Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Allow Us To Introduce You To The Vivrant Singer INNA And Her Yummy Tune "Tu Manera"

Allow us to introduce yall to vivrant newcomer singer Inna! A Spanish pop kitten originally hailing from Romania who now resides the other half of her time in Barcelona, Spain. She is unleashing an upcoming Spanish-language record entitled "Yo". Released by Roc Nation’s Latin division,  her first single has got our musical paws high up in the air in anticipation of what more is to come.

The newest  smash tune is called “Tu Manera”. A bouncy super far out, catchy number with all the right hooks and chorus to make a bonafide hit.

Inna describes the yummy sunny ditty as, "one of the most commercial songs on the upcoming album. It’s super repetitive; it’s up-tempo. It started with a bass that we fell in love with. We wanted to do something super simple, not so many melodies. Just the bass by itself sounds like a hit.”

“Tu Manera” was written alongside with her producer, David Ciente, and assisted by a lyricist, Maria Cristina Chiluiza. Inna laughs off the fact that even though she speaks three languages, including Spanish, she jokes that none of the languages she actually speaks correctly!

While working on tunes for her record she says, “we write in gibberish, it could be any language. The base of the song is la-la-las or words with no meaning. Then we find the right words later. If I can share it with the world, that’s what every artists wants, that’s good, that’s the best. But if the world is not going to vibe with it, I’m [still] super happy to be listening to it.”

Karen O And Danger Mouse On Their New Record, Thee Indie Rock Dance Scene Revival From The Early 2000s, Time Travel, Pink Floyd and Beyoncé!

Karen O And Danger Mouse just unleashed a euphoric and brilliantly refreshing new record. They chit-chatted about all that and much more like The indie rock dance scene revival from the early 2000s, Time Travel, Pink Floyd and Beyoncé!

"Karen O and Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton started making noise around the same time, with a similar irreverent zest. In the early 2000s, when Karen was rampaging around the world with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, rocking fishnets-and-lipstick classics like “Maps” and “Y Control,” Danger Mouse rewrote the rulebook with his pioneering Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up, The Grey Album. So Lux Prima — a meeting of minds between the punk queen and the shape-shifting avant-funk producer — feels like the work of two kindred spirits. As Karen says, “Brian is as masculine as you get, but I just dragged him along my journey to the Divine Feminine.”

For Karen O, it’s her first full album since the YYYs’ excellent 2013 Mosquito, though the New York doll hasn’t exactly been low-profile since then. She’s sung at the Academy Awards, performing her Oscar-nominated “Moon Song” from Spike Jonze’s Her. Beyonce gave a new life to “Maps” on Lemonade, turning the the YYYs’ torch ballad into “Hold Up” (“they don’t love you like I love you”). And Karen has come into her own as a crucial influence on modern pop, not to mention spraying a mouthful of beer as the cover star of Lizzy Goodman’s best-selling oral history of the NYC post-9/11 rock scene, Meet Me in the Bathroom. Danger Mouse, meanwhile, has produced everybody from U2 to Adele to the Black Keys, always keeping everyone guessing what he’ll try next. Lux Prima is his first album as a lead performer since 2014’s After the Disco, made by his Broken Bells project with Shins singer James Mercer.

Karen and Brian talked to Rolling Stone about teaming up, cinematic sound, female energy, time travel, Beyonce, mourning Prince and Bowie, parrenthood, rebellion, and the timeless lessons of Pink Floyd.

Karen, this sounds different from anything you’ve done before. Where did this album come from?

Karen O: It all started with me drunk-dialing Brian, back in 2008. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, we did one of those live television things with Beck, and Brian had just done Beck’s record [Modern Guilt]. I drunk-dialed him from Europe: “We gotta work together!” I had no recollection of this until he mentioned it. But we had been on each other’s radar for a while.

I hadn’t made music since Mosquito. I had my son, and then I really hit reset as a human being after that. Going into this record, we were just gonna see what happened in the studio together. No commitments, no ties whatsoever, no labels involved. No nothing. It was purely, “Yeah, let’s just make some music” — like a kid in a sandbox. And it ended up being an expedition.

Where did that expedition take you?

