Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Don't Start a Ri-ot

Back in 1996, it may surprise some who know me now to learn, I was a Grade A, card-carrying prude. I certainly would have cried had my dog run away, I had no bills to pay, and the idea of my mom smoking pot was too laughably ludicrous to even consider (still is). In 2010, I quite often rise up to the street early in the morning, cigarette lit and shoes strapped on, pondering possible reasons my money's all gone; I'd love a dalmation, and on certain rough days probably could use a little getting high (I cannot, however, play the guitar like a motherfucking anything). But one thing that has not changed for me in the intermediate fourteen years is my enjoyment of a certain big mid-nineties hit by the great band of yore, Sublime.



"What I Got"
Sublime
Sublime
(Gasoline Alley, 1996)


Trivia: The story behind the breezy, cheerful, realistically optimistic mood-brightener that is "What I Got" is actually quite a downbeat one. One month before the Long Beach ska-punk band's third album and major label debut was released, Sublime's lead singer Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose at age 28 after a gig in Petaluma, CA. Originally intended to be titled Killin' It (wisely changed following Nowell's untimely death), Sublime nearly did not see release, but on July 30, 1996 the retitled album debuted and eventually went 5x platinum, and singles "What I Got," "Santeria" and "Wrong Way" became legitimate mainstream successes. Like Nirvana had done two years earlier after the death of lead singer Kurt Cobain, Sublime disbanded following Nowell's death. To leave you on a lighter note, however, the canine mentioned in "What I Got" did actually exist, in the form of Lou Dog, Nowell's dalmation that served as the band's mascot.

Get Sublime's thoroughly enjoyable self-titled third and final album.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Hate To Bug You In The Middle of Dinner

If you're anywhere near my age, chances are you at the very least remember hearing the sounds of an angry caterwauling nineteen year old Canadian emanating out of some form of music player during the middle years of the 1990s, that is if you weren't yourself obsessed with the now legendary emblem of a generation of teen and preteen angst, Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. But after her musically adventurous sophomore album smashed sales records but bamboozled many of her former fans, Morissette's career slowed to a steady idle, where it continues today, three albums later. Morissette toured a few years ago with Barenaked Ladies in support of her 2004 album So-Called Chaos, and it was the first pop/rock concert I'd ever attended (much less spent money on a ticket for), and to this day it remains my favorite. At said concert Morissette, sans backup singers and headbanging jovially, introduced a confused but delighted crowd to some unusual renditions of some of her old songs that later showed up in the tenth anniversary re-release of Jagged Little Pill, a fully re-recorded acoustic reimagining of the iconic 1995 album that, in my mind, rivals if not surpasses the original and is a must-have for any Morissette fan. But how can raging angry-rock anthems like "You Oughta Know" possibly translate to acoustic versions? Well, here's your answer.



"You Oughta Know"
Alanis Morissette
Jagged Little Pill Acoustic
(Maverick, 2005)

Trivia: Alanis Morissette's eighth (!) album, an acoustic re-imagining and re-recording of her third album, Jagged Little Pill, appeared on June 13, 2005 (two days before my birthday...just saying) as a special promotion through Starbucks coffee shops, only being available in North American Starbucks outlets for the first five weeks before it was made available to all retail. Starbucks promotions have certain common aspects, such as the fact that they are not 1. uncommon, nor 2. chart-busters. Besides, by 2005 So-Called Chaos had barely moved a million copies worldwide, and Morissette can't have been seen as a colossal moneymaker overall. So why HMV Canada got its nose so bent out of joint by this Starbucks deal that it pulled all Morissette albums from its stores for the duration of the promotion is as much your guess as it is mine, but happen it did.


Definitely get Alanis Morissette's phenomenal acoustic re-release, Jagged Little Pill Acoustic, one of my favorite albums of all time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ke$ha and "Tik" Top Again, But Is Their Time Limited?

Follow That Chart!
Charts for Week of January 30, 2019
(Data for Week Ending January 24, 2010)

This is the first edition of Vertigo Shtick's new column, Follow That Chart! In this column, which will appear weekly and exclusively on Vertigo Shtick, I will explore and explain several of the most recent Billboard charts, tracking what's up and what's down, what's coming up and what's on its way out, and mostly, why it all happened and what it all might mean! Follow That Chart! will focus specifically on four of the five charts whose Top Ten are listed and updated weekly on the left sidebar of the Vertigo Shtick homepage: the Hot 100, Billboard 200, Radio Songs, and Digital Songs charts. Reader questions or opinions are more than welcome, so please ask or express them via email or in the comments section! And with that, welcome to the inaugural installment of Follow That Chart!

January isn't quite the trash heap in the music industry as it is in the movie business, where bottom-shelf flicks are often banished since most awards eligibility periods end December 31 and the industry's attention is almost entirely focused on the awards season that spans the following three months or so and the films and artists being thus honored. On the music business side, Grammy eligibility ends the last day of August (as of the 2010 Grammys, a shift ahead one month from previous years when eligibility ended September 30), and the sometimes laughably ludicrous immediacy (e.g. Golden Globe nominations - announced December 15, 2009 for the most recent awards - often including films yet to be released) is replaced by a sometimes puzzling datedness, honoring songs that have long left even the most repetitive radio dj's playlist. For instance, consider the current Record of the Year nominees:
  • "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga (released Sept 23, 2008; #1 on Hot 100 April 11)
  • "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift (released November 4, 2008; peaked at #2 on Hot 100 August 12) 
  • "Halo" by Beyonce (released January 20; peaked at #5 on Hot 100 September 5) 
  • "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas (released May 21; first hit #1 on Hot 100 July 11) 
  • "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon (released December 8, 2008; peaked at #4 on Hot 100 Sept 12).
Anyway, while as I said January isn't really a wasteland for music the way it is for other media, it is historically part of one of the two common periods of elongated singles chart domination, albeit the shorter and less certain of the two. In other words, a quick glance at several years' worth of lists of which tracks hit the top spot on the Hot 100 singles chart and when reveal certain commonalities, particularly that in the usual length and time of year of lengthy stays atop the chart for particular tracks. Summer is the worst offender: since 2005, sixteen songs have seen the top of the chart in the 65 weeks that have fallen between June 1 and August 31, including a fourteen non-consecutive week run by Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" in 2005, six weeks at the top for Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" in 2006, seven weeks of Rihanna's "Umbrella" in 2007 and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" in 2008, and the midpoint between The Black Eyed Peas' dominating runs with "Boom Boom Pow" (12 weeks) and "I Gotta Feeling" (14 weeks). But the winter months have seen bulldozers like Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" (14 weeks, 1992-93); Eminem's "Lose Yourself" (12 weeks, 2002-03); Destiny's Child's "Independent Women Part I" (11 weeks, 2000-01) and all time chart champ "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boys II Men (16 weeks, 1995-1996).

