Top 50 Songs of 2019

The Top 50 Songs of 2019

Me every year: Nope, fuck lists, I'm not doing it this year.
Also me every year: Here is my list.

Yes, there are several songs that I enjoyed in 2019. And like last year, I can't settle on ranking those songs - partly because I feel like everyone deserves equal shine, Mean Girls Spring Fling Queen crown distribution style, but mostly because a numerical ranking is too frustratingly arbitrary to me. I also genuinely have no gut feeling about any one song this year as I did with, say, Sky Ferreira's "Everything Is Embarrassing" in 2012.

So, these are in no particular order. Additional recommendations in the comments section are welcome. Complaints go unentertained. I hope you discover something new, and/or rediscover something old.

A new decade is upon us: here's to new beginnings in 2020.

TOP 50 SONGS OF 2019 ON SPOTIFY

TOP 50 SONGS OF 2019 ON APPLE MUSIC

Grimes, "So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth"

Leave it to the Canadian techno-punk-goth-pixie-singer-songwriter to bring this decade to an end, sitting passenger side in a Cybertruck next to a billionaire with Miss Anthropocene, early contender for Album of 2020, blaring from the speakers. "So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth" is six gloriously otherworldly minutes in limbo. It's basically what I imagine will play overheard in the waiting room while waiting to be sorted between Heaven and Hell. (Spoiler alert: it'll be Hell.) As Trinity "The Tuck" Taylor once said, I don't know what the fuck she's saying, but girl, I am living.

Grimes & i_o, "Violence"

Original review

If "Heavy" is too chill for your pop-oriented sensibilities, consider this fierce alternative: Grimes can do Main Pop Girl, too - and yes, she can out-dance the competition. (Granted, that's not difficult these days.) It's still the stuff of Grimes' signature ethereal oddity, but "Violence" feels like a warning shot: she could dominate the pop scene - if, you know, she wasn't busy crafting a concept album about artificial intelligence, futurism and climate change or whatever. Miss Anthropocene is coming!

Rosalía & J Balvin (feat. El Guincho), "Con Altura"

Original review

First of all: give Rosalía that Grammy next year. Second of all: "Con Altura," like "Violence," feels like a warning shot. Rosalía's pop potential is scary. She hasn't even really tried to give us a blatant Top 40 hit yet, remaining faithful to her flamenco-gone-modern experimental art, and the world since caught on to her effortless cool in 2019. But with the help of the Bop King himself, J. Balvin, she gave us a less-than-3-minute taste of what more accessibly radio-friendly reggaeton-pop Rosalía sounds like...and the song took off in a blaze of memes ("...LA ROSALÍA!") and instantly recognizable dance moves. Rosalía is the future. Tra, tra!

Paloma Mami, "Fingías"

Original review

Speaking of Spanish language smashes, I don't think a song stayed on eternal repeat for me quite like "Fingías": a perfectly moody, melancholy, melodic kiss-off with an air of icy cool that lets you know that you absolutely fucked up.

Allie X, "Regulars"

When it comes to pristine pop songwriting, I just think Allie X gets it. (I listen to CollXtion II relentlessly on repeat, still.) The songs from her upcoming album, Cape God, have a slightly more subdued tone in comparison to the high drama of her earlier work, but it's all just as great. "Regulars" is the outsider anthem for those treks back home to where you grew up, twirling 'round the mall and the supermarket, getting nice and local. Wave that freak flag high in front of all the Karens and Sharons giving you the side-eye in the frozen aisle.

Mandy Moore, "When I Wasn't Watching"

Original review

Against all odds, Mandy is back, on her own terms, over a decade later. She may never want to make a return to full-on bubbly "Candy" Mandy, but this song, as well as the equally wonderful "I'd Rather Lose," sets the stage for a gorgeously sunny, laidback California indie-pop record true to her taste that will probably make for a wonderful, inevitably underrated listen in 2020.

Lana Del Rey, "The greatest"

Original review

Lana Del Rey, once a symbol of American decadence and vintage glamour, navigates the demise of it all in Trump's America in a nostalgic ode to the end of the world as only she could provide. Few lyrics this year resonated quite like: "I guess that I'm burnt out, after all." (Don't worry, it's not forever: she's already got a spoken word album dropping at the top of January.)

Alice Chater, "Tonight"

Original review

Speaking of the end of the world, Alice Chater, one of my favorite bubbling-under pop princesses on the scene, made the apocalypse sound positively exhilarating with "Tonight." I get early DIY Gaga-meets-Kylie vibes from this young Queen, at a time when this brand of Big Chorus, Big Choreography Euro-y Pop goes against the downtempo mainstream grain. Keep on dancing till the world ends, Alice.

Jax Jones, Martin Solveig & Madison Beer, "All Day and Night"

Madison Beer, who was part of K/DA's killer "Pop Stars" last year, found herself part of another rock solid collaboration, this time between Martin Solveig and Jax Jones. It's an all-out club banger. Is she the glue that holds together dance-pop excellence? All hail Godison...

Sam Smith, "How Do You Sleep?"

Each "Ba...by..." Each squawking beat break. Max Martin Da God strikes again. I think, like Usher's "Climax," this is one of those songs in time that people will file as "better than we realized at the time."

RAYE, "Please Don't Touch"

Original review

Coming in just under the wire before the New Year, RAYE supplies a gorgeous burst of synth-pop for fragile souls.

Charli XCX & Christine and the Queens, "Gone"

Charli's had quite a prolific year - when she's not graciously smiling through increasingly obscene photo requests at meet-and-greets - but "Gone" is unquestionably the best of her musical output this year, and a reminder that when she's not veering too far off the deep end into noisy experimental territory, Charli gets good pop. (Keep your douches up your asses in 2020, twinks.)

Saweetie, "My Type"

I believe it was Mahatma Gandhi who once said: "Eight inch, big oof, that's good pipe / Bad bitch, I'mma ride the dick all night." Honestly, this could be my song of 2019, if I'm being honest with my streaming behavior. What an absolute anthem. Not having the Cock Destroyers in the music video, obviously, was a missed opportunity.

Agnes, "I Trance"

Original review

Swedish dance-pop icon Agnes returned with a dreamy, hypnotic ode to the dance floor. We don't deserve her.

Madonna, "God Control"

Original review

Only the Queen of Pop would have the gall to tackle the subject of gun control with a solemn children's choir-meets-disco ecstasy moment of politically charged mania. Not every idea landed on Madame X, and "God Control" surely had its critics, but damn it if she isn't still eliciting a strong reaction - the true definition of art. Wake up, wake up, wake up...

