Fifty years ago this week, an aspiring actor turned songwriter named Bobby Pickett reached the top of the Billboard charts under the moniker Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers with his song, “Monster Mash.” The novelty track spent two weeks at #1 on the charts in October of 1962 and, to this day, displays remarkable staying power: A quick look at the iTunes Singles chart this morning shows the track sitting in the #40 position, likely being purchased by children whose parents were not even alive when the song was first written during the music industry’s dance craze phase of the early 60s (think “The Twist,” think “The Mashed Potato,” think “The Loco-Motion”).
S-Curve Records founder Steve Greenberg penned a fascinating tribute to the “Monster Mash” on his record company’s website this morning, and it got us thinking a bit. Why is a song that is 50 years-old, written as a parody of (if you’re generous) or a cash-in on (if you’re more cynical) a long-forgotten dance craze, and pegged to an (admittedly awesome) impression of a film star who rose to fame in the 1930s still relevant to today’s youth?
Mumford & Sons are of course talented, charming and let’s not forget stylish in those suspenders, but their quick and steady rise to fame was due in large part to their hard work. Once just a few banjo toting boys in London, they’ve since put in more than many miles touring, selling out small venues and large arenas everywhere they went because their stomps and howls really are that good live.
As they wont do, the band spent this past summer Stateside trekking back and forth the country wide on their “The Gentlemen of the Road” tour, but this time they invited documentary directors Fred&Nick to tag along. They tapped interviews and captured behind-the-scenes footage of the band’s life on the road, as well as the tour’s boisterous finale at Colorado’s beautiful Red Rocks amphitheater (as previewed in the “I Will Wait” video), and they have cut it all into a film called The Road to Red Rocks, out November 26th. From the looks of this first trailer (above), it will spend plenty of time showcasing Mumford & Sons good side — their epic onstage side. Our toe’s already tapping in anticipation.
It’s amazing how a casual Instagram can get everyone worked up. Especially when it’s a photo of Miguel and Beyoncé — with the former alluding in the caption: “…woah. creating for Virgo’s all weekend.” Beyoncé, of course, is a Virgo (haven’t you heard B’Day?) and she’s definitely had some R&B heavy-hitters “create” for her in the past. 4‘s “I Miss You” was written by a (then) relatively unknown Frank Ocean. And who could forget “Irreplaceable” written by none other than Ne-Yo (Whoops, not The Dream, he wrote “1+1″ — thanks @KingBeysus)? With Kaleidoscope Dream Miguel by her side, it’s easy to see Bey crafting up some magic for her next album.
Weirdly, Miguel deleted the Instagram soon after he put it out there. Bey is known for being mysterious, but she also must know the speed of the BeyHive–it’s out there and we’re all excited for this Bey/Miguel joint.
And to think, we thought Mumford & Sons‘ had totally crushed it when they sold more than 600,000 copies Babel in the first week out, nearly doubling Justin Bieber‘s first week Believe sales. But Taylor Swift has totally trampled their record by more than doubling their number, landing Red at the top of the charts in it’s first week out with more that 1.208 million copies sold, according to Billboard. Just imagine, more than a million people bought Taylor Swift’s album at Target or on iTunes, via Amazon or got it delivered with their Papa Johns pizza pie. Everyone in Nashville (population 590,807) would have to buy the album twice, or everyone in her home town of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania (population 10,461), would have to cop more than 10 copies a piece to hit a million. Not so bad a debut week, eh? Read more…
It looks like the Rihanna‘s Navy has well weathered the storm. With only a few weeks until Unapologetic shakes the charts, details are still scarce. There’s that skin bare cover and “Diamonds,” a few pictures of late night studio sessions and then — well, not much else. But today we learn that, in addition to a regular release on November 12th, Rihanna’s giving her lucky number seven studio album a special Diamonds Executive Platinum Box release on December 11th. The deluxe box will include a t-shirt, seven lithographs, a flash drive, some laptop stickers, a View-Master with 3D pics of Rhi, a 40-page notebook filled with handwritten notes and an “exclusive poster” — a great gaggle of goods, and all for the price of $250. It’s an indulgence, to be sure; but Christmas is just the around the corner, and we suspect there might be a special Rihanna stan in your life who worth it. Will you be copping for an Unapologetic box of your own? Or will the usual iTunes download do it?
