Tag Archive: music

Fans of Jennifer Lopez rejoye! The pop superstar has compiled her first greatest hits collection, “Dance Again… The Hits.” The compilation was released this week and contains some of Lopez’s most iconic songs including, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “Waiting for Tonight,” and “Jenny From The Block.” The set also features two new songs, “Dance Again,” an infectious tune of pure dance-pop bliss, and “Goin’ In,” a track featured in the new installment of the “Step Up” film series. Also included in the set, is “On The Floor,” Lopez’ most successful single to date. This album, along with Britney Spears’ “The Singles Collection,” is an iconic retrospective of pop music that was the soundtrack of a generation. Both collections earn their place next to Madonna’s “The Immaculate Collection” and Janet Jackson’s “Design of a Decade 1986/1996,” the soundtracks to pop music of that generation.

I’m someone who has tried to become a hardcore J.Lo fan for years. However, I’ve only been able to get into her singles. The other songs on the albums were either filler or just not as good to me. So, needless to say, it has taken me a while to accept the fact that, when it comes to Jennifer Lopez, I’m just a casual fan. That’s why a collection like this is perfect for someone like me… or is it? While the tracklisting is strong, it is far from perfect. There are 16 tracks on the deluxe edition and only 13 on the standard edition. More songs could’ve been added to the tracklisting (“I’m Glad,” “I’m Gonna Be Alright (Track Masters Remix),” “Play,” as well as the album versions of “Ain’t It Funny” and “I’m Real”) and even replaced with songs that ended up making the final cut (“Do It Well,” “I’m Into You,” “Feelin’ So Good”). Another nice inclusion in the deluxe edition is a DVD of Lopez’s music videos. However, instead of featuring all of her videos, it only features 11 videos of songs that are included on the CD.

As a fan, I would recommend purchasing the standard edition of this album along with the CD/DVD release, “The Reel Me,” which features every video from 1999-2003 along with an interview of Lopez discussing each clip. It may be more costly and not as convenient of a purchase, but in terms of quality AND quantity, it is worth it! All in all, this collection is decent for a casual fan, but it could’ve been a lot better.

Gloria Estefan premiered her new music video last night, “Hotel Nacional.” It is from her new album, “Miss Little Havana” and peaked at number one on Billboard’s “Latin Songs,” “Tropical Songs,” and “Hot Club Dance Play” charts. The video pays homage to films like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and has a similar feel to Estefan’s 1992 video, “Go Away.” The song (and quite frankly, the entire album) is great and the video is quite entertaining. There’s also a cameo appearance by Susan Lucci.

On Superbowl Sunday, I was having a celebration of all things Madonna. I spent the day watching all things Madonna prepping for the big game. As someone who doesn’t care at all for sports, I was pretty excited. And it was all because of The Queen. She sure knows how to put on a good show, so I had my expectations set pretty high.

The Halftime began with Madonna being brought in by a bunch of sexy Ancient Roman gladiators to the tune, “Vogue.” She reinvented the song once again, featuring a moving “Vogue Magazine” cover. There were also images of the legendary stars she refrences in the song. The stage design and screem projections were visually stunning. It was so appealing to the eye and one could only imagine what it looked like in the stadium. Madonna segued into “Music” and did some impressive cartwheels. Then, she joined LMFAO and performed a mashup of their songs “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It.” The next track was Madonna’s new single “Give Me All Your Luvin’ (featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.).” The moment of this performance everybody’s talking about came when M.I.A. flipped the bird during her rap. When I first saw it, it didn’t feel out of place considering the fact that she cursed during that section of her rap. But, I realized that this was network television, families were watching, and the NFL was probably very edgy considering what happened during the 2004 Halftime Show. I had a feeling this wouldn’t go over so well. And I was right. Had this been a broadcast of Madonna’s concert tour on HBO, that would’ve been fine. But this was NBC. There’s a time and a place for everything and it helps if a performer knows their audience.

The show climaxed after Cee Lo Green and Madonna performed her hit “Like a Prayer.” The appearance of Green wasn’t that surprising given the rumors circulating about his involvment with the performance prior to the show. Out of all the duets Madonna did during her Halftime performance, this is the only one I enjoyed. The other people she brought on stage with her were just not for me. I think Madonna is capable of handling a crowd like Super Bowl XLVI without the assistance of guest artists. She is the most successful female artist of all time for a reason.

The stage spelled out “World Peace” at the end of the show. While I believed it was well-intended, I think it’s a silly concept. “Perfection” does not exist. No matter what, there will always be hatred and darkess in the world. With all the light that exists in the world there is dark. With all the love that exists in the world there is hate. It’s just the way it is. I believe we can make the world a better place. But I do not believe we can make the world a perfect place.

However, Madonna’s performance was a success! It became the most-watched Super Bowl Halftime Show of all time, gaining over 110 million viewers. And with the forthcoming release of her new album, “MDNA,” and a world tour, Madonna proves once again that she is The Queen.

