Lola Indigo Denise Rosenthal Danna Paola Santeria

'Santería': Lola Índigo, Danna Paola & Denise Rosenthal Take Over the Globe

Sisters are doing it for themselves in 2020, and we're all truly so lucky to be experiencing this ongoing pop culture moment of powerful women teaming up and taking over in the middle of such an otherwise bleak cultural landscape.

From Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga's "Rain on Me" to Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B's "WAP" to Selena Gomez and BLACKPINK's "Ice Cream," the girls are seriously giving it to us - and that reach is further extending outward on a global level.

Spain's fast-rising "Ya No Quiero Ná" singer Lola Índigo joined forces with Mexico's TV child actress-turned-superstar Danna Paola (of Élite fame, more recently) and Chilean actress and Cambio de Piel singer Denise Rosenthal for a massive cross-cultural collaboration called "Santería," released on Friday (August 28), which was produced by Nábalez and Mango.

Much like the Planeteers, the women represent the different elements in the accompanying music video: Lola's holding down water, her dancers are Earth, Denise is wind, and Danna is fire.

The visual finds each of the girls representing their respective cultures with fierce looks: Lola in Andalucía surrounded by Mudéjar architecture, Denise in the mountains of The Andes, and Danna striking a pose next to skulls and candles in keeping with Mexican tradition, via 20minutos.

The powerful presence of the trio is further accentuated by the empowering lyricism (and Lola's impressive choreography!), as they take hold of their crowns and set a former flame's heart ablaze without even a shred of mercy: "No soy emperadora, pero la corona e' mía," Lola declares. "Tengo el mando y tú no lo sabía' / Yo ganando y tú te lo perdía'." ("I have the power and you didn't know it / I won and you lost it.")

"Producir ha sido muy sencillo, las tres tenemos las riendas de nuestros proyectos y muy buena sintonía, así que todo ha fluido natural y entre amigas, que es como debería ser siempre," Lola said which, if my Spanish skills are still working properly, means "Producing has been very easy, the three of us take the reigns of our projects and are in very good harmony, so everything has flowed naturally and as friends, like it should always be." (Please school me in the comments if I'm off.)

Social distancing may have kept these three queens apart, but they still managed to deliver an absolute smash, united in spirit. This is exactly the kind of powerful girl group energy we needed to push through these most trying of times. ¡Viva Loladannise!

Danna Paola's Sie7e is also available in CD form.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.

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Toni Braxton Spell My Name

'Spell My Name': Toni Braxton Spells Out Her Legend Status

School's back in session (virtually, this year), and the legendary Ms. Toni Braxton is giving us all a crucial spelling lesson - but more on that a little later.

Following 2018's stellar Sex & Cigarettes, the deep-voiced diva (or, as the New York Times referred to her in 1993, "Up-And-Coming Throaty Alto") returned on Friday (August 28) with another tight set of tracks in the form of Spell My Name.

The record was executive produced by Toni herself and Darcus Beese, the CEO of Island Records. And while the collection largely stays in a slower, midtempo-to-balladry lane, Spell My Name kicks off with her gloriously disco-tinged "Dance," a sway-the-drama-away anthem that finds the singer commanding the dance floor, providing the feel-good feelings above a nostalgic, horn-y groove. As a storyteller who dabbles largely in the stuff of heartbreak (and un-breaking of hearts), it's a treat to see her cut loose in maybe her most joyous moment since 2010's "Make My Heart."

The collection also includes her three-weeks-and-running No. 1 Adult R&B Billboard hit "Do It," a dump-the-dud-already reassurance co-penned with longtime Love, Marriage & Divorce musical husband Babyface which appears in its original solo form, as well as the appropriately hype remix featuring Missy Elliott ("this shit is crazy!"), who's enjoying a bit of a career renaissance of her own between her own output and guesting on cuts for Toni, Lizzo and Dua Lipa. Look, if Toni's telling you to do what you need to do, you need to go ahead and do it.

Babyface also shows his (baby) face at the tail-end of the record with the swaggering and soulful "Nothin'," a slow dance of a bonus track that takes Toni to the other extreme, begging and pleading for some romantic reciprocation: "Without your love I ain't nothin / I'm just a girl, searching for something," she aches on the all-or-nothing love song.

There's also an unexpected assist from the fast-rising H.E.R., one of this year's Album of the Year Grammy nominees, on the Soundz-crafted, Jeremih co-penned "Gotta Move On," a slow-strutting, smoldering kiss-off, complete with a searing-hot guitar solo from H.E.R., which kind of brings the Rihanna "Kiss It Better" vibes: "Tell me, would it burn / Baby, if the tables turned?"

