Lorde Won't Play 'Haters' Game With Selena Gomez


So, what happened is, Lorde gave an interview where she criticized Selena Gomez‘ song “Come & Get It” as being bad for women. A cursory listen or glance at the lyrics bear out her point. See, the chorus of the song isn’t just “come and get it,” it’s “When you’re ready come and get it.”


 You ain’t gotta worry, it’s an open invitation
I’ll be sittin’ right here, real patient
All day, all night, I’ll be waitin’ standby
Can’t stop because I love it, hate the way I love you
All day, all night, maybe I’m addicted for life, no lie.

This is the basic message of the song, which is otherwise a vapid series of platitudes about love and how hard it is, over an obvious hook that desperately looks to Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and its many spawn (“When you’re re-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ady come and get it”) for the secret to chart success. There’s also so weird, vaguely middle eastern tabla/sitar breaks happening. It’s all very unfortunate.

But I digress. Lorde pointed out that this kind of message (you call the shots, come and get it from me whenever you’re ready) is bad for women. Gomez responded to Lorde’s critique by saying that it’s anti-feminist to not show unwavering support for other women, regardless of what they’re doing.

Now Lorde has responded:

I think there’s a funny culture in music that’s only happened over the last 15 years, that if you have an opinion about something in music that isn’t 100-percent good, you’re a ˜hater,’ even if you have perfectly reasonable grounds for that critique. People will say exactly what they think about a movie or a TV show, and that’s fine, but as soon as you say it about a record, you’re like some little zombie in a funny dungeon.”

Not sure what that last part was about, but she really calls out this cultural trend of instantly discrediting someone by labeling them a hater, as though the only reason they are being critical is for the sake of hate itself. I suppose there are some sad people who do that, but how about stepping up and defending yourself with logic and reason rather than trying to dismiss what is a valid argument?

Culture will only continue to devolve if we can’t debate it on its merits.


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Lorde’s Royals Plus Sad Clown Equals Quality
Why Royals Isn’t The Song You Think It Is or: Lorde Is Lying to You

Selena Gomez Releases "Come And Get It" Video

Pop sensation Selena Gomez has taken a break from being tabloid fodder to release the video for her latest single, “Come And Get It.”

Easily one of the most infectious singles on radio right now, “Come And Get” blends modern EDM sensibilities with elements of world music to create a wholly unique listening experience. Gomez has clearly grown up since her last time gracing our headlines, and music fans everywhere are better off as a result. The video is visually stunning, with gorgeous cinematography and tribal-like dance sequences. You can view the clip below. (more…)

Selena Gomez Announces 2013 World Tour

Pop songtress Selena Gomez has announced plans for an epic 56-date tour later this year.

The Stars Dance World Tour will begin August 14 in Vancouver, BC, and will hit major U.S. markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. Support for the dates has not been revealed at this point, but we assume an artist or group will be revealed in the coming weeks. The full routing is as follows:

Aug 14 – Vancouver, BC @ Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
Aug 16 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome
Aug 17 – Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
Aug 18 – Saskatoon, SK @ Credit Union Center
Aug 19 – Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
Aug 22 – Ottawa, ON @ Scotiabank Place
Aug 23 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Center
Aug 24 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
Aug 30 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Falcon Theater
Aug 31 – Stockholm, Sweden @ The Arena
Sep 1 – Oslo, Norway @ Oslo Spektrum
Sep 3 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Heineken Music Hall
Sep 4 – Antwerp, Belgium @ Lotto Arena
Sep 5 – Paris, France @ Zénith
Sep 7 – London, England @ Hammersmith Apollo
Sep 11 – Lisbon, Portugal @ Campo Pequeno
Sep 12 – Madrid, Spain @ Palacio Vistalegre (more…)

A Heartbroken Justin Bieber Performs "Cry Me A River" Cover In Boston

Did you hear the so-called news? Justin Bieber recently split up with his girlfriend Selena Gomez! You may or may not consider that news, but gossip and pop culture enthusiasts have not stopped trying to figure out what went wrong between the two since news broke late last week of the separation. Unfortunately, I can offer you very little in terms of new details, but I can provide a clip that is sure to make Beliebers around the world clutch the pieces of their broken heart(s). While performing in Boston this Saturday, Justin treated fans to an acoustic rendition of Justin Timberlake’s single, “Cry Me A River.” You can now view that performance below:

If you enjoy Justin Bieber, check out OS artist Tim Halperin!

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Sound and Vision: An 'American Idol' Wish List– Who Should Replace Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler?

