Mika Yo Yo

From Eurovision to the Dance Floor: Put MIKA's "Yo Yo" on Repeat

Mika Yo Yo

"Take out all my sorrow, put that on a beat..."

Writing about a man? In these trying times? I know...

But we support fellow LGBTs in this house, and the multi-talented MIKA is no exception, especially as he's having a real moment at the moment since co-hosting Eurovision 2022 last week. (Chanel Terrero, you will always be famous!)

The 38-year-old Life in Cartoon Motion crooner has actually been having a moment for a while now: if you're on TikTok as much as I am, you'd already know his 2007 track "Grace Kelly" has since gone mega-viral with a challenge over the past year. A record label's wet dream, basically.

While co-hosting the Eurovision Grand Final in Turin, Italy - a delicate balancing act of navigating dorky jokes amid political tensions, dramatic pauses, and painfully delayed satellite conversations with international delegates in front of a TV audience of hundreds of millions - MIKA hit the stage to perform what was essentially a Super Bowl-scale performance of his big hits.

It was a vibrant, energetic, suitably gay explosion of dancers and colors and giant hearts and glee. A major spectacle, really, and he did a fantastic job.

@mikatiktok My first time performing “Yo Yo”! #eurovision2022 ♬ Yo Yo - MIKA

The most surprising thrill came towards the end, when he - perched atop a rather wobbly platform - launched into a more serious sounding, throbbing club tune, proclaiming: "Take out all my sorrow, put that on a beat." Huh. This one didn't sound familiar...but it did sound good.

A quick Shazam on the spot revealed the name of the tune: "Yo Yo," which dropped the day before (May 13). And reader? It's a banger.

The moody banger was co-written with Renaud Rebillaud and Wayne Hector, co-writer of Nicki Minaj's "Starships," among many other feats.

The ultra-catchy cut finds the falsetto-friendly crooner consenting to being pulled in any old direction and bending to every whim - Do What U Want with MIKA's body, basically.

"Take me high, high, high, take me low, low, low / Pull me in, in, in, let me go, go, go / Say goodbye, bye, bye, say hello, lo, lo / Treat my heart, heart, heart like a yo-yo," he coos. But is it an invitation, or more of a solemn resignation? That's seemingly up for interpretation.

“I wanted to write a song that could make you cry and dance at the same time," MIKA explains of the club cut. “A song to make the world, in all its harshness, feel better. Something that will always be there to comfort you. I wrote this for you, as you listen in your room, or in a club: it doesn’t matter it’s just about you.”

Yet another solid addition to the Crying at the Discotheque collection this month? We gladly accept.

The song's got a very hypnotic pulse, and it's stuffed with earworm melodies - "Da-da-da, da-da-da-da, da-da-da da-da" - that have yet to let go of my brain's reigns since the first play. It's also a pretty unexpected offering from a singer most commonly associated with happy-go-lucky vocal theatrics and big, bright sounds.

There's more music on the way too, according to a press release. An entire sad disco record from MIKA, perhaps? I wouldn't mind putting that on repeat, on the beat, on repeat, on the beat, on repeat, on the beat, on repeat, on the beat...


Alanis Morissette Calm Before the Storm

You Oughta Unwind: Alanis Morissette Announces a Meditation Album

Alanis Morissette Storm Before the Calm

It has recently come to my attention that there is too much going on.

A little bit of everything all of the time. Everything everywhere all at once. Too, too much! As if the past two years weren't enough as it is. Too much media to consume. Too many people draining me of my precious energy. (Keri Hilson gets it.) And I've just about hit my limit.

With that being said, I am always open to anything that offers a little respite - time out from the world, to quote Alison Goldfrapp. My anxiety-riddled ass loves me some downtempo and ambient sleep playlists, ASMR and meditation tapes aplenty - especially when a queen of pop is the one behind the magic, from Grimes to Caroline Polachek.

The "You Oughta Know" legend and "Versions Of Violence" icon herself, Alanis Morissette is doing exactly that with her debut meditation album, called The Storm Before the Calm, arriving on June 17.

The collection aims to guide fans through 11 different meditations, and was co-written entirely over Zoom with electronic duo Darkside's Dave Harrington.

“During the last while within the pandemic i felt very inspired to write and remain connected (didn’t always work. and when it didn’t, it felt like a unique torture)," she explained to her fans in a note.

"All i knew was that i wanted to write a record that would offer something. and throughout the process of creating it with dave harrington, —beautifully and mercifully—it became its own multi-layered life raft during a time where i felt like i might disappear and float away. this album is filled with what i hope might be a safe invitation to and compatriot in your/our dropping in ….i offer this first song and the entire record to match and be available for any junctures on your personal journey."

Alanis kicked off the collection with the first offering on Wednesday (May 18), called "safety - empath in paradise," an 11-minute stretch of calming, cyclical ambient sound that delicately shape-shifts, as soaring chants and soft drums fill out the expansive production.

"Whether it be relaxation or resting or releasing or emboldening or sweaty wildness or embodying or empowering or clarifying," Alanis continued to explain, "may it serve as a catalyst, a soothing, a glimpse of awakening. an honoring. an objectivity. a wordless partner in healing. a place to land. inquire. breathe. notice. one in which you are held. in your lying down and jumping up. your movement, your numbness or your feelings… any of them… anger or clearing… sadness, grief, joy … fear, all. are. welcome. may this music serve as a friend in the thawing. a permission to feel and explore while feeling connected. and supported."