By these standards, the run of pop newcomer Ke$ha's debut single "TiK ToK," which celebrates its fifth week atop the Hot 100 this week, along with a smattering of other charts, is impressive if not quite earth-shattering. Considering the track has been at or near the top of iTunes' most downloaded songs since November at least, it was all but inevitable that the lightweight dance-pop number should at least briefly see the top of the major singles chart. Three weeks after it did so, on the chart dated January 2, 2010 (data for the week ending December 20, 2009), it was also unsurprising that the accompanying debut album, Animal, should do what Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige hadn't been able to do: unseat Susan Boyle from the top spot on the Billboard 200 (granted, by then Boyle had been on top for six weeks, and with the holiday shopping season having abated it seems most of the 3.1 million Americans who wanted Boyle's album had gotten it by then). But where last week's charts spelled Ke$ha domination, this week's charts may look quite a bit the same but tell rather different stories of what may be to come.

Hot 100

The top three spots remain unchanged this week, with Lady Gaga biding her time at No. 2 with "Bad Romance" and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys retaining their minor bounce up to No. 3 from last week, prolonging their trip back down the chart. The big news rests with "BedRock" by Young Money Featuring Lloyd, which jumped from No. 8 to No. 4 in what has for the past couple months been an all but stagnant Top Ten. Also noteworthy: Train's single "Hey, Soul Sister," the lead single of an album that has been out since last August and has itself charted since October, also clobbered its way into the pack at No. 7, up from No. 23 last week. Ludacris' "How Low" (No. 10) is back in the top ten after a week's absense.

Three tracks rounding out the top twenty, however, are on trajectories that merit watching: number 18, "Two Is Better Than One" (Boys Like Girls Featuring Taylor Swift), leapt up from number 24 and made strong showings in other charts; "Say Aah" (Trey Songz Featuring Fabolous) jumped to number 19 from number 28; and Lady Gaga and Beyonce's duet "Telephone," which has been working its way up the chart (and radio Top 9 at 9-style nightly request countdowns) despite its official release date still to come on Tuesday January 26, hopping another eleven spots from number 31 to number 20.
  • Who's New
    • 7. "Hey, Soul Sister" Train (up from No. 23)
    • 10. "How Low" Ludacris (up from No. 14)
  • Who's Up
    • 4. "BedRock" Young Money featuring Lloyd (from No. 8)
    • 8. "Hard" Rihanna featuring Jeezy (from No. 9)
  • Who's Down
    • 5. "Replay" Iyaz (from No. 4)
    • 9. "Fireflies" Owl City (from No. 5)
  • Who's Out
    • "Blah Blah Blah" Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3 (No. 12 from No. 7)
    • "Down" Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne (No. 16 from No. 10)
What to Expect: Given the slip in sales of Animal (see below) and the meteoric rise of "BedRock" and "Hey, Soul Sister," the steady climb of "Hard," and this week's airplay release of "Telephone," this week may be "TiK ToK"'s last atop the Hot 100, and if so expect it to be replaced by “BedRock” or possibly “Bad Romance.” (“Hey, Soul Sister” remains a long shot, with airplay likely to hold it back for the upcoming chart.) “Fireflies” will likely drop out of the top ten next week, and “Replay” should begin a steady if slow descent.

Billboard 200

While Susan Boyle's juggernaut I Dreamed a Dream holds in second, Ke$ha's debut album Animal drops to third this week, its slot atop the albums chart usurped by indie rock band Vampire Weekend's sophomore album Contra, debuting at number 1 with 124,000 copies sold, roughly the same number Animal moved the week before. Meanwhile, the big winner this week was Lady Gaga, whose appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show likely boosted sales for debut album The Fame, which in its 64th week on the chart came close to topping Animal's second-week sales of 67,000, and The Fame Monster EP, which leapt four spots to No. 6 with 36,000 sold, up 14% from last week. The new albums from Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige saw sales drops of over 20% (23% and 26%, respectively), while Taylor Swift's Fearless moved another 33,000 copies in its 62nd week on the chart and the Black Eyed Peas sold 32,000 more copies of The E.N.D. in the album's 32nd week. The best debut of the week was Omarion's Ollusion, which sold a measly 19,000 copies without a hit single to advertise for it.
  • Who's New
    • 1. Contra Vampire Weekend (Debut)
  • Who's Up
    • 6. The Fame Monster (EP) Lady Gaga (from No. 10)
  • Who's Down
    • 3. Animal Ke$ha (from No. 1)
    • 4. The Fame Lady Gaga (from No. 3)
    • 5. The Element of Freedom Alicia Keys (from No. 4)
    • 7. Stronger With Each Tear Mary J. Blige (from No. 5)
    • 8. Fearless Taylor Swift (from No. 7)
    • 9. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel Soundtrack (from No. 6)
    • 10. The E.N.D. The Black Eyed Peas (from No. 8)
  • Who's Out
    • My World (EP) Justin Bieber (No. 11 from No. 9)
What to Expect: With typically weak all-around January sales, the Billboard 200 can be seemingly volatile when in fact chart standings reflect far lower sales than, say, late spring or early December, so it can be hard to predict. With Contra's likely sales drop, some pundits (including Billboard's own) have postured Susan Boyle for a comeback at number one, which would mean sales for the week would have to have been drastically underperforming. However, if the Hope for Haiti Now fundraising compilation album is allowed to chart, my bet will be on that one to take the top spot. Also on tap for the upcoming week are a new album from indie rock band Spoon and the 2010 Grammy Nominees compilation album, which could easily end up in the top ten on a lackluster sales week (Hope for Haiti Now being the likely exception).

