BlackPink – Boombayah

It’s not a secret that South Korea is one of the most innovative countries, both technologically and musically speaking. K-pop gained so much attention over the years thanks to big performers like PSY, 2NE1, Big Bang, Girls Generation and many many others. In Korea, being an artist, is not only a business that can randomly happen by being noticed a club when you sing karaoke and a producer is there and drinks his beer. Not at all. In Korea, becoming an artist is a long process that could take up to 7-8 years of training before the so coveted debut. And the Korean music labels fight so hard between them to discover the hugest potential around.

With no doubt, by far, YG Entertainment is the most influential label in Korea, creator of the world shocking cyclone PSY and girl group 2NE1. This time, after 7 years, YG announced the creation of a new girl group called BlackPink composed of Lisa, Rosé, Jisoo and Jennie, four pretty girls coming from different countries worldwide. BlackPink debuted yesterday with the so much hyped single Boombayah, created by the music genius Teddy, father of Gangnam Style. And you know what? This song is gonna be huge.

In the first day on YouTube it reached more than 5 million views. Unbelievable. Boombayah is a perfect summer club hit, even if it is sang almost entirely in Korean, with some flashes of English. Whatever. Gangnam Style is the example that idiom is not a barrier in music (thanks God). Boombayah is a fast-tempo track with an addictive electro chorus with Arab sonorities, in which the four girls rap and sing I’d say quite good. Of course they still need practice. But if this is the beginning, then for sure we would expect so much from them.

Enjoy the brand new BlackPink and their hot Boombayah!

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Rihanna – Love On The Brain

Rihanna keeps on relentlessly promoting her Anti album. The disc has just passed 1,1 million copies sold, definitely not an amazing result for a big name like Rihanna, but it still goes well beyond the initial estimates. While the album suffers of poor sales, Mrs. RiRi has returned to dominate the single charts with the great success of Work, and the average results of Needed Me and Kiss It Better.

To try to subvert the mediocre results of Anti, Rihanna has just announced the release of a new single. And luckily, the choice has fallen on my favorite Anti track, Love On The Brain. The song is a mix of elegance and innovation vocally speaking, a great test for Rihanna who is more used to exploit the power of her voice. The song, entirely produced by Fred Ball, kinda reminds me of the 70s Prince-style ballads. Love On The Brain, is about a different kind of love, a love that does not play on the physical side of the relationship, but on the mental one, a love that you can’t remove from your thoughts. Whoever has been in love, a least once, can deeply understand RiRi‘s lyrics.

Despite the rhythm is quite uniform, Rihanna offers such a wide range of vocal changes from the very beginning up to the end of the track. And just like the love the song is about, it binds on your ears and you can’t help but listen to it once again. Enjoy the wonderful Love On The Brain.

Beyonce – Hold Up

Our beloved R&B queen Beyoncé might not be as strong as she was in the early 2000s in releasing massive hits, but nevertheless the rest of music biz definitely has nothing to envy to Mrs. Knowles. The constancy in her albums’ sales is incredible and the success she is getting with her latest tour is truly unbelievable. This is thanks not only to a solid reputation that she has earned over the years, but also thanks to an unquestionable talent and to a record, Lemonade, that many liked definetely more than her previous self-titled album.

In this context it’s surely not strange that Beyoncé has extracted another single from Lemonade. This time the choice fell on Hold Up, created in collaboration with master Diplo. The song fuses three samples extracted from different songs (Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Can’t Get Used To Losing You by Andy Williams and Turn My Swag On by Soulja Boy). The result is quite a strange song, a mix of soul and reggae sounds, a track with a Jamaican flavor that might turn into a good choice for this 2016 summer.

Hold Up is an ode about the love that binds Beyoncé to her husband Jay-Z, a physical and mental love that, however, has been put at serious risk because of the rapper’s betrayal and lies, who literally drove BK crazy that, despite everything, in the end, has forgiven him. These strong and crazy feelings are represented into the music video which cause quite a stir, since Bey commits many vandalism acts armed with a baseball bat.

