Tag Archive: Kanye West


54th Grammy Awards recap

It is hard to sit through an entire award show, except for relevant performances, but this year the Grammy’s have given the ceremony a very consistent line-up that had you stuck on your seat.

Opening with a prayer in honor of the late Whitney Houston, as everyone in the building bowed their heads, the show went on with show-stopping performances, mild tributes and shout-outs to Whitney throughout. It was overall a very gripping event.  Adele, Katy Perry, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Coldplay, The Band Perry, Jennifer Hudson, Blake Shelton, The Beach Boys themselves, and many more all under one roof, was definitely a moment to remember.

As it was predicted, and pretty much a given, Adele swept the entire night nabbing the six Grammy’s she was nominated for (including Album of The Year), and deservedly so. The Foo Fighters were not too far off, taking a total of five for Best Long Form Video, Best Rock performance, Best Hard Rock/Metal performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock album respectively. Kanye West followed with four, and Skrillex with three. The flawless Bon Iver scored their first two Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album; even Chris Brown won one for Best R&B album (Odd, since F.A.M.E. is predominantly filled with dance cuts).

Bruno Mars brought the house down with ‘Runaway Baby’. With an old fashioned lit marquis and all, Mars shut it down with his vocals and stage presence. Alicia Keys and  Bonnie Reitt performed in honor of the late Etta James, along piano keys and acoustic guitar; their voices matched perfectly.

‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’ was impeccably sung on behalf of Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, who took in Aldean’s line when his microphone went off; beautiful duet. Chris Brown busted a move for a medley of ‘Turn Up The Music’ and ‘Beautiful People’, it was a gymnastics spectacle but nothing too impressive; usual Brown. The Foo Fighters proved rock is not dead with ‘Walk’; felt like 1990 all of a sudden.

Rihanna reworked the introduction to her smash ‘We Found Love’ and struggled to keep her pitch, she ultimately could (with help of a backing track), and for once, showed energy on the stage dancing alongside a dance troupe. She later joined Chris Martin for an acoustic performance of ‘Princess of China’; Rihanna outdid Martin, as he sounded like a howling/dying animal. ‘Paradise’ was no different, Martin’s vocals sounded exhausted; the stage set-up was brilliant though.

The night went on in a cute note with Taylor Swift, who performed ‘Mean’ and seemed genuinely humbled by the standing ovation she received at the end of her number. This girl has come a long way, it was amazing to see her remaining so down to earth, at an event of this magnitude.

Ironic how Katy Perry alluded to her wedding, and dedicated her performance to all the lovers in last year’s ceremony, just to now slam Russell Brand on the face.  She misleadingly initiated ‘E.T.’, before a sound intermission allowed a rapid costume change, so she could deliver the bruised opening lines of ‘Part Of Me’, ensued by the pulsating riffs of the song, while she descended on stage (‘Part Of Me’ precedes her album re-release). Katy looked triumphant up there in a warrior-esque latex ensemble, breaking glass, spinning on her feet, and melting ice sculptures. She tore that stage, build it up again, just to bring it down on fire. It was a powerful performance, very heart-felt and filled with passion; it must’ve been cathartic and therapeutic all at once for Perry. It was major; standing O.

Maroon 5 and Foster The People honored the legendary Beach Boys; it is worth mentioned the lead vocalist of the latter band, seemed awkward the entire time. The Beach Boys, after years of silence, still got it.

Adele returned to the stage to grace everyone with ‘Rolling In The Deep’. Post having surgery and sounding like this, only Adele could; she was on perfect key. Jennifer Hudson was given the honor of farewelling Whitney with her trademark ‘I Will Always Love You’; she was breathtaking, but kept her full range on low key.

Despite the outstanding performances on behalf of the aforementioned, there was Nicki Minaj, making her best Lady GaGa impersonation, as she ‘exorcised’ herself in a horrendous rap beat, that was more yelling and ridiculous eye popping than anything else. The religious allusions were unnecessary and offensive. The show could’ve done without. In what was another mess, was the mash up of David Guetta, Dead Mouse, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown performing ‘Rope’. All the strobe light, neon and mind numbing beats were out of place.

In its whole, the Grammy’s outdid themselves for once. And kudos for putting something up for Whitney Houston on short notice.

Looking forward to next year!

C.Perez

Below, a list of this year’s Grammy’s winners.

