Photos, Words and Video by G.
Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd
In the 1980s when I was a kid and I turned on the radio to the current pop music stations, I vividly remember my parents thinking our music was “just a bunch of noise” in comparison to the classic rock and roll of the era they grew up in. Years later, we gained an appreciation of each others music primarily based on the lasting effects both kinds of music had on the world. I’ve always tried to stay current on the latest in music and in the streaming music generation and it gets harder and and harder to find music that I could find myself wanting to listen to one time, let alone over and over again. I have found myself retreating to “obscure indie bands” so that at a minimum, I can listen to music being made and sung by actual musicians. I am really not a fan of the autotune world we live in, where it takes over 5 writers to compose the most simplistic and banal lyrics imaginable. I have also found that mainstream radio, which I used to enjoy so much, is so offensive to my ear drums, I’d rather listen to silence than what the current pop channels have to offer.
With that being said, for a lot of the modern music super stars, I am familiar with their names (primarily because they can’t seem to keep out of the scandal pages for being despicable people – but we’ll save that discussion for another time), and I find I don’t know the music that makes them famous. When a name keeps popping up, I often take a chance and go see them live and I experience their music for the first time when they are standing before me. Also a discussion for another time – try it some time. It really takes you out of your comfort zone and I can say from doing this hundreds of times, there are not a lot of people that are willing to take this chance. When I did this for Miley Cyrus last year, I found myself feeling like an “old person” as I was completely shocked at how bad her music was (despite thinking she had a good voice) and also what a bad role model she is for teens, her main audience, who attended the concert without parental supervision, dressing up like complete sluts and in winter time, no less! Trust me, I am one of the most liberal people you’ll ever meet and I found myself cringing with horror, which messes with my head because it makes me feel like I am an old person who is judging the youth.
Enter Abel Tesfaye, also known by his stage name: The Weeknd (sic). Three of his songs slipped onto my radar: “Nocturnal,” a dance track with Disclosure, “Prisoner,” a duet with Lana Del Rey (a track I don’t really care for, but I like Lana’s vocals) and “Can’t Feel My Face,” an uptempo track that almost rips off the music for a song called “Jaded” by Soul Decision verbatim (but I like that song). That was enough for me to go see The Weeknd, who played 4 sold out shows at New York arenas (2 at Madison Square Garden and 2 at Barlcays Center in Brooklyn). If a performer can play to approximately 70,000 people over the course of 1 week, his music must be something special, so I took a chance and went to see him at Barclays Center on November 19, 2015.
At the conclusion of The Weeknd’s show, I found that he has a decent voice and I enjoyed the light show that included explosions and fire. What I didn’t enjoy was walking out of the concert feeling dumbfounded in a similar manner (but with different circumstances) like I did when I left the Miley Cyrus concert a year ago at the same venue. I should also point out that I do my best to avoid the news, but occasionally, items hit my radar, typically after they are discussed ad nauseum. One such item is “Black Lives Matter.” It’s hard to escape that sound byte. With what little I know on the matter, one way to make that so is for all of us, black, white or green to start treating each other with respect. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but to the 70,000 that sang along word for word to songs by The Weeknd, the so called “N-Word” was uttered so many times that I lost count. In my opinion, it sets any progress this movement might have made backwards by leaps and bounds and not only is this guy selling out arenas, but he is also winning awards for his music! WHAT??? Nearly every song is bragging about being high out of his mind, fucking, beating up and degrading bitches (his words, not mine) and causing havoc with his niggaz (his words, not mine). Sounds like he should be in jail instead of being celebrated as the “new Michael Jackson.” This is like a Kathy Bates in Misery moment, where you want to shout “HAVE YOU ALL GOT AMNESIA!?” Do parents know what their kids are really listening to? And if so, Madonna and 2 Live Crew are owed an apology because at the time, they were mocked for being too scandalous and that stuff could be taught in church in comparison to what The Weeknd was telling his followers! So with that, I decided to compile a list of 10 of the most horrifying lyrics I heard at The Weeknd’s concert. The items that make the list are included for their horrifying lyrical content, because if we wanted to do one with all the bad grammar and misspelled words, we could be here for days.
