With a strong winter release schedule already confirmed (Sleater-Kinney! Father John Misty! Panda Bear!), 2015 is shaping up to be a strong year for music. Still, there are a few albums expected this year, but not quite set in stone. From Kendrick and Adele to Radiohead and The Wrens, a lot of highly anticipated albums have been “in the works” for some time now. Here, we take a look at ten of 2015’s most eagerly awaited albums and place bets on whether they’ll actually come out this …Read More
If you’re searching for proof of the Beygency’s hold over pop culture, look no further than the outrage that emerged Friday over Beyoncé’s six Grammy nominations this year. She was nominated for Album of the Year, Best R&B Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Song, Best Music Film and, um, Best Surround Sound Album, ending up tied with Sam Smith and Pharrell for the most nominations. It wasn’t enough. Maybe people have short attention spans, or perhaps it’s that Bey has reached new levels of cultural dominance in this last year, but the conversation surrounding Beyoncé’s perceived lack nominations hinted at a racial bias on the part of the Academy.
With a record-breaking six Top 10 singles from one album in her native UK, Jessie J is England’s answer to Katy Perry. Admittedly, that’s selling her short — her voice possesses Aguilera power and she writes her own material — but details are unimportant in the mud-pit wrestling match that is the female pop star gauntlet. The singer’s most successful American single to date, Top 10 hit “Domino,” is straight-up Teenage Dream Perry, down to its reference to skin-tight pants. “(Insert new singer) is like (insert established pop diva starting to show cracks/long past her prime) plus (insert another big pop star)”: this is the musical conversation pop stars get, despite the fact that pop hits are defined more by their songwriters and producers than their interpreters. The personality conversation is an even uglier scene, one in which stars are made and fade away.
“It’s alright to cry, even my dad does it sometimes,” Ed Sheeran urges towards the end of X, an album that’s so shrouded in Nice Guy Syndrome that Sheeran deserves his own tackily named subgenre. In the larger context of mainstream music trends, the acoustic strummer falls under the heading of Sad-Boy Pop. He may be alone emotionally, but Sheeran and a few similar chart-topping artists — like Sam Smith and Bleachers — are together in redefining what it means to be a solo male star in pop circa 2014. Sonically, they couldn’t be more different, but they’re united by their embrace of the melancholy amidst a genre marked by its blissful frivolity. Even Robin Thicke is sad these days, going from “I know you want it” to “I’ll wait for forever for you to love me again.”
YouTube is sparring with a handful of independent record labels over licensing deals regarding the Google-owned video site’s forthcoming subscription service, the side effect of which will see a handful of indie artists’ music removed from YouTube imminently. Up until yesterday, when this news made the rounds in sensationalized form on tech blogs, there had been relatively little discussion of an issue that might have a dramatic effect on both labels and consumers. So what’s going on?