President Obama continues to be down with the kids, at least where it concerns his musical references. After getting down to “Sweet Home Chicago” last month and releasing a Spotify playlist to soundtrack his campaign, the President has shown his love of music on several occasions. In his latest cultural reference, the Pres name-dropped the Lollapalooza festival amidst his talk on more pressing campaign issues. But unfortunately for Obama, he fumbled on his words, and in an uncharacteristic turn, garbled the word “Lollapalooza,” saying instead “Lapalooza,” although we all still knew what he was talking about, and that’s all that really matters anyway.
The divisive Lana Del Rey has spoken out on LA radio station KROQ about her viral rise to fame, her fans and detractors, and the nature of Internet criticism. Speaking candidly, Lana addressed the way her persona has been treated an dissected online, saying, “I’m not naturally a polarizing or controversial person. What I sing about is pretty normal, pretty balanced. What people have to say about me, the really amazing things and the really terrible things, none of them are true.” Not usually vocal on the issue of her controversial rise to fame as Hype Queen, Lana said in the interview, “The internet right now is creating their own person for themselves to play with, but I’ve been an artist for a long time and I’ve been a writer since I was 7. I can’t do much else. I wrote every word on my album. There’s only one line I didn’t write in ‘Diet Mountain Dew’ and one in ‘Lolita’.”
She also talked about why she is able to connect with her zealous fans so intensely through her music, “I never compromise with anything that I do in my life, not lyrically, not in reality. I think the people who sort of feel like they know me, know me from my lyrics, and I think that they feel what I write about is what really went down and how I really feel about it. I never say anything just to rhyme over sugary pop songs. I really care about documenting my life in a musical fashion.” There you have it — on this rare occasion, the hyper aware Lana has pinpointed the gripes of her detractors, from her extraordinary perspective. Moreover, it seems the young star has quite the handle on what makes her so appealing to her fans, and her commitment to that is rather appealing.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Kimbra Launches A Spotify Mixtape
Kimbra, made famous by her turn on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” and soon to be a US superstar in her own right, has launched a Spotify Mixtape of her favorite songs, updated weekly. Subscribe away, and thank us later! [Spotify]
This Britney Spears Face Morph Is Pretty Creepy
This face morph of Britney — from baby to Mouseketeer to “Baby One More Time” to meltdown to now — is incredibly creepy. You’ll get your fair dose of Britney nostalgia, but also a pang of something like guilt as you watch the smile fade and her blonde locks replaced by a manic head shave and pink wig. [Idolator]
NME is calling it “The Second Coming,” and we don’t want to deify DJs too much, but that’s a pretty accurate description. It’s the dance music renaissance, a redux that last year led us back into the midst of heady 90s euro-trash club anthems, and earned DJs respectable names as musicians, on the charts and indeed financially. Of the 90s Superstar DJ, NME says, “DJs traveled to gigs by helicopter, and bought million-pound homes (like Paul Oakenfold’s mansion, on the same street as Tony Blair’s). Of course, that bubble soon burst – the popularity of dance music waned as we entered the new millennium, going back underground.” And according to NME, the charts, and our playlists, the DJ is back with a vengeance; “Fast forward to the present day and dance music is once again on the rise, ushering in a new era of ‘pop star DJs’… the money is just as good as it was in the superclub era, if not better.”
Naming David Guetta at the top of the revolution is a no-brainer, as his work, including “Turn Me On” with Nicki Minaj, “Who’s That Chick?” with Rihanna and “When Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland, amongst a myriad of others, made Guetta the God Father of the Ibiza-anthem in 2011, and probably will probably lead him to see out 2012 out in the same fashion. And here’s the clanger — Guetta is making bank as a DJ. Reportedly able to demand upward of £100,000 per appearance and maintaining a private jet, Guetta’s success as a performer is astounding.
Take away the production of music in collaboration with high profile pop stars, and the appeal of a DJ is difficult to place. Indeed, many of us head out over the weekend to dance to tracks spun by anonymous guys in booths the world over. Which makes Guetta’s earning capacity for a gig all the more mind-boggling — as opposed to popstar counter parts who create spectacle with costume, story and dance, a DJ is someone who essentially stands behind some decks and changes tracks. And while we don’t dispute there’s a great deal of skill and canny involved in mixing music or pleasing a crowd, it’s still hard to fathom when the inconspicuous guy with the headphones becomes God-like, and in Guetta’s case, amassing a net worth of around £20 million.
NME reports that Guetta isn’t the only DJ making sweet, sweet cash performing — apparently Tiesto has been known to charge up to £250,000 for an appearance. Whatever these guys are doing, they’re doing it right, and as much as we pontificate over what makes a performance by a DJ so appealing, the numbers speak for themselves, with the above mentioned having the power to sell out venues with capacities in the tens of thousands. However, we’re guessing the dance craze won’t last much longer — genre seems to be somewhat cyclical and reactionary, and we’ve already talked about how we see a revolt to club-tunes on its way with the advent of “realwave.” While we’re sure we haven’t seen the end of euro-dance quite yet, we have a feeling the tide will pull out again as it did post-90s, and yes, it will probably inevitably roll back in again.
