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  • Surprise, shade and appreciation: Social media reacts to Grammy nominations

    Surprise, shade and appreciation: Social media reacts to Grammy nominations

    The 2017 Grammy Award nominations were announced Tuesday morning, with nods for industry veterans Beyoncé and Kanye West as well as up-and-comers Chance the Rapper and Lukas Graham. Stars turned to social media to lodge their thoughts about this year’s crop of nominees, from complaints to commendations....

  • The Grammys have finally embraced Justin Bieber. But is this progress?

    The Grammys have finally embraced Justin Bieber. But is this progress?

    In December 2012, Ellen DeGeneres had Justin Bieber on her talk show to discuss the pop star’s latest tattoo (a wise owl), what he likes to do on his days off (sneak into movies) and whether he was bummed not to have been nominated for a Grammy Award. “It’s definitely something that I was looking...

  • Grammy Award nominations are coming — and then, most likely, dissent

    Grammy Award nominations are coming — and then, most likely, dissent

    The 59th Grammy Awards will kick off the major entertainment awards season when they unveil their nominations Tuesday morning. And with them will likely come dissent. The Grammy Awards enjoy a sometimes complicated relationship with the constituency they represent — so much so that raising objections...

  • 'Falling apart but we deny it': Is J. Cole talking about Kanye West?

    'Falling apart but we deny it': Is J. Cole talking about Kanye West?

    So much for not kicking a man when he’s down. Rapper J. Cole on Thursday night released a new documentary about the making of his upcoming fourth album, and 12 hours later the Internet is convinced that one of the album’s songs is a shot at Kanye West, who spent a portion of last month in the hospital...

  • The Rolling Stones go home to the blues with 'Blue & Lonesome'

    The Rolling Stones go home to the blues with 'Blue & Lonesome'

    When the Rolling Stones fell in love with American blues music as teenagers in England in the late 1950s and early ’60s, the grand old men of the genre they idolized were 20 to 30 years their seniors. Muddy Waters was in his late 40s and Howlin’ Wolf was about 50. Now that the Stones themselves...

  • On Bette Midler's birthday, 10 songs that remind us why we fell in love with her

    On Bette Midler's birthday, 10 songs that remind us why we fell in love with her

    “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?” “From a distance, there is harmony!” “Some say love, it is a river.” Ask any casual Bette Midler fan (or anyone born beyond 1990) about the diva’s discography, and they’ll likely name that trio of tear-jerking hits: “Wind Beneath My Wings,” “From a Distance”...

  • 'Christmas in Rockefeller Center': Holiday entertainment only a network exec could love

    'Christmas in Rockefeller Center': Holiday entertainment only a network exec could love

    Santa Claus giveth, and Santa Claus taketh away. After watching ABC’s surprisingly festive “CMA Country Christmas” on Monday night, I wondered if this might be the year when each of the big television networks finally figures out how to do a holiday special that doesn’t feel labored or corny or...

  • The 'nueva trova' music of Cuba's Carlos Varela feels as timely as ever

    The 'nueva trova' music of Cuba's Carlos Varela feels as timely as ever

    Coming from a Spanish-speaking musician, the song “Muros y Puertas (Walls and Doors),” could easily have been interpreted as a response to one of the key campaign promises of President-elect Donald Trump, especially as Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela passionately sang it on the patio of an...

  • Why the Weeknd and Bruno Mars are obsessed with the '80s

    Why the Weeknd and Bruno Mars are obsessed with the '80s

    Bruno Mars and the Weeknd keep turning up in the same spot. There they were a week and a half ago at the American Music Awards, each performing the opening title track from his new album. Before that, the two appeared at the MTV Europe Music Awards, where they did the same songs they did at the...

  • Video premiere: Electronic producer Lawrence Grey's recipe on 'Rust'? Tape, starch and sunshine

    Video premiere: Electronic producer Lawrence Grey's recipe on 'Rust'? Tape, starch and sunshine

    When working on his new album, “Rust,” Los Angeles electronic music producer Lawrence Grey tapped some unlikely materials: A used TEAC reel-to-reel recorder and old tape salvaged from an electronics repair store. Compared with the processed nature of most such music, “tape sounds different,” said...

