pop music

Expert Opinion: Hit Makers Nico & Vinz on Pop Music and the Movies

Expert Opinion: Hit Makers Nico & Vinz on Pop Music and the Movies

After the Norweigan duo Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery won the world finals at Emergenza Festival in 2011, they went on to rack up hits on the international charts. Their single “Am I Wrong?” has more than 59 million views on YouTube alone. They’ve clearly conquered a global audience, but with their debut U.S. release due to hit this September and a new single in Reese Witherspoon’s latest movie, “The Good Lie,” expect to hear a lot more from the duo. Luckily for us, they took a break from their busy schedules to talk to us about pop music in the movies and how they write songs.

Greatest singer of all

Greatest singer of all

A common refrain I’ve heard expressed in the aftermath of Whitney Houston’s sad passing is “I’m surprised but not shocked” due to her well known past struggles with substance abuse, but I was actually surprised and shocked when I heard this (news that was incidentally texted to me while I was at a bar watching Jeremy Lin performing as Linderella). I was completely stunned because I had assumed that she had turned a corner. I want to use this soapbox not to focus on the macabre aspect of her death and troubles during her life, but instead use the opportunity vis-a-vis online bits and tributes as a celebration of her inimitable talent starting for instance with this: listen to Whitney Houston’s isolated vocals on “How Will I Know” to remind yourself how remarkable her voice was or as Oprah tweeted, “To me Whitney was THE VOICE.” I’ve listened to this countless times and I get goosebumps each time. That said, and this might be slightly blasphemous, but for the same reasons that Vulture made, I almost like the mash-up of Whitney’s vocals with Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” track better than the originals for both songs.

Homemade pop idol sweaters

Homemade pop idol sweaters

Kottke’s guest blogger Aaron Cohen came across this ridiculously awesome find that takes kitsch to a whole new level and is insane in the membrane: Joanne Conklin’s homemade knit sweaters featuring pop stars and idols, such as the one above for Vanilla Ice. Conklin explains:

“We were living in Germany at the time and bands like New Kids On The Block were huge with the teen set. However, there were no fan t-shirts to be found anywhere, so I decided to knit sweaters. I made one for my daughter, then her friends, and word-of-mouth spread and the next thing you know I’d knit over a hundred of them, selling all but about six of them.”

Watch this music video: Zowie's Broken Machine

Watch this music video: Zowie's Broken Machine

Zowie — Broken Machine from Special Problems on Vimeo. I’m backlogged with new music videos that I’ve been meaning to share with all y’all, but I’m trying to rectify that. Lately I’m really liking this new video directed by creative agency Special Problems for Zowie’s indie pop song “Broken Machine.” The music video has a…

Rediscovering Human League

Rediscovering Human League

When I saw, and wrote about, OMD’s new record the other day a few of my younger friends said they’d never heard of OMD. Never heard of OMD? I was shocked. I felt old. Very, very old.

This realization that the youth of today is missing out on such a wonderful period of music, the 1980s, shocked me. Um, where do you think Gaga got all her ideas? I started searching through the 15K songs in my iTunes library. Where did pop music as we know it today come from? Too electric to be Rock. Too camp to be hip-hop. Today’s pop music, from Ke$Ha to Gaga to Rihanna, owes much to electro-pop.

Justinnnnnn Bieberrrrrrr

Justinnnnnn Bieberrrrrrr

Is it a voice of an angel singing in a cathedral? No, it’s only Bieber singing “U Smile,” but slowed down to 1/8th speed of the original resulting in a 35 minute long song of pure ambient zen. And the Internet is loving it. The grammar and math corners of the Internet are also enjoying…

Making of "I'm not in love"

Making of "I'm not in love"

One of my all time favorite pop ballads is 10cc’s “I’m not in love”. So I was stunned with amazement at this wonderful 2009 BBC Radio 6 audio documentary on the making of this 1975 hit song, “a milestone in recording” which also utilized one of the Very first Moog synthesizers to create the soft…

The Saturdays sing "Baby"

The Saturdays sing "Baby"

British pop girl group The Saturdays gets some viral attention state side with their (great) all acoustic cover of Justin Bieber’s painfully infectious “Baby.” I suppose if I’m going to listen to this song I’d rather watch four gorgeous girls dressed in their Williamsburg finest sing it than Bieber. Bieber: You can’t fight him, you…

How do I love summer? Let me count the ways…

How do I love summer? Let me count the ways…

Magnetic North (Derek Kan, Theresa Vu, and Taiyo Na) recently released this new music video for “Summertime” featuring Conchita Campos and directed by Davidian Shaw. The song is a tasty dose of pop music goodness that counts down all the things that are great about summer. This song is the perfect aural drink for hot summer days.

Simon Curtis' 8-bit Heart

Simon Curtis' 8-bit Heart

I have been known to rock a Kanye-like Lego heart brooch and wear black plastic framed glasses. So it is no wonder why I am digging Simon Curtis and his look. He’s a pop singer who is giving away his debut album. Yes, you read that right. His album is free. His visual is great,…

Music video: I'll Be Gone

Music video: I'll Be Gone

I’ll be gone from KORB on Vimeo. This great music video for Mario Basanov’s “I’ll be Gone” was directed by Rimantas Lukavicius. It begins deceptively simply, but it develops with a nice subtle “wow cool!” moment (look for it around the 1:50 mark) that also matches the song’s tone. It’s a fantastic and hypnotic concept.

21 years later: Erasure's The Innocents

21 years later: Erasure's The Innocents

The duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been making techno-pop for decades now. Formed in the mid-80s after Clarke’s successful turns in both Depeche Mode and Yaz, Erasure never quite got the respect they deserved. Which is odd for a band that has scored multi-platinum albums on both sides of the Atlantic.

Blonde heir – Madonna and Lady Gaga

Blonde heir – Madonna and Lady Gaga

Unless you have been living under a rock then assuredly you have witnessed the pop culture tipping point and subsequent freaky-deaky takeover of the world by one Miss Lady Gaga. It should be noted that she’s not your typical Madonna-wannabe. She’s the heir apparent.

School of rock

School of rock

Staten Island elementary public school PS22′s choir led by their teacher Gregg “Mr. B” Breinberg has achieved fame around the world thanks to their adorable and innocently soulful renditions of pop songs from Fleetwood Mac to Tori Amos (who wiped away a tear when they sang one of her songs to her). Most recently, they’ve recorded an amazing (slightly tweaked) cover of Lady Gaga.