Look, we understand why people don’t like Justin Bieber. But for people to dislike him strongly enough to expend energy actually booing him at a function as stale as the Billboard Music Awards? That was a little odd. I mean, nobody booed Chris Brown last night! Only, like, two people booed Kid Rock for having the audacity to insult the night’s lip-synchers. But a sizable number of people booing Bieber for winning a fan-voted award? That was strange.
Bieber himself seemed a little flummoxed as the rumble of boos cascaded down, and he went off-script, saying, “I really just want to say, it should really be about the music. It should be about the craft, the craft that I’m making.” Using the C-word surely didn’t help is cause, and he continued, “This is not a gimmick, I’m not — I’m an artist, and I should be taken seriously. And all this other bull should not be spoken of.” Watch up top — the drama starts at 1:30.
Do you think Justin Bieber deserved to get booed? Tell us in the comments below, or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter!
Keanu Reeves has gone the way of Hollywood hunks before him, much like chubby Val Kilmer, Alec Baldwin and Gerard Butler. Once A-list hunks that dare tip the scales over- with too much beer and Cheetos perhaps?
The Matrix heart throb stepped onto a yacht in Cannes looking all bloated and tired.
Keanu’s not doing this for a role like the way Christian Bale usually does it.
Yah know going method means going fat once in a while and more Oscar cred to boot!
Keanu in his hot younger years: So is Keanu’s still the sad, sad boy the Internet has made him out to be?
There’s no ice cream on this spoon: this Keanu weight gain phase may not be good news if they decide to do a Matrix prequel.
If there’s any consolation, Val Kilmer has lost 80 lbs. this year and Gerard Butler just got his abs back for a role. So there ‘s still hope for 48 year-old Keanu to shape up!
The 2013 Billboard Music Awards are now behind us, but the winners, performances and crazy, neck-breaking moments will live on the Internet forever, for us to dissect. Online critics had plenty to say about Billboard‘s annual shindig, this year staged at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. From Miguel‘s stage jump to Madonna‘s acceptance speech to the surprisingly audible heckling Justin Bieber faced when he stepped up to receive his Milestone Award, the Internet had its choice of topics to cover.
:: HitFix tore into Madonna’s lengthy acceptance speech: “Even with all its little quirks, Madge’s speech was basically only for her crew, who we doubt were even watching. She had a chance to come across as human, and instead she just read a laundry list of thank yous and the fans came last. She should have thanked them for waiting for hours at several of her MDNA shows.”
:: Entertainment Weekly‘s Music Mix commented on the boos for Bieber: “As the singer made his way toward the stage to accept that last award, something funny happened: Beneath the high-pitched shrieks that greet Bieber wherever he goes, there was a low, rumbly, distinct chorus of boos. The heckling continued as Bieber delivered his acceptance speech, swelling when he made an impromptu plea to the audience…”
:: USA Today, however, was focused on Miguel’s disastrous stage jump: “Miguel’s leap over the audience was one of the most exciting moments of Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards. Unless you were the fan he accidentally landed on.”
:: Zap2It.com thought Tracy Morgan was the wrong choice for host: “Towards the end of the awards show, Billboard only seemed to use Morgan for strange in-show commercials promoting Las Vegas. At least he tried to save the day after Bieber’s ill-received Milestone Award acceptance speech, saying, ‘Don’t be booin’ nobody, this ain’t ‘Showtime at the Apollo’.’ In the end, many probably won’t leave the Billboard Music Awards with good feelings about Morgan’s hosting abilities, but we’ll argue that it’s not entirely his fault.”
:: The Daily Beast had this to say about on particular artist: “Like all things pertaining to Chris Brown, the highlight of his performance Sunday night happened when he shut his mouth.”
:: TV Line quipped the following about Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne’s raunchy “High School” performance: “Even if you consider her crotch-grabbing kid-friendly, the lap dance she gives her fellow rapper – and the ample screen time given to her ample posterior – definitely aren’t. (Oh, and yes, the wife-beater and pajama bottoms Lil’ Wayne wears do have me rethinking Justin Bieber’s Worst Dressed designation.)”
:: The Las Vegas Review Journal noted, “Really though, this was an awards show where the awards were an afterthought — only a couple were ever presented, on average, per hour. Instead, this night was all about the party, one as flashy and high-watt as its host city, with some local flourishes worked in…”
What were your own thoughts on the Billboard Music Awards? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!
