It makes absolute logical sense for any company to want to be affiliated with the biggest events in the world, which the football World Cup unarguably is. But what to do when your biggest rival is a corporate partner of said tournament? In this case, the answer is a compilation record.
Whilst a couple of months may already have elapsed since the World Cup ended, this does afford us the ability to review this album using a host of clichés and tournament-inspired analogies. Santigold's 'Kicking Down Doors' signals the start of play with a pounding dub beat on a track that fails to take off. The arrival of a collaboration between Rita Ora and Calvin Harris - 'I Will Never Let You Down' - is like Spain making an appearance, but the resulting club number is as disappointing as the showing from the former champions. The decision to allow Janelle Monae to give Bowie's 'Heroes' an urban makeover gets a red card, but Don Omar adds the correct sort of bite to proceedings with a carnival-enthused 'Pura Vida'.
The second half begins with a substitution to the likeable quirky pop of 'Crescendo' by Jetta, before Kelly Rowland takes centre stage. Unfortunately, 'The Game' is a tuneless effort that falls well beneath the high standard of the output she has previously been involved with and leaves us needing a hero as we enter the latter stages of play. It would be too much now for the result of the album to be saved, but like a late consolation, it doesn't mean you can't put positives into the outcome. It isn't forthcoming though, with the remainder playing out a drab affair lacking impact and passion. Likening this to the England team's performance seems too obvious, but given the lack of expectation in the first instance, is actually quite appropriate.
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Made in America Festival is an annual music event founded by rapper and businessman Jay-Z in 2012. Following its inaugural year, it was announced to take place in Los Angeles for the later events and its arrival has since become an important symbol of unity. Jay-Z created the festival in a bid to join together musicians of all genres, creeds and cultures to emphasise the bond between music-lovers regardless of any animosity that may have existed between hip hop artists, rock artists and pop artists in the past. It is an attempt to build a world of peace and diversity because, in the words of Run DMC star Darryl McDaniels, 'Music succeeds where politics and religion fail'.
'Made In America' is a music documentary based on the new festival of the same name founded by Jay-Z who is also the movie's executive producer. It has been directed by double Oscar winner Ron Howard ('The Da Vinci Code', 'Apollo 13', 'Rush', 'A Beautiful Mind') and features behind-the-scenes clips and interviews of various music superstars including Run DMC, Rita Ora, Kanye West, Janelle Monáe, Tyler The Creator, Skrillex, Santigold and The Hives. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for 'Outstanding Television Documentary' at the Black Reel Awards.
Made In America is available on VOD and DVD 19 May 2014
Skrillex and Jack White were amongst the highlights of Saturday’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest (October 6, 2012). Over 50,000 people crowded into the Merriweather Post Pavilion to enjoy the three stages worth of music, from the likes of Alabama Shakes, ZZ Top and Santigold; an eclectic mix of old and new, sure to keep the punters satisfied. Tickets to the event were free and Virgin boss Richard Branson spoke to the Washington Post backstage, explaining the work that FreeFest does with homeless youths.
Skrillex was clearly a big draw for the event; one punter, Liz Carr, 27, told the Post that she and her friends had a goal for the evening and that was “to not be blacked out by the time Skrillex comes on.” Whether or not she achieved her aims, we may never know. But those that did manage to stay conscious until the US producer played his headline, 90 minute set, were treated to a “bombardment of riotous dubstep songs with sci-fi lasers, flames, smoke and sparks to match.” Jack White’s 50 minute set was deemed too brief by those in attendance, who called him back onstage for an encore, in a rather unusual manner – by “WHOA-OH-OH-ing the guitar riff from ‘Seven Nation Army.’
It was down to Jack White that the festival-goers at FreeFest were treated to a glimpse of ZZ Top, too. They may not be the hippest band on the planet but when you’re playing at the personal request of Jack White, you’ve instantly earned yourself a few extra nods of approval.