Fedora-loving, Def Jam crooner Ne-Yo has returned with the first single off his upcoming album, Libra Scale. With “Beautiful Monster”, Ne-Yo, like so many of his current pop cohorts, seems to be making the move from electronic-influenced R&B to full on Ibiza-style dance music. While earlier hits like “Ms. Independent” mixed gleamy synths with his trademark harps and acoustic guitars, “Beautiful Monster” is a full-on slice of Euro-pop, built by Ne-Yo and his production friends, Stargate, entirely out of trance-y keyboard lines and a throbbing drumbeat. Ne-Yo’s Michael Jackson-esque wails and screams are still in full effect, however, so expect to hear this one blasting out of the speakers at pretty much every club for the rest of the summer.
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Sometime last week, Titusandronic.us, a great fan site for the equally great Titus Andronicus, posted an unofficial album of previously-unreleased, or out-of-print, recordings from the band, including a few live cuts. If you thought their studio work sounded scrappy, wait till you hear some of the nearly-inscrutable, stereo blow-outs on Feats of Strength. Or don’t. Newbies should go for The Monitor, their phenomenal (and wrongly dismissed, by this very website) Civil War concept album from earlier this year. The devastating version of “To Old Friends and New” on The Monitor, the first of which appeared on the first Titus Andronicus EP and reappears here, is a fitting illustration of how far the band has come in just half a decade.
As lead singer Patrick Stickles says on his band’s official blog, it’ll give you a chance to “tell all yr [sic] friends, ‘See? I told you they sucked!’” That being said, serious devotees might get a kick out of their rambunctious cover of the Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner”, and Stickles’ solo version of “No Future”, from Titus Andronicus’ first full-length, The Airing of Grievances, strips naked a ballad that was emotionally bare to begin with. In any case, the curious should go download it for free here.
This week, Canadian-bred emcee D-Sisive let loose of his latest single, “Ray Charles (Looking for a Star”, which features a fantastic closing verse from King Reign. Ever since hearing D’s solo LP last year, Let The Children Die, I have been craving more. Luckily, we won’t have to wait much longer for some new material, as we also get word that D-Sisive will be dropping Vaudeville on June 22 in Canada, and July 27 in the US. I know it is difficult to check up on every new piece of music these days, especially from artists you have never heard of. But if you are going to check out any hip-hop project this year, I urge that you throw Vaudeville on that list. If you are open to a progressive and refreshing sound, then this is definitely something for you to check out. You better watch out US emcees, Canada is knockin’.
How do you do? With the help of Kia and Adult Swim, Madvillain finally unleash some long-awaited new music to get excited about. According to Stones Throw, not only will this song be included on the Adult Swim compilation, but it also serves as the first single for the upcoming Madvillain album. I don’t know about you, but I am officially pumped. But, of course, anything that involved DOOM or Madlib is going to have some strings attached, which appears to be the case as the album is also said to still be a “work-in-progress”. Regardless, news is better than no news in this case, so check out the single.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Oddly, a lot of things that happened 20 years ago this week are either similar to or have connections to current events.
On TV, Newhart aired one of the most memorable series finales, a fact that many publications have mentioned this week. Airing their series finales this week were Ghost Whisperer, Melrose Place, and Lost, among others. Family dramedy Life Goes On was renewed for a second season, just as current family dramedy Parenthood has.
At the movies this week is MacGruber, based on Saturday Night Live’s parody of the MacGyverTV series. In 1990, it was in its fifth season.
The #1 song was “Vogue” from Madonna’s Like a Prayer album. Not only was its music video recently parodied on FOX’s Glee, but the cast’s album of Madonna covers is currently selling well.
This is probably just a coincidence, but it is still a little eerie. Are there any more connections to 1990 going on this week that I missed? If so, comment about it below!