Daniel Nardicio certainly gives tickets buyers their money’s worth. The nightlife extraordinaire has made quite a niche for himself in the last few years producing major concerts for celebs including Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Carol Channing, Lady Gaga, and others. On Monday February 8th Nardicio managed to pack the house at Carnegie Hall with eager fans of Golden Globe, Emmy, SAG, and Tony Award winning performer, Alan Cumming.
As sad as it is for me to say this, I was not invited to the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards that are happening tonight in Inglewood, California. I repped Manhattan Digest to the fullest at last year’s show when they were held at Brooklyn’s very own Barclay Center, and gave us one of the most epic performances in VMA history- Miley Cyrus. If you don’t know what happened then you have been living under a rock for the past year. Needless to say, this year’s VMA’s is sure to be unpredictable and insane as it usually is. The lineup of performances look sick, with the opening being pop divas Jessie J, Arianna Grande and hip-hop songstress Nicki Minaj doing their current top 10 single “Bang Bang”. Other noteworthy performances of the night should be Taylor Swift, who will be performing her new hit “Shake It Off” from the much anticipated new album “1989” due out October 27th. And of course, the lady of the night will be eight time nominee and already multiple VMA award winner Beyonce, who will be receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award later in the evening. This award has been bestowed on several legends in the industry, from Madonna, Janet Jackson, The Rolling Stones and most recently pop pioneers Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Should be a performance of epic madness and one that I cannot wait to see.
So let’s breakdown the other thing that people are there to see- who will win each category at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. This year’s pack is stacked with some of the biggest artists and songs of the year, and is making it tough for this journalist to choose who will win and who should win. It is still funny to me that MTV broadcasts something like this when I believe I was wearing JNCO Jeans the last time they actually aired a block of music videos, but it is the most highly anticipated award show of the season, so I can see why they keep it going each year. Let’s breakdown each category, starting with the “Artist To Watch, Presented by Taco Bell”.
Artist to Watch, Presented By Taco Bell
5 Seconds Of Summer- “She Looks So Perfect”
Fifth Harmony- “Miss Moving On”
Sam Smith- “Stay With Me”
Schoolboy Q- “Man Of The Year”
Charli XCX- “Boom Clap”
Who Will Win- 5 Seconds Of Summer, Who Should Win- Sam Smith
5 Seconds Of Summer really came out of nowhere and has won the hearts of millions of adoring teens, who are the ones voting on this particular category for the most part. They are One Direction with talent, drums and guitar for the most part, so I sure as heck see them easily winning this won as it is a fan based vote. Fifth Harmony could’ve been a heavy contender for this if 5SOS wasn’t in it, but they won’t win this one. Schoolboy Q is amazing, as well as Charli XCX’s song from “The fault In Our Stars” but not enough to garner this. If Sam Smith doesn’t win this at the VMA’s, he sure as hell will win at the 2015 Grammys and several other prestigious awards. His solo work this year on “Stay With Me” on top of his brilliant performances with other artists such as Disclosure and Naughty Boy prove what a threat this guy is to the industry, and I hope he gets some love on VMA night.
Best Rock Video-
Linkin Park- “Until I’m Gone”
Imagine Dragons- “Demons”
Black Keys- “Fever”
Arctic Monkeys- “Do I Wanna Know?”
Who Will Win- Imagine Dragons. Who Should Win- Black Keys.
Imagine Dragons have had a pretty awesome two years, and this was only the 2nd song released off of their amazing debut album. “Royals” is not a rock song, so I don’t get why it is in this category. Lorde has a better shot in other categories than this one, and sadly I don’t think Arctic Monkeys have a shot in this category either. Black Keys should win as “Fever” is an amazing video, but no doubt Imagine Dragons will be the one taking this home tonight.
Best Pop Video-
Arianna Grande Featuring Iggy Azealea- “Problem”
Iggy Azalea Featuring Chari XCX- “Fancy”
Avicii Featuring Aloe Blacc- “Wake Me Up”
Jason DeRulo Featuring 2Chainz- “Talk Dirty”
Pharrell Williams- “Happy”
Who Will Win- Arianna Grande & Iggy. Who Should Win- Pharrell.
This really has been the year for Arianna and Iggy, however I think because Arianna has a bigger tween and teen fanbase she should lock this one up. “Wake Me Up” should be more in the clubland award than this one, and “Talk Dirty” just seems too urban for this as well, as is “Fancy”. “Happy” is a freaking brilliant video that screams pop with a R&B flare, and should be the one to win in this. But expect pop ingenue Arianna Grande to be leaving with not just one but a couple of VMA night.
