Music Lists

by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: Will Katy Perry Claim Her Third S.O.T.S In Four Years?


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For the first time since we started counting down this year’s Song Of The Summer, someone other than Adele is sitting in the proverbial cat bird’s seat. Weirdly enough, though, “Rolling In The Deep” has been usurped by another song that audiences first heard back in 2010.

While we’re plenty excited that Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” knocked Adele out of the top spot, we can’t help but lament the fact that Katy Perry is still ruling the airwaves with songs from her Teenage Dream album. If you’ll recall, that record came out way back on August 24, 2010, but last year’s Song Of The Summer, “California Gurls,” was released even further back (May 11, 2010, to be exact). And if you flip the calendar back to the summer of 2008, Perry’s first smash single, “I Kissed A Girl,” was that summer’s biggest party jam.

So, folks, you tell us: What exactly is it about the summertime that makes you want to listen to Katy Perry? Why does her particular blend of breezy pop music make you want to roll your windows down and turn the singles from Teenage Dream up? Let us know in the comments, and check back here next week to see if Katy can fend off the likes of Britney Spears, Pitbull and Lady Gaga to keep the top spot in VH1′s Song Of The Summer countdown!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: Is The Summer Of Pitbull Nearly Upon Us?


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Now that we’re four weeks into this year’s race to determine the Song Of The Summer, the race is finally starting to heat up. Adele still has a firm grasp on the #1 spot, but closer analysis reveals that the gap between her and those who would gladly take her position is closing (thanks to minor slips in iTunes sales and the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown this week).

While Adele isn’t giving up her throne anytime soon, it looks pretty clear at this point that Miami rapper Pitbull is shaping up to have his Best Summer Ever. He’s currently got three songs resting comfortably in the S.O.T.S. Top 20: He contributes guest vocals to both Jennifer Lopez‘s “On The Floor” and Shakira‘s new chart entry, “Rabiosa,” and he’s also the lead artist on the club-friendly “Give Me Everything.” Not only that, his new single with Marc Anthony, “Rain Over Me,” is just starting to bubble up and could make a strong run itself after his new album, Planet Pit, drops tomorrow.

Also, while we’re talking about potential songs that could dethrone “Rolling In The Deep,” keep an eye on Lady Gaga’s “The Edge Of Glory” next week. The video just debuted on Thursday night, and even though it underwhelmed many upon its release, the song should benefit greatly from increased exposure in the wake of Clarence Clemons’ tragic passing this week.

Got any thoughts on the Song Of The Summer? Tweet us @vh1 or leave your comments below!

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Big Man R.I.P.: The Top Five Non-E Street Band Performances By The Late Clarence Clemons

The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, passed on Saturday due to complications from his recent stroke. He was 69. Saxophonist Clemons was perhaps the most essential member of the E Street Band, but his appearance on Lady Gaga’s latest single “Edge of Glory” is a potent reminder of the range of his body of work outside Bruce Springsteen collaborations. Here are his five best:

5. Ian Hunter, “All of the Good Ones Are Taken”
Clemons has a really great solo two-and-change minutes into the title track off Ian Hunter’s 1983 album All of the Good Ones Are Taken (though a stand-in appears in the music video). Without his performance, this Mott the Hoople member’s solo effort wouldn’t have had its single (especially since guitarist Mick Ronson only played on one song). This largely forgotten video used to get a lot of play on local and syndicated non-MTV video shows.
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by (@Lacezilla)

Daddy Tally: A Big “Happy Father’s Day!” To Those Musicians Most Deserving

It’s that time of year again! When we?honor thy father by running out to?the nearest department store?to get?the big guy?a tie that?he’ll accept with a smile and probably never, ever?wear. I kid, I kid! In all seriousness, this Sunday marks yet another Fathers’ Day, and it goes without saying that the job is a tough one that deserves recognition. Dirty diapers, puberty meltdowns, giving proper advice… the list of fatherly?duties is literally never-ending. And that, my friends, is exactly why we have to hand it to the gentlemen?who’ve made it on?our Top 20 Daddy Tally list.

