If you were to take a quick glance at the Billboard Hot 100, you would have no idea that our country is still digging its way out from the biggest pile of economic rubble since the Great Depression. Now, that’s not to say that pop music needs to be anything other than escapist in nature, or that people should be turning to the radio when they feel the need to wallow in depression; after all, that’s what cable news is for! Rather, it’s more to note that most pop-leaning artists (and the labels that support them) have largely turned a blind eye to the recent woes of our country, certainly more so than, say, country-leaning artists have.
Enter B.o.B and Taylor Swift, who collaborated on the song “Both Of Us,” which is the third single of Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr.’s latest LP, Strange Clouds. On an album chock full of supsterstar cameos —shout-out to Morgan Freeman!— this particular pairing on this particular pairing is nothing less than inspired. The song revolves around regular day folk undergoing hardships, like not having enough food in the fridge, or having to make the difficult choice between having their cars repossessed or paying their rent on time, and B.o.B’s hard scrabble rhymes are perfectly accentuated by Taylor’s uplifting lilt on the hook. It’s not exactly what most would describe as a “summer jam,” but truth be told, the way it stands in such contrast to today’s fluffier material is exactly what makes it stand out.
After I heard that Nora Ephron, the author, director and screenwriter behind When Harry Met Sally (arguably the best movie ever), had died, I went into that brief mourning period that we all go through now that it’s 2012 and we mourn via blog memorials and Facebook statuses. I found clips from Sleepless in Seattle I hadn’t watched in years, and I listened to “Coming Around Again,” the song that provided the soundtrack to Heartburn, the film Ephron wrote in response to her divorce from Carl Bernstein.
The boss may have yanked her from Hot 97 Summer Jam at the last minute, but that hasn’t kept Nicki Minaj from jet-setting to London for her Pink Friday tour. For the first of two performances at London’s Hammersmith Apollo Nicki enters the stage as dramatic as her personality. Draped in a black robe she launches into “Roman’s Revenge” as the voices of the crowd rapping along overpower her own. She also performed “Did It On Em,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Right By My Side” and “Moment 4 Life.” Every moment along the way Nicki’s Barbz rapped and sung every single word. And as an artist that has to be the best feeling in the world. Read more…
Katy Perry joined Jimmy Kimmel last night from Hollywood Boulevard, where she working double-duty, premiering her new movie Katy Perry: Part of Me and performing her “Wide Awake” and “Part of Me.” Dressed for the occasion in a film reel bustier and concession stand print hot pants, had the famous street shut down and a “California Girls“-era, cotton candy decked stage set. This was her night, and she sounded great. First, she took center stage for “Wide Awake,” a more serious song about her journey that she wrote for the movie. A troupe dancers dressed like candy canes joined her for “Part of Me,” the evening’s energetic closer. The whole thing was no small deal, but neither is Katy. She’s earned it. Read more…
In the last year, we have seen an explosion of reality singing competitions on the television airwaves. American Idol has, of course, been the most popular show on American television since its premiere ten years ago in June of 2002, but in the last year and change, we’ve seen NBC (The Voice), ABC (Duets) and Fox (The X-Factor) all launch competitors to the veritable Idol institution, to the point where the market for these programs has become totally saturated. Most Americans would be hard pressed to name the most recent winners of any one of these programs, let alone all four, but there’s no denying that reality television has given an incredible career boost for Adam Levine and his bandmates in Maroon 5.
Today sees the release of Maroon 5′s fourth studio album, Overexposed. One of the tracks on the album, “Tickets,” has been generating some Internet buzz as conspiracy theorists have suggested that it’s a diss track directed at Levine’s co-star on The Voice, Christina Aguilera. Lines like “She’s got tickets to her own show/But nobody wants to go” and “You’re perfect on the outside, but nothing at the core” certainly could be interpreted as being very Aguilera-esque, so when we caught up with Adam Levine and guitarist James Valentine at New York City’s Crosby Street Hotel yesterday afternoon, we asked them point blank to shed some light on the story. (See our video above.)
Carly Rae Jepsen is Justin Bieber’s favorite new artist, well at least it seems that way. In a recent interview with Fuse he was asked by a member of the audience, “What are some of your current favorite songs that you can’t get enough?” Instead of typical response of listing other artists he loves, Biebs busts out with an impromptu cover of Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Not only is he singing the song acapella, he dances around in his seat, which has to make the list (whenever someone creates it) of most funny covers. Bieber was right when he tweeted back in December that Jespen’s “Call Me Maybe” was “possibly the catchiest song I’ve ever heard.” It is so catchy that his cover inspired the entire audience to sing along. Got to love that Bieber. Read more…
“Michael taught me that sometimes you have to forget technique, forget what you have on. If you feel silly, you have to go from the gut and just let it go,” she writes. “Michael Jackson changed me, and helped me to become the artist that I am – thank you Michael.”
Our letter from the Queen B is coming soon, we just know it. Until then, read Beyoncé’s full tribute below:
Tamia is truly one of the most underrated R&B artists out today. We’ve loved the five-octave range soul singer since her debut album in 1998. After a three year hiatus, Tamia is back with her first single, “Beautiful Surprise,” from the upcoming album of the same title. There’s not much going on in the video, not that there needs to be with a voice like Tamia’s. She’s sprawled across the floor solo for the majority of the time as the radiant sunlight beams on her glowing skin. “For you to wake up, holding me/Telling me you loving me/You got my heart on lock,” she belts out. Read more…
Another summer, another sizzling hit from Pitbull. “To these rappers I apologize, I know it ain’t fair / Only ball I drop, New Year’s Times Square,” he raps on the opening to his newly leaked single, “Get It Started,” sounding sure that he’s sunk another one. And with his “Rabiosa” partner Shakira on the hook, he most definitely has.
Making reference to Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky, the (former) welterweight boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, and his multiple passports, Pitbull declares himself once and for all Mr. Worldwide. “I went from evictions to food stamps … To a passport, flooded with stamps,” he raps, sizing himself up.
As for Shakira, she’s into this jet setting attitude. On the chorus, she teases: “Everytime I look into your eyes/I feel like I could stare in them for a lifetime/We can get started for love.” And the Afrojack and RedOne conjured beat is so big and celebratory that you, too, will be immediately on board, and all your weird feelings about Tom Cruise forgotten. It’s going to be a hot summer, might as well “Get It Started.”