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).
At this stage, it would be hard to argue that there was a better, more universally acclaimed and globally received album than Adele‘s 21, featuring consistently on “Best” and “Top” lists for 2011. Rolling Stone named the album #1 in their 50 Best Albums Of 2011 list that came out today, saying that the magic of 21 was all in the voice, both literally and figuratively; “More than any other album this year, 21 made you feel its pain – from the triple-hankie tear-jerker ‘Someone Like You’ to ripsnorting revenge songs like ‘Rumour Has It,’ where Adele rides a roiling groove and flattens everything in her path.”
Strangely enough, however, Rolling Stone gave the #2 spot to Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s Watch The Throne which, while possibly being the most hyped album of the year, wasn’t as well received as Kayne’s 2010 effort, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The Top 10 also features Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way at #6, which also failed to strike a chord with the critics this year, despite its epic release and subsequent run of artful, shock-value Gagaist videos. Predictably enough however, Rolling Stone fit Radiohead‘s King Of Limbs in at #5, controversial because it was considered a sub-par Radiohead offering, but believable enough given that despite criticism, the album has still found its way into an overwhelming number of Top 50 lists.
Lady Gaga — in the enigmatic way that Mother Monster has of making half an announcement then making fans wait for the second half — has revealed that yes, she has a name for her next album, but that no, she won’t be sharing it yet. The album, which will be Gaga’s third full length studio album, is in the works, hot on the heels of her sophomore album Born This Way which was just released this year. Gaga says of the album, “I’ve started writing it and I have the name for it, and all the concepts are beginning to flourish and take place. I’m excited to put it out, but it’s not done yet. So I’ll put it out when it’s done.” The rumor mill is also turning with speculation that the new release will feature a collaboration with Elton John. So while Gaga let’s suspense build, we’ve had a few thoughts of our own about what the eccentric pop star could call the new album:
- The United States Of Gaga – A nod to the fact that Gaga has more Twitter followers than President Obama.
- Reality/Unreality or Couture/Not Couture – We’re sort of hoping the new release will be somewhat revealing of the Gaga/Stefani Germanotta dichotomy, an exercise in Sasha Fiercing, if you will.
- [No title -- Just an image of Lady Gaga's perfectly manicured, jewel encrusted hand giving the middle finger] – A little bit ambiguous, a little bit TAFKAP, a little bit White Album; giving a secret handshake to her Little Monsters, a nameless album could be Gaga’s way of sticking it to the man in the name of diversity and freakishness.
Got any suggestions for what Lady Gaga should name her new album? Leave them in the comments!
Lady Gaga: ‘I have a name for my new album’ [NME]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Nirvana Are Re-Releasing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” To Vie For Number One
We swear the late Kurt Cobain turns in his grave every time something like this happens. Nirvana decided to re-release “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when it came to the surviving band’s attention that fans were rallying to make the classic song Britain’s Christmas Number One over whoever takes out the X Factor crown. Sigh. [NME]
Lady Gaga Goes To The White House To Battle Bullies
Lady Gaga really does love her ‘Little Monsters.’ So much so, she’s heading to the White House to chat with Obama‘s administration about combating bullying. Go go Gaga activism! [Popdust]
This month, as part of a Vanity Fair cover story, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga had themselves a Jack and Rose moment, albeit without the illicit romance. In Titanic, the devilishly handsome Jack sketches the unattainable Rose as she lies sprawled and naked before him. Before any nudity ensues, however, Rose asserts, “The last thing I need is another picture of me looking like a porcelain doll,” and we’re thinking the line could have just as easily slipped from Lady Gaga’s lips. Bennett’s charcoal rendition of Lady Gaga is stripped down and raw — Mother Monster without all the accoutrements we’re used to seeing her robed with. Bennett’s drawing, in short, is of a human girl we’ve yet to really see. And it’s beautiful.
