<p>Sia</p>

Sia

Listen to Sia sing her own 'Diamonds,' which is now Rihanna's No. 1 hit

Who does it better?

Sia co-wrote the song "Diamonds," and now that track is a No. 1 single by Rihanna. If Sia had sung it, and farmed it to radio, it would not go No. 1.

But that's not to say the songwriter doesn't sing it better.

The Aussie performed "Diamonds" for an audience at the Norweigan-American Achievement Award ceremony (you heard me) last night, set to a simple and emotional backing track with help from Stargate. Her rasp and high notes fit the tune and "Diamonds" obviously sat right in her range.

Rihanna's version has her Bajan accent, a childish sound clap-trapping down on the chorus' vowels. I think coming from global superstar Rihanna the song is just fine. I get why it's a hit when it's coming from Sia, ho is better known at the moment for her guest spot and co-write on David Guetta's "Titanium." She, furthermore, co-wrote Ne-Yo's recent hit "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)."

"Diamonds" was produced by Stargate and frequent collaborator and "Diamonds" co-writer Benny Blanco. The latter told the Huffington Post of the song's fruition: "We're sitting there trying to make records, and we finally just said, "Let's just do something we like. Let's make a hip-hop record with some really cool chords on it." It didn't sound Rihanna at all... Then Sia heard the track and instantly gravitated towards it... she wrote this amazing song, and it just happened overnight."

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<p>CeeLo Green and the Muppets</p>

CeeLo Green and the Muppets

Credit: AP Photo

Rockefeller Tree Lighting: 7 magical (and weird) musical moments

Mariah Carey, CeeLo Green, Il Volo, Rod Stewart and all the gold trimming

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center tonight became illuminated, and as per usual, the occasion couldn't pass without a little fanfare. Scotty McCreery, Mariah Carey, Victoria Justice and more brought music to thousands of people for thousands of little lights in New York, and live on television.

Below are some stand-outs, for all the various reasons entertainers stand out.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey does not do long sleeves. She does fur stoles, and if not, then evening gloves with sequined short sleeves. And she goes in twice, in a pre-taped segment for her classic "All I Want For Christmas" (gorgeous) and for "Christmas Time Is In The Air Again" (ah, that old relic). She is forever fabulous.
 
CeeLo Green
 
Aside from the unintended hilarity calling CeeLo's holiday song "All I Need Is Love" an “original,” checking the Muppets sing "Mahna Mahna" always feels so right. Furthermore, as the "rap" verse ascends, so does a creature from Green's nethers: Pepe the King Prawn delivers in more than one, awkward way.
 
Il Volo
 
In case you were wondering if writers ever sat at their desk at the TV company, wrote the words “taking the world by storm” for copy and then gave it to someone to say on-air, they do, and Al Roker executed. Il Volo is a small collection of Gap Italia models and they delivered an affected "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," biting their lips, whooshing hair, dipping their face in order to excrete designer eyewear and cosmetic dental work. And then I passed out, I don't remember anything else.
 
 
"The Voice" singer has the Spirit. "I'll Be Home For Christmas" is simple and pure, with no need for gold trimmings. 
 
Rod Stewart
 
As a distraction from Rod using the mic stand as a crutch during "Let It Snow," here is a mind-blowing photo of him and CeeLo together.
 
 
There's a skinny tie under there. Johnny Lydon is somewhere, upset.
 
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, and he looks like Tony Bennett. This charming pre-taped segment was a gentle reminder that, to Tony Bennett, all of life must be a comedy. He’s got that jolly look, and grins like an old dog, and he’s like “I’m comin’ to town, yeah!” and you're like "Yeah!"
 
Trace Adkins

If trace Adkins ran toward me at a high velocity wearing that fur and that scowl on his face, I’d run for the nearest treeline. But the magic of "We Three Kings" is the equal parts scary and mysterious and uplifting and heaven-toward. Adkins' appearance is a metaphorical representation of the song itself (muse the enigma of pedal steel with nobody sitting at it).
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<p>From &quot;Ice Age&quot;</p>

From "Ice Age"

Watch: How to Destroy Angels' 'Ice Age' video by John Hillcoat

Trent Reznor and Co. are ready for the Apocalypse

If that Mayan Calendar really does predict The End, Trent Reznor's band How To Destroy Angels is ready for whatever. You can tell they see it coming, because singer Mariqueen Maandig looks to the ocean when she sings "ocean."

