Kylie Minogue's 'Say Something' Video Is a Glittery, Gay Explosion

Kylie Minogue is dreaming of a less socially distanced future, and she’s got her eyes on the stars while in quarantine.

Obviously, the pandemic’s put a bit of a damper on our Mighty Minogue’s Disco plans (to say the least), but that hasn’t stopped her from (responsibly) shooting a little something to supply a music video for her intergalactic return, “Say Something.”

The sparkly visual for “Say Something” is sort of like an Aphrodite: Les Folies Tour backdrop, plus the music video for “The One,” mixed with Goldfrapp‘s Supernature era – with a little bit of ABBA dabbled on top for good measure.

Horses. Stars. Shirtless male dancers. Glitter. Shimmer. Glamour. It’s not complicated. We’re not reinventing the homosexual wheel here. This is thoroughly the sparkly essence of Kylie, through and through. She’ll shine on and on…

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Top 10 Songs of 2018

The Top 60 Songs of 2018

My favorite songs of 2018.

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2 Comments56 Minutes

MuuMuse Top 10 2018

The Top 10 Albums of 2018

The albums that got me through it in 2018.

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Kylie Minogue Musics Too Sad Without You

‘Music’s Too Sad Without You’: The Marvelous Melancholy of Kylie Minogue

The 'Golden' era continues, and Kylie Minogue is missing you now more than ever.

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0 Comments3 Minutes

Cardi B Megan Thee Stallion WAP

'WAP': Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion Have Some Wet Ass Production Value

Cardi B, the Coronavirus Whisperer, and Megan Thee Stallion, Thee TikTok Dominator, have united in song to bless us with “WAP,” released on Friday (August 7).

If it wasn’t already made abundantly clear by now: they’re certified freaks, seven days a week, and they’ve got some Wet Ass Pussy – sorry, Wet And Gushy.

The Ayo & Keyz-produced, positively filthy-mouthed collaboration finds the two rap superstars tag-teaming while riding across a sample of “Whores In This House” by Frank Ski, working their respective WAPs. There’s really no beating around the (very wet) bush here: the horny ass, cocky ass, wet ass verses are all up in your face…literally.

Put this pussy right in your face, swipe your nose like a credit card,” Cardi commands. She really lays on the sexual demands thick, including wanting you to “touch that lil’ dangly thing that swing in the back of my throat.” Just say uvula, queen!

Thee Stallion has some needs to be met of her own: “Gobble me, swallow me, drip down the side of me / Quick jump out, before you let you get inside of me.

A key Meg line: “In the food chain I’m the one that eat ya / If he ate my ass, he’s a bottom feeder.” High art!

The accompanying candy-coated, animal print-covered, Willa Wonka & The Wet Pussy Factory mansion fantasy of a music video was directed by Colin Tilley, and comes complete with a few special guests strutting around and doing the splits in various hidden rooms and hallways, including Rubi Rose, Sukihana, Mulatto, Kylie Jenner, Normani and yes – even ¡La Rosalía! Very “M.I.L.F.$” of them, really.

The girls all look gorgeous in the expensive looking visual buffet of a music video, and despite the entirely NSFK (Not Safe For Kulture) subject matter, it’s still heartwarming to see the ladies teaming up together. That’s what it’s all about! When it comes to diversifying the array of female artists running the game, the Hustlers star is clearly down.

“I feel like there should be different female artists that everybody can relate to. Somebody might relate to me, or my past — I was a dancer. I was in the streets. But then somebody could relate to another female artist that was a school girl or something. Some female artists are like more tomboyish than others. And some female artists can relate to the girly type of person. And some females can relate to the pop your pussy type of female artist. So I feel like there should be variety. Because people need somebody to relate to or gravitate to. But people be trying to make that beef,” Cardi told Apple Music. Watch the full interview…

Now, make like Nicole Scherzinger and let’s get a little wet, shall we?

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Toni Braxton Dance Music Video

Toni Braxton Says 'Dance,' So Let's Dance (Video)

Toni Braxton is generously back once again to Un-Break Our Hearts for the millionth time. And this time around, she’s opting to dance away the heartbreak.

Ahead of the release of her just-announced studio album Spell My Name – her name, as we now know, Toni stands for Taking Out Negative Influence (!) – the legendary Miss Braxton just dropped the accompanying music video for her latest Antonio Dixon-produced single, “Dance.” And just as the subject matter of the song might imply, dance she does.

The Mike Ho-directed visual cuts to the chase and gives us exactly what we need with this horn-y, disco-tinged throwback: dance moves and gorgeous glamour shots. And shimmering wings! And a power suit!

And with that shiny, sheer black latex and hoodie ensemble and splashy choreography in ankle-deep water, she’s kind of giving us the grown version of The Pussycat Dolls‘ “React.” Extremely fierce.

