Forget that American Idol win, the records gone multiple times platinum and Greatest Hits — Chapter One collection, her duets with Reba McEntire and Vince Gill and music’s most esteemed; more than anything else her gargantuan voice has earned her, Kelly Clarkson admitted to us when we spoke with her in LA last week that she counts falling in love as her biggest accomplishment to date. “Prepare yourself,” she said, warning that things were about to get “really cheesy.” “My biggest accomplishment has nothing to do with my work, it’s finding love. I never thought it existed or was going to happen, I never thought I would be this happy,” she says. “The high from a Grammy does not compare, to even close, to how you feel when you’re in love. You float. I’m so cheesy. Sh*t.” All together now?
How ironic. Today is the release of Nicki Minaj‘s The Re-Up and Rihanna‘s Unapologetic. It’s not the first time the two pop stars have found themselves unintentionally gunning for the same trophy. At September’s VMAs Nicki won over Rih for Best Female Video to which Rih Rih sat by idly without offering one single hand clap. But Rihanna took home the biggest award of the night winning the VMA for “We Found Love.” But where was their camaraderie? Read more…
A needed break from those Rihanna club bangers, “Half Of Me” is only a bonus track, but perhaps one of the most honest Rihanna’s ever sang. Written by singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé, a You Oughta Know artist whose track “Heaven” hit the top of the U.K. charts a few months back, “Half Of Me” starts almost where “Diamonds” left off — with Rih in her finest octave, singing about the pitfalls of a life in the spotlight.
Perhaps an allusion to Rihanna’s famous Instagram antics, she sings, “You’re entitled to your opinion, sitting shake your head at my decision/ I guess the kind of songs that I’ve been singing, make it seem as if I was winning/ But you saw me on the television… but that’s just the half of it.” Yep, those commenters can be harsh.
But if you know Rihanna like we do (BFFs, for life) you know that won’t stop her from doing her, no matter the consequences: “You know me/ Everybody knows that I’m crazy/ Sticks and stones, they never break me/ And I’m the type who don’t give a f*ck /And that’s just the half of it.”
Ah, a rare and special day that brings new Fiona Apple music! This year she has already treated us to a new record — which was followed by a somewhat tumultuous promotional run, replete with drug arrests and cross-legged ranting — and already she’s back again with another new song called “Dull Tool.” Written for Judd Apatow‘s Knocked Up spin-off This Is 40 — a film that will also feature songs from the likes of Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and Ryan Adams, all produced by Apple’s When The Pawn… collaborator Jon Brion — it is dense and fevered, like the tortured antidote to Idler Wheel‘s yearning “Hot Knife.”
Clearly, something — ahem, children? — has gone awry in this relationship, and leave it to Fiona to go ahead and tell it exactly as it is: “You don’t kiss when you kiss, you don’t f*** when you f***, you don’t say what you mean, you don’t talk loud enough,” she sings, evil and angry and awesome over hissing strings and racing percussion. And then she continues to explain that, quitely but no less searingly that: “You forgot the difference between equanimity and passivity, you forgot that you have to try.” The dull tool does indeed still cut.
It’s definitely Gary Clark Jr.’s time to shine. Our November You Oughta Know artist is the 28-year-old guitarist you’d find on stage singing the blues peppered with a bit of rock, a bit of R&B and a touch of country. His major label release Blak and Blu has been praised for its showcase of his “well-rounded tool kit.” Now we get to show you a behind-the-scenes look of Gary’s musical style.
Our fantastic photographer Jennifer Marigliano spent the day with Gary Clark Jr. trekking around New York City before the blues singer prepped for and rocked his You Oughta Know live session. Gary’s a no fuss kind of guy. It’s through his guitar all of his energy flows like a river. Read more…
“Moonshine,” the latest song to leak off Bruno Mars‘ Unorthodox Jukebox, which is out December 11th, comes complete with disco drums and a trendy, YOLO-style “We are not afraid to die young and live fast” interlude. And like he did with Sting for “Locked Out Of Heaven” and with doo-wop for “Young Girls,” “Moonshine” finds Mars grooving on the vibes of a musical god past: Michael Jackson.
“You’re the best way I know to escape the extraordinary,” Mars croons, before pivoting to seek a favor of the lunar gods: “Moonshine, you lovin’ makes me come alive/Take us to that special place/ That place we went last time.” Between this and Rihanna‘s “Diamonds,” ’tis the season for moonshine magic.
Tonight will go down in history. 150 sleep deprived journalists on Rihanna‘s 777 tour finally let go of the frustration and anger that’s been building up over the past few days. Here’s exactly what happened:
As he has and will be called on to do at so many award shows this season, Psy closed out tonight’s American Music Awards show ceremony with his hit gone viral “Gangnam Style.” And as he has done for all performances prior, he made sure to keep things fresh with a last minute surprise After the first round of giddy up-ing, the lights went dark and we were left to consider the possibilities — Britney’s gone Gangnam, as have Madonna and The Wanted. Psy’s “special guest” could really have been anyone but what happened was probably better than anything we could have imagined, because out stepped none less than MC Hammer. Together they performed a mash-up of Hammer’s 1991 smash hit “To Legit To Quit” and “Gangnam,” and the house — and Will.I.Am in particular — just lost it. There were a lot of performances tonight, and most of them were great, but this was something else all together. It perfect surprise to call it a night.
All bundled up and looking mighty a white fur jacket and a pair of yeti boots, Nicki Minaj performed her new no-apologies given Re-Up track, “Freedom.” Having just picked up awards for Best Rap/Hip Hop album and Best Rap Hip Hop Artist, she put her all into rapping while mostly opting-out of singing the hook. But at the end, she was joined by a white-robbed choir and they more than managed to set the song soaring.
Nicki returned to the stage later in the evening to join Justin Bieber for “Beauty And The Beast.” And despite the week’s heart breaking news, she kept the “gotta keep an eye out for Selen-er line.”