Posts Tagged ‘Britney Spears’

Okay, so 2016 has been quite the year. We’re all aware of all the genuine musical talent we’ve lost, so I’m not going to dwell on that. I also have to admit, I’ve been a little distracted this year, and feel like I’ve fallen behind in my musical game, so I apologize for that. All that aside, it’s time to pay due to that music that did get us through this roller coaster of a year (note: as always, I haven’t listened to every single album released this year, so keep that in mind.)

Best New Artist – Banners

Hailing from the UK, Banners (aka Michael Joseph Nelson) dropped his debut EP this year, and it was soulful, thoughtful and proved how he can use his words to shed a beautiful on love.

Best Live Show – The Tragically Hip: Man Machine Poem Tour

The entire country was in shock when we heard of lead singer Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer. After everything this band has done for music, for Canadians, it’s hard to imagine world where they don’t exist. However, The Hip didn’t hold back from putting on one helluva live show. Downie was on fire, the crowd was on cloud nine, and it was one of the best concert atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of.

Best Collaboration – “I Need a Forest Fire” James Blake feat. Bon Iver

Two of indie music’s geniuses came together and made some wonderful music. Sublime.

Worst Collaboration -“I Hate You, I Love You” by Gnash feat. Olivia O’Brien

There’s no love here for this track, just haterade. It’s such a cliché, teen angst attempt at being “deep.” Also what’s with the leather jacket in the blazing heat while walking through the forest?

Guiltiest Pleasure – “Pillowtalk” by Zayn

It’s so bad, but I can’t help it.

Coolest Artist – Alessia Cara

She’s only 20 years old, she’s Canadian and signed to Def Jam. She’s mature, gracious and writes music with real meaning. She’s everything other female singers in her age group aren’t. Let’s be friends, k?

Best Canadian Album – 99% by Kaytranada

A breakthrough in the Canadian hip-hop scene, Kaytranada brings all kinds of sounds together and tops it all off with tight vocals. Truly a unique album, and one everyone should hear.

Best 90s Comeback – Temple of the Dog

They reunited on the 25th anniversary of the release of their one and only album, for one last tour. There is nothing more 90s than Chris Cornell and Eddie Veddie making music together again.

 

Saddest 90s Comeback – Britney Spears

It’s Britney, bitch. And apparently she’s back. I think. Except it looks like she’s trying to use the same tricks she used back in the day, just with more botox. Don’t get me wrong, I want to root for her, I do. It’s just time for her to throw in the towel (and get rid of her figure skating costumes.)

Best Song feat. Sean Paul – “Cheap Thrills” by Sia feat. Sean Paul

This right here, is my jam.

Best Folk Album – Cleopatra by The Lumineers

There’s something to eloquent and peaceful about this band. Every track on this album is a story full of emotion, and displays the kind of musicianship that says so much, by doing so little. I also saw them perform in the rain, and couldn’t stop swooning. So there’s that.

Best Break Up Album – This is What the Truth Feels Like by Gwen Stefani

The best thing to come out of her very public split from Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, was this album. It’s part screw you, part self-reflection, and all Team Gwen. Plus, her live show game is phenomenal.

Best Dance Track – “Let Me Love You” DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber

Hate on Biebs all you want, but you can’t deny this song gets you up on the dance floor (even if that dance floor is your living room.)

Most Overrated Artist – Chainsmokers

I just can’t with these guys. They’re wannabe hipster douchebags, whose first single was entitled “#Selfie.” They claim to be DJs, but I’m pretty sure their egos just like being on a stage with big headphones. Also, smoking isn’t cool.

Most Underrated Artist – Solange

Solange (ie Beyoncé’s younger sister) definitely gets a lot of critical acclaim, but I don’t think the general masses really understand her talent. She’s full of soul, heart, and has a voice that makes her a Queen in her own right.

Best Video of the Year – “Wow” by Beck

This track is several steps away from anything Beck has ever done. It’s rock, but synth, but kind of hip-hop, with tints of indie. And the video has everything you could ever want, including Beck dancing in the middle of the street.

Worst Video of the Year – “7 Years” by Lukas Graham

Truth be told, there are probably worse videos out there, but this one wins because it’s trying so hard to be something, but no one understands what. Not to mention, “Lukas Graham” refers to the 3-person band, not just the lead singer whose name is also Lukas. I’m confused.

 

Worst Album of the Year – Following My Intuition by Craig David

He tried to come back after years off the map, and it was horribly bad. Just so so bad (I swear I tried really hard to like it!)

