Review: Pop Newcomer Liz Unveils Video for 'All Them Boys' (And We Love It!)


Liz gives us exactly what we were hoping for in the video for her new single "All Them Boys" that premiered moments ago. The track is a blazing slice of late '90s inspired pop and R&B, and the colorful video for the single goes perfectly along with that.

After being signed to Diplo's Mad Decent last year, this video for "All Them Boys" is Liz's first big look that feels like a kick off to something big. The track was produced Mr. Carmack & Colta (from "Get Fresher" fame) and is taken from the singer's new mixtape.

I shared recently on Facebook that I find pop music a bit stale right now. There's are no major new albums on the release schedule in the next few months. Perry and Gaga are about to head on tour. Miley, Bruno and Justin continue their tour trek around the world. There are no plans for a new Rihanna album anytime soon, and according to reports Madonna is working on ideas for her new record but nothing is on the calendar yet.

This leaves the door wide up open for a new star to emerge on the pop scene. There are few, fresh-faced candidates that may bubble up as the next big thing in the next few months. Liz is one of those newcomers to keep your eye on. Her sound is distinct and her performance is charismatic. With the surge of interest in deep house and other throwback sounds, this is a really great moment to revisit late '90s pop and turn it into something contemporary. Liz does just that. It's perfectly timed.

She tells Interview Magazine, "I grew up on Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Max Martin. Anything they've done—I've been like, "Aahhhh!" I've always been a sucker for a great *NSYNC album, you know. I also can't forget Aaliyah, Ashanti, Mya, Craig David... they're some of my favorites. I think a lot of the music from that time period, like, early 2000's, was really overlooked."

She adds, "I think the soul element is missing. People want those catchy melodies back." We couldn't agree more. With pop hitting a bit of a rough patch, artists like Liz can revitalize the world's greatest genre.

April 10, 2014 | Permalink

Gorgon City Unveils New Single 'Here For You' featuring Laura Welsh [Review]


Gorgon City at it again. Following the success of their breakout single "Ready For Your Love" (featuring our pal MNEK), the British duo of Matt & Kye return with the brand-new "Here For You" that features songstress Laura Welsh. It's a hot and happening slice of radio-ready deep house that has massive crossover potential.

With the success of Disclosure, Rudimental and Duke Dumont, '90s inspired deep house has a real chance of breaking through into the mainstream in North America. Much of that is fueled by the public's interest in dance music. EDM has turned many people on to dance music and they are curious what else is out there in their quest to discover what happens beyond "the drop."

Deep house is driven by warming basslines, soulful melodies and a groove that fits all times of the day. Gorgon City's new "Here For You" combines all of those elements and more while delivering just the right vibe for summer. The song further establishes Gorgon City as one of the most exciting and talented new acts in the ever-flourishing landscape of British club savvy pop and paves the way for the duo’s forthcoming debut album due later in the year.

April 10, 2014 | Permalink

Stromae 'Papaoutai' Gains Momentum in North America; Remix featuring Angel Haze Released


Pop fans with a taste of what comes from abroad are surely already tuned into to Belgian chart sensation Stromae who is on the verge of global stardom with "Papaoutai." First released early 2013, it's a mightily infectious French-language pop confection that is totally fit for summer. The song has already gone multiple platinum all over the European continent and now the U.K. is starting to pay attention as well. North America may be next to get infatuated with Stromae. Republic Records is fully on board and is testing out to see if a French-language single could stick stateside.

It's extremely rare for a foreign language song to climb the pop charts in America but there's a precedent. Los Lobos had a number one hit with "La Bamba" back in 1987, German rock outfit Nena scored big with "99 Luftballons" and Mocedades had a top ten hit with "Eres Tu" in 1974. 

A bit of background on Stromae for the uninitiated: After a Catholic schooling marred by the loss of his father, the Rwandan-Belgian Stromae (aka Paul Van Haver) began to make a name for himself on the fundamentalist hip-hop scene in Brussels, working in a fast food restaurant to fund his first maxi single. He had his breakout hit a few years ago with the seminar dancefloor stomper "Alors On Danse" that hit number one in fifteen countries and was later remixed by Kanye West.

"Papaoutai" is an intensely personal song that is about the early loss of Stromae's father. He sings in the chorus of the song, "Where are you, papa?/Tell me, where are you papa?/Without even talking to him,he knows what he did wrong." That is followed by some universal wisdom when he concludes, "Everyone knows how to raise a child/But no one knows how to raise a father."

The song took a while for Stromae to finish up. A press releases explains that the lyrics went through a number of changes. It started out as an expression of  anger he was feeling but he re-wrote the song multiple times to have the story of the song resonate with the theme of the album while "mixing the cultures and the sounds that made him who he is now."

