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Keith Urban Makes the Case for Why Electronic Music Is the 1980s’ Enduring Musical Legacy

All week on Vulture, we're examining '80s pop culture and how it lives on today.

With Vulture celebrating 1980s entertainment this week, we caught up with country music star Keith Urban (while his wife, Nicole Kidman, scooped up a prize at the InStyle Awards in Los Angeles) to find out which part of that decade's pop culture continues to resonate with him the most. His answer came as something of a surprise, as the singer-songwriter revealed a secret passion for electronic music.

“The music is the first thing I think of when I think of the '80s — the early integration of machinery, in the form of drum machines and sort of roboticism into music and the fusing of all that,” he explained. “It was happening before that, but the ‘80s was really an interesting time for it. Depeche Mode, bands like that – even I was playing in little clubs and stuff, and using a drum machine to play solo gigs.”


Iggy Pop Tells the Story of a Crowd-Surfing Attempt That Literally Fell Flat in an Exclusive Gimme Danger Clip

One of the rock-star lessons you have to learn the hard way: Never jump into a crowd unless you're sure people are ready to catch you. That's the story behind a few of Iggy Pop's broken front teeth, as he reveals this exclusive clip from Jim Jarmusch's upcoming documentary Gimme Danger. The film chronicles the history of the Stooges, who, according to Jarmusch himself, are the "greatest rock 'n' roll band ever," thanks in a large part to their insanely energetic live shows — even if some of their stunts went over like Three Stooges bits. The doc premieres in New York and Detroit today, and opens nationwide on November 4.

The 50 Best Modern Songs That Sound Like the 1980s

All week on Vulture, we're examining '80s pop culture, and how it lives on today.

Owing to an array of one-hit wonders who overstuffed their tunes with synthesizers and went a little too heavy on the Aqua Net, it's often easy to dismiss the music of the 1980s — and for a long time, many people did. But then fans who grew up secretly loving those songs stopped being embarrassed. Critics came around to laud the achievements of '80s artists they once dismissed. The cool kids appreciated the tracks without sarcasm. And a new crop of musicians, from pop stars to indie darlings, embraced those sounds, emulating them in the same way other artists repurposed the blues, classic '60s rock, and '70s punk.

There are countless tracks since 2010 (the time frame we're using as our definition of "modern") that borrow from the '80s, and a great deal of them should be embarrassed by neither their sound nor its provenance. Here are the ones we consider to be the 50 best, lovingly presented with respect and awe for that amazing, strange, and often groundbreaking era. 


Chris Martin and Conan O’Brien, Just a Couple of Chimney Sweeps, Sing ‘Yellow’ in Cockney Accents

You bring up My Fair Lady once and look what happens. In a blast from Chris Martin's past, Conan O'Brien decided to make the Coldplay front man take a walk down memory lane to a time when he wasn't in one of the biggest bands in the world, but just a wee lad with dreams of being a musical-theater star who once played Eliza Doolittle's dad. And you know what that means: cockney accents galore. Rather than bust out one of the show's classics, the two chimney sweeps in another life pulled out some hats, scrunched up their shoulders, and got to singing "Yellow" in full-blown butchered cockney. (For being from Massachusetts, Conan is really the surprise winner at this.) Conan and Chris's Cockney Classics coming down a chimney near yaaaa this Christmas.

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s Daughter Luna Already Won Halloween, Thanks for Playing

If right now you're at Party City, kid in tow, frantically searching for a million ways to up their cuteness this Halloween, stop right there. There'll be no need to pick up an embarrassing costume that'll haunt your child for years to come, because mom of the year Chrissy Teigen has already outdone herself. Cool parents Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, in a successful attempt to explode your heart, have begun dressing up their 6-month-old daughter Luna early, and all four of the looks (so far!) are too much to handle. Look at Luna, already smizing with those big brown eyes. A born model like her mom! Start preparing yourself now for the inevitable (and inevitably adorable) family costume.

  • Posted 10/27/16 at 4:01 PM
  • Profile

Spending Time With Noname, Chicago Rap’s Next Big Thing

“I know everyone thinks it’s, like, poetry. But I thought I was rapping my ass off.”

