Sounds like: Rihanna, Jessie J
Genre: Pop, Dub-pop
Prepare for the rise of Rita Ora.
After catching the eye and ear of an A&R in London, the 21-year-old Kosovo-born, U.K.-bred songstress was introduced to Jay-Z in New York and soon signed to Roc Nation (Rihanna style!) back in 2009.
Since then, she’s been working with just every heavy-hitter in the pop industry to craft her upcoming 2012 debut, including Ester Dean, The-Dream and Stargate.
Admittedly, I wasn’t too bowled over by Ora’s lead US single which premiered recently on Z100: “How We Do (Party)” (originally titled “Party & Bullshit), a carbon copy of the Katy Perry “Teenage Dream”/Jessie J “Domino” strumming power-pop formula. It’s a hit, for sure…but, well, it’s been done to death at this point.
Her debut UK single “R.I.P.,” however, tickles my fancy far more: Penned by Drake, produced by Chase & Status and Stargate and featuring Tinie Tempah (that enough talent in one track for you?), the dubstep-infused number sounds a lot like something off of RiRi’s Rated R, featuring gritty guitar licks and dark, searing synths. “R.I.P to the girl you used to see/Her days are over!” Ora declares.
With powerful pipes and a bevy of top song scribes at her disposal, Rita Ora’s got plenty of potential to take over in 2012 as one of the newest pop princesses. You ready?
Ester Dean‘s dropping it low on her own once again–and this time, she’s coming full force.
As we knew already, the Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter, responsible for literally millions of hit songs for artists like Katy Perry (“Firework), Nicki Minaj (“Super Bass) and most of all, Rihanna (“Rude Boy,” “S&M,” “What’s My Name?”), is finally stepping out for her highly anticipated solo venture in 2012 under Roc Nation.
“Gimmie Money” is the first taste of Dean’s upcoming work and, following the proven success rate of all songs with “Gimme” in the title, it’s a solid smash.
Dean’s signature raspy vocals works well against the bangin’, gritty beat, which I’m only assuming is a Stargate pairing given that the synthesizers and melodies are deeply reminiscent of her prior smashes with the Norwegian duo, including RiRi’s “What’s My Name?”, “Only Girl,” and most noticeably of all, Nicole Scherzinger‘s “Right There.”
“I need your love more than a ring/I like nice things, that’s the icing/But you gotta give me more, and make me your girl,” she urges. That’s right fellas–this isn’t a “Get Your Money Up” situation. All Ester wants is you.
The song also includes a solid cameo by the always reliable (in feature form, anyway) Nicki Minaj on a guest verse. I mean: “Chopsticks, you know we don’t give a fork”? You’ve got to love Mizz Minaj’s features–even if she sometimes acts like, um, a stupid hoe.
Basically, this track has all the makings of a blazin’ Top 40 RiRi banga, but this time around, it’s Dean’s turn to get her shine in the spotlight–and rightfully so.
EDIT: Oh good, it looks like she’ll be appearing on a remix of HIS new single too.
There have already been plenty of responses (like my friend Sam Lansky‘s excellent take on the situation for XOJane), but I thought it necessary to explain why this song won’t be appearing on MuuMuse.
Putting Chris Brown on a Rihanna song is an irresponsible, reckless stunt that teaches that after biting, choking and beating a woman to a pulp, begrudgingly appearing in court and going out partying the same night, calling Raz B a faggot, throwing a chair out the window in an anger-induced rage at Good Morning America, calling a LAPD policewoman and paparazzi members “gay” and “weak” after receiving a parking ticket, ranting on Twitter about ‘haters’ and inspiring women to tweet ‘jokes’ about being willing to get punched to date him (see all of this and more in picture form at Buzzfeed), Chris Brown should still be exalted as a “comeback hero” of sorts, win a Grammy and be featured on a song with the same woman he beat senseless less than three years ago.
For me, it’s not just that he hit Rihanna (which, don’t get me wrong, is more than enough already)–it’s that he’s only continued to prove that he’s nothing more than a douche. Where’s the humility? Trust me: I understand forgiveness. I don’t think someone should be marked by their past crimes forever. (It’s a crime, by the way–whenever people label the beating “a mistake,” I cringe.)