Not to make this all about age, because there’s no time limit when it comes to being a superstar, but come on: 27 years after dropping her debut album, and Toni’s still doing the damn pop star thing and dancing circles around the new girls? I mean…this is a true Legends Only™ affair.

“Dance” it out, and find out what else to expect from Spell My Name.

Lady Gaga Apple Music Gaga Radio

Lady Gaga Is Launching Her Own Apple Music Radio Show

Lady Gaga: singer, songwriter, actress, Italian, New York City girl, person in a room of a hundred people, and now…disc jockey.

The “Sour Candy (feat. BLACKPINK)” performer might have effectively dropped her latest studio album and promptly Reverse Warholian dipped out before anyone even received their Chromatica jockstrap in the mail, but it seems as though she’s making some steps to return and be part of The Discourse once more, beginning with her newly announced Apple Music show, Gaga Radio.

Beginning this Friday (August 7) at 11 a.m. PT, our Stefani Gerrmato will be catching up with various special guests on her new show, beginning with Chromatica executive producer BloodPop.

Here’s some official blurb about what to expect: “The inspiration for Lady Gaga’s hyperactive NUMBER ONE ALBUM Chromatica came from one magical place: the dance floor. Now, every Friday on her brand new GAGA RADIO show on Apple Music, she honors the larger-than-life genre of dance music by speaking with the DJs, divas, and producers who inspired her and who helped bring Chromatica to life. And each episode will include an exclusive DJ mix from one of Gaga’s guests. It’s a celebration of dance music when we need it most.”

Exclusive DJ mixes? Divas, you say? Interesting…

“The last few weeks I’ve been figuring out different ways at home that I can be of service to what I would call the singular global community, one that I believe to be kind in nature, one that I believe to be very special to my heart and I believe to the hearts of many. And so I’ve been thinking of all the ways that I can be someone that contributes to the society and the world. I’m super thrilled, excited to have this show and this opportunity to play an incredible mix of music every week,” Gaga said in a statement.

She herself confirmed that the DJ mixes will come from BloodPop, BURNS, Vitaclub and Tchami.

Ahead of the premiere of Gaga Radio, we’ve already got a few preview clips to enjoy from her chat with BloodPop, including one in which she reflects on the “mental, emotional release” of putting out her latest record.

“I felt a much more like mental, emotional release with that record where I feel like I kind of was like, goodbye. Like I love you and goodbye, and everything that I’ve put inside of you, all of the thoughts, all of the music, all the sound, everything that I’ve left inside of you, I’d like for you to go out into the world, and I would like you to never come inside of me again,” she said.

Chromatica for me, was the portal that you and I opened in the studio where we would open the portal and I’d go, ‘Okay, talent, creativity, voice from above, sign from above, come inside me, tell me what to say, tell me what to do,’ and most all of it was what I was truly feeling. There was really only two things that could happen to me on any given day. I could either write a song and you’d be there to capture it, or I’d be upstairs on the porch and I wouldn’t write the song. I would just stare into the open sky and chain smoke cigarettes and cry. [Silence].”

That last bit? Very “(Reaches for Marilyn Monroe lighter) I need a cigarette.” (If you know, you know.)

The way that Twitter Gays are going to run with the audio of her saying “I would like you to never come inside of me again” – I shudder to think of what she’s just unleashed upon the world.

She and BloodPop also reflected on some of their favorite memories while making the album.

“I think maybe the first time we played you ‘Rain On Me’ with the new bass line. Because you had come to the point where you’re like, ‘The name of the album is Chromatica. I’m finishing it. I’m doing this, I’m doing that,’ and you were just fully geared up ready to go to Chromatica. Then we did this major change. We weren’t sure if you were going to…because it was quite a big change and,” BloodPop reminisced.

“It was a huge change,” Gaga added.

“I just remember you playing it super loud and you’re like, ‘That bass line. The bass line.’ That was a good day, and you and Ari cutting ‘Rain On Me’ and you’re like, ‘What if you tried this take with some dancing?’ She was like, ‘Huh?’

“She was like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Gaga, Gaga, Gaga. Oh my god, Gaga,'” Gaga said.

For the thirsty Little Monsters begging for more to come out of the Chromatica era, this ought to provide some much-needed love, attention and additional insight from Mother Monster – especially since she just had to scrap a surprise performance of “Rain on Me” with Ari at a drive-in drag show due to an un-socially distanced act of extreme disservice by The Chainsmokers.

Anyway, this should be fun! Let’s all tune in and find out what Gaga’s got up her hot pink, Kindness Punk sleeves, shall we?

You know, this would also be the perfect opportunity to finally release “Nothing On (But The Radio)” as a single as well, but…baby steps.

