Ameriie’s Fifth Album Is 80% Done, But Probably Going To Be No Less Underrated

R&B is a tough business, and anyone with even a passing interest in the genre has a favorite artist who had one hit single but hasn’t been able to catch a break since. (A popular choice in this category is Cassie.) But no artist has hit bigger, and then followed up with such high quality material only that was met with lackluster commercial response as Ameriie (formerly Amerie). “1 Thing” topped the R&B/Hip-Hop charts in 2005 and placed second in the year-end Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, behind only “Gold Digger” (and ahead of even “Since U Been Gone”), but her fantastic follow-up record Because I Love It failed to chart a single in the United States, as a result of which Columbia held back the album’s release for nearly a year and a half. Ameriie and her boyfriend/manager/executive producer Lenny Nicholson cut their losses and parted with the label, but her 2009 album In Love and War hardly performed better (so from a business perspective, Columbia may have been right all along).

Fans who are hoping Ameriie’s forthcoming album will be a commercial success will likely be discouraged by the interview Billboard published today. Ameriie has continued following her muse into interesting artistic territory, but she’s likely off the map commercially. The first clue is the album title, Cymatika Vol. 1. The title refers to cymatics, the study of visible sound and vibration. Or as Ameriie explained on Twitter, “It’s some spiritual, metaphysical, literally outer space s?t.”

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Last Lap: Thursday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Another Side To The Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest Story
A main source of the tension on A Tribe Called Quest‘s 2008 tour, as documented in the new film Beats, Rhymes, & Life (directed by Michael Rappaport, pictured above with Phife Dawg), is an interview Q-Tip gave to Spin. Today the Awl ran a complementary piece by the author of that Q-Tip profile. [The Awl]

Morrissey Prefers Edith Piaf To “McDonna” And Has “No Love For” Himself But Plenty For His Music
Also among the unsurprising quotes in the interview Billboard published today: “The word ‘indie’ is meaningless now.” We’d say, “Never change,” but Morrissey certainly isn’t in danger of that. [Billboard]
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by (@Lacezilla)

VH1′s Top 100 Videos of 2011… So Far, Part III: The Top Ten

For those of you who haven’t been following along this week, welcome! We are in the home stretch of counting down the Top 100 Videos of 2011 … So Far, and for those of you who been riding shotgun, scanning through #100-51 and #50-11 of our list of the most-watched videos on, we salute your dedication and loyalty! Now, it’s onto the Top Ten. Drums, please…

10. Cee Lo Green, “F*** You”
What a year it’s been for Cee Lo! Kicking off his The Lady Killer album release with a powerful single that even had your grandma using cuss words, it was only right that he delivered a visual that packed the same punch. Co-written by Bruno Mars, the video for the happily hostile post-breakup anthem chronicles Cee Lo in a diner from childhood to adulthood, dealing with the hardships that often plague those looking for love. In case you can’t get enough of him, hold on to his sweet, nasty and sarcastic Valentine’s Day messages for next year, and check out his incredible Storytellers performance, too!

9. Christina Perri, “Jar of Hearts”
In a much more intense version of Cee Lo’s #10 video, You Oughta Know songstress Christina Perri airs some love-related greivances of her own. Stating very plainly that she refuses to become a notch on someone’s belt, the tattooed beauty opts to avoid an unhealthy romantic encounter with an ex. In the dark video, the male antagonist is literally running around leaving scars, sucking womens souls from their bodies. Eek! Who does he think he is? In any event, we’re proud of Christina for abstaining and staying strong. If you want to catch more of her, check out her Posted content and a super special YOK Live performance she graced us with.

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Warren G. Hawks Penile Enhancement Pills (“Regulate” Puns Ahoy!)

Have you ever found in a situation where you want to get down, but can’t, erm, get it up? In one of the more bizarre paid endorsements we’ve ever seen, “legendary recording artist” Warren G has some advice on the topic: “You need to take your Affirm XL and regulate.”