She’s still angry, isn’t she? Enjoy the beautifully mad Beyoncé rocking it in Hold Up.

Katy Perry – Rise

Katy Perry is back on the scene with her brand new single Rise, which will be used as one of the promotional songs for the 2016 Rio Olympic games. With my surprise, Rise is a song characterized by a very calm atmosphere, not quite a ballad, but kind of a mid tempo that could also be interpreted as a confirmation of Katy‘s intentions to pursue a totally new era compared to the previous ones, at least musically speaking.

A slow production, relaxing but definitely not minimal is the base to Katy‘s voice, perfect for this kind of tracks, quite capable to transmit the energy and the determination which contained in the lyrics. Rise is a true motivational anthem in which Katy almost rises to the role of moral mother.

The result is overall a very good song, not trivial, but for sure diametrically opposite if compared to her Roar or Dark Horse masterpieces. We surely can’t expect big sales results from Rise. However this is a good exercise for Katy Perry to find her new way in the scene and evolve herself as the big artist she is. Enjoy Rise.

Norah Jones – Carry On

It should be finally time for the official return on the scenes of one of the most talented singers and songwriters that bloomed in the early 2000s, thanks to her unforgettable voice which granted her a well deserved global success. I am talking about Norah Jones ladies and gentlemen, one of the purest talent in the industry who gifted us with some rare pearls like Don’t Know Why and Sunrise.

Since the Come Away With Me times 13 years have already passed; 4 are the years that separate us instead from her latest Little Broken Hearts album. In today’s music scene made of so little substance and much more superficiality, Norah Jones absence was quite heavy, and that’s why I am so excited to write about her comeback.

Her latest effort is titled Carry On and will be the lead single of her next album, whose title is still top-secret. The only info we got is that it will arrive later this year via Blue Note and Capitol Records. As for the song, Carry On is an elegant jazzy downtempo, refined and suave in which Norah sings with her velvet voice, elegant as much as the base. The track really sounds from another era.

I just hope that the market will recognize to Norah the success she deserves, made of talent above image. Enjoy the amazing Carry On.

M.I.A. & Skrillex – Go Off

Two years after her last single, and three years after her last Matang album, the genius rapper M.I.A. has finally decided to release a new single, initially available only on Beatport. Most likely the song will be part of her forthcoming fifth album Matahdatah. But unfortunately for now, M.I.A. still hasn’t given any official release date, even though rumors say it will be likely released this summer.

Her last single is called Go Off and it perfectly fits with the style of the singer.The track, produced by his majesty Skrillex, is full of electronic sounds, wisely fused with hip hop rhythms and Indian tribal sonorities, that make this song really unique in its genre.  M.I.A.‘s voice, modified with the right dose of autotune, is perfect for the sound and the atmosphere that the song wants to give. I think I’m not exaggerating if I say that Go Off is one of the best M.I.A.‘s songs ever.

Definitely nobody expects this song to reach the top of the charts, even if it is such a pity. But what strikes me the most is that after years of music career, the Tamil rapper remains loyal to the quality of her sound and to her image. Enjoy the stunning Go Off!

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June’s Diary – L.A.N.C.E.

Miss Kelly Rowland has succeeded, thanks to the Chasing Destiny reality show, to set up a new, strong, R&B girl group that could somehow become the new Destiny’s Child. Such a hard challenge. But at the end of the show, I have to admit, Kelly has chosen five really good girls, both vocally and stylistically speaking. The formation, composed by Brienna, Ashly, Kristal, Gabby, and Shyann, has finally unveiled the group’s name which is June’s Diary.

The 5 girls just signed a contract with LA Reid‘s EPIC records. A strange choice to me since now the label has to promote two very similar girl groups: June’s Diary, and LA‘s flagship product…Fifth Harmony! According to some rumors, the latter, is about to break up, despite the tremendous success of the Work From Home. But in the end this is a good news for the 5 Kelly‘s pupils. More focus on them.