Impact SG Lewis Channel Tres Robyn

Brace for 'Impact': Robyn, SG Lewis & Channel Tres Hit the Club

The year of great dance music without a dance floor continues.

Robyn is busy DJing at home, providing her Club DOMO experience and dropping Honey remixes left and right. SG Lewis is busy crafting some of the year’s best records, including Dua Lipa‘s “Hallucinate” and Victoria Monet and Khalid‘s “Experience.” Channel Tres is busy making Britney Spears very happy, who has recently declared him “the coolest man in the music business.”

Luckily enough for us, they had just enough time to get together to cut a collaborative tune.

“Impact,” released on Wednesday (August 5), finds the 26-year-old London-born songwriter and producer teaming up with the Konichiwa Records-founding Swedish Queen of Pop and the 28-year-old Compton-bred rising star for a sexy, propulsive, defensive dance floor throbber.

“’Impact’ is possibly my favorite record I’ve ever been a part of. The chemistry between Channel and Robyn is so powerful, and creates something so unique. Channel is an artist I believe will go on to create a musical legacy as important as the one Robyn has already created, and to have the two of them on this record together is insane. Working with my good friend TEED again on the production is amazing, as he is truly a production hero of mine. I hope it provides some release and euphoria in a time where it’s hard to come by,” SG Lewis explains of the collaboration.

“’Impact’ is about how someone can come into your life and completely change you either for better or worse. In this instance it was for the better, and I’m going through the emotions of denying something that’s obviously good for me, but the hurt I’ve been through in my past causes me to put up defense mechanisms. While I’m putting up the defenses, the person trying to love me pursues me consistently and this impacts my life in so many ways,” Channel explains of the song’s meaning.

To be fair, putting up a defense on the dance floor isn’t always bad. I believe it was the Swedish poet Robin Miriam Carlsson who once said: “Protect yourself, ’cause you’ll wreck yourself in this cold hard world, so check yourself.”

“Sam made this instant thing, it ‘s a special skill to make a song that hits you right away the way ‘Impact’ does. The track just gave me the feels and it wasn ‘t hard to write a chorus to it, especially with Channel’s vocals on there already. Channel Tres came on tour with us last year, so I know how strong he is on stage and hopefully some time in the future we will get to be on stage together, with Sam, performing this song,” Robyn adds.

While it would have been hot to hear even more Robyn on the track (isn’t “more Robyn” the theme of all music?), “Impact” is no doubt a scorcher nonetheless, and will surely go down well deep into the night at the club in 2027.

“Impact” is the second single off of SG Lewis’ forthcoming debut album, due out sometime later in 2020. And if you haven’t heard it yet, the lead single “Chemicals” is also stellar.

Close your eyes, and ride the wave…

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

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Photo credit: Charlie Cummings / Clare Gillen / Mark Peckmezian

MuuMuse Top 10 2018

The Top 10 Albums of 2018

The albums that got me through it in 2018.

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0 Comments23 Minutes

Dua Lipa Club Future Nostalgia

Dua Lipa Announces Remix Album, 'Club Future Nostalgia'

Dua Lipa Club Future Nostalgia

UPDATE: The club is nearly open – Club Future Nostalgia, that is.

On Friday (August 7), Team Dua dropped some additional details via press release regarding her forthcoming remix album out on August 21, which is described as “a stellar collection of brand new remixes and features from an incredible roll call of superstars, underground heroes and some of the world’s finest dance music talent,” and “has been curated and also mixed into a continuous mixtape format by The Blessed Madonna.” (You already know we stan a continuous, non-stop mix.)

The result is “an eclectic and euphoric mix of the past and present, it’s a celebration of musical worlds coming together, with 90’s house blending seamlessly with 2020’s finest pop and remixers, a splash of 80’s soul and a few noughties musical gems added to the blend.”

“The last few months have been surreal. I’ve watched you all dance in your homes and on your Zoom parties to Future Nostalgia like you were in the club with me. It brought so much joy to my days spent at home, even though I would’ve much rather been playing these songs live for you all on the road. During this time, I decided to take the party up a notch with the incomparable The Blessed Madonna, who secretly helped me to craft the mixtape that would become Club Future Nostalgia. We invited some friends and legends to join in on the fun with us. Absolute queens Missy Elliott and Madonna joined me for an epic remix of ‘Levitating,’ and my dream girl Gwen Stefani and the supreme Mark Ronson teamed up to take ‘Physical’ to the next level. And the party doesn’t stop there – there are so many more surprises to come!” Dua teased.

