Tuned In: Gym Class Heroes And Ryan Tedder Prove They’ve Got The Fighting Spirit

by (@unclegrambo)

There’s no slowing the Gym Class Heroes. Their collaboration with Neon Hitch, “Ass Back Home,” is currently sitting in the #3 position on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, but Travie and the boys have no intention to rest on the laurels. They debuted their new single, “The Fighter,” on the Tonight Show last night, featuring Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic singing the anthemic chorus.

It’s an inspirational track, one that’s very reminiscent of last summer’s big hit for Eminem, Royce da 5’9″ and Bruno Mars, “Lighters.” Both songs feature a simple piano loop sitting on top of a thumping backbeat, lyrics about overcoming adversity, and a soaring vocal hook that is impossible to resist singing along with. “The Fighter” seems well-positioned to do well on this year’s Song Of The Summer charts, and seems like a no-brainer to be prominently featured during musical montages during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Elsewhere in late night…
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Music Video: Young The Giant Leave Their “Apartment” In Search Of Adventure

by (@unclegrambo)

There’s a certain feeling of ominousness that runs through the California indie rockers Young The Giant‘s new video for “Apartment.” The video opens with a shot of lead singer Sameer Gadhia lying prone on the ground, leading the viewer to wonder whether he’s asleep or unconscious, as an unseen person whispers “One, two.” As the tune kicks in, we’re transported to a bedroom that feels very reminiscent of the room where Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg spend their morning in the “Nothin’ But A G Thang” video, but on this day, there won’t be any barbeques or girls getting doused with malt liquor. Instead, Young The Giant and some nubile friends decide to take an old RV and an old VW Microbus to the beach to celebrate one of the band members’ birthdays.

Through footage shot by camera phones and an old Super 8, we ride along with this crew of fun-loving twentysomethings as they spend a day having fun, fun, fun in the warm California sun. All of the ingredients of a legendary day are present, as beers are popped and pants get dropped (thanks to an impromptu skinny dipping sesh). However, you can’t help but feel like things are going to take a left turn into the Danger Zone, thanks in part to the regret-laden lyrics and repeated cuts to the aforementioned lead singer that’s still lying on the ground, totally alone, in what looks to be the middle of the desert. What fate will become of these attractive revelers? You’ll have to watch the video, directed skillfully by Marcus Haney, to find out.

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Playlist: Listen To All Of The Songs Featured On Your Favorite VH1 Shows During The Month Of March

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VH1's CMI Group's Playlist For March 2012

For each and every show that airs on VH1, a team of music supervisors here at the network have spent countless hours determining exactly what pieces of music best complement the footage that we have shot. This team —the CMI (Creative Music Integration) group— listen to thousands of songs each month in an attempt to figure out how best to utilize musical cues to reinforce the emotion and drama on shows like Mob Wives and Basketball Wives, so we thought it would be a cool idea to give you an inside glimpse into their world.

Each month, we’ll put together a list of all the songs that have been featured on the programs and promos that you see on VH1, which will be accompanied by two things: Specific commentary from the music supervisor as to why they selected a particular song for a particular scene in a show, as well as a Spotify playlist for you to sample these songs. Without further ado, here are all the songs that we featured on VH1 during the month of March!

VH1 SHOWS PLAYLIST: MARCH 2012
(Listen to the playlist on Spotify)

MOB WIVES

  • Say Hi‘s “Devils” is featured in Episode #208
  • Pauline‘s “Dancin” is featured in Episode #208
  • Gotye‘s “Smoke and Mirrors” & “Giving Me A Chance” are featured in Episode #208
  • Mayer Hawthorne‘s “Stick Around” is featured in Episode #208
  • Nabiha‘s “Can’t Do Anything” is featured in Episode #209
  • The London Souls‘ “Stand Up” is featured in Episode #209
  • Mayer Hawthorne’s “A Long Time” is featured in Episode #209
  • Gary Clark Jr.‘s “Don’t Owe You A Thang” is featured in Episode #209
  • Amos Lee‘s “Jesus” is featured in Episode #210
  • City and Colour‘s “Hope For Now” is featured in Episode #210: The melancholic vocals from Canadian Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, capture the emotions between Ramona and her daughter after they visit Ramona’s boyfriend in jail. Saying goodbye to the father figure in her life proves to be tough as she’s reminded that he won’t be around every day like he used to be. After Green sings “how can I instill so much hope but be left with none of my own” we hear Ramona relate her daughter’s current situation with her visits to her grandfather.— Isaac, CMI Music Supervisor

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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Gavin DeGraw Rumbas Backstage At Dancing With The Stars

by (@unclegrambo)

New York City resident Gavin DeGraw might currently be biding his time in Los Angeles, but he found himself in a “New York State Of Mind” on Dancing With The Stars last night. DeGraw and his partner, Karina Smirnoff, danced the rumba last night to the Billy Joel classic, earning their best marks of the season so far from the judging panel.

