Monday, February 28, 2011

An Interview with Kimberly Cole

Up-and-coming dance-pop singer Kimberly Cole first graced Vertigo Shtick's pages in May 2010 when we introduced her great single "Smack You," which later rose to the top five of the Billboard Dance Club Play chart. Cole's debut album Bad Girls Club was released in December (and earned a rave review from this website) to support the sixth season of the Oxygen Network reality show of the same name. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to chat with the former professional roller skating champ about her origins, plans for 2011 and beyond, the making of Bad Girls Club, and MMF threeways gone awry.

Vertigo Shtick: How did you get started with pop/dance music? You were an MTV host, roller does that all lead to where you are now?

Kimberly Cole: Well of course I could tell you my monologue and be on the phone for an hour,’s weird because I’ve heard other artists being interviewed and it seems like a cliché thing to say - even on American Idol: “I’ve been singing since I was three!” And unfortunately I have that similar type of story, where I was that four year old girl singing around the house, curly ringlets, dancing and tapping, and I thought in my head I had, like, the best voice ever. I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, I have the best voice; I’m like Mariah Carey!” And I clearly was not even good, now, watching videos, but I always liked when people were watching me. At Disneyland, for example, waiting for the parade, and I would get out in the middle and do a little dance. So from the very beginning - I think sometimes you’re just born with that vibe.

I come from a very academic family: my brother is a dermatologist, my dad’s a dentist, my mom’s a principal: education was always very important. My mom kind of put me in everything to have me have a really well-rounded life, but singing and competitive roller skating became my obsession for some reason. But as long as my homework was done, I could do everything. The reason I’m saying this is because I went to school, I went to UCLA, graduated, I was a champion roller skater…I took whatever I did to the limit, and I felt like it taught me how to get something done. Like: even if you’re not the best at something, figure out a way to be the best at it. So, forever with my love of music, the reason I loved roller skating so much wasn’t necessarily because of the roller skating: it was the music, and performing. I always sang when I was little, and when I was eighteen I almost got signed to Dreamworks records (by accident) and it reminded me that this is a dream that I have, and that I need to follow it and not be embarrassed about it.

I’m giving a long story, but throughout college I was always working on recording, but I didn’t start the process of actually calling myself an artist until I felt like [I'd learned] the things that one needs to learn, like how to record...paying my dues. I had to pay my dues before I had the guts to call myself an artist. I kind of just in the last couple years, really genuinely feel like “wait, I’m an artist.” I’ve learned a lot.

VS: In my review of Bad Girls Club I focus on its precision. I don’t know if you’ve seen Black Swan, but that movie’s all about how she’s so precise that she never quite loses it and gets into it; I think you do both. Do you find that you bring that academic interest that you were raised with into your music, and how?

KC: Yeah, I definitely think there is that element to it. I also think I’ve had around me such great people and I have such a great team. I have so much energy and so much passion for what I do that I think that I’ve chosen really kind people who have that same passion. [Bad Girls Club producer] Jeeve, my partner in crime, has this same kind of personality I have, where he’s very technical, but at the same time he’s a genuine artist and loses it too. Like knowing what is needed in a song, and what elements are needed to make a song work, but at the same time not being so technical that you lose that freedom, the magic that happens sometimes when you’re not trying to be perfect. Of course, I always will grow and grow into that more. I definitely think sometimes you’ve got to dumb it down for music. We actually have a hard time, sometimes have to take things out because it’s too musical. I think that having that side of my brain, being able to know [and] analyze what’s needed or what’s even not needed definitely helps me. Good question.

VS: I’m a sucker for close harmony, and that’s something you use throughout the album. Do you use backup vocalists? I looked through the album notes and it looks like most of it is you.

It’s all me, definitely all me, but I will say that Jeeve... [when] the two of us are together it’s so funny, because that is my favorite part too. When we do the leads – we always record the leads first –  I’m like “Okay, let’s do the harmonies!” because it’s such ear candy. And even from past stuff, we’ve done too many harmonies. So it’s all me, but Jeeve is really the one who gives his brain. I would say he’s the most amazing vocal producer, vocal arranger. The two of us together are really a great team when it comes to those harmonies and whatnot. I’ve learned so much from him. Before I worked with him I didn’t know…I would come up with my own harmonies that weren’t as hot, definitely.

