When Terrence Howard walked up, he was already crying.
Terrence Howard, Viola Davis and Maria Bello speak on unspeakable abduction drama
When Terrence Howard walked up, he was already crying.
Anton Corbijn directs one, and you help direct the other
Arcade Fire have finally lifted the veil on their new single "Reflektor" which -- if you're any fan of their more dance-happy, disco-laden songs like "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" and "Half Light II (No Celebration)" from their last album "The Suburbs" -- will make you pretty happy.
It's more than seven minutes of what most definitely sounds like one of their collaborations with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, who co-produced the new album. This title track additionally gets the enhancement of two new music videos, one standard directed by Anton Corbijn and one interactive through some geniuses at Google Chrome with director Vincent Morisset.
For the Chrome version of the video, some of the technology may interfere with your actual ability to view (browser, mobile tech and video cards), but you will get a good idea of what you're in store for by watching this featurette and exploring some of the images. In this version of the video, the user follows the protagonist/dancer Axelle "Ebony" Munezero through the streets in Haiti. Arcade Fire have spent recent years supporting non-profits and causes from the troubled country, where co-founder Régine Chassagne was born.
Visit justareflektor.com to see the interactive video in Chrome.
Corbijn's black-and-white version of the "Reflektor" experience has its own quirks, too, as the band dons oversized papier mache heads like puppet versions of themselves, hunting down the Disco Ball Man and putting the doll versions of themselves in a shiny coffin. As you do. It's actually a really lighthearted look, at times, at the Montreal-based band, who have made a mystery of themselves in promoting "Reflektor" up until this point. Win Butler and Chassgne put on a good show for this epic-length tune, which plays with the ideas of disillusion, self-reflection and reality, much like "The Suburbs" did.
Interestingling, those cartoony heads were a highlight from the "dance-activated" vid for "Sprawl II," which Morisset directed. There's a continuing theme here, if it's just that the band likes a challenge when playing their instruments.
"Reflektor" as a song just goes and goes, with multiple climaxes, points of entry, and would kill as a instrumental-only. Based on the dance moves in the Corbijn clip, they're having a good time playing it, too.
"Reflektor," the album, is out on Oct. 29. Happy Halloween, we know what you're dressing as.
Old school song, old school music video
Fish eye lens, backtracking, fake VHS stripes, hyper-contrast, oh my! Eminem's music video is kicking it old-school, and the rapper's brought a few friends along in the time machine.
Rick Rubin, Yelawolf, Kendrick Lamar, Em's Bad Meets Evil cohort Royce Da 5'9″ and Kid Rock all make cameos for the new-old clip, which Eminem previewed last night during one of the most awkward live television appearances ever.
If you weren't embracing the boombox retro style of the single before, Eminem is practically begging you too, now. All it's missing is Mike D and Ad-Rock hugging it out with Billy Squier. With this big love-in of contemporaries and protégés, I say "stroke it" indeed.
Emotional single bares her soul or something
Let me start by saying I actually very much like "Wrecking Ball" as a Miley Cyrus single. It's got that "I Knew You Were Trouble" vibe while also allowing a pristine vocal comp to make the former Disney star sound like an honest-to-God grownup. It hints the tabloid trubs from her engagement to Liam Hemsworth, exposing 100 million times more emotions than her dark comedy/summer hit "We Can't Stop."
There are some problems with this video. Allow me to explain.
1. In the Crying While Singing genre, you do not start with the crying. This quickly reminded me of Duncan Sheik's 1990s chart-topping single "Barely Breathing," what with the kissing away of saline tears. These may very well be genuine eye leakage, but it's faking your way to emotional orgasm as a video piece.
2. Sexual intimacy with filthy, dirty, destructive objects... I see what you did there. Metaphors! But it's around the first time Cyrus' naked nethers make contact with a literal wrecking ball that remind me of girls who ride the New York subway in skirts and no undies in summer: basic human sexuality takes a turn for the yeccch. While the sight of anybody naked would unfurl many's flags, this just makes me squirm like a bare back on a mound of rubble. Oh wait.
Peter Gabriel, have you anything to say for the example you've set? This is stupid.
3. This video was likely shot before Cyrus' scattershot MTV VMAs performance, which only continued the crescendo cries of "Hannah Montana All Growed Up." Personally, I didn't have a problem with the racy nature of that televised performance, but I did with her use of black women as her personal line of cred(it).
Here, she is subsisting purely on the carnal, erasing whatever good feelings I had for the song by displacing genuine emotional value with a ball-and-chain stripper pole, an image so desperately mixed, she probably had to go method to justify the inanity.
Dotting the soft porn with emotional lip-syncing does not make up for this, nor does it surprise me, the most shocking element being the volume at which I said "DUH" in learning that Terry Richardson directed this pile.
