The 10 Songs You Need To Know This Week

08/07/2014 11:49 am ET
  • Ryan Kristobak Ryan Kristobak, HuffPost Associate Entertainment Editor
Years & Years

Each week, the HuffPost Entertainment team will compile and share some of our favorite tracks discovered across the web, whether they are brand new tunes, new music videos or newly discovered artists.

Years & Years - “Take Shelter”

You might recognize vocalist Olly Alexander from "Penny Dreadful" or "Skins," but it's with his band Years & Years that Alexander is truly taking the spotlight. Partnering up with actress Emily Browning for their single's visuals, Alexander's crisp tenor and Browning's spellbinding dance means you won't listen to this song just once today.

Kembe X - “As I Unfold” ft. Ab-Soul & Alex Wiley

Rising hip-hop artist Kembe X recruits Ab-Soul and Alex Wiley for the smooth cut "As I Unfold," off of his upcoming EP. Let's just hope we get the dirty version soon.

Poor and Perfect - “Annie”

Chris Rosenquest writes the perfect blend of country, folk and indie, mixed together with his cutting lyrics of love and his deep, gritty vocals. Poor and Perfect continues much of the sound he developed in his former outfit, The Tower and the Fool, and we hope he puts out a full-length soon, especially if it's of the same quality as "Annie."

Joey Bada$$ - “Big Dusty”

It appears that we will finally be getting Joey Bada$$'s studio debut, "B4DA$$," this fall. "Big Dusty," the first track from the album continues to improve on Joey's '90s boom-bap sound, receiving production from fellow Pro Era member Kirk Knight.

Ryn Weaver - “Promises”

Pop-game newcomer Ryn Weaver delivers her second track, "Promises," a dizzying song that builds up layers until it reaches the towering chorus. Between this and "Octahate," Weaver's "Promises" EP is shaping up to make waves.

Jon Waltz - “Home”

"Home" is a loose, ambient track, with Waltz mulling over the concept of home. While this won't be on his upcoming EP, "Alyss," it gives us a good idea of the kind of quality we can expect from the short-release.

Nick Hakim - “I Don’t Know”

Who said the singer-songwriter was dead? Nick Hakim came to attention with his debut EP, "Where Will We Go Pt. 1," last month, and he's wasting no time in preparing to release the follow-up. Soulful with just the right amount of gloom, "I Don't Know" is another fantastic product from a guy who knows how to write music that anyone can appreciate.

Turan - “Departed”

"Departed" is the first taste we have of U.K. artist Turan. His "Persistence of Memory" EP drops in a little over a week, and we can only hope the rest of it sounds as big as this.

Royal Blood - “Figure It Out”

Royal Blood is a name to know in rock. The duo's "Figure It Out" grooves along through for the first three-quarters of the song until the leading riff finally breaks out into the full chaos the listener had been hoping for the whole song.

Vance Joy - “First Time”

Vance Joy is selling out show after show, and his debut album, "Dream Your Life Away," hasn't even been released yet. Relentless touring and hard work is clearly paying off for the Australian artist, and with consistently impressive songs like "First Time," we're buying our tickets, too.

