<p>Pink in &quot;Raise Your Glass&quot;</p>

Pink in "Raise Your Glass"

Watch: Pink wants you dirty little freaks to 'Raise Your Glass'

Party-starter pop star produces one of her most eye-raising music videos yet

Are you a dirty little freak? Dance like one? Drink like one? Sleep with one?

Pink has corralled all her favorite outcasts and her least-favorite "norms" into one hilarious and eye-raising clip for "Raise Your Glass," the new single culled from her forthcoming "Greatest Hits... So Far!!!"

Starring as narrator Rosie the Riveter, she immediately employs gender politicking, directly before she slays a matador the same way he slays his horned combatant. But then she turns around to "milk" women in the same manner as America's corporate farms in order to feed a calf .

There's a handful of approaches she and director Dave Myers take on marginalized peoples (and animals), which highlight the single itself, with its Max Martin-produced studio flubs and unscripted asides that make this party track perfect in its imperfections.

From Sumo wrestling Uncle Sam, to fist-bumping gangsters from a chopper bike, to finding holiness through sex with religious figures, to literally flattening two-dimensional high school girls appalled at that second corn dog, Pink claims the underdogs as her clan as the leader of the clan. She doesn't quite illustrate how she earns the distinction except that she can point to a decade-long history of edgy performances and willingness to become a chameleon for each.

Interestingly, it comes in the same season that Kanye West told us to raise our glasses for the "douchebags," "assholes," "scumbags" and "jerkoffs," an anthem like Pink's that celebrates more who we are less than what we aren't. But, y'know, with more sarcasm and admiration.

Too, it comes a week after Katy Perry made her own statement about being yourself, also featuring a girl struggling with her body image. It's sort of like Freak Flag Flying vs. "Firework," with Pink (and Tony Hawk) getting down and ugly while Katy Perry just keeps her eyes to the sky. Do you think they're raising their glasses the same way?

The clip certainly increased my appreciation of the song, while it gives my eyes a lot to look at and applaud. She may not pull off the "nerd" look the same way Taylor Swift does in "You Belong to Me," but those dance moves are right on track.

"Greatest Hits... So Far!!!" is out Nov. 16.

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Watch: Nicki Minaj gets steamed in 'Right Through Me' vid, adds Eminem to debut

Second clip to debut in a week from the hot MC

I love me some Nicki Minaj, but the wait for her debut "Pink Friday" to finally drop is starting to get too much to bear. Particularly after getting declared the No. 6 "Hottest MC" without a full-length set to her name, it's time to flip the cards and show us what she's got.

Thankfully, the Young Money star is doing so in rapid fashion, debuting two new music videos this week. The newest, "Right Thru Me," features a more downbeat, less-bonkers version of Minaj -- Queens Barbie, really -- in a bikini, no less.

Minaj sings through steam -- and as she's steamed -- at and about her lover, who infuriates her yet calls her on her "sh*t" (or her "ish" if you're hearing the clean version). I feel the conflict, even though the intro to the clip is kind of a bummer: she verbally lays into her lover, smashes a glass, he threatens to leave, she 180s, whimpering. He won't be winning an Oscar any time soon, but he looks good in the water.

The repeating refrain "how do you do that sh*t" gets a bit like nails on the chalkboard, calmed by the addictive, sweeping lyrics of the title. It's legions better than the will.i.am vehicle "Check It Out," and it brings Minaj's personality back down to earth, if even temporarily.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: EMI

Watch: Katy Perry's chest lights up in feel-good 'Firework' video

What's with the body double-standard?

Katy Perry's boobs shoot firecrackers in the new video for "Firework." There is no way that this fact was lost on the clip's creators.

Yes, of course, it's not lost on me, either, that the sparks are supposed to be interpreted as flying from her heart, or her soul, or whatever. But this, after the summer of "California Gurls," which featured the pop star's infamous breasts sporting a whipped cream-canon bra. Perry's cleavage got her in trouble with some parents watching "Sesame Street" -- a snafu to which Perry reacted to be wearing a tight, equally revealing t-shirt on "Saturday Night Live." It's like Christine O'Donnell declaring in campaign commercials that she's "not a witch" -- a rumor which she hoped to drop by further promoting it.

