Mexican American pop artist Becky G has spoken frequently about the way she’s elevated her career by collaborating with her female peers, especially those in the Latin-music landscape. She’s also worked with some well-known men who dominate the charts — from Bad Bunny (2017’s “Mayores”) to Maluma (2019’s “La Respuesta”). That sense of community is all over her new album, too. Yet, there comes a time when an artist has to assert their autonomy — and on Esquemas, Becky G takes center stage, even when she’s collaborating. The result is her best music yet.
There’s certainly no lack of features on her sophomore full-length. “MAMIIII,” released just ahead of Esquemas, is a hand-in-hand effort with Karol G — a much-awaited duet between longtime friends that has already, unsurprisingly, became a megahit. “Ram Pam Pam,” reignites the chemistry of “Sin Pijama,” the 2018 hit with Dominican singer Natti Natasha that helped launch Becky G out of the confines of English-language pop and into the upper echelons of Latin music. Together, they deliver another sex-positive romp that’s more about their own party, fully on their own terms, than serving the male gaze.
But when she takes over a song herself, she does so with zero qualms. Becky G gets more personal than ever here, mainly by taking musical risks. Esquemas, more or less, translates to schemes — and all the moves Becky G has made here feel absolutely deliberate.
As with her 2019 debut LP, Mala Santa, reggaeton and dembow are mainstay rhythms throughout. But a track like “Flashback,” featuring Becky G’s frequent Miaimi-based collaborator Elena Rose, is a welcome shake-up: It’s a kind of doo-wop duro, silky slow but simultaneously raw, with heavy rhythmic breakdowns. “No Mienten” is an experimental electronic track ready for a dance-floor remix, and unlike anything Becky G has released before. “Dolores” is an even more intimate number, a pro-femme ballad inspired by her grandmother, her younger self, and other women in her family, throughout which she employs electronic reverberations that evoke a kind of mesmeric nostalgia.
It’s also invigorating to hear how strong Becky G is alongside Dominican superstar El Alfa, whose singular voice and flow are a nice match for Bad Bunny’s undeniable prowess. (Everyone knows the best part of Bad Bunny’s “La Romana” is El Afla’s closing “Fuego, fuego!”) On “Fulanito,” El Alfa caters more to Becky G rather than simply supplying a cohesive verse; she’s crushing on him but it sounds like he’s doing everything he can to impress her, making for the rare pop romance where everything flows both ways and feels mutual. Similarly, when Puerto Rican rapero Guaynaa guests on “Tajin,” the track still feels like Becky G’s. He’s the guest.
On cuts like “Que le Muerda,” a post-breakup diss, and “Guapa,” where Becky G glides past catcalls, she fully holds her own. “Kill Bill” — replete with the sound effects of swords being unsheathed — centers on her speak-style rapping, with some menacing whispers to drive the point home. “Bailé Con Mi Ex” is a singular surprise, too, a start-to-finish disco-pop treat.
Esquemas couldn’t be more appropriately named. It’s all intentional. And nobody better challenge her sovereignty, because she’s most certainly earned it.
Uvalde Mom ‘Destroyed’ By Loss of Only Daughter, Calls Texas Gov. Abbott ‘Embarrassment’
Ana Rodriguez lost her only daughter in the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, this week. She calls it utter madness that the gunman was able to legally purchase two AR-15 rifles the minute he turned 18 this month, but still couldn’t get served at a bar.
“How can an 18 year-old buy an AR but he cannot buy beer? That is absolute insanity,” Rodriguez, 35, tells Rolling Stone.
Speaking in a her first interview since the rampage claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers — including her 10-year-old daughter Maite Rodriguez — the devastated mom says she heard the father of another victim highlight the disparity in the minimum ages for gun buying and drinking in Texas, and she wanted to amplify the message.
“In my opinion, nobody’s brain is fully developed at the age 18. You’re still a child, and what would a child do with an AR? I guess we all know now,” she says.
Rodriguez, who went from planning her daughter’s future to planning her funeral all in the same week, says that even amid her blinding grief, she can see Gov. Greg Abbott’s refusal to even consider stronger gun laws in the aftermath of Tuesday’s tragedy for what it is, inexcusable.
“He is an absolute embarrassment to Texas,” she says of the two-term Republican governor who’s heading into an election against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, the former U.S. Representative who interrupted an Abbott press conference Wednesday to call the tragedy “totally predictable” due to lax gun regulation.
Breaking down in sobs as she describes her bright and “empathetic” daughter, Rodriguez says Maite, and everyone killed in the senseless shooting, had so much to offer and deserved so much better.
“Ever since kindergarten, she wanted to be a marine biologist. She was very smart and competitive. She started looking at universities on the internet and had her heart set on Texas A&M in Corpus Christi,” Rodriguez says, marveling at her child’s determination at such a young age.
