2009 Glamour Woman of the Year Rihanna returns to the magazine’s cover for Glamour‘s September 2011 issue?and she’s got plenty to say about today’s pop landscape, judging by the pullquotes that accompany the photo gallery on the magazine’s website. “There?s a pack. It?s me, Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonc??who else? Ke$ha, for sure. Women are definitely dominating music right now, and that?s because we are competitive beings. I feel like music hasn?t been this exciting in a while.” She’s certainly not wrong about the female domination of pop, and aside from Britney, who guested on Rihanna’s “S&M” remix (and whom we’re sure Rihanna already regrets not mentioning), and Adele (who stands apart from the “pack” Rihanna describes) she pretty much has the usual suspects nailed down.
Speaking of “S&M,” Rihanna is also far enough in her career to speak to concerns of representation (particularly of sexuality) in public. “I want to set the right example and, at the same time, live my life,” she tells the magazine, possibly punning on “Live Your Life,” the T.I. song for which she provides the hook. “Pop stars can?t be rock stars anymore because they have to be role models, and it takes the fun out of it for us, because we just want to have fun with art.” And with fans, as our meet-and-gropegreet gallery illustrates. Clearly these playful interactions are just a small part of the ways in which Rihanna enjoys (and tests) the freedoms she enjoys at this stage in her life and career. Things weren’t always so carefree. She explains to Glamour: “In the beginning of my career, it was really strict for me. I couldn?t wear pink or red lipstick; it was just bizarre. We had a young fan base, and they were trying to keep me fresh. But I just really wanted to be myself. I wanted to be sassy, the attitude, all these things that I am.” Even now, a mild uproar over the not-actually-that-scandalous imagery in the video for “S&M” caused a bit of controversy for the artist, who felt that her expression was still being censored. (The copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by David LaChappelle is another matter entirely, and we don’t anticipate that she opened up to Glamour about that.)
“She sang from her soul,” Estelle told VH1 News, as Big Sean looked on. She recalled first hearing “F?k Me Pumps,” from Winehouse’s debut Frank: “I’m sitting there, like, ‘I know girls like that! I know every one of ‘em girls! We rave with them every week!’” Clearly, even though the two singers came up together, Estelle admired her late friend’s lyrical talents. “It’s hard as an artist to be that clear and that clean in your message and what you’re talking about,” she said. “[Amy Winehouse] was the only one I knew who could do that, and just speak it.” The real revelation of the interview, though, is the new level of appreciation that Big Sean develops for Winehouse as Estelle speaks. “Wow! That’s crazy! I didn’t know it was like that,” he said, admiringly, adding, “I didn’t personally know her. That’s real, man. She sounded like a real G. No, seriously!” (Anyone who needs a reminder of her realness need only watch her shocked gratitude at winning the Grammy for Record of the Year. WARNING: That video nearly made us cry at work?and we watched the ceremony live.) Read more…
For some reason, it’s a power-pop band’s lot in life to be underrated and undernoticed?a fact that’s been true at least since the sixties, when entire life cycles of under-the-radar garage-rock bands went by before Lenny Kaye compiled their hits into the first Nuggets collection. It’s no less true now. To be successful as a power-pop band, you need something extra. For Fountains of Wayne, it was a catchy gag-single (“Stacey’s Mom”) plus financing from Adam Schlesinger‘s side-hustle as a commercial composer. For Sloan, it’s been Canadian arts-socialism (via FACTOR).
OK Go‘s angle, starting with the mega-success of the video for “Here It Goes Again,” has been eye-catching visuals. This has led to the unusual challenge of outdoing the last video with the next one, most successfully with last year’s Rube Goldberg video “This Too Shall Pass.” Their antics have even inspired other artists like Death Cab for Cutie to shoot art-gimmick videos, even as OK Go’s own sound has drifted more towards the indie-guitar-pop of those same bands.
