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The 2014 Grammys Were Long: Best Performances And Winners List

grammysI feel like I might still be watching the Grammys. Is it still on? I can no longer distinguish the Grammys from reality. It was so long that the much-hyped finale, featuring Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, and Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsey Buckingham, was like a minute in when the producers lowered the curtain in the form of promo ads for Delta and Hilton before running the credits and then just cutting out entirely. That was ridiculous, especially for those of us who hung in, thinking, ‘well, at least there’s still the finale to see.’

Do you know how many awards they give out during the telecast? I think it was fewer than 10. And it took them just under four hours to do it. YOU ARE OVERBOOKING, GRAMMYS.

There were a lot of performances, but the standouts alone would have sufficed. For my money, they were:

1. Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, and Stevie Wonder, “Get Lucky.” In addition to the quality performance (Stevie Wonder should guest on all songs by all artists from now on), they had easily the best stage set in, I believe, Grammy history. It was a sick-looking ’70s-era recording studio, in which the robot duo appeared from behind the control room glass. Inspired.

2. Imagine Dragons with Kendrick Lamar, “MADD City/Radioactive.” It’s easy to imagine dragons while listening to this band, cause you’re usually asleep and dreaming 20 seconds in. But with Kendrick Lamar to fire things up, this was a blistering co-performance.

3. Beyonce with Jay Z, “Drunk In Love.” No surprise here, this was a solid show-opener.

4. Sara Bareilles and Carole King, “Beautiful/Brave.” With a simple dueling piano setup, these two harmonized beautifully on a mashup of their two songs. Carole King continues to prove that she’s still a musical force, after over 50 years in the business.

Other: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited on a new Macca song “Queenie Eye,” which is hardly the best song on his new album. Ringo played drums alongside Paul’s (amazing) drummer Abe Laboriel, so it was really more of a photo-op than anything else. The way it’s been hyped, you’d think these guys haven’t played live together since 1970, but they have performed together several times over the years. Ringo also performed his ’70s hit “Photograph” (a nice plug for his new photobook), befuddling teenagers everywhere.

Kacey Musgraves performed her hit “Follow Your Arrow” as though she were at the Grand Ole Opry circa 1983, complete with light-up boots and shirts and neon cacti. I thought it was actually kind of a cool throwback, considering what popular country music has become. To wit, she beat Taylor Swift, who hasn’t actually released a country album since she was like 15, for Country Album of the Year.

Gary Clark Jr. and Keith Urban – this was nothing special musically, except that they are both great guitarists and each injected some much needed, old fashioned guitar soloing into the proceedings.

See the full list of winners below.
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Taylor Swift, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Paul McCartney Join Grammy Performance Lineup

Grammy AwardsThis year’s Grammy Awards lineup is nothing if not diverse. Recently announced Paul McCartney and Ringo Star will perform alongside Taylor Swift, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, John Legend, Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, Carole King, and Sara Bareilles. The crew joins several previously announced artists, such as Katy Perry, LordeRobin Thicke, and fun.‘s Nate Ruess. We’ll also see what one can only imagine will be a strange, yet intriguing collaboration between Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder.

Check out the full performance list here, and catch the 56th annual Grammy Awards Jan. 26th on CBS.

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Beck Covers John Lennon's "Love"

beck_hansen_0100If the last few weeks have been any indication, winter seems to be the season for cover songs. Between The Flaming Lips, The Joy Formidable, Ke$ha and more, there hasn’t been any shortage of classics getting a new lease on life. Beck‘s new cover of John Lennon‘s “Love” only cements that tradition. Made for Starbucks’ fifth compilation album, Sweetheart 2014, “Love,” originally from Lennon’s 1970 Plastic Ono Band album, sits alongside tracks by Vampire Weekend, ThaoThe Head and The Heart, and many more in an easy listening covers paradise. Check out the new song, along with the track listing below, and pick up Sweetheart 2014 beginning Feb. 4. (more…)

EditoriaList: 10 Best And Worst Super Bowl Halftime Performances

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.

Worst

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.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sound and Vision: Usher Vs. Justin Bieber Vs. Chris Brown– Will the Next King of Pop Please Stand Up?

