“Kim Kardashian, Kanye West Dating: New Couple’s Playlist”
“Bruce Jenner On Kim Kardashian And Kanye West’s Romance: ‘I’m Not That Excited’”
They say the only bad publicity is no publicity, but nothing has got to be better than the barrage of headlines about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s current celebrity coupling that popped up online over a recent forty-eight-hour period. The good news is that by the time you read this, the union may already have gone the way of Kanye’s recently reported dalliance with Katy Perry, or Kardashian’s seventy-two-day marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries.
At least Kanye + Katy would have been a love connection that made sense—if not from a romantic standpoint (Perry is probably too mouthy and headstrong to tolerate West’s diva antics), at least from a business one. It could have been the low-rent version of his pal and sometime collaborator Jay-Z’s marriage to Beyonce, with Kanye and Kim being the Mertzes to Jay-Z and Beyonce’s Ricardos.
While an ongoing romantic relationship would guarantee Kim + Kanye (= Kimye) lifetime Us Weekly coverage, at what cost? Kim, who says she was friends with Kanye for years before they made their love connection, has everything to gain by dating Kanye. The seventh season of her E! reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians begins on May 20, and the Kanye episodes should prove to be a ratings goldmine. Should Kimye make it all the way to the altar, a televised wedding would probably be the biggest thing since Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, or Luke and Laura on General Hospital.
Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Is Dating Kim Kardashian Bad for Kanye West’s Street Cred?’
First things first—while the official spelling of the band’s name is fun., with a lowercase “f” and a period at the end, the New York trio can not be held entirely accountable for the highly stylized nature of their moniker. According to multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost, it was a decision born of pragmatism, not petulance. “We thought of the name ‘Ice Cream,’ but we all hated it,” he says of the name’s origin. “However, we liked what it made us think of, which was ‘fun.’ The period was added after another band called ‘fun’ asked us to distinguish ourselves from them in some way.”
But their name isn’t the only thing that might lead to misconceptions about fun.—there’s also their label, Fueled By Ramen, which is best known for bringing the world an avalanche of emo, with a roster encompassing Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Yellowcard, et al. But aside from a predilection for wearing their hearts on their sleeves, fun. possesses few of the musical traits one commonly associates with the emosphere. In fact, the group seems to stand apart from most of the pack when it comes to the current crop of high-profile indie-pop acts in general. Continue reading ‘Riffs, Rants and Rumors: Is fun. Having Fun Yet?’
Remember the days when R&B and hip hop was the sound of pop? From the ‘90s to the mid ‘00s, music’s most dependable hitmakers—Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Boyz II Men, R. Kelly, Usher, Brandy, Monica, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, among them—specialized in “crossover” soul, climbing both the R&B charts and the Hot 100 in tandem.
But lately, something strange has been happening on Billboard’s R&B /Hip-Hop Songs chart: A hit is no longer necessarily a hit. Just because a song is big in the R&B sphere doesn’t mean it’s big anywhere else. For the week ending April 7, 2012, only one song in the R&B/Hip-Hop Top 10—Tyga’s “Rack City”—had managed a comparable placing on the Hot 100.
The song at No. 1, Beyoncé’s “Love on Top,” which had been there for multiple weeks, was way down at No. 54 on the Hot 100. (It briefly entered the Top 40 last September, debuting and peaking at No. 20 after Beyoncé performed it at the MTV Video Music Awards.) Meanwhile, there wasn’t a single R&B diva in the Top 40 aside from Janelle Monae, who got there by guest-singing on rock band fun.’s No. 1 hit “We Are Young.”
What happened to pop’s soul? There’s a disconnect between the pop and R&B charts that hasn’t been so pronounced since the days when Michael Jackson’s label, CBS Records, threatened to pull all of its artists from MTV if the then-fledgling network didn’t play Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video.
It’s been more than a hot minute since multi-platinum boy bands like *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys roamed the earth and ruled the charts. Now, after a decade-long dormancy, cute, heavily-styled guys who sing in harmony and don’t play instruments are suddenly back in fashion.
Once again, the UK is leading the charge onward and upward. While Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC were born in the USA, they enjoyed their earliest success in the UK. This time, though, the new wave of blushing boy bands represents an authentic UK-born-and-bred British invasion.
