Sabrina Carpenter In My Bed Singular Act II

'In My Bed': Sabrina Carpenter Remains Today's Most Reliable Post-Disney Pop Princess

There are few objective truths in this world: death, taxes, and the pop supremacy of post-Disney princesses.

Of all the new girls on the scene, Sabrina Carpenter remains one of my favorites - and it all comes down, obviously, to the music.

Consistently, she's supplied nothing but quality since debuting with Eyes Wide Open in 2015: from 2016's EVOLution, including "Thumbs," the spiritual continuation of Sam Sparro's "Black & Gold," to all of last year's Singular Act 1, including "Almost Love" and "Paris," a stroke of breathy, romantic genius.

"In My Bed" is the third offering thus far from Sabrina's upcoming follow-up, Singular: Act II, out on July 19, and it's the best one from the set yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB2fd5MV2BI

"Little things become everything / When you wouldn't think that they would," the 20-year-old singer solemnly declares in the song's dramatic opening.

Eventually, the track's tension bursts into bubblier territory: "I'm still, I’m still, I’m still in my bed about it," she purrs on the bouncy, synth-y chorus, which recalls the flirty and featherlight stuff of Selena Gomez's Revival era-and-beyond quirky bops.

“It’s a clever play on words instead of saying, ‘I’m in my head about it.' The song is about one of those moments where life feels like a lot to deal with. We took that and turned it into something really fun and vulnerable," she says of the ode to overthinking, produced by Mike Sabath, who not only worked on "Hold Tight" from Act 1, but Little Mix's almighty "Wasabi."

There's no real massive pop moment, per se: the best parts are in the details, from the playful background beats ("woo!") to the sultry delivery of the line "I'm not usually like this..." to that hurried bridge.

It's the little things that become everything, as one might say.

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"In My Bed" was released on June 7.

Photo credit: Hollywood Records


MUNA Number One Fan

'Number One Fan': MUNA Finds the Bliss in Stanning Yourself, For Once

So, here's the bad news: this life is not easy.

Harder, still, is getting through the day without being entirely consumed by your own crippling insecurities and/or anxieties that still need to be ironed out in therapy, which you can't afford right now - let alone taking into consideration the opinions of others being thrust at you on your timeline, especially from those who do not wish you well. No? Just me? And also Madonna?

Anyway, here's an alternative to crumbling: hype yourself up, instead.

Enter MUNA, the queer electro-pop band which produced a truly fantastic debut in the form of About U in 2017, including one of the more recent additions to my Favorite Songs Of All Time list: "Everything." (Appropriately titled, still.)

After some time away, the group returned on Friday (June 7) with "Number One Fan," co-produced by Mike Crossey (The 1975), a fierce, danceable burst of self-empowerment that is all too real, playfully sarcastic and genuinely encouraging all at once - and, mercifully, free of toxic positivity (#LiveLoveLaugh #YouJustNeedToSmileMore).

"So, I heard the bad news / Nobody likes me, and I'm gonna die alone in my bedroom looking at strangers on my telephone," frontwoman Katie Gavin robotically monotones in the song's opening seconds, which - well! I feel seen. But imagine not being consumed by existential dread, endless comparisons and loneliness from scrolling through the feed late at night?

"Well, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you like if I believed those words? / If I'm born to lose, I'll never try and I will never learn," she goes on, as a swift strut kicks in.

Rather than sulking, the troupe takes a collective look in the mirror and adjusts their moody mindset, going full-force as fans of themselves for once, instead.

"Oh my God, like, I'm your number one fan! / So iconic, like big, like stan, like / I would give my life just to hold your hand / I'm your number one fan," they swoon on the playfully fangirl-y chorus.

The video only digs deeper into the concept, as Katie slowly but surely demonstrates how to be her own number one fan after much pursuit - and a bit of Dance Dance Revolution, naturally. (Deeply relatable.)