In these Unprecedented Times™, I am more than ready to follow along with Alanis on this journey. Because I've got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is...grounding me in this present moment.

the storm before the calm

1. light—the lightworker’s lament
2. heart—power of a soft heart
3. explore—the other side of stillness
4. space—pause on violence
5. purification—the alchemical crunch
6. restore—calling Generation X
7. awakening—in between thoughts
8. ground—I want to live.
9. safety—empath in paradise
10. mania—resting in the fire
11. vapor—amplified in stillness


Loreen Neon Lights

"Neon Lights": Loreen Makes Her Grand Return to Save Us All

Loreen Neon Lights

"When you're lost, I'll be there..."

What is this feeling coming over me? This sense of joy? This ecstasy? Elation?

No. It's...euphoria.

One decade after rightfully claiming the crown for Sweden as the winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with her thunderous anthem and, fittingly, one day before the Grand Final of Eurovision 2022, the 38-year-old icon known simply as Loreen is back with an absolutely incredible new track to kick off a new chapter in her career, called "Neon Lights" - not to be confused with her "Paper Light." (She's upgraded lights.)

The song, out Friday (May 13), was co-written with pop-folk band Smith & Thell's Maria Smith (of Ava Max's "So Am I" and Take You To Hell," notably) and Swedish rapper Petter “Professor P” Tarland (of Bebe Rexha's "Chain My Heart," notably), and produced by Peter Kvint (of Britney's "When I Found You," incredibly.)

The track is, unsurprisingly, another major addition to the Loreen catalog and an instant standout of the year.

It's got all of the signature moodiness, breathy vocal delivery and hair-raising, soul-piercing belting we've come to expect from the Swedish superstar, as she steadily and confidently treads through increasingly frantic synths, assuring us that she'll be here - our savior, our commander, our hero. Could she have come at a better time?

"I like the feeling of creating characters in my songs who reflect both the parts of me that I have and parts that I wish existed. In my upcoming music, I focus on an alpha female of sorts, a contemporary Joan of Arc, who is to try to save the world. I explore different parts of her in different songs, and the lyrics to 'Neon Lights' are about how she watches over and takes care of someone in need," Loreen explains.

"My approach to music might differ a bit compared to many others. I’m a nomad with my roots in the Atlas Mountains, where music and sound are used for the purpose of healing - which I consider is my purpose too. I always ask myself, what can I offer that will move- and engage more people to conversations?"

The track builds and builds steadily across a quick, "Physical"-slash-"Blinding Lights"-esque pulse, as the synths grow increasingly dizzying and disorienting, until a final rallying, heroic cry that cuts through the wall of electronica: "When you're lost, I'll be the stranger and the taxi driver / The flashing lights, the night time fighter / The siren call, the last real rider!"

Like so many of her incredible songs, it's pure catharsis. And, luckily enough for us on this Friday the 13th, there's more on the way.

"I’m extremely nerdy when it comes to synths, especially analogue synths. So much so that these days I build my entire live shows around them. I felt that I wanted to bring that sound into the studio and simply act like I was in a Terminator movie. That’s how 'Neon Lights' came about. It’s an initial introduction to the new soundscape that I’m creating," she explains.

"My absolute favourite artists are those who dare to challenge, dare to question, who break free and liberate themselves. That’s where I want to be, that’s where I can develop. I don’t want to do the expected."

Come with Loreen if you want to live.


Shygirl Firefly

"Firefly": Shygirl's Debut Album 'Nymph' Dreamily Takes Flight

Shygirl Firefly

"You kept me waitin’ on a lie, wasting all my time, little did I know..."

Shygirl's coming, officially.

The 29-year-old English multi-hyphenate's already established herself as the ruler of our world with last year's thumping, too-cool club anthem "Cleo," along with her FKA twigs on Caprisongs collabo "papi bones" and remix of Our Stefani's "Sour Candy" with Mura Masa for Dawn of Chromatica, previously supplying the soundtrack for Rihanna's runways, among other feats fitting of a fast-rising It Girl on the music scene. (Also, Lourdes is a fan.)

Now, Shygirl is stepping into her own spotlight with the announcement of her debut full-length album, Nymph, out on September 30, a record that reveals "inner self-reflection in experimental vocal tones and deconstructed dance melodies and exhibits a new level of intimacy and emotional depth in her songwriting." (Deconstructed dance melodies? Experimental vocals? Say no more.)

The album consists of 12 tracks, and features an enviable array of some of the industry's coolest and most innovative producers and songwriters, including Mura Masa, Sega Bodega, Karma Kid, Arca, Cosha, Noah Goldstein, Danny L Harle, BloodPop, Vegyn and Kingdom.

To kick off the campaign, she's just released the lead single "Firefly" - fitting for an album title that conjures images of woods and faeries.

The track's equipped with a hypnotic sound that is just as dreamy as the drippy visual, an intimate, Björk-like foray through futuristic foliage and Avatar-esque fiber optics. There's a little Madonna energy in the video as well, whom she's cited as a visual inspiration, a la "Bedtime Story." ("And inside, we're all still wet...")

"I guess I need to hear the truth this time / You kept me waitin’ on a lie, wastin’ all my time / Little did I know," she gently laments, lost in the hope of a rekindled love affair across a glitchy beat, co-produced by Shygirl herself with frequent collaborator Sega Bodega and Kingdom, who's worked with Kelela and Tinashe, among others.

The sound and style is both familiar and uniquely and intriguingly Shygirl's own, playing like bits and pieces of an early '00s club hit reverberating through an enchanted forest. Very "Barbie Girl" playing while you are in a wet cave," basically.

"firefly is my faaaave I’m so happy to start album stuff with this song coming out first! I have lots of favourites but this one is deffo how I’ve been feeling right now and kind of helped me re focus on what I wanted to say," she said on Twitter.

