Saro Snowblind

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

Meet Saro.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kylie Minogue Step Back In Time Collection

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

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

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

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

Well, sort of. But not quite.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the full track listing below...

CD1

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

CD2

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

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


ionnalee iamamiwhoami some body

'Some Body': ionnalee Trips the Light Fantastic

ionnalee, otherwise known as Jonna Lee of iamamiwhoami, otherwise known as the experimental Swedish audiovisual project that everyone briefly thought was Christina Aguilera's Bionic campaign at first nearly one decade ago, is bringing the beats.

"Some Body" is the second single off of her forthcoming sophomore solo record REMEMBER THE FUTURE, which is due out on May 31.

Excitingly, the album also features collaborations with some real Scandinavian gems, including my all-time favorite electronic duo Röyksopp, Jennie Abrahamson, Zola Jesus and Fever Ray producer Johannes Berglund, as well as longtime iamamiwhoami collaborator Claes Björklund. (Claes also had a hand in "Some Body.")

As opposed to some of the more mysterious, ethereal, experimental sounds in iamamiwhoami's catalog, "Some Body" is a more accessibly synth-y, space-y, dare I say sexy strut for the fellow weirdos on the dance floor. (For fans of acts like Róisín Murphy, The Knife and Goldfrapp, this should strike a chord.)

"Wave our memories goodbye / With the end of humankind," ionnalee coos on the seemingly apocalyptic track, as she recalls halcyon days and heads straight into the tragic unknown - a bleak bop, if you will.

ionnalee, however, is anything but bleak. I had the great pleasure of seeing her (and Allie X!) in motion on Monday night in Boston - a vital mental escape. (Long story for another day.) She managed to briefly do the impossible by distracting me with her weird and wonderful display - especially at the end of the night as she burst into a full-on, euphoric dance party. I'm forever grateful for that shared moment of letting go.

And if you'd like to experience that too, she's still out on the road, and quite possibly coming to a city near you.

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"Some Body" was released on April 26. (iTunes)

Photo credit: John Strandh


Aly & AJ Don't Go Changing

'Don't Go Changing': Aly & AJ Keep Making Excellent Pop Music Against the Odds

It's a bit of a miracle that Aly & AJ are still doing what they're doing.

Once a Disney-powered Hollywood Records mainstream teen-pop project - "Potential Breakup Song" forever, obviously - the girls eventually disbanded and rebranded as 78violet, then un-branded, and returned as themselves, only better, in 2017.

Ever since their re-debut, they've been consistently putting out lush and elegantly crafted pop tunes like "I Know" and "Promises" - two personal favorites from Ten Years - joining the ranks of other dreamy pop duo acts I've adored over the years, like Say Lou Lou and the all-too-fleeting Frank + Derol.

"Don't Go Changing," the second single off of their upcoming Sanctuary EP, is their latest in a seemingly endless winning streak, supplying a Drive soundtrack-style synthiness and propulsive drums with their reliable knack for smart, catchy hooks.

"Don’t go changing on me, babe / Typical feeling / Who ever told you you're not good enough?" they urge. It's a kind of subtle self-encouragement anthem as someone slips away from being themselves that feels appropriately adult, especially when compared to some, um, other recent big budget pop releases.

It's quality work - and, of course, a labor of love behind-the-scenes.

"We are independent artists. And at the end of the day, this process takes a lot of time, work, and rejection. A lot of this comes out of our own pocket. When our fans are streaming our music, that’s really, truly going into what our next release will be," the girls explained to Bustle.

The girls are hitting the road in the states beginning in May, including a stop at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey on May 14, then heading to Europe in July. Show up and show them some love. They're showing love back: they've teamed up with The Trevor Project to bring donation bins and awareness booths to every tour date in support of the organization, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. More likes ALLIES & AJ, am I right? Sorry.

And Aly & AJ? Don't go changing anytime soon.

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

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"Don't Go Changing" was released on April 26. (iTunes)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Aly & AJ/NBD PR


Taylor Swift Brendon Urie Me

'ME!': The Bree-Hee-Heezy, G-Rated Return of Taylor Swift (With Brendon Urie)

Taylor Swift's back.

You probably already knew that because, in true Taylor Swift fashion, she made sure you knew it with a seemingly endless scavenger hunt of sparkly, pastel-hued clues across her Instagram - and even sprinkled hints in her own speeches and editorial features over the past few months. (I'm still slightly shook by her subtly shouting out her own April 26 countdown in a "30 Things I Learned Before 30" piece.) While it might be annoying to some, I can't help but appreciate the Cloverfield-esque webs that T. Swift weaves for her loyal Swifties, and everyone else following along for the ride.

