Alice Merton Is Ruling Rock Radio. Is A Pop Crossover Next?

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Do you remember where you first heard “Royals”? Almost any guess could be correct — and not just because the song achieved the sort of ubiquity you’d expect from a #1 hit. More »

Watch Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, Alma, and MØ perform ‘IDGAF’ in BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge

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dua lipa bbc radio 1 live lounge

This is a photograph of five recording artists.

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This is, if nothing else, a feat of scheduling.

This is also 76m combined monthly Spotify listeners.

This is the answer all popstars should give when they are inevitably asked, because they’re always asked aren’t they, who they’d cast in a modern version of Lady Marmalade.

This is a stage school kid whose big break was a telly ad for The X Factor, alongside someone who went to art school and joined a punk band, alongside someone who crashed out of a European version of Pop Idol five years ago, alongside someone who was playing shithole gigs when she was 14, alongside someone who won a Swedish TV show when she was 10.

This is people who’ve pursued success, it’s someone who found herself on the most-streamed song of all time, and it’s one person who’s deliberately swerved chart domination, despite it being theirs for the taking, in pursuit of their own musical vision.

This is three people who didn’t break through with their first album, one person who did, and one who’s TBC.

This is one person smiling like she’s on an 80s pop magazine cover, one person doing that mouth-open thing only popstars can pull off without it looking like they’re in the middle of eating, two people looking like they mean serious business and one person avoiding eye contact all together.

This is, admittedly, not the greatest advert for ethnic diversity in pop.

This is still a hint of what happens when different personalities with different ideas and different experiences and different talents, of different ages, from different backgrounds in different countries, make sense in a room together.

This is a group of people whose ages range from only-just-20 to a-few-months-off-30.

This is five artists nobody who’s currently putting bands together would put in a band together. They’d write their own Number One single and direct their own video.

This is a one-off moment, but why does it need to be?

This is what girlbands could be like in 2018 if the music industry wasn’t such a bag of shit.

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Music Review: Charli XCX – Pop 2

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Charli XCX

Pop 2

[Asylum; 2017]

Rating: 4/5

She wasn’t supposed to make it past 25. Charlotte Aitchison’s Charli XCX persona has never been geared toward longevity. Whether braving an apocalyptic day of reckoning on “Nuclear Seasons” or literalizing her mortality on “Die Tonight,” the Cambridge singer has long displayed a sense of fatalism in her music. On True Romance, Charli’s oncoming demise demanded romantic consummation, no matter how transitory. On Sucker, she combated encroaching death with puerile hedonism and carnal distraction. And unlike compatriots and fellow Bacchanalia frontline journalists Arctic Monkeys, whose distaste for English nightlife is so acute you might mistake them for teetotalers, Charli revels in the debauchery of the London club scene, viewing its inevitable hangover as fait accompli and, consequently, a nonissue. This is why her career never seemed likely to sustain itself; the good times were bound to kill this death-obsessed girl. But the joke’s on us: she’s still alive, and on Pop 2, Charli XCX returns for more profligacy, yet this time with a keener perspective recalibrated by the nuances of young adult maturity.

There’s a certain territoriality and arrogance in Charli naming her mixtape Pop 2, but much of her music is spent negotiating the line between admirable confidence and aggressive hauteur. Charli spent roughly half of Sucker explaining that she was too good for you — even if she’ll mete out second and third chances for the sake of comfort and familiarity — while elsewhere flaunting her superhuman tolerance to narcotics and a vast wealth that puts Croesus to shame. And so on Pop 2, we see more of the cocksureness Charli exhibits in spades, as on the escapist-affirmative “Out of My Head” (ft. Tove Lo and ALMA), as well as a self-assured autonomy on tracks like the prurient, cloying “Unlock It” (ft. Kim Petras and Jay Park).

Yet on most of these tracks, Charli XCX sounds to have abjured the truculence and grandeur that granted her notoriety on singles like “Boom Clap,” “Fancy,” and “I Love It,” with much emphasis on her guests, which include Carly Rae Jepsen, CupcakKe, Mykki Blanco, Pabllo Vittar, MØ, Dorian Electra, and more. The Caroline Polachek duet “Tears” finds the singer reckoning with her proclivity for caprice, singing “I killed our life, I’m crazy […] Door shut tight, that ain’t love, no.” In place of her trademark overconfidence, Charli delivers a comparatively unadorned performance, signaling what seems to be genuine feelings of remorse. She may not be the most convincing agent of regret, but Charli didn’t pen these songs in hopes of credence or validation. Instead, she’s singing for her own benefit, to make sense of the needless waffling and unrest in her relationships. More power to her.

In the last 40 seconds of “Delicious” (ft. Tommy Cash), the track shifts from a scrupulously produced club banger to a pristine choir. This is an apt metonym for the instrumentation and arrangements of Pop 2. With production help from the likes of SOPHIE, Life Sim, King Henry, EASYFUN, and executive producer A. G. Cook, the music vacillates between synth-powered spectral screeches and jolts and immaculate choral beds, as if to reconcile the delineation between the impersonal nature of club life, with its ephemeral hookups, and the deceptive jubilance of a real, long-term relationship. The result is mixed bag, with the album’s industrial moments more engrossing by virtue of their immediacy and the more human elements of the production turning into a slog if left alone for too long.

