Much — too much? — has been made about the late-'80s influence on Taylor Swift's self-proclaimed first pure pop album 1989, but on my first few listens, I detect two more modern shadows looming large: those of current pop-paradigm-shifters Lorde and Lana Del Rey. Taylor's current award-show bestie/recreational-cooking classmate Lorde is a more fitting influence here: I hear her moody, electro-minimalist vibe all over 1989's last two songs, the driving, is-this-seriously-not-on-the-Mockingjay-soundtrack "I Know Places," and the muted breakup song "Clean." Then there's the (first impression: awesome) second track, "Blank Space," which is a good deal peppier than anything on Pure Heroine but has a rhythm that reminds me so much of its lead-off track "Team" that I find myself wanting to add a "... you can watch from your window" at the end of every verse.
Taylor Swift is calling 1989 her first official pop album, and like all pop albums do (except for one), it's leaked ahead of its official release. Here's a quick rundown of what you can look forward to. Good news: What you haven't heard just yet is sounding a lot better than what you have.
One Direction's "Steal My Girl" music video has everything: Maasai tribesmen, sumo wrestlers, that thing where a bunch of people dance silly around professional ballerinas. (Also seen in another recent music video.) But most importantly, it has Danny DeVito playing an eccentric music-video director. This is his best musical performance since "The Troll Toll."
She’s on Twitter! Monica Lewinsky is finally on Twitter! So far, she has only tweeted eleven words, five of which were hashtags about gratitude, but I’m keeping my eye on this one. Who knows what she might say? As we follow and wait for more of her wisdom, let’s put on something that reveals our navels and drive my DeLorean GIF back to the week Linda Tripp pitched the shit right at the fan; here are the Billboard Top 40 Singles from the week of January 24, 1998. (I’m already out of things to say about Monica Lewinsky.)
So maybe, in one way or another, you have found yourself listening to the Taylor Swift album today? Anyway, here's one of the new songs that just found its way to YouTube (until it gets pulled, anyway). "Darling, I'm a nightmare / dressed like a daydream" is the spoken-word Taylor we know and love.
This is definitely not the Taylor Swift we remember. This is the full-blown pop-star version of our fair-haired country crossover: complete with shimmering hot-pants and with — gasp! — no sign of a guitar. On Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, she performed "Out of the Woods," the Jack Antonoff–penned chant — er, song — and officially set the tone for 1989. Whether or not you're onboard for pop-star Taylor Swift? That's up to you.
Panda Bear, the chillest dude in Animal Collective (impressive feat!) and the non-cyborg voice heard on Daft Punk’s “Doin’ It Right,” released a new EP today. The four-song Mr Noah is available to stream on Spotify right now, and it comes in advance of forthcoming full-length album Panda Bear vs. The Grim Reaper, which will be out on January 13. I will go ahead and declare the album’s initial prognosis “very promising”; when I saw him play a set of almost entirely new material last month, it was the least angry I have seen an audience get in a long time about someone not Playing the Hits. (Though, to be fair, I don’t think the two Venn diagram circles representing “Panda Bear fans” and “people who get visibly angry about things” actually touch.) With its big, God’s-pocket-change beat, the first single “Mr Noah” is definitely more percussive than the sound I usually associate with Noah Lennox, but it’s also got that creepy/childlike vibe that he’s always done very well. It sort of sounds like a playground chant drifting across an adjacent nuclear power-plant in a dubiously zoned part of town. I dig it.
It's not exactly a faithful cover (Where's the Left Eye rap interlude, Bette?), but there are some lovely bongos in this version of TLC's "Waterfalls." All kidding aside, Bette knows how to make this cover work without falling into deep, deep camp. TLC fans may giggle, but your mom might just call you to tell you how lovely she thinks this song is: "Who did the original?" And then you can tell her it's about AIDS. What a big day that'll be for you!
It's the time of the year again: Time to curl up with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, stock up on Halloween candy, and watch as many scary things as you can. Even though your instinct will tell you to Netflix a horror classic or run to the movies theater to see Annabelle or Ouija, let us suggest another option: music videos. Specifically these 13, the scariest music videos ever made. Needless to say, many of these are extremely NSFW, as well as NSFN (not safe for nighttime).
Just as Ryan Murphy promised, last night's episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show featured Jessica Lange singing a Lana Del Rey song. Does it matter which song? It's "Gods & Monsters," a bonus track from the deluxe edition of Born to Die, and they kept in the line about Jim Morrison, even though Freak Show is set in 1952. Anachronisms!
