Have you always thought you'd enjoy the dance floor–filling, life-affirming, crackling synth-stomp blasts of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" a little bit more if our dude had just, you know, vibed out a bit on the track? Good news for you! For as-yet-unexplained reasons, Prince has released a "reloaded" version of "Let's Go Crazy" with his recently formed backup band, 3rdEyeGirl, that makes over the song as a drudgy molasses freak-out jam.
South by Southwest will always be the place where it all began.
My first trip to Austin for the festival, last year, was my first big assignment. The objective: go, do things, write about them. That's all. While that was important, it also was the first real example of my Internet world coming to life. Mysterious, funny Twitter handles suddenly drinking beers, wearing tank tops, and ferociously taking notes together on their phones. Finally.
After last year's 10-day bender came to an end, I knew that in addition to the new real-life colleagues whom I now refer to as "friends," I had also found my happy place. My adult summer camp. My extremely tiring vacation oasis. And, more than anything, I knew I was coming back the next year.
The lead-up to last year's SXSW was a very confusing time for me, because I didn't know what I was doing. About a week before the festival, fellow Grantland staffer Amos Barshad graciously sent me a giant spreadsheet that was making the rounds of every single thing that needed to be RSVP'd to, along with the amount of free food and drinks that would be supplied and which musicians would be in attendance. I was eternally grateful, because up until that point, I hadn't ventured beyond SXSW.com.
This year, I made the spreadsheet. I was ready, and even though the time between SXSW 2012 and 2013 had seemingly taken six years off my life, I was convinced I could do the full 10 days again, but even better. And if the high right ankle sprain, hoarse voice, wristband tan, scruffy face, and occasional dizzy spells are any indicator, I'd say that my goal was achieved.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching the video, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was selected by Rembert Browne, BECAUSE IT'S STILL BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND I'M CALLING THE SHOTS: "Purple Rain" by Prince. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at email@example.com.
[Note: This was picked not only because of Black History Month but also in honor of the Academy Awards and Purple Rain (the album) taking home the award for Best Original Song Score in 1985.]
1. The Barden Bellas ft. The Treblemakers, "Riff Off: Mickey/Like A Virgin/Hit Me With Your Best Shot/S&M/Let's Talk About Sex/I'll Make Love To You/Feels Like The First Time/No Diggity" (Pitch Perfect)
Pitch Perfect, Kay Cannon's comedy about college a cappella groups, has quickly established itself as a cult hit worthy of sitting alongside slumber party classics like Bring It On, Empire Records, and Grease. Personally, even the best a capella rendition of a song just makes me want to listen to the actual song. Of the various medleys and covers in Pitch Perfect, the sex song medley from the "Riff Off" sequence is the clear standout. And let's all just agree to put Rebel Wilson in everything from now on, OK?
Best YouTube Comment: "idk about anyone, but I got really excited when Ester Dean (Cynthia Rose) sang S&M…considering it's her song that she wrote for Rihanna" — Kaylaa1DAllstar
So, Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali. The Grammys did their job. Order has been maintained. What happens next? Here are my predictions: Babel will return to the top of the albums chart next week. Jay Pharoah’s inevitable yellow suit-and-headband Frank Ocean parody will be relegated to “Weekend Update,” rather than get its own stand-alone sketch, on SNL. The guy from Fun. will regret wearing capris. A jingle that sounds like The Black Keys will appear in a Radio Shack commercial. Jack White will record a new 45 with three of the models from Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video. And nothing that happened Sunday night will matter when it comes to how our culture ultimately judges the value (or lack thereof) of these artists, or the many other artists who made notable music that had no chance of being nominated.
