Eminem performing at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards. Or was he?
Although billed as the MTV Movie Awards, the music channel still managed to squeeze in a few musical performances in tonight's the two-hour show...not that the songs had anything remotely to do with the awards. I know it's a crazy notion, but would it have been so wrong for MTV to have included performances of demographic-appropriate songs featured in some of the nominated movies for performances, such as Paramore's "Decode" (from "Twilight") or "Jai Ho" (even the wretched Pussycat Dolls' westernized version) from "Slumdog Millionaire." The answer is clearly yes.
Instead, we get performances from Eminem, who's plugging his new album "Relapse" and Kings of Leon, who add a hipness quotient to the proceedings.
By the way, I considered it cheating to read my colleague Dan Feinberg's blog of the show, which he did live, whereas I'm watching the West Coast tape delay so I have no idea what he thought of the performances.
First up is Eminem, 23 minutes into the show. With the opening of "We Made You" playing, he's still riding Jessica Simpson, pretending it's she instead of Charmagne Tripp singing the chorus (which is the best part of the song, by the way). As much as I disliked "Relapse," the album which features "We Made You," the tune is one of the catchier tracks on the CD (and one of the few that Eminem can sing on a TV show).
Lady GaGa is going for her third straight hit. Will "Paparrazzi" hit it?
Credit: Lady GaGa
Lady GaGa and her disco stick didn't hang around for very long: Her label has already released a new video for the next single, "Paparazzi" and is seemingly letting go of "Love Game."
The"Love Game" video, as dissected by fellow Hitfix scribe Katie Hasty and me here is a fairly boring video. The same can definitely not be said of the clip for "Paparazzi" [Editor's note: available to view below] which is leaps and bounds above and beyond any of LG's previous videos (plus, as boring as the verses are, the chorus is pretty darn catchy). Here, we have a deluxe 7:45 minute mini-movie with opening and closing credits. Directed by Jonas Akerlund, the video opens with Lady GaGa making love to her boyfriend in a gorgeous seaside mansion. She's at the top of the world: she's even mastered speaking in Swedish (we think that's what that is. There's subtitles and all). Her fame has become so great that she appears on U.S. currency-in the United States of Lady GaGa. But fame is a bitter pill as her boyfriend tries to get her to cooperate with paparazzi shots of their having sex.
She ultimately falls off their balcony and the paparazzi still manage to get their photos, but Lady GaGa's in a compromising position of a different sort: broken and battered on the ground, with the tabloids declaring her career, like her twisted body, damaged beyond repair.
But our gal's nothing if not plucky. And she prepares for her comeback-- color- coordinated neck brace, wheelchair and all-- in what is the masterstroke of the video. Her rehab scenes are deliciously perverse, complete with her learning to walk again in a metal leotard that matches her crutches. Interspersed with her "Thriller"-like dance moves, are weird flashes of suicidal and homicidal mannequins, all getting snapped by the paps. It's gruesome fun.
In almost every one of her videos, she's making out with someone and this time Lady GaGa returns to her semi-orgy, kissing and licking three or four boys and girls on the sofa. There is nothing the least bit titillating or tantalizing about it and I can't tell if that's on purpose or that Lady GaGa is so purposefully robotic and mannered that R2D2 seems hot by comparison.
Of course, Lady GaGa triumphs-it is her video, after all. Not only does she learn to walk again, she exacts revenge on her wretched boyfriend by killing him. And this time, the paparazzi are shooting his broken body. Just as he originally planned to step over her body on his rise to the top, she gleefully gets to dance her way over his all the way into the police car--shades of "Sunset Blvd"-as the papers declare that Lady GaGa is back on top.
The whole thing is about as subtle as a sledgehammer: once you get famous, everyone wants to use you for something and the press may love you when you're up, but they love you even more when you're down.
Yes, Lady GaGa is now a star, but I'm not so sure she's a big as she thinks she is. Two radio hits and lots of tabloid press don't make you a household name. She is very famous in with a certain segment of fans, but she's hardly ubiquitous and there's something a little upsetting-even if it's all in service of a good video plot device-about an artist no one knew about 12 months ago releasing a video that spans that arc more of a 12-year career than a 12-month one. If she feels this burnt out and cynical about it all in these still very-early days of her career, she's going to have a tough time in the years ahead. But maybe we're reading too much into it all.
It's a fabulous-looking video that must have cost upwards of $1 million (does Lady GaGa know that half of that is recoupable?) and boasts the kind of production you don't really see in anymore in music videos. But it just seems a little early in her career to be making such grand statements....almost as if she better make them now, just in case she doesn't get another chance.
Look for Eminem's "Relapse" to stay atop the heap of the album charts next week. Hits Daily Double predicts that sales will plummet more than 60% from this week's 600,000+, but his estimated tally of 225,00 is still enough to hold off all other contenders.
Green Day will hold at No. 2 for the second week with sales of around 75,000. Marilyn Manson's "The High End of Low."
The only other debut in the Top Ten looks to be the new release from Latin group Wisin Y Yandel, who will likely come in around No. 9.
Otherwise, the ladies continue to rule in the top 10 with Lady GaGa, Taylor Swift and the soundtrack to "Hannah Montana" all in the Top 10.
While they won't come in the Top 10, also expect debuts next week from Mandy Moore, Phoenix and Grizzly Bear.
Who's the most popular man in the music business? It would appear to be Beyonce's husband, Jay-Z. As you know, ever since he decided not to re-up as president/COO of Island Def Jam at the end of 2007, we knew he wasn't long for hanging his shingle at IDJ's parent company Universal Music Group.
Then, he signed a deal with concert promoter Live Nation worth upwards of $150 million that included the rights to his future tours and other entertainment ventures.
