Manhattanites can finally rejoice in heading out on the nightlife without having to bundle up too much because the warmer weather is finally here! That means more reasons to head to several rooftop parties, clubs, bars and enjoy a night out on the town with your friends. Obviously, music is a necessary and vital part to one’s night out and keeping the crowd going, and this year’s music has been nothing short of plentiful with the type of club bangers you can jam to at any NYC club or bar. [Read more…] about Five Great Songs from 2016 to go Clubbing to in Manhattan
2014 MTV Video Music Awards- Who Will Win
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.
Natasha Owens, An Unconventional Look at Pop: Music Reviews
It is hard in today’s sex crazed, pop sugar type of a music world for anything not of the norm to make it big with what we have in front of us. Especially when you throw the word “Christian” in it as it tends to have its own connotation attached to it. Natasha Owens proves that you don’t have to go to extremes like the Rihanna and Britney Spears of the worlds in order to get people’s attention, you can do it in two other ways- your voice and your message. That is what she is expressing on her incredible effort, “I Made It Through”. On her official website, she explains it as “A Journey Of Healing And Restoration”, something that seems to be needed for so many people today.
In the video about the album itself, she talks about losing her father back in 2010 and the daily struggles of something as simple as getting out of bed was a task to do. She had an anger with god originally that over time quickly changed when she drew inspiration from other people’s songs about the man himself and realized that he was really looking over her all along. Now I am not much of a religious person, but I can relate exactly to how she is feeling because I lost my mother roughly ten years ago and part of what got me through was uplifting music and the spirit to go on, and that is why I think this is an album that truly should not be missed.
Two of the stand out tracks from the album itself is the title track and “The Cure”, which are both beautifully written and easy listening songs that anyone can personally relate to. She also has this to say about her music- “I strive to create music that contain songs of restoration that can help each listener with whatever trial in their life that they were facing. To let them know that they are not alone, that there is a God who loves them and will never leave them.” I couldn’t agree more. She is someone to look out for in 2014, and my hopes are that her music is heard by as many people as possible and get her message.
Natasha Owens Album Video
Check out her site for more information, and best of luck to Natasha in the future!
Pop Superstar Lady Gaga Is Failing… Here is Why
Lady Gaga… still a superstar?
A couple of years ago, Lady Gaga was truly at the top of the world when it comes to music and beyond. Adored by millions of fans, the pop superstar emerged from out of no where with her Avant Garde style not only in fashion but when it came to her music as well. She won multiple VMA’s and Grammy’s and was touted by so many people as the next Grace Jones or Madonna. Now only five short years after the release of Gaga’s first album, “The Fame”, a lot of those people have become naysayers and think that she has run out of steam in such a short time. As for Britney Spears, more to come on that.
I can say that I am still to this day a huge fan of Gaga’s, but at the same time there is a point where oversaturation comes into play, even when it is someone like her who is consistently changing her style and tune to stay with the times. There are certain artists that seem to narrowly avoid that term, such as Rihanna for instance, where she comes out with a fresh album every year yet always seems to hit the right notes of pop, R&B and even EDM hits that shoot her straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Yet, there are artists that can take too long of a break in between and not develop the way that a lot of them would’ve expected to. Christina Aguilera is a prime example of that. Her last two album releases have been critical and commercial flops and the only thing she seems to have going for her anymore is a gig on “The Voice” and the occasional guest appearances on other artists songs (Maroon 5, Pitbull, etc). She never seemed to have the fluidity that other pop divas have had before her in terms of transitioning herself to keep up with the times. To go from teen pop singer to dirrty girl to 50’s pinup throwback to a Gaga rip off to being a dirrty girl yet again doesn’t really equate to how you progress naturally in this industry. Justin Timberlake on the other hand, who took seven years off to focus on an acting career amongst other things, came back with a roar in 2013 with “The 20/20 Experience”, an album that shot him straight to number one and has subsequently brought him into the music game, something that he started over 15 years ago. For Lady Gaga, she tends to fit into the middle of this. Here is why.
Gaga’s latest album “ArtPop” is her first in almost three years, mainly due to a broken hip that kept her off the stage for a year. Of course, that is completely understandable. But in this ever present world of chew em up and spit em out pop culture, sometimes taking a break that long makes you lose fans and have them gravitate to a newer and fresher pop star. Although “Born This Way” was a commercial and critical success to a certain degree, many critics thought it was tacky that for the week of her release she listed the album as 99 cents as a ploy to sell more albums in its first week. Granted it worked (a million plus) but many of the songs that were released didn’t get the praise that her previous hits (Bad Romance, Poker Face) did. One critic said it sounded like “a major artist sprinting to please everyone all the time”. The album was a bit all over the place and didn’t seem to have the cohesion that her previous efforts did, added onto the fact that it was a rushed album that was made in 2 weeks which other critics called out as well.
