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.
Every week, Vulture highlights the best new music. If the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best music.
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.
If there’s anything the last six months has taught America, it’s that you can’t leave anything up to chance. After Garth Brooks publicly expressed a willingness to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration this coming Friday, many of his fans were disappointed to learn that the country music superstar will be ringing in the new term in Cincinnati, Ohio, instead of Washington, D.C. In a new Facebook video, the singer explained that, while he had discussed performing, he decided in the end to let the chips fall where they may — and due to his concert schedule, they fell all over Cincinnati. “We left it up to karma,” Brooks says in the video. “We said, if Cincinnati goes two wekends instead of one, then of course, we’re out. Sure enough, Cincinnati did five shows, two weekends and backed us up into there, so we got knocked out of it.”
Young Thug Let the Director Annotate His New Music Video to Show All the Ways It Went Hilariously AwryBy Dee Lockett
In what is now the strongest case for having a Grammy for Best Music-Video Fail, Young Thug has released an all-time contender with his video for last year's "Wyclef Jean." But don't thank him. Hell, don't even award him. Because despite this being Young Thug's video, he never showed up to the set to film a single thing for it. Instead, all gratitude should go to the video's director, Ryan Staake, for his heroics in salvaging a completely botched video shoot and turning it into meta-genius. Rather than scrapping the video altogether, Thugger allowed Staake to use what he filmed — lots of models in kid-size cars, kid cops, cop-car bashing, you get the idea — plus audio of Thugger explaining the video's elaborate treatment combined with a brief clip of Thugger eating Cheetos to use in his absence, and to annotate it all with behind-the-scenes details (no matter how unflattering) on how the whole thing went to shit. Embrace the chaos of 2017's best/worst music video so far.
For those less inclined to make a pilgrimage out to the desert for the purposes of seeing live music with hordes of teens, fear not, because Radiohead has planned ahead. In addition to their headlining sets at this year's controversy-plagued Coachella, the band has announced a short-but-sweet U.S. tour. From March 30 through April 21, they'll hit other parts of California, plus Seattle, New Orleans, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Portland surrounding their Coachella dates. These will be Radiohead's first new shows since last year's world tour, which already made a stop in New York City in case you're feeling left out. Tickets go on sale January 20, but unlike true love, they probably won't wait around all that long for you to commit.
If the premiere episode of HBO’s The Young Pope offers any hints about what’s in store for the rest of the season, it’s to expect complete and utter tonal dissonance. This is perhaps most evident in the music, which eschews quintessential hymns in favor of a pulsating electronic and guitar-heavy score.
“Leaving aside the difficulty of rationalizing a creative process that is the product of intuitions and of chance, I would define the score as a sort of musical syncretism,” Young Pope music supervisor Lele Marchitelli told us. "Or a convergence of apparently irreconcilable elements, or a musical promiscuity.” Marchitelli worked closely with showrunner Paolo Sorrentino to flesh out the original score and song options, which he likens to having the flair of one long film as opposed to a ten-episode television series.
If the Grammys aren't enough to curb your international-music appetite, the Brit Awards are here to save the day by releasing their well-stacked 2017 nomination list. Girl group Little Mix and Mercury Prize–winning grime artist Skepta lead the 2017 class with three noms apiece, while David Bowie, the 1975, Coldplay, and Zayn each scored multiple noms of their own. The battle for International Female Solo Artist may prove to be the most intriguing, though, with sisters Beyoncé and Solange facing off against the likes of Rihanna and Sia for the top honor. The entire list of nominees can be viewed below, and you can watch the ceremony live when it airs on February 22.
Jennifer Holliday Is ‘Very Disheartened’ That Word of Her Inauguration Performance Generated So Much HateBy Devon Ivie
Yesterday, Donald Trump's presidential-inauguration festivities got a boost of star power — country crooner Toby Keith, rockers 3 Doors Down, and Broadway songstress Jennifer Holliday all confirmed they would be performing at a pre-inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial on January 19. Though Holliday's publicist initially disputed her involvement, Holliday then herself offered a few words to her fans to confirm the news, telling the New York Times that she doesn't have "a dog in this fight" and that we should all "pray" on the success of America. Still, it appears Holliday's choice engendered some ill-will towards her, as she simultaneously defended her choice to perform during the inauguration and reprimanded her detractors to Billboard. "I was like, nobody knows that I'm alive and then I decide to sing a song and I wake up and they all hate me," the Hillary Clinton supporter explained. "I haven't even endorsed anything. I'm not singing for Donald Trump; I'm singing to welcome the people of America. He cannot be the only face that's gonna represent us. And just to have all white people up there singing is not going to be a fair representation either. So you're just saying don't go? Really? I'm just very disheartened by it that it would be so much hate."
You're probably well aware at this point that Donald Trump's upcoming presidential inauguration is lacking in prominent A-list talent, with the transition team now in damage-control mode, choosing to label the event as one with a "soft sensuality." Former America's Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho is one of a few performers booked for the political gig — she'll be singing the national anthem — and despite a notable amount of backlash to get the teen singer to withdraw from performing, Evancho recently discussed why she should do it for her country, insisting that people are hating on her "for the wrong reason." Now, Evancho's transgender sister, Juliet, is voicing support for her sister, saying it's an opportunity that she simply couldn't pass up. "The way I look at it is, Jackie is singing for our country, and it's an honor for her to be singing in front of so many people," she told CBS Sunday Morning. "So I feel that's really where I look at it. And that's where I'm going to leave it right now." Born Jacob, Juliet is currently leading a lawsuit against their local Pennsylvania school district over the right to use women's bathrooms. She will not be attending the inauguration due to "prior engagements."
