Tag Archives: taylor swift

Rock Hall on a roll?

Last night’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony gave me hope for the future of the institution. Opening the show with Taylor Swift inducting Carole King was a brilliant choice perfectly timed given the week of Tay-Tay trending. And how great was it to start the evening with King’s classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” the first song performed by an all black all female group (The Shirelles) to reach number one in the United States. King, Tina Turner, and the Go-Go’s were my three top choices among this year’s nominees and all three made it in. The selections covered a diverse array of genres and eras, from a Brill building songwriter and singer to Kraftwerk’s electronic innovations to hip-hop pioneers Jay-Z , LL Cool J and Gil Scott-Heron. There was even a sui generis rock band, the Foo Fighters. I loved the generosity of the evening, the way rappers honored rock and roll and rockers honored hip hop. And I loved the repeated displays of girl power.

But — and given that I am a Rock Hall scold, you knew there had to be a butt — I’m still immensely disappointed that the Rock Hall had to undermine the gender parity of the acts inducted in the main categories by only inducting men in the supplemental categories. I also think it was a programming error to end the evening with Foo Fighters instead of Jay-Z, although I admit it allowed me to go to bed a little bit earlier. I’m not saying that Foo Fighters didn’t deserve to be inducted (they didn’t), but Hova’s speech was so powerful, funny and moving, it was the high note note we should have ended with. Closing with a rap act also would have signaled once and for all that the Rock Hall is inclusive of all the genres that have been birthed since the integration of music in the 1950s and 60s. (Fuck you Gene Simmons.) I understand that the hall probably wanted to close with Paul McCartney, who inducted the Foo Fighters. But Paul seemed more like everyone’s favorite drunk uncle (at least we got that tradition out of the way for Thanksgiving week) than a great finale.

What would have been real fire would have been to end with the usual all-star band playing “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Can you imagine Jay-Z and LL Cool J trading off verses on Gil Scott-Heron’s classic proto rap? With Carole King on piano! Plus the Go-Go’s as backing singers?! Instead we got the usual tired narrative of rock and roll through the lens of white men.

Because, of course, the revolution can not be televised.

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Filed under Rock Hall, Uncategorized

Ladies and Gents, Rock’s Next Great Singer: Screaming Females Shake It Off

Marissa Paternoster has a great rock’n’roll voice. The lead singer of New Jersey garage rock trio Screaming Females (ie the screaming female of the Screaming Females) stretches vowels like they’re taffy, pinching and shaking them with a piercing vibrato. In their cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” for the AV Club Undercover, “off” becomes a bellow and a solo. It’s the opposite of Tay-Tay’s thin reed, though the energy of this version owes a lot to that song’s compositional pop perfection. Plus there’s the way Paternoster holds off on playing her electric guitar until after the silly spoken break — and then rips into it, peeling off a lead as loud and unapologetic as her vocal burrs and the bangs covering half her voice. Yes, she screams with her guitar too.  Think Chrissie Hynde, PJ Harvey, Corin Tucker, Johnny Rotten, Mick Jagger, David Johansen.

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Filed under Queens of Noise, Recommended listening, Recommended viewing

Taylor Swift: Hot Feminist

“So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality.” That’s Taylor Swift speaking, in an interview in Maxim, of all places, where she graces the cover as the top of men’s magazine Hot 100. So, feminism is officially hot. I love it.

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VMAs: Were we Punk'd?

Am I the only one who thinks that whole Kanye/Taylor/Beyonce VMAs stunt was staged? I kept expecting Ashton Kutcher to walk out. It all ended too perfectly, with both ladies in their red cocktail dresses. I know Kanye can be an idiot, but even he knows some bounds. Why was Taylor waiting backstage when Beyonce called for her? It’s like the Eminem/Insult Dog brouhaha last year.

I don’t think the Green Day stage takeover was planned though. The bouncers looked annoyed. Loved it if it wasn’t.

Fave performances: Beyonce, Pink, Muse. Yours?

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Filed under Populism