“'Number One Fan' is the first release from an album that we truly cannot wait to share with our fans. It is a song about recognizing the negative voices in your head and learning to speak back to them. It’s a joyful and surprising experience to recognize that, just as we can all be our own biggest haters, we can also decide to be our own biggest fans. We can choose to believe in ourselves, to take notice of all the little admirable things we do, to applaud every inch of progress and comfort ourselves through every pitfall. It’s an incredibly liberating process, learning to love ourselves this way. In this culture, we are almost taught to look to other people to fill up some void in ourselves. What happens when we accept that we are already whole? We become our own icons. We become unstoppable and un-buyable. We save the world. No, just kidding, sorry we got caught up in the moment. (But maybe!)," they said in a statement, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of the song.

They're only semi-kidding about that saving the world thing, though: the track is their first from their upcoming sophomore album, called - wait for it! - Saves The World, out on September 6.

It's easily my favorite new song of the week, and already a very promising indication of what's to come from the band.

“Pretty much anyone you look up to who’s making art has days where they’re like ‘Should I even be doing this?’ But you just keep going, you keep doing it anyway," Katie said to Billboard.

Now read through the lyrics, post them up on your mirror, create a Brazilian stan account for yourself, blast this song on repeat - do whatever you need to do to live through this.

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"Number One Fan" was released on June 7.

Photo credit: Isaac Schneider / RCA Records


Roisin Murphy Incapable

'Incapable': Roisin Murphy Contemplates a Loveless Life With 8 Minutes of House

Róisín Murphy is capable of love. Err. Right?

Well. Maybe not.

"Incapable" is the Irish singer-songwriter-disco-pop-pioneer's latest offering since supplying a handful of singles last year, and it's a girthy one: an over 8-minute long hypnotic House contemplation about living life without ever having had a broken heart, to be exact.

Joining the ranks of "Simulation," "Jealousy," and her other seemingly endless dance floor monsters, the song finds Róisín taking her sweet, sweet time cooly cooing, lusting and sassily yelping her inner thoughts and insecurities aloud across a Pride day party-friendly disco-infused groove, crafted alongside longtime collaborator Richard Barratt.

"Never had a broken heart / Am I incapable of love? / Never seen me fall apart / I must be incapable of love," she ponders. Is she, do you think? Or does she just need to keep swiping right a bit more?

It's no secret that Róisín's only strayed further from "mainstream" and gone increasingly experimental with her sound over the years. And while "Incapable" is still unlike the laser-focused, radio-friendly construction of the songs on her 2007 opus Overpowered in terms of structure, it's sonically in the same neighborhood - or discotheque, rather.

"'Incapable' was a little experiment in songwriting for me. I thought it might be fun to write from a point of view totally opposite to the usual heartbreak and despair. This diva is mildly concerned at her own lack of feeling and it’s beginning to dawn on her that there will be no love without pain. When it came to the imagery, for some reason I wanted a huge perm. Perhaps in my mind, a character so untouched by the pain of heartbreak would also have huge mounds of luxurious hair?" she said of the song - and the single's super glam, '80s-tastic retro cover art - to DIY.

This one's for the unbroken heart-having, luxurious hair-having souls who haven't found love in a hopeless place. Yet, anyway.

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"Incapable" was released on June 5. (iTunes)


'A Kiss Goodbye': Tei Shi Makes a Delicate & Dreamy Departure

The last we heard from Tei Shi - apart from a feature on Blood Orange's Negro Swan last year - was her gorgeous and sensual 2017 debut, Crawl Space.

The 28-year-old singer-songwriter, born Valerie Teicher, has since moved from New York to Los Angeles, and as of Thursday (June 6), she's back with "A Kiss Goodbye" - the first taste of what's next, and a departure from what's come before.

The song was produced by Stint who, most importantly obviously, co-produced Carly Rae Jepsen's "LA Hallucinations." He's also worked with and Jessie Ware, among others.

The press release describes "A Kiss Goodbye" as "reconnecting musically with her Latin roots and influences, delicately drawing influence from ’70s Brazilian pop and Spanish folk ballads. And at the bridge, with its heady trap-leaning beats 'A Kiss Goodbye' takes on a new urgency that echoes the intense self-possession at the heart of her lyrics."

Indeed, it is a lush and luxurious listen that feels best suited for a sunbathing session on a pool float this summer - preferably just after dumping someone, packing up, and moving many miles away to start a new life.

And yes, that breezy "ba-da-ba-ba-ba-ba-da" bit does remind me of the McDonald's jingle. I can appreciate high and low art simultaneously.