VS : So how do you plan to translate all of this into your live performances? You have a long history with live performance, be it roller skating or what can we look for from live performances by Kimberly Cole?

KC: First of all, yes, you definitely hit the nail right there. The studio…that’s one side of me. But live performing, I feel like I always do it the same way that I would approach how to make a song the best it can be. Even Tricia [Miranda, Cole's choreographer] – okay, I have to talk about Tricia because we are like creative soul mates when it comes to live performances. She gets it so much. Especially because of where I’m at as an artist: some people know who I am, but some people don’t. So when I perform at a club, assuming not everyone knows everything about me, I don’t want to be on stage too long, for example, because then they’re bored or something. I feel like as people know who I am I can stay on stage longer. So what we do is like a little teaser, leave them wanting more.

I have the best dancers: I have Sohey [Sugihara], who’s a Janet dancer, I have Jae [Fusz], who’s danced with everyone, I have Rihanna dancers... I have the best crew. So we really bring this high energy. I’ve really grown, because I started last year adding my roller skating into the shows, and it’s kind of hard to sing. So it’s developed into a really cool balance where I can still dance, show that I know how to move, but being able to genuinely sing live, because I think that’s really important. Right now we have this really great set where we throw things out in the audience, maybe like a seven to ten minute set where it’s not too long, not too short, high energy, sexy, and we’re still working on it. We’re actually going to do a Bad Girls Club tour, and hit every market in the US. We’re trying to really figure out…we don’t have the second single yet because "Smack You" is still the first single; we’re pushing it, it’s just hitting radio now. We’re trying to figure out what that perfect balance of a live show will be, but we’ve gotten a great response. That’s one of my favorite things, performing. I would do it every night if I could.

VS: Well there are so many great songs - I don’t think there’s a song I dislike on the album.

KC: Aw.

VS: There’s just so much there - obviously it goes with the theme of Bad Girls Club, but it doesn’t seem tacked on. And I have to ask, did the “Three Way” story happen to you? How many of those stories are from real life, or embellished?

KC: You should ask! Because they’re all situations – it’s so funny because I think I can get away with being or calling myself connected with the Bad Girls Club and it’s really the opposite of my personality when I’m not on stage. When I’m on stage I have that whole Beyoncé/Sasha Fierce thing going on where it’s a total other side of me. I feel like every song is like a fantasy of what I want to do or who I want to be, but I haven’t been able to. I’m not that girl – I’m actually quite the opposite of it. But at the same time, when I’m performing, that side is me so the threeway song…it almost happened to me. It didn’t quite happen to me, it’s kind of embellished, but it’s something that’s funny, like you never really think of a threeway being with two guys. I’m sure it happens a lot, but…

VS: Well I appreciated that, because before you it was only Britney Spears who was able to say “I’m gonna go out and have a threeway with two guys!” Obviously I’m a little biased, but hey, that’s fun for me.

KC: Yeah, I love it. Well it’s funny, because, let me tell you about Britney. We wrote our song “Three Way” before her song “3” came out. We were like “Nooooo!!” It was [just] on the brink. And also, I think it was two years ago now I had a song called “Superstar,” which was featured in an episode of Dollhouse, a great episode, and there were so many similarities between that song and her song “Womanizer.” We hadn’t heard her song, [ours] was written like a month before [“Womanizer”] came out. Britney and I for some reason come up with the same concepts, but I love her.

VS: To close this out - although I hope we talk to you again, because there’s a lot I would love to talk to you about...

KC: Any time, you’re a friend!

VS: So what lies ahead for you this year? What can we expect from you over the next year, and what are you looking for in your career as it’s gotten off to this great start?

