While passing through Los Angeles International Airport, Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell was stopped by a TMZ cameraman and asked to give his thoughts on incoming President Donald Trump. The singer, it turns out, is standing right alongside Azealia Banks as one of those entertainers who really wants to perform at this weekend’s inauguration ceremonies. “Hollywood needs to chill out, all right? You’re talking about the commander-in-chief, right? We’re talking about respect,” says Littrell, who explains that he was approached to ask the rest of the Boys if they would perform at this weekend’s festivities, but that they just couldn’t work it out, what with rehearsals for their new Vegas shows getting started.
Gorillaz Have Returned to Disrupt Trump’s Inauguration With a Song That’s a ‘Lightning Bolt of Truth in a Black Night’By Dee Lockett
In these dark times, all anyone could ever ask for is the return of the habitually disgruntled Murdoc and his band Gorillaz to scoff at us all. Ask and you shall receive: Gorillaz are back! After six long years, the animated band has finally released a new song and accompanying video called "Hallelujah Money," featuring Benjamin Clementine on vocals, as a salve of sorts to Donald Trump's upcoming inauguration. It's been announced as decidedly not the first single from their long-rumored new album, but rather intended to be a "lightning bolt of truth in a black night" from Murdoc himself. That truth being that we're all tremendously fucked if Murdoc's the only guy we can count on for a measure of hope. "In these dark times, we all need someone to look up to. Me. That's why I'm giving you this new Gorillaz song ... You're welcome. Now piss on! The new album's not gonna write itself," Murdoc says in a statement. Lose your minds accordingly.
Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek Made a Free Surprise Instrumentals Album That Showcases Her Production ChopsBy Dee Lockett
Though Charlift may be finished save for a few farewell shows, Caroline Polachek is just getting started. For her first act as a fully solo artist, she's released a free surprise album of instrumentals under yet another new moniker, her initials CEP. Speaking with the Creative Independent, Polachek says she considered throwing her signature operatic vocals on the songs, but found that did a disservice to their function as useful background ambience for the daily humdrum of writing emails and commuting. But the album also serves a subtler purpose: Proving once and for all that Polachek is a producer, full stop. During her time with Chairlift, fans and critics often passed along technical credit to her bandmate Patrick Wimberly because he's a man. It's of course a false narrative: "I think one of the big disconnects for people is gonna be that up until this point it’s never really been clear what my relationship with production has been, compared to the clear authorship of singing. Especially when there are other names in it, especially men’s names, listeners aren’t sure who’s doing what."
With major black and mainstream pop musicians effectively boycotting Donald Trump’s inauguration, event planners have been compelled to rely on artists with a large popular following who hail from culturally marginal genres. Classical crossover, a schlocky genre predicated on slavish devotion to a mirage of European high culture, is well-represented by the 16-year old platinum-selling plaster angel Jackie Evancho and a Utah YouTube quartet (5.3 million followers) named the Piano Guys. Country, whose core audience is eager to see the genre's association with political conservatism reinforced, is even more prominent: Toby Keith and Big & Rich are the best known, but there are several other male country artists as well. There are various outgroup collectives whose bosses aim to curry favor with the incoming power: the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the marching band from historically black Talladega College, and the white members of the Rockettes. There is DJ Ravi Drums, an Indian-American who has been seen on television and is 48 years old. There are, at least for now, the gospel singer Travis Greene and the R&B songstress Chrisette Michele. There’s Tony Orlando.
Donald Trump didn't get elected president by being subtle. It shouldn’t be a shock that the self-nominated cultural representatives of Donald Trump’s America have motives that are as obvious as the man himself. They believe in putting nationalism over politics: “I hope to just kind of make everyone forget about rivals and politics for a second and just think about America and the pretty song that I'm singing,” said Evancho when interviewed on CBS. It’s a senseless proposition: Nationalism is always already politicized, and this is never more the case than when Trump, who campaigned by naked appeals to national self-interest and a violently exclusive conception of the nation, is the president due to be sworn in.