Album of the Year: Adele – 21
Record of the Year: Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Song of the Year: Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Best New Artist: Bon Iver
Best Pop Solo Performance: Adele – Someone Like You
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse – Body And Soul
Best Pop Instrumental Album: Booker T. Jones – The Road From Memphis
Best Pop Vocal Album: Adele – 21
Best Dance Recording: Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Best Dance/Electronica Album: Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett & Various Artists – Duets II
Best Rock Performance: Foo Fighters – Walk
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: Foo Fighters – White Limo
Best Rock Song: Foo Fighters – Walk
Best Rock Album: Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Best Alternative Music Album: Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Best R&B Performance: Corinne Bailey Rae – In This Love
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona – Fool For You
Best R&B Song: Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona – Fool For You
Best R&B Album: Chris Brown – F.A.M.E.
Best Rap Performance: Kanye West & Jay-Z – Otis
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie – All Of The Lights
Best Rap Song: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie – All Of The Lights
Best Rap Album: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Best Country Solo Performance: Taylor Swift – Mean
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Best Country Song: Taylor Swift – Mean
Best Country Album: Lady Antebellum – Own The Night
Best Short Form Music Video: Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Best Long Form Music Video: Foo Fighters – Back And Forth

2011 Video Music Awards Recap

Another year, another Video Music Award show down. Last year was all about Lady GaGa and 13 nominations, this time it was all about Katy Perry and her 10 nominations.

This year’s line up for a host, was unconventional, since there was actually no host. The show remains the same as other years, the expectedly solid performances, and the awkward acceptance speeches. It oddly served as a tribute to living music legend Britney Spears, but it somehow ended up being it all about Beyoncé.

Judging the performances, Jessie J could’ve used some more spotlight. Lady GaGa pulled another surprise card as she appeared dressed up as a male, in full character (crazy character one must add). It was insane, because she actually pulled it off looking like a man; no joke. If people thought her meat dress was too much, wait until you see how convincing GaGa looks as the embodiment of testosterone (minus her voice of course). Her delivery of ‘You And I’ was strong, and with her all as always; Brian Mays was the icing on top. The Britney tribute seemed more of a tactic to garner ratings than an actual merit for Spears as a troupe of frenetic little girls emulating the star on stage to her hits dressed in her most iconic moments; it was fantastic nonetheless. GaGa seemed to have pecked Britney on the lips, as she took the Video Vanguard Moon Man in hand (throwback to 2003 possibly? until Spears simulated going for a second not so subtle peck before addressing the microphone instead).

Kanye West and Jay-Z took the stage, and it was your regular rapper showdown kind of performance, just gone a little patriotic; not amusing. Pitbull and Ne-Yo overplayed their single for the billionth time in America, wasn’t radio and clubs alike enough? With a monotonous and repetitive song as ‘Give Me Everything (Tonight)’ is, at least they managed to bring it to life on stage.

Adele slayed the stage with her soaring vocals; pretty sure the building walls were shaking. Chris Brown got his footwork on like he always has, but Beyoncé, was probably one of the most engaging performances all night with ‘Love On Top’, which happens to be one of the not so many highlights in her fourth studio album 4. The performance was sassy and saw the performer cover her crotch with pants for once, who wrapped it with a mic thud and a belly rub, tinging at her pregnancy. The song was called for and the reason behind it, quite charming; the energy was unbelievable.

Young The Giant’s performance of ‘My Body’, was a shocker, because it was beyond superb. From staging, to vocals and crowd interaction. This is more than sufficient proof these guys should make it BIG; it was amazing they got 250 of their hometown fans witness their debut on the VMA stage.

Talking about tributes, other than Spears’, the late Amy Winehouse also got her recognition, on behalf of Bruno Mars, who gave an electric rendition of ‘Valerie’; it was definitely a moment, which got everyone clapping hard, while it allowed the audience to reflect on the major loss of talent the music world has suffered with Winehouse’s passing. It was sad, but in a way celebrated all of what Jazz meant to Winehouse and her fans.The show closed with an awfully auto-tuned perfomance by Lil’ Wayne; it could’ve done without, and came across as a desperate last minute promo for his upcoming album, The Carter IV.

As far as Moon Men go, Spears took home two for Video Vanguard and Best Pop Video with ‘Till The World Ends’. Adele’s trip to America ended up being worth it since she won three Moon Men, for Best Art Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. The ridiculously attention-seekingly dressed Nicki Minaj won for Best Hip-Hop Video. Rock Video was won by The Foo Fighters; Mumford & Sons deserved this one really, it seemed like it was the obvious choice; as if MTV plays rock videos.

Katy Perry was a vision all throughout the night, with creamy lavender-pink hair, she nabbed Best Collaboration and Best Special Effects with ‘E.T.’ plus the coveted Video of the Year merit for ‘Firework’; endlessly deserving, considering how breathtaking the video is. Justin Bieber won for Best Male; its not hard to acknowledge how many no-life thirteen year olds clicked his category before the voting polls closed. Best New Artist went to Tyler The Creator, whomever that is, hadn’t heard from that one, not even once.

