The Weeknd as you knew him is dead. Long live undreadlocked Abel Tesfaye, who you really should still actually dread judging from his new "Starboy" video. In it, the clean-cut Weeknd 2.0 makes sure his former self can't feel more than just his face by suffocating him, of course. But the transformation doesn't stop there: Along his way to the Dark Side, the Weeknd also stumbled upon Kylo Ren's crossguard lightsaber and has decided its best use is destroying his old lavish house. Evil. Sadly, Daft Punk don't take part in this Sithian ritual, but the robots are there in spirit.
Adele isn't the only one rocking a new diamond plaque: While she notched her second diamond album last week, Garth Brooks was busy getting his record-breaking seventh! As of September 21, Brooks's 2007 greatest-hits compilation, The Ultimate Hits, has gone 10x platinum, better known as certified diamond by the RIAA. He's now one ahead of the Beatles as the musical act with the most diamond albums in history and the first-ever artist to reach seven. Brooks previously went diamond with 1989's Garth Brooks, 1990's No Fences, 1991's Ropin' the Wind, 1994's The Hit, 1997's Sevens, and 1998's Double Live. But don't worry, Beatles fans: Brooks may have the Fab Four beat on shiny gemstones, but the Beatles have still sold far more overall certified units. Like, 120-plus million more. So you can all resume humblebragging.
Oh my God, they're back again. And we're not just talking about the Backstreet Boys, who are taking their synchronized talents to Las Vegas — no, boy bands as a musical trend in general are back! Alright? Or at least they will be if James Corden has anything to do with it, and you know he does. He's not here for those stand-there-and-sing types like One Direction (R.I.P.) or those instrument-playing posers like 5 Seconds of Summer. Corden demands choreo, matching outfits, big music-video events, and for everyone to play their part: "Five guys together, I'm talking about the Cute One, the Funny One, the Nice One, the Other One, and the Maverick." And dammit, he'll make it happen himself if he has to! Corden joined the Backstreet Boys on "Everybody" last night because, iconic as they still are, BSB were obviously always missing the Sexual One.
Earlier this year, the Rolling Stones made history when they performed in Cuba for the first time in their career, giving a free concert in the capital city of Havana. Now, if you weren't lucky to be one of the estimated 500,000 (!) people who attended the gig, you'll be pleased to know that the entire concert — with added behind-the-scenes hubbub — was recorded for posterity, and the short trailer for the Paul Dugdale–directed film, Havana Moon, is available to watch. Hey! (Hey!) You! (You!) It'll be officially released on DVD on November 11!
Danny Brown’s forthcoming album Atrocity Exhibition is no longer forthcoming, because it just arrived on streaming services three days ahead of its scheduled release. Exhibition has generated great advance buzz with singles like “When It Rain” and “Really Doe,” and is stacked with guests like Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, and Ab-Soul. Stream it on Spotify or Apple Music.
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.
The first time I met Mac Miller he’d just moved into a beautiful new Brooklyn apartment and completed a new album — last year’s end-of-summer wake-up call GO:OD AM — which presented a hard reset from the previous year’s drugged-out mixtape Faces. He steps into the New York Magazine office on a brisk September Friday under similar circumstances — new house, new album — but the particulars are different. He’s just moved back to Los Angeles, the city where he nearly wrecked his life holed up in a mansion and recording facility living a dream of musicianly excess. The brand-new The Divine Feminine is his “New York album” insofar as it was conceptualized and recorded in large part at a few studios around the city, with the help of piano and production whiz Aja Grant, of the Brooklyn soul act Phony Ppl. But the new music eschews the grit and frost of New York autumns and winters in favor of a lovesick, funk-forward lightness effected in part because the project began on a lark, but also, it would appear, because he is seeing someone new.
Allison Janney Transforms Herself Into a Clown for a Music Video, Might Just Save the Concept of Clowns YetBy Halle Kiefer
Is Clown Allison Janney the only non-terrifying clown the world has left? The Mom actress costumes herself as a kind of casual-glam Bozo in Rachael Yamagata’s new "Let Me Be Your Girl” video, directed by Josh Radnor, and if anything, it makes her more charming. Allison Janney’s not luring small children into the sewer or lurking around in the woods near an elementary school. You can be sure of that. Okay, her seductive stare directly into the camera is ... pretty intense, but still, better than every other clown in existence.
