Our featured You Oughta Know artist, Gotye, is really turning heads with his hit single “Somebody That I Used To Know.” The Australian artist, whose collaboration with Kimbra has only just become ubiquitous the world over, isn’t just looking at critical success anymore as “Somebody That I Used To Know” climbs the charts. We love to say we told you so!
This week the track takes number one spot on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart, and Gotye told Billboard he struggled when writing the song; “When I got to the end of (writing) the first chorus, I hit a real brick wall. I didn’t seem to have any way to take the song further… After struggling with what to do with it, it kind of struck me that I needed a different perspective. It should be the other side of the relationship. I wrote that part and then went about looking for the female vocalist I thought could really give it something edgy.” Gotye’s chart success is just another reason You Oughta Know the budding artist who kicks off his US tour in March, including a date with Coachella’s iconic festival.
Robin Thicke has paid heartfelt tribute to Whitney Houston by covering her beautiful 1995 song, “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)”. His soft, gentle vocal compliments the track perfectly, and the stripped back arrangement gives the song an utter poignancy that will bring a tear to your eye. “Exhale” was the late Houston’s 11th number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and was awarded a Grammy in 1997 for Best R&B Song. The heart wrenching cover will have you grabbing for the Kleenex as the subject matter — inspiring yourself to push on despite hurt or disappointment — resonates with the ultimate tragedy of Houston’s early passing. Robin himself Tweeted of the track:
And what a moving tribute. Robin’s vocals bring out a sense of nostalgia and whimsy, in a respect filled ode to the musical great.
Well, the “Birthday Cake (Remix)” leaked last night (you can listen to it here) and it’s exactly as dirty as anyone who heard the original, 78-second version that appears on Talk That Talk would expect: There are lots illicit references to pleasures both carnal and confectionary, some metaphorical (licking icing off, blowing candles out) and some quite literal (“I wanna f*** you right now”). The album version became a fan fave due in no small part to its brevity; it’s the sexual equivalent of a tease. This single version, though, feels bloated and more than a little bit gross; it’s the sexual equivalent of watching a porno being filmed. In other words, all the mystery is gone.
In addition to the disappointing “Birthday Cake (Remix)” that leaked last night, the internets were shocked to discover that these two had also collaborated on ANOTHER song: a remix of Chris Brown’s newest single, “Turn Up The Music” (you can listen to it here). The song seems poised to do well on the charts, but its generic EDM beat and (we’re guessing literally) phoned-in RiRi verse sort of makes us want to turn the volume down on “Turn Up The Music.”
In an impressive front row line up, Lana Del Rey sat with Michelle Williams, Elizabeth Olsen, Pixie Geldof and Azealia Banks at the Mulberry FW12 show in London over the weekend. While we’re not sure that this automatically qualifies her for “fashion icon” status (the girls around her are tabloid virtuosos when it comes to style, and hopefully their penchant for high fashion will rub off on Lana, who is still finding her feet, aesthetically at least), it seems that regardless of her fashion status the Internet sensation is a Mulberry favorite already. The iconic brand the iconic brand had even named a bag after her, the “Del Rey” tote, which she sported at the event. She also performed at Mulberry’s dinner party (see images of the performance and the bag in the gallery below!). It will be interesting to watch her style evolution now that she’s been invited to sit front row for one of the world’s biggest fashion houses — surely designers will be clamoring to dress her.
And it’s not just high fashion at stake here — Lana is reportedly working on a collaboration with other Hottest New Music Thing Of The Moment, Azealia Banks, who has fallen into the good graces of the ice-cold Karl Lagerfeld. The pair of hype-machines are apparently working on a song together, and already we can hear the accumulated Internet buzz intensifying to what will no doubt be a deafening roar by the time the single actually drops. Between Azealia’s aggressive rap vocal and Lana’s stubbornly coy broken romanticism, it will be interesting to see what the pair come up with. Will Lana bring out Azealia’s softer side? Or will we get to see Lana harden up and show the “Video Games” heart-breaker what for?
Over the weekend two rare videos of Prince performing surfaced online, and one has already been taken down, so make sure you watch this one fast before it too disappears! In this haunting footage, Prince sings “Purple Rain,” which is the vocal take used for the song on the album, recorded live in 1983. It really makes you think about the power of Price as a performer — there’s nothing manufactured about it, as the legendary artist relies on nothing but natural talent for his music.
As The Lefsetz Letter puts it, “It doesn’t sink in until Prince hits the mic at 3:51. You start to tingle. You’re witnessing history. You don’t believe someone, that a band can be this good. In a year where seemingly every Grammy appearance was lip-synched, you’d think the ability to deliver sans crutches is a lost art. But it’s not. That’s why Prince owns the Super Bowl crown, that’s why he still does great business today.” The performance itself is emotional and raw, and there’s no way you wont be moved by this intimate, exclusive footage.
