Q2 in Fandom: What You Might Have Missed in the Second Quarter of 2024

If you thought the first quarter of 2024 was hectic in the pop culture world, brace yourselves for an even wilder ride! The second quarter of the year has boasted a wealth of surprises. With a plethora of new album releases, movie-inspired music videos and collaborations between iconic and emerging artists on stage – thank you, Coachella – you might easily overlook some enthralling moments.  

The solution? Time to dust off that notepad and start jotting down updates as we guide you through another round of the latest entertainment highlights – and pay attention, because we’re not missing a beat. 

The Tortured Poets Department surprises fans with 31 new songs  

    Since Taylor Swift announced her eleventh studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, fans have persisted in deciphering the subtle hints she has teased leading up to its release. Many hoped it would draw inspiration from dark academia, while others believed it may follow a storytelling depth akin to sister albums Folklore and Evermore. One recurring Easter egg sees the number two being prominently featured alongside the pop singer. During her speech at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, she held up a peace sign while reflecting on the 16-track album, noting it took two years to create.  

    Seems normal, right? Not if you’re Taylor Swift, whose penchant for double meanings suggests something bigger is at play. 

    Fans immediately speculated about a double-album release, hoping Reputation (Taylor’s Version) would finally see daylight. While our expectations weren’t entirely accurate, we also weren’t completely delusional. Swift surprised us with something just as special – a second part to her latest album, titled The Anthology. Released just two hours after the standard edition, it features 15 additional songs that delve into her most vulnerable emotions, crafted with the help of longtime collaborator Aaron Dessner. 

    Twice the tracks, twice the heartbreak. She truly is a mastermind.  

    Madison Beer drops music video inspired by Jennifer’s Body  

      Fusing cinema with music is always a winning combination, especially when it comes to our favourite cult classic films.  

      In the latest music video for her hit single Make You Mine, Madison Beer pays homage to the 2009 American horror comedy Jennifer’s Body. She takes on the persona drawn from Megan Fox’s character in the original movie, capturing the same allure and darkness while bringing a fresh interpretation to the role. The eerie visuals of the video pair well with the song’s sultry melodies, and with Beer’s natural charm, it’s a little hard to stop ourselves from fully immersing into each haunting scene.  

      Some viewers have even expressed enthusiasm for a reboot of the film, envisioning Beer as the formidable Jennifer Check.  

      Coachella 2024 unites artists in memorable onstage collaborations  

        This year’s Coachella festival has elevated its performances with a dynamic blend of seasoned and emerging artists collaborating onstage, bridging generations of music enthusiasts.  

        The first two weekends of Coachella were packed with a lineup of iconic pairings. As the festival’s headline act, Lana Del Rey shared the spotlight with Billie Eilish to deliver mesmerising renditions of Video Games and Ocean Eyes. She was also joined by Camila Cabello for a performance of Cabello’s new hit, I Luv It, adding an infectious hyper-pop energy to Del Rey’s setlist. 

        American rock band No Doubt made their first onstage comeback since 2015, with lead vocalist Gwen Stefani belting out original songs such as Just a Girl and It’s My Life. Before launching into their 2000s single Bathwater, Stefani surprised the crowd by bringing out three-time Grammy Award winner Olivia Rodrigo. The duo alternated singing different parts of the song, with Rodrigo donning an ‘I HEART ND’ tank top and a Gwen Stefani-esque updo.  

        That same weekend, Tummy Hurts singer Reneé Rapp took centre stage with Kesha to perform the latter’s smash single, Tik Tok. Audiences quickly noticed a lyric change in the song’s opening verse, as the pair gestured defiantly while referencing rapper P. Diddy.  

        Sabrina Carpenter ushers in a new retro era  

          We’ve been seeing Sabrina Carpenter everywhere lately – and for good reason. The 25-year-old pop star has gained significant traction over the past year, and if you’ve found yourselves humming to her chart-topper Nonsense, you’re not alone.  

          Ahead of her upcoming album, aptly titled Short n’ Sweet, Carpenter is poised to introduce a fresh era with a retro twist. She has already set the stage with her newest singles, Espresso and Please, Please Please, with accompanying music videos that embrace a carefree 1940s summer filled with sipping cocktails, beach balls and a thrilling outlaw romance.  