KO: So much feminine energy. Making rock music in a female-fronted band, being female in a male-dominated industry, I’ve just been wanting to get more in touch with the feminine side of myself — as a woman, as a mother, as a bringer of life. I was just feeling it.

That song “Woman” is really intense, emotionally. A “get your armor up” kind of song. Things were shifting out of control politically, from a feminist perspective, but instead of embracing fear, I wanted to embrace a kind of perseverance and get people riled up. That’s something I’ve always liked to do in my work — something to push against. The wave against my surfboard is people saying, “No, you can’t do that.” You think I can’t do that? I’ll fucking do this in your face, motherfucker.

In a way it goes back to the spirit of your earliest punk days, like when you sang “Our Time” in 2001.

KO: “Rebel outsider kids, unite!” Music is where I get to be that person. I’m a pretty shy, reserved, mild-mannered day-to-day person, but in that arena, that’s where I get to be Destroyer and Defender of All.

You’ve always avoided repeating yourself — you do these crazy projects and then move on fast. You even did an opera, Stop the Virgens.

KO: A “psycho-opera” — that what we called it. It might not have been the opera community’s vibe. But it’s part of my personality to take risks and be willing to fail even though that’s fucking terrifying. I have something in me that doesn’t allow myself to not do it, basically. I have this driving force to continue to push myself out of the comfort zone.

Right now, I’ve been doing it for about 20 years. The greatest currency of being an artist is getting to have the experience of the process, then put something out there in the world. There’s a lot of artists that have these dreams to do things, but something gets in the way and they back out. But if you get to have that experience, collaborating with people and trying something new together — that’s what I’m gonna be remembering on my death bed. Not the product, but the process.

How does parenthood change your perspective?

KO: It’s a total ego annihilator. That comfy rug gets pulled from under you, and you’re flying in the air until you land on your head. I’m not passing this with flying colors, by any means. I still don’t know what the fuck I’m doing at all. But I feel like I’m more aware of being a woman. More tuned in to the feminine side of me. Getting through my twenties — I don’t want to say sleep-walking, but I feel like my awareness was less.

That might be surprising to people because you’ve always had that fearless strut — the punk rock warrior queen.

KO: That was just my instinctual reaction. I have this access to a huge amount of strength, almost like super-strength — it’s almost overwhelming. It devoured me, right? I was always fighting to harness that, so it wasn’t able to control me. But I’m glad it appears that way from the outside, like I’m fearless.

I saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs play a secret gig in April 2016, playing Bowie covers a few months after he died. It was for the premiere of your husband Barnaby Clay’s Mick Rock documentary [Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock]. It was the night after Prince died, so you and [TV on the Radio singer] Tunde Adebimpe did “When You Were Mine.” It was so cathartic.

KO: I gotta say, what religion is to a lot of people, music is for me. When Prince died, just being with each other and playing music together — it was one of the most healing, fortifying experiences. Like 9/11 happening to the city, the most traumatizing thing ever — that was just when we were coming up. We got to support each other through it by just taking it all and putting on the slab of the stage — like, “Here’s my fucking heart. Let’s do this together.” Music’s been there for me throughout my life like that, like nothing else.

Then the very next day, Beyoncé released an album called Lemonade, with her version of “Maps.”

KO: I was on the subway around that time. That Saturday night, I was still in the city, on a really crowded subway, and there was a girl listening to it and singing along with it. She had a good voice too, singing a capella. Just hearing her singing it on the subway — that’s a New York moment for me.

You want to write a song that keeps finding its way back to people. And when one of the biggest pop stars in the world wants to sing it? I was like, “Yeah!” [“Maps”] was one of the earliest ones that we wrote. It happened so nonchalantly. But something about that song resonated and managed to stand the test of time. That’s just awesome — to complete something and send it to sail out to the world.

It’s been almost 20 years since the first Yeah Yeah Yeahs gig. What’s it like to have friends now who grew up listening to your music?

KO: We’re all totally on the same page, just born at different times. There’s something enduring about the punk spirit. It’ll just keep going and keep going, even if it’s just wildly unpopular. They can’t get rid of it.

So, Brian, I hear that Karen drunk-dialed you ten years ago?

