Tag Archive | jay-z

WO: Weekly Obsessions

I say it all the time — because what else is there to comment on besides time and weather? — but did you realize it’s the last day of August?! I’ve already seen pumpkin spice memes and countdowns to Christmas… where does the time go? We may never know.

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  1. “…Why Women Drink”: My women’s group at work frequently shares inspiring and thought-provoking content to consider. This article has a bit of a clickbait-y headline, and some examples are extreme, but I found it interesting nonetheless. The author covers two disparate topics, yet both apply to me as a professional woman who enjoys socializing over drinks. Let me know what you think!
  2. VMAs: For the first time in as long as I can remember, I didn’t watch the VMAs this year. Pro tip: It’s saved to my DVR, for mass consumption when I have a few hours to kill. Luckily, my trusty news source BuzzFeed provided some recaps to keep me in the loop with the millenials. Because I’m definitely not old…
  3. MY2K Tour: To prove how not-old I am, I treated a close friend (and myself) to THE concert of the summer for her birthday. 98° + Dream + Ryan Cabrera + O-Town = what more could we ask for? Each act performed originals, covers and medleys that brought us back to the height of “TRL” and boy-band fever. Swoon.
  4. “Mama Said” – Lukas Graham: Instead of the obvious choice to present a song from the MY2K Tour, I’m keeping you on your toes with this one. You can’t have a sample of “Hard Knock Life” in your hook without it becoming an earworm… just ask Jay-Z. I also can’t listen to this without lip-syncing along like I’m some sort of undiscovered musical talent, so there’s that.

Images courtesy of: Quartz, Indie Wire, AOL (no, really), Instreamentals

GRAMMY Does It Again

It’s that time of year again, my friends. The 56th GRAMMY Awards were tonight, hosted by GRAMMY winner (as we’re constantly reminded for God-knows-what reason) LL Cool J.

Oh, that’s right. He listed some of his own songs and panned to Taylor Swift’s privileged white-girl angst. He also seems to miss the concept that, with a microphone, you don’t have to YELL.

But enough babbling — LL took care of that — let’s get to the important stuff:

Image Courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com

THE FASHIONS
Another year, another ho-hum red carpet. Here’s what I found notable:

  • Daft Punk, because, well … I just got a kick out of any audience shot involving this helmeted duo. Extra points for Pharrell having to speak on their behalf.
  • I’m not entirely sure what was on Lorde’s nails — thimbles, spray paint or otherwise — but it was certainly noticeable.
  • Thin mustaches and otherwise terrible facial hair were in full effect for some reason. From Robin Thicke to Nate Ruess, I am severely disturbed by the prevalence.
  • The dear, sweet Kacey Musgraves: Honey needs a new stylist, stat … unless tassled skirts are making a comeback and I missed the memo.

Image Courtesy of VH1.com

THE PERFORMANCES
Legendary concerts and collaborations like these happen but once a year:

