If you thought you’d seen an intense stare before, then you were wrong — no stare you could possibly have seen before compares to the intensity of Adam Lambert‘s stare on the cover of his new album, Trespassing. Dark and dramatic, the cover features Lambert’s gaze locked against yours, his perfectly coiffed hair spiking out to anime perfection. And there’s a sense of the animated to the whole portrait, but that’s not to suggest it’s cartoonish. Post production seems to have put the image somewhere in the spectrum of Sin City unreal-realism, and we’re just hoping the music inside is half as powerful as the imagery on the outside. If his live television performance of “Better Than I Know Myself,” and the descriptions he’s given of the new music are anything to go by, then we think we’re in for a real treat!
Lana Del Rey, so buzzy you can’t go anywhere without hearing the dull hum of her beating wings (even when you’re lying in bed at night, and even though you can’t see it, you can hear it flying around your face in the darkness), has made a last minute cancellation of a UK live appearance. Lana Del Rey was set to appear tonight on MTV UK’s Brand New For 2012 show at London’s Koko nightclub, but has pulled out at the eleventh hour due to “illness.” We’re expecting her withdrawal from the show to garner some attention, if not criticism, especially in the aftermath of her controversial SNL appearance last week.
Lana Del Rey’s debut album, Born To Die, is also set to drop next week, so the young starlet is most likely run ragged promoting it. Beginning to open up in interview, Lana Del Rey recently told The Telegraph of the new album, “I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s gorgeous. This album is my self in song form. So if they sort of sound like everything fits perfectly together, it’s because it does. There is nothing altered, nothing compromised, they are perfectly me. For better or worse, it’s like a person in song and video form.”
Speaking to Complex, she revealed the inspiration behind her love songs saying, “I know what it means to meet someone who’s f***ing fresh to death,” and “When I found somebody who I fell in love with, it made me feel different than I felt the rest of the day. It was electrifying. That’s what inspired the “Off to the Races” melodies. That’s one of the times when you’re feeling electrified by someone else and they make you happy to be alive.” It seems that with the the album release so close, and with these unprecedentedly intimate interviews, the Lana Del Rey flower is blooming, the the whole story is starting to come together. We’re intrigued to see what comes next for the overnight sensation.
Sundance is now considering changing its name to Rapdance after Common‘s amazing freestyle rap for VH1. Just kidding, they’re not, but we think they definitely should. Common pulled an impressive freestyle rap out of his sleeve at Sundance and we’re just waiting for him to remix it into a real song, especially since we got a shout out in there, “The one, the rap shining sun / I do this for who? For who, VH1!” Common doesn’t skip a beat, proving his expertise at the rap game with his easy freestyle flow.
And the buck doesn’t stop there, with Common also taking a moment to address his highly publicized beef with Drake. Having dissed Drake in song, rapping the unequivocal “Soft n***a. Make no mistake, I’m talking to Drake,” in “Stay Schemin,” Common tells MTV news that he’s said all he needs to say, “I kind of addressed it so much on record, I feel like I don’t really have any more to say about it it. I just think it’s part of a hip hop battle, that’s all really.” You can see the rest of what he had to say after the jump, but we’re glad to hear the score is settled, at least on Common’s side.
Fiona Apple is back! If you were a girl growing up in the 90s then you probably adopted “Criminal” as something of an anthem, as Apple fit in that gloriously angsty alterna-girl niche that characterized femininity in music during that era. If you were a boy you probably loved her too, but that probably had less to do with the tumultuous feeling of feminine frustration and more to do with different sort of southern oriented tumult. Anyway, the point is, Apple’s label, Epic via CEO LA Reid, has announced that she’ll be dropping a new album sometime soon/this year in a Tweet:
It’s her first album since 2005, and there’s no actual release date set yet, so for now we suggest you get into the back catalog for preparation. Here’s the song that got us hooked on Fiona Apple in 1997, “Criminal”:
Oscar nominations have been revealed today and everyone is talking, especially in the category we’re more concerned with — Music (Original Song) — where just two songs were nominated. One of the nominated songs, “Man Or Muppet” from The Muppets (written by Bret McKenzie who is probably best known for Flight Of The Conchords), was an obvious choice, already being nominated for, and winning, a CCMA this year. Up against the favorite is “Real In Rio” from Rio, with music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown and lyrics by Siedah Garrett.
