Today, a 17-year-old in Marietta, Georgia uploaded a previously unheard Drake track to SoundCloud. How he got it, and whether it's a new track or something that was scrapped from Nothing Was The Same remains unclear. What we do know: the song samples Jodeci’s “My Heart Belongs to You,” the girl in the song totally doesn’t deserve Drizzy's love — he drove her to her bar exam in the snow! — and the beginning sounds an awful lot like Nicki Minaj’s voicemail. Discuss amongst yourselves:
Former American Idol contestant Joanne Borgella Ramirez has died of a rare form of cancer. Her family made the announcement Saturday morning on the singer's Facebook page, and suggest she was suffering from endometrial cancer, which attacks the lining of the uterus, and then spread to her chest. Borgella first became famous for winning Mo'nique's Fat Chance, a beauty pageant for plus-size women which launched her career as a plus-size model. Then she appeared on the seventh season of American Idol and made it onto the show as part of the top 24. Here's a clip of her performance of "I Say a Little Prayer" on the show.
The lead single off Voice coach Gwen Stefani's untitled album, "Baby Don't Lie," was supposed to be released tomorrow, but someone leaked it today. The song was written by Gwen Stefani along with Noel Zancanella, Benny Blanco, and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder. Interscope has been dutifully taking down the audio clips, but you can still hop on over to this link if you want to listen to it — or just wait 24 hours or so for the official drop. For what it's worth, it's not terribly exciting.
Thurston Moore, still lanky and youthful at 56, with a little Siouxsie Sioux button pinned to his denim shirt, arrives at Mast Books on Avenue A, says a sidelong hello to me, and heads back to the poetry section. He moved to this neighborhood more than half his life ago—“It attracted me and defined me,” he says—but sold his loft a couple of years ago and now lives in London. On his visits here, he usually stops into this well-tended avant-garde garden, and the clerk, closer to Moore’s age when he himself arrived around here, treats him with familiar deference, as a fellow enthusiast of the small-press and non-mainstream.
While Moore browses—selecting an old edition of Jean Genet’s poems, as well as an interestingly bound volume that, he explains, is a letter to Charles Olson by the poet John Wieners—he leaves me to catch up with his girlfriend, the sprightly and discerning art-book editor Eva Prinz, who is in her mid-30s and has on a big floppy sun hat. “I had worked with her over the years,” he explains, “doing books at Rizzoli and Abrams,” starting with one called Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture, which came out in 2005, “and we became lovers at some point. Obviously.” They collaborated on an art-book publishing venture called Ecstatic Peace Library (named for a Tom Wolfe phrase), and “we started making books while we were having our, our, uh, illicit”—he pauses here, stuttering a bit, as if distancing himself from this potboiler language—“a-a-affair. And when we got found out, we sort of put a stop to the press for a while.” He pauses, thinks some more. “It’s upended both of our lives to a very radical degree.”
Legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to be able to play the blues, and that Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo sold his to write “Beverly Hills.” Or at least that’s the assumption that’s plagued the band over the last decade—even though, by traditional measures of success, that infernally catchy cut from their 2005 album, Make Believe, marked a triumphant breakthrough in their career. (It was the first Weezer song nominated for a Grammy.) Because the band’s first two albums—the woolly power pop of 1994’s The Blue Album and the uncompromisingly abrasive 1996 post-fame exorcism Pinkerton—are so fiercely beloved, Weezer have spent the majority of their 22-year run grappling with their aftermath and the strange burden of Meaning Something to a Lot of People (myself included; I am one of those people who can tell you exactly what they were wearing the first time they heard Pinkerton). But in the post–Make Believe years, this has come to feel less like “grappling” and more like outright trolling, as though Cuomo were making a sport of alienating the fans who grew up with him and instead courting a younger, less discerning, and at times seemingly imaginary audience. It almost felt like a game to see how tastelessly hypernow Weezer could be: There was a cringeworthy Lil Wayne collaboration called “Can’t Stop Partying” (“Okay, bitches, Weezer and it’s Weezy”), the puzzlingly po-faced cover of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” and who could forget the album cover dedicated to Hurley from Lost? (In 2010, one former Weezer fan took to the internet to try to raise $10 million that he’d give to the band if they agreed to break up.) In their 40s, Weezer were starting to look like rock’s most delusional “cool” dads, presuming they could outrun nostalgia, irrelevance, and time by anxiously staying up on whatever the kids were into. They had the air of a band regarding their audience the way Matthew McConaughey thinks of high-school girls in Dazed and Confused: “I get older, they stay the same.”
