Harry Styles debuted a stomping new rocker, ‘Carolina,’ during a performance on Today Tuesday. The track will appear on his forthcoming solo debut, Harry Styles, which arrives May 12th.
The Beatles-esque track boasts a rumbling rhythm section, steady acoustic guitar vamp, a blues-y lead riff and plenty of pristine harmonies to back up Styles’ smoldering vocals. 'There’s not a drink that I think could sink her,’ Styles sings. 'How would I tell her that she’s all I think about/ Well I guess she just found out.’
Watch Harry Styles Unveil Plucky New Song ‘Carolina’ on 'Today’ - Rolling Stone
Read Kesha's Poignant Essay About Celebratory New Song 'Woman'
Kesha asserts her independence on “Woman,” a funk-laden new song from her upcoming Rainbow LP. The Dap-Kings horn section anchors the track with a sassy horn strut, as the singer boasts about her paying her own bills and “driving around town in [her] Cadillac” during a night out with friends. She even bursts into laughter at multiple points, cementing the song’s free-spirited vibe.
The musician co-directed the video, shot at Delaware’s Oddity Bar, with her brother Lagan. “It was one of those projects where I knew exactly what I wanted and it was just easier to do it ourselves than try to explain my vision to another director,” she tells Rolling Stone. The clip features the singer and her band rolling up to and taking over the bar.
In an exclusive Rolling Stone essay, the singer retraces the winding creative journey that resulted in this “female empowerment song” – from embracing her true rock and soul influences to recording with the Dap-Kings horns.
Kesha enthused that Rainbow, out August 11th on Kemosabe Records/RCA Records, taps into the “raw, organic” vibe of her true musical influences, including Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, T Rex, James Brown, the Beatles, Sweet and Dolly Parton. (The country legend makes a cameo on the LP, singing on “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You.”)) And a crucial first step in pursuing that sound was touring with her backing band, the Creepies, last year. “We did away with many of the big pop gimmicks: no dancers, no screens, no backing vocalists, no backing tracks,” she writes. “It was just my band and I letting it all out on stage.”
From that visceral stage experience, Kesha gained a confidence that propelled the album’s recording sessions. Recording “Woman” was a huge turning point: She brainstormed the song’s core lyric – “I’m a motherfucking woman” – while driving to the studio, developing the track during a “hilarious,” rejuvenating session with co-writers Drew Pearson and Stephen Wrabel.
“It was such a beautiful experience to write such a strong female empowerment song with two men … because it reinforces how supportive men can be of women AND feminism,” she writes. “That day was one of the best writing sessions of my life. It was pure raw joy. I have never had such a wonderful and hilarious work day as I did that day. It was one of those days I’ll remember forever, because it brought me back to why I wanted to ever start making music.”
After finishing the demo, Kesha joined the Dap-Kings horn section in their Brooklyn studio to finish off the track with their soul-funk “special sauce.”
“It was such an experience to come into their world and see the stacks of reel to reel tapes of Sharon Jones and Reigning Sound records that I love along the walls,” she writes. “The vibes are real in between those walls and a thick layer of soul seems to cover everything in those rooms and it bleeds into the music. It felt like recording in another era – like how I imagined my heroes recording in the Sixties and Seventies.”
Read Kesha’s full essay below:
Musically, I really couldn’t be more proud of this record. I think that this album sonically sounds more like the music I listen to than anything else I’ve ever done in the past. I love the music I have made before, but it was funny to me that I would go play huge EDM festivals and then I’d go onto my tour bus and get out my record player and put on Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, T Rex, Dolly Parton, James Brown, Beatles, The Sweet; any of those records. They all couldn’t be more different sonically from what I was doing, even though the same wild spirit was there.
I realized that for most of my life I was intimidated to even try and run in the leagues of the people I look up to. With “Woman,” I hope my fans will hear that wild spirit still strong inside me but this time it was created more raw, spontaneously and with all live instrumentation, which I found was a huge reason I loved the records I did love. There were one or two or 12 different people playing real instruments together, and all that real human energy is exciting and very fun to listen to. I wanted this song to capture that organic, raw, soulful sound and keep the imperfect moments in the recordings because I find the magic in the imperfections.
“I wanted this song to capture that organic, raw, soulful sound and keep the imperfect moments in the recordings.”
A huge turning point for me was my recent tour with my band, The Creepies. On that tour, we did away with many of the big pop gimmicks: no dancers, no screens, no backing vocalists, no backing tracks - it was just my band and I letting it all out onstage. Even though I didn’t have new music out in the world I was sick of waiting around, and I had a lot of raw crazy energy and wanted to reconnect with my fans. It was a sink-or-swim situation - it was either me sing my ass off or sound like shit, because it was just me singing. No safety net, nothing to help out or distract from anything if I hit a fucked up note. It put the pressure on me in a good way. I had to rise to the occasion and take control of my voice and in the process I gained a lot of confidence in my vocal ability I’ve never had before. When I went back to finish recording “Rainbow,” I had a whole new confidence in my voice because I had just gone on an entire tour and carried the whole thing with that voice.
