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‘Lift Me Up’ Review: Rihanna’s Return To Music After Six Years is Understated Artistry

Carly Rae Jepsen’s Latest Album is Pop Perfection

'Hold Me Closer' review: Britney Spears returns in vintage form with Elton John duet

Harry Styles’ ‘As It Was’ Scores Milestone 10th Week at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100

Fans Choose Charlie Puth & Jungkook’s ‘Left and Right’ as This Week’s Favorite New Music

Rihanna‘Lift Me Up’ Review: Rihanna’s Return To Music After Six Years is Understated Artistry

After six long years, Rihanna’s newest single “Lift Me Up” is the singer’s first solo song released since her last album “Anti” in 2016. The song was released as part of the soundtrack for the upcoming film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'' and was made in remembrance of the late Chadwick Boseman. “Lift Me Up” was co-written by Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems, Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson, and “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler.

Fundamentally, “Lift Me Up” is not attempting to be another high-energy Rihanna single. Instead, the song utilizes a slower tempo to set up an emotional tone of remembrance for the upcoming “Black Panther” movie. Rihanna’s ballad is beautifully sung, and its pace allows listeners to listen closely and reflect upon each lyric. Having this single predate the release of the film similarly allows for listeners to imagine emotional scenes of the upcoming film alongside the calming hymn.

Rihanna’s single also seems to reflect her since her recent entry into motherhood. “Lift Me Up” is the singer’s first musical release since having a child with rapper ASAP Rocky. “Lift Me Up” plays like a lullaby, with Rihanna’s vocals and humming lulling the song into a steady and calming rhythm. This new style could be emblematic of her experience as a mother to her son, who she gave birth to in May. Moreover, the soft string instruments add to this effect and highlight harp plucking emblematic of African harps, such as the kora.

The slow nature of the ballad is almost entrancing — ensuring that the song elicits more than one listen. In addition, the lyrics of the single pack a punch, as each line is hauntingly powerful and compelling. While upon first listen, the ballad seems short and sweet, each lyric of the song plays an important role in the goal of the single: to remember those that were lost.

While some fans may be surprised at Rihanna’s return to music being a slow hymn, “Lift Me Up” plays an important role in establishing the tone of the upcoming “Black Panther” film and remembering the legacy of Chadwick Boseman. This single is also just the beginning of Rihanna’s return, as she is slated to headline for the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show in February of 2023. With the release of her new single that differs from her traditional image of a pop icon, only time will tell where the trajectory of Rihanna’s music is headed.

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Carly Rae JepsenCarly Rae Jepsen’s Latest Album is Pop Perfection

The latest album from the Canadian pop goddess delivers high-gloss pop with serious emotional punch

Dating in the 21st century might be a lonely time, but Carly Rae Jepsen has found a way to make an album around those experiences that’s as bright and hopeful as it is grounded. From the euphoric “Sideways” to the heartbreak of “Go Find Yourself or Whatever,” on her sixth studio album, “The Loneliest Time,” the 36-year-old makes one thing clear: It’s rough out there in the dating world.

While the themes of “The Loneliest Time” are timeless, there’s a specificity to the experiences that reflect the modern age. Jepsen’s second single from the album, “Beach House,” is the best example of this. The kitschy song mirrors the experience of endless scrolling on dating apps. After describing a myriad of bad dating experiences and pleading with men to not view dating as hunting season, male vocals join in with tongue-in-cheek promises that get more preposterous as they go, from “I’m probably gonna never call you” to “I’m probably gonna harvest your organs.” It’s a sure-to-be camp classic from the Canadian pop icon.

Despite what are certainly lows described on “Beach House,” Jepsen’s optimism on “Surrender My Heart” shows she hasn’t given up on love quite yet. A highlight of the album, the synth bop opener finds her embracing vulnerability.

“The Loneliest Time” is a collection of songs that encompass the highs and lows of searching for love, a journey full of second chances, mistakes and elation. It can be lonely at times, but as she articulates on the opener, her past experiences haven’t stopped her from opening her heart: “I wanna be brave enough for everything.”

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Britney and Elton'Hold Me Closer' review: Britney Spears returns in vintage form with Elton John duet

Britney Spears has made a career comeback with the help of a maestro.

Hold Me Closer, which was released on Sept. 23, has her collaborating with Elton John while blending some of his previous hits including Tiny Dancer (1971), Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (1976) and The One (1992).

It is the first song Spears has released since her 2016 album Glory.

The proceeding years found Spears's musical career taking a backseat as she battled her conservatorship, which left her father in control of all aspects of her business and private life.

In June, she married Sam Asghari, a fitness professional and model. He met Spears on the set of her Slumber Party video in 2016.

Spears couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to make her return.

Hold Me Closer follows the same format of Cold Heart, John’s previous collaboration with Dua Lipa, another modern melange of earlier tracks Rocket Man (1972), Where’s the Shoorah (1976) Kiss the Bride (1983) and Sacrifice (1989).

Where Cold Heart soared on the back of its smooth synth lines and club rhythms, Hold Me Closer shimmies along to the throbbing disco bass line throughout.

Similar to Lipa’s efforts, Spears’s contribution is heard in the chorus in which she performs an impressive falsetto.

The fact that she sounds so at ease is acknowledgment enough that she hasn’t lost any of her vocal ability.

According to Hold Me Closer producer Andrew Wyatt, Spears was adamant in nailing those sky-high notes.

“She kept going: ‘Nope, again, again, again',” he told The Guardian. "She was really collaborative and had really good ideas about the production. She’s an expert in music to make you dance.”

