Just a week after the premiere of “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” the latest collaboration between the Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze (who returned to music-video direction after somewhat of an absence), another director from his era has returned thanks to an artist with whom the director has collaborated a number of times before. Today’s returning talent: Michel Gondry, helming the mostly stop-motion video for Bj?rk‘s new single “Crystalline.”
Kelly Rowland‘s new album Here I Am drops today, and last night she participated in a live Q&A with Billboard to discuss the record, its R&B/Hip-Hop chart-topper “Motivation,” and Destiny’s Child reunion rumors.
Rowland, thrilled at the success of “Motivation” (not only for its own sake, but because it signaled that the record would not be pushed back again, as it had last year), was breathless with praise for all of her collaborators, but especially for Lil Wayne’s verse on her single: “I literally was at a loss for words.” To hear Rowland tell it, her process in preparing the record was not dissimilar to Dr. Dre’s in preparing Detox (though she herself did not make that comparison). “The only thing that could have been holding me back would be myself,” she told Billboard.
Mariah Carey returned to the Home Shopping Network Sunday and yesterday to share her perfume, jewelry, and most of all, love with the viewing audience. Yesterday Gawker posted a four-minute edit of the six-hour appearance, but it left a bad taste in our mouths, like the clip was a decade-old riff on Mariah’s TRL appearance. She’s so crazy!
For our money (if we had any money) the recap to watch is Rich Juzwiak‘s, above. Full disclosure: Rich is a former writer for this blog, but we guarantee that his devotion to Mariah far predates and far precedes any devotion he might have had to this blog. He’s even recapped Mariah on HSN before. Juzwiak’s recap delineates the many loves of Mariah Carey, and it’s also unbelievably entertaining. Enjoy!
Love, Mariah [fourfour]
Amy Winehouse‘s family and friends?including Kelly Osbourne, who had her hair styled in a beehive after Winehouse’s iconic ‘do, and Mark Ronson?gathered at Edgewarebury Cemetery in north London this morning for a private funeral service for the departed singer. Her father Mitch Winehouse gave a eulogy before the service, one that closed with Carole King‘s “So Far Away.” Mourners reportedly gathered afterward at a local synagogue, before the singer was cremated and her family began to sit Shiva.
Winehouse’s untimely passing has spiked interest in revisiting her woefully small body of work; Back to Black is likely to re-enter album sales charts this week. Even still, Microsoft came under fire for encouraging followers of its UK PR Twitter account @tweetbox360 to remember the singer by downloading the album via Zune.
We certainly understand (and share) the desire to revisit her work, which is why we went into our archives to find the tape of Amy Winehouse’s performance at the 2008 Oxygen Festival in Ireland. We’ve aired a handful of clips from this performance before, like her rendition of her now eerie classic “Rehab,” below, but we wanted to share the concert in full. MTV Live: Amy Winehouse will premiere tonight on Palladia at 8 p.m. ET/PT, with encore airings on tomorrow at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT and Thursday, July 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Winehouse Family, Friends Attend Singer’s Funeral [Associated Press]
Celebrities who emerge as teen idols rarely stay that way. It’s one of the immutable laws of celebrity nature. They get older, their fans get older, and generally, everyone eventually moves on.
That, however, has not been the case for Jordan Knight, who began his run as a heartthrob way back in 1986 and is showing no signs of slowing down. Whether performing as part of the New Kids On The Block, NKOTBSB, or as a solo artist, Jordan Knight remains culturally relevant to this day not just because he’s a handsome devil or because his falsetto instantly causes listeners’ knees to weaken, but because he continues to record songs that resonate with audiences of all ages.
Jordan popped by our offices here in Times Square not too long ago while on a publicity tour for his new solo album, Unfinished. We asked him to be the latest artist to participate in our ongoing Music Seen feature, and he kindly obliged. Enjoy!—Mark Graham
When Michael Jackson tragically and unexpectedly passed away two summers ago after an overdose of Propofol (which may or may not have been administered by Dr. Conrad Murray), the primary coping mechanism that people utilized while dealing with their grief was rekindling their love of his extensive musical legacy. People who hadn’t visited record stores in years flocked to purchase his back catalog, radio stations worldwide spun his songs for months on end and, as a result, Michael Jackson became a bigger star in death than he had been during the last 15 years of his life.
Well, in terms of her cultural relevance, it’s safe to say that Amy Winehouse was no Michael Jackson. However, her untimely (if somewhat expected) death this weekend at the age of 27 has done a lot to rekindle people’s interest in her musical output, which consists of two studio albums (2003’s Frank and 2006’s Back To Black) and a handful of B-sides. Not surprisingly, she currently occupies three of the top six spots on the iTunes album charts (see below), and “Rehab” —sadly, the song that will now forever define her career— has sold enough and been spun enough in the past three days to land it at #15 on this week’s Song Of The Summer Countdown.
As for the rest of the chart, there’s not much to say this week. The top seven spots in this week’s countdown are identical to the top seven songs from last week’s countdown; Katy Perry is still holding court at the top of the charts, and Adele is still nipping at her heels, closely trailed by Pitbull, LMFAO and Lady Gaga.
