Photo: Fabrice Mabillot
Angélique Kidjo On The Staggering Diversity Of African Musical Styles, Collaborating With Burna Boy & Yo-Yo Ma And Elevating Her Continent On The World Stage
Ahead of the 2022 GRAMMY Awards on April 3, Beninese singer/songwriter Angélique Kidjo discusses her triage of GRAMMY nominations, working with Burna Boy and Yo-Yo Ma, and how the Recording Academy is coming to grips with the intricacy of "global music."
Consider this next time you get bored or think there's nothing to listen to: You could spend lifetimes upon lifetimes communing with Africa's extraordinary range of musical styles and never reach the bottom. Even the word "African" sometimes fails as a summarizing agent, says the Beninese singer/songwriter Angélique Kidjo.
"Our continent is huge. From one place to another, the language changes; the rhythm changes," the four-time GRAMMY winner and 12-time nominee tells GRAMMY.com. "The way the rhythm is danced and the way it's sung and carried is different. Even in my small country of 12 million people, man!"
Despite this boundless range of forms — and the recent proliferation of Afrobeats around the globe — try asking the average American who their five favorite African musicians are. You might be dismayed. But in narrowing this cultural gap, Afrobeats takes on added utility — Kidjo refers to it not only as a standalone style, but as a "vehicle" for traditional rhythms and melodies.
"If you take any music from any part of Africa and put it in Afrobeats, it gives you a different flavor of Afrobeats," Kidjo says. "Because you have the pulse of Afrobeats in it, you can consume and discover music from north to south, east to west, and central Africa in a way that we haven't [before]."
For those interested in establishing a foothold in this musical multiverse, Kidjo is something of a hub for emerging talent; her ability to inhabit any style she wishes makes her an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the breadth of African sounds. Just look at the range of contexts that garnered her GRAMMY nominations at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards.
In the Best Global Music Album category, her multifarious album Mother Nature got a nod. And in Best Global Music Performance, she's got collaborations with Afrobeats hero Burna Boy ("Do Yourself") and household-name cellist Yo-Yo Ma ("Blewu"). What's her attitude toward these global accolades? Kidjo feels magnanimity toward everyone nominated — and a desire to see her musical community elevated on the world stage.
"Whoever wins, I will be happy to celebrate with the person. It's not about my win or your win. It's about my company winning in a way that has never been done before," she says. "And it's opening a new era. It's a new chapter in the Recording Academy and the world of music today."
Ahead of the 2022 GRAMMY Awards on April 3, GRAMMY.com gave Kidjo a ring on Whatsapp to discuss her GRAMMY-nominated collaborations, how Mother Nature came to be and why she believes the Recording Academy is coming to grips with the unbelievable complexity of "global music."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Congratulations on three GRAMMY nominations. How are you feeling?
It is important for me to see the Global Music category opened up to my continent more. This Mother Nature nomination is really an honor and a pleasure. To see Wizkid, Femi and his son — it's been a long wait to see the continent of Africa forecast. I'm humbled and honored to be nominated three times.
How did you first cross paths with Burna Boy?
The first time we spoke, it was when he was doing his  album African Giant. He was in London; I don't know [how] his mother got my number.
I received a call from someone who said, "Burna Boy's going to call you." I said "Me? OK!" And then he called, and he said "I can't believe I'm speaking to you.' I said, "Believe it. Everything happens for a reason, and I'm just a human being like anybody else, so let's speak." He said, "I would be really honored to have you on my album — on my song, 'Different,' with <a href="https://www.grammy.com/artists/damian-marley/4304">[Damian Marley]."
So, I said, "Oh, send the song! What do you want me to do?" He said, "Whatever you want." That's how our collaboration started — with that song, "Different." Now and then, I'd speak to his mother and him. I met him for the first time at the GRAMMYs in Los Angeles. I went to see him and had a conversation. I said to him, "The GRAMMYs are like any award — you don't know what's going to happen. If we know, it wouldn't be a GRAMMY anymore."
