Liz Phair is one of the most enigmatic musicians of our time. She became a near-overnight phenomenon and an indie rock goddess back in 1993 when she released Exile To Guyville, an LP which is universally acknowledged to be one of the best albums of the Nineties. She graduated to becoming a Buzz Bin and 120 Minutes staple with her two follow-up albums, Whip-Smart (1994) and Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998), before becoming the Most Hated Woman In Rock when she dropped the slick, unabashedly commercial self-titled Liz Phair LP in 2003. The album was not well-liked nor well-reviewed —we should take a moment to pause here, a moment in which we’ll go on record as being among the few that will go to our graves defending of the merits of this record— and turned Phair into a figure that is even more maligned than even Courtney Love in some circles.
Even Phair herself would likely admit that her career and reputation has never been the same since she worked with The Matrix, but we give her points for settling into a respectable groove as an elder stateswoman of indie rock, one who seems to have (mostly) gotten over her careerist desires and has once again embraced the experimental. She’s completely off-the-radar as far as major labels and radio are concerned, but her latest album, 2010′s Funstyle, was fairly well-received by her core constituency. Due to the fact that she wasn’t being bankrolled by a major label, she didn’t do much in the way of “traditional” promotion for that record (ie, shoot a music video); that is, until now. Nearly 23 months after Liz dropped Funstyle, she finally got around to shooting and releasing a video for “And He Slayed Her.” Read more…
At the moment, there is no more formidable team in music than Katy Perry, Bonnie McKee, Dr. Luke and Max Martin. During the 2009-2010 writing/recording sessions for Perry’s Teenage Dream album, this group wrote four songs together — “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream”, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and “Part Of Me”. All four of those songs went to #1.
So when it came time for Katy to put together Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection earlier this year, she made sure to enlist the help of her dream team when it came to writing the sole “new” track for the record, which ultimately was titled “Wide Awake.” Back in March, she told our friends over at MTV News that the team wrote and recorded the track over the course of just four days. “I can’t wait eight months to be able to put out this feeling that I’m feeling right now,” she explained. “Not only did I write the song because I needed to flush that out of my system, but I wrote it for the film as well.”
Katy debuted “Wide Awake” at the Billboard Music Awards last night, and then dropped a brand new lyric video for the emotional track after the show. There is a “real” video for the track on the way, but as a way to satiate the masses until its release, this lyric video was released. It does not refer to the lyrics of the song directly — lyrics in which Katy comes to painful grips with her recent divorce from Russell Brand — but is notable in that it’s the first video to take on the look and feel of Facebook’s new(ish) timeline feature. And hey, if you pay close enough attention, you’ll see that VH1.com even gets a shout-out in it. Look ma, we’re finally famous! Read more…
To some Will Smith will always be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. On a recent visit to the British talk show The Graham Norton Show, Smith said he’s best known for the character he played in the 1990-1996 hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Good thing his name in the show was the same as his real name, as he was warned by former co-host Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), it was what people would call him for the rest of his life. “[In] every country in the world that is the thing I am most known for, no matter how big the movies get,” said Smith.
Smith was in Europe to promote his movie Men in Black III when the host asked him to rap the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air he happily obliged. Gary Barlow from the British boy band Take That played the keyboard as Will rapped the song with the audience who seemed to know every word (thanks to a teleprompter!). Tom Jones looked on while bopping his head as the two jammed out to one of the best 90s television theme songs. Enjoy!
We were impressed with Jordin Sparks heartfelt tribute to the late Whitney Houston at last night’s Billboard Music Awards. According to Radaronline.com, the last song Houston recorded was released today. Produced by R. Kelly, “Celebrate” is a happy upbeat duet Houston recorded with her Sparkle co-star Jordin Sparks who plays her daughter in the upcoming movie. If Whitney’s strong vocals in this song are any indication of the direction she was headed in prior to her untimely passing, it indeed proves what many have already said–Whitney Houston was ready to make a big comeback.
Houston opens the track sounding nearly as good as she did before her vocals became strained. “Everybody’s been so uptight. Everybody forgetting to live their life,” she sings. Sparks’ higher octave is a beautiful complement to Whitney’s lower gospel tone. “It’s time to celebrate, come on and celebrate,” the duo sing together. This song seems like a perfect embodiment of Whitney Houston–celebrating life and taking in the younger generation of singers with open arms.
This weekend we wrapped the 10th Season of That Metal Show with HellYeah (and former Pantera) drummer Vinnie Paul, Tommy Shaw, and James “JY” Young of Styx. We rocked out to legendary guitarist Steve Stevens, who stood in as our guest musician.
