Now Trending :Revenge of the “whatsherface” and Brass Instruments


When most people think of Ke$ha, many messed-up things come to mind: out of control parties, endless drinking, masses of glitter, some unicorns maybe…. But certainly nobody refers to her as that backup singer in Flo Rida’s old hit “Right Round” (which, yes, is a re-make of the similar song “You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)” by the 80s’ band Dead or Alive because there really are no original ideas anymore).  She took a phenomenal jump to “superstar” from “that random girl.” And, if it could work for someone like Ke$ha, it can work for anyone, right?

That’s why Dev is breaking into the music industry. While the name Dev may mean nothing to you, perhaps the phrase “Like a G6” rings a bell. Yeah, that’s right, she’s “that chic” in singing the refrain for Far East Movement’s first hit.  I guess that anybody can break into the industry now with a few lines in a song and a pretty (though unknown) face. Anyway, Dev’s new song  “In the Dark” brings me to my next music trend – including brass instruments in songs.

Surely you’ve already heard the saxophone gods play in Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” and Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”, but could you hear all the brass in the background of Beyoncé newest hit “Love on Top” that she played at the VMAs? Dev’ song follows suit with a type of “saxophone-like-substitute” that probably came from a synthesizer.

 What do you know? Maybe real music will catch on again!

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The 2011 VMAs: Just Another Awards Show


Hey, don’t get me wrong – if you like watching the cycle of a performance, an award presentation, and then five minutes of commercials for two and a half hours, you would have loved the VMAs last night. I, however, would like to see more awards and less…other crap. I mean, come on! The show went a good 25 minutes over the scheduled 2 hours, and they didn’t even show all of the awards!

And, while I adored Lady Gaga’s (er, I mean her alter ego Jo Calderone’s) performance of “You and I” with Queen’s Brian May, I could have lived without all the other ones. Not that everyone else who performed wasn’t talented (Adele,Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Beyonce, Jay Z and Kanye West) because they are. I’m just trying to say that they should have two performances – one to open the show and one to close it, so they can actually, oh, I don’t know……give out awards? 

Speaking of awards…..

While Katy Perry may have taken home 3 Moon Men, including one for “Video of the Year”, Adele was the real winner of the night, nabbing 4 Moon Men for her video “Rolling in the Deep” – and none of these awards were even shown on TV. Other big winners included Lady Gaga, who received 2 Moon Men for “Born This Way” and Justin Bieber, Nicki Menaj, Beyonce, The Foo Fighters, Britney Spears, and Tyler the Creator, who all were awarded one Moon Man each.

(For specifics on the awards, see  http://music-mix.ew.com/2011/08/28/mtv-2011-vma-winners/)

The only thing that could be considered really “special” about the whole night was Bruno Mars’ tribute to Amy Winehouse. He sang “Valerie” with his throwback charm (per usual) and won over the hearts of everyone in the crowd. Then everything was back to normal, and Lil Wayne closed the show with a song that was littered with gratuitous swearing. I guess some things never change, right?

Is Adele the new Amy Winehouse?


They say out with the old and in with the new….and the music industry couldn’t have time this exchange any better. As the entire news-watching world knows, Amy Winehouse passed away about a month ago in July. Known for her iconic “bad-girl” look and strong, jazzy voice, Amy Winehouse was not only one of the most talented female musicians in Britain, but also one of the most intriguing.

But that was a month ago, and the world continues to spin. As I had the radio on today, I couldn’t help but hear Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and think of Amy Winehouse. I mean, when you think about it, they are rather similar.

They both:

-are British

-released their first album before they were 20

-didn’t make in big in the U.S. until their second album

-have powerful, strong voices and a style of unique music that you can’t quite put your finger on

– do something cool with their hair. I mean Amy has the beehive, Adele does that bun thing….okay so maybe this one is a stretch….

Anyway, while Adele isn’t the tattoo-covered addict that Amy was, they definitely share some similarities. It’s interesting that while Amy passed away, Adele seemed to be rising to fame.

And, don’t get me wrong – you can never “replace” Amy with anyone. Not even with someone as talented as Adele. But can Adele pick up Amy’s crown and reign as the British powerhouse voice that Amy once was? Well, there’s always the possibility…..

A Belated Review of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” Video


Most of the time you hear the word “belated” when you are referring to giving your friend/family member a late card because you forgot their birthday. However, in this case, the word belated is being used not so much to imply forgetfulness, but laziness. Don’t ever tell one of your friends that!

Maroon 5’s latest video, “Moves Like Jagger”, has a couple nice features despite its simplicity.

1. It clears up what the heck a “Jagger” is for anyone that didn’t know in the first place (Mick Jagger of course!)

2. It features Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Levine shirtless (and may I say tattoos never looked so good!). ‘Nuff said!

3. It showcases not only footage of Mick Jagger performing, but also interview clips. I don’t think anything’s quite as priceless as hearing a young Mick Jagger (the Mick Jagger) say “I never thought we’d be doing it (performing) for two years” and “I think we’re pretty much set up for another year.”  A year? How about a couple decades?!

Other than that, the video is just a lot of people dancing – including Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and some other girls wearing retro-rock outfits. Normally, that sounds like a pretty boring video, but the upbeat tune of the song makes it work. In fact, the song is so catchy that it seems like it would be a crime to do anything but make a video of people dancing. I may be a stickler for deep, symbolic, music videos (think “Bad Romance”), but for once, I’m just fine with watching random dancing.

But now for more important matters – who told Adam Levine to put his shirt on at the end of the video?!?!

“You and I” – Lady Gaga’s new video (and possibly her best yet!)


Maybe you can’t buy a house in Heaven, but you can sure take a 6 minute 22 second vacation there.

