Monday, November 19, 2012
The American Music Awards were last night.... and after a humiliating weekend where this kid was photographed being literally kicked to the curb by his movie star girlfriend (poor thang) I'm sure this was a pretty good rebound for the ego. No denying the Biebs is a good-hearted spirit but man needs the testosterone to kick in already. He's 19 right? Still such the little feminine flower!
Annnnnd there's a "New Media" award now. If Psy's the winner seems more appropriate to call it the "viral video" award since that's how we all heard about him, but maybe no one wants something that sounds a bit like airborne sickness. Apparently he's gone 'Full Metal America' to extend his 15, dude even put on Hammerpants last night. Fun times. No surprises with the rest of the awards though, and the winners are:
Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist – Justin Bieber
Favorite Female Country Artist – Taylor Swift
New Media Award – Psy
Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded by Nicki Minaj
Favorite Alternative Rock Artist – Linkin Park
Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist – Usher
Favorite Country Male Artist – Luke Bryan
New Artist of the Year – Carly Rae Jepsen
Favorite Country Band/Duo or Group – Lady Antebellum
Favorite Electronic Dance Music Artist – David Guetta
Favorite Pop/Rock Album – Believe by Justin Bieber
Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist – Nicki Minaj
Favorite Country Album – Blown Away by Carrie Underwood
Artist of the Year – Justin Bieber
Posted by Michelle S. at 7:51 AM
Monday, November 5, 2012
Not to be confused with Taylor Swift's version of "RED", Neyo's new album with the same exact title-- is due in stores tomorrow, Election Day Tuesday 11/6. No Red States Blue States here, instead the album title is an acronym for "Realizing Every Dream".
Last week at the exclusive Sayer's Club in Hollywood, Neyo previewed the hotly anticipated new music for a small crowd of tastemakers. After being introduced by SR VP of Motown Records Ethiopia Habtemariam who called him "one of the most important artists in R&B music today," he launched into both a presentation and a live performance that was clearly from the heart.
Before starting Neyo told the room, "If you're here, then you have in some way contributed to my dream and I thank you for it. When I got into music, I promised myself there were three things I was going to do: travel the world, provide for my family and friends, and win a Grammy-- which I did 3 times-- and I've been able to do all of it, through my music. I've realized every dream."
Then he talked philosophically about his vision for "R.E.D.", explaining how as an artist, he's maintained an unusual position in the music business-- huge success in three very distinct genres: R&B, Pop, AND dance. A feat he is very proud of and wants to continue to honor on this album as well. "My ultimate goal as an artist is to be in a place where you can't put me in a box," he confided, "I really wanted this album to have that- well, for some of you who may remember this from the 45 single days-- that distinct 'Side A', 'Side B' experience."
Always the ultimate storyteller with his songs, Neyo launched into one called "Carry On," which he described like this: "Fellas, have you ever come home after you've been out AGAIN, doing something you weren't supposed to be doing..... and you return to a house that is silent. Quiet. Nobody's there. You're calling out her name, no answer. All you see is a letter on the table. And you know what's next. The words to this song, are what is in that letter... written from life experience!"
On the next song, "Set It Off," Neyo was a little more direct for his fam in the audience that weren't quite sure what the motivation was - the track was a rolling R&B banger with production values reminiscent of the classic Bel Biv Devoe R&B quiet-storm staple "Can You Stand The Rain".
"For those of you who don't listen to lyrics, uhhh, that song is about fellatio," Neyo laughed.
Next up a song called "Don't Make Em' Like You" featuring Wiz Khalifa was explained to be,
"My anti-basic broad song," (clearly Neyo has gone thru it with the groupies~!) "for instance, if your limit is 2 drinks, at 2 drinks- stop drinking!" The record is a rowdy top 40 collabo with all the earmarks of a Neyo 'radio ready' hit, should do well for him...
He capped the evening off with a live performance with his flawless live band, moving through several new tunes from "R.E.D." -- "Lazy Love"- the guitars will make it a nice fixture at pop radio, "So Jealous"- a signature midtempo jam, "Shoulda Been You"- great R&B ballad, and a song called "Unconditional Now," something that he "could not have written before I became a father."
"There are some things you can write from experience, other things you can channel, but I could not write something like this until I had my children," Neyo passionately stated, "that is the one and only true love. Didn't know that until I saw my children born."
It seems all of Neyo's dreams have come true. Next up: a top five album debut for "R.E.D."?
