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Watch Marshmello, Khalid Ride Glowing Bicycles in ‘Silence’ Video

October 21st, 2017 · Guitar

Marshmello and Khalid cruise around on glowing bicycles in their neon-lit “Silence” video. 

The EDM artist and emerging alt-soul singer ride around with a group of friends, armed with glow sticks and handheld camcorders. They spread a neon glimmer throughout their city, seemingly oblivious to the depressing scenes – a woman glimpsing an eviction notice on her door, a teenager watching his parents fight, a young man being manhandled by police – they pedal past.

Marshmello and Khalid released their collaboration in August, capping off their respective breakthrough successes over the last two years. Marshmello, the anonymous DJ-producer who famously performs wearing a marshmallow head, broke out in 2015 by remixing artists like Jack Ü and Zedd. He issued his debut studio LP, Joytime, last year, and recently cracked Forbes‘ list of 2017′s highest-paid DJs.

Khalid emerged in 2016 with his hit “Location,” which he recorded as an unsigned high school senior. The track highlights his March-issued debut LP, American Teen, which cracked Rolling Stone‘s list of the year’s 50 Best Albums So Far.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-marshmello-khalid-ride-glowing-bicycles-in-silence-video-w509806

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Throbbing Gristle’s Genesis P-Orridge Cancels Shows After Leukemia Diagnosis

October 21st, 2017 · Guitar

Genesis P-Orridge’s upcoming European tour is canceled after the Throbbing Gristle co-founder announced he was diagnosed with leukemia.

In a Facebook post (via Pitchfork), P-Orridge detailed his leukemia battle. “This last [year] we and the band noticed we were getting more exhausted than usual and after almost every tour we collapsed sick, lethargic and worn out to a much deeper degree. About 4 weeks ago we were having severe problems breathing,” the singer wrote.

After going to the hospital, P-Orridge was diagnosed with “Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia. [Described] by my Doctors as ‘a severe, life threatening blood disorder.’”

Despite the illness, P-Orridge still planned on proceeding with side project Psychic TV’s upcoming tour but after hearing “the illness has gotten worse,” P-Orridge took the advice of doctors, bandmates and family to postpone the trek.

“To postpone was not my first choice by a long way. We are sorry for any disappointment and hope to repair that loss as soon as we can. We also apologize to promoters, and all the hundreds of visible and invisible people who make these tours happen and these venues survive,” P-Orridge continued. “We’ve been touring for about 50 [years] now. It’s the first time we have had to do this. We hope it will not be [necessary] again.”

The tour’s promoters Angry Love Productions added in a statement, “this year Genesis P-Orridge has had some major struggles with her health. During the last 2 months she has been hospitalized more than once. Her doctors have decided she should not travel at the present time in order to recover fully. Therefore all upcoming European dates will be postponed to 2018. We will announce once we know more.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/genesis-p-orridge-diagnosed-with-leukemia-cancels-shows-w509832

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Watch Steve Angello, Pusha T’s Frantic ‘Freedom’ Video

October 21st, 2017 · Guitar

Steve Angello released the new video for “Freedom,” the former Swedish House Mafia DJ’s collaboration with Pusha T.

The simple black-and-white video stays true to the frenetic, paranoid pace of the track as a man runs for unknown reasons, with surveillance video spying on him as he sprints into an isolated forest. The man finally collapses in a field, unable to conjure enough strength to continue moving. The “Freedom” video, directed by Alexander Wessely, ends with the man passed out and alone.

“Freedom: The quality or state of being free,” the video’s disclaimer reads at the onset. Pusha T’s rhymes reflect that theme with lyrics like “Money is power/ Look at the people in power/ Funeral flowers/ Freedom devoured/ This is not yours, this is ours/ America’s ours.”

“Freedom” appears on Angello’s new two-track EP Inferno Chapter II, the follow-up to August’s Genesis Chapter I EP. Paradiso Chapter III will follow before the arrival of the EDM star’s next full-length LP, Almost Human.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-steve-angello-pusha-ts-frantic-freedom-video-w509849

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Hear Mariah Carey’s Sentimental New Christmas Ballad ‘The Star’

October 21st, 2017 · Guitar

Christmas queen Mariah Carey has recorded another nativity-themed, adult-contemporary holiday ballad, which will appear in the upcoming animated movie The Star. “Strong and wise, keeping the Lord as your guide,” she sings on “The Star.” “And through the doubt you realize He’s with you all the while … follow that star above you.”

The track leads off the movie’s soundtrack album, which will come out on October 27th; “The Star” is an instant-gratification download to people who buy the album early. Fifth Harmony, Pentatonix, Yolanda Adams, A Great Big World and Kirk Franklin also appear on the soundtrack, among others.

The movie, which features the voices of Oprah Winfrey, Kelly Clarkson, Tracy Morgan and Keegan-Michael Key, is due out November 17th. It tells the story of the nativity through the eyes of a donkey named Bo (Steven Yeun) who teams with a sheep and a dove who travel together and cross paths with what press materials describe as “three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals.” They all end up playing a role in the birth of Christ.

Carey established herself as a holiday hit-maker in 1994 when her single “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was certified double platinum and became a ubiquitous yuletide anthem. It peaked at Number 11 on the Hot 100 (in 2016) and has spent 19 weeks on the chart total; it hit Number One on Billboard’s Holiday Airplay chart in 2008 and has spent 91 weeks total on the chart. She’s also released two Christmas albums – 1994′s Merry Christmas (certified five times platinum) and 2010′s Merry Christmas II You (certified gold) – which both made it into the Top Five of the albums chart.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/hear-mariah-careys-sentimental-new-christmas-ballad-the-star-w509859

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Watch Rita Ora’s Wild New York City Night in New ‘Anywhere’ Video

October 21st, 2017 · Guitar

Rita Ora‘s new video for “Anywhere” romanticizes being young and free in New York City. Directed by Declan Whitebloom (Taylor Swift, One Direction), Ora prances under the glowing screens of Times Square and through the narrow streets of chinatown, singing about the joys of anonymity in the bustling city. 

Ora cowrote “Anywhere” with Andrew Watt, who penned the similarly mid-tempo hit “Havana,” for Camila Cabello. “Anywhere” strides forward on a firm EDM beat that’s more a metronome guiding Ora’s vocal. Unlike her last single, the melancholic Avicii collaboration, “Lonely Together,” Ora sounds refreshingly unadorned on this simple song. 

