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David Guetta’s 5 Best Collabs with American Artists

25 Jun

Calvin Harris and Avicii can STFU – David Guetta was the original Euro-transplant pioneering EDM in American pop music before you even realized you’d heard him before.

Remember 2009’s little hit “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas? The song that holds the record for selling the most digital copies of any song ever? Yeah, that was produced by him.

And who tapped into the Aussie vocal talent that is Sia long before Flo Rida ever called her up to sing a hook? Right. Also Guetta.

And long before the producer ventured into the bizarro landscape of American Top 40 (which, compared to international charts, was severely lacking in dance music until about two years ago), he was making a name for himself in Europe with over 40 charting singles, including 18 top ten hits in his native France.

Now how does that make Avicii, who hasn’t even released his debut album yet, look? Sigh.

Guetta was the first to master the art of the American pop collab, which successfully broke him into the U.S. market and paved the way for all the Calvin Harris-es to come.

Here my top 5 Guetta collaborations with American artists. Let’s get nostalgic for 2010, y’all.

5. “When Love Takes Over,” featuring Kelly Rowland

4. “Missing You,” featuring Novel (son of Motown’s Mickey Stevenson)

3. “Where Them Girls At,” featuring Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida

2. “Sexy Bitch (Chick),” featuring Akon

1. “Who’s that Bitch (Chick),” featuring Rihanna

*BONUS*

“Stay,” featuring gospel singer Chris Willis

Also, can we talk about how solid Guetta is at holding his own against 20-something singers in music videos, despite being a married, 45-year-old father of two? Yeah.

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The New Kanye West and Lil Wayne Features No One Knows About

26 May

WestBam-Gotterstrasse

When talent as big as Kanye West or Lil Wayne lend their verses to a track, it’s pretty hard to miss. Many an artist has risen to fame with the endorsement of one of these rappers as a feature on a breakout song, and fans flock to any new rhymes from the moguls, even if over another MC’s tune.

That’s why I was shocked to see both Kanye and Weezy’s names appear amidst the track list of German producer WestBam’s latest effort, Götterstrasse.

Not only is the mashup of a techno legend with two contemporary rappers a little weird, but it’s even more weird that no one seems to know that it even exists.

WestBam’s career spans back to 1988, when he released his first of 11 full-lengths. While he’s found massive success overseas, his popularity stateside has been a little more minimal – so much so that Götterstrasse is near-impossible to find in American retail outlets (luckily, snippets are available to stream on WestBam’s Facebook page.)

Leave it to YouTubers to upload pieces of the record to the web for those of us who can’t get our hands on the real thing. Check out Wayne on “Kick it Like a Sensei” and Kanye on “Radio Siberia,” below:

UPDATE 6/12/13: The YouTube upload of “Radio Siberia” was removed by the user, so here’s a snippet from the official WestBam SoundCloud:

Why Commenting on the New Daft Punk is Best Left to the Adults

14 May

I remember being a freak as a teenager for listening to electronic music. Yet, the same kids who didn’t understand it then are the ones going to what we call “raves” now. In the era of David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Chromeo, it’s easy to call this a “comeback” of these industry legends and way-pavers, but it’s more about perspective than anything else and too few of the people chiming in on Random Access Memories actually have it.

Daft Punk

I’m not here to say I’m an expert on the genre, because I, too, am just a 21-year-old. I didn’t live through the birth of disco or ever see Kraftwerk live. I never got to watch the charts get taken over by new wave hits as electro and rock converged into the mainstream the 80s.

I am part of the generation that’s embracing whatever form the genre has taken in recent years with the rise of dubstep and electro-indie music. We only know Daft Punk because people tell us we should. We heard a cool hook on a Kanye West song once, that maybe we thought we recognized from a commercial or something. We went and saw Tron: Legacy because Pitchfork said the soundtrack would be something not to miss.

https://soundcloud.com/thewax/dft-punk

Now that Daft Punk is going all-in and finally releasing a full-length, we’re glomming on to that, too, in an effort to embrace what’s supposed to be cool at that moment. The hype surrounding this couldn’t be bigger.