It's because he has glaucoma. He's going to be fine, but the glasses help reduce his pain. If, like us, you're feeling a little bit like a jerk right now, know that Bono called that, too: "You're not going to get this out of your head now," he told Graham Norton. "You will be saying, 'Ah, poor old blind Bono.'"
Before talking to the artist formerly and futurely known as Pink about her newest project, we were instructed not to call her by the colorful moniker she's gone by for her entire career. For You + Me, a collaboration with folk musician (and longtime friend) Dallas Green, the singer is returning to her birth name, Alecia Moore. Fair enough. We spoke to Pi— err, Moore and Green about their new album rose ave., why their friendship works, and the worst varieties of alcohol they sampled during the recording process.
Nineties music now seems old enough to deserve our nostalgia, but the early oos still feel so recent that its songs currently reside in pop purgatory: They’re not contemporary enough to still be cool, but not distant enough to be time-capsule candidates. In the same way trucker hats, high-heel Timberlands, Ed Hardy, and frosted tips probably won’t make a comeback anytime soon, those hit pop songs that we couldn’t avoid on the radio (remember radio?) will be kind of embarrassing for the rest of our lives. To help you never forget that embarrassment, here are the 15 most embarrassing songs of the early 2000s. We forgive you for unconsciously singing along when they come on at the mall.
New Yorkers tend to be pretty oblivious of their surroundings, as evidenced by this video of Queen of Neo-Soul Erykah Badu busking anonymously on the streets of New York, during which time she makes a grand total of $3.60. That, funnily enough, is the exact amount she references in her hit song "On and On," when she sings, "I was born under water with three dollars and six dimes.” New York may be full of jerks, but it’s also full of synchronicity! (Mostly jerks, though.)
A new Weezer album came out last week, and if you’re anything like me, this was an occasion to listen to about half of it before turning it off to revisit Pinkerton instead. That experience got me thinking: Is Pinkerton the original Drake album? Is Pinkerton the best Drake album? What if Drake’s next album is just a song-by-song reimagining of Pinkerton? Hear me out.
Bono has heard your complaints about the automatic download for U2's Songs of Innocence — that it was "creepy," "invasive," and "characteristically presumptuous" — and now he wants you to know that's he's very, very sorry. In a Q&A session on Facebook (a tech-friendly band needs to cover all its bases), Bono promised fans that he loved them and that he would never do anything like that again.
It's no secret that we at Vulture are big Jessie Ware fans. And in case we've rubbed off on you: Her new album Tough Love is streaming in full over at NPR. Start from the very beginning, or if you only want a taste, go for "Champagne Kisses," "Kind Of ... Sometimes ... Maybe," "Pieces," and the title track, "Tough Love."
Although Drake took home four BET Hip-Hop Awards (including Album of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Video), it was NYC's Bobby Shmurda who closed out the show — with Terrio by his side — because this year, the Shmoney Dance is king. The rest of your very, very brief recap: Uncle Snoop, a.k.a. Snoop Dogg, or the Artist Formerly Known As Snoop Lion, hosted; notable performances included Common and Migos; and most important, the Cyphers. You had G-Eazy; Lil Mama, Logic and Troy Ave; Vic Mensa and David Banner; Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, and Ty Dolla $ign; and in what is definitely the most romantic Cypher of all time, Remy Ma and her beau, Papoose. If you're gonna watch anything, watch Remy and Papoose declare their reign over Bey and Jay in verse.
