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Lorde, The Beatles, Lady Gaga Contribute To Philippines Relief Album

What do The Beatles, Lorde, Cher, and Lady Gaga all have in common? No, this isn’t a bad joke. In fact, it’s pretty cool. The iconic superstars will be just some of the mega-acts contributing to a new relief album for Typhoon Haiyan. Coming in at a whopping 39 tracks, Songs for the Philippines is available on iTunes, with all proceeds being donated to the Philippine Red Cross. View the track list below and donate here. Continue reading ‘Lorde, The Beatles, Lady Gaga Contribute To Philippines Relief Album’

Cher Finishes New Album; Works With Scissor Sisters Frontman

Pop diva Cher has finished her follow up to 2001′s Living Proof, and both her and the rest of the music world owe a great deal of thanks to Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears. “Got to down & Finish last song ! Then it DONE !! Jakes here putting some parts down & a Harmony !” Cher said Saturday on Twitter, before she announced the album’s completion this morning.

For those following along, Cher’s new album was actually due to be released in March, but production delays have pushed the album to later in 2013. There were rumor at one time that the record would feature creative collaborations with the likes of Timbaland and P!nk, but whether or not those efforts will make their way into the final product remains to be seen. For now, click below and enjoy a Cher classic. We still believe in life after love, do you? Continue reading ‘Cher Finishes New Album; Works With Scissor Sisters Frontman’

Sound and Vision: Pop’s Greatest Gender Benders – Songs That Sound Better Sung By the Opposite Sex

One of the best releases of 2012 to date is Boys Don’t Cry, an album of covers recorded by Anglo-Pakistani singer-songwriter Rumer (nee Sarah Joyce). As a vocalist, Rumer is soothing and smooth, strictly middle-of-the-road enough to earn her an invitation from U.S. President Barack Obama to perform at the White House in May, the month her album came out — but that’s not to say she doesn’t have a slightly subversive streak.

After all, who chooses to release a collection of remakes for their second full-length studio album. (Rumer’s 2010 debut, Seasons of My Soul, earned her widespread acclaim, two Brit Award nominations, and a platinum certification in the U.K.)

Then there is the theme of Boys Don’t Cry (whose title was not inspired by The Cure song, which is not among the album tracks): Everything on it was written and performed by male artists in the ’70s. Somehow Rumer makes quintessentially guy songs like Ronnie Lane‘s “Just for a Moment” (about an instant of clarity in a drunken haze) and Neil Young‘s “A Man Needs a Maid” (title: self-explanatory) sound strong enough for a man but made for a woman.

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Pop’s Greatest Gender Benders – Songs That Sound Better Sung By the Opposite Sex’

Sound and Vision: Jennifer Lopez–The Most Powerful Woman in Pop?

Every superstar worth his or her weight in durability (See: Cher, all-time queen of the comeback) has been up, has been down, has seen fire, has seen rain, has had one of those full-circle careers that’s come around and around again and again. Professional fluctuations is a part of Hollywood life, and those who can weather those particular storms, come out in a better place, because as Kelly Clarkson sang on her recent No. 1 hit, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger.

And just how stronger is current comeback queen Jennifer Lopez these days? She may not be quite the tabloid draw she was a decade ago, but if you’ve watched American Idol during the past two seasons, or heard her 2011 hit “On the Floor” on the radio, on TV, on YouTube or, well, on the floor, you know that she’s flexing again.

Forbes magazine just ranked her atop its 2012 Celebrity 100 (up from No. 50 in 2011), which lists the most powerful people in entertainment. With an estimated income of $52 million in the last year, Lopez came in ahead of last year’s champ Lady Gaga (No. 5), Oprah Winfrey (No. 2) and Adele (No. 24).

Forbes‘s criteria for its 2012 appointment: being hotter than the rest (23,000 press mentions, 46 major magazine covers) and most sought after by fans (530 million YouTube views for “On the Floor,” 12 million Facebook “likes” and more than 6 million “followers” on Twitter). Not bad for someone who was so over—or so everybody thought—just a few years ago.

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Jennifer Lopez–The Most Powerful Woman in Pop?’

Riffs, Rants and Rumors: Gregg Allman’s Triumphs and Trip-Ups

In Gregg Allman‘s new autobiography, My Cross To Bear, the man who has helmed The Allman Brothers Band since their inception in 1969 reflects on the wins, losses and draws he has experienced in his four decades of rock stardom. Having Allman’s history put into this kind of historical focus provides an excellent opportunity for slightly less objective parties (ahem) to tally up the home runs and strikeouts Allman has racked up in his long reign on the Southern rock throne. Some of them are as obvious as the beard on Gregg’s mug, but a few of them just might come as news to you.

