Mandy Moore In Real Life

'In Real Life': Mandy Moore Is Returning With a New Album

I'm craving me some Che - err, Mandy Moore.

You know who you are. She'll be forever yours. And on May 13, the "Candy" folk-pop princess herself returns.

Two years after the release of her beautiful return Silver Landings, which was unfortunately overshadowed upon its release back in March of 2020 due to...well, more pressing world events, the 37-year-old singer-songwriter-actress extraordinaire is back with a whole new body of work in her pocket: In Real Life.

The album's first single and title track, out on Tuesday (March 8), marks Mandy's first release since welcoming her first child with her husband Taylor Goldsmith, who is also one of her musical collaborators.

Accordingly, we are entering Mandy's Mother-Pop era.

“So much of this record came from future-tripping on the next chapter of my life and what it might look like: what parenthood would feel like, how it would change everything, and all the excitement and trepidation that comes with that. At the same time it was about celebrating and acknowledging where we were at the moment and really trying to be completely present in the everyday—which is maybe the hardest part of the human condition," she says.

The assured return, which kicks off with an unexpected blast of synths, finds Mandy contemplating life now that "the world don't revolve around me," and it's a swirling, gorgeous ode to stepping into the selflessness of parenthood and embracing the present moment.

She sounds as fantastic as ever vocally, the instrumentation is rich, and the lyrics are really lovely and touching, and surprisingly relatable - not just for first-time parents, but to anyone finding their footing in pandemic life: "I've been seeing friends of mine in real life / Going through the motions, spinning wheels, spinning their wheels / Everything is happening in real time / Rising tide is nipping at my heels."

There's a bridge too - yes, thankfully, a bridge in 2022! - and even a moment of belting: "The curtains were drawn, the circus moved on / Once I saw who I was in your eyes / Now each minor key sounds major to me / And everything feels harmonized."

The album was written and recorded alongside her husband Taylor and his brother Griffin from their band Dawes, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of New York indie-pop band Lucius, keyboardist Lee Pardini and bassist Sebastian Steinberg.

It was produced by longtime collaborator Mike Viola, who has worked with her since 2009's Amanda Leigh, and is described as having a 'gloriously unpredictable sound, touched with elements of everything from jangly college-rock to cinematic synth-pop to classic singer/songwriter simplicity." Promising!

There are a few further hints about the upcoming songs in the press release, including the "acoustic-guitar-laced 'Four Moons,' with its heavenly harmonies and hypnotic B3 organ, the wildly glittering 'Little Dreams' and 'In Other Words,' a rhythmically euphoric song where Moore attempts to quantify her love for her son."

“To me it’s all about staying open, staying aware, staying sensitive and empathetic to the people around me. here’s something about expressing myself through lyrics and melody that makes me feel whole, and I see it as a privilege to have that outlet. And even though this album is very specific to me and my experience—there’s songs about my baby, my husband, my father, my friends—I hope everyone’s able to see their own lives in it. I hope they’re able to come along on the journey with me, and put themselves in the driver’s seat," she explains.

At some point during the promotion of Silver Landings, Mandy vowed that she wouldn't be taking another decade off in between albums. It's incredibly encouraging to see that she's made good at that promise, and that she continues to be inspired to make music - very much in her own style, and on her own terms.

The cover art and tracklist for In Real Life are already here too - check it out.

Mandy Moore In Real Life

1. In Real Life
2. Heartlands
3. Little Dreams
4. Just Maybe
5. Living In The In Between
6. In Other Words
7. Four Moons
8. Little Victories
9. Heavy Lifting
10. Brand New Nowhere
11. Every Light

She'll also be heading out on the road this summer on tour - click here for the dates.


Charli XCX Baby

"Baby" Is Charli XCX at Her Sexiest Yet

"I'ma make you my, I'ma make you my / I'ma make you my, I'ma make you my...baby."

It's Charli, baby.

The 29-year-old signed douche wholesaler-slash-pop star is deep into her self-described evil major label sell-your-soul era, with her fifth and final studio album with Atlantic Records, Crash, just days away. (It's out on March 18, to be exact.)

Prior to the release of the record, she's dropped a few ringtone-length bops along the way over the past few months, including the still fantastic "Good Ones" (which still ends far too soon), "New Shapes" with Caroline Polachek and Christine and the Queens, as well as her September interpolating-"Beg For You" with Rina Sawayama.

On Tuesday (March 1), the "Stay Away" chanteuse returned with her fourth cut from the upcoming collection, called "Baby" - and it's an instantly addictive hit.

