After a successful debut it is not uncommon for an artist or band to take some time off before the next album or project. With a successful debut comes expectations to meet or exceed the first album. For some this can overwhelming or feel as if they have to adhere to a certain sound. This sophomore slump can be a pressing issue for an artist, which is why taking a hiatus between albums can ultimately be beneficial in feeling confident in making music the artists wants to or feels confident in. And this is what Years & Years are doing as they ready the release of their second album Palo Santo, three years after their debut album release.
I have a tendency to over play a song I really like for a good month, and annoy anyone in a close proximity by looping the song. This is exactly what I happened when I discovered the band Years & Years. I saw the video for their single “King” and was instantly hooked. You may not be familiar with the band, but you’ve likely heard this song in passing. It was everywhere in the summer of 2015.
One might be surprised to find out that one of the most famous drag queens at the moment has no relation to the success from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Pabllo Vittar is a Brazilian drag queen who is gaining more popularity by the day. She’s had a lot of success in her native Brazil, appearing on TV shows and releasing a Portuguese version the Major Lazer song “Lean On” entitled “Open Bar”.
The success of the song and her exposure lead to more international attention. Western audiences may recognize Vittar from the Major Lazer song “Sua Cara” which featured Vittar and fellow Brazilian artist Anitta that came out last summer. The collaboration blew up as the music video gained millions views in one day and currently has more than 380 millions views. Vittar has made quick friends with Diplo, working with his group Major Lazer and has collaborated with him for the song “Então Vai” from Vittar’s debut album Via Passar Mal.
The success of Vittar’s debut album is unprecedented for a drag queen and has resulted in her being signed by a major record label. We can expect a second full length album from Vittar later this year. The album’s singles that recieved video treatment have reached massive success in regards to streams and views.
RuPaul’s Drag Race is a gay institution — that is just fact. Drag Race viewing parties are at all sorts of bars in the city. The show becomes a trending topic on Twitter every week during new episodes. It is an overall success.
For those unfamiliar with the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race is reality competition centered around drag queens competing for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar”. The show is self-aware and is parodying the format of shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway. The show is helmed by the supermodel of the world herself, RuPaul. Just an FYI drag in itself questions the notions of gender and the cis gender male drag queens often use she/her/hers pronouns while in drag. And it is important to know drag is not exclusive to just cis gender men, even though that is all mostly what is represented on the show. That fact itself raises criticism of the show and its casting.
Over the course of ten seasons and three “All Stars” seasons, a common occurrence that becomes more apparent the more the show progresses is contestants from the show releasing original music. This was originally a trend by RuPaul who has been releasing an album around every season premiere week for years. RuPaul has released 11 full length studio albums dating back to the early 90’s and even has two greatest hit albums and an album of Drag Race contestants covering songs from previous albums.
Lesbian Jesus has risen! Hayley Kiyoko is your newest musical obsession who just released her debut album earlier this year. But sadly her music hasn’t gotten that mainstream love and attention it deserves, which is a shame because Kiyoko shows great promise at being a pop artist with longevity.
Kiyoko is maybe more recognizable to some audiences from her work in acting. From my understanding her most prominent TV roles came from her roles on the Disney Channel original movie Lemonade Mouth and on the CBS show CSI: Cyber (how many spin-offs can one show have?). I’m not too familiar with her acting and let’s be real no Disney Channel original movie can ever top the masterpieces that are Cadet Kelly and Smart House.
She’s released three EPs and her debut album Expectations since finding success on television. In doing so she has amassed a loyal fan base and internet buzz around her. Her breakout single “Girls Like Girls” has over 90 million views for the music video and over 30 million streams on Spotify. I remember being unable to escape the song in my suggested recommendations in the summer of 2015. After eventually giving in and watching the video, I liked what I heard.
I’m going to begin with maybe one of the more recognizable names on the list, Tegan and Sara. The band consists of, you probably guessed it, sisters Tegan and Sara Quin. This duo formed the band in the late 90’s and have been present in the indie music scene for over almost two decades.
My love for Tegan and Sara goes back pretty far into my time in middle school. I’m a perpetual night owl and as a kid I remember staying up late at night watching TV and playing Pokemon on whatever system was compatible with the latest game. I remember vividly music channels VH1 and Fuse had these large blocks of programming between like 2am-9am of just music videos. And after a while I started to recognize and grow fond of certain videos.
A video I loved at the time, 07-08ish, was for Tegan and Sara’s hit The Con from the album of the same name. As much as I loved this song at the time I knew nothing of the band. I eventually looked them up and it is then that I found out they were twins, I legitimately thought the two people in the music video were unrelated and didn’t they were both in the band. Important note, I was a dumb kid. And then I read that both women were openly gay. This blew my young gay mind, two sisters who were both openly gay and were successful in their field.
I’ve always thought that lists or profiles of anything queer or LGTBQ+ related in the month of June, which is Pride month, were super corny. Themed content can come off as pandering or as trying to profit from the exposure of a particular group. However, I’ve come around, in a sense, because representation and visibility are important. This rings especially true for marginalized communities
But for me what’s important is accurate representation. I want to profile artists from all of the LGBTQ+ spectrum that use their respective voices. But I don’t want this to be me exploiting gender identity and sexual orientation. My goal is to profile artists who aren’t defined by identity but incorporate it in their music and represent it realistically and don’t stick to stereotypes or fetishize anything.
Ivan from Noteworthy here again (Mondays 6PM-8PM) to break down a recent edition of the show. This is just a small peek into what my thought process is to make sure that you’re entertained for two hours every week.
The previous week, I dealt with how to cope when your favorite artists are problematic people outside of their music. It was a conversation mostly centered on Kanye West, and this week provided another opportunity to delve into it with Spotify enforcing their new hateful conduct policy. This resulted in artists such as R. Kelly and XXXTentacion being removed from their playlists and opened up a bigger discussion about who else should receive the same treatment. I appreciated the sentiment of what Spotify did, but it was a flawed process, as they are even starting to admit now.
I talked about how the perception of these artists would be if they were even one bit remorseful of their transgressions, which led me to opening the show with Al Green’s “Take Me To The River.” It’s one of his greatest songs and was also a hit for Talking Heads, but ultimately, the song is about an affair with an underage girl and the guilt that Green deals with it.
Cody (Rhodes) and The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) sold out 10,000 seats for their Indy show “All In” with many independent wrestling names appearing; such as Kenny Omega, Pentagon Jr., Fénix, Deonna Purrazzo, Brandi Rhodes, Kazuchika Okada, Nick Aldis (if he retains his NWA World Heavyweight Championship), Tessa Blanchard, Britt Baker, Jay Lethal, Rey Mysterio, and many more. This event is taking place at the Sears Centre in in Hoffman Estates near Chicago on September 1st. That week there will also be a Starrcast convention with a various wrestlers from the independent scene and retired wrestlers holding meet and greets, one is CM Punk. Continue reading “All In’s Meaning”→