Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Xposition - August, 2017

Attention!!!

The month of August was all about Taylor Swift. Not about the old Taylor though, cause she’s dead. Not much has changed about the new Taylor, except for maybe a haircut. She is still vindictive and self-obsessed as ever. However, now she has clearly embraced all the mud that was slung at her in the past two years. On the heels of winning her sexual assault case against ex-radio DJ David Mueller for groping her at a 2013 concert, Swift blacked out her social media before teasing her fans with GIFs of a snake, which everyone assumed was Kim Kardashian’s reference to her as a snake in the Kanye-Swift Famous debacle.

She next revealed that her newest album would be titled Reputation with its lead single Look What You Made Me Do released soon after. The lyric video itself gained more than 19 million views on YouTube within 24 hours breaking the record of Chainsmokers & Coldplay’s Something Just Like This. The official video premiered at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards where she went on a rampage with her contemptuous references to Calvin Harris, Kanye West, Kim Kardashia, DJ David Mueller, Katy Perry, the mainstream media and concluding the video with scathing remarks at her old self. The official video became the most watched music video within 24 hours with over 43 million views and breaking the record of Psy’s Gentleman which had only 38 million views. (The chart performance of the song will only be available for September).

As said earlier the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards was held this year with less drama than usual. Pink was bestowed with the prestigious Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award which she accepted after a medley of her hits and concluding with an emotional driven performance of her newest single What About Us. Other great performances of the night included Julia Michael’s Issues, Kendrick Lamar’s medley of DNA and Humble, Logic, Khalid and Alessia Cara’s 1-800-273-8255 and Shawn Mendes’ There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back. Kendrick Lamar who led the nominations with 8 also won the most awards with 6 including Video of the Year and Best Hip Hop Video for Humble. Ed Sheeran won Artist of the Year while Khalid won Best New Artist. The other significant wins of the night included:
·         Best Collaboration: Taylor Swift & Zayn – I don’t wanna live forever
·         Best Pop Video: Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – Down
·         Best Dance Video: Zedd ft. Alessia Cara – Stay
·         Best Rock Video: Twenty One Pilots – Heavydirtysoul
·         Song of the Summer: Lil Uzi Vert – XO tour llif3

The Teen Choice Awards 2017 were also held in August where Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber received the most nods. Great performances of the night included Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson on a medley of their hits Rockabye and Symphony and French Montana, Swae Lee and Rae Sremmurd on a medley of Unforgettable and Black Beatles. Harry Styles and Ariana Grande won Choice Male and Female Artist respectively while Fifth Harmony won for Choice Music Group. Some other important award recipients were:
·         Choice Country Artist: Carrie Underwood
·         Choice Electronic/Dance Artist: Calvin Harris
·         Choice Latin Artist: CNCO
·         Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Artist: Beyonce
·         Choice Rock Artist: Harry Styles
·         Choice Song Female: Camila Cabello – Crying in the club
·         Choice Song Male: Niall Horan – Slow hands
·         Choice Song Group: Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – Down
·         Choice Collaboration: Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson – Just hold on
·         Choice Breakout Artist: Chance the Rapper

During the month of August the video of Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber’s Despacito passed Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth’s See You Again as the most watched music video in the world and also passed 3-billion views. It is considered the most viral video of all time reaching this mark within a span of only 8 months. It is also the most liked video on YouTube.  

In terms of musical talent, the biggest music content is coming to Asia. The first ever Asia Pacific Eurovision Song Contest was announced as Eurovision Asia was formally launched with 20 countries coming together to compete in an annual grand finale. Another music show called Your Song was announced by Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment to be hosted by Big Brother and The Voice host Emma Willis. The show is for the public to nominate people who think they deserve the performance of a lifetime from their musical hero.

In August, Country music bid farewell to another legend as Glen Campbell passed away at the age of 81, following his long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Campbell will be remembered as one of those rare breeds that brought Country music to the mainstream with a Pop infusion and influenced the artists of today such as Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett and even Taylor Swift. 

