Listen: Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne combine again for 'High School'

Listen: Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne combine again for 'High School'

Watch the rap-pop star's 'American Idol' promo and her fragrance commercial

Nicki MInaj and Lil Wayne don't use the term "High School" like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa did for their grass-loving film, but instead use it as a touchstone for maturity. No, this ain't like high school, Minaj declares on her new track "High School," right before laying out a detailed narrative in her rap verse then launching into sexy-time talk. She's still finding that nice balance of pop and rap, of flirtation and provocation, and her words reflect that.

Lil Wayne's turn on "High School," on the other hand, doesn't show much progression. Did you know Lil Wayne likes oral sex? Oh, then spoiler alert.

I finally got around to watching "Nicki Minaj: My Truth," the star's E! feature, last night. In "Part 2," Tunechi shows to the studio for his verse on this track, and apparently takes eight hours to dole this one out. The show is a good reminder of just how many handlers entertainers need (or feel like they need) but also just how the "creative" process works when there's only a day of available time. What I'm trying to say is, Wayne could do better than this, but this is what we got, perhapsbecause he only had one day to do it.

Minaj has promised more rap that her pop persona on the deluxe reissue of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up." "High School" is just one of the five new songs, and between that, excellent "The Boys," there's some improvement. She's busily promoting the Nov. 19 arrival of "The Re-Up" re-release, plus her forthcoming season of "American Idol" as a new host and launching her first fragrance. I'll give you three guesses as to what her perfume is named, but you'll only need on.

Promotions for each below.

Read Full Post
<p>Ke$ha pledges allegiance to the freak flag</p>

Ke$ha pledges allegiance to the freak flag

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Ke$ha's 'Come On' arrives with a 'Die Young' rap remix

Wiz Khalifa, Simon Cowell favorite Becky G and Juicy J dig in

Ke$ha's trying to corner the current market on low-brow pop tartalage, having started with party anthem "Tik Tok" and bringing her up to Hooters and Budweiser name-checking on "Come On," released today. Even as single "Die Young" continues to ascend toward the top of the Hot 100, her label is obviously eager to get more of a party going by time her new album "Warrior" drops on Nov. 30.

Stopping here: If there's anything to be learned from Morrissey is that if you're only going to sing three or four notes ever, you'd better sing them well -- or at least make them yours. "Come On" may be one of the least imaginative melodies to come from Ke$ha's camp (camp being operative), sung by a still-rising pop star who I think has traditionally good instincts for a hook. But of the four notes that she really sings, she makes them all her own.

Despite her marketing efforts to align her with Hollywood trash, I like to think of Ke$ha's voice as the Midwestern accent of the singing world. It's all hard consonants and dipthongs, and the over-emphasis on mispronounced words like your mom saying she's going to get her herr done. The "yum" lyrics in "Come On" nod heavily at Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop," as generic "carpe diem" all-nighter messaging hits on par with Katy Perry's "T.G.I.F." It's all pretty safe stuff from a self-sworn member of the Illuminati (go watch "Die Young's" video).

If you want more hard edges from "Die Young," Dr. Luke has just released a remix of that track with rap cameos from Juicy J, Becky G and Wiz Khalifa. Check that below, too.

Read Full Post
<p>Lady Gaga in the &quot;Cake&quot; preview</p>

Lady Gaga in the "Cake" preview

Lady Gaga teases her 'Cake' with provocative teaser video

Terry Richardson behind the luscious clip, surprising no one

Lady Gaga appears to be rapping on what's shaping up to be a new album cut "Cake." Mother Monster released a luscious little clip of her speak-singing along, with images of wagging butts, dancing in her underwear and otherwise suggesting that a lucky piece of cake is going to get some action from a very famous pop star.

"You chew beef, I wear meat / And stay on top of the I'm I'm I'm I'm / Getting fat and so is my bank /With a sold out world tour b*tch," are among the lyrical sage-wisdom, as the song was also previewed during a Mugler fashion show in September.

As for the 15-second clip, maker-of-sexy-photos Terry Richardson helmed it, which should surprise no one. Gaga and Richardson released a photo book together just last year. And Richardson likes things to look like an American Apparel ad.

Read Full Post
<p>Rihanna in Mexico City on her 777 tour</p>

Rihanna in Mexico City on her 777 tour

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Rihanna and Chris Brown's 'Business' in full

'Unapologetically' sassy, and why it's screwed up

Chris Brown and Rihanna's new duet "Ain't Nobody's Business" is, indeed, "Unapologetic." The song has arrived in full a few days out from Rihanna's new album release, and the pair would like for detractors of their rebudding relationship to butt out.

Using a famed line from Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," they both sing on the refrain: "It ain’t nobody’s business / Just mine and my baby." The sound, overall, is reminiscent of MJ, which must've thrilled the pants of Chris Brown, a longtime disciple who has never shied away from the comparison. It's helmed by The-Dream.

With lines about making out in a Lexus and the continued use of "baby," one would assume that Rihanna and her baby are back together, which they've both denied in the past week. The question of their relationship status, however, will never cease to pique others' curiosity so long as Rihanna and Chris Brown make songs like "Nobody's Business." Making their business model dependent on "Nobody's Business." Business because of "Business." The snake eats it tail.

