NSYNC

They've been labelled competitors for more than two decades, but members of the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC recently hit the stage together in the ultimate show of unity, making their debut as "Back-Sync" at The Grove in Los Angeles, California.

Before performing each other's biggest hits, Nick Carter and AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys and Joey Fatone and Lance Bass of *NSYNC shared how the seeds of their friendship and new professional endeavors – including newly-announced Las Vegas engagement The After Party, featuring Carter, McLean, Fatone and Boyz II Men's Wanya Morris – were planted behind-the-scenes of their groups' perceived feuds.

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Twelve years before Justin Bieber dropped his debut album, My World, and shook the tween universe with his side-swept bangs, there was Aaron Carter.

The younger brother of Backstreet Boy's heartthrob Nick Carter, Aaron was responsible for some of the most iconic hits of 2000, from "Aaron's Party (Come Get It)" and "That's How I Beat Shaq" to his overplayed cover of The Strangelove's "I Want Candy." Carter arguably "paved the way" for today's tween pop stars like Bieber to become cultural phenomenons.

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One of the most colossal music releases of our lifetime has finally arrived.

www.youtube.com

After two years of teasers, delays, and a brief musical hiatus, Lil Uzi Vert kicked the Eternal Atake press run into full gear these past few weeks, spontaneously releasing a new single, short film, and the album track list all with very little warning. Leading up to one of the most highly anticipated releases of the past two years, Uzi fans became convinced that Eternal Atake would never see the light of day after a GQ expose with the rapper mentioned that he was fully pivoting into fashion. "The music is whatever, bro. I really do it just to make my family happy," he said. His family must be happy then, because the reception for Eternal Atake has already been stellar, and Uzi has finally fed his fans what they've been drooling over for years.

Check out the album below:

Eternal Atake

MUSIC

There Are No Greatest Hits Anymore: Compilation Albums Are a Cash Grab in 2019

With Fall Out Boy releasing another "Greatest Hits" collection, the question remains: why?

For decades, "Greatest Hits" albums were a necessary evil.

Before the explosion of streaming, compilations helped artists gain exposure among general listeners. The Eagles, Tom Petty, ABBA, and Bob Marley are only a handful of artists whose greatest hits compilations became definitive projects of their careers. "The Eagles Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, [the] 1976 collection...rivals Michael Jackson's Thriller as the most popular LP in American History," wrote Pitchfork. The band's first four albums were bloated and overbearing with artistic pretense, but with the greatest hits LP, The Eagles trimmed their hedges and solidified their cult-like fan base. Songs like "Desperado," which didn't chart at all upon its initial release, suddenly became an anthem for the band.

"Greatest Hits" compilations have best-served artists with longstanding careers, as well as artists who premiered prior to the streaming revolution. The Cure, Elton John, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, and Vera Lynn are of a handful of artists that have all had "Greatest Hit" compilations thrive in recent memory. Even artists like P!nk, who is still extremely popular, received a commercial boost from her greatest hits compilations. The singer's Greatest Hits...So Far!! was a chart-topping success, in part due to its timing. Released in 2010, the compilation came two years after 2008's Funhouse, which, while commercially successful, generated a lukewarm response from critics. But P!nk had been making pop hits for over a decade, and most Gen-Zers who weren't introduced to the singer prior to Funhouse missed out on the glory days of I'm Not Dead and M!sundaztood. The compilation served as a welcome reminder and aided the singer in becoming a generational crossover success.

P!nk - Stupid Girls (Official Video) www.youtube.com

The same can even be said for Spoon, who took a massive risk when they released a greatest hits album this past July. Yet even for Spoon, one of the late 2000s' last successful rock bands, a greatest hits album seemed warranted. "The set inarguably presents a concise and convincing argument for Spoon being one of their era's most distinctive and consistently excellent rock bands," wrote NPR of the release. The quartet had been releasing albums since the late 90s, and each project was worth a deep dive. Yet mainstream success had always evaded the group, so for those not familiar with the band, combing through each of their 10 albums to find the hits was a chore. The compilation, titled Everything Hits at Once, was curated as a resolution to that problem. "The record...exists as a way of giving fans an entry point into a catalog with so many beloved albums that the band's incredible consistency is something of a commercial liability," wrote NPR.

The truth is, as time has gone on, compilation albums have continued to perform poorly, and Spoon seems to be a rare exception. In 2017, only two Best Of collections made the Top 100 best selling albums that year. That was four fewer than in 2012, and "way below 2008," when 13 collections made the list. Aside from commercial success, "Best Of…" projects have also revealed artists' weak spots. Even though The Killers' 2013 Direct Hits charted at number 20 on the Billboard 200, the album was a critical fumble, as the release unveiled The Killers' lack of consistency. "Taken as a whole, it proves the band has fewer actual hits, let alone great ones than you thought," wrote Pitchfork. The same can be said for flash-in-the-pan pop artists like Aaron Carter, who released Come Get It: The Very Best of Aaron Carter and 2 Good 2 Be True one month apart from each other, the latter recycling 5 of the same songs from the former. Needless to say, both compilations were a flop and pointed at the glaring inconsistency of Carter's talent. There is also the traumatic case of Shallow Bay, the greatest hits compilation for post-grunge band Breaking Benjamin that was so disputed it caused the band to break up.

