Is there a pop star working today that has had a stranger trajectory than Charli XCX?
Consensus was that Beyoncé was going to clean up very well with the Grammy nominations this morning, and that consensus was right. Lemonade received an astounding 9 nominations throughout the Pop, Rap and even the Rock categories. That kind of broad support is the kind you want heading into the race, especially if you want an Album of the Year award. After coming close with her brilliant self-titled release, she might just get it with Lemonade which is her biggest, boldest work yet. She is now the most nominated woman in Grammy history. Continue reading
Say what you want about Lady Gaga, but she’s never boring. It’s almost impossible to look at her today and see the same pop culture obsessed songstress that sang about disco sticks and paparazzi. Even 2011’s Born This Way, which its truly laughable cover art, seems like it happened a lifetime ago, and hopefully we’ve all forgotten about ARTPOP by now. Continue reading
In case you haven’t heard, Sia has a new song and a new music video.
“The Greatest,” written by Sia and longtime collaborator/producer Greg Kurstin doesn’t stray too far from the typical Sia formula. It’s simple in its composition; “Running out of breath, but I/Oh I, I got stamina” and “Don’t give up, I won’t give up”repeat throughout the song, featuring Sia’s crackling, but powerfully emotive vocals. The uplifting and empowering lyrics are also pretty familiar territory; the hook sees the singer/songwriter insisting “I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive.” Even the subtle, island-tinged influences alongside the massive pop beat recalls her most recent hit “Cheap Thrills. Even the music video features Maddie Ziegler (making this her fourth collaboration with Sia), with some specific shots and choreography recalling the singer’s past videos.
And yet, for all of its simplicity and familiarity, “The Greatest” is not only Sia’s best music video, but one of the best and most powerful of the year. Continue reading
It’s hard to talk about the first half of the year without immediately jumping to Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Leave it to Queen B to not only set the internet ablaze with yet another surprise release, followed by an amazing Super Bowl performance but pull off the feat of a “movie album.” Interweaving her own personal narrative while also speaking to a much larger audience, Beyoncé presented us with a complex, stunning and emotional journey, while also pushing herself forward as an artist and setting the bar higher (yet again) for everyone who would come after.
So, what else happened this year so far? Frank Ocean finally dropped not one, but two albums. Yeah, you read that right; after countless memes and false release dates we have new Frank Ocean music. Chance the Rapper dropped a masterpiece of his own, Britney Spears is back (though she never really left), Drake scammed his way into having one of the most successful albums of the year, Ariana Grande made the first move into her “Dirrty” era and Rihanna and Kanye both dropped their respective (and also much delayed) projects, and that’s really not even scratching the surface.
It’s been such a front loaded year for music; all the heavy hitters have been releasing everything at the same time. There’s talk that Katy Perry could be coming back sooner than expected, Lady Gaga’s new song drops next week and several heavy hitters have projects that are being rumored to drop in the coming months. But enough about what’s coming, let’s look back at what’s already dropped. Among all of the big releases this year, what’s really stuck out so far?
It’s been one year since Carly Rae Jepsen dropped one of 2015’s best albums. Those who thought that the “Call Me Maybe” songstress was a one-trick-pony were sorely mistaken. E•MO•TION was an eclectic throwback to 80’s pop nirvana that showcased Jepsen’s sharp songwriting skills beyond just one infectious hook. On the contrary, the songs on this record do such an expert job at conveying feelings and snapshots of time that it’s impossible not to be transported.
With all of Nick Jonas’ unapologetic pandering to the gay community, sometimes it’s hard to remember that he actually makes music. No, really, all of his interviews these days seem to be more concerned with teasing and alluding to sexual encounters with men that may or may not have happened. Is he gay? I don’t think we’re any closer to finding out that answer. But hey! his third album Last Year Was Complicated is out.
By now you’ve definitely heard of Fifth Harmony. Even if you can’t name each member, you’ve chanted their undeniably catchy hit single “Worth It” at a party last summer, and for the past couple of months you’ve definitely been blasting “Work From Home” in your car on repeat. Maybe you’ve even heard their brassy “BOSS” or the electro-pop “Sledgehammer” playing in a store at one point. The girl group is certainly on the rise, and their latest album 7/27 is their foray into becoming superstars.
In the three years since Ariana Grande burst onto the scene with “The Way” in 2013, she’s become one of the most exciting up and coming talents. It’s hard to remember the last time someone who went from pop ingenue to one of the genre’s fixtures in such a short amount of time. Having already scored two #1 albums and a long line of hit singles (“Problem,” “Break Free,” “Love Me Harder…” the list goes on), while breaking (and making) new Billboard records in the process and being compared to Mariah Carey, it’s a no brainer that Grande has attained such a large level of success in such a short period of time.
That being said, Dangerous Woman, the pint-sized chanteuse’s third album marks a new stage in her career. Where Yours Truly introduced “the voice,” and My Everything skyrocketed her to superstardom, this album cements Grande’s place as pop’s reigning princess.