“I was in a routine, working every day, and found myself day dreaming about breaking out of the city and going on a road trip with my friends and never looking back,” the singer said in a statement. “This is pop at its sweetest, most persuasive form of escapism.”

Ora’s forthcoming record, which will be her first official release in the Unites States, is set to arrive in 2018. The album’s first single, “Your Song,” was cowritten by fellow Brit, Ed Sheeran. 

In October, Ora launched The Open Mic Project, which calls upon fans to submit stories of acceptance, inclusion and fear until December 1st. Ora, who felt compelled by the project due to her refugee roots, said she will co-create a song from pieces of the submitted stories and premiere the result ahead of the 60th Grammy Awards in 2018. 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-rita-oras-wild-new-york-city-night-in-anywhere-video-w509850

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Watch Evanescence’s Reflective New ‘Imperfection’ Video

October 21st, 2017 · Guitar

Evanescence have shared their reflective new video for “Imperfection,” a song off the band’s upcoming album Synthesis

Shot in Los Angeles, the video’s opening minutes focus on a young girl shell-shocked following an unseen tragedy. Those images are juxtaposed with Evanescence singer Amy Lee sitting at a bus stop on a rain-soaked night. After two minutes of stirring strings, the video, which continues Evanescence’s collaboration with director P.R. Brown, visually unfurls.

“This collaboration with P.R. Brown has just gotten better and more crucial as we’ve gone along,” Amy Lee said of the video in a statement. “It started out with the Synthesis artwork, I told him how I saw the music, as this co-existence of synthetic and organic, the contrast and the blend of two very different elements. He interpreted that visually into mixing media, hand painting on photographs, putting every shot into its own unique universe.”

Lee continued, “The idea for the ‘Imperfection’ video was about bringing that art to life, and capturing the emotion of the lyrics. Our amazing young actress, Rogue Parker, plays the role of me as a girl, my inner-self. The video is meant to give visual to feeling, an internal picture of processing loss, and life, speaking from an adult’s perspective to my past self.”

Brown added, “This is such a powerful track that resonates on a truly emotional level. The goal we wanted to achieve in the video was to create a visual translation of the music and reveal the meaning in an abstract way. We all struggle in life and need help to get through everything. In this case we wanted to show that sometimes the strength needed to get through has to come from you.”

“Imperfection,” Synthesis‘ closing
track, is one of two new songs (along with “Hi-Lo) that Evanescence
recorded for their new album, which features orchestral reworked versions of
songs from Evanescence’s prior three LPs. Synthesis is out November 10th.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-evanescences-reflective-new-imperfection-video-w509867

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See Courtney Love, Justin Tranter Sing Selena Gomez’s ‘Hands to Myself’

October 20th, 2017 · Guitar

Courtney Love and pop songwriter/activist Justin Tranter performed a power ballad duet version of Selena Gomez’s dance-pop hit “Hands to Myself” at the GLAAD “Spirit Day” concert on Wednesday.

Throughout the surprise performance, the duo joined hands and gazed into each others’ eyes, swaying back and forth as they alternated lead vocals. Tranter – a GLAAD board member and hit-maker for artists like Fall Out Boy, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5 and DNCE – co-wrote “Hands to Myself,” which appears on Gomez’s 2015 LP, Revival.

Tranter helped organize the intimate Los Angeles event, officially dubbed “Justin Tranter and GLAAD Present Believer Spirit Day Concert,” which raised over $100,000 to benefit GLAAD’s efforts of standing against bullying and supporting LGBTQ youth. 

Hailee Steinfeld, Darren Criss, Troye Sivan, 5 Seconds of Summer and Sofia Carson each donated to the “Spirit Day” campaign. Carly Rae Jepsen, Adam Lambert and Tinashe also attended the concert, among other performers. 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/courtney-love-justin-tranter-sing-selena-gomez-song-w509784

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Remembering Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Deadly 1977 Plane Crash

October 20th, 2017 · Guitar

Ronnie Van Zant’s bandmates were anxious as they prepared to board their leased plane at Greenville, South Carolina’s Downtown Airport on the afternoon of October 20th, 1977. And they had good reason to be: Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s rickety Convair 240, pushing 30 years old, was obviously past its prime. “We were flying in a plane that looked like it belonged to the Clampett family,” drummer Artimus Pyle later said. The 10-foot flames seen shooting out of the right engine two days earlier had done little to inspire anyone’s confidence. The scary incident convinced the group that they needed to upgrade their vehicle to something befitting their status as one of the biggest acts in music. Their latest album, Street Survivors, had gone gold upon its release three days earlier, and the first five dates of the accompanying tour had been met with rapturous crowds throughout their native Southland. The ambitious trek, their largest to date, would see the band achieve its dream of playing New York’s Madison Square Garden. Surely they needed something better than a bucket of bolts to shuttle them there?

After making the 600-mile trip from Greenville to Baton Rouge, where they were due to play the following night at Louisiana State University, Lynyrd Skynyrd planned to acquire a Learjet, the air chariot of choice for the Seventies rock elite. Still, one final hop on the Convair felt like one too many for most in their entourage. “Our wives, everyone were afraid for us to get on this thing, but we didn’t know any better,” keyboardist Billy Powell said on a 1997 episode of VH1′s Behind the Music. Cassie Gaines, a member of the backing vocal trio known as the Honkettes and sister of guitarist Steve Gaines, was so petrified that she nearly squeezed in the band’s cramped equipment truck until she was reluctantly persuaded to board the aircraft. guitarist Allen Collins was equally apprehensive. “He didn’t want to get on that plane,” Gary Rossington told the Orlando Sentinel in 1988. “He said, ‘I’m not gonna get on it because it’s not right.’” But the band’s frontman remained almost eerily calm. “Ronnie said, ‘Hey, if the Lord wants you to die on this plane, when it’s your time, it’s your time. Let’s go, man. We’ve got a gig to do,’” remembers Rossington.

Forty years later, his words resonate like a dare to the gods. Less than three hours later the twin-engine would plummet from the sky and into the darkened swamps of Gillsburg, Mississippi, claiming the lives of Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray Jr. The 20 survivors endured shattered bones, torn flesh, lengthy hospitalizations and grueling rehabilitations. While their bodies recovered, they’d never again be reunited with the voice that made songs like “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” perennial anthems of Southern rock.