KC: Well with my partnership with the Oxygen Network, I’m really looking forward to – I’m excited that I’m partnering with such a cool show. The Bad Girls Club is such a great platform, and it’s a great, catchy little title so I can pick songs that we have now that are very in one niche and perform them live and obviously, make my mark as an artist who can bring more to the table as well. Because I’m not that; I’m all kinds of things. I have emotions and I sing ballads and whatnot.

This year specifically I want to be on the road. I want to meet as many people as possible because, even talking to you I feel like.. I have a lot of fans on Twitter, and I do really understand and appreciate everyone who hits me up because they’re friends, they’re not fans. Because we have a connection; we need each other. I’ve been doing some TV stuff, doing some interesting things with the new business model of the music industry, and always keep my head towards things I can do that are different, not just “okay, this is the way the record label does it.” I have a lot of great ideas, a lot of show ideas, a lot of YouTube things. Maybe release a second single, and then think ahead to what my next album will be like!

Get Kimberly Cole's debut album Bad Girls Club on iTunes
Check out Kimberly Cole on Twitter, Facebook and the official website!

More Kimberly Cole on Vertigo Shtick:

Album Review: Kimberly Cole - Bad Girls Club

First Listen: Kimberly Cole - "Smack You"

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ke$ha - "Blow" (Music Video Review)

Remember the spirited little debate waged on this blog back in the weeks leading up to the release of Ke$ha's EP Cannibal over the deep dance track "Blow," of which one of my contributors and I had acquired different leaked versions with a 10-BPM difference in tempo? If not, here's the rub: my first exposure to "Blow" was tainted not simply because the cut I happened to acquire had been modified to 130 BPM rather than the 120 BPM version I would later learn was the actual album cut, but because it was so much better in its bastardized form. I wasn't thrilled when "Blow" was selected over "Cannibal" or "Crazy Beautiful Life," both of which I saw as potentially successful singles, not to mention my far-and-out favorite, "Sleazy," but what can you do?

And now there's a video.

 The video features unicorns, Dawson's Creek alum James van der Beek (or "van der Douche," as he's called), and a rainbow-bullet gunfight, all held together by the gawking fascination of observing how genuinely foxy the cleaned-up trashy girl has made herself over. It's all part of the gradual phasing out of the Jack-loving neo-hippie sleeping in bathtubs/cars/empty motel pools character Ke$ha created - and executed masterfully - to supplement her debut on the pop/dance scene, no doubt. It's done so smoothly, though, that it passes all but unnoticed, just as Lady Gaga's transformation from icy and not terribly versatile disco queen to the avant-garde performance artist/monster she really wanted to be raised plenty of eyebrows, but not for the almost absurdly drastic character switch.

Straying from an established persona that has attracted so many fans and followers, even when that might mean moving closer to reality, can be a risky move. Ke$ha deftly manages to adjust her character superficially, without abandoning the qualities that have made her so appealing to so many. In fact, they've never been more effectively displayed - it's the most likeable, fun, amusing and inviting she's been in any video. It's also not insignificant that in "Blow" her look - which hearkens back to the first video for "Take It Off" - is more accessible, not to mention appealing, than the grungy but largely benign "garbage-chic" of "TiK ToK" and "Your Love is My Drug," and certainly leagues away from the aggressively rebellious style of the "Take It Off" remake and "We R Who We R." Anyone with eyes would have seen that Ke$ha has always had some looks underneath the costumes and blue lipstick, but it's an intriguing surprise that by setting aside the attention-grabbing tools she's known for, she becomes even more fascinating to witness.

Van der Beek's presence helps out quite a bit, of course; could Ke$ha have made a more brilliant choice of co-star (his pronunciation of "Ke-dollar sign...ha" is the clip's best moment, with its wry and winking self-awareness mixed with the actor's obvious amusement)? His appearance is an instant shoutout to older fans who grew up with the schmaltzy WB drama, while the younger crowd is able to appreciate his rugged handsomeness.

Even if they don't, there are plenty of unicorns and rainbows blasted pell-mell in a climactic battle between the muenster cheese-eating van der Beek and the glamorous State Official that turns the song's final chorus into an unexpected punch line. It was at that moment I finally gave in, gave up on my issues with the song and let Ke$ha's video win me over in spite of me the way her album did just over a year ago.

