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Political Opinion

Taylor Swift Speaks up about Political Opinion

On Sunday, Taylor Swift endorsed two Democrats, Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, in Tennessee on Sunday via her Instagram account to her 112 million followers, sparking a huge response—both good and bad.

The popstar, 28, had deliberately kept her political opinion close to her chest in the past, telling Time magazine in 2012, “I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people…And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for.”

Beneath a black and white photo of herself, she broke her scrupulous silence on the topic, saying, “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publically voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.

“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.

“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appals and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking and date rape.”

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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

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Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner took to Twitter to praise the singer’s political opinion, saying, “A big shout out to Taylor Swift for speaking out. You can single handedly change this country. Impress on your fans how critical and powerful their voices are. If you get them to the polls on Nov 6, everything you care about will be protected.”

While Swift’s views have been applauded by many (attracting around 1.6 million likes, including by Chrissy Teigen and Reese Witherspoon), the post also caused much controversy among Republicans.

The president of the conservative group Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, tweeted: “You just endorsed a Democrat in the Tennessee Senate race with a ridiculous statement saying Marsha Blackburn, a woman, is against women. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”

Donald Trump told reporters, “Marsha Blackburn is doing a very good job in Tennessee. She’s leading now substantially, which she should. She’s a tremendous woman. I’m sure Taylor Swift doesn’t know anything about her. Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, okay?”

While Swift’s comments may have the power to sway the political opinion of her fans, her endorsement is no guarantee of a vote. In 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was publically supported by superstars Jay Z and Beyoncé in Ohio, but the state still swung in favor of Trump.

Further reading: Join the Fight Against Sexual Assault

Mumford & Sons Debuted New Single “Guiding Light” On The Tonight Show

Mumford & Sons Debuted New Single “Guiding Light” On The Tonight Show

British folk-rock sensation, Mumford & Sons, took to the stage on The Tonight Show to debut their new single, Guiding Light. Monday night’s show also welcomed lead singer, Marcus Mumford, to the couch, where he let slip a hilarious story involving Bruce Springsteen.

Mumford told host, Jimmy Fallon that the band is “still mixing the record” for their upcoming album, Deltaset for release on November 16.

“Is this the first time you’ve promoted an album that’s not finished?” asked Fallon. Mumford laughed as he tried to reassure himself: “Yeah, but this is the modern world. It’s going to be fine!”

Marcus’ bubbly and sweet personality soon had the crowd ‘aw-ing—specifically in response to the singer’s touching words about band mates Ben Lovett, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall.

“We all write.

“I hope that means we can be a band for a longer time…They’re also my three favorite song writers, like, in the world,” he told Fallon.

Listing work by Miles Davis and Lauryn Hill as two of the first albums he ever bought, Mumford also noted that he grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen. When asked if the band had ever met Springsteen, Mumford informed Fallon that they had met a couple of times, most memorably at a festival in Belgium.

Springsteen invited the band onto the stage with him, during which Mumford was so nervous that he “forgot the lyrics to Hungry Heart.” Mumford’s retelling of the story also touches on a pair of maracas and was followed by an equally entertaining plot that involved one of the bands earliest escapades.

As the interview came to a close, Marcus confirmed that Mumford & Sons would definitely be going on tour for Delta.

The extensive sixty-date worldwide arena tour will begin later this year. Full tour details will be revealed on October 4.

The album was, of course, written collectively by the band and produced by Paul Epworth. It marks 10 years since the band’s formation.

Speaking about Delta to DJ, Annie Mac, Winston Marshall has said: “I think at the beginning [of recording the album] we kind of fell back in love with the old instruments we didn’t play on Wilder Mind like the acoustic stuff and the more folky instruments but [we were] conscious [about] how we can make these instruments sound not like these instruments which opened up a whole new world for us…”

Watch the full interview, here.

Watch Mumford & Son’s performance of “Guiding Light”, here.

Mac Miller Death

Mac Miller’s Death is Tragic—But It’s Not Ariana Grande’s Fault

American rapper Mac Miller died of an alleged drug overdose on September 7. He was just 26 years old. Miller had suffered with substance abuse since the age of 15, famously admitting to Noisy that using drugs was “dangerous, dude. But they’re awesome”. The announcement shook the core of the music industry and, although I wasn’t an avid fan, it shook me. Not only did the industry lose an intelligent, energetic talent, but his death comes at an age so close to my own that it’s also a frightening reminder of my own mortality.

