MUSIC

Popdust's Spooktacular Halloween Playlist

Are you tasked with hosting a Halloween party this year? Let us help you with the music.

Howl you doing boys and girls? What's up, my witches?

Spooky season is drawing nearer, and with Halloween falling on a Thursday this year, it means that there is only one weekend to curate a spooktacular party playlist, and one opportunity to throw a fa-boo-lous Halloween party. It is no easy task, but if you want your guests to shake their BOOty, eat, drink, and be scary all night long, Popdust has just the playlist that will give your friends pumpkin' to talk about.

Itsy Bitsy Spider by Carly Simon

Have you ever heard such an elegant and moving interpretation of this spooky nursery rhyme? In this version, I wasn't rooting for the rain to "wash the spider out"; instead, Simon's mash up of the nursery rhyme with her hit "Comin Around Again" paints a darker picture. "I know nothing stays the same, but if you're willing to play the game, it's coming around again," Simon sings. The Spider's journey is a complex one: He is tenacious in his dream of scaling the water spout and is an inspiration to us all. "Nothing stays the same," little Spider, keep climbing. One day, you may just turn your dream into a reality. It's a reminder of our mortality and serves as the perfect song to kick off the night as your guests eat hors d'oeuvres and pour their first cup of spiked punch.

Follow the playlist on Spotify!

MUSIC

Taylor Swift Only Sees the Glitter in LGBTQ+

While her intentions are well-meaning, the "You Need to Calm Down" video is a missed opportunity to highlight the narratives represented by the queer icons.

Taylor Swift telling us to calm down.

Just when Taylor Swift gives us hope, she lets us down.

Her latest music video features almost every mainstream queer celebrity you could imagine. While her intentions are well-meaning, the video is a missed opportunity to highlight the narratives represented by the queer icons. Instead of throwing a trans flag at Laverne Cox, Swift could center the video on the activist and her perspective rather than on her own.

Taylor Swift - You Need To Calm Down www.youtube.com

The Todrick Hall production capitalized solely on the culture of the LGBTQ+ community— celebrating it and taking the song a bit too literally. But uplifting these voices means more than a feature in a video or tagging them on social media.

The music video highlights the visual aesthetic that "signifies" gay culture. There are rainbows and dancing and glitter. We follow a white cis, straight woman parade around with her LGBTQ+ friends. It's a party, a celebration of being yourself, fighting against "barbaric" homophobes with love and positivity. Yet, here, the biggest takeaway from this video is that at last, pop's biggest feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry is over. They embrace in the video— which will be sure to cause conversation. It overshadows the video's intent. It's also marketing genius.

The video ends with an image of text advocating for the Equality Act. The Equality Act was passed by the House of Representatives but now sits idle in the Senate. The law would extend civil rights protections to people of any sexual orientation and gender identity. Swift urged supporters to sign her petition asking for Senate support. The petition already has over 200,000 signatures, converting the single's success into political support for LGBTQ+ issues.

While Taylor Swift has contributed to the LGTBQ+ community through donations and recent political support, she's misinterpreted what an ally should be. Leading up to the video's release, Swift addressed a rumor that she would share a kiss with Perry:

"That is ABSOLUTELY false. To be an ally is to understand the difference between advocating and baiting. Anyone trying to twist this positivity into something it isn't needs to calm down. It costs zero dollars to not step on our gowns."

It's difficult to forget the days when Taylor Swift refused to comment on politics, to the point she threatened to sue over white supremacy allegations. Now, she's attempting to be a part of the conversation while lacking the language to be effective. What Swift cannot seem to grasp is that advocating for and offering a platform to the LBGTQ+ community should be greater than featuring them in a music video. Uplifting their stories and normalizing their experiences goes a lot further than a straight woman's celebration of pride. Expecting an immediate embrace from LGBTQ+ members after years of silence and quiet donations is asking for more credit than she deserves. It takes time to earn the trust of queer people, and just maybe, Taylor Swift should take several seats and listen.

