Music is personal. It’s something that I’m never more aware of than I am at the end of every year, when best-of lists dominate the coverage at cultural publications, but the idea of “best” is one that I’ve never quite been comfortable with. It seems too objective to take into account personal taste, not to mention the reality that there’s too much music out there for even the most ambitious listener to have heard everything, or even close to everything. So let’s not use the word “best.” Instead, here are 124 songs released in 2014 that I would recommend to any music lover. Its goal is to highlight not only the year’s biggest hits, both commercially and critically, but also songs that commented on what happened in our world this year, and songs you may not have heard but that you’ll hopefully love as much as we …Read More
Last week we brought you the top 25 albums of 2014 so far, but we couldn’t let the midyear pass without taking a look at the best songs up until this point. This being a singles list, it’s heavy on your Iggys and your Charlis and your Sias, but you’ll also find choice album cuts from some of the year’s best rock LPs, like EMA, The War on Drugs, Against Me!, and more. And finally, we tossed in a few you may not have heard yet, hopefully inspiring you to check out the underrated tunes that haven’t been critical faves or Hot 100 …Read More
Normally, I probably wouldn’t pay attention to a Jennifer Lopez music video. There are certain pop songs I know that I’ll have little desire to actively seek out, by virtue of hearing them being played on the radio over and over again. But when I saw the headline “Jennifer Lopez ‘Objectifies’ Men,” referring to her music video for “I Luh Ya Papi,” I knew I had to watch it. The video is a shot-for-shot parody of a stereotypical, male gaze-y hip hop or R&B video, only with the genders reversed. It is, for the most part, a refreshing inversion.
Thanks to Justin Timberlake’s prominent roles in Inside Llewyn Davis, Friends With Benefits, and The Social Network, we’ve grown used to seeing the once peroxide-blonde ‘N SYNC star acting with aplomb on the big screen. No one else from the Billboard charts of the 2000s has made it to Timberlake’s level of feature-film success. But even JT started somewhere — namely, with the made-for-TV prince-and-pauper redux Model Behavior (2000). As it turns out, tons of other pop stars tried to earn their own “/actor” crowns in movies you may (The Aviator) or may not (Carmen: A Hip Hopera) have seen. In celebration (and in memoriam) of these forgotten career detours, we bring you 20 films that — surprisingly — feature pop stars from the beginning of the …Read More
Forgive the perhaps unwarranted level of enthusiasm, but Joy Ride is out on Blu-ray today, and YIPEE. It’s a crackerjack little thriller from eternally underrated director John Dahl, co-written by a young J.J. Abrams, starring Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, and, yes, Paul Walker. Though second-billed behind Zahn, this is indisputably a vehicle for the handsome and unaccountably dull future star of the Fast and Furious franchise — and believe it or not, he’s not distractingly terrible in it. Make whatever stopped-clock, blind-squirrel analogies you’d like, but occasionally even the worst of actors stumbles into a decent performance. Here’s a few …Read More
Kanye West is the latest pop musician to entertain an ethically dodgy audience: the rapper recently performed at a wedding for the grandson of Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev for a reported sum of $3 million. Kazakhstan is not one of the most politically sound countries in the world right now, and its government’s violent tactics have been called out by Human Rights Watch. The country’s uncomfortable present is one of the reasons Sting turned down an offer to perform for the Kazakh government in 2011, and you’d think West would’ve followed suit given his occasionally political songwriting. But his appearance is just another in a long, long list of jaw-dropping musical moments. Below, we round up some of the most questionable, violent, attention-grabbing performances of the past century.
Legendary writer Elmore “Dutch” Leonard died this morning, surrounded by friends and family. He was 87 years old, and was one of America’s most distinctive and influential genre novelists, penning over 40 books and numerous short stories. Yet he wasn’t just known to bookworms; his work inspired television shows (including the current Justified) and several excellent films. Our favorite Leonard movies are assembled after the jump, along with links to those currently available for streaming.