Now we know why Jay Z experienced so many emotions when Kanye West almost interrupted Beck's Album of the Year acceptance speech: Beck's dad has collaborated with Beyoncé! Immortal superhuman multi-instrumentalist Beck has a dad, David Campbell, an animal of an arranger, composer, and conductor in his own prolific right. A Reddit user did some album-note spelunking this week to discover that Beyoncé's sophomore solo album B'Day features string arrangements and conducting from none other than Campbell (B'Day snagged Best Contemporary R&B Album, too). Fortunately this was not the case on Beyoncé, otherwise Jay Z would've spontaneously combusted on the spot. Yeezy already apologized, but now this just drives home the point that there should be no drama because not only does Beck respect artistry, he is quite literally the offspring of what West has faithfully stood by as artistry. P.S.: Do you smell the imminent conciliatory Beck-Beyoncé-Kanye collaboration, with a Campbell string arrangement, lurking around the corner?
Rihanna went on a semi-crazy preview binge Thursday with a few teases, the most recent of which included the musical backdrop for the NCAA's March Madness. Dubbed "American Oxygen," this song from her upcoming album was featured in a 30-second spot full of patriotism, basketball, and one of those crazy fans who makes your hair do acrobatics. The only thing that's truly confusing is that oxygen is obviously nationality-fluid, but, hey, we're still excited to see the whole shebang — which will be on TBS, CBS, TNT, and truTV all the time for the tournament.
What's not to love about Kelly Clarkson? She was American Idol's first winner — and arguably the most successful one. But that was 13 years ago, when bleach-blonde highlights were still very popular. Today, she has ten Top 10 singles under her belt, a shiny wedding ring on her finger, and three kids at home in Nashville (including adorable baby River Rose, of “Heartbeat” video-teaser fame). Vulture caught up with Clarkson in New York, Texas drawl still intact, to talk about her current album Piece by Piece and her dreams of making it big on Broadway.
Wu-Tang Clan's forthcoming final album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, is one of a kind, worth upward of $1 million, and on the verge of becoming annoying. What began as a potential gimmick had shown signs of being a noble endeavor. "The music industry is in crisis. Creativity has become disposable and value has been stripped out. Mass production and content saturation have devalued both our experience of music and our ability to establish its value," reads an edict on a site associated with Wu-Tang and the album. "Industrial production and digital reproduction have failed. The economic and experiential value of music are being eroded at an exponential rate. This album is a work of contemporary art." But then RZA announced that the public would have to wait 88 years for their own copy of the record, and a large portion of the population concerned with Wu-Tang effectively lost their marbles.
Among its many, many charms, Empire makes us want to play a fun guessing game. Is there a real Lucious Lyon? Is his label supposed to be like Roc-A-Fella? Is Cookie based on Sylvia Robinson? Could Empire Entertainment really go public? Trying to figure out where fact and fiction intersect is almost as entertaining as embracing the show’s over-the-top plotlines, baby-mama drama, and white-collar intrigue. It’s not just us non-music-biz laypeople — industry insiders have also been hooked by the show’s attempts (and feints) at aping actual life.
Kanye West blindsided London with a last-minute gig Tuesday night at Camden's KOKO, where he unveiled a brand-new song and evidently blew the sold-out crowd away with no dearth of special guests. Joined by the likes of Wu-Tang's Raekwon, Big Sean, Skepta, and Vic Mensa, among others, West threw down a mixed set that reportedly included oldies ("Mercy," "BLKKK SKKKN HEAD") and newbies ("All Day," "Wolves," and a song that may or may not be titled "Why U Mad?"). Yeezus gives, and thus, we take, saying nothing but Ye-men.
Remember when Blink-182's Tom DeLonge claimed he had an alien encounter? Well, maybe it's a rock-and-roll trend: While discussing a single from Modest Mouse's forthcoming album Strangers to Ourselves (out March 17), front man Isaac Brock told Studio 360 he might have endured something similar. Brock recalled being stuck in a plane in a holding pattern while flying from Montana to Arizona in 1997. At the time he had no idea what was going on, but he essentially sat through the infamous Phoenix Lights sighting, in which Arizonans claimed they saw a V-shaped object, polka-dotted with lights, fly silently through the night sky. Brock said that for years he told no one but his mom and a close friend. "I didn't want to be that dude with the alien, with the UFO," he explained.
Every week, members of the Vulture staff will highlight their favorite new songs. They might be loud, quiet, long, short, dance-y, rawkin', hip, square, rap, punk, jazz, some sort of jazz-punk-rap fusion — whatever works for the given person in that given week. Read our picks below and please tell us yours in the comments.
Action Bronson featuring Chance the Rapper, “Baby Blue”
I’m so glad that Action Bronson left his career as a chef to pursue music. If he hadn’t, we wouldn't have this dope collab between Mr. Wonderful and Chance the Rapper. “Baby Blue” has a little bit of doo-wop, a little bit of R&B, and a whole lot of two-step along with memorable lines like this one: “I’m not exactly flawless, but I’m gorgeous, just like a horse is.” If Action Bronson ever decides to leave music, perhaps he should consider taking up poetry. —Lauretta Charlton (@laurettaland)
"Mind your own biscuits / and life will be gravy," Kacey Musgraves sings in "Biscuits," her first official song since Same Trailer, Different Park, the album that won her Album of the Year at the CMAs and Best New Artist at the Grammys back in 2013. Now she's tackling the meddling neighbor in an ode to minding your own goddamn beeswax. Stay outta Kacey's yard.
