Kelly Osbourne One Word

Kelly Osbourne's 'One Word' Is Finally on Streaming

The year was 2005: Mimi was emancipating herself, Gwen Stefani was dressed as a cheerleader teaching the world how to spell "bananas," Kelly Clarkson was leading the pop-rock revolution and so moving on, Lindsay Lohan was feuding with Hilary Duff over Aaron Carter and then with Ashlee Simpson over Wilmer Valderrama, and Britney Spears was beginning to go rogue and have a baby. (For more on that, listen to the "2005" episode of the critically acclaimed It's Britney, Bitch! podcast.)

At the same time, Kelly Osbourne - she of Ozzy and Sharon, mortal enemy of Christina Aguilera, and star of MTV's The Osbournes, which was just closing out a successfully insane three-year run - was making music. Again.

Kelly's solo endeavors kicked off with her critically "meh"-ed 2002 pop-punk debut Shut Up. The album was re-released a year later as Changes, including her cover of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach," as memorably performed live at the MTV Movie Awards with that Nikki McKibbin-esque scene haircut, and her mother Sharon displaying the entire spectrum of emotions in the audience.

The album largely tanked, she got dropped, she signed to a new label, and opted to veer into New Wave, dance-rock territory alongside Linda Perry with her underrated follow-up, 2005's Sleeping In The Nothing.

The world generally remained unreceptive to Kelly and her brand of bratty 'tude, however. The album made slightly even less of a dent than the first, peaking at No. 117 on the Billboard 200 after selling less than 9,000 copies. (Sure, that's not too bad in 2019 standards, but back then, people actually paid for albums. I'll tell you kids all about it one day.)

The subject matter on Sleeping was often dark ("Don't Touch Me While I'm Sleeping," for instance, was about being a victim of date rape) if a blatant cry for help ("Save Me"), although at the height of paparazzi culture and her status as the offspring of rock royalty, none of her issues were taken too seriously by the press. She bounced in and out of rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, and frequently relapsed.

“I drank, I was rude, I said I’d do something and wouldn’t show up. I did what I could to destroy it," she said of sabotaging her own music career in 2009.

We sometimes forget how far society's evolved along as far as what is deemed acceptable to say to another human being: during an appearance on Jonathan Ross that year to promote the album, the host told Kelly that her cover art must have been airbrushed...because she was fat.

"The band that was performing was New Order and they refused to play until he apologized. A lot of it wasn't shown on TV because if they saw what he really said to me, I don't think any parent in the world would ever watch his show again. What he said to me destroyed me for two years," she revealed years later to The Guardian.

In any case, to no one's surprise, in a storm of disappointing sales, rehab and unfavorable press - Kelly was dropped again, and only one single ever came out of her final album to date. That one release also just happens to be...unexpectedly perfect.

"One Word," written and produced by the "Beautiful" legend herself Linda Perry, was treated about as well as the rest of the album when it was released in April of 2005, stalling at an abysmal No. 121 in the United States. (It sounds better to say No. 21 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles Chart, though.) But then, American radio's taste level is rarely on point. The U.K. got it right of course, sending it into the Top 10.

As of this week, "One Word" (and Kelly's entire discography, for that matter) is now available on streaming.

The opening of the song alone is pure drama: the strings, followed by a whoosh of drum hits, French dialogue and '80's-style, Depeche Mode-y synths. Or should I say Visage?

"One Word" was quickly accompanied by four more words: "see you in court."

After facing criticism for sounding too similar to the British synth-pop band's 1980 international hit "Fade to Grey," her team eventually forked over royalty rights in a reported out-of-court settlement. If you haven't heard the Visage song, listen to it- this isn't like one of those recent "Dark Horse" bogus copyright lawsuits. Kelly's team was...inspired to say the least, even if I vastly prefer her version.

Beyond the hypnotic (borrowed) sound, it's that monotone delivery and those yearning lyrics - "it's not the way that I want it, it's just the way that I need it, daaaay after daaaay..." - that seals the deal on this detached dance floor odyssey, especially coming from someone known for showcasing anything but restraint in the public eye.

The video is an artsy-fartsy noir feat as well, inspired by 1965's Alphaville by Jean-Luc Godard and directed by the prolific Chris Applebaum, who's directed everything from "Overprotected (Darkchild Remix)" for Britney to Rihanna's "Umbrella."