June’s Diary surely can sing and have what it takes to find their spot in the international market, but the musical direction that they will take is crucial. That’s why their clear urban sound shall inevitably fuse with today’s pop trend. Anyway I trust Kelly‘s mentor abilities and I am sure that June’s Diary will match the great expectations that the market is putting on them. For now enjoy their first buzz single L.A.N.C.E.. A good track, nothing special but good enough to relish the potential of these five gorgeous girls.

Rihanna – Sledgehammer

Powerful. That’s what I will tell if somebody would ask me what I think of Rihanna. I think she is one of the most authentic music personalities on the scene. Plus when she gives her word, she always keeps it. And that’s what happened after the release of the highly anticipated ANTI album. RiRi said the surprises were not finished yet. And she was right,

After working with Calvin Harris in This Is What You Came For and Nothing’s Promised with Mike Will Made-It, now it’s the turn for the release of her original track Sledgehammer which will be used as the main theme for the new Star Trek Beyond movie.

The track, written by Sia, is simply epic. It is about empowerment, the one that we get after a bad break up. In the lyrics Rihanna feels greater than ever singing I hit a wall, I never felt so low, so low / Like a waterfall, my tears dropped to the floor (the floor…) / They left a swimming pool of salted crimes, crimes / (Ohh) what could I do to change your mind? / Nothing!…I hit a wall, I thought that I would hurt myself… But I hit a wall, I hit ’em all, watch the fall …/ You’re just another brick and I’m a sledgehammer…

Sledgehammer is a monumental downtempo with fantastic traits, perfect for a soundtrack. The style of Sia is crystal clear and even though Rihanna does not seem to add big differences to the vocal setting of the Australian songwriter, she manages to pack a majestic track. Simply love it. Enjoy Rihanna hitting wall like a Sledgehammer!

Nicole Scherzinger & Todrick Hall – Papi

The times when music alone could shake souls are (unfortunately) gone. Right now singers need to be also actors and dancers in order to take a spot in the Olympus of the international music biz. And the ex Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger has truly what it takes to hold her deserved success.

After quite some time now, Nicole tries to hit again the charts with a new song called Papi in collaboration with broadway singer Todrick Hall. Surely not an original title, but don’t be fooled by the cover. The song is good and it is a spellbinding pop up time with tiny veins of latin production, a track that victoriously blends acoustic and electronic guitar in a truly effective rhythm, totally immersed in the typical Broadway musical style.

I am quite sure that Papi will not be fully supported by the radios because of its structure, but I have to say that the vocal interpretation of Nicole and Todrick is immense. Especially the former Pussycat Doll roars like a lioness in this track, but praises also to Todrick who can easily stand the great voice of Nicole that shines in tracks like this one.

A+ for this musical couple. Enjoy Papi and its hot(!) video.

Beyoncé – Sorry

While the sleeper hit Formation directly debuted at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, Beyoncé has already prepared her second bomb ready to explode from her last crazy album Lemonade. I do say it is crazy because the disc is so insanely beautiful, full of tracks played with live instruments. t would have been quite an obvious choice then to choose one of these as a second single that’s why our Honey Bey loves to amaze us and that’s why she opted for an insane urban track.

The track is titled Sorry and it’s a dramatic song about betrayal. And yes, if Mrs. Knowles has been betrayed I can only imagine what we all have been through. In the lyrics Bey refers to an imaginary (?) Jay-Z lover called by the nickname of Becky, but more in general Sorry is a song intended for those who have suffered betrayal, encouraging them to move forward in rebuilding their lives, not to ruin their happiness because of some jerk passing around. Amen Honey Bey.

From a purely stylistic terms Sorry is very far from the whole Lemonade mood, but in any case it is a very nice rhythmic urban track accompanied by the great R&B singing of lady Beyoncé which teams up also with Serena Williams in the video, who twerks like hell. Excellent. Enjoy Sorry.