"So I lead with my body, follow with my head / Was it love that you wanted? / Let me walk away, I'm on the other side," she coos.

“This song is about intuition—following my gut and my body more than my head. It’s about learning from love and from giving so much of myself to other people, and coming out of it with a more selfish mindset, to save my love and my nurturing for myself. It’s about figuring out who you are on your own and without someone else defining that for you, through trusting yourself and allowing for the universe, the supernatural, the unexpected to take hold," she says of the lush new tune.

It's very Jewel "Intuition" messaging in that way.

She's also been working on her follow-up album, which was inspired by her move - and her creative reawakening in the process.

“I felt like I was closing a chapter in my life that was tied up in a lot of negativity, and reconnecting with open space and my own creativity in a way that I hadn’t in a very long time. I was spending so much time in nature and seeing all this beauty in my surroundings, and I felt really inspired to bring that feeling into my music.”

May we all aspire to be inspired to do the same.

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"A Kiss Goodbye" was released on June 6. (Apple Music)


BoA Feedback Video

'Feedback': BoA, Queen of K-Pop, Returns With a Nostalgic Summer Bop

BoA, Queen of K-Pop™, is back - because she's got to keep carrying the entire K-pop industry on her back. (Kidding, although I do secretly love seeing comments like that.)

"Feedback" - her latest Korean single, out on Tuesday (June 4) - might as well have been called "Throwback," because that's exactly what it sounds like: an easy, breezy, synth-y, summery bop from the early '00s with an '80s edge. The giddy, funky tune actually sounds more like her glossy pop Japanese releases than the bulk of her Korean work - "Key of Heart / Dotch" anyone? The Nucksal feature is fun, but kind of unneeded, truthfully. Why must all of my seasoned faves insist on features?

The song's all about...err, requesting feedback: "There's one thing I want to hear: I want a feedback, I want a feedback from you," she requests. Someone get this woman a comment card, stat! It's also yet another BoA co-write and co-production, further demonstrating her hands-on involvement in her career, and her talent as more than just a pop star.

BoA flaunts some fun, cutesy high fashion lewks and just generally looks beautiful (duh) in the sugary-sweet video, which some fans have pointed out also gets points for its diverse cast of dancers and extras - a less common occurrence in Korean pop. Only the Queen of Inclusivity!

It's been quite something to watch BoA evolve over the years, and - more importantly - endure.

It's no secret that playing the long game in any industry is a challenge over time, especially when it comes to the hyper-critical, youth-driven entertainment industry. I'm watching a lot of my most beloved idols fight against the inevitable tide of the waves of next-best-things - from Madonna to BoA, who is still only 32 but almost two decades deep into her career - and it's both upsetting and inspiring all at once.

I'm possibly-maybe projecting, but things have changed so much in such a short amount of time with this industry...it just feels really nice to see my all-time favorites continue to put out content.

Thanks for coming back to us yet again, BoA - and thanks for a fun new addition to this summer's poolside playlist.

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"Feedback" was released on June 4. (Apple Music)


CL Cut It Up Video

'Cut It Up': Queen CL Returns to Slice & Dice Some Bitches

Queen CL, The Baddest Female™, is back at last, and she's brought a few friends (and a few sharp objects) along with her.

The 28-year-old 2NE1 girl group member-turned-solo star teamed up with Japanese hip-hop collective PKCZ - that's Exile's Makidai, M-flo's Verbal and DJ Daruma - as well as "Take Over Control" Dutch EDM maestro Afrojack for a cross-cultural collaboration called "Cut It Up" - and yes, there will be some slicing and dicing.

CL and company are fully living their samurai film-slash-Kill Bill-slash-The Matrix fantasy, busting out their blades to make quick work of the masked men falling down at their feet. (I mean, kind of sounds like a typical Friday night for me.)

The "MTBD" baddie showcases her bilingual rapping skills throughout, although there's one English line in particular during her Korean verse at the end that really seals the deal: "Don't give a fuck, ain't nobody safe." Shaking.

The immediately catchy, mile-a-minute tune kind of recalls DJ Snake's own superstar-filled bop, "Taki Taki" - which is not a bad comparison to make. I'm also getting shades of Namie Amuro's "Put 'Em Up," which, obviously, is right up my street. Cut it up! Put 'em up!

