Sam Bailey won X Factor UK on Sunday night (December 15) and promptly debuted her winner’s single, which turned out to be a cover of Demi Lovato‘s signature ballad “Skyscraper”. It’s a curious choice given the popularity of the original, which peaked at number seven in the UK in 2011.
That hasn’t stopped fans of the 36-year-old mother of two rushing to download it. “Skyscraper” is now a favorite for the coveted Christmas number one spot. So how does Sam’s version compare to Demi’s? Well, they are very similar but the Brit’s arrangement is more sparse and orchestral. It sounds great but the original version is still the best. Listen after the jump. More »
Foxes had a pretty big year (her Zedd collab “Clarity” was absolutely ubiquitous and “Youth” is one of the best tracks of ’13), and she’s gearing up for (hopefully!) an even bigger one with her upcoming LP Glorious, dropping March 3. In anticipation, she’s released a new promo single from her debut album — “Holding Onto Heaven,” penned with her frequent co-writer Jonny Harris and produced by Toby Gad (he did Beyonce‘s “If I Were A Boy,” if that’s any indication).
It’s not quite as colossal as either “Clarity” or “Youth,” but it still follows a quality formula: Twinkly synths lead into a chorus that crashes and soars, with big choir vocals; “Heaven” has a nice, stampeding quality that makes it compulsively replayable. More »
The surprises keep coming from camp Beyonce. Billboard reported that “Drunk In Love” and “Blow” would serve as lead singles from Bey’s iTunes-busting new album on Friday (December 13) but the diva just uploaded “XO” to her VEVO account, which would seem to confirm rumors that it will be sent to top 40 radio instead of the disco-tinged “Blow”.
It’s hard to argue with the logic. “XO” is the most obvious pop song on the critically lauded LP and swiftly emerged as a fan favorite. The Ryan Tedder-penned/Hit-Boy produced mid-tempo love song screams hit and the carefree, neon-drenched video clip is one of the best on Beyonce.
Terry Richardson is famous for his sexually charged visuals but King B was having none of that. Instead she hits Coney Island with her stylist and rides a roller coaster, mingles with fans and indulges in a bit of spontaneous dancing. It plays more like a home movie than a music video, which is part of its immense appeal. Watch up top. More »
You have Beyonce, master of restrained exposure… and then you have Justin Bieber, whose 10-week new music campaign is followed by his second concert documentary, Believe. Which has gotten another official trailer. This preview demands viewers “Forget the hype, forget the headlines, forget the rumors… Believe the truth,” as Bieber addresses his scandal-plagued year and says that behind all the gossip, people will see he’s a good person.
The requisite concert highlights are thrown in, making him seem larger than life, but the interviews and behind-the-scenes footage clearly aim to depict Bieber as a real boy. Check it out up top. More »
Don’t be surprised if this is only the first of several records broken by Beyonce‘s self-titled opus, released last week: The diva’s surprise fifth album, released sans announcement or promotion late Thursday night, has broken the U.S. iTunes Store’s record for the highest sales for an album — even though she only had three days to do it.
Billboard reports that the album sold 617,000 copies on iTunes (who had the exclusive download) from midnight EST on Friday morning, December 13 through the end of the sales week on Sunday, December 15. The previous one-week sales record on iTunes was set by Taylor Swift‘s Red, which sold 465,000 copies in the week ending on October 28, 2012. (But, again, she had a full week; Bey only had three days.) More »
Katy Perry didn’t “Roar” quite right at France’s NRJ Awards over the weekend. When the Prism songstress hit the stage to perform her single, she was heavily out of sync with the audio and visuals — not, like, a few seconds off, but way off. After a few painful minutes, the host interrupted her performance on stage and asked her if she would be willing to start over — and Perry (to her credit, quite graciously) agreed.
In her second go-around, her vocals were clearly live — no backing track — and while she sounded pitched quite differently, she pulled it off ably and sounded pretty good. Solid redemption, Katy. More »
Angel Haze unveiled the above cover artwork for her debut album Dirty Gold , which now has an official release date of March 3. She also posted the LP’s tracklist, and the first thing you’ll notice is there are no features — a very rare thing to see from a rap album these days.
The firebreathing femcee accompanied the news with buzz track “A Tribe Called Red,” the third song off the album. It’s a furious trap-rave banger with some rapid-fire lyrics about living out your dreams — thankfully, she released it in the form of a lyric video so you can follow along.
Check out “A Tribe Called Red” and see the full tracklist below. More »
Here’s the thing: Ashley Tisdale‘s 2009 opus Guilty Pleasure is one of those terrific, mostly-forgotten noughties pop records with a lot of crunchy Swedish production that just took what all of her contemporaries were doing and refined it; it’s aggressively derivative and there’s nothing original about it, but who cares? It’s a tremendously catchy and likable dance-pop set.
She doesn’t quite hit the mark on her new single “You’re Always Here,” a one-off return to music that pays tribute to her late grandfather; Tisdale wrote the track with her fiance Christopher French and it’s, well, a little gloopy. The synths are a little tinny, and her vocals are perfectly serviceable but nothing spectacular, and the lyrics are very sweet and sentimental but kind of generic — it’s basically an off-brand “Brightest Morning Star.” More »
Okay, let’s bring US folks who don’t know this song up to speed: East 17 were (are?) a rough-and-tumble-looking boy band from the UK who racked up a series of Top 10 chart hits overseas between 1992 and 1999. The biggest of these was the beautifully schmaltzy ballad “Stay Another Day,” which, while not a holiday-themed song, hit #1 in the UK the week of Christmas in 1994, and is occasionally unofficially lumped in with other, more traditional festive tracks on compilations and playlists during this time of year. Neither the song or East 17 ever crossed over in America, however, so none of this has mattered…until now.
Above you’ll see one of our favorite bands, CHVRCHES, covering “Stay Another Day” for Radio 1′s Live Lounge in London. In doing so, the Scottish trio completely reinvent the track as a dark and somber synth jam. More »
Lorde has had an exceptional year, but 2014 is looking pretty bright for the Kiwi songstress, too — the “Royals” siren has announced details of her upcoming North American tour, which kicks off on March 3 in Austin and hits major American and Canadian metropolitan cities before closing in Oakland on March 26.
Check the full list of dates below. More »