When Björk takes to the stage you get to thinking that modern pop stars like Lady Gaga might not exist if it hadn’t been for the pioneering avant garde of pop. Suitably fruity in a voluminous orange hairstyle and futuristic electric blue dress, Björk intersects experimental fashion and art with pop music in a way that is now commonplace, but somehow the Icelandic beauty still manages to make it completely unique, without a hint of repetition or tiredness. Performing “Cosmogony” from her new album Biophilia on The Colbert Report, Björk was simply divine, her haunting vocal cruising along the wave of sweet harmonizing by an all-female choir.
After The Black Keys‘ break out year in 2011 and their amazing viral video for “Lonely Boy,” we’re going to forgive you if you squeal like a school girl over this sneak peek of the video for their second single off El Camino, “Gold On The Ceiling.” The video features footage of The Black Keys playing live on stage to a jumping audience, but is cinematic all the same, so chances are you’re going to find yourself with your hands in the air, moshing to the beat. The full video will premiere online at MTV.com on Monday the 6th of February, and will be followed up with a Top 20 premiere on Saturday the 11th of February.
Beef Alert! Elton John Gives Madonna Some Snarky Super Bowl Advice
It seems like Elton John might still harbor some bitterness over Madonna‘s Golden Globe win, offering her the following advice for her Super Bowl performance this weekend: “Make sure you lip-sync good.” Reow! [Billboard]
Lana Del Rey’s Career Summarized In A Taiwanese Animation
Lana Del Rey‘s controversial career has been summarized in a Taiwanese animation, so if you’ve ever wanted to see Lana as a virtual character, now’s your chance. It’s pretty accurate / funny, too. [Hipster Runoff]
Move over Drake, there’s a new emotional rapper in town, and it’s one you never would have expected — Lil Wayne! Weezy is showing us his softer side with his new track “Mirror” featuring Bruno Mars. The rapper, who has spent time behind bars and is better known for his aggressive hip hop, has teamed up with the pop-soul singer for a little bit of self reflection. The emotional video sees Wayne and Mars back lit in a cinematic setting, with pristine close ups of Wayne’s tattoos as he splashes red paint against an unseen canvas. Finally, the canvas is revealed in a dramatic moment, but we wont give it away — let’s just say it looks like Weezy is a deeper character than we first thought him to be.
It’s here — Lana Del Rey‘s Born To Die, the album that has been discussed almost as much as her “controversial” persona. While digital sales are telling one story — Born To Die took #1 and #2 positions on the US iTunes charts this morning and holds the #1 spot in 11 other countries (UK, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland) — the critical reception to the album has been less than warm. While a few have praised Lana Del Rey as the dichotomous ingenue / bad girl who is bringing desperately needed direction and ideas back to music, many have fortified attacks on her image by surmising that her music is even less challenging or interesting than her aesthetic portrayal. And the rest are just sort of a bit… “meh,” finding Born To Die neither offensive nor completely worthy of the attention it’s garnered. We’ve clipped together some quotes from the flood of Born To Die reviews that have littered the Internet this week…
“If you ask me, I reckon the girl doesn’t know whether she wants to be a classic Hollywood glamourpuss or a modern pop star, so she’s doing both at once. Nothing wrong with that here, songs all cinematic, like a warped Casablanca channeling the Rat Pack via Do The Right Thing. More interesting than a lot of starlets by far, and more confident. Whatever she ends up being, she seems fun, this Lana Del Rey. A lot more fun than you’d think to look at her.” [Drowned In Sound]
“I like the album better with each listen—the more time I spend in its company, the more I feel as though I’m approaching it on something like its own terms.” [Slate]
“For all of its coos about love and devotion, it’s the album equivalent of a faked orgasm– a collection of torch songs with no fire.” [Pitchfork]
Rumor mongers rejoice! You have been proven right, for once! It has been announced that Adele will be performing at the Grammys after almost a month of rampant speculation. The performance will mark Adele’s first live appearance since undergoing vocal cord surgery, and being nominated for 6 Grammys herself, the event will be somewhat of a momentous one for Adele. Joining Adele on stage will be fellow nominees Coldplay and Rihanna for a highly anticipated duet, as well as the Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars and Jason Aldean, while LL Cool J will act as the first Grammys host in seven years.
Adele Will Return to Live Performance at the Grammys [Rolling Stone]
So it turns out there’s not much President Obama can’t do — adding singing to his repertoire last week, Obama belted out a line of Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together” and the Internet stood in ovation. Now, American Idol‘s Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe is reaching out to Obama and Green with the following Tweet:
An Obama / Green duet? On American Idol? Is this even vaguely a possibility? We all know how much Obama likes to be “down with the kids,” especially when it comes to music, but it hardly seems likely that a President would partake in such frivolity. But then, stranger things have happened. We’re also wondering about the state of reality talent shows — are they floundering for ratings? Following today’s firings at US The X Factor and now American Idol‘s reaching out to President Obama, it seems like everyone is grappling for an audience.
The X Factor has made some cuts — and it’s not the regular contestants. Causing quite the stir in the music world this morning, judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, and host Steve Jones were all FIRED from the US version of The X Factor last night. According to Rolling Stone, Simon Cowell and his creative team decided to axe Paula and Nicole during a meeting in which they weighed up what worked and what didn’t for the shows debut US season. Reports are saying that Paula was deemed “irrelevant to the mix,” while it remains unclear why Nicole and Steve were cut. While L.A. Reid is staying, it seems that Cowell is keen to bring in bigger names for the second season, and tongues are certainly wagging with speculation…
‘X Factor’ Dumps Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger [Rolling Stone]
[Photos: Getty Images]
We remember distinctly the edge of puberty — all awkward, disproportionate limbs, angsty scrawls in diaries emblazoned with pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tiffani Amber Thiessen, and Nada Surf‘s “Popular.” Somewhat of an anthem for the 90s, “Popular” is probably the first thing you’ll think of when you hear the name Nada Surf, despite the band’s impressively full 20 year catalog. For their 20th year as a band, Nada Surf are back with a new album, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, and last night played “Hi-Speed Soul” (above) and “Waiting For Something” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. With hints of the music you loved in the 90s, “Hi-Speed Soul” infuses power-pop with indie rock for a high energy, dynamic sound.
Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” Gets An Eighties-tastic Remix Thanks To Miami Nights
One of the hottest newcomers for 2012, Gotye, gets his track “Somebody That I Used To Know” remixed by Miami Nights. It’s a synth-led 80s redux, and it’s pretty rad. [Rolling Stone]
A Q&A with “Politicizing Beyoncé” Professor Kevin Allred
The L Magazine spoke to Kevin Allred, the doctoral student responsible for that academic course in Beyoncé. He reveals that unfortunately, you can’t get extra credit for memorizing the “Single Ladies” dance. Dang — we’ve just wasted the past week then! [The L Magazine]