“Pazz & Jop is an annual poll of musical releases compiled by American newspaper The Village Voice. The poll is tabulated from the submitted year-end top ten lists of hundreds of music critics. Pazz & Jop was introduced by The Village Voice in 1974 as an album-only poll, but was expanded to include votes for singles in 1979.”
President Obama’s Greatest Musical Moments
By Jaime Lees
Tue, Jan 10, 2017
When Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States, it seemed like anything was possible. The fabled American Dream was alive and thriving. We voted for hope and change and we got them both balanced on the shoulders of a man who seemed capable of expertly executing the job.
Now, with only days left on the clock until our country comes under the power of a known psychopath, we mourn what we’re losing and look to the future with appropriate horror. It seems entirely possible that President Obama might go down in history as not just the first African-American president but also the last great American president. Ever. He wasn’t perfect, of course. Like all politicians, he could be hugely disappointing and his public silence and inaction on some matters felt brutal. But it seems safe to say that very (very) soon we will look back on President Obama’s time in office as a golden era.
Not only was he an accomplished, charismatic and dignified leader, he was personable in a style that we’ve never before experienced. And one of the most effective and consistent ways that he connected with the American people was through music.
President Obama used music to showcase his personality and his compassion. He was never shy about expressing how deeply a song or a musician moved him. We knew his opinions on popular artists and it made him more relatable. We also knew that our president sometimes felt compelled to sing or to do a little shimmy. We even knew what he listened to on Spotify. And we loved it all.
Below is a collection of President Obama’s greatest musical moments. Thanks for the great work and the excellent music, Mr. President. We’d love another spin.
This should’ve been our first indication that President Obama was going to be bumping. Here he is as a candidate, dancing his way onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as is the tradition:
Here’s Chi-town’s own Barry O joining Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy and BB King at the White House for a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago”:
Check out President Panty Dropper singing Al Green. That little bite of the lip! He really puts the “O” in Oval Office. It was kind of nice to have a President that was attractive and virile. (There’s no chance of that with the next guy.):
The White House hosted a tribute to Ray Charles, giving our main man another opportunity to showcase his pipes:
Many were charmed when Obama spontaneously sang “Purple Rain” to a kid dressed as Prince last Halloween:
He and Michelle also did an endearing little dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”:
President Obama invited Kendrick Lamar to perform at the White House on the 4th of July. Yeah, let that one sink in for a minute:
He awarded Bruce Springsteen the Presidential Medal of Freedom saying, in part, “I am the President; he is the Boss”:
He also awarded Bob Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom and then later gave us a peek into how the whole experience went down with Mr. Freewheelin’:
Let’s take a minute to appreciate that we had a black President who frequently celebrated music made by black artists while he was living in the Whitest of Houses. About damn time, right? Over the years President Obama has served as host for a wide range of African-American artists including Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Common, Janelle Monáe, Jay-Z, Jill Scott, John Legend, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Usher and the Roots. Here’s Obama singing “Jingle Bells” with Chance the Rapper at the most recent Christmas tree lighting ceremony. (Chance’s dad was Obama’s state director back in his Illinois days.):
In this clip the Obamas dance as a pre-Lemonade Beyonce sings the timeless 1941 classic “At Last,” made famous by Etta James in 1960:
Barack and Michelle danced a lot, actually. Dancing is where their passions meet, as it combines Barack’s passion for music with Michelle’s passion for getting active. In this video they’re trying the tango, but President Obama was known for dancing all across the world, from Alaska to Kenya:
And here they are having an impromptu boogie to “Uptown Funk” with R2D2 and a stormtrooper. They always seemed to have fun:
President Obama somehow even managed to make Jimmy Fallon’s moronic show tolerable for a few short minutes when he showed up to slow-jam the news:
Here’s a recent video from Usher of the President dancing to “Hotline Bling.” #Lit:
The President was also down with the kids, happily hosting his own festival called South By South Lawn on the grounds of the White House:
And here’s our boyfriend trying not to sing along with Aretha Franklin during Carole King’s Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. Was that a tear? And yes, even the President must stand when Aretha takes off her fur:
We saved the best for last. In this video, President Obama paused to sing “Amazing Grace” while presenting the eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney after Pinckney and his fellow church members were executed in a racially motivated mass shooting in North Carolina. The universally moving song was adopted by southern gospel culture decades ago and it was the perfect expression of President Obama’s humanity and a grieving nation:
What the World Needs Now Are Beyonce Bitmojis
By Jaime Lees
Fri, Sep 9, 2016
Not quite two weeks ago, Beyoncé performed a seventeen-minute medley of the content in her truly epic visual album, Lemonade, on the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. And damn. Just damn. Without giving too much away: that part near the beginning where the backup dancers drop under the red lights? Powerful stuff.
Full videos of this iconic performance seem to have vanished from streaming services sometime within the past 24 hours, but we’re told that there are ways around this. (And lots of clips to peep.) It was an astonishing, legendary production. On stage that night Beyoncé delivered what is surely the most monumental awards show performance by an African-American female since Whitney Houston massacred the Billboard awards in 1993.
If you haven’t yet experienced the full Lemonade album, you’re missing out on one of the greatest pop culture moments in recent history. This is not some vapid pop release. Lemonade finds Beyoncé taking on subjects like gender discrimination, racial biases, self discovery, revenge, ambition, forgiveness, money, power, love and a whole hell of a lot of man problems.
In honor of the album and Beyoncé’s performance tomorrow in St. Louis at The Dome at America’s Center (701 Convention Plaza Street, St. Louis; 314-342-5201), we took some of the more memorable lines from Lemonade and made a collection of Beyoncé Bitmojis. (Beymojis, if you will.)
