I am not here to dump on every former Disney and/or tween-fanbased star that hits my desk. I actually want to pull for Selena Gomez, to mark a positive path for girls who want to be more than just Justin Bieber's girlfriend. I also actually, genuinely like "Who Says" and I think the styling for her "When the Sun Goes Down" was pretty stunning.
That being said, Selena Gomez' music video for "Hit the Lights" is something like a three-and-a-half-minute JCPenney commercial. Preceded by a Selena Gomez Kmart commercial. Wasn't there, like, three teases and a behind-the-scenes of this? For what?
In trying to parse just what bothers me about Drake, I can’t help but compare him to Kanye West, particularly the success of last year’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” While hip-hop still rages at hip-pop, here’s a whole load of so-called emo rap, both with the self-inflicted trappings of conflicted princes/kings; both with so much about feelings; both with artists expressing doubt and cosmic reflections through some singing, a lot of rhymes and a bevy of guest spots.
As I’ve written before, there’s something about October’s Very Own that feels spectacularly unearned. I think the heaviest weight of last year’s “Thank Me Later” was shouldered by guest talent and the endless hype from the Young Money movers. Drake’s abilities as a singer have grown somewhat on this new album, and that goes further to say that I think Drizzy is working harder than ever. But his rhymes, and his editing process, still have a ways to go, before his invitees aren’t always threatening to upstage him.
Take for instance “Make Me Proud” with Nicki Minaj. It takes song No. 10 into the 18-song monster (“Monster”?) for Drake to even threaten having some fun; this, after he waffles between the hair-smoothing bravado of “Over My Dead Body” and half-lamenting his “overconfidence” and rappers copping his “soap opera” style in “Headlines.” He swims in big, beautiful bloat of “Crew Love” featuring The Weeknd, “Take Care” with Rihanna and early arrival/fan favorite “Marvin’s Room” with Kendrick Lamar: these three make up a triple-punch to the tear ducts, but you can’t help to notice some vocal inferiority compared to the Bajan pop star and the rising co-Canadian Weeknd.
Lady Gaga may have lost a vital limb, as it's been confirmed she's split with longtime creative director and choreographer Laurieann Gibson.
All-caps-inclined site MediaTakeOut reported the news last week that Mother Monster and Gibson had a "bitter fight," and that sources near the pair had insinuated the latter developed a big head, ever since she launched her E! reality show series "The Dance Scene" and got a second pump with BET's "Born to Dance." The Hollywood Reporter firmed with reps today that the two were dunzo.
Gibson had worked on routines for artists like JoJo and Danity Kane before she was linked with Gaga; she went on to choreograph Gaga's videos for "The Fame" and "The Fame Monster" (like "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance") as well as some like Katy Perry's "California Gurls" and Keri Hilson's "The Way You Love Me." As for "Born This Way," Gibson choreographed, and tried her hand at directing by co-helming "Judas" with Gaga and heading up "You and I."
Much of Rihanna's "Talk That Talk" has leaked now, but among the tracks is one that's been much sought-after: her reunion with Jay-Z.
Hov appears on the title track to the set, and frankly, it's an elementary and mildly stupid contribution from the veteran rapper. While Ri-Ri and Jay-Z's combos on "Umbrella" and "Run This Town" had an it's-only-natural vibe, this sounds like a cut and paste of dull Hova bluster, the sole verse making a play on his 'Nets arena and "dome," the chest-puffery of a "singer slash actress" in his bedroom (and not, well, his wife) and eye-roll of a rhyme involving the bladder and peeing. Good one.
With that, I'm a mite disappointed that I think it's destined to be a hit, because that sloppy refrain still sticks to my head.
A bit better is "Drunk on Love," Rihanna's aforementioned utilization of the xx's "Intro" for it's chilled-out beat. The Bajan singer goes a little too new-agey -- stiffly formal, in a way. But the production pairs nicely with the simple lyricism.
"Talk That Talk" is out on Nov. 22 which (believe it or not) is next week, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, holy cow. Check out "You Da One," the new single that debuted last week. The first single is hit "We Found Love," which she will perform on "X Factor" this week on Thursday (Nov. 17).
Metal pioneers Black Sabbath are reuniting with the original lineup and hitting the road, more than 40 years after the band's inception.
Guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, bass player Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward are plotting a world tour as well as a new album, as they announced at a press conference today. The band will headline England's Download Festival in June 2012 and then head out.
Rick Rubin has been tapped to produce a new effort, the same role he had when the band made their first go at reuniting back at the end of the '90s and into the new millennium. If the album's completed, it will be Rubin's first for the band.
Black Sabbath hasn't released an album of all-new material with that lineup since 1978's "Never Say Die!"; Osbourne was fired that following year, and replaced by Ronnie James Dio. Thus, the inaugural quartet left eight studio albums in their wake.