Nearly two years ago, Charli XCX began discussing what would become Crash in interviews, explaining that it was going to be her most straightforward "pop"-sounding project yet, and that Janet Jackson's music - and music from the '80s in general, including Prince and Martika - served as a major influence.

"Baby" feels like the first really obvious product of that inspiration, especially as it grooves its way into its bouncy chorus, which feels like the product of listening to Prince, Vanity 6 and early Janet. The Minneapolis Sound™ is loud and clear!

It doesn't try too hard to be anything else than what it is: a sleek sex anthem, complete with lusty moans and a yearning "...baby" here and there, but still contains that Charli XCX edge with ample promises to "fuck you up" - in a good way, of course. Or is it?

"You know I'll break your heart / Tear it into tiny pieces / One more falling star / I'll shut you away, but you wanna stay," she ominously declares towards the end, supplying a bit of that True Romance goth grit.

And while "Baby" does still clock in before the 3 minute mark, it also feels like a fully formed song, complete with a bridge. In 2022! Thank God.

She's also really going for it with the accompanying music video, leaning even further into doing Main Pop Girl choreography by delivering a complete dance clip. And she's doing it well! Hip thrusts and hair flips aplenty. Get it, Miss Aitchison.

"'Baby' was actually one of the first songs that came together for this album. I was working on it with Justin Raisen, and we'd done a lot together for my first ever album, True Romance. So it kind of felt cyclical to go back and with him again on what is my final record in my deal with Atlantic," she told Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1.

"But obviously so much has changed, and this song, it was kind of the foundation of the vibe of the album. It's probably the most sexy song I've ever made. It's about sex and sexuality and having good sex and just feeling yourself essentially. I know that that's the tone. I knew that that was the tone I wanted to carry across for the entire record. This kind of hyper-sexualized, feminine power zone was where I was feeling myself going, and 'Baby' was the genesis of this," she continued.

"Also I think that's probably why I wanted to challenge myself on the choreo for this song, which was really, really tough and I have so much respect for dancers, professional dancers, anyone who communicates emotion through dance. It is so hard and challenging, but so rewarding."

Charli's had some very public ups and downs with the Crash campaign thus far, and even though she might not be on social media at the moment - in part thanks to some rather overly critical fans @-ing her with their feedback...touch grass! - hopefully someone's letting her know that she's really done it this time around.

Good work, baby.


Royksopp Impossible Profound Mysteries

"Impossible": Alison Goldfrapp Joins Röyksopp's 'Profound' Return

"See the change arrive, thunder rolling / I can feel it come..."

The boys of Röyksopp just love a good tease.

The Norwegian duo - who declared themselves done with the traditional album format back in 2014 with The Inevitable End - have been teasing something mysterious and profound for months at this point, beginning with the hint that they'd be going back on a promise they once made in the past.

Following a series of uncanny visualizers, artifacts and instrumental tracks with no real explanation, including "(Nothing But) Ashes..." on New Year's Day, followed by "The Ladder," and landing pages with strange symbols and snippets inviting us to "Press 'R'", the electro-pop pioneers at last provided us with something more human-sounding: "Impossible," featuring none other than the instantly familiar voice of the legendary Alison Goldfrapp.

Röyksopp's at their best when tag-teaming with brilliant female vocalists, and of course, this is no exception to their streak.

"You're the world ablaze / You're the space between / Impossible / Perfect dream," Alison alluringly croons on the intriguing and inviting electronic tune, clocking in at a healthy six and a half minutes long (thank you for letting a track breathe in the year 2022) and channeling elements of both acts' synth-filled, atmospheric pasts.

A little dance-y, a little dreamy...it hits the spot just right.

Profound Mysteries

"Impossible" is not only a long overdue pairing of two of the best electronic acts of the noughties and beyond, but a fitting first taste of what's to come: along with the song came an announcement of their new collection, Profound Mysteries, out on April 29 - but don't call it a traditional album.

It's "an expanded creative universe and a prodigious conceptual project" - and also comes with artwork that looks like one of those "name one thing in this photo" optical illusions.

“As human beings, what we don’t know vastly overshadows what we do know. As teenagers, we would discuss our own fascination and preoccupation with the infinite and the impossible – the most profound mysteries of life," the duo said in a statement.

“It’s been great working with the wonderful Svein & Torbjørn from Röyksopp,” Alison said, going on to tease that this collaboration isn't a standalone.

“I’ve been a fan of their music for years and it was a fascinating joy creating ‘Impossible’ together. I truly hope everyone enjoys the track as there’s more to come.”

While we wait for even more to materialize from the Profound Mysteries era - especially if you're just getting into the group - here are 10 songs to know by Röyksopp.


