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Beyonce at Barclays – Best Thing I Bought All Year

30 Dec

I’ve spent a lot of money this year and although I know Suze Orman wouldn’t approve, I’d have to say I’m pretty happy about most of my purchases. I found a $5 gem to squeeze out every last drop out of all my expensive beauty products, tracked down the perfect red lip color and even discovered a drugstore brand makeup remover gentle enough for my sensitive eyes, but my best purchase this year has to have been tickets to Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter Tour at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Beyonce-Mrs-Carter-Tour-Tank

I have to admit, I haven’t seen very many live concerts. When it comes down to prioritizing my purchases I’ve often found myself asking “Do you NEED this?” vs. “Does this make you happy?”,  so while I can sometimes justify a $200 shopping spree (can’t go to work naked right?)  it’s a bit harder for me to spend the same amount to see live entertainment.

Beyonce-Mrs-Carter-Tour-Tank

My outlook on concert spending kinda changed after Michael Jackson died. I  realized that I’d missed Britney Spears at her peak and now that MJ had died I’d never be able to see him live either. I couldn’t continue to miss all my favorite music stars. So when Beyonce announced that she’d be going on tour I decided I HAD to get tickets – missing this tour was NOT an option!! Luckily I snagged seats for the last North American show  a week after Bey dropped her surprise visual album. Hearing new material made me kinda glad I’d waited so long to see the starlet. Though I’ve been a member of the Beyhive since she was singing on stoops with Wyclef, I feel like she’s never been as great as she is now and I‘m glad I got to experience this version of Beyonce rather than the one too scared to try something new.

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What makes Beyonce so good? On this self-titled album, the singer seems to have come into her own as both a person and an artist. Her last four albums, though great, were still pretty “safe” since she followed this formula:

  1. Release a single embracing current pop trends (i.e. Diplo rhythms or featured artist like Shakira) and carefully craft an album filled with R&B/Pop tracks.
  2. Be sure the songs, and their accompanying videos, build confidence in women while enticing straight men and providing catchy phrases for the gay community.
  3. Go platinum and repeat.

Beyonce-Mrs-Carter-Tour-Tank

On her latest work Beyonce sticks to her fail proof formula, but instead of crooning strictly family friendly lyrics, Beyonce delves into more controversial topics such as erotica and feminism. Does it mean this is the real Bey – the one she’s been hiding from us in these carefully controlled interviews and documentaries? Not necessarily, but at the very least it shows she’s grown comfortable in taking expressive risks and it works! Bey’s newfound knowledge of self is apparent not only when listening to the album but in watching her perform on stage. Of course she’s never had problems commanding an audience as her alter ego “Sasha Fierce” but the confidence she’s gained as ‘Yonce  takes her performance to another level.

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So that’s why concert tickets were my favorite purchase in 2013. For the price of a Sallie Mae payment I got to see one of my favorite all-time artists belt out her greatest hits while still in her prime. Beyonce gave me an experience I’ll never forget, but just in case I ever need a reminder I snagged this over-priced souvenir tank – told you I could always justify more clothes. 😉

Beyonce-Mrs-Carter-Tour-Tank

Tank ~ Mrs. Carter Show Memorabilia | Blazer~ Express| Pants ~ Express | Shoes ~ Aldo | Lipstick ~ Urban Decay

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Miley Cyrus is Feelin’ Herself in new ‘Adore You’ video

26 Dec

Miley-Cyrus-Adore-You-videoIn what might be her most racy video yet, Miley Cyrus is feelin’ herself  – literally. Miley released a video for ‘Adore You’,  the latest single from her Bangerz album this morning and its just as sexy – if not more – than her last few.

Miley’s the solo star in this video, laying in bed in a sheer version of her favorite outfit – a matching nude bra and panties set – while creating a home movie. Miley writhes around in bed as we see snapshots of her touching/licking herself, putting her fingers in her panties and caressing her A-cups while making “O” faces.

Check out the video for yourself below:

 

8 Grammy nomination surprises you didn’t see coming

9 Dec

Grammy nominations were announced Friday night and while some of our expectations were met – Macklemore dominating the hip-hop categories like Taylor Swift dominates country, “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky” contenders for Record of the Year – there were quite a few surprises.

But where's this new album though?

But where’s this new album though?

No new music but Beyonce is nominated.

