It’s a good year when a video of the leader of the free world singing Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together” is uploaded to YouTube. President Obama’s very good Al Green attempt wasn’t the only video that had us clicking. Strange things happen when cell phones with video recorders meet the Internet. And this is why we’re most thankful to the almighty YouTube gods.
It’s been one hell of a year for online sensations. Going viral isn’t a prerequisite to making our list of the year’s best online videos. It’s not about the number of Internet scavengers who viewed a whacky video (although it’s a pretty good indicator of how great a phenomena it is). Whatever made us laugh until our bellies ached, smile so hard while thinking, ‘How cuuuute!’ or made us hit the replay button more than once, it made the list. From Jay-Z explaining who he was to an elderly woman on the subway to a grandma dancing to Tyga‘s “Rack City,” we loved it all.
Our countdown continues with the 12 of Music’s Breakout Stars of 2012. It’s been a glorious year musically with diverse projects by promising new artists. While Frank Ocean‘s stardom is no surprise, who would’ve expected PSY to sing with Bieber‘s manager Scooter Braun? Meek Mill sketched his name in cement as one of hip-hop’s brightest stars this year transitioning from mixtape storyteller to mainstream success. How good 2013 will treat these breakout stars is unforeseeable, but with raised glasses let’s all toast to the year of stars coming out (no pun intended). Read more…
Everyone knows that albums don’t sell — exceptions granted to all British neo-soul performers whose names begin with the letter “A” and end with “dele,” because their albums go Diamond — and so tasked with the challenge of assuring that their albums actually sell, artists have done away with the televised performance here, album singing there promotional tours of old in favor of elaborate stunts that include breaking world records, reuniting with abusive boyfriends, large pizza pies and selling at least a few extra records. Here are five of the wackiest pulled in the last 365 days:
On this week’s episode of the VH1 Top 20 Countdown, we’re rolling out the Top 20 videos of the year from Herald Square, New York City. That’s right, all the videos that have led the countdown throughout the different seasons of the year will now battle it out for Top 20 supremacy. But before the show airs on Saturday at 9am EST, you can still cast your vote for the video you think should take the crown for 2012. Who will it be? You’ll have to tune-in and check back with us on Saturday to find out!
When we began compiling our Best Songs of 2012 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 far as consensus is concerned, there were 21 songs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only eight that appeared on three or more lists: Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe” (4 ballots), Frank Ocean‘s “Pyramids” (4 ballots), fun.‘s “We Are Young” (4 ballots), Gotye‘s “Somebody I Used To Know” (3 ballots), P!nk‘s “Just Give Me A Reason” (3 ballots), Usher‘s “Climax” (3 ballots), Azealia Banks‘ “212” (3 ballots), and Miguel‘s “Adorn” (3 ballots).
(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 2012. It’s sequenced in alpha order by artist first name, so we wholeheartedly recommend you hit Shuffle while listening to this 92 track playlist. Now, on with the show…)
Perhaps we should consider a new strategy. Adele‘s 21 hit shelves on January of 2011 and nearly two years later people are still clamoring over it. This year — both a full year out from its release and a year during which Adele kept a low profile — the sophomore effort earned Diamond status, and was also the top-selling album on iTunes for the second year in a row.
So Adele sold so, just so many albums in 2011 and there were still people left to buy so, just so many albums again in 2012. Will this happen again in 2013? She has already defied the physics of the music industry (namely the part where music doesn’t sell any more), so maybe! Presumably there are at least few of you out there who have worn through your first copy and are due for a second, and before you hit “purchase” we would like to propose an alternative: what everyone just stops buying 21 for a minute? Not because it’s not worth the $9.99 for download, but because if we stop buying 21 Adele might actually feel pressure to put out something new to buoy the music industry and anchor our iPods for the next two years. Deal?
Shoulda, coulda, woulda they say, and if we were heading up things at these labels, we might’ve done things a bit differently. But alas, we do not so we do what we do best and make a catchy end of year list that points out songs that deserved their run at the pop charts. Even if they never see the light of Billboard glory, they’re certainly some of the best songs of the year and should get your listen. Who knows! Did you know “Starships” wasn’t even on the original run of Nicki Minaj‘s Pink Friday? That’s right, and mostly why there was a “Pink Friday 2″ aka Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. So there’s always a chance for long-lost songs to see new glory. Here are the ones we think deserve it.
Talk about a missed opportunity, Ciara’s “Livin’ It Up”, a tropical romp across a Kid ‘N Play sample, isn’t even included on the final version of her album One Woman Army. Snatched from a Cosmopolitan Magazine sampler CD, blogs went nuts over the track after it leaked across the web in anticipation for the album. Too bad that when Ciara released her first single, the apty-named, and decidedly down-beat “Sorry”, turned out “Livin’ It Up” was more of what everyone wanted.
channel ORANGE received a whole bunch of attention this year, although it was Frank Ocean’s sexuality that managed to steal the spotlight most of the time. The album ended up being a gorgeous collection of songs that perfect flowed in and out of each other–even the 9+ minute “Pyramids” shined. But if any song had a chance at the pop charts, it would’ve been “Lost” a song that tells the tale of a drug-cooking girlfriend atop a catchy pop melody.
The days of summer beach hopping and brunching outside of lofty restaurant patios in the sun seem like only days ago. Now Christmas is two weeks away, which means 2012 is winding down and 2013 is on the horizon. VH1 Tuner is excited to present to you with a myriad of fun end-of-year lists for the rest of December, as we reflect back on the year that was. And what would 2012 be without the music YouTube phenomenons that made us laugh, scratch our head and dance? Without further ado, here’s to the rising crop of music stars (or at least popular for the moment) who can credit “going viral” for their success.
He’s not the next Justin Bieber. We’re only writing it because the comparison has been made a zillion times. Austin’s teeny bopper song “Say Somethin” spread quickly in the cyber world after his popularity grew from his covers of pop stars’ hit songs. The kid’s YouTube page of 90 million views and over 500,000 subscribers ultimately led to one of his biggest opportunities to date. From YouTube sensation to opening for Taylor Swift’s her RED tour, another one bites the good ol’ YouTube dust.
7. Rap BattleRoyale: Loaded Lux vs. Calicoe
One rap battle, two MCs, lyrically spar for bragging rights as the dopest rapper. This year’s most noteworthy battle birthed the infamous quote: “You gon’ get this work.” Loaded Lux and Calicoe battled for over 30 minutes in front of an anxious crowd vigilantly waiting to decide which rapper would hold the championship belt. The video quickly made its way to hip-hop sites galore where Loaded Lux’s “you gon’ get this work” had even Jay-Ztweeting the line. Shoutout to Lux for one of the hottest catchphrases of 2012.
The Best Of‘s continue, today with Spin, Complex, FACT and Gorilla vs. Bear picking their favorite tracks from the year that’s almost past us. Singles lists are always fun because it’s easier to make a good single than a good album, and because there are so many to chose between. So these lists still have a lot of the Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean action that we’ve come to except, as well as love for viral phenomenons like the Carly Rae Jepsen‘s and radio thumpers like G.O.O.D. Music‘s “Mercy.” And because FACT and Gorilla vs. Bear’s tastes tend to run left-of-center, you might even find there’s something new for you to love on one of these lists.
The nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. Hosted by LL Cool J and Taylor Swift, the show featured performances from the likes of fun., Maroon 5, Ne-Yo and more. The 2013 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 10th at 8/7c.