Chanel SloMo Eurovision

Chanel, "SloMo": Spain's Eurovision Entry Is the Moment

Versace...Dior...Gucci...I'm so sorry, sweeties. This year, it's all about Chanel.

Chanel Terrero, that is.

It's hard to believe, but Måneskin's sexy Italian reign is already nearly over, as Eurovision Song Contest 2022 rapidly approaches this May in Turin, Italy.

And now, a new supreme rises...en SloMo.

Following a series of rounds in the first-ever Benidorm Fest, Chanel was officially named Spain's official entry into this year's Eurovision.

It's safe to say that the country is overdue for a win: their only two victories came one after the other in 1968 and 1969. They've also come in last five times in Eurovision history, according to Eurovision World. Not exactly a stellar track record.

But after watching this performance, you'll see why Chanel just might break that losing streak.

First of all, for an international song competition, the cross-cultural credits on the dance-pop bop certainly feel appropriate: the track was crafted by the Amsterdam-based Arjen Thonen (or SWACQ), Brazilian singer-songwriter Ibere Fortes (of Anitta's "Loco"), Estelle's "American Boy" co-writer Keith Harris, Spanish singer-songwriter Leroy Sánchez and Canadian singer-songwriter Maggie Szabo.

It's also a bilingual bop, bouncing between Spanish and English lyrics as Chanel cockily seduces with her Booty Hypnotic™, providing shades of Jennifer Lopez and the fuego of Eleni Foureira while doing so. Go on, take a video - it'll last longer!

"Take a video / Watch it slo mo, mo, mo, mo, mo / Booty hypnotic / Make you want more, more, more, more, more / Voy a bajarlo hasta el suelo, lo, lo, lo, lo / If the way I shake it to this dembow."

The performances are each a gag from start to finish, beginning with the fact that Drag Race España winner Carmen Farala - one of the show's best winners - designed her sparkling Vegas showgirl-glam-matador outfit. (An absolute toot, obviously.)

It's all stellar: the choreography, the energy, the strobe light-filled chorus - and of course, that absolutely jaw-dropping, dopamine-boosting dance break that we so desperately don't get enough of in pop these days.

"SloMo" is the stuff of someone who's already been running the game for years. Except, did I mention this is her...debut?

Kyle Hanagami, the choreography legend behind BLACKPINK, revealed that he worked on the performance, and detailed how it all came together on his Instagram - and just how much of a pro Chanel really is.

"This is Chanel, a brand new artist I am choreographing for in Spain. I saw her on Instagram and she hadn’t even released music. She didn’t have a huge fan base behind her, but she had talent and passion so I reached out to see if I could help in anyway bring her dreams to life. This is the product of her dream. I wanted to show that a group of very talented people could create something truly special as long as there was passion. My friend @leroysanchez wrote this banger of a song, we asked the winner of Drag Race Spain @carmenfarala, to design and make the stunning wardrobe and @district78 created this incredible dance break down for me to choreograph. I am in awe of what we created!" he wrote.

"Congrats @chanelterrero on your first performance EVER!!! If only people knew we put this entire performance together in only three days. I am so proud."

As for our new favorite multi-talented entertainer herself: Chanel originally born in Cuba, but relocated to Olesa de Montserrat in Catalonia when she was four years old. She's a trained dancer, clearly - she also did backup during Shakira's 2010 MTV EMAs performance! - and has since become a TV and movie star, and a theater queen as well, having performed in productions like Mamma Mia! and The Lion King.

And now, we can officially add "Queen of Pop" to her CV.

Here's to an incredible showing in Italy later this year, and the start of a beautiful career in the music industry. Eat it up in SloMo, Chanel. We're rooting for you!


Anitta Boys Don't Cry

"Boys Don't Cry": Anitta Gets Her Quick Kicks With a Banger

"When the girls don't need your love / Who says boys don't cry?"

Anitta!

The beloved Brazilian baddie - our Girl From Rio, the Meiga e Abusada Marvel - is back at it yet again (RT for Brazil!) in 2022, forging ahead in her ongoing quest for multilingual global domination.

And, as of Friday (January 28), she's in Main Pop Girl mode with an (all too brief) English-language, guitar-led, rock-tinged dance-pop banger. That's right: she's a rock chick now, just like Avril. Is there a genre Anitta can't tackle?

She's truly not fooling around this time: the song is stuffed with some of the most major players in pop, including the legendary Max Martin collaborator Rami Yacoub (perhaps you've heard his song "...Baby One More Time" somewhere), Rihanna hit-making singer-songwriter Bibi Bourelly, BURNS (who did Britney's "Make Me..." and much of Lady Gaga's Chromatica) and Sean Douglas, of Demi Lovato's "Heart Attack" fame.

