Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV
Listen: *NSYNC Announce "Better Place," First New Song In 20 Years — Hear A Snippet
Just after reemerging together at the 2023 VMAs, *NSYNC have revealed their first new song in two decades — for the upcoming animated flick 'Trolls Band Together.'
On Sept. 12, *NSYNC set '90s kids' hearts aflutter nationwide. That night, the fivesome — Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and Lance Bass — appeared together at the 2023 Video Music Awards. (Let the record show: Taylor Swift was not OK.)
All of 48 hours later, the eight-time GRAMMY nominees have announced their first new song in 20 years: "Better Place," which will appear in the new animated film Trolls Band Together — the third installment in the Trolls franchise, due out Nov. 17.
Timberlake is no stranger to the Trolls world. He voices one of the trilogy's primary characters, Branch, and he co-wrote and co-produced the majority of the music from the films — including the smash hit "Can't Stop the Feeling!," which is one of his biggest hits to date.
Fans can hear a first snippet of "Better Place" in the second trailer for Trolls Band Together, which premiered on Sept. 14. And though the film won't hit theaters for another two months, *NSYNC fans will get to hear "Better Place" in full on Sept. 29.
Check out a snippet of "Better Place" below, and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more news as *NSYNC continues its resurrection!
Photo by CHAI
New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From Soccer Mommy, Jenny Owen Youngs, Sublime With Rome & More
With albums and songs from some of the industry’s most influential artists, take a peek at four new tracks that dropped on Sept. 22.
As we fully enter autumn, a myriad of artists are releasing new music to add to your seasonal playlist.
There’s something for everyone this Friday, with a new album from pop queen Kylie Minogue and a highly anticipated new record from Doja Cat, Scarlet. In sounds from around the globe, J-pop group CHAI offer "neo-kawaii" '90s-inspired beats. If you’re not in the mood to dance today, albums like Jenny Owen Youngs' Avalanche are an excellent soundtrack to blissfully vibe alone.
Check out these tracks from four different artists, and add them to your mix.
Jenny Owen Youngs - Avalanche
After nearly a decade since her last album, An Unwavering Band of Light, Los Angeles singer/songwriter, Jenny Owen Youngs is back. Her Avalanche is an emotional, intimate album exploring the depths of loss, grief, self-discovery, and restoration.
"When I try to say the things I can’t/It comes out like an avalanche/How else do I prove that I adore you/Something about my savage heart/That wants to tear your world apart/And stitch it all right back together for you," Youngs sings on the title track.
The beautiful, folk-inspired tracks lean heavily on piano and guitar, pulling listeners through a field of heavy emotions. At the end of the record, "certain things will be different than they were before," she said in an interview with FLOOD.
Beyond her indie folk music, Youngs continues to master all trades. She’s a co-host for podcast "Buffering The Vampire Slayer" and "The eX-Files," in addition to her work as author and frequent collaborations.
CHAI - Chai
Dedicated with love to their Japanese culture, CHAI's fourth album features fun, female empowerment tracks that they hope redefine the meaning of "kawaii," which in Japanese describes something as cute or adorable. CHAI’s uptempo new-wave sounds and pop beats add to the band's unique aesthetic and world.
CHAI’s uptempo album features new wave sounds and pop beats, as well as '90s inspired R&B and dance tracks such as "From 1992" and "Like, I Need." CHAI doesn’t forget to acknowledge their hometown, paying tribute to the genre of Japanese city pop, shouting out family members, and reminiscing on tracks "Driving22" and "KARAOKE."
CHAI's North American tour kicks off this weekend, at Flipside Festival in Idaho.
Sublime with Rome - "All I Need"
Co-founded by former Sublime member Eric Wilson, California rock-reggae band Sublime with Rome manifest positive energy on their new single, "All I Need." The group will release a new EP, Tangerine Skies on Nov. 3.
Bassist Wilson and singer/ guitarist Rome Ramirez continue to commemorate the influence of Sublime through covers and original works. As with many of the OG group's songs, Sublime with Rome's "All I Need" makes you want to lie on the warm beach and keep the good vibes coming.
Soccer Mommy - Karaoke Night EP
If you’re looking for music that makes you feel like the main character in a 2010 coming-of-age film, this EP is for you. Soccer Mommy's Karaoke Night features five covers from artists like Taylor Swift, R.E.M., Crow, Pavement and Slowdive. She seemingly reinvented the tracks, adding her own influence and alternative twang.