Both nominated songs are from “children’s films” (although that’s a tenuous way to describe movies these days given the propensity of traditionally “child friendly” subjects and visuals to be brushed over with a sleek wit to appeal to adult audiences in equal measure), and there’s a notable absence of music from dramas or “adult movies.” Strange then, that Elton John’s “Hello Hello” from Gnomeo & Juliet shouldn’t be nominated in this category, especially as it has previously been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Stranger still that Madonna’s “Masterpiece” from W.E. wasn’t nominated, given that it beat out “Hello Hello” at the Golden Globes to take home the award.
Young The Giant played “Cough Syrup” last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and they were simply hypnotic. With something of a young Kings Of Leon in the verses (sing “The Bucket” along with the first verse of “Cough Syrup” and you’ll see), Young The Giant are both familiar and new. Their referential (the choruses are reminiscent of The National) style is comfortable, and yet they evoke wide open, uncharted spaces in the way they play their influences off one another to create dynamism in both music and vocal.
Beef Alert! Soundgarden Sounds Off At Kanye West Soundgarden gave Kanye West a mouthful on stage at an Australian festival after Kanye performed his sound check on a neighboring stage during Soundgarden’s set. Front man Chris Cornell said to the audience, “Sounds like there’s children playing music there, retarded children, retarded as in held back.” OUCH! [Idolator]
Pulp Annouces US Tour Dates
Yep, Pulp are playing shows outside Coachella. Feel free to jump on your desk and squeal with glee (we did). [A.V. Club]
A few weeks back, our VH1 News team caught up with Matthew McConaughey on the set of the music video for Butch Walker‘s “Synthesizers.” The song is partially a lament about the perils of growing older and becoming decidedly less hip, but it’s also a rallying cry about the merits of sticking to your guns and not chasing fads in an attempt to remain hip. These decidedly mixed messages make for an interesting song, but also for a thematically jumbled music video.
Reincarnating the character of Wooderson from Dazed And Confused for this video was a stroke of minor brilliance, as perhaps no one character in the recent history of cinema better represents how cool it can seem to be stuck in one’s ways. As the video begins, Wooderson —still wearing that same Marley Nugent t-shirt, mannnnn— makes his way into a modern day Hollywood nightclub, packed to the gills with table dancing Snooki wannabes and LMFAO-style hipster d-bags. Not surprisingly, he looks older and, if you can believe it, even more stoned than when we last saw this character; McConaughey initially plays it so Wooderson looks tired, desperate and past his prime, allowing a forlorn look of despair to creep across his face, despite the fact that he’s trailed by two smokin’ hot ladyfriends. However, as soon as the chorus kicks in and the song’s tone shifts from plaintive to defiant, the vibe of the video changes (not for the better), and Wooderson morphs from being an over-the-hill stoner and into the Pied Piper of Clubland by, get this, playing a trumpet and a tiny toy piano.
Jason Mraz gave some insights on love at Sundance, and revealed the inspiration behind his hit song “I Won’t Give Up.” Speaking candidly about his songwriting, Mraz said, “as a writer I always write about things going on in my life, and what I know, what I’ve been through. And I feel like if there’s ever been a profound shift in my life, or something that’s occurred to me that’s woken me up or got me to the next level, that’s when it’s best to write a song and gives me purpose in writing music as well.” He goes on to talk about lost love and the continuation of love even after a relationship breaks down, and it sounds like he’s really speaking from honest experience (Mraz also gave a heartfelt performance at Sundance, which you can watch after the jump).
And it seems like the heartache isn’t turning out so bad for Mraz after all — aside from seeming to stay very positive about his breakup, “I Won’t Give Up” is proving to connect with audiences, perhaps showing that there’s still a desire for emotion and sincerity in pop music. Debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 8, “I Won’t Give Up” (now sitting tight at number 22), selling 229,000 downloads and debuting at number one on the Digital Songs Chart (Mraz first ever digital number one). See him perform below!
Do you know what Lady Gaga was doing when she was in high school? Probably the same thing as every other tween growing up in New York City — hanging out in Times Square trying to get a glimpse at TRL. In a sneak peek clip from VH1 Rock Docs: The TRL Decade, Carson Daly recalls interviewing Lady Gaga about her TRL experience as a teenager, and how she and her girlfriends took to Times Square with a sign that read “Carson Let Me Up!” It’s an endearing anecdote, and a great insight into the importance of TRL and the motivations of a young Stefani Germanotta.
VH1 Rock Docs: The TRL Decade, premiers on VH1 on Sunday the 29th of January at 9:30 PM.