You have to sympathize with the girl in the video for “Mistletoe.” You’re getting some one-on-one time over hot chocolate at the café with your main squeeze Justin Bieber, when all of a sudden, some blonde girl comes out of nowhere and puts her hands on him. Don’t you hate when that happens? (“What was that about?” she mouths.)
Her insecurity seems understandable: after all, girls love Justin Bieber. The song, then, is his way of letting his “shorty” know that she’s the only one he wants to see under the mistletoe (or, for that matter, in a drop-top Porsche). How committed is our crooning lover? Enough to park in the middle of the street and sing until she puts down the book she’s reading (which just so happens to be New Moon) and finds the gift he’s snuck into her bedroom. That’s devotion, especially from a guy still young enough to get away with a line like “I should be playing in the winter snow.” Ah, young love! Read more…
Karmin didn’t have to go on The X-Factor to get L.A. Reid’s attention. Their YouTube cover of the hip-hop single of the spring, “Look At Me Now,” accomplished that for them, racking up 42 million views since going viral in April. That and other covers and originals from the Brookline, MA duo got them a deal at Epic, and they’ve spent the summer working with other songwriters (including Diane Warren!) and producers. In advance of Thursday’s premiere of their major-label debut single, they dropped by our offices, and of course we had the Berklee grads Pass The Bowl! (As you may recall, for each edition of Pass the Bowl, an artist will answer a question and then replenish the bowl with another.) Karmin’s question came courtesy Grace Potter, whose own installment of Pass The Bowl was, sadly, lost in the shuffle. They chose not to reveal the question they added, so it will remain a secret until a future artist selects it. Stay tuned! Read more…
When we geared up to launch a new season of Big Morning Buzz Live, one potential first-week musical guest jumped immediately to mind: Hanson. When we premiered the music video for “Give A Little” back in February, our own Mark Graham presaged the return of alto saxophone in pop while praising the track, which would go on to hit #1 on our Top 20 Video Countdown in April. One sax-filled summer later, we’re finally ready for autumn, and who better to ring in a new season than Hanson, playing a stripped-down “Give A Little” live in-studio? The band also spoke to host Carrie Keagan about their fans, Isaac’s “solo career,” the popularity of This Time Around (the album after “Mmm Bop”), and Halloween. Plus, as a Buzz.VH1.com online exclusive, they then performed“Mmm Bop.”
Gavin DeGraw is a New York City native, so his visit last month to record Bruno Mars cover “Grenade” and several original songs for a Top 20 Live set, he didn’t exactly have a long way to travel. Nevertheless, VH1 photographer Colin Gray got some great shots for our Music Seen feature, and we even got some feedback from DeGraw himself on some of the photographs in the series. After the jump, DeGraw’s travels from Live With Regis & Kelly to VH1 to MTV News, plus a glimpse at his style, and, of course, pit stops every step of the way for his many and adoring fans.
For the first twenty minutes of Guns N’ Roses’s rain-soaked headlining performance at Brazil’s Rock In Rio Festival earlier this month, frontman Axl Rose wore a big yellow raincoat, and from the coverage the band’s performance has gotten, you would be forgiven for thinking that this wardrobe choice was the most noteworthy thing about their set. Nevermind that the band played for a full two hours more once he stripped off the coat (even though the rain never let up). At the start of the performance, Axl promised, “I’m gonna try to focus on singing rather than running around like an idiot,” and while our gut reaction to that is “Why not do both?” we figure we’ll leave that to the professional—which is a word we chose intentionally here, since the once infamously unreliable singer put in the work, and then some, to close out the festival.
Perhaps the most significant detail was the band’s performance of “Estranged”—the first time that Axl Rose has sung the song live since 1993, when it was the last single off either Use Your Illusion album. This tour’s press material promised “all the classic hits,” but until we saw footage of “Estranged” we weren’t sure whether that was just hype. We try not to buy the narrative arcs that partially define musicians in popular culture, but it’s hard not to find that symbolic of a last step towards reconciliation with a complicated Guns N’ Roses career—just in time for the band’s first United States tour since 2006. The Rock In Rio Festival has always been kind to Guns N’ Roses—it’s where the band staged its first live return in 2001—so if we were the superstitious type, we’d say that the upcoming American tour looked rather promising. The live clips on YouTube of the other dates they’ve played in Argentina since seem to support this notion. The American tour kicks off at the end of this month (dates after the jump).