Tracy Morgan joins Cousin Sal and Bill Simmons to describe his alter ego, Chico Divine, and what he can remember from the time he was naked in Jimmy Kimmel’s green room. He also chats about the time he was kicked out of Prince’s house, his Saturday Night Live audition, and his favorite memory from 30 Rock. Plus! His new TV project and much, much more.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching the video, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was selected by Grantland reader Michael Ognenovski: James Brown and "Friends" at the Beverly Center, circa 1983. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 is an interesting time to release music for the masses. Artists of all levels and varying degrees of cultural importance are feverishly attempting to figure out the most efficient way to get the public excited about their music without giving it all away, and hopefully making a few dollars somewhere along the way. Some struggle with accidental leaks, while others purposefully leak. It's very much still the Wild West, with no one truly mastering the art form.
Grantland's Rembert Browne is 25 years old and did not experience the '80s. To educate him from time to time, Bill Simmons shows him clips from YouTube in a series oddly titled "Rembert Explains." Sometimes the clips aren't even from the '80s, they're just insane. The clip they are watching here is of Prince’s domination of the 1985 American Music Awards. Price and The Revolution’s outfits, acceptance speeches, and gigantic Santa Claus bodyguard are not to be missed.
Last night ... it was pretty weird, man. My Packers lost to the Seahawks due to one of the worst calls in NFL history. Meanwhile, I was in Chicago to see Prince launch a three-night residency at the United Center. Around the time that my team became the unwitting martyr in the league’s destructive game of chicken with its referees, I was sitting in a dark arena with about 20,000 people waiting for Prince to come out for his second encore. He had already played for two hours — it was, shall we say, an eccentric playlist that was long on music and short on hits. It was even shorter on his hits; throughout the night, Prince repeatedly pointed out that he had “too many hits” to possibly play them all, and yet he still found time to perform jammy versions of popular favorites by Aretha Franklin (“I Never Loved a Man”), Michael Jackson (“Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”), James Brown (“I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing”), Curtis Mayfield (“We’re a Winner”), The Time (“Jungle Love,” co-written by Prince), and Sarah McLachlan (“Angel”).
(Rarely has the national anthem of battered kittens sounded so uplifting, and yet so inadequate as compensation for the absence of “Let’s Go Crazy” or “Delirious.”)
We've had a lot of ideas for what we are going to put on the Grantland Channel, some terrible (“Let’s tape and edit our pickup basketball games”) and some excellent (“Let’s take the best bits in the history of the B.S. Report and animate them”). The latter was so good, we spent a decent amount of time last summer combing the B.S. Report archives and identifying which stories were best suited to go cartoon. One of the very first that jumped out at us was Chappelle's Show co-creator Neal Brennan’s tale of an evening he, Dave Chappelle, and Questlove of The Roots spent at an after-party of sorts in Prince’s hotel room. It gets weird. A special shout-out is in order for our friends at Powerhouse Animation (’sup, Rachel?) for bringing this to life.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching it, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was selected by Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons: a portion of the 1985 American Music Awards. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at email@example.com.
Simmons's note: I'm demanding a breakdown of this clip please
Rembert's note: I've got no choice, he followed "demand" with "please." So kind.
Alex Pappademas: The thing that genuinely saddens me about the era of carefully quality-controlled fan-service-calibrated superhero-movie-making/marketing is that we'll never get another "Batdance." Kitschy, shrieky, underratedly funky, thoroughly off-message in terms of the dark, brooding post–Frank Miller vision of the movie it was nominally cross-promoting, basically unconcerned with Batman and/or the Joker except as a metaphor for Prince's own desire to be two different people so he could sleep with five Kim Basinger lookalikes at once (and then blow up an electric chair), this code-black spoiler alert in the form of a housequake was as inexplicable then as it is unthinkable now. It's hard to even imagine what the contemporary equivalent would be — a Nicki Minaj Avengers song that made incoherent sample-salad of half the dialogue from Joss Whedon's script, I guess, with Nicki strutting around in the video dressed as a half-Loki/half–Iron Man sex-imp — and harder to imagine the person who signed off on it not getting fired, or institutionalized.