Live: LMFAO Get The Prudential Center Party Rocking

LMFAO w/Far East Movement, The Quest Crew, Sidney Samson, Eva Simons and Natalia Kills
The Prudential Center
Friday, June 29

Better than: You'd expect.

The problem with an LMFAO concert, I realize three songs into the LMFAO concert, is that even the biggest of LMFAO fans don't want to hear more than five of the group's songs. "Sorry for Party Rocking" opened—that's one—and neither "Party Rock Anthem" nor "Sexy and I Know It" were coming out until the end, so what happens in between? Well, the David Guetta cover was a nice way to kill time, as were the Black Eyed Peas remix and the Quest Crew dance intermission. But it doesn't take much longer before it becomes clear that the real answer is "nothing so complicated that you can't sing along to the hook or unpredictable that you won't be able to pump your fist or two-step to every beat." This makes things a lot easier for everyone involved.

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Raise Your Hand (Or Your Finger?) If You Didn't Realize M.I.A. Flipped Off The Super Bowl Until You Read 4,035 Breathless Headlines About It

Well! When I went to bed last night I figured I'd be writing about a couple of aspects of Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show, during which she ran through her catalog with the assistance of Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, LMFAO, a marching band, a choir, and gladiators. There was the whole notion of bringing voguing, which she plucked out of the gay underground two decades ago, to the most heteronormative major event America's spectacle has to offer; there was the nitpicking over the set list (sure, it's a relatively minor hit in the Madonna catalog, but "Causing A Commotion" would have slotted into the medley nicely); and there was, of course, the cruel exclusion of Shufflebot from LMFAO's cameo. (Seriously, what?) But this morning all the chatter was about the controversy stoked by the controversy-stoking M.I.A., who flipped off the camera as a way to put a period on her verse on the still-underwhelming new Madonna track "Give Me All Your Luvin." Just when you thought it was safe to bring pop music back into the halftime show... a finger happens. The only way this could have inspired more silly outrage is if her finger had been drizzled with truffle oil first.

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Pazz & Jop 2011: Nick Murray Shuffles Through Liturgy, Mr. Collipark, And Other 2011 Favorites

Categories: LMFAO, Pazz & Jop

To supplement this year's Pazz & Jop launch, Sound of the City asked a few critics to expand on the reasonings behind their voting. This is from the Voice's own Nick Murray, who kept things stable during Pazz & Jop .

I turned in my Pazz & Jop ballot on December 22, and instantly regretted my decision to rank both albums and singles alphabetically instead of by order of preference. A Voice colleague chided me for this decision after we got back to the office the next week, and she was probably right. Oh well. Had I given proper attention to sequencing my ballot, I probably would have gone mad, spending the last few weeks emailing revision after revision to Needlebase guru Glenn McDonald. Wait does my ballot suggest that Mr. Collipark's unjustly unheralded Can I Have the Club Black Please? was the best rap mixtape of 2011? That can't be right. Swap in that Gunplay. Or Lil B. Or Meek Mill. And so on.

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Six Songs Michele Bachmann Could Have Signed Off With That Weren't Train's Beejers-And-Burning Man Ode "Hey, Soul Sister"

After a dismal showing at yesterday's Iowa caucuses, one-time Republican Presidential front-runner and "interesting person" Michele Bachmann announced today that she was ending her campaign to be sworn in as Commander-in-Chief next January. Once the brief press conference disseminating the news ended, Bachmann walked off the stage... to the strains of "Hey, Soul Sister," Train's wistful song about hummers and hot chicks at Burning Man that was voted by Chris Weingarten and me to be the worst song of 2010. Perhaps Bachmann was seduced by the idea of seeming "soulful" as she accepted her defeat, or maybe she just really likes ukuleles, but the song choice was most unfortunate—as the opening line that not-so-subtly references a lipstick stain on Pat Monahan's genital area should have told, I don't know, anyone who was working on her campaign and understands the uttered English language? Sure, it was good for a laugh or two, but the six songs below might have been better choices—at the very least, they (for the most part) save the oral-sex references until after the chorus has been run through once.

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100 & Single: LMFAO's Pair Of Chart-Toppers Suggest Stardom, Guarantee Nothing

Categories: LMFAO

The national star-making machinery only begins to take you seriously when you command the field more than once. Just like, say, GOP presidential candidates, pop acts can't chart one strong number and assume dominance is permanently theirs. They've got to come back on top, week after week, survey after survey. (Even then, as Michelle, Rick, Herman and Newt learned the hard way, stardom is fleeting.)

So it goes for electro-pop duo LMFAO, who kick off 2012 at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 with "Sexy And I Know It," their improbable second chart-topper.

At least, it seemed improbable a few weeks ago. Six months ago, they looked huge: The shufflin' smash "Party Rock Anthem"—a six-week No. 1 smash in July and August, and the year's No. 2 single—dominated the summer of 2011 and introduced an infectious dance. But then, so did "Macarena" in 1996. The only differences between Los Del Rio then and LMFAO now is about 30 years of age, six inches of hair-height, some barely concealed expletives and, now, a followup hit.