Their latest eye-catching clip, for “All Is Not Lost,” features the band?accompanied by the Pilobolus Dance Company?contorting themselves on a transparent surface, through which the video is shot. In the clip, viewable above, the band and dancers spell out some of the lyrics with their feet.
At the interactive site allisnotlo.st, you can enter your own message, and the dancers walk across the screen and spell it out (even if your message is explicit?so teenagers and teenage-minded adults, have fun spelling out OK Go foot obscenities).
Mark Ronson is, it would seem, a firm believer in the old saying, “the show must go on.” Less than thirty-six hours after he attended the funeral of his dear friend and musical collaborator Amy Winehouse, he and his band The Business Intl. were slated to play an open-air concert as part of the weeklong Greenwich Summer Sessions festival, and rather than cancel the engagement, he dedicated the show to his late friend and played several of her songs, including “Valerie”:
The song was already part of the band’s repertoire, but last night’s performance was particularly poignant. “Usually when we sing this song, Kyle [Falconer, previously of The View] sings it,” Ronson said, introducing the song, “But you know what? I think the only thing that would be right tonight is if you guys sing it.” He then introduced Winehouse’s two backup singers: “We’re gonna help you?I’m not gonna say that Zalon and Ade don’t have much better voices than all of you?but it’s not really about that. We want you to sing this s?t as loud as you can.” The crowd gladly obliged. The band?and crowd?were also joined on vocals by Dave McCabe, who’d originally written “Valerie” for his band The Zutons.
Ronson’s tributes spanned the entire evening; while DJing before his set, he played “Rehab,” and he later related a quotation from Tuesday’s service while speaking to the crowd: “There was a rabbi that spoke, and he said that somebody’s life is measured in deeds and not years, and that’s the best thing I heard yesterday.” Near the end of his performance he returned again to Winehouse’s catalog, performing “Back to Black,” which is viewable below.
We love a good rumor as much as the next pop-culture junkie, but thanks to the internet, gossip has sort of spiraled out of control, and sometimes, we like to think of ourselves as rumor-busters?like when we busted rumors about Beyonc?‘s album getting pushed back…by calling her publicist, which no rumor-monger had yet bothered to do.
Now we have more evidence to support our continuing “Destiny’s Child are not beefing” coverage. We’re not so na?ve that we blindly believe everything that Beyonc? and Kelly Rowland have to say on the topic, of course, but the rumors have been getting more and more ridiculous in the face of what seemed to be growing evidence to the contrary.
When we heard that, at the launch party for Rowland’s Here I Am, the duo (and Michelle Williams) had been as friendly as Rowland claimed on Tuesday that they always had been, we reported as much. But one thing puzzled us: why was Beyonc? only photographed entering and leaving the party, and not at all with Rowland, inside? The New York Daily News gossip blog Gatecrasher gave us an answer this morning, which may also explain what has continued to fuel rumors.
In the wake of Amy Winehouse‘s untimely death, many of her obituaries have focused on how little recorded material of hers actually exists. Since releasing her second studio album, Back In Black, in 2006, the soul-influenced vocalist went five years without officially releasing any new material. And while speculation and rumors of new songs have been swirling around since her unfortunate passing on Saturday, a source close to Winehouse’s management has told The Guardian that there may actually be a treasure trove of songs to release. Enough for an album, or, dare we say it, even two.
According to the source, the late singer “had put down the bare bones of tracks and some were further along than others.” Constantly writing over these past few years, it was understood that Winehouse was recording and amassing a pile of demos in the studios within her home. In 2008, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, Lucian Grainge publically boasted that Amy’s new material was “sensational,” and just a year ago, the artist who already penned Frank and Back to Black vowed that a third album was in the works, and would be released in January of 2011.
Like the gifted singer, that date has now come and gone, and as fans, we can only hope that the purity in the groundwork Winehouse already created will be handled with care and built upon in the most respectful manner possible. And while her label Island Records is maintaining a universal (no pun intended) don’t-confirm-or-deny position, we’ve been told by our own sources over there that there is “no new music as of now.” Translation: it’s coming, but we have to be patient.
