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10 Unforgettable Super Bowl Halftime Performances

Are you ready for some….commercials? In just a short while, the New England Patriots will battle the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, in what is shaping up to be quite a showdown of inflated egos and deflated balls. While many of you guys are looking forward to the game, personally speaking, I’m most looking forward to the commercials(and watching the ‘Avengers:Age Of Ultron’ trailer….again) and of course, seeing what Ms. Katy Perry has up the sleeve of her pepperoni pizza onesie. While details of the show are wrapped up tighter than a whipped cream bikini, what we do know is that rocker Lenny Kravitz will be joining Ms. Katy, and rumors are also swirling that the one-and-only Missy Elliot will be making a cameo appearance tonight on that coveted halftime stage. Sigh….let’s hope this true…

While I’m anxiously awaiting to see if perhaps Ms. Elliot will indeed be workin’ it on stage with Katy and Lenny, in the meantime, we took a trip down music memory lane and gathered up 10 unforgettable Super Bowl half time shows that indeed put the “spec” in “tacular.” I’m sure you guys know who’s #1 on the list, but nine other performances are rounded up and all for you like Janet. Dive in.

 

10.Bruno Mars/Red Hot Chili Peppers (2014)

While it was noticeable that guest stars RHCP reportedly didn’t have their instruments plugged in, there was no denying that headliner Mars put on one hell of a show last year, packed with plenty of music heart and soul. It’s no wonder that at 115 million viewers, it’s the most watched T.V. spectacle-ever. That being said, you have some very big little shoes to fill, Ms. Perry.

 

9.Diana Ross (1996)

All we can say is, you better work, Ms. Ross. Arriving high atop the stage on an elevated platform, decked in a tight red sequined freakum dress with hair for days, Diana destroyed it that night performing her hits, “Baby Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Stop In The Name Of Love” and “Chain Reaction,” among others. The best part of Ms. Ross’ halftime affair was at the end when she took off in a helicopter, no doubt putting the “D” in Di-va.

 

 

8.Prince (2007)

Leave it to the purple one to pack the stage with blasting guitar riffs, sequins for days and loads of sexual innuendo, while performing his own hits(“Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby, I’m A Star,”) and covers(Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower and Foo Fighters, “Best Of Me”). While the almighty little music man absolutely rocked it out, it was all that rain that poured down during his set is what truly made this a one-of-a-kind show that no one will ever forget.

For this little nugget of music truth, go right here.

7.Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band (2009)

Mr. Springsteen and his E-Street band mates rocked the house that year, giving housewives all over the world that special “Boss” tingle all over. While the performance was loaded with a handful of hits, the biggest punch came when Mr. Bruce slammed into a T.V. camera with his crotch during his performance of his hit, “1oth Avenue Freeze Out.” Ay dios mio, Mr. Springsteen.

6.U2 (2002)

Perhaps the most emotionally charged performance on the list, U2 dedicated their set to the victims of the 9/11 attacks that occurred five months prior. There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena or in households all over the globe as the Ireland rockers performed hits, “Beautiul Day,” “MLK” and “Where The Streets Have No Name.” Simply chilling, patriotic and beautiful.

5.Aerosmith, Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Mary J. Blige Nelly (2001)

Really, we could go on and on about this sort of “WTF” performance(like, what was Mary doing there in the first place? Same to you, Nelly.), but it delivered a sure fire spectacle seeing Brit-Brit rub microphones with Steven Tyler during “Walk This Way” and ultimately foreshadowing her relationship with ‘N Sync-er,Timberlake. Also, that tube sock Ms. Spears was wearing started a whole new weird kind of fashion trend. As of matter of fact, I’m still rockin’ mine…are you?

 

 

4.Beyonce (2013)

While Bey delivered a stunning set packed with her shimmering hits, some went on to say how Incredible Hulk-ish she looked that night in her laced and leather-ed up outfit, so perhaps the best part of Bey’s “Grrr” performance were all…those..memes that followed suite the following day. Oh, and it also didn’t hurt that we finally got that Destiny’s Child reunion we were starving for, even though it lasted about three seconds. And when the lights went out afterwards, delaying the game for what seemed like hours? Priceless.

