How Not To Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide

Maybe it's all that misguided Year of the Woman chatter that dominated year-end roundups, or the slow, agonizing creep of Fashion Week, or the coming apocalypse, but hoo boy has there been a lot of terrible writing about female musicians in the past few weeks. The latest offender is the New York Times style magazine T's cover-worthy profile of Lana Del Rey, which manages to be offensive from its first sentence and somehow gets worse from there. (There are even photos by the terminally icky Terry Richardson.) This piece inspired me to put forth four questions that writers, whether they're male or female, whether they're people with Tumblrs or those important enough to score offices at the New York Times building, should ask themselves before hitting "send" on their next piece about a woman making music.

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The Grammys' 53 Record Of The Year Winners, In Order

53. Phil Collins, "Another Day in Paradise" [1991]

52. The 5th Dimension, "Up, Up and Away" [1968]

51. Olivia Newton-John, "I Honestly Love You" [1975]

50. Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On" [1999]

49. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, "A Taste of Honey" [1966]

48. Bobby McFerrin, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" [1989]

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2011: The Year Skrillex Got Mentioned In A Lot Of Facebook Status Updates

The increasingly tentacle-extending social-networking site Facebook has released Memology 2011, a quantification of popular topics discussed on the service. Amy Winehouse's death in August was the seventh-most-discussed news topic of 2011, right behind the royal wedding and ahead of the new Call Of Duty game. Also, lots of people discovered and subsequently discussed the emo-gone-brostep musician Skrillex, apparently; as Facebook data scientist Jonathan Change helpfully explains, "Although Skrillex has been around for several years, his 2011 tour, a collaboration with Korn, and record label launch prompted a 76-fold increase in the number of people mentioning him in their status updates on Facebook." No word on how many of those mentions were positive or negative or just links to that Tumblr with women who have his haircut, alas. (Related: Even though my initial impression of it was not good at all, listening to "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" made me giggle my way through a migraine last week. Seriously! I was trying to reverse-engineer my way out of it, and while it didn't quite work, the laughing was at least pleasant.) The ten most-listened-to songs on Facebook Music—you know, that part of Facebook where you get to spy on what your friends are listening to via Spotify, Rdio, and other music services that aren't iTunes—below.

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Amy Winehouse's Top Ten Hip-Hop Collaborations

Rappers loved Amy Winehouse. The British warbler might not have collaborated with rap chaps to the extent that Mary J Blige has, but when she passed away earlier this year she did so leaving behind a discernible trail of hip-hop goodies. And the songs suggest there was a genuine bond and shared mentality between Winehouse and her rap suitors, unlike many a cobbled-together rapper-meets-singer tryst.

The posthumous project Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which has input from longtime Winehouse producer Salaam Remi and guest spots from Nas and ?uestlove, comes out this week. Here are Winehouse's ten most persuasive dalliances with the rap world.

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Live: Salaam Remi Immortalizes Amy Winehouse With Lioness: Hidden Treasures

by Kathy Iandoli

Amy Winehouse (Lioness: Hidden Treasures listening session)
Quad Recording Studios
Wednesday, November 16

Better than: Thinking Back to Black was Amy's final opus.

Amy Winehouse's career was punctuated with demons that detracted from her music, while simultaneously contributing to its brilliant pain factor. News of unfinished recordings circulated the moment the world learned of her untimely death this past July, and portions of these audio relics are made public on Lioness: Hidden Treasures, a collection of rarities and leftover studio sessions pieced together into one concise work.

Visiting Quad Recording Studios conjures up feelings of uneasiness for the hip-hop aficionado; it was the location of Tupac Shakur's first near-fatal shooting in 1994. Entering Quad to preview what's perceived to be the final collection of Amy Winehouse songs provides a whole new level of unease; the place feels more like a memorial service than a traditional listening session. Winehouse's close friend and musical confrere Salaam Remi, who produced the greater whole of the 12-track offering, hosted the unveiling of the posthumous projec. "I am happily, but unfortunately here," Remi announced solemnly at the opening of the event. The superproducer ushered in each track with an anecdote of how, when and where it was created, referring to the whole process as "therapeutic."

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The Amy Winehouse/Nas Collaboration "Like Smoke" Has Leaked

The posthumous collection of previously unreleased Amy Winehouse tracks Lioness: Hidden Treasures comes out next month, and today "Like Smoke"&0151;a track where Nas rhymes and Winehouse sings over a crisp, Salaam Remi-produced beat—premiered on Hot 97. The musical bed is apparently from 2008, but Nas's verse seems to be of more recent vintage (note the references to Occupy Wall Street and him maybe getting married again); Winehouse's vocal performance is yet another stark reminder of both her talent and how sad it is that said talent was overshadowed by the problems plaguing her life. Clip below.

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Live-Blogging The 2011 Video Music Awards: Teenage Dreams Of Vomited-Up Cockroaches

Sort of the way I remember it.

Welcome to Sound of the City's liveblog of the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, the cable channel's annual paean to musically borne decadence and its own self-storied past. Tonight's roster of performers includes Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Pitbull, and Young the Giant, as well as a "surprise" performance by Jay-Z and Kanye West, a tribute to Britney Spears (not dead and celebrating the 10th anniversary of her dancing uncomfortably with a snake), an homage to Amy Winehouse (R.I.P.), and the looming possibility that Tyler, The Creator will crap himself onstage. The blogging starts below.

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Live: Gregory Porter Sings A Song For Amy Winehouse At The Blue Note


Gregory Porter
The Blue Note
Monday, July 25

Better than: Most hackneyed Amy Winehouse tributes people are going to put together over the next couple of days.

The publicist wanted to make it clear that despite a tribute to Amy Winehouse being teased on The Blue Note's website, Gregory Porter would probably not be performing any of Winehouse's material during his set last night. The Grammy-nominated jazz singer had been called in at the last minute to replace Winehouse's father, Mitch, a crooner in his own right whose performance was cancelled in the wake of his daughter's death. Porter was his replacement.

The tribute came during the third song of Porter's second set. "I am here tonight in place of Mitch Winehouse, whose daughter passed away," Porter told the audience. "So I feel it's fitting to give a tribute to a very fine singer who straddled jazz and soul."

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Amy Winehouse, R.I.P.

British soul singer Amy Winehouse was found dead this morning in her London flat. Even those people who followed pop music on a cursory basis were probably familiar with Winehouse, or at least her troubles; dubbed (almost too easily) "Wino" by the tabloids both in her homeland and around the world, she was a mainstay on the gossip pages for her problems with alcohol and drugs and her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, not to mention her signature beehive-and-cats-eye look. But her talent was prodigious as both a singer and a songwriter; she wrote or co-wrote all the songs on her stunning 2006 breakthrough Back To Black, an album that she was still working on following up.

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In Honor Of Weezer's New Hurley, Here Are Suggestions For More Lost-Themed Albums

weezer hurley.jpg
So Weezer's next album is named Hurley, and that's the cover: an unadorned photo of Hurley's face. Even if you consider this a terrible idea, you must admit it doesn't crack the Weezer's top 25 worst ideas of the past five years; in fact, the idea of records inspired by Lost characters has potential. Here, some practical suggestions.

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