Many in the band’s circle believe Van Zant had a premonition of his fate. On numerous occasions he proclaimed that he would never reach his 30th birthday. “Ronnie and I were in Tokyo, Japan, and Ronnie told me that he’d never live to see 30, and that he was going to go out with his boots on – in other words, on the road,” recalled Pyle on Behind the Music. “Of course I said, ‘Ronnie, don’t talk like that,’ but the man knew his destiny.” On October 20th, he was 87 days from his limit. “When I heard that there had been a plane crash, I just knew Ronnie was one of the ones that didn’t make it,” the singer’s widow Judy Van Zant Jenness told Team Rock’s Jaan Uhelszki in 2016. “He told me so many times that I realized that he really knew what he was talking about.” Even his father, the late Lacy Van Zant, boasted of Ronnie’s “second sight.”

A feeling of impending doom carried over into his music, particularly the Street Survivors track “That Smell.” Written as a stern warning after Rossington wrapped his brand new Ford Torino around a tree during a substance-fueled joyride, the foreboding “smell of death surrounds you” refrain provides a glimpse into Van Zant’s unsettled psyche. “I had a creepy feeling things were going against us, so I thought I’d write a morbid song,” he said three months before the crash. It would be one of the last songs he ever wrote.

Van Zant loathed flying, and the ramshackle plane contributed to his feeling of malaise. A string of rowdy incidents on previous chartered flights – including an alleged attempt to toss a roadie out from an altitude of 13,000 feet – had ensured that Lynyrd Skynyrd were unwelcome on most private airlines, so it fell to the band’s manager, Peter Rudge, to obtain a vehicle of their own where they could be free to misbehave. He was offered the Convair 240, registration number N55VM, by the LJ Company of Addison, Texas. Manufactured in 1947, it was the third of its kind ever built. Powered by a pair of counter-rotating Pratt Whitney R-2800 engines, the craft was essentially an antique, with 29,000 flight miles under its wings. Aerosmith had briefly hired the very same plane earlier that year, but their assistant chief of flight operations, Zunk Buker, questioned the vehicle’s flight worthiness. He ultimately backed out after claiming that he caught McCreary and Gray “smoking and passing around an open bottle of Jack Daniel’s in the cockpit.”

Rudge witnessed no such incidents, and leased the plane at a rock bottom price: three payments of $5,000. Rather than appreciate the savings, the band largely viewed it as a downgrade from their last ride. “It was like getting out of a limo and into some junker car,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s sound engineer Ken Peden tells Rolling Stone. “Everyone was a little uptight about it. Personally I didn’t like the plane.” Rudge himself reportedly opted to fly first class on commercial flights, a choice that fostered resentment among the band. “I spoke with Ronnie a day before [the crash], and he had definitely soured on Rudge, for a lot of things, but the plane was one of ‘em,” the band’s longtime friend and business associate Alex Hodges told author Mark Ribowsky. “It sort of symbolized to the band that Rudge was doing things on the cheap, and here they were, one of the biggest bands in the world…They were not a happy bunch, and the plane was like a metaphor for them being trapped in a bad situation. I’m not gonna lie and say I sensed the plane was gonna go down, but I was very uneasy about them gettin’ on it, I’ll tell you that.”

Jo Jo Billingsley was also uneasy. The Honkettes vocalist had sat out the first few tour dates, but Van Zant called just prior to the Greenville gig to invite her to return to the fold when the band hit Little Rock, Arkansas, in the coming days. Though initially overjoyed, she too sensed that smell of death. “That night I had the most vivid dream,” she told Swampland.com in 2003. “I saw the plane smack the ground. I saw them screaming and crying, and I saw fire. I woke up screaming, and my mom came running in going, ‘Honey what is it?’ I said ‘Mama, I dreamed the plane crashed!’ And she said, ‘No, honey, it’s just a dream.’ And I said, ‘No, mom, it’s too real!’”

It’s possible Van Zant had filled Billingsley in on that day’s troubling flight from Lakeland, Florida. The Convair, which had served the band relatively well up until that point, began to exhibit serious mechanical malfunctions after takeoff on October 18th. “Just as we left the runway the starboard engine backfired, the bang so loud I thought it had blown apart,” the band’s security chief Gene Odom wrote in his memoir. “Long orange flames were pouring from the engine as the plane continued to climb. We were all terrified. … Twelve thousand feet in the air, the engine spewed out a ten-foot torch of fire that lasted for several minutes, offering each of us an unforgettable look at our very serious problem.” On the morning of their fatal journey, Odom approached the flight crew at the behest of the band, in an effort to get some answers about the aircraft. He claims McCreary and Gray insisted the plane was fine, but they’d call ahead for a mechanic to look things over – in Baton Rouge.

The plane rose to the skies for the last time at 5:02 p.m. local time without incident. Once in the air, anxiety gave way to giddy relief among the passengers. “We had decided the night before that we would definitely get rid of the plane in Baton Rouge, so we started partying to celebrate the last flight on it,” Powell told Rolling Stone in 1977. Music blared and the aisles filled with increasingly rambunctious revelers dancing 12,000 feet above the earth. Others relaxed in their seats and took in the magnificent views. “We were looking out the window at this October sky. The sun was setting and you could see the contrails from the aircraft. It was just beautiful,” Peden says.

In the back of the plane, a fiercely competitive game of poker was becoming heated. “I remember getting really upset when one of the players ripped the table out of the cabin wall,” remembered tour manager Roy Eckerman. Ordinarily Van Zant would have joined them, but back pain forced him to sprawl out on the floor with Honkettes member Leslie Hawkins acting as a temporary masseuse. “That was really the only space he could lay down and have room, and Leslie was cracking his back and all this stuff trying to relieve his issues,” says Peden. “So instead of being in his normal spot, which might have saved his life, he was up front when all the trouble developed.”

The trouble came suddenly. The right engine, which had been sputtering throughout the flight, died completely. Despite having refueled in Greenville, the pilots found themselves dangerously low on gas. At 6:42 p.m. McCreary frantically radioed Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center. “We need to get to a airport, the closest airport you’ve got, sir.” He was given vectors to McComb-Pike County Airport in McComb, Mississippi, which was now 17 miles behind them. Before McCreary could turn the plane around, the left engine also failed, causing steering mechanisms to shut down. They were in a free-fall at 4,500 feet. “It got real quiet. All we heard was air, wind,” recalled Powell.