Music videos have never been Ke$ha's strength or apparent passion, although she has been a consistently good sport throughout each one she's done. "Blow" is her best by far, nailing the combination of music, visual and celebrity to which pop music ultimately strives - and it's a fun ride. The song, however, is still far too slow.

Related Posts:

Nicole Scherzinger: Is An Elusive Solo Career Finally Taking Off?

The demise of boy bands and girl groups in the first half of the last decade left few survivors, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé being the most successful in the US, while Cheryl Cole has had a decent go of it in the UK. There were also many more casualties, of course, whose individual careers, at least as pop music performers, were essentially DOA upon the dissolution of their respective group acts (particularly true with boy bands). Of course, some of those in this second category didn't suffer their fates as regretfully as some others; by the time the most popular groups were disbanding, performers who had started with a group in their teens or early twenties were nearing or into their thirties, some with families or eyes on other careers, so the transition wasn't necessarily unwelcome or unmanageable for all of this group.

Then there was a third group remaining in the wake of the categorical collapse, and it was they who have had the roughest go of it: a pool of variously talented performers who chose to continue careers as musicians, only to systematically encounter cavalcades of obstacles, missteps, plain bad luck, or any combination thereof that would continuously prevent success or advancement. Kelly Rowland and Katie Price come to mind as two in this category worthy of immensely greater success than they've yet achieved, while the solo incarnations of Nick Carter (Backstreet Boys), JC Chasez (N*SYNC), Geri Halliwell (Spice Girls), Ashley Parker Angel (O-Town), Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child), Nadine Coyle (Girls Aloud), and Nick Lachey (98°), to name a few, may have more deservedly faltered. No one, however, has had nearly so undeservedly frustrating a struggle as Nicole Scherzinger.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The 53rd Grammy Awards - Live Blog Recap, Video, Photos

Well, I survived my first Grammy Awards. No, I wasn't at or even near the Staples Center last Sunday night; I was just in my little studio apartment watching a live stream of the event via some CBS station in Florida or similar, forcing myself to endure just over three hours of one of the elements of the music industry I dislike with the most intensity for more reasons than I could possibly list - all in the name of good pop music journalism. To get through it all, I decided to try my hand at "Live Blogging," which soon became "Live Tweeting" when technology precluded Plan A.

Though I have yet to build a following large, engaged or constant enough for such an exercise to have served a real-time entertainment purpose in the moment, it did leave me with an unexpectedly serviceable recap I'd never have brought myself to compile afterward to anywhere near as comprehensive a degree, if at all. It at least seemed worth transcribing and posting for posterity, so make of it what you will. There are photos and, for a special treat, videos of four of my favorite performances on the only night where something like this:

can turn out only marginally as shocking as this:

  • If Robyn doesn't win a Grammy tonight I'm gonna secede.

Country chanteuse Miranda Lambert performs Song of the Year nominee "The House That Built Me"
  • "The House That Built Me" apparently has a good deal of support among the performers in the academy, but it's doomed by its genre. 
  • Oh, she's really pretty! I pictured her more a Reba type...but then again, this isn't my genre; they all sound Greek to me. 
  • Miranda Lambert ought to have taken the key up a half-step or so... those "me"s at the end of the chorus sound great on the studio recording.

British rock band Muse performs "Uprising," from Best Rock Album nominee The Resistance.
  • Muse has already gotten more airtime than Robyn... and Entertainment Weekly wonders why she's not huge in the US.
  • Hey, is that Dead or Alive? Look, the '80s are back! That's a new one... never would have seen that coming.

Bruno Mars, B.o.B. and Janelle Monáe perform a medley of their respective hits (video below).
  • You had me at Janelle Monáe. But not til then. 
  • Please start doing the tightrope. I'm bored. 
  • I'm 98.78% certain I'm about to witness Janelle Monáe wiping the stage with everyone else in the vicinity. 
  • I'd say the floor's pretty spotless. 

