When we began compiling our Best Songs of 2011 list, there were many differing opinions, and after briefly toying with the idea of pitting all our staff against one another in a Hunger Games fight-to-the-death scenario against the backdrop of Times Square, we conceded that the most diplomatic and least murderous thing to do would be to each submit our own list. You know, in the name of preserving a civil work environment and whatnot (not to mention our longstanding policy of avoiding contact with the human resources department). So while we didn’t battle it out in a conference room or some such nonsense, each one of us faced an internal battle — choosing our favorite songs of the year. As you can see, it wasn’t easy (some of us got a little greedy with 20 strong lists), and while the usual suspects like “Rolling In The Deep” and “Holocene” made appearances, there were a few surprises in the music tastes of the VH1 office folk…
(Btw, before we get into this, we’d like to note that we put together the following Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure: VH1 Staffers Pick Their Favorite Songs Of 2011. It’s sequenced in alpha order by artist first name, so we wholeheartedly recommend you hit Shuffle while listening to this 120 track playlist. Now, on with the show…)
The Black Keys just released their new record, El Camino, and are currently in the midst of a huge promotional push to get the word out about it. Still riding the crest of viral popularity of their video for first single “Lonely Boy,” the band has showcased their new songs on SNL and an MTV Hive livestream, but are currently causing waves with fans (including our own Kat George) by not allowing El Camino to appear on popular streaming sites like Spotify, Rdio and MOG.
Well, we were lucky enough to grab some time with The Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney over the weekend and were able to ask them about this controversial decision. Carney told us that, “[Streaming services] are becoming more popular, but it still isn’t at a point where you’re able to replace royalties from record sales with the royalties from streams…For a band that makes a living selling music, it’s not at a point where it’s feasible for us.” He went on to explain that he endorses services like Pandora, where fans are able to sample and discover new music on a song-by-song basis, but commented that the Spotifys of the world are “set up to be a little more fair for the labels than for the artists.”
What say you guys, the music fans, about this hot button issue in the today’s music industry? Are you on the side of the Black Keys, and think that fans should support their favorite artists by buying their albums and singles through retail outlets? Or does the Black Keys’ decision not to allow El Camino to appear on streaming services like Spotify make you less likely to listen to their music? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Dear The Black Keys,
You all right? How’s things? Getting pretty famous over there, I noticed. Congratulations! No seriously, you deserve it. I still remember the first time I heard “I’ll Be Your Man.” I was still a teenager and it was definitely one of those songs that changed me, especially after growing up in a rock-centric household with my parents breeding me on the likes of Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen as well as a constant serving of the blues. So yeah, you’re rock — classic rock, organic rock, non-pretentious, no bullsh*t rock.
Which is why I’m slightly confused about your decision not to release your new album, El Camino, on music sharing devices like Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG and Rdio because you believe it will eat into your album sales. I know you gotta eat, blah blah, but since when is a #1 record of more importance to The Black Keys than the music and the fans? Strategic chart climbing just isn’t very rock’n’roll now, is it? Why are you suddenly so concerned with being the biggest rock band in the world? Why are you no longer happy to simply be the best rock band in the world?
If you think about it, Britney Spears is one of the last pop stars created during the “old” era of the music industry (meaning, before the advent of mp3’s). Her career as a bubblegum teen idol was launched in the late nineties, right at the same time as a little show on MTV called TRL was beginning to take off. The fortunes of these two properties became inextricably tied together, and thanks to some crazy catchy tunes and some truly iconic music videos that got tons of on-air exposure during the last gasp of MTV’s infatuation with the music video format, Britney Spears quickly became not only the biggest star in the music industry, but one of the most famous celebrities in all the world.
As everyone knows, her tabloid notoriety would soon go on to eclipse her musical output, and there was a period of time there when a lot of people thought that Britney Spears might not make it to her 30th birthday. However, to her credit, Britney was able to pull her life back together and re-dedicate herself to her music career, and her focus is now unquestionably sharp. As we look back upon her body of work on the occasion of Brit Brit’s milestone 30th birthday—an incredible six Number One albums, nineteen Top 40 singles (!)—it’s a testament to her longevity and outstanding career output that we had an incredibly difficult time putting together this list of the 30 Greatest Britney Spears Songs (which you can also listen to on Spotify).
Feel free to debate our choices in the comments below!
