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 411mania » Music » Columns

The Music 5 & 1 04.02.12: The Naked Artist Edition
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 04.02.2012

Hello one and all to the 411 Music 5 & 1. I'm your host as always, Jeremy Thomas. Apologies for missing last week, I had some home things to take care of and wasn't able to get to bringing you your weekly dose of Girls and Gossip. But I'm back this week, so let's get to it!

Emmy Rossum faced a mighty Vs foe last time in Jennifer Lopez, but had little trouble with her. After squeaking by Katherine McPhee the week before, Emmy put J-Lo away with ease, winning by a 142 - 72 margin. She's halfway to the Hall of Bang, with only two competitors left to go and our next one is stepping up to the plate now! She's a former cast member of Basketball Wives and a model who has appeared in videos by the likes of The-Dream and Fabolous. She also claimed at the end of last year that she had a sex tape with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. Ladies and gentlemen gather around as Emmy Rossum does battle with the one and only Draya Michele! Who will advance? It's up to you, so get your vote on!

Emmy Rossum Vs Draya Michele


If there are any future participants that you would like to see in Vs, let me know either in the comments section or by email!


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Being a Music Zone, you would think that we have a lot of people who love to talk about music. You would not be wrong. As such, when an album comes out that we have something to say about, we just can't help ourselves. We call that the Review Section…not the most original name, but it gets the point across! Anyway, the review section is a great place to find new music as we cover all sorts of genres and styles, from mainstream artists to lesser known acts. Here's an overview of our latest reviews.

The Magnetic Fields - Love at the Bottom of the Sea (5.1)
"I can't help but feel this entire thing is beginning to get a bit gimmick-y. The electronic sounds on the record are extremely dated and most of the songwriting is overly simple or reliant jokes that aren't that funny. Even for fans of the Magnetic Fields, I've got to think re-exploring their greatest work would be more satisfying." - C.A. Bell

Jean Caffeine - Geckos In The Elevator (8.5)
"If you don't know Jean Caffeine, that's okay. It's something that she probably takes with a certain amount of pride. Nonetheless, based on the quality of her new LP, we'll be doing everything we can to change that. This is what you should be listening to." - C.A. Bell

Danielle Duval - Of The Valley (10.0)
"This is the most enjoyable new record I have heard in five years. I think Duval has succeeded where many failed before her. She has taken an indie sensibility and made it fun. Of The Valley is perfect in every way that matters. This is a must buy." - C.A. Bell

Madonna - MDNA (7.5)
"After the mostly-lackluster Hard Candy and a four-year break from the music business, Madonna returns with an album that, if not as personal as Like a Prayer or as controversially-charged as Erotica, does manage to take elements of those and combine them with the dance floor fun of Confessions on a Dance Floor. The result is an album that won't earn many converts who are against her switch to dance-pop, but reminds us why she does the subgenre better than anyone else in the game." - Jeremy Thomas


After a one-time foray away from 1990s alternative videos, we're right back to it this week with the Presidents of the United States of America. PotUSA came out with a big hit in "Lump" off their 1995 debut album and essentially became two-hit wonders. They've continued making music ever since but have never reached the level of stardom that this one elevated them to, despite some really great songs over the years. But this was their only other hit...folks, I give you "Peaches."


"Nothing anybody does can be as big as Oasis. Not Coldplay, not Kasabian, not the Arctic Monkeys, in this country not U2, not any of them, its as simple as that. It's not only me that lives up to that legacy, everyone else has too. We were the last. We were the greatest. The end."

- Noel puts his ever-humble opinion of his self-worth on display.

You know what time it is, folks...these are the stories that I found worth touching on but didn't quite make the Top Five and thus become little bites of snark as opposed to a full course of it.

Snoop Dogg Making a Reggae Album
Leave it to Snoop Dogg to make this particular genre jump. The Doggystyle rapper is set to make a reggae album with Diplo, who has previously worked with the links of Beyonce and M.I.A.. "It's like Snoop Dogg and Major Lazer together," said Diplo. "It's all reggae and he's singing and he's doing a f---ing awesome job and I never knew it, but he had his heart in every song. ... We're going to get back into the production of it next month, and I'm really proud of that record. It's the first record I've ever executive-produced and his crew is amazing." No word on what inspired Snoop to go the Bob Marley route, but I think I have a guess.