Born Sophie Allison, Soccer Mommy announced Karaoke Night in August, through her own version of Taylor Swift’s song, "I’m Only Me When I’m With You." Her take is a slower, guitarted version of Taylor’s original country/indie track.
"This song is one of my favorites from Taylor’s first album," she wrote on Instagram. "I listened to that record so much when I was a kid and I think it had a lot of influence on me then."
Photo: Jacob Webster
5 Takeaways From Doja Cat's New Album 'Scarlet'
'Scarlet' is a creative reset for Doja Cat, who returns to her rap roots for the 17 track, self-written record. Read on for five takeaways from Doja's jarring journey of introspection.
Doja Cat has come such a long way since her viral hit, "Mooo!" Since her 2019 breakout album, Hot Pink, which birthed the GRAMMY-nominated Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper "Say So," the 27-year-old's musical versatility, out-of-the-box concepts, and unique aesthetic helped her become one of the buzziest stars in music today.
Following her blockbuster album, Planet Her, Doja Cat is returning to her rap roots while still challenging herself. Released on Sept. 22, Doja's fourth studio project, Scarlet, was entirely self-penned. The 17-track LP contains zero features and is named after GRAMMY winner's alter ego.
Scarlet is a creative reset, released after Doja Cat denounced her previous two albums as "cash-grabs." On "Demons," Doja addresses critics who labeled her "too pop" and doubted her rap skills: "I'm a puppet, I'm a sheep, I'm a cash cow / I'm the fastest-growing bitches on all your apps now," she raps.
Elsewhere, Scarlet sees a self-assured Doja Cat trading in her radio-friendly sound for an emotional release, which is best exemplified on tracks like "97," "Skull and Bones," "Balut, " and her latest single, "Agora Hills."
"It's kind of an intro to what's to come," she told Harper’s Bazaar in August. "This new album is more introspective, but I'm not leaning so hard into that to where it becomes boring. So I want to give stories and bops. It's a nice mixture of both.
"I think this project is a really fun canvas for me to play with my rap skills and talk about what's going on in my life," she continued. "But I'm not abandoning who I was and what I know about pop and singing and that aspect of music."
Throughout its jarring journey of introspection, here are five takeaways from Doja Cat’s new album, Scarlet.
She's Devilishly Creative In Her Scarlet Era
Doja Cat has been quirky and daring since day one, but Scarlet demonstrates her desire to reinvent herself and provoke anyone who'll listen — even if it means possibly alienating her fanbase. True to form, Scarlet had an impossible-to-miss rollout, which included her Scarlet character's nude, blood-covered wax figure popping up around the U.S.
But that stunt pales in comparison to her music videos for "Demons" and "Paint the Town Red," the latter of which is the first hip-hop song to top the Hot 100 this year.
Both visuals feature occult themes, as well as references to death and the devil, but no matter how "frightening" they may come off to some, they're further proof that Doja Cat isn't just an internet meme — she's a creative genius who knows how to demand our attention.
She's Enjoying Her Success And Fame
Multiple tracks off Scarlet, including "Paint the Town Red," "Attention," and "F— the Girls (FTG)," are a direct response to how Doja Cat's seemingly meteoric success in recent years has made her the target of jealousy and criticism from fans and peers. But "Love Life" stands out due to its lighter approach, as Doja Cat expresses her gratitude for those who helped her make it this far: "I love it when my team feel strong and them deals flowin' in" and "I understand you want me to win / I understand how hard that you bend."
Like many artists, Doja Cat's rise to fame was not without some struggle. Most notably, her "writer's block" stopped her from being able to join forces with Billie Eilish on her popular 2017 song, "Bellyache." But life now is good for the star, born Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, and she isn't apologizing for it.
But She's Aware That Celebrity Culture Has Its Dangers
A year ago, Doja Cat shocked fans when she shaved her head and eyebrows on Instagram Live, which drew some comparisons to Britney Spears’ infamous head shaving incident in 2007. Of her physical transformation, she told Dazed, "I have never felt more beautiful in my entire life."
But on lead single, "Attention," it's clear Doja isn't done setting the record straight.
"I read it, all the comments sayin', 'D, I'm really shooketh' / 'D, you need to see a therapist, is you lookin'?' / Yes, the one I got, they really are the best / Now I feel like I can see you bitches is depressed / I am not afraid to finally say s— with my chest," she raps in the first verse.
