<p>Nine Inch Nails' &quot;Hesitation Marks&quot;</p>

Nine Inch Nails' "Hesitation Marks"

Credit: Columbia

Album Review: Nine Inch Nails, 'Hesitation Marks'

Trent Reznor rounds up some killer singles and disappointing gray matter

Nine Inch Nails have had plenty of time and space to regroup. New "Hesitation Marks" is the industrial rockers' first in five years, and first since taking time off from touring in as many moons. It's a fresh lineup and, in the time in-between, Trent Reznor has won and Oscar, launched How To Destroy Angels with his wife and longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and, apparently, made amends with a major labels in time to launch a proper campaign to push a significant and solid radio single.

The result from that pause is a mellower Reznor with big standalone songs, rare rays of sunshine and a run of quixotically forgettable tracks toward “Hesitation Marks’” end.
“Hesitation Marks,” NIN’s eighth full-length, eagerly rushes in with the Reznor we’ve known and loved, minus all the yelling. Perfectly dystopic “Copy of A” and single “Came Back Haunted” are quite the pair, kicking off this 14-track set after murmuring intro “The Eater of Dreams.” Reznor intimately croons on piano-dripping “Find My Way” and red-lit “All Time Low,” his chilling voice allowing in a few “baby” fillers along the way.
But talk about “Disappointed,” which is the title to a meandering glitch-dirge segueing into a sequence of songs that will try the patience of the average Nine Inch Nails fan. The glittering pop-punk sounds of “Everything” completely disorients the dark-dweller with all that light; “Satellite” has all the soul of a car commercial, with follow-up “Various Methods of Escape” providing no obvious means of escaping this HTDA outtake until three-quarters in.
“Running” and closer “While I’m Still Here”/”Black Noise” at least provide some inspired beats, invoking the good ol’ days of trip-hop without gagging on sickly sweet melodies, as on the aforementioned. It’s not that Reznor can’t carry these oddballs; his voice is as strong as ever but is, again, without as much untethered aggression to match all the white noise and his typically fatalistic lyrics. The set could use a good trim or some stronger tent-poles in its latter half. There’s a little too much control.


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Ranking the Songs of Summer 2013: Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Daft Punk

Ranking the Songs of Summer 2013: Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Daft Punk

Take our poll: Who had the No. 1 jam?

Call this season the Summer of Soul: the summer of 2013 produced some clear-cut, all-out jams that will be remembered years from now, and several of them have a soulful bent to them.

It's very telling that Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" featuring T.I. And Pharrell Williams lived and thrived under the threat of a lawsuit from the Marvin Gaye estate: the throwback vibe of that cowbell and the singer's grooving falsetto rang some, erm, bells. (Thicke, if you'll remember, preemptively sued the Gaye estate to bar the action. So maybe "Blurred Lines" keeps its Grammy chances...)

Daft Punk's return with album "Random Access Memories" was marked by its retro action, and mega-single "Get Lucky" with Pharrell (and chops from Chic's Nile Rodgers) was the essence of the soul behind their robot masks. Avicii's "Wake Me Up" would be nothing without Aloe Blacc's stellar pipes on top of that stomp-clap. Mary Lambert's chorus on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love" still sends sparkles up the spine, despite the song having been around for more than a year.

Justin Timberlake... oh, Justin, who is having such a big year with his "20/20 Experience." No songs from that album made our solstice review, but his meandering turn on Jay-Z's "Holy Grail" has a "preach" to it. And just blinking at Bruno Mars' "Treasure," it looks like it was culled straight out of "Soul Train."

Breaking up the old-school boogie were a few of bursts of dance-pop, coincidentally (or not!) from two former child actress. Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It" and Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" were both invitations to what promised to be a pair of slightly sleazy parties. Ellie Goulding's melody on Calvin Harris' "I Need Your Love" provided a pristine combo from the EDM sector.

Like the MTV VMAs, rock wasn't repping very hard during the hottest months: tracks like Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" started roaring months beforehand. The closest our top 10 lists got to rockin' out were to country act Florida Georgia Line's ode to ogling "Cruise," Capital Cities' Passion Pit-esque "Safe and Sound" and that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" rip in "Holy Grail." (One Direction's "Best Song Ever" made a stab at the top tier, but aside from excitement from Directioners, limped toward the end of the end of its tenure in our memories.)

Below, HitFixers Melinda Newman, Dave Lewis, Chris Eggertsen and myself explain away our top 10 jams of 2013's Songs of the Summer, and ranked which ones were most representative. What made the songs work? Did we get burned out on them? Will we remember them in 10 years? Who is our No. 1 Song of the Summer?