In a statement, Miller’s family described him as “a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans.” Meanwhile, close friends and colleagues took to the Twittersphere to obituarise the young star. Post Malone said, “You changed so many lives. Had so much love in your heart…Never a more kind and sincere and beautiful person”, while singer Charlie Puth said, “I can’t keep losing friends like this…I wish I spent more time with you these past weeks…I’m so sorry”.

Yet, erupting through these mournful messages almost as quickly as the news broke, was a more sinister and dangerous narrative: The blame for Miller’s death, in the eyes of some, was not his history of substance abuse or his mental health, but his ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande.

In a now edited article by TMZ, the outlet that first reported the death, a reporter wrote: “Miller has had trouble recently with substance abuse…in the wake of his breakup with Ariana Grande.” Fans of the rapper flooded the internet to lay blame at Grande’s feet. One Twitter user was reported by UNILAD as saying, “@ArianaGrande look what you did to Mac Miller! He needed support and you weren’t there for him so he could move on. Instead you got engaged with another after two weeks of dating just to f**k with Mac Miller!” Another said, “[…] Yeah I get why he would be upset and why he would wanna take drugs bc drugs stop all of the pain for a while. So honestly it is sorta her [Grande’s] fault”. Grande has since deactivated the comments section on her Instagram account following a surge of misogynistic, hateful and relentless abuse hurled at her following his death.

Elsewhere, global news outlets published loud headlines referring to the K.I.D.S artist as simply “Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend”. These shamelessly shifted the attention to Grande, which diminishes Miller’s legacy as an accomplished musician, producer and artist, to simply the ex-boyfriend of a famous pop star.

“Headlines referring to Miller as ‘Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend’ diminish his legacy as an accomplished musician, producer and artist to simply the ex-boyfriend of a famous pop star”

Grande also faced similar online harassment at the hands of Miller’s fans after a hit and run incident that occurred in May 2018. More recently, when cameras caught the moment a pastor touched Grande’s breast at Aretha Franklin’s funeral earlier this month, many focused instead on the length of her dress—as if that was the reason such atrocious behavior occurred.

Grande isn’t the first woman to be demonized for refusing to shoulder and absorb the trauma and behaviors of men. Yoko Ono was famously blamed for the breakup of the Beatles. Rock star Courtney Love is still blamed for her husband Kurt Cobain’s drug addiction and subsequent suicide, too—a deeply harmful phenomenon that blurts out the expectation that women are obligated caretakers.

“Grande isn’t the first woman to be demonized for refusing to shoulder and absorb the trauma and behaviors of men”

Should Grande have stayed with the rapper to see him recover from his addictions before moving on? Absolutely not—especially at the expense of her own mental wellbeing—and she shouldn’t have to feel guilt for it either. It seems it’s easier to ignore the glaring, complicated and insidious disease that is addiction than it is to blame one single person—much easier if it’s an ex.

Joyeur

Pop Duo Joyeur Discuss Their New Single with College News

Anna Feller and Joelle Corey pool their creative talents to form the female pop duo Joyeur. College News catches up with the pair to discuss their explosive introduction to the LA music scene and their upcoming EP.

College News: What is the meaning behind the name Joyeur and how does it tie in with your music?

Joyeur: Joyeur is a hybrid word we coined that means “a person who gets off on watching others engaged in joyful activity”. It’s that moment where you see a stranger, friend or family member smile or experience something beautiful in life and you just catch yourself smiling like an idiot. We make music that is upbeat and dirty, so we want people to have fun while they’re listening to it.

CN: You first appeared on Soundcloud with a Kendrick Lamar cover, are you a fan of his?

J: Oh yes, definitely. He’s amazing but we actually chose Pride because we were so impressed by the female writer, Anna Wise, who frequently works on his albums and wrote on that track. Love her.

CN: Your debut single, Dig is out now—can you tell us a little about the track?

J: It’s about a gung-ho, all or nothing kind of love. That’s our motto for pretty much everything and it shows in the track. The stomps are like fists hitting the ground in tantrum. It’s our literal first print in the world, and it had the power that we wanted to come out swinging with.