Album of the Year – Lemonade by Beyoncé

This album is Bey at her Queenest, bringing her A+ of A games, while simultaneously slaying everyone in her path. She collaborates with artists of all genres, including Jack White, Kendrick Lamar and Diplo. All hail Queen Bey.

 

Most Disappointing Song of the Year – “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake

It’s disappointing because we all know JT can do so much better. It’s a sad attempt at a very poor man’s “Happy” and falls totally flat.

Worst Song of the Year – “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes

I never enjoy knocking down Canadian artists, but Mendes gave me no choice. When I hear this song, it sounds like nails going down a chalkboard, and my ears bleed. His voice is so nasal/whiny, the lyrics are so cheesy (yes, I know he’s only 18) and it just needs to stop.

Song of the Year – “River” by Bishop Briggs

Anything you could ever want in a track, and then some. Love, love, love.

 

Let’s put aside the fact that the MTV VMAs have become incredibly irrelevant over the past few years, because they just award the same artists over and over. Let’s ignore the fact that they don’t even televise the awards that actually have anything to do with the creative aspects of the videos. Let’s forget the fact there was no mention of Prince or David Bowie during the live broadcast. Let’s also pretend to believe the MTV VMAs represent all music and not just pop and hip-hop. That said, here are some thoughts on this year’s show.

Kanye does whatever he wants

After years of interrupting acceptance speeches, hating on anyone that wasn’t Beyoncé, Kanye was handed a full 4 minutes to rant and rave about whatever he wanted. It was disguised as a prelude to the premiere of his new NSFW video “Fade” off 2016’s Life of Pablo. His speech was nonsensical ramblings for the most part (as expected) but I’m not sure what MTV was hoping for: he shocked no one, and bored everyone.

Bey is Queen of everything

Slay, slay, slay. That’s all Bey does. Forget all her nominations and wins. Forget the fact that she gave a perfect 16-minute performance of snippets of her entire Lemonade album. Forget the fact everyone’s jaws dropped, and were left speechless. Forget everything you thought you knew about anything: Bey rules all.

Watch the epic performance here

Britney Spears needs to throw in the towel

Poor, Britney. In an attempt to revive her “career,” Britney Spears’ MTV VMA performance was slated as her big comeback. Except she had to follow Beyonce’s epic 15-minute explosion, and there’s no way she was going to surpass that. It didn’t help that Spears looked like old news, struggling to sell her sexuality. She performed her recently dropped single “Make Me” featuring no-one’s-ever-heard-of rapper G-Easy. Her outfit looked like something a figure skater would wear, and seemed to meander along the stage aimlessly, until G Easy showed up, which was her cue to grab his crotch. She needs to realize she’s not 16 anymore, and it’s not longer the 90s – no matter how much she wishes.

Drake vs. Rihanna

After essentially pouring his heart out and confessing his love for Rihanna, Drake went in for a kiss, and Rihanna so awkwardly dodged it. You could hear the viewers cringing, and Drake’s heart breaking  all over the world. Why can’t Rihanna just love Drake back? Also: as if she got some sort of lifetime achievement award for her videos. As if.

The Burning Questions

  • Is Puff Daddy still a thing?
  • Why is DJ Khaled such a fool? Conversely, why is Alessia Cara so adorable?
  • When panning the audience, why did the camera always fall on Kimye and/or Michael Phelps?
  • When did lip syncing during live performances become so widely accepted?
  • How many Kardashians need to be present at an awards show for people to watch?
  • Why is Nick Jonas’ new track called “Bacon”?
  • Why did Alicia Keys get high before dressing up in a tent and presenting?
  • How did Fifth Harmony win? Sexual inuendo is the only “art” in their videos
  • Who are the Chainsmokers and why are they so awful?

Lastly: why am I so old?

 

 

 

