Aural Fixation – 8/26 (Music You Need to Know)

How great were the VMAs, darling?

I had a blast; the performances were top-notch, and even though most of my favorites lost in their respective categories, Selena Gomez still snagged the trophy for Best Pop Video. (Just in time to finish her ‘Stars Dance’ tour and retire into acting.)
Some of my favorite moments were Miley and Robin Thicke getting awkwardly-but-intriguingly frisky on the VMA stage, Drake bringing ALL the emotions, Kanye’s odd shadow-puppet performance, and, of course, the Lady herself slaying her first live rendition of her new single “Applause.”
Whether you had a chance to catch them or not, we’ve got all new music for you this week—some from performers, but all new and worth checking out.
It’s an exciting time in music. Enjoy this week’s Aural Fixation and some new sounds—iHeartRadio Music Festival is right around the corner!
– @Litzwich
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Lady Gaga: “Applause”

In case you’ve somehow missed the music video, the squeal-worthy Kia Soul commercial featuring the song, and generally been oblivious to one of the most anticipated singles in mainstream music, here is Gaga’s first single from her forthcoming fourth album, ‘ARTPOP.’ It is, in a word: Glamour. All of Gaga’s hallmarks from each individual album era that’s come before—those are ‘The Fame,’ ‘The Fame Monster,’ and ‘Born This Way,’ for those keeping score—collide together to create one of the most splendidly sparkling triumps in pop in a long while. This record is on fire, and if it’s a taste of anything to come, ‘ARTPOP’ will be an inferno.

Tamar Braxton: “All The Way Home”

Tamar Braxton—sister to ’90s R&B powerhouse Toni Braxtion and star of the reality series ‘Braxton Family Values’—now has a single. And it’s… Good! It reminds me, in the best way, of some of her sister’s better work from back in the day; it’s chorus is definitely suitable for a good cry, evoking a bit of Kelly Rowland and Keyshia Cole. “All The Way Home” is surprisingly good, with some surprising choices in the melody—it’s no “We Belong Together,” but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong on a playlist.

Drake: “Hold On, We’re Going Home”

Drake has the rare ability to fuse tremendously genuine emotion into his music. Whether “Going Home” is actually about Rihanna or not, who knows—just the word on the street, though it’s certainly got that romantic unrequited love thing going on, right?—but the pair definitely have a similarity when it comes to the sound they evoke for sentiment. Reminiscent of 2011’s duet “Take Care” and, coincidentally (seeing as he’s singing about the subject of the lyrics being a “good girl”), the Rih-mix of Wale’s “Bad,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home” is forward-thinking, well-produced, and snags the heartstrings in all the right places. Drake’s done us a solid with this one.

Goodie Mob feat. Janelle Monáe: “Special Education”

This hook is great—props to the ever-impressive Janelle Monáe—and the beat is even better, dirty and whirring like a nasty night at the club (paired, of course, with empowering lyrics about individuality and self-expression). Regardless, the juxtaposition works, because this song is pretty sick—but then again, that’s par for the course with any line-up that includes Cee-Lo and Janelle Monáe. It’s cool, it’s futuristic, and I’m stoked to share it.

O’Donis: “Lean”

Colby O’Donis—now just “O’Donis,” apparently—has just released this pleasantly listenable cocktail of R&B and indie-dance. You may remember him from Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” (he’s there, I promise) or Akon’s “Beautiful,” but it’s probabbly better to form your opinion on his more recent offerings. From the sounds of “Lean,” he’s developing a sense of himself as an artist, and the ambient influence, trap trademarks, and Drake-style empathic rap-sing give the song a sharp, contemporary feel. (Cheers to the community at OhNoTheyDidn’t! for finding this one—they’re a favorite source of mine for new music and music news.)

Miley Cyrus: “Wrecking Ball”

Proving that she’s no one-hit wonder, Miley came out swinging the day of the VMAs with a brand new single. “Wrecking Ball,” produced by hitsmith Dr. Luke, is a crashing wall of regret in the emotional sense; it really captures that “Shoulda woulda coulda” lump in your throat, and the track is the perfect addition to any soundtrack that requires a sing-it-all-out moment. (And damn does Miley sound spectacular!) Bring on October 4—Miley’s much-anticipated ‘Bangerz’ can’t come soon enough for me!
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Listen to the whole playlist here!

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Aural Fixation runs new music every Monday, right here on Literally, Darling. 

Tweet and follow me on Twitter @Litzwich to give your feedback, comment on the column, or just to share your favorite Britney .gif.

I’d love to hear what you’re listening to.

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