Music Lists

Our 8 Favorite Covers from Musicians in Quarantine

Are you bored in your house? So are these artists.

Stars, they're just like us—stuck in their homes and probably pretty bored.

Here in the states, we're going on a month and a half of practicing social distancing. We could very well go the rest of 2020 without being able to safely attend large gatherings like concerts, which is a huge bummer for both musicians and their fans. Thankfully, plenty of singers have turned to the magic of the Internet to help us get our live music fix, and there's nothing that spices things up quite like a good cover of somebody else's song.

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Culture Feature

A Message to Olivia Jade, David Guetta, and Other White Celebrities: You Can Just Shut Up

Some people have a responsibility to speak up, others should really just listen

Olivia Jade Giannulli, the 20-year-old social media influencer and daughter of actor Lori Laughlin (Full House) and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli has come under fire for comments she made on the topic of racial justice and white privilege.

In the context of ongoing protests filling the streets of American cities, Giannulli—who goes by Olivia Jade—must have felt she has some responsibility to add her voice to the conversation. Here's the thing though: She doesn't.

While nothing she said was necessarily wrong—it's true that "not being racist isn't enough" and that white people need to be active in the fight against racism—her comments quickly invited criticism from people who noted the strangeness of this message coming from someone who so recently came to prominence as a symbol of privilege. Jade, along with her parents, became central to the 2019 college admission scandal known as Operation Varsity Blues when it was revealed that they had paid $500,000 in bribes and fabricated a fraudulent athletic record in order to get her into USC.

olivia jade's instagram post

On top of the immense privilege that whole situation points to—with Jade potentially taking an admission spot from someone far more deserving and less fortunate—others noted that her parents (who recently pled guilty to conspiracy charges after more than a year of fighting for the charges to be dismissed) were expecting relatively light sentences–likely due to the white privilege which Jade calls on people to "use" in the fight for racial justice. Clearly she and her family know a thing or two about using white privilege.

Of course, in this situation it can be hard to know what to say, and it's clear that Jade's heart was in the right place. She was trying her best to be a sensitive and thoughtful ally for the protesters. Unfortunately, she may just not be cut out for that role, and for people like her, there is another option: Just shut up.

In recent days there have been a number of stories about people failing to take this route. Glee's Lea Michele was called out on Twitter by Samantha Ware and several other black Glee cast members who found her message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement at odds with her past cruelty. Most stunning of all was French DJ David Guetta's new EDM track dedicated to the memory of George Floyd, featuring a portion of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech." Along with inducing levels of cringe that scientists believed to be impossible, the song raises an important question, namely: Who asked for this?

The answer (obviously) is no one. While it's genuinely great that Guetta wanted to livestream a rooftop concert to raise money for coronavirus relief, no one needed or wanted that event to include a "shout out" to George Floyd's family, and the image of a 52-year-old white man dancing to a beat that he has for some reason combined with what is already the most abused and misappropriated speech of all time is simply breathtaking. Would some other tribute have been more well-received? Maybe (it's hard to imagine one being worse), but it was a minefield that Guetta chose to navigate at literally no one's behest. Instead of that, he could have said... nothing.

Not just about this topic, but about everything. If you want to help and you're not sure how, then you can just stop talking for a little while. Make some room for people who are more equipped to handle these complex and serious topics by taking a couple days—or a couple weeks—away from sharing every thought on social media. That was supposed to be the point of the #BlackoutTuesday hashtag, but the fact that it instead ended up co-opting the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and burying important information is indicative of the problem.

Olivia, you can use your platform to signal boost black voices without the clumsy commentary—it's the equivalent of lip-syncing along to "Happy Birthday" when you know that you can't sing (though in your case you're only figuratively tone deaf). For instance, if you'd just shared that chart differentiating covert and overt white supremacy with your little note to "read this and keep educating urself," you would have been fine. And David, you can still raise money for the coronavirus, but if you want to touch on the protest movement, just give up a portion of your livestream concert for someone more qualified to make a statement. in other words: Shut up and listen.

