15 Years Ago: The music landscape was a mix of anything goes. Jennifer Lopez released her first album, Lauryn Hill led a rebirth of neo-soul, bubblegum pop dominated TRL, Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit ushered in an era of rap/rock and Moby debuted sleeper hit, Play. When first released, the electronic record was barely noticed. The album seemed to follow the same route as his previous record, Animal Rights. But Moby did something unexpected at the time: He sold out. The artist decided—in an effort to get more airplay and attention—to license out much of his album to commercials, TV and films. The idea seemed to represent a shift in the way artists were willing to let fans consume their music. Many had shied away from the idea of “selling out” viewing it as a quick way to cash in rather than hold their music to a higher standard. However, the move turned Moby into a pop superstar. Suddenly he had a platinum hit on his hands and was not only heard in major films, such as The Beach and Gone in 60 Seconds, but also on the radio. As the album turns 15, we break down the album by the numbers.
The Video Music Awards are a celebration of the best music video work that musicians and technical personnel have to offer. They’re also a live event attended by more than a few outsized personalities, all interacting with each other in close proximity. Part of what makes the event so exciting to us is the tension that proximity creates. Sometimes, though, it boils over past professional rivalry into personal beef.
With that in mind, here is a look back at the ten most memorable VMA fights. Will anyone get into it this year? (Pitbull and Lindsay Lohan?) We’ll be tuning in to MTV on Sunday at 9 p.m. to find out.
Last week, a few slightly bizarre tweets in Moby‘s feed hinted at an electrocution, and yesterday some (admittedly choppy) footage of the incident surfaced on YouTube. The clip is extremely awkward, because as Moby lay supine on the floor, attendees snapped photographs for almost ten seconds before being told by an organizer, “This is?this isn’t a joke, by the way.” Read more…
Moby‘s comments last week about what types of pop are and aren’t music isn’t the first time he’s taken shots at other artists. At the 2001 Grammy Awards he calledEminem ”a racist, a homophobe, and a misogynist.” But he’s not the only artist who’s feuded over art (and, implicitly, integrity). Here are the five most notable feuds of the last 20 years.
FEUD:Nirvana vs. Guns N’ Roses HOW IT STARTED: Nirvana never liked the lyrical misogyny and homophobia of Guns N’ Roses, but the feud officially got underway when Nirvana turned down an offer to open for the band on tour. KEY NIRVANA PULLQUOTE:Kurt Cobain, interviewed by Kevin Allman in the February 1992 issue of The Advocate:
I can’t even waste my time on that band, because they’re so obviously pathetic and untalented. I used to think that everything in the mainstream pop world was crap, but now that some underground bands have been signed with majors, I take Guns N’ Roses as more of an offense. I have to look into it more: They’re really talentless people, and they write crap music, and they’re the most popular rock band on the earth right now. I can’t believe it.
KEY GUNS ‘N’ ROSES PULLQUOTE:Axl Rose, on stage in Seattle: “Nirvana would rather stay home and shoot drugs with their bitch wives than tour with us.” WINNER: At the time, Nirvana by a mile, but as time has gone on and Cobain-as-icon has lost some of its political edge, it’s now closer to a draw. Read more…
Both People and Rolling Stone have feature interviews with Aerosmith frontman and American Idol judge Steven Tyler this week, in which he opens up about his drug relapse during recording sessions for what would have been a new Aerosmith record, and the joy of his drug-free last eighteen months.
The characteristically outspoken Tyler told Rolling Stone he was useless in the studio: “I couldn’t sing, really, because I was snorting everything, and it f**ks up your throat.” But even while speaking to People in drug slang, he’s happy to be successfully rehabilitated: “If you think going out in front of high-def cameras and millions of people I’m not high on adrenaline, you’re crazy.”
Meanwhile, in a NY Times Home and Garden profile of his Hollywood Hills home, Moby spends little time on the physical details of his “castle,” instead speaking extensively?and quite frankly?about his struggles with alcohol abuse. (“For a good 15 years in New York,” he tells the Times, “I was sort of tragically notorious for always being the last person to leave the bar.”) He wryly likens his East Coast self to Charles Foster Kane and psychoanalyzes himself on the record as a way of explaining a loneliness that he tried to escape with alcohol, promiscuity, dance music, and money.
But with the help of sobriety (and his West Coast relocation), Moby has aimed to conquer his existential malaise by facing it head on?not least artistically, with Destroyed, a new album that he describes as “broken-down electronic music for empty cities at 2 a.m.” Destroyed is due out May 17.