“She was very charismatic, very loving, giving. She was my very best friend. We did everything together. She was my only girl,” Rodriguez says. “She was a beautiful soul, inside and out. She was definitely way better than I was at that age. I was so proud of her.”
Rodriguez, 35, says her life now will never be the same.
“This has completely, completely destroyed me,” Rodriguez says. “This situation has completely rocked me to my core and my entire family. None of those children deserved what happened. We want to thank the community for everything they’re doing for us. If she could see how much people care for her and these kids, she’d be so happy.”
A relative of Rodriguez, Felix Coronado, set up a GoFundMe to help the family with funeral expenses and time away from work to grieve. Speaking to Rolling Stone on Wednesday, Coronado described Maite as someone who was always looking out for others.
“She was always excited and happy — so much fun to be around. She loved going to the beach,” Coronado, the brother of Maite’s grandfather, says. “We heard from a kid who survived in the room. He told us that she did everything she could to help the other kids.”
Farewell Andy Fletcher: A Toast to Depeche Mode’s Quiet One
Goodbye to Andy Fletcher, a beloved New Wave uncle to countless Depeche Mode fans over the years. Fletch, who died at age 60 of natural causes, was a founding member of the pioneering synth-pop sages, and a crucial element in their chemistry. Every sullen goth teen who ever wore black in the Eighties has a soft spot in their heart for this man, which is why fans all over the world are blasting Black Celebration in his honor right now. Fletch represented their original punk-rock spirit of inspired amateurism. As he told the NME right at the beginning, in 1981, “You don’t have to be a great musician to play and get a message out. We certainly didn’t know anything about music.”
In Depeche Mode, Fletch always stood between two mega-flamboyant personalities. On one hand: Martin Gore, the brooding songwriter, pouting “Understaaand me” to the camera in a leather jacket. On the other hand: Dave Gahan, the flamboyant, extroverted, extremely topless lead singer, never shy about preening in white jeans. Fletch was in the middle, the quiet one, always slightly bemused at finding himself caught up in such a long-running pop melodrama.
As Depeche Mode kept getting kinkier and gothier, Fletch kept giving the vibe of an affable accountant who wandered into the industrial sex club by mistake. He always seemed to have the same haircut, the same glasses, the same dry smirk. The closest he came to the others’ theatrical decadence was lip-synching the screams in the “Master and Servant” video.
Fletch always had a unique and enigmatic role in this most unique and enigmatic group. To be specific, fans weren’t quite sure what he actually did. He was famously hands-off musically. Unlike the other two, he didn’t sing or write; nobody seemed to know if his keyboard was even plugged in. That was part of his mystique. He appeared onstage—but his real job was looking after their business affairs. As Gahan once mused, “Maybe we should set a fax machine up for him onstage.”
Yet he was also an eloquent spokesman for the whole Depeche Mode concept. “The beauty of using electronics is that music can now be made in your bedroom,” he told Rolling Stone in 1993. “You don’t need to get four people together in some warehouse to practice.” For him, that set artists free for new kinds of creative liberation. “Obviously, it’s sad to see the demise of the traditional rock group. But there’s always going to be a place for it in cabaret.”
The group started off with in the London suburb Basildon, with synth wizard Vince Clarke writing the songs. They scored brilliant hits—“Dreaming of Me,” “New Life,” “Just Can’t Get Enough”—and the classic 1981 debut Speak and Spell. When Clarke quit and moved on to Yaz, everybody assumed Depeche Mode was finished—but they carried on in an extremely weird four-man configuration. Martin Gore wrote the songs, Dave Gahan swiveled his hips, Alan Wilder played most of the music—and Fletch looked after the office. Wilder left in 1995, but the core trio carried on, as cheerfully dysfunctional as ever.
The Mode became elder statesmen, touring the world. “Traveling gets harder as we get older,” Fletch told me in 2009. “But you know, we do travel in a certain amount of luxury.” They always kept making great music in the studio—their last album, 2017’s Spirit, is a truly underrated banger. The gorgeous 2005 Playing the Angel is a top-five Depeche Mode album, with one of their loveliest singles in “Precious.” And they remained monstrously awesome as a live act. “We’re not the Cure,” Fletcher said. “We don’t play for four hours. I think Dave would die of a heart attack if he kept running around the stage dancing for that long.”
