Last month, Mary J. Blige headed to London to record new music. Now, The Guardian reports that the resulting album, The London Sessions (out November on Capitol), finds her inspired by and working closely with some of the U.K.’s brightest stars: Naughty Boy, Emeli Sande, Disclosure, Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes.
The list of collaborations so far is staggering: Smith wrote four songs total. He teamed with songwriter Napes (Smith’s “Stay With Me,” Clean Bandit‘s “Rather Be”) for a doo-wop track called “Therapy.” Disclosure worked with Blige on a ’90s house song “Right Now,” to pick up where they left off in the inspired duet version of Settle‘s “F For You.” Naughty Boy, who’s overseeing The London Sessions, also wrote a song with Sande that evokes “early 00s U.K. garage” called “Pick Me Up.” More »
Hilary Duff has spent her summer staging a comeback, with initial plans to release a new album this fall. On August 29, though, she announced on Twitter that she is delaying the full-length’s release. “Guys hate to break this news but the album won’t be out in October,” Duff said. “You will have to wait a few more months. Love all the excitement tho.”
Duff had released two lead singles from her comeback album so far: “Chasing the Sun,” the breezy and innocent ode to summer co-written by Colbie Caillat; and “All About You,” a sassier and punchier pop anthem by hitmakers Savan Kotecha, Carl Falk and Kristian Lundin. Both songs helped to show the folkier bent that Duff had in mind for her return, following 2007′s underrated Dignity, while inspired by groups like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. More »
Maroon 5‘s new album, V, is now streaming ahead of its September 2 release date.
Initially, V appeared on paper to be a sequel to 2012′s Overexposed, Maroon 5′s almost shameless effort to recreate the magic behind its 2010 mega-hit “Moves Like Jagger.” For both albums, the band has worked with outside writers and nearly the exact same impressive roster of producers, including Max Martin, Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder and Shellback.
The sleek and streamlined V explodes twice: penultimate cut “Feelings,” a swaggering disco cut that should remind of frontman Adam Levine‘s Sexiest Man Alive title, and album closer “My Heart Is Open,” the sweeping, Sia-penned ballad with Gwen Stefani. With the exception of a few songs, like The Police-channeling lead single “Maps,” though, Maroon 5 isn’t trying nearly as hard for staggering radio dominance or to dazzle viewers of The Voice with how well the band evokes superstars of the past. More »
“I was trying to make the perfect album,” Nas says of his 1994 debut Illmatic, in a just-released trailer for a documentary celebrating exactly that. Directed by One9, Nas: Time Is Illmatic details the creative process behind the Queensbridge, N.Y. rapper’s stunning debut, which received The Source‘s perfect, five-mic rating and became one of the most acclaimed hip-hop albums of all time.
Pharrell, Alicia Keys and Busta Rhymes all appear in the Time Is Illmatic trailer to help speak for Illmatic‘s influence. “It’s one of the best albums of all time,” Keys says. More »
Wyclef Jean, globally-minded hip-hop artist and producer, is staging a comeback with his first new album in five years: Clefication, out this spring. The album’s first single, “Divine Sorrow” featuring Avicii, will be out later this year.
Last year, Jean released a 33-song mixtape, April Showers, as a teaser to his “Frankenstein project” of a new album, then titled The Carnival Begins. At the time, he told Idolator that he had recorded trap songs, dancehall tracks and acoustic ballads as he teamed with Pitbull and 2 Chainz, while also influenced by Missy Elliott and Timbaland.
Billboard reports that Jean had since relocated to Avicii’s native Stockholm to work on Clefication, with help from the EDM superstar’s manger Ash Pournouri. Jean and Avicii have already worked together once before, on World Cup closing anthem “Dar um Jeito (We Will Find a Way),” also featuring famed rock guitarist Carlos Santana and Brazilian singer Alexandre Pires. Revisit the song below. More »
Diplo, pop-meets-Miami bass DJ, and Skrillex, dubstep king, initially introduced their joint side project Jack Ü during last year’s Mad Decent Block Party touring festival. Now, more than a year after the producer duo’s debut, Diplo revealed a live version of Jack Ü collaboration with Kiesza, “Take U There.”
While Kiesza’s breakout hit, “Hideaway,” could easily be mistaken for an early ’90s house record, “Take U There” transports the rising Canadian pop singer to the present. Without much hesitation, her powerhouse vocals lead to the sort of dramatic bass drops and honking rhythms to be expected from the two superstar producers.
Diplo recently said that Jack Ü will release a self-titled mixtape soon. For now, hear the live version of “Take U There,” recorded during the Brooklyn stop of this year’s Mad Decent Block Party trek, below. More »