“Taking Future Nostalgia and reimagining it as a mixtape album was an enormous project, which had to be done in absolute secrecy, alone in my attic. In a way building this fantasy out of this beautiful record Dua had already given us was the perfect task for the pandemic. It was a massive and infinitely detailed task. Creating remixes and originals, curating the dream team of additional remixers and weaving the features into a new album was both daunting and thrilling, to say the least. My admiration for Dua only deepened. She is brilliant, once in a generation artist and a sweetheart. Being able to make this love letter with such a legendary cast of characters is beyond comprehension. In the end my goal was to build a new world: Club Future Nostalgia, the dance floor we all so desperately need but can’t quite reach. I love this project so much and I hope you love it too,” added The Blessed Madonna.

In addition to hopping on the Mark Ronson-produced “Physical” remix, Gwen Stefani will be joining Dua on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on August 10 while Dua steps in as guest host.

“I was so excited when Dua reached out about teaming up with Mark Ronson and her for the ‘Physical’ remix. Club Future Nostalgia is an epic dance party and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” the “Bubble Pop Electric” chanteuse declared.

“I really don’t do remixes much, but Dua is my homegirl. I really wanted to make it special for her and also bring something totally new to the song. I basically wanted it to be as good as hearing a brand new song. And then when I heard Gwen’s vocal…I mean, she has such an iconic tone, I was over the moon. It felt so good,” added Mark.

Even the legendary Missy Misdemeanor chimed in ahead of her “Levitating” remix with Madge, out on August 13: “I am humbly grateful that Dua asked me to be a part of this record because I am a fan of her work, and I love the whole 80’s vibes that her music gives. When her team sent the track, I was like ‘ooooh this is fire!’ and I immediately recorded my verse. She heard it and loved it and here we are!”

Start planning your Club Future Nostalgia looks now, folks.

And if you’d like to experience the original album in vinyl format, the Future Nostalgia Limited LP is still available at Urban Outfitters.

ORIGINAL POST: Dua Lipa continues to Dua everything right.

After the Queen of Pop™ herself, Madonna, caused some commotion with a seemingly bizarre teaser announcement of her “Levitating” remix with Missy Elliott and The Blessed Madonna that also featured Gwen Stefani and Mark Ronson in the photo, now we know why: Dua’s got a full remix record stuffed with features coming very soon – on August 21, in fact.


As eagle-eyed fans have noted, there appears to be a Jamiroquai logo on the car in the photo – and that butt at the very left might belong to Normani, who we already know is due to duet with Dua in due time. Others are speculating that the horse is a nod to Kylie Minogue‘s “Say Something” horse / general horsiness throughout her career, but I can’t entertain the thought right now for fear of spontaneously combusting due to gay overload. Too much!

Yet again, Dua continues to deliver with the Future Nostalgia era – an album cycle that just won’t let up all year long, pandemic be damned.

Club Future Nostalgia: not since Club Disco has a club experience in album form sounded so good.

Photo credit: @DuaLipa

Dua Lipa Physical

‘Physical’: Dua Lipa Is Putting the Pulse Back in Pop

Dua’s bringing the bangers in a big way in 2020.

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Dua Lipa Don't Start Now

Dua Lipa Is Having a Genuinely Exciting Disco Moment

With 'Don't Start Now,' Dua Lipa's comeback officially kicks off on the right foot.

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Dua Lipa Electricity

‘Electricity’: Dua Lipa, Diplo & Mark Ronson Light Up the Dance Floor

Dua, Diplo, Mark, Diana and Romy team up to dance in the dark.

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Dua Lipa Madonna Missy Elliott Blessed Madonna

Madonna Acknowledges Dua Lipa 'Levitating' Remix With A Confusing Twist

UPDATE: Madonna spilled the beans early…

The good news is that Madonna is (finally) using her Instagram to promote her upcoming appearance on Dua Lipa‘s “Levitating” remix with Missy Elliott and The Blessed Madonna (who is not actually Madonna) instead of insane coronavirus conspiracy theories backed by a “demon sperm” doctor, who she called her hero. (Yes, we all saw it and we did not forget.)

The bad news is that we can’t be sure of the validity of whatever the Queen of Pop™ posts anymore – and that now includes her acknowledgement of the “Levitating” remix on Tuesday (August 4), which…inexplicably includes Mark Ronson and Gwen Stefani in the image.

“Levitating Is Coming…………🪐🪐🪐. Dua Lipa, Missy Elliot and Myself!! Its so 🔥 🔥🔥……………. Aug. 14th. @dualipa @missymisdemeanorelliott #levitating,” she captioned the post, providing no further insight into the inclusion of the “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” producer and the Love. Angel. Music. Baby. chanteuse.

