Radio Hits One: Raising The Bar For "YouTube Platinum"

Justin Bieber and Ludacris: Congratulations. A lot of people watched your video.
On August 28, MTV will throw the 2011 installment of its Video Music Awards, honoring achievements in the art form that used to make up the majority of its programming. While it's all too tempting to note the irony that the channel has been marginilizing videos in favor of longer-form programming for nearly two decades now, the fact is that the music video as a pop culture force is in good health these days, with or (more often) without MTV's support.

The internet, broadly, has helped revive excitement around the music video, but credit can be specifically given to YouTube. The music video probably reached its nadir of interest and influence around 2005, just before the site exploded into popular consciousness and made streaming video more accessible both to watch and to upload. Not only do major-label stars finally have a place for their big-budget videos to be disseminated in a mass way resembling that of MTV's heyday; new artists have an unprecedented universal portal for their own low-budget clips, a development that's launched a constellation of stars from Justin Bieber to Kreayshawn and Pomplamoose.

More »

David Letterman Checking Out His Female Musical Guests: A Brief History

David Letterman is no stranger to lust: This is a man who had so much sex with his female employees that people once held a rally to get him fired for being a pervert. And though he remains a national treasure, his eyes do tend to wander, even today. On Monday night, British songstress Adele got a thorough once-over from the venerable talk-show host, as seen above. It wasn't the first time. Here we present more examples of Letterman not-so-discreetly checking out the female musicians who've visited his show over the years.

More »

The Long and Ambivalent Genesis of "Waka Waka," the Cameroonian Military Theme Song Shakira Pilfered for Her World Cup Anthem

Note the chanting.

Ace critic Jeff Chang points us to the never-less-than-prescient blog of local freeform radio titans WFMU, where one intrepid writer traces the origins of "Waka Waka"--the song now famous for providing the base text for Shakira's official/abysmal World Cup anthem "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)." (The station did this in March, by the way, before Shakira's song was a even glimmer in FIFA's eye. The lesson, as always? Respect WFMU.) Anyway, the tale begins in Senegal, and proceeds backwards through Liberia, Santo Domingo, Suriname, Holland, meandering all the way to the '80s, where the song first surfaced as a Cameroonian marching tune. Though it turns out that no one really knows what the words mean. Want to know if "Waka Waka" has gotten better with age? Let's A-B it with Shakira's current version:

More »

Here Is Shakira's Abysmal, Club-Inflected xx Cover, "Explore"

You post things like this on the internet, you are absolutely, 100% part of the problem, and yet here we are: xx's "Islands," as put through the 'ol frog-sex filter. Now you know. [Fader]

Getting Child-Murdered In An M.I.A. Video May Not Be the Best Career Decision, It Turns Out

This image brought to you by Hipster Runoff--who else?
And the award for best coverage of red-headed actors who are executed at close range in M.I.A. videos goes to TMZ, who not only tracked down and interviewed the burgeoning Ian Hamrick last week ("he sounds like a 50-year-old philosopher as he explains why he let someone put a gun to his head," the website reported at the time), but now have turned up a second Hamrick-related scoop. Turns out the young actor may have been pulled from the video for Shakira's "Waka Waka," this year's comically titled World Cup Anthem, for the sin of being mock-executed in M.I.A.'s "Born Free" video.

More »

Listen To Hot Chip And Scritti Politti's Green Gartside Covering Shakira's "She Wolf," Which You Have To Admit Makes A Lot Of Sense

shakira cover.jpg
Well this is just delightful. (Site's a little screwy -- click under "Latest Tracks" on the right.) Pretty wan "A-Wooooo!" howls, it must be said, though perhaps that's part of the point. It's frankly nice just to hear this song without having to watch Shakira hump an amp, which you think would be a rad visual experience but in truth kind of gets old after awhile.

Contest: Find the Decapitated Shakira in a Union Square Bookstore

Image via the decapitator's photostream
The mysterious street artist known only as the Decapitator is in town, decapitating things. The culture jammer caused a huge stir in London last year, after Carrie Bradsaw was seen carrying her own head in a detourned version of a Sex and the City advertisement; Wired even compared the guy to Ron English. Now it seems to be New York's turn. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York spotted a defaced poster promoting a headless Shakira on the cover of Rolling Stone up on 23rd Street in Chelsea yesterday, writing "heads have started to roll!" And--ever the man of the people, that Decapitator--it turns out there's a competition to go along with it. The artist uploaded a picture of a mangled Rolling Stone magazine to his Flickr account, directing people to the magazine section of the Union Square Barnes and Noble, where a few editions have apparently been stowed. "Get your limited edition Decapitated Rolling Stone Magazine featuring Shakira on its cover (or what's left of her)," the vandal wrote. Note in particular the fine pattern of blood-spray misted over the magazine's logo. Misogynist, or genius? Either way, money says the checkout clerk doesn't even notice. [JVNY]

Update: We found one. The clerk did notice.