In the wee hours of the morning, Iggy Azalea dropped the music video for her catchy new single, “Savior.” The striking clip, directed by Colin Tilley, finds a bejeweled Azalea napping on a queen-sized bed in a church adorned with neon crosses, a setting reminiscent of the climactic scene from Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Donning a black wedding dress and a neon halo around her head, the rapper is seen walking down the aisle, clutching a burning bouquet of roses, only to watch the cloaked figure to whom she’s betrothed vanish. She subtly rolls her eyes.
Iggy Azalea (#1–10 of 11)
1. “Yoko Ono and the Myth That Deserves to Die.” Lindsay Zoladz on how she came to love the most hated woman in the world.
“What’s most troubling about my Wish Tree memory is not what the boy wrote but that I laughed at it. Back then, I didn’t feel any need to defend Ono—if anything, I wanted to position myself apart from what I thought she represented. I bought the Yoko Myth wholesale. The only received images I could conjure of her were ones in which she was tied to John: Here she is sitting silently at the Let It Be sessions as Paul fumes; there she is entwined with her man in the famous Annie Leibovitz picture. I still considered her name an insult—the woman who won’t let the boys have their fun. In my early 20s, it felt important to let men believe that I wasn’t like that. I hated all the parts of myself that could be perceived as co-dependent or excessively feminine. I was terrified of vulnerability because I thought it could exist only at the expense of independence. I thought I knew what a feminist was. I thought I knew about Yoko Ono. I had a lot to learn.”
The closer this category flirts with mainstream appeal, the closer we are to wholly justifiable nominations for, say, “Turn Down for What.” But as Lil Jon’s DJ Snake and Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” are both resolutely not nominated, it’s safe to say the room’s still a little too tightly pursed to see this trophy blowing I-G-G-Y’s way. (Nope, you can’t taste this gold yet.) But for the second year running, there isn’t even a Black Keys-style minor hit or a Bon Iver-style niche cult hit or a Frank Ocean-style critics-only hit in these ranks. Each song cracked the top 25 of Billboard’s year-end singles list (though Sia just by a thread from her thrift-store wig), which makes it a little more difficult than usual to dismiss any candidate for being “too pop,” even though, in Azalea’s case, we still will.
There are a few sure bets in life: rain, taxes, and, until recently, a female artist winning the Grammy for Best New Artist. Just over a decade ago, the resistance to testosterone in this category was so potent that even when Heather Headley, the only female solo act nominated that year, lost her bid, it was to a female-fronted band: Evanescence, who, I’d like to note, we predicted when other outlets were naïvely throwing around names like 50 Cent. There’s no shortage of ladies nominated in 2015, so we’d be remiss not to consider critical darlings like country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark or pop-rock trio Haim. (Iggy Azalea is a non-factor, as far more respected rappers—Kanye West, Nicki Minaj—have lost in this race despite less competition.) And the fact that bands have done surprisingly well in this category of late, with fun., Bon Iver, and Zac Brown Band among recent victors, means Bastille shouldn’t be counted out either, though they lack the commercial and critical clout usually required to win here. Which would make this a tough year to predict if not for a clear frontrunner in U.K. soul singer Sam Smith, whose vulnerable performances, powerhouse vocals, and classic R&B flair put him in the same league as past winners Adele, Amy Winehouse, and John Legend. That he’s nominated for six awards, including the Big Four, makes this as sure a bet as snow in winter.