Also along for the ride this time? My Yummy Nummies partner-in-crime, Brendon Urie, the devilishly handsome, stupid talented Panic! At The Disco superstar.

"ME!" is The Comeback Song of this bright new era, produced by Joel Little, out on Friday (April 26).

If the story of 1989 was "country star-goes-pop," and reputation was about reclaiming her own narrative in the media and doubling down on being branded a snake (in retrospect, I do wonder how years of exceedingly vicious online hatred didn't entirely destroy her), the story of "ME!" seems to be...fun for the whole family.

To illustrate that point, the opening of the "ME!" music video sees a reputation era snake slithering into view, poised to attack before exploding into an array of colorful butterflies. And just like that, we enter the candy-coated, kid-friendly world of the "ME!" era.

"ME!" is incredibly cutesy and bree-hee-heezy and, true to early first listen reports, sorta-kinda resembles Emeli Sande's "Next To Me." And maybe a Pink self-empowerment anthem? Maybe something off of the Trolls soundtrack? It's definitely a song suited for a children's movie, that's for sure.

"‘ME!’ is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it, and owning it. I think that with a pop song, we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads, and I want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves," she explained in an interview with Robin Roberts.

You can sense how much remarkably lighter (and sillier) Taylor's feeling these days, three years after being chased off social media with snake emojis and alt-right icon accusations, now serving happy-go-lucky Singin' In The Rain-slash-Mary Poppins-slash-Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory-slash-Hairspray vibes in a land of fluffy clouds, framed photos of chicks (and the Dixie Chicks, get it?), earworm-y hooks and goofy lyrics aplenty. ("Spelling is fun!")

I mean...the songcraft. "I'm the only one of me. Baby, that's the fun of me...you can't spell 'awesome' without 'me.'" Bruce Springsteen is shaking. Carole King is over.

Their faux-mance is sugary-sweet, too - very different compared to the hot-and-heavy, toe-licking horniness of Madgeluma in "Medelliín" we just saw one day before. Brendon provides buckets o' charm like the sweet, sweet prince that he is, and effortlessly holds his own with his crooning.

Is this kitten, unicorn and rainbow-filled world for ME(!)? God, no. Not at all. This is not my cup of te-hee-hea. But I'm happy she's happy, and she'll surely bring some needed joy and a boost of self-confidence to a bunch of kiddos (and grown-ups), too.

Photo Credit: TAS Rights Management


Madonna Maluma Medellin Music Video

Madonna, Maluma, the 'Medellín' Music Video & The Magnificently Messy Live-Stream

Madgeluma are here to take us far, far away from our troubles to a land called Medellín - and not a moment too soon.

Following the debut of her Madame X collaboration with the irresponsibly attractive Colombian reggaeton superstar and future father of my children Maluma, Madonna - err, Madame X, thank you very much - took over her old stomping grounds, MTV, for an old school live-stream premiere. It was a mess, but iconically so.

In typical live-stream fashion, the all-around-the-world (you always love me more miles away...) telecast was chock full o' delays, with diehard fans asking questions from Milan, New York City, Sao Paolo and London. And Madonna, in her signature subtle fashion, made sure everyone knew she fucking hated it by mocking the awkward pauses at every opportunity.

We did sort of get some information crammed into the half-hour session: Madonna originally moved to Lisbon solely to be a Soccer Momdonna, but then got bored as a controver-see-all artisté would, met painters and musicians in living room sessions, got inspired by fado and the other sounds in the culturally rich streets of Lisbon, and set to work on a world music-inspired record with Mirwais.

She also validated me, and all other true lovers of music that isn't spoken in one's native tongue with a solid statement: "Music is the soul of the universe. Even if we don't understand the words, we can still connect to the vibe, the soul, the feeling and the emotion of the music, and we can still relate to it. It doesn't matter what language people are singing in...we will always be, in a primal way, connected through music." (Now, go stan BLACKPINK!)

She also expanded upon the theme of nostalgia in "Medellín" - specifically, what she meant by being "naive again: "Naive in terms of not caring about what people think. I feel like when I started my career as an artist, I was naive, and that was the good thing...you don't think about judgment or what people are going to say...and you are free and pure in your expression. I wanted to be able to go back to that time in my life when I was just starting out in New York, and I didn't care what people thought...that is also the time in my life that I was 19, and I was given the name Madame X, so it all comes full circle."

