My favorite performance of the night obviously has to go to the showstopper himself Kanye West. He debuted a new song called "Runaway" and boy that song is funny yet amazing at the same time. Leave it to Kanye for his ingenious work using his personality to his advantage with the lyrics. Pusha T from the Clipse also came up to perform his verse as give him props for having another cameo appearance in the VMAs (Remember Justin Timberlake's "Like I Love You" performance from 2002?). I didn't expect Kanye to go autotune at the end, but I don't mind it, but damn that song is just too good right now. At this rate, his album better live up to the hype now.
Drizzy Drake had a surprisingly good performance as I didn't expect him to perform "Fancy," but he did (Oh u fancy huh?) with Swizz Beatz and Mary J. Blige. I expected Drake to perform something else, but I went crazy for a bit when the song came up. Also, the highlight of the performance wasn't Drizzy at all, but it is Mary killing it as always as if its some different remix because without her I think the performance would of sucked, so luckily Drake had her backing him up. Actually, Mary J. brings new light to the song even though the T.I. verse is still good. In the meantime, where's the official music video Drake?
I want to put up the Usher performance too, but MTV's embed link for it is not working at this time, so I'll add it later. He performed "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" and "OMG" and danced his butt off as he didn't sing enough, which I didn't mind at all. Along with him dancing, the stage lights played a huge role with his performance which made it pretty dope. If only I can learn the dance routine to this someday, but I'll let the performance speak for itself because it felt like he was dancing like its the last night of his life there.
Okay, my mini VMAs recap is done... off to albums that are out this week (one of them is out next week though)
First off is one highly anticipated album and the return of Linkin Park with A Thousand Suns. After the disappointment that was Minutes to Midnight for many, will this new album rebound them to similar success of their first two albums? The answer to that is both yes and no as this new album is better than Minutes, but not that much. There are some hits and misses as there are several standouts. "The Catalyst" is a solid first single for them (video above) as its not that bad to the point its still growing to me. Expect a lot of slow-tempo stuff from the boys, but the songs that are closer to their roots are my personal favorites with "Blackout" and "Wretches and Kings." These songs are the closest for them recapturing the music of the first two albums as "Blackout" is Chester in screaming voice mode to the point he would easily lose it and "Wretches and Kings" is your standard LP song of the past with Mike rapping, Chester singing the hook, and your occasional DJ Hahn scratching section. Other than that, A Thousand Suns is somewhat a return to form for Linkin Park as far where they're at in their careers. I didn't expect them to rehash Hybrid Theory or Meteora for the entire album, but this new album does show off their maturity and being able to experiment with new things yet maintaining their core sound at the same time.
Continuing up the rock is Weezer's new album, Hurley. Its still awesome that the cover of the album is Hurley from Lost. I like the first single, "Memories" (video above), but its more of the same from the boys for the rest of the album. The only special mention is the deluxe edition having a cover of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" which is actually pretty good. I have pretty much nothing else to say about this one other than if you like more Weezer, this new album is worth a listen.
Maroon 5's latest, Hands All Over, is out next week and this new album felt like it was under the radar for me even though it has been on the iTunes pre-order list for a while. Specifically, I was like "Oh they have a new album out soon, ok why not." I felt like this band fell off after their breakout album with all those hit songs like "Harder to Breathe," "This Love," and "She Will Be Loved." This new one though retains their core sound of poppy rock and the masses will love it. Their singles so far for the album, "Misery" and "Give a Little More," (video above) are what I expected from them, but it can't hurt to have your Adam Levine fix here and there. If you need your chill pop rock fix, you can't go wrong with Maroon 5's new album.
Last but not least to mention is Trey Songz's Passion, Pain, & Pleasure. I must say though, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite R&B albums of the year. With Ready propelling him to the mainstream spotlight, the new album will take things to the next level and does. The album is divided cleverly to three sections according to the album's title, so you expect to hear a certain vibe per section like the pain section being mostly slow stuff like "Can't Be Friends" and "The Unusual" featuring Drake in the pleasure section being more up-tempo. Drake is not the only cameo in the album as Nicki Minaj is in the album's first single "Bottoms Up" (video above) and does her usual thing of delivering crazy verses. You're pretty much getting three sides of Trey with the album's title and delivers on all of them well, but I think you'll get full appreciation of all three sides hearing the album in its entirety. Its going to be hard to top Trey's album in the world of R&B for the rest of the year and of course the ladies will like this album a lot too.
Well that's a lot for this music roundup - More to come soon.