Posts Tagged: Pop Music

The Life Cycle Of A Pop Song

Conception Phase The song is born in a basement, a warehouse, or among buskers on the street or subway station. The song may not be entirely finished yet.

Underground Phase The song is played to a small crowd of 3 – 20 friends, mostly drunk, incoherent, and incapable of judging its quality.

Ambivalent Phase You hear it in concert and no one cares. It’s not worth bragging to your friends, even if you secretly like the song.

Connected Phase You hear the song and it’s so refined that it’s good. Your first thoughts are, “Is this real? Am I hearing this?” This is the great “aha” effect [...]


Where Were You When You First Heard 'Strict Machine'?

"I think 2003 ranks among the very best years for popular music, and is almost certainly the best year for music of the past decade." —Don't believe Awl pal Matthew Perpetua? Consider that while it was the "Ignition (Remix)" of times, it was also the "The Laws Have Changed" of times. It was the "He War" of times. It was the "We Used To Be Friends" of times. It was the "Milkshake" of times. Relive it all here.


Oh My God, I Heard the New Britney Song on the Radio

Oh my God, I heard the new Britney song on the radio. For those of you who do not have radios or did not know there was a new song by Britney Spears that "leaked" yesterday on the Internet (AKA how we release music now), you are living in a world where you have not come face-to-face with the monstrousness of contemporary emptiness. I say this as a person who owns Britney Spears albums! As a person who is resolutely unafraid of "oh baby, look at my butt in da club" music! But if you have previously experienced the work of Ke$ha, you may have guessed what was [...]


I'm Not Even Going To Fight Willow Smith

I'm a little obsessed/afraid of Willow Smith! Yes, she is 9, and she has a hot single and it's… sort of appealing? She did Ryan Seacrest's show this morning and it was kind of awesome? This feels weird because I don't like rich progeny and the easy jump-off and Will Smith, I've never been a fan-but listen we just have to accept this and roll with it. (Also she is very smart and for a 9-year-old, incredibly well-spoken. And NO, I actually did not just call her "articulate.") Listen. YOU CANNOT FIGHT THE FUTURE. Just let Willow be Willow. Points of view: "Lyrically, there's mention of [...]


Fame and Fortune! Tokyo Girl Group Star Exchanges Schoolgirl Outfit for Nudity

AKB48, the 48-girl pop group named after Tokyo's legendary nerd quarter, Akihabara, is big in Japan. Like, ridiculously huge, Justin Bieber in a Miley-Cyrus-Taylor Momsen sandwich big.

Naturally, they're looking to expand globally.


"Video Phone": Watching and Being Watched

Beyonce's I Am… Sasha Fierce celebrated its one year anniversary last week, and it is still being unspooled across various media-most recently, in a remix released last night of "Video Phone." The album is notable for an album by a woman in that it has no guest stars, no rappers cropping up, but in this remix, she is accompanied by more-newly-famous entertainer Lady Gaga. This is a remix in the sense that Sinead O'Connor's remix of "Jump in the River" with Karen Finley was a remix, in that there is largely only sections added; added value, brand conjunction, etc., and also that the match-up seems at first strange. In [...]


What's Left Of Pop Music In The Miley Era?

In the shower I listen to Kiss 108, Boston's Clear Channel-operated pop station, a fair amount, and so in addition to hearing the vowel-crazed Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z collaboration "Holy Grail" a lot I have been subjected to ads for the station's Jingle Ball, which took place at the TD Garden this past Saturday. Miley Cyrus was the scheduled headliner; the bill also included Enrique Iglesias, Paramore, Selena Gomez, Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke and Fifth Harmony. (Each year, a cast of Clear Channel-approved pop stars whips through the country's biggest markets, with lineups growing and shrinking in accordance with each city's prestige level.) I was pretty excited; [...]


Madonna, "Give Me All Your Luvin' (Feat. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj)"

This new Madonna video, in which M.I.A. appears (and doesn't do much, along with Nicki Minaj), is not as good as M.I.A.'s new video, "Bad Girls." Considering this, and also the great video Jay-Z and Kanye West made for their song "Otis" last summer, it seems that the Bay Area hip-hop subculture known as "hyphy," which peaked four or five years ago, is having its most lasting cultural impact in the phenomena of the dangerous-looking car tricks known as "ghost riding."


