Get fired up like a smoking gun!
VEVO has just premiered the lyric video for the radio version of “Girl Gone Wild,” the second single off of Madonna‘s upcoming twelfth studio album MDNA, due out on March 26.
Check out the full song below! Review to come when I regain consciousness…
EDIT: Okay, well, that happened. And…I love it!
Yes, yes, yes…there are negatives, of course. I hear them loud and clear! In fact, I had to steer clear of social media for a while to mull this one over for myself.
Vocally, she does sound a bit disengaged from the song–even possibly bored in places! And given that Benny Benassi was the one responsible for crafting something as untouchable as “Brave” off of Kelis‘ 2010 Flesh Tone (and even the defining remix of Madonna’s own “Celebration”!), I’m admittedly a bit shocked at the…hmm, sort-of flatness of the production?
And no, this isn’t the stuff of lyrical genius either: There’s some tiny glimmers of Godney (808′s and In The Zone!), plus some nods to classic Madge (“Erotica,” “Burning Up”), but ultimately, this is mostly an unadventurous ‘all up in da club’ moment. (Then again, “Into The Groove” wasn’t exactly highbrow…)
But that’s about where the issues end for me: Given that this is Madonna, there’s always going to be an impossible amount of hype and anticipation and expectation built around the music. As my friend Keith Caulfield from Billboard rightly pointed out in a spot-on assessment on Twitter, “Because she is MADONNA, everything she does is examined with a microscope. She is the biggest pop star alive….whatever she does is hyper-criticized. If it’s good, it’s not “good enough.” If it’s so-so, it’s a disaster.”
Back in 2008, I slammed Hard Candy as a desperate attempt for relevancy when I first heard the record (as I think a lot of fans did as well.) Now, I find myself revisiting quite often–most of the cuts, like “Dance 2Night” and “Heartbeat,” are actually phenomenal pop records. For some reason (the internet!11!!1!), it’s just too easy to all pounce at once.
While we’re on the subject, I’m so tired of seeing these holier-than-thou arguments about what our pop stars should be singing about. She’s 53, and she’s singing about dancing! And possibly even sex! (Oops, I didn’t know she couldn’t talk about sex!) Oh, so what? Fuck off, seriously–or should we just pray you never want to get some past the age of 50?
I find the dismissal of Madonna as an old woman incredibly insulting. It’s ageist and sexist, as I’ve tried to defend throughout this entire campaign so far: She challenged the expectations of what a woman should be as a pop artist 30 years ago, and she’s challenging the expectations of what a woman should be as an older pop artist now. You may not like it, you may not be comfortable with it…but that’s who she is, take it or leave it.
Also, it’s Madonna–you should know by now that the woman’s going to stay stubborn.
At the end of the day, this song is still fun, to me at least–like a brighter mash-up of “Celebration” and Confessions On A Dance Floor‘s “Sorry”. There’s hooks for days, the beat’s a-bangin’ (yes, I get it, it’s not the most ‘revolutionary’), and there’s no way I’m going to go to bed tonight without hearing “Hey-ey-ey, ey-ey-ey” echoing in my head until I pass out.
Oh, and that spoken word “Act of Contrition” introduction on the album version of the song? That’s a nod to a track on her 1989 album Like A Prayer for those unaware, and it’s utterly genius.
I enjoy “Girl Gone Wild.” Like, a lot. In fact, the more I listen, the more I absolutely L-U-V the song. Besides, it’s going to sound MAJOR in the clubs.
Is this all a cop-out? An excuse? Am I being basic? Or perfectly Kat Delusional? Potentially. I’m a diehard fan, so it’s impossible for me to look at this one too objectively, folks. But as it turns out, I’ve simply run out of fucks in my inventory to give out regarding my own biases. We all have them, after all…
Frankly, I’d rather just shut up and dance.
MDNA will be released on March 26. (iTunes)
Of all the Norwegian electronica chanteuses in the world, Kate Havnevik is probably my favorite.