She's Not Ready To Completely Abandon Singing
The highly-anticipated release of Scarlet marks Doja Cat's official return to her rap roots, but the album isn't void of the catchy, pop-esque hooks and sugary sweet singing style she's known for on songs like "Say So," "Kiss Me More" with SZA, and "You Right" with the Weeknd.
On Scarlet's sensual "Often," she effortlessly emulates neo-soul icons like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, and Maxwell as her breathy vocals take center stage. The track shows off Doja's softer side while doubling as perfect "baby-making music."
"'Cause when you run your tongue up my thigh / I can't help but wonder, hmm, why / You got so much more up yo' sleeve / You wanna make sure I don't leave," she croons on the song's chorus.
Her IDGAF Attitude Is On Full Display
In late July, Doja Cat lost half a million Instagram followers after slamming fans who call themselves "Kittenz" and use her real name as their screen names.
In addition, her relationship with boyfriend J.Cyrus — who was accused of grooming and sexual misconduct — and use of darker imagery (e.g., her "Demons" video and bat skeleton back tattoo) have sparked backlash. Yet Scarlet's "97" proves how Doja Cat is unfazed by the noise and thrives off controversy: "They gon' buy it, they gon' pirate, they gon' play it, they consume it / If you're scootin', let me know 'cause that's a comment, that's a view / And that's a ratin', that's some hatin', that's engagement I could use."
Similarly, she gets the last laugh on "Skull and Bones" and "Balut," the latter of which fires back at haters who accused her of stealing other artists' style. They speak to Doja Cat's defiant nature, which seems to be paying off for the superstar as she prepares to embark on her first headlining tour kicking off on Oct. 31.
Photo: Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
GRAMMY Rewind: Digable Planets Share Their Hopes For The "Universal Black Family" In 1994
As jazz-rap trio Digable Planets won their first GRAMMY — for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group, for "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That)" — the group sent an inspiring message to the Black community.
They're cool like that. Back in 1994, Digable Planets took home the trophy for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for their single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That)" at the 36th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Accepting the award from presenters SWV and Salt-N-Pepa, the jazz-rap connoisseurs dedicated their win to "hip-hop music [and] Black culture in general" before sharing an entreaty for the less fortunate outside the gilded glamour of Radio City Music Hall.
"We'd like for everybody to think about the people right outside this door that's homeless as you sittin' in these $900 seats and $300 seats — they out there not eatin' at all," Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler added. "Also, we'd like to say to the universal Black family that one day we gon' recognize our true enemy and we're gonna stop attacking each other. And maybe then we'll get some changes goin' on."
As their debut single, "Rebirth of Slick" served as Digable Planets' seminal hit. That night, it beat out other four other rap classics: Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain," Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray," Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's "Nuthin' But a G Thang" and Arrested Development's "Revolution."
The trio — Butler, Mariana "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira and Craig "Doodlebug" Irving — were also nominated for Best New Artist, an award that ultimately went to Toni Braxton.
Press play on the video above to revisit Digable Planets' big GRAMMYs win and check GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
10 Reasons Why Outkast's 'Speakerboxxx/The Love Below' Is One Of Rap's Most Influential Double Albums
As Outkast's seminal album, 'Speakerboxxx/The Love Below' turns 20, take a deep dive into how the duo's musical odyssey took the double album concept to new creative heights.
Essentially two solo albums for the price of one, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below saw Atlanta's premier hip-hop duo take the creative reins for one disc each, resulting in a whopping 135 minutes and 40 tracks of genre-hopping genius.
Favorably compared with classic double albums such as Prince's Sign O' The Times, Pink Floyd's The Wall and the Beatles' The White Album, the follow-up to 2000's Stankonia enjoyed similarly super-sized success, too. It topped the Billboard 200 for seven weeks on its way to worldwide sales of 11.4 million, spawned two No. 1 hits and picked up six nominations at the 2004 GRAMMY Awards — which resulted in three wins, including the coveted Album Of The Year.
And a full 20 years on from its Sept. 23, 2003 release, Outkast's fifth studio effort still stands up as a fearless, funkadelic and forward-thinking body of work. Below, take a look at 10 reasons why Speakerboxxx/The Love Below still has the power to get us all shaking it like a Polaroid picture.
