Though it’s been omnipresent for the last few months, Carly Rae Jepsen’s "Call Me Maybe" just hit the number one spot on the Billboard charts, unseating Gotye’s "Somebody That I Used To Know." All of that is good and fine, if not a little later than expected. But in yet another bit of viral association, there’s an appropriate video to accompany the news: footage of former Secretary of State Colin Powell singing the song’s chorus during a commercial break on CBS This Morning. His cadence is a little speak-singy for my taste, but the intent is completely pure.
If you’ll notice Charlie Rose watching Powell and co-anchor Gayle King pantomine together, he’s at a loss. "I didn’t stop it," he says with a laugh that betrays complete confusion. But when a man who used to have his finger on the man with his finger on the button decides to sing the blues away, you don’t do anything but watch and smile.
It would’ve been a convenient art-imitating-life parallel: the sight of Vincent Kartheiser, who plays the permanently smug Pete Campbell on Mad Men, gaining weight and losing his hair at the same time Mr. Campbell was going through a fictional life crisis. But fawning fans can sigh with relief — in an interview with Vulture, Kartheiser revealed showrunner Matt Weiner simply asked him to reach for the bag of Bugles and the electric razor. "At the beginning of the season, Matt said I was gonna have my hair shaved back and he said, you know, ‘Would you mind putting on some weight?’" he said. "And I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ And I just started eating like a pig."
Not that it should surprise you, as Kartheiser is by all accounts a very thoughtful dude, but he’s got plenty of thoughts on Pete’s story arc and the rest of the cast have progressed in the show’s five seasons. He’s even aware of the cult about his notorious bitch face, noting wryly, "My sneer in real life is probably more subtle and less bitchy." There’s too much to excerpt, so you should just click through and dig in. It’ll help bring you down from the depressing fact that we won’t see more Mad Men until 2013 at the earliest, and find out whether or not Pete’s been hitting the gym in between romantic trysts at his new city apartment.
At a recent set of her Las Vegas residency, Celine Dion did a cover of Adele’s "Rolling in the Deep," which she introduced by saying she "loved Adele." It is admittedly not the hugest genre deviation; it’s not like Dion was singing Danzig. But there’s something goosebumpy about a world-eating balladeer of yesteryear delivering a rousing, picture perfect version on the signature song of today’s world-eating balladeer, because in case you forgot, Dion still has a hell of a voice. After the click, you can listen to a pretty solid recording of the cover.
As Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak writes, "What I love about this is how well someone who is widely considered to be the antithesis of cool can slide back in and completely own something as culturally approved as the contemporary standard that is ‘Rolling in the Deep.’" Because she’s past the point of needing to endear herself to a modern audience through attempted virality; this is just a powerhouse take on a powerhouse song. It’s not like she decided to cover "Sorry for Party Rocking" or anything.
Back in 2007, NME posted an interview with former Smiths singer Morrissey in which he came off as a bit of a racist, doing his best Rush Limbaugh impersonation while talking about how immigration had ruined England. "The gates of England are flooded," he was quoted as saying. "The country’s been thrown away." Yikes! Morrissey claimed the quotes had been fabricated, and took to suing the publication to reclaim his reputation. The libel case goes on this summer, but NME just released a statement apologizing the singer, perhaps to lessen the legal reaming they’re about to receive.
The statement, in full, reads:
In December 2007, we published an article entitled ‘Morrissey: Big mouth strikes again’.
Following this, Morrissey began proceedings for libel against us. His complaint is that we accused him of being a racist off the back of an interview which he gave to the magazine. He believes the article was edited in such a way that made him seem reactionary.
We wish to make clear that we do not believe that he is a racist; we didn’t think we were saying he was and we apologise to Morrissey if he or anyone else misunderstood our piece in that way. We never set out to upset Morrissey and we hope we can both get back to doing what we do best.
