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  1. Beautiful Killer

    2019 Grammy Awards

    Grammys Omitted R&B Legend Reggie Lucas From In Memoriam Segment, Drawing Outrage Lucas had a storied career as a musician, composer and album producer (including Madonna’s first). https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/grammy-awards-reggie-lucas-in-memoriam_us_5c617b15e4b0910c63f3251c
  2. Beautiful Killer

    2019 Grammy Awards

  3. Beautiful Killer

    2019 Grammy Awards

  4. Beautiful Killer

    2019 Grammy Awards

    Recording Academy says Grammy winners list is 'fake' A tweet purporting to be a leaked list of Grammy winners had some music fans up in arms on Monday. The now-deleted tweet featured a video claiming to show all the winners for the upcoming Grammy Awards next month. The list included Cardi B's "I Like It" as the winner for record of the year, and "A Star Is Born's" Lady Gaga as winner of song of the year with "Shallow." But a spokesperson for the Recording Academy told CNN the list was a fake. "There is no legitimacy to this," the spokesperson said. "Grammy Awards results are not shared, even with Recording Academy staff members, until the day of the Grammy Awards ceremony, when names of the recipients are delivered by [accounting firm] Deloitte in sealed envelopes." https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/29/entertainment/grammy-winners-list/index.html
  5. ‘Leaving Neverland’: Sundance’s Michael Jackson Doc Leaves Audience Shellshocked Premiere of Dan Reed’s two-part, four-hour exposé — in which two men allege the King of Pop sexually abused them — is a bombshell There was no gaggle of protestors outside the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Utah early Friday morning, despite news reports that the Sundance Film Festival had been told to brace for a massive disruption on Main Street. There were, however, policemen patrolling the area with bomb-sniffing dogs, three times the usual security of a typical screening and, per Festival Director John Cooper, “healthcare professionals in the lobby” in case anyone bothered by the material needed to talk to someone immediately. The warning to the packed house was warranted: Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed’s two-part, four-hour documentary focusing on two men who claimed that Michael Jackson had abused them as children, opens with a disclaimer about “graphic” descriptions of sexual acts involving underage participants. And after hearing these subjects recount in horrifying detail what they say took place in various hotels, houses and on the Neverland Ranch, it’s hard not to feel that you’ve experienced post-traumatic stress disorder yourself. During a 10-minute intermission, audience members appeared slightly dazed. By the end of the screening, the crowd looked completely shellshocked. Centered primarily around extensive on-camera interviews conducted with Wade Robson and James Safechuck — with additional testimonies from their family members and spouses — Neverland begins with the two men recalling their first encounters of the King of Pop. For Robson, an Australian kid who became enamored of the singer after his mother Joy brought home a “Making-Of Thriller” videotape, hearing Jackson’s music for the first time led to obsessively studying the artist’s moves; after getting first prize at a Jackson-themed dance contest at a mall, he won the chance to meet the man himself during a concert stop in Brisbane. He was eventually pulled onstage to perform his moves for the crowd and spent time with the pop star at his hotel before Jackson left. If you’re ever in America, Jackson tells the Robson family, look me up. That would eventually lead to Joy, Wade and his sister being invited to spend time at the ranch later on. By this time, the child had permed his hair and taken to wearing carbon copies of Jackson’s outfits. He was seven years old. As for Safechuck, a gig acting in a Pepsi commercial — in which he sneaks into Jackson’s dressing room, trying on the singer’s sunglasses until the man himself shows up — brought him into the singer’s orbit. Unlike Robson, he wasn’t a superfan; like Robson, he was immediately enamored of the pop superstar paying attention to him and making him feel “important.” Jackson also befriended the family, often having dinner and movie nights at the Safechuck house in Simi Valley, California. He flies the family to Hawaii during a Pepsi convention, and invites the boy to sleep in his hotel room. On the flight back, you can hear the singer flattering James to an unusual degree. Jackson invites the family to his pre-Neverland