Listen To Katy Perry’s Country Turn In A Leaked Demo For “Bullet”
If you’ve ever wondered what Katy Perry would sound like doing country, then here you go; a demo has leaked of Katy Perry singing a song called “Bullet” she co-wrote for country star Jesse James‘ debut album in 2009. We hope Katy sticks to her pop roots, but we’re sort of loving this little lick of country. [Neon Limelight]
Rihanna Is Called Out For “Ripping Off” Photographer
The latest in A Big Celebrity Copied Me, Rihanna is being accused by blogger Bryan Derballa of “ripping off” the work of photographer Sandy Kim in her video for “We Found Love.” We see some similarities, but we’d only go as far to say “inspired by” and even then it’s tenuous, with so much recent “hipster” photography tending towards the aesthetic that “We Found Love” is going for. [Bryan Derballa]
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.
Florence Welch, lead chanteuse of Florence + The Machine, is certainly one of the MVPs of VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul. She performed three songs tonight: “Shake It Out” (the new single off the band’s Ceremonials), “Back To Black” (as part of the evening’s Amy Winehouse tribute), and “Walking On Broken Glass” (which you can watch below).
Here, we put a spotlight on Florence’s haunting cover of the title track of album that turned Amy Winehouse into an international superstar back in 2007. She cut quite a figure with her floor length black dress, which was incredibly appropriate considering the circumstances. The music world lost an immense talent this year with Amy’s tragic passing, but thanks to powerful performances like Florence Welch’s tonight, Winehouse’s musical legacy is cemented in stone.
Follow along for Florence’s jubilant take on Annie Lennox‘s “Walking On Broken Glass.”
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]
The highly anticipated posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures was officially released today amidst mixed reviews and high emotion. Amy‘s father, Mitch Winehouse, has expressed how emotional the process of producing the album has been, saying, “The estate, which I’m a part of – my ex-wife and I – we could decide to put it out or not put it out, and when we went to listen to the album it was a very difficult time for us. It was very emotional.” It seemed, on all accounts, that the sheer poignancy of Amy’s death would be enough to carry the album, and to have it connect with her legions of fans and admirers. However, the album, now released, has been met with mixed reviews.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer calls Lioness: Hidden Treasures “sublime,” “nostalgic, wine-soaked heaven.” The Guardian, however, was not so forgiving, acknowledging that the album is revealing of Amy’s struggles, but that it is subpar considering the strength of Frank and Back To Black. Cynically, the Guardian review surmises, “Presumably it was felt that was what was wanted by the audience Lioness: Hidden Treasures is expected to attract: not the kind of diehard fans who normally flock to posthumous collections of out-takes and demos, but mainstream record buyers, Radio 2 listeners, the Christmas market. Which, of course, tells you something else about Amy Winehouse,” positioning the album essentially as a cash grab by Amy’s estate.
Soul music veterans Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist, just in time for the release of Soul Time!, the band’s forthcoming release of rare tracks and b-sides. Since 1996, Sharon and the Dap-Kings have been at the forefront of funk and soul revivalism, capturing the spirit of the genre as it blossomed in the ’60s and ’70s. Using traditional analog recording methods and equipment, SJDK have no use for modernity, and are loyal to the authenticity of their sound.
The band was originally formed by Philip Lehman and Gabriel Roth as the Soul Providers in the mid-nineties, and discovered Sharon Jones during early recording sessions for their first album, after she recorded back-up vocals for one of the Lee Fields tracks. So impressed were the Soul Providers with Jones’ vocals that the album, Soul Tequila, was released in 1996 featuring two solo Jones tracks (“Switchblade” and “The Landlord”). Shortly after, Roth and Lehman started a new label, Desco Records, in Brooklyn, New York, and reissued Soul Tequila as Gimme The Paw and began championing New York performers, creating an entire scene around Desco. As the reputation of Desco grew and more records were released, it eventually came time for Lehman and Roth to split in 2000 — and for Roth to start his own label, Daptone Records, with current Dap-King tenor saxophone player, Neal Sugarman. You can see where this is going, right?
