Shoulda, coulda, woulda they say, and if we were heading up things at these labels, we might’ve done things a bit differently. But alas, we do not so we do what we do best and make a catchy end of year list that points out songs that deserved their run at the pop charts. Even if they never see the light of Billboard glory, they’re certainly some of the best songs of the year and should get your listen. Who knows! Did you know “Starships” wasn’t even on the original run of Nicki Minaj‘s Pink Friday? That’s right, and mostly why there was a “Pink Friday 2″ aka Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. So there’s always a chance for long-lost songs to see new glory. Here are the ones we think deserve it.
Talk about a missed opportunity, Ciara’s “Livin’ It Up”, a tropical romp across a Kid ‘N Play sample, isn’t even included on the final version of her album One Woman Army. Snatched from a Cosmopolitan Magazine sampler CD, blogs went nuts over the track after it leaked across the web in anticipation for the album. Too bad that when Ciara released her first single, the apty-named, and decidedly down-beat “Sorry”, turned out “Livin’ It Up” was more of what everyone wanted.
channel ORANGE received a whole bunch of attention this year, although it was Frank Ocean’s sexuality that managed to steal the spotlight most of the time. The album ended up being a gorgeous collection of songs that perfect flowed in and out of each other–even the 9+ minute “Pyramids” shined. But if any song had a chance at the pop charts, it would’ve been “Lost” a song that tells the tale of a drug-cooking girlfriend atop a catchy pop melody.
The days of summer beach hopping and brunching outside of lofty restaurant patios in the sun seem like only days ago. Now Christmas is two weeks away, which means 2012 is winding down and 2013 is on the horizon. VH1 Tuner is excited to present to you with a myriad of fun end-of-year lists for the rest of December, as we reflect back on the year that was. And what would 2012 be without the music YouTube phenomenons that made us laugh, scratch our head and dance? Without further ado, here’s to the rising crop of music stars (or at least popular for the moment) who can credit “going viral” for their success.
He’s not the next Justin Bieber. We’re only writing it because the comparison has been made a zillion times. Austin’s teeny bopper song “Say Somethin” spread quickly in the cyber world after his popularity grew from his covers of pop stars’ hit songs. The kid’s YouTube page of 90 million views and over 500,000 subscribers ultimately led to one of his biggest opportunities to date. From YouTube sensation to opening for Taylor Swift’s her RED tour, another one bites the good ol’ YouTube dust.
7. Rap BattleRoyale: Loaded Lux vs. Calicoe
One rap battle, two MCs, lyrically spar for bragging rights as the dopest rapper. This year’s most noteworthy battle birthed the infamous quote: “You gon’ get this work.” Loaded Lux and Calicoe battled for over 30 minutes in front of an anxious crowd vigilantly waiting to decide which rapper would hold the championship belt. The video quickly made its way to hip-hop sites galore where Loaded Lux’s “you gon’ get this work” had even Jay-Ztweeting the line. Shoutout to Lux for one of the hottest catchphrases of 2012.
The year is running down, and like everyone else, we are bundling up our most memorable musical moments from the year into a slew of Best Of’s. Before we get to the more obvious lists — the best albums, the best songs — we thought we would have a little fun. First up: 9 delightful collaborations, made all the more so for their unexpectedness. We aren’t talking Watch The Throne-style of-course-they-would team-ups, we’re talking collaborations that we couldn’t in our wildest dreams have imagined or that we thought we would never see, like — well, these nine:
Barton Hollow is totally “an indie record much cooler than mine,” but more careful observer might have predicted this unlikely but delightful collaboration, as Swift began yammering about her fellow Nashville transplants The Civil Wars on twitter long before this was even a possibility. We, however, were left breathless upon learning that one of the day’s biggest pop stars had teamed-up with one of our favorite You Oughta Know acts — and for a song for such a pivotal moment in the Hunger Games movie, no less! Joy Williams harmonizing turns Taylor’s girlish coo haunting, and John Paul White‘s patient guitar plucking gets the whole thing swirling. See also:“The Last Time,” Taylor’s distressed duet with Gary Lightbody of Northern Ireland’s mostly absent as of late folk rock set Snow Patrol. Taylor is a slick machine when it comes to her music, and it was a surprise to see her reaching out of bounds for this one.