Danger Mouse: At first I was thinking, “Is it weird that she’s drunk? Because it’s three o’clock in the afternoon?” Then I realized she was in England and I was in L.A. But that was our first real long conversation about doing something together.

Something you and Karen have in common is that you don’t like to repeat yourself.

DM: It has to come from a sense of urgency. My sense of urgency probably comes more from something I would talk about with my shrink. But I think working with a lot of different people helps me to keep moving before I can slow down to think about things too much.

You’ve always seemed to mess with music from all over the map.

DM: When I was in college, I was in Athens, Georgia. So I got into the music scene there. And I was really interested in film and music, and I didn’t know how to do either one. But I felt like I could fake music easier. I grew up in the early Eighties, so there wasn’t that much hip-hop. I was getting New Wave on the radio, then eventually hair metal — I loved all that stuff. Then we moved to the South where it was all hip-hop and Miami bass and booty-shake and stuff like that. I was an art guy, I really liked drawing. And I thought music was entertainment. I didn’t want to be an entertainer. I didn’t want to be a performer, either.

I didn’t understand the concept of using music as an art form until I got to college and started hearing 15-minute Pink Floyd songs, or I’d see people in psychedelic bands. I discovered all the guitar bands around Athens, Georgia — the Elephant 6 stuff, R.E.M., the psychedelic adventurous music. It was catchy and melodic, but it was also way out there and different. At first I said, “That’s not gonna be on the radio,” then I realized, “Well, that’s not what they’re trying to do.” It definitely felt like a real collective of people trying to do something. But what they weren’t trying to do was achieve success at all costs.

I’m getting a little obtuse about it, but to get to Athens, Georgia in 1995, and see people who played guitar, just to put their heart and soul into it, not for the rewards — that was a discovery. That’s why I really love Pink Floyd. It’s the idea that you don’t have to have any song on the radio for it to mean something. I always just assume the stuff I do is not gonna get recognized as it happens. You just hope that someday, somebody’s gonna discover it and go, “This is great!” But you don’t have to worry about the popular thing. You can make a lot more music and more art if you don’t worry about it.

Karen says making this record was like taking an expedition together.

DM: Karen is great because I just believe her when she sings, which is very, very important. So you can put her in a different environment and watch what happens. I look at it like Back to the Future — I love that movie. What happens if you stick this person in this environment or this time period, and see how they act? I think about music that way: “What would happen if Karen was alive at this point in time and was singing here?” It was like sticking an actress in an environment. The first song is very Pink Floyd. Very much like, “Let’s see what happens if we just create this place, this droll, dreamy, cinematic place, and see what it turns into.”

Are there moments where you’re trying that kind of time travel?

DM: “Woman” was definitely that — a real Phil Spector stomp beat. There’s so many songs that started off with a boom-ch-boom-boom-ch. You know the “Be My Baby” beat? So many groups did that beat in the Eighties, and if you played those back to people now, they would think it sounds like an Eighties song. I think it’s similar to little kids discovering how easy it is to make a paper airplane. “Oh my God! Look! How can you make a piece of paper fly?” Then somebody shows you. “Oh shit, that’s a good trick.” You show your friends and they say, “How did you do that?” Then eventually you stop making paper airplanes. It’s like, “Okay, I get that trick.”

Certain things just become classic after a while. They don’t have to be retro. They’re not retro for me because I’m past that. To say something is in the mode of the Beatles — how long are you gonna keep saying that? It’s like somebody who doesn’t know anything about classical music just hearing strings and going, “That sounds like Mozart.”

She says it’s a very feminine album, but you’ve got total masculine energy.

DM: That’s funny to hear her say that — I never knew that that came across. But I’ve always loved female voices. I like to go to sleep listening to women singing. And it’s not something I’ve worked with a whole lot. Probably about one out of every four [collaborations] is a woman. That’s because I’m usually working with somebody who sings in a band — there’s more bands with male singers.

I prefer it to be just me and one other person. That’s the most fun. It’s the least amount of psychology involved. So I said, “Don’t bring in demos, let’s just go in. We’ll listen to some music first, so our communication can be through music that we love.” So we would listen to music for a couple of hours, talk about it a little. Then we would just go into the studio and start writing songs. It’s a good thing to see if people are willing to go there with you, and she was willing to go right away. She was like “All right. Let’s do it.”

