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May 2014

Robyn and Röyksopp Deliver What We Hoped for on Glorious New 'Do It Again'


The best thing about Robyn's new single with Röyksopp is that it delivers exactly what we had hoped for. Driven by a bouncy bassline and sparkly synth flourishes, "Do It Again" is an effervescent pop confection that's all about having the euphoria take over and letting yourself go on the dancefloor. It's the message of nostalgia and sweet escapism that dominates much of Robyn's work and this new track is an excellent example of that. "Do It Again" is taken from a brand-new mini album that Robyn and Röyksopp will release together next month in conjunction with a handful of shows on both sides of the Atlantic.

The mini album is a tastemaker for a full-length Röyksopp album that is expected sometime later this year. Unfortunately, a bunch of tracks from the mini album leaked and already made their way out to people. I contained myself and refused to listen to the low-quality audio tracks that were floating around. I waited for the full and rich WAV experience to fully immerse myself in Robyn's new music. That's how she intended the music to be enjoyed and we should respect that. 

In fact, the whole point of "Do It Again" is to celebrate the anticipation. "Wait for it, wait for the build up," Robyn reminds us. Of course, the song title is also a reference to Robyn's reunion with Röyksopp after they teamed previously on "The Girl & The Robot." The song was crafted as a rave-inspired throwback that the Swedish pop pixie and the Norwegian electro wonderboys worked on after a night out together in Bergen. Robyn refers to the song as an "accidental pop song" that came together spontaneously.  

Check out Röyksopp & Robyn "Do It Again" on Beats Music now. (P.S. I've heard the entire mini album in all of its sonic glory and fans will not be disappointed. Just wait for it. Available on May 26 via Cherrytree/Interscope Record)

Jennifer Lopez Previews New Album and Single at Malibu Brunch [FULL DETAILS]

Catching up with Jennifer Lopez following brunch in Malibu

Jennifer Lopez is putting the final touches on her long-awaited tenth studio album that is expected sometime later this year. The album comes at an important time for Lopez. In addition to being involved in many different television and movie projects, she's also a mother who went through a divorce in the last two years that has changed her outlook on love and live. All of those experiences have influenced her point of view on this forthcoming new album, which is shaping up to be one of her most personal to date.

"I've always sung about love," she explained at an intimate brunch event in Malibu on Friday. "It was always love in a certain way. A fairytale type of way. After everything that has happened I still believe in love, but love means something different to me now. The experiences have made me more grown." 

Lopez and her team had invited a small group of writers for an intimate brunch event at Nikita Restaurant on Friday morning to play some of her new songs and talk candidly about her new album. Sitting comfortably on a barstool in front of about 20 people at a private room overlooking the gorgeous Pacific ocean, Lopez spoke about the album and introduced each song with a little bit of background to create context.

If there are three things you really should know about Jennifer Lopez's new album, it's that it's honest, fun, and shows off different facets of her personality and the music she loves. This new record will make you move, dance and it may even give you goosebumps at time (it did for me). And with pop hitting a bit of a stalemate this summer, this new Jennifer Lopez album could not come at a better time. She's ready, pop's ready and, most importantly, the music is ready.

Lopez worked with a range of different writers and producers on this new album, including Max Martin, Harmony, Roccstar, Sia and Chantal Kreviazuk. "I've never been an artist who just does one thing," she explained. "I do pop, I do R&B, I do hip-hip, I do Latin. I'm many different things. Don't try to box me!"

The first song Lopez played for the small crowd was "Emotions." It's a track that directly relates to some of her experiences in the past two years following her divorce. It's a midtempo track that is dominated by Lopez's heartfelt delivery and poignant lyricism. "I feel good because I don't feel bad," she sings, which perfectly sums up that she's in a much better place now and has moved on from love from the past.

The next song the superstar played was her new single "First Love." Ruled by a big pop chorus and heavy percussion, it's a massive pop single that was produced by hit maker Max Martin. It's a track that has the potential to climb up the charts quickly. "First Love" is fresh, instantly infectious and very now.

The entertainers continued on that high note with "Big Booty" a bonafide pop romp that was produced by, no surprise here, Diplo. "She got the boom, shake the room," Lopez sings in the sweltering pre-chorus that leads to a mightily catchy chorus that is an irresistible earworm. Lopez explained that she really fell in love with the beat when she first heard the song. "I was driving with my twins in the back of the car and I played them 'Big Booty'," she smiles. "They sat upright immediately and caught on to the beat.

Lopez was also eager to play some unfinished material to give us a good taste for the sound on the album. "I have trouble finishing albums," she smiled. "I always want to record more and continue working on it. Like this track. I was working on it two days ago with Roccstarr, you many not know him yet, but you will soon. I love this track so much I wanted to share a snippet with you guys."

The track is titled "Actin' Like That' and it's best described as a pop song with strong hip-hop undertones. Lopez always serves up big rhythmic numbers that you can easily dance to and this new track is a perfect example of that. 