Toni stays in her midtempo pocket, hopping into the producer's seat with the contemplative "Fallin'" before spelling it out on the album's title track, complete with a dramatic string-led intro. She supplies the total cougar fantasy on "Spell My Name," trading off with a younger man across the verses.

"I'm a little older and I really kinda like it that way, wanna play?" she seduces across the sexy track as she starts issuing the commands: "Spell my name, T-O-N-I-B-R-A-X-T-O-N." It's a total hot-for-teacher fantasy, and an absolutely fierce moment as the industry veteran take the reigns, showing this youngin' the ropes.

The spelling theme keeps coming, but the love affair is already over one song later on the Antonio Dixon-produced "O.V.E.Rr." - with an extra "R," so you know it's really over-r.

"Why we keep on going down the same road? Promise we gon' end it, 'cause we both know / It's just O-V-E-R, we're O-V-E-R-R," she declares across the dreamy, tripping beat.

G’harah “PK” Degeddingseze helms "Happy Without Me," which plays like a piano-led ballad sequel to 2018's best song, "Long As I Live." Toni's ultra deep voice matches the deep, deep hurt of watching a former flame move on with someone else: "Nothing's bruised but my ego, nothing's hurt but my pride," she aches, delivering the most devastated drama on the record.

The record draws to a close with perhaps one of the most intriguing songs on the record: "Saturday Night," which finds Toni teaming with Lana Del Rey collaborator Chris Braide, staying in and feeling the fever for the wrong one: "Alone on a Saturday night in a city screaming loud outside / And you know what I wanna do / I know you're wrong for me, but I don't care 'cause I just wanna do bad things to you tonight," she belts. The piano-and-strings arrangement is such an interesting choice from a production standpoint, considering the song's fiery spirit and heightened tension - it almost feels like the "stripped," contemplative version of an existing uptempo hit.

Much like Sex & Cigarettes two years ago, Spell My Name is only further evidence that Toni's still got plenty of stories to tell (and spell) with her inimitable voice, sounding like the seasoned pro she is while doing so: from dishing out the break-up advice to a friend, to instructing a younger lover in the ways to give her pleasure.

Thirty years deep into the game, the all-too-underrated "Un-Break My Heart" icon is only continuing to reinvent herself, blaze new trails and dance the night away while doing so - unless it's one of those Saturday nights spent at home alone. Spell her name: I-C-O-N.

This album is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.

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Photo credit: Miller Mobley


Record Store Day September 26 2020

5 Picks for Record Store Day 2020: September 26 Edition

It's (still) the most wonderful time(s) of the year: Record Store Day.

The annual celebration of all things 7", 12" and beyond - we're talking about vinyl here, get your heads out of the gutter - is a celebration of independent record stores, and the increasingly rare experience of holding a music product in hand, complete with tons of reissues, rarities and exclusive first-time vinyl pressings.

As a diehard lover of the physical experience of owning music - the touch and feel of the packaging, the liner notes, the artwork - as well as the hunt for an elusive collectible or unexpected rarity hidden deep in the crates, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the holiday.

Of course, like everything else, this year's festivities are a little bit different amid the pandemic: originally planned for April 18, organizers ultimately postponed the event and decided to spread it out across three dates: August 29, September 26 and October 24. (Record Store Black Friday is also still happening on November 27.)

After making some recommended selections for the August 29 drop, I've sifted through the crates of releases planned for the second date, and picked out my Top 5 picks that my readers would likely be most eager to track down. (You can also check out the full list of releases here.)

Happy hunting...

 


Katy Perry Smile

'Smile': Katy Perry Faces Her 'Flop' to Feel Fine Again

"Gotta say it's really been a while, but now I got back that smile."

Katy Perry is many things. Subtle is not one of them.

As a result, the heavy-handed "sad clown" imagery of her fifth studio album, Smile, out on Friday (August 28), conveys much of the story without much else needed to be said or sang - but she does plenty of that, too.

Katy Perry is the Weird Al of Pop™: cartoonish, oft-childish, over-the-top, humor-pop. Whipped cream in the boobs! Fireworks...also in the boobs! Peacock! Left shark! Dabbing on SNL with Migos! It's always led to a laugh, so it's no surprise that Katy identifies with the clown. And, guess what? Clowns have feelings, too.

