Pop diva Cher has finished her follow up to 2001’s Living Proof, and both her and the rest of the music world owe a great deal of thanks to Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears. Got to down & Finish last song ! Then it DONE !! Jakes here putting some parts down & a Harmony ! Cher said Saturday on Twitter, before she announced the album’s completion this morning.
For those following along, Cher’s new album was actually due to be released in March, but production delays have pushed the album to later in 2013. There were rumor at one time that the record would feature creative collaborations with the likes of Timbaland and P!nk, but whether or not those efforts will make their way into the final product remains to be seen. For now, click below and enjoy a Cher classic. We still believe in life after love, do you? (more…)
Last night Justin Timberlake officially returned to the world of music with the release of his comeback single, “Suit & Tie.” Featuring a guest appearance from Jay-Z and production from Timbaland, the track proves once and for all that no one understands where the future of pop is headed quite like Timberlake. It’s a song with a foundation rooted firmly in classic pop song structure, but with enough spice to make everything feel new once again. You can stream “Suit & Tie” below.
In addition to releasing his single, Timberlake also revealed plans to release a new album entitled The 20/20 Experience later this year. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.
If you like Justin Timberlake, be sure to check out OS artist Ty Mayfield!
Beloved hip-hop songstress Missy Elliott is slated to make a return to the pop landscape over labor day weekend with the release of two new singles, “9th Inning” and “Triple Threat.” While Elliott has performed the tracks live in the past few months, their commercial release marks the first new music in over four years from the performer born Melissa Arentt Elliot.
If these tracks are anywhere close to the quality of past singles such as “Work It,” “Lose Control,” or “Get Ur Freak On,” then we’re looking at the comeback story of the year, ya’ll.
Drake must be the luckiest guy in music. He’s got an enviable portfolio of assets: looks, talent, street cred, excellent connections, gold and multi-platinum. Now the Canadian rapper has a beautiful woman, too”at least a controlling interest in her legacy. But is ownership of the next posthumous phase of Aaliyah’s career one benefit too many?
That’s what some are wondering as we approach the 11th anniversary (on August 25) of the death of Aaliyah, who was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001, at age 22, cutting short one of the most promising careers in music. Since then, there’s been scant new material issued under her name. I Care 4 U, a posthumous album released in December of 2002, was followed by nearly a decade of silence.
Until now. Earlier this month, Drake unveiled a new Aaliyah track, Enough Said, credited to Aaliyah featuring Drake and produced by the rapper’s Take Care collaborator Noah 40 Shebib. There’s more: Drake has promised a new Aaliyah album, executive produced by himself and 40, with 13 or 14 tracks, to be released later this year.
But is it a true Aaliyah album if key players in her life and legacy”namely her immediate family”are left out of it? Her brother, Rashad Haughton, went so far as to deny the family’s involvement on Aaliyah’s Facebook fan page. There is no official album being released and supported by the Haughton family, he posted on August 7, several days after Drake released the new single. (more…)
Remember the days when R&B and hip hop was the sound of pop? From the ˜90s to the mid ˜00s, music’s most dependable hitmakers”Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Boyz II Men, R. Kelly, Usher, Brandy, Monica, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, among them”specialized in crossover soul, climbing both the R&B charts and the Hot 100 in tandem.
But lately, something strange has been happening on Billboard’s R&B /Hip-Hop Songs chart: A hit is no longer necessarily a hit. Just because a song is big in the R&B sphere doesn’t mean it’s big anywhere else. For the week ending April 7, 2012, only one song in the R&B/Hip-Hop Top 10”Tyga’s “Rack City””had managed a comparable placing on the Hot 100.
The song at No. 1, Beyoncé’s “Love on Top,” which had been there for multiple weeks, was way down at No. 54 on the Hot 100. (It briefly entered the Top 40 last September, debuting and peaking at No. 20 after Beyoncé performed it at the MTV Video Music Awards.) Meanwhile, there wasn’t a single R&B diva in the Top 40 aside from Janelle Monae, who got there by guest-singing on rock band fun.’s No. 1 hit We Are Young.
