Of all the One Direction boys, I probably had the lowest expectations for Liam Payne. He proved me wildly wrong. He eschews the artistry that dominates Harry Styles, the serious R&B of Zayne, and instead goes for fun. Thank God that 1D didn't take everything from him.
Not everything is so serious and Liam stirs mild controversy with the much hyped line, “I used to be in 1D / Now I'm Out Free”. The track is danceable (actually danceable) and it doesn't take itself too seriously. It follows mainstream sounds, even bringing in Ed Sheeran for a cowrite.
Strip That Down
Key Lyric: I Love It When The Music's Loud / But C'mon Strip That Down
The song has HIT all over it. If that's not enough Quavo has a guest verse. I was past my limit with Migos / Quavo by the time their Katy Perry collaboration dropped, but the world still wants more. The music video is drenched in color and dancing girls. Liam isn't reinventing the wheel, but he's playing the newly minted popstar perfectly.
Most of the songs play with being on the brink of love and not quite getting there. Her attention gathering song “Touch” finds her running into a past lover and seeing the love but recognizing that something's changed. They can't be what they were.
“Touch” was released almost two years ago, but just as recently as February found itself given the video treatment with some extra verses from rapper Talib Kweli. It's jarring to find him parring off against, Shura's light breathy vocals. That's possibly the reason that version was left off the album, but it shows a record labels well defined need for a radio hit.
The well versed “2 Shy” deals with youth and friendship and a want for something more, but the fear of anything changing. It's blissful and sweet and it's no surprise it was chosen as a single from the album.
It's no surprise then that you can find Shura opening for Tegan and Sara when they tour North America this year. Her music will coincide with what their fans already listen to.
The album standout is “What's It Gonna Be?” The same questions are asked. Do I tell I love you? If you say no let me down gently. The song itself never answers the questions, but that's what we have music videos for. It has a high school setting. It plays with our heteronormative values. Shura and her best friend find love. Her with the beautifully intelligent girl in Chemistry and him with the preppy boy with the good hair on the sports team.
Buy Nothing's Real
Since, the public accusations of Johnny's abuse, people have come out of the woodwork to support Johnny Depp and dismiss Amber Heard as a “gold digger whore”. Comedian Doug Stanhope thoroughly supports him saying, “Johnny doesn't abuse anyone.” Clearly he has been in a romantic relationship with Johnny and would know from first hand knowledge. Men behave differently with other men then they do with women.
We let abusive men get away with things in our culture, because of their talent. Woody Allen molested his daughter. Sean Penn beat and almost killed Madonna. Sean Connery beat his wife. The only man we truly seem to hold accountable is Chris Brown and he still holds a thriving career.
March Music 2016
Lead single “Used To Love You” is a bombastic return to the form and the fluttery second single “Make Me Like You” assures us that the album isn't entirely built on tears. Gwen is also be touching on her budding romance with country superstar Blake Shelton, who according to Gwen is only her second boyfriend. “Make Me Like You” also marked the first live music video to ever be aired on the Grammy's with all it's colors and car crashes.
Your favorite blogger will not be buying this album, but I will certainly be listening. “Pillowtalk” is sexy and slinky, but this faux R&B pop star hasn't released an inescapable banger yet. I also sincerely hope that this music video he released was his idea of “artistic vision”. He looked much like a lost boy amongst the naked embrace of his female costars.
I Still Love You
Now Gwen has said of her new single that she's “not making music to make hits”. Bullshit. We all know that is not the truth. If she was making music to just release it we would already have the album. Just like she said we would back in December 2014.
Their divorce is messy. It's not messy yet, but it could be. It has the potential. The reason for the split hasn't been revealed. Yet. Which, is why this song is such an interesting piece of art for us to look at. We know it's about Gavin. Now we just got to put it together between the music notes.
Interesting enough it's been thrown around that her and fellow Voice host Blake Shelton have been very close lately. He is also going through a divorce to Miranda Lambert. I don't think this is the best decision on Gwen's part. They should both be grieving over their marriages. Not having hot middle aged sex. In my humble homosexual opinion.
Her new album has not been given a name yet, but I will keep you updated. From what Gwen's saying we're going to be getting it sooner rather then later.
The Havana Brown Update
He wasn't wrong, but he was stanning hard. Who are universally famous Australian recording artists? Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue, and ACDC. Sia if you want to go current. Their platinum certification is 70,000 copies compared to the United States a million copies. The thresholds are wildly different. Havana Brown's “We Run The Night” sold over a million copies in this country. She might be one of the highest selling Australian recording artists, but that doesn't mean well renowned.
This was the song I stood for. “Bullet Blowz” was good. It was a club banger. Too much of a club banger for radio. That's a damn shame, because that song is amazing. Havana slayed it. Our bald headed boy DJ Kronic served up some sick beats. You couldn't figure out the name of the song to save your life. It was tragically not destined for success.
