Madonna may have dropped a tidbit or two about her own music while in Venice promoting her new film W.E., but ask about the careers of others at your own peril. Belgian reporter Nicolas Crousse learned as much when he tried to draw a parallel between the film and Madonna’s life.
Madonna dismissed the question outright, saying that Wally’s story offered an additional perspective on Wallis Simpson, to complicate what might otherwise be seen as black and white (“tout blanc ou tout noir”). “As for Lady Gaga,” she continued, “I have no comment to make about her obsessions having to do with me because I don’t know whether her behavior is rooted in something deep and meaningful, or superficial,” (per E! Online‘s English translation of her remarks). Madonna’s answer was an expert dodge of both a tangential topic and a potential PR fumble regarding any Gaga news of which she might not be aware. Nevertheless, Gaga can’t be pleased with the nature of the response. Read more…
After Lady Gaga spent the 2011 Video Music Awards in Jo Calderone‘s plain attire, you’d be forgiven for thinking that she went a step further for the October 2011 cover of Harper’s Bazaar, appearing as Stefani Germanotta. Of course, it’s never so simple for Gaga, who would insist that appearing as “herself” would be a betrayal of appearing as her self. Though, as Laura Brown‘s interview explains, the “basically barefaced Gaga is very deliberately dressed down,” this, to Gaga, is just as artificial as any other way she has appeared:
Don’t you think that what’s on the cover of a magazine is quite artificial? There’s this idea that it’s all natural, but everything’s been staged to look natural. It is also an invention. It’s just that my inventions are different. I often get asked about my artifice, but isn’t fashion based on the idea that we can create a fantasy?
Gaga’s point here gets some support from the magazine itself, when a caption in its online Gaga gallery offers the advice, “To get Lady Gaga’s no-makeup look, try Studio Sculpt SPF 15 Foundation ($29.15), Prep + Prime Highlighter ($23), Brow Gel ($15) and Prep + Prime Lash ($15). All M.A.C.” Read more…
The 2011 Video Music Awards had quite the effect on this week’s charts. Adele, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga were among the artists posted who posted sales bumps after performances a week ago Sunday. Possibly none of them benefited as much as Lil Wayne, whose album Tha Carter IV went on sale less than an hour after the show wrapped on the East Coast. His performance of “How To Love” and “John” was one of innumerable factors that led to a monster first week sales tally of 964,000.
These numbers are no joke. The album not only hit #1 with a bullet on the Billboard 200 (followed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with 229,000 copies of I’m With You) but it also could become the second-best-selling album of the year. Granted, the fourth-quarter schedule is packed with heavy hitters like Coldplay, whose Mylo Xyloto drops October 25, but Lil Wayne’s album has already sold more than half in its first week of what Gaga’s Born This Way has sold since its release, without the help of the type of loss-leading that scored Gaga the year’s biggest first week. We doubt any album (from anybody) will come near the three-million-and-counting sales of Adele’s 21, but the race to second place just got significantly more crowded (and more interesting), as we suspect Tha Carter IV will have not-insignificant legs.
Jeff Tweedy, lead singer of the critically acclaimed band Wilco, is not really known for his sense of humor. That’s not to say he’s a humorless fellow; rather, it’s just that when he chooses songs to cover, it’s generally because he’s paying homage to artists who have meaning (see: the two records he made with Billy Bragg comprised solely of Woody Guthrie covers).
That was not exactly the case in Chicago last night, where Jeff Tweedy performed at a book party for the release of Dan Sinker‘s The F***ing Epic Quest of @MayorEmanuel. Instead of going the somber route, Tweedy kept with the evening’s light-hearted nature and proved his comedic chops by busting out a solo acoustic cover of the Black Eyed Peas smash, “I Gotta Feeling.” We presume this decision had something to do with the fact that this song was played during the real Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s election party back in February, and the cover was delivered with exactly the right amount of irony that you’d expect from a Generation X icon like Tweedy. He warns listeners early on that his BEP cover “is gonna be bad, gonna be really bad,” but after the seeing the final results, we beg to differ with his assessment.