I’m never personally afraid of something not coming. Because something always does, you know? It requires no skill. It just requires that you feel this and allow this to happen. Once you understand that, then there’s nothing really to be afraid of. And then you can worry about whether people like it or not afterwards.

How is a collaboration like this different from producing bands? I love the Parquet Courts album you did last year, Wide Awake — you didn’t change them, but it sounded like you inspired them somehow.

DM: Parquet Courts, that was a situation where I didn’t want them to do something so, so different, because I loved what they were doing. People still need to know that fucking band, man — they’re the best band now. They’re great. So all I can really do is just be very opinionated, which I am — and they are, too.

On the other hand, the Black Keys, I think they really wanted to do something different [when we began collaborating]. So that was good, because I’m good at that. I loved their records, but I felt like, yeah, different might be good right now, you know? I’m somebody people usually work with when they want to leave what they normally do, but then go back. I usually do one and get out — do something different and then move on. Because then what do you do different from different?

The only thing you have is just sitting at home, when you’re done with the music, with your headphones, and you better fucking love it then. And I’ve never felt bad after that. That’s all you really have." - Rollingstone.com

Zephrying Since 1999! Ginuwine & Timbaland Celebrate 20th Anniversary Of Legendary Album "100% Ginuwine"

Zephrying in the sky since 1999 is Ginuwine & Timbaland's legendary album "100% Ginuwine"! Thee 20th Anniversary of the iconic record was filled with bangers and grooves and we're here to celebrate.

"Before collecting Grammys and No. 1 singles with Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado in the mid-’00s, super-producer Timbaland ruled the hip-hop and R&B charts in the late 1990s.

His ability to craft creative, futuristic beats was his ammunition, but his crew of exceptional artists -- many culled from Jodeci member DeVante Swing’s New York-based Swing Mob collective -- was the spark. Timbaland helped shape projects by Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Magoo, Playa and Ginuwine. “I treated each person like a superhero,” Timbaland tells Billboard. “I was probably one of the youngest [producers] at that time doing complete albums.”

As the executive producer on R&B singer Ginuwine’s 1996 debut, Ginuwine... the Bachelor, Timbaland co-wrote the single “Pony,” which became a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and a staple of every 1990s-themed karaoke night since. But the massive level of success for Bachelor put an enormous amount of pressure on the singer as he prepared his follow-up album.

“[It was] very scary because you always hear about the sophomore jinx,” Ginuwine says. “I was like, ‘Man, how am I going to top this?’”

He didn’t have to worry. In just over a month’s time, he, Timbaland and the late artist and songwriter Static Major created the seminal 100% Ginuwine album, released on March 16, 1999. While The Bachelor peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard 200, 100% Ginuwine reached the No. 5 spot and spawned a No. 2 R&B hit in “So Anxious,” cementing its namesake as one of the top R&B artists of the late ‘90s.

Along with Usher, Ginuwine was just one of a few solo male R&B artists at the time who also danced and starred in eye-catching music videos, paving the way for the likes of Omarion and Chris Brown in the next decade. Though nearly a decade older, Ginuwine remembers having a playful rivalry with Usher at the time. “We were fighting each other for a couple of years,” he says. “We have joked about that. It was only me, him and Sisqó, and that was pretty much it as far as doing what we were doing.”

Given his influence, one could argue the singer should be part of the “King of R&B” discussion ignited last year by contemporary artist Jacquees, who often covers hits from the ’90s (including 100% Ginuwine’s “None of Ur Friends Business”). But Ginuwine is reluctant to place himself on that pedestal.

“I don't even want that crown because with that crown comes a lot of responsibility,” says Ginuwine, who is currently touring, working on new music and preparing for an upcoming film role. “I made my statement... I had my foot in the ‘90s.”

