There are myriad pop stars who have floated along the blogosphere in the past five years, inciting a brief panic of overexcitement and hyperbolic praise (I’ve certainly been a culprit once or twice), only to spiral downward—a result of unmet expectations and subpar follow-ups—and eventually fade into obscurity.
Betty Who, however, is the real deal.
“Who?” you’ll ask, thinking you’re quite funny.
Take the emotional dance floor wallop of Robyn at her finest, the massive, yelping hooks and underlying nostalgia of Katy Perry at her teenage dreamiest, the ’80′s synth-pop sheen of Empire Of The Sun at their New Wave-iest, a bit of the euphoria of Madonna at her earliest, and stick that all in an industrial-sized blender: You’ve got one hell of a pop star concoction, right?
That’s Betty Who.
Earlier this month, the Sydney-raised, Boston-schooled indie-pop songstress released her debut (free!) EP The Movement, an unbelievably rock solid slice of ’80′s electro-encrusted pop perfection spread across 4 tracks, which PopJustice declared to be “2013′s the best proper EP so far.” It’s true. Let’s dig in, yes?
Okay, real talk.
When news broke earlier this week that will.i.am really, really is coming on board as the executive producer of Britney‘s 8th studio album (working title: Blackout 2.0: It Gets Urbaner), the reality of the situation left most, if not all of us, steaming like a pot full of vegetables.
I, for one, was furious: After all, I’ve referred to him as a musical terrorist for the greater half of the past decade. He’s cocky, his name is annoying, he’s got a stupid haircut and he’s responsible for megatons of club-pop drivel: “Boom Boom Pow,” “Check It Out,” “Imma Be,” “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)”—and worst of all, THIS. Plus, we all know “Scream & Shout” is only tolerable because of Britishney, bitch.
But upon further consideration and extensive prayer and meditation, I’ve come to realize that will.i.am isn’t always the will.i.worst. (Just, y’know, usually.)
As the executive producer of Britney’s album, will.i.am doesn’t necessarily have to touch all, or even any, of the songs. His responsibility is to curate the overall record. Beyond that, he’s already promised to meet with Britney and create something “personal” and “intimate,” rather than a mere collection of slay-ready dance floor cuts. He seems genuine in his intention to represent Brit Brit’s life in a meaningful way through her musical output—and that’s something to support, not shade. (I don’t know about you, but I sure want a Spearitual Ray of Light!)
Yes, he’s spent the last few years of his career servicing hashtag-friendly, Auto-Tune-heavy robo-bangers for the masses, but he’s contributed some pretty major tunes to the pop universe too.
So instead of waking up in a cold sweat screaming (and shouting) from night terrors of Britney singing the sequel to “My Humps,” let’s just remain Optimisticney and consider all the good stuff. (And please Godney, let there be no hashtags.)
Remember Orion? He’s the Swedish producer responsible for crafting last summer’s stunning “In The End,” which left us all crying at the discotheque.
Over the past year, he’s been steadily prepping his full-length debut. But in between crafting new cuts, he’s been putting his signature emotional spin on some of the finer Swede-pop songs of the past decade, including Faye‘s “Water Against The Rocks” and Agnes’ “One Last Time.”
He’s got a new mix to add to his dreamy collection this week, this time putting a spin on Christian Falk‘s 2006 single “Dream On,” featuring Robyn and The Ark‘s Ola Salo.
Orion’s take on the track adds some celestial stringwork and intergalactic polish to the production, allowing Robyn to sound right at home dancing on her own up in space. Dream on, indeed. (Speaking of, can she come down to Earth to unleash some more Swede-pop perfection this year, please?)
Check out the MuuMuse premiere of Orion’s glittering remix below.
In the words of Funky Dineva: Yes, GAWD.
We didn’t really need to hear “Q.U.E.E.N.”, Janelle Monáe‘s first single since 2010—a collaboration with Erykah Badu, to know that it was going to be several shades of fierce freshness. And we didn’t need to see the video for “Q.U.E.E.N.” to know that Janelle was going to put in WORK.
And yet, she still managed to defy expectations.
Sure, everyone loves a comeback. But everyone loves a good ol’ emancipation just as much—especially when there’s a former Disney pop princess involved.
Miley Cyrus already began stretching her wings and flying far, far away from the castle when Can’t Be Tamed dropped 3 years ago. Since then, Mileybird’s truly discovered her freedom. And now, she’s so in her element in the studio—happily crafting cuts with Pharrell and Snoop Dogg (the murky, reggae-infused “Ashtrays & Heartbreaks” is one of 2013′s better offerings already)—that she barely even remembers what the Magic Kingdom looks like.
The singer’s been pretty tight-lipped about her new project for over a year, which a nearly impressive feat in a world where every tweet and every Instagram is a news story. But the time has come, and Miley is finally starting to speak out.
V‘s fantastic interview captures the pop princess-turned-self-realized songstress at her most assured and outspoken yet: She sounds like a fearless young woman who’s found her voice, much like Britney during In The Zone or Madonna during…well, her entire career. She’s incredibly insightful too, in the way that only a former pop star burned one too many times could be. And, most importantly, she’s in control—Janet style.
Here are some especially amazing moments.