Post Malone, "Circles"

Look, if you listen to the Legends Only podcast, you'd know that I've had a moment this song in 2019. I love a lot of Post's music - the vocal production alone is really crazy, as Grimes and Zane Lowe excitedly pointed out in an interview. He's truly a talented pop songwriter, and this song is a solid example of that. The melancholy guitar, that chugging beat - everything comes together as a beautiful break-up anthem. "You thought that it was special, but it was just the sex, though..." So, yeah, dude. I fuck with Posty.

Kim Petras, "Personal Hell"

A trailblazing trans pop icon on the rise, produced by pop's most problematic producer: "Personal Hell" couldn't be a more appropriate title. It's good. I'm sorry. I'm canceled. I know. (The way this could have been a brilliant Britney song...I can't get into it right now.)

Kim Petras, "Sweet Spot"

...Canceled again, I know. This one is Daft Punk-meets-Kylie Minogue heaven.

Jake Germain, "Over U"

Original review

Speaking of Daft Punk, Jake Germain's "Over U" has probably one of the year's most instant, endlessly replay-friendly choruses, a la "One More Time."

Dua Lipa, "Don't Start Now"

Dua's dua-ing it right with a dash of disco and a much-needed burst of uptempo energy from a Main Pop Girl in 2019, channeling shades of Sophie Ellis-Bextor and referencing Gloria Gaynor while doing so.

Robyn, "Ever Again - Single Mix"

Original review

Honey's sweet, sweet final offering got a little uumph with a new mix for its single release. Everything Robyn touches turns to gold - and her Prince fantasy of a music video, one of the year's best, just proves that a true superstar only needs a mic stand to entertain.

Madonna & Maluma, "Medellín"

Original review

One, two, cha-cha-cha. Madge pops a pill and winds up in Colombia with the Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy himself, Maluma in the year's most intriguing bilingual collaboration. The song is misleadingly vulnerable, but you wouldn't know it with all the horny riding crop spanking and toe-licking. For the line "slow down, papi" alone, we give thanks.

Daya, "Insomnia"

As a professional insomniac, I'm thrilled to align myself with this anthem for the sleepless. "Insomnia" will always remind me of 3 AM summer strolls to the deli on the corner for a protein bar and coconut water.

Zara Larsson, "All The Time"

Original review

In a more perfect world, this should have absolutely been an inescapable Song of Summer 2019. What an instant and obvious smash.

Ashley O, "On a Roll"

Like Gaga's Ally Maine, Miley's at her best in a long while as a fictional pop star. Go figure. Not only is this Nine Inch Nails rewrite undeniable, if misunderstood ("hey, I'm a ho" - gays), but Miss Ashley and her purple wig were one of the most recognizable pop looks of 2019.

Cheryl, "Let You"

Original review

One of the year's biggest pop injustices, no doubt: Queen Cheryl Tweedy Cole Fernandez-Versini Almost Payne Now Cheryl Just Cheryl deserved far better than a No. 57 placement for this perfectly fierce slice of '80s-meets-Robyn-esque synth-pop. But hey, if middling returns on the charts as a solo star speed up the inevitable Girls Aloud reunion, then so be it...

Tove Lo, "Glad He's Gone"

Tove significantly toned it down sonically with Sunshine Kitty as opposed to her more colossal choruses of the past, resulting in some more laidback, summer-y sounds. "Glad He's Gone" is not only a highlight from the record, but a Grammy Award-nominated visual experience.

Hatchie, "Stay With Me"

Original review

This year's best addition to the "Dancing On My Own" genre - and the whole album is a must, too.

Sunmi, "Noir"

Original review

Sunmi is, like, the Björk of K-Pop at this point, supplying a weirdness to her solo work that is more thought-provoking than your usual love song or cutesy burst of choreographed glee. "Noir" is a deliciously dark exploration of stunting on the 'Gram, armed with somewhat shocking, bleak imagery in the accompanying music video. Don't forget to like, comment, share and subscribe! :)

Lana Del Rey, "Doin' Time"

LDR does Sublime - and coos my first name in a song for the first time, a truly powerful feeling. A Song of Summer '19, for sure - and the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman-style video proves that just when you think you've got Lana's mood figured out, she's got a surprise waiting for you at the drive-thru theater. (Remember when she whipped out that bazooka in "High By the Beach"?) Just, you know, don't piss her off.

Halsey, "Nightmare"

Look, you can't just release a song inspired by t.A.T.u's "All the Things She Said" and expect me not to stan a little.

Lizzo (feat. Missy Elliott), "Tempo"

Somewhere between the rest of the world catching on to ancient Lizzo bangers (truly, between her and Mariah, this was a year of America playing chart catch-up), she managed to squeeze out a sick tribute to being thick alongside living legend herself, Missy Elliott.

Katy Perry, "Never Really Over"

There's something ironic about Katy calling a song "Never Really Over" at the exact moment her chart reign would no longer be a guarantee in this Brave New #NewMusicFriday streaming bop world. That mile-a-minute speak-sung chorus is fun, and at the very least, she does not rhyme "hula-hula" with "jeweler, jeweler" in this one. I'm eagerly awaiting the transition to a more Serious Katy - I know it must be coming.

Lolo Zaouï, "Ride"

Lolo made one of my favorite records this year in High Highs to Low Lows, and "Ride" is a highlight - and by far the horniest offering from the record. The panting alone really does it for me.

Tiësto, Jonas Blue & Rita Ora, "Ritual"

Hmm, what's that? Rita Ora selflessly saving pop yet again? Doing hair flips in jeans? An immense chorus? Big House-y piano chords? What do we say to Rita Ora, kids? Thank you, Rita Ora...

Chung Ha, "Gotta Go"

Original review

This song dropped just seconds after the ball did in 2019, and yet, it's endured as one of the best K-pop offerings of the year.

Normani, "Motivation"

Original review

Normani busts a move on her own with an Ariana Grande-ish breezy R&B-pop jam, complete with a video homage to the '00s Queens of Pop, from Bey to Britney, in her quest to become one of her own. Her "1996" outfit, and that basketball hip bump, will endure as iconography from the year 2019. Let's keep the momentum moving in 2020, yes?

Carly Rae Jepsen, "Too Much"

A highlight from Dedicated, and a gentle reminder that when it comes to all things CRJ, too much is never enough.

BLACKPINK, "Kill This Love"

Original review

BLACKPINK aren't in our area all that often, but when they are, they shake up K-pop culture and beyond, every damn time. No other girl group causes this kind of global panic.

Billie Eilish, "bad guy"

So good, it even got Britney to break out Banana the Snake's stuffed cousin. Duh...

ionnalee, "SOME BODY"

Original review

ionnalee, the face of iamamiwhoami (which, sadly, is still not Christina Aguilera in mud and sticks), provides a synth-pop slammer for the weirdos on the dance floor.

