Beyoncé’s “Countdown” video is just four days old, and she’s already readying her next clip, even as critics argue that her choreographic homage crosses the line. MTV News reports that a teaser for a “Love On Top” video has hit the Internet, and even R&B new-jacks can tell she’s nodding to New Edition’s “If It Isn’t Love.” Less well-known is Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, whose work is quoted in the “Countdown” video. Director Adria Pettytold MTV News that “German modern-dance references” informed the video’s creative process. The use of the needle-dragged-across-the-turntable “say what?” sound effect in the shot-for-shot comparison video, above, implies that the quotations are not homage but theft?and when the video’s creators, Studio Brussel, contacted the choreographer, she gave a statement which includes the following:
People asked me if I’m angry or honored.
Neither; on the one hand, I am glad that Rosas danst Rosas can perhaps reach a mass audience which such a dance performance could never achieve, despite its popularity in the dance world since the 1980s. And Beyoncé is not the worst copycat; she sings and dances very well, and she has a good taste!
On the other hand, there are protocols and consequences to such actions, and I can’t imagine she and her team are not aware of it.
It’s unclear whether de Keersmaeker will pursue any legal action, but this?and the kerfuffle over Beyoncé’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards?illustrates that there is a huge gray area as to what is inspiration, what is homage, and what is theft. These are especially tricky waters to navigate when a style is re-envisioned for a much wider audience, as has been the case with Beyoncé (and, for that matter, Lady Gaga). Notwithstanding the court of law, the court of public opinion can easily be swayed, and this story has gotten us thinking about what constitutes “fair use” in a pop-cultural sense. We’re not sure if there is a cut-and-dried answer.
If you tuned in to our five-day 100 Greatest Songs of the 00’s countdown last week, you already know that pre-preggers Beyonc? took home the #1 spot with hubby-featured smash, “Crazy In Love.” Good for them, right? The collabo is over eight years old, and still carries with it a sense of sonic recognition that might one day be categorized as “timeless.”
If you could have your way with our list’s top 10 songs, which one would you have crowned ?The Greatest of the 00’s? Take our poll and leave us your thoughts in the comments section. Don’t worry, we’re thick-skinned!
A taped Beyoncé performance introduced by Jackson’s three children and a great rendition of “Dirty Diana” by Christina Aguilera (who, The Fab Life notes, was not exactly looking her best) were the best-received of the performances by American artists who did come through for the show.
Foster The People continued their banner year with an appearance on Saturday Night Live, where they performed (what else?) “Pumped Up Kicks.” But for their second song of the night they welcomed a surprising guest?Kenny G, who has officially gotten more notice at VH1 this year, between this performance and his appearance in Katy Perry’sSong Of The Summer video “Last Friday Night,” than any since VH1 was born in 1985. The controversial smooth-jazz titan added a soprano-sax solo to “Houdini.”
The collaboration was not as out-of-left-field as it may have seemed; the band has talked on multiple occasions about collaborating with the saxophonist (who also appeared in an Audi ad this year as a “riot suppressor”). The tipping point may have been a short interview with MTV Hive, during which a reiteration of what seemed like a running joke became a reflection on Kenny G’s talents. “I watched that guy hold a note for like ten minutes,” Mark Foster quipped, exaggerating but not entirely joking. Finally, on Saturday, the moment arrived. For a somewhat different (albeit Kenny G-free) take on “Houdini,” check the band’s You Oughta Know Live performance of the track after the jump. Read more…
All week, VH1 has been rolling out the 100 Greatest Songs of The ’00s and tonight we finally made it to number one which is…(drumroll)…Beyonce’s“Crazy In Love”! We’ve always maintained that this song is like a party?(and we’re all invited) so we think its place at #1 is well-deserved, but we want to know if you agree. Our distinguished panel certainly does — they can’t help but booty pop in their seats just talking about it.? Mob Wives star Drita D’avanzo puts it best though, when she says, “Beyonce and Jay-Z is like peanut butter and jelly, and you just want it.” After the jump,?check out the full list of the top 100 songs from the ’00s, and then make your way to the comments section to let us know if Beyonce is the best choice to sit at the top of our list.
What’s better than a new video with Beyoncé? If you answered “a new video with multiple Beyoncés,” you’re going to love “Countdown”! The single is a standout from 4?not just a refreshingly uptempo jam among ballads, but a darn good one?and director Adria Petty certainly does the song justice with this clip. Petty combines intentionally stilted choreography with multiple frames and multiple exposures (and, yes, multiple Beyoncés) to create a sort of “Flashdance” by way of “Rockit” spectacle. Alternately, think of it as a Gap ad made by Mondrian, and starring robots. Words don’t do this video justice. Read more…
We have to applaud our MTV News colleague Jim Cantiello for the “Burning Questions” segment of his interview with X Factor judges L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell—mainly because he found a way to talk about unsung jams, and we love jams. First: did you know that X Factor contestant Stacy Francis was once Stacy X of early-nineties new jack swing quartet Ex Girlfriend? Neither Reid nor Cowell did. (Nor had we!) Cantiello did, though, and cited an Isley Brothers remix as a particular favorite. It turns out that Ex Girlfriend were launched by Full Force, whom we remember for their work with Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, but whom you might remember for their scene-stealing moments in House Party, or their colorful videos.
It’s sort of astonishing to realize that J. Cole made his network television debut last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Television appearances aren’t essential to record sales, exactly, but they’re certainly part of a promotional cycle, and Cole’s appearance came a week after his record debuted?and four months after “Work Out,” the single he performed, hit radio.
Of course, when you sell over 200,000 copies of your debut, hitting #1 in a week that saw five other top ten debuts (including new releases from Blink-182 and Wilco) and reissues of two evergreen best-sellers (Pink Floyd’sThe Dark Side Of The Moon and Nirvana’sNevermind), maybe a television performance is an afterthought. The sideline story is quickly being retconned into anything but, as scores of observers swallow comparisons to Memphis Bleek. Meanwhile, the crowd at Kimmel ate up his performance. It has to be good to be J. Cole right now.
Last night, eulogies for Steve Jobs flooded all sorts of social media platforms (in many cases powered, as was often observed, by devices Jobs himself spearheaded). These goodbye wishes were frequently interspersed with Occupy Wall Street updates, with no sense of inherent irony. That sort of contradiction is part of what makes Steve Jobs unique and much-loved. Jobs is a quintessential American in the old style—a modernist entrepreneur in a post-modern era. Popular opinion may have turned against those who turn money into more money, but Americans will always love those whose fortune is made in production.
The legacy of Steve Jobs since his return to Apple in 1996 has been as the most influential music-industry executive, despite not working in the music industry. To an extent, Jobs’s eulogies were already written in August when he resigned from his post at Apple. For our part, we keep returning to Kelefa Sanneh’sNew Yorker profile. With the rise of high-speed internet and digital music, the music industry was in a panic, having lost control of all but the earliest stages of music distribution. The innovation of the iPod was to adapt a music-playback device to the internet era, and use that as a springboard into the music-distribution business. Apple gave the music industry a shot in the arm, and yet a decade later, it’s still not clear to what extent that industry will recover. The tech industry, on the other hand, is still booming.