CN: How would you describe your style? Some sources have classified it as electronic-inspired pop, would you say that’s accurate?

J: We are absolutely attracted to electronic-leaning sounds and styles, though we will be featuring more live instrumentation and funk-fueled elements in our upcoming EP.

CN: What advice would you give to other females aspiring to make it in the music business?

J: Just do it. Don’t look to other people to give you chances; make them yourself. Keep your head forward and be the artist and musician you are. Also, maybe value sleep a little less.

CN: What fellow artists inspire you?

J: Sohn, Santigold, LCD Soundsystem, N.E.R.D. We love a little grit.

CN: Anna and Joelle, how did you come to realise that you were compatible with one another?

J: We knew in our very first session together. We were introduced and basically started writing that day. The moment we met, we fed off each other’s urge to make something new and tried everything under the sun. Together, we poured out Tori Amos-style ballads. We created pure pop. We even made a renaissance fair track. And finally, we discovered ourselves as artists together—myself as a writer and singer, and Anna as a producer and musician. One thing we loved about one another was a shared sense of progression. We always kept pushing each other like there was no tomorrow.

CN: When did you both realise that music was your calling?

J: Anna began playing piano at six and became a classical concert pianist prior to learning engineering and production. I was singing and writing songs since birth, though I was actually a closeted singer until just a few years ago.

CN: What challenges have you faced during your career so far? What is the hardest thing about being a musician?

J: You finish one song that feels like your tour de force and then you just have to keep going. You can’t really rejoice over one accomplishment, you have to keep challenging yourself to be better and that pressure can be daunting sometimes.

CN: Your new single, Fast as You Can, is soon to be released. How does it differ to your previous tunes?

J: Dig was heavy. I think we started having so much fun writing together and that really shines in Fast as You Can. It was a different period in our lives and for us that’s just so obvious. Our music really reflects the various experiences we have and you can hear that each song is almost a time capsule of how we see each day.

CN: The bio of your Instagram page features the hashtag: #womeninmusic. Is this a particularly motivating concept for you?

J: Absolutely. The music industry is a boy’s club. We don’t seek out special treatment, but we all definitely need to look after and support both women and men alike. It’s a power dynamic that is as old as time, but you can really see that shifting right now.

CN: If you could meet any musician, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Anna: Tori Amos. Her song writing and piano skills, along with her insane performances make her a powerhouse. She inspired me to be a musician. When I saw her perform, I said, “What is this storm to be reckoned with?”

Joelle: James Murphy. I actually met him once. I caught him head banging behind the DJ stand. We had a drink and he told me that he had heartburn. I wanted to respond, “Marry me!” He’s so cuddly and hilarious live, but mostly I love his music and outlook on being an artist.

CN: What are your plans for the future? Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?

J: Yes! Our music video for Fast as You Can comes out August 28th and we have our debut EP due out this fall. Beyond that, we’ve already begun our full-length album.

Click here to listen to Joyeur’s latest single Fast as You Can!

Further reading: Panic! At the Disco—Pray for the Wicked Album Review

Petit Biscuit

Petit Biscuit Announces North American Tour

French DJ Petit Biscuit has announced his first ever North American tour this fall, stopping in Chicago, New York, DC, Nashville and more.

His critically acclaimed album, Presence, was released back in November 2017 on his 18th birthday. Fans are expecting many of the songs from the album to be played on the tour, including singles Wake Up, Problems and Waterfall.

The album has received excellent reviews; Billboard described it as “a 14-track collection of smooth, chilled out house perfect for falling in love or nursing introspective moments into brilliance.”

Petit Biscuit, whose real name is Mehdi Benjelloun, originally trained in classical music, learning to play various instruments including the piano, guitar, cello and more. He started to experiment with electronics at the age of 11, later influenced by artists including Tame Impala, Frank Ocean and Flume.

When he was only 15, his single Sunset Lover reached number six in the French charts and reached number seven in Belgium. The track now has over 350 million streams on Spotify.

His most recent single, Wake Up, features British singer Bipolar Sunshine and American singer-songwriter, Cautious Clay.

Of the artist, YourEDM says: “Petit Biscuit’s strength lies in his future which at this point seems limitless.”

