83 items by Maura Johnston

  • 'What Is Sexercize?' Kylie Minogue on Getting Saucy for 'Kiss Me Once'

    'What Is Sexercize?' Kylie Minogue on Getting Saucy for 'Kiss Me Once' | ARTICLE

    Australian megadiva Kylie Minogue's 12th album, Kiss Me Once, plants its pop flags in a lot of different territories — splashy, bell-accented love songs ("Kiss Me Once"), Pharrell-assisted flirtation ("I Was Gonna Cancel"), forward-thinking balladry (the Ariel...

    April 3, 2014 11:20 AM ET
  • Lana Del Rey's Odd 'Summertime Sadness' Success

    Lana Del Rey's Odd 'Summertime Sadness' Success | ARTICLE

    Around this time two years ago, the mysterious singer Lana Del Rey played Brooklyn's Glasslands Gallery, setting off a hype cycle that, at the time, littered the Internet with thinkpieces and garment-rending. Del Rey was...

    September 27, 2013 2:15 PM ET
  • Kathleen Hanna Moves Forward With the Julie Ruin

    Kathleen Hanna Moves Forward With the Julie Ruin | ARTICLE

    Kathleen Hanna had a feminist awakening when she decided that she wanted to ditch the dancing and run wild in gym class. 10 Most Killer Cover Songs of the Past Decade "Before I was 10, the girls...

    September 4, 2013 4:37 PM ET
  • Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

    Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness | ALBUM REVIEW

    This 1995 double album was a sprawling marriage of alt-kvetching and prog-stargazing – a laser show in a shrink's office. Its audacious scope and emotional wallop allowed seemingly disparate tracks like the delicate miniature "Thirty-Three" and the...

    January 11, 2013 4:34 PM ET
  • Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and One Direction Make Merry at Z100's Jingle Ball

    Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and One Direction Make Merry at Z100's Jingle Ball | ARTICLE

    New York radio station Z100's annual Jingle Ball generally serves as a pop debutante party, spotlighting the past year's biggest stars alongside artists given a song or two to make their case for a longer set next...

    December 8, 2012 1:11 PM ET
  • Q&A: Ke$ha on Bringing 'Balls and Irreverence' to Pop

    Q&A: Ke$ha on Bringing 'Balls and Irreverence' to Pop | ARTICLE

    Though Ke$ha's first album, Animal, was a glitter-coated gutter dance party, with the brash singer getting sleazy and leading throngs of revelers into the night, no guitars were invited. On her new full-length album, Warrior,...

    December 3, 2012 1:40 PM ET
  • The Trilogy

    The Trilogy | ALBUM REVIEW

     Abel Tesfaye's brooding R&B, filtered through blackout curtains and lust-borne regret, won raves from downloaders last year. The Trilogy collects three of the Toronto singer's 2011 mixtapes, but some editing might have better introduced him to the...

    November 19, 2012 3:15 PM ET
  • Perfectly Imperfect

    Perfectly Imperfect | ALBUM REVIEW

    This confident and catchy major-label debut from 23-year-old singer-songwriter Elle Varner is made even stronger by its smart musical details – a subtle ESG sample on the slinky J. Cole duet "Only Want To Give It To...

    October 17, 2012 4:05 PM ET
  • "This Ladder Is Ours"

    "This Ladder Is Ours" | SONG REVIEW

    The Welsh indie-rock trio leaven their ravenous sonic assault with an air of wistfulness, a combination that makes the towering drumbeats and rip-roaring riffs hit even harder; Ritzy Bryan's plain-spoken vocals slice through sonic chaos, balancing the...

    October 10, 2012 10:10 AM ET
  • Observator

    Observator | ALBUM REVIEW

    On their sixth album, these sexy-gloomy Danes shed their leather jackets and allow the sun to shine in, at least for a few minutes: The chiming "Sinking With the Sun" could be a lost B side from...

    September 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET
  • The Bad Ones

    The Bad Ones | ALBUM REVIEW

    This Brooklyn-via-Florida duo operate in black and white, bringing together torch-song dramatics, scratchy AM-radio fizz and wave after wave of haunted reverb to craft flickering songs that sound beamed in from a world where Lana Del Rey...

    August 23, 2012 4:15 PM ET
  •  Feed Me Diamonds

    Feed Me Diamonds | ALBUM REVIEW

    MNDR's debut is a sweaty workout that mixes chilly electro moves with the kind of joyous beats that soundtracked summertime in the 1980s. Amanda Warner veers between aerobic bounce and sang-froid remove; the sumptuous "Fall in Love...

    August 14, 2012 9:15 AM ET
  • Fortune

    Fortune | ALBUM REVIEW

    Brown's fifth LP sounds great on the surface: "Bassline" is based on an elegant dubstep wobble, and his vocal on "Stuck on Stupid" matches its midtempo grandeur. But deep listening means getting cozy with a guy so...

    July 16, 2012 3:05 PM ET
  • Days Go By

    Days Go By | ALBUM REVIEW

    Nine albums in, these Cali punks are coasting by on dourly told jokes and reheated mad-at-the-world bluster. The low point is the deliberately bubbleheaded Dr. Luke rip "Cruising California," a "gag" track with no laughs in...

    June 26, 2012 12:00 AM ET
  • Synthetica

    Synthetica | ALBUM REVIEW

    On the fifth album from this Canadian-American band, muscular rhythms tether spun-sugar synthesizers to Earth, while Emily Haines' vocals toe the line between vulnerability and world-weariness. The effect is of a lucid dream world – and...

    June 12, 2012 12:10 AM ET
  • "I Love It"

    "I Love It" | SONG REVIEW

    On this female Swedish duo's supercatchy breakup anthem, skyscraping synth lines go up as they scream-sing about the liberation that comes from dumping a draggy partner. Listen to "I Love It": Related•

    June 5, 2012 3:25 PM ET
  • Evans the Death

    Evans the Death | ALBUM REVIEW

    This London band mixes post–Smiths jangle and early–grunge sludge, as Katherine Whitaker explores varying shades of bad romance. Her raw emotion blends with slashing,whirling guitars to inject paralysis with weird power. Listen to 'Evans the...

    May 23, 2012 12:10 AM ET
  • Loaded

    Loaded | ALBUM REVIEW

    This semi–reformed hustler (and Ke$ha collaborator) returns with dinky synths and half–baked rhymes about drugs and sex that are as complex as playground taunts – and less clever. Listen to 'Loaded': Related•

    May 23, 2012 12:05 AM ET
  • "Go All the Way"

    "Go All the Way" | SONG REVIEW

    This cover of the Raspberries' warmly catchy power–pop classic (which appears on the Dark Shadows soundtrack) is fairly straightforward. But Brandon Flowers' querulous voice lends the track an otherworldly urgency that's well matched to the...

    May 22, 2012 5:05 PM ET
  • Rize of the Fenix

    Rize of the Fenix | ALBUM REVIEW

    The first full-length album in six years from Jack Black and Kyle Gass' comedy-cock-rock duo is chock-full of swaggering pomposity. But too many of its gags sound like they've been festering since the Pick of Destiny days;...

    May 15, 2012 12:20 AM ET