Troye Sivan - Happy Little Pill

On Tuesday the web wunderkind released this video from TRXYE, the extended play due to drop tomorrow. In it, he draws a greater distinction between Troye Sivan the successful YouTube star and Troye Sivan the rising singer-songwriter. 

Where his vlogs are sunny and upbeat, Sivan’s music is decidedly darker. Taking his cues from the melancholic melodies that recently launched Lorde into the pop stratosphere, Sivan offers a sinister and seductive take on the hazy malaise of drug addiction.

With more than two and a half million YouTube subscribers, he already had the platform to launch a successful career. And with Happy Little Pill, Sivan has laid to rest any doubts about the legitimacy of his talents. This is no gimmick track, joke song, or cheap cover put out by a web star looking to make a quick buck in iTunes downloads. This is the serious work of an emerging artist that deserves to be taken seriously. 

While it will be interesting to see how Sivan reconciles the differences between his artistic and vlogging personas — or if he even needs to — this track marks a huge step forward for a vlogger/singer/actor verging on mainstream success. And with the sureness of his talents, the scope of his audience, and those damn blue eyes, that level of success now seems all but certain. 

Posted Thursday Aug 14 6pm  859 notes



#tbt: Smile - Lily Allen

"Smile" is like poisoned honey: it delivers a sugary, sweet tune that hides a swift, stinging punch to the jaw for your douchebag ex. While the peppy sounds lift you into the air, the sharp, cheeky lyrics bring you back down to the ground, creating a beautiful contrast. Lily Allen’s silky voice conceals the spite she has for her former lover and his betrayal, and instead of plotting some revenge of keying his car, she smiles, knowing that he’s miserable, and takes as much pleasure as she can from his misery. Always a classic.

Posted Thursday Aug 14 4pm  302 notes



New Music: Black Widow - Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora

Your fave is problematic but Iggy has transcended the lines of problematic; whether it’s her homophobia or her racism, she’s never one to acknowledge any wrong doing.

In her newest video, “Black Widow,” Iggy partners with Rita Ora in a Kill Bill parody, playing off Beatrix Kiddo’s code name, Black Mamba. However, there are so many reasons why this is a nasty example of cultural appropriation. You might think the same of Kill Bill, except, I’d like to argue, that Kill Bill wasn’t an example of cultural appropriation, but rather of cultural respect and homage. Tarantino’s vol. 1 is a respectful nod, a tribute, to the classic Japanese samurai and Chinese kung-fu films that inspired him. Tarantino worked with several well known martial arts experts to train his yellow-haired warrior, had Uma work with tutors to speak the languages, and included some well known Japanese actors (Sonny Chiba and Kenji Ohba). Kill Bill is far from a mockery of Japanese culture (in fact, the film pokes fun at itself with O-Ren Ishii’s “silly Caucasian girl likes to play with Samurai swords”).

Iggy, on the other hand, seemingly handles a samurai sword but not the Japanese culture. She neglects Tarantino’s same respect. She uses a faux Japanese script to spell out “DESTROY,” white washing any authentic language. And for some reason, rather than taking place in a Japanese bar, the decisive House of Blue Leaves scene replica takes place in a club, with an American flag in the backdrop and Michael Madsen in cowboy attire.

Iggy successfully removes anything authentically or even vaguely Japanese from the music video. Nothing really respectful here: Iggy’s character takes the exotic and uses it to kill. 

Posted Wednesday Aug 13 2pm  181 notes



Turn Up: Dierks Bentley - Drunk on a Plane

A ballad-worthy narrative, caught up in the poppy, upbeat verses and catchy chorus of Dierks Bentley’s Drunk on a Plane.

Where another genre might have brought this story of broken love to sparse, modernist beats and simple guitar progressions, Bentley uses his tried and true Country roots to lift his narrative with humor, expert phrasing, and complex instrumentals. The result is a song you might find yourself singing on the pavement, embarrassingly, at the top of your lungs. The lyrics, and the way they fit into the melody, sit so satisfyingly— “Got a little mile high flight attention!” as perfect bridge in what could otherwise be such a sorrowful chorus— that they span the world of love, loss and rebound so perfectly as to constitute the ultimate break-up song.

This submission was written by task! Thanks for fighting the country-music fight, Libby!


Posted Tuesday Aug 12 8pm  123 notes


WWTB: August 12th

Posted Tuesday Aug 12 10am  37 notes



Kanye West - New Slaves / Blood On The Leaves (live)

Always an innovator, last October Kanye West gave a BBC performance of two songs, reimagining one and reaffirming the other as some of his all-time greatest work.

With this rendition of New Slaves, the percussive beat is transposed into a haunting piano melody, and Kanye’s aggressive lyrics are juxtaposed against a soulful live vocal by Charlie Wilson. The stylistic change serves the song well, making this manifesto on racism and classism feel both introspective and extrospective, at once righteous and wise. 

This atmosphere is furthered by Blood On The Leaves. One of Ye’s most expansive songs, its scope is tremendous, spanning the macabre legacy of lynching, to a surrealist depiction of fame and fortune. Here, the form is perfectly married with function, as personal, confessional lyrics are obscured through auto tune and sampling, and from this vastness, Kanye finds soul and sorrow, vanity and tragedy. 

Posted Monday Aug 11 9pm  543 notes

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