estate, eventually convincing the Safechucks to let James stay there on his own with the singer. He was 10 years old. Neverland keeps cutting between these two stories, as the men begin to recall how the singer would allegedly initiate physical contact during “sleepovers” and “escalate” things from there. The stories suggest a similar pattern of childlike playing, followed by claims of grooming, mutual masturbation, further sexual advances and long lectures from Jackson about how you couldn’t really trust your parents, and you definitely could not trust women. Gifts, trips and other high-life perks are lavished on family members, yet both boys’ mothers recall how they’d consistently be separated from their sons whenever the chance arose. Safechuck recalls how Neverland Ranch was set up with a series of tucked-away bedrooms and secret rooms where these alleged sexual activities could take place without folks knowing. Robson, who Jackson nicknamed “Little One,” describes a “secret wedding” between the two. And both men recall how, according to Robson, “in the context of what was going on, this all seemed normal”; how they were told this was how you showed someone you loved them; how they could never tell anyone, because both they and Jackson would be thrown in jail; and how each became jealous when other boys replaced them as objects of affection. The doc’s second half then starts with the 1993 case against Jackson by 13-year-old Jordan Chandler, who claimed that the singer had molested him when he was staying at the ranch, and why both Safechuck, Robson and their families felt compelled to testify on his behalf. By the time further allegations prompted a criminal trial, Safechuck told his mother that Jackson “was not a good man” and asked that they refrain from aiding the defense. Robson, however, did; one of Neverland‘s most painful sections finds the now-successful choreographer and ‘N Sync/Britney Spears collaborator worried that his career might be tainted, Michael’s children might never see their father again and that he felt he needed to protect Jackson — all this despite what he claims had happened to him. After Jackson’s death in 2009, both men have married and have become fathers; they also find that they can’t sleep at night and are suffering from various PTSD symptoms. They eventually begin to refer to what happened to them as abuse. Things get worse before they start to get better. (Both Robson and Safechuck admit they initially denied the allegations due to what they said was a need to compartmentalize the alleged abuse.) By the time the credits rolled, the energy in the room hovered somewhere between queasiness over what we’d just witnessed and the sense that some sort of turning point about how these accusations play into Jackson’s legacy had been reached. By offering these men a forum, this doc has clearly chosen a side. Yet the thoroughness with which it details this history of allegations, and the way it personalizes them to a startling degree, is hard to shake off. It does not discount what these men say, nor does it leave out the fact recent lawsuits muddy the waters a bit. But the film shows how sexual abuse leaves psychological scars, how fame can be seductive enough to warp moral compasses (especially regarding the parents) and how complicated things can be when you love someone who may be hurting you. It’s also a portrait of a man who was many things to many people, and how that image may not sync up with what some folks want to believe. And it’s a portrait of bravery, as evidenced by the fact that when Reed brought Robson and Safechuck to the stage after the film, the three men received a minute-long standing ovation. Both men say that “what happened, happened,” and that they can no longer confront Jackson about it or get closure. Both talk about still being in the process of healing, and both said they wanted to do this so that, should someone else be dealing with the aftermath of abuse, they too could come forward. (One audience member confessed about his own molestation as a child and thanked them for making the film; another mentioned that, as a lawyer who’s dealt with many sexual abuse cases, this could help change the law regarding such crimes.) When folks staggered out onto Main Street shortly before 1pm, greeted by several people holding a few “Michael = Innocent” signs, it was hard not to feel different about the man at the center of the film. It was hard not to feel like a bombshell had been dropped. https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-features/leaving-neverland-michael-jackson-doc-sundance-784801/
  6. Beautiful Killer