Sabbath made their last concerted, formal reunion starting in 1997/1998, an earnest but ultimately doomed attempt at becoming a full band again. Bill Ward had a heart attack while they were on tour. Iommi pursued putting out his first solo album while Ozzy worked on a couple of his own, setting the band back on what was thought to be a temporary hiatus. The MTV's "The Osbournes" was permanently conscripted into Ozzy's life and that was that, in 2002. To show for it: 1998's decent and mostly live album "Reunion," which included two new studio tracks, with one that thankfully showed some spark ("Psycho Man").
Black Sabbath, without contest, is among one of the most influential rock bands of all time, trailblazers for metal, helping in defining an era of post-Beatles British music and yielding a template of heavy music frontmen. I am a great admirer of the band; and I won't be the first or last fan to say, that this reunion just seems sad.
The Black Keys' Black Friday single "Lonely Boy" b/w "Run Right Back" will be out at the end of the month, and now you can hear both sides of that effort, in advance of the Dec. 6 full-length "El Camino."
"Run Right Back" seems to be a bit of a generic, classic-rock inspired thumper, Dan Auerbach's bluesy howl moving around the curves of some unknown girl. I'm not as wild about it as I am about "Lonely Boy," but I tend to like the duo a bit more raw than they are here, despite the wild-haired guitar lick.
And with the production from Danger Mouse, "El Camino" might be a lot of that mix, oscillating between gutter-sexy blues and more straight-forward rock tracks, a combo that helped the Black Keys earn 2010 Grammy wins for "Brothers."
It's no novelty for mainstream pop and urban artists to tap into the indie set. The week just seems to particularly heavy on it.
Drake's album "Take Care" has already leaked, but for those who crave the singer/MC bit by bit, there's new "Crew Love" and "The Ride" on which Drizzy takes advantage of melodies (and non-) from mysterious co-Canadian and singer The Weeknd. The former pushes the high end with the atmosphere and samples and takes it sweet time to get to Drake's initial verse. On the latter, Drake is confident there's not a sufficient amount of "feel" from fans and haters, as Weeknd's voice lilts and flits around loops in the background. It grooves less like a grandstand and more like a bedroom jam. It confuses me.
Meanwhile, it has become clear that Rihanna has worked in a sample from British rock sleepies The xx on her track "Drunk on Love" for her forthcoming album "Talk That Talk." That set is being previewed in seconds-long snippets, and the song in question (using "Intro") can be heard below.
Additionally, Sufjan Stevens may be inspired by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but it seems Illadelph's The Roots are inspired by Sufjan Stevens. His "Greetings from Michigan" track "Redford (For Yia Yia & Pappou)" served as inspiration for The Roots' new album "undun" protagonist Redford Stephens. They included a track of Stevens playing the song, as a section of a "four-part movement."
R. Kelly has written an autobiography and I can't wait to read it, particularly in lieu of today's new track "Shut Up," which continues the dialogue: is Robert Kelly for real or is this all an elaborate conceptual scheme destined to trigger society's unrealized surrealist destiny?
Read: Is this man really singing about his tonsil surgery?
The answer is: he is. All of the above, perhaps. He was, remember, the genius behind "Trapped in the Closet."
"Shut Up" was posted to Kelly's Twitter, a declaration to nay-sayers who nay-said R. would never bounce back after a a good old-fashioned abcess-drain this summer. Whether these detractors are imaginary, very real, or something in between (perhaps hired men, paid to detract), the 44-year-old R&B legend felt strongly enough to toss in some f-bombs and to thank God for having his back in the battle.
I'm still a little hot and bothered by the news of All Tomorrow's Parties London initial lineup for 2012: Slayer performing "Reign in Blood" in its entirety, the frequently afflicted Mogwai, Sleep (!!), the Melvins, newly reunited Guided By Voices and Yuck. (Fine, fine, and Mudhoney too. Whatever.)
But included in that May 25-27 weekend will be a reunion of slow-core pioneers Codeine. That crew has put themselves back together for what might be a whole tour, in fact, with plans to released their three excellent Sub Pop records. "Frigid Stars" (1990), 1992's "Barely Real" EP and 1994's "The White Birch" are getting double-album makeovers, similar to those that enhanced Jesus and Mary Chain's six album reduxes. They're due in Spring 2012.
And it grabs hold of what everybody already knew: girls love guys with money! And, boy, do b**ches love shoes! 'miright?
It's a catchy track, regardless, and seems to directly counter the short-sight chick that broke Cee Lo, erm I mean Bruno Mars', heart in "F*ck You" and it's friendly G-rated cousin "Forget You." It looks to be a good contender for one of his performance tracks as he takes the stage float during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.