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by Jack Gillespie A record like 2017’s Rainbow was not able to exist—or even be enjoyed fully—within a vacuum. Not only was the record a stunning shift in sound from the dirty, raw electropop of past projects like Animal and Warrior to heavy influences from country and rock music, but much of the record is a strong, emotionally potent response to the legal battle with former producer—and Kesha’s accused sexual abuser—Dr. Luke. And while there are not any moments where Luke is mentioned by name on Rainbow, tracks like “Praying” are about as direct of a response as Kesha could possibly make without doing so. Now in 2020, we've got a new record, High Road. While there are definitely moments and aspects where the history of Kesha’s career could definitely add more meaning, High Road does not require the listener to be well-educated on the Kesha narrative like its predecessor. It honestly seems deliberate; the lead single “Raising Hell” saw a return to the larger-than-life, fun-loving Kesha we saw on those first two records and the following single. “My Own Dance” is a direct response to people who dare to put her into any boxes as just a party girl or a victim. "You're the party girl, you're the tragedy / But the funny thing's I'm f*cking everything” Kesha sings before the hook busts in. Even the name of the record suggests that she is looking to move on from the trauma that she faced head-on all over Rainbow. The hints of moving on are, for the most part, quite true. High Road sees a full return to the off-the-wall dance-pop of her earlier work. The opener of the record, “Tonight,” sets this tone quite effectively; after a short piano intro, the listener is met with a fake-out, a reintroduction of the party-animal Kesha that we haven’t heard from since she was Ke$ha. She rapped bars about getting drunk and high, losing your phone, not seeing your boyfriend for months and the like. It’s definitely an attention-grabbing intro, but not really for all of the best reasons. Kesha is still great at embodying the free-spirited party girl, but messy, overblown production and incomprehensible mixing buries all of that charisma and turns the track into a muddled fever dream of a song. For a song that is trying to contrast between two radically different musical styles, this is a death sentence.
Welcome back to another episode of Remixed! Records were broke and controversies continued. In this exciting new episode, we discussed the ongoing drama regarding the Recording Academy and the overall quality of the Grammy's. How did the academy controversy impact the Grammy's this year? What performances stood out? Were the award decisions valid? Find this all out and more on Remixed!
by Jack Gillespie The story of the character Poppy is one critical of the fake, manipulative, toxic culture of celebrity. For years, the character of Poppy was built up as a robotic, detached shell of a human-like being whose attempts to relate to the common person as a fellow normal human exposed exactly what is at the core of the character. If you remove all of the insane, complex lore that built up as the unsettling atmosphere of an average video from the pop star/Youtuber/method actress grew larger and larger, the same message came through; the celebrities and pop culture figures we look up too as inspiration are all fake. So how the story of Poppy the person, AKA Moriah Pereira, unfolded turned out to be a sickeningly poignant case of irony. The first domino fell when Mars Argo, a former collaborator with and girlfriend of Titanic Sinclair, the creative director behind a lot of the Poppy project, came out with a lawsuit that accused Sinclair of copying her identity and artistry with Poppy, as well as accusations of physical and mental abuse. The evidence was damning, and it became more and more obvious that the history of Sinclair and Argo was one of manipulation and artistic control on Sinclair’s part. So when Poppy announced her split from Sinclair as collaborators and shared similar stories to Argo’s of Sinclair's manipulation just weeks before the release of ‘I Disagree,’ the future of what the project that is Poppy would be had never been more simultaneously clear and mysterious since the lawsuit. Now that Poppy had separated from someone who had a huge role in her success, what next? She ended her statement with this: “I am happier than I have ever been and I am excited to move forward.”
by Jack Gillespie The '10s have finally passed, after what seemed like a never-ending decade, and the landscape of popular music has seen countless shifts in that time. The way music is marketed, made, consumed, released, and even popularized is leagued differently than it was in 2009. Many phases and waves have come and gone as well: the EDM boom, the renaissance of the modern pop divas à la Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Rihanna, etc., dancehall, tropical house, and the ascension of rap as the nation’s dominant musical genre. One way one can get a good idea of what music defined the decade is to look at the biggest songs of the decades. What tracks caught the attention of the country in a way few tracks can? And a more important question: which of those tracks were actually worthy of the platform? This list has the best that the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart had to offer in the ‘10s, as well as the worst. In order to fully understand the past, you need to take a look at both the trash and treasure.
Welcome to this week’s episode of Remixed! This week, we discuss John Legend’s rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” How has this rendition changed the lyrics from the original recording? We also delve deep into the British rock band The Struts. Find out all of this and more on this week’s episode of Remixed!
Welcome to this week's episode of Remixed! For the latest episode of Remixed, we talk about the release of Kanye West's new album and the baggage and controversy that comes with it, the artist-led boycott of Amazon's upcoming music festival, and dive deep into the debut record of the one and only King Princess!
Welcome to this week’s episode of Remixed! This week, we discuss the latest album from Caroline Polachek. How does the artist explore their own story within these new tracks? Also in the news, Amazon has started making their own concerts? Find out all of this and more on this week’s episode of Remixed!
Welcome back to Remixed! This week, we discuss the latest album from Angel Olsen. How has her music changed with this recent release? How does this music reflect the artist’s beliefs? Find out all of this and more on this week’s episode of Remixed!