3.Madonna (2012)

Cartwheels! Gladiators! LMFAO!(remember them?) M.I.A. flipping the bird! Yes, the Material Girl’s halftime bonanza had it all, including a medley of hits(“Vogue,” “Music,” “Express Yourself,” just to name a few.), as well as further proof that Madonna knew exactly how to do it when it came to delivering a delicious halftime extravaganza. However, no more pom-poms for you, Ms. Ciccione.

2.Michael Jackson (1993)

The best part of the dearly departed King of Pop’s performance was not all the Jumbo-trons he appeared on, the bright spectacle that it was or his list of hits he performed (“Jam,” “Black or White,” “We Are The World,” “Billie Jean”) No, it was when MJ finally arrived on stage (from the skies above, it seemed like), he just stood there for about two minutes, driving the crowd wild as the world watched and anticipated his next move. In fact, MJ’s performance was so monumental, it was after this performance that halftime show producers were focused on bringing more high calibur performers to the event. In a word, bow down to MJ…there will never be another like him (or this performance)in our lifetime.

1.Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake (2004)

Three words-Nip-ple-gate. How can we ever forget about this one?

 

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8 Essential Covers

Daniel Johns (of Silverchair) – Smells Like Teen Spirit
[Original artist: Nirvana]

A song that’s been overplayed and covered over and over and over. But in this I find myself back in my childhood during a summer rain. I think it’s the harp, the journey of the piano, and the slight snark of Johns’ voice. It takes the song into a whole new dimension.

 

Fiona Apple – Across The Universe
[Original artist: The Beatles]

If the Beatles couldn’t get it right, having released 3 separate versions of the song, than Fiona did, releasing one epic version with a video to compliment. I put this song on in the midst of chaos to remind myself who’s really in control. It’s in the beauty of her voice coupled with the sic drum breakdowns.

 

Bastille – We Can’t Stop
[Original artist: Miley Cyrus]

From the homage to Eminem ‘Lose Yourself’, to the guitar lick of ‘Hakuna Matata’ to a random throw in of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ to the actual song itself…this is one of the best cover versions of any song…ever.

 

Jamie Cullum – Don’t Stop The Music
[Original artist: Rihanna]

It’s hard to really pick ONE of Cullum’s covers. They’re all ace (Pharrell’s ‘Frontin’, ‘God Only Knows’ on violins, ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ jazzed out, Radiohead’s ‘High and Dry’ on piano). But it’s the cover of Rihanna’s hit that gets me every single time. It’s an absolutely flawless recording.

 

Nostalgia 77 (Grant Phabao Remix) – Seven Nation Army
[Original artist: The White Stripes]

A cover song that’s been remixed?! Yup. And it fucking pumps. It’s all in Alice Russell’s voice coupled with the reggae push/pull of the keys/guitars. So much power. So much energy. So much vibe.

 

The Wallflowers – Heroes
[Original artist: David Bowie]

Let’s be honest…Bowie’s version was never that good to begin with. The 90s happened, so did Jakob Dylan’s sexy cool voice and so did Oasis. Put them together, throw them into a blockbuster film, and you got gold. #throwback

 

Cake – I Will Survive
[Original artist: Gloria Gaynor]

Cake has always been good at sounding…different. And being slightly humourous/satirical (no wonder MTV’s Daria adopted them on every episode). So what are they to do but cover Gloria Gaynor, throw in the ‘f’ word, and make a video about the parking authority. #genius

 

Foo Fighters – Baker Street
[Original artist: Gerry Rafferty]

Gerry Rafferty may have written a dope song back in the 70s but the Foo really claimed it as their own. When I first heard this on the radio I flipped my shit, not realizing it was a cover. I thought it was one of the coolest catchiest riffs around. And I still feel that way today. Rock on Baker Street…

 

HONORABLE MENTION:

Mark Ronson – Just
[Original artist: Radiohead]

Sure, everybody knows Radiohead and everyone knows Phantom Planet and everyone knows Mark Ronson these days. But did you ever think they’d all work together so well? Look, no version of any Radiohead song will ever trump their own, but this one comes so damn close. Funky Fresh. Kudos to them remaking the entire video as well. Well done guys.

