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Black Friday Bonanza: 10 Pop Music Books From The Past Year That Serve As Perfect Stocking Stuffers

Pop Knowledge Is Power
The 50 Best Pop Singles Of 1994
The 50 Best Pop Singles Of 1994
Featuring new interviews with Ace Of Base, TLC, Lisa Loeb & others!

Between Jay Z and Beyonce’s On the Run Tour and the arrival of Taylor Swift’s behemoth pop album 1989, 2014 has had quite a few key music moments. And now it’s that time of year when we try to figure out sort out what to give as holiday presents. So what do you do when your favorite music fan already owns all their favorite albums or has seen more concerts than they can count?

With the end of 2014 around the corner, there are still lots of bits and bobs you can stuff stockings with. For instance, what about getting your friend a book this holiday season? To help you out, we rounded up some of the reads that might have slipped under your radar. Whether you want to read up on some music history or learn more about an iconic musician, these are some books that you might want to grab for your pop-loving best friend or maybe even for yourself. More »

LIGHTS’ ‘Little Machines’: Album Review

If there’s any artist who’s proven that you don’t necessarily need all the frills and tricks to have have a continuous career, it’s LIGHTS. From the moment she dropped her self-titled EP in 2008 and caught the attention of clothing retailer Old Navy, LIGHTS’ light and airy vocals, spacey melodies and honest lyrics drew fans from all over the world and forged the way for her debut album The Listening in 2008 and 2011’s sophomore effort Siberia.Now she’s back with her third LP Little Machines (out today, ), which LIGHTS recently told us was her best work yet. After looking at the progression over the past six years, it’s not that hard to agree. The album not only gives her devoted fans a lot of the sounds that made them fall for her in the first place, it also contains various nuances that show her growth and maturity. Sure, she’s still in her 20s (27 to be exact). But now that’s not only married and a mom, LIGHTS has clearly gone through a number of experiences that inspired songs that can appeal to an older audience as well. More »

LIGHTS Talks Growing Up, New Album ‘Little Machines’ & Going Into Labor While Recording: Idolator Interview

LIGHTS has grown up a lot since the first time we all heard her single  “February Air” in an Old Navy commercial in 2008. Now 27, not only has the Canadian synth-pop artist put out two albums — The Listening and Siberia — and a number of EPs, she also started started a family.

In 2012, LIGHTS married Beau Bokan, lead singer of the metalcore band Blessthefall. Then earlier this year, she gave birth to their first child, Rocket Wild Bokan.

Despite all the changes in her personal life, LIGHTS continued rocking the stage on a world tour as well as worked on her latest project, third album Little Machines (pre-order from iTunes here), which arrives tomorrow ( September 23) via Warner Bros. Records. In fact, her schedule was so jam-packed this past year that she spent the last trimester of her pregnancy in the studio, where actually went into labor.

“It’s funny because I finished the record when I was pregnant,” she tells Idolator. “I did take some time off to have her. [But] I mean I did vocals while I was in labor, which was crazy.”

LIGHTS is cleary a trooper and really happy, which one can hear from in Little Machines. We talked to her while she had a some down time in Toronto to learn more about the third album, her songwriting process and what really happened when it came time for Rocket Wild to enter the world. More »

Cher Lloyd’s ‘Sorry I’m Late’: Album Review

After issues with her label about delaying the release of her sophomore album, Cher LLoyd can finally share the appropriately titled Sorry I’m Late with the masses. The LP has technically been done for almost a year, since the original fall 2013 release was pushed to today (). However, the album is more than just a surface apology for keeping her fans waiting.

LLoyd’s debut album, Sticks + Stones, made her a pop sensation in the US. With hit singles like “Want U Back” and “Swagger Jagger,” her sugary yet sneakily edgy pop music pushed her up the charts, where the album peaked at the ninth position. But three years later, the now-20-year-old has more experience, a more refined look and even got married — and she wanted to bring some of that change into her new album. More »

Phillip Phillips’ ‘Behind The Light’: Album Review

While teen girls everywhere squealed when Phillip Phillips won the 11th season of American Idol against Jessica Sanchez, some thought he was just going to be another white guy with a guitar. With the less than stellar track record of past Idol alums who fit that description (David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze), Phillips seemed to be on his way toward that same fate. However, the then-22-year-old proved us wrong when his debut LP, The World From The Side Of The Moon, went platinum and “Home” became a smash hit, selling 278,000 units in its first week. This made him the second most successful Idol winner after Kelly Clarkson, who beat him by 2,000 copies with her single “My Life Would Suck Without You.”

