Stars – I Took A Pill in Ibiza (Mike Posner Cover)
Stars have been releasing a different cover song every month for all of 2016. Past installments in the series have included Bob Dylan and Kanye West, and for their latest offering, they’ve decided to take on soft-EDM posterchild Mike Posner’s country-inflected acoustic ballad “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.” If his feelings regarding other Stars covers are anything to go by, Prince probably would have loved it.
Abra’s “CRYBABY” makes good on the promise of her exciting back catalog. The self-produced instrumental is all 808 jams, electrofunk basslines and crashing synths—the type of mix that suits bedrooms, car stereos and clubs alike, so long as it’s dark outside. It’s nighttime when Abra’s music really comes alive, soundtracking the turmoils of the besotted and the heartbroken.
Here, her R&B vocal delivery never sits still, fluctuating from the foreground to the back of the Miami Freestyle beat, unexpectedly gliding into harmonies as she refuses to shoulder her lover’s burden. “I’ve got an ocean of emotion inside/I am not Poseidon but I ride him in riptide love,” she barely gasps out, before reversing the challenge: “You always call me a crybaby/Well let me teach you how to cry, baby.” Abra’s songs are the most subdued strain of intense, and that’s all they need to be when she’s singing for herself.
Sometimes it feels as if LA-based hip-hop crew Jurassic 5 have been dormant for as long as the actual dinosaurs. The group’s last single, the White Stripes-sampling “The Way We Do It”, came back in 2014 following an eight-year period of inactivity. At least this time they only waited two years before dropping another new single: “Customer Service”, a funky and undeniably fresh track that proves Jurassic 5 is no legacy act.
The track lifts its walking bassline from Edwin Birdsong’s 1971 soul-funk cut “The Spirit Of Do…Do”, but the verses deal with a dilemma — bad customer service — that any modern listener can relate to. One thing’s for sure: Customer dissatisfaction has never sounded this cool.
After years apart, we’ve finally got the boys back on our screens later this month. What better way to celebrate than by marking another return, to the label of their post-breakout “Stash” victory lap. Aus,Belfast and Boiler Room: there’s no place like home.
“Just” wastes no time locking the brisk rhythm into place before a wriggling earworm of a lead pans across the channels. Atmospheric swells are pieced by gatling-gun snares; the tension builds but never releases, making this a surefire precursor to the bulk of heavyweight set climaxes you’re likely to hear this summer. As ever, the aural equivalent of 20,000 bicep emojis.
The French singer and producer Mai Lan was a big part of many of the best songs from Junk, the new M83 album. And now she’s put together “Technique,” a dizzy rush of a solo track that finds fun ways to play around with the idea that we’re all on the internet way too much. Mai Lan and Max Labarthe co-wrote the song with my friend Nick Sylvester, the man who produced Shamir’s Ratchet album, so I can’t even pretend to be objective here. But disclosures aside, I can tell you that this song fucking rules. So does the video, from French directing team PANAMÆRA, which turns Mai Lan and her dancers into some sort of post-human cartoon.
Did Led Zeppelin steal a riff for ‘Stairway to Heaven’? A court will decide
Who really created one of the most famous riffs in all of rock ’n’ roll?
That question is at the heart of a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday in Los Angeles, where members of Led Zeppelin are expected to appear in federal court to defend their 1971 rock epic “Stairway to Heaven” against claims that they stole it from another band.
At issue is whether Zeppelin nicked “Stairway’s” famous opening passage, which evokes centuries-old Renaissance folk music, from L.A. rock band Spirit, which shared some concert billings with the iconic British band when it was in its infancy.
A loss for Led Zeppelin could mean millions of dollars in royalties going to the estate of Spirit guitarist and songwriter Randy Craig Wolfe, aka Randy California, for one of the most recognized and played recordings of the rock era.
It’s the highest profile infringement case to make it to the courtroom since last year’s suit in which R&B-soul singer Marvin Gaye’s family was awarded $7.4 million by a jury that decided pop stars Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ monster hit “Blurred Lines” had infringed on Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.”
It’s also the latest in a long line of plagiarism cases involving some of pop music’s biggest acts and most iconic songs, among them the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA,” the Beatles’ “Come Together,” George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” and even the ubiquitous “Happy Birthday to You.” Just last week, Richard Busch, the lawyer who represented Gaye’s family, filed a new infringement suit in Los Angeles against English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, saying his 2015 hit “Photograph” bears a “striking similarity” to the song “Amazing” by Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard.
Sketches Of Spain: Sun, Ham and Rock and Roll At Primavera Sound
We’ve seen the rise of the viral rapper already. An artist releases a song that takes him or her from buzzing to Billboard’s Hot 100 and is presumed to be a success. And while plaques are cool, longevity is more important. Take Paterson, N.J.’s Fetty Wap—real nameWillie Maxwell—who saw what it’s like to skyrocket to fame after the success of his 2014 summer anthem, “Trap Queen.” Alongside his label, RGF Productions, and crew, Remy Boyz 1738, the song’s SoundCloud numbers hit six figures within weeks of its release—without initial blog love, radio play, or industry support. But his squad saw firsthand how a song goes viral in the Tri-State area—first you hear it in the streets, and then enough people search for it online that by the time Hot 97 gets to it, it’s already inching its way up the charts.
But what Fetty has done with the Tony Fadd and Brian “Peoples” Garcia-produced banger has broken records—and he’s gone on to show he’s no one-hit wonder, either. This week, Fetty has four songs in the Billboard Hot 100—”679” at No. 8, “Trap Queen” at No. 9, “My Way” at No. 11, and “Again” at No. 40. But the story of where it all began—on the streets of Paterson, N.J., with a few friends, a few studio sessions, and a free beat Fetty’s manager found online—hasn’t yet been told. We spoke to the 25-year-old new star along with RGF’s Monty, Nitt Da Gritt, Brian “Peoples” Garcia, and the song’s original producer, Tony Fadd, for the stories behind the biggest song of the last year.
Chris Ryan: They’re doing this at the Tonys because it’s the one. “My Shot” and “Alexander Hamilton” are the calling cards, “Helpless” and “Satisfied” are lovely, “You’ll Be Back” is hilarious, and “It’s Quiet Uptown” is heartbreaking, but “Wait for It” is the earthquake — that’s the one where you hold on tight and gasp, “What was that?”
Hamilton’s hip-hop roots show more obviously in other songs, but “Wait for It” internalizes the cadences of rap and marries them with something Max Martin would write. I’ve been wondering for months why the line lifedoesn’tdiscriminatebetweenthesinnersandthesaintsitakesandittakesandittakes works. It’s because it’s not a line — it’s a bar. Leslie Odom Jr. spits it like an MC, you just don’t notice because all the fireworks are going off.
“Wait for It” comes about a quarter of the way into the show. By that point, your head is spinning from the historical facts and footnotes. Even the more emotional fare like “Helpless” feels rooted in the courtship rituals of the day. But then the choruses of “Wait for It” act as a defibrillation that brings you back to today. Or any day.
According to Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker piece on Lin-Manuel Miranda, the melody for “Wait for It” hit him on a train ride to Dumbo, and he wrote the rest of it on the train ride back. That scans — the song sounds like an epiphany. The crazy thing is that he gave it away. Miranda had originally considered playing Aaron Burr, the character who sings the number. Why would you ever want to play anyone else in Hamilton but Hamilton? “Wait for It” is a pretty good reason.