You thought it was weird when Katy Perry‘s Grammys performance started with “E.T.” too, right? We certainly did. And being the Perryphiles that we are, it took us only moments to start pointing at the screen and indignantly yelling “That’s not Katy Perry!” as a strategically shrouded figure took to the stage. Cue a faux electrical glitch that had all those around us gasping, “But how could the Grammys mess up like that,” and we were rubbing our hands together in Mr. Burns style excellency — “This is it, here she comes! Excellent.”
And come she did! Appearing in a futuristic box descending from the ceiling, Perry wore blue hair and an ensemble that looked like a cheap version of Leeloo’s iconic Fifth Element get up — but we’re going to forgive her for the ill-chosen costuming because what followed was an impassioned performance of her fine new single (yes, we smell that 6th number one!), “Part Of Me” (one of the new tracks on the re-release of Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection). The opening lines of the song, “You chewed me and spit me out like I was poison in your mouth,” were poignantly at odds with “E.T.”‘s “Infect me with your poison,” and as Katy slowly rose to standing from her crouched feline perch, it became clear that she had something very important to say, and that we were all going to listen. And if there was any doubt about whether or not we’d be paying attention, Katy sang the emphatic, rage driven lyric “Now look at me!” before punching out the front of her cube, which shattered dramatically in cascading glass.
Yep, dancing in her cube, Katy made a very definitive statement, “This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me.” We can only speculate that the track is a stiff middle finger in the face of ex-hubby Russell Brand, but marital politics aside, the performance showed us a part of Katy that we’ve never really seen before. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of flirty, sexy Katy, a bit of controversial Katy and some reflective, sad Katy, but when it comes to chart toppers, we haven’t ever seen angry Katy. There’s “Circle The Drain” from Teenage Dream, but the brutality of emotion of that song seems to wane in comparison to “Part Of Me,” which is driven, unwavering and anthemic. Watching Katy perform it live for the first time was almost chilling — the emotion she put into her spectacular, flame engulfed show was raw and powerful, showing the angsty side of a girl that is so much more than boob-shooting fireworks.
Ah, the Grammys! The conversation, the speculation, the anxiety! We’re gearing up to this Sunday’s awards ceremony the same way that we’re sure the rest of North America is — putting our tips on who we think will be a winner. Yesterday, we gave our opinion on who would take home the Best New Artist award, but today we’re wondering about Record Of The Year. With Adele nominated in the category, it would seem that no one is safe, but we know stranger things have happened, so let’s pretend for a second that the “Rolling In The Deep” singer isn’t a shoo in, and weigh up the odds on the other contenders.
Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Look, let’s just pretend Adele isn’t going to win everything at the Grammys — because the alternative is that we succumb to the fact that she’s going to win everything and that’s just no fun because it doesn’t give anyone else a fighting chance. Realistically though, “Rolling In The Deep” dominated the number one chart position last year and was a very clear favorite with critics and fans. Yeah, who are we kidding — it’s going to be really strange if “Rolling In The Deep” doesn’t win.
Bon Iver – “Holocene”
If Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon hadn’t stuck both his middle fingers up at the Grammys we would have said “Holocene” was the best bet for usurping the “Rolling In The Deep” throne. Like “Rolling In The Deep,” “Holocene” found its way to the top of almost everyone’s best of 2011 list, so who knows — maybe “Holocene” will be the song to strip Adele of her crown.
Oh, heartbreak! We’ve all felt it’s cruel pincers nipping at our heart at one time or another, and we’ve all at some point cried the devastated tears of loss. And let’s be real — we’ve probably listened to one of our favorite pop stars sing about the whole sordid palaver while we’ve wallowed in our own despair. So that got us to thinking of the expressiveness of sadness in music videos, and the one motif that seems consistent across the songs of different artists — black mascara tears. Because musicians are not always the best actors, and because of the highly visual spectacle of pop music, dramatic smudged raccoon eyes in scenes where the stars are crying seems like a go to for the more melancholy songs. With that in mind, we’ve selected our favorite runny raccoon eyes — have we missed any? What are your faves?
1. Beyoncé – “Why Don’t You Love Me?” Beyoncé wins best panda eyes on the strength of melodrama. Oh, and because she looks really hot in vintage style lingerie. Clearly tortured, Beyoncé’s panda eyes are paired with martinis, cigarettes, and just the right amount of crazy to make the whole thing unbearably sexy.
2. Katy Perry – “The One That Got Away”
There’s so much emotion in the scene where Katy Perry is crying in her future self’s wardrobe in “The One That Got Away” that we just want to give the girl a big hug. Katy gets points for realism — we’re pretty sure that even without the panda eyes we’d still feel the heartbreak.
