this month in music: may 2023
Your monthly summary of music news and gossip.
Queen of Rock and Roll Tina Turner dies aged 83
One of the greatest performers of all time, Tina Turner, passed away on the 24th May. Turner has one of the most incredible legacies in rock music, and also has showcased herself as an incredibly strong and inspirational woman in her personal life.
Many other iconic musicians reflected their sadness at her passing via social media.
These tributes included Mick Jagger who said, in an Instagram post dedicated to her, said she was an:
‘enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.’
Dolly Parton also said her piece on Instagram, and stated that
‘With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow.’
And Lizzo, who did a fantastic performance of Proud Mary, a song that Tina Turner had truly made her own.
Ed Sheeran Wins ‘Let’s Get It On’ / ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Trial
The singer had been taken to court by the co-writers of the Marvin Gaye classic ‘Let’s Get It On’ over the similar chord progression at the ‘heart’ of the song that appeared in Ed Sheeran’s hit song ‘Thinking Out Loud’. It’s important to mention that it was not the Marvin Gaye estate that was making this claim.
It was argued that the lyrics and melody of the song were different, but it was the ‘heart’ of the song that had been ‘taken without credit or compensation’.
Sheeran argued he and Amy Wadge, his fellow co-writer of the song, had come up with the song independently and the verdict agrees, as they did win the overall court case.
The case was an important win for songwriters, as over the years and as more music is created, it gets harder to create brand new melodies without taking some kind of subconscious inspiration from the music of the past. If the case had been lost, it would have set a dangerous precedent for all kinds of claims of copyright when it comes to songwriting.
If you want more detail on it, the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast has a great episode on it, which features discussions with other songwriters about the importance of Sheeran’s win.
Universal Music Group partners with AI startup Endel
Major record label UMG has partnered with AI music start-up Endel. This comes as a surprise after UMG recently sent a letter to streaming platforms, asking them to crack down on AI songs being released on their platforms.
However, the AI start-up they are partnering with focuses on mood music and ‘soundscapes’ for the purpose of relaxation and sleep. Although this is a far cry from the AI music being heard all over TikTok, it is still a significant cultural investment by UMG. The label did clarify that it’s not being used for chart hits but, with some artists such as Grimes choosing to use AI to their advantage, well, only time will tell.
Big album releases
Ed Sheeran - - (Subtract)
Ed Sheeran’s album Subract strips back all of the mega production of his last couple albums, and sees him return to his nearly acoustic routes with the help of co-writer and producer Aaron Dessner.
Arlo Parks - My Soft Machine
Upcoming big name in British indie Arlo Parks’ My Soft Machine sees her experiment more with her sound, whilst keeping her familiar chilled nature and soft vocals.
Kesha - Gag Order
Kesha has released her fifth studio album Gag Order, which takes on darker lyrical content and slightly more experimental production than her previous records.
Lewis Capaldi - Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent
Capaldi’s sophomore album sees him still embark on his heartbreaking ballads while also having a little bit more fun with the production.
Fred Again… and Brian Eno - Secret Life
Fred Again and mentor Brian Eno team up for a new album, introducing Fred Again's unique production style to Eno's classic slow pace.
Live on tour
Beyoncé kicks off the Renaissance tour
Beyoncé officially kicked off her Renaissance World Tour this month in Sweden, and is currently making her way around the UK. The tour brings insane visuals, a Love On Top sing-along opportunity, and of course, Bey's insane vocals too.
She’s even been inviting her eldest daughter, Blue Ivy, up on stage to dance with her.
The audiences of her shows have been star-studded, with everyone from Dua Lipa to Kris Jenner making an appearance in the VIP area.
Harry Styles begins his final leg of Love on Tour
Harry Styles's mega tour is finally ending after two years, as he begins his final shows across Europe. The singer has brought back some fan favourite songs to the setlist, including Fine Line and One Direction's deep cut Stockholm Syndrome. This means in a couple months’ time, people can finally stop asking the question ‘He’s STILL on tour?’.
Niall Horan announces 2024 tour ‘The Show: Live on Tour
To accompany his upcoming album, Niall Horan is embarking on a tour next year, following his upcoming major festival appearances this summer. He’s announced dates for the UK, Ireland, Europe, the USA and Australia and New Zealand, with more dates coming soon. The tickets go on sale this week.
Taylor Swift and Matty Healy spark dating rumours
Taylor Swift and very controversial The 1975 frontman Matty Healy have been spotted several times over the last month, with sources saying their relationship is 'not platonic'. It is safe to say the internet has lost its mind over this one, and a lot of awful things he's said previously have come to light.
Jesse Rutherford and Billie Eilish split
Jesse Rutherford and Billie Eilish have reportedly broken up. The pair were together for a good few months. The age gap in their relationship had been a little controversial, especially as Eilish had previously said she had been a huge fan of The Neighborhood frontman since she was young. Apparently, the split was amicable.
Keith Urban accidentally confirms Phoebe Bridgers and Bo Burnham are together
You read that right. Keith Urban accidentally revealed indie superstar Phoebe Bridgers and comedian Bo Burnham together while filming a cute video at The Eras Tour with his wife Nicole Kidman. Rumours had been speculating for a while about the pair, since Bridger's split with Paul Mescal.
And finally...something wholesome
Harry Styles reunites with superfan that awarded him his Album of The Year Grammy
Reina Lafantaisie was given the honour of handing Harry Styles his Album of The year Grammy back in February. Reina, her daughter and her granddaughter all travelled from the USA to Coventry, England to see Harry on his latest tour. While there, she was invited backstage to meet him again whilst wearing an 'I gave Harry Styles a Grammy' shirt. How cute!