Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars have teamed up for The Hunger Games Soundtrack: Songs from District 12 and Beyond, and their collaborative track, “Safe And Sound” features a haunting video to go with the romantic vocal. The video sees Taylor walking barefoot in a whimsical, diaphanous gown through a harsh winter forest landscape, while bare trees throw up obtuse, magical shapes as she wanders between them. The scene flicks to The Civil Wars in stark contrast, sitting before a crackling fire in a cosy, domestic setting as their voices harmonize with Taylor’s.
The waifish Taylor continues to haunt the barren landscape while fires rage in the distance, almost spectral in her aimless meandering. With the mystical appearance of an apperating deer, the song takes on a fantastical, otherworldly import as Taylor roams, hopelessly hopeful that the dawn will bring her safety. As night falls there’s a sense of desperation as the deer turns to dust before Taylor’s eyes, but the soft crooning melodies remain a constant reminder that everything will be alright.
The VH1 News special Whitney Houston: Death Of A Diva premieres on VH1 tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and will repeat again at 9:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. The 30-minute program will honor the life and times of Whitney Houston, and feature the latest updates on events surrounding her death, plus reactions from attendees at her mentor music mogul Clive Davis’s annual pre-Grammy Awards music industry party on Saturday night (like L.A. Reid). Additionally, there will be tributes from officials, her peers (like Kelly Price), record executives and fans, as well as some previously unseen interview footage with Whitney Houston herself.
In the clip we have for you above, which was shot back in 2010 as part of the Jennifer Hudson episode of Behind The Music, Whitney discusses how she almost didn’t record the song “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” because she “hated” it. Ultimately, her mentor Clive Davis was able to convince her of the song’s merits, a track that would go on to be her seventh consecutive #1 single, a record that still stands to this day.
VH1’s is debuting our list of the “100 Greatest Women in Music” this evening at 10 p.m. ET/PT. These five, one-hour specials are the latest in our on-going series, The Greatest, and are focused on the last twenty years of music history. Last Friday, we gave you a preview by way of our Almost Greatest list, but now VH1 Tuner is proud to exclusively reveal the entire list for you in advance of tonight’s first episode, which will cover #100 (the Pussycat Dolls) through #81 (the Spice Girls).
So, what artist ended up being named the Greatest Woman In Music for their career accomplisments over the last 20 years? Read along to find out!
You thought it was weird when Katy Perry‘s Grammys performance started with “E.T.” too, right? We certainly did. And being the Perryphiles that we are, it took us only moments to start pointing at the screen and indignantly yelling “That’s not Katy Perry!” as a strategically shrouded figure took to the stage. Cue a faux electrical glitch that had all those around us gasping, “But how could the Grammys mess up like that,” and we were rubbing our hands together in Mr. Burns style excellency — “This is it, here she comes! Excellent.”
And come she did! Appearing in a futuristic box descending from the ceiling, Perry wore blue hair and an ensemble that looked like a cheap version of Leeloo’s iconic Fifth Element get up — but we’re going to forgive her for the ill-chosen costuming because what followed was an impassioned performance of her fine new single (yes, we smell that 6th number one!), “Part Of Me” (one of the new tracks on the re-release of Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection). The opening lines of the song, “You chewed me and spit me out like I was poison in your mouth,” were poignantly at odds with “E.T.”‘s “Infect me with your poison,” and as Katy slowly rose to standing from her crouched feline perch, it became clear that she had something very important to say, and that we were all going to listen. And if there was any doubt about whether or not we’d be paying attention, Katy sang the emphatic, rage driven lyric “Now look at me!” before punching out the front of her cube, which shattered dramatically in cascading glass.
Yep, dancing in her cube, Katy made a very definitive statement, “This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me.” We can only speculate that the track is a stiff middle finger in the face of ex-hubby Russell Brand, but marital politics aside, the performance showed us a part of Katy that we’ve never really seen before. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of flirty, sexy Katy, a bit of controversial Katy and some reflective, sad Katy, but when it comes to chart toppers, we haven’t ever seen angry Katy. There’s “Circle The Drain” from Teenage Dream, but the brutality of emotion of that song seems to wane in comparison to “Part Of Me,” which is driven, unwavering and anthemic. Watching Katy perform it live for the first time was almost chilling — the emotion she put into her spectacular, flame engulfed show was raw and powerful, showing the angsty side of a girl that is so much more than boob-shooting fireworks.
In a tragic turn of events the music industry lost one of its biggest legends, Whitney Houston, over the weekend. In a last minute reshuffle, the Grammys made an effort to pay tribute to the great star, with LL Cool J giving an eulogy at the start of the show, and big names like Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Stevie Wonder commemorating their hero (Alicia Keys performed a tribute to the recently passed Etta James with Bonnie Raitt but didn’t fail to acknowledge Whitney). But perhaps the most stirring tribute of all was Jennifer Hudson‘s emotional performance of Whitney’s iconic song “I Will Always Love You.”