And so, for the first time in quite a while, an Idol alum has a lot riding on a follow-up album. On Behind The Light, which is out today (), Phillips again teams up with producer Gregg Wattenberg, so the 12-track LP unsurprisingly sounds familiar. There’s that whole “If it ain’t broke” thing, of course, but there were hopes that this effort would take Phillips to the next level of his pop-folk singer-songwriter career, perhaps filling the void while Mumford & Sons take an extended break. More »

Bastille Cover ’90s Dance Classic “Rhythm Is A Dancer” & Join The Crowd At Sweetlife 2014

While Bastille’s fans were looking forward to hearing tracks off the band’s breakout album, Bad Blood, at the Sweetlife Festival yesterday (May 10), the London rock band pulled out live favorite “Of The Night,” a mashup that brings us back to the ’90s. Taking on “Rhythm Is A Dancer” by German electro group Snap! and Corona‘s “The Rhythm Of The Night,”  the songs took on a different life when the Englishmen brought a rougher and harder edge to the track, utilizing slowed vocals on the chorus that made it feel as though Grace Jones just joined the performance.

But that wasn’t the only thing that Bastille had up their sleeves: singer Dan Smith decided to take a stroll around the Merriweather Post Pavilion during “Flaws,” which caused the shrieks to rise but also caused a bit of a chaotic chase as security made sure to keep a moving barrier going as the singer made his way through the venue.

The Brits also performed “These Streets,” “The Silence,” “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “The Draw” — a track that Smith says is one of the band’s “most depressing songs.” Of course, the band couldn’t end their show without turning things back up with “Pompeii,” a perfect ending to a high-energy set. More »

Foster The People Close Sweetlife Festival 2014 With Downpour

Forecasts predicted rain to hit the Sweetlife Festival on Saturday (May 10), but things were quite favorable throughout the day with a short sprinkle here and there. That is, until Foster The People hit the stage. As Mark Foster and his crew dove into the second chorus of their current single, “Coming of Age,” the storm finally came, soaking just about every festival-goer who was posted up on the green. But instead of putting a downer on the set, the showers actually sent a surge of electricity from the back of the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, to the the band onstage.

“Shout out to the people in the rain,” front man Mark Foster said. “I see you guys out there. You’re giving me good energy over here.” The band played hits from their 2011 debut album, Torches, like “Call It What You Want,” “Don’t Stop,” “Helena Beat” and, of course, “Pumped Up Kicks.”

Check out our photos from the wet set up top. More »

Lana Del Rey Plays It Cool & Takes Selfies With Fans At Sweetlife Festival 2014

With the hype around her upcoming album, Ultraviolence, Lana Del Rey was one of the acts that everyone wanted to see at the Sweetlife Festival on Saturday (May 10). The energy in the Merriweather Post Pavilion was thick with anticipation, and many, including this writer, wondered what she had up her sleeve with the “West Coast” era underway. And as she walked onstage wearing a sweatshirt and daisy dukes, the venue erupted with screams that could rival the decibel level of a One Direction concert. Clearly these people worshipped her.

And while LDR  managed to keep her signature stoic presence as she performed hits like “Summertime Sadness,” “Cola” and “Video Games,” things took a different turn when she decided to hop off the stage and start taking selfies with fans. While this was a sweet gesture, there was an eerie silence with bursts of screams throughout this long pause during her performance. After what felt like 10 minutes (but was probably only a couple), she got back on the mic to sing her latest single, “West Coast.” More »

Jessica Sanchez Talks New Sia Collaboration, Jennifer Hudson Performs At Pinoy Benefit: Exclusive

Jennifer Hudson, A Great Big World, Charice and Jessica Sanchez were just some of the stars who sang their hearts out at the Pinoy Relief Benefit on Tuesday night (March 11). With New York’s Theater at Madison Square Garden as their stage, these artists, along with Penatonix and Plain White T’s, performed past hits as well as a few new songs to raise money for the Pinoy Relief, an initiative helping the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

A Great Big World kicked off the show with their hit “Say Something” (sans Christina Aguilera) and paid homage to New York with their ballad, “Already Home.” Meanwhile, Jessica Sanchez, who’s been working on her follow-up to 2013′s Me, You & the Music, opted for covers. Although she’s still in the early stages of album-making process, Sanchez revealed that she’s been steadily working on writing her songs for her sophomore LP.

“I never really wrote in my life,” she tells Idolator. “But I’m really just trying to put my whole self in this album and be completely from me and just share my story. But we’re working really hard and making sure that this is to the T — perfect.” More »

Cher Lloyd Reveals New Album Executive Produced By Shellback, Will Be Less Glittery: Idolator Interview

When British breakout Cher Lloyd brought her music to our American soil, we quickly fell for the X Factor UK alum. Songs like “Swagger Jagger” and “With Ur Love” hit airwaves in 2012, helping her debut album, Sticks and Stones, peak at number nine on the Billboard Hot 200. Although the album has only been out in the US since October, the material has been floating around her motherland since 2011, which is why she’s eager to get some new material out. Lloyd told us she’s still unsure about when that’ll happen, but is hoping people will hear new music by the fall.

“I am trying to make these lovely people wearing suits bring it out quicker just because I owe it to the fans,” she said. “They have been waiting very patiently, and I feel I’ve worked really, really hard on this one — not that I didn’t work hard on the last one, but I’ve been a lot more involved. Hopefully I’m looking at September. So that’s pretty soon.”

While the details around the release date are still in the works, Lloyd was adamant about the fact that we’ll be seeing a different side of her, thanks to the well-known Swedish producers she has enlisted and the British sounds she’s tapping into. More »

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