Lenny Kravitz plays the world’s most careless game-show-host/con artist, a character named Bart Billingsworth, in his new music video, “Stand.” Thanks to a complicated piece of machinery called the Cheat-O-Rama 3000, Kravitz/Billingsworth turns a Let’s Make a Deal type of show into Two-Card Monty. His hubris is such a perfect object lesson in how not to run a con that we thought we’d offer some tips for those of you who also want to go back in time and steal prizes from the game show you host.
1. If you use a machine to orchestrate your con, cover its name, and maybe unscrew the lightbulbs of its marquee, so it doesn’t draw attention to itself.
His rendition of “See No More” did not disappoint. Comparisons to Justin Timberlake are perhaps overstated, but they’re not off the mark. Jonas has the charisma to pull off a televised vocal performance of a largely digitally programmed song like this dance-pop single, and adapt it for a backing band (as he did last night). Plus this song, cowritten by Chris Brown, allows us to appreciate that R&B singer’s musical talent without having to reconcile it with his public behavior. We do have to agree with Jonas’s critics, though: ditch the backup dancers, Joe. They’re talented folks, but they distract and detract from your performance. Overall, though, “See No More” bodes well for the rest of the forthcoming solo LP.
Pop’s Punching Bag: Hating the Black Eyed Peas
In the wake of the Black Eyed Peas’ hiatus announcement, a number of critical outlets responded to the effect of “Good riddance!” Ann Powers at NPR’s Recordexplores why. (Short version: “They imagine what life would be like with no consequences.” The piece may as well be about LMFAO, whose “Party Rock Anthem” is again #1 in the country.) But stay out of the comments; though the ignorance of many of them serves to reinforce Powers’ arguments, they also include descriptions of the Black Eyed Peas that we would rather not republish. [The Record]
If He Hadn’t Quit Twitter, John Mayer Might Not Have Ever Recorded Another Album
Depending on your opinion on the controversial crooner, that’s either really good or really bad news. Either way, during a chat at the Berklee College of Music, he confessed that frequent Twitter use was beginning to cost him his ability to write songs. “I had four million Twitter followers, and I was always writing on it,” he told a group of students. “And I stopped using Twitter as an outlet and I started using Twitter as the instrument to riff on, and it started to make my mind smaller and smaller and smaller. And I couldn?t write a song.” Consequently, look for most of the songs on his new record to include significantly more than 140 characters. [Rolling Stone]
Rilo Kiley‘s indefinite hiatus got a lot more definite today when Spinnerpublished an interview in which guitarist Blake Sennett apparently claimed that the band was in fact broken up, and had been since their Under the Blacklight tour wrapped in June 2008. He also took shots at some of the songs on Under the Blacklight and misquoted Annie Hall on the way to comparing Rilo Kiley to a band that wasn’t moving forward.
Sennett may simply be tired of answering the same questions about a band he hasn’t played with in years. In April, he told Consequence of Sound, “If Rilo Kiley were a human being, he?s probably laying on his back in a morgue with a tag on his toe. Now, I see movies where the dead get up and walk. And when they do that, rarely do good things happen.” Paste followed up on this line of inquiry a month ago, and Sennett seemed in better spirits about his bandmates and former band, though a reunion seemed no closer. Today’s interview, then, marks at least the third time he’s been asked about Rilo Kiley’s future while promoting the new Elected album Bury Me In Rings.
Of course, speaking publicly about hurt feelings has always been the M.O. of Rilo Kiley’s members, particularly Sennett and co-leader Jenny Lewis. We recall Sennett introducing the song “Fireflies in a Steel Mill” at an Elected show in March 2006?before Rilo Kiley even recorded Under the Blacklight?by comparing himself to a firefly and someone else, whom no one in the room doubted was Lewis, to molten steel, to the glow of which the firefly was, literally, fatally attracted. And, of course, their 2007 Spin cover story was much the same. Maybe, like Fleetwood Mac, they are broken up until the next time they get back together.
Early on during last night’s MLB All-Star Game on Fox, the network took advantage of the number of eyeballs watching the game to debut their very first promo spot for The X-Factor, their new singing competition debuting this fall. And if there were any doubts before last night as to how Simon Cowell’s new show would attempt to differentiate itself from the newly nice —some would say toothless— American Idol and NBC’s ultra-positive show The Voice, they were eradicated approximately one-minute and seventeen seconds into this two-and-a-half minute long promo.