Mirwais came up as well: she "wasn't sure if he was going to like the direction" of the new record - but lo and behold, he did. "He's a very intelligent guy, very philosophical and very political...inevitably, all of our work will become all of those things," she explained. (AKA: American Life 2.O is coming!)

Of course, daddy Maluma himself came beaming in from Miami on his royal throne - and, unfortunately, about a ten minute delay.

"Hello Mr. Safe," Madonna shouted at Maluma. And, after about three minutes of delay, Maluma finally heard it and called Madonna "Mrs. Crazy." So, now we know their pet names for one another - and then it was over.

"That's the most boring conversation I've ever had with Maluma," Madge concluded.

Iconic quotes also included "ask me banal questions, then" and "we were connected before Instagram, people." Leave it to Madame X to make even the most awkward of premieres highly entertaining.

And then, the video (mercifully) arrived.

The plot of "Medellín," essentially, is that Madame X - clearly a cousin a to Erotica's Dita, as well as Kill Bill's Elle Driver - is an immensely horny cha-cha instructor dancing her life away to dodge her haters ("Madame X loves to dance, because you can't hit a moving target...") and finding various ways to smush her face directly up against Maluma's face, which...is exactly the same video concept that would come to my own mind upon working with Maluma.

She one, two, cha-cha-chas up against him, shakes her cha-chas at his objectively perfect and adorable face, reels him in with her little whip - hell, she even licks his toes.

Madonna Maluma Toe Lick

Oh, absolutely. And who among us would not? (Slow down, papi...)

There are small flashes of iconic Madge moments of yesteryear: the opening prayer is more or less the MDNA Tour opening, the grainy footage in the dancing scenes is all sorts of Erotica, the flailing 'round the horses recalls Confessions, a wedding dress moment harkening back to "Like A Virgin," and her chic runaway steed ensemble is all sorts of 1995 Versace campaign. To die for, obviously.

Thirst aside, the joyousness and romance of the song is captured in the chemistry-heavy clip. (I do hope they banged.) Madame X brought the living room sessions and animated singalongs from the streets of Lisbon that inspired her new record to life in this video, and she looks happy and beautiful with all of her fierce footwork, In Bed With Madonna foreplay and festiveness. (And, obviously, any time Maluma makes direct eye contact with the camera, it's over for me.)

Madame X is many things: a cha-cha instructor, a spy, a whore, a nun, a bitch, a lover, a sous-chef, an anthropologist, a deep sea diver, but one thing she's certainly not is dull - and she never will be. All hail the Queen.

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"Medellín" was released on April 17. (iTunes)


Madonna Maluma Press Shot Medellin Medellín

Madonna & Maluma Turn Back Time With a Trip to 'Medellín'

Pack your bags, bitch: we’re taking a trip to Colombia with Madgeluma.

Madonna - sorry, Madame X - and Maluma, (one of) my Colombian husband(s), are knocking at our door, tickets (and champagne) in hand, ready to head to the airport for a lush, sultry escape to “Medellín.”

And, oh, how much I needed this vacation.

As evidenced by her colorful, chaotic Instagram adventures over the past few years, from drinking wine in the studio with spoons to crooning with locals in the streets, Madonna drew musical inspiration for Madame X outside of America: namely, the cultural melting pot that is Portugal.

“The whole inspiration for this record was completely and utterly based on going out in Lisbon and trying to make friends. Portugal is such a melting pot for so many different cultures—there's a lot of people from Brazil, Angola, Spain. You can stand out on a balcony and hear some incredible voice carrying through the starlit sky, and it's just so magical you can't help but be inspired by it.” the Queen of Pop told Beats 1 host Julie Adenuga.

Speaking of new friends: enter Maluma, Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy™, whom she met backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards and promptly snagged for a collaboration. (Or two, actually.)

“I met him backstage at the Video Music Awards. And then I heard from his manager that he wanted to collaborate with me. I told that to [producer] Mirwais and we started listening to his music more closely, thinking, 'Okay, how can we do something slightly different but that still has a connection to the music that he makes?' You could say it's Latin because we're singing in Spanish, but I feel like calling it that puts it into too small a category. Please don't do that," she explained.

"Please don't do that." I mean...just everything. Anyway.