At the same time, there is a bit of oversaturation with how Avant Garde you can truly be. Every performance or outfit is something completely different from the rest but there are people out there that think a simple LBW would shock people more than anything. “The Fame” album was a great album in that it did a lot without having to do much at all. I personally feel like she is at a stage in her life where she has to keep pushing the envelope to the point where no one will push back. There was also a big battle when she released the first song off of “ArtPop” called “Applause” when she did it the same week as Katy Perry’s “Roar”. Both pop songs with completely different messages and beats. Katy’s was a simple song about overcoming a relationship with a great pop beat, Gaga’s was ultimately about her self absorbed way of saying she lives for her plans applauding her (sorry/not sorry but that’s my opinion) to a beat that sounded like a weird throwback to the mid-80’s dance movement. Who won in that? Katy. Katy seems to take the smart approach with her music because it is approachable and easy to listen to, whereas once again Gaga tends to be a bit all over the place just to please an audience that is wanting more and more from her. Sometimes, less is more.
“Roar” ultimately hit number one where “Applause” peaked at number 4. Many artists would kill to have a number four slot on any chart but when you are a superstar like Gaga number one should be an easy get. It was also stated by many fans and people alike that the song took a while to really get into whereas “Roar” and other big anthems that have come out recently like “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus and “Royals” by Lorde were instant hits. Not at all saying that going outside the lines is wrong just to get a number one single, but at the same time it is good to conform at some point and do something simple. Her follow up to “Applause” called “Do What You Want” featuring R&B King R. Kelly (a very odd choice but a good one at that) has only hit number 13 and has been on the charts for a couple of weeks, and is presently dropping. Funny thing is this track is MUCH better than her first release, and another song off the album called “Dope” is even better. Are there just stronger showings on the Billboard charts right now? Maybe.
There are also two major artists with albums coming out that Gaga has to compete against- Eminem and Britney Spears. Both artists who over the history of their careers have done what only a handful of other artists have been able to do and reach- diamond status (10 million plus sold on one album). I believe for Gaga to rise above the pack she will have to come out with a song that truly shows why we fell in love with her in the first place and not necessarily “try so hard”. Am I a hater- absolutely not. I am just stating it like I see it and see how she has transitioned over the course of the past couple of years. Gaga is a talented woman who will be around for a long time, I just hope that we look back on it in a positive way and not a negative one, that is all. Check out Billboard for all major music news and album releases.
Rihanna and Chris Brown Split- WHO THE F CARES
I have had my fair share of stating how I feel about not only Chris Brown but Rihanna in the past couple of years, and when I heard all over the news this morning from The Wendy Williams Show to Newsday to E! that they had broken up yet again so Rihanna can focus on business opportunities I literally LOL’d. Here comes my rant about how I feel about these two, so buckle down everyone.
I have said this before and I will say it again, I DON’T GET HOW CHRIS BROWN IS STILL RELEVANT. How in gods name is a man who brutally and viciously beat the living hell out of a woman still celebrated, awarded and adored by millions of people who can blindly look past what he did? On top of that, he’s a wannabe thug who has gotten into so many altercations with people who actually merit respect and should be celebrated for their talent (Miranda Lambert, Frank Ocean, Robin Roberts). So once again, like Aubrey O’Day on Rupaul’s Drag Race this year, what is their appeal?
What is his appeal exactly? Can someone explain it to me? He wins the Grammy last year for Best R&B Album for an album that was all synth and nothing R&B. He won because The Grammy’s wanted to stir commotion and get viewers, so I get that. When every other person winning an award that night and getting standing ovations up the wazoo and people are barely clapping for you, how do you take that? When are you actually going to wake up and realize all of these childish, petty things you have done since you beat her up still don’t warrant a real apology or anything of the sort? I don’t get it.
As for her, I have my own personal feelings. She has her own issues with press I get it, but beyond that I really just can’t stand her attitude throughout all of this. If someone had beat up my sister and then tried to get back together with her, it wouldn’t happen. Doesn’t she have anyone around her telling her this isn’t right? A good girlfriend, family, SOMEONE. I mean I know she is grown and all, but the fact that no one seemed to stop this from happening over and over again really says something. And the fact that she really is “unapologetic” really says a lot about her character and how she really doesn’t want to be viewed as a role model no matter what.
This is just my gist on how I feel. Everyone is different, but quite frankly it bothers me that this continues to be headline news. It shouldn’t be. There are bigger things in the world to deal with than the modern day Ike and Tina continuously breaking up and getting back together for nonsense reasons. That’s it.
Boobs or Snooze; The 2013 Grammy Awards
This year’s Grammy awards brought out an array of fashion. Despite CBS’s comical dress code, the stars still looked hot this year. CBS sent a notice that the attendees of the Grammy awards should not wear anything revealing; no plunging necklines, side boobs, or butt views. Although CBS tried to control the fashion, many artists clearly disregarded the networks warnings. This is the 2013 Grammy Fashion review.
