her to make changes, but she said no.” The last time we remember this much behind-the-scenes drama playing out in the gossip rags before a record came out was when Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis got into a very public beef before My December hit shelves. [Page Six]

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 To Broadcast Coldplay – Live From Glastonbury On Saturday Night

After the massive worldwide success of Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends and its ensuing 21-month world tour, Coldplay had clearly earned the right to take a little time off. However, the band did exactly the opposite of that: While they were in the midst of the Viva La Vida tour, they began writing and recording a brand new album, one that Chris Martin described to BBC’s Radio 1 as dealing with universal themes like “love, addiction, OCD, escape and working for someone you don’t like.”

While this album, Coldplay’s fifth, does not yet have a name nor a release date, the band is already out on the road and debuting new tracks. The first single from the album, “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” is in contention for the Song Of The Summer crown, and this weekend, the band will be headlining the Glastonbury Music Festival in England.

If you’re bummed that you can’t make it to England, we’ve got some great news to share: On Saturday night, June 25, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, VH1 and our sister station Palladia will be broadcasting Coldplay – Live From Glastonbury in its entirety, marking the first time in the festival?s 41-year history that a full concert will be broadcast to television audiences in the United States.

For the complete press release, read on…

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by (@unclegrambo)

We Tip Our Caps To The Suddenly Hatless Javier Colon’s Performance Of “Fix You”

We’re nearing the end of the first season of NBC’s The Voice, the show that has revitalized the entire genre of glorified karaoke singing competition programming. The show has been a massive ratings success for the struggling Peacock Network; so much so, in fact, that NBC has the confidence to air a 1-hour special of The Voice in the plum post-Super Bowl slot come February (that is, if an NFL season actually happens) and program it against the reigning champ of the genre, American Idol.
While it remains to be seen whether or not American audiences will be able to stomach two high-profile singing competitions on network television at the same time, The Voice has proven itself to be just what the doctor ordered for the summer network TV viewing season, which is ordinarily filled with either reruns or new shows that network execs have very little faith in. Big name talent like Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine have all upped their profile considerably, Carson Daly seems to be having the most fun he’s had since his TRL heyday, and heck, the competitors themselves have turned out to be fairly engaging, too.
Take Javier Colon, for example. The amiable 34 year-old father of two (and former Capitol records signee) seems to be the consensus favorite at this stage of the competition, and his performance of Coldplay‘s “Fix You” last night was such a knockout that it briefly clawed its way into the iTunes Top 10 singles chart. Not to take anything away from Colon, but everyone knows that it’s the majestic, shimmery guitar crescendo that gives “Fix You” its rousing power, not its lyrics or Colon’s (or, for that matter, Chris Martin‘s) voice. That said, Colon made sure to seize the moment by tossing his trademark cap into the audience and showing America his gleaming pate for the first time. Now, if we were coaching Colon, we would have advised him to save that move for the finals but, as such, it looks like his path to the next round is secure.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: Is The Summer Of Pitbull Nearly Upon Us?

[Click here for a larger image]

Now that we’re four weeks into this year’s race to determine the Song Of The Summer, the race is finally starting to heat up. Adele still has a firm grasp on the #1 spot, but closer analysis reveals that the gap between her and those who would gladly take her position is closing (thanks to minor slips in iTunes sales and the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown this week).

While Adele isn’t giving up her throne anytime soon, it looks pretty clear at this point that Miami rapper Pitbull is shaping up to have his Best Summer Ever. He’s currently got three songs resting comfortably in the S.O.T.S. Top 20: He contributes guest vocals to both Jennifer Lopez‘s “On The Floor” and Shakira‘s new chart entry, “Rabiosa,” and he’s also the lead artist on the club-friendly “Give Me Everything.” Not only that, his new single with Marc Anthony, “Rain Over Me,” is just starting to bubble up and could make a strong run itself after his new album, Planet Pit, drops tomorrow.

Also, while we’re talking about potential songs that could dethrone “Rolling In The Deep,” keep an eye on Lady Gaga’s “The Edge Of Glory” next week. The video just debuted on Thursday night, and even though it underwhelmed many upon its release, the song should benefit greatly from increased exposure in the wake of Clarence Clemons’ tragic passing this week.