You may have been let down by the unabashed normality of Lady Gaga’s last video (“The Edge of Glory”), but her video for “You and I” has no lack of peculiar artistry. The music video for the song (which was written about her now ex-boyfriend Carl Luc) was filmed in Nebraska and opens as Gaga is walking down a deserted dirt road, picking grass from her bloodied feet laced up in high heels. She falls on her knees at the foot of an ice cream truck (which says “Follow the Crowd” on the side of it if you look carefully) and a woman drops a brunette doll down at Gaga….afterwards, the video flies from clip to clip – Gaga getting married, Gaga in a tank of water, Gaga tied to a vertical examination table at a labratory….and then the music starts.

The next 5 minutes are a flurry of symbols carefully scrambled together in one video. Remember that doll that the ice cream lady tossed at Gaga? It’s now next to her as her lover/husband/whatever ties her into that examination table and tries to make her resemble it so she can fit in. After half a video of cutting and shocking Gaga with electricity, his work finally yields a mermaid version of Gaga  (named Yuyi). Surprisingly, she and lover/husband/whatever seem overly happy by this unexpected result. “The more he tries to fix me, the more magical I become.” Gaga wrote on her Twitter this Monday. Her point? The guy she wrote this song about made her comfortable in her own, not-so-typical skin – he loved her the way she was when all she wanted to do was fit in.

However, what I find is the more interesting idea in the video is the strong concept of self-love. Gaga takes the idea to an extreme as she plays the piano innocently in a cornfield while her male alter-ego Jo Calderone sits atop the piano and smokes, rolls up his sleeves and drinks beer (yes, that guy is actually her – you can see the resemblance ion his face). To really hit home her point, Jo reaches down from the top of the piano and starts kissing Gaga. Okay, so maybe that’s  a bit much (and freaky) but you get her point – you have to love and embrace every side of yourself before you can love someone else. And because she loves herself in the end, she can love herself no matter how different she is (even as a mermaid) and other people can love her (and thus, she gets married at the end of the video). In short, self love yields love for others.

And, of course there are the typical Gaga video characteristics: new wigs,almost nudity, a plethora of back-up dancers, at least one revealing outfit, all that jazz…..but you were expecting that! You probably weren’t surprised when mermaid-Gaga was kissing her husband/lover/whatever….but Gaga kissing GAGA? Looks like she threw us for a loop – again!

See it and be amazed at http://www.youtube.com/user/LadyGagaVEVO

Dear Tuesdays…..I Love You….


Everybody knows that Mondays are dreadful. Wednesday are aggravating because you realize you’re only half-way through the week. Thursdays are comforting because you know the week is almost over. You and I both know that Fridays and Saturdays are the best. Sundays are lousy because you know that Monday comes next. But Tuesdays…

Tuesdays are really no picnic. The only good thing about Tuesdays is that you know Monday is behind you…until next week. Maybe that’s why somebody decided to have Tuesday be the day that new music comes out. And may I say….GOD BLESS that person! 

Every Tuesday, I’m glued to iTunes, pouring over new music. My ears are sucked into the new singles, albums, and various selections of music on sale. And I can’t. Pull. Myself. Away.  How could I? There are way too many $0.69 songs for me to make sure I don’t need (or silently simmer over because I bought the same song for $1.29 last week).

What can I say? Tuesdays are like almost-mid-week-pick-me-up. They make the world continue to spin. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have $0.99 music videos that are calling to me.

Maroon 5’s got the moves like Jagger! (and so does Train) – a concert review


 

If you could hear my broken, raspy, voice, you might understand how incredible the Maroon 5/Train concert was last Saturday. But I suppose that because you can’t hear me, I’ll have to give you a good description: I sound like a 13 year old boy with a bad sore throat. Yeah….

Maybe I didn’t have the best seats, but that problem was solved when the couple in front of my best friend and I decided not to stand up, giving us a clear views of the stage (thanks, random couple) that was good for taking pictures too. The show’s opening act was supposed to be Gavin Degraw, but he’s apparently hospitalized right now so Maroon 5’s keyboardist came out to play and sing some jazzy/pop-y Stevie Wonder-like music. After that, about a half hour later, the curtain dropped again to reveal the classic Maroon five logo and the whistling tune of “Moves Like Jagger”. The crowd ERUPTED.

M5

Maroon 5-August 13, 2011. Who's got the moves like Jagger?

Maroon 5 played for a solid hour 15 minutes, bouncing from hit to hit, rocking songs from all three of their successful albums. The highlights of the show? Perhaps the gigantic disco ball during “Misery” or the extended version of “Wake Up Call” that includes a good five minutes of nothing but Adam Levine (who is as hot as EVER by the way) and James Valentine jamming on their guitars. Of course, my favorite part of the show was when a sweat covered Adam exclaims “Where are all the ladies at?”  and the audience emits a din of squeals – yet the following question “Where are all the fellas at?” results in a low murmur. Adam laughs and says “Wow, there are like, 34 guys here. But they’re smart, because this is where the chicks are. They may not like Maroon 5, but they like odds.” For an encore, they played “Hands All Over” and a touching performance of “She Will Be Loved” that you could hear the entire audience singing along to. It’s one of those “I love my life!” moments for sure.

After losing my voice and teaching the people behind me how NOT to dance, Train went on and played for about an hour. And although I think Train is a really good band, I don’t own any of their music, so I was reduced to only singing along to their best known hits. Besides the expected performances of “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Drops of Jupiter”, they also played “She’s On Fire”, “Save Me San Francisco” and even a cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”

Train

Train-August 13, 2011.

Perhaps the best part about the whole show was that both bands sound exactly like they do on their albums – if not better. Ah, to put faith in those without auto-tune!

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