Saturday, November 1, 2014

Playlist: November 2014

Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding

The dream team is back together. After a successful pairing on "I Need Your Love," Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding have teamed up again for a track on Harris' fourth studio album, Motion (out November 4). This new track, titled "Outside," opens with a sound that is quite similar to the Harris' handiwork on ex-girlfriend Rita Ora's "I Will Never Let You Down," but later expands to a booming electronic-dance track that screams influences from earlier tracks such as "Sweet Nothing." Meanwhile, Goulding delivers a great product (per usual) as she spits out, "There’s a power in what you do / Now, every other day I’ll be watching you / Show you what it feels like, now I’m on the outside / We did everything right, now I’m on the outside."

"Baby Don't Lie"
Gwen Stefani

We all found our hearts melting when both Fergie and Gwen Stefani both announced planned comebacks as solo artists as they step out on their own again without The Black Eyed Peas and No Doubt, respectively. Both artists encountered massive success during their debut solo album cycles in the mid-2000s, but haven't released any solo work in the 2010s until now. When Fergie debuted "L.A.LOVE (la la)" with the relatively disappointing results, I personally was counting on Gwen Stefani to deliver. Luckily, she did just that. "Baby Don't Lie" seems like Stefani's sassy take on Coldplay and Rihanna's "Princess of China" and is driven on heavy drums and a winding synth run. The song has been run through the mud by fans who just want "Hollaback Girl" 2.0 and claim she ripped off a random SoundCloud user, but I'm still rooting for Stefani.

Marina and the Diamonds

After killing off her Electra Heart persona last year, Marina Diamandis is back... as herself this time, on her new track "Froot." Billboard's Ryan Reed hit the nail on the head while describing this song: it is a "sonically fresh but lyrically stale" pop song. The lyrics of "Froot" are, for the most part, just as cringe-worthy as the spelling of "fruit" in the title. The most glaring examples include "Hanging like a fruit, ready to be juiced, juiced, juiced" and "Oh my branches are heavy / Yeah they're heavy, yeah they're heavy," as Diamandis rails through the song with multiple vocal tones and vowel shapes. However, ignore the lyrics, and a killer retro jam with an irresistible chorus prevails; even the lyrical handiwork improves as she sings, "Living la dolce vita / Life couldn't get much sweeter / Don't you give me a reason / That it's not the right season."

"You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile"

Usually, modern day franchise re-boots give no justice to their respective classic counterparts, but when the makers of the upcoming Annie remake added one of today's best vocalists to the mix, they made the outlook just a bit better. Sia Furler was enlisted for three tracks on the new Annie soundtrack, the first of which was just released last month. In her take on "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," Sia steps away from her own haunting 1000 Forms of Fear album concept and shows us a much brighter side of herself - perhaps the happiest we've heard since "Clap Your Hands." When in need of a pick-me-up and a great sing-along track, this should be a go-to song.

Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea knows that she's currently one of the biggest names in the rap game, and she's not afraid to brag. Towards the end of last month, Azalea released "IGGY SZN" the first promo single to her upcoming re-release, Reclassified, which will include the most popular cuts from her debut album, The New Classic, as well as a few new tracks with collaborators like MØ, Jennifer Hudson, and Ellie Goulding. On "IGGY SZN" (pronounced: "Iggy Season"), Azalea raps all about her newfound status as a star over a fresh beat. "Simmer down, bitch / It's Iggy season / I ain't worried about shit / It's Iggy season / Bad bitches scream, 'yas' / It's Iggy season," proclaims Azalea, exuding just as much confidence as we heard in "Work" and "Fancy." If you have a problem with Iggy Azalea, just remember that what you make in a year, she can make in a week.

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