MUSIC

Lizzo Shows What Her Body Can Do on New Video for "Tempo (feat. Missy Elliot)"

In the video, you'll find plenty of twerking, glittering lingerie, and neon lights—and the opposite of shame.

Lizzo has graced everyone's Friday morning with her new video for "Tempo (feat. Missy Elliot)."

In typical Lizzo fashion, our patron saint of self-confidence continues to do revolutionary work by destroying fatphobic stereotypes and proclaiming her undying love for her figure and the music that best shows it off when she dances.

"Some songs ain't for skinny hoes," she says, rocking a red cowboy hat and bedazzled lingerie. On a lesser star, it might look performative, like trying too hard to be some kind of body positive icon, but Lizzo's performances always transcend shallow constructs like body positivity or purely appearance-focused joy. Instead, Lizzo focuses her attention on what her body can do—and clearly, her body was made to move.

Missy Elliot's feature takes the song to a new level, placing Elliot's bars over dramatic synths. When they come together with other dancers and start literally defying gravity, somehow it doesn't seem faked. In a way, they've all been floating the whole time.

Lizzo - Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott) [Official Music Video] www.youtube.com

This video's release comes a day after Lizzo told Cosmopolitan that depression nearly prevented her from releasing music,. "The day I released 'Truth Hurts' was probably one of the darkest days I've had ever in my career," she said. "I remember thinking, 'If I quit music now, nobody would notice. This is my best song ever, and nobody cares. I was like, 'F— it, I'm done.'

That dark time was only the beginning of a stratospheric rise to success. "Now the song that made me want to quit is the song that everyone's falling in love with me for, which is such a testament to journeys: Your darkest day turns into your brightest triumph," she said.

Later in the interview, she said that she'd be happy to star on The Bachelorette, under one condition. "The men would have to be naked and they would have to wear little thong briefs and they would have to feed me grapes," she said. Also, "It would be mandatory to get my p---y eaten at least once on the whole season, and it would have to be filmed."

Today, between her radically honest interviews and radiant, twerk-heavy videos, Lizzo is one of pop's brightest and most tradition-bucking stars. Next up, she'll be starring in the stripper-revenge drama Hustlers, alongside Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez, in theaters 9/13.

HUSTLERS TRAILER PREMIERE! www.youtube.com

MUSIC

Lola Marsh’s “Echoes” Is a Haunting, Twin Peaks-esque Dance Tune

The latest track from Lola Marsh is a noirish, ghostly tune that's guaranteed to have you tapping your feet.

The duo Lola Marsh just released their new single "Echoes."

It's an enchanting, textured track, set to an intoxicating beat and tied together by singer Yael Shoshana Cohen's silky vocals.

The band, consisting of Cohen and Gil Landau, formed in 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since then, they've been crafting noirish, danceable electro-folk, blending melancholia with electric energy to create music that pays tribute to many modern groups but also possesses a sound all its own.

lil marsh echoes

"Echoes" is a mysterious tune, one that lands somewhere between the moodiness of the Twin Peaks theme song, the expansive rhythms of Tame Impala, and the country-rock-psychedelia of early Muse. Its haunting lyrics could tell the story of someone scanning the crowd for a new lover, or wandering the streets alone, remembering a long-gone ghost of the past. Either way, the song feels drawn out of late night scenes, filled with images of neon signs and faint moonlight spiraling through fog.

Though it's about getting caught up in memories of the past, "Echoes" also feels free, like something has been released or exorcized by the end of the track. The band echoed this contrast in a press release, stating,"'Echoes' is about that feeling you sometimes have when you want to disappear, but at the same time, want to be found. That scary beautiful moment just before falling asleep, when you are the most lonesome version of yourself."

The video takes notes from '70s fashion and boasts a distinctly vintage feel. It finds the two musicians dancing as multiple versions of themselves, peering at each other from across an empty loft and slowly moving closer to each other. It's a fitting visual for a song that's disorienting and multifaceted, but also catchy and ultimately certain to get listeners tapping their feet. In some ways, because it's so gloomy and catchy at the same time that it feels designed for a haunted dance party, or maybe a rager at the decaying, vine-covered mansion down the road.