In past episodes of That Metal Show, the boys have argued, fought and made the tough calls on the TMS TOP 5 Front men, Guitarists, Bassists, and Drummers. But this week, our hosts paid respect to yet another league of hard rock and heavy metal musicians: the TMS TOP 5 Keyboardists. How do you choose from all of the talented musicians who man the keys? You have the triple-threat Geddy Lee (Rush), who plays bass, sings, and is the keyboardist for Rush. There’s UFO’s Paul Raymond, Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater and Black Country Communion, Michael Kenney of Iron Maiden, and Darren Wharton of Thin Lizzy, to name a few.
But when Jennifer flipped the board, Jon Lord and Don Airey of Deep Purple showed up in ALL THREE of the hosts’ lists, so it quickly became clear who would earn the top 2 spots. After much debate, the guys were able to narrow their picks down to the TMS Top 5 Keyboardists. Here’s who they came up with: Read more…
The highly anticipated debut episode of VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott premieres tonight at 11 p.m. ET/PT. You’re in for a treat with the musical act Scott has put together, including her awesomely talented band and the soulful sounds of both new and old music. VH1 captured a peek of Jill’s preparation prior the show, and when we tell you she goes all out, it’s not an exaggeration. The beautiful gold architecture inside the Hammerstein Ballroom is off set by the intimate lights and candles on stage.
Her most recent album, Light of the Sun, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, but expect her to take you back to the songs that made this Philadelphia spoken word poet became such a timeless artist. Below you can check out her hair and makeup preparation, the band sharing a laugh and Jill getting into character. Once you see the show you’ll understand why Scott is one of the best artists of our time. Tune in tonight for VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Now we all know Pink has never been one to bite her tongue about, well, anything. Unimpressed by Chris Brown’s lip-syncing Billboard Music Awards performance last night, Pink tweeted, “one day if i lipsync, i hope i do it as well as him….” GossipCop.com reports that her husband Carey Hart added his two cents, “Im pretty sure i saw my wife did [sic] that same performance, but she was 3 months pregnant and actually sang the song.” Ouch. The Harts are ruthless. Although neither Pink or hubby ever mentioned any names, it was pretty clear they were referring to Brown’s motor bike, sans live singing set.
For once in his life Brown took the high road tweeting an indirect response, “Must be too bright outside! I’m finding the “shade” and keeping cool! Love and blessings!” How mature of Chris! (No, we really mean it.) Chris wasn’t the only one lip-syncing last night and rumors spread like wildfire that Pink may have been referring to Katy Perry. This morning Pink cleared up the rumor by tweeting:
Two snaps for live singing. Brown’s performance was lackluster at best. It’s totally possible he wanted to focus on the dance performance and not worry about breath and vocal control. But if people insist on referring to Brown as the new MJ, other artists are going to call him out when he’s not living up to such a big honor. What do you think? Is lip-syncing ever ok? Watch Breezy’s performance below and you be the judge.
Last night’s Billboard Music Awards was an exhausting extravaganza, one that lasted for three full hours and still managed to feel a bit incomplete. Of course, it didn’t help the show’s cause that many of the biggest names in the music world — Adele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga, to name just a few — decided that they had better places to be last night than at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the show caught some Twitter backlash for last-minute(ish) tributes to Donna Summer and Adam “MCA” Yauch that fell flat.
That said, there were certainly more than a few memorable moments at last night’s show (which we hope you watched while following our @VH1Music Twitter feed). Here are our Top 5 Moments from the 2012 Billboard Music Awards! (Apologies in advance to all the Beliebers, for young Justin’s mostly lip-synced performance of “Boyfriend” did not make the cut.)
5. Kelly Clarkson’s live television debut of “Dark Side”
Presenter Robin Thicke introduced Kelly’s performance of her new single, “Dark Side,” by stating that she was performing the song “for the first time ever.” Of course, that was not entirely accurate, as Kelly performed an AMAZING version of “Dark Side” on VH1 Storytellers last fall. Still, Kelly looked incredibly gorgeous and, not surprisingly, used her powerhouse vocals to blow the roof off the place. Read more…
Like true royalty, Lil Kim is back to reclaim her throne. Not that anyone should need a reminder of the Queen Bee’s iconic status when she entered the rap game in the mid 90s, but just in case, her performance Friday at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx served up a bit of nostalgia and excitement for what’s ahead.
On the New York City leg of her “Return of the Queen” tour, Kim hit the stage with a massive entourage and a crew of talented hip-hop friends. Dressed in a shiny beige pants paired with a jeweled bra the Queen Bee took the stage royally with flower petals at her feet while men held flagstaffs with her logos. Her fans welcomed her with deafening screams as she performed “Black Friday” from the mixtape of the same name. Although the mixtape received mixed reviews, this was not evident by the crowd’s enthusiasm to see Kim in her element. Read more…
For the third time in less than a month, the music world has lost another legend to cancer. After the tragic deaths of Adam “MCA” Yauch and Donna Summer, Bee Gees co-founder Robin Gibb is the latest musician to succumb to the dreaded disease.
“The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”