It’s love on the run for Britney Spears in her new video for “Criminal,” in which real-life boyfriend Jason Trawick plays a bad-boy biker, on break from working the kitchen at a fancy party, when he witnesses Britney’s character being attacked by her controlling British escort (not that kind), comes to the rescue, and…you get the idea. Less Bonnie and Clyde than Thelma and Louise?or maybe even Aerosmith’s “Crazy”?the video follows the newly minted lovers and partners in crime as they rob at least one bank before getting cornered by the world’s most trigger-happy S.W.A.T. team. The two characters actually are way more committed to having sex than committing crimes (and we can respect that) but when Britney “borrows” her guy’s gun and pulls it on a convenience store cashier, they make the news fast.
Part of the reason the video works so well is director Chris Marrs Piliero. He and Britney share a comic sensibility that not only drove the madcap “I Wanna Go” video (their first collaboration) but also provides levity in this action-oriented video. The groin kick Britney gives her abusive date, Trawick’s mouthed “Oh s?” when he sees Britney pull the gun, and Britney’s wordless expression of more or less the same sentiment in the TV news still all point to one of Spears’s greatest talents: giving the impression that although she takes her career extremely seriously, she nevertheless doesn’t take it too seriously. The song might not quite be “Toxic” caliber, but its video is at least as entertaining a bad-girl adventure story, and her role here is essentially that of a (wait for it) femme fatale.
Rihanna and director Melina Matsoukas reduce the love-story drug movie to its under-five-minute essence, while tweaking no shortage of noses, in the extraordinary music video for “We Found Love,” which premiered today. Loosely based on Trainspotting, albeit transplanted to Belfast (complete with introductory narration in a slightly dodgy Irish accent from Mancunian-born Agyness Deyn) the video features enough skin, crime, violence, and drug use for culture-watchers to cry controversy even before broadcast censors get hold of the clip. Rihanna and video beau Dudley O’Shaughnessy pop pills and rave their way through a greatest-hits of such doomed-love stories; aside from the eye-dilation insert shot made iconic in Requiem For A Dream and reused in Spun, we saw shades of Jia Zhang-Ke’s Unknown Pleasures and the skate-punk Kids. The clip also has a clever way of showing the worst of drug use without really showing it, both by including a needle, but in the context of an amateur tattoo (more on that in a second), and by portraying Rihanna bent over and vomiting…ribbons. Plus a ton of stock shots and superimpositions of police lights, fireworks, crowds moving in time-lapse à la Koyaanisqatsi, a controlled demolition, and a burning house.
The tattoo is a black-ink “MINE” branded on Rihanna’s left butt cheek, an almost too on-the-nose contrast with the bright-light “YOURS” she writes in the air earlier in the video, and one of a number of signals that the self-destructiveness of O’Shaughnessy’s character is turning just as equally towards Rihanna’s. Much is being made of a physical resemblance between him and Chris Brown, which we can sort of see. But what makes the comparison really stick is O’Shaughnessy’s bleached-blond hair?which is either another stylistic callback to a drugged-nineties moment (like the mud rave halfway through the video) or else it’s a pointed reference to the dye job Brown unveiled earlier this year?two years after his and Rihanna’s notorious confrontation. Or, more likely, it’s both. If people are going to circumscribe Rihanna’s work with the specter of Chris Brown anyway, why not play it up for attention? There’s a lot more to unpack here, not least the global vs. the local, the “art” of post-industrial decay, and the coolness level of doing donuts in a Trans Am. Needless to say, we love it. Watch it now!
[Image: Getty Images]
You have to sympathize with the girl in the video for “Mistletoe.” You’re getting some one-on-one time over hot chocolate at the café with your main squeeze Justin Bieber, when all of a sudden, some blonde girl comes out of nowhere and puts her hands on him. Don’t you hate when that happens? (“What was that about?” she mouths.)
Her insecurity seems understandable: after all, girls love Justin Bieber. The song, then, is his way of letting his “shorty” know that she’s the only one he wants to see under the mistletoe (or, for that matter, in a drop-top Porsche). How committed is our crooning lover? Enough to park in the middle of the street and sing until she puts down the book she’s reading (which just so happens to be New Moon) and finds the gift he’s snuck into her bedroom. That’s devotion, especially from a guy still young enough to get away with a line like “I should be playing in the winter snow.” Ah, young love!
Karmin didn’t have to go on The X-Factor to get L.A. Reid’s attention. Their YouTube cover of the hip-hop single of the spring, “Look At Me Now,” accomplished that for them, racking up 42 million views since going viral in April. That and other covers and originals from the Brookline, MA duo got them a deal at Epic, and they’ve spent the summer working with other songwriters (including Diane Warren!) and producers. In advance of Thursday’s premiere of their major-label debut single, they dropped by our offices, and of course we had the Berklee grads Pass The Bowl! (As you may recall, for each edition of Pass the Bowl, an artist will answer a question and then replenish the bowl with another.) Karmin’s question came courtesy Grace Potter, whose own installment of Pass The Bowl was, sadly, lost in the shuffle. They chose not to reveal the question they added, so it will remain a secret until a future artist selects it. Stay tuned!