We're only one song into the Nymph campaign thus far, but it's already proving to be neither (a) a lie nor (b) a waste of time. In fact, it's got all the makings of one of the year's standouts already.


Tove Styrke Has "YouYouYou" on Her Mind

Tove Styrke YouYouYou

"I'm in love with someone new...still I'm dreaming about you."

Tove Styrke knows that life is HARD.

The 29-year-old Swedish singer-songwriter has been going HARD for a while now herself, especially in the past few months, from opening for Marina on the Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land Tour to releasing a solid string of bangers, including the still-incredible "Start Walking," "Show Me Love" and "Hardcore."

With her fourth studio album HARD out on June 3, Tove's now teasing a new track from the collection on Friday (May 6), and it's called "YouYouYou." (It's a great week to be a Tove in pop, by the way.)

"YouYouYou" is all about big, big, big feelings for a former (?) flame - even when you've supposedly moved on with someone new.

Drifting across dreamy, romantic vintage-sounding Nordic synths, Tove leaves it all on the floor as she repeatedly launches into a huge, shout-along yelp of a chorus: "It's you, you, you on my mind!" It's an effective, straightforward blast of pop energy.

“It’s the sunrise and the sunset. It’s the drama, the romance, the big bang of the album. To me it’s an instant classic and it got all the elements that I love in a big pop song. I love the analog vibes, it almost sounds like the music on a VHS tape that you’ve recorded on over and over," Tove says of the song, which she worked on with Børns, songwriter Ally Ahern (of Kylie's "Miss a Thing"!) Randy Merill, Ethan Schneiderman and Jason OK.

The accompanying Cornelia Wahlberg-directed music video was creatively conceived by Ms. Styrke herself. It's appropriately, full of intense and carnal energy, matching the general vibe of the song and record thus far, as Tove digs her toes in the sand and goes to(v)e-to-to(v)e wrestling/interpretive dancing with alternating partners. (Tove's openly queer, and currently dating a woman. Hello, LGBTs!)

"I knew right away that the video was gonna have to be a dramatic portrayal of passion. I wanted to interact with people that kept changing throughout the song. I wanted it to be steamy, sexual and I also wanted to incorporate dance and use the body and movement as an expression as much as the music. We shot the whole thing on film, only using analog tricks for the effects. I think that approach fits the sound perfectly," she explains of the music video.

HARD is already a hot and heavy affair, and is steadily shaping up to be another excellent addition to the endlessly cool pop star's catalog. She certainly thinks so, too.

"I think it’s the best project to date that I’ve created both as a singer, songwriter and artist," she says. "Life, feelings, bodies. Everything’s hard. This album is about the pleasure and the pain, the euphoria and the misery, the love stories and the heart breaks. The contrasts. And it’s about the liberation in being a free, flawed and beautiful human.”


Madonna Finally Enough Love

'Finally Enough Love': Madonna's Remix Album Is Upon Us, Finally

Madonna Remix Album

It's been teased for months, if not years at this point...but it's here. Finally.

Madonna, Queen of Pop™, has revealed that her long awaited, highly anticipated, much-Instagrammed 50-track remix album is coming this summer, and it's called Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones.

35 years after her record-breaking first remix album You Can Dance - which is still the second best-selling remix album of all time - the "I'm Going Bananas" chanteuse has put together all 50 of her No. 1 Billboard Dance Club Songs chart hits across four decades - the first and only recording artist to do so, which is difficult to get, not everybody has that - into one massive package. (And we know she just loves a massive package.)

The remix album, her first as part of her new reissue deal with Warner Music Group, comes in two formats: Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones, a 50-track set, and a 16-track abridged version, just called Finally Enough Love.

The 220-minute+ remix album, spanning from "Holiday" to "I Don't Search I Find," includes more than 20 remixes either being officially released for the first time or making their commercial/digital debut, including the Alternate Single Remix of “Keep It Together,” the Offer Nissim Promo Mix of “Living For Love,” and "Into the Groove (You Can Dance Remix Edit)," which is available now for the first time.

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Each remix was newly remastered for the collection by Rebel Heart and Madame X producer, Mike Dean.

In honor of the 40th anniversary of her debut single "Everybody" this year, Madonna also "redesigned the album’s chronology" by picking three edits from You Can Dance, including “Into The Groove”, “Everybody” and “Physical Attraction,” to reflect the "underground club vibes that inspired her first recordings as a Sire artist."

Finally Enough Love will be available digitally on August 19. And if you've got that Physical Attraction, there's a 3-CD ($29.98) version and a limited edition, 6-LP version on red and black vinyl ($149.98) available to pre-order now on her store.

The 16-track version will be available for streaming two months earlier than the deluxe on June 24, with 1-CD ($14.98) and 180-gram 2-LP ($34.98) versions coming on August 19, also available to pre-order on M-Dolla's store.

And that's not all: thrillingly ("you thrill me, surround me, you fill me..."), the press release for the remix album teases that we should "expect more surprises to be revealed later this year around the celebration of Madonna’s 40 years in music."

Check out the track listings and cover art and, as a wise woman once commanded us to do in 1985, get into the groove.