Tinashe, "Save Room For Us"

Original review

Tinashe finds her groove again - and all it took was years of creative differences, a termination of a major label record deal, and a trip to Japan. She's undoubtedly at her best when she doing it herself.

R. Tee & Anda, "What You Waiting For"

Original review

Somehow, this was my most-streamed song of 2019 according to Spotify. It's not my actual favorite song of the year, but it's an absolute banger, that's for sure. Originally intended for BLACKPINK, YG relaunched Anda's solo career with one of the fiercest K-Pop offerings of the year. The dance, the beat breaks - this one should even appeal to those afraid of dipping their toes into music not in their native tongue. What you waiting for?

LOONA, "Butterfly"

Original view

STAN LOONA. No, but really: "Butterfly" gave the world plenty of reason to do so - even if they kind of dropped off the planet relatively soon afterward. Their staging and dance formation for this song in particularly is mesmerizing (it must be exhausting to orchestrate twelve members at once), as is their culturally diverse music video. It never got old for me this year. Wings, wings...

Slayyyter, "Mine"

Original review

Oh me, oh my...it was love at first snippet.

Mabel, "Don't Call Me Up"

Original review

No one knows her way around telephonic turmoil quite like Mabel (hello? you there?), and she kept the phone drama going all year long with the song that feels like a cousin to Dua Lipa's "New Rules."

Sam Smith & Normani, "Dancing With a Stranger"

One of the year's best mainstream pop collaborations, with more vocal chemistry between its participants than certain other ex-members of Fifth Harmony and their partners. I digress. This is a subtle, sublime duet.

Dido, "What Am I Doing Here"

The whole Dido album is fantastic (Still On My Mind), if you're in the market for warm, worldly, wistful electronica. This particular track, included on the re-release of the record at the end of 2019, is a gut-punch for anyone who has someone living far, far away, who they will likely end up marrying one day in the long run. It resonates. 'Nuff said.

Billie Eilish, "everything i wanted"

Original review

Honestly? It's her "Lucky."

MUNA, "It's Gonna Be Okay, Baby"

Someday, when you feel like you've truly fucked up, and you've made the worst decisions, repeatedly, never learning, and life just keeps happening at you, and you're at the end of your rope, you'll need reassurance - something that isn't a cheesy "live, love, laugh" platitude. Something real. Some reminder that we are all just relentlessly fucking up and moving on in spite of everything, anyway. Put this song on. Trust me. Repeat it like a mantra. It's gonna be okay, baby.

TOP 50 SONGS OF 2019 ON SPOTIFY

TOP 50 SONGS OF 2019 ON APPLE MUSIC

These songs are all also featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

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Kali Uchis Solita Music Video

'Solita': Kali Uchis Keeps Dancing on Her Own

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTdj-6Bd5wk

I haven't written about Kali Uchis on MuuMuse until now because, well, let's face it - I haven't written on MuuMuse much this past year(s), period. But I intend to change that in 2020, if only for my creative sanity and happiness. Why not start getting back into the routine before the New Year's resolutions even kick in?

All that is to say: I've known about Ms. Uchis for a while, and thanks to her latest single, it's time to get her properly Introduuced.

Born Karly-Marina Loaiza, the 25-year-old singer is from the States (Virginia, specifically), but her parents came over from Colombia - Madame X's favorite place to visit after taking a pill and having a dream, and the blessed birthplace of many of my faves, including Shakira, J Balvin and Maluma.

As a result, she moved back and forth between Colombia and America growing up, eventually kicking off her music career with her 2012 debut mixtape, Drunken Babble - but she really floated into my orbit after being announced as the opening act for Lana Del Rey in 2017. (Naturally.)

Her star has only risen further since, including nominations at the 2017 Grammys (for "Get You" with Daniel Caesar) and the 2017 Latin Grammys (for "El Ratico" with Juanes), plus nominations at the UK Music Video Awards in 2018.

Earlier this month, Kali Uchis dropped her new single "Solita," and on Wednesday (December 18), she debuted the accompanying music video directed by Amber Grace Johnson, who worked with Rihanna on Rihanna x Savage imagery, among other major accomplishments.

The track, her first taste of new music since her debut studio album Isolation last year, was co-crafted with a talented crew: Rih's "Work" co-writer Sevn Thomas, Lana's "Summer Bummer" co-writer Jahaan Sweet and Tainy, who, most incredibly, co-produced the Luny Tunes remix of Paris Hilton's "Stars Are Blind" with Wisin & Yandel. And, yes, most of Balvin's Vibras, and a billion other things.

Aside from the impressive production credits, the track ticks several boxes in its not-quite-easily-definable nature: musically, it floats somewhere between the worlds of moody, downtempo, space-y, synth-y alt-R&B and reggaeton. Lyrically, it floats in between languages (Spanish and English), resulting in Kali Uchis' first bilingual single. Given her upbringing of bouncing between countries, the stylistic choice feels appropriate.

Like so many great songs before, this one can be filed under the winning, ever-expanding category of "Dancing On My Own": I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh-oh-oh. The main difference being that instead of it being Swede-Pop night at the club, it's Latin night. (Latin night is kind of the only way you can even convince me to go out dancing these days, also.)

But as opposed to sulking in the shadows of the song, Kali Uchis is keeping her head up, as evidenced by the futuristic, empowering music video. Our heroine is reawakened, sensually shimmying with a snake (all Great Pop Girls do), and hitting the pole, Hustlers style, remaining in full control the entire time. Most stunning are the shots of her surrounded by oiled-up suitors offering their lighters and bowing down.

She might be alone, and she might still be heartbroken, but she's sure as hell still in high demand.

“I’d rather dance alone than with the devil. This song is about healing, freedom and embracing the mixed emotions that come with that. I hope my fans feel sexy when they listen to it. I’m so excited to share more," she says of the song in the press release.

"There’s a little bit of sexiness in it, but it’s also nostalgic...I think that just goes back to wanting to feel empowered about independence, rather than feel like, ‘Oh, poor me, I’m alone.’ It’s not really like that...I wrote the song a year ago. I was coming out of a breakup from a really long relationship. I think the song still resonates with me because I definitely look at relationships really differently," she went on to explain on Apple Music.

"The vibe was sad, yet horny." If that isn't my 2019 in a nutshell.

Now, let's dance through these remnants of our misery and kick off the next decade on the right stiletto.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

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Photo credit: Guerrera PR / Universal Music


Raye Please Don't Touch

'Please Don't Touch': RAYE Makes a Pretty Vulnerable Pop Plea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-R6vC5bxCA

So, here's the thing: only recently have I discovered that I am a RAYE stan, and have been for years.

A RAYEbot? A RAYEnbow? One of her RAYEs of light? Still workshopping. Will report back.

