Yesterday, I kicked off MuuMuse’s Most Anticipated list for 2013. You want more? Well, I’ll give you more. Away we go!
LITERALLY PUT DOWN THE CANDY, TAKE OFF THE MOUSE EARS, STOP YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AND SHUT THE FUCK UP.
They say Ashlee Simpson gets away with murder.
Well, she’s coming back for yet another kill–right in time for Halloween.
As promised weeks ago during an interview, the talented Simpson sister has just provided us with a tease of her comeback track “Bat For A Heart,” which will be released along with a video on November 21.
STOP YOUR LIFE.
After nearly a decade of anticipation, Avril Lavigne has finally recorded a song that is as good as “Complicated.”
There’s always been a curious dichotomy in Avril’s sound. Since the beginning, half of her music has been a product of the hyperactive Dr. Luke punk-lite school of pop — “Sk8er Boi,” “Girlfriend,” “What the Hell” — songs that are bratty and infectious and inevitably grow grating after a few spins. But, to me, the more interesting component of Avril’s image is the more sullen, emotive side–the disillusioned girl who’s had it with posers (“Complicated”) and players (“Don’t Tell Me”) and, most intriguingly, loneliness (“I’m With You”). This bifurcation isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean that you never know quite what you’re going to get with a new Avril LP.
Goodbye Lullaby sets a tone of unapologetic angst with the title–glad to see there’s no growing up for our neighbor to the north–then alternates wildly between bratty Avril and pouty Avril, but it’s a relief to discover that both camps are equally hook-driven. The best track on the album, though, is easily “Wish You Were Here,” the best midtempo in Avril’s canon since she debuted with “Complicated” in 2002.
Its hook–”Damn, damn, damn, what I’d do to have you near, near, near, I wish you were here”–is an irresistible earworm, the chord progression evokes Paramore‘s understated pop gem “The Only Exception,” and muscular production from masters Max Martin and Shellback enlivens the track with crunchy guitars and a hypnotic drumbeat. “Wish You Were Here” is a throwback to the early-naughties pop-rock sound promulgated by production team The Matrix, when gems like Avril’s own “Complicated,” Ashlee Simpson‘s “Pieces of Me,” and Hilary Duff‘s “So Yesterday” ruled the airwaves, but with a modern edge, and it works marvelously.
Reportedly, Avril will be releasing “Smile” as her next single, but “Wish You Were Here” simply needs to be released properly–it’s just too good to go ignored.
Goodbye Lullaby was released on March 4. (iTunes)
Genre: Dream-pop, shoegaze, indie electronica
For Fans Of: Sally Shapiro, Late Night Alumni, M83, Imogen Heap
I first discovered Caroline Lufkin back in freshman year of college. I’d heard nothing about her, except that she was the sister of J-Pop star Olivia Lukin (who I absolutely adore). Knowing only this and nothing else, I took a dive and checked out her debut album, Murmurs.
As it turns out, the two couldn’t be more different: Olivia has a full bodied voice, while Caroline all but whispers with her high-pitched coos. Olivia’s music is much darker and rock-tinged, while Caroline delivers lush, angelic dream pop. And whereas Olivia is usually depicted in heavy black make-up and gothic fashions, Caroline is pictured looking natural, frolicking amongst flowers and smiling contently. Jessica and Ashlee Simpson? Sort of, anyway.
Time’s since passed, and it appears Caroline is finally preparing to release the follow-up to her fantastic 2006 debut.
“Gone” is the first single from Verdugo Hills, due out on January 25.
Keeping true to the sound of her debut, “Gone” is yet another gorgeous dream-pop production. Atop twinkling piano and a simple strumming beat, “Gone” plays like a gorgeous lullaby–even if the underlying message proves much more sorrowful than its warm, sleepy sound implies. “It hurts me now, when you’re so far away / Now that you are gone,” Lufkin sadly croons throughout. (LISTEN/DOWNLOAD)
“Swimmer,” another song from Verdugo Hills which can be downloaded for free at Caroline’s record label website (and is available to stream below), is another treat. Tripping electronica beats join together with warm synthesizers and light strings to envelop Caroline’s lush, layered hums, resulting in one truly mesmerizing love letter.
If “Gone” and “Swimmer” are any indication, it sounds like Verdugo Hills–like Murmurs–will have listeners hopping on a cloud and drifting far, far away.
Verdugo Hills will be released on January 25. (iTunes)
On Saturday, Jessica Simpson‘s Christmas special Merry Christmas aired on
PBS selected PBS networks. (Apparently not all of the affiliate networks chose to air the special. OH DEAR.)
Amongst the many hits churned out that night, J. Simpy performed a rendition of John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” along with none other than her own sister, Ashlee. (WATCH)
After viewing this about three times in a row, I’m still not really sure how to describe what just happened. Well, “FUCKING HILARIOUS” might fit the bill.
Between the awkward opening–wandering on stage betwixt the random choir children (as Ashlee nervously laughs her ass off), Jessica’s uncomfortable microphone swallow/painful blowjob face, Ashlee’s barefoot rebel child trotting ’round the stage (nearly causing about 10 head-on collisions between the two), the contrast between Jessica’s bellowing and Ashlee’s 80-year-old-grandma-chain-smoking-at-the-slot-machine rasp vocals, and the…err, unfortunate wardrobe, I remain completely and utterly mesmerized.
In short: This must be seen to be believed. Thanks for the memories, Papa Joe!
Oh, and Ashlee dear? Let’s cut the shit already with the whole marriage and baby thing–I’m ready for your comeback now.