Madonna Finally Enough Love

Finally Enough Love (Standard)
Streaming June 24
Physical August 19

1. “Everybody” (You Can Dance Remix Edit) +#
2. “Into The Groove” (You Can Dance Remix Edit) +#
3. “Like A Prayer” (Remix/Edit)
4. “Express Yourself” (Remix/Edit)
5. “Vogue” (Single Version) +
6. “Deeper And Deeper” (David’s Radio Edit) +#
7. “Secret” (Junior’s Luscious Single Mix)
8. “Frozen” (Extended Club Mix Edit)
9. “Music” (Deep Dish Dot Com Radio Edit)
10. “Hollywood” (Calderone & Quayle Edit) +#
11. “Hung Up” (SDP Extended Vocal Edit)
12. “Give It 2 Me” (Eddie Amador Club 5 Edit) °+
13. “Girl Gone Wild” (Avicii’s UMF Mix)
14. “Living For Love” (Offer Nissim Promo Mix) *+
15. “Medellín” (Offer Nissim Madame X In The Sphinx Mix) – Madonna and Maluma
16. “I Don’t Search I Find” (Honey Dijon Radio Mix)

Madonna Finally Enough Love

Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones
Streaming and physical August 19

1. “Holiday” (7” Version) +
2. “Like A Virgin” (7” Version)
3. “Material Girl” (7” Version)
4. “Into The Groove” (You Can Dance Remix Edit) +#
5. “Open Your Heart” (Video Version) +
6. “Physical Attraction” (You Can Dance Remix Edit) +#
7. “Everybody” (You Can Dance Remix Edit) +#
8. “Like A Prayer” (Remix/Edit)
9. “Express Yourself” (Remix/Edit)
10. “Keep It Together” (Alternate Single Remix) *+
11. “Vogue” (Single Version) +
12. “Justify My Love” (Orbit Edit)
13. “Erotica” (Underground Club Mix)
14. “Deeper And Deeper” (David’s Radio Edit) +#
15. “Fever” (Radio Edit) +
16. “Secret” (Junior’s Luscious Single Mix)
17. “Bedtime Story” (Junior’s Single Mix)
18. “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” (Miami Mix Edit)
19. “Frozen” (Extended Club Mix Edit)
20. “Ray Of Light” (Sasha Ultra Violet Mix Edit) +#
21. “Nothing Really Matters” (Club 69 Radio Mix) +
22. “Beautiful Stranger” (Calderone Radio Mix)
23. “American Pie” (Richard ‘Humpty’ Vission Radio Mix)
24. “Music” (Deep Dish Dot Com Radio Edit)
25. “Don’t Tell Me” (Thunderpuss Video Remix) +#
26. “What It Feels Like For A Girl” (Above And Beyond Club Radio Edit)
27. “Impressive Instant” (Peter Rauhofer’s Universal Radio Mixshow Mix) +#
28. “Die Another Day” (Deepsky Radio Edit) +#
29. “American Life” (Felix Da Housecat’s Devin Dazzle Edit) *+
30. “Hollywood” (Calderone & Quayle Edit) +#
31. “Me Against The Music” (Peter Rauhofer Radio Mix) + – Britney Spears feat. Madonna
32. “Nothing Fails” (Tracy Young’s Underground Radio Edit) *+
33. “Love Profusion” (Ralphi Rosario House Vocal Edit) +#
34. “Hung Up” (SDP Extended Vocal Edit)
35. “Sorry” (PSB Maxi Mix Edit) +#
36. “Get Together” (Jacques Lu Cont Vocal Edit) +
37. “Jump” (Axwell Remix Edit)
38. “4 Minutes” (Bob Sinclar Space Funk Edit) + – feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
39. “Give It 2 Me” (Eddie Amador Club 5 Edit) +#
40. “Celebration” (Benny Benassi Remix Edit)
41. “Give Me All Your Luvin’” (Party Rock Remix) – feat. LMFAO & Nicki Minaj
42. “Girl Gone Wild” (Avicii’s UMF Mix)
43. “Turn Up The Radio” (Offer Nissim Remix Edit) *+#
44. “Living For Love” (Offer Nissim Promo Mix) *+
45. “Ghosttown” (Dirty Pop Intro Remix)
46. “Bitch I’m Madonna” (Sander Kleinenberg Video Edit) +# – feat. Nicki Minaj
47. “Medellín” (Offer Nissim Madame X In The Sphinx Mix) – Madonna and Maluma
48. “I Rise” (Tracy Young’s Pride Intro Radio Remix)
49. “Crave” (Tracy Young Dangerous Remix) – feat. Swae Lee
50. “I Don’t Search I Find” (Honey Dijon Radio Mix)

* previously unreleased
+ available digitally for the first time
# available commercially for the first time


Tove Lo No One Dies From Love

"No One Dies From Love": The Next Tove Lo Era Begins

Tove Lo No One Dies From Love

"I know that they say that no one dies from love. Guess I'll be the first..."

Tove Lo is always ahead of the curve.

With all this talk nowadays about NFTs and metaverses and multiverses and cryptocurrency, and the state of the real world growing steadily bleaker with each passing day, it only makes sense that the 34-year-old Lady Wood chanteuse would opt out of falling for another flesh-and-blood mortal and go straight to getting down and dirty with a digital lover.

That's right: Tove Thee Lo, Queen of the Clouds herself, has returned on Tuesday (May 3) with a brand new single, launching a brand new era - and a brand new record label, too.

"No One Dies From Love" was written alongside longtime collaborator Ludvig Söderberg (also known as A Strut), who has worked with her on everything from "Habits (Stay High)" and "Talking Body" to "Cool Girl" to "Bikini Porn."

Together, the two crafted an instantly great, throbbing addition to the Crying at the Discotheque genre, as Tove solemnly reminisces about a love gone awry.

"We were so magical, why end this way? / I know you're furious, yeah, just like me / You got good reasons, but I do too / What really happened here? I wish I knew," she laments. The track significantly picks up with a pulse about a minute in, recalling the stuff of many fellow Scandinavian sad disco greats, including Robyn.

"Will you remember us, or are the memories too stained with blood now?"

