Back on December 25th in the year 2001, before Regina Spektor was signed to a major label deal, she decided to spend her Christmas Day in the recording studio. Over the course of the day, she recorded 12 original songs — ones that featured no other instrumentation besides her vocals and her piano — which ultimately became her Songs LP. This was a particularly fertile period for Spektor, creatively, and many of these songs remain fan favorites to this day. She decided to re-record that album’s first track, “Samson,” on her breakout 2006 LP Begin To Hope, and now she has decided to revisit another one of those early Lower East Side anthems that propelled her into the spotlight in the first place.
“Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” was the closing track on Songs, but in its new incarnation, it’s the second single from Spektor’s brand new album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats. We’ve been singing and dancing along with the original for years, but there’s no denying that the song has been tremendously improved by the addition of a more robust sonic palette, which includes adorable percussion (bells, a Casio Keyboard style drumbeat), a much needed bassline and even a rollicking horn breakdown. As for the video, it’s our favorite of Spektor’s since 2006′s “Better” (the one that propelled her to VH1 You Oughta Know status) — with its stately interior shots, slightly surreal imagery and continued use of slow focus, it’s the kind of music video that we imagine Stanley Kubrick might’ve been inspired to shoot. In it, Spektor remains as beautiful, quirky and ebuillient as ever, and thanks to the recent tide of interest in yé yé-style pop songs, perhaps this song —with its chorus of “Ne me quitte pas” — might land Spektor in the race for Song Of The Summer.
We’re totally swooning over how fine Adam Levine looks in the “Payphone” video featuring Wiz Khalifa. (Admittedly, the repeat button was abused.) It’s all shoot ‘em up bang bang in this hot new vid, which is the lead single off Maroon 5′s upcoming Overexposed album. The story begins at the ending. A scraggly Levine attempts to reach a woman on the payphone. Although this happens first in the video, in the timeline of events this really occurs after he plays superman at the bank to save the woman he loves from robbers. He escapes a hail of gunfire only to find the police outside, and guess who they think is the culprit of the robber? Surprise (not really): Levine.
Shortly after Wiz valet parks his drop top Levine steals the car and take the cops on a high speed chase leaving his lucky woman behind. Hence the “I’m at a payphone, trying to call home” chorus. He eludes the cops and makes it to the desperately needed payphone. “Payphone” is without a doubt action packed — a gun fight, police chase and exploding cars all withing less than five minutes. Is Levine trying to tell us something regarding acting aspirations? We totally envisioned this as a movie. A predictable one, but a movie nonetheless.
Last week I saw Jack White perform live at Webster Hall (New York City), and throughout the concert one word came to mind (fittingly in all capital letters): FASCINATING.
In the age of social media and TMZ, where nothing is a secret anymore, how can one of today’s most respected/popular musicians—one who just scored a #1 album—manage to keep his mystique as alluring as a leprechaun riding bareback on a unicorn?
The Dos Equis man may claim to be the “most interesting person in the world,” but Jack White is currently the most fascinating man in music.
Here are 10 reasons why:
10. Divorce Party
When Jack White divorced his model/singer wife Karen Elson, not only did they do so amicably, but they threw a party to celebrate. Invitations were even made for the event billing it as a “humdinger.”
9. Ice, Ice Baby
While many musicians make public their sports allegiances, it’s not known if Jack White even likes sports. Nashville’s professional hockey team the Predators are currently still alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and now that he calls Nashville home, I wonder if Jack White ever goes to a game, wears a replica jersey, or checks the box-score in the morning paper? (I also wonder if he’s sad that his hometown Detroit Red Wings were knocked out by the Predators in the first round?)
Usher’s smash hit “Climax”, produced by Diplo, shot all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart shortly after it was released. It was a burning slow jam with electronic flourishes, but with his second single from his upcoming album Looking For Myself, Usher’s looking to switch things up a bit. No stranger to making songs that appeal to your inner dancer, “Scream” reminds us a bit of his past hits like “OMG”, “Hey Daddy” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love.” In other words, his latest will surely be a club banger.
Sonically, it’s closely similar to “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” where Usher’s voice rides the uptempo beat. We can totally imagine people doing the Jersey fist pump when this comes on in the club. For a pop sounding dance track, it has all the essentials. And although his R&B ballads tickle our fancy a bit more than this, an Usher album isn’t complete without something to dance to in the mirror when you’re home alone. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the record.
We’ve all been there: You see a pretty girl at a sidewalk café, but before you can muster up the nerve to give her your digits, she abruptly takes off, which then leads you to totally ignore some friends of yours, nearly get run over by a blue haired grandmother while jaywalking, and finally commandeer a tasty Mustang so you can chase the girl down. Wait, that’s never happened to you? Then your name must not be Chris Daughtry.