    Janelle Monae

  7. Where Do Veteran Pop Stars Go? (To the Lower Regions of the Hot 100... If They're Lucky) Rich Juzwiak Calling it a comeback was tempting: Almost three years after her most recent album, 2015's Unbreakable, Janet Jackson released a joyous new single and colorful new video. “Made for Now” arrived earlier this month with a slew of promo, marking a complete turnaround from the press-shunning of Jackson’s Unbreakable era—an album that at times expressed outright disdain for the media. Jackson sat down for a bunch of radio interviews and debuted the song live on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. With its breezy vibe (“island, African feel,” as she described it on Sirius) and guest spot from Daddy Yankee, who helped make last year’s “Despacito” one of the biggest singles of all time, “Made for Now” seemed tailored for success. This is all on top of the wave of goodwill Jackson has been riding this year—the announcement of Justin Timberlake’s headlining performance at this year’s Super Bowl caused a widespread reexamination of Jackson’s career-upending own headlining Super Bowl gig in 2004 and the ensuing fallout known as “Nipplegate.” Twitter users christened the day of this year’s Super Bowl, February 4, 2018, #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay. Jackson has played well-received gigs at this year’s Essence and Panorama festivals and launched a new leg of her State of the World Tour in July (grosses for this leg were not included in Billboard’s weekly Boxscore tallies this summer, but last year, the tour grossed over $27 million). “Made for Now” has debuted at No. 88 on the latest Billboard Hot 100 chart. There are a few ways to look at this, but only the most charitable interpretations would label it any sort of success. Yes, it’s her 41st entry on that chart, which brings her run up to an astonishing 36 years. She can still, at least, command millions of eyes and ears—Billboard reports that “Now” racked up 3.7 million streams in the U.S. (its global total on YouTube is at 25 million at the time of publication). But how many millions more? Given the push behind “Made for Now,” it’s unlikely to rise much higher than its current number (unless it somehow catches on via a remix or ad placement, which is possible since the song sounds like a socially conscious soda jingle). It may very well be one in a long line of post-peak Janet Jackson singles to come and go rather quickly. Watching superstars-turned-legends cope with diminishing returns of their releases is fascinating. In the age of social media, attention is more quantified than ever, so audience-retention anxiety has become increasingly relatable. But it must be particularly difficult, confusing even, when at least part of your public identity is derived from your extreme popularity, and then that popularity dries up before your—and everyone’s—eyes. Katy Perry said the flop of her 2017 album Witness caused “situational depression.” Kanye West talked openly to the New York Times about the stress of no longer being able to call himself the No. 1 rapper. “And it’s like yo, no more No. 1s,” he explained. “What’s the No. 1 tree over there? Just be one of them. All of them are beautiful. If you cut one of those trees down, what would it be worth? Those look like $400,000 trees, just one of them, and look at how many of them are.” Some blame their record companies—Mariah Carey did in a 2015 interview with the L.A. Times, reflecting on the commercial disappointments of her Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel and Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteusealbums. “They didn’t do what they should have done with it,” she said, referring to Island Def Jam. “It’s like you put everything into something and you put it into someone else’s hands and you can’t help it. It’s upsetting.” Christina Aguilera, whose Liberation had one of the most precipitous drops on the Billboard 200 (from No. 6 in its first week to No. 98) as any high-profile release in recent memory and who failed to place any singles on the Hot 100 from the project, disavowed having any investment in charts at all at this point: Carey said last year that she was no longer interested in recording albums, that cutting singles was “more fun” (her latest, “I Don’t” peaked at No. 89 on the Hot 100). She has since reneged and announced a forthcoming new album. Jackson, according to her ex/collaborator Jermaine Dupri, felt similarly after a string of commercially inert albums (2004's Damita Jo, 2006's 20 Y.O., and 2008's Discipline). “Last time I heard she really didn’t want to do an album,” Dupri told Vibe in 2010. “She wanted to just do singles every once in a while. She’s looked at the marketplace—albums are not really doing what they usually do when you put all this budget out there. Janet is just trying to figure out her landscape.” It certainly is a different world out there, one less welcoming than ever to artists of a certain age, one that shows demonstrable signs of homogenizationyet is at the mercy of viral whims. “Made for Now” is something of a surprise precisely because it shows signs of an attempt at hit-making—the greatest feat of Jackson’s 2015 Unbreakable album was how unbothered by trends it was overall, how the lyrics emphasized peace and self-acceptance. Maturity did not yield sales—as of April 2016, Unbreakable had sold 253,000 copies in the U.S. (or about three percent of what Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 moved after its 1989 release)—but that seemed almost like part of the point. Unbreakableseemed relaxed about its place in the world, as a solid, honest album from an unimpeachable legend whose latest work has the reach of a respected niche artist. And that’s just what a lot of these superstars of the ‘80s and ‘90s, who retain some fraction of their fervent fanbases, are becoming. It doesn’t look like “Made for Now” will become the hit it almost certainly was crafted to be, but how much does that matter? Jackson has accomplished so much that anything else she does from here on out is just gravy. https://themuse.jezebel.com/where-do-veteran-pop-stars-go-to-the-lower-regions-of-1828657129
  8. Beautiful Killer