"Nobody's Business" is a decent song, if you're in a place to hear it. I think it's lame to drum up publicity based on the reformation of what I think is a screwed up relationship that should truly be addressed quietly, but if Brown-Rihanna duets are the MO in the future, so be it. This is one of the cases where the public persona plays deeply into how songs are written and performed, making their personal business of "Business" fair game in criticizing it. So it's a draw, in consideration of her deeply affected delivery of the words "hain nobah'ees bi(d)neh," Brown's bad edits on the pre-chorus, the "infectious" post-disco dance brew and wrinkle-nosed funk at the end.

Read Full Post
<p>Yo La Tengo's &quot;Fade&quot;</p>

Yo La Tengo's "Fade"

Credit: Matador

Listen: Yo La Tengo announce new album with 'Stupid Things' and tour dates

'Fade' due in January

After an intense election season, a week of scandal, a big "Bond" premiere and that disappointing new Why? album, it's about time for something uplifting and easy to listen to. Yo La Tengo may fill that gap, with the promise of a new album "Fade," due on January 15.

The band released an EP, "Stupid Things," earlier this year, and have included the title track in the 10-song list for this fresh effort. You can hear it below. You may find your ballot-casting hand a little less shaky, or your headphones finally relieved.

Pre-orders are up now and a deluxe version gets you a 7″ with covers of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw The Light” and Times New Viking’s “Move To California.”

Yo La Tengo is touring in support, starting with their Hanukkah concerts at Maxwell's in New Jersey, and continuing with some shared dates with Calexico. Check those below.

Read Full Post
<p>From &quot;Wild&quot;</p>

From "Wild"

Watch: Beach House's 'Wild' hurts the heart

And you thought you were bummed out about 'Twilight' ending

Did I say the "Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" soundtrack would bum you out? I take it back. The video to Beach House's excellent dream-world "Wild" will bum you out.

And you thought your life was a wreck.

Johan Renck helmed this little spot of violent sexual sunshine, and it may not surprise the viewer that he directed episodes of "Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad," too. (It may furthermore surprise that he's directed clips for Kylie Minogue and Madonna.)

"Wild" is off of "Bloom," released earlier this year.

Read Full Post
<p>Christina Aguilera on &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Christina Aguilera on "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Watch Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green debut 'Make the World Move' live

How's 'Lotus' doing with sales so far?

Before I start in on Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green's live debut of her "Make the World Move" duet, a couple things:

1) People are doggin' on Xtina for the weight gain, and have for a while. I've always thought she looks mega-fine, the added pounds or not. Criticisms of her appearance have frequently preceded any salient thoughts on her talent, which is ever-impressive.

2) CeeLo Green operates best with specific confines. Give him a retro sound, and he's brilliant. Give him a costume concept and he's all in. Give him 10 minutes aggregate of a TV talent show and he's unstoppable. CeeLo doesn't dance. He grooves and gets out of the way.

3) "Make the World Move" is a generally likeable song off of "Lotus."

Now. The television performance of "Make the World Move" on last night's "Voice" (Nov. 13) was positively batty.

Read Full Post
<p>Madonna and Psy</p>

Madonna and Psy

Watch: Madonna and Psy combine on stage for 'Gangnam Style'

It is finished

Psy's "Gangnam Style," with all its idiosyncrasies, will go down in the annals as epically robbed at No. 2 on the Hot 100, never to see No. 1, occupying the eternal runners-up prison where Boyz II Men's "Water Runs Dry" and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" sit, shivering.

That is, unless Madonna's endorsement helps that last strong push. (Or not.)

Read Full Post
Watch: Metric is 'Breathing Underwater' in road video

Watch: Metric is 'Breathing Underwater' in road video

'Synthetica' getting the deluxe treatment

Culling what one can from the music video for "Breathing Underwater," Canada's Metric is a popular band and performs and popular events, and deserve to anyhow. It would also be exhausting to be them.

That seems to be it.

"Breathing Underwater" is from Metric's "Synthetica," released in June; the album is getting a deluxe re-release this month, with five acoustic tracks tacked on. The shiny new version will be out Nov. 20 via digital retail and Dec. 4 at brick and mortar.

Read Full Post
<p>How to Destroy Angels</p>

How to Destroy Angels

Review: Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels' EP 'An Omen'

HitFix
C
Readers
B-
Can this hybrid of talent amount to much on its second go?
With the release of their first self-titled EP and now with “An Omen,” How To Destroy Angels have proven to be a much leaner, cleaner-sounding crew than Trent Reznor’s other band. In conjunction with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and Mariqueen Maandig, Reznor tries to configure the drones and squirrely, processed matter around calculated acoustic rhythms and electronic melodies, as the Nine Inch Nails frontman trades vocal spaces with Maandig when he’s not outright absent. he band is at its best at combining its talents on the sixth of six tunes, “Speaking in Tongues,” a journey-is-the-destination ellipsis of noise and rising melodies.
 
But at its worst, “An Omen” is dispassionate and utterly unextraordinary, and it’s this for at least half the tunes. Reznor and Ross’ work on “The Social Network,” for instance, had similar minimalist strains, but at least didn’t lack in emotionality; the formula here is off, sometimes lost in drab lyricism. On “Keep It Together” Maandig and Reznor sing “I can’t keep it together” in staggered time like a broken round, because – get it? – they can’t seem to keep it together. “The Loop Closes” sings “the beginning is the end / keeps coming around again” over and over again because, again, get it?
 
“Ice Age” is more like a workshop tune, and unproven model, where the band appears to be recreating the band Califone inside of ProTools with Maandig’s practiced, calm voice wandering off in another sonic direction. That track, like the slow-building “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” has all the trappings of an interesting hybrid of tone and talent. However, it doesn’t amount to much.
Read Full Post