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by PopMatters Staff

13 May 2016


Chris Ingalls: The attitude and the roots are punk, but the music is too clever and sophisticated for such a simple label. The song’s relatively uncomplicated nature is adorned with a minor sheen of producer’s fuss, upping the ante to where the song has the ability to become a small classic. Mish Barber-Way has a terrific voice, the guitar recalls classic Pixies, and everything seems to click. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

12 May 2016


Pryor Stroud: We’ve come to expect a certain level of inventiveness from Justin Timberlake. From the ubiquitous, Gregorian chant-infused “Cry Me a River” to the future-funk eroticism of “My Love”, the Memphis-born boy wonder has made good use of Timbaland’s talents to push the sonic boundaries of whatever pop scene he finds himself in. He’s created new formulas, eviscerated others. But by this standard, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is an unequivocal disappointment: its nu-disco swagger is, by now, a commonplace in the mainstream pop circuit, and its lyrical content—forgettable platitudes about sunshine, feeling good, and dancing—floats in one ear and out the other. Yet this is an overly critical assessment. In a sense, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is best conceptualized as a modern equivalent of “Rock Your Body”—that is, a nonsensical but serotonin-pumping pop confection that cares more about uprooting your feet than animating your intellect. [6/10]

by PopMatters Staff

12 May 2016


Chris Ingalls: There’s a definite urgency to this track, both in the musical delivery (which straddles a line between naked dance rhythms and a punk vocal delivery) and in the lyrical content, which is a full-throated proclamation of immigrant pride. As the son of a Palestinian father and Filipino mother, El Khatib comes off as Donald Trump’s worst nightmare: he was born brown, he’s proud of it, and he’s not going anywhere. The utterly unclassifiable nature of the musical style adds yet another intriguing layer. An artist worth your time. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

12 May 2016


Pryor Stroud: The fifth single released from Konnichiwa, “Man” succinctly showcases Skepta’s nimble, fist-clenched flow and idiosyncratic approach to English grime. The burbling synth-whimper that runs through the track sounds like a severed cable hanging from a telephone pole; it sways back and forth, ominously, shooting white-hot sparks across a street known for illicit activities and surreptitious exchanges. Likewise, the beat—a complex of low-register brass and speckled, hard-knocking bass—sounds like it’s gesturing toward something malevolent hanging just past the track’s end. Perhaps this beat is an illicit substance itself, something Skepta bought under suspicious conditions or concocted himself behind closed doors. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

10 May 2016


Colin McGuire: Ah, so we see Alicia Keys has moved into the world-music stage of her career. OK, OK. That’s a cheap shot. But at the risk of sounding even more glib, it kind of feels like Mrs. Swizz Beatz has been through some shit (just check her demeanor from her recent Saturday Night Live performances to see what that means). The result, “In Common”, is notably honest, warts and all, with a refrain that quietly asserts, “If you could love somebody like me, you must be messed up, too.” Even better is the African rhythm that holds the whole thing down; it’s a mild surprise that she wears it as well as she does, considering how little the “keys” portion of her name is represented here. But then again, she’s hinted at this direction in the past, most notably on the 2009 Beyonce collaboration “Put It in a Love Song”. Here, though, the Caribbean, subdued vibes appear more worn and the sexy atmosphere reaches a sweaty height that most of us probably never even thought she could previously reach. It all adds up to an exciting, intriguing comeback single. We already knew she was no minor anymore, but this, without question, announces her as a brand new woman. [7/10]

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//Blogs

Cage the Elephant Ignite Central Park with Kickoff for Summerstage Season

// Notes from the Road

"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.

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