I’ll never forget the day Basia lied to me. Twice. I was interviewing the Polish singer (best known for her 1988 hit “Time and Tide”) shortly before the release of her 1994 album, The Sweetest Illusion, which was coming five years after her previous album, London Warsaw New York. That day, she promised me two things: First, she would never again make me wait so long for new music. Second, she’d never release a run-of-the-mill greatest hits album featuring, well, her greatest hits. She felt that at the very least, artists owed it to their fans to reprise their hits as brand-new tunes, not just repackage the same old songs.
Her next studio album, It’s That Girl Again, wouldn’t arrive until 2009, nine years after she had released Clear Horizon”The Best of Basia, one of those run-of-the-mill greatest hits albums featuring, well, her greatest hits.
The morals of this story: 1) You can’t rush inspiration. 2) The first cut isn’t only the deepest”sometimes it’s the best, too. That’s a lesson Mariah Carey may have learned last year when she scrapped plans to release Angels Advocate, a remixed version of her Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel album, after a new version of “Up Out My Face” (Memoirs‘ best song) featuring Nicki Minaj limped onto Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 100 and refused to go any further.
But apparently, Lady Gaga, the reigning queen of remix albums and EPs, still hasn’t received the memo. When she released Born This Way back in May, she put out a special edition that included a separate disc with remixes of five of the album’s songs. (Bryan Ferry did a similar thing with last year’s Olympia.) Divine inspiration or clever marketing ploy? Perhaps a little of both, but “Born This Way”-with-a-twang never would have spent six weeks at No. 1. The “Country Road Version” makes for an interesting one-time listen, but I never need to hear it again.
Now that the snow is finally melting and Spring is right around the corner so is the Spring/Summer concert season. Every year, I anticipate festival line-ups and envision my ideal headlining mash-ups, and every year, I’m pleasantly surprised with at least one can’t-miss tour. This year, you may want to start pinching pennies early, because there’s more than one hot ticket in town.
Janet Jackson will embark on her largest world tour to date with her “Number Ones: Up Close and Personal” Tour. The seasoned superstar who recently starred in Tyler Perry‘s critically-acclaimed film, For Colored Girls recently completed her first book and has a new man to be giddy about. The North American leg is a 35-city tour, which promises all the nasty girl’s fan favorites from her latest LP, Number Ones, kicks off in Texas on March 3rd, wrapping up in Las Vegas on April 24th.
Another throwback must-see is the ‘Hip Hop Legends’ Tour. Salt N Pepa will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their 1986 debut, hit album Hot, Cool & Viscious. Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandy “Pepa” Denton and Deidre “Dee Dee” Roper, better known as DJ Spinderella will hit 20 cities and be joined by fellow hip hop veterans like Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, Slick Rick, Whodini, Kool Moe Dee and Naughty By Nature among others. Kicking off the tour on February 4th in Cleveland and wrapping up in Atlanta on April 2nd.
The hottest ticket in hip hop is undoubtedly Lil Wayne‘s “I Am Music II” Tour, which kicks off in Buffalo, NY on March 18th. The 24-city tour will feature NickiMinaj,Rick Ross, Travis Barker and Beastie Boys’ Mixmaster Mike and promises to be worth the wait at the ticket counter.
Snoop Dogg will continue his “Get Wet” Tour through March with stops in Las Vegas, Houston and Pittsburg among others. Some lucky concert-goers will get twice as lifted with special engagements featuring Wiz Khalifa in select cities.
Kid Rock has set out on his “Born Free” Tour with his Twisted Brown Trucker Band for the 28-city stretch, kicking off in Kansas City last week. He will headline the 2011 Rockfest Music Festival July 14th-17th in Wisconsin, performing songs from his latest album, Born Free.
Sade will hit the road with John Legend on June 16th for the first time in 10 years for her 50-date “Soldier of Love” Tour. The GRAMMY-winning pair will also appear at Coachella in April.
Rihanna is currently overseas on her “Last Girl on Earth” Tour, but will be back in the states to kick off her “LOUD” Tour in Baltimore on June 4th. When she wraps up her stateside leg, she will head to Europe on September 29th, where she won’t wrap until December 17th. Let’s hope RiRi doesn’t poop out on her ˜round the world stretch.
Two of my favorite festivals are sure to deliver some serious line-ups this year, with Eminem heating up Chicago for Lollapalooza, along with Muse and Foo Fighters among others. The 3-day festival held in Grant Park is August 5th-7th, with the official line-up coming soon. Coachella is another favorite desert destination, and this year’s star-studded line-up includes Kanye West, Cee-Lo Green, Lauryn Hill, Wiz Khalifa, Nas & Damien Marley and Erykah Badu. The hot and sweaty, weekend-long, jam session gets rollin’ April 15th date in Indio, CA.