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Check out the official TV commercial for the hotly anticipated American Music Awards, which air next Sunday. With Janet, Whitney, Rihanna and co on the bill, it’s hands-down the most exciting award show in a long while…and it hasn’t even happened yet! Can’t wait!

Tidbit: Music feels so exciting again: Janet, Whitney, Mariah, Alicia, Beyonce, GaGa, RiRi, Usher, Chris Brown, Leona, Alexandra…all out at the same time!

Tidbit 2: Kudos to UK group the The Noisettes for landing this year’s show theme tune with ‘Don’t Upset The Rhythm’.

Tidbit 3 (lol): Janet stans, what do you hope she performs as part of her medley? I’m a sucka for some of Ms. Jackson’s ‘newer’ material, hence would love to see a little ‘Feedback’ in there, as well as ‘All Nite’.

Your thoughts?

You can now listen to snippets of Lady GaGa‘s hotly anticipated ‘The Fame Monster’ LP ahead of it’s November 23rd release (which as I’m typing I realise is the same day as Rihanna’s ‘Rated R’ hits stores. Things that make you go ‘hmmm’).

In any case, judging by the clips…

Hit or Miss?

Peep this brief preview of the video for Shakira‘s Lil’ Wayne-assisted single ‘Give It Up To Me’. While I’ll reserve judgement until seeing the video in its entirety, it’s quite refreshing to the 32 year old (bet you didn’t know that LOL) engage in choreography in the traditional sense. Clip looks real cool.

Your thoughts?

Diva Mariah Carey continues to promote her ‘Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel’, earlier this week stopping by the Late Show With David Laterman for a chat (about the album, ‘Precious’ and Eminem) and to perform new single ‘H.A.T.E U’. You can watch the performance above and the interview below, both of which aired a few hours ago. Great interview, great performance:


Your thoughts?

Do you know which song spent the most weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100? Do you know which song was the first to debut at the top spot? That Grape Juice has you covered! ‘Back In The Beat’ is our brand new feature, which each Friday takes a look back at the songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 at this exact point in time in years of past.

Covered by me, Trent, it provides the opportunity to not only take a ‘trip down memory lane’, but remember some of the monumental songs that molded the present day sound of the music industry. So get out your pen and paper because class is officially in session!

In the year 1998, Hip-Hop legend Lauryn Hill stormed the charts with her now classic song ‘Doo Whop (That Thing)’, which was written and produced by Hill herself. The second single from her monster album ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’, the track hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 14th where it remained for at the top 2 weeks.  Additionally, the song peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart; a rare feat for a Hip-Hop/R&B act. Furthermore, not only was the single a major commercial success, but the record also earned Hill 2 Grammy Awards, included in the 5 that she won at 1999 ceremony, where she became the first woman to win that many trophies at one event. The video for the song was also a big winner at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards where it received top honors in 4 categories including ‘Video of the Year’.

This song is brilliant in every sense of the word. It shows why Hill is still considered to this day to be one of the most talented artists of our time. How many acts can you think of that can deliver such an intricate vocal performance as well as spit rhymes with such conviction? Chameleons like her emerge so rarely that we sometimes forget that such talent exists. If some of the artists in today’s generation had a 1000th of her ability then maybe the music industry wouldn’t be in such a horrible position. Yes I said it!

One of music’s biggest Icons, Mariah Carey, has released her long-awaited video for ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’. The video was directed by Hype Williams, who reportedly clashed with MC’s label over the concept and production of the clip. ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, which is said to be the album’s “first official single”, failed to climb pass #60 on the Billboard Hot 100 despite being successful on the Adult Contemporary format by peaking at #10 on said chart.

Why Mariah…why? In the words of the diva herself “who approved this?!” This easily ranks as one of the worst videos in her entire career. The song itself is already corny to the bone but the supporting clip is even worse! The CGI, the  cliche appeal of the onlookers, the lighting and of course the horribly edited green screen effects; every element was of utterly poor taste. The only reason that I won’t hold Mariah herself responsible for this mess is because of her continued expressions of disgust toward this song being chosen as a single. I applaud her for not going Naomi Campbell-crazy and attacking everyone on the set when she saw the finished product.

