TIME Television

Dancing with the Stars‘ Val Chmerkovskiy: “I’ve Never Been This Excited For a Season Before”


The pro dishes on all things DWTS

The 19th season of Dancing with the Stars gets underway tonight with the usual melange of ostensible stars like Back to the Future’s Lea Thompson, NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip, MMA champ Randy Couture, YouTube sensation Bethany Mota and professional hunk Anthony Sabato Jr. While these celebrities may be skilled in the ring, on the track or on the screen, they are not professional dancers (save for Alfonso Ribeiro, who invented The Carlton). To prepare them for the battle, each star is paired with a pro — and after 19 seasons, some of the pros have become bigger stars than the so-called stars with whom they are partnered. (Say that five times fast).

This season, former pro Julianne Hough completes the circle of life (insert your own Lion King joke here) and joins the judges’ table to assess the skills of her former colleagues and their new charges. Plus, a brand new pro joins the elite squad of dedicated dancers: Keo Motsepe. One seasoned vet, Val Chmerkovskiy, chatted with TIME about what to expect from this season of Dancing with the Stars from a pro’s perspective.

This season, Chmerkovskiy is paired with Janel Parrish, known for her role on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. “I had not seen Pretty Little Liars before,” says Chermkovskiy. “I’m aware of the show though, because all my friends went crazy when I told them who I was paired up with. Now I’ve watched a few.”

Parrish is one of the younger contestants on the show and, after a stint with in the National Touring Company and Broadway Company of Les Miserables as Little Cosette, it’s clear she has stage chops. “Janelle is one of those kids who grew up having a natural flair for performance,” says Val. “She did singing and acting, but musical theater was the thing she really loved to do. She took some dance classes to complement that. She knows how to move and has some stage presence and she kept up with it, so she has been introduced to dancing before, but has never worked on ballroom dancing in her life.”

Still, Chmerkovskiy is aware that with their resumes, people expect them to go far in the competition. “I am humbled by the fact that people have a lot of expectations for her and myself. I want to surpass those expectations,” he says. When asked if he thinks he and Janel have it in them to take home the Mirror Ball Trophy this year, he diplomatically replies: “I think everybody on the show should think that way about their partners and their opportunities.”

But Chmerkovskiy prefers a more zen approach to the competition: “I’m not obsessing about the result as much as the process. I want to make this season great for her.”

When asked about the competition, Chmerkovskiy admitted he has a little crush on one of the other contestants. “Tommy Chong is one of my favorite celebrities of all time. I never fangirl over anybody, but Tommy Chong is definitely my man crush this season. He’s awesome,” Chmerkovskiy says. “He has a great sense of humor and I’m sure he and Peta [Muragatroyd] get the munchies all the time.”

“Every partner has their strengths, and our responsibility as professionals is to recognize those strengths and capitalize on them, choreographically. You have to translate that chemistry on the dance floor and make their personalities shine,” says Chmerkovskiy, before noting something that avid fans know to be true: “The best dancers rarely win the show.” When pushed, Chmerkovskiy demurs. “I don’t know! I try to do my very best and hopefully that comes through, first to my partner, second of all with Dancing with the Stars, my employer, and third of all with the fans. Who they vote for is not something I can control.”

“Last year, Meryl [Davis] was clearly the best dancer on the show, and we saw the best dancer win,” said Chmerkovskiy. “But was it her incredible dancing or was it her journey with my brother, Maks — or something about their chemistry? I’m aware that it’s not just the dancing show, but the chemistry, the journey and the growth. I’m focused on that and going to bring that out this season.”

As for who he thinks will shine this season, it’s all about The Fresh Prince. “Alfonso Ribeiro is a great performer and I’m sure he’s going to be a highlight,” said Chmerkovskiy. “I don’t know about any single individual because we need to wait for the first show. But now, judging from the interaction we’ve had, everyone on the cast is amazing. I’ve never been this excited for a season before.”

TIME Television

Tommy Chong: Dancing With the Stars Isn’t Allowed to Show Pot Leaves or Bongs


The show starts tonight at 8 on ABC

A new season of Dancing with the Stars kicks off with pointed toes, arched feet and a whole new cast of once-and-future celebrities eager to strut their stuff on the dancefloor. Among the new cast for the show’s 19th season are the delightful potpourri of NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, designer Betsey Johnson, actress Lea Thompson, The Carlton originator Alfonso Ribeiro — and, of course, pot-smoking comedy legend Tommy Chong. As it turns out, Chong’s a lifelong fan of the form — although he’s new to the sparkles and dance pants.

