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Did You Watch Kanye West's VH1 Storytellers Tonight?

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Did you watch VH1's Storytellers with Kanye West tonight? I did. And I thought it was very well put together. Amazing stage and lighting concept. Stark, sleek and very shiny. The set was conceived by Es Devlin and Martin Philips. Most recently, Devlin designed the show for the Pet Shop Boys at the BRIT Awards, and Philips is mostly known for his work with Daft Punk and his design of the LCD pyramid.

Devlin and Philips most definitely added a very entertaining dimension to Kanye's show. The emcee performed some of his biggest hits, including "Amazing," "Flashing Lights," "Stronger," Hearthless," "Say You Will" and "Robocop." In between songs he told stories about his songs with a little rant here and there.

Some quotes that I caught tonight.

"A lot of the things you learn are wrong, don't be an asshole too long."

"If a rich man would run into a poor man, what would they learn?"

"If a black man that came from Chicago and was taught to stand far away from gay people because you don't want to be accused of being gay. [What would happen if he'd run into a gay man] What's the talk? What would he learn, what would I learn? I learned that people in Chicago were wrong and I been an asshole all along."

"God chose me. He made a path for me (. . .) I am God's vessel."

"My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live."

Somebody really should start a blog with Kanye quotes. Whatever he rants, raves and hollers is sometimes genius, sometimes insane, but always entertaining. (And big kudos for Kanye for bringing up the gay topic, which still remains a big taboo in hip hop.)

February 28, 2009 in Kanye West | Permalink | Comments (11)

Free Download: Super 700 "Someone Stole My Car"

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Time's for something a little different. Check out a totally guilt-free download of "Someone Stole My Car" by Berlin indie rockers Super 2007. The song is taken from their new album "Lovebites" that is available in U.S. download stores now.

"Someone Stole My Car" is a beautifully crafted, unconventional pop tune that invokes memories of the lush, organic qualities of forward-thinking bands like Goldfrapp and M83. A press release describes the magical meaning of "700" in the band's name:

"The number 700 is a sacred number. The hidden temple has 700 entries, there are 700 sins, 700 famous mountains and the legend of the 700 spices of Alu Ben-Grachier and then there is the “Super 700”. 7 musicians female and male (discounting future ballet ensembles and symphony orchestras), 7 very special talents, 7 maniacs, 7 fine tuned guardians of good taste (. . .) Super 700 are wild and smart, gorgeous and disheveled, progressive and totally focused, very normal and extremely cool. Only the best can be heroes."

And there you have it. The songs for "Lovebites" were written by Ibadet and Bassplayer Michael early 2008 in France. The album was produced by Irishman Rob Kirwan (U2, Depeche Mode) and recorded in the Planet Rock studios in Berlin. Download the track after the jump.

Download Super 700 "Someone Stole My Car"

February 28, 2009 in MP3 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Janelle Monae Ready to "Pop Like A Firecracker" with No Doubt

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Janelle Monae reveals a little more about her upcoming summer tour with Gwen Stefani and the rest of No Doubt on her Wondaland Arts Society blog.

"I have been buried deep in Wondaland, finishing Suites II & III! I have also been skydiving, learning to play chess, and swimming in the Black Seal. I have been SO inspired and full of new ideas that I needed to purge them all out! I must say that I am overwhelmed and highly excited about the new tunes! Can't wait to share the new art with you! It takes me to so many places.:)

As well, I will be on tour with No Doubt this Summer! I have always been a big No Doubt supporter, so I am thankful that I was asked to play alongside such an amazing band! Really cool artists like Bedouin Sound Clash, The Sounds, and Paramore will also be on the tour! Can't wait to meet them all!:) The Monáe's and I will be playing new tunes! Can't wait to create magic and pop like a jumping firecracker!

Read Janelle's entire message to fans here.

February 27, 2009 in Janelle Monae | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hot New Talent Alert: Delphic

Arjanwrites_delphic

Delphic is a brand-new, crunchy electro trio consisting of Richard Boardman, Matthew Cocksedge and James Cook from Manchester, England. The three met last year and bonded over their passion for everything dance and electronic. The group likes to describe their music as a spontaneous brew of electronic music played by a live band.

