Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj goes after Iggy Azalea again...or not

She says her BET speech was misunderstood

Nicki Minaj swore this morning via Twitter that she was not throwing shade at Iggy Azalea during her acceptance speech during Sunday night’s BET Awards, and then continued to dig herself into a deeper hole.

First, she takes the media to task for “putting words into her mouth,”  and then starts stressing again that she respects women who write their own songs, like Lauren Hill and Missy Elliott. She brings up that she has congratulated Azalea on her success with fancy (which she totally has. Read about that here).

In the meantime, Azalea is having her music speak for her:  “Fancy” spends its sixth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, making it the longest that a song by a female rapper has spent at the summit.

Was Minaj smart to tweet about this or she should let it go now?


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Scene from Robin Thicke's new video

Watch Robin Thicke's adorable video for 'Still Madly Crazy'

He's nowhere to be found in the sweet clip

Robin Thicke has turned to tiny tots to do his dirty work. And it was a smart move. His new video for ballad  “Still Madly Crazy,” features little kids, probably around 8 or 9-years old, singing along to the song. Then they go through a marriage reception, including the obligatory toasts.

It’s altogether adorable, mainly because the kids bring an innocent sweetness to the spare tune. Thicke doesn't appear in the video.

It ends with a card simply reading, “For you.” By now, we all know that “you” is Thicke’s wife, Paula Patton, who left him earlier this year and he’s been on a campaign to win her back.

This is his best move yet.

Thicke's new album, "Paula," came out yesterday. Read our review here.

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Madonna shows off her 'Messiah' complex with new music: Listen

Superstar teases new song via Instagram

Madonna’s making new music called “Messiah,” and we don’t think it has anything to do with Handel’s “Messiah.” No signs of a “Hallelujah Chorus” anywhere yet…

Instead, Madge has graced us with sheet music from the piece on her Instagram, followed by a short video of an orchestra playing the sheet music with the caption, “Magic makes the people come together  yaaaaaaaassssss #messiah.”

Didn’t she used to declare that it was music that made the people come together?

Madonna's last album, 2012's "MDNA," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

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World Cup anthem poster

Watch Santana, Wyclef Jean, Avicii and Alexandre Pires' World Cup Anthem: 'We Will Find A Way'

This is how you do a FIFA theme

Here’s how you do a World Cup anthem: The video for Santana, Wyclef Jean, Avicii, and Alexandre Pires’ FIFA tune, “Dar Um Jeito (We Will Find A Way) came out today and it’s the hip-shaking theme we’ve been waiting for.

After one listen, it’s instantly more catchy than the Pitbull/Jennifer Lopez/Claudia Leitte mess, otherwise known as "We Are One." The audio of the song has been out since May, but the visuals enhance the experience.

In the clip, we see Santana do some incredible shredding, as Wyclef and Pires perform the song, Pires, on the streets of Brazil. They don’t shy away from much of the country’s tremendous poverty, as we see a boy stringing together his own soccer ball and other signs of the overwhelming lack of wealth for much of the country—but the emphasis is on overcoming obstacles.

The song/video also highlights Brazilian percussionists. We wish we’d seen and heard more of that.

Santana, Pires and Jean will perform the song at the closing ceremony on July 13 in Rio. Aviciii, who is not seen in the clip, has not been confirmed for the closing ceremony..

What do you think of “We Will Find A Way?”

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Robin Thicke

Review: Is Robin Thicke out for reconciliation or revenge on 'Paula?'

His confessional set misses the mark

Robin Thicke’s new album, “Paula,” comes with a built-in “ick” factor. The whole album is allegedly an effort to woo back his wife, Paula Patton, who dumped him earlier this year for what looks like a whole laundry list of reasons, but primarily for being a douche.

Since then, he’s been on a public campaign that rivals that of politicians on the stump, declaring on award show after award show and at concert after concert that he wants her back.  Note to Thicke: If you’re going to make a confessional album, it should be to confess your own sins, not to highlight also the frailties of the person you’re trying to win back.

