"When the music suddenly breaks from its expected pattern, our sympathetic nervous system goes on high alert; our hearts race and we start to sweat. Depending on the context, we interpret this state of arousal as positive or negative, happy or sad. If 'Someone Like You'produces such intense sadness in listeners, why is it so popular? Last year, Robert Zatorre and his team of neuroscientists at McGill University reported that emotionally intense music releases dopamine in the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, similar to the effects of food, sex and drugs. This makes us feel good and motivates us to repeat the behavior."
"I was a little hesitant at first to be involved with the theme song for Skyfall. There's a lot of instant spotlight and pressure when it comes to a Bond song." —Adele's right. The pressure's on. (And not just instant spotlight, very often a James Bond theme ends up in the crosshairs of a Luger or Barreta!) Living up to the likes of Carly Simon, or Shirley Bassey, or Paul McCartney, or Sheena Easton or Duran Duran? Adele's got her work cut out for her. Come Friday, when her new single, the title track from Skyfall comes out, we'll know how she did. (Whoops! BREAKING: We know [...]
You know how you know you've written a good song? I mean, besides the fact that it spends seven weeks at the number one spot on the pop charts, and the 2.6 million albums you've sold because of it? And besides Billboard declaring it, "the biggest crossover song of the past 25 years?" When Patti Smith covers it in concert. And when she says she wishes she could remember the words better, but that, "I love this fuckin' song, even though I can't/And I'm here to testify: Adele, she's great!" Adele must be psyched.
Two new projects are sparking a lot of discussion right now about the current state of R&B. The first is by The Weeknd, a mysterious singer (or group?) who has enjoyed a quick rise to critical-darling status since releasing the free debut album House of Balloons last week. The second is by Frank Ocean, the lone singer in Rap Group of the Moment, Odd Future. Ocean's album, nostalgia,Ultra, also excellent, also free, came out mere weeks before The Weeknd's project, so the two acts are getting joined together as poster children for what's being called a new wave of R&B. The terms being thrown around to describe this new [...]