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<p>Santigold in &quot;NTSF:SD:SUV&quot;</p>

Santigold in "NTSF:SD:SUV"

Credit: Adult Swim/Cartoon Network

Watch: Exclusive clip from 'NTSF:SD:SUV::', plus interview with Santigold on new music

Adult Swim show gets an ‘accidental prostitute’: fans will get 'ambitious' new album in 2014

Santigold is dipping further into the acting world with a new role on Adult Swim’s comedy “NTSF:SD:SUV::,” in the episode that airs tonight. 

In “Great Train Stoppery,” Santigold, aka Santi White, plays Millie, one of the trio of Time Angels who fly back into history to protect the past: in this case, Dash (Eliza Dushku), Clock (Jayma Mays) and Millie are trying to nab the robber who removed the golden spike that completed the railroad in the Old West.
In the process, Millie becomes an “accidental prostitute.” Y’know, as you do.
In the clip above, you see Millie “after I’ve done my duties, and I’m in need of a whiskey,” she told HitFix in our interview today. “It was awesome, it was a fun part and I got a great dress and stuff.”
The songwriter and performer hopes to turn acting into a more regular gig. She previously appeared as herself on “The Office” and has been taking acting lessons. This opportunity “just snuck up on me. I’ve been really looking into it, it’s really nice to have a new thing to focus on and challenge myself,” she continued. “Having been on [tour] for two years straight, I was like being a kid again, or learning a new sport. I’m full of wonder.”
While Santigold reveals she has another acting gig lined up – “a project in the works” – she’s in no way abandoning music. She released “Master of My Own Make-Believe” in the spring of 2012, and is hard at work on another “ambitious” effort for 2014.
“It is the most ambitious thing that I’ve ever done, musically,” she said of the forthcoming project. “For me it’s taking things one step further than what I thought I was creating on stage this last time.” She said she’s working from a very specific thematic direction, though wouldn’t hint what it is that’s inspiring her.
With her growing interest in the TV/film world, she did mention she adores the works of directors like Wes Anderson, and enjoyed Oscar-nominated flicks like “Django Unchained” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild”  because of their devotion to specific, stage-like aesthetics. Coincidentally, the bar in which she shot her scene for “NTSF:SD:SUV::” was also used in “Django Unchained.”
“That part where [Django] gets to pick whatever he wants, and goes for the blue velvet suit? Oh my,” she gushed, laughing. Riffing on clothes, the stylish singer said, “I’m always inspired by fashion, it’s just another form of art, like painting or listening to music or or home décor or having the most beautiful view of the ocean. It all works in the same way for me.”
On the future of her elaborate stage shows, singles and the way she thinks of presenting her music, Santigold elaborated her feelings on how records are released nowadays. At times, there is less emphasis on albums as a whole and more emphasis on lead singles, or major music videos trumping the final branded work of art.
“I’ve been thinking about the idea of the album a lot. I think its unfortunate -- it’s become such a singles market. I grew up in an era of albums. Even before my time, when I was 15 and just getting into the internet, I still bought albums later. I have a problem with the fact that everyone who puts out an album, usually there’s 1 or 2 songs that you wanna hear more than once on there and that’s it. I grew up during a time when you not only make yourself listen to the whole abum, but the albums were good all the way through. It was a treat, like every song was a whole new collection of great material.
“I do buy albums still, really! I buy them, and maybe I’ll put one song from them on a playlist… I’m not going to start making albums that aren’t working as albums. I love how an album is somehow unified as a body of work. I do know that in order to do that, you have to be a little more creative, and take risks. I’m trying to come up with concepts that work with that.”

"NTSF:SD:SUV::" airs late-night on Thursdays at 12:15 a.m.

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<p>Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in &quot;Ender's Game&quot;</p>

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in "Ender's Game"

Credit: Summit

Set Visit: 'Ender's Game' with Asa Butterfield walks the line of high-tech fun and violence

Why Ender Wiggin doesn't get a girlfriend

Even for a film that stars mostly children, “Ender’s Game” has some different conceptions on what qualifies as “fun.” 

