On Nov. 27, Kanye West brought his Yeezus Tour to a largely undersold Bridgestone Arena. Several factors are likely to blame for all of the empty seats — it was Thanksgiving Eve, and the show had been tacked onto the tour itinerary and announced particularly late. Nevertheless, it was a thoroughly entertaining performance — complete with all the messianic imagery we've been hearing about — and The Spin will have a review of that for you later today. For now, however, get a load of this.
Amid all of Kanye's wild production — from the dozen nearly nude women who carried him around to a fire-breathing glacier and a gigantic, circular LED screen — came a 20-minute big-picture rant from the enraging-to-some MC. Cream contributor Lance Conzett was slated to take photos of the show for us, but he was not granted a photo pass (which appears to be the standard for every show on this tour: no photos, at all). Still, Conzett was there, and he managed to capture all 20 minutes (well, 19 minutes, 49 seconds) of Ye's rant on video. (Here's Lance's YouTube page.) In the clip, which you can watch above, the mask-clad West asks in an Auto-Tuned croon, "Can I talk my shit at y'all?" He proceeds to discuss how he's perceived, his celebrity, his ambitions and his relationships with various corporations (spoiler: they need him more than he needs them) — he doesn't care for the fact that corporations treat him "like I ain't the most important artist of the past 10 years," or "like 15,000 people don't come [to see him] every night." He calls out Nike honcho Mark Parker for "letting go of culture" and not taking Kanye's calls, despite the popularity of the Air Yeezys. "Nike would make you believe that it was my fault you couldn't get [the Yeezys], but that was not the case." He goes on to note that he doesn't "care about another Grammy," and that the heads of both Disney and Louis Vuitton had wished him a happy Thanksgiving that day.
Also, do not tell Kanye to take his mask off. Do you not look at the World Wide Web? It comes off when white Jesus comes out.
But one interesting thing about Itoro's feature — and about nearly every other drop of ink and pixel spilled over West in recent months — is the vitriolic response it garnered. The same thing happened on the Scene's Facebook wall when we shared the Kanye show announcement. Some of the responses were extreme (and, dare I say, hyperbolic), calling the superstar names like "psychopath." People call the star egotistical, arrogant, overrated, on and on and on.
Here's the thing: Aren't pop stars supposed to be arrogant? Aren't they supposed to have outsized egos? Aren't they supposed to say outlandish things and co-opt crazy symbolism and make occasionally baffling (and in my opinion, utterly entertaining) pieces of performance art? We're all talking about every move the rapper makes, after all, and that's precisely what we demand from our pop idols: that they keep us enthralled, and inspire LOL-worthy parodies.
So why do people have such knee-jerk responses to West? I've heard many say that he's untalented, and that's just flat-out wrong. Whether or not you're a fan of West's music, he's got an assortment of undeniable rap-pop gems under his belt, from Yeezus' "Black Skinhead" to The College Dropout's "Jesus Walks" and "Through the Wire," not to mention about half of the stuff on Watch the Throne. The guy HAS talent. So he's not your cup of tea, and he runs his mouth too much for your liking. That's fine. But isn't there something a little disconcerting about how personally offended some people seem to be merely by West's existence? I consider John Mayer a pretty intolerable stain on the fabric of American music, but I never find myself flying into fits of blind rage in comments sections over him (even when he says genuinely racist shit).
What I need to know is this: Why do people get their panties in such a twist over this guy? Tell me how you really feel about Kanye West. He's hardly the first rapper or pop star to compare himself to a god. He's not the first musician to cross over into fashion or marry an oft-maligned attractive person. He's definitely not the first celebrity to give his kid a silly name. So what's the deal? Tell me how you really feel.
Last night, Kanye West's Yeezus Tour took over the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Apparently it went down just as you might expect, with plenty of righteous ranting from a diamond-mask-adorned Ye (amen). That's to be expected. But the novel bit was this: Absolute legends A Tribe Called Quest opened with a reportedly excellent set, and according to the Tribesmen themselves, it will be their second-to-last performance ever (the last is slated to go down Sunday at Kanye's Madison Square Garden appearance).