I was really feeling that conviction one particular day while I was stuck in traffic on my way to the studio and out of nowhere I felt the urge to scream, “I’m a motherfucking woman.” By the time I got the the studio, I was chanting “I’m a motherfucking woman.” The two men I was writing with that day didn’t quite know what to do with me. I proclaimed again: “I’m a motherfucking woman”! Then Drew Pearson got on the piano and Wrabel started laughing. I told them, I’m not fucking with you - this is the mood I’m in - and this is the song we are writing today.
That day in particular I felt like I had earned the right call myself a motherfucking woman. I have always been a feminist, but for much of my life I felt like a little girl trying to figure things out. In the past few years, I have felt like a woman more than ever. I just feel the strength and awesomeness and power of being female. We hold the key to humanity. We decide if we populate the Earth, and if so, with whom. We could just decide not to have any more kids and the human race would be over. That is power. I just really fucking love being a woman and I wanted an anthem for anyone else who wants to yell about being self-sufficient and strong. (Yes, men, this song can be for you too.)
It was such a beautiful experience to write such a strong female empowerment song with two men, Drew Pearson and Stephen Wrabel, because it reinforces how supportive men can be of women AND feminism. That day was one of the best writing sessions of my life. It was pure raw joy. I have never had such a wonderful and hilarious work day as I did that day. It was one of those days I’ll remember forever, because it brought me back to why I wanted to ever start making music.
We were just making it up as we went. Wrabel and I got in the booth together singing vocals together and I sing “I do what I want” and he sings "she does” and I go “say what you say” and he goes “aahh” and I go “work real hard every day” and he starts laughing. It was one of those songs that just happened as much as it was written. We were like three little kids going fucking crazy. We were just giddy, singing in the vocal booth until we realized that we had somehow (Drew!) gotten ourselves locked in the vocal booth … we had to call a handyman who helped remove a window so we could crawl out before we died of asphyxiation.
"I just really fucking love being a woman and I wanted an anthem for anyone else who wants to yell about being self-sufficient and strong.”
We were delirious and laughing through the whole rest of the writing session. At one point, we were supposed to be doing vocals and Wrabel and I just lost it and laughed for an entire vocal take - we called that the laugh track - and when we were putting the song together, we sprinkled in the psychotic-sounding “laugh track” of us just yelling and laughing at each other throughout the song. It’s my favorite because it really captures the joy of this day, this collaboration team and this song. I really have to thank Stephen Wrabel and Drew Pearson for helping me through the past few years and making writing songs a beautiful thing again. Both of those men made my art/work safe and fun, and every session with the two of them was so healing.
Once we had that original demo, I had one of many “dream come true” moments on the making of this album when the Dap-Kings invited me into Daptone studio in Brooklyn to put the finishing touches on the track with them. I knew we had a good song but since the day we wrote it I had wanted that Dap-King special sauce to take it to the next level. It was such an experience to come into their world and see the stacks of reel to reel tapes of Sharon Jones and Reigning Sound records that I love along the walls.
The vibes are real in between those walls and a thick layer of soul seems to cover everything in those rooms and it bleeds into the music. It felt like recording in another era - like how I imagined my heroes recording in the 1960s and Seventies. I was honored to work with Saundra Williams, who spent years singing with the legendary Sharon Jones in addition to being an amazing artist herself, on the background vocals as well as the Dap-Kings horns and it took the track to a whole other realm.
For the video, my brother Lagan Sebert and I threw the shoot together in about a week and shot it while I was on tour in Delaware. We found a bar appropriately named the Oddity Bar and called upon my Creepies to emerge from their lairs (and my touring crew from their hibernation chambers) and we pulled the shoot together last minute. Saundra Williams came down to Delaware to be part of the party. It was one of those projects where I knew exactly what I wanted and it was just easier to do it ourselves than try to explain my vision to another director. Sometimes when things are so organic and visceral they just come together and this song and video are a product of that. I was going from dancing around and screaming to checking camera angles. I loved it.
To me, the thing I’m most proud of is that the song and video never lost the pure joy from the day it was birthed. I really hope people enjoy this song because I had the best time making it. I hope that energy passes through people and the fun is infectious. It’s important for me that people know that there are a lot of emotions on my new album Rainbow - but the wild fun energy that first inspired me to perform has not, and will never, go away. I’m still a motherfuckerrr.
The performance was straitlaced, with Tomlinson front and center and Aoki in the background, toying with the soundboard. Tomlinson and Aoki previously debuted the song live during an episode of The X-Factor, which occurred just days after news hit that Tomlinson’s mother died after a battle with cancer.