The Knowles-Carter team really is winning this year! Though the Beyhive is STILL waiting for official new material, the Queen Bey managed to snag a Best Rap/Sung Collaboration nomination for her song “Part II (On the Run)” with hubby Jay Z. If you count her work on The Great Gatsby soundtrack which is nominated for Best Compilations Soundtrack for Visual Media, that makes two.

Justin-Timberlake-201320/20 Experience nominated in the pop categories?

Justin Timberlake put out a two part album this year which helped him garner a total seven nods. The shocker? Three of those nominations are in pop categories. JT is up for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Mirrors”,  his “Suit & Tie ” single with Jay Z is a nominee for Best Pop Duo/Group and his album is up for  Best Pop Vocal Album. Yes, Justin burst onto the scene as a pop singer nearly two decades ago but the 20/20 Experience is clearly an R&B album. But maybe since Rihanna won one of the two Soul/R&B awards she was nominated for at the AMAs this balances things out?

Tamar-Braxton-Love-and-WarTamar Braxton nominated for THREE awards

Many people thought Tamar’s first single was good but how many actually thought she’d get a Grammy nod? The Braxtons star snagged three nominations this year for with her album Love and War up for Best Urban Contemporary Album, and its title track up for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. Between her talk show The Real being picked up, giving birth and snagging all these nominations Tamar is having a great year!

Mack-WildsDixon Wilson is  nominated for a Grammy

While you weren’t paying attention, Tristan Wilds – most famous for his role as Dixon Wilson on The OC – was jump-starting his R&B career. Under the alias “Mack Wilds”, the Staten-Island native released New York: A Love Story on September 30th – just in time to qualify for a Best Urban Contemporary Album nomination. Wilds competes with Tamar Braxton, Fantasia, Rihanna and Salaam Remi – who produced  11 of the 13 tracks on Wilds album.

sara-bareilles-2013

Sara Bareilles has TWO nominations

Speaking of music you didn’t know was happening, remember Sara Bareilles’ single “Brave” from earlier this year? Though most of us forgot she put out new music until Katy Perry was accused of sampling Bareilles for her own single “Roar”, critics were watching and they seem impressed. Bareilles “Brave” was nominated for Best Solo Pop Performance and her album The Blessed Unrest is up agains Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Daft Punk and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for Album of the Year. Good luck!

Snoop-Lion

Snoop Lion: Respected Reggae Artist

How many people still think this “Snoop Lion” thing is a joke? Well the Academy doesn’t. Somehow Snoop’s Reincarnated snagged a nom in the Best Reggae Album category, joining the ranks of Sly & Robbie and the Jam Masters, Reggae royalty Ziggy Marley, and veterans Beres Hammond and Sizzla.

Ariana-Grande
Ariana Grande gets snubbed

The Nickelodeon star has been nicknamed ‘Mariah Carey 2.0’ by the public and her singles are pretty great, so it’s surprising that Ariana Grande’s debut album Yours Truly didn’t garner a single nomination. Comparable fellow female newcomers Lorde and Kacey Musgraves managed to snag four noms each including Best Pop Vocal Album and Best New Artist respectively so how did Ariana not qualify for either category?

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Yeezus snags two award noms – too little or two too many?

Though Kanye’s latest project was not well received by the public, The Academy seems to be almost as pleased with this work as Yeezy himself. Yeezus managed to snag two noms in  you guessed it – the “black” categories. “New Slaves” is up against more popular singles “F****n Problems”, “Holy Grail”, “Started from the Bottom” and “Thrift Shop” for Best Rap Song while Yeezus competes with the same artists, who also happen to be the most nominated – Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, Drake, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for Best Rap Album.

What else shocked you about this year’s nominees? Do you think anyone got snubbed? Do you think any nominations were undeserved?

Hip-hop acts lead 2014 Grammy nominations

7 Dec

Grammy-Nominations-2014Hip-hop and the Grammys has always had a complicated relationship – for a long time the award show refused to air any of the hip-hop portion of the ceremony and rappers weren’t shy about protesting to show their hard feelings but oh how times have changed. Five of the seven top contenders for the 56th annual Grammys are hip-hop artists.