It snuck up on me quite suddenly: the 22-year-old British singer-songwriter has supplied vocals to some of my favorite, sassiest dance-pop offerings over the past few years. "You Don't Know Me" from Jax Jones? RAYE. "Stay (Don't Go Away)" from David Guetta? RAYE. "By Your Side" with Jonas Blue? RAYE. "Cigarette" with Mabel and Stefflon Don...and RAYE.

She's not just the voice on the tracks, either: she's pushed the pen behind everything from Charli XCX's Number 1 Angel banger "Dreamer" to Beyoncé's "Bigger" from her Lion King: The Gift soundtrack.

It's no fluke, there's one unifying force between all these tracks. And, you guessed it: it's RAYE, bitch.

On Friday (December 13), RAYE dropped a brand new solo track called "Please Don't Touch" - and, apart from the unintelligible new Grimes song, it's the only thing I've been listening to ever since.

The song was co-written by RAYE, Little Mix longtime collaborator Kamille and Fraser T. Smith, of Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain," but most importantly of Britney's "Scary" and "Trouble For Me" fame.

"I'm feeling vulnerable/ What if I let go? / You make me want to, though..."

The track's subject matter is, true to the title, quite fragile. The message is straightforward: she's been hurt before, so please don't get too close - unless you want RAYE to start catching feelings.

The song's space-y synth construction is a fittingly featherlight accompaniment to the earnest feelings laid flat across the track, and that pre-chorus is especially gorgeous and melancholy: "The thing about love, it ain't simple enough / The thing about trust is it takes two of us / So, if I let you in here tonight / Hundred degrees, know you want to..."

RAYE's delivery is so perfectly weary, but faintly hopeful that things will be different this time around. (Relatable. Am I right, ladies?)

"Please don't touch me if you don't mean it / The space between our skin saying more than enough / But once you lay a finger, it can't be undone / So, please don't touch me if you don't mean it..."

It's almost 2020, which means it's time to make some resolutions. Make one of them to live with intention, which means you should only cuddle up to RAYE if you really, really mean it. In the meantime, however, I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you streamed her new song to your heart's content while you sort out your shit in therapy.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

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Photo credit: Chuffmedia


Now Now Lonely Christmas

'Lonely Christmas': Now, Now's Sad, Synth-y, Single Anthem for the Holidays

Christmas music isn't my thing, aside from "All I Want for Christmas Is You" - which we are absolutely streaming until we get Mariah Carey her No. 1 this year, darlings - Britney's "My Only Wish (This Year)" obviously and, of course, Hilary Duff's masterful debut, Santa Clause Lane. (Speaking of, have you heard the Legends Only track-by-track listening party yet?)

I just have a fairly low tolerance for merriment. A somber Christmas song, however? Now you're sobbing my language.

Now, Now is a group I learned about, uh, approximately now, now - but I'm glad to have arrived at the party. They're an indie-rock duo, formed in Minnesota between KC Dalager and Brad Hale. (Great name, Brad.) They've also been putting out music for at least a decade or longer. Again: late, but happy to be here.

"Lonely Christmas" is the name of the duo's new single, following the release of their critically acclaimed 2018 record, Saved. And if you too are in the market, knowingly or otherwise, for vaguely '80, nostalgic, wistful, Christmas-themed MUNA-slash-HAIM-slash Carly Rae Jepsen synth-pop, you're in luck.

“This song came about because I always get really lonely and bummed out during the holidays. I try every year to overcome that, so writing this song is another attempt to reclaim the magic of the season," KC explained of the song.

“I had the initial concept idea for this song two years ago while sitting in my car by myself listening to the Christmas station on the radio. The world around me was sparkling and cheerful but I couldn’t feel it. So I wanted us to capture that feeling and write a song for anyone else out there who may also be experiencing that. I always loved the freedom in Christmas music. Nothing is too much. Nothing is too far. Nothing is too joyous. Nothing is too desperate. I can openly plead with someone to not break my heart in the name of Christmas.”

And really, what's more festive than sitting alone in a parked car in your hometown during the holidays doing some deep breathing and silently reflecting on the State of Things to the sound of jingling bells and saxophone flourishes in the background? A relatable holiday anthem, if I've ever heard one.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

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Tinashe Save Room For Us

'Save Room For Us': Tinashe Sparks Joy in Japan

Tinashe is truly living her best life.

From the moody mixtape days of the early '10s (can you believe that's a thing we can say as we enter into 2020?), to the major label era of Aquarius onward, to a return to her DIY roots, the 26-year-old entertainer's come full circle with her career - and she looks like she's fully in her groove again.

While her time at RCA wasn't all bad (Nightride forever, still), if Songs For You is an indication of anything, it's that Tinashe operates best when she's fully got the reigns in hand as an independent artist. In terms of actual artistry, she's smooth sailing again after hitting some speed bumps along her joyride.

Among the varied tracks on her new LP, the warm, pulsating "Save Room For Us" with MAKJ was an obvious standout from the start. Like "Dancing On My Own," and so many classics of the Crying at the Discotheque genre before, you really can't go wrong with a little jealousy (and wishful thinking) on the dance floor.

Smartly, Tinashe's catered to her base - the track is the most streamed song from the album - with a "thank you" in the form of a music video shot in Japan.

The Stephen Garnett-directed visual appropriately feels just as free as the artist herself does these days, as she serves up some carefree moves and stunts in some stylish looks in the streets and subways of Tokyo. There's not much to it, plot-wise: it's just Tinashe and company (REFERENCE) having some fun bopping around the city. (Very jealous of the idea of getting to explore around Tokyo, by the way.)

Why Japan for this song? Unclear. Tokyo always makes for a gorgeous music video backdrop. Or, perhaps she binged Tidying Up With Marie Kondo earlier in the year, which compelled her to KonMari method her own music career, discarding what no longer serves her to make room for that which still sparks joy.

In any case, it's working, and seeing Tinashe do it her way again is as much of a treat as it was years ago.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

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Pabllo Vittar Amor De Que

'Amor de Que': Everybody Wants a Piece of Pabllo Vittar

Aside from soybeans, crude oil and iron ores, there are few hotter exports to come out of Brazil than Pabllo Vittar.

She's so hot, in fact, that every boy in town wants a piece of Pabllo.

The 25-year-old Brazilian baddie-turned-international drag icon - arguably the most globally renowned drag queen since RuPaul (Vittar's Drag Race needs to happen at some point, by the way) - has had an incredible past few years: from bumping bundas with Anitta and Diplo in the desert, to striking a pose for the cameras with every 20-something popper-sniffing, douche-carrying gay's Queen Charli XCX, to becoming the first drag queen to ever receive an award at the MTV EMAs.

She's big.

