Should artists express their views on the Israeli/Gaza conflict? Or on any divisive political matters at all? A number of artists have commented on recent current events and had to either back track or explain their messages.
Robyn and Royksopp’s dance tune, “Do It Again,” the title track from their joint EP, is a slightly cautionary ditty about the things that feel so good that we do them again, even if they aren’t great for us.
The ambitious video, however, spins a much darker tale of addiction, forbidden love, rights suppression, and some other things that I still haven’t figured out… Those crazy Scandinavians!
Shot in Mexico in black and white, the Martin de Thurah-directed video leaves a lot to the viewers’ imagination as seemingly unrelated tales play out of activists fighting against an unexplained evil, a girl with an injured leg dealing with addiction, and some stolen artwork. There’s a timelessness to the clip that seems like it could take place anywhere from the ‘50s to present day.
So rather than try to interpret it, maybe it’s just best to enjoy the frenzy that seems to take over at various points in the clip as the beat takes over and the danger builds up. Maybe it’s all a fever dream. Just remember… head toward the light.
Interstitial footage of Robyn singing “Do It Again” is cut in with the narrative, while the two members of Royksopp appear in some of the crowd scenes.
There’s a lot of excitement around the new Spoon album, “They Want My Soul,” much of it coming from catchy first single, “Do You.” In direct contrast to the song’s upbeat melody, the video is a bit of a downer.
Lead singer Britt Daniel, looking dazed and confused from a head wound, drives through a city at war, but despite the chaos, he’s moving at a very leisurely pace. About two minutes in, we realize he’d not alone: his companion is a teenage girl in the backseat. With her headphones on and her blasé expression, she seems even less concerned about the unfolding destruction.
Directed by Hiro Murai, the video is a case of not much to see and everything to see all at the same time…depending upon your view. If you can hang on until around the 3-minute mark, there’s an amusing pay-off. The video is part of Urban Outfitters' series of video clips. For bands looking for dollars to help underwrite their artistic endeavors: this is the way it's done. No product placement and yet Urban Outfitters, whose site houses the video, gets the coolness by association.
“They Want My Soul” comes out Aug. 5 and is the band’s first for Loma Vista Recordings after a long tenure on Merge Records.
Apocalyptic scenes are big again: check out last week’s video for "War on the East Coast" from The New Photographers, that follows a somewhat similar visual approach to cities under siege.
“Life’s a rollercoaster, keep your arms inside.”
So sings Conor Oberst in his new song, “You Are Your Mother’s Child.” In the new video for the track, a puppet dad reflects on his very real children’s playful nature, as Oberst sings projected through an old television screen. It’s a sweet song, taken from his current album, “Upside Down Mountain,” and even sweeter video that has an untainted, nostalgic innocence.
The lovely clip is a palate-cleanser of sorts to what has definitely been a tumultuous last few months for Oberst. This week, a woman, who, in February, had accused Oberst of rape via comments section for an essay that ran on the xoJane website recanted her statements and apologized to Oberst via a public statement.
Her false accusation is, of course, in-and-of itself terrible, but the story- more than any in recent weeks- is a reminder of how social media spreads tales with reckless disregard as to any veracity. A spark turns into an internet flame, which conflates into a roaring fire with the strike of one small match.
In a fascinating piece for The Washington Post, Caitlin Dewey chronicles the rumor’s path from the xoJane comment to Tumblr chatter to fan sites to mainstream. She cites that one Tumblr post, which was merely a re-report of an earlier report, got 10,000 hits in one day. Similarly, in one 24-hour period, there were more than 700 tweets about the alleged rape.
On the internet, truth and fiction carry the same weight, but the most valuable currency is scandal. The more salacious an item the faster it will travel. For too long (and HitFix is guilty of this as are most outlets), attributing a story to a site now counts the same as verifying the story with an informed source or publicist. And they are two very different things. Additionally, something posted as a comment to an essay or on a Tumblr account is not the same thing as actual journalism. We act like they are there’s no difference now, giving something that is reported on a gossip site the same traction as something in the New York Times.
So, as Dewey notes, by the time Oberst’s reps released a statement saying the accusations were false, the story had already been picked up so many times on the internet that it took on the sheen of true by sheer ubiquity.
Oberst, who filed a $1.2 million libel suit against his Joanie Faircloth, his accuser, in February. He has since accepted her apology, but for the rest of his life, he’ll know that when someone Googles his name, these accusations will come up and they won’t all be amended with the fact that Faircloth recanted. They should all be taken down, but that’s not how it works on the Internet. This is now part of his footprint.
Faircloth holds the ultimate responsibility, but as Dewey writes, “Everyone who ‘boosted her signal,’ in the words of one outspoken Oberst blogger, is also complicit.” Maybe, no matter whether we’re retweeting or linking on Facebook or writing for a website, it’s time to take a little responsibility for the boost.
It doesn’t bother Katy Perry that her widely acclaimed and even-more-widely seen video for “Roar” didn’t get any love when the MTV Video Music Awards nominations were announced yesterday. It. Really. Doesn’t.
In fact, it doesn’t bother her so much that Perry took to Twitter early this morning to ever so playfully chide the VMAs for the snub and remind us all over the staggering stat that the video has received nearly 560 million views. That’s getting up there into Psy territory.
I'm good with my 569,000,000+ views on Roar ????— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) July 18, 2014
Of course, Perry doesn’t want to pour too much water on the VMAs given that her video for “Dark Horse” earned nods for best female video and best collaboration (with Juicy J).
Lady Antebellum’s fifth studio album, “747,” will take flight on Sept. 30.
The set, the trio’s first since 2013’s “Golden,” includes first single, “Bartender,” which bulleted at No. 11 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart this week.
The band produced the album with Nathan Chapman, best know for his work with Taylor Swift. “We are pushing ourselves as a band and as songwriters,” says Lady A’s Hillary Scott. “Taking ourselves out of our comfort zone and not taking ourselves too seriously. There's an urgency and an energy to it that we've never released before.”
Lady Antebellum is in the middle of its 80-city Take Me Downtown arena tour.
747 TRACK LIST:
1. Long Stretch of Love
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Josh Kear)
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Rodney Clawson)
3. Lie With Me
(Marc Beeson, Abe Stoklasa)
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Shane McAnally)
5. Down South
(Stephanie Chapman, Christian Rada, Dave Thomson)
6. One Great Mystery
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Josh Kear)
7. Sounded Good At The Time
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Brad Warren, Brett Warren)
8. She Is
(Ben Rector, Jeff Pardo)
9. Damn You Seventeen
(Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
(Gordie Sampson, Caitlyn Smith, Cary Barlowe)
11. Just A Girl
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Shane McAnally)
Legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter, known for his fiery, speedy playing and his long-flowing white hair, died yesterday in Zurich, where he was on tour. He was 70.
Winter, the older brother of Edgar Winter, was a contemporary of Eric Clapton and was one of the first blues guitarists so embraced by rock audiences that he was able to sell out arenas during his hey-day in the ‘70s. He was widely influenced by the blues guitarists who came before him, such as Muddy Waters, and he went on to inspire such guitarists as Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Born in Beaumont, Texas in 1944, Winter got his start playing in clubs as a teenager. He signed with Columbia Records in 1969 and appeared at The Woodstock Festival that year. He performed with Janis Joplin, as well as his brother. He was inducted into The Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988.
Artists including Tom Morello, Kiss’s Paul Stanley and Zakk Wylde took to Twitter today to remember Winter. Matt Sorum noted it has been a rough week for music lovers following the deaths of Tommy Ramone and Charlie Haden, and now Winter.
RIP JOHNNY WINTER. We have lost one of the absolute greats. What a player. Thank you for all the fire. pic.twitter.com/wzBlyKuW3g— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) July 17, 2014
GOD BLESS JOHNNY WINTER 1944-2014...LONG LIVE THE KING OF THE FIREBIRD - tBLSt SDMF tJWt pic.twitter.com/amOSEQ7NHk— Zakk Wylde (@ZakkWyldeBLS) July 17, 2014
RIP Johnny Winter: the Real Deal.— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) July 17, 2014
God Bless Johnny Winter , Charlie Haden and Tommy Ramone Rip u brought us beautiful music!!— matt sorum (@mattsorum) July 17, 2014
In addition to touring behind his 70th birthday, he was preparing for the release of his latest studio album, “Step Back,” which features guest appearances by Clapton, Ben Harper, Joe Perry, Dr. John and others.
Beyonce is Queen Bey when it comes to VMA voters. She leads all artists for the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards with eight nominations, including the coveted video of the year for “Drunk In Love,” featuring Jay Z.
Among the artists who were ignored include Lady Gaga, Coldplay, and Justin Timberlake (although his duet with Michael Jackson, “Love Never Felt So Good,” was nominated for best choreography.)
Joining Beyonce as contenders for video of the year are Azalea’s “Fancy,” Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” Sia’s “Chandelier, and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” As you’ll recall, Cyrus’ twerk heard around the world occurred at last year’s VMAs.
