From her collaborations with electronic pioneer Moby and rapper Eve to her ’80s dance-pop and R&B-influenced albums Love. Angel. Music. Baby. and The Sweet Escape, Gwen Stefani’s solo work has always given her the opportunity to explore genres and styles outside the already eclectic No Doubt brand. And while the singer’s appearance on DJ/producer Calvin Harris’s upcoming V promises to continue that tradition, it comes as a bit of a surprise that her long-awaited solo comeback single, “Baby Don’t Lie,” doesn’t venture too far from her band’s established template. Co-written by Benny Blanco and Ryan Tedder, the midtempo pop song finds Stefani effortlessly grooving to a reggae-flavored beat and an admittedly catchy hook, complete with her signature yelp, but it hews too close to the sound of No Doubt’s slept-on sixth album, Push and Shove, for which Stefani partly shelved her thriving solo career for eight long years. And a hip-hop-inflected breakdown, in which the Voice star raps, “You can tell me what you’re hidin’ boy/And you can tell me if I’m gettin’ warm,” feels forced, even for the eternally youthful Stefani, on an otherwise breezy track.
The Voice (#1–10 of 4)
Following in the dance steps of Madonna’s secretprojectrevolution, Lady Gaga announced she was teaming up with BitTorrent and VICE Media to premiere the music video for “Do What U Want,” the second single from her latest album, Artpop, featuring R. Kelly. Gaga posted a message on Twitter, in which she appears to have coined the term “quelped,” suggesting that the media would be “shocked” by the video, directed by photographer and frequent Gaga collaborator Terry Richardson. But a month later, the clip has mysteriously failed to materialize.
Michele Bachmann won’t seek re-election next year.
How South Africa fell out of love with Oscar Pistorius.
Finally, a comparative analysis of “Opposites Attract.”
Move over “ugly American,” China’s tourists are in town.
Michael Koresky travels to 1939.
A couple days had passed since Whitney Houston died, and I was still flipping through the channels looking for her name. If the grotesquely ironic circumstances of her death already seemed banal within a few hours of the news sinking in (thanks in large part to cable TV’s dependably crass repetition of the details), what was it I was still looking for? Some critic or musical collaborator who might confirm her genius and validate my fascination? The gratification of seeing my fan-grief shoved down everyone else’s throats? It seems right to be self-deprecating and embarrassed about my inability to let go of that voice booming out of my speakers, her beautiful image on the TV screen—as I know I must now that this weeklong coverage is mercifully over. But upon learning of her death, my reaction was similar to what Frank O’Hara described in his great roundabout elegy to Billie Holiday: However briefly, I started sweating and stopped breathing.