Icons create music that is inspiring, original, revolutionary, shocking. They combine memorable lyrics with unforgettable sounds, enabling their music to stand the test of time, even at their end. They develop a large following of devoted fans who are continually inspired and allow these musicians to go on creating. Over the last decade or so though, a musician’s popularity seems to be so fleeting: no one musician has really stood out; no one has really made a significant mark on music. And I’m trying to figure out why.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Maybe everything has already been done. Musicians nowadays have adopted the same fate as the fashion world, and have resorted to recycling past trends and trying to re-introduce them. Since Madonna started the whole sensation of women and hypersexuality in the 80s, a trendsetter if you will, there have been a plethora of female artists who have tried to do the same: Britney Spears (“I’m a Slave 4 U” – way to be subtle),  Xtina Aguilera (“Dirrty”, which was just, well, dirty) and more recently Lady GaGa (who has hit a whole new level of raunchy). Problem is, it’s never as successful, because they’re more like versions of the original, more followers than leaders. Now I understand as years go on, every musician is going to be inspired by someone who preceded them, that’s a given; but has the concept of originality totally evaporated?
Take P. Diddy: here’s a guy who essentially gained his popularity  remixing other people’s songs. All he did was update the music a little and add some rap to it – that’s classic recycling (just ask The Police.) It was pointed out to me recently that Diddy (formerly known as Puff Daddy – the name change seemingly did no wonders for his career) never said he was a rapper, but he was first and foremost a producer. Fair enough. But either way, taking someone else’s original music and slightly altering it, isn’t producing or creating – it’s copy/pasting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that there is no musician out there that is doing anything original;  I’m focusing more on popular music, music that’s on the radio, on music channels, music that people request. I’m just trying to find a reason no one has any staying power anymore. When is there going to be a first of someone, instead of a next of someone else?

Maybe there’s nothing left to sing about. A lot of iconic music stems from the fact that it came out during a period in time when music was essential. A lot of the music in the 60s had to do with the anti-war sentiment. Heck that’s how Woodstock was created: a 3-day music festival to make love and not war. Music at that time became so popular because people could hold on to it, people could relate to it, people needed it. The Beatles were the first all-boy pop group and were largely successful, not because they were hugely talented (right Travis?), but because their music was about peace, love and wanting to hold your hand (ignoring the popular belief it was all about drugs). Their music affected an entire generation, as well as those that followed because it meant something, it was timeless – how can peace and love ever go out of style? These days, no one really sings about current world issues. On occasion there will be a song or two to help raise money for natural disasters in foreign countries, but no one really addresses any issues in their music. And those that do, (ie Bono/U2) are bands that have been around for decades, who already have staying power.

Let’s take rap music: I am definitely not a connoisseur, but according to a very reliable source, when rap music first started, it was about something, it had a message. Whether it was political or racial, rappers had something to say, and wanted to be heard. What I do know is that nowadays, (with few exceptions, ie Eminem) rap is completely ridiculous. No one is singing about anything real – it’s all about bitches and hos, money, poppin’ Cristal and rockin’ some bling. Is there anyone out there who really wants grills? Even with my limited knowledge about the rap genre, I definitely know that Tupac had a lot more to say than Lil’ Jon, Nelly or Young Jeezy.

Maybe music just isn’t about music anymore. It’s about what sells: and in this day and age that’s everything but the music. How else do you explain the mere existence of boy bands?? Mildly talented groups of young attractive boys dancing in sync (no pun intended) and capturing the hearts of all teenage girls; and this is captain obvious speaking, sex sells. Problem is, girls don’t stay teenagers forever, and neither do Backstreet Boys. Sooner or later they stop caring if Nick Carter wears boxers or briefs, and they move on. And boy bands fade because their music alone was never good enough to take them anywhere.

What also seems to sell these days is anything that gains media attention: be it pregnancy, marriage, rehab, jail, appearing on reality tv shows, you name it. As long as there is some sort of drama or scandal involved, any sub par artist can become famous, even if for only 15 minutes. Britney Spears has been married what 3 times now (once to K-Fed who somehow managed to release a rap record), and shaved her head for no reason whatsoever. She somehow put out 2 records during all of this, possibly hoping that her sudden media attention would help her music sell, who knows. The unfortunate part is, people will remember her for her antics – not her music, because her music is not memorable.

T.I. was on his way up the charts, when he got arrested for weapons possession and was sentenced to jail. But right before that, he managed to put together a reality show, awesomely named “T.I.’s Road to Redemption” where he would go around trying to convince teens to not take the path he had taken, and in turn by saving them, he would save himself. Wow. Dumbest idea ever, especially considering he recently got arrested again, this time on drug possession charges. What a great mentor. T.I. very possibly did this over-dramatic TV show just to make sure he wouldn’t be forgotten while he was in jail. Total fail. Once the media stops caring about him, there is no way his music will ever survive. I think his 15 minutes are up.
Compare that with MJ: here’s an extremely talented musician who had more than enough personal issues, was involved in countless scandals, yet at the end of the day, his music was so powerful that everything else faded away.

I could go on about this for days, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Music shouldn’t need an image, it shouldn’t need a specific demographic, it shouldn’t need to be tied to a scandal – it should simply sell itself. No musician really tries to be a legend, you just become one, and as years go on, it becomes more and more difficult to stand out. Maybe there are musicians just starting out who will one day be iconic, we just don’t know it yet. For now,  I’m still waiting.