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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | Last updated: 5:14am

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Lorde's music is far beyond her years



Lorde, the newest music sensation taking over the nation, features New Zealand singer Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor. After releasing her first EP a year ago, Lorde’s latest single “Royals” debuted as the number one single on New Zealand’s Top 40, eventually landing her a spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

She’s currently featured as one of Spotify’s top artist with a live version of her album available to stream (and yes, it’s amazing). As if that wasn’t enough, Lorde is also the first New Zealand artist to have a number one song in the United States.

Oh, and did I mention she’s only 16? Just let that sink in for a minute.

At a time when most of us we’re barely learning how to drive and couldn’t get into an R-rated movie without parent permission, Lorde is selling out tours based off of an impressively sophisticated album that one would expect from a twenty-something. She has drawn attention from high profile celebrities, tabloids, and music magazines.

When I was 16, I was probably perfecting the “duck” face and making sure my MySpace profile background was just right.

As far as I’m concerned, Lorde is way ahead of her generation. Her sultry sound doesn’t focus on partying and drinking, but is poetic. This sound is both surprising and refreshing to hear coming from that age group.

Lorde is just at the beginning of her quick rise to fame and hopefully we will see a long career from this emerging artist. I, for one, anticipate great things coming from her and can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.


Disclosure brings disco back



Editor’s Note: The previous version of this article stated that the genre was bass and drum. The genre of Disclosure is actually synthpop or house.

Normally when writing I take solace on my over sized couch, my kitchen table, or (if I’m feeling frisky) a table at one of the various coffee shops scattered around campus.

Today, I am writing to you in my roommate’s car as we drive entirely too fast on our way to San Diego. We are taking a midweek trip to see UK electronic duo, Disclosure.

This synthpop electronic group stole my heart last year when they made their Coachella debut. Erase all of your preconceived notions about the genre “electronic.” You will need to reevaluate its definition after hearing these brothers.

Their sound acts as an audio-induced time machine that transports listeners directly back to the 70’s. This duo and their sound are proof that disco is back.

Disclosure’s innovative influence can be heard in the use of similar sounds by mainstream artists.

Listen to “Treasure” by Bruno Mars or “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake and you will hear the same funky undertones that make you want to throw on a pair of bell bottoms and shimmy.

Okay. Maybe not the bell bottoms, but definitely the shimmying.

Their most popular, radio ready, song “Latch” is not only extremely catchy lyrically but immediately makes me want to dance like an absolute maniac upon hearing the intro.

However “Latch” is only the beginning of the gold mine of songs that Settle, their debut album, showcases.

To say that their music is revolutionary, in my opinion, would be accurate. Disclosure introduces a freshness into the music industry that combines old school tempos and new school electronic and together the two create an entirely new sound.

Anyone who can appreciate innovation will appreciate the sound that Disclosure produces. Tomorrow night, I’ll be showing my appreciation by dancing my ass off.


Miley Cyrus: The Movement



All right, I know what you’re all thinking, not another Miley blog post. I know, it took a lot of convincing for me to write it and even more for me to listen to Miley’s new album.

After her traumatic appearance on the VMA’s where several papers and establishments said she molested Robin Thicke, it was safe to say that Miley had officially lost it.

She traded in her long, golden wig for short jagged hair and switched her country voice for hip-hop. Gone are the days of the beloved Disney icon and instead, we have new naked-wrecking ball-dancing teddy bear Miley.

Miley’s come a long way from singles like “7 Things I Hate About You” and “See You Again.” Her entire life has changed since those singles released. She’s gone a little nutty, but her music is at an entirely different place creatively.

However, surprising as it may be, I wouldn’t completely rule out her new album Bangerz. Creatively and musically, Miley is at her peak. While her moral decisions are certainly questionable, Miley has never before had this kind of freedom in her artistic style.

She could do anything –and I mean anything – at this point and she would catch the public’s eye. She may seem like she has no idea what she’s doing, but Miley is crafty. She knew that if she got on stage with those god-awful pigtails and changed the way everyone views foam fingers, she would become a sensation.

Now, whether she was receiving good or bad publicity didn’t really matter. It was the fact that she graced the headlines of major publications all over the country and I can almost guarantee that wasn’t an accident.

Miley is, undeniably, a movement of this generation’s time. Whether we like it or not, she’ll be a name that comes up in conversation for years to come. She may be a train wreck, but she’s the show everyone is lining up to see.


Zedd's 'Stay the night' is smartly crafted art



DJ, producer and electronic dance music artist ZEDD released a new music video last week featuring his latest hit song “Stay the Night.”

Hayley Williams of the American rock band Paramore lends powerful vocals to the beats provided by ZEDD. The combination of their talents in “Stay the Night” is a song catchy enough to make audiences feel like moving and singing along.