Well, bummer that ATCQ won't be opening for Kanye at his Nashville stop next week, but how's this for a consolation? Jet-setting Nashville resident Jack White was at last night's show, and according to this photo posted to Q-Tip's Facebook page (and above), he did some backstage hanging with Tribe, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Busta Rhymes and a rather brawny-looking Dave Chappelle (dude is ripped now, in case you didn't know).
So, who here thinks White was there representing his label in an attempt to get Tribe to come cut a Third Man album in Nashville? A pipe dream, perhaps, but certainly not the most impossible collab to imagine.
"In the Cold, Cold Night" stands out in the Stripes' catalog not only because of the unusual Meg White vocal, but also because of the spare accompaniment and unsettling, ambiguous sentiment — is it a come-on directed at a stalker, or an expression of a love that has to remain secret because it's socially unacceptable, and it sounds menacing because the singer is resentful? There's no shortage of covers, including an up-tempo, retro-electro version that English songstress Tracey Thorn put on her Christmas album last year. Wanda and Shooter's take is a little closer to the original's determined creepiness, replacing the slinky guitar with a piano and adding in some subtly industrial brass and percussion accents, spooky detuned vocal doubling and some sweet, fat organ licks.
The other 13 tracks cover the Stripes, The Raconteurs and White's solo work, with contributors spanning from early R&B and rockabilly pros like Gary U.S. Bonds and Johnny Powers to contemporary luminaries like Los Straitjackets and J.D. Wilkes and The Dirt Daubers. One especially eyebrow-raising contribution is R&B sax hero Big Jay McNeely and Hawkwind sax man Nik Turner performing "I'm Shakin'" as featured on Blunderbuss (side note: this is actually a Little Willie John cover itself; John also did the original "Fever," coincidentally a pretty strong influence on "Cold, Cold Night").
Said Coyne in a tweet bright and early this morning, "As of now ...sadly there will be no Lip$ha.... I can't say why... It is sad..." There have been no further tweets from either Coyne or Ke$ha on the matter.
What I really want to know is this: If Lipsha did any preliminary tracking (demos or otherwise), do any Nashvillians have any tracks they'd like to leak? If not, does anyone care to do a mash-up of The Soft Bulletin and Animal for us (The Soft Animal)? Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and Warrior (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Warrior)?
Update: As noted by Spin and others, a petition is currently being circulated by Ke$ha fans to free the star from her multi-album contract with noted pop producer Dr. Luke. Some think the Lipsha album has been nixed because of Luke's "puppeteer"-like control over Ke$ha.
We are introduced to “The Most Exciting Stars in Music Today.”
Luke Bryan sings a song in a sequined shirt and baseball cap. “This is a CMA kind of night!” he says. I don’t recognize his face but I recognize his name.
Then two guys come up to the stage. I don’t know who they are. Taylor Swift knows because she stands up to sing. I think the song is called “Trying to Get Our Buzz On,” and I wonder if I could drink a whole box of wine on a school night.
Of course, any 50-minute (after commercials) exploration of a city as storied and complex as Nashville is, by design, going to be pretty cursory. And For the Love was certainly that. (Though I must say I'm happy, perfunctory as it was, that the R&B scene of Nashville in the '50s was mentioned — de facto Music City historians like Marty Stuart and Vince Gill are good for that sort of thing.) It was a pretty big dose of boosterism. Sort of a pat on our own back, shot through with plenty of positivity and reverence and Ryman worshiping, with occasional clips of Kings of Leon or JEFF the Brotherhood (!) performing. No Lambchop though. At all.