In a lofty, enormous warehouse space in New Orleans, there are plots of sets daisy-chained together in overwhelming greys and blacks and muted lights, literally littered with pieces from a “NASA junkyard.” Childrens’ school desks are outfitted with what could be described as 20th generation iPads, seats squatting close to the ground like a 2nd grade classroom. Lockers and bunks are uniformly monochrome, with few personal effects poking out from the grates. These are also small, the doorframes like those for a Hobbit. The proximity of small set to small set make each space as claustrophobic as the next. Also, these are all to live in outer space, mind you: in the future, in space, the floors have an otherworldy curvature.
It’s a coldly military setup for a soldier academy, where Ender Wiggin, his alleys and enemies will learn to battle the enemy – Formics, aka Buggers, who have engaged with Earth in galactic wars before, each side having won an era. The humans are gearing up for their next war, and are using actual children – starting when they’re 6 years old – as their army and commanders, to think outside of the box in battle so that this conflict will be their last. Winner-take all in a species-on-species contest, with pre-adolescents leading the way.
Fun, right?
“There’s a device… a bone saw, it’s an actual, a real prototype from a university, it’s just a really crazy thing that they use to perform surgery...”
“I’d take the flashgun. That just sounds super gnarly! That’d be way better than paintballing or something…”
“It’s like a flight simulator where it’s all the switches, it’s a joystick and a screen, and they said it’s the closest you can get to an actual fighter plane…"
“The wires… look super fun, but taking the whole ‘I have to do multiple things at the same time,’ having to be in zero gravity, and if I’m in pain I have to look like I’m not in pain…”
Aramis Knight, Nonso Anozie, Suraj Partha and, of course, our Ender (Asa Butterfield) are talking about the props and weaponry in Battle School. As part of their characters’ education, they’re thrust into a zero gravity chamber called the Battle Room with practice guns that can paralyze the members of their various teams. In these scenes in Orson Scott Card’s book, it’s also the breeding ground for serious beefs between students, the wick before a bang.
“It’s sort of like ‘Lord of the Flies’ in space, “ says “Ender’s Game” director Gavin Hood matter-of-factly.
For him and producers like Bob Orci, Linda McDonough and Lynn Hendee, this movie has arrive after 15 years of getting the option, the making-of a beloved sci-fi adaptation with very mature themes and every opportunity to screw it up. For those 15 years, studios have proposed making a very different film than the book: Ender has a love interest, Ender flies actual fighter planes, the ant-like Buggers are presented as “clearly evil” and humans are always good. There are scenes of violence and psychological abuse in “Ender's Game” that would rival some rated R films (thought this will be a PG-13).
“I was in the military, I was drafted when I was 17 years old, and it had a profound affect on me, and when I read Ender’s Game [there was the] feeling that you were very much a number in an organization with strong authority figures that you were not supposed to question, and yet feeling that you wanted to rebel against it,” Hood said.
Some of these authority figures will come from the gruff forms of Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff, Viola Davis as Major Anderson and Ben Kingsley as the mysterious war hero Mazer Rackham. Their physical challenges are few compared to the children’s cast – which also includes “True Grit” star Hailee Steinfeld as Petra – who in addition to going to NASA space camp, they learned judo, akido, sparring, wire work, took military training and learned cadences, were “punished” with pushups and sit-ups. But, hey, they also get to fly down a zip line.
“So often, there are many films and they’re fantastic and they’re fun and they’re wonderful, but it’s like ‘That was great, do you want to get pizza?’ As opposed to a story like ‘Ender’s Game,‘ where kids really talk about it, [questions like] ‘Is that right?,’ ‘Is he too violent?’ and these are important conversations for young people to engage in, in an exciting way,” Hood said. “And if you can deliver that kind of debate and conversation in an exciting, visually powerful way, then I think you’re getting a little more than just spectacle. If we can combine spectacle with a good old-fashioned argument afterwards, then that’s kind of fun.”
That word again.
That’s one you could use for Asa Butterfield’s breakout, in “Hugo,” in which he builds a fantastical, cinematic plot around Ben Kingsley’s Georges Méliès. The two will have another master-and-protégé relationship in “Ender’s Game,” though each disposition will be far from the meek, gentle characters from Scorsese’s 2011 3-D film.
Butterfield’s delicate features are situated in such a way on his crystalline skin that his age is hard to pin down. He’s like anime. Ender’s journey in the book begins around age 6; Butterfield’s going to be playing a solder roughly twice that age and then some, with his tenure taking place over an unspecified time. The Brit learned an American accent for the part, though at time he’ll be a “man” of few words.
“Ender is pretty up there in terms of ideal characters for any 14-, 15 year-old boy. Of course it would still be pretty cool to be James Bond, but this is definitely up there,” Butterfield said on set. He had just finished explaining the tight flash suits, and his training regimen. Perhaps a “Bond” role wouldn’t be so unimaginable. “I wanted to appeal to the massive cult that already follows ‘Ender's Game.”
The cult of “Ender” has developed, in part, because of the realistic scenes depicting empirialism, bullying and fear, being the smallest kid in a group of young boys who want to be grown men, physically and metaphorically. There are scenes of violence that Butterfield’s Ender endures that would easily break your average child.
In terms of adults getting kids to do their violence for them, McDonough saw some similarities to the “Hunger Games” franchise.

