Inside Music with Katie Hasty

Review: Eminem's 'Recovery' is the rapper healing, but not recovered

Are we really still making Elton John jokes?

<p>Eminem's &quot;Recovery&quot;</p>

Eminem's "Recovery"

Credit: Shady/Aftermath

One of Eminem’s most striking images from this “Recovery” campaign is of the rapper sitting inside a glass box, set up in the middle of city, in what looks like a living room with a television and couch and all. He’s reading a book, an activity or restoration, yes, recovery, a recommended course of action for any young star(let), too, struggling with fame and panty pictures.

But this is Slim Shady we’re talking about here, at least on the opener “Cold Wind Blows.” That photo is a lonely, holistic and claustrophobic picture painted of a man whose first track on this first set drops the usual: slut, c*nt, p*ssy, sucking d*ck, f*ggot. A puff of the chest, a slew of tired jokes against tired celebs like Michael Vick, Michael J. Fox, Mariah Carey and Elton John. When Em puts on the Shady hat, he really, really wants you to think he’s back, and can spit like he’s 25.
 
Marshall Mathers is 37. This is not an ageist statement or a petition for him to hang up that hat. But it’s certainly a time in his career to heed the editing process, to know when a zinger’s just not a zinger, and to rhyme with relevance that he uniquely possesses as one of the few hugely talented hip-hop stars still capable of making meaningful records after more than a dozen years into the game. He stands, and walks (and sits and reads) alone.
 
A couple of instances of that independent, inimitable voice are in cuts like current single “Not Afraid,” and “Talkin’ 2 Myself,” the latter on which he ponders a time when he was jealous of the Kanye Wests of the rap world and admits he’d probably have his “ass handed to me” should he beef. There’s his take on the biz in terms of prison sentences on “25 to life” and weary bones of Black Sabbath-sampling “Going Through Changes” in which Em explains how impossible it is for him to explain just what happened over the last “couple of years.” He goes way, way back on "W.T.P.," with a slick beat and some good history.
 
Those other voices, though, are coming up with the raggedy ends of eye-rolling one-liners like on “Won’t Back Down” (despite the incredible vocals from Pink). “On Fire” had me giggling one moment (“mother*cking fire truck’s on fire”) and then shaking my head at a David Cook reference (want a real flame war? Try Adam Lambert and his fans). The misspent sample of Haddaway's ‘90s dance classic "What Is Love" with special guest Lil Wayne on “No Love” all together is like trying mix oil and bong water.
 
Longtime collabo Dr. Dre only makes his mark on one track, the not-particularly Dre-ish “So Bad”; Rihanna shows up on “Love the Way You Lie,” a mixed blessing. The title “Seduction” suggests that maybe here’s a little something for the ladies, with the auto-tune flitting over the fake strings and the refrain “girls on the floor” kicking Em into that high register rap. Bu a better title would have been “Deception”: he spends more time tongue-lashing the "girl’s" boyfriend than the girl. “She’s got her jaw stuck from suckin’ my d*ck,” doesn't exactly moan “white hot sex jam,” which was his point. But that was the point?
 
Em is ready for the criticism, because “critics never have nothin’ nice to say, man” and, frankly, what I say or other critics say won’t affect what will surely be decent sales for “Recovery.” Because “Recovery” is a better record than “Relapse,” has a better single, better future singles (ooooh I do like “Space Bound” [Ed.: fixed] and the stomp clap of “Cinderella Man”) and has a forthrightness that will take fans back on a few choice cuts. He alludes to his “second chances” – in his life, as well as a do-over after head-spinningly bad “Relapse” from last year. But 17 tracks is a labor; he’s topping some of his hottest meals with the bits and pieces from the kitchen sink. Maybe that’s why this set is called “Recovery” and not “Recovered.”

'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World' soundtrack: Five new Beck songs, Metric, more

Old stuff from Beachwood Sparks, T. Rex, Black Lips, Broken Social Scene

<p>&quot;Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World&quot; soundtrack</p>

"Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" soundtrack

Credit: abkco

One would expect as much from Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich and director Edgar Wright.