“I love dancing,” Chong says. “I’ve been trying to learn tango for years. This is the perfect environment for me, because you have to learn and you only have a few day. You can’t get tired, you can’t get sore, you can’t hurt yourself — you just have to show up and do the job.”

While Chong is frank about the fact that he’s hoping to re-kick start his career by joining the show (“The exposure reinvigorates careers we contestants might have left. We’re trying to stay in the spotlight,” he says), he’s not just dancing on the ballroom floor — he has a platform, too. His issue, perhaps unsurprisingly, is medical marijuana. “I want to be the poster boy for the marijuana community,” says Chong. “They can point and me and say, ‘Look at him! He’s 76 years old, he can dance, he’s healthy, he has a beautiful wife and he smokes marijuana for medical purposes.”

“Medical marijuana is my passion in life. I went for jail for my beliefs. Now that we’re getting legal, I want to focus on the benefits of medical marijuana — it helps little children with epilepsy and MS, and it helped me with my cancer.”

Chong’s passion may be increasingly socially acceptable, but there are some network considerations to keep in mind.“The show’s not allowed to show pot leaves or bongs,” said Chong. “But they have Tommy Chong, who really is a pot leaf.”

While Chong won’t be wearing bedazzled pot leaves on his costumes, he is paying homage to his favorite medicine. “I wear a lot of green,” he says. “Peta, my partner, is going to look like a little marijuana bud.”

And at 76, Chong is also the oldest member of the cast — not that he’s worried about the competition.“I’m not dead. I’m not Fred Astaire, but I’m alive,” he laughs. “I don’t have to take my shoes off at the airport. I got the old people vote. I got a decent shot.”

When asked if his demographic of medical marijuana partakers would remember to watch, Chong says he hoped that his fans would not only remember, but vote — because he’s competing to raise awareness for medical marijuana. “It’s more than just winning a contest — it’s really showing people the benefits of this miraculous plant,” he says.

As for the question on everyone’s mind? “Cheech will come whenever I tell him to,” says Chong.

Tune in to ABC tonight at 8 p.m. to see Chong cha cha on the dance floor.

TIME viral

Watch Professors Read Their Own Reviews on Rate My Professors

Don't call your professor "awefull," kids.

Taking a nod from Jimmy Kimmel, who likes to torment celebrities by making them read mean tweets about themselves, Lehigh University had some of their professors sit down and read some highlights (and some lowlights) of their reviews on Rate My Professors, a websites where students write their honest opinions of teachers. Not surprisingly, the professors seemed unmoved by evaluations accusing them of “rambling about relevant topics” or being “awefull”—yep, that’s how one student spelled it.

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TIME Music

Blondie’s Chris Stein and Debbie Harry: “I Don’t Think Anyone Thought Much About the Future”

Chris Stein—Negative/Rizzoli New York, 2014.

The iconic band's two founding members reflect on their forty-year history

In 1974, New York City was the home to a potent burgeoning punk and new wave scene. Blondie’s Chris Stein was there for all of it: his guitar in one hand, his camera in the other.

Since their 1978 breakthrough album Parallel Lines, and its ethereal disco-tinged hit “Heart of Glass,” Blondie has been a genre-defying musical force, easily blending disco, punk, pop and new wave through the ‘80s, ’90s and aughts — and even today, with their most recent album, Ghosts of Download. As Blondie celebrates its 40th anniversary, Stein is releasing his first book of photographs, Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk, which documents his life on stage, on the road and at home, including portraits of his friends who made the downtown scene: Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Joan Jett, Jean Michael Basquiat and many more.

To help mark the occasion of the anniversary and the book release, TIME talked to Stein and the band’s unforgettable lead singer, Debbie Harry, about being Blondie, nostalgia, hanging with Grandmaster Flash, and the evolution of New York City.

TIME: How do you guys keep that going after 40 years?

Debbie Harry: Lots of vitamins. I’m just kidding.

Chris Stein: I take lots of vitamins every day. I take tons of vitamins. You take some vitamins.

DH: I take lots of vitamins too, but I don’t think that’s what keeps us going. Do you?

CS: No. There’s some willpower involved, I suppose, too.

There are very few bands who have managed to last as long as you.

CS: Big question is: who’s going to be around to listen to us now or in 30-40 years, you know?

Right. Who do you think has a good shot at it?

DH: It’s hard to tell.

CS: I don’t know. I think longevity has to do with biology, almost. Everything moves so slowly, it has to, I think. There’s so much turnover now, there’s no time for longevity.

DH: Yeah, definitely. I think there [are] musicians, like different guys from Muse and Arcade Fire and stuff like that.

Did you say Muse?

DH: Muse.

