Slacker’s Artist Of The Week is Justin Timberlake. From his boy-band beginnings to rocking both SNL and the hipsters at SXSW in the last week- JT has done a remarkable job of trading his frosted tips for a suit and tie.
His new album- The 20/20 Experience– dropped this week, and a co-headlining tour with Jay-Z will follow. On this station, Slacker explores his beginnings with NSYNC, his biggest hits as a solo artist, his collabs with artists like Timbaland, his influences, and his musical peers.
Emeli Sandé is a 25 year old British/Scottish artist that is poised to make a major impression in the US this year and is spotlighted as our new artist of the week.
After dropping out of medical school in her 4th year, she went on to become one of the biggest artists in the UK.
Since its release in February, her debut album, ‘Our Version Of Events’, went on to become the UK’s biggest selling debut album of 2012, winning Emeli the coveted BRITs Critics’ Choice Award as well as the Best British Female and Best British Album of the Year at the 2013 Brit Awards.
She’s now set her sights on the US. After securing the coveted support act spot on Coldplay’s US tour, Coca-Cola’s Olympic Torch Relay City Celebrations, and public support from the likes of Bono and Elton John – we doubt it will take long for the US to catch on to this powerhouse.
Take a look at her recent performance on Ellen this past month:
On Slacker’s Artist of the Week station, you will hear Emeli Sandé as well as other collaborators, influences, and contemporaries. Just think – in a few months you’ll be able to say you heard her here first.
So here we are. Deep in the heart of awards season, with the Academy getting ready to pass out their golden statuettes this weekend.
As Slacker’s (arguably) most pop-culture obsessed curator, I want to talk to you about this year’s Academy Award nominated songs (best original song), and who I think will (probably)(maybe)(most likely) win.
Let’s start at the top, alphabetically speaking:
“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
This song features Scarlett Johansson & Joshua Bell – the latter, in case you don’t recognize the name, is a grammy award winning violinist. Scarlett sings this haunting track that plays over the credits of the documentary about climate change in Greenland, which was expected to earn a nomination for Best Documentary Feature, but was left off of that list. The academy might want to throw it a bone in this category, but more likely this just wasn’t high profile enough to win this year. You never know. Could be a dark horse.
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted”
Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
Can I be honest here and say that if Seth MacFarlane wins an oscar I’m probably going to boycott these awards for the rest of my life? That being said, this is a sweet throwback to the 40’s sung by Norah Jones. Despite the fact that he’s hosting this year, I just feel like the Academy knows better than to RECOGNIZE SETH MACFARLANE. EVER. Or I hope so, at least.
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”
Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
Everyone I know who read this book (including myself) got super excited about the movie, and then came out of it feeling… OK? Not amazing, not entirely disappointed, just… I think at that point we all finally recognized the challenges of making a story almost entirely set in a boat in the middle of the ocean interesting for 2 hours. Anyway, this song is ok, but it’s nothing compared to the final contenders.
“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil
Listen, nobody ever likes the new song added to these productions, especially one as tried and true as Les Mis. I’ve been a fan of the musical since 8th grade and there’s no way this song was going to stir me in the way “I Dreamed A Dream” or “On My Own” would. It’s not even exhilarating in the way “Do You Hear The People Sing” is. But they had to nominate something in this category from the film (or look kind of silly) and this is the only new, original song in it. Probably added explicitly for the purpose of getting nominated for this exact award. This song could win – it’s got the star power and the promotion behind it, but my bet is safely on…
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall”
Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Awards shows love Adele. They don’t just love her, they luuuuuuuuve her. They want to marry her. And not only do we have a big ol’ crush on Adele, we have a societal obligation to love James Bond films. This was an amazing flick, with a perfect, old school sounding theme song. It’s *almost* too obvious, but I think Adele is going to win it (as usual.) It’s not so hard to imagine Adele going on to perform on Broadway at some point, where she’ll win a Tony. Then just throw a television appearance or two into the mix, and Adele is certain to be the world’s next EGOT winner.
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s review.