[Photos: Getty Images]
If you love pure, simple, catchy pop then Carly Rae Jepsen is your girl. Forget spectacle, pretentious lyrics and euro-dance infiltration, Carly’s “Call Me Maybe” is pop the way pop should be, full of infectious hooks, adorably tongue-in-cheek video and the most innocuous of all subject matter — a crush! Carly came third in Canadian Idol back in 2007 and last month Justin Bieber announced that she was signed with his manager, Scooter Braun’s label, Schoolboy Records. Even without the Bieb connection, we think Carly is the most loveable thing to happen to music so far this year, and if she keeps turning out little ditties like “Call Me Maybe,” we’re facing a brand new addition for summer. And we’re not the only ones who have caught the bug — “Call Me Maybe” is number 10 on the iTunes charts, and Bieber and his buddies including Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale have recorded a fun video of themselves dancing around to Carly’s track, which will definitely make you smile.
Annie Lennox has made some very empowering and yet very measured comments about Rihanna to The Telegraph, telling the newspaper that it would be “So f**king powerful,” if Rihanna decided to speak out publicly about domestic violence. With the resurfacing of some touchy issues lately — Rihanna teaming up with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who brutally assaulted her in 2009 for two new tracks, as well as Chris Brown’s divisive Grammys performances — everyone seems to have an opinion on what Rihanna should be doing.
Lennox, however, while taking a strong stand against domestic violence and encouraging Rihanna to speak out, is equally respectful of RiRi’s decision to stay quiet on the matter; “Here is a young woman who has been through domestic violence and she could become a tremendous spokesperson for that issue but the choice is hers. It’s not up to anybody else to do that… Of course if she did choose to do that it would be so f**king powerful but it’s her personal right to choose it or not. We all have our issues and we have to deal with them in our own way.” Lennox is a known social activist and regarded by many as a feminist icon, and in many respects we agree that Rihanna has a great power at her disposal, but also that it’s entirely her choice as to whether or not she exercises it.
Rihanna urged to condemn domestic violence [Music News]
[Photos: Getty Images]
It’s truth bomb time: Mylo Xyloto is a silly name. We’re not even really sure how to pronounce it. This isn’t an indictment on Coldplay or the content of the album — completely exclusive from all other elements, the name itself is simply absurd. And Chris Martin — at least for a brief moment — seemed to agree, telling Good Morning America, “It’s just something that we thought looked really good but everywhere we go around the world people pronounce it in the most crazy ways and we’re beginning to regret it now,” (if someone could please tell us how to pronounce it correctly that would be great).
Unfortunately, the Coldplay front man took back this moment of lucidity later, Tweeting from the Coldplay Twitter Feed:
Well, Chris Martin, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because as much as we love you and your sound, Mylo Xyloto doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue!
[Photo: Getty Images]
Lady Gaga should be renamed Viral Monster in the wake of her record breaking Twitter following. Boasting an army for more than 20 million Little Monsters on the social networking site, Gaga is not only the first person to reach the massive number, but also the most followed person on Twitter in the world. That’s right — Lady Gaga has more followers than President Obama, who checks in with only 12.84 million followers. Gaga for president, anyone? Mother Monster has a comfortable lead in the Twitter stakes too, with the next most followed account being Justin Bieber at 18.11 million, then Katy Perry at 15.75 million, Shakira at 14.56 million and Rihanna at 14.49 million.
Impressive for Lady Gaga given that she only joined the social networking device on March 26th, 2008, which essentially makes her a viral marketing success, given her prevalence across the Internet. Gaga also boasts eight million Facebook fans and more than 800,000 Google+ “circles,” and it doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere any time soon. Since the Telegraph reported Gaga’s 20 millionth follower this morning, we’ve checked her Twitter account and it looks like she’s picked up another 173,000 subscribers already! Gaga is a prolific Tweeter, which might have something to do with her dominance, not to mention she Tweets everything herself, and offers insights and exclusives to fans via the medium — whatever she’s doing, she’s doing it right, and online marketers might have a thing to learn from the avant-pop star.
Lady Gaga breaks Twitter record [The Telegraph]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Adele And Daft Punk Get Mashed Together For “Something About The Fire”
We cringed when we first caught wind of this. But when we finally listened to the mash up that features Adele‘s “Set Fire To The Rain” and Daft Punk‘s “Something About Us” we felt ashamed of our initial skepticism — this actually might be our new favorite song. [Prefix]
There Might Be An Album Of Unreleased Material By Aaliyah On The Way
While the late legend Aaliyah‘s brother says there’s no “official” album on the way, producer Jeffey “J. Dub” Walker Tweeted, “Just got great news today; the smash unreleased song called ‘Steady Ground’ I produced on #Aaliyah is gonna be on her upcoming album:)”. We’ve got all our fingers, toes, and other crossable parts crossed that we’ll be hearing some previously unheard Aaliyah music this year. [Idolator]
It’s always a treat when we get to see one of our favorite new tracks played live. Our March You Oughta Know artist, Graffiti6, was in the studio this week to play us a stripped back rendition of their amazing lead single, “Free”, from their album Colours. We loved the romantic video for “Free” and we just love the song even more every time we hear it. Singing live, Graffiti6 gave some raw emotion as front man Jamie Scott tugged on our heartstrings with his gentle, honey-like vocal and lovely blue eyes. We’re very much looking forward to a whole month of Graffiti6 and you should be too — keep checking back because we’ve got some great exclusives to share from the boys’ visit to VH1 headquarters!