"We are so excited to have new music out there!" said the band. "After we wrote 'Echoes,' we immediately started to dance, and we knew that something very good just happened. Our director Indy Hait gave us the chance to finally show off our silly dance moves for the first time."

Watch the video for "Echoes" below.

Lola Marsh - Echoes www.youtube.com

MUSIC

Don't Worry, Miley Cyrus Is Still Freaky

With "Mother's Daughter," Miley Cyrus makes a pro-choice tribute to feminist punks.

Anyone still concerned that Miley Cyrus might be reverting back to her squeaky-clean Southern roots can stop right now, because it's clear that Miley isn't going back to white dresses and fields of wildflowers anytime soon.

Her newest video, "Mother's Daughter," finds her celebrating feminism, freedom of choice, queerness, and gender fluidity. She spends most of the video rolling around in a skin-tight red leather bodysuit and calling herself nasty, evil, and a witch—all words traditionally used to denounce women who don't comply with patriarchal norms. "Don't f**k with my freedom," goes the refrain, and it's clear that Cyrus is deadly serious: She has a fanged genitals to prove it.

Miley Cyrus - Mother's Daughter (Official Video) www.youtube.com

Though her performance comes off as slightly trite and exaggerated, the video's strongest point is its lineup of diverse bodies, all in flattering and powerful positions. That's a refreshing change from the legions of slim, mostly white, heteronormative-looking backup dancers that have been constants in music videos since the dawn of MTV. Guest features include 11-year-old philanthropist Mari Copley, body-positive actress and model Angelina Duplisea, dancer and activist Mela Murder, non-binary professional skateboarder Lacey Baker, trans models Aaron Phillip and Casil McArthur, and Cyrus's own mother, Tish Cyrus.

Overall, the video is decidedly intersectional, not exclusively fixated on race, gender, or sexuality but rather concerned with tearing down the boundaries between them. Along with its diverse cast, it features an array of feminist messages, including "virginity is a social construct" and "my body my choice" flashing between clips, alongside "images of breastfeeding, C-sections, menstruation pads—everything [about the female body] that's supposed to carry some taboo, but we should be beyond that," in the words of the video's director, Alexandre Moors. This imagery and the video's overall concept were modeled after the punk aesthetics of pioneering feminist groups like Riot Grrrl and Guerrilla Girls.

miley cyrus mother's daughter Image via YouTube

"The video is about the woman's body—the right to own your own body and make it free from the male gaze, in any way shape and form," said Moors in an interview with the New York Times. "It's a broad message, and we're not trying to be dogmatic. But we're living in difficult times in America, and what I get from this video is that it injects a lot of energy and determination and the right fuel for the struggle."

Still, in an era where social justice equals profit, it's likely that we'll be seeing more and more pop stars (or rather, their marketing teams) cashing in on diversity and social awareness. Sometimes, that will lead to painfully manufactured flops like Taylor Swift's ill-advised "You Need to Calm Down," which used a demographic Swift was not a part of as an accessory, so that she could place herself at the helm of a phony brand of allyship.

On the other hand, Cyrus—who is actually bisexual and who has a long history of supporting LGBTQ+ causes—comes off as a bit more genuine in this video than Swift did, as she's not trying to speak out for groups that she doesn't belong to. She also puts her own body on the line, drawing "mixed reactions" for its "intense imagery," according to Fox, and seemingly promising that her commitment to radical feminism is not just an act.

However, what really needs to happen in this era of social-justice-as-branding is the elevation of voices who actually belong to marginalized demographics. After all, Miley Cyrus has done performed her fair share of cultural appropriation, picking up and dropping identities at will; perhaps she's found her niche in intersectional feminism, but time will tell.

In the end, it's great when stars support intersectionality and representation, but that doesn't make up for actually recognizing artists who don't belong to dominant identities (or who aren't backed up by massive corporate record deals).

On the other hand, in a nation that seems closer to Handmaid's Tale-levels of dystopia each day, any protest is better than nothing, right?