When we geared up to launch a new season of Big Morning Buzz Live, one potential first-week musical guest jumped immediately to mind: Hanson. When we premiered the music video for “Give A Little” back in February, our own Mark Graham presaged the return of alto saxophone in pop while praising the track, which would go on to hit #1 on our Top 20 Video Countdown in April. One sax-filled summer later, we’re finally ready for autumn, and who better to ring in a new season than Hanson, playing a stripped-down “Give A Little” live in-studio? The band also spoke to host Carrie Keagan about their fans, Isaac’s “solo career,” the popularity of This Time Around (the album after “Mmm Bop”), and Halloween. Plus, as a Buzz.VH1.com online exclusive, they then performed “Mmm Bop.”
Our sister site The Fab Life also pulled the band aside to ask the question that’s on all of our minds: is Hanson prepared for a zombie apocalypse? There’s plenty more like this in store for this season of Big Morning Buzz Live, which?airs every weekday at 9AM EST on VH1, so tune in!
TMZ reports that rapper Rick Ross fell unconscious today immediately after taking off on a flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Memphis. It is assumed that Ross suffered a seizure on board the plane, which was forced to make an emergency landing. He’s currently on his way to a local hospital.
A Twitter update at 1:45pm ET from rapper Wale reports that Ross is doing just fine after the incident. Wale writes “I just talked to Ross…he’s 100 pct ok…@tmz #dontpanic #dontpanic #mmg !!!! #gfid dec 13th!.” DJ Sam Sneak also tweeted “I’m wit @rickyrozay now he good…”
We’ll be sure to update you with the latest news about Ross’ condition as it becomes available. In the meantime, we’re wishing him a safe recovery.
UPDATE: Rick Ross has suffered another seizure, TMZ reports. While en route to his performance in Memphis, the rapper’s private jet was forced to make another emergency landing when he suffered his second seizure of the day while on board. His flight was diverted to Birmingham, AL where he’s currently in a hospital in stable condition.
[Photo: Getty Images]
We dare you to think of a band that puts on a better show!
Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
In conversation–because of my profession–people usually ask me if I’ve seen any good shows lately. Without hesitation, I tell them that they must see the Foo Fighters, who are currently putting on a rock show for the ages (and that’s not me speaking in hyperbole).
I’ve seen two performances from their current tour, and I can tell you for a fact that no other band is putting on a better show than the Foo Fighters right now.??You need more reasons to see them? Good, here goes:
1.) Grohl on Drums
Cage The Elephant are currently opening up for the Foo Fighters, and after their drummer Jared Champion’s appendix burst, Dave Grohl said he’d fill in on drums so the band wouldn’t have to drop off the bill.?As you know, Dave Grohl has played drums before, but whenever he steps behind a kit, its met with the same astonishment as if he’s walking on water. It’s not that miraculous, but it is still pretty freakin’ cool (especially since Cage The Elephant’s music is inspired by the decade in which Dave Grohl was a full-time drummer)!
Gavin DeGraw is a New York City native, so his visit last month to record Bruno Mars cover “Grenade” and several original songs for a Top 20 Live set, he didn’t exactly have a long way to travel. Nevertheless, VH1 photographer Colin Gray got some great shots for our Music Seen feature, and we even got some feedback from DeGraw himself on some of the photographs in the series. After the jump, DeGraw’s travels from Live With Regis & Kelly to VH1 to MTV News, plus a glimpse at his style, and, of course, pit stops every step of the way for his many and adoring fans.
For the first twenty minutes of Guns N’ Roses’s rain-soaked headlining performance at Brazil’s Rock In Rio Festival earlier this month, frontman Axl Rose wore a big yellow raincoat, and from the coverage the band’s performance has gotten, you would be forgiven for thinking that this wardrobe choice was the most noteworthy thing about their set. Nevermind that the band played for a full two hours more once he stripped off the coat (even though the rain never let up). At the start of the performance, Axl promised, “I’m gonna try to focus on singing rather than running around like an idiot,” and while our gut reaction to that is “Why not do both?” we figure we’ll leave that to the professional?which is a word we chose intentionally here, since the once infamously unreliable singer put in the work, and then some, to close out the festival.
Perhaps the most significant detail was the band’s performance of “Estranged”?the first time that Axl Rose has sung the song live since 1993, when it was the last single off either Use Your Illusion album. This tour’s press material promised “all the classic hits,” but until we saw footage of “Estranged” we weren’t sure whether that was just hype. We try not to buy the narrative arcs that partially define musicians in popular culture, but it’s hard not to find that symbolic of a last step towards reconciliation with a complicated Guns N’ Roses career?just in time for the band’s first United States tour since 2006. The Rock In Rio Festival has always been kind to Guns N’ Roses?it’s where the band staged its first live return in 2001?so if we were the superstitious type, we’d say that the upcoming American tour looked rather promising. The live clips on YouTube of the other dates they’ve played in Argentina since seem to support this notion. The American tour kicks off at the end of this month (dates after the jump).
Ellen DeGeneres has some serious A&R muscle. The comedian and talk-show host already emerged as a leader in the post-Scooter Braun YouTube talent-search industry. The single-week turnaround she pulled off this week, though, is next-level. Last Wednesday a ?“Super Bass” cover, performed by an eight-year-old British girl named Sophie Grace Brownlee and her five-year-old cousin Rosie, went viral; by yesterday the two were appearing on Ellen, where they got to meet, and perform with, Nicki Minaj. Six days is, frankly, an astonishing turnaround for a television show like this. (Kudos to the staff of Ellen.) We don’t know that the girls have a Greyson Chance-esque recording career ahead of them anytime soon?Nicki Minaj encourages the girls to put school first and singing second?but the whole thing is completely adorable. They try on Nicki’s wigs!?
“The Surprise Of Their Lives” [Ellen]