Radio Songs

The typically most time-delayed chart finally catches up to the rest of the world as "TiK ToK" finally unseats "Empire State of Mind" for the top spot, while "Bad Romance" inches up to second place and the top three, for once, mirror the Hot 100. "BedRock" sits in sixth, a strong standing for such a new track; case in point, the age-old Taylor Swift Grammy-nommed track "You Belong With Me" sits at number 8 for a second week after its baffling re-entry into the top ten several weeks ago (likely due to the upcoming Grammy awards). "How Low," at number 10, is the big gainer, jumping from number 18, while David Guetta and Akon's "Sexy Chick" and Rihanna's "Hard" hold relatively steady in rank but earn airplay increase honors.
  • Who's New
    • 10. "How Low" Ludacris (from No. 18)
  • Who's Up
    • 1. "TiK ToK" Ke$ha (from No. 2)
    • 2. "Bad Romance" Lady Gaga (from No. 3)
    • 4. "Sexy Chick" David Guetta feat. Akon (from No. 5)
    • 6. "BedRock" Young Money feat. Lloyd (from No. 10)
  • Who's Down
    • 3. "Empire State of Mind" Jay-Z and Alicia Keys (from No. 1)
    • 5. "Replay" Iyaz (from No. 4)
    • 7. "Hard" Rihanna feat. Jeezy (from No. 6)
    • 9. "Fireflies" Owl City (from No. 7)
  • Who's Out
    • "Whatcha Say" Jason Derulo (No. 12 from No. 9)
What to Expect: Not much changes week to week on the Radio Songs chart, but expect another week of "TiK ToK" on top while "BedRock"'s climb continues. Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" may show up near the top ten but isn't even in the top 40 this week; Trey Songz' "Say Aah" is the most likely newcomer to the top ten, if there is to be any next week. "Fireflies" and "Replay" should continue down the chart, the former more rapidly than the latter.

Digital Songs

"TiK ToK" reigns another week atop the digital sales chart with bridesmaid "Bad Romance" moving one spot up to regain second after Ke$ha's "Blah Blah Blah" loses steam and drops to fifth. "Hey, Soul Sister" is the big gainer, jumping from 14th to number 3, perhaps because radio stations couldn't or wouldn't play it. "BedRock" jumps three spots to number 4, while the rest of the top ten remains relatively stable.
  • Who's New
    • 3. "Hey, Soul Sister" Train (from No. 14)
  • Who's Up
    • 2. "Bad Romance" Lady Gaga (from No. 3)
    • 4. "BedRock" Young Money feat. Lloyd (from No. 7)
    • 9. "Sexy Bitch" David Guetta feat. Akon (from No. 11)
  • Who's Down
    • 5. "Blah Blah Blah" Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3 (from No. 2)
    • 6. "Empire State of Mind" Jay-Z and Alicia Keys (from No. 5)
    • 7. “Replay” Iyaz (from No. 4)
    • 8. “Fireflies” Owl City (from No. 6)
  • Who's Out
    • “I Gotta Feeling” The Black Eyed Peas (No. 11 from No. 8)
What to Expect: While sales for “Hey, Soul Sister,” “TiK ToK,” “Bad Romance” and “BedRock” should hold steady, several new singles have entered iTunes' Singles download chart, still a strong indicator of overall digital sales. Taylor Swift's “Today Was a Fairytale” from the soundtrack to upcoming rom-com Valentines Day (in which Swift co-stars), Justin Timberlake's Hope for Haiti Now single “Hallelujah,” and fast-rising Black Eyed Peas single “Imma Be” would shock no one should they appear in the top ten on next week's list. Timbaland's “Carry Out” featuring Timberlake, from the new album Shock Value II, is another possibility.


Justin Timberlake performs "Hallelujah" during 
the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon Jan. 22 on MTV.


*                         *                        *

What's in store next week? What shockers might Thursday's music news bring, and what snoozers too? Will Hope for Haiti Now bow atop the Billboard 100 and prove I'm a better prognosticator than the newswriters at Billboard.com? Will we have a new number one Hot 100 single, and if so which will it be? And is "Bad Romance" doomed to membership in the infamous Number 2 club, or can it push ahead of surges by Train and Young Money? Stay tuned until next week where your answers will come to you as we continue to Follow That Chart!

Song for the Day: Jordin Sparks "One Step at a Time"

With the new season of American Idol is kicking off, I find myself more conflicted about the show than I've ever been over the previous eight seasons of the ratings (and pop music) juggernaut. I'll likely elucidate on this inner conflict on another occasion (or, more likely, multiple other occasions), but suffice it to say my relationship with Simon Fuller's Simon Cowell-starring reality singing competition is, and always has been, strained at best. But I thought that something of a white flag on my part might be in order as the three brave souls named Simon (bless him), Kara (songwriter extraordinaire...just not for American Idol) and Randy (who? Oh yeah, him, dawg) and their weekly celebrity guesting fourth (so far we've had Posh Spice, Shania Twain, and Kristin Chenoweth, warming the seat Ellen Degeneres will take over from recently departed original judge Paula Abdul beginning Hollywood week) slog through what I imagine is a hideous amount of aural punishment to try and weed out the two dozen or so finalists who will spend the next several months screeching their tits/balls off to try and earn the 2,000 text messages their 12 year old fan clubs can manage to send in within the time allotment after the "live" shows in hopes of ultimately "winning" a million dollar record contract, a guaranteed #1 single (for a week), and then obscurity while the runners-up win all the Grammys and sell all the albums. *Whew*

That said, there have been a marginal number of actually talented vocalists (and even a couple - dare I say - performers!) to emerge from the depth of this cesspool of pre-teen screaming and general pop ickiness. Kelly Clarkson, winner of the inaugural season, has grown into a legitimate pop star in her own right; Jennifer Hudson (who came in seventh in the third season) won over viewers, critics and Academy voters with her showstopping role in the film version of Dreamgirls, winning an Oscar (among many other awards) in the process; Fantasia Barrino, who won that third season, has gone on to Broadway with a critically supported debut in The Color Purple; Carrie Underwood, season four champ, is easily the Kelly Clarkson of country music, with as much popularity and legitimacy in her own genre; Adam Lambert, season eight runner-up, covered every magazine and has kept people talking to this day about his raunchy (if tonally challenged) performance at the 2009 American Music Awards.