Chrisette Michele Says She’s ‘Willing to Be a Bridge’ by Performing at Donald Trump’s Inauguration, Reaffirms She's Still 'No Political Genius'By Dee Lockett
In a puzzling bit of word salad, Chrisette Michele has posted a note explaining — though never outright acknowledging — her decision to perform at Donald Trump's inauguration. To her mind, it's ultimately about not allowing "Black History, American History" to "be in vain." Therefore she says she's volunteered as tribute and is "willing to be a bridge," though between who or what isn't entirely clear. "I don't mind 'These Stones,' if they allow me to be a voice for the voiceless," she says, referencing the Bible, about her readiness to be attacked for aligning herself with Trump's transition into power. "Today, I hope that Great Moments begin in peaceful & progressive conversation ... I am here." And because no reaffirmation of one's lack of political genius can be complete without misappropriating MLK quotes, Michele ends her self-justification with a quote from King about not being silent. Her final word: "I am here, representing you, because this is what matters." Precisely who "you" is, however, she's declined to clarify.
True and good American Bruce Springsteen played the concert you’d work your whole life to attend when he did a secret set for more than 200 White House staffers last week — just to thank them for their dedication these past eight years. Rolling Stone reports that The Boss played a 15-song acoustic show in the room where he was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in between songs spoke about political issues and the impact of President Obama. Further bringing you to your knees, Springsteen reportedly dedicated “Tougher Than the Rest” to the Obamas because of all they have weathered during their eight-year run. In addition to the gentle sound of about 250 people weeping, the set list included:
In what's historically been known as the saga of the Beatles perpetually being for sale though never actually owned by themselves, Paul McCartney is once again fighting back. TMZ reports that Macca has sued Sony Music for the rights to his pride and joy that is the vast, valuable Beatles oeuvre. McCartney famously missed out on regaining the rights to most Beatles songs when his friend Michael Jackson outbid him in a sly bit of backstabbing for ownership of ATV Music Publishing. For decades, Jackson split ATV's publishing — and therefore all those Beatles songs — with Sony. But years after his death, Jackson's estate agreed to sell his half of ATV to Sony last March to pay off debts, giving the music giant full control over the holy grail of songbooks.
The Women's March on Washington has already received overwhelming support from plenty of famous women (and their woke male allies), but what feminist uprising hasn't benefited from a Beyoncé endorsement? Breaking her silence on political matters since campaigning for Hillary Clinton just before the election, Beyoncé has posted a brief note on Facebook encouraging people to get involved with the Women's March. "As #GlobalCitizens, we can make our voices heard and turn awareness into meaningful action and positive change," she writes, referencing one of the many human-rights organizations she's associated with, including Chime for Change. Because all we can really do in these dark days ahead is hope to march in formation with the precision of Bey and her army of dancers this Saturday. Godspeed, ladies.
Throwing her to the wolves, Chrisette Michele's reps have confirmed earlier reports that the R&B singer will indeed perform at Donald Trump's inauguration this weekend. The New York Daily News first broke the story, claiming that Michele had been booked to sing for Trump a week ago but held off on announcing her appearance allegedly over fears of being vilified to the extent that Jennifer Holliday was for her since-reversed decision to participate in the inauguration. Michele's team has now reluctantly made her gig official with confirmation to Essence: "Michele's manager initially seemed a bit taken aback by the news and was unable to give further comment," the magazine says. According to the Daily News, she was set to join Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds, and Tye Tribbett to sing "Intentional," but because they turned down the offer, she was instead asked to do a solo R&B set. During last summer's racial unrest, Michele tweeted her unsolicited opinion that, although she's "no political genius," she determined there's no point in boycotting for social justice like it's 1963. Which, in retrospect, should've been a sign.
All the Musicians Who Have Reportedly Turned Down an Invitation to Perform at Donald Trump’s Presidential InaugurationBy Devon Ivie
It's hard out there for the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Committee. While President-elect Donald Trump has been trying to wrangle some A-list talent to perform at his inauguration celebrations — the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, America's Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho, and the Rockettes are some of the performers who have taken the bait so far — many other musicians have spoken publicly about declining an offer to celebrate the president-elect. Despite the seemingly low interest coming from top musicians, Trump's team is sharply denying claims that they're experiencing problems finding suitable availabilities, with one member saying that "first-class entertainers are eager to participate in the inaugural events." Below, we've compiled all of the musicians who have reportedly been approached by Trump's various reps to perform at the inauguration and have declined the opportunity. We'll be updating this list until January 20 arrives.