Betty Who, the candidate likeliest to save pop music, has returned with a new music video from her staggeringly great The Movement EP — and, like the song, the video for “You’re In Love” is sort of happy but sort of heartbreaking, following Betty and her beau as they drive a fancy car through the countryside and explore New York City and roll around, perfectly in love. (Every other day, that is.)
It’s a slightly more polished look than Betty’s “Somebody Loves You” video — it still feels sort of unfathomable that she’s pulling this off without a label, although it wouldn’t come as a surprise if that changed rather soon — but you don’t need a huge budget when the vision is this clear.
The Voicehas proven more consistently entertaining than its competition, but the show has yet to produce any huge stars from its winners’ roster; am I wrong for thinking all that might change with Cassadee Pope? The Season 3 winner’s new single has just been released, and “Wasting All These Tears” is an instantaneous monster of a pop-country midtempo ballad, delivering shades of Avril Lavigne‘s “I’m With You” with the melodramatic production of Carrie Underwood‘s “Two Black Cadillacs.” Lyrically, it’s magic — the details are finely wrought (“Tried to find you at the bottom of a bottle / Laying down on the bathroom floor,” she sings by way of an opening) and the chorus melody (“Standing on the corner crying / Feeling like a fool for trying”) soars majestically.
There’s just enough twang to make “Tears” fit nicely in the heartland (despite Pope’s power-pop pedigree), but the production’s pop-rock sheen could easily lend it traction at mainstream radio. Listen below.
Cassadee Pope — “Wasting All These Tears”
What do you think of Cassadee’s new single? Sound off in the comments, then head over to Directlyrics.com to see the song’s full lyrics.
Well! It was a dreary night at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, wasn’t it? There were forty performances each from Pitbull and Will.i.am! They only gave out three awards! Justin Bieber talked at length about his craft! Host Tracy Morgan sputtered all of his lines and could barely read the teleprompter! Yes, it was one for the books, folks. One for the books.
That said, there were still some highlights — a handful of exceptional performances and some nice moments of shade-throwing from various members of the pop glitterati — and, well, some lowlights. (Remember when Miguel almost killed somebody? Yeah. That was a bummer.) Let’s recap! (And if you missed any performances, you can watch them all here.)
1. Kacey Musgraves is, was and remains amazing.
Alt-country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves was probably the least-well-known out of any of the performers, but nobody deserved to be there more: The chanteuse turned out a stunning performance of her single “Merry Go Round” that was a luminous sigh of wistful resignation. It should nab her some more attention. She’s earned it.
2. Legendtina rose up like a lotus: This is the beginning.
The great Christina Aguilera has taken more than her share of hits lately (in the press, not on the charts), but as she quite literally rose up onto the stage to perform “Feel This Moment” with Pitbull (which is kind of ugh, but whatever), she looked — and sounded — great. Mostly she looked great; her backing track was a little messy. But after the Lotus massacre, it was pretty thrilling to see her assume her rightful place on the throne. Legendtina Goduilera reigns once more.
3. Prince and Madonna both got special awards and they are both great.
Prince is an iconic performer with unparalleled talent; Madonna is an iconic performer with unparalleled talent. Both of them received awards (Prince was the recipient of the Billboard Icon Award, while Madonna took a Top Touring Artist award), and it was fun to be reminded of their respective successes and legacies. Also, Madonna basically used Will.i.am as a caddy, which feels like a much more appropriate use for his talents than, y’know, “performer.”
4. Shade was directed at Justin Bieber.
Look: I like a lot of Justin Bieber’s music and he’s a talented kid, but oh man, he did not sound credible talking about his “craft” and asking for respect from his contemporaries. Accordingly, Miley Cyrus‘ eye-roll upon announcing his win for Top Male Artist, the roars of boos coming from the crowd as he took the stage to accept the Milestone Award and, perhaps best of all, this gif of Taylor Swift looking completely disgusted at him kissing her best friend Selena Gomez — all of that proved hugely satisfying, if only just in terms of providing proof that the biggest pop stars in the world feel the same way I do.
5. Taylor Swift had a pretty cool performance and didn’t take herself too seriously.
Her live vocals may not be the best, but at least there was some serious effort put into Swift’s debut live televised performance of “22,” which was appropriately dynamic and high-octane. Major points for creativity. At the end of the night, when she accepted the award for Top Artist, she told her fans that they were “the longest and best relationship I’ve ever had,” which is the kind of joke that normally people make at Taylor Swift’s expense, only it was Taylor Swift making it. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling good about that.