“It was exciting for us just in terms of seeing [‘Hunger Games’] marketed so successfully and widely when it deals with issues of violence and younger people because that, historically, has been one of the big challenges, [one of the] reasons why this film hasn't gotten made,” she said. “It's not a family film in the way that an animated DreamWorks movie is. And if we tried to do that, which some people would argue has better box office presence, I think we would betray, fundamentally, the themes of the movie.”
Butterfield’s physical elegance and intelligence will be further revealed in the Mind Games, the virtual reality game the children play in order to learn problem solving skills. Those motion-captured scenes promise some of the most brilliant, more colorful and adventurous visual imagery of the movie, but is also an expression of the more disturbing scenery. Ender plays his Mind Game in from of classmate Alai, and executes an assault in the game so graphic, his comrade is practically forced to ask, “Why did you do that??”
“In the movie, that’s a pretty visceral experience… given that this is PG-13. It’s that moment when that awkwardness from that little act tells you volumes in an unspoken way: [Ender] says ‘That’s what they want from us here. Choose violence, you win. I’m just like my brother Peter,’” Hood explained.
“You probably experience [violence] even more [from] watching the actor, the emotional anguish that he has over those moments of regret and pain and struggling with those two sides of his nature represented by Peter and [his sister] Valentine… violence with a compassion and always torn by which choice he's going to make,” McDonough said.
“In the book, when you read, it's one thing. But when you audition the kids and you hear those little tiny kid voices, it affects how you look at the whole film, the credibility,” Hendee said. “It’s kind of funny.”
"Ender's Game" is in theaters on Nov. 1.
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<p>Eminem at the Reading Festival on Aug. 24, 2013</p>

Eminem at the Reading Festival on Aug. 24, 2013

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Eminem's new single 'Berzerk': Was it worth the wait?

Beastie Boys, Billy Squier's 'The Stroke,' Kendrick Lamar and a Kardashian slam

Eminem teamed with Rick Rubin and Dr. Dre for his new single "Berzerk," and went old-school. As in retro beats, retro jokes. Who would have thought, with Rubin...

This rowdy rock-based handle flyer starts with cadence and a sample from Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere": "Now this sh*t's about to kick off, this party looks wack / Let's take it back to straight hip-hop and start it from scratch." Cute, Em, now let's really get to our first maxi pad joke.

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<p>The Replacements at Riot Fest</p>

The Replacements at Riot Fest

Credit: The Replacements Live Archive Project

The Replacements reunited this weekend: Stream the whole live set

Riot Fest in Toronto was home to the first Mats show in 22 years

The MTV VMAs wasn't the only notable happening on Sunday night: legendary rockers The Replacements got together for the first time in 22 years to perform at Toronto's Riot Fest.

Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were joined by drummer Josh Freese (nope, not Chris Mars) and guitarist David Minehan as they played a 22-song set over 75 minutes, with a little bit of banter in between.

"Hello. Sorry it took so long, for 25 years,we had a wardrobe debate. Unresolved," Westerberg began as he stood with Stinson.

The Replacements Live Archive Project captured good audio of the whole performance, which you can stream below or download in full here.

Are you the guy/gal who screams the lyrics to "Can't Hardly Wait" or "Swingin' Party?" And did you check that "Everything's Coming Up Roses" cover?

The Placemats will play the Chicago (Sept. 13-15) and Denver (Sept. 21-22) legs of Riot Fest, too. Should they survive these one, maybe there will be more to come?

The three surviving original members Westerberg, Stinson and Mars released a covers EP "Songs for Slim" for ailing former guitarist Slim Dunlap earlier this year.

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Carly Rae Jepsen covering 'Part of Your World' from 'Little Mermaid?' Yes, please

Carly Rae Jepsen covering 'Part of Your World' from 'Little Mermaid?' Yes, please

'Call Me Maybe' singer has whoozits and whatsits galore

Carly Rae Jepsen has released a cover of "Part of Your World" from "Little Mermaid," as part of Disney's relaunch of the 1989 title. Thanks for this, universe.

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Watch Robin Thicke's absurd 'Give It 2 U' music video with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar

Watch Robin Thicke's absurd 'Give It 2 U' music video with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar

An imaginary conversation with Thicke on the making-of this silliness

"So, Robin, as the art director behind this next music video for 'Give It 2 U,' what did you have in mind?"

