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While we’ve been forced to party in the comfort of our own living rooms over the course of 2020, that doesn’t mean we haven’t had fun. The pop world has continued to push out hit after hit, many of which has kept smiles on our faces on the days when we didn’t think it were even possible…

Cardi B at the Fashion Nova x Cardi B Collection launch party 2019 / Photo Credit: Image Press Agency/SIPA USA/PA Images

1. WAP – Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion

While we’re not saying that this controversial hit is everything we wanted in a song in 2020, certainly the upset surrounding it has been a source of great entertainment. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion reclaimed their sexuality with a vitality and audacity rarely seen from women in music with this song, and as such it’s become quite the political talking point.

2. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd

We have no idea why this infectious number isn’t up for a Grammy this year. With a riff that has been all over TikTok, it’s been almost inescapable, not that we’re complaining. Album After Hours is a genius pop release in itself, but Blinding Lights is an 80s-inspired production masterpiece and one of the more positive moments of 2020.

3. Therefore I Am – Billie Eilish

As usual, Billie Eilish slays with her newest single Therefore I Am, which is set to feature on her forthcoming second album (whenever that will be). While it’s difficult to fault 2019’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, there’s certainly a fresh confidence when it comes to her new song, which once again features production from her brother Finneas O’Connell.

4. Midnight Sky – Miley Cyrus

It’s no secret that Miley Cyrus can record a hit, but she has really surprised everyone this year with her new, mature, rock-focused sound. Midnight Sky is a solid highlight from her latest album Plastic Hearts, which also features an awesome medley with Stevie Nicks called Edge of Midnight which blends the track with her iconic number Edge of Seventeen.

5. No Body, No Crime – Taylor Swift ft. Haim

Who knew this would be such a match made in heaven? Taylor Swift ventures back into her country roots with the help of the Haim sisters for this tongue-in-cheek murder ballad-style track from her surprise follow-up to Folklore: Evermore. It’s an amusing narrative inspired by Taylor’s love of true crime, and it’s refreshing to hear a fictional tale being told through a pop song – that doesn’t happen nearly enough.

6. Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers

A sun-soaked tune that is by far the most uplifting song on Phoebe Bridgers’ stunning album Punisher, Kyoto is currently up for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song at the Grammys, with the album nominated for Best Alternative Music Album and the singer herself up for Best New Artist. There’s are many reasons why Phoebe’s album made our top 10 albums of 2020 and Kyoto is just one of the biggest.

7. Pink Diamond – Charli XCX

This heavy electronic opening track from her album How I’m Feeling Now seems to have a slightly different tone to the rest of the record; it’s by far the most experimental track on there and, despite its brevity, is certainly the biggest earworm. We hope for more rap ventures from Charli XCX in the future.

8. Cotton Candy – Yungblud

As much as we object to the idea that highly dissolvable cotton candy can actually get “stuck between [your] teeth”, this song has been on repeat for us since it dropped in October. It’s a fun pop rock tune from his new album Weird! about sexual liberation and one of those positive tunes that 2020 has needed. Plus, the video had Yungblud rocking a tennis skirt which we are SO here for.

9. People, I’ve Been Sad – Christine And The Queens

Taken from her EP La vita nuova, we cannot help but relate to Christine and the Queens’ English/French single People, I’ve Been Sad. It was Time’s best song of 2020, and while it sounds a little too melancholy to really “make our year”, it’s more upbeat than the title suggests and it’s certainly one of the catchiest songs of the year.

10. Say So – Doja Cat

Another song that became popular this year thanks to TikTok, this January release featured on Doja Cat’s second album Hot Pink and was stunningly remixed by Nicki Minaj in the Spring. Our love for this song only increased with the hard rock rendition she did for the MTV Video Music Awards and it’s well-deserving of its Grammy nominatations for Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.

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Twitter reacts to unforgivable headlines surrounding the death of convicted murderer Phil Spector

phil spector 2004 credit pa images

With the news that Phil Spector – convicted murderer of Lana Clarkson – has passed away at the age of 81 due to COVID-19 complications, many headlines have displayed shocking ignorance and insensitivity by choosing to focus on his music career rather than his crime. Naturally, readers have reacted with predictable disgust.