Ariana Grande, Usher and 5 Seconds Of Summer are among the artists who will be performing at this year’s event.
VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – "Fancy" Beyonce ft. Jay Z - "Drunk in Love" Pharrell Williams - "Happy" Sia - "Chandelier" Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball"
BEST HIP HOP: Eminem - "Bezerk" Drake ft. Majid Jordan - "Hold On (We're Going Home)" Childish Gambino - "3005" Kanye West - "Black Skinhead" Wiz Khalifa - "We Dem Boyz”
BEST MALE: Pharrell Williams - "Happy" John Legend - "All of Me" Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell Williams - "Sing" Sam Smith - "Stay With Me" Eminem ft. Rihanna - "The Monster"
BEST FEMALE: Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy" Beyonce - "Partition" Lorde - "Royals" Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem" Katy Perry ft. Juicy J - "Dark Horse"
BEST POP: Pharrell Williams - "Happy" Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy" Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz - "Talk Dirty" Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem" Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc - "Wake Me Up”
BEST ROCK: Imagine Dragons - "Demons" Arctic Monkeys - "Do I Wanna Know" The Black Keys - "Fever" Lorde - “Royals” Linkin Park - "Until It's Gone"
MTV ARTIST TO WATCH: Sam Smith - "Stay With Me" 5 Seconds of Summer -"She Looks So Perfect" Charli XCX - "Boom Clap" Schoolboy Q - "Man of the Year" Fifth Harmony - "Miss Movin' On"
BEST COLLABORATION: Beyonce ft. Jay Z - "Drunk in Love" Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem" Pitbull ft. Ke$ha - "Timber" Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga - "Loyal" Eminem ft. Rihanna - "The Monster" Katy Perry ft. Juicy J - "Dark Horse”
MTV CLUBLAND AWARD: DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" Zedd ft. Hayley Williams - "Stay the Night" Calvin Harris - "Summer" Martin Garrix - "Animals" Disclosure - "Grab Her!"
BEST VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE Angel Haze ft. Sia - “Battle Cry“ Avicii - “Hey Brother” Beyonce - “Pretty Hurts” J. Cole ft. TLC - “Crooked Smile” Kelly Rowland - “Dirty Laundry” David Guetta ft. Mikky Ekko - “One Voice”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 30 Seconds to Mars - "City of Angels" Beyonce - "Pretty Hurts" Arcade Fire - "Afterlife" Gesaffelstein - "Hate or Glory" Lana Del Rey - "West Coast”
BEST EDITING Eminem - "Rap God" MGMT - "Your Life is a Lie" Zedd ft. Hayley Williams - "Stay the Night" Beyonce - "Pretty Hurts" Fitz and the Tantrums - "The Walker"
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY Sia - "Chandelier" Beyonce - "Partition" Usher - “Good Kisser" Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake - "Love Never Felt So Good" Jason Derulo ft. 2Chainz - "Talk Dirty" Kiesza - “Hideaway”
BEST DIRECTION DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" OK Go - "The Writing's On the Wall" Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball" Beyonce - "Pretty Hurts" Eminem ft. Rihanna - "The Monster"
BEST ART DIRECTION DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy" Eminem - "Rap God" Arcade Fire - "Reflektor" Tyler, The Creator - "Tamale"
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" OK Go - "The Writing's On the Wall" Disclosure - "Grab Her!" Eminem - "Rap God" Jack White - "Lazaretto"
The New Pornographers continue their power pop ways with new song and video, “War in the East Coast.” The catchy track has a bit of a ‘90s BritPop feel, which may account for the video’s style.
After seven weeks at the top, Azalea’s “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, falls to No. 2 as Magic!’s “Rude” ascends to the pole position. The pop/reggae track is the Canadian quartet’s first charting single. It is the first reggae song to top the Billboard Hot 100 since Sean Paul’s “Get Busy” in 2003, according to Billboard. It has been even longer since and all-Canadian band ruled at No. 1: the last time was Nickleback with “How You Remind Me” in 2001.
The next four songs on the chart hold stationary: Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” featuring Azalea, is No. 3; Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong” at No. 4, Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” at No. 5 and Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” featuring Snoop Dog” at No. 6.
John Legend’s former No. 1, “All of Me,” moves back up one spot to No. 7. Maroon 5’s latest, Maps,” inches 9-8. Calvin Harris’ “Summer” drops 7-9 and Disclosure’s “Latch,” featuring Smith, finally makes it into the Top 10, as it moves 11-10.
In other chart-worthy news: Azalea’s newest single, “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora, zooms 97-65.