Life is a mystery, as is this super moody music video, which dives deep into a world of Twilight Zone-y '60's sci-fi, models, strange sets of numbers and shady scientists. It only barely makes sense, and feels a bit too try-hard sophisticated, but those scenes of her sitting in the backseat of that car, as well as that strut down the hallway in that coat flanked by mystery men, stay seared into my brain, nearly 15 years later.

I'm not saying the musical oeuvre of Kelly Osbourne singlehandedly inspired the forthcoming MySpace electro-pop revolution of the mid-to-late aughts, nor did her monotone delivery lend itself to today's overload of breathy half-octave #NewMusicFriday chanteuses, nor did the '60s imagery trigger the retro-pop revival that happened a few years later with acts like Duffy, Amy Winehouse and Adele - but it is cool to consider that she was just slightly ahead of the curve in some respects.

Well before Lady Gaga took a ride on her disco stick, and before Selena Gomezmerizing ASMR-ed her way into pop princessdom, it was Kelly Osbourne providing a most unlikely space-age, emotionless, dark synth-pop dance floor triumph.

Her inner demons, and the outer demons amplifying the voices in her head and enabling her self-destructive action, wouldn't allow her to pursue a music career past the point of her second studio album. But then, there are artists who've been in the game far longer, facing far less criticism, who still don't have one song anyone will want to write about over a decade later.

Despite a short run, Kelly Osbourne still managed to deliver at least one incredible song with just "One Word."

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"One Word" was released on April 19, 2005.

Photo credit: Secret Records

Megan Thee Stallion Nicki Minaj Hot Girl Summer

Megan Thee Stallion & Nicki Minaj Supply the 'Hot Girl Summer' We Deserve

"Your actions make you a 'hot girl.' You have to be someone who is like energetic, the life of the party, just really nice, you know what I'm saying? You have to be able to put that confidence in other people and get along with all the girls and just like have a good time. Just unapologetically you. You just have to be lit." - Megan Thee Stallion, Founding Hot Girl

In case you haven't heard by now, it's a hot girl summer. (And after my AC died last month, I learned what it truly means to have a hot girl summer...all too well.)

While mainstream Western pop may be mostly flopping in 2019, female rappers certainly are not, including Saweetie with "My Type" (quite possibly my Song of Summer '19) and 24-year-old, Texas-bred Megan Thee Stallion, Thee Hot Girl, who is having a major moment after the release of her Fever mixtape in May. Her star promptly skyrocketed after her "hot girl" catch phrase went viral - meme culture truly is the key to success these days, after all.

Not only has she become an Internet sensation who seems to be getting on everyone's good side - just last night, she was twerking to the sound of Lizzo's flute, once again going viral - but she also got the attention of her idol, the Harajuku Barbie herself: Miss (Mrs.) Nicki Minaj (Petty?)

After the two went live for the first time together on Instagram, engaging in a genuinely adorable conversation about college (Megan's about to graduate from Texas Southern University with a major in Health Administration), Megan quickly spiraled into fangirl mode, twerking to a classic Beam Me Up Scotty-era track, "Slumber Party," as Nicki gleefully chimed in.

Megan then mentioned she was working on a "Hot Girl Summer" track, but she was waiting on someone...hint, hint. You see, Thee Stallion is a smart hot girl: if the entire world is using your catch phrase to caption their selfies, you better capitalize on that SEO, stat.

Cue meltdowns in the comments as the girls giggled amongst themselves.

As it turns out, Nicki wound up writing a verse that same night for Megan's already completed track. The end result, after a brief delay to add the assist from her hero arrived on Friday (August 9) - and it's a strong, hot (duh!) showing from a well-established icon and a rising star, plus a catchy hook from Ty Dolla $ign.

Highlights from the jump include a recurring sample of the City Girls smash "Act Up," (which went viral in its own right, and also shares a producer in Juicy J), as well Megan shouting out her own new catch phrase from the live session: "Don't run from me, friend..."

Honestly, that pre-chorus is the kind of Hot Girl inspiration we needed to hear: "Should I take your love? Should I take that dick? / Got a whole lotta options 'cause you know a bitch poppin' / I'm a hot girl, so you know ain't shit stoppin'."