          Carpenter also made a surprise cameo in last month’s Vogue World event in Paris, dressed in candy cane striped retro swimwear, a matching headscarf and bright red lipstick while she strutted down the runway. Vintage glamour, anyone? 

          Short ‘n Sweet will debut on 23 August, with a tour around North America kicking off in September this year. 

          Ariana Grande stuns in 2024 Met Gala performance  

            For the past 76 years, viewers have eagerly tuned into the annual Met Gala to witness attendees’ brilliant interpretations of its themes. However, the true centrepiece of this year’s haute couture fundraiser was Ariana Grande’s enchanting performance in honour of the evening’s theme, Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.  

            As her opening act, Grande lulled audiences with a beautiful rendition of Once Upon a Dream from Disney’s 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. During the performance, 30 dancers and 40 choir members of the Broadway Inspirational Voices surrounded her. Grande then transitioned into performing familiar tracks from her discography, such as Into You and 7 Rings, prompting fans to celebrate the return of ‘pop star Ariana’ after her recent ventures into the Wicked musical world.  

            To close off the night, Grande invited Wicked co-star Cynthia Erivo onstage for a duet of When You Believe, a song originally popularised in 1998 by vocal prowesses Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.  

            The Eras Tour (Not Taylor’s Version)  

              It’s been over a year since Taylor Swift embarked on the highly anticipated, Eras Tour. While fans were treated to delightful variations throughout the tour – we’re still a little envious if you heard You’re Losing Me as a surprise song – most shows have adhered to a similar format.  

              However, excitement reached its peak for her debut show at the La Defense Arena in Paris, marking her first concert since The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD) was released. Fans and critics alike wondered how this new addition would reshape her upcoming shows, or if she would launch a separate tour for the album.  

              As if she couldn’t break more records, the pop singer made a drastic change to her setlist for the first time during the tour, reordering the show’s ten acts to pave way for a whole new section devoted to her new album. Swift performed several tracks to live crowds for the first time, including So High School, Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me and I Can Do It with a Broken Heart, featuring Broadway-inspired choreography.  

              The cherry on top? She also unveiled brand new costumes to complement this new era! 

              It makes sense that Swift had to omit several songs from her show – so long, Tolerate It cinematic sequence – to fit seven TTPD tunes into the three-and-a-half hours show. She also altered the chronological sequence of her eras, performing songs from Red earlier than expected, and merging Folklore and Evermore into a single act. But hey, we’re not complaining!

              Gracie Abrams officially debuts Close to You 

                Wait no more, because Gracie Abrams has finally let Close to You out of the vault! 

                Seven years ago, the budding singer-songwriter uploaded a 20-second snippet of the song online, and fans have been eagerly awaiting an official release ever since. Leading up to her second studio album, titled The Secret of Us, Abrams announced on Instagram that she would be releasing a full version of Close to You as a bonus track.

                Her post included a montage of herself dancing to the song, edited with colourful filters from Video Star, prompting fans to start a trend on TikTok doing the same. Let’s hop on the bandwagon too, shall we? 

                The Boy is Mine… especially if it’s Penn Badgley  

                  Switching gears to more Ariana Grande news – because who doesn’t love updates on the vocalist of our generation – she morphs into a masked Catwoman persona in the music video for The Boy is Mine.  

                  Grande trades her usual blonde locks for dark brown hair, a nod to her pre-Glinda days, as she sets out to seduce Mayor Max Starling, portrayed by resident heartthrob Penn Badgley. It’s a pairing we never would’ve expected – much like when Grande teamed up with American Horror Story’s Evan Peters – but their onscreen chemistry is promising.  

                  Prior to the video’s release, online speculation about Badgley’s feature role circulated, with fan theories suggesting it may draw inspiration from Gossip Girl, an American teen drama series the actor previously starred in.  

                  Another surprising cameo came from ’90s R&B artists Brandy and Monica, who performed their 1998 hit of the same name, which Grande revealed she sampled. Later in June, the trio released a remix version of The Boy is Mine. Fans praised the remix for its nostalgic appeal and the seamless integration of each artist’s unique vocal contributions, making it a standout amongst Grande’s collaborations. 

                  Let’s see what Q3 has in store for us! 👀

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