As readers of our Songs of the Week column know, we are very excited for Spoon's new record, They Want My Soul, which is their first record in over four years. It's set to come out on August 5, but you can hear it in full right now, by streaming it through iTunes radio. It's very good and very Spoon.
Listen while it still exists: The new Ariana Grande song, "Bang Bang," featuring Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, has leaked a day before its official release. Jessie J belts; Ariana attempts to enunciate; and Nicki raps about doing karaoke. It's no "Lady Marmalade," but it's catchy enough to make a splash.
Coming off her Oscar nomination for "The Moon Song" from Her, Karen O realized the people have a real appetite for her singing slight, lo-fi, romantic little ditties. With that, this September, she's set to release Crush Songs, a collection of bedroom ballads she wrote and recorded in 2006 and 2007. That is exactly what you get with "Rapt," the song for which she released a video today. O's husband Barney Clay directed the colorful underwater video, with production design by Her's K.K. Barrett. The song and video together are truly dreamlike, assuming the dream is coming during a Quaalude nap.
It's true: Malcolm David Kelly, who once played the illusive Walt on Lost and the ill-fated Lil Saint from You Got Served, is now one half of MKTO. Tony Oller ("TO") is the other half, and together they've got a song you might have already heard on the radio. "Classic" is insanely catchy, the type of song deserving of the Song of Summer title. What's it like having the power to infect the world with an earworm? We asked the boys of MKTO:
The long-awaited comeback of Hilary Duff has begun — but before you get too excited, you should actually listen to her lead single, "Chasing the Sun." Colbie Caillat co-wrote it, and maybe that's why it sounds like Paris Hilton doing Sheryl Crow karaoke? Let's hope there's more to come. Until then, I'll be clinging to my copy of Metamorphosis.
Update: The versions on YouTube are sped up a bit to avoid getting taken down. This one appears to be the proper speed.
If you don't hang out on Vine, you've likely never hear of Shawn Mendes. So, here's your official Vulture heads-up on the Vine star, whose self-titled EP hit No. 1 only "37 minutes" after its release. It's now sitting pretty at No. 6, but the rocket to No. 1 (with the help of his 2.9 million Vine followers) probably means you should learn his name, or at least read it once. The Canadian 15-year-old (has your Bieber alarm gone off yet?) is also currently on tour with the equally baffling Austin Mahone, if that gives you any insight into his career trajectory. When he's on the top of the actual charts in a few months, don't say we didn't warn you.
Here's one of the Vines that started it all, a cover of Bieber's "As Long As You Love Me". If you loop it more than two times, you might lose your mind:
Jenny Lewis has always been a bright voice in a sea of downers. She’s moved on from her child-star beginnings (The Wizard!) to become a force for good in the indie scene with Rilo Kiley, and now with her solo career. Lewis is one of the more theatrical songwriters this side of Dolly Parton, and her sugary delivery of even the most heartbreaking lines (e.g., “Crawl back into bed to dream of a time / When your heart was open wide / And you loved things just because / Like the sick and the dying”) elicit visions of sunbeams and sparkles. Lewis’s latest album, The Voyager, is out this week, and since it features some of her most mature, insightful, and humorous work to date, Vulture had to call her up for a chat.
Hip-hop's reigning queen of shade has announced that her new single "Anaconda" will be delayed by a week, from tomorrow until next Monday. She broke the news on Instagram, writing: "My darlingz, I've pushed the release of Anaconda to next week, Monday 8/4. I promise you will understand why before the week is out. Loveeeeeeee uuuuuu." At least she included a racy workout photo to soften the blow. Oh, Nicki, we can't stay mad at you.
Jack White was a busy boy this Saturday: After headlining the Newport Folk Festival, Jack White headed over to Beck's gig at the nearby Providence Performing Arts Center, where he joined his old pal onstage for a crowd-pleasing encore that included "Pay No Mind," "Loser," and "Where It's At." White, thankfully, looked like he was having a better time than when we last saw him, despite the fact that at least three people appeared to be filming the concert on their cell phones (something that pisses him off almost as much as baseball). Watch some of the audience footage below:
For the first time in his long and storied career, Weird Al hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts with his album Mandatory Fun, which sold 104,700 records in its first week (beating out Jason Mraz's YES!). There are a lot of reasons — seven, to be specific — why Weird Al had this late career renaissance: His strategy of releasing one music video a day was genius, he had great material to work with, and he hit our nostalgic soft spots, whether we remembered him for Eat It or Amish Paradise. Tom Green (!) presented Weird Al with the framed chart on Tom Green Live. Weird Al takes it in his hands and begins to tear up, and honestly, we don't think this could have happened to a better guy. Stay weird!
