After hanging out her dirty laundry and telling us where she wants her kisses, Kelly Rowland finally dropped Talk A Good Game, the singer’s most personal effort to date. We gave it a solid four out of five in our review, noting “Game consists of slickly produced mainstream R&B that skews provocative in its subject matter, even as ballads tend to dominate.” On her fourth studio album, the former Destiny’s Child member has found her genre niche, however, “there’s still a versatility at play that feels welcome, like she’s working quite hard to cross all her Is and dot all her Ts: The bangers are super sexy and the ballads are super soulful; there’s enough driving-through-Atlanta-with-the-top-down midtempos to satisfy.”
As for the other critics out there, Rowland’s latest LP talked a good game to some, and a meh game to others. Head below for our roundup of reviews. More »
In case the Taylor Swift-baiting, prancercising “Paper Doll” didn’t make it clear, John Mayer is back. The complicated jerk-turned-Montana recluse has unveiled that his sixth studio album, Paradise Valley, will see an August 13 release. That’s the cover up top, featuring his trusty rancher’s hat and a picturesque shot of what we’re guessing is his current home state’s landscape.
Next month, Mayer hits the road with American Idol winner Phillip Phillips for his first full tour in three years, so expect to hear more new material very soon. More »
We’ve already swooned over Katy Perry‘s beautiful July Vogue cover and studied what the pop diva had to say about ex-husband Russell Brand but let’s take some time to appreciate the sheer gorgeousness on display in the Annie Leibovitz-helmed shoot. Country living has never looked better!
It’s a simple premise. The serial chart-topper wanders around a farm, channelling ’50s screen siren Jane Russell. She poses for a picture next to a chicken coop, reclines seductively on a haystack and basically just looks perfect. Let us know your favorite pic after the jump. More »
Quadron made their US network television debut on the Late Show with David Letterman Monday night (June 17). The Danish duo performed “Hey Love” off their lovely new album Avalanche. Singer Coco O.‘s red-and-black get-up reminded us a bit of Jessie Ware, and her vocals similarly carry songs without any bit of stress or strain or showboating. In the live setting, the vibrant track was more percussive, making it even more dramatic when those drums drop out on the bridge.
Watch it up top, and then check out our interview with Coco.
Speaking to J. Cole before the release of Born Sinner, the rapper made it clear to us that he wanted to showcase his abilities as a producer and capital-A Artist. The result is an album that he called a “journey through Hell” and that, through songs like “Crooked Smile,” aimed to plant its flag on its own section of hip-hop territory. In our own review of Born Sinner, we felt the rapper’s sophomore effort was “less about beating his chest over his lyrical dexterity and more about highlighting the various angles to his style[...] While his debut Cole World: The Sideline Story was his moment to prove his talent, this follow-up is the celebration of it.”
But how did the rest of the critics feel about the ambitious album? Well, the reactions were all over the place. Head below to see a roundup of what other music publications had to say about Born Sinner. More »
Justin Bieber‘s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year continues (note: it’s all relative), as the monkey-losing, boo-receiving, burglarized, exhausted star has ceded the YouTube throne to Rihanna. Billboard reports that as of this morning (June 18), RiRi’s VEVO channel had a total of 3.784 billion views, a two million view lead over Bieber’s official channel. Not to mention, RiRi has a higher per-video average, as she has 77 clips on her channel compared to Biebs’ 79.
Part of the reason for Rihanna’s reign is that she has almost double the subscribers of Bieber (8.73M vs. 3.7M). But Bieber can still take solace in the fact that he’s the King of Twitter, becoming the first person to amass over 40M followers. Although…earlier this year, a report claimed that nearly half of his Twitter followers are spam or inactive accounts. Well, at least he can blow off some steam by listening to the angry new Yeezus: we know he likes the new album.
With Yeezus, the world’s most polarizing pop star has gone and dropped a polarizing anti-pop record. Kanye West‘s bilious new offering is the evil twin of 808s & Heartbreaks, trading in mopey mecha-tears for seething rage and jagged confrontation. It’s a shocking set of sounds coming from a mainstream pop star, made even more shocking considering that after My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch The Throne, nobody thought Yeezy had it in him to do a direct, 10-track, no-bullshit, focused attack like this.
We raved about the album in our review, scoring it a 4.5/5 and saying that it serves the important function of bringing niche sounds into the mainstream, and that “like sex, Yeezus is exciting, primal, exhausting, disgusting and, well, pretty mind-blowing.” Going through the reviews across the Web, it’s clear the critics are in love with Yeezus. But the comments and user ratings seem to suggest the LP left many fans scratching their heads. Head below to see our roundup of reviews. More »
The lovely ladies of Fifth Harmony premiered their debut single “Miss Movin’ On” over the weekend, and now the track gets the lyric video treatment: The girls have put together a sweet little visual accompaniment for the song, which features quick cuts of each of the girls solo holding up hand-drawn signs with the song’s lyrics, before the triumphant climax sees them all together with their individual signs.
The song is still great and nicely representative of the girls’ vibe, and the lyric video just serves to drive home how smart a choice it was — even if I still prefer their cover of Taylor Swift‘s “Red.”
Drake started from the bottom and now he’s on the cover of GQ. (There are worse places to be.) In the cover shoot, he looks nice and summery in a shimmery gray shirt and white trousers, with a big goofy unrapperlike grin; the excerpted quotes from the feature, though, suggest a tone that’s typically Drake — that is, a little bit tormented.
On the subject of his ongoing feud with Chris Brown, he notes that he thinks “it could end really badly,” although he says he wishes it could just be resolved: “I don’t want my name to be synonymous with that guy’s name,” he said. “I really don’t. I wish we could sit down, just like you and me are right now, and talk it out man-to-man. But that’s not going to happen. I’m not confrontational, but if someone challenges, I’m not going to back down… [H]e’s made me the enemy, and that’s the way it’s gonna stay, I guess.” Oof. Pretty fatalistic. More »
Well, John Mayer (who Katy Perry recently described as having a “beautiful mind” and a “tortured soul,” in case you wanted to feel a lot of feelings about something this morning) has just released a new single and a new video: The song’s called “Paper Doll” and it’s a quintessentially John Mayer track, with a little Mumfordesque drum bit and a catchy-sweet melody, but it doesn’t feel like it’s really up to much.
The song’s release comes paired with a video that’s called a video but is actually a lyric video, since Mayer’s nowhere to be found: Instead, he recreated the viral Prancercise video, with lyrics running across the screen. It’s just so John Mayer, isn’t it? You can sort of see him stroking his chin in a lounge somewhere, thinking about #content and how to #go #viral, and then — “Aha!” he thinks, calling his manager. “Get that weird old lady from the Prancercise video, quick.” So even if there’s something sweet about it, for some reason it feels difficult to trust, because it’s John Mayer, and there’s a lot of baggage there. More »