I hadn’t really thought of Muse lasting for 40 years. But I guess they could.

DH: I don’t mean as a unit — I mean different people from different groups.

CS: Like Zach [Condon] from Beirut. I mean that guy’s going to be a musician his whole life. No matter what he does, I’m sure that he’ll be doing stuff.

Given that you started out with the Talking Heads, who aren’t really talking anymore, and then we just lost the last of the Ramones, it’s pretty impressive that you guys are now celebrating your 40th anniversary.

CS: The Ramones’ first album just went gold recently after 35 years. It’s ironic to all of us.

DH: Yeah, it is.

Was losing the last of the Ramones kind of hard for you?

CS: They’re all such nice guys. They’re all such sweet guys. They were weird, but they were all really nice, genuine people.

Thinking back to when Blondie first started, are there other bands that you’re surprised didn’t make it bigger?

DH: I think that in today’s world, Alan Vega’s Suicide would have made a much bigger impression had they come out in the ’80s. They had a really modern approach.

CS: By the ’80s, there were other people testing the waters that those guys were doing. Those guys, they were just completely unique.

DH: That’s what I meant. If they had became famous at the very beginning of that, they would’ve gone a lot further.

What do you think it is that makes your songs so appealing to so many generations?

CS: They’re cheerful. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. We tap into a lot of things from musical history when making the songs. They’re based on a lot of stuff that’s come before us so maybe that’s… You know, we got one review recently from one of those Canadian festivals. It [was] a really great glowing review, and she said that the band almost sounds psychedelic in its presentation, which I thought was great because I always think that, but I never really see it in print. There’s a lot of influences from the ’60s, ’70s, [and] later music in there, so I think maybe that clicks with people.

Your most recent album had a lot of different influences, from heavily electronic stuff to some Latin flairs.

CS: I’ve been deep into this Latin stuff for the last four years or so. I really like what goes on in the modern Latin scene. I hear that the official figures are that one-sixth of the population of the U.S. is Latino now, and it’s probably closer to a fifth, but maybe even a quarter. But it doesn’t cross over because it’s all Spanish-language. More and more, I’m hearing those influences coming into the mainstream now.

© Chris Stein, Chris Stein/Negative, Rizzoli New York, 2014

Speaking of incorporating influences, every time I hear “Rapture,” I’m really struck by the fact that you basically incorporated rap into a song, before people really knew what rap was. How did that song come about?

CS: Just from getting really excited by seeing our first glimpses of the rap movement in New York, uptown. It was already really up and running by 1977 when we first started playing stuff. It hadn’t gotten out of uptown New York at that time. It was still a very closed thing.

DH: I think there was a little sort of pocket of it somewhere in New Jersey, perhaps Newark.

CS: It was probably all over the country even, too, probably other cities had their own scenes, but it just hadn’t crossed over. There hadn’t been anything on the radio at that point.

DH: No, there definitely was nothing in the open market. It was all sort of ghetto.

CS: Guys were passing out singles and stuff.

DH: Yeah, I mean, Sugar Hill was doing a lot of singles then.

Did you see rap shows back in the day? Did you hang out with any of the early rappers?

CS: We met Flash a bunch of times. Yeah, he was great. I sometimes see Rodney C from the Funky Four, a few people. I got involved with WildStyle, which Charlie Ahearn did — that movie in the early ’80s.

You’ve been playing some of your songs, like “Heart of Glass,” for 40 years. How do you make it fresh, and how do you still make it fun for yourselves to play?

CS: Well, the live arrangement of that is quite different than the record, and that took a couple of years to develop to where it is now. It’s all different things. The audience reaction has a lot to do with the emotional content.

DH: That’s what I was going to say. When that little drum machine thing comes on in the beginning, the audience hears the first few bars of that, there’s the response, and I think that sort of cheers us on, you know?

CS: I always say there’s a tribal element in a rock concert. There’s a real back-and-forth thing that goes on between the audience and the performers.

When you started this band, did you expect to still be doing it in 40 years? Did you expect to be doing it in 10 years?

DH: No. I don’t think that we had any criteria for that.

CS: Everybody was pretty much in the moment, then, and I don’t think anyone thought much about the future. I don’t think people in their 20s and early 30s think much about the future, anyway.

DH: The vagaries of the industry and show business itself would not lead one to conclude a lengthy career — because things change. It’s just one of those things. Popularities come and go. The tragedy of it is that somebody like Robin Williams should suffer from that, and be driven to commit suicide. If ever there was an untimely, unfair death, it was him. I mean he entertained people so well for so many years, and then to have a TV show not make it and to have financial problems and to be so affected by it — it’s a real tragedy.

