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‘The Voice’ Recap: The Very First Live Cross Battles Begin

The Voice debuted its new-to-the-U.S. round of the competition known as the Live Cross Battles on Monday night. Coaches Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Blake Shelton had to pick artists from their own teams to face-off with artists from other teams. The first half of the top 32 performed tonight, and the competition…

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‘The Voice’ Recap: The Very First Live Cross Battles Begin

The Voice debuted its new-to-the-U.S. round of the competition known as the Live Cross Battles on Monday night. Coaches Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Blake Shelton had to pick artists from their own teams to face-off with artists from other teams. The first half of the top 32 performed tonight, and the competition also opened up to America’s vote for the first time of the season. Results from tonight’s voting will be announced on Tuesday night on NBC. Coaches will each have a steal and save.
Shelton first chose his artist Kim Cherry to compete, along with choosing Clarkson as the coach to battle his artist. Clarkson chose Betsy Ade to go up against Cherry. Cherry sang “Poison,” showcasing strong rhythm and dynamics. The song choice allowed her to show off her rapping talents as well. The performance was entertaining and showed a lot of sides of her artistry. Ade followed by singing “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, which also played to her strengths. She maybe could have done more to shake up the song, but she sang it well. Levine thought she nailed it.

Levine picked next, selecting Mari as his artist and Shelton as his warring coach. Shelton picked Selkii for the battle. Mari got things started with a performance of “My My My” by Troye Sivan, showcasing a smooth pop sound. She made the song her own and belted out some powerful notes. Selkii followed with “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia, putting her own twists on it and excelling at ad libs. Legend thought Mari had the edge due to her style and confidence.
Legend picked Lisa Ramey to compete for Team John and picked Clarkson to go up against his team. Clarkson went with Karen Galera for Team Kelly. Ramey sang “Hurt So Bad” and delivered a strong lyrical interpretation, playing into the emotions of the song while also highlighting her tone. Galera followed with “Unfaithful” by Rihanna, which also allowed her to sing with big notes and a lot of power in the vocals. She sang part of the song in Spanish. Levine thought Ramey gave her personal best performance, and Shelton backed him up.
Clarkson finally got her chance to pick first, choosing Matthew Johnson as her artist and Levine as the coach to face Team Kelly. Levine picked Domenic Haynes to represent Team Adam. Johnson got things started with his performance of “Who’s Lovin’ You” by the Jackson 5, showcasing his smooth style and tone. Haynes sang “Damn Your Eyes” by Etta James, bringing his distinct rasp to the song. The coaches seemed pretty stuck on this one, highlighting immense strengths from both artists.

Clarkson took lead on the next battle as well, selecting Presley Tennant for Team Kelly and Legend to go head-to-head. Legend picked Kayslin Victoria for the battle. Tennant was up first, singing “Love On The Brain” by Rihanna, showcasing range and style. It was a dramatic performance, but she didn’t overdo it. Victoria next gave an understated performance of “Stay.” Levine was more surprised by Tennant.
Levine was up again, picking Celia Babini as his artist and Shelton to face Team Adam. Shelton picked Oliv Blu as his artist. Babini sang “A Thousand Years” and got emotional with it, hitting the high notes. Blu sang “Gravity” and had impressive range and technical skills to her singing. Blu seemed to have the edge, and Legend supported that, suggesting that she had a stronger grasp on her song.
Shelton next chose Dexter Roberts to face a member of Team Adam. Levine selected his country singer Andrew Jannakos to represent his team. Roberts kicked it off with a performance of “Believe,” which was perfectly within his wheelhouse. Jannakos got a little more country-rock with his singing, taking on “Yours.” Both made solid song choices. Clarkson favored the old-school country sound of Roberts, but Legend thought Jannakos stood out.

