The Navy has been eagerly anticipating Rihanna‘s R8, her follow-up to Unapologetic, for over two years now. (That’s an eternity in RiRi time.) But did anyone see it coming that her first single would drop on a Saturday evening — or that it would be a folky acoustic jam session with Kanye West and Paul McCartney?!
Indeed, Rih’s seriously thrown us all for a loop with her unexpected new song, “FourFiveSeconds,” a sparse, guitar-led production that puts her raw vocals at the forefront alongside Yeezus and the Beatles legend himself. Almost 48 hours later, The Internet has had some time to properly react to Rihanna’s new music. Are critics here for Rihanna’s drastically different new sound, or are they coming up short with phucks to give?
Find out what the world’s been saying about Rih’s new song after the jump. More »
Lady Gaga‘s forthcoming new album just got even bigger — thanks to a little help from Giorgio Moroder! In an interview with PopJustice, the legendary producer says he has a few tunes ready for Mother Monster’s fourth studio project and that the singer could possibly make an appearance on his own record.
Moroder reveals, “I was supposed to be in the studio with her a week ago, but I got a cold. I’ll see her when I’m back. I have about five or six tracks, just basic ideas. Drums, keyboard, bass. I’m going to be surprised, I think – I don’t have a clue about the way she’s recording. Will she play the piano? Will I?” How exciting! More »
It’s not that “Heartbeat Song” is a bad song. There’s just nothing about Kelly Clarkson‘s lead that really reaches out and pulls you in the way some of the original Idol champ’s classic hits did upon first listen, like “Since U Been Gone,” “My Life Would Suck Without You” or even “Catch My Breath.”
The lyric video for “Heartbeat Song” likely won’t change that view, as it simply takes the single’s cover art treatment and carries on with the same motif. You can watch it above, and let’s all think good thoughts for Piece By Piece single #2 in the meantime. More »
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Beyoncé and Miley were once unknown, too.
From heading out on the road with acts like Ariana Grande, Emblem3 and Austin Mahone to hitting the studio with pop songwriting royalty (Andreas Carlsson, the man responsible for crafting smashes for the likes of Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys), there’s plenty to be excited about when it comes to rising star, Spencer Sutherland.
This month, the young Ohio-bred singer-songwriter dropped his debut EP called Unveiled (January 13), featuring his lead single “Heartstrings” and “Nothing Can Hurt Me,” a soulful pop ode penned alongside Carlsson. (He isn’t just writing for himself, either: He also helped to co-pen a majority of Emblem3′s recent Forever Together EP.)
We caught up with Spencer moments after he landed in LA for a songwriting session earlier this month. Check out what the talented up-and-comer had to say. More »
Even if Taylor Swift doesn’t sneak backstage to “Bad Blood” up the iconic whipped-cream-cannon bikini, Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime Show will, undoubtedly, be Sunday’s sinfully sweet highlight.
So large does Perry’s shadow loom over pop culture, in fact, that it’s hard to believe that she’s only been famous since 2008, when her debut album, like countless pubescent boys’ voices after seeing her in the flesh, dropped. (Apologies to the 200 floor-length denim-skirted fans who bought the 2001 Katy Hudson Christian album and aren’t reading this anyway because the Internet is the devil’s playground.)
Whether you’re One of the Boys, a Teenage Dream or fresh out of Prism, let’s grade each of Katy Perry’s three studio albums to see how the world’s biggest TLC fan scores in Idolator’s Pop Report Card. More »
Did You Hear?
:: 2NE1‘s CL hit the studio with Florence + the Machine, according to rising songwriter Bobby Brackins (Chris Brown, Tinashe). “I couldn’t do it because it was the night before we were flying out to New York but that would have been crazy to work with Florence,” Brackins says. [Noisey]
:: Yuri of Girls Generation revealed that the K-pop group is readying a 2015 album. “We are working hard in order to show an even more mature image within the year. Please look forward to it,” she says. [Soompi]
:: Bjork is the subject of an upcoming Museum of Modern Art retrospective. The exhibition will feature artifacts from throughout her 20-plus year career, including instruments and costumes. [official site]
:: Damon Dash presented Kanye West with the BET Honors Visionary Awards, though with an awkward introduction: “My history with Kanye is [that] I didn’t respect him as a rapper because I was around the greatest rappers, but he has courage.” He and West clashed when both were at Roc-A-Fella Records. [HotNewHipHop]
:: Is that Zedd hugging Selena Gomez inside an elevator? [Instagram]
Find out below what music you can catch on TV today. More »
Lil Wayne‘s long-delayed Tha Carter V will finally be released in early 2015, as his manager Cortez Bryant and Young Money president Mack Maine recently assured the press. Regardless, Lil Wayne has reportedly decided to take action against Cash Money.
According to TMZ, Lil Wayne plans to sue Birdman for $8 million. The “Believe Me” rapper claims that the Cash Money label boss violated his contract by pushing back the release of and failing to pay him an advance for Tha Carter V. More »
John Legend helped kick off this year’s Sundance Film Festival by performing three songs made famous by legendary vocalist and civil rights activist Nina Simone.
Right after the credits for opening night selection What Happened, Miss Simone?, Legend appeared from behind the theater screen, seated at a grand piano. He played some of Simone’s best-known covers from the ’60s, from “Lilac Wine” to “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (which he also recorded for his joint album with the Roots, Wake Up!) and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” More »
Kanye West kicked off 2015 by releasing “Only One,” his poignant ballad featuring Paul McCartney on keyboard. If West’s barber is correct, though, then the Beatles songwriter played a larger role in the Yeezus rapper’s new music than anticipated.
According to Ibn Jasper, who has cut West’s hair since he was 17, McCartney has co-produced the entirety of West’s new album. Here’s where it gets a little confusing: While Rihanna had promoted the just-released “FourFiveSeconds,” featuring both artists, as a “first glimpse” of her new album, Jasper says that this new song belongs to West and will therefore also appear on his upcoming studio release. More »
Nowadays, Blake Shelton spends most of his time being a guest judge on NBC’s The Voice. But don’t forget that he’s still a musician! The country singer got back into the groove on Saturday Night Live tonight (January 24) where he made his debut as host and performer. Along with guesting in various skits that predictably highlighted his country roots and the singing competition, Shelton entertained the audience with “Neon Light” and “Boys ‘Round Here.”
The country star’s appearance on Saturday Night Live comes after the release of his eighth studio album, Bringing Back The Sunshine — which dropped on September 30 via Warner Bros. Nashville. Watch Blake Shelton’s performance of “Neon Light” up top. Then, catch “Boys ‘Round Here” and an American Idol vs. The Voice on Family Feud spoof after the jump! More »