Following lukewarm reception to her 2017 studio album Witness (and subsequent gleeful Stan Twitter dragging), the diminishing returns for Katy, a previously untouchable entertainer in the mainstream pop game for over a decade, eventually came at a cost to her mental health. She struggled with clinical depression, which she's been candid about in recent months.

Privately, she was also going through a split and reconciliation with her now-fiancé, Orlando Bloom. Then came a pandemic. She also got pregnant, which seemingly stretched on for years, until just a few days before the release of Smile. (Welcome to the world, Daisy Dove Bloom.)

That's a lot of extreme emotional highs and lows for anybody, let alone someone with child, with millions of fans, coming off of a less-than-favored album campaign.

But as she proved throughout the seemingly endless Smile promotional campaign in the past months, Katy is fiercely determined, possessing near-superhuman strength to rise to the occasion and pull out all the stops of a major pop campaign in quarantine, backwards and in heels, with a baby bump and a clown nose. For that alone, she deserves her flowers. (Daises, presumably.) The music itself? Well...

"This record (Smile) is full of hopefulness and resilience and joy because it was made during a dark time when I was clinically depressed because I had a change in my career. The last record didn't necessarily meet my expectations," she told Howard Stern.

"It got me out of this loop of being a really desperate, thirsty pop star that felt like they had to be No. 1 all the time. Now I feel like I can create and be more dimensional as an artist and also as a human being."

Nearly half of Smile (at least, the Fan Edition) was already released by the time it fully arrived, including last year's "Never Really Over," a Top 20 hit, her Top 40 hit "Daisies," "Small Talk," which topped out at No. 81, plus "Harleys in Hawaii," "Never Worn White" and title track "Smile," both of which missed the Billboard Hot 100.

Chart talk is boring and irrelevant in most people's worlds, but it's vital in understanding Katy's self-described "thirst": at one point in time, Katy Perry was breaking records as the first woman, and only the second artist after Michael Jackson, to notch five number-one singles from one album. Fame is a fickle food.

"Had a piece of humble pie / That ego check saved my life / Now I got a smile like Lionel Richie / Big and bright, need shades just to see me," Katy tells us on her bright and breezy, uplifting shoe commercial-friendly title track, taking us on the journey from the darkness into recovery mode in the form of the Smile sessions - with a wink to her American Idol gig by calling out her co-star at the judges' table.

As opposed to some of the more escapist pop of her past, Smile is overwhelmingly a Something More Personal kind of album. And for those who've found the social media commentary about her career particularly brutal in recent years, Katy has no qualms about jumping in and calling out her career dip herself throughout Smile.

"Flipping off the flop, now I just enjoy the ride," she declares on "Not the End of the World," a trap-tinged track that interpolates "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," and vaguely recalls her massive, legally contested 2013 hit, "Dark Horse."

"Daisies," similarly, finds Katy emerging from the depths of sadness, fighting back against the haters, the doubters, and the voices within her own head.

"They told me I was out there, tried to knock me down / Took those sticks and stones, showed 'em I could build a house," she declares on the propulsive, guitar-led chorus, "I'll never let 'em change me / 'Til they cover me in daisies, daisies, daisies!"

The overarching theme of the album is resilience. There's...literally a song called "Resilient," in fact, a StarGate co-produced empowerment anthem: "Look at me now, look at me now, I'm in full bloom," she declares. (The use of "Bloom" here is, of course, no accident.)

Her rocky romance with Orlando isn't off the table either: "Make-ups to the breakups / Times we coulda gave up / We put the dirty work in," she celebrates on the throbbing, Johan Carlsson-produced "Champagne Problems," which bursts with a funky, vaguely disco-fied energy.

As danceable as much of the production on Smile is, the lyrics largely stay focused on triumphing through the tough times. "Tucked" is a bouncy and joyous exception, which feels like a slight, summery homage to an earlier, more carefree version of Katy, who was waking up in Vegas, letting loose in a fantasy fling with a sweet escape.

The sadness simply gets no chance to creep past the positivity force-field that is Smile. The album's best moments arrive right at the top of the record, as she's dancing and delaying the hurt: the Sasha Sloan co-penned "Cry About It Later," an ode to going out and postponing the tears, is a pulsating earworm, as is follow-up "Teary Eyes," a depression-on-the-dance-floor ode that effectively serves as this album's "Walking On Air"-gone-emo.

