Music: Weekly updates

If you didn’t have time to keep up with the music blogosphere this week, never fear! Here’s the Sparknotes version:

COACHELLA

Coachella, one of California’s biggest Urban Outfitters Conventions “music festivals” began over the weekend. There were lots of Instagrams of a ferris wheel and blurry, zoomed-in pictures of some guy on a laptop. And of course, everyone’s #ootd. Coachella is one of those things that’s cool as an abstract idea but in reality, you end up paying a ridiculous amount of money to vaguely recognize some music from a stage about half a kilometer away (if you can hear over the drunk frat bros who are standing less than five cm away from you) and not shower for three days. Meanwhile, your absurdly expensive weekend pass makes sure that all the journalists in the VIP tent get $10 bottled water for free. In case you have further doubts about Coachella secretly being lame, one of the most blogged about events was that Lindsay Lohan showed up and wasn’t drunk. If you want to actually hear and enjoy the music, you’re better off watching the livestream. If you’re in it for the “festival experience” (read: drugs), I think Gathering of the Juggalos is cheaper. If you want to take pictures to garner a lot of “likes” on social media, I guess #Coachella might be right for you. Hating on Coachella is the new “I wish I was at Coachella.”

JAI PAUL

A mysterious album of untitled tracks was released on Bandcamp earlier this week, supposedly by breakout British artist Jai Paul. Paul released a track called “BTSU” in 2010 that was highly praised by critics (and sampled by Drake and Beyoncé). In 2012, he released another song entitled “Jasmine” that was met with similar acclaim. Paul took to Twitter to address the rumors, tweeting “To confirm: demos on bandcamp were not uploaded by me, this is not my debut album. Please don’t buy. Statement to follow later. Thanks, Jai.” However, some attentive bloggers have pointed out that the bandcamp account that leaked the album is linked to the same email address as Paul’s official MySpace, prompting rumors that the whole thing is a publicity stunt. Regardless of who made or released it, the album that ended up on bandcamp sounds pretty consistent with Paul’s other stuff. It starts off strong, but after the first half it loses momentum and sounds a little too much like Toro y Moi b-sides.

DRAKE

In news that surprises pretty much no one, Drake continues to feel bad for himself and be obsessed with himself at the same time. He released two songs this week, both of which sound exactly like every other Drake song. In “No New Friends,” he talks about how much of a bummer it is that he can’t make new friends because he’s too rich and famous. It’s a cold world out there, Jimmy Brooks. In “Girls Love Beyoncé,” he makes a bunch of mundane comments about what “girls” like (a totally homogenous group of people…astute observation, Drake). He still gives off sad-bro vibes (“I’m scared to let somebody in”) but he isn’t too sad to remind us how awesome he is and reference his own recently released songs (“No new friends, no no no / You know how this shit go”). I was pretty excited when I heard the title because I thought Drake was going to take on the Illuminati and challenge the cult of Beyoncé, but alas, no beef in this track. Drake’s sing-rap delivery always sounds pretty much exactly the same but the chorus, with its heavy bass and slowed down Destiny’s Child melody, actually isn’t half bad. Good effort, Jimmy.

MAJOR LAZER

Major Lazer finally released “Free The Universe,” about a year late. As expected, it’s no “Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do.” The album comes off like an unintelligible mix of watered-down dancehall, corny club music and weird collaborations (Peaches and Shaggy? Really?) But it’s not entirely unpleasant. The tracks that sound the best are the ones where Diplo isn’t trying too hard to make a banger, like “Playground.” Instead of talking about it more, I’ll let the album speak for itself and list the album’s best and/or worst lyrics:

“I bet you have something to tweet, the way oh you suck / You have to send a tweet” – “Scare Me”

“She wetter than a surfer / I ate the pussy fast, I’m about to start burpin’.” – “Bubble Butt”

“Bangin’ on my ovaries and bustin my piñata / Feel you wiki leak, I can feel you wiki leak / Feel you wiki leak, I can feel you wiki leak / Feel you wiki leak, I can feel you wiki stop / Chewing on your buttock and I hack it like a Murdoch.” – “Scare Me”

“When the sun sets, the moon shines / Her Instagram pics stop time” –“Reach for the Stars”

Gangsta, gangsta, gangsta / Gangsta, gangsta, gangsta / To the rhythm / Gangsta, gangsta, gangsta / Gangsta, gangsta, gangsta / Get on Patron, run grab by your phone / Get on Patron, run grab by your phone / Get on Patron, run grab by your phone / Get on Patron, run grab by your phone / To the rhythm / Put them up! Hands up! / Put them up! Hands up! / Hands up! Put them up! / Hands up! Put them up! / Put them up! Hands up! / Put them up! Hands up! / Hands up! Put them up! /Hands up! Put them up! High like a jet like a jet blue jet / High like a jet like a jet blue jet / High like a jet like a jet blue jet / High like a jet like a jet blue jet” – “Jet Blue Jet”

DAFT PUNK

And last but not least, Daft Punk has been doing things. They ran around Coachella in their robot outfits and didn’t actually play any music, but did preview a trailer of a promising track with Pharrell, titled “Get Lucky,” off of their new album “Random Access Memories.” Thomas Bangalter complained that electronic dance music (EDM) is “in its comfort zone” and “not moving one inch.” Thomas Bangalter is also 38 so I can’t help but see him as EDM’s cranky dad, yelling at it to get out of the house and stop playing video games. The duo released the album’s tracklist on Vine (great choice of trending medium, old guys). They’ve been working on “Random Access Memories” since 2008 so it’d better be good.

Fingers crossed that all of this releasing/leaking makes everyone forget about the new Justin Timberlake album ASAP ‘cause JT’s falsetto had more than enough time in the spotlight in 2006.