(Starts at 1:34)
Jon Snow and Joffrey are on a date. A direwolf dances with a White Walker. A three-eyed crow with large plumage that prevents anyone from getting too close boogies on the sidelines all by herself. And there are so many men dressed up as would-be kings, it's hard to tell them all apart — some raising up glow-stick swords, others with fake "torches," some with chalices — and they're all chanting, "Ho-dor! Ho-dor! Ho-dor!"
Wiz Khalifa and Future are not taking their respective breakups well: The duo have collaborated with Mike WiLL Made It on a terrible new song called "Pussy Overrated," in which they expound at length upon the various ways womanhood has come up short. (In real life, it's mostly by not letting these dudes cheat on them.) It's possible, even admirable, to hate this song without listening to a second of it, but don't worry — if you do that, you're not missing much. This is just in all-around bad taste.
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 J's new album Sweet Talker.)
Today, news broke that Kesha is suing Dr. Luke for sexual assault. Here is our 2010 piece on the pop producer.
High in the Hollywood Hills, in a cramped home music studio stuffed with a dozen keyboards, a rack of electric guitars, a messy pile of pedals and power cords, a tambourine, and a cowbell, Dr. Luke is trying to get inside your head. He knows how to get in there. He’s been in there before. He might even be in there right now.
Dr. Luke — born Lukasz Gottwald in 1973 in Providence, Rhode Island — is the music producer responsible, in whole or in part, for the following chart-topping songs: “Since U Been Gone,” by Kelly Clarkson (2004); “Girlfriend,” by Avril Lavigne (2007); “Right Round,” by Flo Rida (2009); “Tik Tok,” by Kesha (2009); and “I Kissed a Girl,” by Katy Perry. That last song, by most counts, was the unofficial 2008 Song of the Summer — a title conferred by a loose consensus of critics, bloggers, radio DJ’s, and teens with very loud car stereos. This year’s Song of the Summer battle is shaping up as a bout between “Your Love Is My Drug,” from Kesha, a 23-year-old party girl who spells her name with a dollar sign (Ke$ha), and “California Gurls,” the new single from Katy Perry, a former gospel singer who’s now a kind of candy-coated cross between Betty Boop and Kesha. “California Gurls” itself is a diabolically confectionary ode to sunshine, melting Popsicles, Sex on the Beach, and Daisy Duke shorts, and it recently ascended to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and the iTunes best-seller list. Both of these summer-song contenders, by the way, are also produced by Dr. Luke.
The first rule of divadom: The moment of silence in “I Will Always Love You” is even more important than the Note. I wish someone would deliver this message to ubiquitous Brit Jessie J, pop’s most fidgety star. Throughout her third album, Sweet Talker (which is out this week in the U.S.), she sings like someone utterly incapable of restraint; even her inhales have jazz hands. Like an empty-nester with a newly acquired Bedazzler, Jessie J has never met a note she has not adorned with a trill, a flutter, or — the signature move she busts out when she is Really Emoting — a bleating effect I can only describe as goat vibrato. (“Big White Room,” her 2011 ballad about a young boy with a terminal illness, has a lot of goat vibrato.) I have a friend who, two years later, remains freshly angry that during the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, when, by some clerical error, Jessie J was summoned to front Queen for the night, Jessie felt compelled to grinningly air-guitar during Brian May’s solo, as if she were trying to steal his thunder with an invisible instrument. (“WHO AIR-GUITARS IN FRONT OF BRIAN FUCKING MAY??” this friend just texted me when I reminded her of this. Stay mad.) I saw Jessie J last week at the Gramercy Theater, and I was, at times, entertained. More often, though, I was exhausted and a little confused, wondering if I had accidentally walked into an off-Broadway theater where Kristen Chenoweth was performing a one-woman show about Young Liza Minnelli.
Rock on, gold dust woman. Whether in her lyrics or just throughout the many interviews she's granted over the decades, Stevie Nicks's advice is precious, priceless, and worthy of singling out. That's why we've created our very own Stevie Nicks Wisdom Generator. Take a "spin" and let the crystal ball show you the way ...