Review: Justin Timberlake Follows In MJ’s Footsteps On ‘Take Back The Night’

We are living in brazenly ironic times, ladies and gentlemen. The historically woeful Pittsburgh Pirates are in spitting distance of first place, Hanna Montana has unwittingly unleashed twerking onto the mainstream, and the best R&B acts on the planet TODAY are white. Yes, that latter notion seems a bit over-the-top, but stay with the kid. While the headlining likes of Rihanna, Usher, Ne-Yo, and Chris Brown have not totally abandoned their rhythm and blues roots, their material—beyond the occasional soulful gem like “Fine China”—have over the last few years worshipped more at the altar of Euro-pop king David Guetta than Marvin Gaye or Mary J. Blige. Maybe this is the reason why Justin Timberlake’s latest musical salvo “Take Back The Night” is so jarring.

Nothing here is particularly groundbreaking. JT and long-time producer Timbaland are once again channeling their inner Michael Jackson on the second installment of The 20/20 Experience. But this is no mere homage. The groove is lush, sexy, intoxicating, and at times obnoxiously infectious. “Take back the night, take back the night/They gon’ try to shut us down/I’ll be damned if we gon’ let them…” the Memphis crooner sings over the type of a horn-accented floor burner that seems like it came straight out of early Jheri curl '80s R&B radio when S.O.L.A.R. Records was killing the game. There’s the prerequisite break down (“And the horn say!”) and the type of euphoric in-the-hood crowd chants that puts you in the mind of sweaty house party throwdowns. This is barebones, straight-no-chaser good stuff.

Of course you are tempted to point out that the blue-eyed soul king coronation that has been showered on Timberlake has been of the egregious variety. Certainly Miguel has more than held up the end of the deal and the seemingly unstoppable R. Kelly is stil going strong when he's not singing to pre-recorded tapes. But between “Take Back The Night,” Robin Thicke’s no. 1 backyard barbecue anthem “Blurred Lines” and JoJo’s criminally slept on mixtape Agape, the elephant in the room is doing the electric slide. While you break down that metaphoric image, turn the music up. Way up. —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

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Spotify Testing Feature That Allows Users To Mute Certain Artists

Spotify users will be able to mute certain artists, for their listening pleasure. The streaming company introduced a “don’t play this artist feature” as apart of a new IOS app update, according to Thurrott, which got its hands on an early version of the feature.

The block button allows listeners to banish specific artists from their personal music libraries, and stops them from popping up in automatically curated playlists, and other pages on the music streaming app. In order to utilize the mute feature, users clicks on the menu above an artists’s page and selects the “don’t play” option. The feature doesn’t work for songs that the artist may be featured on, the Verge reports.

The update could be a middle ground for Spotify as it faces increased pressure in wake of the #MuteRKelly movement, and Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly  documentary. A Change.org petition calling for Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube to remove R. Kelly’s music from its services is close to garnering 150,000 signatures.

Last year, Spotify briefly removed Kelly, XXXTentacion and T-Kay (a Texas rapper convicted of murder) from featured playlists due to the company's hateful conduct policy. “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values,” the company explained in statement to Billboard last May. “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."

Spotify abandoned the plan after pushback from fans of the artists singled out, and industry heavyweights like Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith, whose label imprint is home to Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolBoy Q and more.

Tiffith reached out to Troy Carter, Spotify’s global head of creator services, and threatened to remove his artists’ music from the streaming service. “I don't think it's right for artists to be censored, especially in our culture,” Tiffith told Billboard. “How did they just pick those [artists] out? How come they didn't pick out any others from any other genres or any other different cultures? There [are] so many other artists that have different things going on, and they could've picked anybody. But it seems to me that they're constantly picking on hip-hop culture."

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The Internet Reacts To Carmelo Anthony Being Traded To The Chicago Bulls

According to a tweet sent out by ESPN's Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and cash considerations to the Chicago Bulls. However, he will likely not play any games.

"Anthony won't play a game for the Bulls, league source tells ESPN. He will be released and become a free agent if he clears waivers," tweeted Wojnarowski. "...it is possible that franchise holds off on waiving him until the trade deadline, league sources tell ESPN. Bulls could include him in a one-for-one trade, but can't aggregate his contract in another deal."

Since today is a national holiday (Jan. 21), the official word will reportedly be held off until tomorrow. Wojnarowski reports that his "best bet" would be to wait it out until the trade deadline (Feb. 7) to find another opportunity with another team.

The Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and cash to the Chicago Bulls, league sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

The NBA office will not execute the trade today because it's a holiday, league sources tell ESPN. To clear the way for Kenneth Faried to sign and play tonight in Philadelphia, Rockets had to waive to James Nunnally. Trade call on 'Melo will likely be Tuesday. https://t.co/Oo2IA0nsJP

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

Anthony won't play a game for the Bulls, league source tells ESPN. He will be released and become a free agent if he clears waivers. https://t.co/Oo2IA0nsJP

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

Social media caught wind of the news, and reacted with shock and of course with laughs via some hot takes.

"Melo is revolutionizing the 'farewell season' by signing a contract with each NBA team before he retires, truly ahead of his time," one tweet read, while another said "Melo is being held hostage by teams. Hopefully this means Liam Neeson will have a movie saving him come out around the trade deadline."

Check out some tweets below.

Melo is being held hostage by teams. Hopefully this means Liam Neeson will have a movie saving him come out around the trade deadline.

— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 21, 2019

Melo stans: THE BUUUUUUULLS? pic.twitter.com/Y9nYBgNFuX

— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) January 21, 2019

[email protected] fans looking at GM Lebron when Melo becomes free agent. pic.twitter.com/wJy3ujSAIH

— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 21, 2019

Carmelo Anthony will not play a game for the Bulls, but it is possible that franchise holds off on waiving him until the trade deadline, league sources tell ESPN. Bulls could include him in a one-for-one trade, but can't aggregate his contract in another deal.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

For Anthony, his best bet is waiting until the Feb. 7 trade deadline to find his next team. He can wait for roster spots to open, trades to happen, etc, that'll create the best opportunity for him. Anthony wants to find a place to contribute. https://t.co/cRgbMalvTl

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

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Chloe x Halle Performing 'America The Beautiful' At Super Bowl LIII

Singers Chloe x Halle will perform "America The Beautiful" at Super Bowl LIII, which will take place in their home city of Atlanta, Ga.

"The group joins the previously announced Gladys Knight in the pre-game festivities at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3," reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Chloe and Halle Bailey, ages 20 and 18 respectively, gained the attention of Beyonce in 2013, after covering her song "Pretty Hurts" from her self-titled album. Since then, the two were signed to Bey's Parkwood label, and haven't stopped since. They can be found on the Freeform show grown-ish, which is now in its second season.

Late last year, the sisters could add "Grammy nominees" to their resume. Thanks to the release of their album The Kids Are Alright last year, Chloe x Halle were nominated for two awards- Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album. They will find out if they've won on Feb. 10.

Gladys Knight commented on the backlash for her upcoming performance at the Super Bowl, stating "I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us."

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