Thursday, December 1, 2011

2012 Grammy Winner Predictions

If you happened to catch the Grammy Nominations Concert last night, there were many great performances--well, all except Rihanna, of course.

Lady Gaga opened the show with another freakish, but yet, intriguing performance--this time her new single, "Marry the Night." She also closed the show with an effortless performance of "You and I," accompanied by country group Sugarland, and, actually worked well. There's a reason for the past three years Gaga has received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Maybe this time she'll actually win. Although, Adele will be tough to beat.

Rihanna's lip synced performance of "We Found Love" was pre-taped from a show during her tour in London. I don't know what's worse: Disgracing the Grammys or cheating thousands of fans that paid hundreds to see a live concert. It's a double whammy for Rihanna, as she consistently sings terrible or doesn't sing at all (More often doesn't sing at all). Have we really gotten to the point where the most respected music awards show turns a blind eye to artists that lip sync? Rihanna received four nominations for next year, including *sigh* Album of the Year.

The reason a Grammy award is considered much more credible than all other music awards is because both the nominations and winners are determined by music professionals in an elite committee called the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).

Many music award shows, such as the VMAs and American Music Awards, determine winners based on the highest amount of online fan votes. Yes, that means any moron with a computer, bias opinion and no knowledge of music can contribute to the fate of all artists nominated.

Anyway, here are some of my predictions for who will win next year:

Record of the Year: Rolling In The Deep (Adele),  Holocene (Bon Iver), Grenade (Bruno Mars), The Cave (Mumford & Sons), Firework (Katy Perry)

Album of the Year: 21 (Adele), Wasting Light (Foo Fighters), Born This Way (Lady Gaga), Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Bruno Mars), Loud (Rihanna)

Song of the Year: All of the Lights, (Jeff Bhasker, Fergie, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West, songwriters; performed by Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie); The Cave (Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston, songwriters; performed by Mumford & Sons); Grenade (Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Bruno Mars & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters; performed by Bruno Mars); Holocene (Justin Vernon, songwriter; performed by Bon Iver); Rolling In The Deep (Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters; performed by Adele)

Best New Artist: The Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex

Best Pop Solo Performance: Someone Like You (Adele), You and I (Lady Gaga), Grenade (Bruno Mars), Firework (Katy Perry), F***in' Perfect (Pink)

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Body And Soul (Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse), Dearest (The Black Keys), Paradise (Coldplay), Pumped Up Kicks (Foster the People), Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera)

Best Pop Vocal Album: 21 (Adele), The Lady Killer (Cee Lo Green), Born This Way (Lady Gaga), Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Bruno Mars), Loud (Rihanna)

Best Rock Song: The Cave (Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston, songwriters; performed by Mumford & Sons); Down By The Water (Colin Meloy, songwriter; performed by The Decemberists), Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall (Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin, songwriters; performed by Coldplay), Lotus Flower (Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway & Thom Yorke, songwriters; performed by Radiohead), Walk (Foo Fighters, songwriters; performed by Foo Fighters)

Best Rock Album: Rock 'N' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul (Jeff Beck), Wasting Light (Foo Fighters), Come Around Sundown (Kings of Leon), I'm With You (Red Hot Chili Peppers), The Whole Live (Wilco)
Best Rap Album: Watch The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West), Tha Carter IV (Lil Wayne), Lasers (Lupe Fiasco), Pink Friday (Nicki Minaj), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Kanye West)

Best Country Album: My Kinda Party (Jason Aldean), Chief (Eric Church), Own The Night (Lady Antebellum), Red River Blue (Blake Shelton), Here For A Good Time (George Strait), Speak Now (Taylor Swift)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hip Hop Officially Just Became Uncool

Justin Bieber has revealed that two of the biggest current hip hop artists, Kanye West and Drake, will be collaborating with the teen pop sensation on his new album due out in the next few months.

West seems to have always had Bieber Fever. In the past he tweeted: "Listening to @JustinBieber 'Run Away Love'...I love Sunday mornings in the crib."

...Yo Kanye, Imma let you finish, but Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus's duet was the best of all time.

