Limmy’s Hot Take: Kanye and M.I.A. come for Beyoncé, and New Music by Bruno Mars, ZAE and Kate Miller-Heidke

This week on Limmy’s Hot Take: Kanye simply living his truth – hashtag no filter – continues to be one of the most entertaining things happening in music right now. It’s so rock and roll.

Yesterday he arrived at his Sacramento show reportedly an hour and a half late, only to scrap the whole thing after performing just two songs. But not before adding some real value to the evening with an epic rant aimed at pals Beyoncé and Jay Z.

As NME reports, he called out Bey over her alleged condition that she would only perform at the MTV Video Music Awards if she was awarded Video of The Year over rivals Kanye and Drake.

He tells the crowd: “Beyoncé, I was hurt! ‘Cause I heard that you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won Video of the Year over me, and over ‘Hotline Bling.’ In my opinion — now, don’t go tryin’ to diss Beyoncé, she is great. Taylor Swift is great. We are all great people, we are all equal. But sometimes, we be playing the politics too much and forgetting who we are — just to win. Fuck winning! Fuck looking cool! Fuck looking cool! Fuck being cool! Fuck all that!”

I mean I do see a few points here that aren’t at the end of a finger. But fuck that, everybody wants to win, everybody wants to be cool. I don’t think Beyoncé’s alleged request is that outrageous, do you? You’d almost expect it. I definitely would if I were her. I mean, you won’t see it come from me via email, text or DM but I’d definitely make sure someone in my team gets on the phone and takes care of that. Also, how you gon’ have Beyoncé bring the kind of elaborate performance she always does to your show and not honour her in some way?

I know she was up for 11 VMAs this year, which by the way is the most amount of nominations she’s ever gotten in a single year, but let’s face it Video of The Year is the one. Also, let’s be real, out of Adele’s ‘Hello’, Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, Kanye’s ‘Famous’ and Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’, ‘Formation’ was surely hands down Video of The Goddamn Year, mate.

Ye’s rant trying to expose Beyoncé as a greedy, game-playing, scheming corporation is not exactly a new angle. And better yet, the reality of that is not something you can change by being mad about it either. There are tons of super talented musicians and entertainers that fall to the wayside. Talent is not enough. You need more to slay in the game. You need great business acumen (thank you Mathew Knowles), power and influence. This empire was not built in a day. And it sure as hell wasn’t built on unprofessionalism and cancelling shows 10 minutes into it. But you know what, they’re both different artists and Kanye has real moments of greatness that is undeniable. What he does have, in place of Video of The Year, is a real candid quality about him. For better or worst he is himself, and that is actually really entertaining and refreshing in a world of heavily media-trained and overly cautious stars.

In other news, M.I.A. has also called out Beyoncé (and other A-listers like Madonna  and Rihanna) for stealing from her. According to Idolator, here’s what the British rapper and producer told Q Magazine:

“I’m fine with Madonna or Beyoncé or Rihanna being ‘inspired’ by my work. But I would like them to then go, ‘Yeah, this immigrant who came out of nowhere influenced us, so maybe not all of them are fucking terrible’. They don’t even think like that. They go ‘Yeah, maybe me stealing the stuff says she’s all right. She should be thankful we’re stealing it’. But sometimes you just think, ‘Fuck, I have to pay some bills,’ you know? Beyoncé comes from the school of Michael Jackson-ness. Where the family built an entire world to support you. From when you were a child. I never had that luxury. If you’re working class, music doesn’t belong to you like it used to – it would be really hard for Oasis to happen now. I’m just fodder. A template for pop stars to create more content. We constantly feed the top of the pyramid.”

I’m dead curious to know which tracks she is specifically referring to now. But overall, this is giving me pains circa Kat Deluna when J.Lo hooked up with RedOne and started jacking her sound for the very lucrative, career CPR-ing ‘On The Floor’/Love? era.