DeGraw started his performance in a familiar location —behind the piano, tickling the ivories— but quickly displayed his ever-improving chops on the dance floor, bringing a genuine, Swayze-like vibe of romantic heat to the proceedings. His dance earned a standing ovation from the crowd and reduced judge Carrie Ann Inaba to a puddle of gushiness. “My heart’s going all fluttery for you, Gavin!”, she proclaimed. “There is something so sexy and sensual about the way you move!”

Despite the praise, the scores indicate that Gavin and Karina aren’t totally out of the woods yet. They’re in a five-way tie heading into tonight’s elimination, and as long as we’re already working with a Billy Joel theme, let’s all make sure that Gavin doesn’t have to “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” this evening. Watch his special backstage video, shot just moments after he got off stage, and head over to ABC.com to vote for Gavin before the polls close at 11 a.m. this morning!

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Let’s Talk About The Fray’s Rendition Of The National Anthem At The Final Four Championship

by (@unclegrambo)

UPDATE (10:48 p.m.): See below for The Fray’s response to this controversy from their official Twitter page!

If you’re a “Grammy-nominated and internationally acclaimed world touring band,” the decision whether or not to accept an offer to perform the National Anthem is fraught with landmines. On one hand, the decision would seemingly be a no-brainer: Who wouldn’t want to honor their country AND perform for tens of millions of fans at once? On the other hand, though, even if you turn in a great performance, people will almost certainly compare your version unfavorably to the likes of Whitney Houston and Marvin Gaye. But if you should perform it, say, less than awesomely, people will never forgive you (see: Cyndi Lauper at this year’s U.S. Open).

Now that we have set the table, it’s time to share with you the following (low quality) video of The Fray‘s performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at tonight’s NCAA Men’s Basketball championship game (if we find better video, we’ll swap this version out). Their take on the National Anthem is perhaps most fairly described as an untraditional one, one that featured some boldly unique instrumentation (in the form of a tambourine, possibly a snare drum, and a couple of acoustic guitars) and a new, rhythmic way of delivering Francis Scott Key‘s lyrics. A quick check of Twitter shows the negative responses outweighing the positive, but we want to hear what it is that YOU think about The Fray’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”:

UPDATE (10:48 P.M.): See below for The Fray’s Twitter response to the brewing controversy!
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Mary J. Blige Don’t Need No Hateration, Just Some Crispy Chicken Snack Wraps From Burger King

by (@unclegrambo)

Real talk? This new Burger King commercial starring Mary J. Blige might be our favorite commercial since the “You guys know how to post videos to FACEBOOK?” commercials that ran last fall. In it, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul trades the drama-filled dancerie for the friendly confines of the local BK, where she regales the sales force with the following bit of lyrical awesomeness (guaranteed to be a big hit on your next karaoke excursion):

“Crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses / Fresh dressing wrapped up in a / Tasty flour tortilla / Crispy chicken, wrapped up in a / Flour tortilla!”

Harry Crane, you crazy for this one!

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K’Naan Is VH1′s April You Oughta Know Artist

by (@unclegrambo)

As we bid adieu to our talented March You Oughta Know artist Graffiti6, it’s time to give a great big welcome to K’Naan, the latest member of the YOK Family!

K’Naan is a 34 year-old, Somalian-born hip hop artist, one that currently calls Canada home. He was raised in the war-torn town of Mogadishu, but at the age of 13, he and his family were able to make their way to North America, first arriving in New York City before settling down in Toronto. K’Naan released a few albums in the latter half of the Aughts to critical acclaim, but it wasn’t until his anthemic 2009 song “Wavin’ Flag” (which was produced by a then-unknown Bruno Mars) was selected to appear in a Coca-Cola advertisement in 2010 that he really began getting noticed. This just wasn’t any ordinary commercial, either; Coca-Cola selected his song to be the company’s promotional anthem for the 2010 World Cup, which exposed K’Naan’s particularly soulful blend of hip hop to an international audience that numbered in the hundreds of millions.

