We’re going to sound like a broken record saying this, but the truth is the truth and there’s no way around it — Gotye and Kimbra sound just as impeccable live as they do on record. And we should know — we got to witness the pair playing live for us in an intimate setting at our Times Square offices when they came to visit last week. While You Oughta Know artist Gotye played solo songs from his new album, Making Mirrors, and even an old favorite, “Heart’s A Mess,” we were blown away by “Somebody That I Used To Know,” featuring the dexterous vocals of Kimbra.
The pair gave us a compelling, moving experience in the intimate setting. While playing live with his band, tinkering with the menagerie of instruments surrounding him, the impresario Gotye crooned the lyrics, vocally gymnastic in the ease with which he switched from a whisper to a shout. When Kimbra joined him for her verse, emotions were high, as the two breathed life into the heartbreaking lyrics, giving real import to the occasion.
If you’ve got a sentimental heart, then Jason Mraz‘s new video for “I Won’t Give Up” is probably going to to resonate with you. Set in a semi-hazy, color saturated world, the video features dusty imagery of several different characters who seem in some way lost, or searching. Close up shots reveal a doe eyed child, the mascara stained cheeks of a beautiful young woman, the deeply creased face of a benevolent old man, the prosthetic leg of an army veteran, amongst others. Between these complex souls Mraz strums his guitar and croons the lyrics, “I won’t give up on us / even if the skies get rough / I’m giving you all my love.” The emotional climax of the video occurs as each character finds a friend — someone who loves them and who they can lean on during their hardship. It’s a poignant, hopeful video for a beautiful love song.
Unsurprisingly, Whitney Houston‘s untimely death last weekend has lead to a surge in album sales for the legendary performer, with her Greatest Hits compilation selling enough copies in just one day to steamroll the charts and land itself at number six on the Billboard 200 Album chart. Except that Billboard doesn’t acknowledge the would-be chart topper because of its age, so despite killer sales, the album wont actually appear on the chart. Selling 63,853 copies in one day, the album did make it to number one on Billboard’s Catalogue Album list (with her self-titled debut album making it to number five, also on this list), so the soaring sales haven’t gone entirely without recognition.
To put Houston’s posthumous sales in perspective, NY Daily News compares her numbers to Paul McCartney‘s Kisses On The Bottom, which sold 74,100 copies to debut at number five on the Billboard 200 chart. But McCartney had a full week to amass these numbers — Houston’s last minute sales bump was the product of one day, as Sunday night is the cutoff for Nielsen SoundScan’s stats, and we tragically lost Houston on the Saturday night. It’s expected that these big sales will just keep growing for the late Houston over the next week as fans continue to grieve and show support.
Miley Cyrus really is growing up, and it’s absolutely delightful to watch. The young star appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night looking decidedly more mature with a sleek long-bob (we’re booking our hairdresser appointments right now!), to perform her cover of Bob Dylan‘s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” The song appears on Chimes Of Freedom, a compilation of Bob Dylan covers celebrating his career as well as Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary with all proceeds from sales going, naturally, to Amnesty. Miley’s rendition of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” is absolutely beautiful, and at only 19 years old, Miley’s emotion when she sings it is wholly convincing. With her raspy country vocal and the already gorgeous music, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with this performance.
Rihanna Is Releasing A Remix Of “Birthday Cake” With A Cameo That Will “Shock The World” Rihanna is releasing a remix of “Birthday Cake” from Talk That Talk next week, and producers Da Internz (Tuo and Kosine), while remaining coy, have said the remix will feature a cameo that will, “Shock the world.” Obviously, the only person who could possibly be a shock to the world on a Rihanna song would be Chris Brown — and so we wait with baited breath for what could possibly be the biggest train wreck of the year, praying for Rihanna that it’s all sensationalism and that instead she chose a nice guy like Drake for the part. [MTV RapFix]
Adele Is Heading Back To The Recording Studio After All
It seems that Adele confused years for days when she told US Vogue she was going to “f**k off for four of five years.” She’s now rescinded the remark with a blog post reading, “I’ve a few days off now, and then it’s the Brit Awards here at home and then I’m straight into the studio. BOOYAH! 5 years? More like 5 days!” And the world releases a collectively held breath. Phew. [Rolling Stone]
The controversy surrounding Nicki Minaj’s and Chris Brown’s respective performances this weekend have dominated most of the post-Grammy conversation over the past few days. However, now that the hubbub surrounding those performances is starting to die down, we here at VH1 want to take a few minutes to congratulate The Civil Wars on their two Grammy wins this weekend. Our April 2011 You Oughta Know artists beat out some stiff competition in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album categories, and stunned everyone with their totally-awesome-yet-all-too-brief performance of “Barton Hollow” during the live telecast. Thanks to the magic of the internet, now we’re able to see their acceptance speeches for their two wins which, sadly, were not shown during the CBS broadcast. Above, watch them accept the Best Country Duo/Group performance Grammy for “Barton Hollow” and below, check out their performance of that song here in the VH1 offices last May.