I first discovered Havnevik back in 2006 with her debut record Melankton, a dreamy collection of electronica-infused tunes produced by the ever-amazing Guy Sigsworth (Britney Spears, Alanis Morrissette) and Carmen Rizzo. She’s also the voice behind my favorite Röyksopp production (and one of my favorite songs of all time, ever), 2005′s “Only This Moment.”
After releasing her Me EP back in November 2009, Havnevik partnered with PledgeMusic last August to raise money for the mixing, master and production for You, her much-anticipated full length follow-up to Melankton (as well as donating a portion of the funds to cancer research). It worked: By the time it was launched in August 21, the album was already 100% funded on September 7, and released to all who pledged donations on October 10.
Now, the record has been picked up for physical and digital distribution worldwide by Continetica Records on March 12.
The lead single from the album, “Mouth 2 Mouth,” finds the singer once again pairing off with Sigsworth, diving deep into chilly ambient waters: “Calling your name/You’re diving again/You are my sunken friend,” Kate croons across the tripping electro-organic beat, recalling the multi-layered bliss of quirky UK alt-electro songstress, Imogen Heap (who’s also worked extensively with Sigsworth in the past as Frou Frou).
“Mouth to mouth and head in sand/I am holding you,” she delicately coos during the chorus. The heavy breaking beats also seem somewhat dubstep inspired, similar to Lights‘ gorgeous 2011 effort, Siberia.
All in all, it’s yet another aural treat from the always enchanting Ms. Havnevik. Listen and swoon!
“Mouth 2 Mouth” will be released on February 20. (iTunes)
Get ready, y’all, because the evolution of Adam Lambert has just begun.
See, I’ve had a chance to listen to the new Adam Lambert single, “Better Than I Know Myself,” — in full. Great news — it’s really, really good.
First off, I should say that the snippet, which was released today, doesn’t really do the song justice. You can hear that the chorus sees Adam reaching into the higher part of his register, with booming, “Halo”-like drums and a skittering backbeat. But part of what makes the song magical is the way it builds from the opening of whining synths and a nicely percussive backing track, then builds instrumentally into the chorus. Dr. Luke‘s signature style as a producer is the juxtaposition of relatively subdued verses and a huge, explosive chorus, and “Better Than I Know Myself” does that magnificently.
The added talents of Claude Kelly, too, who remains one of the finest songwriters currently in the game, augment the song’s impact, since Claude has a way of cutting to the core of an emotional conflict with quick, elegant images. “Cold as ice, and more bitter than a December winter night/That’s how I treated you,” Adam sings in the opening lyrics, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it simile that speaks volumes.
The most emotionally potent moment is the bridge, where the richer synths yield to a tinkling piano and the lyrics turn unexpectedly vulnerable: “I get kinda dark/Let it go too far/I can be obnoxious at times/But try and see my heart.” It’s a lovely turn, with a candor that’s refreshing to hear in pop music, and it makes the song truly memorable.
In my piece last week for MTV Buzzworthy, I wrote that “My sources tell me that ‘Better Than I Know Myself’ is a piece of flaw-free radio candy, a stunning midtempo track with a powerhouse chorus that’s like a pumped-up ‘Whataya Want From Me,’ and it should cement Adam’s place in the pop A-list.” I’m sticking by this, especially the latter statement. “Better Than I Know Myself” is more radio-ready as anything on his last album, and I would be stunned if it didn’t perform excellently on the charts, and catapult Adam way further into the realm of superstardom than he’s ever been before.
“Better Than I Know Myself” is the lead single off of Adam’s upcoming album, Trespassing. (iTunes)
First of all, “We Found Love” isn’t really much of a pop song.
While Rihanna‘s synth-laden singles like “Don’t Stop The Music,” “Only Girl (In The World)” and “Who’s That Chick?”, her collaboration with DJ David Guetta, provided a pop-friendly preview of RiRi tripping the light fantastic, “We Found Love” is a full-on Euro-friendly House production that would fit in seamlessly on the sweat-soaked dance floors of Ibiza.