For the last 14 weeks, we’ve been tracking the race to see which track would become this year’s Song Of The Summer. Since people consume music in so many different ways these days, our goal was to put together a democratic formula that compared how a group of over 70 songs performed across five of the primary channels that people frequently use to listen to their favorite jams: the Billboard Hot 100 (radio play & sales), the iTunes charts (pure sales), Last.fm scrobbles (listening on computer and mobile devices), the YouTube music charts (streams) and, of course, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. Each week, we tracked how our group of competitors fared in each of these different platforms, and then added up the results.
So, without any further ado, we are psyched to announce that Katy Perry has taken home the first place prize in VH1’s first annual Song Of The Summer competition! When the summer began, it looked like Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” was going to be an unstoppable force, but as soon as Katy dropped her 80s-tastic “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” video during the week of June 27th, she dominated the countdown from there on out. Katy was gracious enough to film an quick speech for us while she accepted our totally awesome Song Of The Summer trophy, which we’ve got for you above.
For you completists, here is our final Song Of The Summer countdown chart (that is, until Memorial Day 2012 rolls around!). And you’re on Spotify, you can subscribe to our VH1 Song Of The Summer 2011 playlist and re-live the summer whenever you want.
My Chemical Romance Drummer Fired For Stealing
Drummer Michael Pedicone, who joined My Chemical Romance last year, following the departure of Bob Bryar, was abruptly fired on Thursday night. According to a blog post by guitarist Frank Iero, Pedicone “was caught red handed stealing from the band and confessed to police after our show.” Iero also stated that the band does not intend to press charges. This afternoon, Pedicone released a statement via Kerrang! that stated, in essence, that he’d actually been caught attempting to frame a member of the band’s crew for the supposed theft. “I made what was certainly the poorest decision of my life,” he wrote. “Rather than address the issues that I had with the crew member in an open and honest manner, I tried to make them look irresponsible.” And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those pesky Fabulous Killjoys. [AV Club]
Madonna Is Working On A New Album Madonna just premiered W.E., the historical drama she directed, on Thursday at the Venice Film Festival, but she’s already talking about new music. She’s re-teaming with her Ray of Light collaborator William Orbit and other producers including Martin Solveig (if his name doesn’t ring a bell, “Hello” might). She hopes to have a single ready for January or February and an album in the spring, and whether she hits those marks or not, she’ll certainly be disappearing into the studio for a while after the promotional push for W.E. wraps. [Popdust] Read more…
Last week, we filled you in on our plans to re-air The Concert For New York City in its entirety, commercial-free, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this Sunday. We are also excited to announce that we’ll also be simultaneously be streaming this event on VH1.com beginning at 4 p.m. ET. Featuring emotionally charged performances by the likes of Paul McCartney, The Who, Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child and more, this one-time only replay will also benefit our friends at the Robin Hood Relief foundation. More details, including a complete list of exactly what time the performances from your favorite artists and actors will be airing, to follow as the week progresses.
Twenty years ago last month, Pearl Jam‘s Ten was released, and its slow-burn first single “Alive” (not to mention members’ pedigrees from Mother Love Bone and Temple Of The Dog) built the band’s buzz until they exploded with “Even Flow” and “Jeremy.” The rest is history?but certainly worth celebrating, no? Cameron Crowe thinks so: he’s made PJ20, a documentary about the band from inception to present; it hits theaters in two weeks.
Pearl Jam thinks so too. To celebrate the anniversary, Pearl Jam hosted a two-day concert this weekend outside Milwaukee, WI. (It’s not Seattle, but as tickets and lodging go, it beats a cruise!) Each of the bands who participated (including The Strokes, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Mudhoney) played two sets?one each day?and many musicians guested during other bands’ sets. For example, Eddie Vedder turned up during Glen Hansard‘s set to sing the female vocals on the Once duet “Falling Slowly”: Read more…
Meanwhile, we’ve got a bonus clip from the band’s You Oughta Know Live set: a cover of “Where Were You,” by Vic Chesnutt (from the late songwriter’s Michael Stipe-produced 1991 album West of Rome). The band’s rendition gives the alt-country lament a California sheen without losing its plaintiveness. Watch it above! Read more…