Though his blue-eyed soul voice is as on point as always here, too often his efforts come across as self serving and terribly un-self aware and narcissistic, as opposed to sincere. Much of the album is just creepy. Many of the tracks are bolstered by upbeat productions and shimmery girl group backing vocals that seem in direct contrast to the message he’s sending. It’s not an unenjoyable album to listen to, it’s just a strange one.

Regardless of how you felt about the lyrical content on his 2013 mega-smash “Blurred Lines,” there’s nothing as musically catchy here as that tune.  And if you hated “Blurred Lines” because of what some considered misogynistic lyrics like “I know you want it,” then you’re not alone. Yesterday, VH1 attempted a Twitter chat with Thicke to promote “Paula,” and encouraged fans to send in questions via #AskThicke. Instead, they were inundated with questions about “Blurred Lines” and its “rapey” lyrics and about his recent tabloid antics.

All things considered, it seems like maybe Thicke should have shut up and disappeared for a while and perhaps tried to Patton back privately because now, he’s not only lost his wife, he’s lost his fans as well.

Below is a track-by-track review of “Paula.” I tried to evaluate each song on its own merits outside of the album’s questionable mission as a whole and without bringing in Thicke’s most recent actions, but I couldn’t get away from the fact that none of these songs sound like a man full of remorse; they sound like a man full of himself.

“Paula” feels like a further violation of his breaking their marital trust:  To be sure, he may need to grovel to win her back, but in his narcissistic need to play this out publicly, he drags her through the mud, exposing secrets about her, including an alleged fake suicide attempt, that feel like he is out for revenge more than for reconciliation. He’s not the first to make commerce out of heartbreak, but he may be the worst.

“You’re My Fantasy”:  Lilting, dreamy, mid-tempo ballad where he declares she owns him and begs for her to come back because he is surrounded by her memory. A bit repetitive, but hypnotic in its own way. “I’ll never make it without you,” he chants at the end.  GRADE: B-

“Get Her Back”:  The first single from the set is a laundry list of mistakes he made and ways he’ll make it right: “I never should have raised my voice or made you feel so small… I should have kissed you longer… I’ll wait for forever to have you love me again.” He sounds smooth and breezy on the track, but hardly desperate. GRADE: B-

“Still Madly Crazy”: A piano ballad where Thicke recalls their happier days, when they were “soaked up in love.” Wouldn’t sound out of place on a John Legend album. A little too much info where he talks about how she couldn’t fall asleep without her head on his chest. Major confession: “I’m so sorry you had to suffer my lack of self control.”  GRADE: B

“Lock The Door”:  Musically, the album’s most interesting track musically with a foreboding piano line, gospel choir, and a response that serves as, supposedly, Patton’s response to his pleading. He recalls the minute he knew it was over. “She’s flying high, you can’t hurt her no more,” he sings. GRADE: B

“Whatever I Want”: Uptempo dance track that comes closest to the infectious “Blurred Lines.” Told from Patton’s standpoint through a female backing vocal, she’s free to do whatever she wants, but he still wants to kiss her all over. Top tapping. Would make a great dance remix. One of Thicke’s huskier, sexier deliveries.  GRADE: B

“Living In New York”:  The track opens with a female voice, presumably Patton’s, saying “I’m moving to New York,” before Thicke goes into a James Brown-like funky breakdown that details her actions there and how he deals with her departure. A stomping, hand-clapping rave-up complete with Thicke’s imitations of Brown’s “Good God,” and vocal yelps. If you thought he was copying Marvin Gaye before, you’ll go apoplectic on this one.  GRADE: C

“Love Can Grow Back”:  Oh, way TMI. On this torchy, bluesy, horn-laden track, Thicke revels in how much he loved watching her dance, but how he really loves getting horizontal. She’s going to get a manicure, which will lead to some hot lovemaking. “With your new nails on my back, you’ll be scratching, scratching my itch…something is broken only you can fix,” he sings as he hopes their love can grow back, but you’ll only feel voyeuristic after listening to this one. GRADE: C

“Black Tar Cloud”: If this one is true, it’s such a violation of Patton’s privacy, that it’s impossible to believe she’d ever take him back.  Though Black Tar is a kind of heroin, this song describes Patton allegedly faking a drug overdose because she’s so mad at him.  He confesses being jealous of her life and that he’s the only one who “double-dipped”—in another illusion to infidelity. Yuck. GRADE: C-