100% Ginuwine arrived between Usher’s My Way in 1997 and Sisqó’s Unleash the Dragon, later in 1999. Lead single “Same Ol’ G,” also featured on the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack, didn’t become a Hot 100 hit, but made a mark on the radio, peaking at No. 11 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. Though it was written by Static Major and Timbaland, Ginuwine identified with the message of staying true to oneself amid success and outside perceptions.

“[Static Major] knew what I was going through, just trying to find my way in the music business,” Ginuwine says. “It's not easy when you're out here by yourself. I didn't have my mom or my dad or cousins or anybody to guide me.I was around a whole bunch of wolves. … I was just like, ‘Lord, just guide me and weed these snakes out of my life.’”

The second single, “What’s So Different,” still sounds fresh due to Timbaland’s bouncy beat. It also samples a Godzilla scream, which the producer always loved growing up. The song found some chart success, but failed to cross over on the level of “Pony,” peaking at No. 49 on the Hot 100. “It wasn't as big as they wanted it to be,” Ginuwine says. “We were like, ‘Let’s go to our main joint.’ … Once we put ‘So Anxious’ out, it was a rap.”

Timbaland knew the sultry slow jam was special once Static Major wrote to his beat. “Static came in the room and was like, ‘Ooh, I got something.’ He knew right away,” Timbaland says.

“I was just like, ‘Oh my God,’” Ginuwine says of hearing the reference track. “I always put everybody out when I'm singing, and so I just told them to get out and let me go ahead and do it.”

Ginuwine was determined to incorporate dancing in all of his videos, but his slow-to-mid-tempo songs presented a challenge. “I was like, ‘How can we do this?’” Ginuwine says. “And Tim was like, ‘Don't worry, I'll give you a beat and you can just do what you gotta do.’”

As a result, he became known for his dance breaks in the videos for “So Anxious” and 100% fourth single, “None of Ur Friends Business.” His intricate footwork and pop-locking were as much of a tribute to Michael Jackson as his cover of “She’s Out of My Life” at the end of the album. “I would flip and split and do all kinds of stuff back then,” Ginuwine says. “That's who I came up admiring -- Prince, Michael Jackson and all the show-stoppers.”

“He broke barriers,” Timbaland says, praising Ginuwine’s ability to popularize what some could have perceived as “corny.” “You see him in a bar talking about ‘riding my pony,’ and it was like, ‘Okay, what is this?’” Timbaland says, recalling the honky-tonk-set video for Ginuwine’s breakout hit. “He was out of the box with his style.”

According to Timbaland, risk-taking was consistent throughout their whole collective. That mentality fostered the magic created on projects like Aaliyah’s One in a Million and Missy Elliott’s debut, Supa Dupa Fly. And the “Super Friends,” as Ginuwine describes them, guested on each other’s albums and made cameos in each other’s videos.

Ginuwine says recording the “Final Warning” duet for 100% Ginuwine with Aaliyah is one of his fondest memories of the late singer. “She ended up staying the whole day,” he says. “We kicked it, we ate food, looked at TV. … I definitely miss her.”

Though they weren’t on speaking terms when she died in 2001 -- "We were at odds for business reasons,” he says -- he has since made peace. “Missy came to me one time and she said, ‘I had a dream. Aaliyah told me to tell you that she loves you and she forgives you.’”

Ginuwine says he owes a lot to Static Major, who also co-wrote “Pony” and other hits for Aaliyah, Lil Wayne and more, before dying unexpectedly from complications from a medical procedure in 2008. “He's a major part of my career,” the singer says. “I don't even know where I would be today if he hadn't stepped up and did those songs for me.”

Regarding Ginuwine and Timbaland’s relationship, the producer says life prevented them from partnering on an album again following 100% Ginuwine. “He wanted to try new things and I wanted to try new things,” Timbaland says.

Ginuwine went on to release several more albums, scoring his biggest single to date with “Differences” in 2001. Produced by Troy Oliver, the song reached No. 4 on the Hot 100. He also formed R&B supergroup TGT with Tyrese and Tank, releasing an album, Three Kings, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in 2013. And he remains a fan of Timbaland’s music with Justin Timberlake.

“I can't deny when I heard some of it, I was like, ‘Damn, I would've killed that,’” he says, laughing. “I just hope one day to be in the studio with both of them. And I told [Timbaland], ‘Whatever y'all don't use, at least let me hear it.’”