© Chris Stein, Chris Stein/Negative, Rizzoli New York, 2014

It is. Have you guys felt affected by fame in that way?

DH: We go through ups and downs. Getting the band back together was Chris’ idea. Fortunately we got hooked up with a really smart businessman and manager, and we were able to do it. But in many cases bands have a lot to overcome, business being what it is.

Having been in the industry for so long, what are some of the biggest changes that you’ve seen from when you started to now?

CS: It’s just the obvious stuff. The record sales and touring have reversed their position. Whereas the tour, the show used to be advertising for the record, and now that’s reversed. The record is just a collectible at this point. It’s a piece of merchandise. It doesn’t mean what it used to.

DH: Well, it doesn’t for the majority of bands or artists. There’s a relatively small percentage of working bands [for whom] record sales or CD sales, or whatever it is, is of major importance.

CS: Now downloads.

DH: Only the top 5%.

CS: It’s not even 5%. It’s a fraction of 1%. It’s the same as the actors who make X millions of dollars a year compared to all the other actors. It’s the same deal.

DH: Yeah.

Just listening to you two talk is so funny, because you’ve obviously known each other for so long and you have no qualms about talking over each other. How has your relationship changed over the years?

CS: I don’t know. [laughs] I know aspects of it. We don’t live in the same place — that aspect has changed.

DH: We’re not a couple anymore, so we have separate lives.

CS: We don’t live in the same house.

DH: We still have an easy language for working together. We like each other… I think.

CS: Yeah, she’s great. She’s one of my best friends. That’s the way it is.

Chris, you had obviously had your camera with you a lot back in the day. Were you trying to document a scene, or were you just a big fan of photography?

CS: I just like photography. I don’t know if I consciously thought about documenting what was going on. I just liked capturing the images and the time travel involved in photography.

What do you mean by time travel?

CS: When you see a photograph of something, a historic moment or something in the past, it clearly puts you there, in a way. Same with films. I don’t know how conscious my efforts were, but I worked on this book all year, and we’ll see what happens with that.

DH: I know from all these years of being with Chris that he does have a real appreciation… He’s always been — the guy who’s in the museum who’s documenting all the things…

CS: A curator?

DH: Yeah, Chris has always had the mentality of a curator. That’s part of his personality. I don’t think of it as being conscious or unconscious. It’s automatic.

Marking the band’s 40th anniversary and having worked on this book all year, are you guys feeling nostalgic about the past?

CS: With everybody dying and with the big change in the culture when we went through, this rough-edged situation to this fucking crazy rampant consumerism that we’re in now, you know — I was walking around in the Lower East Side, and there used to be freaks and weirdos just wandering around all over the place, and now it’s like, all the hipsters look like they just bought their outfits at the Gap. There’s a kind of uniformity there that I didn’t used to see. But there’s also a lot of great stuff that’s happening now. I think that human nature being what it is, the connectivity that everyone is experiencing — maybe it hit the human race too quickly. Maybe if it had happened in 10 years or whatever, it might have been preferable. Because everybody is connected to each other, but it seems to be making for more isolation. Because when you see a subway car full of people all staring at their phones, there’s a lack of connection.


And Debbie?

DH: It’s one of those situations where, in music, we always say that the pendulum swings back and forth, and I definitely feel that there’s going to be a reversal in this regard. The pendulum will swing back another way. And I’d be very curious to see whether it’s a direct arc, or whether it veers off to one side, or perhaps just several different angles, but I do think that there’s going to be some kind of — I wouldn’t say a backlash, but I would just say it’s going to be an alternative expression or reaction.

CS: I’ve been seeing that for the last couple of days, Gene Simmons is all over the Internet saying, “Rock is finally dead.” But then at the same time, we were friends with this band called The Stripes from the UK — they’re from Ireland actually, right?

DH: I don’t know about that for sure.

CS: They’re from the UK, anyway. They’re these little kids, and they are just awesome, and they’re doing old school blues-rock and pub rock. And if that’s any image of a trend that’s coming up, like Debbie says, it may go swinging the other way. Minimalism.

I spoke with him when Kiss was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he was very vocal about the fact that he didn’t think Blondie belonged in there.

CS: Whatever. What about Bob Marley?

DH: Oh dear. That’s so strange. He didn’t think Blondie should be there?

No, he thought you guys were “disco.”

DH: I mean, what about Madonna, for God’s sake?

CS: I can sum this up. I’m sure Gene Simmons thinks the only one who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is guess who? Okay.

Did you guys ever have backup plans if your band didn’t work out?