Moving onto chart news, in the US, Despacito ruled the roost accumulating a whopping 14 weeks at the top. Meanwhile, Charlie Puth’s Attention and Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow (Money Moves) all entered the top 10. In the UK, Despacito regained its top position which it lost to DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller’s Wild Thoughts but after two weeks was dethroned by the all-star collaboration Feels by Calvin Harris featuring Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Big Sean. The final week saw Dua Lipa’s addictive New Rules reach the pole position. During the month Pink’s What About Us, CNCO & Little Mix’s Reggaeton Lento, J Balvin and Willy William’s Mi Gente and Justin Bieber & Bloodpop’s Friends all entered the top 10.

Other songs which became popular during the month were:

1.       James Hype ft. Kelli-Leigh – More than friends
2.       Louis Tomlinson ft. Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals – Back to you
3.       Echosmith – Goodbye
4.       Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid – 1-800-273-8255
5.       Portugal. The Man – Feel it still
6.       Kesha – Learn to let go

7.       Macklemore ft. Skylar Grey – Glorious 

Till the next beat...

At Ease!!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Latin Resurgence

Attention!!!

Despacito is the newest buzz word in town for any dance party. The global phenomenon of this titanic hit has led to the mainstream resurgence of a genre that has been dormant for sometime. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee never expected their music video to go viral, neither did they expect the Justin Bieber remix of the song to become one of the best-selling singles of all time. 

Latin music has been a genre since the 1940s but it was only in the 1980s that it became quite popular with hits from Julio Iglesias, Juan Gabriel, Roberto Carlos and Celia Cruz. The early 90s saw the gradual rise and decline of Eurodance wherein certain hits were infused with Latin music. Selena's contribution to Latin music via her push for Tejano was short lived following her tragic death in 1995. 

By the mid 90s it was clear that Latin music was here to stay with the mega hit Los Del Rio's Macarena taking the world by storm with its Bayside Boys Mix. The hit which was accompanied by a step dance and a memorable music video was the biggest hit of the 90s. Post Macarena era witnessed Latin Pop becoming the ambassador for Latin music in the mainstream. Young artists such as Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony and Shakira entered the mainstream with monumental force in the late 90s and ruled the charts in the early 2000s. Particularly songs such as Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca, Iglesias' Bailamos and Shakira's Hips Don't Lie made a massive impact on the charts. 

After Latin Pop's gradual decline, Reggaeton took over in the mid 2000s with artists such as Daddy Yankee, Wisin & Yandel and Nina Sky. However, while their songs were a staple on the dance floor at the time, they did not make much of an impact on the charts. The last of the sub-genres of Latin music to crossover to the mainstream was Bachata where Prince Royce and Romeo Santos are making a recognizable impact. After 2010, Latin music was all but in the past, with no real presence in the charts except for the one off hit by either Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez or Shakira. 

In 2014, Iglesias made a huge comeback with Bailando which soared to the top in many charts and was a global floorfiller at parties. However, it never managed to score success in the charts that mattered - US, UK and Australia. While proving to be definitely one of the best Latin songs of all time, it was evident that the mainstream was not ready to embrace Latin music as a whole. 

All of this changed with Despacito. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's original Spanish version did not fare all that well in the English speaking countries. However, the Bieber remix proved to be more successful than the collaborators ever imagined. Justin Bieber not only contributed his vocals to the remix perfecting the Spanish lines, his association with the single alongside the fact that he is the most influential and successful artist of yesteryear not to forget the fact that he is also the most sought after artist to be featured at present made this song the Song of the Summer of 2017 and also equaled a record which was set in 1995. 

With Despacito it is clear that Latin music is enjoying more popularity than before. The first song to experience this is J Balvin and Willy William's Mi Gente. Next up we have Iglesias re-releasing his Súbeme la Radio as a Spanglish version with X Factor winner Matt Terry and Sean Paul. This was followed by Jennifer Lopez's newest single Ni Tú Ni Yo. The last to enter this party was Little Mix where they collaborated with the new Latin boy band sensation CNCO and re-released a Spanglish version of the latter's hit Reggaetón Lento. 

