Eighteen-year-old Australian Tkay Maidza is the closest thing we have right now to a reincarnation of early M.I.A.—that is, M.I.A. as she was before the massive record deals and truffle fries and Madonna co-signs, when she was making a big racket out of sounds collected from around the world with the chaotic but innocent glee of a toddler smashing toy trucks together. Over the past year, she has released a string of singles that mix together glitchy electronic noise, hip-hop’s rolling rhythms (not to mention its unabashed swagger), and some truly uncanny natural pop instincts—and in the process, she has become a cult star in the increasingly influential antipodean EDM scene.
Tag: Pop (41-50 of 1129)
Between her assists on massive singles by Iggy Azalea (“Fancy”) and Icona Pop (“I Love It”) and her own chart-scaling single “Boom Clap,” Charli XCX has earned herself a well-deserved reputation as a go-to performer of potently exuberant, candy-colored pop songs. There are few songs in the modern pop songbook that fit that same description as well as “I Want Candy,” originally performed by an ad hoc group called the Strangeloves in 1965, but thoroughly owned by Bow Wow Wow since they recorded a cover in 1982. So it’s not unexpected that Charli covering “I Want Candy” would work out pretty well.
What is surprising is how raw and–to use a shudderingly uncool word–rocking it is. Charli has been touring in front of a crack power trio, and “I Want Candy” is a much better showcase for their skills than acoustic versions of “Boom Clap.” Their version is just a little too fast and just a little too loud, and it’s pretty ragged around the edges, which is to say pretty much the ideal way of tackling this particular song. (Thanks in part to the usual lack of practice time before promotional duties like covering songs for internet TV shows, probably.) If Charli ever decides pop stardom isn’t for her, she and her girls could probably find a home making noise on the DIY punk circuit without much trouble. READ FULL STORY
With its throwback soul beat, its body-positive message couched in a cute metaphor, and its dance-filled, candy-colored video, Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” couldn’t have been better designed to go viral. Two months after it was quietly released online, “Bass” has become a straight-up pop phenomenon—racking up YouTube views, inspiring an untold number of online tributes, and rocketing up the Hot 100, where it’s currently sitting at a respectable number 28.
The genre-mashing 20-year-old songwriter—an avowed fan of Caribbean music who’s written for country megastars Rascal Flatts—talked to EW about her overnight success, the inspiring responses she’s been receiving from fans, and where she’s going from here. READ FULL STORY
Despite what her name might suggest, the pop singer Brooklynn is based out of Atlanta, where she’s been developing a musical identity that pulls from a respectably diverse range of influences—Johnny Cash, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, and Howlin’ Wolf among them. Working with Lady Gaga’s former musical director, Nico Constantine, she’s recorded an EP that comes out later this fall. It features one song, “Wild Game,” that sounds like Emotional Rescue-era Stones fronted by Donna Summer, which is a pretty seriously great thing to sound like.
In a new Rolling Stone interview, Katy Perry complains about being accused of cultural appropriation—thanks to the big-bootied mummy dancers on her recent tour and the geisha outfit she wore at the American Music Awards. From now on, she says (presumably no small amount of sarcasm), “I guess I’ll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that’s it.”
Neither baseball nor hot dogs appear in the video she just dropped for her YOLO anthem “This Is How We Do.” There are, however, plenty of vivid colors and retro styling that references the early days of pop art, not to mention pizza and watermelon. She also rocks a “ratchet” getup with cornrows and a friend listed in her phone as a “thot…” so those cultural appropriation charges will probably keep rolling in. READ FULL STORY
“Hideaway,” by Calgary, Alberta’s leading house music diva Kiesza, has grown into a breakout hit slowly and organically, entering the Hot 100 last week nearly half a year after its video was released. The video, with its impressive one-take dance sequence on the streets of Williamsburg, deserves a lot of the credit for the song’s success, but after racking up over 60 million views on YouTube it’s now paradoxically both a hot new viral hit and (for her house-music-loving base who latched onto it months ago) old news.
Kiesza and her camp have figured out a clever way to put “Hideaway” in front of a whole new audience while freshening it up for its pre-existing audience, and that’s by repeating the video’s choreography, this time in LA, in a single shot for Jimmy Kimmel Live. Impressively, she, her dancers, and the camera crew made it down a stretch of the most tourist-packed sidewalks in the city without any of them ruining the shot—which is almost as impressive as the dancing.
If you notice your computer or smartphone running hot recently, it may be because the internet is currently on fire after the release of “Bang Bang,” an en fuego team-up between Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and British pop star Jessie J. Written and produced by much of the creative team behind Grande’s “Problem,” including Swedish pop warlock Max Martin, “Bang Bang” is a floor-shaking pileup of soulful horn stabs and detuned kick drums. It sounds like the hyperactive love child of Amy Winehouse and DJ Mustard with a three-way battle between the vocalists to see who can go the hardest. It’s tempting to call the contest for Nicki just on general principle—bonus points for her “Queen Nicki dominant, prominent” line—but Grande’s performance, which feels like she’s determined to jump through your headphones and physically tackle your eardrums, offers some serious competition. READ FULL STORY
Erotica may have been the first Madonna LP since her debut not to reach the number one spot on the Billboard albums chart, but in retrospect it’s her strongest album — produced at the peak of her power and provocativeness during the same burst of creativity that yielded the Sex book and tour documentary Truth or Dare and helped elevate her from mere pop star to an era-defining icon. Over the years demos for that album, referred to by superfans as “the Rain tapes,” have made their way online, mostly as snippets, along with a lot of fakes.
Yesterday two full tracks purporting to be Erotica outtakes were posted on Soundcloud: READ FULL STORY
OK this is getting ridiculous. Aside from a few songs trading positions and one relatively drastic two-slot drop for Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg’s “Wiggle,” the Top 10 is exactly how it was last week, making it a solid month since there was anything close to a shakeup at the top of the Hot 100.
Luckily, for those of us who prefer an active and exciting pop chart that isn’t being smothered by the unstoppable combination of “Fancy” and “Rude,” help may be on the way, in the form of a few could-be hits waiting for ignition.
Pharrell Williams’ “Come Get It Bae” just released its video yesterday, and its Miley cameo and “women of all shapes, sizes, and colors are beautiful” theme have already earned it over a million plays. The clip is already on its way to “Blurred Lines”-style popularity, so while this week it’s only at No. 60, down four spots from last week after nine weeks on the chart, a viral boost from the video could give it the momentum to turn things around and make its way toward the Top 10. It doesn’t hurt that the song’s stripped-down, clap-happy beat brings back some of the original Neptunes flavor that made Williams a star in the first place.
Kiesza’s “Hideaway” video has been out since February, racking up over 60 million views in that time, but it’s just now cracked the Hot 100 with its debut at No. 97. The fact that it’s still gaining popularity nearly half a year later bodes well for it, and its hooky amalgam of pop and house, redolent of early ’90s club-pop divas like Cathy Dennis, is at the bleeding edge of current retro tastes, if that makes any sense. Plus its video is the type of shamelessly corny fun that’s hard to deny, even if you’re the type of hipster who’s supposed to be mad that they shot it in Williamsburg.
Jenny Lewis’ excellent new solo album The Voyager doesn’t officially arrive until this Tuesday, July 29, but you can currently stream it in its entirety over at Amazon Music. It’s a remarkable album, full of sweet summertime memories and vivid storytelling.
Several of the tracks from The Voyager have already been released, including the Hollywood cross-dresser assisted “Just One of the Guys,” the breezy “She’s Not Me,” and the stark, heartbreaking title track. READ FULL STORY
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