The music industry is gearing up for an extremely full year. Though no one can predict the secret album drops (all hail Beyoncé), we can expect an immense amount of new music to be blasting through our headphones. In no particular order, here are the top seven most anticipated albums of 2014.
Voices | Phantogram
Described as electronic rock with a street beat and influenced by psych pop, Phantogram released their sophomore album, Voices, on February 18th. After releasing their single “Fall in Love” last year, this band garnered a large following, especially in the electronic scene. So far, this album has received positive reviews and is considered to be one of the more unique albums of its kind.
TBD | Blink-182
Say hello to middle school once again. Mark Hoppus, one of the lead vocalists, posted on Twitter in early February a screenshot of his computer screen with the caption “Them blink-182 demos”. The album is currently untitled, but is expected to be released before the 2014 Reading Festival in August.
Sitting in the library, trying to work, too much noise? We’ve all been there. A great way to cut out the noise and concentrate on what you want to pay attention to is to listen to some awesome music. Of course, music works differently for everyone: some can’t work with it, and some can’t work without it. I’ve even heard of some people listening to white noise while they study. Here’s a list of incredible tunes to listen to while studying for that killer midterm.
1. The ‘Lord of The Rings’ soundtrack
Listening to ‘Lord of The Rings’ is a magical experience while studying.
2. Sommermix #2 by Sonnenstunden Am See
Sommermix #2 will put you in summertime bliss. You’ll be able to feel the European sun on your face.
3. Mashup Germany
For those of you who love mashups, Mashup Germany is the best pop music mashup service online!
4. The Sound You Need
The Sound You Need is genuinely what everybody needs from time to time. This channel will relax you until all your life stresses have disappeared!
Back in December, I was sitting in the halls of Ginn with a friend, tormented by the temporary madness that most college students refer to as “finals period.” This was the most brutal bout of finals that I had experienced, and I was inconsolably delirious with a lovely case of writer’s block. Until I found out that Beyoncé had dropped her surprise album.
My sociology paper was out the window faster than you can spell the chart-topping diva’s name, and with remarkable speed, I logged on to iTunes and downloaded BEYONCÉ, her self-titled album. And what an album it is: the words “masterpiece” and “magnum opus” come to mind.
The eponymous work includes 14 songs and 17 videos which create a seamless piece of visual and musical art. Featured on the flawless album are Frank Ocean, Jay-Z, and Drake, with a featured speech given by Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the song “Flawless,” and Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy making her (adorable) debut in “Blue.”
From “Drunk in Love” to “Mine,” BEYONCÉ leaps from R&B to hip-hop and takes a turn into pop with fearless ease. As a whole, the album has an ethereal, futuristic, and melancholy sound to it accompanied by Beyoncé’s resonant and incomparable voice. This sound is nothing like what she has created before; that is part of why people love Beyoncé as much as they do. With each album she recreates who she is as an artist and finds new avenues to explore her own musical styles and artistic proclivities. BEYONCÉ is like nothing else that has come before, without any guilt or apologies.
While some of the pop-ier ballads tend to touch upon chasing dreams or following one’s love such as in “XO” and “Pretty Hurts,” the songs about sex are by far the best on the album. “Blow,” which is straight up about oral sex (as the title suggests) evokes a cool, relaxed, but in control mood that is easy to tap your foot to.
My personal favorite track is “Partition” (or in video form “Yonce” into “Partition”) on which Beyoncé goes IN! With lyrics like, “I sneezed on the beat/and the beat got sicker,” Queen Bey, in no uncertain terms, owns the throne to which she ascended around the time she released “B’Day.” The sexily sung and spoken track infuses the best elements of Beyoncé as she acknowledges her God-given talents (and assets). And in case you’re interested, there’s already a highly popular dance to go along with it, albeit not done by The Queen her royal self.
The videos play an essential part to the album, contextualizing the songs in what could be looked at as a pop opera of sorts. The visual album tells the story of Beyoncé and Jay-Z (who duets with his wife in “Drunk in Love” and appears in a few of the tracks), their love, their heartaches, and Beyoncé’s pangs for her marriage to work, as well as making room for baby Blue. The visual album also offers a few of Beyoncé’s inner monologues, giving her fans visuals of her past and an inside view on how Beyoncé feels about society’s treatment of women.
“Pretty Hurts” serves society straight up for the gross indignation with which it treats women, and follows up with “Flawless,” telling women that they are flawless and should be proud of themselves. She sings, “Ladies, tell him/I woke up like this, I woke up like this.” And in spite of this, the album drew controversy over Jay-Z’s pointed jokes about Tina Turner and her abusive husband Ike. Whether this disproves Beyoncé’s feminism or highlights her imperfection, Beyoncé aimed to express herself musically and visually through this album, not to write her own feminist manifesto. If she wanted to write a manifesto, she would. And, oh wait, she did for the Shriver Report. While it may be sparse, Beyoncé’s essay is one vital step forward for the world because she’s one of few female pop stars to assign herself the label “feminist.”
While I could wax poetic about BEYONCÉ and Beyoncé all day, I have reached my word limit. As your resident Beyoncé expert and admirer, I hope to share my love with you time and again.
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.