Yesterday evening, Kelly Clarkson premiered “Mr. Know It All,” the first single from forthcoming LP Stronger, in a live chat on kellyclarkson.com. During the chat (which was foreshortened by technical difficulties), she was her ebullient self, revealing a number of details about Stronger (songs will include “You Love Me,” “What Doesn’t Kill You,” and a duet with an Idol-affiliated woman that some speculate is Kara DioGuardi, but not a duet recorded with Chris Daughtry won’t make the cut) and plans for an upcoming tour (January) that she prefaced by saying she’d “get in trouble” for divulging. She confessed her deep and abiding crush on Kyle Chandler, particularly as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights. She described herself as sassy nearly as much as Russell Clark would have, and invited her fans out to dive-bar karaoke. She also wished for an opportunity to sing with Adele or Miranda Lambert. (Someone make this happen!)
As for “Mr. Know It All,” Clarkson noted, “I hope y’all like the song,” as a postscript to its premiere, quipping, “If you don’t, lie to me!” We don’t have to lie. The mid-tempo ballad isn’t our favorite of her tracks, and we wish her vocals were mixed higher, but we dig it nonetheless. Two things in particular stand out, though we confess we’re not sure we’d have noticed if she hadn’t mentioned them in the chat. Her voice is particularly unprocessed (we hate to say “raw,” but there it is). During the making of Stronger Clarkson and the producers strove to record her voice as it’s heard at live shows, with as little adornment (or Auto-Tune) as possible. Clarkson’s backup vocals, however, sound a lot like Clarkson herself?because she insisted on recording them, a fact she attributed to a love of harmonies and a past as a choir nerd. Both of these tactics are quite effective, which is probably at least as indicative about the rest of the album as the way “Mr. Know It All” sounds. October 30 can’t come soon enough. Read more…
Thanks to the vocally-challenged likes of Heidi Montag and Paris Hilton, musical vanity projects emanating from the reality starlet universe already have a pretty poor reputation. However, this already disreputable genre is about to get a downgrade that makes what Standard & Poor did to the US credit rating look like small potatoes.
A 55-second snippet of Kim Kardashian‘s previously-thought-to-be-shelved singing debut, “Jam,” emerged yesterday on the KimKardashianMusic YouTube channel in the form of a music video. It features the recently married sex tape star crawling around on all fours in what looks to be a neon-lit air shaft, all the while licking her cherry red lips in slo-mo and shaking her oiled-up tailfeather in a way that would make Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee proud. There is no pretense of “art” in it whatsoever; rather, it’s so blatantly over the top with how it presents Kardashian as a sex object that it makes Warrant‘s treatment of Bobbi Brown in “Cherry Pie” look positively chivalrous by comparison. That said, this “leaked” video managed to rack (heh heh) up 2.2 million views in the last 24 hours, so clearly she must be doing something right.
Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards Dies at 96 David “Honeyboy” Edwards, the last living link to Robert Johnson?and an accomplished blues guitarist in his own right?died of congestive heart failure yesterday morning. He scored his first hit, “Drop Down Mama,” in 1953, and continued performing into 2011, but retired after falling ill in July. He received a Traditional Blues Album Grammy in 2008 and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2010. [Hollywood Reporter]
Whom do you recruit to open for your hometown reunion show when you haven’t played together as a band in fourteen years? If you’re 1990s Los Angeles stalwarts that dog., who after three critically acclaimed and modestly-successful records on DGC, fell almost completely off the critical radar when they disbanded in 1997, the answer is simple. Call Maya Rudolph and her Prince cover band!
What seems like a bizarre double-bill actually makes a lot of sense given the participants’ shared history; the members of that dog. contributed plenty of session work for the likes of Weezer and Beck, and sisters Petra and Rachel Haden have played with Rudolph when the actress was a touring member of the Rentals in 1995. We could go on about their musical interconnections (and parentage, e.g. Rudolph’s mother Minnie Riperton), but the key takeaway here is the video above, in which Rudolph and band (Princess?get it?) deliver their take on classic Purple Rain cut “Darling Nikki.”