Who needs a man? Not Anitta, that's for damn sure.

The ode to independent living and no-strings-attached fun comes in as short and sweet as a ringtone at a tight 2:15 minutes (do something about this already, Joe Biden!), as Anitta gets her kicks real quick and makes a run for it before the dudes start, inevitably, catching feelings.

While Anitta previously said the song was inspired by Panic! At The Disco (amazing), the slick track also slides in well between the more top-tier pop servings of the moment: Charli XCX's "Good Ones," The Weeknd's '80s sheen, some of Miley's Plastic Hearts rock energy, plus a touch of Bonnie McKee brand of power pop, armed with an earworm of a chorus that sticks right from the very first play. Ooh baby, baby, you be talkin' tough! (I especially love the second verse: "You start telling me I'm the one...I'm not.")

To further illustrate her point, the Christian Breslauer co-directed music video finds our favorite "Paradinha" princess looking extremely hot (duh), getting stalked by a lifeless man or ten (relatable!), ditching boys at the altar, and making her great escape in high fashion - all while hitting a club or two in the process.

While I don't know exactly what is happening, I like to think she got on the same bus as Ali Rose in Burlesque in the end, and now the two are on the way to become big stars in Los Angeles.

And while yes, it's a too-short tease of a track that could have absolutely done with a proper bridge and final chorus explosion - curse you once again, streaming/TikTok - "Boys Don't Cry" is an instant hit, and some of Anitta's best evidence yet that she's got what it takes to crack the pop industry stateside.


Charli XCX Rina Sawayama Beg For You

Charli XCX & Rina Sawayama Flip September's 'Cry For You' for the LGBTs

"You'll never see me again," Petra Linnea Paula Marklund, the artist formerly known as September, once declared.

Fifteen years and a whole lot of memes later, she's back once again. Sort of. In the cultural conversation. On Gay Twitter, anyway.

Charli XCX, who is currently feeling her evil-illuminati-sell-out-record-label-puppet-Main-Pop-Girl-fantasy ahead of the release of her long-awaited studio album Crash, has (heavily) borrowed from the chorus of the Swedish chanteuse's deeply legendary Gold-selling dance-pop smash for her own track "Beg For You," out Thursday (January 27), co-starring "XS" pop superstar Rina Sawayama. (Hello, LGBTs!)

"Don't you leave me this way / Won't you wait another hour or two? / You know I need you to stay / Don't make me beg for you, 'cause I'll beg for you," the two declare on the Digital Farm Animals-produced cut, flipping the message of the empowering Swedish club kiss-off into a desperate plea to have one more hour or two together. (Yearning for more kisses from someone who isn't giving you the time of day is, canonically, queer.)

Does the track mostly heavily rely on nostalgia for September's "Cry For You," and the excitement of two of the Queer Youth's pop saviors teaming up, rather than necessarily being a revelation in and of itself? Well, yes. Was it mostly already revealed in extended snippet form on TikTok? Well, yes, that too.

And, much like "Good Ones," and the aforementioned ocean breeze-like lover, it also comes and goes just a bit too soon.

Sure, it's a Brave New World of TikTok and streaming and attention spans shorter than goldfish now. But still. They should do a 10-minute extended cover of Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand's "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" next - the LGBTs would eat it up all the same.

"Beg for You" is still a fun time, nonetheless. And lucky for us, Crash is just around the corner now, impacting on March 18.

Charli, Rina...we thank you for your September salute.

@rinasawayamaofficial BEG FOR YOU is coming @charlixcx 😭🤍 here is a little taste because we love u !!!!! are u ready !!!!?? #popmusic #newmusic ♬ Beg For You (feat. Rina Sawayama) - Charli XCX


Grimes Shinigami Eyes

"Shinigami Eyes": Grimes Brings Her Death Note to the Dance Floor

"Are you ready to die? / Got my Shinigami eyes on..."

Well, it's about damn time.

Our favorite Canadian sword-wielding cyber-fairy-space-princess Grimes is back on Wednesday (January 26) - not without a battle - with her brand new single from forthcoming EP Fairies Cum First, a prelude to her album Book 1, "Shinigami Eyes."

It's not exactly new to fans: in fact, she first teased a tantalizing taste of the track showing off her lightsaber skills in the pool almost a year ago, and a snippet of the song lingered in the "Music" section on Instagram Story for months.

However, she...didn't want to release it as The Single. At first, anyway.

"The reason is I was teasing it so long, I was getting in a fight with everybody about which songs are first. I have a problem where I always fight the single, even 'Oblivion' and 'Genesis' back in the day," she said during an Instagram Live session. "I always want to put out my weird songs. This is just the classic Grimes...rigamarole."

