The Super Bowl Halftime Show has become an overblown spectacle of such proportions and delusionary grasping at the straws of musical-artistic relevancy that it quite simply may never be good again. Yet there have been some standout performances – mostly those that concentrate on actual performing. There were some very dark years here and there that were not focused on the artists and their music as much as the pageantry (I’m looking at you Disney), so I didn’t even count those. There were also a lot of ‘meh’ moments that are not really worth getting into.
2000: PHIL COLLINS, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, ENRIQUE IGLESIAS, TONI BRAXTON
I don’t remember this and I’m not going to watch it, but it’s awful. It’s literally the worst thing I’ve never seen.
The Super Bowl’s iconic halftime show has certainly come a long way from the drill teams and college marching bands of its early years. Since the early ˜90s, the event has turned into a full-on showcase of the biggest names in music, featuring performances by such classics as Michael Jackson, Prince and Paul McCartney, as well as¦ not-so-classics like *NSYNC and the Black Eyed Peas. This year, halftime was dominated by none other than Madonna herself, featuring performances with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green and LMFAO. So how did it compare to the halftimes of the past?
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2002 (U2)
As many may remember, halftime 2002 wasn’t just a performance, it was a tribute to the victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. While the concept itself could have easily gone wrong in many ways, U2 gave a stunning, energetic performance, making it arguably one of the best halftime shows to date. So how did Madonna’s performance fare against the rock and roll titans? While it may not have exactly been an empowering performance, this year’s show certainly provided us with some fun, guilty-pleasure enjoyment.
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2007 (Prince)
An undeniable superstar, Prince certainly delivered at Super Bowl 2007 with covers of the Foo Fighters, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival, finishing off with his song Purple Rain. Madonna is pop icon of the same caliber, but could she match Prince’s powerful voice and gripping stage presence? Personally, we feel that the slack-lining cupid and Cee Lo Green’s bedazzled choir get-up stole this show.
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2011 (Black Eyed Peas feat. Slash and Usher)
While U2‘s performance for halftime 2002 was arguably one of the best shows to date, it could be said that the Black Eyed Peas’ performance was one of the worst. With their mediocre musicianship and Fergie’s aimless belting to Where is the Love and Sweet Child of Mine, the group could only leave the crowd hanging. Say what you will about Madonna’s performance; it doesn’t get any worse than this.
When it comes to half time, it seems we’ve learned that classic is the way to go. The Super Bowl XLVI stuck to a proven formula – whether or not the decision was a good one is up to you to decide. As for us, we’re just grateful that this performance didn’t involve another Madge-Brit-Xtina lip-locking episode, circa the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
iHeartRadio is all about well…radio, and taking it to the next level. Not only does the site allow you to live stream talk and music radio stations locally and nationally, it also enables you to create your own custom stations based on your musical tastes. This past weekend, iHeartRadio went all out to promote their new and improved Web site, along with the launch of the iHeartRadio mobile app that grants users listening access from their phones. For the launch, they put on a giant, star-studded festival in Las Vegas, which sold out about ten minutes after tickets were made available. The theme of the night was very much focused on the diversity and popularity of the festival’s artists.
For the majority of fans who weren’t able to get a ticket or make their way to Vegas, iHeartRadio streamed the entire two-night event on their Web site. Here at Live Wired, we were part of that majority, and since we’ve been talking so much about streaming festivals online, we’re here to tell you what it was like. The evening kicked off with a half-hour “pre-show” hosted by two personalities from NYC’s popular radio station z100, followed by the first performance of the night. The Black Eyed Peas, who apparently are not on their hiatus yet, took the stage first and were pretty underwhelming. Not that they’re exactly known for their live shows (See: this year’s Super Bowl performance), but the audience didn’t seem too entertained either.
This was a brutal exercise, listening to at least large chunks of every Number 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 for the years between 2000 and 2010 (I should have stopped at 2009, but I’m a glutton for punishment). Anyway, in order to avoid repetition, if a song was a Number 1 in more than one year (carried over from a previous year), I only considered it for the first year in which it hit the top spot. I thought I might see some kind of trend in quality of pop music, but no such luck”highs and lows abound throughout.
Best: Smooth by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. Rob Thomas tries really hard to wreck this song with his awful singing, but it’s still really catchy. Sorry Rob, but I’ve come from the future to tell you that you’ll have more success offending listeners with your solo record.
Worst: The epic and universal terribleness of Arms Wide Open by Creed beats out such dreck as Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon and a song called I Knew I Loved You by a band that wrote the name Savage Garden on a piece of paper, looked at it and said, Yes. Let’s name our band that. That’s not totally stupid at all.
Dishonorable mention: Independent Women Part 1 by Destiny’s Child, for opening the song with a shout out to Charlie’s Angels, the movie in which it is featured, and for kicking off the verse with the lyric, Question: Tell me what you think about me. Yeah, that’s not a question, that’s a command. What do I think about you? I think that you’re too pushy and have a tenuous grasp on parts of speech.
Dance music is to the world music scene as soccer”or football, depending on your preference ”is to world sports. Both have global followers and feature spectacular, grand annual exhibitions (soccer has Champions League and Europa Cup among others and Dance music has Ibiza Rocks and Ultra Music Festival). And, let’s face it, Americans aren’t the best at either. We can’t win ‘em all, guys.
The other parallel between soccer and dance? A lot of countries would lay claim to being the best at either. While trying to pick a definitive winner in either subject would result in a lot of bickering and hurt feelings, we’ll avoid making any definitive statements. And since we’re a music site, we’ll refrain from talking about sports for the time being. That said, there are a few obvious front runners on the dance scene. We want to give a nod to OurStage’s international community and see what different countries have to offer. So, let’s take a look at who might be best at getting the world to dance, and check out what the OurStagers can bring to the table.
