When musicians are preparing to release a new album, one of the necessary steps on the promotional docket is the album listening party. Most of the time, journalists and other music executives are invited to either a rented out club or a conference room at the record label headquarters to hear the new tracks. That tactic is certainly effective, but doesn’t always lend itself to really “experiencing” the music in the fullest sense of the word. Record label veteran Usher, who has been churning out albums for nearly two decades now, must’ve sat through more than a few boring listening parties over the years, so he decided to step his game up now that he’s getting ready to release his seventh studio album, Looking For Myself. Instead of holding court in some conference room somewhere, Usher instead collaborated with the off-Broadway Fuerza Bruta cast for a one time only night of interactive surprises.
This past Friday night, April 27, a group of invite-only guests gathered in the heart of NYC’s Union Square at the Daryl Roth Theater, unsure of exactly what to expect from this unlikely mash-up. For the unfamiliar, Fuerza Bruta — which is Spanish for “brute force” — is sort of reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil in that they both have incredibly athletic performers, but Fuerza differs in that there’s more crowd participation in the program. This particular show began with “Climax” blaring through the speakers, when Usher suddenly appeared on an elevated treadmill wearing a crisp white suit paired with a turquoise tie, accented with bright socks. Usher ran and ran at top speed until he was noticeably out of breath and perspiring. At first, it was unclear who or what he was running from, but then, out of nowhere, a loud “bang, bang” sound rang through our ears, and Usher fell over with a blood drenched shirt from two apparent gunshot wounds. (Perhaps at that moment he reached the climax the song alludes to?) Like Superman, he quickly jumped back to his feet, removing the shirt (thankfully he had a clean tank top underneath) and presumed running, only this time he was joined by a partner. The two ran while dodging chairs and running through paper walls.
Sony Music has been hacked — and 50,000 songs have been stolen, including Michael Jackson‘s entire back catalog and a reportedly large amount of his unreleased work. Despite the attack occurring in April last year (when hackers stole the personal data of 77 million registered PlayStation Network users), the event has only now come to light. At the time of the attack, over 50,000 music files were simultaneously stolen, and while it remains unknown exactly what artists and songs were included, reports are suggest that Jackson’s entire back catalogue including previously unreleased duets with Will.i.am and Freddie Mercury were stolen.
And Sony owns a lot of Jackson material — in 2010 they paid the Jackson estate a $200 million guaranteed contract for 10 projects over seven years which included unreleased material from Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad studio sessions, and according to a source, “Everything Sony purchased from the Michael Jackson estate was compromised.” While Sony has not commented, the Jackson estate has been alerted to the breach, and two men have been charged in connection with the breach but both have pleaded innocent, released on bail to stand trail next January.
Madonna’s halftime performance at this year’s Super Bowl may very well make this list, but it hasn’t happened yet, so until it does, here are my five favorite Super Bowl Music Moments:
5. “The Super Bowl Shuffle” (Super Bowl XX, 1985-86)
A pump-up rap anthem made by the Chicago Bears leading up to Super Bowl XX. Looking back, it’s hard not to wince at football players trying to dance, but back then the song (and accompanying music video) was awesome, charting at #41 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
4. Michael Jackson Doing Absolutely Nothing (Super Bowl XXVII, 1993)
Dangerous-Era Michael Jackson did perform a handful of songs, but what I remember most is his frozen-in-time pose at the beginning of the halftime show. If you’re Michel Jackson you can use some of your allotted set time doing absolutely nothing.
Conrad Murray, the doctor who was Michael Jackson‘s personal physician at the time of his untimely death in June of 2009, was found guilty on manslaughter charges in a California courtroom just moments ago.
The trial of Conrad Murray began back on September 27th with a bombshell; on the first day of the trial, prosecutors unveiled a shocking audio tape of a totally-out-of-it Michael Jackson slurring his words, a recording that was captured just six weeks before Jackson’s untimely passing. This previously unheard recording went a long way towards establishing Murray in the eyes of the jury (not to mention the public-at-large) as an incompetent doctor at best, a murderer at worst.
Over the next six weeks, scads of medical experts testified for either the prosecution and Murray’s defense team, who painted Michael Jackson as a Propofol addict who ran roughshod over Murray’s well-seasoned treatment methods. The trial concluded last Friday, and the jury spent over nine hours deliberating the case before reaching their verdict earlier today.
