It’s the most wonderful time of the year: A time when the promise of next year’s music still shines bright like a diamond, free of the crippling reality of weak lead singles, terrible cover art and devastating chart positions.
(Remember how excited we all were for The Spirit Indestructible this time last year? Eesh.)
There’s plenty of major albums coming our way in 2013 by both up-and-comers and veterans alike, so as I do yearly, I’ve put together a guide to some of the most titillating releases just on the horizon. This is the first installment–watch for the next round-up tomorrow.
I’ll be anticipating…
Here at MuuMuse, we like to make dreams come true.
I received an impassioned email yesterday from a Muuser with a very simple request:
Hi . i was wondering if you could do a feature on the songs that are hidden gems and feature Hilary Duff’s- Holiday and also the equally amazing remix featured on her Best Of album.
I recently discovered this song myself and wonder how i had not heard it before. It’s an absolute amazeballs of a track.
With its surging dance beat that makes you want to get up and dance!!
Please do a review. Thanks
BOOM: Wish granted in the form of a “Hey, You Know What Was An Amazing Song?” post.
(Even though the last “Hey, You Know What Was An Amazing Song?” was also by Hilary Duff–”Beat Of My Heart,” which you should read now!–it doesn’t matter, because everything Hilary Duff has ever recorded is amazing.)
“Holiday” was produced by OneRepublic front-man and producer Ryan Tedder–he of Beyonce‘s “Halo” and Leona Lewis‘ “Bleeding Love” fame–and co-penned by both Hilary and her sister, Haylie Duff. Originally recorded back in 2007, the song was intended to be released on an upcoming re-release of her incredible fourth studio album, Dignity.
Peppered with chilly, twinkling synthesizers and an infectious mid-tempo shuffle (classic Tedder), the song follows a forlorn Duff longing for a love long gone–a most perfect companion for those suffering a bout of the holiday blues. “Now in the summer I miss you/And in the winter I miss you/It don’t matter what I do since you went away,” Duff gorgeously croons above the song’s sparkling bridge.
According to Duff in a XM BPM radio interview with DJ Joe Bermudez from back in November of ’07, she was planning to pen one more song before releasing “Holiday” (which she referred to as her “favorite”) as the first or second single off the re-release.
Sadly Hollywood Records scrapped the idea, opting instead to release the song (along with the Depeche Mode-sampling lead single, “Reach Out”) on Best Of Hilary Duff in 2008, her second greatest hits collection, along with an incredible remix by Joe Bermudez & Chico.
While the shelved re-release of Dignity is truly a shame, the cancellation of “Holiday” as a single is nothing short of a pop travesty. For now, all we can do now is listen to this icy gem on repeat (and pray that Duff follows through on the plan to record a fifth studio album.) Let the snow come down and wake my dreams!
Best of Hilary Duff was released in November of 2008. (iTunes)
Well, hello! And welcome to the next installment of “Hey, You Know What Was An Amazing Song?”
Prompted by a Muuser pointing out that I accidentally wrote “Beat Of My Heart” instead of “Beat Of My Drum” in today’s NICOLA FUCKING ROBERTS post, I immediately stood up in shock and awe upon realizing what I’d just done: GAYGASP! Of course! Hilary Duff‘s brazilliant “Beat Of My Heart”! OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD. THAT WAS SUCH AN AMAZING SONG!
“Beat Of My Heart” was one of three newly recorded songs for Duff’s 2005 greatest hits compilation, Most Wanted.
Produced and co-penned by Jason Lee “Jay E” Epperson and Benji & Joel Madden–collectively known as The Dead Executives–”Beat Of My Heart” is sort of this incredibly gleeful, impossibly earnest moment of unassuming pop that makes you believe that love is real, ponies are dancing in the streets and everything is magical. The pop princess merrily skips along atop shimmering synth waves, stupid-happy electro blips and bleeps and just the right amount of rocky guitar strumming–all of which I imagine perfectly embodied the Duff-Madden union at the time. Also: That heartbeat at the beginning? PERFECT.