Understanding that he had a golden opportunity to take his career to the next level, K’Naan took the next few years to work on his follow-up to Troubador, the 2009 album that “Wavin’ Flag” first appeared on. In January, he released his 5-song More Beautiful Than Silence EP, which is a pre-cursor to May 1 release of his full-length God, Country Or The Girl. His EP contains the single “Is Anybody Out There?”, which is steadily climbing the Billboard charts, thanks in no small part to its hook being sung by his fellow Canadian, Nelly Furtado. He performed the single sans Furtado a few weeks ago at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge as part of his You Oughta Know Live set, a video that we have for you above. (In the video above, aMina accompanies K’Naan in place of Furtado.)

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Slash On Why The Guns N’ Roses Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Reunion Probably Won’t Happen: “Axl Hates My Guts”

by (@unclegrambo)

The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is set to induct heavyweight acts like Guns N’ Roses, the Beastie Boys, and Red Hot Chili Peppers on April 14, but there’s one open question that’s overshadowing the whole affair: Will Axl Rose bury twenty-plus years of beef and reunite with Slash, Duff, Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin and the rest of the original lineup of GNR for a one-night only performance? As much as we’d like to report otherwise, we would strongly advise you against holding your breath.

When Axl turned up on That Metal Show last year, he was diplomatic about the prospects of the reunion, intimating that he had recently broken bread with Izzy and Duff. Then last month, former GNR drummer Matt Sorum didn’t slam the door on reunion rumors, but also confessed that “I’m not the guy to ask, I just hope it works out.” However, in an interview with Rolling Stone that was just published, Slash all but crushed GNR fans’ hopes for a reunion.

“This is a subject I’m dead sick of talking about,” he told RS. “Everyone has been asking me what’s going to happen, and they know as much as I do. I feel you’re totally obligated to be present and I would love to f***ing play, but it’s just something that’s not gonna happen for whatever reason.” When pressed for further explanation, he added “[Axl] hates my guts. It’s over a lot of different stuff; I don’t even know. There’s just no communication between us. I talk to Duff and Steven, but when it comes to old Guns N’ Roses, there really isn’t anybody that makes decisions [besides Axl].”

We really wish this was a late April Fool’s Day joke, but sadly, it appears as if this is one reunion that’s never going to happen.

Slash: ‘Axl Rose Hates My Guts’ [Rolling Stone]

[Photo: Getty Images]

Tuned In: Katy Perry Goes Medieval On The Kids Choice Awards

by (@unclegrambo)

Katy Perry Goes Medieval At The Kids Choice Awards

Unless you have a couple of children running around your household, we’re betting there’s a very good chance that you missed the Kids Choice Awards that aired on Nickelodeon on Saturday night. We’ve got all of the coverage of who got slimed (hint: The Biebs!) over at our sister site TheFABLife, but we’re here to focus on the musicians that strutted their stuff for the kid set.

The show got off to a rip-roaring start with host Will Smith sliming everyone in the pit to the party rockin’ strains of LMFAO, and boy band sensation du jour One Direction made all the girls go CA-RAY-ZEE, but the performance of the night belonged to Katy Perry. She performed her most recent #1 hit, “Part Of Me”, but wisely refrained from turning in a performance that the likes of Naomi Wolf could label as military propaganda. Instead, Katy took an old school —a REALLY old school— approach by donning Dungeons & Dragons-style gear and directing the ire of the song towards a king who presumably did her wrong. Talk about a performer who’s maxed out her HP in the Constitution and Charisma fields!

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We’ve got the video for you below!

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Madonna’s Top 11 Controversies (And How They Helped Her Succeed Commercially)

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Madonna‘s MDNA is set to take the top spot on Billboard next week by selling an estimated 300,000 to 350,000 copies. This will be her fifth consecutive album to debut at No. 1 and her eighth overall. According to Billboard, MDNA‘s sales have been bolstered by a promotion tied to her world tour — fans who buy concert tickets in the U.S. may also buy the album as part of their purchase. But we wonder whether controversies tied to MDNA — albeit, relatively small on the Madonna Controversy Scale — have helped with the sales spike.

If anything is in Madonna’s “DNA” (the stated inspiration for her album title), it’s stoking controversy and using the press as a marketing machine. This time around, the pop provocateur had her “Girls Gone Wild” video, featuring shirtless men grinding in mantyhose, age restricted by YouTube for nudity and implied masturbation.

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