Beyonc? treated fans in Nice, France to a three-song cover medley in concert last night, tackling Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Prince‘s “The Beautiful Ones,” and Kings of Leon‘s “Sex on Fire” in quick progression. B bungled a few of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” lyrics, but by the time she hit Prince, she hit her lyrical stride.
Foster the People came to our offices for an exclusive four-song performance earlier today. In-house performances always draw a crowd, but for a new artist, the trio (lead singer and guitarist Mark Foster, backed by bassist Cubbie Fink and drummer Mark Pontius) drew a particularly large and excited group of MTV and VH1 employees out of their cubicles and offices and into the foyer where the band was playing. That’s yet another sign of the momentum building behind the band, whose first single “Pumped Up Kicks” just unseated Foo Fighters‘s “Rope” at the top of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart after over a year of slowly-building word of mouth. In an MTVHive interview Matt Pinfield conducted, Foster even mentioned Hype Machine, the mp3 blog aggregator that tracked tens of thousands of streams of their single and other tracks. Their debut album just came out last month, and the word is, they’ll be announced as our next You Oughta Know artist next week.
The set sounded great, but we won’t tease you too much with descriptions until we can share footage with you. We will say that they played the three songs from last year’s self-released EP (re-released by Startime in January)?new single “Houdini,” Song Of The Summer contender “Helena Beat” (a sneak preview of which can be seen above) and of course “Pumped Up Kicks”?plus an early fan favorite from the new record, “Color on the Walls (Don’t Stop),” which has a bassline that resembles Nirvana but with an entirely un-grungy guitar melody over it.
It’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere?officially the first day of summer?so even though the season’s lazy days are ahead of us, what better time to start looking back at the evergreen songs of summers past? This morning, the Village Voice‘s Sound of the City blog ran an extensive Q&A with DJ Jazzy Jeff about one of the most enduring summertime songs, his own (with the Fresh Prince) “Summertime,” which turns twenty this year. Will Smith channeled his own nostalgia for Philly summers past (while in Los Angeles shooting the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) into a timeless nostalgic anthem.
Yesterday was surprisingly strong for late night music on a Monday. Bon Iver kicked off “StePhest Colbchella ’011: Rock You Like a Thirst-icane” on The Colbert Report and Mint Condition slayed the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon crowd as Weird Al Yankovic, sitting in with the Roots, looked on. (Panic! at the Disco weren’t bad on Kimmel either.)
The best performance of the night, though, belonged to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who burned up the Lopez Tonight stage. The whole crowd clapped along with the punchy throwback-soul number “Without a Heart,” thanks in no small part to the Dap-Kings’ sharp playing. Were Sharon Jones a James Brown-style bandleader, she wouldn’t have needed to fine any of the Dap-Kings a cent. As it is, Jones is a much less harsh figurehead than Brown ever was, though her gruff vocals hardly have less power for it (though she definitely leads the way?the band stops on a dime on the line “I could be cold as ice”). Of course, the band nods to their roots by ending the song with a mini-riff of Brown’s soul classic “I Don’t Mind.”
Elsewhere on late night?
Renee Graziano Styles Ghostface Killah
In case you missed yesterday’s Mob Wives and haven’t caught up with Liz Black‘s recap yet, make sure you do! Staten Island’s own Ghostface Killah met up with Staten Island’s own Renee Graziano in one of the episode’s few lighter moments for Graziano.
Jeremih Covers Adele‘s “Rumour Has It”
“Down On Me” songster Jeremih tried his hand at a cover of “Rumour Has It,” from Adele’s still-chart-topping 21, for Billboard today. He even dropped a bit of “Ice Ice Baby” and “Under Pressure” into a breakdown.
Amid rumors that she nearly fought Nicki Minaj backstage, Britney Spears turns her microphone into a weapon?literally?in this interesting teaser for her new video “I Wanna Go,” which premieres Wednesday. Aside from the obvious allusion to Gogo Yubari, the schoolgirl character from Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (see below), (and the McTiernan joke on the theater marquee: CROSSROADS 2: CROSS HARDER) the most interesting visual aspect to this teaser is the appearance?on Britney’s shirt and on a wall?of a skull with Mickey Mouse ears.