In a YouTube exclusive video, both artists detailed their tour stories. Aoki recalled a fan who climbed a wall and scaled a beam to get a high-five from the Grammy-nominated DJ during a warehouse show. Tomlinson noted that over the years, he would typically stay on the tour bus instead of in a hotel and somewhere in the middle of the night, the singer and his fellow One Direction member Liam Payne or whoever else was on the tour bus still by 1 a.m. would steal a golf cart and get chased after by security. After arenas started leaving notes to other arenas that they were stealing golf carts, the boys eventually bought their own go-karts and mopeds.
Hey guys! This here is a screenshot from Facebook of the original Rolling Stone article on EK’s new song and then the shared version from The Walking Dead from Skybound, the comic’s official page.
Lemme draw your attention to the RS article firstly: the headline?
Life after ‘Dead’
Hmm? The word “dead” is in quotes like its a metaphorical thing, as if she isn’t. Which EK isn’t, obviously. Now this is supposed to be a joke about EK’s role as Beth and how the actress is still making music, but I get the feeling it’s a hint as well, like they’re teasing us. At first I thought it was a happy coincidence because surely Rolling Stone don’t know about Beth’s return, until the lovely kjs12345 informed me about “fed headlines” which basically means TPTB can essentially pick a headline or suggest one for Rolling Stone to use. In other words a fed headline would mean TPTB said “hey use this headline for your article on Emily please!” And there we have it.
Now the Skybound one is literally Robert Kirkman’s own company (thanks again to Keith for confirming this), so for sure they know what they’re talking about when it comes to Beth’s character.
So let’s look at what they chose to add onto the article when they shared it from Rolling Stone:
Beth is back! Well, kind of.
Beth is back, huh? Again, they would pass this off as a joke but I think they’re teasing us. Putting that idea in our heads. And why would they want to stir that pot up again after the Bring Back Beth campaign? That campaign looked negatively upon the show and their decisions to “kill” Beth, if I were them I’d try not to remind viewers UNLESS you were going to reward them by actually returning Beth.
bethgreenewarriorprincess also mentioned that this week is a years anniversary since they filmed Coda, and she said with Birthday Cake’s release… Is this the birthday of Beth’s death scene?
Tesfaye seemed a bit nervous - not surprising for an artist who initially kept his name a secret, and even now banned cameras from the show. Though finally front and centre, he wore a camouflage jacket and remained strikingly still as if to be as unobtrusive as possible. Still, he confidently opened with High for This, causing the lit-fuse crowd to go off. At times he seemed taken aback by the reception, standing there, mike in both hands, staring out as the crowd sang his words back to him. It was an emotional night, and that came through in his voice, whether weaving through slow jams like The Party and the After Party or (relatively) upbeat romps like House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls.
During Wicked Games, the show’s epic peak, arms raising unironic lighters filled the air as his emotion-ravaged voice crooned “Bring your love baby/I can bring my shame/Bring the drugs baby/I can bring my pain” amidst a roiling rhythm and grinding guitar. The sing-alongs turned his abject loneliness into a communal catharsis. But the edge remained, be it the unrelenting dirtiness of Loft Music or the encore cut The Birds (Part 1) which used martial drums and strobe lights to amplify the implied threat: “Don’t make me make you fall in love.”
On new song Rolling Stone, Tesfaye sings “Baby I got you/Until you’re used to my face/And my mystery fades” which could’ve been his career epitaph if he’d faltered here. Until now, the Weeknd has existed as almost a figment of our collective imaginations, his ascent fuelled by anonymity, his communications coming via Twitter and Tumblr, his music existing only as web-distributed ones and zeroes. He could’ve dissipated like a dotcom bubble. But by bringing his aching digi-laments out of the Internet’s shadows and onto the stage, Tesfaye triumphantly proved that the Weeknd has no end in sight.
The funky, R&B-flavored “Don’t” is a screed about a real-life fling with another singer that grew ugly when she slept with Sheeran’s close friend while he was staying in the same hotel. With lyrics like “Me and her, we make money the same way/Four cities, two planes the same day,” Sheeran knows who fans will think it’s about. “It’s 100 percent not about Taylor,” he says. “Taylor’s one of these people that if you piss her off and she writes a song about you, it’s not good news for you. I’ve never dated Taylor. I’ve dated a few singers, though.” (Tabloids have linked Sheeran to Selena Gomez and Goulding.)
Sheeran did play the song for Swift after writing it. “She was just like, ‘Whatever happens, ever, between us as friends, I never want to piss you off that much,’” he says.
Ed Sheeran tells Rolling Stone that his new song “Don’t” is not about Taylor Swift x
Interviewer: So are you working on new music?