Best Female Video-
Arianna Grande Featuring Iggy Azalea- “Problem”
Iggy Azalea Featuring Charli XCX- “Fancy”
Katy Perry Featuring Juicy J- “Dark Horse”
Who Will Win- “Royals”. Who Should Win- “Dark Horse/Partition”
I think “Royals”, even though it is quite simple, kept my focus a lot more than the colorful pops that Iggy and Arianne presented in each of their videos, and the song is better than both so based off that it will and maybe should win. I loved the video for “Dark Horse” as Katy keeps bringing us really unique and out there videos that she has done so well over the years. “Partition” isn’t the best video from the Beyonce album, but the look and feel of it should really make her a good contender for this category tonight.
Best Male Video-
Ed Sheeran Featuring Pharrell Williams- “Sing”
Sam Smith- “Stay With Me”
John Legend- “All Of Me”
Eminem Featuring Rihanna- “Monster”
Pharrell Williams- “Happy”
Who Will Win- Ed Sheeran. Who Should Win- All of them (Minus John Legend).
This is quite possibly the strongest category of the bunch this year, as all videos and songs are incredible in their own unique ways. John’s song is amazing and is this generation’s new wedding song, however the video was basic and more of wedding video than an actual music video. I happen to love Ed Sheeran’s vocals and video for “Sing” so that gets my vote easily. I wouldn’t mind multiple VMA winner Eminem winning this for old times sake, however I think this is Ed’s to lose.
Best Hip-Hop Video-
Childish Gambino- “3005”
Drake Featuring Majid Jordan- “Hold On (We’re Going Home)”
Kanye West- “Black Skinhead”
Wiz Khalifa- “We Dem Boyz”
Who Will Win- Drake. Who should win- All of them.
Another really amazing category. I have to say Drake will win just based off of how popular the video and song was, however Eminem might be knocking at Drake’s door for this so don’t be surprised if he pulls an upset. Kanye’s video is one of his best ever with his own social message that makes this video and song one of the standouts off of his last album. Wiz hasn’t really had the biggest success since “Black & Yellow” however “We Dem Boyz” is a great video and keeps his street hustle going in the hip-hop game. Childish Gambino deserves a lot more success than then man is given, and I am super pumped the “3005” got the nod this year.
Video Of The Year-
Pharrell Williams- “Happy”
Miley Cyrus- “Wrecking Ball”
Beyonce Featuring Jay-Z- “Drunk In Love”
Iggy Azalea Featuring Charli XCX- “Fancy”
Who Will Win- Miley or Beyonce. Who should win- SIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Chandelier” is such an AMAZING song and video that I really just want to see Sia make a public appearance and win this. She’s like the female Daft Punk, you really never see her so I think it would make an AWESOME VMA moment if she won. I don’t get why Iggy is in this, the video is great but not at this level, she’s too new. As much as “Wrecking Ball” is a great video it is more 2013 than 2014, so I don’t think it deserves to win this. “Happy” is amazing, but I fear Pharrell may be shut out due to the younger demographic. Seeing as this is Beyonce’s night, expect her to win her second Video Of The Year trophy (done once before for “Single Ladies” back in 2009). But this is quite the unpredictable category, so you never know.
Who do YOU think will win tonight? Comment here and for a full list of nominees check out the official website for more info.
Phi Phi O’Hara- Learning From The Past & Working On The Future
RuPaul’s Drag Race has slowly become one of the best reality shows on television. In order for a show like this to work, there has to be a particular formula that the viewers can feed off of. Things such as intriguing competitions, the handful of contestants that you root for to ultimately win, and the one or two people deemed the villains that you love to hate, or hate to love. The latter couldn’t have been any truer than season four finalist Phi Phi O’Hara, who was truthfully the first queen ever on that show to have so much controversy and outright public anger than ever before. [Read more…] about Phi Phi O’Hara- The “Bitchy” Queen Speaks Out
2013 was pretty much an amazing year when it came to the variety of songs that were provided by a bevy of artists in their own respective genre. We had a couple of really good late in the game entries as well that really gave some of the bigger artists and songs this year a run for their money. From pop to alternative, to hip hop blending with EDM, these in my opinion were the ten best songs of 2013. Billboard Magazine had a similar list to mine in what they were thinking as well. They are in no particular order, but are all pure awesomeness. Take a look.
A$AP Rocky Featuring Skrillex- Wild For The Night
A$AP is one of the best rappers out there right now in a field that seems to be lacking in original talent. The only other guy out there right now that is on a similar level and new to a degree is Kendrick. That being said, “Wild For The Night” charts on this list for me because it was the best club banger of 2013. Masterfully collaborating with the biggest EDM producer out there right now, Grammy-Award winning Skrillex, A$AP spits lyrics at an elevated speed to compliment Skrillex’s mind numbing beats and what is the result? Pure awesomness.
Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams- Get Lucky
Pharrell had two big songs this year, this being one of them and of course being featured in “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke as the other. If I had to choose one of the two songs to be in my top ten, this would’ve been the better one. The Niles Rogers assisted track catapulted Daft Punk back into the top of the charts stratosphere with “Random Access Memories” being one of the best reviewed and selling albums of 2013. This is another one of those songs where two completely different acts came together and struck pure gold. The beat to this song is incredibly infectious, and it also served its purpose for many Gay Americans as it proved to be somewhat of a theme song when Prop 8 was overturned in early Summer 2013. Definitely one of the best songs of the year if not the best.
Lorde in my opinion is the anti Miley Cyrus. This song kind of proves that thought process. The fresh faced 16 year old from New Zealand quietly made her way into being one of the biggest new artists of 2013, with a song that has a simple drum beat, backup singers and a message that speaks profoundly about the industry itself today. With lyrics like “We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair”, she basically talks truthfully about how she was raised and why she refuses to conform in a somewhat “Bling Bling” society. Expect big things for this girl in the new year, and beyond.
P!nk & Nate Ruess- Just Give Me A Reason
I for one am always a big fan of when a man and woman duet with each other. From “Endless Love” to “Almost Paradise” it always seems to be a formula that works well. P!nk, who is not really known for her duets as her voice is powerful enough on its own, struck a huge chord with millions of people with the number one single “Just Give Me A Reason”. Side by side with Fun! frontman Nate Ruess, the breakup to makeup song became one of her biggest hits of her career and scored her a Grammy nomination for Song Of The Year. P!nk proves why she is still one of the best out there after being in the business for over 15 years.
Beyonce Featuring Jay-Z- Drunk In Love
Beyonce had the best music story of this year, and the funny thing is that it happened less than 2 weeks ago. it’s insane how she was able to pull all of this off and practically NO ONE knew what she was doing. On December 7th at 12am, she released her self titled new album to the world exclusively on iTunes, and just like many Stans out there, we all ate it up. There were plenty of songs on her album that I could’ve included on this list (XO and Flawless as examples) but I am always a sucker for whenever she duets with Jay. This duet with him is the best one yet, and she proves why everyone else needs to bown down and respect the Kween.
Miley Cyrus- We Can’t Stop
Say what you want about Miley, but she really took the fuck over this year for sure. You can take her two different ways- annoying slut or marketing genius. I prefer the latter, because as much as people want to say she is a terrible influence and all this other stuff she is just doing the same thing that other pop divas like Madonna and Britney have done before. She is just a more modernized version of it. “We Can’t Stop” is another club banger and a completely different side of the re-upped Miley. With risque talks of partying, to that one video of her naked on a Wrecking Ball, this really was the year of Miley and I myself am looking forward to seeing what she has in store for 2014 and beyond.
Justin Timberlake- Mirrors
Facts are facts- Justin had the biggest comeback of a year. Without a doubt. Keeping his return to music a bit hush hush like Beyonce did, he came roaring back in early 2013 with “The 20/20 Experience”. “Suit & Tie” wasn’t exactly a very loved track, but the follow up “Mirrors” was much more well received and worth the 7 minute listen. Just a beautiful song and his crooning voice blends beautifully with the orchestra like music in the background. Here’s to hoping he keeps with this music thing for a while, because it is what he is best at.
Drake Featuring Majid Jordan- Hold On We’re Going Home
For me, Drake is at his best when he is singing, not when he is rapping. “Hold On We’re Going Home” is a great example of this. Billed as the second single off his platinum selling “Nothing Was The Same”, “Hold” was a softer approach from his first choice “Started From The Bottom” and really showcased his vocal abilities. Set to an 80’s type throwback, the song jumped to the top of the charts and further solidified the dude as a pop/R&B/hip-hop crossover and further away from his mixtape/DeGrassi persona that we all knew about him. Keep it going…
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert- Same Love
Macklemore is a guy that has been in the game for a lot longer than people realize, he just happened to jump off at the end of 2012 with a sick saxophone beat to the song “Thrift Shop”. His unique approach to his rapping along with helping other undiscovered artists from Ray Dalton to Wanz. He is the first guy to really tackle the issue of gay marriage in a rap song like no other has before. The song beautifully states the society that we are in, where saying the word gay has become the norm, and ultimately how we shouldn’t treat people differently just because they don’t fit the mold that we have created. Featuring the great vocals of Mary Lambert, the song boldly goes where hip-hop never has before, and has earned him respect from millions gay or not. Well done Macklemore, well done.
