Saturday, August 31, 2013

Anjulie Has Finally Released "White Lights" And Now We Need To Talk About Her Career

Look, I don't really know what's going on with Anjulie's career right now, but it's not like talented artists making excellent music have never wallowed in label purgatory before. It could almost be seen as a badge of honor if not for the pesky issue of "money," as in "not making any," and I'm sure that attempt at looking on the bright side is much more soothing to those of us fans, critics, and other wagon passengers than it is to the artist.

Anjulie took a pretty big risk by deciding to explore the popular dance genre as the followup project to her acclaimed and indie-embraced pop/R&B/soul debut, in 2009; fans of the two musical styles tend to be mutually exclusive, meaning the Canadian singer would be plowing ahead without a good chunk of her fan base at her back and all but starting from scratch presenting herself to a new crowd of listeners to whom she was all but unknown.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Icona Pop Immortalized in Sesame Street Sketch Starring Cookie Monster

The slow but sweet surprise success of Swedish girl DJ/production team Icona Pop's breakout single, "I Love It," officially reached its cultural zenith this week after peaking in the top ten on the US charts back in May. The critically and commercially adored party/breakup anthem, written by and featuring British pop upstart Charli XCX, was co-opted as a Sesame Street musical sketch called "Me Want It (But Me Wait)," starring Cookie Monster.

Though the voracious, grammatically challenged blue monster is known for his hysterical passion for that most ubiquitous of American baked dessert treats (which the Brits call "biscuits"), Cookie Monster's shtick has always been as much about his constant, often unsuccessful efforts to control his compulsive behavior. The best Sesame Street sketches entertain while also (at times surreptitiously) presenting a lesson, be it specific (the letter "U"; how peanut butter is made) or broad (race, individuality and self-acceptance; keep Christmas with you - all through the year), and this one depicts an earnest struggle for self control in the face of - let's face it - addiction.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Vertigo Shtick Ultimate Pop Breakup Playlist

I had my first big breakup ten years ago this summer. I had my first soul-crushing, earth-shattering, end-of-the-world breakup two years ago this summer. Neither one was much fun, nor especially brief. One left little to no long-term damage or scarring; with the other I was not so lucky. The thing they have in common, however, is that I got through them, largely with the help of that supposedly frivolous cultural element to which I now devote much of my intellectual energy: pop music.

If anyone knows that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, it's Kelly Clarkson.
I received a tweet the other day from a good, music-related friend who ended a major relationship a month or two ago, and in just four and a half words ("dude breakups suck #stillrecovering) it definitely evoked sympathetic memories of my own relatively recent breakup experience. I remember being both exceedingly grateful to all the artists who have contributed to the vast library of breakup pop and pleasantly surprised at the comprehensive variety of coverage down to specific details in circumstance and emotional experience I was only just learning could exist. So many breakup songs for so many moods, situations, and goals - someone should really catalogue these things someday, I remember thinking (often).

My friend's little cry for help (at least I choose to receive it that way) inspired me to put together a rough collection of songs I found useful in my most recent breakup process, although ultimately I couldn't resist including a few main categories not technically applicable to my friend's specific situation. The list, limited at this time to music available in the US on Spotify and available as a Spotify playlist, is by no means exhaustive; indeed, these 150 tracks barely scrape the surface. But for now, I think they'll do. Of course, I'd be very interested to hear about some of your favorite breakup songs in the comments!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Here's Why Beyoncé's "Grown Woman" is the Best Pop Single of 2013

Beyoncé's newest single, "Grown Woman," isn't actually a single: in fact, it hasn't even had an official release in full outside of the snippets that appear in the pop star and American royal's Pepsi commercial and the live version she performs on her current tour. How is it that I happen to find this ragtag creation to be the most exciting pop music of the year?

Here's what we do know: "Grown Woman" was produced by the blazing hot comeback story of the year, Timbaland, who also produced Justin Timberlake's recent blockbuster The 20/20 Experience and portions of Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail, two of the biggest-selling albums of 2013. It's the music used in the Pepsi television ad, "Mirrors," part of Beyoncé's $50 million endorsement deal with the company. Beyoncé has been performing "Grown Woman" on the current worldwide tour, The Mrs. Carter Show, since April 24 - this despite the fact that "Grown Woman" has not, as yet, been officially released for purchase or streaming, even after leaking in full on May 20. (You could say it's pretty damn baller when your music leaks and not only do you not give a shit but you don't even bother to put it out for sale)
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