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Black Keys Go Viral With Fake El Camino Infomercial

Posted by MTV News On October - 11 - 2011

Would you buy a used car from Saul Goodman?

Okay, how about from Bob Odenkirk, the actor who plays the shadiest lawyer on the planet on “Breaking Bad?” The Black Keys seem to think you would, which might explain why they dressed Odenkirk up in the cheapest-looking polyester suit they could find and hired him to help hawk their upcoming Danger Mouse-produced album, El Camino.

Odenkirk does his damndest to get the right car in the frame during the fake one-minute ad allegedly shot in December 1996, but all he succeeds in doing is creating one of the best viral video album spots in recent memory.

The fake ad campaign is the weapon of choice for a lot of artists these days, with Eminem taking the lead in the game by employing the tactic on both his comeback 2009 Relapse album and the multi-platinum 2010 follow-up, Recovery.

In the first series of phony spots, Em checked into the fictitious Popsomp Hills Rehab Center, while the next summer’s “Emwow” spots showed off the slicing, dicing, mincing properties of the rapper’s latest disc.

We won’t count the Insane Clown Posse’s annual epic sales videos hyping their Gathering of the Juggalos events, but suffice it to say that in addition to seeming like parodies themselves, they’ve inspired a hilarious round of spoofs from the fine folks at “Saturday Night Live.” (Shout out to Lil Blaster, I see you girl!)

Arcade Fire got into the act in 2007, enlisting their guitarist Richard Reed Perry to unveil the track listing for their Neon Bible album wile wearing a creepy mask and wielding a megaphone. The clip had Perry sitting in a director’s chair (singer Win Butler’s seat, actually) while waving his Juno Award as the album’s song titles bounced across the screen along with a 1-866 number at the end that allowed you to pre-order the disc.

Other creepy clips followed, including a 30-second one with backwards-masking bible talk and a longer three-minute cut featuring an actual neon bible, a magic video tape, sad testimonials and incredibly cheesy graphics.

Chill wave hipsters Neon Indian didn’t want to be left out, so they upped the ante with a disturbing, jumpy commercial for the fictional PAL198X keyboard, the TeleTouch and a handful of other fake products promoting the band’s recently released Era Extrana album.

What’s your favorite fake album informercial?

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O Music Awards Dance Record Attempt Not Weird Guinness Music Record

Posted by Gil Kaufman On October - 5 - 2011

O Music Awards

If you’ve ever seen “Grease,” you know that dance-offs were a thing back in the 1950s. But MTV’s O Music Awards are updating the bop-till-you-drop tradition with an attempt to break the Guinness World record with an upcoming shot at snagging the 55-hour dance marathon title.

Some dedicated hoofers will trying to keep it poppin’ right up until the second the O Music Awards kick off at 11:30 PM on October 31 in Los Angeles.

That got us thinking about other wacky music-related records tallied by Guinness and, believe it or not, trying to dance for more than two days is not close to the strangest record in the books.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Fastest rap artist: Sure, Twista is fluid, but it’s fellow Chicago MC Rebel XD who has the title of swiftest rapper, dropping a mind-blowing 683 syllables in 54.5 seconds in June 1998. That’s 12.5 syllables per second.

Most expensive music video: As if it’s any surprise, the most expensive video of all time belongs, of course, to the late King of Pop. Michael Jackson’s space-age 1995 duet with sister Janet, “Scream,” cost $7 million.

Most pseudonyms by a pop star: Eminem and Lil Wayne have a gang of nicknames, but its late Beatle John Lennon who recorded and produced music under no less than 15 pseudonyms, including The Honorary John St. John, Dr. Winston O’Boogie, the Rev. Fred Ghurkin, Dr. Winston OGhurkin, Kaptain Kundalini, Beatcomber and Dwarf McDougal.

Loudest band: Classic rock icons The Who claim to have played a show at the ear-bleeding volume of 125 decibels, the point at which pain begins and just a shade under the sound of a jet engine (140db). Hard rockers Man-O-War, though, claim to have reached 129.5 db at a 194 show, but are still grumbling about not landing the record because, they claim, Guinness didn’t want to encourage others to try and break it.

Youngest drummer: Detroit’s Julian Pavone became the youngest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ drumline when he was just 15 months old and recorded his first album, Go Baby!, just five months later.