Phil Spector, 2004 / Photo Credit: Milan Ryba/Zuma Press/PA Images

It’s true that the media often has a habit of overlooking respect and sensitivity when it comes to getting headlines out quickly, and this time they have gone a step too far by underplaying the fact that music producer Phil Spector was a brutal killer. 

In many obituaries, actress Lana Clarkson was merely a footnote in a long memorial of Spector’s life and work. But the headline that really struck a nerve was from BBC News, who initially reported: “Talented but flawed producer Phil Spector dies aged 81”.

They have since changed it to something a little more palatable (“Phil Spector: Pop producer jailed for murder dies at 81”) but not before the internet could have their say.

“He murdered Lana Clarkson. Unforgivable reporting”, said Labour MP Apsana Begum, while many went a step further by pointing out all the other “talented but flawed” criminals out there, comparing him to Fred West, Harold Shipman and Peter Sutcliffe who all had careers, but they were ultimately irrelevant.

We surely couldn’t imagine such a headline if Jimmy Savile’s death came after he was publicly disgraced for his sex crimes, or if Gary Glitter had died, or R. Kelly, or Ian Watkins. But that’s probably a huge amount of naivete and idealism on our part. 

To recap, Spector was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison in 2009 for the 2003 shooting of Hollywood actress Lana Clarkson. The pair had met in the early hours of the morning at the House of Blues in LA before retiring to Spector’s house, where an hour later his driver heard a gunshot. Spector was seen leaving the house holding a gun and quoted as saying “I think I just shot her”. He would later claim the incident as “accidental suicide”, saying she “kissed the gun”.

Even if you did believe the Lana’s death was a tragic accident, Spector’s history was against him. His former wife Ronnie Spector alleged that she suffered years of psychological abuse at the hands of her husband, eventually “escaping” from their home and later claiming that he threatened to hire a hitman to kill her. Two of their sons, Gary and Donté, would also claim sexual abuse and being held “captive” as children. 

Whether or not these damning claims were true, they certainly weren’t the only accusations of aggression and violence that Spector faced during his career.

More uncomfortable headlines came from Rolling Stone (“Phil Spector, Famed ‘Wall of Sound’ Producer Convicted of Murder, Dead at 81”) and Reuters (“Influential rock producer Phil Spector, who changed pop music and was convicted of killing actress Lana Clarkson, died at the age of 81”). Both placing heavy emphasis on the felon’s career rather than the very serious crime that ended it. It might seem subtle, but it’s further evidence of how much people value a person’s talent over their victims.

We see it time and time again with celebrities who seem to get away with deviant behaviour for years despite incriminating headlines and blatant accusations, just because of how much people love their art. Not only that, but there’s a culture of idolatry within the true crime world, with famous murderers like Charles Manson, Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy receiving a kind of admiration for their mystery and brutality – extra points given if their crimes have inspired iconic books or movies. 

“Who’s your favourite serial killer?” is a common question among consumers of true crime documentaries and biographies. Unfortunately, it’s a natural human thing to want to immerse oneself in the morbid and the grotesque, and discover what drives people to commit crimes that most of us couldn’t contemplate in our wildest nightmares. But issues arise when we divert our empathy away from the victims, and forget the agony that these “fascinating” monsters have unleashed onto so many people.

In the case of Phil Spector though, murder appears to be, for many people, merely another area of intrigue for an iconic music genius who changed production in a number of important ways. Now we’re not saying it’s unethical to enjoy the art he created, but it’s important to do so with the strong awareness that his talents do not minimise his crimes, and remembering Phil Spector means to remember the woman whose life he unapologetically destroyed. 

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Phoebe Bridgers | Phoebe Bridgers gets tattoo of sword impaled with a fan’s letter

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Phoebe Bridgers has gotten a tattoo of a sword impaled with a letter from a fan.

The 26-year-old singer has shown off her new ink of the gift one of her fans gave to her at one of her gigs in 2019.

