Janet Jackson's comeback seems to be very strategic and well planned. Today, the music icon dropped her brand new single, "No Sleep," after recently announcing her comeback album and "Unbreakable" world tour.
Along with the new single, the New York Post's Page Six is reporting that the veteran R&B singer will be honored at the upcoming BET Awards. The word is, several artists, including Ciara, will perform a tribute to Mrs. Jackson.
It's unclear if Jackson will hit the stage and the network is being tight-lipped about the production, but the source claims: "Janet's known for her dancing, so expect a lot of dancing." This will be Jackson's first major television appearance in three years.
Hear Lauryn Hill, Usher Interpret Nina Simone Classics
Tracks, including Jazmine Sullivan's take on "Baltimore," will appear on upcoming tribute compilation 'Nina Revisited'
Lauryn Hill released another Nina Simone cover from the upcoming tribute compilation 'Nina Revisited.'Brad Barket/GettyThree more tracks from the upcoming Nina Simone tribute album, Nina Revisited, find Lauryn Hill, Usher and Jazmine Sullivan putting unique spins on the jazz legend's songs. Hill, who co-produced the compilation, transforms Simone's vocal showstopper "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" from a pensive piano ballad into a lush tapestry of electronics, guitar and orchestra over which she channels the original's heartache. Usher takes Simone's upbeat, bouncy jazz standard "My Baby Just Cares for Me" and turns it into a modern-sounding, poppy R&B tune, though his soaring vocals harken back to Simone's era. And Sullivan puts a harder-edged take on Simone's reggae-inflected song "Baltimore."
Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone is due out July 10th, and, in addition to the newly released covers, features Simone songs by Mary J. Blige, Common, Alice Smith and Simone's daughter, Lisa, among others. In addition to co-producing the comp, Hill contributed six tunes. Previously, she released her powerful, sultry take on "Feeling Good," which is streaming here.
Lauryn Hill - "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair"
"Because I fed on this music, both hers and lovers like her, like my basic food, I believed I always had a right to have a voice," Hill said in a statement about her involvement in the release. "Her example is clearly a form of sustenance to a generation needing to find theirs. What a gift."
The album comes shortly after the premiere of a new Liz Garbus–directed Netflix documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, which is set to premiere on June 26th. The film premiered earlier this month, along with a concert by Hill, at New York City's historic Apollo Theater, where she sang "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair," for what Rolling Stone described as an "explosive" set. The film features archival footage and rare recordings, and recounts the singer's life primarily through her own words.
Usher - "My Baby Just Cares for Me"
Jazmine Sullivan - "Baltimore"
Watch Shelby Lynne's Confessional New Video 'Paper Van Gogh'
Singer-songwriter bares her soul in heart-wrenching track off her 'I Can't Imagine' LP
"Paper Van Gogh," the lead-off track from Shelby Lynne's latest album, I Can't Imagine, released last month, opens with what comes off as a fairly angry line: "I threw these colors down in a fit of rage." But instead of delivering the phrase with vitriol, Lynne, much like the Dutch master in the title, proceeds to paint an extraordinary canvas of a song that evokes myriad emotional responses.
The likewise beautifully rendered music video for "Paper Van Gogh" is a simple, uncluttered affair. As Lynne plays acoustic guitar throughout, members of her backing band, Kudzu, are heard but only glimpsed briefly. Wearing a red sweatshirt with the word "Heaven" emblazoned on it at the start of the clip, Lynne conveys a range of emotion in her facial expressions. While splashes of color and images, such as pages of sheet music, are laid on top of Lynne's performance, the focus remains on her startlingly confessional lyrics: "Red wine spills out over ivory pages/The looking glass reveals what the strokes display/The greatest fake of all hangs on the wall/My paper Van Gogh."
"Paper Van Gogh" is one of five songs on I Can't Imagine that Lynne wrote by herself, although she had a hand in penning all 10 tracks on the LP. The decision to tackle a tune as a solo writer, she explains, comes down to instincts and, like much of what she does creatively, doesn't involve over-thinking.
"A writer knows, 'Oh, I've got this,'" Lynne tells Rolling Stone Country. "It's instincts. You have to have them and you have to use them. If you put your brain into it you're just going to have a brain record and who the fuck wants that? I don't want to be thinking too much. I want to be feeling a lot but not thinking any. That's why my records are such a mess. OK, they're a good mess but I am not going in there with some kind of plan except to make a fucking stellar record.'"
Lynne, who has been performing I Can't Imagine and her breakthrough album, I Am Shelby Lynne, in their entirety during her live shows, will play Pershing Square in Los Angeles on August 1st.
Pageant Material Review
With 2013's Same Trailer Different Parkand "Follow Your Arrow," Kacey Musgraves became not just a breakout star but a figurehead for a generation overhauling country's whole approach — something like Lena Dunham with pedal steel and big hair. Her follow-up is more calculated and confident, intent on both courting and bending the mainstream with wit and timeless arrangements. It misses some of Trailer's storytelling wistfulness and formal experiments — but track for track, it's stronger, an object lesson in Nashville songwriting.
Musgraves and her A-list co-writers (including Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark and others) deliver enough needlepoint homilies to launch an Etsy business. On haters: "Pissin' in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener" ("Biscuits"). On the music biz: "Another gear in a big machine don't sound like fun to me" ("Good Ol' Boys Club"). On sketchy relatives: "They might smoke like chimneys but give you their kidneys" ("Family Is Family"). Songs like the title track allude to Musgraves' whiplash fame, but she dodges any second-album slump with weed jokes and homegirl charm. And as a stellar hidden-track duet with Willie Nelson ("Are You Sure") demonstrates, she's earned that fame, every inch.