What happened to pop’s soul? There’s a disconnect between the pop and R&B charts that hasn’t been so pronounced since the days when Michael Jackson’s label, CBS Records, threatened to pull all of its artists from MTV if the then-fledgling network didn’t play Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video.
So sang then-ex-Eagle Don Henley in 1985. Ironically, “All She Wants to Do Is Dance,” Henley’s third great solo Top 10 hit, was neither particularly danceable nor was it actually about about a woman who lived to shake her groove thing underneath the strobelight (no matter what the video says). The careless, carefree dancing queen was a metaphor for a United States that was more concerned with buying thrills than curing societal and political ills.
More than twenty-five years later, in the world of pop music, it’s all about movement”and not as an ambitious political metaphor. With the possible exception of Bruno Mars (who’s really going to have to toughen up and speed up the tempo if he’s ever going to get my love), all everyone”male and female, from Lady Gaga to Rihanna to Foster the People”wants to do is dance (and make romance). Red Hot Chili Peppers even closes its latest album, I’m With You, with a song titled, fittingly, “Dance Dance Dance.”
When Henley offered his biting political commentary with a beat, “disco” was still a dirty word. That’s probably why he was able to use it as a stand in for hedonism and get away with it. The truth, though, is that disco never really left the building: In the ’80s, a number of artists”from Michael Jackson to Madonna to Prince to Janet Jackson”were incorporating it into their pop.
As the end of summer approaches, so does the last of the hot summer music from hip hop’s finest. The latest batch of all-male mash-ups are comprised of some surprising pair-ups and lots of old school favorites. Here’s what we’ll be bumping ˜til the weather cools off.
Chris Brown ft. Kevin McCall: Strip: The first single from Breezy‘s hip hop mixtape, Boy In Detention (due out this week) features a fantasy world starring Chris and a stripper, with McCall providing the rap over Brown’s sexy crooning Take it off / I want to love ya / Everybody, want to touch ya / Your movin’ right / I want to see what’s up under / You can back it up / Beep, Beep / Like a trucker. The up-tempo track was produced by Tha Bizness.
Game ft. Wiz Khalifa & B.o.B: Standin’ On A Corner: This trio was a bit unexpected, but managed to deliver a delicious dose of Cali swagger. More melodic than most Game records, this single gives each of emcee equal time to shine over the unique beat.
Gucci Mane ft. Waka Flocka Flame & Rocko: In My Business The second Rocko-tinged single from Ferrari Boyz features Waka Flocka in full effect over the heart-pounding, hard-hitting beat of this street style track that can’t help but make you feel ballsy.
Wale ft. J. Cole: Bad Girls Club: The duo dropped this track in July sending the ladies into a frenzy with their sexy ode to their ideal perfect 10. In his signature style, Wale kicks off the track by commanding Bad bit*hes get low right now followed by Cole‘s sensual delivery of loving lyrics.
Timbaland ft. Pitbull and David Guetta: Pass At Me: This sexy single took a second to grow on me, but now that it has, I can’t get the sassy song out of my head. While the sound is a twist for Timbaland‘s usual club-banging style, Pitbull‘s command of the latin sound shines through; resulting in a unique ditty you can’t help but salsa to.
Pusha T ft. Tyler The Creator: Trouble On My Mind: Pusha goes hard in this mash up with Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator, who delivers a particularly appealing verse, proving his ability to stand out from the Wolfpack. He and Virginia-bred T (who took the opportunity to congratulate Obama on off-ing Bin Laden) served up a big budget video starring the do as a pair of comical criminals.
Go ahead. Admit it. The first time you heard Katy Perry‘s “I Kissed a Girl” way back in 2008, you knew that by the time the novelty of a song about dabbling in lipstick lesbianism ran its course, so, too, would the career of the straight woman who was singing it.
