<p>Britney Spears in &quot;Till the World Ends&quot;</p>

Britney Spears in "Till the World Ends"

Nicki Minaj in talks to join Britney Spears' tour: What's going on here?

Pop diva fields a tough and critical week

After a week of speculation, Nicki Minaj has at least confirmed that her camp is in talks for the Young Money star to open for Britney Spears on tour.

Speaking with MTV, Minaj said, "I am in talks of joining Britney Spears, yeah... I'm in talks about a lot of things, ya know. I don't know — oops, I did it again."

Usher and Joe Jonas (?!) have also been rumored to be in talks to join the jaunt.

Brit-Brit's Femme Fatale tour has been juggling that supporting slot vacancy ever since she announced the stint: the same day the dates were confirmed, "co-headliner" Enrique Iglesias dropped out.

I don't put that term in quotes to be vicious. It's just that procuring a name as big as Britney's to join her on tour has got to be a difficult task, especially as she and Jive are trying hard to maintain Spears as a premiere act. It's been an uphill battle for that exact prerogative this week...

Iglesias' departure was a bad enough omen anyway. Pair that with 2010 abysmal concert ticketing sales and the continued threat this year, picking a good dance partner has become increasingly imperative. Even other A-listers like Rihanna have had to fight off speculation that sales are bumpy.

Spears' last Circus tour was a spectacular success, but those were healthier times: 2008 was a proper comeback, after she spent years in the tabloids for erratic behavior and public breakdowns. "Circus" sold just over half a million in its first week and her live gigs were well-received.

Fast forward. This week, though her "Femme Fatale" topped The Billboard 200, sales were tepid to say the least, with a 276,000 arrival. "Hold It Against Me" wasn't held as dearly by radio and fans as, say, "Womanizer" was, and the jury's still out on dance/club-oriented track "Till the World Ends" and how well it fares over the spring and summer. Sales projections from this week are pointing to Adele's "21" to replace Spears in the penthouse next week. Granted, Adele's fanbase skews older, a little more generalist, and thus to listeners who tend to actually purchase their music. But critical reception of "Femme" was also mixed overall; HitFix's Greg Ellwood rather enjoyed the album, but many writers took issue with the facelessness of the set, sometimes pointing out that she had no songwriting credits unlike previous albums.

Then there were the TV appearances. Her dancing on "Good Morning America" didn't exactly leave critics screaming "gimme more," though things were a little brighter on her "Kimmel" stop.

There were also gratuitously toxic rumblings this week that Spears uses a body double for her crazier antics in "Till the World Ends" (along with the usual lip-syncing complaints). It seems unusual, but her camp actually addressed the unconfirmed rumor on her website, calling it "bulls***," courting a drama just by acknowledging it. U.K. newspaper The Sun also ran quotes from an anonymous source claiming that handlers are trying to convince the pop star to move the tour dates, claiming she's not ready to take the stage again.

I'm not against Britney enjoying success once more, which she inevitably will. She's an icon, to multiple generations. Her "...Baby One More Time" was my very first published music review, and being the same age as her, in a way I feel like I grew up with her.. I felt badly for her when she shaved her head and shook umbrellas at the paparazzi and I liked that she came back and made some killer new singles.

But she did have a tough week, two months out from the start of the Femme Fatale trek. The co-headlining or supporting act shouldn't be a friendly competition. Particularly sharing the spring release season with Lady Gaga, Spears probably doesn't want competition at all.

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<p>Fight for Your Right Revisited</p>

Fight for Your Right Revisited

Watch: Beastie Boys' 'Fight' trailer with Will Ferrell, Elijah Wood, Jack Black

Sundance short is like a long-form music video for three songs

The Beastie Boys have bowed a new two minute-long trailer for "Fight For Your Right Revisited," the film Adam "MCA" Yauch premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

This, on the heels of the rap troupe debuting their new song "Make Some Noise" earlier this week.

The 30-minute short features Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen playing the trio from their legendary "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" music video, while Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilley play the older version of the Beasties, returning from the future to teach the younger versions of themselves. As previously reported, their famous friends make cameos throughout, including Susan Sarandon (mother coming home to a wrecked apartment) to Orlando Bloom (car window washer), Steve Buscemi (bartender), Rainn Wilson (unfortunate passerby) and Will Arnett (unfortunate passerby, C'MON).

