For 35 years, “Weird Al” Yankovic has been music’s most reliable satirist, sending up the biggest pop hits and the most iconic artists for the sake of belly laughs. He’s about to release a brand new album called Mandatory Fun on July 15, so to prepare for a fresh batch of tunes we caught up with Yankovic to get the stories behind hits both big and small. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Pop (21-30 of 1083)
While many of his contemporaries work to cultivate an air of mystery through secret identities and un-Google-able stage names, Tunde Olaniran is generating a more intriguingly ambiguous vibe with a fraction of the effort. A native of Flint, Michigan, better known as Detroit’s less quaint sibling, Olaniran works in the gaps between hip-hop, R&B, dance music, and punk, weaving together aggressive beats, noisy electronics, and an intuitive knack for melody into a seamless, surprisingly pop-friendly whole. His recent five-song EP Yung Archetype sounds like Yeezus as a soul record, or if The-Dream made a record with TV on the Radio.
Last week Olaniran released a video for the brooding, spacious Yung Archetype track “Critical,” which he wrote for a family member who was diagnosed with cancer. It’s an emotionally intense four-and-a-half-minute ride, but I’ve had it on heavy rotation nonetheless. Hit the jump to get hooked. READ FULL STORY
Chicago quartet Baathhaus combines the transgressive glam surrealism of Lady Gaga with a synthpop sound redolent of vintage Erasure, New Order, and other popular acts at retro night at your local gay dance club. Over the past couple of years, they’ve started to accumulate the kind of cult following that an over-the-top theatrical pop band whose multimedia identity feels equally indebted to David Bowie and John Waters deserves, and as their audience has grown, their production values have increased to match.
Last week the group unveiled a new single, “Ascension,” on their SoundCloud, and now they’re ready to unveil the accompanying video. Unlike most Baathhaus productions, “Ascension” features no explosions of fake blood or glitter, but the band’s portrayal of a bourgeois suburban family and its teen daughter’s prom date is fraught with psychological tension. Member Dan Foley says, “The music video turns the lens on an everyday situation and shows us the dense and complex layers that can live inside of one simple moment. Longing, lust, anxiety, and the thrill of anticipation fill the quiet rooms of a suburban home and provide the perfect backdrop for the lush and shimmering pop of ‘Ascension.'”
Watch the exclusive video below.
The Florida-born, NYC-based musician Kitty used to go by the name Kitty Pryde, and she used to be a rapper. Her 2012 song “Okay Cupid” was a pretty massive viral hit (its official video has nearly a million and a half views on YouTube) that brought her a decent amount of acclaim amidst an epic amount of hate from people who saw a young female rapper who didn’t seem interested in rapping about things that grouchy hip-hop fans are necessarily into as a sign of the impending apocalypse (or something).
Kitty still raps, but she’s broadened her overall approach and started moving toward straight-up pop, which considering the sing-songy flow she’s been showing off since “Okay Cupid” isn’t too drastic a leap. Last month she released an EP called Impatiens, which she quickly followed up with a new track, “Marijuana,” that now has a video. It’s her most successful stab at a pop song yet, with a bubbly, laid-back beat that fits the title well, plus a vocal part that ups the melodic quotient while still retaining just enough hip-hop inflection to make the track snap. The end result is a special kind of summer jam that forgoes the celebratory grooves that typify the genre in favor of an effortless chill that can act as mental air conditioning during ridiculously hot and humid days, which should come in handy very soon.
Check it out after the jump. READ FULL STORY
This week’s biggest new release is British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s x. Sheeran’s songwriting work for Taylor Swift and One Direction and acoustic pop style have earned him a fan base that’s heavy on younger listeners, but x (which is apparently meant to be pronounced “multiply”) deals with more mature themes, like the alienation that comes with fame and life on the road, as well as the ways sexual and chemical diversions can get away from you. People seem to be digging his new grown-up persona–our Melissa Maerz gave the album a B.
For this installment of the Breakdown we’ll take x apart and figure out what it’s made of. READ FULL STORY
Groundislava is an LA-based electronic musician who’s part of the rapidly up-and-coming Wedidit Collective. Rare Times is an L.A.-based band that makes retro-minded pop that sounds like a bunch of George Michael remix B-sides that never actually existed. Sus Boy is a visual artist who’s gaining cult notoriety for making bizarro websites for the likes of Skrillex. Put them all together and you end up with the video to “Feel the Heat” from Groundislava’s brand new EP of the same name, which mashes up ’90s-style trip-hop with ’90s-style virtual reality and a heaping dose of very modern techno-paranoia. Keep your eye on all three parties involved–they’re bound to blow up soon.
