“the female genitals” is the concise definition for “punani” an area of her body that underground popstar Eden xo claims “drips gold” in her latest track. She debuted the track over two years ago at L.A. Pride, but the finished studio version arrived recently just in time for me to clear customs in Istanbul to blog about it.
The completed track features vocals from Indian singer / songwriter Raja Kumari mostly known for cowriting tracks for Fall Out Boy (“Centuries”) and Iggy Azalea (“Change Your Life”). The song features opening Bollywood strings you haven't heard in a pop song since Britney Spears was conquering Top 40 with “Toxic. The song is surefire cocky banger of self love and admiration.
Key Lyric: Hocus Pocus These Hoes Is Bogus / I'm A Bling Bad Bitch
It remains unclear if this song is intended for a fuller release, such as an EP or an album, but it's a tantalizing taste as to what the singer has been up to since “El Barrio” last year. At time of publication the song only features a lyric video, but it appears Eden xo has taken a page out of The Chainsmokers handbook giving a full video treatment with words splashed around. It opens with Eden talking to someone off camera telling her “your not going out in glitter” and her shrugging it off with “that's the popstar life.” A perfect track for the upcoming summer months.
Buy "Drips Gold"
Key Lyric: Answer My Text You Dick! / Maybe Your Heart's On Silent Mode Tonight
It's got those opening Top 40 guitar licks that would make 2004 Avril Lavigne shake. “Answer My Text” emulates none of the trends for rock acts in pop music (remember that Lorde was classifed as a “rock” act when “Royals” came out). The wall of guitars goes a little too hard for a Walk The Moon kind of cross over, but it's the kind of brutal honesty of the lyrics that makes it eminently listenable. "Text me back you dick!" could be this year's "I'm going to ruin you cunt!"
Buy "Answer My Text"
Key Lyric: I Know Your God Is Listening And I Know That Mine Is Too / If God Is Love And Love Is God Why Do We Argue
The new single follows a “Meet Me Halfway” mentality, asking world leaders and everyone in between to try to understand one another. The animated video for the song features the orange one and other high profile political figures. In this time of political unrest, Sheryl Crow is asking our leaders to listen to one another and do the best we can. We might not (and certainly won't) agree on everything, we can at least listen to each other.
Buy "Halfway There"
The new single is available for download now and her new album Be Myself is set for release on April 21st. The singer, looks strong and poised on the gray scale album cover.
Key Lyric: I'm Reckless, Offensive / I Destroy Your Defenses
To everyone keeping track at home, Erika Jayne hasn't released an album since 2009 and it's difficult to say how many of the singles she's released since then will make the follow up. The electro banger “Party People (Ignite The World)”, the Flo Rida collaboration, “Get It Tonight”, the S&M themed “One Hot Pleasure” or the most recent era defining, “How Many Fucks?” Hopefully, all of them make the final cut, but “XXPEN$IVE” is bombastic all by itself.
Key Lyric: Twenty Drinks Later In The Back Of A Ride / Nineteen Momma Kicked Me Outta The House
The rapper has Sia on her side to executive produce her first album The Daddy Issues. She's also working with up and coming producer Sophie (Charli XCX) to create bombastic hits. “Living Out Loud” is a clear LGBT+ anthem, the song is a rallying cry for all the disenfranchised in the current political climate. Now is not the time to be afraid, but to stand in solidarity with one another for our differences. We're not going away. We exist. We will live out loud.
Gaga has a good chance of pulling it off. She proved her viability with her halftime performance at the Superbowl last week and radio seems just a little empty without her. “John Wayne” was not one of my favorite tracks from Joanne (that and “A-Yo” didn't cut it for me, similarly constructed “Dancing In Circles” would have been my personal preference), however the visual piqued my interest. It got me screaming, “I'M STRUNG OUT ON JOHN WAYNE”.
The visual is pulled back compared to previous Gaga, but it's a return to form of what we love about her. She's glamourizing the usual. She's saying things that don't quite make sense and we love it. She's falling off of horses. Shooting people with her high heel weapon of mass destruction. Getting into car crashes. It's explosive, just like a Lady Gaga visual should be. “Perfect Illusion” had underboob, but “John Wayne” has it all.
Buy "John Wayne"
Key Lyric: You're My Fun When I'm Down / You Pick Me Up Again
They will more than likely not scale Top 40 with their disco strut, but it promises great things for their new album Pollinator, which is tentatively due for release this March. The song doesn't quite push hard enough to sound current, but with a band as legendary as Blondie that's hardly a critique. However, with collabs with current stars Sia and Charli XCX in the work, the album might push harder then “Fun” might suggest.