Now, Pabllo is expanding the Vittar Cinematic Universe with a flirty new visual for the sultry, horn-y "Amor de Que," featured on her 111 1 EP, which was released at the end of October. (It's called 111 1 because it's a part of a trilogy, as she prepares her trilingual third album in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Her mind/mente!)

As it stands now, "Amor de Que" is floating around as Brazil's third most played song (!), already racking up over 2 million views just hours after the music video's premiere on Wednesday (December 4).

The music video, filmed by longtime friend and collaborator João Monteiro inside of São Paulo’s Mogi das Cruzes, is described as a representation of "the freedom to love freely in any form." In other words: mama is getting around town. And why shouldn't she? Who could possibly resist the charms of Vittar?

Director João said collaborating with Pabllo, their tenth time working together, “has always allowed me to innovate and create new worlds. This time, after two hits marked by studio videoclips with American pop language, we decided to bring Pabllo back to this very Brazilian atmosphere. With a clever camera game, the guys who interact with her are exchanged, which reinforces the idea of a diverse and free love."

"We wanted to use her looks to portray exactly the profile of that Brazilian woman who is free, empowered and who sees no problem in relating to those whoever she wants. We also rescued that girl from the interior of northeast, which brought Brazilian elements, such as tiny shorts, high heels, crochet top and jeans look," added stylist João França Ribeiro.

“I loved recording this video, it has a different atmosphere from my last jobs. I hope the fans enjoy it as much as I do. This song is very special to me," Pabllo says of the clip.

Far from the sillier, tongue-in-cheek offerings from so many drag stars - which, no shade, everyone's got their own artistry and style - Pabllo really indulges in an unabashed Main Pop Girl fantasy in her music videos, especially with "Amor de Que": she looks stunning, commanding the attention of every guy in the room while serving looks, seductive moves and generous amounts of butt shots. There's a real superstar wattage and power to her femininity and flirtatiousness - however fleeting one's personal time with Pabllo might be.

"It's just that there are so many handsome men in the city / And I'm in the prime of my life," she cautions in the (English translated version of the) song.

"I don't want you to get attached To my love - a whore love." Hey, don't say Pabllo didn't warn you.

Get in that one-on-one time while you still can before she fully takes over in 2020.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

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Photo credit: Ernna Cost


The Pussycat Dolls Are Back

If you or a loved one are experiencing frequent, inexplicable urges to loosen up your buttons, or if you suddenly find your legs lifting upward at random intervals, or if you feel an overwhelming assurance that you are hotter, freakier, rawer and more fun than the girlfriends of those around you, fear not. There's a perfectly logical scientific explanation: The Pussycat Dolls are back.

Yes, that's right: PCD managed to stage a reunion before the release of Her Name Is Nicole, now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Granted, it's not quite all of the Dolls.

Leading up to the announcement of their return, a verified Pussycat Dolls account popped up on social media, which was following seven people: founder and professional girl group wrangler Robin "Ringleader" Antin, Ashley "Butterfly Effect" Roberts, Nicole "Hot as a Stove" Scherzinger, Jessica "Show Me" Sutta, Kimberly "High Kick" Wyatt, Melody "Even if I'm not featured..." Thornton, and the American-Israeli legend herself, Carmit "Don't Call It a Carmback" Bachar.

Upon a reveal of the original PCD logo art, the girls all switched their profile photos to match the new account - except, of course, for Melody who, in 2009 The Circus: Starring Britney Spears fashion, kept hers the same, keeping that same "even if I'm not featured..." energy a decade later.

Hours later, the (pussy)cat was out of the bag: PCD is back, and heading out on a UK reunion tour in April 2020. (Yes, of course I'm going, but more on that later.)

The group will, however, only be reuniting as a quintet: Melody opted out, with the girls vaguely citing "prior commitments" and music obligations as the reason. Her disinterest in participating in a reunion is perhaps not a surprise to a majority of pop fans who even had a passing interest in PCD.

Melody famously chose to voice her disdain for the group's configuration, which was effectively Nicole and her back-up dancers, by...sometimes going rogue on the mic.

And in keeping on the subject of girl groups, good ol' Chezza shared some incredible thoughts about the Dolls...and Nicole...and Britney...at the time.

PCD was a unique scenario: Nicole was unsubtly positioned as "the Beyoncé" of the group, but more than being the lead vocalist, she was almost exclusively the only vocalist on most of their songs, and certainly during their live performances. (Well, minus the Melody outbursts.)

They also did better than you might even remember: in a four year span, the Pussycat Dolls sold over 54 million records, making them one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.

But by the time Nicole's chart-evading solo non-hits of 2007 came and went (#JusticeForWhateverULike), as well as "Jai Ho!" and "Hush, Hush" in 2009 - infamously billed as The Pussycat Dolls Feat. Nicole Scherzinger at the time - Melody, and later, the majority of the Dolls, had basically had it.


They've all since gone on to do various things on their own, with most finding success overseas releasing solo songs and doing variety and competition shows - standard fare for post-peak girl group members. But despite all of the emphasis on Nicole throughout the girl group's existence, and despite her perfectly solid solo pop - "Don't Hold Your Breath" alone, hello - she never managed to break through in America...not without the Dolls by her side, anyway. (I also reserve a theory that at least part of the reason is that her last name was deemed too difficult to pronounce/memorize.)

As it turns out, a decade mends a lot of wounds...as does the promise of cashing in on nostalgia. And speaking of throwbacks: let's talk about the return of Carmit Bachar - or, as she was born, Carmimmaculate Bachalmighty.

For those of you less versed in all things Pussy(cat): Carmit is one of the founding Dolls, dating all the way back to the group's 1995 origins as a fledgling burlesque group in Las Vegas. She's danced for, like, everyone - from Aaliyah to Jennifer Lopez, and even in Janet Jackson's infamous Super Bowl 2004 halftime performance.

Her return is welcome, to say the least: she is a PCDeity.


With the announcement of their reunion came a string of promotional interviews, in which they mostly elaborated on how much time has passed - they've got husbands and babies now! - and cited the Spice Girls reunion as inspiration for their own. (At one point, Nicole iconically points out that they outsold Little Mix in the UK.)

Now, I'm no body language expert, nor am I trying to instigate doll-on-doll drama - as I genuinely want this comeback to stick(witu)- but Nicole Scherzinger's facial journey throughout some of these interviews is fascinating. She did stress the fact that she was working on three shows across three continents at the time, and rehearsing for their upcoming performance. But is she just...tired? Serving Grand Dame regality? Bored of the same questions over and over? Or coming to terms with the fact that she's been stuck back in a girl group once again?

No matter, because their comeback performance on the X Factor: Celebrity finale on Saturday (November 30) made one thing very clear: the Dolls are coming back strong.

This is how you stage a genuinely fantastic comeback performance after a decade.