Former Backstreet Boy's Back, All Right!

Hooray -- The missing cog has been found!

Kevin Richardson recently announced he will be joining the Backstreet Boys once again at a Bahamas concert on December 3 and then most likely indefinitely. Richardson was the only Backstreet Boy that did not partake in a reunion that began five years ago when the group released two albums and collaborated with New Kids On The Block, forming NKOTBSB.

We can all thank our lucky stars that Richardson has taken a break from his busy career of doing nothing to rejoin the Backstreet Boys. The group is now complete by adding another washed up singer--but not just any washed up singer--one with the look of a degenerate and/or pedophile.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Green Day Celebrate Halloween in NYC

Photo Credit: Jessica Levy
Green Day celebrated Halloween with 300 lucky fans last night during their concert at The Studio at Webster Hall. The show was announced Wednesday morning, with tickets on sale hours later. It sold out in 35 seconds. 

The band took the stage at around midnight in their costumes: Billie Joe Armstrong dressed as Jack Skelington and Tre Cool dressed in drag. They opened with a cover of "Monster Mash," followed by over 20 brand new songs. The encore consisted of oldies including "She," "2,000 Light Years Away" and "Welcome to Paradise." 

As usual, Green Day fans went home extremely satisfied. 

Set List:
Monster Mash
Crushing Bastards
Let Yourself Go
Carpe diem
Stay the Night
Stop When the Red Lights Flash
Oh Love
Fell for Snoo
Hybrid Moments
Nuclear Family
Sweet 16
Stray Heart
Stop, Drop and Roll 
Dirty Rotten Bastards
8th Ave. Serenade
Makeout Party
Wild One
Fuck Time (Foxboro Hot Tubs song)
Wow! That's Loud
Soda Pop Curtis
Trouble Maker
Lazy Bones
Little Boy Named Train
Teenagers From Mars (The Network song)
Sex Drugs & Violence
Blue Moon of Kentucky (Elvis cover)
Welcome to Paradise
Geek Stink Breath
Hitchin' A Ride
Going to Pasalacqua
1,000 Hours
Murder City
2,000 Light Years Away
Paper Lanterns

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Miley Cyrus: Maybe Third Time's A Charm?

Miley Cyrus, or Hannah Montana--whatever the hell her name is--will reportedly be covering a Bob Dylan song in the near future. The song will appear on the charity album, Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International. Adele, Sting, Patti Smith, Dave Matthews Band and ...[groan]... Ke$ha will also appear on the album.

Cyrus has been widely criticized over covers of classics she has done in the past, including Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." I'm sure she won't disappoint us with her consistent track record.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amy Winehouse's Cause of Death... for Real, This Time.

The coroner has finally stated a cause of death for Amy Winehouse. Ready for this? Winehouse consumed a "very large amount of alcohol" -- so much that it was five times over the legal driving limit. OK, now that we've stated the obvious... 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hanson Play to Save The Music, Celebrate Drummer's Birthday

Photo Credit: Jessica Levy
Teen pop group turned indie rock band, Hanson, were one of the performers at VH1's Save the Music Foundation's Family Day in NYC yesterday. The band not only celebrated their love for music, but also drummer Zac's 26th birthday. Other performers at the free event included: Mat Kearney, Hot Peas 'N Butter, SafetySuit and The American Secrets. 

Hanson, who are used to playing for a crowd of women in their late 20's, seemed to enjoy their new fans ranging from the ages of around 1-5 years old. Isaac, 30, told the crowd that this is the "cutest thing" he's ever seen in response to the young children dancing to Hanson's music. Taylor, 28, who has four kids of his own, encouraged all "little people" to come to the front of the crowd in order to view the concert better. He also joked that short women should come to the front as well.

"When our first record came out, Zac was 11, I was 16 and Taylor was 14," Isaac said before breaking into the first chords of "MMMBop."

Fans got an extra special treat as a birthday cake was brought on stage in celebration of youngest brother Zac's 26th birthday. "Remember, kids, don't play with matches. Let your parents light the candles in your house," a VH1 rep joked.

