teen pop stars

2

Harry Styles, Harry Styles

I never intended to like this record. I don’t say that to assert my hipster bona fides; I rocked out in earnest to “What Makes You Beautiful” for a good semester and was immediately on board with “PILLOWTALK” when Styles’ former bandmate Zayn Malik struck out on his own last year. But that was just the problem: Zayn was supposed to be the Timberlake to 1D’s *NSYNC, and I wasn’t ready to entertain a challenge to the throne. Luckily, Styles’ solo debut makes no pass at moody pop-R&B, instead laying bare his classic-rock influences. Harry Styles is full of shining moments: Styles soaring over the glorious “Sign of the Times” coda, the clever poignancy of his best lyrics (“Even my phone misses your call”), the winking, self-aware la-la-la-la’s in “Woman.” Even the album’s rollout was delightful: At a time when surprise drops are pop’s new normal, Styles’ more traditional campaign included an amiably ridiculous turn as Mick Jagger on SNL and singing “Landslide” with Stevie Nicks. The trope of the teen pop star hoping to reinvent as Serious Artist is well known; Harry Styles strives for artistry without taking itself too seriously. - NPR

Top 5 Shipping Moments of 2008

Year number two: Let’s dive into the shippers’ moments that colored the year of The Dark Knight, a presidential election, a tanked economy, and apple bottom jeans + boots with the fur. 

#5. SHELDON HUGS PENNY

The Big Bang Theory’s Shenny was mostly popular in it’s early seasons, as later seasons introduced new pairings. One of the best Shenny moments was in this Season 2 Christmas episode, ‘The Bath Gift Item Hypothesis.” Sheldon Cooper (at least back then) was socially awkward, disinterested in romance, and bad at expressing affection. In this episode,  however, he shows off his capacity to at lease express some affection when Penny gives him a napkin signed by (and wiped by) Leonard Nimoy as a Christmas present. This pretty famous moment is a lot of fun for Shenny shippers, since there’s something so sweet about the usually caustic Sheldon being given the perfect gift by the disinterested-in-geek-culture Penny. Like taking two extremes of fire and ice and somehow getting something just right in the middle.

#4 “THESE TWO BRAVE LOVERS” 

Another South Park Kyman moment for me, in the episode where Cartman gives Kyle AIDS, and everyone believes they’re a gay couple because it really sounds that way in context. Yeah, Kyman is a dark ship. We all have one. So what actually happens is: Cartman finds out he has AIDS, and since Cartman is a sociopathic monster who has wrecked countless havoc on the lives of others, Kyle can’t help but laugh. This incenses Cartman, who infects Kyle with the virus (shippy moment: he admits that he sneaks into Kyle’s room all the time), and thus the two have to work together to find the cure (which of course they do). Incredibly, Cartman can’t understand why Kyle is so mad at him, and even tries holding his hand. And then we get them being mistaken for gay all over the place by everyone. Since how else would they both have AIDS? (Yeah, this one’s dark and offensive. What else would you expect from South Park?)

#3. IRON MAN CREATES THE MCU AND TONY/PEPPER

While Tony/Pepper isn’t my OTP, there’s no denying RDJ and Gwyneth Paltrow’s chemistry, especially in this, the first installment of the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first of many shipping moments to come: The dance scene. The MCU in general has mostly spawned legions of slashfics, hero/villain pair-ups, and general love for the non-canon. However, there is still one canon pair that people tend to enjoy, both critics and shipping fans alike, and that is Pepperony. I can easily rank this scene as a very well-done romantic moment, in a movie full of action and character development. Take not, big-budget chaotic action films the world over: your caustic hero’s eyes lighting up when he sees his beleaguered assistant in the dress he picked out for her, leading her to the  dance floor while piano plays? That’s how it’s done.

#2. KATAANG HAPPENS IN ATLA’S FINALE

And the ATLA shipping wars were definitively shut down (for the moment, anyway) with this grand finale, where Kataang and Maiko reigned supreme with two awesome kisses and sweeping music. Although the finale also has plenty for Zukaang and Zutara shippers too…really, just a shipFest all around. Basically, Avatar has become the legendary fighting ground to which you can point out all aspects of shipwars for the newcomer: fan preferred pairing, slash pairing, ship wars, crack pairings, etc. However, who would end up with whom was up in the air until the series finale, and the huge wait between episodes meant that shippers were going at each other, left and right, night and day, with reasons why their ship was the one meant to be. And then the finale ended on a big damn kiss between Aang and Katara. Good? Bad? You make your own call.