CS: I watch so many cop shows now on TV. I really love True Detective. I keep thinking, I wish I’d been in the police. When I was 20 years old, it never would’ve dawned on me as a reality, really.

DH: I don’t really have a backup plan, but I was always attracted to being an actor of some sort, or a performer. God knows, maybe I would’ve joined the circus. I probably would have had to clean up after the elephants or something. Just kidding. At first coming out of school, I thought I wanted to be a painter. So I did gravitate towards that world for a while.

How do you feel walking down Bowery now and seeing that CBGB — a venue you were closely affiliated with — is now a John Varvatos store?

CS: Better that than a bank is all I’ve ever said.

DH: When we found ourselves going on the road for months at a time, we would come back, and it always seemed like something was gone and had become something else. And I think that kind of quick changeover really happens in New York City, probably in other major cities as well, but especially in New York. Things really do change quickly, and it’s always a shock. You say, “Oh my God, that place used to be here, and that was such a great place,’ and it’s become a laundromat or something. It’s inevitable that that stuff changes, but it just seems now that the overall complexion of the city is so middle-class and upwardly mobile. It’s dull.

CS: What I always say is, all the conversations I have now with people in New York turn to real estate, and that just never happened in the ’70s. Nobody was talking about how much it costs to live wherever it was in the ’70s.

Can you see yourselves doing this in another 40 years? 20 years? 10 years?

CS: 50, yeah, I hope so. I’m going to get my hormones injected or something.

In celebration of Blondie’s 40th Anniversary and Chris Stein’s photo book, Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk, gallerist Jeffrey Deitch curated an exhibition of works by Bob Gruen, Annie Leibovitz, Roberta Bayley, Mick Rock, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bobby Grossman, David Godlis, and Stein. The exhibit is free and open to the public from Tuesday, September 23rd through Monday, September 29th, 1-8pm daily at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery (222 West 23rd Street).

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TIME Television

All 153 Episodes of Gilmore Girls Are Coming to Netflix


Ladies and gentlemen, start your streaming

Clear your schedule and grab some snacks: starting October 1st, all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls will be available on Netflix.

For the uninitiated, the series (created by Amy Sherman-Palladino) follows fast-talking, smart-as-a-whip, pop culture-savvy single mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) raising her even-keeled and level-headed daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) in Stars Hollow, Conn., a fictional (we checked) town that fully believes it takes a village to raise a child.

Fans who used to have to catch the show in repeats on ABC Family (or watch from carefully preserved VHS box sets) can now rewatch the series from the beginning, and there will be plenty of fuel for the fire that Christopher and Logan were the right answers. (Gauntlet, thrown.)

Over the course of the show’s seven seasons, which aired from 2000 to 2006 first on The WB and then on The CW for the final season, Rory goes from public school to prep school to Yale to study journalism. While Rory grew up on the show, so did Lorelai, who went from innkeeper to inn owner, while learning how to be a mother to a teenager and a daughter to her own estranged parents. The show focused on the relationship between the Gilmore women, but there were plenty of other relationships as well, and most comments on any Gilmore Girls posts quickly devolve into debates over whether Luke or Christopher (or Digger or Max) or Dean, Jess or Logan were worthy companions.

For hesitant entrants to the Gilmore world, it’s not a treacly mother-daughter-driven soap opera — it’s one of the best shows in recent history. The show gave Melissa McCarthy her first major role, introduced us to Jared Padalecki (now saving the world on Supernatural) and Matt Czuchry (now on The Good Wife), and brought Kelly Bishop and Edward Hermann together. It also featured guest appearances from stars like Jon Hamm (way, way before he was famous), Nick Offerman, Seth MacFarlane, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon; Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach, too, had a reoccurring role. Adam Brody, Chad Michael Murray, Krysten Ritter, Marion Ross and even Sally Struthers were all on the show, too, just proving the show’s taste in casting was practically perfect. Plus, Gilmore Girls featured writers like Jane Espenson, who wrote for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica and Torchwood, and is now on Once Upon A Time, and Jenji Kohan, way before Weeds or Orange is the New Black made her an almost-household name.

While fans are still pining for a Gilmore Girls movie (hey, it happened for Veronica Mars), this is the next best thing. Subscribe to Netflix, order in from Luke’s and get ready for the ultimate marathon.

TIME viral

Watch Ducks Reenact the DuckTales Theme Song

By ducks for ducks

Life is like a hurricane whether you live in Duckburg or somewhere else entirely.

With all the race cars, lasers and aeroplanes, it’s a duck-blur that sometimes seems to go so quickly that you don’t even have time to sit and think about what you really need in life. Like, watching real ducks reenact the theme song to DuckTales. Thankfully, there’s the internet to give you the things you so desperately want, before you even know you need them.