“Don’t Rush,” another of the new songs set to be included onKelly Clarkson‘s Greatest Hits — Chapter One, which is due out November 19th, has made it’s way into the world. It’s less the pop song that “Catch My Breath” is, and more the sweet and twangy country duet a Texas girl like she was born to do. Joined by country star Vince Gill, the two harmonize and “hang on every touch, baby don’t rush” over a bright and breezy country instrumentation. It’s a bit more soft-rock-y than “Don’t You Want To Stay,” he dark and wanting duet with Jason Aldean, but that’s okay — there’s nothing so wrong with taking it easy sometimes, especially when you still sound this good.
The world is hers. Taylor Swift has the world eating out of the palm of her hand. Whether it’s the latest cool gig of co-hosting the Grammy nominations television special with LL Cool J or RED‘s projected sales of over one million in its first week, Taylor Swift is winning. The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night will be taped in her hometown of Nashville, TN airing on December 5. But wait a minute? LL Cool J and Taylor Swift seem like such an odd co-hosting pair. Read more…
Every generation romanticizes the quality of music of their youth, particularly when compared to what’s presently ruling the radio. This statement certainly holds true for 80s babies that came of age in the 90s —like myself— who remember the legion of R&B artists who made soulful music, and to this day yearn for the return of true rhythm and blues. Brandy was among that elite class that shaped my musical memories, and one of the few who has managed to stay around.
As with any artist interested in evolving, Brandy experimented with different sounds on both 2004’s Afrodisiac and 2008’s Human. Diehard fans, who connected so deeply with her debut Brandy and its follow-up Never Say Never, yearned to see Brandy reconnect with the genre and pump some new life into the weakened heart of R&B. The 33-year-old singer wasn’t oblivious to this when she started creating her sixth album, Two Eleven. “I wanted to give my fans something that they’ve been waiting for, that they deserve,” Brandy told me when we spoke in the days immediately following her new album’s release. “For so long they really wanted me to get back to the root of R&B.” Read more…
Over the weekend, Nicki Minaj delivered her third video in nearly as manyweeks. While the video for “Come On A Cone” worked hard to align Nicki with rap royalty, this latest instead indulges all Nicki’s fairy tale fantasies. Sun- and synth- blissed, the Hype Williams helmed clip for the dance-y Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded track “Va Va Voom” casts Nicki as each of your standard fairest in all the land princess babes — the damsel in distress, the sleeping beauty, the wicked witch, and so forth. There are magical forests and prophetic mirrors, white horses aplenty and elaborate haute princess-couture costumes, and a prince in literally shining armor thirsting for a taste of that va-va-voom.
And as if that weren’t all enough, she also found time over the weekend to share that her previously announced three episode E! special will kick off on Sunday, November 4th at 10:30 PM ET. “u guys are going to go crazzzzyyyyy when you see it!” she tweeted in excitement. Then Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded — The Re-Up drops just two weeks after that on November 19th, and American Idol premiers in January. We’re sure this storm we’re weathering wasn’t whipped up by Nicki, right?
America’s Sweetheart turned Tim Burton muse turned shoplifting pariah, Winona Ryder, will always be the coolest girl of all time. Okay, the coolest woman, as she officially turns 41 years old today. No matter her age, we’ll always remember her as *the* It Girl, not to mention star of films with the coolest soundtracks. We’d like to think she’s had a hand in the soundtracks–the girls has dated rock stars from Pete Yorn and Evan Dando to Chris Isaak and Beck.
In honor of her 41st, we’ve made the ultimate ‘Winona Forever (Young)’ playlist, chock full of the most memorable tracks from Wino’s most memorable films.