What pop’s best friend Taylor Swift has to say with her fifth album 1989 (out today, ) is that, despite what some people may think, she can still keep a secret. Given how she is also a multi-Platinum album maker, seven-time Grammy winner and popular gossip blog subject, that may seem impossible. Whether she was singing “Tim McGraw” or “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Swift has told us during arena tours that she wrote songs to express whatever she couldn’t say while face-to-face. When she was still a teenager, Swift wasn’t afraid to name names. And while she may be older and more mindful now, 1989 still has a song called “Style” (a title that, one would presume, references ex-boyfriend/One Direction member Harry Styles).
We thought we had Swift mostly figured out – the type of music she made, what inspires her the most, the album liner notes decoding process, even executive-producing 1989 with Top 40 wunderkind Max Martin. And though she vowed that one day she’d escape small-town living, we couldn’t have predicted that Taylor would channel Phil Collins, Annie Lennox, Like A Prayer-era Madonna and even some peers to show that finally, she’s relocated to the big city of her dreams. 1989 is bold and brazenly confident, and it makes previous forays into pop like “I Knew You Were Trouble” sound like child’s play in comparison. More »
:: Nicki Minaj will feature Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown in a new song titled “Only,” out October 28. Minaj’s current single, “Anaconda,” is now No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. [Instagram]
:: Speaking of the “Anaconda” star – in a viral video, a woman who had her wisdom teeth removed wakes up, upset that she looks nothing like Nicki: “I just wanted to have her butt. And her face. I paid a lot of money, and I’m still white!” [Complex]
:: Rihanna celebrated the launch of her latest fragrance, Rogue Man, at the Macy’s in Atlanta’s Lenox Square. More than 300 fans flooded the store and purchased the men’s fragrance. [E!]
:: Lady Gaga brought a $23 million mansion in Malibu, complete with a stable, a saltwater pool with spa, a bocce ball court and a two-lane bowling alley. [Los Angeles Times]
:: Diplo is reportedly expecting his second child with ex-girlfriend Kathryn Lockhart. The producer-DJ has been linked to Katy Perry since April. [New York Daily News]
:: How much can Taylor Swift have in common with experimental techno pioneer Aphex Twin? See for yourself with Aphex Swift, a fan-made mash-up album complete with an explanation (“APHEX TWIN IS AS BIG A ROMANTIC CORNBALL AS TAYLOR SWIFT”). [Stereogum]
Find out below what music you can catch on TV today. More »
“This is a church song. This is a soulful song. This is one of my favorite songs out right now, and you think you know it, but you don’t. It’s not Sam Smith,” Kelly Clarkson said, during her recent Buffalo N.Y., concert. The endearing pop star was referring to how she covered Smith’s hit “Stay with Me” last week in Chicago, trading in the original’s choir for electric guitar melodies. Instead, she transitioned into another song that had the crowd shrieking, partially because of how unexpected it was – Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off.”
“Shake It Off” is a modern-day version of Toni Basil‘s cheerleading anthem “Mickey.” The words that Clarkson used, “church” and “soulful,” aren’t exactly the first that come to mind. That said, the Wrapped In Red star made her case, singing the first few verses slowly and with added verve. She actually managed to bring “Shake It Off” to church, only to joke of how doing so may be blasphemy: “I might be going to hell, but it ain’t for that.”
Preach, Kelly. Watch her cover Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” below. More »
Pharrell kicked off and closed CBS Radio’s “We Can Survive” concert, held October 24 at the Hollywood Bowl. As an unofficial host of sorts (the real host was The Voice‘s Carson Daly), he took it upon himself to remind fans of the event’s cause, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. “When we sing this next song, I want you to put your best efforts, your prayers, your energy into believing that we can beat this cancer,” he said.