Then there's season six winner Jordin Sparks. The youngest Idol winner so far (17 when crowned), the Arizona native has two top ten albums (one has gone 2x Platinum), three top ten singles, an AMA and a Grammy nod to her name, so she's done all right for herself. There are a number of things I don't love about her: her schmaltzy duet with pre-Rihanna incident Chris Brown ("No Air," the Grammy-nommed track); uncanny yet unacknowledged similarities between the lead single to her sophomore album Battlefield to a certain Pat Benatar song; the fact she was on American Idol; her little anti-slut comment at the 2009 VMAs; and so forth. But there has been one time the young Ms. Sparks has had my full attention, and that is with this track, a single from her self-titled debut album that made minor waves but failed to crack the top 10 (topping out at 17). The use of close harmony, a solid-sounding lead vocal by a then-still young Sparks, and the innocent positivity make up for the utter saccharine quality of the lyrics, in my eyes, at least.


"One Step at a Time"
Jordin Sparks
(Jive Records, 2008)

Trivia: Despite, as I mentioned, the song not making the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, when it peaked at number 17 in August of 2008 Sparks became the first Idol contestant to have her first four singles crack the top twenty on said chart (Idol single "This Is My Now" topped out at number 15, followed by "Tattoo" at number 8, then  "No Air" at number 3). "One Step At a Time" did reach a peak of number 16 on the UK charts despite never being physically released there. The video, which did reach the top spot on VH1's weekly Top 20 Video Countdown (now the de facto replacement for the late MTV video countdown "Total Request Live"), features a cameo by High School Musical co-star Corbin Bleu.

Check out Jordin Sparks' well-reviewed sophomore album Battlefield.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Night at the Grammy Museum

How cool does this sound? Out of the Box Events, an event planner in Los Angeles specializing in public team-building scavenger hunts, is organizing an event this Saturday at the still relatively new Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, right next to the Staples Center where this year's ceremony will be held a week from Sunday. If I had the $27 entry fee I would so be there, dragging my similarly music-minded friends with me whether they liked it or not. But seeing as the normal admission is only $12.95, I may have to take a sojourn there soon and bring back some snapshots of this nifty-sounding new downtown attraction. Let me know if you attend this event!

Hey, while there, maybe someone can find Diana Ross' Grammy award.



Sign up for the Grammy Go Seek event here. (Click "Public Hunts")

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now That It's Raining More Than Ever

Wouldn't you know it, the very day after I use a song by Rihanna as the song for the day, the sky over Southern California decides to do some projectile aquatic vomiting like it was Linda Blair in The Exorcist. And for those who aren't fortunate enough to dwell in the Southland, there is one accessory our populace never seems to have handy on the rare occasions it's needed: the um-ba-rella. Ella. Ella. Luckily, with this predictable song offering for the day, Marié Digby's got us covered (so to speak) with my favorite of the countless post-Rihanna renditions of the tune. I remember hearing the stretched out, relaxed coda for the first time and wondering how it would end, and when it finally did I think I said aloud to my iPod, "Well done."



"Umbrella"
Marié Digby
Hollywood Records, 2007

Trivia: Marié Digby had produced a little-known album for a Disney subsidiary before she took to YouTube to try and jump-start her career, singing simple acoustic versions of original songs and a few notable covers, including what developed into the track above as well as an intriguing version of Britney Spears' "Gimme More." As is often the way with these tales (at least nowadays), Digby, whose videos had gotten a considerable number of hits, got her largest exposure when the studio recording heard here was featured on the third season premiere of the MTV show The Hills. Digby's original YouTube video has outpaced the other especially notable cover version of "Umbrella" on the site, by erstwhile pop singer Mandy Moore, by about 3 to 1. On her YouTube channel, by the way, Digby is still at it with the covers, recently posting acoustic renditions of such current hits as Lady Gaga's "Telephone" and Owl City's "Fireflies."


Check out Marié Digby's latest album, Breathing Underwater.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Ain't Gon' Stop Until I See Police Lights

Before Rihanna got "edgy" (have you heard? Rihanna's "edgy." She rides on tanks in Mickey Mouse ears and poses for GQ and everything.), she actually was kind of edgy, we just didn't get to hear it much. Here's the proof.



"Breakin' Dishes"
Rihanna
Good Girl Gone Bad
Def Jam Records, 2007


Trivia: "Breakin' Dishes" was one of the two options for the - get this - EIGHTH single released from Rihanna's blockbuster third album Good Girl Gone Bad and its re-release, Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, but Def Jam chose the other possibility, the Justin Timberlake-penned "Rehab," which peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 two weeks after its October 7, 2008 release as a single. The term "blockbuster" for Good Girl Gone Bad is not hyperbole: it went 2x Platinum in the USA (meaning sales of at least two million) and has sold over 7.6 million copies worldwide. "Breakin' Dishes" was one of four tracks on the album written by Christopher "Tricky" Stewart (who also produced) and Terius Nash, aka The-Dream, only one of which was released as a single: the other of Stewart's two production efforts, and arguably Rihanna's biggest hit, "Umbrella."

Get Rihanna's latest album, the "edgy" (but intriguing) Rated R (seriously, you can download the whole thing for $5 on Amazon!).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Inaugural Tweety Awards

As Vertigo Shtick embarks upon its second month of pop music blogging, I'm excited to announce that Vertigo Shtick is now on Twitter! Follow @Vertigo_Shtick for blog updates as well as my various pop music-related ruminations more suited to 140 character updates than full blog posts. It's a two-pronged attack, and I'm very excited.

Over the past couple of days I've browsed around the Twittersphere to find artists, record labels, studios, and other pop music media on Twitter worth following, and it's been neat reading the tweet feed of those I follow as a sort of collaborative narrative on the daily life of pop music personae. I've categorized them into Twitter lists so that others can both find artists, labels or media members they'd like to follow as well, but also created a list containing all of the users I follow, which allows anyone to basically see what my home page feed is like (there is now a box in the right sidebar for this feed). I debated whether or not I ought to follow all relevant pop music-related people and organizations regardless of my personal preferences in the spirit of a thorough reference provider to the pop minded, but I eventually convinced myself that because that's not really Vertigo Shtick's purpose or intent I am allowed to have opinions and not obligated to give everyone equal shrift.