Will win: “Skyfall”
Could win: “Suddenly”
Should win: “Skyfall”
Obviously I could be wrong about all of this, so feel free to speak up and share your predictions – plus your arguments for or against – in the comments! Also make sure to check out the new Oscar Movie Music Station on Slacker Radio for more scores, themes and songs of the greatest cinematic masterpieces
Until now, music fans could hide their deepest, darkest secrets. The power to manipulate your public persona with music preferences was actually something that could be done in years past. Sure you were Indie Guy, Punk Rocker, Goth(lite) Cure Groupie, or raving Candy Kid to everyone who knew you. But, in private – in the quiet comforts of your home where no one was watching – and you sat watching tv or listening to music by yourself, you could shed the grunge flannels, the black eyeliner or the rave gear and listen to *that* song. You know the one. The latest bubble gum hook, the show tune that makes you cry, the anthemic love song that would melt icebergs, the musical equivalent of the latest celebrity gossip magazine – Remember those days? Musical Skeletons could remain hidden – locked inside that special place.
Those days are over.
Online music listening has changed all that, as playlists often populate personal Facebook timelines and expose carefully guarded musical secrets and fetishes. Life in the digital age has turned 15 minutes of fame into a lifetime of nakedness. Slacker not only understands this conundrum, we’ve decided to embrace it by calling on seasoned experts to take listeners on a journey through multiple decades and genres as they depict the top 50 songs deemed to be the most detrimental to the online personas of music fans.
Experts and pop culture mavens Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, authors of the best seller I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of Music Video Revolution, serve as our tour guides through Slacker’s “50 Most Embarrassing Songs on Facebook” station. And this isn’t just a station that ho hums through an ordinary list of your typical guilty pleasures and bubble gum favorites of yesteryear. Craig and Rob have used their expertise of music and pop culture to serve as masterful tour guides through a thought provoking countdown that embraces the fact that, while Facebook and social media provide an outstanding platform for music discovery and sharing, it is also the digital community that exposes us all.
We got a chance to talk with Craig and Rob about what this evolution of public personas means for music fans, how Facebook and social media have changed music, why they picked various songs and, after a lot of prying – what musical skeletons they keep tucked away in the closet.
Slacker: You guys are hosting the “Top 50 most Embarrassing Facebook Songs” station on Slacker Radio. This I am sure must come from some personal experience in the loss of your music street cred. So we must know – what are your most embarrassing music skeletons in your closet?
Rob: I am proud of the bad music I listen to as the good music I listen to. In fact, the bad music I listen to is pretty good and the good music I listen to is pretty bad. I am not hiding anything. I am completely naked.
Craig: One of the reasons I enjoyed curating this list is – I really don’t like the public display of EVERY song people listen to. There is music that I don’t like but nothing I would be embarrassed about. And, unless someone is displaying that they are listening to Neo Nazi music, I tend to think there is nothing to be embarrassed about…. No, I take that back. #1 on our list. If I saw someone was listening to our #1 Chris Brown – I would question things.
Slacker: I tend to think I would be most embarrassed by the fact that I secretly dance around my living room listening to showtunes may damage my street cred to my Facebook friends.
Rob: I just got an idea for a new ap. It would show that you are listening to Velvet Underground when you are actually listening to Hall and Oates.
Craig: Anyone of your friends who would look down on you for listening to showtunes is not worth being a friend.
Slacker: Your book delves into the golden age of music videos and how MTV shaped an entire generation. One of the things your list brings to light is the major differences between the MTV Generation and the Facebook Generation. What do you think are the major differences between the two in pop culture and music?
Craig: Rather than a major difference, I see the integration between online radio and Facebook is an attempt to recreate what happened in the early days of MTV. Back then, every time we interviewed someone they would say the same thing about its emergence. And that was “my friends would come over to my house every day and we would spend three hours together watching MTV.” So MTV was really a group viewing experience. It bonded you with your friends. You would collectively scream when your favorite video came on. You may have argued about other songs you did or didn’t like. But, it was something you all had in common. When MTV stopped playing music videos – people’s music experiences became more isolated. What Facebook has done is take over where that left off. Groups are larger now but the experience is still there.