In the video, the little ducks don helmets, ride ponies, hop in a submarine and, of course, do the Scrooge MacDuck backstroke through a pile of gold. There’s action, adventure and mummy-chasing in these tales of derring do-bad and good. These are not pony tales or cotton tales, no, they are DuckTales! Woo-oo!

Via Oh My Disney.

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TIME viral

Little Dog in Giant Spider Costume Freaks People Out in the Perfect Prank

12 legs and one long tongue.

Halloween is over a month a way, but it’s never too early to stage a scary prank.

YouTube prankster SA Wardega is terrifying millions of people with his viral video of a ‘spider dog.’ The Polish prankster dressed his dog up as a giant mutant spider that is terrifying, if you didn’t look too closely at the goofy dog face grinning underneath the costume. Wardega then set Chica the spider dog loose on the unsuspecting public and kept his cameras rolling.

While one would think a dog in a spider costume would elicit more laughs than screams, the prankster used the dark of night, an unsuspecting public, creepy locals, and an especially unsettling costume to transform the pup into a plus-sized tarantula with a giant side of NOPE. Throw in some prop body parts and a well-placed web and the results are pure terror …and some dog kisses.

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TIME Music

Stream Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute to Born In the U.S.A.: A Country Twist on Springsteen’s Classic

Lightning Rod Records

Jason Isbell & Amanda Shire, Low, Trampled by Turtles, Justin Townes Earle and more contribute to the album

“When I first heard the songs from Born In The USA, as a nine-year old, I thought, ‘Uh, no, this is not for me. I prefer Huey Lewis,’” says Evan Schlansky, the co-executive producer of Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute to Born In the U.S.A. Eventually, though, Schlansky discovered “Thunder Road” and “Born to Run” on a mixtape and fell in love with Springsteen. “There’s something great about discovering Bruce Springsteen when you’re growing up. His music really became the soundtrack to my teenage years,” he noted.

To pay homage to his musical hero, Schlansky struck on the idea of putting together a tribute album, giving an alt-country twist to Springsteen’s album. “I’ve always thought that Bruce Springsteen is secretly a country artist, just without the accent,” he says. He approached Logan Rogers, owner of Nashville’s Lightning Rod Records, to produce Dead Man’s Town, a tribute album, featuring artists such as Low, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Justin Townes Earl, Blitzen Trapper and Trampled by Turtles covering songs from Born In the U.S.A., just in time to mark the seminal album’s 30th anniversary.

All twelve artists took liberties with the melodies and the arrangements — stripping down the songs, adding a country twist or traveling in a different direction altogether, which is just what Schlansky and Rogers wanted. “I thought the songs could work as well as Woody Guthrie-style folk anthems as they did as Reagan-era radio smashes,” says Rogers, who trusted the artists to stay true to Springsteen’s vision.”Everyone involved takes such care in their own lyrics that I knew they would do Springsteen’s justice in a re-imagined way,” he says .

The artists were given creative control over their covers, but the overall sound comes across as fewer jangle and horns as in Born in the U.S.A. with a result more reminiscent of another Springsteen classic — his 1982 album, Nebraska. “It’s like everybody got the same memo to change things up, except there never was a memo,” says Schlansky.

Highlights include Justin Townes’ Earle’s acoustic take on “Glory Days,” Low’s stripped down take on “I’m on Fire” and Holly Williams (a singer-songwriter and the granddaughter of Hank Williams) giving a Nashville twist to “No Surrender”.

The full album is streaming below and is available for pre-order here. Dead Man’s Town drops Sept. 16th, just in time for Springsteen’s 65th birthday on Sept. 23.

TIME Television

Bachelor In Paradise Watch: Twists, Shouts and An Engagement: Recap

BACHELOR IN PARADISE - "Episode 107" - This week on the surprising season finale of "Bachelor in Paradise," Chris Harrison returns to give the remaining cast a shocking ultimatum -- if they cannot see their relationship transitioning into their lives back home, they must leave paradise immediately. With emotions running higher than ever, a series of dramatic breakups ensue. After the dust settles, Chris Harrison returns and surprises the remaining couples with romantic overnight dates, on the season finale of "Bachelor in Paradise," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), on ABC. (ABC/Francisco Roman) CHRIS HARRISON, CHRIS SIEGFRIED, DESIREE HARTSOCK, SEAN LOWE, CATHERINE LOWE, JASON MESNICK, MOLLY MESNICK Francisco Roman—ABC