I’m sitting across the table from 25-year-old rapper Noname at an Original Pancake House in the Kenwood neighborhood of her hometown of Chicago, and after half an hour of pleasant, shy conversation with a very polite woman who still seems uncomfortable with the idea of giving an interview, she finally lets one fly — a self-assured boast followed by a half-embarrassed giggle. Over coffee and omelettes, we’d been discussing Bob’s BurgersRick and Morty, and whether cartoons are getting smarter or we’re just regressing, but as talk turned to her first mixtape, July’s Telefone, her nervousness disappeared.


David Crosby Thinks Kanye West Can’t Sing, Write, or Play Music

Better call Stills, Nash, and Young for backup, because David Crosby has inadvertently initiated a war with Kanye West's devoted fan base. The rock legend, for some delightful reason, stopped by Andy Cohen's popular Watch What Happens Live Bravo talk show last night to discuss his new album and generally hang, and when prompted by Cohen to divulge some current opinions on modern musicians, Crosby made it clear that he's no fan of Yeezy's musical stylings. "He can neither sing, nor write, nor play," he said. "The thing that bugs me about him is the 'I'm the greatest living rock star.' Somebody needs to drive him over to Stevie Wonder’s house right now so he understands what a real one is. Secondly, they should send him all of Ray Charles's catalogue so he can learn how to sing." Try to Turn! Turn! Turn! the other cheek, Yeezy enthusiasts.

Oh, Look, Yet Another Absolutely Mesmerizing Video From Blood Orange

Blood Orange's new album, Freetown Sound, is an aural masterpiece, but its beauty extends well into the visual realm. For his latest work of art, Dev Hynes collaborated with ballet star Maria Kochetkova for what's essentially a love letter to dance, set to his song "I Know." It's a simple concept: Just Dev and Maria together, in monochrome, alone in a studio and feeding off each other's passion for the craft. Their free-form movement and the extremes to which Maria pushes her body are seriously impressive, but it never looks or feels like the exhausting work that you know it is. They're having fun in the moment while making captivating art with every step. So, see, dragging your kid to ballet class really can pay off one day!

Wilco Fulfills All of Ben Wyatt’s Fantasies by Creating an Excellent Claymation Music Video

Not willing to be outdone by noted claymation cutie Shaun the Sheep's big news this week, Wilco has released a meticulous claymation music video for "Someone to Love," a track off their latest album Schmilco. (Which is a great album name, dammit!) The whimsical tune is accompanied by a less whimsical video, though, which follows a griffin who chomps on innocent caterpillars and kidnaps a bride on her wedding day. Say whatever you want, but those cotton-candy trees look positively delicious.

Pussy Riot Imagine What a Trump Presidency Would Look Like and, Uh, It’s Not Great

Pussy Riot, who know a thing or two about dictatorships, have released a video for a new song called "Make America Great Again," which is their way of endorsing Donald Trump. Ha, no, we kid. In it, the band's outspoken and previously jailed leader Nadya Tolokonnikova sings of (in English again) an election won by Trump and what his administration might look like. Go figure, it's a regime whose first order of business is kicking out "outsiders," meaning pretty much the general population of America. She subjects herself to Donald's rule (where even orange toupees become mandatory), gets literally branded a pervert, imprisoned, and much worse. Her last-minute advice for Donald: "Let other people in, listen to your women, stop killing black children, make America great again." Because this is one pussy that can't be grabbed without a riot.

  • Posted 10/26/16 at 6:19 PM
  • Kesha

Kesha Has Already Written and Recorded 22 New Songs That Are Just Waiting to Be Released; Dr. Luke Claims ‘She Exiled Herself’

The legal case between Kesha and Dr. Luke has remained at a standstill since this August, when the singer dropped her California lawsuit against the producer, even as she continued to pursue other legal claims against him in New York. The stated goal was for Kesha "to get back to work" on new music, and her lawyer claimed that the musician had delivered 28 new songs to her record label. Now, in a new New York Times Magazine profile, Kesha discusses the contents of that new music, specifically 22 songs that the singer wrote and recorded at her own expense, which are "sitting somewhere waiting to be completed and polished and released."