After the jump, see if you are as horrified as I am or if you think I am an oldster that needs to get with the times. Please let me know in the comments section, and include your age if you would, please.
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Photo and all HD videos by G.
Need a fix of some world exclusive live videos? I’m here to help! This post has SIX world exclusive videos just for you and the post below has an additional six. Who loves ya baby? G does!
Let’s kick things off with UK dance duo Disclosure performing “Jaded” at Madison Square Garden on October 25, 2015.
While we are in the dancing mood, check out Canada’s Haute Rock band Young Empires, performing “Sunshine” at Mercury Lounge on October 17, 2015.
Next up, is the newcomer Borns, who has a T. Rex meets MGMT vibe. He covered two classic songs recently, and I present them both to you: Here’s Borns taking on “Bennie and the Jets” by Elton John!
Borns, also covered “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie!
Finally, a pair of tracks from Blur’s first Madison Square Garden headlining show. Damon Albarn commented that it only took them 25 years to get there, but as you will see, it was worth the wait.
The first track is a Blur rarity, “Country Sad Ballad Man,” which has not been performed live in 20 years!
Last but not least is a song you all know and love – “Song 2!” WHOO HOO!!!!
Please support these bands (and all others on the site) by seeing them in concert and spreading the word!
Please support According2g.com by following me on Instagram
Photo, artwork and words by G.
Diamonds and Pearls
lamestream mainstream media was reporting on Prince reinstating his Instagram account, the real Prince news item of the day went unnoticed: an early incarnation of his 1991 classic album “Diamonds and Pearls” has leaked, and in perfect sound quality! I’ll get to the differences in a little bit, but can we just take a moment to completely lose our minds at how awesome this is! For decades, Prince fans have wondered how these things make their way out of Prince’s legendary vault, and we could speculate for days without a clear answer since reporters never directly ask Prince this million dollar question. One thing you should know if you are just a casual Prince fan: the man has had a 30+ year career and has released over 40 albums under his own name, has written the lyrics and words for another 20 albums for his “proteges,” has toured the world tirelessly throughout his career, sometimes performing as many as 3 shows a day (with completely different set lists) and never stops recording! At his Minneapolis recording complex, Paisley Park, a library of music known to die-hards as “The Vault” exists, and is rumored to contain thousands of unreleased songs. THOUSANDS! The average number of songs an artist releases in a 30 year career usually averages around 300, and this means that Prince is sitting on at least 700 songs that the world will never get to hear. That’s several 30 year careers worth of music if you don’t want to do the math! Whoa! Luckily for die-hards, songs mysteriously escape the vault from time to time, and many of the tracks are as vital as anything he has officially released. The creativity of this man is something of an anomaly, and that is something that is rarely celebrated in the press, and frankly should be mentioned in every article about him from now until eternity.
“Diamonds and Pearls,” The 13th studio album released by Prince on October 1, 1991 featured the debut of his new band, the New Power Generation. For the first time, Prince included a backing singer (Rosie Gaines) and a rapper (Tony M.) in the official band lineup. While Rosie Gaines was a perfect compliment to Prince’s voice, fans and critics did not feel the same way about Tony M. Prince’s 1980s “golden period” where basically every song he released was amazing, had started to wain, and Prince, for the first time in his career – up to that point – decided to follow a trend rather than set it. The result was an album that featured some brilliant tracks along side some cringe-worthy rap performances by both Prince and Tony M. Over the years, the Prince fan community has learned to love all the songs on the record, except “Jughead” which aside from his current output ranks as one of the worst songs he’s ever released. Meanwhile, in November of 1990, his box office bomb “Graffiti Bridge” had just been released and Prince submitted the first incarnation of one of his final classic albums. The bootleg “Diamonds and Pearls: Beginnings” features not only a vastly different track list, but every version of every song that eventually got released was dramatically changed. So this is what you will hear when you track this amazing bootleg down (read: please don’t come asking me for it!)
- Something Funky This House Comes. The officially released album opens with the spiritually charged “Thunder,” but before that song was included, the album was set to open with the rap-heavy “Something Funky This House Comes.” Tony M. introduces each member of the band and gives them a chance to “do their thing.” A bold move for Prince to sparsely appear on the opening song, but eventually he changed his mind completely and the track remains unreleased officially to this day.