The "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" soundtrack is shaping up to be one of the best film companions of the year, with the official, full tracklisting now available. Edgar Wright helped cobble the thing together, along with the flick's score producer Godrich. The set with drop Aug. 10, a few days ahead of the movie's premiere on Aug. 13.

Since Beck is now seemingly taking an indefinite hiatus from touring (hell, from traditional albums -- see Record Club, The), he had time to flesh out five new tracks for the set, moonlighting as THE Scott Pilgrim's band Sex Bomb-Omb.

In the first trailer, released in the spring, I mentioned that things sounded more "Sea Change" era Beck, though with the sizzling new summer international trailer -- out last week, posted here -- we get the grimey, dancey Beck we know and love.

Another new track comes from Metric, who contributed a "Fantasies" B-side "Black Sheep" to the cause of defeating exes (Metric acts as the band Clash at the Demonhead, Scott's old band). They actually started streaming this guy back in February; check out their Facebook page and click "Like" in order to "unlock" the song for streaming. Think more Mates of State than "Help I'm Alive."

Metric vocalist Emily Haines shows up elsewhere on "Scott Pilgrim," though on her old project Broken Social Scene's "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" (2002). BSS are also the band behind the curtain for Crash and the Boys (a rival band from town). Other old stuff includes choice cuts from Frank Black, Beachwood Sparks, The Rolling Stones and, the track that sparked the title, Plumtree ("Scott Pilgrim").

Abkco said back in April that they'll be releasing the album.

Pitchfork got the tracklist early, posted below:

1. SEX BOB-OMB (Beck): "We Are SEX BOB-OMB"
2. Plumtree: "Scott Pilgrim"
3. Frank Black: "I Heard Ramona Sing"
4. Beachwood Sparks: "By Your Side"
5. Black Lips: "O Katrina!"
6. Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene): "I'm So Sad, So Very, Very Sad"
7. Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene): "We Hate You Please Die"
8. SEX BOB-OMB (Beck): "Garbage Truck"
9. T. Rex: "Teenage Dream"
10. The Bluetones: "Sleazy Bed Track"
11. Blood Red Shoes: "It's Getting Boring by the Sea"
12. Metric: "Black Sheep"
13. SEX BOB-OMB (Beck): "Threshold"
14. Broken Social Scene: "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl"
15. The Rolling Stones: "Under My Thumb"
16. Beck: "Ramona (Acoustic)"
17. Beck: "Ramona"

HitFix interview: Flaming Lips plot new movie, add M.I.A. to collaborator wish list

Wayne Coyne tackles 'Dark Side of the Moon,' haters, the giant vagina ball

<p>The Flaming Lips</p>

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips have their finger in a lot of different pies these days. Though the Oklahoman trio released its last studio album of originals, the double-disc “Embryonic,” last October, they’ve since released their own rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” digitally, soon out on CD. 

Then there’s the series of odd, warped and sometimes off-color music videos behind the songs of “Embryonic,” which the rock group is continuously filming throughout the year.
 
They’ve announced festival headlining slots – Pitchfork, Coachella, Austin City Limits, the new Nateva and, most recently, at Bonnaroo, where they performed a set of Lips tunes and then “Dark Side” for only the second time ever for a live audience. Read my thoughts on the show from the perspective of a spaceman dancer onstage.
 
“Blastula,” a documentary on the making-of “Embryonic” was just finished, and though “Christmas on Mars” finally got a proper release in 2008, frontman Wayne Coyne is eyeing another film project, to start shooting in October.
 
From the interview below, Coyne doesn’t make the project sound that large-scale, though, of course, it depends on the backyard (and if he actually manages to rope Justin Timberlake into the project). He spoke to HitFix at Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn., this past weekend. Check out what he had to say of prospective collaborators for the next set, “Dark Side,” Roger Waters and the I.R.S., physical objects, sacred cows and musings on the giant vagina ball of the Lips’ most recent music videos. Weird is the word.
 