"Have you ever lied and just replied 'I'm fine'? / 'Cause I can see you've lost, lost the light in your life," she declares. The song's final, encouraging cries of "Keep on dancing!" are among the most thrilling moments on the album - if only it wasn't so short-lived.

"I swear sometimes I hear myself talking, getting mad / Take shit so personal, like it really matters," she reflects on "Only Love," a #gratitude anthem which veers towards the worship territory of her earliest days (plus the added perspective of much therapy, clearly), as she considers the last day of her life, apologizes to her mother, writes a letter to her father, and lets the light in yet again: "Let me leave this world with the hate behind me, and take the love instead / Give me only love."

The acoustic-leaning "What Makes a Woman" rounds out her Smile, an introspective ode to - if you can guess - being a woman.

"I feel most beautiful doing what the fuck I want," she snarls, flirting with just the slightest hint of an edge within an otherwise saccharine musical experience.

"There it is, Kathryn," she sighs to herself in the final seconds, sounding relieved.

It's wonderful to see and hear that Katy is smiling again, truly. Smile is not, however, a breakthrough Ray of Light sort of moment for Katy. Nor does it soar to the scream-sing-along heights of the now decade-old Teenage Dream - or Prism, really. It is full of lightness and levity, bursting at the seams with self-empowerment clichés and her signature clownery ("When I hula-hula, hula so good, you'll take me to the jeweler-jeweler"), but it doesn't ever aspire to be more than perfectly adequate, positive, contemporary pop.

Ever since the moment she went goth girl and burned that Teenage Dream wig years ago, there's always been a lingering hope for a different kind of record somewhere inside of Katy - one that isn't afraid to let the feelings be more fully fleshed out, as "Circle the Drain" implied a decade ago, which doesn't just ward off unsavory emotions with unrelenting positivity and a pie to the face. Smile is simply not that.

A perfectly fine, personal pop album with a few, fleeting above-average moments is no crime committed, nor it doesn't mean it's...really...over. But if Katy truly feels as free as she says to become more "dimensional" post-chart powerhouse, Smile is not exactly overwhelming evidence of this exercise in artistic exploration.

Perhaps on the next go-around, there'll be less pushing daisies, and more pushing her own musical boundaries.

Katy Perry's Smile LP is out now.

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Photo credit: Christine Hahn


t.A.T.u. Waste Management

t.A.T.u.'s Third & Final English Album Is Finally on Streaming

t.A.T.u. is back. Sort of.

The game-changing, faux-lesbian-turned-one-half-homophobic "All the Things She Said" Russian troupe released their third English studio album Waste Management at the end of 2009 (the English counterpart to Весёлые Улыбки), which went generally unheard outside of Russia.

It sold 1,000 copies in the United States - but it was also a No. 3 hit in Mexico, apparently. El sabor.

Their final album was also never made available on streaming...until now.

On Friday (August 28), the record miraculously surfaced, and has thus immediately won this week's #NewMusicFriday. It's a must-listen for the uninitiated. Waste Management is a wholly electronic/downtempo record, as deliciously angsty as their back catalog, with an experimental, at times trippy edge. (Lena said it was partly inspired by Pink Floyd.)

There were even three singles (and music videos) released from the record: "Snowfalls," "White Robe" and "Sparks."

The album includes production and writing from one of the band's co-creators, Sergey Galoyan, as well as the legendary Billy Steinberg, who previously wrote "All About Us" for the duo, contributing the standout "Fly on the Wall."

Sadly, the girls ended their all-too-brief ride a few years later to embark on their solo careers (and continue to cause controversy in different ways), but this is nonetheless a delightfully shocking development - and a fascinating glimpse at what could have been.

And if you'd like another trip 200 km/h down the wrong memory lane, check out my interview with the girls from 2012, in honor of their 10th anniversary.

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Selena Gomez BLACKPINK Ice Cream

'Ice Cream': Selena Gomez & BLACKPINK Serve a Sugary Treat



"Ice cream, chillin', chillin' / Ice cream chillin'..."

When it was first announced that Selena Gomez would be the special guest on BLACKPINK's "Ice Cream," the next single from their upcoming debut, The Album, the response on social media was decidedly, erm...mixed.

How would the breathy "Lose You to Love Me" chanteuse square up (eh heh) with the cocky, in-your-face, boombayah-ish attitude of South Korea's most massive girl group of the moment?

As it turns out: it's a pretty tasty match.