    2018 MTV VMAs

    MTV’s iconic moonmen are orbiting the stars once again, as the network announced Monday its full list of nominees for the 2018 Video Music Awards. Leading the pack in terms of overall nominations is breakout rap artist (and new mom) Cardi B, who scored 10 total nods — nine of which are for visuals accompanying songs she’s featured in (namely “Finesse” by Bruno Mars and “Dinero” by Jennifer Lopez). Only one of Cardi’s solo clips, “Bartier Cardi,” received a nomination. Beyoncé and Jay-Z follow closely behind with eight nods, all for their collaborative “APES**T” video released as part of their joint album Everything Is Love earlier this summer. Both The Carters’ and Cardi B’s respective visuals are nominated in the video of the year category alongside Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry,” Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” and Drake’s “God’s Plan.” Cabello, Cardi B, and Drake also make the jump into the song of the year category, where they’re joined by Ed Sheeran (“Perfect”), Post Malone (“rockstar”), and Dua Lipa (“New Rules”). Elsewhere, late DJ-producer Avicii was honored with two posthumous nominations (best dance and best visual effects) for his Rita Ora-featuring “Lonely Together” video, while other mainstream acts like Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Rihanna, and N.E.R.D. also appeared in technical categories. The 2018 MTV VMAs air live from New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20 at 9:00 p.m. ET. See the full list of nominations below. VIDEO OF THE YEAR Ariana Grande – “No Tears Left to Cry” – Republic Records Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – “Finesse (Remix)” – Atlantic Records Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug – “Havana” – Syco Music/Epic Records The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – mcDJ / RCA Records Drake – “God’s Plan” – YMCMB/Cash Money/Republic Records ARTIST OF THE YEAR Ariana Grande – Republic Records Bruno Mars – Atlantic Records Camila Cabello – Syco Music/Epic Records Cardi B – Atlantic Records Drake – YMCMB/Cash Money/Republic Records Post Malone – Republic Records SONG OF THE YEAR Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – “Finesse (Remix)” – Atlantic Records Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug – “Havana” – Syco Music/Epic Records Drake – “God’s Plan” – YMCMB/Cash Money/Republic Records Dua Lipa – “New Rules” – Warner Bros. Records Ed Sheeran – “Perfect” – Atlantic Records Post Malone ft. 21 Savage – “rockstar” – Republic Records BEST NEW ARTIST (Presented by Taco Bell®) Bazzi – iamcosmic/Atlantic Records Cardi B – Atlantic Records Chloe x Halle – Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records Hayley Kiyoko – Atlantic Records Lil Pump – Warner Bros. Records Lil Uzi Vert – Atlantic Records BEST COLLABORATION Bebe Rexha ft. Florida Georgia Line – “Meant to Be” – Warner Bros. Records Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – “Finesse (Remix)” – Atlantic Records The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment Jennifer Lopez ft. DJ Khaled & Cardi B – “Dinero” – Epic Records/Nuyorican Productions Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid – “1-800-273-8255” – Def Jam Recordings N.E.R.D & Rihanna – “Lemon” – i am OTHER/Columbia Records PUSH ARTIST OF THE YEAR JULY 2018 – Chloe x Halle – Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records JUNE 2018 – Sigrid – Island