The best expulsion from Paradise since Adam and Eve

Welcome to the finale of Bachelor in Paradise. Going into the season ender, the couples are as follows: Lacy and Marcus, AshLee and Graham, Robert and Sarah, Michelle and Cody (still, really), and then couples of necessity Zack and Jackie and Tasos and Christy. Last week, Chris Harrison promised a twist. This week, he explains: He wants everyone to take a long, hard look at their relationship and decide if their fake-cation spring fling will work in the real world. Chris ominously warns the contestants, “Don’t fool yourself, don’t fool each other, and don’t try to fool me.” Here’s what happened on Bachelor in Paradise:

Lacy and Marcus: They want to get married. This second, ideally, with Chris Harrison officiating and Clare’s raccoon friend bearing witness. They spend the rest of the episode canoodling.

AshLee and Graham: AshLee admits that she loves Graham “to an extent,” and says that she wants to “serve him more” and “love on him more” because she sees a “spiritual, emotional, romantic” relationship with him. Lacy rolls her eyes in super slow motion and Michelle decides she needs to go talk to her IRL BFF Graham that very second. AshLee thinks Michelle is going to tell Graham how much AshLee loves him. She’s not. She tells Graham that she doesn’t think AshLee is right for him and is a big old fake. She encourages him to have a long talk with AshLee, which she does. Then Graham takes AshLee for a walk on the beach, where he proceeds to dump her, because he doesn’t really see a future with her. As AshLee goes to cry on a rock, Michelle comes to console Graham, who doesn’t really need consoling. With tears running down her face, AshLee gets in a car and leaves without saying goodbye to anyone. Graham knows it was the right decision, even though he has to leave paradise alone. He does his best to make an appropriately sad face as he drives off in to the sunset.

Robert and Sarah: They had their Big Talk last week, so they quickly decide that they are in it to win it, whatever “it” is. Possibly, sunburn.

Jackie and Zack: Jackie isn’t quite ready to commit, while Zack is interested in pursuing things in some sort of hunter-prey scenario. He respects her decision, though, because he’s that kind of guy — excuse me — man. They bid farewell and brace for their expulsion from paradise.

Christy and Tasos: They readily admit that they probably aren’t in love, but are in the would consider posting bail if no one else was available and they didn’t have to put their car up as collateral stage of the relationship. They hug each other and make their farewells.

Michelle and Cody: Cody is ready to marry Michelle right then and there. If Michelle doesn’t feel exactly the same way, “it’s gonna hurt.” For her part, Michelle is still trying to picture a future with a warm-hearted Tintin-haired meatball in a tiny tank. She calls her 8-year old daughter for advice and the little girl doles out some excellent relationship tips. She points out that it doesn’t matter if he’s cute or not, but whether they have a lot in common. It’s clear who is the Rory Gilmore in the relationship. Michelle realizes she needs more time with Cody.

The Test: With three couples remaining, Chris Harrison comes to chat. He isn’t surprised to see Marcus and Lacy, is glad that Sarah and Robert found each other in Tulum, even though they live ten minutes apart from each other in LA (oh please, nothing in LA is ten minutes from anywhere) and makes Michelle and Cody explain what in the heck they are still doing together. Michelle just coos and smiles, while Cody wisely remains mute. Chris explains that their next “test” is a night in a Fantasy Suite. Michelle is not ready for that. Has she mentioned that she’s a mother? Maybe she can sort this all out over dinner.

Michelle and Cody, Part II: Cody thinks Michelle could be his future wife. Michelle interviews that she doesn’t know which way she will go, but is very afraid of another failed relationship. Cody talks her down, assuring her that he will do whatever it takes to make it work and to make her happy. After that speech, Michelle collapses into a big pile of goo that Cody rushes to the Fantasy Suite.

Sarah and Robert, Part II: Sarah is “really excited” to have some alone time with Robert. Robert is also present for the occasion.

Marcus and Lacy, Part II: Marcus hopes that during their last night in paradise, Lacy finally says the three little words he’s been yearning to hear since Andi Dorfman dumped him. She tells him, ” My heart’s all yours,” and “You’re everything I ever wanted,” and then finally, “I love you.” Then they go back to making out, this time in front of a rose petal-strewn bed, which the cameraman pretends is not at all awkward.

The Morning After: The next morning, Marcus and Lacy float in on a cloud and a wave of “I love you”s. Michelle and Cody burst in on a sunbeam and announces that she’s “very sore,” which is a lot of information for primetime. Cody jumps in that he “might have marked some things off his bucket list last night.” Michelle announces that she has “a boyfriend.” They are beaming. Sarah and Robert, however, have a little grey cloud hanging over their head. Sarah interviews that Robert went to sleep with his jeans on under the covers and they really just went to sleep, which is not a euphemism. Sarah is really sad.