We’ve seen this happen over and over again, and it isn’t fair. It must be hard for an artist who is, I suppose, ‘not mainstream’ by nature, with very brilliant and occasional commercial crossovers, to straddle those worlds. It must be soul-crushing to be in those circles and see the money and opportunity, and be on the radar where people are watching, listening and having their creative team pin your shit to Pinterest boards, and you are not getting any recognition for it. It is also shit when you’re repeatedly told you’re ‘underrated’. That shit can take a toll – case in action, aforementioned Kat Deluna and the artist formerly known as Wynter Gordon, now relaunched under her real name Diana Gordon, who I’m very happy is winning now (you should read her interview with Fader).

I know this won’t help pay the bills but I take comfort in knowing that the age of the internet has opened so many more doors for artists. Real talent always shines, and I believe when you’re creating something of great quality that is also truthful to you, there will be an audience there. In a time where genres are breaking down and listeners are more guided by recommendations and artists that sound similar to the ones they like, things like playlists and those ‘Related Artists’ steer our consumption a lot. Perhaps there might be something in fostering a network of like-minded artists on your level that respect your craft and complement your artistry and brand, and pull each other up together. Collaborate! Create cool shit together! Do promo together! Go on tour together! Unite your fanbase! People seem to only be out for themselves now, trying to be the next mononym star. But seriously, come together!

Update: This thread by a songwriter, which came into my periphery after Guyliner retweeted it, is a good read.

 

Top tunes of the week

Bruno Mars’ entire 24K Magic album

I’m genuinely surprised I’ve chosen the new Bruno Mars album over Little Mix‘s. You know I love my pop girl bands. But to be honest, Bruno’s 24K Magic is everything. Nine tracks of hedonistic, solid 90s R&B and funk. I went through a phase of immersing myself in lots of New Jack Swing earlier this year so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

ZAE ‘Letting Go’

If you like Banks, chances are you’re gonna enjoy West London singer ZAE‘s ‘Letting Go’. She told The Line of Best Fit that the song was directly influenced by the singer and was in fact the very first song she wrote. Not a bad place to start, mate. Although that story is almost too good to be true. But what is good and certifiable true though is the intimate music video that comes with it, portraying a two young men in a volatile and emotionally-fraying stage of their relationship.

Kate Miller-Heidke ‘You’ve Underestimated Me, Dude’

I’ve always loved me some Kate Miller-Heidke. Unquestionably, the Professor Dumbledore of what she does, which is cleverly observant and sensitive lyrics and, every now and then when the mood calls for it, a theatrical performance like this one. ‘You’ve Underestimated Me, Dude’ is a nails down the back, bluesy rock clapback at misogyny.

Jhene Aiko ‘Maniac’

The camp-as-tinsel-on-Alan-Carr kid in me immediately thought of the Michael Sembello/Flashdance song but no this is something more of a sexier outing. ‘Maniac’ could have easily been mistaken for a Tinashe banger or a very slick Kelly Rowland comeback single (Sis, take notes!). It doesn’t sound like the Jhene Aiko I know but it’s definitely closer aligned to her joint album with Big Sean as Twenty88. “I’m a low-key freak you don’t know me yet”, she coolly sings over crystalline trap beats. That may be the case.

For more of my favourite tunes, check out my NEWEST playlist.

And finally…

Quite a few tweets this week reminiscing on the great pop songwriting output of Cathy Dennis, who of course, is responsible for Britney‘s ‘Toxic’, Kylie‘s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, Sugababes ‘About You Now’, and a couple of good Heidi Montag tracks you should not be ashamed to say you like (this is a safe space). So here’s a playlist of songs she has written for other artists and some performed by Cathy herself.

Tweet me your fave pop songwriters over at @feedlimmy.

Madonna ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’ (feat. Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) Music Video

Let’s not get it twisted. This is not Madonna‘s finest and most on-point single in the history of herstory. But that’s not to say that we can’t all have a good time gushing over the fucking A-grade music video and the joy it brings to our world.

‘Give Me All Your Luvin” is the first single unleashed from the pop queen’s forthcoming “action-packed” album MDNA. Even though I feel like the cheerleader chants and robo-rocking Martin Solveig beats are serving enough freshness, there’s something despicably booger about her vocal performance here. For a beat that kicks as hard as it does, Madonna‘s reductive delivery is really underselling the song’s potential. And don’t even get me started on the redundant Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. rap verses.