You couldn’t pay me to be an American Idol bigwig right now. The show is about to face its greatest challenge since the 2008 battle of the Davids (Cook and Archuleta).

The producers and the Fox network already have to worry about sagging ratings (the average viewership in season 11 dropped 23 percent to below 20 million for the first time in nine years, and the show fell from No. 1 for the season”to No. 2”for the first time since 2005), not to mention less commercially viable Idols and external competition from The Voice, The X Factor, and pretty much any reality show that promises to make a nobody a star.

Now, the producers have to deal with pleasing Mariah Carey, who has signed on as a judge next season, replacing either Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler, both of whom left after two years in order to focus full-time on their music careers (and in the case of Lopez, her “acting” career, too).

I once interviewed Carey for an Us Weekly cover story, and I found her to be warm, intelligent and surprisingly funny, but she’s a diva through and through. (She actually walked into the living room of her New York City hotel suite cradling her miniature dog!) Idol will reportedly pay her a very diva-like sum of between $12 and $17 million a season (a hefty and not altogether worthwhile expense, considering that Carey is well past her pop heyday), and I don’t even want to think about her list of perks and demands.

Meanwhile, there are murmurings that Randy Jackson, the last remaining original judge, currently in contract negotiations, might be moving from the judge’s table into more of a mentoring role, in an attempt to revamp the show for season 12, launching in January of 2013. Sadly, that restructuring doesn’t extend to Ryan Seacrest, the inexplicably still-highly employable host, who has signed up for another two years at a pay rate of $15 million per season. Is it too late to invite ex-judge Ellen DeGeneres back for the job they should have offered her in the first place?


New Harmony Korine Movie Starring James Franco Taps Skrillex For Soundtrack, Approaches Hipster Event Horizon

If you don’t like buzzsaw synths, wobbles, and heavy bass drops, then you probably shouldn’t see Spring Breakers. The comedy, directed by noted independent filmmaker Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo), stars James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Benson. Though shooting wrapped earlier this spring, the film still needed a soundtrack that would be a mix of weird and flashy, something over the top that’s a wee bit subversive. Enter Skrillex.

In an interview with Pitchfork, Spring Breakers music supervisor Randall Poster let it slip that, “Skrillex is doing original music for us.” While he didn’t go into further detail as to how much Skrillex would be contributing to the film, Poster did note that, “I had heard of Skrillex, but I wasn’t watching it that closely. And Harmony, who I’ve worked with forever, sent me a link to some Skrillex YouTubes, and I saw one had 54 million hits– I thought he had somehow figured out a way to manipulate the numbers.”

Skrillex, Gomez, and Hudgens aren’t the only links to contemporary music that Spring Breakers has going for it. Franco’s character, a rapper cum drug dealer named Alien, is based on real life rapper cum glorious weirdo RiFF RAFF (not Kevin Federline). Given all of the potential for blog buzz, it’s a small wonder that the hype surrounding Spring Breakers hasn’t collapsed into itself and formed a small black hole.

Spring Breakers is scheduled for release in Spring 2013.


Sound and Vision: Why Judging a TV Star Search Is More Valuable Than Winning One

The votes were counted and Phillip Phillips was crowned the 11th American Idol on May 23. So what’s next?

If this is going to be just another case of recent history repeating, a first blush of modest success (his Idol winner’s single “Home” entered Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 10, with 278,000 downloads), maybe even a platinum post-Idol album (like his predecessor, Scotty McCreery), then… nothing much. Unlike American Idol‘s early seasons, which made durable stars out of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, taking the grand prize no longer comes with guaranteed gold or platinum (if only for one album).

Even Adam Lambert, Idol‘s eighth runner-up and the show’s lone international star launch in the past several seasons, is in the throes of a sophomore slump. Although Trespassing, his second studio album, released on May 15, entered Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 1, it did so with only 77,000 copies sold its first week. That’s 120,000 less than his 2009 debut, For Your Entertainment, and the lowest one-week total for a No. 1 album since last August, when Adele’s 21 sold 76,000 copies in its 12th non-consecutive week at No. 1. (more…)

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Is Adele "Black" Enough for the NAACP Image Awards?

According to the Web site for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), its mission is a simple yet noble one: “to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.’

Elsewhere on the Web site, the NAACP offers a detailed description of its annual Image Awards: “the nation’s premier multi-cultural awards show celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (television, recording, literature, motion picture and writing and directing), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.”

Got that? Okay.

If those definitions hold, what, then, is a singer like Adele doing in a place like this, as a nominee at the 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards?

