QVC, the Billboard charts, and American Idol, Justin Bieber woke up Saturday morning and thought to himself, “Hmm, Saturday Night Live is ripe for the picking!” The 16-year-old singer was SNL‘s musical guest last night, but I’m not quite sure I get the objective. Was SNL hoping the Bieb’s presence would get tween girls to tune in, or was this a step toward gradually expanding his appeal to, I don’t know, people who like music? Ultimately, the majority of SNL‘s audience has probably never seen Bieber perform, so at least everyone got to find out what this “dreamy Christmas elf,” as host Tina Fey described him, was all about. And luckily, the Bieb didn’t have to worry about there being much comedy on the show to overshadow his two musical acts (sorry, Tina, but they gave you precious little to work with this time). READ FULL STORYHaving already devoured
Tag: SNL (21-26 of 26)
I have literally been waiting over a year for Saturday Night Live to air a digital short based on “Boombox,” my number one favorite of all the gems on the Lonely Island‘s February ’09 album Incredibad. I won’t lie: I had begun to give up hope that I’d ever see this joke-rap masterwork given the visual treatment it so richly deserves.
So when I heard those pulsing synth chords coming from my TV this weekend, I was up and dancing before the words “Imagine in your mind a posh country club…” left Andy Samberg’s lips. What can I say? The music was way too powerful. Everything about “Boombox” the digital short was how I’d pictured it, especially Samberg’s choice haircut. They even got the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas to reprise his guest vocals on camera. No kidding, I like the hooks Casablancas sang for “Boombox” more than almost anything on his recent solo album. I only wish SNL hadn’t cut the song’s second verse and chorus (“Picture if you will a bunch of business men…”). Maybe they’ll show up on an extended DVD reissue some day?
Go ahead. Fix yourself a nice plate of boiled goose, slip on some fingerless gloves, and hit play below (some NSFW lyrics). Just remember: A boombox can change the world. You’ve gotta know your limits with a boombox. A boombox is not a toy. Share your “Boombox”-related cautionary tales in the comments, below.
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)
More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
The Specials: Terry Hall and Lynval Golding on the ska-rock legends’ reunion shows—and why their absent keyboard player is a ‘Scrooge’
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The Specials: Terry Hall and Lynval Golding on the ska-rock legends' reunion shows—and why their absent keyboard player is a 'Scrooge'
Specials guitarist Lynval Golding says he really wasn’t sure anyone would bother coming to see the ska-rock-reggae band’s reunion shows in the UK last year. “At times I thought, ‘Am I making a mistake? Does anyone really like our music?’” he recalls. Golding needn’t have worried. Two shows in the band’s hometown of Coventry sold out in just 5 minutes. and a couple of hours later tickets were being advertised on eBay for $300.
Those figures are a testament to the enduring UK popularity of the septet, who acrimoniously split way back in 1981 after releasing such classic singles as “Too Much Too Young,” “Rat Race,” and “Ghost Town.” Next month, the band test the strength of their US following when they play a string of dates here, including a slot at the Coachella Festival. The Specials will also hit Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on April 13, almost exactly thirty years to the day since their last American TV appearance, which found them gracing the stage of Saturday Night Live. “My memory was meeting Keith Richards,” says Golding. “Our sound engineer knew him. I was too shocked to talk.” Specials frontman Hall says he too was shocked by his audience with Richards—if for different reasons: “I remember meeting him in the dressing room and thinking, ‘This man can’t possibly get any older than he is at this moment.’ And 30 years on, he has!” (FYI: The SNL host that week was Strother Martin, who played the prison warden in Cool Hand Luke. Yep, that’s how long ago it’s been since the Specials were on TV.)
The current Specials line-up isn’t exactly the same as it was three decades ago thanks to the absence of Jerry Dammers, one of the band’s main musical architects. The keyboard player did rehearse with the reunited act, but then fell out with his band mates. At one of the reunion shows last year, Terry Hall joked to the audience that Dammers was busy playing Scrooge in “panto” (a popular-in-Britain type of children’s play). Dammers, in turn, has claimed that he was “kicked out.” Golding denies that accusation, but admits the door has now closed on the possibility of the keyboard player returning to the Specials fold. “I think Jerry shut the door and bolted it a long time ago,” insists the guitarist. Meanwhile, Hall says the problem was that Dammers, “couldn’t get his head round doing thirty dates and being together for that period of time. He wanted to do two shows, and that’s it.”
The hangdog-faced Hall has a rep for being one of pop’s premier grumps—and has suffered from bouts of depression over the years—but he sounds overjoyed to be hanging out with Golding and the rest of the band again. The secret to his upbeat demeanor? That he doesn’t have to hang out with them too much. “The biggest difference between being on the road thirty years ago and being on the road now, is that I don’t have to spend time with the rest of the band,” he says. “Now, with hotels, we can actually get a separate floor to Lynval, which is fantastic.” Er, Lynval? “I agree 100% with that, I make a lot of noise!” laughs the guitarist. “We travel separately and I don’t have to talk with the rest of the guys until I see them at sound check. It’s absolutely wonderful!”
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)
How this under-appreciated French band scored a high-profile slot on SNL is a source of some mystery, but they certainly made the most of the unexpected opportunity. I’ve been obsessively playing an advance of their excellent new album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (due May 26), over and over in the office, and they totally pulled off the rich-and-tricky pop sound of two album highlights, "Lizstomania" and "1901." Check out the clips below, and if you like what you hear you can buy the studio versions right now on a four-track EP the band just released on iTunes.
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