For the final battle of the night, Legend picked Maelyn Jarmon to sing for his team and Levine to make his selection, who ended up being Rod Stokes. Jarmon put her own twists on the popular song “Mad World” in one of the night’s best performances. Stokes followed with “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You,” and he sang it well, his tone clear and captivating. Levine was very pleased with Stokes’ performance, and Legend praised the style choices Jarmon made with the song.
The results from tonight’s performances come in live on NBC on Tuesday night. Who has your vote?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.

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Country Outlaw Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver Dies at 81

He became a reliable storyteller, logging songs with Kris Kristofferson (“Good Christian Soldier”), Tom T. Hall (“Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me”), the Allman Brothers (“Sweet Mama”) and Elvis (“You Asked Me To”). When Jennings invited Shaver to Nashville to work on what became his 1973 outlaw country landmark album Honky Tonk Heroes, Shaver burst into national…

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Country Outlaw Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver Dies at 81

He became a reliable storyteller, logging songs with Kris Kristofferson (“Good Christian Soldier”), Tom T. Hall (“Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me”), the Allman Brothers (“Sweet Mama”) and Elvis (“You Asked Me To”). When Jennings invited Shaver to Nashville to work on what became his 1973 outlaw country landmark album Honky Tonk Heroes, Shaver burst into national prominence. He landed credits on 10 out of 11 tracks on the album that is often tagged as the first, and some say best, “outlaw” LP from a back-to-basics 1970s movement that included Willie Nelson, Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and a number of others.In 1973, he also released his Kristofferson-produced solo debut, Old Five and Dimers Like Me, which included his beloved songs “Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me” and “Georgia on a Fast Train.” Cash covered his song “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Some Day),” which he wrote after giving up drugs and alcohol. In all, Shaver released nearly 2 dozen albums on a variety of labels (MGM, Capricorn, Columbia, new West, Sugar Hill), earning a Grammy nomination for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Album for his 2007 effort Everybody’s Brother. His most recent release, 2014’s Long in the Tooth, was his first to chart on Billboard’s Top Country Albums tally and it featured a duet with Nelson on “Hard to Be an Outlaw.”Shaver received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting from the Americana Music Association in 2002 and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. His highest praise, however, came from the men who towered in the genre and whom he called friends. Cash once referred to Shaver as “my favorite songwriter,” and good pal Nelson said he was “definitely the best writer in Texas… Everything he writes is just poetry.”His rough-and-tumble songs often emerged from a life that had its share of tragedies and heartache, from his son Eddy’s 2000 death from a heroin overdose to the nearly fatal heart attack he suffered onstage in 2001 and a notorious incident in 2007 when a bar fight ended with Shaver shooting another man in the face; he was acquitted of the charges and turned the scuffle into the song “Wacko From Waco.”Shaver also acted in a number of films, including Secondhand Lions, The Wendell Baker Story and Bait Shop, and his song “Live Forever” was performed by his friend Robert Duvall in the Oscar-winning film Crazy Heart; Duvall cast Shaver in his 1996 movie The Apostle and produced the 2004 documentary A Portrait of Billy Joe.Check out some of Shaver’s songs below.

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Art & Culture

Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video

YouTube “We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.” That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic…

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Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video

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“We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.”
That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic refrain with clear gospel influences. It’s Monáe’s take on a contemporary protest song, a call for a political sea change, in the vein of, say, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” or Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”
Courtesy of Atlantic RecordsAnd on Tuesday (September), Monáe released a moving music video — or, as she calls it, an emotion picture — that solidified that message. The visual opens and closes with the singer walking along the beach in a beige trench coat and military cap. At times, she can be seen singing into a retro microphone before an American flag; in others, she moves through staged breakfast scenes, with a family reading through newspaper headlines as they mouth her lyrics. The visual flashes through archival and contemporary footage depicting inspirational figures past and present: Where one scene shows the model and activist Jillian Mercado at a photo shoot, another depicts a conversation with lifelong activist Angela Davis.
What rings true without is a hopeful cry for change and for equality, and a recognition of those who have been leading that fight for decades. Monáe wrote “Turntables” for the new Amazon Studios documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, that shines a light on voter suppression, particularly through the lens of Stacey Abrams’s failed bid for the Georgia governorship. “Right now, I am focused on turning the election in our favor,” Monáe told Entertainment Weekly, “and I hope this song can inspire those who are on the ground doing the work.”