Like the "Time goes by...so slowly" of "Hung Up" and the "tick, tock, tick tock, tick tock" of "4 Minutes," Madonna ushers in the new era with yet another count: “One, two, one, two, one, two, cha-cha-cha...” Madame X is a cha-cha instructor, remember? And a bitch. And a lover. And a child. And a mother. But I digress.

And we're off.

"Medellín" is a duet, not a solo song with a basic feature: the vocal duties are shared, which will undoubtedly piss off some stans. Luckily, I happen to love both acts.

The reggaeton rey holds his own, gradually expanding his duties, from supportive background groans (“mi reina”), to horny Spanish verses (seriously, his voice is arousing) to joyous cries alongside the Queen in the chorus.

As is often the case with a featured act on any post-Confessions era Madonna song, Maluma falls to his knees in reverence: "Discúlpame, yo sé que eres Madonna / Pero te voy a demostrar cómo este perro te enamora," he lusts. (Basically, "excuse me, I know you're Madonna, but I'm going to show you how this dog makes you fall for him." Iconic.)

The blend between the weird, space-y Mirwais production (her verses are like something out of Music), Madonna's sultry delivery (the line "slow down, papi" alone makes the song), and Maluma’s sexy rhythms results in something not entirely like either of them: the key to true collaboration.

"Medellín" is effectively a more mature, modern continuation of “La Isla Bonita”; a nostalgic escape, drink in hand, sexy slab of Colombian beef at her side.

But there's a real vulnerability in the lyrics, and even a lingering sadness: "I took a pill and had a dream / I went back to my 17 year / Allowed myself to be naive / To be someone I've never been," she coos.

"Medellín" is less about a physical escape, and more about fully letting down her guard, giving Madonna a break from...Madonna. (Thus, Madame X was born.)

"Sipping my pain just like champagne / Found myself dancing in the rain with you / I felt so naked and alive / For once I didn't have to hide myself."

And then, there's the most revelatory line of all: "I took a trip, it set me free / Forgave myself for being me."

"Forgave myself for being me." Kind of devastating, honestly. Imagine that kind of liberation.

Madame X will surely get hit with the "desperate, trying to be relevant" accusations, as always. Because, as you and I know, an older female pop star can't keep up with the culture like a younger female pop star. It's against the law. Or something.

But frankly, while the song might be on-trend for enlisting a hit-maker and dipping its toes in radio-friendly reggaeton, it's still too strange (in a great way) to be considered an obvious grab at radio relevance. In fact, it feels so natural and fresh and effortless, it could be a hit - not that I care what other people think about her. Because fuck 'em all.

Madonna, the Queen of Pop, has nothing left to prove fourteen albums deep into her career, and this song feels like she's thoroughly embraced that truth. She hasn't sounded so free in a long time. It’s what she deserves.

"Medellín" is so good, just look at what it's done to sweet, sweet Maluma baby: he's in tears. My heart.

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

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"Medellín" was released on April 17. (iTunes)


Madonna Maluma Medellín

Madonna & Maluma Are Taking Us to 'Medellín'

Madonna - err, sorry - Madame X has arrived to the party, and she's brought Maluma as her +1.

After the formal announcement of the ❌-citing New Era over the weekend, the Portuguese Soccer Mom of Pop™ revealed on Monday (April 15) that the first single from her forthcoming album arrives on Wednesday (April 17): it's called "Medellín," otherwise known as the second-largest city in Colombia and, importantly, the sacred birthplace of the Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy himself.

How do I feel, knowing that Mother Madge and (one of) my Colombian husband(s) are working together? A lot of things: I feel incredibly seen. And justified for stanning since "El Perdedor." And also incredibly horny.

Fellow Little Medonsters, do yourselves and your mental health a favor and ignore the inevitable cries of "trend-hopping!" and "she just wants to be relevant!" because, um, what does that make pop stars like Shakira, Anitta and the other Queen of Pop herself, Becky G? Guess what it actually means? She's still a pop star, and has the taste to know that the best music being made at the moment is outside of America.

We're going to aim high here and hope for a Madge-ified "Chantaje" - a sultry, entirely danceable reggaeton-pop duet that plays off of their chemistry. Or, perhaps she's going to take us back to La Isla Bonita with her chico bonito. I may be blinded by standom, but I think there are far more ways this could go right than wrong.

I'm ❌-static for what will, hopefully, be a sexy serving of Colombian reggaeton king-meets-Queen of Pop ❌-cellence.

MADGELUMA IS COMING.