The band -- rounded out by Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan -- goes predictably dour for Califone rip "Ice Age," the clip directed by "Lawless" helmer John Hillcoat. There's some beautiful long shots of Maandig and a palate to die for. I like the doves. "An Omen" indeed.

The band's EP "An Omen" is already out and they've promised a full-length for 2013.

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<p>Skylar Grey</p>

Skylar Grey

Listen: Skylar Grey and Eminem's 'C'Mon Let Me Ride' is dumber than a bicycle

Daddy, what's a banana seat?: Satire in song form

Skylar Grey's collaboration with Eminem, "C'Mon Let Me Ride," contains filthy, unclever and thinly veiled euphemisms for screwing. It's got a playful verse structure and an equally childish lyric video, and a chorus that is as tooth-rotteningly sweet as a Capri Sun jingle. It takes the melodic and lyrical page from Queen's "Bicycle Race" and has it sung by Eminem doing his best Pee-Wee Herman imitation, while the term "banana seat" is beaten (eh? get it?) to it's maxim.

It's a joke.... no, really, it's meant as a joke.

It was written as a satire of “overly sexified music, media and the girls who try and imitate it.” Hence the tossed-off effect of the terms "slut," "bitch" and Em's dragging-d*ck rhymes.

"I've learned from Em I can have more fun," she told Rolling Stone in an interview published in October. "He's very sarcastic and makes me laugh all the time and there are parts of my attitude I have in person but I've never shown in a song. I feel like he showed me I don't have to be afraid to show that side."

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<p>Andre 3000</p>

Andre 3000

Andre 3000 joins T.I. to say 'Sorry' on new track: Listen

Is the former OutKast rapper apologizing to Big Boi?

Former OutKast member Andre 3000 makes a rare guest spot on the new T.I. track "Sorry," from T.I.'s upcoming "Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head." 

Over a sparse track featuring a number of keys and synths and some subtly funky bass from producer Jazze Pha, T.I. brags about his hustle, his money, his college grades and the fact that it's his time to shine. With a line like "Never mind what the blogs say/do what my mind and my heart say," T.I. doesn't sound like he feels the need to apologize for any of his success.

Then the relatively reclusive Andre 3000 arrives and blows the track wide open. The former OutKast rapper intones "I don't even like rapping fast," before slowing it down. In what is no doubt aimed at his former OutKast partner Big Boi, Dre offers this olive branch: "This the type shit that make you call your rap partner and say I'm sorry I'm awkward, my fault for fucking up the tours/ I hated all the attention so I ran from it."

In a strange twist, Big Boi just released the new track "In the A" which features guest spots from Ludacris....and T.I. 

Listen to "Sorry" here:



What do you think of "Sorry"?

 

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Watch: 50 Cent, Eminem and Adam Levine are running scared in 'My Life'

Watch: 50 Cent, Eminem and Adam Levine are running scared in 'My Life'

Single was presented on 'The Voice' last night, sans Slim Shady

It was only yesterday that 50 Cent presented one of his strongest mainstream hip-hop/pop tracks in years, "My Life." It's felt like an eternity, particularly since he was on "The Voice" only a few hours after. Today, we have the full music video featuring Eminem and Adam Lambert running around scared.

I've taken the term "My Life" as in "F*ck my life," a statement that Fif, Shady and the Maroon 5 frontman are all trying to express. This isn't the space to boast (entirely), this is their sad, dark creative corner of the house to flip off the shenanigans. None of this is made more clear than during Em's verse and appearance in the vid. If it wasn't readily apparent yesterday, please note: dude's on fire here.

What I remain unconvinced of is Levine's emotional presentation. He makes a terrible hobo.

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<p>Ke$ha on the &quot;Today&quot; show</p>

Ke$ha on the "Today" show

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Ke$ha and Iggy Pop combine for some 'Dirty Love'

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Update: Stream all of 'Warrior,' in full

It may not surprise you that Ke$ha collaborated with at least one half of the Black Keys on her new set "Warrior," particularly after hearing her track "Dirty Love" featuring Iggy Pop.

