Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

President Obama is sexy (and he knows it)

Who woulda thought that President Obama was such a big LMFAO fan? Turns out he’s been surreptitiously dropping lyrics to Sexy and I Know It into all his speeches. As long as he doesn’t collaborate with Madonna, we’re OK with it. Watch the Commander in Chief bring sexy back below.

Deadmau5 taps fan to collaborate

The Internet has elevated many things to a whole new level: spying on your exes, indulging your cat obsession and, in this case, interacting with your favorite musician. Deadmau5, otherwise known as Joel Zimmerman, streamed an unfinished track on his Web site to give fans a listen to the songwriting process. One industrious follower tweeted the DJ a vocal track, and Zimmerman liked it so much he promised to add it into the song. Oh Internet, will your powers ever cease to amaze? Watch the magic happen below.

The Bad

Jerry Lee Lewis marries for seventh time, to cousin’s ex-wife

File under gross: Jerry Lee Lewis, who is now seventy-six years old, got married to his seventh wife ¦ wait for it ¦ who also happens to be the ex-wife of his own cousin, Rusty Brown. But there’s more! Cousin Rusty is the younger brother of Myrna Gale Brown, who married Lewis when she was only thirteen years old. Lets hope this latest dysfunctional marriage cools those great balls of fire once and for all.

Earl Scruggs dies

Bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs passed away this week from natural causes at an area hospital in Nashville. He was eighty-eight years old. Scruggs, along with Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt, formed the most influential bluegrass acts of all time”the Blue Grass Boys. Scruggs is credited with popularizing the three-finger style of banjo playing. He went on to play with Flatt in the Foggy Mountain Boys (later known as Flatt and Scruggs). His hits”which include the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies and Bonnie and Clyde”helped bring bluegrass to mainstream audiences. R.I.P.

The Ugly

Wayne Coyne bleeds collaborators for Record Store Day release

For his upcoming Record Store Day release, entitled The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, Wayne Coyne wasn’t content to give fans his figurative blood, sweat and tears. The Flaming Lips front man is including his actual blood as well as the blood of his collaborators on the vinyl and packaging of the record. That means folks like Yoko Ono, Bon Iver, Ke$ha, Biz Markie, Chris Martin, Erykah Badu and more will be donating a sample to this bio-hazardous album. Handle with gloves, people.

Bobby Brown arrested for DUI

Bobby Brown was charged with two DUI counts and a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license after cops pulled the singer over on Monday. Brown faces up to six months in jail if convicted. His court date is scheduled for April 16. Our advice? We think Brown should pack up his group, get a grip, come equipped, grab his proton pack off his back and then split. Oh wait, that only works if you’re a Ghostbuster.

Miscellany

 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sound and Vision: Is Chris Brown's Comeback and GRAMMY Honors Another Slap in the Face to Women?

With Whitney Houston’s tragic, untimely death and Adele’s big sweep grabbing our near-undivided attention, the 2012 GRAMMY Awards were, in some ways, a two-woman show.

But if any guy came close to upstaging them, it was Chris Brown. And not necessarily in a good way. Brown, who performed two songs on the telecast, did not emerge unscathed from what was foolishly touted as his GRAMMY “comeback””as if he is a supernova among stars, and three years is such an eternity. Some viewers were outraged that he was invited to perform at the ceremony at all, after what he did to his ex, Rihanna, during GRAMMY season three years ago.

The unfortunate irony of Houston’s passing on GRAMMY weekend is that, like Rihanna, she had been the victim of domestic abuse by another Brown, her ex-husband Bobby. And the honor of paying tribute to her went to Jennifer Hudson, whose mother, brother and nephew were murdered, allegedly by the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister, just a few years ago. If anyone knows that people often hurt the ones they claim to love, she does.

But that one display of good taste doesn’t let the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences off the hook. Brown’s inclusion in the ceremony almost felt like an unintentional f**k you to Houston, to Rihanna, to any woman who has suffered because of domestic abuse.

The big question, though, is this: Has Brown suffered enough? It has, after all, been three years since he pummeled Rihanna in a car. Is it time for us to move on as Brown and NARAS, apparently, both have.

