The First Lady of R&B/Pop gives her fans a taste of some new tunes with a jovial new single that’s “Made For Now”.
Janet Jackson has endeavored to maintain her pop relevance over the last decade as the commercial tide that the music icon once rode appeared to crest and come to shore. In the 80s Jackson set the tone with her quintessential (re)introduction as a performer with the landmark album Control. Yielding one of the most impressive number of hit singles by a female artist, Janet continued on a winning streak with the follow-up Rhythm Nation 1814 which combined the artist’s ability to remain funky while delivering social conscious messaging; Janet started marking her territory with the auspicious Janet. dropping the “Jackson” and taking on the establishment all on her own.
There was apparently no stopping Jackson who appeared to have set herself on a trajectory to surpass the popularity of her superstar brother, Michael, who found himself dodging allegations and controversies that often distracted from the artist’s music. In fact the elder Jackson recruited his younger sister to appear on the track Scream which marked the first time the pair partnered up and brought their super-nova level stardom to the pop spectrum. After the sudden passing of Michael Jackson, it was almost immediately assumed that Janet would be able to fill the void left by Jackson; alternatively Janet instead appeared to take a respite from the spotlight and releasing any new music. Her last album was 2015’s Unbreakable and revealed a solidly grounded Janet.
Her fans of course have been holding out for the dance/pop/funk/r&b Janet Jackson that achieved her own level of icon appreciation. Jackson has herself found her personal life often fodder for the tabloids and instead of jumping back into the three-ring circus, it appeared she allowed herself to percolate and creatively delivered on her latest track. Making the festival rounds while also marking some dates on her “State of the World” Tour, Janet Jackson teamed up with reggaeton hit-maker Daddy Yanker for the bouncy “Made For Now”. The single and its video reveal a worldly-immersive grove that is certain to get fans eager for what Janet Jackson may have lined-up next. Like the song suggests, it’s not a comeback she’s after, Janet Jackson is remaking herself for now.
“Made For Now” | Janet Jackson with Daddy Yankee the single is available now on iTunes.
Get set for the summer circuit season with this premiere offering from dance producer Rich B once again teaming up with Levi Kreis for a cover of the hit “I Can’t Go for That” — but you will!
The Tony Award-Winning Levi Kreis has always proven his incredible versatility as a performer and on the music charts. The talented singer/songwriter has celebrated Gospel, conquered R&B and of course proved his mettle on the Broadway stage. Kreis has also maintained a proven track record in pop sounds and even delivered on innovative dance hits that worked their way across the dance circuit season.
The artist has collaborated once again with dance music impresario Rich B for an uptempo reboot of the classic Hall & Oats hit “I Can’t Go for That” which makes absolute the greatest use of Kreis vocal prowess and range, and features some endurably fantastic production by Rich B, as well as some hearty EDM and House reimagined works from Lee Harris and Division 4 with Matt Consola. A more expansive remix package is also available on iTunes.
Levi Kreis and Rich B last worked on the hit remixes for the club favorite “So Much Better” and “Love Revolution” both from his 2013 album Imagine Paradise. Check out those remixes also available on iTunes.
On his most recent work the full-length album Liberated Kreis is front on center on what he has called some of his most personal works yet. Turning his own recent emotional turmoil into art, he exercises his privilege to bring his fans into his own world, sharing songs of uplifting eloquence and introspection. Liberated benefits from a beautifully eclectic production that has elements of pop, r&b and country swooning through its 12-song setlist.
Aguilera makes a move on “Accelerate” to reclaim her spot on the pop-music charts with a catchy, groovy (and gooey) sexy new track!
It’s been a while since pop songstress Christina Aguilera has delivered on a full-length album project. In 2012 her fans were treated to Lotus which returned the artist to the pop-standards of dance inspired tracks and ballads that put her on the radar as a one-time emerging pop-princess of the 1990s proliferation of the music market. Since then her audience has had to settle for the occasional one-off single or duet, most notably Aguilera’s collaboration on Lady Gaga’s “Do What U Want” which paired the two powerhouse vocalists for the first time on The Voice live!
