“No Regrets” – Snoop Lion
There’s been quite a bit of mystery surrounding Snoop Dogg’s decision to reincarnate himself into a reggae singing Snoop Lion, but so far every Snoop Lion track has been pure gold, and “No Regrets” is no exception. The track features the Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman and rapper T.I, and is a mellow, faded jam with Coffman’s angelic voice intersecting beautifully with Snoop’s.
“What Love is Made Of” – Katy B
What’s love made of? According to Katy B, it’s synthesizers, a seriously catchy tune and a dance-pop beat reminiscent of Darude’s “Sandstorm.” Katy B knows how to get the kids dancing and with this track you can start your summer parties off right. The single is released June 8.
“Back to Black” – Beyonce and Andre 3000
Amy Winehouse fans will hardly recognize this cover of “Back to Black” by hip hop powerhouses Beyonce and Andre 3000, which will appear in the Great Gatsby soundtrack. The cover still has the same melancholy feel that Winehouse’s had but this version twists the original with a haunting synth line. Andre 3000’s vocals are deep, sensual and completely opposite from anything he’s done for Outkast. Of course, Queen Bey is perfect as always.
“Your Life is a Lie” – MGMT
MGMT is currently on the road, and have been surprising fans with new music. The latest track to be debuted is “Your Life is a Lie,” a nice little psychedelic-rock gem that with smooth, dark vocals. The sample’s quality isn’t the greatest but it’ll be enough to keep MGMT fans going until the studio version is released.
“Run and Kill” – Sia
Is it any surprise that the Great Gatsby’s star studded soundtrack would also include Australian pop star Sia? While the songstress is well known for her collabs with house DJ David Guetta, “Kill and Run” is solo Sia, with breathy vocals and a toned down piano backing her beautiful voice.
“Together” – the xx
We can’t seem to get enough of the Great Gatsby’s upcoming soundtrack, so here’s another track off it, by English indie pop band the xx. The track is dark, dramatic, haunting, moody and fully embodies Gatsby’s spiral out of control. Minimal instrumentation frames singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s quiet vocals perfectly.
“Call on Me” – Kelis
Kelis’ new track is completely different from anything she’s released so far. Produced by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, “Call on Me” has a great pop-African beat with tribal drums, trumpets, and a funky bass line. The track will transport you straight back to the 70s with its vintage feel and Kelis does great expanding her boundaries past dance pop tracks.
“Bootleg Fireworks (Burning Up)” – Dillon Francis
Dillon Francis’ latest single mashes house music and reggaeton into an absolute club banger. Seriously people, this is the stuff you want to get down to on the dance floor. The video for the track is just as crazy as the song, with Francis’ giant bobblehead superimposed with lazers and a detachable mouth. It’s a little creepy but bobblehead Francis is having so much fun you’ll just want to party next to him.
“5AM in Toronto” – Drake
Drake performs an ode to his hometown, Toronto, in his latest track. The production is nice and low key, letting Drake’s smart rhymes shine through. It appears as though Drake snapped and finally wanted to address his haters as he talks about his rise to stardom, his talent, and calls out those against him.
“Go Missin’” – Usher and Diplo
Usher and producer Diplo are at it again, after their first collaboration “Climax” brought Usher back to relevancy. The two make a great team as Usher’s new single “Go Missin’” combines the best of Diplo’s electro dub beats with Usher’s smooth R&B croons. The track starts off with a great synth line and hard beat and just gets better from there.
“Heart Attack” – Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato breaks it down in her new single “Heart Attack.” The usually demure songstress makes full use of synthesizers and vocal effects to bring us this club banger, and boy does it work. Demi sings about being afraid to fall in love but we all know the girl has nothing to worry about with talent like hers. Demi’s new album is scheduled to be released later this year.
“Mirrors” – Justin Timberlake
JT didn’t even give us enough time to finish swooning over “Shirt and Tie,” and he’s already come back with a new single. While “Shirt and Tie” was a more laid back R&B track, “Mirrors” draws on classic “Cry Me a River” style Justin. And get this, ladies, it’s eight minutes long. Yes, that means you get to listen to the sweet sounds of JT’s voice non-stop for eight whole minutes. Check out Justin Timberlake’s new album The 20/20 Experience dropping March 19.
