Watching Fifth Harmony's 'BO$$' video with the sound off

Watching Fifth Harmony's 'BO$$' video with the sound off

A too-close reading: Grab a drink, sit down

Literally the first shot of this video sets you into a state of confusion: are those doctors jackets or blazers? And where are their pants?

The first phrases emblazoned across the screen is "Think Like A Boss... Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do... Find Yourself And Be That." These are in two different fonts: the first phrase is in Impact and the other font and words make me want to buy organic bath stuffs.

So far, the outfits are quite literally binary: white or black. Each seems to lay claim to different choreography schemes with white denoting unity and black meaning individuality. Each require complex arm movements denoting bossness.

Boss means strutting on a catwalk and extreme arm movement. If I didn't know that the most-used phrase in this song was "Michelle Obama," I wouldn't be doing the dog-headtilt thing here.

Holding up signs that look like enlarged Scrabble letters, I am told the quintet is "confident." Now, pretend legs are butterfly wings and that explains what their preceding floor move is.

Confident women air-hump chairs.

Seconds later, they kick those chairs, with heels on. But I thought they liked the chairs?

Boys and girls approach a small table and they don't like each other. There's a fight, or at least some aggressive smack talk. It may be political.

A girl and a guy face off, because this is a battle of the sexes. There's an ingredient in this drink, I wish I knew what it was because it tastes so obvious.

Based on physical strength, everybody here knows she would lose this match. Everybody. If this is a battle for symbolic bossness, then of course she won because that is the name of the song. If this was a battle of the sexes -- and we've established that this is -- can it not end in a draw? Must there always be a superiority and establishment class? I'm alarmed at this symbolic arm wrestling match. Must boss equal female?

Mystery solved: there is a catwalk in this music video because there is a [camera] product placement. The product has its own flash on it, yet we continue to see bursts of those old-timey flash bulbs. I dare to dream it is another symbol in this symbol-rich music video:  the old timey camera flashes are the male establishment and the new petite flashes on the [camera] are representative female and because Fifth Harmony were paid to host a brand in the video, they (and by proxy females) are boss, despite the aesthetic advantages of a male flashbulb state.

The women salute a flag that says "Boss / Fifth Harmony," delivering on another unsolved mystery: they are in the military, and more specifically, privates in the sexy nurses branch. They pledge allegiance to themselves.

Returning to the arm wrestling match, we have another face-off. Finding herself immediately outmatched, our female snatches the ballcap from her rival's head and puts it on her head, an assertion of flirtation, sexual dominance, gender reversal and "wiles." Wiles are looked down upon by the male troupe, who deem wiles irresistible and, thus, unjust. She solidifies the victory by using two hands instead of one, a slight breach in traditional arm wrestling etiquette. Considering the pre-established military state of Fifth Harmony, one can only conclude that the tussle between the sexes here is over the female recruit physical requirements for the integration into Marine ground combat units. A hot topic! It is political.

He takes off his shirt, a momentary inverse on the male gaze, her spoils of winning the war.

The [camera] is turned on the male photographers, who are revealed to be the ladies' arm wrestling rivals. Like an explorer photographing a newly exposed native peoples, she reveals she has captured their souls with her flashy boxy thingie.

Since bossness, and superiority in arm strength and arm movement is confirmed, the women now are ready for marriage, which could be the sole and only explanation for their virginal,  lace- and satin-dominated floor length white gowns. The camera, the gaze and conservative value is reclaimed. Marital availability becomes an indicator light for bossness. The First Lady iterations become inextricable interwoven with Annie Leibovitz retro.

I can't anymore. This song and its video is playful but pedantic. Fifth Harmony's "BO$$" went on sale yesterday, and will be included on "The X Factor" ensemble's first full-length album, out in the fall.

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<p>Cat Power and Coldplay&#39;s Chris Martin</p>

Cat Power and Coldplay's Chris Martin

Slow dance with yourself on Coldplay and Cat Power's collab 'Wish I Was Here'

For Zach Braff's 'indie' film of the same name

Just like Jon Favreau could loop in Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johanssen into his indie ("indie") movie "Chef," Zach Braff was able to secure some heavy-hitters of his own for his indie flick "Wish I Was Here." The guy can bat at a level that you send a draft of your film to multi-Grammy winner Chris Martin and come out on the other side with a brand new song from Coldplay and Cat Power titled after your movie.