Two words. French. House. Parisians have worked in years past to give us sexy, groovy music. Daft Punk, Busy P, SebastiAn, Justice, and everyone at Ed Banger Records, Fred Falke and Alan Braxe. The list goes on and on. France’s own David Guetta is on top of the world right now, producing mega hits for the Black Eyed Peas. OurStage’s Marty Lake borrows somewhat from the electro heritage of his home country his with the heavy beats, housey rave ups and the guitar sounding synth lines that make up his track “Let’s Have Some Wolves” which you can check out below.
Over here at The Beat Generation, we’re unabashed fans of dubstep. We’ve covered it a few times in the past and made our love known for England’s dirtiest musical exports like Benga and Skream. They also don’t slack when it comes to beautiful, slick dance pop”acts like Katy B and La Roux coming to mind. The Beat Generation also featured an OurStage Brit when Dan Gravelle graced the column. Temple Scene is another act killing it with their own sound. The band crafts deft synthpop with a definite rock edge. You can check out their song “What’s Done is Done” below.
What country has seven of the Top 20 DJs and the Number 1 ranked DJ (Armin Van Buuren) from DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs of 2010? The Netherlands (obviously). The tiny country may have the highest amount of rump shaking per capita of any nation in the world. However, after the rave, after the after party and after the hangover after the after party, you need something a little gentler to come down to. That’s where Indojin come in. The 26-year-old Rotterdam-based producer claims R&B and world music as influences of equal measure on his sound. His song “Just Pop It” is currently charting in the Electronica Channel and you check out the beat heavy, melodic “Serene” below.
Spain gets an obvious nod for being the dance party epicenter of the universe thanks to Ibiza. Israel needs to have some recognition for their contributions to electronic music in the past and their slowly rising profile in today’s scene thanks to bands like Infected Mushroom and Teflon Tel Aviv. Germany nearly made the cut thanks to current heavyweights like ATB and Paul Van Dyk, and because they gave us Kraftwerk. Finally, Australia was this close to getting on the list with their ascendant rising electro-rock cadre of bands like Cut Copy, Miami Horror and Bag Raiders. However, will.i.am once stated that it was a trip to Australia that led to his discovery of electro and influenced the Peas sound so much. Australia, you get points off for that.
So your friends cut you off from your I Am T-Pain app after they got sick of your excessive autotuning? Don’t worry! On January 24, Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am introduced the latest iPhone app designed to help fans get involved in their music.
The app, BEP360, is the first release from will.i.am’s newly-established company will.i.apps, and is available for $2.99 on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It was developed by will.i.apps and Metaio, a company that develops augmented reality software. The first app of its kind, BEP360 gives fans the ability to control a 360° music video for the Peas’ The Time (Dirty Bit). It allows users to fully immerse themselves in video by swinging their phone around an axis. The app also gives users a chance to direct a virtual photo shoot with will.i.am and bandmates Fergie, apl.de.ap and Taboo. Other features include a Black Eyed Peas-inspired puzzle game and the ability to view and share comments with other BEP360 users.
According to a January 24 press release, the new Black Eyed Peas app will allow artists to connect with their fans on another level. Will.i.apps and the BEP360 app have been established to help artists tap into the potential of our hyper-connected mobile world and bring fans deeper inside the music far beyond a four minute audio recording, will.i.am explains. The release also states that BEP360 is only the first of several upcoming applications from will.i.apps that will converge the worlds of creativity, music and advanced digital technologies. Of course, we’d expect nothing less from a guy who recently signed on as Intel’s new Director of Creative Innovation. And hey “ maybe the app will distract people from the Peas’ underwhelming Super Bowl performance.
For more information about will.i.apps and BEP360, check out the company’s Web site.
Thom Yorke building massive human statue to fight climate change
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is looking to recruit 2,000 volunteers to build a massive human statue to fight climate change this weekend. The statue will fight climate change by punching the clouds with its 4,000 fists. OK, not really. It’s more of a symbolic fight. Yorke’s human statue is one of 16 planned around the world to be photographed by a satellite from space. The event will raise awareness around the United Nations’ meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to discuss an international climate treaty.
Arcade Fire and Spike Jonze unite for The Suburbs video
Arcade Fire has released their video for The Suburbs, and it’s not a cheery tale of Bed, Bath & Beyond and Applebee’s. The video is directed by Spike Jonze, and, much like his work in Where The Wild Things Are, combines youth, nostalgia, and unexpected violence. Watch it below.
Quincy Jones gives Kanye West the big diss
Don’t tell Quincy Jones that he has anything in common with Kanye West. Them’s fighting words. In an interview with Us Magazine, Jones responded to the observation that he and West are both hugely successful producers with total disdain. No way. Did he write for a symphony orchestra? Does he write for a jazz orchestra? Come on man, he’s just a rapper. West has yet to respond to this ego bruise publicly, but if Twitter suddenly explodes, you’ll know why.
Kings of Leon looking for ugly people
Calling all pockmarked, scarred and sundry busted people! Kings of Leon are looking for individuals with physical deformities for their next video shoot. Has anyone ever made a joke about your face breaking their camera? Do horses whinny when you pass by? Capitalize on your plainness”the band is paying $300 a day. Uh ¦ are they sure this isn’t the video for Use Somebody?
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- Ray Davies cancels US tour
- Nikki Sixx hits 50th radio affiliate mark
- Mark David Chapman’s autographed Lennon album up for auction
- Wayne Coyne calls for the end of puppy mills
- Akon says new Lady Gaga album is crazy and amazing
- Owl City writes another sappy song called Peppermint Winter
- AMA winners and performances