Daughtry’s new music video for “Outta My Head”, the third single off the Breaking The Spell LP, is a real hoot. Directed with verve by Shane C. Drake, the video’s got something for everyone: a hot babe, a renegade hero (Daughtry, duh!), a car chase through the freeways and sidestreets of Los Angeles, a healthy dose of intrigue, a reminder that chivalry is not dead, and even a surprise plot twist! It’s one part “Bittersweet Symphony”, one part Drive, and all parts awesome.
If you liked this video but wish you could watch it in high-definition on your flatscreen while sitting on your couch, you’re in luck: Tune into this weekend’s Top 20 Video Countdown to catch the television premiere of Daughtry’s “Outta My Head” video.
Although I try to be colorblind in both my life and musical travels, I can’t help but notice when people applaud a Caucasian dude—especially one outside of the hip-hop genre—when they’re able to deliver rhymes at breakneck speeds. If “white men can’t jump,” I guess they’re not supposed to be able to rhyme either, huh?
In hip-hop, Caucasian MC’s are called “white rappers,” as documented on VH1′s 2007 reality venture The White Rapper Show, but what do you call a white boy who can spit fire on the microphone, one whose music comes from another genre altogether?
For the sake of this list, let’s call them the 10 Greatest (Non-Hip-Hop) White-Male Rhymers of the last quarter century:
10. Andy Grammer
Try singing Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head” the next time you’re at a karaoke bar and you’ll realize how nimble he is on the microphone.
9. Billy Joel
The Piano Man makes this list solely on the merit of “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” not to mention that the Beastie Boys once named Billy Joel as The Fifth Beastie Boy.
8. Pat Monahan
We all know Pat Monahan can croon, but lately, especially on Train‘s last two albums, he shows agility with his rhyme-flow as well.
Norah Jones describes her video for “Happy Pills”, the first single off her forthcoming …Little Broken Pieces LP, as “a murder-not-so-much-of-a-mystery.” By our count, it’s the second music video to premiere in the last month that deals with females exacting revenge on men who did them dirty. However, unlike Brandy and Monica‘s “It All Belongs To Me” video (where the only victims are a man’s pride and a rather expensive Porsche), Norah takes it a step further and straight up MURDERS her cheatin’ hubby. Guess she really meant the “Until death do us ‘part” portion of her vows, eh?
Let’s talk about this chain of events for a moment! If we understand the video correctly, Norah suspects that her husband is making time behind her back with a ginger seductress, so she hires a private detective to investigate the matter. Said P.I. —who, quite frankly, is no Magnum— brings Norah back a picture of a redhead who accompanied Mr. Jones (let’s just call him that) on a picnic. Not a picture of them kissing (or even a pirated RedTube video of them doing the nasty!), mind you, just a picture of the girl’s face! Norah, it’s fair to say, WILDLY overreacts: She chloroforms Mr. Jones after a front-seat makeout sesh, then pushes his car and his unconscious body into a lake, where he presumably drowns. THEN she lies to the cops, calls her ginger rival on the phone to rub it in, and then invites her male accomplice over for dinner and some Michelle Pfieffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys action on top of her piano. Call us crazy if you must, but we’re pretty glad that the Ghost of Mr. Jones is haunting his ex for all eternity! Let’s hope he doesn’t heed her pleas of “Please just let me go now.”
It’s an inspirational track, one that’s very reminiscent of last summer’s big hit for Eminem, Royce da 5’9″ and Bruno Mars, “Lighters.” Both songs feature a simple piano loop sitting on top of a thumping backbeat, lyrics about overcoming adversity, and a soaring vocal hook that is impossible to resist singing along with. “The Fighter” seems well-positioned to do well on this year’s Song Of The Summer charts, and seems like a no-brainer to be prominently featured during musical montages during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Melanie Fiona, who is currently supporting her new album The MF LIFE, recently visited VH1 and performed her latest single “4AM,” a track that questions the whereabouts of her boyfriend.
While she was singing, other early morning/late night songs came to mind.
Taking a cue from Melanie, here is a soundtrack for the night—where monogamous relationships go to die and booty calls blossom:
“Midnight City,” M83
Apparently M83 likes to party deep into the night, because at midnight, a time when many of us are sleeping, he’s still waiting: in a car, for the right time, for a roar, and a ride in the dark.
“Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
The alcohol buzz and drunken dialing commence as Lady Antebellum harmonize over the following chorus: “It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk, and I need you now.”