And the tune could leave you swooning.

Led by piano and Chan Marshall's twilit voice, "Wish I Was Here" started out as an idea Martin bumped off his band, with a gap open for a female lead singer, according to NPR. Marshall has been somewhat quiet since 2012's "Sun" and a proceeding tour that was marred by cancellations, frustration and illness. She sounds as strong as ever, very comfortable with Martin's harmonic mumble.

No news if this marks a period of activity for Marshall, but keep in mind that "Wish I Were Here" has been around since Sundance in January.

The soundtrack to "Wish I Were Here" is out on July 15 with the theatrical run starting two days later. Also from the tracklist, check out the new song from the Shins, "So Now What," here.

Hold me close now, Cat Power.

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Exclusive: Stream 'The Rover' score, plus a Q&A with its director and composer

Exclusive: Stream 'The Rover' score, plus a Q&A with its director and composer

On music for Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce and 'that' pretty girl scene

For anybody who has and will see David Michôd's "The Rover," there's another strong lead besides Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce: its soundtrack is like another character. The score for the film was composed by Antony Partos and performed by sound designer Sam Petty. (They both also helmed the sounds for Michôd's "Animal Kingdom.")

Michôd initially presented his cast with previously recorded and powerful songs from accomplished saxophonists and composers Colin Stetson and William Basinski, post-rockers Tortoise, Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi and -- yup -- pop star Keri Hilson. Partos and Petty chewed on them too, and riffed on the descending scenery for Pattinson's Rey and Pearce's Eric. What they weaved in became a gorgeous black mass of ominous, dissonant, agitated and aggressive compositions to rove to in the Australian outback.

Today, we exclusively reveal "The Rover" score tracks on their own; below, Michôd and Partos discuss arriving at sounds, customizing bastardized violins, the Keri Hilson "Pretty Girl Rock" scene, and when to try a little tenderness.

David, you had given songs from Colin Stetson, Tortoise, etc. to the cast as "mood signifiers." Had you always known that you definitely wanted some of those songs to end up in the movie too? What was your vision of how those songs would blend with Antony and Sam's original work, or was that planned?

David Michôd: I find music the the clearest and easiest way in to what a movie will feel like - more so than visual references or other movies or dense dossiers of research material. Every now and then I'll send a piece of music or two to people I'm working with -- actors or heads of department - when I think it'll help them get a sense of the kind of movie I'm proposing. Often those pieces will end up in the movie -- sometimes they won't. I build big playlists while I'm writing -- stuff from all over the place, stuff I suspect I'll never use -- and then, as we get closer to production and then the edit, I whittle that list down to the key pieces that somehow embody the movie and its key scenes.

So, yeah, those tracks -- the Stetson, Basinski, Tortoise etc -- were ones I had hoped would find their way into the finished cut. I always knew, however, that there would be strange gaps that needed to be filled -- connecting tissues or pieces requiring something very specific that I hadn't been able to find. That's where the exceptional talents of Antony Partos and Sam Petty come in.

What were the other songs you could have potentially gone with for Robert/Rey's "Pretty Girl Rock" scene? Why and how did you settle on that one?

Michôd: I think once upon a time I had "Don't Cha" by The Pussycat Dolls down for that scene. It was just a signpost in the script. I can't remember how and when Keri Hilson found herself in the mix. I wanted that moment in the movie to function as a potent reminder of the fact that Rob's character is a kid who in different circumstances would just be doing the kinds of things kids do everywhere -- thinking about girls, playing with his hair, listening to music. Instead, he has found himself in the middle of nowhere, tethered to a monstrously damaged drifter.

Antony, can you elaborate how, logistically, you and Sam would split or perform various "duties" for this? Did you call dibs on characters you wanted to write themes for, or were did you assign yourselves specific instruments one or the other would play? Or was it important that everything was created together?

Antony Partos: Working together with David and Sam again after "Animal Kingdom" made it possible to have a certain short hand in terms of decision making.

In a sense this was much a simpler process than with "Animal Kingdom." David had a very strong vision for the musical palette and also distinct ideas about what should be in Sam's domain and what should be score. Sam works a lot of with tonal based textures and is a very nuanced sound designer. In terms of forming a stream lined process on "The Rover," I would send over temp mixes to Sam, so things like key, could be established early on. I also sent over individual musical based sounds for Sam to use as he saw fit.