While I am part of this generation, I like to think I have a little more perspective on it than they, with a few extra years of electronic music fandom under my belt that goes way further back than the great Rise of David Guetta in summer 2010 – what kind of kick-started the latest Top 40 electro trend (which, ironically, has even come to include Daft Punk’s latest single, “Get Lucky.”) But still, I won’t pretend I lived through the 70’s ’til now, let alone Daft Punk’s debut to their overdue comeback.

We’re a generation that talks big, backed by the ability to fact-check at our fingertips. We can go on Spotify and listen to Daft Punk’s entire discography in an afternoon. There. Up to speed. Right?

Not quite.

I’m happy that the band is finding a new audience in a younger generation. It guarantees them some semblance of staying-power. So Tweet, Facebook, Tumbl all you want – but please, kids, from one peer to another, let’s not put on this facade of having some high-horse perspective that we invented after reading the band’s Wikipedia page.

It almost strikes me as offensive the way I’m seeing my friends treat this as a viral phenom. It’s not about who listened to the leak first or how many “likes” you can get on the megaupload link you posted on Facebook. Take a second to slow down and try to genuinely understand why it is that so much value is being placed in this album.

And while you’re listening, leave the commenting to the critics, to the musicians, to your parents.

And if your first brush with the genre came two years ago at EDC, for the love of God, just keep your mouth shut.

Top 5 April Favorites

30 Apr

Pop Jumper April Favorites

It’s the end of the month, and you know what that means (JK, no, you actually don’t): the first installment of my monthly faves! This is self-explanatory; read on!

5. RiRi Woo

The first product shots of Rihanna’s new lipstick for MAC Costemtics have hit the web! RiRi Woo is a signature red shade based on MAC’s cult fave Ruby Woo – this time formulated to perfectly match the rest of RiRi’s capsule collection AND inscribed with her signature on the product itself. Our girl will be exclusively rocking the collection on her Diamonds World Tour, so fans looking to nab her beauty look will be able to purchase all the same products she’s using on stage. For me, though, the cute packaging is enough to make me want it.

4. Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors”

While the video for this song, also out this month, doesn’t really do it for me, the track itself is on virtually permanent repeat on my Spotify playlist. I’m convinced that producer Timbaland must be some kind of voodoo wizard whose power only extends to JT – not that he’s not ALWAYS a great producer (because he is), but whenever those two come together it’s like you know it’ll be a hit before you even have to hit play (Ahem, “Cry Me a River“/”SexyBack“/”Carry Out“)

3. Ke$ha’s New Look

Ke$ha has morphed into a different human…has anyone else noticed this? Why doesn’t she look crazy anymore? Although I’m literally in love with her new look, something about this is unsettling. This isn’t Ke$ha. Who are you and what have you done with our Jack-teeth-brushing-dying-young party animal?

The photo above is from her recent Jimmy Kimmel appearance (she removes her glasses for the interview, confirming that this is, indeed Ke$ha.) Honestly, if you told me the girl pictured was a celebrity, but didn’t say who, I can’t say I’d be able to ID her. That’s really bad for a music writer, but come on! Look at her!

Check out some more snaps from the past few months below:

Also jumping on the natural beauty train this month (and KILLING IT) is honorable mention Nicki Minaj. Peep her in her “High School” video and Elle cover.

2. AFI Returns(!!!)

2006-era TRL darlings AFI are back after a(n unofficial) hiatus. They posted a teaser trailer to their YouTube video after being 100% inactive across all online media for probably about four years. The thing about it, though, is that it doesn’t say exactly what the teaser is for. Some moody black-and-white shots of front man Davey Havok walking down a hallway with a monologue voice over culminate in title screens saying “A Fire Inside” and “September 2013.”

While various music sites are reporting this as confirmation of the band’s long-awaited ninth album, fans on the official message board (YES, my inner 14-year-old AFI fan club member is showing. So what.) are no where near as optimistic. Maybe a tour. Maybe this is a teaser for a bigger announcement in September (does that even make any sense at all?)

Either way, NOTHING is confirmed, so what I’m basically saying is to ignore the shit other sites are posting about it.

As AFI’s number one fan (if you haven’t already figured it out), I can tell you one thing: this band loves to fuck with fans and use social media and the internet to spread really cryptic (literally) messages and e-treasure hunts that almost never lead to where you think you’re going. (I bold-ed that because you should really click on it.)

