While you were busy this week dealing with life, a thousand more hours of music were released and a million words were written about them. More importantly, one very saucy cover image of Nicki Minaj spawned a legion of admirers. Lorde officially was named a "curator." The Neverland Ranch you've been saving for finally came up for sale. The bad news: Magic's insufferable, whiny "Rude" is the No. 1 song in America. These are dark times, indeed. Below, the week in music.
-- Budding British pop singer Jessie J is a big star in her own country, and has made a grand maneuver toward stateside ubiquity with the new release of her track "Bang Bang." The song has all the makings of a 2014 smash, so get used to it: It's produced by Max Martin and features verses by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.
-- The cover of Nicki Minaj's forthcoming single, "Anaconda," was made public, offered in part to eclipse the middling performance of her last single, "Pills N Potions." It's done the job, with a host of memes, a Photoshop scandal and no doubt many awestruck adolescents trying to wrap their heads around their reigning favorite booty.
-- Miley Cyrus followers, however, were tipped to a different brand of awestruck: the superstar posted two photos of punk singer Kathleen Hanna, and described her as the "coolest ever."
-- The annual Gathering of the Juggalos is the yang to Coachella's yin. Where the latter celebrates sun, lithe beauty and the latest fashion, the Gathering, hosted and founded by the Insane Clown Posse, celebrates flesh, face paint and clowns while pondering the miracles of nature. Judging by the many not-safe-for-work slide shows, this year's Juggalo party was as raucous as ever. But mashed with Morgan Freeman's narration to "March of the Penguins," the event takes on a whole new tone. Called "March of the Juggalos, the clip is NSFW, but not pornographically so.
-- The Los Angeles electronic music scene continues to blossom. But where once it was mostly centered on a post-hip hop beats scene, the emergent techno and house landscape has brought further attention. XLR8R Magazine goes long on "LA Story" to celebrate the labels, DJs and producers making a dent on the city's dance floors.
-- Young rock-star-to-be Courtney Barnett has been gradually, gracefully ascending as a performer while gathering a devoted tribe. And, as this live performance at KEXP illustrates, she's earning the attention honestly.
-- Also on NPR this week: Former Carolina Chocolate Drops banjo player Dom Flemons sat down with Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk old time music, his instrument and his work. It's a fascinating 40 minutes of conversation.
-- Not that anyone needs an excuse to post this devastating clip of James Brown, but the arrival of the biopic "Get On Up" seals the deal. Here's James Brown performing on "The T.A.M.I. Show" in 1964. It was recorded at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, a space that should be deemed a historic landmark as result.
-- At the risk of infecting your brain with another "Royals" earworm, New Zealand singer Lorde is back in the news. The magnetic singer will be curating the new "Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" soundtrack. (And music supervisors the world over shift uncomfortably in their seats.)
-- "Jenny Lewis not only has a new album, she has a new wine." S. Irene Virbila writes on the singer's new bottle (available for purchase at the excellent Domaine LA wine shop). If you get too drunk on her wine, make sure to have the New Pornographers-brand coffee for the morning. It's called Brill Brew in honor of the band's forthcoming album, "Brill Bruisers," and will be available at Intelligentsia.
-- Got $60 million? Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is for sale in Santa Barbara. It costs about $5 million a year for upkeep, which puts me out of the running.
-- How did the whole notion of a "song of the summer" become so? "Essentially, no one was talking much about the idea of the Song of the Summer before the mid-'90s," writes Chris Molanphy at Slate, "and it's really accelerated in the last half-decade." A fascinating look at the history of an idea.
-- Win Butler talked touring, percussion and future music with me for Friday's story in The Times. The takeaway: After they close the tour at the end of August, "we're done touring for the foreseeable future," said Butler. More important for fans: He's feeling inspired to work on new material.
"Even at nighttime, I'm just so itchy to be creative again, and it's very hard to do on the road," he said. "I can definitely feel that. Even being home for a couple weeks, I just feel insane, like I want to think about other music and start to dream again."