Now Aguilera is back with a new album she’s entitled Liberation set for release in June, and the premiere single “Accelerate” features a perfectly produced symphonic concoction of drum beats, percussion and electro-synth which places Aguilera front and center vocally and sensually packs a punch. Appearing alongside her on the track Hip-Hop leaders Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz lend their presence solidifying XTina’s much vaunted street cred. It’s been a while sine The Voice coach appeared on the televised competition series, but perhaps this liberation has been long coming.
The Princess-of-Pop, the Goddess of Love, continues a musical evolution that has matured and blossomed into something now Golden. On her new album KYLIE MINOGUE proves she’s more than glitter!
Imagine my utter dismay! When I opened up my music library and realized that some of my most prized albums had gone missing! Nearly 2 decades of carefully curated digital downloads had just been erased from my hard-drive and most were never backed up, even by my back-ups! Where had my collection of Kylie Minogue music gone and why only her? Why Kylie?
I had recently purchased her latest album Golden and had been reveling in the latest single “Dancing”, and it was only after the full-length album became available I realized a massive collection of singles, remixes and live albums disappeared. Pourquoi Kylie? Je ne sais pas pourquoi! Yes…even the remixes to that late 80s hit went bye-bye!
Fortunately Golden the newest album had survived “the purge”, so before I drove myself insane trying to recover all of the hits that defined Minogue’s international appeal as a pop idol turned icon, I dived deep in Golden. After 2014’s Kiss Me Once which was the first album penned after a newly polished management deal that would reconnect Kylie with her stateside relevance; the expectation of which was extremely anticipated, especially since Kiss Me Once would include collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Sia.
The hopes that Kiss Me Once would recapture the popular and critical success of 2001’s Fever which raised her profile with the international hit dance track “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and made her a mainstream sensation, fizzled out. Like the title album suggests Kiss Me Once would be the only album released by Roc Nation, which is headed by rapper/businessman Jay-Z. The label and Minogue parted ways citing “artistic differences”, but that didn’t stop Kylie from taking on a tour to promote the album.
She would follow-up Kiss Me Once with several hit dance tracks including collaborations with the legendary Giorgio Moroder and Garibay, before getting back into the studio. The artists which has always proven her mettle on the live stage performed a setlist of holiday hits for a Christmas special accompanied by a pair of albums celebrating the season. Her die-hard fans wouldn’t have too long to wait before Minogue would deliver on a brand new album, though perhaps they couldn’t have imagined the direction she would take.
Her die-hard fans wouldn’t have too long to wait before Minogue would deliver on a brand new album, though perhaps they couldn’t have imagined the direction she would take.
Like her contemporaries who have enjoyed as endurable a career and a following that has been as faithful, Minogue has the luxury of exploring her creative freedom. Having dominated the Euro-pop charts and transcended musical expectations evolving dance and electronica from a clubland experiment to a radio-friendly profitability, it would have been easy for Kylie to keep to her box, but perhaps challenging that particular dictum may have lead her to the profuse diversity apparently dominant on Golden.
Diving back into writingMinogue came stateside to pen the music that would shape her latest effort. On Golden Minogue retreated to Nashville, Tennessee to co-write each track; the first time since Minogue’s 1997 release Impossible Princess that the artist has dug so deep into her musical narrative. Golden blends pop and dance music with country music sensibilities and production, as is clearly evident in the setlist’s debut single “Dancing”. The very catchy track captures the exuberance that fans have come to expect from Kylie, with an earthier production value.
Golden was also recorded in London and Los Angeles and brought Minogue together with a series of brand new producers, most of which have established their notoriety outside of the realm of dance. For the faithful, Minogue hasn’t steered too far off course; the roots of Golden were based heavily in synth-pop which is the style of music most often associated with Kylie, but on the suggestion of her label’s A&R representative who thought mixing country music into the mix might prove interesting, to which Kylie responded favorably.