What I don’t understand is turning a blind eye to relentless acts of fuckery: Even if he’s genuinely sorry in private (which none of us can speak to), it’s Brown’s behavior in public that has shown him to be remorseless, homophobic, misogynistic and explosively out of control.
Perhaps I’m just not “forgiving” enough to understand why putting Chris Brown on a smutty club banga about fucking is an enlightened move. Or maybe it’s somehow anti-feminist of me to suggest that Rihanna shouldn’t be allowed to endorse someone that beat the living shit out of her. If that makes me short-sighted, so be it.
All I know is that if Rihanna were my own sister, I’d be running into the studio now to set fire to the recordings of his guest verse and take her far, far away from him. Honestly? I’m not even a little sorry about that.
Right now, Rihanna is loudly yelling her lyrics as thinly-veiled responses to the situation on Twitter: “They can say whatever, Ima do whatever… No pain is forever <-----YUP! YOU KNOW THIS" and "Go head talk shit...its all in da paper!!! Lemme grab my dick while ya sit on top!!!" It's not exactly helping to position her decision as...intelligent. Instead, it's making me feel really sad for her--there is no positive lesson to be learned from this collaboration.
As for me, I won't be supporting this release. It's very upsetting to me, given that "Birthday Cake" was easily a favorite off of Talk That Talk. (Please note: I’m not telling anyone to support or boycott this song. Who am I to be telling anyone what to do? The decision is yours.)
I’m not giving up on her. I’ll always love her as an artist, but I simply cannot support something so explicitly ignorant.
Rihanna can forgive. It’s her life and her choice. I don’t have to forget. That’s mine.
Last night was the 54th Annual Grammy Awards! Or was it the 2012 CMT Music Awards? I literally couldn’t tell, what with all the banjos, geetars and all that.
No, it was The Grammys! A time when the industry comes together to honor REAL music! A time to dress tastefully and bring a bishop as a date! A time when Jennifer Hudson sings half of a Whitney Houston song while Chris Brown gets two whole performances and a Grammy! Yes! Music finally wins!
Mercifully, Adele rightfully won in all six of her major categories: Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Solo Vocal Performance, Short Form Music Video, Record Of The Year, and Song Of The Year, and Album Of The Year. (Okay, the music video win was a bit “Really though?”, but…you know, whatever.)
All in all, that shit was as cray as usual. Here are nine moments worth your time. There were more, but, like…I’m tired. You know?
One of MuuMuse’s favorite up-and-coming acts, Tinashe, has done a lot of growing up these days.
After separating from short-lived girl group The Stunners in 2010 and releasing “Artificial People,” her collaboration with OFM back in September of 2011, the blossoming 19-year-old singer-songwriter has just released In Case We Die on February 1, a conceptual mixtape (yes, that means free!) that serves up an unexpectedly more mature, introspective sound than any of her dance-pop productions of the past.
“I was very inspired by the thought of a lover’s last words before death–bearing their soul and their secrets before it was too late…and trying to capture that half-fear we all secretly have that the inevitable is sooner than we are ready for,” she explains of the mixtape.
The collection was reportedly self-penned, produced and record alone over a three week period. And if that’s truly the case, then Tinashe has just become more of a “One to Watch” artist than ever.
Harnessing the ghostly trip-hop production of artists like Canadian spook-R&B maker The Weeknd, Kanye West, and even subtle shades of Prince, the mixtape glides along wisps of drippy beats, echoed yelps, sultry Cassie-like icy R&B and strange, atmospheric sounds in the distance.
There’s plenty to soak in from this rich 15-track collection of tunes–from the moans and purrs above the super slow, slinky swag of “Boss,” to the autotuned Kanye-like grit of “Another Season,” to the unbelievably amazing “I Tried”: “I want you to know that I tried!” the songstress yelps above the song’s soldiering hip-hop thump and blazing synthesizers.
While not everything on this mixtape is as Top 40-friendly as her past releases (though tracks like “This Feeling” bounces with enough of a Rihanna-like bump to certainly prick some ears at radio), In Case We Die is by far her most impressive moment yet–an incredible display of stone-cold serious artistry, featuring daring production and introspective lyricism that deserves to have the blogosphere going positively abuzz.
Pay attention now, because this collection should seriously not be overlooked.
In Case We Die was released on February 1. (Download Now)