State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Chris Will

Britney Spears' Contribution to Smurfs 2 Soundtrack Leaks: Listen To "Ooh La La"

I’ll admit I was a bit confused when I first heard that Britney Spears, the queen of sex pop music, was recording a song for The Smurfs 2 soundtrack. I figured the product would be some kind of half-assed attempt at a catchy, G-rated pop jam. Luckily, I was kind of right. “Ooh La La” is very much at its surface a catchy, G-rated pop jam. But just barely.

It’s also certainly not half-assed. Spears assembled an all-star team to help her make the track, including Bonnie Mckee (co-writer of half of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and just about every other pop song on the radio) and Dr. Luke (same as Mckee, only as a producer). Bonnie reportedly admitted in April that her intent was to write as many subtle sexual references as she could in “Ooh La La,” and for Britney Spears’ heaven’s sake, she certainly did her job. One need only switch out three or four words of the song to change it from G to R, and “Ooh La La” could have easily fit in as a B-side (or legit album track) to Spears’ last album Femme Fatale. The song vibes with an electro-dance-pop feel that pushes the verses into the laid-back, acoustic chorus (slightly similar to Marina & The Diamonds’ “Primadonna”), along with the ibiza-style, Icona-Pop-inspired pre-chorus that infuses some club appeal into the track. It’s definitely a summery track, perfectly crafted for outdoor dance parties and road trips.

But seriously, it doesn’t take much insight to see that this really isn’t a kid’s track:

“Take my hand, we can go all night, and spin me round’ just the way I like, it feels so good, I don’t wanna stop, so baby come with me and be my ooh la la.”

Damn Brit, way to be.

Summer Jam of the Week: "We Come Running" by Youngblood Hawke

LA alt-rock outfit Youngblood Hawke officially struck gold with “We Come Running,” a sun-kissed loud-and-proud debut that literally (from the chorus) screams “summer jam.” Fans of Fifa are probably familiar with the song, but much of America seems to be in the dark about what’s quickly becoming one of the biggest indie-pop anthems of the year. What is it about “We Come Running” that makes it such a massive, in-your-face hit? Well, take a listen and read on below!

The radiant xylophone keys, handclaps, bells, acoustic guitars, and percussion all come together and explode into an epic campfire chorus, with surging currents of fizzing synthesizers flowing in-between the organic pop sounds. And to add to that, the song’s theme is so extraordinarily liberating that it’s hard not to lift up your hands and sing it to the sky. “Headed for the open door, tell me what you waiting for?” yells vocalist Sam Martin, as a children’s choir backs him up and further cements the song’s effervescence. All in all, “We Come Running” is a wonderfully pleasing and fresh electro-pop-folk hybrid. Youngblood Hawke urges their audience to not only live life to the fullest, but to live it so noisily that everyone can hear their path to success and happiness. It’s a good message, especially for those of us still in and graduating from college, and this will be the anthem and signature song of many a graduating senior (including myself) for the coming summer.

Purchase “We Come Running,” along with Youngblood Hawke’s debut album Wake Up, on iTunes by clicking HERE.

DJ Madera Releases Unique and Fun Remix Of "If I Lose Myself" by OneRepublic

Electro-pop mastermind DJ Madera just added another gem to his repertoire of awesome remixes, this time in the form of a very unique take on OneRepublic’s “If I Lose Myself.” Where the original is a thrumming, glossy, Swedish House Mafia-inspired house jam, Madera’s version is a bit more of a spacious affair. He utilizes misty electronic arpeggios and minimalist backbeats, warping the soft and bright production into fluffy, trap-influenced breakdowns. Check out more of his tracks and download his music on his SoundCloud by clicking HERE, and stay tuned for more great releases from the talented DJ!


Summer Jam of the Week: "Really Don't Care" by Demi Lovato feat. Cher Lloyd

With the impending (and much-anticipated) release of her new album Demi and the massive success of her latest top 10 smash “Heart Attack,” it’s evident that heartfelt pop balladeer Demi Lovato is making 2013 her year. This week, Lovato personally leaked Demi track-by-track through song-titles-turned-hashtags, tracking fan interest in specific songs and then leaking those songs based on how well they trended. This genius social-media stunt created several worldwide Twitter trends, and allowed fans to have a first-hand, engaging experience in the way they listened to the album. Tack this up with the way she’s re-invented her image since her previous album Unbroken, and Demi might very well be the pinnacle of Ms. Lovato’s pop career.