Upsetting Morrissey usually leads to a a few new songs; something with a histrionic title like, "NME, NME, Set Me Free" or "Why Must You Be, NME" or "The NME Is Everywhere." So maybe it’s better for everyone that we were spared any further drama, though I suppose there’s still time for the summer trial to bear depressing fruit: "Only I Can Be The Judge Of Me," or something appropriately legal-related.
Pointed finger recipient Lindsay Lohan isn’t known these days for her acting, singing, or basically anything worth writing about in an alumni magazine. But her ability for silently posing in front of a camera has landed her the lead role in First Point, a surf noir created by artist Richard Phillips. As it turns out, the movie’s overwhelming score is composed by Thomas Bangalter, who’s known as one-half of Daft Punk. It’s an unlikely group of collaborators, but as you can see from the trailer, the result seems strangely compelling.
Daft Punk stans will compare the harsh tones in Bangalter’s score to Daft Punk’s work on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, which didn’t sound so much a robot dance party as a funeral. Lindsay Lohan stans, if they exist (Lo-stans?), will just be glad she’s staying out of trouble. It’s got to be better than making a cameo appearance in a made-for-TV Mean Girls 3: Triple Trouble,at least.
As the press release notes, "Phillips and [director Taylor] Steele explore the psychologically charged tension that arises when a sport of individualism is pursued by a celebrity persona stepping in and out of a characterized state. What results is an existential hall of mirrors wherein fractured identity emerges as Lohan assumes a range of emotionally charged characters with varying degrees of similarity to her own pop-culture persona." First Point premieres this week at the Gagosian Gallery.
They’re not the only participants in this partnership brought straight to you from the Internet’s id — Tragik and Blood Diamonds are also a part of this "supergroup," otherwise known as L$D. But this is what a prime piece of post-Internet content looks and sounds like: nasally flows, day-glo colors, kaleidoscopic imagery, and I presume a boatload of drugs. You can watch the video for the catchily titled "Don’t Smoke My Blunt Bitch," which was recorded in under an hour, after the click.
If you’re still confused, you can refer back to our old profile on Grimes and her ethos to get an idea of what might’ve inspired this collaboration. (A guess: the "GIRL GANG" and "GIRL POWER" tags on the video.) Either that, or just let the bloggability wash over you like a detoxifying wave. The zeitgeist continues to approach.
LCD Soundsystem broke up last year, sending scores of middle-aged music fans / aspiring middle-aged music fans into dire straits over the state of things. (For argument’s sake, let’s define “middle-aged” in music fandom as anyone over the age of 22.) A movie called Shut Up and Play the Hits was filmed concordantly with the band’s last show at Madison Square Garden, showing their final days and playing their career in context. On July 18, you’ll be able to watch the movie at a number of theaters across America for a very special one-night-only engagement, along with a roomful of other sad boys and girls. (It’s a winning idea, except for the fact that July 18 is a Wednesday which means it’ll be a real drag going to work the next morning with that blinding hangover.)
According to the press release, Time gave a winning endorsement: “We may never dance again.” Sounds like the guys at Time are a bunch of dorks! Sadly, there are a few states without a screening: Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming. I guess that’s a good / terrible way to decide whether or not to move elsewhere. “Are we cool enough to host the LCD Soundsystem movie? Do I really need to be near more than a theater full of people who can tell me whether ‘Yr City’s A Sucker’ was a B-Side or an A-Side?*” Search your heart, go with your gut, etc. Tickets go on sale on June 8. Click here for a full list of cities where the movie is playing.
*Trick question: As any righteous LCD fan would tell you, “Yr City’s A Sucker” was never released as a single (pushes glasses up nose, falls into abyss of smuggery and self-righteousness).
There’s just one episode left in this season of Game of Thrones, which is a very sad state of affairs for all converted fantasy nerds. That said, interesting news abound! Today, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss provided a partial list of characters who will be showing up in the next season. Season Three will be adapted from the third book, A Storm of Swords, which will be split into two seasons on account of how much exciting stuff happens.