The drama of each girl rising to the stage. The oh-so-Britney-esque purr of "Are you ready?" That hype mix of "Buttons."

Yes, Dolls. Yes!

Pussycat Dolls X Factor Celebrity

Serving "Pretty Girls" 2015 Billboard Awards looks, the ladies looked as fit and fabulous as they did a decade ago - better, even.

The hair flips! The stage dive! The windmill arms! The #SomethingMoreUrban mix of "When I Grow Up"! The pyrotechnics! The absolute audacity of Nicole Scherzinger declaring "I'm a hot topic" in the year 2019! The YELP note!

Points deducted for skipping the iconic dance break - but then points immediately won back for the revival of the Juicy Couture-biting peak mid-'00s aesthetic glittery PCD hoodie for "Don't Cha."

And then, just when they've got us edged properly with a million man dance break, the big reveal: a new song.

They tricked us! New material from PCD already?! The song's called "React" - and it sounds GOOD - especially when accompanied by a Flashdance water drop and a fierce-as-fuck final pose. The signature Kimberly leg lift is back!

Pussycat Dolls X Factor Celebrity

I'm overcome by all of this, truly.

Sure, the other girls still didn't sing, nor were they featured. They weren't singing or featured on those old records and performances in the first place! Of course it's still The Nicole Show! Get with the program!

But really: whether the non-Scherzy members of PCD even want to be featured more prominently on the vocals remains unclear. One would assume that if they’ve gone through the trouble of reuniting, they’re all in agreement about how the band works.

What we actually need is a Red Table Talk conversation with all the members sharing their candid thoughts about their past and present formation.

As for the comeback performance itself: this is pop! Girl group glory! Dancing! Hair flips! Choreography! Hello! In the year 2019, when everyone's mumbling and fumbling their way around the stage! We don't deserve it, but the Dolls came through for us in our time of need, anyway.

Now go bid on a PCD hoodie on eBay, start stretching out those legs, and I'll see you all at the Pussycat Dolls Tour in 2020.

Oh, and ladies? Drop "React." Now.


Billie Eilish Everything I Wanted

Billie Eilish Got Everything She Wanted, For Better or Worse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm0MGnuRnH0

"I had a dream. I got everything I wanted. Not what you'd think. And if I'm bein' honest, it might've been a nightmare."

There was a Vanity Fair video that came out last year, called "Same Interview, One Year Apart" with Billie Eilish. The concept was exactly that: an interview with Billie, featuring the same questions, filmed exactly one year apart.

The end result is, well, eerie: the draining effects of the following 12 months on the 15-turned-16-year old singer are there written all over her face, in her mannerisms and in her words. It's as fascinating as it is disturbing. The video now has over 57 million views.

At best, fame is difficult to handle for young stars. At worst, it's all-consuming and, potentially, lethal. That's no new tale: from Michael Jackson to Amy Winehouse to Britney Spears to Demi Lovato, we've all seen what the media, the music industry and fans have done to many of these people amid their own personal struggles. And although the conversation around mental health has evolved over the years, so have other things, like social media, supplying direct access to celebrities...and so, so many unsolicited opinions.

I remember seeing Billie for the first time at the beginning of 2017, performing an acoustic set in front of journalists and assorted industry types in a room at Soho House in New York City. And while it's easy to say I always knew she'd be a star from that point forward, I...did, although, admittedly, not to the degree that she took off within months.

There was something so mesmerizing about the hushed and vulnerable way she sang and kept the room pin-drop quiet, clinging to each quivering note. I remember thinking about how, in spite of how jaded I'd become in general with showcases and new artists and all of that, I was genuinely entranced during the performance - by a 15-year-old, no less. Afterward, she flitted around the room in some kind of green fur, if I remember right. I might have said hello, but I was intimidated. By someone half my age.

Since then, it's not a stretch to say Billie is on track to become the voice of her generation, if she isn't already.

The charts and streams speak for themselves - she's got the best-selling North American debut album of the decade - as do the sold-out tours, the TikTok memes, the Takashi Murakami and Justin Bieber collaborations, and everything in between. She's massive, and having seen her in concert a handful of times since that showcase years ago, it's clear how much she means to her young, impassioned audience.

That is all to say: she got everything she wanted. Or did she?

"everything i wanted," Billie's first new song since releasing When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? released on Wednesday (November 13), seemingly addresses all that's come with her astoundingly rapid ascent to superstardom.

The gorgeously grim track was recorded both at her home studio in Highland Park and on the road on tour this summer with her older brother and sole collaborator and producer, Finneas.

"We started writing it because I literally had a dream that I killed myself, and nobody cared, and all of my best friends and people that I worked with basically came out in public and said, like, 'Oh, we never liked her.' In the dream, the fans didn’t care. The Internet shit on me for killing myself, all this stuff, and it really did mess me up," she explained to Annie Mac of the meaning behind the song.

"My brother is my best friend, and I have these dreams and these things happen, and no matter what happens, he’s gonna always be there for me, and it’s the same the other way around."

That same worldweary, depressed girl featured in the Vanity Fair video might as well be the one narrating this song: "It feels like yesterday was a year ago, but I don't wanna let anybody know / 'Cause everybody wants something from me now, and I don't wanna let 'em down," she confesses. It's a cry for help, frankly.

The cover art for the single features a stylized version of the Golden Gate Bridge designed by English artist Jason Anderson, which has a reputation for being the second-most used suicide site in the world. She directly references that suicidal dream in the lyrics: "Thought I could fly, so I stepped off the Golden / Nobody cried, nobody even noticed."

The one thing that keeps her tethered to reality, and to the core of this very song, is Finneas.

"And you say, 'As long as I'm here, no one can hurt you / Don't wanna lie here, but you can learn to / If I could change the way that you see yourself, you wouldn't wonder why you're here / They don't deserve you'" she sweetly croons her big brother's supportive words on the lump-in-throat inducing chorus.

In the song's final moments, she ponders whether this was all worth it: "If I knew it all then, would I do it again? / Would I do it again?"

For any musician, "everything i wanted" would be considered a moving meditation on fame. For a 17-year-old girl, it's downright heartbreaking.

Mercifully, she's not by herself: she's got her big brother right there along with her for the ride. But perhaps this song, beyond being one of the most arresting tracks she's ever released, will serve as a reminder of her humanity.

Here's hoping for healthy professional boundaries, time off when needed, and a supportive team in place to keep Billie grounded during a time in her life that is anything but normal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCTMq7xvdXU

"everything i wanted" was released on November 13.

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Cheryl Makes an Aloud & Proud Appearance on 'RuPaul's Drag Race UK'

I miss Girls Aloud with every fiber of my biology.

As anyone else who worshipped at the altar of the Almighty Aloud can attest, life has only progressively gotten colder with each passing day ever since the TwitLonger disbandment tweeted 'round the world in 2013. (It's too soon to talk about, still.)

