Kacey Musgraves of The USA Woos Fans and Critics on Golden Hour

Kacey Musgraves is a recording artist from the United States, and she has just released her third album, Golden Hour. Apparently, she is the only person in the world to have high-fived a British royal. Kacey mixes lyrical stories with pop and country, and embeds some progressive elements. Fans held high anticipation for this album worried that, like many stars, after two winners she had run out of steam. When they heard it, the wind was knocked out of them. Golden Hour has received a Metacritic score of 90/100 with five out of five stars awarded by The Guardian and many critics hailing it as the best album of 2018 so far. Golden Hour is absolutely beautiful: atmospheric, rich, lush, and hair-raising from start to finish. With dreamy, laid back, arrangements, and perky beats, the centerpiece is Kacey’s gorgeous voice. She has completely knocked it out of the park. Official audio for opener “Slow Burn” embedded below.


The 10 Biggest Songs of 2017 in the USA

Below are the 10 biggest hits of 2017 in the United States according to the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart. Britain’s Ed Sheeran takes the crown with “Shape of You”. The top song of an American artist is “That’s What I Like” by Filipino Hawaiian Bruno Mars.

1. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran
2. Despacito by Fonsi & Yankee Ft. Justin Bieber
3. That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars
4. Humble by Kendrick Lamar
5. Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
6. Bad and Boujee by Migos Ft. Lil Uzi Vert
7. Closer by The Chainsmokers Ft. Halsey
8. Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt
9. Believer by Imagine Dragons
10. Congratulations by Post Malone Ft. Quavo

Paramore Talks Hard Times

United States band Paramore has shed its punk proclivities for a funkier sound on “Hard Times” lead single off upcoming fifth studio album After Laughter. The music video is a nifty one, and we’ve embedded it below. Paramore scored a Top 10 hit in its homeland thanks to “Ain’t It Fun” from the last album. The band comes from the U.S. State of Tennessee.

US New Wave a Hit Thanks to Future Islands

Recently released The Far Field is proving to be a hit album for United States’ new wave band Future Islands. According to iTunes, it is Top 20 in both the US and UK and Top 10 in Canada! New wave has often done better in Canada than the United States with songs like “Let’s Go” by The Cars and “Rock Lobster” by the B’52s, both American bands, charting much better in the land of the maple leaf. Future Islands’ ability to capture the new wave sound is not just in the instrumentation but the singing style which masters the measured theatrics and pitch down bending techniques used by such acts as Simple Minds (UK), Sniff ‘n’ the Tears (UK), The Cars (US), and The Spoons (Canada). While millennials and boomers may be able to get into this, the Future Islands band is considered a breath of fresh air for Gen X-ers, and it helps too that Blondie’s Debbie Harry is featured on a track. Below is video for track “Ran”.

Katy Perry Doesn’t Like Being Chained to the Rhythm

As far as Twitter followers go, Katy Perry of the United States is the world’s most popular recording artist. After a contemporary Christian album under her birth name Katy Hudson was released in 2001, she hooked up with top producers Glen Ballard, Dr. Luke, and Max Martin to go mainstream. “I Kissed a Girl” launched her to superstardom in 2008, and she has been on a roll ever since.

Katy’s latest single is “Chained to the Rhythm”, co-authored by the aforementioned Max Martin of Sweden and Sia of Australia. It debuted in the Top 10 official charts of the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, most successful in Canada at #3. Katy released the music video today which is done in a 1950s futuristic theme and explores the conformity concept used in science fiction stories like A Wrinkle in Time. The song features a reggae vocal snippet from Bob Marley’s son Skip. The MV, embedded below, surpassed 6 million views in its first day of release.

The Most Popular American Song of 2016?