It is possible, I suppose, that they’re all somehow working together – the Ronson-produced, Madonna-Gwen “Cool (L.A.M.B.L.U.V.) Remix” duet we needed, or possibly additional remixes of “Levitating.” This also sort of looks like it’s part of a larger promotional image (maybe for the VMAs performers?) that wasn’t supposed to come out yet. But that’s wishful thinking, too!

And that’s not all: the Jamiroquai logo is featured on the car in the photo, too. I…what?

Perhaps this is truly the mother of all collaborations – or maybe it’s just a Brazilian Madonna fan account’s artwork that she found whilst checking underneath her hashtags in her rose petal and milk-filled bath and “breathing in the COVID-19 air.”

Maybe she just spoiled a behemoth remix project early. Or maybe she just created panic over fan art. Either way, one thing’s for sure: it’s time for Lourdes to do us all a solid and take away her mother’s iPhone for good while she’s busy doing afternoon bikram yoga with boyfriend Ahlamalik Williams who, I am sad to inform you all, has also been promoting the coronavirus conspiracy shit on his social media too.

On the bright side, at least Dua – bless her heart for enduring this – is still excited: “It began as a collaboration with The Blessed Madonna who is a DJ, & we created a fun dance remix of the track. And I was like ‘Y’know who would sound great on this? Madonna & Missy Elliott!’ I was hoping for one of them to say yes, or that both would say no. But for them to both be like ‘Yeah, totally up for it! Love the track!’ it was like ‘AAAAA!’ I can’t wait for everyone to hear it, because it’s really special,” she said in a recent interview on Ash London LIVE.

Time goes by…so strangely. Bring on “Levitating (feat. Hydroxychloroquine).”

Madonna God Control Music Video

‘God Control’ Video: Madonna’s Triggering Statement About American Life

Madame X takes on gun control in a jarring display of bloodshed on the dance floor.

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Madonna Madame X

‘Madame X’: Madonna Gets Lost in the World, But Isn’t Lost

Madonna moves to Lisbon, adopts a persona, puts on an eyepatch and makes her weirdest album to date. Cha, cha, cha...

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WAP Megan Thee Stallion Cardi B

'WAP': The Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion Collaboration Is Coming

Cardi B is back, and she’s bringing along a special friend (don’t run from me, friend…): Megan Thee Stallion.

The Hustlers hottie and the Hot Girl herself revealed on Monday (August 3) that their new single, “WAP,” is dropping on Friday (August 7).

Although she’s far from hiding in 2020 (in fact, she’s responsible for the official coronavirus anthem), this is actually a big moment for Cardi: she hasn’t had a lead single since last year’s “Press.” And judging by the reboot of her official website, it seems as though the path is being paved for the announcement of her long-awaited follow-up to 2018’s Invasion of Privacy.

Megan has already been having a stellar year in pop culture, from her Suga EP to her Legendary turn to BET Awards quarantine performance to her ongoing TikTok dance domination. (On a serious note: I’m sending Meg all my love following the horrific news of her shooting. I’m so glad she’s okay, and also speaking out against the clowns mocking her trauma.)

In an otherwise bleak year, the girls are really doing overtime and giving it to us in tag-team form: from Megan and Beyoncé‘s “Savage (Remix)” to Nicki Minaj‘s remix of Doja Cat‘s “Say So.”

The incredible tongue-wagging, hot pink cover art and Cardi’s fully stacked web shop full of different physical formats alone are already promising signs from the start, and with any luck, this just might be a major pop culture moment.

Also not to stir up drama, but many fans already pointed out that the title “WAP” and the big hair is kind of reminiscent of 1997’s B.A.P.S., which was also the name of Nicki and Trina‘s tag-team last year. This is merely an observation, not a declaration of war. The more ladies teaming up and dominating the scene together, the better.

Bring on the “WAP.”

Photo credit: Atlantic Records

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BLACKPINK Teaser August

BLACKPINK Keep Teasing Their August Mystery Feature

BLACKPINK? In our area? It’s more likely than you think.

The global chart-dominating, record-breaking, ddu-du ddu-duing titans of South Korean girl group pop are promptly returning to us with a follow-up to their summer smash “How You Like That” later this month, and on Monday night (August 3), the girls revealed the release date: August 28.

The only catch? We’ve still got no clue who’s featured on the song.

Granted, there’ve been some loud rumblings: in late July, MyDaily reported that Selena Gomez is the artist featured on the song. The speculation and panic got so loud that YG Entertainment immediately issued a very intriguing, “not no”-style statement: “Please wait for the official announcement later.”

Prior to the report, BLINKs generally decided that the feature was Ariana Grande, especially given a shared producer and Ari’s previous social media stanning. There was also some speculation about Doja Cat due to the “Say So”-style artwork, and I’m still holding out some hope that it’s Lady Gaga returning the “Sour Candy” favor with a Reverse Chromatica Warholian Expedition. (What’s the inverse of “Sour Candy”? We want “Sweet Cardboard”!)