4. Cyrus' handlers are well aware of Billboard's recent rule additions to the Hot 100 now include YouTube views. Yes, Psy and Baauer benefited from this. So did Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," as did Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors," both of which feature naked women.
Don't pretend there aren't at a zillion people on the planet who are Googling the query "Miley Cyrus naked," and guess what will pop up as the top entry? (I mean aside from this blog post. You knew what this was.) See you at the top of the charts?
"Wrecking Ball" is off of Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz," due on Oct. 4.
Trent Reznor rounds up some killer singles and disappointing gray matter
Nine Inch Nails have had plenty of time and space to regroup. New "Hesitation Marks" is the industrial rockers' first in five years, and first since taking time off from touring in as many moons. It's a fresh lineup and, in the time in-between, Trent Reznor has won and Oscar, launched How To Destroy Angels with his wife and longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and, apparently, made amends with a major labels in time to launch a proper campaign to push a significant and solid radio single.
Take our poll: Who had the No. 1 jam?
Call this season the Summer of Soul: the summer of 2013 produced some clear-cut, all-out jams that will be remembered years from now, and several of them have a soulful bent to them.
It's very telling that Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" featuring T.I. And Pharrell Williams lived and thrived under the threat of a lawsuit from the Marvin Gaye estate: the throwback vibe of that cowbell and the singer's grooving falsetto rang some, erm, bells. (Thicke, if you'll remember, preemptively sued the Gaye estate to bar the action. So maybe "Blurred Lines" keeps its Grammy chances...)
Daft Punk's return with album "Random Access Memories" was marked by its retro action, and mega-single "Get Lucky" with Pharrell (and chops from Chic's Nile Rodgers) was the essence of the soul behind their robot masks. Avicii's "Wake Me Up" would be nothing without Aloe Blacc's stellar pipes on top of that stomp-clap. Mary Lambert's chorus on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love" still sends sparkles up the spine, despite the song having been around for more than a year.
Justin Timberlake... oh, Justin, who is having such a big year with his "20/20 Experience." No songs from that album made our solstice review, but his meandering turn on Jay-Z's "Holy Grail" has a "preach" to it. And just blinking at Bruno Mars' "Treasure," it looks like it was culled straight out of "Soul Train."
Breaking up the old-school boogie were a few of bursts of dance-pop, coincidentally (or not!) from two former child actress. Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It" and Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" were both invitations to what promised to be a pair of slightly sleazy parties. Ellie Goulding's melody on Calvin Harris' "I Need Your Love" provided a pristine combo from the EDM sector.
Like the MTV VMAs, rock wasn't repping very hard during the hottest months: tracks like Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" started roaring months beforehand. The closest our top 10 lists got to rockin' out were to country act Florida Georgia Line's ode to ogling "Cruise," Capital Cities' Passion Pit-esque "Safe and Sound" and that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" rip in "Holy Grail." (One Direction's "Best Song Ever" made a stab at the top tier, but aside from excitement from Directioners, limped toward the end of the end of its tenure in our memories.)
Below, HitFixers Melinda Newman, Dave Lewis, Chris Eggertsen and myself explain away our top 10 jams of 2013's Songs of the Summer, and ranked which ones were most representative. What made the songs work? Did we get burned out on them? Will we remember them in 10 years? Who is our No. 1 Song of the Summer?
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Beastie Boys, Billy Squier's 'The Stroke,' Kendrick Lamar and a Kardashian slam
This rowdy rock-based handle flyer starts with cadence and a sample from Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere": "Now this sh*t's about to kick off, this party looks wack / Let's take it back to straight hip-hop and start it from scratch." Cute, Em, now let's really get to our first maxi pad joke.
Riot Fest in Toronto was home to the first Mats show in 22 years
The MTV VMAs wasn't the only notable happening on Sunday night: legendary rockers The Replacements got together for the first time in 22 years to perform at Toronto's Riot Fest.
Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were joined by drummer Josh Freese (nope, not Chris Mars) and guitarist David Minehan as they played a 22-song set over 75 minutes, with a little bit of banter in between.
"Hello. Sorry it took so long, for 25 years,we had a wardrobe debate. Unresolved," Westerberg began as he stood with Stinson.
Are you the guy/gal who screams the lyrics to "Can't Hardly Wait" or "Swingin' Party?" And did you check that "Everything's Coming Up Roses" cover?
The Placemats will play the Chicago (Sept. 13-15) and Denver (Sept. 21-22) legs of Riot Fest, too. Should they survive these one, maybe there will be more to come?
The three surviving original members Westerberg, Stinson and Mars released a covers EP "Songs for Slim" for ailing former guitarist Slim Dunlap earlier this year.