The youthful Saadiq (if not for Tony! Toni! Ton?! you’d never believe he turns 45 on Saturday) immediately got the assembled crowd clapping?and even singing a callback?for “Heart Attack,” the album’s opener and one of its more straight-ahead soul tracks. But despite adapting retro song styles (like the blues form of “Daydreaming”), his songs still sounded like music of today, a distinction implicitly proven by their juxtaposition with the band’s cover of Marvin Gaye‘s 1963 classic “Pride and Joy.” That cut was retro in the best way: some audience members even provided callbacks without prompting.
If you’re looking for a sneak peek at a new Jim Jones song (or are just nostalgic for his braids), Pitchfork.tv’s Selector has you covered. The most recent episode paired the Love & Hip Hop favorite with mashup DJ Girl Talk in Jones’s Manhattan studio. Girl Talk previewed two beats: the glitchy “Happen,” which the Jones was definitely not feeling, and the 1970s-soul “Believe in Magic,” based on a sample of Honey Cone‘s 1970 number-one hit, “Want Ads.” The Dipset head’s skepticism about the sound soon faded when he started recording a freestyle over it, and he ended up loving it so much that he cleared the sample and recruited Lloyd to sing a featured verse on what now looks to be an upcoming single.
A mere weekend after the video premiere of “Judas,”Lady Gaga has released “Edge of Glory,” the third-and-counting track from the forthcoming Born This Way, to radio stations nationwide. It doesn’t have a provocative “hook” to it, as the righteous “Born This Way” and the religious “Judas” did (which may explain why the song went straight to radio), but that doesn’t matter because its musical hook steamrolls the other two songs with ease.
Taylor Swift may have premiered the video for her new single “Mean” Friday night on CMT, but don’t be surprised if the video pops up on VH1; directed by Declan Whitebloom from a concept Swift herself envisioned, the clip’s crossover appeal practically guarantees the song (already a Country Top 10) a much broader pop audience.
The song’s lyrics are boilerplate “aspiration in the face of bullies” but delivered with enough charm and power that they maintain their power despite clich?. In particular, the sheer glee Swift takes in her prediction of a vengeful fate (“And I can see you years from now in a bar/ Talking over a football game/ With that same big loud opinion but/ nobody?s listening/ Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things”) is especially effective?reminiscent of the “graph of a jock’s life” speechLate Night with Jimmy Fallon announcer Steve Higgins gave as A/V teacher Mr. Fleck on the series finale of Freaks and Geeks.
You Oughta Know artists The Civil Wars wowed the VH1 offices with a heartfelt and observant You Oughta Know Live performance a few weeks ago. After winning over a skeptical crowd with a heartfelt rendition of their single “Barton Hollow”, Joy Williams ducked behind the keyboard for what John Paul White called “the loud version” of their tragic duet “Poison & Wine” (viewable above). White and Williams are not involved with each other?they’re married to other people?but nonetheless when they locked eyes for the refrain “I don’t love you but I always will,” their vocal performance conveyed an emotion that felt just as real.
Arcade Fire continued their post-Grammy summer-festival victory lap this weekend at New Orleans Jazz Fest, and as they closed out Friday evening’s festivities on the main stage, they invited a special guest onstage for their encore?”one of our all-time favorite artists,” as frontman Win Butler introduced her?Cyndi Lauper.
Michael Bolton riffed on his movie soundtrack love-ballad singing style, with help from The Lonely Island, on this week’s Saturday Night Live. In the comedy-rappers’ SNL Digital Short “Jack Sparrow,” Bolton paid tribute not only to the protagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, but also to Forrest Gump, Erin Brockovich, and Scarface‘s Tony Montana (in each case costumed as the character), as the Lonely Island trio, who had been hoping for a club-rap hook, look puzzled and, increasingly, annoyed.
As far as the Lonely Island go, the contrast-gag is a bit old-hat. (They even use a callback to their short Andy Popping into Frame, with Bolton, wearing a Jolly Roger tricornet, pops into frame during a club scene to gleefully proclaim “Now back to the good part!”) But choosing Bolton as a collaborator was incredibly canny, since most of his biggest hits, particularly on 1989′s six-times-platinum Soul Provider, were co-written with Diane Warren, the undisputed champion of the film-soundtrack love ballad (“I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” is only the most famous of her many soundtrack hits). And Bolton himself sang on the soundtracks for Sing (“One More Time”), Only You (“Once in a Lifetime”), and Hercules (“Go the Distance”). “Jack Sparrow” proves Bolton to be a pretty good sport. We just hope the short didn’t upstage the epsiode’s actual musical guest, Ellie Goulding.