Aaron Carter - That's How I Beat Shaq youtu.be

Fall Out Boy announced on Tuesday that they are working on their next greatest hits compilation titled Greatest Hits: Believers Never Die – Volume Two, and now, more than ever, such a feat seems nonessential. Now with a new generation of pop stars entering the mainstream, The "Greatest Hits" formula has no doubt become less lucrative and less necessary for artists who've achieved fame thanks to streaming. The bands first volume of greatest hits was released in 2009 and was comprised of the band's emo anthems from the early aughts, many of which were released prior to streaming. Since then, the band has only released three albums, each album a complete departure both thematically and sonically from its predecessors. Their most recent effort, MANIA, was the first Fall Out Boy album since 2003's From Under The Cork Tree to not produce a Billboard Hot 100 hit and was mostly detested by critics, (though the album itself did debut at number one on the Billboard 200, respectfully).

Fall Out Boy - Centuries (Official Music Video) youtu.be

Regardless, Fall Out Boy are also bonafide pop stars now and are almost inescapable in the age of streaming. "Centuries" was the official theme song for ESPN and WWE; it spent twelve consecutive weeks in the top 20 of the Hot 100 and twenty-two consecutive weeks at No. 2 on Hot Rock Songs. It was certified 4x platinum in 2015, and the band even had to apologize because ESPN played the song so much. The song, like many in the age of streaming, is so bloated and overplayed that chances are those avidly avoiding Fall Out Boy have likely stumbled upon some of their recent singles.

But with music at its most accessible point in history, do mainstream compilations represent anything deeper than a cash grab? To have another greatest hits album made in 2019 seems messy and unwarranted, which is probably why many of today's pop stars have avoided the idea. Any sort of "Greatest Hits" compilation from Drake, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, or any other current pop icon would feel unnecessary, considering all of their hits are easily accessible, easy to point out in a project, and still played across the country. "One way around this problem is to dress up old songs in shiny new clothes," wrote The Guardian in 2018. This tactic seems to be the only way to quell the short attention span of today's music consumers, with Drake's Care Package being the most recent example of how re-packaging old songs can tap into listeners' nostalgia. Yet Drake has always been a different kind of beast, and many artists don't have as large of a treasure trove of hits to dive into as he does. "Greatest Hit" projects have historically served as an end of a chapter and were meant to solidify an artist's legacy, but Apple Music and Spotify do this for artists, with or without their consent. Whether or not that's a good thing has yet to be seen.

MUSIC

Petticoat Transcends "Fantasy" on New Single

The Bay Area's latest release grapples with his frustrating search for a real intimacy.

Nas Bogado

Petticoat's latest single, "Fantasy," is an electro-dance surge, a pop white-knuckler—and a last-gasp plea for emotional authenticity.

Petticoat is the brainchild of Bay Area native David Halsey, a musical persona that combines an '80s-indebted earnestness with a modern electronica starkness. As Petticoat, Halsey pulls from New Wave, house, and anti-pop for a sound and style that's as mysterious as it is inviting. "Fantasy" is his newest foray into sonic contradictions, with distorted vocals and hairpin turn as he pleads for real intimacy."

On "Fantasy," looping claps and bassy drums sew themselves under a sparse machinery beat. Petticoat makes his way through a multitude of bodies in a dark and crowded room, both literally and metaphorically. There's no shortage of options for a quick hookup, given the sotto sensuality of the song's percussion, but Petticoat's looking for something more. It's a song about looking for a true moment with someone new and the disappointment that comes with another missed connection. The unforgiving tempo reflects that frustration well, as the synths feint and dodge between the staccato drums. "Tell me what you're thinking of," he insists, as "all the people start to look the same."

"Fantasy" is an appeal bordering on prayer. Halsey desires a new lover to make themselves known. The search is still ongoing by the track's end; but as a tantalizing glimpse into what's in store i Petticoat's career, it's a good start.

MUSIC

WYO Explores the Pull of Gravity on "Changes"

Cinematic textures amid cool pop flavors.

WYO

Monika Sed

Indie-pop outfit WYO just dropped their sophomore album, entitled Changes, featuring ten-tracks of lushly textured music narrating the tale of a couple trying to stay together even as circumstances conspire to divide them.

Vocalist Andy Sorge explains, "Changes explores the many colorful phases of a relationship and of life. From the album's start to finish, each song represents a new season of 'change.' It displays a wide range of nuanced emotion from song to song that follows the raw intricacies of both being in and out of phase with your partner, and being on and off course with life."

Currently based in L.A. via Jackson Hole, Wyoming, WYO is comprised of Andy Sorge (vocals, keyboards) and Scott McKay Gibson (multi-instrumentalist). Since releasing their debut album, Untamed, in 2018, WYO has shared the stage with Robert Earl Keen, Avi Buffalo, The Fruit Bats, and Whitehorse, along with composing soundtracks for films, documentaries, and commercials.

WYO - Moonlight youtu.be

Showcase tracks on Changes include "Don't Stop," opening on gleaming guitars riding a driving rhythmic pulse."Moonlight" ripples with effervescent colors flowing into an indie-pop melody rife with underlying seduction.

"Hot Lights" features glistening keyboards atop a hefty throbbing rhythm. Crying guitar accents infuse the tune with yearning , leading to an irresistible chorus. "Do It Alone" offers bluesy savors, while Sorge injects the lyrics with nuances of smoldering tumescence.

"Queen of the Bees" rides tropical hues. "Stay Awake" blends lingering pop sensibilities with retro-flavored guitars, simultaneously suggestive and dangerous.

Imagine a superlative balance of Coldplay and George Strait, with hints of Maroon 5 laced in for good measure. That's WYO—cool, silky, and zesty.

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