Katy Perry

Iggy Azalea’s ‘The New Classic': How Effective Are Pop Album Reissues?

Iggy Azalea, the Australian rapper whose inescapable “Fancy” was officially named the Song of the Summer, announced today that she would be dropping a reissue of The New Classic. The update, which was announced just five months after the original, will include six new tracks, and at least one of them will continue Azalea’s trend of pop collaboration, this time with Ellie Goulding. With “Fancy” still all over the airwaves, and recent second single “Black Widow” sitting comfortably in the No. 6 spot of the Billboard Hot 100, a reissue seems like kind of a curious move. But, maybe not. … Read More

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David Byrne Explains the Secret “Psycho Killer” Subtext of ‘Stop Making Sense’ at Lincoln Center

David Byrne was pretty bummed to be out of town a couple weeks ago when Katy Perry brought her emoji-laden live spectacle to New York arenas. “I would never want to do all that, but it might spark an idea,” the former Talking Heads leader told the crowd at Lincoln Center Friday night. How he got from Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads’ influential concert film that’s currently celebrating its 30th anniversary with a digital release and theatrical run, to the queen of the “California Gurls” is a testament to Byrne’s unique creative wiring. Following a screening of Stop Making Sense at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sound + Vision series, Byrne gave a glimpse into his mind, including his intended second meaning behind the rock doc: the “Psycho Killer” trying to heal through human connection and art.… Read More

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We Need to Talk About Jessie J and Our Irrational Pop Star Preferences

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. … Read More

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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About New York City in Songs

The next time you’re tempted to write a song about the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” do New Yorkers a favor: don’t. The latest pop homage to New York comes via virtual unknown Catey Shaw and “Brooklyn Girls,” an anthem for young female transplants riding the L train from their apartments in Bushwick to Williamsburg, asserting their edginess by wearing combat boots in the summer. It’s suddenly started to go viral, three days after its release — yesterday afternoon, “Brooklyn Girls” had 7,000 views on YouTube. As of press time, it has 105,000. A great deal of its rise to prominence is attributable to the instant backlash from Brooklynites intimately familiar with the world Shaw describes (i.e., many music bloggers). … Read More

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Just How Feminist Is Your Favorite Pop Star?

On a ranked scale from Lana Del Rey to Beyoncé, here’s how feminist your favorite pop stars… Read More

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Cultural Appropriation Is the Last Resort of the Lazy Pop Star

There’s been a predictable Internet shitstorm about the cringe-inducing video for Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty,” three-and-a-quarter minutes of cultural cluelessness that make Katy Perry’s VMA performance look like a nuanced examination of Orientalism and the changing nature of East/West cultural interchange since the abolition of the Sakoku policy in 1853. The Lavigne video is awful, obviously — it’s a sort of checklist of idiotic Japanese stereotypes, including candy stores, cupcakes, sake, sushi, random Japanese phrases (“Kawaii! Arigato!”), and, of course, four identikit Harajuku dancers who get used as silent stage decoration.(There’s also the curious fact that Lavigne appears to be wearing some sort of colored contacts in the video, that seem designed to accentuate just how blue her eyes are — although if anything, they end up making her look like an extra from David Lynch’s Dune who’s hit the spice a bit too hard.) It’s all like a budget knock-off of Gwen Stefani circa 2004, only without the Neptunes/Nellee Hooper production and the hooks. … Read More

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Lady Gaga: Do What U Want, Except “Tell Men What To Do”

Earlier this week, in what I can only hope was a throwaway comment, Lady Gaga gave some bad relationship advice.

Speaking about being submissive to her boyfriend, actor Taylor Kinney, Gaga told Sirius XM’s The Morning Mash Up that “he’s totally in charge.” “I mean, when I am home, I am like, shoes are off, I’m making him dinner,” she continued. “He has a job, too, and he is really busy!” … Read More

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Kylie Minogue, the Unknowable Pop Star

Although it’s only March, I am almost certain Kylie Minogue’s “Into the Blue” is the best mainstream pop song of 2014. It’s the perfect mix of light and dark: an angelic voice proseletizing positivity and self-sufficiency, a pulsating beat providing a hard undercurrent, and a dramatic string section to boot. And yet, “Into the Blue” is nowhere to be found on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the industry barometer of America’s most popular songs based on radio play, streaming services, YouTube, and hard-earned downloads. Why? … Read More

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Why Iggy Azalea’s ‘Clueless’ Remake Is Pop’s Greatest Love Letter to the 1990s

The 1990s as inspiration is, at this point, so ubiquitous it’s mundane. So instead of adding her own take to the pile, Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea took a different approach with her new video for “Fancy”: She made a shot-for-shot homage to Clueless, casting herself in the lead role of Cher Horowitz. By not trying to pass off the ’90s trend as her own creation, Iggy succeeds in having fun with it — and grabbing attention. … Read More

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