“When you’re with someone for a long time and it ends all of all sudden, it’s like a part of you has died. This person is now a stranger to you. All of the memories are tainted. For the first part of the breakup, you believe you’re not supposed to feel good about anything you had together. What I believe I do best is ‘heartbreak you can dance to.’ The song is that," Tove explains.

"Me and [A Strut] wrote this song in January 2020. We spent 3 weeks by the ocean, talking, drinking, crying and writing…the only song we worked on was this one. I don’t think I have to say too much what it’s about. You’ll feel it. I wanted to put it out not long after we wrote it but 2020 wasn’t its time," she added on Instagram.

The retro futuristic music video, on the other hand, finds the very famous Tove feeling isolated and lonely, opting to feel her Her fantasy and ordering a mail-order robot and falling madly in love. Or does she?

Just a fair warning to all the starry-eyed cyborgs out there: there will always a sexier, sleeker model rolling out of the conveyer belt behind you.

The imaginative video was filmed on location in Mexico City, and was directed by the Brazilian duo Alaska, who also did the “Are U gonna tell her?” video.

“All the songs on the album are very cinematic, dramatic and grand, so for the visual story I want to attach a character to each song. For 'No One Dies From Love.' it's the classic vulnerable, lonely starlet looking for connection. This mini movie is a different kind of love story," Tove explains, adding on Instagram: "I always knew I wanted to make something majestic visually for it but I couldn’t quite see it until my darlings @alaskafilmes came to me with the most incredible idea; a musical sci-fi love story set in the 70’s starring me and Annie 3000."

It's a strong start to a new chapter - and it's not just a new single and album campaign, either.

The single comes coupled with Tove Lo's announcement that she's gone independent and founded her own record label, Pretty Swede Records, alongside artist development company mtheory.

“It’s amazing. I have a lot of freedom, and it’s been fun to work with mtheory. This will be the first release under my label. I’m a pop girl, but I like to make things weird and be in full control of the whole vision. This is the perfect way to put out exactly what I want," Tove says of her decision.

Tove Lo's already proved herself to be a consistent, endlessly creative pop machine for well over a decade at this point, and the fact that she's now taking the reigns even more in her career is an incredibly exciting prospect.


FLO Cardboard Box

Can FLO Make Girl Groups Big Again in the West?

FLO Cardboard Box

Girl groups are nearly on the verge of extinction...in the Western hemisphere, anyway.

While there's certainly no shortage of talented troupes hailing from South Korea and Japan entertaining Asia and beyond with sold-out tours and non-stop hits - the Girls (are) On Top, in fact - the same sadly cannot be said about this side of the globe.

With Little Mix on the way out with their goodbye (for now...?) tour, the Sugababes seemingly stalled once more, the Destiny's Child reunion rumblings gone quiet again, and a Pussycat Dolls reunion ripped to shreds between the dueling claws of Scherzy and Robin Antin in court, the flame atop the girl group torch is in serious danger of being snuffed out entirely. (And it doesn't look like Mini Viva, Girls Can't Catch or Neon Jungle are reforming anytime soon, either.)

Fear not, however: there is still some hope on the horizon, in the form of FLO.

The three-piece British girl group - made up of Renée, Stella and Jorja - arrived via Island Records at the top of April with their debut, "Cardboard Box," an instantly nostalgic bop pulling from late '90s-early '00s R&B-pop, reminiscent of everything from DC3, 702, TLC to the Sugababes.

Mary J Blige, Aaliyah, Brandy, Whitney Houston, Faith Evans, Mariah Carey, Mýa – do you want us to go on?” the group adds of their myriad musical influences.

As opposed to becoming instant co-workers through a casting call or reality TV competition, FLO came together organically over the years.

Stella moved from Mozambique to the UK at the age of 5, and met Renée at school in London, bonding over their love for singing. They were aware of Jorja, who was born in Germany and grew up in Hertfordshire, through social media. She had won CBBC's talent show Got What It Takes in 2017 - and you've got to watch her performance of Adele's "All I Ask."

As the story goes, the trio first met by bumping into each other at an audition.

“I saw the girls and we screamed across the room. I knew from that moment we were about to start something big,” Jorja says. They've worked together for the past two years ever since.

But back to the "Box": the song was written and produced alongside MNEK, who is not only a tried-and-true pop savant and early '00s scholar in his own right, but also an instrumental figure in the continued success of Little Mix, with whom he constantly collaborated with over the years from "Wings" onward. (In MNEK We Trust 'round these parts.)

Speaking of DC3, the track feels like a nod to Beyoncé's own breakup box anthem "Irreplaceable": "I'mma put your shit in a cardboard box, changing my number and I'm changing the locks," they declare.

"'Cardboard Box' is one of the first songs we wrote as a group and during the process we opened up about relationship struggles and experiences of moving on from an ex. It was a special bonding moment and feels fitting that it’s our debut single! We are over the moon about our first child entering the world and we want people to feel refreshed and empowered – like it’s okay to close a bad chapter of your life!" they told The Line of Best Fit.

The accompanying LOOSE-directed music video is also a loving homage to the era from which it sonically borrows, including some catchy choreo, Y2K-style crop tops and flip phones aplenty.

And unlike the small share of burgeoning girl groups who have attempted to launch in recent months and years, there's some actual energy behind their debut single already: one tweet alone featuring a clip of the video floated around with over 2 million views and over 100,000 likes, plus some very influential co-signs, including JoJo. The track's got half a million plays on Spotify alone, and the video's got a quarter million views.

Not bad for brand new - especially in this girl group-unfriendly climate.

