The year is running down, and like everyone else, we are bundling up our most memorable musical moments from the year into a slew of Best Of’s. Before we get to the more obvious lists — the best albums, the best songs — we thought we would have a little fun. First up: 9 delightful collaborations, made all the more so for their unexpectedness. We aren’t talking Watch The Throne-style of-course-they-would team-ups, we’re talking collaborations that we couldn’t in our wildest dreams have imagined or that we thought we would never see, like — well, these nine:
Barton Hollow is totally “an indie record much cooler than mine,” but more careful observer might have predicted this unlikely but delightful collaboration, as Swift began yammering about her fellow Nashville transplants The Civil Wars on twitter long before this was even a possibility. We, however, were left breathless upon learning that one of the day’s biggest pop stars had teamed-up with one of our favorite You Oughta Know acts — and for a song for such a pivotal moment in the Hunger Games movie, no less! Joy Williams harmonizing turns Taylor’s girlish coo haunting, and John Paul White‘s patient guitar plucking gets the whole thing swirling. See also:“The Last Time,” Taylor’s distressed duet with Gary Lightbody of Northern Ireland’s mostly absent as of late folk rock set Snow Patrol. Taylor is a slick machine when it comes to her music, and it was a surprise to see her reaching out of bounds for this one.
Hard to believe as it may be given the boom box beats and all the sing-rapping that resulted, Warrior is allegedly a tribute to the genre Ke$ha loves the most: rock and roll. If you really strain your ears, you may hear some of that “old hippie rock” in the breakdown of “Die Young.” You won’t have to try so hard with “Dirty Pop,” which features Iggy Pop, a true and blue rock star and someone Ke$ha has spent a lot of time talking about through the years. The joy she must have felt the first time she heard him call her “Wild Child” on her own song is evident. See also:“2012,” K$’s duet with fellow weirdos The Flaming Lips.
Happy Thanksgiving! While you’re savoring the day with friends and family and a big ole’ feast, we’re celebrating with a crew of our favorite artists at the table this year. Here’s what everyone’s bringing:
Bob Dylan knows where to begin: with a “Turkey Chase.” Once wrangled, the bird can be topped with George Benson‘s famous “Giblet Gravy.”
While that’s getting prepped, Snoop will set up the beverage station — “Gin and Juice,” anyone?
Rick Ross, the real star of this meal, will handle the hors devours: “More better, more cheddar” (“Here I Am”); “Air train and peanuts, it’s time to slide” (Yung Joc‘s “Brand New”); “Order crab legs with the heavy butter” (“New Bugatti”); some lobster bisque (“I Love My Bitches”); and let’s get an order of those lemon-pepper Wingstop chicken wings, because why not.
PSY is slowly but surely becoming the next big phenomenon in music with the growing popularity of “Gangnam Style,” which climbed the charts due to its viral YouTube hit. Despite the song’s success it couldn’t ease its way pass Maroon 5‘s “One More Night” to take the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. In the closest race between Nos. 1 and 2 since February, “One More Night” kept its No. 1 spot for the third week in a row. “Gangnam Style” was nearly 500 overall chart points away from the coveted head position. Considering how close it was we think PSY should still honor his promise to perform “topless in a place where everyone can watch.” Read more…
At this point the MDNA tour is synonymous with controversy. From the tears to protests to swastika iconography to faux gun waving to lawsuits to nip slips, Madonna managed to ruffle more than a few feathers all before hitting the North American leg of the tour. Not wanting her North American fans to feel left out, while in D.C. Madonna gave a strange endorsement of President Obama. “Y’all better vote for… Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right?” she encouraged concertgoers. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? That was until she followed up with the now infamous, “We have a black Muslim in the White House.” Oh, Madonna, Madonna, Madonna. Read more…
The mudslinging between Elton John and Madonna has been ongoing, or as the British say, a bloody mess! The Sun reports the two are finally tired of the bickering and have made up. According to The Sun, the two bumped into each other at a La Petite Maison restaurant in Nice, France. Before Elton John left the two chatted and shared a laugh. “Just as he was leaving, he went over to talk to Madonna and they were laughing and smiling,” a source told The Sun. Loving is so much better than fighting. Read more…
Visually Azealia Banks owns the vogue and vintage look and feel in her videos. It’d be easy to mistake her for a high fashion model opposed to the Harlem bred speedy tongued rapper she is. Directed by Justin Mitchell “1991″ brings, well, 1991 back in style. A black pants suit has rarely looked as glamorous as it does against a white backdrop or in a blue room studio or behind a raindrop covered glass. Her aggressive lyrics directly contrast with the smooth house electronic instrumentation, which is what makes the song sound heavenly. Read more…
Today is Madonna‘s 54th birthday, and she is no less edgy nor relevant than she was when she first broke onto the scene. As much the Queen of Pop as she is the Queen of Controversy, she has defined herself as a good at the game and even better at breaking the rules. And she is still, after all these years, causing trouble and making hit songs.
Throughout her career, she’s challenged pop to be better and badder, forever changing the game on one simulated sex act, defiant F-bomb drop, and hot young boy toy at a time. And at 54 years-old, she’s showing no signs of slowing down. So in honor of this day, we are taking a look back at her 54 most gloriously controversial moments. To many more!
It can’t hurt to have Madonna on your team. Onstage in Moscow last night, Madge voiced her support for the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who have been in jail the past five months on charges of hooliganism, the night before their trial wrapped. This MDNA tour has been a particularly controversial one, with feelings and bits spilling freely, but Madonna’s words last night were careful, clear and — at least by those in attendance — uncontested.
“There are many sides to this story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government … I think that they have done something courageous, I think that they have paid the price for this act, and I pray for their freedom,” she offered during the show’s pause, “PUSSY RIOT” scrawled across her back. Then she called on the Moscow audience, who, “if you’re here as my fan, you feel that you deserve the right to be free,” to join her. The speech earned a massive applause.
Madonna is not the first artist to come out in support of Pussy Riot — Patti Smith, Sting, Pete Townsend, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for a few, have spoken in their defense. She was bold, though, to voice her support in Moscow and on the eve of their trial’s close. Who are Pussy Riot? Check out our primer below.