Passenger- Let Her Go
This song is light, touching and amazing. Already big overseas, the band Passenger quietly hit the airwaves with this passionate song about love lost and the realization of wanting something only when you need it. Kind of Adult Contemporary with an edge. Definitely should be ones to look out for in 2014.
Who do you think should make this list? Check out more music artists on Manhattan Digest and let us know who was your favorite in 2013.
Mlley Twerked? Shocker z100, shocker.
As a lifelong New Yorker, I have consistently found myself zooming through each radio station to find the perfect song to jam out in the car with. Just like an American classic like Peanut Butter and Jelly, I always know that no matter what, Z100 radio station will always find the right song for me to shake my groove thing to. Yes my groove thing. If you want to make fun of me or judge me, do it. I’m awesome. As long as I have listened to z100 I have also wanted to partake in their biggest event of the year, Jingle Ball. This station always pulls in some of the biggest names in the industry jam packed with a ton of celebrities introducing them and this year was no exception. Now partnered with the “iHeartRadio” with this event and more, the festivities took place last night at none other than the legendary Madison Square Garden. The place itself was of course sold out, and as a 27 year old grown ass man I felt like I could’ve been some of these kids teen fathers, but nevertheless I had an awesome time and the whole show had a really nice vibe throughout the night. There were some definite highlights and lowlights though, so lets take a look at who did best, and who mmmmmmmmmmmm not so much.
Random, random, random celebrities. Most of the acts got really awesome people to introduce them, such as my homegirl Jordin Sparks and the star of my new favorite movie “Pitch Perfect”, Anna Kendrick. Then… there were others. First the z100 crew were great, and I am a huge Elvis Duran fan as I have been since I was about 10 or 11. But… Katie Holmes? Really, girl? The snarky side of me was hoping she was going to introduce a Tom Cruise lookalike and beat him up or something, but that would’ve been too much fun for even me to handle. They introduced Travie McCoy who was somewhere in the crowd but it became more like “Where’s Waldo” in which I couldn’t find him. Not that he was that important anyways. Finally, and this was both a highlight and a lowlight- R. Kelly. I don’t get what he is trying to do lately, honestly. Is he trying to find a younger audience with doing shows like this, where most people don’t even know what his last hit record is because they weren’t born yet? At the same time, I did find it pretty amazing that a decent portion of the crowd was jamming along to his 2000 hit “Ignition”, so that is where the odd lowlight became a highlight. I still didn’t understand why he was there though. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention Lindsay Lohan, who is back in trouble with the court for ordering a hit on Paris Hilton’s douchey brother. One word- GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.
Fifth Harmony & Austin Mahone. Note that I didn’t include all the big teen acts in here, as the other ones were pretty much incredible. These two, not so much. Fifth Harmony is the girl equivalent to One Direction, in that Simon Cowell himself chose five random girls and placed them in a group. These five made it to the final 3 on “X Factor”, a show that is crumbling in the ratings and that pretty much no one really watched last season (only for the Britney factor of course). I felt kind of bad for them as they were legitimately on for 3 minutes. They did their hit “Miss Moving On” and then some random song and it legit felt like they were doing “Night at the Apollo” and being rushed off the stage due to being booed. Terrible. Girl groups are way hard to market, and that formula really hasn’t worked in ages since the days of Destiny’s Child and Spice Girls. Fifth Harmony really just looks like five random girls plopped together in a group and sing. That’s pretty much it.
As for Austin Mahone, he’s got a great voice but my hope for him is that he is kind of like the Lorde to Miley, in that he’s the anti Bieber. HE LOOKED AND SOUNDED AND DANCED EXACTLY LIKE HIM. Great singer and all, but I think his marketing team should try to distance himself from the Bieber image so that there aren’t that many comparisons. Just saying.
Jason DeRulo- Nothing about his performance was a lowlight, Jason has a great look and voice to him. He didn’t deserve to have the first opening slot, which in my opinion is the forgettable one. He has been around for a long time now, and I was truly confused over who got to perform later than earlier. Fifth Harmony should’ve been first, maybe even Enrique. But not Jason. z100 for the loss here, great performance.
Miley (Kind Of). I have a love/hate type thing with Miley. I get it, but there are times where oversaturation can come into play, and last night she continued to do so. More twerking, more of the same. You have a great voice, you don’t need to pull all these ridiculous shenanigans to get people to pay attention. Just sing. Take tips from Gaga on that. She needs it. Other than that, great job :).
