If memory serves, it was the songwriter Peter Allen who coined the phrase, “Everything old is new again.” Now, that’s not meant to be an affront to the respective ages of Madonna and Lionel Richie, but rather, the fact that two artists who dueled on the charts back in the mid-1980s are doing so again in the year 2012.
No one is accusing Lionel Richie of any trickerfoolery —that’s what you get when you combine trickery and tomfoolery!— when it came to his album Tuskegee. Thanks in part to a well-received comeback performance at SXSW and his killer version of “Say You, Say Me” on Letterman last week, the honey-voiced smooth operator sold 199,000 copies of his torch and twang inspired reinterpretation of his catalog. A hearty congrats go out to Richie, who hasn’t seen these kind of heights on the charts since his album Dancing On The Ceiling debuted at #1 back in 1986.
In this week’s episode of Behind The Music, we takes a look back at the brief yet remarkable career of Aaliyah, whose life was cut tragically short at the tender age of 22 when her plane crashed shortly after takeoff in the Bahamas.
This episode, which originally aired back in 2001, has been updated with brand new and never before seen interviews, including her friend and mentor, Missy Elliott. This special sneak preview of the entire first act of the show features some incredible footage of Aaliyah, who couldn’t have been more than 10 at the time, singing a haunting cover of Gloria Estefan’s “Anything For You,” as well as a candid interview with Aaliyah herself about how her Star Search molded her into the performer that she would one day become.
Tune-in to VH1 tomorrow night, Thursday, April 5 to catch the full episode of Behind The Music: Aaliyah when it airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Adele‘s 21 is an undeniable artistic and commercial success, scoring six Grammy wins and moving over eight million copies, but as we pointed out last week, it measures up short when compared to the pop culture impact that Norah Jones made when she landed on the scene in 2002. Norah’s debut album, Come Away With Me, won eight Grammys and sold 10.8 million copies, making it the most popular album of the last 10 years.
Over the course of the last 10 years, Norah has released three other studio albums, each of which has performed very well in its own right. On May 1, she’ll drop her fifth studio album, …Little Broken Hearts, the debut single from which is a rollicking little number called “Happy Pills.” Norah wrote and recorded both this song and album with superproducer Danger Mouse, which might explain why the groovy, propulsive bass line that runs throughout the course of the song is so catchy. The video for “Happy Pills”, which was shot in upstate New York and directed by Isaiah Seret, will premiere at midnight tonight, but to whet your appetite, we’ve got this exclusive behind-the-scenes video to share with you guys.
So, what’s the video about? “It’s like a murder-not-so-much-of-a-mystery,” Norah explains. “It’s more like a murder-thriller. A thrilla!” Watch the video above to get some more clues, and be sure to come back to VH1 Tuner tonight at midnight to see the whole shebang!
“Thank you so much for believing in my weirdness!”
This seems to be the key line in the brand new trailer for Katy Perry‘s upcoming 3-D movie, Katy Perry: Part Of Me. The film appears to be part concert film, part documentary about the life and times of America’s favorite sprayer of whipped cream. It promises to cover hot button topics like her strict Christian upbringing and her recent divorce from Russell Brand, in addition to all the shenanigans that went down on her year-long California Dreams World Tour. The film doesn’t have a release date yet, but we’d assume the film will be out sometime this summer. There’s also no rating on the film yet, but the filmmakers clearly didn’t shy away from Katy’s famous cleavage, which millions of teenage boys will surely line up in droves to see in three glorious dimensions.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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”:
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!”