On his tour, Petit Biscuit will be joined by Manilla Killa, Melvv, Wingtip, Hazey Eyes and Super Duper on select dates.

Tickets go on sale August 27 to the general public.

Further reading: Metric Release New Single ‘Dressed to Suppress’ Ahead of Album Release

Zombie Boy

Rick Genest ‘Zombie Boy’ Dies Aged 32

Canadian model, Rick Genest, died Wednesday August 1 due to apparent suicide.

The model, popularly known as ‘Zombie Boy’, was found dead in his apartment in Montreal, six days before his 33rd birthday.

Genest, labelled “icon of the artistic scene and the fashion world” by his management, rose to fame in his modelling career for his completely tattooed body, including his skull face tattoo. He starred in Lady Gaga’s 2011 Born This Way music video, which now has over 230 million views on YouTube.

Nicola Formichetti, director of the video, gave Genest the opportunity to star alongside Lady Gaga, whose face was painted to replicate Genest’s skull face tattoo.

Formichetti also helped to initiate Genest’s modelling career. Genest has worked with worldwide brands such as Thierry Mugler and he was the first male spokesperson for L’Oreal.

He held two Guinness World Records for having the most insect tattoos and human bones tattoos, and he had also appeared in several movies, including ‘42 Ronin’ alongside Keanu Reeves.

Gaga tweeted her respects for Genest, saying, “The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring Mental Health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it. If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other.”

She then added in another tweet: “Science tells us that it takes 21 days to form a habit, if you are suffering from Mental Health issue I beckon for today to be your first day or a continuation of the work you’ve been doing. Reach out if you’re in pain, and if you know someone who is, reach out to them, too.”

Formichetti also tweeted about Genest, writing, “Absolutely heartbroken. Rest in Power, Zombie Boy. Sending all my condolences and love to Rico’s family and friends. If you ever need help, reach out. 1-800-273-8255 is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You’re not alone.”

Genest’s management, Dulcedo Management, took to Facebook to acknowledge his death, saying, “The whole dulcedo family is shocked and pained by this tragedy. Zombie boy, Rico, was loved by all those who had the chance to meet him and know him.”

When asked if the death was a suicide, Dulcedo responded: “at this point we cannot confirm nor deny, there are no witnesses and we must wait for the coroner. One thing is for sure, he was not a drug user, and he was sober at the time of the accident.”

Further reading: Linkin Park Frontman Chester Bennington Dies Age 41

Metric

Metric Release New Single ‘Dressed to Suppress’ Ahead of Album Release

Canadian band Metric have released the video for their new single Dressed to Suppress from their seventh album which is set to release September 21.

In July, Metric released the single Dark Saturday, their first release since their 2015 album ‘Pagans in Vegas’. Noisey describes the single as “one of Metric’s scuzziest and most immediate songs since ‘Fantasies’.”

The Dressed to Suppress music video, directed by Justin Broadbent, captures the band in a live performance, filmed on an iPhone X. The black and white visuals of the video give the song a dark feel, reflected in lead singer, Emily Haines, repeating the lyrics, “Dressed to suppress all kinds of sorrow.”

Haines explains, “Lyrically, the song explores the maze of conflicts we encounter in our attempts at finding and holding onto love; the absurd mating rituals we routinely perform; and the vast divide between the desires our appearances can imply and the way we actually feel inside.

“Sonically, it’s one of the most intense songs on the album. We’re already playing it live and it’s getting stronger every night. The contrast between the delicate, dreamy opening and the heavy riffs of the verse and chorus match the dramatic emotional shifts we all go through when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, the push and pull of retaining our own identities in love.”

The band has collaborated with Justin Meldal Johnson, who has previously worked with M83 and Nine Inch Nails, to produce their album. “Justin was just what we needed in a producer for this album,” says Jimmy Shaw, the band’s guitarist. “Making this album brought us together in a way we hadn’t been for quite some time and I think you can hear it in the music.”

The currently unnamed new album is available for pre-order and fans who pre-order the album will receive a signed Dark Saturday seven-inch vinyl.

Metric fans can see them currently supporting for Smashing Pumpkin’s Shiny and Oh So Bright tour. They are also going on an overseas tour in October 2018, kicking off in Moscow, Russia, and travelling around Europe.