She recently received two NAACP Image Award nominations”Oustanding Song and Video for her massive No. 1 hit “Someone Like You”and, presumably, she will be on hand to win or lose when the prizes are handed out on February 17, live on NBC. Naturally, controversy”and publicity”ensued because unlike fellow multiple-nominee Beyoncé, Adele happens to be white.

But you already knew that. So what, exactly, does Adele or her music have to do with the advancement of colored people?

It makes one wonder who is on the NAACP’s nominating committee and what their motives might be? Maybe collecting more press attention by inviting the best-selling artist of 2011 to the ceremony as a double nominee and stirring the controversy pot while they’re at it.

Or perhaps the Adele is the behind-the-scenes key to why the ceremony, which is normally broadcast on the Fox network, found a home this year on the considerably whiter NBC. It will air five days after the GRAMMYs, and if Adele is that evening’s big winner”and we have every reason to expect her to be”she’ll be the best bait to lure viewers to the Image Awards short of raising Michael Jackson from the dead and giving him a ticket to the event.

NBC will win, but artists who are truly representative of music of color won’t. Unlike past British blue-eyed soul singers like George Michael and Lisa Stansfield, up to now, Adele hasn’t even displayed any particularly powerful affinity to American black music (it’s telling that the artists she covered on her first two albums, 19 and 21, were Bob Dylan and the Cure), and although she’s earned the respect of black performers (Jeremih, for one, has covered Rumour Has It live), it’s not like Adele’s singles have been big hits on R&B radio.

It’s a little absurd that she would make the Outstanding Video shortlist while Kelly Rowland, a black performer who had the best video of the year by anyone of any color, was left off for “Motivation.” Meanwhile, conspicuously absent from the list of nominees in the music categories: Rihanna, the top black female artist at the moment, whose music or whose, um, image, apparently, isn’t black enough for NAACP recognition.

So why is Adele’s? She’s a great singer, and she sings with great soul, but she’s not a “soul” singer. There is a distinction, you know, and it has less to do with being a certain color than sounding a certain color. The late Teena Marie may have been white, but she was a soul singer right down to her core. Every note that comes out of Adele’s mouth sounds like a gift from God, but there’s no mistaking the color of the wrapping paper.

While I’m not a genre purist, and I don’t support musical segregation based on race, by its very definition, the NAACP is a segregationist organization. Not in a way that screams, Blacks only! but in a way that is meant to promote and advance minorities, people of color (which would include 2012 Image acting nominees Sandra Oh and Sofia Vergara). There’s no getting around that aspect of the NAACP”it’s not written in stone,  just into its name.

Maybe it’s time to rethink the acronym and what it stands for (it hasn’t been okay to call blacks colored people in my lifetime), as well as defining the NAACP’s purpose when it comes to the Image Awards’s music categories and the need for them to begin with. It makes sense to honor minority actors in TV and film because they are largely overlooked at the Emmys and the Oscars. This year, the acting nominations for Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard, both of whom are white, feel appropriate because The Help was a film that detailed the black-white experience in the Deep South of the 1960s, and of the principal cast, they’re the two who were left out of the Oscar discussion”and nominations.

But mainstream music award shows already do a pretty good job of honoring and featuring black talent. And it’s not like Adele isn’t going to get her due everywhere else. Do we need to add the Image Awards to the list of Adele-propping organizations? Aren’t all of those GRAMMYs she’s destined to win on February 12 enough?

One could argue that the NAACP Image Awards isn’t even seriously dedicated to advancing or celebrating black music. What else would explain the absence of a category to honor rap, the premiere black musical art form in 2012? This means Adele is nominated and not Nicki Minaj, a popular rapper who is possibly the best role model on the charts today.

If image were the primary concern, and one would expect it to be with an Image award, Minaj’s is more than worthy of merit. She has done as much as anyone to bridge genres and color-based demographics. Her biggest hit, “Super Bass,” received some of its earliest praise from Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, and she’s collaborated with artists as varied”and white”as Eminem, Natasha Bedingfield, David Guetta, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Ke$ha, the Lonely Island and Madonna. Minaj also has been as much of an advocate for gay rights as Lady Gaga without being patronizing about it. Meanwhile, Adele collects accolade after accolade and basks in the glow of her spotlight.

I’m not saying that Adele doesn’t deserve everything she’s gotten. She does”with the exception of this. If she wins either of the Image awards she’s nominated for”and considering how weak the Outstanding Video category is, how could she not?”in what way will that be advancing people of color, or their music?

Monday, January 9th, 2012