Records MAY 2018 – Lil Xan – Columbia Records APRIL 2018 – Hayley Kiyoko – Atlantic Records MARCH 2018 – Jessie Reyez – Island Records FEBRUARY 2018 – Tee Grizzley – 300 Entertainment JANUARY 2018 – Bishop Briggs – Island Records DECEMBER 2017 – Grace VanderWaal – Syco Music/Columbia Records NOVEMBER 2017 – Why Don’t We – Atlantic Records OCTOBER 2017 – PRETTYMUCH – Syco Music/Columbia Records SEPTEMBER 2017 – SZA – TDE/Aftermath/Interscope Records AUGUST 2017 – Kacy Hill – Def Jam Recordings JULY 2017 – Khalid – RCA Records JUNE 2017 – Kyle – Atlantic Records MAY 2017 – Noah Cyrus – Republic Records BEST POP Ariana Grande – “No Tears Left to Cry” – Republic Records Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug – “Havana” – Syco Music/Epic Records Demi Lovato – “Sorry Not Sorry” – Island Records Ed Sheeran – “Perfect” – Atlantic Records P!nk – “What About Us” – RCA Records Shawn Mendes – “In My Blood” – Island Records BEST HIP HOP Cardi B ft. 21 Savage – “Bartier Cardi” – KSR/Atlantic Records The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment Drake – “God’s Plan” – YMCMB/Cash Money/Republic Records J. Cole – “ATM” – Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope Records Migos ft. Drake – “Walk It Talk It” – Quality Control/Capitol Records Nicki Minaj – “Chun-Li” – Young Money/Cash Money Records BEST LATIN Daddy Yankee – “Dura” – El Cartel Records/UMLE J Balvin, Willy William – “Mi Gente” – UMLE/Republic Records Jennifer Lopez ft. DJ Khaled & Cardi B – “Dinero” – Epic Records/Nuyorican Productions Luis Fonsi, Demi Lovato – “Échame La Culpa” – UMLE/Republic/Island/Universal Music Latino Maluma – “Felices los 4” – Sony Music Entertainment US Latin Shakira ft. Maluma – “Chantaje” – Sony Music Entertainment US Latin BEST DANCE Avicii ft. Rita Ora – “Lonely Together” – Geffen Records Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – “One Kiss” – Columbia Records The Chainsmokers – “Everybody Hates Me” – Disruptor Records/Columbia Records David Guetta & Sia – “Flames” – Atlantic Records Marshmello ft. Khalid – “Silence” – RCA Records/Ultra Records Zedd & Liam Payne – “Get Low (Street Video)” – Interscope Records BEST ROCK Fall Out Boy – “Champion” – Island Records Foo Fighters – “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” – RCA Records Imagine Dragons – “Whatever It Takes” – KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records Linkin Park – “One More Light” – Warner Bros. Records Panic! At The Disco – “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” – Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic Records Thirty Seconds to Mars – “Walk On Water” – Interscope Records VIDEO WITH A MESSAGE Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – mcDJ / RCA Records Dej Loaf and Leon Bridges – “Liberated” – Columbia Records Drake – ‘God’s Plan” – YMCMB/Cash Money/Republic Records Janelle Monáe – “PYNK” – Bad Boy Records/Atlantic Records Jessie Reyez – “Gatekeeper” – Island Records Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid – “1-800-273-8255” – Def Jam Recordings BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Alessia Cara – “Growing Pains” – Def Jam Recordings – Cinematography by Pau Castejón Ariana Grande – “No Tears Left to Cry” – Republic Records – Cinematography by Scott Cunningham The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment – Cinematography by Benoit Debie Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – mcDJ / RCA Records – Cinematography