At a time when K-pop is busting down all sorts of barriers across the world, it's been somewhat annoying to watch a most deserving superstar like CL sitting it out on the sidelines while a newer generation makes waves. It's about time she steps back into the spotlight to claim the throne once again - and the fact that she's doing it with this Korean-Japanese-Dutch cross-cultural collaboration makes it even cooler.

CL. PKCZ. Let's go...

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"Cut It Up" was released on June 4. (Apple Music)


Rosalía Aute Cuture

'Aute Cuture': Rosalía Nails It Yet Again (Literally)

Rosalía continues to do no wrong - as does her manicurist.

The 25-year-old Spanish flamenco revivalist-turned-pop savior returned to us on Thursday (May 30) in full, glorious pop superstar mode with "Aute Cuture" - a staple in her incredible live sets and now, at last, a single in its own right.

Co-penned and co-produced by Rosalía, her longtime collaborator El Guincho and Spanish writer Leticia Sala, who authored the book Scrolling After Sex, the song is described as being written from the perspective of "a confident young woman who has overcome heartbreak, and now projects her strength through a passion for fashion and personal style."

After all ladies, just as Alaska Thunderfuck would tell you: if you're not wearing nails, you're not doing drag - nor are you overcoming heartbreak, rolling into town with a fashion-forward gang of bad bitches to hand out nail salon pamphlets, providing chic makeovers, securing the bag, cutting up shady men and ultimately reigning supreme.

The Bradley & Pablo-directed (not me, another Bradley) video for "Aute Cuture" was conceived by Rosalía and Pili, and follows a "mystic beauty gang." Imagine if YouTube beauty gurus traveled in packs to terrorize small towns with their affiliate codes and vitamin pill dramas? A horrifying thought, actually. I digress.

The video is a fast and furious spectacle of Lady Gaga-style over-the-top, sensory overload pop imagery and Quentin Tarantino-inspired, Kill Bill-esque gang drama - and even a bit of violence.

I mean, those daggers for nails on her fingers? Edward Scissorhands is shaking. Freddy Krueger is canceled.

"'Aute Cuture' is the title: written incorrectly but with a sense of humor and strength," Rosalía explains of the song.

"I wrote this song before going out to tour El Mal Querer and I have taken the time necessary so the song would come out with the best video to accompany it. Filled with claps, nail art, and a Tarantino vibe. Enjoy it and hopefully it’ll make you dance and laugh like it does me."

Honestly, what Rosalía's achieved in such a short amount of time is incredible: not only is she coming through with a sound and style that's exciting people and making them want to partake regardless of whether they speak Spanish (music transcends language barriers!), but she's really giving the girls all the goods of a top pop superstar: the looks, the moves, the drama - and of course, the nails.

With her official foray into reggaeton with siempre papi nunca inpapi J Balvin "Con Altura", one of the year's most effortlessly fun bops, and now "Aute Cuture" under her gold chain belt, the only thing more exciting is to consider that she's really only just begun. Vamos ya!

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"Aute Cuture" was released on May 30. (Apple Music)


Miley Cyrus She Is Coming

'She Is Coming': The Reintroduction of Miley Cyrus Begins (Review)

What's a girl like Miley Cyrus to do in 2019?

She's already conquered tween-pop, followed by the requisite Disney princess-gone-bad rebellion era. She dove in head - err, sorry - tongue-first to #SomethingMoreUrban territory, twerking her way around hip-hop beats and cultural appropriation allegations aplenty. She launched herself into outer space, squeezing into cartoonish couture and experimenting with psychedelic sounds. She brought herself back down to Earth with a return-to-roots, stripped-down record. So, what now? As American philosopher Onika Tanya Maraj once pondered: what's good, Miley?

As it turns out: a little bit of everything.

SHE IS COMING is the first of three six-song EPs promised from the 26-year-old superstar (a la Robyn's trailblazing Body Talk series), released on Friday (May 31), leading to a complete collection called SHE IS: MILEY CYRUS due out later this year.

And while we've only heard one-third of the project thus far, one thing's for sure: she's not too worried about settling for any one genre anytime soon.