Film Lists

The Best and Worst of the Awkward Ordeal That Was the 2019 Oscars

What you need to see and what you definitely don't.

The 2019 Academy Awards felt like a tense, forced dinner party that never felt comfortable no matter how many rounds of charades and glasses of wine forced on the guests. A dinner party without a clear host is always going to struggle, and if you throw in some racial tension and sexual assault allegations, you've got yourself a real cringe-worthy way to pass a Sunday night. To the credit of the Hollywood elite, everyone tried hard to make the best of the evening, and there were some high points worth noting, with plenty of low points worth noting with even more emphasis.

Here's our recap of the moments of the night that brought us to tears of joy, despair, discomfort, or boredom.

Most "We wish It was Freddie Mercury on stage": Adam Lambert and Queen Perform


Queen + Adam Lambert - We Will Rock You & We Are The Champions (Live From The Oscars) www.youtube.com


To open the ceremony, season 8 American Idol runner up, Adam Lambert, performed a tribute to Queen with the remaining members of the band. While Adam Lambert is an undeniable talent, Queen isn't Queen without Freddie Mercury, and Lambert's inadequacy was on bright display. The best part of the tribute was when the camera would pan to the audience, and we'd see magical little moments, like Glenn Close belting the lyrics to "We Will Rock You" or Javier Bardem doing the sign of the horns.

Most "I don't feel quite as uncomfortable now!": John Mulaney and Awkwafina


"Bao" wins Best Animated Short Film www.youtube.com


Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Tina Fey were always going to be a crowd favorite, and as expected their riffy monologue on the kind of canned jokes they would have made if they had hosted the Oscars brought down the house. But a more unexpected highlight of the night was Awkwafina and John Mulaney presenting the award for Best Animated Short. Their laid back acknowledgment of the nerves that come with attending the Oscars seemed to set the crowd at ease, and their comedic chemistry was impeccable (do we smell an upcoming collaboration?). However, we were very sorry to see John Mulaney's jacket choice.

Most "Green Book really shouldn't win": Alfonso Caurón's Acceptance Speech


Alfonso Cuarón wins Best Director www.youtube.com


The Roma director won the Oscar for Best Cinematography and Best Director, marking the fifth time in six years that a Mexican director has won for Best Director. Beyond his impeccable salt-n-pepper hair, Caurón's speech was also a real highlight, particularly as people began to feel more and more dread that problematic white savior movie, Green Book, really could take home best picture.

He said in his powerful speech, "I want to thank the Academy for recognizing a film centered around an indigenous woman, one of the 70 million domestic workers in the world without work rights," He continued, "As artists, our job is to look where others don't. This responsibility becomes much more important in times where we are being encouraged to look away."

The Second Most "We wish it was Freddie Mercury on stage": Rami Malek Wins Best Actor

While we admit to being massive Rami Malek stans and his performance in Bohemian Rhapsody was impressive, a glorified music video that erased much of Freddie Mercury's sexuality doesn't feel like it deserves all of the attention it got last night. Malek's acceptance speech was eloquent and moving, and it's notable that he very intentionally referred to Mercury as a "gay man," but all the same, we just feel pretty "meh" about it all. In a beautiful metaphor for the night, Malek ended up stumbling off the stage at the end of his speech, consequently dropping his Oscar and eventually being treated by paramedics.


Most "Holy shit please show the faces of their dates right now": Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Perform "Shallows" and Possibly Fall in Love

If you didn't cry during this performance, you're lying. Bradley Cooper was mostly just there looking handsome, but my god, in the words of Olivia Colman, "aghhh Lady Gaga!" When she hit that first belt, America fainted. When they touched their faces together at the piano? The entire nation, finally united in a common cause, revived and shouted in one voice, "F*CKING KISS!!!" If there were 100 people in a room...every single one ships a Cooper/Gaga romance. We hope Irina Shayk is doing alright.