[I encouraged] him to keep on working — it would come with time. Meaning, my first nomination came in 1995. After that, many years passed before I would get nominated. I didn't win all the time, and that's the thing — being nominated means that your work has been acknowledged by the business and your fellow musicians. Nominations are as important as winning in the GRAMMYs.
How did this attitude manifest in your recent work and subsequent GRAMMY nominations?
Mother Nature happened during the confinement — the lockdown. I had started [that album] in 2019. And it became obvious with the virus that our world was going to change. And if you want to talk about the world we live in, we have to give a platform to the youth for us to listen to them.
We don't listen to the youth enough. When you give them the opportunity to speak, they come up with things that are amazing that we underestimate.
So, that's how it started. Burna sent [me a song] in the evening in the studio, making me listen to it through WhatsApp Video. I said, "This is torture! Send that damn song, boy!" [Laughs.] And then he sent the song right before I went to bed. I was like "Ah, man!" The next morning, we started working on it.
It was absolutely amazing to see how we worked together because he sent me all the files and everything. I was being very respectful of his song, and then he sent me one of my voice that I did. He said, "I like it, but I want more of you!" I said "OK," did another one, sent it to him, and he said, "I still want more of you!"
I put in more of my voice, layered the voice, and did more stuff — call-and-answer. When I sent it to him, I was saying to myself, "He's going to cut some stuff out." No — he sent me it uncut. And that's how we started.
All of those people you named are worthy of the GRAMMY. That's what I have to say. They are masters in their own rights, in their own music. So it happens that we are in the same category together because their craft got the attention of everybody. You don't get there just because it's pretty. It's because your music has significance.
I can tell it's far less of a competition to you than an opportunity to uplift a global community of musicians.
Yeah, that's it. That's what I've said from the beginning: open up your ears. Africa has so much surprise in store for you. That continent — we can't see the bottom of it. Even us Africans can't see the bottom of it! Much less the rest of the world.
With all the strides made to bring African music to a wider audience, I imagine we have a long way to go. One could spend lifetimes poring over the cultural heritages of various African countries.
Even for us, "African" is a challenge. Our continent is huge. From one place to another, the language changes; the rhythm changes. The way the rhythm is danced and the way it's sung and carried is different. Even in my small country of 12 million people, man!
I come from the south part of Benin, and every time I go from one village to the other — my husband is French, and he goes, "Do you speak the language?" I say "Yes, I understand this language." And sometimes I go, "No, I don't." He's like, "It's your country!" I'm like, "Yeah! Every village has their own music — their own language." I can only speak four major languages out of Benin.
And the music is like that. It never stops! Every time, you go "I didn't know this instrument can sound like this!" It's crazy!
How can we continue to foster understanding and nuance in our appreciation of music from various African countries and regions?
I think the GRAMMYs are the best place to start. I've talked about and criticized the term "world music" for pretty much my whole career. I say, let's work on it. Let's bring many artists from Africa — and it's not just me and the Academy. We need to reach out to producers and new artists from Africa.
I think the Academy has, for the first time, a grip on the complexity of the music that's out there. Today, we have a vehicle, and it's Afrobeats. Because if you take any music from any part of Africa and put it in Afrobeats, it gives you a different flavor of Afrobeats.
The music that we do can make people say, "Oh, this language is different, or this aesthetic." But because you have the pulse of Afrobeats in it, you can consume and discover music from north to south, east to west, and central Africa in a way that we haven't [before]. The Afrobeats is underlining all those traditional rhythms.
I've been doing my career and living in France for many years, and they have the French GRAMMYs [Victoires de la Musique]. The GRAMMYs have opened to so many contemporaries in the world. It's not only the African continent; you have all the continents. Every artist is welcome at the GRAMMYs. If you're going to celebrate music, you have to celebrate it globally.
In your estimation, why is Afrobeats creating such a splash globally? To me, it's because it's more often than not very soothing and beautiful, which anybody can connect with.