And, as I also wrote in January, the clip contains three new Beasties songs, including "Make Some Noise," previously released "Too Many Rappers" featuring Nas and distortion-heavy "Say It." I will warn you, it's not non-stop laughs as the trailer will have you believe, but it's a great medium to feature new tracks, like Kanye did with "Runaway."

The full-length video will drop closer the release date of new "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2," on May 3.

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Watch: Lil Wayne, Diddy join Mary J. Blige in new track from 'My Life II'

Watch: Lil Wayne, Diddy join Mary J. Blige in new track from 'My Life II'

'The Journey Continues' out in September

Mary J. Blige may be looking for someone to love her, but I'm already looking for the reggae remix.

"Someone to Love Me (Naked)," featuring Lil Wayne and Diddy, dropped this week, ahead of the announcement that Blige's new album "My Life II: The Journey Continues" will be released this summer.

The set is the sequel to her 1994 sophomore set "My Life," the follow-up to her debut "What's the 411?". Both were produced by none other than Sean Combs. She and Diddy cut ties soon thereafter, so this is a reunion of sorts; "My Life II" is set to drop in September.

And now I can't believe we're even talking about September.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Beastie Boys</p>

Beastie Boys

Credit: Phil Andelman

Song Of The Day: Beastie Boys reveal new 'Make Some Noise'

From forthcoming 'Hot Sauce Committee Part 2'

Beastie Boys' "Make Some Noise" made it onto the leak list this week, so instead of trying to plug it up, the trio just let it rip.

The track is posted in full on the veteran hip-hop group's website; it's culled from their forthcoming studio set "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2" and was previewed in Adam Yauch's Sundance short "Fight for Your Right Revisited."

I loved it then, and I love it now. The live drum thunk, the vocal reverb and those killer synth lines may be enough to part you from your money, as you throw it in the air.

"Hot Sauce" is out on May 3. It comes after a long wait since 2007's "The Mix-Up" and after it was announced in 2009 that MCA (Yauch) was battling cancer.

Hold fast, ye heathens.

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<p>Jared Leto in &quot;This Is War&quot;</p>

Jared Leto in "This Is War"

Watch: Thirty Seconds to Mars' dramatic 'This Is War' music video

Jared Leto moves to the frontlines in the war on terror, cheap films

You gotta hand it to him: Jared Leto certainly has a flare for the dramatic.

Whether is the down-and-dirty revealing of his preferred fetishes in "Hurricane," the pink mohawk in "Closer to the Edge" or turning downed bicyclists into galloping horses in "Kings + Queens," the Thirty Seconds to frontman goes big or goes home when it comes to directing the rock band's videos.

"This Is War," the title track and anthem of peace to 30STM's most recent album, is no different. It places the actor-turned-singer and his bandmates on the frontline somewhere in the desert, purportedly in the Middle East, full camo, automatic weaponry, sexy slow-motion footage of firearms and flying tanks and aircraft carriers.

Wait, what?

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Incubus</p>

Incubus

Listen: Incubus drops new single 'Adolescents' ahead of new album

'If Not Now, When?' due in July

There are people in the world whose favorite band ever is still Incubus.

This is for them.

"Adolescents" will be available for purchase on April 19; it arrives ahead of the July 12 release of the rock act's new album "If Not Now, When?"

It will be the follow-up to "Light Grenades," which blew up at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 in 2006.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Death Cab For Cutie</p>

Death Cab For Cutie

Watch this space: Death Cab For Cutie's new video, streamed LIVE

Live stream of live-action, single-take clip for 'You Are a Tourist' at 6:45pm EST

Prepare yourselves for a live event: Death Cab For Cutie will be debuting their unique new music video to "You Are a Tourist" at 6:45 p.m. EST.

What makes it so special? They're performing the video live, as in live-action, in a single take and streaming it as it happens.

So we made a little nook for it, figured it'd be fun. For a song that lasts less than five minutes, I don't have high hopes to live-blog.