The long and winding tale of the band Fleetwood Mac is adding another twist to its rich history. Christine McVie has teamed up with Lindsey Buckingham for a duet album, and it will be the first full-length collaboration in their decades-long creative relationship. McVie, of course, took a 16-year hiatus from the band, before rejoining it for the On With the Show tour in 2014, and Buckingham has spent his share of time away from the group over the course of its half-century in existence. Of the new project, Buckingham tells the L.A. Times that he “loved doing it,” adding that, “All these years we've had this rapport, but we'd never really thought about doing a duet album before. There is that album that I did with Stevie back before we joined the band, but other than that, it's all been Fleetwood Mac or solo.” And for McVie’s part, it sounds like the endeavor has given her a whole new creative life to explore: “You know, a better thing's never happened to me. I've reconnected with the band and found a fantastic person to write with.” The album, currently called Buckingham McVie, is loosely scheduled to drop in May.
The xx Covered Drake and Rihanna’s ‘Too Good’ and Made It Even More Depressing (But Still Very Good)By Dee Lockett
The love affair between the xx and Drake dates as far back as Jamie xx producing Drake and Rihanna's "Take Care," Drake calling the xx an influence on his work, and then the xx pretty much saying "ditto" in regard to Drake inspiring the title of their new album I See You (a song on it also nearly quoted him), not to mention even Rihanna sampling the xx on one of her own songs. At last, the xx and Drake's mutual admiration has come full circle, with the xx covering Drake and Rihanna's "Too Good" in the BBC Live Lounge, which is a curious song choice considering it speaks to a lack of reciprocity in a relationship. Clearly not a problem for them! It's mostly a downer of a song, but at least Drake and Rihanna sampled Popcaan to make it a tiny bit danceable. Leave it to the xx to transform the song into a full-on breakup ballad, which sounds not as good as the original, but still too damn good.
In news that will upset plenty in Stars Hollow, Paul Anka has had to back out of performing at Donald Trump's inauguration. But not for reasons you might think! In an interview with TMZ, Anka says that he and his "old friend of 50 years" had started a "dialogue" for Anka to perform Trump's favorite song, "My Way," at the inauguration ball as Trump and Melania's first dance as president and First Lady, but unfortunately Anka can no longer attend because of a scheduling conflict related to a custody battle over his son. So don't anyone go thinking Anka is protesting Trump's presidency: "I was hoping there'd be an understanding out there [that] because I have a respect for the office of the presidency and America, I was doing this in terms of what's good for our country," he said. "And judge me accordingly." He wouldn't, however, actually outright align himself with Trump's views ("you've got a better chance of getting sunrise past a rooster on that one," he joked), so at least Lorelai Gilmore can sleep somewhat more soundly at night.
Mitski, Angel Olsen, Toro Y Moi, and More to Release Anti-Trump Songs Every Day for the First 100 Days of His PresidencyBy Dee Lockett
From the people that brought us 30 days of anti-Trump songs in the lead-up to the presidential election now comes an even greater protest initiative. Secretly Group, 30 Days, 30 Songs, and Revolutions Per Minute have launched Our First 100 Days, a subscription to a compilation that'll release an anti-Trump song every day for the first 100 days of his presidency. It'll feature "rare, unreleased, or exclusive" songs from Mitski, Angel Olsen, Tory Y Moi, Whitney, How to Dress Well, the Mountain Goats, PWR BTTM, S. Carey, Into It. Over It., Torres, Bully, Minus the Bear, and dozens of other indie-approved artists. All you have to do is pay the minimum donation of $30 for a subscription and the compilation will begin rolling out on Inauguration Day, with all proceeds going to various charities aimed at supporting the many causes that will likely be under siege by Trump's administration. (They include All Above All, Cosecha, Hoosier Action, People’s Climate Movement, Southerners on New Ground, and Revolutions Per Minute.) Now, if only there was some sort of guide for how to write the perfect anti-Trump song.
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) Trailer: EODM Make Harrowing Return to Paris in HBO DocBy Dee Lockett
More than a year after the terrorist attacks in Paris, a new HBO documentary from Colin Hanks will capture the return of the band at the center of it all to the city where tragedy struck. On November 13, 2015, terrorists opened fire during an Eagles of Death Metal show at Paris' Le Bataclan, killing 89 people. Three months later, in February 2016, the visibly shaken band revisited Paris to perform there once again, at a different venue. Hanks was on hand to film the emotional night for his documentary, which includes interviews with the band members, including Josh Homme, as well as Bono, who performed with EODM in Paris just a month after the attacks. The doc will also include some footage and audio from inside the Bataclan the night of the attack that might be considered disturbing, bits of which are briefly seen and heard in its first trailer. "I saw fear take ahold of everyone in that theater," the band's lead singer Jesse Hughes says. Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) debuts February 13 on HBO, almost a year to the day after the band's return to Paris.
It’s easy to see why Damien Chazelle's La La Land was such a hit at the Golden Globes. The film is a charming romance of Hollywood nostalgia, one that boasts eye-catching cinematography, a robust musical score, and a crackling chemistry between the two leads. Its clear-eyed look at love and sacrifice will resonate with anyone who's had creative dreams. But if you know anything about music, the movie stops dead in its tracks when Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, starts to profess his love for jazz. It’s not just Emma Stone’s Mia who finds his jazz pedantry annoying. Nearly every jazz musician under 40 would be peeved, too, and with good reason: Sebastian would hate what they’re doing. What should be a homage to jazz turns out to have narrow vision of the genre, aiming to draw hard boundaries around what it should and shouldn’t be — a stance that's out of step with what the jazz scene actually looks like today.
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