Zac did not share his cake with fans.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Shocking 'American Idol' News

This just in: Season 9 American Idol winner Lee DeWyze that no one remembers or can name one song by has been dropped from RCA Records.

Darn. At least Season 9 runner-up, Crystal Bowersox, remains signed to RCA. She had that hit called... ummm... uhhh.... yeah. Anyway...

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Not-So-Rancid Musical Web Series

Punk rocker Tim Armstrong of Rancid has created an online musical theater series, Tim Timebomb's RockNRoll Theater

Armstrong says the show is influenced by The Twilight Zone and other "anthology television from the late fifties, early sixties." AFI's Davey Havok and Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen will be featured in the debut episode, "Dante." Armstrong revealed to Rolling Stone that he has written 50 new songs for the first 12 episodes. 

"When I asked Davey Havok I couldn't even get my pitch out. I was like 10 seconds into my pitch and he was on board. The first thing we did was a short with Jack Grisham from TSOL, he was on board in like 10 seconds," Armstrong says. "Singers love to do dialogue. There's a scene, Davey is the devil and Lars plays this bad guy, the antagonist, they loved it."

This isn't the first time Havok has appeared in a musical. The rocker starred in Green Day's American Idiot on Broadway as the antagonist role of St. Jimmy for two weeks in March. Havok was decent in the role, but portrayed it as a bit too flamboyant for my liking to be a drug dealing villain. Maybe this will work out better when he plays the devil in Armstrong's musical.

Aside from Rancid, Armstrong has played in some of the most successful punk rock bands, including Operation Ivy and The Transplants. He is also the owner of Hellcat Records, home of Dropkick Murphys, Tiger Army and of course Rancid and Operation Ivy. 

Tim Timebomb's RockNRoll Theater will premiere October 21 on VEVO.

The Definition of Mixing Oil and Water

What does convicted felon T.I. do after being released from prison after 10 months?

Duh, he joins country pop princess Taylor Swift on stage in Atlanta to sing "Live Your Life"!

In other news--enjoy Lil Wayne's remix of Joe Jonas' "Just in Love." The chorus of the generic fluffy pop song is as follows: Girl, I'm just in love with you/No other words words to use/I'm just in love with you.

As always, Weezy adds his own classy finishing touch: We go together like money and power/I don't need nuttin', nuttin', but her/All them other bitches ain't f--kin' with her. How appropriate!

Joe Jonas must feel like he has some street cred by association now with that "Parental Advisory" sticker on his album cover. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Featured Artist: Side by Side

Side by Side is a pop-rock band from Charlotte, NC comprised of Joelle Kittrell (vocals) and twin brothers Michael (guitar) and Joseph Pepe (bass). The twins met Joelle through a mutual connection and in 2010 began recording a self-titled EP that would be released in February 2011. 

This EP takes you on a journey through heartbreak; It begins with the up-beat song, "My Heart," a track that is the most worth listening to. It later ends with the soft ballad "To The Sky," which consists of a beautiful acoustic arrangement, including a violin and piano. The music is fairly simple and the lyrics are decent, but the most positive element by far is Kittrell's voice, which reminds me much of a young Natalie Merchant. Side by Side's five-song EP is short, but very much sweet. 

Billboard voted Side by Side one of the top six unsigned bands in the nation in its 2011 Battle of the Bands. Michael Pepe revealed to the magazine that the band takes time to discuss events happening in their life weekly in hope to inspire new songs. "Go for it all, or don't go at all" is a motto that Pepe says the band sticks to.

Learn more about Side by Side: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

May the Best Rockers Win

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees are in!

Guns N' Roses, the Cure, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Eric B. and Rakim, the Spinners, the Small Faces/Faces, Freddie King and Rufus with Chaka Khan are all first-time nominees. Beastie Boys, Laura Nyro, War, Donna Summer, Donovan and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are also nominated.

Artists are eligible 25 years after releasing their first single or album. The artists whom receive the most votes will make the cut.  