1. Ke$ha looked crispy and her only role was introducing Pitbull.
First of all, Ke$ha’s tan. Second of all, Ke$ha’s dress. Third of all, Ke$ha. What happened? She used to be one of the coolest cats in pop music. Now, she’s relegated to the role of introducing Pitbull so he can perform with someone else? The indignity of that is truly more than I can bear.
2. Miguel accidentally killed, like, twenty people.
Miguel is one of the most talented dudes in the industry right now, and it was totally not his fault, but as he was wrapping up a performance and did a flying leap off the stage, he landed directly on a girl’s neck, literally severing her head from her body. No, that didn’t exactly happen. And by all accounts the girl was fine, and he apologized and ended up taking her backstage, and it was cool. But still, it looked rough, didn’t it? Maybe she just hated the Billboard Music Awards as much as I did and was hoping she’d die. Hard to fault her for that, really.
Why is this still happening? Who actually likes this guy’s music? What kind of Live Nation-Clear Channel-Illuminati conspiracy shit is keeping him in the game? And why was he on stage for 90% of the show? Can anyone explain this to me? Seriously.
4. PSY and Tracy Morgan did a skit, and then introduced Chris Brown.
This is the apocalypse.
Look: I’m not trying to say that the Billboard Music Awards were the worst night of my life. In addition to being one of the very best music publications out there, Billboard is a pretty amazing organization that does something really cool by providing the metrics by which we can measure artists’ commercial impact, and they deserve to have a space where they honor those who have achieved extraordinary successes to that effect, and there were some super-talented people on stage at various points of the evening (although most of them didn’t sing). But — and in all fairness, I say this after almost every major awards show, but this one felt particularly gruesome — it’s hard to recall a duller, more shamelessly cynical broadcast. When Miguel accidentally crushing someone to death with his crotch is the only truly compelling thing that happens during a three-hour live broadcast of a bunch of pop stars singing their biggest hits and sniping at each other, there’s a pretty serious problem. So let’s just cancel them going forward.
What did you think of the Billboard Music Awards? Tell us in the comments below, or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter!
With all the fanfare surrounding their comeback smash “Get Lucky” and this week’s release of Random Access Memories, it’s easy to forget that French house ambassadors Daft Punk have been around for nearly two decades. Thanks to a sound that’s always been ahead of the curve (and robot helmets to mask any wrinkles), the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter seem positively ageless more than 15 years after they first wowed us with their debut, Homework. That they’re still managing to surprise and influence the international pop scene is a testament to their distinctive retro-futuristic groove!
That groove, however, wasn’t created by Daft Punk alone. French House (or French Touch, as the sexy call it) has its roots in the clubs of Paris, where DJs and dance music disciples found inspiration in old Europop and space-disco records and mashed them up with state-of-the-art beats. Basically, when it came to making booties bounce along the Champs Elysee, Daft Punk didn’t act alone! So get your Gallic groove on and pay tribute to the forebears of French Funk with our terribly chic playlist below. Tout le monde danse maintenant!
Stardust, “Music Sounds Better With You”
The grandaddy of all modern dance records, “Music”’s hot-dogging bassline, filtered beats and rhythmic samples proved absolutely irresistible to the club-going throngs of 1998. Deftly cutting up Chaka Khan’s “Fate” like a line of coke in a Studio 54 balcony, Stardust’s producers (Alan Braxe and one-half of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter) rode the success of their one hit into a thousand mash-ups, most famously with Madonna’s “Holiday” for her Drowned World Tour.
Backtracking is our recurring look back at the pop music that shaped our lives. Friends may come and go, but we’ll be spinning our favorite albums forever.
“We had the kind of night where morning comes too soon…” So goes the seductive spoken intro that launched Janet Jackson’s fifth album, janet. — that’s a little j with an emphatic period — released on May 18, 1993. Veering from the socially conscious spirit of her previous blockbuster, 1989’s Rhythm Nation 1814, Jackson returned with a fresh sound and look, free-spirited confidence and a willingness to get personal. The new music was everything from pure pop to candles-in-the-bedroom grooves, balancing the sweet, the erotic and the playful.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album that launched nine singles, Idolator spoke to Jimmy Jam, one-half of Jackson’s legendary production team, Jam and [Terry] Lewis. Looking back on the recording today, Jam feels the muse is obvious.
