This month, as part of a Vanity Fair cover story, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga had themselves a Jack and Rose moment, albeit without the illicit romance. In Titanic, the devilishly handsome Jack sketches the unattainable Rose as she lies sprawled and naked before him. Before any nudity ensues, however, Rose asserts, “The last thing I need is another picture of me looking like a porcelain doll,” and we’re thinking the line could have just as easily slipped from Lady Gaga’s lips. Bennett’s charcoal rendition of Lady Gaga is stripped down and raw — Mother Monster without all the accoutrements we’re used to seeing her robed with. Bennett’s drawing, in short, is of a human girl we’ve yet to really see. And it’s beautiful.
Lana Del Rey has finally released the official recording of the highly anticipated track “Born To Die” off her debut album of the same name. Until now, Lana has only played the song live, teasing fans, who until now had to satisfy themselves with “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans,” and the young performers back catalog from her days as Lizzy Grant.
“Born To Die” continues in the same vein as Lana’s previous work, continuing to uphold the Lana Del Rey illusion after a brief stumble, with retro throwback instrumentals, a tonality lending itself towards the maudlin, and emotionally wrought, sentimental lyrics. Unfortunately, however, Lana has changed some of the lyrics that had fans (the boys mostly) going crazy. In the chorus, when performing live, Lana has previously sung “let me f–k you hard in the pouring rain,” but the official version replaces the expletive with the very PG “kiss.” Never fear — the audio release comes with GIF-inspired imagery of Lana Del Rey without her top on, exposing a satisfying amount of side boob. Let the Lana fantasy continue.
If you weren’t a TLC fan in the 90s, you were either asleep for a decade or not born yet, and for both we’re willing to forgive you (and we hope you’re well-rested or enjoying your youth, respectively). Needless to say, we were massive TLC creeps and still are, so we’re pretty excited that our network, in collaboration with surviving band members, Chilli and T-Boz, have announced they’ll be making a scripted TLC bio-pic that will air on VH1. Obviously, we’re absolutely thrilled at the news, and have already started speculating as to what events in the history of TLC that this highly anticipated movie will cover. For now, though, we’re going to play casting director and make some suggestions as to who should play the some of the CraziestSexiestCoolest singers in music history…
CHILLI – SOLANGE KNOWLES
Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas was the quiet one, as far as quiet goes when you’re part of TLC. Solange is much the same, the quiet sister, or as quiet as a sister can be when she’s a Knowles. Not to be confused with shy, Chilli has this cool nonchalance that made her slightly enigmatic with this completely intriguing, subtle sex appeal. And she still had attitude, buckets of it — but she gave you this sense that she wasn’t giving you everything, although what she was giving was so beguiling you were always hankering for more. Enter Solange, whose soft harmonies we’d love to hear accompanying T-Boz’s gravelly voice. Both women give the impression that there’s so much more to them than meets the eye…
If you think about it, Britney Spears is one of the last pop stars created during the “old” era of the music industry (meaning, before the advent of mp3′s). Her career as a bubblegum teen idol was launched in the late nineties, right at the same time as a little show on MTV called TRL was beginning to take off. The fortunes of these two properties became inextricably tied together, and thanks to some crazy catchy tunes and some truly iconic music videos that got tons of on-air exposure during the last gasp of MTV’s infatuation with the music video format, Britney Spears quickly became not only the biggest star in the music industry, but one of the most famous celebrities in all the world.
As everyone knows, her tabloid notoriety would soon go on to eclipse her musical output, and there was a period of time there when a lot of people thought that Britney Spears might not make it to her 30th birthday. However, to her credit, Britney was able to pull her life back together and re-dedicate herself to her music career, and her focus is now unquestionably sharp. As we look back upon her body of work on the occasion of Brit Brit’s milestone 30th birthday—an incredible six Number One albums, nineteen Top 40 singles (!)—it’s a testament to her longevity and outstanding career output that we had an incredibly difficult time putting together this list of the 30 Greatest Britney Spears Songs (which you can also listen to on Spotify).
Feel free to debate our choices in the comments below!
30. “Radar” (Blackout, 2007)
29. “If You Seek Amy” (Circus, 2008)
28. “Hot As Ice” (Blackout, 2007)
27. “Showdown” (In The Zone, 2003)
26. “Break The Ice” (Blackout, 2007)
25. “Soda Pop” (Baby One More Time, 1999)
24. “Hold It Against Me” (Femme Fatale, 2011)
23. “Overprotected” (Britney, 2001)
22. “(I Got That) Boom Boom” (In The Zone, 2003)
21. “How I Roll” (Femme Fatale, 2011)
Keep reading for the Top 20!