So, did you watch? I want to know what you guys thought of this thing. Here's my two cents, condensed about as lean and tight as it'll go: Yes, Nashville is a very special place. I'm a native, and always happy to see outsiders acknowledging our legacy and cultural contributions (on a national and international level), and believe it or not, I don't really get tired of people's Johnny Cash and Ryman reverence (I'm still of the opinion that neither is overrated). But this "It City" thing. Does it feel a bit fleeting to anyone else? A bit shallow? Weren't we pretty cool back in the days of the Nashville Curse, in the days of Altman? Some rock stars and a network-television program set up shop here, so now we're worthy of the national spotlight? Of course, we've flirted with "hip" status in the past, but not quite like this. All right, I'm beginning to meander.
What I'm saying is, tell me how you really feel about For the Love of Music: The Story of Nashville. Did you eat it up, thinking it's exactly the sort of attention we're due? Did you think it was pretentious or masturbatory? Did you find it enlightening or informative? Negligible? Funny? Smart? Dumb? Outsiders, are you thinking of moving here now? Was it just something to watch other than football? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, if you have thoughts on it at all.
In last night's episode of ABC's Nashville — titled "I Don't Wanna Talk About It Now" and handily recapped by our own Ashley Spurgeon over on sister blog Country Life — Clare Bowen's character Scarlett O'Connor underwent a bit of a makeover. O'Connor (who Spurgeon brilliantly describes both as a "hayseed" and "a dog-eared copy of The Baby-Sitter’s Club that your mom threw out without even asking") proceeds to perform a sultry little number by the name of "Waitin'." Watch a clip of that above. Fans of local country chanteuse Caitlin Rose will of course recognize "Waitin'" as the third track from this year's The Stand-In, which Rose co-wrote with fellow locals Mark Fredson, Jordan Lehning and Skylar Wilson. You can download that shiz via iTunes.
Head after the jump to see Rose and her band performing "Waitin'," a song that Rose introduces as "mean and stuff." So, how was Bowen's delivery of the tune? Did she get the "mean and stuff" vibe right? Do you like her lipstick? Does anyone know what the hell venue that is? Should Rose's pedal steel player, Spencer Cullum Jr., start playing steel standing up like Scarlett's dude? By the way, last night's episode also featured a tune by Rose's bassist, Reno Bo. Go here to see all the songs featured on Nashville. Hashtag Real Nashville.
The songs and performances that James delivered those two nights were like a cross-section of the state of R&B at the time — from the juke-joint blues of “Baby, Any Way You Want Me to Do,” to the smokin’ rock ’n’ roll of “Money (That’s What I Want),” on through the rollicking soul shouting of “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and the heartbreak-soul balladry of “All I Could Do Was Cry.” Throughout the recordings James was backed by a crack band led by famed guitarist David T. Walker. The energy that James and the band poured into their performances was reflected by the rowdy crowd that can be heard shouting and applauding throughout the recordings.
[…] follows Ben and Jewel Tankard, self-dubbed “The Black Brady Bunch.” This southern family integrates their strong religious conviction with their penchant for the finer things in life.
I don’t recall The Brady Bunch being particularly religious, or wealthy, or prolific gospel musicians (like Tankard), or motivational speakers for the NBA (also like Tankard), or advocates for private aviation (oh, that Tankard!) but they are a blended family, so please, carry on:
With the belief that “God wants us all to be millionaires,” the Tankards aim to be the best and brightest in everything they do.
Oh, He does? I can see how the prosperity gospel would be attractive for people who enjoy things like croquet and owning airplanes, and anyone with a cursory knowledge of theology knows that the Bible is full of contradictory statements. Why listen to the rare explicitness of 1 Timothy 6:10 or Matthew 6:24 when you can double down on whatever is happening in Malachi 3:10?
The series is described as “Nashville-based,” but don’t worry guys: According to Ben’s treasure of a website (there’s a section titled “Benspirations”), they clearly operate out of Murfreesboro.
Thicker Than Water debuts on Bravo Nov. 10.
Totally agree with Caves as top album of the year----killer album!
Mac was in the first Southern Rock group called Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry,…
We covered this. He is talented.
Does puke come in piles?
It's not because he's black, altho his being black & throwing it in our face…
Guys it's because he's black.