Just like it was when ‘4 Minutes’ opened her Hard Candy era, I feel like once the album arrives, nobody’s gonna be checking for ‘Give Me All Your Luvin”. This can’t possibly be the best and most addictive track MDNA has to offer.

But what’s really interesting about my ‘GMAYL’ experience is that, none of that shit about them basic ass vocals seem to matter when I watch the video.

French video director team Megaforce – who had done music videos for Tame Impala and Kid Cudi in the past – delivered a touchdown production that unfolds like a super captivating commercial you can’t take your eyes off. Yes, you’ll notice and rave on about the elaborate choreography and for the die-hard stans, there’s even a healthy dose of Madonna iconography to be spotted – but really, I reckon the biggest deal with ‘GMAYL’ is how fierce and rejuvenated the old girl is looking.

Who’s that girl?

First, there was that impossibly youthful single artwork where the 53-year old music veteran is somehow turning it out like a 19 year-old model in an American Apparel ad.

Now here she comes strutting like a boss in something surprisingly flattering, rocking fingerless gloves covering up them dinosaur claws and softened blonde tresses to accentuate her youthfully plump face. She literally looks about 20 years younger than what she really is. I am thoroughly living for this.

References to Old Testament Madonna.

You really don’t need a PhD in Madgology to pick up the references ‘Give Me All Your Luvin” is throwing to old school Madonna.

The idea of having men fuss about her and treat her like a queen is like a throw back to the ‘Material Girl’ video. The huge gold crucifix she’s rocking recalls a lot of the old religious symbolisms she exploited back in the day that established her as such a controversial pop music figure. And even the Monroe wig fiasco’s easily identifiable as a flashback to the Blonde Ambition era.

Fundonna.

If you don’t take anything away from this ‘GMAYL’ video experience, at least try to understand that this is the first properly fun and frivolous Madonna video we’ve had in years where she looks happy, isn’t actually oversexing her performance, or trying to pummel us with a political statement.

Watch the video for ‘Give Me All Your Luvin”:


 
Footnotes:

Madonna released ‘Give Me All Your Luvin” and opened up pre-orders for the exclusive iTunes edition of MDNA yesterday.

The deluxe edition will feature three additional tracks, one of them will be a remix of ‘Give Me All Your Luvin” featuring Nicki Minaj and LMFAO.

MDNA arrives in Australia on 27 March.

Leak Report: M.I.A. ’27’ (Amy Winehouse Tribute)

Well, that was quick. Some celebrities are only just getting their minders to post a Twitter statement about losing Amy.

Edgy hip hop artiste M.I.A. has just uploaded an Amy Winehouse tribute track titled ’27’ on her Soundcloud account. Now before your jaw hits the floor, please know that M.I.A. actually wrote this track last year before her Vicki Leekx free mix tape came out. She just felt like now was an appropriate time for people to hear the demo.

She tweeted: “i recorded this song B4 vickileekx and never put it out. its a unfinished demo. R.I.P A.M.Y. [sic]” 

The ethereal track hears M.I.A. wax lyrical about a friend struggling with drug and alcohol addiction who died aged 27, with a slight reference to the music legends of the famed 27 Club (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain etc.).

Take a listen to the unfinished demo here:

“All rock stars go to heaven, you said you’ll be dead at 27…”

The lyrics posted on the Soundcloud page reads out like a haunting tale playing in slow motion:

“Your friendship did mean somin, but you left me for nothin. When i left, you befriended a rope and i saw you both were hanging. [sic]”

Footnotes:

Sheesh! Goosebumps. M.I.A. said the song is dedicated to all her friends who died at 27.

Leak Report: M.I.A. ‘Zig Zag’

What’s the situation with M.I.A. these days?

After redeeming herself with the recent Vicki Leekx mixtape, I think it’s quite alright for us to put aside hard feelings we may have about Maya and start giving M.I.A. music a fair go again.

Here just skirting the edges of the interwebs is a track reportedly left off the rapper’s last studio album. ‘Zig Zag’ is what you might accept as hip swishing M.I.A. music with wobbly synths and more importantly, an interpolation of New Kids On The Block‘s classic ‘You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)’.

Take a listen and do a wiggle if it pleases your pelvic region:


 

Feed Limmy verdict: Bounce snap.

