One of the highlights of the films of Jeymes Samuel (aka The Bullitts) is the soundtrack albums he curates for them. In 2021, I praised the soundtrack of The Harder They Fall, writing that the movie often works best as a themed music video a la Beyoncé’s Black Is King. It looks like that may continue to be the case with Samuel’s next upcoming film, The Book Of Clarence, as Samuel shares its first soundtrack song, “Hallelujah Heaven” featuring Lil Wayne and dancehall legends Buju Banton and Shabba Ranks.
Samuel’s love for dancehall and reggae artists was also a fixture of the Harder They Fall soundtrack, which featured Barrington Levy, Dennis Brown, and Koffee in addition to rappers like Jay-Z, Jadakiss, and Conway The Machine. The Book Of Clarence will likewise contain appearances from Jay-Z (who is again credited as a producer for Samuels’ latest work), Kid Cudi, Jorja Smith, and more.
The Book Of Clarence is set in 33 AD and follows the exploits of the titular character (portrayed by LaKeith Stanfield) as he tries to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ — not as a disciple but as an imitator, looking to get rich quick. The film is set to hit theaters in January 2024.
You can listen to “Hallelujah Heaven” above and check out the new Book Of Clarence trailer below.
Forbes dropped their annual 30 Under 30 Lists this week, honoring some big names that are making a significant impact in their respective fields. For musicians, Ice Spice, Trippie Redd, Steve Lacy, and Latto were included among the recipients.
Others on this year’s class list were all three members of Boygenius (Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus), Gracie Abrams, Dominic Fike, Peso Pluma, Reneé Rapp, and Kali Uchis.
Ice Spice didn’t come as a surprise, considering how she took over the music scene this year. She dropped her Princess Diana EP, after getting a boost through hits like the title track, “Bikini Bottom,” and more. She appeared on the soundtrack of the Barbie movie alongside Nicki Minaj. She also collaborated with PinkPantheress, Taylor Swift, and more.
Lacy was previously honored this year on the Time Most Influential People of 2023 list. He continued performing his hit “Bad Habit,” including at the Grammys this year, and dropped a new video for his song, “Helmet.”
And Rapp has remained incredibly busy, dropping her debut album, Snow Angel, and securing the lead role in the forthcoming Mean Girls reboot movie.
Most of the recipients released new albums or projects this year, thus making their inductions feel like a tribute to their hard work. To view the rest of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, visit their official website.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Spotify Wrapped is officially here. Today (November 29), Spotify users received their annual interactive summary of their listening habits, along with fun character and personality assessments.
While some are excited to see their Spotify Wrapped, some are a bit confused about their results. Because of this, they are hoping to get on top of the tracking process and produce more accurate assessments for future editions of Spotify Wrapped.
When does tracking start for Spotify Wrapped?
Tracking begins on January 1, according to varioussources. This can also be confirmed by the fact that each Spotify user is told which song they kicked off each year with.
Tracking continues over the course of several months, however, ends at an unknown date toward the end of each calendar year. The date has often been thought to be Halloween, however, Spotify has since confirmed that this isn’t the case.
Spotify remains secretive about the process, however, individual Spotify users are encouraged to share their Wrappeds with their friends. For this year’s Wrapped, Spotify introduced Blend, a feature with allows each Spotify User to combine Wrapped playlists with one or more fellow Spotify users.
Spotify users can see their Wrappeds by opening up the app on their mobile device, or by visiting here.
Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.
Founded in 281, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.
“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city’s chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.
Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. Members also hold book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.
NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Group organizers handle all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.
“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.
Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group’s Friendsgiving event.
If you want to meet the group in person, NYC Brunch Squad, along with many other locally-based New York groups, is participating in the upcoming Facebook IRL event on December 2. This pop-up experience in New York City’s West Village will provide a space to discover new hobbies, find new friends, and connect with others around the things they love.
Learn more about the event and sign up to attend here.
Not in the New York area but still want to get involved? As a result of NYC Brunch Squad’s popularity, the group is expanding across the country.