"Mostly I'd like to be surrounded by hundreds of beautiful, hard-working, talented college-aged women in various states of dress, while I do next to nothing at all. If we shoot it on a football field, perhaps that will give the impression that I'm athletic and that I'm desirable, because I am quite literally playing the field and committing to nothing but my avoidance of physical activity."

"Do you want it to have a similar feel to 'Blurred Lines?'"

"Yes, if we could intermittently throw the performing troupes' names and other names and stuff in red sans serif font all up on there, it might look like art, or sarcasm."

"Great, so the university dance teams will wear their usual uniforms?"

"Well, some of them. Others will need to wear protective upper body gear, like a football player, which will guarantee maximum discomfort and the threat of literally sweating ones' boobs off. Bring in the Luxury Girls, a name I only know as phone sex workers but might also be some other thing that involves cosplay. Also, make sure there is one fawningly beautiful model who is dressed head to toe in bags and mounds of cotton candy, a guise that no reasonable, mentally healthy male would ever sustain exception for those guys in the Lonely Island. I think that Andy Samberg is so funny... but Justin Timberlake's not in that group, right?"

"No, he's not."

"Phew, seriously, that guy makes me look completely self unaware."

"What would you like 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar to do in your video?"

"I dunno, let 'em riff with no design of choreography and maybe one rehearsal under their belt. Give them some fourrunners and girls of their own. What do you think of 'Ass Float?' Don't answer that, I already know the answer."

"Robin, what is your child Julian up to on the day of shoot?"

"Great question, maybe I should bring him on set, dress and style him in the same way as his dear old man, with slick hair and tailored suits and no signs of maternalism except for his infantile existence and the buttresses of mammaries. That way, we can intimate an almost parody-like cycle of ladies' men begetting ladies' men whilst shattering age boundaries of sexual maturity.

"Also, a sushi piñata."



"What will you wear?"

"I play the role as the referee and have stolen a suit from off of Beetlejuice's body."

"And thus the core of the 'Give It 2 U' video will be that it is very beautiful, very fun but ultimately vapid, with a couple of grossly exaggerated product placements and a hinted use of women of color as fashion accessories... so you and Miley are obviously getting along."

"Yes, couldn't you tell?"

"Now, Robin, the title 'Give It 2 U' seems like a very transparent rip, a page straight from the Prince playbook. Your falsetto sounds great."

"Thank you, that was my every intention."

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What If Radiohead never released a pay-what-you-want album?

What If Radiohead never released a pay-what-you-want album?

'In Rainbows' was a revolution... for better or for worse?

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

By the time Radiohead had prepared and released their October 2007 album “In Rainbows,” the band had released six albums prior. All but one reached platinum status and they’d earned three top 3 albums on The Billboard 200. Radiohead had split with their record home EMI after 2003’s “Hail to the Thief” and yet continued to dominate on tour. Various members including Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood had also released solo and soundtrack projects: it was prime time to realize their value as an indie, thus time for some independent thinking. The British band released their next album “In Rainbows” digitally through their own website via a “pay-what-you-want” scheme. Fans could buy for $0.00. And Radiohead announced it only 10 days ahead of time. They later sold the album by licensing it to various labels, after the world poured out critical acclaim for the pay model (oh, and for the sound of it, too).
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<p>Lake Bell in &quot;In a World...&quot;</p>

Lake Bell in "In a World..."

Interview: Lake Bell talks ‘In a World...’ and her nude New York Magazine cover

Does the writer/director/actress think women need affirmative action in Hollywood?

AUSTIN - Lake Bell’s film “In A World...” – which she directed, wrote and lead acted– is laugh-out-loud funny, with what she calls a “scoop of message” on top. Leading the charge with a comedic ensemble that includes Dmitri Martin, Rob Cordry, Tig Notaro, Ken Marino, Nick Offerman, Stephanie Allynne and more, Bell outlines what is essentially a battle of the sexes.

Bell’s character Carol is a voice actor trying to make a dent in the commercial world doing voiceover gigs; Fred Melamed, who plays her father Sam in “In a World…,” is a master of the craft (both in the film and in real life). As Carol fights her way through auditions, and makes her way to the final round to utter the famed movie trailer phrase “In a world…”, she’s fights against the advisement of her father and other dude characters as the sole woman in a male monopolized industry.

But, y’know, with her voice. Or, rather, her voices.
Bell bowed the movie at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and it’s making its way to more markets today (Aug. 16). She’s made the rounds to promote, including some impressive late-night TV stops plus an eye-popping cover of New York Magazine, on which she poses nude. We reference both below in an abridged interview, on “In a World’s” messaging, feminism, femininity, her husband (tattoo artist Scott Campbell), Maxim, nakedness, age and sexism.
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