Arkansas's biggest pop stars released new albums today (and they're both available on Spotify). "American Idol" winner Kris Allen is out with his sophomore album, "Thank You Camellia." Most of the songs "deal with getting out of oneself and into the lives of other people, according to USA Today
"I struggle with that, because that's who I am sometimes," Kris says. "My wife gets mad at me, because I'll worry more about my friends than I worry about myself.
"I think some people hate that about me. They're like, 'You need to worry about yourself more!' But it's tough for me, when that's not the kind of person I am.
"I want my music to feel like I'm giving something to someone else and not that I'm expecting something back. I like singing; I like writing; I like making music with these guys. This is all, like, me giving something to other people. If I get something in return — awesome."
Meanwhile, Gossip's fifth album, "A Joyful Noise," produced by Kylie Minogue collaborator Brian Higgins, takes inspiration from ABBA. Asked about band's evolution by the Village Voice, Judsonia's Beth Ditto said:
I think that's the best part of being in a band like Gossip is that everything is so off-the-cuff in so many ways. For us we're just like, "Huh? What? Okay, let's just do that." We make music the same way we always do. If we went into the studio, just the three of us with a tape recorder, we'd probably sound exactly like That's Not What I Heard or very similar. Or [2003's] Movement. [The direction] pretty much is always left up to the producer. I never really thought it would be like this, but you know, I didn't know what it would look like.
On ABBA's enduring appeal:
"I think that's why they call it pop music—because it's popular. It exceeds everything. It's genre-less. People would call it disco, but it's not really disco, is it? To me, it's just kind of the ultimate in production, the ultimate in delivery. The packaging wasn't incredible. It wasn't super-style-y. If anything, it was completely the opposite, even for the time. Compare a picture of Donna Summer—rest in peace—to a picture of ABBA. And you're like, "...Okay." It's just a completely different ballgame. The idea of the perfection is just incredible.
See the video for the new single "Move in the Right Direction" on the jump.
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