It's actually easy! You might be doing it right now, without even meaning to! Just notice how there are massive, historic events taking place and realize that you will survive people paying attention to something other than you. As a fellow white person online, I get it—it's tough feeling left out—but you can actually still play a part in history without trying to make it about yourself: You can join the protests (where you really can use your white privilege to help shield activists from racist violence), contact your legislators about policies that can help, donate to bail funds, and point your friends and followers to educational sources that have a stronger foundation to speak from.

If you need to say something, you can always try focusing a little more on self-criticism, rather than trying to direct others on how to be as enlightened as you. And, as always, if you feel like you're out of your depth (you do feel that, right?) and you're worried about the backlash you'll face if you get things wrong, you can just choose to keep your mouth shut.

New Releases

On New Album "Future Nostalgia," Dua Lipa Takes Female Empowerment to the Dance Floor

The English star's latest album is a fantastic collection of retro funk-pop.

Ever since first declaring her "New Rules" in 2017, Dua Lipa's music has come to represent independence, self-worth, and taking no s--t.

In the grand scheme of things, the English-Albanian singer rose to mainstream prominence fairly recently. But she first started uploading covers to YouTube ten years ago, and her new album, Future Nostalgia, isn't her first rodeo; she knows exactly what she wants, how she wants it, and how to get it. A thrilling dose of funk-pop, Future Nostalgia is the sound of a rising star long ready to stake her claim in the scene.

The title of the record itself even echoes the prestige Lipa has rightfully earned for herself. This is an album that you'll remember years from now, she seems to assert, and the album's glossy aesthetic borrows a handful of yesteryear's trends. The staccato strings of early single "Don't Start Now" demand to be spun at disco dance parties, while the jazzercise vigor of "Physical" nods to Olivia Newton-John's eponymous 1981 hit. "Hallucinate" parrots the oonzt oonzt of the late-2000s bloghouse boom that spawned DJs like Calvin Harris (who, a decade later, would enlist Lipa for their Top 40 hit, "Electricity"). Channeling the brilliance of predecessors like Madonna and Kylie Minogue with a modern twist, Future Nostalgia affirms that Lipa is one of the most important names in recent pop history.

Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now (Official Music Video)

Much of Future Nostalgia sounds fit for parties and club settings. "When this comes on, I want people to be like, 'OK, we're doing shots,'" Lipa said of "Physical," and her music has always radiated the cool-girl energy that would make you want to follow her on a ladies' night out. But past its disco-ball glow, Future Nostalgia boasts anthems of autonomy and confidence. On "Don't Start Now"—the kind of song that makes you want to lock down a boyfriend just to kick him to the curb—she declares to a pitiful ex that she's "so moved on, it's scary." On the braggadocious title track, she teases: "No matter what you do, I'm gonna get it without ya / I know you ain't used to a female alpha." Even when Lipa is lovestruck, like on the sizzling slow-jammer "Cool," she asserts that she's still "in control" of what she does.

During the album's latter half, Lipa delves further into her romantic side. But even at her most sensitive and vulnerable, sentimental moments like "Break My Heart" come with an impressive poise: "Had to love and lose a hundred million times / Had to get it wrong to know just what I like," she sings, her tone imparting that she won't settle for anything less.

Dua Lipa - Physical (Official Video)

Future Nostalgia's final moments, however, feel like the club has suddenly been shut down. Slow-burning closer "Boys Will Be Boys" attempts to make a profound statement against sexism, although its half-baked jabs border on cringeworthy. "I know that there will be a man around to save the day / And that was sarcasm, in case you needed it mansplained," she coos, which sounds more like what a man would think mansplaining is. As a girls' choir comes in for the oversimplified chorus—"Boys will be boys / But girls will be women"—the song is a well-intended gesture that mostly winds up awkward and credulous. Female empowerment anthems don't have to be so reductively lucid; Lipa's most genuine girl-power moments meet her in the middle of the dance floor.