Thursday, August 28, 2014

Google Is Literally Giving Away Copies of "Prism"

Remember when Amazon, to promote its fledgling digital music service, sold Lady Gaga's sophomore album Born This Way for 99 cents during two days of its debut week, and it broke the Billboard 200? Lady Gaga (or, more accurately, her label) was laughing all the way to the bank,  since Amazon paid full price for every download sold, and Amazon began a habit of digital music-as-loss-leader that it continues to this day. Now Google, to promote its own third-place digital music operation through Google Play, is offering Katy Perry's third album, Prism, for just a click of a mouse and maybe a little piece of your soul.

Katy Perry Prism Google Play
It's all about the price tag

Prism, which came out in 2013, is obviously not the kind of draw Born This Way was, but it's almost certainly going to be a major windfall for Capitol Records, Perry's label, and a boost to Perry's sales record, even if Billboard probably won't count the free "sales" on the Billboard 200 (I've reached out to Billboard for confirmation, and will update if and when I hear back). It's uneasily clear that Perry and her team have little shame when it comes to promoting an album that, perhaps unavoidably but perhaps deservedly hasn't lived up to the enormous and record-breaking success of the smash Teenage Dream.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Best 'New Yorker' Pop Music Articles to Catch Before the Paywall Returns

The New Yorker magazine recently lifted its paywall temporarily, and all articles published since 2007 are available for free until later this year. Since the New Yorker is basically my life force, here are some great pop music-related articles to check out while you can.

New Yorker Factory Girls
K-Pop group Girls Generation from the New Yorker article "Factory Girls"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Get More of Your Weird Al Fix With the Iggy Azalea Parody "Handy"

Another day, another "Weird Al" Yankovic video (not that I'm complaining!). For today's fourth out of an eight-day video per day release strategy, Yankovic released "Handy," a parody of Iggy Azalea's just-deposed #1 hit and arguable Song of the Summer, "Fancy." With the comedy singer in a blonde wig and mustache and with two hilarious overweight fix-it man backup dancers, "Handy" had me skeptical at first and by the end rolling on the floor. 

"Weird Al" beez in the trap
You'd think the handyman shtick would run cold after a while, but between his impressive array of puns and "glue dat, glue dat, and screw dat, screw dat" rhymes and the uproarious choreography, "Handy" is a real knee-slapper. Yankovic even gets in a sly reference to Azalea's feature verse on Ariana Grande's "Problem" - see if you can find it! Also, what he does with Charli XCX's "ow!" is...I mean, it's all just too much, in the best way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weird Al's New Lorde Parody Celebrates "Foil," Goes Hilariously Off the Rails

The "Weird Al" Yankovic farewell tour is really going strong. After releasing two well-received viral music videos over the past two days from his (possibly) final conventional album, Mandatory Fun, the parody mastermind continues his eight videos in eight days offensive with "Foil," a sneakily uproarious parody of Lorde's "Royals."

"Weird Al" Yankovic and the 60s girl group blondes extol the virtues of "Foil"
"Foil" starts out as a somewhat ho-hum ode to the joys of wrapping up leftovers in the titular kitchen commodity, with Yankovic as a public access television cooking show host and a trio of 60s girl group blondes singing the arresting harmonies that first made "Royals" stand out to me. There's a nice pre-chorus that will tickle the fancy of the scientifically inclined:
But then I deal with fungal rot, bacterial formation,
Microbes, enzymes, mold and oxidation
I don't care -
I've got a secret trick up my sleeve!
But beyond that it doesn't seem like much of note is going to come of a joke that seems played out by the end of the first chorus, where he sips "a nice herbal tea." Then shit goes hilariously off the rails.

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