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Masha's new 4-song EP "Stupid, Stupid Dreams" packs a dark-tinged rock 'n' roll punch and raw emotion. In HitFix's exclusive premiere of Masha's acoustic performance of set opener "Ugly," however, those vulnerabilities and top talents are laid even more bare in an impressive open-air performance.
This Song of the Day selection is brought to you a day away from the release of "Stupid, Stupid Dreams," co-produced by Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift) and songwriter/producer Claude Kelly (Britney Spears, Bruno Mars).
Masha's seen further success as a performer after her cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are" landed over top of a "Witches of East End" TV promo this fall season.
Check out the clip below, and get ready for "Stupid, Stupid Dreams." Let us know if you get some classic Alanis vibes, too.
Jean-Marc Vallée was coming off the disappointment of a potential follow-up to 2009's "The Young Victoria" falling through when the script for "Dallas Buyers Club" first floated across his desk, courtesy of producer Robbie Brenner. The story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, who in 1985 was diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live, moved the director deeply. It was a story of drive and fire, a portrait of a man who, through smuggling unapproved medications from all corners of the globe, managed to stretch that 30 days into seven years…and prolong a few other lives along the way, too.
Katy Perry’s fourth studio album, “Prism,” finds her recovering from her divorce from Russell Brand and headed straight into love again... this time with John Mayer and, hopefully, with better results.
“Prism,” out Tuesday (22), is filled with lessons learned and self affirmations, and part of the fun is voyeuristically listening to tracks and knowing they’re about Brand or Mayer. The pop priestess lays herself bare on a number of these tunes including the confessional “By the Grace of God” and jubilantly romantic “Double Rainbow.”
Working with a range of producers from Dr. Luke to Stargate, Cirkut, Benny Blanco and Klas Ahlund, Perry pushes herself melodically here, with many of the songs seemingly influenced by the ‘80s and ‘90s. Tempos shift, synths weave in and out, and her voice rides the musical tide, often soaring on “Unconditionally” and “Double Rainbow.”
Just an any Perry album is a bit of a deep dive into her diary (she just doesn’t catch as much flack for it as Taylor Swift does... ), her sets are also a chance to cut loose, forget your cares and hit the dance floor. All your boogie needs are met as well with the playful “Walking on Air” and “International Smile.”
At this point into her career, Perry should be stretching herself a little more than she does, especially lyrically. Some of her phrases are often sound like a school girl’s, but it’s a small quibble when she admirably remains willing to reveal her soul.
Here's our track-by-track review of "Prism."
Roar: Perry asserts that she is back and she is better than ever on this feisty first single from “Prism.” The steady stomp keeps the former No. 1 track grounded, while much of the rest of hand clap and mid-tempo piano production sound straight out of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. In fact, if you’re old enough it may remind you a little bit of the chorus of Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” crossed with M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” with some Avril Lavigne thrown in for good measure. GRADE: B+
“Legendary Lovers”: Set against a middle-eastern beat, Perry’s words rush out in a torrent as she declares her intent to be part of a pair of lovers who are legendary in their ardor. The song shifts tempos and styles throughout. More intriguing than catchy. “Legendary Lovers” is “Prism’s” “E.T.” GRADE: B-
“Birthday”: Perry gets her Prince on in this delectable pop confection. Bouncy and fun as it gets, with a winking, sexy nod to bringing out the “birthday balloons.” GRADE: B+
“Walking On Air”: Perry enlisted the air of Swedish producer, Klas Ahlund, best known for his work with former Perry tour mate, Robyn, for this ‘90s-inspired fluffy house twirler. The juxtaposition of Perry’s airy vocals with her big-voiced, Martha Wash-like collaborator are heavenly. GRADE: A
“Unconditionally”: A big mid-tempo power ballad, propelled by Dr. Luke and Cirkut’s wide-open synth and percussion production. The title is a bit of a mouthful for Perry to get around over and over, but the theme of unconditional love resonates in part because of her convincing delivery. Is this song, the second single from the set, about John Mayer? We say yes. GRADE: B
“Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J: It’s not as out there (literally and figuratively) as “E.T.,” but it’s definitely not Perry’s standard pop, though with its finger snaps and pulsating, hypnotic beat, it will certainly fit in at radio. Juicy J’s rap —outside of regrettable line “She cuts your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer”—fits in smoothly, though makes the cut sound a little dated. GRADE: B
