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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...

  • '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...

  • 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 —...

  • With topical 'Darkness and Light,' John Legend wants to 'contribute to the conversation'

    With topical 'Darkness and Light,' John Legend wants to 'contribute to the conversation'

    John Legend knows there are two ways people think about him. To many, he’s the smooth-talking pop star famous for his big voice and polished love songs, the dapper family man who peppers Instagram with photos of his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, and their 7-month-old daughter. “And then there’s the...

  • What do She & Him want for Christmas? 'Real instruments' played by humans

    What do She & Him want for Christmas? 'Real instruments' played by humans

    It’s not that Zooey Deschanel thinks Mariah Carey’s signature holiday standard is a terrible song. In truth, it’s just the sound of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” — those lacquered synths and booming drums — that turns off the singer and actress best known as the star of the hit Fox sitcom “New...

  • Holiday music 2016: The Christmas albums you need

    Holiday music 2016: The Christmas albums you need

    Often, the annual holiday tradition that is Christmas music is rooted in nostalgia — a recycling and an update of the familiar. This year, however, the season’s holiday releases are rather broad in scope and genres. From Georgian singer Katie Melua’s offering with Russian and Eastern European elements...

  • Humor, compassion, conspiracy, scorn: The Internet reacts to Kanye West's woes

    Humor, compassion, conspiracy, scorn: The Internet reacts to Kanye West's woes

    Online controversy is swirling around Kanye West after the rapper was hospitalized Monday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The hospitalization comes after a week of erratic behavior from West that included onstage diatribes about how the rapper would have voted for Donald Trump, had...

  • Star maker Milt Okun, who brought John Denver and Placido Domingo together, dies at 92

    Star maker Milt Okun, who brought John Denver and Placido Domingo together, dies at 92

    Milt Okun, a classically trained producer and arranger who found success with folk artists like Peter, Paul and Mary and mainstream hits with John Denver, has died at his home in Beverly Hills at the age of 92. Okun was nominated for dozens of Grammy awards, boosted the careers of artists dating...

  • '#Ham4Bey' is the 'Hamilton' and Beyoncé mashup you didn't know you wanted

    '#Ham4Bey' is the 'Hamilton' and Beyoncé mashup you didn't know you wanted

    Here’s something to help fans counting down the days until the release of the “Hamilton Mixtape”: a mashup of “Hamilton” and Beyoncé’s music in the form of “#Ham4Bey.”  Created by L.A.-based artist Michael Korte and arranged by Jared Jenkins, the seven-minute medley kicks off with the familiar...

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