Lorde dances for you -- or herself? -- in 'Yellow Flick Beat' music video

Lorde dances for you -- or herself? -- in 'Yellow Flick Beat' music video

Song culled from 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' soundtrack

Lorde stars in the music video to her latest "Yellow Flicker Beat," and she got all dressed up in a half-dozen ways for you.

Or is it for her? The New Zealand songwriter turns 18 tomorrow and is celebrating in all manner of style, for a song that was made for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1." Some of it, she's rocking dress for a ball. Most of the rest of the time, though, she's like a rare spirit that wanders the night in some unisex button-downs and a red get-up that will have you watching Prince videos. She's personifying her own protagonist of the song, without nary a Katniss to be seen.

"Yellow Flicker Beat" sits on the "Mockingjay" tracklist besides new songs from Chemical Brothers with Miguel, Pusha T, HAIM, Major Lazer with Ariana Grande, Charli XCX, Grace Jones, a Kanye West remix and more. The soundtrack will be out on Nov. 17, while the Jennifer Lawrence-starring film hits theaters on Nov. 21.

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Best And Worst of the 2014 CMA Awards: Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert
Credit: Wade Payne/Invision/AP

Best And Worst of the 2014 CMA Awards: Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert

Annual awards show is feeling the Taylor Swift absence, says hello to Cheezballs

The 2014 Country Music Association Awards were definitely mourning the loss of mainstay Taylor Swift to the pure pop sphere, but not without some fun -- and, still, with a lot of pop mixed in with its roots-based music.

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, once again, hosted the annual performance-oriented awards show, out of Nashville and broadcast on ABC.

Below, I flip through some of the highlights and lowlights of the show, from Kacey Musgraves' defining win, to Little Big Town's multiple performances, from Brad Paisley's Cheezball carrier and character, to Vince Gill and Garth Brooks tipping their hats. We're still trying to make sense of that Kenny Chesney set.

Which were some of your favorite performances from the show?

Here are all the winners of the 2014 CMA Awards; here is Carrie Underwood's performance and new music video of "Something in the Water"; and here is Loretta Lynn taking the stage with Kacey Musgraves.

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Kendrick Lamar marches to his own beat in colorful 'i' music video

Kendrick Lamar marches to his own beat in colorful 'i' music video

Rapper is the best car buddy

Kendrick Lamar's "i" music video could've just been the rapper holding a single  balloon and crying, and I'd still be like, "K."

Because this song has grown on me. The single certainly was an unexpectedly upbeat jam from the "Good Kid," with the lilting sampled guitars and Compton MC preaching self-love to all the kids that "went to war last night." While his upbringing was rough, Lamar talks about finding peace, even in depression.

Thus, in his video, Lamar moves freely. He goes where he wants, dances how he wants, wears what he wants, his crew follows his lead through colorful streets and with interesting characters, one of which takes him on a car ride and he hangs out the backseat window like a dog on a joyride. There's a nostalgic '70s flare throughout, punctuated by the "one nation, under a groove" in the beginning. 

It's cool, and Lamar's cool in it. No wonder the NBA adopted it as its official anthem this season.

The song "i" will supposedly be on Lamar's next album, as-yet-untitled and with no release date, though he's warned that Dr. Dre and Pharrell have helped out on it so far. Lamar will be the musical guest on the Nov. 15 episode of "Saturday Night Live" (with host Woody Harrelson), so maybe we'll know more by then?

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HitFix Mix: Erasure talk 'Violet Flame' and why some EDM is just plain terrible
Credit: HitFix

HitFix Mix: Erasure talk 'Violet Flame' and why some EDM is just plain terrible

Dance music duo on tour now: Watch our interview

How do you keep things fresh when you've been a synth-pop and dance duo, together for almost 30 years, with 16 albums under your belt?

Erasure have done their damnedest, and recently released their album "The Violent Flame." Led by the bangin' new single "Elevation," Vince Clark and Andy Bell's set is still vibrant and luscious, with the beat-maker exercising restraint at times and the singer still belting them out.

