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2013 American Music Awards: Meaningless But Kind Of Amusing

Judging from the mostly unfazed reactions of the winners accepting their awards, winning an American Music Award is roughly equivalent to having a stranger hand you a flower on the street: “Oh…thanks, that’s nice.”

After all, if you win an AMA, it’s because a whole lot of fans voted for you. Which means you have a whole lot of fans. Which you already know. Winning means that at least one more of your millions of fans was more motivated to text or tweet their vote (I can’t remember how it works, does it matter?) than at least one more of, say, Robin Thicke‘s fans.

This year’s Least Emotional Award goes to Justin Timberlake, who took home three AMAs including Favorite Album (Soul/R&B), Favorite Male Artist (Soul/R&B), and Favorite Male Artist (Pop/Rock), and seemed increasingly bemused with each acceptance. The resulting complete lack of nervousness made for some of the best television of the night, particularly in accepting the Album award from Sarah Silverman, who had joked about a white Mickey Mouse Club member winning a Soul/R&B award over Rihanna. “That’s the first time I’ve ever been racially profiled by a white woman,” he said. It was also kind of a laff to see him singing along to his own song as he walked to the stage, after feigning an “OMG” moment with Taylor Swift.

Other entertaining moments included a rather sweet presentation of the completely-invented-for-ratings “Icon Award” to Rihanna by her mother, who exuded pride as she acknowledged that her daughter’s road to success had been a bumpy one. The singer’s acceptance speech ribbed her mother for mocking her “husky, man’s voice” when she was young and just starting to sing. Timberlake made more hay from this particular moment, later doing an off-the-cuff impersonation of Rihanna’s mom.

Macklemore, who along with his partner Ryan Lewis won Favorite Artist (Rap/Hip-Hop) and Favorite Album (Rap/Hip-Hop), had the only social or political message of the night during his acceptance, broadcast remotely from Florida, saying, ”I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it. This is really happening [to] our friends, our neighbors, our peers, our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.” It was brief, subtle, and though it stood out among the relative innocuousness of the evening, felt genuine, and was welcomed by the crowd.

Dave Grohl‘s appearance as a presenter, along with Joan Jett, was not totally surprising, but that he didn’t take the opportunity to slam the apparent sidelining of rock and roll in the event was a little disappointing. He did express hope that the band with the big guitars would win the Alternative Rock award, and by that we guess he meant Imagine Dragons? Little did he know they would be the band with the big drums instead. Their performance featured a breakdown with each member pounding on drums of varying sizes. Anyway, they were among the most grateful for their win, and praised the two rock legends who presented their award.

Also amusing was Ariana Grande, who performed and won New Artist of the Year, and who apparently borrowed her red sequined dress from Jessica Rabbit. She was barely able to accept her award, navigating one stair for every two steps, before delivering an impressively speedy thank you speech, which she produced from her bodice.

Oh, how could I forget? Miley Cyrus delivered a non-controversial performance, backed only by a sad cartoon cat. I’m not sure which, but one of them was definitely lip-syncing. She also spent a little too much time on her faux-emoting during the song’s breakdown, missing her cue for the next section and coming in, indeed, like a wrecking ball.

See the full list of winners below.

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Continue reading ’2013 American Music Awards: Meaningless But Kind Of Amusing’

Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift Take Home Billboard Touring Awards

Last night marked the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards as heavyweights Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, P!nk, The Rolling Stones, One Direction, and George Strait all took home some of the night’s top honors. Based heavily on the Billboard Boxscore chart and box office performances between October 1, 2012, and September 30, 2013, the awards saw industry veteran Bon Jovi win Top Tour and Top Draw, while Taylor Swift’s raved about Red tour (featuring Ed Sheeran) was named Top Package.

Check out the full list of winners below, and let us know in the comments who had your vote.

Continue reading ‘Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift Take Home Billboard Touring Awards’

The 2013 Country Music Awards, Starring ‘Duck Dynasty’

Look, country music, we’re trying to work with you here. You are an original American artform. You spring from a deep storytelling tradition of struggle and woe, describing universal truths about the human condition in a plain but somehow poetic way. Sometimes it just seems like you’ve lost the plot completely, but then our faith is often restored by some of the artists working a bit outside of the mainstream, from Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson to the legendary Steve Earle or his son Justin Townes Earle.

But then the 2013 Country Music Awards happen and make the entire genre look like a caricature of big hats and mediocre pop masquerading as country. When the headlines coming off your awards show all highlight a parody performance by the redneckiest reality TV stars ever (Duck Dynasty), rather than a surprise win for Entertainer of the Year by respected country star George Strait, you better start doing some soul-searching. And how about the “Pinnacle Award” being awarded to a pop star who hasn’t recorded a country song in years (Taylor Swift)?

Then again, there were more good moments this year than last. In addition to Strait’s win, we got a tribute (featuring Strait and Alan Jackson) to one of the all-time greats, George Jones, who died this year, and nods to Kenny Rogers, an appearance by Alison Krauss, and Dave Grohl rocking the drum kit with the Zac Brown Band.

Below is the full list of winners. Until next time, save country music.

Continue reading ‘The 2013 Country Music Awards, Starring ‘Duck Dynasty’’

Taylor Swift Debuts New Single “Sweeter Than Fiction”

Just over a year since her last studio release, country-turned-pop sensation Taylor Swift has just released a new single titled “Sweeter Than Fiction.”