Guns N' Roses recently announced a fall tour that will kick off October 2 in Brazil. The Cure also announced it will be playing its first three albums from start-to-finish, with scheduled concerts in London, Hollywood and NYC.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Please Stop the Music

It was a beautiful day on Alan Graham's Northern Ireland field; wheat grass, corn, and two melons -- Rihanna's melons, that is.

The singer shot a video for her new single "We Found Love" and broke the rules by going topless. Graham told her to cover up because it was "inappropriate." He then kicked her off the field.

I'm sure Rihanna's decision to go topless was based on how completely relevant it is to the lyrics of the song. Maybe it was during the part where she sings "We found love in a hopeless place"? Hmm... no. Maybe "Yellow diamonds in the light"? No... still wouldn't quite fit. Oh well.

Graham admitted he had "never heard of Rihanna" before that day. Let's face it--He's not missing much.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lady Gaga Stands Up to Bullies

Getty Images
Lady Gaga doesn't f--k around.

The singer met with President Obama yesterday to address bullying issues at a political fundraiser in Silicon Valley, CA. She pleaded with everyone "to do what they can to prevent bullying," according to a source at ABC News.

This action was based on the recent death of Jamey Rodemeye, a big Gaga fan, who was recently bullied because of his sexual orientation to the point of suicide.

"The past days I've spent reflecting, crying, and yelling. I have so much anger. It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someones life," Gaga said of Rodemeye's death. "Jamey Rodemeyer, 14 yrs old, took his life because of bullying. Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime. I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it #MakeALawForJamey."

Ricky Martin joined Gaga by posting on Twitter to his 4 million followers, "How many lives do we have to lose to finally stop the harassment, hatred, bigotry, abuse? #BULLYING #MakeALawForJamey." His Twitter icon was also changed to a picture of Rodemeye.

Gaga is well-known supporter for the LGBT community. "She makes me so happy and she let's me know that I was born this way," Rodemeye said of Gaga in a video for the It Gets Better campaign on May 4.   

Saturday, September 24, 2011

'X Factor' Becomes X-Rated

We've all been seeing the previews for this damned show for the past six months. Simon Cowell's X Factor has finally premiered on Fox this week.

The American Idol meets America's Got Talent meets The Sing Off show exposed some extremely talented singers that proved themselves worthy enough to go into the next round. For other contestants, they either had the potential but weren't entirely ready yet or they were just plain terrible.

One contestant in particular, Geo Godley, sang an original song while...well, dropping trou. As the entire audience boo'd him, the judges looked away in disgust. Judge Paula Abdul dramatically left the area and shortly after the camera captured her gagging backstage. Has Paula never seen a penis before? She acted as if the guy took a dump on the stage for cryin' out loud! The only good thing about Godley's x-rated stunt is that it distracted everyone of his horrible singing voice.

One of the best auditions consisted of 18-year-old Melanie Amaro singing Beyonce's "Listen." Another great audition was Stacy Francis, 42, who had a tear jerking story about when she used to be in an abusive relationship. Francis sang "Natural Woman" and blew the judges away with her strong Aretha Franklin-esque vocals.

"That was one of the best auditions I've ever heard in my life," Simon Cowell said of Francis's performance.

As usual, Paula Abdul contributes nothing to the show and struggles to compete with the younger, hotter female judge -- this time it's Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. At one point, a contestant gushed to Scherzinger how beautiful she was. Abdul struggled to make her presence known by saying, "She is, isn't she?" (Translation: "Hi! I'm here too!") She was ignored and then repeated herself again, "She is, isn't she?" She was ignored again.

Former record executive, producer and songwriter L.A. Reid obviously knows what he's talking about, making him an essential judge on the show. I find myself tuning out when Abdul and Scherzinger are speaking and then tuning back in when it's Reid and Cowell's turns to speak.

In the grand scheme of things, this show was not any different than any of the other singing competitions. Simon Cowell or not, it is the same exact concept and format -- but did anyone expect any different? At least the winner will become 5 million dollars richer. Hopefully in addition they can have an everlasting career, unlike the many American Idol winners.