Those looking forward to both Madonna’s “MDNA” and Adam Lambert’s “Trespassing” were in Heaven this morning as their new music videos premiered.

First, we’ve got Madonna’s video for the first single off “MDNA,” (out March 26th) “Give Me All Your Luvin’ (Feat. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj). The demo version leaked sometime last year and didn’t feature M.I.A. or Minaj. I, personally, don’t care for rap music, so I was a bit upset when I heard Madonna recrutied them to be on the song. Thankfully, their parts are very quick and don’t ruin the spirit of the song for me. I was also pleased with the video, which has a football/cheerleaders theme. Those of you who are educated in all things Madge will know that she was a cheerleader for her high school’s football team. It is timely since on Sunday, The Queen will take the stage headlining the Super Bowl halftime show. The video is very funny and has a sense of humor. This is something that seems to have been lacking in most of Madonna’s recent work. For a long time, she used her work as a platform to make statements on Kabbalah, politics, as well as the disease and poverty in Africa. While it’s good to be vocal about making the world a better place, it’s nice to see Madonna doing something more light. It’s refreshing and a welcome change of pace. She has surely scored a touchdown with this video!

Next up, we have Adam Lambert’s new video for “Better Than I Know Myself.” It’s the first single off his new album, “Trespassing,” out March 20th. The song is a big ballad showcasing Lambert’s trademark vocals. It’s definitely a hit, sure to become a radio staple just like “Whataya Want From Me,” a hit off Lambert’s debut. The lyrics talk about a plea for acceptance. One might think it’s about a relationship with another person, and it very well could be. But the video takes it a step further and puts an unexpected twist on the track. It is a love story, but it’s one that deals with the love you have for yourself. In the video, Lambert is struggling between his “light” side and his “dark” side. The two realize in the end, they both need each other in order to live. It’s a wonderful, artistic statement about forgiving yourself for the mistakes you make sometimes. We all do. We’re all human.

Hopefully, Lambert releases some fun, sexy, dance tracks as future singles. It’s smart of him to release such a commercially safe song as the first single (especially given the reaction to his “American Music Awards” performance and success of “Whataya Want From Me”), but I’m a fan of his more risque, provocative side as well. It would make for another pretty cool video, too!

So, it looks like 2012 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for new music!

So, the music video for Britney Spears’ new single “Criminal,” the fourth single from “Femme Fatale,” premiered this week. It features some acting, some kissing, some shooting, and some more kissing.

First things first, at the 2011 MTV VMAs, Spears revealed “Criminal” was going to be the next single from the album. She claimed to have a “really cool” idea for the video. Fans were left wondering what she would cook up this time. It seems as though the story of Spears’ image is told through her videos. From the paparazzi-bashing (“Piece of Me,” “Overprotected,” “I Wanna Go”) to the steamy dancing (“I’m A Slave 4 U,” “Me Against the Music (featuring Madonna),” “Circus”) to the nudity (“Toxic,” “Womanizer”). These images are all part of the Britney Spears legend.

So, what would we get next? For starters, Chris Marrs Piliero directed the video. This is the second video in a row that he’s directed for Britney. The video begins with Spears showing off her acting skills. She plays a young woman who is in an abusive relationship and has had enough. The problem with this scene, is it does a great disservice to Spears’ actual acting ability. We’ve all seen Britney on television. From “Saturday Night Live” to “Will and Grace” to “How I Met Your Mother,” Britney Spears has proven herself to be a good actress. She shows talent particularly in the area of comedic roles. The opening shot of her “I Wanna Go” video, for example, was superbly acted and well-done.

This particular scene, though, doesn’t quite do Spears’ talent any good. The scene involves her boyfriend grabbing her face and yelling at her in front of the entire party. She is upset, runs to the bathroom, and wipes tears away from her eyes. The problem here, is that as she’s rubbing the tears away from her eyes, she’s smiling. If you ask me, that’s not very convincing. Her body language appears to be very stiff as well. Spears can clearly act, she just didn’t hit a home run with this role. But, hey, it happens to everybody.

As Spears and her boyfriend get into an altercation that turns physical, the “criminal” (played by Spears’ real-life boyfriend, Jason Trawick) comes to her rescue. As she rides with him on his motorcycle, he brings her back to his home. They kiss and share a great deal of revealing and passionate scenes together. Here’s where the next problem comes in. If anybody was paying attention to the dramatic tabloid frenzy that invaded Spears’ life, one can’t deny that she’s needed to take attention away from her personal life.

The moment that, in my opinion, raised the level of scrutiny on Spears was when she came out with the reality show, “Britney and Kevin: Chaotic.” Spears appeared to be well-intended and thought the show would actually defuse the attention, because it would show people there’s nothing that interesting going on anyway. Instead, it resulted in the opposite effect. It kicked the door wide open for all types of media to a sense of entitlement over Britney’s personal business. This is why having her current boyfriend in her music video might not be such a good idea. Sure, it’s not airing her home movies on television, but it’s still playing with fire, if you ask me.