- Daddy Pop. The song also sits as the second track on the officially released album, but this version is dramatically different. It features different vocals and the end rap verse by Tony M. is cut out completely in favor of an instrumental break down. The song shows off Prince’s bad-assery (not a word), where he plays the role of “Daddy Pop,” the funkiest man in the land who has “grooves and grooves up on the shelf,” (the first lyric to acknowledge the Vault). He also basically tell the competition to kiss his ass with the cut lyric, “Oh yeah, I turn the other cheek/ Swing… oops and miss / See this, kiss it!” Rosie Gaines is utilized greatly for the first time in her brief stint with the NPG as she plays off Prince towards the end, but all of that was cut from the final version. Personally, I think this version is much better than the officially released version.
- Walk Don’t Walk. Not that much different than the officially released version, other than it’s a little more stripped down, and perhaps mixed differently.
- Schoolyard. This song is Prince as his nastiest. Taking the view point of a 16 year old kid who is trying to get laid for the first time, it’s perhaps a little more true to life than we all know as around that time, Prince had met his future first wife, Mayte, who was 16 at the time of their meeting. Not only is the song funky, but the lyrics are the tongue-in-cheek Prince that is very absent from his recent output. Only Prince could have and get away with a chorus that contains the refrain “Schoolyard / Schoolyard / Gettin’ it on in the Schoolyard.” The first verse finds Prince fantasizing about his dream girl and when he hangs out with her and his friends, they sit too close in the car and with each turn “Carrie fell in my lap / He asked me where I wanted to / I said “yeah right, like you need a map!” The second verse finds the botched seduction with Prince getting turned down in favor of his girl getting stoned. “I said “Carrie, do you wanna dance?” / She said “mmm hmm, yeah, like later man. First let me smoke this weed.” / “I said “Damn! My cologne ain’t sayin’ shit if this is what she needs.” The bridge comes around and Prince finally gets laid. “Now boys and girls for the graphic part / Close your ears if you ain’t got a nasty heart.” He continues by slipping a condom on and having premature ejaculation! “Take a glove and fill it with hot baby lotion and slip it on / Pull it tight / That’s what Carrie was like / 1 stroke and I was done.” Despite being super funky, the song got shelved and has been circulating in sub-par sound quality among die-hards for 20 years – until now! He could never release a song like this now, because a Bill Cosby-like investigation of sex with underage girls would surely come up (and maybe it should? Just sayin’).
- Diamonds and Pearls. One of the big hits off the album, after all these years, it comes a huge surprise to hear a Prince-only version of the song. The officially released version features Rosie Gaines mirroring Prince’s lyrics and she has her big solo in the middle of the song when she sings “D to the I to the A to the M / O to the N to the D to the Pearls of Love.” This version features music only during that part and your brain will still hear Rosie when that part comes on. I’d also like to take this time to give a shout out to the video, where during this part, Prince jumps off a couch and does the splits. BAD ASS!
- Strollin‘. Again, not much different than the officially released version, but a slightly different mix. What was great about this song was that Prince showed the world that he could master any style of music from rock to funk and light jazz, in this case, often all in the same album. Not many people did that then, and certainly not that many people do it now. That’s yet another reason Prince is so great!
- Interlude (Joyful Sound). This has been circulating as part of an early mix of “Willing and Able” among fans, and it’s basically just a false start and stop to the next track.
- Willing and Able. Prince and the NPG take you to church with this song as Tommy Barbarella’s organ is featured prominently. The officially released version featured backing vocals by The Steeles, giving the song an extra gospel vibe, but this version features only Prince on vocals. The Tony M. rap verse at the end of the song is also absent and instead we hear that organ solo I previously mentioned.