There’s even more excitement to come, because the girls also just announced that they’re dropping their long, long, long delayed debut LP later this year – and it’s called The Album, in case there was any confusion.

Who are you placing your bets on, BLINKs?


‘Kiss and Make Up’: Dua Lipa & BLACKPINK Are Gonna Hit You With That DUA-DU DDU-DU

Dua's got at least one new rule: BLACKPINK is the revolution.

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Blackpink Square Up Ddu du ddu du

‘Square Up’ Is Proof: It’s Time to Join the BLACKPINK Revolution

BLACKPINK came to 'DDU-DU DDU-DU' what the other girls shoulda did.

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MuuMuse Reasons To Live 2018

Pop Goes The Future: The Many Reasons to Live for 2018

Nothing takes the past away like the future.

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Taylor Swift Folklore

On the Enduring Mainstream Reign of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift‘s new album might be her first to be categorized as “alternative,” but this week’s charts suggest that this little known, underground indie folk singer-songwriter has never been more mainstream.

folklore is big. Taylor Swift is big. Huge, in fact: she’s just become the first-ever artist to arrive at No. 1 on both the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 at the same time, and her seventh No. 1 studio album just scored the biggest week ever for 2020 thus far, as well as making her the female artist with the most No. 1 album debuts in history – among literally about a dozen other records and feats.

At a time when fellow Main Pop Girls are largely struggling to secure a Top 10 hit, why is Taylor Swift running the game so well, still, over a decade deep into her career?

There isn’t one simple answer, nor does it cynically boil down to any one specific label strategy, either – but there are plenty of potential reasons that Taylor consistently hits so hard.

After securing a devoted built-in fanbase during her country music days before making the formal leap to pop with 1989, which exponentially exploded her reach (plus a certain awards show acceptance speech interruption somewhere in between), Taylor’s never really left the public consciousness – even after fleeing to the woods for the last several months.

She might prefer to be removed from certain narratives, but Taylor is extremely present in The Discourse, in large part due to relationships: from the constant focus on her famous ex-flames and the feverish “is this one about…?” hunt for potential lyrical hints (and lingering speculation about her sexuality), to the endless parade of famous friends joining her on tour (“ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage…“), to her (mercifully resolved) “Bad Blood”-to-“You Need to Calm Down” beef with Katy Perry, to a seemingly endless, increasingly ugly feud with Kanye West, which inspired an entire snake-filled album cycle and only just ballooned back up again for the umpteenth time a few months ago with the help of Kim Kardashian.

There’s also her very public battle with her former label Big Machine Records and Scooter Braun over the ownership of her masters, which has raged on for over a year through various acceptance speeches and interviews and performances and unsubtle music video jabs. The saga effectively drew a battle line down the middle of the pop industry, as different players (and their associated stans) chose sides and weighed in over a dispute that is, at its heart, about Taylor Swift and her art.

Her fan relationship is a factor as well. In many ways, Taylor Swift is the one who can be credited as formally ushering in the era of the Relatable Pop Star vs. the untouchable gods of yore. She is the quintessential Relatable Pop Star: the cookie-baking and Polaroid-taking listening parties, the Tumblr stalking and surprise DMs and replies, the embrace of inside jokes among fans (“no it’s becky”) and Swiftie-only fun facts about her friends, her cats and other personal interests, which then turn into visual and lyrical easter eggs, the generous private donations to fans in need, the handwritten notes, the surprise serenades – she really goes the extra mile in allowing (carefully controlled) access, which is especially unusual given her celebrity.

The added effort not only solidifies her fanbase’s devotion even further, but regularly gains the attention of the public with each good and endearing deed. Of course, as with all things Stan Culture on the Internet (so happy to be here!), that kind of relationship has also resulted in an unwavering, militant loyalty among the most hardcore members of the fandom that presents itself in some seriously scary ways, too.

As far as the charts go, it’s impossible to say what the general public ever really wants – aside from straight men. They, predictably, very much love all of the straight men! When it comes to female artists in 2020, this has been a great year for acts like Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion. TikTok’s also become a huge determining factor in sending a viral smash up the charts, and will only continue to be…unless it’s banned soon.

But even though she manages to go viral herself – there’s a “Love Story” remix trend on TikTok making the rounds at this very moment, in fact – Taylor’s success doesn’t come down to any specific sound: her music has wavered from Kidz Bop territory best suited for the Lululemon/SoulCycle crowd (“Shake It Off,” “Me!”) to solemn, summertime sadness (folklore), but the attention, regardless of genre, hasn’t changed.