Luckily, bullying works (not actual bullying, please do not bully Grimes), which is why fan demand and label pressure eventually convinced her to bring out the track at last.

The Death Note-inspired track is full of signature Grimes-style vocoded angelic goodness drizzled on top of throbbing beats and an ominous undercurrent, co-produced with Illangelo, who also worked on melancholy trance anthem "Player of Games."

For the uninitiated, Death Note is a popular anime from the mid '00s, very generally about a high school student named Light Yagami who discovers a notebook, called a Death Note, that allows him to kill by writing someone's name in the book, gradually thrusting society into absolute chaos. (Basically, a burn book gone very wrong.)

Shinigamis, or Gods of Death, are a race of beings in the series that extend their lives by killing humans using the Death Note. If a human makes contact with a Death Note, the human obtains the power to kill. A human can make a deal with the Shinigami to obtain the power of Shinigami eyes, which allows them to see other people’s names and remaining lifespans. The cost for the eyes is half of the human’s remaining life. (I know, it's a lot of lore - I recommend giving the series a watch on Netflix. It's good.)

As a result, "Shinigami Eyes" is broadly about wielding an all-seeing, all-knowing destructive power, like the Shinigami entering the human world. And, fittingly, the menacing track is all about being in full control and calling the shots. ("We do what I like / Always what I like / Baby, it's a fine time / Shinigami prime time...and you can't say no.")

The concept is further demonstrated in the accompanying visual buffet of a music video, directed by Brthr.

"The music video is about this all-powerful AI who's masquerading as the best pop star of all time, who can alter time and space and has unlimited power and has control of the simulation," Grimes further explained on her IG Live.

Grimes Jennie Blackpink

The clip also casually features BLACKPINK's Jennie (!) looking gorgeous as ever while supplying her best virtual world-traversing bad ass presence, as well as Dorian Electra and artist Ryon Wu.

The music video was also sort of done on the fly: the scenes were shot on something called an XR stage, where the effects are rendering live in the camera. Grimes explained on her Instagram Live that they were figuring out how to make it look good in realtime, and that half of the effects were effectively experiments while learning the technology on the spot.

It's all extremely cool, and one big, bright, chaotic, video game-like sensory overload, similar to the metallic sheen and metaverse-ready futuristic style of aespa, and feels like the natural progression from the medieval-meets-virtual world Grimes has been building out, even prior to Book 1, with Miss Anthropocene's "Violence" through to "Player of Games."

Grimes' trajectory over the past decade - especially in the past three or four years - has been fascinating to watch. While finding her footing as an increasingly public persona (something she's been openly uncomfortable about online), she's also been pushing her visuals to new pop star heights, supplying vibrant looks and choreography and indulging in all of her ultimate nerdy fantasies while pondering the future of music and AI and technology. And radical utopia.

Throughout all of this, the music truly has not faltered. In fact, musically and visually speaking, this current era is already hitting as one of 2022's early highlights.

Book 1 remains one of the year's most anticipated records, and the wait isn't getting any easier. If only we had the Shinigami eyes to know exactly when it's coming...


Lali Disciplina

Lali Is Our Dom, And She's Here to Teach Us Some "Disciplina"

"Atención...firme."

Her name is Dita - err, Lali. She'll be your mistress tonight.

It's been well over a minute since we last heard from Mariana “Lali” Espósito, Argentine Queen of Pop™, following a little hiatus from the music scene.

But she's here now...with a few more whips and chains this time around.

La Lali arrived with her first song in over a year on Wednesday (January 12) with "Disciplina," a dark and sultry, hot and heavy BDSM-themed dance-pop bop armed with a chorus that'll make you want to bend over and assume the position for the Argentinian baddie at once.

There's no beating around the bush on this Dano and Mauro De Tommaso production (although there may be some lashings): this is all about following orders, as Lali commands us to get on our knees from the first few seconds.

"Disciplina / Disciplina / Disciplina (Sub, dom) / Disciplina (Sub, dom)." Oof!

The blood red-hued accompanying music video helps further illustrate the message, as she and a group of willing, cutout-heavy couture dancers start to pull shapes as the temperature rises. And when it comes time for Lali to show us how it's done, she does and then some: that is one fucking fierce dancing queen.

There's no doubt Lali is a student of Britney, as the throbbing tune and searing hot visual supply shades of everything from the "I'm A Slave 4 U" orgies (more BDSM!) to Blackout to "Work Bitch." There's a little Rihanna Rated R dominatrix edge and Miley's "Wrecking Ball" with the giant chain, too.