by Larkin Seiple Eminem ft. Ed Sheeran – “River” – Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records – Cinematography by Frank Mobilio & Patrick Meller Shawn Mendes – “In My Blood” – Island Records – Cinematography by Jonathan Sela BEST DIRECTION The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment – Directed by Ricky Saix Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – mcDJ / RCA Records – Directed by Hiro Murai Drake – “God’s Plan” – YMCMB/Cash Money/Republic Records – Directed by Karena Evans Ed Sheeran – “Perfect” – Atlantic Records – Directed by Jason Koenig Justin Timberlake ft. Chris Stapleton – “Say Something” – RCA Records – Directed by Arturo Perez Jr. Shawn Mendes – “In My Blood” – Island Records – Directed by Jay Martin BEST ART DIRECTION The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment – Art Direction by Jan Houlevigue Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – mcDJ / RCA Records – Art Direction by Jason Kisvarday J. Cole – “ATM” – Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope Records – Art Direction by Miles Mullin Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel” – Bad Boy Records/Atlantic Records – Art Direction by Pepper Nguyen SZA – “The Weekend” – TDE/RCA Records – Art Direction by SZA and Solange Taylor Swift – “Look What You Made Me Do” – Big Machine Records – Art Direction by Brett Hess BEST VISUAL EFFECTS Ariana Grande – “No Tears Left to Cry” – Republic Records – Visual Effects by Vidal and Loris Paillier for Buf Avicii ft. Rita Ora – “Lonely Together” – Geffen Records – Visual Effects by KPP Eminem ft. Beyoncé – “Walk On Water” – Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records – Visual Effects Supervisor Rich Lee for Drive Studios Kendrick Lamar & SZA – “All The Stars” – TDE/Aftermath/Interscope Records – Visual Effects by Loris Paillier for BUF Paris Maroon 5 – “Wait” – 222/Interscope Records – Visual Effects by TIMBER Taylor Swift – “Look What You Made Me Do” – Big Machine Records – Visual Effects by Ingenuity Studios BEST CHOREOGRAPHY Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – “Finesse (Remix)” – Atlantic Records – Choreography by Phil Tayag & Bruno Mars Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug – “Havana” – Syco Music/Epic Records – Choreography by Calvit Hodge and Sara Bivens The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment – Choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Jaquel Knight Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – mcDJ / RCA Records – Choreography by Sherrie Silver Dua Lipa – “IDGAF” – Warner Bros. Records – Choreography by Marion Motin Justin Timberlake – “Filthy” – RCA Records – Choreography by Marty Kudelka, AJ Harpold, Tracy Phillips, and Ivan Koumaev BEST EDITING Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – “Finesse (Remix)” – Atlantic Records – Editing by Jacquelyn London The Carters – “APES**T” – Roc Nation/Parkwood Entertainment – Taylor Ward and Sam Ostrove Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – mcDJ / RCA Records – Editing by Ernie Gilbert Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel” – Bad Boy Records/Atlantic Records – Editing by Deji Laray N.E.R.D & Rihanna – “Lemon” – i am OTHER/Columbia Records – Editing by Taylor Ward Taylor Swift – “Look What You Made Me Do” – Big Machine Records – Editing by Chancler Haynes for Cosmo http://ew.com/music/2018/07/16/mtv-vma-nominations-2018-list/
  9. Beautiful Killer

