Paul McCartney

In this weekly feature, we make a playlist of some of the best and most important new songs from the week before. Each track is supplemented with a short commentary, giving a sense of why you should check them out.

Paul McCartney – “New”

The only living Beatle still making great music (sorry Ringo), Paul McCartney’s aptly named album New shows that time hasn’t hindered his songwriting ability. “New” is one of the more nostalgic tracks on the record, sounding like a jaunty Beatles tune from the get-go. The lyrics are sprinkled with moments of self-reflection, with McCartney looking back at the impact he has already made on the world — “All my life I never knew what we could be, what I could do, when we were new.”

 

Cults – “High Road”

Cults gained some flak from the indie community when they immediately signed onto major label Columbia the moment they were noticed, but it’s hard to fault a band for wanting a professional recording treatment. Evident on their newest release, Cults carry on the dreamy shoegaze-pop from their debut with audio clarity to boot. Early standout track “High Road” is easy to get lost in, with an atmosphere that equally relies on both the group’s musicality and solid production values.

 

Kelela – “Guns & Synths”

This Los Angeles vocalist’s debut record gently pushes the boundaries of modern pop music, taking a lighter side to the club-beats-meets-catchy-vocals practice that is taking over (Lorde, anyone?). Her voice seems to glide wherever it wants to over an irregular tribal sounding beat, and together they create a song that is wholly pop. The song’s techniques are so in the now that it feels as though it was written just this morning.  

 

Miley Cyrus – “#GETITRIGHT”

On the other side of the music world is everyone’s favorite superstar Miley Cyrus, with her incredibly fun “#GETITRIGHT.” Any song title with a hashtag in it is enough to make this weekly playlist, and Cyrus’ bedroom anthem is supremely addictive. Showing her vocal chops that don’t get much attention, Cyrus beckons for her boy-toy to get it on with her while she’s still feeling it. She even shows her sweet side — “When I look in your eyes, I see all the stars.” Coupled with those little background whistles and a repetitive beat, “#GETITRIGHT” is all one could ever ask for in a great Miley tune. 

 

Glasser – “Shape”

Cameron Mesirow, the mastermind behind experimental electro-pop project Glasser, recently released her second album Interiors. Featuring lots of low bass, smooth synths and heavenly vocals, “Shape” displays all the trademarks of a dreamy synthpop tune these days. By the time everything comes together in the climax at the end of the song, Glasser’s songwriting talent comes through, and the culmination of sounds all combine to create a feeling that is both relaxing and unnerving at the same time. Interiors also has an awesome album cover.  

 

Sophie – “Bipp”

Yet another experimental electro-pop project under a secretive name (sensing a pattern?), Sophie has kept their real life identity well under wraps. They have yet to release a full length album, but the project is very promising for making music that sounds like absolutely nothing else out there. “Bipp” is a great example of this. It is catchy like a pop tune, but has electro noises that sound as if space-time itself is being warped. Is this supposed to be played in a club, in the bedroom or while walking to class? Who knows, but it’s cool. 

 

Tim Hecker – “Virginal II”

Kudos for those of you who have made it this far through such an experimental playlist this week, but your ears have not heard the last of it. Tim Hecker’s newest album Virgins is his seventh full-length, and it features the ambient composer in top drone-inducing form. “Virginal II” builds and builds, constantly laying on orchestral instruments and deep electronics simultaneously. Caked in atmosphere, “Virginal II” evokes the sense of a spooky horror film just in time for Halloween. 

 

Grammys Liveblog Recap

Adele poses backstage with her six awards at the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. Adele won awards for best pop solo performance for "Someone Like You," song of the year, record of the year, and best short form music video for "Rolling in the Deep," and album of the year and best pop vocal album for "21."
Adele poses backstage with her six awards at the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. Adele won awards for best pop solo performance for "Someone Like You," song of the year, record of the year, and best short form music video for "Rolling in the Deep," and album of the year and best pop vocal album for "21."

The two artists who undeniably garnered the most attention preceding the 54th annual Grammy Awards were triumphantly Adele and tragically Whitney Houston, each of them indelibly gifted with standout voices of their generation. Between the award announcements and performances, the attention seemed to bounce between Adele’s success and Houston’s untimely death. As predicted, Adele swept up six awards including Record of the Year and Album of the Year for her album “21.” With almost every performance came an artist’s impromptu dedication to Houston, ultimately leading to singer Jennifer Hudson’s chilling tribute performance.