But a Timbaland and Ginuwine reunion is not out of the question. “I definitely will do another album with Ginuwine,” Timbaland says. “To make that magic again, everybody has to be in the right headspace.”

Not to say that topping their 20-year-old masterpiece will be easy. “I think 100% Ginuwine will go down as one of the best albums ever made,” Timbaland says." - Billboard.com

The Number Ones: The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”

According to one of our musical sources:

"The Temptations – “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”

HIT #1: December 2, 1972

STAYED AT #1: 1 week

The world was changing. Music was changing. Motown was changing. By 1972, the classic Motown sound — that gorgeous, efficient pop-soul assembly line — was just about dead. Instead, the music had turned lush and psychedelic and orchestral. Auteurs like Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield were cranking out heady, sprawling masterpieces. Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International label was on the rise, and so was the smooth, cinematic style that the label represented.

Motown, meanwhile, had moved most of its operations to Los Angeles. And the label had its own soul auteurs, newly empowered superstar visionaries like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, who had fought for and finally won artistic control. Their experiments were paying off, and they were becoming more and more of the label’s focus.

As for the Temptations, they still recorded in Detroit, still with the Funk Brothers, the ever-evolving crew of studio-musician geniuses. They still worked with the songwriter Barrett Strong, once the singer who’d scored Motown’s first-ever hit, and with Norman Whitfield, the visionary producer who was also Strong’s songwriting partner. But the Temptations were changing, too. Classic-era Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had just left the group — one for solo stardom, the other for the addiction and depression that would soon kill him. And the Temptations weren’t happy with the increasingly experimental Whitfield, who was foregrounding his own instrumental adventures at the expense of the Temptations’ own voices.

Before long, everything would change. Whitfield and Strong would stop working together. The Temptations would stop working with Whitfield. Whitfield would leave Motown and start his own label. The Temptations would go back to singing the sort of ballads that they’d always wanted to sing, and they would slowly drift off into artistic and commercial irrelevance. But before all that happened, Whitfield and the Temptations would pull off one last job. And it would prove to be an all-time monster of a hit, a masterful orchestral howl that would anticipate so many of the changes to come. This would be the last, and the best, of the Temptations’ four incredible #1 hits. They went out strong.

“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” didn’t start out as a Temptations song. Instead, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote it for the Motown trio known as the Undisputed Truth, and they recorded it earlier in 1972. The Undisputed Truth were Whitfield’s pet project. He’d assembled the group himself in 1970, and he used them as a vehicle for his most psychedelic ideas. The Undisputed Truth’s version of “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” — a fuzzed-out, horn-drenched three-minute take — was a minor hit on R&B radio. It’s a pretty amazing example of what Whitfield could do.

But when Whitfield took the song to the Temptations, he blew it all the way out. The album version of “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” is a dazed, world-swallowing 12-minute symphony. Even edited down to become a single, “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” was still a monolith — at seven minutes, one of the longest #1 singles of all time. And Whitfield didn’t waste any of that time. He built and built the song, carving a towering monument out of tense hi-hats and pulsating bass and shivering strings and hard-strutting chicken-scratch guitars and panicked trumpet-blasts.

The guitars, from Funk Brothers masters Melvin “Wah Wah Watson” Ragin and Paul Warren, murmur and weep to each other throughout the song, even during the verses; they’re as expressive as the voices. And the merciless four-four stomp-clap beat predicted not just disco but house music, as well. Disco didn’t really exist yet, but the amniotic beginnings of it were just taking shape — New York party kings like David Mancuso throwing all-night invite-only ragers with state-of-the-art soundsystems and acid-spiked punch. For parties like those, a record like “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” as dark and heavy-hearted as it might be, must’ve felt like a blessing from above.

