In the past week, brothers Jeff and Eric Rosenthal of sketch comedy duo ItsTheReal have released a DJ Drama–hosted mixtape, Urbane Outfitters, with the likes of Hannibal Buress, Bun B, Maino, Lil Jon, and Freeway; been written up in a variety of outlets, from the New York Times to Billboard to Fast Company; and retweeted Macklemore nine times. To close out their week, they're doing our Songs of the Week, because it's the final step in "making it."
N.O.R.E. ft. 2 Chainz, French Montana, and Pusha T, "Tadow"
Jeff Rosenthal: These are the things that go “tadow” for French Montana: his chopper, her ass, his money, and his bling. I don’t know if it’s a sound or an adjective or a combonomatopoeia, but it’s certainly something I’m adding to my everyday-speak.
Rembert Browne: Why aren't you guys in the N.O.R.E./P.A.P.I. video for "Built Pyramids”?
First week sales estimates for Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience have been trending toward the milly mark all week, and Tuesday evening the number became official. In his much-desired, equally maligned return to the art form of singin' and dancin' all cute, JT moved 968,000 copies. That's huge. That is huge.
Billboard has the salient frame-of-reference details: "20/20 logs his best sales week yet. It follows his last release, 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, which arrived atop the list with his previous high: 684,000." It's also "the 19th-largest week for an album since SoundScan started tracking data in 1991” and the year's "biggest overall sales frame since Taylor Swift's Red debuted with 1.2 million on the Nov. 10, 2012-dated chart." One more: "Among male artists, Timberlake has the largest week in nearly five years. The last larger by a man was when Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III debuted with 1.01 million on June 28, 2008."
On the Hollywood Prospectus podcast, Grantland's Rembert Browne, Chris Ryan, and Andy Greenwald discuss how they are initially underwhelmed by Justin Timberlake's new record, but agree that it may be the result of high expectations.
Lifetime is being sued by a convicted killer on which it based one of its ripping yarns, Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story, and now a New York Supreme Court judge has "issued an injunction that not only prevents the airing but also prohibits Lifetime from promoting the film." Lifetime is mad, because they're projected to lose over a million dollars unless the injunction is lifted; there's also the issue of what this kind of move might signal for publicity rights in a broader sense. Lifetime cites many landmark rulings that are supposed to restrain judges from making prior restraints on free expression and says: "This is not a case where national security concerns are in jeopardy. It is not even a case involving potential irreparable injury from the disclosure of trade secrets or other confidential information; it involves a movie based on the public facts of a murder prosecution. While plaintiff may not want the story of his crime repeated in a television movie, the constitutional protection of speech and press on matters of public concern flatly prevent the issuance of an order enjoining the broadcast of the movie." In other legal news, Bart Simpson is going on trial in front of Mr. Burns. Eat my torts.
Forget Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant (you probably already did forget about her): Chris Ryan and I forged our own L.A. story this week. Reunited on the West Coast, we traded stories about rude airplane passengers and desperate, day-drinking directors before digging into the regular rotation, which included the soppy Girls finale, the problematic new Phil Spector movie, and the promise and implications of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter success story. Because two is never enough, we then invited Rembert Browne in. Rem is in L.A. after 10 grueling days at the SXSW festival, and he arrived loaded for bear with stories about sketchy panels, incredible concerts, and Prince shows that never end. We finished off the hour plus with some chatter about Justin Timberlake and Chris's damning thoughts about luxury. Do you fall in the center of a Venn diagram about Lena Dunham and Large Professor? Then do we have a podcast for you!
The 20/20 Experience just dropped yesterday, but Justin Timberlake is already talking about the next one. First, Questlove dropped the secret: Timberlake had a second 10-track album, a 20/20 Volume 2, slated for later this year. Then JT himself followed up: During his album release party on Monday, he said, "I need to clear up a rumor [about this being only] the first half of the album Those rumors are true." Ahhhhh!!!! Whoooo!!!! Staggered double-albums!!! But in all that excitement, let's not forget that Timberlake does, already, have an album that's out and workable. As a reminder, check out the new video for his second single, "Mirrors," an ambitious eight-plus minute affair that, according to Huffington Post, is about someone very special in Justin's life: "The video opens with a dedication to William and Sadie. William, Timberlake's grandfather, passed away late last year. 'Mirrors' is refashioned as a retelling of their love story." Now that is just some adorable pop-music video-making right there.