There’s something to be said about Taylor’s perceived relatability that makes her more universally marketable. She’s not entirely alone in that: the world turns to Adele in record-breaking droves to cry and relate to what is considered raw artistry and vocal talent (and a charming, hilarious personality) – and even if she were more prolific than one album every four years or so, her numbers would likely sustain.

Vulnerability works to provoke interest and intrigue: even in the case of Taylor’s BFF Selena Gomez, once she became outspoken about her own personal demons and the effects of one particularly toxic on-again, off-again relationship, her chart presence surged. (See: “Lose You to Love Me.”)

From the way Taylor’s lyrics almost immediately turn into fodder for yearbook quotes and Twitter memes (“The Last Great American Dynasty,” most recently), as well as star-studded scavenger hunts for the Us Weekly types (does this lyric mean she sent a baby gift to Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner – gasp?!), Taylor is consistently upheld as one of the leading lyricists of the current pop star generation. Even more than the music, people just want to hear what she has to say. Of course, she knows how to tell a story in song – and she certainly knows her way around a hook.

Taylor’s relatability extends through her lyricism, too – from “Fifteen” to “You Belong With Me” to “Blank Space” to “cardigan,” she draws on classic tropes of the human experience: teenage innocence and awkwardness, feeling like an outsider instead of one of the cool kids, first loves, broken hearts, haters, and plenty of nostalgia along the way, at times not unlike Lana Del Rey‘s own rose-colored remembrances.

Speaking of the self-professed Queen of Coney Island: there’s also a whole lot of white privilege tied into all of this, especially when considering all the incredible non-white singer-songwriter storytellers that don’t receive nearly the same amount of fanfare when their own records arrive. That’s a whole other systemic issue to unpack, but no less one major factor in her unstoppable reign. At the very least, Taylor’s been turning around the way she’s used her gigantic platform post-reputation, from absolute silence to becoming outspoken about things like Black Lives Matter.

The music’s gone from country to Top 40 to alternative, and the promotional tactics have ranged from massive months-long rollouts to a few tweets hours before. The one consistency throughout Taylor’s success is her persona, and the fables of her personal and professional relationships that play out in the media, the music and everywhere in between.

Until the general public suddenly stops caring about the actual folklore of Taylor Swift, the music, regardless of genre, will only continue to make plenty of noise.

Photo credit: Republic Records

TikTok Facebook YouTube

TikTok Is (Maybe) Being Banned & Facebook Is Coming for YouTube

While there's not much to do in the outside world at the moment (because pandemic), there's plenty happening on our screens over the weekend: the social media platforms are battling - against each other, and also the President of the United States.

On Friday (July 31), while speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump threatened a "severance" from TikTok as soon as this weekend (today, actually), declaring that he will be "banning them from the United States."

The China-owned social media app has already been on the U.S. hit list for a while: back in December, the Defense Information Systems Agency advised all Department of Defense personnel not to use TikTok, citing "potential risk." And in July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the country was looking into banning TikTok due to "national security concerns," and that it was being evaluated similarly to Chinese state-backed tech companies Huawei and ZTE, previously described as “Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence.”

TikTok hit back with a statement, citing its nearly 1,000 new U.S. employees onboarded this year alone, claiming that U.S. user data "is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access...TikTok’s biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”

And while Trump was busy threatening the ban, Microsoft was reportedly having talks to buy out TikTok's U.S. operations.

The move to ban TikTok by the President suggests ulterior motives, given that there are plenty of U.S. apps still in operation stealing our personal information as well, and happens to come at a time of rising anti-Chinese sentiment, aided by a racist in office mouthing off about the "China Virus."

All that being said, nothing's actually happened yet: TikTok's still up and running. Gen Z is still lip-syncing and dancing to Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage." WitchTok stays divining. The conspiracy theorists stay theorizing. The Hype House remains hyping. (Shudder.)

In terms of the music industry, the sudden demise of TikTok would radically affect how charts and streams look: the Hot 100 has been almost solely dictated by the songs that have most gone viral as the soundtrack of hundreds of thousands of videos on the social media platform for months now. Just look at how thirstily Jason Derulo hopped onto a viral beat with his track, "Savage Love" - it's a primary promo strategy for many popular artists at this point.

All eyes are now on you for your next move, Charli D'Amelio and Loren Gray...and that over-communicative gay couple that refuses to expunge themselves from my FYP.

While TikTok's future hangs in the balance, Facebook is officially coming for YouTube.

The former meeting place for high school students going off to college-turned-misinformation meme machine for our media illiterate family members announced that they'll be uploading "hundreds of thousands of music videos" in the U.S. beginning this weekend (today, actually) in order to challenge YouTube's stronghold on the music video experience.