The members of The Wanted, whose “Glad You Came” single has climbed into the Top 3 of Billboard’s Hot 100 (the quintet’s self-titled US debut album arrives April 24), and One Direction, whose first album, Up All Night, just outpaced Adele to enter Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 1 (176,000 vs. 148,000 copies sold), all hail from Britain and Ireland.
In just a few months, both groups already have enjoyed more US success than Ireland’s Westlife, or Take That, perhaps the UK’s biggest boy band ever, who aside from one Top 10 single (1995’s “Back for Good”), never made it big in the States. (With the exception of Spice Girls and Bananarama, UK female vocal groups—including All Saints in the ‘90s and, more recently, Sugababes and Girls Aloud—haven’t fared much better in the US over the years.)
This year’s usual GRAMMY festivities were obviously overshadowed by the shocking passing of Whitney Houston. Unable to ignore the noticeably solemn sense in the room, LL Cool J opened the night with a heartfelt prayer for the fallen superstar, saying, “We’ve had a death in our family.”
Adele took home the first televised award of the night for Best Pop Performance for her smash hit,“Someone Like You”. Later in the night, she gave a jaw-dropping performance of her hit, “Rolling In The Deep” just weeks after having surgery on her vocal chords. She went on to win all six awards she was nominated for, including Album Of The Year. Other big winners were The Foo Fighters who nabbed four trophies.
Although the performances are usually the highlight of the evening, this year’s showings seemed to be miss their usual spark. Bruno Mars performed in his usual 50’s du-wop style, with a big bag of new dance moves and the same old-school costumes. Alicia Keys and Bonnie Rait paid tribute to the legendary Etta James with a duet of her song, “ Sunday Kind Of Love”, after also acknowledging their love of Whitney. Chris Brown graced the GRAMMY stage for the first time since the 2009 incident, after Clive’s Davis’ annual dinner, that left Rihanna bruised and bloodied. Dressed in all white, he performed “Beautiful People” and showcased his signature dance skills by climbing up an elaborate stage set complete with lasers and back-flipping back-up dancers.
Rihanna performed a slowed down version of “We Found Love” in a sexy skin-tight outfit andbleached blonde hair and black lipstick. . The laser-filled set featured dozens of dancers storming that stage and creating a club right inside the GRAMMYs. She quickly switched gears and joined Chris Martin for their hit, “Coulda Been” before Coldplay closed their set with their hit, “Paradise”.
In one of the night’s most touching moments, Jennifer Hudson gave a powerful tribute to her idol with a performance of Whitney Houston’s hit “I Will Always Love You” to a tearful crowd. She ended by saying, “Whitney, we’ll always love you.”
Fergie and Marc Anthony presented and accepted the award for Best Rap Performance to Kanye West and Jay-Z for “Otis”. Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s four collective nominations weren’t enough to pull them away from baby ‘Blue’, as neither of the new parents were present. Hova nabbed only one of his two nominations of the night and Beyoncé nabbed none. Kanye West was also a no-show for the night, even though he finally got his GRAMMY glitz; winning four awards out of his seven nominations including Best Rap Song for “All Of The Lights” and Best Rap Album for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Common and Taraji Henson saluted the late Gill Scot-Heron, calling him a great poet and saying, “Thanks to him, the revolution is now being televised.“ They presented the award for Best R&B Album to Chris Brown for F.A.M.E., leading the ever-remorseful and famously-flustered crooner to deliver a kind of uncomfortable acceptance speech. “I don’t know what to say. I’m nervous,” he admitted before quickly thanking his camp and fans and hurrying off the stage.
Drake was proud to introduce his friend and label mate, Nicki Minaj, calling her “one of the most intelligent, beautiful, driven women I’ve ever met in my life. “ He said, “She went from sleeping in the bunk under mine on the tour bus, and now she’s one of the biggest stars in the world.” After kicking off her extremely theatrical performance from a set in the crowd, she segued into a pre-recorded mini-movie called “The Exorcism of Roman”, an elaborate introduction to her most vicious alter ego. Then, she hit the stage for a spectacle of a show that featured her stellar rhyming skills as well as her certifiable singing and over the top acting abilities. While I have a feeling her set may have gone over some fans’ heads; no one can deny the guts and the gifts she displayed on the GRAMMY stage.