Sunday, July 29th 2012
Back in May, ‘Magnetic Fields‘ front man Stephen Merritt found himself under the media gaze after he made comments questioning the public’s support of ‘21‘ chart topper Adele.
In an interview with LA Weekly, he suggested that Caucasian artists performing what he called ‘black music’ were often more palatable to viewers than Black artists performing ‘black music’- hinting at an underlying but unintentional racist streak in Popular audiences.
His comments didn’t end there. In making the comparison between the radio airtime given to Black Rap acts and their fairer counterparts, he concluded:
There is something unsavory about the way audiences sometimes disproportionately favor white artists making black music.
Witness Eminem’s repeated appearances on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks (now Alternative Songs) chart with songs sporting an unmistakably hip-hop bounce like “My Name Is” and “Without Me.” The only way to explain his crossing-over to rock radio is his skin color.
Billed as an exaggeration of a dated issue, Merritt’s remarks came under fire from some That Grape Juice readers who argued their reasons for supporting artists came on the grounds of quality and not race.
However, these found themselves countering arguments supporting the performer’s theory.
Pointing out, that despite the prior success of Aaliyah, TLC, Brandy, Monica and Janet in the 90s, this generation only boasts three commercially viable Black female artists.
These being, Rihanna, Beyonce and rising Rapper Nicki Minaj.
So now we ask you:
Do you feel race plays into chart success?
Weigh in below…
Thursday, July 26th 2012
Perhaps in response to the industry’s increasingly disposable nature, the question of talent remains ever present - fueled by the head scratching ascent of many a contemporary act.
Unashamedly lacking any discernible gift or skill worthy of their notoriety, gone are the days where an artist did one or the other and if ‘the fan’ was lucky – both.
Instead, barring the likes of Alexandra Burke, Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Jessie J and Adele, it’s safe to say the actual ‘talent’ of most entertainers finds itself in disrepute, backed not by their skills but chart feats and in some cases…Twitter followers.
So now we ask:
Are vocalists – gifted singers – on the decline? Or are they just a little harder to find in the blur that is the Hot 100?
Saturday, June 30th 2012
Underrated. Just one of the many things often named with ’1 Thing’ hitmaker Amerie Rogers. Her humble beginnings may have found her lost in the shuffle of a new wave of early 2000s R&B belles, but the musical melting pot that was her debut album ‘All I Have’ quickly set her apart. A melting pot, hinting at R&B, soul, pop, and hip hop, that seemed filled with almost as many diversities as the singer herself.
Led by the mid tempo ‘Why Don’t We Fall In Love’, fans quickly fell in love with this beauty’s varicolored vocal stylings, accented by layers of decorative harmonic arrangements. A quality that would remain a distinct constant, yet misprized feature of her offerings.
However, it was the introduction of ’1 Thing’, the lead single from the 2005 ‘Hitch’ soundtrack (Will Smith) and her sophomore album ‘Touch’ that saw R&B lovers really get in touch with her work…
Wednesday, June 27th 2012
Yesterday evening, Pepsi darling Nicki Minaj celebrated the news that her sophomore LP ,’Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded‘, had been certified Platinum in the US.
However, as the love fest between she and her ‘Barbz’ went on on Twitter, the news came under intense scrutiny from the Rapper’s critics.
Critics, who did not understand how an LP which is yet to move 600,000 units in the US was able to be certified Platinum (1 million copies).
So, ever eager to address the issues you care most about, That Grape Juice dedicates today’s ‘Hot Topic’ to the system that is an RIAA certification.
Full explanation below…
Monday, June 25th 2012
In 2008, Tina Turner launched “Tina!:50th Anniversary Tour” in honor of five decades spent atop the music industry.
Four years after Turner graced 40 cities across the North America and Europe, Lionel Richie watched his 9th studio album ‘Tuskegee’ rocket to #1, 20 years after the release of his self titled debut album ‘Lionel Richie‘.
Both rare feats, their successes 10, 20, 30 years or more after their debut is both a testament to their talent and their ability to ‘hold on’ to audiences, against a number of industry induced odds.
The question is though, how many of today’s performers could follow in Lionel and Tina’s suit?
How many of them could bring in audiences long after their initial hype has died, respected enough to command major numbers in an industry with an ever growing age bias.
In short, we want to know?
Do today’s acts have what it takes to stand the test time of time?
Sunday, June 24th 2012
A word thrown about fans up and down the blogosphere, recent years have seen a number of today’s acts awarded the title, accurately and inaccurately.
From Justin (both of them) to Rihanna, there are very few performers whose careers haven’t been billed as ‘potentially iconic’ if not already ‘legendary’.
But what does it mean? To be iconic?
One thing, an image or depiction, that represents something else of greater significance through literal or figurative meaning, usually associated with religious, cultural, political, or economic standing.
So, taking the above into consideration, we ask you…
What does it take to be an icon?
And which of today’s stars have it within them to be iconic?
Tuesday, June 19th 2012
Yesterday, New York’s Webstar Hall welcomed a group of the world’s leading record executives for the 2012 New Music Seminar.
Engaging a heated discussion centered around the ‘Rise Of The Music Industry’, their debate saw them outline the various ways the industry has altered its model to accommodate changing trends, ‘consumer laziness’ and their plans to regenerate sales.
Interesting read below…
Sunday, June 3rd 2012
Raz B. Rihanna. Miranda Lamberts. Good Morning America (Robin Roberts). Anderson Cooper. FOX News. Odd Future. And now, Brian McKnight.
Besides at one time occupying some space on your television screens, the aforementioned entities all have had at least a taste of one other commonality – beef with R&B bad boy Chris Brown.
For, while his introduction saw him poised to follow in the steps of the legendary Michael Jackson (a la famed, talented child star whose star brightens into adulthood) and fill a space in R&B that had not been occupied since Usher, post-”the 2009 incident” has seen the ‘Run It’ singer’s public image run topsy turvy.
One minute loved and praised, the next minute reminded of that career-changing occurrence…
Sunday, May 27th 2012
As many a Madonna fan and Little Monster know, the Queen of Pop is set to use her ‘MDNA’ tour set to tribute pop diva Lady Gaga by performing a mashed-up version of the latter’s ‘Born This Way’ with her own ‘Express Yourself’. Immediately coming under fire after its early 2011 release for sounding nearly identical to Madge’s 1989 hit, Gaga dismissed the claim of copying while her pop predecessor labeled it ‘reductive’.
Now, as audio has surfaced of Madonna’s intent to fuse the twin pop tunes on her latest live trek, we who thought the flame had cooled see it may be readying to reach higher heights. Is this another case of Kim Vs. Nicki?
Take a listen below and you tell us: