Rihanna was on Saturday Night Live over the weekend to perform her blindingly bright new single “Diamonds” and then new and truly beautiful Unapologetic track called “Stay.” On the album she’ll be joined by space-y singer/songwriter Mikky Ekko, but she stood alone on the SNL sound stage, with only a spare piano line and the occasional cymbal flourish to back her new-found voice.
“Stay” is a rare Rihanna ballad, and a patient and particularly emotive one at that. With the past few records, Rihanna’s found her grove with the sort of literally dazzling dance track that “Diamonds” is, tracks that make good on her unique but not not exactly impactful voice. But when “Diamonds” came out, we noticed that she was experimenting with her vocals and sounding at times almost like Sia or Lana Del Rey. She took that one step further with “Stay,” a song that finally has her really singing. And so she might still be singing about Chris Brown (“Not really sure how to feel about it / Something in the way you move / Makes me feel like I can’t live without you / And it takes me all the way / I want you to stay.”), but at least she’s doing it in a different way. We just even more excited about Apologetic‘s release next week.
Did you watch Taylor Swift‘s VH1 Storytellers? If you missed it, check out the entire show here. If you caught it, you might have been disappointed that Taylor only rocked one frock for the entire session. She did, however, channel those missing colors into her guitar(s) — which changed almost as often as the song — from silver glitter to cerulean blue.
This didn’t make the final cut of VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swift (which you can watch in full below or here), but we think it’s too good not to share. Somewhere between the show-opening “You Belong With Me” and the grand finale, a spirited rendition of “Love Song,”Taylor Swift took a break from all the Storytelling to play the melancholic “Eyes Open,” one of the two songs she recorded for The Hunger Games soundtrack. She played it seated on the couch at center stage, with her trusty and longtime guitarist Grant Mickelson by her side. This song may be about District 12 Tribute Katniss Everdeen’s first trip to the shiny Capitol, but we suspect that Taylor — who was raised on a Christmas Tree farm, but now a regular amongst pop’s top brass — might relate to it’s message of caution: “Keep your eyes open / Everybody’s waiting for you to break down / Everybody’s watching to see the fallout / Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping / Keep your eyes, eyes open.”
Taylor Swift couldn’t have done it without you. “You know, it’s interesting because you never know where a song is going to go when you write it,” she explained during her VH1 Storytellers session, which premiered tonight and is now available online for your viewing pleasure. “You never know what’s going to happen to it when it goes out into the world, and what you guys are going to do to it. And, you know, how big you guys could possibly make it.” If the sales of her most recent album, Red, are any indication, then big — very, very big. And so, as a thank you to her fans and to ensure that the evening would be “spirited,” Taylor took her VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swift to the winning Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. And spirited an evening it was, she eager the stories behind some of our favorite songs and the audience excited to chip in questions and singalong.
If you missed tonight’s premiere, it’s not to late to join in. VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swiftis now available online! Watch the full episode above, or click through for a rundown of the evening.
Rihanna has 62 million Facebook fans–a smudge more than the number of Americans who voted in the recent election, according to Andy Cohen. That’s also more than any other artist, even Eminem who once held the top spot. With the release of Unapologetic creeping around the corner, Rihanna is on a schedule of non-stop promos. Yesterday she talked with Bravo’s Andy Cohen for a 25 minute live FB chat; and Riri’s Navy was in the audience live and ratchet. Read more…
Rihanna has her ways when it comes to putting together a music video, and this latest visual for “Diamonds” seems the sum of all parts prior. There are tattoos and smoke, fire and water, sweaters and wild animals running free, and as lovely as it may all be, we were pretty sure we’ve seen this all before. And so we took a look back through her catalogue, and well, we were right. Can you guess which of these screen shots come from “Diamonds” and which are from another video?
It’s Friday, it’s Friday, but the YouTube’s latest tween sensation du jour can’t wait to get down on…Thanksgiving? Nicole Westbrook’s video “It’s Thanksgiving,” as penned by ARK Music Factory’s own Patrice Wilson, the hitmaker behind Rebecca Black‘s “Friday,” is a sweet celebration of turkey and mashed potatoes and friendship, and it is currently burning up the ‘Net.
Front cover of WE GOT POWER!: Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980s Southern California.
The hardcore punk scene of the 1980s was a hands-on sub-culture, ignored for the most part by the mainstream music press and recording industry. It existed in its own world, one created and shaped by the bands and their fans and documented by fanzines and independent record labels. Early ‘80s fanzine We Got Power, run by post-adolescent punk rockers David Markey and Jordan Schwartz, dispatched reports from the front-lines of the huge and thriving Los Angeles scene to hardcore kids nationwide. Almost 30 years after their last issue went to press, Bazillion Points Books has released WE GOT POWER!: Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980s Southern California. Not just a reprint of the fanzine’s original 6 issues —though they’re in there too— the book contains nearly 400 photographs that chronicle the early ’80s LA scene with firsthand accounts from some of its biggest luminaries including Henry Rollins of Black Flag and member of Suicidal Tendencies and the Circle Jerks. We spoke to Markey —also known for his movie 1991: The Year Punk Broke, which captured the moment when hardcore-informed alternative rock went mainstream— recently about the book, the zine and the era. Read more…
A woman’s best friend is her confidante, a sister without the bloodline, her right hand woman. That friendship becomes muddy when one woman wants what the other has. “Trust And Believe” is Keyshia Cole’s soap opera of trusting two people who committed the ultimate act of betrayal. Director Benny Boom creates mini movies called music videos. “Trust And Believe” follows Keyshia Cole’s longterm relationship with her man and best friend. She suspects he may be cheating, but never in her wildest dreams did she think the woman was right under her nose. Read more…
Oh, how Taylor Swift has grown since her childhood on a Christmas tree farm in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Back then, was a precocious kid with a big voice and a knack for storytelling. She’s still all those things, and though you couldn’t call her much older (she’s only twenty-two-years-old), she’s also added mega-pop star, country star, award winner, cover girl, movie star and, particularly with the success of her recent Red, record industry savior, to her resume.
When Taylor was fourteen, VH1 Behind The Music: Faith Hill gave her the guys she needed to take the dive and move to Nashville to pursue her dreams. A successful turn on the famed Music Row gave way to a record deal with and, well, the rest is history. In preparation for VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swift, which airs Sunday, November 11th at 6PM and then again at 11PM, we have marked the greatest milestones that earned her the episode!