Toronto reggae-pop-rockers MAGIC! pulled off the ultimate pop trick this week by unseating Iggy Azalea from the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The Nasri Atweh-fronted band’s debut single “Rude” had been steadily gaining momentum since the early spring, and last week Idolator had the good fortune to have the guys around for an intimate Idolator Sessions performance.
“Songwriting is important for us,” Nasri explains before performing the song. “The craft has always been a bit of an obsession for me, and I know the guys love the process too.”
He continued by explaining the origins of the quartet’s hit single. “It actually started off [as] a really dark song,” Atweh says. “It’s funny, because I would have never expected it would end up where it ended up now, which is this story where I’m basically singing to a dad.” More »
Just as he did nearly 20 years ago, song parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic tackles the rap song of the moment. In his latest video, he transforms Iggy Azalea‘s Clueless-loving “Fancy” into “Handy” – as in, he’s not in the murda bizness, but in plumbing, electrical, remodeling and more. Instead of a matching a cardigan to a plaid skirt suit, “Weird Al” wears a denim vest to work. He does sway his hips, though with fellow repairmen in overalls instead of a fashion club.
“Weird Al”’s “Handy” reminds of “Amish Paradise,” his 1996 take on Coolio‘s “Gangsta’s Paradise.” (“Amish Paradise” appeared on his album Bad Hair Day, which went on to sell a million copies.) In both songs, he’s proudly uncool while also sounding just as bold as the original songs – proof that no matter how he flips the pop song’s script, “Weird Al” ultimately appreciates the source material. Watch “Weird Al”‘s “Handy” up top, then revisit “Amish Paradise” (featuring The Brady Bunch‘s Florence Henderson) below. More »
Beau Vallis’ name might not immediately ring a bell, but his presence has been felt on tons of your favorite artists’ tracks. In addition to singing/songwriting, Vallis is a producer and an engineer, having worked with the likes of Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Ludacris and many others. He links up with none other than Kelly Rowland for his new cut “Love Stand Still.”
The track — penned by Sevyn Streeter and Eric Bellinger — is a breezy love song about enjoying the moment, where Beau and Kelly’s vocals blend perfectly with the romantically spacey beat of production team Da Internz. There’s a lot of talent on this one track, where the vocalists are as strong as the songwriters. Talk about a winning combo! It’s about time Beau Vallis stepped from behind the boards and got on stage. Let’s hope he stays there.
Check out the song, and let us know what you think about it in the comments after the jump. More »
Just days after they hit the studio together, Drake invited Chris Brown to the 2014 ESPYs. Drake was hosting, so Brown got to perform – not for a song, but in a skit that poked fun at their past beef. There, Drake actually feuds against NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, resulting in them playing practical jokes on each other and Drake comparing Griffin’s skintone to Cheetos. Breezy pops up as a surprise ally to the Griffin, when Drizzy least expects it.
Drake hosted the awards show just days after he and Brown were snapped in the studio, having hip-hop fans wonder if their 2012 beef was resolved once and for all. Back then the two were fighting over Rihanna, not a film title as in the skit, and the resulting brawl sounded a lot uglier than the twerk-o-gram that Griffin sends to Drake. (The Views From the 6 rapper grimaces nonetheless.) Watch Brown make his surprise, chuckle-worthy appearance at the 2014 ESPYs up top. After the jump, watch Drake’s opening monologue, where he celebrates LeBron James‘ return to Cleveland as Skylar Grey did. More »
On July 15 at Rough Trade in Williamsburg, New York, R&B soulstress SZA teamed up with Will Smith’s daughter, Willow Smith, for a surprise performance of their unreleased collabo track “Domino.” Yep, you read that right, the Willow Smith. Already the ripe age of 13,Willow is done “whipping her hair back and forth” and seemingly on to bigger, better and more sultry things. Indubitably a signature SZA track, “Domino” is a smooth and soothing number, and Willow’s poignant vocals echoing throughout make it all the better.
Filmed by Scene Media, the performance concluded in SZA hinting at the fact that Willow is definitely working on some brand new tracks for the near future. “Can I tell you she’s cooking some of the craziest shit I have ever heard,” SZA earnestly told the audience. In the mean time, however, watch the video up top for a possible snippet of what’s to come.