Ellen DeGeneres has some serious A&R muscle. The comedian and talk-show host already emerged as a leader in the post-Scooter Braun YouTube talent-search industry. The single-week turnaround she pulled off this week, though, is next-level. Last Wednesday a “Super Bass” cover, performed by an eight-year-old British girl named Sophie Grace Brownlee and her five-year-old cousin Rosie, went viral; by yesterday the two were appearing on Ellen, where they got to meet, and perform with, Nicki Minaj. Six days is, frankly, an astonishing turnaround for a television show like this. (Kudos to the staff of Ellen.) We don’t know that the girls have a Greyson Chance-esque recording career ahead of them anytime soon—Nicki Minaj encourages the girls to put school first and singing second—but the whole thing is completely adorable. They try on Nicki’s wigs!
The big winner at the fifth annual BET Hip-Hop Awards last night was, as we predicted, “Look At Me Now,” taking home Best Hip Hop Video, Reese’s Perfect Combo Award, Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse (Busta Rhymes), and People’s Champ Award powered by Verizon. But the performance of the night went to future VH1 reality star T.I.. Sure, we loved the cypher, and we will always cheer for a performance by Heavy D, no matter how inexplicable, but T.I.’s homecoming performance won the night.
We may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. The two-song Atlanta-repping performance kicked off with Young Jeezy, ringed by fire, spitting his new single “F.A.M.E.,” for which T.I. joined him onstage, providing his guest verse without stealing the spotlight. Then he kicked into “I’m Flexin’,” and even without support from Big K.R.I.T. he absolutely killed it, even jumping into the crowd and welcoming attendees to his city, even as they were welcoming him home from prison. Attention, Atlanta: your king’s back.
Mac Miller’s star has been steadily rising since last year’s mistake KIDS, and the success of this year’s “Donald Trump” and “Frick Park Market,” and growing buzz, promise even bigger success when his debut drops next month. To seal the deal, he even appeared on the official remix of chart-topper “Moves Like Jagger.”
So while we’re not exactly dubbing him a You Oughta Know artist, we’re not surprised that he got an equivalent honor from MTV PUSH. And we certainly want to let you know that Mac Miller’s sold-out show tomorrow night at the House of Blues in Chicago is going to be streamed live on MTV.com. We suspect the stream will definitely be worth checking out.
Two Door Cinema Club were met by an extremely enthusiastic crowd last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! By now, though, the You Oughta Know alums should be used to it; their crowds have gotten bigger and more enthusiastic all year. And while it might not be super-thrilling at home to see another performance of “What You Know” (a single from February! Kimmel gets lots of great guests really late in their promotional cycles) the audience hardly seemed to mind. For that matter, “What You Know” also thrilled the crowd at last month’s MTV Hive Live in NYC show, which is now available to stream if you want to see what was a great show from these favorites of ours.
Over on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Bootsy Collins (sadly, sans space bass), Mark Mothersbaugh (surprisingly, with keytar), Biz Markie, Erykah Badu,Leslie Hall, and of course Black Thought of The Roots each had a turn on the mic for the funky Yo Gabba Gabba! jam “We’re Gonna Party Today.” We’re not exactly sure how much appeal the jams have for kids, but if we were parents we’d love the old-school hip-hop vibe. They even dedicated their performance to the memory of Sugarhill Records co-founder Sylvia Robinson! Check it out:
Beyoncé’s “Countdown” video is just four days old, and she’s already readying her next clip, even as critics argue that her choreographic homage crosses the line. MTV News reports that a teaser for a “Love On Top” video has hit the Internet, and even R&B new-jacks can tell she’s nodding to New Edition’s “If It Isn’t Love.” Less well-known is Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, whose work is quoted in the “Countdown” video. Director Adria Pettytold MTV News that “German modern-dance references” informed the video’s creative process. The use of the needle-dragged-across-the-turntable “say what?” sound effect in the shot-for-shot comparison video, above, implies that the quotations are not homage but theft—and when the video’s creators, Studio Brussel, contacted the choreographer, she gave a statement which includes the following:
People asked me if I’m angry or honored.
Neither; on the one hand, I am glad that Rosas danst Rosas can perhaps reach a mass audience which such a dance performance could never achieve, despite its popularity in the dance world since the 1980s. And Beyoncé is not the worst copycat; she sings and dances very well, and she has a good taste!
On the other hand, there are protocols and consequences to such actions, and I can’t imagine she and her team are not aware of it.
It’s unclear whether de Keersmaeker will pursue any legal action, but this—and the kerfuffle over Beyoncé’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards—illustrates that there is a huge gray area as to what is inspiration, what is homage, and what is theft. These are especially tricky waters to navigate when a style is re-envisioned for a much wider audience, as has been the case with Beyoncé (and, for that matter, Lady Gaga). Notwithstanding the court of law, the court of public opinion can easily be swayed, and this story has gotten us thinking about what constitutes “fair use” in a pop-cultural sense. We’re not sure if there is a cut-and-dried answer.