Synth-loving art-pop faerie Grimes has been on the verge of a major breakthrough ever since she released her 2012 album Visions, which refined the experimental electronic approach of her first two LPs and infused her sound with big, undeniable hooks that can stand up next to anything on the Top 40. It has stealthily become one of the most influential records of the past few years, and you can hear ideas borrowed from it all over the radio, including pretty much every synth-heavy pop song by a female performer that’s broken big in the past year.
Grimes herself has been patiently setting up her next move, signing to Jay Z’s Roc Nation for management and apparently fielding some songwriting gigs from major stars. Earlier this month at the Governor’s Ball festival in New York City she played a handful of new songs, including one that she claimed was written for, and rejected by, Rihanna. Today, she posted the finished recording of that track, entitled “Go,” on her SoundCloud. Produced with her longtime musical partner Blood Diamonds, it’s her most ambitiously accessible song yet, with an R&B-heavy vocal melody and arena-sized EDM synths that sound like they could have been lifted off of a Diplo track. It strongly hints that her next album (which she’s still working on) will be aimed straight at pop radio.
NYC producer AraabMuzik is a virtuoso of the MPC whose freakish talent for making beats and remixing tracks on the fly has made him a jaw-dropping live performer in a field that often seems dominated by antisocial studio rats. In between blowing minds on stage he produces remixes that combine EDM’s electronic bombast with the sonic aggression of old-school NYC street rap, and just in time for both summer and the release of Lana Del Rey’s brand-new Ultraviolence, he’s dropped an arena-ready version of “Summertime Sadness” from her 2012 album Born to Die. It’ll appear on his upcoming mixtape For Professional Use Only 2, out July 15.
Stream it below: READ FULL STORY
Last year’s inescapable single “Blurred Lines,” which turned Robin Thicke from a marginal R&B singer to a superstar, was great for his career—but maybe not so good for his personal life. After its racy video and a grabby performance alongside (or, actually, very, very close behind) Miley Cyrus at the VMAs turned him into a sex symbol of an exceedingly sleazy kind, his wife Paula Patton, who he started dating as a teenager, left him amid rumors of infidelity.
Earlier this month Thicke announced that he’s releasing an album, entitled Paula, that’s all about their split. Judging by the song titles—“Love Can Grow Back,” “Still Madly Crazy,” “You’re My Fantasy”—it seems less like his Here, My Dear or Blood On the Tracks than a very public, very desperate stunt to convince Patton to reconcile.
How desperate? Well, the new video for Paula‘s lead single, “Get Her Back,” juxtaposes moody shots of Thicke and a disconcertingly Patton-esque woman with snippets of text messages between two estranged lovers, one of whom lists a number of valid reasons as to why they’re estranged (“You drink too much,” “You embarrassed me”) and the other of whom has written an entire album about their breakup. From Thicke’s perspective, it probably seems like a grand romantic gesture—but from anywhere else, it looks like quite possibly the thirstiest video of all time.
Anamanaguchi, the self-described “boy band” from New York City, is dedicated to hacking pop music the way other geeks hack video game consoles.
Today they released a new single called “Pop It,” which features vocals by an “unknown singer” whose name they won’t reveal and who may or may not be the person depicted in the cover art, pictured above (although they’re willing to say that whoever it is, it’s their first recording gig). That fact just adds a slightly weirder edge to a song that’s already pretty strange—with its glitchy electronic flourishes and relentlessly bubble gummy vibe, it bears more than a passing resemblance to Japanese superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s neon-drenched anime acid trip. But like Kyary, Anamanaguchi works enough hooks into the mix to make the digital chaos worthy of putting on repeat.
So far, Anamanaguchi’s biggest claim to fame is providing the 8-bit pop-punk soundtrack for the video game adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But the band has a burgeoning cult following, and as mainstream pop culture grows increasingly similar to the Internet culture they inhabit, it doesn’t seem unrealistic to think they might break through with a bigger crowd soon.
Listen to “Pop It” below, or visit Anamanaguchi’s website to stream the song from a page full of interactive lo-res balloons that help to heighten the already-pretty-strong sensation of being stuck inside a game of “Katamary Damacy.”
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