The Talk: Sarah goes to explain to Robert that she’s disappointed that he went straight to bed last night and didn’t stay up to talk, let alone make out. She felt “not loved.” He swears he had a great time last night and that he “told a bunch of people he was falling in love with her.” Sarah tells him that she’s not getting what she needs out of the relationship and ends it, which is bold, but right on, sister. Robert says he’s upset, but doesn’t really try to argue with her. He just walks off to leave. She goes to explain to Lacy and Michelle that she ended it, because she realized that if “a guy doesn’t want to make out with you,” he’s just not that into you. Robert claims he liked taking it slow and has a hard time with saying the l-word. Maybe they will work this all out when they run into each other at the local Coffee Bean.

The Reinforcements: To help the two remaining couples learn to function in the real world, Chris Harrison calls in some reinforcements: Bachelor Sean and his now-wife, Catherine, Bachelorette star Desiree and her fiancé, Chris, and indecisive Bachelor Jason and his wife Molly, who were all happy to take a Bachelor-funded vacation. They assure the world that these couples are legit. For real. Stop that eye-rolling immediately.

The Final Rose: Under the watchful eyes of the successful franchise couples, Cody and Michelle say their vows and hand each other roses. Then Marcus and Lacy completely upstage them by getting actually engaged. The Bachelor winners all cheer from the roof deck, “One of us! One of us!” as the happy couple makes out.

All’s Well That Ends With A Renewal Notice: While it may be the end of the season, it’s not the end of the show as ABC has renewed Bachelor in Paradise for another year. Yay? See you next year in paradise.

Post Script: Cody is moving to Utah to be with Michelle and her daughter. Lacy is moving to Dallas to be with her fiance. Chris and Elise broke up after two weeks.

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TIME Music

Happy 350th Birthday, New York City: Here Are 17 of the Best Songs About NYC

... and the Empire State Building is to the south.
... and the Empire State Building is to the south. Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

From Jay Z to J. Lo, with Frank Sinatra in between

New York City may not sleep, but it does age. Today the Big Apple celebrates 350 years of being New York City, after being officially renamed from New Amsterdam on Sept. 8, 1664.

From the best of times to the worst of times, songwriters have captured every corner of the city and the lives lived in its five boroughs through music. Artists ranging from Nas to Billy Joel have found themselves in a “New York State of Mind.” Ryan Adams and Frank Sinatra have sung about “New York, New York.” In “Visions of Johanna,” Bob Dylan sang about the girl he saw on the D train, while straphangers such as The New York Dolls, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Townes Earle and Duke Ellington have all sung about the subway. From the Bronx to Brooklyn, the Lower East Side to Rockaway Beach, over the last 350 years, musicians have paid homage to the town they call home or the city they’ve stopped in along the way.

Whether it’s Azealia Banks singing “212” or the Rolling Stones getting “Shattered” or The Strokes singing about “New York City Cops,” the city has been a muse for many. To celebrate the 350th birthday of the city, TIME is taking a look back at some of the greatest songs every written about NYC. Due to the incredible number of songs written about the city, there are many songs that didn’t make this list, like Le Tigre’s “My My Metrocard,” Grand Mixer D.S.T.’s “The Home of Hip-Hop,” The Magnetic Fields’s “The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side,” and the Village People’s love song to “Fire Island.” In theory, the entire soundtrack from Rent could be on the list, and there’s not much that screams (at four in the morning, while banging on a trash can in the alley behind your apartment) New York more than Law & Order original recipe star Jerry Orbach and the original Broadway cast of 42nd Street singing “The Lullaby of Broadway.” It’s a list that, like the city, could go on forever.

But barring that, here are 17 of the best songs about New York City:

1. Jay Z and Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”

2. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, “Fairytale of New York”

3. Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side”

4. Billie Holiday, “Autumn in New York”

5. LCD Soundsystem, “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down”

6. Beastie Boys, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”

7. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, “The Message”

8. Bruce Springsteen, “The Rising”

9. Tom Waits, “Downtown Train”

10. Leonard Cohen, “Chelsea Hotel No. 2″

11.Frank Sinatra, “Theme from New York, New York”

12. Jennifer Lopez, “Jenny From The Block”

13. Duke Ellington Orchestra, “Take the ‘A’ Train”

14. Gil Scott-Heron, “New York Is Killing Me”

15. The Ramones, “Rockaway Beach”

16. The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Summer in the City”

17. Bobby Womack and Peace, “Across 110th Street”

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