#1. BARNEY LOVES ROBIN

The moment all Swarkles fans were waiting for. First: the hookup in Sandcastles in the Sand. Second: the end of “Miracles”, the Season 3 finale. Third: The premier of Season 4, where Barney outright tells Lily he’s in love with Robin. Be still our shipping hearts, the HIMYM OTP FINALLY happened. For context: although the first three seasons of How I Met Your Mother mostly focused on Robin’s doomed to fail romance with Ted, with Banrey as the whackiest of the three whacky sidekicks, season 1′s episode Zip Zip Zip launched the ship that came to be known as Swarkles, after Robin’s teen pop star name Robin Sparkles and Barney’s one-time nickname Swarley. But the chemistry wasn’t explored until the end of Season 3, and was kept as unresolved all the way through Season 4. Still, 2008 was the year that it happened, and it was about damn time. 

Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ shows she’s got more than gossip on her mind

By  Randy Lewis LA Times

The former country wunderkind turned international pop sensation is coming back Nov. 10 with “Reputation,” her sixth studio album and her first new collection in three years, the longest break she’s taken between albums since the 2006 release of her fetchingly precocious debut, “Taylor Swift.”

She’s grown up largely under the microscope of public and media scrutiny, first as the young country-radio darling who tapped an audience that Nashville had largely ignored — teenage girls and the mothers of said teens — then as a pop star who has built a massive following while also inspiring a vocal minority of dissenters.

Any remaining doubt as to her place in pop 11 years down the line, following a virtual lifetime out of the spotlight in the 24/7 world of the Internet, was obliterated with the release in late August of the new album’s first single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”

It shattered records for most views on YouTube, both for the official video, which logged more than 43 million views in the first 24 hours — besting the previous record of 36 million for Psy’s “Gentleman” —and for the preceding lyric video, which racked up 19 million views in the same amount of time.

Fans and critics alike pounced on the new song and video, batting raves and disses back and forth: Is it a striking step forward for the 27-year-old singer and songwriter, or an artistic misstep that rehashes beefs (with Kanye West, Katy Perry, others perhaps?) that no longer hold the interest of the public at large?

Those looking beyond the surface of the song’s allusion to a “tilted stage,” which appears to reference West’s use of same on his 2016 tour, can find good reason to anticipate that her track record of demonstrable artistic growth on each successive album may remain intact.

“Look What You Made Me Do,” for those paying attention, touches not only on people and forces in the real world that have sometimes conspired against her, but also on the inner changes and growth those forces have prompted her to undergo.

In the thematically dark — and darkly humorous — video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift encounters various personas she’s exhibited during her 11 years in the pop spotlight.

They span the doe-eyed ingénue in sundresses and cowgirl boots, who charmed country fans with her seemingly tireless enthusiasm, to the more reflective singer-songwriter who took center stage with 2010’s “Speak Now” album, to the restless pop experimentalist of 2014’s blockbuster album “1989.”

During that time Swift also has wielded her celebrity potently in matters personal and professional. First and foremost was her 2016 open letter to Apple gently but firmly shaming the company for an introductory offer to its new streaming service that would have denied royalty payments to musicians, prompting the tech giant to back down and reverse its policy.

She also went to bat for countless victims of sexual harassment in a widely publicized case in which she asked for — and won — a token judgment of $1 against a Denver radio deejay accused of groping her at a backstage meet-and-greet photo session following a 2013 concert.

Yes, the first salvo from “Reputation” references characters and situations that have contributed to her status as a favorite subject of the paparazzi and tabloid gossip columnist. It’s follow-up, “… Ready for It?,” is more energetic, and perhaps even optimistic, but no less bold in its toughness, with Swift referencing her celebrity status and the havoc it can wreak on a love life with the dare, “Let the games begin.”

Both illustrate that art is less concerned with gossip than growth — personally, professionally, spiritually— and Swift has demonstrated signs of each as the clock ticks down to the November release of “Reputation.”

ts1989fanatic FUCK FINALLY someone who actually GET’S IT

THIS IS THE LINE (Both illustrate that art is less concerned with gossip than growth)

Taylor Swift's 'Reputation' shows she's got more than gossip on her mind

LA Times (x)

By Randy Lewis

The former country wunderkind turned international pop sensation is coming back Nov. 10 with “Reputation,” her sixth studio album and her first new collection in three years, the longest break she’s taken between albums since the 2006 release of her fetchingly precocious debut, “Taylor Swift.”

