A truly transcendent cover is more than the sum of its parts: it’s alchemy. Together, they honour Nothing Else Matters like a sacred rock hymn; the Stairway To Heaven of the 90s, carved in stone, turned up to 11. It’s utterly excessive. It’s Metallica. And it’s everything that The Black Album is supposed to be.
Producing music isn’t just about making beats or arranging sounds. It’s about deep listening and empathy: helping an artist vocalise their deepest beliefs and philosophies — even when it’s your own. Bleachers is Jack looking in the mirror, working with himself.
In July last year, ‘Psycho Hole’ premiered to an unusually rapturous response. Says ASHWARYA, “It was the most unexpected, crazy first release reaction — I had never anticipated that would ever happen.” It was was mind-bending, yet instantly familiar — and immediately had listeners wondering what she would do next. Could ASHWARYA repeat its magic?
Even with such sonic and cultural diversity, Born This Way Reimagined is just a small snapshot of Lady Gaga’s influence across all of popular music. It’s in no way a cohesive listening experience -- but that’s part of what’s fun about it.
Her new EP Rebecca Black Was Here marks, unbelievably, the third act of her career — and she’s still only 24. It’s a collection of six sonically dazzling pop songs that could only be sung by Rebecca Black — and that are bound to rewrite what we think we know about her.
St. Vincent is a popstar, in the sense that she holds up a mirror to society. She embodies many of our cultural assumptions and insecurities... But instead of just reacting, playing into those hot-take thinkpiece games, she responds like the conceptual artist she is — through her music.
More than any other genre, pop music is about the choices you make. It’s about your artistic vision, regardless of what level of natural “talent” you’re deemed to have... But when the floor of pop music is so low, it’s no wonder that the likes of Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X shine so bright. As for Addison Rae? Prove us wrong.
Now 34, Lana's matured into a generational balladeer; yet she’s become more down-to-earth, no longer defined by the tragic figures who once inhabited her songs. She’s often seemed like a figure out of her own time: a ’60s hippie, a jazz singer, an old-Hollywood icon. But this decade of popular music wouldn’t be the same without her.
The World’s a Little Blurry is exactly the documentary Billie Eilish deserves. Where most recent pop documentaries — including Justin Bieber’s Seasons — function like branded content, marketing preordained narratives to both casuals and fans who’ll lap up anything, Billie’s film makes no effort to pander to anyone.
Pop music -- like dance, like love, like sex -- is about transcending yourself. It’s about control, being the best possible version of yourself. And then it’s about letting go, feeling everything; opening yourself up to the level of joy you can only experience with another person. Ariana Grande is one of the most impressive singers on the planet, but on “Into You”, she’s found a love so great that even she’s lost for words. All that’s left to do is give in to the music.
Jaguar Jonze is an unforgettable stage name. It begs the questions: who could possibly have the confidence to go by such a name, and what could their music sound like? In her social media bios, Jonze dubs herself an “Eastern cowgirl howling at the rising sun”. You could call her music Spaghetti Western Pop: full of dusty twang and atmosphere, yet crisp, modern production.
By explicitly playing a movie character on a stage, Tesfaye’s both deepened our the impact of the The Weeknd’s depravity, while softening our emotional relationship to the human being behind it. The protagonist of Trilogy was an amoral fuckup; the character of the After Hours videos is a hyperbolic maniac. But the singer of After Hours is an immoral hustler in search of a redemption arc. Not only is that more relatable — it’s a story with a future.
“Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is best described as a restaging of a memory. Swift isn’t imitating herself, so much as she’s imagining her current self performing in that old headspace, on that “balcony in summer air.”