Did Taylor Swift Rip Off Spike Jonze?

It’s no surprise that Taylor Swift took a different, “aw shucks” approach to her new “Delicate” video given that her team drastically miscalculated the direction for ‘Reputation.’ Though the record amassed huge sales, it did not enter the same zeitgeist as her previous releases, and it might have even further damaged her many PR problems. Plus, the songs were not good. I hate to be so blunt, but those are the facts. A good song could have fought her way out of the paper bag she built for herself, but that’s simply not the case.

It’s been brought to my attention via the sleuthing social-media-sphere that Swift’s video overtly overlaps with a Kenzo perfume ad directed by Spike Jonze. I watched both, and there are clear similarities. Of more interest than the possible rip-off; however, is the revelation of what the “Delicate” video was supposed to be. Upon first viewing, it seemed like unintentionally poor dance moves and hard-to-view funny faces. It wasn’t over-the-top enough to emphasize it’s awkward-girl tone so it only served to make me uncomfortable. Had the production team taken it up to the same notch as the Kenzo video, perhaps I would not have been as confused. The other glaring error here is that the video does NOT represent the song’s actual meaning. This is a song about liking a boy in the first, delicate stages of the relationship when we fear we might mess it up or that our reputation could influence his feelings. It’s not about being the awkward outsider at a party.

Now for the larger question. Does it matter that Swift’s video is may be a rip-off? It didn’t seem to matter when Beyonce ripped off Bob Fosse’s choreography for “Single Ladies,” and it also didn’t seem to matter when Beyonce lifted the choreography of Italian singer Lorella Cuccarini’s live performance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards while performing “Run the World (Girls).” But it matters for Taylor Swift. Why? Because Swift has no PR capital left to spare. Her nice-girl demeanor was destroyed when Kim Kardashian exposed her lies about the Kanye West feud, and it certainly didn’t help when she ran off with Tom Hiddleston on the heels of a messy breakup from Calvin Harris. Though men often get the pass women do not with these types of trysts, there was too much existing damage to salvage such a choice. Her record could have resurrected her image with contrition, but her team advised her to take the opposite, “Look What You Made Me Do” direction, which was a massive misstep. Watch both below and decide for yourself.

Dancing With the Stars Premiere — Best Performances

There’s long-standing complaints about Dancing With the Stars casting contestants with previous dance experience, but strong performances lead to strong ratings, and ABC’s method proved positive with 11.9 million viewers. Plus, when you have multiple contestants with high-level talent, it becomes a bit of an Olympic event. And speaking of the Olympics, I knew Simone Biles would be good, but I didn’t know she’d be THAT good. As for Heather Morris, who was once Beyonce’s backup dancer, she has no ballroom experience, and it showed. In fact, I don’t think the decision to appear on this show was a good move for her career. If your skill set is dancing and you appear on a show marketed to beginners, you’re forced to demean your own talent, which is not good for your future. It’s like a sushi chef appearing on a BBQ cooking competition. No one will eat your sushi if you can’t cook a burger. Watch some of the key performances below.

Simone Biles & Sasha Farber

Rashad & Emma

Nancy Kerrigan & Arten Chigvintsev

Heather & Maks

David & Lindsay

Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko

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The 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards — A Complete Recap


To quote a personal friend about this year’s Grammys, “There’s so much amazing music out there. The Grammys are idiotic in general. Imagine how terrible the Oscars would be if it was always the two highest grossing films battling for best film.” It’s no secret that this party is run by old, white men, and the performances and awards reflect that lack of imagination. After all, if you’re going to a music show, you better burn the house down, and that’s not what happened. Read below for my individual critiques.

STURGILL SIMPSON

As the only artist nominated for Album of the Year who actually wrote his entire album ALONE, Sturgill Simpson deserves special recognition. The country music outlaw also gets special cred for breaking into a category dominated by the typical pop-music stars, including Beyonce, Drake, Justin Bieber, and Adele. He has never compromised his integrity for fame, and he therefore deserved that Best Country Album win for ‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.’ Too bad they didn’t televise his award.

KATY PERRY

For a pop star that does not dance, Katy Perry’s capability will always be behind her cohorts,which makes her performance at the Grammys surprisingly good. This is the best she’s looked and she seemed extremely comfortable on stage. As for her new song, “Chained to the Rhythm,” it’s repetitive, unoriginal, and moderately grating, and the message is a tad ridiculous. We need to stand for something, remove our rose-colored glasses, but ALSO party? I’m confused. Watch below.

BEYONCE

I get that she’s pregnant, but Beyonce’s seated deity-style performance felt more like a painting than an actual song. Did she take that “Queen Bey” thing literally? This is a MUSIC show, and every move she’s made since announcing her pregnancy feels indulgent (see pregnancy pics), especially given the current state of affairs. Watch below.

ADELE

After an off-key start that is being attributed to the same technical difficulties that marred other performers that night, Adele proved her prowess by stopping the tune and asking for a do-over. She solidified her authenticity, stayed true to her claim that she would never again relive last year’s debacle, and showed Mariah a thing or two about how to climb out of a sticky on-stage mess. Plus, she swore, which is always fun. Having said all that, I HATED the arrangement of George Michael’s “Fastlove.” It’s so boring I almost fell asleep. Watch below.

