Now that American Idol finished up season 12, it’s time for everyone’s favorite pastime: speculating about next season’s Idol lineup. We already know Randy Jackson is leaving, and if the rumors are to be believed, so are the remaining three judges. Before the next wave of rumors hits, though, it’s worth noting how competing competitive singing show The Voice has managed to implement a more structured off-season game of musical chairs. More »
So I spent the evening with Fifth Harmony earlier this week — the night after their wild meet-and-greet at Topshop, where they were mobbed by fans — and it was memorable, to say the very least.
Next week, expect to see several exclusive videos with the girls — including some very special acoustic covers! — but for now, let me just leave you with a little message they wanted to share with their fans. No doubt you’ll forgive them for gushing a little bit. After all, their Harmonizers are amazing. More »
The most talked-about producer on the planet right now isn’t one of the many crafting new material for Britney Spears, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. It’s Giorgio Moroder, the 73-year-old Italian musician whose synth-heavy work influenced more artists than you can fill on a sheet of paper and soundtracked at least two generations.
Giorgio’s longtime collaborator and close friend Donna Summer passed away one year ago today, at the age of 63. The disco queen kept her battle with lung cancer private, but it’s Summer’s enduring legacy of revered songs like “I Feel Love,” “Last Dance,” “MacArthur Park” and “Bad Girls” that lives on. To commemorate the first year since the passing of Summer and celebrate the extensive work of Moroder, we reached out to the producer, who turned out to be as thoughtful as he is candid.
“The thing I miss most about Donna is the vitality with which she surrounded herself,” Moroder reflects. “She was always ready for a joke, even in the last months, never indicating that she was suffering. She even tried to convince me to lose weight with the special diet [she was on].”
Rest assured, Giorgio is a man whose calendar in 2013 is getting busier by the week. Still, he offered many insights regarding the classic tracks he produced throughout the ’70s and ’80s — not to mention a certain song recently recorded for Daft Punk‘s upcoming LP Random Access Memories. Head below as Debbie Harry and Blondie‘s Chris Stein, Terri Nunn of Berlin and Moroder reminisce about the music of Donna Summer and some of Giorgio’s biggest milestones. More »
Well hey, it’s a new tune from Britney Spears! It’s not a new single from a new album (for that, fans have to wait for Will.i.am to turn on his sonic trash compactor), but it is a very delicious little nugget from the soundtrack for The Smurfs 2, a buoyant pop track titled “Ooh La La.”
With production credits from Bonnie McKee and Dr. Luke, the song arrives with the same pedigree as “Hold It Against Me,” but where that track’s popstep sound felt fairly robust, “Ooh La La” is featherweight, all bright synths and a light, spunky guitar riff with a nice electro break. It sits somewhere between Cassie and DJ Komori‘s “Sound of Love” and Madonna‘s “Superstar,” sweet and sprightly without ever feeling like it’s trying too hard. More »
Lauryn Hill may be getting all the headlines right now, but her former Fugees band-mate Wyclef Jean is the one making waves in the music world once again, having just released his 33-track April Showers mixtape as a lead-up to his next album, The Carnival Begins. We chatted with Clef about the new projects in his New York City studio, where he says he’s been holed up “for literally six months,” churning out some 200-300 tracks. The first taste of what he’s calling his “Frankenstein project” is the sprawling mixtape, which includes everything from trap to dancehall to acoustic ballads.
“The best way I can explain to you how I do music is the way an author gets a bug in the middle of the night and he gets up with the ink and just starts to write,” Wyclef told us. “He can never stop writing until the book is complete. So I’m inspired right now, I’m doing all this music and I’m like, ‘I gave you 33 records, man I can give you 33 more tomorrow.’”
As for that proper sequel/prequel to The Carnival, Clef said it will be crazy. “It may have a lot of surprises. There’s a record with Pitbull. This is big because it’s Haiti and Cuba. Just the two generations getting together, it’s historic for both countries.” Clef also teased “Small Town Girls,” his collab with 2 Chainz that “fuses original dub with electro dub.” Watch up top for six more things you need to know about Clef’s comeback, including how Missy Elliott and Timbaland‘s proto-dubstep beats influenced him. More »
Miley Cyrus earlier this month hinted that she’d unveil her new single during the Billboard Music Awards. Well, the show is just a couple days away, and now she has made it official. The single is called “We Can’t Stop” and it’ll premiere during Sunday’s BBMA broadcast. The song is presumably off her new album, which arrives later this year. After all the teases about collaborations we can’t believe we’re finally going to hear new, Snoop Lion-free Miley. Head below to see Miley’s tweet with the announcement. More »
Our favorite part of American Idol is always that final moment when the winner is all verklempt and overwhelmed and forced to sing his or her (finally, this year, her!) winning song live under completely surreal circumstances. That’s the best part of the season, isn’t it? It’s why we let them put us through so much bloated programming leading up to that moment. So last night (May 16), Candice Glover was crowned our newest winner of Idol, and we got to see the her smile and cry her way through her coronation song, “I Am Beautiful.”
But as warm as that made us feel inside, we wanted to hear the real track, and now we’ve got it! The studio version of Glover’s official single doesn’t offer up any surprises — her vocals soar over the clean production — but it’s a solid showcase of the newest Idol’s talents. Hear the empowering track below. More »
The Weeknd has premiered the title track from his forthcoming album Kiss Land, and it is an absolute monster. Clocking in at 7:41, “Kiss Land” takes Abel Tesfaye‘s sinister lothario thing to absurd new heights — lyrically, of course, but also because the beat uses a looped female scream. Combined with the creepy funhouse chimes, the whole first half of the song feels like the neon single artwork is advertising a seedy amusement park for groupies.
The Weeknd is no stranger to doing a long, two-in-one song (see: “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” or “The Party & After Party”), but the transition halfway through this Silkky Johnson-produced track is a real stunner, the serrated beat that follows making for a “Pyramids”-level switch-up. And like that Frank Ocean suite, there’s talk of stripping here (“She grind hard for tuition”). The song closes out with the “this ain’t nothing to relate to” hook we first heard in Tesfaye’s “John Carpenter” teaser video. Take a tour through “Kiss Land” below. More »
We’re just a day away from watching Kanye West properly debut new material on the season finale of Saturday Night Live on May 18. No more Vine videos or shaky Hudson Mohawke footage. But first, the man who claims he’s no celebrity has the very celebrity-like duty of appearing in a string of SNL promos along with host Ben Affleck and cast-member Fred Armisen.
For the first one of the bunch, Yeezy is wearing a giant bandage on his forehead, which it isn’t there later, so he’s at least being a good sport about that whole paparazzi pratfall from earlier this week. The clips have an overall feeling like everyone’s trying to get out of the studio as soon as possible, so they’re either really uninspired or really impressive in their sense of forced awkwardness. Check them out up top. More »
This week was all about singing competitions — Candice Glover won American Idol while Randy Jackson announced he’ll be leaving the show, while Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green announced plans to reclaim their judge’s seats on The Voice.
In the world of LP drama, Demi Lovato‘s new album, Demi, was met with mixed reviews — while Daft Punk mania reached an all-time high as the French house duo released a live stream of Random Access Memories on iTunes. As always, our reliable readers had a lot to say about the latest pop news.
Check out some of this week’s best comments below! More »