“With a robust community established in NYC, we’re now excited to announce our expansion with pop-up events in the works in 15 additional cities. What’s more, we’re launching a travel club, extending our mission to foster connections beyond the city limits and to help people build life-changing friendships in new and exciting places,” Liza says.
If you’re ready to make new meaningful connections, join NYC Brunch Squad! You might just meet your new best friends.
I can never remember the name of this album. I had to Google it again just now. It will forever exist in my mind as “The Andre 3000 Flute Record.” For the sake of efficiency, I wish he had just called it that. But I suspect it will be permanently known by that colloquial moniker in retrospect, in the same way that The Beatles is known as “The White Album” and Weezer is identified by everybody as “The Blue Album.” Let me just say that I love this record as a gesture. I am extremely happy that it exists. By the “as a gesture” standard, it’s my record of the year. But as an album, I have listened to it one and a half times, and I’m not sure I will go back to it. And that’s fine. Again, the “as a gesture” part is probably enough for me. However, at the risk of being wet blanket-y, I must point out the following: The fun of a “bold left turn” record is reacting against the people who initially hated it upon release. That’s the whole point of a revisionism — if, for instance, Bob Dylan puts out a live album in 1979 in which he radically re-arranges his songs so that they sound like Hot August Night-era Neil Diamond, part of the fun of playing that album in 2023 is pointing out the ways in which all of those mean critics were wrong about the record 44 years ago. That’s not going to happen with New Blue Sun. People have bent over backward to call it a work of genius. And while I’m not doubting their sincerity I do wonder if that relegates New Blue Soon to a different kind of historical dustbin once the novelty wears off. Nobody wants to be the jerk that future generations wind up telling off. But does this self-consciousness ultimately impair an ongoing critical conversation in retrospect? Let’s check back in 10 years!
2. Bob Dylan, The Complete Budokan 1978
Speaking of that Bob Dylan live record, the frankly stunning existence of this box set commemorating the single most polarizing release in his catalogue represents either a worthy reappraisal of a flawed but fascinating effort (my view) or an example of revisionism run amok. Originally released on August 21, 1978 as a Japan-only release, and then worldwide the following April, Bob Dylan At Budokan was recorded at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan Hall on February 28 and March 1 of ’78. It contains 22 songs, including many of Dylan’s most famous tunes: “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” “All Along The Watchtower,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” etc. Judging by the tracklist, Bob Dylan At Budokan appears to be a greatest hits record, except that the songs are played live. But while the album is that in form, it is not in execution a straight-forward recounting of past glories. It is the opposite of straightforward. It is crooked and backward. For At Budokan, Dylan employed an expansive 11-piece band staffed with, among other musicians, three backup singers, an extremely audible percussionist, an ex-King Crimson drummer, Eddie Money’s keyboardist, a blonde guitarist who performed in the Broadway production of Hair, and (most notoriously) a horn player doing double duty on saxophone and flute. That’s right, flute. “But what Dylan songs require a flute?” you ask. On At Budokan, way more than you might expect! In case anyone needed to be reminded: The Complete Budokan 1978 is yet more evidence that the canon is always in flux. And that today’s trash might very well be tomorrow’s $159.99 retail-priced doorstop.
3. Hotline TNT, Cartwheel
One of my favorite albums of 2023, and definitely one of my top “CD album” albums of the year. A fuzzed-out corker with shoegaze guitars that lean more in the direction of Copper Blue than Loveless, Cartwheel sounds amazing while driving, it’s the right length to soundtrack most errands, and it’s easy to find in that between-seats middle compartment. I can’t honestly think of a higher function for a record than this.
3. MJ Lenderman, And The Wind (Live And Loose!)
While the bulk of this excellent live record is made up of the slacked-up and witty country-rock tunes from last year’s tremendous Boat Songs, the most revelatory performances are of material that pre-date Lenderman’s indie fame, particularly the numbers from 2021’s Ghost Of Your Guitar Solo. Lenderman recorded that album by himself, and the songs are skeletal and rendered in bottom-of-the-barrel fidelity. On Live And Loose!, great tunes like “Catholic Priest” and “Someone Get The Grill Out Of The Rain” are transformed with extra layers of instrumental muscle, with Lenderman’s Crazy Horse-like band fleshing out their bones with sympathetic washes of lap steel and chunky guitars. Taken in tandem with the murderer’s row of stunners from Boat Songs — plus the fantastic recent single “Rudolph” — the revamped Guitar Solo tracks make Live And Loose! feel like something more important than a mere tour souvenir. It just might be Lenderman’s best effort yet, and the definitive document of this rising star’s 1.0 era.