Buy "Bullet Blowz"
The music video? To die for. Literally. There are sexy shirtless men surrounded in a stilted western themed extravaganza where Havana Brown gets her revenge. The concept is already more original then the shoot she and Pitbull did for “We Run The Night”.
Buy "Battle Cry"
She croons. She slays. Havana Brown's “Battle Cry” deserves to top your end of summer playlist.
With any luck we should have a second studio album release by the end of this year. I will keep you updated. With even more luck it might even be released in the United States. Wouldn't that be nice. Shipping from Australia takes too much time.
A Fashionable Obsession
This album is bound to only expand on Lana Del Rey's sound and cement her growing fanbase. The first teasings of the album we have was when Lana released the audio to the titular track “Honeymoon”. It was moody and seductive. Her voice being the centerfold to it's lush surroundings and stylistically leaned closer to Ultraviolence then Born to Die.
Honeymoon should have a similar promotional campaign to that of Ultraviolence. That means more songs (!!!) will be released. One or two more music videos will be produced. The album will sell a few hundred thousand copies worldwide in it's first week on sale, then maintain a steady stay on the chart until the next follow up.
The track list for the album has been unlocked. It features fourteen songs of love and heartbreak. Or something like that.
Some notes on the tracklist. Song number two was originally thrown around as the concept for the album. How about that for a fun fact. Track 9 has it correct. Lana is our religion. And, in true form of predecessors Paradise and Ultraviolence there is a cover song. “Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood” is an old jazz standard. Hopefully it will stand up just as well as “Blue Velvet” and “The Other Woman” did.
I won't be. But, if this Lana Del Rey collaboration pans out, I will be tempted. I'm a slut for Lana. This Friday Halsey also releases her debut album Badlands. That's certainly something to check out. The new Lana Del Rey album is set for release on Friday September 18th. And, in case anyone is counting that's 25 days away.
Vicious Like A Viper
Much like Ester Dean her focus has been behind the music's production. She is a hit maker and what's more sexy as fuck. Besides a stray studio album she released in 2004, Bonnie McKee's solo career has been uneventful. She's planning on changing that.
I have sporadically been watching Bonnie McKee's career since she released “American Girl” back in 2013 from her still upcoming studio album. I heard this song on the radio of all places. I heard multiple times all in the same day and it was clear. I was either going to love it or I was going to hate it. I really thought this song was going to blow up. It didn't.
Buy "American Girl"
The only thing that worries me is that Bonnie McKee is no longer with her major record label. Something about not having artistic control or whatever it was. She is no longer with them. Now, I like “Bombastic”, but this needs a good record label push. The song and the video are not on the viral level of “Gangnam Style”.
This is also hopefully just a teaser for her album, which should be released at some point later this year. And, “American Girl” along with “Sleepwalker” will find their way on to the track list. The EP is called Bombastic and it's guaranteed to be just that. It's out on June 30th. It will be the four hottest songs of the summer all in one place. You can preorder it now on iTunes.
Preorder the Bombastic EP
The Music of June
Granted I didn't buy any of those albums. I am working on it. I was trying to save money by not buying music. And, then I bought 20 albums this month, so I think it worked out really well for me.
Florence + The Machine
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
This is going to be my first Florence + The Machine album. I've decided this is going to be my first experience. I've always liked them, but I am obsessed with their song “What Kind of Man”. The music video is great. Florence Welch has very nice breasts by the way. And, if it is representative of the album at all. This is a stellar release.
Breathe In. Breathe Out.
Britney Spears is covering “Tom's Diner” and that song has already been released. It's an invigorated cover and it's Britney. It's a necessary addition to any album collection. Kylie Minogue was on the lead single “Right Here, Right Now” that although catchy, failed epically. Mikky Ekko is also on the album if you have any interest in him after his duet with Rihanna on “Stay”. This might not be an album for you to buy blind, but definitely look into. Giorgio Moroder has been in the industry for a long time and it's sure to be memorable whether or not it's something you want to turn up to at the gym.
Buy "Tom's Diner"
This album should be interesting. This is the only one I'm a little hesitant on buying, but I hope it will be good. I have my fingers crossed. I most certainly will be tweeting and tumblring about if it does not live up to expectations.
Buy "Nobody Love"
Carly Rae Jepsen
Bitch, She's Madonna
For people not invested in the process of Madonna's new studio album. It is a lot of information to keep up with. Collaborators, tracklists, instagram pictures. That is why I will try to summarize the event that is sure to hit us in year 2015.
For over a year now Madonna has been teasing us with the release of her 13th studio album. It's been a cruel process to the fans. At the start of this year, I thought there was a strong possibility that we could have a new album that summer, maybe later that year. Well, it is no longer later this year. It will be 2015. No release date within 2015, but I think the album is close to done.
