New Kanye can cry, employ media savvy, speak in an inside voice, come across as genuine, and now apologize. Via Twitter on Thursday, the deity formally known as Yeezus publicly said sorry to Beck and Bruno Mars, two artists he has said less-than-respectable things about. The fact Kanye called out Beck for winning Album of the Year and dissed the singer-songwriter's talent without evening listening to Morning Phase is still a thing people kvetch about in interviews, so this was yet another solid PR-slash-persona metamorphosis move.
Jack Ü, a.k.a. Skrillex and Diplo, just pulled a Drake/Beyoncé/whatever you want to call it (living life, maybe) and released their debut LP together without warning Thursday night. The ten-song project, titled Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü, hit iTunes in the middle of the duo's 24-hour live DJ set, which, at time of publication, still had quite a bit of time left. The pair somehow simultaneously managed to get involved in the internet's llama and dress drama from earlier today because they are heroes.
Back in the dark ages (or, you know, 2003), people would line up around the block at their local record stores to buy the newest albums. It would usually happen every Tuesday, but, alas, that tradition is no more. In addition to record stores being dead, so is the Tuesday album release date. Thanks to Beyoncé (but mostly piracy), starting this summer, all albums worldwide will come out on Fridays. That means no more having to wait days or even months for an album that's out in New Zealand to hit iTunes in America. So the next time U2 decide to stick their album on your phone without asking, they'll get to ruin your entire weekend, too.
Billboard reports that Drake has taken over nearly half of its 50-slot Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Maybe this isn't a shock, given the artist's recent surprise 17-track album; however, the news is significant because it means that every song from If You're Reading This It's Too Late is charting. Drake has 21 songs up total because he also appears as a feature on some popular hits, but really he's just addicted to breaking records (with this latest feat, he breaks his own for having the most simultaneously charting tracks, 14). The mixtape itself, by the way, is still at No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Love & Mercy, the biopic about legendary Beach Boys front man Brian Wilson, unfurled a teaser today, and, as to be expected, it's very beachy. There's no dearth of sand, haphazard dance fits, warm horizons, or short-sleeved button-downs. There's also a lot of Paul Dano, who plays a young version of the troubled genius, and John Cusack, who may or may not be playing an older, fatigued version of Wilson. The movie, which will thankfully showcase the band's tasty tunes, too, is slated for a June release.
As part of an exhibition about music producers, artist Xavier Veilhan (kind of) unmasked Daft Punk in the form of a birch plywood sculpture. "The funny thing is I didn't even ask them," Veilhan told Vice's Creators Project. "I proposed to introduce them as producers, not as musicians. ... They proposed to me: 'Okay, we should make the sculpture the non-existing image of us. So if somebody wants to see how we are like in real [life] they'll have to look at the sculpture.'" They still have sunglasses on in the piece, so it's like saying Dick Grayson is obviously Robin sans eye mask. But, hey, still a coup.
While closing out the Brit Awards Wednesday, Madonna fell down the stairs. Backwards. Luckily, she quickly dusted herself off and got right back into another bull-themed rendition of "Living for Love." Two revelations: (1) Madonna is a champ, and (2) her backing vocals are much quieter than you might expect! Here's the Vine:
The two children of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are coming of age, and it’s been a joy to watch the sprightly young things embrace their God-given right to milk the benefits of having famous parents. So far, we've learned that Willow probably spends her off hours reading Being and Time, while her brother Jaden fantasizes about a future that looks a lot like an Isaac Asimov novel. But in addition to showing us how weird they are, the heirs of Bel-Air have been casually dropping new and interesting music on SoundCloud. I know what you’re thinking. Nepotism! Scientology! Celebrity children! Yuck! Yes, but you should ignore the things you read in Going Clear and just listen.
There’s a great song on the first Sonic Youth album called “Shaking Hell.” The opening minute and a half — steely, ominous, unsteadily motoric — sounds like a piece of factory equipment malfunctioning in the moments before somebody loses a limb. Then, very suddenly, the machinery jams, the tempo slows to a crawl, and we hear the voice of the bass player, Kim Gordon, at once nervous and bracingly warriorlike: “She’s finally discovered she’s a …. He told her so!”