7:00 pm

Backed by a full orchestra, Bruce Springsteen kicked off Grammy night with enthusiastic kicks from underneath his electric guitar. In the audience, Paul McCartney clapped along to the Boss and the E Street Band’s latest single, “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Host L.L Cool J followed up with a prayer to honor Whitney Houston, who passed away Feb. 11, a day before the show, at age 48. The audience—from Katy Perry to Faith Hill and Tony Bennett—bowed their heads as L.L. Cool J finished with, “Whitney, we will always love you.”

7:18

Nominated for six Grammy awards this year, Bruno Mars performed “Runaway Baby,” from his album Doo-Wops and Hooligans. Mars synchronized costumes and choreography with his band, looping dapper in a gold blazer as he slid into the splits mid-song, never once missing a beat or his key.

7:22

Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt joined country and R&B forces on shortened yet soulful version “Sunday Kind of Love” in tribute to another lost artist this past year, Etta James.

7:25

As expected, the award for Pop Solo Performance went to Adele for “Someone Like You,” despite competing against pop mega-forces Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Pink. In her acceptance speech, Adele said that the song changed her life. With this win and a classic look of voluminous curls and red lips, Adele proved not all pop hits are the result of sugar-coated dance beats and scantily-clad songstresses.

7:30

Chris Brown made his Grammy comeback with three nominations after a three-year absence following the release of violent images of his assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. His signature pop-and-lock dance moves dominated his song “Turn Up the Music” against a technicolor stage that times flashes of rainbow colors and skyline images perfectly as each beat dropped. With this performance, Chris Brown reminded the audience of his stage presence as he pleased the crowd with his dance moves despite his likely lip-syncing and court record of violence against women.

7:36

The clementine-clad Fergie and Marc Anthony presented the award for Best Rap Performance. Nominees include Jay-Z and Kanye West for “Otis,” Drake and Nicki Minaj for “Moment 4 Lyfe,” and Chris Brown featuring Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne for “Look at Me Now.” Watch The Throne’s Jay-Z and West won, though they unfortunately were not in attendance to accept the award. Perhaps there was another event substantially cooler and more worthy of the rap stars’ attendance?

8:06

In typical Grammy fashion of pairing performers with clearly different sounds, the unexpected duo of Rihanna and Coldplay performed together. Rihanna slithered on the ground to her hit “We Found Love,” tossing her newly blonde locks as the song’s signature techno dance beat kicked in. As her song ended, the camera cut to Chris Martin of Coldplay on an acoustic guitar playing “Princess of China" when Rihanna joined him after only a few lyrics. After a quick duet, Martin raced to stage where the rest of Coldplay was waiting to perform hit single, “Paradise.” The performance didn’t prove to be an authentic collaboration but rightfully gave two of this year’s biggest acts much-deserved stage time on music’s biggest night.

8:20

The Foo Fighters in all their bearded glory beat out rock cult favorites Radiohead, Coldplay, The Decemberists and Mumford & Sons for Best Rock Performance. The band’s winning single, “Walk,” comes from album, Wasting Light, which was recorded on tape in the garage of lead singer Dave Grohl’s garage. Grohl marks the first winner of the night to be cut off by the show’s outro music as he screamed out, “Rock 'n' Roll.”

8:30

In celebration of The Beach Boys reunion, Maroon 5 performed the California band’s classic, “Surfer Girl.” Foster The People was up next with even more well-known Beach Boys’ staple, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Finally, The Beach Boys swung slowly along as they sung “Good Vibrations” which ended with a standing ovation by the audience and smiles all round.

8:33

It seems that only a legend is worthy of presenting another legend. Stevie Wonder introduced Paul McCartney, who crooned “My Valentine” in front of a full orchestra which included the sorrowful yet sweet strings of a classical guitar.

8:40

Surprisingly not dressed in her usual sequins, Taylor Swift took the stage in a modest boho dress. With a bango slung around her shoulders, Swift sang a lackluster version of her single “Mean.” She winked and smirked through the “I told you so” lyrics, reminding her audience that despite her poor track record as a live performer, she’s unbearably charming.

8:50

Song of the Year nominations included “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons, “All of the Lights” by Kanye West and Rihanna,“Grenade” by Bruno Mars, “Holocene” by Bon Iver and “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele. Not surprisingly enough, Adele happily skipped up the stage hand-in-hand with the song’s producer Paul Epworth to accept the award.

