Foster The People continued their banner year with an appearance on Saturday Night Live, where they performed (what else?) “Pumped Up Kicks.” But for their second song of the night they welcomed a surprising guest?Kenny G, who has officially gotten more notice at VH1 this year, between this performance and his appearance in Katy Perry’sSong Of The Summer video “Last Friday Night,” than any since VH1 was born in 1985. The controversial smooth-jazz titan added a soprano-sax solo to “Houdini.”
The collaboration was not as out-of-left-field as it may have seemed; the band has talked on multiple occasions about collaborating with the saxophonist (who also appeared in an Audi ad this year as a “riot suppressor”). The tipping point may have been a short interview with MTV Hive, during which a reiteration of what seemed like a running joke became a reflection on Kenny G’s talents. “I watched that guy hold a note for like ten minutes,” Mark Foster quipped, exaggerating but not entirely joking. Finally, on Saturday, the moment arrived. For a somewhat different (albeit Kenny G-free) take on “Houdini,” check the band’s You Oughta Know Live performance of the track after the jump. Read more…
All week, VH1 has been rolling out the 100 Greatest Songs of The ’00s and tonight we finally made it to number one which is…(drumroll)…Beyonce’s“Crazy In Love”! We’ve always maintained that this song is like a party?(and we’re all invited) so we think its place at #1 is well-deserved, but we want to know if you agree. Our distinguished panel certainly does — they can’t help but booty pop in their seats just talking about it.? Mob Wives star Drita D’avanzo puts it best though, when she says, “Beyonce and Jay-Z is like peanut butter and jelly, and you just want it.” After the jump,?check out the full list of the top 100 songs from the ’00s, and then make your way to the comments section to let us know if Beyonce is the best choice to sit at the top of our list.
What’s better than a new video with Beyoncé? If you answered “a new video with multiple Beyoncés,” you’re going to love “Countdown”! The single is a standout from 4?not just a refreshingly uptempo jam among ballads, but a darn good one?and director Adria Petty certainly does the song justice with this clip. Petty combines intentionally stilted choreography with multiple frames and multiple exposures (and, yes, multiple Beyoncés) to create a sort of “Flashdance” by way of “Rockit” spectacle. Alternately, think of it as a Gap ad made by Mondrian, and starring robots. Words don’t do this video justice. Read more…
We have to applaud our MTV News colleague Jim Cantiello for the “Burning Questions” segment of his interview with X Factor judges L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell—mainly because he found a way to talk about unsung jams, and we love jams. First: did you know that X Factor contestant Stacy Francis was once Stacy X of early-nineties new jack swing quartet Ex Girlfriend? Neither Reid nor Cowell did. (Nor had we!) Cantiello did, though, and cited an Isley Brothers remix as a particular favorite. It turns out that Ex Girlfriend were launched by Full Force, whom we remember for their work with Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, but whom you might remember for their scene-stealing moments in House Party, or their colorful videos.
It’s sort of astonishing to realize that J. Cole made his network television debut last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Television appearances aren’t essential to record sales, exactly, but they’re certainly part of a promotional cycle, and Cole’s appearance came a week after his record debuted?and four months after “Work Out,” the single he performed, hit radio.
Of course, when you sell over 200,000 copies of your debut, hitting #1 in a week that saw five other top ten debuts (including new releases from Blink-182 and Wilco) and reissues of two evergreen best-sellers (Pink Floyd’sThe Dark Side Of The Moon and Nirvana’sNevermind), maybe a television performance is an afterthought. The sideline story is quickly being retconned into anything but, as scores of observers swallow comparisons to Memphis Bleek. Meanwhile, the crowd at Kimmel ate up his performance. It has to be good to be J. Cole right now.
Last night, eulogies for Steve Jobs flooded all sorts of social media platforms (in many cases powered, as was often observed, by devices Jobs himself spearheaded). These goodbye wishes were frequently interspersed with Occupy Wall Street updates, with no sense of inherent irony. That sort of contradiction is part of what makes Steve Jobs unique and much-loved. Jobs is a quintessential American in the old style—a modernist entrepreneur in a post-modern era. Popular opinion may have turned against those who turn money into more money, but Americans will always love those whose fortune is made in production.
The legacy of Steve Jobs since his return to Apple in 1996 has been as the most influential music-industry executive, despite not working in the music industry. To an extent, Jobs’s eulogies were already written in August when he resigned from his post at Apple. For our part, we keep returning to Kelefa Sanneh’sNew Yorker profile. With the rise of high-speed internet and digital music, the music industry was in a panic, having lost control of all but the earliest stages of music distribution. The innovation of the iPod was to adapt a music-playback device to the internet era, and use that as a springboard into the music-distribution business. Apple gave the music industry a shot in the arm, and yet a decade later, it’s still not clear to what extent that industry will recover. The tech industry, on the other hand, is still booming.
The world lost a truly creative and brilliant mind yesterday when it was announced that Apple, Inc. co-founderSteve Jobs died at the age of 56. Though Jobs was not a traditional celebrity, he certainly had an impact on the lives of nearly everyone in recent years, and few people have not been changed by his creations and what he brought us. As a tribute, we wanted to share what some of our VH1 talent has been saying since the news of his passing was announced. R.I.P. Steve.
And finally, Bret Michaels wrote a lengthier, moving statement on his MySpace page: First I must express my deepest condolences to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family and friends. He showed great strength and perseverance through his illness and continued to be an innovator all the while remaining positive while fighting his battle with cancer. I can only thank Steve for his innovation, inspiration and creativity while touching all of our lives in some way shape or form. Again my condolences. He will be missed.
[Photo: Getty Images]
R.E.M.’s First Demo Surfaces Online
Just two weeks after R.E.M. called it quits, the band’s original three-track demo has surfaced online, digitized from one of the only 400 copies they had made in 1981. Spin has the details. [Spin]
Sneak Peek At Def Jam: The First 25 Years
If you get one music-related oral history this month, get I Want My MTV (seriously, it’s great, and we say that knowing that former MTV execs trash-talk VH1 within). But if you get two, the forthcoming history of Def Jam Recordings looks like another winner. It’s co-written by two former employees of Rick Rubin. GQ has an excerpt detailing the rise of LL Cool J. [GQ]
Method Man Writes Sour Patch Kids Rap For Commercial
This doesn’t quite measure up to the ode to sour cream and onion that Bruno Mars wrote for PopChips, but Method Man’s rap is certainly more than just your ordinary endorsement. Still: did Raekwon turn them down? We’d have asked the Chef first if we were selling edibles. [YouTube]
Tim Armstrong Creates Punk Rock Halloween Musical Anthology Series
That’s a lot of descriptors! But the trailer has us intrigued. In the first episode, Lars Frederiksen, also of Rancid, is visited by the devil. We’re hoping this turns out to be something halfway between American Idiot and Justin Timberlake’sSouthland Tales routine (set to The Killers). [VEVO]