McCreary entered the cabin and made the chilling announcement to his passengers: “We’re out of gas – put your heads between your legs and buckle up tight.” Pyle, himself a trained pilot, happened to be in the cockpit when the problems began. His father had been killed in an airplane crash, and he didn’t like what he saw. “I could see death in the man’s eyes,” he later told the Orlando Sentinel. “He was a good pilot, but he kind of freaked a little bit. Nothing like that had ever happened to him.” The news was met with incredulous expressions of disbelief. Some, understandably, cursed the plane (Odom claims that he rushed the cockpit and hissed, “I hope you two sons of bitches live through this, so I can kill both of you!”), but most were simply lost in thought as the plane began its 10-minute death glide to the ground. “Everybody was sitting down kind of praying, real silently,” said Powell. “Just being like, ‘Oh, god, please don’t take my life.’”

Exactly how Van Zant spent his last minutes alive is disputed. In his memoir, Odom recalls rousing him from his slumber in the airplane aisle and strapping him in a seat while the groggy singer complained, “Man, just let me sleep.” Pyle, however, remembers Van Zant being alert enough walk to the back of the plane to retrieve a pillow. “As he walked forward, he shook my hand. We looked at each other and smiled, and he continued forward and sat down. Ronnie knew that he was going to die.”

Attempts to maneuver a soft landing in a field or stretch of highway proved fruitless as the craft sank lower and lower into the remote forest a short distance from the Mississippi/Louisiana border. “The trees kept getting closer, they kept getting bigger,” Powell told Rolling Stone in 1977. “Then there was a sound like someone hitting the outside of the plane with hundreds of baseball bats.” For 15 seconds the Convair tore a 500-foot swath through the thick timber, but the metal body couldn’t withstand the 90-mile-an-hour impact of the sturdy pines, which sheared off wings and tore open the fuselage. The cockpit and the tail were ripped away, and the remaining cabin bucked into a L-shaped tangle of wreckage as it skidded to a stop in the mangrove just after 6:53 p.m. local time, leaving a trail of debris and people. “Everyone but me was wearing a seatbelt when we crashed, yet every seat but one was ripped from the floor, and almost everyone was hurled forward into the wall panels in a pile of broken bodies that smothered the people on the bottom,” writes Odom.

Van Zant died instantly of blunt force trauma to the head. Dean Kilpatrick was killed on impact, as was Steve Gaines, but his sister Cassie lived a short time longer before succumbing to blood loss. The lifeless bodies of pilots McCreary and Gray remained strapped in their cockpit seats, which were now suspended upside-down from a nearby tree.

Powell’s nose had been nearly torn from his face after he crashed headfirst through a table. ”I sat on top of the airplane, which was turned sideways. I just sat there for a while, going, ‘What has happened?’ And I was crying. … I jumped off and there were people screaming. I remember hearing [bassist] Leon [Wilkeson] screaming, ‘Get me out of here.’ People that were still in the fuselage were trapped by seats and debris and metal and stuff. I just walked around trying to help whoever I could.” Ten feet above the carnage, Leslie Hawkins and Bill Sykes, a television crewman accompanying the band, were alive but stuck in a tree, with a heavy piece of sheet metal dangling precariously overhead. They waited, barely daring to breathe, until help could extricate them from their perilous position.

Pyle emerged from the wreck with several shattered ribs, but he was well enough to walk. Together with Peden and roadie Marc Frank, they set off into the pitch-black swamp to find help. “Every painful step I took was a drop of their blood. I knew that I had to keep putting one foot in front of another,” the drummer later said. Their progress was impeded not only by physical pain but also the local wildlife. “I heard this snake slither up to me in the darkness and I remember saying, out loud, ‘Snake, I will bite your head off,’ Pyle told Easy Reader News in 2013. “Nothing was going to stop me from getting help. I’m a Marine. We don’t leave anyone behind.” After fording a creek and burrowing under a barbed wire fence, the men came face to face with a herd of cattle. “I’m walking along and I’m thinking, ‘All I need is some bull to come out here and run over my ass after going through all this,’” remembers Peden.

In the distance they could make out lights from a home belonging to dairy farmer named Johnny Mote. The 22-year-old had been outside bailing hay in the twilight when he heard the crash in the distance, which he assumed was “a car skidding in gravel.” But sight of helicopter searchlights circling overhead began to make him nervous. Fearing escaped convicts from a nearby prison camp, Mote hopped in his pickup truck to investigate the area, only to find the three bloodied and dirty men on a nearby path. Now certain he was dealing with a jailbreak, the young farmer sped back to his mobile home. Yelling for his wife Barbara to lock the doors, he grabbed his .243 hunting rifle and stood guard outside. “We’re walking across his lawn and the guy gets out of the pickup truck, picks up his shotgun and fires it up in the air,” says Peden. “We all hit the dirt thinking, ‘Now we’re gonna get killed by a redneck farmer!’ So we all yell, ‘Hey! I don’t know who you think we are but we were on a plane and the plane crashed out there on the other side of that cow pasture.’ And the guy realized at that point we were telling the truth.”

As the seriousness of the situation became apparent, Mote assembled an ad hoc convoy of pickups and four-wheelers, which he led across the difficult terrain to the crash site. The lack of fuel on the plane meant that there was no fire, which saved an untold number of lives but also made the wreck difficult to locate in the darkness. The spotlights from the circling choppers, as well as the survivors’ chilling howls, ultimately helped them find their way. “When we first got down there, you could hear them whining,” Mote told the Sentinel. “Some of them were crying and hollering. It got to me.” His neighbor Dwain Easley also helped extricate the wounded from the twisted metal. “The first thing I saw was a bloody hand reaching out from the debris,” he told the Times-Picayune in 2015. “Folks were all mashed together. We’d move one and there would be another one laying there.”

Authorities quickly descended on the scene, transforming the desolate thicket into a hive of activity. A trio of helicopters from the Coast Guard, National Guard and Forrest County General Hospital ferried medical personal and illuminated the scene. Rescue vehicles on the ground found their path blocked by tangled underbrush and the 20-foot creek, so two bulldozers were dispatched to plow a primitive path off nearby Highway 568. It would take hours to remove the bodies of the dead and injured from the plane. Identification was hindered by the fact that many had been playing poker in the final minutes of the flight, with their wallets – and IDs – out of their pockets and now strewn at random across the forest.