Despite the personal upheaval of recent years, Elton praised Spears for her professionalism in the studio.

“She sang fantastically,” he told The Guardian. “Everyone was saying they don’t think she can sing any more. But I said: 'She was brilliant when she started so I think she can'. And she did it, and I was so thrilled with what she did.”

Despite all the goodwill and fan reaction online, we are yet to hear what Spears makes of the positive reception to her comeback.

Her Instagram account, with more than 42 million followers, has been deactivated.

The song is on her Twitter account, where Spears expressed how momentous the release is for her career and fans.

"Okie dokie … My first song in 6 years. It’s pretty damn cool that I’m singing with one of the most classic men of our time," she said on Wednesday. "I'm kinda's a big deal to me.”

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StylesHarry Styles’ ‘As It Was’ Scores Milestone 10th Week at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100

Harry Styles‘ “As It Was” continues atop the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, dominating for a 10th total week. The song marks Styles’ first Hot 100 leader of at least 10 weeks – and the 10th for Columbia Records, the most among all labels over the chart’s history.

Plus, Beyoncé‘s “Break My Soul,” which holds at No. 9 on the Hot 100, after reaching No. 7, hits the Radio Songs chart’s top 10, becoming her 18th top 10 on the airplay tally and her first in a lead role since 2014.

The Hot 100 blends all-genre U.S. streaming (official audio and official video), radio airplay and sales data. All charts (dated July 23, 2022) will update on tomorrow (July 19). For all chart news, you can follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

“As It Was,” released on Erskine/Columbia Records and which debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 dated April 16, tallied 74.1 million radio airplay audience impressions (essentially even week-over-week), 18.1 million streams (up 1%) and 5,000 downloads sold (down 5%) in the July 8-14 tracking week, according to Luminate.

The track holds at No. 3 after four weeks atop Radio Songs, beginning in May; keeps at No. 6 on Streaming Songs, after two weeks on top starting upon its debut in April; and rebounds 11-6 on Digital Song Sales, following a week at the summit in May.

“As It Was” – from Styles’ third album, Harry’s House, which led the Billboard 200 albums chart for two weeks beginning with its debut in June and places at No. 4 on the latest list – becomes the 42nd song in the history of the Hot 100, which launched on Aug. 4, 1958, to reign for at least 10 weeks, a feat that just 4% of all No. 1s (1,138 total) have achieved.

While “As It Was” marks Styles’ first Hot 100 leader of at least 10 weeks (after his other No. 1, “Watermelon Sugar,” ruled for a week in August 2020) – it’s the 10th for Columbia Records, the most among all labels over the chart’s history. Arista and Atlantic follow with five such No. 1s each.

Here’s a recap of Columbia’s 10 Hot 100 No. 1s to reign for at least 10 weeks, with the label having logged the last three, as Adele and BTS’ latest leaders preceded Styles’ command:

“One Sweet Day,” Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men, 16 weeks at No. 1, beginning Dec. 2, 1995

“Independent Women Part I,” Destiny’s Child, 11, Nov. 18, 2000

“Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé, 10, Dec. 16, 2006

“Happy,” Pharrell Williams, 10, March 8, 2014

“Hello,” Adele, 10, Nov. 14, 2015

“Closer,” The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey, 12, Sept. 3, 2016

“Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus, a record 19, April 13, 2019

“Butter,” BTS, 10, June 5, 2021

“Easy on Me,” Adele, 10, Oct. 30, 2021

“As It Was,” Harry Styles, 10, April 16, 2022

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PuthFans Choose Charlie Puth & Jungkook’s ‘Left and Right’ as This Week’s Favorite New Music

Charlie Puth‘s “Left and Right,” featuring BTS‘ Jungkook, tops this week’s new music poll.

Music fans voted in a poll published Friday (June 24) on Billboard, choosing the pair’s collaboration as their favorite music release of the past week.

“Left and Right” brought in more than 81% of the vote in this week’s new music poll.

Puth and Jungkook’s pop track — which has them crooning “Memories follow me left and right/ I can feel you over here/ I can feel you over here/ You take up every corner of my mind” — dropped on Friday, alongside a music video. Puth had promised to release the Jungkook collab if fans reached at least 500,000 pre-saves for the song — not a problem for ARMY.

Trailing behind on the poll was Taylor Swift‘s Where the Crawdads Sing tune “Carolina,” with 15% of the vote. The haunting new song was penned by Swift (and produced by Aaron Dessner) for the soundtrack of the upcoming film adaptation of the Delia Owens novel.

Charlie Puth and Jungkook of BTS Find Themselves Lovestruck in ‘Left And Right’

Charlie Puth and Jungkook are sick — lovesick, that is. In fact, they’re so wrapped up in the memories of “the one that got away” that not even a visit to the Love Doctor in the music video for Puth’s newest single “Left And Right” can cure the singers of their ills.

The breezy, sentimental collaboration with the BTS superstar comes off Puth’s forthcoming album Charlie, scheduled for release some time this year. In the video, Puth and Jungkook find themselves overwhelmed with thoughts of their respective exes, prompting them to visit a man identified as the Love Doctor in an attempt to fix their heartache. (Puth teased the track earlier this week in a TikTok video filmed on the set of the Drew Hirsch-directed clip.) “Memories follow me left and right/I can feel you over here, I can feel you over here/You take up every corner of my mind,” the pair sings during the song’s chorus.

The video also includes a QR code and special phone number fans are encouraged to text for bonus content from Puth himself. (There’s also some not-so-subtle product placement for the Gen Z-targeted financial company Chime — but we’ll let that slide.)

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