One artist who visibly paid no attention to the dress code was Katy Perry. Perry’s revealing mint green Gucci dress was skin tight and the peep hole at her chest was anything but censored. Her cleavage was fully exposed! The dress was unattractive and Katy Perry looked a little undone. Not her best.
Another artist who ignored the no “bare skin’ rule was Kelly Rowland in Georges Chakra. The fitted black gown was beautiful and had many, many revealing lines. If she moved the wrong way all of her naughty parts would have been on display. Thankfully there were no slips, but it was obvious Rowland was unfazed by the clothing regulations this year.
I have to admit I was slightly let down by the fashion at the Grammy’s this year. Nothing really astounded me. That being said, there were a few celebrities whose choice of dress was beautiful and warrants mentioning.
My best dressed this year goes to; Rihanna!
I must admit I fully expected Rihanna to completely go against the dress code and shock us all, but she decided to keep it tasteful. The singer rocked a dazzling red Azzedine Alaia gown, sheer panels’ criss-crossed over the chest and haltered on the neck. The skirt was full and flowing chiffon. She looked elegant and still made a statement.
Carrie Underwood looked striking last night. She was put together from head to toe. The strapless Roberto Cavalli gown hugged her curves and accentuated her toned arms. The pattern on the dress was elegant and the beading on the skirt was breath taking.
Faith Hill really surprised me this year. The knee length frock she wore fit her perfectly and the sheer, embroidered top was lovely. The lace jacquard on the skirt was so subtle you could barely see it. This J. Mendel dress looked stunning on Faith Hill.
And now for my favorite part of the Grammy’s… the WORST DRESSED. The Grammy’s always brings out some of the most outrageously heinous fashions. And, oh, they did not disappoint me this year! I’ll try and narrow it down to my top 5 this year.
#5 – Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo’s dress looked like a hefty bag. The cut out for her leg to stick through made no sense!
#4 – Nicole Kidman
Her dress aged her and the muted colors washed her out.
#3 – Adele
I feel wretched naming Adele as one of my worst dressed, but the pregnant Grammy winner looked like she was wearing curtains!
#2 – Solange Knowles
Beyonce’s younger sister looked like a cracked out Diana Ross. The sparkly green dress was cheap looking and the orange heels were horrible.
#1 – Ashanti
Ashanti’s floral dress was too revealing and looked cheap.
Lastly, I want to shout out a few of the men who rocked it last night…
Country cutie Hunter Hayes looked handsome in his Hugo Boss black suit.
Justin Timberlake rocked his Tom Ford suit and had all of us ladies swooning.
The fashion at the Grammy’s this year was toned down compared to previous years. No one really amazed me. I remember tuning into the Grammy’s and being dazzled by the unique costumes the musicians would adorn. I look forward to the outrageous red carpet and can only hope that next year will be more eventful.
Even if it’s Frank Ocean’s fault, why we will never side with Breezy.
A recent story in the media that has been huge is of course the fight between Chris Brown and Frank Ocean that happened the night of January 27th outside of a recording studio parking lot. This fight was over a parking space. Yes, a parking space. Today, The Boombox has stated that Ocean will not press charges over the alleged incident in where Brown punched him and got jumped, stating-
“As a child I thought if someone jumped me it would result in me murdering or mutilating a man,” the R&B star wrote on his Tumblr page Saturday. “But as a man I am not a killer. I’m an artist and a modern person. I’ll choose sanity. No criminal charges. No civil lawsuit.”
If you have been living under a rock or in a country where music doesn’t exist, Chris Brown has had quite a few altercations over the past couple of years with several different people. The most noted one is four years back where he beat the living hell out of Rihanna the night before the ’09 Grammys. Now, they are allegedly back together and doing music as well (“Nobody’s Business”, “Birthday Cake Remix)”. That is a story I could write about forever, but as I’ve stated in the past, it’s her choice. She wants to go back to that, and not listen to the millions of people who think she’s a fool to go back to the modern day Ike Turner, then go for it. Be an idiot.
He has also gone after a slew of other people from Jenny Johnson, Raz-B from B2K, Miranda Lambert and so many more. I find it interesting when this cat came into the game about eight years ago. He screamed rising star, and was the nicest guy in all of his interviews and I generally loved his persona and music. I don’t get why he went from that to now looking like a Dennis Rodman lookalike who has to be so freaking gangster in everything he does. It’s baffling to me that he wants this image, but then again he still has ten million fans on Twitter, so he must be sadly doing something right. Sadly.
All the reports online don’t really favor Chris in this because of said history with other artists and of course Rihanna. He was seen with a cast on his arm recently, which should garner some sympathy, but for the masses of people who believe he shouldn’t be a celebrity anymore with his abuse against women, it falls on deaf ears. Plus Frank Ocean really isn’t know for being controversial in that kind of arena. He is just a talented dude. This fight better not have been over homophobia either, because that would just further Chris Brown on his tour of ultimate douchebaginess. Both of them are up for the same Grammy Sunday- Best R&B Album. Go Frank.