Britney Spears wants to go “artsy-fartsy”

RCA

RCA

Last year, Britney Spears released her heavily anticipated album “Britney Jean.” The effort was touted as her most personal record to date. Fans, or the Britney Army as they’re known, were ecstatic to finally be getting the raw record they’d been wanting since The Original Doll dropped was never released back in 2006. But when “Britney Jean” was released, fans were left puzzled.

The album featured dance tracks and the lead single was titled “Work Bitch.” While the anthem kept her gay fanbase happy (for a time), most of the Army was left scratching their heads. There were a few gems that were personal, but they were tossed on the bonus track list. Not only that, but frequently employed back up singer Myah Marie has been accused by fans of using her voice to fill in where Britney slipped through the cracks.

Probably the most disappointing of all was yet another collaboration with will.i.an was featured. The Black Eye Peas frontman is such a turn off that the Army has dubbed him “will.i.cant” and “will.you.not.”

Then last month, while promoting her new lingerie line, Britney stated during various press interviews that she wanted to try something new on her next album. She wanted it to be artsy-fartsy. Many fans have long wanted the singer to branch out and do something different. Still another set wants her to stick to the sexy dance club tunes that she’s known for.

Since the album is nowhere near to being completed, only time will tell what the actual direction of the record will go in. As any Britney fan knows that can change in an instant. More than anything, here’s hoping that the singer sticks to what she wants to do and explores different themes and utilizes new producers.

Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake’s “Love Never Felt So Good” Video Debuts

Epic/MJJ

Epic/MJJ

After much hype, the “Love Never Felt So Good” video debuted today. News leaked earlier this week that Justin would appear in the video with Michael. Doing this with a singer who is deceased is tricky. It can either come off unbelievable or just out of place. But the makers of the clip were able to pull it off.

As is exemplary of Michael’s later videos, various groups of people come together joyously. The late singer’s vision of cultural harmony has come to life. Fans mime Jackson’s verses and perform his iconic dance moves. Expect to see the “Beat It” arm reaches and a determined tyke attempting the gravity-defying lean of “Smooth Criminal.” Jackson’s appearances consist of smiles at Justin and fans from a scene in “Remember the Time” as well as dancing in clips like “Jam.”

Justin takes cues from those videos. It’s well known that Jackson is a major influence on Timberlake both musically and performance-wise. When it’s time for the “Not A Bad Thing” singer to shine on the bridge, he effortlessly imitates the king of pop. A flip of his leather jacket makes you forget about Justin’s unfortunate Macklemore haircut. “Love” is a cheerful clip that makes the already infectious song even more inspiring than before.

Watch it below:

I Was Wrong About Mariah Carey’s Newer Material

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The Island Def Jam Group, Mariah Carey

Yesterday morning I listened to Mariah Carey’s 43 Best Songs playlist on Spotify. I’ve always been big on classic, pop-ballad Mariah. You know, the artist her first husband, Tommy Mottola wanted her to be. I’ll admit that is kind of selfish on my part since she has always been influenced by hip hop artists. But as I listened past those songs she created in the early years of the 2000s decade, I (re)realized something. No, Mariah’s voice isn’t up to the same par it used to be when she released “Vision of Love” in 1990. It’s not even at “Hero” level. But she’s found away to utilize her voice in other ways. Integrating rap/urban/club (read: black) elements in her music means she gets to be a vocal actress. Breathy vocals and rap-sung verses do her favors on the non-single “Migrate” from 2008’s “E=MC²”.

Looking back though her discography, it’s easy to see that Carey has always tried to tread the line between maintaining a pop audience but still being authentic to herself and the kinds of tunes she wants to reflect her. Rap mixes pepper her collection. Fused with club songs are the revamped style of ballads she’s adopted within the past decade or so. Continue reading

Lady Gaga’s SXSW “Artistry” Takes Focus off Music

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Latin Post/Twitter: @GagaFNews

In case you missed it, Lady Gaga has made her gimmicks relevant again by getting puked on. That’s right. Gaga went on stage at SXSW Thursday and performed her song, “Swine,” and all kinds of strange things occurred. The singer looked naturally disheveled as she stood pounding drums in undies, fishnets and an apron. (The latter is from an earlier bit where the singer poured beer and sausages on herself and over the audience after she was tied to a roasting spit like an actual swine). Along side her, ‘Vomit Painter’ Millie Brown stood downing green paint from a water bottle. The ladies then proceed to climb a mechanical bull. Gaga played the piano while Brown chugged blue paint and threw it up on her scissoring partner. You can watch the performance for yourself below, but the discussion doesn’t stop here.

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Jennifer Lopez’s “I Luh Ya Papi” Disappoints

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Epic Records/SME

I like J.Lo. I really do. No, she doesn’t have killer pipes nor has she exactly been at the top of her game for the past few years. Before  you could at least count on her to put out a song with a killer beat. “Dance Again” is pretty inspiring and at least made you want to bust a move. “I Luh Ya Papi” just doesn’t get to that point. The single, featuring French Montana, is the epitome of lackluster. It’s been getting fairly mixed reviews but the only thing decent about it is that it’s not EDM-based (thank goodness for that). The versus manage to save the chorus some, which is just a droaning “I luh ya, luh ya, luh ya papi” sung over and over.

The video helps make the single a little easier to get through. Jennifer is super cute in the intro. She and her girls are going over concepts for the video when her friends make a novel suggestion: what if the tables were turned and the women objectify the men for a change? And so, J.Lo wonders about the possibilities. Yachts full of half naked men, their undies pulled down to reveal pasty buttocks. Cars adorned with men along the sides, dripping soapy sponges down their heavily muscled abs. Jen looks great as usual, rocking signature hairstyles and flashing that famous bottom in skin-tight clothing. She even hits the dreadful Nae-Nae but makes it look playful enough. Check out the video after the jump.  Continue reading

Coldplay Surprises with New Song “Midnight”

Mary Wigmore, EMI, Vevo

Mary Wigmore, EMI, Vevo

Continuing the trend of surprising sounds Coldplay surprised everyone yesterday. “Midnight” is a minimal, ambient track with a steady pulse. It’s trance-y but not the kind of trance that’s typical of EDM. The song pretty much focuses on the instrumentation since the lyrics are indistinguishable. The band is known for their experimentation musically and visually and this is no exception. Continue reading

Shakira Goes in a New Direction with “Empire”

RCA

RCA

Shakira isn’t known for her ballads. She’s definitely not known for arena rock anthems either. She’s known for her hip gyrations and ethnic-pop infused tracks. Yet she seems to meld the two in something of a light pop confection.”Empire” is nothing like the kind of song we’ve come to expect from the Colombian. It is stripped down in the versus. Orchestral builds join the verses to the chorus. Once the chorus comes the singer’s vocals are backed by heavy percussion and strings. Continue reading