It Helped Outkast Join An Exclusive Chart Club
Only 14 acts in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 have knocked themselves off the top spot. And Outkast joined that illustrious group — which also now includes the likes of Drake and Taylor Swift — in 2004 thanks to two of the era's most addictive hits.
The Little Richard-goes-power pop of "Hey Ya!" was the first to reach the summit, spending nine weeks there between December 2003 and the following February. And then it was finally dislodged by the brassy Southern hip-hop of Sleepy Brown collaboration "The Way You Move," which enjoyed just seven days in pole position before Twista's "Slow Jamz" put an end to the Outkast stranglehold.
It Doubled Outkast's GRAMMY Count
By 2004, Outkast were no stranger to the GRAMMY Awards. They'd picked up Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Ms. Jackson" and Best Rap Album for Stankonia in 2002, and then emerged victorious in the former category again a year later for "The Whole World." But it was the 2004 ceremony where they truly reigned supreme.
The duo stole the show with two memorable performances. First, Big Boi performed "The Way You Move" in a star-studded Funk Music Tribute, which also included legends George Clinton, Earth Wind and Fire and Robert Randolph. Later, André 3000 closed out the show with a celebratory rendition of Best Urban/Alternative Performance winner "Hey Ya!"
The "Hey Ya!" performance was a fitting end to the night indeed, as the pair took home the final — and most prestigious — award: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was crowned Album of the Year. (It also won Best Rap Album earlier that evening.)
It Spawned Several Classic Videos
Outkast had always been a visual hip-hop outfit, but their videography undeniably peaked with the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below campaign. "Hey Ya!" deservedly picked up four MTV Video Music Awards thanks to its inspired tribute to the Beatles' debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" — and André 3000's portrayal of all eight of the fabulously named musicians in the video, including guitarist Johnny Vulture and drummer Dookie Blossom Gain III.
Also directed by Bryan Barber, the "The Way You Move" video saw Big Boi showcase his lyrical flow in everything from a rim shop and old-school music hall to dojo and safari retreat. "Roses," meanwhile, finally allowed both members to share the screen as warring members of rival high school crews in a tongue-in-cheek homage to West Side Story.
It Boasts An Impressively Diverse Guest List
Big Boi roped in several usual suspects on Speakerboxxx, including Big Gipp on "Tomb of the Boom," Killer Mike on "Bust" and Cee-Lo Green on "Reset," while also securing the talents of heavy hitters like Jay-Z, Ludacris and Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz. While an undeniably impressive guest list, André 3000's choice of collaborators was even more intriguing.
Shortly before teaming up with the rapper on her own track "Millionaire," Kelis lent her signature husky tones to the appropriately creepy funk of "Dracula's Wedding." Hot on the heels of Come Away with Me, Norah Jones provided the necessary sultriness on the acoustic "Take Off Your Cool." And perhaps most unexpected of all, Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson proved her diva credentials on the metallic funk of "She Lives In My Lap." The Love Below's roll call was yet another sign that Outkast weren't interested in playing by hip-hop's rules.
It Samples Wisely
Considering Speakerboxxx/The Love Below consists of 40 different tracks and clocks in at nearly 135 minutes, it's surprising that Big Boi and André 3000 only relied on a handful of samples. And like their choice of collaborators, they're far from obvious, either.
Who knew that The Sound of Music showtune "My Favorite Things" would work as a drum and bass instrumental? Or that Timmy Thomas' one-hit wonder "Why Can't We Live Together" and the sensual New Jack Swing of Aaliyah's "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" would fit perfectly as on "Pink and Blue"?
Elsewhere, the propulsive electronic hip-hop of opener "Ghetto Musick" borrows from Patti LaBelle's '80s soul jam "Love, Need and Want You," while "She Lives in My Lap" lifts from both Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" and Volume 10's "Pistolgrip-Pump."
It Paved The Way For Genre-Hopping
While genre boundaries have been well and truly broken down in today's streaming era, back in 2003, most major artists stayed in their lane — but not Outkast.
The Love Below certainly has little regard for pigeonholing, veering from big band crooning ("Love Hater") to celestial neo soul ("Prototype") to twitchy electro ("Vibrate") with both confidence and panache. The more-focused Speakerboxxx also keeps listeners on their toes, whether it's with the squelchy P-funk of "Last Call," punchy rap-rock of "Bust" or the mariachi-tinged hip-hop of "The Rooster."
Despite its mammoth running time, the album impressively never repeats itself, providing more flashes of invention than most of the duo's peers manage in an entire career.