The Stay the Night music video is an effective visual adaptation of the lyrics which brings an emotional aspect to the piece. Ballet dancers representing a young couple are the center of the video. Williams also plays a large role, and ZEDD makes a cameo appearance playing a piano.

Using dancers is an element that makes “Stay the Night” a unique and interesting music video. Shortly after pressing play, viewers have their attention captured by the beautiful graphics and choreography. Because of the emotions felt through dance, it is possible for viewers to become invested in the story of the couple depicted in the video.

Not only does Williams have an impressive voice, she also has a stunning look of vibrant red lips paired with matching red hair. It is impossible to take one’s eyes off of her.

Born Anton Zaslavski, 24-year-old ZEDD is a classically trained musician raised by Russian parents. He began delving into electronic music in Germany five years ago. His first studio album Clarity was released one year ago on Oct. 2, 2012.

ZEDD is currently on a world tour titled the “Moment of Clarity” tour. Recently on Sept. 21, he played a concert in Phoenix, which many UA students, including myself, attended.

“Stay the Night” is smartly-crafted art visually and musically. Not only is ZEDD a talented musician, he also has an entertaining personality which can be detected from his many posts in various social media outlets. He is worth checking out.


What is Miley Cyrus's deal?



So this is something that way too many people in America seem fixated on, and I hate to become one of those people, but I just want to know what Miley Cyrus’s deal is.

I don’t know her personally; I watched her grow up on television. My little sister loved Hannah Montana, and I watched it with her from time to time. I remember thinking, “Hey, this girl is my age. I could do this!”

I hadn’t seen her perform in years (I missed the VMAs and watch my t.v. shows online) until I watched the We Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball videos a few weeks ago. I kept hearing a lot of buzz about Cyrus, and I finally wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

I don’t think her new songs are all that great. They’re generic pop songs that could come out of the mouths of Katy Perry or Rihanna.

Something did chill me to the bone, however, Cyrus herself.

She blatantly over-sexualizes herself and does it without a hint of human emotion in her eyes. She doesn’t look happy or upset to be licking a sledgehammer or dry-humping whatever. Even the way she sticks her tongue out seems calculated. She knows that the more she self-destructs and acts like a hot mess, the more money she makes.

What freaks me out is that she is my age. We 20-somethings are supposed to be pulling stupid crap like this—dancing with our girlfriends, drinking to excess, being silly and trying to be sexy—but coming from her it feels jaded and cynical.

I feel bad for her. Maybe I’m making this up in my head because I can’t imagine being in her position. I can’t imagine trying so hard, acting that way for the world and my mother to see just so I can sell records.

The fascination millions of people have with her new image is frightening. It’s as if our collective society is pushing her towards the edge, encouraging it because we want to see the spectacular crash that will result.

I guess we’ll find out. In the mean time, I hope Cyrus is able to (pardon the pun) “twerk” things out.


Avicci stuns on 'True'



Back in March of this year, during the second week of the Ultra Music Festival (for those that don’t know, the annually-occurring, end-all be-all festival for electronic music), Avicii brought country to electronic.

He trotted out live country and bluegrass vocalists as well as a violinist, a sight about as rare as it sounds. With Avicii on the mixer, this anomalous group of musicians proceeded to perform what would be songs off his upcoming album. While the audience was bewildered at the lack of drops, and the Internet backlash was palpable, “True” is a remarkable accomplishment.

The album combines the seemingly disparate genres of electronic and country to remarkable effect. “Wake Me Up”, the hit single that’s been making the rounds, uses the vocals of soul singer Aloe Blacc and contributions from Incubus’ Mike Einxinger create the soulful tale of someone who wants to sleep through the ‘growing up’ phase of life.

“Hope There’s Someone” is a cover of the Antony and the Johnsons’ song, with Linnea Henriksson” providing chilling, haunting vocals to make it the album’s ‘must-listen’ song.

All of the songs deal with some dark spin on love, as can be gathered by such titles as “Liar Liar”, “Shame on Me”, and “Addicted to You.” There is more lyrical content than one will usually find on an electronic album, making for an enriching listening experience.

“True” goes completely against the grain of the “Big Room House”/ electro-house styles that have thoroughly permeated the genre and is a breath of fresh air.

Hats off to Avicii, for not only making this unique album but for making the album extremely good. I recommend everyone, despite what types of music you like, to listen through all ten tracks of “True.”


Katy Perry disappoints with recently dropped single



Katy Perry returns with Prism, her junior album, after an almost two year hiatus following Teenage Dream, this time distancing herself from a trifling divorce still ripe with emotion.

“Walking on Air,” Perry’s latest song from her new album dropped somewhere in the wee hours of Monday morning. Considering the ‘90s house beats, MILF jam remix has me thinking it should’ve been released as a predecessor for “Last Friday Night.”

