Heavy as our hearts may be with the news, R.E.M. are still broken-up. They haven’t let their split mean the end, though, and Michael Stipe himself has launched the Collapse Into Now Film Project, divvying up songs from their last album to a group of artists and filmmakers who will create accompanying visuals. Amongst the hand picked group is James Franco, who was given the album’s closer to work with. And boy — tragic starlets, tragically hip photographers, and the ever-congested 405, oh my! — did he deliver.
Here we have “Blue,” a James Franco-directed video that and stars Lindsay Lohan and features the song “Blue,” off R.E.M.’s final album Collapse Into Now. There’s hazy fly-over footage of Los Angeles and sludgy guitars here, Terry Richardson shotting photos of of Miss Lohan in a slinky black tank and Patti Smith singing there — and zeitgeist-y as it may be, the song is very good and the visuals pleasant. And so we let go of the who’s-who’s and how did this happen’s and, lo and behold, turns out it’s a pretty good video! What do you think?
This has been lighting up our dashboards, and for good reason. Miguel stopped by San Francisco’s cozy Different Fur Studios for an intimate and slaying performance of “The Thrill,” for Yours Truly. The Casanova broke down the Kalediscope single with a band as hip looking as him, once again proving himself to be so worthy of the hype. The guitars grind a little harder and the drums sound shattered, highlighting Miguel’s tendency to pull from genres near and far — this time, something more grinding and industrial and rock and roll — to build his particular brand of R&B. And as always Miguel showed up supercharged, bouncing back and forth from the mic and swinging finger-guns when he got to the “shot ‘em up” refrain. It’s all, you might say, quite the thrill.
Last night on The X Factor, Taylor Swift traded the top hat she donned for the MTV European Music Awards last weekend for a fedora; and rather then her go-to as of late, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” she opted to perform Red stand-out “State of Grace.” She stood alone at center stage — looking, we might add, a whole lot like Joni Mitchell, who she is rumored to be playing in an upcoming biopic — for a quiet first verse, while the audience shrieked impatiently. At the first chorus the song blows out into something much bigger, and the lights flashed on behind and she really, really began to sing. There were a few moments where her voice sounded a little shaky, but by the time she got around to explaining that “this is a worthwhile fight” while the lights flickered behind her, we were in full agreement that this just might be her golden age, good and right and real.
“State of Grace” may not be as obviously radio friendly as “Never Ever” or “I Knew You Were Trouble,” but this first live performance of it proved that it’s a sure crowd pleaser. What did you think of Taylor’s Joni Mitchell style? Do you think “State of Grace” could be a single?
Gary Clark Jr. may be the future of blues. His sound stretches widely covering various genres so squeezing him into the compacted box of one genre isn’t fair, but it’s clear blues is in his soul. This month’s YOK artist has been making music for years although he’s fairly new to the mainstream eye. His talent supersedes his young 28 years enough for an invitation to play at the White House. On February 21, GCJ played at the “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” alongside legends like B.B.King, Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger. And sharing a joke with the president turned this into a dream gig of a lifetime for the guitar player and singer. Read more…
Despite being her earliest champion and mentor, a prison stint kept Lil Wayne from chipping in on Nicki Minaj‘s 2010 debut Pink Friday. He made up for that absence by contributing two verses to Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, “Sex In The Lounge” and the album’s title track, and now he’s lent her another for The Re-Up. “High School” hit the internet last night, and while it’s not as hard-hitting as, say, “I Get Crazy,” their collaboration from her 2009 Beam Me Up, Scotty mixtape, it’s got a catchy horn and drum driven beat that does well enough to get these two flexing. After their recent bout of four wheeled and fragrance-d distractions, it’s refreshing.
Nicki Minaj is really going to ride this Pink Friday theme until the wheels fall off. Remember that Pink Friday perfume bottle donned with a pink wig and gold Nicki Minaj necklace? How could you forget it. Nicki released the official commercial for her fragrance and it’s a combination of soft, seductive and slightly eery. Read more…
At this point Ke$sha and the word party are synonymous. She’s made a career of infectious fun, party records. “C’mon” from her December 4th release Warrior hit the Internet last night causing an epidemic of gyrating bodies dancing uncontrollably. Produced by Dr. Luke, the track’s mesmerizing synths paired with the boom bap bass will cause clubbers to let go of the wall they’re holding, sending them straight to the dance floor. Read more…
You’ve probably heard mention of the Weeknd in the past year, and definitely if you get your music from the internet or have an eye on R&B. The gloomy cloud that’s hanging over the genre (see: Usher‘s “Climax”) might have originated with him, while his jagged, falsetto-ed recollections of the high life have become typical for stars like Drake. In 2011, he released three critically acclaimed mixtapes for free through his Tumblr, earning himself a record deal and a clutch of powerful friends. This week, those three tapes have been remastered and repacked as Trilogy, and early forecasts have it debuting at Number 2 on the Billboard charts next week (trailing, who else but One Direction). Who is this shady game changer with an earthly voice and good internet game?
This week’s Friday Face-Off is between Kanye West and Britney Spears because they both have futuristic-theme music videos for their respective “Stronger” tracks. Plus, when you think about it, aren’t Britney and Kanye are basically the same person? Hear me out before deafening me with a chorus of “haah?!” and pelting me with Team Britney, B**** T-Shirts. Both are one-name-recognizable lightening rods for controversy, and despite head-shaving, crotch flashing (yes, both) and speaking before thinking too many times to count, they’ve remained musical juggernauts. Mind explosion, right? Now you tell us whose “Stronger” dominates.
Yesterday we had one of those cool days that makes our job extra awesome. We were invited to a Beverly Hills hotel to try out the new Myspace with a handful of other music, entertainment and tech journalists. We then sat down with CEO Tim Vanderhook, COO Chris Vanderhook (yes, they’re bros) and VIP/Myspace dude Justin Timberlake and quizzed them on the rebirth of 1996’s most popular social media site.
We’ll have a more in-depth review of the new Myspace later today (which is shiny and new and surprisingly, quite cool and fun to use), but first, some interesting moments from Justin, who spoke passionately about what he believes the site can offer to artists across a multitude of platforms. He also sorta addressed that “When is he gonna put out new music?!” question that’s been on everyone’s lips for the past five years.