Steering away from Norwegian duo Stargate–the hit-makers responsible for much of the success behind the Rated R and LOUD era–Rihanna’s latest was crafted by UK dance sensation, Calvin Harris (“Ready For The Weekend,” “Bounce”). And much like his other productions for leading pop ladies (Kylie Minogue‘s “In My Arms”; Sophie Ellis-Bextor‘s “Off & On”), “We Found Love” is a 3-minute explosion of glittering, euphoric synthesizers and pulsating club rhythms–all with a distinct electro-Caribbean gloss.
The song’s structure too is strictly a hands-aloft dance affair, featuring several major rave-happy breakdowns a la Afrojack‘s dance floor destroyer “Take Over Control (feat. Eva Simons)” or LMFAO‘s radio-slaying “Party Rock Anthem,” as well as repeat-heavy lyricism that makes the original play like one almighty remix. (Can you even begin to imagine the quality of the remixes?)
Production aside, RiRi truly makes “We Found Love” hers, as she always does, with her vocals. But far from most of the songs that earned the Bajan beauty her crown within pop royalty, there’s not even a lick of the bossy ‘tude of “Hard,” nor a hint of the rough ‘n’ rowdy “Rude Boy” RiRi.
Instead she simply sings–highlighting not only her heaven-sent upper register, but the song’s gorgeous lyrics: “Yellow diamonds in the light and we’re standing side by side / As your shadow crosses mine, what it takes to come alive,” she sweetly croons with all the sincerity and innocence of–as Calvin Harris accurately described–an angel.
While the song is much more in the vein of the celebratory dance-pop of LOUD than the moody noir of Rated R, “We Found Love” still signals a musical (and sure enough in weeks to come, a visual) shift for Rihanna–an artist who’s consistently proven herself capable of skillfully reinventing herself in a way not seen since Madonna.
As for that Rihanna reign letting up anytime soon?
Well, the odds of that happening are even less likely than getting hit by a satellite this evening.
“We Found Love” was released on September 22. (iTunes)
After almost five straight years of setbacks and delays due to label fuckery, management reshuffling and everything else in between, the grand return of JoJo has officially begun.
“Disaster” is the official lead single from the singer’s upcoming third studio album Jumping Trains, due out later this year on Interscope Records.
While the brilliant Can’t Take That Away From Me–a free 11-track mixtape JoJo released in 2010–found the young singer exploring new terrain within chilly electronica grooves and soulful, church-ready slow jams, “Disaster” brings listeners back to the signature pop-rock sound that first propelled the Massachusetts-born pop starlet into the spotlight well over seven years ago.
And for those of you who fell hard from her very first scathing kiss-off track, “Leave (Get Out),” you’re in luck: JoJo’s still pissed.
“‘Cause the walls burned up and our love fell down / And it turned into whatever, now we’re saying never,” JoJo angrily cries out on top of the song’s massive chorus. The crashing drums, dramatic strings and triumphantly marching mega-beat all invoke some of the greatest, most devastating pop-rock mid-tempo ballads in recent memory, including Jordin Sparks‘ “Battlefield” and yes, even a bit of her own 2006 smash, “Too Little, Too Late.”
But apart from a return to the power pop production of her past hits, “Disaster” signals JoJo’s growth as both a vocalist and an individual: Proof lies no further than the song’s snarling, teeth-gritting bridge, which bites harder and burns deeper than just about anything she’s released to date. (“You shot the bullet, you shot the bullet that killed me!”)
It’s clear that the 20-year-old songstress has done a whole lot of growing up over the past few years in her absence. And with such an amazing track in tow, it’s the perfect time for this incredibly talented singer/songwriter to reclaim her spot on the radio waves and show us what she’s got once again.
Welcome back, JoJo. You’ve been sorely missed.
“Disaster” will be released on September 6. (iTunes)