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Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love

Getty Images/April Blum The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new? Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by…

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Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love

Getty Images/April Blum

The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.

St. Vincent ft. Yoshiki: “New York”

St. Vincent, the intuitive musical goddess that she is, must have sensed our collective need for another quarantine ballad. Enter “New York [Feat. Yoshiki],” a classical arrangement of the standout single from 2017’s Masseduction. An added string section courtesy of Yoshiki, a Japanese multi-instrumentalist, beautifully complements the song’s original piano instrumentals. What more can I say? “New York isn’t New York / Without you, love” just hits different in the middle of a pandemic. —Sam Manzella

Djo: “Keep Your Head Up”

Last year, Joe Keery (of Stranger Things fame) released a glossy solo album under the moniker Djo. It was titled Twenty Twenty, and its sparkling arrangements ended up being quite far removed from the overall vibe of 2020 the year, but who could fault him for his optimism? Keery has also long been a contributing member of Chicago psych band Post Animal, but Djo is simply Joe — and latest “Keep Your Head Up” feels like several Joes ripping open a vortex in the funk-time continuum. This is a groove, peppered with buzzy synths and icy falsetto and an honest-to-god sax part. It’s akin to Todd Terje doing Tame Impala, a lightheaded cocktail rush that feels both clubby and bedroom ambitious. Positively galactic. —Patrick Hosken

Mxmtoon ft. Carly Rae Jepsen: “OK On Your Own”

When Mxmtoon’s Maia said she recorded “OK On Your Own” for the girls and the gays, she wasn’t kidding. The mellow bedroom-pop bop soundtracks a journey of self-reflection after a breakup, complete with the soft ukulele instrumentals that put the 19-year-old singer-songwriter on the map. Is it revelatory? No, but with pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen lending her sugary-sweet vocals to the second verse, it doesn’t have to be. Now I’m just waiting for “Party for Two.” —Sam Manzella

Video Age: “Aerostar”

Pleasure Line, the third album from emerging indie pop quartet Video Age, delivers perfectly escapist ’80s new wave vibes for when you need to get outta 2020 for just a moment. “Aerostar” is its punchy center, a hip-twisting, shoulder-shuffling groove that delivers quirky robot dance commands (“Slide to the left, now! Shimmy to the right!”) over hoppin’ funk synths and a kickin’ drum machine. It all harkens to a simpler time, one where dance floors were actually a real thing. Oh, the ’80s! —Terron Moore

Ruel: “As Long As You Care”

About a year ago, Australian middle-part heartthrob Ruel told MTV News that for him, “songwriting is exaggerating to an extent.” On his latest, the technicolor, soulful “As Long As You Care,” his exaggeration is so seamless, you’d be forgiven for believing the 17-year-old is actually a time traveler. The neo-soul groove he rides propels everything upward, even as the sound cheekily looks backward. “As Long As You Care” has one amazing hook, coupled with sonic candy that makes his upcoming third EP, Bright Lights, Red Eyes (out October 23) one to watch. —Patrick Hosken

Alycia Bella ft. Boogie: “Cue the Sun”

Something magical happens two-and-a-half minutes into “Cue the Sun,” the exploratory new collab between striking R&B voice Alycia Bella and rapper Boogie. After piping in the aural equivalent of stage smoke via jazzy piano and gorgeous vocalizations — “It feel like being lost in the right direction” — Bella’s song enters a more sparkly realm for Boogie’s recitations. By the end, you’re lighter, like your mind’s been cleared of all the cobwebs. Cue the sun. —Patrick Hosken

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