Further reading: Good Charlotte Announces New Album and Tour Dates

Pray for the Wicked album review

Panic! At the Disco—Pray for the Wicked Album Review

Roughly two years after releasing Death of a Bachelor (2016), Panic! At the Disco has triumphantly returned with their new LP Pray for the Wicked—the band’s sixth studio album and second studio album with vocalist Brendon Urie being the only original member. When describing the experience of Pray for the Wicked, one could easily imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald penning the tales of Jay Gatsby, spinning on a diamond-coated record player at one of the lucrative billionaire’s lavish parties; in fact, listening to the album front to back often alludes to the novel’s themes of high society and too much of a good time.

From beginning to end, the narrative of Pray for the Wicked soars through the highs and lows of experiencing the fame and glamour of living life in a fast-paced, extravagant environment. Pray for the Wicked has elements that can easily be correlated to The Great Gatsby (i.e. “Some [friends] are loyal soldiers / While these other thorns are rosy / And if you never know who you can trust / Then trust me, you’ll be lonely” in Hey Look Ma, I Made It, “Sketchy girls and lipstick boys / Troubled love and high speed noise” in The Overpass, “And if you’re night crawling with him / I won’t take it lying down” in Dancing’s Not a Crime, or the song title and musical elements in Roaring 20s). Basically, after examining the album’s lyrics, musical elements, and listening to the splashes of bright and vibrant tones, Pray for the Wicked alludes to music that would have both been played in the 1920s and relates to the plot of the 1920s-based novel, The Great Gatsby, in its similarities to the rise and downfall of quick and instant success and fortune, within a mess of love affairs and internal conflicts.

One could easily consider Panic!’s latest album to be the next chapter in the classic novel. Examining the two together can easily draw similarities within the basis of the plot, just merely told in two different contexts and two different creative formats. In fact, Urie has also referenced another timeless piece, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. “My Tell-Tale Heart’s a hammer in my chest” from Roaring 20s is both an ode to Poe’s short story as well as a wordplay used to express Urie’s anxiety. Additionally, songs like (Fuck A) Silver Lining, High Hopes, and King of the Clouds, use hints of Greek Mythology and the church that allude to Urie leaving behind his Mormon past and other sacrilegious aspects in his life. These themes are common throughout the entire album and showcase the sheer talent and brilliance that Urie and his creative team possesses; not to mention, how much thought has gone into making Pray for the Wicked.

Long time collaborator Jake SInclair returns to helm the production duties on Pray for the Wicked, whose worked on previous Panic! albums (Death of a Bachelor and Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die), along with albums by Sia, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, and P!nk, to name a few. Sinclair helps to shine a light on the creative process behind the record, allowing Urie’s creative choices to feel more fleshed out than ever before. Among Sinclair, other producers such as Jonas Jerberg (High Hopes, The Pussycat Dolls, Jordin Sparks), Jonny Coffer (High Hopes, Beyoncé, Leona Lewis), and Scott Chesak (The Overpass, (Fuck A) Silver Lining, The All-American Rejects) are noted in the album, adding to Pray for the Wicked’s brilliant charm and cohesivity.

All songs were written by Brendon Urie, with other contributing writers such as Michael Angelakos (Hey Look Ma, I Made It, Passion Pit), Lauren Pritchard (Say Amen (Saturday Night), LOLO), Jenny Owen Youngs (High Hopes, Roaring 20s), Alex Kresovich (King of the Clouds, Alexander DeLeon), Mike Viola (Dying in LA, New Politics), and Sam Holland (S*A*M, One Direction) to name a few. All of these unique writers, artists, and producers collaborating with Urie on lyrics helped to bring out the purposeful tones and unspoken hints that are detailed throughout the album. Samples and elements from artists such as The Dells ((Fuck A) Silver Lining), The Budos Band (Say Amen (Saturday Night)), Nathan Abshire (Say Amen (Saturday Night)), Maynard Ferguson (Roaring 20s), Chris Bernard (Dancing’s Not a Crime), James Brown, and Lyn Collins (latter artists featured in The Overpass) are masterfully included within the overall sound of Panic!’s latest record.