Longest concert by multiple artists: While most Taylor Swift fans likely wish her concerts would keep going and anyone who has seen Parliament-Funkadelic will tell you it sometimes feels like their concerts never will end, neither holds the record for the longest concert. That feat was achieved at the Red Rabbit Pizza Pub in John’s Creek, Georgia in July 2010 when over 200 bands and hundreds of volunteers helped raise money for the Children’s Restoration Network by playing live music for 343 hours, 7 minutes and 52 seconds.

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Taylor Swift Loves Playing Covers, Here Are Our Suggestions

Posted by Gil Kaufman On August - 11 - 2011

In addition to packing stadiums and arenas around the world for teenage dream-like concerts featuring her own songs and a procession of big set pieces from a wedding march to snowfall and a balcony that flies out over the audience, Taylor Swift is turning heads on her current “Speak Now” tour by performing oddball covers.

Sometimes, they’re keyed to whatever city she’s in, such as her choice of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down” in Chicago this week. (FOB are from Chicago, BTW.) It added to a list that already included Pink’s “Who Knew” (in Philadelphia), Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” (New Jersey), Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” (in Detroit), Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and Alanis Morissette’s “You Learn” (Toronto) and the Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” (with Chicks member Martie Maguire in the house.)

So, we looked at Taylor’s upcoming tour schedule and came up with a week’s worth of suggestions of tunes she could take on, as well as a few that the good girl would probably shy away from:

August 13 – St. Louis – Nelly, “Hot in Herre” (probably not: Taylor Momsen and the Pretty Reckless’ “Goin’ Down”)

August 18 – Alberta, Canada – Feist, “1,2,3,4″ (probably not: Nickelback’s “Something in Your Mouth”)

August 23 — Los Angeles – Sara Bareilles, “Love Song” (probably not: NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton”)

September 1 – San Jose – Stevie Nicks, “Rihannon” (probably not: Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” – bassist Nikki Sixx is from San Jose)

September 6 – Portland – Elliott Smith, “Miss Misery” (probably not: Dandy Warhols’ “Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth”)

September 10 – Vancouver – Michael Buble, “Haven’t Met You Yet” (probably not: Dirty Beaches’ “Sweet 17″)

September 16 – Nashville – Johnny Cash, “Big River” (probably not: Ke$ha, “Sleazy’)

Which songs would you like to see Taylor perform? Tell us in comments below.

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Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Eminem To Vie For Best Video With a Message At VMAs

Posted by Gil Kaufman On August - 4 - 2011

Katy Perry

Music videos can thrill, shock, confound and elate, but when they weave in a serious message they can also make a difference and teach us a little something. That’s why MTV is proud to introduce a new category at this year’s 2011 Video Music Awards, Best Video With a Message, which will spotlight clips from Lady Gaga, Pink, Katy Perry, Eminem, Taylor Swift and Rise Against that have a pro-social message.

The new category spotlights the intersection of music and social activism, highlighting artists who’ve made videos with positive messages that raise awareness of some of the most pressing issues facing today’s youth, from bullying and LGBT discrimination to domestic violence and self-image struggles.

“During the past year, we’ve seen a remarkable number of artists create music videos that went above and beyond simply offering entertainment value,” said MTV President Stephen Friedman. “Instead, these artists used their influence and voices to explore deeply personal experiences and issues they were passionate about to create meaningful music that resonated with millions inspiring life anthems for their fans.”

Each clip nominated for Best Video with a Message will be accompanied by some action steps from MTV Act – MTV’s online platform designed to amplify youth efforts to make things better – where the MTV audience can learn more about and take action on the issue addressed.

Read on for the nominees.

The nominated videos are:

>>> Lady Gaga, “Born This Way” – Praised for its message of equality and striving for a world without prejudice or judgment.

>>> Katy Perry, “Firework” – An uplifting anthem that celebrates the originality and uniqueness in all of us.

>>> Pink, “F**kin’ Perfect” – A four-letter ode to loving yourself and not letting others’ opinions bring you down.

>>> Taylor Swift, “Mean” – The ultimate nice girl warns haters that being mean will get you nowhere except Bitterville.

>>> Eminem feat. Rihanna, ” Love The Way You Lie” – A stirring hit that takes on the tricky topic of domestic violence and the cycle of abuse.

>>> Rise Against, “Make it Stop (September’s Children)” – After the string of teen suicides, the punk band provides a poignant reminder to LGBT teens feeling alone and despondent that “it gets better” and that life is worth living.

