The highly anticipated posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures was officially released today amidst mixed reviews and high emotion. Amy‘s father, Mitch Winehouse, has expressed how emotional the process of producing the album has been, saying, “The estate, which I’m a part of – my ex-wife and I – we could decide to put it out or not put it out, and when we went to listen to the album it was a very difficult time for us. It was very emotional.” It seemed, on all accounts, that the sheer poignancy of Amy’s death would be enough to carry the album, and to have it connect with her legions of fans and admirers. However, the album, now released, has been met with mixed reviews.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer calls Lioness: Hidden Treasures “sublime,” “nostalgic, wine-soaked heaven.” The Guardian, however, was not so forgiving, acknowledging that the album is revealing of Amy’s struggles, but that it is subpar considering the strength of Frank and Back To Black. Cynically, the Guardian review surmises, “Presumably it was felt that was what was wanted by the audience Lioness: Hidden Treasures is expected to attract: not the kind of diehard fans who normally flock to posthumous collections of out-takes and demos, but mainstream record buyers, Radio 2 listeners, the Christmas market. Which, of course, tells you something else about Amy Winehouse,” positioning the album essentially as a cash grab by Amy’s estate.
Die hard Black Keys fans the world over are wide-eyed in disbelief as the unassuming band is skyrocketing their way to rock superstardom, mainly because we’re just so used to their defiant, organic sound flying ever so slightly under the radar. But the attention is well deserved, as the Black Keys’ dedication to rock’n’roll is completely unwavering, their music consistently inspiring. Since they made meme status with the “Lonely Boy” dancer, it only makes sense that the next logical step is a second appearance on Saturday Night Live. Performing “Lonely Boy” and “Gold On The Ceiling,” the Keys shine, upping the ante for their contemporaries and giving rock authenticity a much needed renaissance. If you like what you saw on SNL, be sure to tune in tonight for MTV Hive’s‘s live stream of the Black Keys in concert from New York City, at 9 p.m ET/6 p.m. PT.
La Isla BonBritney-ita
Perhaps in honor of her 30th birthday, the Britney Spears fansite BreatheHeavy posted a previously unheard and unreleased Britney track today called “Love 2 Love U.” This would be fairly unremarkable if not for the fact that the song borrows the beat and the vocal cadence of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.” Listen below, and CHA CHA! [BreatheHeavy via Idolator]
Justin Vernon Of Bon Iver Thinks The Grammys Are Unimportant And Don’t Mean Anything Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon put the Grammys on blast, saying, “it’s just not important and people spend too much time thinking about it.” Yeah, he went there. Maybe he’s got a bee in his bonnet over collaborator Kanye West‘s Album Of The Year snub? [Pitchfork]
If you’re already sick of holiday music—especially since department stores have been holding Muzak systems hostage since Halloween—here is a list of non-Christmas songs that still give an essence of the holiday season. (Rest assured, this list was not complied by doing a quick Google search; all of the following tracks are quality tested and in rotation on my iPod.)
1.) “Starlight,” Muse
One of the best “big-rock” love songs of the 2000’s.
2.) “Fake Plastic Trees,” Radiohead
A tune that always comes to mind whenever I zigzag through a plastic tree display at a department store.
3.) “Toys Go Winding Down,” Primus
Behooves me that this song has yet to be exploited on various Christmas music compilations.
4.) “Walking With A Ghost,” Tegan & Sara
Ebenezer Scrooge can totally relate.
5.) “Snowflake,” Malachai
Malachai’s The Ugly Side of Love was my sleeper-hit album of last year, and this is my favorite track from it.
Poor Rihanna. The 23-year old performer is in danger of being seriously over-worked on her 101 date world tour, with reports flooding in that her health is suffering. It has been reported that RiRi broke down backstage in Dublin in November, almost cancelling her show, so she’s been put under 24 hour health watch — meaning that she’ll be under constant surveillance and now has a curfew — in a bid to curtail her overwhelming exhaustion.
It’s no wonder the star has been run ragged. Her Loud tour, which has kept her on the road for the last ten months, hasn’t been the only thing taking up RiRi’s time: she’s appeared on The X Factor and The Grammy Awards Nominations concert; she’s been looking for love, blitzing the charts as well as releasing her newest album, Talk That Talk, mid-tour. All in all, it’s been a jammed packed year for the “We Found Love” singer. We hope RiRi gets a good night sleep soon, or at the very least, takes another relaxing vacation with the gals.