Got any thoughts on the Song Of The Summer? Tweet us @vh1 or leave your comments below!

by (@unclegrambo)

R.I.P. Clarence Clemons (1942-2011)

Sad news to pass along this evening: Clarence “Big Man” Clemons, the renowned saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band, passed away earlier this evening as a result of complications from the stroke he suffered earlier this week.

We’d like to pay our respects to The Big Man by programming 24 hours of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band on VH1 Classic. Starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday night, we’ll be airing the concert films Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live in New York City (2000) and Live In Barcelona (2002) back-to-back for 24 consecutive hours.

Clemons first rose to prominence in 1971 after agreeing to team up with fellow Asbury Park, NJ musician Bruce Springsteen. The Bruce Springsteen Band, as they were called back then, didn’t make it very far, but Bruce reconstituted the group a few years later under the moniker of the E Street Band and, as they say, the rest is history. Clemons became an instrumental part of Springsteen’s band, contributing some of the most famous sax solos in music history on songs like “Born To Run” and “Jungleland,” and was such an integral part of Springsteen’s creative process that The Boss wrote the song “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and included their origin story as part of one of the verses.

Earlier this evening, Springsteen released the following statement about Clemons:
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by (@unclegrambo)

Rumors Of On-Set Creative Clashes Mar The Release Of Lady Gaga’s Video For “The Edge Of Glory”

When word first broke last month that Lady Gaga was prepping a video for her Song Of The Summer contender “The Edge Of Glory,” acclaimed music video director Joseph Kahn was attached to the project. However, before Gaga’s new Rent-tastic video debuted on So You Think You Can Dance last night, Kahn tweeted the following:

Which was followed up by this:

Naturally, this apparent Gaga diss by Kahn infuriated the Little Monsters, who barraged Kahn so relentlessly on Twitter that his name became a trending topic “for all the wrong reasons.” After Gaga refused to come to his aid on Twitter, anonymous insiders close to production talked to the New York Post’s PopWrap blog and detailed the “disagreements” that occured on set between Gaga and Kahn, disagreements that led to Kahn disavowing the project entirely (the finished video for “The Edge Of Glory” is now listed as being directed by Haus of Gaga).

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by (@unclegrambo)

Dream On: The Top Ten Music Videos That Take Place In Dreams

Ever since the dawn of the eighties when the music video revolution took place, musicians and directors alike have used the medium to unleash ideas and visions that often start bubbling up from the subconscious. When you think about it, this strategy makes perfect sense; since songs rarely have linear plots and generally only run 3-4 minutes in length, it’s can be a challenge to cram an entire “traditional” story into a music video. So videos tend to work best when they use music and imagery to create a mood that’s dreamlike in nature, rather than telling a story that starts at point A and definitively ends at point B.

Despite the fact that a lot of videos rely on dreamlike imagery, very few, in fact, actually literally take place in dreams themselves. However, after taking in Bon Iver‘s lush video for “Calgary” yesterday, we found ourselves really wanting to explore what other videos also took place in dreams. We admittedly fell down a bit of a YouTube rabbit hole, in a good way, and we wanted to share our results with you. So, without further ado, here is our list of the Top Ten Music Videos That Take Place In Dreams.

10) The Chemical Brothers, “Let Forever Be”
A woman finds weird reflections of herself as she goes about her day, because it turns out she’s having that dream where she goes about her day?you know, the one where you try to trick your brain into thinking you’re already up. This video visualizes the brain’s process of figuring itself out. Also there are nods to Busby Berkeley. (NM)

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by (@unclegrambo)

Exclusive: Beyoncé’s Camp Insists 4 Will Arrive On June 28

Over the last few days, the Internet has been running wild with rumors that Beyoncé‘s latest album, 4, had been pushed back by Columbia Records from its planned June release date to the fall. According to unsubstantiated reports that appeared on various gossip blogs, an “emergency meeting” was called after execs at her label declared the album to be “too concept edgy and extreme” for American tastes. After the difficulty that the first single from the record, “Run The World (Girls),” had gaining traction on radio and in sales, these rumors seemed especially viable.

