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  • Posted 11/26/14 at 12:28 AM
  • Music

HBO to Air Authorized Kurt Cobain Documentary Montage of Heck

HBO announced today that the Kurt Cobain documentary the world has been waiting for will finally see the light of day, in 2015. Called Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the film, which has been at least eight years in the making, purports to be the first fully authorized feature about the legendary Nirvana frontman's life. It's being made with the cooperation of Cobain's family (his daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, is exec producing the project), with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen attached to write, direct and help with producing. The doc touts nonpareil access and will shed light on Cobain's past by showcasing pieces from his vast archives: home movies, artwork, songbooks, and previously unreleased originals. (Yes, you read that last part right. Sorry you have to wait till the new year.)

11 Best New Songs of the Week

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. (Also, read music critic Lindsay Zoladz's piece about how One Direction and Nick Jonas are changing the rules about how boy bands grow up and her review of Beyoncé: Platinum Edition.)

Sleigh Bells, SZA, Sun Kil Moon, and more. »

  • Posted 11/25/14 at 3:39 PM
  • Dale

Mark My Words: Pitbull Will Be President Someday

Picture the scene: On January 20, 2037, Armando Pérez is being sworn in as the 48th president of the United States, with his wife, Amethyst Amelia Pérez, by his side. His three-piece suit is impeccably tailored, and his bald head shines as bright as the day he was born, but in a break with tradition, Pérez does not remove his aviators for the occasion. As Chief Justice Clinton reads the oath of office, the president-elect follows along: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States ... Dalé."

The swift political rise of the man once known to the world as Pitbull — chart-topping rapper to charter-school magnate to congressman to senator to president — may come as a surprise to the political reporters at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Wall Street BuzzFeed-Journal. But not to me — because I will have called it all the way back in 2014, when Pitbull dropped his eighth album, Globalization.

I first noticed Pitbull's political potential when he hosted last year's American Music Awards. »

3 of the New Songs on Beyoncé: Platinum Edition Are Great

Last Friday, when Beyoncé released the brilliantly unpolished video for her new song “7/11,” I was working on putting together my Best Albums of 2014 list. Which is to say that “7/11” — and really, the entire Beyoncé: Platinum Edition, released yesterday — felt like a well-timed taunt, a sly reminder that, for me, at least, no record released this year came close to the game-changing visual album Beyoncé dropped at the tail end of 2013. Beyoncé’s mid-December release date was most likely an attempt to capitalize on the holiday sales bump, but as a bonus, it also confounded music critics who by December 12 thought they had their year-end lists tied up with a neat little bow. Some squeezed it onto their lists last year, but the album was still fresh enough that these rankings didn’t feel definitive. All the better. Beyoncé is meant to hover somewhere above the pageantry of the year-end list. Beyoncé is anti-pageantry by definition. I think it will only benefit its slippery legacy to exist outside the world of neat, numerical rankings. So much so that as 2014 draws to a close, it’s tempting to want to give it a contentious objector vote in protest against a year of lackluster releases. “Albums sucked this year,” a friend of mine said this weekend when asked his favorite release of 2014. “I pick Beyoncé.”

Let’s take a closer look at the spoils of the Platinum Edition and subject them to a highly scientific rating system. »

One Direction and Nick Jonas Are Changing the Rules About How Boy Bands Grow Up

A former boy-band member asking to be taken seriously as a sexually mature adult is a little bit like a felon applying for jobs; the easy, hedonistic spoils of his past threaten to define him at every turn. There are famous exceptions to the rule, of course, but the road to Timberlakean respectability is littered with Joey McIntyre jewel cases and the trimmed clippings of ill-advised soul patches. Transitioning into life after boy band has always been a delicate dance, but a few recent records have made me wonder if the rules are in the process of changing.

First, there’s the surprisingly not-disastrous self-titled album from Nick Jonas. »

  • Posted 11/24/14 at 2:45 PM

Jarvis Cocker on Pulp’s New Documentary and the Future of the Band

To American audiences, Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker has always been a little inscrutable. British, rail thin, well-dressed, and bespectacled, Cocker resembles something of a hybrid of Bryan Ferry and Philip Larkin. Although Pulp first scored an international hit in 1995 with “Common People," Cocker had been laboring away under the same moniker since 1978 — many of those years in his small hometown of Sheffield. Nearly a decade after the band’s demise, Florian Habicht’s new documentary, Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets, out now in theaters, follows Cocker & Co. back to Sheffield as they conclude their 2012 reunion tour.