“Stay” – Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko (One-take version)
Okay, all I could say after watching this video was wow. Just wow. Rihanna took things to a whole new level with her new video for “Stay.” Shot in one single take, RiRi sits in a bathtub with no makeup, no extra editing, and no frills. It’s just her sitting there raw, singing the emotional ballad with some extremely convincing sad-face shots. The video is so astoundingly simple it’s just perfect. There’s another
“Started From The Bottom” – Drake
Have you ever wondered how Drake started his career? From the bottom, of course…or so he tells us in his brand new single “Started From The Bottom.” I don’t know about you, but I was definitely itching for some new Drake and he was kind enough to surprise us with a new single and message to his fans. The new track departs a little from his usual smooth crooning with a hard beat and strong rapping but damn, is it good.
“Doobie” – M.I.A.
Do you remember what you were doing back in 2007? Well, M.I.A. was busy recording this banging track with producer Danja. Danja went on to create hits with Britney Spears and Pink, and he and M.I.A.’s track lay forgotten until now. Since it was recorded five years ago, the track sounds like it would have fit right in with M.I.A.’s second album Kala. Either way, I’m glad it finally surfaced!
“I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” – Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara’s upcoming album Heartthrob is filled with upbeat tearjerkers like this one…trust the duo to come up with the saddest lyrics set to dance-pop music. “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend,” is about the aftermath of a broken relationship when it’s impossible to be ‘just friends’. But instead of a slow ballad like you would expect, the song swells with power pop beats and cheerful chords. Heartthrob hits stored Jan. 29.
“One Way Trigger” – The Strokes
The Strokes’ new track is probably the most surprising song I’ve heard so far this year and sounds nothing like any Strokes song out there. Pretty much, the track sounds like it’s been thrown into a video game, the guitars have been traded in for synthpop, and lead singer Julian Casablancas tries his hand at falsetto singing. It’s different, but I still give the guys kudos for trying something new.
“Superstitious Heart” – Little Boots
British electro-pop singer Little Boots is not only totally adorable, but has a great way of making catchy, dance inspired pop music while showing off her amazing set of pipes. She recently released a four-song vinyl record under the name “LB,” which included her new track “Superstitious Heart.” It’s more ambient than some of her older music, but her voice still carries well and shows off her different side.
“I Was a Fool” – Tegan and Sara
Canadian indie-pop twins Tegan and Sara constantly surprise us with different twists to their sound. This time around, the girls venture into pop ballad territory with a song about a past relationship. Not to worry, you’ll still hear the electronic elements they’ve been infusing their tracks with lately, but the single is extremely radio friendly with a piano playing throughout. Their new album Heartthrob hits stores Jan. 29.
“Nuclear” – Destiny’s Child
Beyonce Knowles, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland recently got together to record their first track together since 2004, which will appear on their upcoming album Love Songs. “Nuclear” is surprisingly low-key for the women’s first recording in almost a decade, but it’s supposed to be a throw back to old school R&B. With soft vocals and ambient production by Pharell, the track works as a re-kindling of 90s style R&B music.
“I Come Apart” – A$AP Rocky ft. Florence Welch
If you feel like treating yourself to the deluxe version of A$AP Rocky’s upcoming album Long.Live.A$AP, you will be rewarded with an exclusive, bonus collaboration between A$AP and British songstress Florence Welch. It’s a pretty unexpected combination, but works well with A$AP’s lyrics about the pain of separation and Florence’s rich vocals bringing a feminine voice. A$AP Rocky’s new album drops Jan. 15.
“C’mon” – Ke$ha
In her new video, Ke$ha is an overworked waitress sick of being abused by her boss and decides to quit on the spot. As she sits on the curb in her daisy dukes and plaid shirt, a fun van appears out of nowhere and our favourite auto-tunes, glitter-loving party girl goes on a wild adventure with furry animals. It sure beats working at the “Awful House.”