[Full Q&A after the jump...]
 

Song Of The Day: Eels get clap-happy on 'Looking Up'

First song culled from 'Tomorrow Morning,' third in album trilogy

<p>Eels' mastermind Mark Everett</p>

Eels' mastermind Mark Everett

Mark Everett, aka E, doesn't do sunny. The songwriter has proven himself capable of writing some of the most delightfully dour, horribly honest songs, most recently laying his tunes bare in last set "End Times" (January 2010) and the consumptive urgency from "Hombre Lobo" (2008).

That's why I find it impossible to partake in the manic, un-E musicquake that is "Looking Up" without tasting that grain of salt. It's structured as a gospel tune, with tambourine and a choir (of himself), but with E singing in what sounds like a microphone from one of those Fisher Price cassette tape players. Lyrically, it has bits of earnestness, but mostly it all comes off pretty silly. "Used to be kind of bitter / Always had a babysitter / But I'm feeling much fitter / Now I'm pretty sweet / Back on my feet / Walkin' down the street."

The conflict of its simplicity and the knowledge of his abilities to finesse a deep (emotional) funk leads me to one question for Everett: Are you being sarcastic?

According to a release on his site, I don't think he means to be. "Looking Up" is the first song culled from "Tomorrow Morning," the third album in a trilogy; those prior two albums followed the concepts of "before" and "after," respectively, of some personal hard times, while "Tomorrow Morning" is, fittingly, "another chance."

Thus the total sea change in sound, Beck reference intended. The album utilizes "electronic keyboards, drum machines, tape loops and found sounds" to react in a "warm album that was a celebration using electronic instruments to reflect joy in the times I live in."

"After what seems like an incredibly dark time, the hope that tomorrow is coming gives us all another chance. As long as there's a morning tomorrow, anything is possible."

How sonically unexpected.

"Looking Up" streams below, and fans can download the track for the price of your mom your email through the Eels' website. "Tomorrow Morning" drops Aug. 23.

Song Of The Day: Keegan DeWitt wants you to 'Say La La'

In advance of Daytrotters venture 'Nothing Shows'

<p>Keegan DeWitt</p>

Keegan DeWitt

Keegan DeWitt has come a long way as a songwriter, from narrative, standard singer-songwriter fare to what now seems like a full, fleshy pop-folk-rock adventure.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I sang backup for Keegan when he was still living in New York, what was something like four years ago. He's since moved out to Nashville and has been collaborating with a multitude of other talented songwriters on that front, like Madi Diaz and Caitlin Rose.

But his scope has extended outside of music city, as he's put together the score for three Aaron Katz films, including the most recent "Cold Weather," which made the rounds at South By Southwest and has since been picked up for distro by IFC. He heads to Los Angeles this weekend for the flick's premiere at the L.A. Film Festival.

Before my adventures at Bonnaroo over this past weekend, I was able to catch up with Keegan in Nashville. In Paris last year, he'd prepared his "Nothing Shows" EP, which will be released on July 13 as a split venture with impeccable tastemaker Daytrotter and its Record Barn. This marks the first time that an artist's new work will be sold through the site. He seemed just as excited about Daytrotter as it is of him.

Besides that -- besides that! -- the artist has been recording new tracks bit by bit at different studios around Nashville and is musing a move to California. And to that he says "La La."

Check out "Say La La" from "Nothing Shows" below.

Watch: B.o.B., Paramore's Hayley Williams muse fame in 'Airplanes' video

Nope, no Eminem

<p>B.o.B.</p>

B.o.B.

Not that it's a new trend, but rappers lately have been taking on the pitfalls of fame in song -- like Eminem's "Not Afraid," Kid Cudi's "My World" and Drake's "Over." Like those latter two, B.o.B. is only one album into his career, and his second single "Airplanes" with Paramore's Hayley Williams addresses the same rags-to-riches plight.