A number of these songs were inspired by media reports about the age-old difficulty of feeling like an outsider, but also by the bullying and harassment of LGBT teens, an issue MTV took on with it’s a Thin Line anti-cyberbullying and digital abuse campaign – launched in December 2009 – and now through this special VMA category.

Viewers can vote for Best Video with a Message starting today, as well as other general VMA categories, by visiting the VMA website or on their mobile phone.

The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live on Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 PM ET/PT.

For more information on MTV ACT, visit

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Stop Saying You Are Retiring If You Are Really Not Retiring

Posted by John Mitchell On July - 14 - 2011

Last night, Cher alerted us to the fact she is in the recording studio AND recording a song by Lady Gaga and super producer RedOne called “The Greatest Thing.” So that’s cool.

What’s kind of weird though is that the song comes over five years after Cher wrapped up her massive Living Proof: The Farewell Tour, which she claimed would be her final concert tour. Three years later, of course, she began a very successful three-year residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, so it was really less of a “farewell” than it was a “see you guys in a bit.” And last fall while promoting her film Burlesque, she told a few interviewers she wanted to hit the road again for another tour – that she preferred arena crowds to the tourist-heavy audiences attracted to shows in Vegas.

Sure, the living legend never swore off recording (and thank goodness!), but it got us thinking about stars who announce their retirement … and then never really retire. Sure, they might go away for a hot second, but then they come back, often as big as ever, making the whole retirement hubbub look like an elaborate ruse.

Most recently, Lil Wayne has been talking retirement. His reasoning, which he explained to XXL is pretty sound: He wants to bow out while he’s still on top to spend time with his kids. “I’ma make y’all want me when I retire,” Wayne explained, adding that his commitment to his career is “unfair to my kids” because he is working constantly. “I do this every day of my life, and I’m not about to stop, ’cause that’s the only way you can succeed in this business, is to do it the way I do it. … But to do it the way I want to do it, to be comfortable to do what the f**k I want to do, you’ve got to work like no other.”

He’s achieved what he set out to achieve, made a ton of money doing it and now wants to dedicate himself to his four children.

But it’s hard not to wonder if he’ll really be able to give up the mic. This is a man for whom rapping is so instinctive that he phoned in a verse for Drake’s “Light It Up” from behind bars during his stint at New York’s Rikers Island.

It becomes more difficult to actually imagine Wayne’s retirement when you consider Jay-Z and Eminem, two rappers who at one time or another announced they would retire from making their own records to focus on other endeavors. Neither really retired, of course, they simply took time off and both continue to be at the top of their field. Just this year, Eminem received a staggering 10 Grammy nominations, including Album, Record and Song of the Year, for his multi-platinum Recovery, which ultimately took home two awards – one less than Jay-Z did at the same ceremony for “Empire State of Mind.”

Lest you think this phenomenon is exclusive to rap, consider Barbra Streisand and Garth Brook. Streisand announced she would go on her final tour in 2000 and made a very big deal about it, charging outrageous prices for tickets to the shows. Then she hit the road again in 2006. Brooks did something similar, announcing his retirement in grand fashion in 2000 only to play several sold-out shows in 2007 and begin a Vegas engagement in 2010.

In some cases, particularly Streisand’s, the move comes across as a way to goose ticket or album sales. They can charge higher prices, and dedicated fans will pay them thinking it’s the last time they will get to see their favorite artist live.

We don’t fault any of these people for wanting to take some time off … just leave it at that. To do anything else is grandstanding. Don’t say you are going away forever and then return, and especially don’t mount an elaborate tour as some sort of victory lap, charge outrageous ticket prices for the shows and then hit the road again after an extended break like it was no big deal. When you do this, it looks like a ploy.

As any artist, from writers and painters to actors and musicians, can tell you, it’s impossible to just stop. Your craft is in your blood. Regardless of success achieved, a writer is a writer and he or she will always write, just as a true musician – like Wayne, Em and Jay – will always want to make music.

These guys have achieved a status where they can set their own tone of their careers. No one is ever going to tell Lil Wayne he can’t make music, that they need an album from him every year or it’s all over. At 28, he’s already a legend. There’s no reason to announce your retirement, even if you believe now that it’s the truth, because there’s no way you’ll be able to stop making music. Call it like it is: You might take some time off, but everybody be cool, you’ll probably be back after you catch your breath.

And for goodness sake, Wayne, release The Carter IV. We’re getting blue in the face from holding our breath!

Do you ever believe an artist when he or she says they are retiring? Let us know in the comments.

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