As an early enthusiast - one of the Ken Barbz, if you will - from all the way back to the Jeffree Star feature and "Itty Bitty Piggy" days (my mixtape Minaj college lip-sync videos will never see light of day until I pass), I want Nicki to stay winning. This was obviously not only a smart decision (like "Me Against The Music," we love a Queen-to-Princess endorsement), but a fun one, too: "Put this pussy on your lip, give a fuck about the dick I get that rrrrrr and then I rrrrr, I grab my shit, and then I dip, ooh!" Never change, Nicki.

Confidence-boosting camaraderie? In the words of one particular businesswoman, socialite, model, singer, actress, fashion designer and DJ: that's hot, girls.

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Photo credit: 300 Entertainment

Lana Del Rey Looking for America

'Looking for America': Lana Del Rey Reacts to the Latest Mass Shootings With a New Song

What is there even to say anymore about The State of Things in America in 2019?

It's all too sad, too infuriating, too grim - and despite all the helpfully retweeted advice to channel that energy into campaigning and donating and volunteering and voting, I think it's also completely acceptable and healthy to allow time and space to feel however you want to feel - be it depressed, helpless, or just hopeless.

Lana Del Rey is still processing the latest horrific events, plural, over the past weekend - which bring the tally up to 255 mass shootings in 2019 thus far. (There have been more shootings than days in the year.)

And in reaction to the news, she wrote a song, called "Looking for America."

"Hi folks came back early from Montecito with my brother this morning and asked Jack Antonoff to come into town because I had a song on my mind that I wanted to write. Now I know I’m not a politician and I’m not trying to be so excuse me for having an opinion- but in light of all of the mass shootings and the back to back shootings in the last couple of days which really affected me on a cellular level I just wanted to post this video that our engineer Laura took 20 minutes ago. I hope you like it. I’m singing love to the choruses I recorded this morning. I’m going to call it ‘Looking for America,'" she wrote on her Instagram.

"I'm still looking for my own version of America / One without the gun, where the flag can freely fly / No bombs in the sky, only fireworks when you and I collide / It's just a dream I had in mind," she sings. (Full lyrics down below.)

Beyond just being a beautiful, classically wistful, hauntingly sung Lana song about less worrisome days gone by while longing for a more peaceful future (which almost surely won't make the track list of her newly announced studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell, sadly), it falls in line with the direction in which Lana's been heading thematically since 2017's Lust For Life, which showcased a noticeably political shift in lyricism in a time of Trump.

While Lana's fully aware of the potential repercussions of speaking out in any capacity on social media ("excuse me for having an opinion") and, God forbid, getting canceled for an unfavorable take - please, by all means, show me a human being with an entirely unproblematic track record, you ever-so-saintly keyboard warriors - she's nonetheless using her platform as an artist to address the gun violence crisis plaguing this increasingly divided country.

She's not alone in her concern, either: Madonna also just released a song and video about it in June. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.

Music is a crucial escape, and that includes Lana's nostalgic brand of Americana, but in these moments especially, it's kind of impossible to pretend everything's fine in the present. Life isn't all Bugatti Veyrons and bikinis - but it should be.

Of course, merely fantasizing about an idyllic America isn't enough. We need to do something. But until then - if there's ever a then - a girl can dream.

UPDATE: The studio version of "Looking for America" was released on Friday (August 9).

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Alice Chater Tonight

'Tonight': Alice Chater Keeps on Dancing Till the World Ends

About over a year ago, I posed a very simple question: Is Alice Chater going to save pop?

I was half-kidding, because the concept of "saving pop" is largely subjective, and there's plenty of good music coming out all the time. But I was also half-not kidding, because there's a very real void in the music industry - the Western music industry, anyway. We've largely moved away from the singing-dancing spectacle of yesteryear and into a kind of...Xanax-pop zone. Pop stars do not have to dance to be entertaining, obviously - nor do they even really need to sing live, without naming any names - but there's a certain larger-than-life factor missing from so many of today's crop of Spotify playlist bop-providing pop stars.

This isn't meant to be a stan war, or even shade really, because I fully understand that each generation will have their own style, but growing up on Britney, on Christina, on Rihanna, on J.Lo, on Beyonce, on Gaga - whoever your legends are, really - I feel like I've come to expect something...a little different. And yes, I'm fully aware I'm already a grandfather shaking my cane at Twitter: "back in my day, we watched Darrin's Dance Grooves just to keep up with our faves, and we liked it."

