Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Voice: Season 2 Recap / Top 10 Contestants

Despite my intentions, I missed most of the first season of The Voice, finally tuning in to the final two episodes and, while liking what I saw, essentially missing the entire concept of the show in practice. This season I've made a point to follow from beginning to end, and I've had a ball so far. I know that because even the best reality competition show loses its novelty and unpredictability after two or three seasons (except America's Next Top Model, which I could watch until the apocalypse) it's imperative to enjoy it while I can. Fortunately, The Voice is the kind of show that comes into its own the second time around (as opposed to American Idol or The Apprentice, which worked their best magic in their first seasons), so the timing is perfect.

But first let us take a moment to appreciate the utter greatness of Christina's hat.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

5 Britney Spears Hits Written for Other Artists (and 5 Songs Originally Written for Britney Spears)

What if Britney Spears had recorded "Milkshake?" How would pop be different had "Toxic" been released by Kylie Minogue? Can you imagine Janet Jackson performing "I'm A Slave 4 U" at the VMAs? Would Katy Perry have taken "Hold It Against Me" to the top as well? You might be surprised at how close we came to finding out.

Songs Written for and by Britney Spears

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Barbies and Monsters: Nicki Minaj & Lady Gaga vs. the Sophomore Slump

By Kurt Bitter, Vertigo Shtick contributor

In 2012 Nicki Minaj finds herself in a similar position to Lady Gaga in 2011. She’s nearing the release of her sophomore album and is well poised to establish herself as one of hip hop’s heavy hitters, not to mention one of the most innovative, shrewd and successful acts in the industry. But she’s also transforming many hip hop stereotypes that have existed for decades: that hip hop artists can only become “crossover” artists when featured on a pop remix for an obligatory rap verse or that hip hop itself is innately masculine and hetero-normative. The changes that Minaj is effecting in the hip hop industry are similar in scope (and in some ways nature) to those that Lady Gaga has attempted for pop, but certain qualities of Minaj’s persona and various emphases she’s placed on her career have been ensuring her success in ways that have hindered or escaped Gaga entirely. 2012 will be for Minaj what 2011 wasn’t for Gaga.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going Green: A Pop Playlist for St. Patrick's Day

I always forget to wear green on St. Patrick's Day. It's become a tradition. Because I like being pinched about as much as Lil Kim likes Nicki Minaj, this means I have had years of practice in the art of the creative alternative. This year I'm planning ahead and incorporating the blog (synergy!) with this playlist of songs whose lyrics include the word "green." Oh yeah. Seventeen of them, in fact.

For the record, this was not an easy task. Kermit the Frog was right.

It's not easy being green.

Meg Myers - Daughter in the Choir (EP Review)

"Oh, what it takes out of me to lay by your side!" wails Meg Myers in the finale of her new EP, Daughter in the Choir. For Myers, love and pain are inextricably intertwined, and she grapples with this dichotomy throughout the six-song set. She doesn't do so as an outmatched victim - it's clear that she's more than capable of fending for herself - she just can't shake the possibility that she likes the pain. Masochistic white female singer-songwriters aren't exactly a rare commodity, but with this splendidly crafted debut Meg Myers fairly positions herself alongside some of the best of them: Fiona Apple, Lana Del Rey, and even this generation's patron saint of pop/rock kvetching, Alanis Morissette.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Listen: Kimberly Cole & Eddie Amador - "U Make Me Wanna" (feat. Garza)

When a song bears a title like "U Make Me Wanna," it's impossible not to want more information. Wanna what? Shout? Break down and cry? Make love, love, love? Leave the one I'm with, start a new relationship with you? Lala? In the kitchen, on the floor?  It could be anything, and history has hardly helped clear up the question. The question has been posed, and verbosely answered, by artists from Usher to Blue, but Kimberly Cole isn't in the mood for conversation in her new single with Atlantic/Big Beat, collaborating with Eddie Amador and Garza as on last year's "Arrow Through My Heart."

Brittany McDonald - "Notice Me" (Music Video Review)

If you haven't heard of Brittany McDonald, there are a few things you oughta know.

First, you're not alone. Brittany McDonald isn't a brand spanking new artist per se, but she is rather new to the pop scene, having recently defected to our side from Nashville, where she spent several years as a stellar yet under-appreciated country singer. She's also unsigned, mostly a result of her determination to team up with a label and management worthy of her considerable talent and formidable industry know-how.

Sneak Peek: Katy Perry - "Dressin' Up" (Full Original Demo Version)

After nearly two years of promotion and tireless performing, it appears Katy Perry is finally ready to bring down the curtain on her record-breaking sophomore album Teenage Dream, signing off with the release of a deluxe edition, on March 26, called The Complete Confection. The reissue of the 2010 album, which has sold nearly six million copies worldwide, will boast a few bonus features along with its $14.99 price tag: these include the chart-booster versions of  "Last Friday Night (TGIF)," "E.T." and "The One That Got Away" (featuring Missy Elliott, Kanye West, and a guitar, respectively) as well as a trio of new tracks, one of which, "Part of Me," has already scaled the singles chart to become the sixth track on the upcoming release to have hit #1 on the Hot 100.

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