“Janet was in love. My partner [Lewis] was with someone who he was very much in love with at the time, and I was with someone I was very much in love with,” Jam says. “Love was in the air… when we did Rhythm Nation, everybody called it the What’s Going On album, and then they called janet. the Let’s Get It On album.”
Like a moth to the flame, burned by the fire
What eventually became the janet. album would be Jackson’s first under a new multimillion dollar contract with Virgin Records; all eyes were on the trio as they began to work at Jam and Lewis’s studio in Minneapolis. Throughout the fall of 1992, the three of them began creating the music what would become a sprawling album of varied styles: 14 songs and 13 interludes.
“That’s The Way Love Goes”
For both Jam and Lewis today, janet.’s definitive track is the silky, chilled “That’s The Way Love Goes.” Initially, though, Jackson didn’t love the instrumental demo. Determined to win her over, Jam slipped it onto a cassette he gave Jackson for her winter break in Anguilla. When she returned in January, he remembers, “She says ‘We gotta work on that track… I wasn’t hearing it, but now I totally hear it.’”
Jackson, who stayed with Jam (real name: James Harris) and his wife during the sessions, soon buzzed his home intercom at one in the morning. “She said, ‘Are you awake?’ I said ‘Umm, I am now!’ She says, ‘I got the idea for the song. That’s the way love goes… but in a good way.’ We went and recorded it that day and it sort of set the tone for what the album was.“
By this time, Virgin label heads had already flown to Minneapolis to check on their new signing. Jam, Lewis and Jackson played them a rough cut of the industrial dance/sex epic “If” and the label latched onto it as the first single. Jam and Lewis felt differently. When their star later flew to Los Angeles on business, they had their chance to convince everyone that “That’s The Way Love Goes” was the real first single. Jam talks about how they pressed Jackson to make the pitch:
“Janet goes, ‘Yeah, you’re right!’ Then she comes back a week later and says, ‘Well… guys, it looks like ‘If’ is going to be the single. The record label feels it could have a great dance video…’ So we were finishing up recording later with Chuck D and we played him and [hip hop producer] Hank Shocklee the two songs. They said, ‘If. That’s like Janet saying I’m back!’ So Janet’s looking at us like ‘See? See!?’ And then he (Chuck) goes, ‘But that other song… you know when Sade releases a record and it’s not like a bunch of hype? She just slips it out there and you say, ‘Oh my God listen to this!?’ It introduces itself.” And we’re looking at Janet like, ‘See!?’”
Jackson enlisted her then-secret husband Rene Elizondo to direct the video. “To me, no one else could have directed that,” Jam says. The gold-hued clip, which featured Jackson hanging with her friends and dancers (including an unknown-at-the-time Jennifer Lopez) was the most accessible version of the star the public had ever seen. “He captured [her life] because he knew what that was.” The single went to #1 on the Hot 100, soon followed by the suits’ pick, the Diana Ross-sampling “If.”
She’s strong and that’s a fact
Stylistically, janet. is brazenly ambitious, nailing rock (“What’ll I Do”), house disco (“Throb”), delicate balladry (“Again”) and even pop-rock opera on the vengeful, dramatic “This Time,” which featured a soaring guest vocal by opera diva Kathleen Battle.
“The people Janet chose to collaborate with were people who inspired her, not necessarily people that were ‘Well, we’ll put them on the record and it will sell.’ That was really not part of the thought process,” says Jam. An element in her increasing confidence, he believes, was filming her role in John Singleton’s 1993 film Poetic Justice.
“Poetic Justice was pivotal to where she was at in her life, “says Jam. “It was a great experience for her, being around Tupac and John Singleton, Maya Angelou. She was hungry to make a record after that. You have to be inspired by something, to have something you want to say and, to me, Poetic Justice… opened her mind to a lot of things.”
There’s a clear line connecting Jackson’s poetry-writing character, Justice, and the lyrical content of “New Agenda,” janet.’s most overt political statement and, 20 years on, the album’s most bracing track. “There’s a million samples in there [including Average White Band and Stevie Wonder],” Jam says. “The idea was to make it sonically sound like a Public Enemy record. Hank Shocklee took these dissonant samples that shouldn’t have gone together and somehow made it all work.”