Miranda Lambert wins for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, beating, among others, folk-turned-country singer Jewel.
  • Remember when Jewel tried dance pop? Now she's country, apparently...what a chameleon. 

Justin Bieber and Usher perform their respective hits "Baby" and "OMG" in the most homoerotic pairing since Lady Gaga and Elton John.
  • Ewww. I try to give Bieber a break, but I really want to keep my food down. 
  • But Bieber's sounding good despite the ravages of puberty... His voice coach is a genius!

     Jaden Smith joins Bieber for a bit of rapping.
    • Uh oh...I have no idea who this is. Isn't 26 a bit young to be losing touch with the youth music?
    • And no, I don't mean Usher. I do write about this stuff, after all. 

    Paramore presents the Grammy for Best Rock Albumto Muse for The Resistance.
    • Haha..."you have to SAY it!" Now now, they're new here after all. (Btw The writers should be fired) 
    • Lol...Brits are such assholes. 'It's such an honor to win this "award..."' "much deserved..." If it weren't true, I'd be offended.

    Lady Gaga wins Best Pop Vocal Album for eight-track EP The Fame Monster.In her speech, she thanks Whitney Houston, whose voice she says she imagined while writing "Born This Way" - a sweet sentiment that came off less so in light of controversey over the new single's resemblance to Madonna's "Express Yourself."
      • IT'S AN EP!!!! How bad do you feel, all you
      • Ouch...she imagined Whitney. That's a bit of salt in the wound. Somewhere Madonna is summoning a frost.

      Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow perform the watered-down version of Song- and Record of the Year nominee "Fuck You" (or, as announcers call it, the song otherwise known as "Forget You") alongside a set of generic muppets, a tribute to an Elton John appearance on The Muppet Show.
      • Dammit. I would miss Cee Lo and Gwyneth on my laundry break. Now ain't that some shit.

      Katy Perry performs "Not Like the Movies" and "Teenage Dream." (Video below)
      • This is my fave song on Teenage Dream. She looks amazing, sounds best she has in a long time. So what if she's clearly trying to be Pink.
      • @ Come on Ann, Bruno Mars was every bit as rough. I'm a tough judge but she sounded fine. (Reply to Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic): "Worst vocal performance of the night. At least she's reliable."

      Norah Jones, John Mayer and Keith Urban perform a stripped-down cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" in honor of the buxom country music legend who this year received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. (Video below)
      • OH MY GOD. I'm in heaven. Of course, "Jolene" is so fantastic a song even MIA would probably sound great singing it.

      Eminem, Rihanna, Dr. Dre and Skylar Grey perform "Love The Way You Lie," both the single, a Song and Record of the Year nominee off Eminem's Recovery, and the "Part II" from Rihanna's album Loud, which Grey penned.
      • Yay @ getting to sing "Love the Way You Lie Part II." I like it much more than Pt I She's still pretty bad live. @
      • Crap I forgot. Touchè RT @: It's such a bummer to have a head cold when you have to sing on the Grammys
      • Man, Dr. Dre makes Dr. Luke seem like a med student.

      Jewel and John Legend present Best New Artist, which shockingly goes to jazz musician and veritable unknown Esperanza Spalding.
      • I's obviously Esperanza Spalding, but Bieber is a deserving second.
      • He can be taught! RT @: Damn. can't find words to explain how I feel about the best new artist award. Don't wanna say the wrong thing

      Mick Jagger performs at the Grammys for the first time.
      • Mick Jagger just reminds me how pissed off I am at Ke$ha's snub. Animal easily bests all but maybe The Fame Monster for best pop album.
      Nicki Minaj presents Best Rap Album to Eminem for Recovery.
      • But Slim, what if you win? Wouldn't it be weird?

