There's a particular time of the year when I feel completely at one with today's pop music audience--and sure enough, as always, it was this weekend, as I joyously watched the exciting American Music Awards!
For starters, the dominating presence of rock god Justin Bieber--the colorful youngster who has won America's hearts and minds thanks to his marvelous pop sense, his intriguing tattoos, and his righteous anger at, in his words, "all the haters who thought I'd be around for 1, 2 years"--won big! Bieber wisely realizes he's got perhaps three years and six months before he vanishes off the face of the Earth, so he's got a right to gloat at those who suspect him to be nothing more than a passing fancy! And how about that hair?
Other winners included Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Usher, Linkin Park, Carly Rae Jepsen and . . . oh, crap, I lost that link to Hollywoodlife.com that listed all the winners and allowed journalists who'd rather watch reruns of Luther to pretend they actually watched the AMAs and had valid opinions!
In other news, journalists trapped on a nightmarish 7-day jaunt with pop goddess Rihanna are said to be drunken, filled with hate, and virtually gleeful that they didn't have to talk to her! "I'm not sure what she really does," reported one writer during a Skype interview minutes before passing out on an airline tray filled with caviar, flutes of champagne, and his journalistic ethics! "Hey, can I Tweet this?"
Rihanna: Unapologetic (Def Jam) All eyes are on Rihanna right now, as they certainly should be, following the legal troubles that have ensued since her recent "Last Girl On Earth" tour--after which it was revealed that, in fact, there were several more girls on Earth during her trek, and false advertising, as always, will come back and haunt you no matter who you are! Though my personal copy of this new album was sadly defaced by a vandal's collection of Magic Markers, suffice it to say that it bears a wonderful cover portrait and 14 stunning songs, all of which contain beats, rhythm, guest stars like Eminem and Chris Brown (she knows him!), and some chick singing who is probably Rihanna, but I don't even care! My goal is to simply meet her, take her to a party, have my picture taken with her and have it posted on the Internet! Later, I'll tell people that yeah, I met her, but she was kind of dull! Incidentally, I live in L.A.!
Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day (Swan Song/Atlantic) Though I missed the opportunity to witness this historic reunion concert as it happened, this nifty new package, which in various configurations (2-CD, 2-CD/DVD, 2-CD/2-DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.) documents the legendary band's one-time-only 2007 reunion performance, is maybe even better than being there! For starters, it's cheaper! Secondly, when the band runs through their many hits--well, relatively speaking--you can see them up close and personal, rather than from a distance, with expensive drinks in your hand, sitting next to British people you don't know who perhaps have different standards of hygiene than you might! Plus, you can always press pause, go to the bathroom, and come back and watch "Trampled Under Foot" just as it's starting! The band is in fine shape, relatively speaking, and the unique nature of this event--these are dudes who called it a day when they should have--makes it all the more memorable and, dare I say, classy! Buy it, watch it at home on your couch, maybe pick up a bottle of wine or two, and after two or three songs you won't even mind that Rihanna is nowhere to be seen!
Phillip Phillips: The World From The Side Of The Moon (19 Recordings) With one of the snazziest names in pop music history and a stellar appearance in America's favorite musical variety show--American Idol--behind him, Phillip Phillips would appear to have the entire world in his grasp! And he knows it! Thus this album title, which indicates, with purposeful irony, that despite the promise his television stardom has brought him, he's still essentially miles and miles away from the superstardom he likely set his sights upon years ago! Striking mostly for his admirable inoffensiveness, Phillips should appeal to fans of the Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Damien Rice, Jonny Lang, Jon Butler, Ozzy Osbourne, Red Skelton, metal bands Overkill and Testament, and--perhaps unexpectedly--Toni Braxton, Patti Austin and Reba McEntire! For that matter, he should appeal to fans of world peace and those of us who are strongly against bullying! But you know what? "Should" really doesn't mean much! Besides, what the heck is up with that dumb name?
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