The profile describes four of those songs in detail: "Hunt You Down," which is "a real country song with banjo and some real country sentiments"; "Learn to Let It Go," which "sounded like something you’d hear in heavy rotation on radio"; "Rosé," a "toast to an old boyfriend who has married"; and "Rainbow," which Kesha wrote while she was in rehab and produced with the help of Ben Folds. According to the Times, Kesha wanted that song to be "a great orchestral production," like something reminiscent of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. (Folds also helped Kesha put together the Bob Dylan cover she performed at the BBMAs this year.)


Let’s Not Go Back to the Good Old Days of Real Rap Beef

Over the weekend, Drake’s ongoing smarm offensive reignited with the unveiling of three new songs scheduled to appear on a forthcoming project titled More Life. The scathing “Two Birds, One Stone” has been the source of some controversy; in it, Drake finally responds to five years of needling from Pusha T, and he sends a ruthless shot at Kid Cudi. “You were the Man on the Moon, and now you just go through your phases,” Drake says, referencing Cudi’s 2009 debut album. “You stay xanned and perc’d up so when reality set in, you don’t gotta face it.”


Abba Is Planning a Cryptic ‘Virtual and Live Experience’ to Enable a New Generation of Dancing Queens

While a legitimate Abba reunion is being waited on with bated breath the one earlier this year at a private Stockholm gala doesn't fully count you can take a take-a-chance-take-a-chance-take-a-chance-chance-chance with something a little more virtual. The massively popular Swedish quartet, in collaboration with American Idol's Simon Fuller, have announced a "virtual and live experience" with "groundbreaking" technology that will revolve around the band and is set to launch in 2018. The Guardian reports that the venture has the full support of the four members, and is described as utilizing "the very latest in digital and virtual-reality technology … which will enable a new generation of fans to see, hear, and feel Abba in a way previously unimagined." Information is scarce, but other details are expected to be revealed in the next few months. How could we ever refuse such a thing?

Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson Says ‘I Would’ve Killed Myself’ Without Kid Cudi’s Music

In the years before Kid Cudi was seeking help for his own depression in rehab, the rapper was helping others through their dark times with his music, including Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson. On Tuesday morning, while promoting his upcoming comedy special, Davidson, 22, talked about his favorite rappers on morning show The Breakfast Club, and said, "Cudi is the best out of all of them." He went on to explain his loyalty: "He saved my life. I would’ve killed myself if I didn’t have Kid Cudi. If you’re 25 and under, I truly believe that Kid Cudi saved your life." The comedian continued, "I truly believe if Man on the Moon didn’t come out, I wouldn’t be here."

Davidson's respect for Cudi extended to the rapper's decision to self-admit into a treatment center for suicidal urges. “It’s comforting to know your hero goes through the same stuff you do,” Davidson said, while relating Cudi's experience to one faced by Davidson and other Millennials. "I think that’s why a lot of kids my age can relate to Cudi and people love him so much is because he’s a very emotional dude, and he saves all of us." Davidson has been in contact with Cudi recently, and says the rapper "is in really good spirits" in rehab.

Watch Davidson's full appearance, complete with his thoughts about the Drake and Cudi beef, below. Davidson's remarks about Cudi began at the 10:42 mark. 

7 Best New Songs of the Week

Every week, Vulture highlights the best new music. If the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best music.


Suge Knight Sues Dr. Dre for Allegedly Trying to Have Him Killed

If you watched Michel’le's Lifetime biopic and had a hankering for more related drama, quite the update has emerged. TMZ reports that Suge Knight is suing Dr. Dre for allegedly hiring a hit man to have him killed. The lawsuit stems from a 2014 incident in which Knight was shot seven times at a Hollywood nightclub. Knight has maintained that his former Death Row Records signee, Dr. Dre, was behind the shooting; now Knight, who is in jail on murder charges stemming from a hit and run, is officially suing Dre for allegedly attempting to have him killed. According to Knight, the dispute dates back to Dre's sale of Beats to Apple in 2014. Knight claims that he has a "lifetime management" deal over Dre that entitled him to 30 percent of all Dre's entertainment earnings, which prompted Dre and Universal (the studio behind Straight Outta Compton) to allegedly hire a man named Cle “Bone” Sloan to murder Knight so he'd no longer profit off Dre.