Drake has called himself the light-skinned Keith Sweat. He has compared his crowd’s reactions to the return of Jodeci and dubbed his ticket sales One Direction numbers. He jokes that he’s a heartthrob, after a time when he was called soft by other rappers – though while hosting the 2014 ESPYs, Drake crooned parody slow jams to make fun of himself, his crowd of pro athletes and Macklemore.
“Real music doesn’t always win Grammys, but that’s okay,” Drake sang, as a photo of the “Thrift Shop” rapper flashed on the screen. Later, he introduced another song by saying, “This next song has literally nothing to do with you at all,” before he revealed that it was called “Side Pieces” and actual R&B heartthrob Brian McKnight entered the stage to encourage such, erm, side pieces to wave their drinks.
“A lot of these guys are dying for this song to end,” Drake actually sang during “Side Pieces,” while wearing linen pants as if at a beach getaway. McKnight wore a mesh top, joining Drake in that same symbolic paradise – and his actual return to the public eye makes for bizarre viewing. Watch Drake perform “Honorable Mention” up top, then check out “Side Pieces” below. More »
Nicole Scherzinger is coming out of the gate strong with her infectious UK summer single “Your Love,” poised to land at the very top of next week’s charts. She’s going hard with her promo game, too — from a performance on Alan Carr to milking a goat live on the radio. (Hey, whatever it takes.)
Luckily, Scherzy’s latest promotional tactic requires no manhandling of farm animals whatsoever: The former Pussycat Doll troupe leader just uploaded an acoustic rendition of “Your Love” performed on The Box, and it’s absolutely stunning.
Stripping out the heavily filters on the verses and punchy synth production of the original, Nicole powerfully croons across gentle guitars and a steady drum pulse. The live take breathes new life into the song entirely, highlighting not only Scherzy’s more than capable vocal chops, but the song’s beautiful underlying melodies. Those doo-do-do-da-doos have never sounded sweeter — this is love at first listen.
Watch Nicole’s gorgeous “Your Love” makeover up top, and let us know what you think in the comments below. More »
When it comes to their videos, British indie rockers Alt-J have a knack for the slightly off kilter. Case in point? The video for “Fitzpleasure” …and their newly released video for their Miley-sampled single “Hunger of the Pine” is no different.
Directed by music video mastermind Nabil, who is responsible for the stunning visuals behind Frank Ocean’s “Novacane” and FKA Twigs’ “Two Weeks”, the clip follows a man running from thousands of flying arrows through a forest. A bit Hunger Games-esque, the concept was first drawn up by band’s frontman, Jon Newman.
In a recent interview with NPR, bassist Gus Unger-Hamilton notes that the track explores “the idea that missing someone — pining — can be a physical pain much like hunger.” An almost too literal presentation of that very thought, the “Hunger Of The Pine” video leaves you feeling uncomfortable, yet completely engrossed by its gloriously gory images. So, fair warning: it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. Still intrigued? Watch the video up top. More »
Linda Perry, pop songwriter and 4 Non Blondes frontwoman, recently weighed in on Beyonce‘s songwriting methods in a July 17 Reddit AMA. Specifically, when a fan asked how Perry (Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Pink) felt about the On the Run star “changing one word on a song and getting writing credit,” she wasn’t impressed.
“well hahaha um thats not songwriting but some of these artists believe if it wasnt for them your song would never get out there so they take a cut just because they are who they are,” Perry said. “but everyone knows the real truth even Beyonce. She is talented but in a completely different way.” Meanwhile, Beyonce’s name appears throughout her self-titled album‘s production credits. More »
Mark your calendars: The 2014 MTV Video Music Awards will air on August 24, live from The Forum in Los Angeles. And following the recent announcement of a few performers like Ariana Grande, 5 Seconds Of Summer and Usher, MTV’s annual throwdown is now fully underway with the nominations.
Revealed today were all of those up for Moonmen, and (no surprise here) Beyonce leads the pack with eight nominations (including Video Of The Year for “Drunk In Love,” Best Female Video for “Partition” and Best Video With A Message for “Pretty Hurts”).
Other ladies up for a prize include Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea (nominated multiple times for both “Fancy” and Grande’s “Problem”), Miley Cyrus (Video Of The Year for “Wrecking Ball”) and Katy Perry (Best Female Video and Collaboration Of The Year for “Dark Horse”). Pharrell Williams is the lone dude up for Video Of The Year (“Happy”), unless we’re to count Jay Z‘s feature on “Drunk In Love.” More »