VH1 Presents: The 30 Greatest Britney Spears Songs
30. “Radar” (Blackout, 2007)
29. “If You Seek Amy” (Circus, 2008)
28. “Hot As Ice” (Blackout, 2007)
27. “Showdown” (In The Zone, 2003)
26. “Break The Ice” (Blackout, 2007)
25. “Soda Pop” (Baby One More Time, 1999)
24. “Hold It Against Me” (Femme Fatale, 2011)
23. “Overprotected” (Britney, 2001)
22. “(I Got That) Boom Boom” (In The Zone, 2003)
21. “How I Roll” (Femme Fatale, 2011)
Keep reading for the Top 20!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! It’s time to tackle that tender turkey for your super thankful Thanksgiving meal, and we’re here to provide you with some extra sexy beats to get you through the entire process, all the way from the moment you take your first (but not last!) sip of your mimosa to the time when it’s time to say “grace” around the dinner table. So we made the following playlist, “VH1’s Songs To Baste Your Turkey To”, which can be found on Spotify. On your mark, get set … BASTE!
You’re in the kitchen, everything you need to make the perfect turkey laid out on the bench in front of you. You’re probably feeling some anxiety, or if you’re anything like us you’re having an existential crisis and are considering fleeing the scene. IT’S GOING TO BE OK. Before you start, make yourself a mimosa and relax.
Play: Adam Sandler’s “Turkey Song” — it’s pretty funny, and along with the mimosa should help take the edge off.
Now that you’ve calmed down, it’s time to preheat the oven and grab your Turkey. This part is a purgatory of doing tiny, banal preparatory tasks.
Play: The Offspring’s “Intermission” while you prepare to prepare, and relish the final moments of your sanity.
Here comes the gross part — stick your hand up your turkey’s butt and remove the neck and giblets. Yes, ew. You might want to finish that mimosa and make yourself a new one before you start.
Play: This is a call to arms (Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger”) so steel your resolve (Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”) and de-giblet that turkey (Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”). The delicate and squeamish need not apply, this is ultimate battle — The Battle Of The Turkey Innards.
If you were anywhere on the Eastern seaboard in the last hour or so, you no doubt felt the effect of an earthquake that registered 5.9 on the Richter Scale. Here in Times Square at VH1 HQ, we felt the building sway and bounce uncomfortably for a good five or six seconds. Everyone seems to be okay, if a bit freaked out.
In order to help you (and us!) calm down on this hectic afternoon, we just created the following playlist of earthquake-themed songs for all you Spotify users out there:
Quakin’ – Songs To Help You Cope With The 2011 New York City Earthquake
(If you’re not on Spotify, this room on Turntable.fm also just cropped up: Earthquake 2K11.)
Full playlist for you after the jump:
While it will still be another 18 months or so until Twilight-mania finally subsides, the next big franchise poised to gobble up the disposable income of America’s rabid teenage girl fanbase will almost certainly be The Hunger Games¹. There is currently a film adaptation in the works, and it is scheduled to hit theaters next March. Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter landed the scoop that there will be not one but TWO soundtrack albums produced for the Lionsgate film. One will feature the instrumental score co-composed by Grammy-winning soundtrack maestros T. Bone Burnett and Danny Elfman, while the other will feature “collections of the songs featured in the film and songs directly influenced by the themes — freedom, rebellion, survival, family — and subject matter of the film.” No specific artists have been announced yet, but we’re not going to let a silly thing like that stop us from speculating about the contents of said soundtrack. Here is the The Hunger Games soundtrack tracklisting … of our dreams.
(And if you’re into this sort of thing, check out The Hunger Games Soundtrack (Of Our Dreams) on Spotify.)
1) Temple Of The Dog, “Hunger Strike”
2) Lenny Kravitz, “Always On The Run”
3) Eric Carmen, “Hungry Eyes”
4) Weird Al Yankovic, “Eat It”
5) The Clash, “Career Opportunities”
6) Duran Duran, “Hungry Like The Wolf”
7) The Postal Service, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
Cloud-based streaming music service Spotify has launched in the United States, and you can sign up for their “unlimited” or “premium” monthly subscriptions or, with an invite, listen for free, with advertising. The hype machine is in full force, but how does the service stack up against other available options? We broke down the aspects of Spotify’s appeal to cut through the hype and look at what the service offers.
Spotify is streaming-only, so it does not allow users to download from its music catalog. This allows the service to license the music at a lower rate (and is part of what makes the advertising-supported service possible). As a free option, Spotify improves on Pandora by allowing listeners to choose what songs they hear, rather than having a playlist programmed for them. Its subscription service is not dissimilar to Rhapsody‘s or Rdio‘s streaming services, but both of those allow subscribers to download songs, so they can only offer free trials rather than a full-fledged advertising-supported service, and their subscription services start at a higher price point than Spotify’s $4.99/mo. “Unlimited” subscription.
Spotify is also touted for being cloud-based, which is to say that music is provided by content owners and stored by the service, not by the user. This allows users to have access to a larger catalog than they would able to store on their computers, phones, etc. However, control of the music is ultimately out of the user’s hands, so it can become unavailable. For example, even the services that have licenses with Sony do not stream Milli Vanilli songs, because that music has been deliberately removed from circulation by the company.