Back on December 25th in the year 2001, before Regina Spektor was signed to a major label deal, she decided to spend her Christmas Day in the recording studio. Over the course of the day, she recorded 12 original songs — ones that featured no other instrumentation besides her vocals and her piano — which ultimately became her Songs LP. This was a particularly fertile period for Spektor, creatively, and many of these songs remain fan favorites to this day. She decided to re-record that album’s first track, “Samson,” on her breakout 2006 LP Begin To Hope, and now she has decided to revisit another one of those early Lower East Side anthems that propelled her into the spotlight in the first place.
“Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” was the closing track on Songs, but in its new incarnation, it’s the second single from Spektor’s brand new album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats. We’ve been singing and dancing along with the original for years, but there’s no denying that the song has been tremendously improved by the addition of a more robust sonic palette, which includes adorable percussion (bells, a Casio Keyboard style drumbeat), a much needed bassline and even a rollicking horn breakdown. As for the video, it’s our favorite of Spektor’s since 2006′s “Better” (the one that propelled her to VH1 You Oughta Know status) — with its stately interior shots, slightly surreal imagery and continued use of slow focus, it’s the kind of music video that we imagine Stanley Kubrick might’ve been inspired to shoot. In it, Spektor remains as beautiful, quirky and ebuillient as ever, and thanks to the recent tide of interest in yé yé-style pop songs, perhaps this song —with its chorus of “Ne me quitte pas” — might land Spektor in the race for Song Of The Summer.
Mother Oprah has a way of asking just the right questions to get even the hardest gangster to open up about painting his grandmother’s toenails. On Orpah’s Next Chapter the queen of media interviewed 50 Cent, her former sworn enemy, in what turned out to show 50′s softer side, even more so than his gaggle of stuffed animals. Oprah talks to Fiddy (or we should say Curtis Jackson) about his childhood, his mother’s murder, the love of he has for his grandmother and if he’s ever been in love. The interview goes from serious to funny from serious back to funny. It gets all too real when Oprah asks about 50′s dog named Oprah. Read more…
Country cutie Taylor Swift and You Oughta Know artist Ed Sheeran have been logging lots of studio hours together, working hard — mostly! — on the follow-up to Swift’s Speak Now. Last night, the two took a break from whatever they’ve got cooking there to record this acoustic duet of Sheeran’s hit, “Lego House.” And it’s pretty much the sweetest thing you will see today.
Posted to Twitter late last night by Swift, the Viddy finds the two in her kitchen, on the floor in front of the stove, where Sheeran strums an acoustic version of his hit, “Lego House,” while Swift harmonizes. We’ll have to wait to hear what more they’ve got in the works, but, for now, this glimpse shows a promising chemistry between the two.
And as for Sheeran, he will be on VH1′s Big Morning Buzz Live tomorrow to celebrate the stateside release of his debut album, +.
There are few things that get us more giddy than a new Justin Bieber song or album on the horizon. Luckily for us it’s officially Bieber season with Believe dropping on Tuesday, June 19. So far we’ve zoned out to “Boyfriend,” “Die in Your Arms” and “All Around the World.” Today Idolator posted a leak of “Right Here” featuring Drake, which is only a snippet of the full song. Sounding like Chris Brown, Bieber is definitely on his grown man swag despite being barely legal. Drake raps about one thing he cares a lot about–love. As a team the duo deliver a hot song.
Usher’s influence on the 18-year-old pop star is apparent in both Bieber’s sound and lyrics. It’d only make sense that Usher’s protege pick up the very things that made Usher great and apply them to his own style. Bieber’s first album as an adult sounds like it’s laced with maturity and experience. The slow ballads touch on feelings and love while the more upbeat songs deal with partying and Biebs singing, “I can take you home.” His growth into adulthood not only means he’s legal (for all the cougars out there), but it also means the content of his music has expanded. And it’s Believable.
Ms. Lauryn Hill is perfectly sane, maybe misunderstood, but sane nonetheless. Only a coherent person could write the dissertation statement she released on her Tumblr explaining why she didn’t pay her taxes in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Warning: you may need to consult your thesaurus to follow along. Ms. Hill calls out the music industry for its “pop culture cannibalism” and accuses the media of trying to distort her image by painting her as a lunatic. Despite her eloquence, we’re almost certain Uncle Sam cares absolutely nothing about the reason she didn’t pay. They just want to get paid. Read more…
Looks like Will Smith is back to making moves on the mic. Ahead of Men In Black III‘s release, Will Smith gamely rapped the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song along with an eager Graham Norton Show audience, and then he flexed a freestyle on 106 & Park. And you know what? He sounded pretty great! However, he explained that “There are too many people in my house making music right now,” dashing our hopes of a real return to rap.
