Legendary British visual artist and record cover designer Storm Thorgerson died yesterday at the age of 69. Although most famously linked to Pink Floyd, for whom he designed the covers of platinum chart-busters like Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Thorgerson created a truly remarkable number of iconic album covers in over his multi-decade career, both on his on and as a member of the design group, Hipgnosis.
2012 was the year that Taylor Swift made her first (mostly) adult record, hosted a VH1 Storytellers, sold 1.2 million albums in a week, broke iTunes records, dated a Kennedy, covered all the magazines and pizza boxes, earned herself $57 million dollars, and — and well, you get the point: Taylor had a tremendous year. In order to properly celebrate her 2012, our pop blogging friends over at Popdust have declared Taylor to be their Artist of the Year. But before she was allowed to claim her crown, she had to answer a few questions about what made 2012 so special for her.
Here is how Taylor’s 2012 — which she says “was more like a two-year process, actually, culminating in a surprisingly pleasant reception for Red” — breaks down:
Few movies in recent memory have been so good at integrating popular music into their soundtracks as the Twilight saga has been. The soundtracks — complete with up-and-comers like Sea Wolf as well as old pro’s like Thom Yorke — have true and through become a part of the vampire love story that has so gripped America’s teenagers (and, you know, us) by the heart. And so with the Saga drawing to a close tonight, we thought we would revisit some of our favorite musical moments from throughout the series.
Love conquers all in the shadowy blue future world of Muse‘s new “Madness” video. The charged clip finds a pretty girl courting a trenchcoated Ed Westwick look alike on the subway platform, where throw-down between turn-style jumping, gas-masked rioters and baton wielding swat police seems to be escalating. Matthew Bellamy, looking a little vampiric in the subway underworld, meanwhile sings over the quivering and almost paranoid bass line, “I need to know if this is real love, or is it just madness keeping us afloat.” And somehow, the couple’s lurid love protects them from the chaos that has otherwise infected the world around them. Aww.
Frank Ocean felt horribly about cancelling a string of European festival tour dates where he was scheduled to take the stage with Coldplay. Along the way Frank has picked up a couple of new gigs, including performing at this year’s 2012 VMAs where we secretly hope he gives us a visual to “Pyramids.” On September 15th, FO will serve as the musical guest for Saturday Night Live’s premiere episode for its 38th season. Wowzers. Can you believe SNL has been around for 38 seasons? The success of Frank’s Channel Orange is shaping up for one blast of a year for the R&B newbie. Read more…
As they’ve been wont to do, NBC clipped and hemmed last night’s Closing Ceremony broadcast in order to get things wrapped before their new sitcom, Animal Practice, was scheduled to air. Of the acts cut Ray Davies of The Kinks, Muse, and probably most egregious of all The Who, who closed the closing spectacle.
Ray Davies performed the Kink’s classic, “Waterloo Sunset”
Muse played their Olympic theme song, “Survivor”
The Who closed the Symphony of British Music with a run of their hits that included “Baba O’Riley,” “See Me, Feel Me,” “Listening to You,” and “My Generation.”
BILLS, BILLS, BILLS NO MORE: JAY-Z AND BEYONCE HAVE TAKEN THE THRONE
Forbes has anointed Jay and Bey the Highest-Paid Celebrity Couple this year, having earned a cool $40 million between them in music sales alone. [Idolator]
THE OLYMPIC CLOSING CEREMONY WILL BE “THE GREATEST AFTER-PARTY IN THE WORLD”
Medals have been awarded and heroes have been made, but the end is nearing and now the rumors start spinning: the music director for the the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony says Sunday’s event will include 20 British artists performing 30 pieces of music, “like spinning plates and they’re all on fire.” Among in those 20 acts? Almost definitely Muse, Kate Bush if we’re lucky, and probably not Ed Sheeran but definitely not Pink Floyd. And please, please, puh-lease someone make sure the Spice Girls are there. [NME]
And the winner of the Official Song of the 2012 London Olympics is … British prog-rock trio Muse! Their new song, “Survivor,” will be played during sports sessions, as athletes enter stadiums, and before medal ceremonies. So, basically, all the time. They won’t get a medal for this big score, but they can rest assured that you, Olympic viewers, will have their song stuck on loop in your head between the opening ceremony on July 27th and the closing ceremony on August 12th.
According to Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, the song was written with the games in mind and is intended to “express a sense of conviction and determination to win.” It was scheduled to make its official radio debut tonight on BBC Radio tonight, but Warner Bros released the song on their official Soundcloud page today. Muse is also set to release their next album, The 2nd Law, in September. You can check out the dramatic preview for that album here.
Elsewhere, a list of songs Danny Boyle plans to use in the opening ceremony has leaked and it includes everything from Adele to Tinie Tempah to the Sex Pistols‘ anti-monarchist song “God Save the Queen.” A bit of punk, a bit of prog — let the games begin!
Each week here on VH1 Tuner, 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.
If you’re already sick of holiday music—especially since department stores have been holding Muzak systems hostage since Halloween—here is a list of non-Christmas songs that still give an essence of the holiday season. (Rest assured, this list was not complied by doing a quick Google search; all of the following tracks are quality tested and in rotation on my iPod.)
1.) “Starlight,” Muse
One of the best “big-rock” love songs of the 2000’s.
2.) “Fake Plastic Trees,” Radiohead
A tune that always comes to mind whenever I zigzag through a plastic tree display at a department store.
3.) “Toys Go Winding Down,” Primus
Behooves me that this song has yet to be exploited on various Christmas music compilations.
4.) “Walking With A Ghost,” Tegan & Sara
Ebenezer Scrooge can totally relate.
5.) “Snowflake,” Malachai
Malachai’s The Ugly Side of Love was my sleeper-hit album of last year, and this is my favorite track from it.