To give Stromae a push forward internationally, Island UK released a brand-new version of "Papaoutai" that features female Chicago MC Angel Haze. She adds some spit and shine to Stromae's original that helps amplify the theme of the song. (Listen to Stromae 'Papaoutai' on Beats Music. The song is featured on the singer's Racine Carree that is available now.)

April 10, 2014 | Permalink

Betty Who Sparks Joy, Captures Optimism on New 'Slow Dancing' EP [Review]

Betty Who - Slow Dancing - EP Art

There are many things that I admire about Betty Who. Her music is outrageously catchy, her songs are drenched in a delicious brew of '80s goodness and her live performance is a non-stop delight. What I think ultimately sets Betty Who's music apart is that it's dominated by a joyful quality that fills it with life and makes her lyrics so easy to relate to.

I'm not saying that all of the singer's music is about joy (she knows how to write a killer break-up tune too), but there's a hopeful spark and sense of optimism to her music no matter what the topic of the song is. I think much of that sentiment has to do with the love, care and passion Betty puts into crafting each and every one of her songs. 

Betty Who's joyful spirit is most prominent during her live shows that are filled with humor, off-the-cuff remarks and unscripted moments with fans in the audience. Leave it up to Betty Who to go from lamenting about a love lost to seamlessly segueing into a moment of hilarity that has the entire room bursting out laughing. It's her candor, sense of humor and optimism that fuels her brilliant pop mind.

After stirring up a storm of interest with her debut EP that included her breakthrough single "Somebody Loves You," the pop singer returns this week with her much-anticipated new EP Slow Dancing that was executive produced by Peter Thomas. It's a meaningful and cohesive effort that is about picking up the pieces after a break up and knowing that despite the disappointment it's possible to love again. In Betty's world, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel and the songs on Slow Dancing are solid proof of that.

Slow Dancing kicks off with her current single "Heartbreak Dream" that appropriately sets the tone for the rest of EP. Packed with a bittersweet sentiment, Betty reminisces about a shattered love. "In a moment/You were everything to me/In this moment/We're living in a heartbreak dream," she admits in the chorus that is set to an upbeat, high-energy melody that is clearly an indication that she's ready for brighter times.

On the lush "Alone Again," she carefully crawls back up to be able to commit again. She sings, "I'm gonna give you a break/Driving 'till you disappear and maybe then you'll say/Don't ever leave me alone again." She takes it few steps further on "Lovin' Start" when Cupid takes flight again. "Every minute I get a little closer to your heart/Because it's you who makes it right," she sings. 

The EP is anchored by the synthy smooth and shimmering "Giving Me Away" that is ruled by a soaring, candy-apple chorus that is set up by a very pretty pre-chorus. It's a song about falling in love all over again that's written in a way that people everywhere can instantly relate to. Betty sings, "Judging from how we've been/You should kiss me like you mean it again/'Cause I don't wanna be your friend/Call me pretty young thing/Make me weak until I'm speechless/Falling into you." 

The album closes on an atmospheric note with "Silas." It's seems to be an intensely personal song that Betty first performed during her early live shows with just a guitar in hand. It's another stand out moment for the rising pop sensation that shows there's a depth and scope to her artistry that will leave fans wanting more. 

Slow Dancing is proof that Betty Who pours herself completely into her music without compromise. It may be slightly dark at times but there's always a strong sense of optimism that things will be okay. In a our frenzied world filled with complicated relationships, it should come no surprise that Betty Who's music strikes a chord. She has found a way to harness the power of pop, and give it her own unique and meaningful spin.

April 9, 2014 | Permalink

A Few Words about Iggy Azalea, Trusting Your Struggle and Her Hit Single 'Fancy'


When I talked with Iggy Azalea in London back in July of last year, one of the big take-aways from the interview for me was that you should never rule out Iggy. After moving from Australia to Miami, Florida at the age of 17 with a dream to become a musician, she has walked a long and winding road to finally end up with a massive hit on her hands.

I'm referring, of course, to her single "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX) that is about ignite in a big way on pop radio in America and will turn Iggy from an underground siren into a breakout star. It's a moment long time in the making. Iggy understands what it means to pay your dues in order to get where you want to end up. "I've lived the struggle life for a long time," she said and the hip-hop artist embraces her journey with a "Trust Your Struggle" tattoo that reminds her everyday of the past while embracing the future.

After leaning pop with tracks like "Bounce" and "Change Your Life," "Fancy" brings Iggy back to her hip-hop comfort zone. Co-produced by the Invisible Men and the Arcade, the song is raw, honest and packed with confidence. "Fancy" may not be your typical top 40 fare, but it has a fresh and authentic edge that we're sorely lacking and Iggy arrives just at the right time to fill a void. This is Iggy's moment.

(Listen to Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX "Fancy" on Beats Music.)

April 7, 2014 | Permalink