Jackson enlisted Public Enemy rapper Chuck D to write and perform a feminist rap. She told a magazine at the time, “When I hear Chuck, it’s like I’m hearing someone teaching.” And there’s Janet’s own voice, inspired by writers like Angelou. “There’s nothing you can do, accept me for who I am now,” she sang, “African American woman, I stand tall with pride.”
Create the mood for love, sensual physical love
The album, in classic Janet style, ends with a run of baby makers — a series of slow jams that includes “Any Time, Any Place,” the regretful “Where Are You Now? and “The Body That Loves You.”
“Any Time, Any Place”
Of the latter song, Jam says, “I thought her lyrics were so good. She was really into Brazilian music at the time and she said ‘I’d love to do something with just acoustic guitar.’ You have to realize how great it is… [she’s] not showing you a hit record and going ‘Make me something that sounds like this.’ She’s bringing you Gilberto Gil…. these different things. If you’re a producer worth your salt, you’re hearing this and going, ‘How can I give something this feel and make it her? Because if you give it the right feel, it is all her.”
Twenty years on, the influence of janet. is literally all over the radio. Like the samples Jam and Lewis layered into the album, “Any Time, Any Place” is now sampled on Kendrick Lamar’s recent hit “Poetic Justice.”
“My son had never heard the actual janet. record,” says Jam. “He kept going, ‘So that part that goes like that, did you do that?’ and I said, ‘Yeah that’s on the original record.’ I remember thinking [of Lamar’s track], that’s an interesting treatment… not sure if it’s gonna work, but then hearing it on the radio, it’s a natural. Janet is a fan of the record. “
Hold on baby
For the album cover, Jackson chose what appeared to be a simple head shot. When the image was fully revealed, it featured a topless Jackson, with Elizondo’s hands cupping her bare breasts. Provocative, yes, but the serenity on her face gave the image a warm sensuality.
“Rene was such a brilliant collaborator,” Jam says. “During the time that it was good in their relationship, he was so good for her, he was such a creative guy. It was his idea, to take that kind of shot. He not only had the vision, but he also had her trust and her love. He was a great photographer; he was a great video director. He had a great conceptual eye.“
“Because Of Love”
Because of love, we are together
The legacy of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’s work with Janet isn’t taken for granted. “I feel so blessed as a producer to have a muse like that to create stuff with, because there’s no barrier,” Jam says. Prior to Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, Jam, Lewis and Janet had finished four new songs. “I listened to them [recently] and they’re really good. I think her fans would love it, get it, and understand what it is. It’s not trying to be anything it’s not, it’s just good Janet songs… and she knows, we’ve talked… she just got married and she’s enjoying life. She’s making noises about wanting to do an album. But we will see. If I’m her, I’m just living life and enjoying myself. Whenever she’s ready to do it, we’re ready, and it’s just a matter of whether we see eye to eye on what that should be.”
Until that time arrives, fans have Jackson’s amazing imperial run of hit albums to revisit. Jam is clearly proud of janet. and the memories it evokes.
“Me and Terry were the beneficiaries of the Janet that walked into the studio with this kind of fresh approach to things, and an excitement to make a record,” says the producer. “Everything was just really good in everybody’s life. Everybody was on a creative high.”
:: Romanthony, soul house music pioneer, died at age 45 due to complications of kidney disease. After having once described his music as “physical pain,” yet best known for his Auto-Tuned chorus in Daft Punk‘s “One More Time,” the New Jersey native was recording new music with MikeQ and Boyz Noize. [the first rapper to do so, but he will do. [Rap-Up]
:: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will feature Drake alongside Kanye West. Trailers fail to elaborate on Drake’s role, but a photo makes clear that it involves a stellar afro. Your turn, Kanye. [MTV]
:: Miley Cyrus was spotted leaving the same studio where Justin Bieber was also recording. As she preps her own music, Cyrus has reportedly been gunning for a collaboration with the Believe star. [Perez Hilton]
After the jump, find out which music acts you can catch on TV today.
Music On TV:
:: Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC) — The-Dream, Kelly Rowland
:: Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) — Jewel
:: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC) — Ahmir
:: Conan (TBS) — The Black Angels
:: Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC) — Grape St.
The 2013 Billboard Music Awards aired Sunday night live from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, with comedian Tracy Morgan serving as the host of the show. Let’s check out the full list of Billboard Music Awards 2013 winners! Here’s the complete list of nominees and the winner is show in bold type. Top Artist …