T-Pain showed off his non-auto tuned singing skills on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno last night with one of the tracks off his new album, “5 O’Clock.” The song is a sexy ode to the crack of dawn, and between T-Pain’s breathy vocal and the adorable little thing singing the female part at the side of the stage, the whole performance is inspiring us to loosen our collars. There’s a bit of a retro R&B throw back happening here too, with purple tinted lighting, a full band and some harmonizing backup singers with synchronized dance moves. The song itself is pretty catchy — we’re expecting it will be a staple for party playlists this winter, and we’re definitely hoping there will be a club-inspired remix for the festive season.
Drake has caused quite a stir today by giving his management team the boot. The New York Post initially reported this morning that that he’d split from both his management team, Hop Hop Since 1978, and his agency, International Creative Management. However, Billboard.biz has since been confirmed that the Canadian rapper has only parted ways with the latter. So, while Drake is still very much under the representation of Hip Hop Since 1987 (who also manage Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Kayne West), he no longer has an ongoing affiliation with ICM and an official statement of this move is expected to be forthcoming.
Understandably, the whispers have already started with fans and industry folk alike spouting off a million and one questions. Why has Drake made such a dramatic move, especially at such a pivotal time in his career? His sophomore album, Take Care, just debuted at Number One and sold over 630,000 copies in its first week, which has a number of people wondering what would prompted Drake to drop his team when they’ve achieved so much together. With big names covering his songs and an appearance on Saturday Night Live recently (forget that chart rubbish, everyone knows you’ve really made it when you’re on SNL), Drake’s popularity is skyrocketing, so why now? What’s going on, Drake? It’s a confusing maneuver from the eternally emo star, and we’re anxious to see how this story ends up shaking out.
Drake Fires Managers, Agents, Moves On [NY Post via Prefix]
Drake Leaves ICM But Stays With Hip Hop Since 1978, Contrary to Reports [Billboard]
American Idol runner-up and super duper pop star supreme Adam Lambert has revealed he’s pulling out the big guns for his next album, Trespassing. Enlisting the services of A-list producers Pharrell Williams and Dr. Luke, Lambert is taking his music in a new direction, and we’ve been warned — there will be dancing.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lambert describes his new musical direction as a bit of dubstep, a bit of electronica, and even some “Nine Inch Nails meets Saturday Night Fever” sounds mixed in there. It’s not all about partying and clubbing, though, as Lambert makes it patently clear that his album will retain his trademark depth and boundary-pushing material. “There’s party music, sex music, f****d-up-relationship S&M music,” he tells RS. “But every song explores something real.”
Although his sophomore effort has been delayed a few times now, things seem to be on track for the album to come out sometime early next year. As much as we love the holiday season, 2012 can’t get here quickly enough! After all, we love us some Glambert!
Adam Lambert Storms the Dance Floor on New LP [Rolling Stone]
We hate to say we told you so, but… we told you so! All year we’ve been bringing you the best new music so you can stay aurally informed, and if you’ve been doing your homework and keeping abreast of the hottest new acts with us, you’ll notice more than a few of our amazing You Oughta Know artists on the 2012 Grammy Nominees list. We made our predictions for nominees for Song of the Year and Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Album of the Year yesterday, and now we’re pretty excited to see some of the artists that we’ve introduced to you succeeding so decisively in their different genres. Here’s a little recap of the members of the VH1 family that were awarded Grammy nominations last night:
As we predicted, Adele was a shoo-in for a fistful of nominations, given that her fandom is almost universal and that she’s widely regarded by the industry as seminal in the singer/songwriter field. “Rolling In The Deep” scored nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video, while “Someone Like You” was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance. Adele’s album, 21, was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. You can check out Adele exclusively answering 5 intimate questions for VH1′s You Oughta Know here.
Talking to Common is like being sucked into a sexy, soulful vortex filled with sensitive, meaningful eye contact and Miles Davis shout outs. Really, this man is a creative god with out of this world good looks and a voice so deep it could hold all the creatures of the ocean inside it. Er, we’re not sure what that means either. It’s late. We hung out at the Grammy Nominations Concert all night. We talked to Common. Can you blame us for having a melty brain?
Gushing aside, Common’s an underground icon in the hip-hop community who performed “The Message” last night in a tribute to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. We wanted to know which nominated artists got under his skin and into his iPod. He name checked some of our faves – calling his pal Kanye West a “genius” and confessing that he’d like to collaborate with British folk hipsters Mumford & Sons. They’re featured on his new AMC show Hell On Wheels and he’s now a big fan. Common’s got an album coming out later this year – maybe there’s still time to get them on board?
To Iron & Wine fans, “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” might be deemed a bit old for Sam Beam to be promoting (it’s two albums old), but for Twilight fans, it all makes perfect sense. The song, chosen specifically by Kristen Stewart herself (fan girl!) for the film, features in Twilight: Breaking Dawn (Part 1), as the “Wedding Version.” Beam played this version of the classic song last night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and in true Iron & Wine style, the song was simply moving. With Beam’s mesmerising vocals, the soft lighting and live strings, the performance left our romantic hearts skipping a beat or two.