The "whooooa" of the chorus will ring reminiscent of the blues-rock outfit's "Lonely Boy." But lets just say "Boy" is legions cleaner.

"Dirty Love" starts with a Mickey Mouseketeerian introduction between Ke$ha and the legendary Stooges frontman, and the politeness stops there. They take turns referencing the nasty, and not just your, erm, vanilla variety.

Is it that she wants between your cheeks? Or is it sheets that make it dirty? Pop makes a reference to Santorum, in both its noun and pronoun forms. Both vocals appear to have been completed in a couple takes, and if my fantasy serves me at all, Ke$ha and Iggy Pop then finished their sessions and set fire to a limo full of sex toys. Because that's what this sounds like.

It's terrible, I hate it. I'm also lusty for it, and entertained. These may all be the same thing.

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<p>will.i.am and Britney Spears</p>

will.i.am and Britney Spears

5 reasons why will.i.am and Britney Spears' 'Scream & Shout' is awful

Watch some previews of the music video, out Wednesday

Today, will.i.am's "Scream & Shout" featuring Britney Spears was finally farmed to radio stations, a week after the single had a slippery debut post-leak. On Wednesday, the music video is set to premiere around Spears' new gig on "The X Factor." A preview to the Ben Mor-directed clip has been posted below.

I'll admit it. The refrain "Scream and shout and let it all out" is super catchy. It's got that. But a catchy phrase does not a great song make. Below I outline my hoarse-voiced disappointments with "Scream & Shout":

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<p>One Direction at German's Bambi awards</p>

One Direction at German's Bambi awards

Credit: AP Photo

One Direction wish they were 'cool' enough for a Jay-Z collaboration

Hey, we hear Snoop Dogg's always available

After bowing at No. 1 with their new album "Take Me Home," One Direction are now busily preparing for 101 touring dates for 2013. But a packed schedule isn't keeping the boy band from dreaming a little.

Speaking with MTV, Liam Payne revealed it'd be a dream for the troupe to lay down a some track work with Jay-Z.

"I would love to do a hip-hop collaboration with Jay-Z," Payne said. "I don't know how to talk to him, though. I think he's wicked. I love Jay-Z. It upsets me that we're not cool enough, but I wish we could."

Define "upset" there, young pup. The group is obviously not doing so bad for itself: does the admission of uncoolness also imply the crew has already tried approaching the "Blueprint"-maker? Because Jay-Z may not work with just anybody, but he's the same man who's shown up with lesser-knowns like Santigold and on pop tracks with Mariah Carey (OK, OK, OK and isn't above still working with nerds like Diddy. There. I said it.).

Payne, adorably, snapped a pic of himself with Hov backstage at Justin Bieber's concert in Brooklyn this fall. He called Jay-Z one of his idols.

"Imagine going on tour with Jay-Z," Zayn Malik also said in the interview. I imagine him saying this while his hands clinch tightly and shake excitedly.

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<p>50 Cent and Eminem perform together at SXSW in March</p>

50 Cent and Eminem perform together at SXSW in March

Listen and Watch: 50 Cent's new 'My Life' with Eminem and Adam Levine

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'I almost wish that I would have never made 'Recovery,' kid': Performance tonight on 'The Voice'

50 Cent's had a few failed re-starts on his music career, where he's struggled at stoking his own interest in rapping as well as getting fans invested again. "My Life" may be the necessary element to get the next round off the ground, however.

Eminem and Maroon 5's Adam Levine guest on this rap track with a hum-worthy chorus, with both rappers expressing some melancholy and confusion of their lives as the singer touts the whole reason this may be a hit.

Among the curiousities of the verses is Em's admission that he feels like he may be unspooling again. The Detroit-bred MC has been sober for three years, and yet is pre-occupied with "revenge" and "Feels like I'mma snap in a minute, yeah it's happening again." He poses some regrets on that "Recovery" album, too, though that's no new news.

50 Cent also does his business of reminding listeners he sold millions of albums back in the day. Will this track -- purportedly a promo single for his album "Street King Immortal" -- be enough to propel big sales in February?

"My Life" will be available on iTunes tomorrow (Nov. 27) and is set to be performed on Levine's reality talent show "The Voice" tonight. The trailer to the epic-looking music video is also below, release pending.

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