This month, as part of a Vanity Fair cover story, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga had themselves a Jack and Rose moment, albeit without the illicit romance. In Titanic, the devilishly handsome Jack sketches the unattainable Rose as she lies sprawled and naked before him. Before any nudity ensues, however, Rose asserts, “The last thing I need is another picture of me looking like a porcelain doll,” and we’re thinking the line could have just as easily slipped from Lady Gaga’s lips. Bennett’s charcoal rendition of Lady Gaga is stripped down and raw — Mother Monster without all the accoutrements we’re used to seeing her robed with. Bennett’s drawing, in short, is of a human girl we’ve yet to really see. And it’s beautiful.
Lana Del Rey has finally released the official recording of the highly anticipated track “Born To Die” off her debut album of the same name. Until now, Lana has only played the song live, teasing fans, who until now had to satisfy themselves with “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans,” and the young performers back catalog from her days as Lizzy Grant.
“Born To Die” continues in the same vein as Lana’s previous work, continuing to uphold the Lana Del Rey illusion after a brief stumble, with retro throwback instrumentals, a tonality lending itself towards the maudlin, and emotionally wrought, sentimental lyrics. Unfortunately, however, Lana has changed some of the lyrics that had fans (the boys mostly) going crazy. In the chorus, when performing live, Lana has previously sung “let me f–k you hard in the pouring rain,” but the official version replaces the expletive with the very PG “kiss.” Never fear — the audio release comes with GIF-inspired imagery of Lana Del Rey without her top on, exposing a satisfying amount of side boob. Let the Lana fantasy continue.
If you weren’t a TLC fan in the 90s, you were either asleep for a decade or not born yet, and for both we’re willing to forgive you (and we hope you’re well-rested or enjoying your youth, respectively). Needless to say, we were massive TLC creeps and still are, so we’re pretty excited that our network, in collaboration with surviving band members, Chilli and T-Boz, have announced they’ll be making a scripted TLC bio-pic that will air on VH1. Obviously, we’re absolutely thrilled at the news, and have already started speculating as to what events in the history of TLC that this highly anticipated movie will cover. For now, though, we’re going to play casting director and make some suggestions as to who should play the some of the CraziestSexiestCoolest singers in music history…
CHILLI – SOLANGE KNOWLES
Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas was the quiet one, as far as quiet goes when you’re part of TLC. Solange is much the same, the quiet sister, or as quiet as a sister can be when she’s a Knowles. Not to be confused with shy, Chilli has this cool nonchalance that made her slightly enigmatic with this completely intriguing, subtle sex appeal. And she still had attitude, buckets of it — but she gave you this sense that she wasn’t giving you everything, although what she was giving was so beguiling you were always hankering for more. Enter Solange, whose soft harmonies we’d love to hear accompanying T-Boz’s gravelly voice. Both women give the impression that there’s so much more to them than meets the eye…
If you think about it, Britney Spears is one of the last pop stars created during the “old” era of the music industry (meaning, before the advent of mp3′s). Her career as a bubblegum teen idol was launched in the late nineties, right at the same time as a little show on MTV called TRL was beginning to take off. The fortunes of these two properties became inextricably tied together, and thanks to some crazy catchy tunes and some truly iconic music videos that got tons of on-air exposure during the last gasp of MTV’s infatuation with the music video format, Britney Spears quickly became not only the biggest star in the music industry, but one of the most famous celebrities in all the world.
As everyone knows, her tabloid notoriety would soon go on to eclipse her musical output, and there was a period of time there when a lot of people thought that Britney Spears might not make it to her 30th birthday. However, to her credit, Britney was able to pull her life back together and re-dedicate herself to her music career, and her focus is now unquestionably sharp. As we look back upon her body of work on the occasion of Brit Brit’s milestone 30th birthday—an incredible six Number One albums, nineteen Top 40 singles (!)—it’s a testament to her longevity and outstanding career output that we had an incredibly difficult time putting together this list of the 30 Greatest Britney Spears Songs (which you can also listen to on Spotify).
Feel free to debate our choices in the comments below!