@flolikethis Some bts of us practicinggg🥰 #foryou #castaway #singing #riff #maxplumpjump ♬ original sound - FLO

They've also been having some moments on TikTok, building up for the past year with behind-the-scenes clips about their lives while showcasing their heavenly harmonizing skills, recalling those vintage home videos of the pre-debut Spice Girls bonding, singing and writing in songwriting sessions.

They've also been working with a bunch of talent on new music, including LOXE KABBA, Aston Rudi, Jamal Woon, Hannah Yadi and Lauren Faith.

Though we've only got one song and a handful of a cappella moments to judge from thus far, FLO feels both instantly familiar and fresh - and the increasingly large wave of support around them feels really promising, too.

Here's hoping this is just the beginning of good things to come for FLO - and for girl groups in general - and that a full-on girl group takeover of pop culture is upon us once more.


Kylie Minogue Gloria Gaynor Can't Stop Writing Songs About You

Kylie Minogue & Gloria Gayner Gave Us a "Can't Stop Writing Songs About You" Video

What, you thought the Disco era was over already?

I don't think Kylie™, the Most Generous Pop Star in the World™, would be Giving You Up so quickly - even if we are coming up on nearly the two year anniversary of her unintentionally timely, socially distanced love letter "Say Something."

Our Mighty Aphrodite has come yet again on Thursday (March 31) to Disco Down with a true legend of the genre, the fabulous Gloria Gaynor, in the form of a music video for their Disco: Guest List Edition collaboration, "Can't Stop Writing Songs About You."

The kaleidoscopic, strobe-heavy clip mostly finds our fierce Fever phenom looking sensational as ever (and serving a little Debbie Harry), delivering her best karaoke down the shimmering, glittery catwalk in a sheer number and having some fun with the LGBTs in attendance, with the "I Will Survive" legend beaming in via green screen like the Almighty Disco Commander that she is.

Later on, Kylie gives us a little RuPaul-style leg work and soft choreo, and even gets her Picasso on, painting the partygoers' apparel and tying them up in ribbons - a nod to Rachel Stevens' "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" video, no doubt.

Is it a visual revelation? Well, not entirely. But frankly, it's just fun seeing Kylie in her usual gorgeous, sparkly, joyous mode, and it's always lovely to see our pop icons pay tribute to those who have paved the way.

We are so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky...) to have Kylie (and Gloria!) - a gift that keeps on giving more, more, more.


Claudia Valentina

"Extra Agenda": Claudia Valentina's NSA Fun Anthem

"I just wanna feel, feel on something / Without that extra agenda of love..."

U up? Claudia Valentina is #looking for fun.

You might remember the 21-year-old singer-songwriter from the top of last year as one of the MuuMuse Acts to Watch™ of 2021 - specifically for "4:15" and her self-titled EP.

And if you're a Little Maxxinista/Avatar/Aviator, you're already intimately familiar with her work: she's a co-writer on Ava Max and Tiesto's "The Motto." Mmmhmm. Pretty legendary, if you ask me.

As of Friday (March 25), she's returned to us with "Extra Agenda," a fiercely assured, immediately catchy, moody, endlessly replay-friendly pop ode to shutting up and getting off without the fuss of feelings and the mess of emotions.

The track premiered as a First Play on Clara Amfo’s BBC Radio 1 Future Sounds show, and rightfully deserved the shine. The song was recorded with longtime Dua Lipa collaborator Stephen "KOZ" Kozmeniuk and Trey Campbell - which makes sense, as sonically, it's very much in the world of Miss Peep, Zara Larsson and Mabel.

It was written in between travels to London, Los Angeles and Guernsey (chic), and finds our rising pop heroine pushing back on the expectations for women.

“'Extra Agenda' for me such a high energy moment," she says.

"The song is basically about flipping the script and letting me as a girl have no shame in my game of not wanting any strings attached when I wanna have fun. It embraces love in every way and it doesn’t have to be that deep sometimes. It’s got a kinda weekend vibe to it and the baseline gets me every time."

We love an empowered young woman who knows exactly what she wants, and the confidence packed into the track is a delight. The way she delivers the line "I ain't call you here to conversate / Shut the fuck up, give my mind a break" is especially gratifying. Also, let's hear it for a proper 3:40 song length - with a bridge, complete with a proper belt of a final chorus. Now that's more like it.

There's an accompanying music video too, which includes some "New Rules"-style sleepover choreography with the girls, as well as some seductive shape-pulling in puffy jackets, bras and jeans. There's also a bit of convenience store chaos with her clique - a Main Pop Girl staple.

She's still so young and has only just begun having her fun (yeah), but if this track sticks and the songwriting output continues to be this great, something tells me she's going to be around for quite a while.


Sunmi Oh Sorry Ya MuuMuse Interview

The Resilience & Reign of SUNMI (Interview)

Sunmi Oh Sorry Ya

"I wanted to show people that I can overcome anything, even if it takes some time."

SUNMI debuted as a member of the Wonder Girls in 2007, a girl group that - aside from amassing a string of hits over the years - became the first Korean act ever to appear on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with "Nobody" in 2009.

It's a feat that cemented the then barely 17-year-old idol's name in the pop history books forever. And yet, she was still only just getting started.

After briefly leaving the group to pursue her studies in 2010, she returned with her successful first step as a soloist with her debut EP in 2014, including her first solo hits, "24 Hours," and the title track, "Full Moon."

She would eventually reunite with the girl group for their long-awaited comeback, making an all-too-brief transformation into an '80s-style retro band for the (still incredible) 2015 Wonder Girls record, REBOOT. The project found the members actively participating in the songwriting process, and provided SUNMI with the confidence to start putting a personal touch on her own music moving forward.

The Wonder Girls, as is sadly the case with most girl groups, disbanded soon after their comeback, and SUNMI went solo once again, this time with "Gashina" in 2017.