Maluma Dreamy Eyes


Madonna Madame X

Pleased to Meet You, Madonna - Err, Madame X

Her name is Dita. Was, anyway. Now, you can call her Madame X.

Madonna, experimental electronic hip-hop indie rising artist and One To Watch in 2019, is slowly, agonizingly teasing her brand new, post-Portugal Soccer Mom era of music...and she's taking on a new persona to do so.

As the Little Medonsters have carefully sleuthed, between her "X"-filled Instagram grid and Story teasers and a newly published playlist on Spotify, the album - and the new identity - is called Madame X.

On Friday (April 12), Madonna created a Spotify playlist called #magic - the lead single title, perhaps? - filled with six songs: "Material Girl," "American Life," "Don't Tell Me," "Addicted," "Music," and "Express Yourself." Can you see it? Read the songs by first letter down in a row. MADAME - and that last song doubles as an "X." (And yes, she's cutting into a fucking apple in the accompanying playlist photo, because "Apple Pie" rumors are going to haunt me until the day I die.)

Further evidence? The ramble she's teasing on Instagram: "She is a cha cha instructor. A professor. A head of state. A housekeeper. An equestrian. A prisoner," it reads. (Yes, admittedly, very "I am a mother. I am your friend" a la Britney Jean.)

Madonna Madame X Instagram

Watch the trailer for 1966's Madame X, and you'll see the writing's on the wall - err, letter. That opening shot is nearly identical in style. The only blank space left to fill on her Instagram is meant to describe the "secret agent, traveling around the world." And that would be...Madame X.

If you've not yet seen it, here's a synopsis of the Lana Turner-starring film: "A woman married to a wealthy socialite, is compromised by the accidental death of a man who had been romantically pursuing her, and is forced by her mother-in-law to assume a new identity to save the reputation of her husband and infant son. She wanders the world, trying to forget her heartbreak with the aid of alcohol and unsavory men, eventually returning to the city of her downfall, where she murders a blackmailer who threatens to expose her past. Amazingly, she is represented at her murder trial by her now adult son, who is a public defender. Hoping to continue to protect her son, she refuses to give her real name and is known to the court as the defendant, 'Madame X.'"

Honestly, it sounds like the standard events of any old weekend in M-Dolla's world.

What's even more fun? Play those songs on the Spotify playlist, and your screen will display various "X"-s.

And yes, you can already feel the lawsuits brewing from both Legendtina and Allie X's camps.

With confirmation that there's at least one music video in the can, plus a bound-to-be-controversial performance of a "problematic" new song at Eurovision 2019 in May, it seems as though this era is about to kick off...any day now.

Are you feeling...Xcited?

Madame X GIF

UPDATE: HERE WE GO.


Hatchie Stay With Me

Hatchie's 'Stay With Me' Is Your New Favorite Crying at the Club Anthem

There are "mood" genres that need no real explanation: "Crying At The Discotheque," of course - beyond being a great Alcazar song - is one of them.

Rising Australian singer-songwriter Hatchie, born Harriette Pilbeam, has just thrown her hat(chie) into the sad disco ring with "Stay With Me," a dreamy and devastating offering from her upcoming debut album, Keepsake, due out on June 21.

"'Stay With Me' was written as a writing exercise in an effort to step away from my usual style into something more fun and dancey. We originally wrote it with someone else in mind, but realized it was the perfect fit for my album as I wanted to expand into a different sound. It became one of my favourite songs on the record because I'm a sucker for crying-in-the-club tracks," she explains.

Like all of the best songs of the genre, the track blends lush, danceable beats with a faded, it's-2 AM-and-I'm-still-dancing-out-the-demons kind of feeling. It's straightforward, but there's such gut-wrenching devastation in lines like "Why don't you stay with me? 'Cause I'm not done" and "Even when you're gone, I feel like you're the one who's won."

So go on, get out there, have yourself a little cry and keep dancing on your own.

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"Stay With Me" was released on April 4. (iTunes)

Photo Credit: Joe Agius


BLACKPINK Kill This Love

'Kill This Love': BLACKPINK's Back to Kick (Br)ass

BLACKPINK's back in our area - and quite frankly, they ought to just look into getting a sublet or something because these frequent visits are getting kind of ridiculous. Kidding! May they buy a house and remain in our area forever and ever. (And may we all remain forever young.)

Jennie, Lisa, Rosé and Jisoo have indeed returned to us, brass blaring and guns blazing, to bring about the revolution yet again with "Kill This Love," the lead single and title track off of their new EP.

