Review: Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium

taylor swift

Goodbye country, hello synth-pop.

Friday night — the first of a two-night, sold-out stint at Gillette Stadium that had 60,000 teens and tweens approaching hysteria — Taylor Swift shed any and all remnants of her country past in favor of the ’80s-inspired aesthetic off her multiplatinum smash album “1989”…continue reading at the Boston Herald.

Stevie Wonder brings classic ‘songs’ to life at Boston show

stevieGrown men shouted “I love you, Stevie!” Sixty-year-olds pumped their fists, twirled and took selfies. Ushers danced in the aisles. And for a couple of hours, all was right with the world again.

Stevie Wonder performed his seminal 1976 album “Songs in the Key of Life” at the sold-out TD Garden Tuesday night, and in the process delivered a music clinic, art therapy session and dance party rolled into one.

The 64-year-old music legend multitasked with the energy of someone half his age – he sang, riffed with his backup singers, played keyboard, piano and harmonica and sermonized about topics ranging from love to racism to magic. When his instrumental work drew a standing ovation, he joked, “You guys only stood up ‘cause you know I can see you more clearly.”…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.

I’m just now realizing how brilliant Amy Winehouse was and it’s killing me

amy-winehouseI’ve been listening to a lot of Amy Winehouse lately. It’s pretty much all I’ve been doing. That and watching her videos, interviews and documentaries. I should have realized how brilliant she was a long time ago, but I didn’t. And now that I have, it’s like I’ve become obsessed.

A guy I briefly dated in 2007 burned me a copy of “Back to Black” and told me I should check it out. He said something about it being “different” or “retro.” But because he was kind of lame, and because people would regularly send me terrible music they claimed was incredible, I was skeptical. I dismissed his words, ignored the Amy Winehouse buzz and didn’t bother to play her album a single time. I mostly knew her as the girl who sang that kind of cool song “Rehab,” the one with the beehive who looked increasingly emaciated and troubled. I glanced at her from a distance but never really looked.  Read More

After a fight with a boyfriend, I picture soccer fields

soccerIt’s after midnight and my boyfriend and I are having a fight, and it reminds me of a fight I had with an ex-boyfriend. It’s a fight that makes me feel bad about myself, and for some reason I picture the soccer fields in Wilmington, my hometown. This is where I spent afternoons and weekends during so much of my childhood.

The memories are hazy and disjointed. I think about stamina, and how much I had back then, how I could run up and down the field for the entire game and never get tired. And then my body changed, everything changed really, and suddenly I couldn’t catch my breath.  Read More

4 things you need to know about the Drake vs. Lil Wayne concert

drakevslilwayneI already wrote a review of the Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour, which stopped at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield Monday night, but here are a few thoughts and observations from the concert that didn’t make that review:

Best concert ever? When I searched the #DrakevsLilWayne hashtag on Twitter I saw an alarming number of people say this was the best concert they had ever been to. And my response to those people is: You need to attend more concerts. Yes, this was a good show, and Lil Wayne in particular brought his A-game. But the best concert ever? Please. Both artists have staged better concerts individually. Drake’s Club Paradise tour in 2012, for example, far outdid anything he offered up on Monday night. And I understand that the two rappers together pack an extra punch and fans were excited to witness the dynamic duo in action, but with cheesy video game graphics, a show full of stops and starts and Drake’s drowsy new material, this was far from the Kanye West pinnacle of live performance….continue reading at Rap Rehab.

Review: Young Money label the winner in Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour

 

drake-wayneMANSFIELD – Rap stars Drake and Lil Wayne played adversaries at the Xfinity Center Monday night, rattling off hits and trading comedic put-downs in a battle for “immortality” and the title of “greatest rapper in the world.” The Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour featured multiple rounds of competition, a smartphone app for fans to download and cheesy graphics that turned the two megastars into video game characters.

For just over two hours, the hitmakers alternated 15-minute sets, shared the stage for a song-for-song battle and unleashed their best material during a final round before they united for a series of joint hits while fireworks and flames danced behind them. Then Lil Wayne was declared “the winner” (rightfully so), Drake sang Lil Wayne’s praises as the “greatest rapper to ever do this” and the charade was over.

Yes, the competition may have been a smart way to spin a co-headlining tour and get a video game maker on board for a sponsorship. And it was fun to see Drake and Wayne as fake foes. But their matching Young Money chains said it all – Drake is the flagship star of Weezy’s Young Money Entertainment, and their allegiance is clearly to one another…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.

Grinding hard or hardly grinding? An introduction to rap music marketing

Jay-Z

Behold, a rap marketing genius.

Confession: I got tired of rappers spamming links on Twitter as the basis of their “promotional strategy,” realized there’s a lack of know-how about marketing in the indie rap world and decided to write this marketing guide.

I’m by no means a marketing “expert” (if such a thing really exists), but I have learned a great deal about the subject as a freelance writer required to market myself to get work and as a music journalist on the receiving end of marketing from artists for nearly 10 years, and I hope to share some of that knowledge in this series. While the info will be geared towards rappers, it applies to most endeavors that require self-promotion.

In this first installment, I’ll lay out a brief overview of marketing and explain the difference between effective and ineffective marketing. Future posts will include information about branding, press materials, using social media effectively, improving the quality of your music, building relationships, staging better live shows, grinding in the streets instead of talking about grinding in the streets, and much more…continue reading at Rap Rehab.

Concert review: Beyonce and Jay Z are ‘flawless’ in Foxboro

beyonce jay zFOXBORO — Two-and-a-half hours, more than 40 songs and too many wardrobe changes to count. Music’s reigning supercouple Jay Z and Beyonce delivered an eye-popping, breathtaking show at Gillette Stadium Tuesday night that raised the bar for joint tours — and tours in general.

It was a concert that featured lengthy dance interludes, video snippets of the pair’s gangster non-movie “Run,” audio segments about feminism and a lengthy barrage of hits.

Their songs frequently blended together and sometimes worked in momentary riffs by artists ranging from Michael Jackson to the Notorious B.I.G. Visually and sonically, no detail was neglected…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.

My philosophy of life courtesy of Damon Dash

“My win is to never in life have a boss. To always be free to say what I want. To be able to empower the people I love. That’s my dream. My dream is to make the money without selling out. Anything else is a loss to me. Somebody might say ‘If somebody pays me $100 million to be a slave, then I won.’ That would be a loss to me. But it’s about perspective. I’m looking at it through a completely different lens than most people, because most people that judge me have jobs. Entrepreneurs don’t do that. And again, I don’t judge you for that. You’ve never been free.” –Damon Dash (1:09:11)

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