DEMI LOVATO, FOSTER THE PEOPLE AND ONEREPUBLIC WITH B.O.B TO PERFORM AT THE 2011 DO SOMETHING AWARDS
Hosted by Jane Lynch the Awards will Air on VH1 Thursday, August 18th
NEW YORK, NY (July XX, 2011) ?DoSomething.org and VH1 announced today that Demi Lovato, OneRepublic with B.O.B. and Foster the People will perform as part of the star-studded 2011 Do Something Awards. Hosted by Glee star Jane Lynch, the ceremony will honor and celebrate the nation?s best young world-changers who represent the pivotal ?do-ers? in their field, cause or issue. Celebrities such as Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Prince William and Duchess Catherine, David Beckham, Scarlett Johansson, Russell Brand and Will Ferrell have been nominated in a variety of categories from ?Do Something Movie Star? to ?Do Something Couple? for all they have done to inspire young people. Many will be on hand to accept and present the awards at the show which will air Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST on VH1.
The show will mark the first time Demi Lovato will perform her hit single ?Skyscraper? live. Her fans played a big part in making this performance happen by enthusiastically tweeting the word ?Skyscraper? to @DoSomething multiple times over the last month. Lovato is also nominated for two awards in the Do Something Charity Song and Do Something TV Star categories.
“If you are expecting anything less than ‘wow,’ you’ve got the wrong award show. We are so psyched to have Demi’s first public performance, a hot break-out band like Foster the People, and expect OneRepublic with B.o.B to be very loud!” said Nancy Lublin, CEO and Chief Old Person of DoSomething.org.
We whet your appetite with a 30-second sneak peek of The Script’s new video for “Nothing” on Monday, but now that the full masterpiece has arrived in the form of an exclusive Top 20 Video Countdown premiere, feel free to feast! Watching the trio leave a bar in rare form in the initial clip, we were curious to see what would come of their wild night on the town, especially since the song’s lyrics don’t try to mask the “Am I better off dead?” pain that can come hand in hand with a horrible breakup.
Brooding over his former love, a downtrodden Danny has one drink too many, prompting him to get a little rowdy and uncontrollably shout his ex’s name in the street. While bandmates Mark and Glen were initially contributing to his getting liquored up, they then somehow manage to lose track of him while crossing a quaint, Monet-arched bridge over a canal. After looking introspectively down at the water below, Danny proceeds to climb to the bridge’s ledge (are those studded Louboutin sneakers or Chucks?!) and jump in. And since we all know shots and swimming don’t mix, there is a clear cause for concern.
Once he actually hits the water’s surface (an action that could be viewed as a suicide attempt), Danny discovers that his lady is there, too, in the form of a water goddess, and happily cashes in on some intimate, underwater smooches. While her presence is seemingly a fantasy, we soon realize that our beloved lead vocalist is, in fact, in the water, for real. Does he wind up drowning in this analogy of sadness come to life, or will he live to sing another day?
50 Cent’s “I’m On It” Premieres; 50 Cent’s Tweets Confuse
“Man I’m not releasing a album i can’t believe interscope is this f?ked up right now. I apologize to all my fans,” 50 Centtweeted late last night, before “I’m On It” surfaced on Soundcloud, ostensibly uploaded by 50 himself. But when he threatened to leak a Dr. Dre single (he didn’t) and then tweeted this afternoon, “I don’t know how I can record 41 song for my album and the one song I give interscope leaks,” he completely turned us around. Is it damage control for his self-leak? Is he throwing his weight around for a release date? Is this all a worked shoot? Who can tell? [Twitter]
Rihanna Helps United States Navy Prevent The Sinking Of Its Battleship
The trailer for next summer’s Navy-vs.-robot-alien-things blockbuster Battleship (yes, based on the board game) debuted today, featuring Rihanna as part of a task force investigating a bizarre disturbance in the Pacific. (Hint: it attacks them.) [Yahoo] Read more…