Camille Paglia ridicules Miley Cyrus twerking performance

We’re used to artists like Madonna and Lady Gaga shocking us with their performances, but there was always more to it than just the shock value. There was real talent and artistic elements to the performances.

The same can’t be said for poor Miley Cyrus who came across as a drunk, white trash chick trying to get attention at a dive bar. The tongue action was pretty lame. And while twerking can be sexy, it just seemed lame and dirty with Miley doing it next to Robin Thicke.

Yes, it was a train wreck.

Camille Paglia doesn’t pull any punches:

Most of the media backlash focused on Cyrus’ crass opportunism, which stole the show from Lady Gaga, normally no slouch in the foot-stamping look-at-me department. But the real scandal was how atrocious Cyrus’ performance was in artistic terms. She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin.

Check out the entire article, as she explains the artistic influences of performers like Madonna and how all that seems to be missing with Miley.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces 2013 Inductees: When Hip-Hop Meets ‘Heart’

What a RUSH! The PUBLIC have finally voted on the Newman and women pending induction into the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. These artists have poured their Heart and souls into their musical craft, and will join ranks alongside fellow King and Queens of rock and roll. The induction ceremony is expected to broadcast on HBO one month before Summer, the 18th of May 2013.

(Have I dropped enough subtle hints yet?)

Clever word-play aside, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officials have announced the legendary musicians to be honored at the 2013 awards ceremony. If I could offer a drum roll to preface the results, it would be an eclectic mash-up of rhythms to reflect the musical diversities of these latest inductees. The vets joining ranks with fellow Rock and Rollers are: Albert King (posthumously), Donna Summer (posthumously), Heart, Randy Newman, Rush and Public Enemy.

For the first time in the history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Awards, fans were able to vote online for their preferred artists. As a result, this interactive approach generated one hell of a musical lineup; offering six different genres spanning a period of fifty years.

The inductees are a refreshing reminder of the various musical influences that have shaped the tunes of my generation. The product of pro-hippie parents, I grew up listening to The Beatles’ “Greatest Hits” album on Saturday mornings. In one afternoon, I had traveled from 60′s Britain to 80′s Asia with the simple change of my mom’s record.

It’s great to see such artists like Albert King – whose musical influences date back to the 1950s – being honored in the year 2013. It just goes to show how the classic hits of our past are still acknowledged as the musical stepping stones of our future.

2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: From Doo-Wop to Disco and Everything in Between

The 28th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced on October 4, 2012, offering a list of 15 groundbreaking artists who have circulated the music scene for a minimum of 25 years, as required for the ballot.

This unprecedented event was further marked by first-time fan voting, which allowed music lovers to vote on their preferred inductees. Though voting was concluded on December 5th, fans don’t have much longer to wait; the total nominations will be revealed sometime in mid-December, serving as a pre-holiday surprise for the musicians who made the selective cut. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on April 18, 2013 at Los Angeles’s notable Nokia Theatre.

In anticipation of the event, check the list below to revel in the revolutionary talents of the past quarter century:

Albert King, Chic, Deep Purple, Kraftwerk, Donna Summer, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Marvelettes, The Meters, N.W.A., Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Procol Harum, Public Enemy, Randy Newman and Rush.

From doo-wop to prog-rock to gangster rap, the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees fulfill a wide-range of experimental genres that have surpassed the last two decades; culminating in triumph as musical legends, regardless of the ultimate victor.

Change. Not Necessarily A Good Thing.

Papa Roach, Metamorphosis

Papa Roach is by no means new to the world of controversy. From their first suicidal single, “Last Resort” to their latest installment of nu-metal, Metamorphosis, Jacoby Shaddix and friends have built quite a repertoire of heavy, riffing guitars and arena-rock vocals. Their uncanny ability to come out of hiding and dominate the charts is no doubt, what has kept them on mainstream radar for the last ten years, however, after the lukewarm reception of their latest release it seems as the though this foursome’s reign is finally coming to an end.

Metamorphosis, released March 24 on DGC Records, is the sixth studio album from Papa Roach. Although the record seems to strive for a more poppy metal sound, the overall affect is less than pleasant. Jacoby’s once-passionate vocal is now stifled by a shockingly 80’s-metal flare that resembles Nickelback’s Chad Kroger, or Buck Cherry’s Josh Todd. Additionally, the pulsating guitars and intense lyrics that propelled Papa Roach to superstardom are once again absent from this recording. As a fan of their old material, Metamorphosis leaves me asking, “Who is this band and what have they done with my Papa Roach?”

While there’s no disputing the production value of this record, the lyrical strength and intensity the band used to rely on is nowhere to be found on Metamorphosis. Several tracks have solid foundations but fail miserably when it comes to the lyrics, which are incredibly clichéd and void of passion. Perhaps the most disturbing example can be found on track two, “Hollywood Whore.” The single is completely predictable and unfortunately, sub-par. SputnikMusic.com commented on the song saying:

“‘Hollywood Whore’ takes aim at the flirtatious females that have invaded tinsel-town of late. There is a half-decent riff courtesy of guitarist Jerry Horton and some melody contained within the cut, but it is all brought down by clichéd lines such as “the talk of the town is that she’s going down,” and… “Don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you honey.”

