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So Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff and Right Said Fred founding member Fred Fairbrass walk in to a bar. No, this isn’t the set-up for a cheesy joke; rather a foreshadowing of what’s to come the next time all three are in the same city.

Sure the aforementioned artists are an unlikely trio; about as unlikely as the idea of Swift interpolating “I’m Too Sexy” in to the first single from her highly anticipated seventh sixth studio album “Reputation.” And yet the similarities between the 1992 chart-topping hit and “Look What You Made Me Do” were immediately noticed on the internet, well before it was revealed that Fred along with brother Richard and Rob Manzoli received co-writing credits on the track.

The deal was brokered through Right Said Fred’s publishing company Spirit Music Group, whom the band has been with “for ages.” The relationship is so strong that Fairbrass blindly allowed SMG to negotiate with Swift’s team before he even knew of Taylor’s involvement. Eventually he figured out who made the inquiry and was able to hear the final result.

“Well what we like is that the song is pretty cynical,” Fairbrass explained to me via telephone from across the pond. “The original idea of ‘Sexy’…the lyrics are made to be cynical. We were making fun of the hedonism of the late 80’s and early 90’s when we lived in New York. So (Taylor) sort of channeling that cynicism… we’re very pleased that she spotted it.”

In addition to heaping praise upon the song and the artist, Fairbrass also noted that working with Taylor’s team has been a delight.

“PR have been great,” he noted. “And Taylor and Jack have sent us a thank you note and some flowers which was very sweet, and they want to hook up and party and celebrate at some point which would be nice.”

Right Said Fred recently released a mash-up of the two songs; the group is slated to drop a new single in late October.

Attorney Jill Stanley called in following Taylor Swift successfully defending herself and counter-suing in a civil lawsuit over the firing of a radio DJ in Colorado. The DJ sexually assaulted Swift; Stanley credited not just the evidence but also the singer’s image and testimony in talking about the verdicts.

It’s astonishing to look back at the events and people that Webster Hall has hosted over the years, from both a variety and historical standpoint. Politicians, unions, musicians, celebrities, students, ravers and pretty much anyone who wanted to be someone or been seen with someone filed in to the venerable East Village venue for decades.

But of course, especially in the ever-changing borough of Manhattan, all good things must come to an end. Brooklyn Sports Entertainment purchased the concert venue back in April and following Thursday night’s performance from Flushing emcee Action Bronson, it’ll close for renovations. The new Spectrum Hall, outfitted for sports and concerts exclusively, is expected to be finished in about two years.

For me, it’s easy to reflect on Webster Hall because I only have two distinct memories from the venue. The first came on November 23, a little over a month following my move to the city. I caught a performance from Long Island’s own Hoodie Allen (thanks Hoodie for the guest list hook-up). I’ll never forget running up to the balcony (VIP status, you know) and grabbing a Brooklyn Lager on draft just as Hoodie took the stage. The sold-out crowd exploded, singing along to every word from his debut EP “All American.”


The second took place a little less than a year later. I strolled down to the East Village with a camera man from 95.5 on September 30 to interview a then up-and-coming artist by the stage name of Lorde. Born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, the 16 year-old had just released her critically-acclaimed and soon-to-be GRAMMY Award winning debut album “Pure Heroine.” She was also about to headline three sold-out shows at Webster Hall, which is where her and I chatted before sound-check.


A couple things stand-out from that experience: for starters, we set-up for the interview on the aforementioned balcony which was still disheveled from the previous night. I didn’t really mind though, save the tampon wrapper that was on the ledge and in our camera shot. If my memory serves me correctly, my friend Nikki who at the time worked for Republic Records handled its disposal (thanks again Nikki!). As for the empty plastic cups, those were purposely left there because… Webster Hall.

The other unforgettable part of that day was Lorde pulling a 180 during the interview regarding comments she had previously made about her label-mate and now-BFF, Taylor Swift. In hindsight, it wouldn’t be the first-time she’d have to walk-back a statement about Swift but nonetheless, Lorde found herself in the headlines due to an interview with Metro, a publication back in her native New Zealand.

“Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls. ‘I’m never going to be like Taylor Swift, why can’t I be as pretty as Lorde?’ That’s f–king bulls–t,” she said at the time.

The following Monday in Manhattan, the artist sang a different tune when I asked about who she believes is setting a good example for teenage girls.

“Taylor Swift is a really good role model, and I think what she’s saying is pretty cool,” Lorde replied. “Yeah, I think (her lyrics are) empowering. I think it’s cool.”

Lorde also addressed the situation, albeit non-directly, via her Tumblr that day. However that video of the “Royals” singer talking about Swift eventually went somewhat viral, gaining almost a half-million views to-date. It’s one of 95.5 PLJ’s most-viewed YouTube clips ever, empty plastic cups and all.

If I had to use one-word to conjure up my feelings for Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards I would use: disjointed.

Before I tell you how little I enjoyed of the three-and-a-half hour broadcast (not including the mess that was the red carpet special), let me commend MTV execs for one thing: attempting to break the mold and trying something different. It was obvious from the minute that Vanguard Award-recipient Rihanna took the stage to open the show that this was not going to play out like your typical award show. Yes, it is refreshing to see the network take a chance with its biggest annual flagship program and create a new type of experience.