Selena Gomez & Arianna Grande- These are two girls that are on their way to true superstardom, and are doing it in a way that isn’t forced and just the great reliability of their voices and looks (cough cough Miley). Selena looked amazing in this form fitting red dress, and she performed a medley of her hits including “Love You Like A Long Song” and “Come and Get It”. On top of that, she did some bomb ass choreography which really made her set a very flourished show. As for Arianna, she just has that voice that really resonates of a younger Mariah Carey. She did her own version of the popular WHAM song “Last Christmas”, and of course closed her set with her top 10 hit “The Way”. Mac Miller sadly wasn’t there, but she made up for it by putting a simple performance and making it really great. Good job girls!
Fall Out Boy & Paramore- Proving that alternative still has a place on top 40, these two in my opinion were the stand out bunches of the night. Fall Out Boy, who should’ve never dismembered in the first place, put on a rousing rendition of several of their hits, my personal favorite being the closing one with “My Song Knows What You Did In the Dark”. Really a superb performance. I’m a big Hayley fan, and her and Paramore really did a great job with their set as well.
Pitbull- Pitbull proved last night why he is “Mr. International” because he put on the most electrifying performance of the night. Fueled by his current chart topper “Timber” with Ke dollar sign Ha, he really got the crowd’s energy going. Smart move by z100 by placing him somewhat in the middle of this because he really kept the crowd going for what was coming next. His closing out song, “Give Me Everything”, was truly a spectacle to watch. I give this dude credit for making it this long in the industry. Well done.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- This was their year, and this was their night. I love these guys so much, and it was great to finally see them perform live. My favorite is of course “Same Love” which is such a great message to many people that goes beyond homophobia. Best of the night in my opinion.
Overall, I would give the concert at 7 out of 10. Apparently One Direction was there last year, which makes me happy I didn’t go as I would probably need a hearing aid at this point from all the screaming that occurred. The show was good, but nothing really spectacular that I felt left me hanging for more and more. Some of the acts should’ve gotten more stage time, and some shouldn’t have. What did you think? Sound off here and check out more articles like this on Manhattan Digest!
The 2014 Grammy Nominations were announced live last night in Los Angeles at the annual “Grammy Nominations Special” they do each year, hosted by LL Cool J. They had some pretty off the chain concerts from some of the biggest artists in the world, and it truly set the stage for a great night to come in February. When I read the list of nominees this year, some I expected, some I was somewhat surprised on, and some I was insanely baffled that got left out. Let’s break each category down and see what went right and what went really wrong.
Record Of They Year-
Imagine Dragons- “Radioactive”
Robin Thicke Featuring TI & Pharrell Williams- “Blurred Lines”
Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams- “Get Lucky”
Bruno Mars- “Locked Outta Heaven”
In my original prediction blog, I had four out of five right (Hooray for me) with Imagine Dragons as an “Honorable Mention” but definitely a contender. Not surprised by any of these as they were all great nominees. Justin could’ve made this category, but I will delve much further into that on the next one. These five songs were really some of the biggest of the year, each of them representing a different genre of music in my opinion. Lorde on that pop/alternative tip, Imagine Dragons are pure alternative, Robin Thicke as the R&B crooner, Daft Punk bringing in the EDM and Bruno Mars giving us straight soul. This is going to be an interesting category of sorts because I don’t think there really is a clear cut winner here. Moving along.
Album Of The Year-
Sara Bareilles- “The Blessed Unrest”
Daft Punk- “Random Access Memories”
Kendrick Lamar- “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- “The Heist”
Taylor Swift- “Red”
No Justin Timberlake in this category, I am beyond shocked about that. I pegged “The 20/20 Experience” as winning this award beyond easily and I truthfully believe he was the biggest snub of the night. Kind of sad when you have the biggest album of the year and you are left off such a crucial list. I think Sara and Kendrick are the surprising nominees here, in a good way. I thought Bruno Mars was a shoo in as well for “Unorthodox Jukebox” but I am somewhat glad to see him left off this list as I think Sara and Kendrick had stronger showings. Not shocked by Macklemore, Taylor or Kendrick but for the sake of my sanity I pray that Taylor doesn’t win AOTY again because “Red” wasn’t really a strong showing. It was a continuation of her last album, and I hope when she releases her new effort it has a bit of maturity to it. This is a tough one to call right now, but if I had to be personal on this- KENDRICK. Please.
