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Cher’s ‘Closer To The Truth’: Album Review

She is woman, she is legend, this is her world and we just live in it: she is Cher! The diva nonpareil has turned in what must be her 500th album, and we mere humans have been lucky enough to indulge in it. It’s been well over a decade since the showbiz goddess’ last pop dispatch, so you must be wondering: is Closer To The Truth (out today, ), worth the wait? We believe so! Ahem.

Announcing her return like a fluorescent cannon ball, the album’s opening track is the omnipresent gay anthem “Woman’s World,” Cher’s most recent stab at dancefloor obliteration. As much as this song dabbles in disco-diva cliche, something about it just works. Cher sells the hell out of the song’s “torn up, busted, taken apart” lyrical conceit, and her performance makes this one of the year’s best singles, not to mention a hell of a way to kick off her new material. More »

5 Songs We Couldn’t Stop Dancing To This Summer

Up All Night For Good Fun
Whether we were working it out on an Ibiza dancefloor, frolicking in the white sands of a beach party in Greece, or more realistically, breakdancing around the coffee table in our living room, we found ourselves spoiled this summer with an abundance of uplifting dance hits. Everywhere we went, big beats and sizzling basslines blasted from the radio, letting us know that the electronic dance wave of the past few years was no mere fluke: Dance music is bigger than ever, and it’s here to stay…for now, at least! (Case in point: Sony’s upcoming dance-themed film Battle Of The Year, in Theaters September 20.)

Unfortunately, summer is not here to stay and, as a matter of fact, already seems to be looking for the exit signs. Before we give in to another school year or worse — long pants and sweaters! — we’re heading out to the club for a final twirl. Make that five final twirls…we could never resist a list.

So dance music enthusiasts, throw on your shorty-shorts and meet us in the middle of the floor for one last boogie as we count down this summer’s top five dance jams! These songs kept us hot all summer and we’ll probably keep playing them well into the autumn months. We don’t care, we love them! More »

Richard X’s ‘Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1′ Turns 10: Backtracking

Backtracking is our recurring look back at the pop music that shaped our lives. Friends may come and go, but we’ll be spinning our favorite albums forever.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a decade since the dawn of Richard X Presents His X-Factor (released on August 23, 2003), mainly because it continues to sound about ten years ahead of its time. One part greatest-hits collection, one part Bizarro World NOW! compilation, His X-Factor had nothing to do with the televised talent competition of the same name (a mere coincidence that nonetheless caused record company headaches) and everything to do with forging a new and exciting pop sound.

At the height of an early-’00s UK Pop Renaissance, the producer found himself behind two of the charts’ biggest singles: Liberty X’s “Being Nobody” and Sugababes‘ “Freak Like Me.” Both singles were dark, dirty re-imaginings of classic dance hits, but with a little something extra. Although the word “mash-up” would go on to become a cultural buzzword — meaning stick this Celine Dion flop atop Blondie‘s“Heart of Glass” and resend it to radio — what Richard X was pioneering had more to do with the spirit of re-purposing bits of the old to make something entirely new.

Join us below as Richard X joins us to discuss the first (and last?) volume of X-Factor. More »

Richard X Discusses Annie’s ‘A&R EP’, Working With MKS, Rachel Stevens & More: Idolator Interview

Richard X & Annie, Still Making Beautiful Music Together
It’s been a hot minute since we last heard from Norwegian indie-pop icon Annie — nearly four years of hot minutes, in fact. Lucky for us, this summer the “Chewing Gum” ingenue is back in action. After first tempting the pop-loving masses this past spring with the aerobicized anthem “Tube Stops And Lonely Hearts,” Ms. A has reunited with beloved comrade and frequent collaborator Richard X for The A&R EP, a supremely enjoyable mini-collection of upbeat pop that will have you sweating away the waning weeks of summer on the dancefloor.

Even luckier for us, Richard X has taken time out of his production schedule (he’s currently working with A*M*E and MKS, among others) to chat about the EP, his work with Annie and just what kind of trouble two friends can get up to with an online translator. More »

Backstreet Boys’ 10 Best Music Videos From The ‘TRL’ Era

Revisit These Larger Than Life Clips
Some things just go so well together that they become forever linked in the public consciousness — you know, like chocolate and peanut butter, or Justin Beiber and drop-crotch pants. One classic match that’s a favorite of ours —and that pop music is all the better for — is the mutually magnificent pairing of boy bands and pop music countdown shows. In other words: the Backstreet Boys and Total Request Live!

Yes, the rise of the boy band would likely never have happened without MTV’s long-running afternoon countdown show (it aired from September 1998 to November 2008 — so remember, the MTV VMA-winning “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” pre-dated the series by only a few months), a phenomenon the Backstreet Boys, along with *NSYNC, helped to cement in the annals of popular culture. With Backstreet celebrating their 20th anniversary this year (WHAT?) and ready to release their new album In A World Like This on July 30th, we’ve got them on our minds again. Not to mention, this fall marks the 15th anniversary of TRL’s debut and the fifth anniversary of its final adieu. In honor of both, we salute the 10 greatest Backstreet Boys videos of the TRL era: clips which just happen to have attained #1 status on the show’s fan-based countdown, thankyouverymuch.