As a matter of fact, I will forget that I even saw this video. It is officially being placed into the box at the back of my mind along with the Rihanna’s ‘The Wait Is Ova’ and Beyonce’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ clips.

Note: the guy at the 2:12 mark is from my country!

Sam note: Just saw this now. Hot A** Mess. Mimi, no….just no.

Thoughts?

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After being rescheduled numerous times, Usher’s forthcoming album has finally been given a concrete release date. The tentatively entitled LP, ‘Raymond vs. Raymond’, will now hit stores on December 21st as confirmed by the singer’s label, LaFace/Jive Records. This places Usher in direct competition with Mary J. Blige who is also dropping her new album, ‘Stronger’, on the same date. The first ‘buzz’ singe from ‘Raymond…’, ‘Papers’, has thus far peaked at #32 on the Bilbboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts.

It seems that Usher’s label is anticipating a strong sales bonus from the Christmas shoppers. Although a brilliant maneuver to garner high sales rates, it does raise several questions. Primarily, one might wonder if Jive uncertain that Usher is unable to generate strong sales without the boost of the season, especially given the mediocre performance of his last record. Only time till tell if Mr. Raymond still possess the golden touch and if he can outshine Mary J, who is particularly known for consistently high first-week sales.

Thoughts?

The music video for Rihanna’s hit single ‘Russian Roulette’ has finally been released. The project was directed by Anthony Mandler and features a cameo appearance from Grey’s Anatomy regular, Jesse Williams. ‘Russian Roulette’ has thus far peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rihanna’s new album, ‘Rated R’, hits stores on November 23rd.

I loved it! Dark, edgy, passionate and visually enticing. Her team certainly knocked it out of the park with this one. I can’t fathom a better way of bringing the song onto the silver screen. I was completely engrossed for the entire duration of the clip. Great job to everyone involved!

Thoughts?

Controversial entertainer Chris Brown has just debuted his the video for his new single ‘Crawl’ on ‘The Wendy Williams Show’. The clip was directed by Joseph Khan and features a cameo by popular model, Cassie. Additionally, Brown answered questions during an intriguing interview with Wendy (“how you doinnn?”) and offered yet another apology for his actions against Rihanna. His new LP, ‘Graffiti’, hits stores on December 8th.

Nice video but nothing amazing. Actually, I felt like I was watching a collection of Michael Jackson’s best dance moves sans the ‘moon walk’. Regardless, the clip portrayed the story of the lyrics effectively enough to guarantee a hit. Cassie (who was featured with her clothes on) looked beautiful as always. I sense she should maintain her career as a video/fashion model because it seems to be her true ‘calling’ (we all know singing definitely isn’t).

Tidbit: Was anyone else excited to see if Chris and Wendy would get into a blowout given their recent quarrels? I can only dream I guess…

Thoughts?

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The force that is Mariah Carey was seen looking fierce in Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane in London earlier today. A performance from the singer, who has been trying every trick in the book to hide her growing belly, will air tonight on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’. Keep your eyes locked on ThatGrapeJuice for the footage of the legend in action!

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fame-monster

That Grape Juice were one of a few select media outlets invited to the New York listening session for Lady GaGa’s hotly anticipated sophomore effort ‘The Fame Monster’, which took place last night. While I, Sam, am stationed in here in London, That Grape Juice is international baby, therefore our new New York correspondent Cherry was on hand to get all the juicy info. So without further ado, check out our preview of ‘The Fame Monster’ below (previously heard singles ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Telephone are omitted for obvious reasons’):

Album Preview: The Fame Monster

There’s no question Pop phenomenon Lady Gaga has had an incredible year with the success of her debut album, ‘The Fame’, as well as the amazing, jaw-dropping, performances on various award and TV shows. Hence, it’s little surprise that Gaga serves up the hotness with her sophomore LP, ‘The Fame: Monster’.