  • Queen B opened the show with a dramatic performance of “Drunk in Love,” a song I personally don’t enjoy. I mean no disrespect to her talent, but I was most mesmerized by her beautiful bob haircut. Of course, Jay-Z joined her and made it rain.
  • Captivating and understated, Lorde absolutely killed it with “Royals.” I cannot say enough how much I love this songstress’s success.
  • I still don’t really know who Hunter Hayes is and get him confused with every other fresh-faced singer, but his shaky-sweet reveal of “Invisible” just might make me remember him.
  • Actor Steve Coogan joked, among other things, that the GRAMMYs chose to reunite two of the Beatles over all of the Jonas Brothers. He then introduced Katy Perry and Juicy J’s performance of the slutty, Hocus-Pocusy “Dark Horse.”
  • Next up were Chicago & Robin Thicke, performing a medley of their respective hits. Naturally, my fave is the group’s “Saturday in the Park” — hello, birthday shout-out. And thanks be to God, there were no foam fingers at this show.
  • Country and blues music came together onstage with Keith Urban and Gary Clark, Jr.’s soulful duet “Cop Car.” Mr. Kidman was looking mighty fine, and Clark is undeniably talented.
  • My fave piano man John Legend melted my ovaries with “All of Me.” A memo to Chrissy Teigen: You better not ever, ever, ever let that man get away from you. Speaking of …
  • And then there was Taylor Swift and “All Too Well.” This girl … I just can’t. She’s been in the biz for almost a decade and yet she STILL always looks surprised and awkward. Own it, woman. You know you’ve got eleventy billion tweens looking up to you! I didn’t even realize her painful “dancing” could be done while seated.
  • Smooth-mover Bruno Mars welcomed Pink for a gravity-defying performance of “Try.” Nate Ruess then joined her onstage for the always emotional “Give Me Just One Reason.”
  • Always incomprehensible Ozzy Osbourne and the rest of Black Sabbath introduced Ringo Starr for “Photograph.” I can’t say anything negative about the legendary Starr, so let’s just chalk that dancing up to him usually being seated at the drums.
  • Rapper Kendrick Lamar & rockers Imagine Dragons did a huge number with a mash-up of their respective smash hits. I wonder if, while watching the playback, they’ll collectively shit themselves seeing legends like Steven Tyler sing along.
  • The electric (no, really … lit-up boots and jackets were involved) Kacey Musgraves dazzled with “Follow Your Arrow.” Love her and the song, but as mentioned earlier, that outfit should have been burned.
  • Julia Roberts explained an upcoming CBS special for the 50th anniversary of The Beatles performing on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and then introduced Sir Paul and Ringo for “Give the People a Shout.”
  • Jeremy Renner welcomed the two remaining Highway Men, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, to kick things off. They were then joined by Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton to croon a handful of classics and make me seriously consider a move back to the South.
  • Suited up Neil Patrick Harris entertained with his intro of Daft Punk for their first televised performance in six years (and only second-ever). Perhaps if MTV hadn’t stuck their noses in for the VMA/Colbert debacle, that stat would have been smashed in August. Pharrell and Stevie Wonder were incredible bandmates, though.
  • Cyndi Lauper rocked red locks to announce Carole King and Sara Bareilles for their rendition of the latter’s “Brave.” Dueling pianos are always a win in my book.
  • The most perfect specimen who ever lived, Jared Leto, honored the legendary Lou Reed before bringing Metallica onstage with Lang Lang for a chilling performance of “One.”
  • Queen Latifah shared a heartfelt welcome to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with Mary Lambert and Trombone Shorty for the inspirational ballad “Same Love.” Oh, and then Queen Latifah came back to officiate 33 simultaneous marriages. Madonna showed up, too, and belted a few bars (with a full choir) of “Open Your Heart.” As expected and deserved, a standing ovation erupted from the crowd.
  • Lang Lang returned to the stage to begin the annual In Memoriam piece. It’s OK if you cried like a baby (too). Then, Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong closed it with a duet of “When Will I Be Loved?” to honor Phil Everly.

Image Courtesy of KROQ-CBSLocal.com

THE WINNERS
10 gramaphones were televised out of 82 awards, so this is all you get:

  • Funnygirl Anna Kendrick and super-hottie Pharrell presented Best New Artist to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I was personally pulling for country crooner Kacey Musgraves, but I wasn’t surprised to see this duo win.
  • Global sensations Juanes and Ana Faris were pleased to present Best Pop Duo/Group Performance to Daft Punk and Pharrell for “Get Lucky.” In a field of strong contenders, I thought it was anyone’s game.
  • Kevin Hart and Charlie Wilson announced Best Rock Song to multitalented winners Sir Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear for “Cut Me Some Slack.” It took them two hours to create pure magic … imagine what they could do in 24.
  • Teeny-tiny powerhouse Ariana Grande and singer Miguel gave Best Pop Solo Performance to the humble and nervous Lorde for “Royals” — guess Sara Bareilles and Katy Perry really didn’t need to fight over that melody after all.
  • Total nutjob and silly guy Jamie Foxx presented Best Rap/Sung Collaboration to power couple Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake for “Holy Grail.” HOVA accepted and earned Hubby of the Century for acknowledging Beyoncé and Blue Ivy.
  • Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony announced that Pharrell was previously awarded Producer of the Year, Non-Classical; and then handed out the gramaphone for Best Pop Vocal Album to Bruno Mars for “Unorthodox Jukebox.” I knew my Pandora was right about something!
  • Country crooners Martina McBride and Zac Brown honored George Jones and Ray Price in memoriam before handing Best Country Album to Kacey Musgraves for “Same Trailer, Different Park.” Her shock was genuine and endearing, and the award so well-deserved.
  • After their performance, Carole King and Sara Bareilles announced Song of the Year winner to Joe Little and Ella Yelich O’Connor (AKA Lorde) for writing her smash “Royals.”
  • The iconic Steven Tyler and Smokey Robinson were up next to sing and scream (guess which one?), and present Record of the Year to Pharrell, Nile Rogers and le French, Daft Punk, for “Get Lucky.”
  • Neil Portnow, Ryan Seacrest and John Legend honored Kent Knappenberger with the first-ever Music Educator Award. Real talk: He deserved to win for his beard alone.