However, word is leaking all over the place that Jay-Z is in talks with Sony as the new home for his Roc Nation label and is chatting with Warner Music Group about signing him for his own releases.
There are many reasons: he's an extremely talented songwriter and singer and he's a very nice guy who loves his wife and is kind to animals, but the reason du jour is this: The matchbox twenty lead singer wrote a blog on Huffington Post about the California Supreme Court's decision on Tuesday to uphold the legality of Prop 8, which bans same sex marriages.
The opening line is classic: "I am a straight man, with a big gay chip on my shoulder." Thomas goes on to very eloquently, intelligently and thoughtfully discuss the flak he caught after he tweeted that he felt two people of the same sex should be able to marry. That surprised him so he felt the need to explain his case further, as he does in the Huff Post piece. He lays out, point by point, his beliefs and how he comes to the conclusion that to deny people of the same sex the right to marry is simply unamerican. I love him for the fact that when he's taking on the religious right, he brings up a point that very few people seem to know when discussing the separation of church and state: that "One nation under God" was not even added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954-almost 200 years after this country was founded on the premise of freedom of religion and equality for all.
Like many artists this summer, Beyonce is offering discounted seating on her "I Am...." tour that hits the U.S. on June 21. At each U.S. venue, other than her four-night stand at The Encore in Las Vegas, 2000 seats per arena will be sold for $20. Many of the "economy-value" tickets have already been sold, but the remaining 1,000 per show will be released to the public on Friday, May 29.
It's a smart move and Beyonce isn't the only one with a low tier of pricing this year. Both Taylor Swift and Keith Urban offer $20 seats. No Doubt is selling lawn seats for as low as $10 for some of its amphitheater shows. U2, whose US tour starts in September, set aside 10,000 seats per stadium, priced at $30.
The diva is currently playing to sold-out shows in Europe before launching here with two concerts at Madison Square Garden.
Nicole Scherzinger taking a bath. Obviously if her fellow Pussycat Dolls joined her the video for "Hush Hush" would take on a whole different meaning.
Credit: Interscope Records
As if it hadn't happened before when the billing of the group changed to the Pussycat Dolls featuring Nicole Scherzinger, Scherzinger's ascension is complete with the video for "Hush, Hush," the latest clip from the gyrating gals' album, "Doll Domination."
It's a PCD' video in name only given that the other dancers barely have more than cameo appearances. The clip opens up with Scherzinger lounging in a bubble bath, similar to Cindy Crawford in George Michael's "Freedom '90" clip. She looks gorgeous and is completely fierce while telling a lover that she doesn't need him. There's not even the remotest hint that there are other people in the group (quick: name a PCD member besides Scherzinger [Editor's note: We can't!]) until more than a minute in when she passes through a door onto a multi-level staircase and the other Dolls are dancing as the song morphs from a ballad to dance number (this is a change from the original version of the song that remains a ballad throughout. If they hadn't changed it, the other PCD members would have had absolutely nothing to do). Cut to a roller disco. Nice Campari placement, by the way. We then move to a pool party where the other Dolls get to gyrate some more and pretend to sing "Hush Hush." It's an alternate universe where there's even a place for celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who is cast as a DJ wearing a t-shirt that says "Hush Hush featuring Perez," in case you don't recognize him. Guess who will be getting great mentions in his blog for the new few weeks?
Phish's first album in five years will come out July 28 on the band's own JEMP Records.
Produced by Steve Lillywhite, the still-untitled album, was recorded in New York and is fronted by "Time Turns Elastic," a 13-minute piece now available on iTunes. A video of the band recording the project is on its website, www.phish.com. Phish guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio performed a classical version of "Time Turns Elastic" with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra last week.
The new album marks the second time Phish has worked with Lillywhite, best known for his work with such acts as U2 and the Rolling Stones. He produced the band's 1996 album, "Billy Breathes."
Phish starts its first concert tour in five years May 31 at Boston's Fenway Park. This includes double-stop performances at Bonnaroo, as well.
the Mirror makes it sound as if the legendary producer kicked Winehouse to the curb after waiting nearly a year for her contribution, is it possible that she dissed him first by never completing the tune? Mark Ronson, who was working on the track with Winehouse, told the Mirror, "The track isn't finished and she's not around. If she's not here then, unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it."
As we all know, Winehouse continues hanging out in St. Lucia. She was slated to perform at a 50th anniversary concert for Island Records (her label in the U.K.), but pulled out of the May 31 celebration citing health problems.
Critics may have been divided in their reviews of Eminem's "Relapse," but the public has given the rapper's first studio CD in five years a big thumb's up. Expect the project to sell north of 600,000 copies and come in on top of the album chart on Wednesday.
Not only does Detroit's favorite son claim the top spot of the week, the tally will be enough to score him the biggest opening sales week of 2009 so far, besting his interscope labelmates U2, whose "No Line on the Horizon" sold more than 480,000 copies earlier this year.
Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown," last week's No. 1 album, drops to No. 2 in its first full week of sales. Its tally, according to Hits Daily Double, should be around 170,000 units.
Unlike last week when there were only two debuts in the Top 10, this week, the chart is chock full of them-and it's a diverse lot, indeed. Look for Kenny Chesney's greatest hits to come in at No. 3 with around 80,000 copies sold. Next comes rappers Method Man/Redman at around 65,000. The rappers are in a dead heat with new CDs from comedian Dane Cook and Busta Rhymes . The soundtrack to "Hannah Montana" keeps selling strongly enough to stay in the Top 10, while Tori Amos's latest vies for No. 8 with singer Kate Voegele. Both are expected to sell around 45,000 copies.