2011 has been a big year in music, and between the Grammys, new babies, viral artists and some great losses, the music world has been rocked over and over again. With only a few days left until we wave goodbye to 2011, we’re reflecting on the 10 biggest stories of the year…
1. Beyoncé’s Pregnancy
Forget actual music — who cares about music when the Queen Of Everything is pregnant? It seemed like all anyone was talking about in 2011 was Beyoncé‘s pregnancy, from the initial, dramatic reveal during her VMAs performance of “Love On Top,” to the controversy surrounding the realness of her baby bump. And now the world waits with baited breath for the chosen one to emerge from the most revered womb on earth.
It has been revealed that New York’s Mayor Bloomberg has selected Lady Gaga to be the official “ball dropper” at this weekend’s New Year’s Eve festivities at Times Square. We’re excited for Gaga to have been given the famed officious role, but more excited to see if Bloomberg gets down to “Born This Way.” The selection seems pertinent given Mother Monster’s vocal stance on LGBT rights this year, and New York’s landmark decision to legalise gay marriage — so Lady Gaga isn’t just a LGBT icon anymore, she’s a symbol of New York City, one of the town’s biggest personalities. Gaga won’t only press the ball dropping button to signal midnight, she’s going to perform on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, so get ready for some truly weird and wonderful party vibes. We wonder what manner of couture the Lady will be garbed in, and whether she’ll go all out and make it NYE or New York themed.
Lady Gaga’s New Year’s Eve Involvement Is More Than You Thought [Pop Dust]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Britney Spears and Lady Gaga both played Santa this weekend with new material for their fans. A new vocal version of Britney’s “Don’t Keep Me Waiting” (a bonus track from the deluxe edition of Femme Fatale) was leaked and we caught wind from this Tweet by Bradley Stern (you can listen to the track here). We’re absolutely loving the pared back acoustic parts and heavy beat — it feels like forever since we actually heard Britney’s voice minus auto tune and cowbells! And in Mother Monster’s corner, things were just as exciting with Gaga herself Tweeting, “Merry Christmas! Here’s a SoundCloud download of my unreleased song “Stuck On F*ckin’ You”: http://bit.ly/uCS27x For your IPODS!! I love u!” (you can listen to the track here). It’s funky and infectious, and much like Brit’s “Don’t Keep Me Waiting,” gives us a dose of something a bit more raw and organic than the club led classics Gaga has produced this year. And we’re crazy about Gaga’s freestyle towards the end of the track — the girl is not only multitalented, but has a great sense of humor to boot!
Britney Spears – “Don’t Keep Me Waiting” (Main Vocals)
Lady Gaga – “Stuck On F*ckin’ You”
[Photo: Getty Images]
Lady Gaga’s Twitter Got Hacked But Mother Monster Is Back In Control
Yesterday Lady Gaga‘s Twitter was taken over by hackers in an attempt to get the personal details of her 45 million followers. Gaga has reclaimed her Twitter, and we hope no one got scammed by the epic hack. [Billboard]
Rolling Stone Does “Ni**as In Paris” Math
After Jay-Z and Kanye West played their song “N****s In Paris” a gratuitous 11 times in Vancouver, Rolling Stone made the effort to break the performance of the song down into digestible (and sometimes hilarious) numbers based on the entire Watch The Throne tour. [Rolling Stone]
2011 was the year of Watch The Throne, the universally hyped phenomenon that took on a life of its own. Yes, it was ‘just’ an album, but how could it have been any less than Biblical with Hov and the prodigal son joining forces for one of the biggest hip hop collaborations in history? The epic collab has got us thinking, as it seems like one really isn’t enough these days (unless you’re Beyoncé, of course) to keep public interest piqued for long, so the high-profile are increasingly joining forces with the high-profile, wingman-ing each other for the hits. After all, doesn’t everyone need a Goose? We’ve put together some of our favorite superstars for the mindboggling collaborations we’d like to see come to fruition in 2012 (hint, hint!).
Lana Del Rey and Nicki Minaj
We already know Nicki Minaj loves a good collaboration, and from what we’ve seen of Lana Del Rey so far, our suspicion tell us her “machine” have the buzz artist pegged for super stardom. Collaborating with LDR would give Nicki the kind of edge she got from “Monster” while for LDR the partnership would open her up to a whole new — not to mention powerful — army of fans/Barbz. We’re imagining this as super dark and sexy with a muddy bass line; lyrically, it would be largely Lana crooning about doing filthy things with her dirt bag lover and having her heart broken, while Nicki’s verse would be a no-holds barred, expletive laden, grimy scratching on Lana’s melancholy. It would probably only be a suitable formula for one song, but we’re anticipating it would be a cross-genre hit, captivating mainstream audiences and the more subversively inclined simultaneously.