He's a true Rastafarian at heart.

Katy Perry's Friend Implies Russell Brand Is a Cheater
Call it trouble in divorce paradise, I suppose. Despite all the rumors of Katy Perry and Russell Brand having a truly amicable divorce, one of Katy's pals has decided to imply otherwise. Jewelry designer Markus Molinari sent a rather conspicuous message on Twitter this last week when he retweeted a message from someone else in a very pointed direction:

Seeee Russell! RT @JohnSchaech: Cheating is easy, try doing something challenging and be faithful.

I'm taking this one with a grain of salt myself. If it were true and Katy didn't say anything about it, she would likely be desperate to keep it quiet and she obviously didn't shut Markus up, which makes me think that Markus is talking out his ass, making a joke or even talking about a different Russell. Besides, Russell may be iffy on the comedian front but I don't know anyone claiming he's dump enough to cheat on someone looking like Katy. He's not Jesse James, after all.

To be fair, I don't even know if Jesse would cheat on this.

The Rich Can't Even Get Mortagages These Days
You know that the housing economy is still hurting when even Justin Bieber can't get a mortgage. Justin attempted to pick up a 9,000 square foot estate in Calabasas, California and made an offer, but as it turns out he can't get a mortgage. The home, which is in an area just twenty miles outside of Hollywood, had an asking price of $7 million and the Biebs made an offer only to be denied by the mortgage company who appraised the home over a million below the asking price. Justin could of course buy the home outright but his business manager wants him to finance it as it "makes good financial sense." Personally I would feel better if they denied him the mortgage because 18-year-old multi-millionaires shouldn't have mortgages, but whatever works I suppose.

He'd better hope none of the doors are sliding glass ones.

Whitney Houston's Mother Claims Bobby Brown's DUI Proves He's A Bad Influence
On the heels of the news last week that Bobby Brown was arrested for driving under the influence, Whitney Houston's mom decided to use said incident to take a shot at her ex-son-in-law. Cissy Houston felt that this was a perfect example of why Bobby is a terrible influence and wants to use it as a reason to keep the New Edition singer away from his daughter Bobbi Kristina. Personally I would say that years of crack cocaine use, being arrested for simulating sex acts with random female audience members at his shows, a high-speed chase under the influence in 1996 that resulted in his pissing in a squad car and domestic violence arrests were reason enough, but if a new DUI is what's needed to push him over the top then tie one more on, Bobby.

It's his prerogative...to be a waste of space.

Actually, That's a Catchy Name
Let no one try to claim that the original members of Guns N' Roses are playing nice just because they're getting together for the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. Former drummer Steven Adler recently bemoaned the fact that the band won't be playing at the Hall of Fame ceremony and blamed good ol' Axl Rose for it, while taking a shot at the new GnR lineup at the same time. "He's my brother," said Adler. "I know he's up for it. He wants to do it. I want to do it. just from what I hear, Izzy [Stradlin, guitarist]'s not gonna show up and Axl [Rose] will probably want to play with his hack band – his band of hacks. 'Axl and His Hacks' – it shouldn't even be Guns N' Roses. He's just driving that name into the freakin' ground." You know, if he's trying to motivate Axl, I don't think this is the best way to do it. The guy's likely to change the name to "The Greatest Guns N' Roses Lineup Ever" just to spite Steven. Those guys are mature like that.

Wait, when did Axl Rose turn into Eric Stoltz? I missed that memo.

It's time to crank this mother up to 11 as we take a look at some random stuff from the last week and one smoking hottie.


Rihanna is a True (Naked) Artist

Rihanna has always been an artist who didn't seem afraid of heating things up for the sake of her career. From her S&M and Disturbia videos to the lyrical content of her latest album, the Barabdosian pop star clearly knows that sex sells and hasn't shied away from harnessing that side of her for her music. That very image she presents was in the news this month in a couple of different ways. The first came when British singer/actor Will Young decided to make a headline, calling her own for presenting a bad role model for young women.