And so The Fresh Prince returns instead with a remix of his still classic “Summertime.” The song leads the third installment of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie‘s Summertimemixtape series.
“A groove slightly transformed,” he rhymes over a drawn-out rework of the famous Kool & the Gang sampling-beat. Sounding his 43-years-old, he goes on to suggests that it might be “a little something to break the monotony of all that hard-core dance that’s gotten to be a bit out of control.” Funny how a line that’s over twenty years old can still resonate so strongly in present-day 2012. Read more…
The massive Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN hosted a mix (over 150) of musical acts spanning across genres from country to soul. The crowd was in for a treat with acts like Phish, fun., Bon Iver and Kenny Rogers blessing the stage for the four-day festival. Lionel Richie was on hand to join Rogers for “Lady” and “All Night Long (All Night).” And Richie wasn’t the only surprise.
Rumors quickly spread that The Roots would bring out a special guest. Low and behold in what turned out to be the crowd shocker of the night, D’Angelo, who hadn’t performed on a stage in 12 years (when his last album Voodoo was released), was The Roots surprise guest. According to Yahoo Music, ?uestlove announced, “I’ve been waiting 12 years to say this. Ladies and gentlemen…D’ANGELO!” Sounding as if he’d never stepped away from the music, D’Angelo played the piano and guitar doing a nine-piece set including oldies like Jimi Hendrix’s “Have You Ever Been To Electric Ladyland” and “Power Of Soul,” Funkadelic’s “Funky Dollar Bill,” and “Hit It And Quit It,” Sly & The Family Stone’s “Babies Makin’ Babies,” The Beatles‘ “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” Led Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Should Never Be,” and the Time’s “My Summertime Thang.” And we can’t think of any better way to do a comeback performance than with the legendary The Roots band. Check out our gallery of fun photos from Bonnaroo. Read more…
While Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have been melting the faces off audiences all over the country for a decade, they didn’t hit the mainstream until last year’s sexy single “Paris Ooh La La.” From their start on the jam band circuit to being a VH1 You Oughta Know artist in 2010 to collaborating with The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach on their latest album The Lion The Beast The Beat, the tight-knit, fun-loving, ridiculously talented band has plenty of stories to tell.
As a GPN superfan, it was a test in my professionalism to contain my excitement as I trailed them all day, camera in tow, from the Lucerne Hotel on NYC’s Upper West Side to Metropolis Studios in Harlem for rehearsals and what turned out to be one hell of a rock show. Insidery highlights of the day included Grace singing Nicki Minaj‘s “Starships” en route to the taping, her gushing about a recent splurge on a hot plate for her gourmet tour bus cooking, drummer Matt Burr revealing his colorful sock fetish, and the enthusiasm when Grace revealed new album art to bandmates Benny Yurco, Scott Tournet, and new bassist Michael Libramento. Below you can take a sneak peek at Grace prepping for the show, the gorgeous Storytellers set, some goofy backstage antics, and of course, plenty of rockin’ out goodness.
Be sure to tune into VH1 Storytellers: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals on June 15th at 11 p.m. ET/PT, but for now, please enjoy the latest entry in our ongoing photographic series, Music Seen!
When you can’t stand the heat, get off of Twitter. That’s exactly what Azealia Banks did over the weekend. The upcoming Harlem rapper has had enough of the back and forth Twitter beefs and decided to pull a disappearing act by deleting her Twitter account. Not only is she over social media, she’s also tired of the rap game. When Nicki Minajdeleted her account the Internet was in a frenzy, but luckily for Nicki’s Barbz she returned a week later. We give Banks two weeks tops to rejoin the social media network celebs love to hate. Read more…
Last night, VH1 aired the debut episode of Mob Wives: Chicago. From the opening moments of the program, many people on Twitter were wondering how they could get their hands on a copy of the show’s dynamic theme song, “Playing For Keeps” by Elle King. Well, VH1 Tuner readers, you’re in luck: We’ve got a FREE MP3 of “Playing For Keeps” that you can download now. All you have to do is leave your email address below and you’re good to go!
Elle’s debut EP, The Elle King EP, will hit stores tomorrow. Stay tuned to VH1 Tuner for more updates from this exciting new artist!