I recently sat down with the Brits while they've been on tour in support of the effort -- a year after their Christmas album, 28 years since they released their first album, 26 since their first No. 1 album in the U.K., and a whole lotta hits in between. Bell talked about "responsibility" in his art, and both chipped in on why EDM (electronic dance music) today can really be the pits.

Watch a clip above and a longer abridged interview below, and give a spin to the three songs the pair recommended for you to listen to.

Vince Clark recommended: Nora En Pure, "Come With Me"

Andy Bell recommended: Kate Bush, "Wow" and This Mortal Coil, "Songs of the Siren"

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It sucks to be the good girl: Songs from Taylor Swift, Drake, One Direction and more

It sucks to be the good girl: Songs from Taylor Swift, Drake, One Direction and more

Examining lyrics from Carrie Underwood, 5SOS, Beyonce on what makes a 'good girl'

The "good girl" is a construct. There is no such thing as a good girl. If you've ever talked to a human female person-thing, you may take notice: none are binary animals, either good or bad. Girls are every shade, and to continue sorting women as "good" or "bad" is reductive to her experience and being.  

That hasn't kept the good girl from being defined, reconfigured and held as a nurtured stereotype in our most popular media, frequently in pop music. In folk, blues, jazz, country, dance, rock, ballads and hip-hop, the good girl is rarely explored for her multitudes, but instead for her definitive (and sometimes contradictory) two-dimensional attributes, most commonly associated to her sexuality and her relationship to male or paternal authority (Daddy, Santa, God, etc).

This continues to this day, even recently on Taylor Swift's new album 1989. Drake, One Direction, Beyonce, Kanye West, Carrie Underwood, Madonna, 5 Seconds of Summer have built new songs just in the last five years lamenting/blaming/extolling/pursuing/playing the part of the "good girl."

And what you can still conclude? For the most part, it sucks to be the good girl. It's a losing fight to be the good girl.

Tammy Wynette's good girl doesn't make her man happy, so she threatens to "go bad" to fit his desires: the good girl alters her very being to appease her man. Meanwhile, Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" places the blame of corrupted good girls on unfaithful husbands: "Too many times married men think they're still single / That has caused many a good girl to go wrong." ("If too many women 'go wild,' it could be a sign that society as a whole has come unmoored," wrote Ann Powers on the topic last year.)

Good girls are associative with reward, even monetary, tarnishing "pure" motive. In Fleetwood Mac's "Talk With You," his girl will get her money if she does what she's told. Hank Cochrane's "Sally Was A Good Old Girl" (covered by Waylon Jennings here) was "always willing and she did her best to please" when she was young, sold neckties (heh) to make a living ("up and down the street") and then married a millionaire." In "Underneath Your Clothes," Shakira wants fulfillment of "all the things I deserve / For being such a good girl."

Good girls are infantilized, naive or even enslaved to men. Some choice cuts from the glam-rock and hair-metal eras: Kiss' "Good Girl Gone Bad" has "a ace of a woman, hands of a child"; the Scorpions' "Kicks After Six" says "She's a slave to the suit and tie... She wants to be free" to "spread her wings" (wings, sure, right); Motley Crue call her jailbait, "A preacher's daughter with a devil tattoo... an underage angel with a dented halo... Headin' to the city with her starry-eyed dreams."

Good girls are holy material, or best when tamed: Tom Petty concludes that a good girl loves her mama, horses, Jesus, America, Elvis and her boyfriend, too. Good girls go to heaven  (according to Meatloaf... or Mae West... or Brooks & Dunn). Getting married made the "Queen of the Highway" a good girl, says the Doors.

Aw, too bad good girls like to sin, says blink-182 ("Snake Charmer"), and if you want to be good, you'll need a bad boy (Backstreet Boys).

So what you're saying is a "good girl" has to fit a mold, or she's a bad girl; and that mold is ill-defined, oppressive and makes her an object.

