• Rihanna / Photo by wagz2it

    Rihanna in Brooklyn: Shine On, You Casual Diamond

  • Photo by Dan Martensen

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs Get Free

    "It's not the strongest, nor the most intelligent species that survive, but the one most adaptable to change."Those words are printed in white block lettering over a grey scale portrait of the man who first suggested that hypothesis: the bearded and bald naturalist Charles Darwin. Karen O brandishes this image, which arrived via email from her husband, on her iPhone while sitting in a quaint NoHo restaurant. He sent the photo because it helps explain why her band named their fourth album Mosquito — and why she, drummer Brian Chase, and guitarist Nick Zinner decided to make a fourth album in the first place."So maybe Yeah Yeah Yeahs are not the smartest or the strongest band, but we fucking adapt, man," Karen says, marveling at how the nearly 80-million-year-old insects gradually become immune to the pesticides that are designed to kill them.

  • Robin Sparkles Was a Grunge Goddess

    Robin Sparkles Was a Grunge Goddess

    Like Britney Spears bristling at being overprotected, beloved fictional Canadian teen-pop superstar Robin Sparkles (a.k.a. Cobie Smulders in an inspiring series of flashbacks on CBS' evidently never-ending How I Met Your Mother) wasn't content to only sing about trips to the mall and beavers (just let it be, it's Canadian). On last night's episode, we learned about the time in the '90s when Robin turned dark — literally.Robin's transformation into an angsty badass of Alanis Morissette-ian proportions was so historically accurate, it included a Dave Coulier cameo and a shirtless old guy in a music video. As a pissed-off teen in 1996, Robin Sparkles became Robin Daggers and inadvertently brought grunge to the Great White North. She wore flannel.

  • Karen O in Brooklyn / Photo by Lisa Corson

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs Debut New Song 'Despair' at Sandy Benefit

    "We're gonna take it back to a time when there were no cell phones that could take pictures," Karen O said last night before popping the top of her neon-green-lit microphone entirely in her mouth, dropping her hands, and screeching "Art Star" from Yeah Yeah Yeahs' self-titled 2001 EP.

  • Rihanna / Photo by Getty Images

    Rihanna, 'Unapologetic' (Def Jam)

    Few artists spell out their inner monologues as plainly as Rihanna does. Almost every question about the singer's state of mind over her seven-year, seven-album career has been answered by her album titles. We first met her in 2005 as a beauty bathed in the light of her native Barbados (Music of the Sun) and she quickly started growing into her budding pop stardom (2006's A Girl Like Me). Since February 8, 2009, when her life changed at the angry hands of Chris Brown, she's become increasingly rebellious: depressed and furious (2009's Rated R), ready to reclaim her party-hearty sassiness (2010's Loud), and dirty-as-fuck (2011's Talk That Talk). Back in 2007, at 19 years old, Rihanna proclaimed that she was a Good Girl Gone Bad; now she's doing her damnedest to live out that prophecy.It's been a profitable approach.

  • Ke$ha / Photo by Getty Images

    Ke$ha on Playing With Strokes, Loving Cults, and Beard Porn

    Over the past 12 months, Ke$ha's rep has undergone a bit of a makeover. The pop star known for shooting glitter from every oriface of her body (her words!) and cavorting with giant dancing phalluses was wiggling onto indie-rock blogs, seen swapping blood vials with Wayne Coyne, covering Bob Dylan songs, and recording with a (shirtless, of course) Iggy Pop. But some fundamentals have definitely not changed: "Guitar is the balls of the music," she happily proclaimed while chatting with SPIN about her new album Warrior (due December 4 via RCA) and book, My Crazy Beautiful Life (out now!).You've been working on this album for a long time. Did you enjoy watching all the weird rumors about who was on it and what it'd sound like evolve?I literally live on a different planet. I don't go online and I don't watch television. I use my phone purely for phone calling people and Twittering.

  • M.I.A. and her 'Matangi' image at MoMA / Photo by Ryan Muir

    M.I.A. Explores Inspiration Behind Next LP 'Matangi'

    M.I.A. was once deeply in love... with the Internet. Her 2010 studio album, /\/\/\Y/\, was the story of her painful breakup with the world wide web, Maya Arulpragasam told an audience at the Queens outpost of the Museum of Modern Art yesterday, during a discussion to promote her new book M.I.A. Her trust in the digital realm was shaken, she said, by the Sri Lankan government's assertion she was a terrorist, which allowed authorities to tap into her online life — her bank accounts, her MySpace profile. But her flame for the Internet was rekindled: partly by her attempts to "bring punk to the web" via the design of her N.E.E.T. Recordings page, and partly by her decision to go on a quest for enlightenment."I said, 'Fuck it, I'm out of here, I'm going to go get spiritual,'" M.I.A.

  • SPIN's Best New Artists for November '12

    SPIN's Best New Artists for November '12

  • Pink, 'The Truth About Love' (RCA)

    Pat Benatar's reign lasted from 1979 to 1988; she had no worthy heir for more than a decade. But in 2002, Kelly Clarkson won the inaugural season of American Idol, giving the idea of a solo, rock-leaning powerhouse female vocalist an unlikely rebirth. Suddenly we had a crop of tempestuous girls emoting over power chords: Avril Lavigne's debut came out that same year, with Ashlee Simpson's following in 2004.Pink arrived in 2000 as an R&B crooner shepherded by Babyface and L.A. Reid. But just a year later, she unleashed the hellfire lurking within via Missundaztood, a far spunkier record, largely overseen by her new musical soulmate, Linda Perry. (SPIN's 2002 Pink cover line: "Wild. Tough. Misunderstood. Rock's Nasty Girl Mouths Off." The cover photo featured the nearly naked singer licking a pink vinyl copy of Pink Floyd's Animals.) It remains her best-selling LP to date.

  • Jason Brock

    Big Night for Billy Joel, New York, States of Mind on Fox

    Two years ago, Billy Joel made it clear his opinion of Glee is a bit different than, say, the Foo Fighters'. "Take it," he told Rolling Stone, instructing the show to nab his tunes at will. "Do the material. I already told them, use my songs. I was in chorus in high school, so I know what that stuff's all about. I love stuff like that." Take it they have! Last night it came down to reality, which was fine with him, 'cause he's let it slide. Fox featured over-the-top drahhhmatic renditions of Joel's 1976 NYC love letter "New York State of Mind" on back-to-back shows — The X Factor and Glee.

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