But Alice - Ms. Chater, if you're nasty - reminds me of an exciting, not-so-distant era.

On Friday (August 2), Alice released her latest song: "Tonight," produced by Mark Ralph (Years & Years, Clean Bandit) and co-written by Alice and Martin Terefe on "the day after a major event in London."

“We were reflecting on life, and thinking about what we'd want to do if this was our last day on earth. I was like, ‘I'd want to be with the person I love, and live my life to the absolute fullest until the very last second.’ And that’s really where the song came from,” says Alice.

Appropriately, the accompanying music video is apocalyptic - a theme accompanying many pop visuals, from B's "Till The World Ends" to Ariana Grande's found-footage horror-style "One Last Time," which I loved as a concept (admittedly as a found-footage horror movie lover), although I think everyone else hated it. Anyway.

“This video is my version of a coven. We hired this big mansion to film in, and the video shows me and my witches doing ouija boards and spells and full-on choreography in different rooms. We’re all wearing very high-fashion, Vogue-style outfits, so it’s probably not like any coven you’ve seen before!” she explains.

It's as simple as that, really: a witchy girl gang casting spells in an "If U Seek Amy"/"Slumber Party" mansion until that civilization-decimating meteor decides to circle back. Or the one that's coming next week!

But it's not simple at all: Alice is serving in this music video, firing on all cylinders as a pop star on the rise - the vocals (she's a Legend X stan, so you already know she's a belter), the moves, the lewks - and the effort is quite palpable ...and appreciated.

The slight hint of comedy with the Chater News Network at the start is a solid touch as well ("we are well and truly...fucked"), but she's strictly business when it comes to serving up a stylish spectacle, bolstered by an explosive chorus (finally, some ummmph in a song), ferocious choreography and clever visuals (the dancers wrapping their legs all around her like a dress - yes.)

And to think, all this without the massive budget that comes with being the biggest pop star in the world. Yet.

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Photo credit: Virgin EMI Records

Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell

'Norman Fucking Rockwell' Is Officially Coming, You Little Bitch

Lana Del Rey It's Coming You Little Bitch

Lana Del Rey - Queen of Coney Island, Watcher of the Boys, and bad baby by our heavenly side - is coming back for more.

Of course she's coming, you little bitch.

On Wednesday (July 31), LDR announced the long-awaited release date, cover art and track listing for her forthcoming sixth (!) studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell (yes, it's really called that), which is set to include her previously released singles "Mariners Apartment Complex," "Venice Bitch", her Sublime cover "Doin' Time" (one of the Songs of Summer '19) and the succinctly titled "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman like Me to Have – But I Have It."

The album arrives on August 30 and features 14 tracks, including "Fuck It I Love You" and "The Greatest," two new tracks she just announced while on the set of an impending "double video" shot by Rich Lee alongside shirtless bodybuilder Brad Swanick.

She's also teased snippets of several upcoming songs in the past year, including "Happiness Is a Butterfly" and "Cinnamon Girl." She premiered "How to Disappear" live at an Apple event last year. Plus, it seems one of my favorite unreleased songs is finally getting polished off and seeing the light of Lana Del Day: "Next Best American Record."

The music was recorded alongside Jack Antonoff, engineer Laura Sisk, Zach Dawes (Mini Mansions, Kimbra) and longtime collaborator and music legend Rick Nowels.

"I was in a little bit of a lighter mood because he was so funny," Lana said of working with Jack earlier this year.

"So the title track is called 'Norman Fucking Rockwell,' and it’s kind of about this guy who is such a genius artist but he thinks he’s the shit and he knows it and he won’t shut up talking about it. So often I ended up with these creative types or whatever and, you know, they just go on and on about themselves, and I’m like, 'Yeah, yeah.' But there’s a little bit of merit to it also. They are so good. I just like the title track so much that I was like, OK, I definitely want the record to also be called that."

But don't expect the mood to be too light: during a live stream at the beginning of the year, she described the album as “deeply introspective, thoughtful sad girl shit." Sold.