The eight tracks range from mid-to-up-tempo beats, which are sure to find to comfort at any club, in the car or at a social outing.  Key producers on the ‘The Fame: Monster’ are RedOne, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Teddy Riley, Space Cowboy and her Interscope head Ron Fair. Lady Gaga wrote or co-wrote the entire album.

As mentioned in past interviews this album addresses the monsters that the 23 year old has encountered for the past 2 years as she’s travelled the world. These monsters (sex, love, loneliness, alcohol, death) are evident in the deliverance and execution of the lyrics on each song.

‘Alejandro’, which was written by RedOne and Lady Gaga and produced by RedOne, delivers a Spanish-tinged vibe over an Electro-Pop beat. The production and the flow of the song possess a distinct aura of 80s Madonna during her “Who’s That Girl” era.  This track will definitely appeal to an audience internationally. Some lyrics taken from the booklet:  You know that I love you boy * Hot like Mexico * Rejoice * At this point I’ve gotta choose * Nothing to lose* Don’t call my name * Don’t call my name * Alejandro.

‘Monster’, which was written by RedOne, Lady Gaga and Space Cowboy (produced by RedOne), unanimously received rave reviews. This song is a chart-topper, no ifs-buts-or-maybes! The beat is sick! It’s probably one of the hottest tracks I’ve heard in a long time. It kind of reminded me of a 80s, throwback Pop cut that will sure as anything be most requested at the clubs! The group loved it so much it had to play it more than once!  Lyrics include: I just wanna dance* But he took me home instead*  Uh-Oh there was a monster in my bed * We frenched kissed on a subway train * He tore my clothes right off * He ate my heart then he ate my brain.

The alternative Rock-meets-Bluesy track ‘Speechless’ showcases Lady Gaga’s vocal range. If you weren’t sure if she could actually sing this song proves she can! The guitar and piano mix is hot-fire and you can feel the passion in her vocal delivery. This song is more of a mid-tempo, yet it’s boasts a healthy balance from the other fast paced, dance-orientated tracks on the album. Lyrics include: I’ll never talk again* oh boy you’ve left me speechless * you’ve left me speechless*  and I’ll never love again.

Another real favourite of mine was ‘So Happy I Could Die’. Instantly ascertainable here is that she’s addressing her alcohol ‘monster’. The song was written and produced by Lady Gaga, RedOne and Space Cowboy. The production is very ‘GaGa’, in that it too is a dark, up-tempo which when released will be making a bee-line for the dance-floor. Lyrics include: Open up your heart and your mind to me * Just know when that glass is empty* that the world is gonna bend* Happy in the club with a bottle of red wine* Stars in our eyes cuz we’re having a good time* eh-eh* so happy I could die.

Two songs which didn’t rouse me as much were ‘Dance in the Dark’, written by Lady Gaga and Fernando Garibay (who produced the track as well) and ‘Teeth’ (produced by Teddy Riley). Much like the bulk of the album, Dance in the Dark, is unsurprisingly an up-tempo dance number, yet one which falls a little short in comparison to the LP’s stronger cuts. ‘Teeth’ had a soulful, bluesy vibe to it which kind of gave a nod to the swinging 20s era. Refreshing for GaGa, yet it’s questionable as to how much it actually works.

Important to stress here is that ‘The Fame Monster’ is a NEW album not a re-release of the ‘The Fame’ LP with additional tracks – as initially suggested by her team. It will be packaged in 3 different ways: an 8-track single disc ($7.99), Deluxe Edition to include tracks from The Fame ($18) and a Super Deluxe Edition which will include a lock of her hair weave ($95). ‘The Fame: Monster’ will be in stores November 23rd and regardless which edition you purchase, you will not be disappointed!

Your thoughts?

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