Mance Rayder: We’ve heard about him all season. A former member of the Night’s Watch who became the "King Beyond the Wall," the leader of the Wildlings.
Daario Naharis: A confident and seductive warrior.
Jojen Reed; Meera Reed: A teenage brother and sister duo with special insights.
Edmure Tully: A brash young member of the Tully family.
Ser Brynden Tully (The Blackfish): Catelyn Stark’s uncle.
Lady Selyse Florent: Stannis Baratheon’s wife.
Shireen: Stannis’ daughter.
Olenna Redwyne (The Queen of Thorns): Margaery Tyrell’s sharp-witted grandmother.
Beric Dondarrion: A skilled knight who is the leader of the outlaw group Brotherhood Without Banners.
Thoros of Myr: A red priest who follows the same religion as Melisandre.
Tormund Giantsbane: A Wildling raider.
That is a lot of characters to add, which means keeping up could prove as tricky as killing a White Walker without fire. (Inside jokes for days, haw haw haw.) "It’s important to point out that that we have the largest cast on television right now. We introduced dozens of new characters in season two. If you hurl 300 characters at an audience, the story collapses under the weight of too many faces, too many names, and too many subplots," Benioff told EW. We need to be just as mindful of the audience members who have never read the books as we are of the readers; the series will fail if we only appeal to those who already know the characters. So we try to be parsimonious about how many new roles we introduce to the story and when we introduce them."
Some quick analysis: Jojen and Meera Reed, siblings gifted with some vaguely defined sense of ESP, are prominent characters in the books, but their complete exclusion so far had led many fans to assume they’d been written out. Obviously, being explicitly named by the showrunners means that’s not the case; rather, it means that Benioff and Weiss are taking more and more liberties with molding the text into a better-paced TV show. That makes a lot of sense—as readers can attest, George R.R. Martin’s descriptive prose can sometimes feel overstuffed and procedurally complicated. With Martin as a producer on the show, it says that he at least implicitly approves of their creative process. (If anything, a better show leads to his books being taken much more seriously.)
Also, all of you are going to flip when you see where the Beric Dondarrion story goes. He got a brief shout out at the end of Season One when he was tasked to hunt down Sandor "The Mountain" Clegane, but hasn’t been seen since. Spoiler alert: He’s been up to some spooky, spooky shit. 2013 can’t come fast enough.
Here follows a brief summary of the recent beef between Pusha T and Lil Wayne: Last week, Pusha recorded “Exodus 23:1,” a song that was filled with somewhat subtle digs at Wayne and his Young Money stable. (Subtle as in, you’d have to care in the first place to point them out.) Nonplussed, Wayne responded with “Ghoulish,” filled with outright slams like “Fuck Pusha T,” among others. Today, Pusha went all in by releasing a video for “Exodus,” which shows him cavorting around the hood with a bunch of drug-ingesting ne’er-do-wells. Committing to a video means Pusha’s sticking with this feud, rather than facilitating a one-off diss to get the rap blogs moving at the speed of hype. It doesn’t mean people will be any more likely to buy his album when it drops this summer, but it’s a nice attempt.
Obviously, things can only escalate from here. Wayne will record a video for “Ghoulish,” which will mock the “Exodus” video by replacing all of the neighborhood burnouts with dudes in ghost makeup. Pusha T will record a freestyle over the “A Milli” beat but change the hook to “I’m Silly,” while Wayne will turn Clipse’s “Mr. Me Too” into “Mr. Long Poo.” (Asked to legislate, Weird Al Yankovic will declare a parody tie.) They’ll each record new diss tracks, recording more and more rappers to the cause: Nicki and Drake with Weezy, Meek Mill and Big Sean with Pusha T, 2 Chainz straddling the middle like the crowd-pleading crossover star he is. Eventually, the two will be requested to reconcile by Russell Simmons, who will introduce them at the MTV Video Music Awards to a squealing, euphoric crowd. There, everyone will watch as Wayne and T embrace, then make out with raw, unbridled passion. This summer is going to be fantastic.