The plan, which has apparently been in development since Fall of 2019, also includes updates to Artist pages, including a new section to browse official videos, and the opportunity for users to click through from a music video to get more info about the artist. The company also plans to create a new section in the Watch section that will organize videos by genre, artist and mood, including playlists for new and popular releases. They've already done the required deals with the three majors - Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group - plus a bunch of smaller labels.

They've also locked in exclusive music video premieres to come, including music videos from the Colores Colombian king J Balvin and the "Tusa" titan Karol G, as well as an exclusive video from former Vine "comedian"-turned-artist Lele Pons - which just feels like a threat, and a surefire way to keep people all the more skeptical of jumping ship from YouTube.

One of the biggest factors that wasn't addressed, at least in their official announcement or in conversation with Variety, is whether Facebook Music Videos will count towards chart tracking, and if

This is, after all, the same company that famously overstated their video view counts just a few years ago, which led to the failed "pivot to video" movement in Internet journalism, and cost hundreds of jobs.

Unless there's more of an incentive, exclusiveness or superior experience offered by Facebook, it feels unlikely that anyone will bother prioritizing the already much-abandoned platform. It does seem, however, more likely than ever that your great aunt might accidentally stumble across a new Charli XCX music video.

We shall soon see how this plays out. And if you're gone by Monday: thank you for the memories, TikTok. You've contributed so much to the culture.

Photo credit: @charlidamelio / Facebook

Róisín Murphy Announces Her Fifth Studio Album, 'Róisín Machine'

You know, we talk a good game about all the pop girls getting their disco on in 2020 - but not everyone's got a discography that goes the distance on the dance floor like Róisín Murphy.

The longtime trailblazer in all things quirky, cool and pulsating is returning to us with a brand new record, the gloriously titled Róisín Machine, out on September 25 via Skint / BMG. This is the Moloko superstar's fifth solo studio album overall, and first full-length since 2016's Take Her Up to Monto.

And now, a tantalizing description: "Róisín Machine is the culmination of a rich, decades-long partnership between Murphy and one of her most trusted collaborators Crooked Man aka DJ Parrot. Although packed to the rafters with masterclass singles, including 'Simulation,' 'Jealousy,' 'Incapable,' 'Narcissus,' and 'Murphy’s Law,' it is also an ingeniously and seamlessly edited listening experience, designed to be listened to in one uninterrupted sitting, from start to dazzling finish."

Oh, how we love a continuous, non-stop mix of a dance record.

Not satisfied with just an album announcement? Fear not: she's got "Something More."

Along with details of the new record, the Róisín Machine's spat out its latest creation onto the conveyer belt on Friday (July 31). And the concept of "Something More" is, well, wanting more (moah) - like many, many incredible pop songs we hold dear.

"Life just keeps me wanting / A crown upon my head, young lovers in my bed / But I want something more," Róisín yearns on the pensive throbber, bittersweet with the knowledge of where the world's taken us in recent months.

"I interpreted it as a swan-song to how we once lived. There’s plenty of bravado in the lyrics, and the character is a kind of antihero, but the indefinable yearning and the feeling of arriving at a point of emptiness is universal right now,” Róisín says of the song.

The song was co-written by New York City scribe Amy Douglas.

“We met last year at a very interesting talk event in London about the psychology and science of Dub. We hit it off immediately - I’m afraid we may have heckled the speakers, who happened to have among them Andrew Weatherall! I asked her to write me a song about never being full or satisfied, exponential need. She sent a very basic, but brilliant demo very soon after - just her singing and playing a piano. The challenge then is to get the music direction right, the arrangement, and the voicing," Róisín explained.

"Our first version was way more straight ahead pop, funky, very camp. It seemed right when we began before lockdown, but as a new reality descended upon the world, we got tired of its one and only dimension. So when this slow-burn, deep, soulful, groove emerged out of the Crooked remixes, I decided to change tack. It seemed perfect; the perfect arrangement for the song, and also perfect for the moment. We’re in darker ages now, and this feels like morning. The sun’s coming up and it’s the last record of a very, very, good night. We need space for ‘mood’ and the ‘uncanny’ right now.”

The song stands on its own of course, but given the selection of songs we've heard already - from "Simulation" to "Murphy's Law" to "Narcissus" - this album is really shaping up to be best enjoyed as a complete start-to-finish experience, as designed. We'll be able to dig in soon enough.

Róisín Machine is available to pre-order now in a bunch of cool different bundles with lots of goodies. All of the packaging and artwork just oozes cool. (Of the unheard songs still to come, nothing is more enticing than “Shellfish Mademoiselle.”)

Róisín Machine
Kingdom Of Ends
Something More
Shellfish Mademoiselle
We Got Together
Murphy’s Law
Game Changer

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Photo credit: Adrian Samson