"Hallelujah, I'm a freak, I'm a freak, hallelujah," she proclaims seconds into lead track "Mother's Daughter," a rebel yell from the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana.

Produced by Miike Snow's Andrew Wyatt and co-penned by neon-haired rebel youth pop penner ALMA, "Mother's Daughter" plays like a cockier, cuntier grown-up continuation of Can't Be Tamed's rousing electro-pop empowerment anthem, "Liberty Walk."

The beats are grittier and the lyrics are fiercer ("don't fuck with my freedom"), but the attitude (err, cattitude - more on that later) remains largely the same as that of her 2010 emancipation album.

While "Mother's Daughter" forms a bridge between the rebellious Can't Be Tamed days and modern Miley, the all-too-abrupt "Unholy" (2:10, really?), crafted by XXXTentacion producer John Cunningham, finds the superstar dipping back into her infatuation with hip-hop and reflecting the fuckery of the fame game she's played ever since.

"I'm sick of the faking, the using, the taking / The people calling me obscene / You hate me, you love me, you just wanna touch me / I'm only trying to get some peace / So let me do me," she rants on the drugs, sex and alcohol-fueled banger, which plays like a Bangerz-era comedown with an underlying plea for some humanity: "I'm a little bit unholy / So what? So is everyone else..."

If you thought the substance intake has even slightly slowed since Miley was in the club, high on purp with some shades on over five years ago, think again: "D.R.E.A.M. (Drugs Rule Everything Around Me)," which samples Wu-Tang Clan’s "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rule Everything Around Me)" and features Ghostface Killah, is a dreary, drug-addled, freshly tattooed hands-in-the-air anthem, like a cross between "We Can't Stop" and Lykke Li's depressed trap-pop opus, so sad, so sexy.

"Hit the Goose, raise a toast, pop the molly / I can go toe-to-toe, like I'm Ali / We're all tryna fill the lonely / Drugs rule everything around me," she cooly declares.

You get the sense that Miley's feeling more than a little isolated in her fame bubble, seeking some normalcy in the form of partying like her peers.

The Mike WiLL Made-It and Swae Lee-assisted "Party Up The Street" makes it even more clear: the girl's not done having a good time. But "Party" is one of the EP's most left-of-center offerings. It's closer in vibe to Dead Petz than "Party in the U.S.A," unraveling gently across a summery beat and, later on, gorgeous strings as Miley supplies a subtle assist to the Swae Lee-dominated, reverb-heavy, thoroughly relaxing production.

One song on the EP sticks out like a sore, uh, meaty tuck: if you happened to catch the overly eager pop star frolic among the queens during her appearance on the premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11, you'd know "Cattitude" feels almost inevitable - it's essentially Miley in peak fangirl mode, or a Todrick Hall track, RuPaul feature and all.

It's full of cocky, cringe-y rapping, "SMS (Bangerz)" style, and corny as hell, although playfully self-aware. Ru opens the library and reads Miley immediately: "Put some damn clothes on...nobody need to be seeing all of that!" Like her recent social media explosion of Disney Channel #TBTs, Miley's not taking herself too seriously - maybe to a fault? That flippant "I love you Nicki, but I listen to Cardi" line is getting her skewered on the Internet for pitting the two against each other.

Also, the Supermodel of the World says the foulest shit on this track: "Bust my pussy nut while I'm fingering your butt." Pardon? All that self-censoring for the increasingly mainstream Drag Race audience clearly caused RuPaul to pop off in the studio.

Across all sounds and styles over the years, from her squeaky-clean pop days ("The Climb") to her most out-in-outer-space ("Lighter"), Miley tends to deliver when it comes to earnest balladry. As much as she loves to behave like a bad-ass, she shines when she lets the walls break down. "Wrecking Ball," anyone?

"The Most," this EP's closer, is no exception to Miley's successful sensitive streak.

Co-penned and produced by "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" collaborator Mark Ronson, the vulnerable ode to, presumably, her beloved Liam Hemsworth for constantly reeling her back in despite her wild child ways is a lush, somewhat country-tinged, Younger Now-ish beautiful breath of fresh air after a steady stretch of druggy bops and drag queens.