Aside from being fairly ambient, there's also a very minimal, primitive vibe to the score, an obvious reflection of the visuals.  Did you set certain restrictions or parameters (aside from time cues) in which you could only operate in creating (or selecting) the music -- like number of allowed instruments, types of instruments, keys/tones?

Partos: David was always intent on using some pieces by the extraordinary saxophonist Colin Stetson, so this really set the tone and palette early on in the piece. My brief was to try and evoke a certain sadness and help the two main characters develop an unspoken bond. I was interested in complimenting Colin's pieces by also using saxophones so I created pieces by getting musicians in early on to play in unusual ways. For example, recording baritone and bass saxophones not only in their usual register but also getting them to play harmonics and notes at the extreme high end of the register. I would also play with the pitches after the record by manipulating elements octaves below or higher than their original pitch. This help create a mood that was somehow tender but simultaneously alien. Similar techniques were used with bass Irish whistles and strings.

The string work was recorded individually and used a combination of bastardized custom made violins with strings that could play in either viola or cello pitch as well as electric violin. Once again it help create a mood that was subtly emotional but somehow unfamiliar and lonely.

Music like from the "Homecoming" scene can be downright hopeful, something this movie isn't really about. Were there times you knew you wanted to lighten the film up, even when the story kept going down, down, down?

Partos: My task was to build the trust and love between the two main characters despite their circumstances. I think there is a subtle yet tangible shift that develops two thirds of the way through the story and the score does change in this regard to become more harmonically based compared to the textures that are present in the first half of the film. It was interesting to see how it played with a large audience. There are certain moments in the film that give it relief. This was evident in the script and it was picked up by the audience in the Sydney Film Festival screening.

Yes the film is dark -- and I must admit for me I am drawn to a sense of broodiness with my music. But hopefully there is an aspect to tenderness in the score as well.

Some of the abstract samples or scores are like loops, good palate cleansers (or good for brain entropy when you're in a rut). What music or audio do you use to bring order to your creative life? What do you do to mess it all up?

Partos: My life is naturally disorganized. I struggle to bring order to it at the best of times. I think I am wired in a more chaotic manner than most, and I do my best to hide this fact from as many people as possible!

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<p>Demi Lovato</p>

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato goes to L.A. Pride Parade for 'Really Don't Care' music video

Oh and hey, Travis Barker

Man, nothing says gay pride parade and good will and great fun like Perez Hilton and Wilmer Valderrama cameos!

Demi Lovato, in a transparent offering to her LGBT  (and Jesus) fans, set her new music video "I Really Don't Care" with guest Cher Lloyd at the L.A. pride parade, which took place earlier this month.

The pop star struts on a float in a suit-and-tie combo, and included some quality choreography from dancers and lip-syncers all the while. Forget the limp verse from Lloyd: there's enough perk to go around.

The vid is timed to Lovato's appearance on the Logo network tonight, where she is scheduled to reveal that her grandfather was gay and out in the 1960s. The "Trailblazers" episode will honor LGBT civil rights activists.

Lovato is hitting up another pride parade this weeked in New York; I wonder what other bully (*cough* Hilton) she can feature to drive home the no-bullying ideals?

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<p>Sia</p>

Sia

Credit: RCA

Sia releases lush new pop song 'Big Girls Cry'

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Admit it: You're a cryer

If Sia's "Chandelier" made you feel adventurous, "Big Girls Cry" may bring you down from the ceiling.

The chart-busting songwriter has released another new track from her solo album "1000 Forms of Fear," and it's a little more tame, a little more mid-tempo and a little more heartbroken. I'm gonna let this one sit for a little longer, but it does empower me feel OK about crying during particularly poignant Christmas commercials.

"1000 Forms of Fear" is out on July 8 and was produced by Greg Kurstin, who was behind one of the few songs with any life to it on Lana Del Rey's No. 1 album "Ultraviolence." Listen to another Sia song, "Eye of the Needle" here.

And, no, Sia's still not showing her face in any of her promos. Lena Dunham does some of that for her.

What do you think of the track?

