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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.

Justin Timberlake And Jessie J To Headline iTunes Festival

Justin Timberlake‘s promotional train knows no end. In addition to touring with Jay-Z this summer before his own solo world tour kicks off, Timberlake is releasing 2 albums this year, and has just been announced as one of the headliners for the 2013 iTunes Festival.

Set to take place in London September 29, Timberlake’s appearance at the iTunes festival is just one of the event’s many highlights. Other notable names include a headline performance from Jessie J on September 23, as well as scheduled appearances from Phoenix, Jack Johnson, 30 Seconds to Mars, Jake Bugg and Queens of the Stone Age.

iTunes Fest is a free event that takes place at The Roundhouse with performances every night in September, which can be streamed live. Look for more details in the coming weeks.

Jessie J Teases "Wild" Acoustic Video

Fast rising pop superstar Jessie J has released an acoustic performance video of her latest single, “Wild.”

“Wild” is not the kind of song that instantly leads you to believe an acoustic remix is needed. In fact, it’s more meant for the club than pulling at heart strings, but once you strip away the high-gloss studio effects you find a truly heartfelt song. Jessie’s vocals are flawless, as is the new arrangement, and you can hear the clip in all its glory right here.

No word yet on when the full clip will premier,e but rest assured we are keeping a close eye on Jessie’ YouTube account for updates. Until then, comment below and let us know your thoughts on the latest version of “Wild.”

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Every English band ever plays closing ceremony of Olympics

OK not really, but a fair lot of them did. The 2012 London Olympics closed with a spectacular revue of British pop music. The Spice Girls slammed their bodies down and wound them all around. George Michael called out for freedom, and Brian May joined Jessie J to perform We Will Rock You. From elder statesmen like The Who to newbies like One Direction, the ceremony had something for everyone. Even this guy. Watch the Spice Girls perform below.

Gotye creates user-submitted mashup video

Are you sick of Somebody I Used to Know yet? After watching this, you will be. Gotye collected all the fan submitted videos for his hit song and created a Somebodies Voltron. It’s pretty amazing. Enjoy.

The Bad

Chris Brown and Drake sued for bar brawl

Chris Brown and Drake are going to have to reach deep into their pockets to pay for the damages to Manhattan nightclub W.i.P. after they and their entourages engaged in a bottle-throwing brawl that left two dozen people injured and the club in ruins. Entertainment Enterprises, which owns W.i.P. and its sister bar, Greenhouse, has been sued by those victims and is now seeking $16 million from Brown and Drake. Next time you want to fight, guys, grab plastic bottles.

UK lottery winner wants to reunite Guns ˜N Roses

Adrian Bayford won the equivalent of $232 million playing the EuroMillions lottery on August 10. And he’s already got a plan for how to use it to benefit as many people as possible. Bayford wants to reunite the original lineup of Guns ˜N Roses, and he’s willing to fork over some serious quid to see it happen. Maybe a big payday can make Axl and Slash can bury the hatchet once and for all and take us back to Paradise City.

The Ugly

Killers drummer gropes Michelle Obama

Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci once grabbed a handful of the First Lady’s derriere, he revealed this week. While the band was being introduced to the Obamas during the Fourth of July celebrations at the White House, Michelle went in for a friendly hug. But(t) due to her statuesque height and his diminutive one, Vannucci’s hands found purchase on her backside in an incident we like to Killer Booty. Read about it here.

Katy Perry moons waterpark

Speaking of butts, Katy Perry flashed both cheeks after slipping and sliding on a water slide at Raging Waters in California. We’re only showing the “before” picture, so if you want to see the full moon, you can do so here.

Miscellany

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

OurStage on 8tracks: Girl Power!

Girl Power! from OurStage on 8tracks.

This Monday, we’re celebrating women with our latest playlist of femme fatales.  Sometimes sweet, sometimes sexy and sometimes just plain powerful, intern Frankie’s collection of female vocalists spans across all genres, from pop to rock to acoustic folk. With OurStage artists Kat Lewis, Ayla Nereo and Quoth the Raven, plus international artists Eisley, Jessie J. and Kimbra, its up to you to decide whether you prefer to rock out, dance to some power-pop, or let sweet voices sing you to sleep.

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Sound and Vision: Jessie J, Tyga and M.I.A.: The Making (and Re-Making) of a Top 10 Pop Star

If at first (or second, or third) you don’t succeed… maybe it’s time to tweak your approach. That’s not to take anything away from good old-fashioned talent and tenacity. But sometimes success”or, say, getting into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100”takes a little something extra.