9:15

However, in a surprising turn of events, country’s girl-next-door Taylor Swift did not crush her country competition for Best Country Album. It was instead Lady Antebellum who won for Best Country Album with Own The Night.

9:18

Adele’s much-anticipated performance lived up to the hype as she crooned a hauntingly beautiful rendition of her song “Rolling In The Deep,” which won Song of the Year earlier in the night. With each second of her performance, from the acapella beginning to the bridge she belted out, Adele continued to outdo herself, clearly showing the world that she’s not the next big thing; she has already arrived.

9:25

Country stars The Band Perry and Blake Shelton honored Glen Campbell. Their performances pleasantly primed the stage for the true star, Glen Campbell, who proudly sang “Rhinestone Cowboy” while the audience clapped and sang along.

9:32

Jazz legend Tony Bennett sang alongside a refreshingly less-country version of Carrie Underwood’s voice that swapped southern twang for fluid jazz harmonies on “It Had To Be You.”

9:35

Bon Iver beat out The Band Perry, Skrillex, J.Cole and even Nicki Minaj who had an undeniably explosive year for new artist. He humbly accepted the award, tipping his theoretical hat to the musicians who have yet to be discovered.

9:50

In honor of the tragic death of Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, who just a couple nights ago was praising Houston’s voice on “Piers Morgan Tonight,” took the stage. Hudson stood under a spotlight while she delivered an impressive (though not quite on par with Houston’s) version of “I Will Always Love You.” Considering the obviously short notice of this performance and Hudson’s chilling rendition, you have to wonder if this is a song she’s dreamed of performing since she was a little girl.

9:56

Deadmau5, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, David Guetta and Foo Fighters attempted to rouse the crowd with what the Grammy’s had been calling a “dance party” preceding the performance. David Guetta’s electronic beats slunk up and down as background music for Chris Brown and Lil Wayne in a haphazard performance that lacked cohesion. Strobe lights and smoke distracted from a performance that the show could’ve done without. As it turns out, a Deadmau5 and Foo Fighters collaboration make for a pretty abysmal performance.

10:10

Looking fresh in a tuxedo, rapper Drake teases us with an introduction of his “good friend” Nicki Minaj, instead of a performance of his own. It’s quite obvious through Minaj’s typical clothing style, that she strives to be different than your average pop or hip hop star, so her bizarre acting and rapping hybrid performance doesn’t come as much of a surprise. After rap lyrics littered with the word “bitch,” she sampled the Christmas carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful” resulting in an odd performance that left the audience cheering but completely confused nonetheless.

10:20

The Band Perry presented the Record of the Year to Adele, sharing the same attitude as the rest of the audience with a simple, understated, “No surprise, 'Rolling in the Deep!'” At this point, does it even really matter who else was nominated?

10:25

Adele pulls off a six-for-six clean sweep with tears in her eyes as she accepts the final award of the night, Album of the Year. Despite a runny nose and a little voice cracking, she maintains a level of class and grace that other pop stars can only dream of having. “It has been the most life-changing year,” she sobs. And that is perhaps the understatement of the night.

LONDON — The childhood homes of former Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney, where the pair wrote some of their early songs, will be preserved, the government said Wednesday.

Lennon’s house in south Liverpool and McCartney’s nearby row home will be granted a grade 2 listing, which means they cannot be altered without the permission of local officials, said Britain’s Heritage Minister John Penrose.

The decision means the homes of one of Britain’s greatest songwriting teams will be protected for generations to come. Their work has long been associated with the northern port city Liverpool, particularly because of songs like “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” that celebrated their childhood haunts.

Lennon lived at a comfortable 1930s duplex house called “Mendips” in 251 Menlove Ave. from 1945 to 1963 with his aunt and uncle after his parents separated when he was five.

McCartney lived in nearby Forthlin Road for nine years from 1955. The two musicians held early practice sessions for their first band The Quarrymen while living at these houses, and wrote The Beatles’ first number one hit, the raucous “Please Please Me,” at Lennon’s home.

Preservation group The National Trust has already restored the houses to look as they would have when Lennon and McCartney were growing up.

In a statement Wednesday, Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono said: “Mendips always meant a great deal to John and it was where his childhood dreams came true for himself and for the world.”

The preservation order was granted by English Heritage, a government-sponsored body that decides which buildings to preserve. It decided not to preserve the childhood homes of Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr.

Emily Gee at English Heritage said Lennon’s and McCartney’s homes had been preserved because “they were scenes of huge amounts of rehearsal, of composition of songs, really intense, creative hubs.”