Music News: Kendrick Lamar leads VMA nominations

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Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar (Courtesy of the artist)

MTV has announced the nominations for this year's Video Music Awards, and Kendrick Lamar leads the pack with eight nods. Among them: a Video of the Year nomination for "HUMBLE." Also in the running for Video of the Year are Bruno Mars ("24K Magic"), Alessia Cara ("Scars to Your Beautiful"), DJ Khaled ("Wild Thoughts"), and The Weeknd ("Reminder").

The recipient of the Video Vanguard Award for career achievement has yet to be announced. This year's awards also include a new category for Best Fight Against the System, for a video that inspires viewers "to stand up and fight injustice." The VMAs will be held on Aug. 27, and broadcast...guess where? (Pitchfork, NME)

Liam apologizes to Chris

At the One Love Manchester concert, Liam Gallagher joined Chris Martin for the song "Live Forever." Forgotten by most (though not by all) were the uncharitable words the Oasis member has had for Coldplay over the years. (Samples: "Chris Martin looks like a geography teacher." "The whole band look beyond s--t.")

In a Beats 1 interview, Gallagher says he took the occasion of the Manchester benefit to apologize for the cutting remarks. "I was being a dickhead," he says he told Martin. According to Gallagher, Martin brushed off the need for an apology, saying, "Nah, nah, nah, we f---ing love it."

So now, when's Gallagher going to apologize to geography teachers? (NME)

Arcade Fire distance themselves from dress code

Arcade Fire say that the "HIP & TRENDY" dress code distributed to fans who won tickets to their Brooklyn concert didn't come from the band. "Wear whatever you want to any show," said the band in an official statement.

The story was initially picked up by Brooklyn Vegan, which attributed the dress code to the band in a story that was subsequently picked up by many other sites — including our own. Arcade Fire's Win Butler responded to Brooklyn Vegan on Twitter, writing, "Not sure who drafted this email, but it 100 percent did not come from the band in any form. Not that it matters ! Enjoy the clicks :)"

Tannis Wright, identified as a "social media strategist," subsequently claimed responsibility for writing the dress code and confirmed it was sent "without the knowledge of the band." (BBC)

Is Wright taking the fall for a policy that ultimately came from Apple? Nope, reports Business Insider, noting that "previous concerts on Apple Music have had no restrictions on either clothing or iPhone use."

Now, there's a larger conspiracy theory: the entire dress-code "debacle" is an elaborate hoax cooked up by the band. As Dazed notes, Arcade Fire have a history of parodying music-media tropes. Here's the Dazed theory:

Back in 2013, the band faced criticism for requesting that their audience members adhere to a strict dress code when attending their North American arena tour (they later declared the dress code "super not mandatory"). So the latest controversy seems to be a metacommentary on a previous controversy, presumably designed to parody the sort of manufactured social media-friendly controversies that seem to always accompany major album campaigns, albeit as part of an actual campaign for their new album (which is out this Friday!!).

A possible piece of evidence in support of this theory: would Arcade Fire's promotional team really communicate via fax?

Rap lyrics interpreted more negatively than country lyrics

Are song lyrics permissible as evidence in criminal trials? Criminologist Adam Dunbar has released a new study that suggests courts should be cautious in considering whether lyrics shed light on suspects' intentions, since the same lyrics can be interpreted differently depending on the genre.

Dunbar showed the same lyrics to different people, varying whether the subjects were told the lyrics came from a heavy metal, rap, punk, or country song. He then asked the subjects to describe the character of the imagined songwriter.

"Dunbar found that the songwriter whose lyrics were associated with heavy metal and rap were both viewed as having, respectively, worse character and likelier involvement in crime than the songwriter associated with punk or country, even though the lyrics were all the same," notes UC-Irvine's School of Social Ecology, where Dunbar conducted the research.

Tears for Fears postpone tour

Tears for Fears have been touring with Daryl Hall and John Oates; the joint tour hit St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on May 11. Now, Tears for Fears are postponing their remaining four tour dates — three with Hall and Oates, one headlining their own bill — citing a "family emergency." The British pop stars say all four shows will be rescheduled. (Pitchfork)

Remembering Barbara Sinatra

Barbara Sinatra, the widow of Frank Sinatra, has died of natural causes at age 90. A former Las Vegas showgirl, Barbara Sinatra was the fourth wife of Ol' Blue Eyes, wed to Frank from 1976 until his death in 1988. She remained active at the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, a California nonprofit the couple founded to provide therapy for young victims of abuse. (Billboard)


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