The pop art-themed album artwork was shot by her sister, Chuck Grant, and co-stars Duke Nicholson, the grandson of Jack Nicholson, who recently made his big screen debut in Us.

That's a lot of information to process at once, right? But you already know: when it Lana Del Rains, it pours.

Over Hot Girl Summer? As @INDIEWASHERE declared: Sad Girl Autumn, here we come.

1. "Norman Fucking Rockwell"
2. "Mariners Apartment Complex"
3. "Venice Bitch"
4. "Fuck It, I Love You"
5. "Doin' Time"
6. "Love Song"
7. "Cinnamon Girl"
8. "How to Disappear"
9. "California"
10. "The Next Best American Record"
11. "The Greatest"
12. "Bartender"
13. "Happiness is a Butterfly"
14. "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman like Me to Have – but I Have It"

Carly Rae Jepsen Gryffn OMG

'OMG': Oh My God, It's Carly Rae Jepsen & Gryffin

Oh my God: Carly Rae Jepsen, born Carly Raemmaculate Jepselegend of the North, has already returned to us with something new, just a few months after the release of her last studio album, Dedicated.

"OMG" - which, spoiler alert, is not a cover of the Usher song - is Carly's collabo released on Wednesday (July 31) with 31-year-old LA-based producer Gryffin, and serves as the latest offering from his forthcoming debut, Gravity.

The song's about when you're in like with someone, but then you're like: wait, am I in love? OMG.

"Oh my god, I think I might love you / 'Cause I only liked a lot of things before I knew the way I love it when you touch me now..."

In typical Carly fashion, it's a swoon-y, earnest and E•MO•TIONal offering - essentially the heart eyes emoji in song form, backed by springy, bop-able beats that build up and drop in a way that would likely go down well with an EDM festival-leaning crowd.

“'OMG' was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had in making a record. Getting to work with Carly Rae Jepsen was such an honor as I’ve been a big fan of her work for a long time and I’m so happy with how the track seamlessly blends both of our styles. I hope everybody loves it as much as we do and feels the fun, summery energy of the record," Gryffin says.

"Gryffin is a kindred spirit in the way he thinks about music, I'm grateful to be a part of this song," Carly says.

CRJ is here for U now with "OMG," bb. TTYL.

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Photo credit: Geffen Records

Ann Marie My Body

'My Body': Ann Marie Is a (Very Horny) R&B Star in the Making

Meet Ann Marie. She's not trying to fall in love, and she makes it nasty when she fucks.

Such is the life of a Southside Chicago-bred, 23-year-old certifiable One To Watch™ - not to be confused with England's Anne-Marie, of "Rockabye" and "2002" fame.

On Tuesday (July 30), Ann Marie dropped the Damien Sandoval-directed, Miami-set visual for her song "My Body," a sultry bedroom banger that glides through the speakers so smoothly, you almost might not even notice that she's cooing lines like "you get it wet as fuck, I know it's wet enough" at first.

Oh, but she is.

Supplying some Big Aaliyah "Rock the Boat" Energy (she counts Aaliyah as her favorite singer), Ann Marie and her girls gyrate on a yacht in sexy neon lewks as she delivers her Troy Taylor-produced ode to unrelenting horniness. It's too short of course, but this is 2019, and our attention spans are shrinking faster than the polar ice sheets. Ah, our impending extinction is a bit of a boner killer, isn't it? Sorry.

The song is featured on Ann Marie's Pretty Psycho, which dropped earlier in July, and is also her first release since inking a deal with Interscope Records. (She's already been releasing music for over three years.)

The whole set is A Vibe™, supplying similarly seductive and nostalgic R&B melodies - fans of acts like Tinashe and Cassie will feel right at home - and straight-to-the-point, expletive-riddled, foul-mouthed lyricism about throwing it back on that dick that I really appreciate. Rolling Stone said she "sings like a rapper and raps like a singer" - that's it, exactly.

She also reminds me of the similarly blunt, gone-too-soon R&B girl group, Electrik Red. Anyone else remember How to Be a Lady: Volume 1? "So Good"? (Still so good.)

So go ahead and fuck around with Ann Marie. She's more than ready to fuck with you.

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Photo credit: Raphael Simien

Taylor Swift The Archer

'The Archer': Taylor Swift Calls Out the Hypocrisy of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, indie underground punk singer-songwriter and hotly tipped One To Watch in 2019, has a new song out.