That said, Trawick does do a good job in the video and the two have a chemistry together that appeared to be lacking in some of her other videos. The steamy scenes between the two felt more comfortable, because the two are involved privately as well. As opposed to the male leads in “Womanizer” and “Radar,” Spears seems to be more comfortable than in her other recent videos. It looks like the couple’s personal relationship also had a positive effect on the video.

So, what do you guys think of Britney’s new video?

I Wanna Get In the Zone

On Novermber 18, 2003, Britney Spears released her fourth studio album. “In the Zone” was the result of, as VH1’s “Behind The Music” put it, “a young woman coming of age.” In the years since her first single, “…Baby One More Time,” Spears had undergone several personal changes that reflected and influenced the direction in her music. Just a year before the album’s release, Spears had broken up with her “self-proclaimed first love,” Justin Timberlake. The two were the epitome of teen pop and a match made in Heaven. The ending of their relationship helped both grow as artists and entertainers. The breakup helped them move past the bubblegum world they started in. They were growing into adults and it was time for a change.

On Spears’ third album, “Britney,” the pop star spoke of yearning for independence. She was clearly going through a progression as the album’s style was divided into the bubblegum (“Bombastic Love,” “Anticipating,”) and adult (“I’m a Slave 4 U,” “Boys”). “In the Zone” seemed to confirm this transformation from little girl to grown woman. If Spears was “not a girl, not yet a woman,” she was clearly a woman during the writing and recording of her next project. A certain sexuality that was hinted at on “Britney” was taken much further on “In the Zone.” Songs like “Showdown,” “Breathe on Me,” and “Touch Of My Hand” are fine examples of Spears’ sexual expression. Everything from heavy breathing to masturbation was covered. Even bonus tracks like “Don’t Hang Up” touched on phone sex. Despite all the criticism Spears got for her sexy image, the sexual desire expressed on “In the Zone” was done in a tasteful, almost romantic way. On “Touch Of My Hand,” for example, Spears found a way to take a subject matter so many people sweep under the rug and make it sound poetically beautiful.

The album also saw more progression as Britney Spears, the songwriter. With each album leading up to “In the Zone,” Spears had shown more and more growth as a contributer to the music she was performing. On “In the Zone,” she has shown her greatest creative contribution to date, co-writing 8 of the 12 tracks. Spears also co-wrote the bonus tracks, “Don’t Hang Up” and “I’ve Just Begun (Having My Fun).” In a recent interview, Spears called “Everytime” her most personal song. She’s also cited it as the first song she’s ever written. The song talks about the loss of a love who still haunts your memory. The sadness and heartbreak are apparent in the song and conveys a real life message listeners can relate to.

The various musical genres “In the Zone” covers are also significant to note. From trance (“Early Mornin'”) to reggae (“The Hook Up”) to techno (“Brave New Girl”), the album saw a rare accomplishment of putting together an album that had a diverse set of musical influences, while still remaining a cohesive whole. The album also had an “all-star cast of contributers” with everyone ranging from Madonna to R. Kelly to Moby. Fans surely remember the infamous kiss shared between Madonna and Britney at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. What better way to follow up that kiss than a collaboration between the two pop icons in the form of a song and music video? Another single from the album, “Toxic,” won Spears her first Grammy Award for “Best Dance Recording” in 2005.

For fans of Britney Spears, the promotion machine for the “In the Zone” album was kicked into high gear. Memorable moments from the “In the Zone” era include the 2003 VMA performance, Britney’s “Behind the Music” special on VH1, the “All Eyes on Britney” interview on MTV, the “Primetime” interview with Diane Sawyer, the ABC special, the 2003 Rolling Stone cover, the performance at the 2003 American Music Awards, and the “Live from Miami” special of the “Onyx Hotel Tour” on Showtime. Spears also performed “Me Against the Music” and “(I Got That) Boom Boom (featuring Ying Yang Twins)” for MTV’s TRL in NYC’s Times Square. And who could forget the “In the Zone & Out All Night” special for MTV, where Spears gave surprise performances at 3 different clubs in Manhattan?

The “In the Zone” album surely gave fans of Britney Spears plenty of wonderful memories and they are still as special today as they were 9 years ago… if not more so. The album also reflected a growth, creativity, and sexuality that plenty of fans could probably relate to. With an honest exploration of feelings and a need for pure fun, escapism, “In the Zone” remains one of pop music’s most significant albums of the past decade. A successful move away from the bubblegum pop Spears sang of when she was 16. It’s an album that sounds just as timeless and fresh today as it did when it came out nearly a decade ago. THANK YOU BRITNEY!