News of the crash soon spread across the airwaves, and before long an estimated 3,000 had converged on the scene. Not all of them were good Samaritans. In the ensuing chaos, souvenir hunters took billfolds, jewelry, suitcases, band merchandise and even chunks of metal from the crash site. “In the darkness and confusion they took wallets, purses, jewelry, and cash, as well as airplane seats, seat belts, pillows, and anything else they could carry,” wrote Odom. “They took my watch, my wallet, my ring, and my money as I lay bleeding on the ground. I would like to think that only one ‘grave robber’ was involved, but so many items were missing that I have to believe otherwise.”

Most of the 20 survivors survivors were taken to Southwest Regional Medical Center in McComb, where the lobby had been transformed into a makeshift emergency treatment center. The list of injuries was extensive. Gary Rossington suffered two broken arms, a broken leg, a punctured stomach and liver. Allen Collins cracked two vertebrae, and a cut to his right arm was so severe that it almost required amputation. Billy Powell received extensive facial lacerations and a broken right knee. In addition to his fractured ribcage, Artimus Pyle was treated for numerous abrasions and contusions. Gene Odom had been thrown from the plane and broke his neck, his skin badly burned and one eye blinded by phosphorus from a de-icing flare that had been aboard. Bassist Leon Wilkeson had arguably the most harrowing recovery; as he faced many internal injuries, dislodged teeth, and a broken left arm and leg, his heart stopped twice on the operating table. When he awoke, he claimed that he had just been sitting on a cloud-shaped log with Van Zant and fellow Southern rock icon Duane Allman – who had died in a motorcycle accident almost exactly six years earlier. “Ronnie told me, ‘Boy, get yourself out of here, it’s not your time yet, get on out of here,’” he told Uhelszki in 1997.

Van Zant, the Gaineses, Kilpatrick and the pilots were laid in a temporary morgue at a local high school gymnasium. Rudge chartered three planes for loved ones to identify the bodies. Among them was Lacy Van Zant, who was accompanied by a family friend, .38 Special guitarist Don Barnes. Van Zant’s mother Marion, who had developed a severe phobia of flying after witnessing a crash that killed nine people as a child, declined to make the trip. After the excruciating ordeal of claiming his son, Lacy put on a brave face to visit recuperating members of the Lynyrd Skynyrd family. “They all looked at Lacy through stitches and swelling and he told me not to say anything about Ronnie,” Barnes told Team Rock. “He just said that Ronnie was fine and, ‘You just get better and rest.’ This man had just been to the funeral home and seen his son dead and decided to keep that to himself for these guys to heal. I told him that it was the strongest thing I had seen a man do.”

For a time, the fate of their lead singer was kept a secret from the mostly gravely injured band members. “When I woke up after a few days, there was just a priest and my mama standing there,” Rossington says in Lee Ballinger’s oral history of the band. “I went ‘What happened?’ I was in shock and they said, ‘Don’t tell him anything, it’ll freak him out.’ And I went ‘Mama?’ And she told me. Then I said that I needed to be alone. It was always weird for Allen and me because we were up front [in the plane]. And it was Steve and me and Ronnie and I was in the middle of them. And on the other side it was Allen in the middle of Dean and Cassie. They all died and we didn’t and we always wondered why, you know.” The survivors would grapple with that question for the remainder of their lives.

The precise cause of the crash was never established for certain. The Convair was not required to carry a flight data recorder, and much of the wreck was too damaged to be of use to investigators. In a report issued in June 1978, the National Travel Safety Bureau officially ruled that the probable cause of the accident was “fuel exhaustion and total loss of power from both engines due to crew inattention to fuel supply.” It adds that the right engine was burning more fuel than usual due to being operated in “auto-rich” mode, which would explain the flames (or “torching”) that had been visible on earlier flights. “The crew was either negligent or ignorant of the increased fuel consumption because they failed to monitor adequately the engine instruments for fuel flow and fuel quantity.” Several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s entourage alleged that the pilots had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol the night before – or possibly during – the flight, but these claims were largely debunked by toxicology reports.

Still, the survivors were in no mood to point fingers. “There’s a million ‘maybes’ and ‘ifs’ and ‘should haves,’” Rossington later told the Sentinel. ”But what happened has already happened. It didn’t matter what caused it. It was unfortunate, but it happened. After the fact, to learn why, it doesn’t really do anything to you.” Rather than place the blame on the pilots, or the group’s management, Pyle places equal responsibility on the band themselves. “There were a lot of people on the plane that knew something was wrong, but we all kind of followed each other, and that’s where we made our mistake.”

Two days after the crash, a battered Billy Powell appeared outside the hospital to update members of the press. When asked whether Lynyrd Skynyrd could continue, he offered a forlorn and succinct response: “I don’t think so.” The decision to disband sent mourning fans clambering to purchase what they believed was the group’s swan song. But the cover of Street Survivors, depicting the group engulfed in flames, took on a grisly significance in the aftermath of the tragedy. At the request of Gaines’ widow, Teresa, MCA withdrew the sleeve. “I had to rush back and kill the album cover because it was not appropriate, although when the plane crashed, there were no flames,” photographer George Osaki says in the band’s oral history. “I had to take the flames out. That picture of Steve with his eyes closed, and the flames. It was too macabre.” Instead, the photo was replaced with a shot of the band set amid a simple black background. 

Steve Gaines, the 28-year-old guitarist so full of promise that Van Zant once claimed the band would “all be in his shadow one day,” was buried along with his sister Cassie on October 23rd, 1977, in their hometown of Miami, Oklahoma. Dean Kilpatrick was laid to rest at Arlington Park Cemetery in Jacksonville. The service for Ronnie Van Zant took place two days later at Jacksonville’s Memory Garden. Billy Powell – confined to crutches, his face held together with stitches – was the only bandmate able to attend his funeral. Among the 150 guests were Dickey Betts, Charlie Daniels, Al Kooper and Tom Dowd, as well as members of Grinderswitch, .38 Special and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Reverend David Evans, a friend of the band who had also engineered 1975′s Nuthin’ Fancy, conducted the ceremony in front of a brass coffin strewn with red roses. Musical selections included a recording of David Allen Coe’s “Another Pretty Country Song,” as well as a version of “Amazing Grace” sung by Van Zant’s brother Donnie and Daniels. When the brief service concluded, the voice of Lynyrd Skynyrd was buried with his trademark black hat and favorite fishing pole. Daniels read a poem he had written especially for the occasion.