The Go-Go's realized that. And bless Jane Wiedlin, who wrote 1994's "Good Girl," a cynic's reaction to her Catholic upbringing of constantly trying to gain approval, and wanting to "get over it." "Good girl!" is something you should say to a dog, not to a person. "...No offense to dogs intended," she wrote.

In "Dicknail," Courtney Love in Hole recounted a "good girl's" sexual assault using well-worn  tropes in her narration, pleading that in her role-play "I did what you want," as Daddy/Santa Claus dismiss her: "She was asking for it." (That's why lines like the one in "Blurred Lines" -- "I know you want it" -- cause such a stir).

Morcheeba's "Good Girl Down" is an undefeatable, heroic good girl, painted as a woman who others are constantly trying to trip or kill. Jadakiss painted a much more flattering and complete picture of a good girl in his song, ironically titled "Nasty Girl" -- despite making diametric "sides" of his girl versus chickenheads (aka hoodrats, aka bad girls).

Below, I break down and analyze the lyrics of some of the most recent songs about "good girls": on what a good girl is, what she isn't, and why you should just forget about good girls, girl.

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PJ Harvey covered Nick Cave's 'Red Right Hand': Hear it now

PJ Harvey covered Nick Cave's 'Red Right Hand': Hear it now

'Peaky Blinders' got a wailing new recording from the British songwriter

PJ Harvey hasn't been very active since the release of her insanely good 2011 album "Let England Shake," but she's reappeared for "Peaky Blinders," to cover a classic Nick Cave Tune.

Harvey covered the Bad Seeds frontman's "Red Right Hand" for the BBC drama, and BBC radio has now premiered it.

Put on your Halloween costume early, because this one's creepy.

Harvey and Cave have long existed in the same music circles; check out their collaborative song "Henry Lee" from Cave's "Murder Ballads" below. "Red Right Hand" was from Cave's "Let Love In."

ICYMI, here's my interview with Nick Cave about his "20,000 Days On Earth" documentary.

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FKA twigs' 'Video Girl' vid is a death row nightmare

FKA twigs' 'Video Girl' vid is a death row nightmare

Happy horror days

FKA twigs has made a haunting out of her music video for "Video Girl."

The song itself addresses a 19-year-old mother-of-two who "dances" on a camera for others to watch. It's an eerie, creeper of a song to begin with. The "watching" activity goes a step further in its accompanying new clip. 

FKA twigs herself looks on at an inmate being strapped down and killed by lethal injection. Initially, she is crying, alone, made cold by the activity as she watches through a window.

But then something flips, and she is in the execution room dancing by the bound man in stuttering strange steps. She starts crawling up on his table as he starts to go under due to the drugs, bodily taunting him as she straddles him and captures the mic hanging from the ceiling, which is documenting the sound of someone dying.

This is not a mating dance or a sexual advance. She is spookily exasperating him in his dying moments. She's either a victim of the criminal (appearing as a ghost), or someone affected by his crimes (appearing in his or her imagination), but either way FKA twigs makes moves to transcend from bystander to supernatural punisher. Powerful stuff. And pretty freaky. Happy Halloween.

"Video Girl" is on FKA twigs' album "LP1."

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Fifth Harmony's 'Sledgehammer' is a Demi Lovato song with five girls instead

Fifth Harmony's 'Sledgehammer' is a Demi Lovato song with five girls instead

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Not neccessarily a bad thing

Do you like Demi Lovato? Then you'll love Fifth Harmony's "Sledgehammer."

The former has spent her last Top 40 singles singing about matters of the heart -- literally. Her human heart has been the center of "Really Don't Care," "Neon Lights," "Heart Attack" and "Give Your Heart a Break." Really. Listen to the lyrics. Demi Lovato loves singing about hearts just as much as Mumford & Sons does.