From empowering to irritating to introspective, She Is Coming sounds like the work of a can't-be-tamable twentysomething with two middle fingers in the air, still figuring it all out. So what? So is everyone else.

While SHE IS COMING is undeniably the stuff of Miley (as her best friend Lesley would agree), it doesn't feel like she's quite there yet - at least, in terms of establishing a defined "era." If anything, this sounds more like a transition phase; a collage of previously explored musical moments while finding footing in this brave new trap-pop world.

Maybe she's just feeling it all out. Maybe she's picking the hardest hitters from each EP for the final project. Maybe a cohesive collection isn't the goal at all. There's still much left to see and hear before drawing conclusions: SHE IS COMING, after all.

Until SHE arrives, let's just enjoy the ride.

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Photo credit: RCA Records


Cheryl Let You

'Let You': Cheryl Returns With a Self-Aware Summer Banger

Cheryl is back...because she let herself be back, thank you very much.

After releasing "Love Made Me Do It" at the end of 2018, only to be met with a fuck-ton of backlash - about the song, her physical appearance, her hand-licking choreography, and just about everything in between - the 35-year-old (right up my) street-dancer, Messy Little Teardropper and one-fifth of the almighty, untouchable (REFERENCE) Girls Aloud made a triumphant return to form on Friday (May 31) with "Let You," a danceable acknowledgement of an unhealthy power imbalance in a prior relationship, and a reclamation of control.

Given how the Internet treated her just a few short months ago, "Let You" doubles as an especially empowering moment for Chezza: if she felt down after skimming the comments even once on her own Instagram, it was because she let them get to her. No more of that. Which, well...relatable.

Produced by The Invisible Men - responsible for lots of killer tracks, but perhaps most importantly the Almighty Aloud's "On The Metro" - and co-penned by Chiara Hunter and none other than Cheryl's trusty Sister in Sound (of the Underground) and Bearer of Cinderella's Eyes herself, Nicola Roberts, the effortlessly great track is a throbbing offering for the dance floor, supplying cool, old-school Chezza sass, mixed with nostalgic '80s synths that allow for fierce footwork and ample hand and hair-flicking.

"I gave you what you wanted, when am I gonna get mine? / We only got like this 'cause I let you..."

The video provides us with a bit of narrative (relationship drama), "Call My Name"-style busting a move in bright colors, and some lewks to boot. I myself am partial to the Cock Destroyer Chezza street look, to no one's surprise.

"Let You" is Cheryl's most solid overall package - song, video, visuals and choreography - since the A Million Lights days, for sure. And, like "Fight For This Love," the song feels applicable to Chezza's much-publicized romantic life (it's, dare I say, personal), setting it apart from a standard break-up bop.

"I loved this song from the moment we wrote it in the studio. I knew I had to release it! I’ve made mistakes in relationships. I’ve been with men who were controlling, who made me unhappy, but I allowed it to happen. That’s what this song is about. You have to recognise it, and you have to try and not let it happen again," Chezza said of the song to Fault.

"I stopped reading about myself long ago because I’m not there to cater to 'that' world. For me being honest isn’t about discussing my day of waking up and playing with my son, it’s about sitting in a room with my closest girlfriends and sharing an experience that we can all relate to and I want to put that in my music – creating music that everyone can feel and relate to."

As for the song's success? Honestly, I have no idea where Cheryl stands in pop culture in 2019. I barely know what's even considered pop in 2019. But the fact is that Cheryl's been at this since Popstars: The Rivals, nearly two decades ago now. That she's still going strong and serving up a quality release as a solo star is impressive enough in its own right to consider this one a win, regardless of charts and sales. (Well, solo for now...let those Aloud reunion rumors rumble. Keep the faith.)

Fight on, Chezza.

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"Let You" was released on May 31. (iTunes)

Photo credit: @CherylOfficial


Florrie Borderline

'Borderline': Florrie Is Back & Beginning Anew

Florrie has returned, and she's ready to Florrieish once again. (Sorry. So, so sorry.)