Miranda Lambert may have a forthcoming album (Four The Record, due out November 1) and a moderately successful side project (Pistol Annies, whose album Hell On Heels was released last week) but she continues to face charges (in so many words) of breaking up the first marriage of her husband Blake Shelton. As those who are well-versed in country lore know, Lambert met Shelton on June 8, 2005, when they sang “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” for the CMT special 100 Greatest Duets. In Lambert’s episode from this season of Behind the Music (available to stream in full on our site), she, her family, and Shelton talked about the unforgettable performance. “Looking back on that,” Shelton said, “I was falling in love with her, right there on stage”?and it’s plain to see. The problem? “I was a married guy, you know?” (Shelton had married his high school sweetheart Kaynette Williams two years earlier.) “Standing up there and singing with somebody and going, ‘Man, this shouldn?t be happening.’”
Last night when Lambert appeared on Dateline, she faced a similar line of questioning from Hoda Kotb, and she stuck to her story?that sparks flew during the 2005 special, but that she kept her distance until Shelton was divorced. “I had seen their wedding picture in Country Weekly,” she told Kotb. “I knew better, like, this is off limits. My parents are private investigators, for God?s sake. I?ve seen this my whole life?affairs. Of all people to know better, I know better than this.”
Janet Jackson has finally weighed in on the controversial tribute concert planned for her late brother in October, potentially putting the already imperiled Michael Jackson tribute in further jeopardy. In a one-sentence statement to the Associated Press, she wrote, simply, “Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me.”
The criminal trial to which she refers is that of Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Her statement echoes that of siblings Randy and Jermaine Jackson, who issued a statement the day the concert was announced explaining that they would not support a tribute concert scheduled to take place during Murray’s trial.
New York City may have been spared the brunt of Hurricane Irene, but communities in the Catskills, Vermont, and New Jersey have been devastated by flooding, which has threatened to burst dams and has overflowed reservoirs?like the one in Lyndhurst, NJ, adjacent to the home of former Skid Row frontman, recurring Gilmore Girls guest star, and all-around nice guy Sebastian Bach. He reveals, on Facebook: “My home of 21 years, my house featured on MTV Cribs, has been destroyed, condemned, & deemed uninhabitable due to the extreme flooding courtesy of Hurricane Irene.” Unfortunately for Bach, his archive, full of Skid Row master tapes and press clippings and KISS memorabilia, was stored in the now-underwater basement. “Gone are irreplacable items, such as my KISS Gargoyles from the 1979 tour; KISS pinball machine; Skid Row master tapes, video & audio, concerts, master tapes from Oh Say Can You Scream etc.; boxes & boxes of one of a kind Skid Row memorabilia, from the first tour to our last, all stuff I collected on the road that no one else had…every single magazine that had Skid Row on the cover,” he reports.
On the bright side, before the hurricane leveled Bach’s home, his sons and their friends were able to move what artwork of Bach’s father David Bierk remained on the lower levels, so the entire David Bierk Archives, including the 16-foot “Slave To The Grind” mural that appeared on the cover of Skid Row’s 1991 album of the same name, is intact. Furthermore, neither he nor any of his family was injured in the storm.
[Sebastian Bach Image: Getty Archives. Lyndhurst Image: Sebastian Bach's Facebook]
One of the minor instant celebrities of last night’s Video Music Awards was Tyler, The Creator‘s mother, who sobbed with pride and excitement when her son won the Best New Artist Moonman. It turns out that her on-camera presence is due in part to an unlikely VMA hero: Nathan Williams of Wavves, who claims on Twitter to have given her his Black Carpet pass. Left Brain of Odd Future seems to confirm this on his Tumblr, describing Williams as “a crazy white kid,” and further noting that Williams “sparked a blunt when [Lil] Wayne was performing and Ron Artest told him to put it out!” All that, and the premiere of I Just Want My Pants Back! featured new Wavves song “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl,” a wish that apparently came true at the VMAs. [Tumblr]