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Boyz II Men Join NKOTBSB Onstage For 2-Song Medley
The combined forces of over a decade of talented-vocalist guy-groups sang “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road” and turned an entire generation into mush for four and a half minutes Friday night in Orlando. [Vulture]
With such an oversaturation of music from ?up-and-coming? rappers these days, it?s a constant struggle to differentiate the rookies with potential from the mediocre flashes in the pan. Every day, it seems, there?s a new solo artist, duo or squad that you’re compelled to listen to, and just keeping track of the influx of talent calls can be exhausting for listeners. If you?re a rapper or emcee trying to penetrate ?the game,? it must be intimidating, right? Now imagine you?ve got an extra handicap: You?re British.
With an alley-oop assist from Eric Turner?s booming ?Written In The Stars? chorus, the Capitol-drafted English import rapper Tinie Tempah is gaining early momentum on this side of the pond, and remains determined to do something that very few UK spitters have done before: “break” in America. Tinie has done quite well for himself in his native U.K., as his most recent album Disc-Overy debuted at #1 on the British charts and launched four Top Five singles (including two number ones), and was England’s top-selling debut album by a Brit in 2010. Two BRIT Awards, a recent BET Award for Best International UK Artist and a well-reviewed performance at Glastonbury later, it appears the young rapper is getting on the board fast. But even with those accolades under his belt, finding quick success in America isn?t a given, and Tinie knows that. Between breaking the barriers at crossover radio without getting “too pop” while also getting acclimated with our snooty, regionally-structured hip hop scene, it would appear that his path is a bit steep.
When we sat down to interview Tinie earlier this month, he told us all about his transitional journey from overseas thus far. Lucky for him, some friends of ours helped him mentally prepare for this moment. While supporting The Script on tour in Australia, Tinie received a much-needed pep talk from the band that had experienced some tough American crowds of their own when they first made the North Atlantic journey. ?Just brace yourself,? they told him, ?some of the shows are going to be a little bit gun-wrenching.? The coached warning was helpful and wound up serving as an airbag when Tinie performed before crowds of ten to twenty thousand people one night, and then under one hundred the next. ?It has been fun, and more than anything, it?s a humbling experience ?cause is just shows that, you know, that you?ve never really made it until you?ve made it, and there?s always something more you can be doing, so, yeah, I like it? it?s all part of the game.?
Lady Gaga‘s new music video shoot finds her someplace unexpected. We’re not referring to Nebraska, where the “Yo? and I” video is being filmed, but to the local nightly news. The Mother Monster herself did not appear in the report from Nebraska’s NBC affiliate WOWT (nor its follow-up story about fans hoping to get a glimpse of the star), but plenty of information about the video was revealed.
A crew member identified the new single to WOWT as “Yo? and I,” which makes sense given that song’s references to a “cool Nebraska guy,” and its exhortation to “put your drinks up for Nebraska.” A sequence inside a barn may feature Gaga’s mermaid character Yuyi, who, it’s been reported, will appear in this video. Another sequence will feature Gaga playing piano in the middle of a cornfield. As to whether the apparently very literal tribute to the hometown of Gaga’s old beau L?c Carl (the reason for the umlaut in “yo?”) has anything to do with a rekindled romance is anyone’s guess. As per any Gaga-related material, though, the news segment has been rehosted on YouTube on a new Gaga-themed account that may or may not be another web-promotional arm of her Haus.
Ever since news broke that Amy Winehouse had been found dead at 27, the outpouring of grief (including dozens of comments on our announcement) has been a stark reminder of how much, and to how many people, Winehouse continued to matter as an artist. Fans have left tribute comments not only on Winehouse’s own videos on YouTube, but also barely-related ones like Britney Spears’s “If You Seek Amy,” just because they’re looking for any outlet to grieve. As we noted earlier, a range of performers voiced tribute on Twitter, but for some, 140 characters wasn’t enough.
Another musical tribute came courtesy of M.I.A., who’d recorded a demo of a tribute to friends who’d died at 27, and when she heard about Amy Winehouse, tweeted a link to the (unfinished and unreleased) track as a tribute to Winehouse, yet another friend who’d passed at that age:
Several performers blogged touching tributes. Adele‘s “Amy Flies in Paradise xx”, praised the way in which both her sheer talent and her unwillingness to compromise led to a minor sea change in British pop: “Amy paved the way for artists like me and made people excited about British music again whilst being fearlessly hilarious and blas? about the whole thing. I don?t think she ever realised just how brilliant she was and how important she is, but that just makes her even more charming.”
And although the autopsy has just begun today, and toxicology reports will take weeks, the popular consensus is that Winehouse’s death was caused, directly or indirectly, by her struggles with addiction. Dr. Drew tweeted, “SO sad, another lost to addiction. A reminder this is often a fatal condition. Recovery is possible, but sadly not for Amy Winehouse.” But perhaps the most touching tribute on this subject comes from Russell Brand, a fellow performer who famously struggled with issues of addiction. His post For Amy, about the inevitability of one of two types of “the phone call,” is a must-read. We recommend you click through to it, but the multitude of hits has swamped his site, so just in case you can’t get through, we’ve reposted his tribute in its entirety below.