Can’t Christmas fall on a Thursday every year? While some of us might have been settling our brains for a long winter’s nap, the pop world kept turning, as Thom Yorke released a new song, Beyoncé unleashed new remixes, N.E.R.D. offered their first track since reuniting, more unheard Madonna tracks surfaced, Eminem turned up (and came out) on new film The Interview and a whole lot more. Here are some extra presents to unwrap.
In September, the Radiohead frontman released a new solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, with no advance warning via BitTorrent. More than 1 million people downloaded at least the free portion (read our Q&A with BitTorrent’s chief content officer). Now the full-length is on BandCamp, along with a new track, “You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry,” which doesn’t sound angry or unlikable at all: It’s celestial electro-pop that just might be better than the rest of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Meanwhile, Yorke’s main band was officially back in the studio at the start of the month, and a new Radiohead-written song, “Spooks,” appears on the soundtrack to recently released movie Inherent Vice.
Santa, roll out the ‘Yoncé remixes, please. Queen B recently marked the one-year anniversary of her surprise visual album with Beyoncé Platinum Edition Box Set, an expanded set including two new songs, “Ring Off” and “7/11.” Now Skrillex and Diplo, who will be taking their Jack Ü collaborative project to New York’s Madison Square Garden for New Year’s Eve, have unveiled an EDM-ified rework of “7/11.” For those looking for a less frenzied listen, Detroit producer Detail (Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love,” Nicki Minaj’s “Looking Ass”) has remade the same song as a glistening, contemplative mood piece, with a restrained, Auto-Tune-crooned guest appearance by French Montana.
Pharrell’s supergroup reunited last month at Odd Future’s annual festival. Now the “Happy” man’s reformed project with fellow Neptunes member Chad Hugo and their musical partner Shay Haley has unleashed its first post-reunion song, “Squeeze Me.” It’s cheery playground pop that befits its placement on the soundtrack to the upcoming The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
Earlier this month, an album’s worth of Madonna demos surfaced online, prompting the Material Girl to rush-released a six-song Rebel Heart EP. Now a few more unreleased tracks have emerged: “Never Let You Go,” “Arioso” and “Two Steps Behind Me.” Despite speculation that the last of these is a Lady Gaga dis (“You’re a pretty girl, I’ll give you that / stealing my recipe”), Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, has said his boss bears Gaga “no ill will.” You’ll have to locate these unauthorized leaks on your own.
The real Slim Shady spent his pre-holiday season getting discussed by the Supreme Court and smacked down by everyone from Perfume Genius to Iggy Azalea, when not rapping an ill-advised Ray Rice joke directed at Lana Del Rey (see Eminem: You’re Too Old, Let Go, It’s Over). In the new James Franco-Seth Rogen film The Interview, which arrived in theaters on Christmas because that’s what Thomas Jefferson would have wanted, Eminem pretends to come out as gay.
Odd Future’s most verbally gifted MC debuted a handful of new songs live in Santa Ana, California. Watch fan footage of Earl Sweatshirt‘s new “Faucet” and “Hell” below and see our photos from the show here.
London’s mystique-shrouded PC Music label ends a breakthrough year with roster member GFOTY’s sex-themed and bizarre “Christmas Day.”
Atlanta rap surrealist Rome Fortune takes a rare self-production credit on “Weight on Me.”