It hits all the right pop girl iconic visual spots, basically, and is absolutely one of the first major pop bangers of 2022.

“Disciplina” is said to be the first single from her upcoming fifth studio album.

And If Lali plans on having her heel firmly on our necks like this for the rest of the record, it's going to hurt so good.


Royksopp Profound Mysteries

The Mysterious & Profound Return of Röyksopp: 10 Songs to Know

Royksopp Profound Mysteries

Röyksopp's back at last, Röykstans.

Many moons ago, about fifteen years deep into their career, the Norwegian electronic duo announced that they were done releasing full-length records, and that 2014's The Inevitable End would be their final studio album in the traditional sense.

Some people aren't good at keeping their promises. And in this case, that's a very good thing for us.

In the time since that announcement, the duo - individually Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland - continued to collaborate with other artists and work on various projects, as well as sharing bonus tracks, live songs and rarities in the form of their Lost Tapes series, until it suddenly came screeching to a halt at the top of 2021.

"It simply means that we are pausing Lost Tapes for a while," they wrote at the time, "in order for us to focus our efforts on other endeavors. There is no drama related to this decision. Quite the opposite. Let’s just say that we have to go back on a promise we made in the past – but hopefully to some elation."

Exactly one year later, we're here now with what appears to the fruits of those endeavors...and pressing "R."

Röyksopp relaunched their social media accounts just in time for the New Year, along with a landing page on their official website featuring a new interlocked symbol, retitling the page "Profound Mysteries" - presumably an album title.

Clicking on the "R" button leads to several incredible sounding snippets, and as of this month, the duo dropped a brief new song called "(Nothing But) Ashes…" that seemingly ushers in a new era.

There's an accompanying visualizer as well, traveling through a colorful, metallic landscape towards what looks vaguely like an elongated version of Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman bunny ears. (It's all a bit iamamiwhoami, actually.)

After The Inevitable End comes...the inevitable comeback, and I couldn't be happier.


Back in December, the duo dropped a perfectly curated "Introduction to Röyksopp" playlist on Spotify and YouTube, which I highly recommend digging into.

Here are just a few of my own suggestions, most of which are included in their playlist...

"What Else Is There?"

The duo shines brightest when it comes to collaborations with incredible women in music, and "What Else Is There?" with Karin Dreijer from The Knife is among one of their greatest achievements. The song harnesses Karin's unique vocals across a classic, contemplative Röyksopp electronic pulse. The album that this comes from - The Understanding - is an all-time favorite, desert island, must have album.

"Only This Moment"

Goddess Kate Havnevik lends her heavenly voice to "Only This Moment," an utterly sublime, tragic, romantic, deeply dramatic ode to the varying emotions of an intense romantic relationship. "Voices within me mix reason with lust but I'll try to accept it and not make it worse, 'cause I know I might lose it by taking the chance, but love without pain isn't really romance." Close to perfection, indeed. At one point, I strongly considered a tattoo of the single art. (The MuuMuse stans might already know just how personal this song is for me...)

"I Had This Thing"

In another world, this is a stone-cold dance floor classic known 'round the world, on the level of a "Dancing On My Own." Crying at the discotheque is an understatement: Röyksopp's knack for crafting emotional electronica reaches staggering new heights on this ode to an end of a relationship, which feels like the end of the world, as captured in the accompanying music video. Jamie Irrepressible's trembling vocals, the surging pulse, the increasingly urgent cries of "I never meant to let you go." I have openly wept to this song on the streets of New York City, and I will surely do it again.

"Running to the Sea"

An absolute masterpiece from their (then) final album, through and through. The talented Susanne Sundfør leads the way through a gradually expands from a simple piano through a bed of synthesizers and celestial sounds as it builds, and builds, and builds to ecstatic heights.

"Never Ever"

A few years later, the trio teamed up again for a more joyous dance floor celebration, in the form of "Never Ever." Among other things, it contains a stuttering beat breakdown two-thirds into the track that is nothing short of absolute catharsis and love-drunk euphoria. "Never ever gonna let you go now..."

"Monument"

Robyn and Röyksopp go together like Janet and Jam & Lewis. "Monument" is perhaps their most epic offering from their Do It Again EP, expanding out into the cosmos and providing plenty of introspection and existentialism along the way.

"Do It Again"

Again, it's a perfect sonic pairing. And sorely underrated, at that. They do it again and again, quite literally.

"Vision One"

This track is an absolutely wild crossover event, which will only be meaningful to an extremely niche audience: it was originally released as "Sing a Song" by Japanese singer Eri Nobuchika, produced by the iconic Shinichi Osawa. It was later covered/recreated as a sorta collapse-of-civilization anthem with the talented Anneli Drecker for Junior.