I bet all you Timberhaters who predicted Justin would flop after "Suit & Tie" feel dumb now that you heard the album! Unless you don't like grown and sexy music to make babies to, in which case I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. There was a worldwide collective sigh of relief after Justin dropped his second single from The 20/20 Experience. "Mirrors" is considered a safer bet than "Suit & Tie" even though it's more than eight minutes long. Maybe it's telling that Justin's big love song about his ideal partner compares her to a mirror by which he may better look at himself, but look, I choose to interpret it as a sweet "I'll Be Your Mirror"–type thing. As for all the people who thought Justin should bench Timbaland because his beats are tired, do you still like those Aaliyah songs? Because Timbaland is still the guy who made them, so sit down. Sure, it's a little embarrassing to hear Justin sing so earnestly about love and know it's about Jessica Biel, but it's exactly what we all love about Justin: He commits! And then he gives 100 percent. If your heart doesn't crack when Timberlake's voice does at 4:35, I can't help you. No one can. Grade: A Best YouTube Comment: "Move over Bieber, Daddys Home." —Drew Carrey
As you may have already heard, The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake's first album in seven years, drops tomorrow. Pretty intense, huh? Releasing a piece of personal expression into a half-decade of mouth-foaming expectations? Eh, not really. Look, if you don't like this one, just wait until November: JT might have another one for you then.
According to Questlove — via that time-honored news-breaking organization, the Okayplayer.com forums — Timberlake will give us Volume 2 of 20/20 right around Thanksgiving. Responding to a forum thread about the New York Times's middling review of the album, Quest wrote "spoiler alert. 20/20 Vol 2 comes out in nov. (10 songs now ... 10 songs later= 20 vision)." It's a bit odd, of course, the news coming out this way. Did he really think he'd slide this forum comment past us?! By now Questlove should know that every word he says will be mined for golden pop culture info treasures. As for whether we can trust it: Seeing as Questlove has been DJ'ing for Justin, you'd assume he's privy to these kinds of top-level discussions.
Free-associating on the official poster for Mad Men's sixth season: Draper crosses paths with Draper (maybe the embodiment his Dick Whitman persona?) as they head in different directions (past! Present! Future! A spring suit and a winter suit!); we have entered the fashion era of bad sheer sleeves; the moral or actual police are on to Don for either going the wrong way down Madison Avenue or for being a cad or maybe for some new secret crime yet to be unearthed; granted, this is a sketchy illustration, but I don't see a wedding ring on Don's left hand. Time to get out the magnifying glass. It's going to be a long three and a half weeks.
After I finished taking my SNL notes but before I sat down to write this recap, I decided to take the temperature on Justin Timberlake’s fifth ride on the host pony and check in with some of the other media responses to last weekend’s show. Despite theglowingtweets and my own enjoyment of this episode, some of the reviews were lukewarmat best.
Maybe people have reached the JT hype-saturation point? That’s understandable. I think that one of the reasons I loved this episode was the fact that Timberlake is the kind of performer you don’t have to worry about. As is the case with many vets, but particularly one who’s still in the golden career bubble of relevancy, you’re able to put aside any concerns about sweat stains, stutter fumbles, and any kind of projected post-one-a.m. anxiety attack that you imagine he or she will experience when thinking back on a particularly bad sketch. You can relax.
First of all: We missed you, Don Pardo, and I really hope you’re recovering from your broken hip. I’d send you an edible arrangement of candied Z-Shirts if I could. Feel better.
I am familiar with Kevin Hart, and I like him. His energy and delivery have the effect of making me slowly scoot toward the edge of the sofa until I’m basically doing a wall squat. It’s as if he’s telling a particularly engaging story at a loud party, and during his monologue I was thinking that this episode was going to be something special.
"Remind me again why the Grammys can suck my dick?" Kanye asked on Friday night in London, during what is now his mandatory mid-show freakout/meltdown/one-man theatrical production. It was just one little moment of an eight-minute spiel — there was also a lot of stuff about how corporate America is ruining Kanye, trying to get him to meet corporate American executives' granddaughters just so he can get $3 million with which to buy a new infinity pool with a permanent chocolate fondue fountain or whatever — but it was the most apt. Because last night a bunch of rich, attractive people got together in a big room to heartily congratulate each other, and then today we're all gonna spend some time breaking down if those congratulations were handed out in the correct order, and were received in the correct manner, and if you'd much rather not care about awards shows, and would like to be reminded that it's OK not to care about awards shows by a guy who actually wins awards at those awards shows (albeit a guy who also, OK, yeah, might care the most of all time about awards shows but really doesn't wanna show it), feel free to ride the Kanye-rant train to pop-culture-contrarianism absolution.
An Obama-inspired fantasy trilogy called Queen of the Tearling has landed a seven-figure deal. Quick! You dictate, I'll type! Jimmy Carter and the werewolves! There's a magic crystal buried somewhere in Mount St. Helens! Throw some virgins in! We gotta move on this!!
Justin Timberlake has just gifted us with the video for "Suit & Tie" — delivered on Valentine's Day, one assumes, in order to inspire his many adoring fans to ably, and with full-throated theatricality, consummate the bedroom pyrotechnics mandated by the holiday — and I think I'm beginning to understand something.