We Regret to Inform You That There’s a Video for the Chainsmokers and Halsey’s ‘Closer’

Pop's newest bros the Chainsmokers have released a video for one of the year's biggest hits, "Closer" (nine weeks at No. 1 and counting), with brave volunteer, er, featured artist Halsey. The video's kissing and groping would have been painful enough to watch without an added layer of awkwardness stemming from a supposed feud between Chainsmoker Drew Taggart and singer Halsey: In one of the Chainsmokers' many recent cringe-y interviews, the duo trashed Laga Gaga's new single "Perfect Illusion" ("It sucks"), prompting Gaga to scalp them with precision. Halsey, being the smart anti-pop star that she is, jumped into the fray by fangirling for Gaga in a series of tweets, which prompted Taggart to publicly tweet at Halsey, "fuck you bald bitch." (Halsey famously shaved off her hair as a symbol of self-love and androgyny.) Taggart said his account was hacked and deleted the tweet — though many are skeptical — but Halsey has since unfollowed him on Twitter, meaning the timing of this video couldn't be closer.

Rejoice! The First Song From Run the Jewels 3 Is Here

While we hadn't intended on pressing pause on Meow the Jewels, Run the Jewels have other plans: For the two-year anniversary of RTJ2, El-P and Killer Mike have put a bow on the first song from RTJ3. "Talk to Me" is here, and damn right it's free to download (as is the RTJ way), courtesy of this week's Adult Swim singles series. They told ya'll suckers this was gonna be good, but they never said how good. Pour your Monday morning cup of coffee down the drain, because "Talk to Me" is the only adrenaline jolt necessary. El-P's production is blistering, as always ("I'm the son of Rick Rubin," he correctly raps), while Mike has your daily serving of wokeness ("born black, that's dead on arrival") and a far more sophisticated Donald Trump joke than the one you've been telling for months ("Went to war with the devil and shaytan / He wore a bad toupee and a spray tan"). There's no word yet on when RTJ3 is coming, but never doubt that it'll be worth the wait.

  • Posted 10/24/16 at 10:07 AM
  • Biopics

Velvet Underground Singer Nico’s Life Is Getting the Extremely European Biopic It Deserves

If in your music biopic pool you've been betting on Lou Reed's life making it to the big screen before the rest of the Velvet Underground, prepare to cough it up. Variety reports that the band's early collaborator, Andy Warhol muse, and elusive German femme fatale Nico is getting the biopic treatment before all the rest. True to Nico's status as a European icon, Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli will helm the film, Nico, 1988, about Nico's final years before her death at 49 in 1988. And she'll be played by Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, who won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. Though Nico is remembered as a cult figure when she was in her prime, the film will look to study Nico's life after fame — and the heroin addiction that derailed it — in her forgotten years. The story will rely largely on interviews with Nico's son Ari and last manager, Alan Wise; it'll also use flashbacks, dreamlike sequences, and the music that inspired Nico, plus her own songs performed by Dyrholm and not Drake (sorry). As for that Lou Reed biopic, well, uh, there's always Prozac Nation.

Are You Honestly Surprised That DJ Khaled Snapchatted His Son’s Birth?

DJ Khaled has successfully unlocked another major key in his life. The producer, entrepreneur, and noted Snapchat enthusiast has just welcomed his first child, a son, with fiancée Nicole Tuck. People reports that Tuck gave birth early Sunday morning, and in true, delightful Khaled fashion, he chose to document the entire birthing process on his Snapchat account everything from Tuck's water breaking to her hours-long labor to the post-birth celebrations with friends and family. (His album, Major Key, was even played in the delivery room during the birth.) Images of his son, though, have yet to be revealed. Mazel tov to the happy family! Try not to get lost at sea again anytime soon.


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