So at this point if a prominent artist or record label does not appear on Vertigo Shtick's Twitter list, which while relatively thorough is by no means exhaustive, it is for one of three reasons:
  1. The artist/record label is not on Twitter (more on that in a minute)
  2. I don't feel like following said user for any number of reasons that are not necessarily hostile (but sometimes are, which is always fun)
  3. I was unable to find him/her/it in searches or hadn't yet thought to look for him/her/it. So please, if you notice an artist, record label, studio, media group or media individual missing from the list that you think would belong, let me know!
Public figures have had mixed success with Twitter over the year or so the site has been a major player in online social networking, partly because it has taken some time for people to figure out (or really, determine) what was or was not appropriate use of this new style of communicating. One of Twitter's unique effects is that it seems to remove almost all barriers between the famous and the everyday schmo; never before have the masses had (theoretical) access to the actual words and thoughts of celebrities in real time without the intervention of publicists, editors, or security guards. And while celeb tweeting pioneers like Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and Demi Moore (@mrskutcher) were sometimes maligned for their often banal public ruminations on daily life, it turned out to be just such unexceptional kinds of information and seemingly informal, authentic insight into the offstage personae of celebrities that has allowed Twitter to become a surprisingly powerful tool in entertainment, one that studios and execs can't control. If all we'd been given access to of former American Idol winner Jordin Sparks (@TheRealJordin), for instance, was her website, album, televised live performances and talk show interviews to promote a product, then hearing her promoting the film District 9 would have mostly blended in with the rest of the marketing campaign with unremarkable impact. Instead, when Sparks tweeted excitedly about the film, it came off more like a text to a friend as she'd just gotten out of the theatre...and when over 400,000 people get that friendly message and pass it on to their friends, within an hour millions of people have gotten the message, and District 9 becomes an unlikely box office hit.

Musicians arguably display more of themselves in their public persona than, say, a film actor, and it makes sense that they have been the most successful as a group with Twitter. The best ones have managed to find a great balance between the freedom of unfiltered expression, which is liberating to both artists and their fans alike, and the inherent marketing potential of the popular site, and the winking in-cahoots camaraderie between artist and consumer is becoming increasingly evident in the industry output, with conversational musical material like Ke$ha's current number one album Animal or the staggeringly loyal following of Lady Gaga, whose recent last-minute cancellation of a concert due to illness was met with millions of get well messages and a palpable absence of backlash; meanwhile, artists who have enjoyed years of massive success without any such verisimilitude or connection are suddenly being taken to task for it (witness the Australian backlash at Britney Spears, who hasn't sung live in ten years and was still the most famous and successful young pop star of the past decade, for not singing live on her Circus tour). And when you think about it, the celebs who offer more of themselves on Twitter and elsewhere, who eliminate a lot of the mystique of celebrity (something some critics have bemoaned in regards to public figures on Twitter) and at least come off as genuinely accessible, are appearing less and less in tabloid journalism and, I believe, probably attract a good deal less paparazzi harassment than less accessible stars like Spears or Rihanna. While this probably means a lot of publicists have found themselves out of a job, it's something I imagine a lot of celebrities, especially musicians, embrace.

Of course, some do it better than others, and there are still a few major players who don't yet do it at all, although I suspect that will not be the case much longer, since at this point it almost seems irresponsible not to have a Twitter account in the way an artist without a website wouldn't be worth professional consideration. And so, as the Golden Globes chug along a few miles away on this rainy Sunday, Vertigo Shtick hereby presents the inaugural Tweety Awards (or the "Tweeties;" I was going to call them the "Twitties" but thought better of it right away), recognizing some of the best uses of the tweet by the different typed of members of the pop music circle...and some of the rest, too.
  
Tweetie for Media Tweeting: SPIN Magazine (@SPINMagazine)
The website of music monthly Spin Magazine makes great use of Twitter with a good combination of links to site updates and Twitter conversationalism without doing too much of one over the other. That balance makes it a reliable feed for announcing new site content while also maintaining an engaging self-sufficient Twitter "persona," if you will; tweets linking to site content usually serve as 140-character summaries rather than teases, meaning even if you never followed a link to the website you can still benefit from @SPINMagazine as a purely Twitter entity. Bonus points are awarded for the site's reciprocal promotion of Twitter rather than simply the other way around, mainly in their weekly post by Anna Hyclack highlighting three especially interesting musicians on Twitter, which is typically both a fun read and a good way to discover new musician tweeters of interest. 

Tweetie Award for Record Label or Studio Tweeting: Cherrytree Records  (@Cherrytreerec)

Cherrytree Records, whose artists include Lady Gaga, Robyn, Feist, Tokio Hotel, LMFAO, Keane, The Fratellis, Space Cowboy and Sting, is from what I can tell a small-to-midsize record label with enormous personality - and really, considering that list of artists all of whom have in common an abundance of personality, that would make sense. Cherrytree tweets as a personality rather than an institutional message board, and the unenlightened passerby seeing one of the common conversational tweet sequences between @Cherrytreerec and an artist like Robyn (@robinkonichiwa, for the curious), for instance, would likely assume these were two people talking rather than a record label and a pop star (I'm not sure if there is one main tweeter behind the label's account or if its various artists simply take turns tweeting for it; either way is amusing). But through the hilarity, the generally mischievous and fun-loving tone, and the occasional nonsensical tweeting sequences about asparagus, Cherrytree's Twitter not only remembers to promote the label's artists, it does so in such a genuine way that after following Cherrytree for a couple of days you start seeing the label and its slate of relatively eclectic artists as a big, goofy, joking, supportive, kickass family that you want to become part of.

Tweetie Award for Artist Twitter Persona: Ke$ha (@keshasuxx)

Pop music tweeters from the performing ranks vary greatly in their approaches to content, responsiveness, and what I call Twitter Persona, essentially the character they put across (genuine or not so) through their tweets.There are a number of artists whose Twitter personalities are immensely likeable, but then that's usually a common trait among popular musicians. I single out Ke$ha, who's currently enjoying the success of her debut album and single, both of which hold the top chart position this week, for several reasons. To start with, her personality as conveyed on Twitter matches perfectly the one present in her music and her public persona, and continuity is always a good thing if you want believability. She's funny, she's happy, she's jokingly self-deprecating (I love her username so very much), she seems devoid of egotism, she's a casual promoter (as if she sometimes forgets to do so) rather than a fame whore, and perhaps most endearingly, she addresses her recent success with a mixture of youthful and innocent excitement and a subtle sense of awe and humility. The Ke$ha you can follow on Twitter is thoroughly entertaining, yes, but the real success here is that she's a girl you love to root for.