    Has 2018 Killed the Pop Star?

    Has 2018 Killed the Pop Star? There are still pop stars, and there is still popular music—but they don’t overlap nearly as often as they used to. For most of the last century, “pop music” has been a durable single phrase with two distinct meanings: a statement of fact about the most listened to music of the moment as well as a genre with specific traits. And for a majority of that time, the two definitions have neatly intersected. Pop songs from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “Umbrella” have also been the most popular songs of their day. And especially since the 1980s, pop has been the domain of a particular type of entertainer: a virtuoso performer, visual artist, cultural maven, pop arbiter, and chart baron known as a pop star. But thanks in part to the pluralizing forces of the Internet, pop—like so many other things—has splintered. In the last two years, the popular-music ecosystem has proven more hospitable to SoundCloud rappers, novelty E.D.M./country hybrids and a freestyle from Cardi B than it’s been to once-indomitable pop stars like Taylor Swift. Meanwhile, former and would-be pop stars like Kesha, Troye Sivan, and Carly Rae Jepsen have grown into artists with devoted cult followings as opposed to global superstars. While there are exceptions—Bruno Mars in particular mimics the established pop-star formula to massive success—something novel is clearly afoot: pop music is no longer the most popular music in 2018. Pop as a genre is squishy. Since “popular” is in the name, it’s somewhat beholden to trends. There have, however, been some constants: big, broad emotions, a light touch driven by melody, and music and lyrics that are uncomplicated and familiar. Pop nicks elements from other genres—a guitar lick, a rap—but funnels everything through a tried-and-true structure, two verses and a bridge punctuated with an inescapable hook. More pertinently, pop music is inextricably linked to the pop star, a brand of musical supernova usually associated with 80s titans like Michael Jackson and Madonna.These larger-than-life entertainers defined a well-worn—and perhaps now rundown— version of musical superstardom, trading in a mastery of visual mediums, untouchable virtuosity, and uber-polished live performance, usually incorporating dance. Mostly, though, their all-in take on pure pop music dominated the charts. In their decades-long careers, Jackson accumulated 13 No. 1 singles, Madonna, 12. Their contemporaries—Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jacksonamong them—followed that path to similar success. And for the next four decades, a flood of descendants followed in their tracks. Britney, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga all built on the model set forth by Jackson and Madonna. While the elements were touched up to suit the moment, every successive generation took the same approach and filled the same general groove—and the chart positions—of their predecessors with scientific precision. As such, direct comparisons, for better or worse, were inescapable. The last few years, however, has seen a huge disruption in this lineage. The idea of “the Flop” has traveled from movie blockbusters to pop albums, particularly those released by pop stars with woefully little impact. Both 2017 and 2018 played host to an utter litany of flops. Katy Perry, Kesha, Lorde, Fergie, Miley Cyrus,Timberlake, and Swift, all of whom recently owned the zeitgeist, have released notably underperforming albums; half of those albums failed to achieve a single top 10 hit. Even Beyoncé, a chronic cultural arbiter and megastar, has not reached the top 5 as a lead artist on the Hot 100 since 2013’s “Drunk in Love.” Her latest, Everything Is Love—a collaboration with her husband, Jay-Z—will be the latest test of her unique stature as a pop-cultural agenda-setter who endures without multi-format hit singles. Meanwhile, the battalion of starlets who should be next in line—Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Dua Lipa, Charlie Puth, Charli XCX, and Shawn Mendes—have struggled to convert a smattering of hits into sustained runs at the top of the charts, even several albums into their careers. Ariana Grande, one of the most successful New Gen pop starlets, now in her fourth album cycle, has yet to score a No. 1 single. Most others have been pushed to the fringe, sustained by rabid core fan bases consisting largely of gay men and hipsters, but not cultural sovereignty. Meanwhile, a quick scan of the top Hot 100 over the last 12 months reveals a disparate smorgasbord, much of it once inconceivable as chart hits. SoundCloud rap oddities like Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” and XXXTentacion’s “Sad!,” as well as Migos’s Dadaist take on trap music, are top 10 staples. Toothless nu-rock acts like