The song went on to be officially released in Europe and Australia, peaking at #17 in Spain, #13 on the Australia ARIA charts and #11 on Italy’s Singles Chart. Even stateside, Duff saw some success with the song as its video managed to top MTV’s Total Request Live countdown during December of ’05. (Awwww, man! Remember TRL?! Like, why doesn’t MTV play any music anymore?! OMG. Like, HELLO. It’s called MUSIC. TELEVISION. Death of music, amirite? BRB, making a million hilarious/nostalgic Tumblr .GIFs about old MTV shows and starting Trending Topics on Twitter now because no one’s ever thought these thoughts before.)
“Beat Of My Heart” was also the final single Duff released in 2005 before the transition away from the super-squeaky clean Disney Queen image of Metamorphosis/Hilary Duff into the more mature electro-pop pulsations of 2006′s incredible “Play With Fire”–a sound that would dominate her utterly legendary 2007 release, Dignity.
Dignity, of course, was (and is) the last of newly recorded material we’ve heard from the pop princess since 2007. Like all the boys and good music in my life, Duff’s fourth studio album (which I will revisit for a proper review one day) proved to be nothing more than a major cock-tease of flawless electro-pop that promises to call you back after a really good date but then doesn’t, so you’re like okay, I guess I’ll just keep checking his Facebook for a while and texting him over and over until you realize he’s seeing some douche-tard now and–wait, what? Oh. Right.
Since 2007, the Duffmeister decided to embark on a not-so-short hiatus, shacking up with some Canadian hockey player or whatever and send out horrifying “I’m perfectly content just being married, actually” TwitPics.
Luckily her grand return to the music scene appears to be all systems go for 2011 (and not a moment too soon!), as she’s now stated in several recent interviews that she plans to return to the studio this summer to record a new “pop/rock dance”-oriented album.
Never stop, Duff. Never stop.
“Beat Of My Heart” was released in 2005. (iTunes)
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)
I’m a big Lindsay Lohan fan. Massive, really.
I’ve got all the magazines she’s ever spread her legs for, held my own in arguments regarding her ‘acting ability,’ and even made my ex-boyfriend sit through I Know Who Killed Me. (Not the source of the break-up, though potentially.)
Obviously then, the starlet’s recent imprisonment has proven to be a deeply trying and troubling time for me. In what little free time I have between stenciling my “Free Lilo” tees for the Save Lindsay! Foundation (accreditation pending) and softly crying myself to sleep to the Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen soundtrack, I’ve also spent some time revisiting some of my favorite cuts from Lohan’s debut album from 2004, Speak.
2004 was a very strange and sexy time in my life. And by that, I mean I was just on the brink of getting my braces off.
Smack dab in the middle of my high school experience (forgive me for outing myself as a youngin’–my mother tells me I’m very mature for my age), Speak came only a few months after what would be the life-changing release of Mean Girls, a film that simultaneously secured Lohan’s status as a teen queen sensation and provided myself and a fleet of fellow young gays with a laundry list of potent quotables for the next half century. (“SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE,” “Dawn Schweitzer is a fat virgin,” etc.)
Speak is an underrated release, plump with single-worthy selections and infectious, post-Disney pop-rock stormers that cleverly mask Lilo’s single octave vocal range. Among the bunch though, there were one or two dark electro-tinged cuts that truly brought the album to the next level: “To Know Your Name” was one of them.
The song, which was penned by tween-pop production fount John Shanks (Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus) and the annoying judge on the newer, jumped-the-shark seasons of American Idol (who sometimes also writes great songs), Kara DioGuardi, blew and continues to blow my mind (like cocaine).
Though she was still but a baby slut at the time, “To Know Your Name” is drenched in sexy. The story revolves around a mystery lover that La Lohan seeks to keep away from the prying public and those goddamn paparazzi (“Everybody wants to know our love / Everybody talks about our love”). The lyrics about privacy and love also seemed to speak to my inner gay, which was at this point in time now bursting at the seams to trip the light fantastic. Evidently, the same applied to Lindsay years later.
Apart from the somewhat obvious “rebel girl” major label tracks on Speak, the purrs and moans of “To Know Your Name” suggested much promise for Lilo to become a full-fledged electro-pop princess.
Now, as we read about the slow demise of Lindsay Lohan’s extended reign of terror–from DUI’s to questionable nail art–I thought it a good idea to reflect the better times instead: A time when the acting career was still good, and the music career was even better.
In fact, you could even call it criminally good. MUAHAHA.
No, but really…she gets to have a TV in her cell. She’s totally fine.