A brief candle both ends burning
An endless mile a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
That we’re all part of everything
The present, future and the past
Fly on proud bird, you’re free at last

The remaining members of Lynyrd Skynyrd would spend much of the following decade struggling to cope with their losses. Some would seek solace in music, while others turned to drugs and alcohol. Ever the survivors, they ultimately found their way back to each other, reuniting in 1987 with Johnny Van Zant stepping into his older brother’s role. The proud, free birds of the Southern rock would fly again, but they’d never fully shake the memory of that long dark night in the Mississippi wilderness, and the sudden death of their musical kin. 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/remembering-lynyrd-skynyrds-plane-crash-ronnie-van-zant-w509500

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Justin Bieber, BloodPop Recruit Julia Michaels for ‘Friends’ Remix

October 20th, 2017 · Guitar

Justin Bieber and producer BloodPop recruited Julia Michaels for a remix of their electro-pop hit “Friends.” Michaels – who co-wrote the song with the two artists and her frequent writing partner Justin Tranter – weaves in a sleek croon on the first verse and harmonizes with Bieber throughout the song.

The two vocalists finish each other’s thoughts, inhabiting the headspace of a couple who try to mend their relationship after a break-up. “Wonderin’ if you got a body/ To hold you tighter since I left,” Bieber sings over BloodPop’s pulsating synths. “Wonderin’ if you think about me/ Actually, don’t answer that.”

Bieber and BloodPop previously collaborated on “Sorry,” a massive hit (and Michaels co-write) from the pop star’s 2015 LP, Purpose. “Friends” marks Bieber’s first solo release since that album, though he’s scored a pair of Number One hits this year as a featured artist: DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” and a remix of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito.”

Michaels started her career as a songwriter, penning tracks for artists like Bieber, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas and Pink. She emerged as a solo artist this year with the breakout hit “Issues,” followed by her debut EP, Nervous System.

Michaels recently spoke to Rolling Stone about her musical evolution and writing process. “The music is very simple – just an added texture to tell the story,” she said. “I’m a perfectionist and like things clean and in their space.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/justin-bieber-bloodpop-recruit-julia-michaels-for-friends-remix-w509790

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Madonna’s ‘Erotica,’ ‘Sex’: Why Musical Masterpiece, Defiant Book Still Matter

October 20th, 2017 · Guitar

In 1990, Madonna was as astronomically popular as a boundary-bulldozing, unapologetically bacchanalian performance artist could get. Drawing from Harlem drag balls, “Vogue” went Number One nearly worldwide. The tour showcasing it, Blond Ambition, mixed spectacle with social commentary so sharply that it reinvented the pop concert and yielded the smash documentary Truth or Dare. And that year’s The Immaculate Collection, her first greatest-hits set, would eventually rank among the world’s biggest-ever albums, despite MTV banning its gender-blurring and cinematically exquisite “Justify My Love” video.

Some loathed this classically trained dancer/DIY provocateur – a megastar peer of Prince and Michael Jackson since her 1984 blockbuster Like a Virgin – with a venom reserved for successful women forging their own path. But for her vast audience, she was nothing less than liberating, and her uninterrupted string of hits defined pop for a decade. What some considered violations of taste made her more commanding: Even the way she toyed with ordinarily unflappable talk show hosts like David Letterman was more rock roll than actual rock stars.

Nearly everything changed two years later with Erotica and Sex. Released respectively on October 20th and 21st, 1992, the first fruits of her multimedia Maverick entertainment company weren’t flops; her fifth studio album, Erotica racked up six million sales worldwide and yielded several hits, while Sex – an elaborate coffee table book created with fashion photographer Steven Meisel and Fabien Baron of Harper’s Bazaar – sold out its limited 1.5 million printing in a few days, an unparalleled success for a $50 photography folio bound in metal and sealed in a Mylar bag to evoke condoms. It remains one of the most in-demand out-of-print publications of all time.

But both record and book, despite a few positive reviews, inspired widespread vitriol. “There’s nothing erotic about it, unless one finds the idea of a singing death mask sexy.” That was Entertainment Weekly‘s take on Erotica‘s rendition of “Fever,” but it summed up many assessments of the entire album. Others appreciated Sex‘s forthright presentation of LGBTQ sexuality and SM even less. “Of course, some of us actually like the opposite sex; some of us believe it is possible to have great sex without whips, third parties or domestic pets,” groused not some reactionary macho windbag, but a female film critic for The New York Times. 

Why did projects Madonna intended to open minds shut so many down?

As her stardom snowballed through the Eighties and early Nineties, AIDS decimated the scene that helped birth Madonna. Taking music and fashion cues from lower Manhattan’s punk rebelliousness and midtown’s disco hedonism, pre-stardom Madonna was a fixture in the bohemian underground chronicled by photographer Nan Goldin in her autobiographical The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, a likely Sex influence, along with the severe stylization of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Robert Mapplethorpe. By 1992, AIDS claimed Goldin’s subjects, Mapplethorpe himself, much of the art world (including Madonna’s friend Keith Haring), and a growing chunk of Madonna’s audience. It also killed and would go on to kill her cohorts, including Blond Ambition dancer Gabriel Trupin. Just as racism and the Black Lives Matter movement shaped Beyoncé’s Lemonade, AIDS and ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, the direct action advocacy and educational group whose motto was “Silence = Death” – yielded Erotica and Sex.

Madonna previewed both works with the lead single and video for “Erotica,” which boldly picked up where “Justify My Love” left off, and is narrated by Mistress Dita, her Sex dominatrix alter ego. “Give it up, do as I say,” she growls over gritty funk that combines the clatter of RB’s New Jack Swing with house music’s heavy bottom. “Give it up and let me have my way.”

But in much of what follows on the LP, the woman behind the vixen doesn’t get what she wants: Her relationships fall apart as she awakens from spells cast by deceptive lovers (“Bye Bye Baby,” “Waiting,” “Words”). Booze, chain–smoking, and anonymous sex can’t numb the pain (“Bad Girl”), and a friend steals her man (“Thief of Hearts”). Meanwhile, comrades die (“In This Life”) while kindred outcasts struggle (“Why’s It So Hard”). “I’m not happy this way,” she sings in “Bad Girl.” Sensuality was merely part of the picture: Erotica is Madonna’s concept album about love and intimacy under the shadow of plague. 