The Fray are delighting us here at VH1 as our featured Posted artist for the month of February. Every week they’ve been giving us some pretty juicy material in the form of some very personal blog posts. First, lead guitarist Dave Welsh told us about life on the road, and last week we read about the band’s experience watching the Super Bowl. We were also lucky enough to have the guys stop by Big Morning Buzz Live to give a stripped back performance of their new song “Heartbeat.” This week, thanks again to Dave Welsh, we’ve been treated with yet another candid blog post, and it’s about special drumsticks, dance parties, and head colds. Read it after the jump, along with some behind the scenes photos from the band’s shoot for the “Run For Your Life” video!
The Grammys certainly did stir up a healthy amount of controversy this year, didn’t they? We already asked you what you thought of Nicki Minaj‘s strange “The Exorcism Of Roman” stage show, and now we want to know what you think of the whole Chris Brown debacle — because conversation around the issue hasn’t diminished in the slightest since Sunday. We should all be familiar with the back story by now: in 2009, the night before The Grammys, rapper Chris Brown physically assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna (to which he pleaded guilty in court), forcing both to cancel their planned Grammys performances. Official court documents tell a very chilling tale of what went down between the pair on the night of the assault, and if you have the stomach for it, you can read the gruesome details at MTV News, and if you have an especially strong disposition, you can see the results of those acts at TMZ. Brown was then sentenced to 180 days of labor service, five years probation and attendance at a domestic-abuse program for a year. If you’re any good at math, you’ll notice that the justice system still has Brown on probation.
Controversy arose earlier this year over The Grammys’ decision to allow Brown to take the stage — not once, but twice (!)— to perform at the illustrious awards ceremony. This ruffled more than a few feathers, with women’s groups, activists, and a wide portion of the online community firing into a vitriolic rage. One of the most concise commentaries on the matter from Hello Giggles’ Sasha Pasulka gives a measured bur firm summation. While Pasulka is a proponent of rehabilitation for offenders, she still saw allowing Brown to perform at The Grammys as reductive for victims of a abuse, in a broader, more global sense:
“We – the grown-up influencers in this country, the people with platforms and with educations and with power — are allowing a clear message to be sent to women: We will easily forgive a person who victimizes you. We are able to look beyond the fact that you were treated as less than human, that a bigger, stronger person decided to resolve a conflict with you through violence. We know it happened, but it’s just not that big of a deal to us… We’re accepting the message that women just aren’t that important, that their health and their safety and their self-respect is only important until it stops being convenient for everyone. We should be angry about this, and we should be angry publicly about this.”
We guess she wasn’t messing around when she sang, “Strong enough to bare the children / Then get back to business.” Momma Bear Beyoncé is taking no prisoners despite only having given birth to the adorable Blue Ivy Carter earlier this year. She’s already reportedly in talks for two new projects, both due in 2013. Songwriter, OneRepublic front man, and Beyoncé collaborator, Ryan Tedder, who wrote “Halo” for King B (and who is currently basking in the Grammy glow for his work with Adele on 21), has let slip that the yummy mommy has some new music in the works already. He told The Boombox that he was busy pitching songs about parenthood, which, “goes without saying.”
He also revealed, “The conversations about her next album literally just started and there [are] two projects happening. All I can say is you kind of feed her the best that you have and she’s this phenomenal filter and she takes it all in… She’s not interested in 2012, [she's interested in] what’s [going to sound good for] 2013… Without question she steers the ship. [With] Beyoncé, you just let her go, she’s ridiculous, she’s the best.” To say that we’re excited is an almost offensive understatement, and if we had some sort of time machine we’d definitely be skipping forward to the future so we could hear what the pair come up with for 2013.
Nicki and Ricky (Minaj and Martin, we just love the rhyme. Try saying it fast 10 times), sat down with Good Morning America today to discuss their MAC campaign for AIDS awareness. Nicki talked candidly about the death of her uncle from AIDS, the personal weight the illness carries for her, and wanting to protect her young Barbz from the disease. The socially aware star also had a word or two to say in defense of her controversial Grammys performance, and in light of all the hatorade, her message was a fairly poignant one.
“First of all I created these characters, Martha and Roman, over two years ago and I never had a format to really put them in front of the world, so when I had the Grammys I said, “You know what? This is a great way to show who Roman is.” Roman is a character who’s been ridiculed, he’ been torn apart, he’s been pulled down… Roman gets shipped away to a monastery by his mother who thinks there’s something wrong with him. And in fact there’s nothing wrong with him, there’s nothing wrong with him being different, there’s nothing wrong with him being eccentric. I just wanted to show how ridiculous people look when they try to change someone just because they’re creative and just because they’re different,” Nicki said sincerely. We wonder if any of the haters out there are shifting uncomfortably in their seats yet?
She also talked about how surreal it felt when Madonna wanted to work with her for “Give Me All Your Luvin,’” which Nicki performed with the Queen Of Pop at the Super Bowl half time show. “The request came in from Madonna and I still did not believe it. I said to everyone “I’m not going to believe it until I meet her, until I meet this little ladybug.”” It’s nice to hear that even a superstar like Nicki is still humble in the face of her idols, and it’s pretty darn adorable that she called Madonna a ladybug too — what we wouldn’t give to be Nicki’s ladybug!