While Jennifer’s beautiful vocal soared through the song, and physically she appeared to embody the ghost of Whitney, she didn’t quite hit the high notes with the same easy power as Whitney — so as she paid rousing tribute, she also reminded us of the awesome talent of the late performer, whose natural voice is unparalleled, even by someone who is considered one of the great contemporary vocalists of today. Jennifer’s performance was a deeply emotional one, and it seemed like the singer had some difficulty getting through as she was overcome by tears at the end.
So while it seemed like the Grammys did everything they could at the last minute to ensure Whitney was paid proper respect, some were still perturbed by the closing act, hoping for a Whitney tribute as opposed to Paul McCartney‘s Beatles Medley and the ensuing dad rock guitar-off. What do you think? Do you think the Grammy’s did enough in honor of Whitney? Or do you think there could have been more, for instance a closing ensemble cast Whitney Medley? Let us know in the poll below!
Last night’s Grammy Awards were punctuated with some very clever advertising, number one among the canny commercials being Chipotle’s ode to the local farmer, playing out to the tune of Coldplay‘s “The Scientist,” sung by Willie Nelson. The advertisement was one of the top trending Twitter topics during the awards show, and you can see why by watching the video above. Set to a quaint animation, Willie Nelson’s crooning vocal along with the visual gives the love song a whole new import. Speaking to innovation in the livestock industry, the pumping of animals with steroids and the problems with live food production, the commercial paints a somewhat frightening image (despite the cute cartoons) of the future of produce. Supporting locally grown, organic produce, Chipotle really hit a home run with a commercial that seemed to really resonate with the Grammys audience.
Last night at the 2012 Grammy Awards, Bon Iver won the prestigious award for Best New Artist, but there was still a question on everyone’s lips, or at least trending on their Twitter feed — Who is Bon Iver? While it seems strange to us that you could own a Twitter account and somehow have missed the Internet hype train that was “Holocene” last year, #whoisboniver was one of the top trending topics of conversation on the social networking device last night (a lot of people seemed to think his name was Bonny Bear).
We took to the red carpet before the ceremony to find out if anyone there knew who Bon Iver was, and we got some interesting results! Everyone we talked to, from 3-time Grammy winner Skrillex to Wilco and Mumford & Sons to Malin Ackerman, seemed to have two different pronunciations for the band’s name. The most interesting response, however, came from Snooki, who managed to throw in a penis reference and made this statement for the ages: “Well, I don’t know anybody if you’re not Rihanna.”
VH1 spoke with Grammy-nominated singer Kelly Price on the Grammys red carpet last night, and chatted with her in depth about close friend Whitney Houston‘s final performance. Kelly was not only present when Whitney sang one final time on Thursday night, she performed alongside her. (Video is below).
The close friends sang “Jesus Loves Me” for a packed crowd at Price’s pre-Grammy celebration, with A-List onlookers like 2011 VH1 DIVA Ledisi, Anthony Hamilton, El Debarge and Ray-J watching from the audience. Kelly adamantly defended Whitney’s behavior that night, telling us “she came out to celebrate a friend…in doing nothing wrong, she’s being vilified.”
Hear more of Kelly’s passionate defense of Whitney, above. And be sure to tune into VH1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT tonight for our brand VH1 News Special, Whitney Houston: Death of a Diva (also repeating at 9:30 p.m. as well), which will feature interviews with celebrities on the 2012 Grammys Red Carpet last night, as well as previously unseen 2010 interview footage with Whitney Houston herself.
Nicki Minaj‘s Grammys performance, entitled “The Exorcism Of Roman” was a treat for the senses — from a sumptuous set, decadent choreography, a vivid, if not chaotic plot, and Nicki actually singing (a singer singing, can you imagine!), the whole shebang was nothing less than a show stopper. The performance began with Nicki in a confessional booth, the priest she walked the red carpet with listening to her candid rap from his side of the booth, both of them appearing to lose more and more of their minds as Nicki writhed manically and pulled several of her patented insane faces. The back story, from what a pre-recorded clip then told us, appeared to be that Nicki was possessed by the spirit of her alter ego, Roman Zolanski, and a priest was sent to exorcise her.
Once the video cut back to the stage, Nicki appeared shackled at the top of a pyre in some sort of cathedral that toed a line between Catholic and cult that might have been somewhat uncomfortable for any zealots watching (although we’re pretty sure the Grammys is mostly for heathens anyway). In this Roman Catholic Church meets Illuminati-esque environment, the story hit a glitch and became somewhat stunted in development — basically, Nicki was at war with Roman, and her internal monologue, the song, flipped between the two personas in an insane battle for the body. While a tormented Nicki staggered around the stage, weird contortionists and occultist dancers put on a pretty impressive show of physical agility in the Laurieann Gibson choreographed extravaganza (that’s probably why you have a lingering taste of Gaga).