R&B singer ain't nothin' to relate to
The Weeknd has always been a little dark. He's always been bold with his sexual exploits. But on one of his two new songs, "John Carpenter," he opens up about a different corner of his life.
"I got a brand-new place, I think I seen it twice all year/ I can't remember how it looks inside, so you can picture how my life's been/ I went from staring at the same four walls for 21 years/ To seeing the whole world in just 12 months / been gone for so long I might've just found God," he lament-excites. "I don't got no friends... this ain't nothing to relate to."
He still talks, literally, about how many women he can "f*ck" on the road, what ladies do with their tongues when they're around him, but it's a similar mold that got people in a tizzy over Drake: emotional coldness and boldness. The intense beat is met with noisy ghosts that trail off into Weeknd's monotone condition. It's weird, but at least it's new.
Sharing the same YouTube airspace (at the beginning) is "Kiss Land," which is apparently the title track to the R&B singer and producer's next album, due out later this year. It's much more on par with his usual sounds and tirade, like a lot of neon and a lot of blackness as he traipses through lines like "Go 'head girl strip it down, shut your mouth / I just wanna hear your body talk." No wonder there's a scream from the top. It's a track with lots of grring distortion and exhalation from his quivering, high voice. And it's too bad it didn't show up in time for the film "Spring Breakers," because they're serious soul mates.
In case you were wondering, he's talking about 'straight sex'
- Critic's Rating D
- Readers' Rating n/a
The R&B singer throats the words every girl longs to hear: "I can give a f*ck about foreplay." So he can, doesn't mean he will. He then gently drapes his arm on the ass of a model as though it were a piece of furniture. Man knows his audience.
"IV Play" goes for longer than IV minutes, which may be longer than the IV minutes The-Dream can "straight sex" without IV Play.
Singer reveals abusive relationship and 'bittersweet' feelings toward Beyonce
Kelly Rowland is releasing a new solo effort, and "Dirty Laundry" is airing a lot of source material. The former Destiny's Child singer makes two revelations in this new track: one is her feelings on the success of Beyonce as she, comparitively, lived "in her shadow." The other is that she was physically abused by an ex-lover.
To the former, she sings, backed by a melancholy piano: "While my sister was on stage, killin’ it like a motherf*cker / I was enraged, feeling it like a motherfucker / Bird in a cage, you would never know what I was dealing with / Went out separate ways, but I was happy she was killin' it... Bittersweet, she was up, I was down."
Beyonce makes another flashback cameo, as Rowland was surviving post-"Survivor," as a survivor of abuse.
"Started to call them people on him / I was battered / He hittin the window like it was me, until it shattered / He pulled me out, he said, “Don’t nobody love you but me / Not your mama, not your daddy and especially not Bey,” she continues. The ending of this particular verse hurts my heart. "He turned me against my sister / I missed ya."
Hell if I and many other critics haven't lobbed jokes about how Kelly or Michelle would never make it bigger than Beyonce. Rowland -- who's always had a sharp voice and knows how to tell a story -- hasn't had the chance for a superstar trek since Destiny's Child days. Her song here, though, isn't about to turn that negativity into more negativity, but into something positive by cleaning up her own feelings on the matter.
Saying that she was conflicted and angry during a time of DC post-breakup blues is actually very self-award and gutsy. But disclosure that she'd gone through a dark and misguided period through abuse is no easy feat either, even on a simple confession produced by The-Dream. R&B singers' bread and butter is emotional climaxes of relationships, from the chase, the bedding, the wedding or the breakup (and of course all tensions in-between). While many scorned lovers' songs make enemies of their exes or insinuate their own indiscretions, there are extreme few that outline actual terror of physical, emotional or sexual abuse in the legal sense. Rowland's dirty laundry here isn't only that she was abused in secret, but that those abuses led to her hurting others. It's a meta-narrative on an R&B trope and the record-making industry, and a sensationally true story, which makes it totally fascinating as a piece of art.
And entertainment. Rowland's voice her is top-notch, don't you think?
Rowland's album "Talk a Good Game" is due on June 18.
Watch the video to her cover of Eddie Vedder's 'Without You'
Natalie Maines released a new album today called "Mother," a mix of rock 'n' roll downers and uppers and some covers. "Without You," originally by Eddie Vedder, has Maines' voice at its core, laying bare some of those emotions that we haven't really tended to in the six years since the Dixie Chicks went on hiatus.
The video, out today too, is even more tame than the take, with a performance shots, some studio goofs, some hugs and fans and a few fashion shots that highlight her beautiful new 'do and her self-aware isolation.
(Watch the video exclusively at EW.)
OK, so let's unpackage the latter a little bit: this is Maines' first solo rodeo, which makes an exceptional job of highlighting her vocals. Even before the 'Chicks, Maines leaned rock and R&B, even as she performed in other country groups. Her choices on "Mother" -- including selections from Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd and her album producer Ben Harper -- here reflect an appreciation for range and drama, and yet the collection is mostly harmless.
Harmless, which is a word that many would never apply to Natalie Maines. It was 10 years ago that Maines criticized the then-president George W. Bush and protested the Iraq war; in the years that followed, she and her cohorts Emily Robison and Martie Maguire as the Dixie Chicks wore those political leaning and rejecting the rejectors with documentary "Shut Up and Sing." Maines refused to "back down" with acclaimed "Taking the Long Way" with its prominent 2006 single "Not Ready to Make Nice."