What better way to determine the most popular American song of the year than by looking at the American charts. Let the Americans be the judge of their own music. According to the Billboard USA Hot 100 year-end chart for 2016, which combines digital sales, radio airplay, and streaming data, the #1 song of the year in the country was by a Canadian artist. In fact, the top four songs were by non-American artists. “Love Yourself” from Justin Bieber was number one, and his “Sorry” was #2. Drake, also Canadian, was #3 with “One Dance”. At #4 is Barbados’ Rihanna with “Work” which features Drake. The saying goes that Canadians prefer British music, the Brits prefer American music, and the Americans prefer Canadian music. Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the … border, isn’t it. The top American artist entry on the chart is “Stressed Out” from Twenty One Pilots at #5 of the year. This is a rap-pop duo from the U.S. city of Columbus, Ohio. The duo has been around since 2009 but had a massive breakthrough with its fourth album.

ABCs Fong and Wang Together on Flow


Chinese American singers Wang Leehom and Khalil Fong have decided to collaborate together on “Flow” a track on the latter’s upcoming album Journey to the West (Black). Wang Leehom became one of the most popular male soloists in new millennium C-Pop. Though born in the United States (Rochester, New York), he chose to become a recording artist for the Chinese world. Wang became famous for incorporating traditional Chinese instruments into modern R&B music. Khalil is newer at the game. Also born in the States (Hawaii), he grew up listening to old school R&B like Stevie Wonder. Raised in Shanghai, he wrote children’s English language songs for the curriculum of his mother’s English school and slowly made his way into the Hong Kong scene by writing songs for other artists. View the MV below.

The Gagster Summons a Perfect Illusion

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Who? Okay, let’s simplify it … Lady Gaga. Yes, the dance music diva originally from New York, USA is back on the scene with new song “Perfect Illusion” which vaulted up to the top spot on iTunes in a number of countries around the world. Gaga’s rise to superstardom seemed to happen overnight back in 2008 with the release of her first single “Just Dance” and her debut album The Fame which sold an estimated 15 million copies worldwide. We last heard from her with the surprisingly well-received collaboration with adult contemporary crooner Tony Bennett. Have a listen to “Perfect Illusion” below.

Katy Perry Tussles with a Parachute

katy perry black cat

The first gold medal of the Rio Olympics has been won by the United States, in the sport of shooting. How typical! A number of American A-list singers are expected to release new albums this year including Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, and Katy Perry. The latter has released a new music video for her latest Olympic-themed song “Rise” in which she tussles with a parachute. Have a look below. After releasing an independent album in 2001, Katy Perry broke through with One of the Boys in 2008. “Rise” is her 19th Top 40 hit in the States. An oft-cited record of hers is that she became the first female soloist to score five number one hits from an album in the United States. Mylène Farmer and Delta Goodrem have also accomplished this, in France and Australia respectively.

Make Me, Britney Spears

britney spears 9x6

The big news in English-language music recently is that, besides the new single “Rise” from Katy Perry, her more senior fellow American pop star Britney Spears has dropped “Make Me”. The two songs are vying for the top spot on the iTunes charts in both The United States and Canada with Katy currently at #1 and Britney #2. Things are a little different in the UK with Katy at #2 and Britney at #12. In Australia, Katy is #1 and Britney #10. What is interesting about “Make Me” is that Britney has opted to write and produce the song not with an industry veteran but with a hot newcomer, Britain’s Matthew Burns to be exact. It was a big risk that seems to have paid off. We feel the song, with its catchy spy guitar riff, would sound better without the rap segment, although we understand there are some who like that sort of thing. It is done by G-Eazy from The States.

Britney Spears took much of the world by storm in 1998 with her debut single “Baby One More Time”. Her album of the same name set a world record for the most sales from a debut, standing at 30 million to date. Born is the U.S. state of Mississippi, Ms. Spears brought teen power back to pop music, something that had been lacking since the late-80s when Debbie Gibson, Glenn Medeiros, and Tiffany slayed the charts . Britney Spears has sold an estimated 200 million records worldwide (both singles and albums).

G.R.L. to Re-Form


It has been announced that ABC girl group (the ABC stands for American British Canadian) will be re-forming with a new single ready to launch, hopefully this summer.