Tweetie Award for Artist Tweeting: Kylie Minogue (@kylieminogue)

Speaking of girls you love to root for, Kylie Minogue is not only among the best things that come out of your radio speakers, she may also be the best of the bunch as far as pop music-related tweeting goes. She's known and admired for her rapport with fans on the site, always gracious and thankful when users
make an effort to reach out to her directly with their praise or tributes. As one user said recently, she seems to really understand and appreciate the many ways Twitter can work: she is a major exponent of the Re-Tweet, wisely using that simplest of tools to forward any tweets referencing her to her followers, which number in the 110,000s. And while this level of responsiveness to her fans alone would set her apart from most of her peers, Kylie doesn't just handle what she gets, she actively encourages her fans to participate in Twitter correspondence, sometimes with little contests and other times just posing casual questions in tweets. And the kicker is that you'd expect the contests to be promotions in themselves, like "Send in your best Kylie impression" or "tell us what you love most about Kylie" or the like, but Minogue doesn't seem to feel the need to constantly hawk herself directly, and a recent contest invited fans to send in their wishes for the new year; Kylie chose a few of the most positive messages as winners, sending Kylie merchandise to the winning fans and spreading that positivity to hundreds of thousands of her followers who love her all the more. Minogue's graciousness and attention to her fans via Twitter doesn't waste time pandering for more and more exposure and new fans; it does help cultivate the kind of absolute fan loyalty that a dance pop icon entering her 40s can depend (and bank) on for the remainder of her career.


Well, it's been a fun day of tweeting and browsing for the newest, hottest blog on Twitter, which you can now follow to get all the updates, thoughts, and good karma. Follow Vertigo Shtick on Twitter today!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy First Monthiversary!

I just noticed that today marks the beginning of Vertigo Shtick's second month of existence. I'm slowly but surely working on building it to the site I'd envisioned, and very much enjoying myself and even more excited for what the next month might hold.

Celebra-eet....holida-eee....


Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Feature: Song for the Day

Oh yes, I almost forgot: you may have noticed a bunch of posts that appeared overnight, tagged as "Song for the Day." About the same time I launched this blog, I also started a small separate blog as a sort of casual joint production between my new, relatively legit-style work involving pop music on Vertigo Shtick and another blog-type venture I'd been - and I use this term loosely - "working on" since this summer, about which I won't really elucidate except to say it's less based on my writing or thoughts than it is on the aesthetically pleasing photos of attractive people of a certain sex. The combo blog, shamelessly called "Songs and Studs," was a way for me to try and write something quick and relatively formulaic every day to help me produce some of the more involved content for this site.

What I realized yesterday, however, is that what I'd intended to be little more than my photographic blogging in that I wouldn't be contributing much of my own content turned out to be a great creative outlet, and fun at the same time; essentially, I was writing a whole lot of stuff that ought to be on Vertigo Shtick for a blog I hadn't even told anyone about, and that would likely be inaccessible to the half of the population who prefers the female variety. So I've decided to import the music posts from that blog to Vertigo Shtick where they belong and where I will initially post such entries from now on. The idea behind the Song for the Day post is very simply an opportunity for me to share one of the songs from my music library that maybe you haven't heard, or haven't heard for a very long time, or just one that I'm feeling on a particular day. After all, it's a pop music blog, so why not give you some more music to enjoy?

I hope through these posts you might discover or learn more about some new songs, artists or albums, or simply enjoy a blast from the past or just the lesser-known present. And by all means, if you have any requests or suggestions please leave a comment or send me an email!



Tracks featured on Song for the Day entries will be made available for you to listen for free using the wonderful new, fully legal service at Lala.com (which I really think is better than iTunes in so many ways, and which is used by Billboard.com and Pitchfork.com). Click here for info on how it works and sign up for free so you can start listening to all the music on Vertigo Shtick.

Playlist of the Week(end): "Name" That Tune

After Monday's post about some of the hot self-lovin' anthems out there, which sort of amounted to a mini-playlist, and one thing later leading to another elsewhere, I figured I might forego a full playlist for this week. However, when a good friend of mine today revealed herself a fan of this baby of a blog and in particular its playlist offerings, I decided to go for it and whip out a theme I was planning for next week. So Amanda, this is for you!

The story behind this week's theme has several impetuses (yes, that is the correct pluralization). The most direct one is actually also especially relevant to pop music: while taking in Ke$ha's debut album Animal to determine whether it merited a Vertigo Shtick review (it does, so watch this space) I happened across a song I rather enjoyed, called "Stephen" (for more on that, again, watch this space), and started thinking about how fun it would be to have a name that could forever elicit serenades from smartasses around the world due to some musical appearance by which it could be universally defined. As long as it was for flattering reasons, that is, as in the aforementioned song, and not questionable ones; because really, how many people anymore could meet someone named Roxanne without asking how much she charged, or someone named Mary Jane without wondering what was the matter?

At the same time, I'm at that age when it seems like everyone with whom I went to high school is popping out infants left and right (my college friends are just starting to get married), and as I'm grateful to them for electing to repopulate the world so I don't have to, I thought I might help out with a few baby name suggestions. Each of the playlists I've created has sprung from a theme for which I already have several appropriate tracks in my mind before I begin, a list I fill in after a bit of research through my music library and elsewhere, which is how I often stumble upon some great items from my library I'd never have remembered as well as the occasional new song by an artist or album I know, and sometimes, the opportunity for me to encounter for the first time some tunes about which I've certainly heard but to which I'd never actually listened. This week's offering has been no different, and I'm particularly pleased with it as it reveals some of the breadth of my musical taste without, I feel, ever really leaving the realm of pop music in which Vertigo Shtick is firmly rooted. Hope you enjoy (and if you don't like these baby names, I hear "David" is always a stellar choice)!




1. "Proud Mary" Ike and Tina Turner (Workin' Together, EMI, 1970)

"We nevah, evah, evah do nothin' nice and easy," Tina insists in the opener, and as we well know, she wasn't just talking about music there. I still remember my dad trying to explain this record to me when I was younger (why he didn't just play it for me I'll never know), describing how Tina introduced the "nice and slow" vs. "nice and rough" concept while Ike's vocal moseyed in slowly for one verse before all hell broke loose in the second. But my true introduction to the Turners' "Proud Mary" came much much later: in fact it was less than a year ago when I was the beneficiary of some friends and would-be concert-goers who at the last minute couldn't use their tickets to see Tina's latest Oprah-mandated national tour, and the 68-year-old finished the show stomping it out to her two-time hit track atop a giant pendulum-like stage extension (with no railing!) as it swung back and forth over the loudly appreciative audience. And what an introduction!