Most "He Should Have Just Hosted": Everything Spike Lee Did All Night

May we begin by saying the fact that this man doesn't have an Oscar for best director is absurd. But he at least got some much-deserved recognition last night when he won the Oscar for Writing (Adapted Screenplay) for BLACKkKLANSMAN. He ran on stage and into the arms of Samuel L. Jackson, creating one of the most iconic photos from the night. His speech was powerful and very Spike Lee, but perhaps most Spike Lee of all, was the fact that he began with "Do not start that mother fucking clock," and you better believe they didn't dare to. But the moment of the night that people will likely remember Lee for was the moment he reportedly tried to storm out of the theatre when Green Book won Best Picture. He later voiced the sentiment of many when he said the Academy made a "bad call" in choosing Green Book.

Most "Oh my god, I would do anything for this woman": Olivia Colman's Best Actress Acceptance Speech


Olivia Colman wins Best Actress www.youtube.com


The Favourite actress won a surprise victory against Glenn Close last night, taking home the Academy Award for Best Lead Actress. Rarely has their ever been a more genuine, charming, lovely acceptance speech than the one Olivia Colman gave. She was so authentically surprised, grateful, and funny; it became apparent that she had won the adoration of a very divided crowd within just moments of taking the stage.

Most "Ugh. Of course.": Green Book Winning Best Picture

'Green Book' wins best picture at the Academy Awards www.youtube.com

The movie, about the life of real-life barrier breaker and world-class doctor, Don Shirley, was told from the perspective of his white driver. Earning much criticism from the press for being a "white savior" movie and, most notably, criticism and eventual denouncement from the family of Dr. Shirley, the movie has been sweeping awards season anyway. To make matters worse, the primarily white production team didn't even mention Dr. Shirley or his family in their acceptance speech.

Just...THE MOST: Billy Porter's LOOK

There are no words. Only applause.


Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.


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The most Trending articles on Popdust from the week of Independence Day festivities!!!

We had a great national holiday last week and enjoyed such great weather (at least in New York City). July 4th, Independence day, gave us a short week, but there was still so much going on. There were fireworks, music video releases, food on the grill, some movies that are really hot... or not. I have central air and I will never go back. It is worth every penny and I will sacrifice any luxury just to afford the constant state of chill in the rooms. Catch up on what you missed when you were playing in the sun and staring at a sky full of lights.

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LISTEN | Adam Lambert doesn't give "Two Fux" with new single

MUSIC | The frontman of Queen delights in smoldering rhythm with his comeback track.

The new song is as glittery and audacious as you could imagine.

His work with Queen is rubbing off on his solo work, there's no mistake about that. Adam Lambert, who has dazzled fans all over the world as frontman to the legendary rock band, has dropped a guitar-heavy romper called "Two Fux," in which he forgets "his inner peace, in leather." The new mid-tempo track is, presumably, the first taste of his long-awaited new record, the follow-up to 2015's invigorating The Original High. Last week, the rock star debuted the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with band mates Brian May and Roger Taylor in tow.

From the syncopated vocal to the bouncy arrangement, ripped directly from Queen's heyday, and eerily so, "Two Fux" is Lambert at his best. He blasts the roof off with his brazen personality, calling all outcasts to carry the torch alongside him. There is a timeless feeling to the melody, too, solidifying him as an undeniably player in major pop music, regardless if radio plays him or not--which is a another discussion altogether. But the thing about Lambert is, he doesn't care, and that's why he has millions of fans all over the world. Consumers will, generally, support his work, no matter what. Thank you, streaming!

"I only trust my tarot cards. Pink flamingos in my yard. People think that I'm from Mars, whatever," he barbs on the opening line. "Only smoke that holy green. High above the big machine. Not attached to anything, whatever." The upfront brashness leads into the provocative pre-chorus and sweeping hook: "I got that magic you call ADD. Rep for them aliens different like me. If you think that what I do and how I live's too much. I don't really really give two fux," he croons, tipping his hat to Queen's legendary work on such classics as "Somebody to Love" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." He continues, "If you think that what I say and what I give ain't love, I don't really really give two fux. Here, right here, right here. Namaste right here, right here, right here."