But you couldn't shoot fireworks, say, from the tops of their heads, or their nether regions or from their shoulders. Because then that would look just plain silly. So bosoms it is, and thus two making a trend of things exploding out from Katy Perry's breasts (three, if you count "controversy" from the "Sesame" snag).

So anyway, the ludicrousness of fireworks flying from Katy Perry's and others' chests overshadows (pun intended) the clip's larger intent and message: you just keep being you.

In my review of "Teenage Dream," "Fireworks" was one of my favorite tracks from the set, and revisiting, it holds up. I like its message, I like its delivery. Perry has gone on to dedicate it to the "It Gets Better" campaign, which encourages gay teenagers that the bullying, the inner conflicts, the search for a partner -- it gets better.

But the feel-good gets a honey-sticky makeover, sometimes cheapening the problems presented. A kid about to get robbed by thugs SHOULD NOT try and pull magic tricks on them. A cancer-stricken child likely doesn't have the energy to go dancing in the public square.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Sugarland's Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles</p>

Sugarland's Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: Sugarland's Kristian Bush on No. 1s, evolution and the chorus of 'yes'

'The Incredible Machine' marks a new era for the country duo, in more than one way

Kristian Bush was in a very good mood. Yesterday, one-half of the country duo Sugarland was preparing for the band’s appearance on “Ellen,” where he and Jennifer Nettles would be sharing airtime with the First Lady. It was assumed, too, that Sugarland’s new album “The Incredible Machine” was about to bow at No. 1 on The Billboard 200, which it did this morning. The single “Stuck Like Glue” this week is still rising at country radio after more than a dozen on the charts.

But Bush, on a larger scale, is also happy because “they keep telling us yes.’”
“Jennifer and I… we don’t dream small. We always set out with big dreams. And we keep throwing those ideas out there,” Bush says of Sugarland’s handlers and label, Mercury Nashville. “They haven’t said no.”
There’ve been requests like, Can we tour overseas? Should we tour before the albums out? Can we make the album sound like this? Could we co-produce? Can we play stadiums? “Yes, yes, yes.”
Of course, the chorus of yeses is helped by the fact that this Grammy Award-winning outfit sells literally millions, starting with 2004’s “Twice the Speed of Life,” in an album era where positive expectations are curbed by double-digit drops in sales percentages year to year. The band gambled by making “Incredible Machine” its least capital-C Country-sounding album yet, but admits that the genre is one that thrives on change.
“Pop country, alt-country, folk, Americana, bluegrass… There are more versions of country than anything else I’ve seen,” says the former rock band guitarist. “It’s not about the instrumentation or a country lifestyle, it’s more about, ‘Do you like it? Do country lovers love it?”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Nicki Minaj and will.i.am (x2) in &quot;Check It Out&quot;</p>

Nicki Minaj and will.i.am (x2) in "Check It Out"

Watch: Nicki Minaj and her crazy-eyes highlight 'Check It Out' with will.i.am

'Video Killed the Radio Star' sample the BEP's second to ravage this week

Nicki Minaj busts out 32 flavors of her infamous Crazy Eyes (TM) for her new video and single with will.i.am, "Check It Out."

The track will likely be included on the lady MC's forthcoming debut "Pink Friday," out on Nov. 26, and was previewed by the pair at the MTV VMAs last month. While that live performance was underwhelming, lip-synching issues don't seem to be a pressing matter for Minaj in this (literally) robotic performance. The BEP frontman spends most of his time extolling his own beats as Minaj dots in her Harajuku Barbie style raps and a lightning round verse in front of a stilted, weird Korean audience. They each get three costume makeovers, will.i.am donning the plastic hairpiece at least once more.