My DVR decided to crap out at this point, so I know I missed some things. Album of the Year went to Daft Punk, I’m sure, but let me know if there was anything else of note.

Somewhere in there (probably halfway through) was the Pepsi Halftime Show, a first for this event. Just another reminder that the Super Bowl is next Sunday and will OWN YOUR LIFE till then. Oh, and that Pepsi must be richer than God to afford all the celebs involved. #ditkaonawreckingball

I also would really like to buy a Chevy if John Legend is selling them. And a MasterCard from JT.

So that’s my take on the night —  did I get something dead wrong in your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

Get Ready for This Year’s Best Soundtrack

Courtesy of Fansided.com
Yeah, I said it. A friend shared this playlist with me last week, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since.

It starts with JAY-FREAKING-Z.

There’s a glowing hit from stellar bands like Florence + The Machine and The xx.

And covers of “Back to Black” and “Crazy in Love” (Hint: Only one features Beyoncé … choose wisely).

Put it on, and just try and tell me you don’t love it.

Courtesy of tumblr.com
Well-played, Baz Luhrmann. Well-played.

WO: Weekly Obsessions

I’m exhausted. It never fails — every single week, Tuesdays are crazy and endless.

Why should Tuesday get to stomp around like a giant, while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? What’s so great about Tuesday? … We should totally just stab Tuesday! Right. Now, let’s hope today is better.

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. The ’90s: We’re attending a themed birthday party this weekend, and our costumes will be totally rad. Can’t wait to relive the days of Tamagotchi and Kris Kross!
  2. Odwalla Juices & Smoothies: The only thing getting me out of bed early is the promise of these babies in my fridge. The Original is my favorite, with Strawberry Banana in a close second.
  3. Colored Denim: Can we even call this a trend anymore? I hope it never goes away. Whether the forecast is gray (like always) or sunny (like maybe someday), a pop of colored pants will make any day better.
  4. Justin Timberlake f. Jay Z – “Suit & Tie”: JT is hosting SNL and I am so pumped for his performance with HOVA. My DVR may just explode from the sexy (or the acronyms).


You can show me a few things anytime.

Images courtesy of: VH1, OdwallaThe Budget Babe, NPR

55th GRAMMY Awards: Red Carpet + Recap

Returning host LL Cool J tucked his ears into a Kangol hat and shared a handful of awful puns to bring music superstars together tonight.

His personal stories were long-winded and confusing, though not quite on par with Jodie Foster’s now infamous Emmy speech.

The red carpet coverage was entertaining, but can we all back off from pushing the social media stuff? Hashtag: It’s overkill.