It's called "The Archer," released on Tuesday (July 23), and it's the third song released thus far off of her forthcoming album, Lover - and the must vulnerable from the album to date, by far.

Ironically enough, it seems she's taken her own advice and calmed things down, musically speaking, just one song after the Twitter Gay-dividing, Pride Month-timed rainbow sparkle party bonanza that was "You Need To Calm Down," and two songs after her Kidz Bop-suited, family-friendly sugary-sweet bree-hee-heezy "ME!" with Brendon Urie.

While I'm not a Swiftie (please don't come for me and/or serve me with legal papers, TAS Rights Management), this particular offering feels exponentially more "her" - or, at least, supplies much more meaty stuff to dig into and analyze, which some of her more diehard fans have likely been waiting to do.

Musically, the dreamy track is much more in the vein of reputation's "Delicate" or Red's "All Too Well" - which makes sense, because like those songs, it's Track 5 on Lover. And, being the easter egg #Lover she is, Miss Swift reserves that slot for especially emotional numbers on her albums. (This was previously only a prevailing fan theory, until she herself confirmed it on her Instagram Live earlier today.) It's also reminiscent of 1989's "This Love," which is not Track 5, but anyway.

The atmospheric, '80s-style synths and gentle pulsations from Jack Antonoff are a nice touch, but the star of the song is the lyricism. No disrespect to recent profundities like "hey kids, spelling is fun!" of course, but this feels like a reassurance that she's still got denser material up her sleeves.

She opens the track by calling out, well...herself: "Combat, I'm ready for combat / I say I don't want that, but what if I do?"

Does Taylor live for the drama, after all? Even she's questioning her own motives at this point.

"I've got a hundred thrown-out speeches I almost said to you." We've seen the statements she's released in her defense over the years. Can you even imagine what she's opted not to post, still sitting in her Notes app?

Elsewhere, she acknowledges self-destructive patterns and insecurities: "I cut off my nose just to spite my face / Then I hate my reflection for years and years."

The insecurities mount: "All of my heroes die all alone / Help me hold on to you," she pleads to her #Lover. A reference to some of her perpetually single music idols and a fear of following suit, perhaps?

The paranoia around her own persona peaks during the bridge: "Can you see right through me? / They see right through me / I see right through me," she sings, seemingly spiraling.

The line that will get the most attention, of course, is this: "All the king's horses, all the king's men / Couldn't put me together again / 'Cause all of my enemies started out friends / Help me hold onto you."

As a pop star who's no stranger to drawing battle lines between former pals in the public eye - most recently, Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta regarding the ownership of her masters, which has spun out into an all-out Stan War - the "Humpty Dumpty"-inspired lyric feels especially relevant to the most recent headlines about her business dealings.

I'm not interested in participating in the endlessly exhausting debate about whether Taylor Swift is Good or Bad in her actions, nor if she's the Villain or the Victim. Like all things in life, it's never just that simple. We don't actually know any of these people beyond their public-facing personas and apparent motives - it's tricky to remember that for some.

I can, however, appreciate hearing Taylor Swift sing about her own mixed emotions and conflicted ego. "Who could ever leave me, darling? Who could stay?" Of course she's a hypocrite sometimes, and she knows it. That comes with being human. If only more of us could be as self-aware.

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Sofi de la Torre Pero No

'Pero No': Sofi de la Torre's Latest Is Moody, But It'll Make You Move

At this point, Sofi De La Torre should probably just carry a pillow around, because the world has stayed sleeping on her for years.

From 2014's "Vermillion" and 2015's Mess EP to "$" and her 2017 debut full-length Another Me. Not Me. I'm Done, the Spanish singer's continued to supply breathy bouts of international-inspired pop goodness - POPDONERIGHT, if you will (her label's name) - time after time.

And, lo and behold, she's done it again.

As of late, Sofi's decided to deliver songs in Spanish, which is not only #authentic to her roots, but a smart marketing choice considering the ongoing Spanish-language musical takeover happening across the globe. Following the release of "Estamos Mal" earlier this year, Sofi returned last Friday (July 19) with "Pero No."