Jay Z at the 2013 Grammys

Jay Z at the 2013 Grammys

Rapper turned business mogul Jay Z leads the Grammy nominations with a total of nine awards, giving nods to his works on the Great Gatsby soundtrack, his solo album Magna Carta Holy Grail, and his “Suit & Tie” collaboration with Justin Timberlake, who received seven nominations himself.

Cali's Kendrick Lamar is up for 7 Grammys including Best New Artist

Cali’s Kendrick Lamar is up for 7 Grammys including Best New Artist

Tying with JT for seven nominations each are Producer/Rapper Pharrell Williams and newcomers Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. In addition to being acknowledged for his two Record of the Year nominated singles  “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk and “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke, Pharrell is also up for Producer of the Year. ‘Best New Artist’ nominees Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis face off in five of their seven categories. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are up for Best Music Video  for “Can’t Hold Us” and Song of the Year  for the single”Same Love” while also competing with Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album. Lamar is also nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Now or Never” featuring Mary J. Blige and Best R&B Performance after spitting a few bars on Miguel’s “How Many Drinks”.

Taylor Swift performing at the 2013 Grammys. Swift received four nods for the 2014 awards

Taylor Swift performing at the 2013 Grammys. Swift received four nods for the 2014 awards

Hip-hop artists weren’t the only acts to grab top nominations. Seven-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift is up for four awards including Album of the Year, Best Country Album, Best Country Song, Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Swift competes with Country newbie Kacey Musgraves who is also Best Country Album as well as twice in the Best Country Song category for “Merry Go Round” and writing Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart”. Musgraves rounds out her four nominations with a nod for Best New Artist where she Lamar and Macklemore will battle it out with Ed Sheeran and James Blake.

Also noteworthy are 17 year-old “Royals” singer Lorde and Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars – both nominated for a total of four awards including Record of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday January 26, 2014 on CBS.

Best and Worst Moments from the 2013 American Music Awards

25 Nov

ABC aired the 41st annual American Music Awards last night and though the red carpet looks were a bit lackluster, the show itself gave us a few moments worth talking about.

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Lil Mama may have killed it as Left Eye in VH1’s TLC biopic, but her performance with the surviving members of the group tanked. Not only was Lil Mama on a different pace from T-Boz and Chilli, but the group seemed bored and tired throughout their whole performance.

R. Kelly jumped on stage with Lady Gaga to perform their single “Do What You Want”. The Pied Piper must’ve had a lot of creative control over the performance as it was the most theatrical of the night. It’s unclear which president the duo was trying to portray  – JFK & Marilyn Monroe? Olivia and Fitz? –  but R. Kelly played the president with  Gaga as his staff member/mistress. It was a great attempt but their chemistry was just non-existent. As if things weren’t awkward enough, an image of Gaga’s younger self playing piano appeared towards the end of the performance. Singing suggestive lyrics to R. Kelly as images of a minor are onstage?  Do what you want with that thought.

Miley closed the drawn out awards singing her hit single “Wrecking Ball”. Vocally, she did better than most but viewers were too distracted by her extremely high cut bikini bottoms and a GIF of a cat lip-syncing behind her. Though milder than as of late, her attention craving antics distracted from what could’ve been the best performance of the evening.

Performance of the night goes to J. Lo’s tribute to the legendary Celia Cruz. Her vocal chords couldn’t compare to the late salsa singer but J.Lo served up her best teased high ponytail and dancing skills while performing a medley of La Reina’s songs including “Quimbara” and “Carnaval”.

This year’s award winners were a bit predictable. Ariana Grande was crowned “New Artist of the Year” while One Direction took home “Favorite Band/Duo/Group – Pop/Rock “and “Favorite Album – Pop/Rock.” Once again, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis dominated the hip-hop categories winning “Favorite Artist” and Favorite Album”. The duo was performing in Miami and took their acceptance speech as an opportunity to bring awareness to the dangers of racial profiling.

Photo Credit: John Shearer/Invision/AP

Photo Credit: John Shearer/Invision/AP

Who took home the most awards? You guessed it – Taylor Swift. This time she wasn’t surprised to collect , “Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock”, “Favorite Female Artist -Country”, “Favorite Country Album ” and her third “Artist of the Year”. Justin Timberlake followed closely behind with three awards in the”Favorite Male Artist- Pop/Rock”, “Favorite Male ArtistSoul/R&B”,  and “Favorite Album – Soul/R&B” categories.