We’re starting to gear up to awards season following the announcement of the 2012 Grammy Award nominees last month, and now we’re really getting into the spirit of things with the 2012 Golden Globe nominations, announced earlier this morning. We’re excited to see some of our favorite ladies getting a nod for Best Original Song, including high earning Lady Gaga for her collaboration with Elton John on “Hello Hello” (Gnomeo & Juliet), DIVAS‘ Mary J. Blige for “The Living Proof” (The Help), and matriarch Madonna for “Masterpiece” (from her movie W.E). Also nominated are Chris Cornell for “The Keeper” (Machine Gun Preacher) and Brian Byrne and Glenn Close for “Lay Your Head Down” (Albert Nobbs).
Strangely enough, The Muppets was not acknowledged in the nominations despite the film being a musical extravaganza. The Muppets were, however, nominated for a Critic’s Choice Movie Award for Best Song for “Man Or Muppet,” so it does seem a bit odd that the obviously critically acclaimed track should be snubbed here.
HFPA Nominations & Winners [Official Website Of the Golden Globe Awards]
Ah to be young, weird, tortured and swathed in couture! This year Lady Gaga has proven to be more than just an artiste — behind the conceptual seems to lie a savvy business woman and dedicated, hard worker. Indeed, Forbes has estimated that the Mother Monster raked in $90 million dollars in 2011, which we can safely say is nothing to sneeze at (unless you really need to sneeze and can’t help it). That’s really a lot of money, and we guess it sort of makes sense, with album sales for Born This Way, extensive touring and generally just being everywhere and doing everything all the time. Although we are starting to wonder if Lady Gaga isn’t more than one person — her constant visibility seems near impossible, maybe she’s a triplet?
Lady Gaga really is the dominating femme force in the earnings stakes, with second place holder Taylor Swift making only half ($45 million) of the Lady’s earnings in 2011. Aside from Lady Gaga’s small fortune, there aren’t really any surprises on Forbes‘ list (Celine Dion‘s heart really does go on), with all the independent ladies of pop you’d expect to be buying their own bling making the baller list:
1. Lady Gaga
2. Taylor Swift
3. Katy Perry
4. Beyonce Knowles
7. Carrie Underwood
8. Celine Dion
10. Alicia Keys
10. Britney Spears
Lady Gaga Named Highest Earning Female Artist Of 2011 [Prefix]
The Top-Earning Women In Music [Forbes]
[Photo: Getty Images]
What a year, right? As we get ready to put the finishing touches on the year that was, it’s time to look back at the music videos that define the year 2011. Tonight, we’ll be airing a supersized edition of the VH1 Top 20 Music Video Countdown that takes a look back at the Top 40 music videos of the year. Be sure to tune-in to VH1 tonight at 7 p.m. ET/PT to see your favorite videos of the year in all of their widescreen, HD glory, but we couldn’t resist giving you guys a sneak peek at the list here on VH1 Tuner this morning.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the Top 40 Videos of 2011…
40. Daughtry – “Crawling Back To You”
39. Jessie J – “Domino”
38. The Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”
37. Demi Lovato – “Skyscraper”
36. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “Paris (Ooh La La)”
35. Britney Spears – “Criminal”
34. Nickelback – “When We Stand Together”
33. Colbie Caillat – “Brighter Than The Sun”
32. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
31. David Guetta featuring Usher – “Without You”
Continue along for the Top 30 videos of 2011!
Chris Martin Thinks Lady Gaga Writes Better Music Than Him
Coldplay‘s Chris Martin things Lady Gaga is a better songwriter than him, revealing, “I just admire all of the hats and the dresses and the madness and everything because I know that underneath it all she can beat me at writing choruses.” We reckon she probably looks better in a dress, too. [Spin]
Grinderman Announce That They’re Splitting Up
Music legend Nick Cave has announced that his band, Grinderman, will be no more, but cryptically added, “See you all in another ten years when we’ll be even older and uglier.” [Prefix]
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.
Because December is a month full of year-end lists, for your blog-viewing pleasure, today I give you my favorite singles of 2011:
10.) “Blow,” Ke$ha
Yes, this single was featured on Ke$ha’s 2010 mini-LP, Cannibal, but the track didn’t fully explode (or blow-ow-ow) until the beginning of this year. Because “Blow” stayed away from Ke$ha’s polarizing sing-annunciate-rap formula, it became her first single that I couldn’t stop listening to.
9.) “Michael Jackson,” Das Racist
For some reason, underground/indie-minded hip-hoppers tend to shy away from slick production and repetitive hooks, but on “Michael Jackson” Das Racist embrace these elements with fantastic results.
8.) “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
Dan and Pat of The Black Keys add bass and keys to their two-man sound, creating one of the most fun rock tracks of the year (which will surely still be in heavy rotation come 2012).