      P. Diddy introduces Rihanna and Drake as two of the greatest artists in their respective genres.
      • Totally thought Puff Daddy was introducing Alicia Keys and Jay-Z. Would've made more sense.
      • Cold or no cold, I still don't think Rihanna is a v. good live singer. No better than Katy Perry. Or Xtina..jesus. Cmon @

      Song of the Year goes to Lady Antebellum for "Need You Now," which previously won for Record of the Year.
      • It should be "Fuck You" but gonna be Eminem.
      • Ugh so LAME. Why is "Need You Now" any different, much less BETTER, than a thousand songs before it? @, HERE'S your call! 

      In another major upset, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson present Album of the Year to Arcade Fire for The Suburbs. This time, though, no one besides Eminem seems anything less than pleased.
      • Haha I love how it's always "Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, or *stifled snicker* Katy Perry"

      The evening comes to a close, just as the time-delayed broadcast commences on the West Coast.
      • I love time delays. We're reeling from 2 massive upsets while my Cali friends are still grappling with Gaga's egg...oddly symbolic. 

      A few final thoughts before we put this whole mess behind us once and for all:

      • Robyn did not win a Grammy. Rihanna took home the statuette for Best Dance Recording for "Only Girl (In the World)." 
      • Christina Aguilera sounded just splendid on the opening five-diva tribute to Aretha Franklin, opting to sing "Ain't No Way," a lesser known but fantastic ballad whose echoes can be clearly heard on several of the most soul-oriented tracks on Aguilera's sophomore album Stripped. The best rendition I've heard, however, is that of the incredible singer Shoshana Bean, and appears on her debut album Superhero.
      • Two intriguing tour pairings were announced in the week following the Grammys:  Cee Lo Green will support Rihanna on her upcoming Loud tour, while Grammy co-performers Janelle Monáe and Bruno Mars will team up for "Hooligans in Wondaland," the first headlining stint for each. I am somewhat and intensely interested in attending these events, respectively.
      • The Grammy for Producer of the Year did not go to RedOne, Dr. Luke, or the Smeezingtons; instead, it was Danger Mouse who took home the gramophone for his work with The Black Keys and in his partnership (as "Broken Bells") with The Shins singer James Mercer. The producer won his first two Grammys for another collaborative effort with another 2011 multiple nominee when he and Cee Lo Green (as Gnarls Barkley) took home Best Alternative Album for St. Elsewhere and Best Urban/Alternative Performance for lead single "Crazy" in 2006.
      • David Guetta and Afrojack took home the Grammy for Best Remixed Recording for their remix of Madonna's "Revolver," a little-known track that appeared alongside the title track as the only other new track on Madonna's recent Greatest Hits compilation, Celebration.
      • I really did think Katy Perry sounded the best she has in any televised live performance to date, certainly since her Teenage Dream promo appearances began in mid-2010. Everyone I've spoken to has commented that the wedding footage was a nice touch.
      • I am still more than a little perturbed about the Ke$ha snub. 

      Friday, February 11, 2011

      Single Review: Lady Gaga - "Born This Way"

      Well, it's here - Lady Gaga has unleashed the lead single and title track from upcoming sophomore LP Born This Way, and it really doesn't make much sense to write about any other pop music today or possibly clear through to the opening of the Grammy Awards (which are Sunday, by the way; I've been kind of mum about them haven't I?). I have the reasonably fortunate timing that can result from insomnia or alternately sleep deprivation, it being the late end of my night here in Los Angeles, where the official launch is still a good three hours away. 

      As you'll likely hear plenty of grumbling about, "Born This Way" bears uncanny similarities to Madonna's "Express Yourself" (whose video informed battling ram of taboos that was Christina Aguilera's video for "Not Myself Tonight"), and is a member of the same lyrical sorority of "We R Who We R," "Raise Your Glass," and so forth. How deliciously Gaga continues to combine today's content with 1980s sounds (or more specifically, in several cases, that would be Gaga writing with Madonna's music), as she did on her smash debut. "Born This Way" sounds instantly inevitable, blending the electronic production that defined The Fame and The Fame Monster - and much of the rest of pop music since 2009 - with a certain Elton John-esque pop rock structure and energy that is said to permeate the namesake album, due out in May.