In fact, the track ends with Shaddix screaming “Don’t let the door hit you…” channeling the likes of Nikki Six, which he also seems to have done on their recent album artwork.

Not everyone has a dislike for the would-be single “Hollywood Whore,” however. Amazon.com called the song “a ferocious Rock track with a contagious and undeniable chorus.” While all opinions are debatable there’s potential in this song, if only the band had taken the time to realize it.

Four minutes later, the sex-anthem “I Almost Told You That I Loved You” is just as soulless. The sadly superficial track led SputnikMusic to write,

“I Almost Told You That I Loved You’ begins with “You know I love it when you’re down on your knees”, a double-take is in order to ensure…Jacoby Shaddix has not been possessed by either Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) or Austin Winkler (Hinder).”

To ad insult to injury, AbsolutePunk.net wrote, “I Almost Told You That I Loved You” is unmistakably a Buckcherry rip off on all accounts.” Too bad no one was there to give such advice before the record was released. Thankfully, there’s hope about half-way through the album. A little old-school Papa Roach can be found on tracks like “Lifeline” (a convenient first single), and “March Out Of The Darkness,” which Ultimate-Guitar.com said, “mixes guitar crunch with lyrical introspection and impassioned vocals.” Both tracks showcase Shaddix’s vocal without making him sound like a copy-cat and listeners can extract some semblance of passion in the lyric thanks to a signature, “help me, I’m lost” message found on both tracks.

While some may enjoy the detour Papa Roach has taken with their latest LP, the majority speaks loud and clear. The unfortunate downall of Metamorphosis can be linked directly to the band’s lack of direction. RollingStone.com hit the nail on the head saying, “the problem is that Papa Roach don’t rise far enough above the radio-rocking competition—it’s hard to remember the band’s identity at this point.” The constant identity flip-flop could be due to the band’s inability to let go of mainstream, but if these Cali rockers were to give up the ability to top the charts, it’s unpleasant to think how far they could fall.

Six records into their career, Papa Roach has evolved from garage/rap-rock with a punky twist to full-fledged metal band that sounds like a mix of Metallica and Nickelback. The strange combination may very well be the stepping-stone on the road to change, but it is certainly far from a textbook Metamorphosis. As SputnikMusic.com put it,

“The LP is a regression on their previous releases. The band seem to be aiming at as broad an audience as possible here, but the likelihood is that they will reach even less targets since basically every track lacks a certain something to distinguish itself from the large pack of similar artists flooding the market. Chances are that most listeners will find a couple of songs to like, but as a whole, Metamorphosis fails to impress”.

If you were a fan of old-school Papa Roach, and do not favor recent releases like Getting Away With Murder you may want to steer clear of Metamorphosis. But if you can get over the smothering metal influences go ahead and give it a shot.

Peace

Cornell’s Post-Grunge Woes

Chris Cornell's

As the former front man to 90’s rock icons Audioslave and Soundgarden Chris Cornell played sold-out shows to adoring fans, and celebrated top 10 records. Now more than two years after the split of Audioslave, Cornell’s solo project, Scream—a collaboration with world-renowned beat-maker, Timbaland—has been mixed, mastered, pressed, and distributed to every physical and virtual outlet that can still move product.  With one of the hottest producers, hordes of adoring fans waiting in the wings, and more than five studio albums under his belt what could go wrong you ask. Unfortunately for Cornell, the answer is everything.

From the first synthesized horn and layered guitar of the records opener, whatever message was intended is immediately lost. Cornell’s dynamic voice is buried in cumbersome beats, and inorganic elements that just don’t quite make sense for the grunge master. Rollingstone.com said Scream, “feels like it belongs in a time capsule, a strange mutation that could only have been born this decade.” The general consensus is that this record comes across like a bad Michael McDonald special featuring nothing but Justin Timberlake covers.

It seems as though, for such a well-known rocker, the switch from grunge to synth could only come with criticism. While Timbaland calls Scream, “the best work I’ve done in my career,” Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor publicly bashed Scream on his Twitter account saying, “You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell’s record? Jesus.” Cornell has yet to respond to the attack via tweet, probably because he’s so busy fielding a heap of negative press.

The L.A. Times also gave Scream an abysmal review that read, “Scream, is a fascinating but heartbreaking document of how many wrong decisions one can make in writing and performing a record.” They may be right, but that’s not exactly the kind of press you’re looking for as an artist.

Luckily, there may be light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. While most people would agree that the collaboration between Cornell and Timbaland doesn’t correctly translate to listeners, the musical meat of the record isn’t all that bad. There are some standout moments where an unexpected beat drops, or a clever turnaround sneaks its way in through the mirage of brassy guitars. Will Harris at Bullz-eye.com wrote, “There are some phenomenal choruses [on the record], including “Never Far Away” and “Enemy,” both of which would readily fill most dance floors with little remixing required.” It also helps to know that Cornell is completely behind this new project. In a review on RollingStone.com Cornell said, “Maybe I’m an optimist or just an idiot but I really think the fans will come around to the concept.” In all reality the fans that have stuck with Cornell throughout his musical transformation will, more than likely support this record. Hardcore Cornell fans probably had it pre-ordered months before the release date, without ever hearing a note, and who knows, there might even be a few Timbaland followers just waiting to add this record to their library.

