CULTURE

2023 Grammy Nominations: Snubs and Surprises

Good thing Taylor Swift fans were too busy in the Ticketmaster death queue to riot over her snubs

Taylor Swift at the 58th GRAMMY Awards held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, USA on February 15, 2016.

Tinseltown via Shutterstock

It is with an apprehensive and tired sigh that I announce: the 2023 Grammy nominations are out.

The Grammy Awards are music’s most exhilarating and disheartening night of the year. Year after year, we’re all forced to sit through hours of pomp and ceremony. At the end of it, stars are disappointed by losses and audiences are disappointed by the boring spectacle the show has become.

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Music Features

Remembering SOPHIE: The Futuristic Producer's 5 Career-Defining Songs

SOPHIE, who pioneered the subgenre now known as "hyperpop," died January 30.

Lea Colombo

Sophie Xeon — the avant-pop producer known mononymously as SOPHIE — died January 30 in Athens, Greece, where the artist was living.

"Tragically our beautiful Sophie passed away this morning after a terrible accident," SOPHIE's record label, Transgressive, announced in a statement. "True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and accidentally slipped and fell. She will always be here with us." SOPHIE was 34.

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Devon

Press Photo

A rising star from Philadelphia, Devon releases her stripped-down acoustic version of Charli XCX's "Boys."

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Music Features

How the Digitized Weirdness of PC Music Became Pop's New Normal

With Charli XCX's quarantine album How I'm Feeling Now coming out this week, we look back on how her frequent collaborator, PC Music founder A. G. Cook, helped shape today's pop music.

A. G. Cook in the studio with Charli XCX and Caroline Polachek.

Courtesy of A. G. Cook

Last year saw the release of one of the most exciting and distinct pop albums in recent history: 1000 gecs by 100 gecs.

100 gecs' divisive, maximalist sound is just as fresh as it is peculiarly reminiscent of niche trends of the 2000s. Those who grew up among the Myspace-centric "scene kid" subculture likened the experimental duo to groups like Blood on the Dance Floor, the Millionaires, and Brokencyde. Others compared their blown-out production to that of dubstep DJs like Skrillex and Bassnectar. Some people couldn't stand 100 gecs, but everyone else couldn't get enough.

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New Releases

Charli XCX Shares Her First Social Distancing Song, "Forever"

The pop auter's upcoming DIY album is due in May.

Charli XCX really, really likes to keep herself busy.

In the months since her last album, Charli, the experimental pop auteur has had her hand at a few one-off tracks—like a remix of a 100 gecs earworm and a promotional single for Nintendo—but with so much free time on her hands lately, she just can't stop creating. This week, she announced she's working on a new album with the working title how i'm feeling now, created DIY-style from the comfort of her home. Now, Charli has shared its first song, "Forever."

A love song that evokes the sugary melodies of Charli's earlier work, "Forever" echoes the open-road freedom that we're all craving right now as we practice social distancing. Its lyrics grapple with the fleeting nature of relationships in all forms: "Drove the car off the road / I gotta give you time to grow / You're not a ghost, you're in my head / I didn't wanna leave you low," Charli sings in glossy AutoTune, illustrating how matters of the heart are never quite black-and-white. But despite taking time apart and facing difficulties like the "roof caving in," the romantic connection is irrefutable. "I'll love you forever," she repeats ecstatically over the chorus, before a crunchy, metallic breakdown takes over.

Charli co-wrote "Forever" with producers B.J. Burton and A. G. Cook, the latter of whom has worked closely with the singer since her 2017 album Number 1 Angel. how i'm feeling now is due May 15. Listen to "Forever" below.

Charli XCX - Forever (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

MUSIC

Charli XCX's "Quarantine Diaries" Will Make You Feel Less Alone

Are you having a hard time social distancing? So is she!

If you're reading this right now, you're probably cooped up at home, avoiding the outside world in a futile attempt to lessen the severity of the you-know-what virus.

It's a weird time to be alive right now, and if you're practicing social distancing to mitigate the virus' spread (which you absolutely should be), it's likely that you're feeling pretty alone. The good news is that you're not the only one in this quarantine boat; even Charli XCX, Britain's reigning princess of clubbing and having a generally fun time, is doing the right thing by keeping herself isolated.

The pop star, who just followed up last year's Charli with a remix of 100 gecs' "Ringtone," took to Twitter to share her "quarantine diary." If you're feeling unproductive or purposeless in this rough time, join the club! "Being a workaholic in quarantine is quite stressful," Charli wrote. "If I don't have a million things going on, if my brain isn't buzzing, this pit of doom starts opening up. I start thinking 'why?' 'What's the point?' 'I am so purposeless.' Quarantine is also making me think about the possibilities of a shift within my industry...What will happen to live shows?" She continued: "I don't have answers and some of this isn't even important but I'm just writing this as a stream of consciousness because I've currently got nothing else to do."

While this pandemic can feel frightening and confining, it's important to remember that we're all in this mess together. For many, not being able to work as productively or see friends can induce a wave of guilt; mixed with anxiety about the current state of everything, that "pit of doom" is a pretty relatable scenario.

It's OK if you're not being productive right now and can only muster up the energy to survive. Stay inside and find things that make you as happy as possible in the meantime. This will blow over eventually—then, you can go back to your usual existential fears of the 2020 election and the climate crisis.