We apologize in advance for not being able to find a suitable representation for the “Hot sauce in my bag / Swag” line, but please enjoy the rest of these Beymojis and then go out and slay today.
If the 2016 Presidential Candidates Were Musicians …
Posted By Jaime Lees
Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 6:30 am
Are you as wrapped up in this presidential race as we are, or what? Have you been watching the debates? And do these candidates remind you of anybody? Because certain personality traits exhibited by our presidential candidates keep reminding us of some of the more famous acts in pop culture musical history.
Politics and music have long been entwined, but it’s still kind of a curse to see everything in the world through a musical filter. Sometimes you just want to watch a candidate give a speech but you can’t help but imagine them standing behind the podium with stage blood pouring from their mouths, scolding brutes in a mosh pit or asking Pat Smear to bring them a bottle of water.
Check out our thoughts below on this phenomenon below. We think we’re onto something here.
If our presidential candidates were musicians …. Donald Trump would be Gene Simmons of Kiss.
Both Trump and Simmons are misogynistic megalomaniacs who are extremely obsessed with wealth. And though they might be certifiable narcissists, they both have a knack for capturing attention in a way that feeds their ultimate goals. They’re both natural entertainers who back their boastfulness with their exemplary branding techniques and willingness to stamp their (Americanized) names onto anything and sell it. They also say vaguely racist things without fully committing to open hatred. And though the public thought Simmons took it all to the farthest possible limit when started selling KISS Kaskets, Trump has outdone him by moving from real estate to a Presidential campaign. They’re both reality television stars, they’re both married to foreign-born models, they both have ridiculous hair, they both never shut the hell up, they both have tiny “hands” and they’re both The Demon.
If our presidential candidates were musicians … Hillary Clinton would be Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters.
Clinton and Grohl are very good at their jobs and they both have found great success in their respective fields through decades of hard work. They’re also such professionals that most doubts about them and their intentions are easily brushed aside — both Clinton and Grohl are just so damn smooth that we can’t help but respect their hustle. And though neither of them might be your first choice as our official ultimate representative (of the U.S.A. or rock and roll), they surely don’t bungle their jobs as badly as many of their peers. Their careers have even followed similar trajectories, from undeniable street cred (Clinton’s activism during her college years / Grohl’s days in Scream) to the times in the ’90s when they both literally stood behind handsome blue-eyed men who ultimately let them down (Bill Clinton / Kurt Cobain). Now they’ve moved to the foreground and are striking out on their own. In their own ways, both Clinton and Grohl have clearly been aiming to take over the world for years — Clinton is just a little more transparent about her goals.
If our presidential candidates were musicians … Bernie Sanders would be Ian MacKaye of Fugazi.
Both are respected long-standing figures in the underground D.C. scene. Both have been in the public eye since the early 1980s, MacKaye with Minor Threat and Sanders as a mayor in Vermont. Both have built careers on being politically active and both choose caffeine as their main drug. Both use their microphones to demand change, promote women’s rights and speak up on behalf of the poor. Both are seen as unwavering and adorably idealistic. Neither are interested in corporate sponsorship and neither would never make you pay more than a nominal cover charge for their events. Both MacKaye and Sanders have clashed with cops over righteous causes, and they both also jam econo— Sanders takes the train and MacKaye has been rocking that hat for ages. And just like MacKaye, Sanders has been saying the exact same things over and over for the last 35 years.
If our presidential candidates were musicians … Ted Cruz would be Alanis Morissette.
Aside from having very punchable faces, at first glance it would seem that Ted Cruz and Alanis Morissette don’t have much in common. But: They do! First of all, both were born in Canada. And though we have no confirmation that he also goes down on people in theaters, there is a disturbing amount of fan-penned Ted Cruz erotica out there. (Yes, just one instance is enough to be considered disturbing. O’Canada!) They were both minor stars before their current careers: Morissette was a regular on the teeny-bopper singing circuit, and before he got into politics Cruz played the grandpa on The Munsters. (Kidding, kidding.) But seriously, we’d bet that like Morissette, Cruz might have one hand in his pocket and that he also doesn’t understand the definition of the word “ironic.”
What do you think? Do you think our comparisons are appropriate? Some of these were hard to pin down. For example, Trump could’ve just as easily been Kanye West because of his epic tantrums and Twitter freak-outs. (Which would make Megyn Kelly into Taylor Swift.) John Kasich is a bit of a Kelly Rowland. And the Clintons could totally be the political version of Beyoncé and Jay Z. And his new role as the voice of the people might make Bernie Sanders the presidential version of Kendrick Lamar.
But what about other famous politicians? Is President Obama a Paul McCartney? And Sarah Palin is totally as incoherent as Axl Rose, right? So many difficult trivial decisions to make and unimportant details to obsess about over here. Send us your feedback and help us out in the comments section.
Beyoncé Knowles has played many roles in her life. From talented child to church choir soloist to the hugely successful Destiny’s Child, the massively talented woman has always been a performer. When she eventually began a solo career, Beyoncé was instantly recognized as a first-name-only powerhouse superstar a la Cher or Madonna. Then she even created “Sasha Fierce,” an alter-ego with a naughty personality — remember Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines? These days, Beyoncé is back to being herself and is known as the talent behind mega hit singles like “Crazy in Love” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” But she’s also a wife to Jay-Z, a mother to insanely fashionable wee one, Blue Ivy, and a rumored Illuminati high priestess. Way fierce.