Song Of The Year-
Pink & Nate Ruess- “Just Give Me A Reason”
Bruno Mars- “Locked Outta Heaven”
Katy Perry- “Roar”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert- “Same Love”
In my original article, I had three out of five right (Pink, Macklemore, Lorde). Katy Perry wasn’t really on my radar, and this was the category I thought Sara Bareilles had a chance at with “Brave”, which Katy insanely ripped off for “Roar”. I actually had Drake in this category for “Hold On We’re Going Home”, a song he didn’t even get nominated for this year. That to me is frustrating, as it is one of the best tracks of 2013, and its the same sentiment I felt two years ago when his song with Rihanna “Take Care” got snubbed as well. This is a pretty standard list, so nothing too surprising. They could’ve given Miley something in the main categories, especially for the teen voters, and “Wrecking Ball” is in fact a very well written song. That being said, “Same Love” has got my vote. The lyrics are incredible and if there is one award Macklemore & Ryan Lewis should win it is this one folks.
Best New Artist-
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Two out of five in my original predictions, with Macklemore and Kendrick easily getting nominated. The others, I don’t really know how I feel about it. First off, where the heck is Imagine Dragons and Lorde on this? Ed Sheeran has been around for a while, so I don’t get why he is nominated this year and not last year. I am beyond floored that Florida Georgia Line didn’t get ANY nominations, and I thought that they would be the perennial country nominee as well over Kacey, but I am glad to see she got in here. The shocker here is EDM producer James Blake, who is following similar pathways with EDM being recognized in the main categories as Skrillex earned a Best New Artist nod last year. Fun! won this last year, something that I thought was completely shit as it should’ve been Frank Ocean, but this is a pretty strong group across the board. Best New Artist has proven to be an award that is never really cut and dry, and many artists that have won in recent years are the one you least expect (Bon Iver over Nicki Minaj, Esperanza Spalding over Justin Bieber). So James Blake really is the odd one out in this. Macklemore really isn’t a new artist in my opinion because he has been around a lot longer than people think, so once again I would love for Kendrick to take this one home. Country nominees never win this award, so it really comes down to Kendrick and Macklemore in my opinion.
Check out the official Grammy website for all the nominees and keep checking on Manhattan Digest for our official prediction blogs in all the categories for months to come. Congrats to all the nominees, especially Kendrick and my homegirl Kathy Griffin who got a sixth nomination for Best Comedy Album! 🙂
Miley’s song could be nominated, folks. Be aware.
The announcement of the songs nominated for the 2014 Grammy Awards are only 18 days away at this point where they are set to be announced live on CBS the night of December 6th. A tradition that they have been doing for a couple of years, the event will take place at 8/7 central, hosted by LL Cool J and featuring performers (and potential nominees) Drake, Macklemore and Keith Urban to name a few. As exciting as the performances are themselves, millions of music fans and performers alike will be giddy with anticipation over who will be the actual nominees for next year’s biggest music event. But who will be nominated in each category?
The award for “Song Of The Year” is different from “Record Of The Year” in that Song is awarded to its composers whereas Record can go to the performer and production team for that song. To me, this award exemplifies the best written song of the year, the one that is different from the rest and really made you think about its lyrical content in order to win this type of award. In recent years, this has been won by John Mayer’s “Daughters”, Adele & Paul Epworth’s “Rolling In The Deep” and the guys from Fun’s song “We Are Young” last year (Miguel’s “Adorn” should’ve won, in my opinion). So who has the chance to win the award this year? Take a look at who I think are some of the potential nominees.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert- “Same Love”(Written by: Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert, Ryan Lewis & Curtis Mayfield). I love it when an artist of this caliber comes and makes a song about marriage equality, especially when he is in an industry that is known for its overabundance of homophobia. Written in particular about legalizing same sex marriage in Macklemore’s home state of Washington, the song does a simple yet extraordinary way of flowing lyrically why the use of the words “gay” and “faggot’ are truthfully wrong and why we should accept people as a whole no matter what their backgrounds are. In my opinion, this has never been doing before hip-hop wise, and I give Macklemore a ton of credit for being brave enough to do this. I also love that he has featured a ton of relatively unknowns on his album as he himself was practically one before the release of “Thrift Shop” in late 2012. Just like he did with Thrift Shop (Wanz) and Can’t Hold Us (Ray Dalton) he features the beautifully gifted Mary Lambert on this track to add a soft yet powerful female element to the song. Definitely the winner in my book here.
Miley Cyrus- “Wrecking Ball” (Written By: Henry Russell Walter, Sacha Skarbek, Stephan Moccio, Maureen Anne McDonald and Lukasz Gottwald). Let’s keep it 100 here folks, this was the year of Miley. We couldn’t escape her presence this year and say what you want about her but she does do a pretty good job at keeping us talking. The second release off of her album “Bangerz” became known a bit more for its very controversial video than it did the actual song. The song itself talks about the end of a relationship and the dealing of heartbreak at a young age (mainly this song is about Liam Hemsworth, whom she was engaged to until recently). It is her best effort yet, in my opinion, and has a lot of raw energy and grit to her which is something that she hasn’t really done in the past, being all Disney and whatnot. This song earned her her first number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and a permanent spot in our brains (for that video and other stuff) but more importantly in pop culture. She ain’t Hannah Montana anymore that’s for sure.