“Sugar and Spice” – Willow Smith Read more…
“BBD” – Azealia Banks
Azealia Banks kicks off the new year with “BBD,” impeccably produced by Sup Doodle and Apple Juice Kid. Banks’ new single is reminiscent of “212,” the first track that landed the sassy rapper on the charts’ radar. “BBD” has the cross-genre elements that Banks is known for, with futuristic instrumentation, and a hyper speed beat that will have you exhausted by the end of the track. Banks’ debut album Broke with Expensive Taste drops this year.
“Lost in my Bedroom” – Sky Ferreira
Any music video that starts off with a warning for those sensitive to flashing strobe lights is bound to be a gooder. Sky Ferreira’s latest single “Lost in my Bedroom” is a creepy masterpiece. Filmed like a home video, we see Ferreira filming her own dance party in her room. Ferreira has the “pretty/ugly” look down pat with her messy blonde hair and makeup, still managing to make me jealous that I’m not her. This is definitely one party I would love to attend.
2012 was a year filled with great music. From viral videos to new artists to the explosion of EDM, there was no shortage of entertainment. We’ve compiled a handy list of the 25 best songs of the year for your listening pleasure.
25. “Payphone” – Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa
Maroon 5’s “Payphone” was catchy enough to get stuck in your head for days, featured mega-popular rapper Wiz Khalifa, and was an anthem for every young girl who was sick of having her heart broken. “One more stupid love song, I’ll be sick,” sang frontman Adam Levine. Me too, Adam…me too.
24. “HYFR” – Drake ft. Lil’ Wayne.
In case some of you out there still didn’t get it, HYFR stands for “Hell Yeah, F**kin’ Right.” It’s a pretty explicit song, but Drake’s swagger shines in all its glory with Lil’ Wayne’s signature drawl backing him up.
“Dancing Queen” – Girls’ Generation
With Korean artist PSY’s recent hit “Gangnam Style,” which was unbelievably popular in North America, K-pop girl group Girls’ Generation have just released a cover of Duffy’s “Mercy.” The track was recorded a few years ago but the girls decided to re-release it to go with their upcoming album I’ve Got a Boy. You won’t understand a thing they’re singing unless you’re fluent in Korean but they throw in the words “dancing queen” here and there to grab your attention.
“Let Us Move On” – Dido ft. Kendrick Lamar
Gentle songbird Dido is no stranger to the hip-hop scene…remember Eminem’s smash hit “Stan,” which sampled Dido’s “Thank You?” Well, she’s at it again, and this time with fast-rising rapper Kendrick Lamar. The song is slow and soothing with echoing beats and Dido’s mesmerizing voice carrying us on the journey. Then Lamar jumps in and brings up the tempo and Dido finishes up. It’s an honest, touching track and definitely brings back my love for Dido’s music.
“Scenic Cold” (Katy Perry x Beirut) – Rostam
My favourite mashups are the ones you would never expect. Jay-Z and Linkin Park, Gotye and Avicii, and now pop princess Katy Perry and indie folk band Beirut. Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, who occasionally produces his own projects on the side under the name ROSTAM, mashed Katy Perry’s “Hot n’ Cold” and Beirut’s “Scenic World” together, which (as weird as the two choices are,) blends perfectly together.
“Here With Me” – The Killers
Will we ever get tired of The Killers foraying deeper into the world of darker imagery and eerie videos? NO. So here is their new video, directed by non other than Mr. Tim Burton himself! Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentlemen, you’re in for a ride. Pretty much, a young boy falls in love with a beautiful actress (played with Winona Ryder), steals a lifesize doll of her, takes the doll places with him as his girlfriend, and then in the end the doll becomes real and the boy and Winona eat dinner together with their heads on fire. Classic Tim Burton.
“When I was Your Man” – Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars takes some tips from the likes of Adele and Taylor Swift in his new single “When I Was Your Man,” singing about a past relationship gone wrong. Over a piano, Mars’ smooth vocals carry the track as he sings earnestly about the mess he made of a relationship and the woman he let get away. Mars actually tweeted about how nervous he was before releasing the track so we can assume the song reflects on real life experiences. If you like ballads, this one will tug at your heart strings for sure. Bruno Mars’ new album Unorthodox Jukebox drops tomorrow.