Charli XCX’s career trajectory since 2015 has been incredibly thrilling to see unfold. Just one year after being a part of two of the biggest songs of the year (Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and her own “Boom Clap”), she put out her EP Vroom Vroom in a collaboration with experimental producer SOPHIE that still stands as some of the darkest, out of left-field, yet enthralling projects to ever come from an artist as big as her.
by Jack Gillespie Charli XCX’s career trajectory since 2015 has been incredibly thrilling to see unfold. Just one year after being a part of two of the biggest songs of the year (Iggy Azalea's “Fancy” and her own “Boom Clap”), she put out her EP Vroom Vroom in a collaboration with experimental producer SOPHIE that still stands as some of the darkest, out of left-field, yet enthralling projects to ever come from an artist as big as her. Since then, with the help of the likes of producers SOPHIE and A.G. Cook (co-executive producer of Charli), she has been consistently putting out some of the most forward-thinking, extraterrestrial pop music out there right now. From her collab-heavy mixtapes ‘Number 1 Angel’ and ‘Pop 2’ in 2017 to a spew of singles released in 2018, and even an entire scrapped album, Charli hit the ground running in this new direction.
A big aspect that has made Lana Del Rey’s music her own since Born to Die has been the selling a fantasy. The character that Del Rey has created within her records of the innocent, demure girl always looking for dangerous men has always been the most alluring quality to her fans and the biggest annoyance to her detractors. Music that sounds as grounded and personal as hers coming from an artificial persona, an unashamedly feminine persona at that, was unlikely to receive unanimous acclaim from a predominantly male music media press.
by Jack Gillespie A big aspect that has made Lana Del Rey’s music her own since Born to Die has been the selling a fantasy. The character that Del Rey has created within her records of the innocent, demure girl always looking for dangerous men has always been the most alluring quality to her fans and the biggest annoyance to her detractors. Music that sounds as grounded and personal as hers coming from an artificial persona, an unashamedly feminine persona at that, was unlikely to receive unanimous acclaim from a predominantly male music media press. However, some of the greatest early tracks (i.e. “Ride,” “Born to Die”) paint a beautiful scene of this emotionally detached yet dangerously sexy fantasy she has become known for embodying. As captivating of a persona and a writer that Del Rey is, especially in her first couple projects, a lack of development in her persona and her sound resulted in diminishing returns on records such as Honeymoon and especially Lust for Life.
by Jack Gillespie Lil Nas X is an artist whose success could only be seen in 2019. Having his 2-minute long novelty country-rap song that samples an obscure Nine Inch Nails song hit the country charts off the back of its meme status on Tik Tok was just the beginning. Then came the Billboard controversy that sparked endless discussion about the segregation of the country music industry and what makes a song “country” nowadays. Then dropped the Billy Ray Cyrus remix that skyrocketed the song to the #1 song in the nation, the 11 weeks (and counting) it has spent at that spot, and all of the pop titans it has blocked from the spot during its reign; from Taylor Swift to Ed Sheerhan and Justin Bieber to Billie Eilish. All of this context for a song with the lyrics, “My life is a movie / Bull ridin' and boobies / Cowboy hat from Gucci / Wrangler on my booty”. But as much as this song owes its success to the circumstances surrounding it and the unconventional aspects of modern music promotion, one thing is still certain; whatever, Lil Nas X’s first substantial project is will be a huge indicator of whether he will be more than a one-hit wonder; an odd yet small speck of a phenomenon that’ll be forgotten in a couple of years. So what we got with Lil Nas X’s EP, ‘7,' isn’t exactly the most promising sign.
Often times, when it comes to pop stars who failed to reach the highest echelons of popularity after a short peak, it’s the material that is released after their peak that can be the most interesting displays. There are artists like Macklemore that continued to try and capture what brought them fame in the first place, Gotye seemed to drop off of the face of the earth with no new material ever to be released, and artists like Kesha who found the lack of pressure from the worlds expectation freeing and came out with their most daring, interesting material.
by Jack Gillespie Often times, when it comes to pop stars who failed to reach the highest echelons of popularity after a short peak, it’s the material that is released after their peak that can be the most interesting displays. There are artists like Macklemore that continued to try and capture what brought them fame in the first place, Gotye seemed to drop off of the face of the earth with no new material ever to be released, and artists like Kesha who found the lack of pressure from the worlds expectation freeing and came out with their most daring, interesting material. For the most part, Carly Rae Jepsen fits into the the last category. With her 2015 album ‘Emotion’, she not only collaborated with indie darlings such as Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij and Blood Orange’s Devonte Hynes, but came through with the best songwriting and production on a record of hers yet. While it failed to achieve the type of success that she did with the single “Call Me Maybe” or her record, ‘Kiss,' she had a cult classic praised to the heavens from pop and indie publications on her hands.
For the past few years, it has become more and more obvious that Lizzo has what it takes to become a star. Not only has she proven with songs like “Boys,” “Good As Hell,” and “Truth Hurts” that she has a knack for writing tracks just begging to blow up, but she brings the kind of larger-than-life personality. Both in and out of her music she has made it clear what makes an artist like Cardi B an absolute phenomenon.