Imagine Dragons have launched numerous hits. So have E.D.M./country collaborations like Florida Georgia Line’s and Bebe Rexha’s “Meant to Be”and Zedd, Grey, and Maren Morris’s “The Middle,” artists most people couldn’t pick out of lineup. There have been no fewer than 6 top 10 singles featuring Cardi B, an unpolished stripper-turned-Instagram-star-turned-rapper-turned-breakout sensation of the year whose fame is predicated on the opposite of virtuosity. Cardi exploded with her completely unguarded social-media persona and “Bodak Yellow,” a tough, loose rap song which is only “pop” in that it’s massively popular, not because it shares much DNA with “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough.” She says it herself, “I don’t dance now, I make money moves.” And then of course there’s Drake, the paragon for a new brand of pop stardom that shifts markedly, but not fully, away from the Jacksonian model. Drake often sings but is primarily a rapper, emblematic of hip-hop’s firm grip on pop culture. He doesn’t dance either, at least not in a polished way, and much of his music—confessional, insular, idiosyncratic—is wildly hooky, but owes very little to the dance pop of Jackson, or the pop ballads of Whitney and Mariah (although one could argue he draws on Janet’s later, more intimate style of R&B). Drake has, however, sustained a stranglehold on the charts once reserved for those artists, either redefining pop in his image or successfully nudging it from the center of the landscape. The success of his progeny like Post Malone proves this approach isn’t singular to him, either. Fittingly, this past week, Drake passed Jackson as the solo male artist with the most weeks at No. 1 on the singles charts. There are many factors at work here. The kind of huge album sales which once served as the benchmark for pop stardom have been steadily disintegrating since the explosion of MP3s in the early 2000s. Additionally the public, as opposed to record labels, now has an unprecedented ability to choose hits by simply streaming them or creating a viral meme. And radio play, while still a huge factor in chart position, is just a piece of a bigger pie that includes downloads, social-media buzz, and, increasingly, streaming numbers. This egalitarian environment allows a longer tail of artists to sustain careers, but it’s also a reactive one where it’s hard for any single act not named Drake to maintain the omnipresence critical to stars like Jackson. Bruno Mars is the most obvious, and singular, exception to this trend. Pop stars have always drawn on what came before them, but rarely have they pantomimed the past as cravenly as Mars has, expertly cribbing old styles from Jackson, the Police, the Time, and Boyz II Men without updating the formula. As with the ninth Jurassic Park movie, people may buy tickets to access an old feeling. But whether Mars is an exception to this trend as opposed to the desperate last gasp of a dying breed is an open question. So is pop music still popular? It hasn’t completely receded. And it will be interesting to see what the next couple of years bring. In 2015, Justin Bieber was able to synthesize then-fashionable E.D.M. and trop-house sounds into three No. 1 singles. What will new Bieber music sound like in 2018 or ‘19? It’s not so hard to envision a world where Bieber’s new stuff sounds a lot like, well, Drake. Either way, something is shifting and perhaps we were overdue. There are only so many times something can be compared to Michael Jackson. And indeed, 40 years is a long trend for something as perennially mutable, and undefinable, as pop music. https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/06/2018-year-the-pop-star-died
  10. http://ew.com/music/2017/11/01/stans-pop-music-kesha-beyonce-beyhive-lady-gaga-monsters/amp/
  11. Beautiful Killer

    Trump / US politics thread 🚽

    Trump, first lady to skip Kennedy Center Honors over concerns of ‘political distraction’ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/08/19/trump-first-lady-to-skip-kennedy-center-honors-over-concerns-of-political-distraction/?utm_term=.eab388aaff80
  12. MSNBC is reporting 20 dead.
  13. Beautiful Killer

    RETRO music

    Brook Benton & Dinah Washington - Baby, You've Got What It Takes
  14. VMA Nominations are out tomorrow @ 10 AM EST on Apple Music's Beats 1, whatever that is. Miley's hosting.
  15. Beautiful Killer

    BITCH I'M MADONNA video: continued

    Jonas Akerlund reflects on greatest collaborations with Madonna http://www.ew.com/article/2015/06/18/jonas-akerlund-madonna-greatest-collaborations
  16. Was just on. Beyonce vogueing. Miley in glittery eye makeup. Premieres 10 AM on Tidal.
  17. Nope, they showed a very short clip. Hot pink jacket. Rita Ora.
  18. Sometime between now and 9 AM (EST).
  19. Sneak peek coming up on Good Morning America (ABC)!