It's worth noting that, since the Black Eyed Peas premiered their new, sure-to-be-smash-hit "The Time (the dirty bit)," this marks the second time in a week that will.i.am has ravished a great standard of the '80s: "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" was gutted for BEP while "Check" directly samples The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star."

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lykke Li</p>

Lykke Li

Song Of The Day: Lykke Li is your prostitute in 'Get Some'

Free download bundled with 'Paris Blue'

Singin' Swede Lykke Li is well on her way to releasing her sophomore set, and has a single to show for it. "Get Some" with B-side "Paris Blue" are available now on her website for free, at the cost of your left arm your email and some vitals.

The as-yet-untitled album is due sometime "early next year" and, judging from these very different tracks, fans can at least expect diversity.

"Get Some" is a little naughty in its lyrics -- which Lykke Li posted proudly to her site -- declaring that she considers herself your prostitute and one ought not pull one's pants before she "goes down." But it's at least all in good fun, as the shimmy of shakers and a buzzing bass make for a primal dance track. Her sultry voice in the lower registry hums while those high notes would work easily for a girl group in the '50s.

"Paris" (pronounced "pah-dey") is considerably slower than 90% of what made the cut on her 2008 debut "Youth Novels." The invisible hand of Peter Yttling's (of Peter Bjorn & John) production shows up more keenly, in the exaggerated reverb and live sound of electric and drums.

Lykke Li has only one, sold-out show scheduled for the U.S., but be on the look-out for dates in the new year.

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<p>Kanye West in &quot;Runaway&quot;</p>

Kanye West in "Runaway"

Watch: Kanye West debuts indulgent 'Runaway' film on Vevo

Review: Hip-hop star challenges boundaries of music videos, loyalty of fans

Kanye West has said that lately, he's inspired by colors. He's also made himself known as a man who loves decadence.

There's plenty of both in the hip-hop superstar's "Runaway" film, a 35-minute clip he directed, written by Hype Williams. Shot in Prague, the film has made its way over to London, Paris, L.A., New York and then, on Saturday, to the whole world via Vevo.

The basic plot features a beautiful Phoenix that looks like a Victoria's Secret model (played by actual Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks) who crashes to Earth in an unlikely explosion that likely should have killed Kanye as he's driving in his fancy car. He does not die, but instead takes the ailing bird back to his house and "makes" her his girlfriend. They see some fireworks and a marching band -- which carries a giant bust of Michael Jackson -- and then they go to a dinner. And people at the dinner see the Phoenix and are like, she's so weird. Then Kanye jumps out on a piano and sings the title track as a dozen or so ballerinas in black tutus perform at length. The Phoenix scares everybody off when chicken appears on the menu.

Kanye and bird converse about how "this world" tears the wings off of Phoenixes and that's how statues are made. They simulate sex, Kanye wakes up alone outdoors and goes running to look for her. But it's too late. The Phoenix returns to the flames in the sky. Songs play throughout, including a bonus cameo from British Nicki Minaj at the beginning.

It's indulgent, expensive and kind of a mess.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Black Eyed Peas</p>

Black Eyed Peas

Listen: Is Black Eyed Peas' 'The Time' their new 'I Gotta Feeling?'

Sort of like 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun,' only crappy

Remember how Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" saturated every graduation, wedding, car trip and general celebration you went to last year?

Get ready for Part II.

Frontman will.i.am posted "The Time (the dirty bit)" on the group's DipDive account today, in advance of the Nov. 30 release of "The Beginning." It's the follow-up to last year's "The E.N.D." I see what you did there.

"The Time" borrows its main sample from "Dirty Dancing" 1987 classic "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," with Fergie doing her best Jennifer Warnes. And if Bill Medley was dead, he'd be turning over his grave, to the sound of will's auto-tune.

Like The Beatles' "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," the tune is really just three disparate song ideas collaboratively crammed together in one spot. And thus ends any Beatles comparison with BEP, forever, amen.

A dirty electro-trance beat is followed by an interstitial that sounds like an annoying radio bumper with the awkward, shouted lyrics"I'm / havin' / a good / time / wit'chu." And then there's the sample, cold and empty like shucked oyster, the camp and sentiment of the original whittled down to a false soundbite primed for a Frito Lay commercial or a lazy television NYE montage.