SelPink arrived with a pastel-colored splash on Friday (August 28), following the typical K-pop onslaught of thrilling teaser photos and video snippets, a cute Zoom session between the five girls, an "Ice Cream"-themed merch drop, influencer promo (hi sisters!), an IRL ice cream truck - and even Selena Gomez quite literally launching an ice cream flavor. (Once again, Girls' Generation's Hyoyeon really ushered in a movement with her "Dessert." You know what we deserve!)

The song features an impressive array of superstar songwriters: this is a Selena and Ariana Grande co-write (!), plus Victoria Monét, TEDDY, Tommy Brown, Steven Franks, Bekuh BOOM and 24.

"Ice Cream" is a refreshing offering from the girls: not just because it's nice and cold and goes down easy in the heat, but because it offers a different sound from BLACKPINK, sonically closer to something like a "Whistle" or a "Really" with an "As If It's Your Last" cutesy charm, rather than "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du," "Kill This Love" and "How You Like That."

It's not that all those recent songs aren't total smashes, of course, but the girls were slightly drifting into a somewhat formulaic territory at a certain point. It's nice to taste a different kind of flavor from the leading ladies.

"When we first heard the melody, it felt like our mouths were filled with sweetness. We think that the people who are suffering from the summer heat can chill while listening to the song. We hope that the good energy and excitement we felt will be delivered to everyone who listens," the girls explained in an interview.

"It’s always fun to challenge something new. 'Ice Cream' tried to express its refreshing and lovely charm, contrary to our pre-released single 'How You Like That' in June. The song is like an ice cream that melts the midsummer heat, so please look forward to it."

Somewhat surprisingly, the midtempo end-of-summer serving's almost entirely in English, more than "Kiss & Make Up" with Dua Lipa, as though to further illustrate that BLACKPINK can, and will, take over stateside soon enough.

At the same time, it's also nice to hear (and see!) Selena veering into unapologetically silly, flirty, frothier pop territory after her more vulnerable, #SomethingMorePersonal-style offerings in recent years, from Revival to Rare, all the way through to her recent tender remix of Trevor Daniel's "Past Life." She's happily down for whatever in the music video, supplying a fierce energy to match the girls' endless confidence while doing plenty of the heavy lifting when it comes to serving up the sex appeal (and, yes, the ice cream too.) She truly looks stunning as the ice cream truck-driving babe - a snack, indeed.

The girls all have plenty of cute and catchy moments throughout, drizzled throughout the clap-happy production like rainbow sprinkles atop a massive fudge swirl: Rosé with the puppy, Jisoo with the cherry, Jennie sharing a carrot...with a..Capybara?!

Jennie Ice Cream

You know what? I'm happy for her.

And of course, leave it to global, oft-viral sensation La-la-Lisa to serve up the song's fiercest moment with the rap bridge, containing a line so good, they had to use it twice: "Mona Lisa kinda Lisa." I mean, come on - booking a tattoo appointment immediately to add it to my lower back.

This is also easily one of BLACKPINK's most suggestive offerings yet: "I'm nice with the cream if you know what I mean." Girls, please!

The collaboration feels like a double win: BLACKPINK's stateside domination continues with Selena Gomez helming their "Ice Cream" truck, and Selena gets to get a little international love of her own while putting a frozen cherry on top of her recent culinary conquests: an already successful, newly renewed Selena + Chef HBO Max series, and recent partnership with Serendipity.

As with the numerous female tag-team collaborations we've been blessed with in this otherwise bleak year, the girls are here to distract us with a sugary-sweet pop treat. Now, who's ready for a lick?

Click here to read the lyrics...

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Dua Lipa Club Future Nostalgia Remix Album

'Club Future Nostalgia': Dua Lipa Looks Back & Dances Forward

Club Future Nostalgia is officially open.

Following a premature cover art reveal by the Queen of Pop™ herself (which in and of itself is legendary), Dua Lipa's flung open the velvet rope at the door and shuffled us into her swanky club experience on Friday (August 28), cramped wall to wall with special guests in a chaotic, silly, raucous, sweat-inducing one-hour set, curated by The Blessed Madonna.

The special release covers the breadth of her 2020 studio album Future Nostalgia, one of the top pop album contenders of the year, as well as "Kiss & Make Up" with BLACKPINK, and a few unreleased-'til-now surprises.

Club Future Nostalgia furiously, erratically swerves through the hits and deep cuts alike, conjuring familiar feelings through ample samples, as cuts like "Hollaback Girl" suddenly comes flying into the speakers. (Check out the specifics on all the samples in the tracklisting.) The record's served up as a continuous mix, just as with Madonna's Confessions on a Dance Floor, one of the inspirations behind Future Nostalgia, and could even be considered an indirect nod to Madame X's own 1987 remix album, You Can Dance.