5. Cat Power, Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert
The third live album on this list, and the second one to involve Bob Dylan. But otherwise Chan Marshall, as always, is operating entirely on her own wavelength. Her decision to cover one of the most the famous live performances of the rock era — the one where Dylan faced off with an audience of pissed-off folkies triggered by his decision to play with The Hawks, including one anonymous buffoon who called him “Judas” — flips the drama of the original concert. Whereas the electric half of Dylan’s show overshadows the opening acoustic half, just for the sheer drama on display between him and the clueless audience, the acoustic portion of Cat Power’s redux is where this album truly beguiles. No matter her capable backing band, she simply can’t match the firepower of Dylan and the Hawks. But her run through the stoned and winding likes of “She Belongs To Me,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “Desolation Row” is an absolute delight, spotlighting both the timeless power of Dylan’s songs and Marshall’s own once-in-a-generation voice.
6. Golden Apples, Bananasugarfire
I’m tempted to compare this crafty Philadelphia power-pop band to Apples In Stereo, even if it seems hacky to the extreme. Would this thought had entered my mind if both bands didn’t happen to include “Apples” in their name? Screw it — apples or not, it’s an apt comparison. Bananasugarfire has that jangly ’60s vibe goosed up with loud guitars that veteran Elephant 6 lovers will recall from the glories of Fun Trick Noisemaker, a reference I suspect this band would appreciate.
7. Ryan Davis & The Roadhouse Band, Dancing On The Edge
As has been noted elsewhere, this has been a banner year for indie-rock bands discovering the power of pedal-steel guitar. Few instruments automatically make a band better more quickly than this mysterious conjurer of high-lonesome sounds. Louisville singer-songwriter Ryan Davis clearly gets this, given the prominent pedal-steel that glides throughout Dancing On The Edge. But this is not another by-the-numbers wannabe country-rock troubadour LP. Drawing on the tradition of iconoclastic Americana smart-asses like Terry Allen and David Berman, Davis marries down-home music to sprawling story songs that drag on in mesmerizing fashion for several minutes at a time, like an Aristocrats joke lollygagging to a surprising finish.
8. R.E.M., Up (25th Anniversary Edition)
The last great R.E.M. record. And perhaps the best and truest rock album ever about processing the trauma of your friend leaving the band you started together. Unlike virtually every other rock band that has lost an essential member, R.E.M. did not pretend like it was business as usual on their first record after Bill Berry’s exist. (They actually didn’t make a conventional rock album for another 10 years.) On Up, they deliberately leave holes in the middle of the songs as constant reminders of who is not there. Drums either are absent or replaced with drum machines. R.E.M. doesn’t even sound like a band much of the time; sounds are layered in a manner that recalls the late-’60s Beach Boys, one of the album’s obvious influences. (Another touchstone is OK Computer, though Up ultimately sounds like a prequel to Kid A.) What’s apparent is R.E.M.’s thoughtfulness about rethinking their musical milieu in the wake of becoming a trio, and how correct their choices seem. They absorbed a critical loss and somehow spun it forward as the next logical step in their creative evolution. The resulting record simultaneously mourns the version of R.E.M. that no longer exists, while also positing that this latest incarnation is a perfect next step. That the next two albums were less successful reiterations of Up shouldn’t diminish this achievement. (Especially since those records, 2001’s Reveal and 2004’s Around The Sun, are better than their reputations suggest.) Even when R.E.M. fell apart, the pieces fell in all the right places.
Spotify Wrapped 2023 has arrived! The popular annual campaign already has music fans around the world sharing their lists of favorite artists, albums, and songs along with the cheery, colorful graphics that make the event so anticipated each year. And while the focus is usually on users’ individual lists, it’s also fun to see what everybody else was listening to. So, what was the most-streamed album? Well, that depends. The world likes one thing, but of course, the US likes its own thing. Find out more below.