Mighty snap = this is a hit.
Bounce snap = instantly likeable.
Lightbulb snap = you will need a moment to get into this.
Nonchalant snap = need I say more?
No snap = please cease and decease.

Footnotes:

Grab a free download of M.I.A.‘s ‘Internet Connection (Flux Pavilion Remix)’.

This mix has kinda taken over the internetz as a beast in its own right, I reckon. The original version was released as the fifth and final single from her Maya album in January.

 

Leak Report: M.I.A. “ViCKi LEEKX” Mixtape

If your eardrums are still oozing pus as some kind of reaction to her last audio assault, don’t flinch – it gets better over here.

Edgy socio-political rapper M.I.A. has dropped a free online EP – ViCKi LEEKX – as a thinly disguised play on the Wikileaks situation and, if you ask me, it’s a good enough return to form after the pretentious fail of her 2010 Maya album.

The mixtape itself is just a 36-minute long hip hop/dub step affair coloured with perforating electronic beats, hacked up vocal samples and loops with a female narrator interjecting every now and then.

It’s said to be a gumbo production featuring contributions from Diplo, SwitchBlaqstarrRuskoDanjahandzSo Japan and more.

There’s the expected commentary on celebrity culture, consumerism and social media whoredom etc. Check on some choice lines:

“What I hate most is bitches who are fame hos, seen ’em at the party posin’ for photos. She don’t think about the world past painting toes…

“Your shoes could feed a village, you should think about that. Facebook? Face facts. You should know that. Blah blah blah blah blah, you should post that.

“You wanna be the next big thing – get thin, do anything, but you can’t sing!

“Ey Marcia, what you do yesterday? What I read on your blog story don’t add up to what you told me.”

Feed Limmy verdict: Mighty snap

Snap legend
Mighty snap = this is a hit.
Bounce snap = instantly likeable.
Lightbulb snap = you will need a moment to get into this.
Nonchalant snap = need I say more?
No snap = please cease and decease.

Footnotes:

Grab your free download of ViCKi LEEKX.

Headlines – 15.08.10

Making headlines in pop music this week…

Britney and Glee fans are putting her team of photoshop mignons out of work with this onslaught of BritBrit Glee posters. But my lovely Gleeks, let’s be honest here for a minute.

Although we’re excited to have an episode dedicated to Ms Spears’ iconic pop tunes, the real reason why anybody’s tuning in is to see the family of rodents living in BritBrit‘s raggedy old weave make their television debut. The Britney/Brittany episode will air on 28 September. Get your TiVo ready.

Lady Gaga won’t reveal which producers she has worked with on her upcoming album in fear that it would compromise the originality of her sound. “As soon as I tell, everyone starts working with them,” she explains to i-D magazine. “All I can say is nobody knows who they are. They’re all new.” Smart move. The last thing Mother Monster needs now is for another RedOne to whore her sound out.

British pop demi-god Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Armin Van Buuren‘s new single ‘Not Giving Up On Love’ will be out in Australia on Friday. Given that Universal Music Australia barely shrugged at Sophie’s last single ‘Bittersweet’, one is practically giddy with delight to find that we’re sharing this release with our friends in the UK.

The oracle that is, Auspop, reports that an independent dance music label – Xelon Entertainment – is overseeing this release, already industriously servicing it to local radio. Sophie announced on Twitter yesterday that she will be touring the UK in December, making it her first solo tour since 2003.

M.I.A. finally has a video to show for her new single: ‘XXXO’. Director Hype Williams (the man behind Beyonce‘s ‘Video Phone’ and Christina Aguilera‘s ‘Not Myself Tonight’ videos) has fulfilled the brief by stylising internet motifs, made popular in the Maya album art, with kitsch Middle Eastern designs. Think: gif animations with Arabic calligraphy and roses.

Katy Perry slammed her record label for trying to stop her from releasing a track with “cock” in the lyrics. The pop singer, who’s no stranger to making conservative folks blush, said Capitol Records was concerned about the genitalia reference in her forthcoming album track: ‘Peacock’. Please. Who’s afraid of a little cock? Need we remind them that this is the same woman who made them a fortune with a song glamourising faux-lesbianism?