All in all, with each year, they get it half right and half wrong, and this year it wasn’t an exception. Viewers got the attention-seeking stunts, cricket noise inducing liners, random speeches, and the drab nomination presentations (Jersey Shore, really?), which were far from creative or appealing for that matter.

We’ll see what they cook up for next year, based on the highs and lows the previous award shows have undergone, they have a lot to work on the chalkboard.

Until the next ceremony!

C.Perez

Katy Perry’s next move is right around the corner, with the release of ‘E.T.’ as her sophomore album’s fourth single. It is an amazing choice, as the track, when it originally leaked in full last May (almost right after ‘California Gurls’ did), garnered high praise and became an instant favorite, for its distinctive difference from Perry’s overall work.

The single is being released with a Kanye West verse feature; the first remix released featuring Tinie Tempah was already a bad sign and a warning of how the single was going to be treated. The song is not completely butchered, as it still remains pretty ace, but adding West was pointless, since the song is good enough to top the charts on its own. Whether West might or might not be quite the enhancer to make it perry’s consecutive fourth topper from the Teenage Dream project is to be determined, but it has already hit the eighth position on the Billboard Hot 100, making it her seventh Top 10.

Canadian photographer and director, Floria Sigismondi is in charge of directing the music video, which should be making its premiere real soon; Sigsmondi has previously worked with Christina Aguilera, The Cure and The White Stripes. Hopefully the visuals will give the single the push it needs for the number one spot? One will just have to see. By the two leaked pictures (available below), one can see it already looks quite elaborated.

Watch the first teasers of the video below, where a male figure (Kanye West) is visible inside of what looks like a spherical spaceship, and the intro of the track in the second. The video will premiere March 31st.

You can check out the second teaser: HERE

In other news, Perry also gave a start to the gigs of her California Dreams Tour in Lisbon, Portugal, this past February 20th, and the reception was indeed positive. Many clips available in YouTube show a very eagerly entertaining Perry engaging the crowd, and a very packed-loud audience.

The setlist consists of all of Perry’s hit singles (as well as all of the Teenage Dream album cuts; ‘Hummingbird Heartbeat’ was incorporated for the second show in Milan, Italy) and a couple of covers making up for a medley, incorporating Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl (In The World)’, Jay-Z’s ‘Big Pimpin’, Willow Smith’s ‘Whip My Hair’ and Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’, which served as the show’s closure.

The tour will be hitting Down Under throughout April and May, Asia in late May, and North America in June until August, with a slotted date added in South America scheduled for September. With Perry’s dates being so back to back, let’s all hope she is not worn off by when she hits U.S. shores.

Check out pictures from the Tour’s first show below (Click for larger view).

Harbingers will be attending the Boston, MA venue, June 18th so stay tuned for a feature on the show.

C.Perez

Kanye West and his camp were creative and pretentious enough to promote his first single, ‘Power’, off Dark Twisted Fantasy in a nearly two minute music video, which fascinatingly is more of a motion painting.

The ‘music video’ is West’s representation of power. It shows him wearing an ostentatious gold neck ensemble and black garments, approaching from the focal point of a renaissance-like still painting which then starts to develop into a slow motion progression.

The effects are impressive, and the music video is further than original and quite imaginative. It seems a tad bit egotistical of West to be featured in the center of the piece and in fact, literally frame himself as a masterpiece, but the inventiveness and outside the box execution make one put Kanye’s superiority complex aside.

★★★★

C.Perez

Watch Kanye’s Power below!

Kanye West experimented with auto-tune and slight singing in his preceding record 808’s & Heartbreak, and his newly released single ‘See Me Now’ finds him imprecisely melodically rapping.

It has a great retro/old-school R&B beat, and features catchy rhymes, but it is simply a huge ego pat as most of West’s tracks are, where he indulges and celebrates his accomplishments by rubbing it on someone else’s face.

It features Charlie Wilson (lead vocals for 1970’s funk trio Gap Band), and Beyoncé predominantly, who delivers smooth-strong vocals throughout the track. ‘See Me Now’ is an unashamed slap in the face to those who criticize West for his antics and self-venerating public remarks. He brags about having Beyoncé on the track and about being pasted on any cover magazine if he wanted to, going as far calling out brands he wears, reassuring he will always remain on scene as ‘black excellence’ no matter the circumstance.

It is a 6 minute long kiss-off to the haters divulging what he does best, and affirms regardless of what he does, he will still be ‘the greatest in the world’. The I.D. and Lex Luger produced ‘See Me Now’ is the second single off his upcoming album Dark Twisted Fantasy scheduled for a November release.  

Kanye West delivers quality and has obvious talent when it comes to rhymes and killer rapping, but that does not justify egocentricity.

★★★1/2

C.Perez

Download ‘See Me Now’