In advance of three shows this weekend at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Rihanna came to nearby Bangor to film a video for her new single “We Found Love”?and ended up running afoul of the farmer and local politician on whose land she was filming. The Sunday shoot for the single, produced by her Belfast opener Calvin Harris, drew hundreds of fans, and not a few paparazzi. Apparently, most of the filming was on public land, but a brief sequence was filmed on land owned by Alan Graham. In an interview with Nuala McCann of BBC News, Graham explained that while he didn’t object to Rihanna’s outfit, as seen in candid photographs of the more public part of the shoot, the sequence filmed on his land got “inappropriate”?so he requested that the shoot relocate. Billboard cites unnamed Irish and British news reports in stating that at one point the singer was topless, though it’s unclear whether Graham witnessed a bit of the video or a between-scenes costume change when he happened to be fetching his tractor near the shoot. Whatever he saw, we’re betting paparazzi wish they’d seen too?which is probably why the shoot moved away from the road in the first place.
You Oughta Know alums Foster The People will have another feather in their cap on October 8 when they appear on that night’s episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Ben Stiller. We doubt they will get quite the camp-out that the season premiere got, but considering the reception they’ve gotten at festivals all summer, who knows? NBC announced the booking yesterday, also confirming that the following week’s episode would be hosted by Anna Faris and feature music from Drake. We wonder whether Young Money’s sometime actor will make any sketch appearances. He doesn’t exactly seem the type, but then again, neither did Lady Gaga. Good luck to October’s Very Own and especially to Mark Foster and co.!
We weren’t entirely thrilled by Radiohead‘s weekend appearance on Saturday Night Live, but that didn’t stop us from tuning in to see them during last night’s hour-long episode of The Colbert Report?and we’re glad we did. Even before they performed, the band gave one of their best interviews in years, in no small part because Stephen Colbert was more interested in making the members laugh than hearing what they had to say. “Who’s better at saving the world, you guys or Bono?” he asked. “Bono, definitely,” frontman Thom Yorke gamely responded.
Then the band launched into The King of Limbs b-side “The Daily Mail,” followed by “Bloom” and “Little By Little.” Each of these songs sounded more invigorated here than either of the songs they performed this weekend, but we specifically want to highlight the Kid A track with which they closed the show: “The National Anthem,” embedded above. The cynical political song sounds as good as ever, and was a perfect fit for The Colbert Report (which may be why the band went into their back catalog at all). The full episode, including a web-exclusive performance of “Codex,” is available to stream.
Last week, when we first saw YouTube footage of Demi Lovato singing Lil Wayne‘s “How To Love” at her Hammerstein Ballroom show, we thought it was merely the latest in what’s increasingly become a trend among pop artists: the “curveball” live cover (more about that later). What we didn’t realize was that the rendition was actually a warm-up for the Top 20 Live set she recorded here at VH1 last Tuesday.
We’ll have the full set for you shortly (and it’s a doozy?including a two-song medley of one track from each of her previous albums and a killer rendition of “My Love Is Like A Star,” an Unbroken song James Morrison co-wrote for her) but we wanted to get this in your hands as quickly as possible. As with her dry run at the Hammerstein, this rendition transforms the song by largely switching the lyrics into a first-person perspective, which is a really great choice; by having the subject speak for herself rather than having Lil Wayne presume to speak for her, Lovato’s rendition sidesteps the original’s virgin/whore dichotomy. Naturally, we loved it.
Stay tuned for more from Lovato, this month’s Posted artist, including the rest of today’s set and the results of her session in the Ask Me Anything hot seat!
The MGM Grand played host to a plethora of pop stars this weekend for the Clear Channel-sponsored iHeartRadio Festival, two nights of genre-spanning, crowd-pleasing pop music. A mix of veterans and newcomers thrilled the (reportedlyvery drunk) crowd on both nights. The most successful performers were those who stuck to a setlist of hits, like Jay-Z, who may have performed “On To The Next One” but didn’t take its advice about his old songs, including favorites from The Blueprint and The Black Album alongside newer singles like “Empire State of Mind” (with a guest appearance by earlier performer Alicia Keys). Those whose songs were less well-known by the crowd, like Sublime with Rome, were less well-received.
Perhaps the big surprise of the weekend, according to reports, was Jennifer Lopez, who, in a set that spanned her musical career, proved supremely capable of standing among the pop titans of today (with a Pitbull feature on “On the Floor”). Saturday’s “special guest” Sting also more than pulled his weight, backing Steven Tyler on bass early in the evening, then joining Lady Gaga for performances of “Stand By Me” and his own “King of Pain.”