METALLICA + LADY GAGA

I’m going to come down hard on Gaga for her handling of the technical problems during her performance with Metallica. When the lead singer’s mic went out, she should have immediately walked over to him with her own mic. She spent three verses on her side of the stage, until James Hetfield finally walked over to share her mic. At that point, she still hogged it, and she did not even tilt it in his direction. To quote my friend, “If you’re not giving light, you’re taking it.” As for the Grammys, there’s no excuse that mic went out. I understand a technical difficulty here and there, but there were FAR TOO MANY. Furthermore, I resent Gaga’s presence at all. Metallica does’t need an assist from a pop-star, and adding glitter to a rock G-D to keep people entertained is an insulting use of their stage time. I love Gaga, but I don’t need a side of shiny with my grits.

The Good Fight on CBS: Poster, Payment, and Streaming Issues

There’s no one more excited for the return of a high quality law show than myself. but CBS’ spinoff has a few snags worth mentioning. For starters, the poster. I realize most of these network-related advertorial assignments are farmed out, and I have zero idea who executed this objectionable piece of art, but someone deserves a talking to. The three leading ladies have a come-fuck-me face, along with the words “Get Nasty,” as a tagline. I need not suggest the sexual undertone of “Get Nasty,” and though perhaps it could get a pass due to the #NastyWoman movement a la Hillary Clinton, that is likely an unintentional overlap. These are strong, powerful women, and they deserve more. The trailer below is also peppered with excess sex, and though I would not describe myself as a prude, I certainly would not have led with the lascivious. It’s low-hanging fruit (no pun intended — but speaking of fruit — LET THE MEN GET NAKED FOR ONCE).

My next complaint? What on earth is CBS All Access, do I have to pay for it, and WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR IT? I currently subscribe to Tidal, HBO Go, Xfinity, Amazing Prime Streaming, Sirius, and more. CBS seriously expects me to add to that list, FOR ONE SHOW? If they aren’t aggregating content to offer more than a basic subscription to their only enticing creative endeavor, I will not pay extra, even if it is $5.99 per month. Old CBS programming is not enough. Something has got to give, and it’s not going to be Howard Stern, Beyonce’s Lemonade, or old episodes of Sex and the City. Sorry, CBS. Furthermore, if I were giving advice, I’d have launched this as a free service season one and charged for season two. That is if they believe in their show of course.

Sturgill Simpson Takes On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Photo by Will Heath/NBC

When Sturgill Simpson’s album, ‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,’ was nominated for Album of the Year for the 59th Grammy Awards, he humbly proclaimed that he “would’ve liked to see Frank Ocean’s name where [his] is,” because he thought Ocean’s record, ‘Blonde,’ was “really groundbreaking.” Funny enough, Ocean did not submit his album for consideration, thereby removing him from contention. Ocean believes the “infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated,” and he might be right, but Simpson’s nomination represents a much bigger movement in the music industry, and here’s hoping it sends a message. First and foremost, he’s the only artist who wrote his entire album. Adele is a close second, with just one co-songwriter, but Beyonce’s much-praised ‘Lemonade’ has more songwriters than bagels at Yom Kippur. The same goes for Drake. And though I’m not a Bieber hater, I need not explain the alarming juxtaposition between the two artists, and It begs a bigger question about the what the Grammys truly represent. If Starry Night had been a collaborative effort between Vincent van Gough and his 25 cohorts, would we see it through the same lens?

Simpson has long been called a country music outlaw, refusing to cater to the confines of what has now become a homogenized songwriting factory in Nashville. There’s no more Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, or Willie Nelson, and Simpson is therefore considered to be the “savior” of a dying genre. Simpson himself might not see himself this way, and judging by his performance on Saturday Night Live, all he really sees is the music. His blues riff on “Call to Arms” lets his 11-piece band make a tiny stage with a small audience seem like an amphitheater. Watch both performances below.

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Did the CMAs Scrub Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks?

If you missed the CMAs, there’s one performance worth watching, and it’s Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks’ rendition of “Daddy Lessons,” off Beyonce’s album ‘Lemonade.’ The crossover cut off Queen Bey’s record has been covered by the Dixie Chicks in concert, so it’s a fitting on-stage collaboration. They also threw in a piece of the Chicks’ “Long Time Gone,” which gives a subtle nod to the trio’s tumultuous history with the country music establishment, who rejected them after their much-maligned critique of President George W. Bush.
The killer pop-culture moment was; however, met with alarming criticism, as “fans” of the 50th annual Country Music Awards pointed out that Beyonce’s support of Black Lives Matter, along with her “cop-hatred” and “dislike for white people” should disqualify her from the stage. If that’s not enough, there is of course the residual animosity for the Dixie Chicks, and their “anti-America” stance. According to TMZ, instead of standing firm against these racist, twitter trolls, the CMA’s began to systematically delete pictures of the performance. They have since changed their stance once again, presumably in reaction to TMZ’s post.