For Brown’s many GRAMMY-night detractors (which included singers Miranda Lambert and Michelle Branch as well as actors Wil Wheaton and Eric Stonestreet), it might be hard to move on when Brown has never acknowledged the gravity of the situation in any meaningful way that didn’t seem like a public-relations pose. Whether he’s onstage, in videos, plugging his music on the morning talk-show circuit, or ranting on Twitter, he never seems sorry enough.

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Whitney Houston: An Icon Remembered

The music industry suffered a devastating loss on Saturday, when Whitney Houston died at age forty-eight in Beverly Hills, California.

Still reeling from the loss of Don Cornelius, the music community was struck again on the eve of its biggest night. The tragic news surfaced hours before Whitney was scheduled to attend Clive Davis’ annual Pre-GRAMMY gala.  Sources say she was found in the bathtub of her hotel room at the famed Beverly Hilton.

Although her recent years were full of turbulent times”merciless public scrutiny, addiction, and a painful divorce”Whitney led a lifetime of glory prior to her pitfalls. Her voice remains one of the most beloved of our time, and her beauty and grace made her an icon.  This weekend, the world lost a true music legend, long before her time.

Music was in Whitney’s blood from the beginning.  Her mother, Cissy Houston, was a gospel singer  while her cousin Dionne Warwick is an R&B star in her own right. By age fifteen, Whitney was singing back-up vocals for Chaka Khan.

Her breakout year was 1985, when she debuted her album, Whitney Houston and became the only artist to have seven consecutive No.1 Billboard hits. Single after single soared to the top, and Whitney quickly became one of the biggest stars in the world. Saving All My Love For You, How Will I Know, So Emotional, Greatest Love Of All, Didn’t We Almost Have It All, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, I Wanna Dance (With Somebody Who Love Me) made her one of the most successful singers in the industry.

Her 1992 blockbuster hit, The Bodyguard, shot her to international crossover success and launched one of the biggest albums of her career. The movie, co-starring Kevin Costner, and subsequent soundtrack spurred hits like Run To You and I Have Nothing and led to her 1998 GRAMMY win for Album Of The Year.

She later starred in a string of successful films including Waiting To Exhale, Cinderella,and The Preacher’s Wife, alongside Denzel Washington. In 1998, she debuted her album, My Love Is Your Love after eight years off the charts; sparking another rise to the top. In 2001, she signed the biggest record deal ever; a whopping $100 million for six albums.

Whitney Houston is the most-awarded female act of all time and the best-selling female artist of all time. She has sold old 170 million albums and broken countless records for singles sales, chart placement and award wins.

Her tumultuous and highly publicized marriage to Bobby Brown ended in divorce in 2007.  After years of suspiciousbehavior and a virtual disappearance from the music scene, Whitney admitted to a serious cocaine addiction in 2009 during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. She sought help for her issues and released her album, I Look To You later that year.  The album and subsequent singles shot straight to No. 1 and it seemed Houston was on the mend.  She gave numerous performances and prompted her highly-anticipated but ultimately ill-fated The Nothing But Love World Tour in 2010,  which ended abruptly after fans complained Whitney wasn’t ready.

Without an official cause of death, it’s unclear whether Whitney’s demons led to her untimely demise.  Reports of odd behavior in the days leading up to her death have surfaced, and authorities say it may be weeks before a clear cause of death could be determined.

Only one day after the tragic news was announced, Sunday’s GRAMMY Awards were noticeably somber, with many of the attendees and organizers mourning the unexpected loss of a legend.

The evening was full of tributes and reflections on the sudden loss, and prompted host LL Cool J to open the event with a heartfelt prayer for her after acknowledging, We’ve had a death in the family.

Jennifer Hudson performed Houston’s biggest hit, I Will Always Love You during the show, prompting tears from friends and fans in the crowd.

Although her life was cut too short, her time here was spent sharing amazing music with millions of people around the world.  Her spirit and legacy of strength, resilience and talent will live on forever.  The industry has truly lost one of the greatest singers who ever lived.