I don't think Rihanna is a massively great role model for women, her lyrics aren't empowering," the inaugural Pop Idol winner told OMG.com. "She's a brilliant pop star and recording artist but her lyrics are not empowering - young girls have to listen to those lyrics." He went on to add, "I saw Rihanna kissing a girl in one of her videos ['S&M'] and I thought who is this for? If you're going to do it just go the whole way like Madonna did and have sex on a bed. Women in a patriarchal society should be empowering and owning their bodies, I don't think Rihanna is. I feel quite strongly about this."

Rihanna responded to Young's criticism this week, saying, "Music is art for me. I really just want to make a great song, so when I make a video it has to stay true to the song. I never want to compromise my art. It may offend some people, it might not be perfect for society's standards, but it's OK for me."

I don't know what this has to do with artistic endeavors,
But it's okay by me.

Now the above joke notwithstanding, I am a full supporter in someone making something that they truly feel is art, and I would consider it brave for someone to be controversial in order to make an artistic statement. Rihanna's "Man Down" video is an artistic video that remains true to the song. But with all due respect to Rihanna, let's not pretend that her dips into sex-crazed lyrics is all about being artsy. There is nothing artsy about the lyrics "Suck my cockiness/lick my persuasion" as they play out on "Cockiness (Love It)." Vast swathsTalk That Talk take unfortunate and embarassing dips into sexed-up nonsense and we all know that it has nothing to do with being artistic; it has to do with trying to use sex to sell records. If she wanted to make a truly artistic album than she wouldn't have rushed Talk out barely more than a year after the last one was released; she would have taken her time and gotten it right.

In other Rihanna image news, Miss Umbrella-ella-ella said that helped gain confidence in herself by going naked. Rihanna told Women's Fitness that it was a way for her to get past her self-esteem issues. The more I got naked, the more comfortable I felt," she said. "I just had to face my fear. You always find something wrong, you always find something you're uncomfortable with, and one thing turns into another and you get embarrassed and self-conscious about it. After a while, it was like, 'What's the worst that can happen?' I just started being a little more daring with it. It was just knowing my body … is what it is under clothes or outside of clothes. My way probably won't work for most people."

Good for Rihanna that she recognized that she had issues about her body image and was willing to share that. Personally I think it's kind of silly that she did; despite the comments from certain people, she's far from unattractive but it's certainly empowering for woman to know that someone popularly recognized as a sex symbol had issues with her own appearance. That being said, I'm sure that many of us can agree that if she needs to get more comfortable in such a manner, we'd be happy to let her do it.

Practice makes perfect.

This Just In: Artists Should Do Drugs*

Sometimes, you just have to wonder what certain people are thinking when they open their mouths. Take Paul Weller, for example. The British singer-songwriter recently suggested that doing drugs can be good for your creative side. Weller told Q Magazine in a recent interview that drug use has been good for the careers of several artists.

"Some people are happy just to sit around getting shitted, but then there are other people like Ray Charles and Billie Holliday who had raging habits and still worked," he said. "So drugs can be creative, I've seen that plenty of times. But I've also seen them crush creativity too. I saw that plenty of times in the 90s." Of course, by those 1990s times he was referring to the likes of Ric Grech, Andrew Wood, Brent Mydland, Steve Clark, Johnny Thunders, David Ruffin, Stefanie Sargent, GG Allin, Kristen Pfaff, Bob Stinson, Rory Gallagher, Dwayne Goettel, Shannon Hoon, Bradley Nowell, Jonathan Melvoin, John Panozzo, Townes Van Zandt, Nicholas Traina and Kurt Cobain, among many others.

To be fair, besides just the second half of the above comment, Weller took a further step away from the idea by pointing out that he himself doesn't do drugs due to bad experiences, describing ecstasy as too trippy for me and saying he "had the horrors and everything" after he did acid at 16. He also noted that he doesn't drink because he's an alcoholic.

Mr. Mackey has a message for you. I'm sure you can guess what it is.