Leaning in on their status as the premiere K-pop crossover crusaders (a Billboard cover story, a history-making Coachella slot and a U.S. headlining tour - yeah, they're The Ones), the girls are more powerful and confident than ever in their latest song and accompanying visual smorgasbord of a music video.

The looks alone in this video: Swan Princess Jennie?! Lisa wreaking havoc in the candy-coated cereal aisle? Jisoo's artsy-fartsy reflection? Rosé running Rosé over in her getaway car? (Me next, Rosé!) The Tomb Raider styling? The bear trap stage?! Sorry, I'm just shouting things at this point. Every frame is impeccable. Seriously. It's all just so stunning. (Western pop stars should be ashamed of their music videos, as per usual.)

The song itself is, I'd say, a grower: it's not quite as instant of a (kill this) love as "DDU-DU DDU-DU" or "Boombayah" or "As If It's Your Last," but it is a big, bold blast of militant energy and fierce attitude, 2NE1 style (this is a YG song, no doubt!) - and there's no denying that if anyone, these are the girls right for the job of delivering this kind of aggressive, in-your-face production.

The song's also probably going to go down big when it's performed live as the girls storm the stage stateside. Most of all, it all looks and sounds exciting, genuinely, at a time when it's hard to feel much of anything.

As far as being the most visible ambassadors of girl group K-pop to the international community (they've already broken another streaks of YouTube view records with this video, and it's been like...an hour), they're doing a great job of proving why there are much more exciting options around the world than consuming whatever's being peddled on Top 40 radio. Although, one day, they might just wind up on the airwaves stateside too.

Unfortunately, the girls have failed to kill this love. In fact, they've only made it stronger. #Blink4Life

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"Kill This Love" was released on April 4. (iTunes)


Jake Germain Over U

Jake Germain Is Getting 'Over U'

Lord knows: if it doesn't involve wigs and stilettos, I'm not interested. Usually, anyway.

That being said, it's a (not so) New Year, (not so) New Me, and it's time to be more open-minded in terms of potential pop saviors - especially in these trying times.

Jake Germain is an up-and-coming act, simmering on the social media scene amid an exciting crew of rising digital music makers. And, just like our beloved "Mine" Internet babe Slayyyter (oh me, oh my - check out our interview if you haven't already), he's collaborated with fellow promising pop self-starter/producer Boy Sim on a new track called "Over U," which is so instant and obvious in its infectiousness, it's silly. (The subject matter, however, is no laughing matter.)

As with Carly Raemacculate Jepselegend of the North and her objectively perfect "Tonight I'm Getting Over You," Jake has some getting over U to do.

And so, he and Boy Sim crafted a track (yes, a "bop") that remains firmly, endlessly stuck on repe-pe-peat, vaguely bringing #SomethingMoreEuropean to mind, including CRJ's anthem (thus recalling the Swede-pop perfection of Max Martin), as well as the vocoded timelessness of Daft Punk's "One More Time" and the synth-y Norwegian goodness of Donkeyboy.

"'Over U' is a really special track to me," Jake tells MuuMuse.

"I think it’s one of the most important ones I’ve written in a really long time. It’s a really empowering song about forgetting all the good and the bad and just moving on. It sort of came about during the whole transition I had from my previous style of music to the new style that I’ve been doing, so it’s definitely a cross between the both which is really cool for me to see," he explains.

"I had originally produced the demo, but I knew it needed an extra boost so I ended up sending it over to Boy Sim for co-production He took the exact image I had in my head and it turned into such an amazing song. He’s a genius, I trust him with anything I’m working on."

Jake, like Slayyyter, also has lots of thoughts about The State of Pop, nostalgia and what's coming next.

"The MySpace pop resurgence is definitely something I think Internet culture as a whole needed, I feel like this whole moment is kind of bringing back that very 2009-2011 pop sound that dominated the radio...I think we all sort of have a huge nostalgia for what pop used to be, and we all really want to see it come back around. People are missing it."

It's true: echoes of that era already seem to be bubbling up into mainstream music in the latest generation of pop hopefuls - see Ava Max's Fame-era Lady Gaga love letter, "Sweet But Psycho," for example.

Music is cyclical. Trends come in waves. Nothing's ever really dies, and nothing is really over - except for you. We're most definitely getting over you tonight.

https://soundcloud.com/palettes/over-u

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"Over U" was released on April 4. (iTunes)