For every Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Rihanna, who all scored their first time at bat, dozens of acts”like Adele, for instance, who only managed to swing as high as No. 21 on the Hot 100 with the four singles from her debut album 19”take their sweet time getting to home base on the charts. You see, no matter what Lady Gaga says, not all American idols are born that way.

So beyond the music, what works in favor of the aspiring pop star? For some, like Foster the People, patience is truly a virtue. Others get an assist from powerful marketing/publicity machines and/or clever image consultants. Here’s what we’ve learned about delayed chart success and how to pull it off from several artists who are currently working their way up the pop ladder.

Glamor is good. Evolution is a natural progression for pop stars. Lady Gaga may be the same girl she was when she burst onto the pop scene in 2008 with “Just Dance,” but she hardly looks the same. Yes, she still has a penchant for the outlandish, but these days she looks far more expensive. Currently undergoing a similar shift in style is Jessie J, who first burst onto the scene in 2010 walking the fashion tightrope between hip hop and punk in her Do It Like a Dude video, and spent the better part of last year bumming around mid-chart level for her clashing musical and sartorial efforts.

For her fifth single “Domino,” though, the singer discovered that it’s okay to clean up well, which she does in the song’s video, slinking about like Katy Perry with a better voice, without a freaky piercing or Goth effect in sight. Morphing into an aspiring fashion icon over the course of numerous costume changes won her a ticket into the Top 10 for the first time. If it ends up being her last, let’s hope she got to keep the outfits.

Sex Still Sells. In the immortal words of Bell Biv DeVoe (on the great 1990 ode to lust “Do Me!”), “Smack it up, flip it, rub it down, oh no!” BBD and Sir Mix-a-Lot would be so proud. Not since 1992, the year backsides ruled, with Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” topping the Hot 100 and Wreckx-N-Effects’ Rump Shaker jiggling all the way to No. 2, have butts figured so prominently in the making of a Top 10 hit.

They’re all over the place in the two-and-a-half-minute strip club-set promotional video for Tyga’s “Rack City” that debuted on YouTube last September and became a viral hit months before the single’s release, racking up more than 20 million views. Not to take anything away from the song”or the official heist-style video, which premiered on January 9”but Tyga might owe his Top 10 breakthrough as much to tits and asses as to a song with an irresistibly slinky hip-hop groove.

It’s Who You Know (Or With Whom You’re Willing to Collaborate). M.I.A. methods may be questionable, but her timing is impeccable. On February 3, the day she debuted the video for her new single, “Bad Girls,” she also debuted in the video for Madonna’s new single “Give Me All Your Luvin’.”

Her fans probably never thought they’d see the day when the iconoclastic singer of “Born Free,” would literally be a cheerleader for Madonna, but rah rah-ing for the would-be queen of pop made “Bad Girls” her single most likely to make it onto the Hot 100 since “Paper Planes” became a surprise No. 4 hit in 2008. (Lest we forget she’s still a bad ass capable of stirring up controversy, she flipped the bird while appearing with Madonna at the Super Bowl on February 5, becoming the most-talked-about aspect of the entire performance.)

It’s a tactic that’s worked three times for David Guetta, most recently with “Turn Me On,” his current collaboration with Nicki Minaj”Madonna and M.I.A.’s partner in pop predictability in Give Me All Your Luvin’,the single, video and Super Bowl performance”and an artist who has spent most of her young career climbing the charts in tandem with other artists. Not that she NEEDS anyone’s help. Super Bass, her biggest and best Top 10 hit so far, was the one she pulled off all by herself.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sound And Vision: How Mainstream And Cutting-Edge Learned To Co-Exist In Pop Harmony

A few weeks ago, Melbourne hosted the TV WEEK Logie Awards, which is like Australia’s Emmys, only with more reality TV, more cooking shows and music. Katy Perry and Maroon 5 represented American pop, and then there was rising UK star Jessie J, representing¦ well, I’m still not 100 percent sure. As she stalked the stage, decked out in glam-Goth basic black, performing her No. 1 UK hit “Price Tag,” my friend peeled his eyes away from the television, turned to me and announced, “Her look is cool and alternative, but her music is so lame and poppy. They don’t match at all!”