Posted by Michelle S. at 3:26 PM
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
If you've been a New Yorker at any point in time, you have a special bond with the subway system. It is not only how you commute to work, but how you experience different neighborhoods and Burroughs plus, due to the general nature of trains--smushed together on seats or standing together managing the sway of a speeding underground box on wheels-- how you regularly interact with other people. This dynamic is such a vast opposite of the lifestyle in Los Angeles where personal interaction is virtually unheard of in a commuter culture that keeps people totally isolated within a car, often battling road rage as they fight for space on gridlocked roads, instead of sharing the commuting experience through a highly organized public transit system that allows them to oh, I don't know, multitask or maybe read a paper to be a little more informed about a world past the "Three Mile Zone". But I digress. My bad.
Via the subway this very type of daily, intimate and at times, forced proximity to others is a huge part of the magic and real fabric of New York City. The subway system inadvertently helps shape us as people, because on that train- we're all in this together. (And during rush hour, uhhh VERY close together). You deal with different people from every economic and cultural background, are regularly confronted with poverty, mental illness, musical auditions, political or insanity-driven speeches, public nudity, and genuine acts of kindness.
One of my favorite memories was being seated next to an old crotchety-looking man-- always has the potential to be unpredictable-- and leaning in with a side eye to get a glimpse of his New York Post without trying to be obvious, but I was obvious. Instead of lifting the paper up so I couldn't further annoy him, he smiled and opened it up wider so we could read it together. We never said anything more than "good morning," and "thank you," but I'll never forget him.
Because I was raised on the West Coast the underground train system held major fascination for me. I would regularly position myself by the window in the front car by the conductor, peering out in to the dark to figure out how wide all those tunnels were, and where the trains switched off to other tracks. This became a never-ending mystery as you never really got to the bottom of something that only allowed you occasional glimpses of its inner workings, shrouded by speed and the penetrating darkness of tunnels. That's part of what I love about them the most.
Then Sandy hit. We heard the worrying about the tunnels, and how vulnerable their depth made them. How the sea walls only go so high. How this was an unprecedented storm surge during high tide on a full moon. And how salty sea water could easily fry the rails. By the end of the night, I read this and it broke my heart:
NYC has come back from a lot worse than this, but I think Governor Cuomo got it right when he talked not about the existence of this storm, but to question the power of it. Hurricanes are not unheard of in the Northeast, but the ferocity of Sandy is a direct product of climate change. Hitting only 14 months after Hurricane Irene did, perhaps this magnitude of weather is the "new normal" for New York City.
The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904- nearly 108 years to the DAY of "Superstorm Sandy." A massive feat of progress during the height of an Industrial Era that would ultimately become the greatest cause of Sandy itself. Ironic, isn't it.
Monday, October 22, 2012
None of my guy friends understand the appeal of this artist. They just don't get it, because they don't understand the experience of being a woman attracted to a bad, very bad boy-- the one man you can't resist and who you know will pull you down into his under toe of drama. But you do him anyway. The danger element is part, if not ALL of the draw. The word dickmatize comes to mind. Because this is also the guy who fucks you so good you can't see straight. (Ask Rihanna, she's still trying to get over one). It's an unspoken energy, the men who have this aura. And Abel Tesfaye has it. He's the dirty, grimy, dangerous fuck that you already know is toxic and really bad for you, but sometimes you just have to go there. YOLO.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Well the Nicki Minaj stans are in full uproar over the fact that the "Girl on Fire" video doesn't feature their hip-hop drag queen goddess who has two verses on the song in other versions, but really? Hate on Alicia for having the (gasp!) audacity to appear in a video solo when she's been doing that for ten + years and tens of millions of albums sold. Think Keys has already proven to have much more than that fifteen minutes currently ticking down on the Minaj-implosion egg timer. Just sayin'.
Posted by Michelle S. at 4:38 PM
Friday, October 12, 2012
NOBODY could pull some bull like this off except Snoop. Hear "The Lion" roar- with laughter. No question dude came up with the idea to parody his own song during a particularly stony creative moment, which for him is pretty much all day every day. And ya can't really diss it either, cuzzin. The dang thang does too good a job making fun of itself. Fell the fck OUT at the Hot Pocket in pimp gear......omg. This ranks right up there with the classic Timberlake/Samberg skit "D*ck In A Box" in outrageous comedy factor.
Will the ensuing viral tsunami help sell some microwave pizza? You decide.