Now listen, I'm not going to suggest that doing drugs is a sin or that you should be locked up if you do so. That's not my place. And certainly what Weller suggests is true, and even comes with a big of a caveat on his part. I still think he should have thought a little clearer before letting this little soundbite fly. Why is that? Simple; look at how it was reported. Across the internet and in any publication where it was reported, the headline read: "Paul Weller Says Drugs Can Make Musicians Creative" or some variation of that. This is what happens in the age of headlines, and I don't even blame the media. There isn't room in a headline to say "Paul Weller Says Drugs Can Make Musicians Creative But That It's Dangerous." Weller's been in the public eye for forty years now; he knows how this works.

Of course, I'm not trying to suggest that anyone dumb enough to take drugs because a rock star told them to has anyone to blame but themselves. We are masters of our own choices, after all. But one would at least hope Weller could realize that saying "Hey, look what happened when Ray Charles did drugs" without pointing out that he nearly died more than once from his drug use and it was responsible for some serious creative droughts as well is not the wisest thing to do. And let's be frank...drug use has made some artists more creative, certainly. But not everyone. Next time Paul, think before speaking.

Proof positive: drugs don't necessarily make you a better rock star.

* This is a joke. Do not take drugs just because I told you to. That would be extraordinarily stupid.

Slash and Iggy Pop Don't Have Become Old Men and Don't Like Your Music

At least, they do if your music is newer music. Both rock icons spoke out against current trends in music over the last week, with varying degrees of silliness. First came Iggy Pop, who is the ambassador of Record Store Day 2012. So of course in support of a day that honors music he decided to trash the current music scene, equating it to Albertson's brand soda (insert your own local-appropriate grocery store insead, if you prefer).

"I think there are some ages, like the one we're living in, when the game is kind of rigged towards products that contain music – sort of like those cheap drinks you get in a bad supermarket where it says, 'Contains 10% juice.' said Iggy. "There's a lot of stuff out there with a bit of music to it, and I think that's OK, but it reminds me of how bad it was to turn on American Bandstand in the '50s and see all the endless, gutless, dickless imitations of Elvis that the American industry decided to push on the kids."

I'm familiar with Classic Elvis and Fat Elvis, but Dickless Elvis is a new one to me.

I'm a fan of Iggy Pop's. Obviously he was incredibly important to the rock scene and gave rise to many of the hallmarks of the punk rock movement, and while punk isn't my absolute favorite genre I have a lot of respect for what it did for rock and I do enjoy it. That being said, today's music scene isn't much more commercial than it has been for the last thirty years or so. Record labels were just as behind the times then and pop music was just as manufactured. To pretend otherwise doesn't make a lot of sense and I have to wonder if he's bitter or just out of touch.

Speaking of out of touch, let's take a look at Slash's comments. Again, Slash is an artist I'm a fan of, probably even more so than Iggy. But at least Iggy had a valid complaint. Slash, on the other hand, decided to declare that the magic has gone out of music because of--you guessed it--the internet. "There was a certain excitement that came with the release of a new record, and a lot of it was just the package itself, and it was something that you milled over while you were listening to the record," he said. "It was sad to see them sort of get phased out but, you know, with CDs at least you still had the booklets, but now, when you look at the digital situation, you're like 'There's nothing in it', you know. It's not even tangible any more. It's convenient, but you lose the magic of it."

"Plus you gotta figger out how ta get yer AOL going, right?"

Now, let's shoot the validity of that statement right in the junk by pointing out that many albums you can buy off of iTunes come with digital booklets, and you can either view them on the computer by listening or, if you're really wanting something physical, print it out. Even if they don't come with digital booklets, you can always go to the artist's website and view more information than is contained in a simple booklet. Putting that aside, there is nothing magical about CD packaging. There's that stupid adhesive crap that gets stuck on your finger as you try to peel it off, the shrinkwrap that is a pain in the ass to open up, cases where the CD holding teeth crack off at the slightest touch and so on. And let's not forget the cost of all that "magical packaging." I will happily pay $9.99 for a digital copy and forego shelling out the extra $6 - 7 for all that goodies. If there isn't enough magic in the music, it's probably not worth buying in the first place.