Three years after her last release ("Real Love"), the 30-year-old singer-songwriter-drummer-model-Xenomania darling - known for everything from banging on the drums on Girls Aloud's "The Promise" in 2008 to co-penning 2012's still-unbeatable "Something New" for the girls, as well as Mini Viva's impeccable "One Touch," to her own "Call 911" and a series of Xenomania-produced singles and EPs ever since - returned with a brand new single on Friday (May 3) called "Borderline."

Unlike basically every electro-popping piece of music she's released prior to this moment, "Borderline" is a marked shift in style; a gentle, ethereal, piano-led classic pop ballad written, produced and performed entirely by Florrie herself.

If the stripped-down sound wasn't enough of an indication, the song marks a new chapter for Florrie.

“After freeing myself from a major record label in 2016, I have spent the last 3 years doing what I love, writing, recording, playing drums, and working on projects that I'm passionate about. This was a really important process for me…to find joy in music again. I wrote 'Borderline' on the piano in my flat one morning last year, and I knew straight away that I wanted to share it. It's very personal to me, and I hope you love it as much as I do," she explains.

While it may not be suited for the dance floor, Florrie's knack for earworm melodies (those haunting background vocals!) hasn't changed a bit. It's incredibly repeat-friendly. Essentially, this could be one of those serious-faced "acoustic/stripped" takes on a big pop hit. The lyricism is good, too, as she provides a calming safety net for someone who's a bit more, uh, unpredictable. (I love this line: "You’re beautiful and complicated too / A fancy room with a bad view.")

"Borderline" is getting off to a running start: the song was featured in an episode of the (apparently eternally running) Grey's Anatomy, which just aired on Thursday (May 2). And guess what? Music discovery via Grey's Anatomy is still a thing since 2005, as evidenced by some of the comments section on her YouTube. ("Grey's sent me here!")

It feels good to have Florrie back after all this time, and frankly, it's inspiring on a personal level to know she's not giving up on her passion.

Let's all go and meet her at the borderline.

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"Borderline" was released on May 3. (iTunes)


Saro Snowblind

Saro's 'Snowblind' Is a Hypnotic Ode to Queer Love

Meet Saro.

Born Evan Windom, Saro makes "dark electronic-rooted R&B with gorgeous falsettos and grooves," as one press release proclaims - and, honestly, that's a spot-on assessment.

He's been at it for a few years now, and his origin story in the music scene provides a shocking and entirely unexpected pop connection: he began by singing and writing with his close friend, the late Simone Battle. Yes, of GRL - a girl group that I covered in depth years ago.

Just when he was about to release his debut self-titled EP in 2014, Simone tragically committed suicide. It not only caused him to rethink his music, but take on a stage name as an homage to The Smiths' "Pretty Girls Make Graves." ("And sorrow's native son / He will not smile for anyone").

He channelled his mourning into his eventual debut in 2016, called In Loving Memory. He'd later collaborate with Flight Facilities and tour with Miguel, and then release a second set called Boy Afraid at the end of 2017.

Comparisons aren't always helpful, but I'd say that his music would fit in snugly in a playlist alongside acts like BANKS, Frank Ocean, James Blake and The Weeknd. Vocally, he gives me Olly Alexander of Years & Years vibes, as well as the sweet, language-transcending urgency of Sigur Rós's Jónsi.

Sigur Rós isn't the only Icelandic royalty I'm hearing, either. "Snowblind" - his new track released on Friday (May 3), and the song that got my attention from first play - has a kind of Björk "Hyperballad" quality with those skittering synths as Saro, who is openly gay, dives into love without abandon.

"Taken by surprise with the sun in my eyes / I feel you inside, and I feel you inside and out..."

"There I was...thinking I was incapable of love when a swift gust pushed me from the ledge, and I began to fall. 'Snowblind' is about love grabbing you by the throat right after you deny its existence. To be 'snowblind' is to be temporarily robbed of sight by the reflection of sunlight on snow. The 'ignorance is bliss' feeling and inability to see the good from the bad is how love begins--however temporary the sensation may be," he wrote of the song on his Instagram.

Amusingly, his only input on his Genius page a year ago is: "do not fall in love." And now, here we are...in love. You know what that is? Growth.

Quality music from a fellow member of the queer community is always a thrill. Although we're involved in nearly every aspect behind-the-scenes - from songwriting to styling to dominating Stan Twitter - it's not like the market is exactly oversaturated with us on a mainstream level. Let's keep working on championing our own, shall we?