“This Is How We Do”: It’s hard not to raise your arm in the air and wave it back and forth in this old-school sounding track about partying. Perry name drops Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boys in a song that would border on Ke$ha-like novelty if it weren’t for the more infectious beat. Unlike anything else Perry has recorded before. Could be a sleeper hit. Klas Ahlund is also behind this partially spoken track. GRADE: C
“International Smile”: A musical cousin to “California Gurls,” this ode to a girl who is making the most of the mile high club as she traverses the globe is a bit of a jumbled mess, though it will make a cute video, and the upbeat track could make a strong live set piece. GRADE: C
“Ghost”: “You sent a text, it’s like the wind changed your mind,” Perry sings in the opening line of this touching mid-tempo tune about her split with Russell Brand. “My vision’s 20/20/I see through you now,” she sings without a trace of vitriol, except when she delivers the line, “So rest in peace/I’ll see you on the other side.” Last album’s “E.T.” is this album’s “Ghost.” GRADE: B+
“Love Me”: Hushed synth droplets open the track as Perry sings about getting lost in someone else (possibly about Brand but more likely about Mayer from the first go-round) before turning the song into a self-love anthem (no, not that kind silly!) about how “I have to love myself the way I want you to love me.” A vulnerable, stripped-down song, despite a few awkward turns of phrase. Nice production by Swedish producer/songwriter Bloodshy. GRADE: B
“The Moment”: A treacly mid-tempo tune about how all we have is this moment, “so why don’t you be here with me.” The melody doesn’t really suit Perry’s range and the lyrics are straight out of a bad Hallmark card. However, if you are a high school girl looking for a prom theme song, here you go. GRADE: C-
“Double Rainbow”: She’s learning to love again in this sweet love letter to John Mayer, produced by Greg Kurstin and co-written by Sia. “When I found you, it was all pitter-patter,” she sings. Great raw, emotional vocal delivery by Perry here. Big drums come in giving it an ‘80s feel. Unabashedly uncynical. GRADE: B
“By The Grace of God”: Gut-level honest ballad about her divorce and how she felt it was all her fault until she realized in some ways, it had nothing to do with her, and that she made the decision to go on: “I put one foot in front of the other and looked in the mirror and decided to stay. I wasn’t going to let love take me out that way.” On the piano/synth track with ‘90s production, she thanks those who helped her through, like her sister. This is autobiographical as it gets. More appealing for her honesty than for the melody. GRADE: B
Happy Monday, boys and girls! For real this time! For the first time in a few weeks, the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast comes to you on its regularly scheduled day, in part because the office where I current rent space is in the process of being dismantled (you may be able to hear the sounds of movers and contractors in the background of today's show), and if we didn't record today, we probably wouldn't be able to for a while. This week, we discuss NBC's droopy "Dracula," Cinemax airing the first season of "Strike Back" under the title of "Strike Back: Origins," check in on "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," discuss last week's TV news, answer some mail and then do our second "Homeland" segment in a row because last night's episode, for good or (mostly) ill, demanded it.
It's unclear exactly when my new office will be set up, but hopefully we can aim for two Mondays in a row.
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
It’s seksi time for Justin Bieber in his new track, “Hold Tight,” his third track in his series of #MusicMondays releases.
Backed by a R&B slow jamming click track, Bieber brings out his falsetto to talk about his lady’s great kisses.
Between lyrics like “That thing is swollen/you got me oh so in a trance,” “So hard/work it out” and “trying to maintain, so don’t mind if I turn away” we’re trying desperately to get certain mental images out of our head.
The song has no change in tempo at all and Bieber’s delivery instead of sounding sexy, just seems forced, but if you’re a Bieber fan who dreams of getting your boy in a lip lock, this song will probably work for you.
Have you started your countdown clock until Dec. 25, when Bieber's movie, "Believer" opens?
Kevin Connolly: It's not official, but the "Entourage" movie should begin filming in January
Connolly tells TMZ that everybody is on board, but nothing is set in stone.
"The Walking Dead" down 2.2 million from its record premiere
About 13.9 million watched last night, compared to 16.1 million from last week.
Kelly Clarkson is married
The "Idol" champ tweeted pics of her wedding yesterday in Tennessee.
CBS' 50th-anniversary JFK special will omit Dan Rather, who was part of its 1963 assassination coverage
"As It Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years" will, however, feature Bob Schieffer, who as a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter got an exclusive with Lee Harvey Oswald's mom. Rather, meanwhile, was a key part of CBS News' coverage, reporting from Dallas.