Phoebe had previously claimed that her former flame, musician Ryan Adams, once gave all the women on their tour a sword – but not her.

And one of her fans subsequently gave her a real sword with a note that read: “To protec To attacc To look f****** tight as hecc.

“Phoebe, I hope you like this real, authentic sword. You don’t need it, but you deserve it. Thanks for sharing your sad songs with us.”

The Grammy-nominated star had the body art done by celebrity tattoo artist, Dr Woo, as a permanent reminder.

She captioned a series of snaps of her tattoo and the real-life sword: “a fan brought me a note with a sword stabbed into it after a show and someone else got a tattoo of it so I did too

thank you @_dr_woo_

…and that is my wrist (sic)”

On not being gifted the weapon by Ryan, Phoebe had said: “I was on tour with Ryan Adams on [International] Women’s Day a few years ago and he got every woman on the crew a sword except for me.”

The ‘Garden Song’ singer was one of several women who accused Ryan, 46, of being abusive in an expose by the New York Times newspaper in 2019, allegations which he profusely denied.

Phoebe later issued a statement, in which she called out those close to Ryan who chose not to hold him “accountable”.

She said at the time: “It’s been a weird week and I wanted to say a couple things. Thank you from my whole f****** heart to my friends, my bands, my mom. They all supported and validated me. They told me that what had happened was f***** up and wrong, and that I was right to feel weird about it. I couldn’t have done this without them. Ryan had a network too. Friends, bands, people he worked with. None of them held him accountable. They told him, by what they said or by what they didn’t, that what he was doing was okay. They validated him. He couldn’t have done this without them. Guys, if your friend is acting f***** up, call them out. If they’re actually your friend, they’ll listen. That’s the way this all gets better.”

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Jennifer Lopez | Jennifer Lopez shuts down troll who accuses her of having ‘tons’ of Botox

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Jennifer Lopez shut down a troll who accused her of getting Botox.

The JLo Beauty founder has made it clear she has never injected her skin several times and hilariously told an Instagram user to try being “more positive and kind to others” if they want to say “youthful”.

The troll commented on a video of the 51-year-old singer-and-actress showing the results of her JLo Glow Multitasking Serum mask.

They wrote: “You definitely have Botox. And tons of it.”

Jennifer replied: “LOL that’s just my face!! for the 500 millionth time…I have never done Botox or any injectables or surgery!! Just saying.

“Get you some JLO Beauty and feel beautiful in your own skin!! And here is another JLO Beauty secret: try spending your time being more positive, kind and uplifting of others. “Don’t spend your time trying to bring others down that will keep you youthful and beautiful too!!! Sending you love. #beautyfromtheinsideout #beautyhasnoexpirationdate. (sic)”

The ‘Waiting For Tonight’ hitmaker – who unveiled her eponymous beauty brand earlier this month – recently insisted her glowing complexion is not the result of Botox and she will hold off turning to “the needles” for as long as she can by using the best products.

Jennifer was involved in the creation of every piece in the range, including the That JLo Glow Serum, which took 20 attempts to get right.

And the ‘In The Morning’ singer insisted she would never put out skincare that she didn’t believe in under her own name.

She said: “I’m not that person. I don’t have anything against people doing that; it’s just not my thing.

“I’m more about a natural approach to skincare. Whatever topical I use has to be somewhat natural, but I want them to work. I want the hyaluronic acid in there. I want the things that are going to help, because I don’t want to have to go to the needles at some point. I’m not saying one day I won’t, but I haven’t yet.”

The line is comprised of eight products in total – which come in rose gold packaging inspired by Jennifer’s favourite brand Cartier – with prices ranging between $18 (face mask) and $79 for the That JLo Glow serum.

The ‘Made in Manhattan’ star – who is constantly asked what the secret to her ageless appearance is – also revealed that she has olive oil to thank for her radiant glow.

She said: “This has been something I’ve been thinking about for maybe the past 20 years.

“I was just, like, I have to do skincare because the number one question, no matter where I went – if I was filming a movie, music, or whatever – was, What are you doing for your skin? And as I got more mature, the question came even more frequently.”

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