"Snowblind" is a taste of what's to come from Saro's Die Alone EP, due out this summer.

And if you're into it, he's got plenty of recent releases to feel (inside and out), from the pulsating "Eyelids" to the mesmerizing "Nothing Remains" to his DVBBS club-ready collaboration, "Somebody Like You."

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"Snowblind" was released on May 3. (iTunes)


Kylie Minogue Step Back In Time Collection

'Step Back In Time': Kylie Minogue Announces a Greatest Hits Collection (Yes, Another)

Kylie Minogue commands one of the most consistent and objectively free-of-flaw catalogues of any pop star of all time.

It makes sense, then, that she continues to churn out compilations. Like, a lot of compilations. Like, over a dozen and counting since 1992.

But Step Back in Time: The Definitive Collection, announced on Thursday (May 2) and out on June 28, is different. Why? Because it's the definitive collection. (It's right there in the name, you see.) But...is it?

Well, sort of. But not quite.

The 2-CD collection includes 41 of her best singles spread across over three decades, from the very beginning ("The Loco-Motion") to the Golden Era ("Dancing"). But it's still missing some crucial cuts - and some of the omissions are more glaring than others. Where's "Chocolate"? "Finer Feelings"? "Giving You Up"? "Some Kind of Bliss"? "Did It Again"? Where's the entire Kiss Me Once era? And most importantly of all: where's "GBI (German Bold Italic)"?

Granted, it's still a solid selection. Basically all of the crucial singles are here if we can remove the stan goggles for a moment. But the #Lover in me could easily sort this package into a 3 or 4-CD collection. Or a Girls Aloud singles box with a comprehensive collection of B-sides and remixes. And just think of all the deep cuts that need to be given more attention: "Love Affair" alone deserves a picture disc.

While an entire bonus disc of Anti Tour-ready rarities, demos and unreleased songs would have probably made this one a bit more enticing, the album instead features just one new song: "New York City." I was lucky enough (lucky, lucky, lucky) to be in the same room with Kylie when she premiered the song live in, well, New York City a year ago. Watch it here.

There are about forty million different bundle options for Step Back In Time; the biggest of which includes a deluxe CD album, a double vinyl, a picture disc and an absurd amount of cassettes for $167.99. Dive in.

For newer fans, this is an excellent overview of an incredible career. This is pop precision, just as advertised.

For diehards, there's...well, one new song? Which we've heard already? Honestly, there's not a whole lot of incentive to buy this compilation. It's solely for those who have to own all things Kylie. But I won't complain too much more - I'm sure there'll be an even more definitive collection soon enough. In Kylie, We Trust. In our bank accounts, we (maybe) go digging.

Check out the full track listing below...

CD1

1. CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD
2. SPINNING AROUND
3. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
4. DANCING
5. IN YOUR EYES
6. SLOW
7. ALL THE LOVERS
8. I BELIEVE IN YOU
9. IN MY ARMS
10. ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS
11. YOUR DISCO NEEDS YOU
12. PLEASE STAY
13. 2 HEARTS
14. BREATHE
15. RED BLOODED WOMAN
16. THE ONE
17. COME INTO MY WORLD
18. WOW
19. GET OUTTA MY WAY
20. TIMEBOMB
21. KIDS (WITH ROBBIE WILLIAMS)
22. STOP ME FROM FALLING

CD2

1. STEP BACK IN TIME
2. BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
3. HAND ON YOUR HEART
4. WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING
5. SHOCKED
6. ESPECIALLY FOR YOU (WITH JASON DONOVAN)
7. I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY
8. CELEBRATION
9. THE LOCO-MOTION
10. GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME
11. NEVER TOO LATE
12. GOT TO BE CERTAIN
13. TEARS ON MY PILLOW
14. JE NE SAIS PAS POURQUOI
15. WHAT KIND OF FOOL (HEARD ALL THAT BEFORE)
16. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
17. CONFIDE IN ME
18. PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE
19. WHERE THE WILD ROSES GROW (WITH NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS)
20. NEW YORK CITY (HIDDEN TRACK)

Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection will be released on June 28. (iTunes)