As the court hearings drag, hip-hop mogul Suge Knight's health continues its decline. So much so that Knight on Monday told the L.A. Superior Court judge presiding over his fatal hit-and-run case from earlier this year that he needs better medical treatment. He says he's experiencing partial blindness (one eye completely, and another slightly) and rapid weight loss, and claims he doesn't understand what's happening with his case. After his latest hearing, Knight headed to the hospital for the third time since his arrest, according to the AP.
Because of a weird joke, there's this misconception that people won't perform duets with Kelly Clarkson. Jimmy Fallon put that malarkey out to pasture by performing not one duet, but a medley of rambunctious covers with the singer. There's a little bit of everything here, including Sonny and Cher, Paula Abdul and the Wild Pair, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, and Aaron Neville's mole.
If you've somehow been able to stop playing Kanye's "All Day" since he debuted it at the Brit Awards last week (serious props to you), that's about to change. He just premiered the official version, featuring Paul McCartney, Theophilus London, and Allan Kingdom, which packs an even louder punch. "Like a light-skinned slave, boy, we in the motherfuckin' house!"
At Saturday's Family Equality Council Gala in Beverly Hills, Sarah Paulson let it slip that she almost let something else slip: the big news that Lady Gaga will be starring in next season's American Horror Story. Why? Because it's so cool: "I think nothing in the world could be more exciting. Really ... it's Lady Fucking Gaga! I mean, come on. It's amazing."
Now we know that we can trust Paulson with our deepest, darkest secrets — or at least Ryan Murphy can: "I had a bit of an inkling, because the man told me, but I kept it a secret." Well, we can trust her for a few days, at least: "I finally said to him the other day, 'If you don't announce this soon, I'm going to bust. I'm going to say something!' And he was like, 'You can't.' And I was like, 'Well, I'm going to. So get on it.' And then they have. And it was all because I made them. Not really." But can she spill the beans on whether she'll be on the show next season? That, apparently, is undecided, as she mentioned onstage after the AHS teaser played: "I just feel like letting Ryan know that I am available, if he wants me."
Are you really, really, really, really, really, really into the new Carly Rae Jepsen song? Do you think it could be this year's Song of Summer? While snow is still falling, should we be preparing for beach chairs and piña coladas? The real question is, does it have the stickiness of 2012's Jepsen smash "Call Me Maybe" — an earworm that took the nation by storm? Some are saying yes, while others aren't so sure. To debate the issue, Lauretta Charlton and Lindsey Weber put Carly on repeat and discuss the finer points of Jepsen and pop music.
Remember when Mumford & Sons fans everywhere had a meltdown last year, when the band was rumored to be breaking up? Fear not! Their brief hiatus is officially over with today's announcement of their third album, Wilder Mind, to be released May 4. Mumford & Sons might look slightly different this time around, though. Rolling Stone reports that the new album won't have much of the band's beloved banjo, acoustic strumming, or stomping kick-drums, which will instead be replaced by "U2-sized guitars, synths, spacey mellotrons and even some drum machines." So maybe they weren't entirely "just joking" about hating the banjo after all. Here's a teaser for the electrified new Mumford & Sons album.
The paths of two true human specimens crossed this weekend: Bill Murray and Rick Ross. The Fader reports that after watching his son's college basketball team (narrowly) win a game this weekend, the Murrays went into the studio with the rapper. It's unclear why this happened, but Murray certainly put Ross into a giggle coma. If you're screaming, "Pics or it didn't happen," please relax, breathe, and read on.
Alec Baldwin took a trip to the Midwest this weekend to help raise money at a celebration for Young Chicago Authors, an arts organization that promotes youth literacy, leadership, and storytelling. At the event, Baldwin hung out with Chance the Rapper, and the result was a quick rap collaboration, which was posted on the latter's Instagram. "This is me beatboxing while Alec Baldwin raps, he is for the people," Chance wrote in the video's caption. Yes, Baldwin raps. He spit a couple of lines from Carl Sandburg's poem "Chicago," and the flow was ... gloriously stilted.
An internet vigilante served Kanye West overdue justice Sunday by rigging Loser.com to redirect to the rapper's Wikipedia page. Remember when Kanye did that thing at the Grammys where he said Beck wasn't respecting artistry by accepting the Album of the Year award and not giving it to Beyoncé (and then he revealed in an interview later he hadn't listened to Beck's album)? Maybe someone is still pissed about that, or maybe someone is just pissed at Kanye's charisma in general. Or maybe someone just wanted to troll him because it's the first day of March, and what a way to start the month! There are a lot of maybes. Here are some more, in the form of famous people who could have done it (but most likely didn't):
New Kanye can cry, employ media savvy, speak in an inside voice, come across as genuine, and now apologize. Via Twitter on Thursday, the deity formally known as Yeezus publicly said sorry to Beck and Bruno Mars, two artists he has said less-than-respectable things about. The fact Kanye called out Beck for winning Album of the Year and dissed the singer-songwriter's talent without evening listening to Morning Phase is still a thing people kvetch about in interviews, so this was yet another solid PR-slash-persona metamorphosis move.