The video keeps abstract, mixing traditional stage lighting and open studio space with high-tech effects and a certain camera company product placement (hell, I'm not getting paid for it, so why should I mention it?). The result is a respectfully unbloated, visually stimulating, somber clip, with Williams' appearance as a guest vocalist treated mindfully as just that, and not as the token tart or Bobby Ray's accessory with multiple costume changes.

There's another "Pt. 2" version featuring Em, too, floating around out there, but Marshall Mathers has been fairly busy lately with his own promotional efforts in advance of "Recovery."

"Airplanes" has flown up to No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart so far, but sits at No. 3, with a bullet, so far this week. B.o.B.'s "The Adventures of Bobby Ray" entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1.

B.o.B ft. Hayley Williams - Airplanes [www.paramore.es] from Paramore Spain on Vimeo.

 

My life as a Flaming Lips spaceman dancer

A personal perspective from the stage at Bonnaroo

<p>Your author, reporting for space duty</p>

Your author, reporting for space duty

Anyone who’s ever been to a Flaming Lips concert knows the protocol: There’s the inflatable “space bubble” inside which frontman Wayne Coyne emerges on song one. Bright confetti is shot from machines and life-sized mascots hug or tackle the wire-haired singer. There are general shenanigans in which audience members are encourage to partake, whether it’s a call and response of nonsensical words or to dance on command.

True to my own nature, I did the latter – in front of 30,000+ people at Bonnaroo on Friday.
 
The Lips at recent gigs have hosted a corral of non-professional dancers at each show to join the band on stage and to jump around and dance like five-year-old cheerleaders given their first pom-poms. Given the opportunity, how could I resist?
 
The band was to perform two different sets at the festival: one of their songs, and a performance of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” in full, alongside Death Star and White Dwarfs.
 
We honored recruits were given backstage stickers and sent to a dressing room (in our case, an open-air tent) and introduced to a wardrobe of construction cone-orange “spacesuits,” polyester, with Velcro attachments and heavy for the Tennessee heat – it was to be a look fashioned for DJ Lance from “Yo Gabba Gabba!” (and, obviously, for space travel). I scored a mini-skirt and a headband fashioned from duct tape.
 
We were instructed told to rock our bodies within a small confine of lines on the stage, stay out of everyone’s way, and merry-make to our little hearts’ content for the full first set – an hour – if we were able.
 
Ushered backstage, space-people had time to make small talk. Young men and women of all sizes and general demeanor adjusted their felt hats or makeshift halter tops, hiking up ugly socks and taking pictures of each other on their iPhones. There was a couple who was invited to dance after the husband won a YouTube video contest (“I think the key was props,” the wife explained); a pair of girls had arrived at the fest wearing animal outfits – y’know, as one does; one guy was a college friend of a confetti-feeder. Another gal had attracted production’s attention when she revealed an extremely accurate, unsmudged album cover of “Dark Side” painted onto her chest and belly – when Wayne came around to give hellos, she instead lifted up her shirt and offered a touch.
 
Coyne was astonishingly involved in the entire stage production, from lifting boxes and pushing the smoke machine buttons, to giving cues and adjusting his own sound. I didn’t imagine he’d just be sitting in an air conditioned green room hidden somewhere behind the muck and heat of the fields, but with a team of more than a dozen stage hands and sound engineers what-have-you, he was flitting around backstage seemingly as much as anyone else.
 
Between the strobes, the lasers, the floods and the usual stage lights, I could really only see maybe 30 rows back, so it’s easy to imagine why a singer wouldn’t necessarily see one’s ultra-awesome “BREATHE” poster.
 
None of the 20 folks dancing onstage that night walked off the wings dry. Aside from the heavy fibers of the track pants and tab jackets, the lights were a million degrees and when its requested you dance like a jerk without stopping for an hour in front of a festival crowd, it’s not like you go halvsies.
 