Yesterday, with his career now in its fifth decade, Weird Al topped the Billboard charts for the first time. If you had said such a thing two weeks ago, people would've looked at you kind of, well, weird. While Vulture's Jody Rosen nodded at the modern godfather of pop parodies in his review of the latest Lonely Island record last year ("Isn’t it also Weird Al’s world? There’s the president of the United States, slow-jamming the news. There’s Bruce Springsteen, wearing his mid-eighties bandanna-headband, singing LMFAO. There’s Katie Couric, her voice awash in Auto-Tune, 'duetting' with T-Pain. There, God help us, is Jay Leno, sending up Taylor Swift’s '22.'"), there was still something surprising about the news. But there are several concrete factors that led to the success of Weird Al's Mandatory Fun. Seven, actually.
Yes, "Rude" is still at the top of the Billboard "Hot 100." No, that doesn't mean it's automatically our new Song of Summer. The title for Song of Summer still pretty much belongs to "Fancy," which really only fell one spot to No. 2. Another reason why "Fancy" is still our Song of Summer? Because Questlove says so:
Well, would you? You have a choice in this. You can scroll down and click each one of these Instagram videos, posted by Biebs last night from what appears to be the recording studio. Here's a quick preview: Some songs sound chill, some songs sound blip-bloopy, and in one song he sounds like a robot! Biebs threatened to "retire," but let's face it, he's 20 years old! He's not retiring. Sorry, y'all.
It’s mid-summer, it’s very hot, and we need to conserve fuel. So for this installment of Somewhere in Time, I’m taking my Delorean GIF back exactly seven days, to the glorious week of July 14, 2014. What strange customs and trends will we encounter there? Slip into your colorful Bonobos pants and let’s find out, shall we?
Despite the song's persistence, Pharrell is moving steadily away from a "Blurred Lines" past and toward a future that looks more like a Dove commercial. In a good way! The video for "Come Get It Bae" has Pharrell "shooting" a slew of diverse ladies ... And then hanging out a bit with Miley. It's a little confusing, but the idea here is that Pharrell wants to you to know that he loves women in a positive way. He also wants you to learn what bae means. (It means "before anyone else," i.e., it's a term of endearment. Use at will!)
With divorce rumors swirling around Jay Z and Beyoncé, it looks like the unthinkable might actually happen: Everybody’s favorite powerhouse duo may be headed for splitsville. Then again, it’s always been hard to tell what’s going on with the Carters. From the very start of their relationship, the two have been remarkably cryptic about their private life, managing to keep their most intimate aspects of their life sealed away despite being one of the world’s most talked-about couples. In honor of the epic saga that is Bey and Jay, Vulture takes a look back at the musical icons’ entertaining history together, beginning when she was Destiny’s Child’s front woman and Jay Z still had his hyphen, and charting their many collaborations (e.g., "Bonnie and Clyde," "Drunk in Love"), the birth of Blue, the infamous elevator video, and onward, toward their now-uncertain future.
To be fair, he did say it was mandatory. After a 12,000-year career, Weird Al finally has his first No. 1 record with Mandatory Fun. Maybe even more amazing is that with 104,700 copies, this is the most albums he's ever sold in a week. Fun is also the first comedy album to top the charts since 1960's The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart. "How did this happen?" you might ask if you were under a rock last week or simply on vacation. Al owned the internet and, apparently, you can buy things on the internet nowadays. Weird has said in press that this will possibly be his last record ever, as his contract is up and he instead will focus on making more timely one-off parodies. The man is going out on top. It is literally the best thing ever to happen to someone with curly hair in the summer.
There's a lot of stuff Jack White likes: hand-crafted vinyl, the blues of Son House, covers of early-2000s hip-hop anthems. One thing Jack White apparently does not like? Baseball games — or that's what this jumbotron capture from Tuesday night's Cubs-Padres game at Wrigley field would suggest. Seriously, what's wrong, Jack? Cheer up! The Cubs are up 6-0! Did you see a member of the Black Keys in the crowd? Were there too many people taking photos with their cell phones? It's going to be okay, we promise.
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. Enjoy!
Welp, Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finally got its flashy end credits song, and ... I don't know. "Shell Shocked" is a wall of noise, with Juicy J hogging all the cringey TMNT references ("All my brothers tryna get some cheddar / We all want our cut like the Shredder"). Although it must be said that Ty Dolla $ign does mention pizza.