Entertainment Weekly reports that Oscar winner Jonathan Demme — who directed Silence of the Lambs as well as concert films such as Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense and Neil Young's Heart of Gold — will film the final two shows of Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience world tour, which are taking place January 1 and 2 in Las Vegas, presumably to make a chilling psychological thriller that will haunt the dreams of generations to come. You still wake up sometimes, don't you? Wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the J.T. fans?
There ain’t no party like an S Club 7 reunion party: According to the BBC, the beloved ‘90s Brit pop band will reunite for the BBC’s Children in Need benefit show on November 14, marking the first time that all seven members have performed together in more than a decade (even though it feels like yesterday in our hearts). "This is going to be the mega S Club party of all time," the band said in a statement to the BBC. We can’t wait to see Bradley sing and Rachel do her thing. But has Jo still got the flow? Find out on November 14!
Old favorites "Shake It Off," "Out of the Woods," and "Welcome to New York" are all there, as is the long-rumored "Bad Blood." "Track 3" has been renamed "Style," which is a great title for eight seconds of white noise. We refuse to believe "All You Had to Do Was Stay" and "I Wish You Would" are not already Taylor Swift songs.
James Blunt is as sick of his gentle cooing as you are. In an interview with Hello!, the singer apologized for the way "You're Beautiful" filled radio airwaves in the last decade. "[The song] was force-fed down people's throats ... and it became annoying," he told the tabloid. "And then people started to associate [me] with the same word." Blunt also complained that his label painted him as "an insanely serious person," all because of "a couple of over-emotional miserable songs." Well, they don't call him James Subtle.
When Canadian iTunes users saw that a new Taylor Swift song, "Track 3," was available for download, they might have assumed the song was a reworking of Blur's "Song 2," a piece of music that, like all the other inspirations for Taylor's 1989, comes from the '90s. The real song was even weirder: just 8 seconds of static, without a single reference to kissing in the rain. As all pop superstars eventually must, Taylor Swift was entering her Metal Machine Music phase — and fans loved it. The track hit No. 1 on the Canadian iTunes charts before being pulled. Listen to Taylor's stunning avant-garde mastery below, via Business Insider.
Annie feelings aside, what are your thoughts on this Sia rework of "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile"? If you push the original deep into the back of your brain, her modern-day pop-ified version seems to work. For those of you too hooked on the original: Don't worry, they'll probably still sing the old version in the movie. With the children's voices and outdated reference to "Beau Brummelly." We can have this both ways!
Kesha announced last week that she is suing her producer Dr. Luke, a.k.a. Lukasz Gottwald, for sexual assault, with Kesha's lawyer alleging that the singer suffered years of "mental manipulation [and] emotional abuse" at the hands of her mentor. Dr. Luke responded in turn with a countersuit accusing Kesha of trying to extort him. Today, new evidence has emerged in the form of a 2011 deposition obtained by TMZ (and unsealed after a request from Dr. Luke’s lawyer) that reveals that Kesha previously swore under oath that Dr. Luke never drugged her and that the pair never engaged in sexual relations. In response, Kesha’s lawyer Mark Geragos told TMZ that unsealing the deposition was "a pathetic attempt to once again blame the victim” and that she lied initially because Dr. Luke “threatened to destroy Kesha's life and the lives of her family if she didn't cover up his sexual assaults." And so the sordid back-and-forth continues.
Every week, members of the Vulture staff will highlight their favorite new songs. They might be loud, quiet, long, short, dance-y, rawkin', hip, square, rap, punk, jazz, some sort of jazz-punk-rap fusion — whatever works for the given person in that given week. Read our picks below and please tell us yours in the comments. (Also, read music critic Lindsay Zoladz's review of Jessie Ware's Tough Love.)
Does it count as a comeback if No Doubt just released an album two years ago? Either way, "Baby Don't Lie" is Stefani's first solo single since 2008, and last night on The Voice, she premiered the music video. Most notably, the Harajuku backup dancers are gone (thank you, thinkpiece writers) and they've been replaced with weird seapunk screensaver monsters. And, because this is 2014, she's already been hit with inevitable plagiarism accusations. Welcome back, Gwen.
Your Tuesdays are not like Drake's, although I suspect that he'd much rather be at home watching the newest episode of Parenthood than at the club drinking out of a Styrofoam cup and hanging out with girls in scary masks. But his BFF ILoveMakonnen is in town for the week (Toronto, perhaps?), and he's gonna show him a good time. After all, he's got a DVR.