Madonna Announces Her Love And Admiration For Nicki Minaj And M.I.A. Madonna‘s new single, “Give Me All Your Luvin’” and forthcoming appearance at the Super Bowl both feature appearances by M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, of whom Madonna has said “They’re not conventional pop stars and I really admire them both. I love both of them actually.” We’re guessing having the Queen Of Pop say things like that about you is going to be both humbling and ego boosting, so a big round of applause for the “non-conventional” gals! [NME]
Azealia Banks Has The 2.55, Performing At Karl Lagerfeld’s House
Apparently it’s not the “212″ that Azealia Banks has, but the 2.55. Banks played at Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld‘s house in Paris and got all those very serious Parisian fashion types dancing. Yep, they even fist pumped. [Complex]
Disney Discontinues Joy Division Inspired T-Shirt Disney controversially released a t-shirt inspired by Joy Division‘s Unknown Pleasures album, with the original visual skewed into the shape of Mickey’s face. Under mounting pressure from fans and commentators, Disney has now pulled the t-shirt from sale to review the situation further. [Time News Feed]
It’s true that money doesn’t grow on trees, but it does, apparently, grow on Katy Perry. In what is a fairly bleak landscape for recording artists, where record sales are declining and file share is abounding, it’s a rare commodity to be a musician who can produce the green stuff. Indeed, some artists, like the Black Keys, are now opting to absent their music from file sharing devices like Spotify in an attempt to fill the cash cow with as many sales as possible. But not Katy Perry — it’s all mo’ money for the unstoppable pop star.
NPR did some investigating on Katy Perry’s (who had five number one hit singles from the same record last year) earning capacity, and came up with some very big hypothetical numbers based on their research. Speaking to Katy’s label, Captial (part of EMI), NPR estimated that Teenage Dream cost around 4 million to make (with 2 million being Katy’s advance, which she would then pay back out of royalties). However, the cost seemed to be a relative scratch in comparison to the return on the album. Based on record sales in the US alone, NPR’s research estimates that Katy made around 8 million for her label. Yep, that’s excluding all overseas sales, and any other form of revenue not derived from sales.
Obviously, Katy Perry’s capacity to sell records isn’t a reflection on the record industry right now — nor would be the sales of artists like Adele, who sold 5.82 million copies of 21 in 2011, or Lady Gaga, who, according to Forbes made around $90 million dollars all up last year. With a small handful of musicians dominating in sales, what does this mean for the rest? And does it make decisions like the Black Keys to withhold music from sharing services somewhat more understandable? It seems like in the rat race that is becoming music sales, those at the top are many echelons above the rest — is this a disparity that will continue to grow as record sales decline, or will government crack downs on file sharing (like the recent closure of Megaupload) see a swelling in sales?
Katy Perry Gets Her Own Video Game, Katy Perry Sims 3: Showtime
We’re not entirely sure what the story line is, but this sweet animated trailer for Katy Perry‘s forthcoming video game, Katy Perry Sims 3: Showtime, makes a cute, and sort of trippy, mini-video for “The One That Got Away.” [Prefix]
Kanye West Is In The New Kobe System Ad
Along with a slew of famous faces, Kanye West is in the new Kobe System commercial, and gets his 5 seconds of fame asking the pertinent and deeply philosophical question, “what if you’re really successful?” [Rap Radar]
With the hype around Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos and Most Popular Athlete In America, hitting fever pitch, it seems like the music world has become rather enamoured by the football star too. While rumours are circulating that Katy Perry’s parents are gunning for their pop star daughter to date the football wunderkind, the music tributes are rolling in thick and fast. Jimmy Fallon paid tribute to quarterback with a hilarious parody that mashed together David Bowie and Tebow for the character “Tebowie,” half Ziggy Stardust, half man on the field, but with a guitar instead of a ball. John Parr also took this opportunity in 20-Tebow to honour him with a remake of St. Elmo’s Fire entitled, “Tim Tebow’s Fire.” Given the reverence with which Tebow is being received, we think he should have kept the “St.” part of the title. Just sayin’. You can hear both songs after the jump.
It’s been a rough start to the New Year for Katy Perry despite a trailblazing effort in 2011 that saw her score five number one hit songs from the same album, Teenage Dream. Having recently split from hubby Russell Brand, Katy cancelled what should have been her first appearance for 2012 at the People’s Choice Awards earlier this week (where, despite her absence, she cleaned up, winning a massive five out of seven awards she was nominated for). But we had the girl pegged as the “Never say die” sort from the start, and it seems our instincts about Katy weren’t far off the mark. Katy will be getting back on the horse for Super Bowl week and performing at a private show for DirecTV’s Super Saturday Night at Indianapolis’ Victory Field on Feburary 4. We’re rooting for Katy from the sidelines, and looking forward to seeing her back on the stage where she belongs!
Wally De Backer, better known by his stage name, Gotye, is already set up to be one of 2012′s biggest names. His 2011 album Making Mirrors found critical success in his home country of Australia, and the artist is preparing to spread his wings to hit America like Adele. With his intoxicatingly soothing voice, sudden hooks and high notes that shove you out of the comfortable reverie his verses induce, Goyte’s music is both thrilling and challenging, speaking to shared experiences with its honest lyricism.
1. “Somebody That I Used To Know”
“Somebody That I Used To Know” was a runway hit in Australia and its ripples have reached American shores with noticeable force. Dueting with another Australian up-and-coming superstar, Kimbra, Gotye taps into the messiness a breaking up — and the unexpectedly painful mundanities, like the simple act of returning each others belongings, that go with it. The sentiment of the song and Gotye’s cutting hook, coupled with the beautiful video and trickling graphics that match the melody, will have you stuck to your screen hitting repeat.
2. Creative Covers Of “Somebody That I Used To Know” Walk Off The Earth covered “Somebody That I Used To Know” using five people and one guitar and if possible, it’s just as compelling as the original. We love that Gotye’s music inspires such creative responses from such talented musicians, as opposed to the stock standard same-same style cover. The Roots affiliated STS also got creative with the song, using the melody and chorus to tell his own story (which at times is very humorous) of a break up (after the jump).