Saturday Night Live pulled out all the stops for its season premiere this weekend, booking sixteen-time host Alec Baldwin and musical guest Radiohead. While Baldwin mostly impressed (especially as Tony Bennett), we were left a little cold by Radiohead’s two songs (“Lotus Flower,” above, and “Staircase,” below). These are songs we’ve heard before, of course, but something about taking them out of the basement and putting them on the Saturday Night Live stage robbed them of no small amount of their power.
The King of Limbs songs (and b-side “Staircase”) can best be described as moody explorations over locked grooves. “Lotus Flower” does have the closest to a traditional song-form, but like the other tracks, it’s still designed for focused listeners. Nitsuh Abebe wrote at Vulture about how Radiohead have cultivated “serious listening” in their fanbase. It’s true, and in certain ways the band is to be admired for that. But when the band lacks complete control over the context and presentation of the songs, do they still hold up? We’re not so sure.
Who hasn’t dreamed of living in a musical? We have. Jean-Luc Godard has (via his then-wife Anna Karina). Björk has. And now we know that Sara Bareilles has, thanks to her new video “Gonna Get Over You.” We had wondered how, exactly, the Grease inspiration would mesh with the Mexican supermarket setting, and now we know!
In the clip, directed by comic actor Jonah Hill, Bareilles is a greaser with a variation on the mythic power of King Midas (let’s call it “The Fonzie touch”): everyone she touches?a landscaper outside, and a number of shoppers inside, a Mexican supermarket?becomes a dancing greaser. The Michael Rooney-choreographed sequences play off the swing undercurrents of the single itself. The whole thing is a lot of fun, and just when we started to think about what the ethnic dynamics of the clip might be indicating, the twist ending flipped the script on the whole clip and indicated that, of course, Bareilles and company are way too smart (and good-natured) to get themselves in trouble like that. Read more…
Eddie Trunk Of That Metal Show Named One Of The Best Characters On Television Eddie Trunk, the enthusiastic host of That Metal Show, got a much-deserved nod from Rolling Stone in their list of this season’s Best Characters On Television. The VH1 Classic show is now powering through its eighth season, with no signs of stopping. Sammy Hagar stops by this week: tune in Saturday at 11PM ET. [Rolling Stone]
Facebook Launches Music Partnerships With Spotify And Others
During their F8 keynote today, Facebook announced a slew of music partnerships that will integrate its social elements with the streaming capabilities of Spotify, Soundcloud, Rhapsody, turntable.fm and others, so you can easily see what your friends are streaming and listen along (or be prompted to join whichever service, if you’re not already signed up). The auto-updating timeline/ticker setup inadvertently joins the fight against guilty pleasures, as there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism built in to prevent friends from seeing everything you’ve listened to. [Billboard] Read more…
Hardest-working and fan-friendliest pop-star Rihanna premiered the Calvin Harris produced “We Found Love,” the lead single off her upcoming album, this morning via Facebook and radio. (For the moment, the song is available for purchase exclusively on iTunes, where it’s been tearing up the singles chart all day.) It’s a major (or as the singer would say, MAJAH) house track?less trance-y than “Only Girl (In The World)” but certainly along the same Euro-dance lines. (More than one critic has made a reference to glow sticks, possibly unaware that the singer had beaten them to the punchline on Twitter.) That mentality resonates throughout, from the song’s refrain, “We found love in a hopeless place,” to the melodic line (not as punishingly Ibiza-esque as many recent hits but hardly airy either) to Rihanna’s perfectly-suited vocal delivery. Top 40 is going to keep on raving into the fall.
Lawyers for Usher, Jermaine Dupri, and Bryan-Michael Cox have filed a last-ditch motion in hopes of stopping the copyright lawsuit filed against them in California Central District Court from going before a jury. The suit, which was brought in April of 2008 by Ernest Lee Straughter, alleges that Usher’s 2004 #1 single “Burn” copies “No More Pain,” a 1999 album cut recorded by Reel Tight based on Straughter’s “The Reasons Why.” Last month Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled that Straughter’s case had sufficient grounds for a jury trial. Friday’s motion challenges that ruling.
Straughter’s case aims to prove that “The Reasons Why” is the basis for “Burn” based on both musical similarities and proof of exposure by the songwriters to “The Reasons Why.” A musicologist’s report indicates corresponding features of the two songs; you can listen to them both below. Friday’s motion mainly challenges the claim of exposure: “The fact that the song had virtually no radio airplay forecloses any inference that it was widely disseminated, let alone remotely popular.” Ouch! If Snyder rejects the motion, the case is headed before a jury. We suspect that the defendants still have pretty good odds of winning the case, but they are trying to avoid the sort of publicity a jury trial might invite. Read more…