The 21st century queen of pop has returned after an anticipatory two years. Little Monsters everywhere rejoiced when Lady Gaga’s third studio album, ARTPOP, was released on November 11th. The album contains fourteen new songs in addition to the single “Applause” which was released earlier this year. Spanning from typical pop ballads like “Gypsy” to far-fetched cosmic sounds in “Venus,” ARTPOP displays a breadth of Gaga that we’ve never seen before.
ARTPOP Album cover Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Lady Gaga we saw back in 2009 with The Fame has seen the transformation from clean-cut pop star to a true performance artist, complete with exploratory melodies and nontraditional sounds. ARTPOP reveals Gaga’s rebirth and expands her designated genre into new territory with coarser – yet still catchy – soon-to-be Billboard staples.
As a diehard Born This Way-era Little Monster, I reminisce about the politically-charged and motivational Gaga that I fell in love with. The title track, along with songs like “Bad Kids” and “Hair,” became mantras of the misfits of my generations. ARTPOP, however, is a sexually-charged record and finds a new sphere of empowerment for the artist. For instance, the acronym from the song “G.U.Y” is defined as Gaga sings the lyrics: “I wanna be that G.U.Y., girl under you.” That’s a subtle example of ARTPOP’s outright sexuality. I mean, there’s a song called “Sexxx Dreams.” It doesn’t get more overt than that.
Though the album is packed with sexual innuendos that might make new listeners uncomfortable at times, Gaga reels them back in with her inexplicable humor scattered throughout the record, both musically and in conjunction with her lyrics. Perhaps the most hilarious, at least to me, is embedded in “Jewels N’ Drugs.” The song opens with a swelling orchestra, promising a different style than it delivers. Suddenly, the soft sounds of stringed instruments warming up switches into gritty rap and lyrics that feel like they’ve been rolling in dirt. While that might seem unappealing, Gaga makes it work, combining genres and musical themes in inexplicable ways. Also, the opening spoken lyrics in “Donatella” are absolutely priceless. I would highly recommend listening to them.
Overall, ARTPOP does make a departure away from the past versions of Lady Gaga that her Little Monsters grew to adore, but that’s to be expected. The revered queen is a master of reinvention and ARTPOP is just another example of her innate skill. Complete with strong vocals, new styles, and a dash of controversy, ARTPOP is sure to delight the original Little Monsters as well as invite in a few more to join to ArtRAVE.
Katy Perry’s new album Prism dropped on October 22nd after a marketing campaign that included a gold-clad 18-wheeler and the burning of her Teenage Dream-era blue wig. The lead single off the album, “Roar,” took over the airwaves this summer, peaking at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Judging by the album art and ad campaign, Katy is trying to grow up from her fantasy Candy land pop-diva pin-up girl image.
The album art for Prism, Katy Perry’s latest album. Courtesy of Wikipedia
For the most part, Prism delivers on its promise of a more thematically mature album while retaining the fun-loving spirit of Katy Perry’s earlier albums. In keeping with Katy’s tradition of chart topping pop songs, “Roar,” is the perfect song to belt off-key in the shower (as my family can attest to from the summer). It also shrugs off her slightly dated (let’s be honest here) theme of “OMG parties and boys” in favor of a more self-empowering message. Losing (to a degree) the vapid themes while keeping the catchy melodies? I can’t say that this is a bad thing.
I’m going to be honest; I’m a Katy fan. “Last Friday Night,” “Part of Me,” and “Firework” are some of my favorite songs to shamelessly rock out to on a Friday night while my friends roll their eyes in the background. Aside from her typical Billboard Hot 100 repertoire though, I’ve always had a soft spot for her darker, more “serious” songs like “Thinking of You,” “Pearl,” and “Not Like the Movies,” even though hearing them as part of their albums can be a strange, slightly jarring experience since the style is so different from the pink, cloud-clad Katy that we’re used to.
Prism manages to get rid of some incongruity between her popular hits and her slower, more ballad-y songs. However, reconciling the two types of songs Katy wants to make comes at a cost—some of the songs on Prism sound very similar, making for an experience that is, at times, blander than the plain oatmeal that Dewick serves for breakfast.
Overall, Prism is a good step in the direction that Katy Perry wants her music to go in. There are some moments where the album disappoints, and it seems like she’s still experimenting with her new style (there are moments in Dark Horse where you just go “What?”), but this is a refreshing change. The Teenage Dream is over, but we’re waking up to a grownup Katy Perry who is more mature and purposeful, but just as fun-loving as before.