There’s a central theme throughout the whole album of living a party-lifestyle with the ups and downs that come along with it – figuring out how to navigate young adulthood, dealing with bouts of crippling self-doubt, and making the most out of life despite the rough times and heartbreak are also common themes throughout Pray for the Wicked. Elements of Urie’s Broadway experience with playing Charlie Price in Kinky Boots were also obvious in the album within the track Roaring 20s, which is simultaneously a name play on Urie’s age (now 31)—he quite literally ended his “roaring 20s” on Broadway. Urie also makes note of some of his favorite musicians and gives them praise for what they’re known for. For example, the bridge in (Fuck A) Silver Lining pays respect to Beyoncé’s career, which in comparison to Urie’s, also started off in a group setting before taking off as a solo artist. “When you gonna say my name? / Quick charade / Beyoncé / Lemonade,” suggesting that Beyoncé’s career during Destiny’s Child was simply a stepping stone that lead her to the 2016 success of Lemonade (he’s right). The beginning of Dancing’s Not a Crime also pays homage to Michael Jackson and his notable moonwalk routine (“I’m a moonwalker / I’m like MJ up in the clouds”).

Musically, Pray for the Wicked is masterful, to say the least, as Brendon Urie’s distinct vocals have never sounded better. His falsettos used in songs like Old Fashioned and Dancing’s Not a Crime are impressive, but one of the most notable vocal arrangements in the album is in the chorus of King of the Clouds – Urie uses his falsetto in the lyrics “I’m king of the clouds / I get lifted” to make a “jumping up” affect in the word “lifted,” which only adds to the songs overall theme and message. It’s merely a pebble within an ocean, but the lasting effect that lone part has on the listener is equivalent to a tsunami. The variety of instrumental plays used throughout the album are impressive as well. Everything from piano, to horns, trumpets, violins, bass, and drums were all used in the production of Panic!’s latest record. Tracks four to eight stand out with the most unique instrumentation styles, which are beautifully placed in the center of the album’s tracklist. Winding down with a ballad appropriately titled Dying in LA simply brings the entire record together, especially ending the album with actual bird chirps recorded from Urie’s at-home studio.

From the largest to the slightest details, there is not one beat, note, or lyric that is missed or overlooked in Pray for the Wicked. There’s a little something for every era of Panic! At the Disco fans within this album. Overall, it showcases a significant growth of Urie musically, as well as a well-rounded appreciation for his past due to all of the lessons he has learned. As sampled in the latest album, “Ode to the old, and to the new / We rededicate this song to  you.”

Further reading: Panic! At the Disco Back with New Track

Good Charlotte North American Tour

Good Charlotte Announces New Album and Tour Dates

Yesterday, Good Charlotte announced the release of their new album, Generation Rx, and their North American tour dates.

Generation Rx is the band’s seventh full-length studio album and has been much awaited by die-hard fans. Its title mirrors that of a well-known documentary, which investigates the effects of children in the US who are prescribed psychiatric medication. In a similar sense, Good Charlotte’s collection of songs offer some hope to a young generation plagued by depression, loneliness and self-doubt. The album also touches upon themes of mass tragedy, icons gone too soon and the opioid epidemic—all extremely poignant topics.

“At the beginning of the year we were reflecting a lot,” the band said in a statement. “We just played a memorial service in honor of Lil Peep. We were thinking of that.

“Our generation was the first to have so many ways to deal with pain. Throughout this century, we’ve seen the whole opioid crisis get worse. We wondered if we were really doing our part. We wanted to be back out there on the battlefield and spread insight, share experience and give anything we could to improve lives,” they added.

In support of their anxiously awaited new album, Good Charlotte also announced dates for a massive North American tour. The tour dates start October 12, 2018 in Mexico City and end November 24, 2018 in Las Vegas. Fan club pre-sale tickets will be available beginning July 10, 2018 at 10am PST and general tickets will be available beginning July 13, 2018 at 10am PST.

“This is the album we’ve been waiting 15 years to create”—Good Charlotte

Good Charlotte was formed back in 1996. In 2002, they unleashed The Young and the Hopeless, which has since been revered as one of the ultimate rock albums. This album eventually went RIAA triple-platinum and was marked in Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums. Since then, their recognition and success has remained steadfast.