Still, the event’s featured acts made sure to keep the mood light. Taylor Swift performed songs from her new (and soon-to-be-smash) album 1989. Surprise guest Jennifer Lopez stormed Iggy Azalea‘s set for their A.K.A. team-up “Booty.” (She even spanked the rapper’s booty in the process — oh my!) Ariana Grande,Alicia Keys, Lady Antebellum and Paramore brought their own respective hits, while to close the concert, Pharrell brought out comeback kid, noted collaborator and fellow Voice coach GwenStefani. More »
Last night (October 25), Sia’s “Chandelier” video was spoofed by none other than Saturday Night Live. One skit, “Costume Party,” was essentially an elaborate excuse for guest host Jim Carrey, regular Kate McKinnon and, yes, musical guest Iggy Azalea dress up like Ziegler and recreate her routine. The skit didn’t have any other point, and its timing feels slightly off, though it’s tough to blame SNL for not wanting to leave “Chandelier” alone. After all, Ziegler just made it all look like so much fun. More »
Drake has dropped three new songs ahead of his fourth album, Views from the 6. Like that title, which references the area codes of his hometown Toronto, each track considers his past to some degree. Take “6 God,” produced by Boi-1da and Syk Sense – even though he’s mostly exhibiting annoying movie star behavior, he references Toronto (“I’m not new to this, comin’ from the motherf—kin’ 6 side”) as if he wasn’t the city’s only reigning rap star.
As teased last week, the Boi-1da and Jordan Evans-helmed “How Bout Now” has Drake gloating to an ex, who used to listen to his older music but then ask if they can listen to Ludacris instead. As for the Noah “40” Shebib-produced “Heat of the Moment,” Drake lets a woman down gently, wishing they met when they were teens and he wasn’t so busy with work and world domination and all that: “All the schoolkids are so sick of books and reading / They don’t read anymore, they don’t even read anymore / They just want to be like all the rappers that I can’t stand.”
Whether these songs appear in Views from the 6 or not (Drake didn’t say), they’re still three new Drake songs – proof that, for all of his lyrical pettiness, the rapper’s quite generous to his fans. Hear them below. More »
Iggy Azalea laughs nervously in a promo clip for Saturday Night Live. This isn’t the I-G-G-Y of Reclassified‘s lead single “Beg for It,” where she boasts of her self-worth as the hottest female rapper out (“P-ssy power, pay me by the hour”). Instead, she’s forced to reckon with guest host Jim Carrey as the ever-cartoonish comedian tries saying her name in various voices, contort his face as he would in The Mask and even pose as a rapper, complete with chains and a grill.
It’s okay, Iggy – no one quite knows how to best handle Jim Carrey. More »
Justin Bieber stars in Khalil‘s new video for “Playtime,” which was released on October 24. While the two friends sing quietly, if not listlessly, about a deteriorating relationship, the Journals superstar is especially moody as he roams an empty building in Toronto.
“Such a waste of time / There’s no need to fight / We could spend that time laughing / ’cause we got no more times for arguments,” Bieber sings, in three different scenes of him covering his head with his hands. Later he glides through a few dance moves, though he doesn’t crack a smile until he and Khalil draw a crowd at a town square. More »
Rihanna‘s eighth album may arrive next month, if a leaked photo is to be believed.
Here’s the story: DJ Envy, co-host of Power 105′s The Breakfast Club, found what appears to be an official document from Rihanna’s label RocNation, detailing her new album. The title? Lost Files. The release date? November 25. The standard edition would feature 14 songs and appearances by Nicki Minaj, Drake, Big Sean and Eminem.
The most promising sign that the leaked photo is authentic is its mention of “Barz,” featuring Minaj. Last spring on social media, Rihanna teased the woeful lyrics: “Your silver tongue is full of lies, with tricks and thrills and Bambi eyes.” And after a thorough investigation, the Navy concluded that either ThePink Print star or Keri Hilson was involved.
See the rumored tracklist for Rihanna’s next album below. More »
British soul singer Jessie Ware can be modest. “I’m never going to be a pop star like Lady Gaga,” she once said, as if the idea was too far out of reach. Plus, while her voice is just as powerful as fellow UK star Jessie J (no, really), Ware’s 2012 debut Devotion was proof positive that she won’t require back-up dancers anytime soon. Devotion may have marked her transition from featured vocalist for electronica producers like SBTRKTto solo artist; however, Ware kept her voice low among the album’s dripping tempos, airy ambiance and simmering drama.
That was fine – after all, the “Wildest Moments” singer earned easy comparisons to Sade, a major influence and the epitome of smooth operator, while helping reestablish that R&B has long been more exciting and forward-thinking than Chris Brown ever made it seem. Still, while Devotion portrayed Ware as someone who keeps her composure, follow-up Tough Love (out today, ) demonstrates that, actually, she’s got some nerve – and that, too, is really exciting. More »