In January of 2015, Justin Timberlake played the final show of his 20/20 Experience World Tour at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It was the last night of his two-year-long global concert extravaganza, and because he’s the kind of guy who can get an Academy Award—winning director to film his projects, Jonathan Demme was on hand to turn that show into a concert film for Netflix. So now we have the first trailer for Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids, a feature-length moving scrapbook of dad-era Mr. JT turning up all his charm for the crowd, singing the hits, and mixing it up with his wonderfully enthusiastic supporting band. It looks as corny as the song “Mirrors” is, which features heavily in this clip, and that’s exactly what it is supposed to be. Watch with your mom and sing every word together.
Attention, music completists: Bob Dylan is about to gift you 36 albums' worth of rare live recordings from 1966 like he's a regular old Kris Kringle. Under your Christmas tree this year will more than likely be The 1966 Live Recordings, a 36-disc box set all taken from shows during Dylan's tour-heavy Blonde on Blonde year. The collection, which arrives November 11, includes shows in Australia, Europe, and America — the highlights being his infamous "Judas" concert in Manchester, England (which was previously released), and his Royal Albert Hall shows, the first night of which will get a standalone release on November 25.
Hello, it's Adele, modern pop anomaly, back with yet another monumental achievement. Adele's 25 has officially reached certified diamond (or 10x platinum) status as of September 20, signifying that the album has crossed the 10 million unit threshold in the U.S. less than a year since its release last November. (Nine million of which are reportedly in pure sales.) Adele previously went diamond with 2011's 21, but it took that album closer to two years to hit 10 million — 25 has done it in half the time. She becomes the first woman to reach two diamond albums in the U.S. since Britney Spears last did it with 1999's ... Baby One More Time and 2000's Oops I Did It Again; she's also the only artist this decade to have two diamond albums.
Are the Devil and God raging inside you right now? So sorry, the Devil has won: Brand New will not be putting out that album you never truly allowed your heart to accept was happening, at least not this year. In a typed letter posted on Twitter, the band explained that they really are working on their first album in seven years, it's just not up to their standards yet. "These plans were authentic, but we are changing them," they write. "While there exists a collection of songs that, right now, some would call fit to be an album, to us it is not complete enough, refined enough, or edited thoroughly enough to be something we would call finished or essential."
On Saturday, music and activism once again converged on Central Park's Great Lawn in New York City for the 2016 Global Citizen Festival. In its fifth year, the daylong concert — which attendees enter for free as an incentive for spamming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about pledging money to educate Syrian refugees, among other hashtaggable efforts to fight global crises — expanded to include even more musical performances sandwiched between all the tears. Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar were this year's big-name headliners, but it was really all the action before the main event that stole the show. Namely, Coldplay front man turned self-deprecating staller Chris Martin. Missed MSNBC's live telecast? Below, we have the highlights.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m not optimistic,” says Vince Staples. Conversations with the Long Beach, California rapper tend to quickly stray into discussions of perspective and experience — Would you believe what you believe if you weren’t who you are? — and ours, held in a boardroom in the New York offices, is no exception. “I see the worst-case scenario and I operate based off the worst-case scenario. I’ve always been like that. That’s what’s kept me out of jail. I’ve always thought of what’s the worst possible thing that could happen, and then you work up from there.” He’s wearing simple clothing: a T-shirt, pants, and sneakers of no special distinction, plus large glasses that could only be described as nerdy. Loud or soft, his voice has a certain private register to it. He’s gifted at maintaining your attention while considering his words and himself at a remove. Not in an egotistic way, but in a soberly bemused, meditative, isn’t-it-strange kind of way.
