Girls' Generation, "I Got a Boy"
K-Pop tasted world-conquering glory in 2012, but it was bittersweet: Instead of one of the genre's many meticulously manicured supergroups, it was Psy, a portly second-stringer, who won hearts and minds. That means K-Pop's got some unfinished business to take care of — namely, breaking one of Korea's top names in America. And seeing the exactitude with which the industry whips its subjects into shape, there's no telling what kind of repercussions are on hand for the subjects if this fails; I believe a sort of modern-day musician's version of a debtor's prison is not out of the question. On that note: How are you feeling about Girls' Generation's latest? It's got about 19 songs jammed into one, which is nice; also, according to the subtitled version, the lyrics feature the phrase "deep eyes like a scarred beast."
Father John Misty, "Believe I Can Fly"
Father John Misty is J. Tillman, the former Fleet Foxes drummer who dropped Fear Fun in 2012 and then promptly went about dominating year-end best-of lists. Turns out he's also a goddamn karaoke hero: Here he is below the deck of the S.S. Coachella, pouring his heart and soul into a stirring, partially ad-libbed rendition of a Kellz timeless classic (I'm pretty sure the words "I don't care what religion you are / I don't care if you can fly or not / I don't believe if you grew up underwater … I wanna thank pizza for ever being available in the cafeteria" are not in the original). An actually good voice + a flair for the histronic + a sense of humor = karoake heroism.
Kendrick Lamar, "Backseat Freestyle"
Right in the middle of his new music video for the banger "Backseat Freestyle," for nearly 30 seconds, Kendrick Lamar stares at us, blank-faced, while a buxom lady with a paucity of butt-based fabric shakes her butt with great might. In his stoicism, what silent message is Lamar trying to convey? What truth is he trying to unveil? What is he trying to tell us? I think he's trying to tell us that he likes butts.
Angel Haze, "On the Edge"
Azealia Banks, "No Problems"
Angel Haze, "Shut the Fuck Up"
Long story short: Azealia Banks tweeted something about people not from New York claiming New York; Angel Haze took it personally, got mad on Twitter, then dropped a dis track; Banks got mad on Twitter, too, then dropped a dis track, too; Haze responded with another dis track. Vibe's got the Twitter highlights, but the bottom line, more or less: Both are young female MCs who are somewhat personally familiar with one another, and so some sort of public spat was, I guess, inevitable. Drag.
Ryan Hemsworth, "BasedWorld"
Little-known fact: In July of 1492 — just a month before Columbus set sail on his portentous voyage — Lil B sailed the #Nina, the #Pinta, and the #SantaMaria and discovered BasedWorld.
Sufjan Stevens, "Which One Are You?"
This is a Sufjan Stevens B-side that interpolates Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Endless Enigma 1" and was originally intended for his BQE opera, but was never released because, Sufjan writes on his Tumblr, he "could not clear melody w/ELP publishers. The Endless Enigma of intellectual property. One person's homage is another lawyer's annoyance, I guess." Listening to this while not driving through crap traffic on the BQE is possible, but not encouraged.
As Spin points out, this is Skrillex abandoning the tenets of the more aggressive U.S. strain of dubstep he helped popularize and taking up some of the subtler elements of the original, critic-approved U.K. kind. If this means Skrillex is due for reappraisal in 2013, me and a nation of lazy music bloggers are in trouble: Who are we supposed to use as our resident EDM punchline now?!
Chinx Drugz Feat. Rick Ross, Diddy & French Montana, "I'm a Coke Boy"
You might think you wouldn't want to spend a quiet night at home with a fellow named Chinx Drugz. And you'd be wrong: Chinx's affinity for Adele ("Her voice and melody is phenomenal I kno we’d come up with a smash," Drugz has stated) means he'd be the perfect companion for a candlelit seafood dinner.
Pere Ubu, "414"
For nearly four decades now, Pere Ubu's David Thomas has been making odd, angry, sad music. Which is less impressive when you find out he's from Cleveland.