 Courtesy of FabSugar.com

The Fashions: Some snoozes, some surprises

  • Finally dressing her age, Taylor Swift’s flowing gown was stunning. And that’s the only nice thing I’ll say about her tonight.
  • Jennifer Lopez clearly missed the restricted dress-code memo (and later joked about it). Honey, your cooch is loose. Oh also? You’re FORTY-THREE.
  • Usually adventurous Beyonce donned a bland pantsuit, but she’s Queen B and looked gorgeous anyway. Former DC3 band mate Kelly Rowland wowed in my fave dress of the night.
  • Katy Perry said she channeled Priscilla Presley, and I think The King himself would be pleased with her tribute. Va-va-voooom — but where were notoriously wacky Lady Gaga and Nicki Manaj?
  • Katy’s BFF Rihanna looked far more glamorous than I’ve seen her in a while, and first-timer Carly Rae Jepsen slinked and sparkled in a gorgeous gown.
  • No idea what Adele was thinking, but I’ll allow post-pregnancy brain as her excuse.

Courtesy of NecoleBitchie.com

The Performances: Where actors prove their relevance for attending

  • Taylor Swift opened with that awful never, ever song — in a surprising departure from her sickly sweet scenery. Still no rhythm, Tay Tay. Like, ever.
  • Sir Elton John and Ed Sheeran collaborated to perform a dazzling rendition of the latter’s hit single “The A Team.”
  • Neil Patrick Harris included Barney Stinson trademark “legendary” in his introduction of fun. for their sweet ballad, “Carry On.”
  • Quintessential douche John Mayer stood with icon Bonnie Raitt. They announced Miranda Lambert and tour mate Dierks Bentley’s too-loud dual duets. Say that five times fast!
  • Is Johnny Depp homeless now? He sure looks it. Mumford & Sons strummed and sung an electric “I Will Wait” to shift our focus away from Depp’s derelict designs.
  • Beyonce and Ellen DeGeneres paired up perfectly to introduce OMG JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. His “Suit and Tie” world premiere was simply fantastical, even better in, you guessed it: black and white. Jay Z joined in because he can and we loved him for it.
  • Maroon 5 led with “Daylight” before Alicia Keys brought it home with “Girl on Fire.” Adam Levine is better speaking, not singing. Alicia’s crooning (and drumming!) saved my ears yet again.
  • Rihanna and Mickey Echo belted “Stay” to a silenced crowd. Finally, a Ri Ri song I don’t hate!
  • 1 Broke Girl Kat Dennings announced The Black Keys, performing alongside Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Doctor John. Hipster magic was made and they lived happily ever after.
  • Kelly Clarkson paid homage to Patti Page and Bonnie Tyler with respective renditions of “The Tennessee Waltz” and “A Natural Woman.” Get it, girl.
  • The much-anticipated Bob Marley tribute kicked off with Bruno Mars and his lovable backup dancers, followed by powerhouse performers Sting, Rihanna and Damian and Ziggy Marley. Shout-out to everyone singing along, especially NPH and that one white guy with his arms crossed.
  • The Lumineers nailed “Ho Hey” before introducing Jack White. The former was an entertaining escape; the latter was reminiscent of old jams to The White Stripes. Even Nicole Kidman said it was awesome.
  • Newcomer Hunter Hayes warbled through “Wanted,” but I’m told that’s how it should sound. Carrie Underwood appeared with “Blown Away.” Yet another example of sound techs needing to check before they wreck!
  • An acoustic and bilingual “Your Song” by Latin GRAMMY winner Juanes was soft and sweet before introducing Frank Ocean for “Forrest Gump.” Lieutenant Dan, ICE CREAM?!
  • LL Cool J teamed up with Travis Barker and others to close the show. “WHADDUP” felt out of place, but I always enjoy a “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” nod.