The first wave of 2017 Grammy performers has been announced and already the hype machine is in full overdrive. No Beyoncé and Adele — yet! But the Grammys have so far announced that Metallica, John Legend, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban will all perform on music's weirdest night. Metallica recently teased a "very unique and special" event for their first performance in three years at the Grammys; the official announcement from the awards show doesn't give details, so brace yourselves for anything. According to the Grammys, Underwood and Urban will be making a joint appearance (most likely for his song "The Fighter"). Other performers like the Weeknd have been teased in Grammys commercials airing during the NFL playoffs, though they've not yet been made official. Stay tuned! The Beyoncé-Adele Super Bowl goes down February 12 on CBS, hosted by James Corden.
Well, that's one way to remove a stain on America's bum. At a Waka Flocka concert on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, of all days, one confused fan made the terrible (or secretly brilliant?) judgment call of wearing a jersey with Donald Trump's name on it while standing far too close to the front row. Waka, a noted Hillary Clinton supporter and one-time presidential hopeful himself, spotted the offender straight away and politely requested to see the jersey. And by "see," we mean Waka exposed his bare ass, simulated taking a dump, and then used the merch to wipe his rear, as was always the jersey's obvious intended purpose. No word on whether the shamed fan has dared to wear the jersey since.
Bob Seger Wrote a Tribute Song to His Old Friend Glenn Frey for the First Anniversary of Frey’s DeathBy Dee Lockett
Exactly one year ago today, Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey died at 67 from multiple medical complications. To commemorate the first anniversary since losing him, Frey's good friend Bob Seger has released a song written specifically to fondly remember how the two struck up a longtime friendship running in the same music circles in Detroit. "It's obviously not meant to be a hit," Seger tells Rolling Stone of recording his tribute, aptly titled "Glenn Song," four months ago in Nashville. "There's no chorus per se or title section or anything. The idea was just to honor his memory and talk, very specifically, about my impression of him in 1966 when we first met." The end result is a mostly acoustic heartfelt ballad that reflects on how Seger has gotten on since Frey's death, while also not forgetting how much life they lived together. "When I think about you I always smile and then I go back for a while," he sings. "You were young, you were bold, and you loved pure rockin' soul. You were strong, you were sharp, but you had the deepest heart. You showed the whole world what we knew. There was no one quite like you." And, whoops, now you're sobbing. Listen to the full song here.
According to BuzzFeed News, country singer Tim Rushlow, formerly of Little Texas, will be wearing a different hat (maybe literally) when he transitions from his Thursday-night appearance at the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration with the Frontmen of Country, to Friday's post-inauguration Freedom Ball. There, he will join his swing-jazz ensemble, known as Tim Rushlow & His Big Band. The group will reportedly provide accompaniment for Donald and Melania's first dance as the First Couple. No definitive word on what selection the band has been asked to perform, though the rumored first-dance pick when Paul Anka was tentatively still scheduled to perform was Trump's favorite song, "My Way." While declining to confirm a particular tune, Rushlow did tell BuzzFeed, "We’ll be playing selections from the great American songbook and from the artists that I love from a time gone by, like Bobby Darin, and Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. It’s gonna be awesome.” Whatever your opinion about Trump might be, there's no denying he did it his way and no, not in a shy way.
Sometimes things happen on the internet, and they don’t matter, and you know you shouldn’t get involved, so you don’t get involved, but even as you don't get involved you keep thinking about them, so much so that not getting involved becomes an even bigger distraction, and then you eventually crack and get involved.
That’s what's happening right now.
For some reason, a conversation cartwheeled into my Twitter feed today with some people arguing that Drake is bigger than Nelly in his prime, and others saying the opposite, that peak Nelly was supreme to peak Drake. So who's right?