When most people think of Taylor Swift the first thing that usually comes to mind is her penchant for detailing in song her failed relationships. The title “Sweeter Than Fiction” might suggest this track is par for the course, but that could not be further from the case. Swift sings from the perspective of a fan who believed in someone’s talent long before anyone else caught on. It’s uplifting without being hokey, and from a musical perspective, introduces a heavy ’80s influence. You can stream the single below.

Before anyone gets too excited about Swift’s return to the studio, it should be noted that this song is not intended for Taylor’s next album. In fact, it’s the first song to be released from the forthcoming film One Chance, which tells the story of Paul Potts, the down-on-his-luck store clerk who became an opera-singing sensation after winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2007. No release date for the soundtrack has been set, but the film is due to debut stateside before the end of 2013. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on Taylor’s latest. Continue reading ‘Taylor Swift Debuts New Single “Sweeter Than Fiction”’

Jessie J Covers Taylor Swift

Everyone loves a good cover, and today there is no better reinterpretation to stream than Jessie J‘s acoustic version of Taylor Swift‘s inescapable hit, “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

Nine times out of ten, cover songs are released within weeks of the original’s release. Especially in the digital age, bands seem to believe the best way to cash in on a cover is to directly compete with the original for playtime with music fans. Jessie J doesn’t see things this way, and earlier today released a stirring acoustic cover of Taylor Swift’s 2012 hit “I Knew You Were Trouble.” It’s as catchy as ever, but when stripped down to bare bones, the song boasts far more heart than we remembered. Click here to stream the cover.

Jessie J is still working to become a household name in the states, but she’s sure to win over a few new listeners after this cover. She is no Taylor Swift, but her take on “I Knew You Were Trouble” is certainly good enough to lead a handful of curious music fans to see what else the songstress has to offer. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on the cover.

Taylor Swift Covers Fall Out Boy

A new video was uploaded to YouTube over the weekend that proves that America’s Sweetheart is sweet on the biggest pop rock band in the world.

While performing in New Jersey, pop superstar Taylor Swift brought out Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump to perform his band’s hit single, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark.” Stump played lead guitar and helped bring home the anthemic chorus, but the verses and bridge were all Taylor. You can view the performance below.

The song does not appear to be a staple in Swift’s set for this tour. Maybe a downer to some, but others may appreciate that she often makes shows unique with one-off covers. Let us know in the comments if you’ve seen her perform live, and if there were any surprises in her set. Continue reading ‘Taylor Swift Covers Fall Out Boy’

Academy of Country Music Awards Nominees

I wonder how long country music awards shows think they’re going to be able to claim Taylor Swift as a country artist. I think that train has sailed. Swift was among this year’s nominees for Album of the Year at the Country Music Awards for her shit-kickin’, twang fest Red, and garnered four other nominations, including Entertainer of the Year. Miranda Lambert, another Entertainer of the Year nominee, ties Swift with a total of five nominations.

The big leaders, though, are Eric Church, with seven nominations around his album Chief, and Hunter Hayes, with six, including Song of the Year and Single of the Year (because maybe the Song of the Year will be a deep cut, right?) for his song “Wanted.”

The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on April 7th and will be hosted this year by Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.

See the full list of nominees below.

Continue reading ‘Academy of Country Music Awards Nominees’

5 Valentine’s Day Songs To Make You Swoon

Girls, send this list to your significant other. Boys, pay attention. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if the rows of heart shaped candy boxes and giant red teddy bears lining supermarket shelves haven’t clued you in, we’re here to remind you….again. Valentine’s Day may be one of the more ridiculous holidays that we honor, but nevertheless, here we are. And in truth, we’ll take any excuse to provide you with an awesome playlist. So scroll down and get into the Valentine’s Day mood. Romance, love, and plenty of sap. Continue reading ’5 Valentine’s Day Songs To Make You Swoon’

Black Veil Brides Featured On ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 45′

Everyone’s favorite radio friendly compilation is back, and in a surprising twist of events the makers of Now That’s What I Call Music have featured Black Veil Brides‘ ”In The End” on their 45th installment. Appearing as a “Now What’s Next” bonus track, Black Veil Brides finds a home among other bonus artists, Born Cages, Walk The Moon, and Capital Cities.

Although it’s a shocker to see the band included on a track list that also features acts like Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, One Direction, and Ne-Yo, it’s refreshing to see Now That’s What I Call Music delving a bit more into the unknown. At least, the unknown of many regular Now listeners.

Check out the full track list after the jump, and keep an eye out for our upcoming interview with Black Veil Brides by following us on Twitter!

Continue reading ‘Black Veil Brides Featured On ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 45′’

Cassadee Pope Signs With Universal Republic Nashville

Following her stunning win on the most recent season of The Voice, Cassadee Pope has wasted no time in capitalizing on her success, signing with Universal Republic Nashville. “I am so excited to be joining the very talented Republic Nashville family. I am so passionate about my music and I couldn’t be more excited to have this amazing team to back me as I embark on this next chapter in my career,” reads Pope’s statement. While fans might be saddened by the impact that Pope’s burgeoning solo career has had on her band Hey Monday, who are currently on hiatus, they needn’t worry about missing the singer herself in 2013. She will reportedly be working on a project that is supposedly a “edgier, less country” version of Taylor Swift.

While you’re waiting for Cassadee’s album, check out OurStage artist Aubrey Wood.

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