"You Are a Tourist" is the first single from forthcoming DCFC album "Codes and Keys," out May 31. Enjoy the free ad, Atlantic Records.

And, as previously reported, frontman Ben Gibbard has contributed a new track to the "Arthur" remake soundtrack.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Mumford & Sons announce North American tour

Watch: Mumford & Sons announce North American tour

Nathaniel Rateliff, Low Anthem, Cake, Matthew & the Atlast on board

They haven't quite gotten that No. 1 album yet -- they've skimmed it at No. 2 -- but Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" has had long enough to gestate to prime the British act for the best North American tours in their life.

The band will already have completed the cutest tour ever with Edward Sharpe and Old Crow Medicine Show when they strike out headlining on June 3 through the 16th. With them they're bringing support from Immaculate Noise favorites like Nathaniel Rateliff and the Low Anthem, plus Matthew & the Atlas and Cake. Tickets go up April 8, details here.

When I last saw the group, it was an almost sold-out at the Bowery Ballroom. Small no more. Mumford & Sons were among the other acts helping a sepia-toned Bob Dylan through his track at the 2011 Grammys, trying to out-folk the Avett Brothers; they're now hitting big rooms on this jaunt like Merriweather Post Pavilion and Denver's Fillmore.

Meanwhile, in case you needed the tour dates in video form, the band put about four minutes of work into the clip below, complete with a dorky "thumbs up" at the end.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Trailer to Tribeca-bound Kings of Leon documentary 'Talihina Sky'

Watch: Trailer to Tribeca-bound Kings of Leon documentary 'Talihina Sky'

Closer to the truth than that 'Radioactive' video?

Are Kings of Leon sinners? Have they forsaken or usurped their Southern and Christian upbringing for rock star success? And just which of the brothers or cousin Followill took up smoking first?

These questions and more may be answered in the forthcoming documentary, "Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon," making its premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival as a special screening and a "work in progress." There's no confirmation yet which day it screens at the Manhattan event, which runs starting April 20 through the beginning of May.

Additionally, the trailer has been made available, below. And it may be a startling contrast to fans, who are used to seeing the Tennessee-based band blasting at festivals and hearing them on rock radio. Images of the group as kids and as grown-men are contrasted with footage of charistmatic and pentecostal worship, of speaking in tongues and trances and dancing with snakes.

"As soon as I knew we were gonna get a record deal, I never slept. All night long I knew I was going to hell, I wasn't gonna be a preacher," says a voice, belonging (likely) to either Nathan or Jared Followill. It sets a serious tone, of three brothers (and one cousin) who seemed to be destined for the path of ministry and ended up one of the most successful rock acts from the last half dozen years.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Ben Gibbard</p>

Ben Gibbard

Listen: Ben Gibbard's new song for 'Arthur,' OK Go's for 'Greatest Movie'

Is it really 'The Greatest Song I Ever Heard?'

The week is starting off strong with soundtrack news, or at the very least, there's a pair of new movie tracks to be purveyed.

Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard penned an exclusive track, below, for the forthcoming "Arthur" remake, starring Russell Brand. Dubbed "When the Sun Goes Down on Your Street," the upbeat track features some very live bass drum sounds and some sunny acoustic guitar lines. Gibbard busts out some soothing vocabulary, recommending you "step into the night / it'll alright," presumably for when Brand's rich man-child is feeling gloomy.

It comes ahead of a new DCFC effort, "Codes & Keys," out on May 31. But this is clearly a solo spot, so I wouldn't care to cast judgment of this song on what that full band effort may be like. Go ahead and judge that by the band's first single, heard here.

Coincidentally, this comes after news last week that Gibbard's lovely wife, actress and singer Zooey Deschanel, will be leaving her own mark on the "Winnie the Pooh" soundtrack. It's all very cute.

Then there OK Go's "The Greatest Song I Ever Heard," for Morgan Spurlock's "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold." That Sundance-picked flick focuses in on product placements and the movie-making industry in America, while this treadmill-dancing rock troupe continues to try to make cash off their own viral music videos. So, guys, is there a clip forthcoming?

Watch the trailer to the film here. Yes, it features some of the track.

[More after the jump...]

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