In excerpts from his studio diary, Erotica‘s co-producer/songwriter Shep Pettibone – a skilled remixer who helped Eighties dance grooves evolve from disco to house music – archived the singer’s feedback on the album’s early slick mixes. “I hate them,” she said. “If I had wanted the album to sound like that, I’d have worked with [earlier collaborator] Patrick Leonard in L.A.” Instead, Madonna demanded rawness, “as if it were recorded in an alley at 123rd Street in Harlem.”

And so her “Vogue” collaborator reverted to the rhythm-intensive immediacy of his remixes as he reworked much of the album until it boomed, banged and sizzled like his increasingly popular remixes: Pettibone’s version of “Express Yourself” was the one heard in Madonna’s massive video. Instead of composing a radio-targeted album later reshaped for the clubs, Pettibone, together with Madonna, and André Betts – a newcomer who co–produced “Justify My Love” with Lenny Kravitz – made Erotica resemble an alternately party-minded and private collection of 12-inch singles. Even ballads like “Bad Girl” take arrangement cues from club music; in this case, a somber, slo-mo slant on Black Box’s piano-pounding house anthems.

Unlike Erotica, which contrasts moods and tempos but maintains a deep and yearning sonic continuity, Sex is varied in style and content. Some shots are straightforward, such as the introductory snaps of Madonna cavorting with two tattooed and pierced lesbian skinheads. The authenticity of her playmates accentuates the fastidiousness of her makeup and the newness of her fetish-wear, which makes Madonna look like a tourist. There’s little less sexy than that.

Other photos are open to interpretation: One features four masculine figures standing at urinals with Madonna superimposed in pink. The clash of iconography and grain of the image means it takes some staring to notice one has a hand on another’s ass – and even more scrutiny to realize these two apparent dudes are actually women; probably the same butches in the earlier tableau. Here Madonna looks like she’s visited that same seedy men’s room, and the double exposure insinuates it’s on her mind. She’s not alone: When bigots obsess over transgender folk in public restrooms, this is what they’re imagining. They’d deny the compositional beauty of the image, but there it plainly is, contrasted and highlighted by the sleaze.

Clearly she intended to instigate more than that era’s version of the far right: One of the most realistic photos depicts her in a gymnasium under a basketball hoop with books tossed about and a school uniform half off. One guy holds her between his legs, and another guy’s hand is poised to explore her naked crotch. There’s more than a suggestion of struggle: Only her strained smile signifies consent.

Penned by Madonna, the text also varies in tone. Sometimes she’s acting out scenarios likely avoided in real life. Elsewhere she’s clearly speaking her own mind, yet with the disclaimer, “Nothing in this book is true,” which, to follow her logic, might be a lie. So when she wrote, “The women who are doing [porn] want to do it: No one is holding a gun to their head,” critics lambasted the musician. Given that Madonna posed nude in 1978 when she was broke and couldn’t stop Penthouse and Playboy from publishing the results in 1985, this statement comes across as atypically naïve.

Because Sex and Erotica launched Maverick and her renegotiated $60 million contract with Time Warner, speculation over the Material Girl’s earnings framed nearly every critical analysis. But Madonna’s moxie has never been just about profit and fame. As her charities and donations have attested for decades, she also aims to make the world a better place: She just opened a pediatric hospital in Malawi. Back then, she taught soft-core sex ed.

“I think the problem is that everybody’s so uptight about [sex] that they make it into something bad when it isn’t, and if people could talk about it freely, we would have people practicing more safe sex,” she told Vanity Fair at the time. “We wouldn’t have people sexually abusing each other, because they wouldn’t be so uptight to say what they really want, what they really feel.” Maybe that’s a little simplistic, but it’s genuinely humanitarian. At a time when the straight media essentially characterized all sex as dangerous, Madonna tried to illustrate that it could be safe and stimulating, particularly if we open our minds, free our bodies, and try something besides standard intercourse.  

Nowadays, SM and explicit LGBTQ imagery is never more than a few clicks away, but the internet was in its infancy in 1992: Photos of sexual activity were exclusive to specialty bookstores until Robert Mapplethorpe’s headline–grabbing 1989 retrospective The Perfect Moment, which placed SM and interracial gay sexuality onto museum walls. The resulting controversy – inflamed by North Carolina’s obstructionist Senator Jesse Helms and his attempt to prevent the National Endowment for the Arts from funding “obscenity” – engaged viewers in a moral debate. Accordingly, Sex was never about pretty pictures.

Twenty-five years after publication, it’s easier to differentiate between Sex‘s weaknesses and strengths. The sequence with pop rapper Vanilla Ice – Madonna’s then-boyfriend – was always tacky, and the section in which she sandwiches herself between hip-hop’s Big Daddy Kane and supermodel Naomi Campbell is more stilted than ever. Actress Isabella Rossellini – who appears in a man’s suit caressing Madonna and her female friends with an emotional intimacy missing from those celebrity shots  nailed the book’s major limitation when she told The Huffington Post in 2014, “Madonna was almost too beautiful, too perfect … to have that vulnerability or the sense of shock that a regular, more normal, not-so-professional fitted body could convey.” No matter how many personas the icon tries on like a pop-art Cindy Sherman, Madonna is Madonna when she takes off her clothes – maybe even more so.

And yet I recognize her intentions. Madonna and I are of the same generation, and before she was a star, we’d party at the same NYC clubs like Danceteria, where her career began. I lost my dad to cancer when I was young just as she lost her mom at age five, and so I know all too well how grieving reactivates that original deprivation, like when my very first lover died of AIDS 30 years ago. After that went co-workers, mentors and friends until the mid-Nineties, when combinations of antiviral medicines slowed and then ultimately stopped HIV’s progression for many patients who followed their medication regimen with military precision.

But until then, if you lived in a major city and were gay or an intravenous drug user, sex worker or among their intimates, you were an endangered species. There was no cure, and our government was indifferent. Breaking their silence was essential to our survival and sanity. So when Madonna launched her business with Sex and Erotica, LGBTQ people knew she wasn’t exploitative: She was trying to save our lives by politicizing her anger. The frustration of Erotica that critics of the era bemoaned, we applauded because it was our own. Sure, she borrowed some of our fabulousness, but she also gave back plenty.

