Some parodies work because they are just the slightest exaggeration with how it seems to work in real life. Such is the case with Real Estate’s “Crime” video, which debuted on Funny or Die.
LOS ANGELES—I have a confession to make. Until Saturday night, I had never seen The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night.” What? I know! I felt like this was a major black hole in my cultural education, especially as someone who makes her living writing about music.
There’s a lot of Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams in the new video for “It’s On Again” from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and not so much Spidey.
The Black Keys’ title track to “ Turn Blue” is a slinky, retro-sounding, mid-tempo track that expands the soundscape heard on “Turn Blue’s” first single, “Fever.”
The soundtrack to “Frozen” will spend another week at No.1 on the Billboard 200 next week with no competitor coming within 100,000 of the Disney juggernaut.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.