It’s here — Lana Del Rey‘s Born To Die, the album that has been discussed almost as much as her “controversial” persona. While digital sales are telling one story — Born To Die took #1 and #2 positions on the US iTunes charts this morning and holds the #1 spot in 11 other countries (UK, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland) — the critical reception to the album has been less than warm. While a few have praised Lana Del Rey as the dichotomous ingenue / bad girl who is bringing desperately needed direction and ideas back to music, many have fortified attacks on her image by surmising that her music is even less challenging or interesting than her aesthetic portrayal. And the rest are just sort of a bit… “meh,” finding Born To Die neither offensive nor completely worthy of the attention it’s garnered. We’ve clipped together some quotes from the flood of Born To Die reviews that have littered the Internet this week…
“If you ask me, I reckon the girl doesn’t know whether she wants to be a classic Hollywood glamourpuss or a modern pop star, so she’s doing both at once. Nothing wrong with that here, songs all cinematic, like a warped Casablanca channeling the Rat Pack via Do The Right Thing. More interesting than a lot of starlets by far, and more confident. Whatever she ends up being, she seems fun, this Lana Del Rey. A lot more fun than you’d think to look at her.” [Drowned In Sound]
“I like the album better with each listen—the more time I spend in its company, the more I feel as though I’m approaching it on something like its own terms.” [Slate]
“For all of its coos about love and devotion, it’s the album equivalent of a faked orgasm– a collection of torch songs with no fire.” [Pitchfork]
Rumor mongers rejoice! You have been proven right, for once! It has been announced that Adele will be performing at the Grammys after almost a month of rampant speculation. The performance will mark Adele’s first live appearance since undergoing vocal cord surgery, and being nominated for 6 Grammys herself, the event will be somewhat of a momentous one for Adele. Joining Adele on stage will be fellow nominees Coldplay and Rihanna for a highly anticipated duet, as well as the Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars and Jason Aldean, while LL Cool J will act as the first Grammys host in seven years.
Adele Will Return to Live Performance at the Grammys [Rolling Stone]
So it turns out there’s not much President Obama can’t do — adding singing to his repertoire last week, Obama belted out a line of Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together” and the Internet stood in ovation. Now, American Idol‘s Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe is reaching out to Obama and Green with the following Tweet:
An Obama / Green duet? On American Idol? Is this even vaguely a possibility? We all know how much Obama likes to be “down with the kids,” especially when it comes to music, but it hardly seems likely that a President would partake in such frivolity. But then, stranger things have happened. We’re also wondering about the state of reality talent shows — are they floundering for ratings? Following today’s firings at US The X Factor and now American Idol‘s reaching out to President Obama, it seems like everyone is grappling for an audience.
‘American Idol’ Asks President Obama For A Duet With Al Green [Prefix]
The X Factor has made some cuts — and it’s not the regular contestants. Causing quite the stir in the music world this morning, judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, and host Steve Jones were all FIRED from the US version of The X Factor last night. According to Rolling Stone, Simon Cowell and his creative team decided to axe Paula and Nicole during a meeting in which they weighed up what worked and what didn’t for the shows debut US season. Reports are saying that Paula was deemed “irrelevant to the mix,” while it remains unclear why Nicole and Steve were cut. While L.A. Reid is staying, it seems that Cowell is keen to bring in bigger names for the second season, and tongues are certainly wagging with speculation…
‘X Factor’ Dumps Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger [Rolling Stone]
[Photos: Getty Images]
We remember distinctly the edge of puberty — all awkward, disproportionate limbs, angsty scrawls in diaries emblazoned with pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tiffani Amber Thiessen, and Nada Surf‘s “Popular.” Somewhat of an anthem for the 90s, “Popular” is probably the first thing you’ll think of when you hear the name Nada Surf, despite the band’s impressively full 20 year catalog. For their 20th year as a band, Nada Surf are back with a new album, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, and last night played “Hi-Speed Soul” (above) and “Waiting For Something” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. With hints of the music you loved in the 90s, “Hi-Speed Soul” infuses power-pop with indie rock for a high energy, dynamic sound.
Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” Gets An Eighties-tastic Remix Thanks To Miami Nights
One of the hottest newcomers for 2012, Gotye, gets his track “Somebody That I Used To Know” remixed by Miami Nights. It’s a synth-led 80s redux, and it’s pretty rad. [Rolling Stone]
A Q&A with “Politicizing Beyoncé” Professor Kevin Allred
The L Magazine spoke to Kevin Allred, the doctoral student responsible for that academic course in Beyoncé. He reveals that unfortunately, you can’t get extra credit for memorizing the “Single Ladies” dance. Dang — we’ve just wasted the past week then! [The L Magazine]
Jack White is going solo — after 2011 saw the official dissolution of The White Stripes, his divorce from Karen Elson and The Dead Weather‘s Alison Mosshart focusing on The Kills‘ 10 year anniversary album and tour, it only makes sense that the impresario should cut out on his own. Today sees the launch of White’s solo project online, with “Love Interruption,” the first single off White’s solo album, streaming now on White’s official site and sales beginning exclusively in digital retailers at 9 PM PT. The single will be available on vinyl from February 7th, while the album, Blunderbuss, has its release date set for April 24th.
“Love Interrupted,” has whispers of Jack White’s signature sound, both vocally and in the rock-led guitar riffs, but there’s something more personal at play here — an infusion of emotion and blues that hasn’t quite characterized White’s collaborative work the way it does in his first solo track. Simple and sparse yet powerful and moving, “Love Interruption” is our new favorite song, with its world weariness, nostalgically straight forward lyricism and weathered romanticism.
Despite his oft-professed dislike of the media, Axl Rose clearly recognizes the value of good publicity. After seeing Van Halen score tons of positive headlines after playing the 280-person capacity Cafe Wha? earlier this month, Guns N’ Roses has announced that they will be playing a total of six shows at club-sized venues during the month of February.
While it’s fair to say that the current incarnation of G’N’R can no longer fill stadiums they way they did in their early Nineties heyday, tickets for these six dates —three in NYC, one in Chicago, one in Silver Springs and one in Atlantic City— are sure to be some of the hottest tickets of what’s shaping up to be an outstanding year for live music. According to Rolling Stone, the last time that Guns N’ Roses played at Webster Hall was in 1988 (!), so old school headbangers and curious millenials alike will no doubt be ponying up big bucks to see the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductees in such an intimate environment. And who knows, maybe Axl will bring out some of his former band members for a tune-up before the RRHOF induction ceremony in April? We sincerely doubt that will happen, but if there’s one thing that we have learned about Axl after all these years, it’s to expect the unexpected!
Complete list of dates after the jump:
Lana Del Rey‘s song “Video Games” got us thinking — what if some of our favorite songs were made into actual video games? We thought about some tracks we love, and quickly found that many of them lend themselves perfectly to the video game format. We’ve even taken the trouble to add an objective and plot to each of our selections, so we think that someone should take some of these hit songs and pixelate them so we can add them to our consoles. You have to admit, they do sound more appealing than that rumored Angry Birds / Kanye West collaboration…
Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”
In which you attempt to save Paz De La Huerta from herself.
Rihanna, Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Run This Town”
In which you are the mayor of a town, and must run it as such.
Drake – “Crew Love”
In which you attempt to build and sustain a “crew” with challenges including in-fighting, mutiny and rival crews.
Speaking exclusively to VH1, Adam Lambert candidly discusses the inspiration behind, “Outlaws Of Love”, from his forthcoming album, Trespassing. He says the song comes “from a very real place, and I think one of the things that’s been really exciting about doing this as a career, as a job, being who I am is that I’m able to give people strength and encouragement that feel like outsiders.”
In the video interview (above), Lambert sits with the lauded cover art of the new album, and discusses the challenges that face the LGBT community, and how “Outlaws Of Love” addresses these issues; “One of the things I haven’t gotten to really do is sing about how it sucks some times, and how it’s hard and how it hurts and the pain and the struggle that the LGBT community goes through on so many different levels, and that’s what the song is about… It’s not the sadness about being gay, its about the sadness about the adversity that we face.”