Others that could possibly join this fold include Pitbull, Shakira, Sean Paul, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Don Omar, Wisin, Camila Cabello, Kat DeLuna and even Ricky Martin who might use this opportunity to make his long awaited comeback. All in all this resurgence could very well be a result of the mainstream swaying gradually towards a more tropical taste given the rise of Reggae Fusion as well as tropical beats entering Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B and Rap. It could also be just a fluke with the recent resurgence attributable to the Bieber Remix of Despacito. At the end of the day we will have to wait and see, whether Latin music is here to stay in the mainstream or will disappear as soon as whence it came. 

Till the next rhythm...

At Ease!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Xposition - July, 2017

Attention!!!

While award ceremonies took a break in July we see Tomorrowland the largest dance music festival in full swing. Held during the final two weekends in July Tomorrowland 2017 was under the theme “Amicorum Spectaculum” with a massive crowd of 400,000. Headlining the festival this time were 8 top notch DJ acts – Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Alesso, Paul Van Dyk, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Paul Kalkbrenner. Afrojack played a record breaking eight sets and so wherever in Tomorrowland a participant, you can be sure they saw Afrojack. In a small set back, Tomorrowland’s Barcelona stage went up in flames resulting in the evacuation of more than 22,000 fans. The fire had erupted hours before Steve Aoki was to perform, but the organizers have ruled it was only a technical malfunction.

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend will be retitled as BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend as Glastonbury takes a sabbatical in 2018. Glastonbury which is one of the biggest music festivals in the world will take a year’s break after pulling in a record peak audience of 4.1 million viewers for Ed Sheeran’s headline slot. The Biggest Weekend will take place from 25 – 28 May 2018 in four cities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While the acts will be announced later it was confirmed that 175,000 tickets will be sold for the event.

Spandau Ballet’s lead singer Tony Hadley has formally announced his departure from the 80s group. Whilst the band first split up in 1990s, after a disagreement over loyalties they reformed in 2009 for a string of sold out shows. Whilst the reason for Hadley’s departure is uncertain he only revealed on Twitter that they were circumstances beyond his control.

It is with extreme sadness that the music industry had to bid farewell to Alternative Rock icon and lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington. His death came as a massive shock to the music industry when his housekeeper found his body on July 20. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging. The band’s seventh studio album One More Light was released earlier this year. While the band cancelled their North American leg of their One More Light World Tour following his death, it is clear what will happen to the band as a result of Bennington’s death. Bennington’s death was on what would have been his close friend and lead singer of Soundgarden, Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday, who had also committed suicide by hanging two months prior.

Moving onto chart news, in the US, Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber’s Despacito maintained its reign over the charts throughout the month accumulating 10 weeks at the top. DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller’s Wild Thoughts debuted in the top 10 but could not dethrone Despacito as it struggled at No.2. Meanwhile, French Montana featuring Swae Lee’s Unforgettable, Imagine Dragons’ Believer and Shawn Mendes’ There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back all entered the top 10.

In the UK, Despacito started at the top but was dethroned by Wild Thoughts in the final week. During the month Calvin Harris featuring Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams & Big Sean’s Feels, Maggie Lindemann’s Pretty Girls and Sigala & Ella Eyre’s Came Here For Love all entered the top 10.

Other songs which became popular during the month were:

1.       CNCO – Reggaetón Lento
2.       Dua Lipa – New rules
3.       Rudimental ft. James Arthur – Sun comes up
4.       Jax Jones ft. Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don – Instruction
5.       J Balvin & Willy William – Mi gente
6.       Demi Lovato – Sorry not sorry
7.       Zedd ft. Liam Payne – Get low
8.    Axwell & Ingrosso – More than you know

Till the next beat...

At Ease!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Best Music Videos of 2016

Attention!!!