      Wednesday, February 9, 2011

      Pop Goes the Dubstep (Part 2): Ke$ha - "(Fuck Him) He's a DJ"

      While Britney Spears may be the current poster girl for the latest hot trend in pop that may or may not continue to show up here and there around the pop scene as 2011 progresses, she's not quite the only pop girl in the dubstep world. You may remember the other mainstream megastar of the moment about whom this blog holds a particularly - and uncommon - high opinion who performs under the stylized moniker containing an ironic dollar sign (I've mentioned her). Being a Britney apologist is a demanding job, no question, but there's a great deal more work required of a Ke$ha apologist. Then again, it is on Ke$ha's case I feel most compelled to argue and most secure in my conviction. As always, I shall explain.

      Saturday, February 5, 2011

      Pop Goes the Dubstep (Part 1): Britney Spears - "Freakshow" and "Hold It Against Me"

      As often happens, I had at one point (naturally) intended on posting on this space a deliciously erudite critical manifesto on Britney Spears' latest contribution to the ever-mutating pop music genre.

      It didn't pan out.

      This is Britney Spears. She is a genius. Don't worry, I'll explain.

      Thursday, February 3, 2011

      W-W-What Did She Say?: Rihanna - "Only Girl (In the World)" Lyric Conundrum (Poll)

      I don't like to make a fool of myself. Thus I don't usually poke fun at people/things/websites unless I'm pretty sure I'm in the right. So when I mocked Pandora for listing the opening lyrics to Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)" as "I want you to love me like I'm a hot guy," I did so feeling pretty sure the ridiculous simile was in fact Rihanna's exhortation to be adored like one might a steaming hot "pie."

      Strawberry fields forever...oooh, strawberry pie...


      Turns out, a friend of mine is convinced the lyric in fact recalls the "Shut Up and Drive" singer's affinity for fast cars: "love me like I'm a hot ride." Possible. Very, very possible. None of these three makes a direct rhyme with the next line of the couplet, which continues: "Be thinkin' of me doing what you like," so in my opinion the jury is still out.

      So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I need your help in delivering a verdict.


      I want you to love me like I'm a hot...

      EDIT: We have been made aware that the official lyric is
      I want you to love me like I'm a hot ride.
      We think it should have been "pie."

      Read more about "Only Girl (In the World)" here.

      Wednesday, February 2, 2011

      First Look: Britney Spears' "Femme Fatale" Album Cover

      Britney Spears has an album coming out March 15. Did you know?

      Well I thought you knew before, but if you don't, then now you know. It's called Femme Fatale. Here's the album cover. Look familiar?

      I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's definitely among the top three album covers Ms. Spears has put out (although Popjustice is right: it does look like it says "Britney 7 Spears." But it is her seventh studio album). It's not quite as good as this:

      But much better than these.

      Am I right? Or do you hold it against me?

      Tuesday, February 1, 2011

      Rihanna - "S&M" (Music Video Review)

      Is it possible for a female pop star to make a video that doesn't riff on Madonna (or Britney Spears)? Perhaps not, but as Lady Gaga has shown, it is possible to riff on Madonna (or Britney Spears) without sacrificing originality or looking stupid (Christina Aguilera, take note).

      Case in point: Rihanna dropped her new video for "S&M," one of the better tracks on Loud that has wisely been chosen as the newest single, which follows up the chart-topping one-two punch of "Only Girl (In the World)" and "What's My Name?." While Madonna's "Erotica," "Human Nature" and "Justify My Love" all toyed with the S&M theme (get it?), they put the sexuality at the forefront, not needing to utilize it as subtext - but then, pioneers rarely need to justify their pioneering in a defense of originality. Thanks to Madonna's monopoly on good ideas, her followers (that would be just about every solo female pop singer since) have no such luxury. The best of the current crop, however, can still touch upon themes already covered by the Queen of Pop, as long as they use a fresh lens and a few unique ideas. As you might remember, I would NEVER have imagined I would be placing Rihanna on that list, but sometime in 2010 the girl went shopping and brought home a personality, and now the game has changed.
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