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Best of 2014: The best and worst lyrics of the year


When it comes to pop lyrics, every year has its ups and downs, and 2014 seemed to have higher highs and lower lows than most. We had the vivid imagery of Pharrell’s “Me and 20 girls doing yoga naked” from Future’s “Move That Dope” that reminded us of everything we fell in love with Pharrell for in the first place, and the sublime simplicity of Bobby Shmurda’s “About a week agooooo.” Then again we had the ugly “Loyal” following us everywhere, as well as Kevin Gates’s domestic violence apologia “Posed to Love Me” that counteracted most of those happy feelings.

After a wild and weird year in pop, we’ve picked five of the best and five of the worst lines that came our way.


Backstreet Boys get candid in new trailer for upcoming documentary

In 2013, the Backstreet Boys celebrated their 20th anniversary with a new album, In a World Like This. And two years later, the band is releasing a documentary that follows them during the making of that album, when they all moved to London together. READ FULL STORY

Kitty releases a virtual reality-inspired video for 'Second Life' -- exclusive

The string of impressive tracks that she’s released online over the past two years have established Kitty as an adept if controversial rapper (at least among people who can’t stand it when women make rap songs). But with her new EP Frostbite, she’s moved into more of a dance-pop space that sounds sort of like Britney Spears getting stoned and falling down a Tumblr rabbit hole. Her latest single, “Second Life,” is basically a chill-out techno song by an apparently brony-affiliated producer named PinkiePieSwear given a drum ‘n’ bass remix by Anamanaguchi’s Ary Warnaar, topped by Kitty’s now-trademark hypnotic vocals.

For the video, the filmmaking team Many Hearts recruited J-pop-inspired DJ/producer Maxo to play a video game addict immersed in a Kitty-themed virtual reality.


Madonna comments on album leak

If you resisted listening to the leak of Madonna’s upcoming album that surfaced online earlier this week, she has something to tell you: “Thank you for not listening!” she wrote on her Instagram Wednesday. “Thank you for your loyalty!”

Although Madonna hasn’t been forthcoming with details about the album, she has confirmed she’s working on one. She further elaborated on the leak in her Instagram caption, where she clarified the songs released were not final cuts.

“Thank you for waiting,” she said, “and if you have heard please know they are unfinished demos stolen long ago and not ready to be presented to the world.” READ FULL STORY

Ferguson protests inspired D'Angelo to move up his album release date


The Sunday-night release of D’Angelo’s first album in 14 years, Black Messiah—only a few hours after it was played for journalists and industry at a listening party in Manhattan—was the most surprising surprise album release in the 12 months since Beyoncé’s self-titled LP put the final nail in concept of traditional release dates. In a New York Times article on Black Messiah‘s unconventional release, members of D’Angelo’s team reveals that the singer’s decision to move the release from early 2015 to this week was inspired by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson on murder charges in the death of Michael Brown, and the protests that emerged in its wake.

According to the article, D’Angelo told his tour manager, Alan Leeds, “The one way I do speak out is through music. I want to speak out.”

'December is the Longest Month' in this new video for Chumped -- exclusive


One of 2014’s best musical surprises was Teenage Retirement, the debut full-length from Brooklyn band Chumped. It shouldn’t have been; the group showed a penchant for tuneful indie-punk back with its self-titled 2013 EP, but Teenage Retirement takes that promise and builds on it. A good example of that is album opener “December is the Longest Month,” a hook-laden lament on the taxing end to a tough year. That mixture of melancholy and melody recalls one of Chumped’s stated influences, seminal indie-punk band Superchunk, but Teenage Retirement also bears strains of early ’90s East Bay punk (particularly Tilt). Our fondness for all of that stuff means we’re excited to premiere the video for “December is the Longest Month.” READ FULL STORY

Kendrick Lamar performs new song on 'Colbert Report'

On Tuesday night, Kendrick Lamar became the last musical guest to ever perform on The Colbert Report. 


Tricky collaborator Francesca Belmonte steps out on her own in 'Stole' video -- exclusive

Trip-hop pioneer Tricky’s best known for his kinky beats and raspy croak of a voice, but he’s also got a pretty serious reputation for scouting talent, especially when it comes to recruiting female singers. For his past two albums he’s made use of London singer Francesca Belmonte, who’s got a voice that’s both ethereal and earthy, with a surfeit of the eroticism that Tricky requires from a vocal partner.

Belmonte’s stepping out with her debut solo album on Tricky’s False Idols label sometime next year, and if the advance single “Stole” is any indication, it’s worth looking out for. It’s an intriguingly glitchy contemporary update of the slow-burning trip-hop sound that Tricky’s made his trademark, and now it has a video that plays up Belmonte’s sonic resemblance to the dance-music-loving soul divas of the ’80s and ’90s with moody lighting, a range of fashionable costume choices, and a camera that can’t seem to take its eye off her.


Court rules in favor of Apple in class-action iPod lawsuit

After the original filing almost a decade ago, a jury ruled in favor of Apple in a billion-dollar class-action lawsuit against the company, according to The Associated Press.


Catch up on the year in dance moves with the 'Single Ladies' video director

For music fans, both amateur and professional, the final quarter of the year is pretty much devoted to talking over–or arguing about–the music that we listened to, but there’s never much discussion about how we moved to it. Maybe it’s because dance styles often evolve independently of music trends, or because a lot of people who love talking about music are terrified of talking about dance (or dancing, for that matter). READ FULL STORY

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