In the summer of 1991, an unknown aspiring video director named Samuel Bayer went to lunch with friend Robin Sloane, the Geffen Records executive in charge of commissioning videos for the label. With a flimsy résumé to his name, Bayer had little prospects except for an advance from a regionally popular Seattle group. The band had just finished recording their major label debut and were cajoled into shooting a video. With no previous video credits, Bayer landed, in retrospect, one of the most influential jobs in music history: director for Nirvana’s breakthrough video “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
20 years ago today, MTV debuted “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the alternative rock show “120 Minutes.” Nobody, not even the show's host Dave Kendall, knew the impact the video would have on an entire generation, but its influence was quickly felt. "It wasn't just heavy, it wasn't just rock, it was real melancholy, real passion, real vulnerability, the way it married intense rage with deep melancholy and sadness," Kendall told MTV News. "That was the record that ushered in the 'grunge era' into the 'alternative mainstream… It was gutsy and heavy and authentic, and that's what changed the landscape. Nirvana opened people's eyes."
Things are looking up for Poughkeepsie punk-pop quintet We Are The In Crowd. Two years ago, the then-unsigned band was the victim of a MySpace hacker who deleted all of the band's music. Now, the band's set to release their debut album, Best Intentions, out next week on Hopeless Records. And Buzzworthy's got the exclusive stream of the entire album ready for your consumption... now! (Take THAT, hackers!)
Fronted by singers Taylor Jardine and Jordan Eckes, the Warped Tour alum cleverly meld earnest love songs ("Kiss Me Again") with self-assured eff-yous to exes ("On Your Own"). The hook on "The Worst Thing About Me" -- "I guess you were always/The worst thing about me" -- transforms the titular self-esteem deflation into a confidence-boosting send-off, while "All Or Nothing" reappropriates the pep rally stomp of Queen's "We Will Rock You" into a heartfelt ballad.
Like their Guaranteed to Disagree EP, Best Intentions -- produced by Zachary Odom and Kenneth Mount -- blends everyday slang ("This Isn't Goodbye, It's BRB") with enduring sentiments ("Better Luck Next Time"). Over crunchy, yet radio-friendly, guitars, Taylor's voice feels like Kelly Clarkson with a couple of tattoos and a more rebellious boyfriend. But we've got the entire album streaming below, so you can hear for yourself. So stop listening to us and listen to Best Intentions before the band hits the road with Mayday Parade and All Time Low.
+ Listen to We Are the In Crowd's Best Intentions album and order We Are The In Crowd's Best Intentions album before it hits stores Oct. 4.
+ TRACK 1: RUMOR MILL
+ TRACK 2: 'IT'S NOT GOODBYE, IT'S BRB'
+ TRACK 3: 'THE WORST THING ABOUT ME'
LISTEN TO MORE WE ARE THE IN CROWD SONGS AFTER THE JUMP!
Melodic hard-core quartet Four Year Strong have been through some internal struggles this year, but the Massachusetts band emerges roughly intact on their latest song, "Just Drive," the lead single from their upcoming fourth album, In Some Way, Shape, or Form.
Earlier this year, Josh Lyford, the band's synth guru since 2006, departed after the group chose to eschew synthesizers in favor of a leaner, more guitar-driven sound. "Just Drive" is the latest realization of the band's new sound, as crunchy guitars and punishing drums counterbalance melodic vocal harmonies.
"'Just Drive' is about being on the brink of disaster, and just saying 'F*** it' and living your life like there’s no tomorrow," lead singer Dan O'Connor told Revolver. "We’ve all been in situations where it feels like everything is collapsing around you, and this song is about knowingly not giving a s*** and realizing you're in control of your own life." We can't argue with that.
In Some Way, Shape, or Form is out Nov. 8 on Decaydance/Universal Motown.
+ Listen to Four Year Strong's "Just Drive."
Halloween is so overrated. There's the makeup and the hair and the costumes that never fit. And then you have to keep up with/watch after your friends who have inevitably had one too many Spooky Sangrias... Forget it! Watch the O Music Awards instead! The OMAs are Oct. 31, and this time they feature a slew of new categories, and all of your favorite artists are up for awards.