This series of ads has been around for a minute (inauspiciously enough, they were all uploaded within 48 hours of the passing of Warren G’s primary musical collaborator, Nate Dogg). But they just came to our attention today, thanks to ego trip (with whom we partnered in 2007 to produce The (White) Rapper Show) and we had to share them with you. The rapper is featured in four spots: “Warren G in the Bathroom,” above; “Bedroom Scene,” “Shower Scene,” and “Beach.” ego trip is polling its readers on which is their favorite of the four. And yes, they all contain references to, erm, regulating.

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Spotify Launches In America! Does It Live Up To The Hype?

Cloud-based streaming music service Spotify has launched in the United States, and you can sign up for their “unlimited” or “premium” monthly subscriptions or, with an invite, listen for free, with advertising. The hype machine is in full force, but how does the service stack up against other available options? We broke down the aspects of Spotify’s appeal to cut through the hype and look at what the service offers.

Spotify is streaming-only, so it does not allow users to download from its music catalog. This allows the service to license the music at a lower rate (and is part of what makes the advertising-supported service possible). As a free option, Spotify improves on Pandora by allowing listeners to choose what songs they hear, rather than having a playlist programmed for them. Its subscription service is not dissimilar to Rhapsody‘s or Rdio‘s streaming services, but both of those allow subscribers to download songs, so they can only offer free trials rather than a full-fledged advertising-supported service, and their subscription services start at a higher price point than Spotify’s $4.99/mo. “Unlimited” subscription.

Spotify is also touted for being cloud-based, which is to say that music is provided by content owners and stored by the service, not by the user. This allows users to have access to a larger catalog than they would able to store on their computers, phones, etc. However, control of the music is ultimately out of the user’s hands, so it can become unavailable. For example, even the services that have licenses with Sony do not stream Milli Vanilli songs, because that music has been deliberately removed from circulation by the company.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Exclusive Video: Watch Javier Colon Watch Himself Perform On A 2003 Episode Of VH1 Unplugged

Ever since being crowned the winner of The Voice two weeks ago, Javier Colon‘s life has been a whirlwind of interviews, press junkets, and plane flights (nine of them, to be exact). We here at VH1 have been fans of his going all the way back to 2003, when Javier performed on VH1 Unplugged. So when he popped by our offices the other day to chat, we took the opportunity to show him video from that 2003 Unplugged session, which just so happened to be the first time he had seen the video in eight years. We captured the moment on our iPhone cam, and we’ve got it for you above.

Javier was also cool enough to answer some of our questions about his experience on The Voice, what it was like to duet with the legendary Stevie Nicks, the strategy that came into play when it came to ditching his trademark cap, and what his new album is going to sound like.

VH1: Well, first things first. Congratulations on winning The Voice! What has your life been like for the last two weeks since winning it all?

Javier: The first week I had nine flights, it was a lot of back and fourth, a lot of press and stuff. It’s been amazing, it’s been a whirlwind. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. Walking as someone else, walking through the mall or through the airport with people are yelling ‘Congratulations!’ from across the concourse, or you see people looking at you funny or doing a double take. It feels like your out of your own skin.

It seems like one of the big things that came through on the show, aside from your incredible talent and incredible voice, is that people really seemed to make a connection to your choice of headwear.

I got a lot of hats man, I got a lot of hats, I mean all types of hats. From Kangols to fedoras, all kinds of stuff. On the show, I only did baseball hats for the most part. But I’ve got a lot of different hats.

Do you consider that to be one of your trademarks?

Yeah, it is! I mean, the hat is definitely one of my things, there is a lot of people that actually took issue with the fact that I didn?t take it off, in the beginning and I was like ?You know what? I’ll take it off actually in the middle of a song,? so I took it off in the middle of a Coldplay song.

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Lenny Kravitz Won’t “Stand” For Game Show Host Malfeasance In His New Music Video

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.
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Tuned In: Joe Jonas Impresses on Fallon

Wednesday was a surprisingly good night for music on television. Raphael Saadiq performed on the ESPYs (hopefully video will show up online soon), and Best Week Ever favorite David Cook performed “The Last Goodbye” on Leno. And the new song Gomez played on Letterman has a killer bridge. But we were most curious to see Joe Jonas perform on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, especially after the coverage of his Brooklyn performance last week.

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.

Elsewhere on television…

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Last Lap: Wednesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

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 Record explores 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]

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