This new, black-and-white shot video for Emeli Sandé‘s “Clown” is no laughing matter. The Scottish songstress’s sharp vocals are weighted with emotion, because like she recently told a sold-out crowd at the Royal Albert Hall in London, “the lyrics of this song are so important to me. No matter how kind you are to people someone is always looking for a clown and sometimes you can be that clown.” But as the bookers for the London Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Rihanna and Alicia Keys and we (– Sandé is a former You Oughta Know artist! — will tell you: her talent is not joke. Read more…
You Oughta Know
We hate to say we told you so, but… we told you so! All year we’ve been bringing you the best new music so you can stay aurally informed, and if you’ve been doing your homework and keeping abreast of the hottest new acts with us, you’ll notice that more than a few of our amazing You Oughta Know artists, both past and present, scored well-deserved props when the 2013 Grammy Nominees were announced tonight.
Our You Oughta Know alumni scored an impressive 17 nominations in total, including four nominations in the big four categories. Our February 2012 YOK artist Gotye picked up a nomination for Record Of The Year for his song “Somebody I Used To Know,” a song that he performed for a standing room only crowd in our 20th floor lobby earlier this year; our May 2012 You Oughta Know artist Ed Sheeran scored a nomination for Song Of The Year for his haunting ballad “The A Team”; our July pick, The Lumineers, were nominated for Best New Artist; and our YOK friends from way back in 2010, Mumford & Sons, picked up a nod in the Album Of The Year category for their massive new LP, Babel.
Here’s a complete list of the 2013 Grammy nominations that our awesome YOK alums took home tonight. #proud
In “Gimme Sympathy,” Emily Haines asks: “Who would you rather be, The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?” A fine question, sure, but we have always known that the answer is actually Metric, who happen to be our December You Oughta Know artist. Having come out of New York in the 90s, Metric’s Haines, Jimmy Shaw, Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott Key are about as cool as they come. Their music pulses with synths that will keep you shimmying through the night, and oozes the glamor (or, in honor of their Canadian roots: “glamour”) with which they carry themselves. Just hit play on their latest single, “Breathing Underwater,” and have a look at them and you’ll see what we mean.
Our intrepid photographer Lauren Weissler tagged along with the band as they unloaded for and rocked through their You Oughta Know Live session, all along the way capturing that special glow they’ve got.
If you were somewhere near midtown Manhattan and felt your ears ringing with the sound of thousands of teenage girls screaming, worry not that something terrible was going down. We have answers for you.
At some point during their headlining gig at Madison Square Garden. The dashing boys of One Direction hunkered down at the edge of the stage and plucked their way through their heart-swollen single, “Little Things.” And then, around 2:03, VH1 You Oughta Know artist Ed Sheeran — the song’s co-writer and 1D’s BFF (also, the one most likely to have hooked Harry Styles up with his new GF, Taylor Swift) — walks out and the arena’s already insistent shrieking dials up (the girl with or near the camera, for one: “There’s Ed! That’s Ed! NO WAY!”) as he helps the boys out with one last round of the chorus. “Can we just give a massive cheer to Ed for writing that?” someone asked when it was done, as if the cheer he had already received wasn’t downright rapturous.
The only thing that might have been better? If Swift and Styles had taken their late night Backstreet Boys karaoke session to the big stage. We’re fairly certain that human ears aren’t prepared for the shrieks the fledgling lovebird’s “I Want It That Way” duet might have elicited, but can you just imagine?
Up, up and away! Tomorrow we ship off to Miami for the SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show where we will celebrate a crop of fledgling visual artists who we think You Oughta Know (learn more about them here), and we are very excited to be bringing Metric, our You Oughta Know musical artist for December, with us to play the opening party!