2. "Cecilia" Simon and Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Columbia Records, 1970)

Paul Simon once referred to "Cecilia" as "a little piece of magical fluff," and the song, which hit #4 on the U.S. singles charts, was purported to have been largely improvised. Since hardly anyone really knows the lyrics, or if they do they usually don't bother to analyze them, ladies with this particular name suffered no harm from it being thus cemented in pop culture.


3. "Michelle" Paul McCartney (Paul Is Live, Parlophone/EMI, 1993)

One band to whose music my father did make sure I was exposed early and often was the little U.K. outfit called The Beatles. While I learned at a young age to love and memorize virtually the entire contents of Rubber Soul and Revolver, it was always Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that fascinated me on more levels than I could count. (You could say that in my musical sensitivities I've moved from Billy Shears to Britney Spears.) But my all time favorite Beatles song has always been the understated chanson d'amour on Rubber Soul to the mysterious French mademoiselle named Michelle (and its lyrics, plus the line in "Bad Romance," comprise just about my entire knowledge of the French language).

4. "Sweet Baby James" James Taylor ((Live), Columbia Records, 1993)

My mother, on the other hand, tended to prefer music that was less eclectic and less appropriate for, say, a soundtrack to waxing the car; and since my father is many things but a fool is not one of them, whenever my family found itself together on one of our frequent lengthy automobile sojourns, it was usually my mother who was given the task of musical selection. While my eardrums may never get over years of abuse by the likes of Dan Fogelberg, Billy Joel and Chicago, I wouldn't be surprised if the reason I grew up as such a mellow, primarily positive person had something to do with the healthy dose of James Taylor I had growing up. My brother's and my favorite had to be his (Live) album, our first (and so far my only) glimpse at how the rest of the world felt about the smooth singer/songwriter: to this day we still get a laugh at Taylor's ability to make an arena full of women scream simply by saying "hi."

5. "Hey There Delilah" Plain White Ts (All That We Needed, Hollywood/Fearless, 2006)

This oft parodied song was actually quite a legitimate success upon its release, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as topping the charts in over a dozen other countries, receiving two Grammy nominations, and landing on top ten lists from VH1 to Time Magazine for the year. Since then the tune has been sung with varying degrees of satire to Harry Potter, MacGuyver, Rihanna, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, and my personal favorite, "Hey There Vagina." (Most of these are available on YouTube, I'm told.)


6. "Daniel" Elton John (Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, MCA, 1973)

For some reason a sizeable number of my closest male friends over the years have had the name "Daniel," from my best male friend in elementary/middle school to my best male friend in high school to a neighbor down the street my siblings and I spent a lot of time with growing up to the One Who Got Away whom I met while on a summer program in England. If I were much for sentimentality, I might have found many occasions over my lifetime wherein Elton John's classic of the same name might have seemed apropos. I do remember finding it a little odd to hear a man sing what to me sounded a lot like a love song to another man.

7. "Roxanne" The Police (Outlandos d'Amour, A&M Records, 1978)

Unlike the Cecilias of the world, the numerous namesakes of the heroine of The Police's legendary hit "Roxanne" might get justifiably annoyed by the occupation with which the name has been saddled in the pop culture mindset (hint: she walks the streets of the red light district). To make things worse, just as a new generation was emerging that barely knew of Sting the solo artist, much less his previous career, Baz Luhrmann made sure the next generation of Roxannes would continue to be known as hookers with the inclusion of the song in a particularly dramatic and memorable sequence in his film Moulin Rouge.


8. "Sassy" The Manhattan Transfer (The Offbeat of Avenues, Columbia Records, 1991)

Arguably the global standard of the co-ed vocal jazz/pop quartet has always been The Manhattan Transfer (another early musical influence in my life that stuck like glue). While the foursome enjoyed some chart success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with crossover singles like "Operator," "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone," and top ten hit "The Boy From New York City," the late eighties and onward saw the group move away from pop and into both standard and experimental jazz and later into swing. Their 1991 album The Offbeat of Avenues not only resembles anything else in the Transfer's decades of repertoire, it remains peerless in its mixture of jazz, early '90s pop, funk/soul, hints of swing, and a heavy dose of bizarre. The second track, "Sassy," won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance.

9. "Stephen" Ke$ha (Animal, RCA Records, 2010)

Ah, yes, the inspiration for this lovely playlist. Some people are suckers for a high-pitched petulant voice on a male lead singer, and others can't get enough of a diva blasting her boobs off with a full-voiced high note; my ultimate weakness is in female close harmony (three parts or more). I can't count the number of horrendous pop songs I've been known to play on repeat in the privacy of my bedroom or iPod just to hear a few particularly appealing bars. That was why I started listening to "Stephen," but not why I've been singing it to myself incessantly for the past several days: that would be a result of the unexpectedly sweet, ironically over-sincere lyrics and performance that made me laugh out loud (on a bus, no less) while still ringing true in its basic meaning. I've also found my new pickup line: "I wanna wrap you up in my love." You have to listen to the song to understand.

10. "Alejandro" Lady Gaga (The Fame Monster, Interscope/Cherrytree.Streamline/Kon Live, 2009)

Okay, I'll admit it: I don't get "Alejandro." I know, with Gaga the whole concept of "getting it" is often beside the point. But I really like the song; it's quite possibly second only to "Bad Romance" among Gaga's entire repertoire for me, and therefore I kind of feel like I ought to know what the hell I'm singing along about. The best Alecia (my friend in Gaga) and I have come up with is a sort of post-coital lament in which the promiscuous narrator is not only suffering from buyer's remorse ("don't wanna kiss, don't wanna touch, just smoke my cigarette and hush"), but she's also less than 100% sure of the dude's name. Believe me, I've been there.