It’s hardly ever well received when an icon goes schizo and completely changes their musical profile. It didn’t work when Garth Brooks channeled Chris Gaines, and in the same respects Chris Cornell is going to have a hard time converting his grunge-hungry fans to Timbaland-heavy beats. The moral of the story here: stick to what you know. Change scares a lot of people, and a change as drastic as the one brought about by Scream is certainly no exception. Better luck next time Chris.

WTF?! Rewind – The Immortals


Mortal Kombat – The Album

Video games and popular songs. They come and go, don’t you know. Way back in the ’80s, the shit got started with Buckner & Garcia’s classic “Pac-Man Fever.” There was also an album of the same name by the duo, and as I recall they even got to “perform” on “American Bandstand” at the time. Of course, the arcade craze soon turned into a giant money pit and soon home console gaming started taking over once more near the end of the decade, coupled with the truly awesome god of home computing at the time, the Commodore 64.

By the early ’90s, though, one-on-one fighting games started reeling the kids back into the arcades, and business was once again booming. One of those first 2-D fighters was of course “Mortal Kombat.” Its violent content caused enough of an uproar that when the game was ported to home consoles, the Super Nintendo version was blood-free. But hey, this did not stop the likes of Johnny Cage and Sub Zero from invading your favorite local dance floor.

Enter The Immortals.

Whoever the hell they were, they decided to take standard-grade techno and couple it with sound clips from the game as well as throw on a bunch of hilariously bad original lyrics. Who could not thrill to an Ecstasy-fueled trip while getting all huggy and lovey-dovey on complete strangers while “Sonya (Go Go Go)” or “Scorpion (Lost Soul Bent On Revenge)” pounded away? Indeed, it was “Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)” itself that was a club hit, and also appeared in the craptastic feature film based on the game. This truly was proof positive that America is the land of plenty, and that if you have a “good enough” idea, you can market the hell out of it and enough lemmings will flock to the fly pile.

As we all know, the “Mortal Kombat” franchise went on to spawn four more arcade machines, and luckily there were no other CDs. Still, I wouldn’t have minded some tracks along the lines of “Baraka (He Will Julienne Your Potatoes Beautifully)” or “Reptile (His Acid Reflux Will Literally Melt Your Skull).” If anyone wants to buy these ideas from me, let me know. I got a million of ‘em.

WTF?! Rewind – MC Skat Kat


The Adventures of MC Skat Cat and the Stray Mob

Boy, the early ’90s sure were adventurous times, weren’t they? We had Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer tearing up the charts, and just around the bend there would be Nirvana and the whole grunge scene. Alternative music was going to hit an unforeseen high in both sales and radio play. It felt like anything could happen.

And well, anything did happen.

As we all know, Paula Abdul once had a very profitable music career. She couldn’t sing to save her life, but like many other artists of the time, her videos sold her music. It was all about the image. And so, while she was riding one of her higher than high crests, she recorded a song with MC Skat Kat. That song was another big hit for Abdul. Of course, it was “Opposites Attract” and once again the video was eye candy for any MTV viewer. However, Paula was seen getting her groove on with an animated MC Skat Kat who was literally a feline. Was this the beginning of the downhill plunge, or was it when she had Keanu Reeves do his cameo bit in “Rush Rush”? It matters not.

The point is some record exec thought that MC Skat Kat could be the next big rap artist and went about getting the kitty his own recording contract and LP. It was 1991 and, well, this was no longer the days when something like Jive Bunny and the Master Mixers were tearing up the charts. A lot of changes were happening constantly, and needless to say an animated cat making a rap album wasn’t going to be taken any more seriously than Vanilla Ice.

But Ice sold a shitload of records. MC Skat Kat on the other hand sold…well, I’m thinking if I can’t remember, then it must not have been much. Of course with songs like “I Ain’t No Kitty,” “”No Dogs Allowed,” “On the Prowl,” and “Kat Stories” one begins to wonder if this damn thing wasn’t actually targeted at actual cats. Paula Abdul showed up rather expectedly to lend some “credence” to the project and duetted once again with Skat on “Skat Strut,” but no one really gave a shit (although the video was a hit on MTV). And if they did, surely they were kicking themselves sometime shortly afterward for actually buying the thing.

According to Skat Kat’s Wikipedia page, he later returned one more time in 1995 in a star-studded ad about recycling (the spot also featured such heavyweights as Kenny Loggins, Lita Ford, and Bugs Bunny), along with a new song called “Take it Back.” The song was released as a single. And once again, no once cared. Skat Kat has not been heard from since.

Now if his name had only been “MC Scat Cat” then the moniker would have gone along perfectly with the product. Ba-doom-ching.

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