From the collaborators swirling around in the studio, this album should be EDM inspired. We have Avicii, Diplo, Disclosure, Natalia Kills, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys all as possibilities.
Avicii is for all intensive purposes confirmed as a collaborator. I do not approve. Although, it doesn't surprise me that Madonna likes him. His music is derivative of her American Life album. His lack of originality and his critical acclaim bother me as Madonna's similar work was derided by the critics. However. I have chosen to accept him as the Queen has graced him with her presence.
Diplo is confirmed. Diplo is just a producer. You probably know some of his work. He's the man behind “Paper Planes”, “Look At Me Now” and “Too Close”. He has guaranteed us that there are three certified smashes from the album with his name attached to it. Now when I listed those three songs earlier and said this is what you should know him for. That is literally all you will know him for. He's worked with other big names, but those are the hits he's attached to. Three.
Now Disclosure is interesting. They're a relatively new production team. I don't particularly care for the Sam Smith fronted “Latch”, still with the right backing vocals (*cough* *cough* Madonna) I'm interested. They said recently to Billboard that they are not working with Madonna, but they would “consider it”. Everyone would consider it. Are you being shady, Disclosure. Are there plans to work with Madonna that you are respectfully choosing not to inform us of. That is my question. I think they are definitely possibilities. I expect to see collaborations from them on her new album.
This brings us to a very interesting point. Natalia Kills, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and Alicia Keys have been linked to this album. The question is are they appearing on the album as songwriters or featured artists?
Natalia Kills I am very up in the air about. She is a wise move for Madonna to team up with. Natalia has that underground pop vibe that could lure the hipsters into looking into a Madonna record. I think a duet or just some backing vocals from Natalia Kills would be great for the album.
The same goes for Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and Alicia Keys. I like what they bring to the table. Katy Perry has been rumored to have been collaborating with her since their S&M themed V cover shoot last Labor Day. Miley Cyrus's twerking “We Can't Stop/Don't Tell Me” mash up with Madonna this year shows it as a possibility. And, I think it would be a great move. Both Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus draw from different sectors of the pop market. It is too bad that the Queen couldn't have gotten Katy during her Teenage Dream phase. Everything Katy was touching turned multi-platinum, but she will still be useful to her.
Nicki and Alicia are collaborators. No question. Who knows what song Alicia Keys will be featured on. This is a rather new announcement made through Madonna. Personally. I'm shocked Nicki is back in the studio with Madonna. I love it. It will be great. Madonna almost never collaborates twice with someone. William Orbit and the producers of her earlier records being the major exceptions.
What's great about all these women is that they all draw from different sectors of the pop market. This new album will be big. It will catapult Madonna to the upper echelons.
Word has it that Nicki Minaj is doing a rap verse for a song, tentatively titled “Bitch, I'm Madonna”. I hope this song exists. However, in the way of star power. A “Bang, Bang” style trio would be fantastic. Imagine.
Titled, either “Messiah”, “Living For Love”, “Rebel Heart”, “Sorry Not Sorry” or “Unapologetic Bitch”. I repeat. “Unapologetic Bitch”
Featuring: Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus.
Yes. Do you feel it. Can you imagine. Shaking at the thought of it. Also in case you weren't aware all of those song titles I threw out there are popular tags Madonna has been adding to her twitter and instagram. Conversely all of those tags could be the title for her new album.
It saddens me that the album won't be out this year, but I think it's a good thing for its sales. Madonna is a legend. Legend status doesn't get you on the radio. If anything it's a barrier to get on the radio. Madonna does not need to be fighting the Rihanna's for radio play this holiday season. When the music industry has slowed back down, she should strike. For all intensive purposes, though I think the album is done.
A “source” stated that if the album was done there would be sales sheets and other proof it was coming out this year. They said she would have a cohesive plans for music videos and the “look”. Now if anyone does follow her on instagram. Madonna has the look down. She's settled on what this album is. It's just not going to drop. Anyone who suggests that Madonna will drop an album like Beyonce did last year is blindly mistaken. This is Madonna bitch. She is not going to copy someone that shamelessly.
The earliest I feel we can hope for any music from this new untitled set is December. An album release in February at the earliest. The first public performance of a lead single at Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve. I would push that forward to the Grammy's in February. Leaving the album to a release date in March or April of 2015.
Once, she has a large public performance of her single she can drop the album and go on tour. Drop it like MDNA and link ticket sales to the album. She doesn't need to prove herself anymore and she certainly doesn't need a song on the radio.
At this point it's more a point of pride. If however she's going to get on the radio. We need better promotion then what we got for MDNA. And, a better lead single. I love “Give Me All Your Luvin'”, but “Girl Gone Wild” was a better choice. Especially if all America was going to hear of the new album at the Superbowl was that song.
In the words of Madonna, "Music makes the people come together."