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Kanye West (#110 of 58)

Christina Aguilera Gets Liberated in Kanye-Produced “Accelerate” Single & Video

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Christina Aguilera Gets Liberated in Kanye-Produced “Accelerate” Single & Video
Christina Aguilera Gets Liberated in Kanye-Produced “Accelerate” Single & Video

Christina Aguilera kicked off her recent media blitz for her upcoming album, Liberation, with a striking photo spread in the latest issue of Paper magazine. Stripped of her usual heavy makeup and bleached-bombshell waves, the naturally freckled pop singer was nearly unrecognizable. “Accelerate,” the lead single from the album, is similarly barebones. For a track audaciously titled “Accelerate,” it never really takes off, even when Aguilera begs, “Come on, babe, pick up your speed.” And that's by design.

Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2016

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Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2016
Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2016

So many of the highlights and lowlights of the year in singles were, for better or worse, attuned to what feels like a worldwide drift toward maintaining one’s own financial and psychological (same diff) bottom line at the expense of anyone else’s. Beyoncé, of all performers, was far from immune, though her particular brand of exceptionalism continues to dress itself up in the finery of collective consciousness raising. Far more common were the unfussy, ruthlessly entertaining likes of Fifth Harmony speaking on behalf of Melania Trumps everywhere. Or Kanye West’s epic clapback against Taylor Swift, which in turn presaged his detour into the mental hospital, which we’ve now seen firsthand more or less counts as the first step in a presidential bid in 2020.

Madonna Wrangles Beyoncé, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Chris Rock, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, & More for “Bitch I’m Madonna” Music Video

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Madonna Wrangles Beyoncé, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Chris Rock, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, & More for “Bitch I’m Madonna” Music Video
Madonna Wrangles Beyoncé, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Chris Rock, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, & More for “Bitch I’m Madonna” Music Video

After two singles highlighting the cardiovascular half of Madonna’s Rebel Heart project, the singer is unleashing her so-called rebellious side for the album’s third single, “Bitch I’m Madonna.” The first glimpse of the star-studded new music video for the track, inspired by a high-octane performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, came courtesy of the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, who posted a behind-the-scenes clip from the shoot last month on Instagram. Coyne wasn’t the only celeb on set though—but he’s certainly the weirdest. Despite the song’s title, the clip, which premiered exclusively on Tidal this morning, makes room for a litany of guests, including Chris Rock, Rita Ora, Diplo (who produced the track), fashion designer Alexander Wang, and the Queen of Pop’s two sons, Rocco and David. Other cameos—like a pose-striking Beyoncé, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Miley Cyrus—were beamed in via green-screen, giving the video a slapdash quality that’s rare for the music video pioneer. The apparent moral of the story? We are all Madonna. So grab your grillz and start humping the nearest wall.

The 15 Best Rihanna Singles

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The 15 Best Rihanna Singles
The 15 Best Rihanna Singles

Next month marks the 10th anniversary of Rihanna’s debut single, “Pon De Replay,” a summer smash that unassumingly launched one of contemporary pop’s most unexpectedly enduring careers. Like Madonna before her, the Barbadian singer compensates for her lack of obvious vocal talent with a shrewd ability to sniff out percolating trends and a willingness to zig when she’s expected to zag (“Russian Roulette,” “Diamonds,” and “Four Five Seconds” were all surprising moves for an artist who could have safely preserved the status quo). Her wild success, which includes 10 solo #1 hits in the U.S. (13 total, tying her with Michael Jackson), can also be attributed to her seemingly steadfast work ethic, yielding seven albums in just the first eight years of her career. That streak ended with 2012’s Unapologetic, her final album before parting ways with her longtime record label, Def Jam, last year. (She’s now signed to Roc Nation, a deal that reunites the singer with Jay Z, who first signed her one decade ago.) To celebrate Rihanna’s 10 years in the business, we took a look back through her catalogue of hits and picked her 15 best singles to date.

Single Review: Rihanna featuring Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”

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Single Review: Rihanna featuring Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”
Single Review: Rihanna featuring Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”

Earlier this month, Kanye West released a new track featuring music legend Paul McCartney. The move purportedly dumbfounded many of the rapper’s fans, who took to social media to ask, in apparently exasperated fashion, who exactly this Paul McCartney person is. The reaction was not unlike the one the former Beatle received after appearing on the Grammys three years ago. Now, in what will inevitably result in another round of both genuine and sarcastic head-scratching, West and McCartney have teamed up with pop superstar Rihanna. It’s been a merciful 26 months since the Barbadian singer’s last album, Unapologetic, but it looks like she’s gearing up for her comeback. Last night, RiRi tweeted “FIRST GLIMPSE AT MY NEW MUSIC!!!” (emphasis hers) with a link to her website announcing her new single, “FourFiveSeconds,” a midtempo acoustic jam featuring McCartney on guitar and Rihanna and Kanye trading verses about a night of wilding. The “Loveeeeeee Song” singer has often thrived outside of her usual dance-pop pigeonhole, particularly on reggae-tinged tracks like “Man Down” and understated ballads like “Stay,” but the stripped-down format of “FourFiveSeconds” only serves to highlight her vocal shortcomings. “I think I’ve had enough/Might get a little drunk,” she sings, with a raw, off-kilter, Tuesday Night Music Club quality. But rather than charmingly rootsy, her voice is scratchy and strained; belting has never been Rihanna’s forte, and it’s as painful as it’s ever been here.