Not only are these distinguished men highly successful in the ultra-competitive music industry, but they’ve managed to achieve their success while also fathering?HUGE tribes of children. That’s right, each papa bear on our Top 20 list has upwards of five children, and whether it’s serial philanderer Bob Marley, sperm donor extraordinaire David Crosby (hey Melissa Etheridge!) or rumored father of 75 bouncing babies (!!!), Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, they all have more than “earned” their spot.

by (@unclegrambo)

Dream On: The Top Ten Music Videos That Take Place In Dreams

Ever since the dawn of the eighties when the music video revolution took place, musicians and directors alike have used the medium to unleash ideas and visions that often start bubbling up from the subconscious. When you think about it, this strategy makes perfect sense; since songs rarely have linear plots and generally only run 3-4 minutes in length, it’s can be a challenge to cram an entire “traditional” story into a music video. So videos tend to work best when they use music and imagery to create a mood that’s dreamlike in nature, rather than telling a story that starts at point A and definitively ends at point B.

Despite the fact that a lot of videos rely on dreamlike imagery, very few, in fact, actually literally take place in dreams themselves. However, after taking in Bon Iver‘s lush video for “Calgary” yesterday, we found ourselves really wanting to explore what other videos also took place in dreams. We admittedly fell down a bit of a YouTube rabbit hole, in a good way, and we wanted to share our results with you. So, without further ado, here is our list of the Top Ten Music Videos That Take Place In Dreams.


10) The Chemical Brothers, “Let Forever Be”
A woman finds weird reflections of herself as she goes about her day, because it turns out she’s having that dream where she goes about her day?you know, the one where you try to trick your brain into thinking you’re already up. This video visualizes the brain’s process of figuring itself out. Also there are nods to Busby Berkeley. (NM)

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The Top 34 Moments That Shaped Kanye West (Also: Happy Birthday, Yeezy!)

Today is Kanye West‘s 34th birthday, and while we would be happy to praise our favorite controversial artist to high heaven, we’re sure no amount of laudation would be enough for the notoriously immodest West. So we decided to take a different approach: pinpointing the 34 moments that shaped Kanye. Some shaped his life; some shaped his persona; some shaped the way he’s seen. All of them either have found or will find their way into his highly personal music. Happy birthday, Yeezy!

DATE: June 8, 1977
EVENT: Kanye West is born
It wouldn’t be Kanye’s birthday if he hadn’t been born thirty-four years ago today, in Atlanta, where his parents settled after they both finished graduate school.

DATE: August 28, 1980
EVENT: Kanye’s parents, Ray And Donda, divorce
In her memoir Raising Kanye, Donda West recalls that, to her mind, her husband Ray was putting his new photography studio ahead of his own family, so she filed for divorce and full custody of young Kanye. Two weeks after the divorce was final, Kanye and his mother left Atlanta for Chicago. Imagine the life he might have led had he grown up in Atlanta!

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by (@unclegrambo)

2011 Song of the Summer Countdown: Adele Continues To Roll Deep


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Welcome to Week Two of VH1′s Song of the Summer countdown. Each and every Monday from now until Labor Day, we’ll be utilizing today’s most advanced data collection techniques Microsoft Excel to chart the competition of what will become THE song that people will think of when they remember the summer of 2011.

Last week, Adele‘s monster smash, “Rolling In The Deep,” captured the top spot, scoring 87 of a possible 100 points. (For a reminder on how the scoring system works, click here.) Somehow, the English songbird managed to increase her stranglehold on the #1 spot in this countdown this week, racking up 91 (!!!) points and proving that no matter what medium people use to consume music these days, they’re using it to listen to Adele.

However, lest you think that Adele has got this summer on lock only two weeks in, there are a number of new songs that cracked the charts this week for the first time: Jason Derulo‘s “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” DJ Khaled‘s superstar-laced hit “I’m On One” (which features Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne), Coldplay’s “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” (which was just released on Friday) and Taylor Swift‘s bid for power pop domination, “The Story Of Us.” Oh yeah, and Adele’s powerful anthem of lost love, “Someone Like You,” managed to crack the Top 20, too.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Summer Jams: Mark Graham Picks Three Of His Fave “Song of the Summer” Candidates

What is going to be the 2011 Song of the Summer? I honestly have no idea! I’m neither a prognosticator nor a music critic, but rather, I’m simply a fan. My colleagues Nick Minichino, Lacey Seidman and Jim Shearer have already weighed in with their thoughts on which songs will reign supreme (Burrito Supreme!) this summer, but all that I can guarantee about my three picks is that I will be listening to these a lot this summer. Either way, enjoy!