  • Cher -- "If I Could Turn Back Time" (1989)
    YouTube
    The fishnet stockings and low-cut swimsuit that became an iconic part of Cher's wardrobe also lent themselves to one of the many videos MTV relegated to the prime-time block. "If I Could Turn Back Time" was first banned. After it was re-edited with less sexual content, the network aired it only after 9 p.m.
  • Nas and Puff Daddy -- "Hate Me Now" (1999)
    YouTube
    Nas and Puff Daddy became well acquainted with controversy after their "Hate Me Now" video featured Nas imitating Jesus' crucifixion. Puffy, a Catholic, demanded his portions of the religious imagery be removed from the final cut, but the wrong version was sent to MTV. After it premiered on "TRL," Puffy stormed the office of Nas' manager and smashed a champagne bottle over his head.
  • Madonna -- "Justify My Love" (1990)
    YouTube
    "Erotica," "American Life" and "What It Feels Like for a Girl" all got the MTV ax as well, but it's "Justify My Love" that remains Madonna's most controversial video. She released the clip on VHS, becoming the first artist to package a music video that way and giving everyone the ability to watch her slither through that grainy hotel as much as they wanted. After MTV banned it, ABC News aired the video in its entirety only once and then interviewed Madonna about its content. When asked whether she could make more money off of VHS sales than via MTV streams, she replied, "Yeah, so? Lucky me."
  • N.W.A -- "Straight Outta Compton" (1988)
    YouTube
    The excessive violence in "Straight Outta Compton" rendered the video unfit for MTV's airwaves. Along with "Fuck tha Police," the song also caught the attention of the F.B.I. and the U.S. Secret Service, who condemned the group's lyrics.
  • Incubus -- "Megalomaniac" (2003)
    YouTube
    Released the same year the Iraq War began, this Incubus hit came with a video that features a bald eagle eating the head of a George W. Bush lookalike and a gas pump spraying oil all over a crowd. Oh, and it opens with Hitler soaring above the scene. MTV refused to play it during daytime hours.
  • Eminem -- "Stan"
    YouTube
    The full, eight-minute version of "Stan" is four verses' worth of violence, drugs, misogyny and suicide. That was edited down to a clean version fit for radio and TV airplay, but it didn't stop an outpouring of anger regarding the song's content, no matter its critical acclaim.
  • Public Enemy -- "By the Time I Get to Arizona" (1991)
    YouTube
    Public Enemy used "By the Time I Get to Arizona" to depict a white-supremacist governor who wouldn't allow the state to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He's assassinated in the video, prompting MTV to pull the plug.
  • Nine Inch Nails -- "Closer" (1994)
    YouTube
    "Closer" is a mad scientist's curation of gritty images, including S&M and a monkey nailed to a cross. Even though the song became one of Nine Inch Nail's most iconic moments, the Mark Romanek-directed video was only shown a year later, during late-night rotations of MTV's most controversial videos.
  • Marilyn Manson -- "Coma White" (1999)
    YouTube
    "Coma White" was filmed before the 1999 Columbine massacre and JFK Jr.'s death, but it didn't premiere until after those events. Because Manson and then-girlfriend Rose McGowan recreated President John F. Kennedy's assassination, the video was the subject of much enmity. Marilyn Manson said in a statement that it's meant as "a tribute to men like Jesus Christ and JFK who have died at the hands of mankind’s unquenchable thirst for violence." Despite the controversy, it became one of MTV's most requested videos.
  • Pearl Jam -- "Jeremy" (1991)
    YouTube
    "Jeremy" ends with the video's titular character shooting himself, which didn't fly with MTV's restrictions on violence. The television version zoomed in on the scene so the gun is not visible, and the controversy prompted Pearl Jam to back off from making many videos. After the Columbine shootings, MTV rarely aired the video. Despite the contention, "Jeremy" nabbed four Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year.
  • The Prodigy -- "Smack My Bitch Up" (1997)
    YouTube
    Feminist groups lashed out at The Prodigy over the misogynistic nature of the song's title and lyrics. After being banned, viewers requested the video so heavily that MTV agreed to air it after midnight and with a viewer-discretion warning. It's been named the most controversial video in the network's history.
  • Sister Souljah -- "The Hate That Hate Produced" (1992)
    YouTube
    Sister Souljah released two songs, and both were banned from MTV for incendiary lyrics and aggressive imagery.
  • Björk -- "Pagan Poetry" (2001)
    YouTube
    "Pagan Poetry" is Björk's sexual opus. It starts with blurry images of fellatio and ends with an Alexander McQueen dress that only covers the singer's bottom half. Somewhere in between, it was banned from MTV. We don't think "TRL" missed it too much.
  • Queen -- "I Want To Break Free" (1984)
    YouTube
    Reflecting the changing tides in MTV's programming, the "I Want to Break Free" video was banned because of its gay undertones, including Freddie Mercury parading around in women's clothes. The network reversed the ban in 1991.
  • Robbie Williams -- "Rock DJ" (2000)
    YouTube
    Robbie Williams must have been in a creepy mood when he decided to peel off his skin at the end of the "Rock DJ" video. No one wanted to see that, yet it still managed to collect the MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects.
  • Michael Jackson -- "Black or White" (1991)
    YouTube
    Jackson axed the final four minutes of his 11-minute "Black or White" video after MTV, BET and Fox premiered it to a deluge of angry calls. The nixed portion featured Jackson emerging as a black panther, making sexual gestures and smashing the windows of a parked car.
  • Bloodhound Gang -- "The Bad Touch" (1999)
    YouTube
    When "The Bad Touch" first made a splash, GLAAD accused the Bloodhoung Gang of homophobia because the video shows the group hitting two men in sailor suits sharing french fries over the head with baguettes. "A gay-bashing scene in any context in today's climate is not acceptable," the organization said in a statement addressed to MTV. The scene was cut from the video.

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