Watched most of the B.E.T Awards the other night (we'll all get many, many, MANY more opportunities to see it, trust me) and here's a random collection of high/low lights and general thoughts.
Gnarls Barkley won best group which was a big surprise to me given that "blazing hip hop & R&B Radio" didn't show them much love and they are kind of weird. Then again, the number of "groups" in the R&B/hip hop realm is pretty small so perhaps BET was just acknowledging the the fact that they had a huge hit with "Crazy."
First, let's give a salute to the always fun to watch combination of taut, rounded body parts, honed talent, unwavering drive and careful management that all adds up to BEYONCE.
Second, what the hell was with the Robot Suit she was wearing at the beginning of her song, "Get Me Bodied?" She looked like a lost extra from "Metropolis" or a B-3P0 doll and then just as your wondering what that has to do with the song she strips down to gold lame pants.
Not that I'm complaining
Speaking of Beyonce, here's a lesson for all aspiring R&B singers who wish to ascend to the Miss B's and folks like Usher's heights.
You probably already realize that if you really want to hit the big time, being able to sing is not going to be enough. There must be "SHOW" and that means dancing and singing at the same time.
One word: CARDIO
Beyonce didn't stop bouncing or wiggling for one moment during her performance and her voice wavered not one iota.
Usher (who recently announced that he knocked up his 37 year old wife, congrats) who's stage show is damn near a string of dance routines broken up by music also never sounds out of breath.
By contrast, former Destined Child Kelly Rowland who performed new single "Like This" immediately after B finished hers sounded winded after the first verse.
Kelly Clarkson that's who.
Well, Kelly C has been having difficulties convincing her record company that the "new edgy" sound that makes up the bulk of album number three is commercially viable.
Apprently, she has co-written all of the tunes and the lead single Never Again, is one of those bitter kiss-off chick tunes (Alanis Morrissette specialized in this for quite awhile, and Miranda Roberts is currently working it pretty well with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) that should resonate with the young portion of her audience that is just getting into teenage affairs of the heart.
Clive Davis has been bitching and moaning about the "darkness" of the record and reportedly offered Clarkson a boatload of money to exchange five tracks on the album with five more peppier radio-friendly tracks and she repeatedly said "no".
Good for her.
If, as she has stated, she's more interested in being an "artist" than a "pop star" than certainly sticking to your creative guns is the way to go (Clive Davis won't be the person singing those songs every night on tour). Yeah, she may shed a few fans frightened by power chords but if your gonna go down, go down swinging your own damn bat, I say.
Additionally, whatever big ass plans Davis and her (now former) management had for her "major" arena tour weren't going to work anyway because ticket sales were so slow that it had to be cancelled. surely by fall when she will likely try again, it will be downsized considerably and she will probably be better for it.
The entire album due for release next tuesday (the 26yth) is being streamed by MTV
and after checking out a few of the tunes, I can't really see what the big damn deal is.
"Edgy" is of course a relative term and what was edgy a few years ago can easily become standard once it starts making money (hip hop, alt-rock, pop metal, punk, emo) and gets watered down for the masses...and commercials....and crappy montages in crappy movies.
Yeah, songs like "Hole," the single "Never Again" and the bluesy-funk riffage of "Yeah"
rock harder than her previous stuff (several songs she co-wrote the songs with band members), but it's still sounds pretty damn slick and "active rock" radio friendly to me.
Does Amy Lee get to be the only female rocker under 30 in the mainstream eye?
(And no, the nasally bubblegum crap Avril Lavigne's currently peddling as rock doesn't count.)
Lyrically it seems that Miss Kelly has had her heart broken recently, which again should play well with the part of her fanbase that uses "journal" as a verb.
It seems to me Clive is being a bit shortsighted and though I have no intention of buying the record, I do think there's a fan base for a young rock chick who can actually sing and just as mainstream Hip Hop desperately needs some strong (non naked) females to offset the unchecked knuckleheaded machismo, let's get some female voices on rock radio (also a relative term) next to Nickelback and Daughtry
...Because Stewart Copeland says so.
On a recent blog entry, Copeland ripped the band for it's crappy Vancouver show only the second of their sure to be triumphant reunion tour/raging cash cow. Commenting that "The mighty Sting momentarily looks like a petulant pansy instead of the god of rock," during a screwed up ending to Synchronicity and that the show was generally a hot mess.
But fear not ticket holders because unlike the old days when STing and Stew would bitch and moan and possibly punch each other while Andy ignored them both, these days it's no big deal.
"It usually takes about four or five shows in a tour before you get to the disaster gig. But we're The Police so we are a little ahead of schedule," he said.
"Screw it, it's only music," he concluded.
"What are you gonna do? But maybe it's time to get out of Vancouver."
Presumably they'll have all the musical kinks worked out by the time they get here but maybe Sting & Stew will be back to hating each other.