Shout-outs are peppered in throughout from Dua, as well as collaborators like Little Louie Vega, Yaeji and Mark Ronson all dialing in, radio-style, to say hey to the listeners and make special requests. ("I would love to hear 'Buffalo Stance' by Neneh Cherry, and just one more thing - don't you get fresh with me," Mark sasses.)

Highlights are plentiful, including the hypnotic, repeat-heavy Yaeji mix of "Don't Start Now," the ass-shaking "Boys Will Be Boys" mix by Zach Witness, the bright house piano chord-filled Paul Woolford take on "Hallucinate," Horse Meat Disco's retro re-rub of "Love Again," as well as both the funky, Jamiroquai-sampling "Break My Heart / Cosmic Girl (Dimitri From Paris Edit)" and the Moodymann mix of "Break My Heart," which brings the album to a close.

Gwen Stefani hops into the VIP area to assist on Mark Ronson's remix of "Physical," which smooths out the song into a more midtempo synth-pop sheen, as Gwen climbs aboard to provide her signature crooning, effortlessly fitting into the groove and easily providing one of the album's standout moments - and extreme L.A.M.B.-era Gwen nostalgia to boot.

And of course, there's the previously released, much discussed, divisive "Levitating" remix with Madonna and Missy Elliott, which makes much more sense mid-party.

The new songs, which may or may not have already been floating 'round the Internet, only add to the anticipation for Dua's eventual B-sides/deluxe edition, which is still on the horizon.

There's the appropriately holy experience that is "Love Is Religion," mixed by The Blessed Madonna and bolstered by the always reverence-worthy sound of Stevie Nicks' "Stand Back," and the near Confessions-leaning "That Kind of Woman," remixed by none other than Jacques Lu Cont, AKA Stuart Price. Both songs are incredible. Truly, Future Nostalgia: Side B cannot come soon enough.

“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,” Dua says of the release.

There weren't any real expectations for Club Future Nostalgia - or, at least, there shouldn't be: it's bonus content, and hardly the traditional route post-album release. She didn't have to do this at all, and yet, we've been given an exciting, unexpected, well-curated treat nonetheless.

The array of remixers on duty is impressive, as are the clever selections of sounds and songs referenced, providing Future Nostalgia with an added pulse of throbbing energy, introducing younger audiences to legendary DJs and entertainers, teasing new music still to come, and extending the life of the era even longer.

In a world of attention spans lasting no longer than a TikTok, Dua's managed to keep the Future Nostalgia experience alive and kicking. It's no easy feat - especially when the only club that's open exists solely in one's head - and further proof of her current reign.

Madonna, Missy and Gwen hopping on your remix album? Talk about a Main Pop Girl humblebrag.

The Future Nostalgia limited LP is available now.

This album is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.

You can also subscribe to MuuTunes on Apple Music.


GRACEY Like That

GRACEY's Got It 'Like That'

"There's something 'bout you got me changing my mind like that..."

GRACEY might have had a delayed debut this year, but she's absolutely on the right track.

The 22-year-old Brighton singer already notched her first Top 10 UK hit in the form of disillusioned dance floor banger “Don’t Need Love" with 220 KID, and even had a TikTok viral moment with the all too appropriate for quarantine “Alone In My Room (Gone).”

And as of Wednesday (August 26), she's back with what might well be her biggest, brightest, and catchiest track to date: "Like That," featuring Chicago rising star, Alexander 23. (She's got a thing with number-in-name collaborations, clearly.)

The conflicted banger, co-produced by Tom Stafford and Josh Fountain, is all about being determined to get out from under...but there's just something pulling you back. Been there?

The instant dance-pop earworm's got a clever anti-chorus moment, diving downward for a sultry spoken shuffle instead of exploding outward as the rocket launcher of a pre-chorus would imply.

"Don't want no one 'cause I'm on the right track / But there's something 'bout you got me changing my mind like that," she declares on the finger-snapping, strut-friendly track. It's got some real candy-coated, Katy Perry-worthy pop melodies, especially in the bridge, that certainly ought to supply a sparkle of that summery energy straight through to the end of the season.

Like that? Why yes, I most certainly do.

Read the lyrics inside...

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.