Posted by thetuftsdaily on February 23, 2013 under Arts & Living, Columns | Comments are off for this article
You could point out that Ty Segall is loud. You could point out that he somehow manages to make music that sounds like the Beatles met Black Sabbath and birthed a musical love child. Or you could just note that he seems to have a veritable Midas touch when it comes to making bands really, really good. Despite only being in his mid-twenties, Segall has already released five solo albums and is currently a member of seven different bands, including Sic Alps.
Though he’s made a name for himself as a lo-fi, garage rock revivalist with a penchant for the lush, psychedelic guitar work of surf rock, Segall’s sound continues to evolve, as evidenced by his frequent collaborations with other musicians like White Fence and Mikal Cronin. Heck, he released three completely disparate albums last year alone. The singer cum guitarist cum drummer has built a formidable cult following, to the point where it’s frankly impressive that he’s not better known. Nevertheless, there’s little doubt that fame will come soon. His reputation as a torrent of musical energy, and for just being a generally amiable person, precedes him.
That said, it’s more than slightly awesome that there is a link to “book” Ty Segall on his website. As in, he’s still smallish enough and self-contained enough that booking him for a show would theoretically be possible. Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, Segall was (or maybe still is?) a professional surfer. That probably explains why he takes such stellar underwater pictures:
Courtesy Ty Segall's Facebook page
Check out Ty Segall’s collaboration with Mikal Cronin to get a better feel. Though “Reverse Shark Attack” is a solid album all around (and features cover artwork of Segall and Cronin looking sharp as business sharks), its strongest track is arguably the 10-minute, surf rock opera title track that closes it out:
On Feb. 16, 2011, The Daily ran a piece about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) the 11-member hip-hop/R&B/production/performance/video/skater/etc. crew out of California that’s currently busy completely killing it and totally blowing up.
The night that the piece ran, members Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats made their broadcast television debut with a performance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” performing an edited version of their song “Sandwiches.” They tore the stage up, ran amuck and completely lived up to all of the hype. In short, they killed it. Check out the video and more thoughts after the jump:
It’s been half a decade since The Strokes released “First Impressions of Earth,” a somewhat lackluster departure from the sound that originally put the New York rockers on the map, and blazed the trail for the myriad garage rock/alternative rock/post-punk revival acts of the past ten years or so.
A couple of days ago the band teased the Internet with a 30-second snippet of “Under Cover of Darkness,” the first single off of their upcoming album, “Angles,” due out next month (March 22).
Today the single debuted. And it is, in a word, great. Take a listen:
It’s The Strokes at their hazy, hard-rocking, nostalgic best. It has Julian Casablancas yelping like he used to (before he cleaned up — and lost some of that charm — for “First Impressions”), Albert Hammond, Jr. shredding (listen for his brief, but thrilling solo) and everything else you expect when you think of The Strokes.
If “Under the Cover of Darkness” is at all representative of the rest of “Angles,” the boys are most definitely back.
The internet is a delivery system for five main things:
So in light of numbers 3 and 4, it’s no surprise that, in the past couple weeks, the Blog Collective (not “blogosphere,” never “blogosphere”) has seized on the debut single from Willow Smith, the 9-year-old daughter of Will and Jada and the youngest-ever artist signed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Records.
The song is called “Whip My Hair,” which doesn’t make any sense and, also, in my day it was called “headbanging.” It sounds like it was produced by all the robots from I, Robot (2004) fighting over one Pro-Tools file. It’s hard to tell whether young Willow can actually sing or if it’s actually just a computer program. And the part where she/it says “I whip my hair back and forth” over and over is undeniably the worst thing in the world.
Usually, with a guilty pleasure song, I say that I hate it while secretly really appreciating it for what it is. But I’m literally of two minds about “Whip My Hair.” One mind knows it’s terrible and manipulative and derivative, and it wants Willow Smith to get off its lawn. And the other mind totally rocked out to it while emptying the dishwasher.
Somewhere, amid all the beats and other confusing robot noises, there’s a really earwormy melody that Willow may or may not be singing with her actual human voice. And I feel fairly confident that, if this song became a radio hit, I would not change the station for at least the first couple months of its ubiquity.
Besides, even if we call little Willow’s career, success, and vocal talents into question, this new video leaves no doubt that she is very good at headbanging.