With the release date of Amy Winehouse’s first posthumous album, Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures creeping up, emotions are raw. The release, due but 4 months after the singer’s untimely death, is revealing itself to be part of a very important healing process for Amy’s friends and family.
A far cry from a cash-grab, the album is reportedly an incredibly emotional, not to mention immpecably produced, project; not just for those surriving her, but for Amy herself, as friend and collaborator Salaam Remi recounts to Rolling Stone how the troubled performer broke down during their recording sessions. “Playing guitar and singing into a small hand-held mic, Winehouse unleashed a devastating version of “A Song for You,” Leon Russell’s pained ballad about an entertainer’s regrets. As she sang, Winehouse began to cry. “It’s as if she was literally singing about herself,” Remi recalls. “She was really putting herself into it.”"
Following the announcement that Amy Winehouse‘s first posthumous album will be released a mere four months after her death on July 23, we started wondering how that timeline compared to some of history’s other notable posthumous record releases. From Nirvana to the Notorious B.I.G., we take a look back at the often uneasy relationship between art and commerce.
Artist:The Notorious B.I.G
Died: March 9, 2007
Album: Life After Death
Release Date: March 25, 2007
Speed To Market: 16 days
Artist: Otis Redding
Died: December 10, 1967
Album: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
Release Date: January 8, 1968
Speed To Market: 29 days
Died: September 7, 1996
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Release Date: November 5, 1996
Speed To Market: 59 days
Following the tragic death of singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse earlier this year, two of her closest collaborators, Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, have put together an album using Winehouse’s unfinished recordings that’s set to be released on December 5. Amy’s father, Mitch Winehouse, oversaw the production. Entitled Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, the album will include 12 tracks featuring Winehouse originals, unreleased tracks, alternative versions of her existing songs and covers of other artists’ songs.
Since Winehouse’s alcohol-related death back in July, there has been much speculation surrounding the volume of Amy’s unreleased recordings. The Guardian reported that up to a dozen songs were close to being finalized, but the tracklisting for this record shows that there’s only one track (“Between The Cheats”) that can be really be labeled as “new” (as opposed to outtakes from sessions on previously released albums).
All of which leads us to this: Will the record-buying public consider this record, with its mismash of demos, outtakes, and B-sides, as anything more than a “cashgrab”? In its defense, Mark Ronson’s pivotal role in the project— given his close friendship, ongoing creative partnership and overwhelming admiration for Amy—lends a great deal of credence to the project, and having yet to hear it, leads us to believe that the project was assembled with great affection. Additionally, the fact that Â£1 from each album sold will benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation, an institution set up in Amy’s honor to support those dealing with substance abuse issues and addiction, seems to be a positive sign. However, there is a cynical part of us that can’t help but feeling like this record is being rushed to take advantage of the holiday buying season, and also that it won’t be the last posthumous album that Winehouse releases. We seriously doubt that her estate contains the same sort of treasure trove of unreleased studio sessions that 2Pac’s did, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Full tracklisting for Amy Winehouse Lionness: Hidden Treasures below:
Rick Ross: Gentleman Rap Boss
Devin Friedman admits that he’s “basically eating out of [Rick Ross's] hand” for the majority of his time with the rapper, but manages some good insights (e.g. “Rick Ross is always both inside and outside a joke he’s making about hip-hop music”) and many more entertaining observations about the kindly boss, whom he describes as “the fat black McConaughey,” in his profile for October’s GQ. [GQ]
Complex On Kreayshawn In Brief
Ernest Baker‘s profile of Kreayshawn for Complex is less intriguing; luckily for us (and you), Katherine St. Asaph sums it up at Popdust. Key facts: she wants to slap The Game in the face, and she bought that Game Boy Color she always wanted after she got signed. [Popdust]