Whenever studies about the behavioral patterns of Millenials get published, words like “positivity” and “individuality” and “idealistic” make frequent appearances; if you believe what the academics and marketing folks tell you, this is a generation that believes that the world can be saved solely by the power of a tweet. However, anyone who has actually spent any significant amount of time with people who fall into this age-range know that they aren’t this shallow nor as eternally optimistic as the so-called experts suggest, and are just as apt to fall under spells of disillusionment and succumb to periods of disenfranchisement as the rest of us (whether you’re Gen X, Gen Y or a Baby Boomer). Well, after seeing Skylar Grey perform at a small industry showcase in Manhattan last night, it’s pretty apparent that she is an artist that is well-positioned to resonate with this “darker” side of Millenial culture.
Skylar Grey rose quickly in the Interscope farm system over the last eighteen months and change on the strength of her ability to write massively catchy hooks; she’s responsible for the sing-along choruses of Eminem and Rihanna‘s “Love The Way You Lie,” Diddy-Dirty Money‘s “Coming Home” and Dr. Dre‘s comeback single, “I Need A Doctor.” She’s now attempting to launch a solo career of her own, with an album of original material likely to materialize sometime in 2012.
Grey emerged on stage last night at the tiny club Dominion dressed in full, gothy Lisbeth Salander chic (aka The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) — jet black hair, tight leather jacket, Doc Marten-esque boots and a pair of plaid pants worn well below her waist with a wallet chain attached; Katy Perry, she most certainly is not. Like her stage name* evokes, Grey stands in stark contrast to today’s bubblegummier pop stars (think Demi Lovato, think Selena Gomez), delivering lyrics like “I’m addicted to your torture”, “I’m proud to be your f***in’ weirdo” and even something that sounded a lot like “Come here necrophelia” with a whispery, attitude-laden intensity.
The great thing about hangovers is that almost everyone knows what they feel like — and now Taio Cruz‘s song “Hangover” adds music to the condition. Although, we’re not going to lie, the banging club-driven beat is probably the last thing we want to hear when we’re actually hungover, and would probably be a much better companion to the night before the day after. Performing the track live on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Cruz gave an upbeat performance of “Hangover,” inspired by the Euro-techno beats that have seemed to prevail this year in pop music. A speaker thumping anthem, if it were summer, we’re thinking “Hangover” would be the sort of beach-bar staple we’d be fist pumping along to while sipping cocktails — despite the inherent warning in the song’s lyrics!
The 2012 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will include hard rock veterans Guns N’ Roses, funk-rock stalwarts Red Hot Chili Peppers, bratty hooligans turned socially conscious hip hoppers the Beastie Boys, trippy sixties folk singer Donovan, English blues rockers Faces/The Small Faces, and the pioneering female folkster Laura Nyro. These groups will all be inducted during a ceremony held this April, one that promises to be one of the most emotionally charged and exciting RRHOF events in recent memory.
We’re speaking, of course, primarily of the tumultuous relationship between W. Axl Rose and (most of) the former members of Guns N’ Roses, a band whose explosive brand of hard rock changed the face of not only the Sunset Strip sound of the mid-80s, but also propelled them into a short reign as the World’s Best Band around the time of Appetite For Destruction/G N’R Lies/Use Your Illusion I and II. Thanks to a potent combination of too much fame, too much money, and too many drugs, the group imploded after a disastrous two-plus year world tour that concluded in 1993, and most of the band members have not performed together since. Axl addressed this issue on a recent episode of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, noting that he has mended some fences with bassist Duff McKagan and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, but also intimated that he and Saul “Slash” Hudson are not on what anyone would describe as speaking terms. Can they put aside their differences for one evening, and maybe perform a few tracks? That, my friends, is likely a question that not even Hall organizers will have an answer to until the night of the ceremony.
Nirvana Are Re-Releasing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” To Vie For Number One
We swear the late Kurt Cobain turns in his grave every time something like this happens. Nirvana decided to re-release “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when it came to the surviving band’s attention that fans were rallying to make the classic song Britain’s Christmas Number One over whoever takes out the X Factor crown. Sigh. [NME]
Lady Gaga Goes To The White House To Battle Bullies Lady Gaga really does love her ‘Little Monsters.’ So much so, she’s heading to the White House to chat with Obama‘s administration about combating bullying. Go go Gaga activism! [Popdust]
Is Katy Perry‘s bargain iTunes offering for “The One That Got Away” an early Christmas gift from Katy Claus or is there something else afoot? Katy’s latest track is selling for the low, low price of just 69 cents at the iTunes store, and is the only single in the Top 10 to have a reduced selling price. The suspiciously low price tag has got tongues wagging, as cynics speculate that it’s a pretty transparent ploy to score Katy Perry’s sixth #1 song off her album Teenage Dream, thus giving her the record for most number ones off the same album.