Hard to believe as it may be given the boom box beats and all the sing-rapping that resulted, Warrior is allegedly a tribute to the genre Ke$ha loves the most: rock and roll. If you really strain your ears, you may hear some of that “old hippie rock” in the breakdown of “Die Young.” You won’t have to try so hard with “Dirty Pop,” which features Iggy Pop, a true and blue rock star and someone Ke$ha has spent a lot of time talking about through the years. The joy she must have felt the first time she heard him call her “Wild Child” on her own song is evident. See also:“2012,” K$’s duet with fellow weirdos The Flaming Lips.
The nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. Hosted by LL Cool J and Taylor Swift, the show featured performances from the likes of fun., Maroon 5, Ne-Yo and more. The 2013 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 10th at 8/7c.
The fact that the American Idol judge allowed herself to be shot with anything other than a telescope covering in Vaseline is surprising enough, but the fact Carey just ran in instead of descending in a sleigh… well, it’s all very interesting. Makes you think. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time we’d enjoyed a slightly head-scratchy holiday video:
While downing my fifth helping of mac and cheese with my sixth glass of wine, I realized how much I’m loving pop music this year. It could be too much turkey and carbs making me nostalgic, but despite many personal disappointments in 2012 – why, Amy Poehler and Will Arnette? why?! – the music scene has been steadily rocking my existence the past 11 months. All credit goes to YouTube and its community of awesome for constantly breathing new life into even the most overplayed hits by celebrating or ridiculing them just when I get bored. Give thanks with me to Google’s greatest acquisition by checking out my top three favorite, time-sucking viral music clips, covers and parodies. You’re welcome!
This Thanksgiving, we all have something to be thankful for. Just as you’re waking up from your post-meal nap to snag some second-plate leftovers from the fridge, Spike Lee’sBad 25 will hit ABC’s airwaves to make it’s nationally televised debut at 9:30/8:30c. Chronicaling Michael Jackson’s 45-million-copies-sold second album and corresponding tour, I can say with full conviction that the documentary is not to be missed. Trust me, I saw it twice. For those who may not be MJ fans or perhaps need some convincing, I present you with a list of 25 Reasons You Should Be Watching Spike Lee’s Bad 25. Not completely spoiler-free, however, I urge all the purists out there to tread lightly with this list if you’d prefer to see the film without advance info!
1. Mariah Carey makes an LOL-worthy joke about being a fuss-causing diva when she threatens to scold Clive Davis.
2. The film summons nostalgia for an era when music was successfully flourishing and record sales were at their peak. Ah, those were the days.
3. Viewers receive a non-verbal explanation of the infamous “Smooth Criminal” dance-lean.
4. Martin Scorsese watches his old footage and breaks down the making of the “Bad” video short film.
5. Quincy Jones’ wacky 80s sweater during an interview. You’ll see what I mean.
#Rihannaplane landed last night in New York, and while we wait on the final dispatches from our brave colleagues who were onboard, we thought we would take a moment to start looking at the album that has inspired the whole thing but been seemingly tucked a back seat pocket for the duration of the seven days. Who has time to talk dub-break downs when there’s Ace to be sipped and buses to catch! We get it.
But Unapologetic marks Rihanna’s seventh turn, and it brings to the table much to be reckoned with regarding quality and quantity and he-who-shall-not-be-named. There is also Rihanna’s confidence and swaggering deviance, and of course: “Diamonds.”
Happy 41st birthday Snoop Dogg…er…Snoop Lion! It’s been a big year for you. One of name changes and breaking the big 4-0. There’s nothing more wonderful then spending your b’day with some of your closest friends, doing the things you love to do the most. That’s why we’ve collected a few of your most heartwarming friend hangs (we think) and imagined what you could do to celebrate your birthday. Think of these as merely suggestions, and ways to make sure you have the best birthday a Lion could ask for.
Frank Ocean is back on his blog grind. The last time the crooner used TextEdit was just ahead of his Channel Orange release, when he posted a moving account of his first love, who just happened to be a man. Last night the generous star returned to his Tumblr, this time with less of a mission in mind but still with ever so much to say. This note is more free-wheeling and less pointed than the last, touching quickly on his dreams, his diet and even death, before Ocean sweetly concludes: “Good night moon.”
Major revelations include confirmation that Ocean has been in the studio with Pharrell and Jay-Z, and that he’s always making new music. And all the rest read like a revelation — a bit about love, lots of new projects and one mention of Bill Murray. Like Ocean himself, it’s funny and smart, quirky and honest, and well worth the attention. Maybe Ocean should consider a career in blogging?