Lana Del Rey’s latest visual offering for ‘Young & Beautiful’, her contribution to the star-studded ‘Great Gatsby’ soundtrack is a typically vintage affair – she does love a grainy plug-in. Accompanied by a huge orchestra Del Rey effortlessly pays homage to the Gatsby era in a simplistic but dramatic performance of one of the soundtracks most cinematic pieces.
Mariah Carey premiered the music video for her new single ‘Beautiful’ featuring Miguel last night and as suspected – it turned out to be a lacklustre, slightly awkward affair. Putting aside the fact that the song is borderline mundane (not terrible, not awful – just mundane), you would have at least hoped that it’s accompanying video would have offered something a little more engaging – instead it features Carey awkwardly trying to seduce Miguel in a barn full of crystal chandeliers.
In other (hopefully more promising) MC news, Carey just announced that she’s been working with producer Mike Will Made It – if he’s unable to give her a song that sounds like it belongs in 2013, no one can. If Mariah steps back and lets the producers do their work – there may still be hope yet.
Pusha T comes through with a new video for his Kanye West & Don Cannon produced single ‘Numbers on the Boards’. Watch closely for cameros from West & Chief Keef, and prep for Pusha’s forthcoming new album My Name Is My Name due out July 16th.
Janelle Monae returns with a wonderfully stylised new video for her lead single ‘Q.U.E.E.N’ taken off her forthcoming second album The Electric Lady. Featuring soul’s high-priestess Erykah Badu, the track advances Monae’s exploration into afro-futurism, soul & funk. Perhaps not as complex as the orchestral suites and acid-soul overtures that made up The ArchAndroid, as a lead single ‘Q.U.E.E.N’ still makes a bold statement. It again demonstrates Janelle’s fearlessness when approaching music or rather the music industry. On paper and probably in practice too this ticks very few boxes from a major label stand point – not only does it not have an easy-on-the-ears, microwave-ready hook, it also stars two cult-followed avant-garde soul artists. Not exactly One Direction.
But for those impatiently waiting to see what Janelle Monae will evoke on The Electric Lady this should serve as a titillating preview. Because above all else this once again proves that neither Janelle Monae or Erykah Badu are from this planet.
Rudimental scored their second #1 single this week with ‘Waiting All Night’, they achieved their first back in May with ‘Feel the Love’. But even though it may not have received the same amount of mainstream attention as it’s successors, for me Rudimental’s best single to date is still ‘Spoons’. The deep house production on that record paired with MNEK & Syron’s addictively cool vocals still stands as their most interesting offering yet.
That said then it’s no surprise they’ve yet again called on singer/songwriter MNEK to assist them on their newest single ‘Baby’, along with Disclosure collaborator Sinead Harnett. In many ways ‘Baby’ feels like the bigger, bolder, more radio-savvy older brother of ‘Spoons’. It shares a lot of affinity with it’s predecessor, only this time it focuses more heavily on the dance. Sinead Harnett is a bit of a powerhouse too, her vocals on this are very serious. But a moment for MNEK’s voice – like seriously, this kid is actually insane. Great to see the pair enjoying what looks to be a genuine vibe in the video too.
Rudimental’s debut album Home is released April 29th. Pre-order here.
Ciara’s new single ‘Body Party’, produced by man of the hour Mike Will Made It is arguably one of her strongest in years. If she’s able to maintain at this level throughout her new album, she might be on the verge of releasing her best LP to date. Still, I won’t hold my breathe – we’ve been here before. But for now and on what could possibly be her very last-last chance at producing a hit – she’s finally re-arrived with something relevant. Her very sexy albeit very predicable new video (starring Future, of course) was just released and as per usual sees Ciara doing what Ciara does best – take that as you will – and we appreciate it.
Sidenote: Mike Will Made It needs to produce Janet’s next album.
17 year-old Rainy Milo returns with an interesting cover of The Clash’s 80′s classic ‘Bankrobber’ – debuting what seems to be her first big departure from the chilled, laid back material she debuted (and we posed) back in 2011. The song puts a lot of emphasis on Milo’s powering vocals and for the most that’s great; although I would have liked to have heard her build up more and hear her flex the more subtle intricacies of her voice, which I feel are lost here. But thats a relatively small critique for what is otherwise a cool pop track.
New York based, Oakland raised rapstress Gita delivers an attitude fuelled debut single produced by British producer Darq E Freaker. Freaker’s hyperactive production coupled with Gita’s fierce flow captures the rapid-fire sound that’ll very easily appeal directly to her fast-growing fanbase; Many of whom have been with her since her ‘Let That’ and ‘Hood Rich’ days.
The xx are among the hundreds of performers taking part in this years Coachella music and arts festival in California. The celebrated British band took to the stage last night and played material from their new album Co-exist, as well as music off their ’09 debut. During the hour-long set the band invited singer Solange on to the stage to perform a couple tracks, including cover of Aaliyah’s 1997 classic ‘Hot Like Fire’ (around the 20 minute mark). But this isn’t the first time these lot have got together to cover an R&B classic – you’ll remember in January Oliver xx and Solange performed a dope rendition of Nicole Wray’s ‘Make It Hot’.