I am a Katy Perry fan to end all – a “Katy Cat,” if you will. I involuntarily begin to shake when I hear the simple guitar strumming in the beginning of “Teenage Dream,” and I have been known to listen to “Firework” before exams. So typing these words will take a lot out of me.

Upon first, second, and even third listen to “Walking on Air,” I’m not enamored. The heavily syncopated club beat doesn’t give me the same thrill as does “E.T.,” nor does the high BPM do the song justice like that of Roar. Simply put, I feel the song is more fit for an Abercrombie & Fitch playlist than in the hearts of Perry’s fans.

To have this song follow the last release of “Dark Horse” provides a strong juxtaposition. With a sensual, rhythmic sway, “Dark Horse” is the sexual side her Pentecostal parents were afraid of seeing all along. “Walking on Air” is a ’90s soulful song coupled with a distasteful Avicii remix.

With the album drop a mere 21 days away, “Walking on Air” isn’t the provocative reinvention of Katy Perry that many were hoping for. Simply put, this shouldn’t be the song that ushers the album to its grand entry.


Lumineers to play in Phoenix on Tuesday



Tucson has a long history of featuring uncommon, underground artists that have yet to make it big. With the city’s embrace of cultural events and art along with the student population’s desire for fresh music, Tucson is often home to never-before-heard sounds.

The Historic Rialto Theatre downtown is one of the many venues that have been home to bands on their way to the big leagues. The intimate venue provides artists a chance to connect with the audience with its limited space and romantic décor.

Last year, indie-folk rock band The Lumineers made their Rialto debut, and quickly rose to fame following that performance with folk music requests being at an all-time high. A year later, the band is set to have its premier concert in Phoenix at Comerica Theatre on Tuesday, going from an audience of a few hundred to several thousand.

The band has become well-known thanks to singles “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love” and popular tunes “Flowers in Your Hair,” “Submarines” and “Classy Girls.” Now with a dedicated fan base spanning across the globe, the band is bypassing the Rialto this year and instead graduating to play Phoenix venues.

The Lumineers’ vast popularity is undoubtedly due to their refreshing, unique sound that is unlike much of mainstream music these days. The lyrics go beyond the typical formula of violence, drugs and sex to convey real human emotion and actually connect with fans.

There will be much to expect and little to disappoint from week’s performance from The Lumineers at Comerica Theatre. For those of us in Tucson, we can only hope that they’ll one day return to the Rialto cycle and once again serenade us with their heartfelt folk tunes.


Top 40 radio needs an overhaul



The radio has always been a part of my life. I remember being in the car as a kid and making my mom turn up the volume when the Spice Girls or Britney Spears came on.

My girlfriends and I got ready for school dances to the tune of Jay Sean’s “Down” or Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me”. Even now, when I hear the opening lines of “Party Rock” by LMFAO, I think of frat parties and the beginnings of independence that marked my freshman year of college.

I know people always say, “Oh, music these days sucks”, but for me, it’s a way of staying connected. Top 40 radio is a marker of what’s popular in society and an indicator of our collective state of being.

I never thought the day would come when I’d throw in the towel in favor of blasting music on my iPhone instead of tuning to a radio station. Recently though, I bought myself an auxiliary cable for my car so I could bypass the radio and listen to something more complex and innovative.

I finally got fed up. Everything I’ve heard recently is bland. Inoffensive. Insubstantial. I hate turning on the radio and hearing samples of good songs clumsily smashed in between a techno beat and unoriginal rap verses about partying and getting women.

Pitbull, I’m looking at you.

I believe that pop music and Top 40 radio is integral to our culture, but the people behind it—the artists, the producers, the distributors—need some tough love. I cannot be the only person who never wants to hear another horrible Pitbull remix again. Am I right?


Don't miss out on 'Clarity' the second time around



Electronic music producer, Zedd double dips with his phenomenal Clarity album, this time adding four “new” songs. Of course these “new” songs aren’t exactly fresh from the studio, instead being released last year.

Three of them, including Zedd’s remixes of Skrillex & The Doors’, “Breakn’ a Sweat” and Empire of the Sun’s, “Alive” as well as his brand new single with Hayley Williams titled “Stay the Night,” can already be purchased.

The re-release is obviously meant to take advantage of the popularity of the single, “Clarity” which dominates both radio waves and stadiums. If you haven’t picked up the original album, which came out last September, I strongly suggest getting it now.

“Clarity” is the most listenable electronic album to be released over the past year, maybe longer.

The album boasts a healthy combination of vintage Zedd, employing hard-hitting electro house beats, breakdowns, and drops that made him originally known in the Electronic Dance Music community. This time around however, he also explores with a sound likened to pop, using catchy vocals that are easy to sing along to.

No album is complete without a list of guest artists, including: Ellie Goulding, Ryan Tedder and Matthew Koma, to name a few. I recommend all tracks on this album.

If you missed ‘Clarity’ the first time around, do not, under any circumstances, pass up this enhanced re-release.