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part Seven: The Sorrows (And Fantastic Sound System) Of Young Drake

Shhh... He's thinking.
Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Look, it's what I've been dreading talking about all year! Anyway. For the past hour, Maura, I've tried to think of one—only one—perfect antidote track, or line even, by a woman to the pickup whines by Drake and those who'd love to be him. I haven't even come close. Nicki Minaj has little interest in this, which is absolutely her right but rules out the most obvious candidate. A few Rihanna shame-changers, like "Watch 'N' Learn"'s "don't ask me if you were the first to sleep here/ 'cause if he did, you wouldn't even be here," might work, but they're lost amid album filler, raunch and career churn. Laura Marling's "Sophia" would work if it had any genre relation whatsoever and if the point of the song wasn't "how and with whom I've moved on is none of your business"—the only safe response when being candid as a female writer almost automatically means people call you oversharing (imagine if Drake was a woman), but no good for countering. And more plausible answer songs like "212" have reaches, as Eric said, currently confined to music blogs and whatever came of Banks' day out with Kanye. JoJo's "Marvin's Room" remake doesn't even pinprick Drake's original hit if you go by audience—even discounting the implications of wanting a white pop singer like JoJo to dethrone a black R&B singer like Drake, which shouldn't be discounted.

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Nine Fantastic And Thoughtful And Perfect In Every Way Gifts For The Music Fans In Your Life

How many gift guides have you read that started off by reminding you that "the holiday season is fast approaching"? Probably too many by this point. If you're like me, you just get stressed out and close the tab before even realizing that some of them have awesome suggestions. Don't do that here: Although some of the following suggestions might require a little elbow grease and an understanding of simple wiring systems, any of these would be gifts that a music fan would be happy to receive. You're welcome.

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Live: Lady Gaga Is Z100's Homecoming Queen At The Jingle Ball

Z100 Jingle Ball: Lady Gaga, Pitbull, David Guetta, Kelly Clarkson, LMFAO, Gym Class Heroes, Demi Lovato, Foster The People, and Hot Chelle Rae w/Karmin, The Script
Madison Square Garden
Friday, December 9

Better than: A lump of coal and a "Firework" CD single.

To begin, let's run down a few key numbers related to the 2011 installment of Z100's Jingle Ball. Friday night's pop extravaganza had 11 sets; 32 full songs; five medleys; two point five holiday-themed songs; two encores; one Coldplay video; one Kardashian; and one member of LMFAO on the disabled list. Things that were present in abundance, so I didn't keep tallies: Screaming; festive attire; between-song ads; shout-outs to New York City.

I begin with statistics, because what is Z100—the East Coast top-40 flagship of the Clear Channel monolith—but a celebration of numbers? At the night's outset, Elvis Duran, host of the morning show, declared, "When you hear a song played on Z100, you know it's a hit." The artists atop the Jingle Ball's bill, with their ability to be reduced to one name—Gaga, Pitbull, Guetta, Kelly, all of whom have spent the month performing atop other Jingle Balls in other cities—bore this theory out in a sense; their sets, brief but longer than those earlier in the evening, contained only "hits," songs that might not have been familiar by title but that were sing-alongable within the first verse.

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100 & Single: A Dozen Contenders For Billboard's Year-End Top 10, And Their Fight Against The "Last Christmas Effect"

Later this week, Billboard is expected to announce its tallies for the biggest hits of 2011. And what a year for music it's been. Remember all those big hits: "Like a G6," "We R Who We R," "Raise Your Glass," "Fuck You!" and "What's My Name?"

What's that—you say the songs I just rattled off are kinda old? Like, 2010-old? You're absolutely right. But don't be surprised if these vintage hits feature prominently among the biggest Hot 100 hits of 2011.

Billboard's "chart year" runs from December 1 through November 30. Blame old-fashioned dead-tree production schedules—they do this so they can announce the year-end victors before the holidays arrive and run the lists in a big, collectible magazine the size of small phone book. (Makes a great stocking stuffer. Seriously!)

The upshot of this skewed calendar: Take a good look at what's topping the Hot 100 right now. Hits like Rihanna's "We Found Love" (No. 1), LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" (No. 2), or Bruno Mars's fast-rising "It Will Rain" are going to feature conspicuously among the top Billboard hits... of 2012, next December. On the 2011 list, they won't be very prominent at all.

Even with its abundance of aging tracks, the 2011 list will still be worth poring over when Billboard drops it in a few days. Unlike the year-end album chart—which is based on straight Soundscan sales totals, and whose victor is already a foregone conclusion—the formula of digital sales, radio airplay and online streaming that determines the weekly Hot 100 means year-end predictions require a lot more guesstimating. Which is more fun, anyway.

Let's run down, in alphabetical order, a baker's dozen of hits that are likely to figure prominently on Billboard's Top Hot 100 Songs of 2011. These are tracks likely to make the final Top 10 or at least the Top 20.

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Live-Blogging The 2011 American Music Awards: We Could Have Had It All (But Then Adele Had To Go Have A Vocal Cord Hemorrhage)

via ABC
Justin Bieber at last year's American Music Awards.
Welcome to Sound of the City's liveblog of the 2011 American Music Awards, the annual salute to the most popular popular music that exists in the American wild this year. While Lady Gaga and Adele and BeyoncĂ© are absent, this year's show apparently has one performance that will cost $500,000 to pull off, as well as a David Guetta/Nicki Minaj outing that is heavy—heavy in the weight sense, not in the "societal import" sense because c'mon we're talking about King Of Eurogloss David Guetta here—and appearances by Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Katy (sigh) Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and other notables from the Hot 100. Come join us for the next three hours, won't you?

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