1. The Hour Glass

Allman hit the ground running with The Hour Glass, the band he formed with his guitar virtuoso brother Duane. Their first album was released before Gregg was even out of his teens, and both of the band’s records featured an appealing blend of soul and psychedelic rock, including everything from an R&B-soaked take on Carole King‘s “No Easy Way Down” to a paisley-patterned adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe‘s “The Bells” alongside original material.

Continue reading ‘Riffs, Rants and Rumors: Gregg Allman’s Triumphs and Trip-Ups’

Sound And Vision: Why I’m Seriously Considering Boycotting Music Award Shows

On November 9, Nashville celebrated itself (again!) with the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards. For the fourth consecutive year, the event was hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, but the masters of ceremonies weren’t the only thing that gave me that old deja vu feeling. Hadn’t these accolades already been handed out just a few months ago?

Wait, those were the Country Music Television (CMT) Music Awards in June. And before that, there were the Academy of Country Music Awards. And, just in case that’s not enough Music City honors for you, there are the 2nd annual American Country Awards coming up on December 5.

Pop and R&B are just as self-congratulatory, offering the MTV Video Music Awards, the MTV Europe Music Awards, the Billboard Awards, the American Music Awards, the Teen Choice Awards, the BET Awards, the BET Hip Hop Awards, the NAACP Image Awards and the Soul Train Music Awards.

Then, of course, there are the GRAMMYs, which following so many other back-slapping fests, have been losing their lustre for years now—though that’s hardly the only reason. Winning one used to be the musical equivalent of snagging an Oscar, but now its just more clutter for the awards shelf.

In a few weeks (November 30, to be exact), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 2012 GRAMMY Awards (to be held on February 12). Doesn’t it already feel like we’ve been there and done that over and over and over already this year? Am I the only one who doesn’t doubt that we’re in for another repeat of The Adele Show, with a very special appearance by Lady Gaga. Good as it is, like Christmas, I only need to sit through it once a year.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Why I’m Seriously Considering Boycotting Music Award Shows’

The EditoriaList: Top Ten Singers-Turned-Actor

Once you’re a hugely successful musician, with lots of people telling you how awesome you are, making the leap into acting (or painting, or politics, or baseball, or aviation, or molecular biology) must seem like a piece of cake. There are so many object lessons to teach us how untrue that is (Britney Spears’ Crossroads, anyone?). But there are a few double-threats out there who have successfully made the leap.

 

10. Queen Latifah

It’s pretty aggravating to see a talented actor take an opportunity to do quality work, wipe their ass with that opportunity and flush it down the toilet. Queen Latifah has done this a couple of times. She could have had a solid career as a supporting actress after The Bone Collector and Bringing Out The Dead, but then she kicked America in the crotch by being part of The Country Bears, among other debacles. She was then lucky enough to be cast in Chicago, and it was inarguably a star-making performance. Finding herself in that enviable position, she accepted roles in a bunch of utter garbage, including Taxi and The Perfect Holiday. Sigh. But dammit, she’s always fun to watch on screen, whether it’s comedy or drama, and I suspect she’ll continue to appear in quality movies from time to time. Just don’t expect consistency.

Continue reading ‘The EditoriaList: Top Ten Singers-Turned-Actor’

Can Music Move Us Away From Discrimination?

It is clear that the world is changing, and it seems like most of these changes are for the better. New technology and trends have enabled us to do things we never thought possible.  And, even more importantly, opportunities are available to people, no matter what race, gender, sexuality, or religion they happen to be. But how is this change reflected in the world of music? It seems that while some genres of music are taking great leaps in the right direction, other genres are still digging in their heels.

Country singer Chely Wright, one of the few country artists who is openly gay, recently married her girlfriend Lauren Blitzer in Connecticut. And while this was one of the happiest days of Wright’s life, many of her fans did not see it this way. In fact, since Wright came out in 2010, she has been harassed and threatened by people who used to support her.  Country fans have historically been more conservative than other music fans, but for Wright it was a shock that her fan base seemingly disappeared after she opened about her sexuality.

Continue reading ‘Can Music Move Us Away From Discrimination?’

 


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