For better or for worse, Charli XCX is embracing maturity on her fourth mixtape. Now 25 years (and some change) old, Charlotte Aitchison looks to be relieving herself of the “born to die young” credo she’s so ardently maintained for the past few years in favor of something more stable. And though she may not find what she’s looking for anytime soon, Charli XCX, on Pop 2, is at least looking down a new path.

♫ Listen: Charli XCX – POP 2

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Listen, there’s no time: Saint Charli just dropped her new mixtape for the fourth day of Hanukkah, so just freakin listen to it okay?? And if the first track being a Charli/Carly teamup isn’t enough to get your dreidel spinning, well, sorry, there’s honestly no hope for you.

POP 2 is available to stream below via Spotify.

Stream Charli XCX Pop 2

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It’s been just about three years since Charli XCX’s last full-fledged LP, the brash and addictive Sucker. But in that time, the pop visionary and Millennial Pink enthusiast has been far from quiet, releasing a steady stream of music via EPs, singles, or mixtapes ahead of her heavily anticipated third … More »

Charli XCX announces new mixtape Pop2, and holy crap it’s out next week!?!?

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Okay now, this right here… this is news. After tweet-teasing us into reporting that there were reports that she reportedly had a new mixtape reportedly on the way, Charli XCX has now officially announced that her new mixtape is official. It’s called Pop2, and it’s out December 15 via Atlantic. Okay bye…

Wait… there’s more!?

Yes, there isn’t just a new mixtape from Charli XCX, there’s a new mixtape from Charli XCX that features the likes of ALMA, Brooke Candy, Carly Rae Jepsen, Caroline Polachek, CupcakKe, Dorian Electra, Jay Park, Kim Petras, MØ, Mykki Blanco, Pabllo Vittar, Tommy Cash, Tove Lo, those stories and Andy Rooney tonight on 60 Minutes.

OH! Also: Season 3 of The Candy Shop with Charli XCX kicks off today at 12 PM EST on Beats 1. Wow.

Check out Pop2’s tracklist, and listen to first single “Out Of My Head” — featuring the aforementioned Tove Lo and ALMA, and produced by SOPHIE and A. G. Cook — down below! Pop2 is out next f’ing week. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!

Pop2 tracklist:

01. Backseat [ft. Carly Rae Jepsen]
02. Out Of My Head [ft. Tove Lo and ALMA]
03. Lucky
04. Tears [ft. Caroline Polachek]
05. I Got It [ft. Brooke Candy, CupcakKe and Pabllo Vittar]
06. Femmebot [ft. Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco]
07. Delicious [ft. Tommy Cash]
08. Unlock It [ft. Kim Petras and Jay Park]
09. Porsche [ft. MØ]
10. Track 10

Charli XCX – “Out Of My Head” (Feat. Tove Lo & Alma) (Prod. SOPHIE & A. G. Cook)

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Over the weekend, Charli XCX took to Twitter to tease a new mixtape featuring Carly Rae Jepsen, Tove Lo, Caroline Polacheck, Mykki Blanco, CupcakKe, Brooke Candy, MØ, and more. Well, it’s confirmed: The mixtape is called POP 2, and it’s arriving next week. Charli announced the news on BBC Radio 1 today, where … More »

♫ Listen: ALMA – Innocent Skin

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has released a bundle of ritualistic goods under the title Innocent Skin via her Tumblr, holyangelgal. The made-to-order rarities include a 9-track album and accompanying “story” on a bedazzled, heart-shaped USB, a holy water kit, and what Alma calls a “pass cord kit” to be utilized as follows:

Open the bag, take out the card with feather tweezers, soak it with HOLY WATER. With the embossed code, unlock the data. Inside of USB, album, a story which became the background of this album is contained.

I’m inclined to lineate this description, to shape it into a wing, like,

Open the bag, take out the card with feather tweezers,
soak it with HOLY WATER. With the embossed
code, unlock the data. Inside of
USB, album, a story which
became the background
of this album is
 contained

Hear some samples below and then ((( glide ))) ….

ALMA teams up with French Montana for club-primed ‘Phases’

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The Finnish neon-haired diva ALMA has returned with a full-blown flaunt of her pop power on her latest with French Montana. After the 21-year-old first generated buzz last year with “Dye My Hair,” blowing up on Spotify and across Europe, she followed up with “Chasing Highs” this year. Now, with more than 55 million streams under her belt, ALMA is ready to establish herself as one to watch and has shared her first US hit, “Phases.”

The track’s made for stardom as it’s co-written by Charli XCX and produced by Charlie Handsome. It maintains ALMA’s synth-drenched, club-primed sound, but at the same time introduces a new approach for the artist in the vivacious verses of French Montana. The same can also be said for ALMA’s deliverance. She remains blunt, “We got too drunk, we got too high, fell in love when we were faded,” then comes around on the chorus. “Don’t make this complicated, you were just one of my phases.” Nailing the point in the final bar. “I’m sorry if I hurt you, I just don’t like you like that.”

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