GRL was first started up by Robin Antin, the woman responsible for the formation of The Pussycat Dolls and other acts. GRL released an EP and rocketed to stardom with a Pitbull collaboration in song “Wild Wild Love”. “Ugly Heart” was a massive hit in Australia, peaking at #2, and the girls participated in an big televised interview there, the video of which is embedded below. The lineup was Emmalyn Estrada (Canadian), Lauren Bennett (British), Natasha Slayton (American), Paula van Oppen (American), and Simone Battle (American). Songs were composed by a number of big names including Sweden’s Max Martin and Canada’s Henry “Cirkut” Walter.

The group’s increasing momentum was halted by the untimely death of Simone Battle. The four remaining members released a beautiful pop song dedicated to her called “Lighthouse”. Following this, the group disbanded.

On June 18, 2016, it was announced that Robin Antin was reforming the group. Both Paula and Emmalyn opted not to rejoin, the latter stating on Twitter, “I’m not a part of what the other girls are doing, it isn’t the right path for me but I’ll always love and support them.” Both Lauren and Natasha have committed and new member(s) are currently being sought.

Whether all of this actually materializes remains to be seen, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Justin Timberlake Can’t Stop the Feeling of Trolls


Justin Timberlake becomes only the second U.S. artist to top the Billboard U.S. Hot 100 since Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” championed the chart in mid-July 2015. All number one singles after that came from non-U.S. artists: Jamaica’s OMI, Canada’s The Weeknd and Justin Bieber, The UK’s Adele and Zayn, and Barbados’ Rihanna. The chart’s love affair with consecutive foreign artists on top ended in May 2016 with “Panda” by American rapper Desiigner for two weeks. Canada’s Drake took over May 21 with “One Dance”. Justin Timberlake now reigns as of the May 28 chart with “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the Trolls motion picture soundtrack.

Timberlake rose to fame as a member of boy group NSYNC. His solo career began in 2002. Since then, he has scored 16 Top 40 hits as a lead artist in his home country. The new song, like many, coming out of The States these days, is short on melody. However, the dance-themed music video (see below) gives it some appeal.

Calvin Harris and Rihanna Reunite

calvin harris rihanna

British dance music specialist Calvin Harris and Bajan singer Rihanna have teamed up on new single “This Is What You Came For”, and it has topped the iTunes singles chart in a number of countries. They previously worked together on 2011 smash hit “We Found Love” which sold 14.5 million copies worldwide. Since 2007, Rihanna has scored eight #1 hits in the UK while Calvin Harris holds the British record for most Top 10 hits from an album, thanks to 2012’s 18 Months which spawned a total of 8. The new song is a mid-tempo EDM track with softer vocals from Rihanna and combines old school Chicago house with modern tropical beats.

Lemonade at The Pirate Bey

Rather than keep her new album off all streaming services like Taylor Swift did initially for 1989, the latter’s fellow American recording artist Beyoncé made Lemonade available for streaming exclusively on Tidal, a site which requires a subscription. Digital Music News has reported that the album’s unavailability on ad-supported free streaming sites has led to a spike in piracy. Beyoncé’s new album Lemonade, out for under a week, is already the fifth most illegally downloaded album at The Pirate Bay. The most illegally downloaded album at the site is Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo which was also available for streaming exclusively on Tidal. Contributing to the rampant piracy is that the album will not be available on CD until May 6. It is available at the lower 256 kbps quality at iTunes (CD quality is 1141 kbps).

Welcome Back, Utada Hikaru!

utada hikaru1

The United States’ Utada, Hikaru holds the distinction of having the best-selling Japanese language album of all time, First Love, which, after its release in 1999, sold 8 million copies in Japan alone. Utada has released both Japanese and English language albums through her career. International Music Blog editors regard her album Heart Station as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 2010, Hikki announced a hiatus citing fatigue issues. In 2015, she gave birth to a baby boy and shared plans for a new album. She has released a couple of new singles which will both serve as themes for television shows. Her website announces a fund raising project based on the new music to plant cherry blossom trees in the tsunami-damaged region of Japan following the 2011 earthquake. One of her new singles, “Hanataba wo Kimi ni” (“Bouquet for You”) has debuted on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 at #3. Fans are encouraged to show support for her new projects with the Twitter hashtag #おかえりHIKKI (Welcome back Hikki).