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.
Yesterday The-Dream rolled through with his latest collaboration which this time sees him teaming up with Jay-Z on a new track titled ‘High Art’. Taken off his upcoming IV Play album Terrius enlists the use of his trusty auto-tune and delivers another summer-ready anthem. It’s a boastful slow jam with breezy hooks and a playful verse from Jay that should garner a fair few reloads. Expect more collaborations from Beyonce, 2 Chainz, Big Sean & Kelly Rowland on IV Play, due out May 28th.
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.
Not since A$AP Rocky has a rapper created such a simultaneous buzz on and offline like Chance the Rapper is generating right now. Currently courted by every major label in the U.S and hot off the heels of his recently released Acid Rap mixtape, the Chicago born emcee teams up producer Nosaj Thing for the latest installement of YoursTruly’s ‘Songs from Scratch’ series. ‘Paranoia’, which features in-part on Chance’s aforementioned mixtape (see: ‘Pusha Man’) marries Nosaj Thing’s off-kilter beat wizardry with the rappers multi-layered, multi-personality wordplay.
Our “mysterious duo/artist” list continues to grow with ASTR, an upcoming musical outfit from NYC who have just released their first music video for their superb future-pop single ‘Operate’. If Rihanna had an awkward, slightly edgier younger sister – her music would probably sound a little like this. The infused trap-snares and R&B-tinged vocals blend well into the songs pop-drama sensibility; And like all respectable pop gems it’s armed with a killer hook that’ll be bouncing around in your head for hours.
Thundercat not-so-subtly dedicates his latest disco-funk anthem to the little narcotic that started it all. Masterfully co-produced by Flying Lotus, ‘Oh Sheit It’s X’ soaks in an extravagant arrangement of soaring synths, infectious drums and one of the most insane bass sections I’ve ever heard. ’Oh Sheit It’s X’ is the lead single taken off Thundercat’s forthcoming sophomore album Apocalypse due out on July 9th via Brainfeeder.
“When I heard people trippin on the new daft punk song I said to myself. Wait till they hear this new @Thundercatbass” – Flying Lotus.
‘Sink/Swim’ is the enigmatic debut single from West London newcomer Elliott Power. The brooding track builds over a complex autonomy of diverse and conflicting sounds. It manages to adorn the shifting rhythmic remnants of post-90′s trip-hop, while being absorbed by the melodious structure and layered harmonies of post-modern R&B. It’s celestial disposition, rumbling sub-bass frequencies and tribal influence endows ‘Sink/Swim’ in a great deal of chrisma and energy.
Yesterday Justin Timberlake released an image featuring the official release date for the second instalment of The 20/20 Experience. The album, presumably titled The 20/20 Experience, Part 2 will drop on September 30th 2013 and according to previous reports will feature “classic Timbo” production (!!). Moreover JT has also just announced that following his ‘Legends of the Summer’ tour with Jay-Z this summer and the release of Part 2, he will also be embarking on an extended solo world tour. Not all dates have been announced yet, but head over to his official website for more info.
Enlisting Miguel is probably one of the smartest musical moves Mariah Carey has made in years. Her struggle for relevancy has plagued her output for a long time now, so collaborating with a young, relevant and credible artist like him, especially at this stage in his career, is really quite shrewd. And while the idea of what these two could create together works great in theory, in reality it ends up feeling like another reminder that Carey is still an artist very much in need of a hit.
‘Beautiful’ (which we’re ignoring is really titled ‘#Beautiful’) isn’t a terrible song, it just goes through a lot of effort (writer credits include by Carey, Miguel, Nathan Perez, Brook Davis & Happy Perez) to be this middle-of-the-road. The hope was that Miguel’s musical influence would be felt more strongly on the track, after all he proved with Kaleidoscope Dreamthat a leftist, more creative approach can still be a viable success (both critically and commercially); Unfortunately that wasn’t to be, instead he assists Carey on what is just another really safe ready-for-radio ballad. That said, with everything so inoffensive ‘Beautiful’ will probably serve Mariah well as a single.