The nominees for the 2012 Grammy Awards—seventy-eight categories worth, if you’re counting at home!—were announced last night. Four of those categories (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist) were announced live on CBS during a star-studded concert, featuring performances by the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, The Band Perry and more. If you happened to go to bed early or decided to watch American Horror Story instead, we’re here to help. Rather than plead ignorance when your co-workers ask you for your thoughts on the nominations, we’ve come up with this list of eight handy conversation starters to get you going. No, we’re not focusing on boring things like who got the most nominations in this post (if you want that stuff, no worries, we’ve got you covered); instead, we’re gonna give you a kickstart for some things that are actually fun to discuss, like whether or not Lady Gaga was doing dressed like a cross between a Cobra Kai member and Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, if Kanye West is going to go ballistic again after being snubbed in the Album of the Year category, and deciphering what exactly a Skrillex is. Enjoy, and happy watercoolering.
[Photos: Getty Images]
The nominees for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. The 2012 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 12th at 8/7c. Kanye West led all nominees with 7 nods, despite being royally snubbed in the Album of the Year category, closely followed by Adele, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars (who each snagged six nominations).
However, big surprise of the evening was certainly the recognition bestowed upon Bon Iver, who scored nominations in three of the “Big 4″ categories (Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist). He is a virtual unknown to most Americans, and not even presenter and fellow Best New Artist nominee Nicki Minaj knew how to pronounce his name (she probably should’ve watched this YouTube video with the correct pronunciation of Bon Iver before heading out on stage). However, music industry insiders clearly know of him, and his performance at the awards in February will likely be the most lovably awkward televised performed since Elliott Smith showed up at the Oscars in 1998.
Here’s a (mostly) complete list of the 2012 Grammy Nominations:
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep” [WATCH]
Bon Iver, “Holocene” [WATCH]
Bruno Mars, “Grenade” [WATCH]
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave” [WATCH]
Katy Perry, “Firework” [WATCH]
SONG OF THE YEAR
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
Bon Iver, “Holocene”
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Kanye West, “All Of The Lights”
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave”
BEST NEW ARTIST
The Band Perry
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Of all the Grammy Awards, the one that artists covet the most is the Album of the Year prize. The nominees for the 54th annual ceremony are being released live tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, and a number of artists, producers and record label executives are currently feeling a rush of butterflies go through their stomachs. Thanks to the confusing timeline in the Grammys universe, this year’s Album Of The Year nominees will be LPs that were released between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. With that in mind, here are some of the frontrunners:
If there’s one shoo-in for this year’s Album Of The Year prize, it’s 21. Debuting at Number One on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 Chart, 21 took on the number one chart position in a total of 19 countries across the world, which was good enough for a spot in the Guinness Book Of World Records. With two Grammys already under her belt (taking the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 Grammys), Adele is a fan and industry favorite.
Year in and year out, people watching the Grammy Awards find themselves asking the same question: What is the difference between Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year? What makes this especially confusing is that different songs are usually nominated in each category; in the past five years, only 10 out of the 50 total songs nominated in each of these categories have made both categories (three of those, however, have ended up winning both prizes: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum, “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse and “Not Ready To Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks).
To answer the question we posed above, the Grammy for Record Of The Year is awarded to the artist and production team responsible for how the song sounds, while the Grammy for Song Of The Year is given to the songwriters responsible for the composition of the song (meaning: lyrics and melodic structure). With that in mind, here are a few likely candidates to be nominated in these two categories when the 2012 Grammy nominations are announced live on CBS at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
The smoky-voiced siren is the favorite to sweep this year’s major awards, and “Rolling In The Deep” has proven to be MASSIVE in terms of its sound and its popularity; it’s been sitting in the Billboard Hot 100 for 46 weeks and counting.
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Bruno was incredibly well-respected as a songwriter in music industry circles long before he became a solo performer; in the Grammys game, respect from one’s peers is equally important as commercial success.
Taylor Swift has been blazing across the country on her Speak Now tour, and in her warm, earnest way, she’s been welcoming city-specific guests to share the stage with her while she pays unique tributes to all the towns she visits. And now, on the final leg of her tour, Taylor is in that town, New York City, and the opportunities for tributes and guests are almost endless. For her first New York show last night at Madison Square Garden, Taylor played “one of the greatest songs ever written,” The Goo Goo Dolls‘ “Iris,” with the band’s frontman Johnny Rzeznik. With one last show set to light up the Garden tonight, we’re speculating who of the New York set will join Taylor on stage. Will it be a Strokes affair? Mother Monster? Or a spectral visitor from the afterlife?
Who did we miss? We want to hear your thoughts!
[Photos: Lauren Deiman/Getty Images]