Adding fuel to the fire was Beyoncé’s Facebook statement last week after 4 leaked and started appearing on file sharing services, a message that included her stating that “this is not how I wanted to present my new songs.” Some interpreted that to mean that she was just upset about the leak, while others theorized that she had not completed work on the songs yet.

However, we here at VH1 decided to go straight to the source to find out once and for all whether or not 4 was officially being pushed back until fall. Sony Music, the parent company of Columbia Records, has yet to make an official statement on the matter, but we went directly to Beyoncé’s publicist this morning and received this statement from her team:

“Beyonc?’s album, 4, will be released on June 28.”

Well, Beyoncé fans, there you have it! Important distinction: As you’ll note, they didn’t say “is scheduled to be released on June 28,” they definitively said “will be released on June 28.” We will keep you abreast of any further developments to this story as they happen.

by (@unclegrambo)

Mumford & Sons Covers The National For New VH1 Unplugged

When Mumford & Sons taped their Unplugged set back on April 13, the Grammy Award winners (and former You Oughta Know selection) elected to play a Contradictions Track as part of the show (which is presented by our friends at Starburst). After banjo player Winston Marshall joked that said cover would be a Britney Spears tune, the band instead launched into The National‘s “England,” a deep cut from 2010’s High Violet that sends up the imperial ordinariness that characterizes what might be called “the English Way.” To Mumford & Sons, choosing the ultimate contradiction was a lyrical, not a sonic, imperative. So there you have it: a London band covering a Brooklyn band’s track about someone in Los Angeles dismissing someone who ran off to?you guessed it?London. We?ve got the clip for you above, and be sure to tune in for their Unplugged performance when it debuts on Friday, June 24 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
We also caught up with Mumford & Sons last weekend at the Bonnaroo festival, where they provided us with one of the more surprising tidbits we learned all weekend. You would think that given their old-timey folk sound, the band would have nothing but the likes of the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack on their iPods. Well, it turns out that the musical tastes of Marcus Mumford and crew extend much deeper than one might expect. Check out our video below to find else what else floats their boat.

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by (@unclegrambo)

It’s Tough To Find A Show On Broadway, Let Alone In Your Friendly Neighborhood, That’s As Fun As Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Before Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark even held its first preview performance last November, it had the notorious distinction of being one of the most troubled productions ever to hit the Great White Way. The $65 million-plus show had been languishing in development since 2002 and, after a number of delays, had lost two of its biggest stars, Evan Rachel Wood and the Tony Award winning Alan Cumming (who were set to play Mary Jane Watson and the Green Goblin, respectively). Things got worse, though, as soon as the play opened to the public; critics savaged the material, jokes about the production became an unending supply of grist for the late night comedy mill, and, worst of all, multiple performers ended up in the hospital following horrible on-stage injuries.

Yet, as cliché tells us, the show must go on! Except this time, it didn’t. Production of the show –which, it should be noted, was breaking Broadway box office gross records at the time– halted in March when the visionary creator and director of the play, Julie Taymor, was unceremoniously booted from the project after she resisted making wholesale changes to the show that the producers were internally describing “Plan X.” As The Edge, who co-wrote the music and songs with his U2 bandmate Bono, told the New York Times today, “When Plan X was presented, [Taymor] said: ?That could never be achieved in a three-week period. You?d need months to do that, and it probably won?t work anyway for X, Y, and Z reasons.? At that moment, when that was her response, the producers felt that whatever Julie would do with a hiatus was more of a polishing job than a top-to-bottom rethink of the show.? Even Bono admitted that “the first time I loved the play was two-and-a-half weeks ago.”

Why do we bring all this up? Well, after Spidey was benched back in April while the show underwent heavy top-to-bottom reconstruction, the revamped Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark finally opened at the Foxwoods Theater tonight (and the official soundtrack, featuring new songs from Bono and The Edge, also hit shelves today; it’s currently sitting at #12 on iTunes Top Albums chart). Luckily for us, we were invited to a sneak preview of the retooled extravaganza last week, and you know what?


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