It's just a matter of timing. In Afrobeat, you have blues; you have rock 'n' roll; you have funk. You have everything in there. That's why it speaks to people's ears here — because whatever music you like, you put Afrobeat on it and it speaks.
That's the greatness of Afrobeat, that Fela [Kuti] started playing a long time ago. Because Fela was a music lover. Beyond the music from Nigeria, he used to listen to all the [artists from] the R&B world. What was clear for him was that all of that had roots back in Africa. And Afrobeat is a conjunction of all that in the rhythm. That's why I say that in Afrobeat, there's no music that you can't do.
No matter which part of the continent they're from, what African artists are you enjoying lately?
I'm a curator for the Holland Festival, and I want to give a platform to women in rap in Africa. Let's face it: the music world is dominated by males. There are great, great female artists out there. I tell you, it's not easy when you're born a girl in Africa and want to do music. It's not easy at all!
I was lucky enough to have a supportive family. My father produced my first concert and did all kinds of stuff that allowed me to be who I am today. Many young girls in Africa don't have that. So, every opportunity I'm given to curate festivals and concerts, I always try to reach out to young women.
I have Sho Madjozi as a headliner. Tonight, I'm bringing a singer from Benin called Zeynab Abib — and other young girls from Senegal and Kenya. So, I try to open up roads and give people the chance to be known and start doing what they want to do with it.
Because I know how hard it is when you're in Africa and you want to be a musician. I can't even start talking to you about it!
What else have you got percolating, Angélique?
I did an album with a trumpet player from Lebanon called Ibrahim Maalouf. I performed with him recently at my Carnegie Hall show in November . And everybody was there — what the hell! He plays a quarter-tone trumpet. All the harmony will just take you to travel with what he's playing.
Also, I have a musical theatre work [Yamandja] with my daughter [Naïma] that we premiered at Mass MoCA at the beginning of March. We're going to do it also in Los Angeles on April 12, 13 and 14. And then we're going to go to UC Berkeley.
It is absolutely amazing — the story of the gods and goddesses of our religion. So, we go back in time, back and forth. The music is also pretty good, because we worked on it.
Anything you want to add before we get out of here?
I think that music can be the vehicle — more than ever today — for people to find meaning in this world. The song I did with Yo-Yo Ma, "Blewu," which is nominated, is the song I sang for the centennial of the First World War, in front of all the heads of state, including Putin.
That song's a song of peace, and it's relevant more than ever. Because we need peace. Even that day, when I was singing, I felt the division of the world between autocracy and democracy. When we believe in democracy, we can sit and say "I don't like this; I don't like that."
No one is perfect. The only thing that matters to me is how we protect our democracy. How do we perfect it? How do all of us together as citizens work with leaders for us to make sure that never again will our democracy be so much in danger?
That song, "Blewu," was the message that I wanted this world to understand. Our leaders, we put in power, but all we ask of them is to make sure that we have peace at any cost. So, music, for me, is the first and easiest thing that can penetrate and finally change things.
Photos: Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images; TiVO; Prince Williams/WireImage; Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images
Here Are The Nominees For Best African Music Performance At The 2024 GRAMMYs
The five nominees for the inaugural Best African Music Performance at the 66th GRAMMY Awards signal the commercial and cultural prowess of the continent’s music.
No matter who takes home the GRAMMY for Best African Music Performance, they’ll be making history in the process. One of three newly-added categories for the 2024 GRAMMYs, the award is a breakthrough for the African music industry, signaling the commercial and cultural prowess of the continent’s music.
"Giving African music its own category would highlight and celebrate the diversity and richness of Africa," Shawn Thwaites, project manager at the Recording Academy, said in a roundtable about the new category. "This is a great step forward!"
African musicians have a long history at the GRAMMYs, from Ali Farka Touré to Wizkid. Artists of any African musical style can gain a nomination, whether they make Ethio-jazz, Ghanaian drill, high life, or kwassa. This year, however, one genre’s stars are shining particularly bright: Nigerian Afrobeats stars Burna Boy, ASAKE, Davido, and Ayra Star all netted nominations.