1. Jay-Z’s 2013 Made in America Lineup

Well, if my GIF post about this wasn’t enough of a giveaway, I am TOTALLY STOKED on this year’s lineup. Might even warrant a trip to Philly. It really speaks for itself.

My Reactions to Jay-Z’s ‘Made in America’ Lineup as GIFs

12 Apr
Basically how I felt.

Basically how I felt.

So Jay-Z announced this year’s Made in America (his Philly music fest) lineup this week. The lineup itself is old news by now (find it here) – I just need to talk about the way in which Jay chose to deliver the information to us common people.

Because it wasn’t just some snazzy graphic/e-poster uploaded to the event’s website or a press release or anything like that. Obviously something normal like that is just way too basic for Jay.

No, Made in America is the reason that you would have found me glued to my computer for an HOUR on Wednesday afternoon, watching a SPOTIFY playlist populate with tracks from the artists to be featured at this year’s Made in America. YES.

First of all, I was already impressed by the originality of the overall idea. I don’t think anyone has done this before, and it’s cool to see a business partnership work out as being honestly cool and not forced or weird. It really worked for the benefit of the event and showed off Spotify’s capabilities, and that was just really beautiful to me, okay.

Secondly, there was SERIOUS TACT to this. Someone was clearly paid to devise the plan of who would be added to the playlist when. This was not some willy-nilly order and OBVIOUSLY they couldn’t just publish the complete playlist at once.

So this lineup unveiling became an event in and of itself, full of emotion and suspense that effectively makes me want to travel to Philadelphia just for this one event because I already feel emotionally invested in the Made in America brand, you guys.

So here I am, Spotify open, waiting…

Nine Inch Nails was the first to be announced. Last year Pearl Jam co-headlined with Jay himself (kind of WUT), so I suppose NIN is the new Pearl Jam this year. Fine.

Next was Solange. I was basically like is this a joke. Does anyone care about Solange? Are you just doing this because you have to to please your wife? Are these seriously the first two artists you’re pulling out the hat? Give me a break.

Lady Gaga OK

Then a slew of more acts I didn’t care about popped up, like The Gaslight Anthem, Emeli Sandé (Who is she, really? Does the music industry just feel like they owe her something because she won that Grammy?), Walk the Moon, etc.

I was getting real bored, BUT THEN, Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice,” featuring Drake came up and I was like HELL YES.

HELL YES

I LOVE me some K-Dot lately. It was pretty mean to put a song featuring Drake, though, because he’s not on the bill. So what was that. Don’t mess with grey areas like that, I’m already way more emotional than a person who’s just looking at a Spotify playlist should be.

Next was some more indie acts including electronic producer Wolfgang Gartner, who’s pretty dece. I found early on that the trick to getting through this emotional roller coaster was to distract myself by playing the parts of the playlist I liked, and before I knew it, something else I was interested in would pop up. Tracks were added about two minutes apart, so this worked well.

So I was just chillin’ with “Poetic Justice” on repeat when WIZ KHALIFA showed up to the party. Things were turning around.

Tom Felton Very Good

(Yes, that is Draco Malfoy.)

An EDM duo very dear to my heart, Nero, was announced soon after (for those who don’t know – aka everyone – they were the subject of my extremely disastrous first-ever backstage interview at a music festival, but were so insanely sweet and made me feel not like an idiot and the interview turned out totally fine, etc etc etc. It was all logistic error on the organizer’s fault. OBVIOUSLY I have no flaws).

ANYWAY, that was all fine and good, but then another slew of really boring things started coming one after the other, and I was pretty much like, “This is on the downhill,” “What am I even waiting for anymore,” “Was NIN seriously the biggest thing here, like, come on.” Calvin Harris pops as a second-time Made in America artist and I’m just like really …….. this is all you’re giving me right now.

Lady Gaga

Phoenix is added next, and I’m like “Alright. That’s not so bad…FOR A MUSIC FEST IN TWO-THOUSAND-AND-NINE.”

But really, considering how expertly Jay brought together urban, pop, EDM and alternative artists last year, I was happy someone as good as Phoenix would be appearing to represent their respective genre. Good.

Porter Robinson, another EDM artists was added – I started to (and still) fear this this is going to be a little heavy on the “rave”y artists, but I guess you have to follow trends to make money, amiright.

