Brent Faiyaz's New Album Is Haunting and Mildly Concerning

The singer's sophomore LP is a candid reflection on how elusive happiness can be.

Brent Faiyaz - FTW (Summer In London) Official Video

Vulnerability has remained Brent Faiyaz's greatest asset, and on F*ck The World, there is no shortage of it.

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13 Musicians Influenced By Psychedelics

Some wild stories from great musicians who dabbled in hallucinogens.

Harry Styles at Capital's Summertime Ball 2022

Photo by Matt Crossick_Global_Shutterstock

The story of psychedelics is intertwined with the story of music, and tracing their relationship can feel like going in circles.

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Is Bob Dylan Really the 7th Best Singer of All Time?

How could Bob Dylan rank number 7 on a list of best singers of all time?

Bob Dylan


On Monday, October 21st, the world woke up to see "Bob Dylan" trending on Twitter, immediately causing a jolt of panic in the hearts of fans.

But a quick scroll revealed that Dylan wasn't trending because he died, but because of a 2008 Rolling Stone list of the greatest singers of all time. The account that reposted the list, @crockpics, is committed to "sharing entertaining and memorable pictures of classic rock artists," according to its bio.

But the seemingly innocuous, dated list—reposted by a run-of-the-mill content-farming account—soon sparked heated online debate. Upon reading the list, fans began to argue amongst themselves about the validity of Bob Dylan's place on the list at number 7. In particular, many took issue with Dylan's placement above Freddie Mercury, who is listed at number 18.

Of course, as many pointed out, it's not clear whether the rankings were based merely on technical vocal skill or on a singer's whole package, including presentation, performance, individuality, etc. Based on Dylan's high ranking, one assumes the latter is the case. In fact, the article that prefaces the original list, written by Jonathan Lethem, states, "For me, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, just to mention two, are superb singers by any measure I could ever care about — expressivity, surprise, soul, grain, interpretive wit, angle of vision...If one of the weird things about singers is the ecstasy of surrender they inspire, another weird thing is the debunking response a singer can arouse once we've recovered our senses. It's as if they've fooled us into loving them, diddled our hard-wiring, located a vulnerability we thought we'd long ago armored over."

This seems to more than explain the list's logic. As much as American Idol and the like have trained us to think good singing is quantifiable, the truth is some of the musical artists who have most set the soundtrack to the common experience of being alive would not even make it past the first round of auditions on your average singing reality show. Everyone who really loves music, who has been transformed, soothed, or awoken by just the right song at just the right time, knows that singing is as much about soul and storytelling as it is about perfect technique.

So yes, if we're judging a singer's talent by range, pitch control, breath control, tone, rhythm, and diction, Mariah Carey should absolutely rank above Bob Dylan on the list of 200 best singers. But if you're judging a singer on their ability to tell a story, the pain and joy they can imbue their voice with, the distinct nature of their unmistakable sound, and the simple ability to deeply affect a listener, Bob Dylan is among the best singers there ever was.


Ryélle Grapples with Heartbreak in "Last Call" Music Video

The R&B singer struggles with love and lack of closure in her latest music video.

After the successful release of her 2018 single "Swim," R&B singer-songwriter Ryélle is back to share a cautionary tale of love and heartbreak in her latest music video for her song "Last Call."

The single, which is heavily inspired by Drake's "Marvin's Room," tells the story of a drunken lover trying to reach their significant other to no avail. "This song was actually written over three years ago, but the storyline is pretty timeless," said the singer. "Every girl can relate to this and the frustration of dealing with a guy who is just not good for them."

The video begins with a subtle fade in on Ryélle and her lover eating together at a long wooden table. Viewers then come to realize that this is an emotionally charged memory for the singer, as she begins to sing about her former love and how the tear stains in her clothes won't come out. Despite her best efforts to ease her pain with alcohol and quick dalliances, she still finds herself giving her ex a "last call." Ryélle's signature smooth and sultry vocals take an especially emotive turn to deliver lyrics like, "They say not to mix love and liquor, but I've had both."

"The video was easy to come up with since the song tells its own story," said Ryélle. "We shot for 16 hours straight, overnight at that! But not by choice. We got kicked out of our first location and spent hours looking for a new one. In the end, it worked out and I'm very pleased with how we told the story. I hope this song can serve as a strength to anyone in a similar situation."