“Too Little, Too Late”: A skittering dance track where he’s begging again for her return. Not much of a song here, but a fun romp, even though he rhymes “roses” with “toeses”—no kidding. GRADE: B-

“Tippy Toes”:  This retro track sounds like something out of the ‘60s as Thicke talks about a new girl in town dancing on her “tippy toes.” Sounds like an outtake from “Hairspray” or an all-skate selection from a skate rink from a bygone era. Empty and out of place. GRADE: C

“Something Bad”: Thicke starts off singing a cappella. He confesses that he’s been “so bad,” but it’s set to a peppy track with girl group backing vocals that make it clear that he finds his bad boy act absolutely charming, even if no one does, as he tries to coax her into bed and brags that he’ll leave her shaking and begging for more. If this is his idea of remorse, he needs to look the word up again. “Tonight I’m all yours, but in the morning I’m all mine. There’s something bad in me,” he declares. GRADE: C

“The Opposite of Me”: A doo-wop inflected song with Thicke singing gruffly about how he cheated, again, and had drunken rants. “All she needs is something I just can’t give her…because all she wants is the opposite of me.”  Maybe it’s finally sinking in that she’s not coming back.  GRADE: C

“The Time of Your Life”:  Thicke turns into a ‘40s big band crooner on this track where he’s backed by a jaunty band. It’s such a weird disconnect from what he’s going through and his delivery is that of a schmalzy game show host or Miss America host. Is it meant to bolster Patton and remind her that she’s great or is it a weird take off on her experiences in Hollywood? Hard to tell. GRADE: D

Forever Love:  Album closer is the closest to a heartfelt track here, where, accompanied only by a piano, Thicke tells Patton that no matter the result, and he acknowledges it’s looking pretty bleak, he will be forever there for here. Even though it’s a little laughable after the litany of  his mistakes in the previous 13 songs and it only highlights his epic narcissism, taken on face value, it’s compelling in its own way.  GRADE: B


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10 best albums of 2014 – so far

10 best albums of 2014 – so far

Sam Smith, Beck, YG and more

As we close out the first half of 2014, here's a look back at the albums that have taken up residence in our iTunes so far. While we call them the best, to be honest, "our favorites" would be more appropriate. From the melancholy of Beck's mesmerizing "Morning Phase," to the stories Rosanne Cash shares on "The River & The Thread" and YG's often bracing, chilling tales of inner city life on "My Krazy Life,"  these are some of the best that 2014 has to offer.

Creating such lists is always a subjective exercise, but it's also a reminder of how much music there is to enjoy and embrace. As I made my list, I perused several other lists published today and came across several sets that I haven't had the chance to listen to, but will definitely get to by the time it comes to making the Best of 2014 lists in December. These are in no particular order.

What are your favorite albums of 2014 so far?

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Bon Iver

Listen to Bon Iver's new song, 'Heavenly Father,' for Zach Braff's 'Wish I Was Here'

The woozy track is first new music from the Best New Artist winners in three years

Zach Braff proved himself quite adept at curating music for his movies, as he proved with 2004’s “Garden State.” So adept that he took home a Grammy for best compilation soundtrack album for a motion picture, television or other visual media.

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French Montana

Kanye West and French Montana working together on tracks

Did the Kardashian connection come into play?

Are the Kardashians responsible for this? Kanye West and French Montana have collaborated on a number of tracks.

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Ariana Grande's new album 'My Everything' includes contribution from 1D's Harry Styles

Ariana Grande's new album 'My Everything' includes contribution from 1D's Harry Styles

Zedd, Big Sean, The Weeknd, A$AP Ferg also on sophomore collection

As “Problem,” featuring Iggy Azalea continues to ride high on the chart, Ariana Grande will release her second full-length album, "My Everything," Aug. 25.

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Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj swipes at Iggy Azalea during BET Awards acceptance speech

Watch Minaj's speech. She wants you to know she writes her rhymes, unlike some others

Nicki Minaj took time out of her acceptance speech for best female hip-hop artist at Sunday night’s BET Awards to throw a little (okay, a really big) dis at Iggy Azalea.

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