NEW MUSIC: Nicki Minaj ‘Starships’

After delivering a jaw-dropping (and WTF-inducing) Grammy performance last Sunday, Nicki Minaj aims for radio ubiquity with her new single “Starships.”

Produced by Lady Gaga’s go-to producer RedOne, “Starships” strikes the perfect balance between Nicki’s signature rap-sung vocal delivery, and a larger-than-life, arena-sized dance-pop sound.

This could be be a massive hit.

Seeing Michael Jackson Coming

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve always taken Michael Jackson’s optimism and musical happiness for granted. Black folks especially, at least those in my circle, praise his artful force for party R&B songs like “Shake Your Body” and “Remember the Time”. Not much has been said, however, about Mike’s collection of sorrow songs that increase with every album release. He was familiar with the Blues tradition—whereas sorrow usually came in the form of relationship problems—yet post Off the Wall, we see the King of Pop really examine his own unhappiness. The music, growing into its raspy tone and its realistic perspective about the world, stems from Michael Jackson’s silence in his youth. 

Rihanna's TALK THAT TALK is the emptiest, shallowest & BEST Pop Album of the Year

Rihanna is the perfect pop star.

Her new album Talk That Talk sports everything from hard-hitting, dancefloor euphoria to slow-burning, guitar-driven power balladry. She’s everything to everyone; an essential quality for a pop star.

Of course, she also embodies the cynical, misleading nature of mainstream pop, major label creations: keep the music formulaic and familiar, while radically altering the artist’s image and appearance with each album cycle. She’s Madonna without the substance or autonomy. Janet Jackson without any sonic or thematic risks.

And yet she’s unstoppable.