And yet, this can’t be said to have been a conventional year for Afrobeats. The genre’s best and brightest have embraced the sensual, pulsating sound of amapiano, the South Africa-born house offshoot that has taken clubs from London to Lagos by storm. Three of the five tracks nominated take stylistic cues from amapiano, with ASAKE even namechecking the genre in the title of his nominated track. Meanwhile, South African Tyla’s blend of ama and R&B shows the pervasive nature of piano power across the field.
Learn more about the nominees below, and see who takes the pioneering award during the 2024 GRAMMYs, held on Sunday, Feb. 4.
"Amapiano"- ASAKE & Olamide
There are more established artists in this field, but none feel as momentous as Asake, whose rapid rise to fame feels at times like the Afrobeats equivalent of Beatlemania. Thanks to his deeply charismatic persona and spectacular stage presence, he’s become massively popular with just two albums under his belt. And speaking of spectacle, earlier this year he became the fourth Nigerian artist, behind Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy, to sell out London’s O2 Arena, entering on a helicopter.
The key to his appeal lies in his embrace of sounds from all over the continent, especially amapiano. His album Work of Art mixes the popular Afro-house offshoot with Mauritian séga music as well as fújì, an Indigenous Yoruba genre from Nigeria.
"Amapiano" works as both a statement on the title genre’s popularity and a subtle flip on its conventions, rearranging elements such as the iconic log drum and combining them with dynamic rapping from Asake and featured artist Olamide. The song’s hook — "Steadily, steadily, heavily, we are getting lit" — is especially irresistible.
"City Boys" - Burna Boy
There’s not a bigger star in Afrobeats, or even the whole of Africa itself, than Burna Boy. He nabbed two consecutive Best Global Album GRAMMY nods for his albums Twice as Tall and African Giant, and he’s also collaborated with global stars such as Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber.
After earning his first UK No. 1 album this year with the classic hip-hop influenced I Told Them…, featuring appearances from 21 Savage, J. Cole, RZA, and GZA, he’s firmly in his imperial era. It’s hard to get away with releasing a track called "Sittin’ On Top of the World" if you’re not doing just that.
Yet it was "City Boys," that caught the Recording Academy’s attention this year. Produced by MD$ and Ruuben with a sample from Jeremih’s sultry R&B classic "Birthday Sex," the stomping, glamorous track reminiscent of late-’90s Timbaland beats highlights the path of influence from hip-hop to Afrobeats. In the song’s flashy video, Burna Boy rides around the streets of Los Angeles in a yellow Ferrari and matches an iced-out Richard Mille watch with a Wu-Tang Clan durag, paying tribute to hip-hop’s extravagance and braggadocio. The track also topped the UK Afrobeats Singles Chart in September
"UNAVAILABLE" - Davido Featuring Musa Keys
Asake may have risen to fame based on his embrace of Amapiano, but Davido has been boosting the genre for even longer. Back in 2021 he joined forces with amapiano DJ and MC Focalistic on "Champion Sound," giving the style a crucial early foothold into the Afrobeats scene.
"Champion Sound" eventually became the lead single for Davido’s 2023 project Timeless, released after the tragic accidental death of his three-year-old son. It’s a record dominated by the forward momentum of Amapiano beats, and "UNAVAILABLE," the GRAMMY-nominated single from the album, is no exception. A brighter, smoother take on the sound with triumphant choral vocals on the hook, it features confident verses from Davido and collaborator Musa Keys.
Considered one of Afrobeats’ big three along with Burna Boy and Wizkid, Davido first broke onto the scene in 2012. He’s since dueled with the other two artists for records and chart placements, such as Timeless beating Burna Boy’s album Love, Damini as the biggest debut for an album on Spotify Nigeria earlier. The album also gained the most single-day streams for any African album on Apple Music.