The on-the-brink-of-breaking-up song, composed alongside longtime collaborator Jonas W. Karlsson, falls under a consistently winning category of canciones: deceptively bop-able beats, accompanied by less-than-blissful lyricism. It's one of those endless replayable vibes, with the right amount of over-it attitude, a repetitive shut-down ("pero no") and a consistent pulse.

"Tú piensas que me tienes donde quieres baby, pero no / Y piensas que me sabe' hacer feliz, pero no," she croons.

Basically: "you think you have me where you want me, but no. And you think you know how to make me happy, but no." (And if my eight years of Spanish and/or language lessons from former flames has failed me, please let me know.)

As opposed to getting bent out of shape about her dying relationship's dynamic mismatch however, she's standing strong in her conviction. This is a kiss-off, but no one's crying at the discotheque. (Well, maybe him.) Think you've still got a shot to patch things up? As American poet and Chivas enthusiast Kelly Brianne Clarkson once declared alongside friend and star of screen and stage Tamyra Gray: "you thought wrong."

The track is also a perfect companion to one of my other favorite songs of the year - Paloma Mami's "Fingías" - proving that Fierce, Moody Vibras is truly the sound of 2019 for me.

With acts like fellow Spanish Queen Rosalía rightfully blowing up stateside, it only seems inevitable that Sofi sees more mainstream love coming her way soon, too. Pero si!

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Jennifer Lopez's 'Hustlers' Movie Looks Like Fun Pole Dancing Pop Star Escapism

Tonight, we gon' be it on the pole.

Just like Keri Hilson's 2009 No. 1 German smash hit, there are already plenty of things about the upcoming Hustlers that "I like." (I'll be honest, that was a roundabout way of mentioning Miss Keri Baby - I try and do so at least once in every single conversation as a loyal passenger on the Keri Ferry.)

I like Jennifer Lopez. I like strippers - especially the ones at Stock Bar in Montreal. I like Cardi B. I like Lizzo. I like female-filled casts that also happen to look like potential girl groups of my fan-fiction dreams.

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.

If you haven't been following along with recent developments in J.Lo's world, and/or are not a card-carrying #JLover, Jenny's gone from the block to the pole for an upcoming Lorene Scafaria-directed movie called Hustlers, due out in theaters on September 13, which "follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients."

The movie is based on a 2015 New York Magazine article called “The Hustlers at Scores,” written by Jessica Pressler. And it features a group of talented actresses and entertainers in a very ambitious, Avengers crossover kind of way: Crazy Rich Asians' Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Julia Fucking 10 Things I Hate About You Stiles and Mercedes Ruehl are all in this thing.

The first trailer for Hustlers just debuted on Tuesday night (July 16), and it's approximately everything one would hope for the movie to be: certifiably bad bitches turning the tables on corrupt corporate suits, looking hot (holy fuck, J.Lo) while doing so, providing a kind of Ocean's 8 femme fatale, fierce-and-funny fantasy.

Although we're still some time away from the film's premiere, it's important to note that Jennifer Lopez has never personally let me down on film (or any medium, for that matter) - from Selena and Anaconda to The Boy Next Door - and I suspect she's not going to lead me astray at this point, either. Future Academy Award contender? I mean, let's calm down. At the very least, it's got all the makings of a good ol' end-of-summer stripper spree. Who among us doesn't like that?

Photo credit: STX Films

Lindsay Lohan Dannii Minogue

Lindsay Lohan & Dannii Minogue Will Be Panelists on 'The Masked Singer Australia'

Look: not much is sparking joy in pop culture these days.

Mercifully, there's just been a glitch in the simulation. And in a move that can only be described as the stuff of MuuMuse fan-fiction come to life, Lindsay Lohan and Dannii Minogue will soon be co-workers on the Australian version of The Masked Singer.

To be clear: the I Know Who Killed Me actress-slash-"To Know Your Name" chanteuse and the Queen of Clubs herself, Disco D, will be co-panelists in a reality TV singing competition based on a South Korean format. (The other two are Jackie "O" Henderson and Dave Hughes, but that's not important right now.)

If you haven't seen Masked Singer (#MaskForSame only - just a preference), the concept is this: celebrities of varying degrees of fame perform songs in elaborate costumes, as the celebrity-filled panel attempts to guess who they are, week by week. Once eliminated from the singing competition, the star de-masks and reveals their true identity. In South Korea, it's often past and present members of girl groups and boy bands. In America, it was everyone from T-Pain to Ricki Lake.