"The Girl & The Robot"

Did I mention that Robyn and Röyksopp work together often? Years before their EP, the three crafted Junior banger "The Girl And The Robot," a perfect blend of Body Talk-era robo-minded dance-pop Robyn and Röyksopp's beats and bleeps of the era.

"Were You Ever Wanted"

Speaking of Swedish goddesses! Imagine crafting so many smashes that this Lykke Li-assisted drifting, dreamy banger is just lingering in the bonus track drawer. The song was performed live over the years, and was a Japan only-exclusive for Junior.

And that's just scratching the surface, really. Whether you're doing a refresh or discovering for the first time, go ahead and take a deep dive into their discography immediately as we await the Profound Mysteries that lie ahead in 2022.


Let Them It's All Love Tom Aspaul

"Let Them (It's All Love)": Tom Aspaul Kicks Off a New Era

Tom Aspaul Let Them It's All Love

"You think everybody's out to get you / It's all love...

It's a new year, and a new chapter for Tom Aspaul.

Famously, we do not stan men in this house, but Tom is a rare exception to the rule, from the early "Indiana" days all the way to 2020's gorgeous, gay dance floor triumph, Black Country Disco and beyond. (Also, Buttmas.)

Also, he's referenced Romanian Queens of Pop Inna and Alexandra Stan as specific inspirations for his new single, so what choice do we really have now but to stan?

Ahead of his sophomore album due out later this year, the indie dance-pop prince is starting 2022 right with "Let Them (It's All Love)," released on New Year's Eve (December 31).

Crafted by Tom alongside longtime collaborator Gil Lewis, the late '90s-early '00s Europop-inspired banger was penned mid-2020 lockdown, and carries all the tension, paranoia, overthinking and reprioritizing that's come with the pandemic era.

"As soon as I finished writing 'Let Them' - I knew it was the first single," Tom says.

"It has that classic futuristic, icy, electronic late 90s sound I was craving for on the album. Lyrically it deals with the fall-out from Black Country Disco - how I've been struggling in almost complete isolation up in the Midlands and how I've lost/made friends along the way. It's a bit of a self-soothing anthem, you've just got to just let people go! It's all love - no matter how scary it is to do it! There's a real hands-in-the-air moment that comes at the end of the song, I cannot wait to perform it live.”

If there were ever a time for an uplifting tune about nurturing the relationships that serve us and letting go of the ones that don't, it's right now, in the middle of resolution season. Let them go! It's all love, baby.


Girls On Top GOT the Beat Step Back

Girls On Top (GOT) Make Their Live Debut With 'Step Back'

"Girls, bring it on..."

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening...or whenever you're rolling out of bed right now. Welcome to 2022.

Maybe you didn't stay at home alone last night eating Halo Top, doing a digital DJ stream (more coming soon!) and watching the legitimately great metaversal origin story-slash-three-ish hour online concert, SMTOWN LIVE 2022 in the final hours of 2021. Some of us did. And I'm here to report that the live debut of Girls On Top (GOT) - or GOT the beat, anyway - was entirely worth the hype.

A group of K-Pop Power Top Avengers™ delivering an incredible performance together? Color me shocked.

Kicking off with a sort of holy, MDNA Tour-esque intro video (appropriate), the girls appeared on screen in one fierce line-up of rookies and veterans alike: the Queen of K-Pop™ BoA, WINTER and KARINA from aespa, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon from Girls' Generation, and Seulgi and Wendy from Red Velvet.

And from the very first pose, they were off with a bang.

The most pressing concern one might have had prior to their debut is line distribution and camera time. After all, these are some of the top dancers and vocalists in the game. How was it all going to work? As it turns out: everyone got their chance to shine.

KARINA solidly set the tone from the first line, Taeyeon, WINTER and Wendy gave us some truly insane vocals and high notes aplenty, and that dance break between BoA, Hyo and Seulgi alone could absolutely kill a pilgrim. (Also, the BoA-Hyo tag-team moment? Too cute.)

As a ride-or-die ever since discovering "No. 1" around 2003, seeing BoA in a girl group at all was truly shocking, but she delivered as effortlessly as one would expect from the "My Name" icon, while still maintaining the leader energy that made it very clear she's been the path-paving solo star from the start.

Also, you just know KARINA and WINTER were absolutely terrified the whole time they were rehearsing alongside their seniors who've been dominating the charts for years, if not decades. But they absolutely held their own, cementing their status among the best the new generation has to offer.

As for the song itself? It's...divisive, to say the least.