"Rush" - Ayra Starr
With an anthemic tone reminiscent of Rihanna’s "Diamonds," Ayra Starr’s track was boosted up the global charts thanks to TikTok virality. Born in French-speaking Benin to Nigerian parents, the 21-year-old moved frequently during childhood, eventually ending up in Lagos to pursue music.
After a brief stint in modeling, she signed to the star-making Mavin Records label in 2020, only their third female act. This nomination is only the latest accolade for her: she’s already earned three Nigerian number one singles, a feature on Wizkid’s track "2 Sugar," and a spot on the soundtrack to Creed III.
"Rush" is all about staying focused and grinding towards success. Starr sings about the cutthroat nature of the working world with determined fierceness: "Me no get the time for the hate and the bad energy / Got my mind on my money." The track may have a distinctive Afrobeats clave rhythm and Nigerian pidgin lyrics, but its glimmering synths recall early 2010s electro-pop from the likes of Robyn or Carly Rae Jepsen.
"Water" - Tyla
The youngest nominee on this list and the lone South African artist, 21-year-old Tyla is already a star in her home country, having been nominated for two South African Music Awards.
With "Water," the lead single from her upcoming debut EP, she also became the first solo musician from South Africa in 55 years to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Largely driven forward by a popular TikTok challenge, the song debuted at 67 and has peaked at 21 so far.
It’s easy to see the crossover appeal of "Water," which could be mistaken for an American pop song if not for the sweltering Amapiano instrumental underneath. Singing entirely in English, Tyla’s vocal delivery brims with confidence and desire, especially over the chorus — "Make me sweat, make me hotter, make me lose my breath, make me water" — while the song’s sweltering video turns up the heat further.
The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy’s Voting Membership.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo: Maxime Ellis
Global Spin: Ayra Starr Shakes Off The Haters In This Confident Performance Of "Bloody Samaritan"
The West African songstress turns a Los Angeles stage into an Afropop party thanks to the 2021 single off her debut album '19 & Dangerous.'
Ayra Starr has a message for the haters: "Dem no fit kill my vibe." It's the empowering statement at the center of her 2021 single "Bloody Samaritan."
The song was released as the lead single off the West African songstress' debut album, 2021's 19 & Dangerous, and even earned a guest feature from Kelly Rowland on its official remix.
In this episode of Global Spin, Starr hits the stage in Los Angeles to perform the confidently defiant Afropop track. She's backed by a full band with a hype man, who got the enthralled crowd amped for the performance by shouting, "Alright L.A., let's turn this place into an Ayra Starr party, alright?"
"Vibe killer, bloody Samaritan/ Protect my energy from your bad aura/ Na my pastor say I be my healer/ Everythin' I desire, I go receive," the Benin native sings in a sparkling pink minidress and diamond choker as a wind machine gives her long locks the Beyoncé effect.
Adding to her rising profile as one of West Africa's most promising young talents, Starr most recently collaborated with Tori Kelly on the two-time GRAMMY winner's new self-titled EP, adding her distinct Afropop flair to album cut "unbelievable."
Press play on the video above to watch Ayra Starr's performance of "Bloody Samaritan," and check GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Global Spin.
Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images
New Music Friday: Listen To New Releases From Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Blackpink & More
The summer of 2023 may be winding down, but its musical offerings remain white-hot. Check out some new songs and albums that arrived on Aug. 25, from Maluma to Burna Boy.
The faintest hint of fall is in the air, but the summer of 2023's musical deluge continues unabated. Across genres, scenes and styles, the landscape continues to flourish.
We have Miley Cyrus's first song since Endless Summer Vacation — a vulnerable, proudly "unfinished" offering. On the opposite end of the vibe spectrum, Selena Gomez has thrown caution to the wind with the carefree "Single Soon."
Miley Cyrus — "Used To Be Young"
On her first song since Endless Summer Vacation arrived in March, two-time GRAMMY nominee Cyrus avoids tidiness, and pursues honest reflection.
"The time has arrived to release a song that I could perfect forever. Although my work is done, this song will continue to write itself everyday," she said in a statement. "The fact it remains unfinished is a part of its beauty. That is my life at this moment ….. unfinished yet complete."