We got to watch "Dark Side" from the edges, in the artificial fog, and we got t-shirts.
 
One delightful and terrifying element to all this was, considering the number of streamers coming down from the rafters and the blanket of tiny yellow and orange tissue paper squares on the floor, cigarettes were still smoked in abundance.

Song Of The Day: The Killers' Brandon Flowers officially goes solo with 'Crossfire'

Full album due later this year, band merely on hiatus

<p>Brandon Flowers</p>

Brandon Flowers

Apparently it's Zane Lowe day today.

Not only did the BBC 1 radio personality get to debut a new Arcade Fire single, but he also scored the first interview with The Killers' Brandon Flowers in regards to his solo project.

The song "Crossfire" leaked over the weekend, and it seems as though it was intended to be saved for September. However, it at least spurred the conversation in which Flowers confirmed that he is releasing a solo album later on in the year -- though, fans be relieved, it sounds like The Killers are not done, just taking a break for the moment.

"The guys have heard it and they understand why I'm doing it," he said. "I'm already talking to them about when we're going to get into the studio again."

"Crossfire" pretty much sounds like it could have come from spacey-dancey "Day & Age," with more focus on live instruments and pushing those vocals way way up front. Lyrically, it paints Flowers as a troubled lover: "Theres'a still in the street outside your window / you're keeping secrets on your pillow... I forget all about the storm outside / Dark clouds roll their way over town / Heartache and pain came pouring down."

Stream a high quality version on brandonflowersmusic.com.

Watch: Katy Perry gets naked, suggestively sugary in 'California Gurls' video

Have whipped cream can nipple guns finally jumped the shark?

<p>Katy Perry in &quot;California Gurls</p>

Katy Perry in "California Gurls

The new music video for Katy Perry's "California Gurls" is out. It's way too sweet.

Perry is the game piece in the classic board game "Candy Land," controlled by God-figure Snoop Dogg. She releases various other scantily clad women from their captures of confection and then they dance on a beach. The cutesy singer appears both naked on top of a cotton candy cloud and as the leader of this roving gang of daisy-duke-wearing gingerbread man-munchers, seemingly citizens of Whoville. Then she turns into bizarro Katy Perry to do battle against mean-spirited gummy bears, as Snoop Jesus makes his own descent into the fray. She sprays the gummies to death with a whipped cream-squirting bra thing and punishes Snoop Dogg by sticking him neck deep into sand, where his head may pivot to see cleavage. The end.

It has all the social implications of violence and discrimination as MIA's "Born Free," with the feminist tone of Liz Phair's "Exile in Guyville" album. It is a statement for post-modern, urban populism, in California and elsewhere.

Just kidding. This video makes no sense.

[Video after the jump...]

Win a Rolling Stones' CD catalog prize pack with remastered 'Exile on Main St.'

Watch: Music video to new 'Exile' single 'Plundered My Soul'

<p>Rolling Stones</p>
<br />

Rolling Stones


**** THIS CONTEST HAS EXPIRED. CONGRATULATIONS TO BRIAN H., OUR WINNER! ****

 

It was just a few scant weeks ago that the Rolling Stones re-released their classic "Exile on Main St.," and now with the help of HitFix and Immaculate Noise, you can be 'Exiled,' too.

I'm giving away one CD prize pack that includes four of the Stones' albums: "Exile on Main St. Remastered," "Sticky Fingers," "Some Girls" and the "Jump Back" best-of compilation.

Here's what you do to enter:

Follow HitFix and Immaculate Noise's Katie Hasty on Twitter. Then, Tweet a message that contains @HitFix @katieaprincess and #getexiledgiveaway.

You must be 18 and old to enter, and be a resident of the United States. Entries will be accepted up through midnight this Wednesday (June 16).

Meanwhile, below is the throwback video to "Exile" remastered single "Plundered My Soul" and "Following the River" and, if you don't want to enter or don't end up winning you can buy the album via Amazon or through iTunes.

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