Spotify’s Most-Streamed Album Globally For 2023
The most-streamed album on Spotify in the world was Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny, a popular icon in much of the Spanish-speaking world (and a big chunk of the Anglophone one as well). You might think it would have been Midnights by Taylor Swift due to her massive Eras Tour shifting the global economy — and you’d be close, as she came in second.
Spotify’s Most-Streamed Album In The US For 2023
However, when it came to America, the biggest hit was in a completely different, more homegrown genre. One Thing At A Time by Morgan Wallen was the No. 1 album on Spotify in the US, which only makes sense, as country music isn’t quite as popular outside of our cowboy-obsessed corner of the continent (there’s also some weird culture war stuff going on, which… yeah). R&B is also much more popular at home than abroad; SZA overtakes Taylor for the second position with SOS, while Swift comes in third.
Spotify Wrapped for 2023 dropped today, giving listeners the chance to discover their stats — including Top Songs, Top Artists, Top Genres, Top Podcasts, what city matches your listening taste, and so much more. For those who have found theirs, some might be wondering if it can be seen by other people.
Continue scrolling for a breakdown of what to know.
Can Your Spotify Wrapped Be Seen By Other People?
It depends. Each user’s Spotify Wrapped is tailored to them, so others won’t be able to see it through the platform. However, you can take screenshots of your top stats for 2023 and share them on social media or with friends — and then, it would be seen by others that way.
Otherwise, you could simply keep the Wrapped reveal to yourself, and nobody would know.
As for your Top Songs Of 2023 playlist, this is not able to be seen by other people either. Sure, you can tell friends what tracks are on it, but each user will only be able to see their own personalized set and nobody else’s. (In past years, the playlists used to be separate and you could see ones from other users, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.)
Expectations were tempered heading into the release of Wonka, a musical prequel to the iconic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder. This time around, Timothée Chalamet would be in the title role with Paddington director Paul King at the helm. When the first trailer hit, reactions were mixed, but that’s definitely not the case with the movie itself.
As the first reactions to Wonka pour in, there’s an overwhelming sense of surprise. People can’t believe how much fun the movie is, and Chalamet’s performance is apparently out of this world.
You can see what folks are saying below:
“It’s DELICIOUS – Timmy’s all in,” Jason Adams tweeted. “Total charm and glee and goofball music man razzmatazz magic, and Paul King delivers yet again. SUCH FUN.”
Ooh I guess we can talk about #Wonka now! It’s DELICIOUS – Timmy’s all in, total charm and glee and goofball music man razzmatazz magic, and Paul King delivers yet again. SUCH FUN pic.twitter.com/mXtFOUwPbM
“#Wonka is an instant holiday classic & a truly magical time at the movies,” Zoë Rose Bryant wrote. “Paul King’s whimsical style works as well here as it did in paddington, every musical number enchants, & the entire ensemble takes turns stealing the show, led by an endlessly charming Timothée Chalamet.”
#wonka is an instant holiday classic & a truly magical time at the movies paul king’s whimsical style works as well here as it did in paddington, every musical number enchants, & the entire ensemble takes turns stealing the show, led by an endlessly charming timothée chalamet. pic.twitter.com/O887KYp4CY
“If I’m being honest: I wasn’t expecting much when I walked into #Wonka,” Jake Hamilton tweeted. “But I fell in love with a charming, heartfelt and pretty spectacular musical that is a loving tribute to everything we love about the ‘71 original. Chalamet is unbelievably fun and charismatic as Wonka.”
If I’m being honest: I wasn’t expecting much when I walked into #Wonka.
But I fell in love with a charming, heartfelt and pretty spectacular musical that is a loving tribute to everything we love about the ‘71 original.
#Wonka is SHOCKINGLY good,” Grace Randolph tweeted. “Paul King delivers a movie along the lines of #Paddington for adults turning Wonka into a male #MaryPoppins! The movie manages to be its own thing and is as fun as seeing a live Broadway show! Definitely this year’s big holiday movie!”