That said, they failed. Miserably.

We’ll start with the aforementioned Rihanna. Instead of receiving one long block of programming to showcase her prolific work and accept her “lifetime achievement” award, the singer was split in to four different performance segments, culminating with long-time collaborator Drake presenting her with the honor named for the late Michael Jackson. This alone exposes one of the VMAs major issues: a lack of star power so unavoidable that one of the night’s biggest performances was sprinkled throughout the course of the evening.

Think about music’s biggest names that were not in attendance: Justin Timberlake, Adele, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
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Yes there was Beyonce, whose 15-minute medley of songs from “Lemonade” proved to be the night’s undisputed high point. Kanye West offered another bizarre, rambling diatribe before premiering a new music video from “The Life Of Pablo.” Britney Spears, introduced by Kim Kardashian West, appeared to return to old form with a performance of “Make Me” that featured rapper G-Eazy.

But you would have needed five Beyonce-like performances to make up for not only the missing names but mess that occurred when a performance or award presentation wasn’t happening. Comedian Jay Pharoah, who might have been better suited for a more-traditional hosting role or relegated to pre-taped vignettes (think Kevin Hart circa 2011 VMAs) was instead randomly inserted in to the program to showcase his various impressions. DJ Khaled proved that his energy and array of catchphrases play better on Snapchat opposed to live TV.
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And comedians Key and Peele, who again should be commended for attempting something that breaks from the norm, failed in their quest to parody the “social media influencers” (coincidentally, like Khaled) who have become regulars on branded-content heavy programs like this one.

Perhaps just like those influencers, MTV needs to think of yet another new act. Ratings for this year plummeted 34 percent, from 9.8 to 6.5 million viewers.

Fuse Digital Deputy Editor Jason Lipshutz called in ahead of the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards to talk about what he was expecting from the award show and what he was most looking forward to.
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So what will the Song Of The Summer be in 2016? Funny you ask, I chatted about that Thursday on the PIX 11​ Morning News!

Taylor Swift came out and said her phone conversation with Kanye West was secretly recorded. The video was posted to Kim Kardashian’s Snapchat page and depicts West and Swift discussing at least one line of his song “Famous,” in which he mentions Taylor. So can she sue Kim and Kanye for recording the call and posting the footage? We asked Attorney Reid Breitman what the laws in California state.
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The latest chapter in the bizarre um… narrative… that is the Taylor Swift/Kanye West feud played out through a reality TV show and social networks on Sunday night.

And as we’ve learned through both a magazine interview and TMZ report: lawyers on at least one side of the debacle are now involved.

Back in February, Kanye West released the song “Famous” from his album, “The Life Of Pablo.” In it he raps, “For all my Southside n—-s that know me best I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that b—h famous.”

Through a representative, Swift refuted West’s claim that he had received approval from the “Shake It Off” singer for the song. She took things a step further during her GRAMMY Acceptance Speech for “Album Of The Year.”

“I want to say to all the young woman out there: There will be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments, your fame,” she said. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get to where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know it was you and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

You could say Swift sang a much different tune in newly released footage, which Kim Kardashian West uploaded to Snapchat on Sunday night, following the conclusion of “Keeping Up The The Kardashians.” The video shows Kanye talking with Swift on speakerphone. West recites the lyric of them having sex.

“I’m like this close to overexposure,” Swift replies. In a way this line provides a peak behind the curtain of fame and perhaps offers the most telling point of their conversation: Swift’s initial concern centered on coverage, not vulgarity.
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“I mean it’s like a compliment kind of,” she adds when West retorts that this mention would be “a cool thing to have.” “TLOP” was certainly a special album for West in that he decided to premiere it during his fashion show at Madison Square Garden, exclusively stream it on Tidal and then continuously change and alter the tracks to his liking even after the LP’s release.

“I mean, go with whatever line you think is better,” Swift tells him. “It’s obviously very tongue in cheek either way. And I really appreciate you telling me about it, that’s really nice!”

The video demonstrates that West not only went out of his way to seek Swift’s approval but even offered an alternative to the line. You could probably not say the same for the thinly-veiled and not-so-thinly-veiled songs Swift has written that were allegedly about others over the years.

At no point during the uploaded portion of the conversation did West run the b-word by Swift, which she touched on when responding to the video.

“You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that b—h’ in front of the entire world,” she stated in an Instagram post. “Of course I wanted to like the song…being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination.

“I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.”

Kardashian West revealed to GQ that Swift’s lawyers already fired off what amounted to a cease-and-desist letter. TMZ reports that the call was recorded in California, which would determine what if any legal recourse Swift could take regarding the recording.

Bottom line: the narrative is far from its conclusion.

Our girl Sharon Clott Kanter from People called in to talk about some of the fashion she saw at Sunday night’s BET Awards and the new look of Taylor Swift since she started dating actor Tom Hiddleston.
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Related: I had no idea “HiddleSwift” was a thing.

Chatted with People Deputy Style Director (and fellow Syracuse University alum) Sharon Clott Kanter and hosted my radio show. A solid Monday.