Well whatever, none of this matters because MF-ing 2 CHAINZ IS GONNA BE THERE. When “I’m Different” popped up as I was listening to something else on the list I metaphorically jumped. I mean, I was laying in bed, but in my head maybe I could have done a simultaneous horizontal hover. Or something.

Can't Even Explain

–> –> NEXT WAS MACKLEMORE. <– <–

Cat OMG

HOW COME THEY DECIDED TO DO TWO BIG ONES IN A ROW. I didn’t know, but I was glad things were starting to heat up, because the beginning would have been enough to make me leave and come back when it was over. Except I did have to watch it in real time because my other job was paying me to do that. Aka reporting.

Next, a few more, including: Public Enemy (cool), Queens of the Stone Age (again with the “TWO-THOUSAND-AND-NINE” comment) and Deadmau5 (again with the “‘rave’y” comment).

I want to add, too, that at this point it had been about an hour. When will it end? Where’s the other headliner? Is it supposed to be one of these rappers already mentioned? Is Jay performing like he did last year? Finally, the last artist was added, and…

NOPE.

UM.

NO JAY.

ONLY JUST

MRS. JAY

AKA

BEYONCÉ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lady Gaga Honey B

Then they also threw Miguel on the end and then repositioned the track into the middle of the playlist because they forgot about it! Miguel!!!!! “Adorn”!!!!!

So even amongst all the things I didn’t even mention because I don’t think I care about them, we still have all these great people taking the stage this year, an awesome mix of genres, and an opportunity to get to know the people I don’t think I care about, because they’re probably all great too!

Raise a glass to Jay for saving the best for last, I suppose.

Skrillex’s ‘Spring Breakers’ Score Wasn’t Horrible

10 Apr

In fact, I’d even call myself a fan.

Skrillex Spring Breakers

When I first heard that Skrillex would be scoring Spring Breakers, I cringed. As an EDM fan, Skrillex’s involvement in anything I would have otherwise liked is like a death wish.

Before the announcement, I dreamed of Harmony Korine‘s perfect all-star lineup of Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Selena Gomez shedding their Disney halos as they were pulled into obscurity by James Franco in a Floridian Gummo.

It was supposed to be an epic satire of American youth – a youth that loves shitty rave DJs like Skrillex and Avicii.

So how on Earth could you involve one of those aforementioned musical acts in something that only aimed to make fun of him?

This film is supposed to satirize Skrillex, not indulge him by letting him in on the joke.

The Disney girls were cast because they are part of the culture Spring Breakers examines, and were lauded by the media for taking such “serious” roles and being able to abandon their images for the sake of these characters.

I just couldn’t buy, though, that Skrillex could possibly be self-aware enough to understand his role in the production. That they clearly didn’t want him because he makes good music, but because his music is essential in setting the scene for the exposing the shitty realities of youth culture.

Or so I thought.

Spring Breakers Soundtrack

The thing is, I guess, that I need to give Skrillex more credit. After seeing the movie, he is more self-aware and decent than I ever could have imagined.

Just how the Disney Girls played up their “good-girl” images for years to capitalize on America’s teeny boppers, I suppose Skrillex continues pumping out the horrible, overdone, Americanized “dubstep” at EDC every year because he can still make money (and fans) on it. So why not.

I hope Skrillex fans watch this movie and realize that they are no more than Korine’s characters, except that instead of being actors in a movie, this is real life.

Anyway, as for the rest of the soundtrack, it’s basically a masterpiece. Gucci Mane (who’s featured in the film) and Skrillex tracks serve as the backbone of the album score, which was also worked on by Cliff Martinez (of Drive fame.)

However, the pop hits from Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, M.I.A., Flo Rida, Nelly that are masterfully interwoven into the plot by Korine really put the thing over the edge. They suddenly go from trashy chart toppers to real, honest-to-god, art when inserted into the Spring Breakers universe.

Most memorable of them all is Spears’ “Everytime,” which is now, nine years after its In the Zone release, a part of cinematic history that will be referenced for years to come:

If you haven’t seen it yet, this is a great spot to leave you at and tell you to go pay the $12 to see it at your local cinema. Skip a couple Starbucks and you’ll be even. Oh, and you can pick up the soundtrack here.