Almost instantly, SUNMI established herself as a unique, singular voice in the industry - an impressive feat, especially in a climate largely dominated by girl groups and boy bands.

Her eccentric visuals, emotionally complex lyrical themes, fiercely expressive (and, at times, wondrously wacky) choreography, and of course, her sonic brand of "SUNMI-Pop," inspired by nostalgic elements of disco, electronica and city-pop, solidified her as a top solo act in Korea.

She went on to release smash after smash over the years, growing increasingly involved in the songwriting and production of her music with releases like "Heroine," "Siren," "Noir" and "pporappippam," leading up to last year's "You Can't Sit With Us," off of her latest mini-album, 1/6.

Having attained the status of a veteran in a relentless revolving door of an industry, in which staying power is an increasingly rare trait, the now 29-year-old superstar has more recently assumed the role of a mentor, appearing as a judge ("Master") on last year's Girls Planet 999, the survival competition series in which she helped to whittle down a group of 99 hopefuls into the newest 9-member troupe on the scene, KEP1ER.

And when she's not busy molding future generations of pop superstars, she's continuing to blaze her own path.

For her first release of 2022, the K-pop titan partnered with Spotify as part of their EQUAL initiative in celebration of International Women's Day to release "Oh Sorry Ya," the first song SUNMI's composed with a team of solely women, alongside English production duo LYRE.

Thematically, it's a continuation of her soul-baring English-language cut "Borderline," which was released shortly after disclosing her borderline personality disorder diagnosis on national television in 2020. She describes it as a conversation between the "Old SUNMI" and the "New SUNMI," honoring her own personal growth, from the hurt girl she once was to the resilient superstar that she is today.

I had the honor of speaking with SUNMI upon the release of "Oh Sorry Ya" to discuss the song, her boundary-breaking legacy, both as part of a girl group and as a solo star, her lasting impact on the K-pop industry and beyond, and what's still to come.

"Oh Sorry Ya" is your first release of 2022. Can you talk about the meaning behind the song?

Everyone has their own painful memories and scars. However, through this song, I wanted to tell you that you’ve become much stronger and more resilient while overcoming those barriers.

You describe it as a continuation of your English track "Borderline," and a conversation between "Old SUNMI" and "New SUNMI."

I wondered in what situation I could say “Oh, Sorry Ya.” Suddenly I thought about saying sorry to SUNMI in the lyrics of "Borderline." “New SUNMI” is no longer sick because of “Old SUNMI.” No matter how much “Old SUNMI” tries to hurt, “New SUNMI” has become much stronger.

It's also your first song composed by only women. How was the song's creation process?

The process of finding all-female teams was difficult. Other than that, everything else was very easy. Although we were far away and didn’t even get a chance to see each other, we were very considerate, so everything worked out well.

"Oh Sorry Ya" is part of Spotify's EQUAL Initiative. What does it mean to be involved in that initiative?

First of all, I’m really grateful to Spotify for proposing this project that focuses on producer SUNMI. This is already my second participation in the EQUAL project. I usually make a strong impression as a performer, but Spotify is always more curious about my music. It’s such an honor for me.

"Borderline" came during Mnet's Running Girls, when you very bravely opened up about being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2020. Mental health is still very stigmatized across the world. Why did you decide to go public, and what happened after it became international news? Was it a positive experience?

I was able to take courage because I wanted to show people that I can overcome anything, even if it takes some time. That’s why I released "Borderline." I hope many people listen to this song so that they can share their pain and sympathize with each other. It could’ve been a reckless decision to reveal my weaknesses. However, because I overcame all the process and pain, it was no longer my weakness, and I was able to speak out.

How did the pandemic affect your experience as an artist? Has it affected your new music?

As a singer who gets a lot of energy by communicating with fans on the stage, the pandemic was totally a darkness. I wonder what it means to sing and dance on an empty stage without fans. The communication breakdown due to the pandemic, however, gave me a new experience, such as the Metaverse. Although it’s not as real as the actual energy and atmosphere, it was a completely different type of experience where I could interact with my fans through music.

Ever since your first solo debut, you have created a very distinct style of music, where all your releases sound like SUNMI songs. Not many artists have that. That is very unique to you. How would you describe the "SUNMI-pop" sound?

When I make my own music, I get inspired from the old music that I’ve admired and been impressed with. That’s why my music seems to have a strong retro mood. My music is characterized by dealing with complex emotions. It’s double-sided; sad but exciting, and exciting but sad at the same time.

City-pop/retro disco also feels like a big part of the "Sunmi-pop" sound. Are there any new artists or genres influencing your current music?

Hybrid pop and hyper pop genres are new to me these days. It’s very interesting that completely different compositions and genres come together to make one and only kind of music.

Your songs deal with very complex emotions, and you can really feel that you are heavily involved in the creative process for your releases. Your personality comes through in the music. By REBOOT in 2015, you started to appear as the lyricist and songwriter on almost all the songs. Can you talk about why it was important to you?

Thanks to the experience that I participated in the album REBOOT as a lyricist and songwriter, I now became a solo artist, SUNMI, with a very clear color. Because I’ve been practicing looking into my own sensitivity, emotions, and stories, my character, SUNMI as a solo artist, could be clarified today.

Your last release, "You Can't Sit With Us," featured a fight with zombies in the music video. It is said you trained with the Train to Busan stunt coordinator. What was the experience like? Would you ever act in a horror movie?

It was my first time acting a stunt, so there were many difficulties when training. However, other actors and I worked well together, so I was able to perform well without injury. Horror movies are good, but I want to try action movies. Haha.

