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ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
***1/2 (out of four) The Very Best, a London-based collaboration between Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and Swedish producer Johan Hugo, has a history of globalizing U.S. and European musical influences. Yet by including familiar reference points, the group also has tried tried to make global pop music, especially African pop music, more accessible to those same U.S. and European audiences. Its first mixtape featured interpolations of songs by artists as disparate as Michael Jackson, M.I.A.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 16, 2013 | By Ernest Wilkins, @ErnestWilkins and RedEye Sound Board
You can look at Eminem's new rap song, “Rap God,” in one of two ways. It's either “This is the sound of a man who hasn't been considered dope in a long time reminding people that hey, I'm not bad at this rap thing,” or “Wow, Eminem kinda fell off.” As far as the song itself, Eminem is a Ph.D candidate in rap studies, effortlessly switching the flow from slow and enunciated to homages of '80s one-hit wonders J.J. Fad and Chicago's...
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2013 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
*** (out of four) The-Dream's appropriately titled fourth album, “IV Play,” opens with a song called “High Art,” a title that's almost aggressively ill-fitting. The song purposefully pokes fun at stuffy ideas of art with its chorus about drugs and sex, but it's also one of the more generic entries in The-Dream's catalog, featuring a Jay-Z verse that imitates Big Sean's flow and sounds like the kind of stilted R&B song rappers release as their album's third single. Coming from The-Dream, an artist who frequently manages to turn pop music into high art, it's a disappointing departure.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2013 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
*** (out of four) The-Dream's appropriately titled fourth album, “IV Play,” opens with a song called “High Art,” a title that's almost aggressively ill-fitting. The song purposefully pokes fun at stuffy ideas of art with its chorus about drugs and sex, but it's also one of the more generic entries in The-Dream's catalog, featuring a Jay-Z verse that imitates Big Sean's flow and sounds like the kind of stilted R&B song rappers release as their album's third single. Coming from The-Dream, an artist who frequently manages to turn pop music into high art, it's a disappointing departure.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
** (out of four) For whatever reason, the American hip-hop community has never really taken to K'naan, the Somali Canadian rapper whose first two albums delivered frequently riveting descriptions of growing up in Mogadishu and moving to Toronto. Not that this turned out to be a problem -- his song "Waving Flag" was chosen by Coca-Cola as its 2010 World Cup anthem and became a massive international hit. Even Mitt Romney, who has probably never willingly listened to a rap song in his life, picked it up to use for his campaign.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 13, 2013 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
** (out of four) We gravitate toward pop stars for many reasons: They provide unmistakable glamor,  a worldview so unique it offers an escape and, sometimes, large-scale public drama. Perhaps most fundamentally, pop music gives us the illusion that its creator has tapped into some great cosmic secret only expressible in song. Former child star and current grown-up star Demi Lovato offers none of these things. She doesn't provide a concrete idea we can all latch onto, nor does she even give us a blank slate onto which we can project.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 3, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
Album review: Ke$ha, 'Warrior' ***1/2 (out of 4) A few years ago, Ke$ha introduced herself to the world as a glitter enthusiast who uses whiskey for mouthwash. She has no particular image to maintain. So rather than turning to someone like mastermind producer Dr. Luke (the guy responsible for probably a third of your favorite pop songs/the reason you know who Katy Perry and Ke$ha are) for a disingenuous, guilty-pleasure single, Ke$ha can throw her lot in with Dr. Luke entirely.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 9, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
Annie Clark is, as a person, more polite than punk. “I tend to be kind of cerebral, I guess,” she explains. But the music she makes as St. Vincent - precise, ambitious rock full of airy vocal melodies and frenetic guitar parts - can be jarring, disruptive and often absolutely beautiful. As a result, her third album, “Strange Mercy,” contained some of last year's most forward-thinking rock. To figure out Clark's secret formula, RedEye called her up for a chat about moshing, music production and, um, “The Hunger Games.” Your music is getting more abrasive, louder.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 10, 2011 | By Emily Van Zandt and RedEye
Real talk: I've been lame lately. The decision to defy my worsening health and party until I lost my voice for a solid three days in honor of my 25th combined with my annual “it's cold outside and I should start saving for the holidays anyway” attitude has led to more frequent BYOB trips, followed by bedtimes my grandmother would laugh at. The same cannot be said for my upstairs neighbors. While I've been busy spending quality time with Netflix Instant, they've been having quite a time of it. And they have no issues sharing.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 10, 2011 | By Kyle Kramer and For RedEye
Patrick Stump doesn't claim to be cool. “I don't believe in guilty pleasures,” Stump says, when the subject of pop music comes up. The Fall Out Boy singer's solo album, “Soul Punk,” which dropped Oct. 18, is the cool kind of pop music, though: the kind that draws on Timbaland as much as any punk band and ends up sounding a little like a Prince record. Stump, who caps his tour Friday at Metro, called in during a recent stop in Buffalo to talk with RedEye about Hollywood parties, socialism and what hip-hop fans think of his...