“Paul King proves both PADDINGTON films were far from being a fluke with #Wonka,” Sara M Fetters tweeted. “Takes a moment to find its footing but, when it does, this is a scrumdiddlyumptious sorta prequel filled to the candy-colored brim with delectable delights. Can’t wait to see it again.”
Paul King proves both PADDINGTON films were far from being a fluke with #Wonka. Takes a moment to find its footing but, when it does, this is a scrumdiddlyumptious sorta prequel filled to the candy-colored brim with delectable delights. Can’t wait to see it again.
#Wonka is absolutely, positively delightful! Brimming with magic, music, warmth & humour, it’s choc-ed to rafters fuelled by Timothèe Chalamet’s brilliant turn and a scene-stealing Hugh Grant. Paul King and Simon Farnaby create world of pure imagination – a huge surprise! pic.twitter.com/hTJsI8IsUM
I’m not a film critic and so many others are doing it on such an eloquent level, so I’ll just say this about Wonka. Wonka. GOOD! Very good. I of course cried. Give it all the golden tickets. #Wonkapic.twitter.com/wiZfWXM3X6
#Wonka is a delicious confection, at times salty, at times sweet, but always visually dazzling and emotionally rich. Paul King once again proves that he is one of our most exciting filmmakers, creating a world unafraid to go to the dark, strange places that Roald Dahl would. pic.twitter.com/KaCRXiGTj4
#Wonka is magical and fantastical! Engaging story, colorful visuals, and fun dialogue. I genuinely enjoyed all the performances from the cast, and the crew have done a wonderful job at bringing this adventurous and heartwarming prequel to life. pic.twitter.com/aSRHSAmF07
I’m just very happy that #Wonka is getting good reviews because it’s further proof that universally enjoyable art can be made by people who developed their skills making distinctive, inventive, and idiosyncratic comedy on the fringes of the mainstream
The debate over whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween or Christmas movie rages on, but one thing is for sure: Fargo is a Nightmare Before Christmas show. There have been a pair of references to Henry Selick’s 1993 stop-motion masterpiece so far in season five: a “This is Halloween” needle drop and Gator (played by Joe Keery) wearing a Jack Skellington mask.
Creator Noah Hawley included the song in the two-part premiere simply because “I like that movie!” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a specific choice, and I chose that movie because it’s a favorite of my house. My kids will grow up and watch Fargo one day and it will feel meaningful to them. We had to get a blessing from Tim Burton to do it, which is great.”
As for the menacing mask, “[Jack is] someone who, much like Joe Keery’s character, is trying to be something he’s not, which is an evil, scary dude when, really, he’s a softie,” Hawley explained. “There’s just too much pressure on Gator, and he’s always trying to live up to those expectations while at the same time, deep down, with a different father, he would have been a kind soul.”
Gator’s father is played by Jon Hamm. If there’s a Nightmare sequel, maybe he can voice Jack Skellington’s dad? Or better yet, don’t make a sequel, because The Nightmare Before Christmas is perfect as is.
At long last, Spotify Wrapped has arrived. Today (November 29), Spotify has gifted users with interactive statistics based on their listening habits. In each Wrapped, listeners get a fun, colorful summary featuring their most listened-to songs, albums, and artists. Spotify also puts together a nifty little playlist featuring each listener’s most listened-to songs, as well as an assessment of their mood and personality.
As this year’s Spotify Wrapped begins to unwrapped, Spotify users have questions as to how they can access their annual stats.
Is Spotify Wrapped only for Premium users?
Both Spotify Free and Spotify Premium users can see their Wrapped statistics. However, Spotify Premium users will have access to some more interactive features. The aforementioned mood and personality assessment will only be available for viewing on the Wrappeds of Premium users.
Some of the newer features also include “Me in 2023,” which assigns each listener one of 12 characters specific to their listening habits, in a tarot-like fashion. Another feature called “Sound Town” matches each user to a city based on the songs and artists they’ve listened to.
According to a press release, listeners will also get their top five genres presented to them in a “sandwich-inspired design.”
All Spotify users can see their individual Wrappeds here.
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