Selling Herself Short: The Miscontexualization of Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj was six years old in 1990, when Island Records released Lin Que's first album, "Rebel Soul." Lin herself was then only 18. She was a member of the Black Nationalist group X Clan and was known as Isis. Just a year removed from high school, she traveled the world, meeting celebrities like Prince and Diana Ross. “I got bit by that bug, you know?” Lin told me on the phone last spring. “I’m a teenager and I want to be a star—but I don’t know shit.”

What she didn’t know would eventually hurt her. By 1997, Lin had signed three additional record deals, but "Rebel Soul" [...]


Raekwon Records Verse That Fits The Criteria For Kanye West's Remix Of Justin Bieber Song

Kanye West has organized an unexpected musical collaboration, recruiting Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon the Chef to rhyme on a remix of Justin Bieber's "Runaway Love." Bieber is 16 years old, the age at which Raekwon started smoking the crack-laced marijuana cigarettes called "woolies." But Rae told MTV's Shaheem Reid that the verse he recorded for the track is age-appropriate for Bieber's presumably less experienced tween audience. "I can go basic when I want to. I can go rated R, I can go rated PG. I definitely didn't give him anything that I thought was too hot to be spoken on by a 16-year-old… One thing people [...]


England Pollutes! (With Hideous Last-Place Eurovision Finish)

As if we needed one more reason to hate England and their current ruling monarch, the Empress of British Petroleum! They also inflicted 19-year-old Josh Dubovie on the Eurovision Song Contest, the most important global cultural event ever. He finished in… last place. Reasonably. Germany's unexpected first place though… Hmm. Lena Meyer-Landrut. Basically, Simon Cowell would stab her.


Album Title of the Year (!!!)

Did you love M.I.A.'s song Paper Planes last year? Do you like space-age weaponry but have difficulty spelling it? If so, or if not, check out Major Lazer's new album, Guns Don't Kill people-Lazers Do. (Man, if ever an album title needed three exclamation points.)  Major Lazer is a production duo made of Diplo and Switch, the former being M.I.A.'s longtime collaborator and the latter being the coproducer of her Kala. The album is "Jamaican music at its roots" except apparently with lazers, featuring vocalists like Vybz Kartel and Santigold. Early reviews are strong and they are still on tour, particularly if you are in [...]


Other Cover Songs The Replacements Should Record For Their Reunion

  • "Reckoner," Radiohead
  • "The Big Guns," Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
  • "Love Story," Taylor Swift
  • "You've Got a Friend In Me," Randy Newman

"An Epic Match-Up Among the 64 Best Pop Songs Released Since 1981"

This competition, The Ultimate Pop Song Tournament, fills me with terror-rage just looking at its


Kanye West With Pusha T, "Runaway"

I'm assuming you've seen the performance from Sunday night's VMA award show already, so here's the recorded version of Kanye West's new song, "Runaway." What's to say? It's great.


Weezer's New Single is Worse than Nickelback's New Single

This is "Memories," Weezer's recently released first single from their upcoming album Hurley. (YES: THAT HURLEY, who graces the cover.) The album has been the subject of some buzz lately, because many fans quietly hoped that Weezer's switch to Epitaph would improve the band's sound, maybe make it a bit more grounded than their last release, Raditude. Well… the song is better than the first single off Raditude, "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To."


Robots Taking Over Sooner Than Expected–They Got Janet, Too!

I'm starting to think that the singularity has already occurred and I just didn't notice it up to this point. Apparently, computer intelligence has already gotten more advanced that the human brain and figured out how to fuse itself with human cell tissue and that the robots are already reprogramming themselves and re-enhancing themselves and regenerating themselves-into today's leading hip-hop and R&B stars.


New Camera Obscura

Tonight at 11:59 p.m., NPR begins streaming the entire new Camera Obscura record; My Maudlin Career will be released next week. Do you not love them already? Then catch up.