Inside Music with Melinda Newman

8 things you need to know about singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson

Her new album, 'Lights Out,' arrives April 15

Ingrid Michaelson

Singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson first came to prominence seven years ago after “Grey’s Anatomy” used her song “Keep Breathing,” followed by Old Navy appropriating “The Way I Am” to sell sweaters during 2007’s holiday season.

Why Nirvana struck just the right chord at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction

Kurt Cobain would have loved it

Joan Jett performing with Nirvana
Credit: AP Photo

When the surviving members of Nirvana hinted that Joan Jett would join them for the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last night  (10) via a photo on Instagram, the internet jumped on the news that she would fill in for the late Kurt Cobain like lions on red meat.

But it turns out that by throwing fans and press that little snack to nibble on, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear were able to pull off something much more impressive: a Nirvana set featuring not only Jett, but Lorde, St. Vincent, and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. Furthermore, they were able to keep the last three names a complete secret until they took that stage last night. Each person was picked for a deliberate reason that made perfect sense without exploiting the occasion.

And it turned out to be an evening that I bet Cobain would have loved. In one short set (and in a later secret show at a Brooklyn’s St Vitus club), Nirvana accomplished so many things:

*They paid homage to Cobain’s vision of a world where female musicians were given as much credibility as male artists

*By including Lorde, they showed that Nirvana’s music speaks for the current generation as much as for the Gen X’ers. Not only that, but Lorde has an individual style that is all her own, just as Cobain had, and is an artist that is deliberately inclusive without pandering to current trends.

*With the inclusion of Gordon, Nirvana highlighted a women who served as an influence on the band, as well as a contemporary. There's very fun footage of them together at the Reading Festival in 1991, and their connection is a long-lived one.

*Like Gordon, Jett influenced the members of Nirvana, has become very close to Grohl, and produced an album by The Germs, Smear’s early band.

Lorde performed “All Apologies,” St. Vincent “Lithium,” Jett “Smells Like Teen Spirit, “and Gordon, “Aneurysm”: each song perfectly matched to the performer. In the videos below, it’s clear that each performer put her own stamp on the song, while still honoring the original’s intent (Gordon comes in around the 7-minute mark in her video).

In almost any other situation, it would be easy to dismiss the use of women singers as gimmicky, but, in hindsight, it seems like the most obvious and smartest decision possible in this case.

In various interviews, Cobain made it clear time and again that he preferred the company of women, identified closely with what it felt like to feel like an outsider—whether because you were female or gay —and was ardently pro-female. Most famously, as Charles Cross noted  in his  book, “Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain,” in the liner notes for “Incesticide,” he delivered a decree to grunge fans: “If any of you, in any way, hate homosexuals, people of a different color, or women, please do this one favor for us—leave us the fuck alone. Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.”

As Cross points out in an excellent essay for The Advocate, Nirvana played anti-rape and gay rights benefits. After “In Utero” was released, Cobain told Spin, he hoped the album “inspire[d] women to pick up guitars, and start bands — because it’s the only future of rock ’n’ roll.”

Nirvana’s selection of guests last night were spot on, though it  might have been fun to see someone even a little more daring, like Peaches, play with them. Otherwise, it’s hard to think of a better way for Grohl and Novoselic to have honored Nirvana’s past and its future.

 

 

Katy Perry gets sweet in 'Birthday' lyric video

The clip is going to make you hungry

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Katy Perry
Credit: Capitol Records

If you aren’t hungry at the start of the lyric video for Katy Perry’s new single, “Birthday,” then you definitely will be by the end.

The next 10 acts the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should induct

Now that Kiss is in, Cheap Trick and Deep Purple make our list

Kiss
Credit: AP Photo

Now that the Kiss Army has gotten its due and their heavy metal heroes will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tonight at Brooklyn's Barclays Center (along with Nirvana, Cat Stevens, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Linda Ronstadt, and Peter Gabriel), here are 10 more acts that are definitely worthy of inclusion. Some have been nominated numerous times (like Chic) and never gotten voted in, while others, as impossible as it seems, have never even made it onto the ballot.

Is Joan Jett joining Nirvana at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction?

The band is dropping hints that it's true

Nirvana

It looks like Joan Jett could be playing with the remaining members of Nirvana at their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tomorrow night in Brooklyn.

On their Instagram account, Foo Fighters—led by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl—posted a photo of Grohl’s drum set, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic’s bass, Pat Smear’s guitar and Joan Jett’s guitar, according to Stereogum, in a set up from what looked like a rehearsal.

The Rock Hall has not announced whether Nirvana would play at Thursday night’s induction (Fellow inductees Kiss and Linda Ronstadt will not, in fact Ronstadt will not even attend).

Taking the late Kurt Cobain’s place in Nirvana, even just for one night, takes balls, but we can think of few better than Jett to jump in. First off, she and Grohl are great pals and seem to love playing together. Second, she can handle the job. In fact, it would be a real kick to see her tackle  “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Come As You Are.”

R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe will induct Nirvana.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air on HBO on May 31.

 

Pharrell's 'Happy' makes it seven weeks at the top

Who's making moves on this week's singles chart?

Pharrell's 'Happy' makes it seven weeks at the top
Credit: ABC

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss: For the seventh week in a  row, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” tops the Billboard Hot 100. Furthermore, all the songs in the top 7 remain the same as last week.

The Roots get somber on 'When The People Cheer'

First single precedes new album coming May 13

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The Roots have something to say on their new single, “When The People Cheer,” the first cut from the provocatively titled new album, “...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin,” out May 13.

Review: ACM's All Star Salute to the Troops, featuring Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and more

Members of the military provided some of the evening's best musical moments

Keith Urban performs with Petty Officer Destiny Coates
Credit: AP Photo

LAS VEGAS—No genre embraces the American way of life with such unbridled patriotic fervor as country music, so paying tribute to the U.S. military seemed like a natural fit.

But “ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops” took what could have been a flag-waving, jingoistic exercise and turned it into a meaningful, often moving salute by not only honoring men and women in all branches of the armed services, but by including them as performers. And some of them threatened to steal the show from the professionals.

Ed Sheeran shows off his funky side on new single 'Sing': Listen

Pharrell Williams produces first track from Sheeran's sophomore album

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Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran shows off a side of the British singer/songwriter that his fans have not seen before on new single, “Sing.”

George Strait on beating Blake, Luke and Taylor for ACM entertainer of the year

Watch as Kacey Musgraves declares her love for King George

George Strait
Credit: CBS

The King of Country, George Strait, made a rare trip back to the press room after winning Entertainer of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday (7) night.

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