Your dance routines are also very memorable. What do you look for when you're creating choreography for your songs?

I try to make choreography easy and direct enough for people to understand what it means even if the language is different.

How do you feel about the Wonder Girls' impact on expanding K-pop into the West?

About a decade has passed since I made a huge challenge in the U.S. as a member of Wonder Girls, and so many things have changed. At that time, people barely knew where Korea was located and even what K-POP was. However, it’s a totally different story now. Not only BTS, but also many K-POP artists are loved all over the world, and many people have become used to consuming not only K-POP itself, but also other Korean content. That’s really amazing.

You've had girl group experience, and solo experience. Is it more difficult to be a solo artist in the K-pop industry?

I can’t say which one is more difficult. But working in a group and as a solo seem to be a little different in areas. For the group, there are many members, and each individual has a relatively short amount of time to be seen on the screen. On the other hand, as a solo, there’s only me for the whole four minutes on the screen. Since every moment and movement is captured, it’s hard to captivate the audience if I don’t excel at first.

You are an icon in the K-pop industry, and helped other artists pave the way, including your participation in Girls Planet 999 last year, where you helped to put together KEP1ER. What was the experience of doing that show?

The responsibilities weigh heavily on me as a master. I knew each of their dreams was so precious, so I had mixed emotions every time. Also, it was a chance for me to look back on my career. I thought I should be a good example / role model for the girls.

Did you give any advice to the KEP1ER girls for their debut as a group?

Rather than advice, I told them to take care of their health. I knew how rapidly the system was running without a break, and the girls seemed to have gone through a really rough time both physically and mentally. I told them, “Let’s meet on the stage later not as a master, but as a reliable colleague, sister or singer.”

You also collaborated with Ed Sheeran and Jessi on a remix of "Shivers," introducing yourself to even more people in the West. How did that come about, and what was the experience like?

Warner Music Korea offered me to be part of Ed Sheeran’s Korean remix of "Shivers." I couldn’t believe it at first because it’s Ed Sheeran! I thought it’s such a wonderful opportunity. It was a more meaningful experience because I worked with my beloved artist, Jessi.

So many rookies cover your songs over the years, including a member of the new group NMIXX. How does that make you feel? Do you have any favorite covers of your music?

Every time I watch the covers, I think this female solo artist, SUNMI, should continue to grow and be a good role model for those friends. So many rookies have covered my songs, and I can’t pick one because every single cover was amazing. "Full Moon" by Sullyoon from NMIXX was so cool, and "Full Moon" by Aisha from EVERGLOW was really impressive.

You also did your first online concert in 2021. Will you be touring again in the future?

I’m planning for my second world tour in the second half of the year.

Are you currently working on a new record?

Since I’m planning for my tour, I might release one more song before the tour.

Your 2019 SUNMI THE 1ST WORLD TOUR [WARNING] was incredible - I was at the New York City show. It was an amazing performance. What was the most interesting or wildest experience you had abroad during that tour?

It was absolutely a shocking and magnificent experience that people in different languages and nations sing along to my songs in Korean. There were also many fans who came to my show with the same outfit and makeup as mine. I always get goosebumps every time they call my name.

If you had the chance to debut again as a solo artist in 2022, would you do anything differently?

I want to try rock. It’s not common for female singers to sing and play the bass at the same time. Haha.


Madonna Frozen Remix Video

Madonna's "Frozen" Remix Gets a Video, a Year After Going Viral

Madonna Frozen Remix Video

Look, you can't blame her for being a little behind schedule.

Madonna, Queen of Pop™, is currently hard at work on a biopic about the life of Madonna, written by Madonna, directed by Madonna, and executive produced by Madonna.

It's been in the works for years at this point, and some script co-writers have come and gone along the way, as the "I'm Going Bananas" chanteuse continues carving out the full story of how she Lived to Tell. (Or, at least, up to the Blonde Ambition Tour.)

She's also making headlines - isn't she always? - this time because of the audition process for the as-of-yet untitled film, as she whittles down a sizable list of hopefuls, including, apparently, like the entire cast of Euphoria, Bebe Rexha (!) and Sky Ferreira (!!!), among others.

The women are reportedly being put through grueling 11-hour-a-day, all-singing and dancing rehearsals with choreographers and Madonna herself to find the right actress to play Her Madgesty. And, if the CW were smart, the entire process would have been greenlit as Madonna Presents: The Search for the Next Material Girl.

But, fear not: Madame X is aware of the Gen Z hype around her Ray of Light masterpiece, "Frozen." (Granted, did that hype begin nearly one year ago, and already come and go? Well, yes, but...anyway.)

Never one to shy away from any form of attention from the general public, the Hard Candy empress enlisted 26-year-old Nigerian singer Fireboy DML to feature on a not-quite-3-minute version of the Sickick remix that swept throughout TikTok towards the end of 2021. The remix itself is fine, if mostly a platform for Fireboy DML. He sounds pretty great.

As we know, M-Dolla is physically incapable of putting down her phone hanging 'round her neck. (Lourdes has tried, we've seen it.) She's been documenting her days, hour by hour, so we pretty much already saw all the looks, poses and angles of the accompanying music video, which arrived on Thursday (March 10). (My thesis, "Filters, Social Media & The Demise of the Modern Pop Star's Mystique" is still in the works.)

It's really more of an interlude visual if anything, and will look great on the big screens during the upcoming NFTMDNA Metaversedonna World Tour. She looks cool and remains the boss, of course - even if her marketing and/or general music strategy at the moment is frustratingly unfocused.

It does sort of beg the question: "Why bother?" But then...bitch, it's Madonna. We should know by now not to expect an Easy Ride.