It’s a discordancy that’s starting to take over. Pop and rock and hip hop used to hang out on different sides of the playground, barely acknowledging each other, with the rare, revolutionary exception (think Run-D.M.C.‘s 1985 smash cover of Aerosmith‘s “Walk this Way,” featuring the vintage rock band on vocals and in the song’s video). If your music was too mainstream, strictly middle-of-the-road (a condition that afflicted neither Run-D.M.C.’s nor Aerosmith’s tunes at the time, which perhaps is why the hit sounded so effortless), there was no changing lanes. You could dress as wild as ’80s fashion would let you, but you would always be a pop star. Chart-toppers had little chance of drumming up street cred or working with artists whose tunes dangled from the cutting edge. Why do you think Duran Duran, one of the most influential bands of the Reagan era, still hasn’t been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and is only now, more than two decades past its prime, publicly earning the respect of well-respected men like David Lynch, who directed the band’s recent American Express online concert?

Suddenly its cool to be alternative and pop. We’ve got Katy Perry mingling with Snoop Dogg and Kanye West on record and with bad-boy British comic Russell Brand in holy matrimony, and Ke$ha singing some of the poppiest songs on the charts and casting James van der Beek, one of Hollywood’s most white-bread actors, in her video but tarting it up just enough to come across as one of the coolest girls in school. (Ever the trendsetter, in the ’80s, Madonna had the good sense to tousle her image by marrying bad boy Sean Penn.) Meanwhile, Rihanna”a pop princess if ever there was one”holds court with Eminem and sings about how she’s “Hard” (as Young Jeezy raps in her defense).

Lady Gaga dresses like a freak and breaks every sartorial rule while singing what is basically the rave music of every ’90s teenage dream. Her former video costar Beyoncé alternates between straight-up pop (“Halo,” “Sweet Dreams”) and darker hip hop (“Diva” and current single “Run the World [Girls]”), while A Rocket to the Moon and Wilco singer Jeff Tweedy are among those who have covered “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Try This (her 2003 flop that, in my opinion, is her best album) aside, Pink‘s ultra-commercial music has never mirrored her rock-chick attitude. Even Coldplay, one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, second perhaps only to U2, collaborated with, of all people, Kylie Minogue on the 2008 World AID’s Day charity single “Lhuna.”

As with so many recent musical trends, the current shift toward the mainstream and the cutting edge making strange bedfellows began with hip hop. If a roguish rapper like Eminem could rhyme alongside pop singers (first Dido on “Stan,” then Elton John at the 2001 GRAMMYs, and most recently, Pink and Rihanna on Recovery), couldn’t all musicians, regardless of genre, get along? Sure they can, but the commercial results have been mixed. There’ve been huge hits”the Katy Perry singles “California Gurls” and “E.T.” returned her rapper costars, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West, respectively, to No. 1 for the first time in eons”but when Alicia Keys met Jack White for “Another Way to Die,” the theme for the last James Bond flick, 2008’s Quantum of Solace, it was a one-week wonder on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 81.

Perhaps Keys’ R&B and pop fans and White’s alternative ones didn’t know what to do with the meeting of their musical minds, which was nonethess one of the best singles of 2008. Of course, there are artists who resist, too. Remember when Ryan Adams used to go off on fans who requested Bryan Adams‘ “Summer of ’69” because he was fed up with being compared to the ’80s and ’90s pop superstar with the almost-identical name? (He once had a fan tossed out of a Nashville concert for daring to do the unthinkable!)

Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards probably was as much about the cutting edge (hip hop) vs. the mainstream (country-pop) as it was about the visual supremacy of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video. In February, I read a Billboard.com interview where empress of ’80s cool Chrissie Hynde talked about her upcoming Super Bowl weekend performance on CMT Crossroads with country diva Faith Hill, and she said she was unfamiliar with Hill’s music and admitted, “I don’t know much about country music, period.” Then there’s Kings of Leon, best known in the US for the Top 5 hit “Use Somebody”. Although the band would hardly be considered alternative in its recent hit-making incarnation, the guys  nonetheless refused to allow Glee to use “Somebody.” (I bet South Park or Dexter or Weeds would have gotten their blessing.)

But if Jay-Z can let the Glee kids turn “Empire State of Mind” into a show tune, if Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler can sit beside Jennifer Lopez at the American Idol judges table, if “F–k You” singer Cee Lo Green can go from collaborating with Danger Mouse (in Gnarls Barkley) to being one of Christina Aguilera‘s fellow judges on The Voice, then we might yet live to hear an Eminem track featuring Britney Spears.