Courtesy of Mimo.RecordingConnection.com

The Winners: 3.5 hours of coverage, and only 11 televised gramaphones

  • Spicy songsters Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull presented Best Pop Solo Performance to Adele for her live version of “Set Fire to the Rain.” In a 15ish-second speech, she held the award awkwardly and called J. Lo her good luck charm. Adorbs all around.
  • Hot-this-moment Miguel and Wiz Khalifa worked the crowd in patterned suits before presenting Best Country Solo Performance to American (Idol) sweetheart Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away.” Her heartfelt speech was also short and sweet.
  • Country’s favorite couple (right, guys?) Tim McGraw and Faith Hill awarded fun. with coveted Song of the Year honor for “We Are Young,” as performed with Janelle Monae. Many thanks were given to their fellow musicians, with Jay Z shouting back “You’re welcome!” Classic HOVA.
  • Proud presenters Kelly Rowland and Nas announced first-ever Best Urban Contemporary Album winner Frank Ocean for Channel Orange. You mad, Chris Brown?
  • Producer of the Year Dan Auerbach was announced by Pauly Perrette and my future first husband, Dave Grohl. They then honored Auerbach’s band mates, The Black Keys, with Best Rock Performance for “Lonely Boy.”
  • Kaley Cuoco shouted alongside American Idol judge Keith Urban to present first AI winner Kelly Clarkson with Best Pop Vocal Album. She rambled and ran around like a crazy person. Perfection.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen and Ne-Yo presented Jay Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and The Dream with Best Rap Song Collaboration. Mr. West was absent, but Jay Z killed again.
  • Best Country Album went to The Zac Brown Band for Uncaged, and their thanks to the fans brought roars from the crowd.
  • Eyelash line creator Katy Perry joked and presented Best New Artist to fun., who should definitely change that period to an exclamation point (NPH)! Their pee jokes were great too.
  • The man, the legend, the symbol, the cane: Prince! He handed over the GRAMMY for Record of the Year to Gotye and Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” No surprise there.
  • 2012’s GRAMMY cleaner-upper, Adele, presented Album of the Year to Mumford & Sons for “Babel.” Their flirtation with the crowd (and Adele) was both humble and humorous.

Before its In Memoriam segment, The GRAMMY Foundation announced a brand-new category, set to begin in 2014: The Music Educator Award.

And speaking of education, the touching Sandy Hook tribute brought a wealth of performers together — and the crowd to its feet.

Did you watch? How do you think it compared to last year’s event?

WO: Weekly Obsessions

Let’s kick this week off with some things I’m not obsessed with: packing, logistics, the unknown and Taylor Swift’s new song (especially because she tricked me into liking it). There, I feel much better. Now onto four finds I’m stoked to share:

 

  1. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights kicked off last weekend, so a special shout-out goes to my Jewish friends who partake. Cheers to a blessed holiday celebration – love, your favorite shiksa.
  2. Tacky Sweaters: Our annual work contest is next week, and my bid on a sweet little number is sure to please. Check out these Hanukkah sweaters too — mazel!
  3. Jay Z: I’ve recently had more conversations than is appropriate about trying to meet HOVA, Jigga, etc. Here’s hoping he and BK need a babysitter for little Blue Ivy, mwahaha.
  4. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers: You’ve heard and fallen in love with this song already, I’m sure. Just catchy enough, with some sweetly simple lyrics to boot.

 

I don’t know where I belong / I don’t know where I went wrong

 Images courtesy of: eHow, Anyone know? This thing is viral, Rolling Stone, tumblr

GRAMMY Gets Weirder at 54

I was going to post about something entirely different today, but then the 54th GRAMMY Awards happened.

LL Cool J served as host, and he opened the ceremony with a beautiful prayer to honor the late Whitney Houston. The evening’s breakdown is as follows:

The Fashions: Another awards show, another competition for weirdest outfit between …

  • Lady Gaga – We barely heard about her this year, but she still managed to carry a scepter, throw a fishing net over herself and call it a style.
  • Nicki Minaj – Not as outlandish as I expected, Miss Minaj only had a few ensembles, the worst of which was her cape and accompanying priest.
  • Katy Perry – Does the woman ever mix up the monochrome? She was all about baby blue, and it wasn’t really working.

The Performances: Much-anticipated and mostly memorable, this year’s performers were …

  • Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band opened, without so much as a crotch shot. (Anyone else still haunted by that?)
  • Bruno Mars brought the funk with a shout-out to Whitney that was reminiscent of his VMA tribute to Amy.
  • Chris Brown still looks and sounds like a 16-year-old, but his dance moves are getting more interesting. Full disclosure: I kept waiting for him to fall from his Aggro Crag tower.
  • Reba looked timeless as she introduced Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson for “Don’t You Wanna Stay?” Their mics were uneven, and Kelly’s stylist seriously needs to be fired.
  • The Foo Fighters performed “Walk” outside the Staples Center, and Dave Grohl still has my heart. ‘Nuff said.
  • Rihanna and Coldplay are generally two of my least favorite popular music performers, so I can’t be unbiased here. My ears didn’t bleed, which was new.
  • Hey, Ryan Seacrest: Thanks for the puns, champ. Maroon 5 began with “Little Surfer Girl” — just when I thought Adam Levine’s voice couldn’t get any worse. Foster the People’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was spot-on. And for their 50th anniversary, The Beach Boys put out “Good Vibrations,” while everyone in the audience looked really, really white singing and dancing along (even future hubby John Legend).
  • Stevie Wonder forever remains a baller. Speaking to Whitney, playing the harmonica, singing a little … oh, and he introduced Sir Paul McCartney’s sleepy performance of “My Valentine.”
  • The Civil Wars gave a stellar acoustic opening for Taylor Swift, who still hasn’t learned to dance. I’d tell you what she sang, but they all sound the same to me.
  • Always-gorgeous Kate Beckinsale partnered with LL to introduce always-offbeat Katy Perry, proving once again that her songs are all slow as shit but layered over upbeat tracks.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow welcomed Adele back to the stage — and “Rolling in the Deep” never sounded so good.
  • Taylor Swift looked even more dowdy introducing a medley of Glen Campbell songs (does she even know who he is?). The Band Perry, Blake Shelton and the rhinestone cowboy himself came together for a toe-tapping trifecta. Campbell got a little lost at the end, making him all the more endearing.
  • Following the In Memoriam tributes, Jennifer Hudson brought the crowd to its feet with an emotional “I Will Always Love You.”
  • Remembering Don Cornelius, Soul Train legend, were Chris Brown, David Guetta and Lil’ Wayne in an LSD-induced dance-off. Bonus: The Foo Fighters rocked with “Rope” and a little help from DeadMau5.
  • Drake introduced Nicki Minaj for her super-confusing mash-up, which went into a short film and “The Exorcism of Roman” — both were disturbing at best.
  • Luckily, Sir Paul McCartney closed out the night with “Golden Slumbers” and redeemed the stage from Nicki’s head-scratching show.

The Winners: Only nine golden gramaphones were shown, those being …

  • Presenters Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt began with “A Sunday Kind of Love“ by Etta James. Best Pop Solo Performance went to Adele for “Someone Like You,” and the crowd roared for the comeback queen’s victory.
  • Fergie’s acting skills are still lacking, but she and Marc Anthony presented Best Rap Performance to Kanye West and new daddy Jay Z, who were not in attendance.
  • Victor Cruz salsa danced his way into presenting Best Rock Performance with that girl from “NCIS” and fellow Giant Mario Manningham. Foo won for “Walk,” and Dave Grohl’s acceptance speech was wonderful — urging musicians to CREATE, instead of FABRICATE — no complaints here.
  • Common and Taraji P. Henson presented Chris Brown’s “Fame” with the GRAMMY for Best R&B Album. As per usual, he opened his mouth and sounded like an idiot.
  • NPH was suited up for Adele’s Song of the Year award, thanks to played-every-minute powerhouse “Rolling in the Deep.”
  • Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley awarded Best Country Album to trio Lady Antebellum for “Own the Night.”
  • Carrie Underwood sparkled alongside legend Tony Bennett, singing “It Had to Be You.” They then presented — a witty and admittedly uncomfortable — Bon Iver with the GRAMMY for Best New Artist.
  • Lady Antebellum returned to the stage, awarding Record of the Year to clear favorite Adele for “Rolling in the Deep.” Her speech was a bit awkward, but you gotta love the way Brits say “fank you.”
  • OG Diva Diana Ross received a standing O before presenting Album of the Year to Adele for “21.” Another standing O and a very emotional speech (with a “bit a snot”) later, the curtain fell.

And special props to Betty White, who won her first GRAMMY at just 90 years old.

I asked myself no less than 10 times why I was watching the awards, but I just couldn’t help myself. From tragedies to triumphs, it was one hell of a show.

No — here’s looking at you, kid.