Pink & Nate Ruess- “Just Give Me A Reason” (Written By: Pink, Jeff Bhasker & Nate Ruess). It really drives me nuts that almost fifteen years into her career I still feel like Pink doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. The third release off of her popular album “The Truth Above Love”, “Just Give Me A Reason” is another one of those amazing songs that talk about the woes of a relationship and how hard it is to hear the other person when you yourself are in a ton of pain that you can’t see your way out of. Pink’s deep and low falsetto blends very well with Nate Ruess’ high-pitched vocals and makes this song that much more special. Pink, who we usually see do songs from a more solo perspective, truly shines on this one and proves why even after all this time she is still one rocking chick.
Drake- “Hold On We’re Going Home” (Written By: Aubrey Graham, Noah Shebib, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman). Something that I am still in shock about is the fact that Drake’s title track and album for “Take Care” didn’t get a single nomination in the main categories at last year’s Grammy’s, which is crap. I am really pulling for this talented guy to be grab a nomination for this song on some type of level, because this is one of his best one’s he has put out thus far. Blurring the lines of rapping and singing, the R&B crooner and hip-hop mainstay released this song second off of his very successful third album “Nothing Was The Same” to the delight of fans and critics. A simple song about how he feels for his female counterpart, the song has been a hit on the charts and in the minds of many of his female fans as he continues on his path to being one of the greatest hip-hop artists today.
Lorde- “Royals” (Written by: Ella Yelich O’Connor & Joel Little). I fucking love this song, forgive me for my language but I feel like that emphatic “FUCK” needs to be in there. A surefire lock for a Best New Artist, this song is the anti “Bling Bling” and “Beemerz, Benz & Bentley’s”. Meaning that she is aware of her background and upbringing and doesn’t have to sing about the jet set lifestyle in order to make it big in the industry, kind of like Sara Bareilles “Love Song” did with her tongue and cheek version of not writing a love song for her debut record. I am really pulling for her in February and really in the future because she is definitely one to watch out for.
Justin Timberlake- “Mirrors”
Taylor Swift- “Red”
Bruno Mars- “Treasure”
Sara Bareilles- “Brave”
Imagine Dragons- “Radioactive”
Who do you think should and will be nominated?
Yesterday morning while checking some emails on my laptop, I happened to catch a topic of conversation during the opening dialogue on the morning talk show, The View. It immediately made me stop, look, and listen. [Read more…] about Jenny McCarthy Offends on ‘The View’
Maybe it’s just me, but the music scene so far in 2013 has been pretty legit for the first time in a long time. The summer alone has brought us some inescapable and funk’dafied jams from “Blurred Lines” to “Get Lucky” to “Summertime Sadness” to name a few. It also brought us Miley Cyrus f***ing herself with a foam finger and wearing a Gaga latex rip off Sunday night. I think I am going to vomit. Regardless, with the fall season rapidly approaching it also is a reminder that some of the biggest names in music will be dropping their records in the upcoming months, thus making this guy here very excited for what is to come for 2013 and beyond. Seeing as the VMA’s was a preview for some of the incredible music we are about the unveil in the upcoming months, one can only hope that it will segue into an amazing 2014. Let’s start off with the news that got me insanely giddy.
Eminem- The Marshall Mathers 2.
Eminem as far as I am concerned was MY GENERATION. He was everything to so many of us growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and has continued to be a dominating force not only in the hip-hop industry but in the music industry period. At the Video Music Awards it was announced that his highly anticipated new album, the follow up to 2000’s “Marshall Mathers LP” will be dropped on November 5th and the first single off the album called “Berzerk” has already shot to number one in less than a day of it debuting on iTunes. “Berzerk” is such an insane throw back for so many different reasons yet has a modern edge to it. It also proves why he is the fucking man still practically fourteen years after his debut in 99. Expect this album to do some severe damage on the charts and for him to educate a whole new generation of people on the school that is Eminem.