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Photo credit: Bella Howard


Disclosure Kehlani Syd Birthday

Disclosure, Syd & Kehlani Want to Call You on Your 'Birthday.' Is That Okay?

"Can I call you on your birthday? Just to make sure that you're okay?"

The reliably great duo known as Disclosure is dropping a new album called Energy on Friday (August 28), and like their past records, the track listing features an enviable array of superstars, from Kelis to Common.

Just ahead of the record's release, the electronic duo dropped the latest offering from the set on Wednesday (August 26): "Birthday," a collaboration with Syd and Kehlani.

The track plays like a nostalgic, buttery-smooth '90s R&B throwback classic with a slick, modern electronic twist, as the crooners contemplate the concept of giving an old flame a ring on their special day. (Personally, I'd opt for a text at best but, you know, you gotta do what you gotta do.)

“Syd & I were going through a similar thing at the time, trying to work out if it was cool to call your ex to say hi or is it too awkward / mean to do so out of the blue?” says Howard Lawrence.

"We wrote the song with Syd originally, and we were definitely going on that Brandy, Monica, and Aaliyah vibe; that was just how we were all feeling that day. And then we decided halfway through writing it, we were like, you know what, this would actually be great as a duet. So who should we get on it? And she was like, 'Oh, well, maybe I'll just get Kehlani.' We were like, yeah, that's fine. But also, people say that stuff a lot in sessions and it never happens. So we just went like, yeah, sure, thinking that's not going to happen. And then two weeks later, it was just in the inbox. Yeah, which is really strange," he further explained to Zane Lowe on Apple Music.

"It’s been a foundational song for the record," Guy Lawrence added.

"Also, another cool thing to mention about that song and with Kehlani is, always, whenever we can, we always get in the room with the artist and write the songs from scratch," Howard continued.

"We're not the type of people who like to write a song and just send it to a singer and be like, 'Do that.' We like to sit down and be like, how are we all feeling today? What should we write about? And make the music there and then. So we did that with Syd and then she sent the song to Kehlani, and we had to just trust Kehlani to understand the vibe of the song and to really feel the vibe of it. And it's the first time we've ever done that, and we were lucky, I think, because Kehlani nailed this first one. She came back and there was nothing we wanted to change. It was just perfect."

To provide a little extra energy (eh heh), the boys also released the "VIP Remix" of the song, which provides a pulse to the original production, perfect for the at-home anxious dancing in between contemplating whether or not to ring them up.

Click inside to read the lyrics....

Energy will be released as a transparent double LP, CD and tape on August 28.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.

You can also subscribe to MuuTunes on Apple Music.

Photo credit: Island Records / Hollie Fernando


Anders Brogaard Sarah Harding

Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding Reveals She Is Battling Breast Cancer

This is not the headline anyone wants to see when they wake up, but here we are.

Our beloved Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud has breast cancer, and it’s spreading.

The 38-year-old member of the girl group made the incredibly upsetting announcement on Wednesday (August 26) on social media, which she felt she needed to do after being recently spotted at the hospital.

“Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these uncertain times. I’ve not posted on here for so long, thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in on me, it really does mean a lot. I feel now is the right time to share what’s been going on. There’s no easy way to say this and actually it doesn’t even feel real writing this, but here goes,” she wrote.

“Earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and a couple of weeks ago I received the devastating news that the cancer has advanced to other parts of my body. I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can. I understand this might be shocking to read on social media and that really isn’t my intention. But last week it was mentioned online that I had been seen in hospital, so I feel now is the time to let people know what’s going on and this is the best way I can think of to do so. My amazing mum, family and close friends are helping me through this, and I want to say a thank you to the wonderful NHS doctors and nurses who have been and continue to be heroes. I am doing my very best to keep positive and will keep you updated here with how I’m getting on. In the meantime I hope you’ll all understand and respect my request for privacy during this difficult time. Sending you all so much love….xx.”

The message came with a hospital bed selfie on Instagram, and has since been met with a flood of supportive messages on social media from fans and fellow stars alike, including at least one of her bandmates, Nadine Coyle, who wrote: “I love you!!!! You have always been able to achieve miracles when needed!! I am here for the all the way & always will be!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️👑👑👑⭐️⭐️⭐️” Cheryl has since also tweeted a broken heart emoji.

As you all surely know by now, Girls Aloud is my favorite girl group. There are endless memories attached to the music. This is devastating news for fans.

I am sending all of my well wishes and positive, healing energy to Sarah, as well as support and strength to all her loved ones. We all love you very much and we’re rooting for you, Sarah. You got this.