"Yeah, sorry about [Def Leppard]. I apologize." »

What Is the Origin of Mockingjay’s Haunting Song, ‘The Hanging Tree’?

"I knew she didn't love the idea of singing, but I didn't realize how nervous she was until when we started the first take, and she was in tears," said director Francis Lawrence about his star, Jennifer Lawrence, who sings a song in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I called "The Hanging Tree." Katniss wants to show off the singing abilities of the Mockingjays, who could not only mimic Rue's four-note birdcall but have "song voices [that] are different from their whistles." She sits alongside the film crew who escaped the Capitol to help the rebel efforts of District 13. Pollux, an Avox who cannot speak because the Capitol deemed him a rebel and had his tongue cut out, asks her to sing something to the Mockingjays. She begins:

  • Posted 11/24/14 at 12:55 PM
  • Music

Listen to Ariana Grande’s New Christmas Song

How is Ariana Grande attempting to achieve Mariah Carey–style dominance over the pop market? Steps 1 and 2 ("Look like Mariah Carey" and "Sound like Mariah Carey," respectively) have already been accomplished, and now it's time for Step 3: Record a potential new addition to the Christmas canon, the way Carey did with "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Last year's Christmas Kisses EP failed to provide Grande with a future classic, so she's trying again this year with a new Christmas single, "Santa Tell Me." The good news is that it sounds nothing like Mariah. The bad news is that it sounds just like Amy Grant. They can't all be "Drummer Boy."

That New Platinum-Edition Beyoncé EP Is Streaming on Spotify

The good news? Beyoncé's Beyoncé Platinum Edition is on Spotify. Strange but true, the diva has kept her album off the service for some time now — even before fellow pop-star Taylor Swift started her campaign against streaming. But if you're the pioneer, you can't stay with the trends, especially after they get trendy. The bad news? Despite Beyoncé's revolutionary surprise technique, there are no big surprises here. We've got two new songs (and a video!) in "7/11" and "Ring Off," and a few remixes that you've likely already heard: "Flawless" with Nicki Minaj, "Blow" with Pharrell, "Drunk in Love" with Kanye, and "Standing on the Sun" with Mr. Vegas. But as with all things Beyoncé, we'll take what we can get. Stream it all below:

Lorde, Taylor, Pitbull: Here’s Everything You Missed at the 2014 American Music Awards

Did you miss last night's American Music Awards? It's okay! We've got your highlights right here. The show was 99 percent performances and a bunch of awards that you probably don't even care about. (Here's the complete winners list.) Pitbull hosted again, which was a great idea because he's great — you either love him ironically or sincerely. Either way, Pitbull for president:

  • Posted 11/24/14 at 3:05 AM
  • Music

There Might Be a James Blake–Kanye West Collaboration in the Works

Music producer and singer-songwriter James Blake told Miami New Times' Crossfade that there's a chance Kanye West might collaborate with him on his next album. "We haven't done a great deal of work in the same room yet, but we've done a few things, kind of helped each other with our own music," he said. "In terms of the actual collaboration for this record, it looks like we should be able to get something done. I know that there's a specific song I would like him to be on, and if he can do that by the time my record comes out, that would be fantastic." Blake has collaborated with rappers in the past, and, evidently, West and Blake are fans of each other. Blake added that the forthcoming album, the follow-up to his sophomore release Overgrown, is roughly 70 percent done and could drop in about five months. Yeezy, what are you waiting for?

Katy Perry Tweets That Paparazzo Harassing Her Has a ‘Tiny Penis’

Katy Perry is unhappy with Australia. Perry was in Sydney over the weekend for her Prismatic world tour and was trying to take a "quiet walk" to the beach when she was hounded by the paparazzi, who wanted shots of her in her bathing suit. She tweeted a long rant in response, saying Aussie photographers have "no respect, no integrity, no character. NO HUMANITY." It only went on from there, as she posted pictures of her "stalkers," i.e. the lovely paparazzi, and singled out one of them as Jamie Fawcett, who she alleges took nude photos of her while naked. She said she has pictures of his "tiny penis" and "large gut." Can you hear her roar?