The song benefits from the visual treatment. PWR BTTM is in essence a visual band. The duo takes over a country house donning Dr. Frank N Furteresque attire, crawling across the table a la Britney Spears, and the boy that fulfills all their dreams is a blow up sex doll. Liv Bruce embodies a fifties housewife wearing nothing but a towel or an apron, all the while keeping his lipstick flawless.
PWR BTTM is anything, but a mainstream band. Their songs err on the side of shorter is better, something early Gossip also adhered to. But, they infuse their music with the brash honesty and edge that is at the core of punk rock. Ugly Cherries is not a perfect album, but it is their first and “I Wanna Boy” highlights the best strengths they have. The duo is expected to release new music in 2017 (!) and there musical progression can only get better.
Buy "I Wanna Boy"
The 70 year old hitmaker responsible for smashes by Blondie, Kenny Loggins, and Donna Summer enlisted fresh talent Karen Harding to herald his new track. None of the hooks are immediate, but they're sticky sweet, once you hit replay. Giorgio Moroder continues to produce ear candy and we'll see if any of his work with Lady Gaga ends up on this new album. We can only hope. In the meantime “Good For Me” is more then worth the wait.
Buy "Good For Me"
This list is a review of all the albums I've bought this year. They are all rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. My favorite song (determined by how many times I've played it individually) is listed along with the album.
7/27: Fifth Harmony
The second album in the Fifth Harmony catalog falls to the same mistake of their debut. It is front loaded with quality songs, but the rest are lackluster. It remains unclear if they will continue on as a Fourth Harmony, but their output remains marked by inescapable singles and rough shod full lengths.
Most Played Song: “That's My Girl”
Detour: Cyndi Lauper
80s heavyweight, Cyndi Lauper turned her attention to country music with her latest studio album. Over a three decades long career that's experimented with jazz, electronic, and alternative stylings it's time the icon turned her attention to country music. Detour shows her deft ability to make old material her own, invoking a classic country feel, covering songs by Patsy Cline and featuring appearances from country superstars Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, among others. She subverts and passes expectations.
Most Played Song: “Heartaches By The Number”
Film soundtracks are usually at best a mixed bag (take The Bodyguard), that case is proven on this soundtrack that doesn't quite live up to the quality of the film. There are multiple standout tracks, but nothing that cast itself into iconic territory. With 4 versions of the “Ghostbusters” theme song, you really can't go wrong, but there is still some to be desired.
Most Played Song: “Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)” by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott
Joanne: Lady Gaga
3 ½ Stars
Gaga finally ended her pop hiatus when she returned with “Perfect Illusion”. She's yet to find a hit to hold traction at mainstream radio, but she's showing us a different side on this album. Joanne empties Gaga's roots of EDM. She ditched collaborations with disco producer Giorgio Moroder, and worked with Mark Ronson who failed to yield an “Uptown Funk” for this album. Joanne despite it's flaws, showcases a new Gaga. Her voice is rough, the music is raw, and she seems genuinely enthralled with the material. She ditched the gimmicks, but it wouldn't be a Gaga album without an ode to masturbation. See “Dancing In Circles”. The album has a notable amount of soul bearing “come together” social messages that might make for a breakthrough in light of the 2017 political climate.
Most Played Song: “Come To Mama”
Love You To Death: Tegan & Sara
4 ½ Stars
Canadian sisters Tegan & Sara deliver a near perfect follow up to their first pop outing Heartthrob (which served as a musical guide for Taylor Swift's 1989). It was too gay for mainstream audiences. Lead single “Girlfriend” was a pop explosion that just wasn't relate-able for the heterosexuals. Greg Kurstin lends the album a trendy engineered sound, with the same insightful lyrics the duo is known for.
Most Played Song: “Faint of Heart” and “Dying To Know”
This Is What The Truth Feels Like: Gwen Stefani
3 ½ Stars
A shining return from one of 00's greatest stars, Gwen Stefani delivered a current pop album helmed with the help of hitmaker Justin Tranter (“Good For You” , “Centuries” , “Sorry”). The album has a solid EP of personal material. It tends to be the strongest on the album (“Asking For It” is an exception). Gwen suggested that this was a break up album and when she deals with that muse, she full handedly succeeds. The rest of the material, does not live up to the forward thinking process that made “Hollaback Girl” a hit. Although, enjoyable, and a thoroughly good listen, the album reveals less then it suggests, much to it's detriment.
Most Played Song: “Rare”
The Best Album(s) of 2016
The Best Song of 2016
Rihanna's near exact replica of the Tame Impala original is anything but radio friendly, but the six minute epic is endlessly listenable.
In the words of Madonna, "Music makes the people come together."