And while the ladies have not yet given into the nostalgia machine like their fellow boy banders and girl groupers and put together a reunion (though their 20th anniversary is in two years, just saying), every now and then, there's something kinda ooooh that gives me the Aloud fix I need.

In this case, that happened this evening (November 7) when Cheryl, formally known as Cheryl Tweedy Cole Fernandez-Versini Almost Payne Now Cheryl Just Cheryl, returned to the telly as a guest judge on RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

Granted, Cheryl's also on TV doing a dancing competition called The Greatest Dancer - but this time, she was surrounded by drag queens, which is basically just a rhinestone short of a full-on Aloud reunion. (On a related note: Queen Nuhdeen as a contestant for Season 2, please.)

For those who haven't been watching RuPaul's Drag Race UK: it's a stellar season that prioritizes funny over fashion, first of all. But also, they've name-dropped Girls Aloud at least a handful of times in the past few weeks, especially during the last week's girl group challenge, which resulted in its own silly excellence in the form of the Frock Destroyers - now found on the UK Singles Chart with the Leland co-produced "Break Up (Bye Bye)."

And since the name "Girls Aloud" is usually met with a stone-faced silence here in America, seeing real human beings discussing the girl group is still surreal to me. They weren't just a figment of my imagination in my teen years, after all!

I was admittedly slightly nervous for Cheryl's appearance after watching Geri Horner née Halliwell strangely misfire in a swear word-averse, conservative turn as a guest judge just a few episodes back. My beloved Ginger has sadly, noticeably lost her snap.

Chezza, however, is clearly still game for a good time, especially as a self-professed Drag Race super fan. She's the face (err, scalp) of EasiLocks hair extensions, for God's sake! She knows a thing or do about getting dolled up. She also spent years grooming the world's next top pop stars on The X Factor. Therefore, who better than to be a guest judge on the show...with a contestant named Cheryl Hole, no less?

Although she oddly contributed little, if nothing to the actual runway segment as the queens were coming out on stage, which are usually just a processional of puns, she provided plenty of feedback during the actual girl-by-girl evaluations.

Highlights were fast and frequent, including her very first response to RuPaul's introduction to the show: "Love made me do it, Ru." Gasp! Stars: they REFERENCE just like us.

The real moment that everyone was waiting for, however, came a few minutes later: Cheryl Hole, meet Cheryl (Formerly) Cole.

Ms. Hole, the Dancing Diva of Essex, was understandably overwhelmed by the mere presence of her beloved idol, but that didn't stop her from briefly dragging Chez and the rest of the girls for disbanding after Ten, which left her "absolutely devoed," resulting in a hilariously guilty "sorry..." from Cheryl. Yes! You should be!

Later, in a most unexpected turn, Cheryl provided a deep reference as she marveled at Cheryl Hole's metallic ensemble.

"This is like something Girls Aloud would wear. Honestly, that's like how we should have been styled for 'No Good Advice,'" she remarked to an incredulous Cheryl Hole.

A "No Good Advice" reference on television in 2019?! Dreams that glitter, indeed.

Cheryl also provided some helpful explanations about local slang for Ru - "chippy" is "fish and chips" - and, incredibly, got into it at one point with Michelle Visage over the brand of Ms. Baga Chipz, providing a most cutting "I think it's just you" to Michelle, followed by an icy down-up glare that could kill.

To her credit, Cheryl's done this gig for several years too. She knows how to state an opinion and hold her own when questioned, which was delicious to watch, as opposed to the usual nervous-but-happy-to-be-here demeanor of most special guests.

As is often customary with guests of the musical variety, Ru selected from Chezza's back catalog of hits for the Lip Sync For Your Life, and opted for the Wideboys remix (!) of "Call My Name." Of course, I had my fingers crossed for "Sexy Den a Mutha," but the choice was a welcome one nonetheless. It was delightful to hear that absolute 2012 banger being acknowledged once more - although it's a real shame neither of the girls attempted the swan dive.

In short: Cheryl did a wonderful job. She looked absolutely gorgeous in that neon number with a sparkly eye lewk, sassed Michelle, invoked the holy name of Girls Aloud, and likely introduced an entire population of baby gays to "Call My Name." If that's not the very definition of Gay Rights™, I don't know what is.

If you're craving more, Ru and Michelle also talked to Cheryl for their "What's The T?" podcast, in which Chez talks about her ever-expanding last name (and has a sense of humor about it!), girl group inner workings, the reality of the Girls Aloud disbandment, solo music, baby Bear and becoming a mother, and her struggle to cope with immense fame overseas. It's a great listen.

Despite the public's criminally lukewarm reception of her (excellent) latest single "Let You," here's hoping that whatever goodwill that comes from this appearance will result in a much-needed Cheryl solo album and tour sometime in the next few months. And a Girls Aloud reunion tour and album, while we're at it.

Cheryl Hole and I will be absolutely devoed if you don't, Chez.


Dua Lipa Don't Start Now

Dua Lipa Is Having a Genuinely Exciting Disco Moment

Back in early 2016, I pondered whether a newly debuted singer named Dua Lipa could Be The One.

It's nearly 2020, and she's now a Main Pop Girl™.

But with great chart moves comes great responsibility. Accordingly, the pressure was on for the 24-year-old star to deliver with "Don't Start Now," the official kick-off to the forthcoming #DL2 era. And she's done so, spectacularly - with a disco beat, no less.

"Don't Start Now" feels like a natural continuation of the house music groundwork laid with 2018's "Electricity" with Silk City. Incorporating bright piano chords and a bassline built for sidewalk strutting (complete with a bit of cowbell, for good measure), Dua's gone full Disco D - or, more appropriately, Dua Ellis-Bextor.

That's not to say it's a direct lift of anything our "Murder on the Donce Floor" Queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor's done before, so don't get it twisted. It just sounds like something Sophie could have easily served up in all of her chilly goodness.

"Don't show up. Don't come out. Don't start caring about me now."

Not only is "Don't Start Now" an especially empowering kiss-off that only gets better with each listen, but the fact that Dua's one of the industry's leaders of the moment means that she might effectively bully the rest of the pop girls into putting a little mmmph into their music. (Gay Rights!)

Am I a Basic White Gay for craving real dance music from a pop star again? Sure, fine, I'll happily take the condemnation. Whatever gets us out of this largely depressed, moody, down-to-midtempo Xanax-pop era. I'm over feeling meh, and I know I'm not alone in that.

Beyond just being a win for the dance floor at large, "Don't Start Now" is a massive win for Dua as a performer: if you happened to watch the 2019 MTV EMAs on Sunday night (November 3) in Seville, you'd already know that.