So let’s all imagine ourselves as we were a decade back in time, seated on a bleacher in front of Carson Daly whilst a scrolling ticker displays the words “I LOVE A.J.!” across our hearts, and remember these peak moments of Nick, Brian, Kevin, Howie and, of course that untameable rascal, A.J. More »

Selena Gomez’s 5 Best Music Videos, From “Naturally” To “Come & Get It”

Selena Makes Quite A Scene
As if this year hasn’t been hot enough for the Disney girls of yore — and that includes Demi’s chart dominance, Miley’s twerking and Vanessa Hudgens’ werking a bikini and flip-flops in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers — it’s about to heat up again with the release of Selena Gomez’s new album, Stars Dance.

Selena, a veteran of such Disney Channel fare as Wizards Of Waverly Place and Suite Life Of Zack And Cody, long ago proved she could deliver the goods away from the House of Mouse, scoring hits with her band The Scene and making her own impression with critics alongside Hudgens in the controversial Spring Breakers. Now the newly-minted showgirl (check that album cover) and erstwhile Beiber consort (she made him cry) is 21 and Scene-less, riding the wave of another big radio hit and to releasing her first truly “solo” album. In commemoration of this new phase in her career, we’re taking a look back at her top five greatest video moments!

Yes, a Selena Gomez retrospective: because when you’re 21 in Hollywood, it’s already time to start thinking about those Lifetime Achievement Awards. All kidding aside, if these five clips don’t cement Selena as one of pop music’s most exciting starlets, we give up on pop music. (Until Cher’s new album, at least.) More »

Pet Shop Boys’ 12 Greatest Collaborations, From Dusty And Liza To Madonna And Lady Gaga

Boys & Girls
Despite their trademark deadpan demeanor and often sardonic song titles (“Love Is A Bourgeois Construct,” anyone?), the Pet Shop Boys have always been about caring and sharing. After all, some of their biggest hits have been in collaboration with other acts (Dusty Springfield, Liza Minnelli) and they’ve never shied away from giving some of their best work to other people. Madonna, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, Girls Aloud, Robbie Williams and Shirley Bassey are just a few of the icons who’ve had the pleasure and success of working alongside the PSBs, and now we can add UK singer/rapper Example to that list. His guest appearance on Electric, the pair’s 12th album (out today), is already being hailed as a highlight of the Stuart Price-produced set, and a contender for a future single.

So as we sink our teeth into another disco opus from England’s most prolific duo, let’s have a look back at the best-of-the-best of their musical pairings, team-ups and remixes. They really have worked with everyone — so many that we left out big names like Elton John and Yoko Ono (and even Alcazar) and still ended up with a dozen definitive titles. Check them out, then let us know which Pet Shop Boys collaborations you think should be on this list. More »

Bjork’s ‘Debut’ Turns 20: Backtracking

Backtracking is our recurring look back at the pop music that shaped our lives. Friends may come and go, but we’ll be spinning our favorite albums forever.

Those who were around to witness the inception of Björk‘s solo career may be scratching their heads and wondering where, exactly, the last two decades have gone. Has it really been so long since the manic Icelandic pixie popped out of a volcano and impressed us with her Debut? (Technically this was her second solo album, if you count the obscure jazz LP she made at age 11.) Indeed it has. This month, the ex-Sugarcube and high priestess of art-pop celebrates two decades of musical innovation as the highly influential Debut turns 20. That said, in spite of its advancing age, Debut’s futurism has aged exquisitely. More »

4th Of July Playlist: 13 Songs That Celebrate Liberty & “Freedom,” Plus The Red, White & Blue

Get To Gallantly Streaming These Pop Firecrackers!
Thank goodness for the Fourth of July, because aside from Labor Day, summer vacation and a different Pride event in a different city every weekend for the past month, we need an excuse to take one more day off. Of course, this isn’t just any day off, it’s a day to sit in a folding lawn chair next to a smoking hibachi and stare pensively into the sunset, thinking about what a wonderful country we live in. And heaven knows we can’t do that without some music pumping on the old speakers, can we?

So before you light up the grill, pour the margaritas or blow off your fingers with an illegal M-80, dial up these 13 freedom-themed anthems for the ultimate soundtrack to Fourth of July fun. We promise lots of surprises and absolutely no overplayed clunkers. That’s right, we’re saying ENOUGH! to Katy Perry’s “Firework.” That girl needs a day off, too. More »

Father’s Day Playlist: 10 Songs That Offer Dad-Like Advice

Walk Like A Man And Turn Up The Dial, Sonny!
It’s that time of year again, Idolofans: time to celebrate fathers! Well, not just fathers, but grandfathers, male guardians, or any man who played a part in raising us. And when one thinks of Father’s Day (it’s June 16th this year — you’ve still got time to buy a card), don’t a good number of pop songs pop into your head? Of course they do. But if they don’t, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. You didn’t think we’d let a holiday go by without commemorating it in song, did you?

As is our usual wont, we’ve spent hours combing through various research materials (YouTube) for pop hits that reflect fatherhood and the unique brand of wisdom that can only come from a man who finds interesting things to do in a garage for an entire weekend. Or maybe yours likes crosswords? Fathers are a species all their own, aren’t they?

So in the spirit of celebrating the paternal bond, we present 10 classic songs in which male vocalists (father figures, if you will) dole out helpful advice, words of encouragement or just plain old common sense to the young people in their lives. Play it for your dad and see what kind of witty gems he comes up with. If it’s something along the lines of “turn up that fabulous playlist, child!” then our work here is done. More »

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