British people don't like to pay their taxes, and that really pisses off the likes of Thom Yorke, who, along with Massive Attack’s Robert “3D” Del Naja, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, and Elbow’s Guy Garvey, contributed the score to Mark Donne's documentary about the U.K.'s tax-evasion problem, The U.K. Gold. And what does tax evasion sound like? Frantic blips, blaps, and blops. Regardless of the subject, he's still Thom Yorke.
“We turned down a million dollars to make a song for one of the Twilight movies,” says John McCauley, the front man for indie rockers Deer Tick. “Those movies are terrible,” mutters keyboardist Rob Crowell, lolling on a couch in a plush townhouse in Clinton Hill, a giant Sour Patch Kid–shaped neon light hanging on the wall behind him. On this late afternoon in December, McCauley and his bandmates are in New York to play a string of six consecutive sold-out shows at Brooklyn Bowl—a celebration of Deer Tick’s decade together. A documentary is being filmed to memorialize the milestone, and the following night, New Year’s Eve, they’ll be joined onstage by Stevie Nicks for a rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.” It’s all evidence that even though Deer Tick has never quite made it big, they’ve done all right.
There are three types of Kanye West people in this world: Those who think he’s a genius, those who respect his music but find his public persona off-putting, and those who hate him. I am firmly in the middle category, but yearn to be a true acolyte. I want to believe in the gospel of Yeezus and worship at the altar of Ye, but no matter how hard I try I find myself distracted by his obnoxious behavior and enormous ego.
Rihanna's eighth album, executive-produced by Kanye West, is expected sometime this year. But before that, she'll star in Dreamworks' Home, for which she's also supposedly written an entire concept album. Whether or not that's true — and we hope it is — remains to be seen. For now, here's a new song from the film's soundtrack called "Towards the Sun," which sounds a lot like a Sia-penned anthem.
A couple of hours before releasing his new album, Dark Sky Paradise (available here), Big Sean shared the video for "Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)." The song is Sean's "Started From the Bottom," just potentially truer. The video, simple in concept and frenetic in execution, parallels the rapper's stormy lyrics that detail a hardscrabble ascent from Detroit nobody to successful, globetrotting don. Spoiler alert: It's one long
elevator ride metaphor.
What does it take to get Kanye West's attention? The easiest way is to win an award he thought Beyoncé deserved; the second easiest is to look like this. Since both of those strategies are impossible for Nick Jonas, the former Jonas brother chose a different tactic: He covered one of Kanye's songs and then tweeted it at him. (With a period in front.) Listen to it below, and then try to figure out when Nick Jonas became the Mortdecai of pop stars.
After her brush with Tom Waits, Scarlett Johansson has joined a girl group! ScarJo, Holly Miranda, Kendra Morris, Julia Haltigan, and Este Haim (yes, one of the HAIM girls) make up the Singles, and their first song, "Candy," sounds like if Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" hung out with TV on the Radio and the Go-Go's. That TV on the Radio sound makes sense: Dave Sitek, who also worked with ScarJo on her Waits album, produced the track. All in all, pretty catchy! It would be a damn shame to call a song "Candy" and not have it be addictive.
Here Is Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know About the Beautiful Horses in Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ VideoBy Nate Jones
This week, Maryland's Frederick News-Post has the profile of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" horses you didn't know you needed. In it, we learn everything a human being could possibly want to know about the video's majestic Andalusians. Their names? Chico and Paco. Their home? Mount Airy's Spring Fever Farm, a six-hour drive from the haunted Long Island mansion that served as the set (and has since burned down in a "mystery fire"). Their ambition? To be the finest onscreen horses in the country, at least according to their owner, Diana Beuchert, who considers their role in the music video their "big break."
Has anyone in the history of the world ever read the dull paragraph of introduction preceding a Q&A with Noel Gallagher, the former Oasis songwriter who might be more delightfully quotable than Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, and Vito Corleone combined? I doubt it, but if you haven't skipped ahead to the interview yet, you should know that Gallagher will release a very good new solo album, Chasing Yesterday, the follow-up to 2011's Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, on March 2. I spoke to him on Wednesday about Yesterday, the price tag for an Oasis reunion, and what he thinks should have happened at the Grammys.