All this week we’re predicting the winners in the so-called Big Four categories at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, airing this Sunday night on CBS. We kick things off with our picks in some of the smaller genre categories:
Best Rock Album: NARAS loves to reward long-overdue veterans, particularly in categories like Best Rock Album, where past winners include the Rolling Stones (who took home the inaugural trophy back in 1995), U2 (who’ve won twice, and are nominated again this year), and Led Zeppelin (whose live album Celebration Day triumphed over Black Sabbath, David Bowie, and Neil Young last year). It might seem foolish to bet against U2, but the Irish icons only have a 50% success rate in this category, and Songs of Innocence was notable mostly for its controversial rollout—which, unlike Beyoncé, was met with a cool reception. The Black Keys won here two years ago, and while the academy is fond of repeat winners (just ask Foo Fighters, who possess a whopping 20 percent of all of the metal handed out in this category), it will be hard to resist rewarding Beck’s Morning Phase, the Album of the Year-nominated sequel to his beloved 2002 album Sea Change. And yes, he’s a “veteran.” Feel old? Sal Cinquemani
- annie clark
- arcade fire
- best alternative music album
- best country album
- best dance recording
- best r&b performance
- best rap album
- best rock album
- clean bandit
- drunk in love
- Eric Church
- Grammy Awards
- iggy azalea
- Miranda Lambert
- morning phase
- songs of innocence
- st. vincent
- the marshall mathers lp 2
1. “Hagel Said to Be Stepping Down As Defense Chief Under Pressure.” Obama Dissatisfied, Officials Say, Amid Global Crises.
“The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said. The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.”
Jennifer Lopez’s eighth studio album, A.K.A., may have bombed, but the singer is evidently not giving up. Instead, she’s giving butt. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Her collaboration with the red-hot Iggy Azalea on the single-worthy “Acting Like That” was probably her best bet for a rebound, but we’ll have to settle for the “Booty” remix, which also features the Aussie model turned rapper. The duo premiered the music video for the track tonight, and there are few surprises: The clip, directed by video veteran Hype Williams, features copious swimsuits and fishnet stockings, twerking, booty-popping, and lots and lots of gelatinous grease. It’s unlikely to reignite interest in Lopez’s music career, but the video is sure to rack up plenty of views, as the fortysomething mommy of two more than holds her own alongside the 24-year-old Azalea’s self-proclaimed “high-fashion booty.” Watch it below:
1. “David Lynch: ’I’ve always loved Laura Palmer.’” Twin Peaks terrified TV audiences and made David Lynch a household name. Now, nearly 25 years later, he is returning to the scene of the crime, releasing unseen material from the movie prequel Fire Walk with Me.
“If you follow David Lynch into the woods he will not hold your hand. He cannot guarantee you will find your way home. He truly hopes that you’ll emerge unscathed. The director, painter and transcendental meditation disciple has never been one to explain his work and, on the occasion of the release of the Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery box set, no measure of nostalgia will sway him. He’s sitting on a chaise longue in a hotel suite not far from his Los Angeles home when we meet, exuding charisma and an egoless confidence. At 68, Lynch looks vital, present. He’s dressed in his usual uniform: dark jacket, white shirt buttoned up, a blaze of rockabilly hair atop his weatherbeaten face. “Wanna take a look?’ he says, nasal, deliberate. A Blu-ray box set is on the table, containing Twin Peaks seasons one and two, Fire Walk with Me and—here’s the real prize—a previously unreleased 90 minutes of deleted and extended scenes from the movie.”
1. “What Is Safe Sex?” Rich Juzwiak on the raw and uncomfortable truth about Truvada.
“The understanding that I might benefit from using Truvada dawned on me slowly, like I was stuck permanently at 6 a.m. for a few months. It was other guys who helped prompt my decision, like the ones I had the sense not to fuck raw when they assumed that’s what we’d be doing on first meeting, or the ones who tried to fuck me bare so casually, it was like they were going in there to check their mail. It was the guy who told me, ’Yes, I’m negative—I was tested in February,’ in October. It was the guy that I hooked up with who then proposed a threesome via text: ’My friend said he wants to fuck raw.’ This was a few texts after I told him, ’I play safe,’ and he said, ’Yeah, me too.’ A few texts later, he admitted he’d already fucked raw with our prospective third.”
Australian model-turned-rapper Iggy Azalea and U.K. pop singer Charli XCX pay homage to Amy Hecklering’s ’90s cult classic Clueless in the music video for their new single “Fancy,” the latest offering from Azalea’s forthcoming debut album. The clip, directed Julien Christian Lutz, was shot in the same high school as the 1995 teen flick and finds Azalea taking on the role of Cher Horowitz to Charli’s Tai Frasier (the characters played by Alicia Silverstone and the late Brittany Murphy, respectively). Still no official word on when Azalea’s album, The New Classic, will drop. In the meantime, check out the video below: