The true test of determining which songs will stand the test of time is their adaptability. If you were to change the arrangement —or even the genre— of a given song, does it still resonate with audiences? Lionel Richie took the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater last night with country music superstar Jason Aldean to prove that his 1985 smash, “Say You, Say Me” is one of the all-time greats by giving it a countryfied spin. The song went all the way to #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts when it was originally released, and even took home an Oscar for Best Original Song, and hasn’t aged a bit in 25 years.
This track, along with other Richie classics like “Stuck On You” and “Endless Love”, appear on Richie’s new jawn, Tuskegee. This is not a greatest hits record, though — Richie has gone back into the studio and put a twangy, country spin on the most beloved songs in his catalog. Thanks to the undeniably ace songwriting skills, this LP doesn’t feel like a shameless attempt to pander to Nashville audiences (who still buy albums in droves) like recent crossover attempts from the likes of Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi. Richie has experimented with many musical styles in his nearly 40-year career, from funk to pop to R&B, so this album feels more like a natural evolution and less like a calculated attempt to line his coiffers. Good on ya, LR!
The Internet nearly melted back on December 8th when Nicki Minajtweeted “OH MY f’ingggg Gahhhh!!!!! MADONNA jus kissed me!!!!! On the lips!!!!!!! It felt sooooo good. Soooo soft!!!! *passes out* aaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!” (For those of you keeping score at home, that was 30 exclamation points.)
Immediately, horndogs the world over had visions of girl-on-girl kisses dancing in their head. Would Madge’s lip-lock with Nicki Minaj rival her Frenching of Britney Spears? Would it be a disappointment like her brief peck with Christina Aguilera? Or would it be something even, well, hotter?
Well, until yesterday, the kiss was the stuff of legends, like Sasquatch doing a tonguesploration of the Loch Ness Monster. However, in what we’re sure was simply coincidence, video of Madonna’s smooch of Minaj surfaced ON THE VERY SAME DAY that MDNA hit stores. So, dear reader, we ask of you:
Anybody who knows Gavin DeGraw knows he’s a real wild child, which is why his choice to dance the jive with his partner Karina Smirnoff to “Wild One” last night on Dancing With The Stars was an inspired choice. His outfit was an homage to Marlon Brando‘s from the 1953 film The Wild One, but his moves were way more footloose and fancy-free than Brando was ever able to pull off. The judges seem to concur as well, particularly Len Goodman, who told him “I liked your attitude, I liked the energy you came out with, and for me, this is an improvement on last week.” Gavin and Karina’s score of 21 tied the couple for 8th place out of the 12 remaining competitors, which would seemingly put them out of the woods. But, in order to make sure, be sure to vote for Gavin!
Above, we’ve got the second exclusive report that Gavin Degraw has filed from backstage at Dancing With The Stars. He doesn’t seem nearly as concerned with being eliminated as he does at having to go back home to New York City and cleaning his apartment, which is definitely something that we can identify with. Best of luck to Gavin and Karina, here’s hoping they advance to Week 3!
Have you ever seen a concert that’s been put on by a single person? No, by that we don’t mean a “solo artist,” someone who’s got a bassist, a drummer, and a roadie or two to get their guitars tuned for them in between songs while they preen behind the mic. We mean someone who, quite literally, stands up on stage all by their lonesome, setting up their instruments and pedals, then performing with nary another individual on stage, then tearing it all down at the end of a set. It’s an incredibly vulnerable position to be in, both as a performer and as an audience member, and a stark and intimate way to take in a performance.
We mention all this because we caught Teeth & Tongue‘s set at Piano’s in New York’s Lower East Side last night, one in which she performed all the duties mentioned above, PLUS playing the keyboard, drum machine and the guitar. Teeth & Tongue is the musical project of 31-year-old Jess Cornelius, who hails from Melbourne, Australia and is currently wrapping up her current North American tour. We caught a few minutes of her set at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival a few weeks back, which was intriguing enough to get us to brave the crisp chill in the air last night to see her showcase her talents.
Teeth & Tongue has a beguiling, sultry sound, one that to this listener lies somewhere between Cat Power and Bat For Lashes. She’s got a real knack for setting the scene in her songwriting, and has a novelist’s gift for conveying the kind of minute details in her lyrics that really put the listener in her head space. Take her confessional breakup song “Unfamiliar Skirts”, for example, a song that’s ostensibly about a couple that’s on one of those ill-fated “breaks.” It contains emotionally raw lyrics like “They all have long eyelashes that drink compliments like dew” and “You can seek forgiveness in their muscles and their thighs,” phrases that read like poetry and take on a heartbreaking quality when paired with her expressive voice and feedback-laden guitar accents. Check out what we mean in this video for the song, her first single off Tambourine (now available on Spotify), her second full-length album.
Chances are viewers are drawn to Mob Wives every Sunday night to catch the explosive drama, tears and laughs (courtesy of Big Ang) that our favorite Staten Island ladies never seem to run short of. This week was no different as we watched Carla’s warm reunion with ex-husband Joe, newly divorced Drita’s fledging dating attempts, and Big Ang opening up about her tumultuous marriage. However, it was the scene where Renee is shown quietly lamenting Junior‘s distant behavior that seemed to really resonate with the Mob Wives audience this week. Her loneliness and vulnerability in this scene is brilliantly emphasized by the accompanying music, Gary Clark Jr‘s “Things Are Changin’.”
The scene opens with footage of desolate locations around Staten Island, as the sun sets we hear Clark’s smooth R&B vocals over the gentle plucking of a jazzy guitar. As we transition into Renee’s home, we find her lying in her bed almost cradling herself. It seems she and Junior have hit a crossroads again after discussing the future of their relationship. As she explains, “Something just don’t sit right. I just don’t feel right. It just feels so unfinished…” A shot of Junior driving away highlights the increasing distance between them. The lyric “Things are changing now and I can’t tell/Where I’ll be from here on out/Ooh it’s hell” poignantly accentuates the uncertainty of their relationship.
Madonna joined Twitter using the handle @MadonnaMDNAday for one day only yesterday to promote her new album MDNA, and it could not have been a more fruitfull stunt.
Not only did Madonna manage to cool Deadmau5‘s anger for what he saw as encouraging drug use, she may have booked an opening act for her upcoming tour. When asked by a fan for her opinion on Justin Bieber, Madge responded: “He’s awesome. I’m a huge fan. I love it when he raps.” The Biebs, who’s bringing sexy back with his new single “Boyfriend” (let’s call him JB), responded to Madonna as any tween sensation would: “Seeing that is a huge honor. Yours is a career artists dream of. Congrats on the new album!” Madonna then upped the ante in the twosome’s love fest by tweeting, “Come and join me on stage when I’m on tour when we are in the same city and congrats on your new single.” Is this Madonna’s way of ensuring her popularity with the prepubescent set?
MAD MEN STAR JESSICA PARÉ DROPS HER FIRST SINGLE
Denizens of the Internet have been frantically searching for “Zou Bisou Bisou” and “Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo” all day long, and AMC —ever the smart media entity— has decided to strike quickly on the popularity of the saucy, French language striptease anthem. You can now buy an mp3 in the iTunes store or even buy it on vinyl. Sexy lingerie probably not included. [InSound]
DR. DREW WARNS ABOUT REPEATED EXPOSURE TO MDNA
It’s no surprise that Madonna is pulling out all the stops to promote her new LP, MDNA. It is a bit of a surprise, though, to see Dr. Drew starring in a viral video warning about the druggy side effects of listening to the record. Trust us, you don’t wanna cross Deadmau5, bro! [YouTube]