“G.O.O.D. Morning” – 2 Chainz
2 Chainz is living the G.O.O.D. life in his new track “G.O.O.D. Morning,” and the man has clearly reached a high point in his career. We watch him traipse around Paris spending obscene amounts of money at designer stores like Louis Vitton and Versace, get photographed by paparazzi (‘please, no pictures!’), rap for a wild crowd, and get recognized everywhere he goes. Oh, and what better way to start his great day than a little wake and bake? In other exciting 2 Chainz news, look out for an upcoming collab with Korean rapper Psy, produced by Diplo!
“One Night” – Timeflies
Consisting of one part smooth vocals by Cal, one part wild electro/dubstep producer Rez and all parts tonally sexy men, Timeflies have all the makings for a successful duo. The video for their latest single “One Night” is either going to make you fall in love with them or get super jealous of the endless streams of girls that seem to be constantly surrounding them. For me, it was both. Cal’s silky vocals combined with Rez’s EDM beats complement each other perfectly and is a refreshing take on the manufactured dance music that seems to be monopolizing the charts lately. If you want to hear more from Timeflies, every Tuesday they release a “Timeflies Tuesday” video on You Tube to keep their fans up to date. Their EP One Night is out now.
“Sorry” – T.I. ft. Andre 3000
T.I. and former OutKast member Andre 3000 finally released their highly anticipated collaboration “Sorry.” AND it’s produced by the one and only Jazze Pha, so you know it’s going to be good. A melodic piano anchors the track while T.I. and Andre spit their perfected rhymes. While T.I. uses the track as the ultimate “sorry not sorry,” going on about how successful he is, Andre goes a little deeper, rapping about his regrets and what is actually is sorry for. Ahh… I see what you did there boys…Check out the track and pick up T.I.’s eighth album Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, out Dec. 18.
“Scream & Shout” — Britney Spears & will.i.am
Seems like Britney Spears has been hanging out a bit too much with X-Factor exec Simon Cowell, because she’s rocking a pretty heavy British accent on will.i.am’s new track “Scream & Shout.” Off will.i.am’s upcoming album #willpower, the pop princess and hip-hop genius make magic together. The track is perfectly produced with will.i.am’s futuristic touch, and Brit’s famous line “It’s Britney, bitch” makes a comeback all the way from 2007s “Gimme More.” Although the collab sounds like a match made in heaven, I would have liked to hear Brit singing a little more. Oh well, it’s still going to make you dance your pants off. #Willpower hits stores early next year.
“No Worries” — Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne pays homage to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in his new video for “No Worries,” which sees him replaying the famous drive through the desert and Vegas shenanigans from the film. Wayne plays the gonzo journalist with the infamous sunglasses and cigarette holder, his long-haired pal rides shot gun, and the two spend the rest of the video roaming through a casino high on ether. Enjoy!
“Freedom” — Nicki Minaj Read more…
“Nobody’s Business” – Rihanna & Chris Brown
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for (or hoping would never happen)…the reunion of Rihanna and Chris Brown! RiRi and Brown’s new duet is definitely going to cause a stir as they sing about their undying love for each other and the fact that their relationship is nobody’s business but their own. The track samples Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and as much as I hate the thought of Rihanna reuniting with Brown, the track is pretty darn catchy. Listen for yourself. Rihanna’s new album Unapologetic is out now.
“Wild” – Beach House
Baltimore indie duo Beach House have a new video out, and *warning* this one’s a downer. So if you’re feeling unusually sad today, I would suggest holding off on watching the new video for “Wild,” off their latest album Bloom. The video features dark imagery with a young man indulging in all sorts of drugs and such, essentially losing control of his life in one big mess. It goes perfectly with the swelling vocals and gloomy guitars that Beach House is known for and could be the perfect track to study to.
“The Prodigy” – Smack My Bitch Up (Major Lazer remix)
Electronic group The Prodigy released “Smack My Bitch Up” 16 years ago, but I will admit it’s still a relevant song in my iTunes library. So imagine my excitement when I learned Major Lazer remixed the high-energy track. The song is already heavily laden with synth and hard beats, but Major Lazer added some more buzzing synthesizers, and sped up the bridge to keep the whole track’s tempo up. Next month, The Prodigy will reissue their best selling album “The Fat of the Land,” with a bonus remixes EP, which will feature Major Lazer’s track.