  • What to listen to now: Tinashe, DNCE and more

    What to listen to now: Tinashe, DNCE and more

    A weekly roundup of must-hear music from The Times staffers. This week’s picks include the latest from young R&B singer Tinashe, as well as dance artist-to-watch Avalon Emerson and the most recent bid by a Jonas brother to enter adulthood.  Tinashe, “Nightride” (RCA) Los Angeles R&B singer Tinashe’s...

  • Dolly Parton shares more 'Colors' in holiday sequel

    Dolly Parton shares more 'Colors' in holiday sequel

    Such is Dolly Parton’s love for Christmas that she has painted the elevator in her house to look like a chimney and comes “down” it every year to bestow presents upon her nieces and nephews dressed as “Granny Claus.” And, in the ’80s, she once flew across the country on Christmas Day dressed in...

  • O holy night? 'CMA Country Christmas' finally gets it right

    O holy night? 'CMA Country Christmas' finally gets it right

    Did you hear what I heard? On Monday night, ABC broadcast this year’s edition of “CMA Country Christmas,” its annual holiday special featuring Nashville’s best, brightest and most eager to promote a new Christmas album. Historically, this thing has been a reliable horror show: two hours of forced...

  • Surprised Aretha Franklin took her time with the national anthem? You shouldn't be

    Surprised Aretha Franklin took her time with the national anthem? You shouldn't be

    Looking back, it’s clear that Aretha Franklin was settling in for the long haul. As soon as the Queen of Soul finished singing the national anthem at a Thanksgiving Day football game in her native Detroit, social media lighted up with folks expressing surprise about the length of her performance....

  • Long after 'The Life Aquatic,' Seu Jorge still has David Bowie on his mind

    Long after 'The Life Aquatic,' Seu Jorge still has David Bowie on his mind

    Red knit ski caps adorned many a head in the crowd gathered Saturday night at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, where Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge performed a stirring concert tribute to the late David Bowie. The accessory, which Jorge himself wore, along with a pale blue shirt and pants, was a...

  • Garth Brooks' aim is off on the too-safe 'Gunslinger'

    Garth Brooks' aim is off on the too-safe 'Gunslinger'

    Surely, the machine wasn’t supposed to win. When Garth Brooks returned to record-making in 2014, the country superstar made it clear his decade away hadn’t dulled his famous nonconformist streak. “Man Against Machine,” he called his big comeback album, and the record showcased a unique talent —...

  • Kanye West cancels remainder of his Saint Pablo tour after a rough week on the road

    Kanye West cancels remainder of his Saint Pablo tour after a rough week on the road

    After a tumultuous few days in which Kanye West walked off the stage three songs into his Saturday night concert in Sacramento and canceled Sunday's at the Forum three hours before showtime, the rapper has canceled the remainder of his Saint Pablo tour, according to a representative. West, known...

  • How the American Music Awards balanced politics and promotion

    How the American Music Awards balanced politics and promotion

    The artist’s responsibility met the demands of celebrity at Sunday’s American Music Awards, where half the assembled talent was eager to comment on a new political reality and the other half was eager to promote new product before beating a path to their chauffeured SUVs. The latter feeling was...

  • Green Day gets political at the AMAs: 'No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.'

    Green Day gets political at the AMAs: 'No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.'

    Green Day is at its best when a widely divisive president ascends to power. That was true in 2004 for “American Idiot,” and it’s maybe even more true in 2016 for “Revolution Radio.” At Sunday’s American Music Awards, where Green Day played the double-time barnstormer “Bang Bang,” the band had the...

  • American Music Awards try to bring pop levity in a stressful time

    American Music Awards try to bring pop levity in a stressful time

    In 2016, even a group as resolutely upbeat as Fifth Harmony felt a need to perform atop a flaming pile of apocalyptic wreckage at the American Music Awards on Sunday. The group’s members trampled over a rubble-strewn, fire-spitting stage as they performed “That’s My Girl” — an apropos setup for...

  • Kanye West cancels Forum show at last minute

    Kanye West cancels Forum show at last minute

    Just days after pledging allegiance to President-elect Donald Trump — and hours after cutting short a concert in Sacramento — Kanye West has called off his L.A. date tonight at The Forum.  The Sunday concert was canceled about three hours before showtime. No statement from West’s label or the tour’s...

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