"Never Satisfied" is the next track Lopez played for us. It's a big power ballad that neatly spotlights her distinct pop vocals. In fact, Lopez sounds better than ever on this track and it's really great to hear her belt out a big tune. The last track "Let It Be Me" hits a similar emotive vein. She wrote the song with upcoming RocNation singer/songwriter Kirby Lauryen and was produced by Harmony. "It was one of those songs that I heard early on and I really wanted to record it," Lopez explained.

Following the listening session, Lopez graciously spent a little more time with her guests to take photos and chat a little more about the record. She told me she was excited to share this new music and that was particularly happy with all the collaborators on the album. I complimented her on the lyrics of the songs and Lopez gave credit to the songwriters she collaborated with to help her bring stories to life.

No release album date has been set yet but make sure to look for her new single "First Love" very soon. In the meantime, check Beats Music for an Intro to Jennifer Lopez to enjoy all of her hits from the past.

Tiësto Premieres Video for 'Wasted' feat. Matthew Koma, Unveils Album Details

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Tiësto is a bonafide dance music institution. For the past twenty years, he has ruled dancefloors across the world with his music that has inspired and influenced a whole new generation of DJs that's emerging now. The superstar DJ is getting ready to turn things up a few notches and cross over into the pop world with his forthcoming major label debut album, titled A Town Called Paradise, that will be released on June 16. The record was introduced by the single "Red Lights" and while that track is still gaining momentum, Tiësto has unleashed his new single "Wasted" featuring pop crooner Matthew Koma this week.

When I spend some time with Tiësto prior to his Hakkasan show in Las Vegas back in February, I congratulated him with the success of "Red Lights" in the pop charts. It's was an impressive accomplishment for the DJ who is one of the biggest names in dance but hasn't been able to fully crack the pop world in North America until now. He smiled and said that he had even bigger things coming, referring to "Wasted" as one of his most exciting projects to date. After hearing the song, I now know exactly what he meant.

"Wasted" perfectly shows off Tiësto musical versatility. It combines an instantly catchy, feel-good chorus with punchy beats that will get any party started. The song is also a crowning achievement for Matthew Koma. He's the King of EDM features, writing one incredible top line after the other, and his vocals on "Wasted" are some of the best he has done so far. The video for the song premiered this morning and takes viewers to a 1960s house party with Tiësto and Koma entertaining a group of Stepford Wives.

The tracklisting for A Town Called Paradise is equally impressive. It's an action-packed and star-studded effort that includes collaborations with fellow DJs Hardwell, Sultan & Ned Shepard, Firebeatz, MOTi and Dzeko & Torres, plus guest appearances from Icona Pop, Matthew Koma, Ladyhawke, Zac Barnett from American Authors and Krewella.

 A Town Called Paradise tracklisting is:

1. Tiësto "Red Lights"
2. Tiësto "Footprints" feat. Cruickshank
3. Tiësto "Light Years Away" feat. DBX
4. Tiësto "A Town Called Paradise" feat. Zac Barnett from American Authors
5. Tiësto & Hardwell "Written In Reverse" feat. Matthew Koma
6. Tiësto "Echoes" feat. Andreas Moe
7. Tiësto & Firebeatz "Last Train" feat. Ladyhawke
8. Tiësto "Wasted" feat. Matthew Koma
9. Tiësto "Let's Go" feat. Icona Pop
10. Tiësto "The Feeling" feat. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
11. Tiësto "Shimmer" feat. Christian Burns
12. Tiesto & Kaaze "Rocky"
13. Tiësto and Sultan & Shepard "Close To Me" feat. Quilla
14. Tiësto "Set Yourself Free" feat. Krewella

Ashworth Unleashes New Single 'God Must Be A Lonely Man' [Interview]


Frequent readers of this blog may remember that I first alerted you about Ashworth when I posted his remixes for Gym Class Heroes ("Ass Back Home"), Neon Hitch ("Gold") and Childish Gambino ("Heartbeat") back in 2012. Since those early releases, the New York based songwriter and producer has switched up his style to further develop a unique sound of his own.

The multi-talented soundboard wizard even decided to sing his own songs to fully bring his point of view to life. His new single "God Must Be A Lonely Man" helps detail Ashworth's new musical direction. The song is stirring up a storm online and has label A&Rs salivating with excitement and interest. 

Ashworth explains in an email that his style has changed as he has grown older. I "have EDM to thank for my production chops," he writes. "I still love a great dance track, but I began to miss the music that made me a musician in the first place: classical, jazz, rock, etc. I've been trying to find the balance between synthesized and acoustic elements so I could finally express myself fully."

He adds, "On top of that, what better a way to truly express yourself in full capacity than to sing? Producing is great fun and I enjoy it so much still, but I love writing and singing as well. It's an incredible high when you put everything you have into a song."

