About a month ago, after One Direction dropped their latest release, Midnight Memories, most reviewers couldn’t help but point out the album’s shameless knock-offs of some of the biggest pop hits of the ’80s including “Jessie’s Girl,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and pretty much any song by Asia, just to name a few. And, yes, while the songwriters behind the squeaky clean boy band’s smash singles make their musical points of reference pretty obvious to any listener older than 12, they also manage to pull off some patently ingenious lyrical references that slipped by most recaps of the album “ mostly because that was precisely what they were designed to do.
Upon a first listen, the first verse of “Better Than Words” sounds like pretty standard fare for a One Direction song: a just-generic-enough description of crazy, undeniable love that sweeps you up in its whirlwind of affection and excitement.
Better than words
But more than a feeling
Crazy in love
Dancing on the ceiling
But, if you haven’t noticed it already, each line is also a song in its own right. The second line. The third line. And, you guessed it. These aren’t just lyrics in a One Direction song, they’re built-in references to seminal pop hits. And they’re placed directly next to the title of the One Direction song, itself the very first line of the song.
Happy New Year’s Eve, music lovers! As a special treat for fans, Artist Vs Poet have released a new single called “Close To You,” which you can take a listen to below. The band will be touring Japan this February with William Beckett for shows in Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo, in support of their latest release, Keep Your Secrets.
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To be clear, this is not really about Beyoncé’s new album. It’s not about her incorporation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s feminist TED Talk on the track “Flawless.” It’s not about her anti-marketing strategy. And it’s definitely not about judging whether the music is overrated or not.
Because beyond any of the numerous aspects of the album’s production that Beyoncé had under her control “ the probably insane non-disclosure agreements regarding the album’s release, the video treatments, the feminist lyrics, the genre-spanning production “ what is just as fascinating about the new album are Beyoncé’s fans reactions to it, and the repeated hyperbole that they use when they talk about her, especially in contrast to their own lives.
It isn’t news to anybody that Beyoncé’s fans elevate her to the level of royalty, and, most of the time, to the level of a goddess. It’s become just as commonplace for the casual fan to refer to Beyoncé as “Queen Bey” as it has for some of the press’ most respected music critics. But if you comb through enough tweets and status updates about Beyoncé, you’ll see another interesting trend: that, in their veneration, her fans repeatedly tend to openly highlight their own supposed personal insignificance and lack of achievement to the pop queen’s grandiose accomplishments.
Here are some anonymous Beyoncé-related samples from the recent Twitter archives:
“I can barely make my bed in the morning. @beyonce is on a world tour and puts out an album and a shit ton of videos. what am i doing?”
“Beyoncé made more money in the past hour than I have in my whole life.”
“I don’t want to sound like a crazy stan, but listening to Beyonce’s new album is why we were put on this earth”
“Let it sink in that 2-year-old Blue Ivy Carter already has a verse on a Beyonce song, once again proving she is more powerful than us all.”
A recent Buzzfeed review of Beyonce’s new album takes a cursory stab at dissecting this phenomenon: Even casual fans approach her as a sort of deity, in large part because thinking of her as a superhuman being is part of what makes her music and performances so much fun.”
There’s nothing like a little Scottish synthpop to ease you into a Monday morning. Performing in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, Chvrches recently covered East 17‘s “Stay Another Day”” and covered it well. Maybe it’s the added female vocals, or the steady synth, but this tune carries the perfect winter vibes, bringing us right into the holiday season.
Chvrches will take off on a UK tour this March, hitting Dublin, Glasgow, and Leeds before ending in London. Check out their cover below.
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I really tried to give Lana Del Rey the benefit of the doubt on this one. I swear. I was hoping that her half-hour long short film Tropico, an epic tale based on the biblical story of sin and redemption, wasn’t going to be another poorly“conceived attempt at grand symbolism and “deep” meaning that would inevitably force me to question why I ever derived any satisfaction from her music in the first place and would once again make me come face to face with the full scope of her guileless superficiality and lack of insight. But you know what Mick Jagger says.
So, just for the sake of convenience, even though the biblical triptych of innocence, sin, and redemption is the central conceit of the video, I’m going to ignore the overwrought and overused religious parallels that Lana cuts and pastes with bowling ball-level subtlety and focus more on her decision to include voiceovers of her reading excerpts from Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg poems, which is exactly as pretentious as it sounds.
After remaining largely quiet in 2013, Korean pop star Psy has revealed that he recently completed work on a new single with Aerosmith frontman and rock icon Steven Tyler. Speaking with an Italian news publication, the YouTube sensation confessed, “When I was in middle school, I literally cried when Aerosmith were singing ‘Crazy’ or ‘Amazing’ or whatever. They were my lifetime role models, and now I am collaborating with Steven Tyler. What the fuck, man? [laughs] I love my life.”
Psy was not just interviewed for the magazine, but was actually the first Korean pop star to be given a cover story. If you’ll recall, his breakout single “Gangnam Style” was the first video in the history of YouTube to cross one billion plays.
There is currently no projected release date for the collaborative single, but given that Psy has been reportedly recording in Los Angeles for months it’s likely something will surface sooner rather than later. You can view a tweet posted by Psy featuring a photo of himself and Tyler below. Follow OurStage on Twitter to stay updated as more information becomes available. (more…)
After taking a half decade away from the music scene, following the lackluster sales of her debut album, Paris Hilton is hoping for a second chance at cracking the charts with her new single “Good Time.”
In the early months of 2013 Paris Hilton quietly signed a deal to join the Young Money music family. This morning, her highly-promoted comeback track was released with an accompanying video. The song finds the heiress sharing her dream of everyone having as good a time as she does, while also making requests that those who are having a bad time not hate on her for her good fortune. You know, deep philosophical stuff. Click here to stream the song and view the video.
Will “Good Time” be the hit hoped for by Hilton and the untold number of people hired to make this ‘song’ come to life? I don’t think so. It’s catchy enough, but it’s so similar to countless other songs currently in rotation that I don’t see much chance of standing out as unique and worthy of attention. Comment below and let us know if you agree.
Pop music has been growing stale as of late. Between those trying to attach themselves to the EDM bandwagon and those trying to tap into the throwback-fusion being offered by the likes of Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke, the vast majority of pop hopefuls have quickly become carbon copies of what is already popular. The world needs more originality, especially at radio, and that is why this morning we’re excited to introduce to you one young woman who is working hard to bring a new sense of fun to top 40.
Bebe Rexha has been a name on the lips of industry notables for the last few years, but she only recently made a move for national acclaim. Her lead single, “Comeback Kids,” feels like a mix of Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream and the very best of ’80s female pop, with an added twist of urban flair that is firmly rooted in ’70s soul. The video blends these themes together as Bebe is seen rolling around a city neighborhood singing her late summer anthem, and the results make for one of the best feel-good tracks of the season. You can view the clip below.
It becomes clear on repeat listens that “Comeback Kids” varies very little lyrically in comparison to its genre competition, but the fusion of influences that inspire Rexha’s sound is undeniably unique. Sometimes the key to success is not creating something entirely new, but rather finding original ways to use existing ideas. That’s the case “Comeback Kids,” and we certainly hope there is more on the way soon. (more…)