Recording in Nashville, Tennessee also proved an extremely nourishing experience for Minogue, who believes it was particularly “cathartic” for her and allowed the sound of the sounds to feel more “authentic”. For a pop album in 2018 Golden is a refreshing mix and fusion. The follow-up track “Stop Me From Falling” also revels in the touch of country but still flourishes from Minogue’s dance base. Overall Golden has a uniquely divined narrative that is purely affirming and delivers sincerely from the heart.
For Kylie, an artist that has often been heralded for her dance revolution, it’s refreshing that she’s able to surprise her audience. Most recently Kylie has explored a more daring direction and still emerged viable. Since her introduction onto the pop scene with Stock, Aitken & Waterman and evolution through to contemporary dance music, Minogue has always been an innovator, certainly on a par with Madonna; both performers have collaborated with Stuart Price who produced the most prolific dance albums of each of their careers respectfully.
So perhaps it is not surprising that upon downloading Golden into my collection the new album’s introduction obliterated everything else in my Kylie collection. I’ve since been able to recover most (if not all of my collection) but it gave me some time to digest Golden and enjoy it on its own merits…dive into this new direction for Kylie Minogue who keeps on innovating and proving the diverse influence pop music has all across genres. Music after all has the universal ability to pull us all together, much like Minogue has done throughout her illustrious career.
Pop-Music is getting “Filthy” again and Justin Timberlake is leading the revolution on the first single off his new album.
With all-eyes focused on the pop-music stratosphere as Justin Timberlake prepares to return to the world’s largest stage, the entertainment-impresario has been seemingly pardoned and been invited to headline this year’s Super Bowl Half-Time show. The last time that Timberlake stepped into that spotlight he pulled more than focus, by inadvertently yanking on Janet Jackson’s costume and causing the seismic wardrobe malfunction heard round the world, now JT is back with a new album to promote, and its premiere single “Filthy” is reminiscent of the innovative sound that made the artist a standout.
Justin Timberlake just never seemed to fit the mold of the boy band, even during his tenure as the one-time frontman of *NSYNC. He clearly was set on carving a path for himself and calculated the steps to his exit away from his group antics even dating pop princess Britney Spears to solidify perception that he’s his own thing! Truth to tell Justin Timberlake always was, and by the turn of the millennium he marched properly into solo stardom — never looking over his shoulder once. Sixteen years later he’s prepared to let his audience further into the rabbit hole of his musicality on the dubiously entitled album Man of the Woods.
He’d have us believe that this is a project dedicated to revealing some as yet unexplored revelations of his early and earthy Tennessee upbringing, yet the premiere release “Filthy” is bouncy electro-pop musings of over-the-top rock stardom and healthy sex-play. It’s an infectious exploration for sure, and a tailor-made beat that will no doubt become the centerpiece of Timberlake’s Super Bowl show, but whether it’ll have legs to chart interest remains to be seen. The single itself sounds like a hybrid/homage to George Michael’s obscure dance track “Freeek!” (2002) but lacks Michael’s vocal prowess, to Timberlake’s sonic tenor.
Still, if you know what’s good, you can bargain that Justin Timberlake has more up his sleeve than he’s letter on. “Filthy” may just be the appetizer to a full 7-course meal that will be far more satisfying to an appetite now whet with anticipation. “Filthy” is available now on iTunes and remains among the Top Ten Singles.
For three decades the unopposed Queen of Pop revolutionized the live stage show and toured around the world commanding record audiences with an unparalleled ease!
The benchmark of any pop-artist’s career is the live show! The ability to sell out a venue whether a house as epically regarded as Madison Square Garden or Los Angeles Staples Center is sure an easy enough swift kick to the ego, but once you have those fans in the house, you best be prepared to set a table! No other artist has evolved more dramatically and pushed the creative of the live pop-show than Madonna.