Ashworth's inspired new pop tune "God Must Be A Lonely Man" packs a powerful message about the trappings of materialism and vanity with poignant lyrics like, "It must be so lonely/when only/you are all that’s holy." The song "stems from the human ego," the singer/producer explains. "We all know people that act and feel so 'above' everyone; like no one is, or will ever be, on their level. Many times these people are 'successful' in a financial or social sense, but many times they lack happiness, love, compassion."

"I really think it has to do with their lack of human interaction," he concludes. "When you're so above everyone, how do you relate to anyone? How do you have true friends? How do you love? How do you live?" Those are wise words from a very promising newcomer. Make sure to follow him Ashworth on Facebook and Twitter for updates about his music.

My Ten Favorite Lyrics from Iggy Azalea's Accomplished Debut LP 'The New Classic'


Iggy Azalea released her long-awaited debut album The New Classic this week. It's a major milestone for the mediagenic MC who bought a one-way ticket from Australia to Miami, Florida at age 16 to pursue a career in music. After bouncing around the country, tackling plenty of nay-sayers and persevering against the odds, this album is nothing less than a triumph for Azalea. One of The New Classic's greatest accomplishments is that its brings hip-hop and pop fans together by combining Iggy's spitfire raps with meaningful storytelling that people everywhere can relate to.

The New Classic tells a story about the underdog - It's a story of an artist who was told time after time that she couldn't do this or that simply because it wasn't done. Iggy Azalea is a white rapper from Australia with an intense love for hip-hip who pushed ahead and broke the mold despite the skepticism she frequently faced. She did what she believed in and knew that ultimately she would get what she put her mind to.

There's a reason she has a tattoo that says "trust your struggle." The biggest learning from Iggy's experience is that if you pay your dues and stay focused, the struggle will ultimately be your biggest reward. That sentiment is threaded throughout The New Classic. It's an empowering message that makes her a role model for everyone that faces a similar struggle in their own circumstances.

Let's have a look at my ten favorite lyrics on The New Classic that bring Iggy's story to life:

Redbullet  "Hustle and the struggle is the only thing I'm trusting" (from "Work"): This track sumps up Iggy''s struggle to make her dreams come true perfectly. Line after line, she remembers where she came from and what it took to get where she's how. It's about hard work and having the courage to aim high.

Redbullet  "So I'm just climbing, pay that fine, and now I'm shining could be blinding" (from "Walk The Line"): In true hip-hop fashion, Iggy often throws around references to material possessions to make her point. Whether that's diamonds, Rolex watches or a shiny pair of Louboutins. "Walk The Line" is all about setting your goals and being ready to pay your dues to get to the top of the hill.

Redbullet  "Grow stronger and get tougher when the road gets longer" (from "Don't Need Y'All"): After landing in Miami at age 16 with a suitcase and a dream, Iggy knows like no other what it takes to survive. But she turned struggle into something positive and these lyrics from "Don't Need Y'All" are a great example of that.

Redbullet  "Have you ever wished your life would change/Woke up and you lived your dreams/Baby I could help you make that change" (from "Change Your Life"): This track can be interpreted in several different ways, but I consider it a call to action. It's Iggy's way of saying that if she can do it, you can do it too. It's a powerful message that resonates strongly with her fans.

Redbullet  "I just can't worry 'bout no haters, gotta stay on my grind" (from "Fancy"): It comes as no surprise that Iggy ran into lots of scrutiny as a white female rapper from Australia. Even though the hip-hop elite embraced her early and she was selected as an acclaimed XXL Freshman, she had to deal with a lot of criticism. But instead of letting it get to her, it made her stronger and more focused than ever.

Redbullet  "You well done and bitch I'm rare" (from "New Bitch"): Leave it up to Iggy to get clever with words. "New Bitch" is a song about a former lover finding a new chick. Iggy's not going down easy and lets the world know that she's the one who is rare in the relationship. Well-put.

Redbullet  "It gets worse before its better, that storm you gone have to weather/Either be a busted pipe or a diamond due to this pressure" (from "Impossible Is Nothing"): Iggy's metaphor of a stone turning into a diamond under pressure is one that fits right with the sentiment of this record. This is the perfect track for all of those dreamers out there with the message that their wishes can come true even when things seem bleak.

Redbullet  "Same critics wondered if I had it in me/Now want me to play friendly" (from "Goddess"): Iggy directly addresses the haters and other non-believers on "Goddess." The ones who once said she couldn't make it now want to have all of her attention. She simply tells them to bow down, because she's the Goddess now.

Redbullet  "No they thought I wouldn't make it, I'm lookin' like what's the matter?" (from "Lady Patra"): Call her Goddess or Lady Patra, the point is that Iggy is boss. This song is all about living it up and enjoying the riches that come with success with a not so veiled reference to dance hall artist Patra.

Redbullet  "You can't break my heart/You can't take my pride" (from "Fuck Love"): This track primarily tells a tale about a love gone sour , but this particular line speaks to more than one purpose. It's another example of Igyy's potent girl power that lingers throughout this album.

Listen to Iggy Azalea The New Classic on Beats Music.