With only days left until the end of 2012, the Internet is full of best-of essays and lists and embeddable Spotify playlists that reaffirm critics’ and tastemakers’ street credit and perpetuate the myth that most people writing about music actually have any kind of significant impact on the way that pop music is created, packaged, and sold. I won’t bore you with such gas. Instead, here are some fun superlatives that summarize the world of pop this year, for those of you who may not have kept up with this realm. These are undeniable touchstones — meaning that should you, as esteemed people with ears, have scruples with this list, it would behoove you to make an appointment with a qualified audiologist post-haste. Otherwise, read! Click! Dance! … Read More
If winter is the time of year when single people scowl, forsake love, and slink off to that alone-time retreat they’ve created for themselves under the Manhattan Bridge out of watermelon rinds and Chinese food take-out cartons, then summer is when they thaw and renew their search for romance. They might make bold overtures to someone they’ve admired for quite while. They might even fall back in love with the idea of being in love. Recently, I found myself somewhere in the middle, entertaining a Lazy Susan of dates, each more hilariously terrible than the last. One way I’ve been coping with dashed expectations is by wistfully working through love songs released this year.
More than almost any other pop subject, love songs can get away without having to be original or innovative. Every type of love song that ever will be has already been written, making my search for the definitive love song of the year especially tricky. But there was something about “30 Minute Love Affair” by Paloma Faith that resonated with me. Maybe at some point in time, I might email one of those bad dates — the one who keeps texting me after he blew me off — the video below, with the subject line, “Baby, we’re done.” … Read More
That rock snobs see pop as bland and boring is one of the most mind-boggling mysteries of our time. Sure, the stereotype has some basis; historically, pop music has played it safe. It’s been the kind of entertainment that could babysit little kids while their parents watched Basic Instinct in the next room. Pop is known as the wholesome, family-friendly alternative to rock music, which has always enjoyed a tawdry reputation. Where pop exalted true love, rock exalted bed-hopping; where pop encouraged moderation, rock reveled in excess. It’s a holy binary that has existed since rock’s birth in the ’50s.
But in the past decade, it seems rock and pop have reversed roles. We could attribute the shift to the number of pop star aspirants, which has multiplied astronomically — thanks to reality TV, the death throes of the major labels, etc. A lot more people are competing for the attention of the same audience, and when traditional pop tropes failed to get attention, shock and awe have done the trick. … Read More
We’ve got a groove-heavy mixtape for y’all this week, thanks to new ones from Gang Gang Dance and Cold Cave. But of course, that’s not all — Jackson Heights lo-fi jokesters The Beets have a new track, as does Flavorwire favorite songstress Paloma Faith. Step on in, enjoy the ride, and remember to right click + “Save As” to download each track. Or if you want a lump sum (of songs), scroll to the bottom and get the whole mix. … Read More
Running the classic soul of Billie Holiday and Etta James through a kaleidoscopic-carnival filter, British singer Paloma Faith’s debut album asks, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?
Faith’s combination of ’40s jazz conceits with modern pop has earned her comparisons to fellow Brits Amy Winehouse and Duffy, but her sense of spectacle and grandeur puts her more in line with the more elegant likes of the long-standing Angela McCluskey. From her album art to her stage shows and videos, Faith puts as much focus on enchanting with visuals as with sound, ensuring a wholly immersive experience in her delightful burlesque circus of a world. … Read More