Dannii, Lilo, and a six-degrees-of-separation connection to K-pop? The amount of boxes that this ticks for me on a personal level is unquestionably proof that, in spite of everything, there is a higher power at work.

The potential for quality #content to come from this experience is high, to say the least: not only are Down Under versions of popular singing competitions notorious breeding ground for viral moments, like, say, accusations of doppelgangers in our midst, but Lindsay - she of knowing how you throw a party in Mykonos, bitch, of "Move that cone. I'm Lindsay Lohan," of "I never said that, Paris is my friend," of well-intentioned-but-misguided Instagram Live rescue missions - is a walking meme (a walka not a talka, specifically), and all but destined to deliver some on-air gems.

And, with new music promised to be on the way (allegedly), we might even get a single or a performance out of the deal in her post-Beach House bid for renewed pop supremacy. (Let us pray.)

As for Dannii? As a seasoned X Factor UK vet, she'll no doubt be capable of holding down the fort with her own commentary. She's delivered some GIF magic of her own, and watching her interact with Lindsay will be a fascinating, ambitious crossover event. The Marvel Cinematic Universe wishes.

And, perhaps if the buzz around this show is as big as it was when it premiered in America (two more U.S. seasons have already been ordered), she'll want to trip the light fantastic with another bout of Neon Nights excellence. Or, perhaps the ladies will come together for a one-off collaboration? Look, a gay can dream...

"Big reveal 🎉🎉🎉🎉 I’m so excited to be joining @lindsaylohan @jackieo_official and @dhughesy on the @themaskedsingerau panel. I ❤️ the US version of this show. Get your guessing shoes on Australia - you’re going to be OBSESSED!!!" Dannii wrote on her Instagram on Sunday (July 14), which was quickly flooded with not one, but two heart emoji-filled comments from Lilo, who, in Lilo style, already revised her own announcement post, which now solely contains the show's handle. For now.

At the very least, this will give me an excuse to recirculate ancient listicles and thinkpieces about the brilliance of their musical output.

Tell me, am I dreaming? (REFERENCE.) Take us out, ladies...

Photo credit: @lindsaylohan / YouTube

Banks Contaminated

'Contaminated': BANKS Is Addicted to the Agony

BANKS is back, and just as brooding as ever.

She's been back for a while, actually: she returned with her jagged, fierce "Gimme" at the end of April (it's great), followed by "Look What You're Doing To Me" with Francis & The Lights. (Life happened - life's been happening - and I failed to write about it then, but here we are.)

"Contaminated," released on Wednesday (July 10), is the third offering from her upcoming album III, out on Friday (July 12). It's about Jaclyn Hill's lipsticks.

Just kidding. Sorry. I'm awful.

III is described in a press release as "coming after a self-imposed period of quiet and reflection," which "explores themes of self-acceptance, letting go, forgiveness, and deep love" - so, you know, she's going through it, too.

The song was recorded in Los Angeles with BJ Burton, known for work with artists like Bon Iver, but interestingly, also credited as a programmer on Miley's "The Most" from She Is Coming.

BANKS' music is the epitome of a late night listen, and "Contaminated" is no exception: a summer bop, this is not. (Or maybe it is for you, fellow emos.)

Instead, it's just the kind of gorgeous, downtempo darkness I'd expect to hear from BANKS, reminiscent of some of her past work. It's all sorts of tortured - as anyone going through the motions of a relationship gone rotten can attest to - drifting along a haunting piano melody, dooming synths, prickly beats and eerie, layered vocals.

“‘Contaminated’ is about being addicted to a toxic relationship. The more you give, the less of yourself you become,” BANKS explains.

"I wish I could change it / And we're always gonna be contaminated," she moans along the moody track.

The third verse especially hits hard:

You said they'd be against us
I say, "You care too much what they say"
You said, "Do me a favor, give me some faith"
'Cause you promised me you'd do it
You said, "Baby, let me prove it, look at me in the face
This is the face of someone who loves you, babe."


BANKS does agony well, and "Contaminated" is certainly no exception. Here's to kicking the habit once and for all.

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Photo credit: Harvest / Steph Wilson