Even The Interludes Are Inspired
Of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below's 40 tracks, 11 could be classed as interludes — a number that would normally draw groans, especially considering how much they're often the bane of a hip-hop album. But while the blink-and-you'll-miss-it contribution from comedian Henry Welch ("D-Boi") and the brief helium-voiced reprise of "Bowtie" are rather pointless, the majority of the breathers do add something to the record.
"Interlude" is a hypnotic spoken word piece which offers a crash course in Outkast history ("Believe in the dirty Southernplayalisticadillac-funky-ATLiens/ Together, makes Aquemini"). "The Love Below (Intro)" is a sumptuous orchestral number in which André 3000 throws things back to the Rat Pack. And "God (Interlude)" finds the latter living up to his horndog reputation in a cheeky prayer recited over some sun-dappled guitars.
It's About Both Love And War
As titles such as "Happy Valentine's Day," "Behold a Lady" and, of course, The Love Below would suggest, André 3000's half of the album is largely focused on the affairs of the heart — no doubt informed by his break up from Erykah Badu and subsequent quest to find 'the one.'
But to counterbalance all the love talk, Speakerboxxx is a more socially-conscious record in which Big Boi tackles themes of spirituality, philosophy and politics, none more so than on "War," a fervent protest song which no doubt left George W. Bush's ears burning ("Basically America, you got f—ed/ The media shucked and jived, now we stuck, damn.")
The Pair Deliver Career-Best Vocals
Free from having to battle for space on the same track — they only appear together on "Ghetto Musick," "Knowing" and "Roses" — Big Boi and André 3000 have arguably never sounded better than on their respective discs.
The former is in particularly ebullient form on his alter ego Sir Lucious Left Foot's origin story "Unhappy," and also spars well with hip-hop giants Jay-Z and Ludacris on "Flip Flop Rock" and "Tomb of the Boom," respectively. His regular partner in crime, meanwhile, appears to relish channeling his inner Prince on the falsetto-led "Spread" and final single "Prototype."
It Helped Revive The Hip-Hop Double Album
The mid-'90s had been a boom period for the hip-hop double album, with Tupac Shakur's All Eyez on Me, Notorious B.I.G's Life After Death and Wu Tang Clan's Wu Tang Forever regarded as the holy trinity. But the concept had fallen out of favor until Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below shifted nearly six million copies in the United States alone.
Following its triumph, Nas (2004's Street's Disciple), UGK Underground Kingz (2007's Outkast-featuring Underground Kingz) and Tech N9ne (2008's Killer) all got in on the act. More recently, Vince Staples (2015's Summertime '06), Drake (2018's Scorpion) and Kendrick Lamar (2022's Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers) have also tried to bottle lightning twice. But while they all have their high points, none quite match up to the sheer brilliance of Outkast's crowning glory.
Photos: (Top row) Jaime Nogales Medios y Media/Getty Images; Latin GRAMMYs/Getty; Erika Goldring/Getty Images; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Coachella; Mike Coppola/Getty Images (Bottom row) David Livingston/Getty Images; JOSE ALAVEZ
Listen To GRAMMY.com's Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 Playlist: Featuring Shakira, Peso Pluma, Karol G, Bad Bunny, Feid, & More
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, listen to 50 songs by groundbreaking artists from the U.S., Latin America, and Spain.
Latin music continues to make incredible strides, as language barriers between the world and music in Spanish and Portuguese become a thing of the past.
After going through a difficult chapter in her life, Shakira found healing and empowerment through her anthems, including her surprise collaboration with Argentine producer Bizarrap. Karol G made history in March when her album Mañana Será Bonito debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. She became the first woman to top the chart with an all-Spanish LP.
Regional Mexican music became a global force this year thanks to the success of acts like Peso Pluma, Eslabon Armado, Grupo Frontera, Fuerza Regida, and Yahritza y Su Esencia. Many of them argue that Mexican music is no longer regional. Also, Feid, Myke Towers, and Young Miko have become breakthrough stars with their music being streamed on the same level as heavy-hitters in English.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, GRAMMY.com is celebrating Latin music through the biggest and most impactful songs of 2023. Below, take a listen to 50 songs by Latin artists from the U.S., Latin America, and Spain —- including "BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53" and "Ella Baila Sola" — on Amazon, Apple Music, Pandora and the Spotify playlist below.