Fletch was famous for his dry, oft-caustic wit. When Depeche Mode was inducted into the Hall of Fame, via long-distance video, Dave Gahan gave a speech thanking the group’s artistic heroes, like David Bowie, Iggy and the Stooges, the Clash. Fletcher chimed in, “The Eagles!” In the classic D.A. Pennebaker documentary 101, fans follow the group on an American tour. Fletch spends the whole movie looking slightly surprised, yet amused by all the fan hysteria around him, not to mention the melodrama in the group itself. That’s how fans will remember him. R.I.P., Fletch.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Finally Hits Theaters — Here’s When You’ll Be Able to Watch It Online
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The Top Gun sequel’s premiere date, like many other franchises, got delayed multiple times over the course of the pandemic. But after years of anticipation, Joseph Kosinski’s new action film will finally soar into a theater near you for Memorial Day weekend.
If you’re feeling the need to stream the film that started it all, here’s what you need to know about watching Top Gun online. Plus, below we’ve found how to reserve tickets to see Top Gun: Maverick in time for its premiere in theaters.
Top Gun: Maverick: Release Date, Theater Showtimes, Tickets
Starring Cruise, Miles Teller (Goose’s son, Rooster), Jennifer Connelly (Penelope), along with Jon Hamm and Val Kilmer (Iceman), Top Gun: Maverick debuts in theaters on Friday, May 27, 2022. Theatergoers can see their local showtimes and purchase tickets online through sites like Fandango.
Can You Stream Top Gun: Maverick Online?
Top Gun fans eager to see Maverick on their screens at home will have to wait a little longer. For now, the blockbuster is only playing in theaters across the country and won’t be available on streaming services — a shift from the rollout of other new releases over the last year, like Dune.
Still, the Paramount Pictures film is expected to eventually be available online, which means you can wait to stream Top Gun: Maverick online if you don’t want to go to the theater. While the studio hasn’t announced which streaming service Top Gun: Maverick will be on, it’s likely that it won’t be on Netflix or HBO Max, but rather on Paramount+, which is affiliated with Paramount Pictures.
If you want to watch Top Gun: Maverick on Paramount+, start checking your calendar: most new films have a theatrical window of about 45 days, and if Paramount+ keeps the same timeline, you’ll be able to stream Top Gun: Maverick online around July 11.
For now, the only way to watch Top Gun: Maverick is in person. And hey, what better way to watch the action movie of all action movies for the first time than in theaters?
How to Watch Top Gun Online for Free
While you’ll have to wait a few weeks to stream Top Gun: Maverick online, you can watch the original Top Gun movie online free. If you want to watch the Eighties classic before seeing Top Gun: Maverick, you can watch Top Gun online free with a free trial to Paramount+.
Regularly $4.99/month, your free trial gets you seven days of free access to the Paramount+ library, which includes the first Top Gun movie. Use your free trial to stream Top Gun free online and then choose to continue on with a Paramount+ subscription at the $4.99 price point or cancel anytime.
Is Top Gun Streaming on Netflix?
Yes, you can stream Top Gun with a Netflix subscription. Subscribers can even download the movie to watch it offline, too. But you’ll want to hurry as the the Tony Scott-directed film leaves the streaming service on May 31.
Can You Stream Top Gun on Hulu?
Hulu subscribers who have the Live TV package can stream Top Gun whenever it’s playing on TV.
With a Hulu + Live TV package, you can add the movie to your “My Stuff” section and even record it if you won’t be home when it airs. That way, you can stream Top Gun from your Hulu app afterwards. Your subscription includes 80+ live TV channels too, that covers news, sports, entertainment and more.
How to Watch Top Gun Without Cable or a Streaming Subscription
Streaming isn’t your only way to watch the original Top Gun. You can own it on Blu-ray, too, and watch the action movie in 4K at home.
You’ll also get special features that you wouldn’t normally get to see anywhere else, including the Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun documentary, along with interviews with the cast.
As of this writing, you can get Top Gun on Blu-ray for just $7 on Amazon — a 34 percent discount.
Top Gun and Top Gun 2 Soundtrack: Where to Stream
You can’t really mention Top Gun without immediately hearing the songs featured on its iconic soundtrack.
The tracklist includes Berlin’s classic ballad “Take My Breath Away,” opener “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, and eight others — all of which you can listen to on all the major streaming services, or by owning the album on CD.
For Top Gun: Maverick, meantime, fans can already buy the sequel’s soundtrack online to listen to all the songs from the film, like OneRepublic’s “I Ain’t Worried,” “Great Balls of Fire (Live)” by Teller, and, of course, “Danger Zone.” The soundtrack also features the film’s score, plus Lady Gaga’s lead single, “Hold My Hand,” which you stream on Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music, or buy the digital download online.
“When I wrote this song for Top Gun: Maverick, I didn’t even realize the multiple layers it spanned across the film’s heart, my own psyche, and the nature of the world we’ve been living in,” Gaga wrote of the song on Twitter earlier this month. “I’ve been working on it for years, perfecting it, trying to make it ours.”
Gaga also recently released the “Hold My Hand” music video, which was directed by Kosinski, ahead of the film’s May 27 premiere date.
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