NOMINATION: Foster The People, “Helena Beat”
EXPLANATION: At this time last year, Foster The People were an unsigned band in search of a record deal after a buzzy single (“Pumped Up Kicks”) took the 2010 SXSW audiences by storm. Their song took off in social media circles, thanks in large part to a push from NPR and The Hype Machine. Eventually, the gents signed to Columbia imprint Startime International, and their debut LP, Torches, hit stores in late May, just weeks after they became one of the surprise successes of this year’s Coachella festival.

“Helena Beat,” their second single off Torches, is a synthy indie pop pleaser that will appeal to fans of MGMT. I will confess that I’m not entirely sure what the song is about, and lead singer Mark Foster‘s distinctively high-pitched vocals are sometimes a smidge tricky to decipher, but each and every time I hear this song, I can’t help but to tap my toes. Maybe it’s the washes of sound that roll through the track, maybe it’s the way the progression of the synth line builds, I’m not sure, but this song just feels like summer to me.

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by (@Lacezilla)

Summer Jams: Lacey Seidman’s Top Three Contenders for “Song of the Summer”

After a miserable NYC winter, the weather is again warm, and we’re all about hitting these streets! But what will our summer-lovin’ soundtrack include? Since the pop music monster is one that defies taming, most of us can already venture to guess what we’ll likely hear blasting out of car windows while dining al fresco and laying poolside, but for me, it’s all about the songs that may or may not hit the mainstream radar. Specifically, songs that light your summer on fire and arouse flashbulb memory nostalgia for years thereafter. As a music head, I can’t wait to find out what will be this year’s perfect audio accompaniment during glorious, sweaty cocktail-glass pre-game rituals, or what I’ll have on repeat in my headphones as I dodge European tourists in Times Square. Until then, here’s hoping that the radio gods are listening, and (fingers crossed!) that they have good taste.

NOMINATION: Friendly Fires, “Live Those Days Tonight”
EXPLANATION: If mainstream radio could just bend some rules and make room for an indie-pop dance record, this next few months would certainly be a bit lovelier. Summoning nostalgia for the (allegedly) more-fun 80s past that he never had the chance to experience, Friendly Fires’ frontman Ed Macfarlane vows to one-up his predecessors on this uptempo, synth-happy slice of audio heaven. Heavy with drums and feel-good vibes, “Live Those Days Tonight” is the first single off of the band’s critically acclaimed sophomore release, Pala, and is also the perfect summer party accessory!

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Summer Jams: Nick Minichino’s Top Three Contenders for “Song of the Summer”

Memorial Day has come and gone, so the season of the summer jam has officially begun! We will be paying close attention to the competition for the 2011 Song of the Summer here on the VH1 Blog. Of course, the pop audience will decide who will win, but here are three of our favorites:

NOMINATION: Lady Gaga: “Edge of Glory”
EXPLANATION: “Edge of Glory” seizes on a combination of rock and Euro-house not heard since 2002 (when DJ Sammy’s cover of Bryan Adams’s “Heaven,” among others, hit huge). Gaga’s song provides something not only for fans of the dominant sound of dueling pop kings Doctor Luke and RedOne, but also for those who appreciate more of a classic rock sound.

On top of that, the Clarence Clemons solo happens to coincide with the return-of-sax zeitgeist. Willa Paskin pronounced 2011 the “Summer of Sax” at New York‘s Vulture blog, but her only other evidence was Katy Perry‘s upcoming single “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” so the claim is a bit overstated. But it’s true that sax is back in vogue?indie rockers like Destroyer, and to a lesser extent Gayngs (featuring Justin Vernon of Bon Iver), have returned to a smooth-sax sound, and other artists on the edge, like Gorillaz collaborators (and Raphael Saadiq favorites) Little Dragon, have revived that specific smoothness, though with different instrumentation.

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