- Insatiable. This is the jewel in the crown of this set as this version of the sexy single is dramatically different. The music is more sparse, to give it a late night jam feeling, and while the vocals on the verses and chorus are the same, the second verse was cut out of the officially released version (despite the lyrics appearing in the CD booklet). As the song discusses Prince’s insatiable appetite for sex, he also talks about filming his lover for their tryst and as you hear the song, you will submit to any request Prince makes of you! The ad-libbing at the end of the song is quite different too, and Prince admits that he’s had too much wine, perhaps the only time in his entire catalog he’s admitted that he is wasted. An interesting historical document even if Prince’s ballads aren’t your thing.
- Money Don’t Matter 2Night. The mix is different, but otherwise the politically charged track is the same.
- Horny Pony. The track was eventually scrapped to make room for the hit song “Gett Off,” and later became the b-side to “Cream,” which was not on the first draft of this album! A bootleg version that is different than the b-side version has circulated among collectors for many years, and this version is different to that one! Gotta love Prince! It is closer to the bootleg version than the b-side version, with different lyrics than the one that got released, but this version is more stripped back and is a lot funkier than both other versions.
- Live 4 Love. The final track on both this and the officially released version of “Diamonds and Pearls.” This version is slightly different from the original version that has been in circulation and much different to the officially released version. The lyrics are much more sleepy sounding, versus the released version that finds Prince asserting the lyrics much more forcefully. The robotic intro is gone from this version and once again Tony M.’s rap verse is nowhere to be found. The lyrics are also a lot different in several places and the song is about 1 minute shorter than the track that saw the light of day in 1991.
As you listen to this bootleg, you hear a whole different side to Prince, and again, the things he decided to throw away are often better than the best tracks from artists which we shall not name! It’s really remarkable. While the casual fan probably cannot comprehend how prolific this man is, die-hards across the world are simultaneously losing their minds as another puzzle piece of the genius known as Prince is revealed.
Photo and HD Videos by G.
Tame Impala live at Radio City Music Hall in 2015
To catch you up on a few of the great concerts I’ve seen recently, here are world exclusive live video performances from Madonna, Hozier, Duran Duran, Tame Impala and Adam Lambert. This will surely become your favorite According2g.com post ever, so please enjoy! Please disregard any heads that get in your way of enjoying these great videos! I’m a one man operation, so I’ve done the best I possibly can
If you like these videos, follow me on Instagram @according2g for even more goodies. And now… world exclusive performances just for you!
Madonna performing “La Vie En Rose” and “Unapologetic Bitch” (featuring Amy Schumer) live at Madison Square Garden on September 16, 2015:
Bonus Madonna! Here’s the Queen of Mean doing “Burning Up”
Here’s Hozier singing his mega-hit “Take Me To Chruch” live at Radio City Music Hall on September 29, 2015
Speaking of Radio City Music Hall, here’s “Let It Happen” live by Tame Impala in NYC at Radio City Music Hall on October 6, 2015
Here’s Duran Duran singing “Pressure Off” from their most recent release “Paper Gods” at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on October 8, 2015
Last but not least, Adam Lambert singing “Ghost Town” from The Theater at Madison Square Garden on October 8, 2015
Photos by G. Various Artists.
It’s art season again! Hooray!!! New York is kicking things off with the Affordable Art Fair. Typically I am not a fan of art fairs because there is so much art to digest, but this fair is different. Because the prices are low (by art standards), you can open your heart and mind a little more easily and you can fall in love without facing financial ruin. I attended the press preview on September 9, 2015 and below are 10 of my favorite pieces that I saw (in no particular order). The variety of what you will see below is just a small preview of the many types of styles and genres that you will see at the Affordable Art Fair. You can find all the details on attending the fair, which runs from September 10 – 13, 2015 at this link, which will open in a new window.
You’ll find thousands of original paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs all under one roof, ranging from $100-$10,000, with more than half priced under $5,000! There’s something for everyone and for all price ranges, so this is the perfect occasion to start or spice up your art collection. Get your tickets here!
Maurizio Savini (made out of Bubble Tape!)
The Affordable Art Fair is located at 125 West 18th Street and the hours are as follows:
Thursday, Sept. 10, 11am – 8pm
Friday, Sept. 11, 11am – 8pm
Free admission Friday: 6-8pm
Saturday, Sept. 12, 11am – 8pm
Sunday, Sept. 13, 11am – 5pm