"Used to Be Young" belongs to the pantheon of "turning 30" jams; therein, Cyrus looks back on her misspent youth, and the attendant heat of the spotlight. "You say I used to be wild/ I say I used to be young," she sings.
In the stark video, she gazes unflinchingly into the lens, without varnish or artifice.
Selena Gomez — "Single Soon"
Where Cyrus' new song bittersweetly gazes backward, Gomez's carbonated new jam "Single Soon" is focused on the promised reverie of tomorrow — sans boyfriend.
"Should I do it on the phone?/ Should I leave a little note/ In the pocket of his coat?" the two-time GRAMMY nominee wonders, sounding positively giddy about her unshackling from Mr. Wrong.
As the song unspools, Gomez gets ready for a wild night out; the song ends with the portentous question, "Well, who's next?" If you're ready to slough off your summer fling, "Single Soon" is for you.
Ariana Grande — Yours Truly: Tenth Anniversary
The two-time GRAMMY winner and 15-time nominee's acclaimed debut album, Yours Truly, arrived on Aug. 30, 2013; thus, it's time to ring in its tin anniversary.
Granted, these aren't "new songs," per se: rather, in a weeklong celebration, Grande is reintroducing audiences to Yours Truly.
Dive in, and you'll find "Live From London" versions of multiple songs. Plus — perhaps most enticingly — the sprawling re-release contains two new versions of "The Way," her hit collaboration with late ex Mac Miller.
Maluma — Don Juan
Papi Juancho is dead; long live Don Juan. "Fue un placer," Maluma wrote on Instagram last New Year's Eve. (It translates to "It was a pleasure.")
And with that, the Colombian rap-singing heavyweight ushered in a new character. He's now Don Juan — in a reference both to the fictional libertine and his birth name of Juan Luis Londoño Arias.
Now, Don Juan's out with his titular album — which he dubs a "mature" blending of the musics that got him going, like reggaeton, house, salsa, and hip-hop.
Burna Boy & Dave — "Cheat On Me"
Just over a year after his latest album, Love, Damini, Burna Boy is back with I Told Them… The Nigerian star offers another forward-thinking missive with his seventh album.
Featuring the likes of 21 Savage, J. Cole, and Wu-Tang Clan's GZA and RZA, I Told Them… is one highlight after the next — and "Cheat On Me" is one of them. For the advance single, the GRAMMY-winning Afro-fusion dynamo teamed up with London rapper Dave.
Therein, the pair expound on getting out of their own way. The chorus, powered by a sample from British-Ghanian singer/songwriter Kwabs, sums it all up: "I couldn't see/ I was cheating on, cheating on me."
Blackpink — "The Girls"
BLACKPINK are a bona fide cross-cultural sensation, but they won't stop at the music: they're a game now.
A little over a year after their second studio album, Born Pink, the acclaimed South Korean girl group has released a mobile app, succinctly called "The Game." Therein — and above — players can watch the video for "The Girls," their first post-Born Pink jam.
Don't say Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa didn't warn you: "Stop sign, we're burning it down/ Better watch out, we coming in loud/ Bang, bang, just playing around/ Don't mess with the girls, with the girls, with the girls."
The Killers — "Your Side of Town"
The Killers' beloved debut album, Hot Fuss, turns 20 next year; as a ramp-up, here's "Your Side of Town," a new slice of electro-pop from the Vegas crew.
The sleek, aerodynamic, Auto-Tuned "Your Side of Town" is their first single since their acclaimed pair of albums, 2020's Imploding the Mirage and 2021's Pressure Machine.
Here, the five-time GRAMMY nominees take a Pet Shop Boys-like tack with the music; lyrically, they're still putting the "heart" in heartland rock.
"I'm hanging on your side of town/ I notice when you're not around," frontman Brandon Flowers sings on the chorus. "Can't keep my cool, I'm burning inside/ A broken heartbeat, barely alive."
But the Killers — like everyone on this list — remain very alive.