Photo credit: Anders Brogaard

Nadine Coyle Go To Work

“Go To Work”: Nadine Coyle Turns Your Nine to Five Into a Good Time (Review)

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Dannii Minogue Neon Nights

Put the Needle on This 3-Hour Dannii Minogue Disco Megamix

Were I ever to become a radio show host, having somehow grown tired of all the incredible, everlasting $ucce$$ that comes with being a blogger, a 3-hour block of Dannii Minogue wouldn’t only happen on my show, it would be a mandatory weekly event.

Until that time rolls around, there’s this: a non-stop set of pure Disco D energy, mixed by DJ Argonaut for Melbourne’s Bar Kylie amid quarantine down under (pressure).

Originally streamed live on Twitch over the weekend, the set’s mercifully now been uploaded in podcast form, available on Apple and beyond to put On The Loop at all times.

This mix contains all the hits from across the decades – from “Jump to the Beat” to “All I Wanna Do” to “Disremembrance” to “Put the Needle on It” to “Who Do You Love Now?” to “I Can’t Sleep at Night” to “Touch Me Like That” – as well as popular remixes, and a healthy serving of the deep cuts (“Goodbye Song,” “Push,” “It Won’t Work Out” and “Feel Like I Do,” among others.) I mean, “Come & Get It” right off the top? It’s everything I wanted – and for the fellow Dannii Stanniis, this is quite truly it.

Love and kisses to everyone down in Australia.

Neon Nights is available on vinyl.


Aluna Envious

Aluna Is Going Solo & Getting 'Envious'

Aluna, of AlunaGeorge, is having a solo moment.

The 32-year-old singer-songwriter, and one-half of the electronic duo that’s given us everything from “You Know You Like It” (which went massively popular with DJ Snake years later) to “White Noise” with Disclosure to “I’m in Control” over the past decade, has been supplying a string of solo songs in the past few months after inking a solo deal with Mad Decent.

Ahead of the release of her debut solo album Renaissance, which is out on Friday (August 28), Aluna dropped her latest single, “Envious” – and it might just be my favorite of the bunch yet.

Don’t make me envious / You know I’m cruel when I see red, and I’m losing my head…

The Philip von Boch Scully co-produced dance floor stomper is as catchy as it is vulnerable; a desperate plea not to play with the envy-afflicted’s heart.

People think I’m strong / And there ain’t nothing wrong with that, except when I get mad / Except when I get sad,” she admits across an irresistibly slick disco bassline, fitting in nicely with this year’s “we’re going disco, since we can’t go to the disco” vibe. (Talk about envy.)

“I think people really need this song right now because I believe it’s my best ‘cry dance’ song; a style I coined to describe that exquisite feeling when all your emotions are released while dancing so you cry at the same time. I feel like in these times people need that at least once a day!” Aluna says of the song. To be fair: if you’re not cry-dancing constantly in quarantine, what even are you doing?

Speaking of dancing, Aluna also opened up about her own experience within the dance music world, while providing a serious reality check regarding the origins of the movement, which then informed her solo outing: “In the past when performing on the stages of my white male peers, I always felt like a visitor being one of the few Black women I could see, so it never fully occurred to me to claim dance music as my music, as an artist, even though it was at the heart of my connection to music,” she said.

“Then I looked at the history of dance music and saw how, for example, Chicago House, known as the invention of house music, was pioneered in the Black and Latino LGTBQ+ communities which gave me inspiration to stake my flag in the ground as a Black woman in dance music by taking control of production and songwriting with my own vibe.”

“Envious” also comes with a music video full of gorgeous natural imagery and ample choreography, which was directed by Hamadou Frederic Balde.

Aluna herself offers several striking looks throughout, including her regal opening scene: “This look was all about a culture clash of royalty. Growing up in England as a black girl I aspired to both African and British royalty – the glamour was irresistible. In reality those two cultures are very separate but I wanted to pull them together on my body the way they are pulled together in my experience,” Aluna says.

In this New Normal, it’s important to stay grounded and grateful for what we’ve got in this present moment. But with so many consistently solid dance floor offerings coming out this year by so many favorites, it’s hard not to feel a little bit, well…envious of our own club and festival-going memories. One day! Until then, we keep cry dancing on our own at home.

Renaissance is out on August 28, and will be released on black vinyl.

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.

You can also subscribe to MuuTunes on Apple Music.

Now Now Lonely Christmas

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

I've been missin' you, babe, every December night.


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