Check out the accompanying lyric video below:

As "Two Fux" suggests, Lambert's new album promises to be "a lot bluesier and earthier," he said. "I want to get back to live instruments—I like guitar and bass. I want to do it more for me."

He's been nominated for a Grammy, but finding his place in the ever-shifting pop world has been incredibly difficult. "That's the hardest thing about being somebody that's been in the business now since 'Idol' seven years ago, which is where it all started. You're a known entity—that's a good thing. You have a built in fanbase. But sometimes changing people's minds, or bringing them something that's a new phase in your career, is a hard sell. Whereas people love discovery. If they love a new song: 'I don't know who the artist is, but the song is sick.' I don't know how much people are paying attention to talent these days—I think it's about vibe."



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WATCH | Adam Lambert & Queen dedicate new song "Two Fux" to Freddie Mercury

MUSIC | Lambert and the iconic rock group pay homage in the best way possible.

The new song harkens to classic Queen, and Lambert has never sounded so good.

Glamberts have been along for a ride of their lives: beginning with Adam Lambert's 2009 debut LP For Your Entertainment followed with the sharp, bombastic Trespassing (2012) and later, 2015's criminally-underrated The Original High. The past several years, he has stepped into Freddie Mercury's shoes quite magnificently as frontman of Queen on a global tour, which continues tonight (June 23) in Phoenix. Ahead of that show, however, the group stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live, and they premiered a brand new track, the brazen and sweeping "TwoFux," in true Queen fashion. "No one gets me like myself. I've been this way since I was 12," Lambert wails.

"This song is dedicated to Freddie himself," Lambert declared over rowdy cheers, as the thick drums and blustering guitars swirled into view. With Brian May on guitar and Roger Taylor on drums, the performance was polished but reckless, soaring but intimate, passionate and fearsome. Check it out below:

Lambert and company also whipped out a version of "I Want It All," originally found on the band's 1989 studio album The Miracle, containing "The Invisible Man," "Breakthru" and "Scandal." The set also included renderings of "Don't Stop Me Now" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (cuts on 1978's Jazz).

If you were ever curious how Lambert fit into the group so well, the answer is quite simple: it was meant to be. "It was obvious to all three of us that this felt really natural. They liked what I was doing musically. It just felt connected. Then things snowballed. They said after that ['American Idol'] performance, 'Hey, we're interested in doing something.' I said, 'Yeah, me too, but hold on a bit—let me get my album out.' Then, one thing after another happened," Lambert told Time earlier this year.

On the vast difference between sold-out tours with Queen and promoting his solo work, he shared, "A handful of the songs in the set are absolutely ridiculous—high camp. Because the audience already loves the song, I know I can push it as far as I want. It's the most liberating thing. I wonder, whatever happened to watching an artist and having them make you laugh? Where is that in music? In the '70s and '80s, there was a lot of that. It was over the top. They weren't taking themselves that seriously."

RB/Bauer-Griffin

An official recording of "TwoFux" is slated to drop June 30.

For his next record, Lambert is aiming "to try something a little different than what I did before," he noted. It's a lot bluesier and earthier. I want to get back to live instruments—I like guitar and bass. I want to do it more for me." While he has had a rather impressive career so far, he hasn't quite reached the pinnacle many predicted early on he would. He mused on his place in modern pop music, saying "That's the hardest thing about being somebody that's been in the business now since 'Idol' seven years ago, which is where it all started. You're a known entity—that's a good thing. You have a built in fanbase. But sometimes changing people's minds, or bringing them something that's a new phase in your career, is a hard sell. Whereas people love discovery. If they love a new song: 'I don't know who the artist is, but the song is sick.' I don't know how much people are paying attention to talent these days—I think it's about vibe."

Check out Lambert and Queen's second performance now:


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