The group, made up of brothers Joel and Benji Madden, Billy Martin, Paul Thomas and Dean Butterworth, see their new album as a chance to simultaneously revisit their roots and start a new chapter. The songs within it manage to retain their signature blend of vitality and quirkiness whilst delving into darker territory. The infectious anthems of the new album are indicative of a band that has spent two decades in the game. Generation Rx was produced by Zakk Cervini and Benji via a number of creative sessions in MDDN headquarters. The soundtrack emanates a distinctive punk spirit—a genre that was practically forged by the band.

Generation Rx will officially be released September 14, 2018 via a new global partnership between the band’s MDDN label and BMG. The band has also confirmed that they will be back on the road in Europe early next year, much to the delight of further afield admirers; dates can be found on the goodcharlotte.com website.

Good Charlotte north American tour dates

October 12, 2018 – Mexico City, Mexico – Open Air ACMX

October 13, 2018 – Puebla, Mexico – Tecate Comuna

October 16, 2018 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live

October 17, 2018 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle

October 19, 2018 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz

October 20, 2018 – Lynchburg, VA – Phase 2

October 21, 2018 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore

October 23, 2018 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium

October 25, 2018 – Toronto, ON – Rebel

October 26, 2018 – Montreal, QC – MTelus

October 27, 2018 – Syracuse, NY – SI Hall at the Fairgrounds

October 28, 2018 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre

October 29, 2018 – New York, NY – Terminal 5

November 01, 2018 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore

November 02, 2018  – Columbus, OH – Express Live!

November 03, 2018 – Grand Rapids, MI – Monroe 20

November 04, 2018 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre

November 06, 2018 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre

November 07, 2018 – Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

November 09, 2018 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom

November 10, 2018 – San Antonio, TX – Aztec Theater

November 11, 2018 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues

November 12, 2018 – Houston, TX – House of Blues

November 14, 2018 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theater

November 15, 2018 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex

November 16, 2018 – Garden City, ID – Revolution Concert House

November 17, 2018 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater

November 18, 2018 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SODO

November 20, 2018 – San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theater

November 21, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium

November 23, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren

November 24, 2018 – Las Vegas, NV – The Pearl at The Palms

Xxxtentacion

Controversial Rapper XXXTentacion Shot Dead in Florida Aged 20

Chart-topping US rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead in South Florida on Monday, June 18.

The rapper’s latest album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, making it his second consecutive hit record.

The murder

XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was gunned down outside of a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced.

He was taken to hospital soon after where he was pronounced dead.

XXXTentacion had been at RIVA Motorsports checking out inventory, the sheriff’s office said. He was in a black luxury vehicle and preparing to leave when two armed suspects approached him. At least one of them fired, and then both suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV.

Investigators say the attack may have been robbery, as a Louis Vuitton bag was taken from the back seat of the rapper’s car.

The controversy

Despite his huge popularity, XXXTentacion was often described as one of rap’s most controversial artists and was facing domestic violence, aggravated battery and false imprisonment charges stemming from 2016.

According to the Miami New Times, his ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala’s depositions “detail a pattern of regular, torturous abuse that summer, with daily verbal attacks and physical incidents every three or four days.”

According to Ayala’s statement, he beat her at times, choked her, broke clothes hangers on her legs, threatened to chop off her hair or cut out her tongue, pressed knives or scissors to her face, and held her head underwater in their bathroom while threatening to drown her.

From tough upbringing to number one

XXXTentacion had a troubled upbringing and was expelled from middle school for fighting, but he channelled his energy and fury into music.

He quickly cemented himself as the most popular artist within the SoundCloud Rap genre, defined by its languid, hazy beats and wide-ranging influences.His surging popularity was noted by the music industry and, by October 2017, he had scored a distribution agreement reportedly worth $6 million.

But his career was already being overshadowed by his legal problems. Fans were apparently unswayed, sending his latest album to number one in the US.

The tributes

The rapper, who first found fame by uploading his music onto online music platform SoundCloud, has been hailed as a breakthrough talent as tributes pour in from hip-hop luminaries in the wake of his death.

Kanye West tweeted: “I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.”

While rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs described XXXTentacion as “one of the most interesting people I have met.”

Among others, rapper J Cole’s tribute read: “Enormous talent and limitless potential. God bless his family, friends, and fans.”

Documentary maker Louis Theroux said: “Notwithstanding personal demons, he was a huge talent & bringing a beautiful new feel to hip hop. So sad.”