 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Give ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Another Spin

Last week, I told you guys about a special piece I did for Philly Mag called, ’15 Iconic Albums Turning 20 In 2015,’ which, by the way, will be out very soon…maybe even today.  Let me tell you guys, while putting this iconic list together was an absolute delight, the music that I got to dive into again is what really made this piece that much more special.  In fact, one of those albums that was at the very top of the turning twenty list was the music masterpiece that is Alanis Morissette’s historic album, ‘Jagged Little Pill.’ Words can’t describe the feeling that came over me while I was getting reacquainted with this chart shattering set. In fact, I’ve been getting down to it so much these past few weeks, that I felt as if you guys should be as well. So on that “You Oughta Know” I-hate- Uncle -Joey scream, I’m here to deliver my 5 reasons why you guys should absolutely give Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill,’ another whirl in your headphones. Dive into my convincing argument below.

1.Because it represented a whole different kind of chart game…..

Released on June 13th, 1995, ‘Jagged’ posted solid numbers from its very humble start-and just kept going and going…and going, where it eventually went on to sell a whopping 33 million copies(!) worldwide. Now, think about it, when’s the last time(besides Adele’s, 21, of course),  that a music artist even came close to selling that many copies of their album. I’m sure you guys remember that ‘Pill’ was released during a time in music where you actually had to go to The Wall, your local record store, or rip off Columbia House to actually get an album to listen to it. Sigh…those were the days. Oh, and another reason ‘Pill’ destroyed all things Billboard music charts? It’s fucking brilliant….

2.Because the music on it still goes down nice and smooth…

When ‘Jagged’ was released twenty years ago, it had a fresh sound like no other album out during its ’90s fly-girl time. With its powerful punches, light rock riffs and loads of those sultry Alanis shrieks we all live for,  all of these elements still make the music on this celebrated set truly memorable. Even listening to it now, Alanis still has a crisp sound that sounds like no other bitch on current radio. The light flow of classic tracks, “Perfect,” “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know” “All I Really Want,” and basically every other song on the album, still make this delightful ‘Pill” easy to swallow after all these years.

3.Because the lyrics still hold their relevance…

I’m not ashamed to say that I certainly go through my dark and twisty “Alanis” days, so whenever I need to write a page in my music diary, I turn to ‘Pill’ for its moving melodies and lethargic lyrics. From “All I Really Want”(“My sweater is on backwards and inside out.” Story of my life),”Hand In My Pocket”(“I’m brave, but I’m chicken shit.”), to “You Learn”(“You Live, you learn.” Truth.) and “Ironic”(“It’s meeting the man of my dreams, then meeting his beautiful wife.” Sigh.), I still get all of my life meanings through the music of Ms. Morrissette. However, if I’m really having one of “those” days where I feel the need to pack up my suitcase, trek across the desert and scratch my nails down someone else’s back, then it’s “You Oughta Know” for life.

4.Because’s it a modern music classic.

At the end of the day, all of the reasons I mentioned above all add up to prove to one thing-that ‘Jagged Little Pill’ is a true modern music classic.  Really, there will be no other album of its kind released in our lifetime that still holds so much depth, meaning, incredible songwriting and top-notch production. It’s also a whirling wonder from start to finish, which is something that most mainstream albums lack as of late. While the album is turning twenty this year, it sure as hell doesn’t sound or feel that way. Rock on…

5.Because you still live for all things Alanis…

Yes, I see you over there, watching all four Alanises in the clip for “Ironic.”(By the way, what IS that one Alanis eating in the backseat?)  I also know that you’re still living on a daily basis for pre-‘Pill’ Canadian pop star Alanis, as she rocks a perm and attempts to do the running man in her early-’90s videos for her sassy singles, “Too Hot,” “Fell Your Love” and “No Apologies” However, we just can’t leave out the mecca of all things Uncle Joey’s ex-her run on the iconic Nickelodeon kids T.V. show, You Can’t Do That On Television. Just don’t say…”I don’t know..” Uh-oh.

If you’re still not convinced yet, dive into the videos from ‘Jagged Little Pill’ and relive all of this delicious mid-’90s music truth.

“You Oughta Know”

“Hand In My Pocket”

“Ironic”

“You Learn”

“Head Over Feet”

“Too Hot”

“You Can’t Do That On Television”