The content of Demi is split into two different musical styles. One half of the album showcases weighty acoustic ballads, churning through love, loneliness, strength, and heartbreak. We hear gems like “Shouldn’t Come Back,” where Lovato mourns deteriorating love through solemn acoustic guitars and heart-searing violins. The other half of Demi is chock-full of shameless power-pop, drowning in pile-driving hooks and shimmering production. But no other track is as fun and summery as Lovato’s “Really Don’t Care,” featuring Cher Lloyd. This is guilty pleasure music at its finest, and it’s perfect for the summer.

Floor-stomping percussion kicks into gear from the get-go, with the sugary mix of guitars and synthesizers melting perfectly with the snarky sour of Lovato’s lyrics. As soon as Lovato begins singing, any pre-conceived notions of “Really Don’t Care” being bright, breezy, and blissful are immediately thrown away. This is a fist-in-the-face to Lovato’s ex, as she sassily struts away with her middle finger held high in the air. And just when the song couldn’t get any more bratty and fun, Cher Lloyd pounces into the bridge hissing like a snide pop kitten, serving as Demi’s consoling friend and delivering one of the best guest verses that’s been seen in pop for a LONG time. “Really Don’t Care” is about as apathetic and quiet as Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” as it’s obvious Lovato definitely DOES care, but it’s more of a kick-in-the-balls-I-hate-you kind of a care. You don’t have to be in the aftermath of a bad relationship to get fired up from this song, because it’s just THAT big and angry and catchy. Lovato seriously needs to make this her next single, because let’s face it, all of those feelings are fine and dandy, but it’s time we saw Demi have a little fun.

Pick up the album when it drops next Tuesday, or pre-order it on iTunes by clicking HERE.

Bex Premieres Fantastic "What You Are" Video and Trippy "What You Are (Cutmore Extended Remix)" Video!

Just a few weeks ago we spoke to Penn State alum and dance-pop extraordinaire Bex about her newest Billboard-charting club smash “What You Are,” the wildly catchy, four-to-the-floor, dubstep-sown ode to self-acceptance and confidence. She hinted at an upcoming music video, and decided to grace us with the final product just a few days ago. We see Bex as a painted statue, poised and golden in the surrounding darkness as the fluttering synthesizers cascade across the track’s opening. She strikes poses in a sparkling sapphire outfit, vibes in a eclectic white and black dress in a room full of mirrors, and all in all looks absolutely fantastic across the entire breadth of the video. The video does a great job of tying in thematically to the track, and once again Bex proves her clout as a pop artist.

And once you’re done rocking out to the “What You Are” music video, check out the Cutmore extended remix video! The Cutmore remix utilizes a heavy house beat, dreamy production, and a stuttering breakdown to give a different take on the be-true-to-yourself dance jam. The video splices and layers different parts of the original video together, which effectively solidifies the supernatural nature of the awesome remix. You can also purchase both tracks on iTunes now, and share both videos with your friends!

Pop Starlets Marina And The Diamonds And Charli XCX Debut Sinfully Delicious Duet "Just Desserts"

Prancing pop kittens Charli XCX and Marina & The Diamonds have teamed up for the sugar-laden breakup track “Just Desserts,” once again establishing the unyielding dominance both lovely and lovelorn ladies have on pop music. Like a hefty dose of cotton candy and cyanide, “Just Desserts” soars with sweet, fluffy clouds of glitzy synthesizers and sears with razor-sharp songwriting. Marina’s haunting hooks burn through the squelching synth line, and Charli’s cool flow cascades over the needling beat. “Just Desserts” isn’t just a well-crafted duet, it’s a gift to the world of pop music, and here’s hoping we see more collaborations between these two in the future. Download the track FOR FREE by CLICKING HERE!