Accordingly, Erotica is also filled with love. The album’s steamiest – and funniest – cut, “Where Life Begins,” celebrates cunnilingus with cheeky wordplay, but also sweetness and warmth: Crooning over Andre Betts’ hip-hop ballad beats, she beckons the listener, “Go down where I cannot hide,” as if to suggest her womanhood is this chameleon’s constant truth.

The album’s most driving dance track, the hit “Deeper and Deeper,” revels in romantic surrender. But LGBTQ people interpret it more specifically about embracing same-sex attraction. “This feeling inside, I can’t explain/But my love is alive, and I’m never gonna hide it again,” Madonna belts in the concluding verse, hitting that declaration harder than anything in her catalog. Set in a pansexual nightclub much like Danceteria, its video pays tribute to Andy Warhol, here represented by actor Udo Kier – a Warhol graduate who also plays Sex‘s dungeon master. But it also tips a hat to Madonna’s late mentor Christopher Flynn, who introduced the straight-A student and cheerleader to the gay discos of Detroit.

“I always felt like I was a freak when I was growing up and that there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t fit in anywhere,” she told director Gus Van Zant in Interview in 2010. “But when he took me to that club, he brought me to a place where I finally felt at home.”

Her elegiac “In This Life” offers gratitude to Flynn and her late roommate Martin Burgoyne while addressing AIDS head-on. “He was only 23/Gone before he had his time,” she sings of Burgoyne; “He was like a father to me … taught me to respect myself,” she croons about Flynn. Like “This Used to Be My Playground,” the similarly mournful League of Their Own chart-topper released four months before Erotica but written and recorded midway through the album, this lament reveals the wounded child concealed behind her workaholism. Her fragility makes the singing stronger.

This sincerity spills into “Rain,” the sunny single that revived sales eight months after the album’s release, and the final track, “Secret Garden.” Madonna ponders her feminine essence as a hidden paradise of pleasure, a Garden of Eden, and she reveals insecurities ordinarily concealed, hoping they’ll blossom into self-knowledge. “I wonder if I’ll ever know/where my place is, where my face is/I know it’s in here somewhere,” she whispers over a thrusting bass line, a gyrating breakbeat and breezy jazz piano that wanders with her thoughts. When she does sing on the chorus, she’s not the ballsy belter of her hits, but an aching, affectation-free spirit waiting for “a place that I can be born,” as if the true Madonna hadn’t yet arrived.

A quarter century after Sex and Erotica, the era’s lingering image of the superstar is the shot of her fully naked – tresses teased and face painted like a Fifties starlet, a cigarette in her lips, and her feet in stilettos – thumbing a ride on a bucolic Florida street. Her nude femininity is perfectly sculpted, yet she exudes the assurance of a suited male bureaucrat. It’s the book’s most transgressive image, for it presents a woman self-objectifying, calling the shots instead of following them, sharing her amorous dreams with the pluck usually reserved for straight white men. There’s no submissiveness; instead, its carnal opposite, flaunted while politicians and religious leaders preached abstinence as the only civilized response to a virus spreading throughout the world and claiming millions of lives. Instead, Madonna cast herself as Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Bunny.

This defiance flipped out men and women alike.

“I divide my career from before and after the Sex book,” she told Spin four years later. “Sex was my fantasy, and I made money off of it. That is a no-no.”

Her bravado lingered through Body of Evidence, a BDSM-charged thriller, and the Maverick-produced, straight-to-video drama Dangerous Game. Both were widely panned, as well as her 1994 Late Show appearance in which she asked David Letterman to smell her panties, smoked a cigar and said, “fuck” 14 times. In between, she staged her Erotica-centric Girlie Show World Tour, which furthered Blond Ambition’s fearless exuberance, but only played three U.S. cities.

Madonna’s sound and image then softened substantially with Evita, motherhood and wistful serenades like “Take a Bow” (her longest-running U.S. Number One) before she regained her audacity via 1998′s soul-searching Ray of Light and 2000′s experimental Music. And although some of her subsequent output has followed trends rather than setting them, she still puts on a rarely rivaled live show by foregrounding her body as the primary site of her art. That was daring in her Erotica/Sex period. Doing that today, as a 59-year-old woman, makes Madonna even more radical. Watch her fiery acceptance speech last December at Billboard‘s Women in Music shindig if you think she’s lost her edge.

“I was called a whore and a witch,” she recalled of that epoch. “One headline compared me to Satan. I said, ‘Wait a minute, isn’t Prince running around with fishnets and high heels and lipstick with his butt hanging out?’ Yes, he was. But he was a man. This was the first time I truly understood women do not have the same freedom as men. …I [felt] like the most hated woman in the world.”

Today, Erotica‘s melancholy desire is all over the boldest substantial pop from Lana Del Rey and Father John Misty to Frank Ocean and Beyoncé, and its dirty house grooves animate chart divas from Katy Perry on “Swish Swish” to underground rappers such as Zebra Katz on “Ima Read.” Let’s not forget that Grace Jones and Debbie Harry made Madonna possible. But there’s an even more direct line between Madonna’s unrepentant and emphatically female sensuality – particularly in this incendiary phase – and what followed from Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Tove Lo and now Cardi B. Without Madonna, modern pop as we know it would be unimaginable. Meanwhile, Sex‘s provocations have permeated advertising, which was hardly the point. (Meisel’s wood-paneled 1995 campaign for Calvin Klein evoked teen porn so brazenly that the Justice Department got involved and CK pulled the ads.)

However, popular music and art are no longer thoroughly defined by a straight white masculine perspective. Nearly everything is more sexualized, and that’s not entirely positive, but alpha male artists and submissive female subjects don’t dominate as much as they’ve done for centuries. We’ve finally hit a tipping point when popular culture is offering more viewpoints and voices: That’s why there’s a rise in fascism to suppress them. Sex and Erotica‘s greatest contribution remains their embrace of the Other, which in this case means queerness, blackness, third-wave feminism, exhibitionism and kink. Madonna took what was marginalized at the worst of the AIDS epidemic, placed it in an emancipated context, and shoved it into the mainstream for all to see and hear.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/madonnas-erotica-sex-misunderstood-masterpieces-w507057

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