For ages in pop, it’s been all about the women: Adele and Katy Perry this, Rihanna and Lady Gaga that, with Britney, Beyoncé, Ke$ha, and”lately”Carly Rae Jepsen each demanding her own spotlight.

But this summer, as pop’s three hottest males”Usher, Chris Brown, and Justin Bieber“release new albums, the guys will be giving the ladies their stiffest competition in years. Are any of them most likely to succeed Michael Jackson as the new King of Pop, this season or in seasons to come? Read on….

The Princes-in-Waiting

Usher Vocally, Usher is without a doubt the most-talented man in pop, and he already has a hit list that’s long enough to guarantee his place in music history. Commercially speaking, though, he seems to be settling into middle age, a comfortable place where he’s still good for the occasional big hit single (2010’s No. 1 “OMG” and his recent David Guetta collaboration “Without You”).

But he’s hardly a chart shoo-in anymore. “Climax,” the first single from his new album Looking 4 Myself, which was released on June 12, peaked at No. 17 on Billboard’s Hot 100, 16 notches lower than “Yeah!,” the premiere single from 2004’s Burn that spent 12 weeks on top. Meanwhile, after one day in stores, Looking 4 Myself was projected to sell only up to 130,000 copies in its first week, some 200,000 less than 2010’s Raymond v. Raymond. (more…)

The EditoriaList: Top Ten Musical Crimes Perpetrated By Great Artists

Top 5 musical crimes perpetrated by Stevie Wonder in the ’80s and ’90s. Go.

Sub-question: Is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins… is it better to burn out or fade awaaay?

“ Barry, High Fidelity (2000)

I wish they’d actually discussed this in the film, especially the latter bit. For my part, I say great artists have proven that, somewhere inside, they know better, and so should be held accountable for their sins.

Stevie makes this list, but not for I Just Called To Say I Love You. Not even for The Woman In Red…

10. “Freeway of Love” “ Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul abdicated her throne when, in 1985, she recorded this mechanized, synth-driven offense.

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Vocal Points: Battle of the Sexes

We all have preferences when it comes to music, and genre is just one of many factors that determine what’s on our individual lists of music favorites. When it comes to the voices of our preferred musical acts, we know the type of singers who possess the power to send chills down our spines, and we know who doesn’t do it for us. But what role does gender have in all this? Many of us have already made a subconscious decision as to whether we prefer male or female voices, but how much weight does that hold?

Both women and men have the ability to produce incredible sound, and Mariah Carey, female powerhouse with a killer range, is a great example of all the great things the female voice is capable of. She is able to hit almost unimaginable high notes, but is also has a full, warm sounding lower-range. And while the female voice is sometimes disliked for its upper-range, Carey successfully proves that reaching incredible vocal heights does not have to sound shrill or painful. On the flip side, the male voice is typically lower and richer”many say it is easier to casually listen to the male voice. A great male singer is Josh Groban, whose vocal training has crafted him a powerful instrument with an incredible sound. His voice is so versatile and easy to listen to, and yet is capable of conveying so much emotion through his music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GuacaMusic: Luci

What do you get when you add pop, R&B, funk and a touch of Latin?

The answer is simple: You get amazing music. Just ask Luci, a talented artist from Peru that has been writing exciting Latin songs for years. Lately, her song Live It Up has been getting rave reviews from OurStage fans, who seem to love her mix of Latin flavors and the excitement of her voice

Play Luci’s song Live It Up and you’ll understand why this spicy combination of traditional salsa and lively, modern sounds is rapidly raising through the top charts on OurStage’s Latin Channel.

Luci’s singular style is due, in large part, to her bicultural upbringing. Although she was born in Lima, Peru, she spent a large part of her childhood living in the US. She argues that her style comes from a sea of influences varying from Celia Cruz and Christina Aguilera, to Aerosmith and Stevie Wonder.

After years of prepping herself to make it big in the music scene, Luci released her debut EP in May of last year, getting very positive comments from critics and fans. She is continually writing fresh, new music and remains ambitious about her passion for producing, dancing and dressmaking for her shows.

Besides “Live It Up”, other great songs by Luci include “Save the World“, “Entertainer” and “Chocamos“. Don’t miss Luci’s Latin flavors on OurStage. You’ll fall in love with her sabor. ¡Provecho!