Jared: Always. I was in the studio two nights ago working on new ideas. I was talking to Paul McCartney at one of these events during awards season – always great to drop Paul McCartney’s name. Don’t worry, I’ll do Bono next [laughs]. Anyway, I was kind of prodding him for some advice. And he just talked about something I’ve heard many creative people say before. He said ‘You know what? Just write. Show up every day and write something. And keep writing. Even when you think you don’t have something to say, just do it. And wonderful things will happen.’ So I’m taking that approach. There are no rules right now. If a song is ready, we could release it. There might be a collaboration or a new song coming. You never know.
Rolling Stone: One Direction Collaborator Breaks Down Group’s New Songs
Julian Bunetta has been a longtime friend of and co-writer for One Direction and remains one of their closest musical allies. Since the boy band’s second album, Take Me Home, he’s gone from writing the songs for them to writing with the band and watching them grow along the way.
One Direction One Direction Songwriter on ‘Made in the A.M.’ » Along with discussing his history with the pop group with Rolling Stone, Bunetta also broke down several tracks from the band’s upcoming album, Made in the A.M. “I’ve had moments with all these songs,” Bunetta says. “All of them are good in different contexts. You’re not going to put 'Walking in the Wind’ on in a party. You’re not going to put on 'Never Enough’ when you wanna just sulk. They all have their place and their time.”
“Hey Angel” “[A couple weeks ago] I played the demo of [this song] for some friends, and if you could’ve heard what it was compared to what it is now, you would be very surprised. The demo was this danky little version with bad-attitude singing not done by the band. This one is very special to me.”
“Perfect” “That one took a long time, just because it was written over a couple different continents. It started as one thing and ended up where it is. Good driving song.”
“End of the Day” “Here’s a little fact about 'End of the Day’: It was written during Four, at the end of [the sessions for] Four. But it was not the same 'End of the Day’ as we know it. It was just a little bit of the melody; it was some of the verse lyrics and some of the chorus melody. It was written at the very, very end of Four, but there was no way it was ever going to get there, and it survived through a year of scrutiny. We re-worked the lyric and re-wrote it. That one was our link to the past. Good chorus.”
“If I Could Fly” “I remember when Harry first played it to me. That one I didn’t write, but I remember when I first heard it. We were in Wessex Studio for a week. I kept asking why he wanted to call it 'If I Could Fly.’ It’s a great song, so it doesn’t really matter what it’s called, does it?”
“Never Enough” “'Never Enough’ had an interesting life. It has a Stevie Wonder horn riff, and we’ve spent many nights in hotel rooms dancing to that one.”
“Olivia” “This one is very near and dear to my heart. Harry, John [Ryan, co-writer] and I were in Wessex and trying to write one thing and came out with this. I don’t know how it came out. We couldn’t write anything for a couple days, and we couldn’t focus. We were trying to write things, and they were bad. Then we would just laugh and order food and hang out. Then all of a sudden, at the very end of the day when Harry was going to leave, he was sort of saying the chorus phrase, so we just sat there and wrote it really quick. It came out really, really quick. That one was so fun because it has a full orchestra we recorded at Abbey Road: four trumpets, four trombones, three french horns, flute, clarinet, harp. That was an incredibly adult, musically indulgent song that we all had a lot of fun making. It makes me so happy. But 'Olivia’ was Harry’s genius.”
“What a Feeling” “I remember the first time I heard this one. Jamie [Scott, co-writer] played it for me, and I was so mad when I first heard that. I was so pissed off because the chorus was so good. I was just jealous. The harmonies on that song … I’ve had so many nights at my house having little dance parties to that song.”
“I Want to Write You a Song” “This one has one of [my favorite] lines. It’s so simple. I think that one of the best lines on the album is in that song. Personally.”
“Walking in the Wind” “That title was born in Japan. Just the title of it and the idea of it. Everyone’s different experiences of what they’re going through, whether it’s this or that, I’d like to think that these songs can apply to more than just [one instance].”
“A.M.” “This one was written in a black cab while driving around London. Literally. The whole song was written in a black cab, driving around London with a guitar and a laptop and other things. 'A.M.’ is the perfect example of the album’s layers and levels. On the surface, the title of the album is because of a lyric in this song on the album, right? But then, just as a cheeky nod and ode because of Up All Night and Midnight Memories, Made in the A.M. establishes a theme. You can sort of go from there. In terms of our personal experiences together, the times we spend writing and the times we spend opening up to each other, there are so many meanings. Hopefully the listeners will get that after a long time of listening to this. That was the goal.”
Their opening set was fire, roughing up their pop hits and doing a fantastic version of “Oh Well,” by the Peter Green edition of Fleetwood Mac, which sounds sounds so snotty as a sullen-teen-girl anthem — “Don’t ask me what I think of you / I might not give the answer that you waaant me toooo.” Somewhere, Peter Green must be proud these black magic women have given this song a new life.