A reminder: This argument does not matter. There’s not a single thing about it that matters. But there is an answer, and that answer is Nelly, and it’s not even close.
This weekend, thousands upon thousands of activists are expected to descend upon Washington, D.C. for the Women's March on Washington, while many others will join marches taking place simultaneously at various cities throughout the country the day after Donald Trump's inauguration. Thanks to Fiona Apple, they'll all hopefully be united by one rallying cry. Apple has already made it crystal clear that she thinks Trump is a criminal by releasing a twisted Christmas carol insinuating that he's a child molester. Now, behold her latest contribution to the deep well of anti-Trump protest songs: the highly unsubtle "Tiny Hands." Clocking in at just a minute, it's less a song and more like a straight-to-the-point chant aimed at grabbing Trump by his own unmentionables. “We don't want your tiny hands / anywhere near our underpants,” she repeats throughout the, ahem, low blow. The song was written with composer Michael Whalen, who's known for making many an oddly satisfying jingle in his day, and uses audio from Pussygate. If this isn't the Women's March anthem, we'll all have truly failed the cause.
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The mad dash to secure performers for Donald Trump's inauguration just got a boost from '60s soul singer Sam Moore. Formerly of Sam and Dave — you know them from "Soul Man" and "Hold On, I'm Comin'" — Moore announced Tuesday that he's delighted to perform for at one of the president-elect's pre-inauguration festivities, joining Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down at Thursday's Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration. Moore's former partner Dave Prater died in 1988, but the duo's classics will make the inauguration event's set list. "As an American, I am honored to perform for President-elect Donald Trump. I was a participant in the civil rights movement and have seen many positive changes and advancement in my 81 years of living in this wonderful country, but I know we must all join hands and work together with our new president," Moore said in a statement. "I honestly believe that if we can accomplish this, the best is yet to come. We all as Americans need to unite behind our new president and give him a chance. He needs everyone’s support to make America greater, stronger and an even better country.” Moore has a history of lending his music to politicians and brands: After initially requesting that Obama stop using "Hold On, I'm Comin'" on the campaign trail in 2008, Moore performed it with Sting and Elvis Costello at an inaugural party. Inauguration attendees, hold on — Moore's ... well, you get the idea.
Because America can't resist its Brits, Ed Sheeran has swooped back in from his hiatus with a new Billboard chart record. He's the first artist to ever have two songs simultaneously debut in the Hot 100's Top 10. So, how high did they go and which one did his Stateside fans prefer? Of Ed Sheeran's two new songs, released together, his Caribbean-pop-lite "Shape of You" has shot straight to No. 1, giving Sheeran his very first No. 1 song in America. He'd previously come close with "Thinking Out Loud" at No. 2; though, technically, he went No. 1 as a songwriter on Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself." But unlike in the U.K. and Australia, where his two songs debuted back-to-back at No. 1 and No. 2, there's a slightly larger gap between them here. The more familiar "Castle on the Hill" has debuted on the Hot 100 at a still-respectable No. 6. So right now all that stands between two more Sheeran megahits are a couple Weeknd songs, the Chainsmokers, "Black Beatles," and your former reigning No. 1 "Bad and Boujee." It had a good (albeit brief) run, but nothing can stop the powerful pop pen of Ed Sheeran. Not even Princess Beatrice's alleged sword.
Lest you thought Spoon's return to Matador signaled a shift back to their early punkish roots, prepare for a hotter thought. After debuting a bunch of new songs live, they've released the title track to their new album Hot Thoughts, out March 17. And, whew, is the song a scorcher. Never again will you have to wonder what sort of strange sensation might overcome your body were Britt Daniels to ever front a dance-rock band. "Hot Thoughts" is just that sort of style, except it mixes sultry disco-indebted bass with jarring orchestral moments and psychedelic sweeps, courtesy of Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann. Whether you find the thought of it all lukewarm or scalding, Spoon will be on hand to perform this (and many other songs) at a three-day residency in their hometown at SXSW, plus Panorama Festival later this summer.
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