2011 seems a strangely belated time for former Mouseketeer Britney to be making any sort of statement with this Shepard Fairey-style graffiti combination, but we’re curious where (if anywhere) the video goes with this, not to mention that the notoriously litigious Walt Disney Company could argue that the imagery doesn’t fall under fair use.
Still, seeing Britney as a rather believable warrior on the New York City streets (deadlier than even Adam Lazzara) speaks to the continuing rehabilitation of both her self-representation and her public image. At the very least, the video looks to be better than “Hold It Against Me.” We’re looking forward to Wednesday’s premiere.
Britney as Gogo Yubari:
Carla Meyer raved at the Sacramento Bee about Spears’s tour kickoff on Thursday night, a “relaxed” yet “excited” performance that was no less professional for the “fun” Spears had while “hitting all her marks.” Barry Walters, who attended the same show for Rolling Stone, reported the same: “She’s wisely focusing on the present…while offering possibly her flashiest, fastest moving, and most entertaining production yet.” He complimented her agility and showpersonship.
The two reports disagree on opener Nicki Minaj; Meyer praised her “magnetism” and “attention to detail” while Walters thought the set “lacked in commitment.” Both did find it (understandably) strange that Spears’s “Till the World Ends” performance featured an onscreen Minaj instead of an in-person one.
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Now that we’re four weeks into this year’s race to determine the Song Of The Summer, the race is finally starting to heat up. Adele still has a firm grasp on the #1 spot, but closer analysis reveals that the gap between her and those who would gladly take her position is closing (thanks to minor slips in iTunes sales and the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown this week).
While Adele isn’t giving up her throne anytime soon, it looks pretty clear at this point that Miami rapper Pitbull is shaping up to have his Best Summer Ever. He’s currently got three songs resting comfortably in the S.O.T.S. Top 20: He contributes guest vocals to both Jennifer Lopez‘s “On The Floor” and Shakira‘s new chart entry, “Rabiosa,” and he’s also the lead artist on the club-friendly “Give Me Everything.” Not only that, his new single with Marc Anthony, “Rain Over Me,” is just starting to bubble up and could make a strong run itself after his new album, Planet Pit, drops tomorrow.
Also, while we’re talking about potential songs that could dethrone “Rolling In The Deep,” keep an eye on Lady Gaga’s “The Edge Of Glory” next week. The video just debuted on Thursday night, and even though it underwhelmed many upon its release, the song should benefit greatly from increased exposure in the wake of Clarence Clemons’ tragic passing this week.
Got any thoughts on the Song Of The Summer? Tweet us @vh1 or leave your comments below!
Amy, Amy, Amy. We thought you were getting better, not worse! Just two weeks ago, after a short stint in rehab and a clear-headed, successful performance at London’s 100 Club, it was reported that the British songbird’s sobriety was finally on the mend. But in Serbia on Saturday night, Winehouse kicked-off what was supposed to be her European tour, showing up visibly inebriated on stage. Not only could a stumbling Amy barely sing for her Belgrade audience of 20,000 ticket-holders, but her cringe-worthy “performance” was heavily booed in what local press is referring to as “the worst in the history of Belgrade.” An apologetic statement has been issued from her camp, speaking to the incident and canceling her next two shows in Turkey and Greece:
The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, passed on Saturday due to complications from his recent stroke. He was 69. Saxophonist Clemons was perhaps the most essential member of the E Street Band, but his appearance on Lady Gaga’s latest single “Edge of Glory” is a potent reminder of the range of his body of work outside Bruce Springsteen collaborations. Here are his five best:
5. Ian Hunter, “All of the Good Ones Are Taken”
Clemons has a really great solo two-and-change minutes into the title track off Ian Hunter’s 1983 album All of the Good Ones Are Taken (though a stand-in appears in the music video). Without his performance, this Mott the Hoople member’s solo effort wouldn’t have had its single (especially since guitarist Mick Ronson only played on one song). This largely forgotten video used to get a lot of play on local and syndicated non-MTV video shows.