What Dua did on that stage, aside from arguably delivering the performance of the night, felt like nothing short of #JusticeForDua, both in terms of proving the haters wrong and in justifying her positioning as one of the girls on top.

As if a direct response to the countless Twitter memes dragging her dance moves, Dua and her creative team developed a sleek, chic routine that excellently catered to her abilities. Who cares if she's not Janet Jackson? The choreography felt fierce rather than forced, and plenty of our most beloved pop goddesses, like Kylie Minogue, have proven that attitude, sophistication and even subtle movements go a long way. And not to get too lost in the mix of the visual spectacle: the voice was entirely on point, too.

She looked every bit as assured and in control as "Don't Start Now" feels, easily making this one of Dua's best live performances ever. What a way to kick off a new era! Now, bring on the rest of the upcoming record.

"Did the heartbreak change me? Maybe...but look at where I ended up."

Not to wish ill of her love life, but if this is the kind of prove-'em-wrong pop star transformation that occurs post-breakup for Dua Lipa, then, well...tread lightly, Anwar Hadid.

"Don't Start Now" was released on November 1.

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Utada Hikaru Shiina Ringo

Hikaru Utada & Shiina Ringo Reunite With 'Roman to Soroban'

The last time Hikaru Utada and Shiina Ringo got together, they were taking a trip into outer space for a brief, but necessary two hour vacation on Fantôme's "Nijikan Dake No Vacance" in 2016.

Having returned back down to Earth - or, more likely, arrived at some far-off planet accessible only to Japanese music industry titans - Hikki and Shiina are reuniting on a record once more.

This time, they've come together for - what else? - a round of sexy Tetris set to the sound of their jazzy collaboration “Roman to Soroban," a new song featured on Shiina's upcoming greatest hits album, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Ban~, which is out on November 13. (The title translates roughly to "Romanticism & The Abacus," but it's called "The Sun & Moon in London" on Apple Music. Go figure.)

The stylish, chic black-and-white clip finds the singers alternating between crooning Shiina's introspective thoughts together at vintage '20s/'30s-style standing microphones and playing a giant game of Tetris as glitzy dancers twirl around on poles in the background. Pop star cinematic crossovers and strippers? It's basically like a classy Japanese take on Hustlers.

Every set-up is gorgeous, especially when it looks like they're on the set of a '60s musical variety show. Very Barbra and Judy singing "Happy Days Are Here Again," really.

"Experts, amateurs, and everyone else… all have their pros and cons / So give me the foolishness to play it safe / I want to keep practicing new techniques, each and every time," they sing. (Translation courtesy of Lyrical Nonsense.)

The song is noted as the "LDN ver," likely due to the fact that the London Philharmonic Orchestra (!) recorded for the track at Abbey Road Studios. That said, perhaps there are more location-themed versions coming. RT for Brazil version, please?

As with Hikaru and Shiina's Fantôme collaboration, there's a real chemistry between the two performers - both on the track and in the video. They might not be very similar in their respective musical styles, but their real-life friendship and mutual appreciation is palpable, and witnessing two icons at work is truly a sight to behold.

Or, as director Kodama Yuichi reportedly remarked: "Please take a look at the gods flirting."

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Sugababes Flowers

The Sugababes Are Back, And They've Brought Us 'Flowers'

Mutya Keisha Siobhan no more: the Sugababes are officially back.

It's been ages - over six years, officially - since we last heard anything from any version of the 'Babes.

But as of Friday (October 18), the original line-up of the Most Successful All-Female Act of the 21st Century, individually known as Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy - are releasing music together again.

Finally.

The briefest of summaries, just to catch everyone up to speed: after well over a dozen chart hits across the span of two decades - everything from "Overload" to "Push the Button" to "About You Now" (and, of course, "Get Sexy") - and three member switch-ups, the very first version of the British girl group reunited in 2011 as MKS, named after themselves. They surely would have liked to have gone with Sugababes, but the name was still registered with the already defunct Sugababes 4.0 which, at that point, consisted of zero founding members of the band.

Little did the Origibabes know, they'd have to grapple for half a decade to secure the rights to their own brand again.

Their first (and only) release as MKS, "Flatline," came out in 2013. It also happened to be the best single of 2013.

Life imitated art a bit too literally, and the song itself flatlined, stalling at No. 50 in the UK charts, as did the group itself. Over the next five or six years, bits and pieces of their planned project leaked as each member vaguely promised in various interviews that it wasn't truly over. There's now well over an album's worth of Mutya Keisha Siobhan demos like "No Regrets," "Boys" and "Drum" floating around on the Internet, produced by the likes of Dev Hynes, MNEK, Richard X and William Orbit among others. Devastatingly, it all sounded extremely promising.

Nevertheless, they persisted: they won the name back. They hit the studio again. And now, the artists formerly known as Sugababes-then-known-as-MKS are rightfully, known as the Sugababes again. Sorry Heidi, sorry Amelle, sorry Jade.

For their first move in their re-return to the music scene, they're revisiting a 2000 UK garage classic called "Flowers" by Sweet Female Attitude, recorded for DJ Spoony's Garage Classical album.

Given that "Flowers" is a previously existing hit, it's not a stretch to say it...sounds like a hit.

The difference, of course, is the vocalists at hand: there is arguably no modern girl group in the game more equipped at heavenly harmonizing than the Sugababes. They just work together, so gorgeously, despite being three entirely distinct, entirely capable vocalists in their own right. (Mutya, rightfully, was ranked No. 2 Best Girl Group Member of All Time on Michael Cragg's great Guardian list.)

Every good girl group has their own je ne sais quoi: The Spice Girls came crashing in with their feisty, '90s bubblegum pop and "Girl Power" rallying cries, Girls Aloud dominated with their spike heels and skintight jeans and sleek, Xenomania-produced electro-pop bangers, and when it came to the 'Babes (at least, up until the Sweet 7 era), their appeal had everything to do with their slight rough-'round (round)-the-edges-style-meets-Soul Sound - it was always about vocals, vocals, vocals.

The track is such a welcome return from the 'Babes - that very first "I'll bring you flowers..." alone? My heart!

If there's even the slightest shred of pop justice remaining in this world, they'll soar higher than "Flatline" with this one - and, hopefully, stick around for a while this time. They truly are one of the best groups to ever do it, after all. Who knows? Maybe they can even salvage a few (or all) of the long-since leaked tracks as a bonus collection of sorts - they do deserve to see the official light of day.

"We are happy to finally be able to give a little something to our amazing supporters whilst we prepare for 2020. We hope you like it! Love Sugababes x," the girls wrote on their newly relaunched Instagram.

Let this be just the beginning of a legendary comeback for our most deserving and talented Sacred Three.

"Flowers" was released on October 18.

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Photo credit: @official_mutyabuena