She’s grown up largely under the microscope of public and media scrutiny, first as the young country-radio darling who tapped an audience that Nashville had largely ignored — teenage girls and the mothers of said teens — then as a pop star who has built a massive following while also inspiring a vocal minority of dissenters.

Any remaining doubt as to her place in pop 11 years down the line, following a virtual lifetime out of the spotlight in the 24/7 world of the Internet, was obliterated with the release in late August of the new album’s first single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”

It shattered records for most views on YouTube, both for the official video, which logged more than 43 million views in the first 24 hours — besting the previous record of 36 million for Psy’s “Gentleman” —and for the preceding lyric video, which racked up 19 million views in the same amount of time.

Fans and critics alike pounced on the new song and video, batting raves and disses back and forth: Is it a striking step forward for the 27-year-old singer and songwriter, or an artistic misstep that rehashes beefs (with Kanye West, Katy Perry, others perhaps?) that no longer hold the interest of the public at large?

Those looking beyond the surface of the song’s allusion to a “tilted stage,” which appears to reference West’s use of same on his 2016 tour, can find good reason to anticipate that her track record of demonstrable artistic growth on each successive album may remain intact.

“Look What You Made Me Do,” for those paying attention, touches not only on people and forces in the real world that have sometimes conspired against her, but also on the inner changes and growth those forces have prompted her to undergo.

In the thematically dark — and darkly humorous — video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift encounters various personas she’s exhibited during her 11 years in the pop spotlight.

They span the doe-eyed ingénue in sundresses and cowgirl boots, who charmed country fans with her seemingly tireless enthusiasm, to the more reflective singer-songwriter who took center stage with 2010’s “Speak Now” album, to the restless pop experimentalist of 2014’s blockbuster album “1989.”

During that time Swift also has wielded her celebrity potently in matters personal and professional. First and foremost was her 2016 open letter to Apple gently but firmly shaming the company for an introductory offer to its new streaming service that would have denied royalty payments to musicians, prompting the tech giant to back down and reverse its policy.

She also went to bat for countless victims of sexual harassment in a widely publicized case in which she asked for — and won — a token judgment of $1 against a Denver radio deejay accused of groping her at a backstage meet-and-greet photo session following a 2013 concert.

Yes, the first salvo from “Reputation” references characters and situations that have contributed to her status as a favorite subject of the paparazzi and tabloid gossip columnist. It’s follow-up, “… Ready for It?,” is more energetic, and perhaps even optimistic, but no less bold in its toughness, with Swift referencing her celebrity status and the havoc it can wreak on a love life with the dare, “Let the games begin.”

Both illustrate that art is less concerned with gossip than growth — personally, professionally, spiritually— and Swift has demonstrated signs of each as the clock ticks down to the November release of “Reputation.”

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Week 77 of My Weekly Recap

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NPR Music's Essential Songs, Albums, Performances And Videos Of 2017 (So Far)
Nearly four dozen musical moments from the first half of 2017, selected by public radio staff and partners, that helped to make sense of the world, or offer relief from it.

Harry Styles, Harry Styles

I never intended to like this record. I don’t say that to assert my hipster bona fides; I rocked out in earnest to “What Makes You Beautiful” for a good semester and was immediately on board with “PILLOWTALK” when Styles’ former bandmate Zayn Malik struck out on his own last year. But that was just the problem: Zayn was supposed to be the Timberlake to 1D’s *NSYNC, and I wasn’t ready to entertain a challenge to the throne. Luckily, Styles’ solo debut makes no pass at moody pop-R&B, instead laying bare his classic-rock influences. Harry Styles is full of shining moments: Styles soaring over the glorious “Sign of the Times” coda, the clever poignancy of his best lyrics (“Even my phone misses your call”), the winking, self-aware la-la-la-la’s in “Woman.” Even the album’s rollout was delightful: At a time when surprise drops are pop’s new normal, Styles’ more traditional campaign included an amiably ridiculous turn as Mick Jagger on SNL and singing “Landslide” with Stevie Nicks. The trope of the teen pop star hoping to reinvent as Serious Artist is well known; Harry Styles strives for artistry without taking itself too seriously. —Rachel Horn