  • Posted 11/23/14 at 11:44 AM
  • Snubs

Lily Allen Snubbed the Band Aid Charity Single Because It's ‘Smug’

There was a reason why you didn't see Lily Allen in the star-studded 30th anniversary reboot of the Band Aid charity single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" The song featured all the British famouses, from Sam Smith to One Direction. Noticeably absent were Adele (who isn't responding to her manager) and Allen. The singer received an invitation but turned it down. "It’s difficult to explain why I didn’t do it without sounding like a complete ****," she told the Daily Mail. "I prefer to do my charitable bit by donating actual money and not being lumped in with a bunch of people like that." She went on, "It’s like the success club and I'm not really in that club. I don't think I’m above it all — I'm way below it — but there’s something a bit smug about it." As for Sir Bob Geldof, she's chill with him because he doesn't care and is "grumpy" like her. Happy holidays!

Watch Beyoncé Chill Out With Her Girls in ‘7/11’

You may have heard that Beyoncé dropped two singles, "7/11" and "Ring Off," in anticipation of her repackaged — sorry, platinum — album Beyoncé set to go on sale Monday. And last night, Bey released a lo-fi music video for "7/11." She cavorts in her underwear with her gal pals and parties with red Solo cups. It's all very casual, if casual were extremely well put together and edited for extreme precision. Beyoncé!

How Beyond the Lights Takes From the Lives of Real Pop-Stars

Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie," writes Vulture's Bilge Ebiri. "For all its honesty, it’s never slow, and for all its criticism of the music industry, it’s never finger-wagging." It's true — writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood's movie manages to fully evoke our current moment of pop music without directly targeting any one real-life personality. But as you watch, it's difficult not to feel the strange feeling that you might have heard pieces of these stories before. Here are our guesses as to the movie's real-life influences.

Read More  »

Choose Your Own Dating Adventure With the Boys of One Direction in Their Video

Would you like to sip wine with Zayn? How about go ice-skating with Harry? A long drive with Louis? Visit a carnival with Liam? Play Jenga by a warm fireplace with Niall? Well, today's your lucky day. The boys have crafted the perfect emotional weapon to further ensnare their hysterical fans: a first-person music video. And despite the twist ending(s), I'd totally suffer the vomit and sprained ankles for one of these dream dates. (Specifically the Harry one, if he'd be into dating a blogger.)

  • Posted 11/20/14 at 3:00 PM
  • Music

Country Singer Ty Herndon Is ‘Out and Proud’

Ty Herndon has been telling people he's gay for decades, but this week, he finally told People. "I'm an out, proud and happy gay man," the country star tells the magazine. Herndon says he's been out to friends and family for a long time but was inspired by a Tony Robbins seminar to come out publicly. He hopes that his announcement "could help someone's son or daughter or grandchild's life not be as difficult as mine has been." 

Read More  »

  • Posted 11/20/14 at 1:15 PM
  • Music

Talking to Chvrches About Their Hunger Games Song and How We Are All ‘Sad Sacks of Meat’

If your town is bigger than Peoria, there's a steady chance that Chvrches has swung by a few times in the past two years: The Scottish trio has been touring steadily in support of debut album The Bones of What You Believe since early 2013. In between concerts, though, the band still found time to contribute a new song, "Dead Air," to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay soundtrack, which was personally curated by Lorde herself. Vulture caught up with the band the day they played VH1's You Oughta Know concert to discuss what makes a great soundtrack song, how they've been dealing with online misogyny, and which of them would survive an actual Hunger Games.

Read More  »

  • Posted 11/19/14 at 5:05 PM
  • Music

Interpol Has Been Snowed In on a Highway for Almost Two Days

Interpol, those black-clad avatars of downtown cool, is currently trapped in a harrowing tale of survival. For two days now, the band's tour bus has been snowbound in the deadly blizzard that dumped four feet of snow on western New York. Interpol was on the way to play a show in Toronto, but that gig has obviously been canceled. The good news is the members are all alive and tweeting. 

Read More  »

  • Posted 11/19/14 at 12:35 PM
  • Music

Hear Snippets of the Two New Beyoncé Songs, ‘711’ and ‘Ring Off’ [Updated]

"711" is one of two new songs on the Beyoncé boxed set coming next month, but you can hear 30 seconds of it right now. The leaked clip is harder than anything on the original album, save maybe "Flawless": Bey brags about "flexin' while my hands up," and other assorted signs of self-confidence. We'll have to wait for the full version to get the verse about Taquitos.

Read More  »

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