Here is the tracklist for "1000 Forms of Fear":

Chandelier
Big Girls Cry
Burn the Pages
Eye of the Needle
Hostage
Straight for the Knife
Fair Game
Elastic Heart (*produced by Diplo, co-produced by Greg Kurstin)
Free the Animal
Fire Meet Gasoline
Cellophane
Dressed In Black
 

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Tech N9ne's 'Fear' music video hits hard

Tech N9ne's 'Fear' music video hits hard

One of the most personal -- and career best -- moments in the rapper's life

Tech N9ne has been at the rap game for 15 years, with more than a dozen proper studio sets to his name.

Time hasn't slowed him down, either: the rhymer introduced a couple of the best songs of his career with latest collection "Strangeulation," one of which is "Fear," a track about dying and the loss of his mother.

"Is there sound when the ground absorbs me?" Tech asks over the emotional loops, and with the video elements added to "Fear," consider yourself hooked. The 5-minute clip starts with a message to his fans:

"On November 27th 2013 I recorded 'Fear,' one of the most emotional songs of my entire career. The Strange Music video team shot the video on April 7th, 2014, days before I left for my tour in the course of waiting for the release, my greatest fear happened on June 6th, 2014, and I lost my ange l- my mother. Maudie Sue Yates-Khalifah.

"It's important for my fans to know that this is the most personal music video of my career and I never could have imagined what it would mean to me today. This is the final version of 'Fear,' for my fans worldwide.

"Thank you everyone for your love and support."

For many who have experienced the "toughest thing to swallow," "when someone who raised you, they gonna forget you" due to disease (Yates-Khalifah suffered from Lupus), it's powerful stuff.

"Strangeulation" is out and features collaborations from the Strange Music roster and made it to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 when it dropped; "Fear" has guest Mackenzie O'Guin.

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<p>The Gaslight Anthem</p>

The Gaslight Anthem

Credit: Island

Gaslight Anthem's new single 'Rollin' and Tumblin': Could the rockers top the charts?

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New Jersery band returns with new album 'Get Hurt' in August

"You say I'm hopelessly devoted to misery..."

Lana?

The Gaslight Anthem are back with their particular brand of high-octane, heartbroken New Jersey-bred rock in new single "Rollin' and Tumblin'."

The song is from the group's next album "Get Hurt," due on Aug. 19, and they'll be previewing it on tour all summer, some dates with Against Me! (who we caught up with last week).

"Get Hurt" comes on the heels of 2012's "Handwritten," which put the band on the map with the help of single "45." Their first album in 2008, "The '59 Sound," didn't crack the 200; 2010's "American Slang" made it to No. 16. "Handwritten" peaked at No. 3, so I'm thinking August may be a celebratory month for The Gaslight Anthem, who could potentially hook their first No. 1 on the album sales chart.

Now, back to the song: I will say this won't be the first time I (and many others) have compared Gaslight Anthem to their hero Bruce Springsteen. It won't be my last. And at this juncture, they're simply trolling me with the line "Baby, I was born on the 4th of July."

Here is the tracklist for "Get Hurt":

1. Stay Vicious
2. 1,000 Years
3. Get Hurt
4. Stray Paper
5. Helter Skeleton
6. Underneath the Ground
7. Rollin’ and Tumblin’
8. Red Violins
9. Selected Poems
10. Ain’t That a Shame
11. Break Your Heart

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<p>Robin Thicke in &quot;Get Her Back&quot;</p>

Robin Thicke in "Get Her Back"

Yes, Robin Thicke's music videos have always been bad: 'Get Her Back' and more

R&B singer's play to win back wife Paula Patton may recall many of his other offenses

Robin Thicke released his new music video for "Get Her Back" today, which has everybody abuzz with a similar sentiment: um, what a creep.

The singer is shirtless, with waves of ghostly lady-figures haunting his narration. "I never should have raised my voice or made you feel so small / I never should have asked you to do anything at all," he sings at his now-estranged wife Paula Patton, for whom he's made this song, this video and his entire album -- I kid you not -- "Paula." His face is bleeding and texts fly across the screen.

"I made an album for you."

"I don't care."

"This is just the beginning..."

Girl, change your number.

While the brazen attempt to "get her back"  is bold at the very least, there are a few issues that come up in this A/V adventure that have been repeated in Thicke's YouTube playlist. The R&B star has been offending the senses in a myriad of ways in the past decade, and sometimes in the same ways.