Then something strange and unexpected happened when the clock struck Perry’s 15th minute of fame: It kept right on ticking. How did she pull it off? I have a few theories.
No. 1. She’s shallow and proud of it. Unlike Lady Gaga, Perry won’t take credit for trying to save pop music, gay people or the world. She never pretendsthat her music is anything more than feel-good pop. Who else would invite Rebecca Black, the most-hated pop star who’s not really a star (“Friday,” which peaked at No. 58 on Billboard’s Hot 100, wasn’t the big hit everyone seems to think it was) to co-star in one of her videos (“T.G.I.F. [Last Friday Night]”)? “Firework” is about as deep as Perry gets”and lest she come across as too earnest, she tempered the semi-serious message with firecracking boobs in the video.
No. 2. She’s up with regular people, because she’s one of them. Gorgeous but not intimidatingly so, sexy without selling sex, Perry also manages to be quotably catty while still being likeable. Gaga is outrageous and memorable, but she keeps her emotional distance. For all her avowed egalitarian values, there’s something distinctly remote about Gaga, on and off her records. You don’t imagine yourself hanging out with her on a day off. Britney Spears has lived in a bubble for years. Beyoncé is too fabulous. And Rihanna plays with guns.
That leaves Perry to bring a little humanity to pop divadom. She doesn’t have to be photographed taking out the trash to convince fans that she’s just like them. She could probably have any guy in Hollywood or on the charts, but instead of hooking up with a genetically blessed stud of the moment (so Taylor Swift, so Miley Cyrus), she went and married Russell Brand, a goofy comic with a sketchy past.
No. 3. She rocks the singles scene. She lacks Adele‘s vocal power, and she uses many of the same producers and co-writers that her peers have been passing around for years (for the love of God, girls, give Dr. Luke a rest!). But Perry’s singles still stand out, and they’re sturdier than they might initially sound. “Teenage Dream” and “E.T.” don’t exactly blow you away on first or even the 10th listen. They burrow into your subconscious slowly. But once there, they don’t let go. (Ironically, Perry’s crowning musical achievement, the Timbaland collaboration “If We Ever Meet Again,” which I’ve seen fill dance floors from Buenos Aires to London to Melbourne, only went to No. 37.)
When Teenage Dream was released in August of 2010, the reviews were mixed to downright hostile. But Katy Perry is not an album artist. Her music is best digested in bite-sized nuggets. By the time Teenage Dream was logging it’s third No. 1 hit single (“Firework”), it had been nominated for Album of the Year at the GRAMMY Awards, alongside critical favorites by Eminem, Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire. Strong, distinctive videos pulled off without any assistance from hordes of gyrating dancers helped too. Look for her nine nominations at the August 28 MTV Video Music Awards (more than any other artist) to further boost Teenage Dream‘s staying power.
The album has created a fifth Top 3 single and shifted more than 1.5 million copies in the US, and it’s still going as strong as, if not stronger than, the superstar albums that came after it. Rihanna has sold nearly as many copies of Loud (released in November 2010), but after three No. 1 hits, she’s struggling with the fourth and fifth singles, neither of which is likely to go Top 40. Lady Gaga’s Born This Way opened spectacularly in May, then cooled off quickly, with none of the singles repeating the success of the No. 1 title track so far. And poor Beyoncé. Her fourth solo album, 4, has yet to produce a runaway hit at all.
By the time Gaga is trying to extend the lifespan of Born This Way with an expanded limited edition release featuring five new radio-friendly tracks, Teenage Dream’s “Peacock” or “Circle the Drain” probably will be scaling the charts.
But will we still be singing along in 2015? That’s open to debate. Pop history is littered with artists who fell out of favor after two huge albums (see Debbie Gibson, Perry’s “T.G.I.F.” video mom). But even if Perry is just a pop footnote by mid-decade, she’s already surpassed everyone’s wildest teenage”or grown-up”dreams.