NBC is about to launch a Winter Olympic promo blitz
On Oct. 29, with 100 days to go, NBC viewers will begin seeing a promotional bug at the bottom of the screen with NBC's logo wrapped in Olympic rings.
ABC announces key return dates
"Pretty Little Liars," "Switched at Birth," "The Fosters" and "Twisted" are back in January.
Pee-wee Herman visits "Comedy Bang! Bang!" this week
Dressed as a cowboy!
New "Unspoiler" browser add-on will put a giant red box over spoilers
Unspoiler covers all web pages, including Facebook and Twitter.
Kevin Jonas' "Married to Jonas" mansion is for sale
The property had become too famous thanks to his reality show.
Watch Conan's 80-minute interview with Mel Brooks
It's the latest episode of "Serious Jibber-Jabber with Conan O'Brien."
Rashida Jones to female celebs: "Stop acting like whores"
The "Parks and Rec" star shared a series of tweets Saturday, chastising celebrity women for revealing too much skin.
Pair Taylor Swift with fun.’s Jack Antonoff and the result is just as one would expect: an upbeat pop track with swelling choruses and a peppy message. So it is with “Sweeter Than Fiction,” the tune the pair wrote for “One Chance,” the British film about “Britain’s Got Talent” winner Paul Potts’ rags-to-riches story after he went from store clerk to chart-topping singer.
The song, which will run over the end credits, is a sweet tale about loving someone before they were famous and how glorious the success is after all the rejection that came before it. Of course, in the song, the pair stand united after fame hits instead of his dumping her for a younger super model.
The opening guitar strum will remind Swift fans of “You Belong With Me” run through fun.’s synthesizers and an '80s British synth pop filter. It could almost be in a John Hughes movie, though it's too mainstream.
Having just finished her world tour, Swift continues work on her next album the follow-up to 2012’s “Red.” She pretty reliable releases an album every two years in the fall, so expect her fifth studio album next fall.
This trailer features Swift talking about being inspired by Potts' struggle to write the song, as well as footage from the film and Swift and Antonoff in the studio. Below is the full version of the song.
NBC preempting the next 3 "Parks and Rec" episodes, including an Oct. 31 Halloween-themed episode
"The Voice" and an "SNL" special will replace the low-rated NBC comedy for the next three Thursdays. That means Tatiana Maslany's 2nd "Parks" appearance will be delayed.
Mark Burnett: "CeeLo will not be fired" for felony ecstasy charge
"The Voice" star's job is safe, says the reality TV honcho.
"Once Upon a Time" ties a series low, "Sunday Night Football" sees a 15-year high
Last Night's Peyton Manning vs. Colts game was the highest-rated October primetime NFL game since 1998, with 26 million watching.
Netflix is close to passing HBO in U.S. subscribers
The number of Netflix subscribers will likely be 30 million, compared to HBO's 28.7 million.
Syfy renews "Face Off"
The special effects reality competition will be back for a 6th season.
"Friday Night Lights" team members reunite
Scott Porter posted a photo of him, Gaius Charles, Matt Lauria, Zach Gilford and Kevin Rancin hanging out on Sunday.
Oprah recalls canceling on Arsenio Hall after he made a Stedman joke
On "Oprah's Next Chapter," the two addressed some of the tension they had in the early 90s, especially when he'd tell jokes about her.
BBC orders a celebrity gymnastics reality show -- "Let's Get Ready to Tumble"
Will this competition cross the pond to America, like "Dancing with the Stars"?
See the "Frasier" stars, reunited
It's been nearly a decade since the NBC comedy went off the air.
Billionaire paid $100,000 to reenact an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri
The new "Inside the Food Network" book also reveals that Mario Batali took Rachael Ray and Marc Summers to a strip club back in 2004.
Another day, another director feuding with Harvey Weinstein over the editing of his movie. This time it's Frenchman Olivier Dahan, who's none too pleased with the postponement of his Nicole Kidman-starring biopic "Grace of Monaco" to next year, and is fighting Weinstein's proposed changes. Speaking to a French newspaper, he says: "It's right to struggle, but when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, not to name names, there is not much you can do. Either you say 'Go figure it out with your pile of shit' or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn't as violent ... If I don't sign, that's where the out-and-out blackmail starts, but I could go that far. There are two versions of the film for now: mine and his ... which I find catastrophic." So, this bodes well. [Hollywood Reporter]