Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beyoncé: 'Bow Down' - Look Out, It's a Trap!

As expected, Beyoncé has released the first musical statement of her anticipated fifth studio album, following her well-received Super Bowl halftime performance, and the announcement of her upcoming world tour, which begins in Europe next month. Good old perfect and predictable Beyoncé, predictably being perfect just like always. Ho hum.

Unexpectedly, the single (? buzz track, at least) that debuted on Soundcloud this afternoon, "Bow Down/I Been On," is totally bonkers and is entirely unlike what you would expect Beyoncé's music, much less pop music, to be. That's because it's not really pop music at all - it's trap, which is by all accounts going to be the big new thing this year, so pay attention. Nicki Minaj and Rihanna have spiced some of their recent music with pop-friendly trap the way Britney dusted her single with "dubstep" (oh, and there's a little trap single called "Harlem Shake" at #1 as we speak) but Beyoncé goes all in on "Bow Down," no pop anywhere in sight except for the woman singing (and, later, talking, her voice pitched electronically to sound like a dude). She manages to cram a lot into that minute, too, managing to assert her dominion in the face of encroaching younger women, defend her decision to take time off and have a baby, and assert that, despite the title of her upcoming world tour she is not going to be simply Mrs. Carter, and give a shout-out to her hometown of Houston before undergoing her little digital sex change. See, even on her whack trap-pop buzz track she's like a supermom.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Popologist Panel: The Best of 2012

Last year I pulled some of my favorite pop bloggers together to discuss the best (and, sometimes, worst) of the new releases in pop music in a monthly series called the Popologist Panel. It's been a success, inspiring lots of conversation and argument. We fought amongst each other over Taylor Swift, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj and the Biebs, and started unexpected ire on Adam Lambert fansites; we reveled in PSY, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry, Marina and the Diamonds, and Christina Aguilera, and lambasted Mariah Carey, Jessie J, and Madonna. We found fun newcomers like Brittany McDonald, Daley, and Luke Christopher, and hidden gems like Esthero and Anjulie. We talked about Ke$ha a lot, even when she wasn't on the panel.

To close out our debut year and start off 2013 (I know it's March), I asked each panelist to select his or her favorite picks from panels past as well as some favorites we didn't mention. Here's what we came up with. Enjoy!

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