Over the weekend Bobby Brown controversially left the funeral of his late ex-wife, Whitney Houston. The debacle unfolded after Brown entered the church where the funeral was taking place with three other people, including his current wife, and was then forced to move seats several times by security. The LA Times reported that CNN journalist Raelyn Johnson (allegedly the only journalist inside the church), said that Brown “was not the only celebrity who had musical chairs going on,” and that “no one on the inside of that church knew that Bobby Brown was having any sort of drama.” Johnson said that Brown “was not singled out,” and that many VIP guests were moved around inside the church in accordance with Baptist traditional funeral protocols, which strictly say that those wishing to sit in the first few rows with the family must enter with the casket, or with the family if the casket is already in place, which Brown failed to do.
However, the confusion with the seating arrangement upset the bereaved Brown, who felt he was treated differently to other guests, and he issued a statement saying, “My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston. We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions. I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continued to ask us and no one else to move. Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi Kristina. In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene… I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.” The distraught Brown then went on to play a concert with New Edition later that night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut during which, according to the Huffington Post, he pointed a finger skyward and said “Blessings to my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. I love you.”
MTV have unveiled their seventh Hottest MCs list, and it’s a pretty accurate reflection of the current hip hop landscape. Coming in at number one for the first time is the distinctive Rick Ross, of whom MTV says, “When Rick Ross experiences a personal moment of triumph, a hearty grunt typically marks the occasion. Built up from the bowels of his belly, Rozay’s baritone call has become as ubiquitous as his titillating one-liners — not that a simple ad-lib is the only thing that earned Rick Ross the #1 spot on MTV News’ Hottest MCs in the Game VII list, his first time up top.”
Coming in at number two is Drake, who had a great year in 2011 with his album Take Care (does this settle the beef with Common, who doesn’t appear in the list at all?). Kanye West appears at number three, oddly enough three places above Watch The Throne collaborator and veteran rapper Jay-Z. And the only woman on the list is Nicki Minaj at number four — the female Weezy coming in one spot above the real Weezy! See the full list after the jump.
On Friday night, we aired the last installment of our five-part, 100 Greatest Women in Music series. If you happened to miss the countdown, it’s spoiler alert time: VH1 crowned Madonna as the greatest female artist of the last 20 years.
While it’s tough to argue with the musical legacy of Madonna, we received an incredible number of comments, emails, and tweets from our VH1 audience asking about their ability to participate in this countdown. Well, we listened and worked to put together the following bracket-style tournament of The 8 Greatest Women In Pop where you, the reader, will be able to select the most accomplished female artist in the pop music game right now. (Sorry, Adele fans: We figured that since she just swept the Grammys, she has enough awards for the moment, so we left her out of this tournament).
Sleigh Bells are back, and their sophomore effort, Reign Of Terror, is a neat second chapter to Treats. The energetic duo performed “Comeback Kid” on Saturday Night Live over the weekend, and while Alexis Krauss did what she does best, bounding with a certain chaotic orderliness around the stage, we know that half of what makes Sleigh Bells great is getting sweaty in the mosh. But no matter — their quirky noise pop surprisingly translated very well to the refined setting, which probably has a lot to do with the perfect vocals and instrumentation, not to mention the joy that emanates from a Sleigh Bells show. They also played “End Of The Line” which you can watch after the jump.
Maya Rudolph and Sleigh Bells were the host and musical guest, respectively, on last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live. The standout sketch of the evening involved the world’s most famous new parents, Jay-Z (played by Jay Pharoah) and Beyoncé (Rudolph) welcoming a slew of famous musicians to their crib to welcome the newest member of the Carter family, Blue Ivy Carter (see: Photos of Blue Ivy Carter). Their guests at their Scarsdale, NY home included the mystery wrapped inside of a riddle wrapped inside of an enigma that is Prince (played to perfection by Fred Armisen), 2012 Grammys host LL Cool J (played by Kenan Thompson, a comedian whose many strengths do not include the ability to do a spot-on impression), a rambunctious Nicki Minaj (played more than adequately by Nasim Pedrad), Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Taran Killam and Abby Elliott, respectively), and a VERY surprised Taylor Swift (Kristen Wiig).
There was one other surprise visitor to see the Notorious B.I.C. — the 2012 winner of the Best New Artist Grammy, Bon Iver! Frequent SNL cameo actor and former musician Justin Timberlake turned in a hilarious impression of the notoriously shy indie frontman, which included singing a parody version of “Holocene” that served as a lullaby that put both Blue Ivy AND Bon Iver himself to sleep. Justin (unnecessarily) went out of his way at the end of the show to make peace with the bearded Wisconsin native, holding up a sign that read “I (Heart) Bon Iver” as the show credits rolled, but we’re pretty sure that the recent SNL musical guest didn’t care. After all, unlike Snooki and Skrillex, everyone managed to pronounce his name correctly.