"But," you ask, "Didn't MTV just do this earlier this year?" Sure. But SHOW ME THE LAW says we can't have the OMAs part 2 in the same year! And besides, 3 million of you cast your votes online last time, so it sounds like you're just as excited as we are!
This time we've expanded the OMAs to include a bunch of new genres and have added new categories to a few originals, like Fan Army FTW and Best Tweet. There are five new user-generated categories, including Oops! I Did It Online (biggest over-sharing celebs) and Best Artist with a Cameraphone (self-explanatory). And once again, you can vote for your favorites right now, including nominee leaders Tyler, the Creator, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
Or... we could just let Demi Lovato explain WTF the OMAs are:
+ The O Music Awards 2 take place Oct. 31. Vote for the OMAs and be sure to catch all the action by tuning in to OMusicAwards.com, as well as MTV.com, VH1.com, CMT.com, LogoTV.com and MTVHive.com.
Fan Army FTW
Tokio Hotel "Aliens"
Lady Gaga "Little Monsters"
Adam Lambert "Glamberts"
Justin Bieber "Beliebers"
Insane Clown Posse "Juggalos"
Iron Maiden "Troopers"
Demi Lovato "Lovatics"
Taylor Swift "Taylor Nation"
Nicki Minaj "Barbiez"
Lil Wayne "Team Weezy"
Must Follow Artist On Twitter
See the complete list of nominees after the jump, and be sure to vote for your favorites!
Until a Rapper Birthday app exists, you only have us to remind you that Lil Wayne turns 29 today! While he collects his birthday wishes in the form of, we assume, congratulatory texts and minor, million-dollar royalty checks, we ponder what gift you get someone who pocketed $15 million last year.
For his 27th birthday, Wayne received a jewel-encrusted $1 million watch from mentor and boss Birdman alongside a birthday cake. Sorry, a diamond-studded birthday cake. Because apparently when your net worth exceeds $10 million, you're legally forced to add diamonds to every meal. How do you top that? May we recommend a "Happy Bird-Day" card with Birdman's face superimposed inside. It's the thought that counts, Baby.
As part of his probation, Wayne's no longer allowed to ingest the syrup drank he once carried around religiously. So we'll just assume it'll be a quiet night in with methuselahs of champagne, endangered species entrées and a warm fireplace fueled by $1,000 bills. Rappers. They're just like us. Or maybe he'll just make more educational videos like the one below, in which Lil Wayne waxes on the topic of love and fidelity in his own inimitable way.
Either way, Happy Birthday, Weezy. We'll think of you on our birthday when we get socks and slacks. Again.
+ Watch Lil Wayne discuss sex and love.
We've long lobbied in earnest for Weird Al Yankovic's inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How many acts can claim consistent popularity for more than 25 years? And as the new video for Yankovic's "Polka Face" shows, the parody master hasn't rested on old material as he remains current and completely hilarious.
For those not up on Yankovic's discography, the accordion player always includes a polka medley of the era's most popular songs on each album. With his last album released five years ago, "Polka Face" ends up as a compendium of the past half-decade's hits, including Justin Bieber's "Baby," Britney Spears' "Womanizer," Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" and, quiet naturally, Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."
The accompanying video plays, like 20 clips in one, with each new parody getting its own unique style of animation ranging from puppet to giant robot to literal -- Bieber as an actual baby. Easy, yet still funny. The hyperactive, ADHD-styled clip ensures you won't get bored. And if you don't support Weird Al, well, we'll officially blame you for having no sense of humor.
Alpocalypse is out now on Volcano Records, and "Weird Al Yankovic Live! The Alpocalypse Tour" DVD hits stores Oct. 4.
+ Watch Weird Al Yankovic's "Polka Face" video.