"They make their music on laptops before figuring out how to play it live, throwing guitars, bass and drums over the electronics to result in their unique sound, then take to the stage and stitch their songs together into one continuous euphoric DJ set-like onslaught."

Watch the video for their debut single, "Counterpoint" after the jump, It's a propulsive, emo-filled electro stomper that incorporates elements reminiscent of British nu-ravers the Klaxons with the '80s sensibilities of New Order. The track was produced by Berlin based producer/remixer Ewan Pearson who is soon to start work in Berlin with the band on their debut album, due for release later this year. Delphic is currently touring with Bloc Party in Europe.

February 27, 2009 in Hot New Pop Alert | Permalink | Comments (1)

Guest Review: Kelly Clarkson "All I Ever Wanted"

Arjanwrites_kelly_newalbum

ArjanWrites.com reader Will W. had a chance to preview Kelly Clarkson's much-anticipated new album "All I Ever Wanted" and wrote up a glowing review. Read it after the jump. (Thanks for sharing, Will!)

“I've sold more than 15 million records worldwide, and still nobody listens to what I have to say. I couldn't give a crap about being a star. I've always just wanted to sing and write.” (Kelly Clarkson, 2007).

After going from the massive success of “Breakaway” to breakdown in her 2007 effort “My December”, Kelly Clarkson’s creative feud with her label RCA Records’ former Chairman Clive Davis mid 2007, is well-documented.  The label wanted to duplicate previous Clarkson hits, while Clarkson herself wanted full creative control over her work.  The feud finally came to an end with Clarkson having issued the following statement on her website: “I really regret how this has turned out and I apologize to those whom I have done disservice.”  Clearly, she does really care about being a star after all.

Clarkson cancelled her “My December Tour” and took a brief hiatus and got herself into a better place mentally after a deeply-affecting break-up.  She is once again in fighting form to reclaim her title as America’s new Queen of Pop-Rock, although we’re sure both P!nk and Katy Perry might have something different to say about the matter.  Current single “My Life Would Suck Without You” holds the distinction of making the largest jump ever to #1 in Billboard Hot 100 Chart history, selling a blistering 815,000 digital copies to-date.  If this doesn’t qualify as a victorious comeback, we don’t know what does.

“All I Ever Wanted” is Clarkson’s fourth studio album and it delivers; maybe even exceeding expectations.  The album hits hard with a six-fold smackdown beginning with her latest #1 hit, followed by rumoured second single “I Do Not Hook Up”, penned by Katy Perry and new American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi.  The track recalls Heart at their prime, but with current sensibilities.  “Cry” and “Already Gone” are beautiful power-ballads with country leanings, a similar recipe shared by Avril Lavigne.  What makes Clarkson stand out however, is that she executes these self-composed tracks (two out of six featured on the album) with a level of vocal mastery that reminds us once again why it is that America made Clarkson their first American Idol.  “Don’t Let Me Stop You” is the new P!nk track that we really wanted to hear off her new album, versus current single “Sober”.  Coincidentally, P!nk’s track shares the same title as Clarkson’s misfired second “My December” single.  A tip to aspiring pop songwriters around the world: do not name your next song “Sober”.  It has been done before.

Other highlights include Arjan’s personal favourite “Save You”, boasting its Mozart-inspired bridge and also a second Katy Perry contribution, “Long Shot”. The collection’s ultimate shining moment comes from “Whyyouwannabringmedown”, where Clarkson delivers some serious fierceness.  This banger of a track is one of two covers from obscure band Aranda; the other cover being the album’s title track.  It appears Clarkson is now giving a bit of leeway in terms of accepting “hand-me-downs” from other artists.  Some of us may recall her very public outcry against being told by her label to re-record a Lindsay Lohan track.  

In all, “All I Ever Wanted” is pure pop gold, striking a fine win-win balance.  RCA Records succeeds in getting an album chock-full of summertime hits and yes, foreseeable GRAMMY nominations.  Kelly Clarkson wins creatively in showcasing herself as a bona fide songwriter.  More importantly though, the public wins in getting back all the same “Kelly Clarkson” it ever wanted.

(Make sure to visit's Will's MySpace page if you have chance.)

February 27, 2009 in Guest Blogger, Kelly Clarkson | Permalink | Comments (11)