Let's dive in, starting with this one:

I have confuse. Did they get into a physical fight? Is it an allegorical fight that's wearing domestic violence as its trade in barbs? Whatever the implication, the crooner is crying and shirtless but otherwise motionless, as bare women's arms swipe across his unclothed chest, an invitation to the notion, "I can see how Thicke sexiness would be a problem in this monogamous relationship, 'mrite?" then high-five your neighbor.

If these texts are real, then he's airing some of his own seriously dirty laundry and -- what's the word? -- embarrassing her yet again with them. If they're not real, then you're courting drama, mama. At least Shia LaBeauf took on visitors when he said #ImSorry.

"Blurred Lines": Might as well open this old wound now. Thicke and his merry band of gray-zoned boners beam as mostly-naked ladies put on a little show for them. The good girls' infantilism mingles easily with sexual positions, which director Diane Martel described as "it’s very, very funny and subtly ridiculing... It also forces the men to feel playful and not at all like predators." Lol, satire, and as Thicke put it to GQ, "What a pleasure it is to degrade women."

There's intention, and then there's perception.

"Do It 2 U": Thicke must get tired easily because here he is, cooling his heels, as hundreds of women spin around him. Using black women's bodies as sexualized props and accessories is no new feat, but step squads, cheerleading teams and other dance troupes of a certain persuasion are used to literally celebrate Robin Thicke and his featured artists.

"Feel Good": I like to think that Robin Thicke wears his bowtie untied because Robin Thicke doesn't know how to tie a bowtie and has hired a hoard of pantsless zombie lady-dancers wearing bowties to tie it for him.

"All Tied Up": After laying in a bed in a manner in which no woman ever lays in a bed even as she's come-hithering, notice how Thicke then gets the bed while she gets the floor. "Stroke my ego," indeed. Also, this video was made for $5 and a brassier from Anthropologie.

Amount of energy exerted by Thicke, other than what it must have taken him to lift his arms so his assistant could take his tank top off: zero. And a see-through lace swimsuit cover-up does not a pair of pants make.

"Pretty Lil' Heart": THE MAN LITERALLY HAS TO STAGGER AND THEN LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND. He is EXHAUSTED. Still, though, for ladies, this remains a pants-free zone. At least the monkey gets a shirt.

"Lost Without You": Ah, 2006, the first video Patton did with Thicke. This, the man who compliments his lady love by saying she's "the perfect weight." A man who sings while his wife tries to find a pair of pants, fails, then takes a shower.

"Love After War": Finally to what you could call the prequel to "Get Her Back." "Don't you love it when we fight?" he coos back when things were still fun in 2011, when the love affair with Beats was going strong and her clothes were long gone. "The beginning..." it warns at the end. "I never should have asked you to do anything at all..." echoing.

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<p>Pearl Jam&#39;s Eddie Vedder</p>

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam covers 'Let It Go' for one shining moment during 'Daughter'

It's all done now: Video

For a magnificent 40 seconds in time, Pearl Jam covered "Let It Go" from "Frozen."

The rockers slipped in the chorus during an extended jam of "Daughter" as part of their setlist on Friday in Milan, Italy.

You're welcome. And it's over now, we can all go home. "Let It Go" is finished now, as it is said in the scriptures.

[Stereogum]

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<p>Corb Lund</p>

Corb Lund

Credit: New West

Exclusive: Corb Lund plus Sun Studio equals 'Hair In My Eyes Like a Highland Steer'

Injecting rockabilly into your weekend

Corb Lund and his band the Hurtin' Albertans had only two days in Sun Studio, but it's obvious from this new release they made good use of the hours.

"Counterfeit Blues" is the result, the country and rockabilly band roaring through songs culled from seven previous albums and more. Playing together with the same guys for more than 10 years probably helped the live-performance recording process.

"Partly because we know the songs inside out and have played them live a thousand times and partly because recording at Sun is a very old fashioned, low-tech process that ends up sounding really great if you can pull it off," Lund said in statement about the studio that housed Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and others you could call Lund's forebears.

The sharp groove of "Hair In My Eyes Like a Highland Steer" (originally out in 2005 on the album by the same name) pokes out to me most, with Lund's yodel and devilishly smart arrangement. You can check out the exclusive premiere of that above.

"Counterfeit Blues" is out as a CD/DVD set (and digital, and on vinyl) in the U.S. on July 1. Sit in wait for a full album stream next week.

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