The promo begins in a hazy, fog-like state, with The X Factor judges Cowell, Paula Abdul (who, btw, is Botoxed to the gills), L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger presiding over a parade of terrible singers. If things don’t seem quite right, it’s because they aren’t: No, the X-Factor contestants aren’t going to be horrible, and no, Simon Cowell hasn’t traded in his trademark skintight crewneck tees for a cabled pink sweater because this is all a nightmare! By now, the spot intimates that we should know that Cowell would NEVER be seen driving a wussy, electric Chevy Volt (Side note: weirdest product placement in a long time, right?); rather, he’s the kind of guy who rolls around downtown L.A. with X-FACTOR vanity plates on his $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron EB. And while he’s working, he’s not here to make friends; instead, he’s here to roll his eyes condescendingly at Paula Abdul! In short, he’s still the same A-hole S.O.B. he’s always been (which is something that Cheryl Cole would certainly confirm).
And that, Fox is betting, will be enough to get people to tune-in when The X-Factor debuts on Wednesday, September 21. Will they be right? Well, we’ll have to see now, won’t we?
It’s tricky to fairly judge a book by its cover an incident by its police report, but after repeatedly denying that an altercation occured in her Dallas hotel Monday night, it seems that Nicki Minaj may have to clear the air with fans after all. TMZ has reportedly obtained official police documents that paint a picture of something we initially thought might be a fight with a male fan and turned it into something far worse: a lovers quarrel.
According to TMZ, the fiasco that would (allegedly) leave her bleeding first started when Young Money’s first lady was arguing with her assistant and boyfriend, Safaree Samuels, by the Palomar Hotel pool. Nicki asked a hotel employee to call the authorities before she followed Safaree up to their (shared) hotel room, and fearful that he was removing items he shouldn’t be, looked in his suitcase as he pulled it away, striking her in the mouth and chin. That’s when details become a bit fuzzy. Did he mean to hit her intentionally with the suitcase, or was it an accident? Why were they fighting, and why was she was worried he’d steal her possessions?
After delving into the histories of two hip-hop icons, this season of Behind the Music takes a left turn tonight with a look into the life of country star Miranda Lambert. In this sneak peek, she describes her 2009 album Revolution as a document of “what I’m living for now” and looks back at her first meeting with lifelong idol Loretta Lynn at the 2010 CMAs in November (where she won in four categories). To see the story of how she got there, watch Behind the Music: Miranda Lambert tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Pushed back for quite a while now since being released from his eight-month stint in the clink, Weezy F Baby’s next full LP, Tha Carter IV, is finally set to street on August 29th. For those of us who can’t wait for tunes any longer, the new mixtape can be downloaded here, and since a now-sober Weezy is trying his hand at hip-hop without being completely kablammed (and because his last few rock-inspired records didn’t do as well as 2008′s Tha Carter III), we should probably accept his apology and support the new movement. Give the 12-track tape a whirl, and let us know what you think!
Bassist Nick Oliveri of Kyuss and, formerly, Queens of the Stone Age, held his girlfriend hostage last night at his Los Angeles duplex, according to TMZ. Oliveri’s girlfriend allegedly told police she had left the apartment they share on Monday after he struck her during an argument, but returned the next evening to collect her belongings and move out, at which point the two got into another heated exchange. Oliveri barred police responding to a neighbor’s 911 call from entry to the apartment. He would not permit his girlfriend to leave the apartment for two hours, and did not himself leave the apartment for an additional two hours. A search turned up a loaded “high powered rifle.”
Queens of the Stone Age fans may recall that allegations of domestic violence were the cause of Oliveri’s firing back in 2004. As reported by Billboard in July 2005, frontman Josh Homme told BBC’s Radio 1 that he’d heard a rumor about an incident of domestic violence involving Oliveri, and at the time told the bassist, “If I ever find out that this is true, I can’t know you, man.” In 2004 Homme received independent confirmation of abuse and dismissed Oliveri. He has not since played with the bassist in any capacity and opted out of the recent Kyuss reunion.
July Posted artist Jason Derulo is still in Europe, but that hasn’t stopped him from guest-blogging for us. Read on for his latest post about restroom culture shock, plus bonus photos he shared of his new tattoo and of the T4 On The Beach festival stage.