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.
The video for Jessie Ware’s 2012 single “Wildest Moments” is a master class in stylish simplicity: just a single, unbroken shot of the London-based artist — looking a bit like a marble bust with a nose ring and an immaculate blazer — singing the song as the camera slowly orbits around her, caught in the gravitational pull of her quiet charisma. Especially in the U.S., this single off her excellent debut album Devotion served as most people’s introduction to Ware, and it felt rare to see a pop singer coming out of the gate with such sophisticated, un-showy confidence. (I know another Jessie who could stand to learn a thing or two from her.) Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that she’d first honed her talent a few steps behind the spotlight, touring as a backup singer for British artist Jack Peñate and filling out the sound of Florence + the Machine’s second album, Ceremonials. But the “Wildest Moments” clip has its own kind of transfixing — if slightly evasive — star power: As the camera moves around her, Ware’s gaze occasionally locks intensely with the viewer’s, and then, in the next breath, slips away. The song flickers similarly between extremes: “Baby, in our wildest moments, we can be the greatest / Baby, in our wildest moments, we can be the worst of all.”
Nothing but the Lordiest from Lorde, whose curated Mockingjay soundtrack is as Lorde as it gets: Stromae featuring Pusha T, Q-Tip, and HAIM; the Chemical Brothers featuring Miguel; Charli XCX featuring Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon; and a track from the elusive Grace Jones. Even a Kanye remix of herself, because if you're given permission to curate something, you go to Kanye and ask him to remix you first. Here's the full track list:
More of what's to come from the new Taylor Swift album, 1989, a track called "Welcome to New York," clearly inspired by Swift's own experience moving to New York. (Well, at least, her experience of buying a penthouse apartment in New York.) It certainly captures a bit of that big=city wonderment, doesn't it? I guess someone already found her way out of the woods (and into Times Square).
The Brunch Wars finally have their own (Eggs) Benedict Arnold: After igniting a media firestorm with his controversial remarks on the weekend meal, Julian Casablancas now says brunch is fine after all. Back in September, Casablancas told GQ the he left New York because he didn't like how many more "white people having brunch" he could stand to look at, and like a modern-day Gavrilo Princip, Casablancas's lone shot soon sparked a larger conflict. Brunchers of all races took up barricades on Twitter, while the New York Times unveiled a full op-ed assault upon the meal. Now Casablancas himself has turned to Twitter to play peacemaker:
Jessie Ware's 2012 debut record Devotion was a wonderful, romantic, smooth as hell R&B album; her follow-up, Tough Love, is packed with just as many lovely, dynamic, powerful, restrained, beautiful songs. To put it simply: We are hooked. Vulture spoke to Jessie Ware about the record, working with Miguel, Ed Sheeran, and BenZel, sexy-talking breakdowns, channeling Beyoncé, and how pork buns influence her.
Everyone loves to cover Sam Smith, but not everyone can pull it off. But we'll keep trying as long as we're given the karaoke microphone. Good thing there are singers like Kelly Clarkson who make the entire thing seem effortless.
Buried deep in The New Yorker's 10,000-word profile of Billy Joel — after all the tales of ex-wives, helicopter rides and drinking (perhaps to excess) — comes this small piece of news: Despite not putting out any new music since 2001 and publicly proclaiming that he never would again, Joel is in fact working on new songs. They're called "The Scrimshaw Pieces," and right now they only exist as a series of "tone poems" inside his head.
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 voice mail. Discuss among 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 that 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.