Piers Morgan Hates Madonna...And No One Cares

While I admit that I do enjoy Madonna's new album MDNA, what makes me happiest about its release is that the Madonna press is going to die down. I have no ill will toward the Material Girl, but let's face it: every time she pops up in the news, controversy follows. What's more, these days 75% of the controversy isn't even instigated by her. Take Piers Morgan, for example. Morgan has had a beef with Madonna for quite some time, for reasons known only to him. This past week Morgan decided to welcome Madonna to Twitter by saying that she was "still banned from my show", reiterating a statement he made when he started his talk show on CNN a year or two back. In a simple but brilliant response, Madonna's manager replied with a copy of a letter from the producer of Morgan's UK chat show inviting Madonna onto the show.

Of course we weren't done there. We'd like to be, but we aren't. Morgan fired back with a backpedaling explanation, saying that she had "only been banned from my CNN show, not my UK show, which sent that invite. But I'm now banning her from that too." For her part, Madonna says that Piers "isn't even on [her] radar" and has called him "delusional" for trying to feud with her.

You know, I get that Madonna has a lot of people who can't stand her. She's a pop star who made her reputation on being controversial, and she's stayed in what is commonly viewed as a young person's game despite the fact that she's in her fifties. She's still got it as a singer, but that's not even my point here. My point is that I think she's pretty clearly in the right here, and Morgan is coming off rediculously poorly by trying to stir up a fight. His CNN show hasn't drawn the ratings he or the network hoped and it wasn't until the show got off to a weak start that he originally banned her. Then there was no comment until this month, over year after Piers Morgan Tonight debuted. Someone's clearly trying to ride the Queen of Pop's publicity train and is clearly finding it a rough ride.

Speaking of people who look as if they've had a rough ride...

New Music Monday

This is the home of some of the best new music that will soon be available, where you get to hear the hottest new tracks and find out about forthcoming albums and videos as well.

Remember Daniel Powter? He's the guy who did that song "Bad Day" back in 2006. Powter has continued making music and his latest single, "Cupid," was released last week. Check it out below:

Morning Parade is not a band you may be entirely familiar with, but I'm thinking you will be soon. The British indie pop-rock band has a sound that's perfect for radio these days, and I don't say that as a bad thing necessarily. Check out their newest song "Headlights" below:

Now it's time for the reason you're here, the "&1 Model of the Week."

Closeing us out this week is another member of the hip hop model club. She's appeared in several music videos and certainly knows how to leave a memorable impression. Ladies and gentlemen, your "& 1" Model of the Week is Miss Kristal Solis!

You can go and read some more greatness on 411.

Let's start by giving a shout-out to the rest of the 5&1 Illuminati! There's Steve Gustafson, who brings you the hottest in movie tidbits and girls with the original Hollywood 5 & 1; Greg DeMarco, who brings you the hottest chicks who could kick my ass in the Wrestling 5 & 1 and Stewart Lange, who has brought the 5&1 to the Octagon with the MMA 5 & 1! The 5 & 1 Illuminati is poised for true domination now!

When you are done checking out how the other zones roll, go read all the goodness in the rest of the Music Zone.

The Top 8 Murder Songs - Wyatt E.
The Top 5 1980s Songs - Jeremy Thomas
Major Bands, Minor Labels - Nick Krenn
The Savage Animal - Mikey MiGo
The Hip Hop Herald – Bill Wannop
The Top Ten Songs About Cities - Christopher Bell
Ask 411 Music - Ron Martin
Buy or Sell - Jeremy Thomas
The Love/Hate News Report - John Downey
The Low End Theory - Tony Acero
Fact or Fiction - Joseph Lee
Jam Central Station - Jeff Modzelewski
Music's 3R's - Nick Krenn

Make sure to click the Facebook and Twitter "Like" links, as well as the new Google +1 option, and support 411mania, your home for the best in pop culture entertainment news.

And that's all, folks! Before I depart, a quick announcement...the 5&1 will be going on a hiatus. The great Wyatt E. is stepping away from his 411 duties for the foreseeable future and I will be taking over the Music Zone 8-Ball, which unfortunately means that until a new 5&1-master is found, we'll be on pause here. But everyone make sure you check out Wyatt's last edition of the 8-Ball tonight and joing me next week! Anyway, I'm out...have a good Monday and come back for more 411 tomorrow!


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