I resent it already -- not because it's catchy, but in that it drips with trying to be catchy, the dummied-down, cliched idea of "catchy." That's will.i.am's bag these days, so I can't cry for too long; so long as Taylor Swift doesn't go dance, this will be the persistent pop jam of the fall and winter. See you next spring, you were a great lab partner, HAGS, KIT, xoxo

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<p>Daft Punk</p>

Daft Punk

Watch: Daft Punk joins Phoenix at MSG in a French connection

'Tron' dance duo added an extra step on three tracks

After seeing three relatively mild Phoenix shows over the past year -- and with the wtf-inducing sniff I give Wavves -- I decided to bypass the free CMJ show at Madison Square Garden in New York last night (Oct. 20).

Boy, am I kicking myself this morning.

The French quartet Phoenix was joined by a pair of very special guests and countrymen: twosome Daft Punk.

The robotic dance duo jumped up, surprising the crowd, with "Harder Better Faster Stronger" swelling into "Around the World." They even added some extra crazy to Phoenix's hit "1901."

Could this be indicative of things to come? As in, another Daft Punk tour? With Phoenix, even? The band crafted the score to "Tron: Legacy," out this fall, and they've been active in promoting their role.

Rumor had it at Comic-Con this year that Disney wanted them playing a party, but it'd set them back a cool mil. I'm curious what went into this rare appearance...

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<p>Ari Up</p>

Ari Up

Credit: Angel Cebellos

Ari Up, frontwoman of The Slits, dies at 48

Watch: 'Lazy Slam' music video, released at the late singer's behest

Ari Up, the frontwoman and founder of the '70s and '80s all-girl punk group The Slits, has died at 48 after a bout with an undisclosed illness.

The news was spread by John Lydon of the Sex Pistols, who was married to Up's mother Nora Forster and was the singer's stepfather. Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, had the news posted to his website.

"John and Nora have asked us to let everyone know that Nora's daughter Arianna (aka Ari-Up) died today (Wednesday, October 20th) after a serious illness. She will be sadly missed. Everyone at JohnLydon.com and PiLofficial.Com would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to John , Nora and family. Rest in Peace."

According to The Slits' MySpace, "[Up's] immediate family has asked for privacy at this time and no public service is planned." She is survived by three sons.

Ari Up, born Arianna Forster, started The Slits in Britain with friend and drummer Palmolive (Paloma Romero) when she was only 14 years old, in 1976. The band was a challenging all-female voice in a burgeoning, predominantly male punk rock scene during that period and opened for the Clash on their first tour outing. Integrating reggae into their bouncing rock noise, their live shows were boisterous and notoriously wild, even after Up reunited with bassist Tessa Pollitt and added new members in 2006. Thus, they laid down the trackwork for other women in punk and the riot grrrl movement in the years to come.

The Slits released two albums in its early years: 1979's "Cut" featured the band topless and caked with mud on its cover while 1981's "Return of the Giant Slits" was darker, quirkier and more experimental. In 2006, the modified band released "Revenge of the Killer Slits" and in 2009 unleashed their last full-length "Trapped Animal."

Ari Up requested that The Slits' music video for "Lazy Slam" be released posthumously, which we've posted below. The song was culled from that latter album.

In a statement from Jeff Jacquin, her manager: "In my 20 years as a manager I have never seen or felt such inspiration and unyielding passion for music and life as I had with my dear friend and client Ari Up. She was truly one of a kind, and there will never be another like her. She influenced generations of women and created some of the most memorable music of our time, but Ari’s true magic was how she affected people on the street, face to face, every day. She ate life up and spit it out. She lived it on her own terms and never gave an inch! The Slits will live on."

For me, personally, I remember a friend putting the Slits' "Typical Girls" on a mix in high school. It was decidedly atypical; I was and have been enthralled with them since. Rest in peace, Ari.

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