When she first hit the road in 1985 on her critically well-received and perfectly named premiere showcase, Madonna didn’t mince words and The Virgin Tour was not only about getting her music out to her fans, but it was also about introducing herself to the world as a force in entertainment. That initial concert tour broke records as it criss-crossed North American and Canada and played to sold out venues, including a record-breaking 3 nights in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.
Madonna had come a long way since her days hitting the pavement and securing appearances at downtown East Village venues including Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs.
Appropriately designed The Virgin Tour predominantly promoted her first two album releases and immediately set the pace for what Madonna had in store for her audience. She would continue to evolve and charge the expectations of her audience especially with each consecutive live stage appearance, and the next time Madonna brought her music to life, she took it globally and never looked back.
Who’s That Girl took Madonna to the global stage and marked her first world tour. Arbitrarily coordinated to promote the comedic film of the same name starring Madonna as well as its accompanying soundtrack, it incorporated tracks from her then-latest release True Blue, but no one would be prepared for what was to come next, as Madonna took herself off the live stage forum to focus on reassessing her priorities in life (her marriage to actor Sean Penn was ending) and recharged her creative energies.
With the release of her fourth full-length studio album Like A Prayer Madonna was poised to reintroduce herself as more than just a pop-act! The critically successful release positioned her (finally) as one of the music industries most innovative and unique artists. With a new blockbuster film set for a summer release, Madonna had secured a key role in Warren Beatty’s big-screen adaptation of the comic strip Dick Tracy, and a new single that would ignite a wildfire.
With so much swirling around her at the time, 1990 would prove one of the most pivotal years in her career, both creatively and personally. Her high-profile marriage to Penn was behind her and the artist dove herself emphatically into her work including her music and movie projects. Like A Prayer would prove one of the year’s biggest hits and give her audience a unique insight into Madonna’s world, although it was only a glimpse. To maximize her exposure Madonna would chart all new territory and mount a world tour unlike anything anyone had ever experienced.
Perfectly christened the Blond Ambition World Tour it would span the globe the summer of 1990 and redefine the live pop music concert! The tour was designed to engage both the artist and audience in an experience that was transportive. Madonna, an accomplished dancer, directed a nearly two-hour stage performance (along with long-time collaborator Vincent Paterson) with an all-male troupe of dancers, back-up singers Niki Haris and Donna DeLory and her full band. The tour would be artistically directed by Madonna’s brother Christopher Ciccone with costumes by fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Mixing elements of Broadway and old Hollywood glamour, with high-fashion and state of the art stage and lighting execution, Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour established a new dictum for how to approach live concert tours, and imitators would follow, though none would match Madonna’s sensibilities and her taste for controversy. The themes explored within the two-hour long installation did not only serve to spotlight her growing catalog of hit songs, but it explored a narrative.
Not simply content to sing at the microphone any longer, Madonna was more interested in giving her fans a cathartic experience. She brought to life many of her already innovative videos, by building the sets of the dystopian future from the “Express Yourself” video inspired by the film Metropolis to taking it to the oceans and fashioning fishtails for her dancers turning them into mermen to evoke the “Cherish” video. Madonna has said that the tour was about her “growing” — “Once you get on this train, you can’t get off.”
The Blond Ambition Tour certainly suggested Madonna had grown-up as an artist and personality, and she was decidedly taking us all along for the ride. Evoking many religious themes and exploring the contradictions of life, faith, sex, endings and new beginnings, the show pushed Madonna’s agenda as a provocateur and feminist, mostly she intended to inspire, to give her audience reason to ask questions and come up with conclusions of their own.
It was a liberation that was told through the lyrics of Madonna’s hits “Like a Virgin”, “Papa Don’t Preach” and culminated with the fierceness of “Vogue”, but the entire time it was Madonna finally putting it all out and truly expressing herself.
This is “Part 1” in series discussing the contributions and innovations made to the live concert stage by Madonna. In the next feature the Queen of Pop’s ambition continues to grow and her follow-up to Blond Ambition goes further than anyone could have anticipated.