New York-via-North Carolina rapper and MTV Push Artist of the Week J. Cole had already had his name on hip-hop fans' lips when he became the first signee to Jay-Z's fledgling Roc Nation label. While the Hov's co-sign expanded Cole's stature, the rapper had already built up his name through a series of independently released mixtapes, including 2007's "The Come Up." With next week's release of Cole's official debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, we've got a mess of videos detailing the past, present and future of the buzzed-about rapper.
In the first video, Cole tells us how he got started in music at just 12 years old through an older cousin, but quickly realized he was better than most 18-year-olds and wanted to pursue a career in hip-hop. The rapper reveals the only reason he applied to St. John's University was to live in New York and land a record deal. We've also got videos on Cole's reaction to getting signed to Roc Nation -- "I can't even say it was a dream come true because I never thought it was possible," admits the rapper -- and a brief history of his less-than-stellar encounters as a battle rapper.
Cole also talks about finding the balance between "flash" and "real life" by "staying connected to real-life stories" and reveals to MTV's Sucker Free all the guest appearances on the album, including Drake, Trey Songz, Missy Elliott and his boss Jay-Z. "If it was up to me, I'd live in the studio all the time," admits the rapper. We wouldn't have a problem with that.
Finally, watch Cole's "Can't Get Enough" and "Work Out" videos below.
Cole World: The Sideline Story is out Sept. 27 on Roc Nation.
+ Watch J. Cole interviews and performances after the jump.
Last week, MTV Posted group Cobra Starship checked in from the road to discuss their appearance at a recent Buddy Holly tribute show. But we've found a ton of new videos that show the group touching on a wide array of topics, from suspect plane rides to the VMAs.
First off, the guys tell our pals at NextMovie.com which films they watched for inspiration while recording their new album, Night Shades. (Hint: Picture the most guy-friendly violent films you can imagine.) They also told us how their participation on the new Buddy Holly tribute album came to be, as well as relaying a common rock band story of broken-down tour buses and a scary ride on the same type of plane that killed Holly. Why the band was told that before the ride, we have no idea.
You've already seen the band perform "You Make Me Feel... " at last month's VMAs, but what did they think about the other performances? The band reveals their true feelings on Chris Brown and Lady Gaga/Jo Calderone/That monologist person. Finally, get on stage with the group and check out some rehearsal footage from a recent show. You're welcome.
+ Click through the jump to watch videos from Cobra Starship.
Taking a cue from OK Go's "End Love" and their own video for "Typical," New Orleans rock band MUTEMATH returns with the time-lapsing video for "Blood Pressure," their lead single off the band's upcoming third album, Odd Soul.
Set inside a drab, featureless parking lot to accentuate the clever camera tricks, "Blood Pressure" finds the band and director/drummer Darren King playing with time and space, using time-lapse photography to create a warped, trippy display of the band. (We're particularly impressed by lead singer Paul Meany's wicked movable handstand.) While King and bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas alternate between foreground and background, the camera gets up close and personal with Meany. And that's when things get really weird.
As various members are suspended in the air and flung across the screen, the video becomes increasingly manic and disorienting, but we're not complaining. By the time King and the other members engage in a time-lapsed battle of drums versus drumsticks, culminating with confetti raining down à la the band's "Typical" video, we're pretty much left in a spent heap.
Odd Souls is out Oct. 4 on Warner Bros.
+ Watch MUTEMATH's "Blood Pressure" video.
As we ponder the sincerity/irony levels of The Devil Wears Prada naming their band after the biggest chick flick of the decade, the metalcore sextet dropped "Born to Lose," the lead single from their recently released fourth album, Dead Throne.
"Born To Lose" intersperses silhouetted images of the band with abstract shots and religious iconography. A hooded person dressed in white carries a baby wrapped in red cloth. A cornucopia of fruit sits in front of an altar before getting dropped to the floor and crushed. A pile of money -- man, metal bands like making comments on the evils of money -- rests on the floor. Nooses swing. Blood is spilled. Dudes get avant-garde.
Produced by Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, Dead Throne is the band's first album since 2009's With Roots Above And Branches Below. The band will embark on a cross-country tour in November.
+ Watch The Devil Wears Prada's "Born To Lose" video.