Teenage Dream is currently tied with Michael Jackson’s Bad for the top spot, and if “The One That Got Away” makes it to the top, she will have outdone the King Of Pop. Credit for the runaway success of the singles of Perry’s sophomore LP to her record label, Capitol/EMI, who have not only promoted the heck out of this record, but also convinced Kanye West to record two guest verses for 0″E.T” when they were getting ready to release it as a single; his vocals don’t appear on the album version of the song. Currently, “The One That Got Away” is at #9 on the charts, and we’d be more than happy to see it get all the way to #1, especially if it results in the public at large saving themselves a few sheckels at the iTunes store during the holidays.
Avril Lavigne has matured quite a bit since her early mall pop days with The Matrix, both as an artist and as a person. Her maturation is on full display in this somewhat jarring yet supremely entertaining new video from our friends over at MTV Buzzworthy, a video which shows a newly domesticated Lavigne decorating Christmas cookies, of all things!
Don’t get it twisted, though: Martha Stewart, she is not. Her trademark sense of style—remember when Avril did Head-To-Toe with us earlier this year?—has not wavered one bit, even as her skills in the kitchen have rapidly progressed. In fact, according to the video, Avril has even started cooking (“Italian!”) for her band when they’re out on the road together. Here’s hoping somebody saved that snowman cookie for us!
OK, OK, so a more apt title would have been Adele poses with PICTURE of Beyoncé, but what can we say? We got so excited about the prospect of the divas together we even started making them moniker mash-ups like Beydele and Adeloncé. After taking over her own Twitter account (!), Adele posted a photo of herself posing with Beyoncé’s Live At Roseland DVD poster, adding, “I’m in bed, watchin Gladiator, eatin an apple. Heres a pic of me & Queen B last wk in NYC! X.” And she looks hawt (that’s extra hot) as she mimics Bey’s seductive pose. The Twitpic is making us love Adele even more — here’s the world’s number one superstar unaffectedly fan-girling over the world’s other number one superstar. It doesn’t get much more real than that.
The music loving folk at NPR, Q, Uncut, Stereogum and Paste have all weighed in on the top 50 albums of 2011, and they all have one thing in common — Bon Iver‘s Bon Iver.
It really is the year of the ‘indie’ artist, and following Arcade Fire‘s Grammy win earlier this year, the music industry has shifted its focus to Bon Iver (who is nominated for 4 Grammys in the 2012 awards), a band that, while having been around for a while, has only just begun to enter mainstream consciousness. Perhaps it was Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon‘s collaboration with Kayne West on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy last year, or maybe it just so happens to be that the world is finally ready to grapple with non-pop centric sounds — whatever, 2011 (musically at least) was the year of Bon Iver.
Yesterday, we bought you Jill Scott covering Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” back in 2001, and today, we bring you number one DIVA extraordinaire, Beyoncé. Singing her hit song “Dangerously In Love” at the 2003 DIVAS Duets show, this hearkens back to a time when the reign of Bey was only just beginning to hit out on her own, as she had just debuted her first solo album bearing the same name. But even then it was overtly apparent that she’d wear the crown — we hail King B! Beyoncé’s performance is powerful and goosebump-inducing, and we challenge you not to shudder as she throws down “I love you” repeatedly over her band, dappled light reflecting across the stage and in her magical ball gown.
VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will premiere exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
Alone on stage with nothing but a guitar, a flop of hair and his angelic vocals, Ryan Adams gave what felt like quite a candid performance of “Lucky Now” on The Late Show With David Letterman last night. Indeed, watching the show, even from the comforts of our own living rooms, we felt like Adams was performing exclusively for us, so captivating and intimate was his gentle voice and guitar strumming. Adams’ performance was sweet and refined, while at the same time being somewhat soul revealing, as the singer let himself be vulnerable under the spotlight.