11. "Jenny From the Block" Jennifer Lopez feat. Lox (This Is Me...Then, Epic Records, 2002

Don't be fooled by the Loubitins that she got, she's still...oh, who are we kidding? Say what you want about the actress-turned-singer, but it's hard to deny that she made a not insignificant contribution to the pop happiness of the turn of the century with tunes like "Waiting for Tonight," "Ain't It Funny," "Play," and of course, this amusing attempt at keepin' it real.


12. "Maria Maria" Santana (Supernatural, Arista Records, 2000)

Remember back when Santana decided he felt like revisiting the Top 40 world he'd long since left for bigger and better things, as if just to prove he could still dominate in a world where teen bubblegum pop and wuss rock was king? And totally did, too? Although collaborations with Rob Thomas and Michelle Branch may have been heard more on pop radio, I think my favorite of the singles from Supernatural is this ode to the most common Spanish female name.



13. "Steve McQueen" Sheryl Crow (C'mon C'mon, A&M Records, 2002)

For the record, Sheryl Crow fell asleep in Memphis and woke up in Hollywood years before Miley Cyrus's tummy turned and she sang about dancing to a rapper she'd never listened to; and before Ke$ha had no money in her pocket but didn't mind seeing as she'd already arrived, Sheryl Crow had done that too. Although I've lost most interest in Crow since the days of "All I Wanna Do" and "Every Day Is a Winding Road" (but I'll admit it: I love "Tomorrow Never Dies"), she's still popped out a fun record or two here and there that I've enjoyed, including this escapist tribute to one of the more famous gay men of last century (if not exactly for that reason).


14. "Meet Virginia" Train (Train, Independent/Columbia Records, 1999)

This is one of the songs that will forever remind me of high school. I have always liked "Meet Virginia," since among other reasons I can remember feeling I actually might like very much to meet this sort of Eliza Doolittle-like titular female. As described through Patrick Monahan's smooth, accessible vocals, Virginia is not the kind of girl my parents might have wanted anywhere near me...which is actually pretty amusing in hindsight considering the time past.


15. "Mary Jane" Alanis Morissette (Jagged Little Pill, Maverick/Reprise, 1995)

Believe it or not, as I was looking up the label info on this track that was pretty much one of only two ballads that mattered back in middle school (the other being No Doubt's "Don't Speak," of course), I was amazed to discover that "Mary Jane" was never actually released as a single. Back then I didn't know the difference between singles and other tracks, really, and that was when people used to buy actual cds so I always thought it was a waste of money to shell out five bucks just for one song. Anyway, if there's anyone who grew up in the US and is now between the ages of, say, 24 and 28 who does not know every detail of just how hard Mary Jane's day was back in 1995, I haven't met him.

16. "Let It Rock" Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne (In the City, Cash Money/Universal Republic, 2008)

This song and the next are slight variations on this week's theme, as obviously neither one contains a first name anywhere in its title, but hear me out. I had to include Kevin Rudolf's fantastic pop-rock-dance crossover from 2008, not because it's a great song (which it is) but because of Lil Wayne's rap contribution. Lil Wayne seems to show up EVERYWHERE these days, but this is easily one of his best guest appearances: not least because of his hysterically WTF pronunciation of a list of girls' names that I was more than amused to find has stymied even some of the helpful online lyric websites, which of course means that there could be countless people out there who get this horribly wrong. I have to share one I found that's just too wretched not to:

Correct Lyrics:
"I sing about angels like Angela / And Pamela / And Samantha / And Amanda and Tamara/Ménage à moi."

What This Guy Apparently Heard (Not even joking; see for yourself.):
"And I sing about angels like angelock / And pay malock / And samida / And emida / And timera [he doesn't even try for the last bit]."


17. "Mambo No. 5" Lou Bega (A Little Bit of Mambo, Lautstark / BMG / RCA Records, 1999)

I know this showed up in the second playlist of the week (titles with abbreviations), but 1. I doubt any of you remember or were around, and 2. How could I leave it out? Forget picking one name for the title, this guy gives (intelligible!) shoutouts to all Monicas, Ericas, Ritas, Tinas, Sandras, Marys, and Jessicas in just one chorus!

18. "Sweet Caroline" Glee Cast (Glee: The Music, Volume 1, Columbia Records, 2009)

I selected this to close out this week's playlist first because it perfectly fits the theme, but secondly and more importantly, since this week's playlist is dedicated to Amanda it makes sense to slip in a little of the Glee cast I know she (and tons of other consumers, apparently) loves so much. Plus despite my reservations about the American Idol of scripted television, I'd much rather have the Glee cast grace my blog than Neil Diamond.


Hope you enjoy, and maybe some of you preggo ladies out there will get some ideas, too! Here's the playlist again, in case this novel I wrote instead of a track guide made you forget why you're here in the first place.






Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Song for the Day: Jill Scott - "Hate On Me"

As someone who likes the idea of Glee if not the actual product (meaning I'm glad it's on the air as long as you don't make me watch it), I do enjoy seeing which musical selections come up on the show. The soundtrack is reliably eclectic but still all chosen songs are well enough known to make as big an impact as possible - witness the two Glee Cast albums released so far, each cracking the top ten on the sales charts. One of the most intriguing selections (as in, one of the only ones that came somewhat close to getting me to watch the damn thing) was a glorious crossover number by Jill Scott that I hope receives more attention now that the Gleeks have it on their iPods (because Amber Riley, who plays melisma-loving Black Girl Stereotype...I mean, Mercedes, may have a hell of an instrument on her, but she's no Jill Scott). Today I'll do my part as well for the effort.



"Hate On Me"
Jill Scott
The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3
Hidden Beach Records, 2007

Trivia: Coming from an artist whose music one might first discover over a doobie with friends in the attic, and one in her first single, "A Long Walk," praised a lover's "peace mentality," "Hate On Me" is certainly a bit of a departure, albeit one Jill Scott more than pulls off. It is even and perhaps especially different from the other tracks on her third studio album, most of which are definitely made for lovers. The liner notes indicate that the song is directed at some folks online who were inexplicably demonstrating a lack of affection for the multi-Grammy winner and current star of HBO's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. "Hate on Me" appeared in the seventh episode of Fox's Glee, in which the rival cheer coach played by Jane Lynch is named co-director of the titular glee club and splits the team up and takes over the minority club members, whom she has perform the song. Critical reaction to the episode -  and Riley's performance - was decidedly mixed.

Get Jill Scott's third and most recent studio album, The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3.

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