When we caught up with the group last month, Metric lead singer Emily Haines assured us that “it will be great,” offering that “they have had too much fun there in the past” as evidence of the good art, music and beach town fun sure to come. “Different film and art inspiration come to us when we’re making music and sort of keep us going throughout the process,” she explains, citing an Italian radical architecture school as a particular inspiration and stop she’ll certainly be making when she’s down there. The boys in the band voiced excitement for late night beach trips, and we’ll offer that we are very excited to hear them perform some of the new stuff of Synthetica, like “Youth Without Youth,” as well as an oldie/goodie, like “Gimme Sympathy,” or two!
You may recognize Metric‘s dynamo frontwoman Emily Haines‘s voice from Broken Social Scene‘s breathy classic “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl” (which surely was an anthem to us when we were a seventeen), or from that lovely scene at the end of Eclipse wherein Bella and Edward make out in a field of flowers. Or perhaps you were turned onto them by Lou Reed, a notoriously hard-headed legend who shows up at the end of Metric’s fifth studio album Synthetica because he’s got a soft spot for Haines. We do too, and that’s why we are celebrating the prolific indie-rockers as our You Oughta Know artist for the whole month of December. And so for those just joining us and Reed in the Metric fan club, here are five things we think you really oughta know:
It’s no real secret that Rihanna doesn’t write her own music, but as Leona Lewis might tell you, just because she can make a song famous does not necessarily mean she always does it best. And so when we first heard “Diamonds,” we noted that Rihanna seemed to be mimicking the song’s author Sia‘s enunciation and vocal quality at times. Sia sounded good on Rihanna, but the eerie verisimilitude got us wondering — if Rihanna’s is this good, just how great could the former You Oughta Know Artist‘s take be?
Sia performed the song at the Norwegian-American Achievement Awards ceremony a few weeks back and — to nobody’s great surprise — it turns out Sia’s version is really, really, very good. Stripped of the glimmering production and 808 thump, her go is interestingly haunted and maybe a bit mournful where Rihanna’s is hopeful and inspiring. Sia’s got a much more expansive vocal range and she was able to open new corners of the her song that’s since become Rihanna’s hit. And because it’s not duplicitous or better but just different, we now have two “Diamonds” to enjoy.
We think that the world is a better place for having both these “Diamonds” out there for out listening pleasure, but what say you: Do you think Sia should have kept “Diamonds” for herself? Or is it better suited for someone so #unapologetic as Rihanna?
We’re ushering in the winter with some blues from our November You Oughta Know artist, Gary Clark Jr. The sweet sounds of his mellow voice from his You Oughta Know live session and Big Morning Buzz Live performance have seriously assisted in fighting the blues the cold weather brings about. But “Ain’t Messin ‘Round” won’t leave you with feelings of melancholy. In fact, the speedy guitar riffs are likely to inspire you to grab a dance partner and allow the two-stepping and swing to ensue. And you’ll certainly feel uber confident with lyrics like, “I don’t believe in competition/Ain’t nobody else like me around.” So, “play cool” as you lose yourself in the intoxicating guitar strings.
You can download an MP3 of this incredible Gary Clark Jr. performance of “Ain’t Messin’ Round” here on VH1 Tuner for free! But be quick — the link expires at midnight on Monday, December 3 and you don’t want to miss out.
Gary Clark Jr – “Ain’t Messin’ Round” (MP3) (UPDATE: Sorry, this link expired!)
It’s definitely Gary Clark Jr.’s time to shine. Our November You Oughta Know artist is the 28-year-old guitarist you’d find on stage singing the blues peppered with a bit of rock, a bit of R&B and a touch of country. His major label release Blak and Blu has been praised for its showcase of his “well-rounded tool kit.” Now we get to show you a behind-the-scenes look of Gary’s musical style.
Our fantastic photographer Jennifer Marigliano spent the day with Gary Clark Jr. trekking around New York City before the blues singer prepped for and rocked his You Oughta Know live session. Gary’s a no fuss kind of guy. It’s through his guitar all of his energy flows like a river. Read more…