The visuals display Ryélle's vulnerability as she grapples with the need for closure and her yearning to be closer to the object of her affection. The video concludes with an open-ended shot of the singer lying in bed with her ex before fading to black.

Check out Ryélle's latest music video "Last Call" below!

Meet Zia Benjamin, whose contagious blend of jazz, retro dancehall music, and roots reggae have thrust her into the limelight.

She describes her sound as "rum shop blues," adding, "I think my style is a mix of opposites: I'm like Shabba Ranks meets Marilyn Monroe, with a Nina Simone soul and a few shots of Appleton rum."

Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, and going on to attend high school and university in Canada, Benjamin got her start in music as a songwriter and vocalist for Sean Paul and Major Lazer. Then she decided to establish her own brand, which resulted in her debut solo single, "No Fame," and her latest single, "Rudie," putting her on the cover of TIDAL's Reggae/Dancehall playlist, as well as being selected by EBRO as the Beats1 Apple Music Discovered track.

Now, she's directing her music video for "Rudie," and putting the finishing touches on her debut EP, Love In A Plastic Cup, slated to drop in the near future. If that's not enough, on June 14th she makes her debut performance in the U.S., opening for Kabaka Pyramid at Club Reign in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

"Mr. Neverman" rides a potent melody full of percolating roots reggae flavors, skiffing guitars, and horn accents. The one-drop rhythm injects the tune with an infectious tropical feel. Benjamin's sultry voice glides forth on lush, seductive timbres.

According to Benjamin, "The video, 'Mr. Neverman,' is a visual vacation, I tried to invoke the feeling of a place where time stands still, showing Jamaica's beauty and showcasing its talent. All the fashion in the video is Jamaican-made (Flowerchild1999, Spokes Apparel), down to the nail polish (Bella's Beautique) and jewelry (Peace is of Bianca). I was pretty depressed when I started directing the video, and so I just poured my heart into it, I tried to express beauty and a sense of timeless love, but then ruin it with reality."

Benjamin explains "Rudie," saying, "'Rudie' to me is far more than just me throwing shade, its really me trying to play with the power constructs around relationships: it's about women diminishing and undermining each others power with a male as this prize, and yet the male that is the prize has already shown himself to be unworthy of a crown and their affection."

"Rudie" opens on deliciously skiffing guitars. A fat bass line rumbles as Benjamin's voice imbues the lyrics with cool textures of color, as she confronts her man's other woman.

"Baby forget him, he's mine all mine / You gonna regret it, wasting your time / He say he's leaving the past behind / You'd better put those dreams to sleep / I'll sing your lullaby."

Both tracks, "Mr. Neverman" and "Rudie" confirm Zia Benjamin's lustrous talent and sense of rhythmic flow, as well as her luscious smoldering voice.

Follow Zia Benjamin Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


MUSIC MONDAY | 123 Go... Keaton Simons

MARCH 5 | Nothing compares to Keaton

Meet singer songwriter Keaton Simons. Popdust asked him to create a playlist for this week's MUSIC MONDAY. He is releasing his new EP 123 Go on Friday, March 9th. So we thought it would be appropriate to share some of his favorite tunes to get your Monday moving. While there were many factors that contributed to this being the right time for Simons to return the focus to making his own music, the opportunity to record in Nashville for the first time with producer, Marshall Altman was right at the top of that list.

He's performed his original music on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Last Call with Carson Daly, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Keaton's music is also regularly placed in feature films and TV shows including Sons of Anarchy, Private Practice, and NCIS. His last single, "When I Go," was featured in both the 2015 Summer Finale and 2016 Winter Mid Season Premiere of SUITS.

WATCH | Sneak peek of Keaton Simon's new album 123 Go!

In 2015, Keaton supported Chris Cornell on his new album promo tour, playing guitar and on background vocals. A video accompanying Cornell on "Nothing Compares 2 U" at SiriusXM Lithium XM surpassed 32 million views and Keaton's solo was named 1 of 5 Top Guitar Solos of 2015 by Baeble Music.

He has even had success in the hip-hop world as a writer, musical director, singer, guitarist and bassist with notable acts such as Snoop Dogg, Gnarls Barkley, Tre Hardson of The Pharcyde, and underground hip-hop legend Medusa.

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