Katy Perry- Prism
Katy Perry has come quite a way since her days of kissing a girl (I never liked it personally. Not her, kissing girls.) Her last album “Teenage Dream” did the unthinkable in that she tied (and almost topped) Michael Jackson’s record of the most number one singles off of a single album (California Girls, title track, E.T., Last Friday Night, Firework) and received numerous awards and a pivotal nomination for “Album of the Year” at the Grammy’s. Well after a semi-quiet year from her after the long haul of her sophomore album success, she has come back full throttle with the first single off of Prism called “Roar” which quickly debuted at number one on the iTunes charts and raced up to number two on the Billboard Charts (expect it to dethrone “Blurred Lines” this week). The album “Prism” is set to hit shelves on October 22nd and the second single called “Dark Horse” is set to hit airwaves in a couple of weeks. “Blur” is a slower paced version of a lead off single than she normally does but somehow it works as she is very good at belting out a pop hit or two and this album will no doubt compete with Eminem and a couple others for the top spot in the fall.
Lady Gaga- Artpop
As much as I love Lady Gaga, and I really do, she needs this album to be freaking phenomenal compared to what I and many people think was a lackluster third effort with “Born This Way”. That album just felt very rushed and ill planned and conceived as well as it didn’t really hold a candle to what “The Fame” and “The Fame Monster” really did. “Artpop” is set to be released right before Thanksgiving on November 22nd and the leadoff single “Applause” really isn’t taking off like a lot of people thought it would. The song debuted at number 6 on the Billboard Charts where as its biggest competitor “Roar” by Katy Perry debuted at number two instead. She has an insane fan base so it is a given that this album will do well but I don’t think “Applause” was the right start off single. Hopefully her follow up songs will prove why she is one of the best out there right now and a force to be reckoned with in the world of pop.
Justin Timberlake- The 20/20 Experience Part Two
What a comeback year this has been for the prince of pop ey? Part one of “The 20/20 Experience” debuted at number one back in early 2013 with an impressive near million first week sales and nothing has stopped him since. Things really took it to another level with his EPIC VMA performance on Sunday night which included a very abbreviated reunion of the band that made him famous in the first place, NSYNC. He also was the recipient of two major awards that night, The Michael Jackson “Video Vanguard Award” and the ultimate- Video of the Year for his second single off “20/20” called “Mirrors”. Well now expect to hear much more from Justin as part two of “20/20” is scheduled to be released on September 30th with the leadoff single “Take Back The Night” already released last month. Hard to believe you can do two albums in one year, but then again this is a man we haven’t heard any new material from in 7 years, so bring it.
After doing this whole blogging thing for the past three or so years, I can honestly say that all my hard work and dedication has somewhat led up to what occurred on Sunday night. I represented Manhattan Digest at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on The Red Carpet and stood beside some of the biggest press outlets in the world, from Entertainment Tonight to Reuters to Access Hollywood to name a few. Truly, I felt honored and quite humbled to just be there and the exhilarating feeling of walking across the red carpet was something I will never really forget.
The day started with my trek to Brooklyn from Long Island. Once I got to Brooklyn, I waited in line with a ton of other press outlets who were eagerly waiting to see what was going to happen next. The amazing thing is that even six or seven hours early, there was a massive crowd outside of fans and people alike. I’m so happy that MTV decided to do this in Brooklyn as so many real music fans and performers alike were born and bred here. We were then redirected inside The Barclay Center, where we were treated to some great audio in the sense of all the VMA performers doing their rehearsals. Shortly after, we lined up and made our way to the red carpet where the night really took off.
The red carpet itself was magical in its own way, with stars from across the board showing up for quite possibly the most buzzed about and trendiest award show of the night. Early arrivals from Snooki and Kendrick Lamar got things going and the energy and excitement from the fans on the red carpet and even the ones who were hanging in the buildings adjacent from the Barclay Center was incredible as the sunlight went down and it progressed into nighttime.
We were treated to pre-VMA performances on the red carpet from Artist To Watch winner Austin Mahone and fresh-faced newbie Arianna Grande, who recently scored a top ten hit with rapper Mac Miller in her song “The Way”. Some of the biggest starts towards the end of the red carpet from the Twerking and foam finger loving Miley Cyrus to multiple winners Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Hollywood Legend Will Smith who memorably made the face above when seeing that Miley performance. Tee hee. The only stars that managed to not show up to the red carpet was Britney Spears (who was rumored to be in Brooklyn- DAMMIT!) and Justin Timberlake and NSYNC as they were the surprise performance of the night (that I wish would’ve lasted a little longer. Sad face indeed).
Although I didn’t go to the award show itself, it didn’t really matter to me. I was able to meet and greet people that most people only get a chance to see on the big screen. The whole experience itself was just amazing. I have said this before and will say it again and again- persistence and perseverance pays off in the long run. It always does. If you truly believe something it will happen, without a doubt. Oh and Will Smith said hey to me. The pic is above. Yeayuhhhh. For all things VMA’s and MTV, check out MTV.com