Radiohead doesn’t play by familiar rules, so it wasn’t a surprise to see news this morning of a music video for the unreleased OK Computer track “I Promise.” Last month, the band announced OKNOTOK, a 20th-anniversary reissue of their iconic Grammy-winning album from 1997. OKNOTOK will feature a remastered version of the original album, plus B-sides and three previously unreleased tracks. Among those three tracks is “I Promise,” and its accompanying video, directed by Michal Marczak, is of a piece with the themes of ennui explored throughout OK Computer and Marczak’s All These Sleepless Nights. The video, not unlike Marczak’s three features to date, is a hybrid documentary-fiction, in this case a reverie about Warsaw in nighttime and all the lonely people, including a man-robot’s head, who absorb the Polish capital’s mundane wonders while riding a city bus. This uniquely immersive video attests to Marcak’s knack for empathetically homing in on the essence of archetypical figures, people and environments alike.
Music (#1–10 of 499)
Carly Rae Jepsen’s best single since “Call Me Maybe” was almost never released. Reportedly one of over 250 songs written for 2015’s Emotion, “Cut to the Feeling” was inexplicably left off that album—as well last year’s Emotion: Side B—because it was reportedly deemed too “theatrical.” Now the track is finally seeing the light of day via the soundtrack to the Canadian animated film Leap!, for which Jepsen voices the character Odette.
The second single from her upcoming album may have received a lukewarm reception, but the new music video for Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” delivers the goods. Directed by Paris and Montreal-based filmmaker collective Dent De Cuir, the clip is a visual feast that takes the single’s lyric “I’m on the menu” quite literally. The video begins with Perry vacuum-sealed in a freezer like a lump of pre-prepared dough. A team of male chefs—led by Roy Choi—knead, slap, stretch, and garnish the singer’s body, toss her in a deep fryer, and server her up to a room full of hungry, bougie partygoers.
Katy Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm” sounded like an early candidate for song of the summer, but the singer was ostensibly just warming up. Perhaps in part because “Chained to the Rhythm” burned slower than Perry’s past lead singles, “Bon Appétit,” the second release from her upcoming album, is a decided shift away from the “purposeful pop” of its predecessor, and she’s traded disco-ball scavenger hunts for pie recipe swapping. No soft political polemics here, just time-tested food-as-sex metaphors that hit like a meat tenderizer: “All that you can have, boy/Got me spread like a buffet…Appetite for seduction, fresh out the oven,” Perry sings over percolating synths.
If “Love,” the dreamy first single from Lana Del Rey’s upcoming album, Lust for Life, felt like more of the same from the soporific singer-songwriter, the newly released title track is a refreshing about-face. Opening with the sound of a motorcycle revving its engine, “Lust for Life” reprises the themes—youth, love, death, escape—of countless Del Rey songs before it: “They say only the good die young/That just ain’t right/’Cause we’re having too much fun,” she laments. Some ’60s girl-group shoops underscore Del Rey’s spoken passages, which make nods to the Angels’s “My Boyfriend’s Back.”
Lady Gaga’s last album, Joanne, felt like a forgery—a misguided bid to be taken seriously. This was curious coming from an artist who once refreshingly insisted that pop need not make any apologies. Joanne wasn’t the sound of a singer who’d lost herself, but of one who never knew who she was in the first place. Gaga’s new surprise single, which she premiered during her performance at Coachella last night, only further calcifies that impression. With “The Cure,” she abandons the middling singer-songwriter pap of recent single “Million Reasons” and abruptly shifts gears for a tropical house rhythm complete with a sped-up vocal sample reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s smash “Sorry.” The lyrics are composed of generic pop platitudes about unconditional devotion that aren’t worth citing here, rendered even more forgettable by a generic hook and a lifeless vocal turn by Gaga herself. If her intention was to make us realize just how much personality she imbued Joanne with, “The Cure” is a resounding success.
It’s been four years since New Zealand’s Lorde took the pop world by storm at just 16 years old with her hit “Royals.” Since then, the singer-songwriter has laid low aside from a contribution to 2014’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 soundtrack and guest vocals on Disclosure’s 2015 single “Magnets,” a standout from their album Caracal. After teasing her comeback record last week, Lorde has unveiled “Green Light,” the first single from her long-awaited sophomore effort, Melodrama.
If the political underpinnings of Katy Perry’s new single, “Chained to the Rhythm,” were too subtle for some, she made sure to put a fine point on her message at last week’s Grammy Awards, concluding her impressively choreographed debut performance of the song with a projection of the preamble of the United States Constitution. The new music video for the track is notably less pointed, offered up with more than a spoonful of the sugary, colorful imagery we’ve come to expect from Perry.
Reports that Lana Del Rey had hit the recording studio with both Emile Haynie (who co-produced much of the singer’s 2012 album Born to Die) and Benny Blanco (best known for his work with Kesha and Katy Perry) suggested she might be putting a modern twist on the throwback sound that made her famous. The first taste of those sessions, though, sounds like more of the same, with Del Rey winsomely crooning about cool kids who are “young and in love” set to a minimalist but heady symphonic arrangement that’s reliably, even comfortingly formulaic. “I get ready, I get all dressed up/To go nowhere in particular,” she sings on “Love,” as if describing an entire generation as well as her creative method.
Capitol Music Group
In case you weren’t among the lucky few who happened upon the 20 some-odd disco balls strategically placed around the world, from San Francisco to Paris, playing Katy Perry’s new single, “Chained to the Rhythm,” the track made its official online premiere tonight. Rather than the stomping disco anthem the song’s title and inventive, albeit not always successful, pre-release promo might have suggested, “Chained to the Rhythm” is a midtempo—but no less beckoning—invitation to the dance floor.