And it is a dark record. The term “rolling stone” has, throughout pop history, evoked images of romantic devil-may-care outlaw types: Muddy Waters, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Hunter S. Thompson. But on “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” it’s not a term of endearment. Instead, it’s a song about a piece of shit — a man who may have seen himself as a romantic devil-may-care outlaw type — who is now dead, and who goes unmourned by his family. The narrator has never even met his father — “never heard nothing but bad things about him” — but he wants to know who this man was, now that he’s dead: “Mama, I’m depending on you to tell the truth.” But the narrator already knows the truth. He knows his father slept around, had another family, stayed drunk, scrounged money where he could. He asks questions about the man like he’s not sure, but he’s sure. And his mother sighs and confirms all of it as gently as she can. It’s a magnificent, heartbroken posthumous ethering.

There’s no lead singer on “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” The different Temptations all trade off lead vocals. That makes for a richer, more compelling musical experience, all these different vocal tones bouncing off of each other. It even gives us little moments of levity. (The way bass singer Melvin Franklin intones the line “and that ain’t right” is deadly serious, but it’s funny, too.) But it also helps paint the picture. Because there’s no specificity to “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” Instead, it’s the story of millions. There are a lot of rolling stones out there, and a lot of fatherless families. So the Temptations sing it collectively, together underscoring the truth that this isn’t just one person’s story.

Of course, the Temptations themselves weren’t happy about any of this. They could see that “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” was more of a Norman Whitfield record than a Temptations record. The song is already minutes in before any of the Temptations even show up. They were stars, and this was not what they signed up for. (There’s also a story, used in the 2001 Temptations miniseries that Dennis Edwards, the lead singer on the first verse, hated the opening line — “It was the third of September / A day I’ll always remember” — because his own father had died on September 3. But Edwards’ father had actually died on October 3, and he hadn’t been a rolling stone. Whitfield hadn’t known about any of that when he was putting the song together.)

Soon after the success of “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” the Temptations would complain about Whitfield to Berry Gordy. And when their album sales started to decline, Gordy would assign them a different producer/songwriter, and Whitfield would leave the label. But there’s something to be said for playing a role in a great director’s masterpiece. That’s what the Temptations do on “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” The song wouldn’t work without them, without that beautiful swirl of strained and pained voices. Maybe it wouldn’t work without the tension between them and Whitfield, either, since tension is one of the song’s driving forces. But it’s not their song. The Temptations were vehicles, conduits for someone else’s grander vision. And throughout the 61-year history of the Billboard Hot 100, there are very few #1 hits quite as perfect as that vision.

GRADE: 10/10

BONUS BEATS: Here’s Run-DMC’s 1988 Tougher Than Leather track “Papa Crazy,” which sampled “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”:

(Run-DMC’s highest-charting single was the 1986 Aerosmith collaboration “Walk This Way,” which peaked at #4. It’s a 5.)" - Stereogum.com

"Beaux comme des dieux " ('Good as gold') by Azza Yousif featuring Ali Latif, Islam Dulatov, Mehdi Douache and Mustafa Dawood

"Beaux comme des dieux " ('Good as gold') by Azza Yousif featuring Ali Latif, Islam Dulatov, Mehdi Douache and Mustafa Dawood groomed by Terry Saxon and shot by Kacper Kasprzyk for Vogue Hommes Paris #28." morphoman.blogspot.com


"The Webster showcases new styles from Burberry with one of its latest editorials. Riccardo Tisci's designs for the British fashion house are front and center with oversized tailoring on the style agenda. Model Alexis Chaparro showcases a mix of neutrals, color blocking, and a subdued orange for the occasion. Photography duo Cesar Love Alexandre captures Alexis for the story. Shop the featured Burberry wardrobe at TheWebster.us." - TheFashionisto.com


"Zara Man tackles artistic ambitions with its latest capsule collection. The Spanish brand works with licensed art from Universal Music to celebrate the bicentenary of the Museo del Prado. Iconic works of art such as The Mona Lisa and The Three Graces receive the streetwear treatment with casual articles of clothing. Model Daniel Morel stars in an editorial to showcase the capsule. The lineup includes sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hoodies. Shop Zara's "Becoming a Work of Art" collection at Zara.com." - TheFashionisto.com

Augusta Alexander (part 11) by Kosmas Pavlos

""Noir " is the title of this editorial by Luke Day featuring Austrian model Augusta Alexander beautifully photographed in black&white by Kosmas Pavlos for American fashion magazine VMan." - morphoman.blogspot.com

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