“Blue” – R.E.M. Read more…
Grouplove fatefully met at an artists’ commune in Crete about four years ago and ever since then, Christian Zucconi, Hannah Hooper, Andrew Wessen, Ryan Rabin, and Sean Gadd stayed close friends, recording music together. ANDPOP’s Azra Kassam spoke with drummer Ryan Rabin over the phone from Toronto about the band’s relationship with each other, the inspiration for their first album and life on the road. Here are a five things you may not know about Grouplove…
The band was originally going to have a different name
Rabin said the band was originally going to call themselves ‘Group’ because back in Crete, their friends all referred to their tight group of five as ‘The Group.’ After realizing ‘Group’ wasn’t a very marketable name, the band decided on Grouplove. “Grouplove just kind of encompasses us,” Rabin said. “We really do love each other and are true friends first before the music.”
The title of their first album, Never Trust a Happy Song, is actually a quote by bassist Sean Gadd
The band was hanging out one day when Gadd made a joke about never trusting a happy song. “As we actually started making the album, that phrase just kept resurfacing and kept coming up and started to gain more and more meaning as we continued to record the album,” Rabin said. “It’s about that sort of subjectivity in music and how a happy song can be extremely nostalgic and sad for one person and extremely joyous for another and it can also change meaning over time.”
Grouplove are huge fans of No Doubt
Rabin was so excited talking about opening for No Doubt later this month, he could hardly form sentences. “Oh my god…I’m a southern California guy so we’ve been fans of theirs for so long,” he said excitedly. “I can’t even – I’ve been to so many of their shows when I was younger… They’re one of the biggest bands in the world and it’s amazing to think we’re going to be able to play alongside them! It’s really something special for all of us.”
The band members really do love each other Read more…
Freedom – Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj’s new track “Freedom” is a surprisingly intimate reflection of her success in the rap industry and her rise to stardom. Off her upcoming album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up, Nicki suppresses her usual animalistic antics rapping confidently but tamely. She sings also sings the slow hook, and actually has a pretty controlled set of pipes on her. It’s a very non-Nicki track, but a welcomed change. The Re-Up features collaborations with big names like Ciara, Tyga, Cassie, and Lil Wayne. The record drops Nov. 19.
Blank Page – Christina Aguilera
In a pop music world dominated by scantily clad young girls, hard beats, auto-tune, and dubstep drops, poor Christina Aguilera has had a hard time trying to fit in and stay relevant (does anyone remember the monstrosity that was Bionic?) Finally, the songstress seems to have found her own with her upcoming album Lotus. “Blank Page,” the latest track to be released, is very reminiscent of “Beautiful,” with a soft piano, and X-tina’s inhumanely powerful voice being showcased in all its glory. We aren’t sure whether Blank Page will be released as a single, but it could make for an extremely successful ballad. Lotus hits stores Nov. 12.
Yellow Tape – Fat Joe (ft. Lil’ Wayne, A$AP Rocky & French Montana) Read more…
“Silver Lining” – Jessie J
Wow, talk about a feel good track! Jessie J belts it out in her new song “Silver Lining (Crazy About You),” which will appear on the soundtrack for the new Bradley Cooper movie Silver Linings Playbook. Jessie strays from her usual urban pop vibe with this ballad, but it really gives her a chance to showcases her incredible voice. With a pounding beat, this track is anything but soft, and it’s a great reminder to always cherish life and look on the bright side when you’re down. Silver Linings Playbook is in theatres Nov. 21.
“Young Wild Girls” – Bruno Mars
Oh, Bruno Mars… with your sweet, luscious voice that gives me goosebumps every time, your fedora hat perched ever so perfectly on that beautiful head of yours… what I would give to date you for a single day! But alas, I’m but a mere girl destined to be forever alone as I pine for you, hoping to someday be the young, wild girl you sing about. Pretty much, dear readers, Bruno Mars’ new track is perfect, heartfelt, and catchy as always. I approve. Pick up Mars’ new album Unorthodox Jukebox on Dec. 11.
“Bat For a Heart” – Ashlee Simpson Read more…