This is a long overdue post, but nevertheless one that is required to complete the year-end lists which would finally include the Most Successful Artists of 2016. Although 2015 produced a wide array of remarkable videos, 2016 could not match the predecessor in terms of visual aesthetics. Nevertheless, the directors and choreographers were not lethargic last year, as there were some beautiful videos that were produced.  

Coldplay of course takes the top spot with Up & up with its awesome and bizarre visual with the entire sequence being engulfed in top notch animation. Next we have Sia who teamed up with Maddie Zeigler once again for a perfectly choreographed video. Down the list we have one more where the two team up for Sia's Cheap Thrills (although released as a video this is life performance). In third place we have PUP's Sleep in heat, which sees Stranger Things cast member Finn Wolfhard putting on emotional performance with a dog. 

Leading the fray with two entries each are Coldplay, Sia, Kanye West, Beyonce, Clean Bandit and Bebe Rexha. However, Bey's uncredited appearance in Coldplay's Hymn for the Weekend accumulates her entries to three as she appears in the video. 2016 covered a wide range of genres from Pop, Rock and EDM to Rap, Trap and Reggae Fusion which is a mishmash of the best kind. Some of the biggest hits of the year such as The Weeknd's Starboy, Jutsin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling and Clean Bandit's Rockabye are all featured here because of their awesome videos. However, The Chainsmokers' Closer and Lukas Graham's 7 Years are not here because they are not great videos. So here are the 50 best music videos of 2016:
  1. Coldplay – Up & up
  2. Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar – The greatest
  3. PUP – Sleep in heat 
  4. Kaytranada – Lite spots
  5. Clean Bandit ft. Louisa Johnson – Tears
  6. The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk – Starboy
  7. Beyonce – Formation
  8. Radiohead – Burn the witch
  9. ZAYN – Pillowtalk
  10. Martin Garrix ft. Bebe Rexha – In the name of love
  11. David Guetta ft. Zara Larsson – This one’s for you
  12. DJ Shadow ft. Run the Jewels - Nobody speak
  13. Andra Day – Rise up (Inspiration Version)
  14. Coldplay – Hymn for the weekend
  15. Mike Posner – I took a pill in Ibiza (SeeB Remix)
  16. Sia – Cheap thrills (Performance Edit)
  17. Jenny Hval – Conceptual romance
  18. Alan Walker – Faded
  19. Tame Impala – The less I know the better
  20. Kanye West – Famous
  21. Beyonce – Hold up
  22. Clean Bandit ft. Anne Marie & Sean Paul – Rockabye
  23. Nick Jonas ft. Tove Lo – Close
  24. Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – This is what you came for
  25. Fergie – M.I.L.F. $
  26. Pink – Just like fire 
  27. Black Eyed Peas ft. The World – #WHEREISTHELOVE
  28. Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj – Side to side
  29. DJ Snake ft. Bipolar Sunshine – Middle 
  30. Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall – Juju on that beat (TZ Anthem)
  31. Selena Gomez – Kill ‘em with kindness
  32. Alessia Cara – Wild things
  33. Twenty One Pilots – Heathens
  34. AronChupa ft. Lil Sis Nora – Little swing
  35. The Chainsmokers ft. Daya – Don’t let me down
  36. Major Lazer ft. Nyla & Fuse ODG – Light it up
  37. Flo Rida – My house
  38. Taylor Swift – Out of the woods
  39. Justin Timberlake – Can’t stop the feeling!
  40. Kanye West – Fade
  41. Bebe Rexha ft. Nicki Minaj – No broken hearts
  42. Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Work from home
  43. Solange – Cranes in the sky
  44. Galantis – No money
  45. Bruno Mars – 24K magic
  46. Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato – Irresistible 
  47. Anohni – Drone bomb me
  48. The Veronicas – In my blood
  49. Thomas Rhett – Die a happy man
  50. Jennifer Lopez – Ain’t your mama
Till the next stream...

At Ease!!!