So, what’s your favorite? Is it a Jackson 5 classic like “ABC”? Or something for MJ’s early solo career, like “Thriller”? Are you more of a contemporary fan for songs like “You Rock My World”? Or do you just love it all and can’t make up your mind so you wish you could vote for everything? It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, if you’re black or white or whether or not you can do the moonwalk — we want to hear from YOU!
Don’t forget, the world broadcast premiere of This Is It is happening TONIGHT at 9 p.m. ET, only on VH1!
Halloween is tonight, but if youâ€™re not an adolescent kid daydreaming of packing your pillowcase full of Snickers bars, youâ€™ll probably be out and about looking to celebrate. While youâ€™re stepping into your costume, click on these music videos that will surely entertain the ghoulish music fan within you:
10) Peaches, “Trick Or Treat”
If youâ€™re familiar with Peaches, then you know this trick-or-treating party is for adults only.
9) Lady Gaga, “Telephone”
Itâ€™s always Halloween in Gagaâ€™s world; soda cans in her hair only confirms it!
A taped Beyoncé performance introduced by Jackson’s three children and a great rendition of “Dirty Diana” by Christina Aguilera (who, The Fab Life notes, was not exactly looking her best) were the best-received of the performances by American artists who did come through for the show.
If we ever become wealthy enough to have a personal physician, the #1 thing we would least want the doctor to say might just be “Does anyone know CPR?” And yet this is exactly what Michael Jackson’s head of security Faheem Muhammad testifies that Dr. Conrad Murray asked on the day of Jackson’s death. Muhammad took the stand yesterday in the manslaughter trial against Murray, and provided his recollections of that day for the prosecutors. The real emotional gut-punch is his description of Jackson’s children, in the room at the time. “Paris [was] on the ground, balled up, crying. And Prince was just standing there, and he was just, he had a real shock, just slowly crying.”
The prosecution’s eyewitnesses are, in essence, testifying that Murray consistently failed to take necessary decisive action, except when it pertained to protecting himself from being held responsible. Today, Jackson bodyguard Alberto Alvarez took the stand and repeated his recollection, first shared at a preliminary hearing, that Murray told him to hide vials of propofol before calling 911. These staff members were not generally permitted into Jackson’s bedroom, so their immediate observations comprise the majority of prosecutors’ eyewitness evidence.
People still haven’t quite gotten over the tragic passing of Michael Jackson a little over two years ago, but now that Dr. Conrad Murray‘s manslaughter trial is underway in California, expect things to get worse before they get better. Prosecuting attorneys are currently in the midst of outlining their case to the jury against Dr. Murray, who was Jackson’s personal physician at the time of his death and had prescribed him the Propofol that he overdosed on. Earlier tonight, we pointed you in the direction of the gruesome MJ autopsy photos that were shown in court today, but now some new evidence that’s just as disturbing, if not as visually graphic, has emerged.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the “emotional high point” of the trial’s first day was the audio recording that we have for you above. The recording, which was captured on May 10, 2009—just six weeks before his death—highlights a Michael Jackson that the public has never been privy to. Gone is the boyish, enthusiastic voice that we all knew and loved; in this audio, it has been replaced by a drug-addled, slurred speech that is wholly unrecognizable as Jackson’s voice. Yet beneath this tragically sad exterior, the passionate heart and competitive spirit of Michael Jackson was still fully alive. “When people leave my [This Is It tour],” he explains, “I want them to say, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life…He’s the greatest entertainer in the world.” Sadly, he never got the chance to prove that to audiences one last time, but even still, his legacy as the King of Pop will always remain in tact.
Conrad Murray Trial For Manslaughter Of Michael Jackson Begins
The doctor, Michael Jackson‘s personal physician, stands accused of administering a fatal dose of propofol to the singer. Prosecutor David Walgren opened his case by showing the jury a postmortem image of Jackson‘s body on a hospital gurney, which The Smoking Gunalready has. The proceeds are being televised and webcast, so expect a lot more rubber-necking coverage like this on gossip sites, especially when Murray’s attorney calls Jackson’s eldest son, 14-year-old Prince, to the stand.
Lil Wayne’s VMAs Stretch-Denim Inspires An AP Trendpiece
The attention-grabbing headline Latest Trend in Hip-Hop: Women’s Clothes disguises a lengthy meditation on the performance of masculinity by none other than celebrity stylist June Ambrose, who’s got a show premiering this winter on VH1. And yes, the piece may refer to Kanye West as “hip-hop’s ultimate metrosexual,” but at least it didn’t misidentify Lil Wayne’s bottoms as “jeggings.” [AP] Read more…