It goes without saying that we need to live in a country that tolerates multiple points of view without spitting vile hatred at one another and resorting to violence. Need I also point out that one can be anti-unnecessary killings AND support cops at the same time. It’s also worth noting that if Twitter wants to grow, they need a policy against hate-speech. And before I get comments about the First Amendment, I’d like to preemptively say that I’m a lawyer, and trust me when I tell you that deleting racist comments DOES.NOT.VIOLATE. the First Amendment. I’d explain it, but it will waste your time and mine. And nobody wants that.

Solange Releases “Don’t Touch My Hair” Video — Stunning Masterpiece

Music influencers have long suggested that Solange’s talent far exceeds Beyonce’s, and Beyonce’s on-the-pulse take on pop-culture topics is perhaps secretly driven by her sister’s vision. Translation? Beyonce rides the trend, and Solange sets it. If you’re looking to verify that theory, you need not look far. Solange’s new album ‘A Seat at the Table’ debuted on Sunday. Her video for “Don’t Touch My Hair,” is below. Be prepared to marvel at its beauty.

The 2016 MTV VMAs — Recap + Videos


Britney Spears + G-Eazy

I will always root for Britney Spears, as will the rest of America. She’s a true comeback story, and it’s good to see that we are not defined by our worst moments. Having said that, her performance at the MTV VMAs just isn’t up to snuff. In fact, if I were on her team, I’d have kept her off the stage entirely. For starters, it was fine for her to lip sync at the beginning of her career because she was dancing. But now, there’s no excuse. She’s walking across the stage with extremely minimal choreography, And if you’re going to go that route, then the performance better be extremely high-concept to distract the audience from the issue at hand. Instead, they put her center stage sans distraction, and left her up there with nothing to fill the time. As for G-Easy, they have zero chemistry. Like I said, I love Britney, but her team just needs to do better. They have something to work with here, and they’re doing nothing.

Rihanna

Rihanna gets an A for effort. With a medley of her most-loved hits, some interesting chaps, and an overflow of pink, it was an extravaganza for the eyes. Britney’s team should take note. Though it wasn’t heavy with choreography on Rihanna’s part, there’s enough good stuff on stage to make this memorable.

Beyonce

Beyonce made the other performances feel as if a lion went up against a bunch of ants. In short, she slayed, and her 15 minute show was an extremely original, eye-catching masterpiece. It’s Beyonce’s world, and everyone else just lives in it.

Kanye West

I would encourage Kanye West to give money to charity, rather than begging for big outlets to invest in him. Actually, I’d encourage him to physically go to a shelter and feed the homeless, because his bloated display of hubris isn’t just tired, it’s sad. For a man that does only one thing well, he sure doesn’t do it often. If you love Beyonce, take notes from her, and do less talking and more performing. He will continue to get away with this for some time, because the decline of one’s brand is a slow death, and like the frog being boiled in water, it will soon be too late to recover.

Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj

I don’t like spinning at the gym, and I certainly don’t like it on the stage. This feels like the princess version of a dance routine designed by some ladies from Brentwood who said to Grande, “You know what would be so cool?! Spin bikes on stage! OMG and the Olympics just happened so like . . . add a pommel horse!!”

Nick Jonas

I had high hopes for Nick Jonas, but this dated performance reeked of the 90’s. If he wants to convince the public that his boy band days are behind him, this was not the way to go. Jonas has marketed himself as the cool, sexy guy who was just too mature for a trio with his brothers. The only thing missing here was Nick Lachey.

Sharon Osbourne Addresses Split on ‘The Talk’

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Not one to take news of her split lying down, Sharon Osbourne returned to ‘The Talk’ on the heels of separation from longtime love and father of her three children, Ozzy Osbourne. While sipping an appropriate glass of Lemonade, Osbourne said, “I don’t know where I’m going, who I’m going with. And I just need time to think. And really think about myself, about what do I really want for … Because I’m 63 years of age and I can’t keep living like this.” She’s obviously alluding to Ozzy’s alleged affair with a hairdresser, and her subsequent questions about divorce. Her daughter joined the action by holding a picture of a lemon on Instagram.

Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ — Is “Becky” a Ploy to Drive Sales

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There’s no doubt that Beyonce is a powerful performer with something to say, and Lemonade is no exception. But while others are picking through the lyrics for evidence of Jay Z’s infidelity and the source of “Becky with the good hair,” I’d like to burst the bubble of this collective narrative in favor of a more realistic explanation. Becky doesn’t exist, and this is an elaborate ploy from two marketing masters to use marital drama as the catalyst for record sales. As for the rollout, it was strategic. It launched on HBOGo for 24 hours, followed by exclusive streaming on Jay Z’s Tidal, and then a general release via iTunes and Amazon.com.  And the stellar sales indicate her “windowing” method worked in her favor. So did Jay cheat, and was that infamous elevator incident the glaring evidence, only to be relayed later via a musical platform? And would Jay place this on Tidal, knowing he’d receive backlash from the Beyhive? This power couple generated buzz in the most blatant of ways, and though I’ll drink their Lemonade because it tastes good, I think I know where it came from.