ENTERTAINMENT
May 13, 2013 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
** (out of four) We gravitate toward pop stars for many reasons: They provide unmistakable glamor,  a worldview so unique it offers an escape and, sometimes, large-scale public drama. Perhaps most fundamentally, pop music gives us the illusion that its creator has tapped into some great cosmic secret only expressible in song. Former child star and current grown-up star Demi Lovato offers none of these things. She doesn't provide a concrete idea we can all latch onto, nor does she even give us a blank slate onto which we can project.
NEWS
January 24, 2013 | By Niki Fritz, @fritzfrack and For RedEye
It's been an intense month for Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton. After recovering from a fall, the subsequent concussion and a blood clot, Clinton spent six hours Wednesday giving testimony about the terrorist attack in Libya. On behalf of the American people, I would like to treat Clinton to a beer after a doozy of a week. Here are the Top 15 reasons why I want to grab a brew with her. 1. Clinton is the [bleep]. She has been my hero since I was 11. I still remember parts of her 1996 speech at the U.N. Women's Conference in Beijing.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 3, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
Album review: Ke$ha, 'Warrior' ***1/2 (out of 4) A few years ago, Ke$ha introduced herself to the world as a glitter enthusiast who uses whiskey for mouthwash. She has no particular image to maintain. So rather than turning to someone like mastermind producer Dr. Luke (the guy responsible for probably a third of your favorite pop songs/the reason you know who Katy Perry and Ke$ha are) for a disingenuous, guilty-pleasure single, Ke$ha can throw her lot in with Dr. Luke entirely.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and For RedEye
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when Rihanna transitioned from being the singer of arguably the best song ever made about rain gear (“Umbrella”) to becoming an object of constant scrutiny. Whether it's due to deft marketing or just societal inhibitions that we've reached a point where people are outraged over a singer making a song full of sexual innuendos about cake frosting (last year's “Birthday Cake (Remix)”), here we are. Rihanna's new album, “Unapologetic,” squarely takes aim at our more trolling-attuned reflexes,...
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
** (out of four) For whatever reason, the American hip-hop community has never really taken to K'naan, the Somali Canadian rapper whose first two albums delivered frequently riveting descriptions of growing up in Mogadishu and moving to Toronto. Not that this turned out to be a problem -- his song "Waving Flag" was chosen by Coca-Cola as its 2010 World Cup anthem and became a massive international hit. Even Mitt Romney, who has probably never willingly listened to a rap song in his life, picked it up to use for his campaign.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
***1/2 (out of four) The Very Best, a London-based collaboration between Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and Swedish producer Johan Hugo, has a history of globalizing U.S. and European musical influences. Yet by including familiar reference points, the group also has tried tried to make global pop music, especially African pop music, more accessible to those same U.S. and European audiences. Its first mixtape featured interpolations of songs by artists as disparate as Michael Jackson, M.I.A.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 16, 2013 | By Ernest Wilkins, @ErnestWilkins and RedEye Sound Board
You can look at Eminem's new rap song, “Rap God,” in one of two ways. It's either “This is the sound of a man who hasn't been considered dope in a long time reminding people that hey, I'm not bad at this rap thing,” or “Wow, Eminem kinda fell off.” As far as the song itself, Eminem is a Ph.D candidate in rap studies, effortlessly switching the flow from slow and enunciated to homages of '80s one-hit wonders J.J. Fad and Chicago's...
NEWS
April 11, 2012 | By Julia Borcherts, for RedEye
Sure, we all have classics that we're proud to claim as favorites -- who's ever ashamed to admit they've read Shakespeare? -- but if we're being honest, we've also got our guilty pleasures, whether it's pop music or silly comedies or a childhood fascination with comics we've never quite outgrown. This spring, local theater companies bring you five original shows which embrace and elevate your guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasures, with inspirations ranging from the excellent adventures of Bill and Ted to the "Pulp Fiction" misadventures of Vincent Vega...
ENTERTAINMENT
May 9, 2012 | By Kyle Kramer and RedEye special contributor
Annie Clark is, as a person, more polite than punk. “I tend to be kind of cerebral, I guess,” she explains. But the music she makes as St. Vincent - precise, ambitious rock full of airy vocal melodies and frenetic guitar parts - can be jarring, disruptive and often absolutely beautiful. As a result, her third album, “Strange Mercy,” contained some of last year's most forward-thinking rock. To figure out Clark's secret formula, RedEye called her up for a chat about moshing, music production and, um, “The Hunger Games.” Your music is getting more abrasive, louder.
NEWS
April 11, 2012 | By Julia Borcherts, for RedEye
Sure, we all have classics that we're proud to claim as favorites -- who's ever ashamed to admit they've read Shakespeare? -- but if we're being honest, we've also got our guilty pleasures, whether it's pop music or silly comedies or a childhood fascination with comics we've never quite outgrown. This spring, local theater companies bring you five original shows which embrace and elevate your guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasures, with inspirations ranging from the excellent adventures of Bill and Ted to the "Pulp Fiction" misadventures of Vincent Vega and Marsellus...
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