"It's a sad sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger," reads the lyrics to that song, which then points its way back to Maines and her new "Mother." The title and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" cover weren't selected out of total coincidence: in a way, it's yet another political statement. The Roger Waters tune is ultimately 1) about a rock star and his (single) mom 2) about overprotection and isolation and 3) exercises a skepticism on government and the governing majority.
These are all things Maines knows too well. What I find more interesting is that Maines sings "Mother" as a mother (of two) and a rock star, giving it a woman's sense of ownership and ideal. Single mothers in the '70s and Maines as a country singer with a liberal bent share difficulties as pariahs -- and also happen to be alienated females with a fast-tracked coming-of-age.
As the backlash of the Dixie Chicks continued throughout the 2000s, I had no doubt that some of it was fueled by their gender in the country marketplace. "Dixie Sluts" and "Ditzy Chicks" became choice insults from the era, for example, and they shielded attacks on their abilities as mothers and wives. Country killed Maines' country career, but on her new album Maines herself has scrapped country for rock, notably on songs penned by mostly men (though Maines co-writes, a Patty Griffin song is included and Maguire and Robison collaborate momentarily), in a male-dominated genre. Even though some songs can be interpreted mostly genderless, Maines again finds herself in a platform position not in spite of her gender, but because of it.
I find her voice and her "voice" powerful, even though "Mother" on the whole isn't a terribly strong record. Just like when she and the Dixie Chicks stirred up country homogeneity, I'm just glad she's there.
The Dixie Chicks have been on hiatus from the studio for six years and from the road for three. Maguire and Robison continue to record under Court Yard Hounds and plan a new release this summer.
Go ahead and sample a third of the album, including 'I Appear Missing'
Queens of the Stone Age are two for two as far as affecting animated videos featuring crows pecking at the dead, gore and zombie-like wanderers. Today's new offering, the clip for fresh "Kalopsia," is an achievement in its movements; "I Appear Missing," which appeared last week, is a torture device in color.
Both kind of rule.
"Kalopsia" is "a condition wherein things appear more beautiful than they are," and Josh Homme's voice at least starts out rather beautifully. There's a lot of Bowie feel in this track, even when they open up the room and rock out.
Downer "I Appear Missing" is much more on-the-nose, equal parts depressing and cruelly enlightening. Plus Dave Grohl drums on it, so at least there's a big morbid smile behind it all, before you hit the ground.
That makes it three official studio samplings that are out in the open from QOTSA's new 10-track album "... Like Clockwork," out on June 4. Listen to "Kalopsia," "Missing" and first single "My God Is the Sun" below.
Choirs, harpisocord, the Eternal and -- or course -- glorious pop music
- Critic's Rating A-
- Readers' Rating A-
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Don't worry. This is not to sell you the same liquor Solange was hired to sell you.
This is about selling Solange.
The singer's "True" EP dropped in November, as a little taste-tease for a full-length that's supposed to be due out some time this spring.
And this video for "Locked in Closets" is a little taste-tease for it. The other Knowles is seen strutting in in her newly adoptive home-base Brooklyn, at bodegas and salons, subway stops and the dance floor. I know that I lived in New York too long because I'm thinking, "Someone had to do serious neighborhood association battle to paint their brownstone building that shade of pink."
"True" was produced by Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange) and released by Terrible Records, a label co-founded by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor. No word yet on when to expect Solange's third full-length.
Hey, at least diamond teardrops aren't a bindi (Selena.)
- Critic's Rating B-
- Readers' Rating B
Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" was one of my (very few) favorites from off of "The Great Gatsby" soundtrack, so you can imagine my disappointment that the singer has admittedly killed two people. Or at least, that's how I'm reading her diamond teardrops from the "Young and Beautiful" music video.
Aside from the movements from the conductor -- similar to that of Bugs Bunny as Leopold (because I'm a five-year-old child) -- the Del Rey clip keeps fairly stationary, perhaps due to the heft of her aching soul.
"Great Gatsby" is in theaters starting today, with its Jay-Z-aided soundtrack out on Tuesday.
Brief cameos make for a focused video
- Critic's Rating B+
- Readers' Rating n/a
If Pusha T's "Numbers on the Boards" is a prime example of what to expect from the rapper's oft-delayed album "My Name Is My Name," add me to the pre-orders.
I like Push's ferocity and sense of humor here, displayed in this new video as a series of neck-ups with the usual backdrops: dark tunnels, rooftop views, the Paris Metro. But it's all pretty dark -- the execution, plus the shots -- equalling something tight, focused, minimally produced but lithe and bounding. It's a cool creation, produced by Kanye West who makes about a one-second appearance at the end. Chief Keef took time out to stop reading Shakespeare to make a cameo too.
"I might sell a brick on my birthday," the former dealer boasts in one of his many drug-dealing boasts. "Thirty-six years of doing dirt like it's Earth Day (god)."
"My Name Is My Name" is due on July 16 via mouthful Getting Out Our Dreams, Inc./The Island Def Jam Music Group.
Co-written by fiancé Chad Kroeger, co-sponsored by 1998
- Critic's Rating C-
- Readers' Rating A-
My favorite part of Avril Lavigne's "Here's to Never Growing Up" is that there isn't a single acoustic guitar or drum machine in it. Think about it.
My least favorite part is there was no pig's blood involved.
While the track itself is a combo of Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" and Miley Cyrus' "Party In the U.S.A.," the video will remind you why you left your prom early to go drink in the car. In 1998.
"Here's to Never Growing Up" is the first song from Avril Lavigne's next album, her fifth, due some time in 2013.