The Nirvana Nevermind Baby Re-created the Famous Cover and He Looks Exactly the Same (No, Not Really, He Got Older)By Devon Ivie
Nirvana celebrated the 25th anniversary of their seminal album Nevermind on Saturday, and everyone — we mean everyone — wanted to celebrate its silver jubilee in a good rockin' and rollin' fashion. This includes Spencer Elden, a.k.a. the adorable baby who graced the cover of the album when he was just a few months old. This time around, Elden, now an artist living in Los Angeles, decided to re-create the cover with the modest inclusion of a swimsuit. "The anniversary means something to me. It’s strange that I did this for five minutes when I was four months old and it became this really iconic image," Elden told the New York Post, who orchestrated the shoot. "It’s cool but weird to be part of something so important that I don’t even remember." It's fun to lose and to pretend and to re-create classic photographs, after all.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Joins Weird Al Yankovic to Sing ‘Yoda,’ Achieving the Much-Sought-After Nerd Holy TrinityBy Halle Kiefer
Don’t worry if you didn’t attend a house of nerd worship this weekend, because the universe has conspired to deliver unto you a nerd experience of transcendental proportions. Weird Al superfan Lin-Manuel Miranda popped in during Yankovic’s Radio City Music Hall concert last night, singing the chorus to the Kinks' "Lola" parody "Yoda." Determining that the "Yoda" rendition he saw in ninth grade was the best moment of his life, Miranda declared last night's concert "a VERY close second." While you might have learned the Weird Al versions of every ’80s pop song first, now your children can hear the creator of Hamilton singing Star Wars–themed Weird Al before he or she ever hears another human voice. Really, the only way to infuse this news with more nerdery is if there was some way to somehow incorporate Harry Potter into the and, oh, there we go:
Kanye Did a Surprise Set at Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day Festival, But It’s Kanye, So Really, How Surprised Were You?By Halle Kiefer
Honestly, Kanye could show up unannounced to do a surprise performance at a preschool Halloween party and no one would bat an eye. Yeezy's here? Great, someone move all the spaghetti and peeled grapes and wet rubber hands and whatever. Chicago fans were lucky enough to see Yeezy stop by Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day Festival yesterday to perform parts of “Black Skinhead,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” “Touch the Sky,” “Gold Digger,” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 and Pt. 2." You can see his performance of "Ultralight Beam" with Chance below. After his afternoon set, Kanye then flew to a performance in Nashville, because Kanye is not limited by space or time.
At long last, a special David Bowie album has finally made its way out of the vault and into the spotlight. The Gouster, a previously unreleased Bowie album from various 1974 studio sessions, is now available to stream (or legally listen to) for the first time ever. As Spin notes, the soulful album — which laid the groundwork for his 1975 album Young Americans — is part of a larger Bowie compilation box set called Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) that was released earlier this week. (There are 12 albums, in total, included in the set.) "Gouster was a word unfamiliar to me, but David knew it as a type of dress code worn by African-American teens in the ’60's, in Chicago," explains producer Tony Visconti in the album's liner notes. "But in the context of the album its meaning was attitude, an attitude of pride and hipness. Of all the songs we cut, we were enamored of the ones we chose for the album that portrayed this attitude." Stream it away on Spotify — The Gouster tracks begin at number 50 — below.
There’s Lots and Lots and Lots of Sexual Innuendo in the Music Video for Tegan and Sara’s ‘Stop Desire’By Devon Ivie
Tegan and Sara's buoyant single "Stop Desire," off their latest album Love You to Death, already has a sexy title, so why not accompany it with the equally sexy music video it deserves? Because nothing says "seductive" quite like a pastel-colored post office and laundromat ... and photos of stamps juxtaposed next to pens. Oooooh baaaaaby. Maybe they'll add this one to their list of favorite songs.
In this month's edition of Unexpected Musical Collaborations at Random Youth-Orientated Festivals, we present Billy Idol and Miley Cyrus, who teamed up to perform an electrifying rendition of Idol's famed 1983 tune "Rebel Yell" at the iHeartRadio Music Festival last night. Cyrus — who's serving as The Voice's resident cool judge right now — was a surprise guest, handling the second verse of the song while decked out in an impressive Idol-themed outfit. It wasn't in the midnight hour, though, more like 9:00 p.m. PST.
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