Rob: The Internet and the way people listen to music now is, in my opinion, the opposite of what it was like with MTV. When MTV played music videos everyone just sat back and watched. Everyone was watching the same videos at the same time and that is why some of those artists from back then, such as Madonna and Bon Jovi, have the level of success they have now. Everyone was watching or listening to the same thing at the same time. Now, with Slacker and online radio, people can listen to whatever they want, whenever they want and on demand. No one ever has to listen to music that they don’t already like. It is a more active listening experience compared to the more passive one in the past.
Slacker: Ok since online radio really gives people the flexibility to only listen to what they want. And since the transparency of what we listen to is so public and what we listen to has such an effect on our online persona where one song can derail your hipster status- what sorts of songs do you present in “50 Most Embarrassing Facebook songs” do you think have the biggest effect?
Craig: Lets say you meet someone on OKCupid.com and think they are really cool. You dig a little deeper and go to their Facebook profile and see they just listened to “Crash Test Dummies’ Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” – that would be a deal breaker.
Rob: If all they listen to is emotional songs from the 90s, all I am going to picture is candles burning while they sit in a bubble bath and cry. I would imagine you read Nicholas Sparks and perhaps have too much of an investment in rom-coms.
Slacker: Any songs on the list you think would be surprises in the amount of embarrassment they provoke?
Rob: One of the things we really looked for was bad songs by great bands. For example, Craig and I really love REM. But, even the biggest REM fan in the world – especially the biggest REM fan in the world – knows that Shiney Happy People is a terrible song. The Michael Bolton’s and Celine Dions are too easy. We brought in some incredibly respected and revered acts, and make fun of them too.
Slacker: Clearly no one is safe from embarrassment. I have to ask again – music skeletons? You can’t be completely naked.
Craig: You first.
Slacker: I actually know the Shiny Happy People dance. Poison’s Unskinny Bop dance too.
Rob: I would be embarrassed about my adolescent fervor for Jackson Browne. His extreme sensitivity is a little embarrassing in retrospect. I was 14 though, so I had an excuse. But if you are a grown ass man listening to those weepy lyrics – you should be embarrassed.
Craig: I know the words to a lot of songs by Yes.
Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum understand the pitfalls in creating the carefully cultivated online images of the Facebook Generation. But, clearly they also understand, and are able to poke fun at, the evolution that has taken place from the humble beginnings of digital music during the MTV Generation to the scale it is today. This made the duo the perfect hosts for the station that celebrates our often embarrassing transparency and lack of separation between public and private personas.
Head over to the new station “50 Most Embarrassing Songs on Facebook” to hear what songs made the cut, what songs surprisingly didn’t, and what songs can tarnish your online reputation for good. Our digital footprints are naked. We may as well learn to live with it.
It’s a bit ironic for the trio to have won the Best New Artist award at this year’s Grammys, as they joked throughout the ceremony, they are not actually “young” any more. In fact, the band is the product of 12 years of work as artists. Nate was in a band from Phoenix called the Format for many years, Jack was in a pop-emo band from New Jersey called Steel Train, and Andrew was in a band from Michigan called Anathallo.
It’s also notable that “Some Nights” is actually their second album, preceded by 2009’s “Aim and Ignite”. After going through the music business ringer, with several label deals and prior band breakups behind them, the members moved to New York City and went back to the drawing board. The result of their creation and collaborating is fun. (fun with a period) – the band that took home 3 Grammys this year, including song of the year in addition to their best new artist nod.
On the origins of fun., Nate told Interview magazine “I had always kept note that those were the two people that if anything ever happened… maybe I could see the writing on the wall, or something like that. As soon as that became a possibility, I just called them up right away. I asked if there was something we can do. Next thing I knew, I found myself in New Jersey a week later.”
Their music has been given the Glee treatment (twice) and their mixture of theatric baroque pop and hip-hop influence has won over fans of musical theater and pop music alike.
We are debuting a new Artist of the Week station here at Slacker. On the station this week, youll hear the band fun., their previous projects like The Format and Steel Train, artists they were influenced by, and hits from their contemporaries.