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Olivia Rodrigo is not your typical Gen–Zer. Her teenage years were dominated by Bizaardvark and later High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Her first step into adulthood—besides getting a drivers license—was releasing her debut record SOUR, filled with teenage angst, agony, and heartbreak. At the age of 18, she already had a multi–platinum record, currently holding the title for the third most–streamed album ever on Spotify by a female artist.
If one tuned into cable TV sometime in the past two decades, they might be familiar with a number of Western music competition shows. American Idol, where individuals compete for the attention of the American public, birthed stars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Or X Factor, which created groups like Fifth Harmony, One Direction, and Little Mix that dominated much of the 2010s.
Country music has been a staple of American culture for decades. Stars like Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks, and Tim McGraw have made names for themselves in this genre, singing about blue–collar life and the lifestyles of the American South.
“I know that I have a habit of dropping cryptic clues and easter eggs when giving you information about new music … I am here to defy that,” Taylor Swift announced through her TikTok series, “Midnights Mayhem.” Indeed, with nine prior albums and her re–recordings project, the pop veteran sure has surprised the public with her sporadic ways of teasing new music.
Tove Lo has been a silent force in pop music for years. The Swedish star expresses her candor through her self–reflective lyrics and her escapism through club–ready beats, giving pop music the breath of fresh air it sorely needs.
“BLACKPINK in your area!” goes the group’s mantra. However, for the last two years, the biggest girl group in the world has not, in fact, been in your area. Their last album, aptly titled THE ALBUM, was released in October 2020. In the K–Pop world, it’s unfathomable for a group, assuming they’re not suffering from low popularity or management issues, to wait two years for a comeback.
Harry Styles has arguably reached the upper echelons of pop royalty. Starting off in the boy band One Direction, Styles was the perfect teenage heartthrob to multitudes of young girls in his fanbase. When the group went on indefinite hiatus in 2016, Styles’ solo material took off. The singer has since amassed a large following with multiple number–one hits and albums under his belt.
Rina Sawayama’s career is all about defying odds. Sawayama, a Japanese immigrant, tried to break through the British music scene with her debut single “Sleeping in Waking” in 2013. She went under the stage name “Rina” for quite a few years, calling her last name “an inconvenience,” up to her debut self–titled EP, RINA, in 2017.
Located just south of City Hall, right on the edge of Gayborhood, sits a small establishment that blends into the vibrant city surrounding it. Don’t mistake Grandma’s Philly for just another restaurant—this Thai spot invites you to enjoy delicious homestyle meals, grandma–style.
Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift. Lady Gaga wearing a meat dress. Madonna and Britney Spears kissing. Miley Cyrus twerking. These are just a few of the iconic moments from past MTV Video Music Awards. In an award show that celebrates memorable music videos—from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to Missy Elliot’s “Work It”—the annual event is a hub for the artistic visionaries of the music industry.
K–pop as an industry is like a continually revolving door. In goes fresh blood, challenging the status quo with new ideas and sounds, and out goes the old, filled with nostalgia and memories of the distant past. As the industry favors debuting younger artists like NewJeans and Kep1er, aging groups are threatened with disbandment in an ever–competitive environment.
Lizzy McAlpine has been bubbling in the indie–pop scene for the last few years. Named as an “up–and–coming vocalist” by the BBC, McAlpine found increasing success following her previous album, Give Me A Minute, which has nearly 100 million streams. The Philly native made her late–night television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last year and is also a rising TikTok star, with her biggest video—featuring an unreleased song—reaching nearly 2 million likes. But on her third studio album, five seconds flat, McAlpine brings folk–pop and storytelling to the forefront, allowing her to show off her potential to top 40–radio crossover.
Camila Cabello has always hovered between the A–list and B–list of pop singers. She debuted with the girl group Fifth Harmony via X Factor in 2012, creating hits like “Worth It” and “Work from Home,” but never really having household recognition unlike the similarly formed One Direction. Cabello left the group at its peak, and her first few solo singles didn’t quite latch on to the public, but “Havana” took over the world by storm, becoming her first number–one song as a solo artist. Her second album Romance was riddled with media gossip thanks to her relationship with Shawn Mendes, and it spawned the summer hits “Señorita” and “My Oh My.”
The award show that everyone loves to hate tried a new tactic this year: not sucking.
Remember that feeling of hearing your favorite song on the radio for the first time? That one song that everyone knows? Pop music has been around for quite some time, and it's been shapeshifting ever since its beginning.
The moment the backdrop showed the title card, “Dua Lipa Presents: Future Nostalgia in Stereocolor,” the audience at the Wells Fargo Center screamed in anticipation. The familiar synth intro of “Physical” began to loop, backed by a live band, as dancers came on the stage one by one. Then the lights turned on, with Dua Lipa at the center spotlight, decked out in a neon bodysuit. At that moment, the crowd went wild. Everyone stood up and jumped with pumped fists, and they wouldn’t be sitting down for the next hour and a half.
Honesty is the best policy, as the old adage goes. For Mitski Miyawaki, honesty is the only policy.
If one takes a trip to Vegas anytime soon, they will no doubt be bombarded with ads from casinos, restaurants, and attractions from the famous Las Vegas Strip. Among these ads, however, are included concert shows from a famous singer–turned–actress, a recently–divorced British hitmaker, and a newly–formed super duo. No longer are these residency shows filled with artists of the past—Britney Spears, Celine Dion, or Elton John, for instance—but instead include headliners at the height of their careers: Lady Gaga, Adele, Silk Sonic.
What does one do following a life–changing injury, caused by something you’ve been doing your whole life? For some, they might focus on their health and, hopefully, return to what they once loved. For others, they might see an opportunity to dive into something completely new.
Without a doubt, K–Pop is more omnipresent in pop culture than ever before. Peruse on Twitter and you will find millions of K–Pop fancams of all kinds. K–Pop fans may have even played a part in inflating attendance numbers for a rally for then–President Trump, leading to a mostly empty stadium. Considering all this and more, it’s safe to say that K–Pop has firmly entered the American public consciousness.