To be fair, SM's been on an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink experimental vibe since the launch of aespa, so it's not totally a surprise that the final product is a disjointed hip-pop-Gregorian chant anthem that not everyone is loving.

It's the lyrics causing more backlash on social media though, as the song's mostly about prizing a man and telling a silly girl to fuck off, which is a fair criticism! It isn't...necessarily the message one would hope to come from a pack of strong, talented women. We do not stan men in this house. Let's just hope GOT the beat's GOT even more music to offer after this debut.

Regardless of the song, the performance itself was still an adrenaline rush of a showcase of SM's incredible female talent, and one hell of a way to kick off a new project. Maybe 2022 won't suck, after all.

GOT the beat's "Step Back" won't be out until Monday (January 3), but based on my Instagram Story feed, I suspect most people won't be fully sobered up until then, anyway.

Congratulations on your re-debut, Queens.


Katy Perry When I'm Gone Alesso

'When I'm Gone': Katy Perry Pushes 'PLAY' & Hits the Dance Floor

Katy Perry When I'm Gone Alesso

"When I'm gone, I'm never really gone / You think you're movin' on / But it won't be for long, you'll see..."

Katy Perry is back. Sort of.

Actually, she's staying put in one place: Las Vegas, to be exact.

The Teenage Dream pop titan is bringing her whipped cream and firework-filled bras to Sin City as part of her brand new residency PLAY, which kicks off tonight (December 29) at Resorts World Las Vegas.

Here's the set list. And before you ask, yes: shoulda-been-a-single "Walking on Air" is there. No, shoulda-been-a-single "Roulette" is not, despite the fact that she's...performing at a casino...I...anyway.

To mark the occasion, Katheryn Elizabeth's teamed up with superstar Swedish DJ Alesso for the first time - and gone back to dark hair, the real panic! - for a new collaboration called "When I'm Gone." (Or WIG, for short.)

First things first, yes: the track clocks in at a tight 2:41 minutes.

Do I think everyone involved should go to jail for that? I do. Should every pop star be charged with a federal offense for releasing songs under three minutes long? Absolutely, yes, they should.

But hey, whatever: Katy's here for a good time, not a long time. Well, actually, she's vowed to be here....forever.

The cocky, if slightly ominous, highly replay-friendly dance-pop bop is full of catchy Scandipop-crafted melodies and pulsating beats, and it's all about how Katy's presence lingers forever (she's singing about the smell of Katy Perry Purr Eau De Parfum, I can only assume), and how you're never gonna do better ("Look for me in strangers / All these pretty faces / No one can replace it / I'm always your favorite"), and how it's...never...really...over (REFERENCE).

It's also got a really good post-chorus moment ("Me on top of you / Touch you like I do / No, you'll never forget...") - maybe the best bit of all.

A small army also co-wrote the song, which will be featured in a medley with "Walking on Air" during her residency (!), including the legendary Rami Yacoub, Norwegian penner Alida Garpestad Peck (who wrote Kylie's "Real Groove"!), Nathan Cunningham and Marc Sibley from London DJ duo Space Primates and Alma Goodman, who co-wrote Alesso's mega-smash "Remedy."

"It started for me working with two other incredible songwriters, and Katy heard of it and she loved it, I guess. We met up in LA and then just vibed out to the song and started talking about it, doing some changes and making it more suitable for her and making it her song. Then a year later, here we are," Alesso explained to Apple Music.

"Alesso actually brought me the framework of this song about a year, maybe a year and a half ago. I was like, 'Well, I'm not ready...I'm not ready to go into a new album cycle, where I'm just going bam, bam, bam," Katy added.

"But preparing for Vegas, which is a huge undertaking...I mean that this show is larger than life literally. I have a 20 foot toilet. Don't ask, but it's so big and so wild that we wanted to inject some new blood into it. I have the perfect timing to put out a dance song that is through and through just so much fun and up, up, up. Then also with the music video that's coming, I'm just going for it. I've been in the dance studio for weeks. Mama can't just be pushing the pram. She's got to push the bam."

The bam-pushing visual is coming in January (Monday, January 10), and it'll premiere live during halftime of the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship. Straight rights!

Katy also suggested during the interview that if the public approves, she might push it even further onto the dance floor.

"I think that if people like the dance stuff, I'd be willing to serve up more of that, but I also really want to go into an evolved space musically and start a new era. That's going to be starkly different, but I think duality is important," she said. Basically, F--Vegas, make some noise! Here's hoping.

"When I'm Gone" gets gone just a bit too soon, but when it's going, this WIG is real good.

Wait, did you just say WIG? I know, WIG. I feel that already...