American electro pop artist Mike Posner will drop his debut album 31 Minutes To Take Off here on Friday. His breakthrough single ‘Cooler Than Me’ has yet to make an impact in Australia but our friends in the States can already look forward to his next single, ‘Please Don’t Go’.

Serial hit producers – Benny Blanco, Greg Kurstin and The Smeezingtons (the guys behind Sugababes‘ ‘Get Sexy’) – have been enlisted. Will the Aussies lap this up?

Chart Feed – 26.07.10

I predict a riot of gays burning shit up after our goddess Kylie failed to reach #1 on the album charts this week. Despite her extensively-covered homecoming tour, Aphrodite remains at #2, unable to dislodge Eminem from the top spot.

You’ve seen the mouth-frothing state these queens work themselves into at Kylie‘s TV studio performances. Perhaps their passion is best channeled into door-knocking and cold calling homes who are yet to receive their Aphrodite Experience (TM)?

Florence + The Machines has finally scored themselves a Top 10 album in Australia. Lungs edged up to #8 this week, no doubt thanks to local radio’s pick up of the year-old single: ‘Rabbit Heart’. Now treat yourselves to this surprisingly decent Radio 1 Live Lounge cover by Sugababes.

M.I.A.‘s catheter bag of noise pollution Maya plummets from #21 to #43 in Australia this week. I see the record company has released a deluxe edition package with a holographic cover. That’s nice. If only she had invested just as much care factor into making the album.

Little Monsters have seen this coming from the beginning but Universal Music Australia had validated our moistest wet dreams by confirming ‘Dance In The Dark’ as Lady Gaga‘s fourth single here. The oracle that is Auspop dropped the news last week and a fan has already tried to get some Wiki-verification on this.

Apparently, since  Mother Monster’s official website has yet to make an announcement, the Wikipedia gatekeepers aren’t putting up any details. Just take pride in knowing Australian radio’s finally going to be ahead of the crowd with something.

The scruffy Michael Paynter sees his new single ‘Love The Fall’ debut at #33 in Australia this week despite being the #1 selling CD single in the country. The music video features Jess and Lisa (The Veronicas) play, what one can only imagine to be, his angel and demon.

Professor Green‘s debut album Alive Till I’m Dead comes in at #2 in the UK this week, making it an absolute hip hop top three with Eminem‘s Recovery on top and Plan B‘s The Defamation of Strickland Banks at #3. Elsewhere, Sheryl Crow‘s 100 Miles From Memphis debuts at #34.

Usher and Pitbull‘s new single ‘DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love’ debuts at #19 in the US, making it the highest new entry there this week. Is Pitbull everyone’s feature bitch of the year? The cameo just keeps going, from Jennifer Lopez – sorry, LoLa – to Enrique and Alexandra Burke. He is the Flo Rida of 2010.

Monica‘s saccharine new track ‘Love All Over Me’ debuts at #94 this week in the States, not far off from Fantasia‘s comeback single ‘Bittersweet’ which sits at #92. While I love me some Fanny, I must say, these lightweight R&B ballads are doing her no justice. Wake me when she reverts to her signature vocal cord-ripping soul.

Feed Limmy’s Top 20 Most Played:

#1 Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Not Giving Up (Acoustic Live)*
#2 davidlim – Into You*
#3 Wonder Girls – Nobody (Jason Nevins Remix)
#5 Anatasia – Absolutely Positively
#6 Kelly Rowland – Commander (Acoustic Live)
#7 Robyn – Hang With Me (Single Version)*
#8 Ace of Base – All For You*
#9 Mark Sholtez – All Four Seasons*
#10 Mark Sholtez – This Perfect Day*
#11 Mark Sholtez – A Thousand Lies*
#12 Mark Sholtez – No Kind of Love*
#13 Mark Sholtez – Little Tings*
#14 Mini Viva – One Touch (Wideboys Edit)*
#15 Robyn – Hang With Me (Acoustic)
#16 Sheryl Crow – Sign Your Name
#17 Kelis – Brave (Acoustic Live)*
#18 Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Getting Away With It (Acoustic Live)
#19 Kelis – Song For The Baby
#20 Kylie Minogue – Mighty Rivers
* = Added to playlist this week.