The year is running down, and like everyone else, we are bundling up our most memorable musical moments from the year into a slew of Best Of’s. Before we get to the more obvious lists — the best albums, the best songs — we thought we would have a little fun. First up: 9 delightful collaborations, made all the more so for their unexpectedness. We aren’t talking Watch The Throne-style of-course-they-would team-ups, we’re talking collaborations that we couldn’t in our wildest dreams have imagined or that we thought we would never see, like — well, these nine:
Barton Hollow is totally “an indie record much cooler than mine,” but more careful observer might have predicted this unlikely but delightful collaboration, as Swift began yammering about her fellow Nashville transplants The Civil Wars on twitter long before this was even a possibility. We, however, were left breathless upon learning that one of the day’s biggest pop stars had teamed-up with one of our favorite You Oughta Know acts — and for a song for such a pivotal moment in the Hunger Games movie, no less! Joy Williams harmonizing turns Taylor’s girlish coo haunting, and John Paul White‘s patient guitar plucking gets the whole thing swirling. See also:“The Last Time,” Taylor’s distressed duet with Gary Lightbody of Northern Ireland’s mostly absent as of late folk rock set Snow Patrol. Taylor is a slick machine when it comes to her music, and it was a surprise to see her reaching out of bounds for this one.
Hard to believe as it may be given the boom box beats and all the sing-rapping that resulted, Warrior is allegedly a tribute to the genre Ke$ha loves the most: rock and roll. If you really strain your ears, you may hear some of that “old hippie rock” in the breakdown of “Die Young.” You won’t have to try so hard with “Dirty Pop,” which features Iggy Pop, a true and blue rock star and someone Ke$ha has spent a lot of time talking about through the years. The joy she must have felt the first time she heard him call her “Wild Child” on her own song is evident. See also:“2012,” K$’s duet with fellow weirdos The Flaming Lips.
Last night, Taylor Swift revived T-Swizzle for a bout of beat boxing at the Grammy Nominations Concert. Her co-host for the evening, actual rapper LL Cool J, wanted to sing Taylor’s “Mean,” but insisted that he would need a beat. “I can’t sing, so we’re even,” he reasoned, warming Taylor up to the idea. Unfortunately and despite their best efforts, we have to admit: Taylor was on the money when she wagered afterwards that she is “like, 100 percent sure” that their rework will never ever ever get them nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. It was not that good. But look, the effort was cute and they promised to have something better for February’s award ceremony, so no harm no foul? We-eeeEE!
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.
Scotland’s largest music festival, T In The Park, is planning an unforgettable weekend. Our favorite bad girl is set to headline the 20th anniversary of the festival along with Mumford & Sons. The pop princess and rock band couldn’t be more different as artists, but the versatility in performers is what makes for a unique show. Read more…
If you were somewhere near midtown Manhattan and felt your ears ringing with the sound of thousands of teenage girls screaming, worry not that something terrible was going down. We have answers for you.
At some point during their headlining gig at Madison Square Garden. The dashing boys of One Direction hunkered down at the edge of the stage and plucked their way through their heart-swollen single, “Little Things.” And then, around 2:03, VH1 You Oughta Know artist Ed Sheeran — the song’s co-writer and 1D’s BFF (also, the one most likely to have hooked Harry Styles up with his new GF, Taylor Swift) — walks out and the arena’s already insistent shrieking dials up (the girl with or near the camera, for one: “There’s Ed! That’s Ed! NO WAY!”) as he helps the boys out with one last round of the chorus. “Can we just give a massive cheer to Ed for writing that?” someone asked when it was done, as if the cheer he had already received wasn’t downright rapturous.
The only thing that might have been better? If Swift and Styles had taken their late night Backstreet Boys karaoke session to the big stage. We’re fairly certain that human ears aren’t prepared for the shrieks the fledgling lovebird’s “I Want It That Way” duet might have elicited, but can you just imagine?
Don’t let the pretty white dress and bare-lips (a rare sighting during this Red-promo round!) fool you, Taylor Swift brought plenty of “Trouble” to the American Music Awards tonight. Performing it for the first time live, tonight’s mix of the Red standout came complete with some digi hand-clapping and an orchestral undertow that the album version doesn’t have, but all the same charge when the “oh oohs” come in and the bass drops. And for the song’s final act, Taylor stripped her flouncy white dress to reveal a red and black corseted dress. Trouble? Throw in some close dancing with her masked men and a little writhing and oh, ohh, yes — this is certainly a place Tayor has never been, and we think we like it?
Last night on The X Factor, Taylor Swift traded the top hat she donned for the MTV European Music Awards last weekend for a fedora; and rather then her go-to as of late, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” she opted to perform Red stand-out “State of Grace.” She stood alone at center stage – looking, we might add, a whole lot like Joni Mitchell, who she is rumored to be playing in an upcoming biopic — for a quiet first verse, while the audience shrieked impatiently. At the first chorus the song blows out into something much bigger, and the lights flashed on behind and she really, really began to sing. There were a few moments where her voice sounded a little shaky, but by the time she got around to explaining that “this is a worthwhile fight” while the lights flickered behind her, we were in full agreement that this just might be her golden age, good and right and real.
“State of Grace” may not be as obviously radio friendly as “Never Ever” or “I Knew You Were Trouble,” but this first live performance of it proved that it’s a sure crowd pleaser. What did you think of Taylor’s Joni Mitchell style? Do you think “State of Grace” could be a single?
Like much of the past few weeks, last night’s MVT European Music Awards were in large part a celebration of our VH1 StorytellerTaylor Swift. Taylor spent much of the night flexing her Surprise Face muscles for each of the three awards she won — for Best Female, Best Live Act and Best Look — and gabbing about how excited she is to have clocked her first EMA win. Of the other winners, a broken hearted Justin Bieber took three of his own (Best Male, Best Pop and Beste World Stage), Carly Rae Jepsen took Best Song, One Direction took Best New and Biggest Fans, and PSY of course won for Best Video; Rihanna meanwhile went 0 for 6 nominations, leaving empty handed.
And perhaps we’ve caught the Red fever, but we really enjoyed the old time-y circus act that was Taylor’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” performance (which the evening’s host, Heidi Klum, made way for by floating away with a balloon in hand). She donned a big black top hat and a red sequined jacket, and was joined on stage by clowns on tiny bikes, a harem of ballerina clowns and some fire breathers (pyrotechnics were big with all the performers last night). It was maybe not her strongest vocal showing, but after all the time she spent twirling round the circus ring of a stage, who could blame her for being a little short of breath by the end? Red has only just come out, and award show season is just around the corner, and there’s sure to be more winning night’s like this in the near future of Taylor
Did you watch Taylor Swift‘s VH1 Storytellers? If you missed it, check out the entire show here. If you caught it, you might have been disappointed that Taylor only rocked one frock for the entire session. She did, however, channel those missing colors into her guitar(s) — which changed almost as often as the song — from silver glitter to cerulean blue.