Falling in love is basically a death sentence to the singer, but she couches it with huge, crowd-pleasing dance beats and liberally applying kindly '90s boy band synths and an occasional dash of acoustic or live instruments. Her vocals never fail nor cease to soar on choruses, which is precisely why you may or may not like Demi Lovato: her heart is bursting and she needs you to hear about it.

Singing quintet Fifth Harmony follows exactly this formula, only with five girls I guess? If the crew were to splinter right now, Camila Cabello would be the one to continue on, having the strongest and most character-heavy voice, and it sounds like she's the one who's all over this "Sledgehammer" ("slaydge-hamma") recording.

"Sledgehammer" is on Fifth Harmony's new album "Reflection," out on Dec. 16. The song is the follow-up single to "BO$$" which did its damndest to make an impact on radio this summer.

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Belle & Sebastian walk 'The Party Line' with new song
Credit: BelleandSebastian.com

Belle & Sebastian walk 'The Party Line' with new song

It's the first single from 2015's 'Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance'

Scottish twee veterans Belle & Sebastian have been looking back on their prolific career lately, having recently initiated a series of reissues of their previous albums.

But the group -- led by "God Help the Girl" architect Stuart Murdoch -- aren't content to just relive their glory days; they have a new album called "Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance" slated for January, and have just released the set's first single, "The Party Line."

By the time the new album hits stores, it will have been nearly five years since B&S' last proper album, "Write About Love," was released. If the new tune is any indication, "Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance" will be living up to its title as a party-ready record.

It's a synth-driven, danceable jam which is part of the band's continuing evolution from the more '60s-influenced melancholia of their early work, when even their most upbeat songs were bittersweet affairs. 

Listen to it here.



And here's the typically dramatic and compelling single artwork:

"Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance" will be released January 20.

Check out their extensive tourdates in Europe, Asia and North America here.

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Nicki Minaj, Drake and Lil Wayne combine for new song 'Only'

Nicki Minaj, Drake and Lil Wayne combine for new song 'Only'

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Chris Brown sings, for good measure: Is there any air in this balloon?

I don't know why I find it so hard to believe that this new single "Only" is the first time Drake and Lil Wayne have been on a track together for a Nicki Minaj song. I'm also finding it (slightly less) hard to believe that single isn't all that great.

Devoting about a third of its running time is Nick Minaj asserting she hasn't "f*cked" the Young Money founder and one of its biggest signees; and Drake and Lil Wayne over on their verses going "yeah, uh huh." Of course, the guys need maintain that, given the chance, they'd be the  MC's squeeze, or as Drake delicately puts it, "I never f*cked Nicki cause she got a man / But when that's over then I'm first in line."

I get it. This combo -- which includes a deliberate, meandering hook from Chris Brown -- needs a little loping "hot for Nicki" fanfare, particularly for a track specifically for her "Pinkprint." Wayne's next "Carter" album has been MIA, Drake's apparently just dropping tracks for funsies on the weekend, and Minaj's "Pinkprint" release date just got shoved back by two weeks.

So don't you want something that rocks out the gate? Minaj needs that bluster, a big hit, to light "Pinkprint" on fire, and you just know your single's in trouble when the hottest verse on the track is from Weezy in marble mouth mode. Drake maybe got the giggles on his turn because he knew he could spend half of it talking about that one time he was on that one music video shoot for "Anaconda" (lest ye forget), and tack on an ode to thick girls. Minaj's pun game runneth dry. That slow, ominous beat is even looking around going, "What am I doing here?"

Maybe it was a good way to wink, to show Brown and Drake buried the hatchet (though, 100:1 they weren't in the studio on the same day. Pics or it didn't happen.), or a warning flare shot for Nicki's beau to see. Maybe it's an iteration that Nicki Minaj didn't come to change the game, she's just one of the guys until she's not.

Let's just, please, get a remix and see how we feel in the morning. Also, why is Drake the one in the papal hat? I thought Chris Brown's the one to be like, "Jesus is on my side," wakka wakka.

"Only" is on Nicki Minaj's "The Pinkprint," now due on real and virtual shelves Dec. 15.

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